Tuesday 31 December 2013

Brace yourselves...

There are lists of every kind concerning 2013.  They are dotted in every corner of every genre that the internet offers.  I love a retrospective, but am useless at putting them together, so let me instead recommend some....
Brenda - has joined a link party showcasing their top five favourite Christmas Cards
Elizabeth's last couple of posts are a sweep of 2013
Hels is showing her favourite makes of 2013
Mum's Monkey is doing the last of the year's confectionery reviews...it's a weird one.
Marit has been counting down the top 2000 pieces of art in her Paper World..check it out!

The List book means as much to me as any diary....
And moi?  I'm a list maker of the TO DO variety, and that will not change.  So as to have the appearance of waking up ready and able tomorrow, I've got a calendar and the work diary to sort..  a hot drink is a decent companion, huh.  For me, the Diary is a double edged tool -the best thing is it shows all the potential for accomplishment. The bad thing is the speed at which one can pass right through a year. Ah well, as long as we're still friends, still healthy and still loved...let them.  Happy New Year.

Friday 27 December 2013

A Review. Solicited by flattery.

Oh the vanity! The nice people at Bead and Button Company asked me if I'd like to choose some goodies from their extensive website and review on my (and I quote) 'lovely blog'. Well, you know me. Flattery works. I have to say that so does the product; when you get to their website, you'll probably be thinking as I was  - make a quick overview and browse some stuff, choose some bits and away.  Well, let me tell you - the selection is so amazing that I had a list of a length that Santa would recognise.  I was compelled to keep looking...wow, really, I was envisaging projects that could take me through next year...and the buttons..oh heaven! However, on the basis that when you undertake to do a review it really needs to be done within a polite time frame, I whittled the list down to getting some stash that I knew I could use in the immediate future. It came, with a minimum of fuss and a lot of impact..I've never seen so many beads for so little money, it really felt like a bag of treasure!

As you can see, they don't stick to just beads and buttons...there are products for all sorts of crafting, there are some beautiful reels of ribbon...and oh my, the choices.  Well. Action stations people...I had to use some of them.  I know, I make it sound like a chore! 

I chose the big wooden buttons with this Jacket in mind.  My mother in Law just finished knitting it for me and I love it.  I think the buttons are perfect, and unusually for me, worth the wait.  See, I wanted to have the item before I chose the buttons and when this review opportunity popped up and I exercised grown up patience.  My word, I'm evolving.

The beautiful glass beads were incorporated into jug and pot covers that I made for a couple of great friends. They are both vintage Suzy Homemaker types, so I think they will like them.  I love the weight they give to the cotton, a perfect drape.  The colours are crackled inside the glass - really pretty.  AND, the hole size was utterly consistent...quite important when you're threading them onto multi stranded cotton, and are known to be fabulously impatient with such things.

I also chose some drop shape multicoloured plastic beads (because I couldn't help myself) and incorporated them too.  The small turquoise beads above will be a longer term project..I ordered 2 strands because I thought I may need a few...my goodness, in each case I was staggered by how much you get for the price...although I should add that I knew there would be 100 of the drop beads and just two of the big buttons...because that's what I asked for!  
I am quite carried away by the selections, particularly of buttons.  There are printed, plain, shell, wooden, novelty - you name it.  It's hard not to 'need' lots. Do yourself a favour and set aside twenty minutes to browse the site..you won't be disappointed. It's easy to navigate, all the varieties and departments are cross-referenced for searching and browsing, and each department has the 'view all'  feature which I love; for some reason knowing that I'm browsing loads of pages by number makes me lose the will to er, browse. I've had to bookmark it, for practical purposes of course.   There is a blog too - you can link to it through the site, I'm thinking that running the site means not a lot of time for blogging, and because it's the 21st century, you can connect with the good people at Bead and Button Company through Facebook Twitter and Google+. There's a good shipping policy and clear pricing - for Europe and international too.  And of course, there's a Sale. Might be rude not to visit then, huh! If you do have a little flutter, please show and tell - you might buy something that I need......

Wednesday 25 December 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Christmas Day Edition 238

The children (Miss D and her boyfriend, 20 and 21, respectively) will still be asleep, and so it is true to say that my work desk isn't a desk this Christmas morning.  I am to be found, in my freshly laundered dressing gown flitting about between lounge and dining, clearing up after Christmas Eve jollity and preparing for some present opening. Mr Dunnit will be beavering in the kitchen..we are both good at starting the day early, but separately! Having to walk past this beauty every time I move from room to room is making me happy.  I may well be humming.  Having my lovelies at home for a Christmas at home (we are rarely at home on this day) is such a big treat. And so I think it's OK to show our tree as my workspace this week.

Whatever this time of year means for you, whether you choose to surround yourself with people or play a solo game today, I hope you have a great day.  If it's Christmas for you, I wish you the happiest Christmas.  
Now, if you'd like to join the gentle Christmas party and tell us what you're doing today, I know some of us will be able and delighted to visit for a chat.

Monday 23 December 2013

December does Dunnit

I think it is an accurate title.  I am totally done in by December.  And so looking forward to a few days of friends family and not much else.  So, with the very few 'Dunnit does December' posts in mind, telling of my journey through the month, I thought you may  like to see the results of  FRIDAY afternoon.  Three dozen mince pies, 1 dozen were flaky pastry, for that way lies Mr Dunnit's heart, see.
I wouldn't normally bother to show you such stuff; in our house, baking these is a given in December. But here's the thing; after a friendly exchange on Facebook, I've discovered that some of my international friends think that we're eating little pies made of minced beef.  Oh ah. Argh.  No.  Mincemeat is very different from minced meat.  It's dried fruits - sultanas, currants, glace cherries, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and some suet if you aren't using the vege recipes.  Combined, soaked with something alcoholic..this family favours a teeny splash of brandy and then 'thickened' with some ground almonds.  Some add apple.  Loads of us make it up as we go along, and still more of us buy jars of it ready to spoon into pastry...no harm, no foul.  Just yummy. Which is why, today, MONDAY..I had to make another three dozen.  It would seem that making them an-easy-to-handle size also makes them almost too easy-to-eat!  
As I type, I'm enjoying a mug of fine English Breakfast tea from my lovely Christmas china. I'd like to say that the mince pies were warmed,  put on a plate and lightly dusted with icing sugar prior to being delivered to my desk with the tea.  In reality, I scoffed two while waiting for the kettle to boil......no plate, no ceremony.  Ah well, no manners when alone - go on, you would have done the same!  
And finally with reference to my previous post - thanks for asking - this is a jelly roll. Strips of co-ordinating fabrics..each strip about a metre long and 10cm wide....and you get loads, but I don't know how many! Nor do I know why they are called jelly rolls.  I got mine from New Threads, my local b&m and online quilting store.  It's a fabric wonderland. Helped by the fact that some of the fabrics are from scrapbook paper designers...love that overlap.  

So, if you've got time on this countdown to the big Ho Ho Ho, tell me how your preparations are.  And don't panic..it's going to happen anyway.  And oh - so is the ridiculous WOYWW. Why?  Well, we've kept each other company all year haven't we?  No pressure, just as long as you promise to enjoy the day!

Thursday 19 December 2013

At last....the solution..

Aha - that made you all look closely huh!  The solution I refer to is not, I regret, an earth shattering one. World Peace is simply not within my remit, but I promise, if it was...

Remember this?  Been on my desk, filling slowly, for nearly all of this year.  Although it was useful, it was also largely not what I wanted.  I don't want to sort the buttons..I like the hunt.  I didn't like them being in the jar because even when it was possible to close it, the mechanism was very anti-social.  The spring back re-opening would wither break your thumb or give you heart failure.  Not great.

Then, one summer's day,  I was with the Enthusiastic Educator at the local quilting store.  I picked up a Jelly Roll and told her about the baskets I'd seen on Pinterest, being made from really thick yarns.  Wouldn't it, I said, be fun to use fabric like this.  And there was the idea.  So, in a fit of feeling flush, I bought the Jelly Roll.  I cut each strip in half, which doubled the volume.  And then I crocheted.  With a huge hook - a 12.  It made my hands ache.  I crocheted in the same colour order that the strips were wound in the pack.  (Next time I would change that, but hey, I'm slow on imagination). I did it whilst we were in Spain in October.  It was lovely to sit in the sun and do something other than erm, nothing.

I knew it was going to be my new button basket, I just haven't had time in these last couple months to actually finish it properly.  I felt it should be lined, see..to stop the little buttons straying into the crevices and out of the basket. Yesterday, though, whilst wrapping presents, I found a large ziploc bag.  Perfect.  Now, I have a liner and the added bonus of securing the top if I want to transport my buttons.  Which I occasionally do - to Crop and the like. Not stylish, not really even what I want, but for now, an answer. Because the button jar was overflowing and the button basket was knocking about the house waiting.  Ridiculous.  And last night....when I was making something that needed a button, I didn't tip the contents out.  I just stuck my hand in there and rummaged.  

It's not even full!  I'm a bit smug.  
Even though I got carried away and thought that yesterday was Friday, I'm joining with Annie for Friday Smiles..this may be a smug smile, but hey...it's a smile!

Wednesday 18 December 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 237

There are 'how to' and 'why you should' WOYWW links at the top of the page.  It's all much easier than it reads...have a go!

Now gentle reader, I don't think that I've hesitated to post a desk shot.  Not in 236 weeks. Rather, I revel in being the one that makes your teeth and fngers itch to come over here and tidy up.  It makes me laugh ah ha ha ha to think of all the intakes of breath that my 236 photographs may have caused.  This week then, is no different.  Except, even I'm not laughing.  I too, need - and badly - to establish some order so that I can get on.  I won't whine about the five minutes here and there between everything else - we're all busy.  I won't put the argument about creative genius.  I don't have that burden.  I'm thinking of asking Mr Dunnit to stop asking me to help in the Joinery and let me make a door.  To hang in the doorway between this room and our lounge room.  To replace the one that I made him take off after we put my desk in here, so that I could sort of be in the lounge with him, but at my desk too. I need to hide this from myself, let alone my holiday guests.  If ever there was a time for me to be visited by a Christmas miracle......

It's safe to show - these slightly decorated Cosmos are for my girlfriends.  They will have received them at our Christmas supper on Tuesday evening.  For that is when this photo was taken.  I haven't made them cards. * Insert whiney voice*:  I can't do anymore.  I just can't.
So now sweet friends, show and tell your own desk...horror stories will make me feel very comfortable.  Also, if you comment - please tell me...should we risk #238 next week or postpone?  Madness, I tell ya....

Saturday 14 December 2013

Season's End

Aha..we're all getting ready, and full of anticipation and looking forward to a couple days off (well, that part I truly am).  But Thursday was the real Season end for me.  The Season of Workshops for this year.  Shopkeeper Gal and I have breathed a sigh of relief..we don't recommence Workshops in the shop until the end of January and frankly, the break is important.  Once in a while you need to turn your back on something and not do it to appreciate it.  I don't know if the customers feel that, but I know that the January recess helps me to sort out, figure out and come up with some ideas for new workshops.  See, we alternate fortnightly workshops and so coming up with stuff that doesn't feel stale or 'same old' becomes difficult without a break.  

I see the bells are upside down.: the card is lying flat....but I did catch the glitter effect. Perfection is not an option here! 
There's that age old problem too - if you have the samples in store, to encourage booking and hint at techniques to be used, it can spoil the surprise.  It can even put people off - after all, not everyone can like every card.  It might cause a rush on the stock that you've used and then there's no time left to get more for the workshop. 
I try to put together cards that feature one or two techniques, and also that are able to be simultaneously worked on by two people.  That way sharing, and therefore waiting time, is kept to a minimum; for example, whilst one stamps the other can be die cutting or colouring or whatever.  But this is a real 'try' situation.  Sometimes, the United Nations of Crafting occurs - one will do each persons stamping whilst the other does all the die cutting and then they collate together...it's not wrong, it's certainly not upsetting, but sometimes I think that someone might miss out on the opportunity to try a technique that is as yet unmastered.  Not that there's many of those out there these days.  

So gentle reader...here's where you come in.  if you were coming to one of my Workshops,  what would you like to see on the schedule?  Loosely themed cards, technique rich, technique exploration...name it. Please - chip in. You are an invaluable source of inspiration, and at this end of Season, I'm needing your boost! 
Shopkeeper Gal is listing Anniversary and Men's Cards....I will attempt a Men's cards workshop, somewhere next year, and probably something grunge based....what do you like about and loathe about the card making workshop experience.  I'm very interested.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 236

Because I am lithe and nimble and have an excellent memory for days and dates, I hopped off my stool and photographed my desk late on Tuesday night.  You can tell..it's very dark outside (although that doesn't change after about 4.30pm!) and it's a long shot because there's so little craft work going on.  I'm doing bookwork as you can see - trying to do it as it arrives and needs doing rather than spending the holiday catching up.  We'll see! Doesn't it look horribly untidy.  Oh well.

So as not to disappoint - several of you commented last week at the glimpse of my corner shelves.....here then, in their glory:

My wood mounts.  I love 'em and even in this untidy and pared down state, I will never get rid of any more, not stop opting for them whenever I can!  My clear stamps are in the blue drawer unit that shows just under my desk in the first photo. I don't hate them, but I certainly don't love them.  
So come on then, share your workspaces, share your Christmas craft works and all their glory.  I know you're busy, bit there's time for this.  Really.  Ho Ho Ho.

Monday 9 December 2013

Getting prickly..

Yesterday, in the true spirit of the Season, I hauled my not inconsiderable butt out of bed at the weekday time. Not the Sunday lie-in time of anywhere between 7.30 and 10am.  I grumbled a bit as I dressed for public consumption. (I can easily spend a Sunday in a dressing gown).  I grumbled less as the coffee started to filter through and work its magic, and by the time my chums arrived to whisk me away, I was able to speak and be pleasant.

My two amigas.  Yes we needed the aprons.

Amy, helpfully giving the greenery a perspective!

We were off to The Petal Boutique at Weyhill to make ourselves a Christmas wreath.  I have never done anything involving floristry, apart from pretending to arrange the odd bouquet in a vase.  And I mean odd.  In nearly 29 years, I've had more bouquets from family and friends for birthdays than as reminders of unbounded love from my life partner.  He knows who he is.
Helen, showing us floristry tricks for wiring

Helen's shop is lovely, filled with the scents and colours of floristry and hanging with gorgeous decorations for sale, and some really fab re-purposed and painted furniture.  She's a very stylish gal.  And very patient. She showed, helped and encouraged five of us to make the wreath from the wire frame up..to make sausages of moss, to bind with wire, to feed in the greenery and bind with wire.  To add decorations that are - surprisingly - wired..and finally to add a beautiful bow.  Well, everyone else had a beautiful bow.  I couldn't see why it was so hard to do, so tried myself and hmmm....should have asked for help. What I did do however, is become more relaxed over the course of the morning and therefore more able to be vocal and whiney when the holly stabbed me.  And it did. A lot.  It was really sharp.  But it didn't stop me using it, of course. I had a really lovely morning, and will be signing up for more as next year unfolds.  I'm never going to be a florist, but I like what Helen managed to make me do.  Clever. And I now have a really nice fresh wreath hanging at my door. I even went to the trouble of making sure it wasn't too close to the doorbell so that others don't have to suffer the holly prickles. Really, I'm like that. 

Friday 6 December 2013

Dunnit does December.

Some musings on the whole gift thing...
This is not our current tree..I fear this photo may be several years old....please, I'm not at all tree ready!
I have reached an age. An age at which I need nothing. Mr Dunnit doesn't have to prove his love with grand gestures, I don't have to have masses of presents to reassure myself that I'm loved.  I don't need any more 'stuff' that's for sure. But that doesn't stop me wanting or enjoying gifts, there's still loads of stuff out there that I like!  I am part of an income bracket, or is it a generation, that within reason, operates on the 'see it, want it, buy it' theory.  It wasn't always thus, and I'm not talking about massive acts of wanton extravagance here.  I'm thinking of the odd piece of clothing or the necessary five or six sheets of 12 x 12 or a new set of stamps.  The odd workshop or weekend away with chums..things I want rather than need...costs that many years ago at the beginning of our married life, we wouldn't have considered let alone been able to bear.  I remember getting new underwear or a nightdress for Christmas because I needed them.  This is not a sob story, more an indication of how things have changed.  And how I've changed too. Now, if I find something that I really do want, can justify and actually feel a need for...I get very impatient to have it.  I don't go to ridiculous lengths, just the ends of the earth and back by tea time if I have to.  I ordered some China for Christmas, stuff I've been saving and working for.  The order acknowledgement said it was out of stock and wouldn't be here until December 21st.  Well that's no good is it.  I want to enjoy it all month, starting NOW.  So I told them that I'd have to cancel the order, the delivery time wasn't acceptable and most importantly, if it had shown on the website as out of stock, I wouldn't have ordered it.  I couldn't put it out of my mind, I was disappointed, and wasted another two nights of valuable free time searching the internet for a supplier with stock. Tried really hard to be grown up and forget it.  Then the original company emailed me to say it had arrived in stock...so I bought it and it came. I'm happy now.  Isn't that ridiculous!  Now that I have a complicated work life balance, and now that I have to really make time to create/shop/cook, I fully appreciate every minute put into making, purchasing or even considering gift giving.  On that basis alone, I love every gift.  
I guess I'm not alone.  Share your thoughts why don't ya?

edited to add: Oh and hey..Art Diva needs help and this is fully in the spirit of this particular post,  which is why I offered to add it to the blog...
She's looking for two Stamps by Suzi Blu, second hand is fine, because she fears they are discontinued....'You are Loved' and 'Love is the Whole Point'
Anyone able to help..please comment here or let Sherie know directly!  See - she's emailing the ends of the earth for them, so I know EXACTLY how frustrated she is!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 235

Whoa!  The first Wednesday of December already!  Well, in true form, I'm not ready in the workdesk section of my life.  Indeed, I have a double offering today.  Mr Dunnit snapped me at work..
 Not a desk per se...a door, on a couple trestles.  This is number three of 4.  Priming with a brush.  Because there simply wasnt enough dust free room in the workshop to use the air/spray gun thingy.  Which I'm quite dangerous with.  You know how if a kid has a hose and you call his name, he'll turn the hose on you as he turns around.....yep, that sort of dangerous. 
Meanwhile, late on Wednesday night, my lovely home desk looked like this.

Vaguely tidy. but interestingly..productive.  Yes folks, I've started writing the Christmas cards.  The ones that are done are waiting patiently in the basket at the end of the shot..where the dirty stamps usually live.  You can just see the glittery gel pen that I'd been using and of course, my trusty glasses.  
Not the most fascinating of desks.  But there's normal service on the horizon...after these cards are done, I get to play with some designer papers as part of my unofficial, self indicated place on the Luscious Life Designs DT!
Share your desk, brag about your Christmas preparedness a little, show and tell, please.
Put WOYWW in your post title and link your blog here.  It's fun.  Jingle Bells.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

If T is for Tuesday then C is for Cupboard

I know, my powers of language and spelling..awesome!  
A shelf in my least used Cupboard....the china cabinet...something else I love to collect..these are Wedgewood, to celebrate the Millenium. 
I've been trapped at home by a very gammy knee.  Collateral Laterals damaged doncha know.  I have no idea.  'It doesn't work so well' is the best I can say without boring you to death.  And I got to thinking...instead of staring at my lovely cupboards, I might go through them and be a bit ruthless in the clearing out and a bit precise about some cleaning.  I once had ambition to keep my house like the celebrity crafters do...all white and shiny and beautiful.  But I can't.  It's just not in me. 

The most used cupboard... Not fantastically tidy, but I could locate any of the contents in the dark...which is such a useful skill for crafting!
So Mr Dunnit indulged this fantasy by pretending I was serious and suggested I start with the least used and work my way forward..good idea. He was completely unsurprised by my making of a list...starting with my beautiful china cabinet what he made for me .I do use most of my collected china, for it is of the practical variety - I love the eating and drinking stuff.  Naturally.  So when I get to doing it, that will be a pleasure.  A brief stop in the kitchen where the cupboards are actually pretty good because the stuff turns over well enough.  She thinks.  And then I have wardrobes.  Hmm.  Mr D was surprised that I don't think that my wardrobe is my most used.  It really isn't.  If useage is based on the number of times a day a door is opened and the inside is viewed, it's definitely any one of the cupboards housing my craft stash.  You aren't surprised.  Nor was I.  Won't be doing a lot of clearing out, it wouldn't hurt to tidy.   It's funny isn't it, how these things pop into your head right at the time of year when frankly, you have so much else to do.  It's another procrastination method I think.  Don't worry though, as soon as I can stand without falling over, I'll have forgotten all about it and be off doing real life stuff. 

I think this barely qualifies, but I'm going to link at Elizabeth's for T for Tuesday.