Thursday, December 29, 2016

A new year, a fresh start 2017




At the end of 2016, it's time to reflect upon the past year and look ahead to 2017.


2016

2016 has been a good and busy year. We had a great family holiday to Japan, and plenty more family fun and experiences.  
Our girls had awesome years at school, achieving lots both academically and in all other areas too!



My blog this year

For me - it was a year when I put everything I could think of into my blog.  After 6 years, I feel like I've built it up into a great resource of sewing tutorials and upcycling inspiration. Slowly, over the years I've become more and more focussed with what my blog is about - and what I love to do. Sewing is not the main focus of my blog - although having created over 150 free sewing tutorials, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was!



I'm definitely an advocate of doing things in an environment friendly manner - reduce, reuse and recycle. But again this isn't the sole focus of my blog, just an aspect of it.

What me and my blog are all about is, 

Use what you've got

This is something I do and have always tried to do in all areas of my life. So here on the blog I sew and create things, 'using what I've got' on hand - materials and supplies I've recycled, been given, found in a charity shop etc.   In our home I try to use what we've got in the pantry, fridge and kitchen to make dinners, cakes, and snacks When we want things, our first stop is always to see if something we already have can be repurposed or reused before we consider buying.

I love to find and share stories - largely on Facebook, of companies and people I find who 'use what they've got'  - like the feature post I wrote about The Woolly Pedlar earlier this year - a lovely lady whose whole business is built on the concept of 
'using what you've got'!!



13 years of..

For the past 13 years I've been a stay-at-home mum. This was a conscious decision my husband and I made for our lifestyle. My 'job' if you like has been to be there for our kids - educating and supporting them in their learning and endeavours. I've helped them with projects, homework and extra curricular activities. I've helped out and volunteered a plenty at their kindergarten and school - everything from president of their kindy to manager of their sports teams.

In my time for myself over the years, I've renovated a couple of houses with my husband, and on my own I've built up a couple of blogs. This one - and also an education blog chronicling and sharing things I've done over the years with our girls to help their education and learning experiences. If you're interested to see that blog - go here to Be Our Best.


This blog - Creating my way to Success, started out as a hobby - somewhere to share my sewing creations, and has developed into a reflection of who I am and what I enjoy doing.  
I would love for this blog to be an income producing job for me - as I'm sure plenty people would love their hobby and personal interests to be. I've tried everything I can think of (and am willing to do) to make this the case, but sadly so far have been unsuccessful in making a lot of money from my blog. I do make some from advertising, and sales of my e-books; but most of this just goes straight back into the blog to pay for things like my inlinkz subscription that allows me to run my weekly Round Tuit linky party; ejunkie, that allows me to sell my e-books online, and then I also sponsor a WWF turtle monthly - using a little from the sales of my ebooks, and the rest from my Google advertising income.

I could go down the path of sponsored posts to earn money, but that's not something I'm comfortable with given my ethos of 'Use what you've got'. I don't want to promote all kinds of products that I myself don't use or wouldn't buy. Since a lot of my shopping is done at charity shops and I make things out of what I have and things like old clothes friends give me, there's not really much that fits my blog that I could comfortably promote and sell to try to make some money!

This year as I mentioned earlier, I've tried lots of new tactics to promote my blog. I've explored and pushed Pinterest, 

I ran a month long project with some blogging friends to use our social media followings to help promote each other's blogs - 


and also hosted a major Christmas project with other fellow bloggers too - The 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges.

I've revamped and reorganised my blog - shared, promoted, linked and done all I can think of. I've had some successes here and there, but not enough to justify spending so much time on my blog any more. I need to try a new tactic.
"Success comes from doing things differently"




2017

So, in 2017 there will be a big change for me.


Teaching!

Instead of doing casual work here and there and lots of 'volunteer work', I'm going back to a regular paid job teaching English as a foreign language.
After 13 years of teaching my girls, I'm looking forward to a new teaching challenge. The hours are within my girls' school days so I'm lucky with that and can still drive them around to all their various after school sports here and there and help out with those where needed.

So, this all means I won't have as much time to put into my blog and sewing.  I won't stop, but just do less.  However, having put SO much time into the blog this year and not seen enough of a return to justify the hours, I think that less time spent on the blog will be a good thing all round.  


Going back to regular paid teaching won't mean I'll be doing any 'more' than I've been doing, just different things. My hours will have to be a little more focused and a little less flexible, but again I think this may be a good thing and help me focus and maybe even get more quality stuff done!




My blog in 2017

So there you have my plan and big change for the New Year 2017.
I do hope you'll still come and visit my blog to see what I'm up to. I've got a list of several things I want and need to sew for myself and my girls this year; I'm going to continue my learning to crochet as I am enjoying it so far, and feel it's important to always continue to learn!  I also have plenty of tutorials and posts already here on the blog to share and browse through.


The Round Tuit party will still run each week 

and I'll still be on my Facebook page most days, sharing fun things, sewing, crochet and upcycle links and most of all ideas and inspiration to 'use what you've got'.

My final wrap up of 2016, was to revamp what my newsletter subscribers get when they sign up.  
There are 3 sewing tutorials, exclusively for subscribers.. The Kathryn Bag (a pretty handbag), a soft backpack and a pretty clutch.


I've now packaged these 3 free tutorials together in free e-book, which also contains plenty of ideas on how to 'use what you've got'; and a section on how to deconstruct a pair of jeans - one of my favourite things to upcycle as you can use every single part of them from the waistband to the hems and seams!

So if you would like a free copy of this book - then why not subscribe to my monthly newsletter and keep up with all the goings on here at Creating my way to Success in 2017?

So subscribe and get your free copy of my e-book:

How to turn what you've got into what you need




So how about you?

Have you had a good year in 2016? And do you have any exciting plans for 2017?  I'd love to hear what others are up to!







Monday, December 26, 2016

A Round Tuit 342

Happy Monday from Cairns!
I hope those who celebrate are having a great Christmas!
I'm having a lovely time with my family, but just wanted to open up the usual weekly Round Tuit party for those who still want to join in and share their creations! So let's get to it!


Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, this Cute crocheted pen holder from Kat Kat Katoen
A great way to use what you've got - just an empty jar and left over yarn!! I love it!!



For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post next week.

And I'll also pin each feature to the Round Tuit Pinterest Board.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2017

To all my readers, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas from here in sunny Cairns.

This video may have been made for New Zealand, but it gives those of you in the Northern Hemisphere an idea of what a summer Christmas down under is like!

Enjoy!!





Monday, December 19, 2016

A Round Tuit 341

Good morning from Cairns!
It's the last few days to countdown to Christmas now.
Our tree is up with presents under it, the turkey is in the freezer and we're all prepared - just enjoying the build up of excitement now! 
How about you?
Do you have any time left for crafting and sewing before the big day?
If you do - here's and idea for you - Christmas Mug Rugs!
Easy to make and a great stash-buster too!



So with the last Round Tuit party before Christmas - it's time to see what all you've been up to and any last minute Christmas crafting and baking ideas! 
Let's party!!

--------------------------------------------

Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, a gorgeous memory quilt from Pale Blue Corner.



Finally, an idea for making those Brussel Sprouts more exciting for Christmas dinner:
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Bacon from Simply Stacie.


For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post and my Saturday Spotlight feature post next week.

And I'll also pin each feature to the Round Tuit Pinterest Board.



Monday, December 12, 2016

A Round Tuit 340

Happy Monday!
I haven't got much new to share this week as I've just been enjoying the holidays with my girls, and getting on with my end of year clear out and organisation!
My girls did make me some more 
Garden Snowmen from old fence pailings.


And here's a nifty idea from last year for some cute fabric Christmas decorations you can whip up with your scraps!
Fabric Christmas Trees!


Now it's your turn - what have you been up to this past week? Let's get this party started and find out!

-------------------------------------------

Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, these cute 
Mickey and Minnie ornaments from The Country Chic Cottage.



Next, some rather tasty looking 
Peppermint Marshmallows from Home Cooking Memories




Finally, this awesome 
Candy Cane Yarn Bomb from Kat Kat Katoen.



For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post next week.

And I'll also pin each feature to the Round Tuit Pinterest Board.




Thursday, December 8, 2016

A flurry of snowmen!


Last month here on the blog we had the 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges. Each day the challenge was to make something for Christmas using what you had on hand.  
Challenge 5 was to take something from your shed or outhouse and turn it into a Christmas decoration.  I made a garden snowman from an old broken fence pailing.

It was so easy to make and looked so cute in the garden, that yesterday my girls made me a few more from other fence pailings we had!

They had fun making them - adding their own touches with different shaped eyes, noses and buttons!
So now we have a whole row of snowmen standing by our pool!


And some new solar lights to add to the effect!


Have you ever made any Christmas decorations from something in your shed? Or do you have any ideas or inspiration to make something this year?
I'd love to see other projects like this - so if you do have one, please link it up here and share it with everyone!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Round Tuit 339

Hello again and Happy Monday!
I'm currently enjoying the long summer holidays with my girls here in Cairns, and also the big countdown to Christmas! 
Here's what our Cairns Christmas Tree looks like down on the esplanade water front!  I love how tropical it looks surrounded by all those palm trees!
The whole area looks so pretty at night all lit up!



 In true Christmas excess mode we have not just one but 4 advent calendars on the go in our house!!  
All handmade - one by my daughter with pictures, one made by me years ago which has boxes for a little chocolate each day, another travel advent book that I made a couple of weeks ago which has Christmas jokes in and finally a maths one - which we did last year and they enjoyed so much we've done it again - solving problems each morning to unlock the chocolate in the box!!

I also made a few more upcycled reusable Christmas cards last week and packaged them up with the Christmas presents to be posted off to family members!



So what have you all been up to this week?  Let's get this party started and find out!

------------------------------------------------

Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, a neat idea for a Christmas Tree Shaped Bulletin Board for pinning your Christmas cards to from Jennifer Perkins.



Finally, this neat little DIY Art Caddy Tutorial from Gluesticks.


For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post and my Saturday Spotlight feature post next week.

And I'll also pin each feature to the Round Tuit Pinterest Board.