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When thinking about the year just gone there have been a number of things that I haven't done...such as sticking to my blog plan or posting on Instagram everyday...which is one of the reasons that I haven't driven as much traffic to my website as I wanted to...or not got above 975 Instagram followers. What this has taught me is that people like consistency, structure and to some extents predictability...however that can't always be me!! (Sometimes ... no quite often I get caught up in the carving and the printing and forget about the 40% of the time that we all need to be spending on social media and websites!!).

I can sit and berate myself all day with the thoughts that I haven't worked hard enough at my small business and has not turned a profit fact I have eaten into our family savings!! (I do know that this will not be uncommon with so many small I consider myself in good company).

As I write this I am struggling with my self confidence and my engagement with social media ...I feel that I watch and scroll from the sidelines. So I am a scroller who constantly compares my work to others and have had the serious thought that perhaps I should throw it all in as my work doesn't sell at the same rate as others.

I am not writing this for sympathy ... I am writing this to share my thoughts and hope that I can offer some comfort to others so they don't feel they are alone...but also I am not alone.

On 23rd December my studio opened for the first time and I stood back and looked at all the 'stuff' that I had created during 2018 ...and I was pleased and amazed with myself that it had all happened without a clear plan at the start of the year. I looked at the pile of lino blocks I had carved and printed and I did then think about how many hours I had spent doing it and what else I could have done...the honest answer is that I don't know. Printing for me is akin to having my children as I actually can't remember a life before it and I can't imagine life without it. I know that I am now at the stage where I can see what did fill my time before was filled with giving energy to people who were limited to give anything back. I am really grateful to my creativity because it has actually given me an alternative focus and saved me from collapse. With lino printing and creating you see results of all the efforts that you put in...unlike other people in life.

However I wonder whether if it would be too dramatic to say that printing changed my life or rather saved my sanity? I ask you this ...What has changed your life or saved your sanity? What continues to do this?

So this year I have accomplished:

  1. Learning how to use the basics of photoshop
  2. Spoken to companies and worked with them to begin to create ranges of printed products, (this for me is really brave as I am painfully shy!)
  3. Designed and made bone china mugs
  4. Designed tea towels, aprons and washbags
  5. Created a range of notebooks
  6. Designed and had made calendars...not the most successful!
  7. My branding...I am my brand!
  8. Establishing collaborations
  9. Studio...built it and moved in.
  10. Courses set up and some bookings taken for 2019
  11. Telling more people about what I do and working towards doing my day job less
  12. Successful selection for open studios
  13. British Craft Trade Fair - standing at in April 2019- Harrogate.
  14. Clarity of collections...I have all this stuff but I need to promote it and get it out there!!
  15. Website
  16. I have created 3 exhibition pieces #happinessineveryday 1/2/3

I am lucky to have an amazing Dominic...aka my husband of nearly 17 years ...and 2 fabulous children, who all support me fully and without them all of these things 2018 wouldn't have been possible. My life isn't perfect and contains lots of challenges that throw curve balls but it is the way it is.

I am also lucky to have me and my ideas that are constantly filling my much lino to carve and so little time!

Typically I hate New Year and all the things that it expects from us as it really is another day! But we just need to take this opportunity to reflect and make plans that are aspirational but allow us to take care of ourselves. I took the leap in November and bought the Dream Plan Do Planner from The Design Trust .

It has enabled me to plan systematically what I want to do with my business this year but also , which I didn't expect, time and focus allocated to friendships...which I know I have neglected. I somehow need something to tell me that it is ok to have down time.

So this year I am focusing on:

  1. Social media
  2. Website
  3. Developing collections
  4. Creating wallpapers and fabrics...launching in Spring 2019
  5. Fostering collaborations
  6. ...maybe get into some shops...fingers crossed!!

Happy New Year and here is to learning and loving!