Thursday, December 29, 2016

A new year, a fresh start 2017




At the end of 2016, it's time to reflect upon the past year and look ahead to 2017.


2016

2016 has been a good and busy year. We had a great family holiday to Japan, and plenty more family fun and experiences.  
Our girls had awesome years at school, achieving lots both academically and in all other areas too!



My blog this year

For me - it was a year when I put everything I could think of into my blog.  After 6 years, I feel like I've built it up into a great resource of sewing tutorials and upcycling inspiration. Slowly, over the years I've become more and more focussed with what my blog is about - and what I love to do. Sewing is not the main focus of my blog - although having created over 150 free sewing tutorials, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was!



I'm definitely an advocate of doing things in an environment friendly manner - reduce, reuse and recycle. But again this isn't the sole focus of my blog, just an aspect of it.

What me and my blog are all about is, 

Use what you've got

This is something I do and have always tried to do in all areas of my life. So here on the blog I sew and create things, 'using what I've got' on hand - materials and supplies I've recycled, been given, found in a charity shop etc.   In our home I try to use what we've got in the pantry, fridge and kitchen to make dinners, cakes, and snacks When we want things, our first stop is always to see if something we already have can be repurposed or reused before we consider buying.

I love to find and share stories - largely on Facebook, of companies and people I find who 'use what they've got'  - like the feature post I wrote about The Woolly Pedlar earlier this year - a lovely lady whose whole business is built on the concept of 
'using what you've got'!!



13 years of..

For the past 13 years I've been a stay-at-home mum. This was a conscious decision my husband and I made for our lifestyle. My 'job' if you like has been to be there for our kids - educating and supporting them in their learning and endeavours. I've helped them with projects, homework and extra curricular activities. I've helped out and volunteered a plenty at their kindergarten and school - everything from president of their kindy to manager of their sports teams.

In my time for myself over the years, I've renovated a couple of houses with my husband, and on my own I've built up a couple of blogs. This one - and also an education blog chronicling and sharing things I've done over the years with our girls to help their education and learning experiences. If you're interested to see that blog - go here to Be Our Best.


This blog - Creating my way to Success, started out as a hobby - somewhere to share my sewing creations, and has developed into a reflection of who I am and what I enjoy doing.  
I would love for this blog to be an income producing job for me - as I'm sure plenty people would love their hobby and personal interests to be. I've tried everything I can think of (and am willing to do) to make this the case, but sadly so far have been unsuccessful in making a lot of money from my blog. I do make some from advertising, and sales of my e-books; but most of this just goes straight back into the blog to pay for things like my inlinkz subscription that allows me to run my weekly Round Tuit linky party; ejunkie, that allows me to sell my e-books online, and then I also sponsor a WWF turtle monthly - using a little from the sales of my ebooks, and the rest from my Google advertising income.

I could go down the path of sponsored posts to earn money, but that's not something I'm comfortable with given my ethos of 'Use what you've got'. I don't want to promote all kinds of products that I myself don't use or wouldn't buy. Since a lot of my shopping is done at charity shops and I make things out of what I have and things like old clothes friends give me, there's not really much that fits my blog that I could comfortably promote and sell to try to make some money!

This year as I mentioned earlier, I've tried lots of new tactics to promote my blog. I've explored and pushed Pinterest, 

I ran a month long project with some blogging friends to use our social media followings to help promote each other's blogs - 


and also hosted a major Christmas project with other fellow bloggers too - The 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges.

I've revamped and reorganised my blog - shared, promoted, linked and done all I can think of. I've had some successes here and there, but not enough to justify spending so much time on my blog any more. I need to try a new tactic.
"Success comes from doing things differently"




2017

So, in 2017 there will be a big change for me.


Teaching!

Instead of doing casual work here and there and lots of 'volunteer work', I'm going back to a regular paid job teaching English as a foreign language.
After 13 years of teaching my girls, I'm looking forward to a new teaching challenge. The hours are within my girls' school days so I'm lucky with that and can still drive them around to all their various after school sports here and there and help out with those where needed.

So, this all means I won't have as much time to put into my blog and sewing.  I won't stop, but just do less.  However, having put SO much time into the blog this year and not seen enough of a return to justify the hours, I think that less time spent on the blog will be a good thing all round.  


Going back to regular paid teaching won't mean I'll be doing any 'more' than I've been doing, just different things. My hours will have to be a little more focused and a little less flexible, but again I think this may be a good thing and help me focus and maybe even get more quality stuff done!




My blog in 2017

So there you have my plan and big change for the New Year 2017.
I do hope you'll still come and visit my blog to see what I'm up to. I've got a list of several things I want and need to sew for myself and my girls this year; I'm going to continue my learning to crochet as I am enjoying it so far, and feel it's important to always continue to learn!  I also have plenty of tutorials and posts already here on the blog to share and browse through.


The Round Tuit party will still run each week 

and I'll still be on my Facebook page most days, sharing fun things, sewing, crochet and upcycle links and most of all ideas and inspiration to 'use what you've got'.

My final wrap up of 2016, was to revamp what my newsletter subscribers get when they sign up.  
There are 3 sewing tutorials, exclusively for subscribers.. The Kathryn Bag (a pretty handbag), a soft backpack and a pretty clutch.


I've now packaged these 3 free tutorials together in free e-book, which also contains plenty of ideas on how to 'use what you've got'; and a section on how to deconstruct a pair of jeans - one of my favourite things to upcycle as you can use every single part of them from the waistband to the hems and seams!

So if you would like a free copy of this book - then why not subscribe to my monthly newsletter and keep up with all the goings on here at Creating my way to Success in 2017?

So subscribe and get your free copy of my e-book:

How to turn what you've got into what you need




So how about you?

Have you had a good year in 2016? And do you have any exciting plans for 2017?  I'd love to hear what others are up to!







Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2017

To all my readers, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas from here in sunny Cairns.

This video may have been made for New Zealand, but it gives those of you in the Northern Hemisphere an idea of what a summer Christmas down under is like!

Enjoy!!





Thursday, December 8, 2016

A flurry of snowmen!


Last month here on the blog we had the 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges. Each day the challenge was to make something for Christmas using what you had on hand.  
Challenge 5 was to take something from your shed or outhouse and turn it into a Christmas decoration.  I made a garden snowman from an old broken fence pailing.

It was so easy to make and looked so cute in the garden, that yesterday my girls made me a few more from other fence pailings we had!

They had fun making them - adding their own touches with different shaped eyes, noses and buttons!
So now we have a whole row of snowmen standing by our pool!


And some new solar lights to add to the effect!


Have you ever made any Christmas decorations from something in your shed? Or do you have any ideas or inspiration to make something this year?
I'd love to see other projects like this - so if you do have one, please link it up here and share it with everyone!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.