100% FTE, or "I got a day job!" Part 4

Back in September, I wrote about how excited I was to work less, make art, reducing my day job schedule to 80% FTE (which in my case translated to 30 hours split over four days, with Fridays off). That schedule was short-lived for a number of reasons, largely the fact that I feared, after 5 to 6 weeks, I'd taken a 20% pay-cut to do the same amount of work, spending several hours most Fridays "off", and increased time during evenings and weekends, checking in and catching up remotely. And I'm not exactly the "lean in" type, but reducing my schedule, while still legally considered full-time, meant I was no longer eligible for merit raises (of a whopping 1-2% annually, but still), just one example of how not working full-time penalizes those who choose to spend their time elsewhere (and I'm certain this all or nothing approach is not necessary). Kind of irksome, wouldn't you agree? So in November I resumed my 100% FTE schedule, part 4(ish), if we're counting, of this whole "I got a day job!" adventure that started exactly two years ago today.

And in an exercise of opposites, during this same stretch of time, my backyard studio shed was completed! Isn't it a thing of beauty, those 120 square feet of pristine, serene, kid-free space in which to think, design, create, paint, etc.? If only I had more TIME to spend in it. Alas, despite my quest to avoid picking just two but rather claim a wee bit of all three ingredients to a creative life-work "balance" - time, space, money - seems I'm back to two: space and money (and, blasted!, not even that much money).

That said, I did manage to crank out some crafty projects for the holiday period and thought I'd highlight a few here, beginning with our annual holiday card, something I've designed myself every year so far that we've been a party of 2+:

Inspired by the adult coloring book craze.
Sent with a couple of crayons (that likely got crushed in transit).
I've had these styrofoam balls for a couple of years that I combined (well one, anyway) this year with my pom pom stash and my love of the glue gun to make a cupcake ornament for my mother-in-law.

I used the ornament "hardware" from the little ball ornaments I picked up at Target (I intended to make more styrofoam ornaments but never got around to it) so I repurposed the balls themselves in this wreath:

I think I may have added a ribbon at some point; it's foggy now, a month later. Likewise, we were well into December by the time I transformed a Ferrero Rocher tray I snagged at work into a boozy chocolate advent calendar:

I wanted to make a little something for each of my kids and finally got around to using the set of snowman buttons I ordered from The Clay Bean Co. on Etsy three years ago!

I made a simple, felt snowman with the buttons and a similarly designed reindeer with regular buttons. I wasn't exactly going for a literal "deer in the headlights" look but I think it gives this particular reindeer a little extra character.

In the food department, I modified Paper & Stitch's circus animal cookie fudge recipe using Mother's Cookies limited holiday edition and they came out equally tasty (I'll make the classic pink version again closer to Valentine's Day). We also made chocolate gingerbread cookies but my attempt to dip them in peppermint white chocolate failed. They became sandwich cookies instead.

Finally, in the junior department, check out this crazy ribbon tree - with functioning lights! - that Elias made in his after school program. The art teacher in the program facilitated this over a couple of weeks and then sent each kid who participated home with a personalized goody bag full of art supplies! Art teachers seriously rock.

That's it for 2016. My 2017 new year's resolution is to devote these little bits of time (all I have at the moment) to working in the studio. Because when you look back at the end of the holiday period, that's not too shabby for a full-time working parent of two. If I do say so myself.

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