Friday, 15 September 2017

On going to a Crop

We're on the road for this year's WOYWW Crop. Tripping up to Llandudno to be embraced by Margaret's warm and welcoming hospitality. I'm not entirely sure that 'Crop' adequately describes the day, but it's as close as we can come, I guess, to anything a crafter would understand. Because we all know each other, but in many cases have never met, there's an instant camaraderie, a warm welcome for everyone. I really hope that no-one would be too nervous to come on their own. If that is you, message me and we'll meet in the car park and I can walk in with you; so you won't be on your own.  I'll be excited though, so will probably announce your arrival in a shouty, not very subtle way! 
Classic decoy photo. This is NOT Llandudno. The San Francisco range seen from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
It's not a 'location' event, or a workshop at which you are to be amazed and impressed. There's tables and chairs and facilities.The rest, we bring with us. That is, hours of chat, quite a lot of tea and coffee and oh so much food! The idea of making it a Crop rather than just a big old meet in a restaurant is that we can swap and display our crafts, and work on something too. A few people manage some inking or cutting; I always think it's handy to turn to the desk if you encounter an awkward multi-second silence!


At some point over the last few weeks, I did think that I would organise myself to take some project or other to work on. I've done so little scrapbooking this year that it would be lovely to make a start on catching up. And then, of course, there's the upcoming Season and my desire to have both business and private greetings cards to send that are actually hand made. It's a good opportunity. But I fear, my need to know more about every one that's coming, (more nosiness) and my well documented procrastination skills will mean that I bring nothing and do nothing. And that will be just fine.

The Crop is such a good opportunity to glean info from Deskers, to match the person to their stash, to find out if their blogs truly reflect themselves, or whether their writing changes them. It does happen. Some of us are far more shy and lacking in opinion than you would expect. Seriously, you'd be surprised.


And another decoy. This isn't Lladudno either. I think there are less rock vistas in Llandudno.
I know that Shaz is bringing her huge collection of dies...I can often be bribed into doing some cutting for you. Bring card stock if you think that sounds like an idea you'd like to take advantage of. In years gone by (! that phrase!!) the Crop has been timed to slightly co-ordinate with the WOYWW anniversary and so we've collectively taken advantage of the meet to swap our anniversary ATCs. We're way past the anniversary date this year.  There is no need to make a specific Crop ATC, but if you want to, that would be nice. I think a maximum of about 15 would do it.

There will at some point during the day be a call to pay subs - to cover the cost of hiring the hall and paying for the lunch. The charge will be £10 a head for Deskers and we charge the husbands that stay to/come back for lunch a £5. Margaret will have run herself ragged to fill us up within budget; I'm pretty sure that you'll love it. We also do a little fund raising for a chosen charity each year - this year it will be for Margaret to choose; she works for a couple of charities so it will be lovely to make a contribution as a thank you, don't you think. See. Even talking about the Crop makes me all friendly and charitable. Told you that you often find people out of character when involved with WOYWW Crop!

It all happens on 30 September. Read HERE.
I would be a fibbing if I said I'm not looking forward to it. And the seaside. And more Welsh Wales. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

What's On Your WOrkdesk? Wednesday 432


Well gentle Desker, I did clear up. And, I have sort of cleared up between cards over the weekend too. You can see the edge of the bin, it's perched on my seat..I was about to clear and tidy again when a much better idea came to me. So I walked away. I had been working on a Christmas card as you can see, using a specific die. I don't think it's there yet...somehow the snowman is too, erm......white. The thin nib pens are out because I was drawing stitches around an earlier attempt. See the Versacolour ink pad at the right there abandoned at a jaunty angle by my right-hand-tools? That's my white pigment ink pad. Yep, whitest I own. Thank goodness for White embossing powder! Deckchair is untroubled by card blanks (which is enough proof that I tidied, frankly), or my iPad. That's because I used it to take the pic this morning and have put it somewhere. Probably next to the coffee that I really need. Join us will you? Show and tell about your work space, it will be nice!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Making do...

 Occasionally, I find that the 'thing' I intend to create simply will not come out of the (considerable) stash I own. Or,I get to a crop and discover that I've failed to pack a staple ingredient for a particular idea. These moments are good for me. They cause me to assess and evaluate and in very many cases, come up with a different plan, making the best of what I have to hand. 

Travel back in time if you will, to 1662 England. Charles II was King, the monarchy newly restored. Women were being executed for witchcraft; paper crafting was probably not a thing. But other crafters have left their marks.
This fire surround was fashioned above what had been a fairly ordinary fire place. It's not as grand as it looks (although it is, of course).

The first panel above the fireplace is probably the front or back of a chest, a dowry or merchant's chest most likely, because it is so decorative. The 'shelf' of moulding above it, and the pieces of moulding around the other panels look as though they could have come from windows or frames of some sort. The date is carved into the patterned piece of moulding. The next two panels are drawer fronts, (close up, keyholes are clearly visible). The larger centre panel is possibly from a panelled door..and so it goes. So you see, 'necessity is the mother of invention' is not a new concept. You knew that. But isn't it remarkable that we can see 500 year old evidence of it. I expect the house owner wanted to impress somebody and the imposing fireplace was probably a fashion, a window onto wealth and prosperity. Who knows. 


I was a bit giddy about this fireplace, it's just in one of many rooms in a lovely old house that is now a school. And the reason I saw it - Mr Dunnit was commissioned to fit a new doorway, and he needed an extra pair of hands. So while I wondered about a bit taking photos and remarking on the incredible pillars in the main hall, he started to assemble the new doorway, with the pillars duplicated as uprights for a glass door.
I can't imagine how it would be re-purposed, but I hope that 500 years from now, there's still evidence of beloved's work. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 431

Honestly, I don't know where to start with the clearing up. I've tried to do too many things simultaneously and it just doesn't suit me! 

Sorry about the light, it's definitely starting to appear a little autumnal, and I don't like it! So, anything of interest? Hmmm, just some disorder I think. The pile of envelopes at the far left should be in the basket at near right. That would free up some space. In front of the deckchair, you can see a pile that's done the slide...there are card blanks and a packet of silver mirror and mat card and some baby wipes and well, I'm glad you can't see it from the side, to be honest! There's a packet of Sugru in the pink tidy tray, it's a bit of a mending staple around here.  In the centre is an acrylic box that contains my Christmas dies and that's there because I really am about to clear up. So, show off your much better organised space will you, I need to be reminded!
Put WOYWW in your post title and link here. Please. Thank you.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Sunshine, Tinsel and Glitter.

Way back in the 90's, we visited my parents who were then living in Sydney, Australia. It was New Year and therefore summer. The schools were enjoying their long summer holiday and quite a few of the smaller independent shops were closed, enjoying an extended break after a frantic Christmas season. Consequently, when we left towards the end of January, there were still some Christmas decorations to be seen when out and about. It taught me two things: - tinsel collects dust just like every other damn thing, and it looks sad. And that in my opinion tinsel looks a bit tawdry in the sunshine. Roll on a decade or two and I'm at my desk, ruefully trying to add glitter to cards that I'm making at least 3 months early.
Dies: Marianne and Stampin Up,  Cuttlebug emboss folder. Patience and fiddly, time consuming stuff by ME.

I'm not unfamiliar with making Christmas cards this early, but I never seem to have the sparkle or tinsel mood and I wondered if it was just me? I can make a dozen different cards and forget to put anything vaguely sparkly or glittery on them. I know it's not necessary all the time, but it is pretty unusual for a Christmas theme not to have something, even if it's just a swipe of Stella's winking. Although my cards tend not to be classy enough for the 'less is more' option! I suspect that my favourite cards for Christmas will be the handful I make in December; you know the ones I'll forget to photograph, post off in a panic thinking that as I'm so pleased with them I'm bound to remember how to repeat them. I know making Christmas cards at this time of the year is a bit divisive; some of you throw your hands up in horror at the very thought, and others are quietly getting on with them. If you're in the latter camp, don't forget the glitter!


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

What's On Your Wordkdesk? Wednesday 430

This is late afternoon sunshine, taken yesterday whilst I had the thought in my head. I'm still doing multiples and still reasonably enjoying it. At front left are my Moon Sparkle paint brush pens. (The ones that have Wink of Stella printed on them under the labels). They are very much my go to for colouring at the moment. Very much. The landline phone is sitting on top of the Bluetooth speaker, and the heat gun is actually in the way - when I get to it this morning, there will be some reorganising to do. I don't think there's room for 'push back or side'! The basket at right on top of the trimmer and stamp positioner and cleaner pad and probably something else, contains the finished multiples. It's nice to bunch them together, I like to see my achievement! The rest of the stuff is just that - stuff...fall out from doing stuff. No point saying it's because of the five minute here and there thing - you know it's not; it's just the way I am!
We are about to enter the month of the WOYWW Crop, anything you'd like to know, please refer to the page linked above or ask by comment, email etc. It's all a bit exciting really!
Now then, please share the way you are. Your desk is brilliant, your works are inspirational. Put WOYWW in your blog post title and link it here! Thank you!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 429

Sorry about the number typo last week. It's evidence of fat fingers and of course, doesn't come up in a spell check, so it took me a while to spot it! Ah well, as long as we're here, no matter the number, particularly!
I'm doing that five minutes here and there thing - spot breakfast! And in those five minutes here and there, I'm trying to batch make cards, 13 each of five designs. I could easily have said 'No' when asked, but it's for the charity that I drew a lot of support from during the brain surgery months, so I'm delighted to. It's forcing time management out of me and that's a jolly good thing. Ho Ho Ho. Under the plate with the toast is my folder of dies and some blank cards. Centre is the unglued prototype of the next design..I'm about to scuff a bit of ink down the sides of the mount, hence the egg sponge. At right there's a tangle of ribbon - chosen and then discarded as a possible embellishment for this card. There's my coffee (it's that early, I haven't finished it yet!) and a mess of bubble wrap. I'm starting to collect it to use in a workshop next week. So that's me! Share with me and some others, will ya? Put WOYWW in your blog post title and link it here. Visiting today will be interrupted by a trip to see my lovely Mama and Sissy. Another nice afternoon, I hope! See you at your place.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 429

Well, I'm back from a fab fun and lovely stay in Welsh Wales with Jan. I went last Wednesday morning, so I haven't done much at my desk at all. I don't care!
The penguins that look like badgers are to be cut out and mounted onto silver cards, just like the finished one you can see. That's about my limit for making multiples. I like the image though, so there will be variations, I don't doubt! There's a couple of cut out sausage dog images just visible above the orange highlighter pen. There's nothing wrong with them, so they will be made into cards. I stamped and coloured them as potential images for a workshop card, but coloured a few images in different ways before I settled for another. Do you like the snowflake border die? I do, very much. Bizarre isn't it, in August. And talking of bizarre....

Here's my lovely Jan, wandering lonely as a cloud....the tide was out and the brooding clouds made us feel very small on this magnificent beach. And then the clouds blew away, the sun came out and we forgot about being poetic and insignificant in the face of nature and had another great chatty, walky, fun afternoon. Proof if you need it, that we did at least walk off the cocktails!

I'm sorry for the longer post, I had to brag about seeing Jan. Now, please show us your desks and tell us what you're up to - we're waiting to see. Link here please, with WOYWW in your blog title. Don't forget there's a new logo in the margin or a couple of posts back if you'd like it.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 427

Yes! It's got cards and stamps and sticky and work-in-progress type stuff on it! Hurrah!
The light isn't terrific this morning, but at least there's visible proof that I haven't been in procrastination mode all week! You can just see a few strips of shiny bobbly background on the white cards. I made them with the bubble wrap and Pixie Powders and a water spritzer. One of you lovely Deskers had been doing it, and I needed to copy. If only to prove that the Pixie Powders aren't the messiest, most uncontrollable and therefore most hateful product I've tried this year. This technique does offer redemption, I must say! There's penguins, waiting for their glitter pom-poms to dry. And no, that's not a euphemism. There's the ATG gun thingy with the tape broken, about 100 feet from the end of the reel. Really annoying. Mr Dunnit's patience will be required for that. It saves broken tape gun, broken window, hysteria, tears and snot, see.
So there y'are, y'all. I will be visiting from foreign shores. Well, shore. I'm going to stay with LLJ for a few days and so we might well be commenting in tandem!
Have a great Wednesday. After you've recovered from the shock of my productivity, share yours too - link your blog post here, and PLEASE put WOYWW in the title!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 426

The staged one....where I actually clear up and show the packets of stamps that you've seen in a clump resting on my iPad deckchair thingy! Staged also because I took the photo yesterday afternoon - I'm up and at it and away early today so don't want to have to encounter publishing problems (which always occur when I'm in a hurry...!)
I don't actually know that the stamps are very much easier to see than last week, but I've tried! Amazing to think that minutes before, and again not long after this shot, it was dark and raining - 'sunny with showers' the forecasters cheerily describe it. Urgh.
So, you can see the stamps are all from Woodware....(I think I'm fangirling Francoise!). One of the reasons they are like that is because I was doing the thinkventory thing. Arrange them in front of me and let them talk to me. Inspiring me for Christmas stuff in the summer requires a lot of rubbery wordsmithing from them I can tell you!
The little striped bag is the only new thing this week, it contain 3 buttons in a turquoise, shell like material. For my scrapbook. Of the American holiday. Sometime.
Show and share then, gentle desker! Oh and...there's a new logo (see previous post) if you're interested.
Cool. See you online!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Housekeeping... a new logo!

You may have the WOYWW logo and link in your sidebar. If you have, thank you! Regretfully, you now have a picture from Photobucket telling you that hosting of the image has expired. Sorry about that, it's not very pretty and I was hoping to beat them to it. Epic fail!
WOYWWers, Deskers, gentle reader...there is a new WOYW logo!

 My Creative Director (Sissy Stephanie) told me that the original logo was old and out of date in style, so she whipped up a couple of others to choose from! And because things have moved on so far, I don't think it will need a hosting service if you want to add it to your sidebar as a link. First, copy this image to your computer. Or save it...whatever you have to do.
On Blogger, go into the dashboard, select Layout and then select 'Add a Gadget'. It will pop up a menu full of gadgets you can add, so at this point, don't get carried away.Go to 'Image' and click the + sign at right end of the box. This throws up another page into which you type the URL for this blog - www.stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk - and then add the picture. Click the 'shrink to fit ' option box too. It should load and take it's place in your side bar. Don't forget to delete the gadget with the out of date (Photobucket) logo!
Of course, there's no rule that says you have to have the logo on your blog, or indeed if you have the logo, you don't have to make it a link. Whatever works for you. Either way, you have to admire my Creative Director's forwardness in telling me how out of date I am. Again. It reminded me of a one sided discussion about my pearly pink lipstick a few years ago.....

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Take Note...

At about this time of year, I treat myself to a new notebook. It's usually quite slim and will eventually contain my Christmas lists. Slim so that I can carry it in a handbag whilst shopping, and lists - of course- because my memory is not up to the job of keeping catalogue of who's getting what!

This year, I have no need to purchase. The lovely Kathy showered me with journal/notebooks as a gift when we met in the States last month. (Last month..it's slipping away from me already!) And I've started using this....it reminds me of Kathy, our meeting, the sunshine, the Native American vibe that runs through so much of our trip - oh everything!


Kathy is a Sheena Douglas fan ( like so many of us), and has used her faux leather technique to cover these books. Aren't they amazing. And truly, even when handling them, there's little concept of their being card, especially as each cover has a beautiful inside to enjoy too.


I'll be honest and admit that I was embarrassed by Kathy's generosity and promised to share the bounty. Sissy Stephanie had first choice, and as you may know, I sent one on Kathy's behalf to Shaz in Oz (THIS post, if you'd like to see it)



So that means there's still more sharing to do! If you'd like to be in with a chance of owning one of these hand stitched treasures, please comment to that effect. If there are more than two, we'll do a random drawing. I think it will make Kathy blush to see that I'm carrying through my 'threat' to share her skill, but really, these do deserve to be loved and used don't you agree!


The real beauty for me is in the using. A gifted notebook in which to write notes about gifting. Perfect circularism. Or something. Thank you again, Kathy!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 425

Well there's an improvement! I cleared up yesterday and will be tinkering with card making as and when I can get to it. Hurrah! That lovely black and white file is a ring binder with plastic pockets with magnetic sheets. It's full of my dies. It's not completely full, but crikey, it's heavy! As you can see, I was cutting out some leaping reindeer. Jut to try the die out really. Not feeling the whole Christmas card thing to be honest! The splattering of pens was caused by having a need for one colour and a too full pencil case! But that's OK, they'll all be wedged back in shortly, and that will make the desk look considerably tidy!
Share share share, am in need of looking...will take you with me today, more appointments and waiting is the forecast!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Gifting....

It seems to have been a while since I posted anything that I've made. I talk a lot about what I'm going to do.....!
Before we went to visit her, my sister was excited to tell me that her friends had already extended invitations to us for food and coffees and warm, friendly socialising. I decided a few hostess presents were necessary. Well of course, I left it quite late! I did have a lot of fun using up some scraps and trying to come up with a few ideas to encompass a few occasions!
Stickers on white card, cut out. Words from an embossing folder by Cuttlebug, I think.  It's quite old now, but I use it a lot, so in terms of purchase value, it's been a great one! 

Same again, stickers and blah blah
This is the inside of both the sticker-made cards.

I used but 'doctored' the text that came with this lovely fox from Francoise for Woodware.  This ended up as a workshop card too, I liked the red fox!

These graphic florals are by Woodware too. You can see there are subtle differences in mounting and more obvious differences in the colouring. These actually illustrate very well the sort of trials I make before I end up with a card I'm happy with for a workshop. In this case, the card that won as a workshop sample was mounted on yellow and all the flowers were coloured in yellow. I think they look more striking in a single colour. Not what Mother Nature would say, for sure!

These are pretty basic cards, all die cut, so not a lot of brain work involved, but the paper by Kaisercraft is incredibly pretty if you ask me. The green strip across them is the reverse of the floral paper, so very good use of a big old scrap!
I'm going to keep trying this process. Very often I make a couple of card fronts (I nearly always make a front rather than working on the card itself..it's cheaper to throw away and than a pre-scored card. And it keeps my card-to-envelope tally pretty even!







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!