Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The method for tidying

Lordy lordy look at the state of my desk! I'm working on a bunch of stuff that has a deadline, and apparently, the way for me to deal with it most efficiently is to have everything all over the place, lids off everything, 3 pairs of scissors on the go and my actual working area diminishing by the second. There's no method involved in creating this sort of mess - I get things out as I need them and just don't put them away! I have that fab glass mat from EK Success which is my work surface of choice, I can cut on it, glue on it, use it to store sticky tape, stamp on it, spill on it and abuse it more than you would the real surface. Then I stick it in the sink, scrub it and it's perfect all over again. But you can't tell because it's covered in stuff...the grid you can just see represents square inches, so despite my 6 foot table, you can clearly see that my actual working space is about 28 squared inches! How can anyone be so untidy? It's no more inspirational, but I think it is indicative of what happens to me when I (finally) get into the zone. I can't stop to tidy or put away - rather spend minutes looking for things. I get a slightly perverse pleasure from the increasing pile of the glasseine 'peelings' from foam pads and double sided tapes...it makes me feel like I'm working really fast. But it's an illusion created by the number of foam pads on the back of everything to be stuck down, rather than an indication of the masses of images I've cut out and created with! The strange thing about all this mess is that I'm perfectly comfortable with it while I'm working in it. As soon as I have to break off - 'phone, coffee, bathroom, coffee, food, coffee, stretch, coffee - whatever, as soon as I come back to it, I am ashamed and laughingly, can't imagine how I can work like this and get a bit uppity about the mess. Then I have to restore order before I can start again. Weird. Order comes slowly; no-one can help either, my fear of something necessary being thrown away is justifiably very high. I expect for outsiders, the temptation to sweep the lot into the bin would be very great indeed! So, more than in the creating, I have a method for clearing up! Pick out the scissors, pens, felt tips and such, re-pot them. Then collect adhesives, tapes, runners, eyelets and brads. This usually frees up the piles of rubbish, for they all end up on my right (I am right handed). After binning the 'peelings' I pick off the tools - cropadile, punches,then the re-usable bits of paper and scraps of card, maybe even re-home unused pre-scored cards, cast aside when discovered to be useless colour matches for my creations, dahlink! Stamps go into a basket on my far right where they wait to be cleaned (sometimes for days..sorry if that makes you wince, but I'm OK with it!). Then inks and embossing powders are re-homes and the desk looks like it should, and I can clean or at least enjoy the size of my glass mat in it's 13" glory! While I'm in the flow of confession, I should also say that while I'm in the zone, I don't throw away trimmings as I cut either, and the work station behind me is, as I type, groaning with little slices. I think the mind-set behind this is the satisfaction of tidying - all I have to do is lift the guillotine off the top and sweep everything into the bin. Instant result! You may well like a little look around at my work space, my haven, the room that the love of my life built for me to make me happy. And you can. When I've put this work in the post and tidied up a bit. And I don't know when it will be tidy enough, but I guess now I've revealed the table, I've got nothing left to hide!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Just how old is your stash??

At a workshop last week (the dreaded Smirk!), I had to tell the girls to be very careful about a certain piece of paper that they were using. I had cut them a piece each - big enough, but not a lot of margin for error. And there was none to spare in my bag. You see, generally, I pre-cut cardstock and papers and present workshopeers with a pack of materials ready for to use. This is for a couple of reasons - speed around the workshop table, and mainly because as crafters, we all know how to cut. You don't come to a workshop to learn how to cut paper and card to certain dimensions; the Slipper Lady and I know this to our cost. £17 to be exact, at a starbook workshop. We spent about 2/3rds of the time sharing cutting tools and cutting bits off bigger bits to make the pages. Then we had about 30 minutes left to learn a few techniques and decorate the 8 pointed (but not assembled) book. Pah. Waste of my time. Also, I HATE sharing tools. I do, and I'm always polite, but for heaven's sake, I'd rather just cut it at home and bring it in if you can't prepare it for me. Sorry. For the digression, not the opinion.
So, this paper. A4, hand painted look with white random polka dots. Love it. Love the randomness of the dots, only achieved by reproducing paper from a hand drawn original. I got it from my friends at The Crafthouse Press, probably two years ago when they launched the Patchwork Kingdom collection. I had about 10 sheets. Mostly unused until the point of delivering this workshop. Unused because I like it too much to use it. So I had to warn the girls not to make a mistake and need any more, because they weren't getting any. That would leave me hyper-ventilating and with less than 9 sheets. You see my point. Willowy Blonde, Sissy Dunnit and I went to Heidi Swapp's first Creative Escape in Arizona in 2006. We came back with a suitcase literally stuffed with stash, each. Honestly, we got more in freebies than the entire event cost us, for sure. So here we are, nearly 3 years later and I'm just coming around to using it. I did make a mini album from ONE piece of the signature 12 x 12 paper and some postcards in the same year, but everything else, even the Krylon pen for goodness sake, is untouched.
How long does it take you to get over the 'new'-ness of new stuff? Or is the real point that I have so much, and have access to so much, that I don't need to use it? This is uncomfortable territory. I know I have so much. I know some days I can't be bothered to look further than the top shelf, top inch of papers etc. A sure sign of being spoilt for choice, huh. And just being plain spoiled. I know. It's not just papers. Embellishments too - and the nicer they are, the less likely I am to use them at all, and certainly I won't be using them on anything to be given away. Sorry. If you've ever been in a swap with me, you may already know this! I'm over the Creative Escape stuff now, and am enjoying using it - I suspect though that part of the enjoyment is the smugness of using up 'old' stash. After all, I haven't failed to notice how trendy the 'make do' ethos is becoming. I'm on it, interweb!
Of course, there are exceptions to this - the LO pictured above. I did this on the same day that I bought the sheet of paper. It was a whim purchase, (Que Sera Sera range by K & Co), but I couldn't leave without it. I still can't quite believe how easy it was to make it fit what I wanted to do! Maybe that's why I have to wait so long before I can be 'over' something enough to use it - I have no imagination for it. Highly likely. The LO is actually the sample piece for the Ludgershall Crop's lesson session next weekend (ask me if you'd like details). If you look really carefully, you can see the reflection of the conservatory roof and my cardigan in the acetate window. Some photographer somewhere would kill for that skill. As for the imagination for it - this LO is a very twisted take on a 'window' LO I saw on Paula Pascual's blog last month. Go see. Most inspiring. As for the polka dot paper; I'm not over that yet, and I don't care how inspiring you find it, I can't share any more of it yet.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

St George, we Salute you!

I know that this isn't the Cross of St George, it is a symbol of the Union flag and that's fine by me. The older I get, the more patriotic I become. I'm more than happy to have a day dedicated to the dragon slaying patron saint of England - proud even. This tea-tray and the other bits of patriotic memorabilia we display from time to time make me smile. Despite everything, I'm happy to be an English child of the world. I hopei f you celebrate, you're all having a nice traditional supper. We had Pizza made with Nan Bread. Told you, child of the world, me!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A typical day...

As a diversion to my routine of Suzy Homemaker domestic bliss, I went to a morning coffee, demo and scrap session organised by a friend of mine who is a CM consultant. I scrap in an entirely different way to the CM ethos, but this doesn't matter to Miss America, she enjoys the whole crafty vibe and that's good enough for me. So are the croissants and coffee!
Now Miss America is actually the wife of a Soldier, luckily for her, not on deployment, working not too far from home on something no doubt fulfilling and soldier-y. None of this will be a surprise to anyone who knows that I live on the fringes of Salisbury Plain, the hugest MoD Exercise area you can imagine. (Stay with me, you need to know this).

Miss America has been here for 8 years, and prior to the arrival of her sweet daughter, she worked in the NHS. And she's currently trying to get back in to the NHS. Tomorrow she has an interview at Winchester, the Royal County Hospital. She's never been there and parking in particular is a nightmare - patients with appointments are advised to allow an hour extra to find a space! Now Winchester isn't far from here, I know the route well...it is engraved on my heart - it is the same route we took 15 years ago whilst my toes were curling at the strength of the contractions that would bring Miss Dunnit to us. I could see that Miss America was totally NOT following the instructions everyone was barking at her, so at about 11 o,clock, I offered to drive her over for a recce. (Army terminology now...impressive, huh!). We were 5 in number at this morning's gathering, 4 by 1pm, so Miss America and I left two of her scrapping guests to finish up and lock the door behind them so we could set off. She called the Soldier to warn him of the two relative strangers he may find if he went home for lunch. Not unsurprisigly, he moaned a bit! Still, by then we were on the A303, the sun was shining and it was feeling like a road trip. In my little green Yaris. No sunroof. Loads of road noise. Hey ho. Get to the hospital without incident..check out terrible parking, reception, main entrance, blah blah. Turn around and come home. We had a deadline see - to be back in time for the school run. We made it in plenty of time. Miss America stepped out of the little green rocket and instantly realised that she'd left home without keys. Locked out. Oh my, how funny. How we laughed. Easy to sort out. Drive over to Camp, blag the guardroom to let us go in to find the Soldier and get his keys. Easy. Turns out Miss America very definitely only married the man and not the job. Knows less about him the Soldier and where he works than is healthy. Guardroom spend some time tracking him down rather than letting us onto Camp; I'm guessing that they would have locked us up, given a choice. Turns out that because it's Wednesday, the Soldier is out playing sport. Miss America has a lightbulb moment and remembers she saw him take a hockey stick to work. I believe her. We drive to the all weather pitch. I park badly, she runs over an acre of uncut grass to the pitch and shouts at the playing soldiers - even from where I'm watching, I can tell they think she's a nutter and try to ignore her. She was practically scaling the chain link fence before she realised that the Soldier wasn't there and she was making a spectacle of herself - I was safely, and sensibly, too far away to be included. I hope. So then we drive down roads I haven't visited for years, beautiful for sure, but somehow marred by the fact that we don't have a clue where we should be going. At the next pitches, there are 3 games of football going on, and the layout allows me to drive the little green rocket right along the touch lines. It's only when we're pulling away having had no luck that I realise that I could so easily be mistaken for some sort of lecherous middle aged sad bag - driving along slowly looking at the soldiers in their PE Kit. Gawd, I'm blushing at the thought, even now. We have to give up. No sign of the Soldier and time to get off to school. I offer to drop Miss America at the Juniors on my way to Miss Dunnit's school and in arriving, park opposite the pitch on which our Soldier is playing. Good grief. It's not a bloody hockey match either. Definitely football - no sticks, a round ball and lots of kicking. Miss America launches herself across the pitch, dodging strange looks rather than the football and woo-hooing as only an American on a mission can. Key retrieved from abandoned kit bag. Mother delivered to school. Miss Dunnit collected and the day continued as any other day does. No-one has knocked on the door to arrest me for touch-line lechery or for performing U turns in one way military controlled roads, so I think, unless there's CCTV camera footage of all the hollering and whooping, it could pass as a perfectly normal day. I wonder if she'll get the job.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

It's an addiction

So, the internet didn't work for two days. There were brief flashes of online availability, but each time I got anywhere important (to me), the connection went bad and I fell off the web. Note please - again, I'm totally up to date with my terminology. Man, I'm so cool. I've (for once) had important emails to send and possibly a bit of shopping to do, not to mention the online bank checking that I try to do routinely. Routinely I say - what I mean is that as an attempt at restraint, I check the balance of my account before I hit the online shopping. I pretend it means I'm working to a budget. Go me, or rather, delusional me!
I've managed for two days without email and without checking out the shops - after all, I'm not so shallow that all I do online is shopping. No! I chat and read blogs too. And this is where the problem lies with suddenly being deprived of connectivity. (I hate that word too...I don't think it's actually a word, but it adequately describes my plight!) I really missed the chance to browse all of my favourite blogs and check out galleries here and there. I even kid myself that I needed to look for a challenge or two! Ha! Ginny will be choking now, she and Caryn are, in my experience, the most impressive taker-uppers of challenges that I know; they are the do-ers, as you've come to realise, I'm the one who talks a lot about doing. Truly, this interweb is an addiction, those news articles were right...my 2 hours a day is probably a lot longer really. There are signs of addiction aren't there. I know them because I've been on enough diets to know the meaning of withdrawal, cold turkey, going without, cutting down, using restraint, blah blah blah. One of these signs is irritation. And oh boy, last night when I STILL couldn't get to my nano sized piece of interweb, irritation gave way to anger. Can you believe it - moi! I actually threw myself on the sofa and sulked my way through a tv programme. Can't remember the last time I watched tv all evening. It was quite fun, and Mr Dunnit and I interacted and shared a couple of jokes and talked a bit. Steady, we'll be singing songs round the piano in a minute!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Oh, trying is well, so trying!

My sibling, the beautiful and gifted Sissy Dunnit, is doing a course at UC Berkley, the last year of which has involved designing (on and off computer) various projects - fabrics mostly. Fresh ideas, patterns that repeat without making you fall asleep and colours that work..all to a client's brief. In her case, the 'client' is a course lecturer who will leaf through her submitted ideas and dismiss them with a simple 'no', too bold', 'not enough detail'...you get the picture. Sissy goes back and pulls more designs out of somewhere; she has the tenacity to stick with it because she really likes the course and has her eye and mind firmly on the endgame. She can take the critique from the lecturer because she totally respects this woman, her experience, skill and genuine enthusiasm when she pulls off something that will work, and understands that it's not personal. You can tell can't you, that I am learning from my sister's experiences; really, some of the lecturer's reported comments have left me breathless, and I'm not sure I could trash 3 weeks research, study and design after a simple 'no'.
So then, why when all I'm doing is making a simple card, maybe involving a rubber stamp and some colouring pens, do I have such trouble? I stamp because I can't draw, so surely it's easy to just well, turn them out? It's not though. Particularly, as my cyber-friend Coventry Ann said, when I set about making cards for people close to me. You can just see the effort. And I hate that. I'm trying too hard, as though the expectation of the recipient is somehow for a gallery-worthy piece of art. So often, my nearest and dearest end up with a card I've bought. Shame really. Same problem sometimes in preparation for a workshop, particularly if it's a technique refresher - I end up in knots because I feel I ought to be 'inventing' some new thing to be doing with the technique in question. I get to the workshop and the girls like the cards and enjoyed refreshing their memories about that particular technique and it's all over. And on the way home I have to have a little scream. How ridiculous to get so tight over something that creativity couldn't leak out in droplets, let alone flow! Maybe it's still nerves. The arsenal of equipment and techniques at hand should make me some sort of genius, and it doesn't - perhaps that's the pressure? And although I can often find a deadline really quite inspiring, it never is the case when the deadline is a special day for someone I love. This 'trying too hard' thing is definitely an inside-your-head condition. Not least because your recipient won't know which techniques, new stuff and creative genius has combined to produce their greeting, they will simply be grateful that you took the time to make them a lovely card. I think they would be agog to her that it took every evening for a fortnight because you couldn't quite-get-the-dimension-relating-to-the-design-principle-in-your-head right!
One answer is to make cards in batches - while you're on a productive roll and enjoying the stuff you're playing with. For sure, this means you could carry a really lovely stock. But they're never quite what you want to send are they? A card from stock never quite refelects what you want to say or the personality of the recipient does it? And so you go into trying too hard mode again. Hate it.
I can safely say that Sissy Dunnit has recognised the in-your-head part of this problem and purged it. I know this for two reasons: she's very nearly a professional designer and is already brooding on an interior design commission, secondly, she has never smacked the face of her lecturer.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Distraction Thursday

I got up (relatively) early this morning, the finishings of a couple of cards on my mind. My plan was to ignore the chores and essential stuff until Miss Dunnit was awake. That way you see, I can sit quietly in my workroom with a clear conscience - she would probably be woken by my kitchen chores: unloading the dishwasher, putting the washing machine on etc, and certainly would be woken up by me throwing the hoover around. (Literally or figuratively, you decide!) I planned to have executed the two brilliant ideas that floated into my head overnight and be ready to do all the other stuff later in the day. My plan was shot to pieces almost as soon as I sat down. I needed felt tips; the first one I tried was pretty dry. Fed up with this re-occuring scenario, I spent half an hour scribbling onto a pad, testing every felt tip. Now the bin has more than I do, but the ones in the pot will at least deliver colour when pressed to paper. I was working on a fairly simple set of cards that will allow the makers at the workshop to get their heads around various masking techniques. I decided to pre-cut the masks for a couple of them, on the basis that it will save heaps of time and groaning in the actual workshop. So then I had to hunt out plain, suitably thin paper, stamp the correct number of images and sort out the best time to actually sit about and cut them out. Since I got my glasses, I realise that non-daylight cutting out is really not a great idea! Then, the card I made first needed to be re-made - 'honed' if you like, to make sure the order of the instructions made sense. But to do that, I needed a clean stamp. Off to the kitchen with all of the stamps I haven't cleaned this week, having a bit of a marathon with the old scrub-it pad. I re-made the card - it only takes about 2 minutes to re-make, even if it's cost me 2 HOURS previously. And then Miss Dunnit chooses to grace me with her presence. Cue the guilt of having the kitchen and lounge looking very erm, lived in. Only thing for it - whizz around and do the chores. Bin emptying led to cleaning and sorting of recycling containers. Throwing the hoover around required emptying of the collection thingy (note to Mr Dyson here: I am ashamed enough of the filth in my house - please make the cylinder collection thingy opaque so that others don't have to witness the filth I've actually bothered to deal with every time I open the cupboard to put a coat away - or 'hide' something I just don't know what to do with. Thanks. Feeling sorry for the Flyladies who may be reading this now, they're probably hyper-ventilating!).
Back in the workroom, the search for an acrylic block of a particular size requires shelf re-arrangement and it will no doubt happen again tomorrow when I try to put away the ones I've just cleaned. Make last card (Bagpuss, above). Looking for the brown vellum caused me to re-arrange the contents of my vellum box,and reminded me to start a list of things that need to be re-stocked. Which means checking another cupboard to assess envelopes and white card stock supplies. So here I am, at nearly 3pm BST, having set a plan at 7.45am that I thought would only take an hour. I've finished writing the instructions and thought I'd share - after all, my biggest distraction is without a doubt this interweb thing. Smirk stamps are waiting to go on the swap table at the next crop and Ann's comment about trying too hard when you're making something for someone special has really struck a note. I'm off for some fresh air, and to mull over what Ann said. This will be my distraction because I'm going into the garden; bet your life no-one will call me away from a job I don't want! And Ann - congratulations on your Anniversary.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


These are the 4 cards to be made at the Workshop on Thursday. (Set aside the bad photo and cropping skills...those are on my huge 'things to improve before I die' list). I bought the stamps with the intention of using them in a workshop, and I only ever buy stuff that I like and want to keep. But oh boy, I had a LOT of trouble finding inspiration for these characters. I still feel actually that apart from stamp, colour and cut out, there's not much to be done with them. And they're too small to just sit on a card without exaggerating the proportion of everything else; good grief, not for the first time, I went off a range of stamps before I'd even had a chance to get ink on most of them. How strange. Am I alone? My collection is much smaller than it used to be, but nevertheless, my stamps talk to me - they say inspiring words when I look at them. But this lot are literally smirking at me because I don't quite 'get them'. Gawd, perhaps they're too young for me? Aaagh. Moment of realisation and awful epiphany - even craft has age related trends. Have to run, they aren't going to be allowed to sit on the shelf smirking at me because I'm too old, that's for sure!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Like so many people, we've spent a weekend basking in Spring sunshine and the warmth of our family. Mr Dunnit's parents celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with a party, filled with their friends and family we don't see enough of. A wonderful evening, particularly enhanced by their four beautiful grandaughters; they were shown off and admired and were sweetness and glamour all rolled into one, the little fairy above sort of sums it all up for me! Mr Dunnit raised a loving toast to his parents and we danced. Follow that? Micro neice's 2nd birthday and a trip from the Easter bunny. Marvellous family days. Follow that? OK. Slipper Lady, Cricut Queen, Miss Enthusiastic Educator and I went to a semi-local craft store and had lunch. Snazzy Stamping at Swindon was marvellous; neat tidy and full to the brim with stash we all wanted - indeed some of it did of course, come home with us. We had lunch and tea in Marlborough and it was lovely; time out with the girls. I picked up new stamps and new papers and even a new ink pad and again the four of us offer thanks for the luxury of shops like this that are within our reach.
Ah, and my quest for routine and achievement goes on. We lurch into serious revision for Miss Dunnit, Mr Dunnit is planning to finish the cupboard to stand on the new floor and me? Well, I finally have a couple of work deadlines, there's a workshop I'm conducting at Kraft Crazy in Tidworth on Thursday morning (01980 844010) based on the Smirk range of characters...so I'm actually scheduling routine work time this week, for me and for Miss Dunnit..it has to be easier to revise if you know other people in the house are working too, I figure. No doubt you'll hear about the success or otherwise!

Friday, 10 April 2009

So now we have 135 meringues safely nestled in 4 draws from a unit I used to have in my workroom -- they take up a ridiculous amount of space! My lovelies are in fear of moving them or worse, trying to stack something on the precarious cling film lids I've made...when I say 'in fear'; I mean of me. They will seriously be amazed by my dramatic reaction and devastation if even so much as one of these blighters is crushed! Oh the draaaama! Am very much looking forward to plonking on a large spoonful of fresh berries and a dollop of cream, I must say!
I've been in the kitchen again today, making some cute duck shaped biscuits to go in the easter baskets...and of course, using up egg yolks. But while I was being Suzy Homemaker, Mr Dunnit was, well, doing it. He'd set himself the task of gluing down the new 'lino' for the hall floor. Of course, when I say hall, I mean the small space through the front door that gives access to the rest of the house and the stairs. We aren't talking vestibule, grand entrance or sweeping staircase here. Aside from the fact that it's our home, there is nothing large or remarkable about our home - it's an average size and blah. This is not to take any achievement or glory from Mr Dunnit for his DIY skills; he's really amazingly good at it. But, like crafting, this DIY thing is phsycologically revealing. He runs all the time from hither to yon - in this case from front door to van to garage. This I assume, because he is keen. I don't run across my craft room, but in the early stages I do eschew the stool until I've settled to a point where everything I need is gathered within arm's reach (!). When spreading the adhesive, he sticks his tongue out and frowns; in concentration, for sure. When I need to concentrate, I turn down the music, put my glasses on and frown. I suspect that I don't stick my tongue out because dribbling is a big fear of mine (some other post, perhaps...). Struggling with the lino (pre-measured, cut, measured again, edges 'shaved' to fit and measured again), he uttered a rather pointless wish that it would fit. I usually offer some small threat to the object or image I'm working on. Then he committed himself and stuck it down. And I stick it down. When an air bubble appeared near one of the thresholds, he swore questions at it about why it wouldn't behave. As soon as I realise it's not straight, I swear. But not at it, at myself. Now, I don't believe he expected the inanimate objects to reply, but it was nonetheless entertaining for me. Then, possibly because it didn't answer, and he was angry, he jumped up and down on it. Really. I've never done this..but I have been known to fling the offending card or paper if I'm really struggling with it! It was not appropriate for him to see me laughing, so I hid behind the kitchen door. It worked though...there's no air bubble now and the floor is looking good, and flat. Usually I can recover something..after all some of our best creations are born from mistakes, huh!
There has to be a method - the method becomes the routine that makes getting stuff done a little easier..no matter if you end up jumping up and down on air bubbles or spend 5 minutes finding your glasses; it's almost a settling thing, that allows you to free your mind of other stuff so that you stop the white noise of other jobs interfering and adjust your focus - for as long as it takes. Ah, back to routine again. My saving, recurring routine!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Proving a theory

Oh my. Since Monday I have been making meringues - I want to serve them as individual pavlovas to 125 guests of my sweet In-Laws this saturday evening at their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration. My oven takes 12 at a time, so that's been quite labour intensive! I'm happy about it though, please don't read this as a complaint. More a prelude to another personal revelation! We talked earlier in this series of unconcise postings about how you're at the most inspired when you're tied up with something that you can't possibly leave or put off, and something entirely unconnected with craft. Well, I can now confirm this and even -reveal that routine helps me achieve far more than inspiration! - gasp - Ohmigosh that's a bit of a shocker isn't it! The number of ideas whipping around in my head are certainly equal to the revolutions of the balloon whisk that's still whipping egg whites into a froth. In the 70 minutes 'cooking' time for each batch, I've done domestic chores (sorely needed in view of the guests that are staying over after the party - we need to discuss motivation at some point!). But as day 3 of this bake off comes to a close, I realise that I've slotted into a routine and have caught myself looking forward to tomorrow - working with a timer next to me and seeing what I can fit in to each 70 minutes. I'm thinking that tomorrow I may make some cards. I've taken on a new routine and it's working! Gosh. I don't want to give you the impression that I usually wander aimlessly around the house doing nothing while I wait to be inspired and then gently waft into my craft space. No, it's slightly less fairytale than that. In the past when I've been genuinely 'working at home', a routine imposed itself and I didn't really notice; because it was working, probably. Now I'm under employed and fiddling about a bit, I realise I've come to thinking a lot about what I'm going to do, without actually doing it. Hmmm. I'm gonna work out some sort of routine for this craft thing in my head and see how it works. I'll report back.
Oh and by the way...I have 38 yolks looking for recipes other than sauces and cakes....please!

Monday, 6 April 2009

A heady scent

Yesterday I sat on a bench facing this flower bed and ate a picnic lunch. The smell of the hyacinths was just lovely, wafted to us on a gentle breeze The clever planting means that in another few days Spring will bring forth a burst of bright tulips too.

This gentle and frightfully English lunchtime marked a quiet end to a busy weekend. My beloved parents celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary and we Dunnits were among the lucky invitees which meant a glorious weekend away in Cambridge. We've had a chance to catch up with Aunts and Uncles and met people who my parents have called friends for 50 years and more. Really, the love and support that this sort of celebration reveals has to be experienced to be believed; we all take it for granted don't we, that our family and friends are 'there for us', and I think somewhere in the back of our minds we can add 'when we need them'. For it is when chips are down that we turn to those that love us for support, huh? But Saturday was completely the opposite. A chance for 40 or so people to get together to show our love and admiration for a couple who have been happily married for fifty years. Some guests had nothing in common but their friendship with the Bride and Groom, but that did not matter. The whole day was bathed in goodwill as warm and strong as the spring sunshine that poured through the stained glass windows of the Wordsworth Room. Of course there was champagne and beautiful flowers and wonderful food and best clothes to add to the occasion. It truly was a happy day and celebration and occasion are perfect adjectives to apply to it.
That shared goodwill and genuine celebration, Mr Dunnit whispering that he thinks we'll make it that far too, and the wonderful location will forever be conjured up for me by the smell of hyacinths.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Ludgershall Crop

..is on Saturday, 4th April at the Scout Hall in the village. All welcome from 11am as usual. Bring what you're working on. There is no shop involved and there are no lesson sessions planned this weekend, it's a 'pure' crop! The SLipper Lady will be in charge, so be kind to her!

If posting here is a bit thin over the next 72 hours, forgive me. I'm off to have a major amount of fun!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Scientific Poll

Of course, the title is a lie to start with! CoventryAnn will be wincing..sorry if I reeled you in there gal! I need to talk about Digi again. Your comments after the last article made me laugh smile and nod in agreement, for a community that revel in our differences, we're certainly all singing off the same sheet of 12 x 12 with this one! I think the very unbalanced survey that came out of your comments can sum up Digi - up and coming, for those who are brave enough!
Not me, for sure...I can't do it because, well.......embarrasingly, I don't want to learn how to. Although I absolutely love being the ahem, 'author of a blog' (I pinched it from a newspaper and I may well have to change my passport to include this as my new occupation), and I cannot imagine life without email and the blog hopping - and the forums - and possibly the shopping, I don't want to spend any more time at the computer than I already do. Honestly, it's worse than a new baby for sucking up my time. And that's just simple decisions like changing the background colour of this page! Are you OK with it by the way? I miss the black but familial pressure to change the colour and increase the font size was too great; after all, you don't want to give your family reasons to criticise, they're waaaay too honest!
I'm in the generation that was caught between metric and imperial and was just leaving school (at 18!) when they introduced a computer room..with 4 computers in it! So you understand my general ignorance. My reluctance is, like a lot of you said, born of the need to handle, stroke, cut stick and actually use the lifetime's stash I've collected in a handful of years. Lady Nurse's husband, Bendy Bob, has told me on more than one occasion that when the worst happens and Lady Nurse goes to craft in heaven, I've got ONE week to get over there and relieve him of her lifetime's collection of craft supplies and equipment. Or he's going to throw it in a skip. I think it will be prudent to wait a week and a day and then go and collect the skip, that way I only have to organise it once. This digression is purposeful; there is a tipping point for stash accumulation; and digi would stop us using any of it! And there's another reason for me. All of my photos are already stored on the computer..putting them on Digi LOs and re-saving them is almost counter-intuitive fore me..I'm trying to free the photos rather than increase the size of my technological shoebox by making the computer an album instead of storage.
I do have another problem with doing Digi scrapbooking, and this is very controversial. Either don't read any further, or learn how to brush it off:
I can't help but feel somehow that it's cheating. Despite my happiness to acknowledge that I have none of the skills required (and you need more skills to do Digi than to do paper and glue); despite my keen-ness to explain that I don't want to learn (because that's what it would require - lessons). I have no idea why I feel like this, but it lurks at the back of my head - 'specially say when I'm demonstrating cards/stamps/blah. A lot of conversations are struck up with bored husbands who always start with their digital prowess - "I do all that on the computer, it's easier/quicker/more colourful/blah blah "..the psychology of that for a bloke is a different discussion (you know, the whole crafting is for girls nonsense).( And as an aside from that..the psychology of actually dragging your bloke to a craft demo? Don't get that, either!) But do I have in my head that Digi is for Boys? Or do I have in my head that Digi is fast easy and cheaper and therefore can't be a craft? I think I do. If you ever saw me faffing about with a Layout, you would agree, I suffer for my 'art', and perhaps that's why I think Digi is cheating - it just doesn't look hard enough. Even though it would be for me. Because I can't do Digi. Aren't you glad I started this? Comment, do. Change my mind...I want to be broad minded and multi-tasking. I do. Because I want to be coooool. What do you think the torture over the iPod was for?