Monday 31 October 2011

Now THIS is scary....

I think I'm experiencing card-maker's block.  For some time now, I've felt as though every card I make has required terrific effort for not much result, and that the time each card takes is well, ridiculous.  Yesterday, I had  announced a set-aside. As near a whole day at my  desk as possible - to finish a handful of cards for the Card Marathon event, to make a fourth card sample for this week's workshop and to get back to my Christmas present crafting.  Miss Dunnit was away at the nerdy Anime convention and Mr Dunnit had a new toy to install at his workshop.  Fait accompli, mes amis, non?  Big fat NON. 

It took me all morning to wrench out one finished, half decent card; the waste in cut up paper and discarded everything was frightening.  So, learning from my own experience, I changed tack and did something else.  Stayed creative - made up a loaf of bread to prove and asked Mr Dunnit to come home and distract me.  OOOH!  We watched some of the Grand Prix.  I know distraction when I need it.  Poor Mark...if it was up to me, you'd be first.  Always. I got the germ of an idea, so went back to my desk.  Cranked out one more card all afternoon.  I love rubber stamps and I love playing with the papers.  There's no part of any of it that I don't like.  Perhaps I need to stop doing all of this 'for' something - a workshop, an event, a challenge...and just do it to please myself now and then.  I thought it was the same thing, but perhaps it isn't.  That's a scary revelation, believe me.  
So into distraction mode I get as the evening darkens and Strictly Come Dancing shows up on the TV again. Then I hit on an idea and have to do it.  I can't decide between Gold or Diamond Glamour dust, so I do one card with each product.  Relatively satisfied, I leave the cards strewn with glitter whilst the glue dries.  And later, after Miss Dunnit has returned and my nest is full and the clock tells me to go to bed...I knock the excess glitter off the first card and into the tidy try for funnelling back into the appropriate jar.  It's a thing I've done a million times. Which probably explains why I then did exactly the same with the second card.  And now I have diamond Glamour Dust and gold Glamour dust in a mixed heap.  Not whole bottles of it, which I guess is some consolation.  I think it's time for a rest.  Familiarity breeds contempt, blah blah blah; and I'm scared that if it goes on like this, I won't want to make cards any more.  And then what?  I'd probably have to tidy up in here and get a real job.
Told you it was a scary story.

Saturday 29 October 2011

How do YOU do it

Another of my calendar pages....2012 is going to be colourful!

Maggie asked only this week, how I do it.  Keep up with the blog, internet browsing, the bl***y sewing and all the normal stuff of life.  Well, the answer is truly - I don't.  My home is by no means a stinking steaming pit of unwashed and neglected anything, but since the internet arrived Chez Dunnit, it's fair to say that my housework is superficial and the deep cleaning like windows and the back of cupboards....well, happens a lot less than it ever did when I did normal work in a real office and didn't blog! 
Most of you do more than me. And those of you that work as well as do all this - you definitely do more than me! I'm definitely a one-job-at-a-time-gal in terms of coping and also in terms of satisfaction on the finished job.  If I have sewing or a book to read - I tend to do that.  To the exception of doing anything else.  Certainly this means that I don't read a lot until we're on holiday, and I tend to not so any sewing unless it's costumes these days - because not being a natural multi tasker is frustrating!   I still cook and hoover and shop and blah, but those are a given aren't they.  So much so that despite doing these things, we don't 'count' them towards our daily achievements.  I'm a fan of routine - it helps me to achieve more than the daily chores...for example, I chore and do Pennant Joinery work every day, and I would like to spend a couple of hours crafting in one way or another every day.  Luxury.  Doesn't work like that but it sounds a good routine to be in.  It doesn't work like that because we're all struck by moods.  And usually, the mood to do something is compelling.  I mean, here I am this morning because I'm just not in the mood for my normal Saturday chores.  (Ironing and baking, if you want to know, I like to be Suzie Homemaker at the weekends.) I'm no celebrity crafter  - I don't have house or child help (I'm the first to say have help if you can and want it) and I don't have deadlines that involve publishing or pay days, so my motivation is different. My motivation for housework begins and ends with guilt.  Poor Mr Dunnit slaves away and the least I can do is have a decent home and meal at the ready to encourage him back after a day at the grindstone.  My motivation for crafting - pleasure.  Of course.  And it would seem that my motivation for blogging is to mislead people about my apparently busy life!

Wednesday 26 October 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 125

Not what, but who.  Well, not actually on my desk either - she was unimpressed enough at being photographed, but got less co-operative when I suggested she hopped onto the desk so I could remain faithful to the title of my post.  So here is Miss Dunnit in bad light (taken last night...she won't get up early for you, but you know that!).  Bad light - unavoidable, but hmmmm...a very untidy craft space.  Considering I've been busy making a mess with threads and fabrics elsewhere.
So there's another costume nearly done.  Now I need to get on with paper stuff. Need and want.  The ideas aren't fast flowing but my goodness, dates are approaching! 
Show us all what you're up to on your surface of choice then - upload a pic to your blog, and link your blog post here.  Easy and free - would be better all round if your post actually was a WOYWW and not too obviously a mahoosive advertising campaign.  Ta.

Monday 24 October 2011

Thank you! I think.

So this is from my good friend- y'all know her as Lunch Lady Jan.

I unwrapped it and laughed. And then read it again. And frowned. Which of course made LLJ laugh more. Then Mr D laughed at it, nodding, as if there was something appropriate therein. And I totally see it now, it's such a sweet compliment. Really, interrupt me anytime. I'm totally OK about it.
You will not hear me chuntering, nor, I hope, would I make you feel unwelcome.
But you might find a blue tack version of LLJ. And it might have pins stuck in the butt.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday 20 October 2011

I'm really doing it!

You know how I often talk about pushing a deadline? I admit it, I do.  But I don't do it to the point of absurdity; I can't live on the edge of my seat, it's too much for me! Here's a peek at one of the cards I've made for the Card Marathon next month.  It makes me feel important, posting a peek.  All DT-ish and secretive! I wouldn't usually - I just wait till after the event..after all, there's not a lot of point in a portion.  Well there is, in loads of other parts of our lives, I realise.  Like food.  A portion of food indicates that you have a control over yourself and that you recognise your needs and are a grown up about certain foods.  Note the use of the subject there: you.  Not I. Digression, sorry.  
Anyway, in my case,  a sneak peek/portion of a card serves only to remind me that I still have erm, a few cards to come up with -  and also may reassure Scrap Lady ally that my half of the job is more a work in progress than just being talked about.  Sure it is.  I'm typing, not talking. 

Wednesday 19 October 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 124

So yesterday morning, I was putting off getting back to the sewing.  It's a right old conundrum - I want to get it done and out of the way, I can't face the difficult bits, I need to wait till the sun has moved around the house a bit to warm the conservatory enough for me to actually consider sitting in there and oh yeah, I have to do it in daylight, my eyesight just won't take the small daylight lamp's heroic efforts at spotlighting the dining table.  SO what to do instead?  Tidy up a bit.  I was going to sort through the scrap boxes and then hit on an idea to clear the corner of the worktop and put the boxes there.  This will buy loads of room for the desk.  And some more stash for sale too.  (There's a link, top right).
It took a ridiculous amount of time and I didn't get to the sewing until after lunch.  But this morning, look - even though the scrap boxes are still hideous, they are off the desk and it looks slightly less cluttered and for once, you get a pic of the whole desk!  The cocktail sticks at front are waiting to go back in the cake decorating tin - I needed three for next year's calendars.  Everything else sort of belongs there.  What's missing is something currently being worked on.  I plan to correct that this morning...I have some pressing Card Marathon creations to get on with, so that's my plan before the sewing needs to be attacked!  My word, I'm in danger of multi tasking!

So what are you up to on your work surface of choice then?  Upload a pic to your blog and link it here, we'd love to swing by for a looksee.  That will include me this week, promise!

Monday 17 October 2011

Wobbly Crash

It didn't start well.  Monday, that is.  As you can see, my favourite mug crashed out of my life and forced me to clean the kitchen floor.  In my nightie.  It was chilly this morning . And then I had to face another challenge-with-a-deadline. I say it like that because apart from the work on my Christmas preparation manifesto, everything appears to have an earlier deadline.  Who knew so much was going on between now and Christmas!  Miss Dunnit is off to another Manga Cosplay convention at Docklands in a couple of weeks.  And finally we've found fabric for the outfit.  It's hard to find bright yellow cotton in the autumn...we went to three shops in two cities.  As it needs over 5 metres, I'm delighted to say it was on sale.  Here are the adapted sleeves.

No, not a jester - its the sleeves of a kimono.  See, Manga is all about Japanese animation and characters from loads of stories.  Miss Dunnit and her group of five have settled on original Pokemon for this year's theme.  Yep.  And to 'humanise' the Pokemon and come up with costumes they can actually make (and wear), we've messed about with a kimono pattern.  Help me please...I can sew most things, but I need a pattern - these adaptations are a killer for my very little brain - I get stuck in and then my confidence wobbles and I think I'm doing it wrong and - oh, you get the picture!  Tomorrow- the actual kimono - it looks much more straightforward than adapting the sleeves. I had the idea of doing the hem in this pointy fashion as well.  But since I started on this at eleven this morning, and I've only managed to complete the sleeves, I'm keeping  quiet about that idea.  You'd probably want to know why I'm sewing the pointy bits and thinking about a pointy hem, in terms of a 'humanised Pokemon' character.  Well, I would tell you.  But I can't remember the name of the character.  I can't even remember if these pointy bits are actually part of the character's look, or representative.  Aren't I an interested Mummy?!
Ah well, in keeping with the way I choose papers, at least I'm attracted to the colour - acres of this yellow spread all over the table is a very cheerful sight.  Makes up for the wobbly crash type start to my day.

Friday 14 October 2011

So how do you...?

Some of you may know that my extremely clever sister Stephanie did an extremely clever thing when she teamed up with Dori to form a design studio which they call Luscious Life Studios. Of course, I try to visit their blog whenever they post - it keeps me in the front and centre of their minds for when they start releasing designs for DT work!!  This week they've posted the picture above.  From a range of papers previously shown, called Lily , but the colours have been changed.  Same pattern, different palette.  Now these girls design with all sorts of applications in mind - phone covers, fabrics, wallpaper, craft papers.  I get excited about the possibilities for scrapbook papers.  And 'Lily' really did it for me. I commented that I thought we (scrapbookers) probably went for colour on the page first when choosing papers.  But I've thought about it quite a lot and I'm not sure I do.  Although I think for me, it is finally all about colour....I think I buy my papers because I like the pattern/design/styles first.  There was once a time when I would approach a rack of papers with photos in hand and try to match something in the photo to something about the paper...and I ended up with papers I didn't particularly like, but that seemed to 'work'.  Well I grew out of that.  Quite quickly.  These days, I buy papers because I like them and if I like them enough, I MAKE them work for my photos! 
Yesterday, I tested myself.  It's hard to tell...I approach the racks of paper and no doubt, am drawn in by the colours first....then I pull out the sheet of attractive colour and decide immediately that the pattern is or isn't for me. And colour of course, is influenced by mood, so it could be a changeable thing on a different day....I no longer consider whether the pattern is or isn't suitable for a particular photo.  Although this is a slight generalisation - if I'm planning a single theme mini album or something, then I do...but sometimes the theme becomes a single thread of colour or a design element that I use throughout.
Do you buy it because you like it and put it into 'stock' or do you buy it and use it because it's perfect for what you're planning to do?  I can say yes to almost immediate use for about 10% of my paper purchases.  Not a good figure when you consider the amount of paper I have in 'stock'! Tricky this huh.  I should tell Dori that it's all entirely personal actually, and if they thought I might make a good test model for market research purposes, they were wrong. But I'd rather not admit it, they'll work it out eventually! 

So, how do you choose? Fabric, papers, whatever it is....what is it that pulls you in?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 123

It's dark.  The state of my desk has nothing to do with the colour of the light, but goes some way to explaining why I'm crafting in the dark.  The last two days have been devoted to real work and real family matters and so this has just been a 'make-it' zone.  That is to say, I know I don't often tidy as I go, but this is very definitely a 'do a bit, leave it, do a bit more in ten minutes' scene.  There's evidence of Christmas cards, a CJ for which I'm honoured to have been asked to make an entry - it's Morti's.  There's a lot of gold embossing powder on the loose - the sign of defiance I think, for any family member who thinks it will be OK to open the window over my desk!  Three rolls of glue dots, teeny flat, large flat and large blob...very useful for the creation of the flowers - you can just see some of them in red, awaiting the moment of curl.  This shot also gives you a small taste of my still to be tamed plain scraps box.  It's not a losing battle particularly, but my mojo type priorities are definitely elsewhere!

Join the fun then, expose your desk to scrutiny....or your work area.  Show us what you're doing and what you're doing it on.  Keep your advertising to the less blatant please; if you link here, perhaps consider putting your desk shot as the first part of your article.  You'll get more visitors!  

Monday 10 October 2011

What is it - eighty something days..?

This is a 'page' from an album of my niece's life: I give her Mum a handful of 'pages' each Christmas
The thing about deciding to do something hand made for a Christmas present is that every time I set foot into anything vaguely resembling a shop, I get a hundred ideas for things that I could buy my intended recipient.  And that's very frustrating.  
Add to that:  a handful of these persons have birthdays between now and Christmas too - it would be really easy to cave in and just buy something.  
Add to that:  the inescapable feeling that giving a handmade gift is probably only fully appreciated by people who hand make themselves.  It might feel a bit 'cheap', although I know it's not. 
Add to that:   have you seen the list of people I've decided to erm, 'bless' with  a home made gift this Christmas?  It's, well, ambitious.  
Add to that:  I've seen several tickers on other blogs that count down the days.  I could so easily wind myself up into a hysterical fat blob. 
Instead, I thought I'd share my coping mechanism
1. Make, whilst in the mood, whilst the going is good.  
2. Make and finish one thing at a time..midnight on the 24th December is not a time reserved for frantic finishing and crappy wrapping.  No, it ISN'T.
3.  Set a reasonable, seasonal deadline to finish the makes.  Mine is December 15. Then, I shall gracefully (!) accept if I've failed to finish and trot out to buy gifts where needed, and still have time to wrap them.  
4.  Do not get silly about this.  Do not make loads of stuff and then lose your nerve and decide against giving any of it away.  To this end, I recommend wrapping as soon as possible after finishing!

So how does that sound - my manifesto?  Simple and workable.  I hope.  I intend.  It's safe to share here because most intended recipients aren't blog readers.  Don't actually hold your breath,  but you know - watch this space.  I'll not be able to resist showing off if the going remains good!

Sunday 9 October 2011

Self publicity or an FYI? You decide!

If you find yourself interested and want to book, or a booking form, or more info, email me through the link on the right bar.  Easy. Thank you!
Christmas Card Marathon
Saturday 12th November 2011
Tidworth, Hants
10am to 4pm
£40 per person

We’re happy to announce another Marathon card making session in our usual format: we’ll supply everything you need - sample to copy, instructions, papers, glitters, stamps, blah - to make a bunch of Christmas cards (one of each – about 25 if you do them all!).   We’ll give you written instructions and be lurking to provide commentary and beverages, and there’ll be a lovely home-made lunch too, courtesy of Lunch Lady Jan, of course!
Booking is essential. There is an upper limit too, so don’t delay if you want to come with a bunch of friends.  We'd like a £10 deposit per person with your booking; if you want to, you can make an interim payment. Either way, any balance will be payable on the day, at the door.  Payments can be made via Paypal or by cheque or cash of course. Once you've booked your spot, we'll confirm, and by email provide you with further details - route directions, what to bring.
Please read the small print:
- your deposit is not automatically refundable. If we know in advance that you can't come, we will do our best to fill your space and therefore return your deposit. (7 days in advance, minimum)
- Your deposit can be transferred to benefit another attendee if you give us notice that you aren't coming. (7 days notice, minimum)
- Your deposit is entirely safe and 'ring-fenced'. We will not be using it to buy resources or pay costs in advance. In the unlikely event that we have to cancel the day, your deposit will be refunded within 48 hours of our cancellation announcement.

Keep an eye on the website:

Friday 7 October 2011

Well, I'm ready.

And you don't hear me say that too often.  Well, if you do, usually I'm telling a fib.  I may not be ready for Christmas - indeed, I'm not even ready for supper this evening, but I'm ready for 2012. I've finished my calendar, and no doubt will bore you witless with pictures of it as we progress to and through 2012.
As you can see, some of the pages are remarkably simple.  Do you like the way I tease the OCD amongst us by hanging the calendar at a very jaunty angle AND off the edge of the page...and worse, the stencilly thing doesn't line up properly.  Oh my.  Are your teeth itching yet?  I like the calendar at an angle.  See, I attach it with magnets inside a frame  with a steel back that Mr D made.  And the frame hangs on the wall in the hall.  And it's a very convenient angle at which to write when you're leaning on the wall.  With a phone in the crook of your neck. 
Annnnnd of course there's a reason for it being finished before any other thing that needs to be done before the end of the year - this is the first of a few that will be presents, and there's the small matter of Jan bringing her friend Sue over tomorrow for a play date that kinda includes making a calendar!  Ah I hear you cheering, a REAL reason...nothing to do with being uber organised at all.  No.  Of course not!

Have a marvellous weekend y'all.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 122

What ho WOYWWers; this is my desk after my day off..I haven't been near it at all for a day, in an attempt to restore mojo. Had a nice morning in Winchester, and had coffee and lunch at the Cathedral Refectory with Jan and Chrissie (you  know her - half of the Less is More Challenge blog).  Yeah?  Told you. 

Horrible light,  but hey, it's that time of year. You can see abandoned glasses, tray of little pots of glitter and half hearted attempt at a 'contemporary' Christmas card.  Unusually for me, you can see only 2 pairs of scissors (just) and the new acrylic drawers perched right there in front of me.  Jan asked me if I'd like them or could I re-home them.  I decided to stick them on my desk for a while, see if I had a use.....that's them absorbed then, thank you LLJ!  

Maggie (Silvercrafter) won the draw for the book following the post: A review, entirely Solicited. It wasn't a technical or scientific draw, and there's not even a bunch of strips of paper in a bowl to photo and show you.  Here's the scoop:  I numbered the list of names.  Then I shouted to Mr Dunnit 'Pick a number between 1 and 23'.  He gave me the look.  You know the one that says 'you're a nutter, so I'm not even going to bother to ask'.  And then he said 'Fourteen'.  And Maggie 's name was in space number 14.  That's how it happened.  
Edit: OMGee, had to come back and tell you - the counter says this is the 600th post..! My word, I've had a lot to say!

Show us what you're doing this cool autumnal day then.  Photo your desk, upload it to your blog and link it here.  Lots of us will visit.  This week, for a change, I'm going to start in the higher seems fair to me.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Essential Days Out

Thank you, Enthusiastic Educator.
The weather has been glorious.  If you live where it has been glorious, already you're sick of hearing it.  If you live in the Isles or Highlands, it has been slightly less glorious, indeed, liquid.  And I'm sorry about that. Of course if I had control, things would be fair and equal.  So I'm guessing that the Mojo going away on holiday is probably good weather related.  Greater crafters than myself (Hels Sheridan, no less) are Mojo-less (well, she claims to be the judge!).  I know I am.  I've stalked a the blogs of some who live in Scotland and discover friends practically churning out projects and cards.  I have deadlines that are making me feel a bit icky in my tummy, and still yesterday, only managed one and a half cards.  You have to concur -  in the open window whilst gently erm, glowing in the sunshine, making a Christmas Card is quite tough.  No, really tough. So maybe there is a slightly skewed equality to this weather after all.     Today I'm going to do what I should have done yesterday - jack it in - leave the desk and go do something else.  It might even work.  

Saturday 1 October 2011

Points of Inpsiration 3.

These are fat quarters; photos by the Important G, who is Jan's husband. Aren't they lovely?  You may have seen them before on Jan's blog; we were in the same shop, on the same holiday together, see.  Each time I page through that file of photos (which is relatively regularly, it was a fun weekend) I stop at these two pictures.  No doubt, as much as I'm beginning to understand and like the seven shades of wee wee style of the Holtzians, and as pretty as I find the white bases and pastel colours that the cutie school prefer, my heart lies with big colour.   And so these pictures make me happy.  And that is enough to make me want to pick up a piece of paper and do something creative. 

Have a lovely, sun filled, colourful weekend.