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Life Book stitched mediation done.

So it was a pretty simple process and was perfect or afternoon movie time. I did end up mixing in some blue and some white threads for a bit more interest in the stitching

And the red button worked exactly as perfectly as I hoped. I played around with some beads (there at the side)

and made a twisted rope for the hanging part. You know, where you twist and twist and twist till it spins back around itself?

I didn’t want to use a twig and I didn’t have a dowel and no knitting needles that worked. I did happen to have an old shish kebeb skewer in my craft room, and enough of that red flannel to cover it.

I first used a bit of tacky glue to hold it in place then stitched the wrap closed. It worked beautifully. No great well-lit place to photograph it today but you get the idea:

And just a little close up of the beaded bit – I just love those little skulls.

I have…four other little piles of fabric, but this has also given me another idea that I think I might play with to see if it come to anything. But I might make at least one more, as I have 5 more days of school holidays so 5 more movie-afternoons to fill…..


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A Life Book class (finally, you say)

I was feeling quite annoyed with myself that I never managed a single one of the LB 2022 Taster sessions in the two-week time frame. I thought I would pop back to the LB 2021 page and have a look at the new classes for term three and see if there was one that spoke to me.

So strange, but I seems to be drawn, somehow, to the classes by Amanda Trought. The class samples always leave me completely cold, but somehow they always spark something in me. This one was a stitched meditation. Again, weird, cause I hate all that airy fairy, goddess, “self-love” bullshit. I mean it is great for art, but I do not buy in to it at all. Anyway, I started by collecting a bunch of stuff from the class outline. I sorted thru my bag of scrap fabric and pulled out a few things that I felt might work, plus some thick craft thread and some beads.

I sorted the fabric into piles that worked together to help me decide which set to work with:

While normally I am very drawn to bold bright colours with lot of contrast, this time I found myself focusing on a little pile of old men’s shirt scraps, from a long forgotten quilt UFO. The next step was to cut the bits into various squares, rectangles and maybe a circle or two and move them about till happy with the layout. Before that, I took one of the long pieces that had some stitching already on it and sewed that to one side to make my chosen background piece to make it wider. Then I began fiddling with placement. I was smart enough to take a photo when I was happy with the layout so I wouldn’t forget it.

One of the things I wanted to really highlight was the bits of the shirts that had the button and buttonholes. I found a coupe of big buttons that worked well with the composition and adding the red button so it would be buttoned with an empty buttonhole was great. I wish the stitching on the side piece had been red as well, but I can live with orange. I ended up hemming the piece because it was all pretty easily frayed material, and I did use red for that. After laying things out the next step is to pin them in place before starting your stitching.

Now comes the “meditative” part, the hand stitching. As I finished a pair of socks recently I have no knitting on the go and probably won’t start anything new till I know my knitting mate is totally over Covid and ready to get back to our weekly sessions. This hand stitching will serve the same purpose – something I can do while watching movies with my darling daughter during her school holidays. I’m actually looking forward to this little project.

Oh yeah – I am also a great-aunt! My nephew and his wife had a darling baby boy yesterday morning. Very exciting news. Wish I could be there for a quick cuddle. Ah well…


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Faux postage for my WOYWW pals

So my idea, as mentioned yesterday, was to make some faux postage, and I decided that WOYWW was a good theme. I had seen an old ad in a very old magazine for Posto Bizarro stamps from Clearsnap. I never bought them but always loved them (all of the sets of the Posto range were great) and the combination of seeing that ad and seeing the Nick Bantock books birthed the obsession. And when that happens I tend to just push on till I get the thing made.

As usual, it began very differently to where it ended up. I had those stamp stamps I showed yesterday, and found another, one that is a true faux mail-art stamp. I was able to carefully cut just the postage stamp edging off the stamps and leave myself with just the frame, to fill as I liked. That worked absolutely fine, and as I’ve not used the stamps in 25 years (more, probably) it seems unlikely I will miss having them as a unit. But given they were not trimmed at all, just putting the stamp inside the frame and stamping will make them pretty much exactly the same as they were, if I need them to be that way.

I messed about lot with trying to stamp the focal point image, mask it off, do the background, add the typed words….what a pfaff! And I wasn’t super keen on the result anyway. I kinda discarded the stamped frame idea, because some of the images I actually wanted to use were too big to fit. That took me in a more digital direction. I stamped the images, then coloured them and scanned them

then assembled the stamps digitally. I thought I might then stamp the postage edge frame around a printed version of the stamp but then I found a couple of .pngs online. One I was able to use as is, by slightly adjusting the stamp I made, while the other took a bit of work to get it to the right proportions. I love them.

Three stamps from the imaginary island of Workdesklandia, one of the Wen des D’ay Islands. The W symbol denotes the currency of the land, the Wen.

I’ll have to add them back next week for the on-the-day WOYWW folk but they will be a little treat for the latecomers – I’ve been late more than on-time the last couple of months so that feels about right. The PDF has ones with the postage edge frame and ones without. If you look at the photo of the ones I printed and cut, you can see the postage-edged scissors I have don’t quite match. I thought it best to offer options. The 2-page PDF is here! The original was like 65mb, cause the scans had to be pretty high quality (600dpi) to look good, and with so many copies on a page, well, it was just a massive file. I’ve reduces the size slightly, hopefully without decreasing the quality!

WOYWWers, I hope you enjoy using them on mail to fellow desk-hoppers. For anyone else, if you grab them, and use them, do let me know how. I’ll be very curious to see.


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WOYWW 647 – a persistent idea

Happy WOYWW to all. I think I can say with a great degree of certainty I did not catch Covid from my knitting mate. And I hope that her recover will continue today as it has so far. She is my best mate and I have been quite worried about her. I will begin with what you came here for, my desk:

I was doing a bit f a tidy up on one set of bookshelves and came across my Nick Bantock books. That made me think of faux postage. Which made me spend far too much time hinting on my studio space for the Hair Mail aux postage I made years ago. And then I had the dawning realization that I think I binned it, as it had been more than a decade since I even thought about them and found them during the Grand Tidy. That made me obsessed with the idea of making a set, perhaps as I am sending out so much mail with the ATC trading. I’ll do a fuller post on this tomorrow but the process will end up a mix of hand made bits and the scanner and some digital bits. On my other desk (much cleaner) I have a variety of stamp images that may (or may not) factor in to the project:

As it is half-term, darling daughter is extending her birthday into the week and has outlined a busy movie-watching schedule thru Friday. So not much more than this to say today. Unlike last week, I did manage to remember to grab the If You HAD to… cards. Again a clear winner, I think.

Given how worried my poor friend was that she might have given me Covid, and how worried I was about the very small get-together (only three people, all tested, all vaxxed) we had, I can say having Paris Hilton narrate my life would be amazingly annoying but a far better choice!

Happy WOYWW!


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2022 One-sheets

As I am cleaning up my blog archives to make room for newer posts, I have also been reflecting on my very old (2009) Mac mini and the program I use for lots of things. It isn’t being updated and the newest version of the Mac OS seems to break it. I have been hunting and hunting for a replacement and nothing I have seen is as good or as easy or as cheap. Anyway, the point of all that is I might not be able to make calendars in the future – and I for sure won’t be able to do the book folding templates that I still send out every week as I get requests for names or images. It is also getting close enough to 2022 I thought it was worth highlighting the 2022 One-sheets that I have already made. Here is a quick overview along with links to download them:

The left version is here, and the right one here.

The left is here and the right one is here.

The doily calendars one-sheet right here and the watercolour version is here.

Of course there are other 2022 calendars also available, including the DIY one (showing the 2021 version but the 2022 version is in the download) and the Pretty circle CD one.

I am considering making a few of the 2023 versions while my Mac and my program still work, so if there is one you particularly like and would be sad not to have for 2023, do let me know. I get emails every year from people who use the Pretty CD one, the Doily one and the DIY 3×4 card one for gifts so pretty sure I would start with them. But open to requests.

Back to editing and deleting. I have a loooonnngg list of Project Life stuff that really needs to be trashed to claw back space and it’s WOYWW tomorrow so I need to get sorted for that – and not forget my If You HAD to… cards this time. DOH!


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A whale of a good time! Commemorative ATCs?

Darling Daughter gets to celebrate her actual birthday with a trip to the dentist. Poor love. Just a cleaning but it was this day or a day far in the future. She had a lovely time with a pair of friends on Saturday. All my tests have been negative and I am past the 10-day time frame so at this point I (reluctantly) have to agree with The Hubster who tells me that there really probably wasn’t a serious risk to begin with. Maybe, but I am glad we divulged our concerns and let the attendees decide to come or not. They all did tests as well, before showing up at the door, and that made everyone feel as safe as possible.

One of the gifts DD got was wrapped in some lovely paper and while I had been considering setting aside ATC making for a bit, I couldn’t let this go to waste. Hence commemorative ATCs in the title. I particular liked all the off-the-page images so I focused on them for this set of cards:

The paper is mulberry paper, quite fabric-like in texture and the gold embossing is lush, so bright and shiny.

I was determined to break away from simple digital paper backgrounds so I grabbed a stack of sea-colour Distress Oxides and a very old stamp. I’ve always loved it and it survives my occasional culls year after year. Sadly not so my first thought, which was a sort of wavy sea-like background. Oh well.

A little flick from wet fingers and a spritz of water and I was happy. Then it was just 10 minutes of shifting the whales around from edge to edge till I felt like I was happy with the placement

although I ended up reversing one of them only because in my head I was thinking I wanted a whale coming off each of the four sides, top bottom left right. And then hunting for the right words. I ended up snipping and shifting bits of a poem from the 1800s – which had some odd, quite sexual verses, which I didn’t end up using LOL! but only just. The one about the hottest blood of all hints at what’s to come. DOH! No pun intended…

Pretty happy with them.

I am still deleting old stuff, like Project Life cards that I decided were not worth keeping available for download, calendars from past years (even the 2017 ones, which I know will be good for 2023, given they all would have the wrong year on them) and neatening up my menus at the top. I added my KDP books to the sidebar menu, and am considering maybe a header change or perhaps even a new WordPress theme. But that too is a lot of word and probably not worth the effort. We’ll see.

Now, what’s next? I can think of a couple of thing that have been badly ignored (like my junk journal and actually my art journals as well!) so I really must look at them. And maybe at the pace of my blogging. I don’t want to feel I HAVE to blog every day of the week if I don’t have anything of actual interest to share. When I am being super arty and productive and the projects are just flowing out of me, yeah, that works. But when things slow down and I get consumed with other stuff that needs doing, well, maybe a day or two off isn’t a bad thing …


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Death’s Dinner Party ATCs

I wonder how many will see these ATCs and immediately go back to the scene in the movie….A few? A lot? I’ll link it here so everyone gets the joke:

Still makes me laugh. But honestly it was a hard slog to get here. My desk, as I tried and discarded a number of possible ATCs – one I was keen to do was a Ken Brown Stamps image of a lady riding an alligator, with the stamped words This isn’t my first rodeo. But my eyes ain’t great anymore and the fine details were hard to get right with Copics. So I shifted:

As soon as I coloured those skeleton hands it just brought the movie scene to mind so clearly I had to follow thru. Then I had to sort out what to do about the “salmon mousse” while I have a lot of food related stamps but that is pretty specific. I ended up finding a cookbook image of salmon mousse sitting on a plate (easy to cut out) and the colour was perfect. I think it all came together pretty well.

I made four. Now I have to decide where to trade them. I’ve been hesitant to put stuff on the more USA based groups – it’s a trade off, because there is a much wider pool of people to trade with and a better chance you will find some cool ATCs because of that, but damn if the postage to the USA isn’t killing me! Yeeks. My fault for adding all the extras but…

So this is like the tird set where all the cards/coins are the same. I think I need to break that trend!

Another negative test, not a hint of a symptom so far, so fingers crossed. Neet suggested a PCR test, but I am not sure if my exposure warrants it. Also unlikely I could get the results before tomorrow, so plan A still in effect. Take another LFT test in the morning and let people know the full timeline so they can decide.

Big hugs to my best bag and hoping she is still feeling ok.


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Tidying up my blog, bad news and printable ATC backs

I am getting close to the limit for storage on my blog. Back in the good old days, when it seemed like I had nothing but space, I tended to upload quite large images. Now, after blogging since 2009(!) I find I am nearing the limit. Because I have never monetized my blog, it is not something I am keen to start now paying for. So I am going back and deleting stuff – mostly it’s old calendar PDFs. The thing is I don’t trust what I see when I click to see “unattached” images. I can’t figure out a clear way to know if they are actually attached to something or not. So there might be things (links) that no longer work, especially for old (2020 and earlier) Calendars. I have left the images of those things but I feel like I might need to delete them as well. I am also considering deleting all the Project Life printables. I feel like the style of the ones I did years ago are no longer in fashion, and for the very very occasional hit they might get, it isn’t worth keeping a big PDF file and a large image. Sorting that.

The bad news is my knitting mate has tested positive. Almost 100% caught it from her daughter and her daughter from school. Not good at all. I did a test and so far I’m negative – it was almost a full week between when last we met and her testing positive, and while we met inside cause of the crap weather, we did keep distance between us and no hugging hello. Not sure having the 3rd jab yesterday will help but you never know. Have now had to tell the potential birthday guests the timeline and test status, and will test again (and maybe again) and update them on the day for a final decision. It’s only three guests in total and if need be I can just stay well away (on a different level I think) while guests are in the house, if they do choose to come. Bah!

So now I am going to ADD stuff LOL! I have been printing and attaching backs to some of the ATCs and Coins I have made recently. I have my standard image that I tend to alter with colour so all my backs don’t look exactly the same.

It’s simple to do and keeps things fresh. So I made a set of Halloween/Creepy ones to download (see the bloody drips above for a closer look) and they look like this:

And the other set is a trio of three cards in three different patterns to download as well:

Hopefully that will be helpful.

I have quite a lot of behind the scenes stuff I need to do


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WOYWW 646 – Booster jab day!

Happy WOYWW y’all! Happy Booster Jab Day is here for me. I have been reading that recent studies are showing that the AZ jab followed by a booster of Pfizer or Moderna is a great combo but since I had two Pfizer jabs to begin with I am very much hoping this one will be an AZ one. I’ll know soon.

Desk is pretty much as it was left last night. I had plans to tidy up but never managed it – something got in the way.

There are some more stamp images scanned and printed in better sizes for ATCs that may appear on cards or coins some time soon. I am happy to say my other desks are still quite tidy, so not a complete black hole of messiness. Yet. Even my so called messy desk remains tidy!

The other desk has a bucket of birthday gifts for darling daughter. It may look like a small pile but those damn Orly nail polish’s are like £12 each so, no inconsequential in cost, if small in size. A handmade card with extra gift cards hides the loot, in case she pops in to my office for any reason. I will be hiding them a bit better once I finish scheduling my post.

Other than that, I have another notebook in review, and selfishly, this one is more for me. There are loads of log books on Amazon but generally they are either full of blank pages, or have inner pages listing projects. I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted in a stash notebook and sent it past another knitting friend before settling on the final design. I’ll probably share it at some point but it takes about a week for the Look Inside feature to be working on Amazon. All in all it’s quite fun! I bought one of Ali’s notebooks but darn it I can’t share it lest I ruin a surprise. Grr. Check her ones out. Super cute design! Here’s mine:

Wish me luck with the jab and see you round at your desk hopefully sometime today! Happy WOYWW.


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Coins done. Yippee!

I considered and discarded about five different ideas for both the words for my coins and the method for adding them. I really liked the idea of the tiny text letters and I when I spied a sheet of sticker paper (dragged out to print labels for The Hubster’s most recent homemade hot sauce bottles) I had an AHA! moment

By the time I finished the fourth coin I finally figured out the best way to add them. Doh! Letting the stickers extend past the edge of the coin then flipping them over and trimming the bits past the edge worked far better than trying to trim them to the right size and adding them so they touched the edge. The edged of the letters are straight, the coin curved, so , yeah, Na.

Two more wrap-up photos. First, the light when I took these photos was better for catching the glimmer of the pearl spray:

And I dragged out the card to show you the real contrast between the one printed on plain cardstock in best quality and the coin backgrounds printed on 170 gsm coated cardstock on medium/standard quality! Pretty amazing, right?

And all four coins – the words came from another vintage Halloween image, and they fit both in sentiment and length:

Little bit of glare there, sorry.

I have lagged a bit, adding these to the trade sites, because the whole getting stuff packaged up and of to the PO has proved time consuming. I have maybe three sets I’ve not added, and none of them have backs printed and attached yet.

The good kind of dentist appointment today so probably an uninspiring desk tomorrow. Ah well.