Pre-WOYWW – and back online

The BT engineers was here all day yesterday.  He arrived at about 11 AM and the job notes were filed at 4:53 in the afternoon.  Whenever a BT engineer has to come here it is ALWAYS an all day job.  The joys of living rural.  There is a fault on the line (ok maybe a BIG fault.  His little error-meter showed 203 errors in data transmission in 217 seconds) so some cable needs replacing.  He’s swapped me over to a slightly better spare line for the moment but it is at best a temporary fix.  We’ll see…

I snapped a shot of my desk, thinking that I would at least have a chance to get a WOYWW post up, but as I am online for now, I would add it and call it a Pre-post.  So this is the mess on my desk TODAY and what I will hopefully try to sort out for tomorrow.

Much like the state of my paper stash, my knitting stash is in a bit of a state. I lucked in to a free set of interchangeable needles and have kept them in the packaging, as it is so tidy and compact.  But the spare cables, acquired over time, and the fixed needle/cable ones and spare needles are all in a heap.  I tried the zip lock bags and for the most part they worked, but I wanted something that could incorporate the sets too.


I also have tons of stitch markers, needle caps, and a bunch of freebies from my old subscription to Simply Knitting – stuff like cable needles and yarn bobbins, neither of which I have ever used, but I  might SOME day so I hold on to them.  I have this case, that used to house a huge set of programming CDs, that I think I can make work.


I think the coiled cables will fit those holders…

So, with a bit of dedication and ingenuity, I am hoping if I can join in with WOYWW there will be some progress made and my desk will look a LOT better.  Wish me luck, both for organizing and for staying online!


Experimental printables

I was playing around with this but never 100% happy with the results.  Still not 100% happy but maybe at least in the 90% area, so I’m going  to add them and keep sorting my stash. The PDF download is here, just a single page.


It was a collision of a couple of things I liked individually – one set of textures from Lost and Taken and a “font” called Futuracha from Behance.  The font isn’t a standard font, in that you don’t just type the letters and see them, the characters are available as an EPS file.  What THAT means is each element of the font is able to be altered.  So if you look at the .eps file on the left you can see all the defined elements that make up each individual letter – and on the right what each letter looks like if you group the elements.


I’ve always liked text that borders on unreadable LOL!  I suspect not many will agree, but I made them, I enjoyed the process, even if it was a bit challenging to my limited skills, so I’m adding them.  Off to skating with DD, then to the grocery store and then back to cleaning, sorting, organizing.   I do have to add that all my hard work has already paid off.  An old class taught at a weekend crop 10 years ago came up casually and not only did I recall I had the class handout, I knew exactly where it was.

There is the cover, the date info and the canvas I made from the class.  I don’t dare allow myself to feel even slightly smug, but I am pleased. Makes it all feel worthwhile….


Stencil storage – finally happy!

Just a handful of return visits for WOYWW, then more cleaning, food shopping, blah, blah, blah.  It’s just endless.

BUT I keep finding things I bought ages ago and always intended to use for one thing but now find them perfect for another.  This is one of those things.  It’s a fairly big (A2, so about 16.5 x 23.5 inches) with just a handful of sleeves and 4-hole ring binder set up.  Of course virtually all my 12 x 12 sleeves are 3-hole punched but I solved that easy enough by punching a template or the 4 holes


clipped it securely to a stack of page protectors – matching up one of the holes seemed to be the best placement


then used the Big Bite to punch new holes.  I found punching thru a stack of them (three to four) was actually better/easier/cleaner than punching thru ONE, and the Big Bite was better than the Cropadile.


I kept most of the A4 size stencils, paper and report cover ones I cut with the Cricut, in an A4 binder in A4 sleeves.  There are too many of them and the binders and sleeves are cheap (free, in fact, cause I have so many of them kicking around!)


and I found a cheap, thin, paper pad that I used between the back-to-back stencils so I can clearly see what they look like


In the portfolio, I have the 4-6×6-to-a-page sleeves but to keep the centre from being too bulky I used only some of the holes – does that make sense? So some are towards the top, using maybe the top three rings, some in the middle and some at the bottom, using the bottom two rings.



Then I have the 12×12 sleeves with all the standard stencils – some of the old Crafters Workshop ones that are punched for storing in a binder have been added without a sleeve.


In the larger sleeves that came in the portfolio (annoyingly they are NOT 12 inches across) I have some of the oddball ones – plastic canvas sheets, teflon cooking mat, big letter and number stencils from the hardware store, and one sleeve full of crappy magazine freebies that I haven’t used yet, but MIGHT, someday …. LOL!  Not totally mended my wicked ways, have I?


The front has a sort of flap/pocket area that fits the cardboard that has textured wallpaper on it, some of my favourite texture tools for Gelli printing.



They are painty and hard to get into a sleeve sometimes so this is better, having them all grouped like this.

Now there are just these two places, rather than the Crop in Style binder, the A4 binder, a large file box, and a couple of book rings, to look thru when wanting a stencil.


There is still room in the portfolio for more, so I have room to grow!

Now, back to those visits….




WOYWW 275 – more progress…

Could this be the WOYWW shot?  for reals??

You saw the pile o’fibres yesterday?  Well they are all sorted neatly. See them nicely organized on the small satellite table?


I am being sneaky with that shot, cause my desk does have that bin of stray small bits awaiting sorting, you just can’t see it unless you look from another angle…


{sigh} Hope your desk is lovely and crafty.  Sorry mine isn’t inspiring at all….


Forgotten papers – still love them

Will it ever end?  At this point I am fearing it won’t.  Everywhere I turn there is another pile or box to be dealt with.  The down side is that I am shocked by some of what I find – did I ever really think these papers were a good idea?


But the up side is that I found these (mostly) Wordsworth papers and I love them as much now as when I bought them.


I have a pile of fibres on my desk that I aim to sort thru today


and a bin that I used to collect up stuff  like buttons and eyelets and brads and charms, etc that will get dumped out on the desk as soon as the fibres get sorted.  I am trying to avoid the bomb-site method from last week, where EVERYTHING comes out and gets dumped in a heap, going for a more controlled chaos at this stage. Oh I am so looking forward to doing some ACTUAL crafting soon…


Zetti stuff and about that house….

OK so I finally finished all the stamping of the Zetti grab bags.  What a huge amount of stuff!

Five sleeves of four 4×6 pockets


Three sleeves of nine 2.5 x 3.5 pockets


and two sleeves of 20 2 x 2 slide pockets


And, just cause so many people were curious, these are the two I will never use – the quotes themselves are fine, but that FONT.  It might as well be comic sans…. The other small one is the single duplicate I got.


I was cutting out some of the first images I stamped on white, just to test the fit on the little house.  I am torn – while I like the idea of colouring them I am also pretty in love with the stark B&W images.  I simply can’t decide.  I’ll have to colour a couple and then take a photo and look at them both.  Maybe that will help me figure it out….





{sigh} Sometimes I just struggle with creative decisions….

…but at least I feel like I’ve made progress.  I may have to set it all aside to work on DDs play-leader’s memory book, but I have a fear they will hoard all the stuff that needs to go inside till the last-minute, or the kids and parents will wait for the last-minute to hand over art, writing and photos. What ever have I let myself in for??




Paper and Carstock organized – and card kit binder

Well it’s taken days but my paper and cardstock is sorted. Lovely, humm?

cardandpaperJust to the right of the cardstock you can see my tower o’flowers.  They are grouped by colour but need some attentions.  The paper  groups are bagged, with the tabs labelling them as well.  The groupings are generic (dots/stripes/bold floral/floral wallpaper, grid, etc) based on how I look for things.  Samples of the groups:


Double sided paper has issues, but for the most part I am happy with the decision to group things .  For example I know I will NEVER use the flip side of this dotty paper, so it goes in the dots.


You can see TEXT paper, MESH or GRID paper, and LINED JOURNALING paper (just a few of the other groups.)


The rest of the patterned paper (OMG SO MUCH paper) is kitted in groups, in the bins that used to house my scraps.

Next, I am attacking the pile of patterned paper scraps.  My idea for taming this mess,

scrapheap is to do as I have talked about before but with some additions.  I will sort the papers into groups that I am happy to use for a card, with the addition of finding a big enough chunk of cardstock to either fold a card (of a standard size) or at the very least cover the card front. I hunt thru my bowl of circles and toss in anything that goes. Here are a couple of sample sets:

cardkit cardkit2

I may not use everything in the “kit” but I can always decide exactly what I want to use when I sit down to make.

As these are cards, and using scraps, the bits fit in an 8.5 x 11 sleeve (I found a whole binder of them while cleaning, 100s, all empty) so that will become my Card Kit storage.  Now, if I have a crop and don’t feel like I have enough scrapbooking prepared, I can always just grab the binder, toss in a few sentiment stamps, and I am good to go.



One last silly thing – I tend to keep my heat gun under my desk, cause that is where the power strip is.  I like to have it ready, but I am always kicking it or stepping on it.  So I tool a little loop of ribbon and a bit of velcro and made a holster for it, that is stuck to the kick plate of my desk.


Now it’s handy, but not in the way.

Just a few more areas to attack (like those flowers, and my ribbon bag o’ shame!) And I can get back to my Gelli plate printing.  And there was a call on UKS for people to join in the ATC trail so I may have to do that as something creative, but small and fast, that I can squeeze in and use up some of the samples.  I am in danger of missing my OTHER crop this weekend, as DS is coming down to London from Uni in Scotland, and as he is so close he may be able to come home for a day.  I’ll be gutted to miss ANOTHER one and have to wait a whole month (albeit a short one) till I can get to crop, but no way I am missing out on seeing m’boy!

I’ll bet you are well sick of all this non crafty stuff, but once I get it all organized I will be back at it with a vengeance.


Tackling the Paper Mountain

If you recall I posted a photo of my paper storage, using the ArchLever file surround.  The IDEA is a good one, but the reality was it was all in a bit of a state.

woyww189My cardstock was all out-of-order, back from when I moved the shelf it sits on out of the direct sunlight from the window, and as I was organizing anyway I thought this would be a good time to tackle that.  HA! Just as I take a break from the annoying paperwork issue that is keeping me from my crop today, I thought I would post my progress from yesterday and a tip.

While I generally tend to organize my patterned paper into “kits” (made up to my own knowledge of my scrapping style) and split up un-kitted papers into groups like STRIPES/DOTS/VINTAGE/KID, I don’t split up my paper pads as I tend to use those as a set maybe 98% of the time.  You can’t really see them in the photo as they all sit on a shelf, in a bit of a jumble, above the two shelves you CAN see.  As I was trying to bring some order to them I had a great idea – to mark along the spine of the pad what the pad was so I could identify it easily.

Now I have a few, but I don’t have a ton of them, so I kinda know by name and maker, the style of the papers. MOST of the pads either have a glued spine, with the cut-off strip below the spine, or a fold of paper joining the back of the pad to the front.  This is what I write on.  IF the pad does NOT have an area to write on, either because there is no cut-off strip or no spine, I make a simple one from scrap card, like so:


Fold, write, and stick it to the front and fold to the back, stick if you can.


If the pad has been decimated because I’ve used a lot of it in various projects, it goes in a bag with the spine on show.

Some of the paper packs are not PADS, but bagged, and usually quite a bit thinner.  For them I used some Martha Stewart stick-on tabs:


And that brought much-needed order to the chaos!


I am also making a few other changes – my friend Bev (she who created UKS) commented on a post many years ago when I was blogging scraps.  Her point was that if the scraps were in a DIFFERENT place than her cardstock, she never remembered to look at it.  Lightbulb! I am taking my scraps OUT of the hanging folders and putting them in bags and mixing them in with my cardstock.  I am moving the kitted bags into the hanging file, where I think it will actually be easier to flip thru.

I have a plan for my card kits too but will have to share that later.

But lest you think I am nearly done, check out the state of my room (and you can’t even see the mound of paper behind the door at the right):


And I have to share (although it pains me to do so) my ribbon bag of shame.  I found a couple of boxes where I stuffed odd bits of ribbon, or specialty ones that didn’t really fit with the plain colour bags on the back of my door. That needs tackling too! But not today. Sorry for the blur, but in this case that might be a blessing LOL!


Now, back to paperwork.  Ugh.


Organizing Pens and Foam Stamps

I have two little tips for organization today – I am still in the throes of it, I’m afraid, but OMG I am loving both the process and the results!

First, pens.  I have a lot of pens.  Some come with their own organization, like my Copic boxes, so they are done when they come.  Other pens, especially specialist pens, come in their packaging, which may or may not work in whatever system you use.  I do have an old pen tray from my mate Debbie’s shop (I think she just gave it to me as she had a retail rack and didn’t need it) but there are two problems with it.  First, the holes are small so it really only fit the pens it was designed for – I found a LOT of my pens didn’t fit so its footprint was large but it was under-utilized – and second, because of that it became a catch-all for a bunch of random stuff.  It was hard to actually find the pen I wanted in it.

Now, for me, a BIG part of the organization is thinking about how you use things.  Rather than having my specialist pens scattered all over in various places where they fit, I wanted them all grouped together so that storage became my go-to place when I wanted a Pitt pen, or a white gel pen or a Parallel pen.  I had seen someplace (probably Pinterest – isn’t that where all the good ideas are nowadays?) a desk organizer using toilet paper rolls but didn’t like the big size of the rolls and the fact it was loose, no bottom.  I had a ton of laundry tab tubs, from reorganizing my ribbons into the back-of-the-door hangers, and that had become the temporary catch-all for my special pens as I was sorting.  Hey presto!

I got an old, quite thick and sturdy but not wide tube from Christmas wrapping paper (who doesn’t have a ton of them this time of year?) and cut it into smaller tubes.


I arranged six of them in a 3×3 grid and taped them all together. The arrangement fit the tub I had.  Then I just grouped the pens in the tubes, in the tub.


There was enough room to fit my Permopaque markers at the back (they are quite thick) and all my white gel pens at the side. I also fit in the instruction manual for the parallel pens.


Thinking about my process I know when I want a certain KIND of pen, these are the ones I want to browse.  If a Sharpie doesn’t work, a Pitt pen might, or a Micron one.  If black isn’t right, white might be.  With them all in one place, all grouped, it makes selecting the right one a breeze! Not the most stunning piece, but  am all about the Workflow, not the pretty.

Next, back to stamps for a bit.  YEARS ago (OMG so many years ago) I had come up with a nifty storage solution for my foam stamps.  I HATE having them all in a jumble, and having to hunt thru them all to find the letters I want.  And they are so thick, they take up a lot of space.  I got some paper keepers (from my local Staples) and had one set in each one.  That was wasteful and again took up too much space.  Plus, when you tipped the box, the letters all slid around a lot, or ended up in a jumble, as the box was thicker than the letter stamps.

What I did was add a couple of sheets of acetate, fairly thick sheets, over each side of the box and stuck it over the hinge.  I did this with plain tape, and it was starting to rip.

Today I took the two sheets out, and created a full length hinge with Washi tape, like so, leaving a little gap in the middle.


I put this sheet back in place and the box was good to go once more.

foamstamps foamstamps3

That yellow is actually a piece of craft foam.  The slight extra thickness and the texture, keeps these thinner stamps from sliding around too much.  There is a bit of velcro at the sides to keep the acetate in place.

I had another two sets that could use arranging like this but I didn’t have any more thick acetate.   I did have loads of those report covers from the stamp binder organization!

So, I added tape to the existing hinges of the box, and stuck the fold of the report cover to that. Use strong tape so it holds.

foamstamps4 foamstamps5

The report covers don’t allow the box to close as easily as the Washi hinge does, but it does close. I snipped top and bottom, down to the hinge, which helps a bit.


Then I  added the velcro to the sides.  The sticky-backed velcro doesn’t stick as well to the slightly slick report covers, so I just added a staple.


The final piece of velcro went on the inside of the box, so it folded over the piece on the report cover to secure it. I added a bit of patterned paper over the sticky back that was stuck to nothing – recognize it from the card yesterday?  LOL!


The only thing left to do is to print a sample of the alpha from a shopping site image (so it can be smaller that the HUGE stamps) and put that on the side of the box so I can quickly see what is inside.

I still have a couple of sets of foam stamps in their original plastic boxes, but they are in a real state – they NEVER fit back in as well as they did, and I still have to paw thru them all to find what I want, so I need to unearth the other boxes like this I have and get them organized too.

I have also realized that labeling drawers is a must.  More about that in another post …


Organizing my supplies

Doing the organization of my stamps seems to have set me off on an organizational journey.  Boring, I know, but the end result just makes everything easier.  Plus, as with the stamps, simply handling all my stash reminds me of what I have, and sometimes teaches me something.  For example, am I the biggest numpty in the world and the only person on the planet who DIDN’T realize that Cats Eye pads can be stacked?? I mean, I had seen them in stacks before, but just never thought I can do that with mine! – I thought they had to come that way.  DOH!

Nice of them to have the CHALK inks with white bases and the PIGMENT ink ones with black bases!


Now all I have to do is list the colours on my Mac, print the names on sticker paper, and ink over them, as I did with the Distress Inks, so I don’t have to open each one to see what colour it is.  And they can be grouped in colour families to make it easier.  That lets me take full advantage of my RUB surrounds. Cool.


The Chalk ink large pads (see them at the far left?) are the only ones that are too tall to get more than two in the opening.  How annoying is that?  The rest fit four to a compartment easily. Thinking the Chalk ones have to go back in the drawer, where they fit better.  Then I can house the chalk ink petal pads (the ones with 8 teardrop pads in a flower shape) with them.

Cost: £10 for the two RB trays

Next, ribbon storage.  This was just a problem for me.  I am so cheap, I hate to spend money on organizing when I COULD spend it on goodies.  And I totally DO NOT CARE about my craft room looking like a model home.  I buy stuff if I have to, but it is rarely “pretty.”  I had all my ribbons in old laundry-pod containers and coffee jars and it took up the most enormous amount of shelf space.  I had seen many people who organized their ribbons in Zip-lock Baggies on a big book ring but really I had too many to do that.  One day, while at the grocery store, I was looking that those things they have hanging from the shelves.  You know, like in the soft drink aisle they will have a hanger with straws on it, for example. Well, one of the store worker-bees was swapping out nearly empty ones for full ones.  I looked at them and thought Huh.  I asked what she did with the old ones and she said they put them in the recycling.  So I nabbed a handful of them.  They proved the perfect way to use unusable space.  I had some of those stick-up hooks to add to the little hook thingie on the back of my door and hey presto!


This is what the hangers look like – people in the UK will know exactly what I am talking about, because every store seems to have them (ok, maybe not Waitrose, but pretty sure I have even seen them in M&S) but not sure if they have a similar thing in the USA? This shot sort of shows how they work:


Cost: more or less free.  I had a tub of binder clips anyway, and baggies, and the sticky hooks, but even so I expect we are talking less than £10

Next, stickers.  A while back I got fed up with having to paw thru every sticker set I had.  I had some of those really old binder things, with the divided page protectors, that they used to sell for sticker storage, but they took up too much room, never seemed to be the right size to effectively store my stickers and with the stickers inside them it was totally a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind! I tried storage boxes as well, but same problem. Ditto the magazine holders.  They took up a lot of space and I was forever pulling them out, rifling thru, putting them back.

While at Staples one day, I found these desktop organizers in the sale section. I grabbed two.


I divided my stickers my colour.  The  BLACK and WHITE sets are in the left-most sections black top rack (actually the black stickers take up two sections!) white bottom rack.  Then the rest of the colours, logical to me (like yellow/orange is next to brown because some of them work either way.) One section is multicoloured sets, but when I am looking at the sets in some cases they make sense in a particular section. Like this set.  The Pinks and reds are next to the yellows and oranges so it goes between.


The thing is, I can stand in front of the rack and flick thru the ends to see enough of the set to know if I want to pull it out or not.  No opening boxes or pulling out full holders.  The rack stays in place and I only take out the ones I am auditioning for my project.


See?  I even used old blocks the kids don’t play with (well they are adults now after all) to divide the shelf area in two.  That lets me add all the oversized sheets (like the Basic Grey sticker sets, although I did consider cutting each sheet in half to divide the two colours and mix them in with the smaller ones, I’ve not tackled that …. YET) to the right, and even a little tub full of the tiny letter sets – again, when I need tiny letters, I need TINY LETTERS.  There is no need to mix them in with the other ones.

Cost: Can’t recall how expensive they were but I think they were pretty cheap. I’m thinking no more than £10 each and maybe a lot less.

So those are three things I have used for storage that work brilliantly (FOR ME) and cost me very little.  They work efficiently in MY space and may work for you too.

And now I have decent photos of them when it comes up over on UKS I can share easily.  Result!