Monday 11 August 2014

The Creative Blog Hop (TCBH)

It's the start to a brand new week and also my turn to join in with The Creative Biog Hop, which is held each Monday. Quick explanation, TCBH is the brain child of a blogger, whose identity seems to have disappeared along the way as the hop progressed. The hop includes all kinds of artists: watercolour, paint, mixed media, and card, as well as writers, photographers, and all sorts of needlework artists.

The idea is for us, as Bloggers, to get to know each other better - some describe is as a game of 'Tag, You're It'. Each Blogger answers four questions about themselves and afterwards they "tag" three more Bloggers and so on and so on it goes.

BTW, with my maths hat on I realised right away that if there are no broken links in the hop, the growth would be exponential with spreading branches multiplying to the point that from just that one blogger on week 1 it would progress to 3 on week 2, 9 on week 3, 27 on week 4, 81 on week 5 on so on. Doesn't seem like so much until you reach week 20 and the figure by then is 116,226,144 - yup, that IS over 116 million! Mind blowing stuff.

So how did I come to join in? Come and meet my 'Tagger'.
Yay, it's the lovely Darnell - whose blog is djkardcreations and someone very well known to most, if not all of you peeps, who visit my blog.

My Photo

Darnell began her journey into card making back in 2002 and, after ten years she finally graduated to the most adorable craftroom in the backyard/garden which she calls her Playhouse. Darnell started her blog on October 14th 2011 in true Darnell fashion - her very first post just says' Here we go! I'm taking this thing for a test drive........'. :) And what a ride it's been so far, in the space of less than three years Darnell has become one of our most loved bloggers, always entertaining (with a vocabulary all of her own), a fabulous card maker and almost 600 followers. She has an almost overwhelmingly kind and generous heart and I'm so honoured that I was chosen to be tagged by her to join in the hop!

My Interview - you might want to skip this part as it's not very exciting!
I was always interested in crafts right from early childhood. My Mum was a talented artist who taught me so much - sadly she didn't pass on her amazing skills at water colouring though, sigh. But, I learnt so much from her in terms of dressmaking, patchwork, embroidery, knitting, playing with fabrics - and of course paper! I made my own clothes for many years (really until it became so much less cost effective) and always had some knitting, patchwork or cross stitch on the go.

Then suddenly 20 plus years ago, - a pretty gruesome accident on holiday left me with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (that's the old term for it) and months of being wheel chair bound before finally learning to walk all over again. But, it was a great lesson in life as I was living alone at the time and needed to keep myself occupied. Do you KNOW how dire children's TV can be day in and day out? I had no home PC so I sent away for some card making catalogues via a craft magazine and thus was born an addiction.

When I moved here with Len, my absolute saviour, bit by bit the crafting goodies grew and I took over the dining room table, with this much loved trolley from Costco as my only storage. Mostly so the dining room could easily revert to it's proper use.

Then, in 2009, we extended the house and part of the deal was that I'd have my own little craft room - yay! It's too messy to show you much right now but this photo gives the general flavour of one wall with sliding doors from floor to ceiling behind which loads of Really Useful Boxes are hidden -  I guess this photo shows about an eighth of the available shelf storage

Then behind my desk there's a tallish open bookcase with just two shelves taken over (as yet) with open storage boxes for paper pads, embossing folders and SU stamps.
Oh, and the top of the bookcase holds a big custom made stand for Pro Markers like this.

Of course the very deep corner desk is pretty loaded, there's also a wire trolley underneath the desk, drawers underneath one side and also low storage units on either side which contain even more Really Useful Boxes.

So that sets the scene maybe - basically I'm a hoarder and also a 'butterfly' crafter. Time to answer those four questions and maybe you'll see why this place is already bursting at the seams:

1.  What Am I Working On Now?

Sigh, OK, I'm caving in - THIS is about a third of my desk right now:
It sort of sums up what I'm working at the moment - I'm sort of in betwixt and between as they say. At the back is the much considered white carousel for craft tools - I love it so much but still haven't cleaned and put away some of the many mugs and pots I used to use for tools. On the glass mat lies this week's Snippets Playground prize - sort of abandoned after I took a photo for yesterday's post. My own snippets card is to the right along with stuff I used to make it with. To the front is a pre-loved Judi-Kins stamp which just arrived this past week - and it's there as a reminder to have a play with art journalling. Just out of shot on the glass mat is a box of Brushos (sort of crystal dye paints)  - I know that Sarn and KathyK especially have been going crazeeeeeee over these and I'd ordered mine at almost the same time as Sarn but so far have been just gawping at the box trying to summon up the courage (and space!) to have a decent play.

2.  How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I'm not sure that my work can be categorised in any way, shape or form - I work very much like a butterfly, hopping about and trying new techniques. One thing that might define my work is that (despite the state of the desk!) I like neatness and order. Even if a card I make is quite busy with lots of embellishments, I spend forever positioning things and playing about with them before finally 'going for it'. That's why art journalling and playing with Brushos for example seems so daring :)
This card is one example of the 'neat freak', I spent hours playing around over a couple of days before I was happy with it - way back in 2012. Snigger, I just finished it last week - JOKE!!

On the other hand, this card (made very recently) recently took no more than 15 minutes to make.

One thing that's different about what I do is of course to look after the Snippets Playground 'challenge'. It was an idea launched originally by Jules and when, after the year she'd promised, I couldn't bear to think of no more weekly snippets therapy - I took over the Playground keys. 

3. Why do I create what I do?

As Darnell said - it gives me pleasure. It's a great way to relax and I often lose track of time - Len jogs me now and then to make sure I keep moving about and don't totally seize up - once he gets past this sign on the craft room door:
There is huge pleasure in sending a hand made card to people, and also donating cards to raise funds for charities. The art journaling is different of course, for once I get to keep that :)

The other angle to crafting, and really it's more the blogging aspect, has to be the Playground. There are some weeks when I'm really tired and making my own snippets make (generally trying to use something the same as what will be the weekly prize) writing the weekly write-up with the picks of the week, welcoming new playmates, choosing prizewinners etc. etc. looks so very daunting when I turn the laptop on. Then I just become drawn in and it's a lovely feeling when the write-up is complete and scheduled. The best part is seeing lovely people coming to play - and not only that, it delights me even more to see folk hopping round amongst one another like a really friendly little community. I probably spend waaaaay too much time reading what you've commented to one another about snippets makes :)

4. How does my creative process work?
 Ah, it varies such a lot! Let's go through the priorities:

- the Snippets Playground is always top priority. If and when the day comes that I can't give it my full attention then I would hope that someone else would take it over who would love and care for it and our playmates as much as I hope I do. So, although I sometimes fall a bit behind, commenting on entries is top of the list unless there's an urgent card to make or other things such as housework etc. really have to be done :) As I comment I jot down a note of the possible weekly picks, new playmates, names of folk who say they don't want the weekly prize - and where I'm up to with commenting on entries (most important and if I ever lose that weekly note it'd mean a lot of reworking!)

- next, it's still the Playground. As soon as I open the gates at midnight on a Saturday, I'm already thinking about what next week's snippets make will be.  As you know, it's normally based around the weekly upcoming prize so I choose that as the starting point, sometimes more than one item which would work together or make a prize seem as equal as other weeks. So, by Friday evening at latest I like to have my Sunday snippets card made and what I used written into a skeleton post (possibly with the topping and tailing with maybe details of the prize plus the Mr Linky code)  ready for the following day.

- each Saturday, with an occasional change if I'm otherwise engaged, I spend most of the morning writing up the rest of the snippets weekly post. I know, I could do this as the week progresses - but I like to have the full picture of entries and my possible picks so I do leave it until the last minute. And of course there's the prize draw which can't be run until after 11am here, once the Playground gates close.

- I keep one of those everlasting Birthday date books and check that at the beginning of each month and also the start of each week to see when I need to make/send cards.

- each day I check my dashboard and try to comment on as many blogs that I follow as possible, in addition to the top priority of the Playground. 

- the remainder of the time is mine to play with and I do check out some favourite challenges as the week unfolds - Less is More, Hazel's Christmas Card Challenge, Merry Monday, to name a few. It's also a must to join in with Sarn's Rudolph Day of course :)

- the process of actually creating a card, as you might guess, varies HUGELY! Sometimes I want to use a particular stamp or a new technique so that drives the process. I might be following a colour challenge, which is something I've only ventured into recently for some reason. Sketch challenges tend to be at one or the other end of the spectrum for me - either I love a sketch or I scream and run away, it's all or nothing where sketches are concerned!

- one thing is now absolutely and without fail part of the colouring process - if I want to use any sort of designer paper in the background I always choose those first, plus any ribbons etc. I might want to use and colour the image to suit.

- the design of the card is usually governed by the image or stamps I'm using - I like LOTV Art Pads loads, and will sit for ages placing frame dies over images in a pad trying to work out the best cut and how to work that into a design I might have in mind. Only rarely will I sit and sketch out a design.

- now here's a last thing about the design process. I don't sleep too well and can often be found at the laptop in the early hours, followed by reading an e-book in bed hoping for sleep. Even after turning the e-reader off and settling down, my mind will wander to possible card designs - and guess what, that always sends me straight to sleep - and the next morning I can't remember what I'd partly designed in my mind's eye! Sigh :(

You'll be happy to know, that's The End :)

What happens next.
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to the three fantastic bloggers that I have tagged. These wonderful artists will continue the hop next Monday, August 18th. Please make a note to return to their blogs and follow the hop next week!

In no particular order we have:

Elizabeth of  The Silverscrapper's Craft Space
My Photo 

I chose Elizabeth because she was one of my very first followers and a true friend. I love her blog, her work and clear explanations, and she still finds time to do scrapbooking, sewing and other things. Also, I spent a lovely day with Elizabeth a couple of Summers ago (along with Jan and Julia) and found her to be every bit as delightful in real life as you picture from her blog.

This is what Elizabeth wrote:

‘My name is Elizabeth and I live on the West Coast of Scotland with my husband and our much loved cat, Bonnie, aka The Boss. I've been crafting in one way or another since I was 4 years old, when my granny taught me to knit. I like to learn new crafts and will try just about any technique that appeals. As a keen family historian I was delighted to discover scrapbooking 18 years ago when on a study year over in the USA ... at last, a fun way of preserving personal and family history. That inevitably led to cardmaking – all those leftovers were crying out to be used somehow! More recently, I've taken up crochet again, after a break of 20 plus years and even more recently, with the acquisition of a lovely new sewing machine, I'm in the process of reviving my sewing skills. And, if that isn’t enough, I've now enrolled online for two classes, one on watercolouring for cardmakers and the other for scrapbooking a kit.  When I’m not in my craft room playing with pretty patterned paper, I can be found  in my garden tending my roses.   I began blogging, almost 4 years ago, initially to give me a place to record my craft projects but now it includes just about anything that interests me too.’

Sam of Hettiecraft:
My Photo

I picked Sam for a few reasons - I love this girl! She's a really good buddy, like Elizabeth, and we've been lucky enough to meet a few times and also spend some time crafting together at WOYWW crops. Sam has such energy and embraces so many different crafts such as card making, scrapbooking, quilting, lace making, dress making not to mention chicken and bee keeping. I'm sure to have missed something vital but you must get my drift.

This is what Sam wrote:

'Hello there

I was kinda honoured and scared when Di asked me to join her on this Creative Blog Hop.  First off I need to write a small bio of myself so here goes…

I have been crafting since I was around 4 years old when my Mum used to give me scraps of fabric and a needle and thread so that I could make matching outfits for my dolls.

I have tried most forms of crafting including scrapbooking, card making, dressmaking, lacemaking, knitting, crotcheting, tatting, quilting, patchwork, painting, wallpapering, car maintenance, relining a Trabant ceiling…yes I am in the course of renovating a Trabant with Hubby!   Needless to say I have many projects on the go at any one time.

I am lucky to have a very tolerant Hubby who built me my very own craft room under the eaves of the former walk in loft.  He also makes great tea and coffee and often brings refreshments up to me when I am deeply into whatever project I am working on.  He also is a pretty good cook too! ' 

I wondered what a Trabant was too by the way :) I lifted this piccie from Wikipedia!

And last but not least, we have Mary of Carolina Cards (by Mary H)
My Photo

Now, I've never been lucky enough to meet up with Mary but she has become a great friend over the time we've been following one another. I might be wrong but I think we originally linked through a lovely mutual blogging friend, Bernie? Mary makes me giggle, a lot, and is someone else who doesn't hold the horses when explaining how she makes her beautiful cards.

This is what Mary wrote:

“Hi my name is Mary H, and I’ve dabbled in many crafts over the years..primarily in the sewing genre. I collected fabric for quilting, as I now collect stamps, dies and embossing folders. In 2002 we relocated from our So. Florida home to Upstate South Carolina, after being retired for 2 years. When we’d visit South Carolina, there was a shop called Calligraphy House that was near our family’s home. Of course it made me curious, and I found out it was a stamping/scrapbook store. Neither of which interested me one whit. However, the very shrewd owner invited me back into the classroom to watch some of her customers at work. Hmm…they were stamping, coloring and making some pretty art. It was intriguing as I like color, enjoyed coloring & paper dolls as a child. Of course I had to buy some supplies, which went home and never came out of the packaging. I even got her web address and ordered some supplies (not stamps…just art materials) via the internet. Fast forward a few years, and our SC house has been built & the only people I know in this area are relatives. I would browse around in the store while our belongings were in storage, but didn’t feel I could get involved, as our finances had to be prioritized towards the house, not hobbies. Once I had the option to consider starting something new, rubber stamping seemed interesting, since I had a lot of the art materials, such as watercolor crayons, Pearl Ex, etc. The stamp shop now had a new owner, and she encouraged me to take some classes, but I was very intimidated by the idea of ‘A Class’. It did seem a way to meet new friends, in the first class, I felt so totally out of my depth. All the people I met had been making cards for many years, had tons of supplies, were extremely skilled and I knew nothing about any of it. It became a wonderful way to make friends, and everyone was so kind in helping me learn how to do things. In the process, I also learned lots of things about this area, places to eat, fun places nearby to shop - about stamp conventions.

I started a blog in March 2012, mainly due to the urging of several friends. I loved reading stamping blogs, but I visit other genres too. I kept telling these folks “What the heck do I have to write about that anybody wouldn’t be bored to death to read? And my cards are not good enough for John Q Public to see.” About the same time, I talked to my doctor about my funky memory, my lack of being able to focus as I used to.  My previous work life involved lots of multi-tasking, working under pressure situations to meet deadlines, making sure others completed their assignments, staying extremely focused, etc, and it was extremely stressful every day. When I retired, I basically just started vegetating. I already knew I was basically a mild Type A personality, so just not having goals is not a good thing for me. My doctor said I needed to keep my brain active by learning something new. The blog seemed like a harmless little way for me to learn something new. Nobody but me would probably ever see it anyway. But I’d be learning something about how to set up a blog.  It was a most entertaining adventure from the very start, which has been frustrating, enjoyable, rewarding with learning new skills, but most of all: for all the wonderful bloggers I’ve met, many of whom now feel like long time friends. All these bloggers have been so kind with their comments, & so generous with their help and advice as I’ve continued in Blogland. My very first card submitted in any challenge was at Pixie’s Snippet Playground, and I made a total mess of the process the first few times. Midd Pixie fixed my mistakes, encouraged me and gave me tons of help, for which I’ll always be so grateful.

Other things that I love - not necessarily in priority order are: my husband and daughter, reading, napping, staying up as late as I choose and sleeping likewise; watching old movies on tv, or watching a lot of the British series that are shown on Masterpiece Theater. I think I must have been British in another life! (But I’m a certified Southerner in THIS one). “

So there you have it girls! 

Last but not least, here's a button that Darnell had created - it's a good thing, if you've been tagged to pop it onto your side bar. I was honoured to be asked by three more people to join in this and a very similar blog hop since Darnell 'signed me up'.


If you got this far, you really do deserve the 'sticks like chewing gum' award of the week - mwah!

Normal service will resume just as soon as I recover :)




  1. This is a terrific post and gosh, I just learned so much about you that I didn't know! (yes it was Bernie who urged me to visit the Playground where I met you!) Loved your craft room. You really must come get me that organized. This is so special, and it's looking so veddy efficient, just like I think you must be! I'm intrigued by these Brusho w/colors too. First I heard of it was at Mrs A's. Yum. You folks just keep enabling me so much more than I need. A terrific post, and I'm flattered to be in such exalted company as Elizabeth & Hettie. Oh I wish we could all meet up one of these days. Thanks for asking me to participate. I hope I can do something even remotely as wonderful as this post! TFS & Hugs too.

  2. Hey oop Miss . Where did all that come from then! Fabulous post and in case your wondering my Internet suddenly logged on at midnight and that's why I'm still up. Afraid to switch off in case it goes AWOL for another week. Hugs Mrs A.

  3. It was fun to learn more about you and see parts of your craft area! Thanks for sharing!

  4. How lovely to read your blog today Di. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us

  5. I really enjoyed this! I liked learning more about you and also seeing your craft room.

  6. Oh, my little taggee, you did a BRILLIANT job with your interview!! Thank you so much for saying yes when I asked you! Your post hooked me from the first word all the way to the last and it was an absolute pleasure to get to know you better! Thank you, too, for all those wonderful compliments which you typed up just exactly as I asked! Well done!! Ah, we do tease! This is a friendly goose of a community with equal parts fun and creativity and I'm so glad and honored to have met you!! Mwah! Darnell

  7. Fun to learn a bit more about you, Di!

  8. Thanks ever so much for the "nosey" into your crafty life Di!! LOVE your desk!! It's probably fair to say that all our workspaces look like that...and I wonder why I can never find my tweezers!! xx

  9. Gr8 post - always good to know how we crafters work and how we got started - your gruesome accident sounds terrifying too

    Happy Monday - hope it's not too wet where you are this morning!


  10. What a great post was really interesting to read about your health and how you got into crafting! I wish you all the luck for the future and loved having a peek at your craft room :)
    Vic x

  11. Hi Di

    What a fabby post.

    I thought I knew you .. .. but it turns out I didn't!! I have learnt so much more todday.

    Lovely looking at the little areas of your craft room .. .. we are a nosey bunch aren't we?!?! LOL!

    Have a good week Di and thanks for the little shout out and for sharing such a lovely post.

    Love Jules xx

  12. What a great post, learned so much about you (already knew about the tidy fetish lol!)
    Enjoyed reading & learning about the others too, great fun :-)
    Debs s

  13. What a lovely read Di. I am so happy to have made so many blogland friends through my craft, but it is even better to actually learn a bit about the 'real' you, and your craft haven. I regularly visit all of you new tags, so I look forward to getting aquainted better with each of them next week. Kate x

  14. I can only echo what others have already said . . . GREAT post, learned lots and am pleased to know you even better than I already did.

    Loved to hear about your fellow taggers too.


    Hugs, Sarn xxx

  15. Great post Di- and good to learn a little bit more about you.

  16. A fabulous blog hop post Di and is lovely to learn more about you. Your crafty room looks fab and much bigger than what I've got judging by the eigth of shelving. Wow! Love that you have a fettish for pastic boxes like me... naturally the realty useful variety. Hubby reckons it house is built of plastic boxes as they're in every nook and cranny! Well done. Hugs Sarah xx

  17. Hello Di,

    What a nice post. I enjoyed reading about your adventure and how you came to crafting. It sounds like your mother had quite a bit of influence in your crafting journey. So glad you were able to recover from the accident! I can't imagine what that was like for you.

    You've chosen some lovely ladies to tag!


  18. Hello Di, a very interesting, entertaining, and revealing, post. Love the glimpse into your craft room - if we lived closer I'd be round to play every day :) Thanks for the kind words in your intro, I'm blushing as I write ... I just hope my post next Monday does you justice. Hugs, Elizabeth xx

  19. This is a great post Di,I've read it from start to finish. It's lovely to learn a bit more about you and I love to have a little nosey into other people's craft spaces. I either follow or often visit the blogs of your tags and look forward to reading their posts next week.
    Jean x

  20. Oh my goodness girl...wish I lived next door! What a fabulous room...Love that you have everything labelled. I have a penchant for labels too! Mostly cuz I can't remember if I don't label.

    Love the idea of a wall of closet. Those RUB's look wonderful on those shelves...but the best part was the PINK very you...Loved that!!!

    So fun to learn so much more about you. These blog hops are so fun.

  21. What wonderful choices, Di! You included!

  22. Gosh what a fantastic post, some things made me giggle but felt really sad when I read about your disability.
    Keep up the good work Di, you are a shining star to a lot of us.

    Kath x

  23. "WOW" Di what an amazing post full of laughter and sadness your so caring too! nice to know your recovered too and what a fab craft room lovely that you have shared this and a lovely selection of blogging friends too take care x

  24. Hi Di, my internet has been off the whole day but now everything's working again. So here I am. Read through the whole lot and found it very intresting. And lots of it was recocgnizable. See you later (alligator lol) lots of love from Veerle xxx

  25. Fabulous post and great to know personal stuff about my blogging buddies. I must copy that badge as I was tagged and I got to find three to tag - I know at least two who I want to tag but if they want it or not is another thing lol! Karen xx

  26. So fun to get to know a bit about you through this hop Di, you gave a terrific interview!

  27. How lovely to find out more about you Di and sorry to hear about your health problems. What a great crafting space you have and I'm green with envy - in a nice way. You are the perfect choice as you are so enthusiastic and helpful and such a good friend to us all here in blogland and you work so hard to make the playground the best place to be! x

  28. Thanks for sharing your story. It just makes me appreciate even more what you do with the Playground and all.I don't know how you do it all! xxx

  29. Oh Di, I did enjoy reading about you! I feel we have a wee bit in common, as I went through the "learning to walk again" process with my DD. She and I crafted as part of her therapy. Bless you sweet lady, and I will let you know when the wise men land in Pennsylvania.

  30. Di it was lovely reading your story and interesting to hear what brought you into the crafting world...crafting is a great healer and relaxer for many people...


  31. Fantastic - glad you had this opportunity to share all this with us - you are a very special crafter xx

  32. It's been great to read your interesting creative journey. x


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