Where have you been, Leslie?

I’ve been focusing on my truck driving business paperwork during December.  The end of 2013 is just days away.  I had to make a choice.  Get in some crafting time, catch up on my blog reading and commenting, or get my paperwork finished and over before 2014 begins.  I chose to complete the task that is the most dreaded by me.  The paperwork necessary for tax time.  The worst of it is over.  I have a day or two remaining of sorting out the days we were home this year versus the days out away from home in our truck driving business.

I am only popping in here, briefly, to allay any fears of my going into another state of depression.  Last winter was a really bad one for me.  Knowing that I will be leaving  home again for long periods of time and not be able to do anything in the way of crafting has been the hardest to deal with.  For those of you that don’t have the advantage of traveling cross country and long to be able to just get away and see what is over the next hill believe that being a truck driver is the best job in the world to  have.  Honestly, it does have moments of breathtaking beauty.  Mostly it is monotonous and bone wearying.

Stress, in major high doses, doesn’t help either.  Both in the truck driving and the tax preparation involved.  The holidays don’t help either.  Preparation for Thanksgiving, followed closely by Christmas, and then the New Year makes this woman one cranky person.  The cranky quotient  amps up to mental and emotional shut down as the pressure mounts.  Along with that the added stress of knowing this cycle will resume shortly after the first of the year.  No time is allowed for creativity nor pure joy in a normal life.

I have fully retired from the truck driving life and a new one begins in 2014.  It is time to get my old life sorted and boxed up.  Clear the path of obstacles and prepare for the new life that awaits me.  A life filled with creativity, sharing, teaching, and just doing the things that I truly love to do.

Last Saturday, December 21st, we were to leave for Colorado and have Christmas with some of our kids.  The evening of the 20th drizzling rain began to fall in Oklahoma, followed by plummeting temperatures.  Saturday morning arrived to a frozen world outside my door.  We had a rental car ready to be picked up, the question was….would we be able to get the car?  Frozen streets, businesses closed, no one answering phones at the rental agency to see if we could even get the car.  Just before noon we were able to get out of the house and make the careful trek to the car lot.

This is the world that greeted us that Saturday morning.  The grass in our yard was frozen in capsules of ice.

Grass encaplsulated in ice

Grass encapsulated in ice

Icicles in frozen streams from the hood of my car to the tires.

Icicles freezing my tires

Icicles freezing my tires

A 1/2 inch thick sheet of ice covering the hood of my car.  Checking the oil of my car would have been impossible.

Hood of my car frozen solid

Hood of my car frozen solid

A close up view of the ice sheet joined at the hood edge and top of the headlights.

Headlight obscured by the ice

Headlight obscured by the ice

The tree outside my house laden with ice.

Our frozen tree

Our frozen tree

Our tree was not the only one frozen.  A Christmas Tree lot located near the rental car agency is a sadly beautiful sight.  Once these trees thaw they will be a total loss financially for the seller of Christmas magic.

Frozen Christmas Tree top

Frozen Christmas Tree top

Frozen Christmas Trees

Frozen Christmas Trees

The local news channels were begging people to stay home and off the roads on Saturday.  The route we would be traveling to Colorado was very slick and hazardous.  Sunday would dawn warmer and would make traveling easier so we waited it out.  Once we left Sunday mid morning the only area of concern was in Kansas.  Salina, Kansas is near the I-70 route we would be taking west.  Salina received five inches of snow overnight which made traveling difficult.  We had to get off the highway for gas and encountered a side road that had not been cleared.  We got stuck in the snow.  A band of hearty souls came to the aid of many motorists, including us, to free us from the grip of ice and snow.

Good  Samaritans to our aid

Good Samaritans to our aid

We arrived, safely, in Colorado.  Christmas morning dawned bright and cold.  Joe began his ritual of cooking the feast in an unfamiliar kitchen.  At our daughter’s house he and I had plenty of room to work around each other as he went about the task of making his stuffing.

Preparing Christmas dinner

Preparing Christmas dinner

A “Christmas Toast” was held in front of the Christmas Tree by father and daughter.  The toast officiated by Bogie the Boxer.

Christmas Toast

Christmas Toast

A delight to this grandmother.  Watching her grandson’s captivated gaze at the Christmas Village display at his Aunt Loreli’s home.

 

A child exploring a tableau

A child exploring a tableau

Christmas is magical with children.  A child’s first bike, a little imagination, and a squirt gun to defeat the enemies of his world.  Oh, and it is also important to be singing “Jingle Bells” as he pedals his bike while fighting foes.

 

A new bike for Christmas

A new bike for Christmas

We are back home now, in Oklahoma.  I will do another vanishing act for a little while to finish my paperwork in preparation for the New Year.  I had purchased a supply of corrugated cardboard sheets from my local box seller.  I didn’t buy all of this cardboard, this was taken in the store.  I have projects planned and will be in full creative mode.

 

Cardboard sheets

Cardboard sheets

Watch for storage posts and/or videos that will be created out of this cardboard.  There will also be tags, greeting cards, scrapbook layouts, and some mini albums created in 2014.  Full steam ahead!

Leslie

Completed Field Journal for Joe.

I had mentioned in my previous post that I have a cobbled together “Press”.  Here is what I use to put heavy pressure on the book covers I make after I have glued the papers on the chipboard.

Highly advanced press

Highly advanced press

The paper pad I used for this journal is “No Limits” by Heidi Swapp and sold at Michaels.

Journal covers

Journal covers

Joe wanted a tabbed divider between the lined paper and the graph paper.  Let me tell you, that took some experimenting to cover the tab.  I ended up using two different papers in the ‘No Limits” paper.  The next one I make I will have to cut the tabbed divider to the same size as the pages within the book instead of the same size as the front and back cover as I did here.

Tabbed divider

Tabbed divider

This is the tab.

Covered tab

Covered tab

The grid paper I have in this journal is printed with some special ink that does not reproduce.  Joe can draw out his design then make a photo copy of it.  The blue lines will disappear leaving only his drawings and notes.  This grid paper was very difficult to photograph.  I had to just about stick my nose up against the paper to get a good photo.

Vanishing grid lines

Vanishing grid lines

I asked Joe to pick out some decorative pieces from the Heidi Swapp paper pad.  He told me where he wanted these items to be placed.  Using the papers and a few Tim Holtz things from my stash I glued the items on the front.  Everything is a single layer.

Decorated front cover

Decorated front cover

This is the tag bit from “No Limits”.  Joe wanted this book to reflect an attention to “Detail” and I did my best to meet his request.

 

Close up of the decorative tag

Close up of the decorative tag

Joe wanted this journal item in his book and I found a place for it.  I added some black arrows to copy the larger white arrow of the journal item.

Journal item

Journal item

Arrows added to journal item

Arrows added to journal item

Joe created his “This Book Belongs To” sort of page.  He found some old photos of the airplanes he used to fly in his crop dusting business long before I met him.  He has personalized his book 😀  The brown chipboard behind this sheet is what I covered in the previous photos.

Personalized page

Personalized page

Joe's old airplanes

Joe’s old airplanes

When I presented the finished book to Joe this was his final reaction.  Declaring loudly while clutching the book to his chest he said “MINE”!  I guess that means he likes it 😀

Joe's journal

Joe’s journal

Now it is time to get back in my craft room and get back to the task of purging.  That room is a catastrophe!

Time to clean this  mess up

Time to clean this mess up!

Maybe I should save this photo for Wednesday and the “What’s On Your Work Desk Wednesday”.  A little shame never hurt anyone.  However, I think I have a lot to be shameful of :/

The table is under there somewhere

The table is under there somewhere

Oh well….NEXT TIME I’ll put stuff away when I finish with it :/

Previous Older Entries