Monday, 30 August 2021

What I've been cooking in August

 I'm still loving the recipe book "Vietnamese" by Uyen Luu - here are a few more dishes from it. 

Barbecued Pork 

Sir fried runner beans and peas

the two together

Chicken Pho 

I was lucky enough to win a Zoom cook-along with Tom Kerridge, the Michelin starred chef, which was excellently timed as it took place the day before my birthday. It was a wonderful event, really well planned - a hamper of goodies containing everything needed to create the meal was delivered in advance, and Tom cooked using the same hamper so he was working at the same rate as the participants - no "here's one I made earlier" leaving us fumbling and struggling to keep up, as has happened on previous cook alongs I've done. Also they had a techie on hand to co-ordinate the Zoom meeting, so even though there were about two dozen people involved, it all ran really smoothy. Plus the food - a west African style menu of Beef Suya with a fresh slaw - was amazing! 

Finally a couple of salads I made from odds and ends in the fridge. 

Left over roast chicken,  a chunk of kohlrabi left over from one of the many slaws I've made recently, roquefort cheese and some watercress and baby salad leaves from the garden. I served a Roquefort vinaigrette on the side, which was utterly delicious but looks very grey and unattractive, so no photo, but if you want to try making it you need: 

40ml red wine vinegar

60 ml light olive oil

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Whisk everything together then crumble in 50g of Roquefort cheese and whisk again until the cheese breaks down into the dressing. If you make this an hour or so in advance, keep giving it another whisk as any lumps of cheese tend to break down with standing so you'll get a smoother dressing. 

Finally, a salad inspired by some we've eaten in Austria, in the kind of hotels where they start each meal with a salad buffet which I'd be happy to fill up on. 

Diced cooked potatoes
Thinly sliced torpedo shallot
sliced apple
chopped parsley
slices of red skinned apple
tinned canellini beans
in a dressing made from equal amounts of whipped cream and mayonnaise blended together with lemon juice to taste. 
Topped with sliced boiled eggs to make it into a main meal. 

And before I go, a look at my lovely new garden lantern - pity that since we got it we've only had one evening when it's been nice enough weather to sit outside after dark! 

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Woodland wildlife

 For this card I've dug out a seldom used X Cut Build a Scene die set. It's intended for making a very dimensional card but I decided to try something different with it. 

The closed card (ignore the clothes peg, that's just to hold it closed) 

The card as it stands naturally. 

The inside. 

I used the largest die on the card blank, lightly inking around the edges then covering the back of the aperture with acetate. Then I stamped the sentiment, then cut the other layers and the owl and fox, inking the owl and fox very lightly.  Apart from the card blank, everything I used came from my snippets basket, even the acetate. It gives you a good feeling when you make a card entirely from scraps, doesn't it? I always feel it's cost me nothing, despite using dies that cost quite a lot and have only been used a couple of times, wear and tear on the stamps, dies and die cutting machine, ink, card blank and the original cost of the card I used snippets from. 

I layered the forest die cuts inside the card, using the aperture to position them, then stuck the fox and owl to the outside, having the owl mostly on the acetate so it looks as if it is suspended in mid air when the card is open. 

I am sharing this with: 

Pixie's Snippets Playground - challenge 410  

Cardz 4 Guyz - Things with tails  

Shopping Our Stash - Wood You Believe It? 

Friday, 20 August 2021

The final Twofer challenge

 The current Twofer challenge is the very last one - lots of us are going to miss the monthly challenge of using the same stamp, die or stencil to make two different cards for different occasions. This month's theme is Dog/Cat so of course I chose cat: 

Excuse the over exposed photo, the only way I could avoid having my shadow on the cards was to put them in very bright light! It's that sort of a day. The stamp I've used was bought from a cat gift shop on Facebook, there was no branding on the package so I hope it isn't made by one of those Chinese copycat places! I was very tempted to fussy cut just the tail and use it for an ostrich feather on a fancy hat, but I couldn't find the ladies head stamp I wanted to use it with, so stuck to using it conventionally. 

I am sharing this pair at Twofers - Cat/Dog 

Now a look at the separate cards. 

Received wisdom, in greetings card shops, seems to be that cats appear on cards for women and dogs on cards for men. yet almost all the men I know are cat lovers (apart from my brother, who loves dogs enough to make up for all the others) while most of the dog lovers I know are women. 
So, I wanted to make a masculine looking cat themed birthday card. With that in mind, I kept to a very restricted colour scheme of blue and black, and used pencils to colour my cat as a ginger tabby because I once heard that most ginger cats are male. I don't know how true that is, but I've only ever met one female ginger, and she was really more ginger and white. 
The sentiment is from the same stamp set as the image, and the border is made with a Darice embossing folder and colour-core card, sanded to reveal the core colour. 

I am sharing this with 

Sweet Stampin - Feature an animal  

Little Red Wagon - Animal Antics  

The Male Room - 8th Birthday  

Having failed in the ostrich feather department, I decided to make my second card a Christmas card. 

I die cut a Santa hat to add to my cat, and used patterned papers from my stash for the background. The sentiment is cut from one of the papers in my stash and the bow is from a bundle of festive goodies a friend surprised me with a few months ago. 

I am sharing this with 

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes 

Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - Anything Goes  

Christmas Crafts All Year Round - O or P - P is for Pussycat

Addicted to Stamps and More - Christmas 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Blue Meadow


You've not seen a dragonfly from me for a while, I guess it's time I put that right! 

Here I've used a stamp set that was in a magazine a few years ago - I think it was designed by Indigo Blu.  I stamped the border first in pale blue, then moved the card slightly up in the Misti and stamped again in darker blue, to give a shadow effect. Then also used the darker blue for the dragonfly and sentiment. 

The little gap below the light blue grasses showed through the darker blue, so I finished off by blending  light blue over the edges so the white doesn't show through so much. 

I am sharing this with 

Less is More - Shades of Blue  

Sparkles Monthly - Monochromatic 

Watercooler Wednesday - All About Occasions  

Country View - Monochromatic 

Stamping Sensations - Any Celebration 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Hashtag Fabulous

 I seldom leave this wonderful silhouette lady stamp from SoSuzy uninked for long! 

This time it was an excuse to play with my latest toy - a Dymo electronic label maker, which I used to create the sentiment. The background is made with stamps from an old magazine freebie set. 

I am sharing this with 

Alphabet Challenge - One Word 

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers - F is for F-words   (apologies for the lack of Snark but you Sistahs bagged all the good F-words!) 

Just Us Girls - Black and White

Monday, 16 August 2021

I'd like to be, under the sea...

 In an Octopus's Garden.... 

The Octopus and sentiment are stamped with an NBUS stamp set that was in a recent issue of Creative Stamping magazine. The waves are made by pressing embossing ink through a stencil (also a recent magazine freebie) and sprinkling with an aqua sparkle embossing powder and heat embossing. The powder isn't a very good one and doesn't adhere evenly - but then, waves aren't uniform even things, are they? 

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge - Add some sparkle 

Little Red Wagon - Under the sea 


Thursday, 12 August 2021

Robin in the snow

 This stencil is one that came with a Hope & Chances charity kit a few years ago - I believe it was designed specially for the kit. 

I used red and brown inks to stencil the robin, then stamped through it with a Uniko snowflake stamp  - I tried to avoid the breast area so it was just brown on brown, but I guess I should have masked it! 

I am sharing this with

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes 

CAS Mix up - stamping through a stencil 

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Just because

Here is my fourth and final (for now) experiment with embossing something other than paper or card. This time I've used Fun Foam.

I bought a sheet of fun foam years ago, for making background block stamps with. However it was before I had a stamping platform, and a single impression didn't give a good enough result, so I abandoned it (maybe I need to try again, but I've just used my last scrap of foam). 

I thought that maybe the foam wouldn't hold the impression as it is so springy, so I decided to make sure the design showed up by inking the flat surface of the embossing folder. It's a good thing I did - a couple of hours after embossing, the surface of the foam was as flat as a pancake again but thanks to the ink, the lovely all over daisy pattern from this old magazine freebie folder still remained. 

I added a stamped image using another magazine freebie and coloured with Promarkers, then made up my card according to a layout I saw shared on Facebook a few days ago. 

I am sharing this with

Let's Squash It - Not Paper, Not Card

Allsorts Challenge - Anything goes/ Roses 

Arsenic and Old Lace

Here I am with another idea for the Not paper, Not card challenge at Let's Squash It. 

This time I've embossed acetate using a smocking effect folder which I won in a fellow blogger's candy giveaway a few years ago. After embossing it, I gave it an antiqued look by drizzling a burnt orange alcohol ink into the grooves at the back and lightly wiping it away. For some reason, the result made me think of the film "Arsenic and Old Lace" which is odd because it must be getting on for 60 years since I saw the film and when I did it was in black and white. However once I had the idea in my head, I couldn't let it go, so I had to team it with papers from the Graphic 45 "Master Detective" collection and, of course, a scrap of old lace. I used spray adhesive to attach the acetate to the background paper. 

I am sharing this with 

Let's Squash It - Not Paper, Not Card... 

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Rainbow Vellum

 As I mentioned in my previous post, I am guest designer at Let's Squash It, the embossing folder challenge - you've seen my GDT post, but I got a bit carried away with the theme of "Emboss anything BUT card or paper" so here is the first of my own entries to the challenge! 

This time I have embossed a piece of colour-gradient vellum. The embossing folder is a Darice one, one of the first folders I ever bought. With this coloured vellum, the embossing doesn't turn white as it does on ordinary white vellum, but oh my goodness it gives a crisply defined image! I made the most of this by fussy cutting the design to remove the background area, and the white background makes it really stand out. For contrast, I used black for the sentiment and butterfly, which was cut with a Hot Off The Press die.

I am sharing this at 

Let's Squash It - Not paper, Not Card... 

Cardz 4 Galz - Dies and Punches 

Alphabet Challenge - I is for Insects 

Colour Hues - Yellow and Pink 

Guest Designer at Let's Squash It

 I was delighted to recently be chosen as Empress of Squash over at Let's Squash It, the embossing folder challenge,  and as a result was invited to be guest designer for this month's challenge, which is to emboss something other than  paper or card. 

I decided to have a go at embossing metal. I used a piece of thin craft metal, red on one surface, and embossed it with an all-over heart patterned folder from Santoro then sanded the surface lightly to allow the silvery base metal to show through. 

I added a cross little kitty and sentiment, using Clearly Besotted stamps, and made it into a gatefold card. 

Here is the closed version - excuse the clothes peg, it's just to hold the card closed while i took the photo. 

I'm really excited to see what you decide to emboss - and if you are looking for ideas of surfaces to try, come back later today when I'll be revealing some more of my experiments in squashing! 

I am sharing this with 

2 Crafty Critter Crazies - Anything Goes 

Show Us Your Pussycats - Furrything Goes 

Crop circle!

No, nothing to do with mysterious circles appearing in fields across the South of England (do you remember when they were A Thing?) 

This "crop circle" is a mandala of wheat ears and butterflies - a very old stamp (15 years or more) from Dimension 4th. I stamped and coloured it in suitably "harvesty" colours then stamped the sentiment over the middle. Finally I completed the one layer card by blending more ink around the edges.

I am sharing this with 

Retro Rubber - Anything Goes 

Just Us Girls - Harvest 

Monday, 9 August 2021

Embossed stencilling again

 Oh, I do love this technique! 

I used the floral border stencil that came with a previous issue of Indigo Blu magazine and applied Ranger Texture Paste through the stencil. As soon as the stencil was removed, so the paste had no time to dry, I sprinkled it with embossing powder - a very old powder I was sent by an American friend, called "Sahara pearls", then heat embossed it. I really wish you could see and touch the card in real life  - the paste and powder together give it so much dimension, with an enamel-like shine, it's a really fab effect. 

With such a detailed border, I wanted to keep the sentiment as simple as possible so as not to draw attention away from it. so I kept to a very simple Hello. Perfect for any occasion - or just because.... 

I am sharing this with 

Perfectly CAS - embossing 

Little Red Wagon - Just Because 

Sunday, 8 August 2021

The cactus garden

 Having made the cactus pot card I posted the other day, I decided to go on to use the same set again while I had the masks all cut and ready, but this time on a slimline card so I could use more of the stamps from the set. 

Once again, I coloured it all with Promarkers and added a stamped sentiment. 

I am sharing this with

Make My Monday - a Slimline Card 

A Bit More Time To Craft Extra - anything goes  

Crafty Calendar - anything goes 

Friday, 6 August 2021

The cactus pot


This is a birthday card for a friend who has recently moved house and has, for the first time, a garden with a patio perfect for potted plants. It took quite a lot of masking and planning to put together the terracotta pot full of succulents, which I then coloured with Promarkers and fussy cut. The brick wall is stencilled, using several shades of red and brown. 

I am sharing this with 

Addicted to stamps and more - Make your Mark 

Passion for Markers - your favourite colours - I love terracotta/brick colours and all shades of green, especially when terracotta and green are together! 

Pearly Sparkles - Anything goes 

Craft Rocket - CAS  

A Place to Start - your favourite style (CAS)