Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Crafting with children

If you are a crafter, you are probably a hoarder. It's impossible to throw away that sheet of stickers with only one left on it, the few elements of a kit that aren't enough to make anything with, a scrap of ribbon too  short to tie in a bow.....  they all get jumbled together and end up getting in your way until in desperation you throw them all out. And a week later, wish you hadn't.

But if there are children around, these scraps become treasure! All you need for a great crafting session are your odds and ends, some plain paper, child friendly inks and/or felt tip pens and some child safe scissors and glue, probably all of which are lurking around your craft box already.

My granddaughter Lara is three years old and has loved  stamping ever since she was able to hold a small stanp in her tiny hands. She always chooses wood backed stamps, and always goes for the "grown up"designs of flowwers, leaves, butterflies and trees, and never  the cute animal and fairy stamps I have set aside for her. But as she is getting more capable with glue and scissors, she has started to love making collages, often making up stories about the various elements and colours as she goes along. She loves using my paper punches too, although she isn't strong enough to use them without help yeet.

Yesterday we were planning a trip to Legoland, but the dreadful weather made us decide to stay at home and do some crafting instead. Here are Lara's creations

And Lara was very proud to display her work on the fridge!

Friday, 21 September 2012


A few weeks ago our veg box contained rather more pattypan squash than we could really  cope with, so I decided to devise a recipe to use them up. I've used courgettes up in fritters before, but thought for a change I would turn them   into something rather more like a savoury Scotch Pancake. We were very pleased with the results and  I will be making them again, and possibly using other veg for a change. Mmmmm..... parsnips would be good!


250-300g pattypan squash
2 large eggs
Self raising flour (see recipe)
Oil for shallow frying

 Grate the squash finely and place in a sieve. Leave to stand for an hour, squeezing out the liquid from time to time so that as much of it as possible is removed

Beat the eggs with a little seasoning then stir in the grated squash. Now stir in self raising flour to give a soft dropping consistency. About two heaped tablespoons should do it, but it depends on the size of your eggs and how much liquid you’ve managed to remove from the squash.

Drop tablespoonfuls into the hot oil and shallow fry over medium to high heat until golden on both sides. Drain and serve as a side dish or with a dip or sauce as a snack or starter.

The squash could be replaced with courgettes for attractive green flecks.

Variations – add chopped spring  onions and serve with a sweet chilli sauce

Add a finely chopped red chilli and serve with mango chutney, or with Mexican style accompaniments such as sour cream, guacamole or tomato salsa.
Make cocktail sized ones with a guacamole topping

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It'll be all white on the night!

The cue card for CAS-ology week 11 is white, and I decided I would go for ALL white. At the Make It show in Farnborough earlier this year I saw some really stunning all white cards, but they were not only rather ambitious cards for somebody as time-poor as I am right now, they were absolutely NOT clean and simple.  Utterly gorgerous, but something to attempt another day.

So here is my all-white card, using shapes and textures to take the place of colour.

Walk like an Egyptian!

Now I've got everyone over the age of 30 (at least in the UK) humming that song, I'll let you sing away while I tell you that this week's challenge, no 85,  at Less is More is a theme, and the theme is Oval. The task is to incorporate an oval somewhere into the design.

We tend to associate Egyptian images with pyramids, so I thought I'd be my usual awkward self and use an oval instead. I stamped my trusty old King Tut stamp on a black oval and embossed it in gold, with a hieroglyph border stamps acrosss the middle of the background card. Here's the finished result. There is a very narrow gold border around the oval that really hasn't come out well in the photo, which is a pity as it ties the whole card together.

As I have done in the past, I am also going to share "the one that got away". This time it isn't really a failure, just one that has come out a little bit TOO clean and simple and is hovering on the boder of boring. I'm going to set it aside to incorporate the image into a future card, because I don't think there's enough substance to it to work as a stand-alone card.

I  cut an oval from scrap card and used the waste as a stencil, sponging sea and sunset colours in to create the background, then overstamped it with the palm tree silhouette. I'd love some suggestions on how I can turn it from a rather bland image-on-a-card to something more exciting - maybe attach some tiny seashells? Or scrunch it all up and start again?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Black and White Plus One

Have you been wondering where I had vanished to? Well, I've been away on a wonderfully relaxing holiday to Turkey, but I'm home now and ready to start crafting again. And I'm getting back into the swing of things with a CAS card for CAS-ual Fridays CFC70

This week's challenge is Black and White plus one other colour, and I chose red as my colour then spent the afternoon playing with my Cuttlebug. Here is the finished result:

The background the butterfly is mounted on is a woodgrain effect - it doesn't really show up in the photo but it gives a lovely textured effect to the card.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Carrot and watercress soup


300g carrots
1 large onion
½ a bunch/bag of watercress
1 eating apple
50g split red lentils
1 litre light vegetable stock or water
1 tbs light olive oil

Peel the carrots and onions and blitz in a food processor until very finely chopped. Heat the oil and fry the chopped veg very gently for around 10 minutes until softened. Grate the apple, leaving the skin on but discarding the core, and add to the pan along with the lentils. Pour in the stock or water and simmer for 25-30 minutes until everything is soft. If you prefer a smooth soup, you can blitz it with a stick blender at this point.

Now put the watercress in the rinsed-out food processor goblet and chop very finely. Stir into the soup, taste and season. Allow to simmer for no more than 1 minute before serving.

I'm joining in the Lets Cook Soup Event at Simply Food

Sunday, 2 September 2012

It's NOT a square world!

Is anyone else old enough to remember the Micheal Bentyne comedy show "It's a square world"? No? I  didn't think you were...... just call me Granny....

Anyway, you would be forgiven for thinking the world was square nowadays, as so many of us crafters favour squares, so I was delighted to see that this week's Crafty Pad Challenge is "Anything But Square"

My first thought was to make a circular easel card, but with so many lovely circular cards already created by the DT or other bloggers, I decided to be a bit different and make a tag-shaped card by cutting the tag with a fold along one edge.

You'll have to forgive my rotten photography, there is  far more dimension on the card than there seems to be here - but I have a cold and had a sneezing fit every time I tried to get a decent photo so I'm afraid I gave up. Just take my word for it, it's a lot better in real life!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Aaaaand....... relax!

Just a very quick card from me this weekend as it's the Grape Vine deadline weekend AND I'm trying to get ahead of myself before I go on holiday to Turkey next week.

This week it's a colour challenge at Less is More, with the colours this time being brown and pink, while at CASology the cue card is RELAX.  So I've combined the two using a fun stamp from among my oldest "friends".