Sunday 11 May 2014

Before and After

Hallelujah .... my scrap room or rather scrap space is finished . It's felt like a bit of an epic task - totally overwhelming at times. How daft that I could have let my craft supplies build up like that . What was supposed to have been my oasis of creativity and calm had become a no-go ghetto.

So, armed with an Ikea catalogue, one dozen cardboard boxes and a picture in my head , I set out to halve the space I'd originally squandered and turn it into a multi purpose room - half craft room , half spare bedroom . I would be left with a much smaller area - 2m x 3m to be precise. Now I can craft in peace in one half of the room without the mess and we can have guests to stay in the other half ( not to mention the added bonus of being able to banish a snoring husband to what we've now dubbed ' The Snoratorium '  when the decibels levels exceed acceptable levels ).

It wasn't easy and I turned into a de-clutter bore in the process. It wasn't cheap either . What started out as a shoe-string budget soon had to expand to cover the cost of someone to paint the walls as I couldn't manage the step-ladder with dodgy knees , husband always too busy ... watching sport and I wasn't brave enough to let my teenagers anywhere near a can of paint ) . I'd planned to buy some budget carpet but this soon went out the window ( not literally ) . All of the really cheap stuff felt like ... well cheap stuff so I opted for a mid price range in a lovely slate grey. Don't even start me on the cost of storage solutions. With 32 cubby holes between 2 Expedit units to fill, you can do the maths.

I invested in the Expedit door fronts because I didn't want lairy purple and green craft tools exposing themselves in all their gaudy glory. Then came the white rattan baskets at £10 a pop, not to mention the rather lovely slate grey boxes that filled the remaining spaces to perfection. Thank goodness I didn't have to buy a stick of new furniture apart from a new bed. The 2 existing Expedit units , the desk, my chair and the 3 shelving units were all re-purposed but thankfully fitted in with the scheme as did the rather tatty lamps which only needed a couple of new shades to bring them back up to date.

Every room in the house felt as though it were filled to the brim with the contents of my stash as I moved it out when the painting started. I had to climb over crates of clutter to get into bed . I felt like one of those 'hoarders next door' from the TV show where they live amongst a decade of old newspapers ( replace 'newspaper' with 'patterned paper' and you see what I mean ). Did I ever think I would use all of this stuff ?

I started with the de-clutterers golden rule of creating 3 piles - keep / throw / donate. Stuff that . It soon turned into a donate/bin dilemma which quickly simplified to just donate. The Shooting Star Children's Hospice were delighted to receive enough crafting materials to keep their art therapist stocked for a while. A sale of the remainder at my local crop raised nearly £100 which will also be donated to the hospice. I can't tell you how liberating that felt and all for a good cause too.

So , enough drivel ( I did warn you I'd become a de-cluttering bore )  here's the only evidence you need - the before and after photos.

Could barely get through the door ...

... let alone find anything on my desk

 Mountains of junk ... but not any more ....

Cream and grey ... not a lime green Cuttlebug in sight.
The bed is on the other side of this Expedit which acts as the room divider.

Vinyl decals from Ikea on the back of the Expedit which is acting as a room divider

Vinyl door labels cut on my Cameo using a lovely font called Swenson - a bit of a faff but at least I know what's behind every door.

Cardstock and Patterned paper are the mainstays in my stash but are now neatly ordered and filed. The cream Curver rattan style boxes are brilliant and only a fiver from The Range and I covered the fronts of Kraft brown file holders from Muji with some cream ledger patterned paper to give them a uniformity .

My new mantra which reads " We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it " 

Now all I have to do is put that into practice.

Fell in love with this embroidered cushion from John Lewis. I'm known to have a bit of a thing for birds as the lamp will also testify.

Of course Jenny had to help

... and now I really do feel as if I can finally create something lovely in my new room.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Love a bit of Flair ...

... although I refuse to call it Flair - they're badges . It's bad enough having to call trousers pants without having to call a badge a flair !

Anyway , these little lovelies arrived from Oz today . Now I know it's an atrocious waste of aviation fuel to fly them all the way from down under but I reckoned they were so tiny and so light and the flight would probably be going anyway so ...

I couldn't resist a bargain . The Australian dollar / pound conversion is so much better than the US dollar exchange rate right now . These worked out at a mere 50p each including postage and they are SO my style. I can do without 3 or 4 designer coffees this month just to justify them.

They're made by a company called A Piece of Cake Designs  and arrived wrapped in a delightful brown paper bag fastened with some cupcake washi tape. All in all a lovely way to brighten my day. Thank you Raquel.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

One for my maths students ... and my fellow hoarders...

I was pondering about the theory of exponential growth ... like you do of a Tuesday morning.

As a phenomena it can be amazing . Say you bought 3 bunnies and within 2 months you had 18 bunnies. Assuming the growth pattern continues along those lines how many would you end up with a year from now ? ( or for my scrapping followers, say you bought 2 items of stash and within 2 months that had grown to 18 )

Starting with the formula

y(t) = a x ekt   ( where kt is the index ... can't work out how to shift the text up )


y(t) = the amount at time t
a = the amount at the start
k = rate of growth
t = time

If a = 3 bunnies and t = 2 months and today y(2) = 18 bunnies

18 = 3 x e2t

Solving for k :

6 = e2k

Natural logarithm for both sides:

In(6) = In (e2k)

In (ex) = x so:  In (6) =2k


 k = In (6) / 2

So in 2 more months time ( at t = 4 months ) and 1 year from today ( t = 14  months )

y (4) = 3e (in (6)/2 ) x 4 = 108

y(14) = 3e (In(6)/2) x 14 = 839,808

.... which may just explain why the 3 pizza boxes of stash I've acquired in the last 2 months will have grown substantially within a year , assuming they're multiplying like rabbits and more to the point , why it's taken me the best part of 2 months to sort out my hoard of 10 years !

Saturday 3 May 2014

Boy Free Zone

I have the house to myself for 48 hours - not for any particular good reason ... I have to work they get to play but hey .

Here's how I plan to de-boy the house .

1. Remove all man / teen / boy piles from every available surface

2. Collect up dropped clothes from all floors in all rooms in the house and throw into laundry basket - close door firmly.

3. Remove all signs of last weeks exam carnage . I do not want to see another textbook on electrical circuits or rock formations.

4. Reclaim the remote controls

5. Stock fridge with chilled rose and chocolate

6. Gather up 20 pairs of trainers from tripping zones in hallway and throw into cupboard

7. Put flowers in vase on kitchen table in the safe knowledge that the water will remain in the vase for the duration of the flowers

8 collect all mug / glass / cereal bowl debris from bedside tables and chuck into dishwasher

9 Bin sports / car sections from weekend newspapers on arrival

10 Play Michael Buble album on repeat ... and sing along

Friday 2 May 2014

Loving my Vinyl

Hoping that title doesn't attract the wrong sort of reader !

I'm talking ( of course ) about the vinyl you use with a Silhouette Cameo machine . Having unearthed the transfer paper from my silhouette supplies ( in fact I think I'm using low tack sticky backed plastic that I bought to cover the boys school books - cheaper by far ) and deliberated about which colour to use ( black of course ) , I set about finding the perfect font to cut some labels for my Expedit .  A search for the Holy Grail or for a needle in a haystack might have been easier but hey , what fun to spend ages browsing through the free fonts available online. Time well spent in my book.

I settled on a font called Swenson available for free from It had the right sort of cursive script I was looking for and can be welded in the silhouette software so that it peels off in one easy piece. After a couple of duff attempts , because I"m not the most patient person in the world and tend to ' eyeball ' positioning so I didn't take much care over lining up the label on the transfer paper grid ( doh ) I managed to come up with this...



This is my practice attempt . I reckon it needs to go further in from the left hand side by about 1cm . So, 1 down ... 31 to go but delighted with how it looks .