Howdy. So, it’s already April as I write my first recap of 2021 because, well, nothing thrilling has yet to happen and at the end of February and March when I was supposed to write this, I just didn’t feel like it. Sorry about that!
But, there will be a quiz for those of you who actually bother reading this website. 🙂
Anyway, let me see what we have been up to this year…surprisingly, it is more of the same 2020 bullcrap. Work and craft. Craft and work. Get stressed out. Sit here.
But, some fun crafty things have taken place.
In January, I attended my first Maker’s Mania, an event organized by about 20 local scrapbook stores across the US and Canada. I was made aware of it through a store in Buffalo that my mom and I try to go to whenever possible, Buffalo Stamps and Stuff. They mailed a kit to me and I attended live classes via Facebook all weekend long. The kit included some patterned paper, an embossing folder, a set of floral stamps and dies and a pack of oil pastel crayons, which was a new medium for me.
I had a BLAST watching the videos and learning how to use the crayons. I was pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of projects the teachers taught us (cards, layouts, home decor, mini albums and boxes to hold cards as a gift) and the creative ways they used the crayons and other supplies. All of the projects included PDFs of the instructions so later I downloaded them and made the projects I liked the best. Of course I did not take any photos of my projects, but I did layouts and cards and used up all of the paper.
More recently, in March, I attended the very first Crop and Create Cardmaking event. Crop and Create is the set of Canadian events run by the magazine Scrapbook and Cards Today and I attended the Saskatoon events in 2018 and 2019. They went virtual in November 2020 with one that was more geared towards scrapbooking, so this was their first one solely focused on cardmaking. It was AMAZING. The box of stuff they sent was beyond generous and well worth the price. And this was the first virtual papercrafting event that I attended and followed along with live. It was a grueling three days of watching the classes and company presentations and following along making the cards (getting up at 7am on the weekend? Yuck!). I managed to get all of the cards done that weekend and they were all so unique and different! Here are pictures of what we created.
This event came at a particularly difficult time for me, as I was experiencing considerable stress at work. To take a break from all of that and be able to join a community of 1,200 fellow card-makers, from novice to advanced, as well as fabulous and funny instructors just lifted my soul and filled me back up with love and hope. The papercrafting community is one of the friendliest and most supportive communities I’ve ever seen and I love that I can always join an event or even watch a pre-recorded video of a scrapbooking or card-making class and feel happy and excited.
I’ve also been toggling between my other crafts, too: jewelry, soap and crossstitch. Plus, I attended an organic facial skincare class and have made my own cleanser, facial scrub, clay mask, toner and serum. We’ll see how they work on my skin because I used to be very oily and acne-prone…and now with menopause, I am sooo dry! Sheesh.
So, yes, the start to this year has not been pleasant at work. In November, my company (RWS) acquired one of our largest competitors (SDL) and in January, the merger began. Well, despite us buying them, we saw many of our own senior management get let go, including the CEO of my division, who I loved, as well as my manager two levels up (my manager’s manager), who I worked with at my previous job, who was my boss for a short while and who was influential in hiring me here. So yeah, pissed is an understatement, because it really feels like SDL is taking over RWS instead. Morale is pretty low, other people are quitting over the changes and everyone is fearing for their jobs.
My Solutions team joined SDL’s North American team, and everyone is pretty cool there. I also have a counterpart in the SDL team who is responsible for curating their Solutions content like I am, and I enjoy working with her. We don’t 100% match up in duties, and I have the huge task now of getting all of my Solutions content into their software, so I at least have job security through the rest of the year. On the Marketing side of things, it’s a cluster. SDL has multiple layers of marketing teams, God knows why, that are fragmented, chaotic, unorganized and bloated. My division’s marketing team has been downgraded to focus only on campaigns, whereas in the past we managed our blog, podcast, campaigns, sales materials, slide decks…all of it. In the last six months or so, I’ve been sooo busy that many of my marketing duties were assigned elsewhere anyway, so now it really feels like I have no place in that team, which is fine because I began working in that team years ago because I had extra capacity. Now that I don’t, and they don’t need me, I can get back to focusing only on Solutions.
But, change is hard, and the negative energy everyone is emitting over it all isn’t helping my mood. It’s bad enough I’m stressed over 2021 going down the toilet like 2020 did. I don’t need work stress on top of it all.
I was close to a breaking point in March when I took a week off to decompress and attend the Crop and Create event. That was exactly what I needed, even if it was a staycation. When I returned to work, the clouds lifted. Many of my excess meetings that were taking up way too much of my time were removed from my schedule, either by the teams that created them or by myself just saying no to unnecessary things. At LAST I have a chance to breathe and not work 10-hour days all of the time. So, things are looking up there and I’ll just try to stay busy enough that they don’t lay me off but not too busy that I’m over-stressed again.
Last but not least, I did something drastic. Check it out!
Just kidding! This is my new hairdo:
Also kidding! These are wigs. I bought them in solidarity with my friend Mary who was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in December. They are fun! But she got me thinking even further…she cut 14 inches of hair off to donate to a foundation that makes wigs for child cancer patients before she began chemo and lost the rest of it. Hmm, short hair…faster and easier to maintain…and with my hot flashes, I’m dripping with sweat every morning when I blow dry my long, thick hair…oh WHAT THE HELL, here goes nothing!
This is the fourth time in my life that I’ve had hair this short. The first was in my senior year of high school, the second was my senior year of college and the third was in 2000 when I lived in Virginia. I hope this will help reduce the hot flashes, although now my ears are cold!!!
So your quiz is to report back to me if you’ve gotten this far down and seen my haircut! 🙂