Creating a new mileage book for my day job

My old book is just about used up. 

   
 
Joe’s book is just about as empty. He has repeatedly asked me to make him a new one.  Since we are home for a few days it is time to get this job done.  

I plopped down a bunch of 12 by 12 papers in various design styles in front of Joe and made him choose. He chose a paper I wasn’t expecting. 

   
 
Using some Heidi Swapp and Graphic 45 pieces for cover art, then placing both sets of covers in the press Joe made for me, the books are ready to be punched assembled and bound. 

   
 
We have one more trip to do for my day job then home for two weeks. I will finish these books when I get home. I have to do my cover art. 

  
YAY for getting in my craft room and spending some quality time with paper and glue. 

Leslie

   

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What The Heck?! Did you die or something?

These past few months have been extremely difficult for me.  I was lost.  Rudderless.  Had no purpose.  I was in a funk so deep that I wondered if I would see daylight ever again from the hole I fell in.

THANK YOU Shelly Makowski and Maureen Mathis for sending me text messages to let me know that you were concerned for me and sending your love.  I was too deep in my pit to even respond to your love, and for that I am very sorry.

While I was a truck driver and gone on a near constant basis I dreamed, nay fantasized, about being home all the time to clean my house, do the paperwork, and craft to my  heart’s content.

It was great while it lasted.  That is until the wheels fell off on my plummet to hell.

I had to get out of the house before I became an agoraphobic statistic.  I took a part time job at a local grocery store as a Housekeeper.  Let me tell you, do I have stories to tell.

When I started there were five of us working the store.  Three full time and two part time Housekeepers.  Much to my chagrin, I would have three to four days off and work three days.  When I got home from the long eight hour shifts my feet were KILLING ME.  I hobbled to my car, up the steps to my house.  It was about all I could do to get my clothes off and into the washer.  Seriously, I thought I was going to just die!  Most days I said to myself “What the heck were you thinking?!”

Before the month of February was over the woman who was the Head Housekeeper QUIT along with the other part time person.  That left two full time people and me.  I was still lost in my funk and didn’t take notice of what these changes were doing to my co-workers.

Arriving at work one morning, well into March, I noticed that one of the women I work with was looking like she had been hit my a Mack truck and backed over a few times.  I asked if she were alright.  Turns out that she had been working NINE DAYS STRAIGHT without a day off.  My other co-worker had been on her SEVENTH DAY STRAIGHT with no day off.

That immediately brought me out of my self imposed, hurtling willy nilly, trip to hell.  Being the type of person that I am – Nosey Parker – I wrote a memo to the Store Managers, Personnel, and the Operations Managers.  Something needed to be done, and it had to be done NOW!  Work me into the schedule so these women could go home and collapse for a couple days.  The schedule needed to be altered so they both would get two days off in a row from henceforth.  I did it politely with details of the events that lead up to this catastrophe.

Things changed and my co-workers were able to have the much needed time off.  Thankfully before there was a MASS EXODUS on my hands.

Things went along pretty well for the next few weeks.  My co-workers were feeling better and I was there to do my  job.  My feet were no longer wishing to murder me.  They still hurt but I had gone from a four to six aspirin day down to two.  Progress was being made.

I was entrusted with a set of keys when I started work.  One to open the toilet paper dispensers, one for the hand soap dispensers, one to unlock the Housekeeping area, and one to work the lock I purchased for a locker to store my purse.

Around the first week of April an event so stupendous happened.  One that shut my brain off and made me a blithering idiot.  I was getting ready to open one of the toilet paper dispensers in a stall in the Women’s bathroom.  My keys slipped out of my hands and flew into the toilet.  The automatic flushing mechanism worked wonders.  I stood horrified as I watched my keys disappear.  Gone.  Vanished.  Never to be seen again.

I flew to the Customer Service Desk and bleated “My keys got flushed”.  The poor woman behind the desk was trying to get information from me.

SHE:  “Your car keys?”

ME:  “My keys got flushed!”

SHE:  “Your house keys?”

ME:  “MY KEYS GOT FLUSHED!”

SHE:  “What keys did you flush?”

ME:  “My keys got flushed!  My Housekeeping Keys!”

This whole time my mind was reeling.  How was I going to get my purse out of my locker?  How was I going to get into the Housekeeping area to get supplies?  How was I going to get cleaning towels to replenish my supply?

After my total melt down I came to my senses.  I headed for the back of the store and found someone to open a locked door where the cleaning towels are stored.  I grabbed a  stack of them, folded what I needed and stored the remainder in a trash bag and stuffed away in a safe place. The lock I had on the locker holding my purse was cut off with some bolt cutters.  The next day was going to be a challenge.  I had no way of getting into the Housekeeping area to get my work papers.

When I first started this job I was stymied by the “time” requirements.  I have to keep a work diary with the start and end times of each of my tasks.  Not having to do this kind of record keeping before I found that I was in the middle of another task and had totally forgot to record the times of the previous task.  To force myself to do the job correctly I created a document that would make me focus on the time requirements.

That document helped me on the next day when I could not get the proper papers that I needed.  I was asked by the woman in Personnel where my “Floor Plan” was.  I had to tell her I was locked out of the Housekeeping area and I had to make do with what I could.  Okay, so the total crisis was averted.  The only thing left was to await the hand on my shoulder telling me that I had been FIRED.  That didn’t happen.  Two days later I received another set of keys and I had to purchase another lock.  While I was at it I purchased one of those coil-y gizmos that go around a person’s wrist to hold their keys.  These keys were NOT GOING TO BE FLUSHED AGAIN!

What did happen though – with my totally fake demeanor of calm and collected, no problem too big – I was told that the job of Head of Housekeeping was going to be mine as soon as everyone required to make that decision had been consulted.

WHAT?!

So that leads me to what I have to share with you today.  Little by little I am getting back into my craft room.

The little folder that holds the blank “Floor Maps” and the completed ones is falling apart.  I have a zippered folder that I have been considering throwing out but have kept around.  That will be put to use.

Zippered file pouch

Zippered file pouch

A pad of paper by Heidi Swapp

Heidi Swapp papers

Heidi Swapp papers

Letter size manilla file folders.

Letter size file folders

Letter size file folders

Altered file folders.

Altered file folders

Altered file folders

Now we are getting organized.

Getting organized

Getting organized

I battle depression from time to time.  I can’t claim that my situation and the steps I have taken to get out of it would apply to anyone else.  It only works for me.  I need to have a “Purpose” to keep going.  Be of help to others and solving problems is what I need to begin the long climb out of the dark abyss.

I have no idea when my next post will be or what it will be about.  I’ve pretty much given up on the whole “Creating something special for birthdays” thing that I had started many years ago.  That added pressure was a contributing factor to this decline.

So, until next time. Oh, before I forget…..another Housekeeper was hired.  There are three full time and part time me.  We have a male Housekeeper.  That is a boon to us.  Getting into the Men’s bathrooms to clean them can be a major challenge.  Things are getting brighter in my world.  I hope your world is bright as well.

Leslie

Dealing with “Special Requests”.

Joe has requested another mileage book made for 2014.  He has requested a journal featuring maps of some kind and a pocket inside.

It is good to have family members be the “Guinea Pig” in your journey as a “Paper Artist”.  They get all the wonky creations as you develop your skills toward a professional level.  I haven’t reached that level just yet, but I’m getting closer.  My main problem is my “Perfectionism”.

I purchased a Heidi Swapp “No Limits” paper pad some months back.  I wanted Joe to look through and choose the papers he liked.

Looking at the options

Looking at the options

Explaining the creation process to Joe was a game of communication.   He told me what he wanted and liked, I told him what would work and what would not.  This process took about half an hour because I could not get him to understand the images he wanted on his book cover would have to be glued OVER a base.  He had chosen several map images that are not large enough for a complete cover.  To get him to understand what I was trying to convey I gave him one of the book covers, told  him there needed to be one inch margin all around the cover board.  I let him play with that for a while until he totally understood the concept I was trying to get across.

First choice

First choice

Second choice

Second choice

Once Joe understood the process he decided on some fairly plain paper as the background and chose the images he favored to be placed on the covers.   I also had Joe pick out paper for the inside covers, to hide the edges that wrap around from the front.

Favored choice for front

Favored choice for front

Favored choice for back

Favored choice for back

A second choice for the front

A second choice for the front

When you know what your capabilities are in the construction process, you can guide the person making the “Special Request”.  There are ways of implementing their choices and desires.  Focal images too large for the front, that is dealt with by wrapping the edges around to the inside and covering them with the inside cover paper.

Wrap the image edges

Wrap the image edges

Want to draw attention to a design feature on the base paper?  Use the images to frame the feature.

Include background images

Include background images

I chose to add Washi Tape to the inside cover edges.  The Washi was applied to keep the wrapped images from tearing and/or snagging through wear.

Decorative Washi Tape

Decorative Washi Tape

The back page has a pocket on two sides.  I cut a 12 x 12 sheet of paper to 9 inches wide by 9-7/8 inches long.  Score the paper in half lengthwise at 4-1/2 inches.  Score the bottom edge at 3 inches.  Fold the 3 inch score line up then fold the page in half to create the two pockets.  Joe can put his receipts in the pocket then deal with them at night as he does his paperwork.

 

Pocket page

Pocket page

He only wanted a single focal image on the back of the book.  This was accomplished as on the front.  Wrap the edges around the cover and hide them beneath the inside cover page.

Back cover

Back cover

Upon seeing the completed journal, Joe had to emphasis this item was his.  He said “MINE”.

Joe likes his new journal

Joe likes his new journal

When his children were little, they used to argue and fuss over toys.  One child would proclaim the toy was “MINE”, sending the others into fits of anguish.  Joe solved this “MINE” problem by making the declarative child carry the toy under their arm all day long.  That put a stop to the scream fest of toy ownership.

I reminded Joe of what happens when a person says something is “MINE”.  He obliged.  I think I was mere seconds from getting a tongue stuck out at me.

Humoring me

Humoring me

When dealing with Special Requests by family or others, be confident in your skills as a Paper Artist.  You can create an item to their needs while you focus on manipulating the paper(s) to achieve the desired results.  Keep in mind there are some requests that can not be fulfilled.  Either from the images on the paper or from your skill level.  Family members are the best asset you have in honing your skills.  Take advantage of them and don’t pass up the options of Special Requests from them.  You will both learn something, which is always a good thing.

Go “Show someone how special they are”.

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 :/