Wednesday, 19 July 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 424

It's a shambles. Still.
I'm doing that five minutes here and there thing, and it doesn't involve tidying and sorting. I will...because it's driving me nuts! You can see the Summer workshop schedule, which is there to prompt me to at least think about the next workshop. Below that, you can see a few packets...they are new clear stamps. And on the right next to the tape gun - there's a new die. All Christmas themed. Shopkeeper Gal made me, she said I needed them. The brown paper bag at left contains squashed pennies and other such nonsense souvenirs from the USA. The little wallet thing at far right is full of tickets and receipts from our hols...you'd think, wouldn't you, that I was getting ready to scrapbook! The truth is naturally, more to do with not having put them away properly!
Share your work space will you? Especially if you're feeling a bit smug about how tidy it is compared to mine!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

There IS a difference...this time it's food....

Did you know that Mr Dunnit and I were recently in the United States? I'm sorry to go on. Actually, I'm not really.I hope my observations aren't too boring for you; I'm not offended if you choose not to plough through them, honestly!  we spent time with my sister in Eagle, Idaho. And we did a road trip to visit places -we drove from Eagle, to Twin Falls, then to Salt Lake City, then Kanab, then Flagstaff. We turned around after a couple nights in Flagstaff and went back to Eagle via Page and Orem.  There's so much to say, and frankly, putting these observations on my Blog will help me enormously in five years time when I start the scrapbook pages. I want to point out some differences in our cultural lives....food is one:
Of course, breakfast is the first thing...the bacon comes with the pancakes....I re-jigged it for eating purposes. I had heard of, but not tasted the maple syrup-on-bacon-pancakes thing. I didn't care for it, but it didn't stop me re-arranging the combination. Best ever - a breakfast that includes a pudding! Whilst we toured, we ate huge breakfasts at a variety of roadside diners. Where possible we chose independent diners...my word they were amazing. Every one of them was a potential film set!
'At home' in Idaho, Billiam was concerned that we try all the traditions and so this is the famous 'biscuits and gravy'. I know it looks like mushrooms, but it's actually quite highly herby and peppery sausage in the gravy. The 'biscuits' are rather like savoury scones, slightly less doughy perhaps. For five days I enjoyed coffee with 'Half and Half' in it. Then my sister told me it wasn't half fat milk it was half full milk and half cream. No wonder I liked it.
Biscuits and gravy, courtesy of  Billiam, chef of the day.
Most of the eating out was done on our road trip. At 'home' in Eagle, we did home stuff and ate home food. As you do!  It took me a few days to get used to the way that a server will clear the plates of anyone that's finished. Here, it's considered rude to clear until the last person has finished. In the States, not so. I lost the last few bites of several meals until I cottoned on and spoke up for myself! It's politely done, the most common phrase is 'let me get that empty tableware out of your way', which is very nice. I was always left eating on my own, I'm very slow. I talk too much.
The best Milkshake I've ever had..a cup full of soft ice cream swirled with huckleberries.

Very noticeably, Americans eat a lot of cheese. And they know their cheeses. Wherever we ate, there was cheese. Every sandwich, 'enhanced' with a slice of Emmental or Gouda or Swiss something or other...no matter what other contents were between the slices of bread. Of course, burgers - Feta was very popular on burgers in Boise. Parmesan by the bucket load, added to hot chips (very nice), sprinkled over salads, and an addition to pizza, but ironically to us, not offered when we actually had a Bolognese. Of course, Macaroni Cheese appears on menus in Diners and five star restaurants alike...sometimes called different things, but Mac and Cheese it was. At Boise airport there were two places to eat and neither of them had a single savoury item on the menu that didn't include cheese. Largely the cheese is an addition that over here, we wouldn't have thought of, or noticed the lack of. For someone that can take or leave it, it became a bit of a habit to ask 'hold the cheese'!

And that really is a huge difference that was immediately obvious. 'Hold the cheese', 'add such and such', 'put the whatever on the side'. Massive menus that are then manipulated to suit the eater. It must drive the kitchen and washing up staff absolutely crackers. Didn't seem that way though. Nothing seemed too much trouble, to be honest.
Well, actually, one thing did. Getting a drink. Alcohol. I know and was expecting the rules to change from State to State, and I know in particular that in Utah it is less 'easy' to drink than other States. But we were a bit surprised when turned away from a restaurant-bar in Utah because I had no photo ID. We wanted a beer and a steak - we had been able to smell the grill from down the street. They couldn't let us in without ID even when we promised not to try to order drinks. Wow. Wasn't expecting any exceptions; rules is rules.  And yet, somehow, at 52.11 and 56.5 years old, it did seem a bit silly. Especially as the next night, we went to a ballgame (Go Bees!) and managed to buy a couple of beers without so much as a whisper about age or ID. Mind you - it was expensive enough to probably prevent under-age drinkers from even trying. EIGHT dollars, and it wasn't even a pint! I have no pictures, but I do have the plastic glass, one of my more expensive tacky souvenirs!

And finally, I have completely and utterly won the prize. Solved the puzzle. Got an answer. Our American cousins eat fruit with their savoury 'main meals' because....there's never room for pudding!
I can't count the number of meals I had that turned up and included a fruit salad. We were invited to supper at a friend's and enjoyed beautifully grilled steak with a strawberry and blueberry salad. Absolutely delish. And for once in the whole trip..just once, my eyes weren't bigger than my belly.

Since Blogger last updated, I'm struggling with basic editorial, font sizes, alignment, picture placing.....anyone else?
These two lines of text really illustrate it!











Wednesday, 12 July 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 423

Well, this may  be a what's not....over here at my place, it's all going on, and I have only cleared my desk off in order to work at it. I have not tidied..the cleared 'stuff' is in a pile on a chair. But, now I have the workshop ready to roll, I can get to tidying and straightening. I need to. It's driving me crackers.
Look - early morning coffee, and ta na! In the basket, my first Christmas card of the season. I have to say Season, because in crafting retail world, it IS the Season. Demand is there for those that are hugely well organised, and so...one of the cards in this weeks workshop is for Christmas. The lovely stars and stripes pencils were part of a gift from my American Sissy, and there you see the real book of 'Me'. It's not in the same place with dust on it, like so many features on my desk - it's in the same place because it's actually a convenient place to keep it and write in it! It has some very pertinent questions in it...I may have to leave it for publication with my will!
Share what you're up to, will you, we need to see, especially if you're one of the hugely Seasonally prepared! I'll be late to visit, I have an appointment with the neuro rehab team at Southampton hospital. They've been amazing in helping me work off the worst of the facial palsy and I think this will be the last visit!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Presumption of friendship

I've never met an American I didn't like. The young and burly Homeland Security guy that I met at immigration may have scared me a little, but he was perfectly pleasant. And wonderfully efficient. The young man in Utah that took $200 dollars off us after our car was towed...extremely nice, very friendly and almost apologetic. Obviously, I haven't met the entire nation, and I fully accept that there will be exceptions. And I'm big and ugly enough to accept that not everyone is going to like me.
Taken from a bus in Utah;  Zion National Park, I think!
Our recent trip has reinforced the belief that everyone will be polite and friendly, in response to polite and friendly. I love that the guy at the table next to us in the Bakery at Kanab, Utah recognised our accents and wanted to tell us all about his trip to Great Britain, that the girl who served us Pizza in Flagstaff, Arizona thought we were Canadian, and that a very nice young woman in Anthropologie,(back in Eagle, Idaho) admired my sandals, which caused me such surprise that her kind enthusiasm for my accent left me a little word shy. See how I got three States into the story? We met a lot of people.
I had a message from Kathy that she lived a mere 5 hours from Idaho, read my blog and would like to meet. So....we did.
Mike wore a collared shirt to meet us on account of our being British. Perfect!
Now if ever the presumption of friendship is thrown into question, you can quote this 'incident'. Kathy is not (yet) a blogger, but she reads WOYWW and follows several of us Deskers. You will have seen her desk on WOYWW422 (the wrongly numbered one). We may never have met, but we already know that we have craft in common. And then, the rest comes naturally. I think both of our husbands came because it's a long journey...but also, it's 'strangers off the internet' again isn't it, and if either of us had indeed turned out to be axe murderers, our heroes were there to defend us. In reality, we had a lovely meal, lots of soda (because it was hot, man and we had a lot to talk about). Four hours after we met, Mike started to make noises about going home, after all, its over a two hour trip. It only took another 40 minutes to get us to the point of departure....there is always so much to say. I hope, Kathy, that you're reading this in your wonderful craft space and thinking of the nice afternoon we had together, and I really hope that we can repeat it!
Oh, and just as a by-the-way...I didn't buy anything in Anthropologie. Strong and sensible shopper!





Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 422

It really is 422 gentle Desker. Many of you noticed that by going away, I stepped into a time warp and well, cocked up the week numbers! LLJ reminded me yesterday to repeat last week. Making sense? Oh good.



It's nice and warm, so the door is open, and gives you a great view of 3 weeks growth on the building site. The pink flower is an ever-lasting sweet pea which we dug up last summer. Despite the trunk being as thick as my wrist, it appears that we didn't get the better of it! The rest of the green is just weeds and I shall be out there, regaining control, any day now. My desk is piled with stuff. Top right are bits from card making and some bits to scrapbook that survived the clean-up before we went away. Apart from the ice cream tub, the rest is leaflets, souvenirs, purchases and a couple of gifts from our US trip. The 'Me Journal' at front right was a gift from a new friend..seems she got me totally and utterly, huh! The wrapped and be-ribboned gift is from my Sissy for my birthday. She's organised! In the ice cream box there's a plastic beer glass from the Bees stadium in Salt Lake City. We went to a baseball game. The opportunity for plastic souvenirs was immense and irresistible. I'll talk more about some of these things soon. If that's a promise, show us all your, huh? Link here and we'll visit. I thank you.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk, Wednesday 422

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

Sunday, 25 June 2017

American hospitality. An art.

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

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

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

Part of Lake Powell, from that balcony.

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

This is Chase's house. Cute.

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

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

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk 421

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

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

Sunday, 18 June 2017

American weather...an obsession

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

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


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


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

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday 418

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

Monday, 5 June 2017

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

W8YWW 417

It's after midnight, Tuesday. We've been to Miss Dunnit's University to view an exhibition. All the theatre arts are represented; Miss Dunnit's course is Prop Making and Special Effects. It was amazing, the talent was breath-taking. It's not just a 'proud parents evening'; the exhibition forms a part of their course and the success of it is therefore very important. It's open for a week at Northbrook College in Goring if you're interested. After we'd looked very closely at everything, we had a quick tour of the studios. Because they're students, they each have a cubicle type desk to work at, and....
this is Miss Dunnit's space! A painted and graffitied area with a large amount of polystyrene left from a previous project. The room was a shambles and all of us visitors just gazed at it in awe, some because they didn't know what to say about the mess, others because it was all ingredients for creativity and it had to be looked at, and still others because the smell of glue and resin was quite strong!
I might show you more, but I have to gather permissions first. If you're a theatre or film addict though, I would rest assured - the future is in good hands!
Share do, what you've been up to since last Wednesday's goliath 8 year anniversary...which was great fun, thank you!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

WOYWW 416 That's 8 Years, then

Well done, gentle desker. Whether you've been here once in a blue moon, or every week for some time, you have contributed to what has become a great part of my life; I hope, yours too. And that's the circle of friendship that you meet when you join in here. Everyone who has ever shown us their workspace, work desk, worktop, - make what you will of the middle W in the acronym - everybody will meet warmth and support and good old friendship. It's so much more and so much less than just a work desk thing. If you're game, we'll go on with it. It remains here, and as simple as ever. No blatant advertising, we're interested in the way you work and what you're currently doing. We'll ask if you've got a toy that we need to know about, do not fear.Please, in your comment, tell me what 'pulls' you to WOYWW. The most impressive thing to me continues to be  the tidy desks. If I were Sue, for example I would spend a deal of time trying not to look at the workdesk that I publish each week, I truly think it must make her want to scream!
Today is no exception. I'm trying that 'five minutes here and there' technique. Quite frankly, it's pants. Those little bits of coloured foil....extremely essential brain food. Inspirational chocolates. Honest.

Now remember, today is RAK day. If you have an ATC to mark this huge anniversary and don't mind posting it to someone, when you link your blog here, include an * after your name. Then we'll know you're participating. The name with * before you will be in touch  for your address, and likewise, you need to contact the next person with an * against their name, for that person will be your recipient.
If you are the last * on the list, send your ATC to the first *. Easy, innit.

Do not worry about having to link twice because you forget the *, I'm going to be on hand to do some deleting where necessary. (Only I can do this, for I am all powerful in JuliaDunnit world).
Do not worry or have a guilt thing about not participating. It's meant to be fun and it's not if there is an obligation attached to it.
DO contact me via the email link at left if you'd like to receive one of my ATC attempts.

Try to remember the asterisk thingy then********!

Friday, 19 May 2017

It's high time...

My (considerably) older sister lives in Idaho.  And just in case you don't know, that's her on the right. The presentable one. I mean...what's  going on with the hair, Mrs Dunnit!  She's lived elsewhere in the US and it's been over twenty years. As with a lot of relationships, you don't know what you've got till it's gone, and over those twenty years, we've both come to love the opportunity to do nothing more grand than have a coffee and a chat. It's what you wanna do when you've got a free couple of hours or are feeling a bit blue or have news, huh. So this LO, which I did as a result of a challenge for National Scrapbook Day, sums it up really. We were on holiday together in Spain and coffee was being enjoyed on a bright morning in Cartagena. It's less the memory of the place and the coffee than it is the chat and 'normalness' of it, despite it's not being normal at all. Gotta love a coffee break. Also proves to anyone that needs proof that I'm incapable of chronological scrapbooking. Loads of other pics from this holiday have been put in scrapbooks already, but this, apparently, I was saving. I have to scrap the photo that speaks to me when I'm looking for a photo, whether it's 2 days or twenty years old. Nor do I file the LOs chronologically. I know a lot of you will be experiencing itchy teeth over my slovenliness, but it works for me. Crafting chronology bores me. There, I said it. I'm interested in your response to this - are you the same or do you need the order of time/place/age?

Idaho is my holiday destination, and a road trip via SLC to the Grand Canyon. We're pretty excited. So that's the big holiday I was talking about. And the book I had to keep listening to was 'Echoes in Death' by JD Robb. It's as you'd expect, a murder mystery. As I skim the purchases on my Audible account, it seems that murder, crime and mystery are my genre of choice for quiet and gentle crafting. No doubt that says a whole lot about me, I just don't know what. I'm a mystery.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 415

Good grief, gentle desker, we are one week away from the eighth anniversary of this visit thing. How amazing. HERE is the page that explains how we're doing a round robin ATC swap to mark the occasion. If you want to. If you don't, treat the day as a normal Wednesday!

Now if you have any, you may want to put on your rose tinted glasses for this one. This is the fully extended dining table, acting as a tax office. Seriously, I have let it sit like this - or a variant of this for nearly a week.
 Yesterday, I hastened through other chores so as to get to the tax returns pronto - one being nearly finished means that the others are easier, see. But...I had been listening to a really good audio book whilst I've chored this past week, and couldn't bear to turn it off in order to concentrate. There was one hour and eleven minutes to go. So I went to my proper desk and made a couple of cards from generous scraps and then started on another couple. So here's the real desk taken at teatime yesterday. It still looks the same this morning. I have an hour and eleven minutes to make up today. Worth it though!
The 'Wake Up and be Awesome' card is a prototype from last week's workshop. Shows how they change as I fiddle about, huh! The butterfly cards will join some others that I've made up from decent scraps. We're going on a big holiday very soon, and it will be nice to have some handmade card packs to offer as small gifts when the need arises. The little plastic rose embellishments at left are a find from a garden centre near my sister's house. So pretty! Not easy to see, but there's a pile of ATCs just above the tape gun. They are for next week's swap - if you'd like to receive one from me, please ping me your address and I shall make it happen! It sounds as if I've been utterly craft prolific. I haven't really, more craft panicked. Please show and tell your work space, particularly as I'm now out of craft inspiration!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Oh, the things you say

At a workshop last night, where I was required to do no more than sit about and explain why the sample cards were wonky, two of my most often used phrases in terms of card making came up. I was being very free with my top tips. I find myself doing this when I need to justify my presence because everyone knows exactly what they're doing.

Woodware stamp, WOW embossing powder

A couple of the ladies present were relatively new to card making and of course, were taking my every word as talent and truth. One thing I can point out with absolute certainty is that when you have a pre-scored card (as in, if you buy a pack of cards and envelopes), the mountain of the score should be folded to the inside. This is basic paper engineering; that little mountain forces the card slightly open so it will stand. I can't remember when I learned this, but I do know it was from a man that printed, cut and scored a kerjillion greeting cards every year. But, it's not always an easy thing to remember is it, in amongst the 8  million other rules about keeping your fingers clean and work on the card flat and use this tape and that glue and measure this bit but do that bit by eye...so, I always show and tell. And the phrase for the tell is 'hump inside, or you'll get arrested'. It works. Probably on more than one level, but certainly as a card folding mantra, it's like having me sit on your shoulder while you're creating!

Woodware text, Marianne, Joy & Sizzix  dies, Kaiser paper
My other suggestion was to stick a piece of paper on the card despite it's being longer than the card, and flip it over and butt cut the paper to fit. Cue giggling from more than one source. I've always said it haven't I? I can't believe these particular craft customers friends haven't heard me say it before. Perhaps I had archived it as a silly thing to say, and now I can't remember archiving for that reason. Highly likely. Good tip though!

This LO is a decoy photo; I was discussing the workroom carnage caused by National Scrapbook Day with the World Traveller and she asked if I'd managed any other challenges. This was an unintentional entry into the 'longest title' category. I used Basic Grey Stickers but foiled the 'incredible' word. I felt it was appropriate for a be-slippered nephew who was trying on a super power!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 414

Whew! Skidding in with a photo that will reassure or sadden, I don't know!
It's a bit dull yet, but there's hope of lovely sunshine again today. Which is nice, because it will make me feel better whilst I set to and tidy up. Again. I've been doing a couple of scrapbook challenges that were set at the weekend to mark National Scrapbook Day. Turns out I scrap very, very slowly. The challenges were being posted at proper, do-able intervals, but there's no way I could tackle each one unless I have a fortnight off! The iPad chair is empty again (I used it for the photo), the weird picture above it is actually a cereal box. The right size this time, to make a mail holder for my friend. She will have forgotten all about it by now, so it will either be a delightful surprise or an embarrassing moment of 'I didn't really want one, just being polite about yours' thing. I'll let you know! The layout is waiting for a title. I know what I want it to say, it's just quite long and I have to brace myself to sort it out! Show and tell us what your space has been home to this week then - please!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Favourite Technique

There's a Blog hop going on to celebrate National Scrapbook Day and you've arrived at the 9th blog in a string of 11. Each of us are hoping to inspire you and show you our favourite technique by showcasing it on a LO.

If you are following the Blog hop, you should have arrived here from Gemma's place
(thesteelenook.blogpost.co.uk). To be in with a chance of winning the Blog Hop prize you will need to comment on this post and on all the other blogs in the Hop.
Now rest your weary hopping limbs a minute while I explain my favourite technique. It may come across as a cheat to you, but it appears on every single one of my LOs in a staggering variety and it's only thanks to this Blog Hop that I've even noticed that it's a technique. Or...question of the day...is it a format?


It's a single photo and paper. Layers of it, to be precise. Before I can do anything else to a LO, it appears that the photo must matted and placed on any number of colour contrasting layers. If you visit my blog ever again, you'll see it, almost monotonously, it really has been a bit of a revelation for me!
I know it's not rocket science, and I certainly won't hold you up on this Hop as there's no need to make notes or check out another new-to-you product. This is the least technical thing - just add more paper. Scrunch it, smooth it, distress the edges, just add more and make it show!
Once you've finished here, staggered by the majesty of my creativity, leave a suitable rude comment,  and hop on over to Julie's place - jsquaredscrapspot.wordpress.com
If you lose your way or fancy meandering through from the beginning, start here at lovely Fiona's blog: fiona-staringatthesea.blogspot.co.uk. If you're familiar with my blog, or indeed a Desker, you will recognise Fiona immediately!
When you have completed the Hop, return to the Blog Hop thread on Facebook at For The Love of Pretty Paper and leave a comment to let us know that you've been all the way around the Hop. Visitors who leave the same comment (or a comment deemed to be the same by the Organisers) will not be eligible for the prize. The closing date for Blog Hop entries is Monday May 8th at 10pm. The prize can only be posted to a UK address. Good Luck!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Preparing....rather unusual in these parts...

I have been flitting between my desk to make stuff and the dining table to do book keeping this week. It's tax return month and there's a lot of brain strain involved. So the card making has been a great reward. However, this evening is the beginning of an online crop type party to mark National Scrapbook Day on Sunday. For the first time ever, I'm going to have a crack at some of the challenges; I've actually ring fenced the time. So I thought it would be prudent to start with a clean and uncluttered desk.
As you can see, I've finished excavating! I'm going to try the 'clear up as you go' technique tomorrow, in order to well, stay in order. And possibly so that I can wander round my home for pleasure rather than in search of a pair of reading glasses!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 413 (edited number!)

Well Deskers, it's rapidly approaching. The eighth anniversary of WOYWW. If you want to be involved in the ATC swap, there are details in a page listed at the top of the blog. Even if you don't want to be involved with the whole ATC thing, please join in on the day, it will just be another Wednesday show and tell!
And in that tradition:
I took this late last night. Quite proud of it because it hasn't yet become a nightmare to tidy or work at. And this is after a massive clear up on Monday because I'd been scrapbooking. I've had a really nasty eye infection (now under control, thankfully) and consequently have lost a week. Now I can see out of both eyes, I see deadlines! Here you can see the germ of an idea that will be a workshop sample for next week if I get it together. The pens are re-branded Wink of Stella; can't stop using them! My trusty iPad was on the deckchair but I used it to take this photo. The green basket at right is meant to hold acrylic blocks and other stuff creeps into it very easily! Including an A5 trimmer which in turn has become a holding point for finished cards. I'm not quite over the Crazy Birds yet - I don't know if you can see it but there's one on that card on top! So, fair to say I'm slowly getting it back. I still need your inspiration though, so please contribute a link to your working space.

Monday, 1 May 2017

National Scrapbook Day....ok, weekend.


For the Love of Pretty Paper is a Facebook group that I belong to. Started by a fellow paper addict who has run with it and turned it into a scrapbook resource and very friendly forum. Very refreshing because selling isn't allowed. Which really means that posts are interesting instead of pushy. Anyway, enough about my feelings for the sales ambitious. Sarah asked if anyone would be interested in creating a page and blogging about it for next weekend, National Scrapbook Day. (And back to the politics..I think it might actually be International.) Because I like the Facebook Group and feel that I don't show much support of all the hard work it creates (causes?), I volunteered.
Well Sarah totally caught me out and accepted. And because she's organised and surrounded by amazing scrapbook page makers, she asked about a week ago for 'sneak peeks' of our pages. And that is the lovely, fresh looking collage of vignettes that you see above. Of course, it doesn't include a sneak peek from my page. At the time, and I must stress AT THE TIME, I hadn't quite got around to it.
I have since spent a happy wet Sunday at my desk, and I have four Layouts to choose from. Which is a miracle to be honest. I've discovered that when you're making a page for deliberate public screening, it makes you completely unable to stick paper to paper in any pleasing way at all. So now all I have to do is decide which of the LOs is better, photograph it artfully and post it next Sunday. It's a blog hop, so there will be plenty of opportunity for inspiration, thank goodness. Now, who wants a bet on how many times I change my mind about the LO I'm going to feature?

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Getting your ATC OK

I have posted how the ATC swap will work for WOYWW8. 
The page is shown at the top of my blog, imaginatively entitled ATCs.
THIS is a link to the page if you want to rush over there.

Postage is expensive and if you want to take part, you only need send one ATC. It is not the law that you send one to me as well, I wallow in the goodwill of the fact that WOYWW qualifies for an anniversary and that we all seem to enjoy it, so please, there's no need or obligation.

These beauties represent a teeny part of my collection.
The trouble with ATCs (if trouble is the right word) is that they can feature anything; as long as it fits on the base card, and can bear the postal system, it will work. I've been trading and collecting for some years now and probably have hundreds of ATCs. I cannot possibly pick a favourite....they vary too much in content and meaning. Strange the things we get attached to.

At some point, the WOYWW Anniversary used to coincide with the WOYWW Crop. It wasn't deliberate, but was a great way to combine postage in some cases. This won't be the case this year, given the months between the two, and that the Crop is the first in our 'one off' locations.  Instead at some point, for those of us attending I'll steal a good idea from somewhere to come up with a souvenir to make and swap at the Crop.
Clear as mud? Good oh. Carry on with your designs then. I haven't a clue what I'm going to do. Again. Some things just don't change.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 412

I've shuffled stuff around to accommodate the business 'books' and two paper pads that I picked up in the pound shop last week. I was with my sister. She made me. Steph now lives in Eagle, Idaho - anyone nearby that she and I can visit when I get there in June?
I've had a week, Steph came home to help support our other sister in her bereavement. It was a bittersweet time for the three of us. So you understand why I didn't get to any desk visiting last week. This week is far more likely, after lunch! I'm off to another medical appointment this morning. If we are friends on Facebook, you cant have missed my current status - am facially swollen gentle reader, from some sort of infection. It's not pretty and I've had enough of it, so this morning I plan to be a slightly impatient patient!  Don't wait for me though, show some of your awesome spaces will you? I really need the distraction!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 411

Gentle desker, we are 5 weeks away from the 8th anniversary of What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday.  It's hard to believe. It will be week number 416 which by my calculations is Wednesday 24th May. Wanna do the PIF ATC thing again or is that getting old?  When you comment, let me know...make any suggestions!

Meanwhile, look in horror at the dark desk:
It hasn't recovered from being moved out of the doorway at the weekend. As part of the renovations, it will change location anyway, but meantime, really that access to the garden - not good for my creativity! Still a great view of my perfect LLJ made craft tote and there may be a view of a couple of new dies that Shopkeeper Gal made me buy. At far right there's also a little tin of Sugru. Heard of it? I'm going to review it soon - the fact that it has a little tin is a major attraction for us storage junkies isn't it! Please share some genuine art and crafts, I will need it to keep my sanity!

Friday, 14 April 2017

I seem to have 'a thing'

One of the best things about being a crafter is the things it reveals about you. Well, me. Well, you too, I'm sure. Take scrapbooking. It's a prime example I think, and utterly reflects my mind set. It's taken me a few years to really become a scrapbooker. I started initially because I had a craft shop and products to use in order to sell products. Now I do it for pleasure, and I seem to have hit on a format.
You can see the pattern. Use one photo, layer it on a load of other paper - some of it made to look like casual scraps. Actually, this is a skill. I can easily reduce a £1.30 piece of 12 x 12 to a badly ripped 2" circle for the sake of my art. Then bung on something that might use up some of the embellishments I've spent ten years collecting. I like to add hand written journaling when it's necessary....I figure if I have to explain the LO to anyone looking at them, then it needs to have that explanation included on the page. After all, I may not always be around to explain, and I'd hate the pile of albums to end up on a bonfire before my art has been understood. *cough*.

And then, because I like to reflect trends and be a bang up to date scrapbooker, I add a flair badge. I have no idea why, but I really can't help myself in either buying or using them. In fact, I should probably employ one of my many storage boxes or saved tins to use as a lovely home for the collection of waiting to be used badges. But that would be very silly. I know full well that I would then feel obliged to buy lots more to fill the tin so the others aren't lonely. Then they wouldn't be 'flair' badges...more 'saturation embellishments'! Of course, at some point, I might find a different embellishment to saturate my formula with. I think it may be a while though. And meantime, hark at how self aware I am. I'm evolving!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 410

It's a side shot from me today. This is my 'cutting' station. It is on the worktop at the immediate left of my desk.
Despite my habitual laziness, I always stand to use the Big Shot. I don't know if this is because I don't have the same arm power if I stay seated, maybe it's because my arms are too short to reach the selection of dies. I rather suspect that it's more to do with the state of my scraps box. It's too full to hunt through without standing up! Apparently, it's in colour order. I remember that there are tabbed dividers between the colours. I also remember at some point deciding that anything A5 and under would go in the box for re-use. A4 or similar that have just been snipped would be re-housed at their original location with the whole sheets. I'm not sure how the rule was broken down, but I am pretty sure it has something to do with me. You can just see that the pen and scissor holder at right are on my desk. It usually spans the two surfaces and this is a clue as to why my desk isn't in the shot. We had to move it away from the door at the weekend to allow access and you guessed it - it's piled high with stuff.
Show us what you're up to then, it keeps some of us going!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 409

Joking aside, even I was getting fed up with reporting on my slovenly workdesk attitude. So I spent today's down time tidying up a little.
Now I have room to do the month end, so the desk will be book heavy for a couple of days and then I plan to do some more mess-making! See those 5 little bottles? They are Pixie Powders by Cosmic Shimmer. You treat them like Brushos, but they're pearly too. Looking forward to those. The iPad deckchair behind the  lovely bone china mug (a gift from Jan to help my wonky mouth learn to drink without dribbling) is loaded with new stamps.. I will show and tell later, when I finally spread them out to gloat over. There's a bunch of finished card ideas between the drawers and the basket, and the only other item of interest is the pack of Sugru which is going on the telly as a kit...I will play and tell more about that in a while. Which is why it's on the desk...I promised a review and can't possibly be allowed to forget. It's fascinating stuff, I must say.
Meanwhile, show and tell your own workdesks - put WOYWW in your post title and link here. It's easy and its fascinating. We visit, we comment, we enable. Ha, think I just came up with a motto!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Whats On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 408

I took this in Tuesday's new evening light caused by the clocks going forward. I know it's contentious, but I love it. Makes my evening useable! My work desk, my work room is a shambles. It will have to be tidied, but I know not when. Mr Dunnit is resorting to using my chair as a surface for changing printer paper sizes. I am working on cards that are for workshops and believe it or not, in between everything else, I'm on a bit of a roll! Nothing like new stamps huh, and Shopkeeper Gal keeps ringing to say 'come over and borrow this and this and this and this'. So I do!
Last Wednesday was an epic fail for me, and I am very sorry. I promise to do better this week. Particularly as we have workers coming to do some magic tricks with our solar panels, so I need to be at home and then...Thursday morning at home alone to catch up if I need to. Thursday afternoon and Friday are a write off. That LLJ is coming to play at mine. Can't wait. Meanwhile, there's no shame here, so it certainly doesn't matter what your workspace looks like - do show and tell, I love to imagine myself in your inspired and tidy spaces. Makes Mr Dunnit wistful!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Against the grain

I don't know if it is actually against the grain or if it's just out of my comfort zone, but when Shopkeeper Gal showed me the sample card, I signed up. And look what I made!
 Now don't get excited and think that I was at a workshop that left me to it - oh no, this would not have been the result at all. It was an extremely guided workshop, which left me little chance to make many mistakes. I'm not a natural flower arranger, I mean, I know about the rule of odd numbers and that sort of thing, but I wouldn't have arrived at this if left to it...I think one problem would be knowing when to stop! That's the joy isn't it, a workshop has finite materials in a kit. Means a great deal to potential 'over the top horror' makers like me.  There were drawbacks; the amounts of silicone glue that were being employed would have had me fainting if everyone hadn't been doing the same! My keen-ness not to be too slow or too stupid - which inevitably meant that when it came to making the box, I stuck the decoration on the bottom half. Ah well, c'est la vie. I had hands on instruction which meant I had to be patient and polite at the same time (this is a challenge for me). I really loved making it, but by the time I'd finished the box, I'd had enough.
I used it as a card and gift voucher carrier for my sainted mother-in-law on Mother's Day, which in the UK was last weekend. Don't start on me about Mothering Sunday, I know; if people can get my name wrong and say it's OK because it's just a name, then I can call it Mother's Day. Meanwhile, my editor husband wants me to point out that I don't 'over favour' my Mother in Law, although I love her very much. My own sweet Mama, as you probably know, has horrid dementia. And she just loves to rip and tear paper and card..so I confess, I did not make her this sort of card. Although I did sit happily and watch her tear her way through cards yesterday (it was her birthday). I don't have a problem with it really, it's just a bit more clearing up to do, and in many ways, aren't Mother's Day and birthdays all about getting your own back from your kids?!!
Huge thanks to Shopkeeper Gal and her excellent workshop woman, Mrs Flowers.