Saturday, 26 December 2015

Look back on 2015

2015 was a pretty epic year!  There was a lot of change, and a lot achieved.  The biggest change of all was taking on a business partner after 5+ years of running The Sewing Directory alone.  Former Sewing World editor Julie Briggs joined in April and from that point on I was able to work part time and suddenly had time free for other things!

Most of those other things consisted of sewing!  One of the things I'm most proud of is making my Tula Pink sampler quilt (top right), it took forever (about 4 months) but I do love it.  I've also done several Instagram swaps (the pouches are for one of them).  I've made lots of stuff for my son, and even some things for me.  Next year I'm going to try and make more for friends and family if I have time, I also still have lots of I want to make for myself too.

One thing I wanted to get into this year was bag making and as you'll see above I've managed to make a few but there's several more on my to do list.  I also got hooked on making 1 hr baskets and owl sewing buddies, I'm sure there will be more of them in my future.

Something I want to conquer next year is free motion embroidery.  I had a go at teaching myself over Christmas and this was my second picture (above), not too bad for a beginner I reckon but I want to get in lots more practice and improve.

One other thing I did a lot of with my new free time was reading!  I was aiming for a book a week, 52 books in total.  I hit that by the summer and I've now just finished book 134!  I should be around 136 by the end of the year.

Plus not only did I read a lot but I also wrote a lot, I started my second book in November and I'm 70,000 words in now!  My new book is not a craft or business book like my last one, it's fiction, a thriller.  I don't have a publisher for it at the moment so no idea whether it will ever make it into print but I'm enjoying the process plus it's even got sewing in it!

Speaking of my other book, Craft a Creative Business, it got published in the USA and many other countries in early 2015.  Plus it went to a second print run early this year!  It's kind of surreal to think that people all around the world are reading my book, Japan, India, Australia, Canada, all over the place!  Plus despite being on sale in the UK for over a year now it's still in the top 20 of the starting a business chart on Amazon, sometimes even top 10.

I don't know how many copies have sold yet, I only get a statement once a year but I should find out next month :)
The other thing I'm really proud of this year is how much we have achieved with The Sewing Directory.  Having an extra pair of hands working on the site has made a huge difference, we've gone through and revamped tons of older content and added huge amounts of new projects, features and techniques. 

We're up to almost 100,000 visitors a month and have some brilliant things lined up for 2016.  Plus if you haven't seen it yet we have a fab Christmas giveaway running with Weaver Dee, you can win a new sewing machine plus a leather sewing case.  Details here.

So how did your 2015 go?  What have you got planned for 2016?  Any projects in mind, new skills you want to learn?

Hope you all have a fabulous 2016!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Donate unwanted quilt blocks to charity

Do you ever make a quilt and find you have a few blocks left over?  Those that weren't quite the right size, or didn't quite match colour wise?  Or do you have a mountain of scraps that need using?

If so you could help donate quilt blocks to charity, to be used to make quilts for children in Great Ormond Street Hospital and Boston's Children Hospital.

The campaign is called Donate a Block 2, you can get more information about it here.  
It's also the link you need if you want to take part, fill in your details and let them know how many blocks you can send.  Even just one is a help.

They have 2 phases of donations, the first one ends 31st December, so the sooner you can send the better.  The second one ends 31st January so if you don't have chance to do it before Christmas you could do it after.

I had some blocks left over from my Tula Pink quilt which I was planning to donate, but of course I couldn't find them anywhere when I looked for them!  So Instead I decided to make some blocks using some scraps and fabric samples I had.  I went for fairly simple designs so I could make as many as I could.  In the end I managed 14, most are pictured above, many made with Makower fabrics. 

I'm hoping I might get time to make some more after Christmas.  It was quite an enjoyable experience just making it up as I went along and not having to worry about following a pattern or making them match.

If you'd like to find out more click here. 

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