The Crafty Gentleman best nine 2017

Guys, it’s my birthday today! Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to meee… 🙂

I’m still at my mum’s house, which is where I spent Christmas. Gareth came to stay last night too, so we’re heading off out for some birthday brunch this morning, then meeting friends later for a few drinks. We’re then getting up early tomorrow morning and driving to Bruges for new year. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good week!

Whilst this is always a crazy busy time of the year, I do like to try and find time for a bit of self-reflection. There’s something kinda magical about these final few days of the year, don’t you think? It’s like the normal routines of life are on pause, allowing you a bit of headspace to focus on your achievements and progress over the year.

With this in mind, I wanted to share my “Best Nine” of 2017… this is an idea inspired by the Instagram best nine, which compiles your most popular Insta posts of the year. However, I’ve decided to let my year be defined by memories and experiences, rather than likes and comments. Thanks to @studiosus.illustration and @abbiepaulhus for this idea!

My Best Nine of 2017

DIY cushion with piping

Moving into my first house

Technically, we moved in during 2016… but it was at Christmas time, and we had no chance to settle in. Therefore, 2017 has truly been the year that Gareth and I really settled in to our new home. It’s been an awesome year of decorating, creating new routines and carving out a new life. I know that sounds cheesy, but I don’t care!The Crafty Gentleman | My sister's wedding | Birthday blog post 27

My sister got married

Way back in February, my little sister married her fiancé down the road from our childhood home. It was such a good day! I can’t believe that it’s nearly their first anniversary already… the year has flown by. They are also expecting their first child (I’m going to be an uncle!!) in early 2018, which is SO exciting! The photo above is my sister, my parents and I.

A trip to Berlin

After hearing soooo much about Berlin, I finally got around to visiting! Despite the freezing winter weather, we had an awesome time visiting indie stores, breweries and coffee shops.
The Crafty Gentleman blogging seminar with Nottingham Etsy team

Teaching at the Nottingham Etsy Bootcamp

After teaching a few workshops in 2016, the Nottingham Etsy team invited me to teach at their Etsy Bootcamp session. I flipping love the Notts Etsy team – they’re the most creative, hardworking, lovely people ever. So it was a delight to get to work with them again. I’m sure it won’t be the last time!

Adventures in San Francisco

In a nutshell, San Francisco is the most amazing city I’ve ever been to. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the trams, MOMA, California Academy of Science, the Ferry Building… I LOVED it all. I desperately didn’t want to ever leave. I’m sure I’ll be back one day… hopefully sooner rather than later!

Camping in Yosemite National Park

Spending the night in Yosemite was a dream come true. It was perhaps the most amazing experience of my life (so far!). I will never forget waking up at 6am for the sunrise… we stepped out of our tent and were surrounded by towering sequoias and looming mountains, glinting gold in the sunlight. Incredible!

A friends holiday to Loch Lomond, Scotland

Every year, I go on a long weekend away with a bunch of friends. This year, we road tripped up to the highlands of Scotland for a weekend at Loch Lomond. Despite some gloomy weather, we had the best time hiking, kayaking, eating, drinking and laughing. Roll on 2018 for the next trip!
Lino printing workshop at Wiseheart Studio with the Crafty Gentleman

Teaching craft workshops

The latter half of 2017 saw me up my workshop game. I taught a few with the awesome Wiseheart Studio in Derbyshire, and started discussions with a few other local venues for some 2018 workshops. I was also invited to teach at the 2018 Handmade Fair with Kirstie Allsopp!
Cricut Explore air unboxing and first makes

Collaborating with Cricut

I was reeeally excited when Cricut contacted me earlier this year, asking if I’d like to work as a brand ambassador for them. I’d been eyeing up their machines for SO LONG, so it was a dream come true to get to work with them through my blog! I’m already in talks with Cricut for some more exciting projects in 2018 – so watch this space!

The Crafty Gentleman best nine 2017

So there we go, that’s my top nine of 2017. It’s been a pretty awesome year! Of course, there have been plenty of lows thrown in there too – and I’m consciously reflecting on these. But I didn’t want to dredge them up on the blog, especially on my birthday. 🙂 However, I do want to stress that it’s not all plain sailing. Blogging is a wonderful industry, but it’s important to remember that 99% of what you see is the highlights reel. Yes, my year had been amazing… but no, it has not been perfect (far from it). But that shouldn’t stop me, or you, from focussing on the best bits.

What have been your top memories of 2017? Do you like this idea of the “Best Nine”? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear! – Mike.