Crafty Resolutions

As we approach December 31, we take stock, judge our past 12 months, and resolve to create a new and better life in the coming year. It's normal to want to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, with promises of increased willpower and optimism. Of course, for those of us who ever purchased a gym membership in January and stopped going by March, we know that these resolutions are, at best, wishful thinking.

A very wise friend and mentor recently said that resolutions "set us up for failure and feeling sh**ty about ourselves. The resolutions people make are usually about fixing themselves and their lives, based on “there is something wrong here” or even worse, “there is something wrong with me.”

[Editorial tangent: if you're interested in doing something more productive than just making resolutions, I invite you to visit his blog post entitled "Looking Back, Looking Forward" which is a three-part exercise developed to help you create closure for this year and plan for the next.]

So, since I'm working on developing deliberate and authentic goals for next year, I figured it might be a good idea to apply this thinking to my crafting. There are a lot of things I'd like to to with my knitting/sewing/upholstery/etc but I need to be realistic about what I can accomplish while still stretching myself a bit. With this in mind, here are a few crafty goals for 2011:

There's an app for that.
1. More sewing. Being forced to sew as part of my upholstery class has given me new-found confidence with the medium. I've always said that I only sew squares (duvet covers, curtains, pillow covers, etc.) but, in 2010, I had to sew the more complicated seat cushion for my wing-back chair and I participated in the "charity craft day" during which I sewed simple girls dresses. As a result, I feel like it's time to branch out a bit and try to make something that requires more than just a straight stitch. The sewing machine is set up. Now I just need to pick a project to run with. Suggestions would be appreciated.

Cassandra rocks the cables
2. Knitting cables. Similar to my sewing prowess, my knitting skillz are not "mad." After nearly 9 years of knitting (off and on) I haven't progressed past beginning-intermediate. I try, with each project, to push myself a bit but my lack of confidence has kept me at "using techniques I already know - just in new and different ways." I need to make myself learn some new techniques. In 2011, I vow to learn cables. Cassandra (who started knitting on the same day as me and FAR surpassed me years ago) knits cables like they're nothing and creates the most gorgeous patterns. I'm intent on conquering my fear and adding this skill to my repertoire.

Cassandra rocks embroidery
3. Learning to embroider. As you may have noticed, Cassandra's a pretty good embroiderer (see: Tuesday's blog post as well has her Bert and Ernie pillows) and, again, I have skill envy. So, I'm going to use the awesome book that we reviewed a couple of months ago, and pick an embroidery pattern to apply to whatever sewing project I end up doing. See what I did there? Combined two goals. We call that efficiency, baby.

The chair that started it all.
4. Finish upholstering stuff. I originally took the upholstery class because I didn't want to pay someone to recover a particular chair. I'm now working on chair number three. If I do it correctly, I can have every upholstered chair in my house redone by December 2011. Once this happens, I have no more projects and I have no space for new furniture. This is a bittersweet thought. I love my upholstery class but there's no reason for me to keep taking it unless I want to try to be an upholsterer for a living - or I want to buy a bigger house. Seems like overkill just to keep taking a class. So my goal is to finish what I've got by the end of fall semester 2011. *sad face*

5. Open myself up to new inspiration. 2010 was a great craft year for me. Starting this blog and partnering with my old friend, Cassandra, has kept me firmly involved in what's going on in the craft world. In 2011, I'd like to expand on the work we've done, discover new crafters (via blogs, podcasts, books, etc), learn new skills, and generally become better at my hobbies (or add new ones.) I think it's important that we stay fresh and inspired - and it's a goal I'm committed to.

I hope that 2011 brings all of you health, happiness, and success in whatever goal(s) you set for yourself. Just remember, don't make resolutions that make you feel shitty about yourself. Set goals that, when you reach them, allow you to celebrate how awesome you are.

Happy New Year, friends.

- Alex


  1. You are a crafting menace, and I love it! Yeay you! Yeay also for not buying into the gym membership resolution nonsense. YEAY all around! Can't wait to see what you make next (and yes, I'm stupid jealous of your cabling!).

  2. put the smartphone down! you're gonna pinch your finger in the sewing machine :P

  3. @Maigh Thanks for being my personal cheerleader! xoxo

    @Terrence You know I can't do that, right? If I could have the phone grafted onto my head and use it like a bluetooth headset, I probably would. Ha!!

  4. Bravo for taking and loving upholstery class. I have students in my classes that are on their 3rd and 4th sessions. Besides the furniture, they love getting together and talking while working on stuff. It's very odd how people will start talking while working with their hands. I love to watch the phenomenon. Can't wait to see your finished chair. (BTW-I teach DIY Upholstery)
    Shelly Leer

  5. @Shelly Thank you for the kind words! I just love the class - both for the handwork and the friendships I've made. I'll miss it when I'm done. You can see some of the work I did in my previous blog post titled "Cover Me."