Wowee! Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I really didn’t think I would make it to this point so hold on to your pretty little hats and make a big cup of tea – this is going to be a long one! It is the end of the road for the Create 28 blog challenge! Hooray! I am sat here in the Eliston Button Headquarters, coffee in hand, gazing at the blank canvas that this blog post currently is. I am gazing at the Create 28 banner for the last time and in turn gazing the potential of new adventures. New crafty goodness adventures, new blogging adventures and a new year of life adventures. When I post this it will be my birthday! I am now 28 years old. I created 28 pieces of art and crafts over the last five months. I probably had about 28 breakdowns in the process and equally, 28 breakthroughs. I thought that my ’27 before 27′ blog challenge last year was tough, I struggled, I won. I had no idea how easy I had it making 27 embroidered felt flower brooches in the same amount of months compared to 28 different things. Things that I didn’t know how to make, crafts that I needed to learn and crafts I had only dabbled in.
“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow” – Ronald E. Osborn.
Just like with my last challenge, the rush of excitement and positivity soon disapparated and left me wishing I had an invisibility cloak. I realised really early on in one of my many panicked, teary and snotty (they were oh so attractive!) meltdowns that I was never going to create 28 new and different things, photograph and edit them, blog about them, list them in the Eliston Button Etsy Shop as I went along (because, let’s be honest, last years “let’s list them all at the end” nearly killed me off!) and still be able to brush myself off, learn a new craft well enough to be able to want to share it with the world and start all over again. Oh. Dear.
Thankfully, my beaut of a fiancé came up with the live-saving plan of, rather than making a collection at a time of many items for one entry (see Gift Tags, Embroidered Felt Flower Hair Earrings, Hair Comb Slides, and Hair Grips,) to split them up and as long as they were different enough, then they could be a separate entry. Fabulous – I could get more done quicker and put more effort into each piece. Except that I still had to blog about each one, which don’t get me wrong, I love doing but it was taking time out of the actual making. This was surely going to be impossible!
So, I took some time out. I reassessed the plan. I very almost shut it all down and walked away. I then came up with a plan to fix all other plans – I could blog in groups. I decided to start joining similar items like my Pom Pom Garlands and Woven Wall Hangings together. They were different enough (in colour or pattern or design) to be classed as a different entry.
I was allowing myself that extra time, a bit of leeway, some space to breathe a little and get my head together between each creative adventure.
I learnt to let go of the little things, to launch each product, each collection into my Etsy Shop with confidence and with the knowledge that I had done my very best. It was at least more progress than not doing anything at all and the creative perfectionist in my head would certainly of not allowed that!
I started out by making a list of 28 things I would like to make, try to make or explore. Since writing this list, I have written and re-written it more times than I would like to admit. I have had to shuffle things around and give up some ideas entirely just to get to this point. I started off with a beautiful Emma Bridgewater planner that had every single days work mapped out, all embellished and marked out in Washi tape. I was so naive to think this would work out as planned. I forgot that sometimes life has a way of interfering, a way of spinning on its axis and turning your world around. I forgot that sometimes you just have to take a mental health day and recoup. I forgot that life isn’t as easy as it all looked in my pretty paper planner. Life happens and days or even weeks go by and you miss them…you simply blink and they are gone. I don’t know how I started out this challenge with days off in the week and lunch breaks! How did I find that time?
In the end the only way I could stay sane and my perfectionism stay at bay was to use a printout calendar and re-print as needed (which was a lot)
Even right up to the end, I was shuffling around ideas, getting rid of silly ones and re-making things into the night.
The further through the weeks I came, the less room for error I had which as you can probably imagine, increased the pressure and anxiety about getting it all done on time. I hit a lot of burn out smack in the face, I had days where the light wasn’t right for photography or Photoshop had crashed for the umpteenth time or because a craft had failed in epic proportions and I had to pull something out of the bag last minute.
It wasn’t until about two thirds of the way in to the Create 28 blog challenge that I became a lot more focused and a lot more organised (which is crazy considering that I am the most organised person I know – seriously it’s a bit obsessive!) Something clicked into place and I started to no longer dread the admin or the Etsy listings, I had my lighting issues a bit more sorted (thank you ever-changing British weather!) I would make a cup of tea, glance at my days to-do list and get stuck in. I started to really enjoy telling the story of each of my products. I loved imagining up different scenes and tales behind the crafty adventures and this started to show in my listings on Etsy too.
I no longer took a whole day just to write a blog post. I actually (in my opinion) wrote better blog posts. More to the point, more focused content, more deliberate words and actions. I started to get into a groove. I set myself mini goals and deadlines throughout each day. I had to get a certain amount written or made before lunch or my photographs taken and edited before my next tea break if I wanted a cheeky slice of cake! It sounds silly but by breaking it all down in to small bite-size pieces, I was able to tackle each part head on. I was able to control the anxiety or the stress. I gave my brain time to process each step rather than it get overwhelmed by a huge mass of them. I was kinder to myself.
If I had to work over a weekend (which became a more and more towards the end) then I had the strict rule of working one day and having the next day off to recharge before the next working week. I learnt so much about how I work, what clicks and what doesn’t. I learnt that if I work too hard or push myself far too much then my health suffers (Which sounds obvious now that I am not knee deep in it all) I have learnt that I need to take more breaks. I need to take days off. I need to spend more time looking after myself by taking time out accordingly. After all, I make the rules now! I have learnt (really quickly) that pressure will block creativity, that stress with keep hold of new ideas, that depression can take hostage of the joy it is to make things and play and create and live a creative life and that none of those things are worth losing such greatness.
This has genuinely been one of the hardest challenges I have completed and however mentally or creatively exhausting it has been, there is nothing like the thrill of seeing people like your work.
There is nothing that builds confidence more than when I get an email to say one of you lovely Buttoneers has bought one of my pieces and invested in Eliston Button…
There is nothing better than hearing your positive feedback and encouragement for my creative old soul. All of this allows me to put more time and money into building Eliston Button into the business I dream of and I can’t do any of it without you all. Thank you. Thank you so so much.
I love that I was able to explore old crafts, learn new ones, take many different creative adventures, revisit old loves and grow as a creative. Each time I launched a new item into the Eliston Button Etsy Shop or onto this blog, I had the same panic and nervous excitement that I had when I first launched this blog. So much of my heart and soul go into each handmade piece that I felt like I was bearing my heart and soul to the world each and every time. I didn’t get easier, I didn’t get braver. I hope I never do. I knew that each time I felt that feeling, each time I launched a new dose of crafty goodness in to the world and was scared, I was proud of it. I had put my whole self into it and that nervous excitement told me how much it all meant to me. It told me that I had done my very best and more often than not, a large part of me didn’t want to part with them all!
More than anything I am super thrilled I was brave enough to set sail away from my comfort zone. I love making embroidered felt pieces, but felt (no pun intended!) too comfortable.
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 am so glad that I explored more and developed my creativity along the way and in turn created some pieces that I never thought I could make.
Here is my final Create 28 round-up…Some are sold out now, some have or will be restocked but I would love for you to explore and take a crafty adventure with me in the Eliston Button Etsy Shop…
Looking back over all 28 of my ideas, designs and crafty makes, I am so proud of myself and of how far I have come to get to this point. Even a week ago I wasn’t sure I would be writing an ‘I Did It’ post! I so hope you have enjoyed following this creative journey as much as I have enjoyed sharing it. This post really has been a bit of a therapy session for me and I love a good bit if closure! I am super excited to see what is in store for Eliston Button in the future. I am excited to embark on new creative adventures and share then in this crafty little corner of the blogosphere! In the words of Edith Piaf and with a nod to my rather French inspired final Create 28 piece…
“Je Ne Regrette Rien”
– I regret nothing, but (much to my family and friends relief) I don’t think I will be embarking on another blog challenge for a long while…although Design 29 has a wonderful ring to it!
As for me, I am going to enjoy my day (Did I mention that it is my Birthday!?) and take some time off to take a breather for a while away from the blog and work etc. I intend to live a little, explore, embark on adventures, laugh a lot, figure out where I am going, gain some clarity and regroup a little. That way I can (hopefully) come back and give you my very best. Thank you so much for getting this far through this
blog post therapy session – How much do I owe you? – You my lovelies deserve a gold star! 🙂
I would love it so much to hear your feedback. What did you think of Create 28? Which was your favourite piece? Have you ever challenged yourself to something and made it across the finish line? I would love to hear all about it!
Don’t forget that the Eliston Button Etsy Shop will still be open in this time and I will still be shipping out pretty packages of crafty goodness all wrapped up in ribbon whilst taking my blogging break. Whilst I am out of the studio you can always find me on Instagram to see what I am up to and until then, I will see you on the other side 🙂