Saturday, 23 September 2017

Special Delivery

Do you ever see a challenge them and find it pulls together vague ideas in your head? That's what happened to me today when I saw the sketch at Less is More - I'd had this parcel stamp and the inkpads I wanted to use out on the table for several days but couldn't quite decide how I was going to use them.

I stamped the three parcels and heat embossed them with clear powder, then fussy cut them.  The sentiment is stamped using one of the sentiments on the stamp sheet that comes with the new issue of Papercraft Essentials.

I had planned to put them on a plain white panel, but when I arranged them in place I felt it had crossed the dividing line between CAS and Boring, so I used a Santoro folder to emboss a snowstorm of hearts!

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Sketch

Christmas Card Throwdown - Pink, red and green

Winter Wonderland - Wrap it Up

Snowy night

Before I start, has anyone any tips for using old unmounted red rubber stamps in the Misti? They don't cling at all, so when I use them with acrylic blocks I stick them with Pritt and then wash both them and the blocks afterwards. Some of my oldest blocks (about 20 years plus) are getting a bit opaque and I think it's from years and years of Pritt and washing. I don't want to do anything to damage my Misti and yet I have several stamps, like the one I have used for the snow scene here, that would really benefit from the accurate placement and repeated stamping possible with the Misti. Is there any adhesive that I can use that I can be sure won't harm the stamp or the Misti plate?

Anyway, I stamped it once, although as you can see multiple stampings would have been good, and embossed it in opaque white, onto a stitched oval die cut. The sentiment is a magazine freebie stamp and the ribbon a scrap from my stash.

I'm sharing this with
The Holly and The Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes/For a Male
Jingle Belles - Tic Tac Toe  - I've used the middle column, Snow, Card Stock and Blue

More faux letterpress

A few days ago I posted a card I had edged with a border made using the faux letterpress technique with a Tim Holtz embossing folder I'd just bought. I liked the effect so much that this time I've use the technique to make a background for the whole card.

I've added a butterfly cut with that old faithful, the Cuttlebug butterfly, some punched mini butterflies and a Craftwork Cards sentiment layered onto a die cut circle. All done with silver mirri which is an utter barsteward to photograph!

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge - Things with wings
Addicted to stamps and more - photo inspiration

Just add ink - Texture

Friday, 22 September 2017

That wine bottle die again

I have a feeling, based on what I'm seeing around blogland,  that the wine bottle die given away with a recent issue of Die Cutting Essentials is going to become as iconic as the now-famous "That Embossing Folder" of a couple of years ago.

Here I've cut it in green, made a centre stepper card from embossed Hunkydory card and cut the embellishment for the bottle from a smooth version of the same card, then added labels made using the stamp and die set from one of their sister magazines.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Gals Corner - Fancy Folds
Crafting by Designs  - Drink Up!

Little doggies

Some time ago I got this doggie stamp from Little Claire in two sizes, and have used the larger one many times but never inked the smaller one. Until today.

I've teamed it with a selection of masculine papers from the docrafts Heritage press range. I don't know why but I always think of dogs when making pet themed cats for men, and cats when making them for women. Goodness knows why - I know lots of dog loving women and cat loving men.

I am sharing this with
Use Your Stuff - Pets 
Watercooler Wednesday - masculine anything goes

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Recipe - Pheasant and wild mushroom casserole

NOTE - do not used foraged mushrooms in this dish unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain that you know exactly what you are picking, that the ones you are choosing are both safe and good to eat, and that you are picking them from somewhere where you are allowed to do so. My thanks to Mark for his expertise and photographs.

I was having a rummage around the freezer, as you do, when I spotted a pack of pheasant thighs - skinned and boned ones. I have no idea where I bought them - the label has a brand name, "Wild", rather than a supermarket name, but it seems very much like game casserole weather so that's what I decided to make.

Mark had managed to find a lovely mixture of wild mushrooms for this, but supermarket ones would work too - use the ones that are like small flat chestnut mushrooms that every supermarket gives a different name to, if you can find them.

To serve two people you need:

1 pack (4 thighs) skinned and boned pheasant thighs
about 150g wild mushrooms (or see above)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbs sunflower or rapeseed oil
25g butter
1 tbs seasoned flour
200ml beef, game or strong chicken stock
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbs dry sherry.

Heat oven to 160C (fan 140)/325 F/gas 3

Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Unroll the thighs ( they may be divided into two pieces each) and roll each piece in the flour.

Heat half each of the oil and butter over medium heat in a wide, shallow lidded flameproof casserole  dish and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften and then push them out to the sides of the pan and add the pheasant to the middle in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (the onions around the edge might need a little bit of a stir but you want them to start browning).

Give everything a stir, stand back and chuck in the sherry. (If you have some brandy, it would be even better but you may want to shut any doors between the hob and the smoke detector before adding it).

When you've swabbed your singed eyebrows (see, I told you to stand back!) stir in the stock and thyme, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every half hour or so. Add a little hot water if the sauce seems to be getting too thick.

Half an hour before it is due to be ready, clean the mushrooms and break them into bite sized pieces. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan over a high heat and toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. At first a lot of juice will come out of them - keep on cooking until the juice has evaporated and they start to fry again.

Stir them into the casserole and return to the oven until the cooking time is up.

I can assure you it tastes a lot nicer than it looks - the pheasant is meltingly tender but not falling apart and the rich, gamey flavour goes beautifully with the mushrooms. We had it with mashed potato to soak up all the rich juices and some steamed leeks for a fresh green contrast.

Big blue flower

I've discovered a serious flaw in my stash - I do not possess a light blue inkpad. However for this card I got round it by sponging blending ink onto my stamp.

The delicate result made it perfect to use as a background for the BIG BOLD sentiment which is from a stamp set I won in the Playground. I used the Misti to stamp it several times to make sure it was really REALLY bold. The flower, leaf and butterfly embellishments were just stamped once so that they don't fight the sentiment for attention.

I am sharing this with

The Flower Challenge - Tic Tac Toe - I have used the right hand column, sentiment/CAS/blue

CASology - BIG

Fab 'n ' funky - Floral Embellishments

Addicted to CAS - Florals