Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Bat in the night

Halloween is drawing nearer and as I have so little Halloween themed STUFF, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make cards suitable for the occasion out of what I already have. For this card I used the Poppystamps die "Colchester Houses" and mounted it onto orange card - the orange glows out of the windows like firelight, while the orange sky has a sort of CAS-sunset look to it. The moon is a punched circle, and the "bat" is actually a die cut butterfly, using the old classic Cuttlebug butterfly die,  that has been trimmed into shape with white gel pen used to give it rather spooky looking eyes.

An ultra-quick and CAS card that didn't need any special purchases - just what I was aiming for!

I am sharing this with:

Make My Monday - Black and orange
Cuttlebug Mania - Black and orange
AAA Cards - CAS Halloween

You Rock! at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's new challenge day ay Cardz 4 Guyz and today Joan has chosen the theme "You Rock!" for us. Why not pop over and see what the rest of the Design Team has done, grab some great inspiration for male themed cards and perhaps even join in yourself?

For the background to my card, I printed out a sheet of music paper out of one of the digi packs I won over at A Bit More Time To Craft and then overstamped it with words from a Studio G mini stamp sheet.

The image is a decoupage sheet printed from The Best of La Pashe 2012, and the narrow band of music border across the page is from the same sheet. (Tip - the border wasn't quite long enough, so I cut it and lined up the two sides with the edge of the paper, placing the cut edges so they would be hidden by the image). I added to the "star" feel of it with a snippet of star paper left over from some Christmas card making.

I used deckle edged scissors to cut out the image, and kept the decoupage layers very shallow - with so much going on in the background, I thought thick layers of decoupage might be rather Too Much.

You can see how shallow I've kept the decoupage on this second image.

I'm sharing this with

Crafty Gals Corner - Dude
Sweet Stampin - use script or text
Craft Your Passion - Anything Goes

Monday, 12 October 2015

Dreaming of a pink Christmas!

While rummaging through my snippets box I chanced on this piece of pink paper foiled in silver, left over from a project many years ago,  and with so many pink-themed challenges at the moment I thought it was time it saw the light of day again. The gingham and plain bright pink papers were in the snippets box too.

I stamped the tree and the greeting, both old mag freebie stamps, with Brilliance Pearlescent Orchid and die cut them with Spellbinders Labels mumble mumble..... (I can never remember the set numbers of all the labels, and I never keep the backing cards). I added some decoration to the tree and borders using a Tonertex pen and rub-on foil, available from Foilplay.

I arranged the layout to maximise the amount of the foiled paper on show, and it was only after sticking everything down that I realised the balance was all wrong, with the card looking far too heavy on the right. To redress the balance, I added three "metallic" (actually plastic) hearts - these cute hearts were part of the packaging on a gift set I got last year. I can't remember whether the contents were smellies or candles, I was more interested in the packaging!

With this card I'm making a second visit to Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 198 and also joining in with
Jingle Belles - Deck the halls - in PINK
Ooh La La Creations - Pretty in Pink
The Cutie Pie Challenge - Pretty in Pink  

A day at le Cordon Bleu

I'm very aware that recently I've been neglecting the "Onions" aspect of Onions and Paper in favour of the "Paper" side of things - you can lay a lot of the blame on the number of Christmas cards I still need to make! But I do have quite a lot of food related posts in the pipeline, so those onions aren't going to feel neglected for much longer.

Back in August, it was my 60th birthday and one of my presents was a gift voucher to spend at Le Cordon Bleu, the world famous cookery school in London. I chose to spend it on a Chinese cookery day - although I know a lot about Chinese cooking, this course promised to teach me how to make real crispy Peking duck, something I've longed to master.

The complete menu for the day was

Peking Duck

Crispy Spring Rolls
Dandan Noodles with Pork and Pak Choi

We were taught in a group of eight - the duck was prepared by the group working together, and everything else we cooked ourselves, on lovely halogen hobs with all the very best of equipment - and all our washing up done for us - bliss! All our ingredients were weighed and measured, and pre-prepared unless the preparation was an important technique to be learned - like deveining prawns (I now know how to devein a prawn without even removing the shell!!!) so all we had to do was relax and enjoy the cooking.

The real star of the day was the duck - we learned how to inflate the skin so that it gets separated all over from the flesh and fat, to give it that crispy finish, how to make the poaching liquid that infuses the meat with so much flavour, how to baste it with marinating sauce as it dries - for this stage, it hung in a walk-in cold room, but I'm going to try using the garage on a winter day! - and finally how to roast it in a dedicated duck oven. Yes, the classroom had its own duck oven - if you've ever seen a tandoor, it looks rather similar, but with a lid at the top with a spyhole in it so you can check how the duck is cooking. It costs many thousands of pounds and cooks up to 12 ducks at a time - and would fill half my kitchen! But they also told us how to cook it at home in a normal domestic oven.

the cooked ducks, waiting to be carved

At the end of the day, we brought home some of the food we had cooked (anything we hadn't scoffed as we were going along!) and the recipes, the apron and tea towel we'd been using, complete with the Le Cordon Bleu livery, and most important of all, our course certificate.

And yesterday, I recreated the Dandan noodle dish myself, although I replaced the Pak Choi with Chinese Leaves, which I prefer, and the Szechuan pepper with fresh chillis, because ours are so lovely at the moment it would be foolish not to!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A blustery day

I love it when there's a windy day in autumn and piles of leaves blow up into the air and chase the wind. And that's what I've tried to conjure up in this card - a windy day in autumn.

To mask off the card so I could sponge the "swoop" of colour onto it, I cut a curve in a piece of acetate then  opened it out at one end. I didn't think I would be able to hold it still well enough to give a neat edge when sponging, and tape wouldn't have given a smooth edge. Having no low-tack adhesive to hand apart from single sided tape, I solved the problem by adding small pieces of double sided tape to the underside of the acetate and sticking low tack tape, sticky side up, to them. It worked a treat!

I sponged the space between the pieces of acetate with the individual inks from the Kaleidacolour Autumn leaves pad, then removed the acetate and stamped the small leaves from a Rubberstamp Tapestry set over the top, stamping each one two or three times before reinking to give some variation in intensity.

Finally, the sentiment, stamped with the same pad, is an old Paper Artsy stamp.

I'm playing along with
Less is More - One Layer Autumn
One Layer Simplicity - Whatever the weather


It seems to be the case that whenever I have difficulty finding ways to use a craft item - stamp, CD or die - I get drawn back to it time and time again. This stamp of a sassy young lady, Jess, from Crafters Companion is a prime example - she really is NOT my style and yet I keep on finding new ways to use her. I'm sure she will grow on me in time!

I think the Dylusions text stamps I've recently added to my collection have helped with that - so many of the sayings go well with her!

I am sharing this with

Fab'n'Funky - Sassy Ladies
Craft Rocket - their first challenge - Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness
Glitter 'n' Sparkle - Use some pink  

Christmas Roses

Today I really REALLY wanted to make a Christmas Rose - but I didn't have a suitable die. The only thing even vaguely suitable was one of the dies from the Spellbinders Jewelled floral set, and even then the petals were too pointy. But I thought back to when I made poppies by trimming the petals of a flower, and had a go at converting my diecuts into Christmas Roses - I cut the flower twice for each rose, but didn't emboss it, and then trimmed the pointed end off each petal to round it off. Then I placed the petals on a foam pad and used a ball tool to curve them upwards.

I stuck them together in pairs and used green Wink of Stella to add a hint of green to the centres, and added yellow-gold Candi for the flower centres, so the green just peeps out from the side. Then I added tiny spots of white PVA glue here and there on the tips of the petals, using a cotton bud to make sure I didn't add too much, and sprinkled them with ultra-fine white glitter.

Next I raided my snippets box for shades of brown and green to die cut leaves (yes, I know Christmas roses don't have leaves like that, it's called not having a suitable die artistic license isn't it!), fir cones and branches and ivy. All the dies are Spellbinders except the ivy, which is a Marianne one and was NBUS until today.

I finished it with a greeting from an old sheet of die cuts I had from Craftwork Cards to leave my finished card a stamp-free zone.

I am joining in with the following challenges:

Winter Wonderland - Christmas Flowers
Allsorts Challenge - No Design Papers
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 198 (got to keep this week's prefect Eve busy!)
Christmas Cards All Year Round - No Stamping