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2015 in Review & 2016 Planning – Creative Side

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2015 creative goals & reflection along with 2016 plans! Swoodsonsays.comOverall

As I review everything that I’ve done this year, both creatively and business-wise, I have to repeat something over and over. “I HAD A BABY!” She is now 10 months old, starting to walk and talk, but adding a second kid into the mix and recovering from birth impacted our lives. Even though I didn’t “take a maternity leave” (as detailed in this post), the time in which I have to work has been incredibly shortened between juggling two kid’s schedules and needs instead of just one. So, I keep reminding myself when I fall into thinking “why didn’t I finish X” or “how did I not get around to doing more of Y”, that our world was (mildly) rocked in early Spring.

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Embroidering with kids


With that being said, I’m excited about what I did from a creative standpoint this year! One of the biggest overarching projects was “Try Something New Every Month”. I thought of the idea in the Fall of 2014 and got super excited, invited other bloggers to join me, and dove in. You can see all the projects I tried, listed out here, but you’ll notice that fewer and fewer other bloggers joined in as the year went on (Rebecca & Kristy stuck it out the whole time though, yay!). I had several readers email and ask how they could participate, but I didn’t have a great answer. Rebecca and I joined forces for another year-long TSNEM 2016 and have a handy link-up so people can join in more easily!


My sewing resolutions for 2015 were simple:

1. To finish all of these 2014 projects listed below (almost nailed this! 2 stragglers).

2. To stop feeling pressure to sew/make something “just because” instead of because I want to. See: Halloween costumes, Christmas pajamas, etc. (not sure I can say I don’t feel pressure, but I am more confident about brushing it off).

3. Stop buying fabric that I don’t 100% love, just because it’s cheap, even if it’s not the right color, when I can’t think of anything to actually use it for. (Done! More now than ever, I realize that my time is what is “worth” the most. Why invest time into a garment sewn with crappy fabric that isn’t going to hold up longer than a week? This has been a big mindset shift for me. I’m still interested in saving money, of course, but my frame of mind has changed).

  • A Sew Liberated carpet bag that was initially a part of this challenge, way back when. I bought fabric that I decided I didn’t like, and then never got back to it.
    • I need to blog about this bag! I wrote a review for Sew Sweetness’ Purse Palooza, and shared a sneak peek on Instagram.
    • See more about this bag, in this blog post!
  • A quilt for my husband using this tutorial from Persia Lou (I “gave” him this for Christmas… 2013!! So, so embarrassing. I am intimidated by quilting, but am working on squaring up the blocks right now!)
  • Duvet cover, curtains, and body pillow covers for my son’s room
    • I finished the curtains but we switched beds and he stopped rolling off, so I “timed out” of needing the other projects haha.
  • This first attempt at cross-stitching (I now know I was using too much thread, after misreading directions!)
  • Two different patterns for Swoodson Says
  • Three projects that were supposed to be Christmas presents for this year but didn’t get done
    • Uhhh I totally forgot what these were, haha! Whoops.
  • 2013 Family Year Book (digital via Mypublisher)
  • 2014 Family Year Book (digital via Mypublisher)

Fabric/Supplies I bought & haven’t used yet


Favorite Creation: The Aztec/Aviator big kid romper mashup! I would say that probably 90% of the time when I’m making something, I find myself ripping a seam or squinting at a fabric cut, trying to make what I envisioned work. Not only do I love how this turned out, it looks exactly like I had hoped and was sewn without any mistakes! All 3 of those things combined are exceptionally rare, making this my favorite sew of the year. Sadly, my son has outgrown it but it will be just as cute on my daughter!

big kid romper

My son’s favorite project: 7 Days of Goo, Tested. No explanation needed here – testing out all these recipes was fun! We are actually STILL using the same cloud dough from this post, many months later, but I need to make some more playdough.

DIY goo recipes,tested

Favorite sponsored/freelance post: Log Slice Pouf for Birch Fabrics. I love this! The embroidered one is my favorite.

log slice pillow diy

Favorite pattern release: Little Photographer Camera. Of all the toys I’ve sewn, this one gets played with the most. It comes outside, it gets played with in the bedrooms. I should print a few more “photos” for the back.

Little Photographer Camera

Favorite round-up: 40+ Ideas for Using Up Knit Scraps. I have done a lot of roundups this year; they generate great traffic and I enjoy making them. I am so keen on giving people ideas to use up scraps, I hate hearing people say they throw them in the trash!


Favorite post written: 100% Handmade, Birth-1 Year. I avoid talking on the phone like the plague, but I wanted to badly to hear Noelle’s story and didn’t think email would suffice! I really enjoyed talking with her and find her goal inspiring.

Entire First Year of Handmade

Phew! I had fun digging back and looking at all the posts from the year.

2016 Plans & Goals

My list of creative plans is way shorter this year! I’m excited about another round of TSNEM and have been brainstorming ideas for the months to come. I do still want to use that darn chenille cutter, I’m on the fence about the metal stamping kit. I have a couple projects that I bought supplies for or made firm plans for last year, so it’s time to own up to those! I definitely want to finish them this year.

  • A new flannel crib sheet for my daughter
  • A front pouch/fanny pack for my Tula toddler carrier (there is a pocket, but when I wear a kid on my back I can’t reach it!)
  • A felt cover for our magnet board
  • A pillow/rest for our mini-ipad (for my husband)
  • A dump truck pillow for my son
  • Our 2015 family year book

I only have two  specific goals; 1. To have all my handmade Christmas presents done by September. I am SICK of stressing about them, there are a ton of blog opportunities around the holidays, and I want to enjoy the holidays more. 2. To design an embroidery pattern! I have enjoyed doing more embroidery and learning more stitches and would like to try my hand at a design.

So, that is looking back at 2015 and forward to 2016 in terms of strictly crafting and creating! I have more thoughts on the “business” side of things, that I’ll be sharing next week so stay tuned!

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Tuesday 26th of January 2016

Thanks for being so open about all this. I've never pursued any kind of money-making activity with my blog, but I'm starting to lean somewhat in that direction. It would be nice to at least cover some of my fabric costs!

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Tuesday 26th of January 2016

I think that is definitely do-able!

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