It’s “that time” again. Time to round up the top projects and tutorials of the previous year. This year all of them were sewing projects, which makes me very happy! Curious to see what made the list? Just keep scrolling down to see the Top 10 Sewing Projects of 2017. If you’re curious about years past, you can see the top 16 from 2016 HERE and the top 15 of 2015 HERE.
I always love to look back and see what projects y’all loved best during the previous year. I delve into my google analytics to see what kinds of projects did well, and which ones didn’t do so well. There is almost always a surprise in the bunch. There are also quite a few surprises during the year too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted a project that I thought would be well received only to have it go over like a lead balloon. I’ve also had the flip side of that happen. I project that I second guess myself and contemplate not even posting, only to have it go gangbusters.
The one thing that I’ve learned in almost 10 years of blogging (yes, you read that right 10 years, I started in 2008). Is that you NEVER know what to expect when it comes to blogging. You also can never “relax” because just as you think you’ve got one thing figured out, it changes. Usually for the worst (hello Instagram, I’m looking at you and your dumb algorithms).
I think it’s healthy to sit and look back at the year before and take an honest accounting of what you’ve done and not done. It helps you to stay motivated to work going forward and can even refocus your priorities when needed.
I will say that I think if you’re going to look back to do so cautiously and objectively. I think at times it’s too easy to focus on the bad going on. The things we “didn’t do”, the resolutions that dissipated and the accomplishments of others that make us feel like we’ve come up short. Don’t get me wrong, you need to look at the bad with the good, but make sure you don’t overemphasize the bad while you’re doing that.
I also recognize that you can read posts like this from myself and others and get the feeling that we think we are “all that”. Let me tell you no one I know in this industry thinks that. It’s hard to have a presence in the “web” and a voice and a platform. There is the constant pressure to not make yourself out to be more than you are. To present an honest look at yourself. There is also the pressure to not fill up peoples social media feeds with complaining and negativity. I know that when I get the flu, or my teenagers do something stupid, that no one wants to read about that (or at least they don’t want to read about it a lot). Personally, I have chosen to put out good into the “internet world”. That’s part of why I think I work so hard. The internet desperately needs “good” things. Fun things to read on Facebook, simple projects to ignite creativity, and inspiring images to make people WANT to create something. And yes, even pictures of dogs and babies that make us smile.
So with that in mind, and looking to the good, here is my GOOD from 2017, blogging version. I’ve gone through and pulled up my top 10 posts that were posted during 2017. In the spirit of looking back, I’ve also listed out 5 things I did right in 2017, 5 things I could have done better, and 5 things I want to work on in 2018.
Top 10 Sewing Projects of 2017
8. Cricut Maker Review and FAQ’s.
5 Things I did Right in 2017
1- Put myself out there and traveled to more events including 2 Quilt Markets.
I think one of the biggest things I did right in 2017, was to put myself “out there” more. It can be scary to exhibit at Quilt Market. You’re “on display”, your art is on display, your ideas, and your projects. You stand there and hope that people will respond to your stuff and want to carry your fabrics and patterns in their stores. I’ve always been hesitant to do that before. I was hesitant to print my patterns, travel, and exhibit. I didn’t think I was one of the “cool kids” and should just keep to myself. In 2017 I finally just started doing it anyway. The whole “cool kids” thing is just a farce. Some of the most influential and respected people I know are not ones that you’d expect. Overall I’m glad Id id it. It was a financial investment, and only time will tell if it has paid off as far as business bottom lines go.
2- Improved Photography Skills & Styling
I started out in January of 2017 by taking an online photography and styling class (this one). I’ve spent most of the year really working to make sure my photos and projects were steadily improving. Even though I still shed many tears over photos, I’m happy to say that I’ve been impressed with the progress I’ve made. I’m taking a photo class at QuiltCon this year and am hoping to add to my skills even more.
3- Organized and streamlined many of my blog tasks
It has taken me almost 10 years of blogging to realize that some things have to be done all. the. time. And some of them are boring. I’ve managed in 2017 to streamline a lot of my blogging tasks. I usually schedule social media on Mondays, work on blog posts on Tuesdays and sew on Wednesdays & Thursdays. Fridays I try to take “off” but usually end up as computer days. Having “computer days” and “sewing or creating days” has really helped me to accomplish more.
There is also a lot of “behind the scenes” stuff that goes on. New fabric lines, new patterns, new projects. Sometimes I work on those things years in advance. So there is a lot you don’t see, which makes having those schedules even more important.
4- Redesigned site, improved printable downloads, user experience etc.
In November I did a minor site “facelift”. It was minor but I think it made the site easier for you guys to read. I spend hours each week working on the site. I move ads around, start some ads, cancel others. I redo the printables, I redo how you get the printables. I answer emails, I answer questions. I go back and edit old posts to make the instructions more clear. There’s a lot that goes on, and I think this year the site has really become quite user-friendly.
5- Worked it all like a business
I kind of alluded to this one in #3, but this is a business and in 2017 I treated it, even more, like that than before. With that comes a lot of downsides. Commitments that I have to say “no” to, and projects that I have to turn down. I’ve gotten better at realizing my worth as a blogger and have been better at standing up for myself and being more selective with the companies and people that I work with. I’ve also been better at keeping a “work schedule”. Most of my friends work outside of their homes, they can’t do things at times because they are at work. Even though I work from home, I look at myself in exactly the same way.
5 Things I could have done better in 2017
1- Finishing projects I started
It kills me to say it but I had SO MANY more projects planned for 2017 that actually got done. So many times urgent deadlines came up and it threw off my schedule. I’m not the best at adjusting when things get thrown out of wack and a lot of projects fell by the wayside. The good side of this I guess is that I have many projects already started for 2018!
2- Worked farther ahead in blogging
I have many blogging friends that TODAY have a month’s worth of blog post written and ready to go. When I started I was always 1-2 weeks ahead. Now I find myself sometimes writing and publishing the same day. I could have done better at planning ahead.
3-Email – oh google inbox you’ll be the death of me.
If I didn’t answer your email in 2017, I’m sorry. I get so many you have no idea. It’s definitely something I could have done better in 2017.
4- Varied content more
In 2017, things got very sewing focused here. I think it’s because I’m working on designing fabric and creating ideas for you to sew with the fabric at the same time. This site has always had a mix of sewing, crafts, travel, food, and family. While everyone tells me it’s GOOD to be more focused, I still want the site to be varied. I think it’s because we are all so ‘niche’ now. I think “I can’t post that top I stitched up, I’m not a fashion blogger”. Or, “I love this cookie recipe of my grandma’s, but I’m not a food blogger”. I need to stop worrying about that kind of stuff. Plus blogging about my home keeps me working on things. It gives me a great deadline to get rooms painted, and closets purged!
5- More consistent with everything overall.
Consistency continues to be my Achilles heel. I think that’s pretty common among people in creative fields. It’s something I struggle with it both in blogging and in life. I start and stop things. I struggle with exercise, I struggle with my teenagers, I struggle with my jobs at church. I struggle with posting photos of projects and remembering to go back and share a tutorial for said project. It’s my Achilles heel, but I’m not ready to let it “do me in yet”. In 2018, I’m going to keep fighting for more consistency.
5 Things I want to improve in 2018
1- More consistency in content projects
This year for the site I want to have more consistency with projects. For example, 1 sewing tutorial, 1 quilting tutorial, a useful roundup post, and a personal post every month. Or something like that. Simple things like that that give you guys an idea of what to expect for myself and the site. I don’t want to bee too predictable though, I’m always looking for ways to surprise you guys too. I actually have a “surprise” to share with you guys in the next week or two that has a lot to do with this goal!
2- Better and planned out work schedule
I alluded to it earlier, but I do have a work schedule. In 2018 I’d like to stay close to it. I’d also like to refine it a bit by adding days for yoga classes, time with friends and time to work on new fabric designs and patterns.
3- Push myself creatively even more with projects, patterns, and fabric design
When it comes to fabric design, I still have a lot to learn. Many times I’ll have an idea for a line but realize I don’t have the skills to bring it to reality. I want to keep working to stretch myself creatively. Improve my illustration skills, my color perception and my knowledge of the computer programs I need to create.
4- Build more relationships with business peers and readers
Meeting amazing people has always been one of my favorite parts of blogging. I’m naturally shy and don’t do well in large crowds. The fact that I’ve exhibited at Quilt Market is a huge deal for me. So many people I don’t know! This year I’d like to do better at saying “hi” and reaching out to get to know those around me.
5- Put more of myself on this site
I stopped sewing for myself last year. I love to make clothing and I want to make more of it this year. I just don’t like trying to photograph myself wearing the clothing (see so many stresses when it comes to pictures). This year I’ve decided to sew more for myself and devise a simple way to photograph the projects.
Well, that was a novel LOL!! I think it’s nice every once and while to break things up a bit from tutorials and share a bit of what goes on “behind” the scenes here.
Wishing all of you a healthy and safe 2018!