Hey there, Pollywog!
Ever since I read a post on Scoutie Girl about making an I did list instead of a to-do list for the year, I’ve done just that. And it’s been awesome.
Looking back is the perfect way to reinforce the work I did in my monthly Look Lists. I can take one last inventory of all the things I accomplished and give myself a final high-five* before starting another year of getting things done and tiptoeing
outside my comfort zone.
Here are the major things I did this year, grouped by interest.
This one’s the most obvious… and one of the most important.
This year I came up with the idea for Persistent Polymath. After I stopped resisting it, I wrote a business plan — or my own quirky version, anyway. I also started working on two of my major projects related to the site.
Then there was the site, itself. I did all the techy stuff I was so afraid of. Registered my domain, installed WordPress, played around with graphics, and set up static pages, tags, and categories.
I even wrote my first 8 posts, in spite of a raging case of perfectionism. I won’t tell you exactly how many drafts it took me to finish each post, but I will say… the number was welllllll into the double digits.
2015 was my busiest year for pet sitting so far, and once again, I just about doubled my (very) modest income.
I got to know existing clients and their people better, which was a wonderful thing in all cases. I think I’ve found some people I like almost as much as I like dogs.
I added new clients to the mix, including a sweet Jack Russel Terrier who became one of my best friends ever.
I also took care of — and fell in love with — my first bird. It was nice to meet someone who makes crazy noises as often as I do.**
More than anything, I got to do something that even at its messiest, noisiest, and most exhausting, still doesn’t seem like work. It made me feel like a lucky girl.
Last summer one of my projects was published in a beading book. It had already been in a magazine, so this was a big surprise for me. Needless to say, a certain bracelet has earned a place of honor on my book shelf, and I don’t plan to sell it.
Something else happened that I wasn’t expecting: I revived my jewelry making business when I participated in a craft show/open house.
The show gave me a chance to admire pieces I hadn’t touched in years and fix the ones that had never seemed right to me. This meant picking up my beads for the first time in months.
I can’t say enough about the experience. Some of my favorite pieces found a home, and I heard some seriously encouraging things about my work. I ate a ton of sugar cookies and made some new friends, and I found out just how amazingly supportive the people in my life are.
And would you believe it? After the sale, I didn’t put the beads away. Jewelry making found its way into the rotation again.
This year I added 25 posts to the doll blog. I had a blast doing it and met some new people in the doll collecting community. Doll people, like jewelry people, are a terrific bunch, and I love how often the two interests intersect. I also love how many multi-talented people there are in each group.
I also had a diorama accepted into a creative reuse exhibition. Putting the diorama together was a blast, and having it accepted was amazing, but the thing that really stood out for me was chatting with an Idea Store employee and her daughter about miniatures on opening night. They were so excited about my project and asked so many questions. I’m hoping they’ll start a collection of their own.
This was also a good year for customizing dolls. I played around with different ways of re-rooting, and I found the best one for me.
(I also found a way of knotting the hair plugs so they don’t come undone, no matter how shiny/slippery the hair is. Re-rooting is faster and easier now, which is good news for all the bald dolls in my collection.)
I’m not usually interested in finding a niche, but I found one in coordinating fabrics into bundles for sale. The bundles I made pretty much flew off the shelves, and not always into my own shopping basket, either.
That being said… I may or may not have bought more fabric than I’ll ever use in a lifetime. Some of it may or may not have ostriches and emus on it. Right now I’m on hiatus for the sake of my bank account.
Until I can trust myself around novelty prints, I have another volunteer gig. I started training to be a dog walker at the local Humane Society and spent Christmas — a holiday I usually don’t get too excited about — walking and snuggling shelter dogs.
(Snuffy, Jem, Sugar Plum, Amelia, Audry, Tramp, and Birdie, if you’re reading this, you made my day.***)
I started doing yoga regularly, which kept me happy and strong and sane through the winter.
My practice slipped during the summer, but I still stretched just about every day. It was (and is) the best way for me to wake up and focus, and as a bonus, I had almost no back pain for the first time in 20-plus years.
For the fifth year in a row, I didn’t write a whole lot of fiction, in spite of desperately wanting to.
I did take a tiny step in that direction, though, with creepy Haikus. They were absurdly fun to write and share. I think they’re a little bit contagious, too.
Even though I didn’t write a lot, I shared my fiction with more people than I ever thought possible. Besides the Haikus, a short horror story I wrote in 2014 was narrated on a friend’s Youtube channel, and last time I checked, the video had almost 4,000 views.
(The year before that, I think I showed my writing to… maybe five people?)
Most of my writing was personal, and there was a lot of it. I wrote over 100,000 words in 750words.com after a friend of a friend recommended it.
I got my cheetah badge for speedy typing and my night bat badge for writing at night, and I worked my way up to an albatross for consecutive days spent writing. This gave me a chance to run around, yelling albatross!**** like a big dork.
I didn’t do as much dolly sewing as I would have liked, but I did a lot of work on my human-sized quilt, which got one of my favorite compliments ever. “Wow… you put all those granny fabrics together in a way that actually looks modern!”
Yes. Yes, I did. Because that’s how Junior Fabric Ladies roll.
Not everything was great. I stumbled in a few areas. Sometimes I stumbled hard.
I can’t tell you how insanely fun it was to audition for a part in a friend’s Youtube series. And how exciting it was to actually get the part!
But I second-guessed my instincts when I voiced the character, and because of that, I didn’t do as well as I could have.
I was also really, really, really sensitive to criticism, even though it came from a random stranger on the Internet.
That by itself was embarrassing, and so was the fact that I ended up quitting voice acting as soon as the project was finished (in spite of improving a lot over the weeks and months).
I feel better about it now than I did a few months ago, though, in spite of my embarrassment. I know that quitting something for now doesn’t mean I can’t pick it up again later. So we’ll see.
I also experienced the loss of an important relationship. Or maybe I should say, the changing of a relationship from one phase/state to another. My six year marriage came to an end, and I moved out.
I don’t want to write too much about it, because it doesn’t feel right. But I can say that the loss — and the time leading up to it — was incredibly hard for me. I’m so very, very lucky to have the Persistent Polymath, dog-sitting, and close friendships to get me through it.
I’m not interested in New Year’s resolutions or words of the year. For me, the whole thing is a big old bucket of nope.
But the thing is, this year marked some important endings and beginnings for me — and these just happened to fall close to December and January. So whether I like it or not, there are things I need to focus on in 2016.
I don’t have to call them resolutions, and I don’t have to do everything in one year — they’ll take as much time as they’ll take. I’ll do my best to be patient while I tackle them.
- I need to finish unpacking and make my space somewhere I can work and play and feel comfortable.
- I need to continue expanding my pet-sitting business and become comfortable finding new clients and asking for referrals.
- I need to make time to be creative and make things, no matter how hectic my life is.
- I need to keep going with Persistent Polymath, both the blog and the Super Cool Secret Projects. I need to do this in spite of a whole lot of self-doubt and perfectionism and fear of technology.
- I need to keep reaching out to and supporting the people in my life as they have supported me. I have a passion for helping people succeed in their creative projects, and I want to do more of that. So, so much more of it.
Well, Pollywog, that wraps up my 2015 yearly review. Now I want to hear from you. What did you do last year? What are you working on this year, and is there anything I can do to help? Are you into resolutions, or are they a big bucket of nope for you, too?
*It’s awkward, but doable.
**For a minute there, I thought about changing my last name to Wannacracker.
***They won’t actually read this. Snuffy is more of a Youtube kind of dog, and Sugar Plum says blogs are so 2005. Diva.
****If you get the reference, you are my new best friend.