Saturday, 17 March 2018

Cute as a Bug

I thought since the whole world seems to be going St Patrick's Day crazy I might as well share something predominantly green!

Hmmmm... on my screen the top left square, of dark green cardstock, looks pretty much black. In real life it's the same colour as the darker green of the caterpillar! My photography, and photo editing, skills leave a lot to be desired.

Anyway,  this cute little fellow, and the sentiment I've used with him, are from Clearly Besotted's "Cute as a Bug" set which I've had for three or four years and don't use often enough. He's looking pretty triumphant about something isn't he? He's probably been munching on Mark's plants, that's why!

I stamped him and masked him then stamped the grass, adding post-it notes either side to make sure the grass didn't run right out to where I wanted to cut. Then I die cut all the layers, stamped the sentiment on the card, and put everything together. I used garden twine to add to the garden feel. To keep the twine from slipping out of place, I wanted to attach it on the inside, but I didn't want sticky tape to show and didn't want to line the card. Luckily I have some Washi tape printed with grasses, so I ran a strip right across the twine, securing it firmly and adding a little garden touch to the inside too.

I am sharing this with

A Bit More Time to Craft - Anything Goes
CASology - Bug
Retro Rubber - Tic Tac Toe using the middle line: Twine, Die-cut, Green
RRCB 82 

Framed peacock

This week I treated myself to a few Distress Oxide inks and when I put them together I thought "Those colours remind me of a peacock's tail" and so of course I had to have a play.

I cut out the peacock with a die that came with a copy of Die Cutting Essentials and coloured it with my new inks. I used papers from the G45 Artisan Style pad cut with a stitched rectangles die to make a background and frame, using 3mm foam pads to raise the outer layer to make a nice deep frame.

A stamped sentiment finishes it off. Peacocks ARE pretty awesome!

I am sharing this with

Dies R  Us - Frame It
Use Your Stuff - Die Cuts
Shopping Our Stash - Put a bird on it   

A flurry of snowflakes

It may be the middle of March but it's snowing outdoors here in Hampshire as I write this, which has put me very much in the mood for making Christmas cards.

For this card I have used a set of unbranded dies I bought from Amazon,  along with an Altenew sentiment stamp. The card base is made by cutting folded white card with a Nestabilities Labels die, making sure part of it overlapped at the top to leave a hinge.

I am sharing this with

Make My Monday - Gold or Silver
Addicted to Stamps and More - Holiday  
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - No Patterned Paper or anything goes
Fab 'n Funky - Anything but square
Love to Craft - Anything Goes

Friday, 16 March 2018

Quick and Easy Christmas

Now you may well be wondering why I feel the need  to make a quick and easy Christmas card in the middle of March - surely there's no rush, is there?

Well, it's been a hectically busy week and I've had practically NO time to craft, and yet the deadline for this week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown  is approaching  and I really wanted to play along as kraft and red is one of my favourite festive combos.

Recently a friend gave me some crafting supplies - magazine cover gifts that she'd not felt inspired to use - and this lovely embossing folder was among them. To make a very quick card, I embossed it once in kraft and once in red, cut out the red flowers and added them over the kraft ones with 3D glue and then used liquid pearls for the centres.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RECIPE: Quick and easy Apricot Chutney

I have been sent some of St Dalfour's delicious Thick Apricot Rhapsodie de Fruit to try, and today I am sharing a versatile and easy recipe that I created with it.

This isn't the kind of chutney you can put in a jar and keep for months, it's a "fresh" chutney intended for eating right away, although I should think that, if given chance, it would keep for a few days in the fridge. Not much chance of that in this house though!

It can be served with cheese, cold meats or curries but its real versatility is that, if served hot straight from the pan, it becomes a delicious sticky sweet-sour sauce, delicious with pork chops or sausages, so it's a two-in-one dish.

To serve two as a sauce or four as a chutney, you will need:

1 small onion
15g butter
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Thick Apricot Rhapsodie de Fruit

Chop the onion finely and fry in the butter over a low to medium heat until very soft but not coloured, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and apricot and allow to bubble until well mixed and starting to thicken.

Serve immediately if using as a sauce, or pour into a dish and allow to cool completely if using as a chutney.

I was serving this with a very hot curry, so I just made the basic chutney, but you could add some heat and spice by adding any of the following:

Black mustard seeds, added to the butter a few seconds before the onion
Black onion (kalonji) seeds, added to the butter a few seconds before the onion
Chopped red chilli added with the onion
Chopped fresh coriander added after removing from the heat

I would only add one or at most two at a time otherwise the flavours could get too confused!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Things with tails at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the theme over at  Cardz 4 Guyz and I'd like to see Things With Tails on your work. So it could be an animal, a bird, a kite, a comet.... anything with a tail but we must be able to see the tail. If you have an animal facing front with no sign of its tail, then how would we know it hadn't lost it in an accident? So show us your tails, please!!!!

My tail comes to you courtesy of the beautiful Uniko stamps toucan.

I used a gold Delicata ink pad because it can be embossed and yet will dry completely when used without embossing, and dark green card. I stamped and embossed the toucan and masked it off, then stamped the sentiment several times to make it bold enough without embossing. Then I filled in the rest of the space with lightly stamped tropical leaves to form a subtle background.

I still wish that toucan had come sitting on a branch, he tends to look as if he's practising standing jumps!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Blossom time

The latest challenge at Twofers, where we are asked to use the same stamp or die for two different occasions, is blossom

I'd been inspired by the amazing card that Kathy made this weekend  to have a go at the Black Ice technique, so I watched the video she has embedded in the post and hot footed it into my craft room to try. I chose an apple blossom stamp which I've had for a few years - I think it was from Uniko but it may have been Clearly Besotted (why don't all clear stamp manufacturers give themselves a bit of credit on the cover sheet?)

Well, I obviously didn't take notes as I went along because I think I did just about everything wrong. I used a matt- finish metallic card rather than a Mirri one, a very open image instead of a detailed one, I forgot to add the lighter inky streaks over the body of the card and then I found my Versamark pad is so old and in-juicy that I had to press down quite firmly with it and got too smooth a coverage. So as a piece of black ice, my result was hopeless. However the shiny grey flower image that resulted looked rather pretty and I thought it would be ideal for a sympathy card, so I fussy cut it and used acetate to make it "float" between the upper and lower sections of a card.

I am sharing this card with
CAS Mix Up - Acetate (stamping, acetate, heat embossing and fussy cutting)

Less is More - Monochrome

Next, a birthday card using the same stamp. This time I used a gold Delicata ink pad - which dries without needing to be embossed or heat dried - on black card and coloured it in with metallic pencils.

It's really hard to get the metallic finish of the pencil to show in a phot so here is a closer look:

I am sharing this with
House of Cards - Use coloured pencils on dark card
Image result for design hues pencils

And finally the two together -  making the pencil on dark card even harder to photograph! Turning it slightly towards the window helped but only a little!

I am sharing these with
Twofers - Blossoms

The Flower Challenge - Anything Goes

And as for the Black Ice - well, it's back to the drawing board for me, with stern instructions to pay more attention to the instructions next time!