I have seen things and helped do things that most people will never see or do. Every single day, I have consoled someone who was crying. I have been yelled at, threatened, covered in vomit, urine and feces, I have tried to handle every situation with strength and grace, and when I was feeling really unsure about what was going to happen now, I would say out loud to myself: I am not afraid of anything. Just under 3,000 cats and dogs have come into the shelter's care during my five months at the shelter, and my staff handled all of them professionally and with great heart; I am really proud of those men and women.
What this means to you is that I am going to go back to designing, but do it full-time from home. After 17 years in the cross stitch industry, this last year had me feeling very burned out, because I had spread myself way too thin, and could no longer do a good job at most of it. Trying to run a shop and a web site by myself, in addition to traveling to teach and attend shows, and designing under two different lines (Raise the Roof and Shakespeare's Peddler) had gotten to be too much for one person.
But I've missed it this past six months, and one of the reasons I left this newest job is that I had no time to stitch anymore, ever (I went probably four or five months without picking up one needle). In the last few weeks, I've been picking it back up, and it makes me so happy. I am not re-opening my online store, although I have a new Etsy site called "Letters Great and Small." My son Harrison is going to be packing and shipping orders for me from there, at least for the time being while I get back to the business of the needle (Harrison attended a few trade shows with me in the last few years; he's 22 now and getting a degree in psychology to become a counselor.)
I thank you with your patience with me this past year -- I've been a bit of a flake, and this was probably some sort of mid-life crisis. I am learning that a person cannot be all things to all people, and what I would like to do now is do three things: design needlework, help this area's animals as a volunteer, and most importantly, take care of my family.
I have a whole stack of old samplers that need reproducing, and a mind full of design ideas for original designs. My needle is waiting.
(The picture at the top was taken about eight weeks ago. A group of eight puppies was brought to the shelter one day; they had been saved when a woman bought them for $20 each on the side of a country road from a man who was just hoping to sell them to be bait for dogs that were being trained to fight and kill other dogs. All eight of them found homes.)