Sunday, 26 January 2020

Social history

The title is a bit misleading, but if I’d called it ‘my holiday’, you wouldn’t have bothered visiting, huh. People’s holiday blog posts can be a little of the erm, photo heavy bragging variety, can’t they. Of course this is no exception.

Whilst other, noble souls live in our house and man the work phone line - I can just hear her saying, ‘oh they’re away at the moment, try his mobile number’ - we two Dunnits are languishing in Lanzarote. It’s one of the Canary Isles. It’s 74.something miles from the coast of west Africa and on GMT which has not, I’m delighted to say, caught us out. Others have been more confused. I have to say that Mr Dunnit and I, who are struggling to stay in our fifties, are improving the average age at this particular resort. By about a millennia. But, it’s lovely to be referred to as a youngster by the residents and deferred to as a grown up by the children masquerading as staff, so it’s all good. 
Lanzarote is small-ish, and like the other Islands in this chain, formed by its volcanic history. There are golden beaches, but also there aren’t; lava and volcanic dust are evident everywhere. The fields are purposefully covered in the black dust after planting...it holds moisture like a sponge, and because of the trade winds, overnight dew is pretty much the only moisture. 150mm of rainfall a year doesn’t encourage much growth. And yet.....there are vineyards. I know this because we did a fabulous Wine & Tapas tour of three Bodegas yesterday. First sip of wine was at 11am. Luckily and as predicted, they were all dry and fancy, so I didn’t really love them, which kept my volume, tact and friendliness at an acceptable level. It was fascinating.
Vines are planted deep below the volcanic dust and encouraged to spread rather than clamber. The little walls are wind breaks (it is constantly windy on the high ground and the wind kills any growth that pokes its head over the wall!). Harvesting has to be done by hand, on the black lava dust, in temperatures that exceed 110. There have to be easier ways to earn a living. Certainly I cannot understand how a Bodega that produces say 5000 bottles a year can afford to sell them at 9 or 10 Euros each. They can’t be paying themselves much at all.

To be honest, my interest in the Wine tour was the same one that started WOYWW! Bodegas are the home businesses of lovely Canary locals and they were charming. Obviously because I’m English and have impeccable manners, I did not take any photos inside their homes. Sitting around tables under the shade of massive vines or beautifully kept stucco and sipping from their produce, eating homemade cheeses and getting ‘strawberries, and end notes of citrus’, whipping the old phone out to take some pictures would have been crass. After the third tasting, we were taken to a roadside cafe for a tapas lunch. You know the sort of cafe...where all the signage is faded by years of sun exposure, the shutters are drawn and paint peeling, and any locals around stop to watch you as you negotiate the broken steps. In short, the sort of place that we would never be brave enough to try. On Lanzarote, there a ‘teleclubs’ such as this in a fair few small towns across the island. The first house that had television was frequented by other villagers until it was a bar and food place. They seem still to be community centred and again, absolutely lovely. Lively and local, and with those straight backed chairs that force you into excellent posture!  I could not understand a word of the thick, treacle like Spanish being spoken at speed, but the lady who served our party was valiant in her attempt at explaining round after round of tapas. And of course, we relied, child like on Dan -  our extremely young, knowledgeable, personable young man of a tour guide. There was a feast, and despite being full, we were reluctant to finish. A chickpea and something stew, a goat and something else stew, fresh fish fingers (!), fried cheese, canarian potatoes, a salad with jam, lettuce, mozzarella and extra thick, probably years old balsamic vinegar....oh my life it was wonderful. If you’re planning a visit to Lanzarote, I recommend this tour. And they haven’t even paid me to say that.
 ( @winetourslanzarote on FB if you’re really interested).
Here we are, lily-white and tourist looking, outside the second Bodega. Note two things...Mr Dunnit will not appreciate the exposure, specially because we can’t work out how to change the mirroring image thing on his phone, but what the hell. And hey, my wonky face really appreciates the warm sun and would definitely benefit from longer than a week. I’m telling you this because I’ve already told Mr Dunnit and been pretty much ignored on the matter.
There will be more, but you don’t have to read what has essentially turned into a holiday diary; I’m really enchanted by Lanzarote. The clue will be photos that involve sunshine. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 555

Oh dear, gentle Desker. It looks as if a lot of people have been dumping stuff on my desk.Of course that isn’t the case. It’s just me. I haven’t done much at the old desk this week, but I did go to Crop on Saturday and that counts, huh. The keyboard is there - it’s presence makes more sense if you imagine the iPad on the stand. It’s not on the stand because I used it to take the onto. Ohemgee are you still reading?!!  The t shirt has just made it from the bottom of a very large pile that I ironed yesterday. It now needs to be posted to Miss Dunnit. She left it behind after a Christmas; looks like a three week turn around on anything needs ironing after washing! There’s a scattering of new on the desk too...I bought some more Tri-Blend pens yesterday and they are at right.I'm gonna make a chart of colours what I own so I don’t buy doubles. You’ll see. Wanna bit of enabling?
This was Shopkeeper Gal’s desk yesterday. New stuff from Crafter’s Companion. The MH stamp set on the left made me think of Shazza The Enabler, so I thought to take a photo! So, to go back to my desk briefly - that upside down Donkey face on a card on my iPad stand kind of sums up the week so far! Show us your desk, space, what you’re working on, please. Put WOYWW in your post title and link the post here please- remember that your post needs to feature your desk/table/lap tray/what ever you’re currently working on. ( I note with green eyes that some will be working on moving into a brand new kitchen, for example....) thank you!

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Love a good Sale!

I bought this lot in the sale at Kraft Crazy. It’s not that I’d had my eye on them prior to the sale, or that I erm, need anything in particular, it’s just that at the time of browsing, I liked them. 
And to be honest, with clear stamps, I really have to like them. I know there’s going to be a day when there is absolutely no choice and I know too, that we’re very close to that day. But it probably won’t stop me whining about how much I miss wood mounts. So there. Now, when I picked them up and looked at them, I thought the ‘Fifties’ stamps could be fun and an idea came to me. Obviously, between buying them and them having a little rest (of a week) in a bag by my desk, I have completely forgotten the any idea. No need to offer advice about carrying a notebook at all times. I do. It’s just that I get these ideas and they’re so strong, so vivid, that I think I can’t possibly forget them. Fool me once....ha! I would say watch this space, but what I’m actually hoping for is a flurry of comments filled with ideas - it’s not too much to ask is it, kind, friendly, inspirational reader?

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 554

Well, I sort of justified the mess that you can see in my last post. I’ve had five minutes here and there and just carried on adding to it. 
You can see a pair of legs just poking out from the mess on the glass mat. It’s a Julie Nutting figure. I got carried away and thought a couple of cards with this gal on it would be nice. But oh boy, it takes so long to colour and piece and cut out....really stopped me in my tracks! I can see 3 pairs of scissors and a scalpel, not bad. On the far right is a Christmas bauble stencil...I love the swirly design and use it quite a lot, so I don’t include it in my Christmas box of stash that goes well away for a rest. You can see upturned wood mounted stamps scattered a bit at right...and a teetering pile too. It will all be sorted this morning before I have to go out. I need to come back and not have to face it! Want a twofer? Here’s the opened an in use box of cards and envelopes that I’m slowly using up. I can’t use them for workshops because there aren’t enough of each, or they aren’t available any more, so it’s a slow but steady thing. But now they’re in this long box and I can see them all, I am actually using them. Lots, huh.
 Bonus...with the lid on, this box makes a marvellous foot rest! The two boxes at left contain tools and multiples for workshops etc. And there’s a set of drawers that contains my much reduced clear stamps. Sorting and clearing continues. An idea for a really decent way to store the clear stamps would be welcome....I think they are much harder than wood mounts to look after and store.
Enough already, please share and tell with your own spaces, it’s where the best ideas come from!

Monday, 13 January 2020

Wallowing

The time I’ve spent enjoying my wood mounts and making cards has diminished as the reality of New Year, work and routine has fully emerged. I’ve been doing that five minutes here and there thing. It’s ok,it gets stuff done, but oh my word, it feels slow. It also leads to another as yet unnamed phenomenon which I’m sure you’ll be familiar with, whatever your crafty passion. You know the one where you get stuck in for five minutes and just as you’re immersed, totally in the zone and starting to breathe ideas in and out. BANG, time’s up and real life clears your vision and forces you to step away from the inspiration and re-focus. It happens frequently here. So frequently that I don’t even hate it anymore....I’m just resigned to it. The silver lining is that this phenomenon doesn’t put me off bothering with the odd five minutes desk time. I’d never get anything done if I let it!
I’ve been playing with layers of ink rather than layers of paper, and will prolly continue to do so...the cards aren’t CAS, indeed some of them have a ‘layer’, but they aren’t heavy with layers either. Easier to post, although not exactly what I was thinking about as I made them. I’m enjoying the idea of making a card in a single colour. I’ve used an old Stamping Up! set and some of my lovely wood mounts for this selection. Its lovely to just pull a few stamps off the shelf and just use them with no thought of availability or age, something that I have to bear in mind when I’m trying to do workshop samples. I have to clear the desk off and start those very soon. If you’re currently in the middle of a ‘thing’ for a particular style, stamp, colour, direct us to your blog for a look will ya?

Friday, 10 January 2020

Filling up your new diary...

There’s never a bad time to remind you that we’re holding a WOYWW Crop in Shrewsbury on Saturday June 6th. And you’re welcome. I hope this gives you some planning time. Make it a resolution. Write it in your new diary and look forward to it. Shropshire is beeyoooootiful, you can make a short break of it and see something other than all of us!  We don’t need a massive commitment from you right now, but we will ask for numbers nearer the time. Because we need to know about setting out enough chairs and bringing enough mugs. And food. There is always food where crafters meet. 
Now, when I say ‘we’, I really mean ‘they’. I just roll up and have a nice time, much like every other Desker that comes. But Wipso and Twiglet are hosting. Which is a euphemism for ‘doing all the work’.  Here they are, hard at work. Just as you will be when you come to Crop.
Consider the poor photograph of the LO as an attempt to add a lovely shiny light to the Stichsters. 


Wednesday, 8 January 2020

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 553

My word Deskers, I’ve had a week of easing back into routine. You can’t tell because you were never shown the problem, but I’ve done a lot of sorting; the empty space behind me is bigger and the box at my feet now contains cards and envelopes that are sorted and useable. Oh, you can’t see that either! 
Two things strike me though..you can see the wooden desk surface which hasn’t early happened for a while, and - I have real card making with real wooden stamps going on! Bee elll double isss. Bliss. There is plenty to do in the next week, but I’m going to try really hard to make a stash of cards just for the love of the stamps. They’ll be simple and uncomplicated because otherwise I’ll get a ‘thing’ about using techniques, or not being able to get the idea from head to paper, so it’s all systems go with the flow here!
So how’re you doing? using your workspace already this year? Show and tell please. Perhaps enjoy this teeny unchanging section of 2020!