Monday, 16 February 2015

Woolly Bags, Pouches and Journals, Oh My!


*Leaps from behind a curtain with jazz hands*

Yes I'm still in one piece. Plans may have gone a little awry over the past couple of weeks but The Colonel and I have made it through alive and mostly in one piece. My wibbly brain did its thing again at the beginning of the month and, as a consequence of its impishness I spent the greater part of a week under a blanket in that freaked-out world that only my mental pathways can create! To illustrate, I shall harness the powers of The Colonel and his photo journal -

Where's the kitty?

Surely that's just a big old pile of wubbie blankies? Surely? Unless........

THERE'S the kitty! Under the blankets - out of it all. Yep. Solidarity, my little feline compadre, solidarity. Mmmmmmm.....blankies.....

So anyway. Fortunately, a couple of gorgeously lovely people had given me inspiration for a couple of projects so I dragged myself back to the realms of (tenuous) reality, raided the craft cupboards and got crackin' with some arty fartyness, which eventually helped me to find some momentum....a controllable tempo. My inner metronome has a wanton arrhythmia which plays havoc with my focus, but working with repetitive tasks is a control and valuable measure. Avoiding more random, unfocused arty pursuits, I rooted out my needles, threads and fabrics and began stitching. Wow did it help..... Hell yeah! I can't show you too much of my efforts as I know that they're winging their way to recipients as surprises from lovely fellow bloggers, but one item has arrived safely at its destination so I can at least post a few piccies to give you an idea of what I've been up to:

.....iiiiiiiiiiiit's a journal bag!! It's red plooshy squooshy velvet with pretty butterfly fabric lining and, oh, a LOT of yarn, sari silk and cord tassely goodness! I love colour. So shoot me. And yarn. And fabric. I am weak and have no self control. *sigh* .....but it's so FLUFFY!

It was delivered to its new lovely owner along with the red 'key' journal. It is very cuddly! I mean, not entirely PRACTICAL, but it's full of luscious colour and lovely woolly goodness!

I have made a journal pouch for myself as well, but it IS practical, I'm afraid! It fits in my bag without getting tangled on stuff and holds my journal and pens - it'll do nicely...

I know, I know, but it's still cuddly! My lovely blog buddy Kathy from Kathyinozarks has nudged me into embellishing so I think what I'll do is wait 'til I'm finished with this journal, THEN foof-up the bag, pimp it out with yummy yarns and beads and such so that it stands out on the shelf amidst the rest of the journaly chaos! Whaddaya think? And if you love the idea of scrumptious hand-spun, hand-dyed bespoke yarns, go give Kathy a visit and say hi!


Actually - that brings me around to something that's been on my mind for a while. In this world of disassociated, disembodied anti-social media, the BLOG seems to stand alone as a place where intelligent, kind, generous, talented and friendly people can find a genuine meeting of the minds with fellow bloggers. The people I have met through blogging are all - without exception - inspiring and welcoming. I've had such dreadful and life-shattering experiences with people in my life that it left me broken and devoid of trust. I want to take the opportunity to thank you, my fellow bloggers for helping me to begin to rebuild my faith in humanity. You are a true gift. I've asked some of you if I can feature one or two of your photos in my blog posts and THANK YOU for saying yes!  Over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting as many amazing blogs as possible and I hope that you'll go visit and let them enrich your lives as they have mine.

And now, schmaltz over, moooooooving on....I have three new journals up on Etsy. They're roughly 8"x4.25" and are ideal for art journals! Here's a sneak peek:

Happiness journal:

Oriental Splendour journal:
Collected Treasures journal

Uk post prices are still as cheap as chips, however I've noticed that fees to ship overseas are not quite such a bargain. I've priced by the best weight option including very basic shipping insurance and I've decided that I'd rather play safe with selecting shipping weights as reducing packaging can result in damaged goods, which is not acceptable. What I CAN promise is that I'll fill each and every parcel sent with treats and goodies right up to the shipping limit, so that the cost of shipping will be offset by having a box full of awesomeness to open and enjoy. Post fees will effectively be offset with fun and useful goods. It's scary that it costs the same amount to ship just one book as it does to ship a box filled with extra stuff. I can't help feeling that post services are simply out to diddle us out of our hard earned cash. What do you think of post charges? Do they stand in the way of your sales? I'd be interested to know how you handle the problem so let me know if you'd like to by leaving a comment below. 

I have a week full of posts for you. As promised, I have some journaling ideas, tutorials and exercises which I hope are helpful. I have a look at a couple of my canvases and more besides. Better late than never, eh?! I'll leave you today with a colourful journal page and a big hug of thanks for visiting me and being epically patient with me and my useless temperamental (emphasis on the 'mental'!) brain! See you soon - Shroo :) xxx


  1. Good evening-I really want you to know that your blog posts and your friendship are a huge inspiration for me-I never ever would have even tried making a journal if it wasn't for your excellent tutorial and help along the way-
    I agree with you on shipping charges. two years ago here in the states for some reason they really raised the prices for first class international packages--so much so that I had to stop shipping international in my etsy shop-I will look into the costs first for a customer but I don't set it up for international because it is just too expensive. for a 5 ounce package which would include one bar of my handmade soap and the packaging is $17 .00 us I think that is craziness. If i want to send a friend a card and keep it around 2 ounces than I can send it for $2.50 which is a little more affordable. it is sad I think that they did this.
    I am so happy you posted these photos of your lovely bags-full of wonderfulness-hugs

    1. Hey Lady!! The friendship thing goes both ways ya know - and you should know that I totally have spinning-wheel/yarn envy. And deer.......... *sigh* *another sigh*

      Shipping charges suck. I mean - I know there's a lot of work involved in getting parcels across an ocean...that's not my issue. It's that there don't seem to be reasonable increments in fees's either pricey or insanely outrageously expensive! Nothing in between. To post one of my journals for anything less horrific than my listed costs, I - quite literally - have to wrap it tight in crappy ;ight corrugated cardboard and hope for the best. I mean....really? That wouldn't protect any damn thing! Even then there's a 50% chance it'll be a smidge over the designated barrier and WHOAH - add a kidney to the fees. At least if I list the way I do I can fill up the 'dead weight gap' with goodies. I try and make it so buyers receive extra stuff that at least equals their post fees - it seems only fair.

      Independant shipping companies are equally monstrous - unless you're Amazon, shipping squillions a packets every second. Pfff...... Grump, grump, grump........SUCH a complainey cow I am this evening! Where's the wine?! Big hugs- me xxx

    2. I am with ya on this shipping-very upsetting-even for me to ship to canada is the same as shipping over the ocean-and the us post is going down hill lately-very very poor service with people that don't care anymore very sad-the whole world has gone crazy too it seems-with all these terrorists running around-I am glad I am happy being a hermit-lol I have a bottle of white wine open at the moment-hugs

    3. Speaking as a wannabe hermit - you enjoy that glass of wine, missus! I have no doubt that you've earned it thrice over today! I'm off to dream of my longed-for cottage in the Scottish Highlands....Big hugs and a glass raised in 'cheers'! xxxxxx

    4. oh that sounds really nice-I have a long time blog friend-she is an artist-and she lives in Scotland-have a good nite-hugs for the Colonel-and you

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, lovely lady! Big hugs from Shroo:)xxx

  3. what beautiful work and ohhh my! I love that stash of colours :)

    1. Thank you so much! Yes - I love colour and would be lost without it. I have SUCH a weakness when I see rainbow colours altogether....this is why I will never be rich bit will have a Batcave stacked high with bright shiny craft supplies instead! And that will be A*W*E*S*O*M*E! Hugs from Shroo:)xxx

  4. Oooh, the journal bag is scrumptious!
    I agree about shipping costs, and don't even get me started on customs fees. It's not the VAT I mind paying it's the humungous great handling charge they slap on top of it

    1. I TOTALLY agree - customs fees are a joke. "Handling Fee"......shyeah'd think they'd schlepped the parcels across mountain ranges strapped to their backs for the fees they add! And did you know that if Customs (randomly and for a laugh) open and wreck your parcel contents, insurance won't pay out? Nor will Customs reimburse for the damage. *RAAARRRRR!!!!* *shakes a Skeletor fist at the sky in impotent yet heartfelt rage!* Sending mahoosive hugs - Shroo:)xxx

  5. First, I must respond to your thoughts on blogging and blog friends. I too love the friendships I have made through my blog. I'm grateful that I have found creative minds that are willing to share their projects and inspire others to explore our own creativity. I thank you. I found you just when I needed the push to express my thoughts on paper.

    So, what wonderful projects you are sharing with us today. Your use of bright colors is such a spiritual lift. I love your journals.

    I don't sell. But as a consumer, shipping charges can be a consideration on whether make a purchase. Most of what I buy on line is fabric and floss. I usually pack as much into one purchase as I can to make the most of the purchase while considering shipping charges. I am on a limited income, but if I find an item I really want that is not an impulse purchase, usually the shipping charges don't factor into my buying decision.

    1. Hello Lovely! Thank you for your fabulous comments. There's something truly wonderful about being able to share thoughts and ideas and creations with other creative people. Sometimes it's felt as if meeting like-minded people is a bit like trying to find a particular fish by stabbing a pin into a map of the world whilst blindfolded! There's such a kindness of spirit and generousness of heart in the people here in the arty blog world and it's something of a salvation.

      I'm really glad you chose a journal for yourself and I hope you enjoy making it a part of your life - it helps MASSIVELY. There's no pressure and your journal's never going to judge's a friend that will keep your secrets and allow you to be yourself - and yourself is fabulous, remember that!

      Thank you too for your thoughts on post fees. I'd agree that it's a big factor when buying - that's what worries me. I hate that someone would like something but would have to reconsider because of the additional charges. It's why I try and add as many extras as I can - I'm a worrier and I'm happy when other people are happy. I really appreciate your input - Sending big hugs to you and your family - Shroo:)xxx

  6. Life can be so complicated - some days (not nearly enough) are filled with joy and are gone in a blink of an eye...others are dreadful and drag on FOREVER. Happy to see you have had some of the joy!

    I am even happier to see this art bag! As soon as my recipient receives hers, watch my blog for pics my friend! These are totally awesome - I love each colorful strand! I am so grateful you went to the extra grateful!

    As for shipping costs...sheesh! And, it is not just the cost - try tracking something sent from the US to France/Italy/Austrailia! Cannot be done - that is even more frustrating to me than the costs. And don't even begin to mention HOW LONG IT TAKES....things can sit in Customs for weeks, and there is nothing to be done about it!

    I am a "loner" per se - my craft is my godsend. The fact that I am able to share it with social media (blogging, Facebook and such) is an outlet that is necessary to feel that I "belong"...that I have some relevance.

    Keep on keeping on - love what I am seeing here!!!!

    1. Hello, you wonderful woman you! Thank you for visiting and for your massively helpful comments. Life is indeed complicated - and I'm not one of those people who looks for complications, they just turn up on the doorstep with a bed-roll and a suitcase and stay well past their welcome limit. It does feel like problems are like unwanted lodgers and turfing them out is a battle every time. I never thought that blogging would be so cathartic...I really started to keep my mum cheered up when she was sick, but now it's becoming a part of me and I find myself really looking forward to the interactions I have with fellow bloggers. It's not like a room full of lodgers...more like a wonderful tea party with tea and cake and wonderful, inspirational people. It's an honour to be here and I'm surprised by how much joy it brings me.

      You've got me hooked on making bags and Kathy..... LOVING IT!!! I've been wanting to break back into playing with textiles for a while now so THANK YOU! I hope hope hope that your friend likes her parcel - hope it does justice to the love and care you show for her.

      Shipping costs....ugh. Yep - tracking is a joke. All it does is allow us to know when items are sent and when they're delivered - NOTHING in between! And the tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime it takes! Longest delivery times - 8 weeks to Brazil, 5 weeks to Italy and a massive 10 weeks to MALTA of all places....and all sent by priority mail. Seriously? I know those are extremes, but it's my worry every time I post that there's some lovely person just waiting (with no help from tracking again) and wondering what's going on. Everything shows up eventually, but it kinda beggars belief that in our wondrous technological age that the post services can't get their act together and be more efficient. If they did, maybe I wouldn't resent the fees so darned much!! Grrrrrrrr! *stomp stomp stomp*.

      Ok - tantrum over! Have some mahoosive hugs from me and a casual paw wave from The Colonel! xxxxxxxxxx

  7. That bag might be COMPLETELY impractical but it is so blimming HAPPY! It's gorgeous and I am sure the recipient loved it and felt the love pouring out of it.

    I getcha. You know. I REALLY getcha when it comes to people doing you wrong. I too was a mistrustful moo until it came to discovering Blogland, now, I can honestly say I have some of the best friends in the World. Unfortunately - they are SPREAD all over the World. And although I am a bit of a (OK, a HUGE) loner and am not the sort of person who socialises every weekend... any weekend... well, ever :P It would be nice to pop and see those chums now and again if only they lived nearer. y'know? By the way - you are one of those friends - I know we haven't known each other that long but you have been an amazing friend to me already .

    As for postal fees. Well - I am only really just starting selling so it hasn't affected me in that way but I have noticed when I want to buy from eBay or Etsy and it's overseas... I generally can't anymore as I can't pay the postage. Ohhhhh there has been some arty stuffs, prints, postcards I so want to buy. Just can't. And also it has affected swaps and challenges I can take part in if it involves postage overseas. *sad face*

    Muchos huggeroos to you and the suggly kitty x x x

  8. Awwwwww thank you you big gorgeous bundle of awesome you! I've just returned from my crap-ass therapist who made me feel like a big pile of poo (I very much think I'm not going again) and read your comment which has done me the world - nay - the UNIVERSE of good! It backs up what I said - people met through blogging are the best that the Universe provides. You're awesome, my friend, thank you for being you.

    As for post fees - I'm beginning to think we should all march on our local post providers' offices with pitchforks et al and demand that they not be such complete arseholes when it comes to pricing! Surely if we all don't shower for a week, don't brush our hair, eat nothing but garlic and allow over-applied make-up to run so we all look and smell like demented evil undead racoons they'll be so terrified that they'll listen to our demands and make post fees more reasonable.....erer.....reasonablererer. It's a word now. It's not extreme - it's justice!!! Moowahahaahahahaha!!!!

    You know i'm right! Any excuse to be arsey!! Me and The Colonel love ya loads and send hugs - Shroo:)xxx

  9. Hi Shroo. Catching up on a few blogs.

    That red velvet bag is truly bonkers, but bonkers is ok.

    And there's a whole heap of Shroo love going on. Which is just great. A few peeps I know are letting their blogs slip in favour of FB. But I agree - blogs are just great.

    Hilary xx

    1. You're right - 'bonkers' IS ok fact, it's more than ok - it's awesome! Too much in life is mundane and fenced in by the opinions of others. Sometimes colour and the love of something creative and tactile is all that's required to feel some joy and freedom. Thank you so much for stopping by - hugs from Shroo:)xxx

  10. Am liking the Jazz hands... jazz hands always make a good start :-) What a totally wonderful array of delicious bright and cheery colours, it all looks good enought to eat. I've never tried to make a journal but these do make it a very tempting project to try. I guess part of my problem is not knowing what to use it for after its made. One thing I am doing in March is attending a multimedia workshop in which we will all make little 'books'..........really looking forward to that and I'll be sure to show the end result.

    1. Lovely lady - whatEVER you make will be GORGEOUS! You're so creative and your art is ....I do't know how to's like actually lookiing through your eyes and FEELING the things you see and paint. Your art looks like it captures a thought or a moment - and I love that. It's beautiful, honest and captivating. If you make a journal it'll be every inch a part of yoru creative self and will, as a result, be epic! Hope your multimedia workshop is fabulous and that you enjoy every second! Hugs from Shroo:)xxx