Saturday, 4 January 2014

2013: A Creative Year

Happy New Year! We are home from our travels again, surrounded by washing and half unpacked bags, catching up with emails and errands. We spent the new year with John's family in Durham - it was really nice, very relaxed. However, I am looking forward to a return to normality next week. This Christmas holiday has been fun but I am ready for routine, order and a lighter, less indulgent approach to life.

Ok, I absolutely promise that this is the last retrospective blog post. But I wanted to review and celebrate last year's creativity before I move on to this year's challenges and projects.

January, February and March:


We have a shoebox bedroom for a mouse (I need to make another of these!), a warm and cosy chunky knitted cowl, some pretty and decorative fabric leaves, a crochet baby blanket for my god-daughter, crocheted coasters, a Valentine's card, a striped cashmerino scarf for Bella, a bag and a bright, geometric cushion.

* * * * * * *

April, May and June:


A quieter few months, as time was taken up with a lot of decorating and gardening, and a large crochet throw. There was another baby blanket, a crocheted snake for Angus, new cushions for Bella's bedroom, fun with spray paint to refresh some picture frames and plant pots and a cotton granny square throw for the sofa. 

* * * * * * *

July, August and September:


The childrens' playhouse got a makeover, there was bunting for Yarndalepicnic napkins for teachers, felt animals, holiday activity bagsfelt ice lollies, a floral crochet garland, a crochet scarf for my niece, and a square crochet garland.

* * * * * * *

October, November and December:


My favourite quarter. I made a cushion  from a vintage sheet, an autumnal embroidery (I very much want to make more for spring, summer and winter and hang them together), a knitted washcloth for me, a pile of crocheted washcloths for gifts, two dolls for my nieces, a pile of Christmas and birthday cards, a beautiful rabbit, a little dog and another doll.

* * * * * * *

Phew. I love making things, I do.

A great deal of those were gifts, either for the children or for friends and wider family. Most were sewn or crocheted, a few were knitted. Almost all were done in my spare time, in the evenings usually. I am very glad I made every single one of them. I feel like 2013 was the year I got to grips with my sewing machine; I still can't do zips, but I can make a doll or four. It was also the year I branched out of my granny square comfort zone with crochet, and that was fun and rewarding too. And knitting...ah yes, me and knitting. I was on the last row of an alpaca cowl last night, a project I've been working on for months, a project that was actually for me, for a change, and I spotted a huge mistake right in the middle. So tomorrow I will pull back the entire thing and start again, because what's the point of finishing it now? I'll never wear it, it will feel like a failure. I want all those hours of knitting to mean something, I want it to be right, and it will be, eventually. 

When I look around me at the skills and achievements of others I know that I am, essentially, a beginner in most of these areas. Well, maybe more like intermediate in my crochet skills, and embroidery and hand sewing I think I have a knack for, but when it comes to knitting and proper machine sewing I know that I still have a long way to go. But it would be dull to be good at everything, what would there be to discover, to learn? Like living on a budget, I think I have a talent for spinning out what skills and materials I do have to make something attractive and meaningful, to make life more jolly and colourful. It's a good skill to have, I think.




54 comments:

  1. It is so lovely to look back over your great makes. What an impressive number! Don't knock your skills, seems like you are making beautiful things to me.

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  2. I think you make beautiful things but I totally agree that it's better to have room to grow, and I know that you will. You have a great eye for color and style, and you always make meaningful things. Even the ones that aren't perfect are meaningful because you took the time to conceive of them, choose the materials and execute your plan. I think you're very skilled in this.

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  3. OLÁ GILLIAN,EU LER EM OUTRO BLOG,QUE O SEU SER MUITO BONITO,EU QUERER CONFERIR E ADOREI O QUE ESTOU VENDO.VOLTAREI SEMPRE PARA VER SUAS NOVIDADES.FELIZ ANO NOVO.BEIJO EM SEU CORAÇÃO.VALÉRIA.(BRASIL).

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  4. Goodness, everything you made is so beautiful. I want to pin this post and replicate everything!! This year I'm taking up crochet seriously. You've inspired me xxx

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  5. When you group all your makes together they are especially colorful and amazing...beautiful works of
    love :) I hope you feel chuffed! Even though I am in an different season of life than you, I have not given up learning new skills and I applaud you for diving into so many creative pursuits. You inspire me too, Gillian! xx

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  6. Hi Gillian, I do believe you had a very, very creative year. I love your blog and all your creation and I do believe you have a reactive mind which makes you not a beginner but a maker ... A maker of beautiful things which is what life is all about. Your talent is written on your artistic projects and it's a pleasure to come to your blog to see each and everyone of them. I'm looking forward to another great, creative year.

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  7. What a productive and creative year you have had.... 'no mean achievement'. Here's to 2014! xx

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  8. Gillian your makes are gorgeous....I've been sewing for years and still avoid zips.... oh and don't get me started on button holes!!! You are so creative and I hope that you are very proud of what you have achieved. I look forward to reading all your posts, they make me smile, so thank you for that! Sarah xo

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  9. What a wonderful year of achievement. You crochet is amazing and love all the toys. The embroidery is one of my favourites, all the seasons would look great. Happy new year. Xxx

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  10. An impressive number of makes - especially as you have two young children. I love the cheerful colours you use. As I've said before, your sewing projects are great. Maybe I'll try some seeing this year. Xx

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  11. Oh my, you have been busy, haven't you? I think they all look wonderful and I'm sure the lucky recipients feel exactly the same. Good luck with the alpaca cowl. I know just how you feel about that mistake. I'd have unraveled it too. I hope there'll be a photo of it when it's finished.

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  12. you have been so creative - your makes are just beautiful. Here's to many more in 2014. I can't wait to see the shawl!

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  13. Beautiful, beautiful makes....love the variety of colours and crafts! It's funny how you say you are a beginner as you inspire me so much to be....'as good as Gillian'! Happy crafty, colourful and creative 2014! :) xxx

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  14. You have been productive! Looking forward to seeing what you create this year. Thank you for sharing your makes with us Gillian.

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  15. Hello Gillian
    Such a lovely post and so rewarding to look back at all you have done, don't you think ?
    Here's to lots more crafting in 2014 !
    Kate x

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  16. You really have had a very productive and lovely crafting year Gillian. Some wonderful makes, making the best of what you have, which is as you say a great skill. I look forward to seeing what this year brings for you. xx

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  17. I love all your makes and recognise lots f them through reading your lovely blog this year. Like you, I'm opting for a simpler life ... Hopefully it won't just be a 'January' thing for me, but one I want to embrace for life! Looking forward to hearing how you get on

    Love Claire xxx

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  18. What a lovely trip through your creative year and what a gorgeous array of makes. Is the pattern you've used for the dolls the one from Mollie Makes? I've been wanting to try it but not yet gathered the courage, but yours are beautiful and inspiring me to give it a go.
    Here's to another fabulous crafting year ahead!
    Xx

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    Replies
    1. Hi Gilly - yes, they are from issue 14 from Mollie Makes. x

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  19. Brilliant. I have a pile of those vintage sheets in my airing cupboard. They belonged to my Mum and I want to make one thing with them but can't bear to take the scissors to them.
    Your crafty makes are brilliant x

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  20. Hi Gillian,
    I always find your posts colourful, inspiring and a joy to read, I can't believe how many lovely things you've made in 2013! Looking forward to seeing what you make this year :)
    Caroline x x x

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  21. Those washcloths are beautiful. Do you sell them?

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    1. Hi Olivia. Thank you, and sorry it's taken me so long to get round to your question! No, I don't sell them but I can assure you that I have not been crocheting long at all and they are a very easy pattern.
      Gillian x

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  22. Wow what incredible achievements Gillian, I absolutely adore your dolls, doggy and bunny the best. You certainly know how to make the most of your skills and yes I definitely agree about challenging ourselves on all those skills we still have to learn. My knitting stepped up a notch to lace! This past year, very basic but I got there in the end. I hope you still get pleasure out of frogging and re knitting your scarf x enjoy your new week of routine again xox Penny

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  23. Gillian I just love your blog and all of your beautiful things you make. You are giving me lots of little ideas of my own xx

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  24. Wow, so many beautiful things you have made :). Like you I have much to learn but it makes it more interesting doesn't it?

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  25. Such a lovely post with so many beautiful things. You're so creative and I love your attitude to keeping working at developing skills. I can't wait to see all your 2014 makes! x

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  26. You certainly made some lovely things. 2014 is the year of the sewing machine in this house. Sitting proudly beside me as I type, as a christmas gift from hubby which has yet to make a single stitch.
    But that is to change this afternoon……! Happy new year.

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  27. Wow you have been a busy bee and doesn't it all look lovely laid out in those little squares of colour. You are such an inspiration, your blog is one of my faves to follow. So looking forward to seeing what you get up to this year. mel x

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  28. What a wonderful productive year you've had, love seeing what you've made :) xx

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  29. I've absolutely loved find and reading your blog this year and taken so much inspiration from your ideas and talents. I like the fact you try different crafts and mix them up, and I developed my washcloth envy from your delicious projects. Your colourwork with the lovely white contrasts is just gorgeous and I look forward to another good year reading what you've been up to.

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  30. Hello, Beautiful blog, I am your new follower, Happy New Year, xx

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  31. Gorgeous things! You've inspired me to get making. And it's the perfect time of year to get started :)
    Sarah x

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  32. A very productive year.
    You home must look so colourful with all your makes and there must have been some happy people who were lucky recipients of your gifts.
    Lisa x

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  33. A very creative year indeed! Everything you have made is so lovely. I am really looking forward to seeing what lovely makes you come up with in 2014.
    Marianne xx

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  34. Dear Gillian, in my last post I made a version of your Christmas Jars, and has been a great success. Thank you very much and Happy 2014 ♥♥

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  35. Happy New Year!! Oooh I love all your makes - so pretty xxx Looking forward to your makes and posts in 2014 xxx

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  36. A beautiful post Gillian. Isn't it amazing to see all your gorgeous things in one post? I would love to learn embroidery this year, your little frame with the autumn scene is so lovely, it makes me want to make one, too. I hope you don't mind me asking, how do you make your photo collages? Cx

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    1. Hello. I use picmonkey, a free online photo editing website. You just upload the photos you want to use then play around with the different collage templates they give you, or make your own. It's very easy! x

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  37. Lovely to see all your creativity together, the snake is my absolute favourite. Cant wait to get back to normal life too, not sure the men in my family feel the same, work, school just isnt so appealing. xx

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  38. So lovely to see all your gorgeous creations in one place ... you must be delighted with yourself ... and just think of all the joy they have brought to the recipients ... handmade is definitely the way to go ... wishing you a lovely weekend ... Bee xx

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  39. What a wonderful collection of creativity, such a gorgeous collection of handmade.
    Have a look at this http://strawberry-chic.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/diy-tuesday-throw-pillow-with-zipper.html
    It's a really straight forward way to put a zip in a cushion so is great for building confidence,have a super creative 2014!

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  40. I'm loving everyone's mosaics and you are definitely no beginner in the world of craft. We all like to do different things and try new ones, so just go with the flow. Blogs are there for INSPIRATION, not showing how clever other people are, but what we can all achieve if we want to. Take care.

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  41. such wonderful things, lovely to have such beautiful results from your efforts, such a great use of free time. As someone who wouldn't know where to start with any of those (except perhaps the plant pots, I might just be able to manage that) you appear far more advanced than you give yourself credit for!

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  42. You've had a wonderful year of cafting, so many beautiful projects. I look forward to seeing what you're you're up to this year. Happy crafting! x

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  43. How I love visiting your positive, inspirational blog. And how lovely to see all the things you have made, all set out together. Quite impressive! I'm a beginner with the crafty, yarny, fabricy things, and I need to push myself a little more I think. Usually by the evening my creative energy is a bit low though, so I stick to easy repetitive things. I loved this post, and I found it very inspiring. Thank you.

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  44. You've had a creative year indeed! Such lovely crafty makes-I'd be proud to have made all of them too!
    I'm still scared of zips too and it's only lately that I've started to 'understand' my sewing machine. I think I'd do the same too if I'd found an error in an item I'm knitting. Very frustraring but you'll be happier with the finished result.
    Have a great weekend!
    Marion x

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  45. What a creative year! So many lovely things. Glad to hear you enjoyed a happy new year.
    Wishing you a lovely new year to you and your family and more creating xx

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  46. I loved looking through your photos of last year, the felt animals are definitely my favourites, the fox is so cute!

    If you're interested in learning to sew zips I'd recommend starting with something easy like cushions. There are some great tutorials online, and if you make a mistake it's only on the bottom of a cushion & no one will see it :p

    Good luck with your alpaca cowl, it will definitely be worth the effort even if you have to restart :)

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  47. Beautiful makes all of them. I feel your pain. I just reached the penultimate row if my huge blanket and had to rip out a load. I'm sulking with it for a whole but I will pick it up magazine soon!

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  48. You made so many beautiful projects last year! "Aargh" for the knitting - what a pest!! You'll feel much better once it's redone.

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  49. Wow, an awesome number of creative makes- I'm very envious of your capabilities- Best wishes for 2014

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  50. You're doing your skill set down missus ... accomplished home maker/thrifty type/cook/crafter, and last but not least, blogger! And what an amazingly productive year ... go you!!!

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  51. so many lovely things! the dolls, the rabbit and the dog are really quite exceptional! you must be very happy looking at these X

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