This is traditionally the time for making resolutions, but resolutions are rather hard to keep in January (I've always wondered why February has been allotted the 28 days, when we really could do with January being the shortest month).
This year I've decided to focus on small wins. I'm not even going to dress them up as achievable goals, I don't want dreary targets, I want the elation of victory: pulling on my coat and wellies when it's raining hard to cut a branch of Witch Hazel for the house (reward: coming inside out of the rain and scenting the room with that warm, peppery scent); going to the trouble of making a roast with all the trimming (reward: pottering in a warm kitchen, a delicious meal and all those left-overs to go into tomorrow's soup); pulling everything out of an over-stuffed drawer in the studio (reward: a tidy drawer, goodies to pass on to sewing chums and a stack of charm packs at the back that I'd completely forgotten about).
My very first foray into quilting was a little table runner, simply made with a pretty charm pack and hand quilted in front of the TV. Even a hundred or so patterns later, I still enjoy sewing lovely squares of fabric together. Is there a nicer way to spend a rainy afternoon?
Charm-pack friendly Woodruff from my Free Pattern Library
Remember, beginner-friendly projects aren't just for beginners. We all like to be challenged now and then or learn a new technique, but every once in a while it's rather lovely to just relax and sew. I've put together a collection of pretty - and pretty simple - patterns - you can find them here in paper and here in PDF - so you can while away a winter's day creating something beautiful for your home. The house can look awfully bare when the Christmas decorations come down, so add a dash of seasonal colour to the breakfast table or your favourite chair.
January's PDF Pattern of the month, Traveller's Joy, is just £5 this month
And, of course, the greatest small win at this time of year are those precious minutes of daylight every morning and every evening. Before we know it they'll add up to a spring day...