Wednesday 30 April 2014

My Month in Numbers 2014: April

Hello hello.

When I came to look for this post in my Drafts list I kept skimming past it thinking:

"No, this is the post for the end of April, where's this month's post gone?" ...  followed shortly by "Oh ... yes .. this is the end of April ...".

Which can mean only one thing ... it's time for some monthly memory-keeping-by-numbers.

  • If you haven't joined in with your own round-up of the past 4 weeks before then you can find all the details you need to play along with My Month in Numbers here.
  • And if you have joined in before - and some of you have kept me company while I count for years now [Happy Monthinnumbersversary Paula!] - then you know the drill by now ...
  • Write your post, comment, link me up and I'll be round to yours to chat and pin any day now.
Right ... we might as well get going ... I'm starting with you anyway ...

15 [plus me] = the number of people who hopped on the number train for March's round-up.
From reading all your posts I see we seem to have designated March as the official 'Let's Go Crafting in a Converted Barn' month - lots of creative get-togethers in rural settings happening last month! While the remainder of the time was spent making things, eating, meeting up with friends and having days/nights out. Go March! Go us!

44 miles = the distance travelled to see author/humourist David Sedaris.
It's a funny thing going to watch a writer 'perform' live. Fortunately he didn't just sit there and write in his notebook while we watched! He read excerpts from his diaries, unpublished pieces and read stories from his autobiographical books. Oh and he's very very funny.

I was so excited when he began reading one of my favourite chapters from one of his early books. As satisfying as going to see a band and hearing them strike up the opening chords of the song everyone loves ... a definite 'greatest hits' crowd-pleaser moment for me!

And those 44miles we travelled were ... 

206 miles fewer than the distance we travelled last time!  [ talked about that trip in my 3rd ever Month in Numbers post back in March 2010! I love having my number posts to look back on like that!]

Despite having toured for years this was his first tour of the UK where he visited towns outside of London! In the Q&A after his readings someone asked why he'd never gone elsewhere and he said he just ever imagined he could. I think he was just being humble, implying that it never occurred to him he could fill theatres outside the capital ... and while I have mixed feelings about that [we read books up North too!] ...

... I'm just glad he's now realised that non-Londoners also appreciate him. So much in fact that some of them have travelled 588 miles [there and back] to see him!

0.1 miles / 3 minutes = the distance our hotel was from the venue:
Being able to walk to the theatre was the key reason we chose to stay there:
Fortunately is was a great place to stay for other reasons too - but I chatted more about the fabulous hotel - especially the décor -  here in my 'Zoom In Zoom Out' post earlier in the month.

20m high + a 54m wing span = the size of Angel of the North who we dropped by to visit.
In the '52 Weeks of Photos' project I've been following since last August one of the categories of photo I need to collect is 'With an angel' and so ... as we had to pass a GIGANTIC one on our way to stay in Newcastle ... it would have been silly not to stop by for a quick photo:
We've met before, Gormley's Angel and I ... but it's equally as impressive and wonderful every time. [The same can't be said about my little windswept self though!]

Meanwhile back home ...

My #CreatingSpace work-room redecoration project has so far accrued the following statistics:
  • 4m of stripy curtain fabric = my curtains will NOT need all 4m worth. In fact I could almost wrap my entire room with that much fabric but ... it was a spur-or-the-moment purchase, I had no sizes with me, IKEA is miles from home .. .and it was better safe than sorry. Depending on how much is left afterward I might make a bag, or an apron or a dress with it! 
  • 1 new chair in black. Black was the only colour I said I didn't want for a chair. But, I saw it and liked it .. .and it matched my stripes!  
  • 2 tins of paint [read the full story, complete with tears - mine, not yours, it's not that sad! - here]
  • 2 days spent painting [see above!]
  • 0 floor space in my spare bedroom where I've dumped everything I've yet to sort out.
  • 2 charity bags filled with 'stuff'. [How did it all fit in one tiny room?
  • 1 big box of stamps, papers, cards etc which I'm still debating where to send. [Charity / a school / Ebay ... basically anywhere but back in my room!!
2048 = the number I managed to reach on the 2048 game which means ... I WON!!
If you haven't yet played the game [quick, run for your life, do not click the link, you will become addicted.You'll lose days ... don't say I didn't warn you!!!] ...

... then basically the idea is to move the numbered tiles around the board bumping ones of the same value into one another. When you do, they merge into one tile and its number doubles. And all you have to do is keep doubling the values until you reach 2048.

Sounds simple enough. But my goodness you just try it ... [no, don't! I've already warned you!!]

Hundreds = the number of hours I spent seeking that elusive 2048 before I finally won.
I'm not being flippant when I say that it was extraordinarily addictive for me. I'm just so grateful I didn't have to pay to play ...

Oh and if numbers aren't your thing then
  • (a) I guess My Month in Numbers really isn't up your street either!
  • and (b) go Google for variations of the game ... there's one to suit all tastes! My sister reached the end of the Dr.Who version where to win you have to push two David Tenants together to form a Matt Smith!
And with that not-entirely-unpleasant thought floating in the air around us ... let's raise the cultural levels just a little before we go ...

We celebrated Shakespeare's 450th birthday in a manner befitting the genius that he was ... with felt facial hair:  
To add a Shakespearean twist to one of our usual nibbles / wine / TV evenings I prepared felt facial hair in the style of Will's beardyness and printed out some appropriately food and drink related quotes by the bard himself. Such as:

"Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?" Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 3.

And "O thou invisible spirit of wine! If thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!" Othello: Act 2, Scene 3

BTW: Did you like how I aged the photos. For authenticity. So they looked like original snapshots from Elizabethan England... ? ;-)


Right enough of me! Over to you. Comments are welcome whether or not you're joining in with your own numbers. I wish Shakespeare had said something about blog commenting ... I'd have deferred to his greatness here ... but he did say something about goodbyes ... so allow me to paraphrase ...

Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until April becomes May ...

Romeo & Juliet [and Julie] Act 2, Scene 2.

See you soon.

Julie x

Friday 25 April 2014

'Creating Space' (OR: redecorating because I could no longer move for 'stuff'!]

Hello again.

Continuing the 'it's-spring-and-it's-about-time-I-got-motivated' theme [which I started earlier this month with my 'Get Up and Mow!' post] ... I've been re-thinking and redecorating my craft room / office.

Although ... seriously ... I don't really feel 'grown-up' enough to call it an office. It sounds so ... well, so 'official'. Mature. 'Proper'.

And that's actually part of the problem I'm trying to address with this redecoration project.
Yes, the walls needed a new lick of paint, the floor a steam clean and the cupboards a de-stash. But, to be honest, my head needed a spot of clearing out too.

When we first decorated the room I had a full time job in Education and crafting was just a hobby; a decade later my situation is completely reversed ... and it was about time my room reflected that.

And so ...

... I've begun the mammoth task of sifting and sorting; of debating and donating; of prioritising and, eventually, prettifying. And, along the way I've been taking photos and sharing them on my Facebook page - but I thought I'd share the on-going story with you here too.

Anyway ... here's a look at the first 7 days of my #CreatingSpace project [not necessarily consecutive days ... I've been fitting it all in around actually continuing to (try to) work in there! 

DAY 1: The most vital part of any project!!
Just begin! Do something!!!! Anything!! ... so I dragged everything out of one cupboard ... and threw a lot of old paperwork into the recycling.
If you saw the photo I posted on my Facebook page today - of the gigantic tag which came attached to my new coat - you'll know I have a thing for clothing tags. And here's further proof of that ... the collection I've amassed for 'future' projects ...
[Anyone know exactly when the future's due to arrive?]

DAY 2:
All those 'blank' items need to live together ... for when inspiration strikes!
DAY 3: Indicative phrase: "I didn't know that was in there!"
Earlier in the day I made the happy re-discovery of a packet containing these handmade ceramic beads and buttons which I'd bought from the Harding House gallery in Lincoln one summer holiday ... and clearly forgotten all about! It was a very welcome reunion and then later in the day ...
... I found this entirely random selection of items ... lurking ...
In case it's not patently obvious these are: 2 goodness-knows-how-old-they-are toffees, a glow-in-the-dark shooting star and ... a photo, printed using my PoGo printer, of some bottles of antacid sitting on top of a freezer full of pizzas in Aldi.

You may well ask why I have this. I may well not entirely be able to answer ...

 DAY 4:
Now all the bubble envelopes I need for my Etsy shop orders can live directly above the shelf  containing the products. Makes sense really ... especially when I'm trying to get 'serious' and streamlined.

DAY 5: The cavalry arrives ...
James spent his entire Easter break [except for Sunday ... hey, I'm not that demanding] helping a very stressy woman to:
  1. empty an over-stuffed room ... then ...
  2. analyse every shelf unit on the IKEA website seeking out a better storage configuration than the one we already own [FYI: there wasn't one!] and ...
  3. paint the walls with the paint she chose [FYI: 'Grey Hints']
And as if he hadn't already been patient and marvellous enough ... 

 DAY 6: Think: Groundhog Day for decorators ...

On Saturday morning, the day after we painted the room I went in to see how it had dried ... and my heart sank.

It just was NOT the colour it looked like in the tin. It was much colder and more lilac than anything called 'Grey Hints' had any right to be.

So I left the room, wondering if I could just live with it.

"What have you done?" asked James and full of suspicion [clearly I must have had the same body-language as when I've managed to hurt myself in a freakish clumsy incident or when I've broken something ... ]

"Nothing" I replied.

[Insert here a long drawn-out conversation where I deny everything and he simply doesn't believe me ... and then I eventually confess we wasted an entire afternoon ... and then I cry a bit.]

I say I could try to live with it and then this happens:

"Do you LIKE it?" he asks. I shake my head.

"Do you WANT TO like it?". I nod. [BTW: Isn't that the best question? I might have put up with second best if he hadn't put it like that!]

"Get ready." he says, like a parent says to a child who won't get ready for school. "We're going to get some more paint".
 And finally for now ...

DAY 7:
Almost without planning I've reverted to team colours with the room décor . Team Zebra that is ... and the green and blue accents around the place have now been replaced with black and white. Including the paper-covered boiler-cupboard doors:
I might do a separate blog post about the doors [the cupboard doors that is; not the rock band from the 60s] ... so if you're interested in them ... I'll show you more later.

But in short [who said 'too late'?] I've made a pretty decent start at #Creating Space, in my room, and in my head since I started this project. I'm hopeful it's going to mark a fresh beginning for me and for just the hand-picked, important, useful and useable 'stuff' I decide to allow back in!!!

Just promise me you won't go and look in my spare bedroom for a few weeks ... where everything that I've tipped out of my 'office' has been dumped on to every available surface ...


I've already heard from some of you about how you're planning to redecorate / redesign your creative spaces too so, as always, feel free to link me up or share your tales on the subject with me. 

And if you're already the proud owner of a welcoming workspace ... what was your secret to getting things 'just right' for you?

Julie x

Monday 21 April 2014

Quote: When You Shut the Doors Yourself ...


I'm so glad my post - 'Get up + mow : because January shouldn't have the monopoly on fresh starts' - last week, all about giving ourselves a another chance at a fresh start, seemed to resonate with those of you who've been in touch! A very Happy New Year to you all!

How about we head into a brand new week with another thought on the theme of moving on?

Here goes ...

It's a good one. Don't you think?
It's taken from Mr Darwin's Gardener a short novel by Finnish author Kristina Carlson's [if you're interested in reading more about it there's a review of the novel here in the Guardian]. And it made me reach I immediately for my notebook and pen as it was definitely a line to save! And indeed to savour .. 
Go on. Roll it around your head one more time ...
"When you shut the doors yourself, there is no need to slam".
Every time I read it I get more out of it.  
I can definitely think of a time when I made a clear-headed decision to end something [work-related] that wasn't working out for me and, like the quote says ... I didn't need to make a huge dramatic fuss of it.
No need for a grand exit. No slamming required [although ... that's not the same thing as saying I didn't feel like doing some slamming ... but I resisted].
Just a thank you and goodnight can be enough when you know you've made the right decision.
When you've shut the door for yourself. So ... can I ask ...
  • What does the quote say to you?
  • Have you ever found yourself making a dignified non-slammy exit? 
  • Does it change the way you think/feel about the end of something in your life?
  • Or does it say something completely different to you?
I'm all ears ...
If you use Pinterest I'd love it if you'd pin my poster of the quote just so it has a chance of getting 'out there'. I really think it will speak to a lot of people.
Further thoughts on taking action are to come this week ... so how about I see you then then?  

Friday 18 April 2014

'Snipped Tales' mixed-media canvas: She Moved Forward

Hi again.

Continuing with my theme this week of getting started, moving again, forward momentum I've got a journey-themed 'Snipped Tale' to share today.

But, unlike the last snipped tale I shared this isn't one of my pared-down words-only stories, this one's carried on a tiny multi-layered and textured mini canvas:
Before adding those central focal words: 
  • I covered the blank canvas base with a mix of old book pages and maps
  • ... then added thin layers of paint, some of it through sequin waste masks
  • and stamped directly on to the edges with an alphabet background stamp.
Then, to prevent the end result from begin too pastel and girly I added some black paint:
... which is important when you're making a gift for a tattooed 18 year old girl who loves rock music!

[And if there's any kind of teenage girl who I could even  begin to try to understand ... it would be one who lived for rock n' roll. Been there, done that, bought the extra-large band T-shirt - because they never came in any other sizes did they???!!]
  •  The focal design is the Large Hot Air Balloon stamp, by Clarity Stamps which I stamped several times on different patterned papers then paper-pieced back together: 
  • And there's also evidence there of texture coming from micro/caviar beads [poured into Glossy Accents] and Shimmerz Texturez paint:
  • The sections of gold and silver scattered around the edges of the canvas are actually Cosmic Shimmer gilding flakes which I just happened to have on my desk at the time and, as I'd spotted them, I thought 'yeah, I'll stick some of that on too!'
Very much a case of 'monkey see monkey do'!

And finally my favourite part ... the words ...
  • these were snipped free from a range of old book pages,
  • then I added them to a section of the canvas which I'd painted white to provide a bright backing for the text.
And, if you've ever heard me talk about my Snipped Tales previously you'll know that I didn't set out to find this exact phrase amongst all the pages. It's more random than that.
  • I just decided, beforehand, that I'd like a nice, positive, uplifting quote ...
  • one that would speak to someone turning 18, applying to universities, working out all those Next Big Steps in life.
And, as they always do ... the words found me.

Then I glued them down ... and passed them on. Forwards. To accompany their new owner on her journey.

Are you inspired to decorate a canvas? To send someone an uplifting message? To snip your own tale?

[Tale I said: T.A.L.E!! If ever it was important I get the spelling correct ...]

And if you need some vintage book pages, I'm your man.

Julie :-)

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Zoom in Zoom Out :: When in ... Rome?

Hello hello.

James and I went a way for a [very] short city break last weekend and while we were there I had an idea for a perfect pair of photos to share for the 'Zoom In - Zoom Out' feature hosted weekly over at Helena's Creative Maven.

For more 'ZIZO' posts make sure to visit this week's post on Helena's blog here ... and now here's mine ...

Zooming in ...
A line of stone columns casting shadows ...
... so where exactly did we stay on this city break? Rome? Athens?


Not quite.

Zooming out ...

It was actually a room inside 'Hotel Indigo' in Newcastle:
Pretty striking don't you think? [The wall I mean ... not the lounging model ... ].

It was a lovely hotel; cheerful staff, 3 minutes from the theatre [which was the reason we made the trip in the first place] and such bold and stylish décor.

My favourite part being the amazing patterned carpets and rug, lots of geometrics all in black and white ..what can I say? I'm easily pleased!


I've jumped back on the blogging train with gusto here lately so, if you get a minute, here are a few stops along my journey which you might want to join me on:
 Hopefully there'll be something there to grab you!

See you soon.

Julie :-)

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Get up and mow! : because January shouldn't have the monopoly on fresh starts

Hello you.

Do you remember back in January [not that long ago in the scheme of things ... but probably already feeling like a world away] when there was an attractive fresh New Year standing right in front of you?

[Naked? I never said it was naked. Who said it was naked? You've imagined that for yourself ...]

And you were so seduced at the possibility of being able to walk away, leaving 2013 behind, that you fell in love with the idea of making a fresh start ...

"Well, hello there 2014. You're looking young, fresh and delightful. I just know you're going to be good for me. You've got so much to offer, and the things I'm going to achieve now that you're here ... well, I'm going to be a changed woman."

 And then ...

... and then well,  I don't know ...
  • there were all those decorations to put away weren't there? And vacuuming up all that ever-reappearing post-Christmas tinsel just eats into your day doesn't it?
  • and it was all just a bit too cold and grey outside to make you feel like making any major life changes ...
  • plus the new series of Modern Family, The Great British Sewing Bee and Elementary started and after all it's illegal not to get comfy and sit watching those entirely in peace and without worrying about 'resolutions' ...
... and 'stuff' gets left. Plans remain unmade. Transformations remain ... untransformed. January becomes February, becomes ... almost May-oh-my-goodness-how-did-that-happen?

You know how it goes.

And you may well have felt a little bad about that. Guilty even. Like you've been cheating on 2014 by still flirting with your old ways.

That's how I felt anyway. At the start of this year I'd made zero new plans for my work or my blog and I felt like I was falling behind, like I was already late ... until ...

... until I recalled a piece of advice I heard a tutor give his students while I was note-taking during a lecture [at my University job] a few years back. Words which I'd scribbled down in my own notebook.

Words which were actual his attempt to motivate / terrify his students into getting their work done in time to meet their summer term deadlines. Words that went ...

"Do anything you like all year ... but as soon as they start cutting the grass ... you have to start working."

And, while it probably should frighten me too ... I seem to find it strangely comforting ...

To me the whole notion certainly removes the tyranny of the whole 'New Year New You / mad rush to make changes in January or else feel like you've failed' way of thinking. 

In its own, rather blunt, way it reminds us that while yes it may no longer be such a new New Year ...

... and while yes we may well have frittered our time on lazy thinking and wearing pyjamas and just getting through the day and zoning out in front of the TV [although, can any of us really say that time spent watching Sherlocks - Miller and Cumberbatch thankyouverymuch -  ever be considered anything less than essential?] ... and getting lulled into inertia by the regularity of our routines ...

 ...  regardless of all of that it reminds us that everything's not lost. There's still time to get our act together!

We can start again. Right now. Only this time we can do it in the sunshine and with the scent of freshly cut grass in our noses! What's not to love about that? 

And, if you're not quite there yet ... if you're feeling like I was before my 'ooh I've got lots of blogging ideas all of a sudden and now I'm finally going to sort out my workroom' inspiration struck me earlier this month .. then maybe the idea that they're starting to cut the grass around you will help to spur you along somewhat ...

... because, really, there's nothing like the sound of blades spinning at your heels to really help focus the mind!

So what do you think?
  • Does the idea that there's always another chance to start a 'new' year give you the 'get up and mow go' you need to go and tackle that 'thing' you've been meaning to get around to all year?
  • ... or maybe you like the motivation offered by the more definite sound of blades heading your way to kick-start your motor?
Either way ... I hope it helps! And while we're in the mood - expect a few more 'new beginnings' type posts over the next few weeks ... now we've got it ... let's keep this momentum going!
Julie x
  • If you've found today's post useful would you take a minute to share it in whatever way you share things? Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, loud hailer, sky-writing ... whichever.
  • Here's the link for you to copy + paste:
  • Thanks! 

Monday 14 April 2014

Overheard: Well, at least it broke the day up a bit

Hi hi hi.

As I haven't been working on the university campus very much at all this last academic year I'm going to dip into my back-catalogue of unshared Overheards for a case of 'here's one I heard earlier' ...

Date: 09 December 2013
Location: Communal computer area

Two female students were talking about times they'd had bad hangovers.

[Honestly. I know it's a stereotype ... but that is what they were discussing!]

Then one turned to the other and confessed this beauty  ... [from what I gleaned Gary was her tutor].

"I once threw up in Gary’s office.

In a bin.

He said to me:  

Don’t worry about it. My day was really boring anyway'".

Graffiti in a doorway in Lincoln
Charming no?

Apologies if that leaves you with any lasting imagery. So allow me to make up for it by leaving you with a special wish for the shiny new week ahead ...

... may your days never get so dull that you treat someone vomiting in your bin as a welcome interruption!

Have a good one.

Julie :-)

Thursday 10 April 2014

Junk Journals: inspiration for what to do with your 'bits'!

Hello. How's things today?

Me? Not too bad thanks. Just changed out of my jeans and into my 'lounge pants' ... not to 'lounge ... but to blog in comfort. [Which, alongside 'always having a parking space for the car' is one of the great pleasures of working from home!]

And speaking of work ... earlier in the month I launched a new range of creativity packs which - as they contain 'bits' you can use to make junk journals - I've inventively named 'Junk Journal Bits' ...

If you've already bought one [hello again + thanks!] you can scroll down for some inspiration for the kind of books you can make with your chosen bits!

But if you've not seen them yet then here's a rainbow selection of those currently available:
To me a 'junk journal' is a great place to stop worrying about being neat, tidy or perfect in your creative time and instead just enjoy the jumbly randomness of it all! They're an antidote for anxious, perfection-seeking, creativity.

Each of the packs I've put together contain 20+ items of ephemera, oddments, pages, tags, labels and more from my collection of ... well ... everything! Plus something a bit sturdier you could use as a cover.

They're available in:
  •  Large [which will probably make a journal A5-ish in size depending upon how you chop up the bits]
  • and Small [which is perfectly pocket-sized - roughly postcard-ish or smaller].  
Here's a peek inside a few:
If you like the look of any of that then do drop into my Etsy shop, take your pick, and I'll get it into the post to you in 1-3 working days! Because I'm pretty efficient like that!
But if you'd prefer someone else's - less biased - opinion on the quality of my service ... may I point you toward the positive feedback left for me by happy customers.  It never ceases to delight me when someone finds time to leave a couple of words about their order so that potential customers feel they can trust me! (If you've ever left a review on your order .. thank you SO much!x)
Anyway ... whether you havehaven't,will never or maybe might buy one of the Junk Journal packs ...
... here's some Junk Journal inspiration ...

Below you'll find some images and links to previous projects of mine all of which show the kinds of small books you could make with the type of supplies you'll find in the kits.

**Please note: these books are different sizes and hold different contents to those on sale in my shop ... but they are indicative of the STYLE of project you could make.
  • This mini book was made from 30 postcard sized pages - some [as in some of the Junk Journal packs] were actual original vintage postcards.
  • Meanwhile its covers were made from some interesting cardboard from an shoe box [and again, some of the Junk Journal packs also contain printed shoe-box cardboard just perfect for covers!]
And if you're wondering what you could do inside the book once you've made the base ... how about some collage and journaling? 
For further inspiration:

(2.)Travel Journal :
This journal features lots of ideas for using pockets, bags, tags and labels .. like those you'll find amid the Junk Journals:

For further inspiration:
And finally ...
A quotations book : from waaaaaay back ... [one of my first ever blog posts in 2009 in fact!]: 

Again, lots of pockets, envelopes, ephemera - like the Junk Journals Bits. Then I simply added handwritten motivational quotations on top of each page.
For further inspiration: 
Plus ...  the cover on that final book is made partly from an egg box I took a particular liking to!
Well, they ain't called 'junk' journals for nothing!
If you have one of the kits, and you make something with it - link me up so I can share your inspiration too.  
I hope you found something here today to inspire you to give junk journals a go - whether that's with one of my kits ... or not.
Julie :-) 

Wednesday 9 April 2014

WOYWW. Well, no, it's actually more like WUMWW ...

Hello all.

I've been meaning to join in with WOYWW ever since I bent down to pick up something and caught sight of something funny beneath my desk ... [if that doesn't make you want to read on ... I'm giving up ...] ;-)

For the uninitiated WOYWW stands for 'What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday' a "share what's on your desk right now" meme hosted by Julia Dunnit [over at Stamping Ground ]. And, before I move on I should probably issue Julia a quick apology for not really sticking to the rules because ...

... because, as my 'WUMWW' title suggested I'm not actually sharing what's on my workdesk at this moment ... but rather ... what's under it.

Which is this ....
A random colourful collection of odd bits of washi tape!

Call it collage.

Call it guerrilla art.

Call it 'What happens when Julie has scraps of leftover tape stuck to her fingers and rather than get into an impatient flap about getting it off without it sticking to something else the easiest thing to do with them is to just wipe them on the underside of the desk'.

[I'll let you draw you own conclusions as to which of those best represents the truth ...].

But as to what the word 'words' has been doing under there for goodness knows how long ... well, your guess is as good as mine!
I'm tempted to read something into it ... like it's a secret message from the universe [albeit a secret message the universe kindly embellished with pink glitter tape] ... but what could it mean?
Is hiding your words under your workdesk anything like hiding your light under a bushel?
I wonder ...
Thanks for dropping by [and for getting down - metaphorically speaking - on your hands and knees to peer under my desk] today.
Do drop by on Julia to find links to what's on lots of other workdesks.
You probably won't even have to crouch down for those!
Julie :-)

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Crafty-stash storage ideas: using hoops

Hi again.

Last week, before I even had chance to tell you I had some storage hoops for sale in the shop, they sold out! But I've had a large re-stock today:
In fact, I've had so many of them delivered [along with an equal amount of book rings] ... that, for the foreseeable future I'm thinking of insisting I'm addressed as the 'Lord of the Rings' or, better still ...'The Ring Master' ...

[BTW: if you want to keep up-to-date with The Ring Master [mmm, yes, I think I'm starting to get used to that] in 'real'-ish time then you might want to keep in touch via my Facebook page 'With Julie Kirk'. It's there that generally post any new additions to the shop long before I get round to a full blown blog post here.]

Anyway ... these hinged metal hoops are exactly the same as ones I've actually been using for several years now to help me store, organise and move all kinds of crafty stash in my work room ... and beyond. And over that time, as people often ask where to get them from, it's often been suggested I start selling them. And now finally I am!

If you've bought some from me already, or if you're wondering how you could put them to use, I'm sure that there are endless organisational possibilities for but for now I thought I'd share with you how I currently put mine to use ...

Most of the people who bought one so far plan to use them to store their ever expanding washi-tape addiction collection. And here's mine being tested to capacity ...
That's the majority of my washi tapes on the first one - organised in colour order ... naturally!
Meanwhile the second photo shows all of those tapes you find in the DIY shop [mesh / foil etc] but which there's an equally interesting crafty use for! They're also pretty heavy which is where the screw-thread fastening of the hoops comes in handy [book rings always tend to pop open on me when I overload them!]
And here's more of my tapes - more 'sticky' than 'washi' this time - ... plus a look at how they all line up on my under-desk hanging storage rail:

This set up is perfect for me because if I can't readily see my supplies ... I forget I've got them!
Once I add something to the hinged hoops I then clip them up on to the rails - out of the way - using book rings.  This makes it really easy for me to unclip them when I want to either just browse through what's on the hoop to use it OR when I want to take it somewhere  - like a crop or a crafting retreat or when I just want to take a bundle of supplies downstairs when I want to get crafty in front of the TV!
This is how my washi hoop travels to the monthly crafty crop I go to - clipped on to my crafting trolley:  

Note: the hoops in the shop aren't quite as large as this. But still they do hold approx. 30 tapes!
[Trust me ... after I've done my usual 'I don't know what to take so I'll just take everything' style of packing there's no room left inside to take anything else!]

And if you're not a great tape collector then the hoops can still come in handy for your crafty storage. I keep lots of other things on them too such as packets of stamps, alphabet sheets plus ...
Well now ... that's what I do with them ...
  • have you got any ideas on what else they could be used for? Then let me know!
  • or if you've bought one, I'd love to see how yours is shaping up / groaning under a small mountain of washi!
So ...
Get in touch. Show me things. Tell me stuff!

Julie :-)

Sunday 6 April 2014

Scrapbooking: Super Siblings

Hello hello.

I know I'm a bit elusive around these blogging parts lately ... but if you've been dropping in on me since November last year you'll have heard all about the Superhero/Villain themed party - complete with dress-up photo-booth my sister had at her birthday party last year.
[If not, there's lots of photos of the DIY photo-booth here and a story about  our preparations for it here.]

Well, what use is taking lots of photo-booth snaps if you're not going to do anything with the photos? No use!  So I've been scrapping some of my favourites [did you see the Dr.Who themed page a few months back?] and here's one of the birthday girl and me ...

... Thor + Loki style:
Here's a closer look at those fabulous helmets ... and my best 'Thor's-a-pretty-serious-bloke' face:
But no role-play based around Thor + Loki, the famously combative step-brothers, would be complete without a nod to sibling relationships:
That conversation takes me right back 30+ years when Jo would direct our games and tell me what to do. That's apparently what having little sisters is for.

And while this time round I was happy to don Thor's hat without an argument ... I'm not sure that that's how things always went when we were little!

I haven't been crafting [for leisure] very much at all lately so this is one of only a handful of layouts I've made this year. But I have been busy curating and collating bits + pieces for my shop ... which will hopefully assist other people to get their craft on!

If you haven't seen my new range of 'Junk Journal Bits' [co-ordinated scrappy / collagey / jumbly ephemera filled mini-book starter packs] then do hop over to the shop to see them - and I'll keep adding more in the days and weeks ahead.

I'd love to show you some examples of how you could use a particular pack ... but the thing with each kit being one-of-a-kind is that, if I used it ... no one else could!

BUT ... if you've ever found my art-journaling or mini-book style appealing ... then the contents of these packs is absolutely typical of the kinds of materials I use in my own work.

I think maybe in the coming weeks I ought to collect together some previous projects to show you just what I mean.

Wishing you a happy new week ahead.