Wednesday 28 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk, Wednesday 422

Well gentle Desker, this week is the biggest treat. You know when you read my blog on a Wednesday and comment and link your own blog and we visit and you're familiar with the names and we think of ourselves as a community and we (I) love that? Well, brace yourselves....there are people reading watching admiring and learning from your desks who don't blog themselves so don't link up. It never occurred to me that there would be readers I didn't know.  Then Kathy made contact because she read that we were going to be in Idaho and we should meet because she's been reading the blog (at least the Wednesday portion) for about three years! Well colour me thrilled. And she and her lovely husband ONLY live five hours from Eagle, Idaho, so it's almost a certain meeting!
Turns out she was right. Once we got our heads around the distances involved in touring this country, we arranged to meet half way. And I managed to talk so much that to shut me up, Kathy agreed to let me use one of her photos as my desk of the day...behold....
Now let's face it, that is one interesting shot. I have seen others. Kathy has a genius way to store clear stamps. she's a Sheena Douglas fan and has all of her kit.....and of course, she gave me gifts. Which I will share when I'm over the generosity. ILl also be telling you more about our lovely meeting. standby.
Meanwhile, please share your desks and current makes...I particularly, need to come back down to Brisitsh earth and resume my procrastinating!

Sunday 25 June 2017

American hospitality. An art.

Of course, the hospitality at my lovely Sissy's house is a given, it's lovely to be at home with someone that was raised the same way...there are echoes, see; the arrangement of crockery in cupboards, stuff in bathrooms and such. When I'm looking for something domestic, I don't really have to think twice, it'll be where it was when we all lived under our parents' roof. 

Breakfast on the road....this one at Denny's....included the 'pudding'!

The hospitality we have experienced when at large here is just incredible. The warmth and interest is genuine, from state to state. Whether we're fumbling around at a gas station, trying to work out how to get the nozzle to actually deliver the fuel at a pre-pay pump (put the nozzle in the car tank thingy and then lift the entire nozzle cradle up), or whether we're the odd couple that want to sit in a hot cocktail lounge and sip iced water whilst watching Jeopardy, we have been helped , indulged even, with warmth and a smile. Maybe sometimes the smile is because they think it's hilarious, but it doesn't matter. It is hilarious, and a mutual laugh is the best introduction, don't you think! 

Part of Lake Powell, from that balcony.

One young woman at Lake Powell visitor centre asked me to stop saying thank you so often because she was sick of hearing herself say 'you're welcome'! I get it, but when someone is prepared to jog across a huuuuge balcony without much shade just to check that your iced water is alright for you, you have to say thank you, huh. I know that a good tip is a great motivation, I'm not so naive to think that in some cases, it's just about the job. And let's take a minute here to say, hey...America, pay your waiting staff a living wage. I don't mind tipping at all, but I can't stand the thought of all these guys and gals being dependant on the likes of me to make a crappy minimum wage. Mr Dunnit points out that lots of the people we have met want to share their British heritage, with pride. It seems much more important to an American than it does to us Brits. This morning, at the Cactus Rose Bed and Breakfast in Page AZ, for example, our host, told us that his Dad was born in Germany and emigrated to Illinois in 1889. I could reach out and touch America's past, just over my coffee. Fascinating. Equally fascinating that we had to laugh off enquiries about our ancestry with talk of English peasants and serfdom. It may be a longer line in historical terms, but we aren't familiar with it all.

This is Chase's house. Cute.

For the road trip part of our holiday, we used AirBnB, one night in each place except two in Flagstaff, our nearest to the Grand Canyon stop. Each has been a completely different experience. In lovely Salt Lake we stayed with Chase in his elderly town house. Squeaky floorboards and split levels, perfectly clean, a new bed that was comfortable. Chase is a young man with a job and a life...he gave us a key, a few pointers and left us to it. In Kanab, south UT, we stayed with Oscar and Pam. Their house is overlooked by a massive mesa rock and they live downstairs. Their guests have the run of upstairs which included a kitchen, patio, lounge. Perfect for self catering types and Kanab was a lovely taste of a small town, I must say. It was Oscar who suggested we might like to make a pit stop at the Cameron Trading Post, about half way to the Flagstaff from him.  He said it was fuel, food and the biggest collection of turquoise jewellery for sale that he had ever seen in his life. Would have been rude not then, huh. He was right, too. In Flagstaff we stayed with Dan and Patti, a couple with an empty nest who still have so much to give that they fill their lovely home with people from afar and near.  All of these homes have hotel facilities in common, really, but the thing that make each stay so remarkable was the warmth and genuine interest in our comfort and enjoyment of their great country. And believe me, 'ask a local' found us some amazing tips, sights, shortcuts. Sharing. A big part of American hospitality.

All in all, I think it makes you feel like a celebrity! The accent has been questioned (are you Canadian?), admired (I say 'thanks, it's one of my skills') and once, just once, recognised and pitied. We had stopped in a Post Office and I asked for stamps for postcards to the UK. Whilst serving me, the cashier expressed his alarm and sorrow for how bad things are for us in the UK. We think it was the latest terror attack and possibly the news of a hung parliament. Who knows. I didn't directly ask, I told him that day to day life was just fine and thank you for your concern. Mr Dunnit was rather pleased by my considered and grown up reaction; I think he thought I was going to make a short speech about our worries over the people's choice for US President. But even then, there was warmth in his rather strange reaction to our accents, it's been incredibly heartwarming. Incredibly. 

Wednesday 21 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk 421

This is a scheduled post, gentle desker. I did not know how I'd be fixed for time, or indeed, if I'd be able to post in a time zome somewhere near a Wednesday!
I found myself in our local Mailbox branch recently, and because I had to wait while other people rushed about on my behalf, I got chatting to Nigel.
In reality, he got chatting to me. See, I had taken in some treasures for packing and shipping and 'we' had spread them out on this big, white and astonishingly empty desk. Even when the treasure was removed, there was a trail of the sort of detritus I specialise in...a handbag, shopping bag, a couple of photo frames that I'd decided against including in the box of treasure. You get it. So Nigel did the usual polite cough thing that us Brits are famous for and asked me to tidy my stuff off his desk. Of course he didn't really, he just politely shifted it to a stool and advised me to keep an eye on my belongings.
And then, I kid you not, he produced the biggest paper trimmer I've ever seen. Swoon!

See, Nigel prints all sorts of posters and leaflets for all sorts of clients. And he needs a big trimmer. We had a discussion about our ridiculous passion for such things and he confessed that he has an ambition to own a bigger trimmer. Obviously it will have to be a rotary style, because bigger than this in any other style and it really is starting to be erm, a guillotine. We discussed the pros and cons, the way you get used to a certain cutting line and how you make allowances for such things, how you have to know when it's the cutting strip that's worn into a groove or the blade being blunt that causes wonky cutting. We had a really good conversation about cutting.
And we completely and utterly avoided all the potential double entendres and smirk inducing jokes about choppers, size and other such childishness. Really, you would have been proud of me. Still makes me snigger in retrospect though....not at how well I did, but how at the time, it was so obvious that we were talking around this big old elephant in the room. Classy, huh.
So now of course, link up your desks, indeed, tell us about your favourite cutting equipment, it's not something we've discussed a lot really...we take the necessary tools for granted, I suppose.

Sunday 18 June 2017

American obsession

We flew into Boise last Friday and it immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY, became apparent that I had misjudged my entire wardrobe. It was very cool (polite for cold), and erk, raining a bit. Overnight it rained a huge amount and by the time we staggered out of bed, my only thought was the need to get to Target, Walmart, Sears, anywhere, to rectify my shorts and tshirts situation. Of course, when you're looking for sweatshirts and comfy leggings, you can't find them on account of it being summer. Nobody laughed at my discomfort, but I did get some odd looks because, well, ridiculously under dressed!

We left Boise on Monday, headed for Salt Lake City via Twin Falls. We did stop at the Shoshone falls, and believe me, through the ran and enormous spray they generated, we saw nothing. But for 3 bucks, we got a jolly good rinsing. I caved in at Salt Lake City and went straight into the outdoorsy section at Macey's and bought a wind cheater type waterproof thing. Floral. Makes a swishing noise when you move in it. (You know the way sometimes your trainers can make the same squeaking noise on certain floors that make it sound as if you might  be wearing trainers because you're actually fit? I digress. The coat thing made me feel about 108 years old, but it kept me very warm and dry. Until we went to the Great Salt Lake, when the sun came out and I was happily correctly dressed, discarding the coat without a second thought. Man, I had no idea how the weather can influence one's life quite so minutely. Seriously, I was considering asking America if I could have my money back.

We've hired a car and have driven through Utah, almost in a straight line. Of course, the further south we move, the better *hotter* it becomes. It's a road trip, so, in over 800 miles, I've done very little but gaze in staggered awe out of the window, and put my feet up. It's a bad habit I've picked up from looking at other people in vehicles at crossroads etc. I haven't driven a yard. MR Dunnit is doing all the driving because he's a horrible, fidgety, bored and petulant passenger. I know you can't imagine it, but I'm being truthful. Meanwhile, Utah has given way to Arizona. 

The temperature has soared and the views are if it's possible, rendering me (even more) speechless. My Sissy who has lived in the US for over twenty years warned me that the vast stretches of road and nothing else 'get old' very quickly. But not so far....we are fascinated, delighted and awed by the magnitude of everything. Every turn is a different view, something else to look at that's on a scale impossible to comprehend from pictures or TV. I'm working on trying to explain it without just bombarding you with picture after picture of rocks. Because so far, we've looked at a lot of rocks!  Tune in at some point. We've stopped obsessing about the weather. Now we're used to that. There will, without doubt, be something else to share. I hope you would expect nothing less of this particular blogger!

Wednesday 7 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday 418

I am totally on your side dear Deskers. I am as fed up with the horror of my desk as you are, and this particular week, I'm in the middle of so much that instead of the shameful shambles and frankly, the difficulty involved in actually seeing anything, I'm taking you through the door to glance at the dining table. Here lies treasure:
I am enormously grateful and happy to have received so many and such fabulous ATCs to celebrate the W8YWW. I know the photo is affected by solar flare, bad placement, shadows and wonky preparation, but it took me an age to get this picture. I got carried away by techniques and colours and ideas. Each time I leaf through these, something else strikes me. They are wonderful. What strikes me most, gazing at this picture, is how only one person made an ATC in the landscape format. Obviously, it's not against the rules, but if it makes your teeth itch to see the row format broken, blame LLJ the maker, not me!
Another message from the dining table. Small word, big meaning. Thanks.
You know that flexibility I'm always on about when it comes to commenting? I crave more of your indulgence. Last week was terribly busy and I did very little visiting. This week I will have some time, but it probably wont be before the weekend, so please, be patient with me. And while you wait, please, join us by showing what's on your Workdesk this Wednesday. Put WOYWW in your post title, link here. Enjoy inspiration and feel admiration. And make a friend or two. You know you want to.

Monday 5 June 2017

A Review. Turned me into Mrs FixIt, this did.

This review is overdue on account of my shocking memory. See, the things I've mended with Sugru are now back in mainstream use, which means I've forgotten all about them. Which is probably the best recommendation of all, actually. Won't stop me talking about it though!
This kit came from Sugru, inside the nice box which was covered with ideas for its use is a proper kit. By which I mean....a tin! Oh that's very exciting! There are a couple of little tools and three sachets of colours! White, Black and Red.

So.......what is Sugru? It's glue. Mouldable glue. In a sort of rubbery format which air dries and is then, as far as I can tell, pretty indestructible. Because of the rubbery form, it can be moulded. It's really quite amazing stuff. I sculpted (ok, fashioned -rolled -manipulated) this fantastic hook which has, in a single overnight wait for it to dry in situ, changed my kitchen based life. Ever since I broke the ignition thingy on the gas hob, I've used a lighter and it annoys me intensely that mostly, the lighter just sits in the way on my uncluttered worktop, being a clutter. (I know it's hard to believe about me, but my kitchen is so small, it really is tidy and uncluttered.)

So then, I used some of the white to mend my phone charge cable which was very chewed looking. Sugru's a no brainer for this sort of fix. Stays flexible and stops you electrocuting yourself. Win win. I've also done this cable fix to my vacuum cleaner too.

I added a finger rest to my favourite scalpel. Well, less of a rest and more of a stop - it lets me put all the strength of my forefinger into the cutting  without slippage which is no bad thing. Can't take credit for this idea though, it was Mr Dunnit's. He's a very caring chap. More to the point though, the Sugru sticks nicely to the scalpel handle, it's very clever stuff.
As it's turned me into Mrs FixIt,  I filled the broken section of the funnel part of my pink tidy tray. I didn't have any white Sugru left, so I can't say if you can mix two colours to make a third; but I'm beginning to think that there's very little you can't do with this stuff!

Now, the Sugru in this kit (one of many - this one's the Create and Craft pack) comes in little foil packs and each pack contains more than enough for the bits and pieces that you've seen me use them for. Theses particular little packs are not re-sealable and although I wrapped a bit of leftover in cling film, it did dry to a rock before I came to use it.
This is not a complaint, more an observation - the stuff is so clever that keeping it from hardening once exposed is probably a scientific nightmare.

It's light and waterproof, you can use it to hang stuff, stick stuff, mend stuff. It grips onto practically anything (every thin I tried). It really is very, very clever.
I urge you to visit and see for yourself why your home, if not your work desk, needs a portion of Sugru. It's the sort of tin or pouch that my Dad would have had in the garage next to the little oil can and useless roll of masking tape.  It would make a great Father's Day gift too actually, something useful and innovative. And, as I'm clearly not a bloke, I think I would consider it a good hostess gift too - didn't someone of great mind say something about only owning stuff that was either useful or beautiful? Step up, Sugru!

I'm very sorry if the changes to type size has alarmed your eyes, gentle reader...I can't fix it, and nor could the Sugru on account of it being a problem out there in the ether...weird, huh!