"What will you do if you lose your scrapbooking job?" - out of the mouth of babes this morning. "Why is that, Abby?" I ask - avoid the question by answering with another question, great parenting tip, that one. "Because I want to be like you when I grow up and if you don't do scrapbooking, I don't know what I will be. Unless you are a florist. Yea, you could be a florist and I think I could do that".
She's a good kid with a heart of gold and has always been the first one there to help me cut, tie, pack orders, price or organise during these crazy years of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time. She's been around just as long as I've worked in the industry and I realised with that little conversation, as well as some rumors I have heard circling the internet, that I probably owe her an explanation.
And perhaps you as well.
It's true - I am retiring from teaching and I'm stepping back from scrapbooking. I've scrapbooked for 15 years, worked in the industry for 10 years and taught internationally for 8 of them. I've travelled to Canada, South Africa, the USA, Australia and all over New Zealand. It's been a great ride, but I've made the choice to step away and have slowly done so over the past year.
It was a decision that almost made itself. I started to turn down teaching jobs about a year ago - just after I was in the USA and a family tragedy at home meant I had to get an emergency flight back to my family. The fact that something tragic happened at home, a family member passed away and I wasn't there to comfort my kids and my hubby, to give them the support a strong family bond provides, the fact I was missing, I wasn't there when they needed me, that was the start. Yes, they survived. Yes, they are okay. But like any one of you, I would rather have been with them.
Not long afterwards I turned down a job in Vietnam. And then Malaysia. And then Australia and the USA. My friends and my family (including my hubby) all asked if I was crazy.
Nope, I just want to enjoy more of this:
And maybe even this:
The scrapbooking world has been fabulous to me, I have met an amazing amount of wonderful people (and that seems like an incredibly cliche thing to say but it's true). I adore so many people in this industry and the cool thing is that I'm giving up teaching and my heavy involvement in the industry, not the friends I have made. Can't get rid of me that easily.
I am at peace with the new enjoyment of my surroundings, embracing more time at home and investing a lot more time in the other businesses I run (my husband and I have other businesses too, it's ok, I have plenty of things to do - the beauty is that I have time to do it now). I have time to complete my other jobs, my hobbies, look after my dodgy health issues AND hug my family at night. Because my kids are growing up far too fast. It's all very well saying I need to appreciate them while they are young but until I took the step back and said "I'm doing this for you", I wasn't truly embracing that. I wasn't giving them what they deserved. I'm doing it now.
I realised I should have said something on my blog earlier when I started to receive emails asking where I was - I got some pretty cool emails though - some people were concerned, some people wondered if I was locked in a gym somewhere and couldn't get out, one person even offered their sadness that I wasn't requested so much to teach anymore... stepping back from scrapbooking was a choice, I promise you, the requests are only slowing now that I've made it fairly public I'm stepping down... here's a few answers to the questions I'm being asked.
1. It's true I no longer travel to teach. I'd still love to create kits and and sell them via my blog. There is still a market there, right? (Please tell me there is because I have THREE amazing kits to release over the next two months).
2. My facebook & my blog have gone a little quiet because I'm hugging my kids more. And spending time at their after-school activities instead of dropping them off and running back to work. And spending organised time doing other work. (and making some amazing dinners and I don't even fall asleep in movies anymore. Actually I lie. I slept through Cloudy with Meatballs 2 recently).
3. Yes this was a choice. No I didn't just become 'unpopular'. I did this. it. was. a. choice. I'm happy.
4. Is Autumn Escape for sale? Yes it is, infact we have a sales contract in the works, but sorry no I can't tell you who it is with. I can tell you I am EXCITED that it is someone that is taking something Lucy & I have nutured and loved since 2008 and is going to continue it on the way it has always been.
4. Do I still have creative time? Yep, I have the kits AND I also adore the time I spend working with new Prima products, creating tradeshow booth artwork, turning them into Prima kits etc. Yes I still love getting arty-creative with it. I still create stuff. When I want, though. What a concept.
5. Do I still scrapbook? If scrapbooking to you is keeping a record of times we want to remember through photos and writing, then yes. I do. These days it is a Visual Art Diary from Warehouse Stationery, a pen, some coloured pencils and home printed photos stapled in a book.
And that makes me happy too. I hope you'll be happy for me.