Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year Resamalutions

I'm not sure which member of our family coined the phrase New Year Resamalutions but it is one of those family words that has stuck and become part of our normal vocabulary. A bit like HeeHo (compost heap) and Steifer (wall paper scraper). Completely mad, but we all know what we are talking about. It is a long time since I made any Resamalutions as I prefer to focus on each day as it comes and not plan too far ahead.

Garden in January 2015
This time last year I did make myself a promise to make a real effort to do more and get out more. My world had shrunk. A week would pass by and I would only see my mother, shop assistants and medical professionals. I was not unhappy or lonely but realised I was spending a lot of time alone in a fixed routine and that was not good. Time to make some changes.

Looking back over the last year, it is pleasing to see that things have changed.

JETS student hard at work
I have become much more involved with my local Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild. This year we have set up a JETS (Junior Embroiderers' and Textile Students) Group. We now have a small group of children who meet once a month and it is such a pleasure to see them enjoying sewing and developing their creativity.

 Christmas Decorations created by members of JETS 
Our Guild was responsible for organising the Regional Day this year and it was great to be part of that. Having had arthritis since I was a teenager, mobility can be a problem and a full day event is usually too much for my legs to cope with. I reluctantly got an electric wheelchair 18 months ago but did not use it for 6 months! But, despite the fact I still do not like using 'the chariot' it means I can do whole day events and even away days.

Regional Day was the first whole day event I had attended for a long time and it was made even more special by winning first prize in the stitch competition.

My winning entry in "There is More to Milton Keynes"
Going to London for the first time on my own using the chariot was a bit scary but thanks to the wonderful staff at MK Railway Station and Virgin Assist Transport all went well. I met up with a friend at his flat and we "walked" to the Prism Textile Exhibition at Hoxton Arches and then went on to the Geffrye Museum. That was an experience; some dropped kerbs defy description, but it was amazing how many unlikely people offered help. The general rule seemed to be suits try and walk over you while scruffs smile and help. A glorious day spent in good company experiencing wonderful artwork. I felt like I had joined the human race again.

The view from J's balcony by day
and by night
Other away days included going to the Quilt Show at the NEC Birmingham and meeting up with friends. It was a very inspiring day admiring all the amateur and professional quilts.

Counting the Days by Els Van Baarle
There have been subsequent visits to London, including an Autumn reunion with school friends back at the Geffrye Museum. The world is getting bigger.

Geffrye Museum

Creativity has always been an important part of my life. Stitching, embroidery and other crafts can provide a distraction from pain and discomfort and just the process of making something can be relaxing and rewarding. The problem is what do you do with all the Stuff created? I had done Craft Fairs when I was younger, making cot quilts and children's accessories. In fact they had helped pay the heating bills after buying my first property.

Annie OB Textiles

So this year I set up Annie OB Textiles and did a few Fairs. It was fun to meet other stall holders and chat with like minded people. Even better, customers actually bought things I'd made. I had forgotten the thrill of a stranger admiring your work.  Family and friends are always supportive, but you are never quite sure if they are just being kind.

Hand embroidered needlecases
Technology has never been my forte, but in this increasingly online world it was another aspect I decided needed to be embraced. Friends encouraged me to use Facebook more. So I set up the Annie OB page and I use that in preference to my personal page. Despite my reticence about FB it has been an effective tool in linking up with customers and also discovering friends from years ago, which has been a joy. 

Felted and machine embroidered Journals
The Annie OB shop on Etsy came next and finally this blog. I still lack confidence with these platforms but with a little help from friends maybe that will improve in 2016. Two blogs in 2 days after a gap of 2 months - there is a lot of room for improvement!

Linen machine embroidered notebook covers
So 2015 was an eventful year. I have got out more and done more, met lots of lovely people and made new friends. There have been downs as well as ups but my world has expanded and life is better for it. I am still not making any Resamalutions for 2016 but hope that there will be more challenges and adventures. I shall try to make the best of every day, even those days when it is difficult to get out of bed. 

Camper Van cushion for a special couple's wedding

As my lovely Mum says, every day you wake up is a bonus so make the most of it!

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