Sunday, 11 August 2013

Catch Up...

It's been a (very long) while and I'm a bad, bad blogger! Not only have I fallen completely off the track with regular posts, I've also lagged behind with the reciprocal wonder that is What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, and not got round to visiting and commenting on others' desks...I'm sorry. I wanted to, even wrote a list of who I had to visit. But couldn't. Why?
Because Life has been rather obnoxious and tough of late and I'm doing my best to calm down, regroup and recuperate - but it has meant drawing back from lots of things; especially blogging. I am getting there but there's still a way to go. The good thing is, in the quiet moments, I have been crafting...

A Christmas card experiment with a new stamp; a birthday card for my stepmum; and a Christmas card for my goddaughter.

On a shopping trip a few weeks ago, I couldn't find the RIGHT notebook for a new novel idea (even Paperchase failed me!), and a friend suggested I make my I did! This is my working title for the book-to-be, and as it will involve (in some way yet to be decided!) Tilly finding her kind of an
A-Z of happiness, the 7 Gypsies alphabet tape was spot on!

On the back of all of my creations, I pop this fab handmade/washtag stamp...and you can see the
Pen Pot has spread out, from here in computer world to out there in craft land!
Novel-Writing wise, things were going fab...but have since slowed down! It's ironic that I've stalled while writing a scene where my main character Lilli has an inspiration-stall with her dress imitating life, anyone?! Still, I'm just chip-chip-chipping away with thoughts here, a hundred words or so there, and reminding myself of what I've Novel-Achieved so far this year: 

This is my Drafts you can see how much paper I've worked on, even though it's only five chapters! The Post-Its are editing notes to be worked on...but not yet, as I want to stay in the creative mind and not veer into the critical one! 
For a further boost, I reminded myself of my writing accomplishments (hah, that makes me sound like an Edwardian lady, doesn't it?! Clearly, I'm not!), and treated myself to an early
(though only by 3 weeks!) birthday present...and used it on a layout in my SMASH book:
I am rather obsessed with typewriters (no, never, I hear you cry!), and I found this amazing Penny Black 'Words So Sweet' stamp online...after much hunting, I couldn't find it in stock in the UK so surrendered to buying it from the US! Super speedy delivery from ensured a happy Deb... I masked the birdcage when stamping, though, as I'm all about the girl typing...maybe she's me, eh!
Another (yet published!) writer who is celebrating her birthday with a fantastic prize giveaway is Sally Quillford - pop over to her website here to enter, as I have! Soon I've got a week off from work in which to celebrate mine, and I hope to...
I shall apologise now for lack of future posts - I will pop back in a couple of months and let you know how I'm doing. All the best,
~ ttfn ~

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday # 216

*Oops! I scheduled the post...but forgot to link it! How silly of me. Doing so now, on Thursday morning...

Wow, it’s been ages. Absolutely ages since I’ve What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday'd. Firstly, I must apologise to those lovely peeps who looked at and commented on my last WOYWW post, #209 back on 5th June, because I didn’t get to reciprocate – you are my priority visits today!
So, why have I been absent? Well, I won’t bore you with the detailed report, but the subheadings would be: Troublesome Car and the Search for its Replacement; Cat Crisis: Feline Asthma; Work Summer-Sale Stress; Will The Bloody Cat Ever Take Her Tablets?; Writing Well: 2 More Chapters Down (5 in total); New Car Niggles; and finally, for this week,
Everything Seems to be Settling Down – Phew.
’Nuff said, then!  
So, here is what’s on my desk, the kitchen worktop, today:

It's the first of three 'Writing Me' layouts in my Smash Book - each of which will be journalling pages, recording memories and things important to me. This one captures the 'Early Writing Me', with a thank-you letter to my parents, typed on their gift of my very first typewriter (lush!); and a tag noting the titles of my early stories.
I've used a Qwerty Embossing Folder for the edge-frames, and a lady-typing embossing folder (donated by my lovely friend Zoe- ta, hon!) for the bottom left accent, and the up-in-the-air-pages part of a typewriter stamp for the top right.
The tag was inked ages ago, with Zoe's tutelage and water-splodge effects along with my first ever typewriter stamp (I now have three. Ahem!). I've journalled in cranberry ink to echo the colour accent on the other page, and added scaled-down scanned copies of photos of my typewriter in action
back in the day!
A Papermania typewriter button and two deep-violet ones and a stamped-on-kraft-paper jigsaw puzzle piece completes the page.
This is the second 'Writing Me' layout, this time based around my writing at school. I've used a poem I wrote a while ago called 'A Piece of History' (which is about how my essay-homeworks enthused my teachers, and how this in turn inspired me) and inked around the edges of it. I've added the actual teacher-comments on that real homework beneath, and, on the other page, copies of my fab English teacher's encouraging remarks.
The pen nib and 'artist' tag stamps are borrowed from Zoe (ta, hon!), and the paper aeroplane and glasses/book stamps are the 'Teeny Boppers' giveaway from the latest issue of Creative Stamping magazine. Oops! There is a gap on the envelope for me to stamp 'School Reports'...must get round to doing this! Inside are, of course, scaled-down copies of some of my school reports...might sound sad to some, but while school was awkward socially (and numerically - I'm crap at Maths!) for me, it was a boon for my writing. This is why there's a 2-piece jigsaw stamp on this page, as I'm recording how my writing journey improved...
I plan to do a third layout entitled 'My Writing Successes (yes, there are some!)', with a 3-piece jigaw puzzle stamp, but I've not got there yet!
Hope you're having a lovely Wednesday and I'll see you at your desks :0)
~ ttfn ~

Sunday, 30 June 2013

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Excuse the random information - it's all to do with moving my Blog Reader to bloglovin' !

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

WOYWW 209, the Crop and some Homework!

Hello What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday-ers, hope you're all well. Check this out, I'm posting early (for me, at least)!...but I'm late mentioning how wonderful, friendly and inspiring the WOYWW Crop was on Saturday! Thanks to the lovely but, alas, too-modest Julia and equally lovely and fab foodie Lunch Lady Jan for the organising and hosting - but more of this in a mo!

First, then, my, counter... You see, I have no space in my writing room (also known as the cupboard under the stairs) to craft, so I have to do it in the kitchen...

I stack everything around the hardly-ever used microwave...and on top of it! To the right are storage boxes housing my (growing!) collection of stamps and inks, with the basket of washi tapes and string/bakers twine, covered by my funky apron (I hate getting messy!). To the left are re-purposed (thank you Kirsty Allsop for the term!) Mini Cheddar tins from Christmas, in which live glues, scissors and craft knife, and ribbons respectively. On top of said microwave is a guillotine salvaged from a colleague's clear-out, stacked with things I Need To Finish.

In front is the piece de new SMASH Book!

I made the first one as a characterisation and scene aid for my novel-in-progress, but this SMASH is all about me...hence the scrabble tiles in my initials, the chipboard tree standing for family and the roots they've given me, and the Tim Holtz pen nib made into a quill is, obviously, all about the writing-ness of my life.

This is what I've been doing since the Crop on Saturday, and why I must visit you all in little bits over the next few days...because I've spent the first part of my week off crafting and organising crafting, and not a word has been written...oops! As many of us do, I've kept a box of mementos for years, and am now going to SMASH I've gone through the book deciding which page suits which event, and I've organised possible papers, toppers and candy for each one in an old, hacked-up cereal box...

Now, to the Crop! I had a great time - everyone was friendly, fun and generous, both with ideas/suggestions and with stash they no longer wanted...Shaz, I'm talking about you! Thanks to all of you lovely people for making it such a creative and inspiring atmosphere...and sorry to those I didn't get to chat to, 'cause I was such a keener and got crafting straight away! (Blame a stressy couple of weeks at work and lack of opportunity...)

Plus, I learned new vocab, too:
Taking inspiration = to have a nose at what everyone else is doing (!)
Going in a new direction = making an awful bodge and then salvaging it (!!)

Here are the cards I made throughout the day (I should say I'd already inked the backgrounds weeks ago and was waiting to finish them off) and a few inky-play stamps that have yet to find their homes...

And, finally, I'd better hand in my homework... Julia and Jan gave us goody bags with a card blank, paper, buttons and a piece of ribbon (I'm not mentioning the chocolate buttons I scoffed - ! - but thanks, Jan, for the lovely handmade tissue-holder) - so here is the card I made with the goodies:

I took inspiration from the crown paper and came up with the sentiment, then stamped inside using a Portabello Road stamp I had free with a magazine, then used stick-on pearls to finish it off...I only hope I won't get detention for 'forgetting' to use two of the buttons (they didn't suit the royal theme, you see...)!

Right, time has ticked and I MUST away and WRITE MY NOVEL! (Not the whole thing in one chunk, I hasten to add, but a scene will do!).

~ ttfn ~

Friday, 31 May 2013

Stash Addiction!

My credit card is groaning after a fortnight of online purchases, and now they’ve arrived I can’t wait to get crafting with them!

I'm joining my fab friend Zoe at theWhat's On Your Workdesk Wednesday  crop tomorrow, so I shall get a chance to use some of my stash while I'm busy crafting...and chatting...and eating! Can't wait to meet all the lovely ladies who take part in WOYWW, and am sure we'll have a marvellous day (and it's supposed to be sunny!). So, my stash:

(Please excuse the edge of my cat tea cosy and mug tree !)

As you can see, the fabulous Glitter Pot provided me with the All Aboard and Bricks paper sets, Zebra and Antique Newsprint Card Candi (I had to restrain myself when choosing – could’ve had them all!), All Aboard journal cards, monochrome card blanks, corner rounder x-cut (just out of shot!), and (yet more!) stamps: a couple of sentiments, and I couldn’t resist the cute elephant and hedgehog!

Not content with the choice of washi tape, I had a nose on eBay – and found snow, script, seamstress and clocks!

Beneath all this is a French influence: a fat quarter of macaroon fabric! Having been inspired by the French company Laduree and their delicious macaroons to write a recent scene of my novel set in their tea salon, I felt the need to see what I macaroon-type goodies I could buy! Now all I’ve got to do is decide what to make with it - a canvas, a pencil case, a cushion? Do vote below in the comments, if you like!

Plus, from Inkylicious, I’ve got 3 Distress Inks (at good prices!), and cat, bird and Christmas stamps:

And before all this, I was browsing for specific stamps, ones which are more individual and not so common, and I came across this great shop on Etsy- Sweet Spot Stamp Shop. I’ve ordered a sleeping cat, a glass of lemonade, a pair of flip-flops, a slice of cake on a plate, and a seahorse – now I’m just waiting for them to arrive!

I'd better stop blogging and get crafting to justify my many purchases, hadn't I?!

~ ttfn ~

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Getting Lost with Google Earth

Oh yes, it's possible. If you're a born non-navigator like me, it's completely natural to get lost everywhere you go.

So there I was, yesterday morning, trying to compose a scene where my main character Lilli is sitting in the Laduree tea salon in Paris. Quite what she was going to do there other than eat a macaroon or two, I didn't quite know, but I did know that because it is a REAL place, I'd better make sure I had her looking out of the window at the right, real things...and not a circus tent and a lion tamer, for example. (Now that would make for an interesting story, right?! Anyhoo...)

I visited Paris a couple of years ago with my good friend Zoe and we went to Laduree...except we went to the one on the Champs Elysee and NOT the one on the rue Royale, which is the one I wanted to write about. Why? Well because it's the very first Laduree, and I want to have Lilli going there and her daughter Anna echoing her by going to the other one twenty-odd years later, though I'm going to invert the character motivations and reflections...but you don't need to worry about this!

So, I've got memories of the Champs Elysees branch and I looked up photos of the rue Royale branch, but neither was helping me with quite what Lilli would see if she looked out the window (cue shouts of "roll up, roll up," I hear you sarcastically cry!). And then I remembered. Didn't Google bring out this thing ages ago where you can zoom in on anywhere in the world and get a 'street view'? (As you can tell, I don't keep up with technological advances - they're a bit, too, well, advanced for me...)

I quite literally put all my worries about invasion of privacy and the application of such a tool out of the window, and Googled it. And that's where I began to get lost.

It turns out you have to download this gizmo with Google Chrome (who knew, right? Oh, the entire world...?), so I set about doing that...and it took some time, enough for me to tick off the first stage of Getting Lost, which is Irritation. Check. On to the next...

That would be reading the guide book - or, in this case, the instructions -  which I'm normally a stickler for but, because I'd already wasted enough writing time to brew and drink a cup of tea, I didn't bother. After all, I only wanted to look at one street, right?

After scouring the screen to find the 'Search box' (I know, it's painful. I promise after this post I'll go and lie in a darkened room and get a technological grip), I typed in '18 rue Royale' and got...22 rue Royale. A big ole map showed up with blue lines criss-crossing like varicose veins and nearly giving me as much of a headache. Then I realised I could zoom in...

So I did. I clicked along the screen...and promptly ended up on another street. I tried to reverse (and anyone who's seen my driving KNOWS this is a bad idea...) and crashed against the wall-of-going-nowhere. Nothing happened. I took a deep breath and told myself I could do this; it's only a computer. Thinking if I clicked the opposite side to where I wanted to be, the screen would simply flip around, I forgot I've always had issues with mirror images and lefts and right and all that bananas.

By this point, I was firmly on to the middle stage of Getting Lost, which is Desperation. I clicked back on the 'Search Box' to start again...and again...and again... During all of these wrong turns I did discover that I could 'take photos' and save an image, so this is what I did, click click click.

Eventually, I saw that my character would basically be looking out on a tree trunk and traffic (the tree looked tall, leafy and lovely from the other side of the road, but my scene is set in winter and this Google Earth nonsense is supposed to be 'real-time', so that wasn't helping much...), and that was it. I skipped over Destination Reached!, the final stage of Getting Lost, because now I didn't want to be there at all.

After turning the bloody thing off and breaking for lunch, I returned to my laptop to commence battle: I looked at the 'screen caps' (check me out with my terminology, eh?!), switched screens between them till I got to my writing document and...stalled. All that Google Earth fuss hadn't really helped. Whatever I was going to write depended completely upon what my character was going to DO there...and I still didn't know. I managed to tap out various paragraphs of description, had a little conflict-idea which I noted down the outline of (by this point I just wanted to forget all about the damn macaroons), and saved the file at an unsatisfying 625 words.

This morning, totally fresh and free from any Google Earth dalliance, I came back to the scene and pushed on. It was hard going to start with - I'd gone from thinking I'd find direction in the physical description, to not using any of it - but this helped me come up with what the scene was really about: Lilli's dissatisfaction and how to get over it. Ironic, eh? (I know, you couldn't make this stuff up...)

I've just finished the first proper draft of that scene, with all paragraphs in consecutive order and characters interacting, and it rounds out at 1380 words - so not too shabby, after all. What with that and this post, I think that's all my words for today. Time to relax, eat dinner and cat-nap...Except my Dad has got the map out and wants me to find him an auto-route...

It's truly time to get lost!

~ ttfn ~

Sunday, 5 May 2013


During the past fortnight, my fingers have been flying over the laptop keys as I write - and I'm pleased with what I've achieved:

21st - 27th April = 1882 words written
28th April - 4th May = 1975 words written
= a total of 3857 words of proper narrative...yay!

Different writers manage different wordcounts when they settle down to work, and what is good for one is poor for another - but I'm not yet able (if I ever will be!) to write full-time; just like everyone else, I have to work for the bills to be paid...and then I have to do a little partying (admittedly very low-key - anyone want to join me and my friend Bev for a cuppa, bowl of strawberries and Hawaii 5 0 DVDs, anyone?!) to fulfil the social need we all have.

Yet for me, 3857 words in two weeks after months of thinking, characterisation-note-making and a smidge of planning is cause for celebration.

Best not make that celebration too long, though (just a gulp of tea, a bite of strawberry and a scene of Hawaii 5 0, then, eh?) because I've got this Bank Holiday off, so that's two more days in which to write...and more wordcount to be made, so I'd better get started!

~ ttfn ~

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday 203

Hello again, WOYWW-ers - it's been several weeks since I've been able to join in with the fab global desk-hop, hosted by Julia over at Stamping Ground , but here I am today, and guess what...

...I've been WRITING! Yep, actual narrative; real book-stuff. Here's the desk-proof:

You can see my motivational (i.e. 'do something, damn it!') snippets on the wall; a mannequin wearing a gorgeous Monsoon top acting as muse; my Laura Ashley research file (filled with yummy notes and photos); a book on dressmaking that I should've already read but WILL do soon!; and my SMASH book open at a page relevant to what I'm currently writing (and if you're extra snoopy, you might just make out some words on the screen...eek!)...

Here's a close up of my SMASH pages, which is a kind of mood board for a typical day in my character's dressmaking studio:

Now, you'll have to forgive me - I will be visiting desks over the weekend and not tonight/tomorrow, as the cursor on the screen is flicking and needs more writing to calm it down...! Hope you have a fab WOYWW and see you on the weekend,

~ ttfn ~
PS. Forgot to mention that I've finished the SMASH book dedicated to my novel (and resisted the urge to start another SMASH straight away!) and, to pat my own back, I'm pretty darn pleased with it! Here's the front cover:

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Preparation for Lift-Off

It’s a scary thing, leaving safety behind.

Novel Number Two has been rattling around in my dusty attic of a creative mind for, oh, probably about five years now (and it’s still not bloody written, I hear you wail!), and I’ve always known the basic arc of the story and how it’ll end. But now, I’m about to lift-off into the unknown...

I’ve been writing/mulling over/tinkering with (delete as applicable – though it has been new, fresh words, not a rehash of things done before!) two individual scenes for each of my main characters; comfortable, risk-free scenes because I’ve played them over and over in my mind so much! But now I’m only a few hundred words from finishing them and beginning an event, an exchange, an interplay I haven’t planned to the nth degree!

Precautions and preparations have been taken, of course: notes to hand for reassurance, but not too close for over-reliance; SMASH book scrapbook propped up to give characterisation help; research file divided up into the way I think and approach (which might be confusing if anyone else was to read it...!); books on dressmaking/sewing looked through and considered; tea-bags stocked up for the next year; spare printer cartridge primed and ready.

This writing-book-wise, I’m trying a few new things, launching away from my old ways. For all my note-taking and planning, I haven’t plotted this book step-by-step, point-by-point, number-by-number – I did this for Book One and it bloated my thoughts and text. Instead, I’m thinking a scene at a time, putting myself into the character’s path and wondering what’s at the forefront of their mind, their experience (or I will be, as soon as I get writing the fresh stuff!) – and I’m naming each scene around its broad theme, not numbering it. Oh no. Numbers lead to lists, to ranking of importance, to a linear progression, which killed my spontaneity last time, so I don’t want that now!

I’ve also picked up a tip from a blog/article/rambling somewhere, to choose a different font for each project and for each narrative voice. Now, let’s get the professionalism out of the way: when submitting (for competition, consideration or publication) one always uses Times New Roman or Arial, no flouncy, funny stuff or unnecessary bold and italics, and keep it to size 12, double spaced. Thank you. But I’m not submitting, am I?! I’m a long, long way from that and if I start thinking about it, everything just gets too scary... So, let me catch my breath and keep it real-ish with Garamond and Perpetua, both clear, typed fonts (not handwriting – but I’m using that for the header titles!), as well as having some artsy, bespoke fun!

So, in just a few days, I will be lifting off in my metaphorical space capsule, seeking new life and new story happenings... Wish me luck!

~ ttfn ~






Sunday, 10 March 2013

Reflection on the Writing I Like Reading

As I'm now embarking on writing the narrative of Novel Number Two (the final main character's details has just slotted into place, so it's away we go!), I've been thinking about the how of transferring the story from my mind to the page; the style, language and tone. "Write what you know" is oft-touted advice but I prefer "Write what you like to read." After all, if you wouldn't be interested, intrigued and enthused in your own work, who would be?

So, in the spirit of sparking Novel Number Two narrative, what do I enjoy reading...and so should be writing?

*** Rounded (but not overlong or indulgent!) description, using imagery and a lyrical touch in the language – what I note in my Reading Journal as beautiful language and lines I love.
While a story must have more substance than just the words it drapes itself in, this expression is what draws and pleases me; what I respond to, especially in thinking about pieces being more than a mere genre entry or competently written. It’s the little bit extra, the cherry on the top...and I love it!

*** Linked closely to this is a real, authoritative sense of place, often realised through the expressive language. The details chosen, atmosphere rendered and mood developed transport me there; I become part of this world, an invisible visitor.

For me, this connection is essential; if it’s there, I invest in it. I appreciate this world in all its particular detail and sensory images; I turn on, not turn off.

*** But if the characterisation is not strong and rounded, I just. Don’t. Care. I won’t continue reading; I’ll forget all about the characters and find a picture or a photo of the place (or a likeness of it) instead!

So, characters must be real people; I must care about them, invest in them. Be surprised and impressed by them; sometimes even scared or worried by them...but more often than not, for them. They must evoke and then I will empathise...and keep reading; line after line, page after page, book after book.

Characters don’t have to be planned out to the nth degree, though; this has been a tough but liberating thing to learn. Through my papercrafting hobby, I’m discovering that an outfit or an ensemble or a photo conveying mood can tell me as much about character as a comprehensive list from which I’ll know the birthdates of their great-grandparents...but will I know them?

I respect Hemingway’s Iceberg characterisation theory – knowing everything about your character (and he means everything!) is to know the whole iceberg, but only the tip will make it into the novel, making that character authentic and real – but I’ve been prescribing to it for too long. Freeing myself up to a visual pic ‘n’ mix has helped me discover my next set of characters and unearth their personalities, quirks and (perhaps most importantly for the plot!) their paths.

*** If the characterisation and sense of place grounds me in the text, I actually don’t mind if little happens! I can drink plot-lite as  much as plot-full-sugar, but I need both to have rhythm and pace. It’s a hard effect to deconstruct and even harder to construct in the first place, but if a pieces lags or is repetitive, it drives me crazy! It pulls me out of the world, makes me doubt authorial control and makes me impatient and intolerant of what comes next.

That I’ve written work which lags and is bulky (certainly Novel Number One and perhaps some poetry) irks and irritates me – but it’s part of my writing learning curve and I’m ok with! I’m anxious that I might repeat these mistakes but I know that’s what rewriting is for. But first, I must get it on the page!

Other things I enjoy about a piece – humour, relation to the events, mystery and solving the puzzle, themes I like to explore, occurrence of fashion or objects/things I like – come after these Four Points. If I don’t have lyrical language, sense of place, rounded characterisation and rhythm and pace, I’m just not reading...or writing to my best ability, either.

So, now consideration has been made, I'd better get some words down on paper! Wish me luck...

~ ttfn ~

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


The Time Imps have done it again – dispensed with the other days in the week so it’s suddenly Wednesday! I’m not ready for this week’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday as I haven’t finished looking at last week’s desks, but the Time Imps don’t do refunds so I’d better get on with thanking host Julia and start sharing my desk! doesn’t look any different to last week, though my Smash Book has moved from the poky writing desk to the top of the microwave (which is rarely used – no need to worry about smoke damage!). It’s still waiting for those final double-spreads to be crafted, but in the meantime I have been busy tap, tap, tapping...

Typewriters are a huge symbol to me of writing and the toil it takes, and, in this way, just looking at one is like a kick up the behind! I’ve been planning to make three typewriter canvases for my hallway (which I enter as I head to my scriptorium where the writing desk resides) since well before Christmas, and I’ve finally managed to do one! Here are my ingredients:

I matted a funky retro image of a woman typing onto card and cut it out, then printed my chosen phrase in two different fonts. Using my fab friend Zoe's That Special Touch Stone Wall mask, I stamped Antique Linen Distress ink straight onto the canvas, and took a chance spritzing water to react with the ink for a shabby chic effect (this was the first time I'd used this technique - thank you, Zoe, for teaching me!).

While that dried, I played around with the fonts, testing which looked better inked with either Antique Linen or, erm, tea bags! (Zoe hates me doing this, especially after her fab blending lessons, but I have to say it carried the colour better!). Making the most of the mask, I stencilled a brick outline around each word, cut them out and edged them with Walnut Stain.

Laying the words out on the wall-canvas, I took my time till I was happy with the placement, then used sticky squares to attach the typing image and the brick-words to achieve depth voila! The finished canvas:

It’s now up on the wall, awaiting the others for a writing inspiration party... I’ve thought and roughed out what I want to do with each one, but I’m learning to let ideas percolate and adapt and take on new guises, so who knows how they'll turn out...!

~ ttfn ~


Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Well, hello, World of What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday! I've been online-absent for a while, but I have been crafting up a storm so I've got something to show for it, at least! That's when I'm not falling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest, though - a wonderful site that is perfect for us nosey peeps; you're welcome to visit the Pinterest Penpot and see what I've been up to!

But what does my desk look like, I hear you cry? Here she is...

My almost-completed Smash Book sits on the laptop stand (the laptop is with me in the lounge; as my writing room is the cupboard-under-the-stairs there is no window, and the sun is shining so I can't ignore it, or I mightn't see it again for the rest of the week!); while my Novel Number Two notebook (fabulously fashion-themed with a sewing machine on the cover) is on the book-stand - it's waiting for me to use it again to write some more narrative, but I've only got 2 double-spread pages left to fill of my Smash Book...
It's all connected, though, so hopefully Novel Number Two will let me off! I'm using the pink Smash Book as a characterisation and plotting aid, using scrapbooking techniques to capture personalities, atmospheres and happenings. It's been a real boost to my craft- and writing- creativity and I've really enjoyed doing it! I hope you'd like to see some pages as much as I'd like to share them with you:
As Novel Number Two is about Lilli, a dressmaker, I knew I needed to get her designing and see her scribbles...
...and it's also about her daughter, Anna, who follows in her mother's footsteps - but I needed to see how she'll indulge her love of handbags when she should be sketching clothes!

When I visited Paris in 2011 (was it really over a year ago?!), I was most inspired by the Musee d'Orsay and decided my characters should be too. To start with, my love of these Smash Book library pages stopped any intentions of using them for a lay-out, until I was looking at my pics of the Musee and realised the mix of art and books, gallery and library worked wonders!

Another Parisian favourite was Laduree and their delicious macaroons - and again, my characters had to copy! Lucky I did some research, though, as there was only 4 flavours when Lilli would've been in Paris, while 20-odd years later, lucky Anna gets the pick of 26 or so!
I have a feeling I shall have to finish the Smash Book before I can get on with some more narrative writing, but that shan't be long in coming! Have a fab week all,
~ ttfn ~

Friday, 18 January 2013

Come Pin With Me...

...let's Pin, let's Pin away...
What am I talking about, I hear you cry? Well, over this past week, I've joined Pinterest! Pinterest is an online pinboard of images, from which you compile, or repin, your favourites onto boards on your own page. I've been having a good look at Pinterest for a couple of months, and finally decided to take the plunge to help me with visual inspiration for Novel Number Two...
I've made boards on general lush things like Tea & Teapots, Books & Reading and Quotations, but also on Novel Number Two specific things, like Paris = Novel Inspiration, Lilli: Novel Character and Anna: Novel Character... So why don't you pop over to Pinterest to see what I've been doing?!
Hope you enjoy!
~ ttfn ~
Disclaimer: Debs Pen Pot does not accept responsibility for the time you'll lose by browsing on Pinterest! I find I only mean to spend half an hour, and in a blink of an eye, an hour and a half has gone by!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Record of Reading

We're 11 days into the New Year and it's still time for reflections and resolutions. Having just finished reading my first book of 2013 (‘A Half Forgotten Song’ by Katherine Webb – loved it!), I thought I’d reflect on my reading in 2012.

I’ve been keeping a Reading Journal for four years, after a university tutor suggested it. I record the author, title and publishing details; the month, time it took to read and its score out of 10 (I am a harsh score-awarder!); then I launch into my thoughts. Typically, I write between 2 and 4 pages of A5, but sometimes a book has me banging on a bit more about it. I don’t include a synopsis or give away plot/character twists, as I like to preserve the surprises for a future re-read, but I do note down themes (blame the literature half of my degree!), and any lines I particularly loved.

Admittedly, recording the books you’ve read can be a quicker, more succinct and perhaps more list-driven process than mine, but, remember, I’m wordy by nature and a wordsmith by calling!

It’s pleasing to track back through my entries and read what I thought about each novel; particularly when comparing the first time with a re-read. Plus, from a writers’ point of view, it’s a way to practise writing more regularly - which is something I can always do with, regardless of any resolutions!

So, how many books did you read in 2012? Would you like to read more this year, or less? Why? Were there any titles that you’d recommend, or ones that you’d avoid like the plague? And how have I done, recording my reading over these last four years?

Well, let’s have a little look...

2008 = 49 books read

2009 = 25 (This was the year I was writing Book Number One, so my mind was elsewhere...)

2010 = 51

2011 = 51

2012 = 53

A book a week, then. Well, not quite... Here’s the monthly breakdown for 2012:

Jan = 2 books                             Jul = 8

Feb = 3                                       Aug = 9

Mar = 2                                      Sep = 5

Apr = 4                                       Oct = 7

May = 3                                      Nov = 3

Jun = 2                                        Dec = 5

Like everything in life, my reading rises and dips, dips and rises – but I’m glad I’ve read the equivalent to a book a week. Could I read more? Possibly – but I’d rather enjoy the balance of reading and writing and the other creative things I do, than become a slave to statistics! This year, I'm hoping to write the narrative for Novel Number Two, so if I can end 2013 with at least 26 books read, then it'll be an average of a book a fortnight and I'll be pleased.

Have I tempted you to reflect a little more about what you read and what it makes you think about, and perhaps to record it? Hope so! Happy reading.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

Whoop Whoop!

I have just finished writing 574 words of...wait for it...actual narrative of Novel Number Two! Whoop whoop!

They almost didn't make it, as I had the idea yesterday right before leaving for work and had to jot super-quick notes down on paper, which I planned to transfer to NNT's own notebook today... And then I realised: don't bother with that, just write them instead! So, armed with a cup of tea (muse-tempting beverage, you see) and a cinnamon whirl (muse-tempting food, ha ha!), I started tapping...

And 574 words later, I'm well chuffed! Of course, they are words of first-draft-on-the-page-ness; not what I intended to start off this new, 2013 attempt at narrative with; and probably not the actual beginning of the book when it's all finished and compiled. is the place to begin for me (this scene always has been, actually, even though I tried to sidestep away from it!), and it is 574 words written - whoop whoop!

Ooh, I need a lie-down to recover, or quite possibly some chocolates (still got a generous box left over from Christmas!), but I just wanted to share my first NNT narrative moment with you.
~ ttfn ~

Thursday, 3 January 2013


I know I'm a WOYWW-day late, but hey! I'm still wishing Happy New Year to one and all - I missed Christmas-fun-ness because I had the flu, boo!, but I'm going to make up for it now we're in 2013 :0)

And what better way to start than by sharing with you fellow nosy-desk-hoppers (courtesy of fab host Julia at Stamping Ground ) the actual, rather inactive (!) state of my desk right now...

Some Christmas gift clutter, as you can see!

On the right, is a pile of craft-stash pressies from my fab friend Zoe, and on the left is her handcrafted gift made up of art-parts and sewing motifs (good work, girl!). In the spirit of actual writing (other than typing this post, obviously!), there's a printer cartridge funded by my uncle's Christmas money (as a writer, there's nothing worse than running out of ink when you need to print-and-edit something...except getting to the shop and finding they're out of stock! - so I always keep a spare to hand).
Then there's an Aufrey Hepburn calendar from my fab friend Sarah, which I need to feed raffia through so I can hang it up in my Scriptorium (or writing room, if I'm slumming it with the terms!), and keep track of my writing/creativity (I did this last year, and it's rewarding to look back on each month and see what work/hours I've achieved on various projects).

And finally, also to inspire me to get on with something creative, is a 'Follow Your Dreams' plaque from my lovely friend Bev and her gift tag, which I want to affix to the back to cherish the memory of her belief in me.

So, I will sort, tidy and glue...but first, let me snoop at your desks!

Oh, now Christmas is over, I can finally share the canvases I teased back in WOYWW 183, which I made as gifts for the aforementioned lovely Bev...


And I couldn't tell you then 'cause I would've spoiled the surprise, but I also made some for the equally lovey Zoe too!

~ ttfn ~