My personal review of the year 2021: Don’t Look Back in Anger.
My year 2021 held a little bit of everything for me.
I had to exercise patience very often this year and put my needs on hold.
Despite that, 2021 was a very nice year. I spent a lot of time with my children and even found space for creativity. Even if there were only small successes professionally, they were successes and I am on the right path.
These were my goals for 2021
IT CAN ONLY BE BETTER was my unofficial motto at the end of 2020 for the coming year. Although I had just won 2nd place in an upcycling competition with a design, my mood was moderate. My sample collection didn’t hit the stores in 2020 due to the initial lockdown, and in the summer my father suffered a stroke. 2021 was supposed to get better! And it did get better. I started the adventure of online business and came a long way in a short time. I got to know many great people (and myself better).
BECOME VISIBLE and FIND CUSTOMERS were my two big plans for 2021, and in the second half of the year I was able to accomplish both: My reach on Instagram and Facebook has greatly increased, I have steadily improved my website and the traffic there is also increasing weekly. I wrote the first invoices for my work as a style coach and signed a contract with an educational organization for my online course on sustainable fashion consumption.
The Kids and 12 Weeks of Fun: Hibernation and Winter Fun
2021 started in lockdown. The quietest New Year’s Eve ever in Berlin. It was not until the beginning of March that my son was allowed to return to daycare and my daughter to begin her settling in. Until then, my main task was to entertain two toddlers. Fortunately, the weather often played along. There was snow and sunshine, perfect for letting off steam.
Here are our best and most creative ideas, outings and projects of the early 2021 lockdown:
I set up a tabletop over two meters long for my son to assemble all his Lego.
Our kreuzberg family center includes an old gymnasium. I love the atmosphere in old gyms. We were allowed to use this one at regular intervals. Just one family for two hours. We could set up anything we wanted, but we had to disinfect it afterwards. Every visit to the gym was a welcome change from the lockdown routine.
We became master crafters: creating carnival masks, making a toy car wash, painting t-shirts, and outfitting a dollhouse are just a few examples of our great 2021 crafts.
I’m not a product designer, but I did design a product. The design was created a few years earlier, but it didn’t come to life until 2021. Allow me to introduce Willi. Willi Winkebär. A positive and dynamic Berlin souvenir item. He waves to everyone in a friendly and open-minded way.
Willi is my first 3-D print.
Willi was received with joy on social media, but then, he was stolen. Yes, really. Well, actually, he was in the car that was stolen. A Toyota Hybrid, company car, Sunday, five in the morning in Kreuzberg. Stolen and gone. And Willi? He’ll be back. Promised. Here’s the link to Willi’s short Instagram career.
Upcycling fashion means sewing something new from discarded clothes.
At the end of 2020, one of my designs won 2nd place in an upcycling contest. [You can find my blog article about it here].(https://www.jr-sewing.com/blog/20/10/jrs-upcycling-poncho-places-second-at-the-mesh-up-design-competition-berlin/).
In the First Quarter of 2021, I worked with a passionate designer who gives a new life to old Carhartt brand worker jackets. Our meetings were inspiring and the creative exchange did me a world of good. Made from heavy fabrics, the jackets are tricky to work with and often made my fingers ache. The results are worth seeing. Here are a few photos I took during the makeover. And here the link to Tom’s online store, where you can admire and buy the finished jackets.
Other upcycling designs I realized this year were:
A linen blouse with kimono sleeves. This I made from a pair of pants, a blouse and a men’s shirt.
2021 was the first time I spent money on coaching, online courses and workshops. It was an investment in myself and my professional future. I was at the point where I needed outside help. Looking back, I can say it was the best decision I made in 2021. Even though June 2021 was just the start for my online business, I’ve come a long way in half a year. And it feels right. I’ve networked, learned super much, had my first style coaching clients, taught my first online course, and already received a contract as a speaker on sustainable fashion consumption.
I also invested in my health in 2021. I now eat a mainly vegan diet, don’t drink alcohol, and actively exercise every day. Here and there I add some yoga.
I have revised my bio and designed new subpages. There is now a freebie and small bugs have been fixed. My web presence changes more often now.
Web design has been huge fun for me this year! Maybe I will offer this as a service in 2022?
Network, exchange and support each other
2021 was the year I reactivated my Facebook account after years. I adapted it to my current self, cleaned it up, and said goodbye to friends whose posts had always annoyed me.
I have joined communities and started my own groups.
In Berlin, there is a nice project aimed at female founders and entrepreneurs. (Yes, women only). If you are looking for like-minded people in Berlin, [check out the gutplus program].(https://www.gutplus-berlin.de).
Fire in paradise
Me in the spring of 2021: “Vacation? I can’t believe that until I’m on a plane and take off.”
And yes: The flight booked in January for early July took place and my family and I were on the plane.
After weeks of lockdown, change at last!
For my two small children, after a short settling-in period, it was a dream: Croatia offered water and stones to play with, ice cream to slurp on, and grandparents to annoy.
Everyday life in Berlin was behind us. Exciting were campfires, turtles, baby cats, pomegranates, sunsets, old cities and new playgrounds.
But after less than two weeks, our long-awaited vacation was threatened with an early end: the small forest a few hundred meters from the vacation home was ablaze!
It was not the first fire in my life that I had to escape: About 12 years ago, I lived in a Kreuzberg shared apartment, which was located on the second floor of an old building. A fire on the first floor forced us to flee the apartment one Saturday morning. And so, headless and shoeless, I sat freezing on the sidewalk and watched as the fire department rescued a man from the third floor. “All is lost,” I thought at the time. Fortunately, that was not the case.
Through this experience I knew what to do:
Excited but calm, I packed the most important things together documents, keys, technical equipment and a few changes of clothes. From the window, I saw the flames approaching.
The rental car was packed and ready to go.
Then the first fire truck arrived. Then a second one. And shortly after, the first firefighting plane. Bright yellow it appeared in the blue sky. Then a second and a third, and again and again they made their rounds behind our house, extinguishing the fire.
The fire was smothered and thick smoke rose above the conifers.
My partner helped water the paths and grasses until the fire department arrived.
Fortunately, the smoke cloud became smaller and smaller and slowly I believed that the fire was under control.
We had to recover from this scare first. Fortunately, we were in the perfect place to do so.
The closet cure
I’ve been self-employed for over ten years and have always been open to new things. Nevertheless, the last two years have demanded a lot from me in terms of flexibility. My business model no longer worked the way I was used to: the fashion I produced didn’t make it into the stores due to the lockdowns and I was barely visible online.
So, at the beginning of June, I spontaneously decided to book a course that resulted in the launch of my online business.
In September 2021, I gave my first online course called “The Wardrobe Cure.”
The goal of the course is to be more mindful with clothes and consume fashion more consciously. By looking at our personal style, combining new outfits from existing clothes, resources are conserved because purchases and bad buys are avoided.
Over 60 women have been to my class and their reviews have been overwhelmingly positive!
Creating order in the closet and sorting out is a mammoth task. Getting started is much easier in a group that motivates each other.
To give this class I had to jump over hundreds of shadows, and leave my comfort zone for miles. But I did it, and I am very proud of that.
A highlight in 2021: Family visit to the Berlinische Galerie. The director, Dr. Thomas Köhler, personally guided us through the permanent exhibition. How did it come about? We are neighbors of the Berlinische Galerie and one day their air conditioning had to be shut down. A replacement air conditioning system was installed on the forecourt of the gallery and when it was running, half of Kreuzberg rebelled. It was so loud that the construction site next door seemed quiet. As a result, the replacement units were wrapped with some kind of padding so that it was a bit quieter. And as an apology, the neighbors were invited to the museum. The nicest thing was that I could finally visit an exhibition again!
Another rather funny highlight in 2021: I watched the show Wetten Dass with my family. I stumbled across it rather by chance. I very rarely watch live television anymore. But somehow it happened that I was sitting on the couch with my family one Saturday evening and Thomas Gottschalk was grinning at us. I thought it was wonderful: Stranger shaming, music, my son, who was allowed to stay awake longer for the first time. His grumbling about the boring conversations, his amazement at the bets.
On many a Saturday, I find myself thinking: I’d like Wetten Dass to be on again tonight. I celebrate that.
Do you know the movie Prinzessinnenbad? The so-called Prinzenbad is the Kreuzberg summer pool. For years it was a place I avoided because the bath was totally overcrowded in the summer.
Through the time slot tickets, which were available in 2021, it was possible to spend a few relaxing hours in the summer pool. To get these tickets, I sat spellbound in front of the computer and loaded the page of the Berliner Bäderbetriebe over and over again until the desired time slot was unlocked. Then I had to quickly enter the desired number of tickets and hope that my order went through. If I wasn’t lucky, I tried again half an hour later. That’s how long the tickets stay in the shopping cart and are released if you don’t buy them. That’s how we managed to make a family trip to Prinzenbad several weekends in the summer.
Halloween was a spooky experience this year. We made the south of Berlin unsafe. It was an exciting evening for the kids. On our hunt for candy, we encountered witches, skeletons, zombies and a dinosaur that my daughter still talks about today.