Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 - The Year of No Goals

Table of contents:

Click a picture to see the related blog post.

Year of 12 Jackets and Coats

You may recall that last year I joined the "Year of 12 Jackets and Coats" challenge on Stitcher's Guild. I completed 8 jackets. I started (and made good progress) on more than twelve, but I now have several UFOs.

hanging head in shame

Why so many UFOs?

Well, a variety of reasons. For two of them, I needed more supplies and they languished (and lost momentum) while I waited to acquire said supplies. One was too oversized and needed major alterations. One had "bleh" issues and another had issues relating to my alterations.

So, there you go.

In fact, because I did not finish this goal, nor did I finish my Autumn 6-Pack (though I came close), I decided, no more such commitments in 2012. Despite the fact that "Shirt of the Month", "Pants of the Month", "Top of the Month", (not to mention the 2012 Swap), are proliferating on Stitcher's Guide, I am resisting. It does not help my creativity when I start to feel pressure to complete something in a specific time.

We'll see if this helps my floundering mojo. Yesterday I had to take to my bed with a full batch of fudge, so I can use some mojo resuscitation.


I must be one of the last people around who has talked about Pinterest, at least on my blog.

Have you used Pinterest yet? Have you heard of it? I resisting signing up for it, at first. For a couple of reasons. First, the idea that everyone could see what I was pinning creeped me out a bit. If you didn't know, Pinterest provides a facility for creating virtual bulletin boards. You can create any number of bulletin boards, with any categories you wish. You can then "pin" any picture you see on the internet to one of your bulletin boards.

When you pin a picture, Pinterest saves a copy of it, so even if the web page goes away, the image is still available on your bulletin board. If other Pinterest members like what you pinned, they can "re-pin" it to one of their boards. Or they can "like" it. They can also comment on it.

The other reason I was reluctant to join, is that you are required to create an account using a Facebook or Twitter account. But once you create a Pinterest account, you can "unhook" your Facebook or Twitter account, and you can create a pseudonym, so you don't have to use your real name or have it exposed to the world. I did this immediately, so my Pinterest name is "Shams", as it should be. :)

I should also mention that you either register a request for a Pinterest account, or you ask someone who *has* a Pinterest account to extend an invite. I registered a request and it took only a few days, but I am happy to invite anyone who is interested, until I run out of my allotment. Just drop me a line, or leave me a comment.

Having said all that, I have been using Pinterest now for several months and I find it to be an invaluable tool. I have learned about new shops, new products, new creative ideas. Let me give you a few ideas about how I use Pinterest.

First, I created bulletin boards based on creative things that interest me. For example, I have a "stripes" bulletin board where I pin images of clothing that use stripes in interesting ways. I have a "polka dot" board. I have a "techniques" board, where I pin techniques I have come across that are interesting. In this board I have pinned various youtube videos as well as other techniques I have found on blogs and whatnot. This is one of my favorite boards. I have a "recipes" board of recipes that look yummy, and a "healthy recipes" board for when I don't want to be tempted by the unhealthy yummies. :) I have a board for saving cool ideas for a Sewing Room. You can pin just about anything!

Whether or not you create your own boards, you can then follow other people. You can choose to follow an individual, so that you will see anything they pin to any board. Or you can choose to follow specific bulletin boards that they have created, so that you see new items added to those boards.

I have used the "search" feature to find some of my favorite pinners. For example, by searching on some of my favorite brands of clothing (like Oska or Eskandar) in the search field, I found Karyn A, who has a fabulous sense of style. At least for what I like. :) I don't know Karyn personally, nor have we ever spoken. That's the way it is on Pinterest. You aren't "friends" with the folks you follow, or the folks who follow you. You are interested in what they are pinning, and that's as far as it goes, at least inside of Pinterest. It is not a "social app", the way Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, are.

So, not only can you search for things, and follow people and their boards, but you can see what sources people are using for their pins. I find this to be one of the most fun ways to use Pinterest. For example, say you love clothing from Anthropologie (as many pinners do). You can find out what people are pinning from Anthropologie by entering, in the URL window of your browser, the following string:<website>/. Where it says <website>, enter So it would look like this: You can now see what other folks have pinned from Anthropologie's site, even if the items are no longer available on the Anthropologie site itself.

I have spent a lot of time playing with this feature and it's very fun. If you have a blog or a website, you can see what people are pinning from your site. I've provided a few sites for you to get started:

Anyway, you might see that Pinterest can be an addictive site. I don't tend to spend a lot of time on it myself, but I find it to be a wonderful resource when I do browse there. I do often find that their servers are slow, or down, so I presume these are just growing pains and that it will improve over time.

Just be warned, it can be quite addictive. :)

Funny Video - "Like the Costume Fairy, Only Taller"

Finally, one of my Facebook friends posted this very funny video on her wall. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!


  1. shams...I have been reading since finding you through pinterest :-) but I don't have an account. I would like one, if you don't mind extending an invite. My

    Other wise, your year has been so productive and so inspiring for someone that is back to sewing.

    Happy New Year!


  2. Great video - even Ian laughed!! I was asked to make a 'big' wedding dress without a pattern by a customer who's budget was - wait for it . . . £50 moving on. Thank s for sharing the round up of jackets /coats it's really impressive you made so many to such a high standard and which all fit you so well. I hear you re sewing without major goals next year, but I do need some sort of plan or else I will end up with a load of miss-matched garments again! Really looking forward to reading your blog next year. With very best wishes x

  3. Thanks, Maria! I have invited you. :)

  4. Thank you for the link to the video, it is funny! Thank you for sharing your sewing too, you've been a great inspiration for me this year. I love everything what you sew. Happy New Year!

  5. Great video and thanks for all your inspiring blog entries this year. I'd like to take you up on your pinterest invitation offer.

  6. Thanks Pin Queen and Yoshimi! Pin Queen, I'm a firm believer in "whatever works!" so I wish you well in your goals!

    You are inspiration embodied, Yoshimi. I am honored if I have inspired you.

    Erisagal, either send me email (my profile has an address) or leave your email address in a comment. I will send you an invite posthaste.

  7. You've had a wonderful year! Thanks for the links to your Pinterest boards. Your images of stripes are incredible! So much inspiriation there.
    And I really like the way you explained Pinterest. I don't yet use it as fully as I could; still getting used to it.
    I am so glad you blog! You have a lot of fresh inspiration to share.

  8. All of your jackets are wonderful. I especially like the first and the blue with the asymmetrical zipper.

  9. I definitely understand the attraction to pin interest but I need another Internet diversion like I need a hole in the head. And I feel you on the sew-alongs, I won't be joining any of them either! However, I love your coats. So even tho' you didn't make 12, you did end up with 8 amazing coats!

    Happy New Year to you too!

  10. Oh your jackets are just spectacular! I laughed so hard at your video. i will surely share this on facebook and Pinerest. I also love Pinerest, but it is so addictive.

  11. Your jackets are absolutely awesome. I am definitely inspired by all your sewing projects. I have yet to sign up for any sew-along type thing, because I just know that I will not follow through, even if the idea is initially intriguing. I can't seem to follow through on my own plans!
    Have a wonderful New Year!

  12. What a great explanation of how to use Pinterest! I started out pinning things and following others' pins, but forgot about it after a while. Like Carolyn (cmarie12), I don't need another internet diversion...but maybe I'll give it another try.

    Your coats are gorgeous...but I hear you about the pressure of joining a "Something Handsome A Month" (SHAMS, of course). I have enough self-imposed pressure...

  13. You have had an enormously productive year, not to mention the very high standard you set for completed projects. The 1 yr/12 jackets plan appealed to me at first, but then seemed just ludicrous, in spite of the potential motivational benefits: My closets are already full of coats. I definitely didn't need twelve more, especially not twelve produced in one year.

    That said, I am doing Sewaholic's Minoru Jacket sew-along in January, but the pace looks nice and slow, and it's only one jacket . . . otherwise, I'll continue to resist the temptation to sign on for programmed sewing, and let the muse move me as it will. Or the chocolate, as needed!

  14. You have had an enormously productive year, not to mention the very high standard you set for completed projects. The 1 yr/12 jackets plan appealed to me at first, but then seemed just ludicrous, in spite of the potential motivational benefits: My closets are already full of coats. I definitely didn't need twelve more, especially not twelve produced in one year.

    That said, I am doing Sewaholic's Minoru Jacket sew-along in January, but the pace looks nice and slow, and it's only one jacket . . . otherwise, I'll continue to resist the temptation to sign on for programmed sewing, and let the muse move me as it will. Or the chocolate, as needed!

  15. I, for one, am delighted that you joined the 12 jackets a month thing, because I got 8 delightful bits of eye candy and inspiration out of it! But I'm right there with you on the goals-can-be-a-drag thinking. I do like them for motivation - I do benefit from positive motivation, as long as I'm in a position to say "phooey on it" when I tire of it ;-)

    I do enjoy Pinterest as well, but I'm not using it as much as you do - I just like looking at your inspirational pins when I do remember to check it out ;-D

  16. What a great sewing year, and who cares about unfinished objects? that is the beauty of sewing - do what you like! It has been a pleasure to get to know you this year, on line and in person :)
    Thanks for the explanation on Pinterest, lots of good info. I am resisting as there are only so many hours in a day and I should stay away from any other time thieves. Happy Sewing in 2012.

  17. You have some real jems there. I especially love the first jacket.
    I,too, joined Pinterest but have done very little. can't seem to get up the enthusiasm for it.

  18. Shams, you've had an amazing year, and thank you for your fantastic creativity, your great productivity and endless inspiration. I hope you enjoyed the fudge, and that it kickstarted some massive new mojo for an equally gorgeous 2012!
    Also thanks for that great info on Pinterest... I've heard of it (obviously) and even secured an invitation but have shied away so far because I didn't want to open a Facebook account. Your method sounds good.
    Thank you for those kind words and I'm humbled that you have been inspired by my stuff. I went over and checked out that page you mentioned... My gosh!

  19. You have made such beautiful jackets this year. I admmire them, as I admire you for having so much your own style and being so creative. I love reading your posts.
    Thanks for explaining Pinterest so clearly. As I don't have (and don't want) a facebook or twitter account, I can't use this tool. Your boards look great, what an inspiration.

    Happy new year! Sigrid

  20. I LOVE that video and would like to show it to a few certain people, if you get my drift.

    I pinterest too and find it invaluable as well. I don't understand why people feel uncomfortable about others seeing what they pin, unless they are themselves embarassed by it. What you pin is already out there on the internet, not someone's private thoughts, rants, or opinions. It's already out there, people, if you are pinning it.

    What I haven't figured out yet is the ability to search someone. I can search stripes and maybe some of your pins will come up and then I can follow you but if I put "Shams" in the search box I won't get you. Maybe I just don't know how.

    I think all in all it is great fun, too. I am off to check out the boards I follow now.

  21. Good for you on making 8 jackets! That in itself is quite a feat! I've joined Pinterest recently, but used it mostly for pinning the couture garments I'd love to make but completely elude my skill level. It IS addictive, but there's also a lot of inspiration to be found! Looking forward to seeing what the new year brings from your sewing room!

  22. I think your FO's are wonderful and you shouldn't worry about not fulfilling any particular "goal". You completed a lot anyhow! (I only made one jacket but then I wasn't playing. Heh!) I don't mind deadlines but I like them better when they're self-imposed.

    Also, I haven't tried Pinterest because I don't have either a Facebook or Twitter account. Instead I've been using Evernote which works quite well for a lot of the same things - except that my collections are completely private. I use the extension for Firefox and when I come across something I want to save, just clip it to Evernote. The difference, which some may consider a drawback, is that you can't go wandering through other people's stuff!

  23. Hi, love your blog. You are an inspiration. Your coats are beautiful. I have just found Pintererst and asked for an invite about 1 week ago and have not heard back. Any ideas on how to get them to send the info?

  24. Thanks, Beth! Send me an email (address in profile) and I'll send you an invitation.

  25. Oh, you are so generous to share your pins and how you do it! Thank you!


  26. Hi Shams, also interested in Pinterest, couldn't find your e-mail. Oh, I know, I'll PM you on PR, hope that works. Love your sewing!