Sunday 31 August 2014

My Month in Numbers 2014: August


How was August for you? End-of-Summer-ish? Start-of-Autumny?

Despite a few days of unforgivable chilliness - where after wearing 3 layers plus a blanket while I crafted we finally resorted to putting the heating on. I'm sorry August but can you stop trying to be December please? - we did have some decent weather this month. Enough to make several days out very enjoyable in fact.

So let me dive into those days and share how my month looked ... in numbers

[As always you're welcome to join me; all the details are here].

8 = the number of friends who trooped off for a shopping day in Ripon:
The Wakeman's House, Ripon, N.Yorks.
This is the Wakeman's House café in the corner of the town square, a 16/17th Century building, where, as a party of 8, we piled in for lunch. Fortunately [for all of the other guests] the staff welcomed us into a separate room at the back of the café where we began to move around all the tables and chairs so we could sit together.

Well, I say we had the room to ourselves ... but, actually, when we first arrived there was a couple sitting at one of the tables.Yet, for some reason, while we were completely redesigning the place ... they swiftly finished up and left!

We apologised for the disturbance and they played their part by assuring us that our sudden appearance was not the reason for their departure; it was all very British. 

As I said, this was a shopping trip and while we made sure to visit the lovely Gray Finch and Hornsey's for some nice 'bits' ... my friend Janet and I spent the remainder of the day popping in and out of all the charity shops in town.  And here are a few of my finds-of-the-day ...

60p = the price of 2 new-to-me retro pillow cases:
Retro/vintage bedding is one of my favourite things to hunt out in charity shops; and for 60p ... there was no way I leaving the shop without these beauties!

Similarly this heavy glass bead bracelet - 99p - and gloriously medieval-meets-the-60s style pendant - £1.79 - were always going to be destined for my jewellery box!:
Other bargains of the day included some vintage 'Happy Families' playing cards [which will be familiar to those of you who've ordered one of the latest batches of Junk Journal kits in my shop], plus a Fiskar's slot punch for 50p!

30 minutes = the duration of my first ever sports massage. [BTW: there is no photograph to accompany this number!]

I went to the in-house therapist on campus and - apart from the strangeness of taking your top off in the place where you've worked ... - it was fine and not painful as she warned me it might be. And, while I think it did my back, shoulders and neck a world of good, they would have felt even better if I didn't go home and spend the rest of the day/evening hunched over on the floor pricing up all my stock and packing lots of bags and baskets. Which is explained by my next set of numbers ...

10am-ish on a Thursday = the time a friend texted to say the vintage fair she was attending - in less than 48 hours - had a table going spare ... and did I want it?

Well? Did I?

I wasn't sure. I was [a] terrified and [b] entirely unprepared [no business cards, no labels, no branding, no confidence!]. And yet ... I went for it anyway.

I might just do  a full post on my experiences here sometime ... so I won't cover all the hows and whats on you now ... I'll just show you the time line ...

35.5 hours to go / 5.30pm-ish = the company hosting it confirmed my place at the fair ... which led to complete and utter chaos as I dumped into my dining room everything I could possibly stock a vintage stall with:
I got as much pricing-up done as I cold that evening so I could go for that massage the following day knowing that at least something was organised! I then spent Friday afternoon and evening tipping shoes, paperwork and general house 'stuff' out of baskets so I could take them with me on Saturday!
5am / 5 hours to go = woke up ... worrying! But fortunately I grabbed a bit more sleep before I had to get up!
8.30am / 1.5 hours to go = I arrived at the greenhouse location of the fair to begin putting a stall together ... off the top of my head ... with no dress-rehearsals!
[p.s: see my lovely retro tablecloth? It's actually a bed sheet which was another charity shop bed linen find; I told you it was one of my favourite things to pick up!]
9.40am / 20 minutes to go = All finished! Just awaiting customers ...
I was really pleased with how it turned out in the end. It certainly looked like the kind of stall I'd stop to look at. But, alas ... both it and I spent much of the 7 hour day awaiting customers; and after taking out the fee for my table I made a grand total of  £31.50.
It was my first fair and I'm not ruling out ever trying again ... but right now I can't reconcile all that time and effort with such a poor outcome ... it did look pretty though.

89 = a rather interestingly-located number spotted at The Egton Show:
Working from home there are times when I have to be disciplined and force myself to sit at my desk and work; then there are times when someone says 'We're going to the country show on Wednesday ... do you want to come?' ... and you do. Because if you worked somewhere where that simply wouldn't be possible ... you'd wish it were. So, because I can, I did.

1st, 2nd, 3rd = the familiar sights of the red, blue and yellow rosettes on the various categories of things in the show that were there to be judged.

Things such as ... Texel sheep, which apparently are not naturally yellow
... they just get coloured that way for showing! Also on show were cows, beautifully coiffured bay horses, ponies, sheepdogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and hay ... yes hay or straw or ... whatever it's called!  Here are my family inspecting it ... like they know what they're looking for!
Then, in the craft & produce tent there were the usual paintings, carved walking sticks, jams, cakes, vegetables, flowers, handmade cards [I might have to enter that category next year!] etc and, naturally ... a knitting-for-dolls section:
... and finally - especially in light of this insane vintage knitting pattern I blogged a few years back - this was the winner of my favourite craft category:
You know you're at a country fair when there's a 'balaclava' category on show!

And while we're on the subject of finding things at the show that could keep you warm ...

Approximately 20 = the number of episodes of Game of Thrones James and I have watched. In fact, over the course of the summer, it's actually 30 episodes; all of series 1-3. And when I say we've watched 'approximately' 20 this month it's because I can't quite remember when we started; let's face it it's all a bit of a blur of blood, boobs and beautiful faces isn't it? And eventually when you've seen three seasons in the space of one summer they all kind of merge into one.

But, while we were at Egton Show my sister and I spotted these rugs ...
... which we considered buying so we could dress up like Jon Snow:
Click for image source, or just to see more photos of Kit Harrington. You're welcome.
What with one of those around our shoulders [a fur rug I mean ... not a Jon Snow. Although that would certainly keep me warm!] and a knitted balaclava we'd be sorted as the weather continues to turn colder; and after all ...
... winter is coming!

So, that was my August and I now feel pretty accomplished ...

... not only did I experience my first solo vintage fair, a lot of Snowy-swooning, all that charity-shop  bargain hunting, yellow sheep ... and a cow's backside ... I also managed to squeeze them all into a single blog post afterwards! And now it's your turn  ...

... join me if you fancy it, leave your link [and a comment] and I'll be round to see you when I can.

And if you just dropped by for a read, that's lovely too. Thanks for making it to the end of the post ... consider the Jon Snow pic as your reward!]

Julie :-D

[Note: I haven't seen season 4 so, if you plan to mention GoT in the comments, NO PLOT SPOILERS ... PLEEEEEEEASE!!! Otherwise I'm going to have to pay someone to check through the comments before I dare look! Thank you!]

Friday 29 August 2014

Summertime Photgraphy Scavenger Hunt 2014: Welcome home

Hello hello.

With just over 3 weeks remaining until the end of the scavenger-hunting season [hosted by Rinda] I'm going to have to get a move on if I'm to find all 21 categories by the 23rd Sept deadline. Not that I'm doing too badly ... just 3 to go!

But not all of them will be as easy to find, or as close to home, as this one ... 

No.1: A sign welcoming people to your home town (or a nearby town)
This was always going to be one of the categories which required the least leg work to fulfil wasn't it?

It's not like I had to go very far, although, to be fair, I did pause to take this shot during a bit of a run, [Yes, I know! Go me! I do run now. Occasionally...], so it wasn't entirely without effort.

Anyway ... here it is:
What with the penny farthings and all that it's certainly attempting the olde-worlde feel, but it's not an old sign. In fact my own memories of that corner extend back much further than the sign does ...

Head past it and along the road in one direction and you'll reach my parents' house, my childhood home or, if you turn yourself around and head up the bank on the other side and you'll eventually reach where my Grandma used to live.

Stagger off a few metres down the road from here and you'll end up at the pub where James and I first met [a long time ago now!] then about-turn to wind yourself down the road over there, and you'll be on the doorstep of the house we bought together.  [Only don't really do that. That would be weird. And I'll just tell the police I don't know you ...]

Well, I seem to have wandered off the scavenger hunting point there, haven't I? That was literally a trip down memory lane!

For the 3 final photos in the hunt I may have to stray slightly further afield than I did to find this sign ...

... unless of course I just open my garden gate and make it count as No.19: A public garden!


If you missed them you can catch-up on this week's other home-themed posts:
Thanks for dropping in on my virtual home today.

Julie :-)

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Pondering about postcards: the 'Pile of Postcards Exchange'

Hi there.

Following on from my post earlier in the week, about misspelling addresses, I thought it was a good time to share the outcome of my participation in the Pile of Postcards Exchange. 

It was the lovely idea of Sian at From High in the Sky to get people writing, by hand, real, papery, postcards sharing a moment from their summer ... then posting them out to 6 others form around the world. And the whole nostalgic activity gave me plenty of food for thought from the very start ...

Where do you find postcards these days?
As I was going to be posting to people from different countries / counties I wanted to send a card that closely represented where I live; so they'd get a true feel for the location.

Now, if you're someone who lives in a little tourist town or big city then you'll probably take for granted postcards with familiar scenes on them but - everyone else - play along with this little experiment ...

If you had to send someone a card depicting where you live ... where would you go to buy one? It's not so easy to answer is it?  The small town where I live isn't a tourist destination and I can't ever recall seeing any postcards of it in the shops I pop into for bread, milk and the Radio Times.

So, next time I was in the city centre I went to the main WHSmith and asked for local postcards ... which they didn't have. So I was directed to the Tourist Information Office [not somewhere you tend to visit when you already know an area is it?!] and there they were.

The cards I sent:
For some reason ... 3 of the designs were freebies, so I took those thankyouverymuch,  and then bought several others featuring arty shots of the Transporter Bridge [a local iconic landmark]:
And then, once I had a set that represented where I live ... I took them away with me and - as is tradition - I wrote and posted the postcards from my holiday!

Ruth, Maria, Serena, Heather, Jen and Jessie - I do hope you all received your bi-location card from me. It's fun to think that a little piece of Teesside made it's way safely through the postal system to cities across Britain as well as all the way to Australia and the USA.

The cards I received:
A big THANK YOU to Karen, Sinead, Cheri, Jane, Jacky, Cate ... and Sian, for these lovelies which dropped through my door this summer:
And then there's this one [at the bottom of this photo] which fits into both the above categories; because ... I both sent it and received it!
 My Dad, who looked after our house while we were away, texted me after finding it on my doormat to tell me I really ought to get out more seeing as how I was resorting to sending myself postcards!

Clearly he was forgetting that I was out ... which is precisely why I needed to send myself a postcard; to document it! ;-)

And here's where I'm storing all mine, in the back of my summertime Junk Journal [more details here].

Further postcard-themed projects:
If, like me, you like the idea of writing postcards to yourself  - to preserve memories - then you might want to hop back to this series of posts last year:
In my '30 Postcards to Myself' project I created, and wrote out, a card for each day of September 2013 ... not that I posted them to myself that time round.

Posting a card to yourself once while away on holiday is fun. Posting one 30 times is ... well, it's close to £19!!

So I just hand delivered them to myself instead ...


Before I go, I'd like to thank Sian for hosting the 'Pile of Postcards Exchange' and for getting us all to slow down and share a few 'wish you were here' moments with like-minded happy-mail fans from across the globe!


p.s: for a whole host of additional postal-themed links visit my Going Postal Pinterest board here.

Monday 25 August 2014

Trust me; I live here. A tale of mis-spelling (told in collage)

Hello there.

In the scheme of things, what I'm going to raise with you today isn't a major issue.

In fact, it's such a minor woe that I doubt it would even register as a frivolous #FirstWorldProblem. Because it's smaller problem than that; a much more localised issue.

Very local - to me - in fact.

And yet I know I'm not the only one who's afflicted by it. Maybe you've been affected by it where you live. Or maybe it's not where you live ... but who you are; your name I mean ...

Browse my shop for interesting vintage images and pages to use in collage/art journaling
Because, the thing is ...

... people misspell my address. Often. [I know! It's heart-breaking isn't it?]
 Whenever I cast my eyes across any mail I receive my proof-reading eye can't help but notice the errors. And I try not to care ... and yet ... and yet ...

In the town name people regularly add in an extra letter where one doesn't belong. There's only one 'O' in it. I assure you.
But more often than that, in another word, people miss out another letter that really should be there!

There are two 'S'es in Teesside. Honestly.

Just think of it as meaning: an area that's at the 'side' of the river 'Tees' ... because that's precisely what it does mean.  Therefore it needs two 'S'es to make any sense, otherwise the river would have to be called the Tee. Which it isn't.
But look .. I'm a pretty reasonable human. I'm not really expecting everyone to automatically know how to spell town names they might never have heard of before. So I only reserve my disappointment for those who I know must have had my address in front of them when they copied it out, and yet they still changed it around. And do you know why that's the aspect of all this that really truly bugs me?

Because it makes me suspect that they think that I'm the one who's spelt it incorrectly in the first place!  

And, if there's one thing I like less than someone getting my address wrong ... it's them thinking that I did!!

But hey ... like I say ... it's not such a big deal really. Live and let live eh?

I mean it's not like I was so bothered by it that I went to all the effort of documenting my frustrations via the medium of collage, and then blogging about it ...  is it? Oh ... 
So  ... over to you ... tell me I'm not alone!
  • What turns you into an irrational spelling pedant?
  • Do you have a name / location that no one ever gets right?
Feel free to vent [politely, if it's all the same to you] in the comments!

Julie :-)


p.s: Yes I'm aware that, after writing this post, spelling-karma will come round to bite me the next time I have to copy out a customer's address onto a parcel! Trust me I'm going to be proof-reading like my life depended on it from now on ...

Friday 22 August 2014

Filling a Junk Journal: My 'Summertime 2014' album *Part 5*. Ways to store ephemera in your album

Hello you.
Thank you for all the positive words you've been leaving regarding these Summertime Junk Journal posts. The fact that several of you have said you've felt inspired to make your own has been music to my ears ... after all that's why I share the ideas in the first place!  [Well, that, and the fact I like to offer up inspiration as well as promoting products; it's a necessary balance I think!].
So, if you want to view, catch-up with or reconnect with any of the posts so far then they're all here:
  • Part 1: An introduction to the project focusing on the kinds of pages you might find to use
  • Part 2: A quick tutorial showing how to add a decorative edge to make it easier to bind thinner pages
  • Part 3: A simple method of adding a greeting card to a journal bound with book rings
  • Part 4: Demonstrating how a Junk Journal can act as a regular photo-scrapbook too.
  • Plus there's a full step-by-step tutorial here all about how to add a spine feature to a junk journal / mini-album as I did to mine.

  • Now for today's dip into the journal we're going to be looking into ...

    Ways to store ephemera, bits, bobs and thingymajigs inside your journal:

    To coincide with today's focus on papery storage options I've launched a new range of kits ... and if you're a show-tunes fan [aw, come on now, show tunes rule!] then you might be able to guess the name I've given them when I say: "Large amounts don't grow on trees ..." got it??

    "... you've got a pack-of-pockets or twoooooo":
    Pack-of-Pockets available in my Etsy shop

    Got it now? [OK, I accept, you might not want it ...]. But yes, I did name them a 'Pack-of-Pockets' partly because:
    Now let's look at the kinds of things you might want to do with a pocket. 
    Or two.

    Hide your journaling:
    Here I've typed out the itinerary from our holiday complete with the number of steps we racked-up on the pedometer. Which, as rip-roaring reads go, is not exactly a page turner!
    But, it is a useful guide to help me remember the things we did, so it was worth noting. It's just not necessary to have it on display, so I folded it up and popped it into a pocket I made from a vintage book page folded upwards and the edges taped/stapled closed. 
    It's also a useful technique if you want to write out something more personal where storing it in a pocket / envelope etc allows you to keep it alongside the other memories / photos but keeps it on restricted view!
    Also, being able to store larger pieces of writing in this way is also useful if you've been used to scrapbooking on a larger scale [eg. 12x12]. You can still document all those memories of the moment ... then just fold them and tuck them away.
    Storing ephemera [receipts, leaflets, tickets etc]in pockets & envelopes: 
    This summer I took part in the 'Pile of Postcards Exchange' hosted by Sian of From High in the Sky and, after receiving my postcards form participants form across the globe I stored them all in a pocket in the back of my journal which I made from a vintage map
    Similarly I've been using envelopes to house the papery 'extras' that have come along with the events and experiences I've had this summer. Such as the leaflet from the huge antiques centre we visited and the scone recipe from the windmill:
    ... and the business cards and leaflets from the Women and the Great War presentation:
    Note the giant paperclip above - great for sliding onto a full envelope to keep everything from tipping out when you move the journal!

    These photos here show another set of leaflets being stored in a regular brown envelope:
    But here you can see how, before filling it, I glued a sheet of patterned paper inside the flap to stiffen it and keep it permanently open:
    It's just a fun way to make a larger pouch and add some colour.

    Using ephemera to store ephemera! 
    As well as envelopes and handmade pockets I've also been storing my ephemera inside some of the paper bags I received when buying something this summer; making them also the ephemera of the season too!

    This spotty one I used as a base page, for a photo and journaling block, then I tucked the booklet - relating to the event in the photo - inside the bag behind it:
    And here's another paper bag, which was the packaging to some little bird earrings James bought me on holiday, which I've bound into the journal using the strengthening technique I talk about in this post.
    And finally ... I made a bag of my own  ...
    ... using the deli-paper wrap from a block of [nearly] personalised cheese I picked up on holiday from The Cheese Society shop!
    I want to tell you that yes, of course I washed it first, but ...

    ... I can't honestly remember if I did!! Well, at least it will add a true flavour of the holiday to the journal!


    So, I hope those examples have whetted your appetite for using pockets in your journal.

    Or for Lancashire cheese. Whichever.

    But if it's pockets you want to see more of then there's
    Thanks for pausing to read here today.

    Julie :-)

    Wednesday 20 August 2014

    Filling a Junk Journal: My 'Summertime 2014' album *Part 4*. The 'scavenger hunt' photos

    Ahoy there.
    This series is an attempt to show how YOU could use a junk journal ... by sharing how I've been using mine to document my summer. Like a relaxed scrapbook, photo album and filing system all in one. 
    You can catch up on the previous episodes here:
    Today let's consider how you might want to put your junk journal to use because, as well as being decorative and fun to make, they can also be a practical place to store and present your photos too.
    The 'Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt' pages:
    While I've been sharing my Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt [hosted by Rinda at Gallo Organico] photos here on my blog, I also wanted to have a printed record; one I could flip through in the depths of winter, or in years to come, to remind me of the days of summer!  
    To do this I made photo collages of the photos - 2 to a page - then printed them out on to 4x6" photo paper. This made them an ideal size for my book pages which I decided to keep quite simple.
    I didn't need a lot of journaling on these pages as the category titles already have it covered and each photo has its own sticker label:
    I typed out all 21 labels at the start of the project so they'd be quick and easy to add as and when I found the image to match without me having to get the typewriter out for it. [And, as you'll know from this post, my typewriter isn't the most portable of devices!]
    The majority of my Scavenger Hunt photos share the same page layout of:
    • photo
    • category title 
    • scrap of patterned paper
    • date stamp
    Plus I did throw in the occasional [ancient] photo corner under the notion I might be reviving an old trend ...
    ... but I equally forgot to do that more times than I remembered ... so maybe the trend needs a bit more help before it's fully resurrected! [I guess I can go back and add them in any time!]
    And I haven't done anything as restrictive as add them to the journal in number order or by precise date taken. After all this isn't a historical document that researchers will rely upon for chronology!

    It's just a nice, expressive, book which is gradually being filled with photos of weird hats, garden gnomes and bears etc ...
    ... so I simply allowed the journal's relaxed 'junk' style to filter through into my approach to completing it; there was just no need to add any pressures or 'rules' which could possibly deter me from enjoying documenting my summer however and whenever I felt like it!

    If you've missed any of the other ideas my journal has spurred me to share with you, make sure to scroll back up [or hit the 'Home' button] to return to the opening of my post where I've linked to the earlier instalments.
    There's one further approach/technique I plan to share from this project ... so I'll be back with that soon.

    See you then.

    Julie :-) 

    Monday 18 August 2014

    Filling a Junk Journal: My 'Summertime 2014' album *Part 3*. How to add in a greetings card page

    Hello again.

    Welcome to the third post in a series which aims to get you crafting with all kinds of junk, bits, bobs, and pieces by sharing my current summer journal. [Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 here].

    I like to add in a few pages-with-a-difference to my journals - and to the Junk Journal packs in the shop - as they add a nice jumbly feel to a project. And I'm all for the eclectic!

    And one simple way to achieve this eclectic effect is by using a greeting card as an  interactive open-me-up type page.
     Whether it's a card someone's sent to you, with a message you'd like to keep, or if it's a blank card you're simply planning to use as a means to add colour and interest to your book, then here's one way you can add it into your journal ...

    What you'll need:
    • a greeting card OR any piece of card folded over
    • a hole punch
    • a length of string / twine
    What to do:
    Like my previous page binding technique, this one's pretty self-explanatory ... but just in case ...
    • Punch two holes in the fold of the greeting card;
    • Thread a loop of twine through from the inside out:
    • On the inside of the card tie a knot in the twine large enough that it can't slip through the hole:
    • Then thread the loops on to your album's book rings. Done!
    I decorated my blank card with journaling blocks and there's a photo inside too, but that's entirely optional.

    The key idea is just the basic but fun method of adding an open-out card to your journal whatever you chose to do with it once it's there!


    I do hope these posts have tempted you try your hand at junk journaling / relaxed scrapbooking. You can always get in touch to let me know when you've tried an idea for yourself, and if you're not there yet, then do pin/save this post for a future project!

    I've got a couple more posts in this series planned which I'll bring you very soon. Until then ...

    Julie :-)

    Friday 15 August 2014

    Filling a Junk Journal. My 'Summertime 2014' album *Part 2*: strengthening a page for binding

    Hello again.

    This summer I'm sharing the pages from my current junk journal to demonstrate one way of making a record of your days from paper, card, scraps and bits!

    [If you've purchased a Junk Journal Bits pack, or a kit, or any of my Plundered Pages packs ... all the ideas can be applied to those.]

    All the posts -so far- which feature this particular journal can be found here:
    Today we'll continue to look at ways to get that journal filled up .... in creative and thrifty ways!

    How To: add a decorative edge to strengthen ephemera pages

    From time to time you'll find a sheet of paper or scrap of ephemera that you'd like to use as a page in your book and yet ... it might also feel a little too thin to hold up to having holes punched into it and being flipped over on the book rings all the time.

    You could strengthen it by backing it with card/ another sheet of paper .... but if there's something interesting on both sides then you won't want to hide one of them!

    So, next time you're faced with that dilemma ... or even if you're just looking for a fun way to bind any sheet of paper OR even just make a sheet larger ... this is for you ....

    What you'll need:
    • a page / piece of ephemera / paper bag / scrap that you plan to use as a page or feature in your album
    • two strips of paper in a heavier, more sturdy, weight
    • a glue stick
    • a hole punch
    What to do:
    Erm ... I'd hate for this to sound patronising but this is so simple I might not be able to avoid it .... let's see ...

    You simply:
    • Cut 2 strips of heavier paper approximately the same height as your thinner page. I used patterned scrapbooking paper.
    • Glue one of them to the front of your page and the other to the back sandwiching the flimsy ephemera in between the sturdier strips.
    • To make the page larger extend the paper strips beyond the edge of the existing page [my page was torn from an unused diary].
    • Next punch holes in the strips and slide on to the book ring binding inside your journal.
    • Finally, feel self-satisfied for a while ... then add a photo, journaling, collage, or nothing to your page depending on what it was for.
    Here are a few more examples of where I've used this technique in my summer journal. This one, like the one above, made use of the two-for-one patterns provided by that little decorative patterned strip you get on a full sheet of scrapbooking paper:
    And another page ripped from a diary:
    And finally, I wanted to use a paper bag which came from a shop we visited on holiday [where James treated me to a pair of bird earrings]. The bag was hand-stamped with a bird image so it seemed appropriate to hang on to it.

    I've used it in the journal as a pocket to hold additional ephemera from the holiday and, as it was a flimsy textured paper, I strengthened the edge with the same patterned paper technique:
    And that's all there is to it. Strips of paper, glue stick, hole punch .... and the world of ephemera's your crafty-oyster!


    Do let me know if you give the technique a try.
    Next time in this series I'll share another easy-yet-creative, unexpected, method you can use to add a non-standard page into your journal.

    See you soon.


    p.s: any pinning, sharing, or shouting about this idea would be very much appreciated!