Friday, 29 May 2015

Left right left right...

I finally gave in to the demands of my car and went to the local pit stop to have a slow puncture mended. And this post is what happens if you sit me down for 40 minutes and let me observe.

Decoy photo of no relevance to the post. Spots and Stripes workshop last month.
The garage is run by a bunch of 16 year olds, I swear. Perhaps the head honcho is in his early twenties; you can single him out easily because he doesn't wear the striking blue filth barrier gloves on both hands. The hand he takes your money and taps the keyboard with is ungloved. And of course, as filthy as the gloved hand. His left ear is filthy too. It's his phone ear. I had time to study these things. I have a phone ear too. I swear that it's the better of my two ears for hearing. If I use my right ear, I feel as though I'm listening to you underwater. I expect it's a condition. As I approach my ringing phone, I have to remind myself to use my left hand to pick it up because I'm left eared. But I'm not left handed, which for phone use is very inconvenient, because I'm not left shouldered either. It makes me clumsy when I try to do other things whilst we're talking. Sometimes see, I unload the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor...and once or twice, I've tidied my desk whilst having a chat. I have witnesses.
In a way I wish I was left shouldered too, because then I could use a shoulder bag without resorting to strange arm gymnastics when I want to use my writing hand. The right hand. Sometimes all you want to do is check the time on your phone and it requires massive
amounts of shopping bag and handbag transference. I've started to reconsider my watch collection as positively useful rather than unworn art. Because being right handed, I wear my watch on my left wrist. Of course. 

Decoy again, you deserve it having got this far. Stripes this time.
Then there's the stairs and the legs. I'm definitely right legged and my best foot forward is the right one. I'd like you to have a picture of me springing about, best foot forward. Ahem. If I'm doing something that requires balance, then I start with my left so that I can waggle my right leg around as I trust it it to keep me upright. The 'step' into the joinery workshop is actually a broken in half breeze block (cinder block) and I don't mind saying that every day I approach it with caution....ladies of a certain age, however young in their Apprenticeships, do not want to fall over, across, through or down a threshold. Can you imagine. It's a left foot first, balance and then both feet on the block operation. Then, when equilibrium is guaranteed, best foot forward as usual. At my desk, there's a distinct regime too. My tool caddy is at left. Once selected and used, most often the tools are discarded at right. Scrap papers are at left and the basket for 'to be cleaned' stamps and blocks is at right. Scrap papers are used (oh yes they are) and the now dirty stamps...strewn anywhere. Left until I corral them into the right hand basket. I should rearrange the desk. But I fear further confusion. It's bad enough already, right? And if you're fearing for my sanity, think on. You've read right to the end!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

WOYWW 6th Year Anniversary edition

Remember gentle Desker, if you intend to be in the ATC swap, you need to add an asterisk * after your name when you type it into the Linky thingymabob. Then the next person on the list with an * will be the person you need to get in touch with to send your ATC to. I hope that's easy and clear!

Nikki C has again come up with a choice of badges that you may like to choose from to add to your blog. Or collection. As always, huge thanks to Nikki; because I can't do this sort of thing, and whilst there's generosity like Nikki's about, I don't have to learn!
Your desk/space is definitely a reflection of your personality, your art style, your craft passion and your life. No doubt. We've said before that a psychoanalyst would have a field day, and here's proof...

Seriously, letting us see your desk is as good as taking us on a tour of your home and daily life. We see that you've been too busy to tidy, or indeed to create. We see that because you were poorly, you've lost the energy and mojo to do much but browse mags and pinterest. We see that you've been shopping and then need to see what you do with your new toys. We see when your family have birthdays, babies, graduations and sadly, even funerals. You can't consistently let us see your desk without striking chords of empathy and therefore friendship. And dear reader, gentle Desker, what 6 years of revelation has done is granted each of us a  guaranteed cheer squad, shoulder to lean on and defender of your craft.  And so, if we don't make it to your place every week, or there are times when you can't fit in a reciprocal visit...we get it. We understand. Because we're friends, and this is about enjoying that which we can share across the miles of internet.

Thank you, thank YOU for being a part of it. Please enjoy it. 
Don't forget that *!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Partial work

Some days at the workshop, being an apprentice means that I'm a little bit under employed. And to be honest, during those times, shifting planks of wood or 25 litre tins of paint from the workshop to the store shed gets a bit old. Or is it me that's old and the fifty yards between sheds is just exhausting after staggering up and down a few times? Oh, let's not consider that.

So I've started to waste my time by working smart. One or two of the machines are safe enough for me to be allowed to set up on my own, and after some initial consultation and instruction on settings, I rummaged through the bags of offcuts that are destined to be firewood and started drilling!

I made a few of these...two went as WOYWW Crop prizes and others to friends at Kraft Crazy. They are specifically for the glitter glues - too shallow and fat for pens. Am working on one that will take gel pens, lid down....but just as I get the ideas going...I'm summoned back to real life apprentice works! 

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Finished with Love

Well, like or loathe the book folding, you're looking at my first attempt, actually finished!
I did the learning and the folding at a workshop at Kraft Crazy and stuck in patterned endpapers and flowers at home.  Also, I added some gilding flakes randomly to the folded letter edges.

I don't know if it helps or hinders to be honest. I can't help but feel that the 'e' is weak, but it may be the quality of my measuring or folding. What I do know is that re-folding the pages isn't an option, it would look incredibly scrappy with more folded lines at the edges. (If you've done one of these, you'll know exactly what I mean!)
The flowers are die cuts and the scrapbook paper is from the Que Sera range by Kay & Co. Not new by any means, but this whole pad has given me so much value, one of my best buys ever!
So there you have it. On Shopkeeper Gal's advice, I've hunted down another pattern that I really like. Yesterday I bought a book (a hardback from a charity shop). I've finished reading it now, so will probably try to start the maths and folding later this evening. Hope that Shopkeeper Gal won't mind being number one on my speed dial!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Can you tell what it is yet?

Last night, Shopkeeper Gal VERY patiently took 7 of us through the steps for making this. It involves some basic mathematical calculations at the beginning to determine where in the book one should start. We might as well have been trying to channel Euclid, bless him!
All's well that ends well took me a few minutes over two hours. And some chatting and laughing, of course. 
Of course it's not finished, there are face papers to add and some flowers to tuck behind the gaps and some ribbon to hold it at the desired angle of open. But so far, so good. made Mr Dunnit smile when he saw it, and take way more of an interest than when I bring home a bunch of cards! That has to be worth reporting on!
Have a great weekend y'all. To make for some time at home this week, I'm joining Mr Dunnit in the workshop. Guilt, of course!
Linking with Annie's Friday smiles.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 311

OK people, get your Act into gear and line up your Mojo. If you're planning to take part in next week's WOYWW ATC swap to mark the anniversary, you need to be ready to post your ATC on the day! There's all sorts of info to be found on separate pages at the top of this blog. Specifically, HERE.
OK, I can't put it off any longer. My desk is a man woman and child made disaster and smacks of neglect. Couldn't really be worse! Whilst I was at the WOYWW crop, is was a little untidy. I took this photo on Tuesday tea time so that I could brag this morning about how tidy it is. hmm, not so gentle Desker. I did not get back to it.
I unpacked after the WOYWW crop..which explains the upright envelopes at the back. Peeking out under them is an SU! stamp set I bought from Fiona at the Crop. No time yet to play. That was supposed to be last night, but I was too preoccupied with other stuff. The scrapbook papers flat on the desk are covered in printed off bank stuff placed there by Mr Dunnit to aid my book work. Miss Dunnit dumped my box of patterned scraps on top for the want of anywhere else. There's a scrap of left over wrapping paper at the back, the list standing up at right is the first page of Shopkeeper Gal's new workshop schedule. The rest of the stuff is just that. Stuff. Stuff that needs putting away so that I can actually approach my desk without losing the will to live. Ergh.
Enough about and tell your own desk stories please!
Put WOYWW in your post title and link her for some international desk viewing. Thank you!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Choices for T Tuesday.

So how do you choose your hairdresser?
If you use a hairdresser, you will know that they have to become very important to you. You have to form a relationship. This skilled person will really only ever know you back to front and still you expect him/her to interpret your right-way-around cravings for tousled but magnificent, don't -give-a-damn but very coiffed, colour me perfect hair. All that, and you don't really want to pay the cost of such skill, because we're just sitting about, right. And talking of sitting about...when I sit in front of my chosen hairdresser's full length mirror, I'm fairly hopeful that its not the real me, a back to front version at the very least. Indeed, I have accused her of having one of those fairground mirrors. You know the one that makes every mouthful you've ever eaten jiggle about on your face and chin and taunt you to sleep badly.

I don't choose by recommendation (what makes one person happy doesn't necessarily work for another). This particular hairdresser was chosen by my two well hidden and shameful characteristics - idleness and shallowness.
Idle? Yep. This lovely salon is all of four steps away from the Shopkeeper Gal's in Amesbury. So it's not exactly inconvenient to schedule an after workshop 'do'. And even if I do have to put myself out to make the journey specifically - I can always make it more worthwhile by popping into Kraft Crazy as well!
Shallowness? Yep...totally and utterly taken in by the decor and the presentation. The place is called Shampoo. Like its name, it is furnished simply - but beautifully. And just look at the lovely detail involved in the beverage ritual. I tell ya, the  sitting in front of a full length mirror with this sort of ornate frame experience is definitely tempered by the arrival of such pretty coffee. It's a big fat bonus that I find Logan to be a brilliant hairdresser, really!
Joining Elizabeth for T is for Tuesday, at last!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Small, but perfectly formed..

So here's the WOYWW Crop, in all its attendee glory. It was a lovely, sunny day. There was a lovely warm atmosphere because I think, everyone had already met..if not in person, then online across their desks.
By the time I got there, Jan, her men and Doug and Shaz Silverwolf had it all set up. I traded ATCs, chatted and made tea and coffee.
Left to right..Dolores, Me, Helen, Fiona ,Kyla, Morti Mary Anne, Sam,Fiona, Lisa Cindy, Debbie, Chris, Jan,Maggie and Lisa-Jane and Zoe in front..oh and Fergus seems to have found his place too...
Need the blog names?: Cardarian, Stamping-Ground, Stamping by H,L'il Pidge, Coup de Main Crafts, Scrappy Sticky Inky Mess, Hettiecrafts,(Fiona and Lisa don't blog) Plant's List, a Crafter's Life,Pear Shaped Crafting,Lunch Lady Jan's fabric frenzy, Silvercrafter, Inside my Head and Crafty Gas Head Zo
When I turned around, Jan had cooked lunch. So I helped to dish up. Then I ate some lunch. Chatted some more. Told the lovely husbands who were washing up that they were erm, lovely, and they didn't have to do it.  And then managed to leave them to it. Chatted some more, made some more teas and coffees and *pouf* it was time to do the raffle and pack up for home. Can you believe, it went that quickly. Excess funds and raffle monies made a lovely chunk to donate to HMSA, a charity that has helped Zoe and that she's fundraising for over the whole year. Everyone was very generous, as always. 
Cardarian, LLJ, Shaz Silverwolf and me
Shaz had to leave before lunch..she and Doug had a wedding to go to...but how fab of them to bother, don't you think! And finally, Janet, her Fairythoughts and her gorgeous Handyman arrived after lunch. Bonus, because yep, more chatting!  I didnt 'do' anything all fact, I didn't take anything to do. You will see, I'm sure, on many blogs over the next couple of weeks that every one else made time to craft; it was a delightful mix too - hand and machine sewing, journals and paste and spritzers, stamps and scrapbook papers. Crochet and knitting too. How multi talented we Deskers are. It really was a lovely day filled with friends and chat. And oh, did I mention...there was a lot of cake.
Thanks to y'all for coming, and to Jan for doing. We might have to do it again.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 310

Welcome to WOYWW. We've nearly achieved SIX years of this nonsense, the anniversary is WOYWW 312 on 27th May. We are celebrating with a friendly, circular ATC swap, and newbie, regular, irregular, you are invited to join in. Here is a link to explain how.
And now, sweet Deskers, draw a breath and enjoy the wreckage that is my desk.
I almost don't know where to start. You can deduce by looking that I've been playing with spots and stripes. For a workshop on Thursday. Turns out it wasn't as easy to plan as I thought which is ridiculous. It also caused me to be incredibly messy. The light is weird in the early morning; everything looks more blue than it really is. Except the purple patchwork card at left with which I've actually managed to make a whole card! It's balancing on top of my stash box of gems which I had finished with. And as you can see, I've got four ink pads on the go...three of which I'm not planning to use. Lots of abandoned stamps. Just falling off the tin of sponges is an attempt to stamp a whole card in three colours of stripe. Fail. Wrong colours, not looking as I thought it would, blah blah. I'm not sure I am actually capable of working tidily any more! I'll bore you with the cards after the workshop, of that I am sure.

The WOYWW Crop is this weekend. If you've been humming and hawing about whether or not to come. We need to know you're coming for all sorts of reasons involving food, but it's not hard to let me know. You can read about it HERE and I'll fill you in with other info if you ask for it. I guarantee that you'll really enjoy meeting some of the Deskers. It's the safest and nicest way to meet strangers from the Internet! And there's cake.

Meanwhile, please, link up here to show us what's going on at your desk. As usual, please put WOYWW in your post title so we can find you easily over the next few days. It take *some* of us that long to get to your door. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

What do you get from a Workshop...?

Being a conductor of workshops is gives my 'people watching' gene a great work out. Truly, it gives me abilities. Assisting a newbie in the craft of stamping and copying a sample card allows me access to all sorts of information about them. I should be a psychologist. *!!*

Woodware again, Francoise I've no doubt...

There are those who are frightened to commit ink to paper for fear of doing it wrong. I get to remind them that it's a scrap of paper that can go in the bin. And then when it turns out just right (as it it so often does!), I get to see there satisfaction levels. I quickly discover if someone doesn't really like to get inky or gluey fingers. If fussy cutting or paper piecing is too much for them...impatience, arthritis, you name it. I can spot a 'save every scrap' personality as soon as they start 'collating' elements on a card. It's about the neat pile of bits in front of them see....the rest of us are just chucking stuff into the bin as we go. Sometimes these personalities give themselves up even more quickly...short gasps when witnessing a brutal act of throwing away more than a square inch of card or paper. Of course I have a built in empathy for the 'just do it' character too, that's me. I get a wicked glee when the lady with the ruler and pencil asks me for the measurement for positioning and I have to admit to 'eyeballing it'. 

Sentiment by Penny Black, bird die from Die'Sire and my first bokeh...
What I really need though, to complete my psychological profiling is access to everyone's stash. And this may well be the root of WOYWW. I 'need' to see what the crafters are like at their own desks and more than anything, I need to see their stamp collections. Do they, like me, need a character like Shopkeeper Gal to point out that they have a 'thing' for certain subjects.  Birds for me currently. And I hadn't really noticed, so I checked. Yep, I have more than a clutch of bird stamps and dies. How odd. Words and me are a given. I have way too many. So ya see, I'm learning all the time, I have a head full of characters and delightful foibles. And Shopkeeper Gal knows us all better than we know ourselves!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 309

The sixth anniversary of WOYWW is very nearly upon us. Week 312.
This is a link to explain the ATC swap that we're gearing up for.
As I usually do, I took two photos of my desk, and can only show you this one..

Because for once, I don't want you to see what's under the new stuff. And the overhead shot really did show my ATCs off. Strange how the camera shows more than the viewfinder! But, despite the gloom this morning, you can see I've got new paper and twine and the shiny packet is probably a new die, possibly by Kaisercraft. That Shopkeeper Gal has produced a new workshop schedule so I felt the need to buy a couple of things to kick start my card samples. *ahem..any excuse*.
The notebook pages on my ipad stand are torn from a now full book which is in file 13. The notes pertain to some layout ideas that I garnered at a convention in 2006. Yep, seven years later and I still intend to do the pages. Ho hum. You can just see my WOYWW wet wipe holder at left, made for me by Annie and Twiglet some years back now..a really useful and cherished pressie. You also get sight of my unweeded patio. Hmm...I refuse to do more than try to control the height of them now...we are due to build on that space this year, so I'm not wasting my energies!
Show and tell then please - we want to see what you're up to as well. Put WOYWW in your post title and link here..simple and it makes you visit-able!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Listening to myself.

When I had the shop - it was a paper craft shop called Stamping Ground (so there's a vague reason for the blog name..) - I was able to develop a sixth sense for browsers who would become customers and browsers who wouldn't. There would be enthusiasm and wonder and further interest and conversation.

Or there would be polite interest and the standard 'get-out-of-the-shop-without-buying-anything-phrase'. And that phrase is and was "I don't have time to do this sort of thing". And it used to really annoy me. Because it invalidated my passion, my business and my service to others in my  opinion. I developed as polite a response as I could. I would instantly look them in the eye and say with a smile: 
        "I think if you want to do something badly enough, you MAKE time to do it".
And then quite often, bid them a good day as I closed the door behind them! In the madness of my current life and commitments, I have really wondered if I would ever get back to my hobby. And then I recalled my big mouth telling other people to make time. So I have. 

At the beginning of each week, Mr Dunnit and I have a Production Meeting. He tells me what we're going to achieve and I tell him the commitments that we have; as a couple, a business and individually. We work around them. It may mean some longer days or early starts or other juggling, but it works out in the end.
Looks really arty and clever as a close up angle, Huh!

In the last month, I've had two full days of Cropping in others company, which is marvellous. I've had a couple afternoons in the garden which were very necessary and even managed coffee and shopping with LLJ. I'm no busier than other women the world over, for sure. But I'm better off for having heard myself. I'm not offering it as advice. I'm erm, strongly recommending you try it. Go on, make that time!

Friday, 1 May 2015

I made a decision.

Not long ago, I was browsing a web shop called Make The Day Special, looking for something in particular. I'd had an idea for an ATC for WOYWW and thought it would be really easy to do, but I didn't have a stamp or die of the most important element. Less easy then, huh. Anyway, Make The Day Special was the last of many sights I'd browsed and I was losing the will to live. When this Impression Obsession set struck me. Almost woke me up to be honest, I'd looked at so many, I was definitely only semi concious!

The set contains this rather charming flapper gal and a bunch of sayings. These two cards illustrate two of them.

I think they're fun, and the others are just as good and you'll see them eventually. The amazing part of these cards is that I coloured them - with Copics. It was the same afternoon that I made the cute card that had to be coloured. I must have been on a roll. Haven't been since. But some days, paper piecing is too fiddly, solid stamps don't do it, and then there's just no choice. So, although I rarely use them, I have decided that I don't want to be without my Copics. Long may they sit in their box on the floor under the PC tower doing nothing. And I mean nothing. I don't even want to think about them spitefully drying out!