Monday 30 June 2014

My Month in Numbers 2014: June

Hello you.

If I'm here with another memory-keeping-by-numbers post then you know it's the end of another month. And if 2014 was an uphill bike race [more on that in a moment] by now we'd have just passed the half way mark!

And so ... with our wheels safely over the brow of the hill how about we round-up the last 4 weeks  before we start on the speedy descent towards the bottom ...

2 = the number of junk journals I've made for myself to document the summer months.

I'll have lots more to share on these in July. One of them holds lots of the events and moments that featured in my Month in Numbers for May and I made it using a kit I've put together which will be available next month too.

Meanwhile the 2nd journal [here in its very initial stages] ...
... will house some of my June/July/August/September photos including these ...

7 out of 21 = the number of Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt items I've crossed off my list so far.
This will be my 3rd year joining in the hunt hosted by Rinda at Gallo Organico and I now need to get myself organised to share some of my finds so far ... and to collect those remaining two thirds before the end of summer!

Lots = the amount of numbers on display on the wall of Baltzersen's Nordic inspired café in Harrogate:
One wall was covered in info-graphics showing statistics of their entire operation. How could I not capture a photo of it for my Month in Numbers?

Countless = the number of bikes sprayed yellow and the miles upon miles of bunting on display right throughout Harrogate and the surrounding area in preparation for the Yorkshire Grand Depart of the Tour de France next weekend:
My friends and I had a day out in Harrogate shopping and found ourselves absolutely surrounded by bunting and bikes and Tour related merchandising. The shop above was even offering a 10% discount to anyone who came in wearing yellow!

There honestly can't be a spare bike in the entire county that isn't on display somewhere; in a shop window display, at the end of someone's driveway, on a fence, roof ... everywhere! As my friend Jean said [there you go Jean, you got another honourable mention!] you wouldn't have dared chain your bike up in the last few weeks without at least expecting to find it sprayed yellow on your return.

Visit the Le Tour Yorkshire website for lots more photos that can tell the story better than my grabbed snaps!

Then the following day ...

2 = the number of bikes sprayed yellow I spotted while visiting Helmsley (also in N.Yorks).
The first, on an allotment, seemingly belonged to Bradley Wiggins:
While the second was hanging up outside a shoe shop ...

I love the shoes stuck to the pedals!
And, you know that when you're with me you're never too far away from a new pair of shoes ... so here's my latest ...
£19.99 = the amount paid for the 1st pair of 'proper' trainers I've bought since I did P.E at school [I daren't count how many years ago that was ...]
As you might guess by this statistic I'm really not a trainer-y kind of girl.

[So much so I used to think my feet would shrivel up when I put them on as happens to the Wicked Witch of the East when the ruby slippers vanish from her feet.]

But I bought them with the intention of scaling up parts of my occasional morning walks into jogs/runs and so I needed better support. That said ... the main selling point of these for me was not how springy the sole is ... but that they've got silvery bits on them! If I'm going to have to wear trainers ... them being shiny really can't hurt.

For the record: I've only tried the jogging bit twice so far ... so I've got no interesting time/distance numbers to note down just yet!

Now, as a boost to my self-esteem let's move on to something that moves even slower than me ...

9 = the number painted on the snail James found when tidying the garden ...
And the best thing about James finding the snail with a number 9 painted on its shell??

It's that ... it was him who'd painted the number 9 on the snail in the first place LAST SUMMER!!

After having read about snails having a homing instinct he'd marked it and put it up on the garage roof last summer to see if it  made its way back. Then he'd forgotten all about it until he uncovered it, behind a pot, next to the garage this month! While it's certainly done well to stay alive that long ... it won't be winning win any prizes for the 'most travelled gastropod'!

Then, while we were out tidying the garden, we decided it was time to tackle the rubbish/ crisp packets / paper / plastic bottles that get blown down our drive by the wind and that end up trapped between ours and our neighbour's garage ...

38cms = the width of gap I had to squeeze down:
It was positively Dickensian! I felt like a child chimney-sweep!

And if you were ever in doubt about the lengths I'll go to for a good Month in Numbers tale to tell then let me put you straight ...

... when I first decided to just try and squeeze down there I issued James with strict instructions to stand at the entrance to be on hand to:
  1. fend off any dogs that might come down and eat me while I couldn't escape ... and ...
  2. be able to grab me if I got stuck or fell over.
So he duly stood there as instructed.

But then ... it dawned on me that we were missing a great photo opportunity so ... I made him leave his post to go and get the camera! The things I do to tell a good tale ...

And finally ...

9, 10 & 11 = our seat numbers for the 'Women and the Great War' performance by The History Wardrobe:
The History Wardrobe presents women's history using clothing as a focal point [a bit like the Jane Austen themed fashion-history talk I featured in my June Month in Numbers this time in 2013 - only by a different company].

This presentation showed how women's lives changed during WW1 and it was a privilege to be able to get up close to the original items of clothing:

Vintage fashions in a library ... it was like a little corner of heaven to me ...

100 years old [or thereabouts] = the age of the original World War 1 nurses uniforms on display:

And at the end of the presentation we were able to get close enough to even see the brand label ... and who'd have thought you'd have got your nurses uniform from Harrods?
If you're in England and you'd like to see the presentation for yourself then be sure to have a look at their events diary as they travel around the country with their various themed performances.

The 'Women and the Great War' version that we saw will be of particular interest to anyone who enjoyed watching The Crimson Field and who was disappointed at the BBC for cancelling any further series!

You can find The History Wardrobe on Facebook here.


So, that was my June 2014. How was yours?

If you'd like to join me, you know how by now. I'll be dripping by to see you sometime [I'll be offline next week, so if you don't hear from me, you know why!]

And if you don't all the My Month in Numbers rules/details can be found here. Everyone's welcome. If you've had a month and can throw a few numbers at it ...  then you're in!

You can visit all previous contributions from both me and the entire number-crunching community on the Month in Numbers Pinterest board here.

Here's to a bright and clear July for us all.

Julie x

Friday 27 June 2014

Extra Padding: Top tip to trick yourself into getting a blog post written [try saying that fast!]

Hi hi.

I was just sitting here creating a pile of new draft blog posts when I thought I'd make the most of it ... and use it to re-cap on one of the easiest to follow tips to get you motivated to get a blog post written from my Push-Up Bra Approach to Blogging series. [The series is still all here. and it's still free!]

I've found that - in following this regime - whenever I do get a clear space in which to settle down and write a post ... it really does help me make that all important start. So let me first just reiterate the advice ... and then I'll try to convince why it's so useful! OK? OK ...


There. That's it really. But I guess I should expand a bit on that. Pad it out as it were. OK then:

Create a draft post >> give it a title >> fill out the 'labels' or 'tags' section >> save the post >> close the post ...

... and repeat.

Now then ... this method is really best suited to those posts you know in advance you're going to be blogging in future. So I'm really just talking to those of you who already do - or plan to start - joining in with a regular meme or challenge or where you've created your own recurring feature where you regularly name and label your posts in a similar manner.

Alternatively it works equally well if you give your posts headings depending upon their topic [eg: I often call my posts about art journaling ... appropriately enough 'Art Journaling: ...' and then I add a more specific subtitle afterwards related to the actual item I'm sharing].

Today I've been creating drafts for future Month in Numbers posts and for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt [hosted by Rinda at Gallo Organico] which I'm planning to join in with for the 3rd time this summer:
If you want to learn more about what introducing an element of repetition can do for your blogging then do settle in to read through these chapters from the Push-Up Bra series:
They really do offer up a wealth of ideas and advice alongside many real-life [real-blog!] examples.

Similarly the Push-Up Bra Blogging: Extra Resources Pinterest board holds links to lots of memes and things you can join in with.

Now ... before you gallop in telling me that you prefer to blog spontaneously and therefore this won't work for you ... let me stop you right there cowboy ...
I know that creating content in advance isn't for everyone. In fact I wrote more about making spontaneity work for your blog in this post last month. So I hear you!
But this isn't about creating content in advance. It's about tricking your brain into thinking you've already made a start ...
Let me explain ...
  • When you sit down to open, title, label and save all those posts ... you don't need to add in any content then and there.
  • You just save the posts and go on your merry way.
  • You can, by all means, add in a little content if you're inspired - but you don't have to.
  • But if you're more one of the right-here right-now blogging minds then you only really need to add in the content right before you plan to publish the post. [It's best if you do add something, at some point ... because if you just publish lots of empty posts people will talk ...] ;-) 
So why bother creating the posts in advance?
  • Because ... next time you think to yourself 'Oh, it's been ages since I blogged' or 'Ach, it's time I joined in with ...' or 'I must write that post up' ...
  • Even if you're not quite feeling it [and I wrote lots on when not to blog in Chapter 9: The Kenny Rogers Approach: or 'you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em etc'] ... even when you're not feeling in the blogging mood ...
  • ... when you open your dashboard and see the post already there, with a title and everything, just waiting for you ... you're more likely to open it up and make a start. 
The draft post has broken the ice.

It tricks you into thinking that, as you've already begun, there's not much more to do.

It doesn't feel like such a blank sheet of paper to fill.

In your head ... you've already worked on it ... you might as well just tinker with it and hit publish.

You know it's an empty post. I know it's an empty post. But your brain will appreciate the trick and happily go along with it feeling positive about getting that post written after all.

Well ... mine does at least. Give it a try and see if yours appreciates your efforts too!


If you already do this or you give it a go in the months ahead... then do join in the conversation about drafting in advance.

I'm interested to hear your experiences and thoughts so let me know in a comment here or over on my Facebook page.

See you soon.

Julie :-)

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Bang! and tap, tap, tap: Cardmaking with Christmas cracker gifts, a typewriter & a pinch of Minecraft

Hi you.

Today's creative project is brought to you by a typewriter, a Christmas crackers and a vague knowledge of Minecraft.  Don't ever say I don't make the effort ...

Early in 2013 I shared a few cards I'd made using the plastic gifts I'd saved from my Christmas crackers and some people said they wished I'd mentioned it earlier so they could have saved their tacky treasures.  So how does 6 months notice suit you? Because I've got another one for you today, plus links [at the end of this post] to all the others, in case you want a reminder.]

For the record: this kind of card only really works with the cheapy, pointless, kinds of cracker gifts ... if your family splashes out on those fancy ones filled with chocolate ... or silver charms etc ... you might not want to use those on your cards ... ;-)

Anyway ... here's the card in question:
I used a pre-embossed card [the hounds tooth design] but I had the chevron embossed section leftover on my desk and thought it would compliment it nicely. So I added that to the bottom along with a strip of washi:
I used a 3D foam pad to add the puzzle piece to the card and typed out a sentiment:

The minimal style of this is a little different to some of my other work, but I wanted it to appeal to the 17 year old Minecraft-loving birthday boy ... and I think it went down OK!


If you enjoyed today's project: ...
  • Would you consider sharing it with someone who might like some inspiration for a boy's card? Share via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter ... your voice! Any support is welcomed!
  • Make a note to save up those cracker gifts this year ... or try a similar idea with old game + puzzle pieces.   
  • Dig out your embossing folders and see what they can add to your next card.
And here's some more inspiration on the same theme ...
See you soon.

Julie :-)

Monday 23 June 2014

Cardmaking: with scraps, vintage book pages, typing ... and decoupage. [Bet you weren't expecting the decoupage]

Hi you.

Did you hear I bought a typewriter? [I blogged my top tips for anyone thinking about getting a typewriter last week. It involves a sandwich. As all the best life advice should.]

And so there's likely to be typewritten erm ... typing  ... popping up on my papercraft projects from now on, starting with ...

A birthday card I made for a friend and, as I tend not to buy many 'sentiment' type stamps or labels, I can already see the typewriter's going to come in very handy for adding a quick message to my cards:
Here I typed directly on to a sheet of Spanish text paper [similar sheets are available in mixed Modern European language text packs here] that I'd toned down with the white 'Picket Fence' Distress Ink. I then layered up scraps of paper, washi, and trimming on top and machine-stitched it down:
And yes, it doesn't happen very often but, occasionally I come across certain designs of decoupage image that I feel would work as a focal point on my preferred scrappy, messy, collagey style of card making. [This one was from the Papermania 'Bellisima' range]:
If you like the feel of this card then here are a few ideas you could take away with you ...

4 'take away' ideas to transfer to your own projects: 
  1. Use text as a backdrop for a vintage feel - text in other languages can help add interest but also [if you don't speak the language] can help avoid the words being a distraction.
  2. The white Distress Stain is a useful one for covering up some text, without obliterating it entirely.
  3. Decoupage can work on less 'traditional' styles of card especially if you leave out the initial base image [the one you generally build the design on top of which is often a large frame shape] and instead layer the design directly on to your choice of backing paper.
  4. And ... a typewriter can come in handy for tapping out a quick, personalised, greeting.
Anything there grab your card making fancy today?

Can I tempt you to get your crafty bits out as soon as you get the chance?


Friday 20 June 2014

5 things laptop user should take into account when thinking about buying a *typewriter*. [All the stuff you won't (a) find in a manual and (b) to be honest, might not really need to know ...]

Hello hello.

After years of wanting one I finally bought a typewriter. Did I tell you?
While my handwriting's perfectly fine [after all I couldn't hang on to my occasional job taking handwritten notes for students if no one could read them] I just liked the idea that I could add some retro style journaling to a page whenever the mood struck me, without having to faff about printing anything out via a laptop.
So after getting impatient for one to appear in a charity shop or Freecycle, I started trawling ebay, seeking out something lightweight and portable, a lovely thing that I could carry here there and everywhere with me. But, erm, that's not quite what I got.

For one thing its travel case is not one of those chic leather things that looks like dainty luggage. No.

I daren't really take its hulking big black plastic attachĂ© case anywhere with me for 2 main reasons:
  1. it's bulky and heavy ... but worst of all ...
  2. rather than looking like something that wouldn't be out of place being carried by Audrey Hepburn ... this one looks more like the kind of case that people in films use to deliver dirty money, drugs ... or guns.
And, call me fussy but, that's not quite the look I was striving for.

Think I'm exaggerating?
How about now?

I know!

However ...

... what I got was cheap which, when you can't test it out beforehand, was a pretty important factor in deciding which to bid on. And some of those cutie-pie pastel vintage ones go for £50 and up, up and up into the hundreds on ebay!

[BTW: if you look at the descriptions on those kind many are sold merely as 'shop display' or for 'styling' purposes ... just to make shops/homes look fancy and retro. Not to actually use!]

So I bought one for just a couple of £ [plus P+P] ordered a new tape, made James WD40 its stiff bits, cleaned the shell ... and now, following my recent workroom redecoration, I've even found an ideal space for it in the alcove:
And since it's now within easy reach I've actually started to use it, especially for the wording in the current junk journals I'm working on. [Did someone say Junk Journals? Why, yes, I have lots of junk journal 'bits' packs for sale here since you asked.]

And I don't mind admitting, it's taking some getting used to.

It's not like I've never used a typewriter before, I have. I even vividly remember borrowing an electric one to fill out my university application form. Back in the 1920s. [Or at least that's how old it makes me feel to admit that.]

And so ... in light of these teething problems I thought I'd share a few tips, pros, cons and observations I've gleaned from moving back into analogue mode.

So, if you've been debating with yourself over whether to buy a typewriter or not ... maybe something here will help you decide.

Or not.

First up, let's get the Health & Safety information covered before we go any further ...

1.  If your finger slips while typing on a typewriter ... it can get stuck beneath one of the keys. Ask me how I know ...
 It was the 'N' key since you ask and there are still traces of my nail varnish under it to prove it.

And, unless you have very thin fingers, this will rarely happen on a laptop.

2. When you type all the way across to the right hand side of the page on a laptop nothing happens. When you type all the way across to the right hand side of the page on a typewriter you might just wonder why everything on your desk has mysteriously moved to the left ... 
You know those penny slot machines in the arcade where the pennies get pushed gradually toward the edge? Yeah ... it's like that. The carriage will shuffle anything it comes in contact with across your desk. Again, ask me how I know ...

OR else ... you might wonder why you can't type any further along ... why the thing won't move any further even though you're not at the end of the line. Then you'll realise it's because you're too close to a wall/cupboard and the carriage can't pass through solid structures. Who knew?

If my mistakes save just one person the embarrassment ... it'll be worth it. Kind of.

3a. Unlike with a laptop ... you don't have to obsessively save your work every few minutes on a typewriter .
There's no such thing as crashing a typewriter, so - barring a freak and mighty gust of wind - whatever you type will always be there, in front of you, in black and white. Without having to actively save it!

So you can stand down those twitchy Ctrl + S fingers for a while.  

3b. Neither do you have to poke a typewriter every few minutes to prevent it going into hibernation mode.
When you get back from making that cuppa .... the typewriter will still be on.
4. Your new old typewriter may not have an exclamation mark key.

Mine doesn't and neither does a friend's. Clearly people had less to exclaim in the past!!!!

And so ...

... you'll either have to find a way around it [eg. using an 'l' or an 'i' or something like that] OR else  you'll just have to lower your personal excitability levels.

And finally ... in case you're still in two minds about whether to get one or not, here's a practical pointer that might just help tip the balance ...

5. When your desk is a complete mess with zero free space ... a typewriter beats a laptop for resting your lunch on:
Good to know, right?


I've got a couple of cards - featuring typed sentiments - to share in the coming days and once my journals are finished and/or photographed ... I'll share those too.

And if you've been havering over getting a typewriter ... I hope my 5 tips were all of some use to you. Although I suspect not ... ;-)

And if you're an experienced hand [preferably one that isn't stuck beneath a typewriter key] at the typing game ... how about sharing your own top tips and ideas in the comments?

You're also welcome to link up to any blog posts you've written about your own tippy tapping experiences, any projects you've made using one, or anything you can think of to add to the conversation.

I want to hear from you!  [If you can make yourself heard over all this key-thumping and pinging that is!!]

Julie :-)

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Crafty Inspiration:: Silicone Moulds

Hello hello.

One of the most interesting parts of my regular role as a 'Masterclass' writer at Papercraft Inspirations magazine is being challenged to experiment with all kinds of creative techniques and products which I might otherwise have never thought to play with and to then create two cards[Beginner and Advanced] with them.

Techniques and products like: iris folding, tea-bag folding, gilding flakes, embossing powders ... and silicone moulds ... which I used to create this glittering and marbled rose cabochon embellishment: 
Now don't tell anyone will you? But prior to learning about the moulds for the Masterclass in the current issue [No. 127] ...
p.s: that's also my '10 Ways with Paperclips' feature up there ^ too.
... I'd never actually used a silicone mould. But I had used plenty of pre-made cabochon embellishments that most likely began life in a very similar way! I just never knew it was that straightforward to make your own!
Once I had my hands on the necessary equipment [all Wow products] I needed to experiment before deciding on the best methods and tips to share with the magazine readers ... which meant I had some prototypes left over.
And you know me and my Push-Up Bra Approach to Blogging ... I like to make the most of what I've already got ... so I thought I'd share those examples with you here.  This is a card I made using the 'Medium Rose' silicone mould with a combination of pastel opaque powders with the clear Melt-It powder ... plus some glitter I threw in for fun!

 This card was not for the magazine feature, but you can see one that was here on the Papercraft Inspirations site.

The rose is pretty isn't it? And I think that this particular mould can be used as a pendant or at least with twine, as there's a little hole in the top to thread something through. 

If you're wondering how to make them then [other than reading my Masterclass for all my top tips!] the basic idea is to heat up some 'Melt-It' powder using a heat gun - adding in your chosen colour/s and extras [such as glitter if you chose] - then, once it's molten you tip it into the mould. And that's it; leave it to cool for a few minutes, pop it out, use it. Job done!

And here are a few more examples of my leftover experiments ...

These simply-coloured ones use the 'Foliage Button' mould:
And I love the black and white marbled effect on these:
But these are my favourites ...
Those leaves are just so nice and ... perhaps best of all ... I like the way the turquoise-blue marbled effect reminds me of the Shield soap we used to use when I was a little girl!

What do you think? Which effect do you prefer? The marbling? The clear? The mix of everything with some glitter thrown in for good luck?

And if you've tried making your own embellishments using silicone moulds [or if you try it after reading my article!] then don't hesitate to get in touch and share your thoughts and projects.

Thanks for reading here today.

Julie :-)

To learn more about silicone moulds ...
  • My Masterclass  [which includes step-by-steps - can be found inside Issue 127 of Papercraft Inspirations [print copy available in supermarkets/highstreet stockists online, also for the iPod via the Apple App Store & Google Newsstand]
  • Or otherwise try searching for online tutorials
  • And all the product details can be found via the Wow website.
Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post. I have not received payment to link to any of the products or companies mentioned. Wow provided the products for use in the magazine feature and I returned them to the magazine afterwards. I kept my test pieces but nothing else.

There ... now I can sleep at night ...

Monday 16 June 2014

Shop discount code plus giveaway winners announced!

Morning all.

After my morning walk [which you might think sounds like a really wholesome and healthy way to begin my day ... but that just proves you didn't see my pink perspiring face and messy hair when I stumbled in through the door just now!!] ... anyway ... after I'd got my breath back ...

... I read through all the comments on the washi-themed giveaway, drew up two lists [one containing entries from my readers and ones who headed here from Chamby and Cor] then used an online random number generator to select two winners. and here they are:
I've contacted both Sandie and Zsuzsanna and as soon as I have their details then Rose and I will be posting out the prizes!
Thank you to all who took part ... and I'm sorry if you missed out this time, I hope you're not too disappointed but if you are ... 
... will this help any??
All you need to do is:
  •  choose which crafty kits or suppliesyou'd like me to post out to you before the weekend ...
  • place your order in my Etsy shop ...
  • enter the code EVERYLOSERWINS15 when asked if you have any discount codes / offers at the checkout and Etsy will recalculate the cost of your order.
And I'll get it packaged up and in the post to you ASAP!
[Offer closes 2pm - UK time - Friday 20th June 2014]
To help you choose ...
  • There's the washi-storage hoop that was part of the giveaway ... if you missed out, it's a good time to grab one with 15% off
  •  There's lots of new Junk Journal kits in summery colours in stock now [including a travel journal pack]
  • And there's some brand new very cute little clear PVC display pockets perfect for adding into journals and on to scrapbook pages etc
  • Plus all the usual vintage pages, sheet music and more ...
Thanks again to all who supported the giveaway and wishing you all well on this start of a lovely fresh new week!
Julie :-)

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Washi tape tip for crafters: Think 'how cats mark their territory'. But with tape.

Hello hello.

Call me a facilitator if you will but ...

... just like with yesterday's 'How To: turn scraps of washi into crazy-quilt style embellishments' I'm here today to share another way you can put washi-tape to good use. Y'know ... just in case you need another excuse to go and buy more ...

BTW: If you're a washi fan and you're reading this between 9th - 15th June 2014 then you're in luck ... I've teamed up with Chamby and Cor a wonderful purveyor of washi to bring you a tape themed giveaway this week so - if you haven't already then  do hop over to this post for all the details!!

But, unlike the tutorial yesterday, this tip isn't so much about what you make as a crafter but more about what you own. And, moreover, what you'd like to keep as your own!!  

Now ... don't get me wrong, I'm not saying any of my crafty friends are kleptomaniacs or anything but when we all get together to craft it can result in a veritable shop's stockroom worth of tools and equipment and so ...

... it makes life much easier if we can easily identify whose bits are whose!

Especially when we tend to gravitate toward the exact same tools.

Exhibit A: Just a selection of the many Scotch ATG guns we own between us; on the table of our latest crafty weekend getaway this March:
If you look closely you'll be able to make out that two of those are tagged with tape to identify them with their owner. And I'm feeling smug that one of those is mine! 
So ... yes, naturally, mine are tagged with zebra tape and so it's easy for everyone to see they're mine. Which means we each take home the right tools without having to resort to anything drastic.

Like taking swabs for a DNA test.

And honestly, this is how I actually ID my tools, it's not a 'Top Tip' that the tipper has just mocked up for the sake of a blog post [the fact that my scissors are authentically grubby hopefully supports that!].

So, it's a quick and easy way to mark your equipment without having to write on it with permanent ink or anything like that and so ...
  • if you ever craft in company; if you attend a crop, workshops, classes or you just get together to craft around a friend's table occasionally
  • and if you have a washi tape that you can clearly identify with and that others can identify with YOU ...
... then give washi-tagging your tools a try!


But before you go ....

So mine's zebra print [if you don't know the origins of my zebra affinity you can catch up here. It's a tale of how I moved on from depression with a striped friend in my pocket!] but ...
  • I'd be interested to hear which style / design / pattern of tape YOU would instinctively choose to represent you.
  • Is there a print out there that's just 'you'?
  • If not ... why not have a think about it ... it can be quite enlightening to realise what's your 'signature style' or your 'brand of you'!
Let me know below in the comments!

At least it'll stop me from ever stealing your tools ...

Julie x

Tuesday 10 June 2014

How To: turn scraps of washi into crazy-quilt style embellishments [photo tutorial]

Hello hello.

Do you own some decorative paper tapes? Like washi?

[And by 'some tapes' I mean 'an ever-expanding planet-sized amount of tapes'.]

Me too.

It's addictive isn't it.

BTW: If you're a washi fan and you're reading this between 9th - 15th June 2014 then you're in luck ... I've teamed up with Chamby and Cor a wonderful purveyor of washi to bring you a tape themed giveaway this week so - if you haven't already then  dohop over to this post for all the details!!

It's so small, pretty and pick-up-and-pop-in-my-basket-able isn't it?

So very just-one-more-won't-break-the-bank-ish.

And so in light of its irresistible allure it's always useful to have a new idea for what you can actually do with it!!

This way you can either:
  • (a) feel wholesome about using it up ... OR ...
  • (b) simply use it up so you've got a great excuse to buy some more!
... whichever it is for you, allow me to present you with this crafty and thrifty idea all about turning even the smallest of precious off-cuts and scraps into fun patchwork-style embellishments.

HOW TO: Turn scraps of washi into crazy-quilt style embellishments

Why not 'Pin' this photo-tutorial for future reference? Or share it on social media.  [That's a polite way of me saying 'Pin it!! Go on, do me a favour. Share my tutorial won't you? Pin it! Pin it!!! Oh, have I already suggested that?']

Here it is ...
And finally ...

  • This is one of those projects that you can have on the go for a while and which can fit in alongside other crafty 'doings'.
  • Collect up the scraps over time, just keep some paper nearby to keep adding to then, once it's complete just put to one side and emboss + die-cut whenever you've got the machine out for something else.
  • This way you can gradually and painlessly keep topping up your supply of these fun, colourful embellishments and use them whenever you want something just that little bit different!
If you enjoyed this project please do show your support by sharing it with others. Thank you!

And don't forget to enter the washi tape and storage giveaway!

Julie :-)

Monday 9 June 2014

Giveaway: Win Washi Tape + Washi Tape *Storage* from Julie Kirk & Chamby and Cor

Hello hello.
PLEASE NOTE: the giveaway has now closed. Thank you to all who entered!!

I'm Julie. Yes, I know you knew that already  ... but they didn't - did you people-who've-headed-over-here-from-Chamby and Cor?

But now they do.

So, now we're all acquainted ... how do you fancy a treat? Well ...

...  I've teamed-up with Rose, from Chamby and Cor a fellow Etsy-based craft supplies store, to bring you the chance to win something washi-flavoured this week:

Chamby and Cor is the home of fun and colourful craft supplies including a huge selection of Washi Tape, Glitter Tape, Bakers Twine and more which I somehow stumbled across when searching Etsy for a plentiful supplier of washi tape in the UK.
And you know how I like my washi tape!
So much so in fact that this year I began stocking the rings I use to store my own collection in my own Etsy shop.
And as I've got the storage rings ... and Chamby and Cor have got the tape ...
** it made perfect sense for us to join forces to offer TWO of you - our readers, customers and friends - the chance to win a little collaborative something from us ...
click photo to view the available designs
click photo to read more about the hinged hoops
So washi lovers how does that grab you?

[And if you're not yet a washi-lover ... then winning 5 tapes of your choice is going to be a great way to kick-off a collection!!!]

Here's what you need to do to be one of the lucky 2 ...
Competition Details:
How to enter:
  1. Take yourself off for a browse around the washi tape section of the Chamby and Cor Etsy shop.
  2. Select a few of your favourite tape designs - the type you'd like to receive if you're one of the two lucky winners!
  3. Come back here and leave us an idea of what's on your 'Washi Wish List' in a comment on this post right here. 
  4. Mention in your comment from which of us you heard about the giveaway. Did you get here following something I [me, Julie, hi!] said? Or have you popped over after being directed by Rose from Chamby and Cor? [This means we can pick one winner from each side!]
  5. And finally ... an optional extra ... you could tell us how many tapes you reckon you could squeeeeeeeeze on to your storage hoop![Have a look at the hoops in my shop here]. OR ... what else you could store on yours.
***The DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES is: 11pm [UK time] Sunday 15th June 2014
  ... and the winner will be announced both here on my blog and around social media during Monday 16th.
  • Entrants will be compiled into two lists depending on where you heard about the competition: Julie Kirk / Chamby and Cor.
  • Then one winner from each list will be selected at random using an online 'Random Number Generator'.
  • I'll get in touch with the winners for their postal address. [International entries are welcomed from anyone who accepts that they will have to cover any customs charges / taxes incurred]
  • Prizes will be posted out separately from the 2 shops, in two parcels.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you leave your comment you'll either need to:
  • be signed into an account which will allow me to click through to a blog etc where I can leave a message if you win.
  • OR ... you'll need to leave a contact [eg. Twitter name / email] that I can use to get in touch.
  • If we can't contact you ... we can't send the prize! And another winner will be selected at random.
So ... ready, steady ... washi ...
Best of luck everyone!

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Collage: L'espirit d'escalier or 'why didn't I think of that *then*?'

Hi hi.

I've got a new collage page to share in a second but, before I leave this post without saying something important [which is appropriate ... you'll see ...] let me tell you about the new kits I've compiled and put in the shop this week.  There's a new batch of themed 'Ephemera Bits' with packs titled:
There's also a few new of trimmings and ribbons [in gold and chocolate shades] which I thought you might like, plus vintage map packs and sheet music, and finally 3 new Art Journaling 'bit of everything' packs over there too.

Right then, now that's done, I can move on to a way you can actually use some of the kids of ephemera and vintage paper you can find in my shop.

Here's the latest entry in my collage-style journal which was inspired by the idea of staircase wit ...
Yes staircase wit ... or as the French put it - in their splendidly French way: l'espirit d'escalier.

[p.s: if you're a Francophile you might like the Modern European Languages text packs I've got in stock]

I can't recall why I wanted to make this page now ... it's just been on a list of things I'd like to illustrate for a while now.

I guess I just love it when I discover there's a neat and tidy phrase out there to defines something much broader; something of the wider human experience. Something which puts a pithy spin on those woolly 'tell me it's not just me' feelings we all get from time to time.
And staircase wit, if you don't already know, describes that moment just after a heated debate, an argument, an interesting conversation, a chance to impress etc etc ...

... when, on your way out, after they've left the lift, once you've put down the phone ... on the stairs afterwards ... you suddenly think of the perfect response!

When it's too late

Don't you hate it when that happens??
And it goes round in your head. And you wonder why you couldn't have thought of it sooner!

And the best you can do is to tell someone who wasn't there, and who doesn't really care, your really funny if-I'd-thought-of-this-at-the-time-it-would-have-been-a-killer-comeback.

Or else you tweet / Facebook it because why let a good punch line go to waste?!

So, next item it happens, while it won't stop you kicking yourself ... at least you can now take a tiny snip of comfort from the idea that someone coined a beautifully elegant phrase purely to describe your predicament!

[Then say it in French. It'll make you feel clever again.]


And here's my chopped-up staircasey / snail-witted brain collage in situ in my notebook journal:
Can you think of any [not too personal!!] examples where you've had a dose of staircase wit?

Fancy sharing them in the comments?

Or on my Facebook page?

I wish I could think of one of my own to share but I can't. Won't it be ironic if I think of one as soon as I've hit 'publish' on this post?

Julie :-)

p.s: don't forget to browse the new kits in my shop when you get a minute.