Monday, 30 November 2009

Five Go To Grange Farm House.

'Where've you been?'. 'You're never at home these days'. 'You treat this blog like a hotel!'.

Guilty as charged. Sorry. I know that, since creating my first online class and all the work that that entailed, things have been a touch neglected over here in Notes on Paper-land. And, as much of my free time is spent blogging for the three Design Teams I'm a part off, I've begun to add links in my sidebar >>> to those DT posts. You're welcome to drop in on me at any of my blogging homes from home.

OK then, moving on to show you another home from home in which I spent time recently:
Rather beautiful don't you think? It's the cottage where I spent last weekend with 4 crafty friends on what could grandly be referred to as a 'crafting retreat'. Here's the view from our garden: Not that we actually spent a lot of time outside. In fact we more or less hibernated. With paper.

And cake:

The very, very hospitable Jean, not only planned the weekend for us all, she fed us 3 glorious, home cooked meals each day [plus cakes!] and supplied us with two crafting projects from her shop! In short, we were terribly spoilt!

The one time we did lay down our craft knives, put on clothes fit for public consumption and cross the threshold was for a class trip to ....guess where. It's not hard to imagine.

A craft shop!


Hannah and I spent a great deal of time in there sifting through the half-price supplies section sharing something we subsequently referred to as 'rummage time'.

So, when you've got 5 obsessive papercrafters in one cottage, pausing only to eat, you end up with a very crowded mantelpiece / showcase for all of your work:Oh yes, I forgot to mention the log fire which we kept well fed with our paper scraps. Well, with those scraps we were allowed to throw away. Have you ever tried to throw bits of paper away with 4 sets of eyes analysing the size / quality / possible re-useability value of your scraps? Andrea did. And now she knows better!

Now then, I don't want you to get the idea that our time away was entirely blissful and uneventful. we did have a little exictement. Oh yes. For instance ...

  • I found time to explore the cellar, which no one else dared to do. In which I found a chest freezer and much to Hannah's terror - I opened it. It had frost in it. Not a dead body. Although, later when everyone was feeling a little out of sorts [dehydration, lack of movement and too much crafting I reckon] I was accused of letting out the bad spirtis from the freezer. Some people [Hannah] have a far too vivid imagination!
  • We also had a blown bulb which tripped all the fuses and cut the electricity ...and the torch didn't work. The matter was solved by Jean resetting the fuse box in the cellar [perhaps it was those malevolent spirits] while I hovered over her shining the light from my mobile phone onto the switches!
  • And there was also the small matter of a leaky bathroom pipe which sent water through the ceiling [here's Gail on mopping duty]:

When you shout 'We've got a leak', in a house full of scrappers, don't be surprised if people run for a mop, a bucket .... and then a camera. And not necessarily in that order! No photo / scrapping opportunity is ever left unexploited! Ever!

I've already made a layout with some more of my weekend photos and will share them here later this week. And I'm already planning some more when I can get my hands on some of the photos taken my the others. I'm particularly looking forward to scrapping the 'Oh no you don't' and the Princess and the Pea moments had to be there I guess!! Or just wait until I get round to explaining it, if such a thing is possible!

Until then, I had a great time ladies, thank you!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Is 'free' good for you?

I'll keep this post rather like myself ... short and sweet.

When the end of a certain magazine left a distinctly Scrapbook Inspirations sized hole in my crafting life, I offered my waffling services to the Gauche Alchemy ladies on their blog. Foolishly they've given me a set of keys to their blogging kingdom and today I've barged my way in with an all-singing, all-dancing, all free-printable-downloading-debut post.

Yep. There's a free download of printable tags and quotes which I designed for the online class I'm co-hosting ...but which I decided to bribe everyone with share with everyone instead.

And that includes you.

It's here.

Go. See. Read. Listen. Drool over the Johnny Depp photo. Download. Print.

You can thank me later.

J ;)

Saturday, 7 November 2009

I'd never think to use *that*!

"It's a what?". "What have you used there?". "Ha!".

Over on our '12 Days' workshop blog we've been discussing our interest in using ephemera and found treasures in our work rather than rely on traditional crafting supplies. One of the happy side-effects of using such items is the response you get from people whose eyes settle on a particularly unique item and then come out with statements like those above. And it's always nice when your work get's a reaction!

We're giving our 'students' a break from tutorials over the two weekends our class runs through [You're still very welcome to
join in you know?]. Instead we're posting lots of little snippets of inspiration for students to browse, a bit like having a nice chunky magazine to settledown with and flick through on your day off!

One of today's snippets is a list of prompts and questions to get our 'students' talking about the kinds of unusual things they've brought into their work. I thought I'd join in here and have a little trawl through my past work. I was going to say I'd loooked through my 'archive' but that sounded far too grand!!

So, here are a few projects which, in one way or another, feature a slightly 'alternative' item ...or two.

Here's a shadow box from my craft-room wall which I filled with various faces and skulls. Pride of place is the head of a little boy ornament, dug up in my garden, and a pebble with a hole which could almost pass for a Phantom of the Opera mask!

Digging in the garden and walking along the beach are two of the most bountiful sources of interesting found items. The layout below records how, once I've unearthed my treasures [marbles, shells, keys etc] they often find a home amongst the flowers in one of our planters:
[Have a look here for a larger image, where you can see the gems peeping out].

My most recent use of off-kilter stash is this double layout about how James and I accquired similar bruises ... when you're starting point is a set of photos of bruised backs ... you've got nothing to lose when introducing odd items to your pages! What's the worst someone can say? "That's weird"?? Well, I already know that!!!

Between the pages I used the full cover and a page from of a comic-book and some vivid character postcards but perhaps the most unusual item on there is the red reflective lens [bottom left corner of the photo of James's back].I thought that its colour and shape reflected [no pun intended] James's paintball bruises! There's a close-up of both 'His' and 'Hers' in my Flickr gallery where you can read the journalling.Next, and at the risk of giving you the idea that I only make layouts with exposed flesh on them, here's how I fit a few vintage Playboy images on a layout! [There's a larger image here]:

[Oh and I also showcased a Playboy pin-up here!]

Moving swiftly on ... away from all that nudity and into erm... well, another vice .... can I interest anyone in a poker-chip snowman?
An idea like 'poker-chip snowmen' often results from analysing and scrutinising interesting everyday objects to see how they can be repurposed to my crafty ends. Like many crafters, I'm always on the alert for how something which might otherwise be thrown away.

I find that homemade mini-books make one of the most flexible projects into which you can combine eccentric materials. Here's a mini-book from last year [blogged here] whose covers were made from swatches of leather from a furniture shop! Then there's my paint-swatch-tabbed notebook [blogged here]:
Andfinally my mini-book with the egg box card cover [blogged here].
Speaking of egg boxes, you might want to save one or two between now and next weekend. I'm just saying ...

Well, I'm going to stop now because if I don't I'll end up adding photos of almost everything I've ever made. In short, I love using unexpected materials. But you've probably got that idea by now haven't you. Thought so!

Whether you're taking our online workshops or not, it'd be good to hear about the unusual items you've used in your work. So be brave, leave me a comment or link me to your work and get in first. This certainly won't be the last time I bore share with you my love of fascinating, free, found items!