Happy new year everyone, I hope it’s a good one for you!

Firstly I have a little gift for you, and then we’ll get on with the planning, but this could help you with that…

I had a little fun in my photo studio yesterday, using one of my Christmas pressies (the desk, which you can’t see much of here, but will feature more in the future), and some of the props I amassed with great intentions last year before I fell into the black hole that subsumed the rest of the year.  You can use it on anything you wish, just right click and save as (or whatever the Mac equivalent is), but it’s sized as a screensaver in widescreen format.

I thought I’d do a little round up for you of ways you can plan your new year from a sewing point of view.

1. Obviously, the first option is the Finish Along, which will be continuing with Adrianne as host, starting next week:

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2. If you like the idea of some challenges in smaller bites, consider A Year Of Lovely Finishes monthly link up with Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs and Shanna from Fibre Of All Sorts.  For this challenge you don’t have to have a completed project at the end of the month, but to have finished whatever you challenged yourself to do at the start, such as finish piecing a top, or quilting a languishing WIP.  There are prizes each month too!

3. It’s that time of the year again when everyone looks at their stash and goes ‘Eeek!’, so perhaps you’d like to join in with the Sew My Stash challenge over on IG with @projectLeasa and go on a fibre diet:

4. Or perhaps you’d like some sewing motivation to get you past your ‘get healthy’ goal with #sweatnsew on IG, run by Becky @sarcasticquilter where there’s a random draw for a sewing prize each month for the participants.  There’s no snazzy logo for this that I could locate easily, so just imagine, okay?

And now I’m going to confess…  I won’t be doing a single one of the first 3, and I’m not really promising anything on #4 either, because this year I’m getting off the hamster wheel both work and creativity-wise, especially creativity-wise.

This year at the day job I pledge to work my contracted hours and no more, to take my lunch hours for an actual hour, and in fact leave my desk for them too, and that I will say ‘No’ much more often.

I will try and look after myself though, I have a diet and exercise plan to try and combat the 4 stone I put on in the last 2 years at the day job.  Yes, I realise how insane that is to have done that, stress eating and a lack of time to cook is not a happy combo!  So I might #sweatnsew if the photos won’t put people off their dinner.

Creativity wise, I’m not going to hamstring myself with promises.  I have issues that mean that if I sign up for finishing things I will feel incredibly guilty if I don’t finish at least one of them.  I have realised that I don’t need the extra stress of deadlines whereby the world will not end if I don’t meet them, and there is no-one trying to pay me, or swap something with me.  I will continue to create patterns for Quilt Now and occasionally Love Sewing, and I have signed up for a couple of swaps with the idea that all of these will push me creatively.

If any of the rest of you are feeling like you want to explore things more creatively this year, may I suggest you check out the series this last week on Carrie of Such Design’s site on creating vision boards.  The first post is here:

I’ve been reading some books on creativity in the last few weeks, and I’ve decided it’s time to play.  I have started by taking swatches of all my bag making fabrics and popping them in a notebook.  Yes, I did have to take a few deep breaths before cutting into some of them, but I reasoned that a square inch or two would not kill me, and there is no pattern I have ever written that has used every single piece of fabric in a metre cut or more!

My next step will be to repurpose one of my cork boards as my vision board, and I look forward to playing with that this week, wherever it may take me :o)

So happy new year to all, I hope you have a great 2015 and achieve all you creatively desire.