Saturday, 31 December 2016

Just a note.....

Is anyone heading out to celebrate tonight? We normally stay at home on New Year's Eve, and have an early night,  but this year we are going for dinner at a friend's house, so I've had a nice quiet morning of crafting in the hope that I'll have conserved enough energy to keep me awake until midnight. Wherever in the world you are, and whatever your plans for celebrating, a very Happy New Year  to all of you and may 2017 be all that you could wish for.

Now on to the card:

I masked a square in the middle of the card, lightly inked two sides with grey ink and then stamped the music (an old Kanban stamp), gently dabbing a coarse sponge over the right hand (after stamping) side of the image before stamping, in the hope of making it look as if the ink was fading away towards the right.

The sentiment is from an old set of word stamps, I can't remember where they came from, with a piece of masking tape covering the words "to say" while inking the stamp.

The topper is layers of the same die cut, white, then black then silver. I added the black layer so that when viewed from a slight angle there appears to be a shadow to throw the music into relief.

I am sharing this with

Just add Ink - Just add N  (notes)
Less is More - Dimension
AAA  Cards - Silver

Friday, 30 December 2016

Some old favourite stamps

I've had fun unearthing lots of my older stamps for this card, inspired by a tag I once spotted on Pinterest.

The stamps I used are:
Stampington Elegant Butterfly
Assorted unmounted leaf stamps from my collection
Anita's stamp - no name but it's a spattered dots background
Stampendous Ornate Postcard
Hero Arts Moments Background
Hero Arts Large Tulip
They are all at least 10 years old, some of them nearer to 20. Much as I love buying (and playing with) new stash, it's wonderful to revisit old friends. I often have pruning sessions and rehome some of my stamps, but these are ones I will never part with. That makes the "memories" element even more relevant, as each of these stamps brings back so many memories of previous creations.
I am sharing this with
Time Out Challenges - Inspired by Words 
C.R.A.F.T Challenge - Anything Goes 
Crafty Gals Corner - Anything Goes   
Loves to Craft - Anything Goes

Thursday, 29 December 2016

RECIPE - Butternut squash soup with cheese puffs

It's a funny old time of year, isn't it? The fridge fills up with all kinds of leftovers, you think you have enough food for a month and then all of a sudden it's practically empty and you've not bothered to go shopping - and there's nothing for lunch. Time for a fridge dive to see what you can put together out of the remaining odds and ends.

That's what I did, and came up with:
Half a butternut squash
Half a pack of passata
Two separate (it's a long story) halves of red onions but any colour would do
A third of a pack of puff pastry
Half a beaten egg
A knob of Parmesan

and this is the result:

All I needed to add was:
A drizzle of sunflower oil
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 vegetable stock cube
to end up with a warming and satisfying meal for two.

For the soup:
Peel, seed and chop the squash. Peel and chop the onion. Heat a drizzle of oil in a saucepan and gently fry the squash and onion until softened and starting to brown. Add the chilli flakes to taste and the stock cube (optional). Mix the passata with water to give a total of 600ml and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the squash is completely soft. Allow to cool slightly then blend in a blender or with a whizzy stick until completely smooth. Taste and season.  Reheat gently for serving.

While the soup is cooking, make the cheese puffs. Heat the oven to 200C, 180C  fan, 400F, gas mark 6. Line a baking sheet with non stick paper.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a rectangle approx. 25 x 15 cm. Brush the surface with beaten egg and finely grate some Parmesan over it then sprinkle with pepper. Fold the short ends of the pastry over to fold the piece into thirds, give it a quarter turn and roll out again, then repeat the egg/cheese/seasoning process. Keep repeating until you are just about to run out of egg or cheese or patience: I managed about 6 turns. The more you do, the lighter your puffs will be. After the final folding, roll into a slightly smaller rectangle, about 15 x 10 cm. Brush the last of the egg on top, sprinkle with cheese and this time instead of pepper, sprinkle with salt. Coarse crystal salt is best if you have it.
Cut into 8 pieces, place on the baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until well risen, puffy and browned.
Cool slightly on a rack then serve with the soup.

This is a last minute entry to #KitchenClearout at Madhouse Family Reviews.

and to the No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

No Waste Food Challenge logo 2b

I'm back in Craft Land!

Hello again my friends - I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I certainly did, lots of fun with the family, and no crafting done at all: I've just realised that my most recent non-scheduled craft post was almost 3 weeks ago! However I'm back again in the driving seat - or should that be crafting seat. And as Santa brought me a lovely new craft storage unit, lots more Promarkers and my first ever Brushos, and I also won several crafting goodies from magazines and blogs over the last few weeks, I have lots and LOTS to play with.

But first of all, a quick and simple make to ease me back into the swing of things. My new storage system gives me easy access to my snippets box, which means I can see at a glance just how many there are! I'm going to have to be much more disciplined now about cutting into a new sheet of card instead of taking the time to see if I have a suitable piece in the box. A quick rummage this morning produced several scraps in various yellow and green shades - just the colours you would expect to see in a courgette/zucchini, so I've made a card for the Butterfly Challenge where that is one of the options (the other is Zero, but I don't think I have any Big Birthdays to make for at the moment)

The butterflies are a Memory Box die that I won from Liz at Crafty Sunflower and the stamped sentiment is that wonderful magazine freebie that appears on my work time and time again.

I'm also popping over to the Snippets Playground with this - do pop over and check it out as there is a mega-giveaway going on this time!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Christmas Cake

The crafting goodies are packed away to make space for Christmas festivities, so since I've nothing to share with you I thought you might like this Christmas Cake recipe. It's not my own original one, it is a survivor from the days back in the 1980s when hand typed and hastily photocopied funnies were often passed around offices in the way emails are forwarded or Facebook memes shared now:



1 cup butter                                         1 cup sugar
4 large eggs                                        1 cup dried fruit
1 teasp baking powder                        1 teasp salt
1 cup brown sugar                              lemon juice
nuts                                                     1 bottle whisky

Sample the whisky to check for quality. Take a large bowl. Check the whisky again to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour 1 level cup and drink.


Turn on the electric mixer. Beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and beat again. Make sure the whisky is still OK. Try another cup. Turn off the mixer. Break 2 leggs and add to the owl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the fruit gets stuck in the beaters, pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whisky again to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift 2 cups of salt or something. Who cares? Check the whisky. Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one babblespoon of brown sugar, or whatever colour you can find. Wix mell. Grease the oven.  Turn the cake pan 350 gredees.

Don’t forget to beat off the burner. Throw the bowl out of the window, check the whisky again and go to bed.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Summer or Autumn at Always Use Rubber

It's time for our 6th challenge at Always Use Rubber  and today we would like to see something to do with the seasons Summer or Autumn. And as usual, it must include some hand - not digi - stamping.

I've chosen my favourite season, Autumn, for a rather retro style card, the kind of thing that was fashionable when I first started stamping about 20 years ago. Maybe it's due for a revival!

The leaf background is made using a large background stamp, stamped with Versamark ink and then brushed with mica pearl powders in gold and copper with a few tiny specks of green, then lightly spritzed with water to set the powders.

The band across the front has the sentiment stamped and embossed in gold onto torn vellum. There were always going to be gold die cut leaves added, but I've added a few more than originally planned because it's so long since I used vellum that I'd forgotten just how much even the lightest of adhesives shows through it!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

CAS Christmas at Cardz 4 Guyz

Over at Cardz 4 Guyz it's time for our final challenge of 2016 - we're taking a break until the New Year. And since we are sure that many of YOU will want a break over Christmas, we have a nice quick-to-make challenge for you this time - CAS Christmas.

My card is very simple - just three buttons in Christmas colours, with strings and letters doodled in so that they can be baubles or letter "O"s, topped with a couple of die cut pine boughs. If you're still behind with your Christmas card making you could whip up a batch of these in next to no time.

I'm sharing this with
Craft your passion - anything goes
The Male Room - Christmas/Winter Wishes  

Monday, 12 December 2016

The flower fairy

I've been wanting to use this fairy silhouette stamp in this was ever since I got the set, a freebie in a magazine some time ago, and it's taken the current Butterfly Challenge, All kinds of fairies, elves and pixies, to push me into getting my waxes out and having a go at it.

The technique, if you are not familiar with it, is called encaustic painting and is created by melting hot wax onto the base of a small iron and then applying it to glossy card in various ways. The image is stamped with Stazon before starting to apply the waxes - it is resistant to the coloured waxes but ONLY if they don't contain any white pigment. So the sky, for instance, is made with clear and blue waxes rather than the white and blue I might use if there was no stamping involved.  After completing and polishing the scene to give it a lovely shine, I sponged a little glitter glue on to look like fairy dust sprinkling from the wand.

The background is the very last scrap of a sheer fabric covered with a cobwebby silver design, left over from a QVC  kit I bought many years ago. The purple and yellow card were also from my snippets box - the honeysuckle border is a Memory Box die, I think, and I cut the yellow mat with fancy scissors (which I recon must be just about due for a revival!). So I am also sharing this at the Snippets Playground - and I'm heading over there to see if there are any mince pies and mulled wine on offer behind the bike sheds!

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Black and white Hawaii

I don't think Elvis would approve of the title!

It's the dreaded one layer week at Less is More, this time with a theme of Outlines.
I've used a flower and leaves from that Uniko set with the gorgeous toucan (it's funny, I bought the set just for the toucan and yet it's the one stamp in the set that still hasn't seen ink!) and then added the sentiment from the same set, stamped with a Kaleidacolour Birthstones pad.

There's nowhere to hide with a one layer card, and placement is all-important. In my first draft of this card, I put the sentiment in the top right and it just looked...... broken. Often a sentiment at the other side of the white space adds balance to a CAS card, but I think the fact that the image was black and white and the sentiment was in colour meant they looked too divorced from each other. I've saved the card - I'm going to try colouring in the image to see if it looks better that way, although of course it won't be any use for this particular challenge!

Right, let's get this over with.....

I was very tempted not to post this card. It's my fourth attempt at this technique, and at least this time it isn't completely messed up (you should see the others) but frankly I'm not proud of it. I have forced myself to share it just to show that sometimes I make a total mess of things!

I made it as my entry for the December challenge at CAS Watercolour - Watercolour Resist. The large sentiment was stamped with Versamark ink onto heavy watercolour paper and then heat embossed with clear powder. Then  I painted over with distress ink and a water brush and finished it with the smaller stamped sentiment - both stamps from a Stampin Up set I won in the Playground.

I'm not very experienced with watercolouring and previous attempts produced harsh edges, wishy washy colours and in one example, a vivid illustration of how difficult it is to line up images stamped with Versamark. Have you ever seen a hibiscus with the stamen growing out backwards? So the uneven colouring, the puckered paper and the grey splodge in the embossing are actually a major improvement on those that went before. But I think it's pretty safe to say you will NOT be seeing this technique on my blog again until I've had a lot more practise.

However I'm still going to share it at CAS Watercolour - as a glowing example of what NOT to do!

Just a jar of bees

.... well. where else would you keep bees? Or flowers for that matter?

The jar of bees and flowers and the separate bees are pre-printed die cuts that were part of a lovely bundle of craft goodies I won in a magazine challenge earlier this year. They are a bit big for using with anything else - that's an A5 sized card and the jar fills most of the front - and I wasn't really sure whether I would ever use them, until this week's challenge at Just Us Girls appeared and the theme is JARS!

Well, it's the only jar-themed stash in my extensive arsenal so I had to grab the chance to use it! Because the die cuts are so big, there's not much you can really do with them, but I was delighted to find that the honeycomb print paper in my beloved DCWV Stack9 includes a shade of green that exactly matches the centre of the flower. And honeycomb is the natural accompaniment to bees, isn't it? I've added a teeny-tiny stamped sentiment to counterbalance the bigness of everything else.

Animal fun

This week my little granddaughter in France is having her third birthday and as she loves all animals, from their long-suffering cat to the giraffes in the zoo, this is the card I made for her.

The image is called "Animal safari" from Di's Digis. I have coloured it with Promarkers and layered it with tan card and a background made using an Mbossabilities folder. I added tiny gems to the centres of the squares on the background to give the sparkle that little girls love - they are actually tan to match the  matting card, but they look black in the photo.

I am sharing this with
Sweet Stampin - Animals
Glitter and Sparkle - Anything Goes

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #74 XXX X-mas

Oh my goodness, what HAVE Santa and Edna been up to?

I think Edna's definitely made it onto the naughty list this year, don't you? And now at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers we want to see YOUR naughty side - our latest theme is XXX X-mas.

My card uses a character printed out from the Katy Sue designs CD "The Christmas Spirit" - I've chopped off the none-too-snarky sentiment and replaced it with one stamped using the Dylusions Christmas Sentiments set. For the background, I stamped and coloured champagne bottles, using an old unmounted stamp I've had since the Dark Ages, a pair of lips from a kiddies' set of stamps (don't tell the grandchildren how I've been using their stamps!) and the bottom of a shot glass for the glass rings. I got the idea for the rings from a technique that Sister Lindsay shared here.

OK, I know, I know, I used red ink with the shot glass to give red wine stains, and champagne is white, but the only small wine bottle stamp I have is the champagne one, and white wine rings wouldn't have shown up. It's artistic license!

I am sharing this with
Craft Your Passion - Anything Goes
Fab'nFunky - Make Someone Smile
Classic Design Team Open Challenge - December

Friday, 9 December 2016

Watercolour hydrangea

I've had this hydrangea stamp for many years - it is made by Stampa Rosa (are they still around?) and the date on it is 2000. It's one I come back to over and over again. Hydrangeas remind me of my childhood - there was a big hydrangea bush in our garden, and although people work hard to get them to flower in either pink or blue, ours was left to its own devices and the flowers were always mauve. So I've coloured it mauve in honour of that one!

It is stamped and heat embossed on watercolour paper then coloured in with watercolour pencils. The punched edges used a Martha Stewart punch and the background is a textured card from Bazzill. I added a little ribbon because I thought it needed a bit of something more, but I fear it looks as if I'm trying to cover up a blooper, which for once I'm not!

I'm sharing this with:
The Flower Challenge - Use an older stamp, die or stencil
Stamping Sensations - Floral fancies
Loves to Craft - Anything Goes
Crafting Musketeers - Anything Goes   

OK, just one more then.....

I was determined that I'd made my last Christmas card for this year (although there are a few more to appear on here, but they are posts I've already scheduled) and then I woke up in the early hours of the morning and thought "Nooooooooooooo........ my cute little cat-in-a-hat stamp hasn't had its annual inking yet, I absolutely HAVE to make one more!"

So here it is:

The kitty and sentiment stamps came from the Christmas issue of a magazine several years ago. I stamped them and masked off the kitty and the space below it then sponged grey ink lightly over. The image is coloured with Promarkers and I ran one around the edge of the topper. The mirror embellishment came from a bargain shop that I dashed into to escape from the rain one day!

Now, before moving on to the challenges I'm sharing this with, I could have absolutely SWORN that earlier today I saw that the new challenge at Alphabet Challenge was "Use some red" but I've just pootled over there to get the link and the post has vanished, there's only the post from two weeks ago. So I'm guessing that Blogger is having one of its funny moments and has lost the post in the same way it lost my awards page the other day. I'll just leave this here as a marker to say I intend to link up if and when the post reappears!

But I definitely AM sharing it with:
Fantasy Stampers - CAS Christmas
Show Us Your Pussies - Krimbo Kats
AAA Cards - Christmas   

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Have yourself a naughty little Christmas

Over at Naughty or Nice this month the challenge is called  "A Christmas Carol vs Frozen" - in other words, either a modern or traditional card. Add that to the usual choice of naughty or nice and they've given us a lot to choose from.

I've chosen to go with Modern and Naughty.

The image is a digi I've had for some time - it may have been from Di's Digis? The title starts with SASJJ if that's any help. I've coloured her in with Promarkers and added mistletoe and lips, and candy cane, papers from the CD-ROM The best of La Pashe 2014. The sentiment is from the Dylusions Christmas stamp set and the striped paper from my snippets box.

I am also sharing this with Christmas Card Challenges - Candy Cane.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Into orbit

Unusually for me, I can't think of anything much to say about this card - it didn't turn out on paper the way it looks in my mind's eye, so I'm feeling grumpy with it!

I sponged blue ink around the top of the card, and a little around the other edges, then very lightly spritzed the sponge with water and dabbed it here and there on the sponged area. Then I stamped the random dot pattern (a very old Anitas stamp) using a glue pad and scattered white glitter over it, and used the blue ink to stamp the sentiment. The sun and planet are cut using Dies R Us dies.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Primary Colours
CASology - Space
Inkspirational - CAS with sparkle
CAS Mix Up - Stamping, sponging +1  (die cutting)
Crafty Creations Challenges - Masculine

Snippets and a snowman

Christmas is getting ever closer, and that means I'm reaching the tail end of a lot  of the sheets of Christmassy paper I started the year with, and also that I've cut into rather a lot of sheets of card in festive colours and have the "too small to use, too big to throw away" bits left. So all the card and paper used in this came from my snippets box.

The image is a Craftwork Cards pre-printed die cut, which I've coloured with Promarkers.

I am sharing this with
Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 258
Cardz 4 Galz - Show a Snowman
Addicted to Stamps and More - Holiday
Make My Monday - Show me a Snowman
Use Your Stuff - Layers  

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Animals at Cardz 4 Guyz

Our latest challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz is Christmas Animals. We'd love to see what you can create using this theme!

I've used papers and a sentiment from the Tonic Studios Winter Wonderland pad - I think the colours are quite masculine so it's a great pad for making men's cards - along with a stag's head cut using a die from one of the X-cut Build a Scene sets and circles cut with dies from two different brands, Spellbinders and Sizzix, as they are slightly different in size and layering them together gives a very delicate outline.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - December 2016
Dies R Us - Christmas
A Bit More Time to Craft - Anything Goes
Allsorts - CAS    
52 Christmas Card Throwdown - Pick a previous 2016 Challenge - May 2016 Dies/Punches

Monday, 5 December 2016

RECIPE: Camembert Wellington

I have been sent a selection of Pates from the Castle McLellan range to try, and to share some ideas for using them with you.

The first I tried was the smoked salmon variety - I'm afraid this was so delicious that I simply wolfed it down with some brown bread and cucumber slices. Because of Mark's fish allergy, it's a rare treat for me!

Next I tried the Oven Roasted Mushroom Pate with Garlic and Thyme. Since it is suitable for vegetarians, I decided to make a dish suitable for a vegetarian Christmas dinner - Camembert Wellington which both looks and tastes very festive.

Naturally if you are making this for a vegetarian, you need to make sure the Camembert cheese you use is free from animal rennet - it will say on the label if it is suitable for vegetarians.

Ingredients - to serve 2-3

1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
1 camembert cheese
1 pack Castle McLellan Oven Roasted Mushroom Pate with garlic & thyme
a handful of fresh cranberries (or you could use cranberry sauce)
1 egg, beaten

Unroll the puff pastry and unwrap the cheese. Place the cheese on one end of it and cut all around it about 1 cm from the edge, to give a circle a little larger than the cheese.
Now roughly measure the distance up one side of the cheese, across the top and down the other side, and find a plate or pan lid 2-3cm wider than that measurement, and use it as a template to cut a second circle of pastry.

Place the smaller circle on a sheet of non stick paper on a baking tray. Spread half of the pate over one flat surface of the cheese and place it, pate side down, in the middle of the circle then spread the remaining pate over the top. Arrange cranberries on top (as you can see, my cranberries are enormous!) or dot cranberry sauce over.

Brush the rim of pastry with beaten egg then drape the large pastry circle over making sure it is even all round, smooth down the sides and crimp around the base to seal. Make sure it is well sealed so your cheese won't leak out!  Cut a hole in the top at the centre to allow steam to escape. Brush all over with beaten egg then decorate with leaves cut from the pastry trimmings - I made holly leaves and used some more cranberries for holly berries.

Set aside in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
Heat the oven to 220 C (200 fan) 425 F gas mark 7. When the oven is ready, bake the Wellington for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is well risen and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before cutting open.

Serve with salad - some baby gem leaves to help scoop up the yummy mixture of pate and cheese are a particularly good accompaniment.

Note - I was sent the pates to try but all other ingredients and the recipe are my own

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A country Christmas

Well, the cold is easing off and I'm crafting again! I've got lots of DT makes to catch up on but first of all a "real time" card from me, a Christmas card made using an image with decoupage frame from the "Once upon a Christmas Time" section of the CD "The Best of La Pashe 2012"  and a Cotswold Stone effect backing paper from the same CD.

I have added extra interest and texture to the decoupage by going over the Christmas Roses with clear Stickles and the mistletoe berries with Liquid Pearls.

I am sharing this with
CD Sundays - White Christmas
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Vintage or ATG
Craft Rocket Challenge - Winter Time
Crafty hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - December
Winter Wonderland - Frame it or Night Scene    
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Anything Christmas

Saturday, 3 December 2016

A festival at Always Use Rubber

It's time for our new challenge at Always Use Rubber. For many of us, the excitement of Christmas is building up, but we recognise that not everyone celebrates it - so we'd like to see something that celebrates any festival celebrated in your country or by your faith.

I've chosen Christmas - but a very Grumpy Cat version of it!

The cat image is from Katzelkraft's "Les Chats Russes" set, masked and then overstamped with  a very old unmounted tree stamp which I heat embossed with a green holographic powder. The sentiment is from Dylusions and the little Santa hat is one of the few remaining embellishments left from a very old HOTP Christmas kit.

It was only after I started writing this post that I realised how lop sided the cat is - he's obviously been stealing the sherry trifle!

I am sharing this with:
Addicted to Stamps and More - Make your mark
Fab'n'Funky - Christmas
Country View Challenges - Christmas
Creative with stamps - Use Christmas stamps (tree and sentiment)  

Friday, 2 December 2016

I lost a page :( - Upadted - I found it!

I've not been around much again this week - not away, but this time full of a cold which has meant at I've not felt like crafting or blogging, so although my scheduled DT posts have been published, nothing else has.

UPDATE after having a good old moan on Facebook, I was given a very helpful suggestion by the lovely Kavita of Kavey Eats. She suggested searching Google for my awards page and seeing if it gave me a cached copy of it. The main result on Google was the latest updated page but a little arrowhead beside the result allowed me to click on it and select a cached copy - and hey presto, there it was, most recently cached on October 28th. So I've copied everything from that cached page into a new page which I've called My Recovered Old Awards Page. Some of the formatting has gone astray but I an Not. Going. To. Touch. It. And everything from this week onwards will go on to the new page.

However when I was reading through some blogs this morning I spotted that I'd received honourable mentions in three challenges over the last couple of days, so I headed over to my Awards Page to add the links and badges. And there it was ......... GONE. So I came to my Blogger dashboard, and saw that somehow it had been reverted to draft. OK, thought I, I'll just add the new badges, publish it and all will be well.

But I was wrong - when I opened the page, it was completely blank - over 4 years of badges and links to the relevant posts, all vanished into cyberspace. The only way to reinstate them would be to go back to every blog I've ever visited, every challenge I've ever entered, and scroll back through every single post as far back as April 2012 when I started this blog, to pick up each time I was mentioned. Even then, it wouldn't be accurate - some blogs have changed their names, many have changed their badges, and a few have closed completely. So instead I have started a brand new page, with just the honourable mentions I have received this week, and have crossed my fingers that Blogger doesn't do anything nasty to this one.

And since I don't have a card to share with you today I will leave you with a photo of the very first card I posted on this blog, back in April 2012.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Anything But a Card at Sparkles Christmas

With Christmas getting closer and closer, we thought that this month for Sparkles Christmas you might like to have a change from sharing your Christmas cards with us - so we'd like to see anything BUT a card. It could be wrapping paper, a tag, a gift box or gift wrapping - as long as it's festive we want to see it!

We have a prize for the winner, a set of stamps and gems from our very own Caz, who works so hard to run this blog (and several others!).

I decided to make a gift box.  I used a sheet of card from an old Kanban kit I bought from QVC some years ago, and followed the "milk carton" instructions in one of the Hougie crafts books to assemble the box. I finished it with a tag cut and embossed with a Spellbinders die and snowflakes cut with a magazine freebie die.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Something beginning with T at Cardz 4 Guyz

Today at Cardz 4 Guyz we'd like to see something beginning with T on your card. I've used a Tired Teddy with some Tweed and Tartan - lots of Ts!

The teddy is an image called Slouch Couch Ted from Di's Digis, which I printed once onto white paper and once onto a sheet of tweed effect paper from the docrafts Heritage Press range. I paper-pieced the sofa and then coloured the rest of the image with Promarkers. The background paper and embellishments are also from the Heritage Press collection.

I am sharing this with Craft Your Passion - Anything Goes 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Getting hygge with it

OK, I know hygge doesn't rhyme with jiggy, at least I think I know - I've seen at least half a dozen suggestions as to how it's pronounced and every one of them sounds like somebody being violently sick. Which is maybe not the image that the word is supposed to conjure up - warmth and cosiness in a sort of rustic, old-fashioned way. Friends all over the world, has this trend from Denmark reached all of you yet, or was the newspaper I read last weekend right when they suggested rather cynically that one of the London publishing houses was looking for a new theme to use for the books-to-sell-to-people-who-don't-buy-books in the Christmas marketing frenzy and borrowed and adapted a few aspects of something that is inherent to Danish culture? I'm inclined to suspect the latter, because we don't really NEED to be told that flickering firelight and candles, hot drinks, woolly socks and cosy blankets are things that make us feel cosy and contented on a winter's evening!

Anyway, having got the rant out of my system, the current inspiration photo at Jingle Belles is just the kind of thing the myriad "How to make your Christmas more hygge" articles are littered with.

The white lettered word caught my eye, as it made me think of a little Studio G stamp  that I hardly ever use, not being much of a Valentine's day or generally romantic person. (Oooer, Blogger appears to have changed the style and size of my text mid-post - I can't see how it happened or how to change it back!)

I stamped and embossed it in white on kraft, to pick up the rustic feel of the picture (I seem to have gone back to normal text now!) then raided the snippets box for blue and silver mirri snippets for the die cuts. My plan had been to position the tree to the front right of the card, to echo the positioning of the tree in the photo, but when I spotted that its sloping sides were at exactly the same angle as the strokes of the V, it just had to go to that side instead. Some matching blue gems to balance it pick up the blue ornaments in the photo.

I am sharing this with
Jingle Belles - Photo inspiration
Allsorts - Anything Christmas
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 257
CAS on Sunday - Christmas    
Christmas Card Challenges - anything goes
Make My Monday - CAS Christmas

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Dancing Dragonflies

A few years ago I bought a sort of roller that long stamps wrapped around, supposedly to stamp a continuous border. I never had any success with it - there was always a line where the ends of the stamp met and sort of tucked inside the roller, and the ink dispenser in the roller didn't work evenly. Of course it also meant planning and preparation, not to mention buying more ink dispensers, if you wanted to stamp in anything but basic  black. So I ditched the roller and kept the stamps. This is one of those stamps.

I stamped it with Versamark ink and embossed with clear powder, then masked off the card around the image and sponged individual colours from a Kaleidacolour Blue Breeze pad all over the stamped area and buffed the ink off the stamping with a tissue. The sentiment, stamped with the same pad, is from a Clearly Besotted set of dinosaur stamps - I like to use things for more than one purpose!

Sharing this with
Less is More - emboss resist technique 
Fab 'n' Funky - Things with wings 
Sweet Stampin - Got The Blues

Evening in the city

The latest challenge at The Male Room is -scapes - cityscapes, landscapes, seascapes etc. Normally I would automatically have reached for Tim Holtz's Cityscapes set, a set I really love, but DT member Deborah has already used that set to make such a fab card I couldn't compete! So I had to have a rethink and this is what I came up with

The city skyline stamp is an Art Impressions one, stamped and embossed in black. I coloured in the windows with a yellow marker and the street floor with a grey one, brushing over the grey randomly with a wet water brush to give those eerie long shadows you get in the early evening. The water brush was also used with distress ink to paint the sky, then a few tiny dots of white gel pen added to show the stars just beginning to come out.

Simple silver tree

I've been playing around with a technique that's new to me - stamping with a glue pad and then sprinkling the stamped image with glitter. I thought I'd better start off with a very simple silhouette image, so I used this old tree stamp from PSX. 

I like the effect - much more sparkle than any of my embossing powders give, and a much flatter finish than embossing, so it lends itself particularly well to a CAS style.  All I've added here is a simple silver mat and a peel off sentiment. If you've behind on Christmas card making this would be a super-speedy design to mass produce.

I am sharing it with

Mod Squad - Sparkle it up!
52 Christmas Card Throwdown - Glitter  
Make My Monday - CAS Christmas 
Little Red Wagon - Sparkle and Shine
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Use a sentiment

Next I went on to use a more detailed stamp, an old unmounted one from my stash. I glittered it with silver, then stamped a sentiment and glittered that with purple glitter.

I then coloured in the bauble with two shades of purple - the dark purple of both the bauble and the sentiment glitter has come out far darker in the photo than it is in real life! I don't think I'll be combining the glue pad/glitter technique with colouring again - it took me far too long to clean the glitter off the tips of my pens!

I'm sharing this second card with
Crafty Creations Challenge - Christmas
Just Us Girls - photo inspiration