Hi hi!

*taps mike. Is this thing on?

Yes it’s definitely been too long, and there are many reasons which I’ll save for another non WOYWW post but suffice to say that it’s been a rather challenging few years indeed. Life has changed somewhat & it continues to throw me around like a little wooden boat in storm. However, part of getting the boat back to shore if you will, is making the good bits bigger by ‘finding the joy’. For me that means reconnecting with others and working out ways to craft and make art again because the little I’ve done has been very sporadic and at times uncomfortable while I work around my new disability issues. So let’s have a look at this desk situation shall we?

Ahhh… Erm….

No I don’t know why I chose this week to make a comeback to the wonderful What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday blog hop. In fact it’s pretty daft timing I’m sure you’ll agree but I wanted to strike while the iron was hot and stop making excuses for myself. I actually chose last week and then chickened out so this is my desk from last Wednesday. This week the room is totally empty but I hope to have some sort of normality back by next week (normality… hhmmm…) We moved in to this fixer-upper 9 years ago and the renovations started with the kitchen which is below my kitchen. I was overruled on having a second radiator in there back then but now Mr Pretty has relented. We have to go up through the kitchen ceiling to spur off of my craft room rad which unfortunately meant we had to take up the entire laminate floor. This of course meant all the lovely things spread across my craft room had to be packed up, moved, shifted back & forth, stored in every other room in the house (yes even in the bathroom), and the whole thing is making me twitch. And breathe…

So what’s actually in this pile of detritus?

Closest to the camera – a couple of failed attempts at making new candles from old spent ones. Yet another ‘hobby’ that I felt compelled to begin and haven’t touched for about 5 years!

A big jar – is it just me or do other people feel obliged to hold on to large useful jars that in the end never get used for anything?

Cutters & craft mats – perfectly acceptable craft desk fayre.

An assortment of witchy ingredients – slightly more unusual craft desk fayre but once the work is finished I should definitely cleanse my space and set some new intentions.

Polish & duster – I was TRYING to clean as I went and good grief it jolly well needed it. If only dust was a suitable art medium….

Finally, my Christmas scrapbooking stash – in the stadium organiser and the tiffany blue container are the Cocoa Vanilla collections I was intending to work with for the last 3 years and still haven’t made much progress with. Scrapping the previous 2 Christmasses has been particularly hard (in part due to losing both parents within 5 months) & this year I just gave up. However, in ‘finding the joy’ I need to embrace the good times and actually use those two beautiful collections to record the memories, even though it’s hard, so they are next on my list to get pages planned for.

I’m sorry this isn’t full of crafting delights or must-buy purchases but it is a step in the right direction for me & I do hope you’ll bear with me and pop back next week to see if I’ve managed to get anywhere with putting things back! I know my husband will be glad it’s over as I can stop shrieking at him every time he moves something on top of something else. I’ve lost track of the times he has rolled his eyes and I can read his mind saying “It’s only paper, it’s not like you’ve got a shortage of it is it??”

Till next time

LJ x

Hi hi!

Oh I had SUCH good intentions to join in last week while I was on holiday but alas, I was too busy doing things like archery, Segway & quad bike riding, laser quest and even paintball! I am very achey now and I have quite a few bruises, most of them are from the archery would you believe – my chest kept getting in the way… ouch!!

Now you might be thinking, is this the same poor woman who was struggling to stand up a couple of weeks ago? YES it is!! I’ll come back to that at the end though for those who want to know, because this is about my desk and not about my dizziness. I did come home to a lovely ATC from Angela and a couple of messages asking if the orangey ATC that people had received was possibly from me. Oops. Mine that I kept is on the right of this pic so if I was a dufus and left the back blank, you might recognise it and be able to solve the mystery!

Here, on my desk this week though I am finishing off my travel journal to capture the memories of last week while they are still fresh in my mind. I always have such good intentions about remembering the information for my holiday albums and then it is sometimes (often) many years before they actually get scrapped. I’m still finishing an album for a holiday a few years ago, which I was working on when I blogged from my old home. Edit – I just went back and checked when it was… 2012… just 9 years behind then…

For our last few holidays I’ve taken a travel journal to keep notes in so that I don’t come back to scrap them 9 years later without a clue what the photos are about. It also gives me a bit of crafty time while we’re away. In typical crafter fashion, I take FAR too much with me, much of which doesn’t get used, and this time I also underestimated how busy we would be doing ‘all the things’. However, it’s actually the first time I have kept up with my notes (2-3 days behind at most) and I put that down, in part, to the ADHD meds. They are a stimulant (like speed) but for people with ADHD rather than getting us ‘wired’ it actually reduces the chaos a bit, like fixing a dodgy clutch on a car – you get a smoother acceleration and deceleration instead of bunny hopping down the road and then stalling totally. And this is where we return to the issue of the dizziness / other random symptoms so please feel free to scroll to the bottom and avoid this bit for a MUCH quicker read, I won’t be offended.

So… it’s a bit silly really. I mentioned my ADHD meds, which are fairly new but I’ve been taking them long enough to know that they don’t have any side effects for me (other than dry mouth and eyes). So, there I was, trucking along on the meds and feeling okay. I have to keep an eye on my blood pressure and I’m not allowed to take certain other types of medication with them but other than that, it’s all good. And then we came out of lockdown and started socialising a little bit. I was so happy to go out for a coffee with a friend again – large skinny wet latte to drink ‘in’ please! Presented in a couple of sentences like this, it’s obvious what happened – massive stimulant overdose from the combination of meds and caffeine (I have decaff at home). Except that I’ve been drinking huge lattes for years and no-where does it say don’t mix those meds with caffeine. I was so ill for 10 days that I didn’t bother to take my meds so again it didn’t look like the combo was to blame, especially as people normally get a headache for a few hours and then that’s that. I made the connection after 2-3 more coffee’s around and about over the next couple of weeks and then I starting researching it. Sure enough, different things (like HRT!) make you susceptible to the effects of caffeine, other stimulants obviously being one of them! If you have a big enough reaction (which I did because Costa is the MOST caffeinated coffee you can buy) you can be affected for days. It imoacts your adrenal system to give the symptoms of a kidney infection (back pain, wee-ing every 30 minutes during the night) which led to incredible headaches and dizziness from interrupted sleep as well as a massive ‘hangover’ for days. Which I then unknowingly topped up with more coffee. I’m glad it happened like it did because if it had been outside of lockdown I would have put it down purely to the medication itself which I then would have had to stop. Silver linings and all that! I don’t have caffeine every day (in normal times) so I didn’t think the normal downsides applied to me, however, looking at some of the other issues it can cause, I’m left wondering if I actually had a sensitivity there to begin with. I also learned that I might be reacting to sugar as well (have been for years, nothing to do with medications) so I’m currently experimenting with chocolate to test the theory. Hence the huge Toblerone on my desk (Christmas present from my out-laws after finally being able to visit!) I will report back, of course. All in the name of science…

This Wednesday morning sees the Toblerone gone from my desk and no chocolate in the house for the next phase of testing. I’m already grumpy at the thought so please do pop in and say hello via Julia’s linky. I’ll put the kettle on. Is decaf okay with you?

Bye for now x

Hi hi!

Firstly, I’m trying something new here – doing this on my iPad to see if I can, for anytime I’m not home. Fingers crossed…

Secondly – I’m so incredibly sorry to all the recipients that are still waiting for their ATCs. They are ready to go today and I can only apologise. I never expected to be poorly for so long. The jury is still out on what is going on as it involves some ‘downstairs’ issues as well as the dizziness but the two things might just be a bizarre coincidence. I’m prone to outer ear infections and I have had labyrinthitis before (separate issues) but this felt different. I’m not so dizzy but boy do I feel weak and feeble!! *applies back of hand to forehead in a ‘woe is me’ fashion…

Anyway… to the desk dear friends!

The ATCs were all that was on my desk today and I was rushing to get them ready to post wondering if I was going to have to photograph an empty desk. Then the DPD man came at 4pm with my parcel of oxides that I ordered from my old supplier. What’s that you say? There’s more than a couple of Oxides there, isn’t there? Well yes… but in my defence, the post is £6 if you don’t qualify for free post and so I ordered something for a friend and then a new embossing pad, and then the Dina Wakley book to try and give me a leg up on the art therapy route, and I was over halfway to the free post. You know how it is. I’m among friends here, right?

I did have to scrub my table top clean after the whole ATC debacle. I have ADHD and I do want to do a separate post about how that affects me and in particular my creative process but suffice to say that I went about the ATCs in totally the wrong way – with no plan at all except for eleventy-billion ideas. I ended up using Dylusions sprays and as always for me, they went everywhere, they are SO highly pigmented that even a tiny bit of over spray will take a lot of wiping up. 2 days since I did the spray layer and I am still getting colour on my hands from somewhere. I’m unhappy with the finished items but I learned a lot and I hope the recipients appreciate the thought, if not the art! Talking of which, here are a few wonderful pieces of art that I received.

Neet was my PiF, and I loved the little faces poking through the apertures!!

Jan’s has headed for Scotland on it’s way to me and as Caro’s was the first that I received, it got put on the wall and I forgot to take a pic!

I love how different they all are!

Stunning works of art and I’m sure I’ll have more to show next week. Hopefully mine will have reached at least all the UK folks! I was so out of it last week that I rally hope I’ve managed to get the right addresses for the right people I haven’t left anyone out!

For now though, I’m off to the post office and then I’ll be heading over to Julia’s to start my Wednesday visits. Put the kettle on won’t you?

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

What an incredible achievement Julia has reached with 12 years of desk sharing?! I’m sure she never thought it would turn out like it has when she first started in 2008!

For the first time since I started back, I didn’t manage to get around all the desks last week, I’m so sorry. I went out for a coffee with a friend in the afternoon and stood up to come home and almost keeled over. I’ve been suffering some strange stuff ever since but basically it feels like I’m on a boat! So yes, I would love to swap ATCs with you (just ping me an e-mail via the contact form) but I can’t promise it will go out before the weekend! Having never made one before, I am starting from scratch at some point today (Wednesday) but I have another funeral on Thursday and my head is still swimming so I don’t know what form they will take!

And so, to my desk, working from the left – the finished piece of stitched paper ready for the layout, a print off of the Distress Oxide colour chart so I could choose some new colours to purchase, ‘puter for ordering said Oxides, little pots of gorgeous Shimmerz goodness to see what new colours of those I am going to purchase. I know, I know, stash diet. But in my defence, I won a voucher for the Shimmerz as part of iNSD. The Oxides you ask? Um… And so moving on to the rest of my desk – some paperwork for a therapy course and a package from Cheeky Wipes. Best purchase I ever made but nothing to do with crafting. Period pants. There I said it. Nothing to be ashamed of, especially if I can enable others (if you want a code for 15% off, give me a shout) and make other ladies feel as comfortable.

Oh, I forgot my ‘onion’ as Doug calls it, top left – it’s a diffuser!

So, congratulations Julia! And thank you from me (and I assume so many others) for giving us this space – to find friendships, stash, techniques, chat, a weekly placeholder, and oh so much more. If you want to join in, it’s not too late, we’re here every week. For now, I’m going to lay down again but I’ll be around soon so stick the kettle on!

Hi hi!

I just about have a desk photo to share for this week’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday (details and linky over at Julia’s) after my trip to Wales. I was exhausted from the journey on Monday so Tuesday saw me unloading everything onto my desk and getting straight on with some crafting to cheer me up. I am working on 2 layouts on my desk here – the egg shape is auditioning papers and stencils (I’d love to know your stencil storage tips and tricks please!) and the intention is to use the spotty stencil all over the vellum with texture paste, for another iNSD challenge. I’ll then back it onto white cardstock because everything else went a very dodgy colour under the green vellum!

The embroidery threads are being used to stitch onto some starry patterned paper and to outline that little EPIC card you can see poking out from the green paper, ready for a layout about gaming. The stitching was the only crafty thing I took to Wales in the end and as you can see I didn’t finish it, even though I had extra time available as I wasn’t able to meet lovely Lunch Lady Jan after all. There was an absolutely horrendous storm predicted the day we were due to meet up on the beach and not only would it have been dangerous to drive but we wouldn’t have been able to hear each other speak with the wind! As it happened, the ‘storm’ in my part of Pembrokeshire was well within normal parameters… until I drove home on Monday. After 2 hours of driving I almost turned back. Lorries less than a foot behind me, hardly anyone with lights on, 3 accidents passed in along the M4 just on the Welsh side and 2 of those can only have happened a couple of minutes before I got there. Good grief I needed my day of crafting yesterday to make up for it!

I took this pic on Friday from the cliffs along the coastal path and it is the furthest / highest I have walked along the path for about 15 years so I was very proud of myself! The tide was mostly out – the right hand side of the horseshoe of water is where the estuary meets the sea, just past The Parrog, which is the smaller of the two beaches at Newport (not to be confused with Newport, Gwent, MUCH closer to England). To the left is Big Beach (Traeth Mawr) which takes me about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other, hence the name. You can actually drive onto the sand at the back of this beach and I love to sit in the car, watching the waves but protected from the wind, reading or stitching or just planning future layouts. I have rather a lot to get through… oh yes… I definitely do…

Bye for now x

Hi hi!

It’s time for another What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday headed up by the lovely Julia over at The Stamping Ground. All artists, crafters & enablers welcome! It’s a flying visit from me this week as I’m off to Wales tomorrow morning for a few days to put our in-laws’ house back on the market. Last time we tried, it was on the market for 3 weeks before Covid hit. *sigh

So – to my desk! What chaos?! The craftermath / art sediment of the weekend still reigns supreme as I’m still trying to get some more challenges done before the deadline passes. I’ve been trying to combine several challenges but as I often do, I start a challenge with certain parameters, plunge ahead with the layout, and then afterwards realise that I’ve strayed too far from the brief! The layout in progress here is for 2 different challenges involving rainbow colours and pastels plus a scraplift, plus a recipe challenge! The layout on top of that one with the blue corners is for a sketch challenge, a recipe challenge, and one to use a random item! I loved that! The stack of scrap paper in the clipboard is holding all my notes for the different challenges and which layout does with which one – it’s a military operation I tell ya!

Last week’s Throwback Thursday is from 2015 using Shimelle’s True Stories collection. The title refers to our BIG day out at Beaulieu where we met Jaws from the Bond films (Richard Kiel – lovely man) and then saw a monster truck show where Big Foot trampled a whole line of cars – fun indeed!

I’m hoping to get to see the lovely Lunch Lady Jan on my travels this weekend for a socially distanced walk so with any luck we shall have windswept photos to share next week! In the meantime, pop the kettle on, I’m on my way!

Stay safe and keep smiling x

Hi hi!

Happy Inter-National Scrapbooking Day! Are you attempting bundles of challenges? Or picking out one or two that speak to you? I hope you have fun whatever challenges you are engaging in and perhaps you can also include this one in your plans!

A few weeks ago I was delighted to be chosen as favourite layout by the Scrap The Boys challenge team and to then be their guest designer for May. The theme for this challenge is Winter is Coming, which seems funny for us in the Northern Hemisphere, where Winter is just going! And then coming back, and then going again… About a week after I got the e-mail, my tendonitis kicked in big time and I had to stop crafting / moving my arm completely and I was really worried I wouldn’t get the layout started, let alone finished. In the end it took me about 5 days!

We don’t get much snow here on the south coast of the UK so I deliberately avoid snowy / wintery themed collections normally but of course, this year, we did have some and so I had to go shopping… I’ve not bought anything since November, but with the aid of some strong painkillers, I managed to end up with 3 packages coming through the post with only a small amount of it being the Carta Bella Winter Market that I needed… I’m back on my spending freeze now…

Freeze… see what I did there…

I saw a layout involving a circle of ink with a cut file over the top and I can’t for the life of me remember where I saw it. I’ve searched all my normal groups, my saved posts on IG, etc, nothing. Anyway, thank you to that lovely crafter, it inspired me to create a circular layout – perfect for a snowball fight! For my first layer I used clear embossing ink (sheesh, that needs replacing – it had started to suck itself back into the plastic!) with some very old snowflake stamps and white embossing powder and TRIED to get them into a rough circle.

The next layer was the Distress Oxide on a blending tool. Once I was happy with the blue, I used a clean cloth to rub over the snowflakes to polish up the white. Doing the inking after the stamping & embossing gives a crisper whiter finish to the snowflakes, especially as my inks and powders are a bit old now! I then used the same Oxide (Stormy Sky) as a watercolour to add some splatters and then some white acrylic paint splatters on top of that. I punched a load of snowflakes from white cardstock and arranged them around the circle with a tiny amount of glue before stitching in place with messy circles. I used my old Singer hand crank because I didn’t know how my electric machine would cope with the metallic thread, but of course I needed two hands to slowly rotate the layout. Mr Pretty ended up having to crank the handle for me!

I mounted my photos onto 2 different designs of patterned paper because I wanted to highlight the blue circle and green border to echo the blues and greens in the photos. I ignored Luigi’s red te-shirt of course… Honestly, teenage boys… a snowball fight in a te-shirt, I ask you!

Obviously I added some enamel dots from the same Carta Bella collection and then I took the opportunity to go wild with Bramble Fox winter perspextives – how gorgeous is that snow globe?!

The Scrap The Boys challenge is open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to get your wintery layouts done featuring the chaps in your life. If you’ve been inspired this weekend, I’d love to see what you’ve created.

Have fun! x

Hi hi

Good morning, good yawning! I’m finally in the jab club so feeling a little fragile but not half as bad as I expected (I tend to overreact to everything…). That is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it, as to why this week’s desk is devoid of craft. I’m getting some photos and then potential kits ready for the weekend, which is (Inter) National Scrapbooking Day (and also Naked Gardening Day but we’re still experiencing morning frosts here so I might forego that event, thanks. You’re welcome…)

There will be hundreds of challenges over the weekend and of course you never know what they will be so if you’re looking to support certain groups or businesses, or playing for entry to prize draws, you can’t really decide what to get ready in advance! Prepping a few “kits” that cover various themes, colours, moods etc isn’t fail safe of course but it might stop some of the faff and indecisiveness – “can I do this challenge with the kits I have prepped?” No? Then move on to the next.

Talking of kits, last week’s desk showed a work in progress from a class kit from Go Go and you can see the finished layout here. Nobody could guess what I was making but it was actually a bunny bow – yes, a bow that formed a bunny face for a Spring layout!

At the end of last week my final article for The Artistry Blog went live (although they want me to do some more). You can read all the articles by clicking here. This final one was all about interactive pages and although it is a single page layout it has lots of flaps and pockets so that you can fit a lot of info in.

“Our Story” in this case is about 9/11 and our subsequent decision to go travelling for a year. Somebody did ask me if that’s what I really meant a few weeks ago and it is indeed. We rented out our house, sold our two cars, the cats went to stay with a friend, I took a career break from the police and my husband left his job. We got an open jaw ticket that allowed us to travel one way around the world with 5 flights included, arriving back where we started exactly a year later. Happy days! And yes, definitely before children, which reminds me of a few more stories that need telling about that time…

And finally we have last week’s Throwback Thursday which was created about 4-5 years ago using Simple Stories So Rad.

I can definitely recognise this as one of mine as it’s not too dissimilar to how I scrap now with the clusters and layers and groups of 3 enamel dots. I do tend to mount my photos onto a narrow white border now though. Talking of photos, I’d better get back to my weekend planning. I’d love to know if you’ve got a strategy for challenge events and if you’ll be joining in with NSD at all. In the meantime, stick the kettle on and I’ll come over and see you via our lovely WOYWW host, Julia.

Stay safe and keep smiling x