Hello 2021!

Hello 2021!!!
And welcome to the Amethystry blog!
I had originally planned on starting this blog when I opened last year but like a lot of other things I’d planned, that just didn’t happen... >_<
2020 was a strange one huh? Like so many others in the world, life seemed to just change over night on the 15th of March and man did it knock me off my axis. I was working in the restaurant industry when it happened so obviously my job was just gone. Dunzo. I was one of millions who experienced job loss, financial disruption, loss of family (which being in Canada with my family in the UK meant I couldn’t fly back to grieve and say goodbye), loss of a friend, a spike in my anxiety and depression, FEAR! So much fear! The year went so quickly and slammed me like an attack from a trained UFC fighter. But man what a year!! 
I’ve spent a lot of years journaling and using daily/weekly/monthly reflection as a way to control and compartmentalize my mental health issues and thanks to this, I was able to keep myself on the very edge of sanity. But this ability also allowed me to take advantage of a terrible time. I finally started therapy (which was long over due) thanks to my husband’s benefits from his job (he was promoted the day the pandemic hit us here in Toronto and was fortunate enough to have the ability to work from home which honestly saved us). I was able to take a step back and allow myself to slow down, something I’ve definitely needed after a hard 4 years struggling with the fallout of a bad mental breakdown and difficulties of gaining permanent residency. I was able to, for the first time in my life, not feel guilty for prioritizing myself! Which for me, someone who feels guilt about doing anything for myself, is HUGE. But I did, I prioritized myself, I prioritized self care, I prioritized my values and was able to move forward according to those values. I learned! I read so much. Especially as the BLM movement gained traction. I had tough conversations with friends and family. I made mistakes and learned from them. I learned not to beat myself up for making those mistakes, I learned how to take the criticism and change for the better. I learned a lot. 
Then there was Amethystry. A passion project I’ve wanted to start for so long but was so scared to fail, to be laughed at, to being able to commit, but thanks to the work I’d done on myself, thanks to all the learning, thanks to prioritizing myself, I finally took that leap and opened this website and I’m so so glad I did. I’ve met some amazingly lovely people and had nothing but kind words and support from the new people who have started following this journey. I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and passionate support from my friends and family. The pandemic took a lot from me, but it also gave me a lot and for that I have to be grateful.
So here we are. 2021. Nothing reset at midnight unfortunately. But there’s still a lot that can be achieved this year even if, like last year, the ways in which we achieve them look a little different. I’m not particularly one for the term ‘resolutions’. I used to be but after so many failed attempts which led to me feeling bad about myself, I moved away from that and instead started to create goals for the year and myself. No pressure goals, just things I would like to achieve. Normally they are these big and elaborate things like travel or going to specific places and with those not being an option right now my goals for this year are a little more diluted. Simple. Thoughtful.
I want to take more pictures, but intentional pictures, my husband bought me an Instax camera a few years ago that I never really use, so I want to take more photos of us together, and our pets (or our friends from a distance). Real tangible pictures that I can pull out and hold, and really look at instead of being lost in a sea of other crap on my phone. 
I want to consume more manga and anime, in all ways possible. Anime and manga has been one of my biggest inspirations for art. It brings me a lot of happiness yet I don’t make as much time to read or watch it is I should. So I’m going to change that this year. 
I want to play more video games! I LOVE video games but wouldn’t play as often as I wanted to avoid the feelings of guilt that ‘not doing something productive’ gave me. But time to wind down and switch off is NOT a waste of time. It’s essential. Especially when you’re trying to survive a pandemic!
And lastly I wasn’t to work on more physically creative projects, like crochet. I have always loved to crochet and the way it calms my mind, so I’m going to make more time to do this for myself this year.
And this ties in to what I want to let you know about what’s coming to Amethystry in 2021.
I still feel like I don’t have a clear direction yet for Amethystry, I’m still testing things out and see how they go, but honestly I think that’s half the fun! So I’m going to be trying out a few new things. 
I want to introduce a way for people to support my work and help me grow without having to dip into their pockets. 2020 saw me lose my job, find a new one, lose that one again, go back to my old job when the restaurant reopened, lose that again and then find another. Apart from one payment at the end of the year, my entire 2020 (since March) was spent without having a full pay check. And it was hard!!! As I mentioned above, we’re lucky that Thom was able to work from home and had been promoted just before this all happened so we never worried about making our rent, but there was a huge financial toll put on us. We had to drop a few things to ensure we kept our heads above water. And I couldn’t help but feel so privileged by that, knowing there were so many others who couldn’t say the same. Seeing lots of family and friends who relied on the support of others to keep their businesses afloat while they had to close. And it hurt that I couldn’t do this. That I didn’t have a lot of free money to help support those who needed it. From this I learned the importance of community and word of mouth for support. So when I opened my shop I always wanted to offer something to people that didn’t cost. A way for those who couldn’t support financially to still make a difference and that is the basis for some of the new things I’m going to be introducing to my website this year. 
The first thing I want to introduce is free colouring pages. I think I’ll make them available on this blog. I’ll be making them both printable and downloadable so people can print them off at home and colour them in using paint or coloured pencils and then have a procreate version so if someone has an iPad and would like to colour them digitally they can! 
The second thing I want to introduce is my love for cross stitch. I started cross stitching when I was a teenager and it always brought me a lot of joy and a lot of calm. I found out early that doing things with my hands was one of the best ways to sooth my racing mind. Crochet, knitting and embroidery were my main vices for releasing stress and putting me into an almost meditative state that really helped calm me down, so I’m hoping to release some cross stitch patterns and projects that people can do at home. 
The third thing I’m thinking of is crochet patterns. The sense of achievement in creating something is incredible (for me anyway) and makes me feel good about myself and with so many tutorials and things available online, I’d love to provide a resource for creating. I was also thinking of maybe doing a crochet along somehow where every month we create a little something that will then work up to a larger piece. 
These are going to be my main focuses for this year. As I mentioned above, when I sat and thought about my ‘resolutions’ for this year for my business I knew I wanted a focus on free and on mental health, and I feel these 3 things are a great starting point!
Let me know what you think about these things! There will obviously be other things I bring out for availability on my store but these 3 things are going to be more of a focused project. 
And let me know what your goals for 2021 are!
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