2015 review and ‘plans’ for 2016

Craft

embroidery 2015

1. firefly, 2. Tuesday Bassen pattern, 3. Tawny Owl, 4. Fowl Talk, 5. Bibliophile iPad case, 6. Advent Calendar, 7. Christmas mitten, 8. Cindermice trio

The amount of embroidery I’ve done this year as first looks a bit pathetic, specially as most of the embroidery in the mosaic above was done in the last few months of the year. However, I did do two large comissions for clients this year (and by large, I mean much much larger than the work I normally show here) and those took up a lot of time (and yay for getting comission work!).

I do have quite a few WIPs, particularly cross stitch, it doesn’t look like it much from the mosaic above but 2015 has definitely been the year of the cross stitch for me.

sewn 2015

1. Global week – welsh costume, 2. Tuesday Bassen pattern, 3. Wales 2015-22, 4. Wales 2015-50, 5. Slippers, 6. Headphone cozy, 7. Sew Easy Retro Duffel Bag, 8. Another headphone cozy, 9. Book pincushion, 10. Hexie cushion and pouches, 11. Sew Liberated carpet bag, 12. Bibliophile iPad case, 13. Advent Calendar, 14. Cindermice trio

Oh I had hoped to sew so much more this year but I didn’t, space, the normal problem, but I did manage to make a couple of bags I’m quite proud of.

wool 2015

1. Untitled, 2. Adapted Wool And The Gang Lula Hoop, 3. Wristwarmers with contrast rib, 4. Slouch Hat, 5. Log cabin washcloths, 6. Hat from Mollie Makes issue 60, 7. Another hat

This year my knitting has definitely continued to improve and I’m a bit more confident. I mastered rib and knitting in the round with those needles which are attached together (I’m such a rubbish knitter, I can’t remember what they’re called), but I tried dpns on a pair of leg warmers and as far as I’m concerned dpns are the work of the devil. I just about managed to knit one leg warmer, although it looked awful, the rib was all over the place and it was rather holey! I doubt I’ll ever make the other leg warmer.

Cooking

As pretty much usual for me, this year I knew that the best sort of food for me was food I prepared myself, from scratch but that actually happened far less than it should have. A good cook book makes all the difference though, so my top 3 for 2015 (not necessarily published in 2015) are –

1.

simply nigella

 

For lovely, simple but tasty recipes that are a pleasure to cook. Nigella positively exudes calm from the pages.

 

 

2.

Thug Kitchen

Whereas Nigella excudes calm, Thug Kitchen is like going round a mate’s kitchen where they firmly but affectionately lecture you on eating healthily whilst plying you with gorgeous food. I know some people don’t agree with Thug Kitchen but they always make me smile.

 

 

3.

a modern way to cook

 

Generally lovely recipes but I particularly like her tables of different kinds of dishes (like soups, bowls and salads), where she gives suggestions about what you can put in but it’s totally up to your imagination / what you’ve got in your kitchen.

 

 

Books

book 1 2015book 2 2015

I read a whopping 88 books this year! I am totally gobsmacked by that! My aim, at the beginning of the year was 50 and I thought that was over optimistic. I normally read somewhere between 30-45 books a year. This year has been highly unusual though, as I’ve had so many surgeries and most of my reading this year has been done whilst I was recovering. I had also rediscovered my love of crime fiction, so I had several quite long series to gallop through and that always boosts the book count.

books 2015 3books 2015 4

I read 72 adult fiction (up 49 from last year!), 4 kids fiction (-5 from last year), 3 collections of short stories, 2 memoirs (up 2 from last year), 2 comic books series (up 2 from last year) and 5 non fiction (up 3 from last year).

My top 3 books I read this year were –

1.

watchmaker

 

I fell in deep book love with The Watchmaker of Filigree Street this year, it’s imaginative, deeply atmospheric and has the sweetest love scene I’ve read in a long time. Set in Victorian London, it’s a bit steampunk. And oh, I’d love to go for tea and scones in the watchmaker’s kitchen.

 

 

 

 

2.

the death house

This was another deeply imaginative book, although a much, much sadder premise than Watchmaker. Children with some sort of defective gene or something (it’s never completely explained) are sent to death houses to wait to die. Whilst in the death house they have some schooling but they’re pretty much left to themselves, friendships and romance ensue. It is very sad but beautiful too.

 

 

 

3.

station eleven

 

Another unique story idea, crossing between the before and after of deadly pandemic as it follows various characters, including a Shakespearian band, across the US. It’s a strangely hopeful book.

 

 

 

Life

  • This year has been a very medical year and unfortunately 2016 will also be a very medical year. I leave 2015 minus two pieces of anatomy
  • All this medical stuff has put quite a lot of other stuff on hold.
  • Girl Lacer has started secondary school this year and we’re so lucky that she seems to have ended up at yet another remarkable school. We’re very excited about the opportunities she’ll have there.

And plans for 2016

  • Eat less sugar, eat more veg.
  • Keep up my walking (when I’m physically able to, I have more surgery coming up next year), going further afield to find interesting routes and look for other types of exercise to do as well.
  • Aim to read 50 books (I’ve ummed and ahhed about this, after all, I read 88 this year but it was an unusual year with all the surgeries but then again I have definitely one op next year, ‘hopefully’ two (if I can sort doctors out for the second, having issues there at the moment) plus a series of not very nice sounding dental surgeries and well, call be pessimistic but the two ops and the dental procedure I’ll be having next year have been on the books for a long time, whereas the four ops I actually had this year were sprung on me at much shorter notice, so who knows what could happen next year? So I may end up reading more than 50 books again next year because if it’s a year with lots of recovery time, I could read a lot more but if it’s a much more normal year, 50 books will probably be a bit of a struggle because it normally is.
  • Hopefully get more freelance stitchery work, I need to get a portfolio website up and some proper contact details.
  • Maybe, just maybe, set up that business I’ve always dreamed off.
  • Do more drawing and painting.
  • Continue to practice my computer skills.
  • Work more on my photography.
  • Reduce the amount of stuff I own and to think more carefully about and actually use stuff I buy in the future.
  • Work on some advanced embroidery skills.
  • Continue to work on improving my knitting skills.

 

 

 

 

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