Friday, 19 December 2014


When Shopkeeper Gal and I were planning my part of this winter's workshop schedule, we just utterly ran out of ideas for the workshop that would be my last of the year.  At the time we weren't sure about the Christmas trends or releases and the thought of doing a card workshop as late as the 11th December seemed ludicrous, I mean, everyone would be finished with cards by then, right?. Ha! So the schedule said 'TBA' in place of a workshop theme/name.  You understand..

Well, the workshop started to loom large and I really didn't want to make any more cards; I didn't want the workshopeers to experience card fatigue!  I decided it would be fun to have some little stocking filler type makes.  And I have to admit that I geared the makes to things I could use myself.

Here is a 6" card, treated like a card and decorated like a card.  And then glued shut. So now it's a gift card holder....with room for  the other gubbins it comes with  - you know, the card bit that holds it and tells you where you can spend it, and the receipt part - you aren't really sure whether you're meant to give it to the recipient or not...all that.  And it has a large die cut bracket as an easel so that it can be treated like a card if desired.  And the best bit (for forgetful women of a certain age - ME) - it's big enough to fit in my handbag , but big enough that I couldn't forget to use it on the shopping trip.  

Of course there's nothing that can't be helped, eased or corrected by the use of chocolate, and so it may very well be against the law not to put some in everyone's stocking.  Marks and Spencer very helpfully have their Hot Chocolate powder drink in sensible sachet shapes - making a quick wrapper couldnt have been easier.
 Mary Anne gave me a calendar last year that I have had next to the PC.  it's probably the most used and oft appreciated gift of the year, so we made a small easel card featuring a tear off calendar. It's only a 4" square card, so net enough to sit without clogging up mouse movement and equally good for pining onto a board without too much effort.  
 And then an idea for gift box.  Found on Pinterest by Shopkeeper Gal and challenged to it on Facebook by a couple of Workshopeers.  You've seen it before - it was on my WOYWW post.  It's out of a sheet of 11 x 81/2 so it's not huge, but will wrap a small gift really nicely.  And if you have a HUGE tree, it would hang nicely with a couple of chocolates in...

So that was the workshop that was To Be Arranged.  Next year, when we get that far into the schedule, I'm going to have it listed as The Christmas Miracle Workshop: she's still able to come up with SOMETHING.  

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 289

Well gentle Deskers, I'm going to show you. I have to show you because the WOYWW thing starts here.  Judge as you will, but read the excuses first.

8 o'clock Monday morning.  I have a new pair of jeans which are inevitably too long.  And I had NOTHING else to wear. Of course.  
Don't be alarmed, it's all back on form...some bits and pieces waiting to be unpacked after a workshop, some bits and pieces that I play with as I pass - I figure I can get stuff done that way without having to carve out more time...we'll see.  Also Tuesday's post...a beautiful card and also a gift from afar, both awaiting that few moments of inspection and gloating and..well, you know. I know it costs a lot to send these days but believe me, the receiving is such a joy!
Share your calm and controlled work spaces will ya - and then allow time please for visitors!  Put WOYWW in your post title and link here. Easy.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

T for Tuesday, Thanks and Thleeplessness

As the date makes makes a less than stately (more a hurtle) progression towards Christmas day, I like to make seasonal adjustments to our really every day stuff. Thanks to a single shopping experience, this year's festive loo roll, handwash, tea and coffee was sorted in one go.  Since the summer, I have acquired a caffeine free lifestyle and got very used to it.  You know - to the point that you wonder if it really was actually so bad.  Well, in my ignorance and rush to be festive, I picked up regular Christmas coffee. And as I was photographing my stock for this post, I's probably responsible for the afternoon headaches, the apparent decades it takes me to get to sleep and the incredible not-quite-nightmares I've been having.  Which is probably having an effect on my blood pressure.  And there I was thinking it's because I'm a busy-multi-tasking-getting-it-all-done-type of woman!

Would you like a (teeny) piece of Christmas cake with your coffee this morning?  You can. At my place, thanks to Barbara Cake. Yep, at the shop, if you and another share a name, we identify you with a nickname that speaks of your personality.  Barbara makes cakes and brings them to totally get it. You know that I conduct these workshops at Kraft Crazy on a regular basis and that because of other commitments, I have pared down the regularity.  At one point, I was going to stop all together.  At that point, Barbara decided to make me a leaving cake.  And even though I've since decided not to 'completely' leave, I am still in receipt of this handsome Christmas cake.  And I know how fab it tastes because Barbara has been supplying Christmas cake to us throughout our season of Christmas workshops.  You may recognise the decoration as a Woodware image.  How clever.  How thoughtful.  Of course 'thankful' doesn't really cover this sort of generosity, and I'm rubbish at being gracious.  So I cried a bit. Wouldn't you! 

Joining Elizabeth and Bleubeard today, as it's Tuesday.  

Sunday, 14 December 2014 time for more?

Lawks, it's the end of the year's workshops.  I have actually tidied up and used the workshop samples this year - usually I'm so sick of the sight of them that I make more. This year, I've left it too late, I'm bang out of ideas and erm, I'm too idle.  

Woodware: bird and greeting, Hero Arts: stitching
I spent a second evening sitting up straight in my armchair and fighting piles of unwritten and written cards.  It takes ages doesn't it! Specially if you're me - I'm rubbish at keeping in touch and so cards tend to have news written in to them.  I can see where the 'do it as you go through the year' type of time management skills would pay off, honestly.  I just can't practice it.

Woodware and Kaiser craft stamps, DOCrafts Poinsettia dieM
Now I only need to make another three or four and I'm out of the woods.  I make it sound like a chore don't I?  I don't mean to - I love that my rellies and etceteras like to receive a card - handmade or not, and of course, I do take pleasure in the pile once it's waiting to be posted or delivered. I like a finished anything!  

Woodware.  Again.  
I have to say that this year's cards are brought to you by me via Woodware, their stamps seem to crop up every time I make something!  Hats off to Francoise who designs for Woodware...because most of the designs I'm drawn to are hers.  
Woodware stamp. Docrafts & Provo emboss folder. Fab printed felt!
Somewhere in the back of my head an idea is forming about the ludicrous time situation I end up placing myself in each December.  It is not an idea worthy of any award, for it's what hundreds of you more organised types do anyway.  It's about making cards in advance of course.  And this year, I'm thinking - hey, make everyone do the odd card in advance...include one Christmas card in each workshop.  They'll thank me.  Won't they?  I can take the groaning - I'm used to that....can I take the year round need for glitter?  And the fact that the basket of Christmas stamps will have to remain in sight for the year? And the Christmas dies and embossing folders will have to remain in use?  And my cardstock and DP collections won't truly be seasonally adjusted? Ya see, there's so much to think about and that's without actually taking on a challenge or committing to the idea.  
Watch this space.  If you can bear to!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 288

Well, I read on someone's desk post once that it has to get worse before it gets better...and never was that more true than here in my workroom.  There are signs of disorganisation coupled with panic over Christmas. And work. And birthdays.  It's not a great look....
There's the stylised reindeer on a gift box which is a project for a workshop on Thursday.  It is sitting on a sheet of paper bearing score and measure instructions which I will photocopy for workshopeers.  This should make it a very easy gift box to repeat....thanks to Sylvie on Pinterest. (search gift boxes....).  There's so much stuff that I can't see most of it...but isn't it reassuring to see the face of the WOYWW Alien patiently watching over it all!  But wait, there's worse to come...turn left..
Would you just look at that box of scraps.  Really, someone needs to get a grip.  That is supposed to be my die cutting station.  If I took the Big Shot out of the picture, you would be forgiven for thinking that I was just dumping stuff randomly....
But fret not gentle will all be in hand, I am monumentally sick of it and actually relish the idea of sorting through it - I think it will go a long way to calming my panic if my working area is calm too! And although I haven't decorated or put up a tree, I have at least got something festive in my room - get a load of my bin bag!
Well now, no doubt you can do way better than this in terms of tidy, calm, organised, and we'd very much like to see what's going on at your work space. Put WOYWW in your post title and link here so that we can come and admire, please!

Monday, 8 December 2014

The whole tree thing...

I know that  a lot of our American friends have their Christmas trees up and 'trimmed'.  I think it's largely a tradition to do it straight after Thanksgiving....I'm expecting to be corrected over this, I could just have created a century old tradition for you, America! 
Here in dear old Blighty, there is much evidence of trees having been put up and 'decorated'.  I have no idea why we don't all use the same word for putting baubles on branches.  There are outdoor lights and wreaths on doors and it all looks very cheerful and as if everyone is contributing to an overall sense of celebration. Except here at chez Dunnit! Now that my child is an adult and apparently has her own busy life, I am not pestered for tree, lights, decorations. I am not having to hide bags and bought-in-advance food treats. No, and I miss it.  It was all a grand part of the anticipation! I was expecting some sort of questioning this weekend about getting a tree. Or perhaps producing the odd mince pie, or requiring her to add her name to our Christmas cards.  

And I had a really good answer ready.  You know the one, about being too busy and it wouldn't hurt if you want to fetch a tree and make the effort....but I haven't even had a chance to say it!  It turns out that she and The Squeeze also think they're too busy and indeed, their sensible heads feel that it's a bit too soon really.  It's not too soon for me, it's just that in years gone by, I've had to tell her it's too soon - because I've been too busy. It's not just about a ten minute journey to a market to buy a tree, I can tell you. Here in the very average 3 bed semi that is Chez Dunnit, the introduction of a Christmas tree requires furniture shifting, floor clearing, frantic cleaning and vacuuming and general upheaval. And then about 3 hours of decorating.  It's exhausting!  So now it's come back to bite me.  And despite being too busy, I really feel as though I'm missing out.  Time to pull on my big girl panties and my multi-tasking genius gloves.  Things must change for the sparklier!

Friday, 5 December 2014

..this was meant to be a serious review...

 The other day, whilst visiting my beloved parents, I roped my sister in to help me decorate some ceramic tiles for coasters.  Baker Ross had sent me some fab glittery pens for porcelain (and the tiles) and it was time to test them.  We had a tile each and a bunch of sparkly coloured pens to play with. Well, talk about blank page syndrome. A plain white 4" tile and you'd think we'd been asked to churn out an essay in quantum physics! 

So of course it got very silly and giggly and after a sensible start (with some nicely drawn Holly), Mama was recalling some childhood Christmas triumphs....when you could draw an Angel without taking your pen off the paper, when you spelt it Angle by mistake, and the Lord would have a host of heavenly Angles.  We even got to giggling about angles in funny hats.  Well, mitres to be more specific. (Angles, mitres..geddit.......) And the Pope's hat, to be truly specific.  So then Sissy set about recreating our angles, with hair and hats and to be honest, we couldn't see for laughing....

And instead of scrubbing the tile clean and starting something sensible, I brought it home with me and cooked it (that sets the ink) and I have permanent evidence of my sister's silliness.  I love it. 
At some point I did get sensible and reverted to type - literally.  I am unable to draw.  I stamp.  But I can always write, and the pens had a nib that was just about fine enough to write legibly in my most contrived and wonky handwriting.  
I have cooked these too, but am going to use the pens to colour the edges, they look a bit stark and unfinished.  They can be re-cooked - it's a cool oven for not very long, see. The hardest part of making these was coming up with that many drinks and trying hard to remember to graduate the size of the text. Hmmmm.  Still, Miss Dunnit and her Squeeze will like them, on the basis that they don't have any coasters!
The coasters come in a pack of six, and because I wanted to keep Sissy's work of art, I had one to play with.  This is proof of several things.  The colours are really nice and glittery. 
The cooking process sets the ink and makes it permanent.  It does not melt the ink and flood over flaws.  What you create is what you get, unless you have the good sense to wipe clean and rectify mistakes.  

Now all I have to do is find the little stick on pads that came with them and hey, they'll look like real coasters!  
Have a lovely weekend y'all.