Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Iris folding revisited

NOTE - This is probably the last "real time" post you will see from me for a couple of weeks as I am going on holiday. I have quite a few posts scheduled to appear while I'm away (if Blogger behaves itself) but I'll probably not have much chance to visit or comment on any blogs while I'm away, it rather depends on how good the hotel's wifi is. I'm just hoping I'll be well enough to make the journey - I've spent the last couple of days having a sorting-out blitz and seem to have put my back out, and today I can hardly move.

Many years ago I had a little dabble in Iris Folding. And by a little dabble, I mean I spent a small fortune on card blanks and pre-cut paper strips and then made two cards..... While looking for something else the other day, I stumbled across all the Stuff and decided to give it a second chance, and this snow globe blank seemed to be a good place to start since, just in case you hadn't noticed, Christmas Day is exactly one month away!

The reason I'd  lost interest after my first couple of cards when I'd tried it before was that the area around the edge of the aperture always seemed, well, rather dull. The folding and colours inside meant there was too much going on for it to be a CAS card, and yet it somehow always ended up looking unfinished. So I decided to add a bit of inking to add interest. First I gently inked with yellow around the globe part, to make it look as if it was sort of illuminated, and then (and this is the part I regret now) I added a horizontal line to represent a table surface and a little grey ink around and below the base to represent a table for the globe to stand on.

It looked fine at the time - I didn't realise then that once the card was finished, it would just look rather grubby, as if I'd been trying to erase a too-heavy pencil mark with a cheap rubber!
I used strips of very sparkly glitter paper for the folding. The instructions only give a border for the globe, suggesting the centre should be filled with a photo, but I filled the centre with pearlised paper and then added a die cut Christmas tree. I think next time I use one of these blanks I will try continuing the iris folding right to the centre, although I'm worried it might make the card too bulky.

The gold borders and greeting are there to try to distract you from that grey ink!

I'm sharing this with

Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's
Make my Monday - Oh Christmas Tree
Christmas Card Challenges - Anything Goes
Clear It Out Challenge - Holiday/Glitter   

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A stamp-free snow scene

As you've probably gathered, I can't resist a nice covermounted gift on a craft magazine! I realise that they aren't REALLY free, because if the mags didn't always have gifts, their regular price would be lower, but it's often cheaper to buy the magazine and gift than it would be to buy the gift alone, and sometimes they are exclusive designs that aren't available to buy. And of course you have the magazine for ideas and inspiration (not to mention temptation) as well.

I don't subscribe to any magazines because I only buy an issue when the gift is something I know I will use - this way, I tend to buy a different magazine every month so I see a variety of ideas. I've made this card using two covermounts and very little else - the embossing folder came with Quick Cards Made Easy a couple of months ago and I've already lost count of the number of times I've used it, while the die is the first outing of the gift with the latest issue of Die Cutting Essentials.

I used the Grand Calibur for the die cutting and embossing. However I know from previous use that this embossing folder gives a really deep and crisp (like Good King Wenceslas's snow) finish, and I wanted it to be less pronounced so that the die cut would be very obviously the main focal point. So instead of the usual C plate/folder/Grand Raspberry sandwich, I tried A plate/folder/Grand Raspberry. I thought it might need a shim to emboss at all, but no, it gave me exactly the softer, gentler finish I was looking for with a single pass. A useful tip to remember if you have one of those folders that is so sharply indented it can break the fibres of the material you are embossing!

OK, I've got lots of challenges to share this with, funny how so many are asking us for Christmas cards now, isn't it? Plus as I won't be around for a couple of weeks I'm trying to join in as many of my regular ones as I can this week, then they won't think I've deserted them!

AAA Cards - Anything Goes CAS

Uniko Studios - Christmas & optional CAS

Cuttlebug Mania - Embossing

Oooh La La Creations - Let it Snow

Merry Monday - Blue, White with texture

Shopping Our Stash - no stamping

Fun in the Snow at Cardz 4 Guyz

Christmas is getting nearer - a month today it will be Christmas Eve!- so we have a wintery theme at Cardz 4 Guyz this week - Fun in the Snow.

I've used this fun Snowboarding Santa image from the CD "The Best of La Pashe 2014 " and combined him with all kinds of snippets from my Christmas bits box. The diagonal Dufex stripe and the diagonally striped paper reflect the mountainside feel of the image. I've used corners cut with an old Cuttlebug die and added the waste from the die cuts to the sides of the image.

The sentiment is a Craftworks cards one that says "A note from Santa" but I took the photo on a gloomy day and had to use flash - and the wording is so reflective that it didn't like being flashed at!

I've used up lots and lots of bits and pieces in this card so I'm sharing it with:

Pixie's Snippets Playground week 204
Use Your Stuff - Lots of Layers
Jingle Belles - Holiday Leftovers
Crafty Gals Corner - Use Scraps
Alphabet Challenge - Tis the Season    

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Inspired by Pinterest

A few days ago, I spotted this pin  over on Pinterest and thought what a brilliant idea for using up snippets! I have so many scraps of patterned paper in the "too big to throw away but too small to use" size bracket, and this is perfect for them - and would look different every time it was made, depending on the scraps you choose. (Incidentally, didn't Pinterest used to have an "embed this pin" option where you could get the HTML code of a pin to insert in your blog? And how is it that when you repin something, the top comment on it becomes attributed to YOU rather than the original commenter?)

Anyway, I picked out a whole heap of blue snippets and cut them into 1.5 cm wide strips, then stuck them sort-of-log-cabin style onto card, trimmed and inked the edges, stamped a greeting using an old HOTP stamp that was the perfect size for the job and put the finished piece onto an A5 card blank.

I'm sharing this with Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 204 and with Crafty Gals Corner - use scraps

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Music at Twofers

Today we have a new challenge at Twofers, and this time I have chosen the theme which is Music. We'd like to see your card - or any other craft project - with a musical theme, bearing in mind that it MUST include some stamping somewhere and MUST NOT use any digital images.

I'm afraid I can't remember the name of this wonderful stamp set, which includes both the main image and the quotation. The embossed layer uses a Darice embossing folder - I accidentally tore part of it while distressing the edges, and liked the "ancient manuscript" look that it gave so much that I went on to make several random deliberate tears in it. The other layer is a DCWV textured paper, torn and then very lightly inked with distress ink so that only the raised area picked up the ink.

We'd love it if you would head over to Twofers and take a look at what the other DT members, Zoe and Christi, have made - and of course share your own work with us for the chance of a prize!
I'm sharing this with Just add ink - Just add music.
I'm  also sharing this at The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers where the theme is Yodeleyhiyoooo  Yoddelllayiheee Music.  I know, I know, there's no snark on the card, the snark is in the history behind the image. Beethoven was notoriously a foul tempered man who would fly into a rage for little or no reason - he once threw a plate of food at a waiter because he didn't like the service, and his strops with audiences were worthy of Justin Bieber. I suppose anybody would feel snarky if their passion was music and they went totally deaf! He also had incredibly high expectations of  other people - as I know from personal experience. No, I never met him, I'm not that old, but I did once perform the choral movement of the 9th symphony in a big choir, and  some of the things he expected the human voice to tackle were incredibly tough. Altos sing top A? OK, you've managed that..... now lets see just how many bars you can hold it for......

Friday, 20 November 2015

How much is that doggie in the window?

Earlier this week, I was delighted to win this lovely doggy and sentiment stamp set from Little Claire's designs - in fact I won the stamp in two sizes, this is the larger one. I've coloured it in with Promarkers then used a selection of snippets to assemble the card, along with yet more of my beloved screw-headed brads. I'm going to use the pack up in no time at this rate, they work so perfectly with any wood-effect papers!

I'm sharing this with

Craft Rocket Challenges - add a sentiment
Addicted to Stamps and More - anything goes
Pixies Snippets Playground - Week 203  

A hand made background

For this card, I had a go at making my own background paper. I used a very old  red rubber unmounted stamp - a small background stamp, about 8cm x 10cm, and used Memento ink to stamp it over plain white paper, using a stamp positioner to make sure it lined up exactly. If it had been a clear stamp I could probably have done it by eye.

Then I coloured it all in, using Promarkers.

At this point, after all that colouring, it dawned on me that as I was planning to cover part of it with an image, I didn't really need to have coloured the whole lot. Oh well, as the purveyors of adult colouring books have found, colouring in really is very relaxing and therapeutic!

The image I chose to top it with is a Crafty Individuals one, I think - again, I've had it for so long I might have mis-remembered, but it's very much their style. In real life, the shades of green and pink card are a very close match to the background.

I'm sharing this with

Butterfly challenge - Q is for Quadruple  (4 images, 4 candi)
Addicted to Stamps and More - Anything Goes
Mod Squad - Pattern your paper

Blueprint for a town

Today I've been playing with some of the gorgeous reversible papers from the Graphic 45 12 x 12 pad, Artisan Style. These are the sort of papers that seem to be too beautiful to use, and yet are so wonderful to handle and create with that once you start, you just can't stop.

The rows of buildings were fussy cut from one of the sheets and layered up with the half row less raised than the full one, with the reverse of the same sheet being used for the bottom layer of backing. The upper background paper is from a sheet representing architectural blueprints in art deco style, as is the black swirl in the bottom corner. And the sentiment and its layering are cut from snippets of other sheets, left over from a different project.

I'm playing along with this week's challenge at Make My Monday, as the theme is Architecture.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Christmas tag

I have very few Christmas cards left to make now, so when I saw that the new challenge at CD Sundays is "Sprinkle of snowflakes" I decided to make a tag instead, using this very pretty backing paper from the La Pashe CD "The Christmas Box"

A bit of layering, a few die cuts and a minor incident of Crop-a-dile Nipple (I'm sure you've all suffered from that) later and one quick and CAS tag was the result.

I've had no end of fun trying to get a photo of it on this gloomy morning - whatever lighting I used, it seemed to want to make the silver look gold, so I took the photo with several different white balance settings. I'm not really happy with any of them but this is the least bad!

As well as CD Sundays I am sharing this with

Sparkles challenge - Anything but a card
Allsorts challenge - Anything but a card
Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 203 because everything except the snowflake background paper is snippets.

EDIT: so Crop-a-Dile Nipple isn't a well known Thing? Maybe it's just me then - when using my Crop-a-Dile to add eyelets, I sometimes hold the handles too near to one of my boobs and when I squeeze hard to seal the eyelet down, the handles come closer together and squish anything in their way..... hard! It doesn't half bring tears to your eyes!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

RECIPE: Poussin and Polenta

At the weekend, Mark and I devised and cooked a recipe together and we've decided to both blog about it at the same time. So you will find the ingredients listed here, and the step-by-step photos over on Mark's blog  - our first ever piece of Tandem Blogging (Is Tandem Blogging a Thing? It is now!)

This is a dish to make when you have plenty time - you don't need to spend very long in the kitchen, but there is marinating, soaking and chilling to be done - plus you need the time to read TWO blogs!

To make two generous servings, with leftover polenta to use another day (or dip in mayonnaise or a raita and nibble!) you will need:

1 poussin, halved and trimmed
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp harissa paste

200g fine cornmeal/polenta
500ml water
20g finely grated Parmesan cheese
a knob of butter
oil for frying

75g small green lentils
chicken stock made from poussin trimmings
A handful of shredded greens - we used brussels tops but anything in the cabbage/kale/spinach line would work.
200ml tomato sauce - we used a home made one with a good chilli kick, but you could use a bought pasta sauce or some passata with a dash of hot chilli sauce.

1. Halve the poussin, removing the backbone and wingtips, and place in a non-metallic dish. Rub with the lemon juice and harissa, coating evenly. Cover and leave to marinate for 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile place the trimmings in a small saucepan with 500ml of water, a couple of slices each of onion, carrot and celery, a bayleaf, sprigs of parsley and thyme and a few cloves and black peppercorns. Simmer for an hour, strain and set aside. Alternatively use a ready made chicken stock, but make sure it is a salt free one or your lentils will be tough.

2. Prepare  the polenta as instructed on Mark's blog and set aside to cool. Put the lentils in a bowl of water to soak.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Uncover the poussin and roast in the pre-heated oven for approx. 40 minutes.

4. While the poussin is cooking, cook the lentils and the polenta according to the instructions on Mark's blog. 

5. Serve the polenta sticks topped with the lentils and poussin. We accompanied ours with some boiled Crown Prince squash (which wasn't a huge success) and on the side I  had a dollop of Apple and Mint Raita which worked beautifully with it.

Trains, planes and automobiles at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week at Cardz 4 Guyz we would like to see trains, planes and automobiles on your cards - one, two or all three of those modes of transport.

I have used a paper and image sheet from Debbie Moore's "Shabby Chic - Vintage Discovery" CD - a very useful one for masculine designs (although it has some gorgeous feminine ones too) and made them into a fold-back card. The sentiments on the image sheet had printed screw heads on them, but I just used those as positioning markers for screw-headed brads.

When I used screw headed brads before, I had one or two questions about where they could be bought. Mine are made by Creative Expressions and I believe Woodware also make them. 

I am sharing this with

Craft Your Passion Challenges - Anything Goes
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Vegetable Broth with added zing

A couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to win a copy of Jo Pratt's new book, "In The Mood For Healthy Food" from the lovely Supergoldenbakes. It's a lovely book, packed with healthy-yet-not-cranky recipes that fit in very well with the way we love to eat.

This weekend the veg drawer of the fridge was crammed with the tail ends of veg left over from other dishes - a couple of parsnips, a few sticks of celery, the ONE leek so far ready in the garden, a couple of carrots, a tired lemon and the remains of packs of parsley and thyme (yes, we've used up the supply in the garden at the moment and had to resort to buying some of our herbs!). Thumbing through my new book, I spotted "Winter vegetable broth with zesty parsley dressing"  - basically a standard vegetable and pearl barley broth but served with a "pesto" of parsley, lemon rind and juice an olive oil, all whizzed together in the blender.

The soup was delicious - we were both a bit apprehensive about whether the light, zingy, summery looking sauce would work with the rich, hearty traditional  winter flavours of the soup, but the two complemented each other perfectly. It gave us lots and lots of lovely veg in one serving AND cleared a bit of space in the fridge - double whammy!

I'm making another visit to Kitchen Clearout at Madhouse Family Reviews

and also sharing at Extra Veg at Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy Food For Families
Extra Veg Blogging challenge badge

Lancashire Black Peas

When I was a little girl, I used to love a bowl of black peas with lots of bread to mop up the juices. My grandfather was a grocer and Mum and Grandma could buy their dried black peas from him, but sadly he passed away in 1959 when I was only about 4 years old, and no other shop in the small town sold them, so they became a very rare treat, only available at what my brother used to call the "Second hand food stall" and would probably now be viewed as a health food stall, in Wigan market.  And after I married and moved "darn sarf" in the 1970s, I couldn't get hold of them at all.

We didn't just eat them at home; until I was about 5 the travelling funfair that visited the town once a year always had a black peas stall to eat piping hot as you walked around the fair, and when I was in my teens, a couple of quite smart restaurants started serving them, either as a starter to a main meal, or on their own with a barmcake (a local type of flattish bread roll) as a light meal.

But for many, many years black peas have been a thing of the past for me. That was, until I discovered "Black Badger" peas on sale at Hodmedods   and decided to give them a try. However, having been a tiny tot when I last saw them cooked, I didn't have a clue what to do with them. I asked my Mum, but she is almost 90 years old and getting very vague, and she said "I think we used to cook them with a ham hock". So I tried that, but of course the salt from the ham meant that however long I cooked them for, the beans remained tough and inedible. Luckily I'd only used half the pack, for the two of us, so this time I tried again without ham, and I decided to try cooking them in the slow cooker, a luxury my gran didn't have. This time they were just right - I cooked a half pack, 250g, but really while you have the slow cooker on, you might as well do the whole bag and make a sustaining supper for 4!

First of all soak the peas overnight in plenty of water. Rinse and drain and put in the slow cooker with 1 litre of boiling water. Cook on Auto for 6-8 hours, or on High until boiling then on Low for the remaining time.

Serve Lancashire style, in bowls with lots of salt and a good shake of malt vinegar. Bread to mop up the juices is essential - as I love onions with pulses I made some crusty onion bread.

I haven't seen the My Legume Love Affair challenge before - very remiss of me - this month is it hosted by Herbs, Spices and Tradition  along with Food and Spice and The Well Seasoned Cook

And as you can produce a filling, tasty dish for 4 for under £2, I'm also joining in with Credit Crunch Munch at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary with Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All.

This month's Slow Cooked Challenge   with Farmersgirl Kitchen and Baking Queen 74 is meat-free, and now we've established that ham hock isn't the way to go, this is definitely meat free so I'm joining in there too.

The Slow Cooked Challenge

A thank you card

It's coming up to Thanksgiving time in the USA, and that means there are lots of challenges around at the moment with "Thank you" related themes.

Here in the UK, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, so I've made a generic thank you card. I picked this pretty butterfly card out of my snippets box - it's embossed, glittered and very tactile - and then found snippets of various colours of card to match the colours in the design.

The sentiment is cut with a Die-Versions die and the plain and fancy ovals with Spellbinders, all using the Grand Calibur. The words are backed with Stick-it - do any of you find the adhesive isn't terribly strong? You can see how the word "thank" slipped slightly while I was taking the photo - I've now straightened it and stuck it down more firmly!

I added some pretty ribbon and hand-doodled the border using a sparkly gel pen, although the sparkle doesn't show in the photo, and finished off with tiny butterflies punched from the very last scraps of coloured card.

I'm sharing this with

Cuttlebugmania - Thank You
Crafty Creations Challenges - Give Thanks
Crafty Gals Corner - Thank You or Thankful
Make my Monday - Many Thanks
Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 203
Glitter and Sparkle - Add a Die    

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Making Flammekueche

Some years ago, Mark and I joined a scheme called Wineshare - a "rent a vine" club enabling us to buy wine from the vineyard at bargain prices. Once a year, members would flock to a farm near Coventry, pile into coaches and head over to Calais, to meet up with lorries loaded with our wine. Our coaches accompanied the lorries back to the UK, and this entitled us to buy the wine at duty free prices. It was always a great day out but gradually the business went into decline and eventually into receivership. The vineyard itself has recently risen phoenix-like from the ashes of the old business but with a totally different structure, and the coach trips no longer take place. Which is a pity, as not only were they very sociable occasions, but they gave us a few hours in Calais to browse the market and have lunch.

Our favourite place for lunch was the Café de Paris, on the corner of the market square. Not a sophisticated fine dining establishment, just somewhere with a good selection of freshly prepared, tasty food.  Most years saw one or both of us choosing Flammekueche, an Alsatian dish very similar to a pizza but with a sour cream topping rather than a tomato and cheese one.

So when I spotted this recipe the other day, I was very keen to give it a try - and I happened to have all of the ingredients to hand - bread dough ingredients I always have, I'd just restocked on red onions, my last Ocado order had seen me treat myself to a couple of packs of French lardons and I had a pot of sour cream because I'd been planning to make a goulash.

Now I don't like to take my tech into the kitchen - I'm too messy - so I printed out the recipe and off I went. The recipe didn't have a print-friendly version option and what I didn't notice was that in printing it out, a page break had meant an important line had failed to print...... the one that said "roll out one half". I made the whole batch of dough into a single, baking-sheet-sized Flammekueche, and then wondered why my topping seemed to be so much denser than on the photo.

Nevertheless, the finished dish looked and smelled delicious - it tasted delicious too, apart from the fact the bready base was twice as thick as it ought to have been and for that reason was undercooked towards the centre! But there was still more than enough to go round and it was a very easy, tasty dish - I'll be making it again!

I'm sharing this with Bready, Steady, Go! at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families and Jen's Food.

A male sympathy card

With the terrible events in Paris today, it seems very appropriate to post a sympathy card, and I made this one as my entry to the current challenge at The Male Room, which is Remembrance or Sympathy.

I find sympathy cards the hardest of all to make, and harder still for men as my usual themes of lilies or butterflies can seem a bit too feminine. I do think a very CAS style is called for, it isn't a time for anything too elaborate or fussy, unless you know the person well and know it is what they would appreciate. So I've kept it very, very simple and made a one layer card by stamping this leaf image (sorry, it's a very old unmounted stamp and I can't remember  the manufacturer)  first in grey and then at an angle in black, so the grey looks like a shadow, then adding the sentiment which is an Anna Griffin stamp.

With such a simple one layer card, positioning of the images can really make or mar the design, so I use a stamp positioner for accurate placement. It has the added advantage of helping you to see what each image would look like in various places - by stamping the text on the clear positioning sheet, I was able to get a good idea what it would look like in various places on the card before choosing to place it where I did.

When Santa got stuck up the chimney!

What does Santa suffer from when he gets stuck up the chimney?

And here's a Santa stamp from Lili of the Valley,  who seem quite happy to be stuck as his "Ho ho ho!" (courtesy of a mini Studio G stamp) must be resonating around the chimney.

I stamped and masked both images then stamped and embossed the spattered dots background in silver to look like a sprinkling of stars, then added the greeting to balance the design. Coloured in with markers, and Stickles for the fur and snow.

I'm sharing this with Less is More where it is a one-layer week this week and the theme is Santa
and with Creative Card Crew where the theme is Sprinkle

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Using up jars of chutney

Do you, like me, have a cupboard full of part-used jars of chutney? (Or a fridge full, if you are that way inclined - my fridge is always too full for anything more!). The trouble with chutneys is that they seem like such a good idea at the time - that country market, food festival or charity stall selling attractive looking jars, or the gift pack you get for Christmas or hamper you win, soon means that the chutney mountain can threaten to overwhelm the cupboard. And then you find yourself with a giant marrow, a bargain sack of onions or a carrier bag full of apples from a neighbour and your first reaction - well MY first reaction at any rate - is "Oooh, I can make a batch of chutney!"

So my chutney cupboard tends to be crammed to overflowing. Before Dom says anything, no, I don't have a cupboard solely for chutney - it houses pickles and olives as well. But mostly chutney. Not every chutney sits well on the side of a plate of curry, and there are only so many cold meat or cheese-and-biscuit meals you can eat it with before it starts to get a bit samey and the temptation is to throw the last of the jar away and open something new.

But you can get more out of your chutneys if you think of them not just as a side dish but as an ingredient in their own right. They are a great way of livening up all kinds of  dishes - you could add a spoonful to a casserole, a curry, a cottage pie or a pasta sauce.

I've used chutney in two ultra-simple recipes and it really livened up very basic ingredients. The first one will also use up some of that jar of creamed horseradish that's been hanging around ever since you could last afford a joint of beef to roast!

First of all,

Smoked Mackerel Sandwich Filler

1 pack (about 225g) smoked mackerel fillets
1 tbs creamed horseradish
2 tbs beetroot, rhubarb or gooseberry chutney

Remove the skin from the mackerel and flake it into a bowl. Stir in the horseradish and chutney and mash well with a fork. For a smoother texture, more like a soft paté, use a food processor.
Serve made into sandwiches or piled on toast.

Apple and Mint Raita

1 small pot natural Greek style yoghurt
¼ cucumber, grated
2 tbs apple and mint chutney

mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve as a cooling side dish to curries, Middle Eastern food or even chilli con carne, or as a dip for poppadoms, tortilla chips or crudités

I'm sharing this with Kitchen Clearout at Madhouse Family Reviews

and Credit Crunch Munch at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All

Credit Crunch Munch

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Berry Christmas?

Sometimes you see a photo, a challenge, a project or just a word and you just have to rush off and start crafting (or a piece of paper and make frantic notes, if the former isn't possible) which is what happened to me when I saw today's inspiration photo at Addicted to Stamps and More

I've had this twig stamp (a Linda Luckin stamp, no longer available) for many years, and used it in many ways, but it's never crossed my mind to add gems to represent berries or baubles before. With the callicarpa just beginning to look fab in the garden with its bare branches and purple berries, look out for the stamp being used again with purple gems very soon, or better still purple pearls if I can get/create some.

Anyway, back to this card, I decided out of respect to the photo to keep the whole card very CAS, and with all those gems it could very easily have gone quite the opposite way! So the only other additions are a stamped sentiment and just a hint of clear Wink of Stella to give a suggestion of sparkly snow to the lower third of the card, although as usual the photos just don't do justice to the sparkle.

I am also sharing this with

Clear it Out - White + 1 colour (I noticed some of the DT used black too so I presume it's allowed)
Fan-Tastic Tuesday - B is for......  (berries/baubles)
Christmas Card Challenges - Anything Goes
Fab'n'Funky - Clean and Simple

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

More than one fold at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week it's my turn to choose the challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz, and the theme I have chosen is MORE THAN ONE FOLD. I think it's a great theme for masculine cards, as men seem to like a bit of "engineering" in their cards - the sort of thing that makes them sit there opening and closing it and trying to work out how you made it!

For my card, I've turned to some of my favourite masculine papers, the docrafts Heritage Press range, plus a die cut  decoupage from the same range, and made them into a shutter card. I use a Hougie board for accurate folding - it always amazes me how easy fancy-fold cards are when I use it!

I chose a red striped shirting fabric paper as the main paper - this always makes me think of a "something in the city" type who probably wears his shirt underneath a pair of red braces! (Or am I getting mixed up with Santa Claus?). Because the  DL size of the finished card reminds me of a shirt sleeve, I trimmed the bottom corner with three buttons, reminiscent of a shirt cuff, but kept the rest of the  red striped area uncluttered, as a man's shirt would be.

The sentiment on the front is an area of one of the papers, highlighted by covering a cardboard slide mount (do you remember when they were a major crafting THING about 15 years ago?)  with yet more paper from the pack. I've coordinated the two inner panels with the slide mount.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Shades of blue

There was some serious delving in the snippets box for this card! I needed several pieces of blue card and patterned paper, to match all the shades in a Kaleidacolour Blue Breeze pad. Once I'd found them, I embossed the plain ones and matted the patterned one - the knitting effect ef is a Crafters Companion one and the more ornate one was a magazine freebie, and the patterned paper was one I downloaded for a project several years ago.

Then I brayered a die cut with the Kaleidacolour pad, and spritzed it with water to help to blend the colours. Once it was dry I stamped and embossed the Penny Black "Quite dandy" image.

I am sharing this with

Suzy Bee's Blooming Challenge - Blue and White
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 202

Black and Gorjuss

When I saw that this week's challenge at Cardz 4 Galz is For a Teenager I wasn't sure what approach to take. Having two grown up daughters myself, I know that teenage girls can be very unpredictable. At certain parts of their teens, you don't know whether they will get up each morning (or afternoon, depending on whether it's a school day) in the mood to be a cute little girl, a smart young lady or a kohl-eyed goth. Emma and Fiona, if you are reading this, your turn will come when your own daughters reach that stage!

Then I went to visit a friend who produced a gift for me - a pack of 48 sheets of Gorjuss papers and decoupage. (She isn't a crafter herself so was bemused when I opened the pack and immediately started stroking the papers - please tell me I'm not  the only one who does that!). I knew straight away that it would be perfect for the challenge - whichever mood the teenager would be in on her birthday, the card would be right for it.

I've used paper and decoupage from the kit with lots of black card - the border is punched, the leaf sprays are die cut with Spellbinders Sprigs and the roses are made with die cut spirals. And of course somebody came to the door just as I finished winding each spiral and was about to glue it down.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The last of the leaves

This weekend has been wet and windy and almost all the leaves have blown off the trees in the garden now. So after today I probably won't be inspired to make any more autumn leaf themed cards for a while, as a glance out of the window won't provide me with any inspiration. Instead I'll be seeing red dogwood stems and purple callicarpa berries..... and just typing that has already given me the germ of an idea for a card.....

That means this will probably be my last autumn leaf themed card for a few months. The leaf panel is made by stamping a large leaf background stamp with Versamark ink and then brushing pearlised pigment powder over it - I used a copper-red, a gold and just a little green. I've kept the rest of the card very CAS so as not to draw attention away from the panel.

I'm playing along with:

Crafty Gals Corner - Autumn Hues
Sweet Stampin - Autumn Leaves
Lunagirl Moonbeams - Thanksgiving and harvest
AAA Cards - Thanks/Thanksgiving 

Chloe stem

The Chloe Stem die from Memory Box is one of my favourite dies. It seems to work in almost any combination of colours and textures of card, soft and muted for a sympathy card, bold and bright for a birthday. I tend to use it in a very CAS way, and yet I've seen it effectively used in shabby chic cards with masses of ribbon, lace and frills.

Today I've used flame-bright colours from my snippets box - red, orange and yellow, and teamed it with a scrap of white card embossed with an Embossalicious folder, torn and lightly inked at the edges.

I gathered the stems together with a scrap of orange ribbon - NOT the dayglow acid orange that it appears to be in the photo, it's actually exactly the same shade of orange as the orange card. So much for the camera never lying....

I'm sharing this with

Less is More - fire colours
Glitter and Sparkle - use some red
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 202
Addicted to Stamps and More - Clean And Simple   

Ruth's budgie

When I was a little girl, my friend Ruth had a budgie  that she was teaching to talk. Its favourite phrase was "Diana has gone to Newcastle" as Ruth's big sister had gone away to University there. To surprise her when she came home for Christmas, Ruth tried to teach the budgie two new phrases, "A merry Christmas" and "Would you like some Christmas pudding?". But the bird got confused and started to say "A merry Christmas pudding!" - a phrase that it then went on to repeat over and over again, even in the middle of summer.

I always think of that budgie when I use this Christmas pudding stamp, a clear unmounted one  that I've had for many years and can't remember the origin of. Today I've made a card for Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding at Jingle Belles - I  stamped and embossed it in gold and teamed it with a piece of Christmas pudding paper, which I think came from Craftwork Cards, and a scrap of spotty ribbon to echo the spots on the paper. The cream on the pudding is Liquid Pearls and the holly berries tiny gems.

Three of a kind

I went a bit mad with the Lili of the Valley Christmas trio stamp sets this year - and then hardly got inspired to use them. In fact all but one of the sets was still sealed up in their bags until today when I decided it was time the reindeer set saw some  ink, to make a card for the current One Laer Christmas Card Challenge, which is Reindeer.

I don't use Promarkers on one layer cards as the colour shows through on the inside and spoils the card, so I stamped and embossed the images in black and coloured them in with ordinary marker pens, apart from the noses, stars, snowflakes and hat trims, all of which I coloured in with Wink of Stella to give a lovely sparkly effect that doesn't show up in the photo at all!

Visible or not, that sparkle IS there, and I'm sharing  it with the Sparkly Skies challenge at Fan-Tastic Tuesday.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

A blingin' Christmas

Recently I've been playing around with Ranger's new Sticky Embossing Powder. I've had some great results when using it with foils, but today I decided to try it with glitter. I find it's a but like a distress embossing powder, in that it gives a slightly patchy result which I'm sure is intentional and creates some interesting effects which are never exactly the same twice over. Because of this patchiness, I like to stamp with a matching ink (or a contrasting one that will emphasise the patchiness, if I'm looking for a distressed effect).

This time I stamped the tree image (a very old magazine freebie) in silver and sprinkled silver ultra fine glitter over while the embossing was still warm.

I'd intended making a very CAS card, but I thought the tree need a bit of something else.... then a bit of something more..... and ended up blinging the whole thing up! I do adore that gem border, which I have to confess is a ready-made one that I just had to peel off and stick on the background.

I am sharing this with

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Bright or Sparkly colours (sparkly, obvs!)
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Oh Christmas Tree
Inkspirational Challenges - Anything goes with silver
Craft Rocket Challenges - pearls/gems
Allsorts challenge - Ribbons and Bows    

H is for....

The current challenge at CD Sundays is H is for....... 

For me, it could well be H is for HATE, as I chose to use the CD I love to hate, Joanna Sheen's Viva la Divas. For a CD that I keep saying I hate, it gets an awful lot of use, more than many of my favourites! I love the retro style images but I find it very hard to be creative with them. However since I got hooked on the Dylusions sentiment stamps, a lot of the images on the CD have had a new lease of life, and this Housewife doing the Housework with a Hoover is a prime example of that!

Instead of a backing paper from the CD, I chose a paper from the DCWV Stack 9 12 x 12 pad, because it reminds me of the wallpaper a great aunt used to have in the 1950s. I've used the main image printed out from the CD but with the sentiment deleted, as the topper on a gatefold card, with the Hoover cut out from the second large image and added with 3D glue to add a little dimension. Before printing, I deleted the sentiment, then once the card was made up, I added the stamped sentiment in its place. On the inside of the card I have added the three small images from the sheet, arranging them in "fifties flying ducks" formation - another reminder of my great aunt!