Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Autumn flower

It's quite a coincidence that the new challenge at Craft Room Challenge is "Seasonal colours" because I already had all the elements of this card sitting on my work table this morning, where I'd left them last night in the hope that an inspiration particle would strike me overnight after several failed attempts to arrange them into a layout that pleased me. I'd been playing around with dies yesterday, to make a card for Make My Monday, and these elements were the result of some of my playing.

Then lying awake at 4am, as you do, I remembered a pack of card blanks I'd bought years ago that turned out to be far too flimsy to actually make into cards, but I loved the colours and textures of the paper (I won't give it the honour of being called card) so much that I couldn't bear to part with them. Why not cut one up and use it as a background? So that's where the lovely, slightly textured coppery brown background comes from.

Dancing dragonflies

This week's challenge at Make my Monday is Die Cuts and Punches. This pleases me greatly as I'd promised myself that this week I would spend some time working through some of the "Friday Die-Day" tutorials on the gorgeous blog from Christine Emberson, Hope and Chances. One recent one featured a very striking CAS dragonfly card.

Have I ever mentioned that I love dragonflies? Er, what's that - "incessantly"? OK, I may have mentioned it in passing just a *few* times. I've got dozens of dragonfly stamps, and many, many images on CDs, but until recently  I didn't have a dragonfly die at all. After seeing the tutorial on Hope and Chances I bought one right away and this week I have created my own version of the card that the talented  Christine showed on her blog.

Exciting news - and a tutorial

I'm delighted to be able to announce today that I have joined the Design Team of the Cards4Guyz challenge blog and this is my first DT post.

If you're not familiar with Cards4Guyz, it is a weekly blog challenge for male themed projects only. I think we're all agreed that making cards for men is much harder than for women, and I've learned  a huge amount about making cards for men in the few months that I've been joining in the challenges so I was delighted when Caz accepted me on to her team.

Here is my first DT card, made for this week's challenge which is No Balls Allowed (Sport). As a fan of motor racing, I immediately thought of Motor Sport and found a great image and backing papers on the La Pashe CD "Something for Everyone". The image, but not the papers, is also available as a decoupage sheet download.

A few days ago I spotted a great tutorial for making a Twisted Card on the Whiff of Joy blog. I immediately thought how useful it would be for man-cards, as I've often found that cards with a bit of engineering in them appeal to men. They spend ages folding and unfolding them to see how they work! So to make this card I followed the detailed instructions which you will find on the link above, but adapted it to a sheet of A4 to give a bigger card. The only drawback with the bigger card was it was difficult to score as it was longer than my ruler or scoring board - but I dug out my old yardstick and used that to score the long diagonal line.

Here is a series of step-by step pictures taken as I went along. A few of tips for you - when you've completed the basic card, make a pencil note on the surfaces you want to cover with paper before unfolding it to do the covering. Draw around the panels onto your background paper, making sure you have arranged it so that the right side of the paper faces the right direction (I got this bit wrong the first time and wasted a sheet of paper because the flags were pointing downwards!). If you are planning on making several cards of this type, you could make a blank card from that old piece of fluorescent pink card in the bottom of your stash pile (I know you have one, we all do) and cut it into separate panels, trimming it down to the size you want to cut your papers to, depending on how much layering you like to do.



The topper and greetings need to be added after re-folding the card to get the positioning right. The finished card:

and inside:
I added Glossy Accents to the car to make it shiny - that seems to be my new favourite trick!
I think this style of card would be great as a gift card holder, as you could tuck the gift card between the two layers on the inside
Well, after all that, I had all the decoupage from the image sheet left, as well as some of the backing papers. So what was there to do but make another card?

I'm joining in with

CD Sunday Challenge - Birthday card for a male (with the second card in this post)
Crafting at the Weekend - Anything Goes
Tok Bobok - Masculine
 Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - September

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Let it snow

A simple embossed panel to emphasise the words "Let it Snow" - that's all this card needed!

I'm joining in with:

Less is More - Mostly Words
Completely Christmas - Anything Goes

A Happy Accident

It's often said about crafting that "there is no such thing as a mistake, just a happy accident" and I'm sure that like me you groan in despair thinking of all the mistakes you've made that were anything BUT happy. But today's mistake really DID turn into a happy accident.

I'd been thinking about what to mane for my next FoilPlay DT post,  and thought about some old sheets of medium sized glue dots that I've had lurking around my craft stash for years. I thought that by applying the whole sheet to a piece of background card and then foiling it, I would get a neat symmetrical pattern of dots that would make an interesting background. So I chose a pretty pink topper to use with my planned background and applied my dots to some white card.

Maybe my glue dots were too old, or maybe I pressed them down unevenly, I don't know, but some of the dots didn't transfer, some came away bringing bits of the background card away and some went distorted and squishy. I was just a bout to throw the whole thing away when I had one of those "What if....." moments and decided to foil it anyway and see what it looked like.

The result was a rather interesting distressed looking panel - totally unsuitable for the design I'd planned, but definitely something interesting to work with. I emphasised the distressed effect by tearing the edges then embossing them with gold power. I could have foiled them but my gold EP is quite thick and would add extra texture to the piece. 

By now it had an interesting vintage look to it, so I picked out a few elements from a Hunkydory kit, added a doiley and some buttons and have ended up with a vintage style dressmaking themed card which has all come about as the result of my initial experiment having gone wrong!

I'm joining in with

Crafty Creations Challenges - Vintage
Crafting Musketeers - Use Buttons

Saturday, 27 September 2014

It's a hoot!

Here's another card I made from the free papers and decoupage that were in one of last Christmas's magazines. This time it's an easel card, and the "Snowflake flowers" are cut with a flower die and the smallest element of a stacking snowflake set. The die I used for the leaf/pine sprigs is, erm, a blue one. I can't be more specific than that because I've had it for years, but I think it was part of a set from Marianne Creatables.

I'm playing along with Completely Christmas Challenge #31 - Anything Goes (how have they managed to have 30 challenges before a Christmas freak like me found  out they existed?)
and Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge #196 - Make it Colourful  as well as Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for September

Friday, 26 September 2014

The end of a long night

... and what does Santa do when all the presents are delivered? Well he pulls off his boots and relaxes in front of the fire with a mug of cocoa, of course.

I made this card using papers and decoupage that came free with a magazine last Christmas, following one of the suggested makes in the magazine because I thought it looked so sweet.

With lots of matting and layering and lots of layers in the decoupage, I'm popping into the latest Winter Wonderland challenge which is Layer it Up.

craftynotshifty | For a crafty kind of life

craftynotshifty | For a crafty kind of life

win a set of Sizzix Framelits Die Circles! RRP £14.99

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The need for speed

I've had this sheet of motorsport themed toppers hanging around for a couple of years. I've used the pick of the sheet and the rest of the toppers have been hanging around and starting to get dog eared. So I rescued this red racing car one and livened it up a bit by picking out the bodywork with Glossy Accents. Along with some embossed metallic card it makes a striking and simple masculine card.

I'm joining in with

Ooh La La Creations challenge 165 - Birthday Boy
Clear It Out challenge - Birthday, glossy accents/something shiny
The Male Room - Use metal

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Fawn in the Forest

I'm loving the fashion for  forest creatures in crafting at the moment, but I've not bought any of the lovely new stamps that are around - there are so many to choose from that I'm simply spoiled for choice.

However I have this cute faun stamp - it reminds me of Bambi - that has been in my stash for years. And the owl and branch stamps which were a magazine freebie about a year ago. So I'm not entirely deprived of forest creatures.

For this card, I used the Rubberstamp Tapestry set that I took out of retirement a few days ago for Mark's anniversary card to create a carpet of fallen leaves at the bottom of the card. I stamped the bough and the owl on it. There was a very good reason for stamping the owl, even though I was going to add a separately stamped image of it - those little legs looked so fragile that I was afraid I would accidentally cut them off, so I stamped it first just to make sure I had at least one pair showing. (I often do the same with butterfly antennae)

The fawn, owl and toadstools were stamped on cream card and cut out - they are raised slightly above the background card although it doesn't really show on the photo.

I'm joining in with

Craft Room Challenge - Forest Friends
Oldie But a Goodie - Autumn
Make My Monday - Autumn Colours

With deepest sympathy

I find sympathy cards the hardest cards of all to make. I don't have any religious faith, so that rules out  a whole host of traditional designs, and I don't like to tempt fate by making them routinely and keeping some in stock, so they often have to be made very quickly in response to circumstances. You can't leave a grieving relative to wait while you create a complex and beautiful card!

So for me, sympathy cards lend themselves very readily to the Clean And Simple style of cardmaking. It's often very quick, and can create a stylish simplicity that seems very appropriate at a time of sadness.

Unfortunately we have just had a family bereavement, and this is the card I have made to send:

This week it's a CAS week at Addicted  to Stamps and More so I'm joining in with this card.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Ugly Bug Ball

The current Butterfly Challenge is The Ugly Bug Ball . Now I have had this stamp, which I thought was a ladybird, for some years, It was part of a grab bag of unmounted red rubber, but I've never got round to using it. So I had a surprise when I stamped it - is it a ladybird? Or is it a snail? Or some sort of strange hybrid?

I'd already prepared my background using some slightly sparkly ladybird paper, so I decided that today it, or rather SHE, is going to be a ladybird, sitting wishing to be invited to dance. I picked up the wrong shade of pink pen and realised it too late Just look how I've made her blush!

Monday, 22 September 2014

A cheeky little glass of wine

This week's challenge at CD Sundays is A Birthday Card For a Male with Wendy and I decided to dust off one of my favourite CDs (OK, I know I have a LOT of favourites - I just LOVE crafting with CDs!) - The Wine Buffs from Katy Sue Designs. I often turn to this CD for male cards or cards for  people who might not appreciate the frills, flowers and lacy bits that hand made cards are often adorned with.

This time I made one of the cartoon images into a gatefold card, adding two very different backing papers from the CD. The wine-stained one on the inside is one of my favourite papers on the whole CD - it speaks to the messy wine-lover in me!

Thanks to Wynn's suggestion in the comments, I'm also playing along with Unstampabelles for the first time

A Speedy Snowflake

Having a cutting and embossing machine makes it really easy to produce quick cards that look (to a non crafter) as if they've taken hours! Thanks to my Grand Calibur, this card was created in a matter of minutes.

The background is made with a Darice embossing folder, wrapped with a gold-edged white organza ribbon topped with a gold metallic ribbon. The snowflake is die cut with a Spellbinders (if I recall correctly, I never keep the packaging) die set, alternate layers of white and gold, and finally a bow of the gold metallic ribbon finishes the whole thing off.
Total crafting time - including waiting for the glue to dry - was well under 20 minutes, so I'm joining in with CHNC Challenge 195 - 20 minutes or less  as well as CHNC Challenge Extra for September
And as I've used two ribbons, I'm also joining in with Winter Wonderland - use two ribbons

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tapas time

Last night's dinner was a selection of tapas, inspired by a meal we ate and some dishes we bought on our recent holiday. Where did we go - Barcelona? Madrid? Erm, actually it was Stow-on-the-Wold. A pub close to our cottage served a rather eclectic range of tapas dishes including Scotch eggs (!), while the local cook shop was one of the best I've ever seen and we came home loaded with goodies, including some tapas dishes.

So yesterday I made:



and chorizo with chickpeas

and served them all up in our new tapas dishes

A rather strange meal to celebrate a Cotswolds holiday with - but a very tasty one!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Seeing spots!

At Clear It Out Challenge this week the theme is Going Crazy for Polka Dots which gave me a chance to dive into my stash and come up with this dotty paper which came as part of a magazine freebie several years ago. The large spotty paper came from the same pack, and the primary coloured papers from a more recent freebie. So this was a pretty cheap card to make! I'd been planning to stamp an image to colour in and use as a topper, but I just didn't seem to have anything among my hundreds of stamps that spoke to me today, so I used some of the papers to die-cut a little posy of flowers instead. The Candi flower centres and the punched border reflect the general dotty theme.

Tagging along

I love using Kraft for tags, it reminds me of the traditional brown parcel tags which were the start of it all! So I was delighted to see that the current challenge at The Kraft Journal is Tag, You're It!

For this tag I've cut a large tag and die cut and embossed a smaller one from Kraft card. The large flower too  is die cut and embossed. I covered the lower half of the main tag with reproduction France vintage newsprint and inked the edges, lightly inking the embossed tag so that the zigzags stood out. I used a water based ink for stamping on the wooden tag and wish I hadn't now because the colour has run a bit, although it looks worse on the photo - in real life it just adds to the aged look of the tag. I only had a very white piece of lace of the right size so I dabbed it very lightly with distress ink to age it a little.

Happy Anniversary Mark

This week, while we were away on holiday, Mark and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Naturally I always make him a card - but he doesn't like anything sloppy or romantic so it's something of a challenge to think what to make. However I know he's been interested in and impressed by some of the Clean and Simple cards I've made recently, so I decided to make a very simple but stylish Autumn themed card.

I masked off a white card to give me a strip about 4cm wide and sponged it with inks in yellow and brown shades, then stamped the whole strip in autumn colours using the Rubberstamp Tapestry "Queen Anne's Lace" set which  I've had for many, many years. Every time I use it, I think "Why don't I use it more often?" and maybe with Autumn settling over the country (It seems a lot earlier than usual this year, doesn't it?) I'll feel inspired to keep it to hand.

Rather than add a sentiment, I decided to pick up the colours from the stamping with a leaf die-cut from some metallic card that came in one of the very first TV shopping kits I ever bought - does anyone else remember the Elegant Vintage kit from QVC? It must be around 15 years since I bought it, and, like many other crafters, I thought it looked wonderful on TV and yet I really struggled to make anything I was happy with from it. (If you're interested in what I came up with from the kit, you can see a few of my efforts in my now-neglected Photobucket - but please remember I was VERY new to card making when I made them!) Anyway, good or bad, the kit did contain some gorgeous patterned metallic card that has been waiting all these years to see action - apart from this I still have three other sheets that have never been cut!

I'm playing along at

Cardz 4 Guyz - No Patterned Paper

Oldie But Goodie - Autumn

Friday, 19 September 2014

Silent Night

I'm back! I've been away for a few days for a wonderfully relaxing break in the Cotswolds, and to ease myself back into crafting mood I've used a selection of bits from my Christmas scraps box to put together a quick and easy card as a last-minute entry to Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge, which this week is #194 - Silent Night.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Savoury Bean Bake - a Random Recipe

This month's Random Recipes is a straightforward random book, random page challenge. And the book my random number took me to was the second recipe book I ever got, bought for me using Mum's cigarette coupons, back in 1969 - Cookery in Colour by Marguerite Patten. Little did Mum know she was starting me off on a habit for life - and I don't mean smoking. My house is gradually being taken over by recipe books!

I opened it at random (cheating really, I know the book so well that I knew I'd  be opening it somewhere in the vegetable section) and came to a page with 6 recipes on it. I could have happily, and nostalgically, made any of them (except perhaps the one whose ingredients were simply a tin of asparagus, a tin of condensed chicken soup and four boiled eggs - I do have standards, you know) but Savoury Bean Bake was one for which I already had all the ingredients to hand, so I chose that.

It is simply a mixture of tinned baked beans, fried onions, chopped boiled eggs and grated cheese, topped with more cheese and breadcrumbs and baked. Not the kind of thing I'd usually use a recipe for, more the kind of thing I'd make up as  I went along on a "using up odds and ends" day. But I'm a good girl, I follow the rules, so I assembled all the ingredients, including
2 tomatoes, skinned
Then I read the method. Those tomatoes, all skinned and slithery in my hands, were  not mentioned anywhere. They're there in the ingredients, but after that they are redundant. Should they be chopped and added to the beans? Sliced and  added as a separate layer? Baked as a side dish? Discarded completely? Oh, Ms Patten, I thought you were infallible! I've been using your book for 45 years, I'd never dream of using any other recipe for blancmange, flapjack or sage and onion stuffing, but this time you've really left me holding the tomatoes!

I took an executive decision to chop them and add them to the mixture, which by now was looking decidedly like sick.

It looked a bit better by the time it was in the gratin  dish:

And a LOT better by the time it came out of the oven.

Naturally I served it with chips and peas, as a tribute to my  Mum. When I was growing up, every meal was served with chips and peas with the exception of Sunday Roast, Christmas Dinner and that well known dish, A Salad. (And on those occasions Dad would complain "Where's the chips?"). Even "curry" (you know the dish,  minced beef, sultanas, apples and a pinch of stale curry powder) was served with rice, chips and peas.

The verdict? Fine, but not really the kind of meal Mark and I often eat nowadays. But on a nostalgic day that had seen me eat prawn cocktail, complete with shredded iceberg lettuce, for lunch, it slotted in very nicely. And next time  I'm clearing out the fridge I'll have another idea for using up odds and ends. But I won't bother with a recipe next time.