Hi hi! Happy What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday to you! It’s been an artily active week here in my craft room and I am proud to say that I have reached day 7 of the #100DayProject!!

So let’s have a look at the desk shall we?

My swatch book is coming along nicely and I have now completed all of my watercolours and also my gouches which I had never used before. On the left hand side you can see the lovely oil paints that I’m too scared to open. They whisper to me now and then reminding me that they are still there and still need to be swatched. I had to push my paints out of the way while I did some disability related admin but you can also see photos at the back of the desk too. I’ve got a scrappy retreat this weekend so I’m trying to plan some pages so that I actually take what I need. I use the blue flowery TN to note which photos and collections I’m using and if I’ve got a sketch or scraplift in mind then I note the code so I can find the inspiration when I’m away.

I was using the left over goache to paint squares which I intended to decorate later but I might give up on that! I’ve been struggling to do more than about 30 minutes a day because of issues with my hands (you can see my thumb brace on the right hand side there) and actually just creating the squares was great for understanding how different consistencies look when they dry and how they blend and cover. You can see from the mess on the flowery pallette that I discovered that you only need a teeny tiny amount of the artist grade black if I mix it with my cheap gouches… It reminded me of “Johnny” from The Fast Show if anyone remembers that… “BLACK BLACK BLACK!!!”

Some of you noticed my garden through my window last week so I thought you’d like to see how it looks today… ahem…

Please don’t worry. All members of the family are present and accounted for… We are having to have a soakaway installed but I’m rather concerned that this large hole is already full of water and we haven’t had rain in the last 36 hours! I’m trying not to stress about the state of the grass – they removed the turf for the hole but of course not for the digger. Hey ho, it all needed levelling anyway…

So I definitely need a cup of tea. I’ll be round to the other desks shortly so please to put the kettle on!

Bye for now x

Hi hi!

I might have missed last Wednesday’s Workdesk blog hop with Julia as we were on holiday but I’m back again this week and this time with some actual creativity!  I’ve been gradually moving back in to my craft room since Saturday and yesterday Mr Pretty put the newly painted shelves back up but he somehow ended up with paint on his hand I the process!  I’m going to leave them a few more days before I put things on them just to be sure…

So what IS going on here on my workdesk?  Well it is very much baby steps I can tell you but I’m happy with that.  I’ve been joining in with the #100DayProject and my own little challenge is #100DaysOfArtLearning.  I’ve taken ownership of a lot of art supplies, some from the children & some from a professional artist, so I’m logging and swatching all of them while I learn a bit about how they feel and what I can do with them.  I also already had a lot of supplies that I’d felt sure that I needed and so it’s been a great exercise for me to see exactly what I’ve got.  I’ve also been brave and thrown some of the supplies away because they’ve dried out but I’ve kept most of the dried old brushes for mixing, poking holes, spreading glue etc. 

The thing that seems to be taking the most time in this is the receptacling.  Yes I have absolutely made up a word because there wasn’t one to encapsulate re-organising your supplies over and over again into different, erm, receptacles.  Yes, I know I am not alone here dear readers because when I mentioned my penchant for large jars the other week, several of you admitted to an addiction for boxes.  It must be a crafter thing because I do love a box too, and I really love a basket or a dish and I am particularly drawn to little cases such as those you can see on my desk.  Getting the right supply in the right receptacle is an art form in and of itself dontcha think?  The pink case now stores some dried up oil pastels that don’t blend anymore.  Some of them are ancient, like 20+ years probably.  They are professional artist grade because I ‘acquired’ them from the family of an artist who passed away at least that long ago.  I have one of his oil paintings on my wall given to me by his sister (who passed away 12 years ago) just because she knew I loved it.  I really hope they can both forgive me for not passing the supplies on to their rightful owners (known in our family as The Vultures) as they wouldn’t have appreciated them & have no knowledge of their existence.  His oil paints were pretty much all dried up but I have learned so much from using the tiny set of Daler Rowney half pan watercolours & I thank him for that. 

My next job is to log and swatch all the squirty watercolours but I think I need another cuppa first.  Whose turn is it to pop the kettle on?  I’ll be round in a mo. x

Hi hi!

Well I just about made it to week two of my attempted new routine of joining in with What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday hosted by the lovely Julia. I visited everyone but I did have trouble commenting on some because in my absence Google & Blogger have palled up which means people might end up at my old blog. I have my tech support on the case but it looks like we have uncovered another issue so I might not get it sorted today.

Anyway, to the desks fair readers!

Ah yes… it is the dining table. To the top left of this photo just out of sight is one of my craft desks propped up on it’s side, legs sticking out. While everything was accessible in my room with the radiator & pipework needing to be accessed, Mr Pretty has taken the opportunity to finish the woodwork that we didn’t quite around to when the room was created. We moved in exactly 9 years ago this weekend and my craft room was intended to be one of the last things to be done. It was full of hand made solid wood fitted drawers & dressing table etc which was very dated but worked remarkably well for craft storage! The ex-bedroom is next to our bathroom which WAS one of the first things we did.

We took out an Adam’s style fireplace that began in our kitchen, went up through the bathroom and out through the loft. What we didn’t know was that there was no seperate bathroom wall and once the bricks were removed all that was left was a strange thick wallpaper! Although it was a pain at the time it did mean that we had to deal with my craft room but between a totally renovated kitchen and bathroom, the woodwork in my room got sidelined. Now it is lovely and sparkly and Mr Pretty has moved on to painting some bare shelves that suffered the same ‘do-it-later’ fate and then I can start moving back in. However, we are on holiday next week so you’ll see another different desk next week before ‘normality’ returns the week after!

So what IS on my dining room table. The canvasses at the back are ex-children’s projects that were next to the art trolley that lives in our kitchen where our new radiator is. We need to have a rethink here because I don’t think keeping paints next to the radiator is a good idea! There is some planning going on which is the mess of stickers and traveller’s notebook and is the only arty thing going on unless you are one of the many that considers Lego art (and I am). I intend to do a seperate post about my Lego addiction which has been an actual life saver for me (who knew?!). I’m still doing sets because I’m not at the MOC stage yet. MOC stands for My Own Creation – Lego has it’s own language including AFOL which is an Adult Fan Of Lego!! The project you can see is an Alpine Lodge which I will eventually ‘winter-fy’ to go in my Winter Village.

Right oh, on with the day! Giving blood this morning and then I ought to pack a few arty bits for our little getaway next week!

Put the kettle on and I’ll be round. xx

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