Hi hi!

Happy anniversary desk-hoppers! Amazing to think that this weekly tour around the world via the medium of people’s craft desks has been going for 15 years! This was such a great idea of Julia’s way back then and despite the surge of various social media platforms we are still here. Huzzah!

So what’s on my desk this week? Well we are in a state of unpacking after the crop…

I really love my Totally Tiffany scrapbooking bag as it holds my papers (a lot of them!) but with about 4″ at the end of the bag which nicely fits my cup that holds my glue roller. You can see it – at the back of my desk – this saves me twisting my wrist each time I pick it up and put it down which aggravates my tendonitis as I’m hypermobile. In the middle of the desk is my travelling album which keeps my layouts neat & flat when to-ing ang fro-ing on crops & retreats. On the right of that I was interrupted making some notes about what needs to be done on the layouts to finish them. Behind the notepad is what happens when you join in with WOYWW!! A cheeky little order of PVA glue, gel medium & texture paste…

I’m working on my son’s prom pics from this time 2 years ago and I have a lot of photos but not a lot of story because I obviously wasn’t there, hence using pocket pages. I don’t really enjoy them as I find them more challenging than a regular 12×12 but I’ve got some standard pages for this event too so it’s all good. The red fabric behind the album is an offcut from his girlfriend’s prom dress ready to do a page about these childhood sweethearts. It’s lovely that they are still very much together now and looking forward to their first parent free holiday (yikes!) after her A levels that start this Friday.

We’ve been busy in the garden while it’s been fine but also ventured out yesterday after the heavy rain and put some new plants in. I’m paying the price in the creaky body today I can tell you!

As arty people who appreciate colour I thought you might like to see one of my roses that we added to our collection last year. It starts off a deep dark magenta when in bud but gets paler as it opens out to a stripey lilac – stunning! I bought a new climber today (darn you Home Bargains and your tempting prices!) so we are now up to 10 roses just in the front garden!

Unfortunately I don’t have any ATCs swap & I can’t get to the crop in a town far far away but I will be looking out for pictures of both. I feel proud of everyone involved at every stage and very proud particularly of Julia of course, for keeping this wonderful blog hop going for a decade and half! My daughter was 15 six weeks ago so she’s only JUST a little older that WOYWW!!

See you all again next time. Put the kettle on won’t you? xx

Hi hi!

Apologies if you couldn’t find my post last week, it was there hiding in draft form for some reason. Straight to the desk dear readers for our weekly craft across the world hosted by the lovely Julia!

I got myself into a bit of a pickle with the collaging and I was actually at my desk so I decided to grab some of the many pots of embossing paste to create some collage papers instead. You can see the pot of paste on the right there, purchased from Flying Tiger, you know that shop that is a cross between a pound shop and Ikea? It was quite runny for the first couple of years but was quite stiff when I finished it off today. I went to grab one of the other pots of paste… nothing. Nada. No idea where they might have gone. I know I had two pots of Ranger paste which I know dries out VERY quickly for such an expensive brand so maybe they got ditched? So after doing the duck egg blue sheet I only managed one small one on the pink!

You can see the stencils and scraps on the top left and the little ‘Glimmer’ book top right. The tissues in the middle are from a rather hasty clean up because I got carried away using ALL THE STENCILS and realised the paste was drying hard on them! Woops!

The only other thing of note on the desk is bottom right – speeding fine… I was taking my daughter to hospital after her rugby injury which looked like a broken ankle (ligament damage in the end) but it’s absolutely no excuse. Anyway, back to the pretty stuff…

I really love the effect of the paste on the tissue, particularly of these tiny flowers, and I can’t wait to use it in my little glimmer book (see last weeks post for more info).

Here’s a close up of the front of the book on the table. I found this die-cut which says “Habit is what you like” but I’m not really sure what that means! I like that it mentioned habit though which is what I’m trying to build with little bits of art.

And here is the first day with room for me to note my glimmer. I’m covering each base page with crumpled tissue because I love the effect and I don’t like the colour of the background! You can see where I’ve gone wrong on that first page with the backing which is what got me into a pickle with it all. When I say pickle I mean a total existential crisis where I nearly packed everything up to go on a selling site!

Well that’s all from me this week. I have a crop on Saturday so I need to think about what I’m taking and hopefully I’ll have something more substantial to show next week!

Put the kettle on dear readers, I’m on my way!

Hi hi!

I’m back again for another WOYWW hosted by the lovely Julia, and hoping very much to get into a good rhythm this time around.  We’ve been on a wonderful holiday to Koh Samui (coming soon to a scrapbook near you), I’ve got over our post-holiday blues, and I’ve collected another couple of health diagnoses in the two weeks that we’ve been back. My ‘favourite’ one is “proud balls”!! It’s not an official diagnosis – you won’t find it on the NHS website & I don’t suggest Googling it, but I did snort when the podiatrist told me that that’s why I have so many issues. Anyway, you didn’t pop in to chat about my feet – (bleurgh!) so lets have a look at the desk shall we?

Do not adjust your sets (do people say ‘sets’ anymore?), there is actual crafting going on here! I was at a CAMHS event last week (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) where we spoke about ‘glimmers’, those tiny almost insignificant moments of “ahhh…”, things that make you smile, etc. I fell in love with that word and told the lovely lady introducing it (Courtney) that I’d make a notebook to record them in.

Fast forward to yesterday and I came across a free mini class by Consie Sindet talking about a daily-ish practise of art journalling in a very mini format. Each page is like one of the squares we’ve been seeing in people’s larger journals and I thought I could add a snippet of text on top to record the ‘glimmers’. I guess it’s a bit like a very mini version of gratitude journalling which might feel a bit overwhelming for some people.The little booklet she made (it comes with a print out to make it super-easy) reminded me of the single page mini-books I used to make as little gifts so I went with it. So far I’ve folded, cut and concertina-ed the single sheet of 12×12 so I just need to stick the couple of folded mini-pages that occur inside. I decided to add a ribbon closure so I grabbed my ridiculous tin of ribbons and selected the first one of a suitable size that I put my hand on – no over-thinking, just do it. I ‘chose’ a very old American Crafts cross grain with a few different colours on it so I now have a palette to help me narrow down my supplies. Just behind the tin you can see my folder of scraps that I meant to file but I’m now going to go through it and select a few different papers to create my little collages from.

So what else is on my desk? Rugby admin bottom left, health admin top left (IKR?!), a palette which may now be beyond rescue with remnants of solid paint from my unfinished swatching project, and then bottom right is a pile of lists including research for a potential return to study.

As always this photo is actually how I left it Tuesday evening but this morning there’ll need to be a bit of shuffling for this…

Meet Chip, who after a visit last week will be joining me Wednesday while his owner is at work. We met on Tinder. No no, that’s not right… it was Borrow My Doggy! He’s a fairly passive dog who needs to be close to someone and doesn’t need much exercise. I’m hoping once he’s got to know us / our home that he’ll learn that this is ‘his’ blanket & then he’ll settle on the floor. It’s not the most ideal tail for an artists desk! Today we’ll be exploring the garden a bit too.

Talking of the garden… remember the big hole? Well after 8 weeks we have finally said goodbye to the contractor putting the soakaway in. He made such a mess and every time we asked him to put it right he would destroy something else or leave a different mess! In the end we thought we’d be better off clearing up ourselves. The muddy area has been well seeded and has started to show signs of life so we can only hope it recovers. And looking at the photo here I’ve just spotted that he has missed putting the half sleeper stone back in at the bottom of the step! Doh!

Do look out for a visit from myself and Chip on our tour of the desks a little later. Put the kettle on won’t you, but no biscuits please as I desperately need to lose weight & make it easier on the proud balls…

Bye for now xx

Hi hi! Happy Wednesday to you all and I need to ask if its just me wondering how we got to Wednesday again already?? I’m ashamed to say that I have barely been in my craft room since taking last week’s photo, hence this week’s desk is even more embarrassing than normal. Let’s hope our host Julia has had a more creative week.

I’ve put some of the dumped bags away (the ones that stay packed for crops) and started emptying the ones that need unpacking & putting away. However I have a crop on Saturday so I’ll be repacking some of it again tomorrow! The silver box at the front has my Christmas embellishments & other seasonal bits in because I did manage to do some of the outstanding festive photos I mentioned a few weeks ago. The big space is where I use my Cameo but I’ve put it away on the stack at the back right as I won’t need it for a while. Now I have space to put the basket tray which you can see teeting on the left hand desk. It houses some admin stuff I need to do but it’s the basket on top that is my focus for the next couple of days.

Please don’t be horrified. I made a grave error a good few years ago and I’m not trying to right it. I bought into a system of specialised card specifically made so you could stuck all of your stamps onto it to put in a folder. I threw away all the packaging in the process thinking this would save space & encourage me to use the stamps more. It’s honestly a ridiculous system becuase you don’t know who made which stamp & loads of them fall off into nothingness. Please do let me know if you have made this work for you!

Something I hadn’t factored in was pressure & nowhere did the ‘system’ advise only using one side of the special card. This resulted in some stamps being squished against others and basically melding together and having to be ditched. I’m now in the process of moving them all over to a new filing system that has pockets so any stamps that fall off the card won’t be lost never to be seen again. That’s the plan anyway.

In other news the work on the soakaway sort of continues with a few breaks for broken down vans & a ‘bit of bovver’ (no we didn’t ask). I haven’t taken a photo because it looks as it did last week but with a bit of top soil under the rainwater. We had a new non-return valve fitted Friday but firstly they couldn’t finish it because they didn’t have the right pipe (honestly…) & I discovered a blockage which they literally ran away from. This meant I worried all weekend about ‘explosions’ but it was all okay. We had CCTV & the rest of the pipe fitted Tuesday so now we wait until a heavy downpour to see if it has all worked. There is a HUGE mess for our contractors to clear up after the soakaway but I’m trying not to stress about it.

Maybe I need to do some cutting and sticking to relax. Or maybe I’ll just put the kettle on? I’ll come to you if you have biscuits?

Bye for now


Well isn’t that a lovely round number?? Can you believe Julia has been hosting this blog hop for 770 weeks?? I salute her commitment for sure. Maybe you can show us your desk too by dropping by and leaving a link over at The Stamping Ground.

So how am I looking this week? Oh dear…

In my defence I got back from a crafty retreat at lunchtime and Mr Pretty emptied my car for me. We had a family visit to the surgery for travel jabs in the afternoon and then I had a rugby meeting last night hence my desk having a big wide space on it.

Over our weekend we managed 102 scrapbook layouts between 7 of us! My own total was a poor 10 partly down to my lack of planning and the big gaps I’m taking between scrapping sessions. It takes me a good while to get back in the flow but I also need to keep resting my non-compliant hands which is very frustrating. I did manage some painty fun too though.

I decided to use the goaches that I’ve been swatching to create a background for a couple of cut files. One was a turkey for a Christmas layout and this one is the eye piece area for a pair of binoculars. It looks very dark here but the cut file is layered onto tracing paper and once that’s layered over the top it gave the effect I wanted. I might have taken a pic of the finished layout by next week!

And then this happened… We’ve all got multiples of these right? I use them for spraying water on my Shimmerz paints to activate them except that they suddenly wouldn’t activate even though I was spraying and spraying. I was really upset because I thought I’d waste these paints, some of which I’d never used – maybe I’d left them too long?

One of the other things I use them for is taking off the top and using the tube to flick water on Distress Oxides. As I was doing this on the stencilling you can see here the droplets created a blue tinged see through effect and I knew something was wrong. The water was totally clear as you can see and for some reason I sniffed the contents. Not water!! I thought I must have got it mixed up with someone else’s bottle but nope. We all had a good sniff to try and work out what the chemically smell was but couldn’t work out why anyone would have clear nail varnish remover in a water bottle. I posted this picture home to find the culprit but everyone denied knowledge. Then it clicked. It was rubbing alcohol!! I used it to spray on soaps between layers many years ago but because everything got moved around by Mr Pretty the other week I had assumed it was just water and added it to my water bottle collection! The bottle is now labelled accordingly… ahem…

And finally, a garden update…

While I was away one of the contractors ripped his nail off and I could see the whole thing unfolding on the doorbell camera. The chap danced around shouting unsavoury language and his boss was trying to wash it and bandage it without actually looking at it. At one point they were both groaning and hopping about which would have been funny if it wasn’t clearly very painful. Obviously work on the soakaway has stalled somewhat as a result…

Hey ho, dry weather is expected for a couple of days at least and I am desperately in need of a cuppa. Put the kettle on and I’ll be round shortly.

Bye for now x

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