Friday 30 October 2009

Getting a grip

This photo of a Cambridge shop front was taken as much in fun as it was to add to my collection of stained glass designs (Mr Dunnit is developing a skill and a bit of a hobby that may yet rival mine in terms of expense...)
Tourism aside, this was me. Like loads of you, I've been poorly and lost a bunch of days. Unlike most of you, I did not bear it with fortitude and gentle grace. I whined, cried, snotted and demanded. Because if I didn't, how would they know when I was better? As both of my lovelies have expressed relief at the sight of me 'looking better' today, I guess they've had enough too. Finally, they've learned that whingeing and self-obsession is more attractive than the sickly alternative. Lucky it's Halowe'en too, all this sickliness! And talking of Hallowe'en, I'm a bit behind on preparations for tomorrow - our 2 Scrap Ladies event - but it's OK, I'm going to cover up all my shortcomings by pretending to be exhausted and sweaty. People are so nice, they'll forgive me. The wild look in my eyes will convince 'em.
So last thing I remember is looking at the number of WOYWWs to visit and I still haven't, but I'll catch up; can't keep me off this interweb thingy for long. Just as soon as I've found the grip that the other Scrap Lady needs me to get.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

What's On Your Workdesk, Wednesday

Here's an indication of preparation for A Magnetic Year in a Day. This is how my desk looked last night, and pretty much how it still looks. I'm feeling poorly today and have spent the day in bed. I hate that!
I'm parched, so am going to have a cuppa and see if I can get my voice back. How ironic!
Show us your work surface won't you? Leave a comment or link and we'll swing by for a rummage. Love this part of the week!

Monday 26 October 2009

Autumn: Overlooked

Back in the day when I was a Rep and a demonstrator, every product and workshop used after September was geared toward the Christmas season. Now, I've read a million or so blogs that indicate that lots of us (a million or so) steadfastly refuse to do anything about Christmas before December, but believe me, someone is creating a demand; shopkeepers wouldn't respond this early if they didn't have to - after all, they don't really want to think and dream about Christmas for three months of the year either!
I've spent a weekend in London - Docklands and Greenwich to be more exact, and Autumn is golden and bright in those parts. The weather has been, and is, forecast to be unseasonably nice and it's half term. No better reason then, to stop overlooking autumn. I'm going to make an effort - for this week at least - to talk less about Christmas cards and preparations in terms of workshops. It will be hard, because my focus really is that far forward. Work-wise that is. If you can call it work. Personally I couldn't be less prepared. But for now, for me, that's OK. The other thing I promise to try hard to avoid this week is whingeing. I know it's my blog and I want you to hear about how busy I am working on preparations for A Magnetic Year in a Day, but I also know how boring it can be and how incredibly self-obsessed I will sound. (I know I am really, but this attempt at modesty is quite becoming, huh?). I read a blog which has turned into a frequent entry of my-how-wholesome-and-good-i-am-to-be-this-busy-and-cheerfully-put-up-with-so-much-at-the-same-time and it's becoming offensive to my judgemental and incredibly busy self. So, remind me if I get carried away won't you?
Now, I'm putting away the Domestic Goddess' guide to Christmas and reeling in my panic over presents. They can wait. I have a large pile of crunchy red leaves in my garden, and I'm going to jump in them. And then of course, I'm going to get Miss Dunnit to sweep 'em up. Or she won't get onto the Christmas present list.

Friday 23 October 2009

Well this is a tiny portion of a Christmas card - but I made it for the Card Marathon, so I cannot show it all...and of course, in teeny portions, my photography seems so much better! Of course, I blame blogger for the sideways-ness of it, but oh well!
I have spent the last two days in a quiet frenzy of cutting counting and packing; kitting stuff and trying to pre-empt all the nasty, heart-lurching moments that go with running an event and finding some vital piece missing...been there, as they say! I'm not finished - 8 months to go. Which sounds like a lot of work, but I really mean kit for 8 months' calendar probably a couple more days for sure. Follow that? Not sure I did! However, I have two days off, now I'm right in the flow and could actually, cheerfully go on until I've finished.
We have plans this weekend that involve fulfilling the ambitions of a Cosplaying, Manga loving teenager. We're doing that drive-to-a-venue-drop-off-the-teenager-and-walk-around-for-hours thing so that Miss Dunnit and two chums can attend an expo, called MCM. Sound even vaguely familiar? Not to me either. But it's a biggie and no doubt that the 'niche' world of Japanese animation that my daughter enjoys so much is less of a niche than I thought. More a yawning chasm. Thousands of all ages are expected and some top names from the tv and film world (of the genre, you understand) will be there. There are large comparisons to be drawn between her 'thing' and mine. Large venue, crowds of the 'like minded' and of course, stand after stand of retailers selling bunches of stuff that relate to your deepest hobbying needs. Now it sounds familiar, huh! Differences are huge though. I've never been to stamp or craft exhibition in fancy dress. Although I would if it were a pre-requisite! Nor have I had to have parental permission to attend any of my shows. But then, I wasn't just 16 when I discovered my real, lifetime hobby. And I suspect that however devoted my parents (and they are), there wouldn't have been the opportunity for them to drive me there and schlep around 'waiting' for me. Make it sound awful huh? Well, I'm sure it won't be. The Expo is after all, in our nation's capital city and apart from a large and unusual amount of fresh (?) air, I will have Mr Dunnit to myself. We won't be craft shopping though. I think that would be pushing his goodwill a bit too far - I think he's ever so slightly disturbed by my cheerful explanation of all the costume making and planning for Miss Dunnit, and all the cutting and counting for A Magnetic Year in a Day. Not sure he is truly able to dismiss all this feverishness in a one liner: 'every hobby has its nerds'. For sure!
Have a great weekend.

Thursday 22 October 2009

What else?

So what else do you do while you're slaving over your daylight-bulb lit craft space then? I'm in a downstairs room, seperated by a doorless doorway from the lounge. During the day, when I tend to do most of my crafting, this works really well. I use the tv as a mega big radio and flick between Radio 2, 4 and 7. In the evening (when, in my opinion, Radio 7 is just the business), I generally 'listen' to the tv. I do less and less at my table in the evenings, mostly because it takes so long to cruise all the blogs! I deliberately placed the PC in a corner of my work room which means that you sit with your back to the door and therefore any view of the tv in the lounge. I cannot, just can't follow a programme properly if I don't watch it, so I don't bother trying, the lovelies call me in to watch 'important' or interesting stuff. Although Top Gear is only a favourite of mine because there's no sound I like more than hearing those two enjoy a mutual laugh. During the day though, because I'm alone, (not lonely, I must add!) if there's nothing on the radio and I plan it fairly well, I listen to a book. Recorded novels are just the best! I'm an avid reader - well I would be if I made time. But I fear reading a bit, because if it's a really good book..I read until it's finished - which causes a noticeable neglect of my house, life, cookery, bathing understand. I like a story narrated by its author too, and particulalry I like a good autobiography. Do you think anyone will ever be asked to record their blog entries? Lots of people treat them like autobiographies - if you read a good 'un, do recommend it to me. The other thing that keeps me company is silence. Sometimes I'm so engrossed that I don't notice when the CD finishes. And I certainly don't talk to myself - well not just to break the silence anyway. Oh and of course, I eat. And drink. At the work table, as WOYWW has also proven several times. So what do you do while you craft?

And forgive me for being pushy - but you may need to know - a new post over at 2 Scrap Ladies.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

IIWA? What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday

I normally manage my life reasonably well, so that I can post my WOYWW within a couple of hours of Wednesday's workday getting underway, and before I have to start clearing or changing my desk to do something else, or clear up sufficiently to be able do anything at all! Well this week so far has been one of tying up loose ends and finishing jobs that really need to be just got out of the way. So first thing today, my desk looked rather grown up: -nothing like a month end deadline; I mean this 2 page tax return has been in my 'in-tray' since April. I only admit to this because I'm big enough to know that despite wishing and sort-of-trying, I'm not going to change. Luckily, Mr Dunnit didn't marry me with a view to changing me. Or if he did, he clearly hasn't given up yet, wonderful disillusioned man that he is! Well, because the desk was all grown up and study like, I did a bit of crafting on my lap -
it's been a long time, but yep - Fimo!! I've rolled and squished and cut and shaped and cooked, so last night, I stuck on magnets. Clue! Yeah, part of my preparations for A Magnetic Year in a Day...a week on saturday people! (2 Scrap Ladies - link if you're interested). These little magnets look a bit bright and blaaaagh, but I promise, for the most part, they work pretty well with the papers that they are destined to hold in the frame. Well I think so; ask me again a week on Sunday when I've had real live other people's comments! So there's another job to be finished. Then there's the domestic neglect, and a small matter of having not done any 'real' crafting so far....I need to rectify that. I'll start by getting all inspired by your desks.
Show us - upload a pic to your blog (or email me a pic and I'll load it here)...leave a comment or link and we'll all trot round to your place for a gander. Don't tidy up, we just want to see what you're up've seen much worse over at my place! Grab a button from the side bar and add it to your blog as a gadget if you want to be identified as a WOYWW-er - it's not exclusive, and to be honest, was born entirely out of my need to gently send up the celebrity scrappers who have PERFECT work areas....but it's fun!

Tuesday 20 October 2009

These cards, beautifully photographed as usual *smirk*, serve to prove nothing except that I've discovered a file of previously unpublished photos! At least the fault of pointing the camera toward the light is obvious. Because there was light. Today has been wet and gloomy and dark since the get-go and I find it very uninspiring.

Yesterday's article about the Epic Six prompted some confession type revelations about your Cuttlebugs. Oh my. Couple of you haven't exactly used them to capacity and back, huh? Oh I have. I don't use it every day, but I do use it every time I make cards. Not necessarily as a die cutter - it's the embossing facility that I use the most, love it. With vague and not many exceptions, I have most of the the C6 size folders. I can't help it. At least I use them! There was originally, a lot of debate about the plates (shims); I was actually a demonstrator for the wholesaler that brought Cuttlebug to the UK at the time and I met a fair number of people who were horrified by the cracking noise the plates made, and worse, stopped using the thing because they thought the 'scarring' and 'bending' of the plates was a sign of something going wrong. I was able to reassure them with mine:
Ya see, there were (and still are actually) round-the-workshop table discussions about these plates. Lots and lots of us use the same B plate on the top all the time, so that only one of the pair bears the scarring and pitting of die cut use. Many, many - most- wiser people than I turn the 'top plate' each time they use it, so that it hasn't succumbed to continual heavy roller pressure and become a banana plate. I didn't do this, as you can see! For two reasons: I wanted to see how well it would perform at it's most abused - for the want of a better word (remember, as a demonstrator, you need to know all the strengths of your product); it quickly became obvious that turning it over would cause it to snap, so I didn't. The second reason is the revealing one really - I don't consider myself tightly wound about much, and certainly not borderline OCD (you've seen WOYWW, right?!), but I just knew that if I started the plate turn and turn about thing, I'd end up stressing over a system - do I turn it before I use it each time, once at the beginning of a session or once at the end of the session, ready for next time. Aaaghh. I might experience a night terror - waking up in a panic because I did (or didn't) turn it! So off I go with the line of least resistance again. Do nothing. That banana shaped plate is 3 years old, so it was for me, the right choice. I've just retired it from workshop use, but I'm keeping it as a back up!

Monday 19 October 2009

She's all opinion again..

Yep, I'm deluded enough to think you may want my opinion of a new product. Shopkeeper gal took me as a guest to a Retailer's Day at Design Objectives, the home of Anita's, Papermania and a bunch of stamp lines like Forever Friends and Clare Curd's that you may or may not recognise. They are also the distributor here in dear old blighty for QuicKutz and I had a chance to play with their relatively new die cutter, the Epic Six. I'm not aware that there has been an Epic 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or indeed a prequel, and I'm sure a lot of market research was applied before the name was settled on, but - huh? And I'm sorry, but I can't do better than link to it because I can't find a photo online that will allow me to upload it without, no can do. Perhaps it's still a secret!
So it's a die cutter, with a flat bed...not unlike the Cuttlebug of course. In its favour - it's in neutral shades of grey/black. I don't doubt that in less than a year it will be availabe in some designer colour or other, but for now it's sensible. Really, I'd say that QuicKutz waited till everyone had tried all the tricks with the Cuttlebug and then made a machine with all the required refinements built in. For instance; it has a six inch aperture and the shim plates are 12" long. Useful already, QuicKutz certainly have the steal over Provocraft on the long borders. I don't have any, but am guessing that with the wider aperture, (and the right arrangement of shims) the really big Sizzix brand dies will fit through - and of course, QuicKutz must have a range of dies and embossing folders that need this width, or they wouldn't have bothered! It's slightly less compact than the Cuttlebug - in that the bed doesn't fold shut - but to be honest, that probably won't be a primary consideration. In all other respects but one, I found that it performed in just the same way..kinda did what it was meant to and no more, certainly no less though. But - and here's the clincher for me..the crank handle mechanism operates anti clockwise - so you're pushing the plates/stack to deliver them to the roller with one hand and trying to remember that the rolling mechanism works in completely the opposite way that you expect it to. Indeed, utterly counter intuitively. It's an odd experience - a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy - that sort of action where each time, you have to think harder about it than you should need to. Why? I have no idea. If you're left handed and don't mind the decal being on 'the back', it'll work as you expect it to! I'm totally bamboozled by it, can't see any logic for it at all and certainly don't want to work with a tool that catches me out every time I use it. Epic, that ain't.
Do you have one? Is there a logical reason for the crank mechanism, am I missing soemthing? Please let me know!

Friday 16 October 2009

Happy Friday!

I can't show you all of this, it's one for the Card Marathon next month, but I thought the text was a good thing to wish you at a weekend.

My friends Teresa and Necie have been involved in a fund raiser for their local hospice. They did what works best - sold craft stuff and teas. The Ffrog posted on her blog last week about a bit of a marathon card making session to get the stock up for Wednesday's event, so I sent her a wedge of mine to add to the pile. I have to admit to a flicker of pre-disappointment for them; I have been spectacularly unsuccessful at selling cards for Charity. Sad to say my experience has mostly been of the 'well they're a bit over-priced considering they're for charity' or the character that flips through the basket, bending the just seen cards in half whilst working through the rest, and announces that there isn't a 'single one with 'Happy Birthday Tarquin' and so sadly, no sale today - but how lucky that you have time to sit around making cards'. This is one of my all time favourite insults; guaranteed to wind me up! I've developed one line and a smile: "I make time to do the things I want to do".
Now the real point here is the 'over-priced' thing - what is too much? The Ffrog said today that people were buying the cards in threes and more, for £1 and £1.50. She floored me. I would have argued that at £1.50, a card wouldn't sell easily. You do not need to remind me about the cost of any of the materials embellishments or doodads - because I've bought them all - nor do you need to remind me that if you extrapolate it far enough, that £1.50 amounts to about half a pence per hour. I know all of that. But I can rarely get non-crafters to understand that without a long whining explanation (like this!). And I do maintain that if you have to explain it, you've lost the sale. But if you're lucky, the husband will park himself in front of you whilst his wife is busy bending your cards, and he'll share with you the benefit of his lifetime's experience of sending cards. Print them on the computer. They look properly professional then - and you can choose the colours. Yeah. Thanks for that. Step away from my table so that other people can buy a card then. So tell me really - how often and for how much do you sell your cards?
I can't tell you how pleased I am for Teresa and Necie and more importantly, for the Hospice; they raised over £500.

And this leads me on to the give-away that I talked about earlier this week. It wasn't intended to be a hugely philanthropic gesture; I thought it might be a bit of fun, a possible relief to a busy person at a busy time of year. No more, no less. Don't worry about what I should do/am doing/have done for charity, that's between me and my heart. If you are the recipient, feel free to use them, sell them, donate them - just enjoy the doing! So Mr Dunnit picked Ann from my technically excellent draw...we know her as CoventryAnn. Thanks for playing y'all.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Yesterday was fun - your desks - really, they are worth more than the cars parked outside your houses I think! It's Workshop day here in Dunnit land, thought you might like to see what's going on at the shop today. I grandly call this workshop 'Paper Engineering' - never one to miss the chance of hyperbole, it makes it sound as if you won't be able to make the cards without my superior, logical and technically attuned brain. Which as you know, couldn't really be further from the truth! The bulldog card is another version of an acetate one I did yonks ago following a Daring Cardmakers challenge. They directed me to a You Tube video showing how to do this sexy partial cutting thing on the Cuttlebug. So no, this is not original. It's a minefield of a topic, this - but is anything these days? You are certainly kidding yourself if you show your work online and then think it won't be copied (or worse, improved!). This isn't a defence for me using this idea - if it's a tutorial on You Tube, it's kind of a given that it can be shared and copied, huh. When I throw together a Workshop, it's not with 'teaching' in mind. After all, I'm not a teacher, I have no qualifications in rubber and card stock. The Workshop is a chance to pass on some researched ideas, technical stuff possibly, in an environment where other people can have a go. I think my 'job' is to do the sort of product testing and investigation and see what I can come up with. Then at a workshop, the people with no time (or inclination) to try every technique and experiment with each product can simply find out how, and possibly the best way, to use or do something. I mean, how many times have you seen a waterfall card and instructions over the last couple of years? They're everywhere. This card is part of the workshop by request - someone doesn't want the faff of looking it up and working it me, she just wants someone to show her. So I will. If she's recognised that Paper Engineering is Dunnit speak for clever scoring and folding and actually booked herself a place at the workshop!
Oh and Ann, I work downstairs. I just have a flair for photography *cough* - that wall is actually less than a foot high, so the camera angle is um..incredibly clever!
And Ginny - I KNOW how old you are, but I forgive you because I can just about believe that the Mivvi never took Australia by storm: vanilla ice cream dipped in fruit ice lolly -all on a stick. Pineapple was my fave. Some of you youungsters may remember the Split. A copy of the mivvi. This copying thing, happens everywhere!

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Whats on Your Workdesk Wednesday WOYWW

Am delighted that Carmen's household also refer to this 'feature' as WuhOhIhyWuhWuh; it's pretty much called that around here too! In the car this morning, Miss Dunnit reminded me that I had to post my picture - ah, slave to a routine my child! (Not slave enough to pick up her lunch box or phone this morning though. Ooops.)

So all this chatter is by way of a put-off exercise, really this week I've excelled myself: BRACE!

Gawd, even I'm not sure how I managed to do anything on that space yesterday, but actually, I did, as I bragged about it yesterday. Interestingly, the very foreground shows a button with white polka dots on....I was testing my new Signo white pen. Because I have time to sit around doing ridiculous doodling. Perhaps it's good for my mojo. I expect the moments spent contemplating and doodling could very well be considered mojo boosters. I can then justify quite a lot of staring out of the window too! I don't know if there's anything particularly interesting on the desk..just a mess. Maybe you like the look of my smoothie - Innocent - Pineapples Bananas and Coconuts...but with a twist. I add about a third of orange juice to it; makes it slightly more fluid AND it tastes just like a mivvi. Do not leave a comment asking me what a mivvi is. I am going to assume you're all at least my age and know your ice creams.

Also in view is my little calendar...with yesterday's date and wise words on. It's an American calendar with witty and wise words from famous women (some I've never heard of), and some of them I've kept and stuck in haphazard way to the wall.....Monday's among them: "I know why women die in childbirth - it's preferable". My race ahead favourite will appear on a canvas soon, so will come back to this before too long.

Yesterday's pumpkin muffins aren't going to go in the freezer. It's hardly worth freezing what's left, so I'll just have to do some more. I am rather glad that I had the presence of mind to use a plate, otherwise you'd be looking at crumbs too, and I think the desk is bad enough as it is! I used Ree Drummond's (The Pioneer Woman) recipe for the pumpkin puree; if I tell you that it involves an egg and a tin of evaporated milk, you'll understand......even tasteless, forced pumpkin suddenly becomes rich and lush, I can tell you!

Y'all made me laugh again, commenting over yesterday's post. The Jingle card is sooo simple it's embarrassing, alpha stamps by Hero Arts and a piece of scrapbook paper, then a line of little jingly bells. Nothing to it. Actually, that could sum up quite a lot things round here!

Come on then - show us your work surface - we don't mind if it's a desk, the floor, a lap tray, a kitchen counter sewing, cooking, paper crafting - whatever, share with us today. And comment here, link or tell us where to come for a look see. And, don't worry - tidy isn't a bad thing - it's just something I can't do!

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Getting ready...

I know, y'all think I'm well ahead and possibly even looking back at my Christmas preparations. I've posted enough card samples to bore the breeches off you if that's what you're wearing, for sure. However, I'm not ready. Today's title refers actually to A Magnetic Year in A Day; I've started typing up the instructions to go with the page kits....and as I type, the oven is roasting a pumpkin so I can pulp it to make muffins. (After all, it's on Hallowe'en). So I'm feeling a little relieved that the making is over and the packing can begin. Still a long way to go though. So, back to Christmas. Try this for a madness: I hardly ever actually use the cards that I make as workshop samples, even at Christmas when there's a weeny time pressure. I have no idea why.....well I suppose I do, but it's terribly illogical - I'm sick of the sight of them! And possibly somewhere in the back of my mind I guess that translates into not liking them and therefore I don't use them. And just to make the confession complete - the photo shows 2 cards from workshops in 2007!
Anyway, I had an idea about it....this year I'll give them away. They arrive at workshops in cellophane bags so they don't get too much of a bashing, and if they do, I won't include them! Who shall I give 'em to then? Well, I dunno. There are of course, a bunch of people who read this blog but wouldn't want my style of cards, and there's the reader who has nearly finished theirs anyway (isn't there!) so there's no point foisting the cards onto them - after all, that's not really a gift, huh? So that rules out a random 'pick' from the Followers box. It'll be the first week in December before I can bundle them up (after the last workshop), so you'll have to hold your nerve! Never one to make anything too complicated (!I love that!) - leave me a comment. Mr and Miss Dunnit can pick the erm, lucky recipient (they aren't emotionally attached to the comments, see.) I'll give you the rest of the week to decide and comment - don't be too English about the asking though, if you're too subtle, I won't understand!

Monday 12 October 2009

Last One

At last, this is the final full Prom LO that I finished at the Crop a few days ago. They look like a married couple don't they - in that post-church pose the photographers like. And that's why - the big O has the most thoughtful Mum in the world and she suggested this sort of 'hold' would look better than them standing together with arms a dangling. It certainly works, they don't look too gauche, huh.
I've had the paper since May. Struggled to give it up because I really do like it, but am still in the strict 'good talking to' mode when I get precious about such things, and so reluctantly agreed with myself to use it. But it wasn't destined for these photos because it causes me pain that the red in the paper colour and the dominant photo colour don't really match. Weird huh - I can be cool about wonky lines, torn edges, the odd smudge, but these two colours together make my teeth itch. Lucky for me then, that since I pointed out that I'd like the journalling to be hers and handwritten, it's been filed in the album. Which of course means that it won't be journalled. But at least out of sight means non-itchy teeth.

Sunday 11 October 2009

There's always a story...

This is another from the acetate workshop, a nice tag. Well, I like it!

So here's a story - it's about me of course, and will answer a teeny amount of confusion. On UKS and other forums I join, and here of course, and most importantly on the back of cards that I make and subsequently sell, I am Julia Dunnit. Actually, I rarely sell cards anymore, and even more rarely bother to stamp a witty 'handmade' stamp and write my name on the back of each card. Probably the two are connected. But when I do 'create' something daahling, if I have to, I sign it Julia Dunnit. Done it, see? Because I did do it. (are you with me? Hang on, it gets even more yawn inducing.) When I started this blog thingy, it seemed natural to use my forum name because it's kinda my craft persona (sorry, I know how that reads!), my family begged me to protect them from my interweb rambling (actually they threatened me) and hell, I like it - it's a tiny affectation when you compare it to some. Give me a while, I'm sure I can come up with something to prove this point. Way back when I had the shop, there was a transatlantic Dunnit team, we had embroidered aprons so you could tell us apart and it was the start of me and my lovely American sister's dreams to have a shop called Sissy Dunnit's. But it's not my real name; the primary beneficiary named on the his life assurance poilicies is Mrs Julia Budd. Which is why I've changed my Facebook profile to show my real name. Believe it or not - and I hardly can myself - I have friends who don't craft, don't read my blog and certainly don't realise that I'm using a silly made up name. So they're rejecting me out of hand on Facebook; and I can't bear it! No really, it just makes sense doesn't it, if I'm ever going to warm to FB and get something out of it, it might help if the friends I try to hook up with know it's me. Bet you wish you hadn't asked now! But, that's me folks!
And now for something completely different: (yeah, I'm glad too!)
See this cute set of drawers? They're 3 foot tall (93cms to the under forties) from floor to top of cane sidey bit thingys. If you live within a striking distance of me that would make it worth your while, you can have 'em. We could meet half way or summat if you'd like. I'd be easy to spot...I'd be slightly taller than my companion - a three foot set of wicker drawers! Anyway, they're now looking for and free to, a good home.

Friday 9 October 2009

Oh you!

I know that to get comments on a blog, you've got to write about something vaguely worth the effort; but it can be a trial, leaving a comment - I can't tell you how much I appreciate it when my 'Google Account' allows me to comment and then makes me click 3 dozen times and go through 2 sets of word verification so that I can leave the comment. Enhances my blog reading experience no end! And I know how much time gets sucked up by this blopping lark. Take heart though. At least it means you aren't frittering your life away on a cartoon farm over at Facebook. (It's MY opinion on this blog, OK?)
So to get to the point - thank you for the comments. Yesterday, after the workshop, I read your contributions to the conversation and laughed till I cried. Loads of reasons (read them, they're priceless) - Carmen thinking I'd made a really teeny card (she's forgotten the fat-finger syndrome I 'suffer' from), Bethan reminding me that she doesn't know good humour from bad - and Linda of course, worrying that she'll offend YOU by calling ME a lazy tart! Well, obviously I'm not offended, I'd be more upset to hear that you didn't have any opinion of me!
And you see, to prove the lazy point, I'm not posting a picture today. And to prove the tart point? Well, Mr Dunnit may well be in an internet cafe nursing a litre of cold beer whilst reading this, so let's just say I'm spending the evening with a girlfriend, on the town. (Miss Dunnit, at the cinema, but it's not very tarty that, is it?) Ok Mr D, you can stop spraying beer over the screen now.

Thursday 8 October 2009

Thursday is a Workshop day in these parts and rather inevitably, we're doing Christmas cards, and for a change, we're using acetate for a feature and also coz you need to practice with it huh - not least because some of the stuff is a bit fold resistant. I encourage people to treat it very badly and force it do whatever it is they want it to do. Works a charm.
It's also a bit of a *b* to my opinion. Not because of blunt blades or anything, rather - to cut straight...true. But I've decided that might be because my cutter of choice is still a guillotine style. I cannot, for the life of me, get on with a rotary cutter - (before Paige drops off her stool in a clean faint)-I've tried, really I have. However, ultimately, I don't get on with the rotary style because I'm a short fat crafter with arms of the same proportion - with some rotary trimmers, I can't actually reach the other end of the cutting line! And I had Mr Dunnit make my work surfaces at a perfect height. For me. Which rules out the need to stand up every 5 minutes to use a rotary cutter. I am not a crafter what stands. Having looked around a few (!) desks in the past 18 weeks, I'm hoping for some sympathy with this: if it's not within reach or even within line of vision - doesn't get used. Oh yeah. Which includes cutters. And of course, half the time I spend not using something is because it's buried under the last thing I used and 'decided' not to put away because I need to keep it within reach. Following this? Oh, crafting is such a conundrum, interweb. Bet you never thought your gentle paper hobby would end up giving away character traits like idleness and require physical revelations about height and weight! I always said crafting was revealing, and not just from sneak peek to full blown project!

Wednesday 7 October 2009

GG! IIWA? What's on YOUR Wordesk? Wednesday

Well, in a staggering, nay horrendous return to form, here is what faced me this morning! It's slightly better now because I need order to get the blanks and cut-ups ready for a workshop tomorrow. And no, I don't know why I need more than one pair of scissors for snipping and cutting, but I do. The only consistency in scissors is my black tungsten pair that I use without exception for cutting tape and stickies..because they are non stick. It seems no effort to change to these for this purpose, so they must be good! Can you see my mobile phone perched on top of the sellotape dispenser? I had to ring it from the land line this morning because I just couldn't find it. But: this desk is certainly mojo in flow.. I managed to finish the 'cute' cards and I made another for the Christmas card Marathon and I even started work on something for A Magnetic Year in a Day, which is a bit of a miracle too. April to be exact. It's giving me trouble. So my desk is erm, excusable?! I know. Actually, in order to avoid a total tidy up, I'm going to pick out relevant bits, pack up some stamps and got to Fiona's. Her place is probably bigger - imagine the mess we can make there! Oh and, thanks to Sally-Ann for all the correct collectives, but I still maintain those penguins are a stack: well behaved aren't they!
I need some green gems, but other than that, I'm sticking with the stack!

So, what's on YOUR workdesk then huh? Brave doesn't come into it - we just want to have a look. Leave a link or a message here and we'll swing by - might even rummage - but certainly won't tidy!

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Work in Progress

Here's a stack of Penguins. At some stage they'll magically become a Christmas card. Hopefully, a cute one. That's the brief, see - 'Cute Christmas' for a workshop next month. Am trying very hard to get these things done in advance because over at 2 Scrap Ladies, we've announced another event - a Christmas Card Marathon day - and I've suddenly got a few more ideas to wrench out of somewhere!

Monday 5 October 2009

From the archive...and yesterday

Do you ever make up scrapbook pages without a picture? I know that in essence, this page has a 'picture' in that the focus is the pound note, so it wasn't difficult to build a LO around it really; although as you can clearly see, it's not exactly a complicated page! I ask you, how many shades of green?! But what do you do when there's a story to be told or a thing to be recorded but there's no photo? Or how about this - you need to include a page about yourself somewhere (and you DO) - but you don't want to use a photo, or at least, not have one on show. Do you do it, or keep putting it off? Do you photograph something to 'hang' your story on? Or would you have a crack at a picture-less LO? I've tried a couple, and a 12" square piece of paper has never felt so big. Long before I joined UKS, or a crop and saw ideas for creating list type LOs or using an associated picture, I had a go at an 'all about me' page. (If we haven't met and you think I don't come across on this blog as that sort of character, let me assure you - I am that woman - I want it, always, to be all about me). The biggest result of this page was that I learned fast about the value of white space. Like all but the most gifted scrapbookers, my early pages were dedicated to filling space and the non-picture challenge LO ended up with a load of things thrown at it. Not to mention techniques. It's only five years old but already that packaging tape idea isn't holding up too well....technically. The page barely holds up at all really, but how my scrapping has changed isn't really the point - it was bound to. See how I ran out of steam and the centre of the page is empty and blank?! Of course, Ali Edwards or some other gifted celebrity scrapper would probably at this point say that with the five years of technique, knowledge and confidence gained, I should re-visit this page and see what I would do differently. But I can't. And the reasons themselves would make a good LO. I've learned that: I don't re-visit pages, I've got too much forward scrapping to do; I'm not the same person, so the 'honesty' of the page wouldn't be the same (dahling, I sound all arty!); I'm much braver now and would probably use a picture anyway; I can't be bothered. (How arty is that!) Come on then, share with me - would you do a picture-less LO at all and if you would, what's the approach? Have you already done so? Will you share a picture? Will you let the rest of us (me) copy it flagrantly?

Sunday 4 October 2009

For once, the shocking lighting has helped my photography because in good light, I can't really get this image to show up at all! It's the fourth of the White Christmas workshop cards...and apart from showing someone how to use the Cuttlebug to emboss, holds no technique at all. You can just about make out little blobs of Smooch inks and some crystal glitter glue. Very fast, very repeatable, but let's face it, not a ground breaking Christmas card design. It will rather inevitably crop up again before Christmas because I've had a few ideas..if I can make 'em into something!

Yesterday was a Crop day here in sunny but mildly autumnal Ludgershall. We (I) chatted a lot, and I've finally put Prom to bed. Aha. Except that I want Miss Dunnit to journal in a couple of spots and I can't see that happening. She looked at the pages this morning and said that she didn't think they 'needed anything else'. Yeah right.

The plastic sleeve looks horrid when photographed, but the ability to slot into the album the last few, rather repetitive but nonetheless precious photos is great..and of course, I might get some first person journalling done by you know who. You never know! I'm in the habit of journalling as a narrator or conversationally, so I think it's time her Prom pictures had a few more of her thoughts with them, there's plenty of evidence of the event through my eyes.

Friday 2 October 2009

Same old...

Ann raised a valid point for me yesterday. I can come up with a handful of card ideas that could be easily repeatable if you need to semi-mass produce your Christmas cards. But my limit is definitely about 10. Not a great indication of my attention span, huh! Truly though, however easy they are to make, I get bored very quickly. I make about 80 cards for Mr Dunnit's company and they always end up with a variety box - you know the confusing label - 4 each of 20 designs - or something like it. And it's not to showcase my skill (it's only stamping!) it's to stop me getting RPCCS (repetitive Christmas card syndrome); because that makes me lazy and corner cutty and then I hate the cards and myself and oh my goodness a spiral of things happen the end of which you know is filled with guilt, mince pies and more guilt! (The biggest argument for my backing away from Wedding stationery!). And don't you're half way through something that you've repeated a couple of times and you get that lightbulb thing -'oh I could do this, and such and such with this....' and off you go on a fresh line, which is so much better for the creative flow. This little card, cuttlebug a-plenty, was quietly contemplated at the workshop yesterday by The Librarian. She reluctantly admitted that she couldn't really see the attraction of a nearly all-white Christmas card with a VULTURE on it. Can't see it myself. But you begin to understand why I get involved in these things...even an international symbol for peace can reduce me to tears of laughter in the right hands! Joy.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Tree Envy

You know how it is; you want to make a handful of nice Christmas cards, you want to use relatively traditional images and you'd like them (please) to be relatively straightforward so you can produce dozens (in minutes, preferably). Yep. Well, first I had to get over the fact that my much reduced collection of Christmas stamps didn't feature one single Christmas tree. Lordy. So I made a mission of setting this right, and have achieved a pleasing erm, forest, frankly. And the tree you see featured in today's horribly lit photo is the very last one I thought I'd ever buy. It's from the Dee Gruenig range. But surely, I hear you cry, even you Julia, could scribble that with a broad nibbed pen. Yeah. I fell into that trap too - and wasted more minutes than I needed to trying to reproduce it satisfactorily, even once. And I couldn't. Mr Dunnit pointed out that buying the stamp meant that I could reproduce it 8 kerjillion times without using a whole pad of paper, in any colour I liked and, extra Christmassy bonus: Miss Dunnit wouldn't learn even more anti-social vocabulary whilst I struggled with my 'art'. Oh, OK then. So I bought it. This was last year. And this year, I'm still loving this ridiculously simple scribble tree. And I still can't copy it with a pen. How I wish I could even scribble to a standard like this! I've learned my lesson too - if I look at an image and think 'I can probably draw that' - I can't. Just buy the damn stamp.