Reflections on 2014, Goals for 2015
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for 2015! I have some pretty exciting goals and dreams that I plan to work on accomplishing in the new year!
But first, let’s reflect on the past year:
2014 was a very productive year! I had some very exciting opportunities and I made major progress on a few big goals of mine!
My goals from last year and how I did at accomplishing them:
1. Better Life Balance. I feel like this is one of those things that you can always be perfecting and I’m happy to say that I think I did a pretty good job on it this year. 2014 was my first full year out of school and the first time that I had to balance my day-job work life with my personal career goals and hobbies/interests. I’ve been able to spend my evenings/weekends exploring graphic and surface pattern design, reading, blogging more than I have in years, doing DIY home/decorating projects (see our office makeover, how we built our 12 ft long double desk, the rooms we painted, our living room gallery wall, and Drew’s dresser makeover), cooking and trying out new recipes, doing more GF baking, painting, crocheting, watching my favorite TV shows, keeping up with my favorite blogs, getting involved in our church group, taking walks, going on date nights, traveling, etc! I feel like I have really worked this year on being healthy in a well-rounded way and making time to nurture my creativity in many different ways.
2. Expand Learning & Education in Different Ways. My main goal with this was that even though I was out of school, I didn’t want my learning process to stop, I wanted to expand my education in different ways. I believe I did a great job of this in 2014! I read more books for fun than I have (ever?). I crocheted two baby blankets, three scarves, several crochet snowflakes, worked on part of another baby blanket and started an afghan throw for our living room using stitches I’d never tried before. I continued to paint, building my body of work, and even exhibiting my art in a exhibition last June, as well as updating my logo and art branding. I joined the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association to build up my calligraphy and hand-lettering skills and I worked on digitizing my hand lettering for various projects (my hand-lettering is on the image above). I worked on getting better at using my Wacom tablet, and I learned a ton of new Adobe Illustrator tricks and so much about Surface Pattern and Fabric Design in Bonnie Christine’s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch online course.
3. Incorporating Exercise into the Everyday. If there was one thing I failed at in 2014, it would be this one. I wish I could say that I have incorporated exercise into the everyday, but in fact, I’m sure I exercised less in 2014 than I did in 2013. I did my Pilates class like normal in the Spring (I’ve been going once or twice a week for the last several years), but this Fall, they wouldn’t let me sign up for it without also purchasing a membership to the University gym that it is a part of. That would have cost me several hundred dollars that we just didn’t have in our budget. I looked into other places, but they are all so darn expensive! Debt pay-off is a priority in our lives right now and I can’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars to exercise. I wish I could get into a good routine of exercising at home by myself, but it is just so hard to have the diligence to do so with so many other things happening! Before it started getting dark so early this Fall/Winter, we did go on occasional outside walks around the neighborhood, which were nice. I need to get better at this!
4. Focus on Our Marriage. This year we’ve started going on date nights almost every Friday night and have made a much better effort at spending quality time together other than just being in the same room on our computers. Having a kitty and spending time together playing with Violet has really helped us “unplug” and spend time together. We also have gotten into a routine of both coming home from work and talking about our days while we make dinner together. Working on our debt-pay off plan as a team and making significant progress on that as a couple has also really helped strengthen our relationship.
5. Gluten-free Baking. I’m happy to say that I’ve experimented quite a bit with gluten-free baking this year! I’ve nailed down a recipe I really like for Artisan Gluten-free Bread, I’ve made my own All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix, made GF crackers, GF shortcrust, GF Blackberry and Sawdust pies, along with several different types of GF biscuits, rolls, and cornbread. I need to make GF doughnuts next!
6. Debt Pay-Off. In 2013, we paid off Drew’s credit card debt and most of his car. In 2014, we made the final payments on Drew’s car and paid off all the student loans in Drew’s name (over $26,000 worth!). In 2015, we only have the student loans in Drew’s parents’ names left to pay off!
7. Consistent Branding and New Opportunities. When I first wrote this down as a goal, I had in mind opening an Etsy shop to sell my artwork, but along the way, my plans changed a bit and I started down a road to another creative goal I’m really excited to achieve! In 2014, I worked on painting more artwork (some of my best work yet), experimenting with techniques I’ve wanted to take time to explore (mixed media paintings on fabric as well as canvas), and was able to show my work in an exhibition. Along the way I updated my art and design branding and website and I started working on updating my blog design and branding (look for the reveal in 2015!). I also worked on improving my hand-lettering, digitizing it and using it on artwork and in design projects, and started to learn calligraphy, joining the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association. One of the most exciting opportunities of 2014 however, was taking Bonnie Christine’s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch course, learning so much more about how to achieve my dream of being a Surface Pattern Designer, and on top of that, getting to meet Bonnie Christine and attend Quilt Market! I also designed my first repeatable patterns!
I’m so excited for the things in store in 2015!
My goals for this year:
1. Surface Pattern Design. I’m so ready to turn my dream of being a surface pattern designer into a reality! I’m confident that there are great things in store for this in 2015! My goal is to work as hard as I can in my free time designing repeatable patterns! Inspiration for collections, illustrations, and making patterns. I want to design at least two collections (10 patterns each in two colorways for a total of 20 patterns in a collection), but doing three collections would be even better! I want to put together a portfolio of my work to start working towards turning it into a career!
2. Learn to Quilt. I’ve wanted to make a quilt for years! I’ve done some minor quilting-type projects before, but this is the year to actually make a quilt! I got several quilting books for Christmas and I’ve collected the fabrics that I want to use. I need to read my quilting books, study up on the techniques, gather any other supplies I need, and start quilting! I would like to start with a throw blanket size.
3. Blog. I’ve really enjoyed getting back into blogging more regularly over the last half a year or so. I’d love to continue that into 2015 with a more consistent blogging schedule, but more importantly I want to work on better, more in-depth content. Not that recipes and monthly recaps aren’t great, but I want to talk more about creative ideas, share tips/techniques, and really dive into more of the things that I’m passionate about. I also want to reveal my updated blog design this year, with a better about me page, and better and easier to navigate projects and recipes pages.
4. Other Creative Outlets. Just because I’m choosing to focus this year on surface pattern design, quilting, and blogging, doesn’t mean that I want to leave my other creative outlets behind. I would love to continue painting and work on incorporating painting work into my pattern design work. I would also love to continue to get better at hand-lettering and calligraphy. For Christmas, Drew bought me a gift certificate to Melissa Esplin’s calligraphy course, so I definitely plan on improving my lettering this year! I would also love to read more regularly (I got a ton of books for Christmas I need to read!) and continue working on crochet and DIY/home decorating projects when I can.
5. Pay off Debt. Drew and I have done so well at sticking to a tight budget and putting everything we can towards paying off our debt over the past two years. The only debt we have left are the student loans in Drew’s parents names and I would love to be able to pay those off completely in 2015! It is an enormous goal, but I have faith we can make some great progress on it!
Other Areas to Continue Positive Work: Continue date nights and focusing on a more intentional marriage. Continue my gratitude journal. Continue church involvement in our 20/30s group. Work on taking Pilates classes again and continuing to eat healthy, gluten-free meals. Work on relaxation, not over-stressing, and not over-working myself.
Cheers to making great things happen in 2015!