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*Looks around* Hello! How were things for you in 2018? How’s 2019 going so far?

I’m very sorry for dropping off the online map for so long. I needed to recalibrate and refocus after some changes that happened at the end of 2018. It actually started at the end of 2017 when I learned my job (and my husband’s since we worked under the same grant) would be coming to an end, which pretty well coincides with the timing of the previous post made here.

In a nutshell, I absolutely loved my job these past five years, and it was a big part of my identity. I helped with the administration of a huge food safety collaborative studying a very cool and prolific virus. I sometimes felt like I was “in the room where it happens” to borrow from Hamilton, seeing decisions and collaborations come into being out of the ether. I got to know a couple hundred neat individuals from all backgrounds, and we felt part of something truly good and unique. And so after this massive project ended this past September, even as we’d always known it eventually would, it hit quietly but deeply (except for the next-to-last day when I ugly-cried into my coworker’s kind and absorbent shoulder).

After my job ended, if you asked me on any particular day how I was feeling, I’d reply with honesty that I was pretty chipper. I was staying busy (I took on greater leadership roles in my miniatures and public speaking clubs), spending quality time with my family, and mentally trying to stay ready for whatever changes came next. But looking more broadly, many things got reprioritized, including some things I enjoy, like this blog.

I still did crafty things, but got antsy if I spent much time on them, because it was time not seeking new employment. Completing miniature scenes as “speed runs” became shiny prospects (more on those in later posts). I’d get partway through a project and then another idea would pop in my head and command my attention. When I mentioned it to my minis colleagues, one of them sagely said (almost offhandedly but assuredly) that it was because I was unsettled. And she was right.

I started a new position this February that uses many of my skills and experiences, but in a very new setting. Now that I’m increasingly feeling like I made the right choice (there were 2.5 different career paths on the table at the same time), I started thinking about this blog with more than just dismay at its quiescence and think to myself “I should really post something soon.”

And so what I thought I’d do for a restart is show what’s happened since January 1, 2018 in photos. I went through my phone and pulled a few highlights. Some will be spoilers for future posts!

9House

I finished a second donated dollhouse with a family of bunny Calico Critters to inhabit it.

4SnailPub

A cool arts graduate student in California asked me to make a tavern scene for an interactive website/storytelling platform involving real snails as actors. This was an in progress shot.

5Glowsoap

In addition to calling upon grad students at work to help make 500 norovirus-shaped soaps for a food safety conference in 2017, I played with a neon green, clear version that glowed under black light for another conference in 2018.

8Anniversary

The hubby and I celebrated an anniversary at that same conference in Chicago by eating a towering, chocolate-covered milkshake.

7Petshop

For most of 2018, the miniatures club worked on pet shops. (Yay bunny bench!)

11Snow

We got snow in North Carolina, which almost never happens. My folks actually got more than 12 inches, which is super rare, and the storm basically shut down our state for several days.

14Lettuce

The rooftop garden of the Japanese bunny cafe got some lettuces made out of crepe paper.

19Guitars

Itty bitty guitars!

16DesertOasis

SPOILER 1: A desert oasis designed for an artist to get away and create in a mid-century modern space. First failed speed build attempt, but going to come back to this one someday. (And Nancy and Kris, thanks so much for the Eames-style fireplace pattern!)

Seriously, the fireplace design is awesome, and can be found here.

18Escape

We had a dozen of our friends over for a home-made escape room Halloween party. This was an artifact that was mailed to the players in pieces. The story was that the hubby and I were sent to an alternate dimension by a pooka (a Celtic shapeshifter that was inhabiting the form of a plush rabbit) and they had an hour to figure out the story and free us (which they did).

20Canary

“Petey,” a wee canary project for the pet shops.

23Trailer

SPOILER 2: A vintage trailer converted into a space-themed donut shop (because it seemed like a good idea when lying awake in bed at 1am). This was originally a 24-hour speed build (cumulative hours) that failed, but is actually pretty close to done!

22Chair

In-progress shot of two folding aluminum chairs to go with the donut food truck. Made out of actual aluminum and woven plastic webbing!

25Hamster

Miniature hamster cage kit, made about 17 of these and we made hamsters the month before at the club. Some laser cutting, some tiny plastic boxes, and the sides of the wheel are bingo tokens.

23Tree

A 1:24 scale Christmas tree made with static grass for the annual club holiday party. Thanks so much teensyweensybaby for the creativity behind the tutorial!

26Coop

SPOILER 3: This one will get its own post, but an in-progress photo of a chicken coop project that the minis club is now building. It turned out super cute.

So that’s 2018 and some of 2019. I have 4 miniatures projects on standby that I’ll be working on, as well as a newfound but strong itch to try out luthiery again.

Thanks for coming back :-).