The year that was

I sit at my computer looking out at the sunny afternoon outside and thinking that 2011 is just a few hours from being over. What a year it has been.

I started the year with the harsh realisation that I will now be medicated for the rest of my life on "rat poison" to keep my blood nice and thin thanks to the lovely blood clots that descended last boxing day. This is now all under control thankfully and I appreciate the compliments I have received about how well I dealt with it. Well, its not like I have an incurable disease but it does have its problems later in my life, but I can deal with it as and when it arises. I will be glad that I only have 360 more days left to wear my sexy stocking though!!

A few months later in March I got to do something I had been waiting TWO years to do - hand my notice in at my job as I had finally been offered something else. I can honestly say I hated my previous job. Not the people there, but the job. I felt worthless and like I was stuck in a hole and had no way out despite trying and trying for months on end. I struggled to find something new because although I had the job title, I didnt have the experience necessary to take on the role I applied for. But, I couldnt get that experience where I was because no opportunites were created for me and I couldnt do anything about it. I also grew tired and jaded that I had seen some very friendly colleagues leave because of the way they were treated by a particular member of staff. But my day came in March and I cried. I took the job offer phone call as I was leaving work, and when I got on my train home I sobbed - pure relief that I was free. I had to wait a week to hand in my notice and from that day I didnt feel scared going into work, the thumping heartbeat I would have as I walked through the office door each morning was gone. The day I left I was sad to leave some of my friends, but that was about it.

And so on to April when I started my new job. I dont think it will be a job I have for life, in fact Im already realising that I no longer want to work in London because quite frankly its way too expensive and I feel happier out of the city. But, nevertheless its a new job with new people and new challenges and I need to learn from it as much as I can. I have to say it did provide the best staff Christmas party EVER!

Holidays this year have been special. I took my parents to a lovely little chalet in Norfolk where we had a break for a week and just spent some time together. I did of course find a shop that sells beautiful fabric and look forward to going back when we return in June. I also took myself to Rome, somewhere I have longed to visit since I was 13 and first started to study Latin at school. Five days of walking and walking and feeling in awe at the buildings and ruins and the ice cream...only I could eat 15 icecreams in 5 days.

I turn thirty in 7 months tomorrow and so I have been working hard on my Thirty before Thirty challenge. I have visited exhibitions, visited new places and started to learn new skills. There is still much left of my challenge to go by August 1st but what I have realised is, if it doesnt get done it doesnt matter, but I will have fun trying.

November saw the safe (and early) arrive of my third niece Scarlett who I am dying to meet and snuggle and welcome into our family. I have also had friends have babies and it is so wonderful to see them turn into parents.

I have also grown my business starting out with more craft fairs, securing consignment and wholesale orders with shops both in the UK and the USA and at this moment in time I am planning a total relaunch in March 2012 having been in business for three years - where did that time go?

But, these past few months have been a particular highlight because something very unexpected happened (blushing a little now) - I fell in love. Its funny how these things creep up on you when you least expect them to. March 2010 was a particular low point for me but wow thats done a complete 180 and I couldnt be happier. In my new "friend" I have found someone who is so supportive of what I do to the point he came to my farmers market just four weeks in and is going to help me build my new website, he even was allowed to count inventory and stick labels on card bags! I joke I have "crinkles around the edges" in my quirks, and he accepts them, even my talking in my sleep! And he likes that I bake, and hoover and dance around the kitchen to crazy music! I think this has been the most unexpected, but best highlight of the year.

So what are my hopes for next year? Aside from wishing all of my friends and family a happy and safe celebration tonight, I wish them all the love they could hope for, happiness in bucket loads, warmth and shelter for the year, good health and luck in what ever they will be doing.

When I was a child I use to set resolutions (bed early, lose weight, less chocolate) but this year I see it differently, I have 2 different ways to look at 2012. The first is to pick a word which I hope will sum up my year, mine is ACHIEVEMENT. I picked this because I hope to achieve my goals (see below) along with achieving a slimmer waiseline, my Thirty before Thirty challenge, an improved business and quite honestly, achieving each day with a smile on my face.

So, my "public" goals for the year ahead are this (I do have a few more but they are private):

1) Declutter things I no longer need
2) Improve my fitness
3) Relaunch my business and new website
4) Continue to save towards a home of my own
5) Complete my 30 before 30 Challenge, even if it takes until December

I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2012! - What goals do you have for the year?

Saturday, 31 December 2011 | 1 Comment

Christmas Cards Reduced

If you still have that last minute card to send or wish to stock up early for next year, I have reduced many of the handmade Christmas and holiday cards I currently have available for purchase at Butterfly-Crafts.

Many cards have been reduced by 20-25% so now is a great time to stock up! The packs of christmas cards have also been reduced

If you have that last minute card to send, I can also send your card direct to the recipient with a hand written message, just add the "Card mailing service" to your basket before you checkout.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 | 0 Comments

Thirty before Thirty - EIGHT months to go!

Virtually a month ago I updated the general list of my progress with my thirty before thirty challenge and I am saddened to admit not much progression has happened. This is primarily due to the fact I have been so busy with craft fairs and christmassy things that my challenge has slipped. I promised that I would blog about each item as I completed it and I have a lot of blogs I need to write, I think I will resign myself to focusing on the challenge in the beginning of the new year!

But here is an update nevertheless...

1.Own a sewing machine, - not yet although I’ve dropped hints about it being a 30th birthday present or a moving in present if i am fortunate enough to be a home owner next year

2.Learn to knit socks – Once the Christmas period is over I will pick up my knitting needles again, I maay learn to knit child sizes socks then progress to adults later.

3.Visit Buckingham Palace – Done!!!! I need to blog about it though, but Mum and I had a great time in September.

4.Swim in a lake or stand under a waterfall - I'm thinking this will be the Serpentine in Hyde Park unless someone can come up with another idea?

5.Own a home (the BIG challenge) – there have been developments with this but that's all I'm saying for now.

6.Be debt free except from a mortgage if Num 5 happens – I work on this each and every day.

7.Visit Dickens House – DONE!!! But it was a real disappointment, I will blog about this too.

8.Go to a soap making workshop - DONE!!!! And I'm now selling natural soap through my shop.

9.Learn to hang wall paper –Mum and Dad are talking about redecorating our hall way and stairs at home in the new year.

10.Spend a night on the Norfolk Broads – Sort of DONE!! Just need to blog!

11.Learn to make pastry – Maybe in time for mince pies?

12.Learn the succession of kings and queens from William the Conqueror in 1066 – Um.....

13.Make and wear my own dress – I have an idea to make a dress to wear to dinner on my 30th birthday.

14.Read five books from my bookshelf - One down, four to go!

15.Have a make up lesson – DONE!!! Although I wasn’t all that impressed. I had a free session at Bobbi Brown which was educational and expensive.

16.Do something every day to make me smile – Now I have a new "friend" in my life I am smiling a whole lot more each day.

17.Learn to change a car tyre – I'm still laughing about why I included this!

18.Be able to jog a mile without stopping - with my leg issues this is a BIG thing – Ive been getting back to the gym with my trainer and she is really helping me. I can use the cross trainer for 2 miles but not sure how I would go on the actual road!

19.Go to Rome or Sorrento – DONE!!! and it was AMAZING!!! I need to blog with photos though.

20.Sleep for 6.5+ hours sleep a night consistently – Some nights are good, others are bad, and some are unmentionable.

21.Visit Giant's Causeway – This may not happen now as I potentially will go to NYC in August next year, but I still want to visit Antrim and that area in the future.

22.Have a dinner party - This is the plan for my 30th birthday ideally in my own house.

23.Have Butterfly-Crafts mentioned in a newspaper or magazine – DONE!!!! – coverage of the craft fairs I've organised in the local paper.

24.Sleep under the stars - I am an option in mind for this, watch this space.

25.Live as much of a handmade/homemade/economical life as possible - I am doing this as much as possible, even more so with Christmas approaching.

26.Begin to have the stamina, strength & body shape from pre-leg issues – the gym is definitely helping. I will never be a ‘gym bunny’ but I do feel much better to go after work and at the weekend for a little brain space. I really miss rowing but that’s off limits at the moment, one day though, one day.

27.Watch: Casablanca (done), Dr Zhivago (done - yawn), Gone With the Wind (done), The Philadephia Story (done), A Street Car Named Desire (done - yawn), The Godfather (done) and Citizen Cane (done) so just Goodfellas, Ferri Beulers Day Off and Schindler's List to go.

28.Go to a comedy club – I really want to get this one ticked off soon.

29.Finish my knitted patchwork blanket – Once the mega Christmas Fairs season is over I will pick my needles up again, I'm 8 squares down from a total of 91 plus edging.

30.Visit 15 exhibitions at museums and galleries – Well there was Handmade Tales at The Women’s Library, Afghanistan at The British Museum, Out of this world at the British Library, and Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain and a few others I've currently forgotten!

Friday, 2 December 2011 | 1 Comment