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 ~