At the start of the year I wrote up my goals for 2018 (note, goals not resolutions. For some reason I feel that I'm setting myself up to fail if I use the word resolution) and seeing as now there's only just over a day left in 2018 I thought it would be a good time to reflect and see what I've achieved.
Let's dive in!
Keep better records
I didn't end up keeping a Makes Book. I don't think it took me too long to forget that I had even thought of keeping a Makes Book, if I'm honest. Maybe I'll give that a go next year. I think it would be a lovely thing to look back on. If you've ever tried something like a Makes Book, please do let me know how it went.
As far as the bookkeeping went, tax time was much easier than last year, but I still have many places I can improve. Luckily I did something this year which has helped me along quite a bit! More on that in the next section.
I didn't end up making something from one of my old books. Ah well, maybe next year.
I did re-thread the overlocker from scratch before it went back to its owner which felt like an achievement. It was not anywhere near as scary as I thought it would be either.
I also did a course that I didn't think I was eligible for; New Business Assistance with NEIS.
NEIS, or New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, is a government run scheme (sounds appropriate for something government run, eh?) that helps new small businesses with training and mentorship. It's an 8 week course, then some financial assistance and mentoring to help you get your business off the ground.
I only got into it because Allan, who did it to start a music based business, spoke to the course coordinator who said I was definitely eligible. It was fantastic! I think it helped that I was in with an lovely group of people and we had an excellent teacher/mentor. It also meant Allan and I got to study together again. Something we hadn't done since we graduated in 2007!
Make more, finish more
I did actually finish that blue dress pictured in the goals post! I also made a fuchsia skirt for a friend's wedding in February. Those two pieces, plus two pairs of pyjama pants (one was adopted by someone else the night I made them) are all I made for myself this year, I think. Not too bad, but it didn't add that much to my wardrobe.
I'm also around 3/4 of the way through a capelet which might be done by the cooler weather next year. Top tip: black wool isn't the best choice of material when you have two cats with white fur!
Mend it and reuse it
I've mended, created some op-shop refashions, and thought of some ways to use scraps (backing fabric for embroideries being one of them). That hasn't stopped my mending pile from looking bigger at this end of the year than it did at the start. I think that's down to other people (I'm looking at you, Allan) adding their clothes to it. Ah well, more to keep me busy over this holiday period.
I still don't have my Etsy shop up and running, nor have I applied for the Castlemaine Artist Market (yet), but I do finally have a direction for Little Grassbird.
I did manage to get to one market this year. Malmsbury Village Fayre was the first time I saw how Little Grassbird 2.0 would go, even though I was mid NEIS course at the time. That's proper market testing, right there!
I did quite well, as it happens. I wasn't expecting to sell much at all, being a new name on the market scene and all, but I did sell a few things. I also had the chance to talk to some lovely people, some of whom signed up for the newsletter!
On the down side, my cute needle felted crocodile disappeared. My little niece was carrying him around one minute, and then next time I saw her he was gone. Mum, who was with my niece at the time, had his eye in a tin (which had fallen out earlier because I hadn't glued it in still). That eye is all I have left of him now. I'll always remember you, little crocodile!
Be more present online
Oh dear, this didn't go anywhere near as smoothly as I had hoped. Although I was more present on here than I was in 2017 I still wasn't anywhere close to my weekly blog posts and more frequent Instagram posts. If you continue reading down a few paragraphs you'll get an idea why.
I'm really hoping to pick up the pace again as of yesterday. On that note, is there anything you'd like to see from me?
This year turned out very differently to how I would have expected. I have a new nephew, and another niece or nephew on the way, I've connected with Arena and helped to bring the amazing show Robot Song to life, I've learnt that I need to start saying 'no' more, I've discovered what I want to do with Little Grassbird, I've made some friends, and I won tickets to the Cat Lovers Show!
On top of all that, the biggest change this year came around August when a family member started spending a lot of time in hospital. During that time I became their carer, which has been a big change in my life. When they aren't in hospital they've been staying between my house and the house of another carer. I'm so glad I can be there for this person, and I'm very lucky that both the person, the other carer, and I have a wonderful support network.
It's been a steep learning curve, balancing work and caring, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Over the next year the person's condition will improve to the point they'll be able to look after themselves again, but until then I'm proud to call myself a small business owner and carer.
Hats off to fellow carers and the people they care for!
Until next time xx
I'm Beth the human behind Little Grassbird. Welcome!