Monday, 28 October 2013

Meal planning Monday 28th October

Well I'm back home, and getting back into the swing of things. Mark stocked the fridge at the weekend as the weather forecast was so grim we probably wouldn't be able to go shopping today, a wise move as it's been pretty rough, so I'm basing my plans on all the lovely goodies he bought at the farmer's market - including a red cabbage that weighs in at well over 2.5 kg and a savoy cabbage almost as big!

Monday - pot roast venison with carrots and onions, jacket potatoes and savoy cabbage
Tuesday - minced beef. Will make a final decision when I see how warm or cold it is, but either a cottage pie or a hotpot of some sort, with braised red cabbage
Wednesday - it will need to be something simple as I'll be out all day. Maybe Pork in Grapes
Thursday - Roasted butternut squash hummus so I can eat one of the green peppers Mark has grown for me!
Friday - smoked sausage with braised red cabbage
Saturday - I'll be out all day so Mark will be cooking
Sunday - I've won a meal out at a local restaurant where the steak frites is so good it would be rude to order anything else!

Lots more meal plans can be found in this week's Meal Planning Monday at At Home With Mrs M

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cards for Mandi's challenge

Mandi Ticer is an old crafting friend - we originally met through the old Topaz Crafts forum, then knew each other on Craft Swap Forum and now stay in touch through a birthday list. She's one of the nicest people I've Never met!

And now she is a Stampin Up demonstrator - here is her Facebook Page.

She's been running a challenge on the page - she sent us lots of images and trimmings and the challenge was to make something from them.

Here are the cards I created:

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Copper and butterflies

I hardly ever seem to use my Sharon Duncan CD, Beautiful Butterflies, but I've been having a play with it today. I printed off one of the decoupage toppers and a matching background sheet, then die cut lots of flowers and leaves in toning colours. The embossed panel uses a butterfly embossing folder that was free with one of the craft magazines a few months ago - I think the metallic card shows off the embossing really well. In fact it reminds me of those beaten-copper-topped coffee tables that were popular in the 1970s, if you're old enough to remember them.

I'm playing along with

Make My Monday - Texture
Ooh La La Challenge Blog  - Things With Wings
PINspirational challenge 79 - Anything Goes
CD Sundays - Butterfly  
Creative Craft Challenges2 21 - Anything Goes

I'll be pretty quiet for the next 10 days or so as I'm going away to visit my Mum again at the weekend. Please all cross your fingers that I don't come home ill again!

A Christmas shaker card

The code word for challenge #24 at ATCAS is Transparent

In my Festive Stash, I have a tiny piece of "Merry Christmas" acetate that has been there for years, it's in the "too big to throw away but too small to use" category. However I realised it would be just - ONLY just - big enough to use as a window in a shaker card made from die cuts.

I filled the window with festive sequins and used a card shaped to reflect the die cut window - and that's all there is to it. With hindsight, I wish I'd given the window die cut some texture by running it  through the Cuttlebug in an embossing folder.  But I've just used up my last piece of Christmas acetate, so that idea will have to wait until next year!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Meal planning Monday 14th October

I wasn't going to make a plan this week but one just happened anyway! But I will definitely not be around next week, so I'll be AWOL then.

Monday  "barbecued" pork fillet with rice and salad. This is a recipe from an issue of Cordon Bleu Monthly from the late 1970s. The pork isn't barbecued at all, it's marinated in a spicy barbecue style sauce then braised, and the sauce finished with the marinade and lots of tomatoes (yes, I'm still using up the glut)

Tuesday home made pizza with fresh tomato topping

Wednesday butternut squash risotto

Thursday my daughter, who is visiting from France, is cooking. She misses British sausages so we'll probably be having those, but she's not decided what she's cooking with them yet. We have a nice celeriac in the fridge so it might be celeriac mash

Friday steak and chips 

Saturday  taking daughter to the airport in the afternoon so it will need to be something simple - probably a piece of lamb I can stick in the oven when we get in and leave to look after itself

Sunday I'll be heading up north to my Mum's, so she'll be in charge - I expect she'll do salmon as she knows I don't get that at home!

See more ideas for this week's meals in the linky over at At Home With Mrs M

Friday, 11 October 2013

Deep and Crisp and Even

A few weeks ago I spotted this pin on Pinterest and thought what a great way it was to incorporate lots of different embossing folders into one card, so I had a rummage through my own folders and came up with my own version of the same card. Just looking at the photo has made me realise I must go back and tighten that ribbon up, it's such shiny stuff it slips around a lot!

I've incorporated a snowflake folder and used winter colours, to make it into a Christmas card, but changing the colours and folders would make this suitable for any occasion.

I'm joining in the following challenges:

CAS-ology week 65 - Crisp
Crafting Musketeers Challenge 6 - Christmas in October
Addicted to Stamps and More  challenge 66 - Anything Goes

and thanks to Hazel's invitation, Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for October.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Have yourself a scrappy little Christmas!

I try to be pretty disciplined about my craft odds and ends, as I'm very pushed for space. I do have a bits and pieces box, but only hang on to things big enough to be genuinely useful. Except when it comes to Christmas stash. Something at the back of my mind tells me that maybe next year not one company will produce any festive themed products, so I really MUST hang on to that 4cm square of snowflake acetate, that tag end of festive ribbon, the last die cut from a sheet or the Rudolph embellishment that has no red brad left to make his shiny nose (Rudolph the green nosed reindeer, anybody?

Here's just a tiny sample of the bits and pieces that have built up over the years

I'm trying hard to use up as much as possible this year - some of the older bits are starting to look decidedly dog eared and need severe pruning before use! So I was delighted to see that this week's Use it Tuesday challenge is #65: Scraps, Pieces and Odds and Ends.

With so many odds and ends to choose from, I decided to combine this with the Crafty Creations Challenge #242 : Easy as 1,2,3 which asks us to use three patterned papers, two embellishments and one ribbon, all of which were from my hoarded Christmas bits and pieces box.

And now I have bits and pieces spread out all over the table so I'm going to go and see just how many cards I can make without breaking out anything new!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Meal planning Monday October 7th 2013

It's a rather bitty week this week as Mark is away for a few days and then our younger daughter is arriving on Friday for a week. She's always been a very healthy eater  and not mad about meat so our high-veg-content meals are perfect for her, but she's also 30 weeks pregnant so I'll have to be careful about not bunging unpasteurised cheese or slogging wine into everything!

Monday - chicken stir fry with green peppers and cherry tomatoes from the garden and a handful of bought (shock horror!) mange tout

Tuesday - kedgeree

Wednesday - Moroccan chicken with couscous and salad

Thursday - steamed steak pudding with Savoy cabbage and runner beans

Friday - need to go to Heathrow to meet our daughter so will probably just have a quick soup made out of whatever's left in the fridge.

Saturday -  roast chicken with runner beans, if there are any left, and the first Brussels Sprouts from the garden

Sunday - pasta with cavolo nero and cream sauce, using the first cavolo nero from the garden

I'm taking a couple of weeks off MPM as I have a mixture of visitors and travelling coming up again, so I'll be back at the end of October. In the meantime, don't forget to check At Home With Mrs M for lots of menus to see you through the week!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

White Christmas

Some things are a right b***er to photograph, and the glitter on this card is a prime example. It's white, simple white, but my little camera made it come out all blue and Mark's fancy one made it hardly show up at all. But Mark's camera does show off the embossing well, so I've used one of his photos today.

I die cut the tree ornaments  then put them through embossing folders, and glittered the recessed areas of the swirly one.

Because the card is all white, I'm joining in with Less is More's week 140 challenge, a white on white Christmas card.

And because the ornament die I used is one I've had for about four years and was still sealed in its original packaging, it's definitely a candidate for Oldie But Goodie's bingo challenge  as I've used embossing, die cuts and glitter.

A CAS Cupcake

The current challenge at CAS on Sunday is #18 "Shape it up" -  to make a shaped card. I decided to try making a cupcake.

I cut the second largest scalloped circle nestie and embossed it with a swirl folder. For the cake case, I punched a pretty edge on pink card then inserted it into a dotty folder, leaving the punched edge clear to emboss just the lower part of the case, then I cut it to shape.

Next I assembled the cupcake on white folded card, with the "buttercream" peeping out just above the fold and cut around it, before finishing with ribbon and candi.

Saturday, 5 October 2013


You can tell it's World Cardmaking Day - two card posts from me in one day!

Challenge #242 at Crafty Creations Challenges is Winged Things. Now whenever I see wings mentioned, my kneejerk reaction is to head for my dragonfly stamps. But as I was rummaging through old stamps looking for Melonie (see my previous post) I cane across a small collection of cartoon bee stamps that I'd almost forgotten about, so I decided to have a play with those.

I made the outside of the card quite simple so the recipient will be extra-surprised by the "explosion" inside! (It's hard to photograph the exploding inside because it opens up to be bigger than the card itself - but I hope you get the idea)


No, I haven't lost the ability to spell girls' names! But I think that the little girl in the image I used today really HAS to be called Melonie!

When I saw the image for PIN-spirational challenge 77, what really leapt out at me was the juicy watermelon.
I've had a bit of a "thing" about watermelon ever since I was in hospital in the summer, it's what really brought my appetite back, so I'm drawn to it every time I spot it now.
And seeing it reminded me of some stamps  I've not used for years, the little girl getting ready to tuck into her slice of melon, and the co-ordinating melon wedges which double as handy corners.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Ear, ear!

This week at CASology the cue card is Harvest

And at Addicted to Stamps and More it's a photo inspiration challenge, again with a harvest theme

Here's my harvest themed card, which I'm submitting to both challenges. Once again, I found the embossed lines very difficult to photograph. Flash eliminates the shadows, so the lines don't show up, and it's such a gloomy day that the natural light from the window doesn't cast much in the way of shadow either.

Pretty - for a change

I don't really do "pretty" most of the time, but I CAN when the situation arises! The background card is rather unusual - the pattern in it is made with real coffee grounds. I bought it on a trip to the Eden Project a few years ago. Only a crafter could get more excited about a pack of card than about the plants and domes there!

I'm playing along with

Make My Monday - Vintage with Sepia and cream and optional pink/blue

Creative craft Challenges 2 - Anything Goes

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Recipe - Thatched Cottage Pie

On Monday's meal plan menu this week, I said we were having Thatched Cottage pie - it's like normal cottage pie only with grated root veg instead of mash, hence the "thatch". Here's how to make it. This amount would serve 3 adults or a family of 2 adults and 2 small children.

for the base:

500g minced beef
a large onion, chopped
350 ml beef stock
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
¼ tsp dried herbes de Provence

Heat the oven to 150 C (fan 130 C, gas mark 2)

Put the mince and onions in a flameproof casserole dish and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mince is browned and the onion starting to soften. Stir in the flour and then gradually blend in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the herbs and season then cook in the oven for at least an hour - good butchers mince can get away with less time than supermarket mince. If I have time, I cook cheaper mince for a couple of hours.

When cooked, transfer the mince to a greased baking dish - you may want to grease an extra, small, dish in case you have extra topping. Increase the oven temperature to 190C (fan 170C, gas mark 5)

Next prepare the topping. I find the coarse grating insert on a food processor the best for this as it works quickly so the potatoes don't get chance to go brown.

for the topping:

2 medium eggs
2 large potatoes
2 large carrots
2 medium parsnips
50 g hard cheese - Emmental is particularly good

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and season - I like to use a LOT of pepper. Then coarsely grate the cheese and all the peeled veg into the bowl. Mix together well and pile loosely on top of the mince. If it doesn't all fit, you may need a second dish for the extra.

Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until the veg is brown and crispy on top and soft inside.

October and November's "No Waste Challenge" is root veg, and this is a great way to use up those last few bits and bobs from the veg box - any root veg would work in the topping.