Friday, 30 December 2011

This last day of the year....a profound story...

a completely unrelated photo - but these Easter treats found on a shelf in Sainsbury's this in no doubt you can easily find them in a store near you too! No wonder the years pass so quickly!
For a couple years now, the grey in my hair has bothered me a bit, and I've been colouring it.  My darling says that it's nothing and I shouldn't fret about it; so for about the last 8 months, I haven't spent money or minutes on hair dye products.  I decided to embrace the grey...and to be honest, apart from my beloved father, most people were silent on the matter.  Either from pity or embarrassment, who knows.  
I keep my hair fairly short, so any colour has long grown and been cut out and I'm back to my natural brown.  Turns out, it's not the grey that bothers me so much as the dull brown of this natural colour.  'Spect if we ever met, Tim Holtz would have a name for it.  
So for the New Year, I decided to 'enliven' my hair colour and improve my complexion with a 'warm and rich' brown hair colouring.  I actually bounced out of bed having made time to do it before I went downstairs.  I remembered to put on the loose neck stained t shirt that we keep for this.  I even turned on the iron, knowing that I would have 20 minutes to spend ironing whilst my head got very cold, but oh so rich and warmly coloured.  Put on the gloves...for the 100th time, think aloud about writing to the manufacturer to remind them that people with fat hands also colour their hair.  Snap off the top of the 'chemical' squirty nozzle bottle.  Unscrew cap. Open the colourant.  Empty the entire tube into the chemical squirty nozzle bottle.  Take care to empty tube, rolling it down and being uber careful not to spill.  And then, replace the squirty nozzle cap.  Place finger expertly over the broken off tip and shake.  No colour change, no magic, frightening dark coloured chemical reaction. Check box and basin which looks a bit like a lab.  Bottle of COLOUR still intact, in the basin. TUBE of high powered, ultra soft conditioner, empty.  Put the wrong thing in the wrong thing.  Feel very cross for about 10 seconds.  Then very foolish.  And now, well, in a mood to share; even at this late stage in the year, it's not too late for me to make a fool of myself!  
Me, my grey temples, and my Dunnit lovelies wish you everything you need for 2012.  May it be happy and filled with the love of your family and friends.  You deserve it.

Motivation to do: Anything!

It may finally be coming to me...the motivation to get on and tidy up in my work area, clear my desk and sort things ready for a lovely clean and tidy, uncluttered start to next year.  Next week.  Well, as long as it lasts!  This desire comes hot on the heels of my needing to do a great deal of office and other work.  Naturally, if I'm busy with one, I'm full of ideas for the other!  
Another reason for a sudden need to get to my desk is this lovely package; it arrived before Christmas from Emily at Make The Day Special.  Mr Dunnit put it under the tree; it's Emily's way of celebrating 500 posts on the blog, and I was the lucky recipient.  Check out the blog, Kim, a WOYWWer is on her design team and the ideas are just wonderful.
The very best thing about the whole goody box is the whole sheet of mounted stamps..honestly, if I'd chosen them myself they couldn't be better!  
And talking of gifts under my tree, and motivation, and my way of erm 'coping' dear friend Lunch Lady Jan and her husband important G, think it's terribly amusing that I'm a list maker.  Really they do.  We can be talking about absolutely nothing related to it and G will just suddenly suggest I make a list.  Well, now I can, look at this book!  
No doubt Jan and important G think it's very funny, and I have to say I did laugh (a lot) when I opened it.  But secretly, it's perfect and I'm very pleased to have a book of pages to make my iists on!  
So now I must get to the bookwork, make sure we still have a roof over our heads for the coming year, so that I can then get to my desk without guilt. Oh, ha ha, that makes me laugh too, guilt free craft time!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 134

I have nothing to show you that you didn't see last Wednesday.  I'm also sorry that I didn't make it around to all the desks last week, I just couldn't give up the time;  see, my Sissy lives in California, so we don't get Christmas together too often, and that's why.
So instead of a desk, here's a picture that has touched my heart.  I was sitting on the sofa behind my father who was sitting on the floor, leaning against the sofa (by choice!).  He was playing with his new Kindle and not having a lot of luck with button comprehension.  So my darling Miss Dunnit sat beside him and explained, many times, the 'home' button function and where to go from there.  He's still giddy at the fact that she loaded 1500 books onto it in about 5 minutes flat, so I'm not sure how much info he's taking in at this stage......
So how was your holiday?  I see a few of you actually made it to your us do, or a snippet of your holiday memories...we'd love to see...upload a pic to your blog, put WOYWW in the title and link here.  I thank you!  See you next year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, may your day be filled with the joy of the season. And no washing up. And definitely don't do any housework. Again, probably won't be taking my advice; can't see that I'll be getting out of the washing up! Enjoy, friends.

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Manifesto revisited

Thanks to Kerry for the polystyrene ring, I decided to continue the Pay It Forward and gave this to Shopkeeper Gal as a 'card' for this Christmas.  Idea (not mine of course), from Laura, my friend and Stamping Up! demo.

Remember back in October and November I preached at you about staying calm and getting stuff done and setting a sensible deadline to preculde you from stress at midnight on 24th December?  My Manifesto for Christmas preparations?  Well, as you most associate a manifesto with politicians, and as we mostly don't get the full reality from our politicians, you'll be unsurprised that I haven't stuck to it.  Here's a precis:
1. Make, whilst in the mood, whilst the going is good.  
2. Make and finish one thing at a time..midnight on the 24th December is not a time reserved for frantic finishing and crappy wrapping.  No, it ISN'T.
3.  Set a reasonable, seasonal deadline to finish the makes.  Mine is December 15. Then, I shall gracefully (!) accept if I've failed to finish and trot out to buy gifts where needed, and still have time to wrap them.  
4.  Do not get silly about this.  Do not make loads of stuff and then lose your nerve and decide against giving any of it away.  To this end, I recommend wrapping as soon as possible after finishing!
Well, home made gifts are now under several trees and I am a bit nervous about them to be honest.  So that's a moderate fail.  The worst fail is the December 15th deadline.   I still l have the shadow box gift on my desk.  Tradition dictates that the lovely recipients will be here tomorrow evening for supper and late I kinda have to finish it.  Very soon.  Epic manifesto fail then! Argh.    But it's OK,it's the only one.  My eye is no longer particularly on the Christmas ball.....Stephanie Dunnit and neice Bizz are home from California for a quick Christmas.  I'm concentrating on quality time.  Whatever else I preach at you, this is the one you should take notice of.  Spend some time with people you love.  For once, I'm going to take my own advice!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 133

Well here it is..not even cleared off for use as a bar this year.  Yet. That may or may not come to pass, we'll see. After a visit from Morti and Mr B, my tree is a hand beaded bauble better decorated and my desk - described by Morti as part of an 'efficient' space, is back in use.  Mr Dunnit heads out to a couple of customers to spread Christmas thanks and cheer today, so I'm making the bottle label things that look kinda like door hangers - you can just see them above the black punch at right. Nothing like last minute, huh!  There's the beginnings too of what looks like a scrapbook page.  It will in fact be a shadow box containing a lovely candid photo of a young couple at their wedding and some of the bits that I collected on the day - you know, confetti, favour wrapper etc.  I'll try to remember to show it at some stage...which means photographing it before it gets wrapped up.  Which implies my intention to finish it.  Great stuff, intent! It's all a bit over exposed I think, but there's a half finished bag of silver curling ribbon and the rest of the wrapping up stuff, just dumped.  Not a single stamp has been put away.  Again, I hate storing clear stamps.  I'm still trying to 'do a Neil' - yes you, Neil! Sign of some progress is standing on top of the button jar.  Of course!
I know lots of you don't or wont pass this way between WOYWW days, so please accept my best wishes and warm fuzzies for a peaceful and Happy Christmas. 

Join us by linking here - show us your 4-days-to-go state; post a picture to your blog and link up here.  Please put WOYWW in the title and don't link if it's not a post about your desk/surface/ should at least be a link for today, not a non WOYWW post earlier this week.  Thank you.  Please don't make me set real rules, this is meant to be fun.  Off to Heathrow today, Sissy Dunnit's coming, Hurrah!!!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Motivation to do: mmmm, baking

Well, I don't do much baking per se, because I'm not great at it. I do a lot of cooking, but the cakes and breads aren't my forte. Turns out Miss Dunnit is the baker in our family; I can't get the oven to behave in the same way that she can. However,Miss Dunnit has more of a life than me of course, and so there are times when I'm happy to bake. And no better a time than when there's a new Mason Cash mixing bowl to be christened (my secret Santa gift from our Kelly of The Coven) and a recipe from The Pioneer Woman cookbook (my Birthday bunny gift from our Laura of The Coven). So I made the chocolate sheet cake. It wasn't difficult, and the motivation to start my festive baking and cooking was simple; an invitation with the request to bring a chocolatey pud. Similar then, to my motivation for getting the wrapping done.

So now I'm in the groove a bit, today I even planned a couple of menus and checked stock for shopping purposes - gracious my beloved Mother's efficiency and role modelling may well be paying off! There has been a horrible lack of mince pies in this house considering the season, so I really need to correct that too, they're almost the way to Mr Dunnit's heart, so I never mind making them. I need a couple of puddings and some nibbles for a couple of occasions...Nigella will help me with those. And that will be me done with cooking. Just to make you less jealous of the sudden smugness that you may feel is appearing, there's a pile of laundry waiting to be ironed that frankly looks as if I haven't done any for about six months, and I still, STILL have a present to make. all in good time. Ahem!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Motivation to do: gift wrapping

There comes a point in December when you start to visit, party and see the people you want to celebrate the season with, but who you won't actually spend 'the day' with. This often causes the wrapping of gifts in time to head out of the door...which leaves a deposit of rolled paper, scissors, tape and a pile of strung labels...they take up room man, and for a while you have to sort of move around them. And then there's nothing else you can do. Drag out the gifts and just get on with it. Get another large tick on the list, tidy away the papers and blah and enjoy the sight of your life savings wrapped like jewels and under the tree for as long as possible! That's what I've been doing. No blogging, housework chores, phone chats or lounging about. Thursday, after lunch, I wrapped. And today, from lunch time again, I wrapped. I wrapped until my hips ached. Oh yes, you read that correctly...I sat on the sofa and used the whole coffee table...and the leaning forward and down made my hips ache. I didn't know that of course, until I sprang up to answer the phone very nearly passed out from the effort!

I really had no idea that it would take so long; even though it catches me out every year - like writing the cards...why is that? The reward, apart from the obvious one, which I acknowledge of course, is the family reaction. Mr Dunnit came home; I bemoaned the lack of tidiness, getting other stuff done, etc etc, and he put it very simply: 'so what' he said, ' it looks amazingly Christmassy'. I'll take that.
Have a lovely, getting ready weekend!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 132

There is a reason for the shakey photography.  And for the gifts on my workdesk.  This photo and post are scheduled.  Right now it's Tuesday afternoon.  Tonight I'm out with my crafting galfriends for our Christmas meal and Secret Santa.  So I've finally broken into some Christmas paper and done some wrapping.  And I realised that if I don't schedule this.....I have to get up really early on Wednesday morning..and I don't intend to; you will I'm sure understand.  I'm tonight's designated driver, but nevertheless, it will be a late night.  And I've planned a lie in.  What's the betting I'll be wide awake at 5.30am! 
You can see a set of nesting box lids...which match the nesting boxes upon which they can't tell that I've actually done something to the boxes, but I have.  I'm doing a Neil.  If they are ever finished, I'll explain.   
Meanwhile, I'm off to the meeting of The Coven (as the Enthusiastic Educator's husband refers to us.  He thinks he's joking; only we know whether he is or not.) That's why the photo is a bit shakey - I'm hungry! Show us what you're doing this close to Christmas, if you've time.  Upload a pic of your work surface to your blog and then link here.  We'll visit.  Slowly!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Motivation to do: Decorate

This tree image is from the John Lewis range.
Back in the day, before the decorations went up, a mini spring clean would take place chez Dunnit. And furniture would have to be moved. Yes indeed, the arrival of the Christmas decorations was a matter of some work and lots of excitement.  I don't know why, but in her 18 wonderful years, Miss Dunnit has never taken any interest in decorating the tree, or helping with the other bits either, come to that.  I don't understand it.  Perhaps it's because year after year she sees me doing it and has decided that it's just another chore that the girl gets to do.  I know it's not and shouldn't be, but it kinda is.  Mr Dunnit is marvellous with the shopping, choosing, trimming to fit it in the stand and rigging up the lighting for the tree, but would rather leave it naked than get involved in its decoration.  Indeed, some years - take last year for example, when we were up to our eyeballs in the misery of illness and closing a business, it was he who reminded me that we needed a tree.  He clearly sees the need.  And the year we went to Australia on Christmas night so didn't bother with a tree, both of them felt cheated.  I don't get it.  So secure in the realisation that Christmas Day is now a week on Sunday (which sounds very, very close) we bought a tree this weekend.  I have made a huge effort in the cleaning department today, and thrown the vaccuum across the carpet where it will stand.  There was enough winter sun to make me wince at the state of the windows....but luckily, not enough winter sun to make me actually clean them.  As I type though, it is bereft of ornament. Mr Dunnit wants to arrange the sockets and extensions before we put it in position...and he isn't home yet....and as she left for college this morning, Miss Dunnit said to wait till she got home before starting on the tree.  It's a Christmas miracle.  Now all I have to do is bite my tongue and stop myself moving bits around to fill gaps and better suit my idea of a well decorated tree.  Easier surely, than having to do it all myself?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Motivation to do: the cards

I know I've said this before, but here's a little tiny bit of my domestic life - it's vaguely relevant:  Mr Dunnit and I wake up at the same time - he's already awake, but for me, it's that damn radio.  I always, always lie in bed and let him get on with his day for a good half hour.  Doesn't matter if we awaken at 5.30 or 8.30 - that's how it is.  We don't speak, but just before he goes downstairs, we manage a kiss and a 'good morning'.  I listen to him fill the kettle and start his day.  I muse upon the way my day will turn.  I have to have some definite goals. 'Working' at home can very quickly slide into doing nothing.  This is why I prefer a routine.  Because genuinely doing nothing would make me feel even more guilty! Here's the relevant part:   Yesterday, whilst trying to preserve the warm spot vacated by himself, it occurred to me that there's more to making the Christmas cards than erm, making them.  I don't know why or how, but I had not factored in the writing and posting part.  It's not, to be honest, amongst my favourite Christmas jobs.  I get tongue tied about whether the card is from all of us or just me or just him, depending on the recipient.  I get bothered by children's names and get guilt over having not seen or communicated with some recipients since last sending a Christmas card.  And for a special this year, we have cards to send from our business, which gave me another attack of the vapours - is it 'de riguer' to send handmade? Maybe I should just buy some after all.  Oh lawks.    
Mr Dunnit always sprints upstairs to say goodbye.  We have a brief discussion about work things that I may need to do and he always feigns an interest in my plans for the day.  Yesterday, I ran off a list of chores and added Christmas things that need doing...including the cards.  (It makes me feel a great deal better about myself if I sound really busy when asked what I'm doing by the bread winner). Mr Dunnit as usual, lends his wisdom and left brain logic to my angst over the card situation. He said ' you've made them now haven't you?' and when I confirmed that, he said 'well, just write in them and send them, that's a job done then.'  Indeed it is Mr Dunnit.  And I suppose no one will take the trouble to ring and moan about crappy handmade cards will they.  They haven't before.  So yesterday I spent the afternoon writing, enveloping, addressing, licking.  It wasn't exciting and man, it took much longer than I'd anticipated.  At least today I have a satisfying 'done' pile.  And a strike through on the list.  Now that IS a job done.  Wrapping next?  No.  I'll just consult my list.
Have a lovely weekend. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 131

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, please hold the family of Sarah Lawrence in your hearts.  Sarah died suddenly, last Friday.  You will know her from WOYWW; and appearances on TV and at major craft events for Crafty Notions - she was the fun, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm for mixed media person that we all want to be.  I didn't know her personally, but that doesn't make any difference.  I do know that the world in which we all blog, craft and share is a poorer one without her. 

 Detritus is what's on my work desk this Wednesday.  No glass mat and nothing that reflects what I'm intending to make next.  All the useful stuff is still packed in my tote after Sunday's crop and my desk has become a wrapping area and general dumping ground.  Soon rectify that though.  Got things to make so I can cross them off lists!  
Sure had you going with this last week. G3 is in fact the blog nick name of Lunch Lady Jan's younger son.  So I've decorated them with some references to his interests and hope he can find somewhere to prop them in his room. After all, he may need reminding who he is.  Politically, some of you were a bit off the's actually G20 these days!

Link here to guide us to your blogs and show us what this week has you working on: 

Monday, 5 December 2011

So, I'm making the list...

I thought you may like to know that this Monday, today, only the first in December and the 'oh-my-word-it's-closer-than-I-thought' day for kerjillions of us, is the 'big list' day for me.
This year's present list...turned up pages mean they're ready....
  • I need a list of Christmas cards to be written...subdivided into a list of those to be posted and those to be hand delivered.
  • I therefore need at list on my workdesk of the number of cards I still have to make!
  • I need a list of the presents left to be brought.  Not many, but you don't wanna be forgetting one because it wasn't on your mind at the right time!
  • I need a list of the 'bits and pieces' left to buy - you know, batteries, the odd stocking filler and such.
  • I need a list to be made as I wrap gifts - I put them all under the tree (because I love the look of my matching wrappings and ribbons before they get jumbled up with others that don't match!).  But I need to be sure that on the right day, we take the right presents.  It may be obvious that if you're going to your Mum's you need to take hers, but there's loads of other people who will be there that you won't see otherwise...and if there's a list, I don't have to be the one to make sure that the right presents are less job.  Cunning!
  • I need a list of essentials that we'll need over the holiday.  But not the essentials of everyday or other holidays.  Tonic water, bottled lemon slices, cherries are good examples.  Not a weekly grocery list essential, but definitely a Christmas list essential!
  • I need a list of the customers that our new Company has enjoyed this year, there are more, quite important cards to be made.
  • I probably need a list of last posting dates.
  • I need a food shopping list.  It starts off at this time, a horrendously long and frightening affair, but I wrestle with it over the next 13 days or so and as things get crossed off, so it stops looking like a dinosaur sitting in my path!
  • I have a list of presents I'd like for myself, as I do for Mr D and Miss D.  I keep them on my phone and top them up whenever either of them mention anything, at any time of the year.  This efficiency is then utterly ignored because I forget to refer to it when shopping.  I'm such a luddite.  I still need lists on paper!
I don't need a list of lists. Really, I'm attempting organisation in a way that works for me.  And as I'm a stationery junkie and have had thirty adult years to fill the junkie cravings, I've got appropriate notebooks for these lists.  And some.  And truly, that's one of the great pleasures of my Christmas preparations - I get to press into action some lovely, often decorated, some lined, some plain blank pages. It's a bit like journalling for the journalling challenged. And you're allowed to doodle.  Stationery, ideas, a bit of art, all in the name of organisation. Bliss. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

A bit ragged already

I've been going around the WOYWW posts for this week (and I'm still doing that).  It cannot go without a comment -  especially as it is now December.  I've sensed a lot of mild panic about this month.  And a good dose of organisation, shopping, planning.  I'd say that in equal measure, we're really getting on with it!  I also surmise from my very non-scientific reading material that working or not, it is the household's women who plan, shop and deliver Christmas.  
It's all about choices and allocating your time.  If you wanna do JYC or December Daily, ring-fence the time you need..after all, you've done a lot for everyone else all day.  If you wanna do Tim's tags, do 'em.  Or......leave them - maybe until the Christmas break starts.....the twelve days of Christmas actually start on Christmas Day you know.
Whatever you do, be gentle with yourselves this month...collapsing in an exhausted stressed heap on Christmas Eve isn't part of the plan!  As usual, I've only decorated the blog so far. (Thank you LeeLou, for making it possible).  It'll be at least another week before I get the house decorated...and the tree - a bit longer I suspect. 
And because blogging is very much a part of the time I ring fence, you can 'look forward' to  more posts here, after all if I advocate being relaxed and allocating yourself time to do stuff you like, I have to set the example, huh! So far, the only thing that's ragged is the ribbon on this little card! 
Check back....I haven't prepared for Sunday's crop yet.