Friday, 31 January 2014

An Inside Story

My mantra for 2013 was 'Make An Effort'.  Now I know lots of people have one word, but really, you know me better than that.  See, digression already.  Anyway, it stood me in good stead, that mantra.  And because 2013 came and went so fast, I haven't quite finished with it.  The mantra.  I'm over 2013, you understand, because I have to be.  Oh my gosh, is there a point here?

This is a decoy photo - a page I did for A CJ..remember those?  It bears NO relation to this post at all.  Bazinga.

When I make cards - for workshops or for my own use, I expend all of my available card size mojo on the card front.  Lets not call it designing, lets just say cutting, colouring and sticking.  Consequently, if you've been to one of my workshops or ever received a hand made card from me, that's what you get.  A decorated card front.  I haven't ever done anything with the inside...the odd text stamp, but no decoration, no inserted leaf, no continuation of paper and design.

Shopkeeper Gal sells a lot of paper inserts for cards.  I see on WOYWW that a lot of you print your own greetings and insert them into your cards.  Occasionally I see really beautifully continued designs on the inside of the cards.  I feel that I may be guilty of neglect.  I may start trying to do something on the insides.  But my counter-ego tells me that it's just another thing to do, another way to over decorate and remove the sense of the greeting.  I suspect that sometimes this is the case - like scrapbook pages that are so technique and product loaded that you have to 'look' for the photo.  Is decorating the inside of a card a distraction, detraction or perfectly lovely?

Watch this space.  I'm gonna Make An Effort. And for once, answer my own question!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 243

Brace yourself.  I may not have made/had much time to spend at the desk, but my word, I've made a mess on it!  I'm working on some backgrounds using lots of stamps and inks for a bit of a 'free for all' workshop next month.  I'm having more fun than I thought I would..although it is in five minute bursts!

Even I'm at a bit of a loss to pick out bits to talk about, good grief it is a mess!  Still, at least it was daylight when I got home to take the photo (Tuesday afternoon) and this cold Wednesday I'm going to be a domestic goddess.  And a business administrator goddess.  And a laundry goddess.  And a craft goddess. And a computer tech goddess.  Seriously, it's a busy day!
So join in and keep me at my computer! If you need them, instructions are on pages a click away - under the blog header. Please put WOYWW in your post title and when you comment at other's, please leave your link number. 
I have to hijack the post at this point and thank you SO SO much for your responses to my hilariously nosey and introspective post last week.  You are all so interesting and we are definitely all joined by blogging.  

Friday, 24 January 2014

Please sit, there will be questions

The thing about being Mr Dunnit's apprentice is that I get to do a lot of repetitive work.  And that suits me fine - because I feel I'm being very noble and freeing up his skill set for something more worth while.  (I know, ego, huh!).  But really, the other thing is that the repetitive stuff gives one plenty of thinking time.  And over the last week or so I've made some lists in my head, one of which I went to the trouble of creating a page for in my phone notebook. It's entitled 'blog ideas'.  And is just that.  Ideas for Blog posts.  I thought it would be amazing to write a view posts on this topic, that topic, this idea, that project.  Perhaps even schedule a few for when time is at a knicker busting premium.

Turns out it doesn't work like that for me.  Today I have spent an hour or so in front of the PC with that list.  I can't do it.  It's not spontaneous enough.  I like this one sided chat we have, and when I'm writing in advance it seems pretty contrived.  I shall practice, and probably get over it.  But meanwhile, if you read one of mine, know that it's fresh post, and therefore probably not very considered.  Sorry and all.  

How do you write yours?  Are you a discusser and a scheduler?  Do you have posts ready? If I have something I'd like to discuss, it pops into my head.  I may walk around it for a couple of days before sitting at the keyboard, but then it's all out in a splurge and I have to edit frantically.  Spelling, tenses, repetition, rubbish - oh yes, it all gets put in and largely, taken out!  

Is yours a hobby only blog?  Do you try to only blog when you have a project or technique to show and share?  I did intend Stamping Ground to be that sort of blog, but when you're a heart-on-your-sleeve-bragger, it's hard not to make it a 'life' blog.  Although there's a lot I don't blog about, of course.  Real life..we all have one, and reading about mine isn't going to improve yours. 

Having spent a teeny amount of my advanced years in a print and publish workplace, I'm aware that breaking a post up with photos doesn't hurt.  Do you keep this as a rule for your blog?  Are you not bothered?  Do you only publish photos of your own stuff/people or do you use web based stuff to 'decorate' a post?  I used to try to only use pictures relevant to the post.  Because I thought it would always be about my prolific crafting.  Turns out I was utterly wrong on all counts there!  
Do you have rules about revealing too much - using photos, showing pics of your house....?I have managed to maintain the rule that the family made about their real identities in terms of names...Dunnit is not my real name, and those that know that are generous enough not to blab, for example.  In fact, Dunnit is a seriously good nom de plume.  I used to sell my cards. I used to stamp the back with a 'Handmade by' stamp and write my name - Julia Dunnit.  Because I did do it.  And it's just about good enough to pass as a real name and my gorgeous postman thinks it's great that I have a double identity..I told him I'm a ghost writer.  He didn't believe me, he assumes I can't let go of my maiden name.  He assumes a lot about me actually.  He assumes I'm a nutter.  I can tell that from the way he laughs at my jokes.

Do you schedule any of your posts...and why? Do you have that writing in advance skill...and if you do, do you do a week's posts at a time or just the odd one? At this time of year I schedule our WOYWW posts. I write them at about 11pm on the Tuesday night. I'm being generous and schedule the post for about 2.30 in the morning; it shakes the list up a bit for our transatlantic and southern hemisphere dwelling friends.  As Spring arrives and the mornings aren't freezing and dark, I shall stop scheduling them.  It's like hibernation! 

What else do you do that I don't?  What do I do that you don't like?  Do you like to post regularly or intermittently?  Do you worry if you haven't posted for a few days?  And how do you arrive here, for example?  Do you have this blog in your reader?  Do you just pop by to see if there's a new you wish bloggers generally had a routine and stuck to it for posting?  It's fascinating to me. 
Here's the biggie - take your top five favourite blogs and tell me why you visit them.  Information?  Breathtaking photography/design?  Escape?  
I excel at random photos though....

And then..what about 'celebrity' you read some, many, none? I tend to hook into the 'names' blogs and then after about 8 months, decide I've had enough of reading about their lives, their art, their upcycling, their etsy, their whatever. Share, please, I may be missing someone really important!  
And then lastly..are you a reader or a participant?  If you can comment, do you?  Or do you just look. Not here - I'm hoping you're OK to leave any comment you like here, especially as I'm being nosey with all these questions! I mean at the famous blogs...

And for homework and due consideration: Why do you blog?  
I can't give you my definitive answer.  But 'validation' comes up a lot.  See, and there we are back at the beginning....argh, the ego!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 242

Do join us if you're of a mind - the 'what' and 'how' are explained in separate pages just a click away above this post.

Now then, Deskers.  Ask me how much I've done at my desk this week.  Nothing.  Except pile it with non-craft related stuff and shuffle it around.  Argh.  Frustrating.  So, I got home from work for lunch on Tuesday and whilst there was light, took photos of (possibly) more interest than my dull desk.  
 The ink cupboard. Featuring a shelf for embossing powders.
 The scrapbooking embellishments, and paper cupboards. Co-starring a few punches.
The C6 card and envelopes cupboard.

It sort of proves a back-to-front point.  I may be very messy on the surface, but underneath, all is organised serenity!  Well, close.  So now, gentle Deskers, whilst Mr D and I spend his birthday installing a Reception desk somewhere in Winchester (my life is a crazy pattern of desks), please join in and show us yours - just put WOYWW in your post title to make it easy to find.  Don't link if you're just publicising your business, next TV appearance or another MEME with no connection to those for other blog posts huh?

Oh and one last note - the WOYWW Crop on May 24th...I'll put a page up top with more detail and room for comments and blahdy blah. I'll do this soon.  Before May.  Don't worry! 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Sensory Overload

Because of the statistics associated with you reading my blog, my 'Contact Me' email address is on the lists of several Media companies.  They issue press releases and hope that I will blog about this gallery, that exhibition, this show...the whatever.  Some of them are bizarre.  Many of them are in far away places. Not all of them offer 'un-subscribe' either, which is very naughty, because they are uninvited mail after all.  Funny thing though..I haven't un-subscribed from many - where I had the choice.  Partly that's because these Media companies handle advertising and advertorial (yuk, what a terrible word) for an astounding range of arts and cultural stuff and I find it fascinating. And of course the other reason is much more basic and shallow...what if I miss something really good?

And it's been a right old marathon with CHA.  Not many of us crafters can be unaware that the bi-annual industry convention has just taken place in California.  Enough people go to it from here to make it sound like a really good and glamorous jolly.  And it probably is. But the press releases..oh my.  Turgid. Too long and too many. And they mostly were only applicable to people attending.  I haven't been anywhere near any attending company blogs, looked for new releases or checked out Ranger and Tim Holtz' publicity machines.  I don't feel the need to know what's coming, oddly.  I am more than secure in the knowledge that people like Jenny, The Artistic Stamper and Marion of Sugar and Spice will work out what we'll want and ship it over when they can, and force a trend that makes me need it soon enough.  I want to use the stuff, not look at it longingly on a computer.  I know I'm relatively unusual in this regard, and I know that the people writing the press releases etc don't know that, much less care.  
 Roman Spanish column top.... Sculpture. Relevant to the last paragraph.  Man I'm so cultured.

But (and there's a point to this..and it's coming soon..). How often do you have to receive marketing emails from the same company/person before you stop bothering to look at them?   For's every day. Seriously, I take more notice of the 'once in a while' marketing than I do of the everyday stuff.  Some of the companies that I buy stuff from send emails on a daily basis  - I'm probably missing some sensational offers because I don't read them.  Deramores, Pinterest, The National Lottery, Craftsy, Wowcher.....all have been unsubscribed because they just dilute their interest and impact by mailing too often.

When businesses ask for your email address,do you think twice about disclosing it? Even when they say you can 'unsubscribe at any time'.  Do you consider that they may bore you on a daily basis or just take it calmly in the inbox?  Do you manage your email accounts? Filing, deleting and sorting?  I'm fascinated by the impact of email marketing.  Not that I'm about to start doing it you understand.  It's just the thing that tipped me over into having an opinion today was a press release. That being said, I hope very much for the success of the exhibition of large-scale sculptures by young British artist Neil Ayling. It opens tonight at the Berloni Gallery in Fitzrovia (Margaret Street, London W1, doncha know). Although he'll never understand the impact of his PR firm now, will he?!
Have a lovely weekend.
Have a nice, opinionated weekend!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 241

You can work out how to join in with this weekly jaunt by clicking on the links above 'What is WOYWW' and 'How to...WOYWW'.  Thank you.

So gentle's it looking from your angle?

I must admit to a certain teeny smugness.  From where I'm standing, I appear to be getting on without a fuss.  This photo, taken in daylight on Tuesday early afternoon, shows the work in progress for a Birthday Book...a proposed workshop project..and the best excuse I ever had for playing with the new papers I bought at the Shopkeeper Gal's.  It's a collection called Mother Goose by Graphic 45.  Redolent of Mary Englebreit in many ways, which is probably why I was suckered into buying it.  I love it.   On the deckchair is a group of bagged cards - for my first workshop of 2014...the ones inspired by the handmade cards I was given at Christmas.  I'l share them soon.  I'm a bit shy about them for now.  I don't want to insult the original cards!

So please join in.  We'd like to see what you're doing and where you're doing it.  Don't overly advertise your business, or join just to promote your own's not conducive to the spirit of the thing.  Keep it relatively short if you can..there's a lot to visit! Put WOYWW in your post title, link the post here and make at least some reciprocal makes the Wednesday world go around.  It really does. Oh and if you visit, please leave your link number with your helps to find you on the list.  Thankoo.

Friday, 10 January 2014

The Thing is..

To me, being poorly means I can lie on the sofa and browse blogs, leave witty comments, crochet some, maybe do some scrapbooking.  In reality of course, being poorly means I haven't done anything...even reading seemed like hard work.  So I've emerged from two wasted days and feel the need to do some catching up.  Cor, what a a waste of time! Nevertheless, I'm reporting on the week's crafting.  Such as it was.
I was at Crop last weekend and managed to make 5 layouts.  I can hear you saying that if they were all as simple as this one, no wonder I made five.  Yep.  But you forget, the focus of Crop is social and food; so any number of completions is a triumph!  
See, if taking a photo of just yourself is a 'selfie', surely this is a twoie?
This one is Coredinations paper, a scrap of Basic Grey and some bits and pieces that came from rummaging.  
Turns out that I made four of five Layouts about me and Mr Dunnit too, so I won't be boring you to death with loads of pics of us.  Yet.  But, I thought you may like to see this lovely photo of Jan.  I used a Pagemaps sketch for the LO and am really pleased with it.  And her for letting me have the photo.

It's 7 Gypsies 'Provance' paper (still fairly convinced that they spelt it wrong by mistake) and loads of scraps.  The fabric frame is by SEI or KI, I can't remember.  There is a combining theme here - the star sticky tape.  I've had it since 2006 and I fear it will turn up on almost anything I make until it's gone now.  Funny how stuff becomes so useful after a good rummage!  I'm pleased to be using stuff up. But I'm not making any rash promises about not buying new stuff.  I can't do that.  And that's the thing.  This year will be much the same as the last.  Me talking about my considered purchases..and then probably not using them for a while.   

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 240

Oh do join in.  If you're new to it, there are instructions on separate pages accessible by clicking along the tabs up top.  ^^^^^
Meanwhile, sing and hang out the bunting...I've actually made time at my desk for a bit of crafting.  Well...if you count stickers and thickers being employed on a canvas that I bought last month.  It's destined to go to my beautiful Niece for her birthday.  Better than a card, prolly not as good as a present, but eminently post-able!  So my desk looks very 'right now', to me.  I bought the alphas at the Shopkeeper Gal's on Tuesday morning (there is a sale), and not with this canvas in mind at all..I just can't resist a bargain.  I bought three sets of the black. Piggy. So the rest is easily explained..empty mug of diet hot chocolate and a pack of tissues.  I have a cold and wanted comfort.  Double Piggy.

So 2014 arrives with a WEATHER attitude.  Please y'all - stay safe, warm and dry.  Pictures from both sides of the mighty Atlantic are really a test of belief right now.  Hold fast and be sensible. Ask for help if you need to...from whatever source...if you need help, you need help.  
Meanwhile, because there's so much to think about in terms of empty diary spaces, Jan has booked the hall for this year's WOYWW Crop.  Or, last year, as it nearly became -  the longest ever meet and greet!  Join us do, if you can, on Saturday, May 24th.  Same location and of course, loads more info and blahdy blah to follow.  You don't need to commit right now, pencil it in and I'll ask you again nearer the time.  Jan will be catering and others will bring cake.  If that's not a good enough reason......
OK, get joining in people. If you can...despite the HTML code being there, the Linky thing isn't showing on preview, so I don't know if it will appear.  If it doesn't, be patient, I'll load it manually as SOON as I can.  
Turns out the whole thing is troublesome today...I was right to think that Blogger was having a laugh...

Monday, 6 January 2014

Twelfth Night lovelies

Gosh it really is all over, and so I offer you the last of the lovely handmades I received this Christmas.  ANd listen y'all, Princess Judy has applied pressure by publicly looking forward to seeing the CASEs I come up with.  Well, just so you know - despite not having a competitive fibre or bone in my body...I'm on it.  Nearly.   Am just procrastinating a bit with a birthday book and some new papers.
Mrs Precision.  Of course.



Craftygashead - Zoe

Each one is a gift, I tell ya.  Brace yourselves, and hope I can do four of them some sort of flattery!

Friday, 3 January 2014


See what I did there? Man, I'm a word genius.
Anyway, I wanna show you more of the inspirational and beautiful Christmas cards I've had....

Carol, Mary and Margaret


Darnell, New Baby Mummy, Scrap Lady Ally

Twiglet, Di, Brenda

 Don't you love 'em?  Time, effort and mojo...s'all it takes!  

I'm already saying.."I was going to"...

I was going to join in with a couple of retrospective blog posts as the year passed from old to new.  But the two I had in mind meant that I had to trawl through my blog posts of 2013 and it made me a bit uncomfortable, so I stopped.  And then I thought to join quite a few others and post my five favourite cards of the year.  So I started trawling through posts that showed cards. I couldn't find any I liked enough to post for second time, so I stopped.
But here's a thing I did intend all along - to thank anyone who went to the trouble of sending me a Christmas card.  I loved getting them and appreciate every shred of work and effort they involve.  And they are inspiring. I actually feel like making a few Christmas cards now! So I'm sharing them with you over a couple of days....they are being dotted about the lounge room to make up for the space that the absent tree has left in my life.  

 Lisa Jane, Lady Nurse, Kyla

 Angie, Karalyn, the Enthusiastic Educator
 Slipper Lady, Laura, Shaz Silverwolf

 Willowy Blonde and HelenWipso

Now of course,you can't see the glitter, the dimesnion and the love on each card.  I can, and it warms the very cockles.  More tomorrow.  There's a reason for this too..I'm going to try to make some of my own based on the inspiration of these.....remember this statement.  You may be able to use it as evidence against my pleas of 'no mojo'!


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 239

New Year's Day edition!  Wow, the  planets aligned well for us this year!  Last year!  Wait, I don't know...but it worked nicely for Christmas and New Year's Day to be on a Wednesday. It's a good omen.  I'm sure.  Not an omen of tidiness though.  Or indeed, inspiration.

Taken at 4pm on Tuesday afternoon.  And untouched by human hand since then....except that I moved the ipad onto my lazy lap after supper.  There's some fab Kaiser 12" paper at left.  Hiding some other fab 12" papers that I bought in Christmas week and have just taken them out of the bag.  It may be another week before I put them away at this rate! The pile of stuff at right, topped with the christmas sticky tape is all work mail that arrived over the holiday.  I would not allow it to be opened; we had four straight days of a 'no work' policy, and so now it's waiting for my New Year attention.  Not the most interesting or exciting desk huh..but hey - you can at least rely on me on being consistent as the years change...particularly if like me, you find yourself becoming a bit change resistant. Argh.
So if you've got any better thing to show in terms of what and where you're working, do join us here - link your blog post and we'll try to visit.  Happy New Year.  Happy Same WOYWW.