I can’t believe we are in December already and that it has been so long since I wrote a post that I forgot my login details! As you may have guessed this is a personal post.
I always think that these are a good idea especially if you are feeling lost or want to forge a new path forward in the new year. I was feeling pretty bad about 2018 and when I started looking at my year I realised that actually for the Notebook it was a pretty good one. So this is it, my look back at 2018 and thank you all for joining in my journey on the blog, podcast and social media. (Especially Instagram. I have a little soft spot just for all of you).
The first few months of 2018 went by in a blur between VA work and preparing for Woollinn. So much love, tears and gin went into all aspects of Woollinn is hard to sum it up in a paragraph but you can read about it all over here, as I think Kate’s video and photography captured not only Woollinn but the very historic Repeal vote happening that weekend here in Ireland. In particular getting to meet Kate O’Sullivan in person (again) and Ysolda (whom I finally got the courage to chat with). Kate put such time effort and detail in her work and creating a safe space in which to capture the weekend I’m still in awe of what she created and continues to create.
For me personally, I do particularly want to highlight two things from Woollinn. First, the Irish Panel were these discussion were a personal project of mine. I think we can all agree that each of the speakers needed more time and I appreciate the time they gave over to the panel. You can still catch the recording over here. Secondly, to top it off, the Woollinn team also chose my photo for the cover of their show programme (image above) which was a complete shock and it’s something that made me smile and led to a completely new direction for me in the way that I was creating and working on projects. Woollinn 2019 is shaping up to be even more amazing(have you seen the workshops?) so fingers crossed we have the energy and enough gin stockpiled to get to June 2019.
Echoes of Heather & Stone by Carol Feller
I won’t lie in that one of my favourite roles is working as a VA with Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches. I am constantly blown away by how hard she works and Carol has many times been the voice of reason in my own projects, lending her knowledge/experience. This book was a collaboration project that contained designs by 8 very talented independent knitwear designers. Why is this in my timeline? I got to write the introduction to the project along with providing a supportive role in bringing the book together and it’s an experience that still brings tears to my eyes. It’s also something that I can’t quite believe happened apart from the book sitting on my shelf (coughs, still unsigned by Carol cough, cough). My blog post on EHS is here and you can pick up a copy over here. This was definitely a personal highlight of 2018.
Evolution of the Cottage Garden
To keep it personal, in 2018 I managed to document the evolution of our cottage garden here in Ireland by joining in with the Six on Saturday series. Not only did this help in keeping on top of the gardening duties but also this was a huge help in practising and developing a photography style. Choosing just one image to represent this was extremely hard! In 2018 we finally got our greenhouse up and running and we tackled the front garden i.e the land that time forgot, just before the really bad winter weather descended. This means that in 2019 we have a smaller job of finishing the front of the cottage which means that I might get to share more of the interiors with all of you! Er…just not the house plants because I am Death (think Mort not a sexy lady of death from Manga) to all house plants.
Have you ever looked at Blog awards and thought “oh, yeah, that’s for ‘other’ people”. Yip this was me this year. I would never consider myself an award winner just an award dreamer. You know the ones who practice in front of a mirror with a box of roses? (I joke my kids wouldn’t let me, they would want my attention and the chocolate but one can dream right?)
This year was a really good one for me when it came to awards season. Not only did I get to rock up to the awards with the gorgeous Evin OK but I got to spend the night and chat with so many of my favourite Irish bloggers (Bronagh of Fox Hollow Style, Darren of Old Victorian New, Fiona of West Cork Fit and we somehow talked the ear off Patrick of PatrickMcLoughney.com) and I got to pick up a gold award for Best Irish Craft blog and a Silver Award for Best Irish Lifestyle blog (Personal categories). There were so many Irish Bloggers there from the Facebook group that it would take me too long to mention but I only get to meet them all in person at awards time so I’m sending you all a big virtual hug here. A big shout out to Creators.ie here as well and the gorgeous Sasha Kinch who is just fantastic in every way and I’m glad I got to meet you and take part in the Creators project in 2018. I also was one of the very few Irish Bloggers invited to the Veulio blog awards but unfortunately I couldn’t attend and I’m still a little gutted about that. Currently, I am also in the UK blog awards in both the craft and Lifestyle categories and if you like you can vote for me here and here.
Yarnporium for me changed everything so an enormous thank you to Alison and Rachel for the event itself and the wonderful vibe it created. It was so important for me personally to have all the conversation I had that weekend and to stay with the fabulous Angie (and Sarah who rocks btw) of Gamer Crafting and made my trip there possible. I was feeling a bit disillusioned when I went to Yarnpoium about my place in the craft industry and want I had to offer. I have been a supporter of independents but I was wondering just how to continue with the Notebook while allowing both it and myself to grow. Being at events like this one allowed me to chat with knitters, vendors, podcasters and more and because I’m not there in any capacity other than as myself I can enjoy my time with everyone. I also managed to take a photography workshop with the very talented women of Laine magazine which was very interesting to me and I’, still digesting parts of it even now.
In 2018 we lost Berry our family bunny and Berry was the reason I started blogging all those years ago. She was there when I joined the bunny Ravelry groups and became the reason that I met so many wonderful online friends. She was also quite the bunny starlit (Disapproving Rabbits, YouTube, Every bunny Counts Project) until we paired her with Ninja and she settled down. This post is really just a marker for everyone we lost in 2018, it was a tough year for both myself and my husband. It’s hard to celebrate the coming holidays knowing the gaps that will be there from those who are no longer with us. So for Berry, hop on little one you will always have a place in our hearts.
The Cottage Notebook Podcast had some wonderful guests in 2018 and since it takes so much to produce it will have a piece of my (and my husband’s) soul in each and every episode. a huge thank you to all the guests who gave up their time to take part and to all of the listeners of the show. As you can see it is on a little break but will be back in January 2019 with a series of 12 episodes. I spent a long time trying to figure out where I wanted to go and if I wanted to turn the microphone back on and it turns out that I create my best content when I’m angry.
I wanted to create a series that explored what we had started at Woollinn last year. I wanted these episodes to document the industry and community as it is right now from the discussions that we are having to our roles and responsibilities. When I sent out approach emails I was brought to tears by the responses from everyone. There is still quite a bit of research to do to complete this project but it is one that deserves the time and effort that an audio podcast demands. Recording on the project has started and as I already asked my guests to agree (with my favourite response to a longish pitch email being the two words “Heck Yes”) I have to finish this project yet but it was born out of everything that happened to me in 2018 so it’s going in here. I struggled a lot with the podcast and it’s place and function so for me to finally be sure about it’s direction and conversations I know now that I can dedicate my time to it with love.
Photography & Collaborations
To end this year post it feels fitting that it’s with my biggest achievements and for me personally that was in photography and the collaborative projects that it has led to. I got to work with some absolutely amazing people from Aoibhe Ni, Woollinn, JST Knitwear Designs, This is Knit, Stolen Stitches, Children’s Photoshoots and more. To be asked and trusted by people to bring out my camera and take images of their work is still something that stuns me when people ask. I would never have taken out a camera if it wasn’t for this blog and for Instagram so for me this is something I still can’t believe. I’ll leave you with some of my favourite images and thank you all, my readers, listeners, co-workers and followers for being part of my 2018 journey. I’m sure there are things I forgot to mention so leave a comment if you see a gaping hole that my caffeine starved brain forgot.
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