Monday, January 19, 2015

"Around the World in 80 Days" by Little House Needleworks

I did make some changes in the speciality threads, substituting what I had in my supply that was similar or using a different color to show better on the fabric.  Instead of Crescent Colours Desert Mesquite, I used Poblano Pepper. My dye lot of Desert Mesquite was too close to Weeks Dye Works Juniper to have any contrast with the grass. The dye lot I had was much different than what was shown on the model. Instead of Crescent Colours Eggshell, I used Weeks Dye Works Parchment. Instead of Crescent Colours Manor Red, I used Weeks Dye Works Brick.

This pattern also had quite a bit of errata, probably the most I've ever had in one pattern. Luckily the corrections can be found on Little House Needlework's website.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Life Changes

I was a bit embarrassed when I came back to this blog and realized I hadn't posted in nearly 18 months. Those months have been chaotic and unsure at moments, but wonderful and uplifting at others. Regardless, I've made some major life changes that I've been quite happy with.

I made a decision nearly three years ago to change the course I was headed on. I had a wake-up call in the form of two very dear friends who called me on my BS right before Christmas break. I went home, spent time with my family, but more importantly spent time with myself, rethinking my priorities. For a long time I let my job as a high school teacher in a low-income area define my worth as a person. I'd go months without seeing my family who lived three hours away, on the other side of the state. I was unhappy and isolated. I received very little validation from my job and much criticism on little things I wasn't doing right (like submitting lesson plans five minutes late). I took out my anger on those closest to me, and they were finally fed up with me.

Of course, once I made the decision to move, that wasn't the end of the matter. I still had a house to sell in a market that wasn't the best, and I am a Planner. I am not spontaneous. I think too much. So, I decided that I was going to move in 18 months--finish out the remainder of that school year and one more so I could pack and sell the house, save some money. Even with that decision made, I still had fights with depression. It would take another moment, in my home-town Cracker Barrel, to realize that just making the decision wasn't going to be enough, that I'd need help, and I made the decision to find a therapist to help me set my mind back on the path forward.

I won't say that the last year at that particular job was easy, because being a high school teacher is never easy. I went about writing a resume, applying for jobs, and networking online to find a social studies position closer to family all while trying to sell an unsellable house. Not signing a contract that year was a load off my shoulders in regard to one job, but it was also scary. I had never been unemployed in my entire adult life. I spent ten years at that school, collected some wonderful memories (I don't want to appear that it was all miserable, because it wasn't), made some wonderful friends, and learned a lot about people and my profession.

So, in August of 2013, which was my last post here, I was at a crossroads. My house had not sold. Despite interviews, I did not have a job. I was disheartened, especially after an interview where, ten minutes in, I realize that the principal had already picked his candidate and I was just there to fill in numbers. (The clue was that he didn't want to talk about my teaching philosophy, but my time spent in England. Did I go to soccer games?) My friends were going back to work, and I was not. I had a house, but in the wrong town.

Finally, my dad calls and asks when I'm moving up, forcing my hand. (Someone had to.) I moved most of my belongings to my brother's house, where for a month I did nothing but cross-stitch and watch television. I visited friends I hadn't seen in a long time. I spent time with my family, especially my niece and nephew. I applied for substitute teaching jobs, thinking that would get my feet in the door. Eventually I landed in a long-term teaching position in a middle school, which could have turned into a permanent position if only I had been English certified. At the end of that job, I ended up interviewing in another district for the position I currently hold.

The last three years have been full of ups and downs, but I feel like I've finally landed on my feet. I have a job (albeit teaching eighth-grade varsity--9th grade), I have a new house, and things are looking up.

I hope to post more, especially my many finished projects from 2014.