Thursday, 26 February 2015

Everything stops for tea

If you know me in real life or on social media, you'll know that I am a card-carrying tea addict, so when I saw that the latest challenge at CD Sundays was Everything Stops For Tea I thought it was going to be easy. However, I couldn't find anything tea related on any of my CDs!

So, I decided to stamp an image and find a suitable background paper on one of my CDs. The image is a stamp I won from a magazine, it's a Papermania one and I've never used it before. I thought the ladies enjoying their afternoon tea looked very stylish and paired them with a background and (edited) sentiment from the gorgeous Joanna Sheen CD "The Age of Elegance" which I think I won in a previous CD Sundays challenge. You can't really see it in the photo, but I printed an extra sheet of the paper, this time in draft mode, to make an insert.

My idea with lightly colouring just the ladies was partly so as not to introduce lots of colours that didn't go with the paper, but also to give it the "hand tinted sepia" effect popular in the early part of the 20th century. However, I think it would have worked better with a more detailed stamp.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Purple on Purple!

Here's another "What if....." thought I had today - What if I make a White on White card, but use a different colour? So here is a White on White card - made all in purple!

I highlighted a few areas with touches of purple glitter, but otherwise it is completely made from the same shade of purple card. I think the idea needs refining a bit - I'll lose the glitter next time. And if I'm going to use all one colour, I'll make it a pastel one, saving darker shades for when I'm using a plain white base card. But I think it's heading in a direction that could eventually be a great success.

I'm joining in with

Allsorts Challenge - The Colour Purple
Suzy Bee's Blooming Challenge - Monochrome

Snowflake butterflies

Recently I've been getting a lot of crafting ideas from looking at things I've made or used in the past and then thinking "What if.....?"

This time, I looked at some die cut snowflakes and thought "What if I cut some of the points out - would it look like a butterfly?". I was prompted to think about butterflies and snowflakes by a stamp that was in a little bag of freebies in my last Crafty Individuals order, saying "A snowflake is a Winter's butterfly"

So, I die cut some butterflies and started snipping. I can't say they really looked convincing, especially as they didn't show up against the backing paper I had chosen, so I die cut some plain butterflies and added the snowflakes as wings on top. Finished with some liquid pearls, I think they've worked quite well.

You'll have to take my word for the fact that the background paper is more of a blue-turquoise than green! Blue really IS the hardest colour to photograph. Now I understand what my Dad meant all those years ago when I pestered him to take photos of fields of bluebells!

I'm sharing this card with:

Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's
ATG with a twist - No red or green (It isn't green, really it isn't!) at Completely Christmas
Anything Goes at Christmas card Challenges
Holiday at Addicted to Stamps and More
Christmas - Let's see Some Snowflakes at Fab'nFunky

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
½ medium cauliflower, cut into sprigs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbs tomato purée
1 tbs vegetable oil

Seeds: 1 tsp black mustard seeds
            1 tsp cumin seeds
            ½ tsp fenugreek seeds

ground spices:  1 tsp garam masala
                         1 tsp ground coriander
                         1 tsp ground cumin
                        ½ tsp ground turmeric
                        ½ tsp ground cardamom

 Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until just tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

Heat the oil and fry the seeds for a few seconds until they start to pop. Add the onions, reduce the heat and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and continue frying for 3-4 minutes, then add the ground spices, mix well and fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée plus 1 tomato can full of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender, stirring frequently. If the sauce seems a little thin when the sweet potatoes are ready, increase the heat to boil off  any extra water. Then add the cauliflower and reheat gently.

 This serves 3-4 as a side dish, depending on what else you are having, or you could add a tin of chickpeas or black eyed beans at the same time as the cauliflower to make a complete one-pot vegetarian meal.  We served it with a mixed pulse dhal that Mark made and some home made naan bread.


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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Little Boy Blue at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week's Challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz is Little Boy Blue - rather than the nursery rhyme, I've interpreted this as a Congratulations card for parents of a new baby boy.

The stamp is a Woodware one, one of my very favourite new baby stamps that I return to over and over again. This time I have coloured it in with Promarkers, and highlighted the water with Glossy Accents and the bubbles with Stickles. The papers were a gift, and appear to be from a Canadian brand called Forever In Time.


I'm joining in with  the Make Your Mark challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Stained glass daffs

I've had this daffodil stamp for years - it's an unmounted one I got in a RAK, so I don't know its origins. In my glass painting days, I used to stamp it on acetate and colour it with glass paints, however when I got out my glass paints, neglected for about 10 years, they'd all dried up so that wasn't going to work.

First of all I stamped the design onto heat-embossable acetate. Most acetate won't work for this - it melts and buckles when the heat gun gets anywhere near it (Note to self - maybe it would be possible to create interesting textured embellishments that way). I get the embossable kind in small A6 sized pieces from a local craft shop. It needs to be embossed with clear powder, because even if you use an anti-static pad before stamping, a few grains of the embossing powder will inevitably stick to the acetate, so I stamped it with black Versafine ink and embossed with clear powder.

Having binned the glass paints, I coloured it in with Promarkers. They dry very slowly on acetate, and had a tendency to pool and streak - quite a contrast from using them on paper or card. When the colouring was dry, I cut out the acetate and mounted it onto white card with spray adhesive - most other kinds of adhesive would show through the acetate.

To make the backing card, I used an A6 card blank. I took a piece of scrap paper the same size as the front and folded it in half to cut the arch pattern, so it would be symmetrical, then used this as a template to cut out the card. I then covered the front with stonework paper printed from the CD The best of La Pashe 2012, trimmed it to shape and inked the edges.

I am sharing this with Sweet Stampin' Challenge Blog - Spring Flowers

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Watch the birdie...

... or "The tale of the escaped canary"

While rummaging through my scraps, I found the remains of a sheet of green/blue wavy lined paper, that made me think of a bird swooping up and down in the sky, so it put me in mind of a very sweet little set of clear stamps that was in the wonderful goody bag I won in the January Charity Kit raffle at Hope and Chances. And if I could work them together, it would fit the "Wings" theme which is this week's challenge at Less is More.

I suddenly realised this morning that Santa had brought me three sets of "Create a scene" dies that I hadn't even opened. One of them is a village scene, and I chose the curviest die and used it to cut away the upper part of the front of a square card. Then I covered the inside of the card with my patterned paper and stamped a bird on it, stamping the word "Smile" roughly along the wavy lines of the paper across the width of the card.

I wanted to make the bird stand out more by paper-piecing it in in another colour. And I had in mind a yellow bird, but it's a cold, wet miserable February day in England and a Little Brown Job seemed to be more suitable. So I stamped one and cut it out, but it was no use, I couldn't stick it down, I wanted a yellow bird and I was going to jolly well HAVE a yellow bird. So another dive into my snippets to find a nice sunny scrap of yellow. There, I'm much happier now, but how did a yellow bird happen to be flying over the village? Well, it's an escaped canary of course!

I'm joining in with
Less is More - Wings
Fan-Tastic Tuesday - Use a Die
and of course, the Snippets Playground at Pixie's Crafty Workshop.
 PS - no, I don't know what the little line just above the bird's beak is for - I thought it was a fault in the manufacture of the stamp, but there's another bird in the set and it has ne too!