Take this Job and Craft

As we approach the end of what will surely be recorded as the most bazaar year in American history, I couldn’t let this year go by without adding a blog to my slow growing collection. 

My blog started out as a means to grieve the passing of my precious daughter.  I wanted to share some of my story and a little bit of hers as well.  Then it grew into a small business to “keep me busy” during my retirement years.  I had decided to quit my corporate job in the spring of 2018 when nepotism (among other things) became apparent.  After working there for almost 30 years, I was at a point in my life that I was not about to put up with the crap that this organization was throwing my way.  That decision was the first step on my road to finding joy.

Crafting has always brought me joy so “Road 2 Joy, LLC” had grown from a grieving mother’s blog to a full blown craft business in the final quarter of 2019. Coming from an accounting background, I was excited to use the other side of my brain to create my inventory and to decorate my “Craft Show” booth.  I spent my hours zealously crafting wreaths, gnomes, ornaments and other “joyful things” in preparation for a few upcoming craft shows just in time for the Christmas season. 

I was determined not to let the stress of the accounting preparations,  loading the inventory, setting up the booth, and meeting the “opening” deadlines invade my excitement of this new adventure.  I am eternally grateful for my husband’s assistance when it came to loading and setting up. I might add the fact that I am a tad bit OCD didn’t help. Or maybe it did!

👆Everything went quite smoothly at my first show with the exception of some unexpected internet issues.  I was excited to meet new people especially new business contacts. I even made plans to share a space in some upcoming spring and summer shows in 2020 with a lovely lady who crafted with paper products.   Her creations were so cute!  Our sales were great even though I had already decided that as long as I recovered the booth fees, I would be happy just for the experience.

👆Our subsequent craft show went just as smoothly as the first one with the exception of my “Charlie Brown” tabletop tree falling apart on me. (thankfully, I had brought two smalls trees with me). But the damage to my little “Charlie Brown” tree actually made me sad because I had grown to love that little tree. It had served as our Christmas tree these past few years since my daughter died.

You see, Sabrina always helped me decorate the Christmas tree.  She made me promise to wait for her every year “no matter what” so she could help me decorate the tree.  Every year, that is, until the Army took her away. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to unpack the ornaments from our Christmases past.  I know that the memories would overwhelm me with sadness as I touch each one.  I have decided to save that day for a special time in my Christmas future when I will have the assistance of my children and grandchildren.

Needless to say, the news of the virus and the mandatory shut downs put the brakes on any plans for craft shows in the near future. Although it saddened me to cancel the spring shows, I continued to craft and develop my website through those quarantine days. 

 These days, I somehow find solace when I enter my craft room and begin to design my next creation. My thoughts always turn to Sabrina. I often find myself smiling as I envision her joining me and designing her own creations. I know that she would love what I am doing and would be proud of the success I have had so far.

I’m not sure where I will take my business as far as continuing it, growing it or shutting it down, but for now, I am finding joy with the creative process and have had some success with my online sales. Although, I have to admit that there is no joy in the paperwork.

Joy in Family

Today is my Momma’s birthday.  I sat on my front porch this morning, enjoying my coffee and the rain pouring down.  I started reflecting on my Momma, my childhood and the joy I felt surrounded by my family.  

We grew up poor, so we made our Christmases special with homemade ornaments, building snowmen and the occasional snowball fight.  We cut strips of construction paper to make garland or if we were lucky enough to have popcorn, we used that instead.  We searched our belongings for possible gifts to give each other.  We wrapped the gifts in newspaper or brown paper grocery bags with love for the person who would receive it.

We survived “The Great Blizzard of 1978”.

My siblings, our friends and I had so much snow to play in. We doubled up our clothing and using socks as mittens, we headed out. Boy did we play! Boxes in tote, to use as sleds, we trudged upwards to conquer the snow-covered hills. One of my favorite memories that year was when my little brother and I built an igloo and used it as a cover for a massive snowball fight with our other siblings and friends.

We would come home frozen and hungry.  My Momma would help us out of our snow drenched clothing, give us warm towels to wrap around our feet and serve us whatever meal she had ready for us to eat.  I can still hear her yelling at us for not “coming home sooner because we almost got frost bite on our fingers and toes.”

 As an adult, I wanted the Christmas holiday to always be a special time for our family, and it was.  One Christmas, my daughter, Sabrina was coming home from Korea with her family.  It didn’t take me two seconds to start planning, “The Best Christmas Ever”.

I thought back to my childhood Christmases and the homemade ornaments and knew that would be my theme for this celebration.  I contacted the family and we all started participating online.  Before you knew it, we had our menu planned, we had rented a cabin in the snow, and made plans to cut our own tree.  It was truly going to be an old-fashioned Christmas.

I’ve always enjoyed crafting and all my children and grandchildren enjoyed it as well. I taught them to crochet, sew, paint and create things from their own imaginations as my grandmother and mother had taught me. So, what better time for everyone to bring their skills to the table.

All the family members began creating their contributions to the tree decorations. .  

Some of our creations:

Of course, we wanted to incorporate some crafting togetherness, so we held an online contest on which ornament we would make at the cabin. The most likes would win.

And the winner was:

This guy

It was a delight to see the ornaments hanging on our “Charlie Brown” tree. And it really did turn out to be a beautiful tree.

That year truly was “The Best Christmas Ever”.  Yes, we made homemade Christmas ornaments, we read books, played hilariously and fun inside games, went sleigh riding and inner-tubing, had snowball fights and built a snowman.  We cooked together and ate wonderfully delicious foods.  We laughed!  We loved!

Today’s my Momma’s birthday.  It’s been raining all day.  This afternoon, I sat on my front porch, watching the rain pouring down and the fog roll in, enjoying a cup of tea with my husband. 

It’s funny how the rain makes you feel so many different emotions.  Today, I miss the joy of my family, and I especially miss my Momma.