Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Dawn Patrol

This card reminds me of a trip we made a couple of years ago. To Australia? No, to take the grandchildren for a night of "Glamping" at Whipsnade Zoo!  The glamping pods are in a small enclosure in the heart of the zoo - we met up with the other guests in the café as the zoo was closing to the public, then after a chance to settle into our pods, were taken on a trip around the zoo with talks from the keepers followed by a meal. There was to be a moonlit walk after the meal but by then the grandchildren were falling asleep so we headed back to our pod for an early night.

The early night meant  that next day we were awake as dawn was breaking and I took the children over to the washroom blocks, which were outside our gated enclosure, to freshen up. As we crossed the path to get there, a line of the zoo's free roaming wallabies bounced right past us, close enough for us to have touched them if we hadn't been frozen to the spot in awe. What a wonderful sight, to see them so close and unconcerned in the early morning sunshine!

We decides they must have been patrolling their territory before the visitors arrived for the day - the dawn patrol, and the theme of this card. 

I have a die of Australian animals and I think these are meant to be kangaroos, but today they are being wallabies. I cut them out in light brown card, but once I had stencilled in the rising sun they looked lost against it so I inked each die cut in black, not too heavily so that thanks to the textured card you can just see a little of the original colour coming through. 

I am sharing this with 

CAS on Friday - Birthday 

Perfectly CAS - die cuts 

Monday, 30 March 2020

Butterfly circle - twice

This is very much a card that went wrong! Here is my second attempt:

I used my Misti to position the butterflies, turning the card by 90 degrees after each one while leaving the stamp in place to stamp the first 4, then repositioning  the stamp and repeating in a second colour,  then finishing off with the central motif.

However on my first attempt, I mis-positioned the central motif so it was noticeably off-center, which spoiled the card. Instead of discarding it, I die cut a central circle to remove all traces of the offending motif.

Then I reversed the circle I had removed and stamped with a circular sentiment that serendipitously happened to be exactly the right size for it.

I closed the card and stuck the circle to the inside back of the card, using the front aperture as a template to ensure perfect positioning. I think after the rescue job, I prefer the one that went wrong to the one that worked!

However, it is neither on layer nor sentiment -free, so it's only the first one that i am sharing at Less is More where the challenge is One Layer, No Sentiment. 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Festive Fold-back

The "Coronavirus Craft Clearout" continues, and this time I've concentrated on my Christmas snippets box.

I cut and scored dark red card to make a fold-back card then decorated it inside and out with snippets of  vintage style festive papers, a doiley, lace and ribbon, plus a sentiment topper. Because there's nowhere to write inside the card, I matted a square of white card with green and added it to the outside back of the card. 

I am sharing this with

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything goes

Anything goes at CD Sunday Plus

It's time for me to share this fortnight's DT card for CD Sunday Plus, where as usual the theme is Anything goes - as long as you've used something from a CD, USB or download. This is my final DT post for this challenge, as I have decided to step down from design teams for various reasons. Thank you to Carol and the team for all the years of fun and support!

Today I've used a sampler CD of  The Beatrix Potter Collection  from Crafters Companion. This CD was a Create and Craft Club member gift many, many years ago. Jemima Puddleduck is done in 3-d decoupage but I've only used alternate layers of the decoupage as with such a big image, even with very thin layers of adhesive the image can easily make the card front-heavy.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

A day at the zoo

Although attractions like zoos are closed at the moment, there's still a lot going on inside them as the animals all have to still be fed, cleaned and cared for, and for many of them it is breeding season too, so the zoo staff are still working hard. I've been pleased to see how many zoos have set up webcams to enable the public to visit virtually, and was particularly impressed with Chester Zoo who on Friday ran a whole day of video shows which must have been a real help to people trying to educate and entertain children whose schools are closed.

So here's a zoo themed card!

All the backgrounds and papers are from my snippets basket (which is still overflowing although rather less so than it was a couple of weeks ago). The punched leaves and stamped crocodile are from my UFO box, and the punch and stamp set they were originally made with are both Woodware ones. The other stamps were magazine freebies a few years ago. I finished the leaves off with white gel pen and some clear liquid pearls.

I am sharing this with

Cardz 4 Galz - Cute Animals

Alphabet Challenge - Zoo Animals 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Another pirate card

A few weeks ago I shared this card, which has now gone to a new home. But this week Mark found out that the son of one of his friends is about to celebrate his 4th birthday and is feeling very sad as the coronavirus lockdown means his party has had to be cancelled and he won't be seeing his friends. He is pirate mad and Mark asked me to make another similar card so he can send it to the little boy.

I used the boy stamps and treasure chest from my Clearly Besotted pirate stamp set plus lots and lots of scraps for the die cut background. I heat embossed the sentiment  in white on black card and cut it into a flag shape at the end to match the flags on the pirate ship. The images were coloured with Promarkers and fussy cut.

I am sharing this with

Addicted to Stamps and More - Make Your Mark 

Fab n Funky - masculine 

Little Red Wagon - Use your leftovers  - I'm pleased to say that everything but the base card came from my scraps basket.

Watercooler Wednesday - All about occasions 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

March Rudolph Day

Hello again - another two-card day from me today. I don't know how the enforced confinement so many of us are experiencing is affecting your crafting mojo, but mine seems to alternate between being totally absent and being so active I just can't stop. I think you can guess what phase I'm in right now...

Nine months today it will be Christmas Day. Hopefully by then the current crisis will be over and we'll probably all want to give our families the best Christmas EVER to make up for all the birthdays, events and holidays that have been such non-events recently. So, we need to keep on making those Christmas cards!

I made this card using the Paper Boutique "A Christmas Visitor" collection, kraft card and lots of die cut snowflakes and stars.

It's Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's so I'm heading over to join the year-round Christmas party there.

I'm also sharing this with

Fezziwig's Festive Frolics - Anything goes

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes 

Stay as safe as you can, friends.

Primrose Mandala

I've had this primrose mandala stamp for mote years than I care to remember and it comes out to play every springtime.

Today I have stamped it onto different coloured backgrounds  and fussy cut and layered them then coloured the flower centres. With so much detail in the image, the card needs little more, just a sentiment and some candi.

I am sharing this with

Crafty Cardmakers - Spring

Just Us Girls - Yellow, Blue and Green  

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Triple Tag Card

I had ever such a lot of fun making this card! First I used a template to cut three tags from white card (without holes - yet) and placed them side by side on yellow card, leaving a tiny gap between them to allow for folding. I drew lightly around them, then removed the tags, cut out very slightly outside the lines I'd drawn and erased the pencil. I then scored between each tag shape to form my base card.

Now to the tags. I blended honey and yellow inks over them and added Walnut Stain ink sponged around the edges. Then I used a background stamp (a very old, probably 25 years old unmounted one from my stash) to stamp the rambling roses over the tags and heat embossed in white. I  ran the Walnut Stain pad around the edges than stuck each tag to the base card.

Next I folded it and used the Cropadile to punch through all the layers (it does that easily) at once to make sure the holes lined up perfectly. I also used it to add eyelets to the holes.

I die cut three bees from white card and used a post it note to cover the wings while I dabbed brown ink over the bodies. There were some scraps left from the yellow card I'd used for the base,  which I  used to stamp the sentiments, again edging them with Walnut Stain. I arranged the bees and sentiments on the tags until I was happy with where they were, then stuck them in place, leaving the bees' wings free so I could raise them slightly once the adhesive had dried.

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge - Anything in the Animal Kingdom 

Cardz 4 Guyz - Use a stencil

This fortnight we would like to see you use a stencil on your card at Cardz 4 Guyz. This is my final DT post for this challenge, as I have decided to step down from design teams for various reasons. Thank you to Cazro and the team for all the years of fun and support!

I've used a Celtic Knotwork stencil. There's a central motif that I masked off, then used Cosmic Shimmer Ultra Sparkle Paste in Sahara Gold to stencil the circle and corners.  I stamped a piece of Celtic style text - the stamp is about 10 years old and I *think* came from Crafty Individuals but don't quote me on that - on white card using a gold Delicata pad, then die cut it into a circle for the centre, finally adding a stamped and layered sentiment.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Twofers and Snippets

I've had a lovely weekend of crafting, digging around in my stash and moving right away from the CAS look that I lean towards much of the time. 

My plan was to make two cards using this Crafters companion blue tit on a blossom branch for the Twofers challenge, so I started with the upright one which was also going to be my snippets make. First I stamped the image onto yellow paper and coloured in just the flowers. Then I stamped a snippet of pink card all over with a text stamp and die cut a frame for the image, which I raised with foam pads and trimmed with peel offs.

For the background I stamped the botanical silhouettes (a very old Graphicus stamp set) and heat embossed them with gold. Then I blended distress inks over the background and polished the embossing with a tissue  to remove any ink from the surface. I finished the card with twine and a sentiment matted onto a circle punched from the remains of the pink text-stamped card.

The second card had been going to be something completely different from this, but sometimes plans need to change. Especially when on the workdesk there is the central square left over from die cutting the frame, a scrap of card I'd tested whether I could ink over gold embossing on, a sheet of border peel offs with just four lines left and a little bit of patterned paper left from the card I'd made for the Butterfly Challenge earlier.

A rummage in the snippets box produced some cloudy effect paper (probably too subtle for the camera) in a pretty pale green and some scraps of gold mirri. I stamped, fussy cut and shaped the flowers and die cut the sentiment then assembled the card finishing the edges of the background with the last few peel offs. The top left corner looked a bit bare, so since I'd dusted off all my old peel off folders I flicked through and found a tiny dragon fly to finish it off. So there you have it, a card made from the snippets of snippets!

I am sharing both of these with Pixie's Snippets Playground   and The Twofer Card Challenge where the theme is Spring Animals - hope birds count too!

Vintage butterflies

The starting point for this card was the stamped anemone and rose embellishments. The stamp set is a layering set that I won several years ago but hadn't used before as I'd not had a set of toning inks. Once I had stamped and fussy cut the images, the rest of the card seemed to some together. I used a very old Kanban stamp for the butterfly panel, coloured in the butterflies and distressed the edged then matted it on deep burgundy card. As usual, my camera is a total pain with dark colours and no matter how much I fiddle around with the settings they all come out looking like black.

For the background I found a part-sheet of patterned paper in my stash in all the right shades and printed with vintage print, script, butterflies and flowers. Perfect to pull everything together. It's the next-to-last sheet from the very first pack of 12 x 12 patterned paper bought, well over 20 years ago, and it came from Tesco of all places. It's quite flimsy paper so I could only distress the edges very lightly,  with the blade of my scissors, or it would have torn.

I am sharing this with The Butterfly Challenge  where I have used the elements  Vibrant Burgundy and Vintage Style.

Saturday, 21 March 2020


This card has been made with some lovely tropical themed stamp sets from Uniko that I've had for several years now.

I stamped the hibiscus flower and sentiment directly onto the card, then stamped the hummingbird onto separate card,  heat embossed it with hologram powder to give that sheen you see when a hummingbird  flits by and is caught in a sunbeam, then fussy cut it and attached it with 3D adhesive. 
The shimmer doesn't show up to well in the photo so here's one angled towards the light.


I am sharing this with 

Make my Monday - Something Tropical  

Addicted to Stamps and More - Anything Goes 

Hang on in there!

I think that's what we ALL need to be reminded at the moment.

I stamped  the cat, claw marks and sentiment them masked the cat and all but the edge of the card and sponged in red and raspberry inks. Then I removed the masks and coloured the cat with several shades of grey pencil, aiming for a silver tabby effect. 

I am sharing this with 

AAA Cards - Along the edge/Dogs and cats 

Less is More - Red, Raspberry and Grey 

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Happy Birthday Mark

Today is Mark's birthday - and this year thanks to Coronavirus there will be no meal out or hotel break to celebrate. All our social plans seem to be on hold for the foreseeable future, but at least he has his gardening and I have my crafting.

As usual, the card I have made for him reflects his love of gardening and  this time in particular his love of growing chillies.

At Christmas he bought me a beautiful collection of Sheena Douglass  veg themed stamps. The trouble is they are HUGE, each image fills the front of a large card, and needs little else with it, so I've been trying to think of ways to use them in more versatile ways.

Here I stamped  the bunch of chillis then moved a stitched rectangle die around over the image until I found an area that looked good in the window of the die,  then cut it with the die in that position. Then I coloured it with Promarkers - if you squint carefully you can see that I used several shades of red. Once it was completely dry, I covered it in clear embossing ink and powder and heated it, so in real life it is an intensely glossy panel.

For the background I used a Versamark pad and a silhouette chilli stamp from a Rubber Dance set to stamp randomly over the green card. Finally I added a stamped sentiment, also cut with a stitched die to go with the chilli panel.

I am sharing this with

Shopping Our Stash - Happy Birthday 

Creative Crafting Uncles - Birthday

Passion for Promarkers - masculine

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Yellow Tulips

Happy Tuesday everybody. I hope you are all keeping well and doing everything you can to stay that way, and managing to get all you need from the shops. I just home craft shops don't start to have bare shelves as people who have to stay at home look for ways to keep themselves entertained!

While having a sort-out of dies and embossing folders at the weekend I spotted this magazine freebie folder which I've had for several years and don't think I've ever used.

And with tulips being so seasonal at the moment I thought this was the perfect time to have a play. I dug out an ancient pad of Coredinations Black Magic card and chose a spring yellow backed card then embossed and sanded it. The large black square still looked a little heavy so I carefully removed the wavy band from the centre, then positioned the upper and lower panels on the card and filled the gap with gems. 

I stamped a sentiment on toning yellow card and cut and embossed it with a Spellbinders die.  

I am sharing this with 

Cardz 4 Galz - Spring Flowers 

Use Your Stuff - Spring 

Just Us Girls - Black background 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Two Turtle Doves

This stamp is part of a "Twelve Days of Christmas" set that came with a magazine a few years ago.

I  dusted kraft card with an anti static pad then stamped and heat embossed the doves and corners,  doing one stamped area at a time because my kraft card is very absorbent and I was worried that even my slow-drying embossing ink pad would soak in if I worked too slowly. Using one of the creative corners in the Misti ensured I could keep removing and replacing the card in the correct position to get all the corners lined up. 

After stamping the sentiments, I coloured the leaves with a green Promarker. The alcohol ink can easily stain the embossing wherever the pen tip touches it, so I kept my blender pen and a tissue handy to remove and smudges as I went along. 

I am sharing this with 

52 Christmas Card Throwdown  - green, kraft, white 

Jingle Belles - Fa-la-la-la-la  (The Twelve Days of Christmas) 

RECIPE: meatballs in a spicy veg sauce and its infinite variations

This is a useful recipe for the coming weeks when shopping trips may be fewer and further apart because you can adapt it to whatever you have in the fridge and cupboards.

I've given mine a North African feel with fragrant spices and harissa but you could go for an Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern or Italian flavour  depending on what you fancy and have to hand.

The one essential ingredient is meatballs - the pre-cooked type that you can buy big bags of for the freezer or longish-life chilled packs of from the supermarket. Well, maybe not that essential - you could replace them with hard boiled eggs, or tinned pulses such as chickpeas or red kidney beans. And by varying the veg according to what you have to hand, you can produce an infinite number of different dishes all from this one basic idea.

For my version, serving two,  I used

250ml home made tomato sauce
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbs oil
meatballs - 6-8 per person depending on appetite.
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
a handful of green beans, cut into 3 cm lengths
A small wedge of cabbage, finely shredded
Ground spices: ¼ teaspoon each of cloves and cinnamon, ½ teaspoon each of ginger and allspice, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, all mixed together
1 tablespoon harissa (I love Belazu Rose Harissa, now that's available in the UK I no longer have to stock up on La Cape du Phare when I go to France, which leaves more room in the suitcase for cheese and wine!)

Fry the onion in the oil until soft, tip in the ground spices and cook for a minute longer. Add the tomato sauce and vegetables, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the harissa then the meatballs and continue to simmer until the meatballs are heated through - about 15 minutes.

I served this version with cous cous to keep that North African vibe going.


Tomato sauce - could be home made, or out of a jar. Or use a tin of tomatoes, or some passata, or 2 tablespoons of tomato purée mixed with hot water.

Protein - as I mentioned above you could use  hard boiled eggs or tinned pulses. Or brown some chicken thighs before you fry the onions then add them back to the pan when you add the veg.

Veg - whatever you have in the fridge,  tins or freezer. But for a good textured and colourful mixture I like to use one root veg, one from the peas/beans group and one from the cabbage/cauliflower/broccoli group.


For an Indian-ish tasting dish, use curry powder or paste or mix together 1tsp each of ground turmeric, coriander and cumin and ½ tsp chilli powder to add after frying the onions and add 1tsp garam masala and, if you have it, 1 tablespoon of Kasuri Methi when you add the meatballs.

For Mexican-ish, use 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano and ½ tsp chilli powder

For Italian-ish,  add 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, 1 tsp dried oregano and ½ tsp chilli flakes after frying the onions then at the end of cooking stir in a few shredded fresh basil leaves and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

For a Middle Eastern flavour, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of oregano after frying the onion and at the end of cooking squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. If you have any feta cheese around, crumble a bit over the top.

Obviously none of these dishes is even a remotely authentic dish from the region but nevertheless will taste good!

Any of these could be served with rice, pasta, cous cous, flatbread, wraps or even mashed potato.

If you are cooking from what's hanging around in the fridge, larder or cupboard, why not join me in linking up to Kitchen Clearout over at Madhouse Family Reviews?

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Anything goes at CD Sunday Plus

It's time for our latest Anything Goes challenge at CD  Sunday Plus.  This time I've used the lovely Farmyard Days CD from Polyanna Pickering.

The image and all the papers come from the CD, and I've created an easel card from them.  The embellishments are pre-cut plywood shapes which I've coloured with alcohol markers. The card could be an Easter card or a spring birthday card, the "With love" sentiment allows it to be either.

Gingerbread trio

I've used  the SU Cookie Cutter Christmas stamps and punch, which looking back on my blog I first used just over 3 years ago (and are still favourites)  for this card. I arranged them on a piece of ribbon to give them a look of the "paper chain dolls" we used to cut out as children. The die I used for the sentiment is also one I've had for several years - I think it is a Memory Box one, and the patterned paper came from a magazine. 

I am  sharing this with 
Little Red Wagon - etc etc etc 
Retro Rubber - sketchy 
RRCB 130

Saturday, 14 March 2020

My elusive mojo

Are any of my crafting friends finding, as I am, that it's very hard to get into the mood for crafting  in this current pandemic? I'd have thought that crafting would take my mind off all the worries, but instead I've just not been able to get into the right frame of mind.

But I don't know what changed about my mood, but I woke up this morning raring to get going on some card making. So here is my first make of the day.

I stamped this using a lovely stamp set from a recent magazine gift and coloured it using Promarkers. I decided to keep it CAS and just add candi embellishments - the flowers speak for themselves.

I am sharing this with Passion for Promarkers - Feminine 

While I was in the mood, I decided to make the most of it and make a second card:

This one uses another magazine stamp set, and lots of very careful positioning thanks to the Misi and creative corners to get the borders and corner butterflies accurately positioned. I used a pink Promarker to highlight just a few areas of the central butterfly.  Black gems complete the borders.

I am sharing this with Fab'n'Funky - Black and White with a hint of Pink 

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A Snippet Scene

A few days ago one of the craft companies on Facebook shared a picture of a beautiful tag -  a scene made up of different patterns and textures of paper. My card today is inspired by that idea and involved a good  clear-out of the snippets box.

Everything I've used, apart from the twine, came from my snippets box. The layers are, from top to bottom: 

"Sky" of pale aqua mottled paper with a few hand doodled birds. 
Lime green textured hand made paper
Faux newsprint, smooshed over with green ink then distressed at the edge
Corrugated card that was rescued from the packaging of a bottle of fancy olive oil 
Magazine freebie patterned paper. 

I used all these to cover a piece of card trimmed to slightly smaller than my card front,  then die cut some leaves from scraps of green card and a flower from cream, which I then  coloured with distress inks. I stuck these to the card, adding a few punched butterflied to pick up the orange in the patterned paper.  A strip of green card, cut into a fringe, covers the bottoms of all the stems and is then wrapped with orange twine. 

I am sharing this with 

Pixies Snippets Playground Challenge 373   

A Place to start - Unconventional materials (the olive oil packaging)  

Crafty Cardmakers - Green 

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Bold bright poinsettia

I used a stamp from a recent magazine freebie set for this bright, cheerful card. First I stamped a sentiment onto the banner and stuck it on the card. Then I stamped the image right across the banner, making sure the part overlapping it was mostly the poinsettia flower. Finally I stamped the image again onto spare card. Then I coloured everything, using Promarkers for the poinsettia and pencils and liquid pearls for the berries and foliage. I fussy cut the poinsettia and stuck it down over  the one stamped on the card, then finished it all off with a scattering of tiny gems.

I am sharing this with

52 Christmas Card Throwdown - Sketch 

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything goes 

The Flower Challenge - Anything goes 

CAS Christmas - Winter Flowers 

Something beginning with F at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's time for our new challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz and today we would like to see something beginning with F on your card.

I chose Feathers as my "F". I used papers from a very old Simply Creative "Azteca" pad and coordinating Core-dinations card, layering each paper with a suitable plain card then diecutting feathers from the same card. The twine, button and washi tape come from an old dovecraft "Curiosity Corner" collection. This card has been a real stash-buster to make - I've not used anything less than 5 years old on it!

It could be personalised by adding a sentiment panel to the right of the feathers, but I tried one and decided I preferred it without.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Waterloo Sunset

If you are over 60 and you've read the title of this post, I can pretty much guarantee I know what you'll be singing now.

"Dirty old river, must you keep rollin' ... "

For this card I've used a set of Clearly Besotted cityscape stamps.  I stamped the image and sentiment then masked off the image using masking paper and a rectangle around it. Cutting that mask took ages because of all the "inny" bits, so I've saved the mask on the back of the stamps' holding sheet  to save time if I want to use it again.  Then I blended inks to give the "Waterloo Sunset" and the "Dirty old river" Thames. I coloured in the heart in the sentiment then cut the whole thing into a panel and matted it with a very narrow black border.

Confession time - I originally made this as a one layer card but had an ooopsy moment when removing the masking tape and damaged the card, so I cut away the damaged part and made the topper I used here. A happy accident I think as it looks better than the original - the black border really makes the image stand out. I think if I do recreate this or something similar as a one layer card I will draw in a black border in future.

I  am sharing this with CAS-ology - Skyline