Sunday, 29 March 2009

I think these smiley bunnies fulfill the criteria over at Daring Cardmakers this week, and I must say that the stamped sentiment (Inkadinkado) is entirely relevant. Thanks so much for wading through the post about journalling and then bothering to respond! It's a fascinating thing, innit; other people's methods and mind-set never fail to interest me.
Helen (Enfys) for example, mentions that she journals mostly on the computer because she mostly does digi-scrapping. Now this of course, shows how secure I am in my box and how rarely I think outisde it..I hadn't even thought about digital scrapping when I asked those questions. Mind you, if you really understood quite how technologically challenged I am, this would really not be a surprise. Here's a laugh out loud example: some years ago now, after much hinting and well, whining probably, Mr Dunnit bought me an iPod for my birthday. It was a generous and expensive gift. I won't pretend it was a surprise because that would be asking you to believe really nice things about me. Set aside the fact that it really did take me 3 days to just break open the cellophane and about 3 WEEKS to get over the sublime packaging. Set aside that the then 10 year old Miss Dunnit charged it up for me and helped me to download a coupla my fave albums. Now bear in mind that this is at least 5 years ago..I guess it's now an iPod classic and it has 3 touch sensitive buttons and a touch sensitive circle that acts like a dial - clockwise for more volume..etc. I'm sure you all know. So picture me, fat and forty, posing in a small rural market town with mah iPod. Well, I was plugged in, the teeny speakers were in my ears (they hurt, fyi) and the wire was seductively snuggled in my cleavage and leading to my trendy jeans pocket. No music though. Could not, for the sweet life of me, remember or work out how to turn the damn thing on. Or how about the time, having mastered that part of the technology, I was showing it off to a friend and managed to press a sequence of buttons that changed the language to Japanese (I think!). Stayed like that for a while..couldn't bring myself to admit it and of course, couldn't understand the screen instructions to sort it out! Turns out I'm destined to hum. To myself. Like a mad woman. And in much the same manner, I'm destined forever to be a cut and stick gal in real time and real dimension. Can't get my head around the computer to be able to do anything more than this and am too afraid to start. Mind you, I don't really know if I've got it in me to learn. My team-mate Caryn had to teach me how to insert a link for heaven's sake...photoshop, digital paintbrushing and drop shadows are just words at the moment. Scary ones too! So Helen, and your fellow digi scrappers, I bow in reverence to your technological knowledge, certainly I'm a bit jealous, and also, I'm possibly nosey about how many of you there are - tell me - 'do you do digi'?

Friday, 27 March 2009

Write On

How do you journal on your scrapbook LOs? By which I mean - I have a whole bunch of questions and that is just the start.
Do you handwrite? If not, whaddya do?Do you mostly journal, or have you masses of LOs that have such good, succint, exciting, totally encompassing titles that they need no further storytelling?Do you use 'secret' journalling? Sometimes? Always? Do you write in the first or third person? Are you addressing any reader or the intended recipient of your life of scrapping?
Are you mindful of the journalling when you start the LO or does it sort of get tacked on at the completion stage?
If you handwrite - do you practice in pencil first?
Are you afraid of your handwriting?

Do you wish I hadn't started this?! Here are my not very succint answers. If you're interested:
  • I do handwrite, almost without exception. I truly madly deeply believe that the handwritten part of the journalling part of the scrapbooking is the 'signature' on your work for the future generations...imagine your great grandchild not knowing what your hand writing is like even though she's seen a picture of your teeth in a glass!
  • I mostly journal. I have too much to say about everything to leave it to a simple title. But there are a few, snappy or self explanatory titles that need nothing...but if it was up to me, my titles would probably be about 20 words long!
  • I do use secret journalling, but not because it's secret, usually because the page composition demands it. (Get me..'page composition') I don't often journal stuff that I don't feel comfortable having other people read. That stuff is hidden in my Book of Me!
  • I use the first and third person in my journalling. Don't ask me why, I need to think about it; mostly my words are angled at any reader rather than a specific message to someone.
  • I frequently start a LO knowing what the journalling will say and how/where it will appear. It's incredibly important to me that anyone can look at my pages without me standing behind them explaining the reason for the LO; I think if you have to do that, you need to add/change your journalling. Here's a great example: Lovely picture of a wedding dress, well preserved receipt and journalling about the excitement of finding the perfect gown, the fittings, the beading and blah. NO MENTION of the fact that her Mum cried when she first put it on, or that the photo is a bit wobbly because the lady in the shop seemed to have had a liquid lunch and kept calling her by someone else's name; she told me this as I admired her LO...but I think it needed to be added!
  • I only practice in pencil if I'm using a specific size of card or block on which to write. Even then I don't always get it I get into the 'flow', my writing gets bigger and things get a bit squished! I'm working on this. I would like to journal directly onto the page or photo more often, but am a bit scared of my own practice indiscipline!
  • I'm no longer afraid of my handwriting, I've practiced A LOT and use a thinner nib than I would normally, and a contrived version of my 'normal' style. I think it's easier on the eye and is certainly more legible. But not always. And it takes time and practice to be confident about it.
  • Sometimes, if there isn't a lot to say, I'll stamp the journalling. I've got over 2 dozen (!) alphabet sets and I'm so totally over the need to have it all perfect straight and spaced like it came off the computer. Love that - the being over it part!

I have friends (really, despite all this opinion, I do); Willowy Blonde and Slipper Lady for example, who know me so well that they'll totally get why I want to know about your journalling habits. It's so important to me! We went to one of Shimelle's classes last November and in the blink of an eye, Slipper Lady's fear of journalling was banished forever and she is now smitten by her own written words, and well she might be; her stories, just like yours and mine, are fascinating. Because after all, we are all living a life worth scrapping, huh?

Tell me please about your journalling habits. And also please know how much I love that you take the time to comment...without exception I really like to know what you think! Oh, and Steph - YES, cupcakes on fabric - as soon as ya like!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

I am so happy to have this as mine...told you I'm spoiled! The frame and idea are from my Creative Memories consultant friend, Lisa. It's magnetic (the black blobby bits) so I can just change the LO to suit my mood; Lisa uses hers as a calendar and I just had to copy the idea. It's hanging already, although I appreciate that April isn't open till next week. Also I plan to utilise my Xyron with magnet cartridge to make other bits and bobs. Am probably big headed enough to show you the May page when it's done too; it's fair to say that I have the odd amount of stash that's waiting for a use!

This frame has reminded me of a short debate I've involved myself with on Paula Pascual's blog. Quite unintentionally, but if you've read this blog more than once, you'll recognise my need to have a say! (I strongly recommend you look at her fantastic work even if the debate leaves you cold!). I firmly believe that no matter what others think of your pages or cards, that you craft first and foremost for your pleasure, then for the pleasure of giving hand crafted gifts/cards/blah and then in scrapbooking, for the preservation of your memories. I really am at the stage where I know that after my death (and it will be untimely, even if I'm as old as methusalah), there's a chance that my albums and other craft stuff will end up in a skip somewhere. I'm totally over it. It's all about the pleasure I'm having doing it right now. Forget my cardmaking for now, I wanna focus on the scrapbooks. Part of me wants each LO to be a frame-worthy masterpiece, and when I am pleased with what I've done, I consider it so. Then it goes in a protective sleeve, I remove my head from my butt and move on. What's the point of doing it to impress anyone else? It's fab, just fab to see the work of others - all styles and types. It's so subjective; we gravitate to certain styles, colours and blah, and so the debate about who is better than who is not a fair one. The style of scrapping that you prefer may differ wildly to those on my list of faves. It's all about celebrating the diversity and admiring the work within the boundaries of the expectations of the person creating it. Some - many - people have formal training or understanding of design principles and colour theory. I don't, and you can tell that from my LOs. And for every one you see on here, there are 4 that you'll never see because although I like them, because although they tell the story, they aren't particularly interesting examples of either technique or graphic design! I agree with Paula that if your work is for publication or display then it shouldn't need to be tidied up digitally to remove fingerprints, splotches, bits of tape sticking out etc, but to be honest, if it's not for the public eye and you're pleased with it, does it matter? And as my very dear friend the Slipper Lady reminds us each time we talk about her ability to do a dozen LOs at a single crop - it's actually all about the photos. Lose sight of that and really you might as well stick your photos in regular albums and you'll have bags of time and money to do something else. I think as your scrapbooking confidence grows, you become increasingly fussy about finish anyway, and the more you see of other people's LOs the more you subconciously try to emulate the style and finish of those you admire. I do. That's why my framed masterpiece is a calendar, and not just a black frame waiting for me to do something with, as so many of my purchases remain! Thanks to Lisa.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A cupcake kind of day

That sums up yesterday! I was part of a team that presented a series of mini workshops to a bunch of people in the very sunny and really charming seaside town of Exmouth. Such a fun day; it was really nice to meet so many keen stampers! If you've read this blog in the last week, you'll know I've been fiddling about with cupcake card ideas. I promised to post these for a semi-permanent reminder, but whether you were at the workshop or not, cupcakes are a good way to open, doncha think!
I know I've yammered on about the benefits of demonstrating a product (or two), but I was relieved and delighted to hear from lots of my new chums in Exmouth that they felt the benefit of being in a workshop environment - picking up tips for much used products and experiencing other stuff on a 'try-before-you-buy' basis. Got to be good value for money for that alone, but add in the camaraderie and the appreciative feeling of a few gals enjoying some time off - magic, for me certainly. I don't work, but I love that work.
But wait there's more! I had the great good fortune to follow a link that wound up at Helen's site, She crochets. I'm sure she does other things, but man, she can crochet! I have a niece that doesn't eat anything except carrots, gravy, pringles and PINK yoghurt and PINK french fancy cakes (there is a connection..keep reading!) So because even a chocolate treat at Easter is totally wasted on our beloved mini-niece, I thought it would be fun to give her one of the Easter baskets that Helen is selling on her site. How fun! Then I realised the potential, so I ordered one each for micro, mini, maxi nieces and Miss Dunnit. (It's OK, she wouldn't read my blog if it were the last written word on the planet). Helen offered me ridiculous amounts of choice over colour and was even tactful enough to point out that the 'piggy' was actually, when I put my glasses on, a rabbit! Anyway, never one to tear the backside out of a story...they arrived at the weekend. I'm sooooo pleased with them, they are cccccccute and lovely and will just look great with a few edible and non edibles in them - look:

I can picture the girls walking around with them..brace yourselves, I so just bought myself a multi photo layout! Thanks Helen.

Been (again) at a CM coffee morning/demo/crop today and of course, came away truly inspired and with a girls if you're tuned in - I'm working on it, in the next hour or so. Will photo the result tomorrow just to prove it!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Shallow as a puddle...

Y'all know by now that I make cards as well as being a scrapbooker, and stamping is really my habit/hobby of choice. But I'm totally and completely over the need to give hand-made cards to everyone, all the time. In the early years of my addiction, I would rather have posted/delivered the hand-made greeting late than buy a card and celebrate the actual occasion on time! Daft. I also am frequently found lurking in card shops trying to suck in a few ideas. Especially Paperchase and Marks Expensive...they have lovely 'hand finished' numbers that are sooo easy to imitate. Anyway, that's a bit of a digression. Today, I had an hour to kill in Salisbury city centre. A lovely city in which to wander for sure, but I'm a frequent visitor and tend to take it all a bit for granted. So I found myself in a discount card shop. I have LOADS of birthdays, anniversaries and events coming over the next 3 weeks - truly. And to relieve some of these people I'm sending some bought cards - after a year's break, my stuff won't look 'same-old, same-old' - good theory, huh! Anyway, come with me if you will to the Female/Friends/Sisters/Aunts rack of cards. It took a few minutes to realise that the majority of them are based around images of jewellery, shoes and other lovelies. Very few florals or views or (clean) funny cards. Are we so shallow? No mate, I tell myself. Look in another shop. So I did. Lots of those cards with silly texts added to knitting pattern type pictures, but these were worse really - images from a time warp era that just allow for jokes about modern women's lack of domesticity and preference to shop. Lordy, are we really so shallow? Apparently. Some of the cards are downright funny, but by now, I was feeling a bit put out, so I stopped looking. I stamp images of lipstick, shoes, blah blah and use these on cards for particular personalities in my life, and I'm the first to dig out the text stamps - 'When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping' etc why am I suddenly so affronted? I don't know. Maybe, in those two card shops - a totally non-scientific survey reveals nothing more than the fact that the buyer is a bloke who thinks he knows what women find funny or (brace yourself) thinks he knows women. Or maybe it was just the sheer number of similar cards that made the thought pop into my head. I dunno. But to make myself feel less shallow, I rushed into Lakeland and bought a silicone muffin tin. Shopping, and Suzy Homemaker type purchases at that. Shallow and blindingly transparent I think!
Oh, and something for the weekend (!)
My friend Sally-Ann, a welcome and frequent commenter here has a ridiculous amount of blog candy to give away. Love to Doodle is where to find her. Even if you don't want the Candy, visit her, .....what Sally-Ann calls doodle is what lesser mortals call art. No wonder I'm excited about the news that some of her images are going to be made into stamps!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

It's an 'all or nothing' thing

With a book I'll do it. Read. Read to the exception of doing anything else. Ask the family; in the last fortnight I've read 5 books by Jodie Picoult. It helps that for 5 days Mr Dunnit was away (and Miss Dunnit is of an age to barely notice) so I only had to 'function'; at least two of the novels were guilt free reading!
Give me an idea for my scrapbook or a craft project of any sort, and I'll want to be relieved of other responsibilities until it's finished. It's not healthy is it! Makes me sound really obsessive and spoilt. I am. But I'm working on that too. After all, this blog is therapy, right?
Anyway, I'm here, trying to fill a folder full of cupcake images and ideas and dying to get on with stuff for next week. My good friend Cricut Queen is in the process of re-doing her craft space. She is working hard to a schedule: empty the current room so that she can barely get into her bedroom, paint, re-floor and custom furnish the new look room, and finally re-home, in good working order, all the stash and equipment. Looks so easy in print! There are three hard parts to this exercise - the first is to manage a way through the stash in its temporary bedroom home because it's logistically difficult; needing clean clothes from a cupboard that is wedged shut is just an insult. The second is to avoid the thought process that concludes with how much stash there actually is (brush over this..there isn't enough room on the Interweb for a post about it). And the third - is the thought process that makes all the great ideas pop into your head. We discussed this yesterday - our creative 'genius' juices run away with themselves at precisely the time that they can't be used. Cricut Queen can't use any of the stuff carefully stored in her bedroom, but she's exploding with ideas. I'm colouring cupcakes (the same 4, by the way) but bursting to get on with the ideas that keep popping up for a workshop next week, next month. I hate that. And of course, I love that! So give your mojo a holiday - go and do something unconnected with your hobby. But keep a notebook handy! (Oh no..I just made an argument FOR gardening!!)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Oh so suddenly it's Spring?

Sunshine. Cloudlesss sky. The daffodils under the kitchen window have finally opened, washing is billowing gently on the line, there's a coffee cup on the arm of the garden bench - it was so lovely, I had my breakfast out there. With one notable exception, every car in our road was washed yesterday. With one notable exception, everyone in the road cut their front grass (we each have a small patch about 6 foot square, let's not get too carried away with the enormity of their combined energy!). Of course, the sloth at number 1 is the exception, but you knew that. Mr Dunnit spent yesterday returning from a golf escape in Spain. Which you understand, fully explains why my car is still dirty and the lawn is un-mown.
I love the promise of spring. I love the fat buds and bursting forth-ness of it all. I love the longer daylight hours. The dark doesn't make me ill or anything, but I'm happier with heaps of daylight - preferably sunshine. I rather like the changes that herald a new season, even though Winter is a trial for me. And I know that these seasons change on a regular calendar, laid down by some brilliant Roman some hundreds of years ago. I knew it was coming... but I'm not ready for Spring! I've got stacks to do inside that I haven't quite got around to yet, without having to take on the self-imposed guilt of the garden chores too! And one day of spring weather (really - it was 16C here yesterday!) bouncing through the windows of Casa Dunnit reveals more neglect that I can face! The windows need cleaning inside. The cushion covers and the bedspreads need washing. Oh you know. There needs to be some spring cleaning action. Oh and I think I'll probably forget to worry about going through the wardrobe...lordy, I hate that job so much! Then there's the toss up - once I've wrestled some 'free' time from the domestic guilt, do I craft which is what I want to do, or do I go into the garden. You see, the garden has been a building site for two years and last summer we started the great reclamation. Last year, I did figure out that I don't really like the gardening, although I'm more than happy to plonk about and do the clearing up type of work - edging, weeding, keeping it looking nice. I tried to explain it by saying that I use up my creativity indoors on my paper crafting habit, and therefore I don't really have enough creative energy left for the garden, dahlings! And then I got over myself and admitted that it's because I'm too lazy and too in need of ultra fast gratification to be a gardener. So, now I'm going to stop blethering, clean the one window that I need the sunlight to stream through, and get on with my cupcake cards. The garden will grow whether I'm working on it or not. The cupcake cards won't, but their deadline will grow nearer!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Try this...

OK, here's another look. I was missing the black background and so I've increased the point size and changed the colours again. Try it on for a coupla days. I love the custard colour, but it made the page look empty, cavernous, uninspiring. Or maybe it is! There's a lot of sites that offer fantastic 'decorated' blog templates and the reason I don't use one is because I want space on the page..which I know, is a total contradiction of my reason for not liking the custard. But I can't help it! What you won't find here is anything approaching customising that has to be done other than by templates or downloads - I'm not up to it, at all! There's a growing propensity towards a chandelier encrusted look....images of baroque style flourishes and chandeliers. Some of them are lovely. Some of them are so over the top they are looking a bit like some Tim Burton-esque funeral parlour. (Heidi Swapp's, for example.) It's only my opinion, share yours with me.

Questions about the SODA page on the last post: - Steph, it's Basic Grey paper; I'd never be bothered to produce a background as lovely as that for one measley LO!! The pink letters are from Craftwork Cards about a century ago, I stamped a bar-code image across them to hide the sticky. The S of soda is a doctored, lower case g...which is why it has the bottle top stuck over the worst bit. The journalling (top right) is done in such a narrow nib pen as to make it illegible, but in real life, it's pretty clear. The bar-code image across the letters and at the bottom of the photo is from a set by Autumn Leaves. They appear on LOTS of my scrapbook pages.
COR! Thanks for looking so closely, didn't expect that!

So..comment away, do. It's fab to read your input. - you must read Love to Doodle's comments on yesterday's logicalising (I know what I mean) of an illogical trait. This is such a sisterhood!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Domestic Goddess

Today I have done overdue domestic chores, everyday domestic chores and I visited with a friend who was holding a Creative Memories coffee morning. The coffee morning part of my day was lovely. I've found new tools and some bits and pieces to add to my arsenal of equipment. The domestic part of my day was just that really, domestic. It was while I was making a cheese sauce to go over the macaroni for supper that I realised why I've become the domestic goddess that I see in my daydreams. Because I have a post it note on the window above my desk reminding me of two projects that are due this month. SLAP! I'm a postponement goddess! No amount of bragging about being Suzy Homemaker is going to hide that! I wonder why I find the stress, indeed sometimes terror, of a deadline so inspiring? I don't think I do actually. I just find that the more I have to do something, the less inclined I am to do it. The more people recommend something to me, or advise me to try something, the more I resist. Like Titanic, the movie. Still haven't seen it. Too many people told me to see it. I knew the story from the get-go - it sinks, he dies. I only saw Mama Mia! last month, same reason. A particular friend who saw it 5 times within 3 weeks of its release could be forgiven for guessing that each time she rang to try and encourage me to go see it with her, I was making lame excuses. I just get stubborn. It's genetic, I think. Miss Dunnit has severe last-minute-itis and I have to say that I hate it as a trait and rail against it in her. But I, apparently am the same. I hate that! But there is a light at the tunnel end...the whole Lent thing for me was an attempt to self-improve rather than deprive myself...and I'm getting there. 15 days before the deadline, I've recognised the problem. Sometime tomorrow, I'm gonna roll my sleeves up and tackle it. Right after I've made the beds, washed the kitchen floor and created another, erm, gourmet supper.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Go with the custard..

My sweet Sissy has offered advice about the look of this blog...said that the white text on the black ground made her eyes hurt and I don't want my sister to be put off reading! So, for now dear interweb, go with this custard's all a bit twee I know, but I do like the plain look. I visit a lot of blogs and you'll be totally unsurprised to know that I have an opinion about the look of them. This one has to be uncluttered and undecorated; first to reassure my family that I'm not turning into a geek and second, I really LIKE that I can go straight to the words without distraction. And as this is my molecule of cyber space, it's all good. I expect you'll experience a change too often while I try to settle on colours and stuff..I may go back to black - gosh isn't that a trendy song? I may go back to black and increase the font size. As changes occur, tell me what suits your eyes!

This card is a response to the Daring Cardmaker's challenge...patchwork. hmmm, the Royal purple looks black and the very contrasting flower centres look pink and they're purple. What the hell. There's a patchwork style stamp in the background and even a pin! I know, I impressed myself with the connection - it may be obvious to you reader, but finding the pins is up there as today's little miracle. Oh - that and the fact that I cut the flowers on the Cricut!! User guilt - yes. And convenience - I had it set up to cut some titles for a project that Miss Dunnit is working on!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Back to the previous discussion

I can't get enough of the analysis part of crafting, apparently, so here I go again with some more! Here's the thing - why, when you've got everything, don't you use it? Or is that something spectacularly within me? Here's the case in point. From it's launch and for a couple years, I was a demonstrator for the Cricut (an electronic die cutter).
It's a faaab machine and I do use it. A lot. Well, I thought I did..I know of others who use it more, but I was thinking that my not inconsiderable collection of software was pretty well employed, if not exactly the latest releases. So there's Lady Nurse, an ex customer and continuing friend. She's had a Cricut for 2 years and for 2 years it's been unused, in the box. Indeed, not even unpacked. I am putting my hands up here, I scoffed and goaded her into getting round to having a go with it, and she hired Cricut Queen to show her the buttons and tricks. Great success and she's in love with it and bemused by her own initial fear of the 'technology'.
So there we are, at the crop, going through each other's albums. Lady Nurse is asking a few questions about technique, products and blah as she turns the pages of the album I had with me. Each LO has a title (LOVE that part of scrapping, the wordy bits). Each turn of the page prompts Lady Nurse to ask 'oh, did you cut that on the Cricut?' and each time I had to admit 'No'. Remember, I practically bullied her into getting to grips with her Cricut, citing the alphabet cartridges as the most useful invention for scrapping with since the invention of scrapping itself. I think.
So WHY are most of my titles in sticker or rub-on form? And how lazy am I about it? I can answer both really easily.
- I'm not well prepared for any crop; therefore pre-cutting titles just doesn't happen.
- Stickers and rub-ons are easier to transport to any location than my Cricut.
- Last time I took my Cricut to a crop, I spent most of the day demonstrating it rather than cropping, so am a bit reluctant to do that now.
These sound like idle excuses huh. well as always, come back sometime...when I finally make a LO with Cricut titling, you'll be the first to see it. And Lady Nurse, if you're reading this, sorry. I was right that you needed to unpack and use it, but I'm sorry that I can't prove that I use mine!
Slightly off topic, but still pertinent to a previous post:
My post of 27 Feb,' Tact, they True Meaning is Lost' has resulted in a comment being left today by Anonymous...for the life of me I can't find was waiting to be 'moderated' and since I did that, it's disappeared. Anyway, Anonymous, please re-read the post. I was and still am very critical of the people in the shop who were being tactless about how much they had spent elsewhere in the past 48 hours and using that as an excuse for not buying much in store that day. It wasn't the lack of sales that I was bemoaning, shopkeeper gal welcomes browsers. As regualrs, you and I both know that. But she has a right to be upset when people are tactless enough to tell her that they aren't buying from her because of the amount they spent elsewhere. We all shop elsewhere, we all - including shopkeeper gal - know that; no-one needs to apologise for doing so - but tact and good manners cost nothing - that was my long winded point.
I won't be re-hashing posts generally, but because I've managed to lose this particular comment, I didn't want Anonymous to think that I wasn't going to 'publish' it. But if there's a debate to be had - I'm up for it.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

What, no picture?

Nope. No picture. By the time I decided to come over here and chat a bit, the light was gone. Actually, that sounds's a little after 10pm and therefore the light is not natural and my photography is just not up to it and blah blah blah!) Another concise way to start!
I've been at a crop today. It's a real treat, an essential part of my social life. I love the connection through craft that I would otherwise never have made.....I contend that it is an especial skill of women - one tiny thing in common can be the foundation of a good solid friendship. Crop Saturday is a guaranteed laugh, chips for lunch and maybe even a couple of finished LOs, all in a day! (Although for the record, 5 out of 8 of the croppers were, for some reason, filled with strength and didn't have chips, and yes, Willowy Blonde and New Baby Mummy were amongst them. Sigh.)
We had a challenge (set by me, so very easy, lighthearted and almost forgotten of course). In the course of this, we discovered that we are all particularly sold on the die cut 12 x 12 sheets. Now of course, Cricut Queen was probably aghast at our excitement, but she was too polite to do what I would have done - laugh! Turns out that these sheets, although not a brand new, over promoted product are new to some people, and better still, seeing them in use has encouraged others to have a crack at them. Especially that awful bit where you have to cut them if you want them to go further than a single LO! Isn't that great - learning through play. Or is that an echo of my parenting job creeping in?!! The challenge was to make up a LO using 3 different patterned papers. Of course, wife of Mr Pineapple always scraps this way - she has an eye for patterns that makes you wanna sit next to her and absorb the skill. We did toy with the idea of reversing the challenge so that she could create a LO using only plain papers..but that didn't happen. Mr Pineapple's wife - she stayed serenely uninvolved and went about creating her 28th LO of the day. (Or so it seemed!). We all managed the challenge, but New Baby Mummy won the day - completed the challenge and really made the most of her day 'off'...had pre-kitted her LOs and was in full creative flow. A great feeling. The hot water urn leaked horribly, the hall is never as warm as we want it to be and the chip shop is probably a 4 minute walk from the hall, but what the hell, it was still a good day. Join a crop - good for your crafting health.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

This used to be my workroom...

There, you see..once published, shame over!! So Debsg , publish and be proud!! Actually, this is no longer my workroom, and when we've summoned up the will to take out the worktops etc, we will convert it back to the tiny bedroom it once was. (Memories of the cot, baby scribbles on the wall...ah, me, time flies.) I now work in a similar sized room but it's downstairs and accessible to the whole family; indeed it's where our only computer lives, and gives access to the garden and garage. Rather than just boring the pants off you, I'm telling you these things because you will then immediately understand why it's a much tidier and less cluttered area than it used to be. Being able to shut the door on it and knowng that neither of my lovelies was remotely interested in going in there led me into wicked and slothful ways. Please also bear in mind that this room was created not long after I closed my shop, and so everything had to be shoe-horned in! Mind you, having made the decision not to renew the lease on the shop, I spent 6 months ordering 'one for me, one for the shop'! So my new work area is leaner and tidier and I like it much more; I can spend the whole evening in here and still be within earshot and vision of the lovelies. And I don't have to watch all the pigging SciFi that appears to grip them. I don't get that either, but the list of things I don't get about TV is now so long that you, dear interweb, don't have space for it.
I've been rummaging in my new-ish workspace this morning. My local store is having a Flea Market this Saturday and it's a great opportunity to sell on craft products that you no longer want, and pick up other stuff that you do. In theory. To sell this year, I have a few clear stamps, a handful of rubber stamps and a very mixed bag of ribbons less than a metre long. Not a lot compared to previous years for sure. But actually, this isn't because of any hideous recession that means I'm hanging onto everything, it's more because in the last year or so I have become a much more sophisticated consumer (!) and I am at last able to only buy what I know I'll actually use. It's taken ages. I still buy rubber stamps on the basis of 'see it, like it, buy it', rather than contemplate its use and application of techniques and blah..I have always fiirmly believed that if you like it, you'll use it and therefore you'll get value from it. I think actually I can apply that theory to most of my crafting purchases now. NOW. Not so much a year or so ago when I was pre-ordering paper collections, chasing the new machinery and blah blah. I'm more comfortable in my crafting skin I guess, and can finally resist the marketing. But sometimes I can't. After all, if I'm capable of the sort of untidiness revealed in that photo, I'm only human, right?
The Flea Market is at Craft Krazy, Tidworth: 01980 844010 for detail.
Ludgershall Crop is also on Saturday, from 11am, ask me for detail. This month's challenge is very straightforward: create a LO using 3 patterend papers, one of which you will have swapped at the crop. (They can be scraps, not full size sheets, of course!)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Messy achievement!

Actually, now I look at this, it doesn't seem so bad! This has been my work space for the last 2 days..I can't show you what was going on behind me on the worktops, stool tops, floor..because I've cleared it up!! Hooray! The album is finished:I like it. Unlike the one that I didn't photograph before taking to the shop, this one is plain papers, neater edges, no ribbons or extra 'stuff' to make it look untidy. You have to agree, there are those that recoil in horror at the sight of tags, ribbons, fibres and heavily ripped edges inked and stamped randomly, so it's nice to be able to reassure potential workshopeers that the album is, without doubt, to be done in the style that pleases them, not me (no, really!).

I've used the Bind It All this time, and now think I should have taken the time to extend the rings the length of the book....but I'm a coward about working it out and good gracious, if I got it wrong after all that work, I would experience a huge bad mood. Because there would be no-one else to blame. I hate that. And I'm generally scared of my Bind It All. It definitely falls into the category of 'thing-I-most-wanted-because-it-was-new-and-everyone-else-was-getting-one'. This is possibly the 4th time I've used it. In 18 months. Not exactly a bargain huh! Sally Ann commented on a previous post that this is a keeping-up-with-the-Jones' thing and I couldn't agree more. Perfectly driven by the marketing arm of the industry too. Difficult to resist, apparently! The worst part of it for me is the guilt! My, what a tangled personality I must be. And there I am thinking I'm as transparent as glass and shallow as a puddle. Oh, and very untidy!

How sweet is this!! An award from Caryn who frankly says such nice things that I don't believe she reads this! Anyway, with gratitude and in the spirit of the award, I'm to pass it onto 10 others and tell you why. I'll be succinct and I must add, some of these worthies won't even know that I read their blogs..I'm very guilty of the 'hit and run' technique, but I check them often. Indeed, I spend a lot of 'free' time checking them!
I can't sum them up in a few words - I can't sum anything up in FEW words..but all of these blogs inspire me - for loads of reasons; stories of everyday business that includes crafting, use of techniques, altered work that I couldn't begin to do, use of COLOUR that knocks me out every time, precision, using fabric and notions on cards, actually using stash and a hang up on inchies...for all these things and more!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

These cute mice are part of the Patchwork Kingdom range from the lovely peeps at the Crafthouse Press. Now I know that the ribbon is waaaay out of proportion to the mice and it dominates the card, but this is to give to micro neice for her birthday, and pink and sparkly are very much a requirement, and hey, she probably won't be critiquing with quite as much energy as us!

Thanks for your comments over the last post (rant, my daughter calls it, when I express an opinion). I want to stress a point that came out of what turned into quite a 'behind the scenes' debate. I'm not condemnatory of anyone who buys craft stash from any source that suits them. TV, interweb, shops, blah. We each have a variety of reasons for having or wanting to buy from the various sources. My point (made in about 1 million too many words, I know) was - in that shop on that day, I saw the community of customers that shopkeeper gal has established and nurtured behave rather badly, and I wanted to rant. And you, dear interweb, copped it! So...let's move on and talk about me again.

How's your memory? Are you fond of recalling - is that why you scrap? Are you great at using all of your kit, even if it might be a bit old fashioned? Just like fashion, all of our craft stuff gets re-imagined and sent out again....what about the re-shaping and brilliant marketing of the humble emery board into a distressing tool?
I was lucky enough to go the the first Creative Escape in 2006 with my dear friend, Willowy Blonde. There, in 3 classes out of 6, the biggest and most used product was the corner-round punch. Yep. Doesn't matter which make or brand you use, just make sure you round the corners of everything. So I took the one I bought from a CM girl about 300 years ago. Took a while to find; it really was buried under all the other punches that the advertisers told me I had to have. (Slot this into the file marked 'NEED', to be discussed).
So this week, I've been working on one of those BoBunny word albums as a workshop sample (HOME) in time for Mother's Day - nice huh. Now generally as a cardmaker and more generally as a scrapbooker, I stamp and stick stuff on. Occasionally, I decoupage which is after all, cutting out and sticking stuff on. So..I had to dredge the old memory for this album! Dry brushing the acrylic paint to add some definition to the image edges - it's been ages, yonks.....almost probably the last time I did this was the day before I brought the first of my Fluid Chalk inkpads. It was a bit like putting on a pair of flares. I used eyelets too....thanks god for the cropadile, remember though, all the clenching and pelvic floor exercising caused by the original 'punch and set' eyelet kits? Noisy times. And remember when the Bind it All was still in the Wish List stage of product development? For this album, I used book rings, and they are just damn instant! And what did we do before chipboard? I used mount board, but not in any sophisticated die cut shapes I can tell you! I really enjoyed the mixture of techniques and tools and the idea that it all came together without taxing the memory is even better. Quite often I flick through a mag or consult you, dear interweb for hints and reminders on 'how to do', so this was a good memory flexing exercise! Of course, you may like to see a piccy of it. But I can't post one...I took it to the shop for display already, having completely forgotten to photograph it!