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 :)


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Hunting for sequins

The current challenge over at Merry Monday is 'Sequins'.

Somehow, somewhere, I just knew I had some sequins from long ago so went into full ferret mode in the craft room. Out came the sewing goodies - no luck. Drawers were searched - no luck. And then I decided to look in the box where I store pearls and gems. And there I found some little boxes with 18 little compartments in each containing small embellishments, teeny pegs, large non-adhesive gems, google eyes etc. etc. AND, lovely shiny sequins! Yay! Goes to show that this place is really much more organised that I thought :)
I used:

- 5" x 5" square white card blank

- a slightly smaller piece of gold mirri card

- a slightly smaller again piece of white card stock, die cut using a Memory Box 'Large Circle Burst' die which was adhered to the gold card using thin sticky pads

- the white centre of the 'circle burst' was then stamped using a dotty circle 'Paper Smooches - Potpourri stamp set' and a gold ink pad before being set flat inside the circle burst

- a circular sentiments topper from Craftwork Cards was just popped in the centre of the stamped dotty circle, using sticky pads

- finally, those all important gold sequins - just a sprinkle in opposite corners, using Glossy Accents as glue

A couple of points, first of all, I did find that the Memory Box die kinda 'bows the card outwards a bit' - am sure this is due to the design rather than operator error - and so I used sticky pads to fix that panel to the card and quite like the effect.

Secondly, I know I had spotted a couple of folk using the same die but the idea for the dotty stamped centre came from Rebecca of MellyMoo Papercraft (LOVE that blog name!)

And of course, I made a second one the same whilst at it!

Edit: Hazel prompted me that this card is also in line with the theme of 'Glam it up' over at her Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge. At the time time I'm also joining in Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for July. 

Also, Carol pointed me in the direction of the latest Simon Says Stamp challenge, which is 'spots and dots' - so I'm hopping over there to play as well, especially as I used the Paper Smooches 'Potpourri' stamp set.