My happy, healthy Fozzy Bear

If I was going to describe 2011 in three words those words would have to be: unfinished, unfocused, but hopeful.

2011 was a very odd year.  Our dog Fozzy was very sick with a massive antibiotic resistant staph infection (think doggie MRSA) for nearly the entire year.  He came down with it at the end of 2010 and he didn’t really start to mend until this fall.  It was very bad and at points we were afraid we would loose him.  To be honest if it weren’t for the amazing vets at the NCSU Vet School, and Dr. Murphy in particular, we probably would have lost him.

And to be honest, that’s where most of my year went.  I didn’t go to Pennsic or Gulf Wars, we didn’t go diving, I didn’t accomplish much in the way of projects, and I really stopped blogging for all intents and purposes.  There just wasn’t much good stuff to talk about.

Thankfully though Fozzy is now fully mended and chasing the cat to his little heart’s content so 2012 is looking much more promising…

….provided those crazy Mayan’s are wrong. ;)

I went back to review my 2011 goals and planned projects.

2011 Goals

1)  Continue to improve fitness and fencing
2)  Have one sewing project a month
3)  Publish a new ebook every 1-2 months
4)  Be able to play 1 Elizabethan popular song by December

2011 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Manual In progress
Swetnam Training Manual In progress
14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook
New Rapier Armor
Shirt, Brais, Hosen
Charles de Blois Pourpoint
Edwardian Lingerie Gown
Arming Garments Class

What did I actually accomplish?  Well, I wrote an article on Monochromatic 16th Century Embroidery, two articles on the 1903 Savoye Corset, and finished hosen ebook, one commission, a pair of ventians, and a pair of trunk hose.  I also migrated my entire site to WordPress and I accomplished some cool real life things like starting an awesome new job, picking up two freelance web design jobs, getting my puppy well, and paying off debt.  I did start a 12th Night project, a pluderhosen project, a surcoat project, and a 3rd corset article…all of which need to be finished…very soon.

Highlights of the year though were Gaston’s Pelican, Wistric’s White Scarf, being approached about taking apprentices, and Christmas.

Looking over the past year has given me a lot of food for thought with regards to what I want to do in the new year.  I taking some time to really consider where I want to focus my time and energy but one thing is for sure…I have a lot of projects that need finishing.

Sometimes it happens.  You had this fab idea for a project.  It was exciting and it really got your juices flowing.  But once you got further into it you realized that it wasn’t quite what you had had in mind when you first got started.  It’s just not making you happy any more and you find yourself wondering if it’s better to trudge through and finish it up or shelve it until it does start to make you happy again.

I’ve been feeling that way myself lately.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it may just be better to shelve a project rather than to keep working on something that is no longer bringing you the joy it once was.  Sometimes its better to shelve it and free yourself up to take on other projects that will bring you joy.  After all, isn’t the fact that they bring us happiness and some measure of joy and fulfillment the whole reason we do these projects in the first place?  Besides there is nothing that says you can’t come back to that old project at a later date.

So I’ve decided to step back from the projects that haven’t been bringing me joy so that I can focus on the things that are.

What am I putting on hold?

  1. The eBooks. Working on them and selling them through the site just hasn’t been as fun as I thought it would be so I’m shelving the project.  What will I do with the two I already have?  I’m not sure yet but I’m pondering several options.
  2. The Flanders Gown. It was so much more fun when I started it but once the fur went down hill it just wasn’t as inspiring anymore.  Since all it needs are sleeves I will probably finish it but I’ll do something more simple that I had originally planned.
  3. Commissions. I’ve enjoyed working on the commissions I’ve taken but now that my most recent one is done I’ve decided to take some time for myself for a while.  I have about 20 buttons to make and that’s it.  I’m going to finish them in the next couple weeks and then I’m going to focus on some personal projects that have really been calling to me.  The calendar will probably open up again for commissions at some point in the future but for now I’m going to focus on personal projects.

What am I still deciding on?

  1. The Etsy Shop. I just don’t know what to do about it.  On the one hand I’ve enjoyed it and I have some big ideas for changes to it but on the other I’m not sure that the things I want to produce fit in best at Etsy.  Still pondering this one.

What am I going to do more of?

  1. Fight. Fighting has been bringing me a lot of joy lately and I want to free up more time for it.
  2. Sew and Embroider for myself. I have several personal sewing projects that are calling to me.  Plus less free time has meant less time for my embroidered jacket.  I worked on it recently and it reminded me how much I’ve enjoyed this project and really want to free up more time for it.
  3. Enjoy the fresh air and warm sun. This winter was rather stressful but the thing that always made me feel better was going outside and walking around the building.  Now that its starting to warm up being outside is even more pleasurable.  I want to spend more time outside, go to fighter practice in the daylight, move my workouts outdoors, and get in a little diving.  I can’t wait for Spring.
  4. Write. I’ve really enjoyed the FR and YWU articles that I’ve written and I have several ideas for new tutorials and HMA articles that I’ve been neglecting.  I have two more FR articles in the works and I want to get started on at least one of the HMA articles after Ymir.  I might even see about teaching at summer University.

For those of you who may have missed the announcement last night, my 14th Century Cloth Hosen Tutorial is now available for purchase.

February BOGO Special!

From now through February 6th at midnight if you purchase one of our tutorials I will email you the second tutorial for free!  All you need to do is fill out the email field during the check out process with the email address you want me to mail the tutorial to.  Once your payment has processed I will email you the 2nd tutorial*!

*Please note you will still download the tutorial you purchased from my site by following the link that will be emailed to you once your order has been confirmed.  Please feel free to contact me at alison [AT] elizabethanmafia [DOT] com if you have any questions.

It’s the Monday after New Year’s and I’m back at work.  It was a truly lovely holiday.

After posting my 2010 retrospective Saturday I spent the rest of the day relaxing with my hubby and friends.  It was wonderful.  Over the last year I’ve begun spending more and more time on commissions and freelance projects and while I have really enjoyed them and the opportunities they brought with them I realized that I needed to make sure I still make time for spending with family and friends.

I have three goals this week:

  1. Get over the cold I picked up from the nephews at Christmas.
  2. Go to fighter practice Thursday.
  3. Finish setting up my drill space.

At some point I need to practice my guitar.  I think I can do that.

It’s New Years Day which means it’s time look back on the projects I’ve finished and the goals I set for myself over the last year and start planning out the ones I want to work on this year.

2010 Goals:

1)  Continue to work on my physical fitness and fighting.
2)  Only have one embroidery project at a time.  Until it’s finished this means my jacket.
3)  Do more sewing.
4)  Learn to play 2 pieces of music appropriate to Elizabethan England by Pennsic.
5)  Spend more time with my students.
6)  Continue to post Silver and Swetnam installments weekly.

I had a lot of false starts with my first goal of working on my physical fitness and fencing.  I would stay focused for a few weeks and then drop off.  I was really disappointed with myself in this.  These were really important goals for me and I let myself set them on the back burner over and over again.

I did OK with goals two and three.  I couldn’t maintain working on a sewing project and an embroidery project at the same time but I did enjoy more sewing projects this year and kept myself focused on the one embroidery project (my jacket) even if I didn’t get as far on it as I would have liked to.

I wrote about goal four recently already.

I did enjoy spending more time with my students both on and off the field this year and I’m looking forward to even more next year.

I did not continue with my Silver and Swetnam series mostly because I’ve decided to change those projects slightly.  Instead of working on them in a series I’ve decided I want to publish them all at once.

2010 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010

Green Linen GFG Finished! September 2010
Burgundy Linen Effigy Bodies Finished! October 2010
Recreating Elizabethan Bodies Tutorial Finished! October 2010
Monochrome Embroidery Tutorial Finished! December 2010
French-Cut gown
A new linen suit
Natural Form Gown

2011 Goals

1)  Continue to improve fitness and fencing
2)  Have one sewing project a month
3)  Publish a new ebook every 1-2 months
4)  Be able to play 1 Elizabethan popular song by December

In December I rededicated myself for improving my fitness and I’m pleased to say that I was able to stay pretty straight and mostly narrow even through the Holidays.  I have also begun outlining my plan for working on my fencing one already and I plan on discussing them in more detail when their more firm.  My first fitness and fencing goals revolve around Gulf Wars and I will be discussing them in future posts.  My other goals are all pretty self explanatory. In order to keep myself on track and focused I’ve decided to keep my total number of goals this year lower than last and I will be posting monthly updates.

2011 Planned Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress (Started August 2009)
Flander’s Gown In progress
Silver Training Manual In progress
Swetnam Training Manual In progress
14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook
New Rapier Armor
Shirt, Brais, Hosen
Charles de Blois Pourpoint
Edwardian Lingerie Gown
Arming Garments Class

The first non-fencing related projects I will be working on are the 14th Century Cloth Hosen ebook and finishing my Flanders Gown.