Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2015: photographing, writing, accessorising, sewing and sobering

Ah, resolutions. The way I look at New Year's resolutions, it seems they are admirable life goals that all have one thing in common - they are so ridiculously admirable that they're virtually impossible to achieve. And if they weren't, you would probably just do them at any old time and wouldn't have to keep setting the same challenge at the start of every darn year. Case in point: every year, I resolve to drink the recommended amount of water every day. Every year, I do this for approximately one day, get taken aback by how little my bladder can cope with the sudden influx of fluid and revert back to my bad old 'a few cups of tea a day will do it' ways the very next day. Every year. No matter how good my intentions, turns out I really like tea and water just takes up space in my body that tea could have. But also, this goal is just too extreme a change to keep up - it would be more sensible to set the challenge of drinking one more glass of water a day - that, I might actually do (note: I probably wouldn't make it to February).

However, in 2014, I set myself some goals, partly linked to this blog. And the great thing about these was that they were achievable and the fact that I'd shared them publicly meant I was about 99% more likely to do them. Because, turns out, I can use my fear of failure for motivation - and there's no more public arena of failure than in front of the whole internet. Not that I'm ever expecting a reader to grill me on which resolutions I kept - it would be very strange if any of you even remembered I wrote them in the first place. But still, you could. And apparently that's enough for me!

For the record, I have basically kept most of them, although with varying degrees of success. I've worked hard on improving my blog images, I've bought things that weren't pencil skirts, I've shared more of my life (whether you cared or not!), I got over my dental angst and restarted my Invisalign treatment and I did take better care of my nails generally (they even had nail varnish on them about 50% of the time). 

So, here's 2015's goals...


Keep up the good photography work

In early 2014 I got a DSLR and an attitude change towards the pictures I put on this blog. Putting up dark, blurry photos taken in my bedroom frankly started to depress me because that's not what I wanted this blog to look like. I would never say you need a camera like mine (which, by the way, was the cheapest possible Canon DSLR) to have nice blog images, but in my case, it both helped and was the huge investment I needed to trigger a change in approach mentally. I go into 2015 with a brand new lens (thanks, Santa!) and I can't wait to get to grips with it. Oh, and expensive equipment and learning how to use it isn't the only key to continuing to improve my image quality - I also need to stop getting so nervous before shoots that I'm miserable in 90% of photos. B has become a bit too well acquainted with my 'when will this be over?' face.


Write more, write better

Over the last year I've tremendously increased the number of blogs I read and it's taught me one very important thing: I pour so much effort into my pictures I've forgotten to give any thought to the writing. In a time long ago, I thought I wanted to be a writer - all it took was a degree minoring in creative writing to knock that out of me, but writing is still something I can enjoy - particularly if I'm not then forced to analyse my authorial intentions in a 2000 word essay. And it's taken too long to realise that I can love to write again on this blog, as I've become so wrapped up in the images. Although I work full-time, 8 hours a week are spent sitting on a train with my phone and there's no reason I can't write this blog then, although please, Google, improve your AWFUL Blogger app!!


Remember to accessorise

Ok so it's not really that I outright 'forget' to accessorise my outfits, it's more that I've had a fairly lacklustre approach to it in recent years which makes it look like I have. What's actually happening is my money buys all the clothes and not the things to go with them (it's the money, you understand, not me). Towards the end of 2014 I did make a real effort to buy a few more bags - we're talking Primark largely, so I'm hardly breaking the bank here... and the difference it made to the choices for my outfits was great. Because, what essentially happened, is that there were more things to match other things to. And yes, for the 100th time, I'm obsessed with matching. And this doesn't stop at bags, there's so many ways to add extra levels of interest (and matching) to my outfits out there... I particularly see the appeal of scarves and brooches, which again Christmas has helped me out with (as all will be revealed).


Master basic sewing

Something else Santa - or rather, B to give him due credit - gave me is my very first sewing machine. Currently, the only thing I can do with a piece of thread is re-attach buttons. And I'm fairly sure I'm not the best at that. This is partly because I'm incredibly impatient and once I've failed to thread a needle five times I'm likely to have a hissy fit and give up, but also because I've simply never learned to do anything more skilful. So, the aim is to self-teach at least the basics so that I stop spending so much money on the same simple alterations time and again (basically, shortening everything). As I said recently, it really is bad when your tailor knows your measurements by heart. However, it's fair to say I'm starting from a point of zero skills and having had a go at re-hemming already - took all day, punctured thumb deeply with needle twice, result is wonky, patchy and looks awful - this one has failure potential written all over it!


Not just Dry January... Dry 2015

Cancer Research UK is trying to get the nation to quit the drink in January, but I'm looking to go bigger and give it all up for the whole year. While I'm not a big drinker currently, I am very socially awkward and I appreciate drink's transformative powers to make me a more outgoing, bubbly, generally more-tolerant-of-other-people-I-have-little-in-common-with person amongst others. And I really like a spiced rum and coke now and then. However, it's come to the point where my body's refusal to process alcohol without making me feel very poorly - especially after wine - is probably something I should stop ignoring. I don't know what my problem is (answers on a postcard please), but I do know it's not normal to throw-up after one glass of wine - I mean I know I'm small and a lightweight, but seriously, a mouse could probably hold its drink better. So I write this intention to at least try to be alcohol free for one year to see if I can do it and then, if I can, if I can sustain it in the years to come. I think my body will really thank me for it... Well, it hopefully won't vomit, which is all the thanks I need.


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19 comments:

  1. A very inspiring post all round! I think your photos are ace, some people need less water than others, and writing on the train is a good idea. When it comes to sewing, I can give you my tuppence of advice! I think my top tip in learning to sew would be to go to a class (one with small numbers, I went to a big one and learnt nothing, went to one with 6 of us and learned loads!) or to join a sewing club. There's bound to be some around if you look. Or do you have any friends that sew? How about a monthly sew and chat session? Also, practice on cheap stuff from the car boot sales or charity shops, that doesn't matter if you mess it up!! I haven't written a goals post because I haven't decided what they're going to be yet, but writing more is perhaps one to get back in to. That's why I started my blog, to keep practicing writing! I did well with short stories and poetry a few years ago, but haven't entered any contests recently. Anyway, babble babble about myself, sorry. I just think we have so much in common, apart from the height thing obviously ;) x

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    1. B suggested I go to a sewing class too - but that's a good tip about sticking to a small one. I'm not really one for clubs, but the class I could do if there was one I could make around my unsociable work-commute hours (always a problem - I want to do swing dancing and take up French again and literally can't!). I don't have any local friends that can sew unfortunately :( I tried practicising my hem job on a cheap skirt I bought specifically for the purpose... but then when the skirt arrived I loved it so much I got really upset when I ruined it! Darn it. I used to write a lot of the same sort of thing too - although actually those days are probably past me, I still like writing generally! And yes, we do have a fair few things in common and you've just reminded me I meant to message you about something x

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  2. I'm excited to see if you'll do anything past hemming with your sewing machine! If you need any help or guidance with projects, I'd love to assist--sewing with others can be such a joy! As for the hems, depending on what you're hemming, you might want to look into bias tape--you wrap your cut-off edges into the tape, sew it on, and fold your hem over and sew again.

    I'm not sure if this is the professional way to do it, but as soon as I discovered that I didn't have to cut and fold fabric over twice to hem something, you can bet I jumped on board with that idea!

    Demi | carbonchic.com.au

    P.S. To minimise puncturing yourself with the needle, try keeping your fingers flat against the plastic of the machine when you're feeding your fabric through when the machine is in operation. Get into a habit of only lifting your fingers when your foot is off the pedal, haha. Slow and steady wins the race ;)

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    1. Ah that's so sweet of you! If only I could magic you halfway round the world to teach me in person!! Bias tape isn't a bad idea, although my problem wasn't even folding a hem over, it was that I literally can't sew in a straight line to save my life. Slow or fast, it seems to be beyond me! And yes, I was using the gauge to help judge!! Thanks for your anti-puncturing tips, but believe it or not both times I stabbed myself the needle wasn't actually moving -_-

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    2. Haha! (I'm sorry, that made me laugh a little bit :P) Everyone has to start somewhere--I used to suck at sewing on buttons and now look at me sewing clothes for myself from scratch! I have no doubt you'll get better at it in no time, you just need a bit of confidence in your abilities :)

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    3. It probably made my boyfriend laugh too on the inside, but if he'd have laughed out loud he knows he would have suffered for it :) ah I'm reassured to hear you weren't a natural considering how great you seem to be now. Surely I can get there... surely?!

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  3. Good luck with the sewing! it takes a lot of practice, but it's so fun. I have butchered many tote bags, stuffed toys, blankets, etc in the process of learning. Also, hemming is really difficult. Brother machines are so super easy too, so a good one to learn on! I recommend the sewing blog Noodlehead, which is really inspiring and has lots of easy beginner patterns to try your hand at.

    P.S. Why is the Blogger app so terrible? It's completely useless.

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    1. Ah, but have you butchered yourself? I seem to be an expert at that already! Glad that you also find hemming hard - I really thought I must be incredibly stupid as it looks so easy on YouTube! Thanks for the tips - and also, do you have a blog and if so how did I not know this?? That app is the worst app I've ever used. It makes typing SO HARD.

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    2. I have butchered myself, repeatedly. Also, I can't believe I forgot to recommend this sewing blog, which is advanced but you might like her vintage style: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/

      I have a blog on which I very occasionally post photos of my cat. Nothing much else!

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    3. Thanks and crikey - she can sew her own lingerie?! That's hardcore! And I still want to see your blog :P

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  4. I really like all of your resolutions. I think you do a great job with the photography on your blog (actually, getting a DSLR is at the top of my list for things I need this year), and I like the level of thought you put into coordinating your outfits and accessories.
    I think tea has to count as water, especially if maybe you drink decaf or herbal tea once in a while. So maybe just have a couple of extra cups of tea a day...

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    1. Thanks, Jessica! I'll take any compliment I can get on the photography because it's been such a huge effort and I've come such a long way. I don't think you were reading back in the dark, dingy bedroom days ;)

      Tea better count as water or I literally never drink anything :S decaf is a good idea though - I've been meaning to try that anyway!

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  5. Really terrific, achievable goals and aspirations, sweet gal. I love that you're thinking about putting your commute time to work for your blog. If I was commuting to work on public transit, I know I'd be doing the same thing, too. There are various third party apps and sites that you can use to pen posts in and then just transfer the drafts to blogger. I've been using Window Live Writer for years to write almost all of mine in and really like Evernote for note taking/general brainstorming before I hit the concrete writing stage. Even good ol' Google Docs can be helpful for either purpose.

    Wishing you the utmost of success with all your 2015 goals!
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Those are great tips about using third party apps - I don't know why I didn't think of that! I'll have to check them out. I do love Google Docs, but it's not so great for the phone... or wasn't last time I tried anyway... x

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  6. these are very good resolutions! I can relate to most of these...might take some inspiration from you, hmm...

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  7. I really like the honesty of your post. It's great that you fulfilled your previous resolutions in relation to your blog. The images you feature on the blog are absolutely lovely and very professional-looking. I never would have guessed you feel nervous beforehand. I also like the idea of making our resolutions less daunting, by breaking them down into manageable parts.

    I also studied English Literature at university, and while it did make everything super-analytical and felt less fun at times, the great thing about having a blog is being free to write whatever your heart desires and essentially self-publish. Looked at from that point-of-view, I'm certain you can rediscover your love of writing, as you write very well and it would be a shame to overlook that.

    Saba

    www.trulymadlydeeplyfashion.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. That's great to hear - I definitely find taking a set of photos on the challenging side. The more I do it, the easier it gets, but if you're in a public place it can make you feel incredibly silly, I find!

      Thanks for your lovely comments about my writing - glad you like it, I'm certainly trying harder than I did in the past to make them more interesting and coherent :)

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  8. Great blog post and goals! Getting a DSLR was up the top of my list and I was lucky to get one last year, also a Canon camera! They are great xx

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  9. I think your goals sound super, and hopefully you'll enjoy pursuing them! Personally, I also like sharing my goals on my blog to help my keep with them, although I don't share all of them because usually there's too many....

    I do have the goal of saving for a new lens for my DSLR, because I've not been happy with the quality of my blog pictures either. I can't wait to see what you come up with when you practice your photography, I think your photos are so pretty already. :) ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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