Saturday, 30 September 2017

A leafdrift

I love swooping drifts of autumn leaves, and enjoy kicking them up into the wind and seeing them blowing around - gardeners must hate me!

For this card I have used an assortment of old Rubberstamp Tapestry (now rebranded as Card-io ) stamps and a selection of autumn colours to recreate the feeling of a drift of leaves caught in the wind.

I am sharing this with
Fab'nFunky - Fall Colours
Sweet Stampin - Autumn
Uniko - Autumn/Fall  

SOSS challenge #94 - Pink Halloween

It's our annual Pink Halloween challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers. And Edna has dressed for the occasion.

Now as you probably know, I'm not a big fan of Halloween, I'd much rather hang on a few days and celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, so I have very little suitable stash, and the little I have can't really be adapted to a pink colour scheme.

However I found that the super word-cloud generating site Tagxedo has shapes you can use like bats and pumpkins (Have you ever used Tagxedo? It's tremendous fun, quite addictive, and great for making cards that are really personal!)

So here we have it, the camp-est, scared-est pumpkin I've ever seen, obviously shaking in fear at the sight of that witch sequin flying across the splattered-bleach sky.

OK, I know this has not been my finest hour in crafting terms but at least I TRIED - so please head over to the challenge and give it a try yourselves!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Proud peacock

I'm really giving the magazine freebies a hammering at the moment! I keep reminding myself that however good value they are, they're not a bargain unless I actually USE them. I have used the lovely peacock die once or twice, but never the coordinating border embossing folder.

Time to put that right.

I cut the peacock in gold mirri and the background in black, embossing the border along the top and bottom. I didn't notice until the panel was actually on the card that the border wasn't a regular repeating pattern, there's a sort of fleur de lys which must be the centre point of the folder, but I have rescued it by lining up the peacock's head with the top fleur de lys and its tail with the bottom one, so I can pretend that was deliberate!

I am sharing this with
CAS on Friday - Dies 
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
Crafty Gals Corner - Anything Goes

How Rude!

I do love my naughty sentiment stamps! The one I've used here is very new -  part of a Dylusions set that the lovely Claire from Ninjakillercat gave me for my birthday last month, so it is one of my newest stamps. I've teamed it with one of my very oldest stamps - this rather puzzled looking retro lassie is an unmounted stamp I got as part of a "Pound'o'rubber" grab bag from Viva las Vegas stamps almost 20 year ago.

And yes, now I look at the photo I do wish I'd made the entire layout a mirror image of itself.  The tags and papers are from my stash and I edged everything with distress ink but oh dear, I got it all over the place and ended up with smudges on the stamped image and fingerprints on the tag. So what else could I do but grab my Gentleman Crafter stamps and stamp bigger, better bolder smudges and fingerprints to make them look intentional!

I am sharing this with

Shopping Our Stash - Not your Momma's Card
Use Your Stuff - Old & New

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Birthday Bear

I made this card using a previously unused set of stamps that was the freebie in Making Cards magazine a few months ago. The colour scheme was inspired by this cute singleton button I found lurking in my stash while rummaging around for something else.

I stamped with Memento ink and coloured with Promarkers. I think I'd have used this stamp set sooner if I'd realised just how adorable they were going to turn out!

I am sharing this with

Addicted to stamps and more - Anything Goes
Sweet Stampin - Cute and Cuddly
and as the stamps are completely NBUS I'm popping back to Darnell's NBUS Challenge again  

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Architecture at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's time for our new challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz, and this time our theme is Architecture.

This card is inspired by a print I recently bought for our spare bedroom, but haven't yet got around to framing. The print is of new York, but according to the label this Art Impressions stamp is of Salem. Never having been to Salem I couldn't possibly comment.

I masked off a square of white card then stamped the image in black, masked that too then stamped it again, slightly offset, in grey and then after more masking, in cream. Finally I masked the cream and sponged in blue to make a cloudy sky.

When I removed the masks, at first I was disappointed that the stamping hadn't gone right to the edges of the previous colour. Then I thought back to when I lived in Hong Kong and occasionally went into the city early in the morning when the heat of the day was causing mist to rise from the pavements - yes, it looked exactly like this, with the taller buildings in the distance looming out of the mist beyond the foreground. I think it's pretty atmospheric!

I would like to share this with

Glitter & Sparkle - Happy Birthday
Always Fun - Anything Goes
The Male Room - Masking

Monday, 25 September 2017

Catching the Christmas Post

I absolutely HAD to buy Papercraft Essentials this month - the cover gift is a set of post box embossing folder, stamps and dies with a thick A4 booklet of coordinating papers. Perfect for Christmas card making, especially as I have a group of friends that all try to send each other a different pillar-box themed card every year.

And since today is September 25th, not only is it exactly 3 months to Christmas, it is also Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's so what better day to get my new toys out for a play?

The papers, embossing folder, stamps and dies all came from the magazine.

That toucan again!

It's the first time I've used this toucan stamp since getting my Misti - what a huge difference it has made. I no longer have to go over the image with a black marker to hide the unevenly stamped areas!

What a pity the way I wanted to ink and stamp the leaf border meant it would have been awkward to use the Misti for that too - and I seem to have developed a crack in the lovely monstera leaf stamp. All the stamps I used were from Uniko.

When I've used the toucan before, I have felt he was floating around in space a bit, so this time I die cut a branch for him to sit on. The position still isn't quite right - I had to cut a slot under his wing to slip the branch into and maybe it needed to be a bit deeper. Let's just say he is coming in to land, shall we?

 This card was inspired by the lovely photo which is this week's challenge at Just Us Girls.

Harvest Time at Ooh La la Creations

It's time for our new challenge at Ooh La La Creations - it is my turn to choose the theme and I've chosen Harvest Time.

I've used an image and backing paper from the CD Carnival of Colour, which is available here.

I've teamed them with lots of die cut autumn leaves - the die set was a magazine freebie about a year ago - and an embossed panel which was made with Core-dinations card in a Sizzix ef and lightly sanded after embossing.

We'd love to see your take on the theme - and if you pop over and link to our challenge you might even win a download prize!

I am sharing this with
C.R.A.F.T. - Autumn/Harvest/Thanksgiving 
Cuttlebugmania - Golden harvest
Little Red Wagon - Leaf it to me

Sunday, 24 September 2017

NBUS is back!

Yes, once again the delicious Darnell is hosting her NBUS (Never Before Used Schtuff)  challenge and has invited us all to dig out that uninked stamp, that untouched (save for stroking, of course) paper and those dies that have never seen the light of day. And then - shock, horror - to USE them!

Oddly enough since Darnell announced, a few days ago, that it was almost time for the latest NBUS challenge, I've been using quite a bit of NBUS in my makes. Simply thinking about it reminded me of just how much schtuff I have loitering around in dark recesses! But today has rolled around and I still have PLENTY to play with.

The stamp I chose for this card was bought at the Make It Show back in February, so it isn't very old. It is Buddha Gautama from Inkylicious and I fell in love with it and came home bursting with ideas for using it. By next day I'd forgotten them all. So there it has sat, still in its cello bag, waiting for me to get a Round Tuit. And a prod in the back from Darnell has finally got me inking it.

I stamped it on gold mirri card using black Stazon - I had to discard all the photos that picked up the lovely shine of the mirri because they also had the ugly reflection of the photographer in them and you might be eating your breakfast as you read this, you wouldn't want to see me in my "trying to concentrate while I take a photo" pose. (It's all in the way you hold your mouth - not pretty)

The background is made by blending yellow, orange and red distress inks then stamping and heat embossing leaves in gold around the edge.

I'm tempted to make the same card all over again but this time using silver mirri and shades of blue for a much calmer effect, whaddya think? The hot, spicy colours remind me of Thai temples but the calming blues might better represent the tranquility of the pose.

Mellow Yellow at CD Sundays

It's time for our new challenge at CD Sundays, and today, Wynn has chosen the theme Mellow Yellow.

For my card I have used the very old Hot Off The Press CD "2,600 Tea Bag Folding Squares" which came in a double pack with "5,400 Tags and Art" which you've probably seen me use many times. But the tea bag folding CD has never been used before - I've never  really given tea bag folding any serious thought. However I thought I'd take a look to see what it offered in the yellow line and absolutely fell in love with this sweet bee and ladybird design.

The papers and tea bag papers are all printed from the CD and assembled according to the instructions on the CD - I didn't feel confident enough to attempt anything I'd designed myself when I've never really tackled the craft before. The squares are very, very small - about 2cm, and it took a lot of time and patience for me to get them all folded and assembled. I'm not normally known for the precision and accuracy that was needed, but I think because of that I found it strangely relaxing, because I had to concentrate so hard that it made me completely forget everything else.

I think I am going to be trying some of the other designs on the CD - there are dozens of them including quite a lot of Christmas ones.

So now we'd like to see YOUR take on the theme. Make sure your design contains something from a CD - you don't need to use it for the whole card as I have done, just a paper, image or embellishment is fine, but DO please make sure it is from an actual CD, not from a download. No, not even if the download is also available as a CD!

I am sharing this with A bit more time to craft - Anything Goes
 and Allsorts Challenge - Things with wings 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Special Delivery

Do you ever see a challenge them and find it pulls together vague ideas in your head? That's what happened to me today when I saw the sketch at Less is More - I'd had this parcel stamp and the inkpads I wanted to use out on the table for several days but couldn't quite decide how I was going to use them.

I stamped the three parcels and heat embossed them with clear powder, then fussy cut them.  The sentiment is stamped using one of the sentiments on the stamp sheet that comes with the new issue of Papercraft Essentials.

I had planned to put them on a plain white panel, but when I arranged them in place I felt it had crossed the dividing line between CAS and Boring, so I used a Santoro folder to emboss a snowstorm of hearts!

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Sketch

Christmas Card Throwdown - Pink, red and green

Winter Wonderland - Wrap it Up

Snowy night

Before I start, has anyone any tips for using old unmounted red rubber stamps in the Misti? They don't cling at all, so when I use them with acrylic blocks I stick them with Pritt and then wash both them and the blocks afterwards. Some of my oldest blocks (about 20 years plus) are getting a bit opaque and I think it's from years and years of Pritt and washing. I don't want to do anything to damage my Misti and yet I have several stamps, like the one I have used for the snow scene here, that would really benefit from the accurate placement and repeated stamping possible with the Misti. Is there any adhesive that I can use that I can be sure won't harm the stamp or the Misti plate?

Anyway, I stamped it once, although as you can see multiple stampings would have been good, and embossed it in opaque white, onto a stitched oval die cut. The sentiment is a magazine freebie stamp and the ribbon a scrap from my stash.

I'm sharing this with
The Holly and The Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes/For a Male
Jingle Belles - Tic Tac Toe  - I've used the middle column, Snow, Card Stock and Blue

More faux letterpress

A few days ago I posted a card I had edged with a border made using the faux letterpress technique with a Tim Holtz embossing folder I'd just bought. I liked the effect so much that this time I've use the technique to make a background for the whole card.

I've added a butterfly cut with that old faithful, the Cuttlebug butterfly, some punched mini butterflies and a Craftwork Cards sentiment layered onto a die cut circle. All done with silver mirri which is an utter barsteward to photograph!

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge - Things with wings
Addicted to stamps and more - photo inspiration

Just add ink - Texture

Friday, 22 September 2017

That wine bottle die again

I have a feeling, based on what I'm seeing around blogland,  that the wine bottle die given away with a recent issue of Die Cutting Essentials is going to become as iconic as the now-famous "That Embossing Folder" of a couple of years ago.

Here I've cut it in green, made a centre stepper card from embossed Hunkydory card and cut the embellishment for the bottle from a smooth version of the same card, then added labels made using the stamp and die set from one of their sister magazines.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Gals Corner - Fancy Folds
Crafting by Designs  - Drink Up!

Little doggies

Some time ago I got this doggie stamp from Little Claire in two sizes, and have used the larger one many times but never inked the smaller one. Until today.

I've teamed it with a selection of masculine papers from the docrafts Heritage press range. I don't know why but I always think of dogs when making pet themed cats for men, and cats when making them for women. Goodness knows why - I know lots of dog loving women and cat loving men.

I am sharing this with
Use Your Stuff - Pets 
Watercooler Wednesday - masculine anything goes

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Recipe - Pheasant and wild mushroom casserole

NOTE - do not used foraged mushrooms in this dish unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain that you know exactly what you are picking, that the ones you are choosing are both safe and good to eat, and that you are picking them from somewhere where you are allowed to do so. My thanks to Mark for his expertise and photographs.

I was having a rummage around the freezer, as you do, when I spotted a pack of pheasant thighs - skinned and boned ones. I have no idea where I bought them - the label has a brand name, "Wild", rather than a supermarket name, but it seems very much like game casserole weather so that's what I decided to make.

Mark had managed to find a lovely mixture of wild mushrooms for this, but supermarket ones would work too - use the ones that are like small flat chestnut mushrooms that every supermarket gives a different name to, if you can find them.

To serve two people you need:

1 pack (4 thighs) skinned and boned pheasant thighs
about 150g wild mushrooms (or see above)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbs sunflower or rapeseed oil
25g butter
1 tbs seasoned flour
200ml beef, game or strong chicken stock
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbs dry sherry.

Heat oven to 160C (fan 140)/325 F/gas 3

Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Unroll the thighs ( they may be divided into two pieces each) and roll each piece in the flour.

Heat half each of the oil and butter over medium heat in a wide, shallow lidded flameproof casserole  dish and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften and then push them out to the sides of the pan and add the pheasant to the middle in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (the onions around the edge might need a little bit of a stir but you want them to start browning).

Give everything a stir, stand back and chuck in the sherry. (If you have some brandy, it would be even better but you may want to shut any doors between the hob and the smoke detector before adding it).

When you've swabbed your singed eyebrows (see, I told you to stand back!) stir in the stock and thyme, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every half hour or so. Add a little hot water if the sauce seems to be getting too thick.

Half an hour before it is due to be ready, clean the mushrooms and break them into bite sized pieces. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan over a high heat and toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. At first a lot of juice will come out of them - keep on cooking until the juice has evaporated and they start to fry again.

Stir them into the casserole and return to the oven until the cooking time is up.

I can assure you it tastes a lot nicer than it looks - the pheasant is meltingly tender but not falling apart and the rich, gamey flavour goes beautifully with the mushrooms. We had it with mashed potato to soak up all the rich juices and some steamed leeks for a fresh green contrast.

Big blue flower

I've discovered a serious flaw in my stash - I do not possess a light blue inkpad. However for this card I got round it by sponging blending ink onto my stamp.

The delicate result made it perfect to use as a background for the BIG BOLD sentiment which is from a stamp set I won in the Playground. I used the Misti to stamp it several times to make sure it was really REALLY bold. The flower, leaf and butterfly embellishments were just stamped once so that they don't fight the sentiment for attention.

I am sharing this with

The Flower Challenge - Tic Tac Toe - I have used the right hand column, sentiment/CAS/blue

CASology - BIG

Fab 'n ' funky - Floral Embellishments

Addicted to CAS - Florals

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

pink for a girl

There are no babies on the way in the family, but I've just started making cards for the local hospice to sell so I'm trying to give them a good variety to cover all occasions.

I've used a stork die from the Xcut "Baby Icons" set and a word from a Spellbinders set, and used the Gummiapan "Stitched squares" for the layering. The pink is a snippet - such a small one that I had to cut the stork and word out from the area behind where the white layer would go. For some reason I can never remember the name of this technique - is it "guttering"?

Although I wanted to give an impression of sky, I also wanted to keep things very CAS, so I used a small cloud stamp and a few strokes of blue pencil to create just a suggestion of sky behind the stork.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - take flight
Cardz 4 Galz - Welcome little baby
Pixie's Crafty Workshop - Weeks 299 and 300  

Now that's the end of today's crafty posts, but read on if you want to see a follow up to Saturday's Pasta making Class....

Yesterday we went into London to attend another class, this time a bread making one, but it was cancelled so we came home and spent the rest of the day cooking at home instead. We retrieved our pasta machine from its new home in our daughter's kitchen and made ravioli,  using a wild mushroom filling that Mark had made on Monday after a successful foraging expedition. The sauce we served with it was a rich ragu which included pancetta, sausage and lots of red wine.

We were delighted with the results!

Horse Chestnut

Autumn seems to be coming early this year and some of the leaves started to turn before the end of August. So I'm sure it won't be very long before parks and footpaths are scattered with conkers, the nuts from the Horse Chestnut tree.

I love the colours of chestnut trees, both Horse and Sweet, in the autumn, although sadly in recent years some kind of disease means that many leaves go brown and withered without taking on their beautiful seasonal colours.

One of my favourite stamps, and one of the oldest in my collection, is this single Horse Chestnut leaf. It is so versatile, being a single leaf rather than a large stamp, and looks great in summer or autumn colours. It is so old that the lettering has worn off the side of the wood block, eroded away from hundreds of uses, so I can't tell you who originally made it.

Here I have made a background stripe of assorted inks, sponged and blended, then stamped the leaf over it in brown ink, adding a sentiment that I won last year in the Playground. I've stamped it again with Versamark ink on orange card and embossed it with a variegated brown embossing powder.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts challenge - Feels Like Autumn
Always Fun - Fall colours
Sweet Stampin - Your Favourite Stamp
Make My Monday - Autumn Colours
AAA  - Autumn Colours
Rubber Dance - Use your fave stamp

Creative with Stamps - leaves

Monday, 18 September 2017

Bird on a branch

While sorting out some papers the other day I came across a pack of mulberry paper that I've had ever since it was fashionable - still unopened! It must be donkeys years old, so I thought I'd get it out and have a play.

I completely covered my card front with a slightly larger piece of mulberry paper then used a damp paintbrush to go around the edges to make the mulberry paper wet, enabling me to easily tear it close to the edge. Once the water had dried, I inked around the edge with distress ink.

The square of newsprint effect paper is stencilled with a woodgrain stencil using DI, then the edges inked with the same ink and distressed with an edging tool.

The sentiment is one from an old sheet of copper embellishments which I seldom use as they seem too bright and shiny for their style and until now my attempts to colour them have failed. However this time I coloured the whole surface with a brown Promarker then left it to dry overnight - success! I sanded the surface lightly to make the letters stand out then attached it with brads to the strip of cream textured card.

Finally I added a die cut sprig of foliage and a vintage bird sticker.

I am sharing this with

House of Cards - Text and/or colours
More Mixed Media - Anything goes/Brown
Little Red Wagon - distress it  
Country View Challenges - Metal

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Our Ruby Wedding

Today Mark and I have been married for 40 years - our Ruby anniversary. Here is the card I made for him.

The card is completely made with die cutting and embossing - the background uses That Folder and the heart and numbers are Spellbinders dies.

I am sharing this card with
Glitter and Sparkle - Embossing 
Sparkles Monthly Challenge - Die cuts/punches

Now, if you are only here for the card, you don't need to scroll any further but if you'd like to read about our slightly unusual celebration (and FOOD)  carry on reading...

Because we both love cooking, we decided that instead of having a party or buying each other presents, we would instead spend the money on going to a pasta making class taught by Carmela Serrano-Hayes, the author of "A Passion for Pasta", at La Cucina Caldesi in London. Very conveniently, one of the available dates was yesterday, just the day before our anniversary, so that's when we decided to go.

We had a lovely time, learning to make many different shapes and types of pasta from the simple

to the complex

and even one made out of bread and cheese!

The dishes we made were really delicious  - there were about 6 in total which we ate as a meal at the end of the day, sitting Italian style at a large communal table.

Ravioli filled with a rich meat mixture

Seafood with assorted hand-shaped pastas

And finally, here is our "official" anniversary photo