Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday Feast - Pork fillet with Stilton and mustard sauce

This pork dish has loads of flavour and it's a great way to use up any Stilton you have lurking in the fridge, but any blue cheese will do. It's yummylicious - another big word I just made up :))

Pork fillet with Stilton and mustard sauce

Serves 4

50g/2oz butter
1 tbsp oil
2 x 350g/12oz pork fillets (tenderloins), cut in half
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
100g/4oz Stilton
142ml carton double cream
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy based frying pan with a lid and stir in the thyme. Add the pork fillets and brown all over. Put the lid on, turn down the heat to the lowest it will go and fry very gently for 20-30 minutes until tender.

While the pork is cooking, cut the Stilton into slices - don't worry if it crumbles a bit. When the pork is done, remove from the heat and arrange the slices of cheese on top of the pieces of pork in the pan. Put under a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Take the meat out of the pan and put on a plate, cover with foil and keep warm while you make the sauce.

Put the meat juices over a high heat and bring just to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the mustard and cream. Cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce has slightly thickened. Slice each piece of tenderloin and put onto four plates, then spoon the sauce around it.

Things I do differently: my frying pans are all non-stick (shame on me for not having all-singing-all-dancing copper bottomed steel frying pans as professional cooks do but I can't be trusted!). So, I transfer the meat to an oven proof roasting pan before either whipping it under the grill or even popping it into a hot oven to melt the cheese.It's easy to then remove the meat and return the juices to the frying pan.

Dijon mustard works well if you don't have wholegrain mustard, creme fraiche would be a healthier alternative to the double cream too. The last time I cooked this I almost bought white Stilton with apricots in to ring the changes - might do that next time as this recipe is another favourite here.

Finally, although I only use one fillet for the two of us, I do make the full whack of sauce :)) This is lovely served with most vegetables, new potatoes and green beans are good in the Summer and even the full-Monty of roast potatoes and Winter greens during colder months.



Thursday, 29 September 2011

Christmas trees and bling!

A new stamp set just fell into my paws at Ally Pally on Sunday so of course I had to have a little play :) I love the sentiment in this Woodware set and can see it be used to bits in the run-up to Christmas:
I made just two cards - running out of suitably coloured really large pearls and gems to ring the changes. It was good fun exhilarating (today's big word) playing with the 'bling combinations' to make these and I'll be making more once I manage to get time to nip into HC and look at what they have. Small buttons would look good too but I don't have the right sizes and combinations of colours of those either - at the moment :)

I used:

- 7" x 5" card stock, white for the pink bling and cream for the brown bling

- Edges embossed with single lines

- Woodware Clear Magic stamp set - 'Christmas Bubble Tree' - for the tree and sentiment, stamped using Brilliance 'Pearlescent Ivy'

- Trunk of tree coloured with 'Olive' Pro Marker

- a mixture of pearls and gems - from my stash

Easy to make - and no doubt a large sized stamp to post - will I never learn?!


Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Oi Mr Blogger - what's going on?! I just lost half a posting!! I'm well and truly pixielated off (tee, hee, I made that long word for today up - but it almost expresses how I feel right now).

On my desk this week are some absolutely gorgeous handmade goodies from the lovely Bernie. Mr Postie arrived yesterday with a BIG package from the USA containing lots of useful bits of stash, stamps, ribbon, toppers and loads of other stuff - you name it. But, the highlight has to be these:
How totally gorgeous! Top is the lovely birthday card, so delicate and beautifully made. Bottom left is a lollipop - but, look closer! It's actually a tea light and also a fab idea for stocking fillers this Christmas - I'm going to ask Bernie to put how she did it on her blog here. And, the 'piece de resistance' at front right is the most beautiful altered tin (containing choccies too!)The precision is amazing and it must have taken ages to make. And, everything is pink!! So, I'm well and truly 'pickled tink'!!! Thank you so much Bernie :)

And, ahem, you can actually see some of my desk top to the right!
Before anyone spends time wondering - the blue 'gizmo' to the right of the phone is a battery operated stapler. It's a throwback to my working days when I had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and just holding a hairbrush was sooooo painful. A neat little op. sorted that out thankfully but it made Elf and Safety sit up pronto and one gadget they obtained was the stapler. You just stick the sheets in so they trigger a sensor and 'whizz-bang' it automatically staples - fascinating to watch all the cogs as the sides are clear plastic. I kept it when I left, naughty me!!

Ho, ho - the fork is still there from last weeks 'teensy bow' making exercise - my OH spotted it the other day and I heard him muttering 'Is nothing in this house sacred' as he wandered off shaking his head in despair. He's out right now and doesn't know I've just been measuring a chrome vegetable trolley which currently holds cleaning materials but would be wonderful for craft stuff - and guess what, it would fit beautifully under my curved desk where there seems to be a lot of wasted floor space :))

Also to the right is a little pile of LOTV stamps from Ally Pally - I need to stamp some for Sarn and also some for the friend I went to AP with. And the new from AP holly leaf punch is also to remind me to stamps some leaves for Sarn as well.

Almost out of the photo on the left hand side there a little piece of yellow. That's the cute little Good Luck Bear that Annie sent me a good while back. Trust me, he's been sleeping under my pillow this week when Annie's daughter M was so ill after giving birth to the twins. Thankfully she seems on the mend now and hopefully it won't be long before she's back home and settling down to family life with the new babies.

So that's my offering - the sun is shining here, the temperature is rising and it's too nice a day not to have some washing out on the line. Then, it'll be time for the weekly snoop - to join in and see what everyone else is up to, hop over to Julia's here.

Happy WOYWW!


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The latest from Annie about M and the babies

plus some photos. Each day is bringing an improvement - skip over here to Annie's blog and have a look, I defy you not to be moved!!


There's deer in them thar woods

...and a bit of snow before Christmas if you believe the forecasters :( And, did you know that 'chionophobia' is the fear of snow? Today's long word :))

I loved nothing more than seeing deer in the fields when I used to do the daily commute to London from Hampshire - especially if there was snow in the fields. So, yesterday at Ally Pally a little deer/roe stamp just skippety skipped into my bag - my purse in fact once I'd paid for it as it's tiny and easily lost! Ha, so is my purse tiny after Ally Pally!

I've been playing around a bit making a couple more Christmas cards, both the same:
The image was stamped, trees first and then the deer with the aid of my trusty stamp positioner. Covered in double sided sticky film and coated with glitter similar to Glamour Dust but less fine I think - and a lot cheaper (I'm rationing the Glamour Dust!).

I just have to tell a little tale before I list the 'ingredients' - men always borrow craft stuff - right? Has your OH ever borrowed your Cuttlebug though? Mine has, today - right?! :) The shower saga continues and the fancy silver strip needed adjusting round the curved shower tray. To hold it in place someone was hunting for something heavy - quickly before the adhesive set. I offered my services but he decided I couldn't stand still for long enough on top of the strip (cheek!) so it was 'Cuttlebug to the rescue' until he went and found a chunk of wood and half a paving slab!

I used:

- 6" x 6" white square card stock

- Lines embossed round three sides (not under where the ribbon goes)

- White and silver card from my snippets

- Hobby Art 'Tree Scene' stamp - I've had this for about a year

- Deer/roe from what I think was Serendipity at Ally Pally - I was losing the will to live by then, my little trotters were hurting, I was about ready to go home (or lie on the floor where I was!) so it really was a last minute 'chance find' and meant to be!

- Sentiment from a Christmas Tree Woodware Stamp set, which I'd also indulged in - oops.

- Maroon striped organza ribbon also from Ally Pally - wish I'd bought more needless to say

Another two for the Christmas store - it's a slow process :(

I hear the playground gates are closing early again this week (midnight on Thursday) so am determined to at least enter something into Jules Crafty Snippets Challenge Week 38.  In fact, I spent ages looking for slightly muted silver mirri card in my stash and the snippets came up trumps. What a favour Jules has done and it'll teach me to rootle through the snippets folder first EVERY time!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Great news!

Just read a text from Annie - M has been transferred back to the maternity hospital! Still under close observation but medication being reduced - and I think Annie might be back at home in her own bed tonight - no doubt exhausted but she sounds so relieved. I think a few of us will sleep better tonight! 

Edit: Have just seen update from Jo - here!!  ))


18th Birthday card

Latest news from Jo about Annie, M and the babies. Things are much brighter, so it looks as if each day is bringing an improvement, those positive vibes are still needed though my lovely friends! Link to Jo's latest update of yesterday is here.

Saturday was the 18th birthday of a neighbour. He recently passed his driving test but I made a congratulations card with a car on for that. Bit of head scratching here. I did think about a raunchy KennyK image but decided against it :) However, Matt does run discos for events at our local Community Centre and my in-house critic suggested that as a theme. He even found a few ClipArt images for me to think about! Man, is there no limit to that man's talents?!
I used:

- A5 white linen card stock

- ClipArt image with the computer produced sentiment underneath and printed onto white card 

- dark blue backing card

- backing paper from a free paper set by Kirsty Wiseman (Crafts Beautiful ages ago)

- music note peel offs from my stash, coloured with Black Pro Marker

- Josy Rose nail heads

- and Sarn came galloping to the rescue with the numbers. Recently she sent me a selection of die cut numbers etc. so I could check out the fonts for myself before launching into buying any dies and the 18 came from the Olivia numbers she'd sent - I didn't even need to colour them. Thanks Sarn - a lifesaver!!! I was so pleased the way the numbers echoed the swirls on the main image :)

I'm recovering from Ally Pally so it's going to be a quiet day ahead here.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

Saturday's update about M and the babies

Jo has just posted another update here. Progress is slow but the situation seems much more stable and Nannie Annie is certainly earning the title Super-Gran - also, M has seen the babies today :)


Gift Angel Christmas Card

It's Rudolph Day tomorrow and I'm actually a day early - rarely ever early for things, normally screeching in at the last minute :)

I've had this stamp for a while now, bought on offer from The Handy Hippo just after last Christmas. I coloured the image first and thought about the papers afterwards, not usually a good move for me :(

I stamped the image and then masked it using Woodware Magi-film, as shown here (I love that stuff!!!), before colouring the sky with TH Faded Jeans Distress Ink and a duster brush. After colouring the image with Pro Markers I then sat gawping at it for a couple of days - procrastinating (thanks Dee for using today's long word in a recent email!!) - about what to do next. Thankfully some new Christmas backing papers arrived in the post, I spotted the cute little hearts on a background of muted holly (it looked to me a bit Scandinavian) and then I was on a roll :)

At the same time a new MS PATP set arrived (Aspen Snowflakes), one I've wanted for ages - on offer at Samuel Taylor's so it would have been rude not to buy it. Fabby punch which I just used straight for the white edging strip before running it through the Cuttlebug using one of my fave embossing folders. I think it was about the first one I ever bought.

All the white, red and dark green card came out of my snippets folder so I'm entering the card into this weeks snippets challenge over at Jules'.

Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 37

I'm also entering it into:

Phindy's Place - Challenge #73 - Opposites on the Colour Wheel  - mine are red and green

I used:

- 6" x 6" white card stock

- Stampendous 'Gift Angel' stamp, coloured with Pro Markers. Almond - skin, Ruby Red and Berry Red - scarf, hat, mitts and parcel, Black - boots and parcel, Canary - parcel, Holly and Pine - coat and parcel, Ice Grey 1 - outline of image

- Hero Art little peg stamps - 'Tiny Snowflakes' set - to stamp silver snowflakes in the sky

- DecoArt Glamour Dust to add twinkle to the angel's wings, hat and the stars

- Ice Stickles 'Crystal Ice' - a blob squeezed onto paper and picked up with a soft brush to add sparkle to the snow - I never use Stickles straight from the bottle, neither of us can be trusted!

- Red card, cut using a Nesties scalloped die, behind the image and also a square behind the patterned paper - from snippets

- Patterned paper by Marianne Design - 'Merry Little Christmas' set

- Craftwork Cards Christmas sentiment

- Lacy strip of white card - punched with MS Aspen Snowflakes punch and embossed - from snippets
- Leaves punched using MS punch, flowers using X-Cut 3d punch and emboss - topped with green Josy Rose nail heads
- dark green organza bow using ribbon from my stash and the bow maker I've had for ages :)

I made two the same - am playing catch up now before panic sets in!!

Hope you have a great weekend! Ally Pally for me tomorrow :))


Friday, 23 September 2011

Hot off the press - news from Twiglet about Annie, M and the babies

Link here  to Jo's blog

Go Grannie Annie - I bet she shook a few people out of the trees when they tried to send the babies out of hospital! Annie for our next Prime Minister - she'd soon sort 'em out :))

Keep those vibes going!


Friday Feast - Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup

Firstly, no further news from Annie about M. Last I heard, Annie was about to drop with tiredness so let's hope no news is good news and she's catching up on some sleep. I was so touched yesterday by the number of you lovely bloggers who called in here and then immediately leapt straight out across to Annie's to offer your positive vibes to her. Feedjit was showing up folk a bit like little frogs hopping across lily pads in a pond. You're all stars!!!

EDIT: Just spotted an update from Jo, Annie's sister here. You still need everything crossed but it looks like light at the end of the tunnel.

I love Minestrone Soup (or Mister Stroney as a young neighbour used to call it years ago). She lived over the road and spent a lot of time cooking, crafting and generally playing over in our house. If I didn't answer the front door right away she used to open the letter box and call asking to come in to play :) The house was open-plan so there was no hiding place when Samantha had her heart set on an afternoon with Auntie Di! She's now all grown up with a family but hasn't forgotten those fun times.

A few years ago I found this recipe, which can be made with much more alacrity (ha, ha - today's long word!) than proper Minestrone, and I think it tastes pretty good if you haven't got the time and energy to really get chopping, soaking beans and cooking! It's great on a Winter's evening :)

Tomato and Cannellini Bean Soup

Serves 3-4 - or two if you have a chap who goes back for more!

1 tablespoon sunflower oil (I use olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 ham or vegetable stock cubes
50g spaghetti
410g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons pesto sauce

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion and bacon to the pan, then cook over a medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until the onion has started to soften.

Add the canned tomatoes, stock cubes and 1 litre boiling water to the pan, and bring to the boil. I make up the stock beforehand so that the cubes are already dissolved. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Break the spaghetti into short pieces and add to the pan, then add the cannellini beans. Bring the soup to the boil, then simmer it, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes or until the spaghetti is just cooked. Stir in 1 tablespoon pesto, then season to taste.

Ladle the soup into warm serving bowls and spoon the extra pesto on top. Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread.

In the photo above, the dollop of pesto looks a bit unappetising - it needs to be gently stirred in, or you can omit it of course. But, I was trying to take the photo with a Hungry Horace hovering in the background :))

Things I do:

Firstly, this soup can be frozen but as it's so quick and easy I'm not sure that's worthwhile unless you have some left over of course - absolutely NO chance of that here. I used to cook a huge vat of minestrone and freeze it, but that's because it was so fiddly to make.

I don't make my own pesto very often - in fact a supermarket 'own brand' does the trick nicely for this recipe.

Although the recipe says to use broken up spaghetti I much prefer those little pasta shell that are just the right size for soup. Huh, Dumbo here forgot to buy any so had to use spaghetti - it's just as good but MUCH easier to dribble a bit down your front :)) And, of course it always lands on a clean top - known as Murphy's Law!!

Oh yes, sometimes I substitute canned flageolet beans for the cannellini beans - it depends what's to hand really.

Oh, yippee - I see Mr Blogger has reverted to the old way of showing photos enlarged so you can usually click a second time and have a really close smells available as yet though :)



Thursday, 22 September 2011

Update from Annie

Have just had a couple of texts from Annie, and her blog has been updated. M is now breathing on her own, blood pressure still needs to be stabilised but it's brighter news. Babies doing fine. Link to Annie's post is here.

Keep those positive vibes/prayers and thoughts going!


No crafting from me today, I don't have the heart - but your positive thoughts are needed

So many of us have followed Wipso's blog postings about her daughter M's pregnancy and we rejoiced with her about the arrival of twins Lexi and Sam on Tuesday morning.

M is now very ill and needs all your love, prayers and positive thoughts - here's Annie's posting.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Caramba! Wednesday again and time to show and snoop. Huh, the new Blogger photo enlargement does give a slide show I agree, but you don't get the chance to REALLY enlarge a photo for a jolly good nosy :( Unless anyone knows differently, and no, I ain't got time to cut, paste into a document and then enlarge that many images when I'm blog hopping. Speaking of desks, this is the state of play here - and I had trouble loading the photos and can't get rid of the blank space above this posting - thanks again Mr Blogger:
I've dug out my favourite wood mounted Christmas stamps (are you banging your head on the desk yet?). Sorry, but I ain't a fast crafter so need to get my a*se in gear act together if I'm not to be caught out running late on card making for Christmas - The Crafty Elf frightened me into action, along with a few other bloggy friends:) So, now I have a constant reminder leering at me from my little shelf unit.

Onto the desk - ahem, pretty clear for me to the right hand side. Ha, let's just hope I get all the junk removed from our bed before this evening!
Still got the little red/pink glitter tray there as I'm making sparkled snowflakes and poinsettias whenever the mood takes me so I have a little stock of them to hand. And what's a fork doing there - have I been scoffing whilst crafting? Nope - making bows and the following pictures should explain - firstly using the bow maker so you can see the stages more easily:
Cut a length of your chosen ribbon, thinking about it you could probably keep the left hand end on your roll or full length of ribbon. Take the right hand end over the left hand end.
Tuck what is now the left hand end of ribbon underneath the back of the ribbon and bring it to the front over the top and tie a single knot. Result!
The front part of the bow is now facing away from you, just slip it off the pins of the bow maker. So far, so good. In truth, a bow maker is a bit of a luxury and some would say why spend money on one when you can tie perfectly good bows yourself. Well, this way does give you a lovely bow every time, it's quick and easy, the 'tails' hang down perfectly and I refuse to feel guilty about having a few tools to make life easier or the results a bit better.
But, teensy little bows can be a nightmare to make no matter how skilled you are. I need some for a card or three I have in mind and I suddenly remembered this little tip that I'd used in the past - I originally saw it on a craft show on the 'Tee Vee' and it's great if you're not very dexterous (hee, hee, got the big word for today in there!). So, get your narrow ribbon and raid the cutlery drawer for a fork!
Follow the same process as when using the bow maker and cross the right hand bit of the ribbon over the left hand bit
Tuck the 'now left hand bit' of ribbon between the prongs of the fork and bring it through the prongs, over the looped part to the front. Sheesh, I look as if I've got hairy backs on my fingers here. I promise it's just wrinkles in the skin - I've been and checked under a magnifying glass!!!
Tie a single knot, the same as you did on the bow maker bow
And here are the results :)) Have fun - it's almost addictive! 

I'm off now for my weekly hop around your desks. If I'm not there straight away it's just because I do spread it over a couple of days. To join me, go to Julia's here, she looks about to be buried under a pile of scrap stock!!

Happy WOYWW.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Silent Night, Holy Night

What is it about the sweetness of children in the annual Christmas Play? That's the politically correct way apparently of saying Nativity Play :(

I did a stint as an Infant School Governor and the highlight of the year for me was always the Nativity Play. Inevitably someone needed the loo in the middle of the proceedings, angels burst into tears totally overwhelmed by it all and each and every infant craned to see their relatives in the audience - always breaking ranks to wave and sometimes even doing a little twirl or a hop and a skip. Sooooo sweet - I used to be torn between moist eyes and trying to stifle the giggles :)

One year we had a load of amazing sheep costumes, sourced I think from Woolworths, plus a splendid camel costume (although the hump kept 'wibble wobbling' from side to side!). At the dress rehearsal there was such excitement as the little ones were all checked if they needed the loo before being zipped into their sheep costumes, noses were blown - and then the fun began. One little boy idly pulled on one of his 'sheep's ears' and lo and behold - a miracle............a loud 'baaaaaaa' came out of the ear, an additional feature of the costume that had been totally missed in the excitement of getting a bargain! Straight away all the other sheep followed suit of course, each tweaking their ears and rolling round giggling. Finally, order was restored and the Headmistress, made a very stern announcement - 'During the Play I shall have a very LARGE pair of scissors in my pocket. Just one teensy little 'baaaa' and I shall immediately chop your sheep's ears right off!!'.  And, true to her word, the next day just before we had 'Lights, camera, action' - the scissors were dangled in front of the sheep.......who behaved beautifully needless to say :)

So, when I was sorting out Christmas stash to use this year I was delighted to find a LOTV unused stamp from last year, somehow hidden amongst a box of backing papers. It's my very favourite LOTV Christmas stamp and I'd wondered where it was hiding so I set to right away and produced these:
Almost the same but with the background papers reversed and a slightly different snowflake
Close-up of a snowflake
Oh dear, this LOTV image does make me smile - those little spindly legs dangling with her socks hanging off and the rope round her waist!

I used:

- 6" x 6" white card stock

- LOTV stamp 'Angel Gabriel', coloured with Pro Markers. Blush and satin - skin, Pastel Yellow - stars and halo, Sandstone, Mustard and Buttercup - angel's hair - Pastel Blue and Denim Blue - angel's robe and socks, Warm Grey 1 and Warm Grey 2 - shepherd's headdress and socks, Ice Grey 1 (well blended) background and lamb - with a touch of Pale Pink on the lamb's face.

- DecoArt Glamour Dust add twinkle to the angel's wings, halo and the stars - applied by just touching little bits with a Quickie Glue Pen, sprinkling with Glamour Dust...........and then walking round sparkling for the rest of the day! BUT, it's much better and more delicate than chunky blobs of Stickles - for certain things at least

- Blue pearlescent card for matting and also for the top layer of the snowflakes

- Patterned papers from an A5 Daisy and Dandelion 'Penelope and Percy' Christmas paper pack (bought last Christmas)

- LOTV Christmas sentiment, stamped in Pearlescent Blue and then heat embossed

- Seam binding in 'Queen Blue' from The Ribbon Girl - tied into a bow and fastened with a Moonstone Blue Brad - sent to me by Dee
-Snowflakes made from Marianne Creatables Norwegian Snowflake die cuts in white and pearlescent blue, painted with Anita's Gloss and dunked into Twinklets Diamond Dust - fastened together with Moonstone Blue brads, again from Dee (thank you again Dee!!)

I'm entering this into :

Phindy's Place Challenge #73 (although they say it's 72 I think it's actually 73 but it's called Christmas is creeping up on us.......)

And the best thing about today? News that Wipso's little grand children (twins) were born this morning - many congratulations!!!!! For the full news - hop over here to Annie's blog. Big smiles here :))


Monday, 19 September 2011

Playing with new stamps

During the mini clear-up yesterday morning of the devastation in my craft room (today's big word out of the way - and I doubt if I can beat Annie's favourite of carbaminohaemoglobin!!) - I put a few things together ready for use in the near future. I'm a little 'divil' for buying new stamps and not using them for ages, but at least they do stay in my 'new stuff to use' basket as a reminder.

A new Hero Arts stamps set ended up side by side with some gorgeous organza roses which the lovely Dee had sent to me - the roses have been lying on my desk for a few days just being stroked, they're so pretty, on a strip of net backing and the edges twinkled with just a subtle touch of sparkle. Side by side.......and bingo, inspiration struck and this is what I made:

I made two notelets, just changing the 'typed' message. Sometimes, when the inkpads, rocker blocks (yay, thank you soooo much for the encouragement to buy those Sarn, I love them!), background papers etc. are out, it makes more sense to me to make a couple of cards the same or just a little bit different. Especially when the two typed messages were crying out to be used - there's a third one in the set too so plenty of variation.

Dee actually sent me a card some while back with a typewriter on and it brought back more memories than one should admit as I learned to type on one not unlike this little beauty. Hands up those who recall typing to music, and the thrill of whizzing the carriage back to the beginning of the next line :) I was lucky and managed to fill a couple of spare lessons each week with typing classes in my final year at school and it was one of the best choices I ever made. Little suspecting that my career would be in IT and that keyboard skills would be such an advantage, I just joined the class to hear the 'ping' of the carriage return really :)) I'm sooooo shallow!!

I used:

- 5" x 7" cream card stock

- a K & Company Mat pad (the reverse of each sheet of card is plain so great to mix and match 

- Stamps from a Hero Arts clings set called  'My Type'

- toning satin ribbon from stash

- organza rose trim from Dee (which I think came from Wild Orchid Crafts)

That's today offering folks!


Sunday, 18 September 2011

'If nothing ever changed......

.....there would be no butterflies'. I love that sentiment, which came with a 'pre-loved' SU butterflies stamp set. And someone who studies butterflies is known as a 'Lepidopterist'............yay, got today's big word in without any trouble!

As ever, I worked myself into a corner here yesterday and have just done some serious tidying up - and it isn't even 10am yet :) In the process of tidying I came across some backgrounds that I made using the brayer and embossing folders - the post about how I did this is here. In a flash, I just made this:

The background really did all the work - I just stamped the butterfly sentiment and added a butterfly, the body of which I blinged up a bit with self-adhesive gems from my stash - leaving the wings to stay free. The butterfly is one of a few that Lavinia sent me - they're die cut from felt-like material (possibly using a Marianne Designs die?) and are so delicate and pretty.

Another short and sweet one today :)


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Just monkeying around

Not so long ago I came across a pre-loved (for that, read second hand) Quickutz Die Set for sale, called 'Monkey'. Given the influx (can that be today's big word please?) of monkeys, both here and in the homes of a few bloggers I know, I just had to have it of course :)

Great fun to play with, although you need a bit of patience, and I rustled up a few quick notelets:

The cream linen cards are just small, 3" x 3" - given that the monkey's face is only small (for which I used snippets of card). The background paper came with a magazine ages ago. Simples!!

This possibly is my shortest post ever - and maybe my shortest big word too :))

Have a great weekend!


Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday Feast - Leek and Goats' Cheese Flan

This is a scrummylicious (today's big word out of the way!) flan/quiche/tart - quite soft and fluffy - delicious with salad and new potatoes.

Right, that's the sales pitch over - now onto the recipe:

Leek and Goats' Cheese Flan

Shortcrust pastry to line a 22cm flan tin or quiche dish
250g (trimmed weight) leeks, rinsed, dried and cut into 1cm slices (I used three medium sized leeks, well trimmed)
25g butter
100g goats' cheese with herbs, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
142 ml single cream
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and line the flan tin/dish with shortcrust pastry.

Lightly prick the base of the pastry case with a fork, line with baking paper or foil, add ceramic baking beans or dried rice, beans or pasta to weigh the paper down. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove the paper and beans then bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn temperature down to 180C/Gas 4.

Meanwhile, put the leeks and butter in a pan. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and lightly beat. Add the goats' cheese, cream and liquid from the leeks. Beat lightly together with a fork and season to taste.

Put the drained leeks into the flan case, pour over the cream mixture and bake for 25 minutes until set and golden.

Things I do: Generally I make my own pastry using the quick/throw it all in method in my food processor, but always have some JusRol frozen sheets of pastry in the freezer on standby. Due to the shenanigans here over the plumbing and water being turned on and off I used frozen pastry when I made this on Tuesday :)

You can't always find goats' cheese with herbs in, this recipe is fine made with ordinary goats cheese and either a pinch of dried herbs or maybe fresh chopped thyme or sage - both go well. Whatever floats your boat!


The plumbing still isn't finished - but we now have isolation valves and a ruddy big hole (well, about 8" x 10") cut into the landing wall. For once it was good to have a partition wall to play with which meant the shower tiles have been undisturbed. The funny thing is, the hole will be fitted with a special inspection cover and then I plan to hang a mirror or a picture over it.....always thinking ahead when the devil drives!! Bit like the aristocracy really with a wall safe hidden behind a picture - 'cept in our case it's a bit of pipework and a couple of isolation valves. Story of my life really.

Friday again, and the weekend beckons - hope it's a good one, whatever you have planned :)


Thursday, 15 September 2011

Harumph! So who closed the playground early?

Oh boy, I almost got caught out - to my consternation (today's long word) Jules is closing 'Jules Crafty Snippets Challenge' early this week, at midnight today in fact!! I'm amazed she finds the time, on top of everything else she does, to hop round our blogs and post a really lovely round-up every Sunday - so this card is very much tongue in cheek:
The realisation that I might miss playtime sent me scurrying for my folder of snippets pronto! I'd also been inspired by Jules to do some paper piecing once again - so when I came across this GorJuss Girls stamp called Little Miss Attitude I just had to make this card and dedicate it to Jules, after all - she's got little hearts on her dress and in her hair :)) Not that I'm saying it's anything like Jules you understand, much more like I was on Monday when everything was going 'bum over boobs' wrong. And also, just the way a little monster might be if her playground was being closed early for once :)

So, if you aren't already in a flap, screeching 'I'm late!', and diving for your snippets - this is what I used:

- 6" x 6" plain white card stock
- GorJuss girls stamp - 'Little Miss Attitude' dress paper pieced with a snippet
- Pro Markers - Satin and Blush (skin), Ginger, Burnt Orange and Chestnut (hair),  Powder Blue (stockings), Cobalt Blue (stockings, shoes, hair slides, hearts and edging on dress)
- All other papers and lace border (cut using a Martha Stewart punch) from snippets
- Punched flowers and leafy branches from snippets
- Little flat backed pearls from stash
- Spotty ribbon from stash

Phew - made it! Now all I have to do is forget to link this to Jules Crafty Snippets Challenge Week 36 and then the pose here will certainly be exactly like Little Miss Attitude :)

Hope you have a great time at the Art Festival Jules!


Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Another Wednesday already - and the day we all get a chance to snoop around the desks, floors, beds and trays of crafters joining in with WOYWW. This is my desk as I walked back into the craft room this morning:
Reasonably tidy with bits and pieces I'm playing with. At the back is a daylight lamp - a birthday gift on Monday, I love it!! At the front though is the green 'humpy' cutting mat, the promised glass mat seems to be currently walking here from Kent :(

The little red tray contains red poinsettias already disassembled ready to be covered in Diamond Dust (I posted the white ones here). Just to the left of the red tray is a white SD card reader (also from the Birthday Fairy). My laptop does have an SD card reader but the spring mechanism has become a bit unreliable (overworked I suspect) and the new little gizmo is a super little invention. Just this week I told someone struggling with their SD card slot about it - you plug it into a USB port and then slot the SD card in - so if your SD card slot becomes unreliable all is not lost as this is a great solution :) Some folk might use one of these gizmos anyway if they don't have an SD card slot of course.

The three sets of tweezers had been borrowed by Len - another raid on my crafting tools and goodies:) He's very good though and always returns what he borrows!

To the right of the green cutting mat there's a little pile of charity shop jewellery which will be chopped up and used at some point in the future. Then, in front of that little pile some gorgeous Joanna Sheen stamps from my lovely friend Karen - I can't wait to use these :)

Finally, centre back of the green mat, I stopped prevaricating (today's big word!) and made a couple of cards using the TH distress inked block pattern paper I showed here last week. These are they:
On the one above, just a simple Hero Arts flower stamp and a stamped sentiment.
On this one, a Tim Holtz stamp with a scroll underneath, some bakers twine, butterfly charm from the lovely Dee and a Whimsy tag.

A little hint about wrapping bakers twine round cards - so that it doesn't slip around, measure where you want it to be wrapped and make little pencil marks on the edge of the card (I did this on the back). Then, using a very small hole punch - I used one that's one sixteenth of an inch - punch half circles at each measured point. You'll then have four (or whatever number you're working to) little notches which will hold the twine in place. I'm always hesitant about offering hints in case they seem glaringly obvious but it's worth a shot!

I used:

- C6 and 6" x 6" plain white card stock

- Black backing card to frame
- Pre-stamped background using TH distress inks, perspex block and misting spray - how I did this is on last week's WOYWW posting
- Stamps - Hero Arts stamp from the Watercolour Petals set, Best Wishes sentiment stamp by Stampendous (the stamp is dated 1994 and I've had it for donkeys years), Eclectic Palette stamp by TH, scroll stamp from The Girls Paperie set with tailors dummy etc. (number GP65016)
- Bakers twine and butterfly charm from my stash
- Whimsy tag stamped and then die cut with Whimsy die (I keep a few of these ready made as they're a bit of a fiddle to make)
That's me for this week - the plumber did call round as promised yesterday and the job will be done this afternoon, Len no longer has yellow eye whites and calm has been restored :) Thank you all who left lovely comments and birthday wishes yesterday :))
So, now it's time to hop over to Julia's and see what everyone else is up to. Have a fun day!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Diary of a perfect day!

Where do I begin!?

3am - Nudged gently by Len when I stir - leak in shower in main bathroom

4am - unable to sleep - worrying and talking in the dark, as well as checking said leak :(

5am - the time I was born, early in the day and late for most things ever since, make us a cup of tea each (so where was the Birthday Fairy then, checking the flipping drip!) and hop back into bed to sleepily open birthday cards and gifts

6am - Len gets ready for the day and I hop into shower wondering what the h*ll is going on........... before he turns the water off

7am - look at blog and post today's blog post having taken photos half asleep using new daylight craft lamp - I love it and am so thrilled with gifts from Len, my oh so knowing friend Karen and other friends - but also numb as to what seems to be unfolding. Feel bad that some lovely bloggy friends asked for my birthday and I evaded the question - only 'cos I don't want to be a bother, I'd be hopping if they didn't tell me their birthdays! Sorry :((

8am - phone plumber and promised a visit at 2pm

9am - breakfast of bacon roll and coffee - consumed by two bewildered sleepy faces

10am - see lots of lovely messages on Face book from friends and emails too, it seems surreal - rictus grin settling in - am I already losing the plot?

11am - Len has phone consultation with doc re. eye problem - whoosh, feet don't touch the ground and he's off to the docs' surgery ( don't phone consultations just make you wanna laugh - err hello - 'just bend over in front of the receiver and I'll diagnose if those are heaps of trouble - ie. piles - or not')

Noon - Len home with appointment to go to hospital later this afternoon for check of problem. Me still trying to be normal and sticking inserts into cards and packing them

1pm - postman calls with more cards, my order from Handy Hippo (yay, all is not lost!!)  plus nice cheque from Inland Revenue with Tax Refund - OK, my money I know so why get excited but useful little pocket money I hadn't expected for Ally Pally :)

2pm - no sign of plumber - man, more wet towels for the washing machine
- when I can run it of course!! We do have water again BTW if you wonder how we're flushing the toilets etc!! I carry on crafting and kind of tidying some stash away - just fiddling around really

3pm - phone plumber's mobile to say we have to go out and will miss him if he comes around - no reply and so left message on answering service

4pm - at hospital, in my  little car as Len not allowed to drive afterwards. More than once on that journey I slow right down and threaten to make him walk - he hates me driving and I also think is embarrassed to be seen in my little silver 'girlie' sports car - I tell him to put his shades and a baseball cap on at one point, shame on me!! Park and head to eye clinic - massive, HUGE, detour through hospital grounds as building work in progress, me all the while praising those who look over us that he wasn't on crutches therefore meaning I might have to piggy back him. Then, poor sausage, I make him scrub hands at each Spirogel station as don't want to come home with more than we went in with - oh man, I need to lie down

4:30 - 6pm - waiting, waiting - but, in the end thankfully a good outcome, just PVD not a detached retina - jumping for joy (I am at least, as am also longing for the loo!)

6pm - huh, I NOW have Shrek for company as we toddle back to the car! Complete with his yellow eye whites and blinking in the bright sunlight.....the sun decided to come out to play at last! Pay out a fortune for car parking but right now would also throw in an arm and a leg just to get home

7pm - get home to note saying plumber had been delayed and did call at house at at 4:20. WHAT?! Phone plumber and tomorrow is another day - he wishes me Happy Birthday to add insult to injury! Evening ritual at last, sit outside watching the evening draw in, Len safely here in Joe Cool shades (hey, I think he just likes the look now!) and I say it's almost my third worst birthday (number one was being laid up with infection at my teenage birthday of 13 in Singapore in a darkened room, number two was about 16 when return to boarding school happened right on my birthday (it was a wipe out due to leaving home then arriving at school and settling in - not a nice day). I later think this was such a crass thing to say or even think, each birthday is very precious and should be totally cherished whatever happens

8pm - bless, Len says 'Sit down, it's your Birthday' as he prepares pizza from the freezer! :))

10pm - wake from dozing in front of the TV, look around and think 'So what really is so special about a birthday?'. Gently wake Len up, lock up house and toddle off back to bed, VERY tired.........a champagne party would have been a lot easier, but I wouldn't change it :)

Excuse me though - does he really need to sleep in his sun shades?!?! I'm off to sneak those off before I set this to post at midnight ready for tomorrow! I hope I get more time to hop around but if anyone thinks I've been kinda quiet you know why :))


Monday, 12 September 2011

Thank you cards

Funny old day yesterday - my OH went out with his bow and arrows, just a few miles away, and got soaked. I stayed home with some sunshine for company! So, what's a gal to do when left 'Home Alone'? I made a few cards of course :)
These are a couple of the thank you cards I made and I tried to keep them pretty 'clean and simple'. The strange bit was colouring the image, as it's not meant to be precisely coloured within the lines, and that went against the grain a bit for me :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" plain white card stock
- Hero Arts Stamp - 'Garden Flowers Sketch' (I've had this for years!)
- Sentiment - Elzybells
- Pro Markers - Meadow Green, Leafy Green, Sunflower, Mandarin, Orchid, Amethyst, Carmine
- Embossing folder from the Cuttlebug 'With Love' borders set
- Backing card round the images from snippets
- Spotty ribbon from stash

I really had to eke the spotty ribbon out and only just managed :) I guess most folk will know this one but the easiest way to tie ribbon round a card spine is to tie the knot or bow at the top of the card so you can get some 'purchase' along the top edge - then just ease the ribbon round, gently bending the card if you have to.

We've been up since 3am watching a leak that has developed from the bathroom shower! Thankfully I've managed to find a plumber to come round at lunchtime, although it has put the kibosh on any other plans we had for the day. Still, at least it didn't happen while we were away on holiday:) That would have been most vexatious (ha, betcha thought I'd forgotten today's long word)!!


Sunday, 11 September 2011

I'm whispering - Christmas is sort of under way here.

Yup, unable to settle to much in the way of card production yesterday, I decided to make some embellishments to have stored away ready for making Christmas Cards. Given the mess I make with sparkles everywhere - plus it's seems such a fag lot of extra work to make one embellishment (can that please be today's big word?) at a time - this is what I had a quick play with:
Sparkly Poinsettias
I'd seen the seven minute tutorial for making these pretties on Bev Rochester's Blog here but thought it was such a lot of work I'd give it a miss. However, when I already had everything to hand, apart from some moonstone brads which I swiftly obtained, it seemed daft not to at least try what seemed in advance a bit like peeing grapes............oh dear, I'm going to leave that typo there, of course I meant peeLing grapes:).

Bev's tutorial is worth a watch if you feel like following suit - and I have to say it was great fun making these and they're not as tricky or time consuming as I'd imagined. They sparkle beautifully in real life too! I don't work fast but they truly were very quick and easy to make. I need to make a few more of these, plus some red ones - quite therapeutic too :)

I'd forgotten to add the spacers behind the brads when I took the photo above, so flushed with success was I, but late last night I carefully removed the brads and added them.

The one thing I did differently to Bev was that I took the top off my bottle of Anita's glaze and used a smallish paintbrush to coat the petals before dipping them into the Diamond Dust. That was much easier and more controllable than holding a layer of petals in one hand and trying to manipulate a squeezy bottle in the other, Also, I tipped some of the Diamond Dust into one of those tray thingies with a little stopper on one end, making it easy to replace the leftovers back into the jar - and I was surprised how little I used too. A prolific card maker like Bev has a whole plastic food container full of the stuff of course :( What I'd do for a basket and ten minutes in her craft room to collect a bit of this and a bit of that!

The Boss is out today - 'playing with bows and arrows' as I call it - but, he said to mention just how delicious the Paupers Pie was that we had last night. We felt more like Royalty - it was sooo yummy! Thanks so much for the recipe Elizabeth - do go here if you fancy seeing what it's all about. As suggested, we had it with fresh crusty bread and tomato salad - def. one for the favourites list :))

Thanks for calling by!


Saturday, 10 September 2011

Birthday card for a man - don't faint clean away!

Out of all the posts on here, only 16 are birthday cards for boys/men, and most of those are for boys rather than men - shame on me! Like so many, I struggle with card for 'chaps' but yesterday was different. I was rootling around in my stash, sighing at so much unused stuff and thinking that I really need to send a lot of my toppers to a charity for use in day centres and such where they would be easy for others to play with. Nothing wrong with a bit of picking up and sticking down - that's probably how most of use started out on this road years ago anyhow :) But, I'm digressing (yay, today's big word!).

In one of several boxes of toppers I found a little packet of shirts I'd already made up - from a kit bought about six years ago. We were on holiday in Gibraltar and came across a little (tiny really) craft shop tucked away in a quiet back street run by an English ex-pat - I think she had the shop mostly for fun rather than profit. I came away with some odds and ends, including a packet containing six 3" x 6" strips of precut paper and a little guide with a hand drawn sketch. It was all just folding with four little snips to finish off - great fun too!

This is the card I made yesterday:
The hardest part was finding the matching stripey background paper - it came from one of those double pages of free papers in the centre of a craft magazine yonks ago. You know, the ones you wonder if you'll ever really use :)

Actually, the really hardest part was not poking at the 'buttons' before the Liquid Pearls dried :))

I used:

- C6 plain white card stock
- Background striped paper, from stash
- Red and white backing card, both from snippets
- Folded shirt - from stash
- Buttons on the shirt - White Opal Liquid Pearls
- Sentiment - Craftwork Cards

I've got the rest of these little babies to use up and, since St Luke's Hospice Charity Card Challenge have listed Male Cards in their most requested cards, I know just where these will be going once I finish playing :) I hadn't realised that St. Luke's was the charity that my late (and much missed) French teacher Betty supported until just the other day - so it seems extra fitting that I've been sending cards to them for their fund raising without even making the connection. Someone up there is still giving me a little nudge now and then :) Right up until our last reunion she was teasingly threatening to give us detention - and I had enough of that at school (yeah, OK, generally for talking too much!).

I've mooched round some of the current challenges and would like to enter this offering to:

Totally Gorguss Challenge #97 - It's a Man Thing

Phindy's Place Challenge #72  - Stripes Somewhere

Hope you all have a great weekend, whatever the weather and whatever you're doing!


Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday Feast - Peggy's Pan Haggerty

My Mum (christened Margaret but always called Peggy) used to hate wash days on the odd occasions we lived in the UK when I was a child. For some reason when we lived back here she always fell into the old Monday washing, Tuesday ironing routine whereas overseas life was much more relaxed and flexible. So, Monday was not a good day over here if the weather was bad - I clearly remember anxiously praying for no precipitation (today's big word) rain on Mondays!

Another reason not to be thrilled about Mondays was the fact that, often for speed, it was generally cold meat from the Sunday joint with something like bubble and squeak or chips (shock, horror!). But, on a cold Winter's day there was nothing lovelier than getting in from school on a Monday to the smell of my Mum's version of Pan Haggerty.  As a 'Northern Lass' this went back to her roots, although most versions include cheese, so this was obviously my Mum's own spin on the dish which is why I've called it Peggy's Pan Haggerty :))

You need to think ahead and save a few slices of the leftover roast beef from the Sunday joint and any gravy - if you have any two-legged mice in the house then hide the beef behind things at the back of the fridge where they can't find it for midnight snacks!!

Peggy's Pan Haggerty


Left over roast beef - sliced (even just four slices can be halved and spread out a bit)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 rashers unsmoked back bacon - chopped into bite sized pieces
3 large potatoes (baked potato size) - peeled and thinly sliced
1 pint hot gravy (this can be part leftover gravy made up to a pint using one or two Oxo cubes - or all Oxo)

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

In a deep casserole dish, layer half the onion, half the beef, half the bacon and half of the potatoes. 

Repeat with another layer of onion, beef, bacon and potatoes.

Add the hot gravy/Oxo stock until the stock is just up to the level of the top layer of potatoes but not covering them.

Pop casserole dish into the oven for approx. 90 minutes. Check it's cooked by poking a pointed knife or skewer down into the lower level of potatoes - the top layer of potato should be crisp and browned.
 Sorry this is all a bit vague, it's one of those dishes you grow up with and sort of cook by instinct. It was only this Monday that I actually took note of quantities and cooking times as I went along! I think you can use corned beef in place of the cold roast beef but I don't recall Mum making this with anything other than cold roast beef.

Happy cooking!


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Introducing 'The Prancing Prickles'!

Recently I was posting on here about the fact that perhaps the hedgehogs need to get a job to pay for their food. That gave rise to some very amusing comments about Boy Bands - then I wondered, what if they were lady hedgehogs. Girl Band? OR, a dance troupe called 'The Prancing Prickles' perhaps?

I think I really do need to get out a bit more - but little cogs began to turn and I remembered a Penny Black stamp that I've had for many years. Yesterday on WOYWW I was squeaking with delight at finally cracking masking (well, almost!) using the amazing Magi-film made by Woodware. So, I played a bit and ended up with this card - it reminds me a bit of the opening scene in 'The Sound of Music':
 And the inside:
Moira commented yesterday about school reunions and our prancing antics - little did she know how close she was to the mark 'cos this card is being sent to a fellow ex-pupil who has just had a hip replacement op. You'll remember Helga (Smith at the time) as the Dancer in the school production of Peer Gynt Moira? She had a walking stick in June at our last reunion and is now sporting a brand new hip:) I went down the same route six years ago and can honestly say it gave me my life back, I felt about 20 years younger after the op. - shame they didn't throw in some work on the face at the same time :)

So, the sentiment 'Dance like no-one's watching' seemed especially appropriate! I love this PB hedgies stamp, it always makes me smile - especially the little one doing a pirouette (sneaked today's big word in there nicely!).

Oh man, I want to enter this into the current Penny Black challenge which is 'Create a Scene' (I only know this from Jules and a couple of other bloggy friends who hop in here) and have just hopped over to check the expiry date. At least one of the DT cards (especially Helen's) also uses a little hill and some sky! At the risk of being disqualified for plagiarism (second big word of the day) I'm still going to enter this card - mostly as it's a luck of the draw challenge, not the actual design and also 'cos I genuinely didn't know. Why me?! I suppose realistically there are only so many scenes you can create :(

So, here goes with the entry anyhow:

Penny Black Saturday Challenge - Week 167

I used:

- C6 plain white card stock
- Image - Penny Black 2361K 'Ecarte, Splits, Pirouette'
- Sentiment - Bella Stamping
- Pro Markers
- Inks - Memento Black for the image and Tsukineko  Brilliance - Pearlescent Sky Blue for the sentiment, Tim Holtz Tumbled Glass for the sky
- Card for the grassy hill from my snippets
- Little flowers punched from snippets and pearly stones for the centres from my stash
Thanks for calling by and for all your lovely comments - mwah!!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Eek, where did last week go to? Wherever it went, it took the sunshine with it :( To brighten ('brighten' can be either a transitive or an intransitive verb - so that's two big words for today!) your day up - it's time for the weekly snoop to see what everyone else is up to. Before I look, I just bet a lot of people will be thinking of Christmas already - this is beginning to worry me! They were even putting out the displays of Christmas chocolates in Sainsburys yesterday for goodness sakes!

This is what's on my desk right now - and it sure ain't Christmas:
I've been despairing over the bunch of Tim Holtz Distress Inks that are much dryer than others say they should be since last week and decided to beat the h*ll out of them have another try. Ahem, think I got a bit carried away and now I haven't a clue what to do with the result so it's being moved from one place to another on my desk whilst I wait for inspiration:( I took each of the driest ink pads in turn, furiously rubbed each pad over a small oblong block, spritzed with water and then stamped a sort of patchwork pattern onto watercolour paper. Quite pretty, but so far totally useless!!!

As I already had inky paws it was time to play with cloud backgrounds and masking images. I'd finally come across Woodware Magi-film last week:
It's great stuff!! Much better than trying to mask using a Post-it, which I found kept flipping up - plus you can see through it which makes aligning over the image you want to mask out a doddle! It's re-usable clear film so if you plan to make a few cards using the same image, keep the backing, replace it after using the mask then store it with the stamp for future use - I'm all for saving time and effort:)

First I stamped the Penny Black hedgies onto white card using Memento, and then onto the Magi-film using Stayzon (it would smudge otherwise I'm sure). The little hedgies were then cut out of the film and are on the bottom of the page above waiting for the backing paper to be peeled off.
This is the image after doing the clouds (I posted about these here) then colouring with Pro Markers and a piece of card I'm playing round with for some grass. As always, I made a boo-boo and didn't trim close enough to the images so ended up with a white outline round them. If you have the same problem and you used Tumbled Glass for the clouds, I found that my 'Cool Aqua' Pro Marker was a help to colour over the white patches and a pretty good match too! Well, a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice I suppose :))

And just in case you think it's all organised and tidy here - a swift swing to the right proves otherwise I think!
The messy basket at the front is full of stuff I've been playing with and have yet to put back into their proper places. The basket behind has unused stuff in for more playing and the plastic box right at the front right has Christmas ribbons and lace in. Sheesh! What am I saying - Christmas?! Nothing for it I suppose but to follow suit and begin in earnest!

Before then, I'm off to make another cup of coffee and have a snoop over at Julia's - see you there! I've just had a peek at her desk and it is the most glorious mess - wonderful stuff!! :))


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A change is as good as a rest

Yesterday I had a little play - the weather was too bad to do much else :) That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

When I showed my in-house critic the results he said 'Love them, very clean and simple. Less is more works'!! Ahem, for ages he's been saying that white backgrounds look too stark, and once I closed my mouth that was agape with shock, I now know he meant white backgrounds behind certain stamped images. And as for using CAS and LIM in his comments, I think that guy has been doing some blog-hopping on the quiet!

This is what I came up with, two cards with the matting card, sentiment stamp colour and ribbons switched:
I used:

- 6" square plain white cards
- Image - Hero Arts stamp from the Watercolour Petals set (fab set BTW!)
- Sentiment - Elzybells
- Blue and green backing card from my snippets (Yay!)
- Inks - Tsukineko  Brilliance - Pearl Thyme and Mediterranean Blue
- Ribbons - from my stash
As I used snippets here, I'm entering this into Jules Crafty Snippets Challenge Week 34 - just in case I don't get round to making the other card I had in mind for this week!
It's p*ssing lashing it down with rain here today - nothing for it but to play some more, oh, and make the Victoria Sandwich cake I've been promising the Boss as a rainy day bit of indulgence. His kind comments yesterday deserve a reward!
If you're sneaking a peek at this whilst at work - your boss has just walked up behind you!! And don't fret 'cos you're as well off there as anywhere today, except your craft room I guess :)
Have a good day!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Happy Birthday Moira!

It's my 'uber bestest friend' Moira's birthday today - whoop, whoop!!!

We got back a loooooong way, met at the age of 13 when we were incarcerated (today's big word)  in sent to boarding school on the generally freezing North coast of Germany.  As we now live such a long way apart we don't meet up very often but it's at least once a year for a long weekend - and it always seems just like it was only yesterday when we'd last met up. That's the way with special friends - you fall straight back into the easy banter right away:)

So, a special friend deserved a special card:
Another easel card and I knew exactly which image to use - being as our meetings do tend to involve a little bit of time celebrating with a drink or three.  Coloured with Pro Markers and twinkled with some touches of Ice Stickles, with some Anita's clear gloss on the glasses.

I got a little bit wicked with the sentiment:
The sentiment was produced on the PC and using this website here to generate the upside down text :) In truth, it's not the best way of doing upside down text as the result isn't a totally accurate flip but I'm running on Ubuntu here rather than Windows and it was going to take me a while to figure out another way of doing it. It works though I think!

This used:

- Background papers from Kate Knight Totally Tropical set (free with Card making and Papercraft magazine)
- Turquoise card by Core'dinations
- Joanna Sheen's 'Cocktail Diva' stamp set
- Pro Markers - Satin (skin), Burnt Sienna (hair), Bright Orange (dress and hat), Soft Green (shoes, cocktails and cocktail umbrella), Lime Green (olives), Burgundy (lipstick).
- Anita's Clear Gloss
- Ice Stickles - Coffee Ice (hat), Mint Ice (shoes)
- Flowers, brads and Card Candi - from my stash

Happy Birthday Moira, hope you have really super-spiffing totally great day!!


Sunday, 4 September 2011

This spying is going too far!

First Misty peering at us through the crack in the fence - and now this!!
Taken by security camera last night - caught red-pawed, Misty's sister Penny having a peek inside the Bosses car! Or, was she more likely looking for bugs and moths fluttering round on the outside of the car window :)

Whatever she was up to, it gave us a good laugh here this morning :))


Saturday, 3 September 2011

One for all my lovely 'blogger friends'

Chirp, chirp! I have my Mrs Happy Knickers head on today :)) The Mrs Grumpy Knickers head has been consigned to the back of my wardrobe - and trust me, that wardrobe needs a darned good sort out, so right now I doubt if she could find her way out again! I hope not as it's not like me to have the blues. In keeping with not having the blues, I'm 'in the pink' instead and just made this card with you all in mind:
It all started off with the gorgeous Teddy Bear stamp that Tammy sent to me when I was bewailing the fact that I couldn't track one down. This was swiftly followed by the sentiment stamp from Sarn! How lovely and generous of both friends - such thoughtfulness is hard to thank properly. The two stamps just had to be used together of course, absolutely made for one another! 

So, I rootled through my stash and decided to use papers from a First Edition pad called 'Sweet Owl'. The lovely thing about these papers is that, not only are a lot of them 'flittered' with sparkle but quite a few of them are double sided with plain toning pinks.

The Teddy and sentiment were stamped using Versafine Vintage Sepia onto mid pink paper (just as a change from white) and I added just a touch of deeper pink to the bow and his little heart with a Pro Marker. Then layered the image onto some coffee paper from the pad. The card background came from the pad and, although it's hard to see, there's a strip of card running behind the image in paler pink with a little floral edge and the other edge punched using MS's Vintage Lace punch. Topped off with coffee coloured ribbon and a bow 'thingy' with a pink pearl brad stuck through the centre. The reason I went for the folding rather than a bow was 'cos it's single sided satin ribbon and, no matter how I tried, I kept getting the wrong side showing somewhere or other. I know there's a knack to this but I just couldn't remember - I tried the 'bunny ears method' and goodness knows what!

The pink hearts were die cut (and for these I did use a tan mat to do the embossing rather than the quick tip of running a rounded embossing tool round the edge of a circle or such) and I added a little Josy Rose silver heart-shaped nail head to the centre of each. Finally I added the flower, which jumped out of my stash crying 'Pick me, pick me!' - just like Donkey in the movie would have been rude not to!

So that's it - I've had my fix of crafting for today and am about to tackle some more mundane things around the house. BUT, remember, this card was made especially with every one of you lovely bloggers in mind - thank you for hopping in here!