Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 135

Wow, what a scorcher of a week in the Playground (and we had 71 entries, wahoo!!) - Parsnip has taken to wearing a knotted handkerchief on his head to ward off the sun when he nips out to refill the lemonade pitchers, which he kindly left under the tree house for you :)

So, with the sun belting down what did I do? Yup, made a Christmas card for my snippets card this week:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank

- from the snippets folder, a variety of plain blue card stock (mostly SU I expect) - the more turquoise piece was used to cover most of the card front

- the image was stamped onto a snippet of white card, using Clarity Stamps 'Large We 3 Kings' clear stamp and Ranger 'Jet Black' archival ink. I then covered the image with double sided sticky film, peeled off the top layer and sprinkled Cosmic Shimmer ''Diamond Sprinkles' over the whole image (the photo almost picked it up!)

- then I used one of the plastic templates from the 'Stamps Away Patch Work template, set one' to draw the outlines on darker snippets for the strips of blue card. The template is also perfect for actually re-positioning the cut outs of course, I just used some slivers of removable tape to keep it in place when I was sticking the strips of darker card down. I'd already edged those strips using a silver 'Sakura 5mm Calligrapher pen'

- at that point I popped the assembled and glittered '3 Kings' image onto the card using thin sticky pads to add some dimension and sat gawping at what was a very plain card indeed. I'd veered away from using any patterned snippets but the result was just too stark, sigh

- so, out came the Christmas peel offs - which have almost been thrown out on several occasions. All I added was some sparkly dots down either side strip (Anita's 'Glitterations') then strips of silver holly top and bottom from Anita's Dimensions 'Holly' stickers. The lovely thing about these stickers is that bits of them (most of the holly leaves themselves) aren't adhesive so they can be flicked up to add dimension

- final touch, little clear crystal gems on the holly 'berries' - as well as one in the centre of the Star of Bethlehem' on the stamped image

I'd like to enter this into the current challenge over at Winter Wonderland, which is 'On the move'. I know this often makes people think of skating, ski-ing and such, but we often forget the two really important journeys of Christmas - Mary and Joseph and then the Three Kings.

Gosh it's another scorcher as I'm typing here so I think this could be a quick canter through the weekly 'picks'.
I thought this was such a lovely Christmas card, soft and very pretty - made by Maarit.

Stunning work here by Hazel, and a real touch of ingenuity - who would have guessed that the beautifully filigree panel is actually a votive wrap, popped onto a snippet of gold card. Full marks Hazel for thinking outside the box!

Viv made this totally amazing graduation card - I love all the detail and it's such a clever design!

Kitty made this fantastic 'New Home' card for her 'Honey' with a lovely story behind it. Loads of snippets used here - right down to some torn cardboard from one of the packing boxes. We all wish you loads of luck and happiness in your new home Kitty - do please still come and play!

I love the clean and crisp look of this card, made by Pat. White, brown and sunflower shades - perfect!

And from our Queen of Innovation, Mrs A - here we have a fabulous lantern! To see just how Mrs A made it - just hop over to her blog! I bet a few of you will be trying this one out.

I love this card made by Sandy J - right down to the checked snippet just like a rug or towel we'd have taken to the beach :)

Karen P is always pushing the boundaries and trying new techniques, as well as using up snippets of course. What really caught my eye here is the 'Impressionist painting' look that Karen captured by stamping the image in grey before colouring it. I keep forgetting about that tip and it worked brilliantly here!

Eve caught me a bit with this last minute card, I wondered if I was off on a surprise holiday! Eve freely linked to where she got this idea from - isn't it a fabulous card? A design to remember for the future!

So, that was a quick canter, which actually took me longer than planned needless to say - Len is out all day today but I need to be downstairs looking innocent when he gets home as am supposed to be limiting time spent at the keyboard :)

We had two new playmates join us this week - wahoo!!

First of all, Brenda in IN came to play with this great card. Super idea to pop the face in the window - it reminds me a bit of when our Queen photo bombed a selfie just this week at the Commonwealth Games :)

Now, a little plea - right now Brenda doesn't have many visitors or followers as she's quite new to this malarky. It would be great if some of you could visit - and even nicer if anyone can come up with a solution to Brenda having problems when she tries to upload photos to her blog and gets the message that they're too large. Anyone able to help by hopping over with some advice please?

And right before the gates closed, Lucy W arrived with this absolutely gorgeous card. I love how the colouring perfectly matches the paper, loads of lovely detail.

What I read on Lucy'sLucy's profile moved me deeply:

My names Lucy I'm 24 from West Sussex (UK) and I have Severe ME and am bedridden. I'm not able to do much but love cardmaking!
Bragging rights
I live in a dark quiet room too poorly for visitors. I do card making for short periods throughout the day in between naps/rests and it keeps me focused and happy as I love it so much!
I don't know about you girls, but I truly didn't see one teeny ounce of self-pity from Lucy. That made me stop and think about how so many of you have health issues and just battle on - taking pleasure in making cards and creating beautiful work. Bless you all my lovely blogging friends - got me almost in tears here :(

OK, let's move on and it's time to see who Mr Random picked to win the MFT 'Notebook Edge' die and the LOTV 'Here comes Annabel' Art Pad - and our winner is:
Oh well done to Jules - I'm sure most of you know that Jules started off the Snippets Challenge and always joins in our weekly fun. I've peeked back though your blog Jules and I already knew you like LOTV images (even though I see you normally colour your own maybe these will be good for some quick cards for the cards for sale box?) AND, that you have in the past used shorthand notebook paper with the torn edge in some designs - flippin' enterprising gal :) So, I hope you likey your prize - I'll post it later in the week!

Oh wow, I got a shock at how many of you entered at least three cards over the last couple of week, and thereby qualified for the draw for one of the three Penny Black 'Soft Wings' stamps on offer. I counted 16 of you, so you had just under a one in five chance. I numbered the order in which you'd qualified and then ran the Random number generator, which came up with these three winners:

Well done girls, I'm sure I have all your addresses so will post the stamps this coming week!

I do so wish I had another dozen or so fluttering around here so that everyone could be a winner :( Having said that, I suspect I was pretty lucky to even get my hands on three of those stamps and they only arrived here on Friday - be still my thumping heart!

This coming week's prize is of course linked to my own snippets card:
It's a Clarity stamp called 'We 3 Kings - large', the same as the one I used today, along with a pot of Cosmic Shimmer 'Diamond Sprinkles'. The stamped image is 70mm x 78mm. If you've never used Clarity stamps before, this one comes already mounted onto its own perspex 'handle'. Also, although the image comes stained blue it's a good idea to clean the blue from the stamp using something like nail polish remover if you intend to use something like a clear Versamark embossing pad so that you don't stain the pad. As I know Maggie and others will agree, Clarity stamps do produce really crisp and clear images - I love them!

As usual, the snippets challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 2nd August and will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be the winner of the prize. And of course, if you're only interested in one or other of the items, then feel free to say so as well.

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Have a great week!

Di (and a hot and sticky wave from Parsnip)

Friday, 25 July 2014

Rudolph Day - July 2014

Whoosh, it's here again - from now until the end of this month you can link two Christmas cards (in one post remember) into Sarn's Rudolph Day challenge. Which is two less to think about later in the year :) I inked up a NBUS Penny Black Christmas stamp for the first time, what a cute name it has ........ 'The Light Brigade'! Tee, hee:

As Sarn asks us for two cards, I made two almost exactly the same - only the sentiment wording is slightly different:

For each card I used:

- A6 white card blank

- Penny Black 'The Light Brigade' stamp, stamped using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' and coloured with Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and Sansodor blending solution. I tried Inkssentials 'Cut-n-dry' pen nibs instead of Derwent blending stumps with the Sansodor and much prefer the precision it allows - also the end of the nib didn't go 'raggedy' on me! Thank you Irene for sending me the nibs, mwah :)

- the image was then die cut using a die from the Spellbinders set called 'Resplendent Rectangles' and layered onto an oblong of 'Real Red' card. I'd tried lots of different dies over the image for 'best fit' before suddenly spotting this long narrow one sitting quietly in the Spellbinders set and can see it being very useful!

- the plain green and red card came from the snippets folder, but I know it's SU's 'Certainly Celery' and 'Real Red'

- patterned papers are from the Back to Basics Christmas 'Modern' pack

- sentiment is Craftwork cards, layered onto an oval of 'Certainly Celery' which was punched with SU's 'Large Oval' punch

I'd also like to enter today's card(s) into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge where this week the theme is 'Layer it up'. I just counted eight layers on top of the base card :) And I'd also like to enter Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for July, where it's always 'anything goes'.

So that's two more for the box - and still on target with 12 Christmas cards per month.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

New home

A bit like Sympathy cards, New Home ones (when folk let you know they're just about to move house) can catch you on the 'hop'. So this card is for my standby box:
I used:

- A6 white card blank

- image stamped using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink pad and a Stamposaurus Stamp called 'Town House - small' (bought at Newbury the other week). The image was coloured with Pro Markers and then die cut using a 'Stitched Rectangle' die by Lil'inkers

- plain brown card for the main backing layer as well as a 'frame' for the image, also die cut using a 'Stitched Rectangles' die

- the plaid backing paper is by LOTV from their 'Country Gent' paper pad

- sentiment is an Elzybells one, stamped using Brilliance 'Pearlescent Thyme' ink pad and layered onto a rectangle of brown card

- finishing touch - white Josy Rose nail heads

I've been asked about the Lil'inkers dies - made in the USA. Unfortunately they don't export the stitched squares or rectangles to the UK (as yet and I suspect it's unlikely they will do so in the future) but there is one UK stockist who does have some of their other goodies including stitched hearts, ovals and other shapes . They also have some Winnie and Walter stamps, yay!. The stockist is 'Make The Day Special'  . Do be aware though that they're often out of stock of stuff but certainly worth a first try if you're not in a hurry for something.

So, I ordered my Stitched Rectangles dies from the USA directly from Lil'inkers. In fairness the girls were very good and reduced the postage to $10 when they realised I was only ordering one item - I'd done that so as not to be stung for import duty. Hey, ho though - the customs declaration included the postage (ie. the full invoice amount I'd paid) and I DID get stung for customs duty. What was double annoying was that Royal Mail charge £8 to process the flipping charge!

So, if you UK gals do order from Lil'inkers can I suggest that you add a little note to the effect that they really shouldn't include the postage in the value of the parcel. That's what took my order over the top, sigh. And that, girls, is why I'm using the dies as much - need to get my money's worth outta them!


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Butterfly challenge - spots and stripes

The latest challenge over at Mrs's A's butterfly house is to use spots and stripes. I went for fairly quick and easy, whilst trying not to melt in the heat:
 I used:

- 5" x 7" white card blank

- SU 'Certainly Celery' card stock for the backing

- SU pink and green Subtles designer papers, bought ages ago. The pink is probably 'Pink Pirouette' and the green is certainly 'Certainly Celery' :)

- topped the plain green card stock with a rectangle of pink, striped side facing up and then cut a smaller panel to use with the stripes facing down

- backed the edges of the panel with lacy strips, die cut using MFT Die-namics 'Faux Crochet Border' and a snippet of 'Certainly Celery'

- the butterflies were cut using SU's 'Beautiful Wings' Embosslits and spotty SU green card stock

- 'Happy Birthday' was die cut using a snippet of 'Certainly Celery' and the Britannia Dies 'Happy Birthday' word set

- last touches - white pearls down the bodies of the butterflies and one as a dot above the letter 'i'

Why don't you join in Mrs A's challenge if you don't already? There are prizes to be won but, most of all, the girls who play are such a lovely bunch - needless to say quite a few are also Snippets Playground playmates!


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 134

Oh how my snippets card for today makes me smile and think of the Snippets Playground and all you playmates getting up to your antics :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank

- snippets of plain pale blue, white, red and green card stock from the snippets folder. The white card was die cut using Lil'inker Designs 'Stitched Rectangles'

- one sheet of blue gingham paper plus a red and a green snippet of gingham (popped onto the white Stitched Rectangles) - all from Wild Rose Studio's 'Gorgeous Ginghams' paper pack

- a LOTV pre-coloured image from their 'Here Comes Annabel' Art Pad, trimmed down and then die cut across the top using MFT's 'Notebook Edge' die

- sentiment is LOTV, from the General Greetings - Small' set, stamped using SU's 'Marina Mist'

- final touch - Josy Rose nail heads

I do already have three of the LOTV 'Here Comes Annabel' stamps but two of these Art Pads happened to 'fall' into my shopping bag at Newbury the other week. Partly as the images will be just perfect to use on the cards I always send out with Playground prizes, they're quicker than colouring in an image from scratch when you want to make a few cards - and also there's at least one especially cute image in the pad that's not yet available as a stamp :) That's MY excuse anyhow!

Right, let's move onto this weeks picks:

Val makes some fabulous cards using die cuts, this is just one example - perfect way to use snippets and so elegant!

Anne is another playmate who uses die cuts so beautifully. If you look closely, this is actually four triangles used to make the background - absolutely gorgeous!

We all love a bit of whimsy and this card made by Hazel caught my eye. Partly because of the great use of a LOTV Art Pads topper with such appropriate backing snippets but also the cute twist of the bike shaped paper clip :)

I love the simplicity of Sue's card - everything about it is just beautifully balanced (and those SU 'Work of Art' stamps just shot even further up my wish list!).

I'm always on the lookout in the Playground for great ideas to show you for using up various snippets in one fell swoop - and this week Elizabeth ticked the box. Lovely makes my friend!

Mary Anne makes some terrific cards, and I gather she's also friends with Carol L. My guess is that they don't live too far apart and also they have the same sense of humour :) I love this card, Cocoa the Mouse is a perfect addition to a lovely make!

And, as if to prove my point, Carol hopped in later with this great card - using a stamp set borrowed from Mary Anne :) Not many of us playmates live close enough to one another to share our goodies like that. Although, Mrs A isn't far from me of course and we plan to meet up later this week - yay!

Sam made a fabulous upcycled box - absolutely loads of gorgeous embellishments and snippets used too. Do go and peek for more photos!

Darnell came to play, fresh from a little blogging break, with this card above. It's great as it is but just wait until it opens:
Voila - it's a heart! Now how clever is that then?

So that's this last week's picks, every single entry - picked or not - was fabulous girls!

We had no new playmates, in fact I was stunned that as many as 60 peeps joined in. Mwah!

And now for the weekly draw, we had on offer the Darice Snowflake Swirl embossing folder and also a Woodware Corner Rounder punch - and the winner is:

That's brilliant Sue! For those who don't know, Sue plays along with us loads and yet, having just checked back in my little notebook, it's 45 weeks since she last won a prize. I do think that Mr Random comes up with such fair results! I do need you to remind me of your snail mail address please Sue ( and the prize will be en route to you ASAP. Congratulations!

This coming week's prize is of course linked to my own snippets card:
It's the MFT Die-namics 'Notebook Edge' die. I know that since I first used mine a while ago I've seen a few other cards made by playmates using this die. The beauty of it is that, unlike another one by MFT, you can make the size of the notebook sheet as wide or narrow as you wish - IMHO :) PLUS, there's also one of the LOTV 'Here Comes Annabel' pre-coloured Art Pads which has 30 images in (three of each of 10 designs). Of course I adore the little scallywag hanging upside down in the tree and here's a peek at some of the other designs:
There's also a little girl carrying a saddle (perfect for horse riding peeps) - and the bottom image of Annabel playing 'camping out' in the above photo is one not yet out in stamp form.

As usual, the snippets challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 26th July and will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be the winner of the prize. And of course, if you're only interested in one or other of the items, then feel free to say so as well.

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Also, it's week two for the Penny Black 'Soft Wings' butterfly stamp draw. Remember there are three of them on offer and all you have to do to be in with a chance is to enter a total of three times, over last and this current week. That's not three per week - just three spread between the two week although you can of course enter three times each week if you like :) In fact, according to my calculations we have seven peeps who have already qualified. Of course, even if you didn't play last week - three entries this week will still make you eligible for the draw.

When you add your third entry, if you want to be in the extra draw (which I'll do this coming Saturday 26th July) for the butterfly stamp just leave me a comment or add a 3 after your name on the third entry. I won't be checking right through and counting entries so do remember to let me know if you qualify please.

Have a great week!

Di (and a wave from Parsnip)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saturday Supper - Warm Pak Choi, prawn and lentil salad

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, this one is just perfect for the current warm Summer evenings we have here:
Warm Pak Choi, prawn and lentil salad

Serves 4

180g cooked large king prawns
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
30g pack fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 limes, zest and juice of 1, and 1 cut into wedges
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
2 x 410g tins green lentils, drained and rinsed
2 x ripe and ready to eat avocados, peeled, stones removed and sliced
200g pack radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 small heads of Pak Choi, ends trimmed

Put the prawns, ½ the chopped chilli, ½ the coriander, the zest of 1 lime and ½ the juice in a bowl. Stir together gently and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, remaining chilli and coriander (reserving some to garnish), honey and the remaining lime juice together.

Put the lentils, sliced avocados and radishes in a large bowl, then stir through the soy dressing.

Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan, then stir-fry the pak choi for 1-2 minutes until just wilted. Add the prawns along with the marinade for a minute to heat through.

Divide the lentil salad between 4 bowls, top with the prawns and pak choi and serve garnished with the remaining coriander.

Things I do: For a start, I forgot to sprinkle some chopped coriander over the salad before taking the photo :) But, on a more serious note, yet again I think this recipe needed adjustment - either we're very piggy or there is a serious under estimate of the amount of prawns.

I doubled the quantity of prawns and halved the amount of all the other ingredients, as this was a meal for two. And it was just right! Had also prepared some Thai fragrant rice in advance and left it keeping warm - a perfectly delicious meal and (apart from the preparation of course) it all comes together really fast.



Friday, 18 July 2014

Just because I felt like it

............that's why I made this card:

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank, tent style

- backing paper from Wild Rose Studio's 'Always and Forever' paper pack

- a snippet of black 'spiders web' trim

- a silk and organza flower, ages old and probably Prima

- a couple of black feathers

- die cut 'enjoy' from the Penny Black 'Hooray' set, kindly given to me by Sarn

- one black pearl as a dot above the letter 'i'

And there you have it, a card for no reason - just because I felt like it :)