Friday, 22 July 2016

Meeting Darnell - Southampton July 2016

I bet loads of you will already have seen Darnell's post HERE about her 'England Grand Tour - Leg 1'. Here's a little bit more to fill in some gaps.

First of all, Darnell is absolutely everything she is on her blog - funny, dry, bubbly, caring, thoughtful and at times just plain crazy! Mrs A and I arrived on Monday at the Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton - by which time our little visitor was settled in and ready to play. We had a lovely afternoon and evening just chilling out in the heatwave (bit of a contradiction there!) on the hotel decking area - and no-one got thrown out for misbehaving. Knew it was a good idea to leave Parsnip at home!

Tuesday dawned hot and sunny once again so we went out for a stroll after breakfast before the heat became too much. The intention was to show Darnell the Mayflower Monument, which commemorates the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower to the New World in 1620.

On the way we passed three of these fellas:
A bit like Bristol did with the sheep, Southampton has loads of differently painted zebras dotted about the town. The building on the right in the background is the hotel where we were based BTW.

I did smile as I remember Julia of WOYWW posting on FB a photo of a truck load of these, white all over and still unpainted, zebras zooming along the motorway - months ago. Obviously getting ready to be prettied up - although at the time no-one had a clue what was going on!

Anyhow, could we heck as like find the monument in Mayflower Park, despite asking the guy in the ice cream kiosk - who just looked blankly at us. We sort of moseyed around with no sighting at all so gave up, and crossed back over the road to walk back to the hotel in the shade. BINGO!! There it was, standing quite shyly back from the road with little in the way of anything to really point you to it!
 Needless to say, that's Darnell clowning around :)
This is a closer look at the top of the monument, with a replica of the Mayflower - very much like a weathervane.

I think we three were almost melting by the time we got back to the hotel, which was really no distance at all!

Then it was time for the 'main event' - lunch for 10 of us. I truly don't think there was ever a lull in the conversations going on - and it was fabulous to meet so many blogging friends actually 'in the flesh'! Most of whom are Snippets Playmates too. I'd already met the lovely Debs a couple of times and of course my buddy and partner in crime Mrs A (usually when we travel to craft shows and wreck display stands! Her best ever was ripping a soap dispenser off the wall in a ladies loo, sigh).

Back Row: Debs WillisChristine SmithAnne RayKim Dear, me, Mrs. A.
Front Row: Sue Steed, Darnell, Jane WillisChrissie Stokes

We had a brilliant time and it was such fun learning more about one another and sharing stories - but all too soon we were at late afternoon and it was time for folk to make their homeward journeys. A few eyes filled up - certainly mine did, more than once!

Whilst waiting for Chrissie to pick Darnell up the following morning to take her over to Salisbury - I managed to snatch this photo of Mrs A and Darnell (she's the one wearing the 30lb back pack!). I just love it!
It truly was a wonderful few days but all good things come to an end.

Those of you who have yet to meet Darnell are in for a treat. Those of you who already met her will no doubt know exactly what I mean when I described her earlier. And those of you who for one reason or another haven't been or won't be able to meet her - I hope that sharing this has made you feel a little bit as if you joined in with us in Southampton.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Smile for the camera please

Another Polroid themed card, two days running I've used this die - I think the owl is a little coy :) I'd like to enter my card into the July CAS Mix Up Card Challenge where the theme is 'Stamping + Markers + your choice'. I chose the additional option of die cutting from the very generous list, although I could have used dry embossing either, and made this card:
I used:

- 4" x 6" white card blank

- a snippet of SU's 'Real Red' card stock for the 'frame', glued onto the card front

- a snippet of white card, embossed using a Cuttlebug embossing folder from the 'Coolio' set of four folders, then glued on top of the red 'frame'

- another snippet of white card, die cut using the Lil' Inkers 'Instant Camera' die and, using the Misti, I then stamped the sentiment and little cluster of hearts using stamps from Newton's Nook's 'Sweetheart Tails' set - and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink plus SU 'Real Red' ink onto the frame

- for some contrast I die cut another instant photo from a snippet of cream card stock and stamped the little owl plus more hearts and some xOxO's

- then coloured the owl and a couple of the hearts using Whispers Marker pens

- assembled the 'photo and frame' then stuck it in place on the card front using thin sticky pads

I love this set of stamps, the sentiments and little critters are so cute! I just know I'll have spotted it initially over on one of your blogs of course :)


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Cuttlebug Mania Challenge - 'Summertime/Enjoy the Summer'

It's time again for a new fortnightly challenge over at Cuttlebug Mania - and the theme this time is 'Summertime/Enjoy the Summer! If nothing else, we're always optimists on the DT, although judging by the current heatwave in the UK perhaps this really IS Summer at last:)

You do have to use a manual die cutting/embossing machine for Cuttlebug Mania entries (it doesn't need to be a Cuttlebug but it must be manual, not electronic). And, you can't mix the two, it must be all manual please. Then make your entry, link into the challenge, link to the challenge in your own blog post and and make sure that you also say what products you used for any die cutting/embossing.

Details of our sponsor can be found over on the Cuttlebug Mania Challenge blog.

I was quite well prepared to make this card, for once! And here's the end result, and I had a real blast making it too:
I used:

- 5.75" x 5.75" square white card blank

- slightly smaller piece of green backing paper from the Carta Bella 'Beach Day' paper pad, glued in place

- using the Lil' Inker's 'Instant Camera' die I cut a white Polaroid frame and then a blue 'inner'. And, as I don't like the teensy little gap between the frame and the 'photo' (OCD again!), I backed the whole frame with more blue card and set it aside

- the paper pad I used had a Polaroid photos image sheet in it - what a result! So, I followed the colours when making up the little scene for the photo 

- for the scene I stamped a palm tree and crab using the Paper Smooches 'Summer Lovin'' stamp set with Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink, coloured them with Pro markers and then fussy cut round them using little Fiskars scissors - and set them aside

- next I die cut the sun and the cloud using the Joy! Sun & Moon set and MFT's 'Cloud Trio' sets of dies, and used the 'Summer Lovin'' stamp set with Memento ''Tuxedo Black' ink to add a smiley face to the sun and then popped them onto the 'photo' scene I was building and snipped the corners away from the back

- then came the 'waves', another little stamp from the same 'Summer Lovin'' set and Brilliance 'Moonlight White ink - which to be honest I did go over with a Signo White roller ball 

- then glued the palm tree in place - and it was taking shape! 

- added a couple of seagulls, using the same stamp set again and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink (anyone spot that the seagulls are flying upside down? I spotted this much later, just before leaving for Southampton yesterday in fact and too late to change so they are in fact acrobatic seagulls -snigger). I then checked the stamp set itself and the acetate is printed the same way up as I used the little stamp. Still think I prefer them the other way up though.

- at that point I used the Misti to position one of the sentiments from this fabulous Summer themed set of stamps and added it to the bottom part of the Polaroid frame making sure I had a nice little gap to the right hand side

- into that gap I glued the darling little crab - as if he's escaping from the photo (anyone who's ever been 'crabbing' will relate to their abilities to escape!) and then added a couple of googly eyes for fun

-  used a half panel of the patterned Polaroid sheet from the same paper pack (the same sheet I'd been using for colour matching) and glued it to the left hand part of the card front, over the lime green layer

- added the Polaroid scene, again using glue - at a jaunty angle

- finally, added three Paper Smooches 'Beach Day' orange Enamel Dots along each right hand corner

This was another fun card to make - even though the flip flops from the stamps set which I really, really wanted to include would have been just too much :( Watch this space kids! A great stamp set for sure, despite acrobatic seagulls!

We'd love to see you over at Cuttlebug Mania, it's a great theme with plenty of scope and the challenge runs for two weeks. ALSO, we're taking a little break over the Summer but will be back with you in September so hope to see you then.

I must confess, I've been quietly almost sobbing here - so many of you have been making the most gorgeous Summer themed cards using dies/embossing folders this past week or two. And I've known that this challenge theme was coming along and of course couldn't say peep. I do hope you'll have another go and join in with us!


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 238

More decent weather this past week - yippee! Here's hoping Summer might just be on the way. The forecast is for high temperatures down here on Monday and Tuesday - which perhaps means that Darnell is bringing the sunshine with her to Southampton :)

Without any more ado, here's my snippets card for this week, and by pure fluke is also fits the current Less is More challenge, which is 'Repetition':
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, tent style

- a slightly smaller white panel for the top layer - but in truth I worked on it while it was a bit bigger. That allowed me to fine tune the measurements and placing of the word 'hello'

- to do that I measured then drew lines across the card very lightly using a soft pencil plus a line down the left hand side to place the word against - the secret to this card is to measure, check, measure and check, along with 'precision'

- then I die cut the word 'hello' three times from the white card, using a die from the MFT Die-namics 'Hello There' set (it also come with the words 'hi' and 'there') - making sure I saved the white die cuts - reason comes later

- next I trimmed the panel to size, just slightly smaller than the card front (evenly on either side and also evenly at top and bottom - remember, the key word is 'precision' when making a card like this as there really is no place to hide). Then added double sided adhesive sheet to the back - which left the apertures with a nice sticky area for inserting the word die cuts

- then die cut the word 'hello' from three  snippets of card (blue, pink and purple) and carefully inserted those into the sticky backed apertures

- from the white die cuts I then needed to pop the white centres of the letters 'e' plus the teensy piece in the centre of the end squiggle on the letter 'o' in place

- glued the panel to the card front

- added three pearlescent sequins using Glossy Accents and called it done (could have placed the sequins better - two close together with one 'loner' would be good, but too late now!)

A tip: the centres of the letters O had dropped out when I removed the die, which was fine as they weren't too fiddly to work with. However, the teensy white centres of the squiggles were still in place so instead of removing them and risking losing them, not to mention how tiny they are to handle anyhow, I tried a new trick - one to remember for the future. Leaving the little piece of die cut in place I carefully lined the white word die cut over the letter 'o' and gently popped the piece downwards into the sticky gap using a pokey tool - removed the white die cut and just rubbed the little piece with my fingernail to make sure it was nicely stuck down.

I love this die set, the words can be varied of course and (for example) could be used individually or (as I did) repeated to add some 'oomph' to a card - possibly using the 'ombre' technique of varying shades of the same colour.
Now for this week's peek at the picks. I'll keep it to three picks, although I could show many more than that. As you know, am trying to limit time spent both crafting and also at the laptop - sitting still isn't good for the back, which is actually improving so it does point to sitting for long periods beavering away at the desk being a lot to blame:
Carol brought this beautiful Christmas card to share with us, plus a second one which you can see over on her blog HERE. I love the clever idea of using the SU 'Softly Falling' embossed panel behind the image panel! And what a stunning scene - love it!

Scenes, especially Summer and beach ones, are really popular right now. I really love this easel card, made by Lia. Lots of lovely snippets used and just look at all the detail - wonderful sand dunes, Lia must have tons of patience!

Those of you who've already visited Alice's blog have gone crackers over this fabulous piece of mixed media art. It's just stunning, and another example of how versatile you wonderful girls are. Love, love, love it!

We had one new Playmate this week - and she's very much one of my favourite card makers too. It's Debby of 'A Scrapjourney':
I adore this card, it really says 'Summer' doesn't it - and such clever use of snippets (aren't the little cornets so sweet in spotty paper?!). And look, Debby also used a 'Hello' die on her card, albeit made by a different company! I always find Debby's work really inspirational and her blog is one I really recommend you to check out if haven't done so already. I often refer back in my blog posts to ideas I've picked up from Debby. I just wish I'd had more of the hedgehog stamps that Debby (and many others) really wanted to win this week :(

Which leads nicely on to prize draw time, for the Penny Black 'Guess?' stamp and Die-Versions Corner Concepts 'Happy Birthday die, a really popular prize:

The winner is:
Well done Maura, according to my little black book it's been some time since you won a prize (October last year) so this one is probably due to you! I have your address and will post the prize off to you later on this week when I get time to visit the Post Office after the Southampton frolics.

Here's this coming week's prize, which I bet you girlies already guessed:
It's the MFT Die-namics 'Hello There' set of dies ('hello', 'hi' and 'there'). The dies are about an inch tall BTW.

Wait, you can see three sets of dies? How strange, so can I! Which means there are three sets of the same dies on offer so you naturally have three times as much chance of winning this coming week! Still just one entry please.

The Snippets Challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 23rd July. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

A maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

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 :) 

Having said that, I'll be in Southampton at the start of this coming week and most likely won't have time to hop in and comment on entries or fix any linking issues until after Wednesday when I'm due back home (no doubt tired, hoarse and very happy). I'll take my Nexus tablet but using it to actually tinker on with the blog or Mr Linky is fraught with pitfalls - easy to cause more problems than you cure I find! I do have a couple of scheduled posts which will appear, one of which is the new Cuttlebug challenge on Tuesday - and it's the last one for a few weeks whilst folk take a Summer break.

But, Parsnip (cheeky little bear) is in charge of the Playground. He initially whined on to come with me then decided that a chap needs to 'keep his air of mystery' - so he's on lookout duty and also keeping Len in check ............. but he can be bribed with sweets/candy I fear. Err, and so can the little white fluffy bear!

Have a grand ole week y'all (practising American for when Darnell hits these shores!).

Di and, of course, Parsnip

Friday, 15 July 2016

Friday Feast - Mackerel Pate

Gosh it's ages since I posted a recipe on here. I made this pate yesterday for the umpteenth time and it really is too good not to share. It's really fast and easy to make - a brilliant starter or snack.

Serves: 4-6 (5 minutes preparation!)

4 to 5 smoked mackerel fillets
300g Philadelphia soft cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce


Skin the mackerel, slightly break into pieces, place in a blender with the other ingredients and blitz for 1 minute. As easy as that! If you like it more spicy then add more horseradish (I use 2 heaped teaspoons of ready made hot horseradish sauce) and if you like it softer then add more cream cheese.
I always use low fat Philly cheese (Philly Light, not the Lightest though) and the tub size is actually 280g, which works fine. 
The quantity above makes five ramekins (I've never managed to squeeze the sixth one out of the mix as (confession time) we love this pate with plain wholemeal toast for breakfast and one ramekin between us is just right! I pack the pate in ramekins, pop into poly bags, label, seal and freeze them - then just defrost as needed overnight in the fridge. For a starter you could easily make six ramekins as it's quite rich and filling - as well as being good for you :) And if you're being posh, pop a twist of sliced lemon on top.

To be honest, washing up the blender took longer than making the pate! Do let me know if you try this out, my suggestion is that you make the recipe as stated and then taste before upping the horseradish.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

CHNC challenge 289 - Colour - purple

The current challenge over at Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge is to use the colour 'purple' and this is my offering:
I used:

- 4" x 5.75" white card blank

- piece of white card, embossed using Crafts-Too's 'Scrollwork Frame' embossing folder, trimmed to exactly the same size of the card front and glued in place

- snippets of gold and purple mirri card, backed with Stick-It adhesive sheet and die cut using a Memory Box 'Cabrini Ornament' die

- snippet of gold mirri card, backed with Stick-It adhesive sheet and die cut using a Memory Box 'Curled Ribbons' die

- stuck the ornament outline die cut in place first, with purple and gold infills and then added the gold curled ribbon die cut next

Made a couple of cards the same, nice and quick as well - if you discount the fact that I actually die cut four (two gold and two purple) tree ornaments from the back at first - grrrrrrr.

I'd also like to enter this card into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for July, where it's always 'anything goes'.

Plus, I took inspiration from the current challenge over at Jingle Belles, which is 'ombre/colours of Christmas' so I'd like to join in there as well. This is the wonderful photo they provided as inspiration:
I didn't go with the ombre look, although isn't it just fabulous! I spied purple tree ornaments plus the gold layer and twirly bits at the top of the tree :) And of course the crisp white.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Mrs A's Challenge - #57 Butterflies + Y is for Years and/or Yellow.

Time to join in with Mrs A's latest Butterfly Challenge #57 and this fortnight's twist is 'Y is for Years and/or Yellow'.

I decided to use the same Happy Birthday die that I used on my Sunday Snippets card, to show you how well it works on either one of the two top corners. It's also a reminder that a corner Happy Birthday die exactly the same is on offer as part of this week's Snippets Playground prize:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank

- piece of white card, embossed using SU's 'Square Lattice' embossing folder and trimmed to slightly smaller than the card front before being glued in place

- an image from a now discontinued LOTV 'Spring Flowers' Art Pad (pre-coloured, which is why they were so useful, sigh)

- a snippet of purple card to pick up the hyacinth colour, die cut using a Die-Versions Corner Concepts 'Happy Birthday' die

- trimmed the image panel and then added the die cut sentiment to the top right hand corner

- glued the whole panel in place on the card front

There's yellow in the flowers and also a little blue butterfly beside the vase!