card making, crochet, cross stitch, illness, JJ Crafts, JJ Reads, Personal, sewing

Looking Backward

This is first half of my Looking Forward, Looking Backwards posts. The one focusing on the coming year will be up in a couple of days but for now, this is a look back at how 2016 was for me (hint= really quite good).

This might be quite a long post as I think this might have been my best year since first getting sick 9 years ago. I’ll split it up into sections and start with the simple stuff and hope you’re still around at the end!

Books and blogs

First off, I kept blogging (hello everyone!) I’m still mega proud that I’ve kept going and persevered. This little blog of mine is now two years old. Hopefully it’ll avoid the terrible two temper tantrums and keep growing.


I read 46 books this year which is the most I’ve ever managed and you can see my post about my bookish year here. I also started writing reviews for the books I read this year which is something I’ve never done before. I’m not great at them but hopefully I’ll get better and it’s something that I’m enjoying doing and also brings opportunities like being able to review ARC’s (or Advance Reader Copies) for Netgalley.


I don’t feel like I’ve had that many finishes this year but I actually have they’re just a bit all over the place.

I crocheted a scarf for my dad, a lap blanket for my mum and hat for one of my best friends.

I started using my sewing machine after a 5 year hiatus which is actually massive for me because I struggle to sit up for long but it’s all set up in the spare room and I’m able to squeeze ten minutes in here and there on good days and I’m so happy that I’m finally in a place (health and space wise) that this is possible. Because of this I’ve made two bags (okay they were from the same simple pattern but you’ve got to start somewhere) and quilted 2 1/2 table mats. I didn’t quite manage to finish the third one for Christmas but its my first attempt at quilting anything.

I bought a silhouette portrait cutting machine at the beginning of the year and started to design and make cards. I honestly don’t think I could count how many I’ve made this year and it’s been a very unexpected positive as I’ve never been into card making before.

I also started to design cross stitch patterns which is much slower going as not only do you have to design them (square by square) but you also have to test them to see if it looks right and I’m very slow at cross stitching due to having to take breaks. I’ve only managed three cross stitches all year.


Related to the last section, I also opened my Etsy and Conscious Crafties shops selling cards and the few cross stitch pattern I’ve done. It’s extremely slow going but I’m really proud of myself for finally taking that plunge and registering as self employed so that I can build up some years for my pension. Lord knows I’m not well enough to work any other way.

I also had my first couple of orders and I just want to say a massive thank you to anyone who has supported me so far. Not just to the couple of people who have bought things (you’re extra awesome for that too) but also for anyone who has shared or liked my etsy page. Heck, even if you’ve just clicked and had a browse to see what I’m up to. Thank you.



At the start of December last year I started to give writing another go having given up for a few years. It was my personal goal at the start of the year to write one chapter of a Harry potter fan fic a month. For me, trying to stick to that goal was massive and anxiety inducing and there were times I was so full of doubt that I wanted to stop but I kept writing and I am so proud that I stuck to that goal and of what I’ve achieved this year.nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

Not only did I keep writing that fic, but I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time as well. And beyond all my wildest goals, I won! (You can see my posts about nano here and here)

I ended up writing (roughly) 130,000 words this year. Having written nothing for a couple of years I’m just so mega proud of myself for that.

My harry potter fic is still on going (I’ve just finished writing chapter 20) and the original story idea that I cooked up during the summer and Nano’d is also still being written.

I can’t tell you how much of a thing this is for me. To go from really struggling to write one chapter of a fan fic a month to having the belief and dedication (and a handle on my anxiety enough) to keep writing and manage what I’ve done is probably the biggest achievement that I’ve had in a long time if not ever.


Life and illness

I’m going to keep this bit short because pretty much everything I mentioned is a comment of just how much I’ve managed to do this year. I’m struggling a little with anxiety of managing all the things which is so far away from where I was a couple of years ago when I was going bored out of my mind staring at the ceiling. I know that the only ‘pressure’ is me simply wanting to carry on doing everything so I’m trying to tell myself it’s okay, I can manage this, and not let myself ruin everything.

On top of everything else, I managed to leave the house ten times this year!

To put that in to perspective, before we moved here a year and a half ago now, I was only leaving the house two times a year.

And okay so they weren’t all the most exciting excursions (I went to the dentist and had a haircut) but some were. I went out for dinner a few times with visiting family (normally they all have to go out without me as its something I haven’t managed for a few years now due to my illness so I’m so happy about this), I went to the craft shop (twice!) and I managed to get to the beach across the road once.

That was a very long and happy post but the TL;DR is its been a pretty great (and very busy) year all things considered. 

How about you? How have your years been and if you had to pick one thing you are most proud of or your happiest moment of the year what would it be?

Bloglovin / Twitter / Etsy Goodreads / Ravelry

11 thoughts on “Looking Backward”

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