the big 2021 review and plan for the new year

mini wood stove made form and egg carton held in hand

2021 is kind of a mushy blur from here. But a couple projects stand out. If I had to pick a favorite it would be this little stove. Something about it. And the runner up is the campsite.
Or maybe that’s tied with imperial cats.

Each was the kind of project that time disappears in. Happy, focused, present.

a few more highlights

 

sewing pattern for a realistic crow

There was one new sewing pattern – the crow

And 7 new tutorials:

For the second time in less than two years I moved. A small move, upstairs in the same building, but still. The place is great, the kind of thing you couldn’t invent and the fit is perfect. It’s a creaky old carriage house with a distinctly 70’s feeling renovation that I’m leaning into.

There is space and light and a generally good spirit to the place. The plants are happy and so am I.
You can check out a couple domestic projects: the sewing room here and the painting room here.

work table with art supplies and prints

Year 3 of daily paintings was accomplished and year 4 is underway. The daily thing is hard. And, I so recommend it. Committing to a do-able assignment and applying small consistent effort is as close to a magic formula as there is for growing creatively and getting unstuck.

The 100 day project is starting again on February 13th. It’s a great way to test drive the daily situation. If you decide to do it these ideas might help:

* Be realistic about time. The amount of time you commit can be very small and still have lots of benefits.
* Have a plan for the bad days, a minimal but acceptable effort. And accept the bad days. Everybody will have lots of them. I have some very bad days and post some real stinkers.
Also if instagram/social media is not your thing get yourself an accountability partner.

The daily paintings have turned into cards and soon prints. They find their way into everything. Ideas bounce back and forth from the painting to sewing projects and ceramics and back again. The ceramic work boils down gestures, the sewing simplifies shapes, each informs the other.
You can see this most recently in the first diy project for 2022 dancing hares.

small ceramic dishes decorated with mushrooms and bunnies and windmills and ships on a work table

the big goal for 2022

efficientize

I did make that word up. But that’s what I want to do – streamline, simplify, systemize. Stop wasting time on clunky processes, redundant tasks and do-overs. Make my irrational enterprise a little more rational, more thoughtful planning and less reacting. Easy to say. It will involve some dismantling and tedious rebuilding. My plan is to chunk it. Give it a little time everyday.

Have you got big plans for the year ahead? Will you try the 100 day project? did you have a favorite project last year? Let us know in the comments.

20 Comments

  1. Leigh E Tenkku Lepper

    Your new digs are awesome!! I am terribly jealous of all that light and space!

    As always, I love all of your DIY projects. I never did you pics of the doll beds, bedding and dolls for them but I loved working on these. I have two little granddaughters who will be 4 and 3 this year….so still a tad young to play with these yet. And a new little girl on the way this year in April. So…making lots of little things for them. LOVE the stove…I think I missed that last year. Anyway, hope to get myself back into a few of these projects and think I will check out your 100 day project. Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas and projects. You are very gifted.

  2. oh, I love that stove! Just like one in my grandmother’s country (summer) home! Your home is lovely…looks just the way an artist’s home should look!

  3. I love your work, don’t think I will ever tire of it. I think the new digs are perfect, so you! The light, the space, just what an artist needs. I am going to try the new bunnies. I think bunnies are so perfect for spring (really all year) and dancing bunnies even more so.

  4. Esther Wijnbeek

    Your new studio looks wonderful 🙂 I love all the things you make but the stove was very charming 🙂 Attics with lots of windows are are always special to me. I have been blessed with a studio in an 1890 house with high ceilings and love working in it.

  5. Beth Bakkum

    I just got that same purple rug for my office/studio. It makes me happy! I love your new space.

  6. I envy your daily practice and I am so. bad. at. it. I did complete 28 days of #februlage last year, a month of daily collage making. And then I didn’t make a singe collage for the rest of the year. I’m slowly making your crow now (still sad about Paducah) and lots of ‘amulets’ that you also inspired, except mine are fussy.

    Will there be a 2022 scrap festival?

  7. Your new place is gorgeous! You have such a knack for finding beautiful and soulful spaces!

    Thank you for sharing it with us, it’s inspiring.

  8. Peggy Alspaugh

    Thank you for your wonderful posts and sharing your creative adventures. I have wanted to paint it seems like forever. You have inspired me to give it time and do it everyday. Thank you

  9. I always look forward to seeing your newsletters and having a peek at what you’ve been up to. I love your studio space and all the greenery and natural wood elements! I am just now getting my own studio space in order and looking for light colors, real plants to hang in/near the bright window. This year I am writing the third book in my children’s book series, “Tales of Whimsy” about a little orb spider named Whimsy who goes in search of what happened to the Wishweaver. This will finish her series. I’m also adding new merchandise to my shop, Ink & Stitches which includes new jewelry with my illustrations. Plus hopefully getting an agent and submitting two of my picture books to publishers. Phew! 2022 has a lot of exciting things ahead! I look forward to seeing all that you come up with too in your own creative journey!

  10. Caroline Lister

    I love you’re new place. The pattern for the dancing hates is gorgeous! Thankyou so much for you’re sharing and kindness.
    Caroline

  11. Your blog is so inspirational and I really love it…thank you. I myself find doing anything creative on a day to day basis so very hard. I miss a day and then another and there you are. Your words are very helpful. I will keep trying and I would love to sew a jolly little hare….hares being a favourite animal of mine.

  12. Michele Cederquist

    Oh I love love your new nest. So much light! The dancing hares are adorable and I’ll definitely try them.

  13. Thank you for the cute kitty pattern. I just love it. Can’t wait to make a litter!

  14. It took three tries, but I finally completed a full 100 days last year. The incomplete years were learning experiences as well. This year I want to do something I love that always spurs my creativity. I’m going to paint a small watercolor everyday. These little abstract painting always open my eyes to new possibilities. I’m ready for the challenge.

  15. Just want you to know I read your entire newsletter twice, and lingered on the photos. I always find you very inspiring…sort of an idol, really. haha. Your new space has me filled with jealousy (even though my own home is very similar…hahaha!) I love all that wood and light and the plants! Thanks for the idea of the 100 Days project. I prob won’t join the “social”, but I am going to try it in any case.

    I am trying to have 2022 be a year of education and discovery, and PLAY! I need to allow the time to make art a habit, and to learn as much as I can about different techniques, so I can begin to synthesize them all into my own style. One of the downsides of being drawn to mixed media art is that there is just too much to choose from! I want to paint with every medium, sew, work with 3D elements, etc. It is overwhelming. So, 2022 is JUST about play and education. In 2023 I will synthesize and see if I can carve out my own little corner and a business. Wish me luck! Thank you for your inspiration!

  16. The recap was fun. You reminded me that I’d like to make sheep. 🙂 Thank you for all your inspiration! I hope your efficiantizing goes well and you will prosper in your creativity!

  17. Love your inspiring emails! Your new nest (I love that, Michele!), it looks like the perfect home for a talented artist, such as yourself. I always want to start creating one of your adorable animals and dolls immediately and that stove! Wow. I kept thinking of one of my favourite quotes while reading every single word in this New Year 2022 post, don’t know who said it, but it has been inspiring me for years.

    “Do what you love and the rest will follow.”
    ❤️
    Last year I completed my own 100-day Project! I filled a small sketchbook with drawings, paintings , things cut out of newspapers & magazines, words, new artsy friends I’ve made and who inspire me, etc., etc. As you mentioned, some days were difficult but I plugged on. And was amazed at what I discovered about myself, my art. Practice really makes a difference. Thank you for sharing your art life!

  18. Love the new place., so full of light!
    I’m doing the 100 day for the 5th year. Narrowing down ideas. Roben Marie Smith has a free download-able workbook for planning/keeping up with etc… for anyone interested.

  19. Colette

    Goals for 2022 now that we are 1/2 way through, finish painting the cute but dingy little farm house we rented…bye bye 20+ year old tan paint! Hello Sweet Coconut Milk!
    In-between, keep working on the 6 little paper mache boats, and for the rest of the year chip away at all the projects I started and have over gathered material for….Felted sweaters into blankets, reupholster the chair I tore apart, take the pottery class I signed up for, garden, hike and read the books in my bookcase before buying more (hahahahah)

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