New Year's Resolutions: Finishing Unfinished Projects in the Studio #konmari

I am one of those people that make resolutions and keep them. The key for me is choosing something that will sustain me. No fad diets or crazy notions, like giving up on coffee. I choose something achievable.

In 2015, I was motivated by D who was sick of waking up to a grumpy bear and so I vowed to become a morning person. I started by meeting my friend, Mary, one of those natural morning people, for a run before work at 6am. It was horrible, but I did it because guilt is stronger than circadian rhythm and I couldn't bear the thought of sleeping through my alarm clock and leaving her outside waiting for me. As winter fell, we found ourselves running in the dark through snow drifts and freezing our butts off. We were miserable. The end of our run often took us past the local gym, where inside they were wearing shorts and working out to top 40. The rest is history. Two years later we still meet at that gym and I have found other friends (who are also neighbours) and there are enough of us going that you know someone will be there, expecting you.

I haven't read Marie Kondo's book, but a lot of friends are doing the Konmari method and it is changing their lives. I am really good at getting rid of stuff that doesn't bring me joy (500 square feet for three people and a cat will do that to you), but what about the stuff that does make me happy? What am I supposed to do with it?! 2016's solution was upcycling and reuse...

2016, I had just had Heidi and was on maternity leave, spending long winter days cooped up in our tiny bungalow forced to confront the mounds of art and craft supplies sprinkled throughout the house and jammed into in my studio and spending way too much time on Pinterest.  I vowed to make 2016 the year of unfinished projects. I didn't buy one thing for a new project and instead slowly worked through what I had. I began by cleaning the studio and donating a lot of stuff that I didn't even really like (so much fabric!) and was never going to use again (craft sale display, anyone?)  I have a renewed love for sewing and knitting and although I didn't do much painting, I feel the desire to paint again, a feeling I haven't had since before I got pregnant. One thing is for sure, I don't think there will be any more quilts in my future. Kudos to you with the patience for all that piece work and kudos to D's Mom, who helped me bind mine. First, a look at what I accomplished this year:


 So many single skeins of yarn to use up. Thankfully baby clothes are small. So many toques and sweaters were made for my kid and every kid we know....

(Finally used those cute wooden cat buttons too!)

I had been hoarding this adorable pattern for felted bunny slippers. I put an old Merino sweater destined for the landfill through the drier a bunch of times and made three pairs of baby slippers (as seen modelled here by our friend's daughter Annabel).

Along the lines of saving single skeins of yarn, a major spring clean of the studio revealed several boxes of fabric, most of which was 2 metres or less, beautiful pieces of ribbon that weren't long enough to wrap a present, but turned out to be great for decorating baby clothes and bags of vintage buttons, too beautiful to get rid of, but  now finally have a home...

 This little yellow smocked shirt dress was made from one of her Godfather's dress shirts.

A sleep sack made from thick cotton with orange cat faces on it.

 I have had this blue vintage cowgirl print since college. Combined with a pair of Dad's old jeans, vintage gingham buttons and just enough cotton eyelet, Heidi has a Calgary Stampede dress for the next few summers.

Also too cute to throw out was this blue and red ladybug trim that found its way onto the waist band of a romper I made her this summer. I also used assorted scraps of fabric including this insect print that was too fun not to keep. 

2017 The resolution to finish unfinished projects was so successful and so motivating that I am extending it to 2017, but this time listing some of what I hope to achieve, so that I don't get sidetracked by other things:

  • finally put all my photographs from when I lived and taught in Taiwan into a scrapbook, 
  • scan old family photos and sort and scan the bag of negatives and slides that I have taking up precious closet space (this may have to be outsourced. Does that count?!), 
  • more baby clothes for Heidi made out of more scrap fabric
  • cloth napkins and tablecloths made out of al that fabric I have been saving for just this purpose
  • more knitting made out of all those single skeins...lots of striped things!
  • a painting for every blank canvas in my studio (ambitious!)
  • a felt quiet book for Heidi (vintage buttons on every page...)
Wish me luck...! Happy New Year and may 2017 be a time of kindness and renewal. xo

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