Sunday, 30 December 2018

More dragonflies

I seldom go very long without a dragonfly appearing on one of my cards! Today I bring you THREE dragonflies.

I used stamps from a very old Woodware/Francoise Read set called In the Jungle. I used several of the leaf stamps and shades of green ink to create the frame, leaving a tiny space to stamp the sentiment (a magazine freebie) so that it merged into the border rather than detract from the white space in the middle. The dragonflies are stamped and fussy cut then finished with Stickles.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts Challenge -Thanks a Bunch 
AAA Cards - three of something

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Blue for a boy

The current challenge at The Male Room is The Colour Blue  and I decided that instead of a card for a grown man, I would make one for a new baby boy.

The beautiful papers from the Graphic 45 "Precious Memories" range are perfect for the job - all they need is a whole heap of fussy cutting and layering to make a card fit for a little prince.

Doughnut delight

My new subscriber copy of Creative Stamping arrived yesterday and I just HAD to get stamping straight away with the fab stamp set included with it. As I've been out of the crafting loop for a couple of weeks I decided to ease myself in with a very Clean And Simple card that uses up a whole bunch of snippets.

I originally intended paper piecing the doughnuts but decided the little space in the "hole" where you can see the cake below the icing would be just too darned tricky so I layered them instead, and I think it works better that way because after all the icing in a real doughnut is on top of the cake, not inset into it.

The doughnut stamp and sentiment are both from the stamp set, which is so new it isn't in the shops for a few days yet, and all the papers are from my snippets box.

I am sharing this with Pixie's Snippets Playground  and also with Sweet Stampin - New! as the stamps are brand new.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Birds and blooms

It's very rare that I come to the end of a pack of papers, but I'm almost there with these lovely BoBunny papers. There are no complete sheets left, in fact I'm down to about a quarter of a sheet of each, and will probably be able to squeeze a couple more snippets cards out before they run out completely. Here is a card made entirely from those precious snippets.

I saw a card on Pinterest made from scraps of double sided paper with the corners turned back so both surfaces showed, and thought it was a lovely idea, and it used some of my smallest snippets too. I used 1mm foam pads to hold down the flaps, to give then just a hint of depth, and added the topper with the same pads.

It was lovely to be working with pretty spring colours when everything around seems to be Christmassy! I'm heading over to the Snippets Playground to share this.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #125 - Rude Christmas

It's Rude Christmas time at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers.

Just LOOK where Edna's hung her mistletoe! What a cheeky madam!

I've decided to take the "insulting-rude" angle rather than the "saucy-rude" one that you were probably expecting from me!

I've used stamps from some of my favourite sets - the Dylusions Christmas Sentiments and Katzelkraft's Les Chats Russes, plus a mistletoe sprig from a recent magazine freebie set.

I would like to share this with
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes
Sweet Stampin - Last minute Christmas/Anything Christmas
Christmas Crafts All Year Round - Anything Goes
Country View Challenges - Christmas    

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Resist technique at Back to Basics

For our latest challenge at Back to Basics we would like you to use a resist technique.  There are several different ways of doing this but they all boil down to adding ink to an image or sentiment created using a medium that resists the ink - wax, resist fluid, Versamark or, as I've used here, clear embossing.

I stamped the bold sentiment with Versamark ink and embossed with clear powder, then sponged bold bands of distress ink over to go with the boldness of the sentiment. I spritzed the background with water and some mica spray to give it a sheen you can't see in the photo but looks lovely in real life, and then polished with a tissue to remove all the ink and mica from the lettering so that it pops out from the background.

I'm sharing this with CAS Mix Up where the challenge is Emboss Resist  with mica spray being my extra technique, even though it doesn't show up very well in the photo!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas Old or New at CD Sundays

It's Jocelyn's turn to choose the challenge at CD Sundays and she has picked Christmas Old or New.

It's given me a chance to use the lovely Joanna Sheen CD, Vintage Christmas Cards, with this old-fashioned decoupage scene. Oh doesn't that say a lot about social history, with cook, in her servant's clothes, supervising while the children of the wealthy household stir the Christmas pudding for luck?

The backing paper is a magazine freebie and to continue the "old" theme, I've used some very old gold-embossed mulberry paper that I've had since the days when mulberry paper was fashionable!

 I am sharing this with
 Allsorts Challenge - Season's Greetings
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes/ use some gems or pearls

Saturday, 8 December 2018

RECIPE: two simple sides for a winter barbecue

It's becoming fashionable to barbecue all year round, in fact I've heard of people barbecueing their Christmas dinner!

Now I'm far too much of a wimp to brave the cold and wind, eating outdoors is for the warmest days of summer for me, but I love the flavours of a barbecue all year round so I often cook barbecue style food in my kitchen.

My local farm shop makes their own sausages and has won awards for their delicious Smokey Joe sausages - a traditional sausage rather than a frankfurter, with all the flavour of a barbecue crammed into their plump, juicy skins. Served with a jacket potato and some suitable sides, it's easy to pretend you are sitting in the garden on a warm summer's evening even when you are safely indoors with wind howling around the trees and rain lashing the windows!

On the left we have Sweetcorn and Red Onion Salad - for this simply finely chop a small red onion, squeeze the juice of a lime and ¼ teaspoon of salt into a bowl, mix then stir in the onion and leave to "cook" for half an hour. Just before serving, mix in a small tin of sweetcorn and a handful of roughly chopped flatleaf parsley.

On the right is Chipotle Celeriac Slaw. Put 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise into a large bowl and mix in a scant teaspoon of Chipotle Paste and the juice of half a lemon. Coarsely grate half a celeriac (you could add a grated carrot for extra colour if you like) and mix into the dressing. Can be served immediately but is better after standing for an hour.

Friday, 7 December 2018

A pack of dogs

This is a card I was asked to make for a dog lover. I don't have many doggy stamps, and no doggy background paper, so I used my trusty old Little Claire "We 6 dogs" stamp and created my own background paper using a couple of magazine freebie stamps.

I used a sketch I saw on Pinterest and added ribbon from my stash.

I am sharing this with

Shopping our Stash - Happy Birthday Dude (I don't know why I always think of dogs as for men and cats for women - my husband loves cats and isn't keen on dogs)
Little Red Wagon - House pets

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Otterly sweet!

I made this card for a friend and now I know she has received it, I can share it with you all.

I've used stamps and dies from the Lawn Fawn "Year Five" set that I won in the Snippets Playground (goodness knows why they are called Year Five! Otterly crazy). The otter and parcel are stamped on a snippet of white card and I've used other snippets and dies to create the little scene. I coloured the sea otter with Promarkers and doing so made me very happy as it reminded me of a fun family tour of California we did when the girls were in their teens, when we took a trip around Monterey harbour to see the sea otters for which it is famous.

Naturally I am sharing this with the Snippets Playground  since without Di's lovely and generous challenges this card would never have been made!
I am also sharing at 2 Crafty Critter Crazies where, as always, the theme is anything goes if it includes a creature.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Bee Fairy

I've used papers, stamps and dies from the Heartfelt Creations "Sweet as Honey" collection, colouring the Bee Maiden, house and honey pot with pencils.

I am sharing this with
Addicted to Stamps and More - anything goes
Butterfly Challenge - Fairies, gnomes and elves  (fairies)
Allsorts - Fairies, fantasy and magical

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Snowmen at Cardz 4 Guyz

For our latest challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz we would like to see one or more snowmen on your work.

I've used one of my favourite snowman images, Santa Selfie from Dr Digis.

I've coloured it with Promarkers and added a fun sentiment stamped with a stamp from the Mama Makes Christmas Hug set.

I am sharing this with
Sweet Stampin - Snowmen and snowladies
Christmas crafts all year round - anything goes

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Sparkly Bauble

OK, how much washi tape have you got? I have about two dozen tolls of the stuff and yet I seldom use it. In fact most of it gets used as masking tape or for holding dies in place.

And indeed I used some for holding the dies in place to cut the topper for this card. But that was boring washi tape - I'm never going to use this sparkly stuff anywhere the sparkle isn't going to be fully appreciated.

I have sparkly washi tape in plain purple and purple/silver spots, and in the same combo but with green instead of purple, and in pink hearts. I was tempted to throw all the colours at this card, because of Christmas not being a time when I'm famous for exercising good taste, but in the interest of keeping it CAS I decided to exercise some restraint.

Just in case you can't see how sparkly it is, here's a close up.

I taped a circle die inside a stitched rectangle to cut the topper, then drew through it to mark where the circle would come on the base card. I covered the base area with rows of washi tape, making sure the circle was completely filled.
Then I stamped the sentiment in white on a scrap of purple card and heat-embossed it. I used a purple glitter pen to draw in the cord and bow, trimmed the sentiment and glued it down the side of the topper, then attached the topper over the washi bauble using 1mm foam pads.

I am sharing this with
Shopping our stash - Washi Washi Washi
CAS on Friday - make a Christmas Card

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge #124 - Winter

Our new challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is Winter.

I decided to be rather less snarky than usual and use this cute image and sentiment from the Mama Makes Christmas Hug stamp set.

The snow scene is cut from a magazine freebie paper with the sentiment stamped directly onto it. The critter (I've looked long and hard and decided it's a lop-eared bunny wearing super-long earmuffs to match his hat and scarf) is stamped on a scrap of white card, coloured and fussy cut.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Calendar - It's Christmas Time
Inkspirational - Anything Christmas 

Fancy Folds at Sparkles Christmas

It's time for our new challenge at Sparkles Christmas and today it's my turn to choose - I've chosen the theme Fancy Folds.

To make my card, I folded an A4 sheet of card diagonally from corner to corner (if you have a standard scoring board it won't fit on it, so you'll need to use a l-o-n-g ruler - I used my old yardstick from dressmaking days) then folded the whole thing in half so the points  all lined up.
This fold produces two pockets, one on the outside and one on the inside, great for tucking tags or gift cards into, but because of how I wanted to position my sentiment I stuck the front and back of the outside pocket together so the front of the card lies flat.

The papers and sentiment were recent magazine freebies and I chose the corner one for the front inside panel because it has ruled lines, perfect for adding a personal message.

A tip when making a card like this is to make a second one from an identical sized sheet of scrap paper and cut along all the creases to use as a template for cutting all the papers.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - December
 Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - stickers or Anything Goes

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Stamping and Colouring on Vellum at Back to Basics

This time at Back to Basics we would like to see some stamping and colouring on vellum.
The stamping is often done in white, to give a parchment craft effect, but I've recently seen several projects using gold embossing instead, and decided to give that a try.

I stamped and embossed the partridge in a pear tree image, a stamp that came with a recent issue of Creative stamping, using gold ink and gold detail embossing powder. Then I used Promarkers to colour the vellum on the reverse side. As you can probably see, the alcohol pens don't blend as well on vellum as they do on normal papers. 

I embossed the holly frame onto the card front and lightly sponged it with green ink, filling in the holly berries with a red gel pen, then used invisible glue dots specially made for vellum to attach the vellum panel.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Paint it Black

Having just posted one song-inspired card for the Allsorts Inspired by a Song Challenge,  here I am with another, rather off-the-wall one.  You can blame my Facebook friends for this - they dared me to make it!

The other night I was thinking about what to make for the challenge as I drifted off to sleep  - and woke up next morning with an earworm of the Rolling Stones song "Paint it black". So I jokingly posted on Facebook my idea of making an all-black card, and several of my crafting friends dared me to go ahead, so here it is:

I used Versamark ink and clear embossing powder for the sentiment, so it really is just a shiny version of the same shade of black as the inside.

But open the card and....

I covered the left inner panel with white card to give the sender somewhere to write.

April Showers

I've used a Clearly Besotted stamp set for this card - I masked off the umbrella and part of the card directly below it and then stencilled and sponged the rainy sky around it.

I am sharing this with
Sweet Stampin - Whatever the weather
Allsorts - Inspired by a song   (actually I know of TWO songs called "April Showers)

Sunday, 25 November 2018

It's Rudolph Day

Happy Rudolph Day! And it's the last one of the year, because the 25th of next month is Christmas Day itself.

What could be more fitting to use for this month's card than the set of stamps I won in the September Rudolph Day challenge?

How did we manage bold, solid stamps like this in the days before stamping platforms? After stamping the baubles, I doodled in hanging threads using a glitter gel pen.

As well as playing along with this month's Rudolph Days  challenge at Scrappymo's I am sharing this with Less is More where the challenge is One Layer - Holiday.

Rudolph the VERY red-nosed reindeer

We've all seen them (or been there) in the run up to Christmas - red-nosed, hungover, bobble hat askew, bottle in hand, staggering through the park at dawn after a rather-too-good party the night before! But did you know reindeer do it too? Well, this one obviously does!

The reindeer and his hat and bottle are stamped and cut with the stamps and dies that came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping and I've used papers from the same issue. The sentiment is from the same set of stamps, cut with one of my trusty old Spellbinders labels dies.

I am sharing this with
Alphabet challenge - reindeer
Jingle belles - festive food and drink
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes   

RECIPE: Onion Loaf

Last year a branch of Miller & Carter opened near to us and I love eating there. I'm always fond of a steak, but what makes Miller & Carter stand out for me is the accompaniments, especially the wedge salad, that I've never had anywhere outside the USA before,  and the onion loaf which I've never had ANYWHERE  else.

On Friday night we were having steaks at home, so I googled to see if there were any "fakeaway" recipes for onion loaf out there. I found several, although they all seemed to be clones of the same one, which makes industrial-strength quantities and uses pancake mix. Pancake mix? There's no way I'm letting that darken my doorstep! So I had to make my own recipe up.

The resulting dish is much lighter and crisper than the M&C version, so I didn't succeed in actually recreating the recipe, but it's also very, very delicious. You'll probably need to go out for a 10 mile run to work off the calories though!

I used a smallish onion and it made enough for 4-6 Miller & Carter sized portions or 2-3 greedy person sized ones.

You will need
1 onion
1 egg
50ml milk
1 mug full of self raising flour
oil for deep frying

Start well in advance - peel the onion, slice into rounds about 5mm thick and push out into rings. Beat the egg and milk together and place in a wide, shallow bowl. Add the onion rings and mix well so they are all costed in the mixture. Allow to stand for at least an hour, turning the rings in the mixture from time to time so they all absorb some of it.

Heat the oven to 220 C (200 fan), 450F, gas mark 8. Line a small loaf tin with non-stick paper.
Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer (I don't have one so I used a deep wok) and while it is heating, put the flour into a large plastic bag, add about ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and shake well. Then lift the onion rings out of the soaking liquid and drop them into the bag. Squidge it all around (that's a technical term, you know) until the rings are coated in flour then deep fry a few rings at a time until crisp and golden, draining them on absorbent paper as you go along.

When all the onion rings are cooked, pack any you have managed to protect from being snaffled (they ARE very tempting and will draw everybody into the kitchen) loosely into the lined tin and bake for about 15 minutes until really deep golden and crispy and lightly holding together.

I think to make it more like the dish I was trying to copy, I should have cut the slices thicker, cooked them for less time before putting them in the tin, and then pressed them down to stick together. However I actually prefer my version - they came out like a Western version of onion bhajis. I might try varying the seasoning next time I make this recipe - some hot smoked paprika in place of pepper would be incredibly yummy. I can just imagine a plate full of that with some aioli to dunk the rings in.

Blue and White at CD Sundays

Our latest challenge at CD Sundays is a colour challenge - Blue and White.

It's a colour combo that always makes me think of the Willow Pattern, and I've used a paper and topper from Joanna Sheen's old CD "Oriental Dreams" that reminds me very much of the Willow Pattern design.

I've added a die cut Oriental scene -  the die was a gift but I think it is also a Joanna Sheen one - and used matting and peel offs to "frame" the image. Incidentally if, like me, you have a huge stash of old peel offs from when they were popular 15-20 years ago, take great care if and when you decide to use them. I found that some of mine have gone very brittle and tend to break up when you remove them from the backing.

Incidentally did you know that the Willow Pattern itself isn't actually Oriental, although it is clearly inspired by it? It originated in England in the mid-19th century.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

What a contrast....

... from the very masculine card I posted earlier. This card is anything BUT masculine!

Purely by coincidence, it's also made with Hunkydory products, although these are ones that have been in my stash for a couple of years. I've added ribbon, pearls and gems from my stash to make this very girly and luxuriant.

I am sharing this with
The Butterfly Challenge where I have used the segments Jade and Jewels (plus of course the essential butterflies!)
Cardz 4 Galz - Flutterby

More vintage cars

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed some vintage transport themed Hunkydory  product, and of course I still have lots left over, so when my husband asked me to make a card for his car-mad brother, they were the ideal supplies to use.

This is a large 8" square card to give plenty room for the three toppers. I'm fascinated by the prices - so different from today - and the top speeds - really not far different from today.

I am sharing this with Kath's Masculine Anything Goes Masculine challenge at Watercooler Wednesday. 

Thursday, 22 November 2018

RECIPE - Jugged Beef with Dumplings

Today I have revived a very old recipe. This was first published in a 1937 book called Economical Cookery. I've mentioned the book several times on this blog, and a few years ago wrote a post all about it and its suggested menus.

With the weather turning chilly, it's time to start thinking about warming casseroles and stews, so I've adapted the Jugged Beef recipe from the book to suit more up to date ingredients, measurements and oven settings. It still has that hearty, warming, traditional taste though - even if it doesn't look terribly pretty! I've still used the technique in the book of browning all the meat at once, something we are often advised against, and not frying the onions at all. It seems to work just as well as my usual, more washing-up intensive, way!

To serve 2-3, you will need

400g diced braising steak
4 rashers streaky bacon
2 small onions, sliced.
1  rounded tablespoon of plain flour
25g butter or lard
rind and juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon redcurrant jelly
2 bay leaves
1 sprig  thyme
leaves from 1 stick of celery, or a small piece of the stalk
4 cloves
a 3cm length of cinnamon stick
water or beef stock

for the dumplings: 60g self raising flour and 30g shredded suet

I like to use a cast iron casserole dish for this but any flame proof casserole will do, just check a lighter weight one regularly to make sure it isn't boiling dry.

Put the lemon rind, herbs,  celery, cinnamon and cloves into a piece of muslin (actually I use a J-cloth, and despite what Bridget Jones experienced, it doesn't turn anything blue) and tie with string to make a sort of  giant bouquet garni.

Heat the oven to 160 C (140 Fan), 325 F, gas mark 3.

Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces and place in the cold pan, then heat it over moderate heat until the fat runs out and the bacon starts to fry in its own fat.

Toss the beef in the flour and seasoning, then add it and the butter to the pan, reserving any remaining flour. Cook until evenly browned, turning occasionally but not stirring hard.

Reduce the heat to low and dust in the leftover flour. Pour over water or stock to just cover, add the herb and spice bundle, add the lemon juice and onions, cover, bring to a gentle simmer and place in the oven for around 2 hours.

45 minutes before it is due to be ready, mix the flour and suet together with a pinch of salt and add just enough water to allow you to roughly shape it into 4 balls.

Remove the dish from the oven and discard the bag of herbs and spices. Mix in the redcurrant jelly, stirring until it has melted into the gravy. Place the 4 dumpling balls on top and return to the oven to finish cooking. Some people like to leave the lid off while dumplings are cooking, to brown them on top, but I think they come out lighter if they are covered.

Serve with good old fashioned winter veg, as befits a winter stew!

Now, let's have a look what the book suggest as tomorrow's menus for the day, shall we?

Fresh fruit
Fried liver

Mid-day meal:
Grilled herrings
Mustard sauce

Evening meal:
Curry Soup
Steak and kidney hotpot
Pineapple Pudding

Feeling full yet?

Hello, stranger!

Yes, this is actually ME and not a pre-scheduled post, it must be about 10 days since I last posted apart from my DT posts, as I've been away to visit my Mum and the stress of the visit left me in a not-very-good place for crafting, with my mojo completely AWOL. Anyway, I decided to ease myself  back into the game with a very quick and CAS card.

I used the SU Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and punch to make my Santa, gave him a "valley" of black and red spotty washi tape to stand in and finished off with a sentiment stamped with the Father Christmas stamp set that came with the current issue of Papercraft Essentials.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts Challenge - CAS Christmas
Addicted to stamps and more - Clean and simple
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - something beginning with H  (Ho Ho Ho)
Fab'nFunky - Christmas
CAS  on Friday - Use washi tape
CAS Christmas - Santa 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Christmas Critters at Cardz 4 Guyz

Christmas is only just over a month away now, so at Cardz 4 Guyz we're giving you a cardmaking nudge - this time we'd like to see Christmas Critters on your cards.

I've used a stamp, die and papers that came with a recent issue of Papercraft Essentials.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge #123 - Home

It's new challenge day at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers and today the theme Edna has chosen for us is Home.  She obviously thinks there's no place like it...  just look at those ruby slippers!

I've managed to find a sweet little house stamp that has been lurking, totally NBUS, in my stash for years and years - I have no idea where it originally came from but the size suggests it was either a magazine freebie or a Studio G stamp.

I've simply teamed it with a brick-wall stencilled background and a sentiment I created on the computer.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

An easy easel card at Back to Basics

It's time for our new challenge at Back to Basics and this time we would like to see a simple easel card. Don't forget that as we are a technique challenge, the subject matter can be anything you wish!

And this time I wished..... PIRATES.

I printed a "treasure map" from a CD and distressed the edges and added to the top and bottom panels of my card. The cute pirate, sentiment, treasure chest and barrel are stamped with a Clearly Besotted stamp set and I've finished it off with a few bright stickers.  To make the stand, I scored a 4.5cm piece of card, wide enough to hold the images,  at 1, 2, 3 and 4 cm  then stuck the narrow flap inside the first panel to form a square tube. Sticking the base of it down to the card means it will fold flat when the card is closed, and stand up to act as a stopper for the front panel when it is open.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Rumble in the Jungle

I was asked to make this card for a 2nd birthday. I've never met the child in question but I know that she comes from a family of animal lovers - and that EVERY two year old is a cheeky monkey!

I used the Woodware Jungle Pals stamp set, which I've had for about 10 years,  and teamed it with some giraffe print paper plus ribbon and a chipboard number which are all about 7 years old. On the inside I've used another VVOS (very very old stuff) stamp to stamp Happy Birthday. In fact everything about this card is older than the recipient will be on her birthday! Which makes this perfect for the middle column of the tic-tac-toe at Shopping Our Stash this week.

Round and Round

I'm sure when the team at Twofers chose their theme this month, they were trying to point us towards Christmas cards, because the word prompt is WREATH.

So, being a stubborn type, I couldn't make a Christmas card, could I? Instead I dug out a very old stamp (it's marked 1998), the Stampendous "Rose Ring".

and now a closer look at them:

This one I stamped in Versamark ink and heat embossed with silver powder. I actually intended doing the stamping in silver too, I opened a brand new silver ink pad but although it coats the stamp easily enough,  when I stamp it, the image doesn't transfer to the paper. I don't know what's wrong with it so I think I'll have to try it with a different stamp and possibly return it as faulty. Anyway, that's by-the-by, the silver wreath has the calm, elegant look I like to use on sympathy cards so I used a simply sympathy sentiment in the centre.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - metallic

Now on to the next one - same stamp, same layout...

… but this time stamped in Black Memento, coloured with Promarkers and matted with red to match the roses, with a birthday sentiment in the middle.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts challenge - Poppies or the colour Red