Tuesday, 11 December 2007


The partner of any scrapbooker who has been scrapping a while will already know WHAT NOT TO TOUCH.

However it would be more helpful if from time to time the household scrapper could refresh the memory of the partner as to specific boundaries. Little scissor things I notice, are particularly valued. Misuse of these leads to certain pain for the scrapbook widower.

Lately Mrs Grendel has been the beneficiary of a larger scrapping room, an iPod and Speakers to scrap along to tunes with, a refurbished desk to use as a standing desk and a new hard drive for storage of photos.

Shortly I’ll also be trying to buy her a station wagon to make it easier to transport those big plastic crates that seem to be essential for toting scrapping stuff.

When all is said and done, Mrs Grendel’s scrapping environment will have improved considerably in 2007. She did most of the work herself mind you so I can’t complain.

However, I think I’d like a pair of scissors of my own now.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Hobby Disasters

This morning my Faema Family espresso machine was not working. This happens with old machines from time to time and as soon as I can buy the parts I'll have it working again. It's pretty hard starting the day without that nice rich shot of Yemen, or Harrar, or whatever it is I have roasted each week.

Mrs Grendel on the other hand has no such problem with her hobby - it seems that the scrapping tools serve multiple purposes and looking around the room right now I am trying to see if there is anything with which she could not do without - in the short term.

Are there any scrapping essentials without which the scrapping hobby is brought to a total and complete grinding halt?

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Looming Dangers of Christmas

As a coffee snob I see Christmas as a time of great peril.

As the scrapbook widower I face dual perils - but I'll address the slightly less perilous perils of coffeesnobbery first.

Its not that our favourite cafes all close through the Christmas/New Year period – after all, our home setup can usually manage the provision of caffeination essentials.

Its not that warmer whether affects our coffee drinking – we just move to short macs, ristrettos and espresso and add affogato and iced coffee to the daily menu.

The danger comes from gifts.

Yes, well-meaning friends and relatives, aware that we are ‘keen’ on coffee, seek out the kind of gift that is charmingly rendered into small baskets, or accompanied by antique styled hand grinders (NOT Zassenhaus!) and always, or almost always, accompanied by a bag of ‘100% arabica’ coffee beans that were roasted some time in 2006 and have an implausible Best Before date some time in the next decade.

It is of course quite different when a close family member or partner who has carefully consulted with you over the course of the year presents you with exactly the item you identified as desirable. And likewise when a fellow coffee snob gifts you with a festively decorated bag of your favourite Single Origin it is indeed a moment of joy.

But beware the aunt or uncle who feels it necessary to foist the ‘Best Italian’ roasted bean upon you, or that packet of pre-ground PNG coffee they got at the airport in Port Moresby.

The best you can do is smile graciously and accept the gift in the spirit which it was given while you sob on the inside for the tragedy of the beans so cruelly treated.

I write this with an open catalogue beside me, a catalogue that fills me with dread. 10% of the entire glossy tome is devoted to Christmas coffee hampers – all filled with coffee of a brand who’s name sounds like that state South of NSW. . .

However, as a coffee snob and the husband of a scrapbooker there is one much much more perilously perilous peril.

Buying scrapping presents.

In short answer, having trod this minefield and lost limbs in earlier years, my firm recommendation to other scrapbook widowers is - DON'T.

Unless you really really know what she wants, and she has given you explicit guidance on the object to buy and the store to buy it from (this seems to be oddly important for scrappolitical reasons) you are much better off just giving her cash.

Or a new credit card if you are feeling daring.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Not Cool!

Mrs Grendel has come to terms with the fact that the boys and I are a permenant presence in her scrapping room and I thought that the installation of an air conditioner might be a suitable reward, one $370 later we are the proud owners of a split system to keep the scrapping room and the computers and their attendants cool.

Nothing prepared any of us for the possibility that installation might cost twice what the aircon did.

A real D'oh moment - especially since we don't have that kind of D'oh lying around.

So what do we do? - I'm thinking we try taking the aircon back to the aircon shop and getting a refund (its unopened) and then maybe dangling icecubes in front of a fan for this year.

Not sure how that might go over with the scrapping queen though.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Nom de Blog

This is a post I made on my other blog, but just as relevent here.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I thought: "I really should write a blog post to explain why 'Grendel' is my blogging name".

Then I had a truly original thought "Hey - a blogging name is a 'Nom De Blog'!"

Of course, when I Googled 'Nom de Blog' this morning I found 59,400 results, this post will make that 59401 - so much for an 'original thought'!

Sadly I have not coined a new term, and has even been defined in online dictionaries.

Ah well - doesn't change the purpose of this post!


Grendel is a march-stepper, a 'boundary-land walker', and an antagonist of the hero Beowulf. He is described in an early anglo-saxon epic 'Beowulf' that is found in the Nowell Codex and as such represents one of (if not the earliest) anglo-saxon work of fiction written and recorded.

JRR Tolkien - a professor of the Anglo-Saxon language, knew the saga well and inevitebly elements of the story found their way into his own fiction.

A march-stepper was one who wandered the desolate reaches of a land and they could be both admired and feared for they spent their lives away from the closeness of a village existing amongst the monsters of the mind and the night that anglo-saxons feared.

Years ago, I was studying to be an english and science teacher and while much of the literature we discussed was modern, we did have a lecturer with an interest in earlier works. References to Beowulf, Grendel and Heorot were made and peaked my interest for I had only recently read a science fiction story by Larry Niven called 'Legacy of Heorot' in which a creature that comes to be known as a 'grendel' terrorizes the recent arival on a planet.

All of a sudden I had some context for the modern story from the early one and my interest in the characters and situation of the early anglo-saxon tale has continued since that time.

My career has in some ways also stretched my comfortable boundaries making me a 'march stepper' to myself and at times I seemed to end up working 'on the edge' of situations more often than not.

Now of course my life is a lot more settled and the wildernesses that I range now are more of the imaginative and intellectual types.

When choosing a name to use online, I chose Grendel - I still don't really know why, but I've used it in online games, forums, bulletin boards, chats and blogs for a decade now and I notice that there are a lot of other 'grendels' out there these days. It seems the character has become quite popular and used in modern literature and event comic strips. There is a computer array known as a grendel and more recently a number of movies about the events at Heorot.

It seems that one of the earliest stories and its characters will live on for quite some time. Googling images of 'Grendel' delivers a bewildering array including some wonderful sketches of a dark and mysterious monster, lurid covers from comic books and even (curiously) a small white child's shoe with flowers on it.

Nothing at all to do with coffee or scrapbooking eh?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Howard and Rudd – Christian Confidential

John Howard and Kevin Rudd will be using a webcast to address voters this week, but only Christian Voters.

In a message tailored for Christian audiences alone, Howard and Rudd will lay forth their positions on a number of issues. To access to the webcast your church as to register here by noon tomorrow: http://www.australiavotes.org/index.php

But what if you are not in a church, or like me, not a Christian?

Has my relevance slipped because I am not a Christian – am I no longer interested in what they have to say about issues that are important to one segment on the population?

I’d suggest that I am very interested and as part of a democratic process I am appalled to see access to the presentation limited to only the members of “The Club”.

Sure, the media have access and will report on the webcasts – but I’d like the unfiltered, unspun version, straight from the horses’ mouths.

I support the concept of speaking with a message for a particular group and I think it is important for Christians to hear the positions of political leaders on matter that are important to them – but excluding the non-Christian population sends a message that somehow they are perhaps less worthy to participate in the discussions that are likely to centre on moral and ethical as well as religious (Christian) issues.

The event has been organised by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and is being held at the National Press Club – strange then that at an event of this importance the content should be restricted ‘to Christians only’.

ACL seeks to drive policy change to support the Christian viewpoint – which is fair enough since that is what they are founded to do, but for a broader impact why not make the webcast available to every Australian?

If I were one of the supporters of ACL I’d be asking why the opportunity to witness to non-Christian Australians was being lost – or perhaps they think we’ll misconstrue the message?

I wonder if the restriction of access to churches only was something that came from ACL – or was a request of the political parties involved in the webcast?

On the website for the broadcast they have an FAQ section. One of the questions is in fact:

Q. I am not a Christian or member of any church, can I watch the webcast?

A. Unfortunately, Mr Howard and Mr Rudd will be specifically addressing the Christian voter and only churches and Christian organisations will be able to register for the webcast. However, media will have the opportunity to attend the Canberra event and will be freely available to report on the speeches.

Okaaaay – specifically addressing the Christian Voter? When our political leaders speak, they are always potentially speaking to the whole country and while I am happy, nay ecstatic that they address specific segments, that address should be equally available to all whenever possible – I would understand an attendance restriction if it were in a venue that could only hold a few people – but this is being broadcast on the web.

Not Happy, John.

And Kevin.

And especially ACL.

Am I just being Unreasonable?

Rant over – back to your scrapping!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007


I've given my other blog a facelift and now I am seriously considering some options for this one! As it is read by many people with a sense of design style any suggestions will be considered.


Blackle is the brainchild of Australian outfit Heap Media who figured out that a black background for Google searches would diminish the power output required by the monitor to display search results.

Not sure how much power it saves (especially for LCD monitors), but I like the creative thinking! I wonder if using black paper would save scrapping energy. . .

I reckon this blog might get a 'green' power-saving face-lift shortly.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Scrapping Anthems

Mrs Grendel often likes to listen to music while she scraps. Unfortunately we don't have a stereo in our house, but I recently bought her an iPod for the gym and hopefully we shall shortly have some speakers to go with that.

Do scrappers generally listen to music while they scrap - and does the scrapping influence the music choice or does the music change the way you scrap?

I just suddenly had a potentially incongruous picture in my head of a heavily pierced teenager listening to thrash metal while delicately placing pretty little floral embellishments. . .

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

No Scrap Day

Or in fact perhaps a scrap free weekend.

I predict that no (or very little) scrapping will occur this weekend as I have ordered a copy of the new and final Harry Potter book for Mrs Grendel. In fact out outrageously ordered TWO copies so that I don't have to wait.

Now - can anyone take our children for the weekend?

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Scrapbooking ALL of your Family

I believe that the following is inevitable.

Scrapbooking is resource intensive, and the movement towards the cycle of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” are even now having an impact on the craft.

However there is much about the family home that could be added in to the mix. Pieces of broken costume jewellery, toys and knickknacks for starters, and eventually home made acid free paper. Now many of the best grades of paper contain fragments of rag or cloth which is bleached and blended with high grade wood pulp.

The home is a marvellous source of materials for making paper and I confidently predict that in the not too distant future we will see thrifty scrappers producing their own paper into which is blended the very essence of their families – their Navel Lint.

Yes, just think of the opportunities – each family member could have their own cardstock made from their very own Navel Lint and it doesn’t end there!

How precious will those family memories become when you know that they are preserved on fibres that originated in the site of the umbilical link between the scrapper and her offspring (in the case of a motherscrapper!). Indeed can there be a more poignant way to preserve the precious moments of your family?

Family Navel Lint is an unlimited resource – but I can foresee a rise in flannelette shirt wearing around the nation to increase production levels. No doubt some will stoop to substituting lint from the clothes dryer when Navel Lint supplies run short, but I am equally certain that such an act will be viewed with disdain by the hard core of the scrapping world.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Salvation is at Hand

Fear not oh Hordes of Scrappers, salvation is at hand, your expeditions to IKEA need not end abruptly again - IKEA have now opened a hostel for those shoppers who cannot finish their shopping - see the Guardian story here

I expect Mrs Grendel will be making a series of week long visits. . .

Monday, 18 June 2007

Autistic Pride Day

Today is Autistic Pride Day.

And I am proud of my son, he's a wonderful boy BECAUSE he has autism and while we may find his behaviours challenging at times it does not change the fact that he gives a lot to those around him and we are grateful for him just as he is.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Scrapping with feeling

This blog seems to have attracted the attention of some very passionate scrappers.

I am a great fan of diving into hobbies with passion. It is much more entertaining that way.

I encourage people however to look beyond partisanship and embrace compassionate scrapbooking. (ahh election season. . .)

I love it even more when logic and passion are combined and my challenge to the scrappers is to correctly interpret the following maxim in the context of current discussions on the "Cold War" post.

All ducks are birds but not all birds are ducks

At present many of the comments are proving my point, which while entertaining for me, hardly gives me more to work with!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Drinking Hazards

One of the lesser known drinking hazards is watching the 7.30 report on the ABC after 3 glasses of wine.

Engaging in this practice can lead to intemperate posts such as the one that follows.

I'm not overly fond of pulp mills. I understand their necessity but would rather do without paper thank you very much.

My ire is aroused when I see representatives of pulp paper companies (in this case Gunns) Clumsily defending the mill they wish to build on the Tamar River by declaring that their mill will bring (of all things) more tourism to Tasmania.


You have got to be kidding.

This post is totally non-coffee or scrapbooking related, except perhaps in as much that had I been drinking coffee or watching Mrs Grendel Scrapbook, rather than drinking Cabernet Sauvignon, it would not have been made.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Small People

Mrs Grendel is off at one of those Scrapbooking and Craft fair thingies.

This one has been going for 5 days which is just waaaaaay to long if you ask me. 5 Days to get around Disneyland I can understand, maybe even 5 days in Sydney or Melbourne, 5 Days trekking in coffee growing country - absolutely! - but a 5 Day craft fair?

I'm waiting for the leak from a scrapper about what REALLY goes on.

Anyway I think the strain is too much for some scrappers - particularly some of those from the 'Creative Reminiscences' side of the game (think Amway for scrappers).

Mrs grendel was working near to a stand where a well known scrapbooker had been invited (as opposed to purchased space at the show) to display her work. It was one of the attractions of the fair - and very popular (well to scrapbookers, to scrapper's partners it was yet one more place to pass by on the way to the bar).

I digress.

It was a large and well thought-out display and the artist was there to meet and greet. Apparently some of the 'Amway-of-scrappers' crowd decided that they had had enough of the limelight being given to someone else and they took it upon themselves to come past and 'revile loudly' the display - they were, I heard quite nasty in their comments, cruel in fact. And loud.

From what I can understand - there are some in the CR crowd who are CR zealots and for them there "is no scrapbooking but CR". And anyone who uses product other than theirs is:

a) not really a scrapbooker
b) not a good person
c) probably eats babies

I know some people who use and sell CR (including my sister) - they are not like this at all, so I would like to go to great pains to say that I don't believe that this was anything but small minded pettiness on the part of 4 or 5 individuals, the aforementioned zealots. That being said, it can't help but reflect badly on CR if their partisans act in this way, publicly and loudly.

There must be thousands of CR people in Australia, all lovely, polite and considerate, but the 4 or 5 not-so-nice ones in the country just had to rear their out-of-joint noses eh?

Scrapbooking fundamentalism - I've touched on it before and in ANY field at all there is always a small group of people who seem to delight in dragging others down - in this case I'd suggest that pettiness and jealousy are not good sales pitches.

It rhymes you see.

With pitches.

Oh that was fun - shall we do it again for next year's craft show?

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Sustainable Scrapbooking

Is scrapping sustainable.

Do scrappers have carbon offsets/credits?

The market is ripe, really, really ripe for some clever entrepenuer in the scrapbooking world to create a line of sustainably produced, fairly traded scrapbooking products.

A fellow coffee lover, 'Vawz' had a link on his blog to this place: A Year of Living Generously.This was a great discovery for me and while I relieved to find that I am already doing a number of the actions, I was appalled to see how many simple things I could be doing and am not.

I know that within the realm of coffee I am making more efforts than in the past to select beans that are from sustainable growers and that are fairly traded. Also when possible I buy dry process beans (less water) but generally coffee is a fairly good crop in terms of water use. Decaf, and 'Instant coffee' are more of a problem - lucky for me that I drink neither!

This is a great opportunity for people to commit to small actions that can make a difference, and to make others aware of actions they can take.Worth a look and if you live up my way you are welcome to join the Grendel 'Household' Brighton (South - as in 'not the UK' Brighton).

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Scrapper's Emails

Scrapbookers have amazing communications networks, the kind of networks multinational organisations would drool over and that are only approached in complexity by the Mafia.

Emails seem to fly back and forth and I estimate that of total global bandwidth Scrapbooking comes a close second in total consumption.

The first naturally is pornography.

Arriving in the mailbox today was this:
That would explain the tread pattern I find on our sheets each morning. . .

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Busy, busy, busy

I've been too busy with my hobby to blog about Mrs Grendel's hobby. In fact I've been so busy with my hobby even she is blogging about my hobby.

The Coffee For a Cause fundraiser is tearing along and we have delivered almost all the beans.

I never thought coffee would be such a hit as a fundraiser but it seems to be - much to my relief.

Now I am just waiting until someone can come up with a way to use coffee beans as embellishments (not easy as they are full of oil and quite acidic. . .)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Horrible Thoughts

In my office at work I have a lovely red framed drawing by Junior Grendel Number One.

This is his first drawing of a person - Mummy in fact.

Being the partner of a scrapbooker I have suddenly had a horrible thought.

"Did he use Acid Free paper and textas?"

You see what scrapping is doing to me!

Monday, 7 May 2007


Well, after months of waiting, lots of dollars and much painting by Mrs Grendel her new "Studio" is ready for her to start shifting into. I'm not sure how it happened, but somehow we now have a "Studio".

Funny - when it was in this room we called it an "Office" but now, quite definitely it is officially a "Studio".

I'm not sure how that change in nomenclature bodes for future shared resource use in the "Studio" but we shall see, we shall see. . .

Sunday, 6 May 2007

F F F F F Fashion

One thing I have noticed about scrapbooking in general and Mrs Grendel in particular is that like clothing, scrapping has its fashions.

These can relate to the way things are placed on a page, the style and length of journalling, embellishment types, sizes, numbers and materials, paper style, paper colours, paper patters, album types, tools, stamps, stickers or any perplexing combination of these.

So why does Mrs Grendel buy so much paper in one go? Oh I understand the economics of the bulk purchase, but is there the risk that a sudden change in vogue will leave her holding massive amounts of stock that have no currency in the new regime?

Oh yes, I am talking about the big one - just like the stock market crash of 1929 can a scrapper be left holding wads of essentially worthless paper?

I worry a little because while Mrs Grendel is enjoying the new space in her scrap room, from my position on the bed in the master bedroom I can see right into the scraproom and see the rows of paper - surely there must be some actuarial activity to determine the level of risk we are facing should current favourites fall out of favour?

I suppose it might be possible to just hold onto the stock and hope it gains some kind of 'scrapper's cred' again, or sell it on Evilbay to those who haven't caught on to the shift in the market but I would be lying if I said that this wasn't causing me sleepless nights and the occasional cardstock nightmare!


I got 'tagged' a few days back but not knowing about tagging it has taken me some time to get around to responding - I won't go on to tag others simply because I don't know that many people to tag who would not already have been tagged, anyway I am prevaricating about the bush. . .

This is all Chrissie's fault so you can blame her!

The rules are to list 7 random facts/habits about yourself. The next rule is to choose people which I am wimping out of - so just the one rule really!

Seven random fact eh?


  1. I always imagined that being a public servant was for thick lazy people who just couldn't hack it in the private sector. Oh boy is THAT a wrong assumption. I'm working with some of the sharpest minds with energised and dedicated people who KEEP TURNING DOWN OFFERS from the private sector because they want to make government better.

  2. I loathe politicians that follow the crowd as much as I loathe those who think they are leading with vision even though their eyes are blinded by their own high opinion of themselves.

  3. I've always been a coffee snob and I didn't know it until 3 years ago.

  4. I have never been back to the place I was born.

  5. I can ask for a beer and directions to the toilet in 12 languages (the essentials!).

  6. Writing is something I like to do and would like to do more of - even though my job is largely writing.

  7. If I don't read 2-3 books each week it usually means I am having a bad week.

Saturday, 5 May 2007


Those of you who have been reading here from time to time may be aware that I am a Coffee Snob - and more, I write a Coffee Blog (shameless plug link).

Mrs Grendel was concerned for a number of years that I had no hobbies - and this was mostly true - I used to have hobbies but when we moved to the city they just weren't convenient any more.

For example I used to build and launch rockets. This was fine out in the desert where I could launch from a sparse ironstone plain with no aircraft to worry about and nothing to catch fire.

Then there was shooting - it was easy to get out to the range when it was a 10 minute drive away, but in the city, with no car it is just not the done thing to grab your rifle, jump on the train and ride out to the range on public transport (people seem to get a little nervous).

Fishing was great when we lived on the coast in the tropics, but here you need to own a boat - unless you have a penchant for plentiful herring that can be caught off the beach, which I do not.

Mrs Grendel has thrown herself fully into scrapping, but here was I, with nothing to do but read (bliss!).

The hobby bug bit me too though when I just could not get good coffee and started to roast my own. I think that my hobby is pretty different to scrapping (OK - of course it is bloody different) after all, after I create a roast, we drink it and it is gone, never to be seen again and I can never ever replicate the same roast exactly.

Like the sand mandala of Tibetan Buddhism, a coffee roast is transitory so you strive to make each one as beautiful as you can, enjoy it fully while you have it and have no regrets when it is gone.

Scrapping though is more permanent - you are preserving moments in time, fixing them into place.

From one perspective it would be possible to suggest that the philosophy oh Mrs Grendel's Hobby and my Hobby are in opposition, but since she so often works on her layouts while drinking my coffee I think I prefer to see them as complimentary.

Friday, 4 May 2007


Is scrapbooking the tapestry of the 21st century?

Traditionally there seems to be an art form that defines an era - often the art form is determined in part by the materials available - rock paintings when basic earth pigments were in vogue, clay statues when hand molding was fashionable, marble when sculpture was all the rage, Tapestry when you lived inside cold grey stone walls that just cried out for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to go with those sconces. . .

Painting has been the mainstay of the last 2500 years or so - although the Roman flirtation with mosaics certainly left some wonderful (if somewhat ribald) examples of what it is possible for one human to do with another. The Greeks certainly managed a similar level of self-expression on their pottery which has perhaps led to some popular misconceptions about the masculinity of young Greeks - my theory is that the more obscene pieces were more likely to survive down through the ages because they had been so well hidden away at the back of closets, under beds or in attics of ancient Greek dwellings.

The Egyptian culture seems to try to tie it all together with sculpture, paintings, papercrafts and - mummification. Since you had to be dead to have all this lavished upon you, and then it was all buried, it does seem unlikely to have been a desired personal selection of crafts - the main criteria of 'death first' would have guaranteed that most people would have avoided taking up these hobbies for as long as possible. I must say though that once they did it was all done with some flair.

Paintings today are not cheap to acquire or to create so photography remains the most common way to decorate the walls in many homes.

Scrapping - including 'off-the-page' examples seems to be taking on a growing role in the home but we have not (yet) seen the likes of the Bayeux tapestry from the scrapping world - I just guess we are waiting for the right cardstock for that one.

I have earlier raised the ire of some scrapper by asking "Is Scrapping a Fad" but rather than venture back into that uncertain wilderness I will instead ask "How much bigger will scrapping get" and do scrappers really want it that much bigger anyway?

How much is too much before what is a popular hobby for many becomes something that you do because everyone does it - or will that never happen?

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Done like a Dinner

I reckon all the scrapbookers can go over and gloat here with Mrs Grendel because the green paint is on the walls, the desk has been moved in, shelves filled with albums and not a surround sound home theatre system to be seen.

Yes, Mrs Grendel's scrapping studio is finished - apart from some electrical work and a little drilling on my part.

Junior Grendel Number 2 got in on the act by helping with the painting as only a 3-yr old knows how and while we still have to paint the doors and the hall and install the cooler it is substantially finished.

The whole re-arrangement means that we now have a designated play area for children and a play area for adults. My next project is out in there garage where I want to get it all cleaned up and a good stainless steel bench installed to place my coffee machine on.

That, however may have to wait until our next IKEA visit.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Scrap Room

Mrs Grendel has been busy painting the scrap room and it is almost ready for her to move in - we are still needing the sparky to come through and wire up lots of new lights and power points but apart from that it is nearly done. I however am in my 4th week of sinus headaches and it does not seem to be getting any better. This has put a crimp in my writing as it is hard to write when you have a headache. Off for a CT scan so the doctor can have a better look inside my skull.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Friday, 20 April 2007

Only in Japan

The Tokyo Times today reports the latest development in scrapbooking technology from the Majinichi Scrapbooking Technology Centre in Kyoto.

'Scrappeena' is the latest of the humanoid form robots produced collaboratively with the Sony Robotics Laboratory and incorporates a wide range of functions that will allow people to use the robot to complete most scrapbooking tasks. 'Scrappeena' comes complete with inbuilt photo printer, cutting and embossing system, OPT optical imaging system, micro-servo controlled page and embellishment placement and USB capability for design input from a PC.

'Scrapeena' is the brainchild of Dr Notsosuni Makiti. Dr Makiti's wife, Hanako is president of the Japanese National Guild of Scrapbooking and Stamping and the robot was built to allow her more time to spend with the family. Dr Makiti said that "Robots are the way of the future for Japan. The population is aging and we do not have enough people to assist the elderly with daily tasks. It is fitting that robots should be used also to allow people to enjoy their hobbies."

"I never see my wife, she is always off at Crop Nights (scrapbooking events) or in her hobby room. We have lost the intimacy that we once shared and I hope that the robot will be able to take over some of the less creative chores and allow Hanako spend more time with me."

Although 'Scrapeena' is a prototype it is understood that production models will be available from late 2010.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Shocked and Appalled

April 3! I haven't blogged here since April 3.

Since then I've had a birthday, eaten too many Easter Eggs, met a coffee grower (my coffee hobby), calculated how many billions of dollars we need for disability services and been used as a scrapbooking embellishment twice (or was I a subject - not sure!).

We also started painting the 'Scrapping Room' and any hopes I might have had for it becoming a dual purpose "Scrapping and Home Theatre' room were immediately scotched by the green paint I applied to the walls on Sunday - not at all conducive to movie watching!

I've also been too tired to Blog much lately - sad, but there you go, life interferes with hobbies sometimes.

Our local shots are fairly new and some of the shops are just being leased. The most recent to open is a pizza shop and we tried (and enjoyed) their pizza recently. They make square pizzas and have a jumbo size that is really enormous. Consequently its box is of corresponding brobdinagian proportions. Mrs Grendel (in a moment of what I sincerely hope was idle speculation) voiced an interest in the kinds of scrapbooking supplies that could be shipped in a 24 inch pizza box (as opposed to the 12 inch size that so many supplies seem to transit the country in).

I must confess that the thought of a 24 inch binder and 24 inch pages leaves me quite breathless in horror - double the glue, at least double the embellishments and I can imagine the cost of the large-format printer AND its ink cartridges would be nothing short of astronomical.

So please scrappers, a little sanity, just because there is a pizza box of 24 inches it doesn't mean you have to fill it, a 12 inch box is a meal in itself.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


Well, we survived the absence of Mrs Grendel for the weekend. There were some moments when the boys and I were not friends, but that happens (as they say).

Lately we have had a party every weekend and this continued this weekend with a birthday party on Saturday at yet another one of those kids play places.

Invariably they are called 'jungle something' or 'totally something else' or 'Wild thing' or a variation on this theme. Loud, crowded and bad coffee, but the kids love them. Not much opportunity to talk scrapbooking for any scrapping mums there though by the look of it.

By Sunday all three of us had collapsed in a heap waiting for mummy to come home, Jnr Grendel Number One and I took turn playing 'tanks' (Command and Conquer - Generals) then he brought me a white sheet of paper and said: "look Dad, I've been scrapcooking".

There in his hands was a sheet with Mrs Grendel's scrapping stickers stuck all over it. It was very nicely done, but not sure if it was what Mrs Grendel had in mind for those stickers.

Fortunately though they were surplus sheets she'd given him - from his own scrapping box of scrapping scraps.

Which leads me to wonder why it is called scrapbooking when all of the materials used are bought new, maintained in pristine condition and discarded when they are actually 'scraps'.

'High Grade Paper and Expensive Embellishent Archival Decorative Album System' may not be as catchy as 'scrapbooking, but I reckon it is more accurate!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Major Operation

I'm starting to understatand how planners at Defence feel when the national leaders announce that we are going to invade someone in a large dusty country with a hostile populace.

Mrs Grendel is going on a scrapbooking retreat and the logistics of the operation would put a peacekeeping force to shame and would not be dissimilar to the recent arrangements for 'W's' War.

There is a pile of equipment, emergency rations, odd shaped cases and a highly secret folder of sensitive scrapping materials.

Then there are the transport arrangements - heavy cargo transports for all the gear and people movers for scrappers.

I've been drafted into the Home Guard for the weekend and will do my utmost to defend our home - with frozen swedish meatballs if necessary.

I have a large stock of coffee beans (well to tell the truth I ALWAYS have a large stock of coffee beans) for roasting which would have kept me at home except I have to make a skirmish to a kids party at one of those really loud kids party places on Saturday.

Now, where's my IPod?

Sunday, 25 March 2007

The Perfect Scrap

After intense analysis of the science and art of scrapbooking I have determined the parameters of the perfect scrapbooking photograph.

  1. It must be something you can write about
  2. It must have colour or movement
  3. It must have children, animals or both
  4. It is best set outdoors, preferably in a rural environment
  5. Props are a must
  6. Funny helps too
And thus I present today's Masterpeice - 'Grendel's Patent Scrapbooking Image- Model 1.0'

Saturday, 24 March 2007

An Easter Tale

I'm going to cross-post this on both my blogs so if you read both, sorry for the repetition.

Junior Grendel Number One is 5 and attends pre-school at the local Catholic School which is round the corner from our place. They have been doing the Easter Story in class preparing for a pre-school Passion Play at Easter.

Yesterday as we drove past the School Junior Grendel Number One and Junior Grendel Number Two were talking in the back when they noticed where we were.

Junior Grendel Number Two: "Wook Awacky - there your school"

Junior Grendel Number One: "Yes, and there is the big X we made today"

"Big X" says Grendel "what big X?"

"The big X the soldiers put Jesus on" says Junior Grendel Number One.

Then in the appropriate sing-song he continued: "Jesus came and said 'I'm the king of the castle and you're all dirty rascals' and all the other kings got really mad about this and told their soldiers to hit Jesus really hard and hammer him on the cross"

At this point I am straining against the seat belt and Mrs Grendel was swerving dangerously across the road as we collapsed in laughter.

It is amazing how kids intermingle what they learn in class with what they hear from their classmates, but that one was a classic.

Friday, 23 March 2007

The Scrapping Room

For some reason I now seem to be referring to what was 'future site of a home theatre' as the 'scrapping room'.

I think I'll have to make a push for the more neutral 'The Office'.

Still needs painting in there! Mrs Grendel keeps filling the weekends up with kids parties (or is that the kids filling our weekends up with their parties?)

I've never known two boys that get invited to so many parties.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Five Stages of Scrapbooking

Anyone who took psychology as a minor subject will have received the basic psych package that included Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need and the K├╝bler-Ross model of five discrete emotional stages when dealing with loss.

While not entirely convinced of the applicability of either of these models to humans generally, there are in fact echoes of each of these models within the world of scrapbooking.

They are symbiotic and synergistic – that is, neither of these models could exist or operate independantly of the other. The models reflect the positions of two individuals within a relationship with the addition of a third factor that might be argued by some as catalytic although some hold the view that this third factor is best represented as a reactant.

The two individuals have oppositional roles, but in some cases can appear more collaborative than competative. This greater cooperation does not appear to impact on the models as they will be described further.

We shall term the first individual as the ‘scrapper’. Their role is essentially a creative role – using resources to creat aesthetically pleasing objects.

The second individual is the ‘non-scrapper’ or ‘scrapper’s partner’. This role is one of finding resources and providing these for the scrapper’s use.

The behaviour of the two individuals can be loosely bounded by two distinct continuums that define stages as they progress in shaping their own role. It must be cautiously noted that not all scrappers, or scrapper’s partners may pass through each of the stages or in the order that they are described. In a general sense, observed behaviours do however follow these patterns.

For a Scrapper: The role of the Scrapper we shall describe as ‘Grendel’s Hierarchy of Scrap’

Tangible – “What am I going to do with my photos?” or perhaps “I need a hobby” or even
“Hey that album is a lot nicer than my old one”

Perpetuation – “I’m not sure I like this hobby much, I’m terrible at it, but I’ve spent so much money on the tools and paper that if I don’t use it all he’ll be grumpy for a month!”

Positioning – “I’m getting good at this – my layouts are better than most of those in the magazines!”

Esteem – “I’ve been published – my layouts ARE better than hers!”

Transcendence – “Oh no, I don’t bother to send layouts in for consideration anymore, I’m just doing it for the art.”

For a Scrapper's Partner: The role of the Scrapper's Partner we shall describe as ‘Grendel’s Five Realisations of Being a Scrapper’s Partner’

Denial – The usual first stage – “This won’t last, it’s just a brief (expensive) fad”

Fear – “My god she’s been at this for six months and shows no sign of slowing up!”

Bargaining – “Perhaps you should think about a Scrapping related business to help sustain the hobby? Then it would also be a tax deduction!”

Retaliation – “Time for an expensive hobby of my own”

Acceptance – “We can’t keep this up, I’d better sell the fishing boat/golf clubs/glider/drag racer/Harley/Satellite communications array. . .”

(as a final note, the peak of Maslow’s Hierarchy is ‘self actualisation’ and the creation of aesthetically pleasing objects is usually considered one way of fulfilling this need so it might be argued that scrappers have full lives that meet all of the lower order needs. Make of that what you will!)

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Scrapping lo-res

We don't have access to the usual camera at the moment so all photos are being taken on our 2-megapixel phone cameras.

I enjoy the challenge, but Mrs Grendel does not so much.

I haven't googled it yet - but I wonder if there are any scrapping styles to incorporate 'grainy' stuff like this one from my camera:

I actually reckon its an interesting shot - but as it features no people at all I don't see much hope of it ever being scrapped.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Why the Dinosaurs did not survive the flood

And the Lord said to Noah, "You must build an Ark large enough to accommodate a male and female of all the creatures of the earth. I’ve dressed some timber for you down by the water edge so that you can get a good start – whaddya say to that?"

And Noah looked upon the pile of lumber the Lord had wrought and said “Oh most mighty lord, do you think you could perhaps perform they mighty milling work a little more, perhaps about 40% more dressed cedar and oak?”

The Lord was puzzled and said “My Child surely you do not doubt my calculations for the amount of timber you will need for a vessel that will hold two of each of the creatures of the earth?”

“Oh indeed not Lord” quoth Noah, “but did you consider the shelving I’ll need for the Noah family scrapbook albums, the Ark’s scrapbooking studio and 40 days and 40 nights worth of paper, embellishments and bindings?”

"Hmmmm" considered the Lord, "I seem to be a little short of good lumber, show me that boarding manifest again. . ."

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Scraplight Zone

Harry Potter, boy wizard and nemesis of the evil Lord Voldemort is able to slip between the muggle world and the magical world with great ease - including into a magical Dickins-esque shopping precinct known as Diagon Alley.

Today, I too was transported between worlds when Mrs Grendel asked that we stop on the way home at a scrapbooking shop.

Now there seems to be no end of names that people come up with for scrapbooking stores, all of which seem to manage to include 'scrap'.

Up until fairly recently any store with the name 'scrap' in its title could usually be reliably assumed to be inhabited by hairy, unwashed blokes and their pit pull cross breeds one of which is almost certainly named 'Satan'.

It is a somewhat different experience then to cross over into the alternate universe that is a scrapbooking store. They are, as a rule inhabited by non-hirsute and very hygienically inclined ladies without a canine presence to be found.

Today we were in a store name 'Scraptivate', one of the better efforts in the nomenclature of scrapping retail in my opinion. All of these stores seem to come with a website - must be part of the franchise. . .

It was also ordered in a way that even a non-scrapping partner such as myself can understand and it had a nice selection of tools, albeit pastel coloured and undersized but recognisable facsimiles of the real thing.

Mrs Grendel goes into shivers of ecstasy in a place like this, wall to wall racks of paper, thousands of embellishments - miniaturized and flattened objects, so that like the ancient Egyptians we can be launched into history accompanied by everything that might be needed in a 2-dimensional afterlife.

The scrapping universe is feminine and dominantly so, even the papers colours and patterns preclude predilections or penchants for this pastime by masculine partners.

There was a little habitat into which children can be placed for short term storage. That was great for the junior grendels - plenty to keep them entertained for at least half an hour.

Personally, I think a habitat for husbands is needed.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

5 Uses for 12 x 12 paper

So, as a non-scrapbooker, occasionally I find myself in need of a piece of paper and nothing is lying around - except that sheet of Basic Grey (please insert preferred paper supplier) she left on the kitchen table.

These have in the past been used for:

  • Rocket bodies for the kids (nice stiff paper is essential!);
  • Wedges for the door on a breezy day;
  • Emergency funnel for funneling coffee beans into a pack;
  • Place mat for a spagetti dinner; and,
  • To paper over the escape hole that has taken me years to chip through the walls. . .
Ok, the last one isn't strictly true, but might become necessary if I ever again use the WRONG SHEET OF PAPER!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


If there is a Creative Memories of households then it is Ikea.

No, wait - that would be Amway.

Lets try again.

Ikea - love the meatballs (with the LingonBerry jam of course!), don't like the scary shoe things but they do have interesting kitchen objects and some quite handy furniture, which once you have blasphemed at for a couple of days actually turns out to be servicable and not-to-bad-looking.

Mrs Grendel has been visiting Ikea. I know because I found a little round apple-corer-peeler thingy and a new 2007 catelogue on the computer desk when I got home. Also she told me she was going - but lets not spoil a good story. . .

Ikea has (up until now) been a place of annual pilgrimage for us. Around the time our tax check comes in each year we take a little of the money and follow the arrows along the convoluted journey that is the Ikea experience.

I must confess that last time I was there in an act of singular rebellion I walked the length of the store AGAINST THE ARROWS!

This was met with frowns from the pram pushing families and chargrin from the arrow-following swedish tourists (why would they come to Ikea - it is like McDonalds for Americans - just that little hint of home?)

But it is March, and we have been to Ikea 3 times already in 2007. The products have all ended up in the scrapping room and I sense this latest foray into the flat-packed paradise is merely a precursor to a big hit on the house remodelling budget for the front room (formerly the site of the home theatre and now, alas almost certainly to be a den of scrap-iquity. . .)

Worst of all though is that Mrs Grendel went while I was at work so I missed the meatballs!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Queer eye for the straight line

The Fab Five are back in a new series in what may well be a repeat of the Bravo Cable network's greatest success story - Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Ted, Kyan, Thom and Carson have all signed on for the new series which provides their colourful blend of advice and joie de vie to the world of scrapbooking.

They will travel the United States seeking out scrapping 'tragics' and help them to makeover their albums.

Former Queer Guy Jai Rodriguez, who has a morbid fear of paper cuts will not be joining the Fab Five for this series. His spot will be taken by Haas van der Swoon, a paper design expert.

The new series to be broadcast on Sunday nights is to be called Queer Eye for the Straight Line, apparently in reference to the difficulty that many scrappers have in ruling and cutting straight edges.

The first season starts on April 9 and a full season of the show has already been recorded

Friday, 2 March 2007

Long ago,

In a scrapping room far far away. . .

The evil forces of the Empire of Scrapbooking Room hold the galaxy in their sway.

A small band of rebels continues to hold out against tyranny but their cause is fragile and their leaders are in hiding.

The Empress has hired 'contractors' to re-shape the galaxy to her design and the rebels, having a much smaller budget have also managed a 'contractor' who was willing to be paid in beer.

Having regained some balance the rebels are now poised to consolidate their position but have discovered that the Empress plans to travel to the planet of Ikea where she will purchase the weapons to destroy the rebel forces once and for all.

The rebel forces had planned to 'max the card' by buying a new coffee weapon so that the Empress would have purchases declined on the planet Ikea.

Unbeknown to the rebels, the Empress has created a secret account from which she will purchase the weapons to seal their doom.

The rebels only hope is to establish their own base of operations from which they may one day reclaim the Front Room.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Intercepted Communication

From: Field Commander PAL, HTLF - Garage Division

To: Home Theatre Government-in-exile


The initial foray of the Home Theatre Liberation Front (HTLF) forces into the territory of Garage has been a success.

Initial scouting reports indicated that a significant quantity of debris may have been an impediment to free movement but while clearing this material we found much that was salvageable and will serve our cause.

We have established a bridgehead within the Garage and have pacified the South West of the territory. Our base camp, while only recently established was today consolidated by the arrival of the workbench.

Attempts by the forces of Scrapbooker to seize this workbench for their own use in the newly established Front Scrapbooking Room were repelled.

Heavy tools have been placed on the workbench to ensure it cannot easily be seized if by chance the garage is overrun.

I recommend that a battalion of engineers be sent to assist in developing the infrastructure of Garage and further pacifying its interior.

May you always have Peace, long life, 5.1 Dolby Surround sound and High Definition picture quality.

Yours in Stereo,


Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Mea Culpa

Forgive me blog readers, for I have slacked. It has been three days since my last, er, confession.

Truth be told work has been so busy that at night I have had little will to fire up the laptop and normally while a blog post takes me less than 5 minutes to write I have found myself staring over the top of the screen into the distance while the keyboard sobs quietly to itself in loneliness.

I work in government and at the moment we are negotiating a new agreement between the state and federal governments. Everything is not going to plan and unexpected hiccups have thrown some time lines and some plans into disarray.

I have however warmly embraced the leader of the Scrapbooking Room Faction (and I for one welcome our new scrapbboking overlord. . .) and only delivered a slight Spockian eyebrow raise when I arrived home on Monday to find that the carpenter had returned to install shelves in what was once going to be the alcove for my flat screen.

I won't have to travel this month and this weekend is the local Labour Day long weekend so I think I'll be drafted into the paint corp to complete the finish of the scrapbooking room.

The Airconditioner awaits us in Lay-By at Kmart and the installation of that is something I have yet to arrange - but by the Will of the Scrapper it shall be done.

That's the news in Brief, although there may be a report tomorrow from the Leader of the Home Theatre Liberation Front, or if we are really lucky the Popular Front for the Liberation of Home Theatre. . .

Sunday, 25 February 2007


It looked for a brief shining moment that I was having an Austerlitz but after a long wearying retreat from Moscow I have met my Waterloo.

Le Grande Armee of the Republic of Home Theatre has been defeated and its General has capitulated.

The construction work on the front room is complete, the French Doors are fitted and all is in preparation for its transformation to a scrapbooking room.

Today was spent attempting to sell off some possessions at a garage sale - not much luck today though.

This will only delay the inevitable however, and the plans for a long workbench are in place. I'm planning a workbench of my own - in the garage. $90 for a sheet of ply and a carton of beer for a mate of mine who is a handyman and I'll have a long work and coffee roasting bench.

But either way Mrs Grendel's scrapping palace will proceed over the ashes of my home theatre empire - I have even provided war reparations and bought a split system air conditioner so that she can scrap in comfort. . .

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Dangers of buying scrapping presents

Ok - to be perfectly frank, buying ANY present is fraught with dangers, but it seems that there are particular risks to buying scrapbooking presents.

First of all there's the additional cost because all of the 'Really Cool' scrapbooking stuff come from somewhere other than here - I imagine that this rule applies where ever you live, its just a truism that the cardstock is cleaner of the other side - or something.

So the deal have to be done furtively over the internet, trusting that the package will arrive on time. And worse, you have to sneak around using secret email accounts, funds squirreled away for presents and carefully guarded phone calls so that the surprise is kept.

By the end of the whole process I am such a wreck that i cannot comprehend how I can do this again.

And finally there is the fact that every scrapbooking item looks the same as every other scrapbooking item - and even worse they are all called he same thing.

I propose that scrapbooking items be provided with an International Charting of Keepsakes Indices (ICKI) - that is, a tracking number we men can use for simple ordering.

"Yes thanks, I'd Like 20 of the ICKI 200790223, 3 extra large ICKI 29847563's oh and throw in that ICKI 99857633 that is on special this week."

Ahhh yes - organisation!

Political Scrapbooking

The presidential campaign in the United States is demonstrating the power of bloggers in spreading the message, and here too in Australia, political blogging in taking on a new impetus and the battle between blogger across the political spectrum is very entertaining.

But what about political scrapbooking? Surely these aspirants to high office should be preserving grand moments of their campaign - or perhaps send scrappers off to preserve low moments of their opponent's campaigns. Think of the untold riches in political history being lost because no one is preserving these seminal moments of history on 12 by 12 sheets of acid-free card stock.

Future generations I am sure would love to have an archival quality record of the Machiavellian activities of the politicians and their respective staff members.

Thinks of all the entertaining biographies that could be written with such well preserved primary source material.

And so I call upon politicians of every political colour - employ a scrapper today to preserve your place in history!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Scrappers low rate of productivity

If you are the partner of a scrapper and they are not producing any works for scrap it makes it that much harder to write anything. . .

However, Mrs Grendel did recently do a big scrap page of me and my coffee using one of those photos where I am looking over my shoulder at her while I make coffee.

She hung it in the bedroom which let me tell you can be a little off-putting.

Still - I reckon that is better than if she'd hung a scrapbook page of her mother on the wall.

The battle of the front room continues but it is not going well for the forces of home theatre.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Pre-Emptive Strike

I had decided to deliver a pre-emptive strike and had obtained a copy of "Australian Home Theatre Design" to select the layout and equipment required to fulfill my dream. I thought if I drew up a plan and placed some surround sound speakers on Lay-By then I could head Mrs Grendel off at the pass and ensure the total dominance of the Home Theatre faction.

Imagine then my shock and dismay when I engaged in my usual afternoon reconnaissance of Mrs Grendel's blog and saw this:

And this!

I feel like a middle eastern despot who's just been invaded and actually doesn't have WMD in his arsenal. . .

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Archaeology Today - again

Archaeology Today is proving to be a valuable resource for the partner of a scrapbooker to learn more about the origins of their partner's obsession.

At some point in the distant past - around 600 AD a Mega-El Nino event destroyed a Peruvian civilisation that had a unique form of scrapbooking.

The life and culture of this ancient mountain civilization was devastated by floods then droughts of almost unimaginable proportions.

The culture, which included blood sacrifices to propitiate the gods vanished almost overnight and only recently have some examples of their daily life and art been unearthed.

This has included some remarkable examples of early scrapbooking. No paper was used in the Andean art. Their medium of choice was clay pots - so I guess they were early examples of 'Off/Beyond-the-page' scrapping.

The scenes depicted reveal a rich culture which until recently had been a riddle to archaeologists. The scrappers of that culture have successfully preserved their cultural practices and I guess today's scrapbookers are trying to do the same.

I feel particularly pleased that this civilisation became extinct and did not survive to pass on its scrapping techniques to modern scrapbookers.

From what I can tell it involved challenges - much as we have today except these challenges had loosers as well as winners and after the challenge was complete the looser would be bound and their throat would be cut with the blood caught in a bowl and offered to the gods as a sacrifice.

Still I bet 'scrappers block' was never a problem.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Is scrapping a fad?

As the partner of a scrapper, it is very important to me to understand the dynamic world of scrapping.

One concern for me is that all of a sudden, like Buck's Fizz, scrapbooking will collapse and vanish from the face of the earth leaving only some non-fading acid free memories and a black market trade in Basic Grey paper.

This of course has significant implications for the partners of scrapbookers. For some of us there future holds not only the double crises of global warming and peak oil, but also the potential demise of all we have worked and paid for over the last few years.

There is the faint hope, that scrapbooking like knitting, will be a sustainable hobby, and that a thousand years from now, historians will marvel at and thoroughly misinterpret the 2007 scrapbooking efforts of Mrs Grendel like some modern version of the Bayeux tapestry.

I must confess that my fears arise from the lack of any scrapbooking related political apparatus - given that most interest groups these days seem to have at least a lobby representing them in Capitol City.

Without this level of political clout scrapbooking remains at best an 'interest' or 'hobby' group - at the whim of market and social forces beyond their control. Why don't I see a scrapper running for President in the US, Prime Minister in the UK or Australia and for Dictator in Uzbekistan?

Now is the time scrappers, Carpe Papyrus!

Vive le Scrapolution!

Monday, 12 February 2007

Scrappers are Socialists!

Or socialisers or socialites or social something. For an apparently solitary hobby they get together an awful lot. Every other week there is a night out, weekend away, afternoon crop or month long convention.

Mrs Grendel even organises her own events - last year she held a scrapbooking fundraiser that got nearly 60 in the one room all scrapping (or was that chatting) together (imagine the marketing opportunities!).

'Guy hobbies' seem to involve many fewer people at any one time - unless sports are involved. We are either small group creatures or vast crowd creatures - that middle ground of more than 6, less than 10,000 is foreign territory to us.

I was trying to imagine an event that would get 60 guys together in a hall sitting down at tables for hours on end and talking.

The only thing I could think of was Oktoberfest.

That made me think of beer, but I only have two left and neither are in the fridge (bad planning I say!)

So I had a coffee instead - and thought about Mrs Grendel's Fundraiser.

You see Junior Grendel Number One has autism.

He gets therapy services from a local organisation called the Autism Association of Western Australia. Last year Mrs Grendel and her scrappers raised over $2000 for the Early Intervention Centre that our son attends.

Not being a scrapper my involvement was limited to a few administrative jobs - not much fun and this year I wanted to be more involved - except I am NOT GOING TO SCRAP!

No way - that would be too easy a win for the scrappers of the planet.

No, I am going to help by roasting and selling coffee - coffee roasting is my hobby, and scrappers drink coffee so I reckon I have a captive audience on the day.

If you live in Perth or will be in Perth on June 23 and would like to go to the scrap day then all the details are here: http://autismcrop.blogspot.com/

A Helping Hand - autism crop day fundraiser

As for me - I'll be there making coffee and wishing there was an 'Oktoberfest in June' event.

Sunday, 11 February 2007


Well - I took advice and photographed. Now I need advice on what to do with these:

(There is one photo there of a shop that sold only buttons and ribbons - a scrappers paradise I'd bet)

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Away without my scrapper

I am away for work in another city - Adelaide. It is a lot smaller than Perth but very picturesque. However I now have a dilemma - do I take photos Mrs Grendel may want to scrap or not. After all she isn't here with me so the journalling might be a challenge and I am not a scrapper so I don't know what would make the best scrapping images.

Quite frankly I'd rather that Mrs Grendel and the Junior Grendels were here as well - it would solve the scrapping dilemma and would be much more fun than sitting here on the Hotel's Mac looking like an uber-nerd as I write a post for each of my blogs.

I also seem to have trouble decision making when they are here and I reckon I'll end up ordering room service at the rate I am going - can't decide where to eat!

I just don't think the scrapbookers of the world really understand what they have wrought upon those of us who love and live with them - ah 'tis a bitter sweet life, this scrapping life.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Cold War

There is a scrapbooking product line that is sold much like Amway products. I won’t mention the name but I am sure I don’t need to. There seems to be an ongoing battle between those who do and those who don’t use – well turns out I need a name for this or it will be a hard post to write so lets call them “Imaginative Reminiscences” or IR for short.

Anyway there are those among the IR community that are IR fundies. Thou shalt not use anything but. Anything but and it is NOT scrapbooking. Then there are the IR Orthodox who use IR themselves but don’t force it on others and the IR Liberals who prefer IR but will use other products that take their fancy. People who sell IR stuff can fall into any of those categories – fortunately the one IR person we know is in the latter group and doesn’t consider Mrs Grendel to be damned to eternal flames for having non-IR stuff in the albums.

On the other side of this struggle there are scrapbooking’s equivalent of Libertarians, that is ‘anything at all is ok and no one should tell me what to use’. The conservatives – it must be an approved product (I suppose by some scrapbooking cartel or central committee – who knows!) but no one should infringe on another’s right to choose differently, and the Open Liberals who prefer non IR products but will use them if they see something they like.

Or maybe I have this all wrong – interpreting the world of scrapbooking is a very hard task for the uninitiated and I am sure that attempting to do so is fraught with danger. Up until this point my greatest risk had been from standing on Brad or nearly loosing fingers while cutting those toilet paper circles, but it seems that there is even more at stake.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Archaeology Today Tomorrow

My inside source at Archaeology Today has passed me another juicy tidbit about the headline story of their next issue.

One small good news story to come out of the ongoing tragedy that is Iraq is the return of archaeologists to some parts of the country to resume explorations and research.

While hazardous, the work has paid off in incredible dividends as will be reported later this week.

A manuscript has been found dating from the height of Sumarian times and it appears to be a very early version of what we know as the book of Genesis.

Remarkably though this account differs from the biblical account in some crucial details.

The expulsion from Paradise is the most remarkable example of these differences.

I have included below the translation of this account.

And thus from the rib of Adam was Eve created so that she might be equal with him and the Lord spake thus:

"Of all the trees in the garden you may pluck such fruit as thou will but not from this tree for it is the tree of knowledge of good and evil and is mine alone"

Adam and Eve, wide eyed and awed nodded their assent.

Some time passed whereby Adam and Eve did explore their differences. Adam returned from a walk to find that Eve was artfully arranging leaves and pebbles.

"What art thou about" he inquired.

"I am depicting my memories our love and lives" she quoth

"That's nice" said he and hurried off to pluck the fruit of the lager plant.

In time Eve's artfulness did increase and soon many examples of this were piled around their arboreal home.

Eve did suggest that perhaps she could expand the space for the storage of her scraps and Adam consented, ever hopeful his efforts would be rewarded.

Eve became engrossed in her tasks and had chosen a new area for her creations under the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil for its branches did spread mightily and shade the ground around it.

Late in the afternoon, Adam slept, and Eve, frustrated by an inability to depict in leaves and embellishments that which she was feeling, looked up at the branches of the tree and their saw the perfect accent to her work. At that moment the snake appeared and said:

"Pluck ye yonder fruit and use it in thy work for did not the Lord create all things in this garden for your use? I swear by my Creative Memories sales oath that this is the truth".

Eve picked the apple and as she did so Adam awoke, the Lord arrived in a stormy mood, took one look at Adam, gave Eve a scowl, removed the snakes local sales privileges and expelled them from the garden.

"Bloody scrapbookers" rumbled the Lord. "I just KNOW they'll be back to give me trouble".

Friday, 2 February 2007

Archaeology Today

Archaeology Today, the respected journal of tomb raiders worldwide, has reported the discovery of what appears to be a very early form of scrapbook.

While Southern Italy today may not be a hub of international scrapbooking, the early Etruscans (a civilization that pre-dates Rome) may well have integrated scrapbooking so deeply into their lives that when the scrapbooking economy failed their civilisation collapsed.

Recent finds include papyrus sheets with etruscan text and adorned with small objects and images that appear to represent people and animals. This confirms an early Etruscan trade with Egypt and the influence of greek and asian culture on Etruscan life.

The sheets were found bound into what can only be described as 'albums' and were carefully stacked on stone shelved in what was thought to be an etruscan family tomb.

Further investigation has revealed a large number of tools also buried in the tomb and the remains in the tomb appeared to be from about seven females aged in their late 20's to early 40's.

Some scientists contend that the site is not a tomb but rather a small workroom that was used for the production of the manuscripts and that an earthquake caused a collapse and landslide that covered the site and the women within until its recent rediscovery.

They claim that this view is supported by the presence of a number of small bowls, originally thought to be funerary offerings but which may have in fact contained small food items, sweetmeats and fried bread and vegetable pieces - the snack foods of etruscan civilization.

Carbon dating of the site indicates that it is contemporary with the time etruscan civilisation began its rapid decline prior to being eclipsed and absorbed into the nascent Roman hegemony.

Speculation has been raised in the past that social activities within the Etruscan civilisation at this time led to a seperation of genders to the point where the population growth stalled and ultimately collapsed.

While research is ongoing scientists are hopeful that they have at last uncovered the primary activity that caused this collapse.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

The Scrap Trap

For a lot of Scrapper’s Partners, the enormity of the beast that is scrapbooking is not immediately apparent. Your beloved says that they are going to start scrapbooking, and we, in our ignorance fondly remember those pulp paged books of paper that we had in Primary (elementary) school days.

Those memories are grim for some of us because our parents had left the school item shopping to the last minute and all of the scrapbooks with covers sporting glorious technicolour images of ‘Transformers’ (or at a pinch Astro Boy) had been seized by the socially savvy parents condemning me and a few others to a whole term with Barbie, My Little Pony or worst of all - the Smurfs.

Even now the horror of it makes me shiver.

Nevertheless, our experience with scrapbooking was one of simple tasks, cutting out, pasting in amid the heady smell of Clag paste and felt tip pens.

It can come as a bit of a shock then when ‘Scrapbooks’ as we knew them make no appearance at all. What arrive are reams of large cardstock in a multitude of colours and patterns that must absolutely never, never, ever be used for:

· Paper planes (but 12x12 inch 120 gsm makes fantastic gliders!)
· Notes while on the phone
· Cutting mats or glue mats
· Coasters
· Impromptu table cloths
· Roll-up fly swatters
· Pillows
· Blotting paper
· Wrapping paper
· Lighting the BBQ
· Etc.

Basically just leave it alone and you’ll be ok.

It doesn’t end there – I have previously mentioned(sing along with me when you figure out the tune):
"the tools and embellishments, the crop nights and scrap days. Forums and challenges, ‘scrap-offs’ and chat rooms. Classes and cruises and on so it seems,
these are a few of their favourite things. . . "

(I really wanted to use “. . .brown paper packages with ‘RAK’ on the front” but I had an obscenity rhyming issue that I just couldn’t get past).

I think you get the picture though – this is a big deal, Ben Hur is a low budget ‘indie flick’ compared to this scrapbooking thing.

So Beware ! Beware !
Her flashing eyes, her floating hair !
Weave a circle round her thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For she on scrapbooking hath fed,
And this should turn your veins to ice.

(Sorry Mr Coleridge!)

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

How do you scrapbook a bout of gastro?

'Cause the Junior Grendels are not being very photogenic this week and Junior Grendel Two has spent 48 hours throwing up at inconvenient moments (anytime he throws up it is automatically inconvenient!).

This leads me to ask a question of the scrappers who pass by this little window on my world - Do you scrap only the happy moments?

Surely some of the most important times we have are not happy, but should they be remembered in scrapbooks and how do you deal with reliving sad times while you scrap about them (or is the scrapping the therapy?)

I'd be interested to hear what people scrapbook about and why because for a non-scrapper it is often hard to work out why our beloved scrapper's scrap stuff.

On the scraproom front, I returned home from work today to find that Mrs Grendel has already measured up to room and started selecting items from the IKEA catalogue.

I'm starting to worry and the credit card has gone catatonic.

A Setback

As Commander-in-Chief of the Home Theatre forces defending the front room of Castle Grendel from the forces of Scrapbooking Room, it is my dire duty to report that a third faction has entered the fray and has currently gained the upper hand on the battlefield.

This third faction is a coalition comprised of Thomas the Tank Engine (and friends), Lego and Assorted Toys. Under the direction of Junior Grendel One and Junior Grendel Two, the Toy Coalition forces have deployed in strength and are currently holding a significant proportion of floor space. Scouts report that they are also making probing attacks onto the lounge and tables.

A squadron of recently arrived Cars led by the infamous Lightning McQueen have taken positions at the entrance to Front Room and have proven a hazard for scouts of Home Theatre forces and we understand that units of Scrapbooking Room have also fallen foul of their trap.

We are going to attempt to negotiate with the Toy Coalition to withdraw to their pre-play encampments but previous attempts to achieve this have been met with stolid refusal and occasional tantrums.

If these attempts fail, a temporary cease-fire between Home Theatre and Scrapbooking Room may be negotiated in order to clear the field and conduct a joint survey for future planning.

While not as well equipped as the Scrapbooking Room forces, the Home Theatre army is determined to stay the course and take the territory.

Field Marshall Grendel von Grendel
Commander in Chief
Home Theatre Faction

Monday, 29 January 2007

Be gentle - it's my first time. . .

Yes, every scrapper who reads magazines about scrapbooking has that first time.

The time that they see the layout they submitted in print, in the magazine for the first time. It is very important for the partner to get excited at that point and to make sure the scrapper knows just how proud you are of them.

Likewise it is very important for you to ridicule the self same editors when they fail to appreciate the stunning layouts and reject them for publication.

I have been fortunate - Mrs Grendel has a high degree of success in getting things published so I have not had to vituperate too much the editors of the various magazines to which 'we' subscribe.

Nevertheless I would heartily recommend that the scrapper's partner practice in front of the mirror for the day when you will have to release a stream of invective and curse the editor, their lack of artistic discernment and their probable character in order to support your scrapper.

Battle Manoeuvres

When I was growing up my father used to give me posters, stickers and plaques with pictures of people running up endless hills or clinging desperately to the sides of mountains.

The posters bore inspirational messages of the kind that forged financial empires in the early 1980’s so that they could collapse under the weight of their own debt in the late 1980’s.
I am sure many people would remember the kind of poster I am talking about. They had with messages like:
“The Race is not in the Winning but in the Courage to wear really short shorts while running”
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single argument about which way to go”
or even
“know your enemy, know yourself and the outcome will
never be in doubt”.
The last one I know is from Sun Tzu, and it is very true, I always knew who the enemy was and what they were capable of and the outcome was never it doubt because it was the same every time – knowing the enemy is no relief when the outcome is having the snot thwacked out of you.

Due to a youth steeped in these and other inspirational messages I have been duly brainwashed into not giving up easily, and in fact I am invigorated by the upcoming battle for the space that I one day hope will be graced with an obscenely large television screen - possibly when TV is obsolete and everyone else has moved onto holovision or something.
Mrs Grendel is buoyed by the prospect of a potential new scrapping space and is therefore well motivated herself.

This should be fun.