Friday 31 May 2013

Summarise your week missus...?

Amazing.  Thank you to everyone who took part in WOYWW4..I'm still visiting and will be for a while, real life really does get in the way of the old pleasures, huh!

One of my crafting pleasures is conducting the odd workshop at Kraft Crazy as you know, and this week we did the 'Almost One Layer Cards' workshop.  So called because at the time of planning workshops and dates, I just knew that I wouldn't be able to stick to the remit if it was simply 'One Layer Cards'.  And I was right.  
Old (original release I think) Cuttlebug folder.  Still pretty. 

Stamps and papers by Marianne Designs.  

All 'Provance' papers by Graphic 45.  Love 'em.( Don't know if it's a spelling mistake or deliberate...reads badly to me though, have to say!) 

Kaiser Craft, Kanban and free cover stamps.

See what I mean...about as one layer as I can get without making them all the same - as in stamp a background on the card front and collage stamps onto that.  Funny huh.  But, they're all quite different which isn't a bad thing.  The Librarian did three of the four and declared herself pleased, even after I'd pointed out that it really was called ALMOST One Layer to get me out of the cart a bit.  Ah well.  Frankly, if The Librarian is happy, so am I.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

What's On Your Workdesk, Wednesday 208

Welcome one and all, to the 208th time that we've posted pics of our workdesks for each other's entertainment, information, shock value.  THAT'S FOUR YEARS. 4. Count them people - one, two, three, four.  You should be incredibly proud of your staying power. Every Wednesday you surprise me by turning up.  The biggest and most thrilling thing to come out of this, without the need for any scientific survey, is the friendship.  It's there, all the time, new or old, regular or dipping in and out; Deskers are nice people. 

I don't think WOYWW has evolved much over 4 years..the basic 'ethos' is the same, to encourage visitors to have a look at your space and what you're working on.  Now and then there are those that think it's just another advertising medium and forget that they need to tune in to the idea that it's reciprocal and as far as possible, understand that over linking of their products is a huge turn off for those of us genuine deskers.  

What has evolved over 4 years is the difficulty in commenting. Despite having the number higher even than #1 on the list every week, I don't get as many comments as there are links.  This is not a complaint, it's an observation. Commenting is a time consuming job.   The list is long and no-one expects 147 plus visitors; we're all very realistic about the amount of time us busy Deskers really have. The evolution of the tablet and Lord knows how many platforms for writing online have contributed to a massive amount of confusion and difficulty in commenting too.  Disqus and Wordpress insist that you sign up, log in and tell them the colour of your knickers before you can comment.  Google insist on a GMail account for the slightest thing.  Using the iPad is a nightmare for using embedded comments ability to correct typos etc..  and then of course...there's Word Verification.  I understand why it's in use, and am in no position to tell anyone what to do about using it or not using it.  Make no mistake though, it makes commenting harder.  If you aren't getting many comments, perhaps you are one of the Deskers that fall into these 'categories' - constant advertiser, difficult platform or WV user. 

So please, carry on as you were.  And today, if you're taking part in the Anniversary ATC swap, when you add your name to the lInky widget, add a * after your name.  Then look for the next name on the list with a *.  Last person on the list with * sends to the first person on the list with * - somehow that whole circle thing is perfect for this friendly thing.  Leave a comment for the that lovely * person,  and a way to contact you - you need their address, for it is they who will benefit from receiving that ATC which was made on your WORKDESK. Oh my - is that synergy?

Nikki made the Anniversary badges splashed liberally down the page..for sharing.  Please have one if you so desire.  I simply did the old right click and 'save image as' so they are in my photo folders. Enjoy.  Nikki will get a thrill out of seeing them dotted about the www.  Actually, so will I.  It' s lovely to be four.  

Friday 24 May 2013


So a scrapbook LO, just to make the title of the post seem accurate!

*Ahem*  excuse the shouty title, I need your attention.(No change there, then.) Me and Lunch Lady Jan are having a meeting about next weekend's WOYWW Crop.  We would really like to hear from some of you ..there are a handful of gals who suggested at the point of announcement that they would plan to come who haven't yet confirmed or me: - your lunch depends on this! Likewise, if you need driving directions, please email me and I'll send them by return.

As predicted, the hall hire and food charges will be covered by our £10 for the day fee.  Any profit after food costs will go to our chosen charity, the Salisbury Women's Refuge.  We will also be holding a raffle to help boost the donation that we make.  
The lady in charge of hall hire has reminded us that the Central Heating will be switched off and there isn't an over-ride function.  Normally, on the first weekend of June, we wouldn't consider this a problem, huh.  So, we recommend layers.  If it turns out to be the hottest weekend, we can move the tables outside.  I don't expect to be breaking a sweat over that activity!
And another one, because I can!
That lovely Shaz has said that she'll bring along her die collection so that we can cut some shapes to take home.  It includes TH, spellbinders, blah blah.  Bring your own card stock and speak nicely to the writer of this blog - she might cut for you to save your cropping time.
Jan, as you probably know, is crafting for the benefit of charity this year.  One of her current projects is to supply zippered clutch style bags to the hospice, into which she's putting basic toiletries and handy bits. Women who enter the refuge often do so without  even a toothbrush.   If you have new toiletries hanging about in the unwanted gift drawer and feel you could donate them, we will happily take them off you. The same applies if you're a knitter and have odds of ball ends collecting in your baskets - patchwork style knit or crochet blankets are a great idea for the Refuge too, so Jan will use them if you probably aren't going to. Thank you!
If you've been collecting the plastic bottle tops for our Sam, don't forget to bring them. And ask her what they're for, it's quite amazing how much good a quantity of plastic can do.
Have a look at the WOYWW Crop page (link in the top left margin) for other info.  And don't panic.  It's a week tomorrow, 1st June.
Have a super weekend.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 207

If you're in any way affected by the devastating tornado that blew through Oklahama City, please know that you have friends here who will listen and pray and send you strength.  Vicky, let us hear from you, please!

Information about our weekly met up HERE
Information about why next week is special and how to take part in a WOYWW with added benefit HERE

You may want to stand back for this one.  Seriously, even in the slightly late Tuesday light, my desk for Wednesday is a crisis...
It's sheltering unpacked from the tote but not unpacked baskets from last Thursday's workshop, new purchases and magazine catch ups, samples from last Saturday's workshop and the detritus of a session of looking for something.  Something so important that I can't remember what, or why! 
Seriously, there are actually layers to be excavated!  You may like the tin plate sign, I know it's a truth for a lot of you deskers.  But I don't have a cat so I'm going to erm, alter it. The sign that is.  Not the cat that I don't have.  Don't ask me when.  You can see, my plan to do something with the black and white photo of my Brother In Law is no further forward; you're not surprised are you?  One good thing - that photo hides my pile of ATCs for next week anniversary edition of WOYWW.  How ridiculous and fun this all is.
Please join in, it's very easy as explained in the link above (or at left in the margin of this post).  We'll my case, very slowly..this Apprentice-ship thing has me making window boards yesterday and gimme sometime to stop hurting and some strength to stay awake once I sit in my chair!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

A review: Entirely Solicited

The number of times you visit my blog  means that businesses are attracted to it to ask me to give them endorsement type publicity.  It's hugely flattering of course.  Until you read the whole email and realise they've never actually looked past the statsitics; some think that my food and cooking page readers, or those who read my gardening tips would benefit from their products.  So I don't say yes to many, and to be honest, I'm most attracted to the ones that allow or ask me to give something away.  However....this review turns out to be entirely in my own interest. Sorry.  And thank you.
 Get on with it.  As I would by now be shouting. offered me a pair of prescription glasses and a pair of non prescription sunglasses for a bit of publicity.  Well, you  know already that I have glasses on my workdesk, and in my handbag, and on my bedside table..because you know that I am a 'lady' of a certain age.  That age also makes me a bit cynical about these things, so I did actually do a bit of research before deciding that yes, I'd like to take part.  have a HUGE website.  Well, it's probably not HUGE, because it's perfectly navigable..but it shows hundred of pairs of frames in sensible classifications, and better still, they have this fun gadget which allows you to upload a photo of yourself to try the frames on!  Cool.  And very, very silly if you're me and Miss Dunnit.  Loved it.
 I can't pretend that getting my Optical prescription and entering the numbers was difficult; the website makes it all clear and makes allowances for international differences in Prescription (some offer two sets of digits as an answer to one of the questions, for example) so there was never any thought in my mind that I was entering any mis-information that might cost me in the long run.  Although I did stay dubious, I must be entirely honest.  I've never bought prescription anything on line.  Good grief, I've never even bought ahem, a bra lingerie on line for goodness sake, sizing etc being such a gamble.
I can't smile - there was too much else to think about!
So colour me surprised when the delivery came within 5 days of my order submission.  All the way from America. I don't know why, I just assumed that perhaps the the glasses would come from a UK distributor on behalf of, but no..they came super express from the States.  I mean, how cool does that make my eyewear!  
Here's one of the main points though:  the prescription glasses would have been about £40 and the sunglasses more, at about £45 because they're so damn trendy, excluding delivery.  I can't fault them in terms of the prescription and fit.  If you are aren't familiar with buying glasses, let me tell you that this price represents at least 150% less than I last paid on the High Street.  Wow.
Sorry, another miserable face...nice glasses though!
I'm delighted, pleased and most of all surprised by quite how pleased I am, which is a good thing, huh.  Currently are offering free international shipping for orders over $55 and free USA shipping for orders over $39.   Check out the web site when you next need to update your eyewear.  And your desk could look as erm, trendy as mine with my casually discarded designer looking glasses! 

Friday 17 May 2013

Discussion point: Controversy or Sour Grapes...

I've enlarged this card so that you can see the amount of detail and the fact that the detail isn't great.  It was an unmounted plate sent to me as part of the 'test' run for joining a Design Team (DT). Before I started on the stamps that I was sent, I spent about an hour surfing the shop's site, checking what products they sold against what I owned so as not to use anything that would compromise the 'product loading'.  And then I rubbed my hands together with glee and started to stamp.
It caused me great stress.  Despite my twenty years' experience, I could not get this plate to reproduce a decent, or whole image.  This is the only image I managed to turn into a card.... I used a black fine-liner pen to fill in the principal figure legs and face - and note, loads of background is missing.  Frankly, I didn't want to waste expensive mount foam on it - it's not the sort of stamp I'd use again, but I used re-useable cling mount on it, so there was cushioning. For the first time ever, I even stood on the stamp to see if I could distribute my weight evenly enough to get a whole image.  Nope.  
Many, many ruined images and a couple hours of frustration later, I realised that my time was more valuable, my paid for stock was being wasted and I was considering spending more money on EZ Mount - all to create a retail advantage for somebody who doesn't want to pay for this sort of effort.  Way to suddenly remove the pressure - work out that you don't have to do it!  This was an epiphany for me,  my time and precious stash is better spent crafting for my pleasure! 
I sent an email, tactfully explaining my difficulty, and pointing out that it was just the sort of stamp that people bring into a workshop and ask me what they're doing wrong over, and then I put this and a couple of cards I made using other stamps that had been sent for the 'trial' into the post.  Needless to say, I had an email a couple of weeks later saying that I hadn't got a place on the DT.  

What really jiggers me about this experience is that the business concerned has a reputation for selling really great quality stamps, world famous brands.  But the rubber I was sent is clearly not designed by the Brands, and worse, the artwork hasn't been cleaned up enough before being committed to rubber. Even on these cute bees, the width of the line drawings was inconsistent; the heart as you can see, is a much broader line than the bees. In many many cases, I want to scream 'clip art', but that is unproven, so I can't.  Perfectly acceptable if you're using separate stamps or combining brands, but clearly they were on the same 'plate' to be sold as a set.  

Am I nit picking?  Of course I don't think so. I really think that these businesses ride the reputations established by the big brands that they (usually) have exclusive distribution rights for, to produce their own ranges which are in every respect, cheaper.  Maybe because I've been stamping for so long I have become very critical of poor quality and attention to detail on rubber.  I complained and explained to DO Crafts over the same point about 18 months ago.  Happy to say that they acknowledged and listened.  It's clearly not just me, changes come when the manufacturers hear what the consumers do and don't like.
And so to offer some balance - here's a card I made from the same cute bees set, which I think is lovely.  Nice sharp clean image, the detail hasn't filled in, the line work is more or less even and it makes a good image.  Result!

Now I know this post will come across as sour grapes, and there will be loads of people who feel the need to defend their Design Team positions.  No need, I take my hat off to you, time, deadlines and stash - good for you.  It's ME that doesn't need it.  And the rest of the post was about stamp quality..remember that before you get all inflamed, huh!

Wednesday 15 May 2013

WOYWW? (What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday) 206

My life, it's getting close to the fourth anniversary, which is week 208. Check out the sidebar links to pages that explain the what and the why about WOYWW and the anniversary if you want to join in.  Are you ready?  No, nor me.  But it's OK, there's loads of time.  Unless you have some tidying up to do..then it may be a good idea to start on that....check me out:-

Untidy.  Oh yeah.  That's untidy.  I had made two cards.  The second is really what caused all the mess, and I actually will be tidying before I start again at some stage today...this is too much, even for me.  Mostly because I'm down to two pairs of scissors in the little basket at top left, which means I've 'lost' five pairs on my desk enough is enough!!   The strange black and white photo is of my brother in law and chum (unknown) when they were in their 20s and in a deeply heavy rock phase. We found it whilst clearing out some stuff in the Joinery the other day.  It's very damaged, but I'm going to do something with it for him.  At some stage.  Really.  Apart from rapid onset weeds visible on the patio, I don't think there's much that's new there.  You eagle eyed will spot something, no doubt!
So join in won't you.  Read the 'about' page and if it's clear, link here!  Look forward to seeing you!  And don't be surprised if you get the odd visit from people who don't yet have blogs....there are lots of browsers out there - you certainly don't need a blog to be a desk watcher!

Monday 13 May 2013

Men. Cards. Difficulty.

For my Valentine, I made a card that wasn't particularly cute, but perfectly apt and I put a personal message across the front, painstakingly stamped with an alphabet set because there are no commercial stamps available that have the sort of nonsense we say to each other.  On the day, I watched him open it.  He ripped the envelope open, took the card out, opened it and stepped to the window to read what I'd written inside. The he kissed my forehead, thanked me, stood the card on the bookcase and went to work.

And that is how you now understand why I have trouble making cards for men.

They are ever so slightly under appreciated.  What? You say.  He opened it didn't he?  He put it on display didn't he?  Yes and Yes.  But he didn't look at the front at all.  I know this because first of all he definitely should have had something to say about the stupid phrase stamped on it, and (here's the clincher) to fit the phrase on the card, I used a landscape format. He stood it up in portrait format without so much as a second glance.  And there it stayed, the wrong way around until a month later I gave it to him for our anniversary.  He gave me a slightly quizzical look, but did not question it, and believe it or not, stood it on the same bookcase the wrong way around again.  

This is not a bitter and venom filled report, I think it's hilarious really, but also wonder I'd rather buy a card for a chap.  So this Thursday's Cards for Men workshop will be delivered more in hope than expectation that other girls have erm, other types of men!

Friday 10 May 2013

(some) People asked....

You know don't you that my biggest life skill is making any situation all about me.  And you know that having done that, I'm going to write about it here so that you can reinforce my skill by being lovely about me. You didn't know that?  You'll notice it a lot now I've pointed it out.  Lots of you have been incredibly kind about my decision to become an Apprentice in my husband's Joinery.  Yep.  Me and him and lots of work.  

First you plane rough sawn planks till they're smoooooth.  I wear gloves..the edges become pretty sharp.
These are smooth, five metres long and very heavy.....
Then you use the spindle moulder to add a profile to another 5m length that you've previously cut and planed. Not so heavy, but bendy.....
150 metres of the two 'things' produces 8 bags of sawdust from the extractor.  These are 4 feet high and when full, I cannot carry them.  Told you there was a lot of dust!  
So then you have metres and metres of moulding and you join them to the metres and metres of smooth planks.  With glue and a bench vice.  
 I hold the end and take the weight and we feed it into the vice about a foot at a time.  He clamps it tight to the count of three and we move to the next section.  So you see what I mean when I say some of this is repetitive!

Now in the best traditions, I need you to understand that this Apprenticeship is entirely an  act of selfishness.  We are lucky enough to have a lot of work.  When this happens, Mr Dunnit gets a panic on and works seven days a week.  I don't see him, he's shattered all the time and there seems no end to it.  So I figure if I can help with it, I'll see more of him in the day time, and he'll be able to have at least one day off each weekend.  So far so good.  Win win. For ME.  See?  I rest MY case.  And feel free to ask me if you need advice to manipulate the attention in any situation.  As I said, it's my best skill. 

Wednesday 8 May 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 205

Only 3 weeks till the anniversary WOYWW!  Ridiculous.  Here's how to join in with WOYWW and here's how to join in on the anniversary week.

This means too that it's only 3-and-a-half weeks to the WOYWW Crop.  We are arriving at that moment when we need to think about numbers for food planning.  We'd be very grateful if you would now commit...if you're definitely coming, please let us know.  We already know that including lunch the charge will not be more than £10 per head.  There's an information page here.

Meanwhile, despite my new job (!), I have at least got as far as unpacking a little casual shopping.   When I say casual, I mean guilt-laden-but-that-didn't-stop-me and when I say little, I haven't bothered photographing the pile of 39 sheets of 12 x12 Core'dinations and papers that also came home with me.  Yikes.  But these stamps and papers were there and I was frightened that someone else would buy them and then I'd want them even more.  This may only make sense to you if you are the middle child.  It's the only excuse I can muster.  Oh my life, I uploaded the photo and it reminded me about the buttons too!  Ah well, I needed them, I'm perfectly sure.  And look, my mini Xyron came out to play!  Naturally I was looking for something else, but this now sits in my 'sticky' arsenal.  At least till the cartridge runs out!
Show us do what you're up to at your current workdesk.  We're interested.  Upload to a post with WOYWW in the title on your blog and link your blog here, we want to visit. I thank you.

Monday 6 May 2013

The Apprentice

You read, don't you, about people who experience a change in their circumstances that utterly alters their lives.  well, here's a brief tale....
Whilst on holiday, and because we are self employed, Mr Dunnit and I talked a lot about business, costing and production.  It has always been apparent to me that I have the sweet side of the Partnership - sales, book keeping, fun deliveries in the big white van...sitting on my butt looking busy. 
We talked about hiring a semi skilled operative.  Loads of pro, loads more cons.  The workshop is in a farm building on his parent's land.  There are problems like no rest room...(alright for him, he uses his Mum and Dad's home for tea breaks and rest breaks...but we can't ask them to accomodate others, huh!).  So I had a life changing idea.  Anything I could do?  I know that it's physically strenuous and very very skilled, so you'll understand that I was a bit nervous.  Well.  Colour me surprised.  He took me up on the offer and we've 'worked together' for about seven days out of the last ten or so. From his point of view, it's another body to help with the repetitive and mundane parts of the job.  From my point of view, it's exercise and a lot of it!  Oh, and dust and not a small amount of it.  I've got safety goggles, ear defenders, gloves and a mask.  Glamorous it ain't.
 But so far, I'm loving it.  The noise is amazing..we don't talk once the extractor is turned on.  There's some hand signalling if I make a mistake or don't understand...but there's no point talking (shouting).  With a mask on and ear defenders, no chance of hearing or lip reading.  I like using the mega big band saw and the very frightening circular saw.  Last week I used the spindle moulder to help make mouldings to pin around glazed panels on loads of doors that we had made earlier!  It's like big time crafting with a genuine result.  No procrastinating in his workshop I can tell you.  I might be allowed to take a few photos next week.  Actually I was allowed last week, but I was so damn tired I kept forgetting.  I'm going to assume that I'll be fractionally less tired this week on the basis that I'm getting used to it.  Ask me on Wednesday; if my desk remains untouched, we know there's a problem!

Friday 3 May 2013

Facts of Life: Laundry

I was a bit surprised by the amount of interest over the tins on my desk on Wednesday.  Then I remembered that it was because you thought I was going to alter them.  Aha. No. 
I covered up the printed bit that said coffee and sugar on each respectively.  As you can see, I had already done the same on a larger one that was originally printed 'dishwasher tablets' that I got as a total bargain.   And then I felt a bit guilty about the lack of effort and thought you'd probably want a little more from me.  So I cheered them up a bit.  They are still tins for use in my laundry room  And indeed, they are already in use.  My 'room' is the width of the washing machine and sits between the bedroom and bathroom upstairs.  It is not grand, but I do have to look at it every day, so I decided to do away with ugly. And I do love the retro tinware that's suddenly so available.  After all, as a crafter, storage is the next hobby!

 I'm pretty sure you weren't expecting this sort of detail though.  I know that over time, I will get used to knowing exactly what is in which tin.  But what about that glorious day Lord, when persons other than me put a load on to wash?  How confusing will they find it, and worse, will they have to ask or ring me?  Or even worse, guess?!  So, I labelled them..coupla buttons, Stazon and a mini alphabet.  Sorted. And my blood pressure returns to normal control freak levels.

Now, I just need to sort out the liquids.....and get my life back!  I'm linking this to Annie's Friday Smile...because frankly, it's the sort of thing that makes me smile about other people.  I'm turning into Suzy Home-maker!
Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday 1 May 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 204

204!  Good grief already.  So how to join in HERE, how to join in on the anniversary HERE.
And HERE is my shambles.

....the tins are waiting for strips of scrapbook paper and possibly some ric-rac before they make their way into my *cough* laundry room.  They will serve as the pretty part of using stain removal powder.  The little blocks of wood just obscured I think, by the button jar, which is out of position for unknown reasons, are waste pieces that we're using for ATC making at a workshop tomorrow.  These little pieces were a lesson in using a professional sanding drum...honestly, you touch the wood to it and it either flies off in a dangerous and projectile manner, or (worse) in the time it takes to blink, the wood is sanded to within a nat's moustache of your fingerprint location.  Scarey.  But somehow, insanely, quite fun!
Irony is awash over my desk, I jid you not.  The sight of it causes Brenda to tut and sometimes I fear, faint.  She has been known to tick me off about it.  But today's mess is entirely her fault.  See, I spent allocated clearing up time going out to meet her.  How great that was.  You will read about it...elsewhere for now! me up with your tidy and organised work spaces why don't you.  Post a photo of your current work and surface, put WOYWW in the title and link here.  We'll be round.  It's not like sending the boys round...and nor, I guarantee, is it anything like getting a cleaner in!