Wednesday 27 May 2009


It didn't occur to me to post pictures of the LOs I'd done with the journalling - so busy was I blaming Shimelle for my new garden furniture requirements! Well, you wanted to see, so here are a couple - the style of the actual LOs are very different to mine, and that's a real discipline for me; I want to keep the whole project looking cohesive. (Although Shimelle probably won't recognise her style much here either!) But the 'not my style' effort is a good thing, not least because the journalling becomes an intrinsic part of the 'design' rather than the added tag or two. Despite everything, this is also the first project that I've journalled in the first person. On the basis that it's an 'all about me' album, that's not a surprise, but again, I find it a challenge. There are some LOs that could easily become more sentimental than I intend - that's definitely Book of Me territory rather than Everyone Has A Story, so overall, this project is a great stretch!
I fell into involvement with a Pass It Forward (PIF) recently, via Vicky's blog. The requirement is to spread a bit of fun really, and to undertake to send a small gift to five different people at some stage in the next year. Now, for me, that's way too long a on earth will I remember that? And worse, how on earth will I deal with the guilt of forgetting - because I already know that I will! So, I'm going to do it within a shorter time frame if that's alright with you Ann, Ginny, Pam, Teresa and Kit (do you mind if I call you Kit, Katherine?). What I need from you gals is an email with your postal address (yes again, Ginny...I know, I know!). The idea of course,is to perpetuate the PIF, do the same for five other people and display the picture thingy on your blog when you get your head around it! I'm the last person to make anything like this an obligation, so if you don't wanna - don't. Ask my friends. I break EVERY chain email and text; they drive me nuts and hey look everyone, I'm still living and breathing and no-one I know ever got traced through emails to benefit from Marks & Spencer vouchers and I haven't been visited by a big american soldier because I failed to forward propaganda either. You can take my support as read, but don't tell me what to do; it makes me very stubborn! Oh sorry, I set myself off there! All I wanted to say really was that I'm passing forward because I thought it would be fun. For me. Receive my bit of nonsense for what it is - a bit of a physical 'hello' from a cyber chum, don't let it be any sort of pressure.
And finally, just because I thought it looked like fun on my work table this morning, have a look at the cover of a CD holder that I'm working on...I'm down to do a workshop for such things at Kraft Crazy in a fortnight and decided it would probably be polite and possibly prudent to provide shopkeeper gal with some samples!
It's a clear set by Stampendous, and now I've opened it, it'll probably be very used - love those springy arms! Incidentally, while I'm in a fighting mood and to prove that I'm too tenacious for my own good - the packaging on this set recommends 'rubbing alcohol' as one of the cleaning mediums for these clear stamps. Huh? Wasn't I told about 10 posts ago not to use any alcohol based products on clear stamps? No wonder it makes me stubborn when I'm told what to do - it conflicts with what I've already been told to do. I bet if I had springy arms and a tummy like a washing machine I wouldn't be so easy to wind up!

Monday 25 May 2009

I blame Shimelle

I hope that at some stage this weekend everyone's experienced some fab weather. We have, three days in a row, despite the forecast for today being thundery and showery it hasn't happened yet and that's a bonus for sure. We have no garden furniture. Haven't had any for years, and for years it was OK because we weren't in a position to use it; the last two years the patio and garden were a building site, and as always with these jobs, the reclamation has changed our minds about what we want the garden to be for us, and so we have no garden furniture this year in case it doesn't 'work' with the future project. (And it won't 'work'; when you redecorate, or renovate something, the old stuff, however new, always looks out of place, huh?). So as you can see from my massively over exposed photo, this afternoon, I dragged an old table and an even older chair out into the garden. Last year, October I think, the Slipper Lady, Willowy Blonde and I went to a workshop in Portsmouth, conducted by Shimelle - 'Everyone Has a Story'. An excellent day and the start of a really well guided project. Really, Shimelle's talent for journalling prompts is unrivalled in my opinion; I'm very jealous. We three have managed to stick to the Midway Manifesto and have met once a month to put together LOs for our albums, using kit and caboodle gained on the day and sketches and prompts that appear magically by email from the great gal herself. And the connection furniture. At our monthly cropettes, I can cheerfully make up a LO or two, but I can't do the journalling; I take time before doing the LO to think about what will go into it, and then at the cropette am too busy talking to get journalling right! So today, I decided that instead of gardening, I would sit in the sun. Out came the chair, and the latest book. For about 5 minutes. The glare was so bad it made my eyes water, and I wasn't going to sit in the shade to read of Barack Obama's vision for my future, no Sir. Cast around a bit, try not to make a fuss about the strength of the sun and hit on the next plan. Pull out the table. Mr Dunnit made it when we were newlywed and bloody poor. Can't get rid of it, but rarely use it. I was going to make some notes about ideas I've had for upcoming crops and workshops, help Miss Dunnit do some revision, you know - worthy things that would not lead to guilt over sitting around in the sun. Except it all involves my reading glasses and white printed papers! Not to mention the reluctant and pouting Miss Dunnit who was perfectly settled in the shade watching Manga cartoons on her laptop. Hmm, thwarted. And then my lightbulb moment. Last Thursday evening at our cropette, it was quite clear that my album is er, not as full as the other two, even though we've received the same number of prompts and sketches. Hmm. Great idea then, to take the quiet time and catch up on the journalling, thus finishing LOs which then become pages in the album. Double result dear interweb, because mostly these pages are on coloured stock and the lack of glare made it the perfect job to do whilst doing nothing in the sun. Given that we are promised a sunny and warm summer, I can happily forsee many more such quiet moments to fill languid days off. But I think that probably means that we (I) would be using garden furniture properly at last, and we (I) therefore need some, this summer. And that's not my fault at all. I blame Shimelle!

Sunday 24 May 2009

Major scrapbook opportunity!

Loads of Mothers will have had the same experience as me over the last 10 days. My daughter (a late summer baby, so still only 15) has finished school. And school made it a day to remember and for that I really thank them; I had really underestimated the importance of last Friday - mostly, I think, because they all have to go back in for their exams and so I kind of don't see the point of leaving first. But no matter; it is done and my word, how important it was to these young people to let them draw the line in the sand. Miss Dunnit is part of a tight 'gang' within a large year group and these guys sure look out for each other. Of course, because of my scrapbook habit I had the foresight to take my camera to school on Friday afternoon, so I didn't miss all the evidence. They even had a balloon release, the significance of which still brings tears to my eyes; I hope someone captured it on film! They celebrated like maniacs all day, and parent friends tell me that like Miss Dunnit, their children were exhausted and a little blue on Saturday, the reality of the seperation setting in. See, the school may be in a quiet country setting, but it serves many rural villages and small towns, which means that these leavers will be sprinkled across colleges, sixth forms and apprenticeships in two counties. Here begins the real lesson - you stay in touch with the friends you want to keep. I should know. Having shared a dormitory, dining table and personal life with the same bunch of girls for 8 years at boarding school, I know this only too well. I've studiously avoided reunions and in nearly 30 years I've seen one girlfriend twice, and another thankfully, much more regularly, but not enough! Once you aren't a student, real life soon takes over, and by the time you've moved house and blah blah, it's different. Not too late, not too much trouble, just different. I don't know if Miss Dunnit has any enduring friendships in this group; I certainly hope so. But it's OK either way isn't it? One of my most cherished and enduring friendships is with the woman who married a friend of ours, only about 10 years ago. How lucky was that for him and for me?! Although he says we are a bad influence on one another and that I encourage her to gang up on him. Yep. Absolutely. We've been through a lot together, and most of it was her fault, and I have a rubber stamp that says that, so it must be true. And corny and cliched as it is, and as successful and fulfilled as I want my daughter to be, above all, I want her to be happy and for that, she needs friends. Especially the ones that she can blame when the establishment frowns at her!

Friday 22 May 2009

A slice more

We've got the glue thing sussed, interweb, and I'm happy to report that I'm in good company when I craft with glue abandon. And so refreshed and relieved of potential guilt, we move onto the next er, tool examination. Anne wants to know too, so I figure it's a worth an inconsequential revelation. As you can and have seen, I do a few decoupage cards and often, when I'm demo-ing for The Crafthouse Press, people express surprise that I use scissors. After one event, I spent some time cutting out the characters with a scalpel, but for loads of reasons I went back to the scissors! I need a scalpel for sure, scissors are great for key lines and speedy cutting, but there are always 'insidey' bits and tricky angles that need the blade treatment. But what I could really use is a scalpel that's engineered like my egg timer. I 'd like it to have a blade that changes colour as it gets less sharp; I am totally blind to a dull blade. Don't know why, just end up pressing harder and harder and hurting my lickle fingers, probably damaging my grip too. Then I realise that it's not because I'm useless at cutting, it's because I'm useless at recognising a dull blade. When I was a Cricut demonstrator, people would ask me how you'd know when the blade needed changing (they also asked how long it would last, and I couldn't answer that, I mean, how long is a piece of string?). I used to facetiously suggest that it needed changing when it wouldn't cut anymore (which is genuinely how I know with my model!) - so how come I don't recognise this in a scalpel blade? Dunno! The Enthusiastic Educator likes a ruler and a scalpel to trim papers and square things off. Probably for the rush of being able to use such a dangerous tool - after all, she works with young children and rounded-end scissors on a daily basis! The idea makes me shudder - couldn't cut a straight line with a scalpel if my life depended on it. For that, I actually get off my butt and turn around to my trusty guillotine. I prefer the old chop type to the circular blade of a paper trimmer too. It's probably due to something deeply Freudian, and I don't know why, except that I can cut a straight line with a guillotine. Success with it makes a tool a must-have, huh! My friend Lady Nurse once gave me some wonderful little pads soaked with rubbing alcohol so that I could efficiently and effectively clean some very used workshop scissors. She advised me gently not to cut myself. Of course, I scornfully reminded her that I wasn't quite that silly. And was bleeding like a stuck pig before she had crossed the road to her car. I have three pairs of scissors in constant use; large 12" Fiskars, teflon coated, quite pointy ended 6"scissors which are non-stick, so I use for cutting tape and gluey stuff and therefore avoid having to clean them and visit Casualty too often, and my trusty, pointy 4" Fiskars craft scissors. Often re-sharpened too, thanks to Mr Dunnit and a Japanese stone. I actually have 2 pairs of these, but I know immediately if I've picked up the spare pair, they don't cut the same at all - a bit like a fountain pen. I also have my lovelies trained...they are 'allowed' - welcome - to use anything in my workroom as long as it's put back and as long as the scissors aren't used for anything but cutting paper. Despite my having to buy a Doodlebug scalpel (because my friend WelshHelen, the best scrapbooker in the world has one and I thought it would make me good at it too - really!) it is used less by all of us. The best thing about it really is the flower head which stops it rolling off the table! The worst thing - the blade needs changing, but it's still sharp enough to cut me - AND it hasn't improved my scrapbook abilities one bit.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Enough already!

I've turned into one of those awful people that now say at any gathering of more than one person - "careful what you say, I may have to blog it". Mostly, because they are grown up, my friends and acquaintances absorb this without so much as missing a beat in the conversation. I don't think they consider me some sort of exposure hungry hack journalist, I don't think they are meeting outside secretly, out of my earshot - I hope that the detail that I pick out of a conversation is trivial enough not to cause any offence. After all, I want to go back to these places and people; they are, after all, my life! So today's post came about after an evening around the table at my CM consultant's house. You may remember her from an earlier post. Anyway, despite my non-CM scrapping ways, she invited me to a demo and scrap evening and I was delighted to go. Now, Miss America describes my scrapbooking as an 'event per page' style, and she decided to try to use background papers from the CM ranges a little more. She did a lovely demo - made up a page from a sketch which she had copied for all of us, and of course, was impressive with her product loading. Very impressive. She stuck things down temporarily as she went along - so much the easier to keep holding the page up for our attention for sure. Well, I thought it was temporary sticking. We all favour different methods don't we, and products. Miss America's product of choice is photo splits - small squares of double sided adhesive delivered from a roll in a box. Not unusual at all. What left me breathless is how little she used! One in each corner to anchor a piece of 12 x 12, one in the top two corners to stick down the photo, and one in the middle of a cut out circle of about 4" across. I was silent, but aghast. Silent because despite my big mouth and propensity to poke fun at people, I do have some manners! When the demo was over and everyone was milling about getting ready to crop, I asked her why, after making such a lovely LO, did she intend to dismantle it? She had no such intention. Everybody, this is the amount of adhesive she normally uses. Lordy lordy. I watched some of her customers whilst cropping and they too use tiny numbers of splits too - one lady picking them off the roll with a pair of tweezers - that sort of time just to get a bit of adhesive down is a killer for me. It's no surprise to see Miss America's customers using what she uses, you tend to automatically consider that a recommendation for something if you can't face the huge choices out there. I don't use splits, they drive me mad, I like a rolling adhesive. Doesn't particularly matter which brand, as long as I can refill it without wasting a refill's worth battling with the feed mechanism or something. They need to be relatively cheap too - I can easily leave one behind if I'm crafting elsewhere, so owning 3 is sensible to me. One in my bag, one in the draw and one put in that afore-mentioned safe place that will require a complete purge of my work room to find. (I learned the rule of 3 when I went to boarding school for the first time; the uniform list wanted 3 jumpers, 3 shirts etc...1 to wear, 1 in the wash and 1 spare. Early brainwashing, see.) How much adhesive you use isn't easily quantifiable I know, but I felt like Mrs GotGlue that evening! I had a border to stick down, 12" (Bazzill's 'edge') and so I rolled my glue down its length - made my neighbour catch her breath I can tell you! I don't put strips of adhesive around aphoto corner to corner, but I probably roll a couple of centimetres across each corner and sometimes on bigger photos, some in the middle too. My shocked cropping friend suggested that perhaps my abandon was born of a lack of financial restraint. Well, I know I'm spoiled, but I don't think I'm stupid with my stash money - I would rather spend glue money on stash that people will actually see, but I dunno. Maybe I started out using less and have just become complacent. When I'm card making, I favour double sided tape. When I cut a piece of paper to stick onto the card front, I run tape right to the corners along each edge. I firmly believe that lifting, unstuck corners indicate home-made rather than hand-made, and besides, I don't want recipients pulling it apart too quickly! Perversley, I've had to learn to use enough foam pads..but I don't think this was a question of economy, more that I'm a fat fingered old woman and they are a fiddle, however necessary! So how do you glue? And, am I wasteful? I'm on the edge of my seat over this one, ...I probably need therapy to get over the guilt associated with amounts of stash, so guilt because of over-gluing may well be the end for me. Told you I picked up on the trivia. Another skill, I think.
Oooh - the pictured tag I made for a challenge at UK Stampers and reveals a lot about me...well actually, two of my most fave stamps ever; Dawn Houser's swirly background (Inkadinkado) and Hero Arts' long legged bird..such a versatile creature.

Monday 18 May 2009

This is my work table at some stage on saturday evening. It's now clean and completely empty and I'm enjoying the sight! You can't imagine how fast I moved to tidy the table top when we decided on saturday afternoon to use this little room as a 'bar'. I was a blur - motivated by terror. All those stories of horror and sacrifice you hear about when someone spills a drink at a crop or in a workshop. Agony. Now on Saturday afternoon my work table was covered in paper, dirty stamps, adhesives and general crafting detritus from Friday's fun. Work. Art. Me time. I dunno, call it what you will. The table was covered in stuff and I needed, not only to tidy it but to move the stuff into places of safety! I mean, it's one thing inviting people into your home for drink and food, it's another putting your cherished stash in a potential danger zone, huh? So I did what I should have done on Friday afternoon...put away, cleaned, put away some more, actually got the lid onto the box of scrap paper, put away some more, re-located the pile of little photos that are permanently on the table, waiting patiently for inclusion in a project that I'm not quite ready for (it's only been 18 months). I can't have help to do this task, everything must be done correctly - because my addled old brain won't stand a chance of remembering if I don't put it in the properly designated place - honestly I can spend days looking for something or other because I put it somewhere 'safe' instead of in the obvious, go-to place. Miss Dunnit sweetly suggested that we just sweep the lot into a storage box and stick it into the garage for the night. You see, in theory, this is a great idea. But in practice, it would take me days to get around to emptying or sorting through it. The box would become an extension of the table top and then if I couldn't find something in the first rummage, I'd probably replace it with stash from elsewhere and - well, you get the slovenly picture. So I tidied and was jolly glad I did. Nothing was spilt and my trusty table top will live to work another day. As we were sorting and cleaning yesterday (yes, we are those people that see our last guests out and then turn the lights off and go to bed - clearing up is for the next day), I remarked to Mr Dunnit how pleased I was that having tidied up so well in this little workroom, I had no complaints about using it as a bar because nothing was ruined, accidentally or drunkenly (and you can see the shot glasses in the picture, so I did have reason for my concern). Well, then he floored me. He didn't realise I was protecting my stash/territory, he thought I'd tidied up because I was ashamed of the mess! Ha. And there was I believing the man is still blinded by love.

Friday 15 May 2009

Oh do grow up.

Well now...years (decades) ago when I was a child, we lived in Germany. Back then, even before the Sony Walkman had been invented - gasp, British Forces Broadcasting did not extend to television. But my mother, the sainted AP, was (and is) skilled at entertaining us and for years, we collectively had an interest in the Eurovision Song Contest. Largely because on the radio or later on the tv, it was broadcast in English, involved music and betting and voting and was generally turned into fun for us. I've never been able to shake this off, and certainly since Miss Dnnit was old enough to participate, we've had a Eurovision party. By which I mean that after a meal cobbled together from edible parts of the host country's national dishes, the grown ups sit in the conservatory and drink whilst the kids use the lounge to play in and keep an eye on the telly, callling us in for bizarre or extraoridnary acts. I make our guests draw a country when they get here, and half way through the contest (if I remember, and that depends on the strength of the host country's national drink), people are allowed to trade their betting slips. For the men, this often becomes a sub-bet on the better looking acts rather than quality of erm, music. Anyway, if we're still capable at the end of the contest, Miss Dunnit awards the winner with a medal that she made about 10 years ago, and a bar of chocolate -and that's only if it has survived the coffee stage of the meal. It's all good stuff, I get to continue a bit of a family tradition and nobody suffers. Nice! This year I decided to mix it up a bit, invite different people - you know, let others in on this slightly guilty secret fun! Well, in the best traditions, I issued invites to 5 sets of friends. Two responded imediately - stalwarts of our tradition, so knowing what they were in for. Two weeks passed and I hadn't heard a dicky bird from the others. I won't be specific, but I know it was 'PMT week' chez Dunnit...because it's the only way I can explain my actions: I texted (brave, huh!)a withdrawal of the invitation. Still can't quite believe my petulance, but it went something along the lines of - if they can't be bothered to even respond in the negative, I sure as hell can't be bothered to go to (some) trouble to throw a party which will include having to cook russian food. I know it was unreasonable, I know I should actually have just asked them for a response, but I didn't, so there. And in my defence, none of these invitees responded to that either! Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face - there we are, a fortnight before Eurovision and no plans. (Stick you bottom lip out at this point to experience the way I was feeling). I became Mrs Bountiful, and invited OTHER people. (I know, I know, how childish.) Consequently, the rest of today will be spent in the kitchen..I have blinis, some sort of casserole and of course, pavlova to make for rather more people than normal! May serve me right, but I'm looking forward to it. And, of course, never one to lose sight of the story, these guest do know the true story - their, erm 'B' list status as it were, but they're still happy to come and eat and drink at our table, so it can't be all bad! But ask yourself this - do I sound like the sort of woman you really want in your birthday book? Personally, I think I sound like a monstrous lunatic, but dear interweb, this blogging thing is a cathartic process, and sending this confession off into the www may well be all it takes to pull me back into some sort of adult mind set. This or 3 dozen blinis!

Card made from Jolly Nation's Big Word decoupage papers - nice 3 step stuff.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

I'm the Mummy

This has been on my table since Sunday, I made it for the challenge over at Daring Cardmakers. You actually have to say the 'who who who' thing to make it work...and therefore, it probably doesn't work! Being the Mummy has become of relevance to me this week. Generally, I like to think that these days, at 15 and some months, Miss Dunnit appreciates that our relationship is as good as it gets for a mother and daughter. (Stay with me, I won't make you any more nauseous, promise!) I'm not naive enough to think she doesn't have secrets and blah, but I think that if she wants to share something with me, she can safely do so, knowing I won't break a trust if it was a secret. And I haven't. So yesterday, I picked her up from school after the first of this summer's GCSE exams - RE. She said it was good, she was happy and reasonably confident and that she'd remembered to pace herself etc. There I am, driving along, smugly thinking that she's the ideal candidate...all the years that I've refused to accept drama and whining (let's not talk about my double standards, please - this is about my maternal gifts!), she's not in a panic and not allowing nerves to get the better of her. I'm so proud. Then she tells me that the boy who was at the desk next to her spent the second hour (two hour paper) whispering her name and trying to get her to talk to him. I nearly crashed the car - interrupted concentration, see. So how does she cope with this massive interruption to her concentration? She recalled the story I once told her about a school chum who was disqualified from an exam for telling her tormentor to shut up; decided that she's not going to be disqualified, and so shifted around in her chair so he was no longer in her line of vision, and got on with it. At this point, let me say that I did suggest, nay recommend, that raising her hand to get the invigilator's attention would have had the boy 'silenced' .(I'm sorry, I know it's not a fascist state, I just can't think of a better word!). But no, Miss Dunnit has a better plan up her sleeve. For once, I have permission to telephone school, to speak to the exam co-ordinator - just in case there are people who can't ignore this foolish boy when he gets bored in the next exam. Because that disqualification story has really become embedded and Miss Dunnit is worried about the potential consequences for any of her year group who aren't strong enough to ignore such interruptions. Man, my child is so cool, she probably poops ice cubes.
I spoke to school this morning, the exam co-ordinator is, sadly, aware of the problem. I'm sad too; this boy obviously hasn't seen the possibilities out there yet. And then it might be too late. Shame. I'm also slightly freaked by the impact of the disqualification my, how many more times will my daughter reveal that my experiences are actually her traumas?! But I've done my daughter's bidding, the little task she set me for the day. I continue to be smug and proud in equal measure, but I confess that my reaction was pretty much the opposite of hers. I was all for just dealing with the impact on her and was slow to consider the wider picture. So now, who who who the Mummy?

Monday 11 May 2009

Solvent ignorance

So here's the birthday book - 41/2" tags, cut on the Cricut, covered and blah. I've used random number stickers and although the birthdates you currently see are mostly in date order, it won't matter to me if I have to add to a tag and 'break' the order. Two reasons for not minding...this will hang above my desk and provide me a monthly overview, the dates are still logged in my diary - I'm just hoping that this will allow me to find myself ready for a birthday, instead of turning the page of my diary to discover that I've got 12 hours to pull something out my, erm, head! The other reason is the papers I've used - for me, redolent of a less organised and speedy era; hand made annotation and additions would have been perfectly acceptable. So they are. Even Mr. Churchill used hand written additional notes to put across his point. There's the famous paper that carries his pen - marked here and there to show his approval or otherwise of the text. In the margin, against something that the great man clearly disagreed with, he'd written 'small round objects'. How polite!
Gosh, how's that for a digression!
Are you familiar with the hoo-ha about not using solvent inks with Copics and Pro-Markers? Because they are solvent inks themselves and if you marry the two, they run. Horribly.
Did you know that this rule also applies to clear (polymer) stamps? That is, you shouldn't use Stazon ink and cleaner on them? I didn't.
I bought a really nice stamp at the show in February at Farnborough and finally decided to use it last week. (I know, but hoarding unused stash isn't part of today's discussion.) It's a lovely clear stamp, made lovelier by the fact that the image is really visible because it's indexed in black ink. I like that on a stamp and am definitely drawn to this type of 'finish' from a manufacturer. I had a brand new Fuchsia pink Stazon inkpad to play with last week too, and couldn't resist. Imagine my horror to find all the black indexing ink came straight off the stamp onto my pristine pink inkpad! I was incredibly put out. Really. Five and half quid ruined in about 10 seconds of tapping! I was offended by the damage and cross too. Fired off an email to the stamp company I was so put out. Usually I'd suck it up, but the inkpad was brand new and five quid and well, you know. I don't think my email was rude, I wasn't demanding compensation, apology or pistols at dawn, I just wanted them to know how put out I was that their packaging didn't carry a 'clean me first' warning. Their response arrived today, pointing out that they only use Versafine and that the packaging says Stazon is for rubber stamps. And this fascinating fact that we shouldn't be using Stazon (and Stazon cleaner of course) on the polymer stamps. Have I had my head in a bucket since the arrival of clear stamps then - I feel really foolish that I didn't know this - did you?
You may be interested to know that the Stazon label says 'appropriate for all surfaces' and the only reference it makes to rubber stamping is 'Use solvent ink cleaner to clean rubber stamps'. No mention of not using them on polymers, no mention of it on my stamp packaging either. You'll be unsurprised to know that I have had to respond further to the stamp company. The words teeny tiny and loophole appear. I know they don't want to promote negatives, but not advising against something is I think, very different from implying a recommendationfor soemthing else. And all I wanted was to be soothed, even if I am ignorant. Still going to use Stazon on the clear stamps too. I'll just take my chances. Ah, rebel rebel!!

Saturday 9 May 2009

I vote for short weeks!

It is slightly strange to me that we had a Bank Holiday to begin the week, the origins of which are a lost on most of us and yet we end the week with a date that is relatively unnoticed and should be a national holiday. 8th May is VE Day. I can't think of a better reason to have a national holiday of celebration and rememberance. I don't mean the jingo-istic 'we won the war' type celebration, I mean the celebration of the freedom that such sacrifice brought to Europe. Enough already, this is not a political broadcast, just a heavily opinonated comment!
What I was going to say was how wonderful a short week is! I know that's a real cliche, but I only ever thought that at school or at work it would even be noticeable. Not so dear interweb. Perhaps galvanised by an extra day with my lovelies, perhaps by the thought that a short week would result in less productivity - I've been amazing! Actually in truth, what I've done is no more than I should have done months ago, the sort of jobs that become big ol' monsters lying across your path because you keep putting them off. Well, on Tuesday morning, Miss Dunnit left for school and I finished my coffee in front of her morning telly choice. Bizarrely for a 15 year old, it was the Parliament Channel, which certainly allowed me thinking time! When I was born, I got stuck on the conveyor line thingy, and got a hefty overdose of guilt, and as I age, I find it harder to shake off. So I try to use it to my advantage. I sat in front of the TV and mentally listed my options, targets and projected goals for the week. That way you see, the guilt factor doesn't have me in tears at the end of the week - I can mentally tick off achievements and give myself a litle talking to about the stuff I didn't do. I'm also a great visualiser for jobs I don't like. I sit on the sofa and see myself, in sort of Superman speed, cleaning windows and such, and then I can do them, knowing that they take so little time! So this week, I archived, filed and sorted years of paperwork (freeing up a huge, huge space in a cupboard) and set up a really useable system for dealing with it all on a day to day basis. Top tip here - don't put it in a cupboard where it becomes inaccessible, it is the greatest excuse!). It's taken 3 days, but man, I totally stomped all over that monster! I haven't looked at my craft table all week. On Wednesday evening I was given crafting presents (a secret-santa-turned-monthly-birthday-club-because-we-liked-it-so-much). I left them on my desk to give me something to look forward to. And yesterday afternoon, right on cue as we came in from school, the sun hit the desk and all the goodies inspired me. So last night I had a successful stab at another long-put-off project. Will finish and photograph over the weekend. Which might mean Monday. I'm going to try to have another short week. Apparently I can slay monsters if I have a nice long weekend!
And again - the photo is the other section of my workroom...sort of behind my desk. I share a room with 3 doors on 3 of 4 walls, so it seems very disjointed. Works for me!

Thank you for reading this blog. It's fun knowing you're out there, it's amazing that you take time to comment; I don't moderate - I work on the basis that if I'm expressing an opinion, others are entitled to as well. I love that you are prepared to enter the discussion and don't ever worry about the length of your comment! I will remove foul language because I think generally, like poking your tongue out, it's the last resort in a discussion!

Thursday 7 May 2009

Here's a comment:

My sweet and very non-judgemental sister left a comment after my last post:

"Hey sissy, I think I would call the die cut cards "working smart"...... sounds GREAT to me . Here's another question for you, if i sketched out a cute little family of cows, scanned it onto my puter and colored it in and gave it amazing effects, printed it out, stuck it on a background paper and sent it to you.. would it be cheating?"
You remember that she's at UC Berkley, studying design and being super skilled, one aspect of which involves a lot of knowledge of the graphics and photo programs on these 'ere computer thingys. My response is actually, for me, quite considered..I wanted to be sure that my 'knee-jerk' response was the same as my considered response; and it is.
Of course, if Sissy sent me such a card, I would know how the design had been arrived at and of course it wouldn't cross my mind to consider it a 'cheat'. It would be an incredible card, particularly and especially because I have seen Sissy's design process from start to finish and it's unbelievably difficult, full of effort, research and concept. And here's a 'BUT'. If Sissy sent it to someone who didn't know that she was a designer, would they know that she hadn't just downloaded some clip art? If they even thought that far about it - in hand made terms, if it's not in at least 2d, no-one will even know it's a hand crafted card, in my experience. That doesn't detract from the work involved in bringing it to the recipient, but it's unlikely to be acknowledged. I know it's painful to say - Sis and I discussed this last autumn; it takes a knowing eye to spot a non-digital design on fabric and paper, and not many people would understand why one bolt of fabric is £20 per metre more than the next one because the original design work took hours and not minutes because it was hand drawn. And that's the crux of my 'cheating' accusation - digi scrapping and die cut cards - one is digital designing and the other is frankly, card constructing; for me neither is crafting. Maybe it's time to redefine 'craft' so that the generation behind us and people like me can learn to adjust our focus. As my dear friends said at the weekend, why does it matter? My answer to that is; it doesn't matter; I mean, we're all still breathing. But is it fair? People with Sissy's skills need to be acknowledged, she could easily have been the person who developed the design of the 'construct-a-card' kits on qvc (they are here, the monochrome one is a perfect example). And they are design genius, no doubt in my mind - and my word, they sure have found a huge market! Nevertheless, I stand by my wobbly and by now, boring theory - not using ink, or at very least scissors to turn out a pile of cards seems like cheating to me. I need also to point out again that it doesn't mean I wouldn't use or don't like them, but as a 'get down and inky' type crafter, they don't represent what I consider to be craft products.
Clear as mud huh! I will of course, let you know if my sweet sister ever speaks to me again!
Oh and the pics are a moment in time in my workroom - to the left of my still messy table!

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Warning...controversial post..

Aha! Daring Cardmakers posted a challenge I'm equipped to do, and sitting in my workroom last night was very comfortable - we moved our sofas out yesterday in anticipation of the new stuff being delivered today. Believe me, when you're fat and forty-something, lolling on a floor cushion is just a small taste of things to come in terms of immobility and aching joints! So, mindful of this warning, I gratefully sat at my work table and made this card, featuring farm animals. Would you note the use of a ridiculous amount of the pink polka dot paper too please - well, it's a 4" square card, so I'm still not throwing polka dot paper around. But my largesse is due entirely to John at the Crafthouse Press who read the post in which I refuse to use up my paper and he sent me some more. We've worked together, he knows how ugly it could be if I panic! Kind, huh, and I am really thrilled at his thoughtful gesture.
Now obviously, because I'm terribly vain and wanted my family to be in awe of me, (yeah, but hang on, that was never a realistic outcome) we watched about 40 minutes of Craft Day on QVC on Sunday, before we left to join friends for a day out. My family was bored rigid, particularly as we quickly established that the products I'd been playing with weren't due to be on till much later. We watched Julian and Leonie present some metallic, embossed and die cut card stock that come as collections so you can make loads of cards that have matching detail etc. The stock is fab, wonderful rich colours and some great images (even a christmas kit!). But, and here's the controversy - if you fold a piece of A4 in half to form a card that's already printed with a frame and blah, then push out a die cut image printed and embossed in matching colours and to this add a foiled, printed, die-cut greeting, can you really say that you 'made' the card? Is adding a coupla foam pads and a bit of neatening a kiss-cut die shape really a craft? Don't get me wrong, the stuff was fabulously rich looking, and as good a quality as they promised for sure, beautifully presented, and Leonie's samples were wonderful; I liked it all, but isn't it, well, erm, cheating? I know they sell shed loads if it and I know therefore that thousands of people like it, but I want to know if it is really crafting? However much I like it all, I never buy it. I feel like it would be cheating. Where did I get this idea from - and is it ridiculous? Probably. I've experienced craft snobbery, and am ashamed to think that I'm promoting it by mentioning how I feel about these products, but hey - you can rely on me to have an opinion! And here's the bit about this argument that so proves that I'm a woman - just because I won't use it, don't ever let that stop you from sending me a card made with it - I really like it! We had a lovely day out by the way, and the non-crafting friends on whom I vented my theory were polite enough to stay awake just long enough to ask why it mattered. Oh. I have to come back and answer that in another lifetime, when I've thought of a response!
Several of you like the Scooby stuff - here's another - made with the background papers and stamps from the Crafthouse Press again. (used Pro Markers to colour it, I am so on trend, thanks to Cricut Queen's gift!)

Saturday 2 May 2009

The crop, a whinge, and a little brag

I'm up and about early this bright May morning because it's a Crop day, and of course, I'm not ready! The 'lesson session' supplies are ready and waiting, but the stuff I want to do this afternoon is undecided. Last night I did spend an hour sitting on the floor of the workroom surrounded by papers and paraphenalia, but I made no decisions. Either Iwas tired or I need daylight. Both I think, but the daylight thing is starting to be more of an issue than I'd like it to be - especially for cutting out! I have a small lamp with a daylight bulb in it and it is excellent, no doubt. But actually, what I need is a dirty great anglepoise with daylight bulb and I need to change the spotlights in the ceiling. By the way...if you get the opportunity, nay luxury, to build a room in which you plan to work...think twice about the sexy, good looking, shiny, twinkling halogen spots I've had recessed into the ceiling. You can tell from my description why they were my lighting of choice. But oh man they're useless! Wherever I sit or stand, they light the top of my head and consequently I work in my own shadow. Mr Dunnit knows about the problem, but I haven't whined about it. Still, at least when the room is tidy and we're using the room and it's long table as a bar, the sexy, good looking, shiny twinkling halogen spots make it all look really nice; the light bounces of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in an almost poetic movement!
I've posted the card pictures above because they are relevant to my 'awayday' at the crop; being able to crop and craft at home isn't as much fun as hauling the contents of your room elsewhere to crop and craft in company! It's craft day on QVC tomorrow, and the 2 images may well 'crop' up whilst Dawn is showing you around some new stuff. I've made a handful of samples from two new decoupage and stamp kits - Scooby Do and Baby Looney Tunes, and a CD 'Men's Travel and Sport, from The Crafthouse Press - your friends behind Jolly Nation. The CD is a brand new thing for them, it's absolutely loaded with backgrounds, tags, templates and etc, all on good male and travel themes. I've printed them myself (go me!) and I have to say that the storage space this huge collection doesn't take up makes this CD thing quite understandable! Anyway...if you see stuff on the telly tomorrow that looks like it's got my fingerprint on it, give a small cheer for my nano-second in the spotlight-that-actually-lights-up-the-work-and-not-the-top-of-my-head.

Friday 1 May 2009

May: shaping up well

Just as Ginny is suffering from early onset winter blues, so here in the other hemisphere I'm set to enjoy one of my favourite months. I love May. Despite historical evidence that proves it wrong, it's a month that's fat with the promise of summer. My garden is full of buds and green with new growth; nights are shorter and our early mornings are lighter. Locally, cherry trees are laden with the most fantastic blossom and I'm happy to report that the school run is emboldened with patchwork yellow and green fields again. It's all so forward looking and exciting. This year it's a more intersting month than normal. The Met. office have stuck their necks out and said that we will actually experience some dry, summery days in the coming months (and to an Englishman, or visitor who experienced last sumer, this is possibly the best news), middle neice has a birthday, we usually have a party and we usually have a weekend away. What's not to like? This year will be slightly different: Miss Dunnit starts sitting the 'run' of GCSEs from the 12th. I don't know about academically, but I think she's more than ready to get the next 6 weeks over with and move onto a more adult and independent environment. She and her friends, seem to be like the month of May itself - just bursting to get on with it!
My month (for it is all about me) kicks off with a day's Crop tomorrow. (If you're interested in a small informal crop session in the Hants/Wiltshire area, do get in touch for details). There can't be many better ways for a new month to begin. The sun shines here today, which means that I'm going to live up to a promise and take some photos of the tidied up work space. You have no idea how welcome it was to read that my mess is your mess - Me Casa es Su Casa friends, you are clearly unshockable. Except Lyn, who poor thing, must wince when she reads of or sees such slovenly housekeeping. And my father, but it's OK, I'm pretty sure he's not a reader here. My mother won't be shocked, nor will she wince. She knows that I am unchangeable and has learned to put all the shocking stuff in her blind spot. It's a maternal skill. You should see Miss Dunnit's bedroom!