Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Great British Cookbook

Right about now, Mark and I will be arriving at Nottingham Castle for the launch party of a new e-book, The Great British Cookbook. Why will we be at the launch party? Well, we wrote one of the chapters of the book!

A few months ago we were invited to join in, initially just to contribute a few paragraphs. But our contribution grew, so enthusiastic were we, until we had produced a whole chapter, beautifully illustrated with a selection of Mark's photos. In fact one of his photos has made it to the front cover! If you are a reader of his blog, you'll probably recognise his style - that beautiful display of veg near the  bottom of the left hand column.

In our chapter, Mark concentrates on growing veg, of course, while my part is aimed at those who don't grow their own veg but would like to shop and cook seasonally and use the best of British produce. The rest of the book is crammed with recipes from top chefs  and food celebrities including many well known names like Rick Stein, Michael Caines, Sat Baines and Adam Simmonds, as well as chefs from top restaurants in every region of the country - in all, 200 chefs have contributed. There will also be profiles of some of Britain's great food producers, growers, suppliers and retailers.

We're very excited about having taken part in this project, especially as the aim of the book is to raise funds for two very deserving charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospitality Action. You can read more about the book on the Great British Cookbook website where you can buy the book as a download for just £12.00. I believe it will also be available from Amazon, The Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Buying it is your chance to make a charity donation to two deserving causes AND get a fantastic recipe book in exchange for it! They are hoping to raise £200,000 by Christmas, and it would be wonderful to know that some of my blog readers contributed to that total!

I'll sign off for today with one of the out-takes from our photo session for the book....

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Stocking

This week at Cardz 4 Guyz  the theme is "Christmas Stocking"  - we'd love to see you join in! And don't forget that your card has to be suitable for a male, young or old.

I've used this super image from one of the topper sheets on the La Pashe CD "Christmas with the Wrinklies", along with background paper from the same CD. I made a fold-back card, adding die cut circles to the inside of the card to give somewhere to write. TIP: to line up the circles on the inside, so they were perfectly aligned with the topper when the card is closed, I applied adhesive to the back and then laid them FACE DOWN over the back of the front of the card, with the card open, then closed the card from the back.

I'm joining in for the first time at Fan-Tastic Tuesday where the theme is "Anything goes with a twist - Make it Male"
and also with Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - November

Monday, 17 November 2014

In the jungle

I made this card using a jungle themed stamp set from Woodware and a philodendron leaf punch, which I think is also a Woodware one. I punched the leaves from an assortment of shades of green card, adding veins with a white gel pen.

To make the card, I cut a 6" x 12" piece of white card and scored it at 2", 4", 8" and 12", then folded the sides back and out, rather like a back to  front gatefold card. I stamped and embossed the frogs and lizard on the centre panel then stamped leaves all around to cover the white space - the idea is to have them peeping out from the undergrowth rather than being a major feature of the card. Then I used a dimensional adhesive to stick the leaves down the sides of the cards and rear flaps, taking care not to let any overhang at the top or bottom of the card. This way the card will still stand, and will fit in a 6" square envelope.

Finally I stamped, embossed and coloured  another frog and the butterflies and dragonflies, adding lots of glitter to the dragonfly wings. While I was cutting them out, I wondered to myself why so many crafty representations of dragonflies include long antennae? Dragonflies don't have long antennae, those eye-like bulges on their heads are the antennae. So these must be the rare double-antennaed jungle dragonfly!

folded flat (ish) for posting
I am sharing this with the following challenges:
Make My Monday - Glitter
Craft Room Challenge - Anything 3D
Addicted to Stamps and More - Anything Goes
Ooh La la creations challenge - More than one fold

Sunday, 16 November 2014

P is for......

PICNIC! Although it could also be for pink, pretty or pastel. This cute teddy bears picnic card was made with decoupage and papers from the new La Pashe CD, The Best of La Pashe 2014.

I'm playing (there's that P again) along with CD Sundays, where this fortnight's theme is "P is for...."  and congratulating myself on steering away from Christmas and not making my P stand for penguin, pole, polar bear, presents, pillar box or poinsettia (all of which went through my mind to start with).

Vintage Couture

Today I've been playing with a stamp I come back to time and time again, I bought it from Dimension 4th a few years ago and love the vintage fashion styling on it. I love looking at the prices too - for those of you in the UK too young to remember pre-decimal currency, that dress at 7/6 is 37½p in today's money!

The papers I've used with it are scraps - some of them VERY tiny - left over from a booklet of vintage papers that came free with a magazine some time ago. I've stamped the image onto some of the papers and cut out the garments, to paper-piece them onto the main image.

The background is a larger scrap, cut with pinking shears and stamped with a faux stitching border.  Being such a long, thin, stamp, it's gone quite wonky and refuses to sit straight on the acrylic block - but do you know, I think I prefer it that way! It gives an "aged" look that works well on vintage style cards.

The close up shows the "fabric effect" of the paper prints. Pretty realistic, isn't it?

Having said that I'd probably not get chance to join in, I'm eating my words and playing along in the Snippets Playground and I'm also joining in with Anything Goes with a twist - Make it Vintage at Susie Bee's Bloomin' Challenge 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Tropical sunset

It's coming up to my brother-in-law's birthday,  and although I make a lot of male-oriented cards, I always find him difficult to make for, as he's not keen on any of the "traditional" male hobbies. His main hobby is going on holiday, usually to tropical places, the hotter the better. So I decided to make him a tropical sunset scene.

I die cut an oval in scrap card and used it to mask off  all but the centre of a white card, then sponged inks of various ocean and sunset colours through the aperture dragging them horizontally to give that "striated" effect you so often see at sunset. (Tip - to position the aperture, place the oval you have die cut in the place where you would like your design to be, then put the waste back in place over it as if trying to reassemble the original piece of card. Lift out the die cut and your aperture is perfectly positioned. )

I used a stamp positioner to place the palm trees, so they didn't end up floating in mid air or lying underwater, then stamped with black ink and embossed with clear. Finally I stamped a greeting - using the stamp positioner again. I think it's indispensable when making CAS cards!

I'd already lifted out everything ready to make this card when I looked  in on Less is More this morning and saw that the latest challenge is "More than one tree" - there's serendipity for you!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A Hexagon Box

Today I decided to make a hexagonal box, using papers from a Colorbok pad that's been sitting in my stash for years. I used my Hougie board for the scoring and measuring, following the instructions in "Everyone needs a Hougie book 3"

The measurements I used were taken straight from the book, so I'm not going to infringe the lovely Kay Rutter's copyright by giving them here, but I took a series of photos as I went along.....

The clever "swivel and score" trick  means that even diagonal lines are precisely placed -

Is it just me, or does everybody sing "Never smile at a Crop-a-dile" every time they use it?

Before assembling the box, I lightly sanded all the folded edges to give a distressed look.

It is EXTREMELY important to have the correct equipment to weight down the folded base while the adhesive on the circle (see above) dries........ if you do not possess such equipment, I recommend you purchase some immediately.

I cut panels from another sheet taken from the pad, and edged them lightly with Antique Linen distress ink, then attached them to the sides of the box. I finished the panels with die cuts and stickers that came with the pad, and threaded ribbon and yarn through the holes to close the box.

The finished box is shown above. I chose to fold it so that the punched flaps poked outwards - if I had chosen to make an "inny" version, the top would have looked like this:
Phew! Are you still with me? I'll be filling this little box with sweets to give as a Christmas present, but until them I'm sharing it at

Craft Room Challenge - something 3-dimensional
Crafting Musketeers - Not a Card
Unstampabelles - Box it Up
White Lily Green - Homemade Thursday

Homemade Thursday