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 :/

“It cuts like butta”. The industrial paper cutter that is.

Joe gets to be my “guinea pig”.  He is such a good subject to experiment on 😀

This particular project was Joe’s idea.  He got very excited about the paper cutter and what all could be done with it.

You see, Joe is a Mechanical Engineer by training.  He’s “Old School” with the drafting table, slide ruler, and pencil drafting.  His son, Curtis, is “New School” using the computer aided drafting programs in his work.  Joe’s concept is a “Field Book”.  Something  he can take with him as he goes around taking measurements of stuff he wants to build.

This book will require pages with graph paper.  A place to begin his creations.

Graph paper

Graph paper

Joe also needs a section of the book to make notes on.  Just regular lined paper.

 

Standard lined paper pad

Standard lined paper pad

Joe has requested his book be 6-1/2 inches by 9 inches.  I have a ready supply of .22 thickness chipboard.  This is thinner than the base chipboard on either one of the paper pads – graph paper or standard lined paper pad.

I have cut the front and back covers of his book using the new paper cutter.

Front and back chipboard covers

Front and back chipboard covers

Joe wants to have a divider in the book to separate the paper sections.  I have some “tabbed” chipboard that is .50 thickness.  Quite a bit thicker than the stuff I’m using for the covers.

Tabbed divider

Tabbed divider

Cutting the chipboard was easy using the new paper cutter.  Next it was to see how well it would cut through an entire pad of paper.  Cover, paper, and chipboard backing.  The graph paper was first.  The blade cut through that entire pad of graph paper as if it were just one piece of card stock.

Graph paper cut

Graph paper cut

Same for the standard lined pad.  Just sliced right through all the paper and the chipboard backing.

Cut lined paper pad

Cut lined paper pad

This went so well.  My Tonic Studios guillotine trimmer was a pain to use.  I  had to count out 5 sheets of paper.  7 at the most.  Cut it to size then go on to the next 5 or 7 sheets.  Cutting through the chipboard was not pretty with the Tonic Studios trimmer.

The covers and the tabbed divider are under my paper press drying right now.  I’ll show them to you tomorrow.  My paper press is wax paper layers to separate the drying items, a glass 12 inch by 16 inch heat resistant trivet, and the weight is my giant cast iron dutch oven.  Works for me 😀

I get to play in my room today.  July paperwork is in the bag!  Tomorrow I start August.  I should have that finished by Saturday.

Now we have some errands to run.  I think I might have to go to Hobby Lobby or Michaels to find a Tim Holtz die for cutting tabs.  That is if this project works :/

Leslie

I Double Dog Dare You to make some tags using scrapbook sticker sheets!.

I got sidetracked.

My intention was to get in my craft room and begin purging.  Clear out the massive amount of crap I have in there so I can find a home for the new paper cutter Joe got me.

I did make a start.  I have several 13″ x 13″ pocket folders chock full of sticker sheets.  Most of them are missing stickers.  While going through the file pockets and trying to sort the stuff I could purge…an idea struck.

Here is a sample of the condition of my sticker sheets.

Partially used sticker sheet.

Partially used sticker sheet.

I didn’t feel right in putting that in a pile to give to someone.  Frankly, if I received this sticker sheet from someone I think I might have thoughts of passing it on to someone else.  The images are photo quality.  Burlap images.  Button images, quite a number of them are stuck to the inside of the plastic file pocket I had this stored in.  I bought this sheet somewhere around 2007.  I don’t even know what I have used it on.

I have a challenge for you.  Nay.  I  dare you!  I dare you to do the following:

Paw through your stash of sticker sheets and select one.   Any one.

Locate your stash of chipboard.  Haul out  your stash of saved cereal boxes.

Find your cache of chipboard pieces or cereal boxes

Find your cache of chipboard pieces or cereal boxes

Grab a spool of lace trim.  This is the only lace trim that I have so I have used it.

Locate your stash of lace trim

Locate your stash of lace trim

I have a small stash of burlap that has been crammed away in a drawer for about 5 years.

Small stash of burlap

Small stash of burlap

Get your stash of small flowers.  No bigger than 1-1/4 inches.  This is just a tray that was easy for me to get to and it has a mix of flowers in it.

My stash of small flowers

My stash of small flowers

If  you have made decorative pins, bring them out.

My pitiful stash of stick pins

My pitiful stash of stick pins

Do you have some glittered up chipboard embellishments?  Well, what’s taking you so long?  Get them located.

Glittered chipboard embellishments

Glittered chipboard embellishments

Use some acrylic paint.  I’ve chosen to use my long neglected Acrylic Paint Daubers from Ranger Industries.

Sunshine Yellow

Sunshine Yellow

Snow Cap

Snow Cap

Red Pepper

Red Pepper

While you are digging around in your sticker stash find some other long forgotten pieces, too.

Sticker embellishments

Sticker embellishments

Last thing is some 1/4″ ribbon.  If you don’t have the eyelets to punch and adhere to the tags, you can always use a trusty stapler.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Need some inspiration?  Need a gift tag or two?  In desperate need of having some decorative tags that coordinate with the mini album or scrapbook layouts you are working on?  Out of money and can’t go to the store to buy some ready made tags?  Alright, alright.  I’ll shut up and show you what I’ve done.

Here they are.

Tag #1

Tag #1

Tag #2

Tag #2

Tag #3

Tag #3

Tag #4

Tag #4

Tag #5

Tag #5

Tag #6

Tag #6

Tag #7

Tag #7

Tag #8

Tag #8

This is all that remains of the sticker sheet.

 

The sticker sheet after

The sticker sheet after

I even made the buttons 😀  I used a 1 inch circle punch and a 3/4 inch circle punch.

 

1 inch circle punch

1 inch circle punch

3/4 inch circle punch

3/4 inch circle punch

Button stickers

Button stickers

Not bad for about four hours work.  Any fun distraction is always helpful after I have finished my daily business paperwork mess :/  I’m nearly finished with July.  Woo Hoo.

Leslie

 

“Will you open your Christmas present so it won’t be in front of the door forever?!”

I don’t do much online ordering.  When I do, the packages are small and light.  Joe, on the other hand, gets deliveries that are large and cumbersome.  Tuesday last, a package arrived.  The poor UPS guy struggled to get it up our ice slick steps and into the house.

Package arrival

Package arrival

The box was covered in snow and ice on one side and one end.  I was the one to get it in the house from the UPS guy.  Once inside and left on the linoleum floor to drip dry I called out to Joe that he had a package.

“That’s YOUR Christmas present” he told me.  :/  That thing is HEAVY!  What could Joe have bought me?  Especially one that would be so heavy?  First thought was it would be something for my least favorite thing in the world to do.  Cooking.  That box had to hold cast iron cookware.

Four days the box sat where it had been placed upon arrival.

That is, until he said the box needed to be removed from in front of the door.  Muttering and some gesturing followed his request.

Hefting the box to the table top was a strenuous exercise.  Once the copious amounts of tape adhered to the flaps was sliced through and the flaps opened all that was seen was white Styrofoam.  I tried to lift the foam out to see what was inside the box.  It was not coming free.  We moved the package to the floor once more and carefully turned it over on its head to remove the cardboard box.  Once the box was removed, and the Styrofoam off, the contents were puzzling.

Bottom of packaged item

Bottom of packaged item

It took the both of us to turn this item back right side up to remove the other part of the Styrofoam packaging.  What appeared was a paper trimmer.  And let me tell you….this is no “Ordinary” paper trimmer!

 

Paper trimmer

Paper trimmer

It took us both to get the paper trimmer up on the table for a closer look.  This thing is constructed of steel.  Not plastic like my other paper trimmers, which are all plastic.

 

Industrial paper trimmer

Industrial paper trimmer

Investigating this item further I  have determined that this is an “Industrial” paper trimmer.  One that will cut through a ream of paper.

People!  A REAM of paper!  500 sheets of paper!

There is a wheel-y thing that turns.

Wheel-y thing

Wheel-y thing

This raises and lowers the “throat” of this massive cutting machine.

Open

Open

Open

Open

Open more

Open more

Nearly fully open

Nearly fully open

My guess is….insert the stack of paper, cardboard, or chipboard…..lower the pressure plate to the top of the stack to secure it in place before cutting.

There, also, is a guide that will keep the paper from slipping while cutting.

Back stop type guide thing-y

Back stop type guide thing-y

This is the “Business” end of the paper trimmer.  A blade which is very sharp.  An over large handle to facilitate the blade action to cut through a ton of paper.

Business end of the paper trimmer

Business end of the paper trimmer

This giant paper trimmer is 24 inches long!

24 inch length of paper trimmer

24 inch length of paper trimmer

The cutting area is 17 inches long.

17 inch cutting area

17 inch cutting area

The next question I will be asked…..”When are you going to get your Christmas present OFF the table?”

I don’t have a place for it in my craft room.  In fact, I have no idea where I’m going to put this thing.

I asked Joe “Why did you think of this?”

His answer, “I thought you could use it to cut out the cardboard and chipboard you have been using.  This would be easier than the craft knife you currently use.”

How could I not love this man?!  The man that believes “There is a tool for every job.”

Guess I had better get busy!  I’ve got chipboard to cut for the little “neck pouches” I’ve made recently.  I have made adjustments to the one that failed.

The pouch is the same width of 4-1/4 inches.

Newest pouch

Newest pouch

It is 1/2 inch deep.  The previous one was only 1/4 inch.

1/2 inch deep

1/2 inch deep

Which has accommodated the placement of eyelets for the ribbon.

Inclusion of eyelets for ribbon

Inclusion of eyelets for ribbon

Same Velcro closures.

Velcro closures

Velcro closures

And a thing-a-ma-bob to allow the ribbon to be adjusted in length.

Ribbon adjuster

Ribbon adjuster

The newest one is now ready for the ribbon and the Velcro.  Both of these pouches have been covered, inside and out, with a clear vinyl self stick contact sheet.

 

Newest pouch

Newest pouch

I will do a post on this newest addition to my craft tools.  Would I recommend this for the average crafter?  No.  This thing weighs about 60 pounds – with packaging.  It is at least 45 pounds all by itself.  The paper trimmer is massive and will need to have a large open space to work.  This is not a tool that can be easily lifted to your work surface then just as easily taken off.

Thank you, Husband mine, for your thoughtful gift 😀

Back to the drawing board. A prototype fatality.

Well folks, one of the pouch thing-a-ma-bobs has suffered near fatal injuries in the first trial run :/  The 1/4 inch blue one has been stressed to the point it is, literally, coming apart at the seams :/

Small neck pouches

Small neck pouches

The little guy just was not up to the real world challenge.  I had to make a deposit at the bank, sign a monthly contract at the workout facility, stop by a fabric shop to purchase more velcro dots, and a trip to Hobby Lobby for some fun foam for Joe.  All of which resulted in receipts.  The small amount of cash I brought with me, my ID, and my bank card were included in the little space that filled up quite quickly.

Receipts, ID, bank card, and cash

Receipts, ID, bank card, and cash

The first damage I noticed was tearing of the paper covering the webbing.  One side was more greatly affected than the other side was.

Bad tear at the webbing

Bad tear at the webbing

Start of tear on the other side

Start of tear on the other side

The pouch was pulling away on both sides of the opening.

Pulling away from the edges

Pulling away from the edges

Coming apart at the edge

Coming apart at the edge

Upon showing the damage to Joe, who was very supportive, his words were “I told you so” :/  His larger pouch has not suffered these ill effects.

So, back to the drawing board.   If you have been following my foray into constructing boxes with lids you will know that my success rate is improving.  It has not quite reached the “Peak of Perfection” yet.

Folks, I pride myself in “Telling it like it is”.  I’m not perfect and I don’t know much.  I’m not a whiz when it comes to creating on my own.  Sitting down and figuring out how to make something with only a vague idea of what the end result will be.  I have my suspicions that the crafters I admire go through the same process of a learning curve.

People like Laura Denison of Following the Paper Trail, Kathy Orta of Paper Phenomenon, Jenny Potter of Ozegran, and Jim Hankins of Jim, The Gentleman Crafter are people that I have chosen to be my “Mentors”.  It gives me hope that I can, one day, come up with an idea and execute it successfully.

What I want to convey to new crafters, or seasoned crafters that are attempting to get outside their comfort zone, is that is it OKAY to make mistakes.  You learn, well I learn, something from the mistakes.  A failure is not the end of the world.  IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF GREATNESS!

I’m going to close this post with a music video.  Lately the deaf community has been represented at music concerts by a young woman who signs the lyrics to the deaf crowd as they feel the pulsating music.  I looked online to see what else there was available in Sign Language music videos.  Surprisingly, there is quite a lot.  The video below is a song that I like because of the music.  I was captured by the music when I first heard this a couple years ago.  The lyrics escaped me, except for the chorus part that gets repeated.  I didn’t know the deaf could be so expressive!  Shameful of me to admit my ignorance.

 

Video tutorials and prototypes.

Otherwise known as “Crafting like a mad woman”.

After receiving a note from my friend, Tina, who expressed an interest in a video tutorial on creating the storage boxes I made last week…and a request from another friend, Lynn, for the measurements to make the boxes…I got busy in my craft room.

It took three days and five hours of video footage to create the tutorial.  Of course, my brilliant idea couldn’t wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday.  In between grocery shopping, food prep, and the actual cooking….well helping Joe do the cooking…..I spent a large part of the time in my craft room.

I struggled between filming EVERY step in the process or just skimming through it.  I opted to go the whole way just in case there was a new crafter that is not wise, yet, to the complex process.  My thoughts also went to the crafter that is well seasoned in card making but not so intimate with construction.

I created an “Introduction” video to let people know they were in for some butt numbing if they chose to go further.  I’m not very good at the “Voice Over” thing so please forgive my stumbling speech through the Introduction.  You can watch it here.  If  you so choose, you can watch the videos from my YouTube Channel.

Let me tell you….I got so sick of hearing my voice during the transfer process from my camera to my computer then going through the video footage to create the tutorials.

Okay, that is over with.  You can watch the videos in your leisure.  Now on to the “Prototype” part of this post.

Joe has informed me we are going to be working out at a fitness facility.  Many years ago we used to frequently go to a workout center.  I didn’t like leaving my purse in the lockers provided in the dressing rooms.  Needing to carry an ID and/or gym membership card meant that I had to lug around my black hole of a purse.  I don’t know about you and your workout clothing, mine have no pockets to tuck the ID/cards away.

I can’t find the video made my Jim  The Gentleman Crafter where he shows off a cute little pouch thing he made.  This pouch thing had a lid that slid along some ribbon to enable access to the storage part to tuck in an ID and a credit or debit card, even a bit of cash.  Hanging around his neck meant that he didn’t have to worry about that one person that thinks they have been granted the rights to others valuables.

Since I had been freshly off a large construction project I figured a smaller one would be just the thing to take on.  These are what I created.

Small neck pouches

Small neck pouches

When I approached Joe with my idea he told me he wanted one.

Joe, modeling his neck pouch

Joe, modeling his neck pouch

The first one I created is 1/4 inch thick.  4 inches wide and 3 inches deep.  This is just the right size for an ID or membership card, small amount of cash, a spare house key, and vehicle key.  The strap I made is just long enough to get in the way constantly.  Quite possibly make me crazy as it thumps my chest as I move.

Small pouch

Small pouch

I used velco dots for the lid closure and hid some 1/4 inch webbing behind the paper along the top fold.

When I presented my creation to Joe he had some complicated requests.  First he wanted it big enough to fit a little card wallet.  Then he wanted the whole thing covered in some kind of water proofing stuff.  This guy has so much faith in my construction abilities :/

 

Neck pouch with card wallet

Neck pouch with card wallet

The card wallet has an accordion insert to hold several credit cards.  Spare keys can be placed in the slots along with the ID, cash, and anything else small enough to fit in the wallet.

I got so flustered by his many requests I forgot to hide the webbing behind the paper hinge part.  I had to use some strong adhesives to attach the webbing to the clear plastic contact paper after I had applied it to the ENTIRE outside and inside of the box.

Unsightly webbing display

Unsightly webbing display

I think I will give this project another try to perfect my workmanship.  Maybe if I get these perfected I might be more inclined to sell some on Etsy.

Those of you in the US, I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family.

Leslie