Monday, 27 March 2017

March Rudolph Day

OK, it's a bit late - after all, Rudolph Day is the 25th of the month, but over at Scrappymos we have until the very end of the month to share a Christmas make. I had a hectic weekend with the grandchildren staying, so this is the first chance I've had to make my card which means I've had to combine several challenges or I'll be all behind. (Well if you've been unlucky enough to meet me in person you'll know that I really AM all behind, apart from the parts that ware way out in front, if you get my drift).


For this card I used two Nestabilities dies to create a frame which I cut and then ran through a Darice snow drift embossing folder. I stamped the sentiment on the piece of card that came out from the centre - I was going to call it "waste" but it's the kind of thing that never gets wasted, so I couldn't really call it that could I? Then die cut the holly and ivy from snippets of card. I placed it towards the top left of the card to try to balance the "weight" of the foliage, but once it was all in place it still looked unbalanced, so I added some ruled borders and a blingy gemstone - after all, you can't have Christmas without a bit of bling, even when you're being CAS, can you?

As well as Rudolph Days I am sharing this with
Less is More - Use a Frame
Addicted to Stamps and More - CAS 
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Inspired by a song or Carol (The Holly and the Ivy)
AAA Cards - Diecuts




This Post has No Title

I simply couldn't think of a name for this post, partly because of the earworms of old Elton John songs that are buzzing around in my head after watching Gnomeo and Juliet with the grandchildren over the weekend. And one of those songs is called "This song has no title" so I'm trying to get it out of my system by naming a blog post after it. Clear? (Do I hear you say "As mud"?)


The stamps I used for this card are an old magazine freebie set. I made a background by brayering Kaleidacolor ink onto glossy card, then stamping the image with white ink and embossing it with white powder. Does anyone know why the embossing is patchy on one of the flowers? I tend to get that with very old or poor quality powders, but this is a fairly new, but not brand new, pot of a decent quality one and I've not had problems with it before. I'm puzzled.

The sentiment circle from the same stamp set was stamped on scrap card and cut out to attach to the background.

I am sharing this with
Fab'n'Funky - Flowers
Make my Monday - White Embossing
Sparkles Monthly Challenge - Lets Go Green

Layer it up! - OLLCB challenge #225

It's new challenge day at Ooh La La Creations and today we would like you to Layer it Up. So let's see lots and lots of  lovely layers on your creations!

Of course, pyramage is ideal for this challenge, as it naturally has lots of layers, so I've used this beautiful off-centre pyramage design called Tulip Garden from the Shawn Jenkins CD - available here - for my DT card, along with two of the matching backing papers.


I love the fact that the design sheet includes not just the main pyramage, but also a smaller one to use as an embellishment. In the bottom left hand corner of the pyramage, there is a lovely sentiment about friendship. However I was planning to send this card to a family member and wanted to write something more suitable inside - so I die cut a butterfly to cover it up! I've added some liquid pearls to the butterfly's body.

I've just noticed that the pyramage on the main image lines up so well that in the photo you can't tell that it is there!

I am sharing this with
Alphabet Challenge - Anything with wings
Butterfly challenge - Repeat and/or Midnight sky    (the repeat butterfly pattern on the paper and of course the dark blue die cut butterfly)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Any Old Iron at CD Sundays

For our latest challenge at CD  Sundays, Jocelyn has chosen the theme Any Old Iron.


I've used a decoupage design from the CD  The Best of La Pashe 2012, showing an old chestnut seller with his iron stove. Do they still have chestnut  sellers in the winter? The last time I was one would have been in the late 1980s, he used to stand near the top of Tottenham Court Road in London but I've not been around that way for some years now. I've added a piece of musical background paper from the same CD, thinking of the old music hall song "Any old iron" and a die cut penny farthing bicycle for the chestnut seller to travel home on when he's sold all his wares. The vintage bicycle ribbon is a scrap from my stash and the text background paper from Craftwork Cards - it's replica pages from an old recipe book, although it probably pre-dates the image by about 150 years because it says things like "difh up the foup" and I think that died out long before Victorian times.

I am sharing this with
Watercooler Wednesday - Masculine Anything Goes

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.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Apple blossom time

It's almost time for the crab apple blossom on the tree outside our house to burst into flower. It's a beautiful deep pink flower that looks lovely on the tree, but as we often get a lot of wet and windy weather while it is flowering, soon turns into a soggy and slippery pink carpet on the ground below. It's lovely while it lasts though!

This stamp, from Clearly Besotted, is really a generic blossom that could be cherry, apple or pear, but I've coloured it in the pink of our crab apple tree. After my recent experiences with bleeding watercolours, I used proper watercolour paper and heat embossed the stamping to prevent the bleeding, which worked for me.


I coloured it with watercolour pencils and a water brush. After finishing the image, I went around the outside with a pale grey watercolour pencil and used a very wet water brush to drag it out away from the edges. You can only see it very faintly in the photo, but that's the idea, it just seems to give the coloured image a bit of a "glow". The sentiment, also heat embossed, is from the same stamp set.

I am sharing this with
The Flower Challenge - Anything Goes
CAS Watercolour - Spring
Uniko Studios - Spring  
Rubber Dance - Everything Spring







Purple sprouting broccoli with polenta

This dish was inspired by  recipe in the current issue of Waitrose Food magazine - the recipe was for fried polenta topped with a fresh tomato sauce and sliced black olives.  I didn't follow the recipe, but the idea pf polenta and PSB with tomato sauce really tickled my fancy, and as the garden is positively bursting with PSB at the moment, I'm constantly looking for new ways to serve it. It's mark's absolute favourite vegetable, but I'm not that crazy about it and need to combine it with interesting flavours and textures to make it palatable. This dish totally nailed it for me!


I'd not intended to use olives because neither of us is too keen on the taste of hot olives, despite loving them cold. When heated, the taste reminds me of the antiseptic cream that my Mum used to slather onto my childhood grazed knees! However a dig about in the fridge produced four lonely rashers of streaky bacon that were approaching use-it-or-lose-it stage, which would replace the salty tang the olives would have added.

A dive into the freezer produced half a block of cooked polenta, left over from a previous meal, and a tub of spicy chilli-infused tomato sauce made with some of last summer's glut of tomatoes. You could, of course, use bought polenta, the kind that comes ready-cooked in a sliceable block, and bought tomato sauce although if you do I suggest adding a finely chopped chilli or a few chilli flakes.

to serve two

4-6 slices of cooked polenta
4 rashers streaky bacon
about 8 spears of purple sprouting broccoli
approx. 300ml tomato and chilli sauce
oil for frying
flaked Parmesan cheese and black pepper for serving

Put a pan of water on ready for steaming the broccoli. Arrange the spears in a steamer that fits over the pan.  Chop the bacon and place in a small non-stick pan and fry gently until starting to turn crisp. Meanwhile  put a layer of oil in a large frying pan, large enough to hold all the polenta in a single layer, and gently fry the polenta on both sides until crispy and golden (this always takes longer than you expect - it took about 15 minutes for mine to fully cook).

Once the polenta is cooking, add the tomato sauce to the bacon and leave to simmer gently until ready to serve.

Just before the polenta is ready, put the broccoli on to steam. If it's young and tender, straight from the garden, it will only take about 2 minutes. Older, tougher stalks from the supermarket could take 5-7 minutes.

When the polenta and broccoli are ready, arrange the polenta slices on two plates, top with the broccoli and spoon the sauce over. Finish with Parmesan shavings and a generous grating of black pepper.

Having made this entirely from odds and ends in the fridge and freezer, I am sharing with #KitchenClearout at MadHouse Family Reviews

Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Blue Cat

Back in my student days in the 1970s, a children's film hit the cinemas that was a bit of a cult hit among students. It was called "Dougall and the Blue Cat" and was a feature length version of a children's teatime show called "The Magic Roundabout". (I've often how they got away with a show where one of the main characters was a stoner rabbit at that time of the evening, but that's beside the point). My point actually being that in memory of that film, I'm often tempted to colour cats blue.


Actually I've coloured this little chap grey and blue to go with the odds and ends of paper that I've used. He's my favourite image from one of my favourite stamp sets, Katzelkraft's "Las Chats Russes". I coloured him in with Promarkers then randomly removed some of the ink around his face using a blender pen. I think the snarky/sarky sentiment, a stamp from Rubber Dance, sums him up perfectly.

This is a "naughty" entry for this month's Naughty or Nice challenge, Feature a Creature.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

NOT Christmas this time!

I haven't ONLY been making Christmas cards!


For this card I covered an acrylic block (yes, I've realised NOW that it has a chip in the corner!) with distress ink , spritzed very lightly with water and applied it direct to the paper. When it was dry I used a darker green Memento ink to stamp the fern - a very, very old Artylicious stamp - over it and a fine-tipped marker in Olive Green to doodle a rough frame. The sentiment stamp is from a Studio G mini set.

I am sharing this with
CASology - Foliage
Addicted to CAS - Doodle  
Shopping Our Stash - Green

Christmas again

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, all the doors and windows are open to let the fresh spring air into the house - and all of a sudden my crafting mojo has gone into Christmas mode. I wonder why? Partly, I suspect, because I've been inspired by the lovely pad of papers that I won recently over at Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge!


Here is my first make using the papers. The pine branches remind me of a Christmas tree, and Christmas trees need baubles. So I used a very old Cuttlebug die to cut baubles and bows from white card, then coloured the bows red with an inkpad, direct-to-paper, and embossed the baubles using two different festive folders, both of which were magazine freebies.

The cute Santa and reindeer buttons are from It's Sew Gorgeous and I've hung the baubles from the branches with a scrap of red metallic cord.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Father Christmas or anything goes
Use your stuff - Dry Embossing  
Season's greetings - Wet or dry embossing

A very Chilli Christmas

 If you know our family well, you will know that chillis feature heavily in our lives - Mark grows them, we both cook with them, I have chilli themed jewellery and we even have a string of chilli themed fairy lights on the tree at Christmas.
 
So it was inevitable that when I found a sheet of chilli themed stamps at Rubber Dance I would fall in love with them! The sheet features many shapes and sizes of chilli, and today, inspired by our Christmas lights and the lovely festive colours of fresh chillis, I've used them as the basis for a Christmas card.
 
 

I drew a very faint circle using a die as a template and then stamped red and green chillis around it using one of the smallest solid chilli stamps, then erased the circle and added some stamped outline chillis over the top and coloured them in with red. The sentiment is from an old Studio G mini-set.

I am sharing this with
Addicted to Stamps and more - Holiday
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - March 
The Holly and the Ivy - anything goes Christmas

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Numbers at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week's theme at Cardz 4 Guyz is Numbers, so we'd like to see numbers somewhere on your card. Don't forget it doesn't mean it has to be an age-specific card - numbers appear everywhere in our daily lives. I've chosen to use the numbers on a clock face, and made my card using papers from Fancy Pants's Collecting Moments range

Monday, 13 March 2017

A box for a change

I've really stepped out of my comfort zone today - I've made a box rather than a card, and used a couple of mixed media techniques on it!


The box is a little undecorated card one, the kind you can pick up in The Range and similar places. I painted it with dark blue acrylic paint all over inside and our, and then applied Kroma Crackle to all the outside surfaces except the flat base.

When that was dry and well-crackled (you really have to wait, don't you? I think I'm too inpatient, I like to see immediate results!) I sponged silver ink around all the edges and a little randomly over the crackled surfaces, sprinkled with silver embossing powder and heated it.

Then I decorated the lid, adding ribbon around the edge, a circle of tinsel style braid around the top, a "star" of ribbon loops centred with a large crystal snowflake and some matching gems in the corners.


I'll use this as a gift box at Christmas - it would be perfect to hold a small piece of jewellery.


I am sharing this with
Shopping our Stash- Crackle effect
Winter Wonderland - Use Ribbon or Lace
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Anything But a Card

Spring is in the Air - Ooh La La Creations #224

It's time for our new challenge at the Ooh La La Creations Challenge Blog  and this time the theme is Spring is in the Air. 

I've used a lovely daffodil topper and papers from the Carnival of Colour CD, which you can find here.


The ribbon actually came from a box of flowers-by-post that I was sent!

Why not join in and link up your spring themed creations? You don't need to use an Ooh La La CD, in fact you don't need to use a CD at all, we love to see ALL your crafting!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Butterfly fold-back card

A few days ago on Pinterest I saw a fold back card using partial die cutting along the fold. I don't have any stamp and die sets that would lend themselves to the technique, so I decided to do the stamping and then cut out by hand.

The result was an unsalvageable mess.  But by now I knew what look I wanted to achieve, so I decided to try again but by adding fussy-cut images to the solid fold instead. Here's the result.


The butterfly is an Indigo Blu image. I stamped it with Stazon and then coloured it in with watercolour pencils, blending green and white with more of the green towards the butterfly's body then went over it all with a waterbrush, adding the darkest green for the body when the paint was dry.

The borders are punched with a Martha Stewart punch, using some mint green card that was in a bargain pad at Lidl recently.

I am sharing this with
Butterfly Challenge - Edges and/or Mint Green
The Paper Players - Green and white

Playing with peg stamps

One of the most popular stalls at the Make It show last month was the Card-io one - hardly surprising as there were dozens of beautiful samples made using their peg stamps, and some lovely demonstrations to watch.

They reminded me that I have several sets of the stamps, from back in the day when the pegs were made of wood and the brand was called Rubberstamp Tapestry. So I fished some of them out for a play, selecting just leaf stamps from a combination of sets.


I very faintly pencilled in a curved line across the lower part of the card  then filled in the area below the line with leaves stamped using different areas of a Kaleidacolor Fresh Greens pad. Then I erased the pencil mark and stamped a simple sentiment.

I am sharing this with
Less Is More - One Layer: Leaves
Sweet Stampin - Anything but Birthday

An anniversary card

One of may daughters and her husband have two wedding anniversaries every year, because they had two weddings a few months apart (it's complicated....).  I make a card for  the first one, which they display for a few days and then put away in a drawer until the second, then get it out again. This is this year's card, sent for "part 1" a few days ago.


The shade of green is chosen because it's her very favourite colour. The background is made with an Mbossabilities folder. The hearts are cut with a Spellbinders die, and I used the waste as a template to cut the green hearts to back them with. Those Gummiapan stitched oval dies are putting in yet another appearance, along with the stamped sentiment.

I am sharing this with
Cut it Up Challenge - Think Green
Glitter and Sparkle - Use Some Green

Poinsettias and holly

Last year I was very good and made at least two Christmas cards a week all year - this year they are just coming along as and when I'm in the mood or spot a challenge I fancy, so my stocks are building up more slowly. However I do have one to share with you today.


I used a Clarity Stamps poinsettia stencil for the frame, stencilling with Imagination Crafts Sparkle Medium,  then cut out the decoupage (a sheet I printed out 3 or 4 years ago and never got round to using, so I can't remember where it was from) and layered it onto an oval cut with one of the Gummiapan Stitched Ovals dies.

I am sharing this with
Jingle Belles - Festive Foliage
Just Us Girls - Use a Stencil
 
and a new challenge, The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challege where it is always anything (Christmas) goes.

Enjoy (tea/coffee) at CD Sundays

Our new challenge has just gone live at CD  Sundays, and Margaret has chosen the theme Enjoy (Tea/Coffee)

Now you probably know that I am totally addicted to tea, so you might be surprised that I've made a coffee themed card!


However it's because some of the elements I've used here are very special to me, and for the same reason I've kept the card very simple to show them off.

First of all the image - it is from one of the very first prizes that I won when I first started playing along at CD Sundays. The CD is called Grandma's Collection and is produced by a small business that sells on ebay as Fitzy62. So the CD has taken me all the way from my first steps at joining in the challenge to now having a place on the Design Team.

Next the background card. I thought last year that I'd finished up the very last sheet of this but when I was sorting things into my new storage unit at Christmas I was delighted to find that I still had one sheet left. Well, it's just over half a sheet now I've used some on this! I bought the pack of card at The Eden Project in Cornwall several years ago and it is fascinating, because those brown swirls aren't printed on the card, they are real coffee grounds that are embedded into the fibres when the card is being made! What a wonderful way of recycling, and it means that no two pieces of card are ever identical. The card doesn't seem to be on the Eden Project website now, so I'll probably never find any more like it, but it's been a real joy to use.

And finally the stickers that I've used for the borders, which are from a fun sheet of coffee themed stickers sent to me by the lovely Darnell, of djkardkreations - every time I use them I think of the fun day when a whole gaggle of us crafters met up with her in Southampton when she did her Grand Crafty Tour of the UK last summer.

I don't have anything exciting to say about the Hunkydory card I used  for the base layer, except that I chose a swirly embossed one to represent swirls of steam coming from a cup of coffee, or about the candi, whose colours I chose to link the image to the border.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A steampunk card

Yep, I've been die cutting those cogs again - I reckon on a cost-per-use basis they must be one of the best value items in my craft stash!


I've teamed them with elements that came from a Kanban Lucky Dip kit from Foilplay . The tall gentleman is really more suited to a portrait orientation of the card, but I thought I'd add interest by putting him this way round. I've arranged the cogs to look like a grey cloud hanging over the Houses of Parliament - typical of London weather (not to mention British politics!)

I am sharing this with The Male Room - Steampunk

Paris in the Spring

I love city skylines, especially when it comes to crafting. I've got several dies, stamps and even some ribbon decorated with them.

For this one I've used a die that my husband bought me - I think it was from Marianne Creatables -  which I always seem to use as a silhouette, cutting it from black card, but this time I wanted to try something different.


I smooshed turquoise, magenta and yellow distress inks onto a large acrylic block (I find it easier to see where the ink is that way than doing it on a craft mat) and spritzed with water then pressed white card onto it and used the resulting card for the die cutting. I couldn't stay away from the black though - this time I used it as a background. I think it sets off the colours really well.

The sentiment is stamped using a stamp from the new Dovecraft "Kiss and Make Up" collection. It's absolutely HUGE, isn't it? Well, Paris is, after all, the city of love!

I am sharing this with
Rubber Dance - Magenta, Yellow and Turquoise
CASology - Landmark
Inkspirational - Watercolour smooshing
CAS Mix up - Stamping and smooshing plus your choice (diecutting)  







Quick recipe - Sweet Chilli Pickled Onions

This is a very quick and simple recipe which is going to take longer for me to waffle about than it will for you to make!

As you probably know, I grew up in the north of England, and a common sight in many homes at mealtimes was a bowl of sliced onions that had been steeped for a few hours in malt vinegar and sugar, a kind of quick pickle that was served with many meals, especially if chips were involved. Often in a pub there was a huge bowl of them on the counter for diners to help themselves from.

Fast forward a few years (oh, all right then, decades) to my army wife years, and I started to serve these up as a side dish to small-plate style starters when we has casual dinner parties. I ended up having to give out the recipe to lots of people, even though to me there was no recipe, it was something I'd always made, like my mother and grandmother before me.

Now, I do a lot of Asian cookery, especially Malaysian and Indonesian, and there is one side dish we love, of sliced red onions in tamarind juice and chilli. This week I was making a simple Indonesian meal and didn't have any tamarind to hand, so I came up with an alternative, and it was such a success I'll be making it regularly from now on.

Remember to prepare it a few hours in advance - the onion softens and mellows in the vinegar mixture and you lose that harsh raw onion taste. It will keep for several days - if it gets chance!

You will need
2 small red onions, very thinly sliced
100ml red wine vinegar
1 generous teaspoon honey (or alternative such as agave nectar)
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce, or sriracha if you like it hotter
a generous pinch of salt.

Place the onions in a non-metallic bowl. Whisk together all the other ingredients and pour over the onions. Stir and cover then leave for several hours, at room temperature if possible. Stir from time to time. Serve as a side dish with spicy foods, salads or chips (that's fries if you are American, not potato crisp style chips, they'd go soggy!)

You'll have to excuse the tiny quantity in the photo - I forgot to take one before we waded in, and this is all that was left!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Finding your craft mojo

I've not posted for a couple of days - at least, not here - but I HAVE done a guest post over at Life, Ninjakillercat and Everything Else where you can read my suggestions for ways to get over a lost mojo. I've based it around craft, but I've given a five step plan that could apply to just about any hobby. Do pop over there and have a look! And while you are there, take a look around her blog, it's a fascinating mixture of photographs, posts about (and occasionally written by) her cats, one of whom sadly crossed the rainbow bridge a few days ago, moving personal posts about her own struggle with depression, recipes and product reviews, all written in her unique almost poetic style.

I've challenged Claire, who writes the blog, to follow my five step plan in order to try to revive her crafting hobby, so I'll be looking out for her results. And if you try it, I'd like to hear from you, too!

Now because all the crafting I've done this week has been for future scheduled posts, how about some food photos instead? I was recently lucky enough to win a meal for two, including three courses, wine and coffee, at Denbies winery in Surry, in their Gallery Restaurant which has a beautiful view over the vineyard and the Surrey countryside. My photos of the view didn't come out very well, I've not mastered scenery on my phone camera yet, but here are a few food photos to make your mouth water. I'll not go into details save to say that our meal was absolutely wonderful, every mouthful was amazing!

Crispy beef with sweet chilli and wasabe

Deep fried Brie with redcurrants

Lamb rump with dauphinoise, smoked celeriac puree, chanterelles, kale, baby beetroot and pomegranate jelly

Pheasant with barley "risotto", cavolo nero and smoked celeric puree