thinking about 2009

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I have been thinking for several days about how to approach my review-of-the-year posts. 2009 has been a very strange year. Over here in blogland, things have been mostly fantastic. But, the blog is sort of a Christmas letter version of my life. In my “real” life,  there have been challenges, anxiety, loss of some people I care about- my view of how my own future is likely to play out has changed dramatically this year. I am happy to see 2009 over. I have hopes for a new year- why does a new calendar year hold so much optimism? Anyway, here we focus on my artwork.

I started out 2009 thinking I would make it a year of challenges- every month I would identify something I’d like to accomplish but was difficult for me.

January- make a pattern. When PurlBee asked me in the fall of 2008 if I would make a pattern out of their felt, I said yes- my first challenge!  I worked on it in January and delivered it as part of a fun trip to NYC.

February- teach a class. I taught the tiny world class at the end of February- it was great fun.

March was suppose to be the month to get back to work on the studio room… well, I did get back to work on it for a while… but, got totally off track when I got a contacted by Etsy about doing the Handmade Portrait. After that, all my energy went into cleaning up the house and studio. Luckily I only had about a weeks notice- otherwise I would have made myself crazy! It was a while before I got back to work on the room again.

April was probably the last month I consciously thought about the challenges. I said yes to participating in this print show- yep, that was a challenge (and a distraction). And I got to work writing my first pattern for sale- the tiny world pattern. It felt doable after I saw what a great job PurlBee had done, writing up the directions and photographing the steps for my doll pattern. I used it as inspiration and a guide.

In May, I launched the pattern- it felt HUGE! Apparently I spent June making dolls. Funny thing about that!

July was when I took a class and the first steps into Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone- that was 30 hours of stress. But, it turned out I absorbed more then I thought when I went back to it in November to work on another pattern. I also managed to get the studio room to a point where I could start the move-in process.

August- So busy! 1. All my kids were home for a few days! 2. I worked on settling into the new room, then figured that I really needed to get back to work and the mess would settle out in time… still working on that. 3. I taught another Tiny world class. 4. My camera broke. 5. And the Handmade Portrait came out. 6. Peter left for college and we became “empty-nesters”.

September was a trip to South Carolina and working to settle into the studio. October, another Tiny World class and some tattooed ladies. Also, I started working on a new pattern- a kitty. I got the pattern finished in November- and my head swelled up to the size of a pumpkin because I was so proud of myself for managing to get it done using Photoshop and InDesign- with a little help from Kerry! And December was, you know, December. Crazy month of selling and trying to fit in family and friend obligations.

The biggest challenge always seems to be how to make a reasonable living doing what I love. Because this is my job. I don’t mind working really hard but I don’t want to burn out. I am always looking for ways that I can generate income that doesn’t mean making more dolls- like the teaching, the patterns, cards, etc. We’ll see what 2010 brings.

Tomorrow I will be doing a wrap-up of the dolls and tiny worlds of 2009. I always love seeing everything all together. Happy New Years Eve!