My 23 Before 23!

Happy New year! I hope you all had a great one πŸ™‚

Right, I have finally finished deciding on my 23 items to complete in the year before I am 23! It seems an apt time to share them since everyone is sharing their resolutions at the moment! Here they are:

1. Make a dress.
Yep, this one is a hangover from last year. I have already got the fabric, the thread, the zip and the pattern, the only thing that I am lacking is time! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this one will come off this year!

2. Complete ten cross stitch projects.
I’m aware this may seem strange, as it is more ambitious than one that I didn’t complete last year! Last year I wanted to complete seven cross stitch kits to clear through some of my stash, but I didn’t manage it. This year, however, I am not just limiting myself to ‘kits’ but to ‘projects’. I have an abundance of patterns, books and magazines that I have never used, so I have cancelled my subscription with the intention of spending my time stitching the designs instead of just admiring them! I haven’t picked 10 specific projects for the year, I will just stitch what I fancy although I already have a few in mind and in progress. I have also gone through all of my magazines and put sticky notes on all of the designs that I want to stitch! But those will keep me busy long after 2014…

3. Read 20 books of my choice.
Last year I amazed myself at how well I did with this one. Not that reading 20 books is the challenge…it is finding time to justify reading 20 non-university books! This year my teaching finishes in May, then I officially leave university in September (eek!) so it won’t be long before my university reading is at an end forever, which might help me get a little closer to my goal this year!

4. Learn how to knit socks.
My Ravelry favourites is FULL of sock patterns, but I’ve still not managed to find time to learn how to make them! My knitting skill as still very much at the beginners stage but I’d really love to give this a go and hopefully make a few pairs over the year.

5. Make a quilt.
This is another one of those craft activities that I have had hanging around a while. I want to make the spool quilt from the Liberty Love book that I bought ages ago. Since then, I have been collecting pieces of Liberty fabric so I almost have enough for the spools themselves, and I just need to collect the rest of the fabric. I really want to have a go at making a quilt!


6. Knit a jumper.
Yet another thing that I have been meaning to do for ages! This may be a little ambitious for someone with only very basic knitting skills, but after reading The Knit Parade, they make it sounds really straight forward! I’d love to have a go at one of their designs so fingers crossed it will be this year!

7. Get a job.
I once read that the only goals you should ever set yourself are those that aren’t dependent upon the decision of someone else, for example, don’t choose ‘win a writing competition’ as a goal because that simply depends on who the judges are and it is not something that you can achieve alone. For this reason, I was hesitant to set myself the goal of getting a job, as it is dependent on other people. However, considering I will be leaving university this year, I think it is really important that I push myself to find something for when I finish. I am lucky enough to have a job right now that I love, but once I finish my masters, I know that I will be ready for a new challenge, so I’m ambitiously setting myself this goal.

8. Switch to self-hosting my blog.
Again, another ambitious one! I know that the success of this one will completely depend on what happens over the next few months. This is the first time in my life that I have faced a future where I don’t know what will happen. Going through school, I knew what was coming and I always knew that I was going to go to university, but now that is coming to an end, I’m literally clueless about what is coming next! It is an exciting place to be although somewhat worrying. Self-hosting my blog will completely depend upon what 2014 has to throw at me, but if it all goes to plan, it might be achievable!

9. Make more handmade gifts.
Last year I aimed Β for a handmade Christmas, which never really came off. From starting my masters in September, I was so busy that hardly any crafts got done at all. I also got extra hours at work at this time so it made Christmas preparation difficult. Again, with not knowing what will be happening in my life in a few months, to plan Christmas would be impossible (and no one is really thinking about it in January are they???) so instead I am aiming to give more handmade gifts in general this year. I have a few in mind for Valentines day and Mothers day for a start, so if I can give them regularly throughout the year, I will be happy.

10. Attempt soap making.
In theme with my last goal, for Christmas, I got the DK book of Handmade Gifts (watch this space for a review…) and it has a great section on a craft that I have never tried…soap making! It looks really fun and pretty straight forward and the outcomes (in the book anyway…) look very professional! So I want to try soap making and they might turn out as gifts too!

11. Craft with my stash!
This should be a life-long ambition of mine but if I can succeed for a year it will be an achievement! I have recently found that I am getting overwhelmed with items that I have bought for projects but never finished! (I don’t think I’m the only crafter with this problem though…) so I’d really like to use this year to use up some of the stash that I have, rather than hoarding more!

12. Go ice skating.
Usually me and James go ice skating every year near Christmas in the outdoor ice rink in York. This year though, we didn’t make it, and it has been ages since we have last been. It would be nice to go together as it always proves a fun day out!

13. Have a clear out.
I mean, a serious clear out! Right now I have too much stuff to fit in my room and it really bothers me that it is never tidy and nothing has a proper ‘space’. I need to be really ruthless and cut some of the stuff that I stash away in cupboards and NEVER use! I know that I will feel so much better for it!

14. Dedicate more time to my blog.
By this I don’t mean blogging more often (although that would be nice…) I mean spend more time perfecting the posts that I am writing. Recently I have felt that my posts have been rushed, I haven’t checked them properly and the photos aren’t up to scratch. I love my blog and the blogging community, which is why I try and squeeze in blogs whenever I can, but I think it deserves more care and attention so I am making the pledge to tidy up my blog! let me know if you notice any difference!

15. Learn to use my camera.
Again, this links to my last one. Two years ago I bought myself a Canon 600D and I hardly know how to use it. I have bought lots of books on the subject but I haven’t got round to looking at them! I studied A-Level photography, and it has always been a hobby but I’m not a technical person. While I can take a pretty reasonable photograph, I don’t know how to get the most of my camera and I want to change that!

16. Take a photo a day.
This one isn’t directly linked to my last one! I have seen the ‘photo a day’ challenges before but I have never managed to keep up! This year though, I want to capture the highlight of my day in a photo so at the end of the year, I can go through them all and remember how amazing it has been! I will probably take these photos on Instagram though, as I will always have my phone with me where I might not have my camera. I took my first one yesterday…here it is!



That’s right, I kicked off 2014 with a creme egg! (No I can’t believe they are out already either…) I will post updats with my photos on my blog every couple of weeks, but you can see my daily progress by following me on Instagram.

17. Enter three writing competitions.
Another one that I didn’t manage last year! I hadn’t done any creative writing for a while, as I had been busy focussing on university work and craft projects, but when I came to do a short story module at university this semester, I surprised myself! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the writing again, but also by how good I thought it was (no bragging intended). Generally I don’t think much to what I write but in my module I was consistently writing things that I was happy with. I think I am going to keep reworking some of the pieces for my assessment to submit to competitions later in the year.

18. Read the complete Sherlock Holmes.
I was unsure whether to have this goal as well as another reading one, but I am taking the plunge. I am currently reading some of the Sherlock Holmes short stories for my module next semester, but before that, I had only read The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have the complete Sherlock Holmes stories and I am eager to read more of them, so I am aiming to read the whole lot this year!

Β 19. Maintain my ‘new year jar’.
You might remember that, at the beginning of 2013, I set upΒ this jar. the aim of it was to write down the little things that happened throughout the year that made you smile, then open them on New Years Eve/New Years Day to look back at everything. I did this but only for the first few months of the year, and reading through them on New Years Day made me realise how many little things happen that you forget about. I was really happy to read what was there but also sad that I didn’t have a year’s worth of memories to reflect on, so this year, I want to maintain it by writing as regularly as I can. I am aiming for one a day, but as long as I can manage three a week I will be happy!

20. Get an article published.Β 
This idea came to me as I was writing my list, and I’m not even entirely sure myself what I mean by it! I don’t know what article I am planning on writing or where I am getting it published but we will see what comes of it! After finishing my list last night though, the opportunity came up for student bloggers at a company linked to the university, maybe this is the opportunity that I was waiting on!

21. Create a creative space.
I bought and read The Imagineer Workout when I was on holiday, and it had some great ideas for creating an inspiring, creative space. I loved the idea and wanted to recreate it in my room, so I am going to try and achieve that this year! (Probably after the clear out though…)

22. Become more organised.
I used to feel incredibly organised all of the time, but the last year has proven very chaotic and I frequently find myself forgetting things or leaving things until the last minute. I hate feeling disorganised so I want to try and get on top of my organisation again to make sure I am getting everything done in time and as best as I possibly can!

23. Have more relaxing days with James.
The last year and a half has been really chaotic for both of us. During our third year at university, James did a year of work experience, which meant that he was working 9-5 every day, and I was working weekends. Since then, James is back at uni but our timetables are complete opposites and I have got more hours at work, so it is almost impossible to find a day when we are both free. We only see each other on evenings, and I am usually doing some work for uni or working on a craft project. This year it would be really nice if, once a month, we could manage a day out (or even a movie day in!) when we aren’t thinking about what work we have to do and can just enjoy each other’s company.

So those are my goals for this year! Hopefully they will be achievable but still have a challenge to them. You can see my progress on the sidebar where they are all listed! You just have to click on it and it will pop out!


33 thoughts on “My 23 Before 23!

  1. empress27 says:

    Good Luck with reaching all of your goals. Some of them are very similar to mine. I hope you get on with making a quilt. I finished my first mini one yesterday and I was so proud of it! That’s definitely a new creative hobby for me. I also made a couple of teddy bears too which was great fun. I need to start reading more too. Knitting socks is great fun! You can get so many great tutorials out there for simple and patterned socks. I made three or four pairs last year and it got easier each time. Try knitting baby socks to get the hang of the heel. I’ve just had a major clear out of my room, such a tip! Everything sorted out now and in its place. I feel so much better. I’m going to try your New Year jar, it sounds a wonderful idea. Sort of similar to the ‘star jar’ I gave to my boyfriend for Valentines day. Have a great evening!

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Ooh good luck with yours too! I love having something to work towards…it’s great motivation! I’m just working my way through my days ‘to-do’ list now! I’m an avid lister! I’m looking forward to making the quilt! It is a pretty big one though…I don’t have choose myself challenges! Ooh making bears looks so much fun! That might have to go on next year’s list! I’m looking forward to the socks…and the clear out! I feel like the stuff in my room is just taking over! Yes I love the jar! Definitely hoping to keep it up this year! Same to you!

  2. creative pixie says:

    Some of my goals are the same as yours so it’ll be interesting to see how you do. I started my clear out today… I find that when my house is tidy then I feel happy.

      • creative pixie says:

        I dreamt the other day that I was doing my uni final exams and had failed. I was so glad when I woke up and remembered I finished my degree 11 years ago. All the best with your essays and exams – I’m glad I’m past that stage.

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Thanks! I’ve seen it on other blogs and attempted my 22 before 22 last year so I’m hoping to complete more this year! I think I have set my aims pretty high though! Fingers crossed! I’ll keep posting regularly πŸ™‚

  3. MissDotty says:

    What a fantastic list! It is my birthday later in the month and I am compiling my list that I want to achieve before my birthday in 2015. It’s fun to put together but I still have a few more to think of.

  4. *Wisher* says:

    wow.. loving the spool quit and the idea of having the good things kept in a jar.. how cool is that.. and love to see all the list items get cancel somewhere soon.. :can’t wait to see your progress..:D

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Thank you πŸ˜€ good luck with yours too! I’m making a little progress at the moment but it is pretty much on hold until my university essays are handed in next week! Then I’m going to go for them 100%!

  5. tianna says:

    lovely list! Making soap is easy and fun – highly recommend it! Lovely crafty goals you have haha I’m not crafty at all I have no patience so I really admire people who do. Also, I should’ve put reading books on my list lol. I need that!

    • Hannah Ackroyd says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Yes it looks really easy but fun! Looks like they would make great gifts too πŸ™‚ Haha you can start coming up with ideas for next years list! I have because I kept thinking, “Oh, I should have done that!”

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