Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Something beginning with T at Cardz 4 Guyz

Today at Cardz 4 Guyz we'd like to see something beginning with T on your card. I've used a Tired Teddy with some Tweed and Tartan - lots of Ts!

The teddy is an image called Slouch Couch Ted from Di's Digis, which I printed once onto white paper and once onto a sheet of tweed effect paper from the docrafts Heritage Press range. I paper-pieced the sofa and then coloured the rest of the image with Promarkers. The background paper and embellishments are also from the Heritage Press collection.

I am sharing this with Craft Your Passion - Anything Goes 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Getting hygge with it

OK, I know hygge doesn't rhyme with jiggy, at least I think I know - I've seen at least half a dozen suggestions as to how it's pronounced and every one of them sounds like somebody being violently sick. Which is maybe not the image that the word is supposed to conjure up - warmth and cosiness in a sort of rustic, old-fashioned way. Friends all over the world, has this trend from Denmark reached all of you yet, or was the newspaper I read last weekend right when they suggested rather cynically that one of the London publishing houses was looking for a new theme to use for the books-to-sell-to-people-who-don't-buy-books in the Christmas marketing frenzy and borrowed and adapted a few aspects of something that is inherent to Danish culture? I'm inclined to suspect the latter, because we don't really NEED to be told that flickering firelight and candles, hot drinks, woolly socks and cosy blankets are things that make us feel cosy and contented on a winter's evening!

Anyway, having got the rant out of my system, the current inspiration photo at Jingle Belles is just the kind of thing the myriad "How to make your Christmas more hygge" articles are littered with.

The white lettered word caught my eye, as it made me think of a little Studio G stamp  that I hardly ever use, not being much of a Valentine's day or generally romantic person. (Oooer, Blogger appears to have changed the style and size of my text mid-post - I can't see how it happened or how to change it back!)

I stamped and embossed it in white on kraft, to pick up the rustic feel of the picture (I seem to have gone back to normal text now!) then raided the snippets box for blue and silver mirri snippets for the die cuts. My plan had been to position the tree to the front right of the card, to echo the positioning of the tree in the photo, but when I spotted that its sloping sides were at exactly the same angle as the strokes of the V, it just had to go to that side instead. Some matching blue gems to balance it pick up the blue ornaments in the photo.

I am sharing this with
Jingle Belles - Photo inspiration
Allsorts - Anything Christmas
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 257
CAS on Sunday - Christmas    
Christmas Card Challenges - anything goes
Make My Monday - CAS Christmas

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Dancing Dragonflies

A few years ago I bought a sort of roller that long stamps wrapped around, supposedly to stamp a continuous border. I never had any success with it - there was always a line where the ends of the stamp met and sort of tucked inside the roller, and the ink dispenser in the roller didn't work evenly. Of course it also meant planning and preparation, not to mention buying more ink dispensers, if you wanted to stamp in anything but basic  black. So I ditched the roller and kept the stamps. This is one of those stamps.

I stamped it with Versamark ink and embossed with clear powder, then masked off the card around the image and sponged individual colours from a Kaleidacolour Blue Breeze pad all over the stamped area and buffed the ink off the stamping with a tissue. The sentiment, stamped with the same pad, is from a Clearly Besotted set of dinosaur stamps - I like to use things for more than one purpose!

Sharing this with
Less is More - emboss resist technique 
Fab 'n' Funky - Things with wings 
Sweet Stampin - Got The Blues

Evening in the city

The latest challenge at The Male Room is -scapes - cityscapes, landscapes, seascapes etc. Normally I would automatically have reached for Tim Holtz's Cityscapes set, a set I really love, but DT member Deborah has already used that set to make such a fab card I couldn't compete! So I had to have a rethink and this is what I came up with

The city skyline stamp is an Art Impressions one, stamped and embossed in black. I coloured in the windows with a yellow marker and the street floor with a grey one, brushing over the grey randomly with a wet water brush to give those eerie long shadows you get in the early evening. The water brush was also used with distress ink to paint the sky, then a few tiny dots of white gel pen added to show the stars just beginning to come out.

Simple silver tree

I've been playing around with a technique that's new to me - stamping with a glue pad and then sprinkling the stamped image with glitter. I thought I'd better start off with a very simple silhouette image, so I used this old tree stamp from PSX. 

I like the effect - much more sparkle than any of my embossing powders give, and a much flatter finish than embossing, so it lends itself particularly well to a CAS style.  All I've added here is a simple silver mat and a peel off sentiment. If you've behind on Christmas card making this would be a super-speedy design to mass produce.

I am sharing it with

Mod Squad - Sparkle it up!
52 Christmas Card Throwdown - Glitter  
Make My Monday - CAS Christmas 
Little Red Wagon - Sparkle and Shine
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Use a sentiment

Next I went on to use a more detailed stamp, an old unmounted one from my stash. I glittered it with silver, then stamped a sentiment and glittered that with purple glitter.

I then coloured in the bauble with two shades of purple - the dark purple of both the bauble and the sentiment glitter has come out far darker in the photo than it is in real life! I don't think I'll be combining the glue pad/glitter technique with colouring again - it took me far too long to clean the glitter off the tips of my pens!

I'm sharing this second card with
Crafty Creations Challenge - Christmas
Just Us Girls - photo inspiration

Slapping on the paint

Hello again - I've been missing you! I've been away to visit my Mum, although you may not have realised I was away as I left so many scheduled posts. I managed a tiny bit of commenting, but not very much as I can only connect to the internet through a portable hot spot on my phone when I'm there, and the mobile signal is terrible!

Mum's 90 now and getting very frail, but still insists on living alone in her own home and refuses any help we try to organise for her, so it's very hard work when we're there and it's been a real treat to me to be able to spend a few hours crafting today.

Here's the first of several cards I have made this morning, inspired by the photo inspiration at Just Add Ink.

I liked all the paintbrushes with the different coloured paints on them, which lead me to make a DIY themed card.

I'm also sharing this with Watercooler Wednesday - Masculine - this is a new challenge to me so it's my first time playing along.

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #73 UFO

It's time for our new challenge at the Sisterhood of the Snarky Stampers and this time Edna has chosen U is for UFO.

No, not flying saucers filled with little green men, but Un Finished Objects.

I really didn't think I HAD any UFOs, I tell myself that I always finish everything I start. But I had a look in the box I keep at the side of my craft table, where I slip anything that makes me think "I'll deal with that later" and this is what I found.......

Erm, well perhaps I don't always finish everything I start (except a bottle of wine, but that's another matter) . What a jumble of stuff though - I thought it would be impossible to work out where to start. 

However one of the encaustic wax frames I'd made some time ago had a very underwatery look to it, and one of the stamped images is this gorgeous Katzelcraft seahorse.... an idea started to form.

I cut one of the encaustic pieces into a frame and mounted it over a piece of shell-patterned paper then coloured the seahorse to match both frame and paper.

Now I'm trying to think of a suitable snarky sentiment to use on the inside! Meanwhile, I am sharing it with
Addicted to stamps and more - Anything Goes

Friday, 25 November 2016

November's Rudolph Day

It's the 25th of the month and time for Rudolph Day again, the last of 2016 since on the 25th of next month we'll probably all be otherwise occupied!

For this card I've used the very last few snippets of a pad of papers and punch-out decoupage that was free with a magazine several years ago. In fact some of the snippets weren't even really big enough to make the layers I wanted, so I had to arrange them VERY carefully in order not to show the missing parts! But now the pad is completely used up, and isn't it satisfying to know that you have made 100% use of something (and were therefore fully justified in buying the magazine!).  The only element that didn't come from the pad is the adhesive foam snowflake border.

I'm sharing this with
Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's
Pixie's Snippets Playground

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Guest Designer at Retro Rubber

I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to be guest designer at Retro Rubber again. This time the challenge is a sketch

A super versatile sketch too, that would lend itself to any style of cardmaking. The only constraint is that you must use at least one stamp that is over a year old, and tell us what the stamp is and roughly how old.

I've chosen to dig out some of my old Oriental stamps, mostly from not last time it was a fashionable these, but the time before. Eschewing the popular red/black/gold colour scheme for Oriental cards, I decided on a cooler green/black/gold one.

All the stamping is done in black Versamark and heat embossed with clear powder. The background for the topper panel is made by randomly sponging inks from the lighter end of a Kaleidacolour soft greens pad over white card. The gold edging is made using a tonertext pen and gold foil from Foilplay.
Stamps used are:
Topper - Tandastamps (no longer available) - around 12 years old
Vertical panel - unknown UM, possibly All Night Media, given to me around 15 years ago but not new then
Characters used for sentiment - Raindrops on Roses, around 15 years old
 Dragonfly - Hampton Arts "Dragonfly Background" - 7-8 years old.

I'm afraid I don't know what the writing says - I can identify a few of the characters in the background panel from my years of living in Hong Kong, but not the ones for the sentiment. I hope it's nothing rude! I used to laugh, in Hong Kong, as there was a fashion at the time for clothing, stationery and fashion accessories bearing apparently random English words, and often we thought the wearers must be completely unaware of the meaning. Once in quite a smart restaurant we saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said "The harder you pull, the harder it gets." I really HOPE he didn't go out to lunch fully aware of what his t-shirt said! But then for all I know, my card might say "I hope your mother in law gets bludgeoned to death with a wet guinea fowl" and I'll never be any the wiser.

Snowman at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz and this week we would like to see a snowman on your card.

I chose the theme because I had a snowman image I particularly wanted to use, however once I'd made the background I realised the image didn't look right with it so it was back to the drawing stamping board.

I made the background using a technique I've seen around a lot in blogland recently, double embossed foil. I swiped a Versamark pad over the "inny" side of the embossing folder, then embossed my piece of foil, then quickly threw pinches of embossing powder in dark and light blue, sparkle blue and clear hologram all over the foil and heat embossed it. I have to say it looks MUCH more effective in real life than in the photo!

I stamped the snowman - a very old but NBUS stamp from Dimension 4th - and coloured him with Promarkers and a hint of watercolour for the sky. The tag and sentiment are stamped with a magazine freebie set from a few years ago, with a Kaleidacolour stamp used for the sentiment to pick up the range of blues in the background. I used a staple to attach the ribbon because a staple adds a touch of "butchness" to what might otherwise be a rather girly bit of ribbon.

I am sharing this with
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Stamping Sensations - Christmas Greetings
Little Red Wagon - It's Embossable
Sparkles Monthly Challenge - Christmas is Coming
CRAFT challenge - Christmas   

Monday, 21 November 2016

Birthday Celebrations at Ooh la la Creations

It's time for our final challenge of 2016 at Ooh La La Creations, and our theme is Birthday Celebrations.

I've used a pyramage topper, insert and backing paper from the Paula Oakley Collection CD which you can buy here. Anyone who knows how much I love agapanthus flowers won't be surprised by my choice of image.

I decided to make a gate fold card and used part of the insert to cover the back panel, stamping a sentiment onto it. The rest of the insert paper I used for the outer front panels, as it was a bolder design than that on the matching backing paper, which I used ion the inside.

I assembled the card before adding the layers of pyramage. This way I could check after each layer that the card stood stably - a gatefold card is easily toppled over if one panel is heavier than the other panel and the back added together. Luckily the number of layers I'd used meant the back and right hand panel were quite heavy, and I was able to use all the layers, but if it had shown any sign of toppling over I would have stopped after 3 layers.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Penny Farthing bicycle

The first time I referred to a "Penny Farthing" on my blog, I was surprised that many of my American friends didn't know what I was talking about - but then, not having our coins, how would they have known that this style of bicycle  was named after the old penny and farthing coins, one very big and one very small, that were in circulation in Britain when these bikes were first fashionable?

I've never tried riding one - they look awfully uncomfortable - but I do love images of them, so it was natural that I would use one for this week's challenge at Less is More, which is Vintage. It's quite hard for me to get my mind around vintage done in a CAS way - I tend to think of it as lots of layers of ribbon, lace, patterned paper and flowers or a masculine melange of cogs, gears and machinery, steampunk-style. Well, I still have my cogs and gears, but I've kept them to a simple-ish border, part obscured by the penny-farthing in order to leave as much "white" space as possible.

Things With Wings at Always Use Rubber

It's time for our new challenge at Always Use Rubber, and this time we would like to see Things With Wings.  So I bet you are expecting a butterfly or dragonfly from me, aren't you? Well, you'd be wrong!

The beautiful flying horse stamp is an old Linda Luckin stamp from 2009, unfortunately no longer available. Once I'd stamped it, I thought how much it reminded me of the beautiful white dancing horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, it really looks as if it is dancing, so I added the sentiment which is from a sheet of Beethoven-themed stamps, and stamped the antique music (a Kanban stamp) all over the base card.

We'd love to see your stamped creations featuring Things With Wings too, so why not pop over to Always Use Rubber and join us?

Thursday, 17 November 2016

It's only words

.. and words are all you need....

Well, almost all you need. This huge word stamp, with its own collection of smaller sentiment stamps, is from the Stamin' Up Botanicals For You set that I won in the Playground.

I stamped it using a Kaleidacolour Pad (I think the name is Cool Blues but it's in another room and I'm feeling too lazy to go and check) using just one band of the pad for the smaller sentiment. When it was finished, it just seemed to be lacking a bit of something, so I found a scrap of navy blue card and cut the Memory Box butterfly, another win (this time from Liz, Crafty Sunflower) which was just enough to give the whole card the little lift it needed.

I am sharing this with

ATCAS - Ombré
Butterfly Challenge - Navy and/or Not Square (Not sure whether a rectangle counts as not square, so it may just be for the navy part of the challenge)

Tackling the UFO mountain

That's Unfinished Objects - I guess all of us crafters have one. I certainly do.....

Well this week at Shopping Our Stash they are hoping we'll dig into them and actually MAKE something.  The theme is called "Front and Center" and I have no idea why!!!

I chose a half-made card which you can see upright at the back of the photo, and a white die cut butterfly. I also found a pre-cut thick card ring, not a UFO but an unloved object (ULO?) that had been pushed into the same pile.

I think I'd originally set the card aside because I decided the pre-printed vellum I'd chosen for the die cut doiley didn't do the die cut any service at all, it looks too bitty. Anyway, one solution to that is to cover some of it, so I used ink pads to sponge on inks to match the doiley to the ring and butterfly, then added a few gems. I'd already stamped the sentiment the first time round.

So that's three items from the UFO mountain used - just another 200 or so to go......

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A festive tag

I don't make many tags these days, in fact I don't make enough tags, and never seem to have any to use at Christmas. Maybe my crafting resolution for 2017 should be to join in some of the lovely tag challenges I keep seeing.

Anyway, today I have made one, and I've also been experimenting with a way to display it, using a little slotted paperweight that I used to use when I was working, to hold a document upright while I was typing something related to it.

I printed the music paper from The Best of La Pashe 2012. This is one of the most useful CDs EVER - even if you aren't a fan of the La Pashe style of artwork, the massive collection of background papers alone is well worth the price of the CD.  I suppose now La Pashe is no longer selling them, it's going to become a collector's item so if you have a copy, take great care of it!

Apart from the music paper and the doiley, which I inked lightly at the edges, everything else came from my snippets box. I die cut the brushed copper metallic card with a Memory Box music die and the sparkly peach glitter card with a magazine freebie die. I was pleased to find eyelets of exactly the right shade of copper in my Cropadile box. Incidentally do those eyelets breed when we're not looking? I've had my Cropadile for years and seem to have used it thousands of times, and yet there seem to be even more eyelets than when I started! The final touch is a scrap of hairy yarn left over from my long ago knitting days.

I am sharing this with

Cuttlebugmania - Music 
Dies R Us - Tags
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 255
CD Sundays - Sparkle and Shine
Just Us Girls - Metallics

Run, run, as fast as you can.....

... you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!

This week it's one layer week at Less is More and the theme is Books/Literature. Now I'm an avid reader, but as soon as anyone says to me "Think of a book title"  my mind goes totally blank. The only book that sprang to mind was "The Satanic Verses" and I absolutely promise you I have no suitable stash to represent that! A glance at my bookshelves didn't help, as we tend to pass fiction on to friends, family or charity shops after reading, so our shelves are full of titles like "Jamie's 30 Minute meals", "The Concise Oxford Dictionary" and "The RHS Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants". All titles I could probably do something with - but it wouldn't turn out to be CAS or one-layer.

Then I looked at the grandchildren's book shelf - yes! The Gingerbread Man (also One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish if you are still "fishing" around for an idea for this challenge. You can thank me later.)

My gingerbread man stamp is a Christmassy one, so he became a Christmas card. I stamped with memento ink and coloured him in with pencils, drawing in a face because there wasn't one on the stamp, then roughly masked him and stamped over and around using a Linda Luckin background stamp and Versamark ink. I gently brushed tiny amounts of  mica pearl powders in gold and green over the stamping to give an "out of focus Christmas tree" effect,  and added some dots of gold glitter glue.

Reindeer at Cardz 4 Guyz

Time for our new challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz, and this week we would like to see cards suitable for a man or boy and featuring Reindeer.

I've made my reindeer by dabbing my fingertip onto an ink pad and pressing it down on the card to make the heads, doodling in the antlers and sticking on googly eyes and  glitter gems for the features, then adding a simple stamped sentiment.   This would make a good wet-weekend project to do with the children or grandchildren.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts Challenge - Feature a Creature 
Craft Your Passion - anything goes
Crafty Creations - Animals 
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Coral (orange, RED or pink)
Christmas Card Challenges - Glitter (the noses!)

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Silver Squiggle Cat

I've had this squiggle cat stamp just about forever, it's an unmounted stamp of unknown origin. It looks great stamped with an ombre pad, but today I've used it differently, stamped and heat embossed on silver onto turquoise card then mounted on a die cut panel of silver sparkle vinyl. This has a smooth finish so doesn't have the adhesion problems that glitter card has - it's made by Cricut.

I am sharing this with
Show us your pussies - Furrything Goes
CAS on Sunday - Pets  

Dreaming of a White-on-White Christmas

The current challenge at Craft Rocket is White on White. They  are actually allowing a coloured image, but I love the cool crispness of a completely WOW card so that's the route I chose to take.

The embossing folder is one that was a magazine freebie a couple of years ago and has become quite a sensation among crafters - I believe that Craft Stash currently have it in stock if you still haven't got it. The poinsettia, too, is cut with a magazine freebie die, the ivy with a Marianne die and the pine sprig and cones, an old die from my stash that I *think* is a Spellbinders one.

The sentiment is a Tattered Lace die. Incidentally am I the only one to have tried every special adhesive method or delicate dies, like various brands of adhesive sheet, glue pens, dabbing the die cut in a blob of glue on the back of your hand like some of the TV presenters do and so on, and gone back to the old tried and tested "tacky glue on the end of a toothpick" method? Or has everyone else already done it and I've come late to the party?

I am also sharing this with Glitter and Sparkle - Anything Goes
and Jingle Belles - Mele Kalikimaka 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Getting subatomic

I was quite excited when I saw that the latest challenge at The Male Room is Science, because I'm a former scientist myself and still have a love for all things scientific. Even so, I found it quite hard to come up with an idea for a card because I don't really have anything suitable in my stash, apart from steampunky stuff that I wasn't in the mood to play with.

Then I remembered a sheet of NBUS peel offs that have been gathering dust for about 20 years. They are similar to the Spirograph designs I used to love making as a kid, and one of them reminds me very much of the old planetary-model diagrams of atoms.

I added pearls for electrons, orbiting around a nucleus made of a gem that is composed of lots of tiny spheres - like a cluster of protons and neutrons. The sentiment is computer generated. Well, it may not be an accurate quantum mechanical portrayal of an atom but I think it pretty well sums up what we all think of as one!

Poinsettias for Christmas

I've been playing with the poinsettia die that was a freebie on one of the craft magazines last Christmas. I don't think I used it at all last year as by the time I got it, I'd made and posted all my Christmas card. It makes quite a big flower (yes, yes, I know that only the yellow centre is a flower and that the red 'petals' are actually bracts, but this one is made out of card so it can be whatever it wants to be. Got it?) so I kept the rest of the card very simple with a white background and the Memory Box "Happy Christmas" die cut in kraft.

I am sharing this with

Fab 'n' Funky - Get Krafty
Jingle Belles - Mele Kalikimaka (flowers)
Winter Wonderland - Ribbon or lace and/or Christmas Flowers
CRAFT - Winter   

Inspired by Pinterest

I was scrolling through Pinterest, as you do, the other day, when I spotted this pin. Now, every Christmas I'm on the lookout for elf themed card ideas to make for four special friends - so Karen, Sharon, Pam and Kevin, if you are reading this, look away now because I'm about to share your Christmas cards!

I made lime green card into A6 card blanks, then covered the bottom 5cm with red card. The belt is a 1cm strip of black with a 1.5 cm square of gold topped with a 1cm square of black for the buckle, and the collar is part of a die cut large scalloped circle. I added sparkly gem "buttons" and there is a panel of white card inside to write on.

And here are all four elves:

It was a perfect card to mass produce, as it didn't take much longer to make all four than one would have done.

I am sharing this with 52 Christmas Card Throwdown  where this week's challenge is a colour challenge, Lime Green and Real Red

and Christmas Cards All Year Round - Santa or Elf

Sisterhood of the Snarky Stampers #72 Z is for Zentangle

For today's challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers, Edna has picked the theme Z is for Zentangle.

Now, zentangle is something I've been meaning to try for a long time, so it was just the push I needed to have a go. I didn't have any suitable stamps with large open spaces, but I did have a sentiment in mind, from one of the Dylusions sentiment sheets. So I die cut a circle, roughly divided it into eighths and then, after lots of browsing around Pinterest, sat down with a bundle of different widths of black fine liner and spent a very relaxing evening doodling.

To tie the whole thing in with the sentiment, I used coloured pencils to colour in the segment I'd doodled rainbows in. I finished off the card with a hand doodled "stitched" border - wobbly, of course, to go with the lack of straight lines anywhere else!

Friday, 11 November 2016

RECIPE: Chorizo and Chickpea Spanish Rice

This recipe came about when we got a bargain pack of juicy looking Chorizo sausages the other day. I  stuck half the pack in the freezer  then rummaged around the cupboard, fridge and freezer and came up with:

A small tin of chickpeas
About a third of a bag of paella rice
three tomatoes
the tail end of a bag of frozen broad beans

To those, I added

1tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 heaped teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato purée

I measured the rice in a measuring jug so I could add double the volume of water.

First, skin the tomatoes by standing them in boiling water for a minute then in cold for a minute, halve and flick out the seeds and then slice them. Slice the chorizo diagonally into 1cm slices.

Heat the oil in a wide shallow sauté pan or very large frying pan. Fry the chopped onions gently until golden then add the chorizo and fry until all surfaces are coloured. Stir in the rice and cook for a minute or two, then add the paprika and cook for another minute. Add the garlic, tomato purée and water and mix well. Season at this point if you wish to add salt.

Bring to the boil and allow to simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, drained chickpeas and broad beans and continue cooking until the rice is cooked through and the liquid absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Check the amount of liquid regularly and top up with boiling water if it starts to look too dry or to stick. By the time the rice is cooked and tender,  the mixture should be soft and moist but not as creamy as a risotto.

Serve with a green salad.

This is my November dish for #KitchenClearout at Madhouse Family Reviews

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Autumn bracken

I love the colour of bracken in the autumn - on our trip to the New Forest last weekend we saw loads of it, and when the sun shone on the Saturday it looked wonderful. This card is inspired by those glowing golden autumn colours.

I used the waste card from a die cut oval to mask off the front of the card, then watercoloured the oval using Marvy Matchables inkpads in three shades, smooshed onto scrap acetate and then picked up and blended with a waterbrush. With the mask still in place,  once the paint was dry I used the darkest of the Marvy inks to stamp a large text stamp (it is actually a paragraph about the language of flowers) through the aperture.

After removing the mask, I tidied up the edge where a little of the paint had seeped under the mask with dots of a darker marker. Then I used brown Versacolor ink to stamp the bracken frond, a stamp from an old Graphicus set, and heat embossed it with a slightly variegated powder that goes by the rather puzzling name of Wild Tiger.

I am sharing this with

Use Your Stuff - Fall 
Addicted to stamps and more - CAS
CAS Mix up - Stamping & masking & Your choice  (watercolour, heat embossing)
CAS watercolour - text other than a sentiment

Oh my tail and whiskers!

I love the Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass books. I've lost count of the number of times I read them as a child, and I think the images on the Polkadoodles "Winnie in Wonderland" CD are a really gorgeous tribute to the Alice in Wonderland story.

I've used papers, elements and images from the CD to create this card - with the White Rabbit's constant worries about being late, I think it would make a good belated birthday card.

I have made this card for the Allsorts challenge this week, which is Time/Clocks/Numbers 

RECIPE: Home cooked Peking-style Duck

Last year I went on a Chinese Cookery day at the famous cookery school, Le Cordon Bleu. One of the dishes we made was Peking Duck. It was fascinating but definitely not a dish to make at home - it needed a proper Peking duck complete with head, some Maltose, a set of hanging hooks, an air pump, a blast chiller and a special duck oven, rather like a tandoor only with a lid and a spy hole. I have none of those in my kitchen, but nevertheless this week, inspired by having bought a packet of Chinese pancakes on a visit to Wing Yip, I decided to give it a try and see if I could get a reasonable version of the flavours and textures at home.

For my version, the only specialist equipment you need is a roasting rack. A couple of butchers hooks and a second person to hold them for a few minutes would come in handy too. And you'll need to start the preparation quite early in the morning in order to eat in the evening. You'll also need to clear quite a big space in your fridge before you start work.

I used a 2kg duck, which when served with pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and Hoi Sin sauce (or Peking Duck Sauce which I bought from Wing Yip and tastes much more like the sauce served in restaurants) gave a massive main course helping for 2-3 people. Served as a starter it would have served at least 6.


1 x 2kg duck plus pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and sauce to serve

basting mixture

thumb sized knob of ginger, sliced (no need to peel)
2 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
1 lemon
1 clementine/satsuma
4 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs honey
1 tsp salt
6 star anise or the equivalent amount of broken ones, there's no need to use the pretty ones in this
a small cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 tsp Szechuan whole pepper (or if you can't get them, ½ tsp 5-spice powder)


2 tbs honey
6 tbs Dark Sweet Freedom syrup (you could use black treacle but I find the Sweet Freedom has just the right amount of colour)
1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 tbs dark soy sauce

First, place all the basting mixture ingredients in a large saucepan, add 1 litre of water and bring to the boil, then simmer very gently for half an hour while you prepare the duck.

Now place the roasting rack in a dish large enough to comfortable hold it while still fitting into that space in your fridge. Remove the duck from the packaging, discarding or saving the giblets  if they have been provided, and use your fingers to gently loosen as much of the breast flesh from the skin as possible, sliding them between skin and flesh through both the neck and cavity ends and being as careful as possible not to tear the flesh.

Next, if you have any butchers hooks, push them through the flesh and skin at the cavity end, hooking the metal under any convenient bit of bone you can find in order to support the weight of the duck.  If you have no hooks, you'll need to hold the duck very carefully for the next bit, to avoid getting the scalding liquid on your hands.

Remove the pan of basting mixture from the heat and holding the duck vertically over it (ideally you have the second person there, holding it by the hooks to keep their hands safe) use a ladle to scoop the liquid over the duck, pouring it on from the top so that it runs down all over and back into the pan. Keep on ladling and pouring for as long as you can bear to hold the duck - between 5 and 10 minutes.

Take the hooks out of the duck and place it on the roasting rack. Discard the remaining basting mixture.

Mix together the glaze ingredients - you may need to slacken it off with a little boiling water to help the thicker ingredients to mix - and then brush the duck all over, breast, back, under the wings and legs, every scrap of flesh with it. Place the duck in the fridge and chill for several hours, brushing with more glaze every hour or so until it is all used up. Remove the duck from the fridge 3 hours before you aim to serve it and allow to stand at room temperature. Line a roasting tin with foil and transfer the duck, breast side up and still on the rack, to it.

Two hours before serving, heat your oven to the highest setting, 240 C, 220 fan, 475 F gas mark 9. Put your duck on its roasting tin into the oven. Cook for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180 C, 160 fan, 350 F gas mark 4 and roast for 30 minutes per kilogramme, so 1 hour for a 2kg duck. Turn off the heat and leave the duck to stand in the cooling oven for at least 15 minutes - this is the perfect time to steam or microwave your pancakes and shred some spring onions and cucumber to go with it. When the duck comes out of the oven, the skin will be glistening and caramelised, and where you have managed to separate it from the flesh, lovely and crispy.

To serve the duck, cut the skin into small pieces so that everyone gets some, and then shred the meat. The traditional way to do this is with two forks, but we find a carving knife and fork the easiest to use.

Eat it by thinly spreading a pancake with Hoi  Sin sauce, putting a few slivers of cucumber and spring onion on it, adding some duck meat and skin and rolling up then eat it like a mini wrap.

If you are lucky enough to have a very meaty duck and there is meat left over, try adding it to a stir fry next day - spring onions, ginger, walnuts and plum sauce would work beautifully with it.

I've added a print button - but note that it tends to work best if you choose the PDF option rather than the actual print one. No, I've no idea why!

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