Thursday, January 5, 2017

Helllllloooo.... is anyone there?

Hello Blog Land!!  It has been almost 2 years since my last post and a lot has happened in 2 years!  I took a break from blogging, which was anticipated but without a plan to get back into blogging.  I was unsure if I would/could even come back and blog again.  But here I am and I am back.  My goal for this year is to start blogging again, mostly for myself.  I find it therapeutic to be reflective and thankful.  It is also a memory saver, like the vials of memories stored near the pensive in Dumbledore's office.  I can put some of my thoughts, projects, patterns, etc. on the blog to refer to later... cleaning out the storage in my mind, opening it up for new information.

So where to start?  Let me start where I left off... February 2015 was my last semester taking 15 credits in school for my second bachelor degree.  I was in the thick of my current classes, getting ready to leave for spring break to meet my parents in Florida and take the kids on the whole Disney/Universal ride, I was also applying for my student teaching positions and becoming very apprehensive about my upcoming job search.  I knew that it would be very difficult to find an open position and even if I found one, I knew what my competition looked like and it looked like a lot of experience that I didn't have.  Furthermore, it had been 12 years since I went through a formal interview process and in 2003, I secured the first job I applied to, so even that left me unexperienced with the interviewing process.  But I trucked along.  I secured 2 student teaching positions in a district I had previously been unfamiliar with.  My first practicum cooperative teacher gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me, even to this day.  He said that when getting a job in any field, "It's who you know." And with that, I made sure to know as many people as possible, which has been so rewarding because I have met some incredible, like-minded, generous, and amazing individuals that I feel so lucky to have met and I am able to call them my friends today.  Essentially, I found "my-people" and I feel so thankful to be a part of this group of awesomeness.

The summer of 2015 left me with 13 term papers to write, begrudgingly.  But I did it and moved smoothly into student teaching in the Fall of 2015.  I learned a lot and graduated with my 2nd degree in Art Education in December '15.  Although it was exciting and a relief to graduate for a 2nd time, I didn't feel it was as much of an accomplishment as I thought it would be.  You see, I didn't go back to school to get a 2nd degree... I went back to school to get a position as an art teacher and although I had the degree and certification in December 2015...  I didn't yet have the job that I so desperately was seeking.  However patience is a virtue, one of which I have not yet acquired.

In the Spring of 2016 I threw myself into substitute teaching.  I was subbing in 3 different districts and secured an 8 week long-term substitute position as an elementary art teacher.  Now, I took the position for several reasons, even though I had no intention of teaching elementary school.  For 1,  I wanted to see if I could do it and 2, I wanted to see if it was something that I didn't want to do after all.  I was surprised to find that I was quite capable, having elementary aged children, I was able to combine my knowledge of the K-5 developmental levels with my passion for art and my new knowledge of teaching.  I was not surprised to find that, although I did like it and I miss my students dearly, it wasn't an age group I would want to teach on a full-time basis.  During this time, I also interviewed for an elementary position in the same district I was subbing in and the first screening interview went really well but...  I completely bombed the 2nd interview.  Again, it wasn't my 1st choice for a full-time position, so in the end it was bitter/sweet.  The 8 week long-term sub position ended on a Friday, and I began a new long-term position at my high school alma mater the following Monday.  Also on that Friday, I scheduled an interview for a new art teacher position in the 2nd high school in my alma mater district.  I was nervous and excited all at the same time because I knew all of the art teachers at both high schools and would love to be a part of the team.

So I interviewed, I felt it went pretty well.  Unlike in previous interviews, I didn't have any immediate  feedback as to how I did in the interview.  I have had several interviews where I had an immediate, "This was a great interview" and the one horrible interview became so uncomfortable toward the end that I just stood up and said, "O.K., cool.  Thanks." and left (I told you I bombed it).  But this current interview was the one I really wanted and I dissected each and every question and my answers with a fine-toothed comb for the next few days.  And 2 weeks after the interview,  I was offered the position!!!  You remember all of the accomplishment, relief, excitement, and pride that I was missing at graduation...  well it hit all at once as I was on cloud 9!!!! I was practically doing cartwheels in the park lot as I left and I am pretty sure I was singing, or cheering, or crying, or jumping for joy....  I don't know which, it's all a happy blur now.  I called all of the people I had on my list to call when I secured a position and when I got home, my husband found me sitting on the steps in the front of our house, texting pretty much everyone I knew with texts that read something like this: "I GOT THE JOB!!!!!😄😍😄😍😄😍".  To this, my husband said, "You know....  you can copy and paste all of that into the new text messages." My reply was, "NO!  I am enjoying typing each and every letter and each and every emoji. And frankly, all of my hard work has earned me the right to type each one!"  Ha!

Flash forward to now, I am still on cloud 9 from securing my position and I keep pinching myself because I knew what my competition looked like and I cannot believe I got the job!  Not because I was not qualified or capable, but because I didn't have as much experience that, I assume, most of the other applicants had and I think to some, that holds a lot of weight.  But boy, I am getting a lot of experience now.  With one whirlwind of a semester down, today was supposed to be our first day back from winter break, but we had a snow day.  Which is a big bummer because I was ready, plus starting school on a Friday is just kinda silly.  All of the other teachers were bummed by this storm's timing too. But that's ok, I will be prepared first thing tomorrow morning, bright and early!

So what does this mean for my blog? Well, with a full time position as a high school art teacher, I don't have as much time as I did in years past to devote to my blog.  However, this is one of my New Year's resolutions because I think (believe it or not) blogging is "good for my soul" [quote taken directly from my friend, Miriam, and very fitting].  My goal is to blog once a month and I am going to try my hardest to stick to that...  keep in mind I have a lot on my plate as a new teacher and I have also signed up for 2 book studies at school...  perhaps I might blog about the books?  Being an art teacher might also mean that there will be more art, lessons, and teacher-y stuff included in my posts...  which will be awesome!

Now that everyone is caught up, I will move into the meat and bones of the post.  One of the things that I have acquired in the last 2 years is a fervor for fashion, or rather just clothes.  I believe you could probably call me a clotheshorse...  but mostly it is because I like to shop, love finding a sale, and now I have a reason to wear more clothes.  In fact, in an effort to save time in the morning (as to not have to climb in my small closet to find an outfit) and to extend my closet space, last year the hubs and I built a stylish/industrial clothing rack/cart.
It is made with silver-toned pipes, fittings, and flanges, 3 pieces of wood (17"x66"x1") stained a dark walnut, and 4 industrial casters. I think total, we spent $300-$350 on all of the supplies, which is a small price to pay for almost double the closet space.  Plus there are 2 shelves on the bottom for shoes, and one at the top for purses.  I love the cart, but if there was one thing I would change, it would be the size of the side pipes above the rack, connecting to the top shelf.  Those pipes could have been half the size and I realized this after we assembled the cart.  The only issue is, we would have had to take apart the whole cart in order to change out the 2 pipes and so we just decided to leave it.   If you consider making one, I would also recommend buying hangers that match...  since this is in the open in my bedroom (and some may find that odd, but open closets are currently trendy). See this post for more tips.

I also wanted a jewelry system for the jewelry I wear regularly...  mostly costume. I wanted something I could easily see what I had in order to make a quick selection at 6am in the morning.  I saw this post/tutorial and loved the idea of having a modular open system for displaying my jewelry.  So I made my best friend (Bradley, remember him?) go with me to several ReStores and I found an old (solid and very heavy) wood door.  It's awesome, chippy and exactly what I wanted.  This was clearly from a front door of a house built in the late 60s maybe 1970s, given the wood color and decoration on the side that I'm sure faced toward the outside. I decided on the painted side, which is more of an off white.  I added towel bars from Ikea, a key ring holder and wall hooks from Target, and square nails that look hand-forged from Home Depot.  The mirror and framed pin board I had (probably from Hobby Lobby) and the hooks on the towel bars are from Ikea.

I also repainted my French Provincial dresser I use as a nightstand.  Remember when I painted it teal on this post?  This summer my uncle visited and installed tile in our house, everywhere that was previously linoleum, which meant the carpet also had to be replaced (I would have gone with wood or a similar solid surface but we won't be in this house forever), and this meant that I had to paint my bedroom.  It was in need of a new coat, plus I have been converting all of the trim in the house from honey oak to white and I wasn't about to do any painting in a newly carpeted room so I painted before the carpet was installed.  I am neutralizing (for an eventual sale) and we went with a medium gray for the wall color in the bedroom.  I decided to go for an "up cycled glam" look... plus I was really inspired by this post and what I liked most about it is the 2-toned finish on the inspiration dresser. So I used a hammered silver paint for the body of the dresser and a metallic silver for the drawers/handles.

I love how it turned out and the best part is, the hammered silver paint adhered better to the top, which was a slick formica before I initially painted it teal.  Here is a close up of the 2-toned details.  I also put a little thin black glaze around the details to make them pop.

I really wanted to fit in Stitch Fix into this post but I have run out of time and must save it for next time. I hope this post finds all of my readers well and until next time, Happy New Year!