Friday, 30 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
I've spent a weekend in London - Docklands and Greenwich to be more exact, and Autumn is golden and bright in those parts. The weather has been, and is, forecast to be unseasonably nice and it's half term. No better reason then, to stop overlooking autumn. I'm going to make an effort - for this week at least - to talk less about Christmas cards and preparations in terms of workshops. It will be hard, because my focus really is that far forward. Work-wise that is. If you can call it work. Personally I couldn't be less prepared. But for now, for me, that's OK. The other thing I promise to try hard to avoid this week is whingeing. I know it's my blog and I want you to hear about how busy I am working on preparations for A Magnetic Year in a Day, but I also know how boring it can be and how incredibly self-obsessed I will sound. (I know I am really, but this attempt at modesty is quite becoming, huh?). I read a blog which has turned into a frequent entry of my-how-wholesome-and-good-i-am-to-be-this-busy-and-cheerfully-put-up-with-so-much-at-the-same-time and it's becoming offensive to my judgemental and incredibly busy self. So, remind me if I get carried away won't you?
Now, I'm putting away the Domestic Goddess' guide to Christmas and reeling in my panic over presents. They can wait. I have a large pile of crunchy red leaves in my garden, and I'm going to jump in them. And then of course, I'm going to get Miss Dunnit to sweep 'em up. Or she won't get onto the Christmas present list.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Thursday, 22 October 2009
And forgive me for being pushy - but you may need to know - a new post over at 2 Scrap Ladies.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Yesterday's article about the Epic Six prompted some confession type revelations about your Cuttlebugs. Oh my. Couple of you haven't exactly used them to capacity and back, huh? Oh I have. I don't use it every day, but I do use it every time I make cards. Not necessarily as a die cutter - it's the embossing facility that I use the most, love it. With vague and not many exceptions, I have most of the the C6 size folders. I can't help it. At least I use them! There was originally, a lot of debate about the plates (shims); I was actually a demonstrator for the wholesaler that brought Cuttlebug to the UK at the time and I met a fair number of people who were horrified by the cracking noise the plates made, and worse, stopped using the thing because they thought the 'scarring' and 'bending' of the plates was a sign of something going wrong. I was able to reassure them with mine:
Ya see, there were (and still are actually) round-the-workshop table discussions about these plates. Lots and lots of us use the same B plate on the top all the time, so that only one of the pair bears the scarring and pitting of die cut use. Many, many - most- wiser people than I turn the 'top plate' each time they use it, so that it hasn't succumbed to continual heavy roller pressure and become a banana plate. I didn't do this, as you can see! For two reasons: I wanted to see how well it would perform at it's most abused - for the want of a better word (remember, as a demonstrator, you need to know all the strengths of your product); it quickly became obvious that turning it over would cause it to snap, so I didn't. The second reason is the revealing one really - I don't consider myself tightly wound about much, and certainly not borderline OCD (you've seen WOYWW, right?!), but I just knew that if I started the plate turn and turn about thing, I'd end up stressing over a system - do I turn it before I use it each time, once at the beginning of a session or once at the end of the session, ready for next time. Aaaghh. I might experience a night terror - waking up in a panic because I did (or didn't) turn it! So off I go with the line of least resistance again. Do nothing. That banana shaped plate is 3 years old, so it was for me, the right choice. I've just retired it from workshop use, but I'm keeping it as a back up!
Monday, 19 October 2009
So it's a die cutter, with a flat bed...not unlike the Cuttlebug of course. In its favour - it's in neutral shades of grey/black. I don't doubt that in less than a year it will be availabe in some designer colour or other, but for now it's sensible. Really, I'd say that QuicKutz waited till everyone had tried all the tricks with the Cuttlebug and then made a machine with all the required refinements built in. For instance; it has a six inch aperture and the shim plates are 12" long. Useful already, QuicKutz certainly have the steal over Provocraft on the long borders. I don't have any, but am guessing that with the wider aperture, (and the right arrangement of shims) the really big Sizzix brand dies will fit through - and of course, QuicKutz must have a range of dies and embossing folders that need this width, or they wouldn't have bothered! It's slightly less compact than the Cuttlebug - in that the bed doesn't fold shut - but to be honest, that probably won't be a primary consideration. In all other respects but one, I found that it performed in just the same way..kinda did what it was meant to and no more, certainly no less though. But - and here's the clincher for me..the crank handle mechanism operates anti clockwise - so you're pushing the plates/stack to deliver them to the roller with one hand and trying to remember that the rolling mechanism works in completely the opposite way that you expect it to. Indeed, utterly counter intuitively. It's an odd experience - a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy - that sort of action where each time, you have to think harder about it than you should need to. Why? I have no idea. If you're left handed and don't mind the decal being on 'the back', it'll work as you expect it to! I'm totally bamboozled by it, can't see any logic for it at all and certainly don't want to work with a tool that catches me out every time I use it. Epic, that ain't.
Do you have one? Is there a logical reason for the crank mechanism, am I missing soemthing? Please let me know!
Friday, 16 October 2009
Now the real point here is the 'over-priced' thing - what is too much? The Ffrog said today that people were buying the cards in threes and more, for £1 and £1.50. She floored me. I would have argued that at £1.50, a card wouldn't sell easily. You do not need to remind me about the cost of any of the materials embellishments or doodads - because I've bought them all - nor do you need to remind me that if you extrapolate it far enough, that £1.50 amounts to about half a pence per hour. I know all of that. But I can rarely get non-crafters to understand that without a long whining explanation (like this!). And I do maintain that if you have to explain it, you've lost the sale. But if you're lucky, the husband will park himself in front of you whilst his wife is busy bending your cards, and he'll share with you the benefit of his lifetime's experience of sending cards. Print them on the computer. They look properly professional then - and you can choose the colours. Yeah. Thanks for that. Step away from my table so that other people can buy a card then. So tell me really - how often and for how much do you sell your cards?
I can't tell you how pleased I am for Teresa and Necie and more importantly, for the Hospice; they raised over £500.
And this leads me on to the give-away that I talked about earlier this week. It wasn't intended to be a hugely philanthropic gesture; I thought it might be a bit of fun, a possible relief to a busy person at a busy time of year. No more, no less. Don't worry about what I should do/am doing/have done for charity, that's between me and my heart. If you are the recipient, feel free to use them, sell them, donate them - just enjoy the doing! So Mr Dunnit picked Ann from my technically excellent draw...we know her as CoventryAnn. Thanks for playing y'all.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
So all this chatter is by way of a put-off exercise, really this week I've excelled myself: BRACE!
Gawd, even I'm not sure how I managed to do anything on that space yesterday, but actually, I did, as I bragged about it yesterday. Interestingly, the very foreground shows a button with white polka dots on....I was testing my new Signo white pen. Because I have time to sit around doing ridiculous doodling. Perhaps it's good for my mojo. I expect the moments spent contemplating and doodling could very well be considered mojo boosters. I can then justify quite a lot of staring out of the window too! I don't know if there's anything particularly interesting on the desk..just a mess. Maybe you like the look of my smoothie - Innocent - Pineapples Bananas and Coconuts...but with a twist. I add about a third of orange juice to it; makes it slightly more fluid AND it tastes just like a mivvi. Do not leave a comment asking me what a mivvi is. I am going to assume you're all at least my age and know your ice creams.
Also in view is my little calendar...with yesterday's date and wise words on. It's an American calendar with witty and wise words from famous women (some I've never heard of), and some of them I've kept and stuck in haphazard way to the wall.....Monday's among them: "I know why women die in childbirth - it's preferable". My race ahead favourite will appear on a canvas soon, so will come back to this before too long.
Yesterday's pumpkin muffins aren't going to go in the freezer. It's hardly worth freezing what's left, so I'll just have to do some more. I am rather glad that I had the presence of mind to use a plate, otherwise you'd be looking at crumbs too, and I think the desk is bad enough as it is! I used Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) recipe for the pumpkin puree; if I tell you that it involves an egg and a tin of evaporated milk, you'll understand......even tasteless, forced pumpkin suddenly becomes rich and lush, I can tell you!
Y'all made me laugh again, commenting over yesterday's post. The Jingle card is sooo simple it's embarrassing, alpha stamps by Hero Arts and a piece of scrapbook paper, then a line of little jingly bells. Nothing to it. Actually, that could sum up quite a lot things round here!
Come on then - show us your work surface - we don't mind if it's a desk, the floor, a lap tray, a kitchen counter sewing, cooking, paper crafting - whatever, share with us today. And comment here, link or tell us where to come for a look see. And, don't worry - tidy isn't a bad thing - it's just something I can't do!
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
So to get to the point - thank you for the comments. Yesterday, after the workshop, I read your contributions to the conversation and laughed till I cried. Loads of reasons (read them, they're priceless) - Carmen thinking I'd made a really teeny card (she's forgotten the fat-finger syndrome I 'suffer' from), Bethan reminding me that she doesn't know good humour from bad - and Linda of course, worrying that she'll offend YOU by calling ME a lazy tart! Well, obviously I'm not offended, I'd be more upset to hear that you didn't have any opinion of me!
And you see, to prove the lazy point, I'm not posting a picture today. And to prove the tart point? Well, Mr Dunnit may well be in an internet cafe nursing a litre of cold beer whilst reading this, so let's just say I'm spending the evening with a girlfriend, on the town. (Miss Dunnit, at the cinema, but it's not very tarty that, is it?) Ok Mr D, you can stop spraying beer over the screen now.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
It's also a bit of a *b* to cut...in my opinion. Not because of blunt blades or anything, rather - to cut straight...true. But I've decided that might be because my cutter of choice is still a guillotine style. I cannot, for the life of me, get on with a rotary cutter - (before Paige drops off her stool in a clean faint)-I've tried, really I have. However, ultimately, I don't get on with the rotary style because I'm a short fat crafter with arms of the same proportion - with some rotary trimmers, I can't actually reach the other end of the cutting line! And I had Mr Dunnit make my work surfaces at a perfect height. For me. Which rules out the need to stand up every 5 minutes to use a rotary cutter. I am not a crafter what stands. Having looked around a few (!) desks in the past 18 weeks, I'm hoping for some sympathy with this: if it's not within reach or even within line of vision - doesn't get used. Oh yeah. Which includes cutters. And of course, half the time I spend not using something is because it's buried under the last thing I used and 'decided' not to put away because I need to keep it within reach. Following this? Oh, crafting is such a conundrum, interweb. Bet you never thought your gentle paper hobby would end up giving away character traits like idleness and require physical revelations about height and weight! I always said crafting was revealing, and not just from sneak peek to full blown project!
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
I need some green gems, but other than that, I'm sticking with the stack!
So, what's on YOUR workdesk then huh? Brave doesn't come into it - we just want to have a look. Leave a link or a message here and we'll swing by - might even rummage - but certainly won't tidy!