This festive party season is almost over, some unfortunate people have gone back to work yesterday, so I hope you’ve been making the most of your spare time for friends, family and fun!

It’s a bit stinkin’ hot here in NZ, so the middle of our days have been pretty chill, keeping out of the heat and relaxing with movies and video games. And while that sounds all sorts of lazy, we’ve also gotten our butts up a few sunny mornings to hit the skate-park with our roller-skates before the sun starts to get really harsh.  My skin doesn’t have a fun time in the heat, so I’ve been avoiding being outside during sunburn time, which is also to avoid putting sunscreen on my skin as much as possible.  I got sunburned two weekends in a row back in November, even while using sunscreen, so I’ve been careful since.

 

 

This year has been less eventful on the Devel front, when compared to the last couple.  But in saying that, I still had some pretty amazing custom orders, which turned out fantastically, and I created some new fun items for my own wardrobe (which some of you loved a lot too!), so I still got my creative fix throughout the year.  So thank you to all my customers of 2017, for the opportunities you gave me to challenge my design and sewing skills, and for giving me an outlet for garments I am truly proud of having created with my own hands.  I’m so happy to have been able to make things for you that you have gone on to enjoy every time you’ve worn them 

To everyone, I hope 2017 treated you well, and that you were challenged to achieve/create things that you are truly proud of too.  There is no greater feeling than when can you can say “I made/did that, and it is/was MAGNIFICENT!”  Loving what you do is such an important part of loving the life that you lead.  Whether that’s making things, or making things happen; helping to create joy for others, creates joy for you too.  And widespread joy is a great way to combat all the hateful bullshit we can find ourselves surrounded with every now and then.

And without further ado, here is my annual What I Learnt/Loved/Leave/Take list…

 

 

What I Learnt:

So after a few years of driving and striving and comparing what I was doing with Devel to other comparable brands, and wondering why things didn’t take off when I was so sure they would, I’ve learnt (or come to the realisation) that this moment in history is balls for running a fashion label.  Clothing has been an increasingly undervalued commodity for a fair few years now, and as consumers have become more comfortable in the price-range that things are when they come out of third world factories in bulk, it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to swallow the price of things that are made locally or more ethically. So while I look at my portfolio of work and the amazing people that I’ve gotten to work with over the years, and the amazing and gorgeous garments I’ve designed and made from scratch, I now see that it’s not me that’s letting the side down, it’s not the work I’m doing, it’s this TIME.  This social-media-fuelled, instant-gratification, bargain-basement time we live in.

I have a lot more to say on this subject, but will likely do a separate post to address the various pieces to the puzzle.  I’ll just conclude at this point that this learning/realisation has put me in a lot of turmoil this past year, and I am still working out how I will deal with these feelings and ideas going forwards.

On a lighter note, I also learnt a bunch of new roller-skating and skateboarding tricks, and look forward to learning a bunch more in 2018.  Doing fun exercise definitely helped to keep my spirits up this past year.

 

The Sweetheart Singlet | Devel Women

 

What I Loved:

I loved getting out and about with my husband Steve, we both got brave and started roller-skating in skate-parks (thanks to the ever-encouraging Chicks In Bowls crew).  I also loved getting back into some skateboarding with OnBoard Skate School and the Auckland Sisters of Shred crew; we even skated the hot pink cycle-path in central Auckland, and it was fuuun!  Sisters of Shred meet-ups have got me to try out different skate-parks around Auckland too, which I would would have been unlikely to skate by myself.  I love that these two sisters-encouraging-sisters groups exist, and that they create safe, encouraging spaces for newbies like myself to get amongst scary but exciting sports like roller-skating and skateboarding.  They are a part of this definitive time of Girl Power resurgence.

I also loved spending more time with my husband in general.  At some point during 2017 I realised that I was trading in youthful time with my husband for a self-created blogging schedule.  In the evenings I’d either be sewing or blogging, and in 2016 I was doing a whole bunch of weekend work too.  So in 2017 I took back my weekends, to spend with family and friends instead, and part-way through the year I started cutting back how frequently I blog, to enjoy the company of my husband instead.  I love that man, and I married him for a reason, and I don’t want to wake up one day and realise that I worked away all our best years together.  So less busy-ness is key for me, along with a clear work-life divide.

 

 

What I Leave Behind:

Drama.  I leave drama behind.  This past year of social upheaval hasn’t brought out the best in everyone, and it’s been hard to avoid seeing stupid things written all over the internet.  Some issues up for discussion and (hopefully) improvement this past year are dear to my heart, and get my feminist fires burning, so it’s been hard for me to read some of the nonsense spouted online.  And while I know better, I have delved into some comment sections that have near dashed my faith in humanity.  So I say: no more!  I will endeavour to only engage in core issues and constructive discussion, and will also attempt to leave social media feeds and groups to their own devices, and let the chatter pass by me without it taking too much of my attention.  I’ve been getting increasingly annoyed by behaviours and opinions I see online, so I’m going to try lift myself out of the noise this year.

 

 

What I Take With Me:

I take myself, my husband, and our strong friendship into 2018.  I take the lovely friends that we surround ourselves with, and our hobbies on wheels into 2018.  I take the intention for more peace and calm in my life and mind into 2018.  And that’s about it for now, keeping it simple for starters.

 

So here’s to a new year with new adventures!  Another year full of fun, love and laughs, and I hope the same for you too