I love this time of year. After nearly a week of festivities with the family including board games, whipped cream desserts, and general lazing around, I really enjoy sitting down with my journal and next year’s planner to reflect, wonder, hope, and best of all, resolve. As a to-do list lover and stationery junkie, there’s nothing I love more than writing down my New Year’s Resolutions, making plans and setting goals for the year, and writing about my highlights of the past year.
I flip through the pages of my journal and remember with fondness all the memories that were created, and find some comfort knowing that I overcame the more difficult parts. This precious time of introspection never fails to bring me renewed peace and energy. I am thankful for all I’ve accomplished, and buoyed to try new things and start new projects this year!
My Top 9
I thought I’d share with you my top 9 crafty accomplishments of the year! Although I believe it’s important not to value our self-worth entirely on how much we accomplish, I think it beneficial to reflect on how we accomplish different things. Seeking to grow and learn and work with a thankful heart are more important than mindlessly creating content. So, here are the 9 projects/accomplishments I’m most proud of this year!
This might be what I’m most proud of in 2021! Despite beating myself up for not launching sooner, I’m so, so happy to have finally started this blog! It had been on my to-do list for a while, and I was definitely not prepared for how much I didn’t know anything about blogging, but I’m really proud of how far I’ve come! I’ve been blogging steadily for 8 months now, and feel like I’ve gotten into a pretty good routine. I’m still learning so much everyday, which keeps things both exciting and frustrating, haha! I love learning new things, but am often unprepared for how long certain tasks take. Nevertheless, here we are, and I can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for my little corner of the Internet. Thank you all so much for being here, reading my posts and supporting my work! I appreciate it more than you know.
Ahhhh EPP, what a joy this has been! I had absolutely no idea what EPP was until it started popping on my Instagram often. I finally gave it a try, following this video by the amazing Mollie of Wild Olive, and loved it instantly! Then I decided to turn her monthly Kawaii Crossing house patterns into hexie flowers using the EPP method, and it’s been so much fun! I share them over on my Instagram, and I also wrote a full post on how I make them.
When I think back to the month of August, this project is all I remember! I made it for my grandparents and didn’t have that much time to work on it, so I crammed as much embroidering in a day as physically possible and managed to finish it in time for my visit! It turned out just as I’d envisioned and I couldn’t be more pleased. It was the perfect project to practice new skills and refine old ones. I tried a new stumpwork technique for the currant berries, worked on my long & short stitch for the wild roses, and reverted back to my beloved ribbons to make the lily. I wrote several blog posts on the making of this project, so you can have a look and follow along if you’d like!
- Introducing the Project (Part 1)
- Silk Shading Wild Roses (Part 2)
- Stumpworked Berries (Part 3)
- Ribbon Lily (Part 4)
- Easy Yellow Daisies (Part 5)
- The Final Reveal (Part 6)
Another rather intense, but immensely satisfying project was this beaded branch of blackberries I made last September. Inspired by one of my favourite books, Venetia by Georgette Heyer, I designed a branch of blackberries that I could stitch partly with beadwork. I ended up using a mix of silk shading, ribbonwork, and beadwork, and absolutely love it!
5. Practicing Drawing & Making my Own Patterns
This year, I really tried to focus more on designing my own embroideries, rather than always using someone else’s pattern. This was a pretty big challenge since drawing doesn’t come naturally to me and it takes me hours to draw a very simple shape. But after several months of pushing myself to pick up my sketchbook and practice, practice, practice, I can definitely see an improvement! Drawing outlines for embroideries doesn’t seem so unattainable anymore, and I’ve even been able to offer a couple of my own patterns for free here on the blog!
I’m super excited to keep drawing and making my own patterns in 2022!
As much as it’s been fun to come up with my own designs, I’ve always loved using vintage and antique patterns for sewing and embroidery. Earlier this month, I made this scissor case using a Victorian pattern from a Briggs & Co. pattern book, and it was wonderful. I adapted the pattern to fit my project and stitched it on felt really easily. The scissor case ended up being a Christmas present, but I’ll definitely need to stitch one for myself. A delight to make from start to finish!
I tried something completely new and different this month as well, and mixed watercolour and embroidery in this wintery scene. This was one of my most challenging design of which I’m really proud of, and the addition of the watercolour turned out so well! As much as I love the long & short stitch, it wouldn’t look the same if the whole thing was embroidered. I really loved adding a little paint and will definitely try it again soon! This one was also a Christmas present, and it was so hard to part with!
If I challenged myself to draw and design more this year, I also challenged myself to try embroidering something without a pattern. I couldn’t believe that these little dandelions turned out decent! Normally, I can’t function without a pattern, without directions, recipes, instructions, etc… I actually like being told what to do in most instances, lol! But anyways, I decided to just free-hand this one and used a bit of crewel wool, and behold, the sunniest dandelions! I haven’t really done anything with this piece yet, but I’m thinking it would look really cute in a journal or herbarium.
For Christmas 2020, I received a gorgeous flower press made by my Dad, and let me tell you it got a lot of use this year! I’ve been pressing flowers since I was young and like to use them for cardmaking and journaling, but since I love mixing medias with my embroidery, it was only natural that I should try combining pressed leaves and embroidered berries! Not only does it save you some stitching time, but the effect is so beautiful and lifelike! The only thing is that it is very fragile and I’m not quite sure how to frame or preserve them…but it’s wonderful to work, and I’ll definitely be making more!
Since my one true love is Reading Books and so much of my work is influenced by literature, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite books this year! I didn’t read as much as I normally do, but I’m officially obsessed with audiobooks now. I find that they’re the perfect source of motivation to work on a repetitive task (like stitching!) and become so absorbed that time just flies.
I finally, finally, read an Agatha Christie mystery this year, and oh my goodness am I hooked!! She’s mainly the reason for my audiobook obsession, because who knew how pleasantly exciting it is to listen to a murder? Apparently a lot. I started with And Then There Were None, which sent chills down my spine, and then quickly plunged into the Hercule Poirot world. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve listened to. They’re so good, and you can find many of them for free on Youtube! I’m excited to try a Miss Marple book next.
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
This was probably my top favourite book of 2021. What an utter delight! I wrote a review of it on Goodreads, and I also have a full post on the embroidery project it inspired. Witty, charming and idyllic, Enchanted April is a flower enthusiast’s dream. The beautiful descriptions, the rich landscapes, the psychological portraits, the sweet, sweet ending…everything is perfect! The 90’s movie adaptation is also perfect, and I highly recommend it! I watched it on repeat while working on my Garden Bouquet and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
The Complete World of Beatrix Potter
Can you believe that I’ve only now read the tales of Beatrix Potter? I know, me neither. But there it is, I didn’t grow up with them. However, better late than never, and I can safely say that I absolutely love the darling stories! Who could resist the cutest bunnies, mischievous cats, silly geese, and other such charming creatures? Not to mention the beautiful and inspiring illustrations! I can definitely understand why she’s still so admired as an author an artist, and now proudly join the ranks of her fans. The movie Miss Potter starring Renée Zellweger is also heartbreakingly sweet, and I can’t get enough of it. Both film and tales have been a huge source of inspiration for me this year, and I’m so thankful!
And that’s it my friends, those were my top 9 achievements of the year, as well as my favourite literary discoveries! I hope you enjoyed reading my post, and I’d absolutely love to hear from you in the comments. What are you most proud of this year? What inspired you the most? Have you also read some really good books?
I can’t wait to continue sharing my little adventures with you in 2022.
Happy New Year, everyone!