Tuesday, 28 July 2015
However, as with the Hunkydory kit yesterday, I'm going through a bit of a phase of rediscovering old Stuff, so I got the remaining goodies out for another playtime session and these are the cards that resulted. Apart from base cardstock and a little ink for the edges of some of the layers, everything came from the Curiosity Corner goodies.
This first one is my favourite - I'm pleased with the way the bird on the backing paper is reflected in the wooden bird lower down, with other elements also bringing out the almost-hidden parts of the backing paper.
An ultra quick and simple card this time but the main attraction is the central blue section of the doyley, cut from a matching blue doyley and layered on top of the cream one.
My least favourite, I'm afraid - I spent ages experimenting with the arrangement of the flowers and buttons, but what looked perfect lying flat on my work table doesn't seem to hit the spot quite so well when I look at it as a finished card. Also now I've uploaded the photo, I can see I've forgotten to add a centre to one of the flowers and it looks a bit naked! But that, of course, I can fix in a jiffy.
I'm sharing the first card with Fan-Tastic Tuesday where the new challenge is Anything goes with a twist - Make it feminine
To add some interest to the tree, I've used one of my favourite techniques (ooh, techniques starts with a T too!) - foiling. I dotted the image with Tonertex (ooh anther T!) pen and left it to dry, then rubbed a special metallic foil over it. First I used dark brown, then repeated the process with copper, and finally with gold foil. You can buy the special foils and the Tonertex pen from Foil Play. Instead of doing the whole tree I highlighted just a portion of it by stamping a second image, die cutting a circle from it, and foiling only that, sticking it in place over the original image with 1mm foam pads for a little definition.
Craft Your Passion Challenges - Anything Goes
Use Your Stuff Challenge - Anything Goes
Fab'nFunky - No Patterned Papers
Monday, 27 July 2015
However you can't just sit and stroke the papers and card forever, so I've decided it's time I pressed some of my "What on earth can I do with this?" stuff into action. With that in mind, here is a card made from one of my Hunkydory kits
I'm sharing this with
Alphabet Challenge - L for Lavender (the colour, silly, not the flowers! I may not be much of a gardener but I know a hydrangea when I see it!)
Make My Monday - Flowers
With so much going on on the outside of the card, I didn't want to use the decoupage elements, just the main image, so I added the old lady decoupage layer to the inside of the card, together with the second sentiment from the printed sheet.
I embossed the background piece with a woodgrain folder, then cut and embossed the fir cones and branch (I think they are Spellbinders dies) twice each plus a couple of spikey leaves from a very old die set - I can't remember the name but it's blue so it might be a Marianne one. I used Pinflair glue to build up the sprig of fir cones and branches and added a little "frost" to the main branches using Crystal Stickles.
Well, that's reduced the white snippets mountain a bit, so I'm popping back into the playground at Pixie's Crafty Workshop for my second visit of the week, and with all those die cuts, I'm also making a second visit to Crafty Gals Corner where this week's challenge is To Die For.
Sunday, 26 July 2015
I've made this for Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge where the theme is Ho! Ho! Ho!
Santa with his cat and dog are a magazine freebie stamp, and the Ho! Ho! Ho! speech bubble is a Studio G stamp. The only logical way of positioning it means it looks as if the cat is saying it! All the papers are from a DCWV stack, the corners are from an ancient set of peel offs and the acetate embellishment is from an old HOTP kit.
Right, now I'm off to watch the rain lashing against the windows and try to convince myself that it's actually the middle of Summer........
This card was made using a tag stamp that I've had for years. I can still make out the writing on the backing acetate, so I thought I was going to be able to tell you who it was made by, but the writing simply says "Individual stamp" - I can blooming well see it's an individual stamp, I can count all the way to one don't you know!
Anyway, I stamped, embossed and coloured it, and then to give it some festive sparkle, I brushed Opal Dust over the white area surrounding it.
The reindeer on it reminds me of the cute reindeer stamp that came as a magazine freebie a couple of years ago and has made several appearances on here. So I put them together, along with a selection of papers from a DCWV stack - they aren't specifically Christmas papers but I think they all have a very festive look to them.
The sentiment is from a Studio G mini stamp set.
Friday was the first full day of my 6 year old granddaughter, Lara's, school holidays. And Mark and I were looking after her for the day. So naturally it bucketed with rain all day and our planned outing to the park had to be cancelled, as did a gardening session with Mark. But Lara loves crafting, so between us she and I decided we would see whether we could make a Minion style greetings card. I cut us an A6 yellow card blank each and then we delved in the snippets box for suitable colours to build our Minions with.
We used medium sized circular dies in each corner of the card blank to shape it - not by die cutting, but by drawing around the die and then cutting by hand. We each designed our own "dungarees" from blue card, then I die cut grey and white circles for the eyes, using black Candi for the pupils and a strip of black for the headbands. Then we added finishing touches with markers.
Here is my Minion
And here is Lara with hers
And now both of them side by side
Lara and I would like to share these with
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 187
Fab'n'Funky - No Patterned Paper
I really wish I'd taken photos of the rest of Lara's lovely art and craft work - she designed her dream Romany caravan and made an easel card covered with butterflies and bows!
Saturday, 25 July 2015
One of my most frequently used dies is this sweet little Spellbinders butterfly. This time I've cut it in pastel shades from my snippets box roughly approximating to the colours of the rainbow, and combined it with pastel coloured twine and a birthday greeting stamped with a Kaleidacolor "Birthstone" pad.
I am sharing this with
Less is More - Snippets
Suzy Bee's Blooming Challenge - Use Some Ice Cream Shades
Allsorts Challenge - add a butterfly
Crafty Gals Corner - To Die For
Anyway, since then they've just been hanging around in my stash, the way impulse buys tend to do, and were in danger of starting to get a bit dog-eared, so I decided to use the dragonfly sheet for the current Mod Squad challenge, The Wing's The Thing.
I rubbed off the main and secondary images onto white card, cut them out and added a touch of crystal Stickles to the wings. It would have been useful if the secondary image had been the same size as the first, so that I could have layered it up for dimension, but as it was significantly smaller I cut away the leaves from it and used it as an embellishment instead.
I covered the base card with dotty paper, inked the edges and stamped a large dragonfly randomly all over, then added the dragonfly image on top of a panel of green woven-effect printed paper with lightly distressed edges.
I am also sharing this with Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge for July.
But I had a little play with it this morning - I die cut it from terracotta coloured card leaving a band about 2cm wide below the line of buildings, then stamped a dotty border on a strip of white card to layer onto the bottom. Not a huge lot of creativity involved - but I do love this colour! And because it's a LINE of buildings, I'm sharing it with CAS-ology - Line.
This card was made using the DeeDees digi "Meowy Christmas" set. The sentiment appealed to me as I have Spanish speaking family and I think this will make them laugh! The layout and embellishment were the idea of my six year old granddaughter who spent the day crafting with me yesterday - look out for one of her own makes on the blog tomorrow!
I am sharing this with
Scrappymo's - Rudolph Day
Crafter's Café - Christmas in July
Thursday, 23 July 2015
Naturally we bought some paprika to bring home, but we had to leave all the fresh foods as at that point we had no idea when we would be coming home!
Caroline Makes is looking for Hungarian dishes for the Formula 1 Foods challenge this time
My first thought was, of course, Goulash or Gulyas. We were served it several times - all slightly different, and all delicious, and I've made it many times since then. But we were also served lots of wonderful soups, so I thought as I've blogged about goulash before, I'd try making a soup.
So for inspiration I turned to my lovely book about Hungarian food, Culinaria Hungary. If you are not familiar with the Culinaria books, they are wonderful reference books for foodies and travellers alike - Amazon sells them and the prices are amazingly low for books that are not just recipe books but complete, and wonderfully illustrated guides to the history and geography of each country, seen through the medium of the foods it produces and eats.
Among the recipes was a kohlrabi soup, which features kohlrabi, parsley and little else - ideal as we have lots of both in the garden at the moment. I'll not share the exact recipe, as it is copyright to the authors, but I chopped kohlrabi and softened it in butter, then thickened with flour, added plain water, no stock, cooked until tender then stirred in cream and lots of parsley. The cream was supposed to be soured cream, and that indeed was what I thought I'd bought, but I'd picked up single cream by accident! I really should have added a squeeze of lemon juice to the soup for sourness, but I didn't think about it at the time.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
The sentiment is also from the Heritage Press range - it had a tweed effect surround with pinked edges, so I trimmed that away and matted it onto scraps of red and blue to match my ties.
I'm sharing this with
The Male Room - Spots and Stripes
Crafty Creations Challenges - Four (four ties)
Addicted to Stamps and More - CAS
and last, but not least, Pixie's Snippets Playground because it's entirely made from snippets.
I've had a couple of tiny, teeny miniature books in my stash for a long time, they were sent to me by Millie Johnson who wrote one of the titles they represent, so they were natural choices for on my card. But as well as those, the timing of this challenge was perfect because over the last few days I've been looking through all my "Not used for ages" stuff and deciding whether I'll ever use it again, and when I came to my Bookatrix scoring board, I had the idea of using the smallest page to create a miniature book-style embellishment for on a card.
I scored the smallest page, and cut it out as usual, then I used "newsprint" paper from the dovecraft Curiousity Corner 6 x 6 pad to score three times more, this time cutting INSIDE the scored line. Sticking everything together along the central line gave me a "book" with a cover and three pairs of pages. You can see the effect of using several pages in the second photo.
And I've just realised that as I also have the Mini Boox scoring board, I can make even smaller books using the smallest page of that, although the newsprint paper may be a bit oversized for that. But I'll give it a try next time!
All the other papers, images and bits and bobs are from my stash. I sort of felt obliged to distress the background paper for the sake of the distress/de-stress wordplay!
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs tahini paste
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbs harissa paste
2 tbs toasted pine nuts (these can be bought ready toasted. If you can't get ready toasted ones, toss uncooked ones in a hot, dry frying pan for a few seconds until golden then tip from the pan into a bowl immediately so they don't continue to cook in the residual heat)
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
Serve with flat breads and a green salad.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
However, it DOES give me an excuse to play with my lovely Kanban toppers and equally lovely docrafts Chronology stamps, so I do dabble from time to time and hope that the serious Steampunk lovers will look away! And this week it's Steampunk at Make My Monday so I have a good reason to dabble.
I absolutely love the effect of stamping with a Versamark pad onto Kraft card - the images show up beautifully once the ink has been left to develop, so I made a background using this technique, applying the Chronology stamps at random over the card. I had all sorts of plans for the toppers, but once my background was stamped and the edges lightly inked, I didn't want to cover it up, so I pared down the toppers and layers as much as I could. Is CAS Steampunk a Thing? Maybe I could start a craze......
Right, rant over - despite my anti-penguinism, I do have rather a lot of Christmas penguin images, bought from Crafts U Print when a friend needed penguin related items for charity and I made a batch of cards for her. The snag is, at the time I needed some very quick, print-and-go, items that I could mass-produce, so all my images are of the "print out this card front and stick it to your card" type. However, one of them really reminded me of the current challenge photo at Christmas Card Challenges so I decided to see if I could use it in a more interesting way.
Here's the photo
And here's my card - I fussy-cut two extra penguin images and arranged them to peep out each side of the main image, which I cut away from the printed card front panel and made into a smaller panel of its own. Then I made an easel card and added lots and lots of die cut snowflakes...... don't you sometimes wish you had half a dozen identical dies then you could cut them all at once?
Christmas Card Challenges - photo inspiration (see above)
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - July
Ooh La La Creations - Christmas in July
This hardly really needs writing down, but if you've just looked in the fridge and thought "There's nothing to eat" it could make you change your mind!
I was recently asked by Encona to review their new Peruvian Amarillo Chilli Sauce. They sent me a bottle to try: here's what they say about it:
The taste of Peru has travelled over the Andes, across the pond and landed in Britain. Encona have created a Peruvian Amarillo sauce so you can now bring the Peruvian flavour to your kitchen.
Peruvian restaurants have been popping up across the country as us Brits seek out new flavours and food adventures. But not all of us are lucky enough to have one on our doorstep.
Grab your maracas and sombreros, Encona are taking us to Mexico too. Launching alongside their Peruvian sauce, they have created a Mexican Smokey Jalapeno Sauce.
I decided that the best way to review it would be to cook with it - but what to cook? I have never tasted Peruvian food, and had no idea what to expect. I did a bit of research, and although there are similarities to lots of other Latin American countries' foods, especially the preponderance of ceviche (which I couldn't try because Mark can't eat fish or seafood) but one thing stood out from other parts of the region - stir fries! I'm much more used to cooking Chinese stir fries, but I was keen to give a Peruvian one a try.
Lots of them use beef and green beans as the main ingredients. Some sources call stir fried beef "lomo" but others use that term for completely different dishes, so I'm not going to call my dish that - in any case, it doesn't claim to be an authentic Peruvian dish as I have no experience of an authentic one to compare it to. But it is delicious!
Now this is where the Encona sauce came into its own. Although Mark grows lots of chillis, Amarillo isn't one he's ever tried. He did grow some yellow ones last year and there was one left in the freezer so I lifted it out to "pose" for the photo. But Encona have brought us the right variety of chilli, plus the garlic and spices needed for the recipe, all blended into one handy sauce. Now for the recipe - and one of the ingredients will surprise you!
250g frying steak, cut into thin slices about 4cm x 1cm
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tbs chopped parsley
150g green beans
2 tbs Encona Peruvian Amarillo sauce
2 tbs sunflower oil
100g extra-thin or shoestring oven chips (yes, really!!!)
rice for serving
First of all, check the timing on your oven chips and plan when to get them started - you want them to be ready, nice and crispy, just as the stir fry is ready. Mine needed 5 minutes of cooking so I popped them into the oven just before starting to fry everything.
Trim the beans and cut into short lengths, drop into a small pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, Add the beef strips and fry over high heat until starting to colour, then add the onion and stir fry until the meat is cooked and the onion softened. Stir in the beans and the Amarillo sauce and cook until the beans are heated through, Then stir in the tomatoes and parsley, mix well and remove from heat. Now top with the oven chips and serve with rice.
Our verdict - delicious, but I really didn't think it needed the chips. They were an interesting addition, but the stir fry was delicious without them - and we've been eating stir fries with rice for many decades so why change the habit of a lifetime? But the stir fry itself was absolutely delicious, and the Encona sauce and parsley combined to give a fresh, spicy tang that we loved - and was completely different from the Oriental stir fries we are used to. Having the chilli, garlic and spices already blended into the sauce was a great timesaver too, and I'm sure I'll be altering some of my more traditional Chinese stir fries to sort-of-Peruvian ones from now on.
There are some suggestions for use on the bottle label, but I would have liked to have seen some guidance as to the quantities to use - I experimented until I got the amount right for this dish, but would like to have been given a rough idea how much to use, as I didn't know whether to use a few drops or half the bottle. Maybe as it's such a new ingredient to the UK market, Encona could attach a little recipe booklet to the neck collar, or mention on the label a website where we could find more recipes like this one? (And yes, Encona, if you are reading this I would be delighted for this recipe to be included, I would love it if other people could enjoy it as much as we did!) .
Note - I was sent the bottle of sauce for review, but the recipe, all ingredients and opinions are entirely my own.