2016 | My Year in Review

Moving hosting and redesigning the website has taken the bulk of any time I’ve had for blogging this month, but I thought this post was still worth writing. Although I often think that I’m doing enough art-wise, and often beat myself up about it, this is mostly because I’m comparing myself to people who aren’t also working another full time job! And so, here’s my year in review…

And just like that, another year is gone. I used to be able to find time to come up with a word of the year, and big goals and plans for where I am going as an artist, but last year and this year I’ve not been able to find the strength/time/impetus to do that. I’m not sure why that is, but I can say that this year has had some family ups and downs that have taken more of my focus, and I’ll admit that I sometimes have worried that my spending too much time on Candied Fabrics has been a part of some of those downs. Whether that’s true or not, I’ve been spending less time dreaming up long term artistic projects and goals out of shear exhaustion and distraction. I need to continue to make sure my family is getting enough attention, and search for the joy in making that I sometimes loose in the midst of doing all the other parts of maintaining this artistic career of mine.

Now, I don’t want to be all down and negative, because life is good. And as people were shouting over social media how they couldn’t WAIT for 2016 to be OVER, I found myself realizing that personally at the end of the year, my family was doing quite well, and with all the ups and downs of our year taking a toll, we had ended up in a good place. (This is on our own, personal level. We are all worried what effect this new president will have on our country…) So I spent our vacation making sure to savor our togetherness and find a way to do something fun every day, whether it was baking bread for some montreal smoked meat sandwiches, or watching a movie (nobody but me had seen The Usual Suspects, that was fun to watch it knowing the ending and seeing everyone else enjoy it)!

What I thought I’d do is take a look back at last year and see what I really enjoyed doing, and then figure out if I can do MORE of that this year!

In January I started designing a Swiss Cross quilt for my bed. This would end up taking several months, but I really enjoyed the whole process of it. Although this pattern is all over the decorating/modern quilt world, I do think that I put my own, Candied Fabrics, spin on it. This involved dyeing a lot of greys, including testing the new pure dye “Neutral Grey”, and pulling together a nice bright rainbow of colors with lots of chartreuse!


February was a really family-centric month, the highlight being a trip to Chicago to hear hubby sub with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! I also spent a lot of time creating content for the Fiber Art Connection Online class that I taught.

March was spent finishing the Fiber Art Connection class. We also cleaned and repainted the laundry room. I’m still waiting for hubby to build a shelf over the washer and dryer, but it’s been so nice to do laundry in there now!

In April I wrote up my clipped zipper pouch for Modern Patchwork gifts and tried out some Swiss Cross quilting patterns on a pair of pillows that were birthday presents for Liz and Adele. We also travelled to Nashville to hear Liam play his freshman recital, which was great!

In May I made a baby quilt for Liam’s trombone teacher’s new baby Annalise; lo and behold it was a Swiss Cross because A) her mom follows me on Instagram and commented months ago that the Swiss Cross pattern would make a great baby quilt and B) I wanted to try another quilting pattern. I also designed and made several of my leather handled linen totes, and some indigo dyed zip and go bags as well. The show I made them for ended up being a dud, but that meant I have plenty of bags for the next show!

I’d also been working on my Dyeing 104: Multicolor Silk online class all year, and I finally finished it in June, hooray! (Note: that simple sentence summarizes SO MUCH WORK!) I had a great time lecturing and teaching at the Wandering Foot Quilt Guild in Orange County! I also taught a Free Motion Machine Sketching class at the Redlands Sewing Center and started my Indigo Improv art quilt series and made a really cool pillow for Liam’s bedroom.

Large Horizontal Silk Palette Collage


July found me with a featured artist show at the RAA; I made a lot of art really quickly (possible because I don’t teach at the University during the summer!). I was really happy with it, and had a quite acceptable amount of sales, hooray! I also taught a fun snow dyeing patio class and finally began making progress on my queen size Scrappy Swiss Cross quilt.

Usually we take a vacation mid-Summer. Alas, this didn’t happen this summer. Liam traveled to Canada for a 2 week music festival, and then Logan did some phys. ed summer school. That left very little time for an actual trip, plus our plans weren’t solidified early enough for me to find us a place to go, plus that whole son is in college so we have no money thing! Instead, Andrew wore himself out painting the house trim instead.

The schools start pretty early here in Redlands, so Logan started sophomore year August 10, and then later that month I helped Liam get settled into his new dorm for his sophomore year at Vanderbilt. Although we had some stressful moments because I’m not awesome at navigating, whether it’s streets or stores, and we had a lot of both to do, but we had a great time! He didn’t have all the activities that freshmen have their first week, and we moved him in the earliest day so we had a good couple of days to get things set up nicely! I also taught another Free Motion Quilting class at the Redlands Sewing Center,and finished up my scrappy swiss cross quilt!

I absolutely love this quilt, but as it’s been washed a couple times more since these pictures were taken it’s shrunk a little bit more, which I notice on the sides of the bed where it no longer touches the bed rails. The quilting pattern I used was quite tight, and although I love it, I think that’s part of the reason for the shrinkage.

Here’s a better look at the pattern:

September was back to the day job for me, and Liam traveled to Germany to compete in the Aeolus competition. That left little time for creating, because the first couple weeks of school are always rough for me, and I was occupied thinking about Liam the whole time he was gone, although it is now easy to tell Verizon you’re going to be in a new country and for a pretty small fee, your cell phone works just like it does here in the US, so that allowed me great relief! What dyeing/sewing time I did have was spent making more leather handled linen totes; and a really cool piece of indigo dyed linen was made into a fun pillow.

October was all about stocking my booth for the big 3 day Art Show I do each Fall, and then Hubby and I went to see Liam’s sophomore recital at Vanderbilt, and then all 3 of us at home contributed to Logan’s epic Halloween costume!

November had me traveling again, to Massachusetts for my Nephew’s wedding. Then I had fun with a commission for some sunglasses cases and some improve piecing that led to a cool table runner and basket for Liam’s bureau. Finally, I dyed a huge stack of napkins for our Festival of Pie, which was EPIC!

December had me making a lot of things for my Open Studio. Then I had a big commission for 8 Christmas stockings that kept me busy right before the holidays, pushing some of my Christmas present making until after the holidays, and then Christmas and the year is over!

My friends, I done did the things! I can’t tell you how fulfilling this has been to go back and look at all I’ve done, I find that I often focus on what I am NOT getting to do, when I obviously need to be paying attention to all that I DO get done! If you’re still reading, thanks for following along! NOW I’m ready for 2017!

4 Responses

  1. Dear Candy,
    Just reading about all the things you have achieved in the last year is exhausting! I am glad that you have found by looking back you are happier in yourself about what you succeeded in doing. You are quite right you need to look at what you have done not what you did not get done, especially when you set yourself such high goals in the first place. I really enjoy watching your progress and I am in awe with how much you do and how much support you give your family too. My production line of crafts is minuscule compared to yours but I definitely achieve a little more after reading your inspirational blog. Keep going girl, you are doing well!

  2. Candy,
    You’re probably a bit tired from reviewing all that you did! And you never kept track of loads of laundry, grocery buying trips, meals and the cleaning up afterwards. Plus you encourage as well as teach! If I lived down the street, I’d drop by with some chocolate and give you a pat on the back. Way to go!!
    Now, go get your feet up, a good cup of tea, and a nice movie. Relax tonight, or tomorrow night if you’ve already made plans for tonight!