Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Stand in line/ form an orderly queue please

No card today - life is very busy right now and other things are taking the place of crafting, sigh.

But, I've written a lot here lately about the hedgehogs - and Len has done his very best to capture them on camera for you. His quest will continue for sure.

Recently I wrote about them forming an 'orderly queue/line' and am sure some of you perhaps thought I was 'over-egging the pudding'. I don't blame you at all but what comes next, captured on camera, proves that we're not totally barking mad.

THIS popped up on the overnight CCTV between Monday and Tuesday:
I'm sorry that it's horribly hazy - it's due to the CCTV plus me cropping it so you can see them, All three in a line, one at the bowl feeding and two behind, the one nearest the camera was gonna have a bit of a wait I think!

Bit like the Harrods Sales really :)


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge # 327 - results

It's still very warm and humid here, although I'm ahead of myself and actually typing this on Wednesday (just finishing it off on Friday early evening) ready for Sunday. A good thunderstorm certainly would clear the air!

But, not on Saturday (which will be yesterday when this publishes) please as it's the local Village Carnival and we're helping out at the Archery Club 'Have a Go' stand. I've been there in the most windy and wet weather possible for June and just wanted to roll up into a ball as there was no shelter to speak of. Len will be setting up and and carrying stuff from mid-morning and I'll be (I think) helping with the selling of tickets later on when the real action begins. We now have much better shelter from the weather if it all goes against us

We'll have loads of traditional rides, stalls, plants to buy, parades etc. - and FOOD, FOOD! I already warned Len that I aim to have a lovely soft freshly baked bacon bap/roll and tea or coffee for breakfast (before the main event begins as 1:30), a Cornish Pasty (baked to total perfection by the local bakery) for lunch with maybe a glass of local cider - then perhaps a candy floss ....... followed by an ice cream around tea time. Err, and then I shall probably be very sick :) 

It really is absolutely everything you could want from a traditional Village Carnival and long may it continue!

Here's our new Guest Designer, and this time round it's Donna, of Craft Dee Donna who shared this amazing box card:
Here's what Donna wrote about the box card:

I used snippets from a DCWV 8" stack "Animal Crackers", - box cards are really good for using snippets as none of the pieces you use are very big at all :-)  I even used "snippets of snippets"... the piece removed from the frame behind the image became one of the panels on the outside of the card.  The image is from Di's Digis, it's coloured with Copics and Prismacolor pencils.  The die cuts are from DCWV too, the wooden letters are from stash.

I do think this is such fun! I know a few little boys (and girls) who would be over the moon to receive this brilliant card, so bright and full of interest! It;s their very own little zoo in card form :)

And here's Donna to say 'Hello' - do please hop over to say 'Hello' in return. These lovely Guest Designers do put themselves out when I ask them to be a GD and it's so nice to be appreciated:
Just look at that happy face and dancing eyes - a sparkle of mischief there I think!

And a few words about Donna herself:

As far as "about me";  I live in Australia, after emigrating from the UK when a teenager - a decision I'm very glad my parents made for me :-)   I'm happily married to a craft-tolerant man and have two adult sons and twin grandchildren who are the light of my life.  I work from home and have to be very self-disciplined... my craft room sings her siren song all day!  My favourite part of card making is colouring; I love my Copic markers and Prismacolor pencils... though I am developing a die-cutting habit that is a little worrying!  I'm very happy to have been invited to be Guest Designer in The Playground.

Thanks so much for being our Guest Designer Donna - we're delighted you could take on the role for this fortnight. It's really lovely to learn more about the people behind their blogs - lucky you emigrating at such a lovely age. It constantly amazes me how far flung we all are - brought together courtesy of the Internet....and the Playground of course :)

Let's do a quick scamper around my picks for this fortnight:

But first of all we have a *Gold Star' winner - and what a corker of a card she made too! Take a look at this folks:
Yay for Mrs A with 'Dad's Workshop'!! The detail in this amazing card really is something else - you'll have to hop over to Mrs A's blog to find out more, I promise you, it's worth it!

And a second *Gold Star* this time as well!!
This absolutely darling Wedding card was made by Carol L. I really adore it, and again it has so much really pretty detail as well as little pieces of goodness knows what - another must to visit!

Both Gold Star picks used lots of snippets as well as oodles of imagination didn't they? Totally brilliant work girls!

And my three picks for the fortnight are as follows, all worthy of being Gold Stars in their own right but I did have to harden my heart, sigh:
This is such a lovely card, made by Jackie T for a Baby Shower. Loads of snippets and lovely detail - and I was so very impressed that Jackie made the card blank from scratch using a Stanley knife!

Now this is actually a little bit of a 'project to organise dies', rather than a single card. BUT, you must hop over and check Donna's post out (yup, the same Donna who is our current Guest Designer as well!). What a great idea this is. Also, there's a wonderful white on white card to drool over - plus some tips on lining up die cut multiple letters or words. A really informative post!

I think this card is a fabulous example of using up snippets in a really bright and inspiring way. What a clever idea and one to be remembered for the future. Janice brought this along to share with us and I'm so glad she did. Loads of impact - and thank goodness the little chap wasn't named a really long name that couldn't be shortened.

Ha, my parents chose the name Diane for me because it was more unusual than Diana (way back in the dim and distant past). And, most importantly because they thought it couldn't be shortened. From day one of going to prison boarding school, it was 'Di' of course - much to their horror. You either accepted the shortened version or, trust me, someone would come up with a fiendish nickname! 

No new Playmates this time round. We had 58 entries, despite the heat some of us have been coping with. I know we whine in the UK, but it's because we really aren't geared up for extremes of temperature - and most of us certainly don't have air con for a start.

Prize draw time now and what a popular prize as well. Drum roll please! Our winner of the bumper bundle of Concord & 9th 'Everyday Tintables', a Concord & 9th 'Fabulous Phrases set of five dies and an Altenew 'Puffy Pink' ink pad is:
Well done Val! This lovely lady plays every single fortnight (often just for fun) and always, but always, says lovely things about the Playground on her blog post containing her entry. So I was delighted when her number popped straight out. Well deserved win there Val - and a real corker it is too!

Do please send me your address, with full name at the top so I can copy and paste - for speed and ease. I don't keep addresses of previous winners, even if they might be in my private address list - if that makes sense! I'll be off to the Post Office ASAP this coming week once I hear from you. Please put Playground Winner or similar in the subject line of your email in case it drops into my junk mail. Email address is on RH sidebar as always.

Remember folks, there's still almost another week to run on Challenge #328 HERE. The prize is a Uniko 'Block Party Birthday' stamp.

AND - I thought we'd have no fresh photos of Spike, but Len came up trumps on Thursday night:
Spike With The Sweet Smile, (and the most tame I suspect) just about to attack the food bowl. The bit that looks like toast on top of the blue lid is a thin sliver from a brick sample I ordered when we were having work done on the house. All part of the flip up mechanism to keep cats out. Everything ends up having a use!
And after he'd eaten, here's Spike is at a bowl of fresh water taking a drink. You can see that there's water in the bowl despite it looking so clear - Spike has a brilliant wine waiter named Leonardo! Bless his little paw (Spike I mean), and I think he needs a claw trim to be honest! 

Hope you have a lovely week ahead, and that you come and play - if you haven't done so already!

Love from the little white peril Parsnip (currently eyeing up Len's hair trimmer and wondering whether to shave all his fur off), and of course me,

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Stitched Butterfly card

First of all, I've been a bit late commenting on Playground entries but right now have caught up. Hooray :)

My card for today is made especially for Mrs A's Butterfly Challenge #101:
And this is the 'wheel' we had to choose our elements from - I stuck to just the butterfly and the colour Mint Green, and I checked our mint plant just to be sure - otherwise it's Moss Green anyhow, so THERE! :) Main thing is I managed to play, just for fun:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, side opening

- the image was stamped using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a wood mounted Funstamps stamp called 'Stitched Butterfly' -  onto a snippet of white card

- then I coloured the patchwork design using Pro Markers and trimmed around the edge

- just to finish the patchwork panel off I ran the side of the thick nib of a black Whispers pen right around the edges. Warning, don't ever try this trick with Pro markers as they bleed of course - a lesson learned many years ago

- die cut a white panel using the Lil' Inkers 'Stitched Rectangle' set of dies

- stamped the sentiment, which I thought was nice and 'rustic' in keeping with the patchwork design, using the Misti and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink as always and the Stampendous 'Happy Messages' set of stamps

- mounted that onto a very slightly larger (snippet) of mauve card

- then added them onto the card front and there it was - done!

Coo, hot here innit!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge #328

Phew, time for yet another challenge in the Snippets Playground, and this time it's a much smaller prize than the previous fortnight's. Still a 'good 'un' though I think!

Here's my snippets card for this week - made for Bradley (Len's great-nephew) when he had a Birthday yesterday. I used a brown snippet for the backing plus a white snippet to stamp the 'block' design onto, so they aren't small snippets but still came from my snippets/scraps folder which means I can play along - snort:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4" white card blank, side opening

- a snippet of white card onto which I stamped the image using an Altenew 'Galactic Stream' ink pad and a fabulous and very bold stamp from Uniko called 'Block Party Birthday'

- then backed the panel with a piece of slightly bigger brown card from the snippets folder

- glued the image and its backing to the card front and called it done!

I've had the stamp in the Playground toy box (along with my own identical stamp of course) for months now. I needed to make a card quickly and this came to the rescue - male cards really do give me issues. Mind you, this would also make a great girly card of course - and my next try will be white on black which I bet could look very impressive! I've also seen it with parts coloured in and that really looks super, great for kids perhaps? That one grabs me the most for variation for sure. Possibilities, possibilities!

Here's some of the lowdown on my 'adventures' whilst making this card. I started off with my one and only full set of four Altenew ('Sweet Dreams') ink pads and the intention of making the card graduate in shades (ombre). But time was against me and when I hit issues (despite covering parts up with paper as I went) I just reverted to a single colour - the darkest one in the set - using the Misti of course.

I love Uniko stamps (and in fact have a gift voucher in front of me that a lovely blogger friend sent me earlier this year - still to spend, wahoo!). But, like many polymer stamps, they seem to have a sort of icky and almost oily film on them when new, which makes the ink quite patchy if you don't clean them before using them for a first time. It's possibly ink dependent as well (am sure Kathy K once put me on the right track) but I think the secret is to perhaps wash them in soapy water, rinse and let them dry naturally - but of course, I was in a rush wasn't I?!

Anyhow, I got there in the end - but Dumbo hadn't thought about the pad being 'dye' ink had she?! So, I ended up with blue finger tips 'cos I was using a sponge to apply the ink to the stamp. Just behind me, on a cupboard shelf there's a huge pack of disposable gloves, but of course it was too late when I realised. And I mean DEEP blue hands!

I love brown and teal together so the brown backing card was an easy choice when it jumped up out of the snippets folder!

And here's this week's Snippets Playground prize - no surprise at all:

It's a Uniko 'Block Party Birthday' stamp of course - and I do generally buy Uniko stamps in DVD sized cases for easy storage, like I did with this one.

Sadly I can't get hold of a single Altenew ink pad the same as the one I used as it's a really lovely colour - so this time we have a smaller prize than we've had lately. It's still one I think you really would have fun with if you read the options for use I mused upon above here. It was a fluke that Tara from Seven Hills Crafts had the single pink stamps she sent me - all UK companies seem to just stock them in sets.

And of course, I hope numbers will still be up as (with luck) you come to play for the fun as much as anything!

As always, the Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 23rd June. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's 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.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw in a comment on here, then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' on the blog post - just in case you're playing only for fun - otherwise I ignore you on my little list..

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 :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winner of last fortnight's bumper of Concord & 9th 'Everyday Tintables', a Concord & 9th 'Fabulous Phrases set of five dies and an Altenew 'Puffy Pink' ink pad.

The hedgies contine to vist - Len (so sweet) has been saying they're 'fighting' a bit. Ha! Just wait until the patter of little prickles :) Perhaps I need to tell him about the birds and the bees! In fact, we had three of them prancing around the garden the other night! So funny, despite two feeding stations, they were patiently queued up waiting for their turn at the main one. We caught it on CCTV but were fast asleep ourselves at the time.

And then, on Friday evening Len went out late to check the hedgies and there, right in the centre of the garden, sat a smallish hedgie. As Len approached, it looked up at him so trustingly with such a sweet little face and made no attempt to curl up or run away. An enchanting moment to treasure - and of course he didn't have the camera to hand, sigh. But - sometimes it's what goes into our memories that is more important - although I would have loved a photo to share with you of course.

And we have another visitor but one that would be really hard to capture on camera. For a couple of years now we've thought we had a little wren living in the honeysuckle-clad arbour at the end of the PG/garden. These evenings it's becoming more bold and what a delight to see as we sit watching the comings and goings before dinner. But, wrens are very shy and also very fast as well so only time will tell.

And, the little blue tits fledged and flew away when we weren't around. They were totally ready to go earlier in the week and it's really odd having their little nest box so silent.

Happy days!

Love from Parsnip and of course from me,

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

CAS Christmas cards

I love the look of CAS (Clean And Simple) Christmas cards. In truth, making a batch of these cards still took a fair while - AND that was using ready die cut NOEL words!

It all began when I spotted a few designs for cards using the Sizzix Alterations 'NOEL' die in places such as Pinterest. Needless to say, the card I based this one on now won't show up when I search for it to give credit to the card maker, sigh. Anyhow, the search was on for the die itself and it's absolutely nowhere to be found at all, double sigh.

But, ready cut dies using that same die were popping up so in the end I threw caution to the winds and bought 24 ready die cut NOELs. All in white (I figured I could possibly colour some myself) and they are absolutely fabulous! I bought them from a really sweet lady. She has a good variety of die cuts for sale and they arrived really fast and beautifully packed as well. With a packet of free butterflies included as well :)

So, there I was with 24 die cuts to play with and I figured that the original design I spotted would be for the first batch of six cards:
I used:

- 5.75" x 5.75 square white card blank, side opening

- 5" x 5" square of white card, onto which I stuck a Sizzix Alterations NOEL die cut (you can see that it's a big and bold die cut, about 4.5" x 4.5" in size)

- I then backed the white panel with some of the 'Red Velvet' satin mirri card I was barking on about the other week (stocked by Joanna Sheen) - leaving just a narrow red border and layered it onto the card blank

- die cut the poinsettia using snippets of the same red velvet satin mirri card and also some dark green as well. The die I used is a lovely set of three different sized layers, made by Britannia Dies called 'Small Poinsettia' and sold by Joanna Sheen

- then layered the poinsettia together and added it to the card front, using Glossy Accents as a firm glue

- topped the centre of the poinsettia with a brushed gold Josy Rose nail head

Only then did I think to check if the card (plus insert and envelope) would slide through the postal gauge at standard letter rate. Whew - it does, it really would have been a bit galling otherwise having made a batch of six! That's one of the beauties of Josy Rose nail heads, they do add that something extra to a card whilst being only slightly domed - unlike a lot of gems I have here.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge # 326 - results

Oh boy, it's very warm and humid here right now. The sort of weather that we long for during the Winter and then wonder just why when it's hard to even craft without sticky paws - and that's before we even go near the glue!

Running late this time round so I'll dive right in with our new Guest Designer, and this time round it's Sandy of 'Stamping Writer'! And this is a really fun card that Sandy made to share:

Here's what Sandy wrote about her card:

I'm delighted to be contributing to the Playground. 

This scene card is all snippets, aside from the base. It started with a 4-inch by 5 ¼-inch blue snippet. I cut three snippets of green patterned paper using the curved Whimsy Stitched Edge die, then arranged them on top of each other to create the “hills,” trimming off the edges to fit. The clouds are white snippets cut with Whimsy Stitched Clouds die.  The sheep are from a set by The Alley Way (which is sadly out of business) called With Wondering Awe. They were stamped with Memento Black ink, colored with pencils, and fussy-cut. The sentiment (from The Alley Way set More Than Words) was stamped in the same black ink. Once the scene was all assembled, it was placed on a top-fold A-2 card.

Oh I do think this is a brilliant card, just amazing how a such great scene can be created with a few snippets - as well as a lot of imagination of course!

And a few words about Sandy herself:

I live in the southeastern U.S. with my husband, and our son lives about two hours away, where he is working on his university degree.  I work as a freelance writer, producing content for various websites and print clients (so feel free to contact me if your business needs some writing done😉). I’ve always loved crafting – I believe I got hooked when my kindergarten teacher handed out tea towels and taught us how to do a basic cross stitch. I discovered stamping and card making when my son was a baby, erroneously believing I had stumbled upon a “hobby I can keep in a shoe box.” (Oh, how innocent I was then!) I got more involved in the hobby as the Internet allowed me to find and connect with other stampers. I also enjoy reading, traveling, and outdoor activities such as camping, biking and hiking.

I wonder just how many of our own Primary School teachers were responsible for 'kick starting' our interest in one form or another of crafting? My own Mum had been to art college and was a really good artist - I used to love to sit and watch her sketching and colouring when I was young. I reckon she'd be like a kid in a sweet shop if she was still here and let loose in my craft room - ha, but I'm equally sure she would make me keep it tidier :)

No photo of Sandy to share - but at the end of this post there's a little photo from Len for you all :)

Thanks so much for being our Guest Designer Sandy - we're delighted you could take on the role for this fortnight. And Parsnip is more than willing to have me send him over to the US to join you on a camping trip! In fact, some days I'd even pay you to have him for a month or so!

Now, we do have a *Gold Star* this week, and it's a lady whose work does feature on here quite often. I'm sure this will blow your little socks off girls and you'll agree 100% that this is so worthy of a Gold Star:
Alice of Scrap & C made these absolutely fabulous tea bag dispensers, cups and mugs, totally from cards (including tons of snippets of course) for a shop window display! How very clever and there's tons of fascinating photos of the whole process over on Alice's blog - I do recommend you hop over for a closer look.

And now for the other three picks - a general mix of entries that caught my eye and made me smile over the fortnight:
What a fun card, made by Lynn of 'Creative Crafts' by Lynn. This is Rambo - their much loved dachshund :) Lovely card Lynn!

Jane W brought this card to share with us - great use of snippets and a perfect sentiment! Such a cleverly made scene as well.

I just love this baby card, made by Carol D to celebrate the birth of a new baby grand daughter. Little elephants are just so perfect for baby cards aren't they? There's a gorgeous photo of the baby (Chloe) over on Carol's blog - being mindful of GDPR issues I'm not adding any photos into the blog other than your entries folks!

And we had one new Playmate joining in the fun this time:
A huge welcome to the Snippets Playground! Love this card - just perfect for a chap and great use of snippets too.

So that was a total of 68 entries this fortnight - folk were queuing up to use the Playground duck pond to cool off in! Rather them than me - the ducks had just vacated it :)

Prize draw time now and what a popular prize as well. Our winner of the Waffle Flower 'Succulents' stamp set with matching dies is:

Well done Carol! It's hard to tell after so long running the Playground, but I have a slight feeling that this might just be your first prize win - although I know your work has featured in the 'picks' a few times. Well done, whether or not it's a first win - you'll have something (especially the discontinued matching dies) that took one heck of a lot of tracking down! I reckon the stamps will be rare as hen's teeth as well.

Do please send me your address, with full name at the top so I can copy and paste - for speed and ease. I'll be off to the Post Office ASAP this coming week once I hear from you. Please put Playground Winner or similar in the subject line of your email in case it drops into my junk mail. Email address is on RH sidebar as always.

Remember folks, there's still almost another week to run on Challenge #327 HERE. The prize is a a bumper bundle of Concord & 9th 'Everyday Tintables', a Concord & 9th 'Fabulous Phrases set of five dies and an Altenew 'Puffy Pink' ink pad.

And, as I mentioned above, here's a photo of Spike, taken by Len on Wednesday around midnight just this past week:

One of Len's best shots - Spike actually has his eyes open and you can see his cute little paws as well. So sweet!

Hope you have a lovely week ahead, whatever you have planned.

Love from the little white peril Parsnip, and of course me,

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Rudolph Days - May challenge and Crafty Hazelnut's weekly challenge #387

It's time for another instalment of Rudolph Days Challenge - run by Maureen - aka ScrappyMo HERE. The challenge runs every month from the 25th right to the last day of the month.

And, I'd like to join in with Hazel's Christmas Card Challenge #387 - HERE. Hazel is the sweetest lady ever and I feel really guilty that it's been an age since I played along. It's always anything goes nowadays and I used to play really regularly so am delighted to finally join in again! A new challenge each week as well as a lovely prize to be won. At one time entries were up in the hundreds and it would be fabulous if those of you making Christmas cards could link into Hazel's challenge and bring those numbers back up again.

My target of 12 Christmas cards per month was lagging very sadly behind and, in an effort to catch up, I made 12 cards exactly the same. I know, 12 identical ones is about the maximum 'batch bake' for me and I was secretly very glad when they were finished. Maybe I should have scanned a first coloured image - but then that would be cheating a bit .....IMHO. It all started when I found a background card in pale blue which I adore and needed to use (I have tons of it!). And so the card developed from there really.

This is what I made:

I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card blank

- a square of 'Merry Mistletoe' pale blue background card, made ages ago by Kanban and cut to just one eighth of an inch smaller all round than the card itself and then glued to the card front

- stamped the little image onto white card stock using a new 'Hybrid - Black Licorice' ink pad by MFT (more of this below). The stamp is a wood mounted pre-loved Penny Black one called 'Thinking of you' - dated 1999!

- coloured the image using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and a little touch of Sansodor blending solution here and there - making sure I had matched the blue background and the scarf

- then die cut the image using a The Works 'Stitched' Squares' die

- next I stamped 12 little LOTV Christmas labels onto white card stock using a Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink pad and fussy cut round them ( sorry, the stamps are no longer made by LOTV which is such a shame - it remains to be seen but am not sure that their decision to go all digital was a wise one. Again, only my opinion and it would be sad to see them fail in this new change of direction)

- added a round matt red Josy Rose nail head to each 'label' and then adhered them onto the image panels using red line tape - the most secure and also least potentially messy way when you know just where something is to be positioned

- glued the image panel(s) onto the background and sat and looked, feeling something wasn't quite right - it wasn't the lack of clear Wink of Stella as I just felt the image didn't need it so what was wrong?

- asked the opinion of my in-house critic, who had chosen the Christmas Wishes sentiment, and he said - 'he's just gazing up at nothing really'

- bingo! Of course he needed a star to wish upon and so I added a little Josy Rose star shaped silver nail head in what I thought was the little mouse's line of sight - times twelve of course! 

Finished - 12 more for the box!

Back to the MFT hybrid 'Black Licorice' ink pad. The idea is that it works with both water as well as alcohol based colouring mediums and I was really excited to think such a versatile ink pad was now on the market. I was on a 'wait list' for a while and only recently received the ink pad.

However, I have huge reservations and they are: the lid is almost impossible to remove whenever you want to use it (I needed the help of a blade of a pair of scissors each time), the ink pad is overly juicy and liable to 'spread' with too much pressure when you're stamping PLUS the quality of the pad itself isn't anything like as good as the likes of a Memento ink pad. I found there were stray fibres (NOT what you want when inking up an image) - to the extent that one long strand came loose and I peeled it right off one edge of the pad.

My advice is not to fall for the 'hype' and just stick to using two different pads depending on how you intend to colour images. I use Memento for alcohol inks and my Polychromos pencils - and Stazon (with or without embossing powder) for water colouring. We live and learn I guess!