Friday 30 January 2009

Daring cardmakers' challenge today is to make a card using 3 different patterned papers. Compared to the FAB samples on their site, this is a very cowardly attempt, but I was working on this anyway and my desk is covered with the Patchwork Kingdom and Jolly Nation characters, so adding more paper to the chaos wasn't (and still isn't) possible. Despite my sturdy legged bespoke craftsman made table (thanks, darling Mr Dunnit), really the laws of gravity will prevail and it will probably only take one more sheet! Why do I work in such a mess? No idea! Got a really great flat space to work on, but after 30 minutes or so, it's always covered in product, gadgets and blah, and I end up working in a square inch of space at the near edge. But it does mean I have to tidy up between projects which is good - forces me to move around and re-focus. Perhaps that's why I work in a mess. Who knows. So what are you doing for the weekend? We are having a quiet weekend at home; Miss Dunnit has a heap of coursework and an approaching deadline, in fact, she's going back into school tomorrow to carry on with some. Impressive or in a panic? Both. These are my last 3 days of working and living with one hand, indeed, am feeling that my grip has returned sufficiently to let me drive, so will be venturing out at some stage. If you live within striking distance of Dorchester, there is a huge sale of craft products (all sorts of makes - DO, Paper Artsy, Bazzill, blah blah) at the Post Office shop in Trinity Street. It runs for a week from tomorrow. Which for some reason reminds me that Ludgershall Crop is next Saturday (7th) and I need to get some packs together for a mini workshop..ah me, must go and tidy that table!

Thursday 29 January 2009

My darling daughter wouldn't cross the street to get involved in anything that might lead to paper-crafting-with-mother. She says she doesn't like it and it's boring. This could be a reaction to having to come to the shop after school every day for 5 years. Or it could be because it's an area of her short life over which I have no control; how DO you force someone to cut and stick and enjoy?
One of the habits we're in at Dunnit Towers is to leave notes; usually practical ones advising one or other of us of anothers whereabouts, post-it shopping lists - you know the sort of thing. Every now and then I like to add a note to a random page in a notebook so that the user gets a little surprise, and Miss Dunnit has fallen in with the lists and notes habit without me having to manipulate her much at all.
Despite her thinking that she's not into it, every now and then when I'm out, she'll rummage around in my workroom and fiddle about with scraps and so on - often I find a paper flower with a tag or some such note - it's a great way to use up my scraps, although she does still have a huge and possibly bankruptcy inducing obsession for sellotape..... Oh gosh sorry, another digression. How nice though, to come home and find that the the packet of foam letters that were strewn all over my desk had been fashioned into an orderly and sweet message. She may not think so, but I am of the opinion that her very being shrieks creativity. Probably why she won't craft-with-mother; she doesn't want to show me up. Figure I can do that without help!

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Note to Ffroggie

Over on UK Scrappers I have a friend called Ffroggie. Well, don't you?!
Some months ago, five of my team-mates, (including Ffroggie) found themselves in a position to visit these parts. We enjoyed a day together at my local crop, had a fab pub supper and the next day, invested valuable time chatting and hanging at my house. In the 'hanging', there was some looking in on my lovely little craft room. I call it the 'workroom'; I can't quite bring myself to refer to it as a study, and it certainly is too practically planned to be a den or a snug, so workroom seems fitting - after all, some of the things I make are for 'work'. I digress. How unusual.
In the looking around, a couple of teamies decided that my large cheapskate glass vase full was a good and attractive way to store the ridiculous amount of ribbon that I buy. I like it - I like it because it's colourful and cheerful (sorry, bad photogrpahy means you have to imagine that!), because it looks desperately untidy - yet contained, because it's right next to me when I finally get down to making something and because even for me, rummaging through it is no effort. Stay with me interweb, there is a point here. Couple of weeks ago at the most, I learned on our team thread that Ffroggie has found herself a glass vase, ribbons for the storage of. And I feel a moral obligation to let her know that a full to overflowing vase does not stop you buying ribbon. No sir. It just means that in an attempt to avoid standing on the contents to get more ribbons into the vase, I'm about to spend a really nerdy evening of sorting, winding and tidying my vase. Perfect job for the hand that's still bandaged, no effort and can involve interaction with my Dunnit lovelies. This glass jar has been a big WIN for me. Enjoy, Ffrog.

Monday 26 January 2009

I've done a lot of 'blopping' this weekend. This interweb thingy is so time consuming and other people's sites are so inspiring. Late to the party as usual, I followed some links and found the Daring Cardmaker's site which is just fab for me, I need to be jabbed into 'just do it' mode, and the inspiration on this site certainly started me off! There were 3 heart stamps on the front of Papercraft Inspirations this month, and the 'dare' was to make a card that included a heart. Ta na...and I used actually used stuff that was on my desk - another major challenge for me! You can see on the card edge that I used the same heart image to stamp a scallop border. The text is from A Muse Rubber Stamps. Really a 5 minute card that Mr Dunnit, my hero, noticed the minute he came into the room. What are the chances? He never notices anything in this 'creatively arranged' work space of mine. Oh well, now he's seen it, I'll surprise him with a different card on valentine's day; see if I can fool him into thinking that I made this one for another!

Friday 23 January 2009

Today I washed my hair with one hand; it wasn't easy and I made a mess, but it felt great!
Today I worked at my LSS; conducting a card making workshop, my first of the year! It was fun.
Today Miss Dunnit and I had lunch together and went for a long walk in the wintery, windy sunshine. Almost too cold to talk, but lovely.
Today Mr Dunnit came home from work and expressed his pleasure at just being at home.
I note this day interweb thingy, because when I get my wingeing head on, I will need to be reminded of how much goodness there is in a normal day.

Thursday 22 January 2009

Today is Mr Dunnit's birthday. He is an honourable and modest man and I am therefore not going to tell you how old he is. Let us instead dwell on the outbreak of decoupage characters that are finding their way onto my cards. I realise, dear interweb thingy, that not everyone is as old as me, and that The Clangers and Bagpuss may not have found world wide syndication as tv programmes, so not everyone will know that I'm not making it up! These two characters - the Soup Dragon (Clangers) and collectively, the mice from Bagpuss, evoke the strongest memories for me. Not of the programmes and stories, but more of getting home after school - a bike ride with Frederick from down the road. We used to cycle to North Camp, dump the bikes at Aunty Ellen's and walk to school from hers. On a Wednesday, AP would give me 10p to buy a Saving Stamp. There was a huge secondhand bookshop en route that was one of my favourite places to stop. I collected (like sooooooo many others) 'Whimsies' and they were expensive. 50p each. And Ladybird History books, 25p. I'm amazed by the details that I've remembered; I thought that music was the start point for my memories. Amazing what impact a fairly simple tv show had. So Mr Dunnit, I hope you like the card I made for you; I kept pretty much to your preferences - mostly though, I hope that your birthday memories are as warm and fun as those that came to my mind while I cut out The Clangers!

**Edited to answer questions: decoupage characters come from Jolly Nation, as listed on the right of this page***

Tuesday 20 January 2009


I have been surgically enhanced. I've put up with the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand for a ridiculous number of years because after I had my right hand fixed, I realised it was quite inconvenient to be 10 days or so without driving, showering and blah blah. But as you know world wide interweb, things always 'go public' and my inability to use my left hand much was starting to be obvious. And stupid. So this morning at a silly hour, I went to the Day Surgery and was enhanced. Really, it is an enhancement, because despite the post surgery discomfort, I can already tell that the procedure has worked, and that is an enhancement...a working hand and possibly even the opportunity to stop trying to train myself to sleep in a stupid position on the wrong side of the bed! Thank You's were said of course, but I would like to add a big up to the NHS - not the system per se, but the staff - at the point of delivery, they are friendly, fun, painstaking, thoughtful and committed. Pay rises all round please, Gordon.
The cup cake card shown above is a large 'topper' type embellishment for use on card or scrapbook page - they are painted with Pearl-Ex paints; the interference colours (which are bright and colourful at light catching angles) - they don't photograph well! Anyway, this project is one that I'm presenting at a day of mini workshops at Japonica, a special craft shop in Exmouth. Customers will do four 75 minute workshops during the course of the day, each featuring paper crafts and different techniques. Obviously, because it's my project, and I'm not well known for complicated stuff, this project is stamping! It's on March 23rd; you can get more details from the shop on 01395 271739.

Monday 19 January 2009

So. Haven't I impressed myself! 4 LOs in an afternoon. A lot of it has to do with ordering a huge number of photos from those lovely people at Snapfish and then getting in a panic at the the amount of scrapping I haven't done for a while. I mean, for heaven's sake, I 'organise' a crop once a month. But I rarely manage two LOs, let alone 4! Primary motivator is probably guilt (as usual) because I spent money on the photos and have time to potter around at home. In the words of a famous shoe manufacturer, this year's phrase has to be 'Just Do It'!! Faffing is something I am utterly skilled at, a multi-award winning medallist. In fact, I'm blogging now as an avoidance technique - I do not want to go food shopping! The terrible pictures show polar ends of my family - mega niece (who you may recognise from a previous post) and micro niece, a cutie patootie. There are other nieces and nephews; brace yourselves, you'll have to 'meet' them eventually! There is a fourth LO, about Miss Dunnit and our parental pride in her acquired status at school - she entered the 'race' for Head Girl and is, by one vote apparently, Deputy Head Girl. But she's reluctant to let me post such show-off stuff. The bit I want to show off is that after the election, she hugged the new Head Girl and told her that the best person for the job had won. Man, I wish I could be that mature! So now I have to go. Old Mother Hubbard has nothing on me, and parental pride is really just that - for the parents - other parents may understand but it's not interesting unless it's your own offspring really, huh. Be honest!

Saturday 17 January 2009

The 'Favourite Day' CJ

Just seen the weather forecast for later and tomorrow. It's going to be horrid: wet windy and very probably dark, so have hastened into photography mode!
3 out of 8 people prefer Sundays as their favourite day of the week. It's not scientific but that's probably a figure that you could extrapolate into a national percentage! Jenny's page is the 'everyday' - I love that she can't single out one particular day, and hope that her retirement continues to be such a pleasure. So you can see why CJs are such fun - all these different styles and techniques AND a glimpse into other people's lives. Perfect!

Friday 16 January 2009

See the light

I was driven to show you this picture - it was the colour of the light that caught my eye whilst I was sifting through images this evening. I took this last New Year's Day at about 5 in the evening. Man how I long for some warm looking daylight. I don't think I have any sort of 'problem' with needing light or sun, but my heart yearns for it. Don't even know if I could manage to live in a 365 day sunny environment; rather perversley, I relish the change of seasons...but I do like them to have dramatic change rather than drift from warm wet to cold wet!
My sainted Mother, AP, is to blame for this. For sure. I was brought up enjoying, loving and looking forward to the opportunity to holiday. I may have complained as a child, but my father drove us thousands of miles across Europe to destinations pored over and planned by AP. She is the consummate tourist. I am grateful for and have learned from every one of our trips. There are 2 overwhelming lessons: TRY to speak the native language, just so you can display some manners, and wherever possible, make it a trip to the sun!
AP is also the person who taught me the value of scrapbooking and of buying/finding souvenirs that can be used in a scrapbook. I have several well thumbed sugar paper page scrapbooks from my childhood that show various destinations in Europe through my younger eyes. I collected sugar packets that had local print and scenery on them, pressed flowers, business cards, leaflets, tickets for trains trams and buses and even one parking ticket from a Swiss town that my father rather skilfully talked his way out of. (See, a bit of the language can go a very long way!).
As I'm flicking through photos for current scrapbook ideas, my past looms large. Wouldn't change a thing!
One of the villas in the picture above is available to rent. Spain, 40 minutes from Alicante. Sleeps 6 in 3 twin rooms and a sofa bed. Swimming pool over the road, walking distance to pubs clubs restaurants supermarkets and bank. You need a car - beaches and towns are a short journey to the nearest (10 mins). If you're interested in details, let me know. Leave a comment or track me down on UKS..I go by the same name!

Thursday 15 January 2009

....sleep, perchance to dream

hmm. Last night, a group of friends and I met for our monthly supper and gift exchanging. It started as a Secret Santa and supper the Christmas before last. We liked it so much that we now do a Birthday Bunny and as there aren't quite enough of us, we honour the theory in the months when none of us have a birthday. It's fun.
When I'm out after 5pm, I have to avoid my favourite Diet Coke (never Pepsi or the stuff in the mixers -ghaaa) and I certainly can't risk the pleasure of a coffee after a meal. Oh no sir, the caffeine that fuels my day makes my night a semi-conscious misery and leaves me feeling leaden and horrible. (Stop me if I get too dramatic, won't you!)
So last night at Blue Garlic, a really nice and bang on trend Indian restaurant, I led the vanguard, set the example and opted for a pudding. At the appropriate time of course. I chose number 5 I think, the vanilla coffee sundae. It was very nice and probably had one spoonful of coffee flavour at the bottom. So was it the coffee flavour or the whole meal that caused me to twitch, fidget and have nightmares and discomfort? Maybe it was because we had a discussion about sleep deprivation and it was actually going around in my head when I got home. Mrs Babymummy was saying that her sleep pattern has been altered by her cherub. Ironically, we were sort of giving her advice, Mrs Adult Education who to my knowledge can manage on about 3 hours sleep and me, who can't lose an hour of sleep without wingeing about it to the world wide interweb thingy.
I expect she'll have sussed the cherub's sleeping habits long before she realises that she has to give up Diet Coke and coffee.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

What Made Me Smile Today

I'm currently taking part in a CJ. Circle Journal. A group of crafters (say, 8 or so) create an album or book on a given theme, make a layout (LO) entry into it and then pass it to the person next to them on a list of participants. You get some time - a fortnight say, to complete your entry and then we all pass on again. I came to be participating in this through a marvellous website called UK Scrappers which is a huge forum that provides inspiration, challenge and comradeship.

The CJ I'm working on at the moment is entitled 'What Made Me Smile Today', and this is the picture that I'm going to use....I'm still smiling! My beautiful teenage daughter, Miss Dunnit, runs screaming from being involved in anything that may be even vaguely related to my craft obsession/habit/hobby. But it's in her blood, man. A marker pen lying around the kitchen and I get Manga eggs. Now that made this not-yet-deaf-40-something-but-still-quite-hot-although-I-dye-my-hair mother grin, tut, then laugh. How d'ya like them eggs!

Monday 12 January 2009

Are you a dinosaur?

So, because we have a penchant for DIY and a house that desperately needs attention, yesterday afternoon we took a romantic jaunt into our local 'open to the public and trade' store. I won't bore you with the DIY details, God knows, it wasn't exactly half an hour of frenzied pleasurable shopping. But you may be amused/amazed/horrified or scared by the conversation we listened to at the till. (We had to listen - we weren't going to be served until the two young ladies had finished, for sure!)
Scene setting: 2 tills and 2 operators on left and right as you face them. Girl on right was having a hurried conversation with her mum - about getting home, putting on her washing if she wanted to wear such-and-such to college next week etc....her Mum was buying something and she finished the conversation as the transaction was completed and left immediately. Nice. Thanks.
Girl on left (meant to be serving us) said
'Your Mum's still quite hot for age isn't she - how old is she?'
Girl on right:
'Shes 42. I dunno about hot but sometimes she's cool. She has to dye her hair though'
(So now I'm looking at other women in the same queue as me to see if their mouths had dropped open yet!)
Girl on left:
'Hmm my Mum's older, she's 44. But she's till got her hearing and that.'
And then she nonchalantly takes up her bar code reading gun and asks if she can help us.
For once though, I had very little to say. Because of my forty something state, when I get cross or defensive, I cry!

Sunday 11 January 2009

Salisbury's loss

It is a terrible shame that the craft shop nestled within the doors of the main Post Office in Salisbury has closed, a victim of these difficult times.

Linda, Jo, Caroline and Caroline were behind the counter, cheerful welcoming staff and I was lucky enough to be included for scrapbooking and card making workshops. Obviously the girls are in a sticky job situation; let's hope that their abilities in running a very busy shop, customer service skills and cheerful demeanours will win them new jobs very soon.

Losing a craft shop is always a blow - for those people that pop in and buy stuff it becomes slightly more dificult to source what you need, and for those that pop in and then stay for workshops, there's the loss of, well for want of a better word, community. In the last year or more (my memory is terrible), the workshops have become a monthly fixture that we all look forward to - yes, we make cards under instruction (that would be me, doing the bossing about), but there's so much more to it than that. Checking up on each other's well being, support, health, travel, childcare - amazing amounts of advice, we're all TV critics and of course, great recipes! It's true, and although it may not be the primary reason for attending a workshop, it sure adds glitter and gloss to the experience.

This is not intended to be a 'use it or lose it' lecture, but those customers know how important a real, bricks and mortar shop is for their crafty well being.

There is background activity to conclude this story, if you're interested, watch this space - if there are emerging positives to report, I will.

Saturday 10 January 2009

This is winter and it makes me...lazy, apparently!

Every drop of water is frozen, every detail of every twig, leaf and branch is outlined by ice. It is the most beautiful sight, this hoar frost. We rarely experience whole days of sub-zero temperatures here in the south of England, most icy sights have thawed by lunchtime, so although I was as cold as I ever want to be, I'm trying to look on the frost as a treat! Hasn't done much for my photography though, sadly. And that was the point to this afternoon's gentle stroll down our nearest country lane - to take some photos of this amazing frost phenomenon. The always patient-never-betrays-his-belief-that-I'm-barking-mad Mr Dunnit came with me - to hold my hand in case it was slippery - I mean, what if I break a hip? For the sake of my art (scrapbook)? I'd rather not!

It was less of a gentle stroll and more a breathtakingly cold march of about 300 metres and back; the fog was quite thick, the vegetaion was covered in white frost and there wasn't any contrast to show it off. I was over my artistic foray in about 10 minutes flat.

So today I'm revealing, or maybe I'm confessing! I need my art to be comfortable. I rarely stand up to craft. What about you? As this is the perfect weather for staying indoors and getting creative with glue and paper and photographs - take note of your habits. Stand or sit, mostly? Are your photos in the main, of indoor or outdoor activities, events, occasions? Do you attend a crop or can;t you be bothered to sort and pack everything you'll need? Oh my, the revelatory psychology of crafting. Tune in some other time and I'll reveal more of my slothful ways - I bet you'll run screaming for the hills if I told you how long I leave my stamps before I clean them!

Friday 9 January 2009

New Year, time to work!

These cards are a work in progress for a workshop at my local store, Kraft Crazy in Tidworth. It'll be on Friday 23rd January, morning and evening, same workshop. We've called it 'The Clash', because I wanted to try to use colours that normally aren't used together. You won't need sunglasses, but I think they're looking pretty cheerful!
You see, that's what I do. I used to own a small stamping and papercraft shop that I called Stamping Ground. It was in the village where I (still) live and was born from my hobby/habit/passion - it seemed a very sensible name! I closed it a handful of years ago but haven't quite shaken it off - now I demonstrate and conduct workshops. So mostly I work at home and venture into other people's fab shops on a semi-regular basis. It's just a fab arrangement for me - a SAHM with something to do.

Thursday 8 January 2009

This lovely couple have been visiting from the warmer climes of Northern California. She is the mega neice, he is her love. They are happy. I never knew that my heart would be so well affected by seeing my extended family grow up into loving and compassionate human beans. Getting to know the mega niece again has been a lovely experience. We spent today together which was an unscheduled treat for me; they are running out of time. We want to offer huge thanks to my dear friends; 'the enabler' took time out of a day off to give them a private tour of a large stately amazing experience. Of course, Mrs Enabler and I sat and gossiped over coffee whilst they did the tour thing - I mean, it would have been rude not to really. We cooked up some rum plans too, details of which will emerge as we fatten them up. (The details, not the Americans).
This little cryptic teaser will mean more to those of you who know about the origins of Stamping Ground. But bear with me, I can't tell everybody everything, all at once. It's probably better to dilute the beginnings and the intentions with stories of other stuff - or everyone will be asleep at the wheel. Or keyboard. Lucky this isn't a podcast!

Wednesday 7 January 2009

I have a friend who recently blogged or journalled about a loathing for coat hangers. Not a phobia or an 'ism' because you understand, she doesn't have to eat them; apparently she has to wrestle them in and out of cupboards more often than she wants to. I enjoyed hearing about this, and allowed myself an indulgent smile over my friend's candid but loopy revelation. Patronising? Oh yeah.
In the spirit of all that a New Year forces on me, I purged two wardrobes today. Pay no attention to the large bag of (large) clothes destined for the charity shop - forget it, we all do that. What about the RIDICULOUS amount of time I spent picking up, organising, dropping, picking up again, organising again, dropping again and wrestling the damn hangers into a bag for recycling?
And then to add insult, fat (not)helpful guy at the dump (pardon me - household recycling amenity) tells me that hangers are not recyclable and my hideously mis-shapen bag has to go into landfill. And of course it takes him 10 minutes to explain this whilst I stand staring at the landfill skip, nodding. Gibbering from cold and irritation. I could have just put them in the bin at home for regular collection tomorrow.
Oh I'm so with you girlfriend, I really loathe coat hangers.

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Ok Well. Umm. Hello!
Those of you that have been forced to visit because of relentless hinting will already know my intentions for this blog.
If you've stumbled upon my stamping ground whilst riding the waves, well - welcome!

Maybe a few visits down the pages and you'll come to understand that I have no intentions for this blog - no laudable resolutions for daily postings or fantastic classes. I just wanted to try blogging on and see how it fits. It also means that I have to learn to do more on the PC so that I don't have to keep begging the wild child for help!

If this blog evolves then so I will emerge; a storyteller and ace computer whizz!
Come back y'all, and see how I do!