Friday, 31 July 2009

In her current post, Angie worries that she's boring because she hasn't changed, altered or fiddled with the look of her blog since she started it. Of course, I don't think she's boring at all, I think that when she (and her lovely daughter who's help she happily acknowledges) built the site, she chose colours, fonts, styles, sizes, templates blah blah that she liked, that suited her well and said what she wanted the world wide interweb to say of her. After all, if these micro spaces of interweb don't reflect our personalities then I certainly, am missing the point. Whilst I know I don't need to 'defend' the changes I've made to this blog (with I must add, the help of Ginny who selfishly lives on the other side of the world so she can't drop by for coffee) - I thought you might like once more, to climb into my mixed up thought process and see why I'm driven to play with all these features.
It's because I can.
Well, only just - my technological understanding is limited to copy and paste and asking for help. But man, there's so much choice out there, how could I possibly not try on a whole bunch of colours, looks, formats? I know, on the advice of my Sissy Dunnit that I need to keep the font over a certain size, and I know from a really scientific poll back in my early blog-changing days that the majority want to read my nonsense off a pale background. But the rest is up to me and I cannot resist. Now this may well explain quite a lot about my scrapbook 'style' too. Or rather, the lack of it. There are so, so many fantastic ideas and styles out there that I don't really need to bother to come up with my own. I don't actually copy, but I can look at a LO that I really like, and 'de-construct' it to sketch level so I can have a go at it myself. I think probably that we all can do that, but very often other scrappers don't need to. I find my best LOs are definitely the ones that kicked off from a sketch. No imagination see. Interesting though isn't it..I rarely lay a photo on a piece of paper to even see if it'll look nice before I've thought about the layout of the layout, if you see what I mean. But I'm a genius at changing my mind too, which is sort of back to the beginning. My beautiful, now grown up mega niece and I went to an afternoon cinema showing of some Disney film or other, probably 16 years ago. There were 6 people including us in the theatre, and every five minutes or so, Mega Niece would change her seat - front, back, aisle, you name it, she sat in most of them - usually without taking her eyes from the screen. I wasn't a parent then, so was more amused than alarmed by the characteristics she was displaying. You know already, that when I asked why she kept changing seats, she said it - "because I can". That choice thing - it sure has some power!

I've been tagged - a great way to find out something specific about someone!! This is fairly harmless though, so I doubt you'll need to look away. I have to fetch my current reading book and turn to page 161, then quote the 5th whole sentence. Brace yourself:

'But there's no denying that the way many public schools are managed poses at least as big a problem as how well they're funded.'
Barack Obama - The Audacity of Hope

And I'm to tag five other people, and for a change, I'm going to work my way through the Followers list - because after all, it's nice to be included!
Jazzy1972 (OMG is that your birth year?!!)

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The follow on

The scientific and accurate Dunnit survey confirms what sensible, level-headed people think. That being a 'Follower' is convenient. It helps you check out new posts on blogs you like. Simple as that. For those of us that have a blog with 'Followers' - one or one million, it's a teeny thrill to see the number go up. This teeny thrill is always reported with huge modesty (have a look at comments for yesterday's post) - we appear happy and grateful that other people want to read our nonsense - and I for one certainly am grateful not to be alone out here on the world wide interweb thingy. There was a little discussion about this with Miss Dunnit and her sleepover gals yesterday. (Average age 16, remember, so very on the edge!). They think that having your avatar show as a Follower on certain sites and blogs can do your credibility some damage. (Oh Lord, thanks for not making me a 21st century teenager!) I, of course, take the predictable opposing view (and not just because I'm the Mother). That's nonsense. But I realise that Blogger allows a Private Follower too, so to a certain extent, they must concur with this. The girls also say (but not in this long winded way) that you should regularly review your Follower status and remove yourself as a Follower to punish bad blogging or opinions that you don't agree with. I think that's a load of rubbish too. I read a lot of Blogs whose published opinions are radically opposed to mine, but I find the potential for debate and the provocation of the grey matter really stimulating. I have only once removed myself as a Follower from one blog, because I was led to understand that the Blog's writer took my following to be a sort of 'stalking' rather than the compliment that I consider it. Ironically, and rather obviously, I still visit that blog. Taking the time to comment on a blog is another generous gesture if you ask me. But the rewards are huge, huh - back to that Circle of Friends again. So that's where I stand on the Follower thingy - I know it's different on Twitter and Facebook, which is really what sparked yesterday's debate - the girls were 'awarding' their friendship/following, and it got me thinking if anyone would admit to that on Blogger. Perhaps, because I'm as shallow as a puddle, it hadn't occured to me that I could use this as some sort of tool or weapon. But just to ensure 'my numbers' stay up - the card is for you if you Follow this blog - really, I think you're awesome!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

What's on Your Workdesk then?

It would probably be more pertinent to ask what isn't on my workdesk today! The aperture of my lense spares the horror of your seeing an overflowing scraps box and 2 stacks of papers that I'm attempting to keep together whle I'm working - damn those cellophane bags, they just split too easily and don't get me started on those silly strips of glue across the flap! On the right you can just see the binding of a notebook. What you can't see is that the notebook is on top of an empty box and half balanced on the perpetually waiting-to-be-cleaned basket of rubber stamps! I've no idea why the sellotape dispenser is at an angle of use and delivery, I wrapped pressies in bed the night before Miss D's birthday and certainly haven't used sellotape on anything since! If I were to just move it around, I'd probably achieve another four linear inches to shove stuff into!
Needless to say, now the sleepover-ettes have been delivered to their respective homes and some basic tidying is out of the way, I'm in the mood to tackle the desk top too, so again, it won't look like this for long. I'm going back to cards today. Whilst I've been ferrying the chums around, I've hatched a plan. Let's see if I can actually get it onto paper!

In off-topic news: this circle of friends thing that Angie awarded....never has it been more true in the comments added after my post yesterday - your (often candid) responses are so welcome and really go to prove that you can find the 'sistah-hood' anywere, as long as you look! Furthermore, I notice that the 'Followers' table is increasing - it's so nice to meet your teeny tiny avatars and follow you around too. The whole 'Followers' thing makes me laugh actually, I wonder if the people who have hundreds of followers living for their every word get a feeling of power from it..or if they even think of 'their people', or (just to chuck in something offensive -) do they feel as if they have disciples type followers? I've seen what can happen to normal people in the presence of 'celebrities''s possible! Does having a blog with 'Followers' immediately mean that I'm um, up myself? Or are you like me, a 'Follower' on a kerjillion sites because it saves so much time being able to see who has and hasn't updated their blogs each time you get a chance to wander through cyberspace? Which I do far too often, as you've probably gathered by now! I'm addicted. It's technology's answer to the nosey gene.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Birthday gal

Some eighteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, now commonly referred to as PCOS. The young Doctor that told me this, on behalf of the Consultant who I was apparently 'under the care of', threw the words at me across the desk, told me nothing else and was reluctant to answer my questions. These days, I understand things are slightly improved, although I still wonder how many people actually ever see the Consultant! This off hand young Doctor told me in as rude and uncaring a way as he could muster that I had 'these ovaries' because I hadn't looked after myself and was overweight, and all it really meant was that I'd take up more NHS time because I may need fertility treatment. Nice. I got over it; I've been 'overweight' all my life. And he was right, as soon as I was told that I might be infertile, I wanted a baby! Eighteen months of medical interference followed. Mr Dunnit and I then decided that we'd put up with a life of foreign holidays and good jobs and nice cars and pension payments rather than endure any more. (You know, the standard consolation prizes that everyone offers after you've been married for 9 years and haven't had any children). It was grim and lots of stronger people than I can explain it. Less than six months later, oddly, after a bracing trip to North Yorkshire, I was pregnant. My baby is 16 years old today. Miss Dunnit, like all babies, is a miracle and like all babies, is a dream come true. And like all babies, she changed our lives. The world is a very different place through her eyes and I revel in her perceptions. I also revel in our friendship - indeed I treasure it. Especially since she hitched her star to a boyfriend's wagon and isn't all mine anymore.
We get a lot of enquiries and questions about having an only child. It's simple - we have one because that's what we've had! Over the last 16 years I have recognised a small swell of opinion that disapproves more of 'only child' families than the old disapproval of couples who opt not to have children at the world turns, and how odd. Why does it matter? I don't know.
Oh and the life of foreign holidays, good jobs, nice cars and pension payments? We've had them, got them and made them. They are worth what we enjoy from them. Except the pensions. Don't expect to inherit, Miss Dunnit. Oh, and Happy Birthday Darling.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Circle of Friends

Angie must have got her money by now, because she's bigged up this blog again by giving me this Circle of Friends award. How nice is that. And actually, how completely appropriate is that. I don't know about you, but I do mention your experiences and stories to my 'non-virtual' (that is, real!) friends and family, just as though we are all friends. That's the best thing about the interweb and blogging..made the world the size of a peanut, which makes the making of friends such a simple thing. Oh, and don't discount how nosey I am.
There are obligations to such awards as y'all know, and I'm posting them here:

Cut and paste the award logo and use it on your own blog.
Nominate at least 5 other bloggers you feel have become part of your circle of friends.
Link to your nominees, within your blog post and include these instructions on how to pick up the award in your blog post.
To show your appreciation to the person who gave you the award, link back to their blog. Finally, comment on the recipient’s blogs, to let them know they've received the award.

Now, Angie has already talked about the stress involved in doing this, nominating five...blah blah. I read or check into hundreds of blogs now, and I just can't do it! I don't believe in stress, and certainly not over something so lovely, so guess what; I'm rule-breaking. If you want to join the famous circle of friends, do - follow the instructions and spread some smiles. Thanks Angie.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Old or old(ish) photos

A non crafting friend, having seen the little pile of card and scrapbook related mags on my coffee table, asked if I was totally up to date with my scrapbooks. I said yes, because I don't have unfinished layouts or scrap type projects lying around. It soon became clear that she thought that I'd scrapped every photo I've ever taken. Poor misguided friend also became deeply confused: the hysterical laughter was coming from me and she had no idea why! It's been quite a while since I was in the company of a 'brand new' scrapper, and so I haven't been able to deliver my little speech - you'll be familiar with it because at some point in your own scrapping history, you'll have told yourself the same thing. And that is that I don't think any scrapper should be under the illusion that they won't still have shoe boxes full - or some other sophisticated archive - of photos, no matter how many albums they fill. Not least because we all have a load of useless, non-story, non-event photos. And since we went digital, we have multiple images of the same damn thing. Oh you do, be honest - however slow to 're-load' your digi camera is, you still take shed loads more of the same thing than you would if you had to pay for film processing. Well, (this is going somewhere, eventually!) sometime in the last ten days, a thread appeared over on UK Scrappers asking for help with old photos. I wondered into the thread because I'm interested in the amazing things (other) people do to rescue old and creased pictures. Imagine how offended I was to discover that these 'old' photos were taken in the 1980s! I can't help with any tips or tricks on rescuing colour from faded or acid damaged pictures, and I can't keep my mouth shut to avoid asking the post author if she was deliberately being age-ist, so I slunk out of there. But it got me thinking. We (and for once, this is a collective term for the people involved in my marriage) do not have many systems in place in this household. Adequate archiving of photographs that didn't make it into some sort of album over the last 24.4 years has involved a lot of envelopes and a nice deep drawer. But at least I know where they are! So I've been through them a bit and dug out some corkers. Faded, colour damaged and certainly showing some shocking fashion, not to mention hair. But kept for a reason, for sure. So I'm going to scrap them. And the LO above is a start. These photos have been in the drawer of the Utile chest that Mr Dunnit made at school since the day after they were developed, despite the fact that I love them. Now the woman in me knows that Sissy will instantly cry 'how young we look' (and we do), but the scrapper in me cried because none of my wedges of lovely papers were really any good. Print processes are too crisp and inks are too saturated here in the 21st Century. I really struggled to find anything to put them on. And then I remembered my secret collection 'office' type stash. It's only a secret because office and general stationery really are the roots of my obsession with paper and ink, and I think it's sad that at 16 my favourite shop was WH Smith. It works better. It's not great, but it works better. I had to sand the black-ness off the journalling tag; everything was working harder than the pictures! Anyway, it's done, I'm happy with it and of course as a real bonus, I've increased the life expectancy of these 'old, 80's photos' and made a tiny dent in the ahem, Dunnit archives.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Almost Cute

Yesterday's workshops were fun..and I told Angie I'd post the cards when we'd done the here they are. Shopkeeper Gal and I listed the workshop as 'Almost Cute' on the schedule. Because there are a bunch of cute stamps around that I'm really attracted to, but I don't really do cute very well; believe it or not, it causes me stress. And that's not a word that crops up in my life very often; after all, I'm married to a man who totally understands that his life and mine are all about me!

I expect it's a personality trait really - I don't expect many of the people who've met me would attribute 'cute' as a genre to me or my life...but I have friends (I do too) who can produce lovely cards that make me coo with delight at their cuteness. Strange that I can't copy that. Equally, I can't do the Shabby chic look so mastered by Tim Holtz and Ranger addicts. I've said before that one of the reasons is that it's like asking me to work in seven shades of wee wee, and I think it really is a colour thing in the final analysis.
I can't do pastel-y stuff too well in terms of colouring either, and I'm attracted by big bright colours like a moth to the light. Still, I manage to force myself into trying, and yesterday no-one asked for their money back or moaned at my inability, so I guess I'm fooling some of the people some of the time!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Motivation: The Challenge!

I've been trying to get to the Challenge for this week over at Daring Cardmakers. It was quite simple - fairies. Well if you read yesterday's post, forgive me for being repeptitive, but I have no fairies. And no imagination to do anything about it! But I do enjoy the challenges over there, they stretch me a little and I thought this week I would make something because frankly, I should have time. (I have got time, for heaven's sake, I can turn getting showered and dressed into a full time job!). Anyway, here I am at 8:41 am. I'm off to do a bit of workshop conducting this morning, so had the alarm set for about half an hour after Mr Dunnit soundlessly leaves the bed, the bathroom, the house. I do not know how he does it. But it means I am always on the look out for a packed suitcase the night before - he could leave me and I wouldn't hear! Anyway, there I was in semi-conscious mode, mulling over the day to come. The realisation that it's the last day for the fairy challenge didn't quite get me out of bed, because the card on the left has been finished for a couple days. The fairy on the right, from my mega kit by the Crafthouse Press did it. I came very close to leaping out of bed so that I could rush downstairs and make a card that fit the challenge criteria! Now I don't really do leaping, let alone rushing. Blimey. And you'll probably be unsurprised to know that Mr Dunnit heard me coming down the stairs because I can't do it silently - and actually came to the foot of the stairs to check he'd heard right. You'll also be sympathetic to the fact that when he 'd finished acting out a ridiculous double take and staggering around the hall pretending to be in shock, I chose NOT to tell him what had motivated my early rising. Huh.
I've had a cup of much needed coffee, some toast, made a card, photographed it, blogged and unloaded the dishwasher. Gosh, perhaps today is going to be a 'doing day'.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday already - WOYWW then?

Here's my real desktop. Much much more untidy than my virtual desktop, but on the real one, I can find stuff in a jiffy! Let's see, what is there to say about it this morning? It will change, not long after this post is written for sure; I have a ton of stuff to do and because of that, this picture shows that I've been faffing about with something completely unrelated! I'm trying to come up with a card for this week's Daring Cardmakers challenge - it's fairies - but of course, I'm slightly one handed in that I have no fairy images..still, necessity is the mother of invention and I am at least using up some scraps in the process! I should be working on a bunch of cards for a paper piecing workshop and preparing card stock and stuff for tomorrow's workshops and working on my calendar for the big event, catching up with Shimelle's Everyone Has A Story Class and thinking about a LO for the crop. So you see, fiddling with a fairy card that actually features no fairy is rather silly!
Can you just see the snout of the piggy? He's flocked and eminently tactile. He was a gift from the Enthusiastic Educator. I think if I leave him in here, he will probably end up being a receptacle for all the little bits of change that I find when dusting the downstairs (yes I do!) - will be interesting to add up how much the family leave around thinking it's not worth pocketing. And in other present news, also on the desk at my right hand is a gift from Willowy Blonde. You have to understand that blogging is just another way of wearing my heart on my sleeve really, so it'll only be a surprise to me that I'm apparently so transparent:
I'm truly grateful to have such lovely gifts, but even more grateful that this coaster isn't a car sticker - oh the guilt of not wanting to use it would probably kill me!
So what's on your Workdesk this Wednesday? Tell us, better still - show us. There's a button on the right you can upload to your site if you wanna join in. The button isn't compulsory. Nor is the day, actually! It's meant to be fun, so don't worry about a commitment. Oh - and don't tidy up 'specially!

Monday, 20 July 2009


This LO uses the new Bloom & Grow papers from MME. They're nice, but not as fab as I thought they'd be. I bought the 12 x 12 pack and some fabric brads and the stick on vine stuff you can see on the LO, so you should really surmise that I like the stuff very much, huh? Well, I suckered myself into it actually. It was new. It was there, all co-ordinated and lovely looking. I flicked through the 6 x 6 papers in the hanging book and decided they were lovely. But of course, I didn't allow for the proportion of the pattern on the 12" papers and I don't like it as much in the larger, sort of diluted form. Trimcraft do that with all their licensed collections, the Laura Ashley range that I loved was the same and I felt, in some cases, the pattern didn't work well when enlarged. Now, I shall use this Bloom & Grow paper because I like it. But I don't love it as much as I thought I would. Unless it's a tightly snapped 6" square pattern, and that's no good to me at all! I quite often use scrapbook papers on cards for workshops, so I must be able to buy enough to go around - having to buy 2 or 3 small pads to supply 6 sheets of the same paper isn't really an option! But then the enlarged pattern on the 12" doesn't work on a card, and grr. Hey ho. A classic example of me never actually learning the lesson. Although actually (sorry to call you actually) I think it's more a case of me not remembering! My memory is so awful these days. That's what the journalling on the page is about - I remember the occasion at which I took the photo, I remember the weather, the reason we were there, the food, the hostess panic over muddy shoes, all sorts. I don't however, remember how old Miss Dunnit was. I had to track back to find out. Honestly, it's not like I have a handful of children to remember names and details for! Can you look at a child's picture that's more than 10 years old and tell me the age of the subject? I'm not sure I want to know really, it makes me feel more mortal than I want to! So, despite the fact that clearly this page is a retrospective one for the album, it has another huge argument for journalling - at whatever stage of being added to a layout for the album. There's so much to forget!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Are you modest about your worth?

A happy act of good timing means that this sits reasonably well with the latest challenge over at Colour Create, so I've been spurred into action that I otherwise may have put off, who knows - actually finding where I'd safely stashed the cigar boxes after last time is a miracle too, so clearly I had to settle in and make the most!

A friend who should know better asked me to repeat an idea I used for another, mutual friend's birthday present. This time, for baby Evan, who arrived this month; she feels that a box for storing little treasures will make a more enduring gift than a set of vests. I agree; after all, if you aren't a scrapper, you need somewhere to put baby's identity bands and first few bits and pieces that you fully intend to 'do something with'.

Now, I have no problem with anyone choosing to give me a hand-made/home-made gift. Perhaps, because I hand-make/home-make myself, I understand every nuance of its creation and I truly appreciate it. Whatever it is. Slipper Lady, Lady Nurse and I have discussed this in the past, but I'd like to put it out here too; after all, it's raining again, I'm fidgeting for the want of something interesting to do and this micro speck of interweb is always good for a balanced opinion.

Why has my friend asked me to paint and prettify a box as a gift for baby Evan if she feels that she also needs to buy something to go with it to make it a worthy present? I'm not hurt or bothered by her telling me that she'd add to it, it's entirely up to her of course. I've experienced it a few times - made a keepsake or an album of an event as a gift for a family member for example, only for Mr Dunnit to suggest that we should buy something anyway - note the 'anyway' not 'as well'. Slipper lady experienced the same reaction after the creation of a hugely involved and labour of love type album for a family member. Her wing man was a little shaken by her estimation that the hours and materials spent thus far probably exceeded £300 worth of presents! Do we perceive home-made gifts as somehow, not worthy? Have we, over our years of crafting, been so damn modest that we've forgotten to measure the worth of what we produce? In many ways I think we have. If you think I'm being dramatic - go browse Etsy for a few minutes. And be honest with yourself. How many times do you look at a camera strap with ribbon sewn over it, or a knitted gonk type toy, or a bunch of journalling labels or clutch bags made out of 're-purposed men's shirts' and think 'blimey, that's a lot of money for a ...blah blah'.

There are moments when I think that some of the charges being applied to hand-made anything are ludicrous. But there are also moments when I'd happily shell out for whatever it is. It's about want. You ever watch that tv programme where the house-hunters have to guess the value of property that they've viewed? They always, always over estimate the cost of the property they fall in love with. Because they want it and therefore its worth is greater. Same with cards and boxes and gifts that people ask you to make. They ask you - they want it. Look 'em in the eye and give them a price. Don't be apologetic and don't instantly explain it - that's so amateur. Just think of Etsy and the amount of neck some of those sellers have. Go for it!
Now, I'm rarely asked to do anything on a commission basis (I have to force my 'art' on people by giving it to them as a gift!) so I have no idea what to charge for the baby's gift. But you can bet your life I'll find it too hard to take my own advice!
Oh and back to 'cute' - Angie, I'll post the other 'cute' cards after the workshop. Meanwhile, how about a shot of the Doodlebug house in all it's glory: (Carmen, you may need to look away -it's a tad on the pink side)!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

OK, this is as cute as it gets...

I like it; Miss Dunnit said 'cute' when I forced her to look away from the Harry Potter book she's re-reading in anticipation of seeing the new film tonight, and it's a close as I can get, so this is my version of cute. And if you saw my WOYWW post, you'll know how far it's come from the original idea. I forget about glitter and piecing and all sorts, so the image has to save me right? And it is a cute elephant (Hero Arts) even though he doesn't have a tail. Or does that make it a cuter elephant? I don't know. To use a term that my friend the Cricut Queen made me nearly snort Coca-Cola all over her when she said it - I've looked at this for so long it's starting to make my eyes bleed. Cute. I'm so over cute!
And in other, all-about-me type news - get me, I got an award!

My two friends Angie and LadyBird have been lulled by my ramblings into thinking that this blog is worth a visit, and I've managed to fool them into thinking it's worthy of an award! The artwork is a gem, and they both cite very flattering reasons for including me in their award list. Thank you. Of course I'm really smug and big headed about it. You would expect that though, if you do read here now and then! Like Mr Dunnit says, it's good that I have such a HUGE opinion of myself, it stops me noticing if other people have no opinion of me. Oh he's my leveller alright!

An award, like an elephant with no tail, comes with responsibilities:
By accepting this award you agree to display this award proudly on your site and include a post link back to the giver .
Share this award with a few other people.

So I wanna share it with Ann, the mad scientist - because I really do like her style, and with Annie - because I really do like her style, and the Cricut Queen - because, well, actually, I really do like her style, and Ginny - because I really do like her style and Fiona - because I like her style too - and are you starting to see a pattern yet? To be totally honest, if you see me as a follower on your blog, it's because I like your style!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


Here's my desk as at about 10 minutes ago...that is, er 11 15 this windy Wednesday morning. (I'm loving all the alliteration this WOYWW causes!) As you can see, the daylight lamp is in evidence - I was playing last night and haven't been back to the table since; a late start and an emergency run to Mr Dunnit's grindstone saw to that. You can see I'm trying to make a stack of elephants fit on a card. I'm trying to make it a cute card, because I foolishly suggested to Shopkeper Gal that I could do a workshop called 'Almost Cute'. I'm not known for doing cute, but how hard can it be? Don't ask. Coming up with 4 cards that qualify as cute has not only been very hard work, but stretched my stamp collection. Although you'd think if I have that set of elephants in my collection, cute would just roll out of me huh? Nah. Just not in my character...funny, ironic, sarcastic, warm (I hope), but not cute. So you can see most things that were being used last night..I think the most interesting is the pair of black scissors. They are teflon coated and therefore non-stick. They are short and pointy. They are fab and I only use them for cutting tapes and cuting through glue-y or glued on stuff. They are faithful and over-used slaves to my hobby. I don't know if you can see anything else of any interest at all - but if you have a question, please ask me......right after you've shown us your workdesk this Wednesday! Go on, you know you want to!

If you're getting into checking for WOYWW pics on various blogs, download the button that Annie made for us from the right hand margin and join us. It's not a membership thing, there are no rules, hell, it doesn't even have to be Wednesday's photo. We just wanna see what you're doing!

And because Blogger let me this morning, here's another photo - a collective shot of die cut christmas decoupage from Crafthouse Press' bargain pack. Loads. Which is why they aren't on cards yet! Great in-front-of-the-tv-crafting though! I'm getting ready!

Monday, 13 July 2009

I can't upload photos today..I've tried from several different files and instead of allowing myself to get frustrated, I'm going to Keep Calm and Carry On. Some of us have posters with that on you know; it was originally printed on posters for display during the War, but the Home Office didn't actually use them in the end, not motivational enough. I couldn't believe my luck when I found facsimiles for sale at Border Books in Alnwick whilst on holiday in 2007 - it's been in a frame on my workroom wall since. Keep Calm.....something I've learned to do. Carry on....something I'm less good at doing. I'm still at that stage in my life where I could so easily tantrum if something isn't going right and just leave it. Forever, possibly. Some time, for sure!
I've had an amazingly fulfilling 24 hours in terms of craft related achievements for me. I decided to set an example to Miss Dunnit, who is tasked with a major overhaul of her belongings in order to re-vamp her bedroom - to create a room worthy of a happening, intelligent teen instead of the hotch potch arrangement of toys and teen gadgets that she currently lives in. So, to motivate and inspire, I have begun a major clear out of my old craft room which became a dumping room for anything and everything. This has forced me to consider finding homes for lots of stuff I want to keep, and equally, to realise that there's a load of stuff in there that I haven't used for over a year - yep, I probably won't use it then, huh? OK, pack it up nicely and put it in the box that will go on sale at Kraft Crazy's Flea Market next month. Great. No sacrifice for sure, and I'm really feeling quite proud that the room that Mr Dunnit offered to brick up to save me the guilt of having to clear it out - and him the pain of having to listen to me vocalise my guilt - is starting to look more like the empty box room that it should. Let's not talk about the embarrassingly thick layer of dust on the floor - the floor for heaven's sake! Oh my. My flylady friends would have fainted! But it's OK, just keep going, it'll come good, and I'll have 3 sets of those plastic drawer stands to give away and that will practically empty the room. Marvellous. But hang on...Miss Dunnit has made one tiny effort. Carry On mother, don't be overwhelmed by your enormous role modelling success just yet - pretend you haven't noticed. Indeed, go downstairs, do a happy dance in the kitchen and make Mr Dunnit a cup of tea while you have a little brag. Oh do. Because when you go back upstairs, you're going to have to Keep Calm. For Miss Dunnit has used the once empty plastic drawers to dump her stuff into. I can't even form words, let alone argue with her logic - I wanted it out of her room and the storage facility is now available. Keep calm. Carry On.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Chrsitmas, Villages, the's all here!

So I've had this bargain pack of die cut decoupage images for a while. They're from the Crafthouse Press and come in a sort of lucky bag; there's a staggering amount of stuff - two decoupage characters per sheet and background sheets too. The packs will be available on demand from your local shops, but if you need to, visit the Crafthouse Press website for details and blahdy blah. Christmas cards in July hey? I know, and smug makingly easy - just a sheet of foam pads, one of those little Basic grey files and a basket full of characters waiting to be put onto card fronts. I'm sure other DT members do differently, but because the die cutting is 'kiss-cut', once I've pushed them out, I file off the little kiss bump tag thingy and get to the foam pad stage pronto. I don't know how you feel about decoupage, but if you like it but can't be facing it - try these, they're easy. And because they're almost a cardstock weight, you can add glue, glitter, embossing and other stuff to over jazz and christmas-ise as much as you like. Although of course, my photos don't show any of that. I'll re-take tomorrow with some tips offered by a chum and see if there's a reasonable enough difference to make a double posting of the same photos tolerable! I think there will be. After all, who can resist a little boy with a tea towel on his head playing a shepherd? Not me. Am forced to admit that I've been rummaging for some of Miss Dunnits Nativity photos to see if I can scrap them with extra characters!

I know lots of true decoupage junkies use silicone glue too - admirable. I cannot get the blobs to behave - that stuff strings like octopuses in my hands! I use the foam pads, happily. There's an incredible sense of achievement for me in a neat but perfectly formed hill of the peeled off squares! I know. But I like it. Same way that I get a real sense of satisfaction in actually using something to the point of it running out. Satisfying. Unless of course, I haven't foreseen my running-out-situation coming and then I'm not smug. I'm just cross because I've run out! Complicated, this crafting thing!

I had the pleasure of standing in for Shopkeeper Gal this morning (she thinks I'm doing her a favour!). I even had a delivery to unpack - some very desirable punches let me tell you, and of course the Doodlebug flock in colours to die for. For me. Back to that colour thing again. I'm currently 'working' on a Doodlebug house for a Saturday afternoon session type workshop, so I'm guessing I may well need some of that less than ordinary flock. Hmmm. And the trouble with the house? As it takes shape, I already feel the need for a neighbour, and perhaps a shelf to stand them on and oh lordy...a colourful village!

Have a lovely weekend. Make the most of the weather - as far as I can tell in the UK, you can either stay in and scrap because it's going to rain, or get out and enjoy the sun because it isn't going to rain. No change there then.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

A different angle from me this morning! I meant to get the little calendar in (bottom right), but of course have chopped off the date - slightly stupid photographer! So. After last week, I had a jolly good tidy and was winning the battle of working on top of other stuff and generally putting stuff away as I went along. (Not that making 6 cards to hold CDs was really causing me to need masses of stuff, but you know how I like to blow my own trumpet.) That's changed then. The window under which my desk sits is actually a stable door, and it's lovely to sit in the open doorway and pretend that I'm getting full on fresh air and being outsidey while I'm not. So that possibly would explain why my mucky gardening gloves are delicately lodged on the back edge of the desk....I think perhaps I really was doing something in the garden and the phone may have rung. Something that required me to put my gloves in the nearest open window, anyway - I would never have put them there if I'd come back into the house wearing them, for sure!

Then there's the apparently floating plastic bag from Paperchase. Oh man that shop is like a magnet to me, it only takes a sheet of wrapping paper to make me happy. It often ends up being more, though. I have no will power. The bag was slung on the desk on Monday evening after a trip to Salisbury, and pushed out of the way last night when I wanted to carry on working on the album that will be a gift for my sweet Mother in Law next week on her birthday. It's a word book (PARTY) and shows the few photos I took at their recent Golden Wedding Anniversary party. Sadly there aren't many, and they aren't great - I was involved in catering and such, so my camera was very under-employed for a change! Of course I put out a call for people to send me their photos but haven't had a single one. Honestly, it's harder than getting an RSVP these days!
I think that those are the best explanations and excuses I can come up with for my desk this morning. It will change after lunch, there's workshop preparations to be made and I need a 'clean slate' so as not to forget anything. Share your work surface with us won't you? Leave a comment so we can visit you on this WOYWWednesday.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Ooh look..shrink plastic, The Clangers and Bagpuss - phone charms! How great are they? From a kit by the Crafthouse Press. More to show. Better photos too.

I set myself small and very achievable goals most days so that I can look myself in the the eye in the mirror of course, whilst I'm brushing my teeth before bed and kid myself that the tiny jobs I've finished are a huge contribution to the running of our household and I am indeed, a domestic goddess. In amongst all this of course, I really want to be at my work desk, 'creating' every minute. I spend a lot more time doing exactly that than a lot of my crafting friends and colleagues - I know I'm lucky, in fact could go so far as spoiled, but don't tell Mr Dunnit! Now the thing is, not many of the hours I spend at my work desk are actually as creative or indeed productive as I'd like them to be. Anne, over at her now published blog (how great an achievement is that - and she's the genius behind the WOYWW button) is very nearly fed up with herself for spending about 6 hours, certainly one whole crop doing a double page layout. When you see the layout, you like me will I'm sure think it time well spent and not even consider the time it took. I once went to a crop with a friend who spent 4 hours moving a sticker around a single page layout trying to decide where it would look best. I understand that for a working gal, the idea of spending all day on one page may seem way too unproductive when you've had to squeeze the time from a lie in, lazy coffee with your lover, shopping for Manolos or worse, a real life of laundry and Saturday supermarkets. But be reminded - this is your hobby and the rate at which you achieve doesn't matter. I slow down enormously when I'm unsure about what I'm really doing, or using a colour or product that I'm not convinced is right. In these moments, I can spend hours doing the simplest tasks. For this Thursday's workshop for example, the fourth card I want the gals to make simply will not come out of my head and work on the table. I think the trouble is the colour of the flocked paper (it's black and white, but the white is a bit 'off' and so I can't make it work). I spent two days of available time trying to get this idea to work, and countless shades of all sorts of card are in my scrap box as a result. I haven't re-visited the problem for three reasons: I don't know what else to do, and I simply can't spend any more time on it - there has to be a limit to time spent on this sort of preparation - it's unpaid and counter-productive, and mostly because the girls will laugh at me and come up with something stunning without my help anyway. But also, and this is the biggie for me; I know when to cave in at last. And usually two days of fruitless attempts at one silly card is enough! Knowing isn't a skill because really it's quitting. But working on a project in your leisure time that you're enjoying and that is working for you - well that's different and it doesn't really matter how long it takes, huh? I recognise the frustration of not being able to turn out a whole bunch of scrapbook pages in a single day, but I have for the most part, got over it. One of my biggest problems is knowing that some particular project or other may take a while, I put off starting it! Weird, huh. So I'm thinking it's time to revel in the doing and not necessarily the finishing. Remember the hobby part of your scrap booking obsession! And of course, make a LO about how long the other one took if it's very unusual. And of the Manolo Blahniks too, please!
The card is for Miss Dunnit's sweet friend and one of the Prom beauties you've previously seen on my blog. We've copied all the photos to each other - 6 teenagers, 12 parents, 8 cameras - you wouldn't believe how many photos that yields. I could scrap nothing but 6 kids at a Prom for the next year and not use them all!

Friday, 3 July 2009

More WOW from Sissy Dunnit!

This quilt, in fabrics by Mary Englebreit - one of my favourite designers ever - was hand pieced then quilted with a cherry shaped stitch all over, by my Sissy. Then folded into a neat rectangle, garnished with a big purple ribbon and posted to me. For me! For keeps! Isn't it gorgeous. It's fair to say that last time we were together I may well have 'gone on' about the number of lap quilts adorning her comfy chairs and I may have even whinged slightly about how badly I needed one. But to be fair to my ugly inner me me me, I never dreamed that she'd find time or inclination to make me one! I thought at best that the next time we got together, she'd force me into having a go at one myself. Clearly the whinging is one of my skills - because it worked! I'm a July baby, so this is a birthday present - but it's a totally normal, nothing special number of years, so to be able to mark it with a gift that's an heirloom is wonderful, doncha think? Given the WOYWW picture that we posted here last week of another gorgeous creation, I wonder if Steph works on more than one at once? And do ideas for quilts bounce around her head when she sees (or indeed, designs) a fabric that speaks to her? Is the creative process similar to the way I come up with cards after a quiet chat with a rubber stamp or a scrapbook page after I've spotted THE paper? Dunno. Will have to find out. Steph arrived at the textile skill after working through paper crafts - that is not to say that she no longer does any - her scrapbooking is, in american parlance, awesome. But it would be wouldn't it!
But actually - what is your leap off point? Is it an image, a photo or the paper? Or do different things spark something in you that ends up a LO? Or a card? Certainly in card terms, it's definitely the stamp image that talks to me. I rarely make a card that doesn't feature some stamping, so perhaps that's obvious. I am utterly unable to look at a blank card and see possibilities, for sure! BUT, in scrap booking - it is the blank (usually heavily patterned, actually) page that speaks to me. I MAKE the photos work on it (or not!) because I want to use the paper. But that's slightly different because I do have 8 kerjillion photos to scrap, so I can cast aside and start again when they don't bend to my will! I have recently been in over-kill and over-use of a pad of Que Sera Sera papers from K & Co (you will have noticed if you visit this micro space of interweb reasonably regularly - sorry!). I can't help it. I'm frightened by the artsy, altered, colourful style of the papers but drawn to them because they work with everything! I even (and this is unusual) bought some of the matching elements to go with. And am having no trouble using them up either. And this was merely because Willowy Blonde happened to comment to me that a single sheet could be cut up and used as a nice accent here and there. Well I started like that, but am in total immersion now - not many 'accent' pieces going on - just full on pages! Is that all it takes? Or is it the photos for you? I know it isn't for me. I've got marvellous pictures of various occasions and holidays and blah - totally untouched. So, after you've admired my new quilt, consider your inspiration point and please share it with me; I might be able to alter my perspective through your wisdom. Oh, and you may want to offer my lovely Sissy some advice - how on earth is she going to follow that for Christmas?!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday

Good grief, doesn't it roll around fast! Here's a slewed shot of my desk taken at about 8.30 this morning, completely as I left it last night. I had a moment of panic because I didn't have a July calendar LO ready for my frame...I seem to have a lost a week of June!

For a change my desk isn't too untidy. But then there isn't much involved in making up the calendar LO really. A few minutes after this post, it will resume it's usual untidy state - I have things to do, and lucky us, the deadline is to get something done before the sun hits the back and makes this room a tad too hot for my comfort levels! There is no sign of the overloaded basket of dirty stamps which has freed up rather more room than I thought - they are all drying nicely in the kitchen. What you might just be able to see are the two bottles of Smooch. These are pearlescent accent inks in nail polish type bottles. They are made by Clearsnap, the ink pad manufacturers. I'm fairly sure they are a fast drying embossing ink in a bottle. No matter what they are though, they are lovely and very blendable, spritzable, embossable, accentable blah blah - I really like them. Except the packaging. I think Clearsnap have gone for the look over function, probably to do with cost. These inks have a foam applicator tip on the end of the sexy looking bottle handle. It's absolutely U for unique. Yeah. Actually, if you ask me (and I know you didn't) it's absolutely U for useless. Cheapskate for a brush. The ink doesn't move off the tip unless you overload it and then it blobs - and the coverage is hopeless because each time you dip it back in the bottle to 'refresh' you need two hands because the tip snags on the neck. Man that drives me mad. I thought it was me but I found a 'Smooch' video on You Tube and the demonstrator was trying to overcome the same thing. So I coloured the text 'July' with 2 shades of Smooch using God's paintbrush. (My finger). Obviously it's a large area and I wanted the product to go as far as possible, so I probably would have done it this way anyway - blending the colours as I went. But originally I was just going to scuff the edges of each letter, but the applicator just isn't up to it. Nor is my patience! No-one from Clearsnap will be bothered by my opinion, but if they want to make a good product even better, bring the price down and change the packaging. The thing is, the price makes it a considered purchase, particularly when there's plenty of optional competition. They're bringing out 8 new colours any minute, which are just gorgeous. But,'s a real double-edger for me, this product. I would suggest, without hesitation, that investing in a couple of colours would be a lovely addition to your stash, for highlights, accents etc...but I recommend a nice thin pointy paintbrush to go with it!

As always, somewhere on my desk, are the metal flower pots joined in the middle with a wooden handle that I got from the bargain section at Laura Ashley. They house my scissors, sharps and pointy things in one pot and pens and glue pens in the other. If you have pens, felt tips, glue pens in pots - please take pity on them in this weather and remove them from the windowsill or direct sunlight. They dry out and get old really quickly!

Come on then if you're brave enough - What's on Your Workdesk this Wednesday? Leave a comment so we can visit, or eme a picture and I'll post it here! Like now - here's the Cricut Queen's workdesk as at late last night...actually this is a sneak peek - watch our spaces as they say!!