Sunday, 18 March 2018

Fun in the snow

Actually I should have called this card "Fun in the snippets box" because everything on it apart from the image and buttons has come from my Christmas Snippets box, and I had a lovely time rummaging through it and reminiscing about past Christmas makes that the papers were originally used for.

The cute teddy in the snow image was stamped using a stamp from a magazine covermount set  many years old. All the papers came from the snippets box, as did the border - this was the only bit left of a sheet so I can't recall what it originally came from  - and the sentiment, which was from a sheet printed out from a very old Polkadoodles CD. I bought that CD before I had learned how to properly incorporate CDs into my crafting, didn't get on with it because I didn't know what I was doing, and gave it away after printing out just one or two sheets of images and sentiments. The large glittery snowflake was cut with a Uniko die using a scrap from my general snippets box.

I coloured the image to go with the papers and then used a nesties die to cut it out to match the shape of the sentiment. While it was still in the die I very lightly sponged pale blue ink around the edges. The final embellishments are a few buttons from my collection.

I am sharing this with

Sweet Stampin - Use Your Paper Scraps
Pixie's Snippets Playground - Snippets
Winter Wonderland - Outdoor Fun
Christmas at Sweet Stampin - Anything Christmas Goes

Rabbit at CD Sundays

It's new challenge day at CD Sundays, and this time our theme is Rabbit.

My card is made with an image, papers and borders all printed from the Crafters Companion "The Tales of Beatrix Potter"  CD and plain blue and olive papers, foam flowers, candi, pearls and a Craftwork Card die cut sentiment.

I am sharing this with

C.R.A.F.T - Animals 
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
Watercooler Wednesday - All About Occasions  

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!

Poinsettia Symphony

For this card I have used a background paper that came with an issue of Making Cards magazine, years ago - I love the combination of Poinsetties and musical score but had never been able to think of a way to use it.

However winning the lovely Poinsettia and Pine stamp set from Altenew in the Playground recently changed that! I have very slightly distressed the edges of the paper and added some gold glitter gel to the flower centre.

I stamped the poinsettia twice,  once on the edge of the topper and again on red card, to help me to position the greenery, then  stamped the leaves and pine needles on the topper and used a waterbrush and watercolour crayon to add a very tiny hint of colour to the leaves.  Once the topper was added to the card, I stuck down the red poinsettia over the one I'd stamped on the topper and then added gold to the centre of that one too.

I am sharing this with

C.R.A.F.T. - Christmas 
The Holly and Ivy Challenge - Anything Christmas Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Santa or Anything Goes
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Flowers 
Jingle Belles - Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Deck the halls with just one bough of holly!

Boughs of holly are very festive, aren't they? But a whole hall decked out with them is hardly clean and simple, and I wanted to go CAS with this card so that I could enter the brand new challenge called CAS Christmas which promises to be right up my street.

I've used stitched square and rectangle dies and a holly die, which doesn't have any embossed details, so I added a few strokes of gel pen, and a sentiment stamped with Altenew stamps that I won in the Playground recently.

I am sharing this with

C.R.A.F.T. - Christmas 
The Holly and Ivy Challenge - Anything Christmas Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Santa or Anything Goes
Winter Wonderland - Stitching Real or Faux
and of course
CAS Christmas - Holly

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #105 - Z is for ZigZag

The latest challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is due to be going live just about... NOW. This time our theme is Z is for ZigZag.

I've gone a bit zigzag crazy here.....

The image is a very old stamp from Dimension Fourth, and I've paper pieced the dresses using a sheet of 6 x 6 paper from the Dovecraft Curiosity Corner range. The background is from a 12x12 sheet of the same paper. The kettle and teacup are part of the paper, and the tape measure is cut out from elsewhere on the same sheet. I've added a few stamped tape measure segments and a stamped zigzag faux stitching border. Both are very old stamps I can't remember the origins of.

The sentiment is a Dylusions stamp and I thought I'd had a real stroke of genius by adding the fabric covered brad, but by the time I'd decided it was in the wrong place I'd had to make quite a big hole for the legs so it really had to stay there. I wish I'd actually used it to cover up the woman in the ugly red hat, who really ought to have followed the advice in the sentiment. After all, we all know about women who wear red hats, don't we?

I am sharing this with
A Bit More Time To Craft Extra - Anything Goes

Friday, 9 March 2018

Bunnies in the grass

I made this card using paper and stamps from Craft Consortium that I've had for around three years and really haven't played with often enough! I distressed the edge of the paper and stamped the bunnies onto a die cut circle, colouring them in and adding grass using pencils.  I used a blending stump on the bodies, but quite gently to keep some of the pencil strokes to look like animal fur.

The border is cut and embossed with a very old Marianne Creatables die then I threaded ribbon through it and added a matching bow to the topper.

I am sharing this with

Retro Rubber - sketch

Cuttlebugmania - Ribbons and Bows
Cardz 4 Galz - furry friends
Stamping Sensations - Forest Friends
Addicted to Stamps and More - Make Your Mark
Crafty Creations Challenge - Anything Goes
Creative With Stamps - Bunny   

Mail Whale

This little scene is made up entirely of snippets of a very unusual kind - the insides of junk mail envelopes! They often have patterned insides, most often blue but as you can see here, I found a grey one and I've seen some in orange and red too.

I used my snippets to die cut some waves and a whale, using the X-cut Build-a-Scene Nautical dies, then daubed the upper part of the whale with grey ink to make him look more realistic.

The sentiment is stamped with the brand new Clearly Besotted Pirates at Play set, it had only arrived in the post five minutes before I made this card and seemed to be just right for  it.

I'm sharing this with

Pixie's Snippets Playground - challenge 321
The Male Room - Recycle
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Just Add Ink - Just Add Water

Butterfly thank you

For this card, I used the Tim Holtz number background embossing folder on Core-dinations card and then lightly sanded it, matted it on to Navy then added the butterflies and thank you die cuts, inlaying the letters and flowers in the Thank You but leaving  the leaves to show the yellow card through the cut-out holes.

I'm sharing this with
The Butterfly Challenge where if rectangular counts as Not Square, I've scored a full house of Not Square, Numbers, No Stamping, Navy, Naples Yellow, Napier Green and BUTTERFLIES.
Crafty Sentiments Designs - anything goes
Alphabet Challenge - Your Choice

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Just one more drink.....

I stamped and masked the silhouette and sentiment - both from So Suzy stamps,  then used an embossing powder jar tapped on the surface of a red ink pad to create the "glass rings" and stamped the champagne bottle - a very old unmounted stamp - over  the top. I did consider putting the silhouette and sentiment on separate panels mounted over the background, but I wanted the slightly-hard-to-focus effect that sometimes comes along with having had one drink too many!  I think it goes very well with this month's Naughty or Nice graphic!

I'm sharing this with

Naughty or Nice - Drink Up!

Use Your Stuff - Anything Goes

Haute Couture

And this really is "haute", at least when the card is lying flat, because there are so many layers of decoupage!

Actually I think if I make another like this - and the Couture de Jour die cut decoupage pad has four of each design - I will just use alternate layers because the decoupage projects TOO far, even with a tiny amount of gel glue on each layer, making the card unstable and, of course, the postage expensive when the card is sent!

The main motif is the die cut decoupage, mounted on a doiley. I first covered the card in pink patterned paper from the co-ordinating pad, then set a slightly smaller square of a blue patterned paper from the same pad at an angle to it, trimmed flush with the card edges and covered the join with liquid pearls. It is decorated with elements cut from several other sheets of the matching papers.

I am sharing this with

Allsorts challenge - Ladies Only
Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper challenge - March  
Shopping Our Stash - National Dress Day
Watercooler Wednesday - Feminine Anything Goes

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Dieter's Nightmare

.. a whole month of dieting and nothing to show for it! I think this would make a great encouragement card for a friend who was dieting and really struggling with it.

The image, sentiment and tape measure stamps are all from a Studio G mini set. I really wanted to use tiny buttons as embellishments - after all, buttons feel the strain when a diet isn't going well, but I had none in the right size and colour so I used a fine tipped permanent marker to add some faux buttonholes to pieces of Candi.

I am sharing this with

Just Add Ink - colour challenge

CAS-ology - Fit

Crafty Sentiments - Anything Goes

Just for You

For this card I have used the lovely stencil that came with a recent issue of Papercraft Essentials along with a Dovecraft sentiment stamp.

I've stencilled the main mandala and the corners using a Kaleidacolor "Birthstone" ink pad and then stamped the bold sentiment with Versafine ink.

I am sharing this with

AAA Cards - Ombré 

Addicted to Stamps and More - Anything Goes

Fab'n'Funky - Mandalas and Patterns

Shopping Our Stash - Stashed Stencils
Grab Our Badge!

Sweet Stampin - Sentiment Only

Apricot and Walnut Sourdough Bread

This week much of the UK has been affected by snow, and we're just not prepared for it! So even with just an inch or two, everything grinds to a halt. A combination of delayed deliveries and panic buying has left shops with little or no bread - what better time to have a go at baking your own?

The bread I have made today is a no-knead sourdough, using the recipe provided when I did the brilliant workshop at Bread Ahead - you can find the recipe online here  but you can use any plain bread recipe, either to make by hand or in a bread machine, to make a delicious Apricot and Walnut loaf.

For a large loaf, ie one made from a recipe using around 500g flour, you will need to add
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
75g ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered (I find snipping them with scissors the quickest way to do it)

If using a bread machine with a hopper to automatically add ingredients, just load the hopper with the fruit and nuts and use your standard programme. Otherwise there will be a beeper to tell you when to add them - make sure you add them at the correct time for them to become evenly distributed without getting broken up.

If making a standard loaf, kneaded by hand, add them at the second kneading stage, and if making the no-knead sourdough from the recipe, add them at the folding stage on day 2. In both cases the technique is the same:
Pat out the dough to form a large rectangle and scatter your fruit and nuts over two thirds of it. Fold the other third over the middle and then again over the final third so that the additions are trapped between the layers. Then pat out into a new rectangle and fold again, working at right angles to the first time. Repeat once more and the fruit all be evenly distributed. Continue with your recipe as normal.

This is delicious served with Camembert cheese, or with St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit Thick Apricot - I have been sent some of this to try, and in the next few days will be bringing you a recipe using it, but today I just couldn't resist spreading some on my apricot and walnut bread for breakfast!

In the Wild at CD Sundays

It's my turn to choose the theme today at CD Sundays, and my choice is In The Wild.

We very often see wild deer where I live, so I've chosen them as my subject, using one of my old favourite CDs, Meadow's Edge from Design House.

I used a design sheet, insert and background from the CD,  folding the card into an offset gatefold to comfortably fit a wavy stacker pyramage and the vertical border from the same sheet.

Incidentally getting the folds in the right place is easy if you have a Crafters Companion Ultimate or Ultimate pro - cut and mat the vertical border and stick it to the LEFT of a sheet of A4 card, leaving even gaps top, bottom and left. Score to the right of the border, leaving a gap the same size. Now butt the FOLDED  edge of the card to  the left of the Ultimate and score on the A4 Half fold line. Crease the fold and you are left with an offset gatefold card that meets perfectly at the edges.

I am sharing this with

Crafty Gals Corner - Anything Goes
2 Crafty Critter Crazies - Anything goes with a creature