Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Mothers' Day Tea

I've seen lots of suggestions and recipes for Mothers' Day breakfasts and lunches, but the day doesn't end at lunchtime? How about treating your Mum to a lovely afternoon tea, especially if your gift to her is a pretty china teacup and saucer, it would be a great chance for her to use it!

I have been sent a selection of  Castle MacLellan pates so that I can share with you some ideas for Mothers' Day, and I have chosen to make a very retro-style selection of elegant sandwiches, perfect for a traditional afternoon tea. And what's more, they are simple enough for even the youngest members of the family to get involved with the preparation.

For all of them, I've used thin sliced wholemeal bread, cut to shape and buttered then completed as in the instructions. Don't waste those bread trimmings, whizz them up in a blender to give breadcrumbs, handy to store in the freezer for topping gratins and savoury bakes!

Crab and asparagus rolls

You will also need a small jar of asparagus spears (the short white ones)
Remove the crusts from the bread and cut into squares, each side the length of an asparagus spear. Spread each slice of bread with Castle MacLellan Orkney Crab Terrine and place a spear of asparagus along one edge. Roll up tightly and press down on the seam to seal it closed.

Smoked salmon sandwiches

You will also need cucumber and low fat soft cheese.
Trim off the bread crusts. Peel a chunk of cucumber and cut into the thinnest possible slices. Spread half the slices of bread with low fat soft cheese and the other half with Castle MacLellan Smoked Salmon Pate. Arrange the cucumber on top of the soft cheese and top with the salmon pate covered sliced. Cut into dainty fingers.

Sweet and sour pate bites

You will also need pickled walnuts and green grapes.
Use a cookie cutter to cut the bread into bite-sized circles. Spread each with Castle MacLellan Chicken Liver Pate and top each with a slice of pickled walnut (if you can slice them more prettily than I did, so much the better!) and half of a sweet green grape.

Serve Mum a selection of these sandwiches on a pretty doiley with a pot of freshly brewed tea. For the complete afternoon tea experience, why not follow it with a selection of cakes, scones and even toasted crumpets? And as an extra special Mothers' Day finishing touch, end up with some fresh berries and cream - served with a glass of chilled prosecco with a fresh berry dropped into the bottom of the glass.

The saga of the Christmas Tree that didn't want to happen.

The basic idea this card is based on doesn't actually appear anywhere on this card. At the Make It show, I saw somebody die cutting shapes from Stick It double sided adhesive, peeling off one side and attaching it to card then peeling off the other side and foiling the resulting die-shaped adhesive layer.

A doddle, thought I. So I cut my Christmas tree, and went to remove it from the die, but the backing of the adhesive sheet came adrift and then the waste areas wouldn't come out and the tree got stuck to itself trying to prise it out of the die.

Next attempt - got it all out cleanly (eventually) and applied it to card, but as I tried to remove the second side of the backing sheet, most of the adhesive came away too. I know StickIt isn't a very strong adhesive so.....

Attempt three. I used an older piece of double sided adhesive sheet, I think it originally came in a pack of Sticky Dots back when QVC used to sell them. It held its shape beautifully and I manages to stick it all down on the card. Then the foil didn't stick to it properly and it came out looking patchy and ragged.

By this time I'd run out of small pieces of double sided adhesive and wasn't going to cut into a brand new sheet of StickIt for something that was so determined to fail, so I tried cutting the tree from a very glittery Cricut vinyl. I've cut many other dies successfully with it, but this little tree would NOT cut. I had several attempts. I added shims, I removed the protective coating from the vinyl, I put it four times through the Grand Calibur - Nothing worked.

It was either abandon my card or get back to basics, so I grabbed a piece of silver mirri and did what I jolly well ought to have done in the first place, just die cut it from that.

Are you still with me? I also cut this beautiful border, that I won over on Liz's blog, and backed that with silver mirri, and edged it with two ultra-blingy gem strips. It doesn't really show in the photo but there is an oval black stone in the middle of each oval (ish) space.

I put the two pieces on my card to position them, planning to have the black strip as a wide border along the edge and the tree topper upright beside it. But it just looked all wrong, just too disjointed. Everything had gone wrong with this card, so I decided to go and have a cup of tea and a think. And as I stood up, I knocked the whole blooming thing onto the floor!

This is how the topper and border landed and I suddenly realised the reason they had looked so disjointed was simply because they WERE disjointed. So I stuck it all together just how they had fallen, added a few crystal stars and went to lie down in a darkened room......

I am sharing this with
C.R.A.F.T - Christmas
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - No Patterned Paper
 Jingle Belles - Bling 
The Holly and the Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

A Three-Pipe Problem

I couldn't resist these lovely wooden Sherlock Holmes themed buttons when I saw them at the Make It Show, and the current challenge at The Male Room, which is Wood, was the perfect opportunity to use them.

As well as his famous address and his deerstalker cap, Holmes was well known for his pipe and his violin (and for being an opium addict, but I really didn't have any suitable stash for that.... I suppose I could have stamped a few poppies!) which I have stamped randomly over the card. The pipe isn't the kind he would have used then, but it was the nearest I could find among my stamps.

I had in mind this snippet of paper from the docrafts Heritage Press collection as a backing panel for the buttons, but when I arranged them on it they didn't stand out well enough, so I found a snippet of dark blue wider than the check, and arranged them up the side of it. This time they seemed too disjointed from the check, so I experimented and finally decided to have them slightly overlapping the check, but enough on the blue to show them off properly.

A couple of sentiments and the pipe embellishment also came from the Heritage Press collection. I've had this set for several years and am now right down to the beam ends of it. I find it incredibly useful for masculine cards and will probably replace most of the elements when they are finally used up.

I'm also popping into the Snippets Playground with this card.

Big and Bold and Clean and Simple

I recently got some lovely new big, bold sentiment stamps from the latest dovecraft range. Although they are big, they are perfect for CAS cards as they make such a bold statement that little else is needed on the card.

Here, I've added a simple spattered background (stamped, not really spattered, because I never trust  myself not to mess spattering up) and two coordinating washi tapes.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Washi Tape
CAS on Sunday - Sentiment 

Trees at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's new challenge day at Cardz 4 Guyz, and this week our theme is TREES.

I masked the edges of the card, leaving space to stamp the sentiment, then made a "sun" from a die cut circle and used it as a mask to sponge on yellow and orange distress inks. I made it unrealistically large so there would be plenty of calming white space on the card. Then I removed the mask and stamped the tree, grasses and birds.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Quirky Challenge mid-month inspiration

Our mid-month challenge reminder has just gone live at Quirky Crafts Challenge and this is my mid-month inspiration card.

The photo is of a cat called Charlie who owned us for many years, he was definitely the boss of the household and though he's been gone for several years now we still miss him. I die cut a frame for his photo, coloured it with pink distress ink (which has come out looking red!) and stamped paw prints around the frame. I used a background of carpet-patterned paper and added the cute kitty ribbon from Crafty Ribbons, one of our sponsors.  The image is from the Tall Jungle Blocks digi set at Bugaboo Stamps, our other sponsor.  It is meant, of course, to be a tiger but I've coloured it to look like a domestic cat.

I am sharing this with
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Glitter'n'Sparkle - Anything Goes
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
World Wide Design Team Open Challenge - Anything goes (DT piece)
Digi Choosday - Anything Goes using a digi  

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #80 - Q is for Queen

I'm not here! It's Mark's birthday and we're out celebrating - but by the magic of technology I bring you my post for today's new challenge at The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers, our 80th challenge, Q is for Queen (mothers, sisters or others)

Image may contain: 1 person

Edna looks distinctly Not Amused, although if she's anything like the real Queen Vic, she has probably got loads of children so she will sympathise with this:

Isn't that sentiment wonderful? It came from the fab Gingers House where there are some amazing free word art sentiments to  download. The background is made with yellow brushos, edged with green ink. The crowns (a very old Craft Stamper freebie stamp, from about 10 years ago) are stamped in the same green,  then the streaks and splatters, from the Gentleman Crafter's stamp set, added in purple and burgundy ink.

The wine bottle is a Honeydoo Crafts stamp, stamped in memento ink and  coloured with Promarkers then cut out. I see they now make a matching die set but I think I made a pretty decent job of the fussy cutting so that's one less piece of ironmongery to add to my shopping list.

We'd love it if you would pop over to the Sisterhood and share your take on the theme!

The Craft Stamper set is very, very old and I've had the Honeydoo set about 18 months. The Gentleman Crafter set just squeaks in to the requirements for Retro Rubber, as it's a year and a month old! So I am sharing this with Anything Goes at Retro Rubber.

Although it's not a traditional Mothers Day card, I'm sure many young Mums would identify far more with this than with a flowers-and-lace one and in fact when I made it, I was thinking about my own daughter who is raising two strong, talented daughters while holding down a high powered job herself. So I am also sharing this with Mother's Day/Special Lady at Sweet Stampin.