Friday, 1 July 2016

Snowflakes at Sparkles Christmas

It's new challenge day at Sparkles Christmas, and this month we would like your cards to feature SNOWFLAKES.

This month our sponsor is our very own Sandra from the DT, who is giving our winner these three Cuttlebug embossing folders

For my card, I've used a Darice embossing folder to emboss just half of the front of my card, ;leaving the other half free to stamp the sentiment on. Some die cut snowflakes, ribbon and gems were all that was needed to finish it off.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Fly me to the moon

Among the lovely goodies in my stash is a very old pad of K & Company 12 x 12 papers, and this space themed paper is one of the sheets from it. I've cut and torn various elements from the paper, including the countdown, the "to the moon" sentiment and the tiny rockets, and combined it with some blue spotty corrugated kraft because why not, and a stamped sentiment using bits snipped from a Dylusions one that originally said "You are about to exceed the limits of my medication".

And then I had the bright idea of blinging it up a bit with tiny peel off stars. Have you any idea what absolute @*!@*s those peel off starts are to pick up, even with a pokey tool?

I'm popping back to the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers for a second entry into the O is for Outer Space challenge.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

So long, and thanks for all the fish......

Unless you are a Douglas Adams fan, you probably don't have a clue what I'm talking about! "So long, and thanks for all the fish" is the title of one of the books in his Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy series, in which the dolphins, who have been trying unsuccessfully for years to tell the human race that our planet was going to be destroyed in order for the Vogons to create an Intergalactic Superhighway, finally decide to leave Earth behind. "So long, and thanks for all the fish" is their parting message.

I think it would make an excellent sentiment for a Bon Voyage card, perhaps a retirement card for an office  team to send to a colleague or, if the recipient is also a Douglas Adams fan, a 42nd birthday. However there doesn't appear to be a rubber stamp of it. So I made my own on the computer - the font, if you are interested in such things, is Mister Sirloin BTN Rare (which sounds rather more meaty than fishy).

I've teamed it with some papers from a Stampin Up pas called Going Places, a stamped dolphin image which uses a very old anonymous unmounted stamp I got in a grab bag, stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black and coloured with Promarkers, and a selection of stars and dolphin embellishments from my stash.

Sorry the photo's a bit skew-whiff, I must have been leaning to one side when I took it!

I am sharing this with

C.R.A.F.T. Challenges - Animals
Sweet Stampin - Seeing Stars
Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers - O is for Outer Space  

Clean and Simple at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week we have a Clean And Simple challenge for you at Cardz 4 Guys - so we want to see an uncluttered card with lots of open space on it.

For my card, I've used a lovely set of feather dies from Spellbinders and teamed them with a paper from the Stampin Up "Going places" pad and some coordinating washi tape. I was lucky enough to rummage in my bits box and find find snippets of card that were a really good match for the colours in the paper, so they were perfect for my feathers, tied together with a little twine that matches the washi tape.

If CAS is your "thing" you'll be in your element with this challenge - if it isn't, why not pop over to Cardz 4 Guyz and take a look at what the rest of the DT have made? There'll be lots of great inspiration for you.

I would like to share this with

Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 235 
Crafty Creations - Anything Goes
Fab'n'Funky - Men/Boys  
Creative with Stamps - Manly/Masculine

Monday, 27 June 2016

RECIPE: Sausages with semi dried tomatoes, potatoes and pesto

Apologies to anyone wondering where all my craft posts have disappeared to - at the moment I'm not at home very much and when I am, I'm working on a rather complex project that is taking up just about all my crafting time.

However, we still need to eat, and when you're busy it's great to have a dish up your sleeve that doesn't take too much attention  - so this dish, that I rustled up yesterday, fits the bill perfectly, because the tomatoes look after themselves for an hour to leave me free to do something else (in this case, copious amounts of die cutting). Our fridge is at that stage of running it down before a holiday where you end up having mystery meals or a plain omelette every day - this is a mystery meal that I'll be repeating in future.

I planned the dish to serve 2, but in fact there would have been plenty for three.


6 good quality pork sausages
250g new potatoes
1 medium onion
4 small tomatoes
150g baby button mushrooms
2 tbs basil pesto
1 tbs olive oil, plus more for spraying/drizzling
salt and pepper

Fist of all, prepare the tomatoes - this can be done in advance. Heat the oven to 140 C (120 fan, 275 F, gas mark 1). Cut the tomatoes into 6 wedges each and arrange spread out on a baking sheet. Spray with olive oil spray, if you have some, or drizzle with a tiny amount of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook in the pre-heated oven for around an hour, until the wedges have shrunk and are semi-dried. Set aside for later.

Halve the sausages. Peel the onion and cut into 8 wedges, leaving the root end intact. Heat the oil in a lidded sauté pan on a high heat and fry the sausages and onions briskly until browned on all sides. While doing this, halve the potatoes (no need to peel). Add the potatoes to the pan, stir well and cover. reduce the heat to low and cook for around 15-20 minutes, stirring and turning from time to time so the potatoes brown evenly. When the potatoes are almost done, wipe and halve the button mushrooms and stir them into the mixture. Replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and stir in the pesto and tomatoes. Mix together gently and heat for another minute or so to warm the tomatoes.

Serve with a green salad.

This was just knocked together out of odds and ends, apart from the sausages - and even top notch sausages are a pretty cheap form of protein. But oh my goodness it was good, it tasted just like summer! The potatoes absorbed all the lovely sausage oniony juices and the pesto and tomatoes gave everything a zing. The mushrooms? Well to be honest they were just there because they needed using, I think the dish would be just as tasty without them.

I am sharing this with

Credit Crunch Munch at Lovely Appetite, Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours

Credit Crunch Munch
No Waste Food Challenge at Utterly Scrummy 
Kitchen Clearout at Madhouse Family Reviews 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Salad Day

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a competition from the publishers Kyle Books. The prize was a place on the Sensational Salads - Love Your Leaves class at Caldesi's Kitchen in Gerards Cross, and a signed copy of the book Around The World in Salads - 120 Ways to Love Your Leaves by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi.

The book arrived almost immediately, and was crammed with delicious sounding recipes very much in tune with the way we like to eat, since we have so many lovely seasonal vegetables, herbs and salads in the garden, so I was really looking forward to the day.

The class took place in the kitchen of Katie and Giancarlo's house, where we were made to feel very welcome and at home. Cookery days I have been to before have included lots of formal teaching with participants working, singly or in pairs, at separate workstations, following step by step demonstrations, but this course was much more relaxed and informal - the nine participants and Katie worked together around a large table, creating all the dishes together. So one person would be shredding cabbage while another was skinning chicken and another making mayonnaise. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of the day that gave us lots of opportunity to chat and to share our passion for food.  We also had the chance to try some rather more unusual kitchen gadgets, such as Vietnamese cabbage slicer and vegetable shredders, and an American lime press (apparently essential for making margheritas) so I've added a few ideas to my wants list!

The session ended with us sitting down together and enjoying the dishes we had created, along with a glass or two of wine for the non-drivers. Those dishes were

Sea Bream, Grape and Celery Ceviche

Vietnamese Shredded Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Romaine Caesar salad with candied walnuts

Baby cress and toasted almond salad with buttermilk dressing - ooops, I forgot to take a photo of this!
Whole lettuce salad with gorgonzola dolce and hot bacon vinaigrette

Chicken shawarma, lettuce and coriander salad with lemon crème fraiche

Roast black fruit salad with amaretto and cashew lime cream

Every morsel was delicious, and better still for me, every single dish was suitable for me as a diabetic. I'm looking forward to re-creating these dishes at home - and to making many more of the recipes from the book. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Rudolph Day again

Do you realise that today we are halfway to Christmas? Have you got half of your cards made yet? Well, if you join in with Rudolph Day over at Scrappymo's, you'll be sure of making at least one card a month! It's my final month on the design team, although as  I'm not  one of the ladies featuring on the blog this time, but next month I'll be back to joining in as normal.

The challenge starts on the 25th of each month and runs through to the end of the month and there is always a chance to win a great prize.

This month's card has seen me resurrect some very old stash - the reindeer and sentiment came from a Hunkydory kit that must be at least 10 years old! If you squint really hard you will see that the off-white card it is mounted on is a delicately texture Bazzill card, the texture doesn't show up very well on the photo.

I am sharing this with Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Use a Sentiment