Sunday, 31 December 2017

Rose Ring

Well, 2017 is drawing to a close - Happy New Year for 2018, everyone - so here is my final make of the year.

It is stamped with a very old Stampendous stamp - the date on the label is 1998 -  teamed with a brand new NBUS sentiment which was part of the November release bundle I won from Uniko, so it's a case of one of my oldest stamps meeting one of my newest.

I coloured the flowers with my brand new Prismacolor pencils (Thank you Santa!) - it's the first time I've ever had any "grown up" coloured pencils. Until now I've been using the old ones my daughters left here when they moved out, almost 20 years ago! I can see I need a lot more practise with blending and shading, but they really are a joy to work with after my old ones.

I am sharing this with Less is More where the theme this time is this sketch

I played around a lot with the placement of the sentiment but even when stamped on separate card, it looked all wrong overlapping the flower spray so I moved it to the middle of the circle.

I am also sharing with
Sweet Stampin' - Anything new  - the pencils and the sentiment
Inkspirational - Stamping only

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sorting out the Snippets Basket

My craft stuff is STILL packed away, and likely to be do for a few more days, but yesterday I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms so decided to sort out my snippets basket - at least that way I would get to stroke some paper! It had reached that overflowing stage that makes it almost impossible to find what I want, so I spend ages rummaging through it and it takes me longer to find the bits to make a card with than actually making the card itself. And all that rummaging makes some of the bits far too dog-eared to be any use even for tiny die cuts.

So I've been pretty ruthless and thrown away a lot of odds and ends, especially sheets printed out from CDs, where I've used the main image but the additional ones and embellishments are still left - they seem to hang around for months or years, usually until I'm looking for a bit of scrap paper or a shim, and just clutter the place up.

However a few of them just called out to be used along with some of the bits that had turned up  in the snippets basket, so here is a card I made using nothing but snippets, a paper trimmer, buttons and adhesive - everything else is still packed away.

Making this was very refreshing - it's reminded me that much as I love all my stuff - the dies, the inks, the stamps, the embellishments - that it's actually possible to really enjoy crafting using very little equipment at all.

The image and border are snippets from two separate design sheets printed from the Rachelle Anne Miller Collection CD and the turquoise is actually a lovely fine glitter card.

I am sharing this with

Pixie's Snippets Playground - I hope you've spotted that there is a wonderful giveaway going on there at the moment!
C.R.A.F.T. - Anything Goes
Crafty Gals Corner - Anything Goes

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Quick Kit Makes.

I hope you all had a good Christmas. Although we didn't get a white one, it's snowing hard right now!

All my craft stuff is still packed away, as I normally use the dining room and it's been needed for our festivities, so at the moment I can only make very quick and easy items. Luckily I recently won a huge bundle of Hunkydory goodies from Quick Cards Made Easy magazine, and they included a few very simple kits that really needed nothing but adhesives and a scoring tool to assemble, so here are some of the goodies I made.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Naughty Christmas at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers

It's almost Christmas, and of course it wouldn't be Christmas without a naughty card or two from me! Luckily for our latest challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers, Edna has chosen Naughty Christmas as the theme and she's going to make sure Santa brings all the sistahs nothing but coal!

Here's my naughty card

The, erm, lady is a Kenny K image coloured with Promarkers, and I went over the boots with Glossy Accents because she looked just the type to  wear PVC boots. The sentiment is from the lovely Gingers House where there are some brilliant sentiments provided as free downloadable word art, and the poinsettia is made with magazine freebie dies.

I am sharing this with
C.R.A.F.T challenge - Anything Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Christmas goes

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Last Minute Christmas at Cardz 4 Guyz

Here in the UK, today is the last posting date for Christmas second class mail  so if there are any cards you've not sent yet, you need to get your skates on. And if there are any you've still not MADE you are going to need to make an ultra-quick one, which is why the latest challenge at Cardz 4 Guyz is Last Minute Christmas.

This card is ideal to make if you are in a tearing hurry - in fact it took me less than five minutes to make, and that included the time spent rummaging in my snippets basket  for the bits. I ripped off the idea from something I saw on Pinterest - just tear the strips of card, stick them down, trim the edges and stick on googly eyes and a gem nose, doodle in a mouth and some rosy cheeks and sprint to the post box!

This was made entirely from snippets - or should that be rip-its? So naturally I'm heading over to share it in the Snippets Playground .

And as it was so very quick to make, I'm also sharing it at Sparkles Monthly where the challenge is Quickie Christmas/Happy New Year.

PS I see it isn't actually the last posting date until tomorrow so you have time to make a whole host of these, should you feel inclined!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Late to the party

The flamingo party that is. Last year you couldn't take three paces in Blogland without bumping into a flamingo or two, and I never joined in because I had nothing flamingo related.

Or so I thought.

Tucked away in an old tin in the box room I found a few unmounted stamps that I'd got in a grab bag years ago and set aside without using, and among them there was this fun flamingo. So to celebrate the fact that my shoulder is getting better and I can crank the handle of my  Grand Calibur again, I had to make a card!

The image is coloured in with Promarkers. I sponged a little blue ink to form a lake and as he's apparently just taking off, used a stencil (it's actually from a water lily design, but I masked off the flower) to add a little darker blue for ripples. The sentiment is from a Lawn Fawn mini set.

I am sharing this with

Less is More - birds/feathers
Fab'n'Funky - Anything but Christmas

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas Flowers and/or foliage at CD Sundays

It's time for our final challenge before Christmas at CD Sundays. The last posting date is very close and I'm sure you need a last burst of pre-Christmas card making, and of course using a CD can speed up the process no end! So our theme this time is Christmas Flowers and/or Foliage.

I've used Joanna Sheen's lovely Vintage Christmas CD set (it's a set of three CDs packed with gorgeous images and papers).

A vintage image like that really cries out for ribbon, lace and pearls, the result being a very quick but luxuriant looking card with the pearls echoing the mistletoe berries and pulling everything together.

I would like to share this with

C.R.A.F.T - Christmas
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge  - Anything goes (or glitter)
Winter Wonderland - Anything Christmas Goes
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Anything Christmas Goes
The Holly and the Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes  

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Quick makes with a kit

I'm afraid my shoulder is STILL not better so I'm not crafting much at the moment (however I do have three scheduled posts coming up over the next week, thank goodness I was ahead with all my DT projects before I hurt myself).

It's very frustrating wanting to craft and not being able to - luckily a kit that I won came to the rescue. I've won a couple of lovely prizes from Quick Cards Made Easy in the last few days - one for my letter being the letter of the month in the latest issue, and the other for winning one of the monthly challenges on their website, and part of one of the prizes was a Hunkydory kit to make four each of bags, shadowbox cards and mini trinket boxes.

If my arm was more mobile I would customise them, adding my own bits of ribbon, lace, pearls and gems, I think they would lend themselves perfectly to it, but for now it was just a joy to be able to make something without having to use a knife or die cutter and with the minimum of scissor work!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chicken and sweetclems with couscous

I'm still having problems with my shoulder and not really doing any crafting, so here's another recipe for you. It's  loosely based one I adapted from a 20 year old copy of Good Food magazine (yes, I do have rather a lot of dog eared old magazines that I couldn't bear to part with).

Start preparing this well in advance as it takes about an hour to cook and also needs at least an hour of marination.

For two people you will need

2 chicken joints, I used leg and thigh quarters
juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic
1 finely chopped onion
salt and pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
a splash of sunflower or rapeseed oil for frying
800 ml chicken stock
3 sweetclems, each cut into 6 sections, skin on (you can use any small citrus as long as it doesn't have a loose skin that could fall off during cooking)
30g flaked almonds
12 Kalamata olives
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Coucous, rice or pasta to serve

Slash the skin on the chicken joints a few times and place them in a non metallic dish. Mix together the lemon juice, oil, garlic, onion, ginger, cinnamon and seasoning and pour over the chicken, turning nd rubbing so each piece is well coated. Cover and allow to stand for at least an hour.

Heat a large sauté pan that has a well fitting lid over a high heat, adding a smear of oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, scraping any clinging bits back into the bowl, and fry it on both sides until browned. Tip in all of the remaining marinade, mix well then add the stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the sweetclem sections. Continue cooking for another 20 minutes, leaving the lid off until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, about a quarter of its initial volume - pop the lid back on if it seems to be reducing too fast.

When the chicken is cooked through, the sweetclems are soft but not disintegrating and the liquid reduced to a sauce, remove from the heat and scatter over the olives, almonds and parsley. (You could add the olives when you add the sweetclems, but I don't like hot cooked olives, so I prefer them added at the end. It keeps them nice and shiny too!)

Serve over cous cous, rice or pasta

Sunday, 10 December 2017

No sh**, Sherlock!

I've been very quiet on the crafting front recently, only posting my pre-scheduled DT pots, that's because last weekend I injured my shoulder and haven't been able to do any crafting for a whole week. Luckily it's starting to get better but I'm still a few days away from being able to wield a craft knife or crank the handle of my Grand Calibur.

So I'm taking this opportunity to share with you the card I made from my friend Claire's birthday - actually I made it a couple of weeks ago but didn't want to share it until she'd received it as she reads this blog. She's a Sherlock Holmes fan so the Graphic 45 Master Detective papers are ideal for making a card for her.

And while I had the papers out, I couldn't resist making a second card with them

I am sharing with
Crafty Creations Challenge - Anything Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - December
Love to Craft - Anything Goes  

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge 99 - Vegan

It's new challenge time at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers and this time Edna has chosen V is for Vegan which simply means we want to see an animal on your card rather than on your plate!

I've never knowingly eaten elephant, and don't plan to, nevertheless I decided to feature an elephant on my card. Because lurking in my Very Old Stamps I have an unmounted stamp of an elephant's bottom, and I get far too little reason to stamp elephant's bottoms. It's an unmounted stamp and I'm guessing from the colour of the rubber that it came in a grab bag from Viva Las Vegas.

I started by sizing and printing the sentiment and pile of poo - these were a free download which I think came from Bugaboo stamps - and then cut the paper to shape. I stamped the elephant in dark grey then coloured it in with various grey pencils, then used a deckle edged ruler to draw a skyline and stamped the lone tree (a Debbi Moore stamp which I lost about 10 minutes after making this card, I hope it turns up again soon!). I added just a hint of distant savannah and sky with watercolours and used a pencil to doodle in the footprints. I coloured the egret on the elephant's back with a white gel pen to make it stand out, and finished the pile of poo with glossy accents.

And they say an elephant never forgets......

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Recipe - Carrot and lentil soup with sourdough croutons

Yes, you read it right - a recipe! Well this is supposed to be a "food and craft" blog, but in recent months the food seems to have slipped into oblivion for various reasons. However I've just made some really delicious soup that I couldn't resist sharing.

Sorry it's such a rubbish photo but I was in a hurry to tuck in!

The inspiration for this soup was the last few rather limp carrots in a bag, a stub of stale sourdough bread and a half litre tub of frozen chicken stock that fell on the floor when I was getting something else out and the container shattered so it needed to be used. A rummage in the cupboard produced the tail end of a bag of lentils - I didn't weigh them but it looked like about 80g.

So, to make 4 hearty servings you will need

1 medium onion
4 medium to large carrots
80g red lentils
½ litre stock - vegetable or chicken, plus the same amount of water
a knob of butter
your choice of spice (optional) - see recipe

and for the croutons

stale sourdough bread (the equivalent of about 2 slices of bread)
1 tbs light olive oil

First start the soup. Peel the onion and carrots and cut into large chunks, then whizz in a food processor until very finely chopped. (If you don't have a food processor, chop them roughly and use a stick blender on the soup when it is cooked.)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the carrot and onion mixture, and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Then add the spice if you want - I like to add just one spice and ring the changes between cardamom, cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger and chilli - just a generous pinch, to bring out the flavour of the carrots, rather than to add a spicy flavour. Carrots go well with all these spices - or you could omit the spice completely, or stir in some chopped fresh coriander or parsley when serving the soup. Today I used two drops of cardamom scented Spice Drops. Mix in the spice than add the stock and water. Bring to the boil, add the lentils, cover and simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the lentils have completely broken down into the liquid. Don't add seasoning (or use salty stock cubes) until the end, or they may not fall properly.

While the soup is cooking, make the croutons. Heat the oven to 180c (fan) 400F, gas mark 7.
Cut the bread into small dice,  about 1cm cubes,  toss in the oil and spread on a baking tray. Bake for 7-10 minutes until crisp and golden, then tip onto kitchen paper to absorb any left over oil.

When the soup is cooked, taste it and add seasoning. Serve with a scattering of the crispy croutons on top.

By varying the spices this soup can taste different every time - you can travel all around the world in a bowl of carrot soup, adding whatever flavour or spice blend takes your fancy. Or make it taste fresher in the summer by replacing the spice with orange or lime zest and juice. It only costs pennies to make, especially if you get a huge bag of carrots at half price as I did, and buy your lentils and spices in an Asian store or the World Foods section of your supermarket. (Have you ever noticed how much cheaper spices and pulses are in that area than they are in the rest of the store?)

I am sharing this with Kitchen Clear Out at Madhouse Family Reviews

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Jingle Bells

It's getting closer to Christmas, and time to start writing cards, so the ones I'm making now need to be pretty quick and easy.

For this card  I've used a pyramage and papers printed from Ooh la la's CD The Shawn Jenkins Collection, layered with green and a green bow.

I am sharing this with
Christmas Cards All Year Round - Anything Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - December
A Bit More Time To Craft Extra - Anything Goes

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Snowman at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the theme at Cardz 4 Guyz, and I have chosen Snowman.

I printed out an image and background from the La Pashe CD "The Wrinklies Christmas". If you are old enough to remember it, doesn't that snowman look like old Albert Steptoe from the 60s sitcom Steptoe and Son? I'm a bit intrigued by the person building the snowman - it looks like an elderly man to me, but he/she appears to be wearing a skirt. Oh well, for the purposes of this card, it's a man in a skirt. What you wear in the privacy of your own garden is up to you....

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Christmas Present at CD Sundays

It's time for our latest challenge at CD Sundays and this time our theme is Christmas Present. Don't forget that if you don't want to link up over at the blog, you can now enter via our new Facebook page.

I've used a decoupage sheet from the La Pashe CD "Christmas with the Wrinklies" (although I believe it is on one or two of their other CDs too) - it makes me laugh every time I see it. The sentiment is cut from the same sheet and the border is cut from a matching backing paper, also on the CD. The background is embossed with a stocking-stitch embossing folder and the stocking button is from my stash.

I am sharing this with
Make My Monday - Happy Christmas
A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Fab 'n' Funky - Christmas  
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Anything Goes/Quick and Easy
Watercooler Wednesday - Anything Goes

Friday, 1 December 2017

Snowman at Sparkles Christmas

This month at Sparkles Christmas we'd like to see a snowman - or some snowmen - on your card.

Here is my card for you:

I used the Snowman Trio stamp set from Lili of the Valley, coloured them with Promarkers and Stickles, fussy cut them and mounted them onto a panel of embossed card, using a snowflake folder that was a mag freebie a few years ago. I added a green layer with a punched border. leaving space to add some cute heart ribbon, and echoed the heart theme with a die cut made with a Gummiapan die. A simple stamped sentiment finishes the card.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - anything goes (or use a doily)
Sweet Stampin - Use your favourite Christmas Colour combo (red, green and white)
Alphabet challenge - Snow People
Shopping our stash - Snow Much Fun 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Giant Snowflake

I am loving the snowflake dies from Uniko so much, and the biggest of the three is perfect as the stand-out centrepiece of a bold, bright card like this:

I cut it in red card then added it to a circle cut with my trusty old Nesties. The glitter card is from Lidl, and because it's often hard to stick things to glitter card, I used a smaller Nestie to cut a circle from the glitter card behind where the topper was to go. Then after adding the ribbon and matting onto red, I used foam pads inside the circle, which were now stuck to the red background card instead of the glitter, and added my die cut topper to that.

I couldn't resist another photo from an angle to pick up all that sparkle!

This was inspired by this week's photo at Just Us Girls

There is just so much to work with in that photo - I've gone for the red, white and turquoise colour scheme,  the sparkle of the turquoise tinsel, the red and white ribbon and the round tags with giant snowflakes on them. But really I could have made a dozen different cards that would all have been inspired by it!

I am also sharing with
Cuttlebugmania - Let it Snow
Holly & Ivy - Anything Christmas Goes

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sparkle all the way.

This is one of those rare - VERY rare - cards that turned out in real life exactly how I had pictured it in my mind's eye.

It really couldn't be much simpler - ideal for mass producing if i find at the last minute that I need a few more cards. The snowflake is die cut from glitter card, using one of the lovely dies in my wonderful  Uniko prize, and glitter washi tape in plain and spotty purple arranged in a "tick" shape on the card, positioned so that the starry middle of the snowflake exactly matches the plain tape where it joins up. This sentiment, from the stamp set given free with a recent issue of Papercraft Essentials, is the perfect size  and style foir the card and the snowflake is added with very small dots of 3-D adhesive.

I am playing along with
Uniko challenge - Christmas
Jingle Belles - Baby it's Gold Outside
Less is More - Let it Shine
AAA Cards - Christmas  

Star tree

This star tree stamp is one of my oldest stamps, it's unmounted  red ubber and came in a grab bag about 20 years ago.

For this card I've combined it with a santa stamp that was a magazine freebie a few years ago. First I stamped Santa, then masked him and used green ebossing ink to stamp the tree, heat embossing it with green sparkle powder. I coloured Santa with makers, stamped  a sentiment then added gems, ribbon tape and a button and a red mat.

I am sharing this with
Just add ink - red, green and white
Winter Wonderland - red and green

Chloe Stem Sympathy

I always say I'm not superstitious - and yet I also have this feeling that keeping sympathy cards in stock is somehow tempting fate, which means that when I need one I have to make a very quick one (or *shudder* BUY one - which would sort of imply to the bereaved person, if they are used to getting hand made cards from me, that perhaps I didn't care enough to make one) . So I like to have a few quick designs up my sleeve for such times, and that generally means they need to be CAS.

Sadly, yesterday I had the news that a friend's husband had passed away. Out came the Cloe Stem die from Memory Box, always a great one for sympathy cards because of its simple elegance, and a rummage through my snippets box yielded black, grey and purple card to cut this cluster of flowers and butterfly, to arrange on stitched ovals. A stamped sentiment and some caring words on the inside and my card was ready to post.

It seems strange to head into the Snippets Playground with something as sombre as a sympathy card, but sadly we do all need them from time to time and this one is made entirely from snippets. Actually my friend's husband was a witty, playful man with a great sense of humour and would probably have fitted in very well in the playground, if he'd been a crafter, so maybe it isn't so strange after all!

I am also sharing this at Addicted to Stamps and More, where the theme is CAS.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Glasgow Butterfly

The latest Butterfly Challenge is H is for Handwritten and/or the colour Lemon. Now if you've ever seen my handwriting, you'll probably understand why I love stamping! So I'm going to have to stick to just the colour option this time.

The stamps I've used came with a magazine (Creative Stamping?) a year or two back, and I've kept to a very simple yellow, grey and black colour scheme instead of using the rich jewel colours I generally use with them. I'm still getting very excited by how accurately I can position corners with my Misti and have used it to full advantage here so those rose clusters really frame the central image.

For the layout, I have used the sketch at this week's Little Red Wagon challenge,  and am entering this card into both this and the Butterfly challenge.

Dashing through the snow

It's exactly a month to Christmas Day - how is your card making going? If you are way, way behind, there are some very quick and easy ways you can get up to speed and still send home made cards. CDs can be really helpful for this.

For this card I used the Ooh La La CD Yesterday's memories. There is a section on the CD that contains some extra quick cards, ready just to print, trim, fold and use, although if like me you have a printer that won't take a decent weight of card you will have to stick it to sturdier card once printed. The CD provides both front and back of the card - or the back could be cut off and used as a fly leaf on the inside.

You can send your printed card right away, or if you have a little more time you can do as I did and add a little creativity to it - there is a printed border of gems and pearls which I covered with real gems and pearls (by real gems, I don't mean actual rubies or anything, but just not paper ones!) and went over all the edges of the image and background with silver peel offs to give a sensation of depth. Then to balance the silver on the right of the card, I added a silver peel off border to the left.

I am sharing this with Allsorts challenge, Inspired by a Christmas Carol or Winter Themed Song - the song, of course, being "Jingle Bells" as there, among the trees, is that one-horse open sleigh, dashing through the snow!

And as it's the 25th of the month, I'm also hoping to share this with Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's, although Maureen doesn't appear to have unlocked the gates yet and I'm sure I'm not the only one hammering on them waiting to be let in!

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge 98 - Industrial

Our new challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is I is for Industrial

What Edna means by that is Steampunk, so don that flying helmet, crank up that steam engine and let's see how snarky and steampunky you can get!

I nearly always go for a masculine look when I attempt steampunky styles, so I thought I'd try something a bit more feminine. The image is from a Kanban die cut decoupage sheet and I computer generated the sentiment, matching the colours as closely as I could.

The base card is covered in tissue paper with vintage ads, and edged with two tones of metallic gilding wax. I added an embossed panel and die cut cogs, feather and penny farthing bicycle plus a random ticket I found lurking in my stash.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Some like it hot!

As you probably know, Mark is a very keen chilli grower so I was delighted, about 2 years ago, to find that Rubber Dance has a whole sheet of chilli themed stamps, and had to get them straight away.

When I saw that their November theme is "Inspired by a Movie",  the film "Some like it hot" immediately sprang to mind - perfect for these stamps!

I made a background with orange and yellow distress inks then stamped the sketchy chillies all over in red and green, then stamped two each of the large open chillis, just for position, stamping them again on separate card, and filled in the gaps with the word "Hot!".

Then I coloured in the separate chillis. You may be wondering why I didn't just stamp them on red card, since I coloured them a uniform read, and the answer is that didn't occur to me until I'd finished colouring and cutting them out. I stuck them down over the "placemarker" ones I had stamped on the background, and then covered them all in Glossy Accents - the shine doesn't really show on the photo but it looks pretty good in real life!

I am sharing this with
Rubber Dance - Inspired by any movie (Some like it hot)
Fab 'n' funky - Inspired by a song, film or book (Some like it hot)
Retro Rubber - anything goes (all stamps are 2+ years old)