Saturday 30 July 2011

Amazing what you find

....when looking for a card in a hurry. Rootling through my stock of ready made cards, I came across one I made ages ago. Long before the current trend for 'shopoholic based' cards I found a sentiment stamp that seemed to sum it all up...apologies to one William Shakespeare:

Ha! So this is why I bought the mulberry paper originally! I'd been wondering about that.

The card is just plain white, a handbag template cut from card and covered with mulberry paper, wrapped round the edges and very fiddly I seem to recall :( . That's why I'd put the wretched paper away and forgotten about it until Bernie and I were emailing one another about it and then I stumbled across the idea of using double sided sticky film. The handle is just a little length of silver beading, bought from Hobbycraft well before I discovered the joys of internet 'craft stash' shopping. The sentiment was stamped and then embossed in silver and I used peel offs to edge it with.

I've just replaced the original little embellishment I'd used with a pearlised flower and one pink gem - a girl has to have some bling after all!

In a rush today - off to the supermarket (on a Saturday along with everyone else I expect - oh deep joy). Then home to flick the duster a bit more, make a dessert and chop stuff ready to make Lazy Chicken Mediterranean Pilaff for dinner. We have a hungry young man staying tonight.

A question - I'm looking for some LOW tack double sided sticky tape or tape runners to do some masking. It has to be double sided - I've got the single sided low tack tape but that isn't going to work for what I want to do. 'Post-its' won't do the job really, I've tried! :( Any suggestions/recommendations as to which is best and where to find them please?

Hope your weekend is less manic than mine, Mr Blogger won't even check this for spelling. Now where did I put that shopping list? And if the radio plays 'The Flight of the Bumblebee' again while I'm working I'll scream!!


Friday 29 July 2011

Friday Feast - store cupboard tuna, sweetcorn and pasta

We all know what it's like when we're doing other things (crafting for instance!), racing in from work, been out in the garden or whatever - and suddenly it's time to make a meal and fingers are being drummed in the background! Help - can I get away with a pizza from the freezer? How about egg and chips for speed (ooer, reminds me of school suppers). A takeaway? Oh dear, what to cook?

This is a great one to have as a 'quick and easy' - everything can be in your store cupboard as a back up. My OH came up with the 'combination' years ago - it's a bit cheeky to call it a recipe but I think you'd like it anyhow.

Tuna, sweetcorn and pasta super quick supper:
Serves 2

Approx. 200g pasta shells (I'm guessing a bit here, but you can vary the quantity according to your own likes - I like to use the medium/large pasta shells 'cos the sauce gets right inside them. The proper name is Conchiglie)
2 x 200g cans tuna - in brine
1 x 340 g can sweetcorn
1 x 290g can sliced mushrooms

2 x 'normal sized' cans mushroom soup - Wild Mushroom soup is especially good (I have used one can of chowder and one of mushroom and that's a good one to try as well)
One can opener!

Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions in a large saucepan
Meanwhile, drain the sweetcorn and the canned mushrooms
In a separate saucepan gently heat the 2 cans of mushroom soup, sweetcorn and mushrooms - stirring now and then
Once heated, almost to simmering point, add the 2 drained cans of tuna - having gently flaked it a bit, but not too much otherwise it will break down too much in the 'sauce' as it's being heated and gently stirred
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well and then return to the pan
The tuna should be heated right through - I find that by the time the pasta is cooked the tuna sauce is almost ready
Add the sauce to the pasta and gently mix to coat all the shells
And hide those empty cans :)

Sorry about the brightness of the photo. This is yummy with parmesan cheese sprinkled on and is real comfort food with minimum effort, little washing up - and full tummies!


Thursday 28 July 2011

Hedgehog update and a hedgie card

Update first - we have two, if not three, hedgies visiting and having dinner almost every night.. After the sad fate of Harriet a couple of weeks ago this is such good news. From what the CCTV picks up we think it's a large adult and two smaller ones - the smaller ones sometimes feed together, jostling for space at the feeding bowl but the large hedgie tootles along for dinner alone (and in peace?). Occasionally they all stay cosied up and don't come out to play if it's raining during the night - perhaps I should run up some little plastic rain coats for them?

To celebrate I made this card yesterday - in between WOYWW blog hopping:

I'm not sure who the image is made by - I swopped some images with 'Karen from Kent' a while back and this was one of the ones she sent. On the subject of Karen, I emailed her a little while back and she hasn't replied - also her blog What's This Then?? hasn't been updated since 3rd May so I hope everything is OK, maybe some of you also know her? It's unusual for her to be so silent and the lack of activity on her blog is what's worrying.

Back to the image, I love the way it sort of tells a tale of a baby hedgie pondering, then having a Eureka moment, then giving his Mum a flower - and finally I like to think he's been popped into the plant pot along with the flower to keep him out of mischief! The image was coloured with Pro Markers of course.

The mauve card is from my snippets, backing paper is from a Pink Petticoat pack called Wild Blossoms Collection (free with Quick Cards Made Easy), the pink strip came from my snippets too. It's the plain reverse of a patterned piece of card which was just the right shade of pink, edged using a MS punch then embossed with a CB edge embossing folder. The ribbon is from my stash, along with the pearls and the Craftwork Cards sentiment.

I think this card might well be sent to the Wildlife Sanctuary where they tried to save Harriet - they deserve a little smile!

Almost forgot, I'm entering this into Jules' Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 29 - but it's a very slow process getting those snippets to look any less in their folder :(

I'm off now to pack and post more of those Pro Marker nibs - and yippee, after a dull start the sun is shining!


Wednesday 27 July 2011


Hiya! Oh how I look forward to my Wednesday 'hop'. The 'boss' has gone to archery, I have a quick posting to do here, then wash all the downstairs tiled floors and retire to my craft room to 'hop, hop, hop' around as many blogs as I can while they dry. Mind you, I've learned to leave an old towel at the bottom of the stairs so I can shuffle rather than skate across safely to the front door if the postman calls with any parcels!!

And talking of parcels - there's been a flurry of tissue paper etc. here and it's still in progress:

The results of the Pro Marker Ultra-Fine Nibs candy draw, a few posts further down, have meant a bit of wrapping, labelling and posting. Only half of the winners have responded and I posted all their nibs off yesterday. A lot of the packs of nibs came in just little poly bags without any insert in the bag - seemed a bit odd to me, but nibs is nibs! So, I've tried to pretty them up a bit by wrapping in tissue paper and adding a butterfly with a sparkly gem on - and the stuff on my desk is how I left it yesterday before racing out to the post office. If you entered the draw, please check the results :))

You can also see a couple of new additions to my crafty stuff, ready to play with ASAP:

The 'Diva' stamp is one I've liked for ages - and I found it whilst ordering more nibs last week from Joanna Sheen's online just happened to fall into my basket (sheesh, how did THAT happen?!). I have plans for this stamp! And the other thing I can't wait to try are the Bazzill Bling flowers and flourishes templates. I know, I'm such a wuss I can't draw even a swirl (and anyhows, how would I rub the pencil lines out) so I've been yearning for a template or two.

OK, enough rambling already - to join in the fun and frolics do go to Julia's here to see what everyone else is up to. It's sure to be a lot more inspiring than a load of tissue paper for sure! Happy WOYWW.


Tuesday 26 July 2011

Yesterday was Rudolph Day - Forever Friends

Sandra (Stamping With Pleasure) dared me to join in Rudolph Day. Basically, as I understand it, you make a Christmas card (or maybe something Christmassy?) on the 25th of each month throughout the year. I'm always up for a dare - got me into a lot of trouble at school for sure - and I liked the sound of this one. Firstly as I have only one, made for a challenge a month or two ago, lonely looking Christmas card in my special box and secondly 'cos I need a swift kick in the rear end so as not to be in a total panic in December. Mind you - we send a lot of cards for Christmas so I also have a LOT to make....maybe 10 on the 25th of each month might help :)

So, yesterday I rootled round in my Christmas stash from years gone by for the makings of a quick card. This used no stamping, no colouring, no die cutting, no ribbons, no did make me realise how much we do change our ways over the course of a year. But, it was quick, easy and kinda cute:

It's a Forever Friends Bear of course - but I confess it's from an embossed transfers set:( It's my favourite of of the three transfers that came in the set - bought goodness knows when but it was a bargain I seem to remember so I got a couple of sets and will rustle up a second one the same I think. The Santa Bear was transferred onto brown card then layered onto deep red card - both from my snippets :) I resisted the urge to add some white Flower Soft to the fur trimmings as I wasn't sure it would look right with the brown papers.

The background paper is - you guessed - wrapping paper. I bought it ages ago and of course it's a cheap way to make a background. As often happens, the two browns in the card and the backing paper haven't come out the same in the photo but they're a perfect match in real life. Bernie explained the reason to me a while back, all to do with dyes and inks, so I don't fret if I know it looks fine to the naked eye.

Whilst rummaging round I did come across four House Mouse stamps plus some LOTV ones from last year, so some colouring is on the cards next (colouring, on the cards, geddit?). Ho, ho, ho - am gonna be getting festive for at least one day a month.

That reminds me, the new LOTV Christmas stamps are out  - not all are tugging at my heart strings, or should that be purse strings, but one or three are calling to me so I just might hop over to their website in a moment or two! Always dangerous though.


Monday 25 July 2011

Inspired feather and flowers thank you card

Firstly, the flowers and feather on this card are totally, totally inspired by Bernie. She makes such delicate cards, some with tiny flowers wisps of feathers and little flowers on, and I just adore them - her work is really exquisite. I hope that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery Bernie!

The card started out when I used an idea I'd found using double sided sticky paper to layer mulberry paper on and then die cut in the Cuttlebug - posted on WOYWW here almost a couple of weeks ago. I took the mulberry scalloped oval which was already stuck onto some white card and cut it the next size down. This was because I wanted a multi-layered background and I'm sure that it would have just shown through the mulberry paper on its own - plus it was too large for what I had in mind.

With the scallop done it was just a matter of going through my snippets where I found the perfectly matching turquoise background card with a slightly marbled effect. That was run through the CB and embossed with butterflies and, as luck would have it, lying right on my desk was a strip of lacy edged card - again a perfect match - which I trimmed and then ran through the CB using a different folder (dots this time).

The strip of lacy edged card had just arrived in a parcel of goodies from Dies to Die For - Tracy always includes a few die cut bits and pieces and this was just perfect! And the parcel arrived less than 24 hours after I placed the order too - brilliant service!

I then layered the mulberry paper scallop onto the card using sticky pads to add dimension.

I said in a recent post that my local crafting buddy had given me some flower punches after our crafting session last week - so I dived into the snippets again and punched a few flowers and some leaves (that certainly didn't make much of a hole though in the snippets!). I found the little white flowers in my stash and it was just a matter of layering the tip of a white marabou feather (no chickens were harmed in this exercise Sarn!), the flowers and then adding some self-adhesive pearls from my stash to the flowers and along the lacy edging. Oh, and a little 'Thank You' sentiment (made by Craftwork Cards).

So, courtesy of  inspiration for the flowers and feather from Bernie, that's my make yesterday!

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:

Jules' Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 29

Totally GorJuss Challenge 90 - Punch or Die (I used both!)

Hope Monday is going well for you - the sun is shining here, yippee :))


Sunday 24 July 2011

Blog Candy draw results

Thank you to everyone who joined in my little Blog Candy Draw for some Pro Marker Ultra Fine Nibs.

And, from the entries the Random Number Generator has picked the following numbers. .... 1 to 28  .................................. what? ........................every single one?! Yup, as in the Hot Chocolate song.........'every one's a winner,baby, that's no lie'!!

I saw a lot of people who regularly comment on my blog take part and wondered how on earth you differentiate between 'bloggy friends', even using random selection, for such small things. And there were some very sweet newcomers who were also in love with the thought of those nibs - so, the simplest thing was to keep watching how the numbers went (if there'd been an avalanche then I couldn't have coped, and neither could my piggy bank) and make sure I snagged a few more whenever they came into stock.

What you have to do next is straightforward enough - send me an email at

Please use a subject title of Pro Marker Candy in the email - a lot will just drop into my junk mail and I'll be rooting around the Viagra/Rolex watches/on-line pharmacy/saucy undies junk emails so a distinctive title of Pro Marker Candy will be helpful :)  I have to primly remind you that at no time have I ever bought any of these products, so there!

In the email please give the number of your Mr Linky entry and the name that you entered under - then add your name and address.

Edit: I've been asked if I'll still send these out of the UK to those who entered from 'foreign lands' - I sure will!!
Please try to leave a comment on here to say you've emailed me so I know to look out for it, mistakes can happen when I'm around!

That's it girls - I hope there are some happy bunnies out there. Only a little something, but you can all say you won some blog candy today!


Blog candy to celebrate 200 posts - please scroll down for more recent posts.

Blog candy now closed.

I can't believe that I've almost reached 200 posts! It kinda snuck up on me so I've not had a chance to collect some goodies together for your stash.....BUT, I do have something that at least Pro Marker fans might be hankering after :)

Letraset recently brought out some Pro Marker Ultra-Fine Nibs that clip onto the finer pointed end of Pro Markers and magically transform them as shown below, they come with their own caps too:

This was me scribbling in excitement to compare the thickness - oh boy, are these great! Followed by a closer look at the nib itself and then the nib actually popped onto the end of the purple Pro Marker I was playing with:

I missed out on getting some a couple of times (from Joanna Sheen) so when they finally did have some in stock a few extra ones just 'happened to fall into my online shopping basket'. Some have already been promised to friends and I have five packs of three to give away - one pack for each of five winners to be chosen by using the 'Random Number Generator/Selection Thingy-Bob'. They aren't expensive but might just have a rarity value at the moment :)

All you need to do is to link into Mr Linky below - a comment would be good but not essential and there's no need to become a follower although it would be very kind of you to share the news on your own blog and of course to only enter once.

As for me, I just want to give a little something away to celebrate 200 postings....and also the fact that I actually managed to get hold of some of these little beauties to share!!

I'll do the draw on Sunday 24th July and will post to anywhere in the World. This post will remain at the top of my blog until then. Good luck!


Saturday 23 July 2011

A peek at something amazing and talk of bargains

Thursday's posting on this blog here - Patchwork Apples - which belongs to Bubbles included some fabby secrets of where to find real bargains (in the UK) for your stash cupboard - they have all been noted for sure! BUT, if you hop over to Bubbles' blog, there's the most AMAZING Christmas House, posted on the same day - it's truly stunning! The detail is mind blowing so do go and take a peek! I know, being a Christmas girl, I just love it.....and I bet The Crafty Elf will be entranced too:) 

Anyhow, talk of bargains got me thinking about a great stamp that my friend Bernie sent me, all the way from the USA - so I inked it up and made this card - I bet we can all relate to it:

It took next to no time, just coloured with Pro Markers and then layered onto three snippets of card/paper! The patterned ones are some left from a tent card I posted on here a week or two ago - just so you know I ain't cheating :)

I'm on a roll with these snippets so am entering another card into:

Jules Crafty Snippets Challenge - week 28

So far I've only cut smallish squares and rectangles from my snippets - but, trust me, my desk is covered with little paper flowers right now ready for something else I'm thinking about. So much to make and so little time:)

Hope you're having a great weekend and make time to nip over and peek at the Christmas House. I'm beginning to feel a little swell of panic rising as I haven't done anything towards making Christmas cards yet and loads of blogs even have their owners own little progress indicators installed!


Friday 22 July 2011

Friday Feast - Chicken Curry

I found this recipe in The Mail On Sunday's You magazine quite a while ago, and it's become a great favourite. What I like about it is that it's so quick and easy to make - a perfect meal in next to no time. It has coconut milk in but doesn't taste at all sweet - just more mellow.

The recipe itself is one of Sophie Dahl's, originally made by her father Julian Holloway - so not only can he act but he also apparently 'cooks like a dream'.

My Dad's Chicken Curry

Serves 4

1 large onion

2 serrano chillies de-seeded (or less if you like it milder)
2 cloves garlic peeled
2 tablespoons grated fresh root ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
400ml can of light coconut milk
salt and pepper
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped

Finely chop the onion, chillies and garlic, add the grated ginger and sweat in the oil in a pan over a low heat for a few minutes.

My all time favourite gadget is a small electric 'blitzer'. So, I just roughly chop the peeled garlic, ginger and the deseeded chillies and then give it a blitz in this little saves a lot of time as I can't be doing with grating ginger (oops, I do sometimes leave a few chilli seeds in):

Add the curry powder (take your pick from any one you like) and stir for a few minutes.

Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixture with a little seasoning. Cook for another few minutes.

Pour the coconut milk over the chicken and simmer on a low heat until the chicken is properly cooked, about 20 minutes. Check the seasoning. Scatter the chopped coriander on top.

Serve with basmati rice (my never-fail 1-2-1 method for cooking rice is further down under TIPS). I also like naan bread and a big dollop of mango chutney with this curry :)


The price of coconut milk seems to have rocketed in our local supermarkets but, if you shop in Morrison's UK, then look where they have a small selection of imported cans and general Asian foods - usually tucked away at the end of the same aisle where the more expensive coconut milk can be found. It's about half the price and every bit as good!

It won't spoil the curry if you don't have, or don't like, coriander. I've forgotten it a couple of times and it's been just as good.

The recipe says it's for four people but I find that it's a bit tight on the sauce so, when I make this for two of us, I use the quantities above with two chicken breasts - and for four I double the sauce.

I buy Weight Watchers Naan bread - don't ask why when I like so many other naughty things to eat!

Can't remember where I discovered the infallible 1-2-1 way to cook rice - might have been Delia Smith. It's so easy and I've never under or overcooked rice since I found this method. Boil a kettle of water. Measure one cup full of rice (plain, basmati, Thai or wild rice with normal rice) in readiness, heat a little oil in a saucepan and put the rice in. Stir it to coat the grains and then add TWO cups of boiling water then salt to taste (if you use salt at all......that's where the final 1 in the 1-2-1 comes from, but I think we're all cutting down on salt these days). Be careful when you add the boiling water to the rice as it will bubble and steam right away. Give it literally one quick stir. Cover the top of the pan with foil and jam the lid on to form a seal. Turn to the very lowest heat on the cooking ring - I use the smallest ring at this stage. Set timer for 20 minutes and then when the 20 minutes is up turn the heat off and let the rice stand for 5 or 10 minutes before removing the lid. This effectively steams the rice I think and the beauty of this method is that you can increase the quantities by using bigger mugs etc. so long as you remember the ratio of 2 water to 1 rice! Simples :)

Enjoy - and at least it isn't a three hour marathon recipe this week :)


Thursday 21 July 2011

A little touch of magic

...and a diamond top card:

I just love this little guy, ever hopeful that his magic will bring his Teddy to life maybe - although I think our Teddies do have life in them anyhow. The stamp is from LOTV (called Abracadabra - what else!), coloured with Pro Markers and a little bit of gold Stickles added to the stars and the gold book corners. I coloured the background with mauve Pebbles Pearlescent chalk - hoping it looks a bit like 'magic mist' :) Die cut with a Nestie and layered onto a diamond top style card. There's a good tutorial here if you want to have a try at a diamond top - the hardest bit is being brave enough to fold it once all the score marks are done.

Background papers are from a Papermania Rich Purple pack, the self-adhesive ribbon is Anita's and the little gold holographic peel off stars came from my Christmas stash. The sentiment is from a LOTV set, stamped and die cut.

That's it from me today - I'm going round to a friend's this afternoon with my Cuttlebug to let her have a go at some embossing. Dontcha love getting people excited about new gizmos they haven't tried before. Last week she had a go at die cutting (terrified of the 'bendy B plate' on top). So today I'm being kinder and taking lots of embossing folders (she already has a shed load of card of her own) and the CB....with the flat/un-banana shaped B plate that I keep just for embossing.

Oh, and I might just take this blank card, with one already scored for her to play with. She almost passed out at the thought of tackling a teepee card like the one I posted here recently so let's see how this one goes down....evil little grin here :)

Edit: Ooh sheesh - I remembered I made this 'Magic' card with a really specific challenge in mind, not that I ever win but they are such fun - do think about it girls!:

The Totally Gorjuss challenge - which is 'all about boys'

I love this challenge, it's always good fun, so go and see :

Also, have just come home from my friend's, bearing some cute litle flower punches which she says she'll never some local Hampshire Honey...which keeps my beloved OH happy, after what was  a long session 'playing at crafting' and converting her to the CB. I also took sticky tape rollers, glue pen, Pinflair stuff and a few other goodies so it was an all round 'I give you and you give me'. And whoop, whoop, - the diamond card was a hit with her so I left some scored ones to try out - next week is Martha Stewart punches, punch around the page et al. And we must have produced enough embossed card to sink a battleship! I need my pizza, a glass of wine (large please) and then a lie-down to recover  - but it was great fun.

Have a great day/evening if you read the edited version!


Wednesday 20 July 2011


All this wet weather made me knuckle down and do some serious tidying and sorting out in here - a lot of the reason was 'cos I'd ended up crafting on about one square foot of desk space! I just bet most people are the same at some point. But, eventually the clutter was becoming too much of a distraction  driving me nuts and it had to be licked  back into shape.

Last week I'd arrived at the point where I couldn't close the snippets/scraps tray, so that was my first task. In comparison to many (such as Jules - go and peek, if you dare. And while you're there - do look at the gorgeous cards she makes) I'm way down the 'hoarder list' but it still took me a good while - and this is the end result:

It truly was a worthwhile exercise and I've been amazed at how many colour combinations I came across that I wouldn't have thought about before. I should also add this disclaimer 'Not one snippet was harmed during this process'....I kept every single one of the little perishers :)

This is my desk right, glorious space:

The usual morning cup of black coffee and things as I left them yesterday. A LOTV image ('Abracadabra') that I stamped, coloured with Pro Markers and then chalked the background - just waiting for me to set to with the Cuttlebug. LOTV sentiments, also already stamped and ready to die cut. Clean (please note Julia - little smile of glee here) stamps - whoops and the baby wipe I cleaned them with - waiting to be put away.

A quick swing to the right and ta-da:

An empty grey basket which is usually overflowing with stash waiting to be returned to its rightful place! And, the green basket behind is also a shadow of its former self. It holds new stash and stamps to be used before they get put away and potentially forgotten about. At the end of last week I had a MAMMOTH stamping session - some for friends and some, while I was at it, for me. Then the stamps were settled into their boxes - for now. Another mission is to totally organise the unmounted stamps - they are all 'sort of' categorised in Really Useful Boxes but it's still a heck of a lot of sorting through looking for the right stamp so I need a system.

Hopefully life might be easier with more ready stamped images to hand. I've been so lucky that friends have sent me images and now my quest is to put them all, including the ones I did, to good use! Lots of colouring in ahead :)

Right ladies - that's my 'show and tell' for this week. To join in the fun and frolics do hop over to Julia's - you could be a while so nip to the loo, make yourself a coffee and settle down. I'll be doing exactly the same! Happy WOYWW!


Tuesday 19 July 2011

GorJuss girl amidst pearls and swirls

OK, a but of a trite title but I made this card on a very wet afternoon (Sunday) with a challenge in mind - Pearls and Swirls! The past few days have been so dull I had to resort to artificial light to take a piccie too! 

I dunno, yesterday's card with the two cute little ducks on was simplicity itself and  then I seemed to throw a bit of everything at this one, but it was fun playing..... although my desk and the floor looked like a bomb site once I'd finished :

The image is of course one of the GorJuss girls that I love so much - this one is called 'Bear Hug' - coloured with Pro Markers. The card is a 6" x 6" scalloped square (from Craftwork Cards), backing paper is from a 'Vintage Rose' Pink Petticoat Paper Stack that came free with Quick Cards Made Easy. I'm a sucker for free paper stacks and stamps :)

Then I stuck a strip of lacy ribbon (from Hobbycraft) diagonally across the card. This stuff is so delicate looking - I love it! The decorative corners were die cut, the doily centre was also die cut using a Marianne Creatables die (LR030) and the swirls were die cut using a Tim Holtz 'Elegant Flourishes die'. By now my desk was a sea of itty bitty bits of confetti! All the dies were cut from some yummy card with a silk like finish.

The leaves were punched using a MS punch and coloured with Marsh Green Pro Marker to match the little girls boots. I love Marsh Green for leaves, along with Olive I think it's possibly the most realistic and natural colour for grass and leaves. The flowers came from my stash (all from Wild Orchid Crafts - the white and blue ones were kindly sent to me by Dee). I had fun at this stage with the glue gun and can't recommend one enough if you're into using three dimensional flowers - only you have to be quick as it sets double-quick-pronto...and don't be tempted to check if the glue is soft enough by touching the nozzle. 'Nuff said about that totally blonde moment little accident:(

The pearl pins are from my stash along with the other little self-adhesive pearls. The final addition was a baby blue seam binding bow with a little butterfly charm dangling from it, tied with pink bakers twine. I can't somehow get my head round using seam binding in a rumpled state though, so I did iron it first:) Now there's a surprise - me, ironing! A lot of friends know that I'm very happy doing ironing, truly I am. Bit sad really.
I'm entering this card into the following challenge:
My Mum's Craft Shop - Pearls and Swirls
Have a happy day - I was out in a horrendous downpour yesterday, had visions of having to scramble onto the roof of my car to await rescue by some burly firemen.........I did drive round for a while looking for the deepest puddles I could find, but to no avail :) 


Monday 18 July 2011

Feathered friends

Whew, what a day yesterday was - certainly 'weather for ducks', it rained almost non-stop here. So, a perfect excuse to stay cosied up in my craft room and play! I tidied, sorted and then made some cards as a reward to myself. This was the easiest one:

Sandra sent me some of these images and I just love them. Very little colouring needed but how cute are they - thanks so much again! The stamp is a Penny Black one, layered onto snippets of yellowish and black card - whoop, whoop - am finally getting down to using snippets! The sentiment is from a Born To Shop set of clear stamps - I toyed with other sentiments but in the end plumped for this one which is a favourite of mine right now. The card candi is from my stash - coloured to match the card.

I'm entering this card for the following challenges:

and, a first for me.......

A couple of oblongs, just matted, seems like a very timid 'toe in the water' for the Snippet Challenge I agree - but at least I now have two less snippets in my collection!!! Sandra has inspired me to join in (thanks chick!) and this morning I've had such a good laugh at Jules' snippets collection online - I don't know why I'm worried about the amount of snippets I've got, Jules is going for the World Record!! Do hop over and have a look here!

It's early morning here and not obvious what today's weather will be like - I hope the sun shines for you wherever you are!


Saturday 16 July 2011

Teepee card

EDIT: This post was already scheduled when I found out about Harriet the Hedgie. For days we hadn't seen a hedgie feeding in the garden and to be honest I'd assumed that the explanation was because Harriet was too ill to wander far. However, CCTV picked up a visit from one during Thursday night, round about the same time as Harriet died at the sanctuary. Maybe a little message that life does go on.

This card is another new shape for me:

There's a great tutorial for making a teepee (or tepee, it can be spelt both ways) card here. And this is how the card looks when it's flat - ready for posting:

It was a fun card to make, although at almost the last stage I stuck the die cut image on a bit askew and ultra sticky DST is impossible to peel off :( Still, it was a just little tryout and next time I'll know to take more care!

The image is a LOTV one which I coloured using watercolours on holiday and at home I die cut it using a Labels 8 Nestie and stuck a teeny little pompom on for his tail.

The background papers are from a Picnic in the Park paper stack (free with a magazine), sentiment by Craftwork Cards and the green organza ribbon came from my stash. The white daisy had a clear sparkly gem on which I replaced with a gold one to tone better with the daisies in the background paper and the sentiment.

TIP: The tutorial show all layers of the card being punched through for the ribbon in one go. I managed this after resorting to a very old spring loaded single hole punch (whoops, it kinda followed me when I left my last job, but I figured it had been my faithful companion for more years than I recall). Having thought about it, I'd be tempted another time to punch the flap that you fold over on the righthand side first as that's a single layer, then line up and mark for the other holes. You'd still be punching through two layers of card and two layers of paper but it might need less brute force.

Thanks for calling by - and hope your weekend is going well!


Friday 15 July 2011

Sleep well Harriet the Hedgie

I just phoned to see how Harriet was doing, and sadly she died during last night. She had an internal parasite called 'fluke' and it was just too far advanced for the animal sanctuary to save her, despite beginning treatment right away. Their vet says it was the worst case he'd ever seen so goodness knows what she must have suffered before she was rescued. Silly me, crying here! No more pain for Harriet though.


Friday Feast - Red Dragon Pie

This is an old favourite - a bit like a veggie Cottage Pie.  I've cooked it for times when we've had a mix of friends, some of whom are vegetarian, but also for outright carnivores. We try to have some meat-free days in a week and this recipe is pure comfort food! I've used it since the 1980's and it was the name that first attracted me - apparently the Chinese call aduki beans 'red dragon' or 'red wonder' beans as they are so full of goodness. I think the best tip I can give is that this always takes me longer to make than I expect because of the different cooking stages - the beans and grain/rice need to be soaked the night before which isn't too onerous. But the following day, adding up the veggie prep. time, the first cooking of the beans and grain/rice, the cooking of the base mixture (at the same time as the potatoes) and then the oven baking I'd allow as much as three hours from the time you put your apron on to the time it's ready to serve. Of course you aren't tied to the kitchen for all that time (so you could even fit some crafting in 'cos we women can multi-task can't we!) but it's not one to race in from a day at work and make for a hungry family - truly worthwhile for a Saturday Supper.

(Serves 4)

4 oz (110g) aduki beans plus 2oz (50g) wheat grain or rice
(most supermarkets stock aduki beans, Sainsburys does for sure, and I've used bulgur wheat if I can't get wheat grain)
2 pints (1.1 litres) water for soaking
2 pints (1.1 litres) water for boiling
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
8oz (225g) carrots, peeld or scrubbed and diced
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1/2 pint (275 ml) aduki bean stock - reserved from the boiling stage
salt and pepper
1 oz butter
1lb potatoes, peeled and boiled (I always use more)

Wash the aduki beans and the wheat grain or rice and soak them overnight - or steep them in boiling water for 1 hour. I always soak them overnight so that stage is out of the way.

Drain and rinse, then bring them to the boil in fresh water and cook for 50 minutes or until the wheat grain or rice is fairly soft.

Drain, reserving the stock. TIP, I leave a bowl or measuring with a sieve ready near to where I'll be straining the mix so I don't forget to save the stock. Yup, we've all been there haven't we :)

Preheat oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4

Heat oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes..

Add the cooked beans and grains.

Mix soy sauce, tomato puree and mixed herbs with the reserved stock (don't worry if you forgot, half a pint of water or veggie stock will salvage the dish but a lot of goodness will have disappeared down the sink).

Pour this over the bean and vegetable mix.

Bring to boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until flavours are well blended.

Season to taste.

Transfer to a greased 3 pint (1.5 litre) casserole/ovenproof dish.

Boil the potatoes until soft and mash them with butter.

Spread over the beans and vegetables.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes till potato topping is crisp and golden. I like to sprinkle grated cheese over the top before baking and sometimes top that with a sprinkling of paprika.

Great served with green vegetables, and if there are any leftovers, it freezes well.

And in true Blue Peter fashion, here's one I made earlier (last week in fact). I don't think a cottage pie can be made to look very exciting in a photo, neither can Red Dragon Pie! I promise though, it tastes wonderful!



Thursday 14 July 2011

A mission of mercy takes priority

Yesterday was WOYWW. Everything going well, I'd ducked out of going to archery, posted about my desk, done a lot of blog hopping and had just settled down to what I planned to be an afternoon of crafting interspersed with more visits to WOYWW crafters. All was well with the World and the dominoes were all nicely lined up for a restful afternoon.

And then, one little nudge from this cutie and all the dominoes toppled over:

I had spotted this hedgie on Tuesday as I came home from shopping but by the time I had a chance to park my car and go back to check again it had toddled off. Not so yesterday, it was wandering forlornly around a neighbours driveway looking like it had had a night out on the tiles. Auntie Di trotted over wearing gardening gloves and scooped the little critter up. Above it's curled up in my medical assistant's hand and below was an attempt to coax it to drink:

It did lap a bit of water but was plainly exhausted, visibly shaking like a leaf and looked in danger of collapsing into the dish of water. I phoned our nearest wildlife sanctuary and after some discussion it was a case of 'Here we go again'! In the past we've rescued two other hedgies plus a couple of birds and taken them to the sanctuary and this was another such case. Sometimes birds and animals (and even a field mouse which we nursed through one Winter and then released in the Spring) will recover without us needing to troll off to the sanctuary but this prickly friend was beyond just some food and water.

Then the adventure began - the sanctuary had moved so we let the sat. nav guide us. Muggins I was driving and we must have been down every narrow lane the sat. nav could find within a 20 mile radius and passed every chocolate box thatched cottage it could find. Just as well we took my little car as much of the journey was via single track lanes with barely room to pass other vehicles! At one point the lanes were like green tunnels, completely covered with leafy green trees joined at the top so my OH rightly suggested I put the car lights on, as much to be seen by the mad locals whizzing at us from the opposite direction. I did have a little giggle at that point as I half expected him to roll down the window, reach behind the seat and stick a flashing blue light on the car roof! Eventually we arrived in one piece and kind of tumbled out of the car in a state of shock after the harrowing route we'd followed.

The staff at the sanctuary are fantastic and quickly took the situation in hand. The hedgie is a female, which I immediately christened Harriet, she is badly underweight and very de-hydrated. Externally she looks OK although her teeth aren't good apparently which could be part of the problem. She was totally happy to be checked over before being 'admitted' and this is her in one of the lovely young volunteers hands:

After signing all the paperwork and leaving more than enough to cover her for board and lodgings as a donation we set off for home again. And blow me, despite every effort to thwart the sat. nav., we found another set of scary narrow lanes! I tell you, there was a much needed glass of wine while we sat in the garden to recover before dinner.

So that was the afternoon totally gone. Hopefully Harriet will recover well and despite the teeth problem should have a good life. A lot of hedgies in this state, limbs missing or other infirmities, are released into the gardens of people who live in a safe environment with totally enclosed gardens, such as walled gardens, for them to happily set up home, have hedgie houses for hibernation and of course to be given water and the right food. In Harriet's case it's likely to be meat-based cat food or soft hedgehog food - left in the wild alone she would not have survived.


Wednesday 13 July 2011


Wednesday again and time for the weekly snoop to see what everyone else is up to! I even passed up the chance to go and watch my OH at playing at being Robin Hood archery this morning so I could show some of the mayhem here - and have a snoop myself of course :) No contest was there?!

Firstly, yesterday I was looking for a small piece of black card for my OH in the 'snippets drawer' and it's so full I couldn't close the flipping thing again! Don't know about you but it's amazing how many little 'raids' he makes on my craft stuff....'You wouldn't happen to have.......?'. Eyelets, card, laminating, markers - you name it (and in nine cases out of ten I have it!).

Some serious sorting out is needed here and as Sandra has refused my offloading ploy kind offer to send the whole flipping lot to her - go here to see what gorgeous cards she makes with her snippets -  I already knew this point was approaching So I bought an expanding file thingy last week with clearing this little lot into some semblance of order in mind.....colour ranges maybe - and judging by the amount I might need another expanding file :(

And, the other day I was emailing Bernie about Mulberry Paper (remember that?). Bernie and I have about a 24 hour lag in our emails as she lives in the USA - she produces some really beautiful, delicate cards and her blog (here) is worth a little peek! Like me, Bernie had some of the paper languishing in her craft closet. Then, by pure coincidence, about 30 minutes later I stumbled across a super tip when I was just blog-hopping and not even looking for anything to do with Mulberry Paper - kinda spooky! Credit where it's due - I've retraced my steps and the blog I found the tip on is 'Cats Whiskers', although it was only mentioned in passing I got the drift and just had a little play as I had both the slightly abandoned papers and the double-sided sticky back plastic:

Firstly, peel off one side of the backing from the sticky back plastic and put in on the wrong side of a sheet of Mulberry Paper. Some Mulberry Paper is the same on both sides but generally one side does have a better layer of the fibres showing.

Then using your chosen die (or punch I should think would be fine) - cut out the shape(s) you want. My Nesties don't have a trace of 'sticky' left on them by the way which was one concern I'd had.

Peel off the other side of the backing paper and stick onto your project. Bingo, no glue lines and a nice background on which to play. This was just to show how it's done as curiosity was getting the better of me - I'd struggled with glue and all sorts ages ago and been disappointed. It looks so much better in real life - very delicate. I suspect I now need to dig into those snippets and make some pretty little flowers and leaves to turn this into a card! Oooo, and I also have some new little white marabou feathers to play with too.

So, why waste time here when you could hop straight over to Julia's to see what everyone else is up to! Happy WOYWW and thanks for calling by.


Tuesday 12 July 2011

LOTV notelets

My bloggy friend Sandra sent me some gorgeous stamped images, and unable to sleep yesterday morning, I was colouring in at 5am. I like to have a little selection of notelets to hand and Sandra sent me four images all the same in amongst the vast selection so I had a little production line going whilst someone else here was still in the land of nod......ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz:

I know the image is LOTV and think it's called Teddy With Flower - how cute is he?! Coloured using Pro Markers, and I used an ultra-fine PM nib for the flowers stem which works just great! Then just a little bit of Grape coloured Stickles on the butterflies, layered onto olive green card and then onto plain white card stock. Perfect for notelets - and so enjoyable to colour! I think a visit to LOTV's website is called for - dangerous though!


Monday 11 July 2011

Sweet honeysuckle

We have an arbour in the garden which is a riot of honeysuckle right now. although I can see that some blooms are finished already - they are two different varieties which scramble up each side and kind of mingle at the top. The local sparrows absolutely love to hide in there and are a source of endless entertainment:

And close up - take a deep sniff :))

The sun is shining here so maybe Summer has returned? I hope so!!! But no sign of Spike the Hedgehog lately - the little ingrate is ignoring the food we leave out for him and isn't being picked up on CCTV either. Hope he's OK - perhaps off on his hols?


Saturday 9 July 2011

A poppy card

I mentioned earlier in the week that I was working on a stamped image of some poppies - here's the end result:

The stamp is from a clear Hero Arts set, coloured with Aqua Markers. I also stamped a second image and coloured a few extra petals to add some dimension like this:

Assembling the card was pretty straightforward, although my initail thoughts were to keep the basic card stock plain white, I just can't quite do CAS as yet! So, I used spotted background paper from a Papermania Capsule Collection 'Mono' pack and layered the image onto some silver Mirri card then added the extra petals using sticky pads. I buy my sticky pads either online or from Wilkinsons (under their own brand name in the stationery aisle) as they aren't too chunky, not too expensive and come in about one inch by half an inch size so they can be snipped into whatever size is best.

As the images were stamped onto quite thick watercolour card I also used a little trick which is, once the petals are cut out for the decoupage run a matching Aqua Marker round the cut edges so that no white shows.

I'm entering this into the following challenges:

Try It On Tuesday - Flower Power

Ooh La La Creations - Summer Flowers

Corrosive Challenges - red and white

Hope you have a great weekend!!


Friday 8 July 2011

Friday Feast - Fish Rarebit with Roasted Tomatoes

Following on from the Lazy Mediterranean Chicken Pilaff recipe, and as I don't always have new cards to post on here, I thought that some Fridays it might be different to post a recipe instead with the title 'Friday Feast'.

I love to cook but I'm not the world's best at eating a few things and that includes fish. I know it's really good for you and I just love fish and chips, especially when I manage to get back to the North East! So, when I find a fish recipe that I really like it's a bit of an event. This one is a favourite and I've also cooked it for a few friends and rellies who aren't 100% 'fish foodies' and it always goes down well.

Fish Rarebit with Roasted Tomatoes:


250g packet spinach
4 cod or haddock fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
125g (4oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 level tsp dry mustard powder
1 medium egg (or a large one is fine)
200g (7oz) small tomatoes on the vine (or not, as the fancy takes you)
Olive oil, for drizzling


Set the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C.

Cook the spinach according to the packet instructions. (Really it just needs to be wilted down a bit). Drain it well and place in the base of an ovenproof dish.

Place the cod or haddock over the spinach and season well with salt and pepper.

Mix together the cheese, mustard, egg and seasoning. Divide the mixture over the fish.

Take the tomatoes off the vine, but leave the stalks on, place them around the fish. Drizzle over a little olive oil.

Bake the fish in the centre of the oven for 20-30 mins, or until the cheese melts and is a light-golden colour, and the fish feels tender when a knife is pressed into it. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Things I vary - for two of us I still use the full amount of spinach and the cheesy topping and double it for four people. Haddock or cod loin is lovely instead of fillets - and although the tomatoes on the vine look good a) you can't eat the stalks and b) baby tomatoes are generally cheaper when not on the vine unless you're growing your own of course.

I made this the other evening and it was truly yummy - so long as you like spinach and cheese I guess :) Served with baby new potatoes and broad beans, but asparagus goes particularly well either.

My oven is a bit too keen at the back right - and I forgot to turn the dish during the cooking time so there was a little bit of over browning. I ate that bit!



Wednesday 6 July 2011


Silly me, I cleared a lot of bits and pieces away yesterday afternoon so the 'work area' of my desk is visible again! It was driving me crazy not being able to find anything....ever had a super fast drying blob of glue from a hot-gun in place and not been able to find either the flower you want to stick down or your tweezers? Don't answer that one - I just know I'm not alone :) You would have been really proud of the mess :) But, the baskets remain lurking to the right hand side:

Plus piles of paper work to sort out. As always, the basket at the back (green one) is stuffed full of new stamps etc. yet to be used. However, showing that I'm not totally disorganised, here's how I store my little pots of Twinkling H2O's:

Yup, it's another Really Useful Box with one of those wonderful divided plastic tray inserts. As they're solid cakes of paint in those cute little pots, it's fine to store them on their sides and so easy to see what's what. And, there's space on top for storing a paint mixing palette, brushes, my travel set of ordinary water colours plus a Mini Mister. For ages I used brushes to moisten the H2O's but finally a light bulb went on and the answer is to spritz with a small spray of water then leave it for a minute or two before diving in to begin painting - perfect!

This has been a great week for surprises - a couple of packages of wonderful stash arrived from Dee (aka Peggy). Dee doesn't have a blog as yet but it's only a matter of time I hope and I'll happily set one up for her - although I know she's a bit of an IT whizz anyhow. She sent loads of gorgeous embellies, stamped backgrounds, raffia, flowers, charms and goodness knows what. It never ceases to amaze me just how kind crafty folk are when it comes to sharing - what a fabulous bunch you are! Watch this space tomorrow to see what I made using some of the goodies :) I think this post is already a bit long and you all have some hopping around to do.

So, sit back, get comfy and hop over to Julia's to see what everyone else's desk is like today. Have fun!


Monday 4 July 2011

Boys will be boys

I water coloured this LOTV image in whilst away on holiday and added some Anita's glaze to the broken bits of the vase once I got home:

The sentiment was made using peel offs, coloured using a Pro Marker although they need a while to dry compared to Peel off inky fingers prove that!). Then the image was just layered onto some plain Core'dinations card plus papers from a Papermania Blueberry Pie paper pad.

I guess it could be a good - 'Oops..........Sorry I Forgot The Date' card?

I'm entering it into the following challenge:

Totally GorJuss Challenge 87 - Sketch

I was a bit fazed about the sketch having an oval image but some of the DT's cards had square/other than oval images so I figured it would be OK - especially as none of my ovals are big enough for the image! Oh no, not more shopping!

And, Tams sent me these piccies of the Lazy Mediterranean Pilaff she made using the recipe I posted here:

Before cooking, and then after!

Now, doesn't that tempt you to try it :)) Thank you Tams for the photos - glad it was liked!


Saturday 2 July 2011

A birthday card for a special young lady

Today is a young neighbour's birthday - Abi (or Abigail to give her full name) is 14 today. She does hop into my blog now and then, although Facebook is her preferred method of communication........Happy Birthday Abi!!!  This is the card I started to watercolour on holiday with her birthday in mind:
The image is called Red Hearts, designed by Ching Chou Kuik and produced by Sweet Pea Stamps. I'm totally in love with this range of stamps and they're worth the time it takes to colour them. In fact, they're in some ways made easier by the detail in the design itself - if that makes sense on a hot and humid Saturday morning!

Firstly I water coloured the image and then, once home added Twinkling H2O's to the wings and moon then matching colours of Stickles for some sparkle here and there. The image was layered onto some black card and the purple lightly patterned metallic card blank was made using some KanBan card from QVC, the double layer of knotted purple and pink organza  ribbons are from my stash - along with the sentiment and a couple of little pink gems. I used this sentiment as it matched the final colouring and sparkle of the moon!

I said in a previous post that I stuck very much to the colours used in the picture which comes with the stamp (don't you just love it when at least you get that as some guidance) - but the possibilities for variation are endless I'm sure. One step at a time though :)

It's been a while since I used my Twinkling H2O's as I was never happy with the skin and some other effects - silly me, combining them with normal watercolours or probably Aqua Markers is the solution! The mix of matt and silky colours really works for some images - just as well, as being me, I have the full range of Twinkling H2O's and what a waste that would have been :)

It sounds like it came together quickly but I had my craft room almost upside down looking for the right card blank! Normally I pick out the pieces to use for a card before I set to doing any colouring but this time I hadn't so there was a lot of head scratching and huffing and puffing here today :)

Most of all, I hope Abi likes it  and has a brilliant birthday!