Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Zoom in Zoom Out :: When in ... Rome?

Hello hello.

James and I went a way for a [very] short city break last weekend and while we were there I had an idea for a perfect pair of photos to share for the 'Zoom In - Zoom Out' feature hosted weekly over at Helena's Creative Maven.

For more 'ZIZO' posts make sure to visit this week's post on Helena's blog here ... and now here's mine ...

Zooming in ...
A line of stone columns casting shadows ...
... so where exactly did we stay on this city break? Rome? Athens?


Not quite.

Zooming out ...

It was actually a room inside 'Hotel Indigo' in Newcastle:
Pretty striking don't you think? [The wall I mean ... not the lounging model ... ].

It was a lovely hotel; cheerful staff, 3 minutes from the theatre [which was the reason we made the trip in the first place] and such bold and stylish d├ęcor.

My favourite part being the amazing patterned carpets and rug, lots of geometrics all in black and white ..what can I say? I'm easily pleased!


I've jumped back on the blogging train with gusto here lately so, if you get a minute, here are a few stops along my journey which you might want to join me on:
 Hopefully there'll be something there to grab you!

See you soon.

Julie :-)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Get up and mow! : because January shouldn't have the monopoly on fresh starts

Hello you.

Do you remember back in January [not that long ago in the scheme of things ... but probably already feeling like a world away] when there was an attractive fresh New Year standing right in front of you?

[Naked? I never said it was naked. Who said it was naked? You've imagined that for yourself ...]

And you were so seduced at the possibility of being able to walk away, leaving 2013 behind, that you fell in love with the idea of making a fresh start ...

"Well, hello there 2014. You're looking young, fresh and delightful. I just know you're going to be good for me. You've got so much to offer, and the things I'm going to achieve now that you're here ... well, I'm going to be a changed woman."

 And then ...

... and then well,  I don't know ...
  • there were all those decorations to put away weren't there? And vacuuming up all that ever-reappearing post-Christmas tinsel just eats into your day doesn't it?
  • and it was all just a bit too cold and grey outside to make you feel like making any major life changes ...
  • plus the new series of Modern Family, The Great British Sewing Bee and Elementary started and after all it's illegal not to get comfy and sit watching those entirely in peace and without worrying about 'resolutions' ...
... and 'stuff' gets left. Plans remain unmade. Transformations remain ... untransformed. January becomes February, becomes ... almost May-oh-my-goodness-how-did-that-happen?

You know how it goes.

And you may well have felt a little bad about that. Guilty even. Like you've been cheating on 2014 by still flirting with your old ways.

That's how I felt anyway. At the start of this year I'd made zero new plans for my work or my blog and I felt like I was falling behind, like I was already late ... until ...

... until I recalled a piece of advice I heard a tutor give his students while I was note-taking during a lecture [at my University job] a few years back. Words which I'd scribbled down in my own notebook.

Words which were actual his attempt to motivate / terrify his students into getting their work done in time to meet their summer term deadlines. Words that went ...

"Do anything you like all year ... but as soon as they start cutting the grass ... you have to start working."

And, while it probably should frighten me too ... I seem to find it strangely comforting ...

To me the whole notion certainly removes the tyranny of the whole 'New Year New You / mad rush to make changes in January or else feel like you've failed' way of thinking. 

In its own, rather blunt, way it reminds us that while yes it may no longer be such a new New Year ...

... and while yes we may well have frittered our time on lazy thinking and wearing pyjamas and just getting through the day and zoning out in front of the TV [although, can any of us really say that time spent watching Sherlocks - Miller and Cumberbatch thankyouverymuch -  ever be considered anything less than essential?] ... and getting lulled into inertia by the regularity of our routines ...

 ...  regardless of all of that it reminds us that everything's not lost. There's still time to get our act together!

We can start again. Right now. Only this time we can do it in the sunshine and with the scent of freshly cut grass in our noses! What's not to love about that? 

And, if you're not quite there yet ... if you're feeling like I was before my 'ooh I've got lots of blogging ideas all of a sudden and now I'm finally going to sort out my workroom' inspiration struck me earlier this month .. then maybe the idea that they're starting to cut the grass around you will help to spur you along somewhat ...

... because, really, there's nothing like the sound of blades spinning at your heels to really help focus the mind!

So what do you think?
  • Does the idea that there's always another chance to start a 'new' year give you the 'get up and mow go' you need to go and tackle that 'thing' you've been meaning to get around to all year?
  • ... or maybe you like the motivation offered by the more definite sound of blades heading your way to kick-start your motor?
Either way ... I hope it helps! And while we're in the mood - expect a few more 'new beginnings' type posts over the next few weeks ... now we've got it ... let's keep this momentum going!
Julie x
  • If you've found today's post useful would you take a minute to share it in whatever way you share things? Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, loud hailer, sky-writing ... whichever.
  • Here's the link for you to copy + paste:
  • Thanks! 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Overheard: Well, at least it broke the day up a bit

Hi hi hi.

As I haven't been working on the university campus very much at all this last academic year I'm going to dip into my back-catalogue of unshared Overheards for a case of 'here's one I heard earlier' ...

Date: 09 December 2013
Location: Communal computer area

Two female students were talking about times they'd had bad hangovers.

[Honestly. I know it's a stereotype ... but that is what they were discussing!]

Then one turned to the other and confessed this beauty  ... [from what I gleaned Gary was her tutor].

"I once threw up in Gary’s office.

In a bin.

He said to me:  

Don’t worry about it. My day was really boring anyway'".

Graffiti in a doorway in Lincoln
Charming no?

Apologies if that leaves you with any lasting imagery. So allow me to make up for it by leaving you with a special wish for the shiny new week ahead ...

... may your days never get so dull that you treat someone vomiting in your bin as a welcome interruption!

Have a good one.

Julie :-)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Junk Journals: inspiration for what to do with your 'bits'!

Hello. How's things today?

Me? Not too bad thanks. Just changed out of my jeans and into my 'lounge pants' ... not to 'lounge ... but to blog in comfort. [Which, alongside 'always having a parking space for the car' is one of the great pleasures of working from home!]

And speaking of work ... earlier in the month I launched a new range of creativity packs which - as they contain 'bits' you can use to make junk journals - I've inventively named 'Junk Journal Bits' ...

If you've already bought one [hello again + thanks!] you can scroll down for some inspiration for the kind of books you can make with your chosen bits!

But if you've not seen them yet then here's a rainbow selection of those currently available:
To me a 'junk journal' is a great place to stop worrying about being neat, tidy or perfect in your creative time and instead just enjoy the jumbly randomness of it all! They're an antidote for anxious, perfection-seeking, creativity.

Each of the packs I've put together contain 20+ items of ephemera, oddments, pages, tags, labels and more from my collection of ... well ... everything! Plus something a bit sturdier you could use as a cover.

They're available in:
  •  Large (£10)[which will probably make a journal A5-ish in size depending upon how you chop up the bits]
  • and Small (£7) [which is perfectly pocket-sized - roughly postcard-ish or smaller].  
Here's a peek inside a few:
If you like the look of any of that then do drop into my Etsy shop, take your pick, and I'll get it into the post to you in 1-3 working days! Because I'm pretty efficient like that!
But if you'd prefer someone else's - less biased - opinion on the quality of my service ... may I point you toward the positive feedback left for me by happy customers.  It never ceases to delight me when someone finds time to leave a couple of words about their order so that potential customers feel they can trust me! (If you've ever left a review on your order .. thank you SO much!x)
Anyway ... whether you havehaven't,will never or maybe might buy one of the Junk Journal packs ...
... here's some Junk Journal inspiration ...

Below you'll find some images and links to previous projects of mine all of which show the kinds of small books you could make with the type of supplies you'll find in the kits.

**Please note: these books are different sizes and hold different contents to those on sale in my shop ... but they are indicative of the STYLE of project you could make.
  • This mini book was made from 30 postcard sized pages - some [as in some of the Junk Journal packs] were actual original vintage postcards.
  • Meanwhile its covers were made from some interesting cardboard from an shoe box [and again, some of the Junk Journal packs also contain printed shoe-box cardboard just perfect for covers!]
And if you're wondering what you could do inside the book once you've made the base ... how about some collage and journaling? 
For further inspiration:

(2.)Travel Journal :
This journal features lots of ideas for using pockets, bags, tags and labels .. like those you'll find amid the Junk Journals:

For further inspiration:
And finally ...
A quotations book : from waaaaaay back ... [one of my first ever blog posts in 2009 in fact!]: 

Again, lots of pockets, envelopes, ephemera - like the Junk Journals Bits. Then I simply added handwritten motivational quotations on top of each page.
For further inspiration: 
Plus ...  the cover on that final book is made partly from an egg box I took a particular liking to!
Well, they ain't called 'junk' journals for nothing!
If you have one of the kits, and you make something with it - link me up so I can share your inspiration too.  
I hope you found something here today to inspire you to give junk journals a go - whether that's with one of my kits ... or not.
Julie :-) 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WOYWW. Well, no, it's actually more like WUMWW ...

Hello all.

I've been meaning to join in with WOYWW ever since I bent down to pick up something and caught sight of something funny beneath my desk ... [if that doesn't make you want to read on ... I'm giving up ...] ;-)

For the uninitiated WOYWW stands for 'What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday' a "share what's on your desk right now" meme hosted by Julia Dunnit [over at Stamping Ground ]. And, before I move on I should probably issue Julia a quick apology for not really sticking to the rules because ...

... because, as my 'WUMWW' title suggested I'm not actually sharing what's on my workdesk at this moment ... but rather ... what's under it.

Which is this ....
A random colourful collection of odd bits of washi tape!

Call it collage.

Call it guerrilla art.

Call it 'What happens when Julie has scraps of leftover tape stuck to her fingers and rather than get into an impatient flap about getting it off without it sticking to something else the easiest thing to do with them is to just wipe them on the underside of the desk'.

[I'll let you draw you own conclusions as to which of those best represents the truth ...].

But as to what the word 'words' has been doing under there for goodness knows how long ... well, your guess is as good as mine!
I'm tempted to read something into it ... like it's a secret message from the universe [albeit a secret message the universe kindly embellished with pink glitter tape] ... but what could it mean?
Is hiding your words under your workdesk anything like hiding your light under a bushel?
I wonder ...
Thanks for dropping by [and for getting down - metaphorically speaking - on your hands and knees to peer under my desk] today.
Do drop by on Julia to find links to what's on lots of other workdesks.
You probably won't even have to crouch down for those!
Julie :-)