Friday, 30 January 2015

This makes me smile...

A Christmas gift from Shopkeeper Gal.  I love it.  The long legged bird...the bobbing birds at the foot of the label...and the name of course.  Ya sort of don't need to worry about the contents, you just know you're going to enjoy it!

This is the way I choose all sorts of things - good packaging/labelling. And to some extent, books too, are judged by their covers. Yes it means I succumb incorrectly, but hey, at least I read.  And reading with a glass of wine? Perfect.  
Joining Annie today for Friday Smiles.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

I'm in chains....

If you're a Facebook user, I would imagine by now that you've seen or taken part in the Art Chain series. It's nice - I know not from where it originates. It simply asks you to post some of your art everyday for five days and to nominate others to do the same. I have been nominated twice and twice had to turn it down. For two reasons: I do not archive any photos that I take of my stuff. Once it's been on the old blog, it's a gonner. My 'art' is cards and scrapbooks and the cards are by their very nature, a transient thing, aren't they. And the other reason of course is that it never occurred to me. My photo folders are cluttered enough!
This was an early challenge for a Crop Cirlcle Journal Remember them?! The challenge was to make a spread about your favourite day. Call me a show off or consider me blessed...I've had too many! See I mention my 40th...gracious..this page is nearly 10 years old already!
So last night I was telling Mr Dunnit about the Art Chain and how curmudgeonly I felt when I had refused to join in. He expressed surprise. Not at my deleting the pedestrian pictures that I take to publicise workshops or use on the blog, no. Not for my tidy mind and wish to keep our photo files under some sort of control, no. But for not joining in with the Art Chain. 'Haven't you got about 10 albums filled with scrapbook pages you could photograph?' He didn't sigh or look surprised.  He's clearly very used to it.  

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 295

Well I've been caught out by the really has rushed past me without warning! So, in my bid to keep some order and maintain my lovely tidy area *cough*, I tidied away the stuff that was last done on my desk. And what did I do? I dumped other stuff on it. Talk about use any surface that's clear!
What you see made me groan this morning.  Late yesterday afternoon I was making phone calls to builders and fencing type persons. Well and good. But clearly I left the phone out of its cradle and of course, it will have very little charge now. Oh well, more coffee and some desking while it recharges then.  
The rest of my desk is tidy. Oh apart from that bunch of goodies that arrived from my friends at Baker Ross. Some lovely pastels and Spring themes to play with, don't doubt that you'll see more at some stage! I fear that my desk looks very un-arty. And it is. But don't soon as I make time, it will revert to type!
Set me a good example then, and show me your busy crafty arty surface would ya?  You can join in any time, there are instruction pages at the top of this blog.  Please put WOYWW in your post title..particularly useful for late visitors (me). Link here. Done.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Eclectic England

Miss Dunnit had an interview at Central School of Speech and Drama this week, (for a 'backstage course). Starting at 10am.  We knew this would involve a 'rush hour' train journey from where we live, deep in rural England! She had applied to this Uni without our having previously visited for an open day or anything like it, so I said I'd go with her for a bit of a looksee. You know, suss the area, research accommodation and do practical stuff. Like sight seeing.  
Well, first things first...rail tickets for two us at peak time were £150. Seriously. Central London is a 40 minute train journey from here...and then I expected another 30 minute tube travelling experience.  So I decided it was cheaper to drive.  Found an underground car park, all day for a tenner, so it wasn't going to cost £150 to use the car. Which is why everyone drives I guess.  Central is in Swiss Cottage and very accessible, despite the North Circular and rush hour traffic.  We got there with 15 minutes to spare and Miss Dunnit was instantly ushered away.  I enquired about a quick look around - erm, no. Any info on accommodation? Wry smile - there isn't any accommodation, even for first year students. Ouch. Research over, I realised I had a lot of time to was a day long interview/look around for Miss Dunnit.

Now let me tell you gentle reader. Tuesday in England was COLD. Obviously, not as cold as elsewhere in the world and not as cold as Scotland and northern England where the snow and ice were playing havoc with commuters. But it was below freezing all day, despite sunshine.  I wasted an hour in the Hampstead Theatre coffee shop and decided to go into Camden, which has a reputation for a vibrant town and market.  

I set off on foot and changed sides of the road wherever necessary to walk in the was cold enough without being in the shade.  I realised that I could hop on a bus...and as I was surveying the timetable at a bus stop (working out how far back I had to stand to see the damn thing without having to take my gloves off and rummage in my bag for my readers...), a bus stopped. I kinda felt obliged then, so I stepped on. Ahh the warm!
Well I told the driver where I wanted to go and he waited very patiently while I rummaged in my handbag, trying to locate my purse. (If you're American that won't have made much sense: I rummaged in my purse to find my wallet.....)
I asked the driver how much the fare would be and he politely told me that I needed an Oyster Card to pay. I don't have an Oyster card. Of course I've heard of them..they are pre-paid tickets that deduct your fare when you 'scan' them.  But I didn't have one, obviously.  So he explained that London buses don't take real money, and if I didn't have an Oyster, I couldn't use the bus.  So I got off. COLD!  I wasn't embarrassed so much as feeling like a right old country bumpkin for not knowing. But why would I know! 

Five minutes later, I was stopped by a lady using the maps app on her phone and she asked me for directions.  I told her that I was not local, indeed, I was so out of date that I couldn't even use the bus because I didn't know I needed an Oyster card!  She stared at me. Then bent over and laughed and laughed and kept saying...'you couldn't ride the bus for no Oyster innit' until we were both crying with laughter.  And then we laughed again when we worked out that she was holding the 'map' the wrong way round and she was actually walking away from where she wanted to go.  Well that epsiode had me smiling for the rest of my walk!

The market was lovely...but stone cold. And not very busy at mid morning on a Tuesday - I imagine at the same time on a Saturday that you can't see a stall or shop for people. Large parts of the market were located in ex military stables. You can tell that from the architecture.  Shopkeepers were layered up in warm clothing, stamping their feet and huddling round teeny heaters.  The outdoor stands were mostly food..I could have eaten a couple of meals just from the samples being offered as I walked around.  I bought a hat and a thicker scarf. I was so cold. 

I spent a lot of time browsing at a second hand book shop, the keeper and I had a conversation about Dickens, Trollope and Carol Shields. That was really nice. I bought a slim volume by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and decided to give in and find somewhere to have a warm, sit down lunch.  Of course I did. And like so many people who are on their own, I read my new book.  

I was too cold to think about doing more sightseeing, and walked vigourously back to Swiss Cottage.  I sat in the Hampstead Theatre coffee shop for another hour, watching the world go by and reading. And hugging a radiator - did I mention how cold it was! Miss Dunnit was 'released' at about 4pm and had a sheaf of information about life as a student at Central.  On the drive home, she confessed that she would rather they didn't offer her a place.  The course wasn't quite as she expected and chatting with students had added to her impression of penury caused by living in London.  Interesting.  My next travel bulletin will therefore be from Plymouth. And I'm assuming, because of trade winds or some such, that it will be a tad warmer.  

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 294

Well, after all that clearing up, I deserve to bore you to death, so today you get a twofer! Laydeees and Scrap Box.  Colour divided, standing to attention and looking slightly glorious.  And a little anal.  But I LIKE it! 

And I've changed the pen holder to erm, another one.  The space in the corner is properly employed as home for stamp cleaner, tin o'sponges and such and my desk is therefore feeling a little bigger...

Although I'm not sure you can tell that from here. Am fooling about with some ideas that rather inevitably don't look as I thought they would and generally trying to get in the swing of 'being creative' *snort*.
Show us how your creative juices are then will and tell about your desk or work area, it would be nice. Put WOYWW in your post title and link here so that we can visit. Ta.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

T for Tuesday

Joining with Elizabeth and Bleubeard to show you that my life involves drinking in one way or another. I was at my desk drinking my coffee, contemplating an early morning start when I noticed one of our many blackbird visitors..thought you may like to see how we supply them with water.  Our low retaining garden wall is brick as you can see. The top course have three round holes in them and inevitably, they get filled with rain water. Rather miraculously, if they are not full to the brim, the water doesn't freeze when the temperature says it should, so the birdies can still enjoy. And they do.  Usually I'm not quick enough to photo them, but this chap was taking his time..

And so without a cup in sight, I have T for Tuesday.  Whilst I was resizing the photos, Miss Dunnit's current squeeze came in and asked me why I had a picture of a fat bird on screen. I didn't bother to explain until he then felt moved to ask me why I had a picture of a bird's behind too.  (Except of course, he didn't use that word..'behind'). I did start to explain about T for Tuesday...but his eyes glazed over and he said 'oh, a blog thing', as if that's all I had to say.  And so it was.

Friday, 16 January 2015 cometh

I'm speaking quietly, just in case I nobble it, but I think I'm finished with the clearing up and sorting for now! So now my desk has that air of under use all of a sudden! But it's OK, I'm going to make a move very soon - I have the mood, I have the space and erm, Shopkeeper Gal has a workshop schedule with my name on it, which in reality is a set of deadlines. And there's nowt so inspiring as a deadline! 
Fun, not a recent LO though..consider it a decoy!
My friend the Homemaker has started Project Life and I must say I'm quite inspired by the basic idea myself.  I like to scrapbook the everyday and the 'now', far more than catching up with archived photos; becoming a scrapbooker has taught me a lot about myself! Things like PL have a habit of not being inspiration so much as an invitation to buy loads of well packaged and neatly co-ordinated stash that I don't need, so am proceeding with caution.  
Another friend (see, I DO have some) is Megan. She has set up a blog for 2015 called The Scrapbook 365. It's a challenge a day for the year, for scrapbookers.  But it's not the sort of challenge that requires commitment or a frenzy of making a layout everyday; it's more realistic than that. And I believe she lets you have a day off once in a while too. Better yet, Megan draws on other sources too, so visiting her may well save you from visiting a combined number of blogs!  
Another source of inspiration for me is new stuff. No doubt.  In my clearing out and sorting process, I've turned my scrapbook papers upside down, so the 'go to' selection is as old as the hills and therefore not in my memory. Which means I will be treating the designs like new and therefore using them.  It's a good plan.  Ask me about it after a couple of months if you don't see evidence of it being plastered all over this blog!

Whatever your inspiration, hope you get time to do something with paper this weekend.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 293 WOYWW

If you'd like to read about WOYWW and then join us, please do.  Links Here and Here to help.
Well gentle Desker, I may not be doing anything earth shattering, shocking, mind blowing or awesome; indeed, I'm not really being creative.  I'm only having a proper tidy up! I know. Finally, she stopped whining and just made a start.  Gawd, I wish I hadn't, but it has to be done.  Here is the gloom of Tuesday evening..I'm just starting to order the scraps box. I have three piles - keep (and eventually put back in scrap box for use), donate - oh the bits and half sheets that I just know are 'scraps' because I don't like them rather than because I consider them useable) and recycle.  The recycle pile is really just the shaped bits that I'm trimming off to streamline the scraps. I have a sub-division for the 'Keep' section too - patterned and plain.  So far so good.  Just don't ring me and ask me to make a card any time soon!

Now please do the same; post a pic of your work area/desk/table/tray/floor/lap onto your blog. Put WOYWW in your post title and link the post here. (It really helps to link the actual WOYWW post and not just your blog address).  Visit as many as you like, be really does do that. Inspire.  Thank you.

HOUSEKEEPING:  several of you are complaining that I (and others) have a 'NOT A ROBOT' check instead of word verification. You're quite right. But not by choice and we can't remove it. If you have a Google account, you can, I've discovered, just ignore it. But its been forced onto us Blogger users and we cant change it.  Sorry. And if you know different, please share!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

T for Tuesday

Some of you Downton fans will appreciate this.  It was a Christmas present; Mr Dunnit got one too - of course his says 'His Lordship'.
Of course, it's absolutely true. In my head!
The irony of course, is that this photo was taken in this morning's dark kitchen whilst making up a flask to take to work. You can see my paint spattered and mucky top. Actually, it's clean on.  Here's another irony - after a week of not being overly needed as a the fumbling apprentice, the boiler has been fixed and the house is actually warm enough to sit still in. So off to work I go! Have a lovely Tuesday - visit Elizabeth and Bleuberd (and Squiggles) for more Ts on Tuesdays.

Friday, 9 January 2015

BPS. OK - Blank Page Syndrome

Blank Page Syndrome. It's a thing you know. Of course, I don't expect the medical fraternity would recognise it, but I do. I know lots of you do. We talk about 'mojo' and 'inspiration' as a commodity, for we seem to acquire it and lose it.  Odd isn't it, when you think that really, creativity is something within us.  
Is it actually just being in the mood? 
At the beginning of the year (so much more eloquent than saying last week), my Facebook news feed featured quite a few 'motivational' quotes for the year ahead.  One cropped up several times -  "2015 is a journal filled with blank pages, it's up to you to write the story" - or words that meant that, at least. (Naturally, I can't find it now).
This prompted a friend to comment that she'd be really surprised if everyone who'd 'liked' or re-posted this image were to actually spend some/any time in 2015 writing in a Journal. So she and I had a little debate over the meaning.
She was really surprised that I thought it was a metaphor.  I was really surprised that she'd taken it literally. There was no argument, but I've thought about my reasons now, and for me, it was metaphorical - daydreamy stuff, telling me to get out into 2015 and make myself some stories to tell.

  • I had looked at the picture, smiled at the thought of all the great days that will make up my 2015 memories, relished my happy life and scrolled on.
And on that basis, this is why I didn't even think about taking it literally....
  • At this age, I know myself well enough to know that I rarely finish these sort of projects. It requires a discipline I simply do not have.
  • I'm a scrapbooker so will be recording the year in the 12 x 12 format.
  • I've tried Journal keeping and find myself writing in a very self conscious, contrived way, because you're meant to write something profound aren't you? Well OK, I know you aren't meant to, but that's how it feels to me.  
  • however happy I am with my life, it's not of daily interest to many. Any, really. Except me, and so a journal would be stultifying. 
  • The 'art' part of Journaling is fab. But not what I do. 

Here we are at the 9th of January 2015 and I haven't started any papercrafting this year.  I have no plans, no challenges, no kick-starter to go on.  I don't feel unmotivated, but I do have other things that I want to do first, and I am a one job at a time gal, for sure! The irony is that whilst I'm busy elsewhere and stealing five minutes now and then to tidy and de-clutter in my workspace, I'm having ideas and looking forward to playing with my stash and making some fresh, non seasonally dictated cards and a bit of scrap booking.  
And don't you just now that as soon as I make the time to do it, the empty desk, the tidied shelves, the tamed scraps box and the head full of ideas will stop speaking to me, the ideas will disappear in a whoosh and I shall be facing the eternal blank page.  I almost relish it though, it means I'll be ready.
Do you love my quilted book cover? Are you a bit jealous that I have a fab sister who designs and makes such lovely stuff?  Am I being overly smug?!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 292

Well gentle Desker, if you've made any resolutions regarding your workspace, surface, time, inclination, effort or tidiness, this day may not actually be the best one to share it. You may suddenly feel a 'whoosh' and experience a horrid feeling of being taken back to another time....2014, and the untidiness that went with it when you visited this blog.
Yes, it is true. Things, have not changed. Leaves have not been turned, resolutions have not been made. No sir. I went shopping at the Kraft Crazy sale instead. Early bird, worm, etc!
Horrible dark and chilly morning. Hoping it gives way to something a bit lighter and brighter! But lo - on the other horizon (the worksurface where I am even now typing) there was evidence of a bit of re-organizing. Good grief. Yep, I have weeded out the pens.  

Sad to say the 16 year old Marvys have finally bitten the dust and this large handful of 9 year old Tombows are going in the 'donate' box.  I might then use my Copics a bit more. There's no plan here, I just suddenly had to do this instead of whatever else it was I should have been doing.  You know.
So now sweet people, please reveal all and show me up.  We wanna see how your desk is looking fresh and full of activity for this New Year.
Please put WOYWW in your post title, and link your blog here. Visits will occur.Thank you. 
And....please, enjoy every minute of 2015 that you can. Be absorbed by it. And when you need a break, some help, a focus; remember this Desker community is just a click toward you. Or away from you if we're driving you mad!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Fancy some warmth?

I'm still going on about Spain in October.  It's worth noting that in terms of value, this holiday was great - every time I look at the pictures, I feel the warmth and enjoy the splendour all over again.  I'm so happy that we got a chance to go to Granada and visit the Alhambra.  I said in an earlier post that because it's a World Heritage Site, it is very well looked after and there isn't much opportunity to linger...and that's true.  And I did feel it was all rather over restored and well, homogenised.  However, it still made me gasp, and the gardens were just wonderful.  Even for reluctant gardeners like Mr Dunnit and I.  

Looking up, from the Arabic Quarter in the town.  We eschewed the tourist bus and 'hiked' up.  It was a pretty steep shingly road.  I felt intrepid.  And warm. And breathless.
Looking down on Granada from the Sultana's gardens - those Yew hedges are very slow to grow...imagine being the first one to cut them!

Not native or original planting, but oh so pretty - and remember - it's the middle of October at a fairly high altitude!  The roses were really perfumed.  Joy.

No idea what this is.  It was soft like velour.  Almost like a floral version of a foot!

There was no danger of photographing any of the shaded spots without people in them..they were cool! The spots.  But probably the people were too, I just didn't know them.

Water played a popular role in Arabic and later Spanish formal gardens....for cooling rather than irrigation.  And despite being on the highest part of Granada, water at the Alhambra is derived from Springs below the castle.  Yes. Below.  The original builders were civil engineers of some incredible skill.

And another example of genius with water - the cooling staircase...water rushing down a rhyll on either side made the section of staircases distinctly cooler than any other part of the gardens. And then recycled. The water on the steps is from idiot tourists like me putting their hands in it to see how cold it was.  'Freezing' is the first reaction.  And then a quick jump to the middle is the second - the water is coming down so fast that when you put your hand in breaks the flow and sprays all over you.  Yes, mildly embarrassing. But I'm so used to that!
There's yet more pictures from this holiday; mostly random architecture that I liked. You should pray that I experience some wintery sun so that I don't have to keep forcing photos of good weather days on you!