Clever Chameleon Quilting: The Best of 2017
For me, 2017 was the Year of the Steep Learning Curve. This year I had the privilege of adding a HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen to my sewing room and starting a quilt blog – this blog. Both events have had their moments, but overall the journey this year has been marvellous! I would like to sincerely thank my dear hubby for his support in freeing up the time and finances to do both.
The Birth of Clever Chameleon Quilting
Clever Chameleon has just celebrated its 8 month blogiversary. Like a new baby, or an intense new romantic relationship, the passage of time on my blog is still being counted in months. Actually, come to think of it, a new blog is a lot like a new baby, or that intense relationship. All consuming, all hoping, no guarantees. Ecstatic joy, hard work, late nights, and those days where you just have no idea what you’ve done wrong! I hope that means with the passage of time this blog will also grow, mature, and become easier to care for!
In many ways I feel like I am still finding my voice, and my place in the quilt blogosphere. But I have discovered that I love blogging and sharing my quilting ideas. The planning and accountability that comes with blogging helps me focus in my sewing room. I have definitely become more productive. And I have also found connecting with other bloggers to be extraordinarily rewarding, even more so than I’d anticipated. Thank you to all who have reached out over the past 8 months and I eagerly anticipate some new and deepened connections in 2018. And thank you to all you amazing readers who have chosen to follow the Clever Chameleon in these early days….. The fact that there is over 150 of you now (WordPress + email + Bloglovin’) is so exciting!
My Five Best Posts of 2017
Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a party for everyone to nominate their best 5 posts for 2017. I think this is a brilliant idea. It is extremely interesting to see what other quilt bloggers personally liked from their own blogging journeys of 2017. And as a reader, it’s a really efficient way to discover new blogs and like-minded people!
I have chosen my Five Best Posts on a variety of merits….. so let’s start with the easiest to measure…..
The Most Read Blog Post on Clever Chameleon in 2017
This is indeed an easy pick. The stand out winner – by an enormous margin – is my tutorial on using greaseproof baking paper as an aid for accurate free motion quilting. This tutorial has been doing the rounds of Pinterest, hence the extra traffic.
The Blog Post that I Enjoyed the Most
My pick for the blog post that brought me the most joy has to be my contribution to the 2017 Ornament Exchange hosted by Erlene of My Pinterventures. In the end, everything pretty much boils down to a sense of community and connection, doesn’t it? The reason why this post stands out so much for me (while it may possibly not excite you so much!), is that I was very blessed with my allocated blog hop partner. Evija of From Evija with Love was a very kind and enthusiastic swap partner who sent me two lovely ornaments. I very much enjoyed designing this drum ornament especially for her.
The Blog Post that Taught me the Most
For this category I cannot name just one post, but I will nominate the first post of a very intense series of posts: 31 Days of Everyday Inspiration for Quilts. I decided at the very last minute to participate in an event I had never previously heard of, called “Write 31 Days”. It is an annual challenge to write a blog post everyday for the entirety of October. Since Paul and I were working away from home in Vanuatu for 2 weeks of October I thought this might be a good replacement for the lack of sewing. I learnt a lot about my capacity/limit for blogging in these 31 days. Near the end of this series I remember truly beginning to feel comfortable with my “own blogging voice”.
The “Defining Moment” Blog Post
I started the Clever Chameleon blog because I wanted to share my love for designing and colour and quilting more broadly than I can in real life. Only a very few of my in-the-flesh friends quilt.
Once I got started with the blog, I quickly decided to try a weekly colour inspiration slot to share my delight in playing with colours….. The very first of these was Butterfly Loves Red., way back on 23rd May (about a month after Clever Chameleon went live). Since then we have had almost 60 Colour Inspiration colour boards, many of which have been associated with quilt design ideas. Some of these ideas will eventually get made. Others have had their day and Colour Inspiration Tuesday got them out of my system. Either way, I enjoy my colour Inspiration explorations, and I hope you do too. But it all started with Butterfly loves Red.
The Post(s) with the Most Persistent Reader Engagement
Two posts from 2017 have consistently and persistently drawn reader visits ever since they were published. They have performed equally well, and cover very similar topics, so I have lumped them here together. They are Bugs and Gardens and Strawberry Vines. Both are tutorials for casual, free-motion quilting designs that I designed for use on children’s and charity quilts. I like these designs because they add interest to the quilt, they can be stitched quickly without requiring any marking, and they leave plenty of empty space to keep the quilts soft and usable for everyday.
So, that is my view of Clever Chameleon since I published my first blog post on the 26th April. Overall, 2017 concludes for me with a sense of accomplishment and healthy pride in a once-very-daunting task done to the best of my ability. And I have lots of optimism for 2018. Which leads me to my bonus pick…..
The Post that is currently generating the Most Excitement
In two days the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen kicks off. Which means I will release the first pattern for the Beary Colourful Quilt BOM as well. The lead up to this event has been very exciting, with lots of new followers coming onboard and my facebook page finally being launched. I have been putting out some sneak peeks on facebook for this event, which I will continue to do throughout the year, so if you like sneak peeks and haven’t liked Clever Chameleon on FB yet, you may wish to do so.
And speaking of two days time…… 2018, here we come! So, to wrap up this post I will quickly reflect on what I would like to achieve for 2018. I am not really a planning-in-detail sort of person, but I do have some things I would like to move ahead with next year. And it is always helpful to write them down and solidify them.
- This is probably the thing I want to achieve most of all in my sewing room. I want to finish 2018 with less UFOs than I started with. Simple. I have actually been chicken to confront this issue, as my UFOs have been weighing on my mind in a sort of shadowy, ominous way . I seriously hate wastage. But like most fears, it has turned out less bad than I expected. I actually did a count the other day and I have 13 significant UFOs – I tell you the weight of these on my conscience, it felt more like 130. I also have materials or part materials for 6 mythical quilts and I’d like to move some of these into production also.
- So, specifically pertaining to the UFO situation – I would like to finish one new quilt for my daughter. And one quilt for our bed. I have started two of the latter and never finished any! Yup, I don’t own a quilt for my own bed. Ummm.
- I will continue charity quilting this year. One every two months should be doable – I actually managed 5 quilts in 6 months this year. I only do the quilting on these charity quilts, other members of the charity group piece and pin the quilts before I get them.
- Design and run two BOM quilt along projects. One is well and truly happening – the Beary Colourful BOM starting Monday. The second, a joint project with Joy of Days Filled with Joy, is in the works. We are working towards a house BOM called Homes Full of Fun, and it should be a blast. Stay tuned for more about that one.
Becoming More Professional Goals
- In 2018 I want to develop my blog further. This year I have not made any attempt to get my blog paying for itself. Fun, yes! But sadly not a sustainable situation. Now that I am more comfortable with blogging, I will be more actively looking for financially rewarding relationships that also add value to my blog for my readers. Part of this will mean jumping into the world of affiliate links, of course I will let you know when I do that. And it is important to me that Clever Chameleon stays true to itself, so rest assured, there will be no sudden barrage of tacky advertising.
- My website will always be a living changing thing, but I need to specifically find time in the new year to make older content on my website more accessible – in 2018 I will be adding new menu lists for important posts, such as tutorials and BOMs.
- I need to stop procrastinating and write up some of my patterns for publication and/or sale on Etsy/Craftsy. I know that the first one is the hardest, and that once I start the dam will likely break. So, 2018 is the year to get started and formally publish something! Hold me accountable, please!
- In 2018 I will also take back my sewing room! It is time I treated this space more like a professional work space, which means some serious tidying up. I let it get bad when some deadlines got too tight, and of course, now it takes too long to find stuff.
And I want to Continue what I’ve Started Goals
- Maintain at least 2 blog posts most weeks, including Colour Inspiration Tuesdays.
- Continue writing regular free tutorials on small projects and quilting motifs.
So that is that for Clever Chameleon for 2017. I hope you have had a good year, but if not, that 2018 will be a big improvement for you. And I hope to see you all at the Monthly Color Challenge launch on Monday!
P.S. I’ll be linking this post up with the 2018 Planning Party at Quilting JETgirl as well as with the Best of 2017 at Meadow Mist Design.