Tuesday 31 January 2012

A Tuesday Tale - collar, cuffs and crotch

Ha! I bet that caught your attention :)

The background, for eight years or more I worked a Saturday afternoon shift in our local charity (thrift) shop, which raises much needed funds for a nearby Hospice. I was still working full time during the week at the time but it sure beat doing housework for at least a few hours of the weekends :)

I found this free image above on the internet, but I can promise you that it was very rare for any clothing to cost as much as £10!

My first day was a bit of a baptism of fire, to say the least. The 'retail manager' who oversaw the groups of shops, he was called Gary, came along to give three of us 'newbies' the low down and the rules to be followed. He was a larger than life sort of guy - with a heart of gold I later found out - but, he knew what he wanted us to do. First action, with bags of donated clothing, was to do a quick sort  and check - quite often you'd open a bag and realise right away that it would only be fit for recycling. We got paid per tonne for recycled textiles, so the first sort was important to weed out the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

As a good little group of pretty innocent 'newbies' we gathered in front of Gary (yours truly at the back!) and he explained just how to check clothing and textiles over before they were priced, steamed (a job hated by everyone) and put out for sale. Curtains had to be checked for wear and tear, then measured before being put out for sale. No dirty underwear (trust me, we did get that too!), towels held up to the light for signs of light showing through - ones that didn't pass the test ended up in a big basket for doggy towels and they sold like hot cakes - were all buttons still on garments, did zips work, and so on and so forth.

Then came the real drama of the afternoon - checking men's suits. With a big flourish and a donated suit Gary demonstrated the actions 'Collar, to check there is no shine or grime, cuffs for no fraying' and then, with great drama 'Finally the crotch, which you have to sniff for no nasty smells''.

WHAT!!?? I was still standing at the back of our little group and I swear that it's the very moment I knew what was meant by a rictus grin. With a silly tight smile and eyes popping out on stalks like a frightened rabbit in the headlights of a car, I nodded dumbly, along with the other two poor little scared newbies. Then I thought, 'fight or flee?' and almost ran to my car and drove home, never to return.

But, I got cute and, once I could speak again I squeaked 'Err, so who operates the clothes steaming machine?'. Sensing an idiot, in his midst Gary took me under his wing and I soon became 'Mrs Steamer' - trust me, it had to be better than sniffing crotches!! Despite the scalds, from a rubbish machine which had a grudge against me, ANYTHING was preferable to the dreaded sniffing routine!

Sorry, hope you weren't trying to have a morning cuppa, or even worse eating your breakfast!

Bit of a change from a cocktail party at Number 11 Downing Street huh?!

More will follow :)


Monday 30 January 2012

Less Is More - A Happy Hello

This weeks challenge over at Less Is More is a sketch:
It has to be a rectangular card, in landscape orientation and you can't rotate the sketch - get that, I have enough problems following anything the right way up let alone twisting it round, so that's good for me!

I did toy with the idea of making a one-layer card but felt I had less chance of spoiling the result by making this:
 I used:

- 5" x 7" white rectangular card stock

- strip of white card brushed over with duster brush and TH 'Spun Sugar' Distress ink

- background lettering stamped using 'Happy' from the Hero Arts 'Dictionery Greetings' stamp set and Memento 'London Fog' ink pad

- flowers stamped using a KanBan set (which just says 06 on the packet but it came from Handy Hippo just recently) and Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad then embossed using clear embossing powder

- strip of black card to mount the pink image onto - it looked too washed out without the edging of black

- 'A Happy Hello' sentiment from Pink Gem Designs stamped in Memento Black Tuxedo 

- the original card had no pearl on the letter 'O' in the sentiment. When I showed it to my in-house critic he confirmed what I thought. The letter 'O' was filled in with a black centre and the result looked horribly like the word Hell - and it was his suggestion that a gem might improve it. So, I found a lovely soft pink pearl in my stash which made all the difference - thank you Len, now dubbed 'artistic director'!

In the process of making this one card the following happened:

1. I spilt the pot of clear EP - man, does that stuff travel!

2. After finishing the card and clearing up all the mess I noticed that the Dictionery stamp set also has a stamp with all the definitions of Hello too - would have been good to use both but, trust me, I was losing the will to live by then because......

3. Somehow I've lost all the images on the SD card I was using!! Most of them are either posted here or saved elsewhere. But, there are a few unsaved photos of things I've cooked ready to upload and post once I write up the recipes for future Friday Feasts! So, you might just have to starve this Friday :(

There are a couple of options - one is to use Recuva in the hope that the images can be retrieved from the SD card. That's currently doing a deep scan, fingers crossed as it has saved me before now. The other one is to quickly cook up something ready for Fridays recipe - egg and chips be OK?

Not my afternoon here yesterday for sure :(

Anyhow, I'm entering this card, which I swear has aged me by about 10 years, into the Less Is More Week 52 Challenge.


Sunday 29 January 2012

Pixie's Crafty Snippets - Challenge Number 5

A whole bunch of you visited the playground this week - there was a 'right little flurry of activity' on Friday especially - for some reason :)

Firstly, let's get my own snippets offering over with:
It was such fun to photograph - not! So, you'll have to put up with some reflection - believe me I tried all ways to take a photo, including standing to one side madly waving camera in front of card, kneeling on the floor etc. All to no avail - and it seemed a bit OTT to dig out the mini tripod, set the camera to timer and then run away and hide.

The 'ingredients' are all from some leftovers I found whilst having a little bit of a sort out during the week, plus the snippets folder.

I used:

- 6" x 6" white square card stock

- lilac plain and patterned with silver card from leftovers that hadn't found their way into the snippets folder. These (including the sentiment) all originally came from a co-ordinating card pack from Hobbycraft

- silver mirri card and some lilac paper, used to punch a lacy strip (Martha Stewart punch used)  to go across the front of the card, from snippets folder

- flower made using heart punch and snippets

- clear gems from stash

The flower was fun to make and I'm not the only one who's been doing this - if you hop over to Elizabeth's you'll see that she also made a flower using a heart shaped punch on Thursday. It's different to how I'd already made mine and really worth a look, in fact it's much prettier the way Elizabeth did it and I can foresee a run on sales of little heart shaped punches:)

For the one I made, I punched out six little hearts (the punch is about three quarters of an inch across) from lilac pearlescent card and a little circle too. I drew an embossing tool down the centre of each heart and gently folded them before sticking them to the circle, three first and then the other three in a layer on top overlapping the first three (I hope you're still with me here?). I didn't feel the flower was quite right so I added another six 'petals' using silver mirri card in the same way behind the lilac ones before sticking a larger circle of card to the back for full stability. Then one large clear gem in the centre as the finishing touch. Finished!

OK, everyone please pull up your socks, stop pulling one another's pigtails and sit quietly - it's time for this week's roll call.

Jackie was first on the swings this week with a lovely card in red, black and white - so suitable for a Wedding Anniversary or a Wedding. She used a Stampin' Up wheel to create a flowered background on her card and it's gorgeous. Like so many of us, Jackie keeps forgetting that she's got it - I bet we can all relate to that one :) To see Jackie's card go here - and isn't the image she used elegant!

Next in, hot on Jackie's tail, came Mags B with such a cute card, using a LOTV Cute Squares image. You can see her card here and I'm sure you'll agree that it's so sweet. She said that the camera hadn't picked up the stickles she'd used but I can see it fine. If you click on an image and then hit F11 the screen is filled with the image, which seems to enlarge itself - quite spooky really. Once you close the image by clicking on the cross you just need to hit F11 again to restore your toolbars - a great way to have an even closer nosey.

Our founder and Patron Jules hopped in next a really lovely card (has anyone ever seen Jules make one that isn't totally gorgeous?!) - it's here and the pink and black work so, so well together. A double offering this week and if you look further down her posting there's a Christmas card with such a happy little snowman on. You'll find the hearts easily too - I often wonder how Jules finds so many heart embellishments as well as stamps with hearts on - or did she add the little heart bauble to the snowman I wonder. Go and see to make your own mind up :)

Carol followed with a real beauty of a card, made for her Aunt's 89th birthday - there's going to be one happy lady when she sees this for sure! And, the inside of the card is also decorated for good measure - plus it's pink which is always a hit with me! I love the sketch that Carol followed too.

Next was Heidi, having had a mega-panic over the temporary loss of her blog. Her card here is totally perfect for a boy (or a chap) into drumming - and I just bet that Heidi's heart was thumping pretty loudly during the 'blog-loss crisis too'!! I did smile as Heidi 'fessed up' that she'd pinched a snippets scrap from her friend to use on this great card - it's allowed though, share nicely girls :))

Sandra H followed with a beautiful, fresh Christmas card in white, red and gold with some stunning cut outs - perfect for the Less Is More challenge that she entered it for. Sandra's card is here and it's amazing how well the tree image (salvaged from a Christmas card received last year) fits perfectly inside the 'Nesties tree cut out' - brilliant!

Next was Gilly with a card shown here. It's Gilly's first ever easel card and such a lovely combinations of pink, white and chocolate with a cheeky touch of purple, brilliant and it also looks good enought to eat. Also, check out the lovely MS border she punched - another punch on the wish list here!!

For anyone who frets about folk knowing what to do when they receive their easel card - I have a file with lovely little labels that I showed here. Ha, ha - you'll see by the 'avalanche of comments' that I hadn't had this blog very long :) If you'd like the file, or even a sheet of them printed (65 per sheet which will last you for a while surely)  and popped into the post - just let me know here di_wray@hotmail.com and they will be yours ASAP - no charge, although you could be 'milk monitor' for two weeks running :)

Irene nipped in next with her gorgeous little girl card, sploshing round in the rain, here.  Irene had followed the same sketch as Carol and, like Carol, had totally done it proud. It does so remind me of the sentiment which goes something like 'anyone who only likes sunshine has never danced in the rain' - and the lovely fresh colours that Irene used are just perfect.

With a stunning card complete with a tassel for Chinese New Year, Beryl was next with this black and gold beauty here. I doubt if any of us have missed the fact that it's the year of the Dragon now - and Beryl really cracked it - one of those cards that makes you go 'Wow!' I love it.

Which reminds me of a comment that Jo (aka Twiglet) left on my blog during the week, too funny not to share :)

"I heard Ken Bruce say....lady didn't know which to celebrate - Chinese New Year or Burns Night - so she combined them and gave hubby a Chinese Burn!!!"

Hazel visited three times this week - her first jaunt into the playground was with a great Christmas card in vibrant pinks, white and black and it works so well. Another really cute snowman image (I just got dizzy hopping back and forward between this one made by Hazel here and the one Jules used - they are different ones) - with a super little blingy star embellishment as the finishing touch. Hazel's next card is here - for several challenges, one of which is the 'Willow challenge', making three of you this week following that sketch. Don't those purples look terrific?! Her last visit was made clutching this - sort of 'gentle steam punk' - and perfect for the man in your life.  I'm still amazed at the productivity of Hazel! No way could I keep up with her, else we'd starve and be living in a  house a bit like Miss Faversham's!

Next was The Crafty Elf, with a gorgeous white on white card which is here. Our elfin friend is in the throes of decorating right now so it's great that she found the time to make a card as lovely as this one and come into the playground for a little play with us this week. White on white is just so beautiful - and becoming very 'on trend' at the moment. See, I know some of the right expressions :))

Karen tootled in to play next with such a bright and cheerful card - as with a few of you, made to cover another challenge which she totally nailed! The criteria for the challenge was a real mix 1) Bunting, banners, pennants and/or flags. 2) Stripes and spots combined. 3) Use aqua and red. You could wonder how on earth this would all work - but it does, and brilliantly! To see Karen's card and just what I mean go here

Hettie (aka Sam) arrived next, kick starting a little flurry of activity. Our buddy Sarn has a Rudolph Day Challenge running right now (if you're really quick you could catch it as it runs until 31st January, and there's a small prize for the winner of a random draw too) - and Sam brought a couple of great Christmas cards. Sam's been a really good girl this week as well, I'm a bit worried 'cos we all know that when things are too quiet, trouble could be brewing :) Anyhow, here's Sam's cards - I love both of them, although the carol singing chickens with their very own lamp post are probably my favourite. I wonder what Tim Holtz would make of his lamp posts being used to embellish 'chooks singing carols' cards - very clever touch. Sam nipped back in on Burns Night with a further two Christmas cards here, those lovely chickens again, plus a great card with birds on and a photo of her pet haggis :) I did begin to think that things were livening up in the playground at that point!

Next came Linby with a delightfully fresh card using Spring colours and full of butterflies and flowers, shown here. Super use of snippets by Linby and the background worked great too, despite her misgivings. Housework was calling at the time so it was a real sacrifice for her to drop the vacuum cleaner and dusters in order to make up her lovely card - so glad you did Linby, great result!

Sally M arrived with a really striking card, using 'rounded tiles' (for want of a better description) of papers in a lovely co-ordinating range of colours and patterns - all snippets too. To see the result go here, a couple of small butterflies and a sentiment completed a perfect way to use up snippets - I bet a few of us will be following this idea Sally.

Then with something really different for a baby card - along came Andria. Wow what a stunner! I have this little LOTV stamp here ready for its first inking up - but would be playing safe probably. However, I'm now really torn and might go bold as I adore what Andria did, totally different and it works brilliantly. I'm saying no more - to find out go here and see what I'm raving on about!

Tammy visited us twice this week - firstly with a delightful 'shabby chic' birthday card shown here. I got so excited about this card I let Tammy have three goes on the swings - love the pink, white, cream, silver and blue here - all perfect colours for 'shabby'. Tammy's next visit was with a great Valentine's Day card which you can see here - red, pink and white are a lovely combination of colours. Running this challenge means I get to hop round a lot of blogs - have any of you noticed the fantastic buttons that Tammy often displays with her cards? Some serious button envy going on here Tammy!

We had two visits from Bernie this week - and you'll be pleased to know she isn't awaiting bail after hammering the snow plough driver over the head with her shovel. Things calmed down so she let him carry on playing at covering her freshly cleared drive with snow after all :) Bernie's first card is here - and it's a very special card, made for her daughter but also with a lot of loving memories of her grand daughter Shanna, who sadly died very young. Do go and see the absolutely beautiful card that Bernie made - I won't spoil it for you but I just know you'll realise that a whole load of love went into the making of it. So, so pretty. Bernie's next visit was with a stunning Valentine's Day card in pink, black and white, shown here. Do go and see her card, but also read her whole posting about the 'lost die' - I got into bed in the early hours of yesterday still shaking with laughter :))

Next, along came Maggie. Like many crafters, Maggie is full of different ideas and always lets us into the secrets of how she does things - this week she brought a really striking Christmas card with her - shown here. It's stunning in its simplicity - yet, to achieve a look like that can take a whole load more planning than you'd think. Great Maggie!

Next , running into the playground, flushed from running her Rudolph Day challenge, came Sarn with this beautiful card. The white and lilac, with just touches of brown for the teddy and where he's 'stood standing' make for such a fresh look. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, who couldn't fail to love such a cute image and the look of hope and almost sheepishness on the teddy's face. Aw - just perfect Sarn!

Elizabeth arrived next with a really gorgeous card, with a real vintage feel about it. You can see it here - all beautiful pinks and greens. A lot of work went into this card which Elizabeth made before becoming unwell so it had to wait for her to bring it to 'show and tell' in the playground this week . Hopefully you're up and running properly again now Elizabeth - mind you, if you're well enough to tackle dusting I guess you must be recovered. Err, or maybe not, you might still have a fever - 'crafting forever, housework whenever!!' Good to see you back :)
Then Liz came along with guess what, a white on white card! Oh wow, I totally adore this style of card and it's also a special card for her Mother's 90th Birthday next week. I've seen a few white on white cards recently, as I already said, and yet no two are the same, each one is really stunning - to go and see what Liz made for her Mum, go here, it's really beautiful. Happy Birthday from the playground playmates to your Mum Liz - hope she has a great day :)

Then last, but by no means least, Brenda nipped in with this lovely card. Beautiful and so right for this weeks Less Is More challenge. I can see the subtle meaning of Brenda's combination of a music background, teeny little butterflies and the sentiment 'Let The World Hear Your Song' - love it! Plus, the playground was empty when Brenda nipped in, so it must have been very quiet - we'd all gone home and were sitting up nicely at the table having tea before watching an hour's children's TV :)

So, that's this week's roll call. As usual, I hope I included everyone and it's been a total delight to see what you've been making with your snippets - everyone can now have a double turn on the swings! The gates are open again.

I have to say, that due to keeping up with the snippets posts  that you link in and making sure I always hop in ASAP to comment, as well as trying to write up the roll call and perhaps make a few cards of my own - I might not always get round to comment on your other postings. I do truly try really hard but am sure I must miss some. It doesn't mean I haven't been in for a peek and am always stunned at the lovely 'non-snippets' work you all produce. So much talent playing in our playground!

Mr Linky is below as always - trends may come and trends may go, but there's always going to be a million and one uses for your snippets!


Saturday 28 January 2012

Friends are special treasures

Ah, I just love this sentiment set - by Hero Arts - spotted on Sandra's blog and it has so many terrific sentiments it's a great favourite here now. Apart from the time making the roses and leaves, this was a quick and easy card to put together, all things considered:
Firstly, I got the idea a good while ago from Bernie's blog for using the wispy feather - and the ribbon/lace/mesh stuff pinched together in the middle is an idea I got from Jules blog. Hmm, with the sentiment as an idea from Sandra - oops, plus the roses from Jules blog and also Sandra's - I ain't coming up with much originality in the components today - but I did pick the colours, design and stuck it all together all on my lonesome :))

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- grey Core'dinations card for the background

- white 'lace' from stash (Hobbycraft) stuck across the grey backing card and tied in the centre with a piece of white cotton before sticking it onto the white card

- white marabou feather and little pearl stems from stash - both from Hobbycraft

- green leaves die cut and embossed using Marianne Creatables 'Roses' die set. The roses were also cut, using dies from the same set and pink two-tone marbled paper

- sentiment from the 'Live Life' stamp set by Hero Arts, stamped using Versacolor 'White' ink pad and then embossed using white embossing powder

Have to admit, I approached the Marianne roses with a lot of trepidation (eeek, a big word) as so many people had struggled with them. I need more practise to be able to wind them into shape properly but I did find a great tutorial which helped oodles, once again on Jules  blog - here's the link. I found it's not easy to wind them all to the same tension if that makes sense, even using a cocktail stick, but hey - roses aren't always uniform anyhow as folk have said. I used Crafter's Pick Incredibly Tacky glue for the first time and it's great stuff.

I'm entering this into the current Make My Monday Challenge 'Flowers and Leaves'. 

Hope you're having a super start to the weekend! The playground closes at midnight and I'll be back tomorrow with the week's roll call and the weekly jangling of the keys to reopen the gates :)


Friday 27 January 2012

Friday Feast - Chunky carrot, saffron and coriander soup

Hey, ho - I can already hear the patter of feet running in the opposite direction as coriander isn't to everyone's taste - no names mentioned. But, I guess you could leave the coriander out :)

1.2kg large carrots, trimmed and peeled
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
60g unsalted butter, diced
pinch saffron filaments (about 30)
1 heaped teaspoonful sea salt (I left this out altogether)
1 heaped teaspoonful caster sugar
150g crème fraîche
6 tablespoonfuls chopped coriander, plus extra to serve

Quarter the carrots lengthwise and slice them finely (you can do this with the slicing attachment of a food processor). Place in a large pan with the shallots, 200ml of the stock, the butter, saffron, salt and sugar. 

Give everything a stir, bring to a simmer then cover and cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes. Stir again, turn the heat up and cook uncovered for 8-12 minutes, stirring towards the end, until all the stock evaporates and the carrots are meltingly tender and glossy, coated in a buttery emulsion.

Add the remaining stock and the crème fraîche and bring to the boil, then stir in the chopped coriander and season with more salt if necessary. Serve the soup in shallow bowls with the carrots piled in the centre and scatter over a little more coriander.

Serve with fresh crusty bread - yummy! 

Things I might change. The recipe uses a fair amount of butter so you could reduce it probably, just so long as the carrots don't burn.Also, I think because I left the salt out, the result was sweeter than when I used to make this with salt in so I think you could reduce the sugar to a level teaspoonful. Or you could try a carrot for sweetness like Bugs Bunny (What's up Doc?) before deciding on the sugar quantity - or, I guess add the salt.



Thursday 26 January 2012

Rudolph Day - January 2012

Every 25th of the month is Rudolph Day and your chance to make a Christmas card ready for next Christmas - more if you wish! More details at the end of this posting. I almost got caught out so rustled up three cards all the same yesterday:
Whilst tidying in here, making some room to craft without having to kneel on the floor, I found some stash that I hadn't put away from before Christmas so used that. Rubbish photo - by the time I'd finished the light was going :(

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card

- image and backing papers from the Forever Friends Timeless paper pack (bought in Hobbycraft)

- pearlised mink and white card - also from Hobbycraft - for the backings

- sentiment from Craftwork Cards

- snowflakes from a pack made by KanBan

- a teensy little diamante gem at the top of the Christmas tree in front of the cottage - from a pack of nail art gems bought in the local Pound Shop ages ago (not for my nails either - I wondered if they'd come in handy one day for crafting)

Why not join in the fun, make a Christmas card and hop over to Sandra's blog, Stamping For Pleasure to see what she made and also to link in 'cos there's a prize too :))

Have fun!


Wednesday 25 January 2012

WOYWW - 138

Just as I left it yesterday afternoon - nothing much going on, just a heap of stuff to put away before allowing those itchy fingers to do anything more in here today else I could end up buried in stash. Huh, it's not impossible sometimes either!
The usual cup of black coffee to kick-start the day. Cleaned rocker blocks and duster brushes, anti-static bag 'cos I've been embossing (a rare event for me but am getting more into it), white ink pad and embossing powder, box of bits, feathers, pearls and and papers. Plus a Marianne Creatables 'Rose' die. The 'rejects' are to the back right - in pink of course:) but I was amazed at how reasonably I managed after hearing other opinions. Mind you - the results do very a LOT in size 'cos I need to work on winding in a consistent way :( At least the glue gun wasn't brought out - I used Crafter's Pick Incredibly Tacky glue as recommended by Bev Rochester and it works a treat - so no burnt fingers!

It's Rudolph Day today (25th of the month and time to make a Christmas card) so, as soon as this mess is put away, out will come some Christmas stash (eek!) - in between hopping round to see what everyone else is up to on their desk, dining table, floor or wherever. To join in - follow me on this link over to Julia's - bring a cup of coffee and maybe even a sandwich 'cos you could be some time :)

Happy WOYWW - whatever you're up to!


Tuesday 24 January 2012

A Tuesday Tale - a cocktail party

A lot of years ago, whilst working in London, I wangled, obtained, received an invitation to a pre-Christmas cocktail party at Number 11 Downing Street. For overseas friends, this isn't the Prime Minister's London home, it's right next door to Number 10 though and is normally occupied by his 'mate' the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I had no-one to take as an escort so I asked a work colleague (who I secretly liked, a LOT) if he would accompany me. We were both single at the time and whoop, whoop, he agreed - not in a huge rush of enthusiasm I should say. I think it was more because I was a bit like Cinderella who wanted so badly to go to the ball - or perhaps Bridget Jones who always lands in a pickle.

Our office was within easy walking distance and on the designated evening we worked late then I changed into a dark 'cocktail party suitable' dress and we left the office and wandered up to the venue - err, my escort strolled and I tottered (on impossibly high heels). Straight in through the gates to Downing Street and then into No. 11 - well, after almost being strip searched.

I do remember thinking they could do with a new stair carpet as we went up the stairs, the walls of which were lined with caricatures of past Chancellors. The reception room where the cocktail party was being held was very grand and, without giving any secrets away, I doubt if I'll ever stand right beside a Gainsborough again with a glass of I forget what in one hand and a sausage roll in the other! The nibbles were delicious and, not having had an evening meal I did feel a bit peckish - in between circulating and socialising  I managed to at least stop the tummy rumbling!

My escort had also been circulating but he arrived back at my side and said 'Can I have a quiet word' - ooer, I went all weak at the knees thinking that he was about to say something rather nice/how much he liked me/compliment my outfit or maybe even ask me on a date!! All ears, I coyly tilted my head to one side, he bent forward and whispered these magical words in my ear..........'I think you'd probably want to know this -  you've got flaky pastry crumbs all over your front'!!

Right there and then my glass coach turned back into a pumpkin :( But on hindsight it was probably better that I had the chance to brush the offending crumbs away - a bit like getting home after a dinner party, looking in the mirror and seeing a wedge of bright green spinach between your two front teeth!

Oh, I almost forgot to say - my escort from that evening is currently having his morning shave - yup, it was Len. So things did all turn romantic - eventually :))


Monday 23 January 2012

A little birdie told me...........

After yesterday's marathon post, this one should be pretty quick to write :) With little time to craft, and more time spent on writing, I came up with a quick card when the urge to stamp became too much:
Yet another 'inking for the first time' - this set was one I came across during the big ferret round looking for a suitable stamp for the previous Less Is More challenge of 'Birds'. It lost out when I decided to use another stamp so I thought it should have a little outing anyhow!

I used:

- 5" x 5" white square card stock

- stamps from the 'You're so Tweet' Personal Impressions set designed by Marion Emberson - inked using 'Rich Cocoa' and 'Ivy' Brilliance ink pads

- Josy Rose red heart nail head

Kept it simple, job done!


Sunday 22 January 2012

Pixie's Crafty Snippets - Challenge Number 4

In the words of Victor Meldrew 'I don't belieeeeeve it'!! Another fantastic turnout in the playground this week, including a few new visitors (welcome!) - and some stunning use of snippets needless to say.

Firstly, here's my snippets make for this week - I made it on Thursday as I knew writing this post would most likely be a last minute flurry of activity:
Yet another stamp set I've had for ages was inked up for the first time (shame on me) and I even got my small 'to be kept just for use on paper' sewing machine out in honour of the occasion :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- image and sentiment by Lawn Fawn from their 'Sew Lovely' stamps set. I think I was so desperate to get my paws on this I got it from the USA but I just bet it's available over here now! I stamped the main image, did a little bit of Pro Marker colouring and then paper pieced the dress

- all backing papers from the snippets folder - stitched round as well :)

- the blue Core'dinations card came from a fresh 6" x 6" sheet, trimmed and punched round using a Martha Stewart Punch Around The Page 'lace' set

- baby blue organza ribbon from stash with a double bow using the bow maker, a white pearl button from the button tin and some embroidery thread. The little scissors charm also came from my stash

-  Josy Rose shiny silver nail heads

Edit: I just spotted that the current challenge over at The Allsorts Challenge is 'Needles and Pins' so I'm entering this card :)
Right ladies (and some big kids too) let's get onto the all-important roll call for this past week.

Clattering the handle of the gate as I opened up the playground this week was Carol with this lovely Christmas Card. Carol made the card primarily for another challenge with the theme of 'think thin' - great idea for saving postage this coming Christmas. Her offering is a lovely Winter Wonderland scene that has a really ethereal quality about it - see, I can still do big words :)

Next into the playground came Zahreen clutching a whole load of stunning butterflies which adorned a set of thank you cards. Fresh and clean cards, each with such bright butterflies cut from snippets, really gorgeous - you can see them here. There must have been a lot of presents to say thank you for :)

Sarn hopped in next with a terrific Kenny K card with a little bit of 'attitude' about the lovely image. Huh, as  Sarn had already pointed out to me that the two potential 'troubles' in the playground were in 'her gang' - this little lady on Sarn's card here certainly could be a ringleader, complete with that look of innocence!  And the background snippet that Sarn used is just great - certainly a perfect card for a teenager.

Next came Gilly with an absolute cutie. The papers and flower on her card, here, totally echo that adorable hedgie image (called Hobble and Cuddle by Penny Black) - pinks and greens going together so brilliantly - perfick! Gilly says she couldn't recall where her snippets came from - I bet most of us are like that, I'm certainly not into writing names of papers on the backs of snippets when they get piled into a basket waiting for their 'every few days sort out and file into colours session'.

Then Maggie arrived with a super 'I'm getting ready early this year, so there' Christmas card which you can see here.  The original challenge that Maggie made it for was 'black, white and red' - and it's really great, the tree is soooo elegant! As I write up the roll call, obviously I hop to and from your blogs - while I was in Maggie's blog just now I heard a plaintive 'miaow' and it took me a while to realise it's from a widget on the left hand sidebar of her blog. Oh dear I've just spent five minutes here playing with a 'virtual cat' - it's worth a look while you're checking out Maggie's card!

Jules had been rummaging in the brown snippets drawer (yup, she even has drawers for her different coloured snippets!) for her papers used on this stunner here. And just the tiniest touch of blue/turquoise sets it off so well. It's another of those cards that makes you gasp and feel like hanging up your scissors and double sided tape for good - totally elegant! Jules has been keeping an eye on proceedings in the playground (thank you!) and also helped me with how to put an expiry date on Mr Linky, yay!

Hey ho, next into the playground came Hettie (aka Sam) - with a layout shown here . Would you believe that such a terror could look so cute as a little girl sitting in a mountain of ballroom dancing tulle, 'tweeting' and pretending to be a bird in a nest? Absolutely adorable photo and I almost forgot - Sam's layout is terrific too, do go and have a smile at such cuteness!! Sam came back a bit later in the week with a lovely card featuring a lovely House Mouse image - here - I'm still wondering how on earth such a little mouse would possibly lick one of those stamps :)

Laura then arrived, with such a cute Valentine's Day card featuring 'Boofles', here. Quite apart from the fantastic image  the background paper is stunning, perfect for a Valentine card. Our Laura amazes me by managing to study, work long shifts and also find time for crafting - the energy of the young maybe! She's training to be a children's nurse and deserves a big round of applause for her dedication!

Then Lynn came along with a card, using paper piecing which is so clean, fresh and simply stunning at the same time. Lynn printed wording over her snippet of background paper (neat idea)  and stamped on the inside of the card too - with such great results. I did find out the name of the stamp she used, it's Penny Black's  'Whispers' (thanks Lynn!) - to see what I mean, go here to see. Oh dear, another stamp on the wish list :(

Liz was next with an 85th birthday card - made using her Robo, and of course using up snippets.  You can see it here - it's very elegant and uses some great blue papers. I've noticed that a few of us are using blues this week. Then, later on Liz popped in again with this little beauty here. Some terrific colour co-ordination going on here and such a cute image too. Super stuff Liz!

Next into the playground came Irene with a beautiful 'vintage floral' card using a great Penny Black Stickeroo stamp - you can see it here. Irene didn't say how she coloured the stamp but the result is terrific - I'm wondering if Aqua Markers would be good to use on a couple of similar stamps here which are waiting to be inked up? Irene's next card here used a stamp that I think she's had since 1997 - and this was its first outing!! Is that a record? Just look at how the embossing and the BP go together so well too.

Then Elizabeth arrived, and I quote 'I think this has got to be a personal first, a snippet card made directly after a project has been completed, so the leftover paper never even made it on to the snippet mountain :)'. And what a stunner she made too - Elizabeth is one of those people who also decorates the inside and back of her cards, go here to see her really pretty card. I struggle to even do normal inserts for my cards once the front is finished so this is 'uber-impressive'!!

Brenda was next, and she didn't even hop over the fence this week, although she did threaten to pull my hair later in the week for a minor offence :) Brenda's lovely card, stunning in its simplicity and such a clever idea, can be seen here. Butterflies are so popular at the moment, and it's interesting to see how a card with butterflies can look so modern. Fabulous!

The gentle Sandra H arrived in the playground next - I think she could be a peace maker if riots ever break out - with this little beauty. Sandra used an adorable House Mouse stamp for her image and the card is monochromatic - it works brilliantly too! I truly wondered if the laces were an addition to the card rather than coloured - to see what I mean you'll have to go and peek for yourself :)

Hazel's first visit of the week was to show a stunning card, in red hot pinks here. I have to say that Hazel is one prolific card maker and she hopped back with more cards during the week, all great too, each time she had a quick spin on the roundabout and then raced off back to her craft room! You can see Hazel's other cards here perfect for someone who plays bowls, here - and at first I thought the jewels were real,  here (fabulous purples) and here (a very clever, retro-style, retirement card).

Tammy's first visit was to show her combination of pink and yellow on a great Valentine's Day card - here. And, I just spotted that it made the top three at Simply Stampin' - well done Tammy, and well deserved too. Then really hot pink was the main colour on her next card - great image with a perfect sentiment! To see what I mean, go here :) Tammy's final offering is here - terrific, 24 butterflies punched out for one card with a super result - three lovely cards.

Next came Heidi with such a cute card here -  I love the image and those lovely flowers and leaves punched using snippets. Such patience - but it really paid off and reminded me that Spring isn't really that far off! Great stuff Heidi.

Bernie arrived next with this beauty. All pinks and, as always, so very pretty - and Bernie has a great little tip for when you're punching smaller scraps - go and see for yourself. Snow was beginning to fall where she lives in the USA and, when Bernie next trotted back in, more had fallen and she was ready to kill the snow plough driver who seemed to be waiting round the corner every time she finished clearing her drive just so he could come by again and spray snow all over her hard work :) Her stunning 'pocket card' can be seen here, it's truly gorgeous - and her posting was so funny that I cried with laughter. I now need to do the same - ie. make a pocket card, not lie in wait for the snow plough chap with my snow shovel ready to beat him into submission :)

Linby then came to visit with a beautiful 'patchwork' style card - here - made for a quilting friend. A very clever idea and I just bet her friend will be delighted! And, Linby also revealed that she keeps the snippets left over from her snippets - I bet loads of us also do that and it made me wonder how small can snippets become before we eventually have a sort out?

Next in was Jackie, apologising that it was her first make of the week, here. Lots of lovely layers and her card blank was from Lakeland when they used to sell card making supplies, a shame they stopped as they had some good ideas! On her first visit Jackie had a go on the swings, this time it was the slide with a great pink and white card here. Really interesting to see the snippets before she'd attacked them too! Not content, Jackie also wanted a go on the roundabout - so she hopped back in with this super album for a friend. I gasped when I saw it 'cos it did remind me of my own snippets offering this week - too late to change it now, it's late Saturday already and no more crafting time available :(

Andria arrived next with a Christmas card - I love it! So crisp and clean, just great - you can see it here. The embossing sets  it off beautifully I think - and Forever Friends images are always so great! Really lovely card Andria.

Mags B was next to arrive clutching a really beautiful Winter birthday card, using a Miss Anya image, fabulous colouring, papers and some delicious flowers - and of course using snippets :) It all works so well together and is quite something. To see her lovely creation go here - I love it!

Our next playmate was Princess Judy - I think she really should be called Priceless Judy, her blog is very funny and always makes me smile! Judy came bearing these two snippets beauties - here - in primarily black, red and white - certainly the second one would be great for this challenge, a new one being run by Enfys of Going Buggy. The theme this month is red, white and black or grey. Picking up on a little outbreak of rebellion in the playground, Judy seemed disappointed that I expected the playmates to 'Play Well With Others' :)

So, that's the roll call for this week - I hope no-one has been left out, I've done a check and double check but mistakes can happen when I'm around!

Thank you for all the fun (and some angst, which I must admit had me crying - with laughter - at times). Hope to see you again this next week. Usual drill, the playground will close at midnight on Saturday - so no tunnelling under the fence :)

Have a great week and keep snippeting!


Saturday 21 January 2012

Mariposa papers.........

.....are delicious, lots of butterflies too! They're really tactile papers with quite a lot of 'flittering' and I've had an 8" square pad of them waiting to be used for months and months. So, another one to tick off the list of 'first uses'! As the papers are really more for scrap booking I suspect, there was some pondering here until I spotted, also in the 'to use' basket, a lovely pack of K and Company chipboard embellishments sent to me by Bernie and this is what I came up with:
I used:
- A4 sheet of mottled beige card scored and folded to A5 for the card base

- yellow card from stash for the base layer backing

- page from The Mariposa pack by DCWV - measured and trimmed before I set about making the card

- sentiment stamped with Thyme Brilliance ink pad using a stamp from the Hero Arts 'Live Life' sentiments set

- two embellishments from the embellies set I mentioned above - the butterfly is actually stuck over a much smaller butterfly already printed on the paper and the dragonfly was put there because the butterfly looked a bit lonely :). I did carefully remove the turquoise diamantes from the butterfly's wings and replace them with gold ones

That's it - short and sweet today, and a quick make as well.

Tomorrow is roll call day in the snippets playground so I'm beavering away on that posting at the moment!

Have a super weekend, whatever you have planned. We're having friends for dinner on Sunday evening - err, let's re-phrase that - friends are coming for dinner on Sunday evening :)) Don't worry, we don't have any cats living here, their meal will be safe! So today will see me whizzing round flicking a duster and so on, unless I give them dark glasses when they arrive!


Friday 20 January 2012

Friday Feast - Sultana and Almond Loaf

Surprise this week - not a savoury dish! We have a two-legged mouse in this house (I'll call him 'Leonardo') who is partial to cake - although I don't bake really regularly as Leonardo can't leave baked goodies alone :) But, earlier this week, on a dull and quite cold day, I decided that we needed the smell of home baking wafting around the house. Some kind bloggy friend did remark that she thought you baked to eat the results, not for the smell - err, good point there:)
Sultana and Almond Loaf

175g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 medium eggs, beaten
100g sultanas
100g chopped or flaked almonds
200g self-raising flour, sifted
100ml semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, Gas Mark 4.

Grease a 12 x 22cm (2lb) loaf tin and line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until fluffy. Gradually add the eggs. Stir in the sultanas and half the almonds. Fold in the sifted flour.

Pour in the milk and lemon juice, stirring gently until a dropping consistency is achieved. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth with a wet spoon.

Top with the remaining almonds and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin slightly then turn out onto a cooling rack and remove paper. This is also delicious served with custard or creme fraiche.

Things I do: even though I use non-stick bake ware I would still line the tin for this recipe, mostly as it makes for less washing up. Lakeland Limited sell some loaf tin liners in both 1lb and 2lb sizes, amongst all sort of other cake tin liners and they're great. They come in packs of 40 and I expect other places also sell them.

This is the first time I'd come across the tip to smooth the top of a cake with a wet (metal) spoon, and it worked a treat! Where have I been all this time?

I used large eggs and fully skimmed milk 'cos that's what was to hand. It's the first time I've tried this particular recipe and another time I might change it slightly. A few more sultanas might be good and I'd put more of the almonds actually into the mixture (two thirds to three quarters, reserving the rest for the top.  You can see from the photo how the top of the loaf is quite loaded with half the almonds.

I also hide the thing in a secret place if it isn't to disappear in double quick time - but I can't tell you where, just in case Leonardo hops in here for a look :)



Thursday 19 January 2012

Secret Garden Peeker

Some of you will remember during last Summer, we discovered Misty, our neighbours cat, peeking at us from her perch on a compost bin through a little gap in the fence if we were sitting out in the garden. That led to much hilarity and me going and peering back at her when she was having a right old nosey :)

Bernie then tipped me off about the stamp I've used for today's card. It's designed by Elisabeth Bell (stocked by Quixotic Paperie in the UK) so I immediately sent off for it last August - shame on me I then popped it into my 'to use' basket. On Tuesday I finally inked it up and everything to make the card was lying on the desk all ready for action on WOYWW - so I finally made a card:
Not content with inking up a gorgeous stamp for the first time, I also followed a challenge that I wanted to enter. It's the current Elisabeth Bell Challenge where the theme is Tic, Tac, Toe - meaning you have to choose three items to add to your card from a grid. Eeek, this was getting trickier by the minute! I dithered, as usual, before choosing flowers, lace and pearls, possibly as usual too :).

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- backing paper from the Prima 'Annalee' pack (sent to me by Dee) and baby pink Core'dinations card

- SCACD 'Secret Garden Peeker' stamp designed by the so-talented Elisabeth Bell. Sky and ground coloured with TH Distress Inks then coloured with Pro Markers and die cut with a Nestie. I cut the backing card following Sandra's tips for cutting a narrower border, which you can see here.

- flowers from stash - and I'm pretty sure at least some of the flowers also came from Dee :)

- pearls and white lace were snipped from a large 'Say It In Pearls' embellishment made by Prima that's been glaring at me from the 'use me' basket

- really well hidden there's also some pink edged lace and a little bit of pink gingham ribbon which I used to cover the fact that there are two lengths of the pink ribbon laid back to back with straight sides together right across the card. Originally I'd tied a bow with the ribbon but decided it wasn't right

- finally, the sentiment, which says 'Hello You' appropriately enough, is from Craftwork cards

I can see this stamp being trotted out a lot more here - it was a delight to use. Another time I'm gonna keep it simpler though :) 

As if all that wasn't enough - in the process of adding the flowers I also managed to burn the end of a finger with the glue gun:(


Wednesday 18 January 2012

WOYWW - 137

OK, so who stole this past week huh, huh?! Own up right now!! Yikes, it's Wednesday again and time to show and tell!

This was my desk yesterday early afternoon. It's too dark early mornings at this time of year to take a photo so I kind of cheated and took the photo as I left the room to go and start some chores:) Recently a friend said in an email that they do their chores in the mornings before they do their crafting in the afternoon. That's commendable and probably the way it should be, but this room faces (waves finger in the air whilst calculating) South East so my best chance of decent natural light in the darker months is during the morning - good excuse eh?!

So, what's going on here? Well, I'm all poised to begin colouring an image today - had the stamp since last Summer and it's well overdue for an initial outing. It's called Secret Garden Peeker, by Elisabeth Bell and I totally love it. Sometimes I do get very jumpy about using a special stamp for the first time lest I spoil the stamping or colouring - how stoooopid is that, it can be used over and over again, the whole point of stamping!

The stamped image has also been stamped onto Magi-film, then a mask made to protect the main image before doing the clouds using TH Tumbled Glass Distress Ink, a duster brush and a 'cloud template' - previous postings cover how to do this here and here.

The rest of the stash lying there comprises papers and trimmings to use plus a selection of flowers so there's at least a fighting chance of matching the Pro Markers for colouring the image to everything else. At that point I walked away and left things until today - although I took the cup of coffee with me :)

And to the right - drum roll please - you can actually see a patch of uncluttered desk. Still got the green basket of unused stash at the back but even that is less packed :))

To see what everyone else is up to on WOYWW and for some good old nosing at  workspaces - go here to Julia's. It could be even more fun this week - she's looking for a new WOYWW logo! I've already stated that I don't care if the logo is a pair of old knickers fluttering from a flagpole, so long as WOYWW continues - although I do have a favourite from the new logos on offer :)) Oh no, the shame of it, I just went to get the link from Julia's blog and she picked up on my knickers comment - detention for me if not careful - grin!!

Go and see - and have fun! I'll be doing a mix of blog hopping and working on that card today. Cracks knuckles and vows not to get into too much mischief today!


Tuesday 17 January 2012

A Tuesday Tale - party time!

Many, many years ago as a female programmer in my 20's I ended up in the position of maintaining a whole load of computer programs single handed. Apparently I was 'the only one left with the skills' - whilst everyone else retrained in newer programming languages and all new joiners also went on to developing new work. Obviously with things moving on apace I could see myself being left behind and, even more worrying, I became aware that others were galloping up the pay scales whilst I was just plodding on like the proverbial donkey. It really was hard to struggle on alone when others seemed to have time to mess around while I was constantly down in the old computer room twiddling dials and begging the wretched machines to behave for me. I ended up with a diary (that only I knew about) full of all the oddities and how to work round them which, over the period of a whole year's cycle of daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly runs of programs became invaluable. Eventually, I bit the bullet and had a meeting (with one of the most unpleasant managers I've ever known - we'll call him Gordon) to ask if I could be given a mix of work and also to point out the discrepancy in salaries. Ha, talk about a waste of time - he actually sneered and said 'Well, just see if you can find another job then'.

Talk about throwing down the gauntlet - I went off and did exactly that! It took a while to get right through the selection process but how sweet it was to hand that guy my resignation. Talk about a panic! On the day I left, I handed over my precious diary to help them out - only to have Gordon almost throw my leaving gifts at me in front of everyone at the traditional farewell ceremony and say 'Just see if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence'. He was hateful - and more so because I'd quietly won!

Which brings me to today's little tale - they do say that revenge is a dish best eaten cold. Another friend left that place a little while after me, to have her first baby - and decided to have a big party for everyone at her house. Her leaving hadn't been all smooth either but she wanted to have a party anyhow. We spent most of the Saturday sorting things out and preparing a 'finger buffet'. At about 5pm we'd just buttered a load of halved bread rolls when Sandie said 'Oh, let's have a break then come back and put the toppings on later'.

We were only out of the kitchen for 20 minutes or so - mostly keeping an eye on our husbands who were checking out the beer! Time to return to work and we trolled back to the kitchen - only to find Put-cat (the family moggie) up on the worktop calmly paddling around having a lick at each and every buttered roll. Eeeeek! The men folk came charging in at our shrieks of horror, Put-cat almost whistled through the window and we surveyed the damage. Lots of paw prints in the buttered rolls and an awful lot of licking of butter had been going on! Sandie's husband pointed out that all shops would be closed (remember those days when shops closed at about 5pm?!) - so she and I just looked at one another and like a little chorus said 'I won't tell if you don't'.

Yup, we scraped each and every roll to even out what was left of the butter (thankfully there were no cat hairs!) and proceeded to assemble the toppings.

Everyone turned up for the party, including my old adversary Gordon. Needless to say, we four who were 'in the know' didn't touch any of the open rolls - but it gave me mahoooosive pleasure to see Gordon tucking into them and smacking his lips whilst Sandie and I exchanged knowing smiles! Yes, revenge certainly IS a dish best eaten cold - preferably when a cat hasn't been paddling round in it :)))


Monday 16 January 2012

Never be too busy for friendship

One of my favourite birds is the Humming Bird - they always seem so busy! I only hope they find time for friendship too :)

The current challenge over at 'Less is More' is 'Birds' and I really wanted to make a card for it - it has to be one layer too, even more pushing of the boundaries here. This can be a single bird or multiples from what I've seen. A quick rummage through my stamps revealed that I have a ton of bird stamps, some quirky, some funny, some in cages, some perfect for TH style cards.

Then I looked up from my desk and staring down at me rather accusingly from a shelf was a Humming Birds stamp I've never used. I can't recall how I came to have it even! But, I'm on a quest to use all the things lurking in my craft room that haven't been inked, snipped, stuck or used yet.

After some research I discovered that some Humming Birds are shades of brown and grey rather than than like brightly coloured jewels - my fear since I've had the stamp had been that I'd mess the bright colours up and it would just spoil a lovely stamped image, especially as the flowers were probably bright red hibiscus. So, this is what I made for the challenge:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- Humming Bird stamp, with the Latin name for the birds masked off - made in the USA by Personal Stamp Exchange but no name on it, coloured with Pro Markers in shades of warm grey, greens and reds

- sentiment from the Hero Arts 'Live Life' set

Then I ran away and left the card well alone for fear of itchy teeth and a need to add some nail heads or something and spoil it!


Sunday 15 January 2012

Pixie's Crafty Snippets - Challenge Number 3

Wow, I thought that last week's very busy 'first challenge after the lovely Jules stepped down' might just have been a 'blip'. But, you proved me wrong and loads of you joined in the fun again this week - thank you!

First up, here's my snippets make for this week:
Oh dear, as I was making this card I felt the influence of Jules and her wonderful card making - I'm saying 'oh dear' because there's no way in the world I want to copy her outright as that's absolutely not on, but some of her lovely stamps have found their way into my Handy Hippo shopping basket over recent times, her work is so gorgeous it leaves an impression (ha, no pun intended) every time I see what she's been making plus there are a few hearts here as well! Mind you, Jules has a knack of knowing when to stop adding things to cards - I absolutely don't!

I used:

- pearlescent ivory 6" x 6" square card stock

- pearlescent and slightly mottled pink card and papers from the snippets folder

- KanBan lace background stamp, Anita's 'Torn Love Letter' stamp - I stamped the lace background again then the Love Letter stamp on top so I could paper piece the hearts on the Love Letter image as they come plain

-  the sentiment is another Elzybells one

- pink pearls from stash

- the ivory organza ribbon with metallic hearts on was bought in Ravensburg, Germany about three years ago - oh boy Jules, and everyone else I suspect, you would just love that shop!

- then, I couldn't leave it alone as, to me, the lace background looked a bit bare and so I added a couple of punched butterflies with little black pearls down their bodies :)

As I said, a lot of Jules influence here - but not her talent sadly!

Edit: Brenda B hopped in to say that I can enter this for the current Penny Black and More Challenge 'Love and Hearts'. I had spotted this challenge but in the panic to do this post I totally forgot - so now I'm entering it before I post another card tomorrow which would make it a 'back link'. Also, Brenda's comment says that I have to catch her first for detention - read on to see what I mean, saucy little minx :))

I also just found another lovely challenge - Let's Craft and Create and the theme is butterflies so I'm entering this card for that one too :)

Now onto the all-important roll-call. I lost almost all of what follows below on Friday (thank you, you nasty piece of software Mr Blogger) so I had to re-do it all :(( but here goes:

After being 'gutted' last week not to be first into the playground, I'm convinced that Sarn set up camp outside the gates last Saturday night and at the very first 'chink' of the keys on Sunday morning she was in - 'whoosh'!! Telling tales here, it was hilarious to get an email from her a short while later chanting 'I was first, ner, ner, nicky, ner, ner!!' :)  Oh dear, sometimes you lot make me cry with laughter!! Sarn's lovely card can be found here. It's white and purple, really fresh and crisp with lovely stamping, layers and a delicious die cut leafy swirl - just perfect, and very stylish as always.

Next, not far behind, came Jackie with a cute Penny Black card, shown here, one of my favourite PB stamps too, made for a colour palette Daring Cardmakers challenge. Terrific colours too - perfect for a bedroom colour scheme I think. A lovely twist was Jackie re-using some tape which came tied round some new tea towels, and her card just goes together so well.  Jackie then came back later - her cards are here. I can't totally make out which one, or perhaps it's both of them, are snippets makes - but anyhow, they're both fabulous! Jackie's next card is here and it's a really beautiful Wedding Card (in pink, yay, my favourite colour!) using one of LOTV's loveliest wedding stamps. Her last card of the week is here, and it's strikingly simple and oh so effective! 

Irene arrived next with a beautiful card in blues, right down to a lovely blue poppy image painted with Distress Inks, here. I've spied quite a few people now using DI for painting (ha, amazing what you pick up just hopping round snippeteers blogs, let alone all the other ones I try to visit) and the results always look so good. One to try I think! I had a minor panic during the week when I read on Irene's blog that she'd ditched a load of snippets - but, apparently it was just small 'itchy titchy' ones and really to make room for a load of new ones :) I like the thinking!

Liz came scurrying in next with a super-cute Betsy Bluebell card - here - and followed again with another image using a different Betsy Bluebell stamp here. I love these images and how Liz has used them - the fringe on the little girl is horribly like mine was after I chopped it off when I was laid up and bored as a kid with measles :) In fact, I suspect mine was even shorter and much less straight!! On her third visit, Liz brought a beautiful butterfly card, she used a Marianne Creatables die, which is now on my wish list of course. Do go and see it here - it's very tempting!

Mags B then arrived with an adorable card to celebrate the arrival of her grand daughter Lillie - just take a peek here, don't you love the little duckie perched on the baby's head :) Such a pretty card, even re-cycling some lovely ribbon - and many congratulations to Grannie Mags on the arrival of her beautiful grand daughter Lillie!

Sally H came next with two lovely cards featuring flowers - on one the flowers are cut and layered, and on the poppy one Sally has used paper piecing so effectively to create a beautiful poppy. I love them both! Do go and look here to see if you have a favourite - I know which gets my vote by a whisker, although they are both super!

Then Carol arrived with an amazing calendar, shown here, for her craft room in shades of blue/grey. I remember hair dryers like that one, truly - and I love the resolutions she has made. Just two of them but they'll make you smile:) Carol came back later in the week with a really 'angelic' card - here - and some lovely layers of edging in the prettiest shades of blue.

Brenda B was next, with her first Christmas card of 2012 - and what a cracker (pardon the pun!). A gorgeous House Mouse image, beautifully coloured and also a great tip for making a narrow border round your Nesties - you can check it out here. Brenda also came back later in the week with her Less Is More Predominantly Purple challenge card here - she wasn't totally happy with it but I beg to differ, it worked just fine for me! I also think that Brenda might prove to be our rebel - apparently she 'doesn't do gates' - she said in her comment that she prefers to hop over fences instead!! :))

Our so-talented Patron and Founder, Jules, came next with an amazing and very dramatic card for budding rock stars. As always, perfect in every detail and if you have anyone into rock music needing a card, this is just great - take a look here, and that stamp is now on my wish list!! Someone here has FIVE guitars - err, I thought you could only play one at a time? In fairness they range from Fenders to classical Spanish so I guess that's OK then :) Jules hopped in again later in the week at number 22 (two little duckies as she gleefully claimed) with another card, this time featuring some luscious paper pieced flowers, here. Gorgeous as always (and 'with a heart' as always too!) - in fact I counted five hearts :)

Elizabeth (of terrific recipes fame - I made her meat loaf again yesterday, yummy) - followed with a 4" x 4" Thank You card, which is here - and it's amazing what she fitted onto it without overdoing it. Just look at how she made the flower too - confession time - a heart shaped punch arrived today from a little shopping expedition I made to Handy Hippo the other day :)

Next came Hazel with an adorable card featuring 'caroling snowmen' which is here - followed later in the week with this really gorgeous card, perfect for Valentine's Day and using vellum! Hazel used her Xyron to make the back of the vellum sticky - oh dear, do I need another gadget? I just love the silver heart Hazel used too. Hazel's final card of the week is here and it's another lovely card, made following a sketch challenge. Hazel is one of the most prolific crafters I've come across - and always thinking of ways and means to push the boundaries.

Aah, another loyal follower Sandra H arrived next with a lovely girlie card - love the long gloves and Sandra sure nailed the colours - black and white with a splash of colour. You can see the result here. I do love the simplicity of this image, yet it has such impact.....reminds me, where did I store my elbow length gloves! Actually that's not as daft as it seems - I do remember in my early teens having pretty lace gloves in the Summer and very soft kid skin ones for milder Winter days. I can also recall washing the kid ones on my hands, under my Mum's supervision, with Stergene before rinsing well, taking them off, allowing them to dry naturally and then pulling them on again once dry to rub all over with a very soft cloth to make them all supple again. Sheesh, makes me feel really ancient!

Speaking of feeling ancient, next into the playground came Laura with a beautiful birthday card here, using up some Cath Kidston wrapping paper - and also doing some reverse embossing (is that debossing?) which is really effective. Now, I'm going to tell a little tale about Laura, not a secret as it's on her blog for you to see. Laura is our 'baby snippeteer' I think - she was 21 in December and manages to do some lovely crafting, in between being in her final year of training to be a children's nurse. She also has put some lovely circular sentiments on her blog for free - you'd have to look for them but they are there! She works some very long shifts yet still hops in here to say 'hi' whenever she can. It would be so great if some of you could call by her blog to say hello, and perhaps even follow her. A little encouragement goes a long way :)

Gilly hopped in for the first time next, twice in quick succession in fact - here and here. The first time was showing a lovely, bold and sort of funky card in an array of such bright and cheerful colours and the next time she was clutching a gorgeous card in shades of purple, using a hearts edging punch that I would dearly love! Both lovely makes Gilly and hope to see you coming out to play in future :)

Aha, then in came 'trouble' ,in the shape of Hettie (aka Sam). Sam had made some terrific cards for Burns Night and so on, using the funniest and cutest image of a sheep playing the bagpipes (yeah, right!) - you can see them here. When I say that Sam was 'trouble', what I mean is that I fell hook, line and sinker for those fantastic stamps and that's how come I ended up at Handy Hippo doing some online shopping - literally within 30 minutes of seeing the great cards on Sam's blog!! Take a look but be prepared to be tempted!

Next into the playground was Maggie, appropriately for the 'playground' with three beautiful Nursery Rhyme cards here, which she had decoupaged. They're so detailed and I think you'll agree that Maggie must have endless patience! The intricacy of her cutting, using a blade, is quite something! I don't get on with blades, much too accident prone so I'm doubly filled with admiration.

Tammy then arrived with a really lovely wedding card using shades of 'juniper, mint and vanilla', primarily made for The Play Date Challenge challenge but also using snippets. What tickled me are those delicious names for colours :) Tammy's card is here and it's  a beauty - I 'specially love the totally gorgeous bow using seam binding she finished it off with, and the simplicity of the central image goes perfectly.

Phew folks, that's this week's roll call - I hope I did visit you all during the week as you posted your snippets and also that I included you all here with correct links - Mr Blogger permitting!

Mr Linky is below if you want to come and play again this week, the playground closes at midnight on Saturday as usual - but re-opens for business on Sunday as soon as possible, just as soon as I've cleaned all the inky paw marks from the swings and roundabouts. And, anyone caught hopping over the fence rather than using the gates will be in detention - no names mentioned!! :)