Monday, 27 May 2013

Let's talk tools...

...or rather, the storage of them.

For many paper crafters (especially card makers) their most important tools are their pens and/or colouring mediums - whether that be inks, paints...whatever.

Regular visitors will know that I have a bit of a thing for pens (I might have just one or two............hundred **rollseyes**). However, if they are not readily to hand I find them a pain to use. I really don't want to be sorting through plastic boxes to find the next colour I want to use.

So you can imagine how I felt about this little lot... a result of promotional offers I had finally managed to complete my set of Spectrum Noir pens but as you can see, although they are well packaged they are not exactly user friendly.

So what was the solution?

I've seen lots of ideas on the web about storing pens, many of which use CD/DVD racks - great ideas but not suitable for the space I had in mind for this set of pens.

Crafter's Companion came up with their own idea a while ago but I've been umming & arring as to whether I wanted to spend that sort of money on storage (they ain't cheap)...
...but after having the pens sitting around not being used because it was too much of an effort to find colours, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.

This really wasn't working for me...
...too much 'faffing' around as the shades were split between different colour families - pastels, brights, darks etc. Yes I know that I could have re-arranged the pens but I would still have ended up with colour ranges split between different containers. So I gave in.

Taking advantage of a Demo-day promotion at my local Spectrum Noir retailer, a loyalty voucher and some pennies that I had been saving, I now have this... 
...all neat & tidy and readily to hand, sitting on my desk.

I spent some time arranging the colours - no I didn't put them in the same order as the colour chart as that order doesn't make a lot of sense to me (the colours seem to be arranged to fit on the paper rather than in a logical order). I decided to arrange them in a similar order to my Copics and it works for me.

Now with money tight for everyone at the moment I know that a lot of folks will think that all the money spent on those trays could have been used for other stash - yes it could, but I had already bought the pens which was a considerable amount of money sitting there going to waste because they were not easy to get at. I'm not completely daft; I thought about it long and hard and then only pursued this solution when there was a promotion that enabled me to save some money - something I try to do with any 'considered' purchase.

My pens are organised, usable and they don't take up too much space and guess what...I sat and did some colouring last night...................................................................

A visitor to... back garden.

Not the best photo in the world but then it was taken through a window in a hurry because this young fox had decided it was time to go.
Although this is a terrible photo, I just wanted to see if Blogger would play nice.
For some reason this photo loaded completely but the other photo I got of the fox was only a quarter of the pic with the rest all black...wish I knew what was going on as this is getting very frustrating....................................................................... 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Blogger not playing nice...


I've seen numerous folk post about having problems up-loading photos. Well, now it's happening to me.

I had no problems the other day but now Blogger is playing silly wotsits...

The window for selecting your photos has changed slightly and when I select a photo it is only showing a quarter of the picture, the rest appears black. Has anyone else had this problem and if so - how did you solve it?

Any help would be most appreciated...............................................................

EDT: for some reason my PC had saved my photos way too big but Blogger didn't point this out it just blacked out most of the image - all sorted now.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Do you see what I see...

...or have I really lost it LOL

Where the lime has been leaching into the brickwork from the mortar there is now a strange smiley face on the side of this building...can you see it?

This is an out-building that belongs to the pub at the end of my road - I pass it everyday on my way to and from the station.

The building must be over 100yrs old and until a few years ago when the pub underwent refurbishment, this stood derelict. They made a really good job of the repairs at the time...matching in bricks and making sure that they kept the original character of the building but as you can see, as the building is aging it is developing a new character all of its own.

It might be daft but it made me smile so I thought I'd share it with you................................................

Monday, 20 May 2013


...all day long.

A few weeks ago my friend Suzie (Weaselwise on UKS) asked if I would be interested in attending an all-day crop...10am to 7pm and the cost of the day included a carvery lunch. No brainer...I said yes.

Now it is quite some time since I've attended an all-day crop - in fact, I had to unload my wheeled crate as I had been using it for storage (amazing what treasures I unearthed LOL). I packed up a selection of PPs, CS and trims and off I went.

I did spend a bit of time pushing papers around and rummaging through my totes before I came across these...
 ...a new pack of C5 (A5) size envelopes, so I decided to make this... A5 size minibook/journal - I haven't quite made up my mind what I will actually use it for.

Many moons ago, I purchased a storage bag containing 300 sheets of double-sided PP from Costco and although I have used quite a lot (or so I thought) the contents of the bag seem to go on forever. I picked a couple of designs to cover the chipboard covers that I had cut...
...and also used them to cover the facing pages at the front and back of the book.

Now whilst I was unloading my wheeled crate to get ready for the crop, I found a brand new pack of Basic Grey PPs & stickers. The range was Perhaps.

This pack of Basic Grey was from a time when all their ranges contained PPs...
...and distressed plain papers...
 ...that all toned...
 ...and co-ordinated beautifully...
 ...and the pack contained plenty to do all the pages of my book.

I cut the papers for each double page spread from a single 12x12 sheet so that the pages match across the 'view'. I have enough pieces left for matting and layering quite a few cards.

All the PPs have been inked around the edge quite roughly...
...using a Ranger Distressed Ink pad in Walnut.

All the PPs have been cut but I still have a few to ink and stick into the book.

I'm pretty pleased with the amount I managed to get done as I constructed the book from scratch using the envelopes to form the basis of the pages and white CS to hinge the pages together. The envelopes have had the flaps stuck inside so that each of the pages is also a pocket that can be used to hold bits-n-pieces.

The chipboard (greyboard) used for the covers was the backs of some A4 notepads. I cut four pieces and covered two for the outer covers and two for the inner ones - sandwiching a spine cover and the ribbon closure between them when I put everything together.

I could turn this into a Birthday book as I have enough pages for the months of the year or I could use it like a Smash book - haven't made up my mind yet.

I really enjoyed the day - the venue was spacious and the roast dinner...well...that was super yummy.

Shame they are not holding another one of these until August.................................................... 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A bit of Citrus Squeeze...

...from Webster's pages - here.

Webster's seem to be on a roll at the moment as far as their 'Giveaways' are concerned. This is a pic of the latest collection that they have up for grabs.

When I saw the name of this collection I must admit that I expected to see more Limes and Yellows but actually, the mix will appeal to a much wider group because as you can see in the trim snippet above...the collection will be ideal for those of you who like their Red/White/Blue schemes.

Hop on over to their blog and see the collection in more detail.

Oh and by the way, there are more of those cute little bags and folders in this range too..............................................................

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Webster's pages...

...Plumseed giveaway.

Webster's are giving folk a chance to win the complete new Plumseed collection over on their blog here.

The colours of this collection are certainly very current with the limes and blues (rather fond of those colours as you may all know LOL) and there is a good variety of prints - floral, woodgrain, dots, stripes and plains. However, I think the parts of the collection that really caught my eye were the mini bags and folders - way cute!

So why not hop over there to be in with the chance to win...........................................................

Friday, 10 May 2013

Does it really...

...make a difference?

Using expensive or cheap craft tools; that is.

From a personal point of view, I have to say, if it means the difference between being able to craft or not...I will happily make do with my £ store bargain or Charity shop find. Afterall, when pennies are limited I'm sure most of us would rather spend them on lovely materials to actually make something with.


If we are all honest, isn't there a 'feel good' factor to being able to reach for a nice craft tool.

I have loads of pairs of scissors - although you would never believe it when I actually need to use a pair LOL - and amongst my collection I have ones from bargain stores (they do their job), some slightly dearer ones that I bought because they had pretty handles or came in pretty colours and my dearer craft specific ones (my Tim Holtz, X-Cut and Fiskars ones).

Did I really need to buy the Tim Holtz ones?

Yes - after trying a pair that belong to a friend I realised how much better the handles were, especially when needing to do a fair amount of cutting, and the non-stick coating seems to make them cut more smoothly (they were also on promotion in a store that I visited so it would have been rude to pass up on a super low price). However, I would not want to misplace them or allow them to be used by folk for any other purpose. On the other hand, I have some small very sharp non-stick scissors that came from a supermarket. They only cost a couple of pounds and whilst I wouldn't want to lose them, I don't think I would fret too much.

I have all manner of crafting tools and they have been sourced from a multitude of places but it is still 'nice' to have some that are a bit more special...

 I have quite a lot of crochet hooks and most of them are those dull grey metal ones but I do have a few coloured plastic ones to throw into the mix. That didn't stop me drooling over a new range of items that one of my local craft stores started to stock.

Take a look at this lovely case that comes complete with hooks in 15 different sizes and still has space to add more if you wish...

 ...and this little dumpling case containing stitch/row markers...
 ...well I have to say, the temptation was just too much - what is a girl supposed to do, especially when she has a completed loyalty card just waiting to be used...
...yes, I couldn't resist and I now have both items in this beautiful teal colour scheme. They were not cheap (the cases are made from silk fabric) but they are beautifully made and they make me smile when I reach to use them. They are something special...a treat...and I just love them. Are they any better than my boring grey hooks in their plastic box or the nappy-pins that I have been using as markers - no, probably not but they make me feel good. There is a 'touchy-feeliness' about them that makes them a pleasure to use and isn't that part of the reason why we craft - the enjoyment?

I also have a veeeeeeeeeeeeery large collection of knitting needles. Some were given to me by my Gran, some by my Mum...many were freebies with magazines. Over the years I have added numerous pairs myself (often because I needed a particular size and all the ones I had were in use on UFOs **unfinished objects**). I do have a couple of pairs of beautiful carved wooden needles that I picked up at a craft show many years ago...
...these are a treasured possession. Like the crochet hooks, they don't work any better than any of my other needles but they 'feel nice'.

I suppose I could go through all my crafting tools and identify a general mix of cheaper items and some more considered purchases...does this change whether they do their job - no!

I see no purpose in throwing away money on cheap items if they don't work, but then again, why pay lots of money just for a brand or current trend. Balance is important. None of us have money to throw away these days so sometimes buying cheap can be a false economy but then again we don't want to blow all our available cash on something that we would then be frightened to use in case we 'spoilt' it.

Bog standard work horses will let us endulge in our crafts but go on...admit does feel good to have a few 'special' items in our tool boxes..................................................................

Saturday, 4 May 2013


...the first one of May.
Yep, I'm still trying to work that one out...MAY!!!...who pinched April (although with the weather we had in April, whoever pinched it can keep it LOL).
Over at the lovely Virginia's blog there is a weekly gathering of folk who share the good & positive things that have been going on in their week - I've been MIA for a while but Virginia is a very forgiving hostess and is happy to let us come & go as life dictates.
If you'd like to find out more, hop on over and pay Virginia a visit or better still, join in the fun.

So what has been 'rocking' my world this week...

Last weekend I attended a PanPastel demo at one of my local craft shops - a super day watching someone showing you tips & ideas for getting the most out of what isn't a particularly cheap product. Really enjoyed the day and as usual got to meet up with some friends for a chat and a spot of lunch.

Work has been a rather mixed bag this week. I've been asked to consider a course of action that I don't really want to take and it has been worrying me all week (not a positive I hear you all shout - keep reading) but it did feel good that my boss obviously feels I have the skills to undertake this task...still thinking about it.

Blue skies and sunshine. Doesn't the world seem a better place when there is a bit of cheer to the weather. It might still be a bit chillier than we would like (although even this has improved as the week has progressed) but just seeing lovely blue skies and some sunshine makes things seem so much better.

Seeing trees covered in blossom - such a lovely sight and probably one of the things I miss most from the last house I lived in. We had the most glorious double-flowered cherry blossom tree at the front of the house (which was promptly cut down by the new owners) and every year the front lawn was covered in what looked like pink snow...happy memories. Now I just enjoy all the lovely trees that I pass walking to & from the station.

 Looking forward to nabbing some craft bargains. To help celebrate National Scrapbooking day one of my local craft shops is having a massive paper sale... would be rude not to take advantage of it; wouldn't it.

I'm off to see what other folk have been sharing, why not come and take a look too...........................................................................

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Would you believe it...

...after receiving emails containing the "Pam Ayres" poem from several friends - it turns out not to be by 'Pam' after all.

The credit for this bit of fun should go to someone called John Summers and is the subject of an article on the Guardian books blog under the heading "50 Shades of Pam Ayres pastiche".

Thank you John for taking the time to comment and bring this to my attention...I think you have done a great job with the images that your poem creates - a real fun piece................................................

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

I love books... anyone who has been visiting here for a while will know.

I've shown you pictures of the shelves of books that I have in my study and discussed the 'pros' & 'cons' of e-readers.

 I will admit that after a lot of deliberation, I finally purchased an e-reader just after Christmas. I umm'd and arh'd a lot but my staff were kind enough to give me a lovely gift card as my Chrimbo prezzie and I wanted to buy something that would last - something tangible that I could show them (not just fritter away the gift on magazines and other odds-n-ends).

I love my mini e-reader. It is perfect for doesn't take up too much space and yet it contains a huge selection of books (every single one of them from the free selection available) that I can switch the mood dictates.

However, as fabulous as I think my mini e-reader can't beat a 'real' book. Dragging your finger across a screen just isn't the same as actually turning a I won't be giving up on my real books any time soon....which from the recent articles in the Press is a good thing.

This week there have been articles proclaiming the plummeting fall of book sales as a result of the increase in the sales of e-readers. It would appear that this fall in sales over the last year was only slowed down a bit due to the popularity of 'those' know the ones I mean...

 ...and yes, I did read them - purely to find out what all the fuss was about; of course **rollseyes and giggles** and I read them in paper version - not in e-form.

"Those" books have certainly changed the look of the bookshelves in many shops and they have even generated their own joke industry - I'm sure many of you will remember this item... was launched into the world of email as "Fifty Shades of Grey - the Male point of view" LOL

Well if you fancy another giggle on this topic, carry on reading...

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY - (a husband's point of view) - By Pam Ayres

The missus bought a Paperback,
... down Shepton Mallet way,
I had a look inside her bag;
... T'was "Fifty Shades of Grey".
Well I just left her to it,
And at ten I went to bed.
An hour later she appeared;
The sight filled me with dread...
In her left she held a rope;
And in her right a whip!
She threw them down upon the floor,
And then began to strip.
Well fifty years or so ago;
I might have had a peek;
But Mabel hasn't weathered well;
She's eighty four next week!!
Watching Mabel bump and grind;
Could not have been much grimmer.
And things then went from bad to worse;
She toppled off her Zimmer!
She struggled back upon her feet;
A couple minutes later;
She put her teeth back in and said
I am a dominater !!
Now if you knew our Mabel,
You'd see just why I spluttered,
I'd spent two months in traction
For the last complaint I'd uttered.
She stood there nude and naked
Bent forward just a bit
I went to hold her, sensual like
and stood on her left tit!
Mabel screamed, her teeth shot out;
My god what had I done!?
She moaned and groaned then shouted out:
"Step on the other one"!!
Well readers, I can't tell no more;
About what occurred that day.
Suffice to say my jet black hair,
Turned fifty shades of grey
I hope that brought a chuckle to your day..................................................................

EDT: Just in case you don't know...Pam Ayres came to fame on an early form of talent show here in the UK. Her witty poems were very topical and her accent added to the fun she created.

EDT2: Although in the style of Ms Ayres this poem was actually written by someone called John Summers and the poen was the subject of an article on the Guardian books blog titled "50 Shades of Pam Ayres pastiche"