Monday, 29 May 2017

Guinea Fowl with Pearl Barley risotto and balsamic mayonnaise.

This dish was partly inspired by a delicious meal we had earlier this year at Denbie's Wine Estate near Dorking, and partly by the latest book I've lifted out for my "Power of three" series, Skye Gingell's My Favourite Ingredients (the dishes I've bookmarked to try from it will need to wait until after our holiday, so I'll be back with them another time)

When I was flicking through the book, I was surprised to see mayonnaise served with guinea fowl, but I made my own version of a balsamic mayo and it worked beautifully with it. Mark had been served pearl barley risotto with guinea fowl at Denbie's. I combined the two ideas.

for the mayonnaise (made in a blender/food processor)

1 egg
generous pinch of salt
about 100-150ml light olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Put the whole egg and salt into the small goblet of your blender and set to medium speed. Blend until well beaten then very slowly drizzle in the oil through the hole in the top of the blender until you get a very thick emulsion. You will find that the more oil you add, the thicker it gets, which to me seems counterintuitive but who cares as long as it works?

When you are happy with the consistency, add the vinegar and mustard and blend at high speed until fully incorporated.

Chill until ready to serve.

Note that I have used a whole egg rather than just a yolk. I find this makes a very slightly lighter mayonnaise, ideal when it is to be served with a rich dish like this, and also helps to prevent the mixture from curdling.

This makes quite a lot, but it will keep for a few days covered in the fridge and is delicious for dunking chips in!

for the guinea fowl

1 guinea fowl, cut into 4 joints
splash of oil and a small knob of butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 tbs dry sherry
2 bayleaves
a few spoonfuls of stock - I used a rich veal stock because that's what I had on hand.

Set the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Heat the oil and butter in a large lidded ovenproof pan and fry the guinea fowl portions,skin side down to start with, for about 4 minutes on each side until the skin is golden. Set the pieces aside and add the onion to the pan, and fry until soft. Tip in the sherry, and when the bubbling subsides, add the bay leaves and a little stock, just enough to make sure the base of the pan is covered.

Return the guinea fowl to the pan, breast side up, cover and place in the oven. Cook for around 50 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure there is still a little liquid in the pan.

for the "risotto"  - this is a lot easier than a traditional risotto as you can add all the liquid at once. Of course you can add other ingredients, just as you would with a normal risotto, but I wanted just the simple nutty barley flavour to go with the richness of the guinea fowl and mayonnaise.

1 mug full of pearl barley
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs light olive oil
1 can button mushrooms
twice the volume of barley in hot stock - I used rich veal stock

Canned mushrooms? Yes, I know - the reason was that I forgot to buy fresh ones and happened to have a can we'd brought home from France, and they were so good that I've decided they should be a feature of this dish.

Heat the oil in a lidded pan and fry the onion gently until soft. Tip in the barley and fry for a further 1-2 minutes, then add the stock and mushrooms and bring to the boil. Cover and cook on a very low heat for around 40 minutes until the barley is tender and all the liquid absorbed.

Season at the end of cooking to avoid toughening the barley.

To serve - place some of the barley on a plate, top with a portion of guinea fowl and spoon over any remaining juice from the pan. Serve the mayonnaise on the side. I added some lightly cooked spring greens.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

SOSS challenge #85 - Beach

It's new challenge day at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers and today Edna's theme for us is Beach.

Image may contain: 1 person, ocean, text and outdoor

I've used a Gruffies stamp to create a beach scene, and added a sentiment I generated on the computer.

I added photo corners to the image to make it look like a holiday snap, but then wondered what to use for a background. I really wanted it to look like real sand. Paper..... sand...... SANDPAPER! Yep, I raided the tool box and found a sheet of unused medium grade sandpaper. It was even worse than glitter card to stick the pieces down on though, I ended up using industrial quantities of Pinflair glue after experimenting with every other adhesive in my (extensive) repertoire. So I don't think sandpaper is going to become a regular feature on my cards, I can't afford that much glue.

Now let's see your beach themed makes, the snarkier the better, and pop over to the Sisterhood to share your makes and give the sistahs some crafty love.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Rudolph Day - May

It's the 25th of the month and that means it's Rudolph Day, when we have the chance to share a Christmas Card (and possibly win a prize) over at Scrappy Mo's.

I've been playing with my Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and punch again.

Actually the background is one that's been hanging around unused for several months. I made it for another project, and had been intending to use the faux letterpress technique but something went wrong - perhaps I used the wrong kind of ink, I can't recall what exactly I did but it produced a rather pretty background that was all wrong for the project I wanted it for. However, these cute little Eskimos seem happy enough with it, especially now I've blinged it up with a few gems.

As well as the Rudolph Days Challenge I am sharing this with
Addicted to stamps and more - Holiday
Watercooler Wednesday - Christmas

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Curiosity Corner revisited

You may remember that a few years ago I was lucky enough to win the entire Dovecraft Curiosity Corner range when it was first released. I've used up many of the elements but still revisit the items I have left from time to time, and today I set myself the challenge of using them in a very CAS manner. Not a style I would normally associate with the range but it gave me a chance to use some of the smaller snippets of paper I have left.

I've seen umpteen cards of this general style on Pinterest and have had it on my "get round to it" list for a long time. Once I've pinned this, there will be umpteen-and-one...

The butterfly is cut with the old Cuttlebug die, still one of my favourites, and the sentiment comes from Uniko's Flower Power #2 set.

I am sharing this with
The Paper Players - CAS Butterflies
Allsorts - Happy Birthday

A Triple Panel Card

Yesterday the new issue of Quick Cards Made Easy pinged its way into my iPad, and I browsed through it last night and had to use one of the ideas as soon as I got up this morning! It's for a card fold they call a "triple panel card" - although to me that suggests a normal tri-fold card, this is more of a reverse gate fold with an extra fold each side. It's a fold I've often tried to work out for myself, but without a set of suggested measurements I've ended up wasting rather a lot of card. This one worked perfectly first time.

The samples in the magazine are all very feminine but I decided to give my first attempt a much more masculine feel, with a vintage newsprint paper and lots of die cut cogs, and a main image of a penny-farthing bicycle.

I stamped the image and sentiment using a set of steampunk/vintage stamps that Mark bought me a few years ago (sorry, I can't remember the name of the set or manufacturer) then cut and embossed them with a Nesties labels die and, with the image still in the die, sponged all over with Walnut Stain DI, sponging more heavily towards the edges. I wanted to add a brown mat, but I'd cut the image with the largest die from the set, so I created another larger layer by drawing around the outside of the die onto the back of the brown card and cutting it out.

I would like to share this with
Sweet Stampin' - Things that go round (cogs and cycle wheels)
Dies R Us - Shaped cards
Cut it Up - Fun folds
The Male Room - Die Cuts 
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Power of Three #2 - Family Food

I wasn't  sure whether to post today (apart from a scheduled DT post of course) as I was feeling so upset by the events in Manchester. But then, if you change things in any way, the terrorists have won, haven't they, so, shoulders squared, I'm posting anyway. I hope none of my blogging friends and their families were involved. I know that some of my non-blogging friends and their children were, but thankfully they are all safe but very shaken.

Last week I decided to get together all the recipe books that I've never used and cook three recipes from them, one  book at a time, then decide whether they should stay or go. Unfortunately this time I've only cooked one recipe from this book for a couple of reasons which will become clear if you read on.

Today's book is Peter Sidwell's Simply Good Family Food, and I found it incredibly difficult to choose three recipes to cook. For the most part that is because the book simply isn't aimed at experienced cooks like me, it's targeted at parents of young families who may, before the children came along, have lived off ready meals and takeaways and have now decided the time has come to eat "real" food.
This means that many of the dishes in it are familiar ones that I would cook without a recipe - toad in the hole, venison casserole, mussels in beer, melon and mint salad, pumpkin soup, carrot salad....  And also, being aimed at families and with the idea of baking with the kids,  there are lots of cake and biscuit recipes that aren't of much interest to me as a diabetic.
That meant I had a real struggle to find three recipes that I wanted to try, but today I had three bookmarks in place and decided to try the first of them, the only one that really attracted me, Savoury Walnut Shortbread which is on page 103 of the book.
I found the carefully weighed ingredients which included butter, flour, grated parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts, gave me a dough that was far too soft and sticky to handle, so had to add a fair bit of extra flour. The illustration in the book shows quite thin biscuits, yet the instructions said to cut slices 1-2 cm thick ..... 2 cm? That's almost an INCH! These biscuits are meant for serving with cheese -  just imagine trying to get your choppers round a biscuit an inch thick with a chunk of Cheddar on top of it! So I cut them to 1cm, and they still looked too thick to eat with cheese, so I used the prongs of a fork to flatten them and add texture to the surface.
The recipe said to cook for 12 minutes at Gas mark 3, 160C, 325 F - that's a pretty low temperature for baking, and by the end of it even my much-thinner-than-suggested biscuits were nowhere near cooked. In the end it took around 40 minutes to cook them.
They look pretty golden and appetising now, don't they? They are delicious too, with a lovely light, crumbly texture, although despite having lots of toasted walnuts in them there's no walnut flavour at all!

So my overall opinion of the biscuits is "Nice biscuits, shame about the instructions". That means that I really don't fancy trying any of the other recipes in the book so in this case I'm stopping at one and popping the book on the charity shop pile in the hope it will find a home where it is more suited to the occupants!

Your favourite colour combo at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's time for this week's challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz, and we would like you to use your favourite colour combo. That is, your favourite colour combo for masculine cards - it might be a bit of a challenge making a male card if your favourite combo is shades of pink!

My favourite combo is copper and green. Whenever I am trying out a new medium, ink, paint or colouring tool, the first ones I buy are always copper and green, because then I know I will be able to use them with other things I have at home. I'm still having my "Celtic knotwork revival" campaign, so here is today's card.

The large motif is stencilled using Starlight Metallic Paints from Imagination Crafts. The text panel is stamped using a very old background stamp - I can't remember where I got it - stamped with Versamark ink then brushed with mica pigment powders in copper and green. I tore the edges then smeared glue here and there over the torn areas and applied copper foil.

The background is a sheet of printed paper from my stash - I think it was included in a gift from a craft club many years ago.

I am sharing this with
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Mix it Up - Anything Goes (omitting the optional twist of embossing)
Use Your Stuff - Bohemian Rhapsody

Monday, 22 May 2017

Food and Drink at Ooh La La Creations

Today it's my turn to choose the theme for the challenge at Ooh La La Creations and  I've chosen Food and Drink, so I'd like to see either or both on your work.

I've used a pyramage and backing paper from the CD Yesterday's memories, which is an absolute treasure trove of all things vintage, and is available here.

The embellishments are vinyl peel off stickers from a very old Hot Off The Press kit, stuck on to white card and coloured in to match the image. Although they look almost black on the photo, they are actually a rich chocolatey brown - perfect for the chocolate biscuits our youngster is probably baking!

I am sharing this with Always Fun Challenges - Anything Goes

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Quirky Challenge Mid Month inspiration

We're halfway through this month's challenge at Quirky Crafts, so I'm back to bring you my mid-month inspiration card. Our theme is still "Going for a song" so we want to see something inspired by music, and our sponsors are Ike's Art and Delicious Doodles.

I have used the same Ike's Art image, Windmill, as I did in the original challenge post, but this  time the tune that inspired me is "Tulips from Amsterdam". I blew the image  right up before printing and then fussy cut to leave just the tulips, which I then coloured with Promarkers to match some of the beautiful tulips we had in the garden this year.

Butterflies and Roses

For this card, I've used a paper and die cut decoupage that I think was free with docrafts magazine a year or two ago.

I'm not thrilled with die cut decoupage (which is why it's been hanging around unused) because it never seems to be cut right to the edges and yet  it's almost impossible to trim without spoiling it. I find cutting fiddly decoupage from scratch a lot easier! I did start trying to trim this one but gave up halfway round the first leaf.

I've added a couple of butterflies cut with Spellbinders dies.

I am playing along with the Butterfly Challenge - L for Layers and/or Cream

Never eat yellow snow!

"Never eat yellow snow" - a very wise piece of advice and one that sprang to mind when I saw the new challenge at Christmas Card Throwdown, which is the rather unusual Christmas colour combo of Kraft, gold and yellow. So naturally I had to include yellow snow on my card!

I CASed the layout of this card from one I found in Pinterest when I was searching for inspiration and ideas for using the Stampin Up Cookie Cutter Christmas set. That card was very clean and simple though, whereas mine is packed with colour, texture and bling!

The yellow snow itself is embossed with a Darice folder and the gold layer with a magazine freebie folder. The corrugated Kraft is a snippet of packaging from an olive oil bottle. I've added gold ribbon, die cut pine sprigs and droplet stickers that came in a kit many, many years ago.

I am sharing this with

Christmas Card Throwdown - Kraft, yellow and gold
Holly and Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Candy Cane or Anything Goes
Cardz 4 Galz - Texture
C.R.A.F.T. - Christmas  

Seeing Stars

When I decided to make this card, it triggered off a major search. You see the gold embossed star I wanted to use is one I made with my old Sizzix machine - it must be at least 10 years since I got rid of it, and when I moved on to a Cuttlebug and then Grand Calibur, I found that most of my Sizzix kit wasn't compatible with them. But I knew I still had the star somewhere and had to run out all my stash - it ended up being the very bottom item in the very last box I searched!

I added some starry paper from my snippets box and a star sentiment stamped with a Debbi Moore stamp and edged everything in black to give a very CAS masculine result.

I am sharing this with
The Male Room - Stars
Watercooler Wednesday - Masculine Anything Goes 

Say it With Flowers at CD Sundays

Today at CD Sundays our theme is "Say it with Flowers".

Don't forget that if you play along with our CD Sunday challenges, you MUST include something from a CD. It might be a backing paper, an image or even a tiny embellishment, as long as you tell us what it is and which CD it came from. And it must be from a CD currently in your possession.

The CD I have used has been in my possession for a very long time. I can't remember whether it was a Create and Craft freebie or a challenge win, I've had it for so long. It's a my Craft Studio CD called Click, print, Go! Flawless Florals and Sentiment Toppers and it is a huge and very feminine collection of toppers, sentiments and backing papers.

The topper, sentiment and backing paper are all from the CD. I've given it a vintage look with ribbon, lace, pearls, a doiley and some paper flowers that are actually printed with manuscript.

I am sharing this with Crafty Gals Corner - Add Flowers

Thursday, 18 May 2017

In the pink

A very quick and CAS card from me today.

I dug out this old, old Cuttlebug embossing folder - I think it came with a set of sentiment dies - and added a sentiment stamped onto parchment with Stazon and held in place by two metallic pink dragonfly brads. Job done.

I am sharing this with

Use Your Stuff - metallics  (I hope two brads count as enough metal!)
Addicted to CAS - Pink 
Always Fun - Dry embossing
AAA Cards - Embossing


The Power of Three #1 - Curry Nation

I am a recipe book junkie. I simply can't resist a new cookbook - I have several hundred of them. In fact if I were to use all the recipes I have around the house in books and magazines (let's just forget about the humungous number available online) at the rate of one a day, it would probably take me several thousand years to use them up.

And these books take up space - all the bookshelves in my study are full, with books piled on top and on the floor (OK, not all the books in the study are cookbooks - only about 60% of them), they are crammed into the cupboard under the kitchen sink, my bedside cupboard is full of them and there are probably as many again in the loft.

It's time for action! I'm pretty strict with fiction - once I've read a book (Mark, too, if it's something he would like) then off it goes, passed on to friends, family or a charity shop. But I find it hard to part with a cookbook, even one I've never used.

So I have a plan. I know I have favourite books I turn to time and time again. They have earned their place on my shelves and they are keepers. The rest - well, one by one, I plan to take one I've not cooked from before, make three recipes from it and then decide whether it's a keeper or time to say goodbye.

The first one (because it was on the floor and I stubbed my toe on it) for trial by tastebuds is Madhur Jaffrey's Curry Nation.

Now,  we both love curries and I have a LOT of curry recipes, yet I seem to turn to the same few time and time again, so this time I decided to try some dishes that were completely new to me. I put together a menu of dished that probably wouldn't be served together - the chaat, in particular, is more of a snack or street food item, but they sounded good together to me!

The menu was

Chana Aloo Chaat (page 14) - Spicy chickpeas, potatoes and beans in a tamarind sauce. I left out the potatoes, so it should really be called Chana Chaat, because I was using potatoes in another dish. This was delicious, easy and could be prepared in advance. I had no chaat masala but there was  a  very good recipe for it in the book.

Chilli Champ (page 28) - Chilli lamb chops, marinated overnight in spices then baked in the oven. These were amazing - I used ordinary supermarket lamb chops and they came out really tender, juicy, succulent and packed with flavour.

Aloo Gobi (page 108) - Cauliflower with potatoes. The recipe suggests deep frying the potatoes and cauliflower before finishing them in the spicy sauce, but I decided to parboil them instead because I was worried that the meal would be too fatty when I served this with the lamb chops. It was a really delicious dish and the potatoes made a very pleasant change from rice with the curry. I was particularly impressed with the addition of the cauliflower leaves and stalks to the sauce, making this a very low-waste dish and adding extra flavour and texture.

Not the most carefully styled of photos, because I only thought about writing all this down just as I was about to tuck in!

Of course I can't share the actual recipes, as they are copyright, but take it from me if you, too, have this book on your shelf, these three dishes are very much worth trying, and if you're thinking about buying a copy, I heartily recommend it.

The meal was a brilliant kitchen clearer too,  as I had half a tin each of chickpeas and red kidney beans in the fridge along with a couple of tomatoes and a third of a cauli that was looking rather tired, and the veg rack contained a red onion that was starting to sprout and a couple of potatoes in the same condition. And it also used a fair number of last year's chillis from the freezer, that all need to be finished before this year's are ready, and gave me something to do with that part-jar of amchoor that was lurking at the back of the cupboard.

I'll be back soon with another Power of Three post, but for now I'm going to pop over to Madhouse Family Reviews and join in the monthly Kitchen Clearout link-up.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A cat's chorus

I know, I know, one day I will wear these cat stamps out. I just LOVE the Katzelkraft "Les chats Russes" set, the cats' faces are so expressive, especially the Grumpy Cat one in the middle of this card.

I used a couple of papers that reminded me of rather old fashioned wallpaper and stamped the cats onto the background paper as well as onto plain white. This is simply because I'm too blimmin' lazy to fussy cut all those whiskers and tufts of fur! I coloured them in with Promarkers - and chose pink because it made a nice contrast from the aqua background. After all, they are caricature cats, so they don't have to be cat coloured do they? I just need to be careful not to refer to them as "pink pussies" or every spam bot on the web will be making a beeline for my blog in the hope of seeing something completely different......

Oh well, that's my blog stats for the day boosted....

Anyway, back to the card. The singing cat's music was added with an old Kanban stamp, and the sentiment, perfect for Grumpy Cat, is a Rubber Dance stamp which I hand cut into a "think bubble" adding the traditional little circles leading to it by using the two hole punches on my Cropadile to punch tiny circles.

I am sharing this with

Rubber Dance - Three of Something
2 Crafty Critter Crazies - Anything Goes
Show us your Pussies - Furrything Goes/Birthday
Sparkles Monthly - 4 or more legs   

May your day sparkle!

If, like me, you are in the south of England, then today your day probably doesn't feel very sparkly. The rain we have been so short of for several weeks now seems to have decided to all come at once, and everywhere is dark and miserable. There's been a very depressed looking pigeon sitting hunched on top of Mark's bean poles for most of the morning - I wonder why it doesn't go and look for shelter?

Anyway, what better way to spend a gloomy day than getting nice and inky?

I made this card using stamps from a magazine freebie set from about 18 months ago. For the background, I smooshed distress ink pads onto a sheet of acetate - rather than a craft mat, I like to use acetate on top of a piece of the paper or card I am planning to use, to give me a better idea of where the colours are going to fall. You can see here I positioned the main pink area in the right place for the fairy. I've added Stickles for the sparkle.

I am sharing this with

Alphabet Challenge - Enchanted Creatures
Just Us Girls - DI background
Stamping Sensations - Butterflies, Fairies and Fantasy


Monday, 15 May 2017

Christmas Blues

It's quite traditional to combine blue and silver on Christmas cards to give a sparkly, snowy effect but I rather like the richer combo of a darker blue and gold, which I've used here.

(Eek! now I've uploaded the photo I can see that the sentiment is all skew-whiff, must go and correct that!)

I die cut the label shape and covered it with tree-patterned tissue, then added trees cut with snippets of gold and an old Hunkydory blue and gold foiled card, a gold die cut reindeer and lots of peel off snowflakes.  The tree dies were a win from the Snippets Playground.

I am sharing this with

Pixie's Snippets Playground weeks 281-2
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Trees
Jingle Belles - Blue  
Winter Wonderland - favourite colour combo

Sunday, 14 May 2017

... and more flowers!

I really have been digging out the old stamps this weekend! This is one of my oldest, the date on it is 1998. It's a Stampendous stamp called Rose Ring.

I used Nesties to cut it out and coloured it with watercolour pencils - for the larger flowers and the leaves, where I wanted to blend the colours, I coloured in with the pencils and then blended with a water brush, and for the tiny flowers I used the water brush to pick up colour from the tips of the pencils.

I am sharing this with
Make My Monday - May Flowers 
Creative With Stamps - Flowers

Allsorts Challenge - Ring a ring o'roses 
CAS Watercolour - Flowers

Retro Rubber - Hello Spring

Shabby chic roses

There seem to be lots and lots of "Flower" and "Rose" challenges around at the moment, and I hope you'll forgive me if I link a couple of cards to lots of them in an attempt to catch up after my travels (and get ahead before the next ones - who said retirement was a chance to relax?).

For this card I've used a set of stamps from an old Kanban kit, it was one of the last things I bought from QVC so it would have been about the time that Dawn Bibby moved to Create and Craft - which Google tells me was in May 2011 making the stamps 6 years old. I stamped them onto cream card and coloured with Promarkers.

I have teamed it with papers that were a magazine freebie some years ago and lots of embellishments from my stash.

Have you ever had any trouble with clear stamps "melting" - not when subjected to heat, but when they are safely stored away in a cool dark place? It's happened to several of mine, including the large rose stamp here. The affected area was in the bottom right hand corner of the image and by careful colouring and fussy cutting of the leaves I think I've managed to hide the damage.

Before I go, I'd like to share a totally irrelevant photo with you as I'm so thrilled about it. The day we got home from France, a gorgeous competition prize was delivered to me, a really beautiful canteen of cutlery.

Isn't it amazing? I think I'm going to bring the cutlery into use right away, because that box would make wonderful storage for wood mounted stamps!

Right,  on with the challenges I'm playing along with.

Make my Monday - May Flowers  - although our roses are still in bud, I'm beginning to see the first flowers in some sunnier gardens
Sweet Stampin - Shabby Chic
Country View Crafts - Flower Power
Creative With Stamps - Flowers

Retro Rubber - Hello Spring
Allsorts - Ring a Ring O'Roses

Saturday, 13 May 2017

SOSS challenge 84 - Hatching, Matching or Despatching

Today it's time for Challenge 84 at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers, and this time Edna must have been reading the classified ads, because her challenge for us is Hatching, Matching and Despatching, aka Births, Marriages and Deaths. And if you manage to make a snarky sympathy card, I take off my virtual hat to you! Some of the Sistahs have managed it, but I chickened out and went along with the hatching side of things.

Image may contain: text

I've chosen a birth card that doesn't go down the cutesy sweet little baby, what a blessing route -  although a new baby is a wonderful thing, it DOES  bring with it an awful lot of mess and sleepless nights. As illustrated by this card:

The stamps are a Studio G mini set, the die cuts made with the X-cut "New baby Icons" set and the papers from a Simply Creative pad called "Play Days".
I am sharing this with Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - May 

Feathers and mirrors

I originally made this for one of my DT pieces, but the challenge has changed to a different theme now so I thought I'd share it anyway as I think it's rather striking.

The spattered background is stamped with a very old Anita's stamp - I can't do "real" spattering without making a mess of myself, the furniture and the ceiling! The teal feather is die cut, as is the sentiment, and the other feather is an acrylic mirror sticker from a set I bought in a pound shop years ago and have only just opened the pack.

I am sharing this with
Use Your Stuff - feathers 
CAS Mix Up - Stamping, splattering & die cutting OK, I cheated, I combined the stamping and splattering!)
CRAFT - Birthday

Friday, 12 May 2017

An oldie but goodie

The CD-ROM I used for this card is a very old Sharon Duncan one from 2009 called Beautiful Butterflies. CDs seem much more sophisticated these days, with more interactivity, higher resolution and a much bigger range of images. Nevertheless, I keep coming back to this one over and over again because the butterfly images on it are so lovely.

I had actually set out to make an easel card with this set of toppers and background, but then I pointed out to myself that I always seem to make easel cards with this CD and it was about time I did something different. After a bit of arguing between Me1 and Me2, one of us won and I made a large 20cm square card instead. I'm still not 100% convinced it was the right decision though - I love easel cards and these images are perfect for them.

The cream and gold card is a scrap from an old Hunkydory kit and I've added some delicate gold butterflies cut with a Memory Box die.

I am sharing this with
Cuttlebugmania - Have wings, will fly
Butterfly challenge - Decoupage and/or Gold (the decoupage is only one layer on each butterfly bit it IS there!)

The Galloping Gourmet

Does anyone remember the 1970s TV Cookery Show with Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet? I think about it every time I see this fun cartoon, printed out from the craft CD "The Wine Buffs" from Katy Sue Designs. It struck me as perfect for this month's Naughty or Nice challenge where the DT want us to make them Smile.

I've used several papers from the CD too, and added a bit of distressing to match the state of his kitchen!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Holly's card

I'm back from my travels at last - did you miss me? Now we have a couple of weeks at home, so I'm hoping to catch up on some crafting, blogging and commenting. First of all I'm going to share with you the card I made for the 5th birthday of my granddaughter, Holly.

She loves all thinks pink and girly, odd really as she is quite a tomboy, and she specially asked me to make her a card with flamingoes on it. Now I didn't join in with last year's flamingo frenzy, so I have no suitable stash, but I found these images on the CD - Winnie in Wonderland from Polkadoodles. I really HAD to include the "You're entirely bonkers!" image, because we're always telling her that she is.  I used a backing paper, a design sheet and lots of extra elements from the CD then added pearly hearts and a sparkly "5".

I am sharing this with
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Addicted to Stamps and More - Anything Goes
Glitter and Sparkle - Inspired by a kids film - Alice in Wonderland
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
Fab 'n' Funky - Kid and Teenager Birthdays
Loves to Craft - Anything Goes


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Jungle Fun at Cardz 4 Guyz

Today's new challenge day at Cardz 4 Guyz and our theme is Jungle Fun. We've decided to give everyone a chance to relax over summer, so for the time being our challenges will be every two weeks instead of every week, starting from today. We're also looking for two people to join us on the design team, so head over to the blog to see how to apply. Anyone who enjoys making cards suitable for men is welcome to apply - and don't panic if you've never been on a design team before: neither had I when I joined this lovely friendly team!

For the background I used Kraft card and a Uniko tropical leaves stamp set. First I stamped solid leaves with Versamark ink, and then the outline leaves in black randomly over the top.

The lion is from Woodware's Jungle Pals stamp set, stamped and coloured twice with some elelemnts of the second image fussy cut and layered over the first to add dimension. The frog and sentiment are from another Woodware set, In the Jungle. Punched leaves and a couple of die cut circles finish the card.

I was a bit uncertain about whether a lion was a jungle animal, as I associate them with the plains, but since the stamp set says so, and so does the song "The lion sleeps tonight", I'm voting for it to be a jungle animal!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Something beginning with B at Ooh La La Creations

It's new challenge day at Ooh La La Creations and the theme is "Something beginning with B".

I've chosen this lovely image and paper featuring Boats, which can be found on the Boys to Men CD, available here.

I used to live close to a fishing harbour on the very north coast of Scotland, and my husband used to live close to one in Cornwall, so although at opposite ends of the island, this scene is very familiar to us, as is the rope that is left trailing and looping all around the quayside, depicted here with twine. 

I stamped a wavy border around white card for the background and embellished my loop of "rope" with a die cut anchor - in fact I layered to together because a single one looked a little flimsy.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Inspired by Music at Quirky Crafts

It's time for out new Challenge at Quirky Crafts and this time our theme is "Inspired by Music" and we would like to see something inspired by the lyrics or title of your favourite song or piece of music - and tell us what the music is!

Our sponsor for this challenge is Ike's Art, and the image I have used is Windmill, to represent the song "Living in a windmill in old Amsterdam". There are mice in the song too, but the only mouse images I have aren't really right to use with this, so let's just imagine that all the mice are safely tucked up in their beds  inside the windmill.

I wanted to make this using more of a Delft blue, but I couldn't blend the colours properly with my blue inkpad, so I chose this pretty teal instead so that I could use Broken China DI, which I smooshed onto an acrylic block then used to paint the image, adding water a little at a time to get lighter and lighter shades.

The corners I have used are some very old white peel offs that are replicas of old Dutch tiles.

Anything Asian at CD Sundays

I'm very excited because today it's my first turn to choose the challenge at CD Sundays,  and I've chosen one of my favourite themes, "Anything Asian". I know Asian designs come in and out of fashion and you  may need to dust off one of your older CDs this time - but it's always fun to revisit long-neglected stash!

Don't forget that Asia is a very big continent, encompassing not just China and Japan but India, Thailand and part of the Middle East (as well as lots of other countries that don't seem to inspire as much craft stash!). But I've gone for an image that reminds me of the years I loved in Hong Kong,  this beautiful crane image and papers from Joanna Sheen's old CD "Oriental Dreams".

Because I was using a fairly old CD, I decided to use a fairly old fashioned style too, inspired by some of the designs that used to be created on QVC in the days when they sold Kameo Cards kits. I really enjoyed making this, looking through all the old images and digging out my old, almost-finished sheets of peel offs.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Inspired by a film, book or music at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the theme at Cardz 4 Guyz, and I'd like to see something inspired by a film, book or piece of music.

I was planning to do the film Rocky, as I knew I had a boxing glove image on a CD somewhere, so I started browsing through my CDs to find it (if you are interested, it's in the Sports and Hobbies section of The Best of La Pashe 2014). But as I scrolled, I suddenly realised I was humming the old George Formby song "When I'm cleaning windows".

The CD I was browsing was another La Pashe one called "Something for Everyone" and the window cleaner image had got so firmly embedded in my brain I just had to use it!

The background is embossed with a Crafters Companion embossing folder and the ladder die cut with a die from the First Edition Tools set.

There are several layers of simple decoupage - not enough for a detailed image, just enough to add interest to it.

I finished the "cleaned" section of the glass with Glossy Accents and added clear Wink of Stella to the "foamy" areas.

And for my younger, or non-British friends who may not be familiar with the song, here it is - the image is perfect for it!

I am sharing this with:
Alphabet Challenge - D for Decoupage

Monday, 1 May 2017

Snowflakes at Sparkles Christmas

The first of the month means it's new challenge time at Sparkles Christmas, and this month we would like to see snowflakes on your cards.

I've used my trusty old Hero Arts snowflake stamp, stamped and heat embossed in silver with a hint of colour added with Promarkers. It's the colour scheme suggested on the stamp back,  and although I've tried other colourways I always come back to this one - it's just so frosty looking!
The sentiment is stamped with a magazine freebie from a couple of years ago.

I am sharing this with
Christmas Cards All Year Round - precipitation 
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - May