2021 has been a lot of things. It’s been exhausting, bittersweet, and even gloomy, but it’s also been filled with joy, nervous excitement, and exhilaration. I’ve experienced so much throughout 2021 and my journal has captured it all. It’s seen multiple jobs, an international move, a new relationship, and so much more.
My journal, now that it is completed, holds 365 icons representing the 365 days of 2021. It covers a variety of things, usually the most memorable part of my day. This could be something positive or negative. On a normal day, I may cover something I ate, somewhere I went, how I was feeling, something I read or watched, etc. If you’re interested in finding out more about embroidery journals, I have written a series of posts.
While my year has ended on a high note, it started out a bit tough. I was working in a demanding job, and while I was enjoying it, I wasn’t left with much freetime to do anything other than work and recover from working.
The majority of my January is filled with icons representing my time at work: guest interactions, cleaning, mostly just hotel job duties. It does have a few fun stories present: the handcuffs and “can I have a ride” being two of them.
Sorry to disappoint, but February carried on similarly to January. The majority of what I stitched was representative to what was going on at work. I fit in a couple of meals out with friends and I started allowing myself to read in my freetime, which carried on throughout 2021.
Unfortunately, I really don’t have any decent photos from the first couple of months of the year.
In March I started to carve out more time for myself and start seriously planning for my upcoming international move. I knew that leaving behind my friends, family, and cats was going to be tough – so I became more intentional about spending time with my loved ones. This was the month that I notified the management team at my hotel that I intended on leaving my job in a few months. I even ended up getting the first round of the Moderna vaccine in March.
Things were starting to fall into place and I was getting excited. However, in late March I received some bad news, which ended up shifting things.
With the changes that happened in my life, I left my job earlier than I anticipated, which was at the end of April. It was a tough decision, leaving my job – but I knew it would have happened eventually with my move. However, because of this, I was able to spend much more time that I had expected with my family and friends. I was also able to focus on my quickly approaching move to the U.K.
Also, I found out that eating your feelings is real and I did a TON of that throughout April – it was an overwhelming month, not only for myself, but also for my family.
Oh, May, I always love May. It was the month of not only my 26th birthday, but also my younger brothers 21st.
My best friend and younger brother teamed up to give me a joint gift for my birthday of a Switch and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. So I spent entirely way too much time playing ACNH. Despite this, I found the time to launch The Stir-Crazy Crafter website! I spent so much time working on it and I’m still so proud to have made that leap.
This is the month where despite everything that was going on in my life, I went for it and purchased my plane ticket for my move. My ticket was for early August, which seemed like enough time to get everything together and organized for my move.
Remember how I said this year was bittersweet? Well that was because of this month. While I was intending on leaving California in August, my best friend of 14 years moved in June with her husband to Tennessee. Before they left, we were able to spend quite a lot of time together, with minimal tears. We’ve always talked about visiting The Living Desert together, well we finally made the trip, the week before she moved. It was worth getting heatstroke (twice!).
June is also the month that I allowed myself to fully dive into reading. You can see icons representing several of the books that I read throughout the month: The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Malibu Rising, Turtles All The Way Down.
July was deemed the month of stress and french knots.
My flight was booked for August 6th, and I had five weeks left to prep for my move. I was in and out of doctors offices and the dentist office making sure that I was fully healthy. Which I was, for the most part.
I saw a new dentist who was under the impression that I may have a screw loose in my jaw (from a previous dental surgery as a teenager). After a week of worries and a mobile CT Scan of my jaw, it was deemed that nothing was actually wrong with my jaw, luckily.
I took the time in July to fly to Tennessee and was able to explore the area that my best friend and her husband moved to. I enjoyed Tennessee a lot more than I had expected and can’t wait to return.
In the weeks leading up to my move, I hit multiple roadblocks that made me think, “this is it, this is the thing that will stop me from moving”. Despite this, on August 6th, I got on a plane, headed for London.
I am so lucky to have so much family living in England. Because of this, I was able to spend a few days exploring London. I then traveled to a town outside of London to visit my Grandad and his wife, who I hadn’t seen in about three years.
After saying my goodbyes, I went up to Telford, where I stayed with my aunt and her dogs while I was looking for jobs and flats in Scotland.
In September I stayed in Telford for the majority of the month. I did however, take a week long, impromptu, trip up to Edinburgh and Glasgow in order to explore both cities. I had always intended on living in Glasgow, but I wanted to give Edinburgh a fair shot. While in Glasgow, I actually ended up meeting a sweet guy, so I’d say it was well worth the trip.
I spent the rest of the month applying to jobs, doing virtual job interviews, reading, going on doggie walks with my aunt, and assisting her in launching her vegan home baking business, Morag’s Bakes.
I might have even flown back up to Edinburgh for a first date with that guy I had met earlier in the month…
October is where things really came together. After about a month and a half of trying to get a flat or a job in Glasgow, I managed to secure both within 5 days of each other. I would be moving in late October, and starting my job in a hotel in Mid-November.
With the two main things that had been worrying me taken care of, I was able to focus on some more enjoyable things, like my embroidery and spending time with my family. Just for fun, I started making videos on tiktok. I posted a video of the supplies needed for creating an embroidery journal and to everyone’s surprise, overnight it gained 1.2 million views. From there, Better Home & Gardens wrote an article about my journal.
At the end of the month, I finally moved up to Glasgow, just in time to experience my first Autumn, ever.
When I moved from Telford to Glasgow, I mailed off a couple of my suitcases using a courier service. One turned up at my flat, the other one never did. So I spent the first week and a half of November in my flat, waiting for my missing suitcase to appear. However, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my new flatmate and really get to know her during this time.
In mid-November I started my new job in a hotel. I figured that I would enjoy it, but I guess I hadn’t realized just how much I had missed the chaos of working in a hotel. I’m a part of a great team and I already have so many fun guest stories to share.
With living in Glasgow, I was also able to spend more time with that sweet guy – going on walks, coffee dates, and baking up a storm: cookies, brownies, and even red velvet cupcakes together.
In December, I found myself getting into the rhythm of my new job and getting to know my coworkers – they’re a great bunch. I was also able to spend loads of time getting to know my flatmate and I put my bus pass to the test by using it to explore my new city.
My boyfriend and I went up to Edinburgh to visit the Christmas Market for a night. It was raining the entire time, but we made the most of it by enjoying hot chocolate and mulled wine, along with some good conversations.
While this was the first Christmas I spent away from my family, I was so lucky enough to have my flatmate chose to spend the morning with me.
As you may know, on December 31st, I completed my journal. I’ve been asked what my last stitch was – it’s mold. I spent the last morning of the year cleaning mold off of the windowsills in my flat. What a way to end 2021.
Last June, after years of thinking that I wanted to live in England, I changed course and decided that I actually wanted to live in Glasgow. I cannot stress enough, how happy I am to have made this decision. I keep saying that it’s one of my best decisions, and I truly believe that. Who knows, maybe if I had ended up in England, I still could have been this happy. I was worried when I moved about finding a job, finding a flat, creating a support system, and so many other things that I just tried not to let get to me. Eventually though, everything just worked itself out. I ended up with a job that I enjoy, a lovely flat, a great flatmate, and even a wonderful boyfriend (who saw that coming? I for sure didn’t).
If you’re considering creating an embroidery journal in 2022 – do it. One of my favourite things is to glance at my journal and recall all of the great things that have happened this year. While the first few months of this year were tough on myself and my family, I’m able to see just how much things have improved throughout the rest of the year.
In March I wrote a piece similar to this, but for my 2020 embroidery journal. If you are interested, then check it out here: A Stitch in Time.