Wednesday 30 November 2011


Last day of November today and of course, being a Wednesday, it's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday (WOYWW). Time for the weekly snoop round all the imaginative places that folk do their crafting - no doubt with a lot more going on than here at Pixie's Workshop.........and here's the link to Julia's should you wish to run away right now :)

The good news is that this cold is just lingering and being a nuisance - the bad news is that I flipping well hope it isn't biding its time to put in a full appearance nearer to Christmas. You know what I mean ......Footlights! Strike up the orchestra! Then out onto centre stage, wearing top hats and sparkly suits - tap dancing like mad with the occasional high kick comes....'The Star of the Show' - The Full Blown Cold and all its little friends such as the Cough, Sore Throat and Co. 

Anyhow - this is my desk as I left it yesterday, and on Monday for that matter!
Not very exciting at all and much too neat and tidy:( It was so gloomy I had to use the daylight lamp.  To the back there's a pile of cards waiting to have their inserts printed, and the pile at the front is similar but not posted about on here yet. I only put quite simple double folded inserts into cards but it's easier to take any photos before doing that stage as they don't seem to stay as tightly closed once I stick the inserts in. A little Penny Black hedgie stamp is patiently waiting to be inked up and he's sitting on some slips of paper with the 'recipe' for each card noted down as I make it.....then I usually lose the slips of paper of course :)

This is the top card from the front pile - another Ribbon Tree Card:
I used:

- white 7" x 5" card stock

- Woodware 'Christmas Ribbon Tree' stamp set - coloured with Pro Markers

- deep turquoise backing card from stash

- patterned paper by Nancy Watts, free with Making Cards magazine

- stamped sentiment using a free stamp kit with Simply Cards and Papercraft

- Josy Rose nail heads

This has to be one of my very favourite stamp sets, it's amazing how different it can look just by varying the colour scheme and there are some softer ones somewhere in that pile of cards on the desk.

My chum Kath has thrown down a challenge for Friday Feast - her comment made me hoot with laughter - apparently her 'lesser half' (grin) was saying they eat too much meat so could I please do a recipe bearing that in mind but 'none of that Italian muck'.  Your wish is my command Kath!

Have a great Wednesday folks - and happy snooping!


Tuesday 29 November 2011

A Tuesday Tale

I felt awful, croaky and very groggy, last night and was tucked up in bed with a huge glass of fizzy vitamin C and a Lemsip - administered by my OH at about 8:30 pm. As I'd been ironing for ages (snort, I could be allergic!) there was no card making yesterday either. On a brighter note I don't feel quite as 'rough as a badger's bum rear end' this morning as I thought I would!

So, it's time to tell another 'Pat Tale' in the absence of any cards/photos to post about - although my desk is strewn with some half made ones :))

The recent mists and fog down here reminded me of 'smog' - mostly a thing of the past but defined on Wikipedia as  a word originating from a 'portmanteau of smoke and fog'. What a lovely description huh - 'portmanteau' :)

The infamous Pat (of the wrecked hat from her tumble during the wartime blackout) bought herself a little car during the early 1950's. One evening, she'd been out and upon returning to her car realised that she couldn't see much more than a few feet ahead due to heavy smog. Undeterred she got into the car and crawled her way towards home with her nose almost pressed against the windscreen. The rear lights of a vehicle appeared in front of her - a London bus! Then, 'ping' on went a bright little light in Pat's head......from the number shown on the back it was actually the bus which passed the end of her street so all she had to do was to follow it home :)  Yeah, right Pat!

Every time the bus stopped at a bus stop, so did Pat - determined to stay behind her 'knight in shining armour' who was going to lead her home. This happened a few times and Pat stuck behind all the way - even when the driver indicated it was safe for her to pass she stayed resolutely behind her saviour. But then the bus didn't seem to stop again for ages and Pat still hadn't seen the end of her street.....undeterred though, she tootled on behind it. Aha, then the driver braked and indicated left - Pat did too and, once again, stayed behind the bus. The driver now furiously waved her past and the conductor appeared on the rear platform also gesticulating. Pat ignored all this with a little toss of the head (much as she'd ignored the ticket collector in the previous tale) and eventually the bus did turn left with Pat's little car stuck to its rear end like a piece of chewing gum.

When the bus showed no sign of moving on though Pat did begin to wonder - until suddenly there was another bus right behind her. Err, she'd only followed the bus all the way back to the depot and was now parked for the night in the bus sheds with a load of other London buses!

Hey ho - have a nice day!


Monday 28 November 2011

LOTV Christmas Dance

Another image I coloured on holiday was this little cutie:
I used:

- 6" x 6" white square card stock

- LOTV 'Christmas Dance' stamp - coloured with Aqua Markers and 'schparkled' with Glamour Dust and Stickles

- red card from snippets (never knew there were so many wrong shades of red card in my stash and it was snippets to the rescue once again!)

- backing paper from the Marianne Design 'Merry Little Christmas' paper pack

- sentiment 'tag' from stash - bought ages ago from QVC

- red and silver velvet ribbon sent to me by the lovely Carol, when Costco sold out of the Christmas ribbon pack I'd been admiring on her blog, she sent me a selection - thanks again honey!

- red silk ribbon tied into a bow - and some! - from Wild Orchid Crafts

- glittered poinsettias that I sparkled earlier, in true Blue Peter fashion, last week

- Josy Rose green nail heads (one of which I used to cover the hole in the sentiment tag)

I think that's the last of the images that I coloured whilst on holiday :( And the card itself was almost wrecked right at the 'last knockings'. I used the glue gun to attach the poinsettias....... and the ribbon bow - as the gun was already out for the flowers. Oooooops, big oops in fact, got a blob of glue on the red velvet ribbon just above the knot in the bow :( But, after running round the walls in fury at my own clumsiness I tied another knotted piece of silk ribbon and layered it over the bow at right angles - ha, THIS time attaching it with ultra sticky DST!! It hides the blob of glue at least :))

Missed the snippets playground last week so am trying to screech in early this week - 'Im baaaaaack Miss' - Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge Week 47

Today is meant to be the day that loads of folk do their online Christmas shopping - however, I'll be 'dashing away with the smoothing iron' whilst watching some DVDs. Yup, that was a plural DVDs - there's a humongous (a big word!) load of ironing leering at me from the futility room.........I could be some time :((


Sunday 27 November 2011

Christmas Ribbon Tree

Will I never learn - in the hope of whipping up some quick cards I dug out a new stamp set to be inked up for the first time. I'd seen it on Jules blog 'Always with a Heart' a little while back and totally loved it - the problem is, I got carried away and set to and made four different colourways, two cards in each - so much for some quick cards! This involved much rootling through papers, stamping images and sentiment, selecting the Pro Markers to match, colouring, trimming, sticking and goodness know what. At least I stopped short of using any glitter - my 'in-house' critic thought the ribbon tree image is contemporary and would be good without glitter. I secretly think it's 'cos he's afraid I'll do a repeat performance and that before long he'll be recognised in Sainsbury's as the chap whose 'totally barking' OH waltzes round with a red glittery nose!

This is the one card I've totally finished, well one of two the same in fact. Overnight the tape runner stuff parted company with some backing that is embossed on the others and I need to set to with some of the red ultra sticky tape - that'll fix it with luck. Failing that, the old technique of jumping up and down on the cards might be employed:)
Yet again, the lime green in the paper and the Pro Marker in the image are a really good match - and, yet again, the camera is trying to make a liar of me:(

I used:

- 6" x 6" white square card stock

- Woodware 'Christmas Ribbon Tree' stamp, coloured with Pro Markers

- Backing papers from the Echo Park 'Seasons Greetings' paper pack

- stamped sentiment using a free stamp kit with Simply Cards and Papercraft

- glossy red Josy Rose Nail Heads

I'm frantically packing 600+ of my old school newsletters here, as if there isn't enough to do - then off out this afternoon to visit some friends down in Winchester. Onwards and upwards though - have a great day whatever you're up to. Just four weeks now until the big man in the red suit will have already been and mayhem will no doubt be in full flow in homes everywhere!


Saturday 26 November 2011

LOTV Little Holly

Another image I coloured on holiday was LOTV's 'Little Holly'. The jury is still out here over their very latest release of stamps, many of which have gone the way of Magnolias and have no mouths. Funny enough, I can get away with the 'mouthless GorJuss Girls' stamps but am not sure why LOTV have followed this route.

Anyhow, here's today's card:

I used:

- 6" x 6" square scalloped card from Craftwork Cards (keep forgetting I have these)

- LOTV 'Little Holly' stamp, coloured using Aqua Markers and sparkled up a bit with 'Icicle' and 'Gold Ice' Stickles, some Anita's Clear Gloss on the candle and then the holly berries were just touched with a Gelly Roll Red pen

- backing papers from the Dovecraft 'Let It Snow' pack - and the plain blue reverse of one design  for the backings and 'loopy edged' strip

- Martha Stewart 'Loops' punch

- double edged lace from stash

- deep red seam binding from stash - found in a rummage box at our local fabric shop

- baby blue pearls from stash

The pearls have caused a bit of fun here - you'll know exactly the sort of box I mean when I say they came in a flower shaped clear box about 4" in diameter. Each petal contained a different colour of pearls - but not so now! Dumbo here turned the box on its side and the lid obviously wasn't pressed really firmly on so now I have a jolly little jumble of pearls which will just be tipped into another little jar or whatever when I get a chance - no way am I sifting and sorting THAT little lot out!

Saturday today - hope you have a great weekend, whatever you have planned, be it Christmas cake making, decking the halls, frantically making cards, shopping or other fun things!


Friday 25 November 2011

Friday Feast - Liver and Bacon Casserole

I can almost hear some folk running away before reading any further! I used to hate liver with a vengeance, it sent shudders down my spine and made my teeth itch! Then, I found this recipe quite a few years ago in the Tower Slow Cook-Book and it's a firm favourite of ours.

If I don't have the time or inclination to use the slow cooker then this cooks beautifully in a covered casserole dish in a moderate oven for about an hour to an hour and a half - from the point where you would transfer everything into a slow cooker. I have one solitary Le Creuset casserole to my name (bought in a sale many moons ago) - using that means no pan to wash up mid-way - straight from the hob and into the oven :)

Liver and Bacon Casserole

Serves 2 generous portions

40g butter
2 onions - chopped
8 rashers bacon chopped (I use a pair of sharp kitchen scissors for this)
500g lambs liver cut into strips 1cm wide (I hate touching liver so I do this wearing disposable gloves and using sharp kitchen scissors - what a wimp!)
Seasoned flour - about 2 tablespoons
1 x 400g can tomatoes
150 - 300 ml beef stock (I cheat and just use an Oxo cube)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I think it's this that really makes the casserole!)

If using a slow cooker, pre-heat it on high for 20 minutes.

Heat the butter in a large pan and saute the onions and bacon gently until transparent.

Toss the liver strips in the seasoned flour

Add the liver to the onions and bacon and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.

Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and transfer to slow cooker.

Cook on high for 30 minutes then switch to low for 3-5 hours.

Things I do: The easiest, and least tactile, way to toss the liver in flour is to pop the flour into a poly bag, season it, add the liver and holding the top of the bag closed give it a good shake. For four people I just up the quantity of liver to 700g or so and add a touch of extra stock. We normally have at least one portion left over and it freezes fine - great for an emergency meal. I think this absolutely has to be served with creamy mashed potato! Dark green cabbage goes brilliantly with it - and just think of all that iron you'd be getting :)

Bet you what you like that both Kath and Sarn ran away before even reading this recipe :)) And perhaps a few others too?


Thursday 24 November 2011

Dancing on a Christmas gift

This stamp reminds me so much of our grand daughter Mia in Germany. At all of four years old her ambition is to be a ballerina, failing that a Princess will do thank you nicely!

Given the current dull weather it was really tricky to take a reasonable photo - but the sun shone for a short while yesterday and as it was shining in through the craft room window I took the opportunity - by propping cream card on the laptop which sits sideways on to the light :) Talk about the 'ways and means' committee at work!
I used:

- white 6" x 6" card stock

- stamped image by Nellie Snellon called Dawn 007 - 'Hokey-pokey', coloured on holiday with Aqua Markers and then some silver pen added at home to the stars and Glamour Dust to the stars, fur etc.

- magenta Core'dinations backing card

- backing papers from the Milton and Co. Christmas paper stack

- holly leaves cut from another sheet in the paper pack - glittered with Glamour Dust

- ribbons from stash

- holly charm from stash

- silver Josy Rose nail head stars

- silver greeting from stash - I suspect this could be Lakeland from ages ago

Phew, another one for the box - I think another run of 'quickies' could be due though!


Wednesday 23 November 2011


OK - so who stole this last week huh?! And also, who turned off the sun down here and dumped a load of mist and gloom in its place?

I just hopped into my craft room, flicked on the light and this is the current state of affairs in there:
As I left it yesterday afternoon to go on a round trip to a garden centre, a printers (it's my old school newsletter time again) and the Post Office - after carefully checking in the mirror for any streaks of glitter on my face!

On top of the pink netbook at the back are papers ready to make up another Christmas card as well as some stamps on the glass cutting mat that I'd just been trimming ready to use.................hmm, a couple of 'ready' words here!

But, I have been busy honestly - making some poinsettias a bit more pretty (as if I really have that much time to spare!). I posted a while back about using Twinklets to 'bling up' large poinsettias from Wild Orchid Crafts - following Bev Rochester's great tutorial. The results are super although the flowers are quite big ones so on Sunday I dug out some of the smaller WOC poinsettias - approximately 1" across. A few pictures coming:
The flowers before I went into 'attack mode' - see how orange the 'red' ones are?
The yellow centres have been snipped out and the wire loops removed then the centres have been opened up with a poky tool. No need to separate the layers though. Anita's glaze ready in a glass tot pot - safer than trying to work with a tall bottle of the stuff! Yup, I have spilt a pool of the stuff across my desk before now :(
Holding the flower on a poky tool (I use an old one), paint glaze all over the white parts of the flower - missing the green leaves out 
The poinsettia after being dunked into sparkly stuff from an unmarked pot - much finer than Twinklets which are little glass crystals really but not as fine or costly as Glamour Dust. And I think it's time to change that nail polish :(
And the end result - the drying white poinsettias dunked in clear sparklies, red ones dunked in red sparklies (changing that orange to a rich red) and a couple of red ones dunked in clear sparklies as a try - they came out looking a bit pink which could be useful. And the finishing touch - some Papermania gold and silver sparkly brads through the centres. The packs also had jewelled brads in - topaz and clear which I mixed and matched. So now I have a little box of poinsettias ready to use on more Christmas cards - saves time as you go along :)

To see what everyone else has been up to (no doubt a lot more useful time spent than mine!) and what's going on wherever they craft - hop over to Julia's here for your WOYWW snoop!

Have fun - and as Brucie could say 'Keeeeeeeeeeeep crafting'. The big man in the red suit is probably planning his routes into his Sat. Nav already!


Tuesday 22 November 2011

A Tuesday Tale - should have looked in the mirror

Oh well, no card OR photos today :( And, I owe emails to soooo many bloggy friends but I just haven't had a chance. The main reason is that my 'in-house critic' is almost climbing up the walls with neuralgia so I've been keeping an eye on him a lot of the time. It isn't 'man-flu' either - I can tell by the grey, drawn look that it's truly, very painful. Also, by the time I came to take a photo of the card I've been working on when possible, the light was awful and even using the daylight lamp there were reflections bouncing everywhere. I might ask 'Santa' for a light tent thingy but am not too sure - any thoughts, bearing in mind I have limited space in here?

But, I did manage to make 'himself' laugh yesterday with another escapade in which I perhaps excelled myself. I'd forgotten to get the Sunday joint (don't ask, it just happened) so had to drop crafty things I was in the middle of (this is important to what follows) and dash out to Sainsbury's in a rush mid-afternoon. So far so good, got the lamb (err, and a few other things) and whizzed to the checkout. I noticed a few funny looks from the checkout lady but thought nothing of it (I often get funny looks - grin). The chap behind me in the queue was particularly obnoxious - you know the sort, pushing with his trolley, starting to edge me away from the till point before I'd even paid. So, he got a little kind of 'stern' look from me - at which the Male Chauvinistic Son of a B**** smirked at me - don't you just lurve guys like that!! My stern looks are meant to freeze folk to the spot at the very least!

Off I tootled to the car still bristling a bit, loaded the shopping into the boot (why can I never just buy the one thing I went for?), hopped in, started the engine..........and then looked in the rear view mirror before reversing. A red sparkly nose was looking back at me! OMGosh - should have checked the mirror before I raced out of the house - I had a big smear of red glitter on the end of my nose, held firmly in place by a big dobble of Anita's glaze!! Sheesh - I drove home peeking through rather than over the steering wheel!!! No wonder there were smiles/smirks and the checkout lady was pointedly rubbing her nose. Once he stopped laughing through his pain, Len did ask if I was auditioning for Rudolph's stand-in - should I smile or cry I wonder?

Anyhow, not being able to see/or just not looking at your reflection reminded me of a wartime tale. My friend Pauline (she who is terrified of a Cuttlebug) used to be in the Army in her younger days and had a few friends much older than her - who lived through the war. One friend was called Pat and she seems to have been created from the same mould as me, poor soul!!

One evening, during the 'blackout' when everywhere was shrouded in darkness to deter enemy bombers (an explanation for those not here in the UK) - although I hasten to add that I was a Baby Boomer AFTER the war - Pat decided a night out was in order. As you did in those days, she dressed in her meagre finery - best outfit, silk stockings even (where did she get those, my Mum used gravy browning she used to tell me, and then pray it wouldn't rain), plus a very smart new hat and, living near London, went into the City for some fun.

When the evening ended she caught the train home, a steam train belching soot at that - so far so good. Hope you're still with me - I think it's worth it!

The train came to a halt so thinking she must be at her destination, even though all signs had been removed from stations and the inside and outside of the compartment she was sitting in all alone was totally in darkness, she hopped out into the pitch black. Err, BIG mistake! The train had merely stopped for some reason other than reaching a station. As Pat, luckily hung onto and swung from the door (no sliding doors in those days) her life passed before her in case she fell onto the tracks. But, being an Army gal she managed to scrabble her way back into the compartment - probably a bit like a Laurel and Hardy movie scene - and collapsed back into her seat feeling most ruffled and so glad no-one else was in the same compartment to witness the indignity of it all.

Then, a few minutes later a ticket collector opened the door to the compartment from the corridor to check tickets. Pat produced her ticket and after ceremoniously punching it, using his torch to light the darkness, the ticket collector peered closely at her and asked if she was alright. 'Fine' said Pat quite primly with a little toss of the head - after all, she hadn't been seen doing her acrobatics and even though she was still 'feather ruffled' she was outwardly a smart young woman on her way home from a fun, and probably to this country 'oik' of a ticket collector, terribly 'elegant' night out in the City. The collector sort of shook his head and left her in peace. The next stop was Pat's station and she was happy to do the short walk home and get into her own little place.

Then, in the hallway, she looked down - her precious silk stockings were hanging in shreds! Slowly, she looked up and into the hallway mirror - and gazing back at her was nothing short of a tramp! Soot streaks all over her face, hair like a banshee and to totally finish the look - her precious hat now had the the crown totally almost ripped from the brim and and the crown was wobbling round hanging on by about a couple of inches of material at a jaunty angle as if to say 'Sheesh! That was some night out!'. So much for dignity huh!!?

I am assured this is totally true - I don't think you could make it up :)) And my escapade in Sainsbury's reminded me of this tale. Maybe it's my sense of humour but I almost cry with laughter imagining this - she also had another silly wartime escapade which I'll keep for another time......... when the light here is too bad to take a photo of a card :)

No sign of any visitors to the hedgie food yet - I have a spare colander at the ready (snort, snort) plus gardening gloves! Yes, Bernie - all hedgies should be hibernated by now for the Winter so to have one wandering around possibly looking for food is worrying. It could be ill or not have enough fat reserves in its little body to settle down for its Winter sleep :(

WOYWW tomorrow and hopefully at some point later in the morning there will be enough light to take a photo of today's card ready for Thursday! Otherwise I could venture back into Sainsbury's and whip the card plus camera into one of the tall illuminated freezer cabinets and snap away - at least the photos would look frosty, unless I'm ejected for being a public nuisance :) Such is life :(


Monday 21 November 2011

Hedgehog Acrobat Birthday card

First of all - hedgehogs. The CCTV picked up something on Saturday night in the back garden. Not a very clear image (I've always said that we need to supply stilts for ground level critters to bring them up to a decent height so they can smile for the camera!) but it was enough for Len to call me and say he thought there could be a rat roaming round. Huh, I suspect not - unless it's a rat without a tail and one which has a very round shape and signs of spikes!!

Yup, we suspect it could be a youngish hedgehog :( Poor Len groaned 'Oh no, why is it always us?'. So, out came the feeding bowls, hedgie food etc. again and today and over the next few days we'll be checking closely to see if we do have a little visitor. It'll be difficult to catch a fit hedgehog then whip the scales out to check that it weighs over 600g which is 'hibernation weight' to judge if it should go to the local animal sanctuary or not so there could be some fun and games here. Never a dull moment - I will duly report any progress :))

Anyhow, this card is for my OH's sister-in-law today - Happy Birthday Maureen if you do hop in for a peek!

A little while ago I was sent some stamped PB images by Jules, Headmistress of the Snippets Playground over at 'Always with a Heart'. It came about because I'd loved one particular image she used but, in the way of so many crafters, Jules sent me that one plus a little selection of images and the cutie I used for this card is one of those - I've just searched hundreds of hedgehog PB stamps on the web and found that it's called 'Acrobat'. Thank you again Jules, I think this stamp is going on my wish list to Santa! Here's the result:
I was so much more comfortable being able to choose the papers before colouring the image. Gonna have to think of a way round that one for future holidays - or take some knitting instead :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" white card stock

- Penny Black stamped image 'Acrobat' - coloured with Pro Markers and some 'Lemon Ice' Stickles added to the flower centres

- pink and green plain backing card - Core'dinations

- patterned papers from the 'Bird Song' pack by First Edition. These are truly gorgeous papers, some are 'flittered' with glossy glitter effect almost like embossing and they all co-ordinate so well - I think the pack came from Hobbycraft, or possibly The Range

- sentiment from Craftwork Cards, backed with a larger circle of coloured card

- white guipure lace and baby pink silk ribbon from The Ribbon Girl. I promise you, this silk ribbon is just brilliant, I only had a teensy bit of it left but managed to tie a reasonably decent bow with ease. The pale green (peridot almost) jewelled brad through the knot of the bow is from Wild Orchid Crafts

- brushed pink Josy Rose nail heads

That's my Monday offering, which I'd like to enter into the following challenges:

The Ribbon Girl Challenge # 13 - Pink and White  I know there's also green here but having checked the DTs makes for this challenge some of those have used additional colours with pink and white as well so it should 'pass muster' :)

Penny Black At Allsorts Challenge - November - 'All Creatures Great and Small'

Hope you all have a good week, whatever you have planned. We could be on 'night patrol' here - scales at the ready!


Sunday 20 November 2011

Christmas reindeer cards

Oh boy, I already am getting waves ripples of panic wondering if I'll end up buying some cards for Christmas instead of being able to make them all. Some recipients probably wouldn't notice anyhow, but making them all is still a target I've set myself.

Sooooo, when I was scrabbling round looking for lilac backing papers yesterday, I'm almost ashamed to say I stumbled across yet another 'forgotten' box with some Kan Ban Christmas kits in - a couple of them totally unused as yet. What I like about this particular kit is that it's pretty easy to select a sheet of decoupage (today's big word?) and some backing card to co-ordinate and whip up half a dozen cards on a little production line - a production line is a sure sign of panic here :( There are poinsettias, chandeliers and reindeer in combinations of ruby/red and a sort of pink colour, along with teal. I made six cards practically the same using one of the sets of reindeer and here's one of them:
I hadn't realised just how 'puffy' these reindeer are - almost like padded satin, very strokeable! And having another look just before publishing this, they also look just a tad snooty :) The worst part though of this kit is the teeny little bits of white edging that you have to carefully snip off once the image has been removed from the 'holding sheets' in the kit - it seems worse than others I've had. That was fine for the reindeer but the sentiments were something else! As they're edged in red foiling you can't help but sometimes end up with a little speck of white showing even after they've been trimmed. But, aha, I remembered a little trick and just ran a red Pro Marker round the edge which cured it so easily :)

I used:

- DL card stock 
- Kan Ban's 'Elegance' Christmas toppers and card kit - bought from QVC just after last Christmas, even the cream card that I stuck the reindeer onto (using 3-D foam for even more dimension) came with the kit

- red mirri card from stash

- Josy Rose nail heads

Bingo - six more for the box :)

I've just remembered that St Luke's Hospice are having a Christmas Fayre next weekend so I guess I'll have to put my thinking cap on and come up with something other than mass produced cards to pop in the post to them ASAP. Hey, ho - no rest for the wicked! But there again, at the North Pole it's probably 'HO, ho - no rest for Santa' right now :)) Oooer, that reminds me ages since we watched the 'Polar Express', almost a year at least - a must in the run-up to Christmas!


Saturday 19 November 2011

LOTV Moonlight Wishes

At last, I'm managing to find time to finish off and then make the images I coloured whilst on holiday into Christmas cards - yay!! On the downside, Mrs Potato Head always selects background papers these days before doing any colouring at home but hadn't considered this before we whizzed off - in fact she was frantically stamping images right at the last minute - and this did cause some angst when it came to finding matching papers for today's card. Ha, the folder of everyday snippets came to the rescue in the end - after scrabbling through every bit of Christmas paper I possess looking for lilac/purple papers! Here's the end result:
Not that there's a lot of it showing but the main lilac background paper is gently patterned with clouds :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- stamped image - LOTV 'Moonlight Wishes' coloured using Aqua Markers

- lilac pearlised 'Centura' card from Hobbycraft

- lilac 'clouds' paper and purple glitter paper from snippets

- ribbon, with the wire removed, from stash (originally bought from Hobbycraft)

- finishing touches to the image done at home were Glamour Dust on the moon then Lemon Ice stickles on the stars and the holes and what looks a bit like moon dust. I couldn't find a perfect match for the bobble on this little cutie's hat so I mixed a little squidge of two Stickles on paper - Starry Night and Strawberry Ice.....maybe I need to get out more! Mind you, I never apply Stickles straight onto an image anyhow, I'm much too clumsy so a little blob is always squeezed onto paper and then picked up with a very thin paintbrush - it works for me anyhow :) Oh, and some teeny touches of Anita's Glaze were popped onto the holly berries too. Yup, definitely need to get out more!

- almost forgot, and gold Josy Rose stars shaped nailheads.

As snippets were such a life saver - and it's a couple of weeks since I've been into the playground I'm entering this into Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge Week 45.

Saturday today - yippee. I have to quickly make a box and then race out to post a birthday card this morning that I struggled with for ages yesterday - I'll have to go to our Sorting Office so that's a nice little drive. Last minute panics as usual!

Finally - thank you so much Sandra (H) for hopping back into Friday Feast yesterday evening to say that the Sausage Cider Hotpot was a hit! How quick is that huh - and Kathleen's following comment did make me grin - something along the lines of 'Huh, so Sandra keeps a pint of cider handy'!! Truth be told, we always have some cans of cider here too - it's a refreshing drink is my excuse - but I did mean to offer a tip yesterday. The cans don't come in 600ml sizes but if you look in the bottled ciders section in your local supermarket there's normally a glass bottle of dry cider around 660ml on offer - 60 ml for the cook!!

Have a super weekend - and have a fun time whatever you're doing!


Friday 18 November 2011

Friday Feast - Sausage Cider Hotpot

I'm a great fan of 'bung it in the oven' dishes, especially as the days are colder, and there's nothing nicer than the smell of a hotpot cooking. My step-mum calls it 'pimpering away', which sums it up so well. Mind you, our postman seems to be able to smell a sausage roll from about a mile off when I'm baking in the run-up to Christmas - he often trolls happily off with warm sausage rolls to sustain him on his round :)

Sausage Cider Hotpot
Eeek, look at the state of that casserole dish just from cooking this. No wonder the recipe itself used a black casserole dish for their photograph! Thankfully it always cleans off right away but I do use a baking tray underneath to save the oven floor:)
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
8 pork and leek sausages
About 1 tablespoon thyme leaves or a few thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
600ml (1 pint) dry cider
2 dessert apples, cored and cut into slices (don't peel them)
500g (1lb) potatoes, unpeeled and cut into very thin slices
About 30g (1oz) butter

Set the oven to Gas Mark 5 or 190 degrees C.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan with the onion slices and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until really soft but not brown. Put the onions into an oven proof dish.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and brown the sausages all over for about 5 minutes. Put them in the dish with the onions. Add the thyme, bay leaf and seasoning.

Heat the cider in the pan, add the apple slices and cook for 1 minute, then take them out with a draining spoon and arrange them in a layer in the dish. Arrange the potato slices in not more than 2 layers on top.

Pour the hot cider over. Dot the top with butter. Season well. Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove lid or foil, turn the oven temperature up to Gas Mark 7 or 220 degrees C and cook for another 30-45 minutes until the potato is cooked and browned. If you want to speed up the cooking, put the dish under the grill but watch it doesn't burn. Serve with green vegetables - although spiced red cabbage is a lovely accompaniment either.

Things I do:

I let the oven do all the work, I can't be trusted with grilling things! If you don't want to use cider then I've made a very similar recipe using apple juice, which was just as nice.

You could use a mix of sweet potato, swede and such with the potato slices for variation - but good old potato on its own is lovely. Dumbo here peeled the potatoes this time but a good wash before slicing them is enough. Do leave the apples unpeeled so they hold some of their shape during the long cooking process (sorry Sarn, this is a 'long cooking' dish....but at least it isn't tuna!)

I have used dried thyme in the past, again it's just as good but obviously  you only need about a teaspoon at most in that case. The sausages don't have to be pork and leek either, normal, Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages are fine - but the hint of leek does add a little 'Je ne sais quoi' to the dish. Sheesh, bit of posh French speak there :))

I do urge you, dear readers, to try this one - it's absolutely delicious and your whole family will be most enamoured with your culinary skills. (That's just what I would expect Mrs Beeton to have written - in other words, give it a go, I think you'll love it!!).

Happy Friday - the weekend beckons......and so does a load of ironing unfortunately :((


Thursday 17 November 2011

A little bit of success with the brayer

I think I'll be going for some more simple cards then this one before too long as panic sets in. But, it was fun to have some success with the brayer:
The other thing I wanted to play with again was my Martha Stewart 'ribbon threader' punch. This punches proper lines of slits for ribbons - much as I love my single slot punch there was no way I could have lined all the holes up properly :)

Despite the rubbish photo - the orange grosgrain ribbon is a perfect match :(

I used:

- 5" x 7" cream card stock

- background brayered using a Kaleidacolor Raised Rainbow ink pad called 'Desert Heat'

- Penny Black stamp - 'Christmas Text' - stamped using Versacolor Vintage Sepia

- layers of gold mirri card plus cream with the corners rounded using a rounder punch

- ribbon slots punched using MS ribbon threader punch and then orange grosgrain ribbon threaded through from stash


Wednesday 16 November 2011

WOYWW 128 - home sweet home :)

Firstly - my desk today so if you don't want to do other than peek/snoop/nose then you won't need to read too much :)
This is the pickle I left behind last week when we flew off for a break in the sun. Piles of used stuff to put away, that basket of unused things still lurking at the back - and the LOTV stamps I'd been frantically stamping ready to take for a bit of 'colouring in'. I can't move in here today and a real blitz is called for - just wish I was someone who could happily craft away in a riotous mess, regular blitzes waste good crafting time!

Then, to the left:
Pulled out of luggage and just dumped for now - a plastic folder with Aqua Markers in - waiting to be returned to their proper cases when I get turned round, some images I coloured on holiday,  a small plastic 'shot glass' that I use for water only (smile) - when water colouring on hols. Also, there's Norman the Rabbit who travels absolutely everywhere with me. Err, not on a daily basis you understand!

The images need to be finished with some sparkle etc. then used for Christmas cards and Norman needs some first aid. He has his own little carrot - sort of a 'Bunny packed lunch' - which is coming loose.

Norman is a long-serving travel companion who's very well travelled and much loved. I was given him as a little 'good luck' mascot by a wonderful gentleman in his 80's many years ago, also called Norman, when I moved away from the North East. The human Norman is sadly no longer alive but he was one of those people you wish there were more of in this world. He always looked quite shabby and some people used to shy away from him as if he 'didn't really belong', in their eyes - Norman was sharp enough to point this out to me so it must have hurt. But, if they had looked beyond his appearance they would have seen a fascinating chap, a real gentleman and an animal lover. He liked nothing more than a good natter and his eyes lit up if Benjie and Dougal (my little Bichons) alerted me to the fact that he was at our gate making a fuss of them whilst out walking his own dogs. I used to fly up the driveway, often with whatever I'd been baking, and though he wouldn't come in for a cuppa we spent many happy times 'putting the world to rights'. When I moved down South we often chatted on the phone and every Valentine's Day and Christmas he would send me a small bouquet of red roses - this continued to the day he died. The world is a lesser place without him for sure and I can just hear his voice calling me 'Flower' - his pet name for me :) So, Norman the Rabbit is very special and I'd be heartbroken if I ever lose him.

Oooer, this sounds a bit maudlin perhaps for a jolly WOYWW, but sometimes small things like that special friendship are worth sharing.

So, to see what else people are up to today - hop over to Julia's here. More sorting out to do here but I'll be sure to hop around as much as possible!


Tuesday 15 November 2011

Up, up and away :(

This should post at just about the time we'll be flying over Spain on our way back home - providing I remember to actually publish it for Mr Blogger to do his scheduled post! This was just before sunset - looking out to the Marina the other evening:
'Hasta la vista' Estepona - for now!

WOYWW tomorrow - erm, there might just be a pile of washing dumped on my desk! :)


Monday 14 November 2011

Do you eat it or not?

I doubt if you do eat this variety of Morning Glory:
It's so pretty and we've seen loads this week. I love the way that the centre of these really lovely flowers glow like a little light bulb :) They're quite easy to grow in the UK and I've had great success in the past from starting them off in the greenhouse - but it's so nice to see them growing wild.

The title of the post isn't as daft as it might seem either. Len and I go to Thailand quite often and over there they have a variety of Morning Glory which grows in water. The green parts of the plant make a gorgeous accompaniment (today's big word!) to a Thai meal - stir-fried with something like oyster sauce. Yummy!

It looks like the weather is changing a bit here in Southern Spain - within the past hour or so, from being like a mill pond, the sea is getting rougher and clouds are gathering. Good job that tomorrow is planned as just a 'mooching around' day and the dreaded packing of course, ready for an early flight on Tuesday. But we've been really lucky with the weather so far so absolutely no complaints on that score!

Shops here, especially the supermarkets, are full of Christmas goodies. You certainly can have a good traditional Christmas - decorations, lights, baubles, artificial trees galore, mincemeat, mince pies, Christmas puddings, crackers - the works! But something I haven't seen at home and absolutely love are little dried whole figs, just a dainty-ish mouthful - really delicious. With luck there'll be a chance to buy some more to take home.....I ate the box we bought already! Err, now I remember why our Mums used to give us Syrup of Figs!! :((

Must rush!!


Sunday 13 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

I was really moved by so many blogs on Friday devoted to Armistice Day and also Veterans Day yesterday. Today is the annual Remembrance Service and Parade in London:
Each year I watch it on TV and each year I also weep for the futility of war, the bravery of so many who made the ultimate sacrifice and for those who survived but for many reasons never had the same life they knew before they went into war. One instance always really hits home and who can fail to be moved when the St. Dunstan's contingent march proudly past the Cenotaph and turn their sightless eyes sharp left?

A lot of years ago I was with Len, walking down Whitehall, a few days after the Remembrance Sunday Service and Parade. It was late evening and the traffic was unusually light so we crossed to the Cenotaph in the centre of Whitehall and stood looking at all the wreaths.

Then, almost hidden and tucked in amongst the wreaths Len spotted an empty quarter or half bottle of rum - the contents were certainly missing. Taped to the bottle was a single poppy and a small piece of paper on which was written 'Remembering you Harry. We had a drink in your memory'. Our guess is that, during the long wait for their turn to march in the parade, some ex-servicemen had had a little nip or two in memory of their old friend Harry. We'll never know the full story but we've never forgotten seeing that single poppy, attached to an empty little bottle with a message for Harry amongst all the other big wreaths.


Saturday 12 November 2011

A walk and a loooong detour

On Thursday we decided to walk from the Marina where we're staying, along to Estepona Town itself. It's such a pretty place with lots of interesting back streets and the walk along the promenade is very pleasant. We wandered, had a lovely brunch, shopped a bit (someone got three shirts and I bought a teeny little evening bag sized purse for all of two Euros - who said that it's the women who can shop?!).

By now the sun was really warm (sorry!) and we moseyed back along the promenade to the Marina. The end was in sight when suddenly we were accosted by two beggars, women 'selling' carnations. Having had to firmly refuse (tales of purses being whipped out of your hand and run off with were rife in June when we were here) we realised our route back to the apartment meant having to run the gauntlet so Indiana Jones decided that a diversion was best. BIG mistake!

A lot of maintenance work was going on along our diversionary route and all tracks up the hill were blocked off. Indiana strode out in front whilst I brought up the rear, whining at intervals like Donkey in Shrek 'Are we there yet?'. Trust me, I truly thought we were going to end up in Gibraltar as each pathway was closed. However, we came across such a pretty bay I had to admit that it was worth the hike and after a long, steep trek up the hill at last we finally arrived back on track. This is the view from the top of the hill:
And, if you enlarge the photo, there's a headland of Southern Spain to the very right of the picture and just a little way to the left of that on the horizon, showing faintly through the haze, is Gibraltar - like a crouching lion. See, I knew we were on our way there!!


Friday 11 November 2011

Friday Feast - Tuna with Nectarine Salsa

OK, so the sun has gone to my head a bit - this recipe is a fresh Summery one really but I cooked this last week at home with new potatoes and asparagus to go with it and it seemed healthy yet filling. I'm not wild about fish but this recipe does it for me, I think because tuna is a meaty textured fish that appeals to the carnivore inside :))

I'm typing this on Thursday ready to schedule for Friday morning, having returned from a long hike (the looooong bit wasn't planned but more of that tomorrow). Then, out will come the Aquamarkers for a couple of hours painting with luck :))

Back to the recipe:

Tuna with Nectarine Salsa
This recipe serves four, I just used two tuna steaks but made the full amount of salsa.

4 tuna steaks
1tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa:

2 ripe nectarines or peaches
1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2tbsp chopped fresh mint
2tbsp chopped fresh basil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1tsp olive oil

To make the salsa: Skin the peaches or nectarines, then stone and chop them. Put in a bowl and carefully mix in the onion, chilli and herbs, lime zest and juice, and the oil. Set salsa mixture aside.

Heat a griddle pan or frying pan over a high heat. Brush the steaks with
oil and season. Put them on the grill (two at a time) and cook for 2 mins each side (on a barbecue, 30 secs might do it for rare steaks). Leave them for 5-10 mins to stand. Serve with the salsa, salad, lime wedges and new potatoes. (Not suitable for freezing).

Tee, hee - it did cross my mind to pretend I'd made this here last night. However, the eagle eyed would surely spot the same white square plates and the glass surface protector beside the cooker at home. Not only that, it would be a bit like using white tack for embellishments:))

Right, a little bit of painting now I think!

Enjoy the tuna if you do choose to cook it - you can cut down on the amount of chilli if you don't like food too spiced up.


Thursday 10 November 2011

Forever Friends Christmas tag card

The other day I posted about buying Christmas tags that have been reduced, right after the 'big event'. As well as buying the Christmas pudding tags, I also got some cute Forever Friends tags - and using the lovely new Nellie's Multi Frame Doily die, sent to me by Dee - I made this (three in fact and I still have another seven tags left to play with):
Fortunately the image wasn't disturbed by the hole and cord at the top of the tag so I just trimmed round the top of the teddy's hat :) That's another thing to look out for - if the image does have a hole in it, can you disguise it or not?

I used:

- 6" x 6" cream card stock

- deep turquoise backing card from Hobbycraft

- backing paper from a paper pack which came free with Quick Cards Made Easy, called 'Cosy Christmas Selection'

- the doily was also cut from a different sheet in the pack - it reminds me of those patterned doilies you can get at Christmas time to put on plates underneath sausage rolls and mince pies :)

- the red foiled sentiment was from my stash. These were not well die cut round the edges so I trimmed the red borders off and mounted them onto snippets of the turquoise card

- turquoise card candi

My in-house critic agreed with me that adding some glitter to the teddy's hat would detract from the very matt effect of the papers - and the sentiment is already foiled anyhow. Another three all done for the box!


Wednesday 9 November 2011

WOYWW 127 - and generosity makes the world go round

Ha! This post was scheduled for yesterday. It would have helped if I'd actually published it rather than left it in draft - what a Mrs Potato Head :(

Just edited to show my 'desk' this morning:
The sun is rising, the sky is cloudless and very blue - so far all is well after a good flight and the company of a delightful lady who sat in the same row as us on the plane. Don't you meet some fascinating folk when travelling - 'Hi Annabel' if you do hop in here :) But nothing happening on my temporary desk right now - woke up late as we slept in fits and starts and then of course both totally zonked out at 4am this morning! Not jet lag but probably the result of getting up at 'stupid o'clock' yesterday morning. But, I do have stamped images and Aqua Markers with me so that table is gonna be busy this week:)
But, I can show and tell what someone else has been up to! Last week I came home tired and a bit fraught after a shopping expedition - to find an unexpected and mysterious package awaiting my return which was a total surprise! My friend Dee, who hops in here regularly - but can't always comment as she's a little scallywag and usually peeks from work - had sent me some fabby Prima Annalee papers. Luscious too. But not only that - a set of Nellie's multi-frame doily shaped dies! Ha! I'm not the only person who ends up with duplicates it seems, and Dee had bought these forgetting that she already had the same set - her excuse is that they 'looked different online'. Yup, whatever........and she sweetly sent them to me!! Later this week I'll show how I used them but for today I must let you see the terrific card that Dee enclosed in the package:
Isn't it gorgeous? At the moment Dee is too busy to embark on posting to a blog of her own, which I'd happily set up for her, but with lovely work like this I think it's high time she did take credit for a beautiful card! Don't you agree?

Thank you so much Dee - I truly have some of the most fabulous and generous crafty friends a girlie could ever wish for!

Happy WOYWW everyone - and if you don't know already about WOYWW just hop over to Julia's here for a good nose round everyone else's desks!


Monday 7 November 2011

After Christmas............ that got you thinking 'Oh no, let's get Christmas over first'!! Once the big guy in the red suit has been and gone, shops are quick off the mark to offload Christmas cards and gift tags at half price or less. I don't go out of my way to search for bargains (shame on me) but I do usually check out what's left in our local supermarket as I do the weekly shop once the main 'bun fight' is over. Last year I found some gift tags and whizzed up a few of these cards:
The tags were straightforward Christmas pudding shapes with funny faces (looking a bit like it's wearing a UK Comic Relief nose!) and also with cord threaded through the printed top berry in the middle of the holly. I just carefully removed the cord and covered the printed holly berries with red gems - covering the hole with a gem at the same time. Then added some googly eyes, embossed squares of gold mirri card with a holly leaves folder and layered the whole lot onto some dark green 4" square cards.

The resulting cards aren't terribly elegant I know, but we do know a few folk with younger families so they might like them!

So, my tip for today is to check what gift tags are around in the bargain shelves right after Christmas, look for potential and, even if you whip up a few quick and easy 'just in case' cards, it could be worthwhile :))


Sunday 6 November 2011

Just thinking aloud.....

....about whether doing something is totally honest or not - it may even be very enterprising!

A few weeks back I was blog hopping around some of the 'better known' UK crafters' blogs up at the top of the rankings and stumbled across something that rocked me a bit.

I've searched again, although I'm not sure where I read it which doesn't help much, and now can't find the posting. It could well have been removed or changed - certainly what I read seemed quite controversial to me. I can't find the posting as I said, and even if I could it isn't for me to point out who said it but this was the gist of it. The crafter in question produces cards for DTs and I think for magazines as well. And, they use White Tack (the cleaner version of Blue Tack removable blobby stuff) to fix their embellishments such as mulberry roses etc. to cards. This way they can remove them afterwards for re-use on other projects!

I do know that people like Bev Rochester are forever packing up their 'properly made' cards to submit to magazines so I can only assume that the 'White Tack Crafter' submits their work for challenges, DT work or even to magazines by uploading photographs and not the 'real McCoy'.

Is this really honest? Or, as I said, maybe they look on it as being enterprising? When I mentioned it to my in-house critic he said it's just like modelling something in industry :( I'm not convinced though.

At the risk of opening a real can of worms here - has anyone else come across this practice? I think it's a bit akin to pinning a dress together and then saying, look what I've made, via electronic means! But, perhaps I'm being a bit too prim here?

Must dash - loads to do today..........and where did I put that pack of White Tack? :))


Saturday 5 November 2011

Happy Birthday Joshua

One of our little neighbours is 3 years old today. He's such a cute little chap that one LOTV Cute Squares image (these come pre-coloured!) in particular just cried out to be used on a card for him. It was lying on my desk on Wednesday's WOYWW posting ready for me to crack my knuckles and get to work. This was the end result:
I've just realised that the background is quite appropriate - a little bit like firework stars given the date of Joshua's arrival. His Mum did say there were a few fireworks in the maternity ward as well!

I used:

- 6" x6" square Kraft card

- LOTV Cute Square

- blue pearlised backing card, from Hobbycraft

- stars paper from the 'Celebrations' pack by Paper Cellar

- self-adhesive ribbon from stash

- sentiment by Craftwork Cards

- buttons from stash, a little bit of twine - and fixed using glue gun for additional strength as Joshua is just 3

- and the finishing touch, the number 3 from one of the totally life-saving envelopes of die cut numbers sent by Sarn. Coloured using a Pro Marker and then a covering of Baby Blue stickles - the number of course, not Sarn, snort, snort!

Have a great evening if you're going to a fireworks display - our local one is tomorrow. Mmmmmmmm, hot dogs I hope :))


Friday 4 November 2011

Friday Feast - Cabbage Layer

I originally found this 'recipe' in a little Kraft Cheese recipe booklet - more years ago than I care to remember! The booklet is long gone but it's more of a 'way of putting something together' than a real recipe anyhow. I think of it as a twist on lasagne:
Cabbage Layer

Bolognese sauce
1 white cabbage
20 cheese slices - or less if you wish, but a pack of 10 isn't enough. These should be the 'processed cheese' slices as they melt better during cooking and I've found that a supermarket's own brand works fine.

I think everyone has their own way of making bolognese sauce so all I'll say here is to prepare a pan of the sauce as you would normally do. And, I'm thinking about Bubbles here, this makes a good meat free dish if you use something like Quorn mince.

Meanwhile, chop the white cabbage into chunks. A green (Savoy for example) cabbage won't work so well as it doesn't keep the crunch and can make the end result too watery. Boil or steam the cabbage until it's still 'al dente' (get me!) and has some 'bite to it still and then drain it really well. I reckon 10 minutes cooking time max.

Then you begin layering into something like a pasta dish - half the bolognese sauce, half the well drained cabbage then half the cheese slices to cover the whole surface. Repeat, ending with a top layer of cheese slices. If you're really into cheese you can add a sprinkling of grated cheese on top - last night I just sprinkled some paprika over the surface.

Bake in the oven, at around 180 degrees C, for 30 minutes or so.

A quick and easy supper dish :) Enjoy!

News on the IT support front, I spent two and a half hours at my friend's trying to sort out her internet problems - even to the extent of hooking up one of our spare modems and goodness knows what. By then it was looking like it was the laptop that was sick so, in the end, I brought it home for my 'in-house' IT chappie to look at. I do feel vindicated though as, after over another three hours (that man is like a dog with a bone and won't be beaten!) the problem was resolved. This makes me laugh though - it turned out that a couple of software drivers had to be loaded onto the laptop to replace corrupted ones - and there was only one way of doing this. Yup, by downloading them from the internet! So, it wasn't something that could be fixed in isolation - and certainly not fixed by a laptop unable to access the flipping internet in the first place :)) Dontcha just lurve New Technology?!


Thursday 3 November 2011

Festive wreath card

Sorting through my Christmas stamps the other week I came across a great little set of 'peg stamps' that I've had for a long, long while - and, with some free time, had a little play:
Firstly I followed a tip I found on The Crafty Elf's blog (have you signed up for her amazing Blog Candy offer of a Cuttlebug yet?). Her tip is to emboss a circle when you're making wreaths on cards. So, I flipped the card over and on the reverse just ran an embossing tool round a large round Nesties die so I had a template on the front to follow. You could use a can, glass, mug or whatever if you don't have circular dies - it saves having a faint pencil line, that Elf's a flipping genius!

Before using the peg stamps I stamped a few cedar branches round the embossed circle to give a background structure and then the fun began. One by one I used each of the seven peg stamps, just picking whatever ink pads I thought could work. It's also good not to re-ink the peg stamps for each time you use it - try to stamp a couple of images and that way you get a variation in density. When I was happy with the wreath I held my breath and stamped 'Merry Christmas' in the centre - thank goodness for an alignment thingy!

Finally, I added some touches of Glossy Accents and a sprinkling of glitter on the fruits. They remind me of those boxes of marzipan fruits that you can buy at Christmas with a little bit of sugar coating :)

I think the result is OK, bright and fresh - and very easy to do. I can see another little production line of these coming up here!

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- Rubber Stampede 'Cedar' stamp

- Stamp Tapestry 'Fruit Wreath' peg stamp set

- Funstamps Small Merry Christmas' sentiment

- Anita's Clear Gloss

- un-named glitter in a big pot - this glitter isn't as fine as Glamour Dust but not as heavy as the likes of Twinklets

Another one for the Christmas card box, which is slowly looking fuller!

OK, so the fringe business. Sam, my hairdresser, didn't laugh too much - she was too excited about her news, a baby on the horizon :)) So, I got off the hook - phew!

Apologies that I spent almost all of yesterday running round and haven't done a proper hop around WOYWW comments and the blogs I follow at the very least. Off out again this afternoon to try and sort out my local crafty friend's internet problems. The cables are a dreadful tangle I know for sure so the two of us are likely to be on all fours underneath her desk trying to sort out Spaghetti Junction.............'I could be some time' as the famous saying goes.


Wednesday 2 November 2011

WOYWW 126 and blog candy draw results

Happy WOYWW everyone - Christmas is galloping towards us right now so I bet there are going to be lots of very busy desks on display today - so welcome to probably the most boring one this week!

Hmm, not a lot going on here today. Just a heap of papers I've been using in the background and holiday lists in the foreground plus a little cellophane bag of bits on top! The holiday lists are waiting for me to check what I need to buy today in the way of holiday toiletries etc. for next week's little trip and the cello bag has an A6 envelope, scrap of mink pearlised paper, little bit of mink ribbon and a LOTV image in. The envelope was used when I was checking boxes whilst out yesterday to pack the next (bigger) batch of wedding stationery in - when I begin making it after Christmas - and the other bits were to do some matching at Hobbycraft. 

However, more exciting things have been going on - firstly, this photo came via email from Germany yesterday. It's little Livi, being shown how to play with one of HER birthday presents, by big sister Mia:
Bless, you can almost see little Livi's fingers just itching to be let loose to play with this Playmobil set from Len and I. Apparently the never-ending card was a hit...........last we heard it was still in one piece and the 'Livi The Little Engineer' hadn't yet dismantled it. We were talking to Matt on Skype on Sunday - and in the background we could see that Livi was busy taking the TV remote control apart :)

And last, but by no means least - I've just done the draw for the Nestabilities Heart Shaped Dies. Little drum roll..............and the winner is:

Number 34 - Jenny Johnson

It drives me crazy that I can't work out how to get the Random Number results thingy onto here - and I have a little bullet thingy moving up and down the screen now but I'm hoping it won't appear on your viewing, a leftover from my attempts - but you'll have to trust me folks! I'm not sure I like doing this candy lark as it would be great if everyone could win each time :)) But, well done to Jenny - please can you send me your snail mail address: and I'll get the Nesties into the post tout suit!!

Today I'm also off for a long overdue trip to the hairdressers - feeling a bit embarrassed too as my fringe would have rivalled a Dulux dog's last week, driving me mad so I took the scissors to it :( Ahem, I had to take my specs off to get at said fringe, which was not so clever. I need specs just for reading - and that also means looking at anything close-up of course :)) I wonder if Sam will notice that the fringe looks like a funfair roller coaster?

Do hop over to Julia's here to see what everyone else is up to this week - and happy WOYWW everyone!


Blog candy!

Oh well, the blog is very pink but I like it better then the interim template. Still need time to have a good old search but this will do for now. So, here's the blog candy I referred to. I've done more than 300 posts and am still a gnats whisker off also have over 100 Followers. Edit: So funny, since I said over 100 followers, someone has deleted themselves. Now, I wonder who that could be? :)

Whilst making wedding stationery samples I indulged in a much-longed-for set of Heart Shaped Spellbinders Nestabilities - err, twice over! A parcel I was waiting for took 10 days to get here - way too long in my book and all the more annoying as the shop is within easy driving distance from here. Karen will know exactly which shop I mean :( It took so long that I thought I must have hopped out of the website without completing the purchase. After searching my emails I couldn't find a confirmation so I bought another set on eBay:( Yup, the original parcel did turn up and I now have two sets! They are lovely dies and look great if you run them through an embossing folder after cutting them - like this:
Not that the embossing shows up very well in this photo :( These are the unopened Classic Hearts on offer as blog candy:
All you have to do is to add yourself to Mr Linky below. No need to become a Follower or even comment, although comments are always lovely. And, if you don't have a blog and still want to join in - just leave me a comment and I'll add you into Mr Linky. I'll post to anywhere in the World - that's one reason I'm offering this candy now - we go on holiday shortly and I want to post these off beforehand. So, this post will stay at the top of my (very pink for now!) blog until midnight on Tuesday 1st November. That gives me a few days to find out where to post them off to before we hop off in search of a little bit of sunshine - with luck!

Oh, and unlike the Pro Marker Ultra Fine Nibs candy, there's only one set of these on offer so there will be just one winner.