Reflecting on 2013

I am heading home to New Zealand for Christmas this year and I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon the year that has flown by.

It has been a good year, a year full of new experiences, lessons learned and growth in my own ability and knowledge.

I spent the first part of the year preparing for my first ever handmade and vintage fayre at Milton Keynes, I had to make a fair amount of stock in a short time, it was a busy time!  I also created my website and ETSY shop to coincide with the handmade and vintage fayre.Handmade Products

I learnt a lot from doing this fayre, most importantly was who my target market was and what items were popular. I think I also learnt, it is not an easy way to earn money but having said that, I reflect on the experience as a positive one for my business and the direction I want to head in.

Mosaic Collection

Mosaic Collection

I decided to focus more on my designing fabrics and build on my passion for photography. I put the cover on my sewing machine for a good few months and decided just to sell what I had left from the fayre on my website and ETSY stores.


I won’t lie, I can’t say I was rushed off my feet with orders but I did get a few from around the world which was nice, an Aotearoa lampshade is now in Australia and an Aotearoa cushion is now in America so my New Zealand inspired design has gone global! Well not really on a large scale but all the same it is nice to know your design that you work on for hours and hours to get right has been appreciated.

red and blue coin purses

The retro kitchenalia design coin purses went out to a lovely store in Leicester called Housekeeping. My first wholesale order and she found me through my blog which is wonderful.

road3 (1 of 1)

I completed a six week evening course with Inspired Light Images in the Autumn and loved every minute of the course. We had two workshops where we spent the day photographing and exploring the abilities of our cameras and getting a better understanding of how to get the best shot. I really enjoyed our workshop in Cambridge, it is such a lovely city and so many wonderful things to capture.


As well as the short photography course, I completed two online courses, the first one at the start of the year in Social Media Marketing for Creative Business which was a huge help to me to gain a better understanding of social media and how it works for businesses.  The second online course was through Skillshare called The Art of Typography and this gave me a real insight into typography and a desire to learn more in this area. I really enjoyed learning online and I got invaluable feedback from our tutor.

I recently completed a challenge set by the course tutor to come up with a Christmas card which was predominantly typography based. I love challenges and I also seem to like to make them harder than they probably need to be! I decided to carve my message out of rubber and stamp it on, scan it and then digitally edit it. Although it wasn’t easy doing the carving as I really should have gone out and got a bigger piece of rubber, however, it was fun and slightly addictive!

rubber stamp carved (1 of 1)

I want to do more carving and I am now wanting to do a short course in lino printing, something I have wanted to do for many years. I came second in the competition and received my winning prize of 10 of my cards printed up. It really made my day receiving them, seeing my own work on a card!

Christmas Wishes Card (1 of 1)

I have tried my hand at many different crafts this year and experimented with them to create some unique and sometimes useful pieces.


This woven small basket is made by old newspapers rolled up and woven and then spray painted white. The tutorial I did has been the most popular tutorial I have online and I am glad that I did give it go and it turned out. I would love to expand on this more but it is time issue with me, I have far too many ideas and never enough time!

photo (151)

And it was the year I finally completed my bird which I had started the previous year! Every little piece of leather and suede was hand cut and lovingly placed!  I have started a Robin but it will probably be next year when I finally finish him, they seem to be year projects so not really something I could make money from however, I do enjoy making them.

Finally, it was the year when we finally got to take ‘Pinky’ on her first camping trip!


We have since bought ‘Pinky’ a friend, a 1961 Split Screen VW Camper who is currently residing in South Africa whilst she gets a full strip down, repaint and new engine before joining us in the UK.

VW 1961 Split Screen (1 of 1)

We are hoping to purchase a 23 window 1953 VW Camper in the New Year but the person who has it up for sale is not sure whether he wants to sell as they are very rare. I am not sure where all these VW Campers are going to live or what the complete plan is just yet but there are more ideas on the horizon which makes life interesting and exciting! Ideas are what keep me going, inspire and motive me.

I’ve had a lot of fun exploring and developing my work and I can see more clearly the direction I want to go in 2014.  I will still experiment and try new things as that is my personality and it is how I learn and develop.  I am not going to say this is what I am going to do in 2014 as I feel that restricts your freedom of creativity and imaginative work.

I know one thing I will be doing in 2014 is taking a trip to Copenhagen and Ibiza, two very contrasting places.

For now, I need to do the dreaded packing, I head off to New Zealand on Sunday, we have four nights in Los Angeles so the kids are very excited to be going to Disneyland!  I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends in New Zealand.  I hope to post whilst away, they may be short ones, it will depend on time as we have a busy schedule and have a whole shipping container to try and sell in a week!

Thank you for reading and following my blog, I do appreciate the likes and comments.

And in case I don’t get to post before Christmas, have a wonderful Christmas!

About Melanie Paul

Welcome, I am Melanie, a freelance surface pattern designer and mum of two gorgeous children. This blog is a journey of discovery and appreciation into the world of arts, crafts, design and everything in between. I keep everything real and honest in everything I do. I hope you enjoy reading and please do comment or share, if you share, please link back accordingly.
This entry was posted in Crafts, Fabric Design & Illustration, Mixed Media & Experimenting with Acrylics, Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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