Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I still can’t believe I did it. I successfully completed my Create 30 blog challenge – I made 30 different things before I turned 30 years old and popped the little handmade treasures into the Eliston Button Etsy Shop! Hooray! I also can’t believe that this is the final time I will use the Create 30 banner above – I loved this banner. I loved it waaaayyy more than my Create 28 and my 27 Before 27 blog challenge banners (I even made the ‘Create’ into a print as one of the challenge makes!) Parts of me will be sad to see it go. I am pretty sure that after a year, you are all sick of the sight of it, but for me each time it appeared was not only a little dose of handmade goodness crossed of the list but it was a little mini hurdle I had jumped, a little step further down the road exploring my creativity and a whole heap more confidence in putting it all (and myself) out there. Each use of this banner meant that another make was completed.
With each Create 30 make, I had imagined, designed, made and completed one more creative adventure, which felt like a mini fiesta every time [Insert maracas, fruit bowl headdress and confetti cannons galore…plus cake…you can’t celebrate without cake!]
Create 30 – I Did It!
As I mentioned in my final Create 30 make post at the beginning of the week, I really wanted to make a round-up post of the complete 30 mixed in with a smidgen of my thoughts and feelings, a dash of reflection and a pinch about future plans – the perfect recipe for an end of challenge roundup, but also a bit of closure for me. After a year of strict deadlines and sometimes making into the night, I feel like I need this therapy session with you lovelies! Breathe out the panic, anxiety and self-doubt…breathe in the calm, relaxation and relief!
I needed this challenge. As much as I am really glad I have completed it and I can have a break, I needed to do this. This time last year, I was feeling demotivated, stuck in a creative rut and was having a really yukky time with massive neighbour problems and trying to sell our house. I needed something to focus on and deadlines to chase my butt into a faster lane. I needed motivation and passion for what I love to do back into the forefront of my mind. The main concept was to make new stuff, try new crafts, broaden my existing creativity and throw a new spin onto old ideas at the same time as giving me a adventure outside of what we were going through. (You can read all about it in the original Create 30 – Lets Do This! post)
I work my best with fire beneath me, with a deadline to push me outside of the comfort of having time to do things ‘whenever’ and ultimately never getting them done. I need goals and hurdles to jump over with problems to solve. I need to be able to write a list and check it all of one by one until I am all done – I am a professional list maker (my desk was covered in so many sticky notes and scraps of paper with things to do for the last weeks of the challenge, that I could barely see my desk!) I said it best in my Confession Time…And Time for a New Challenge? blog post…
“When I studied Art and Design in college, I would leave each project right until the last minute and then cram it all in the last few days, the deadline forcing me to not question my creative decisions but to go with it. To show up, to do the work.
Productivity > Procrastination. Progress > Perfection”
I think the important thing for me was to always keep it fresh. I hated the thought of making the same thing over and over to fill up the slots. I wrote a list (surprise surprise!) of my favourite things to make which included prints, weavings and embroidered felt flowers etc and spread them evenly across the 30 makes ensuring there was enough time for each one. I knew I wanted to progress and push my creativity too so that meant getting better at weaving and braving bigger looms and illustrating more prints and starting new fabric collages. Again, I explained it best in the starting post…
“I want to break all of the
anxiety/panic/impending doom milestones down into easy, manageable chunks rather than big steps and giant leaps. I want to be able to tick them all off one by one and feel that sense of pride when I get to the end result (and will hopefully distract from saying goodbye to my twenties) I want to smile at each success and acknowledge each hurdle as I go along on this new adventure.
I want to grab all of those little ideas that have been floating around in my head for so long, grab them all up and finally explore them all, one by one. I want to get them all out and let them flow and change and develop. I want to let them fail and be worked out and reorganised…”
And that is exactly what I did! Sometimes I worked at my desk, sometimes in front of Netflix, sometimes listening to podcasts – I got through a lot of podcasts! I even kept my working environment different as to always feel fresh and new and interesting – Go on, ask me a question about True Crime…I should have a degree in those podcasts!
In the beginning, I laid out all of my ideas on sticky notes and placed them on an editorial calendar to see where I could fit them all in around other non-Create 30 posts to keep it interesting for all of us, and break up my screen time in front of my laptop. I made sure I made some similar things to amalgamate together into one single blog post so that I could actually fit them all into the year and got my head down!
My craziest time was Christmas – I suddenly had a flurry of festive ideas and not enough time to act on them! Don’t worry, they are all noted down for future seasons!
I bloody love Christmas and with all of the festivities but knowing we were definitely buying a new house and keeping up with Christmas orders was a toughie, not to mention Christmas tutorials and festive blog posts – they are some of my faves!
You will never hear me say that completing this Create 30 blog challenge was easy. By no stretch of the imagination was it a doddle. I always woke up in the morning ready to hit the ground running to try and get through my to-do list. I didn’t ever get a week day off unless I was unwell and then had to catch up later. I had strict-ish rules of not working weekends – that was my down time (although a lot of non-print items were made whilst in front of the TV in these times to really utilise my time) But, overall it was enjoyable.
I didn’t anticipate a house move or not having Internet for weeks. I didn’t anticipate how long some things would take to make or design. I didn’t realise how much I would have to dig into my creative imagination to use all of my describing words to paint a picture of where you could hang a weaving, or to describe the tactile texture of a fabric collage for my Etsy listings…
I loved making and getting things made. It seems pretty obvious seeing as this is my job, my chosen career path and my hobby rolled into one, but I had lost that with all that we had been through. I had lost the umph, the get up and go, the creative mojo. I couldn’t think creatively, imagine up new ideas – I was stuck. In quick sand. Sinking into a place where only the best patronus spell in the forbidden forest would get me out. So crafting, designing, making, photography, listing, blogging, hearing your feedback – that was my spell. It got me back to feeling more like me and to be honest, the house move pushed me further and harder into getting things made ahead of time and to get more organised.
I didn’t have time to second guess or doubt myself or my makes which meant I jumped in head first and learnt how to fly on the way down, taking creative risks and ultimately bettering my work.
The downfall of this was my one major hiccup (minus the lack of internet for a few weeks) when I made a silly typo on a new print I had just launched and I didn’t even spot it right there in front of me until my
Sister new quality control manager emailed me. It was so silly and no one even noticed it, but I had a pit of your stomach, freeze-on-the-spot-mid-carrot-stick-chomp, don’t-take-another-breath-until-you-have-processed-the-words-in-front-of-you sick feeling until the print was re-made, re-posted and all was calm again! You can read all about it in my blog post ‘Why It’s Okay to Make Mistakes (And a Life Update)
Some days went well. Some days were overwhelming. It was a real mix. At times I felt relaxed and in control, others felt like I was running full speed (not something I ever plan to do!) on a hamster wheel, constantly trying to reach an impossible destination so that I didn’t fall off and flash my knickers to the world (This actually happened off a bench on my first date with my now fiancé – I must have been wearing fantastic knickers!)
On the whole, Create 30 was by far my most successful blog challenge. I completed it in time, regardless of a house pack up and move that I didn’t expect would happen when I launched. Despite days where I wanted to pack it all in and run away with the circus. Despite days where I was just exhausted or feeling fizzled out or just wanted to top writing blog posts for a while. I planned this challenge out meticulously compared to the previous two as well. I mapped out my 30 makes, sometimes they changed or shifted to ease the pressure, sometimes I scrapped them entirely and rapidly thought of something new, but overall there were no major crying sessions that I was never going to complete it all, no break downs and a lot less panic than before.
That said, it wasn’t easy. I tried to make things ahead of time so that I had a few things made in-hand, especially over the house move. I tried to batch photograph things or bulk edit them in groups to save time and my sanity! I used my time wisely, weaving and sewing or making fluffy pom poms in front of the television in the evening or in front of a film at the weekends, freeing up my time in the day to type, photograph, edit etc.
This way I also balanced my time between work and play and spending time with real people instead of hibernating away in the Eliston Button Headquarters until it was all over…Can I come out now?
More than anything I am super thrilled I was brave enough to set sail away from my comfort zone. It wasn’t until I pushed away from the shore in my little creative boat that I felt braver and more capable of new things. I grew. My creativity grew. My ideas and imagination grew and with that my passion for what I always knew I loved grew. M creative cup feels full of new inspiration and ideas for future makes and at the end of the day, I could not ask for more.