Saturday, 30 August 2014

Foiling can be child's play

I mentioned in my previous post that my granddaughter was crafting with me yesterday. Lara, aged 5, loves all kinds of crafting and likes to try out different techniques when she comes to visit. Yesterday we were crafting side by side - she was working on a project that involved a lot of princess stickers and hearts, while I made a start on my next DT piece for Foil Play (it's still a Work in progress so you'll need to wait a day or two for that!)

Lara's eyes lit up when she saw the effects of rubbing the foil on to the tacky surface and immediately wanted to help me, rubbing away enthusiastically at the foil until between us we had covered the whole piece. Then she asked to do a project of her own, so I found her some bod double sided stickers and let her look through my collection of foils. Being 5 years old, she was naturally attracted to the rainbow and holographic ones, and she made the card below (front and back) with no help from me at all. (Actually she decorated both panels on the inside too, with more foiled flowers, but she got bored with posing for photos before I could capture those)

So there you are - foiling is so easy that even a five year old can do it!

A five minute card

Yesterday my granddaughter and I were having a good rummage through my craft stash when I cane across a part-used sheet of stickers that hadn't seen the light of day for years. I decided to finish them up before they got dog-eared, and put together this pretty little card in less than 5 minutes (and that included clearing a space on the table for my die cutting machine, to cut the green circle).

I'm almost embarrassed to put this into a challenge, but it DOES include butterflies and a sentiment so I'm joining in with Butterfly Challenge #13 - Butterfly and a sentiment.

When inspiration goes off at a tangent!

This week's challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More is this photo inspiration

I knew straight away what I was going to do - probably a dangerous sign - emboss a piece of grey Core-dinations with a woodgrain effect, sand the surface for a little contrast, then stamp a large camellia on vellum, emboss it in white and cut it out then stick it on the background. So I did that.  and it looked - insipid. Wishy washy. So I gave the background more colour by inking the sanded surface with Walnut Stain distress ink. Then I stuck the camellia on - and not only did the ink show through, it completely stained the flower and made it unusable.

The distress ink had made the woodgrain so dark that it really needed a much brighter flower to stand out against it, so I brought a little white back into the equation in the form of a greeting.

So here we are, many miles from the original idea - but this card was most definitely originally inspired by the photo!

Zig Zags and Tags

This week's  challenge at Make my Mondays is "Tags and Toppers". One of my most recent die purchases is a  pair of Spellbinders tag dies, one of which embosses a lovely chevron pattern into the tag. I found a piece of paper in a magazine freebie set that reflected the chevron pattern, and used  a co-ordinating paper from the same set to thread through the slots in the second die.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Stepping (gingerly) into Steampunk

I have to admit to a nervous gulp when I was that this week's challenge at Cards 4 Guys is Steampunk.  I've seen Stampunk cards around, and even once made a card that might vaguely have fitted in to the category, but I really didn't understand it - and I can't craft with concepts I don't understand!

So I did a bit of surfing, a bit of reading and rather a lot of staring at Pinterest, and saw some absolutely wonderful works of art. The first explanation of the whole concept that I read was "The industrial revolution meets science fiction" which gave me a feel for what I was aiming towards, and the second was "Victoriana with cogs" which made me feel, "Yes, I can do that!"

The trouble is, I have very little in the way of suitable STUFF, and what I do have is more suited to a feminine card than a masculine one. All I could really scrape together was a sheet of cog wheel peel offs and a set of stamps that came free with a magazine. However while rummaging, I'd turned up an acetate transparency that was already printed with distressed-looking black edges and pre-coloured  in shades of peach and purple-grey. And I just happened to have a piece of card in the same shades. So I stamped some of the images onto the acetate using a Staz-on pad (even Staz-on can smudge when you're using it on acetate, as I discovered - luckily it was one of the cogs in a corner which doesn't really show).

I used spray adhesive to mount the transparency onto white card to accentuate the colours, then attached it to my base card and added the peel off cogs. A brass key finishes off one corner, although if I'd had some more dimensional cogs I think they would have looked better.

So, a little tame maybe for real Steampunk,  and a little flat, but given my limited resources, here is my first ever deliberately made Steampunk card.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Made in August

I've been having a play with Collage It and put together a collection of some of the cards I made during August - oh, and one keyring.  I didn't realise I'd been quite so busy!

Teriyaki style beef stir fry

This doesn't claim to be any kind of authentic dish - but it tastes good and it's easy to make. And that's what matters, especially midweek! Plus if you've bought a bottle of Teriyaki sauce for a particular recipe you probably have part of it left cluttering up the fridge, so here's a way to finish it up.

Ingredients (to serve 3-4)

300g frying steak

1 tsp cornflour
1 tbs soy sauce (if you have Japanese soy handy, so much the better. I used ordinary  Chinese light soy)
½ tsp meat tenderiser (optional)

1 tbs vegetable oil, or peanut oil from a Chinese supermarket if you can get it
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a piece of ginger about the size of the top joint of your thumb, peeled and shredded
100 ml bottled Teryaki sauce
2 spring onions, green part, thinly sliced
1 tsp sesame seeds

Cut the beef into very thin slices and mix with the cornflour and soy sauce, rubbing them into the meat well with your hands. If you are using meat tenderiser, add it at the same time. I buy it from the Chinese cash & carry and use it if the meat I am using has come from the supermarket. Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes - an hour would be ideal.

Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan over a very high heat. Add the sliced onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the beef and stir fry, breaking it up as you fry, until there is no sign of rawness showing  - about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and ginger and fry for a few seconds longer, then add the Teryaki sauce and bring to the boil, stirring well.

Dish up into a warm bowl, scatter with the spring onions and sesame seeds and serve.

I served this with fried noodles and bean sprouts - I cooked some noodles then stir fried beansprouts and sliced onions until tender-crisp, mixed in a tablespoon each of Shao Hsing wine and light soy then mixed in the noodles with 4 sliced spring onions (and the leftover white bits from the garnish on the beef)