Saturday 31 December 2022

Of course, Happy New Year

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and wish you to have wonderful 
warm, love filled, healthy and fulfilling new year. All year long. 
I very much hope that of all the places you visit in your leisure time, 
this blog will furnish you with a little laughter, teeny bits of 
inspiration and above all kindness when you need it.
Come on 2023, let’s see the shape of you!

Friday 30 December 2022

Probably more, but certainly two years ago, I sold some wood mounted stamps on eBay. They were part of a late friend’s collection and the money was destined for the Stars Appeal, a fund raising arm of Salisbury Hospital where she had worked for many many years. I can’t remember how many stamps there were, but they sold in batches and each batch I sent off with a card, just and literally saying ‘thank you’. 
One of the buyers got in touch to ask about the card and we struck up quite a conversation. We quickly stopped using eBay’s mail system and Karen soon suggested that we swap ATCs. 
We quickly developed it into a monthly swap, alternately choosing the month’s theme. It became clear, as quickly, that Karen is a multi talented all rounder of a crafter, her computer skills are amazing and since we became Facebook friends, I’ve discovered that she also does the knitting, crochet, sewing… name it, all the ‘off paper’ crafts! It’s been great and these few ATCs that I’m showing you are just a random sample from this year’s collection.
It makes me quake a bit when it’s Karen’s turn to pick the theme, you can see she has imagination in spades, and I always end up hovering outside my comfort zone in a panic! When it’s my turn to choose, I tend to scan my stamp shelves and decide when I see something I haven’t used for a while. Unless of course it’s an obvious month, then I will be reliable and pick ‘love’ for February, etc. 
We’re going to carry on through 2023 with this, and the thought makes me happy. The happy mail makes me happy! I know it’s not a huge commitment, but it’s brought me huge pleasure. I love that Karen and I would never have met but for a couple of rubber stamps and we’ve struck up a friendship based entirely on the images and stash that can be fitted on an ATC. We haven’t met, and just like with WOYWW if we can meet in person it would be a great pleasure, but if we never do, it doesn’t change the friendship. Seriously, of all the things that have to offer thanks for, crafting continues to really enhance my life.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 708

Sorry to publish this so late today…I scheduled it and clearly have forgotten how to schedule!

Greetings of the Season Deskers! Hope your Christmas was good and warm and that this week before the New Year pops up is filled with the less frantic everyday stuff. We had a full house of eleven on Christmas Day and spent Boxing Day away, so yesterday was a recovery day at home!  I tidied downstairs, reduced the table and re-set. 
We’ve got friends and fam coming, so we’ve dressed the table to distract from the fact that largely, they’ll be eating leftovers! There isn’t any Turkey left, so I’ve at least done one correct calculation this year. I haven’t been near my real desk since last Friday when I mistakenly started a bit of a tidy up. It led to an idea. The tidying didn’t happen and showing you another wreck of a desk is boring, the best gift is to show you that I can be in control in other parts of my life! 
Show and tell then - did you get crafty pressies? Have you found time and motivation to make anything? Or are you revelling in a short break before facing the needs of next year?

Saturday 24 December 2022

My family is safely gathered in and so I pushed them out into the cold for a walk around the light trail at Stourhead in Wiltshire. It was magical and has saved me from having to post a badly taken picture of our Christmas tree! 
We wish you a very happy Christmas, restful and swirling with the love of friends and family whether near or far.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

What’s on Your Workdesk? Wednesday 707

Well, here we are, the Wednesday before Christmas and everything looks familiar in my workroom.
I’m short of time this week, as we all are, I’ve no doubt. But I’m full of the desire to make a stash of cards, so am flitting in and out, using basic stamped images and then using scrapbook paper scraps for backgrounds. I have it lurking somewhere in the back of my mind that I need to use and not store scraps. Funny, huh, but not intentionally so! Can you see there are two pairs of glasses at the right…it seems that one room in my house is missing a pair of readers. I’ll find out which room very soon, because I shall look for them and realise they were magically transported to the workroom. I am in the habit of wearing them like a hairband and only remembering when I put another pair on! 
There is also a concession to Christmas on my desk. See back right on top of the baby wipe box…a candle! It’s pomegranate scented and in a pomegranate shaped dish. I bought it on Monday, I like the shape of the little dish and was intrigued about the scent. Having a lit candle on a desk where you’re moving paper and card around is about as daft as you can get; and I couldn’t actually fathom any scent at all, so it didn’t stay alight for long. That’s what you get for a random £2 impulse when you should be food shopping! 
Now if you’ve got time, we’d love to see what you’re up to, even if it’s not your usual crafty space. And if you don’t have time, that’s fine. Know that you’re wished a happy, peaceful, restful, fun and wonderful Christmas, however you spend it. 

Saturday 17 December 2022

Out of the box, cupboard, ordinary….

In October, I went away for a long weekend of scrapbooking. This year, I’ve bought very little in the way of scrapbook papers. Compared to previous years, that is! It’s important that I tell you that bit so that you don’t collapse under the imagined weight of my next sentence. I took every sheet of 12x12 that I own with me to the ‘retreat’. It’s quite a pile, about 10cm deep in plain colours and about a 20cm deep pile of patterned. I haven’t done nearly as much scrapping this year as I have in previous years, and the October getaway was more lovely for that, because it was really concentrated scrapping. 
Basic Grey..I love it, but oh boy, you can see why I was scared of it. For about ten years.

I set myself a promise to move slightly outside of my box. I noticed, going through the piles, that some of the papers waiting patiently for me were terrifying.I bought them because I really liked them, but boy, they were busy and intimidating. So…I pulled them out into yet another pile, and decided that by using them, I was working out of the box. 
It wasn’t difficult, I mean, it’s just cutting and sticking isn’t it, but  it helped that I didn’t stray far from my usual one photo and cluster formula, just had very loud backgrounds to try to cope with. I also used a few old photos…but not many, I’m still very much into scrapping the more current stuff. Although by current, I increasingly seem to mean within my memory span, and that’s not necessarily even my lifetime! 
So did I learn anything useful? I did actually. I learned that actually, I don’t have to stray far from the box to challenge myself, I’m not sure if that proves how set in my ways I am or not! It also shows me that actually, just adjusting one thing really changes the way you do things. This might be a life lesson that you have experience of and I’ve been slow to catch on. Or, and I think this is more like it….I’m overthinking this scrapbooking lark. Cutting and sticking is fun, full stop!

Thursday 15 December 2022

Under the influence

I realised this year that my sweet late Mama is present in almost all of my Christmas preparations, and despite those preparations and the rush and bustle, that gentle, background grief has smacked me into full on missing her again. Talk about not realising the obvious, and that other cliche…you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
We don’t do the same thing every year, expect that we do really. By which I mean, we put up a tree, but not always in the same place. In fact, for the last three years, we’ve put up two trees, just like Penny did. We don’t always have loads of fairy lights strung about the place, but some years we do. Penny used to have them all around the little village on the mantelpiece, entwined amongst greenery on the lounge window sill and wherever she could find a socket. I don’t do it as tastefully, but I’m pretty fond of little lights, and use them wherever I can. Spare socket allowing of course! I have a lot of nick-knack type Christmas ornaments which I dot about the place, creating small clusters that always involve a tea light. There are tree ornaments that absolutely have to appear, and there are foods that I cook or buy that I wouldn’t dream of not having on the table at Christmas.
And directly under Penny’s influence, there are a couple of things that won’t be on my Christmas lunch menu. Turns out it’s controversial, but I never do Yorkshire Puddings with any roast other than Beef, so they won’t be there. I don’t know why, it’s entirely a matter of choice isn’t it, but I can’t break the habit/tradition/Mum rule. Can’t say that the people around my table don’t comment on it, because they do, but it hasn’t stopped them coming for Christmas, so it’s obviously not too important! And here’s where Penny's influence is merely a memory: Bread Sauce. I don’t get it, never liked it and do not make it. And when I don't do it, Mama is front and centre of my mind, because to this day I’m not convinced that she liked it! So this Christmas I will be safely gathered in and surrounded by people I love, I’m a very lucky woman. And anyone that wants to can stop by and visit; sample the hospitality that I now realise is a part of my legacy.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 706

I think I must have jumped the gun at some point. I can’t claim to be Christmas ready, but I’m not in a panic at this moment. Just as well, I’ve got some tidying to do.

It’s all a bit of a shambles. I took these pictures yesterday. Because things are relatively calm on the Christmas front, I felt I might sit at my desk and do something fun. I’ve got a couple of big birthdays in the early part of January, so I thought about getting a march on those. But of course, absolutely nothing is possible in this chaos. So, I turned the heater on, shut the door and walked away. Until the room was a bit warmer that is!  And so, ta na, this morning, I have a room I can actually face!
My Scan n Cut is not in its usual place because I’ve broken it. I know. I picked it off the shelf over the dies where it lives and turned around too quickly…lost my balance, dropped it as I fell over. Ages ago, actually. But it’s now back from the dining room where Mr Dunnit and a computer friend have tried to fix it. Still doesn’t work. Brother want to charge as much as I paid for it, so am just at the stage of getting over it before having to let it go! 
So now the space is useable and I intend to do just that. After a few chores and usual stuff. So please make the chores bearable my showing and telling..what are you up to in terms of desk and preparations and making stuff. Even if it’s not Christmas related, we wanna see it!

Saturday 10 December 2022

Winter. We know you.

The last few days have been very wintery, cold and overcast. We all seem to respond much better to cold and bright days, but the low cloud that has made short days shorter and well, grey, are helping in a way. Yep. Really.
I was bundled up…puffa coat, gloves, scarf and walking at what I consider a reasonably brisk pace towards the post office. My husband would tell you that I was strolling. I always, always end up doing a double step to keep up with him…even if we hold hands I can tell that he’s deliberately slowed his pace. It’s maddening for both of us, I mean, sometimes I end up out of breath and can’t talk! Gosh, revelation….perhaps that’s why he walks fast! 
Anyway, walking at my pace, I get a chance to look about me a bit, and these cyclamen are sheltered under some overgrowth and seem to me to be surviving frost. How cheering they are. 

I did the post office thing, photographed these lovelies and because I had gloves on, I cleared the obvious litter. I think a lot of garden refuse has been dumped along this stretch of footpath over the years, but the cyclamen were such a lovely surprise. I gather they multiply a bit like primroses, and I love that they’re benefiting from overgrowth and cloud. Makes you happy while you’re walking around cursing the lack of bright skies. 
Have a lovely day!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 705

I took this photo yesterday morning in a fit of doing loads of things. I had three things to run out and do, one at an appointed time, and I had to be home for 11, which was the beginning of the time window in which the oven engineer would show up. Again. So I was going to do you a before and after - as I had to be at home, I might as well finish these, huh.
Well I didn’t get the chance. The engineer rang to say the part he needed hadn’t arrived and so he’d make me wait in on Thursday instead. Cue my bottom lip sticking out because I’d arranged a nice morning out for myself. But I need the oven to work, particularly this month! Anyway, as you can see, I’m making a few tags, squirting and spraying. Squirting because the sprays block up so easily don’t they? Still, it was never an exact art. In all the mess you can barely tell that the blob of yellow at the front of my desk is an edit to hide a Christmas gift that I can’t yet reveal! It just looks like more messy paper! The paper cup at the back holds the cut up foam tape and very useful it is too, although the next pot will have some more weight to it, I can’t see that one staying upright when the pushback really starts, it’s not heavy enough! You can just see the green cards in front of the pen holder, they are the Rudolph cards I had started last week. Close up? Here:
A bit fuzzy, but hey, that at least fulfils my two photo intention for this post!  Whatever you’re doing, I know time at your desk and to read blogs is at a premium this month, but join in if you can, we do want to see your desks. Ironing, cooking, catching up, relaxing…whatever you’re doing, tell us about it please!

Monday 5 December 2022

A walking weekend…by accident!

Traditionally, me and Mr Dunnit are by now looking forward to a winter weekend away with two, sometimes three other couples. I should probably clarify that the other couples are friends: of ours and to each other. We all know each other. Good grief, you know what I mean. And actually, while I’m clarifying and therefore digressing, I should clear up the use of the word ‘traditionally’. I think we’ve been away five times for a Christmas prelude, so it’s probably not, strictly speaking, a tradition. I’m not entirely sure how long a thing has to run before it’s an official tradition. I wonder if it’s worth a discussion, or more likely, it’s probably just me that doesn’t know or has this sort of nonsense on her mind. 
Anyway, for reasons of logistics and diaries, we found ourselves planning a weekend on our own. Not a problem of course, we’re pretty good at being together! Taking advantage of not having to force friends to drive a ridiculous distance for 3 nights, we over extended. Four nights and we went to York. Because let’s face it, if you’re going to hack five hours up the road in the pouring rain, it’s got to be a place that’ll look nice in all weathers. And it did. My what a handsome and elegant city. Yorkshire has generally held onto a lot of its ‘we must build impressively big’ Victorian architecture and the houses on the roads into York prove that very nicely. It was the week that the Christmas Market opened and so there were festive lights and outdoor treats as well as shopping and history. Oh the history! We were actually planning to explore the Viking past - York was the most important Port in the Viking world and there’s a lot to be discovered. We didn’t though. York has a fantastic medieval history too, and a railway history, and we were planning to learn more about these, too. We didn’t though.

We walked, and gawped. It was difficult not to. Starting by going round the city walls, up and down staircases at the gates, getting some unexpected and marvellous views. Even those hundreds of years ago, it was a big city and a lot of buildings were squashed in within the safety of those walls. It puts Victorian cheek by jowl with Medieval and older, and newer. Every now and then there were modern extensions on buildings that made me question the sanity of planning officers. But, things have to evolve and buildings particularly have always been adapted to accommodate needs and lifestyles. Some of the gardens, especially behind the Minster, seen from the height of the walls were just wonderful in their autumn glory. 

You can see the Minster from almost everywhere within the city and on any approach to it, just with other cathedrals in Britain, it’s beautiful and huge, and deeply impressive. The life, faith and religious leadership of our late Queen has been immortalised in stone on the front of the cathedral. Whatever you think of the art of the statue, it’s marvellous to think that it will be there for hundreds and hundreds of years to come, and is not only a great tribute to Queen Elizabeth II but also a spine tingling continuation of the way our forbears have paid tribute to our Queens Kings and Statesmen.

We weren’t able to go inside York Minster, it was graduation week and there were ceremonies and services every day; no matter, we’ll be going again! It was lovely to walk around the town watching graduates and graduands in their billowing gowns with their families. 
There’s a famous shopping area called The Shambles and some of the streets are no more than alleys and there are lots of what I always knew as ‘snickets’, ‘gunnels’ and even ‘opes’, but here they were referred to as ‘snickles’. Cute!

This 14th century house over three floors is a tea shop. The ground floor is a kitchen, narrow stairs lead to space for four tables, and another set of very narrow stairs leads to another space with four tables. It originally housed three families!
There was so much to look at, so much to take in and enjoy. We browsed the Christmas market too, on the day it opened, and late that day walked back into town to enjoy the lighting. A great start to our festive month and my word, we look forward to our next visit.