Monthly Musing ~ A Six Month Review

Helen Cloke happy new year review

Happy New Year, everyone!

A new year ticking over is as much about reflections as projections and so I thought I'd catalogue my achievements and challenges from the past six months of owning Nellie Joans.


~I created 6 x colour inspirations to inspire colour creativity and combinations.



~ I reviewed 6 x lingerie patterns in my Mini Review series



~ I started an interview series 'Meet the Maker' because I find it fascinating learning about other people and their craft.  Marissa, Stef, Kat and Lynda were all lovely enough to share their sewing lives.

~ I designed 11 x limited edition kits all named after strong, inspirational women.



~ I 'met' a whole bunch of new people, fellow sewists, through social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook @nelliejoans. I've loved sharing inspiration, ideas and questions with you all.

~ I designed a range of printed swimwear fabric!  This was so much fun and I love how it's all recycled, sustainable fabric too.


Certainly not to be called failures but there are definitely things that I'd like to work on improving over the next six months (or more!)

~ Photography

Oh my gosh!  Photography is really hard and was a big source of frustration for me.  I really know next to nothing about taking photographs and consequently it takes me a really long time to even achieve a photo that is halfway towards the perfect image I have in my head.  I struggle with composition, this can be obtained only after taking hundred of photos from many different angles and rearranging the items many times.  Mostly, I struggle with capturing the 'essence' of the product - if that makes any sense at all!  Hence why I don't model the finished sewn lingerie myself as I don't really need to add more pressure on myself to achieve the perfect photo.  It's tricky enough as is! 

~ Time

Sometimes things take a lot of time.  Like writing blog posts for instance!  I can generally write the post ok.  It flows along nicely if I'm in a writing mood.  However, once I count in proof reading (a few billion times) taking, selecting, editing and inserting photos and then formatting it can add up to a few hours per post.  Perhaps it is because I am a fairly new blogger and with experience I'll get quicker?  Regular bloggers - I'd love to know your thoughts.

Adding to the time suck is my part-time hobby job as a face painter.  I wasn't quite prepared for how busy I would get with that over December with all the Christmas parties and summer events.  I absolutely love it though and would never consider giving it up.  I'll just plan better for next year and pre-prepare as much of my Nellie Joans work as possible in the months leading up to the face paint rush. 

~ Techie Stuff

I'm no dummy when it comes to computers but I definitely jumped in the deep end with starting an online shop and all that entails.  It's has required a lot of learning and I am lucky enough to have a super intelligent, computer literate, app designing brother who helped me along the way.  I seriously could not have achieved most of the business without him.


I guess I could call my three challenges my 'resolutions' for the year.  It's helpful to have them recorded down here as a little reminder both to work on but also in how far I've progressed.  Who knows, they may be in my achievements list next year!

Thank you for following along with me and Nellie Joans; I appreciate your support and interest in what I do.  Happy New Year and best wishes for your resolutions for 2019! 

Older Post Newer Post

  • Lynda on

    Happy New Year Helen!
    Wow! You should be super proud of everything you’ve achieved in 6 months – I avidly read everything you put out there – I really enjoy your writing style and love all the new content. Can’t wait to see where you go in 2019. Congratulations!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published