Friday, 30 December 2011

This last day of the year....a profound story...

a completely unrelated photo - but these Easter treats found on a shelf in Sainsbury's this in no doubt you can easily find them in a store near you too! No wonder the years pass so quickly!
For a couple years now, the grey in my hair has bothered me a bit, and I've been colouring it.  My darling says that it's nothing and I shouldn't fret about it; so for about the last 8 months, I haven't spent money or minutes on hair dye products.  I decided to embrace the grey...and to be honest, apart from my beloved father, most people were silent on the matter.  Either from pity or embarrassment, who knows.  
I keep my hair fairly short, so any colour has long grown and been cut out and I'm back to my natural brown.  Turns out, it's not the grey that bothers me so much as the dull brown of this natural colour.  'Spect if we ever met, Tim Holtz would have a name for it.  
So for the New Year, I decided to 'enliven' my hair colour and improve my complexion with a 'warm and rich' brown hair colouring.  I actually bounced out of bed having made time to do it before I went downstairs.  I remembered to put on the loose neck stained t shirt that we keep for this.  I even turned on the iron, knowing that I would have 20 minutes to spend ironing whilst my head got very cold, but oh so rich and warmly coloured.  Put on the gloves...for the 100th time, think aloud about writing to the manufacturer to remind them that people with fat hands also colour their hair.  Snap off the top of the 'chemical' squirty nozzle bottle.  Unscrew cap. Open the colourant.  Empty the entire tube into the chemical squirty nozzle bottle.  Take care to empty tube, rolling it down and being uber careful not to spill.  And then, replace the squirty nozzle cap.  Place finger expertly over the broken off tip and shake.  No colour change, no magic, frightening dark coloured chemical reaction. Check box and basin which looks a bit like a lab.  Bottle of COLOUR still intact, in the basin. TUBE of high powered, ultra soft conditioner, empty.  Put the wrong thing in the wrong thing.  Feel very cross for about 10 seconds.  Then very foolish.  And now, well, in a mood to share; even at this late stage in the year, it's not too late for me to make a fool of myself!  
Me, my grey temples, and my Dunnit lovelies wish you everything you need for 2012.  May it be happy and filled with the love of your family and friends.  You deserve it.

Motivation to do: Anything!

It may finally be coming to me...the motivation to get on and tidy up in my work area, clear my desk and sort things ready for a lovely clean and tidy, uncluttered start to next year.  Next week.  Well, as long as it lasts!  This desire comes hot on the heels of my needing to do a great deal of office and other work.  Naturally, if I'm busy with one, I'm full of ideas for the other!  
Another reason for a sudden need to get to my desk is this lovely package; it arrived before Christmas from Emily at Make The Day Special.  Mr Dunnit put it under the tree; it's Emily's way of celebrating 500 posts on the blog, and I was the lucky recipient.  Check out the blog, Kim, a WOYWWer is on her design team and the ideas are just wonderful.
The very best thing about the whole goody box is the whole sheet of mounted stamps..honestly, if I'd chosen them myself they couldn't be better!  
And talking of gifts under my tree, and motivation, and my way of erm 'coping' dear friend Lunch Lady Jan and her husband important G, think it's terribly amusing that I'm a list maker.  Really they do.  We can be talking about absolutely nothing related to it and G will just suddenly suggest I make a list.  Well, now I can, look at this book!  
No doubt Jan and important G think it's very funny, and I have to say I did laugh (a lot) when I opened it.  But secretly, it's perfect and I'm very pleased to have a book of pages to make my iists on!  
So now I must get to the bookwork, make sure we still have a roof over our heads for the coming year, so that I can then get to my desk without guilt. Oh, ha ha, that makes me laugh too, guilt free craft time!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 134

I have nothing to show you that you didn't see last Wednesday.  I'm also sorry that I didn't make it around to all the desks last week, I just couldn't give up the time;  see, my Sissy lives in California, so we don't get Christmas together too often, and that's why.
So instead of a desk, here's a picture that has touched my heart.  I was sitting on the sofa behind my father who was sitting on the floor, leaning against the sofa (by choice!).  He was playing with his new Kindle and not having a lot of luck with button comprehension.  So my darling Miss Dunnit sat beside him and explained, many times, the 'home' button function and where to go from there.  He's still giddy at the fact that she loaded 1500 books onto it in about 5 minutes flat, so I'm not sure how much info he's taking in at this stage......
So how was your holiday?  I see a few of you actually made it to your us do, or a snippet of your holiday memories...we'd love to see...upload a pic to your blog, put WOYWW in the title and link here.  I thank you!  See you next year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, may your day be filled with the joy of the season. And no washing up. And definitely don't do any housework. Again, probably won't be taking my advice; can't see that I'll be getting out of the washing up! Enjoy, friends.

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Manifesto revisited

Thanks to Kerry for the polystyrene ring, I decided to continue the Pay It Forward and gave this to Shopkeeper Gal as a 'card' for this Christmas.  Idea (not mine of course), from Laura, my friend and Stamping Up! demo.

Remember back in October and November I preached at you about staying calm and getting stuff done and setting a sensible deadline to preculde you from stress at midnight on 24th December?  My Manifesto for Christmas preparations?  Well, as you most associate a manifesto with politicians, and as we mostly don't get the full reality from our politicians, you'll be unsurprised that I haven't stuck to it.  Here's a precis:
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!
Well, home made gifts are now under several trees and I am a bit nervous about them to be honest.  So that's a moderate fail.  The worst fail is the December 15th deadline.   I still l have the shadow box gift on my desk.  Tradition dictates that the lovely recipients will be here tomorrow evening for supper and late I kinda have to finish it.  Very soon.  Epic manifesto fail then! Argh.    But it's OK,it's the only one.  My eye is no longer particularly on the Christmas ball.....Stephanie Dunnit and neice Bizz are home from California for a quick Christmas.  I'm concentrating on quality time.  Whatever else I preach at you, this is the one you should take notice of.  Spend some time with people you love.  For once, I'm going to take my own advice!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 133

Well here it is..not even cleared off for use as a bar this year.  Yet. That may or may not come to pass, we'll see. After a visit from Morti and Mr B, my tree is a hand beaded bauble better decorated and my desk - described by Morti as part of an 'efficient' space, is back in use.  Mr Dunnit heads out to a couple of customers to spread Christmas thanks and cheer today, so I'm making the bottle label things that look kinda like door hangers - you can just see them above the black punch at right. Nothing like last minute, huh!  There's the beginnings too of what looks like a scrapbook page.  It will in fact be a shadow box containing a lovely candid photo of a young couple at their wedding and some of the bits that I collected on the day - you know, confetti, favour wrapper etc.  I'll try to remember to show it at some stage...which means photographing it before it gets wrapped up.  Which implies my intention to finish it.  Great stuff, intent! It's all a bit over exposed I think, but there's a half finished bag of silver curling ribbon and the rest of the wrapping up stuff, just dumped.  Not a single stamp has been put away.  Again, I hate storing clear stamps.  I'm still trying to 'do a Neil' - yes you, Neil! Sign of some progress is standing on top of the button jar.  Of course!
I know lots of you don't or wont pass this way between WOYWW days, so please accept my best wishes and warm fuzzies for a peaceful and Happy Christmas. 

Join us by linking here - show us your 4-days-to-go state; post a picture to your blog and link up here.  Please put WOYWW in the title and don't link if it's not a post about your desk/surface/ should at least be a link for today, not a non WOYWW post earlier this week.  Thank you.  Please don't make me set real rules, this is meant to be fun.  Off to Heathrow today, Sissy Dunnit's coming, Hurrah!!!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Motivation to do: mmmm, baking

Well, I don't do much baking per se, because I'm not great at it. I do a lot of cooking, but the cakes and breads aren't my forte. Turns out Miss Dunnit is the baker in our family; I can't get the oven to behave in the same way that she can. However,Miss Dunnit has more of a life than me of course, and so there are times when I'm happy to bake. And no better a time than when there's a new Mason Cash mixing bowl to be christened (my secret Santa gift from our Kelly of The Coven) and a recipe from The Pioneer Woman cookbook (my Birthday bunny gift from our Laura of The Coven). So I made the chocolate sheet cake. It wasn't difficult, and the motivation to start my festive baking and cooking was simple; an invitation with the request to bring a chocolatey pud. Similar then, to my motivation for getting the wrapping done.

So now I'm in the groove a bit, today I even planned a couple of menus and checked stock for shopping purposes - gracious my beloved Mother's efficiency and role modelling may well be paying off! There has been a horrible lack of mince pies in this house considering the season, so I really need to correct that too, they're almost the way to Mr Dunnit's heart, so I never mind making them. I need a couple of puddings and some nibbles for a couple of occasions...Nigella will help me with those. And that will be me done with cooking. Just to make you less jealous of the sudden smugness that you may feel is appearing, there's a pile of laundry waiting to be ironed that frankly looks as if I haven't done any for about six months, and I still, STILL have a present to make. all in good time. Ahem!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Motivation to do: gift wrapping

There comes a point in December when you start to visit, party and see the people you want to celebrate the season with, but who you won't actually spend 'the day' with. This often causes the wrapping of gifts in time to head out of the door...which leaves a deposit of rolled paper, scissors, tape and a pile of strung labels...they take up room man, and for a while you have to sort of move around them. And then there's nothing else you can do. Drag out the gifts and just get on with it. Get another large tick on the list, tidy away the papers and blah and enjoy the sight of your life savings wrapped like jewels and under the tree for as long as possible! That's what I've been doing. No blogging, housework chores, phone chats or lounging about. Thursday, after lunch, I wrapped. And today, from lunch time again, I wrapped. I wrapped until my hips ached. Oh yes, you read that correctly...I sat on the sofa and used the whole coffee table...and the leaning forward and down made my hips ache. I didn't know that of course, until I sprang up to answer the phone very nearly passed out from the effort!

I really had no idea that it would take so long; even though it catches me out every year - like writing the cards...why is that? The reward, apart from the obvious one, which I acknowledge of course, is the family reaction. Mr Dunnit came home; I bemoaned the lack of tidiness, getting other stuff done, etc etc, and he put it very simply: 'so what' he said, ' it looks amazingly Christmassy'. I'll take that.
Have a lovely, getting ready weekend!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 132

There is a reason for the shakey photography.  And for the gifts on my workdesk.  This photo and post are scheduled.  Right now it's Tuesday afternoon.  Tonight I'm out with my crafting galfriends for our Christmas meal and Secret Santa.  So I've finally broken into some Christmas paper and done some wrapping.  And I realised that if I don't schedule this.....I have to get up really early on Wednesday morning..and I don't intend to; you will I'm sure understand.  I'm tonight's designated driver, but nevertheless, it will be a late night.  And I've planned a lie in.  What's the betting I'll be wide awake at 5.30am! 
You can see a set of nesting box lids...which match the nesting boxes upon which they can't tell that I've actually done something to the boxes, but I have.  I'm doing a Neil.  If they are ever finished, I'll explain.   
Meanwhile, I'm off to the meeting of The Coven (as the Enthusiastic Educator's husband refers to us.  He thinks he's joking; only we know whether he is or not.) That's why the photo is a bit shakey - I'm hungry! Show us what you're doing this close to Christmas, if you've time.  Upload a pic of your work surface to your blog and then link here.  We'll visit.  Slowly!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Motivation to do: Decorate

This tree image is from the John Lewis range.
Back in the day, before the decorations went up, a mini spring clean would take place chez Dunnit. And furniture would have to be moved. Yes indeed, the arrival of the Christmas decorations was a matter of some work and lots of excitement.  I don't know why, but in her 18 wonderful years, Miss Dunnit has never taken any interest in decorating the tree, or helping with the other bits either, come to that.  I don't understand it.  Perhaps it's because year after year she sees me doing it and has decided that it's just another chore that the girl gets to do.  I know it's not and shouldn't be, but it kinda is.  Mr Dunnit is marvellous with the shopping, choosing, trimming to fit it in the stand and rigging up the lighting for the tree, but would rather leave it naked than get involved in its decoration.  Indeed, some years - take last year for example, when we were up to our eyeballs in the misery of illness and closing a business, it was he who reminded me that we needed a tree.  He clearly sees the need.  And the year we went to Australia on Christmas night so didn't bother with a tree, both of them felt cheated.  I don't get it.  So secure in the realisation that Christmas Day is now a week on Sunday (which sounds very, very close) we bought a tree this weekend.  I have made a huge effort in the cleaning department today, and thrown the vaccuum across the carpet where it will stand.  There was enough winter sun to make me wince at the state of the windows....but luckily, not enough winter sun to make me actually clean them.  As I type though, it is bereft of ornament. Mr Dunnit wants to arrange the sockets and extensions before we put it in position...and he isn't home yet....and as she left for college this morning, Miss Dunnit said to wait till she got home before starting on the tree.  It's a Christmas miracle.  Now all I have to do is bite my tongue and stop myself moving bits around to fill gaps and better suit my idea of a well decorated tree.  Easier surely, than having to do it all myself?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Motivation to do: the cards

I know I've said this before, but here's a little tiny bit of my domestic life - it's vaguely relevant:  Mr Dunnit and I wake up at the same time - he's already awake, but for me, it's that damn radio.  I always, always lie in bed and let him get on with his day for a good half hour.  Doesn't matter if we awaken at 5.30 or 8.30 - that's how it is.  We don't speak, but just before he goes downstairs, we manage a kiss and a 'good morning'.  I listen to him fill the kettle and start his day.  I muse upon the way my day will turn.  I have to have some definite goals. 'Working' at home can very quickly slide into doing nothing.  This is why I prefer a routine.  Because genuinely doing nothing would make me feel even more guilty! Here's the relevant part:   Yesterday, whilst trying to preserve the warm spot vacated by himself, it occurred to me that there's more to making the Christmas cards than erm, making them.  I don't know why or how, but I had not factored in the writing and posting part.  It's not, to be honest, amongst my favourite Christmas jobs.  I get tongue tied about whether the card is from all of us or just me or just him, depending on the recipient.  I get bothered by children's names and get guilt over having not seen or communicated with some recipients since last sending a Christmas card.  And for a special this year, we have cards to send from our business, which gave me another attack of the vapours - is it 'de riguer' to send handmade? Maybe I should just buy some after all.  Oh lawks.    
Mr Dunnit always sprints upstairs to say goodbye.  We have a brief discussion about work things that I may need to do and he always feigns an interest in my plans for the day.  Yesterday, I ran off a list of chores and added Christmas things that need doing...including the cards.  (It makes me feel a great deal better about myself if I sound really busy when asked what I'm doing by the bread winner). Mr Dunnit as usual, lends his wisdom and left brain logic to my angst over the card situation. He said ' you've made them now haven't you?' and when I confirmed that, he said 'well, just write in them and send them, that's a job done then.'  Indeed it is Mr Dunnit.  And I suppose no one will take the trouble to ring and moan about crappy handmade cards will they.  They haven't before.  So yesterday I spent the afternoon writing, enveloping, addressing, licking.  It wasn't exciting and man, it took much longer than I'd anticipated.  At least today I have a satisfying 'done' pile.  And a strike through on the list.  Now that IS a job done.  Wrapping next?  No.  I'll just consult my list.
Have a lovely weekend. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 131

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, please hold the family of Sarah Lawrence in your hearts.  Sarah died suddenly, last Friday.  You will know her from WOYWW; and appearances on TV and at major craft events for Crafty Notions - she was the fun, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm for mixed media person that we all want to be.  I didn't know her personally, but that doesn't make any difference.  I do know that the world in which we all blog, craft and share is a poorer one without her. 

 Detritus is what's on my work desk this Wednesday.  No glass mat and nothing that reflects what I'm intending to make next.  All the useful stuff is still packed in my tote after Sunday's crop and my desk has become a wrapping area and general dumping ground.  Soon rectify that though.  Got things to make so I can cross them off lists!  
Sure had you going with this last week. G3 is in fact the blog nick name of Lunch Lady Jan's younger son.  So I've decorated them with some references to his interests and hope he can find somewhere to prop them in his room. After all, he may need reminding who he is.  Politically, some of you were a bit off the's actually G20 these days!

Link here to guide us to your blogs and show us what this week has you working on: 

Monday, 5 December 2011

So, I'm making the list...

I thought you may like to know that this Monday, today, only the first in December and the 'oh-my-word-it's-closer-than-I-thought' day for kerjillions of us, is the 'big list' day for me.
This year's present list...turned up pages mean they're ready....
  • I need a list of Christmas cards to be written...subdivided into a list of those to be posted and those to be hand delivered.
  • I therefore need at list on my workdesk of the number of cards I still have to make!
  • I need a list of the presents left to be brought.  Not many, but you don't wanna be forgetting one because it wasn't on your mind at the right time!
  • I need a list of the 'bits and pieces' left to buy - you know, batteries, the odd stocking filler and such.
  • I need a list to be made as I wrap gifts - I put them all under the tree (because I love the look of my matching wrappings and ribbons before they get jumbled up with others that don't match!).  But I need to be sure that on the right day, we take the right presents.  It may be obvious that if you're going to your Mum's you need to take hers, but there's loads of other people who will be there that you won't see otherwise...and if there's a list, I don't have to be the one to make sure that the right presents are less job.  Cunning!
  • I need a list of essentials that we'll need over the holiday.  But not the essentials of everyday or other holidays.  Tonic water, bottled lemon slices, cherries are good examples.  Not a weekly grocery list essential, but definitely a Christmas list essential!
  • I need a list of the customers that our new Company has enjoyed this year, there are more, quite important cards to be made.
  • I probably need a list of last posting dates.
  • I need a food shopping list.  It starts off at this time, a horrendously long and frightening affair, but I wrestle with it over the next 13 days or so and as things get crossed off, so it stops looking like a dinosaur sitting in my path!
  • I have a list of presents I'd like for myself, as I do for Mr D and Miss D.  I keep them on my phone and top them up whenever either of them mention anything, at any time of the year.  This efficiency is then utterly ignored because I forget to refer to it when shopping.  I'm such a luddite.  I still need lists on paper!
I don't need a list of lists. Really, I'm attempting organisation in a way that works for me.  And as I'm a stationery junkie and have had thirty adult years to fill the junkie cravings, I've got appropriate notebooks for these lists.  And some.  And truly, that's one of the great pleasures of my Christmas preparations - I get to press into action some lovely, often decorated, some lined, some plain blank pages. It's a bit like journalling for the journalling challenged. And you're allowed to doodle.  Stationery, ideas, a bit of art, all in the name of organisation. Bliss. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

A bit ragged already

I've been going around the WOYWW posts for this week (and I'm still doing that).  It cannot go without a comment -  especially as it is now December.  I've sensed a lot of mild panic about this month.  And a good dose of organisation, shopping, planning.  I'd say that in equal measure, we're really getting on with it!  I also surmise from my very non-scientific reading material that working or not, it is the household's women who plan, shop and deliver Christmas.  
It's all about choices and allocating your time.  If you wanna do JYC or December Daily, ring-fence the time you need..after all, you've done a lot for everyone else all day.  If you wanna do Tim's tags, do 'em.  Or......leave them - maybe until the Christmas break starts.....the twelve days of Christmas actually start on Christmas Day you know.
Whatever you do, be gentle with yourselves this month...collapsing in an exhausted stressed heap on Christmas Eve isn't part of the plan!  As usual, I've only decorated the blog so far. (Thank you LeeLou, for making it possible).  It'll be at least another week before I get the house decorated...and the tree - a bit longer I suspect. 
And because blogging is very much a part of the time I ring fence, you can 'look forward' to  more posts here, after all if I advocate being relaxed and allocating yourself time to do stuff you like, I have to set the example, huh! So far, the only thing that's ragged is the ribbon on this little card! 
Check back....I haven't prepared for Sunday's crop yet.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 130

Ah, mine is a double work in progress today.  See the bright red letter and number?  (Really, if you can't, you may wanna get an eye test, seriously.)  They are for a Christmas present.  They are freshly painted and dry, but sitting on scraps of paper that I've used to cover another project I'm working on...that's not a huge secret, more that I needed to discuss the G3 with Miss Dunnit, so that went on top.  That's how it is in Julia world.  No need to tidy until the thing on top falls off.  And that's why there appears to be nothing on the table that actually could 'go' with the G3...mostly it's stuff I was using for the scrapbook LO underneath. See the ATG gun - reloaded and in constant re-use....I may accuse it of being fiddly (and it is), but that won't change my love for it.  You can see at right my tidy basket of stamps waiting to be put is starting to behave badly - that is, driving me mad.  I wish I could manage without acrylic stamps I really do.
Share with us your workdesk won't you?  Paper crafts, any crafts, work, home, floor, desk, dedicated space or not...we'd like to see what you're up to.  Upload to your blog and link it here.  Please don't link if you aren't showing a workspace or work in progress, and put WOYWW in the title.  Please don't link if all you have for us to read is an advertisement for another site or a litany of product links.  No fair.  It's the Season of Goodwill - something that we WOYWWers have shared for 130 weeks non-stop - please don't make it need rules, it's meant to be fun!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Dithering nicely, thanks

Made mostly with DO's new Urban stamps..a Paper Artsy and a Magenta image too
I had a brainwave on Sunday afternoon, that I would switch around the way I do stuff at home during the day. Make the most of the daylight so that I can fulfill my manifesto pledges and get my Christmas crafting done...and even save my poor declining eyesight!  No biggie huh.   I like a routine, and although I don't do the same jobs on the same day of week or anything quite so well organised, I do always do household stuff and work stuff before I set foot in front of my crafty desk, or before I park my bottom in front of this 'ere computer. Which means that on an average day, I get to play at my craft desk by about 2.30, 3 o,clock-ish.  I know this represents a lot of time and I know how lucky I am...let's not dwell there.  Mostly because my output doesn't reflect these hours! But in the Northern Hemisphere, it means the light's getting bad and by about 4pm there's no natural light at all.  The brainwave seems long overdue then, huh?  Hold on though.  Yesterday was day one and it wasn't as easy as it sounds.  As every day, my family had left the house by 8am,  and as everyday, they had left the kitchen in the standard whirlwind someone-else-will-clear-this-up state, and as usual, it was combined with the evening's detritus.  I'm a bit of a slut about cleaning up after an evening meal if I'm going to be at home the next day...see how bad habits form if you don't go out to work!  Now I don't know about you, but I can't turn my back on the has to be clean and tidy before I can do anything else.  And yesterday turned into recycling, empty the bin and therefore clean the floor day.  Not because it was Monday, but because every job you do knocks onto another, doesn't it.... the washing machine had finished so then upstairs to sort out laundry and while I was there, emptied bins and straightened up the know.   So it was after eleven before I got to my desk, but the daylight was great and I must say, it does make a difference.  Mr Dunnit came home for lunch about an hour later which involves lunch, tidying and business talk...maybe even some business work...that's OK.  It's what I'm here for really.  But it uses up daylight!  It was about 3pm before I got back to my work desk..and nearly dark.  And because I had been at my desk during the morning, when it did get dark, I sort of felt obliged to leave it in favour of the ironing - after all I did say I'd do the chores when the daylight faded.  So I sat at my desk all evening instead, making up for not managing to do very much at it yesterday.  And here I am, blogging in daylight...any minute now I'm going to turn my chair to face the desk and get on.  I hope.  Gosh, isn't it complicated, this hobby!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Living a life worth scrapbooking....

foam bananas and technology..a great afternoon!

I'm a bit fickle about scrapbooking; I recognise it's to capture for all time the memories of our lives and to create some sort of sentimental legacy for my only child and blahdy blahdy blah.  But I don't like using the photos that pre-date my arriving at the scrapbook hobby. I'm a bit of a here and now scrapper and particularly like to record everyday stuff that might otherwise be forgotten. I use the 'old' photos when I'm completely out of mojo or new stuff.   I know, it doesn't make me  a 'different' scrapbooker, or earn me a title as some sort of renegade, but as I don't have my own style (I faithfully reproduce every lovely idea I ever see), it's a sort of comfort to me to know that I fit into some category or genre.  I like to conform.  So here's this week's scrapbooking moment.  Be patient, I need to set the scene.
Miss Dunnit, our only child, our beloved daughter, is 18 and a half.  We live in fear that her ambition is to be a perpetual student.  'We' being her parents.  Anyway.  She's currently enjoying a third year at sixth form College.  She didn't want a year out, but didn't want to go to Uni.  We're OK with that.  We love having her at home, when she's here. You know.  And...I'm digressing again.  So, yesterday.  She volunteered to help with the  Tesco Grand Prix.  She's a lovely gal.  She helped and I rewarded her with some hooch for a party. It may have been her motive, but I don't suspect that and actually I don't care...she was a help and great company. Once home and sorted, I started on a laundry related chore upstairs.  She joined me; throwing herself on my freshly changed, newly made bed.  Argh.....after years of not being allowed to sit on our made beds at boarding school, it makes me freak out a little to get my own back, I did a running jump type of move to throw myself on HER. Lots of screaming and groaning, huge dramatics and possibly some tickling.  Then some chatting and begging, and even a little threatening.  The I gave in.  As I 'climbed' off her, I noticed that she still had her teeny earphones around her neck and was a bit concerned that they may have been tugged and broken.  But for the life of me, I couldn't could not remember what they were called.  And I ended up asking if her 'micro ear defenders for music thingies' were OK.  She looked me in the eye and said :  'Yes mama, they're fine.  And it's OK, I understood, because I can speak old.'
And that's what will make it onto a scrapbook page in her album.  See, my memory may be troubling me, but I never forget an insult, however loving! Just off to fashion another blue tack effigy...
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 129

Oh look - a real return to form!  I'm ploughing my way through the second calendar and although it's the same, it's different.  Of course - doing the same thing twice is tedious.  Housework. I rest my case. You can see the ATG gun awaiting refill - I was mid-flow so didn't want to bother fiddling with it (and IT IS a fiddle), so I've resorted to the pink Herma. Not my fave, but needs must when you're looking for loaded adhesive dispensers!  You can just see my collection of printed sellotapes too - they are not Washi tapes or anything so sophisticated, just cheapos from Tiger, or wherever else I happen to see them!
 So I'm gently moving forward with the Christmas plans..there was a lot of evidence of it on WOYWW last week.  Have y'all finished and moved on now?
( LLJan has decided to force me into Salisbury EARLY today, so have photographed Tuesday's mess.  It remains just the same now.  Of course, it's enough to stagger round with coffee in hand at this time of day, huh!!)
Show us what your work surface is minding for you won't you? Put a pic on your blog and link up here.  Lovely.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I couldn't be a politician....

See that text ? Miss Dunnit's age 7 best handwriting.....committed forever to rubber for her mama
Actually, I typed the title and between there and here I realise that a politician is EXACTLY what I could be.  Wanna know why?  Because my Manifesto is not being fulfilled.  You may remember from a post in October, when the going looked pretty good:
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!
It's looking a bit wobbly at the moment; my inability to multi task is causing a bit of a problem.  So is my need to spend evenings on my butt in a big comfy chair with Mr Dunnit and the TV for company.  Ah winter, I blame you.  I have preparations underway, I have unfinisheds on 'set aside' and unstarteds on 'don't panic' piles, so I am still full of good intention. Which makes me horribly like a politician!  Except, and I say this in my best, professional defence barrister type voice (imagine the wig, will ya) - I've been honest about it, my lord, and not all politicians can boast that.  

Still how goes it for you?  Better, I'm sure.

Friday, 18 November 2011

That Maze book....

I love making them because they come together fairly quickly, and I love that it can be made pretty much up out of 1 sheet of 12 x 12 and leftovers from other projects.  But I cannot and do not claim any credit for's a well known pattern!  It's made from one sheet of 12x 12" paper, folded and cut cleverly, the finished book is just under 10cm (4") square - the covers; the pages are smaller.  There are a couple of really good, easy to see and follow tutorials on You Tube - search for Maze Book.  On that basis I won't make you suffer a step by step here, my photography's not up to it!! 
And to prove that point - here's another card from our Card Marathon day - photographed at an extraordinary angle, it looks very odd in the dimension department!  Stamps by Hero Arts and Inkadinkado.  Simple but fun.  I wonder if my teeny obsession with Kraft material will change any time soon!
WOYWW note:  I know a lot of people scan the texts of WOYWW posts because there's so much to get through...but the numbers thing has kicked up a lot of comments.  As I said, the numbers on Mr Linky automatically change if I have to or am asked to remove a link for reasons of correction or you may find your number changes by one or two, but it won't be so drastic a change as to make you difficult to find on the list!  The suggestion of signing your name and turning that into an html link in the comment box has been made.  You could, of course...depends on your time and patience ratios!
I'm still working through the list, started at the bottom of column 3 on Weds, so I may be some time yet and I can't explain this in every comment.  My patience and time ratios would be seriously at risk!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 128

A two-fer from me this week!  I took these at about 4.30pm yesterday; I was just about to finish two sets of calendar pages by adding tweaks and extras to the second set.  You can see that I'm incapable of doing even two pages the same, but that's OK.  Turns out though, I hadn't quite got as far as I thought when I set these aside to concentrate on other stuff, so these may well end up in 'set aside' again!  They are for presents, but as you well know, I'm not allowing myself to panic.  So my desk looks pretty tidy but for the pages, huh!  Usual suspects, including on the right, my Wipso and Twiglet tidy basket which is full of stamps.  All clean, just waiting to be filed away.  But they're clear stamps and I hate putting them away.  Ugh, what a slacker!
Before I make way for Mr Linky, I need to do a bit of housekeeping.  Angela pointed out that using your link list number where you leave a comment is unreliable because they change.  They don't always.  If I'm asked to remove a link (and very very occasionally if I remove a link because it's a bit over the top in terms of non-compliance!) then the numbers do automatically re-jig.  But if you comment and add your original list number, you won't be too hard to find, within one or two numbers at keep doing it please!
So be compliant and please show us your busy (or chilled) workspace this blatant advertising and please make sure your post title includes the WOYWW acronym....for the ease of those of us that visit way after Wednesday!    I thank you.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Wrap Up!

This is the one labelled 'Wild & Sweet' you can see why!
Well the Card Marathon is over and I thank you for your putting up with all my preparations if you have.  Here are a couple of cards from the event.  The rest will appear when I have no more interesting photos to use.  You know how I avoid a photo-less post.  It helps keep my focus on being sharp and pithy in the text department.  (really? Even I'm laughing now!). Scrap Lady Ally also had to succumb to the 'make 12 cards for the Marathon' pain, so if you wanna see others,do swing by her blog at some stage.
And this is the one that has the Mary Anne digi design tree on - love it!!
I thank Mary Anne from the bottom of my crafty heart for her real genuine patient help and generosity over the reproduction of this wonderful digi image.  I think I need say no more - except if you want some of it, check out her pdf printables..available FREE and all she asks is that you show her what you make now and then.  How hard is that!
So that's it.  And I have Christmas presents to wrap too, so in all, this weekend has been a wrap up success.  Man, I love that!

Friday, 11 November 2011

It's behind you...and creeping up fast!!

I sort of bragged on WOYWW about being nearly organised for the Card Marathon tomorrow and I am.  I think.  You know how at the back of your mind you're aware that there are other commitments to be kept up with...but for as long as you don't double check and actually name the  'thing', it sort of just lingers behind you while you're busy.  Do you get that? Are you vaguely familiar with that or have I described it so badly that you now feel that I should be seeking treatment?
Well...I was forced to turn around and face the creeping commitment on Thursday morning. And do you know, I had the WRONG commitment in my head. In Juliaworld, I had in mind that the Maze Book workshop was scheduled for the beginning of December.  So imagine my badly concealed surprise when I find myself discussing with Shopkeeper Gal the number of people that are coming to do the workshop. Next week.

So in the grand tradition of 'push back' techniques, (which also involved a bin bag, such was the enormity of the situation), I cleared my desk and made a Maze Book.  I did enjoy it I must say.  I fell foul:  'familiarity breeds contempt' - oh yeah.  Ruined the piece of 12 x 12 I was going to use because I cut it wrongly.  How many of these have I made?!!  Ah well, it's not the vintage Christmas ensemble I'd planned, but at least the Workshopeers will be able to see what they're making!  And don't tell Shopkeeper Gal, I'm pretty sure I fooled her, so she doesn't need to know.  Note to self: just check the diary before it sneaks up and bites you on the butt. Seriously good advice.  Take, it.  I'm clearly not using it. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 127

I've moved to the floor.  As I get things ready for Saturday, I need to lay them out in a place where I can see what's been done and am not falling over them.  So a corner of the lounge floor is doing the job.  Because I'm too lazy to light the fire and warm the conservatory up....or it would of course, be a table - less bending!
You can see, each basket contains the supplies (ink,stamps, die cuts) needed to make each card.  The large envelopes contain the pre-scored cards, envelopes and bigger pieces of paper or card needed as mounts.  Everything is cut to size and any die cutting is done.  This cuts down on queueing at the tool table and means that the makers can just sit down and make their cards...there's some embossing to be done here and there, but nothing overly taxing - this is about getting as many Christmas cards made as possible!  So there you have it, my workroom is a hive of organisation and the lounge floor is the proof.  Feels kinda good to be productive to be honest.  This is a scheduled post.  I'm scared that Mr D will let me lie in, and more scared that the chores I have to do before going out for the day won't get done if I'm as big a behind as I was last week.  It was yesterday before I finished desk visiting!  
Show us your work area, show us what you're working on; it's very easy - upload to your blog and then come back and link here...please include WOYWW in your title - those of us that visit late often have to page through and can't find the relevant post....especially if the pic is buried at the end of a long post about other stuff.  Thanks, it helps.  Also, Neet reminded us that once you've linked, it's really helpful to include your number on the list when you leave a comment....makes a reciprocal visit much easier!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

One I made earlier

Here's the march part of the 2012 Calendar; I used big fat snotty glue dots to embed the flowers...but still have visions of them falling off in someone else's house next year. If it happens, I shall play the 'home-made' card!
Mary Anne has got so sick of me whingeing about how hard it is to make a card at the moment that she turned up at the crop on Saturday armed with an idea, and knowing my complete inability to understand the computer part of crafting, she even stood ready and offered to email pdf images for me.  Ya see, it pays to have a whinge.  Thanks MA.  I'll show it here, of course, but not till after the Card Marathon.  Which is erm, this weekend.  So  this week my focus is on counting and cutting.  There are a couple of advantages to this.  The first and most obvious is that I had to tidy up thoroughly - when you're pulling supplies to make a dozen or so cards, you need everything where it should be; saves time and panic! The second is that I'm not sitting at my desk spending four hours on a single card idea.  I just know that as soon as Christmas is over, I'll be buzzing with ideas for Christmas cards.  It goes that way, huh.

Friday, 4 November 2011

There's a large wall that holds back a few gardens and houses on Kennet Road in Tidworth.  
It's plain and relatively uninteresting...until some very naughty person with a can of spray paint did this.  It really makes me smile, and I've found myself taking this route on purpose (which is currently an A338 diversion - the worst signposted diversion IN THE WORLD).  I could so easily go another, less round-the-houses way. 
I realise that it's naughty because it's defacing the wall, but it could so easily have been a rude word or a rude picture, so it's not entirely mindless!  Is it there because the erm, 'artist' wants a short-cut around that wall - it's a good 500 metres from the bus stop to the first house...and uphill.  Or is it a sprayed by an idealist who thinks that the slightly smiley door can be a helpful reminder to those stepping off the bus that there's always another door to open?  I can't accept that it's just mindless grafitti - after all, why a door?! I want to think it's Narnia-esque - a nice reminder that even a brick wall has something worth investigating behind it.  It's telling us to take the time.  
No wonder it makes me smile, I'm so busy looking for inspiration that I'm trying to read brick walls!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 126

Thanks for all your concerns...nothing wrong with me at all (!!), just running a big behind...So this is what it looks like when I get a block on.  My friends (you lot) have told me, indeed, reassured me that it will pass.  I'm not fretting or stressing about it, although I admit to a bit of deadline panic.  But I'm not tidying up much either!  After today, I might well need to sort it out, but meanwhile, I'm busy doing other things, so it has to wait. Tough attitude, huh!  So anything new in that lot?  Not especially, but isn't it uncanny how much  that EK Success punch lying on its side looks like a stapler?  The square of pink and the square of orange are little plastic boxes that I decant embossing powders into.  The Distress Inks are out after an attempt at sponging some colour onto an embossed image.  It worked out just fine, I just didn't like the idea in the end.  I rarely stamp with the DInks, they have other, better skills! I can see matte accents, foam pads, a glue pen, glue dots and sellotape, so the usual choices for sticking and of course there's evidence of two pairs of scissors...a bit of a rummage at left will reveal two more! 

So - are you working in calm or in chaos?  Show us what you're up to and what your surface looks like won't you?  Upload a pic to your blog, link it here and join us.  Not judgemental, but very nosey is an accurate summation!

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?