Saturday 31 August 2013

Saturday Supper - Prawn and Courgette Linguine

This recipe (another one from a supermarket magazine) is super fast to make, and delicious:

Prawn and Courgette Linguine
375g linguine
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 courgette
6 tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
pinch of chilli flakes
2 x 145g packs cooked, peeled king prawns
Fresh basil leaves

Cook 375g linguine in boiling water for 12 mins, until tender.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped, and 1 courgette, finely chopped, and cook for 2 mins.

Add 6 tomatoes, chopped and diced, 1 tbsp tomato purée, a pinch of chilli flakes and some of the pasta cooking water, then cook on a gentle heat for 5 mins.

Add 2 x 145g packs cooked, peeled king prawns and stir to heat through.

Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Things I do: absolutely nothing different, it's most unlike me not to tinker a bit. You could use frozen and then defrosted prawns of course, and if you don't like chilli then leave it out. The little pinch just gives a tiny kick but I'm sure the dish wouldn't suffer without it. I made the full amount by the way and it all went, between two of us. OINK!



Friday 30 August 2013

Less is More - Washi tape

This week's challenge over at Less is More is to use Washi tape - and this card came about mostly as I had the 'bow' die on my desk:
I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card stock

- three strips of Washi tape across a small piece of card which was then trimmed to a small square before being run through the Cuttlebug using SU's 'Square Lattice' embossing folder

- the 'bow' is die cut from a snippet of silver card using a die from Memory Box's 'Crisp Bows' set and just stuck on using a Quickie glue pen - one of those little gems I wouldn't be without

- no sentiment or anything else added either

I was sooooo pleased last week when Chrissie and Jen picked out this card for the LIM showcase - especially as I'd been having the vapours wondering if adding glitter using double sided adhesive sheet to the numbers would disqualify me:

Thank you ladies, you really made my day! Trumpet blowing session now over, stand easy :)


Thursday 29 August 2013

Upcyling another Christmas card

The current challenge over at Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge is 'Cute' - so I looked for a cute Christmas card amongst those we were sent last year and found this sweet little image:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- almost the whole front of a small Christmas card, which came with the sentiment already printed on it, two corners rounded and layered onto a snippet of grey card - also with two rounded corners

- backing paper from the lovely Kay in New Mexico, two corners also rounded. A while back Kay sent me a gorgeous selection of both Christmas and non-Christmas 6" x 6" papers and I check those out first before rummaging through other paper pads as so often I find exactly the match I want - in this case it's a perfect red and the snowflakes are so similar to those around the little girl

- strips of self adhesive ribbon by Dovecraft from a set called 'Santa'

- three small self adhesive red buttons from Hobbycraft

Super fast, much easier than the near disaster I rescued on Monday!

This is also for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra, where it's always 'Anything goes'.


Wednesday 28 August 2013

If yesterday's tale didn't make you a laugh

..then my offering for today just might. It's a very first go at art journaling - and frankly I think it looks as if a couple of dogs had a fight with inks, acrylic paint and some stamps:
You could really say what didn't the dogs I use? :( And of course there had to be pink.

The book is just a hard backed one I picked up in Hobbycraft, nothing special although the paper is thicker than most, a bit like watercolour paper - it cost about £3.99 I think.

I lost track of the ink pads, inks and acrylic paint I used 'cos I mixed 'em up a bit.

The sentiment/phrase is from a fabulous set I bought at Flutterbys the other week whilst there with Sam and Mo. It's called 'Art Phrases' by Creative Expressions - sadly they only had the one left otherwise it would have made a super Playground prize.

There are 10 'phrases' in the set which are on plain grey rubber and of course had to be cut apart and trimmed. I don't store my sentiments in files, they stay in their bags - and full sets of rubber ones are often tricky to sort through and find the one you want, unless you can easily read backwards of course.

So this is what I did:
On the insert that came with the stamps, I numbered each one and circled it. Aren't those phrases just fabulous?!
And then, with a permanent pen I did the same to the back of each matching phrase. I don't mount plain rubber stamps, instead I use a bundle of acrylic blocks in all shapes and sizes, ready covered with Tack 'n Peel made by Tsukineko. It works for me and even if the tacky 'lessens' they just need a rinse in cold water.

Not my finest hour but, I'm gonna keep the phrase I used firmly in mind - and perhaps something wonderful WILL happen if I keep playing with the journaling. As Sarn says, it's very therapeutic!


Tuesday 27 August 2013

The ability to snatch disaster from the jaws of victory

As I mentioned yesterday, I once had a boss (aka Noddy, secretly named by me 'cos all that was missing was the bell on his little blue hat) who was a contender for being the World's most incompetent manager on the planet and unpleasant with it. If he could make a right mess of things he would, and be proud of his achievement too - he sure could snatch disaster from the jaws of victory.

Let me explain just one incident to illustrate the lack of grey cells and he actually told us this one, I would have been so mortified I'd have kept it secret from anyone who hadn't known me at the time!

Before he worked where I did, Noddy was having replacement windows installed in his first floor floor flat/apartment. Noddy couldn't leave things well alone, he always had to be interfering and sticky beaking, so he was under the feet of the workmen at every step of the job.

When they stopped for lunch, Noddy couldn't resist checking out a huge (lucky for him not glazed as yet) window frame. Noddy didn't know that said window frame wasn't drilled and screwed into the walls as yet, heavy window frame tilted and tottered, Noddy hung onto window frame instead of letting go. Can you picture what's coming?

Window frame toppled out of the window opening, Noddy still hung on, window frame and Noddy flew through the air and almost landed on the astonished workers quietly having their lunch below.

Noddy ended up in hospital with concussion, a broken leg and TWO broken arms. This meant weeks of being spoon fed with his arms in plaster. Silly Noddy - perhaps that should have taught him a lesson but not so.

Thankfully I escaped from that job and moved onwards, upwards and out of reach. And Noddy? He's still there and still as incompetent, in the same job and going nowhere fast...................except for flying out of window openings perhaps?


Monday 26 August 2013

Snatching victory from the jaws of disaster

When I explain how this card came to be, you'll understand the title:

I used:

- 5" x 7" white card stock

- plain bauble die by Memory Box 'Classic Ornament', die cut from a lovely rich red sparkly film, self adhesive which was stuck onto a snippet of deep red card before cutting. Memory Box 'Snowflake Ornament', die cut from silver mirri card. The tops of the baubles come with the 'Classic Ornament' die and do add a nice contrast. The bows were cut in silver mirri card using one of the two lovely dies which come in the Memory Box 'Crisp Bows' set

- and this is where disaster struck :( Before adding anything to the cards I'd stamped a Christmas greeting in the bottom right hand corner in SU 'Real Red' - and forgotten to blot and check they were totally dry. To line up the very bottom tips of the baubles I used a ruler held diagonally across the card- and did this on all three of the cards I was batch making. Sigh, you know what's coming - yup, the sentiment smudged on all three cards!

- the smudging was too bad to decently cover with a larger sentiment stamped onto a shaped die cut, it would just have looked 'bodged'. So, I ran round the craft room screaming for a while as there seemed to be no way forward - other than just dump the cards, after such a lot of work had gone into cutting all those dies etc.

- whilst pondering what to do I carefully trimmed the cards diagonally across the bottom of the baubles - which of course left a card which wouldn't stand up, I had already worked that fact out though so at least that didn't come as yet another shock :)

- head in hands, out of the corner of my eye I spotted some of the rich red sparkly self-adhesive film still on the desk - bingo!

- I cut white card backings the same width and just a tad shorter in height as the card fronts (to ensure that the cards would still fold crisply), then added straight bands of the red sparkly film across the bottom of each backing piece

- next, the trickiest part was lining them up properly and to do this I used removable tape runner to temporarily fasten the additional 'front' section to the inside of the back of the card exactly where it ought to be before using ultra strong DST to fasten the new backing to the front of the card

- to be honest I really like the end result and will be doing it again (deliberately!). If you try this one, remember it can be quite hard lining up that additional front portion. One little trick is that so long as the left hand side and the bottom edge are spot on, so that the point on the bottom left meets perfectly, you can always trim/guillotine the right hand side of the card slightly. It's the left hand side that's the most important bit

Think I aged a year or two in the process of this salvage operation though. 

 I was reminded of the most ridiculously incompetent boss on this planet when writing the post title (I secretly nicknamed him Noddy 'cos all that was missing was the hat with a little bell on the end). It was my misfortune to carry him on my back, cover for and rescue work for him for a few years - and how we longed for 'Noddy' to take his many holidays and leave us in peace without wondering what he'd c*ck up next. Apart from once telling him face to face that he couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag (trust me, I do have my limits if someone presses all the wrong buttons) - I also used to say that he could snatch disaster from the jaws of victory, and be frighteningly triumphant about it as well :(

Tomorrow I'll have a Tuesday Tale which illustrates what he was like :)


Sunday 25 August 2013

Pixies Crafty Snippets Playground - Week 87

Today's card is two-fold, it's a snippets card (as always on a Sunday) plus it's for Sarn's Rudolph Day challenge. If you don't already join in with Rudolph Day, now might be a good time as (whisper) it's gonna be September soon and when months end in 'er' that means that errrrrrr................December is waiting in the wings.

So, I made a Christmas card, two the same in fact:
This is supposed to be a bit 'tighter' as a wreath but you can't have everything :(

I used:

- 7" x 7" square white card stock, not as big as 8" square but a nice size to play with

- backing card is SU 'Real Red' from the snippets folder

- then I raided lots of green snippets and die cut quite a few leaves using a die set I've been itching to use. It's made by Dee's Distinctively and is called 'Wreath Builder'. There are four different leaves and it's such fun to use. To position the die cut leaves in a circle I just centred a circle die on the back of the card front and ran an embossing tool round it - gives a good guideline without having to use a pencil. I also did add some fern like fronds, punched with such a stiff punch I had to balance on it with my heel and then wave the other leg in the air like a ballerina complete with arms outstretched to get enough 'oomph' (ie. weight if you really wanna know). It worked and the punch survived - got this tip from Hettie (Sam)!

- added a few red and white pearls here and there as berries

- little satin hand tied bow at the top, stuck on with ultra strong very narrow DST as I'd have cried if glue had seeped through

- and the sentiment, which I actually stamped before assembling the wreath, was stamped using one of my 'always go to' stamps by Funstamps called 'Small Merry Christmas' and SU 'Real Red'. Have used this stamp so much over the many years since buying it - it sure doesn't owe me a bean!

So, that was my snippets card for this week - and it's also for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for August.

Right, now for my picks of the week - gosh you girls make this so difficult!

Irene made six small Christmas cards, each one different and, as always, perfection.

Our 'Mum to be' Victoria scrapped her little bean's scan photos - aw. I hear that there's a queue in the Playground to be first to babysit baby when he or she arrives:)

Isn't this little hedgie card adorable? Made by Lynn - love how the snippets and the image colouring match perfectly.
Carol made one card and then followed up in the same post with this snippets beauty by using the negative after die cutting for the first card. Super image and what a super idea to emboss the patchwork  - something I've seen before in the Playground and keep meaning to try out as it always looks so good. Isn't the sheep in the wellies brilliant - after all the rain we had through the night here it's right at home in the Playground!
And finally, welcome to Benzi who came to play for the first time this week, bringing a lovely Autumn card. Great to see you and I hope you girls treated Benzi nicely.

The draw next, for the 'Water's Edge' stamp and the Marianne die set, which was won by:
Lynn (Hayes)
Well done Lynn, can you please let me have your snail mail address and the stamp and dies will be on their way to you ASAP. Grin, you already know my email address- and it's great we solved the linking problems. Way to go - hope you have fun with your prize!

And this coming week we also have a die set - yup, it's the same as the one I used today made by Dee's Distinctively and called 'Wreath Builder' - perfect for snippets. I can imagine a wreath cut from a mix of blue and silver or red and gold, or how about all pure white with perhaps a tickle of Glamour Dust here and there? Loads of ways to play and of course the leaves can all be used separately.

Plus, I'm adding a Christmas sentiments stamp set by  Daisy and Dandelion called ''Christmas Wishes'.
So what are you waiting for? Come and play girls.

The Playground will run as usual this week with the gates closing at 11am UK time on Saturday 31st August. Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be a winner of the die set and stamps this week as shown above. Mr Linky is below - do please let me know if you have any problems linking, I can sort it out for you quite quickly and am always happy to do so.

I promise to do that grab button ASAP for the Playground BTW!

Di (and a wave from Parsnip)

Saturday 24 August 2013

I took the advice

tipsy woman photo: tipsy woman Tipsy_Cosmo-213x296.jpg
And I'm passing this on because it worked for me.
A doctor on TVsaid that in order to have inner peace in our lives, we should always finish things that we start.

Since we all could use more calm in our lives, I looked around my house to find things I'd started & hadn't finished.

I finished a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys,a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a choclutz. 
Yu hasno idr how fablus I feel rite now.
Sned this to all ur frenz who need innerpees. 
An telum uluvum.


Today's recipe is below BTW.

Saturday Supper - Pork Goulash

You know sometimes when you read a recipe,  you just know it's gonna be 'lip-smackin' good' - that's what happened when I recently found this recipe in a free supermarket magazine:

Pork Goulash:

600g diced pork
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves3 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato purée
1/2 chicken stock cube
400g jar tomato and sweet pepper sauce (I used Lloyd Grossman's own, it was 350g so I added a little water to the empty jar, popped the lid back on and gave it a good shake to 'up' the liquid quantity).
350g new potatoes
1 red pepper

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add 600g diced pork, season and brown all over.

2. Add 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped, and cook for 2 mins. Stir in 3 tsp paprika.

3. Add 2 tbsp tomato purée, 125ml chicken stock made from 1/2 cube, 400g jar tomato and sweet pepper sauce, 350g new potatoes, parboiled and halved, and 1 red pepper, sliced.

4. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5-10 mins until the pork is tender and stir in 60ml soured cream.

5. Serve with a spoonful of soured cream and a sprinkle of paprika.

For once I altered absolutely nothing! The pork I used was tenderloin/fillet and we had fresh British broad beans as a vegetable. Like Brussels sprouts though, they're something you either love or hate.

One thing to be aware of though is that the new potatoes have to be parboiled beforehand, for about 10 minutes at least I would say - bearing in mind they only cook for a further 5-10 minutes once in the sauce. I nearly tripped up but luckily read the recipe through properly before putting on my big chef's apron, gathering all the ingredients together and prepping everything. I'm a bit OCD and love to see little dishes of ingredients lined up, all measured and weighed ready to use :)

Of all the recipes I've put on here lately, this really has to be an outright winner - we both loved it.



Friday 23 August 2013

Origami kimono

Next time you are staring into thin air, twiddling your thumbs with nothing to do other than make teas and coffees for gardeners - take one piece of thinnish paper, 6cm wide and 21cm long, and rustle/fold yourself up a kimono:
I used:

- 5" x 5" square white card stock

- square of black glossy card from the snippets folder, corners punched with a 'notch' punch and gold cord wound round.

- kimono made using a 6cm x 21cm strip of paper and not cut at all, just folded, from a 'Kimono Bloc' of paper made by Art and Crafts. I've had these for years - shame on me it was a first play at actually using them as intended though. I don't think they sell them any longer and, origami is NOT going onto my list of every day things to do - it was tricky-woo and right at the last knockings I very slightly ripped the little perisher - hence the two black Josy Rose nail heads :)

- the little lanterns were die cut using a fabby die that ScrappyMo gave me on her recent day with Sam and myself, and 'hung' from loops of gold cord. The die is by Memory Box, 'called 'Paper Lanterns'. To use the fairly thin (another piece from the same paper pad) paper with the dies I stuck it onto a snippet of black card using double sided adhesive sheet before die cutting. Some of the papers do have lovely small patterns but if you do feel crazy enough moved to make little kimonos those papers aren't essential, although an appointment with a shrink immense patience certainly is a requirement. This is a tutorial link I found (after making the kimono) on YouTube. The dimensions are different to mine but the folding process is exactly the same as the instruction sheet that I got with the Kimono Bloc

- sentiment was stamped onto a snippet of yellow card (the yellow is exactly the same as the lanterns in real life - lying little toad of a camera yet again) using a little sentiment stamp from a Woodware set called 'Oriental Ladies'. The set dates back to when Oriental was all the rage a few years ago and this was the first time I'd used it, shame on me

And then I went and stuck my head under the cold tap to restore my senses. 


Thursday 22 August 2013

My favourite place to be

I love the sweet sentiment on the stamp I used today:
I used:

- 3.75" x 3.75" square white card stock - it's Hunkydory, really very thick and substantial at 300gsm too. You don't need card this thick and heavy, especially with postage rates these days but at about £17 for a collection of 100 cards and envelopes ranging right from 8" x 8" down to teensy ones from Create and Craft TV I got drawn in :)

- the little image is by SU from the 'For the Birds' set, it comes with the sentiment on the same stamp although that could always be masked off when inking the stamp then the mask removed before stamping of course. Coloured with Whispers pens, for speed and as it's just one layer I really didn't want to take time backing the inside to cover Pro Marker bleeding

Crumbs, that's all there was to it!

Am entering this into the current challenge over at Less is More where the theme this week is 'Round and round' - ie. things with wheels, moving parts or even a card with something that moves on it such a slider card. That's one I really do want to try again - when there's time to play.


Wednesday 21 August 2013

Transferring images to candles

To go with the bookmarks I showed on Monday here for Annie and Jo, I made these:
Before I list what I used, there are some things you might find handy if you decide to have a play at transferring images to candles.

Here's a very good little tutorial - I had made one of these previously for a friend in 2011 but did refer to the tutorial to remind myself.

Secondly, the first time I made a candle like this back in 2011 I used ordinary greaseproof paper. In fact looking at the post just now I did add a few piccies and details of the whole process. Anyhow, this time I used some of the waxed paper I'd bought for using with intricate dies and it really is considerably better. Joanna Sheen stocks it here, but sadly it's only for shipping within the UK.

Thirdly, and I have no idea how you can work this one out at the point of purchase - I bought ivory coloured candles. My first go at the poppies candle almost left me in tears - right at the very end of the heating process, a chunk of ivory wax over half an inch square and about an eighth of an inch thick came away, leaving white wax showing. So, IF you can find plain white candles I'd go for those as it looks as if the ones I used had a final dipping into ivory wax just as a thick coating - the lovely WOYWW Julia knew about this 'fenominum' when we spoke last week. However, I got there in the end on the second attempt!

I used:

- pillar candles, these were approx. 6" high and 2.5" wide. Mine were from the TU range at Sainsburys, thankfully I bought a box of four 'cos I needed a third one after the 'blip' I just wrote about

- stamps used are poppies from Hero Arts' 'Delicate Blossoms' set and mixed flowers from Kanban's 'Stamp 06' set. Stamped with Stazon black ink pad onto white tissue paper and coloured with Whispers pens to match yesterday's bookmarks

- then trimmed each image quite closely, placed onto a candle and covered with wax paper, leaving plenty to hold round the back of the candle whilst heating the front over the image with the heat gun

- you can see the image changing colour through the wax paper which lets you know that it's being slightly absorbed into the candle wax

Then I just wrapped them in cellophane with a piece of knotted ribbon on top - and added little glass dishes to stand them on so the girls didn't have to go hunting for old saucers.

Do have a play if you haven't already tried this one - it's great fun!


Tuesday 20 August 2013

Of course you can't see where you are!

The current challenge over at Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge is 'No sentiment'. I think this card doesn't need a sentiment but I do think the title of this post sums up what one robin is saying to the other one :)
Another time I'd use Aqua markers or watercolours for gentler definition on the robins chests - one looks like he's got a pair of you-know-whats when it's meant to be rosy cheeks - but at least it's four more the same for the box of 'that word' cards.

Edit: It's just gone midnight on Tuesday here, and this post has just published. Am sitting here crying with laughter at Karen P's quick fire comment now :) Snigger, snort, snort!!

I used:

- A6 white card stock - just a smidgen wider in fact due to the embossing folder size

- embossing folder is by Crafts-Too called 'Snowflake Banner'

- the robins are from Penny Black's 'Winter Wonderland set, coloured with Pro Markers and iridescent glamour dust added to the hats plus a tickle of it on the 'ground'

This is a bit of a steal from the lovely Brenda B - I'm sure she made a card fairly similar a while ago and I loved it! I can't find it on Brenda's blog to share with you else I would, but I know her colouring was much better than mine - she uses Prisma pencils brilliantly.

And of course it's another card to add into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for August, which is always 'Anything goes'.

Oh dear, how to hop into bed and lie there shaking with laughter whilst not waking anyone up. Bad girl Karen!


Monday 19 August 2013

Ramping up the magnetic book marks

A few of you will know that I love to make magnetic 'flip over the page' bookmarks. For a while now, thoughts of how to make them more long lasting had been whirling round - rather than just plain card I normally use which in time would wear, probably get a bit grubby etc. Meeting up with Annie (Wipso) last week was the catalyst I needed to have a play and blow me down, it worked!

The difference is that I made the bookmarks larger, then laminated them - wahoo, success:
I used:

- plain white card stock - after stamping and colouring the bookmarks ended up at approx. 2" x 6" - laminating does lend itself more to these bigger bookmarks I suspect

- stamps used are poppies from Hero Arts' 'Delicate Blossoms' set and mixed flowers from Kanban's 'Stamp 06' set. Stamped with Stazon black ink pad and coloured with Whispers pens - which don't 'bleed' through the card

- tiny little butterfly stickers

- then I cut the bookmarks to size and laminated them. My laminator is just a cheapo one from Lidl and it worked a treat

- trimmed the excess lamination from the sides and ends and rounded each corner with XCut corner rounder punch. I did cut right up to the edge of the card rather than leave a little margin of clear lamination round the edge. I did a few experiments first and just didn't like the look of the clear edge - that might have given them an even longer life I guess but I reckon these are robust enough to last a good long while

- had used ready scored card which helped immensely when it came to then lining up the laminated bookmarks in the Hougie board and giving them a good creasing down the score line - on both sides so they fold as tightly as possible

- all that was left to do was to add the magnet pairs to the insides of the bookmarks and then clear up the HUGE mess of stamps, pens, sample tries etc.

I reckon these would be great with all sorts of things, pressed flowers would look fabulous for example.

If you haven't guessed, the poppies bookmark was for Annie (Wipso) as she loves poppies and the mixed flowers for Jo (Twiglet)  - I scouted through Jo's blog and thought these colours were very much 'her'.


Sunday 18 August 2013

Pixies Crafty Snippets Playground - Week 86

Sigh, Summer seems so have run away right now but my snippets card is still 'Summer themed' in the hope of better weather:

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- whole (slap my wrists) papers from the Forever Friends 'Best of British' paper pad

- snippets of papers I found tucked inside the front of the same pad

- image is a stamp by Just Inklined called 'Water's Edge', coloured with Pro Markers and a tickle of Glossy Accents on the metal ring holding the rope. The clouds were added using the usual 'Tim Holtz Distress pad, template and little duster brush technique' - this time I used 'Faded Jeans' for the sky to match the papers a bit better than my usual 'Tumbled Glass'

- the sentiment panel came with the paper pad and I just stamped the word 'Hi!' from a Stampendous set called 'Happy Messages', in Memento 'Tuxedo Black' - to be honest the little panel woulnd't have taken a bigger word :)

Love the image stamp and it's super-easy to colour too.

And this week's picks are a bit fast and furious as once again I have a ton of other things to do today (Saturday):
Sam (aka Hettie) brought a fabulous layout to show - love all the pink and the story behind the layout is so inspiring.
Victoria is blogging again (wahoo) and made this fabulous Christmas card. Did you know there's a little one on the way too? Congratulations Victoria - no shortage of baby sitters in the Playground, they'll do anything for sweeties!
Darnell has been 'Smackin' Acetate' there are some gorgeous cards over at her blog. I did laugh at Sarn when I mentioned I'd love to try this and her reply was 'What's acetate ever done to you to deserve that then?' - very droll :) Do go and see how it's done, a great technique which a few of you have already been playing with this past week.
Eve made brilliant use of her snippets this week, following an idea by the lovely Jules - isn't it just stunning?

And speaking of Jules:
Oh wow Jules, what a brilliant card...............and so true as well :)

I could show so many more, to check them out here's the link to last week's Mr Linky.

So, moving rapidly on - we have a new little playmate this week - welcome Loll, hope you come and play often.

The prize for last week was won by:

Well done Karen - proves that doing three entries increases your chances! The 'Speech Bubble' dies will be on their way to you ASAP.

And this week's prize is a double one, first of all there's your very own 'Water's Edge' stamp:

And, in keeping with the nautical theme, here's a lovely set of two dies by Marianne Creatables - kindly donated by Kim. I reckon if you were careful you could add the yacht alongside the stamped image perhaps:
As I said at the beginning, Summer seems to be slipping away a bit so I thought it would be good to offer a double prize (both to the same winner) in time for the last of those Summer cards.

And, we have a name for this little chap:
Can I please properly introduce PARSNIP. Last minute change from my original choice of Snippet, which was almost unanimous but I think you'll all still approve of Parsnip. After reading about my 'carrot carving' yesterday, Sarn challenged me to put my money where my mouth is and make/show a carved carrot rose. That led to me nipping out and buying some carrots and a large parsnip in readiness - can't resist a challenge! Sarn then suddenly came up with 'Parsnip' as a name - which is brilliant I think 'cos he's white, it has 'snip' in the name - plus is distinct enough from actual 'snippets' which might have caused confusion to him, you and myself :) Do you agree?  He's too big to come with me on my abroad travels, certainly not with flight luggage limitations, but perhaps he'll have a few UK trips now and then. After all, he's already met Sam's 'Fergus' :)

The Playground will run as usual this week with the gates closing at 11am UK time on Saturday 24th August. Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be a winner of the stamp and dies this week as shown above. Mr Linky is below - do please let me know if you have any problems linking, I can sort it out for you quite quickly and am always happy to do so.

Di (and a wave from Parsnip)

Saturday 17 August 2013

Saturday Supper - Thai Green Chicken Curry

Or to give it the Thai name - kaeng khiao wan gai. Betcha didn't know I could speak Thai did you, me neither. 

Although I do know enough to say things like 'Hello, Goodbye, How are you, I'm fine thank you, Yes please, No thank you, Just a little'....and also the very useful 'Hop it, we already have whatever you're trying to sell us'.

Today's recipe is a version of one I was taught many years ago, working one to one with the cook, in this hotel restaurant on a beach in Phuket, Thailand - boy was it hot in there too:
And Len got to eat everything I made from won tons to curries, which pleased him immensely. Not surprising really as, apart from Mexican food, he could live on Thai curries.

On the same holiday I used to sit with the restaurant manageress learning to carve fruit and vegetables - anyone want a rose carved out of carrot? It's an exceedingly useful everyday skill my party piece :)

OK, onto the recipe - named 'green' purely as the curry paste is green:
Green Chicken Curry

1 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
I onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
2-3 tbsp Green Curry Paste
400ml/14oz coconut milk
150ml/1/4 pint chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves - or one stem of lemon grass sliced across into four pieces
4 skinned, boned chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp Thai soy sauce
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lime
I tsp palm sugar or soft, light brown sugar
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander, to garnish - plus a 'carved out of carrot rose' if you feel the urge :)

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the curry paste and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Fry the chicken gently until sealed in the onion, garlic and paste mix (moving it round all the time), add the coconut milk, stock and lime leaves (or lemon grass), ** bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender.

**At this point, just before the simmering stage, I always add something in the way of vegetables. In the photo above I'd added chunks of red and green pepper and also sliced baby aubergines. Often I just use baby sweetcorn, cut in half to make easier eating - or okra (Ladies Fingers) also works brilliantly. Adding the vegetables is optional though - I just like to have something as a bit of a contrast to the chicken.

Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, lime rind and juice and sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped coriander.

Serve with Jasmine Rice - or plain run of the mill Patna or Basmati rice would be fine.

Things I do:

I was shown how to make Thai curry pastes from scratch but now unashamedly buy it in jars as a Thai curry paste has about a dozen ingredients in and sometimes life is too short to fiddle on for ages.

Lime leaves aren't always easy to find in the UK, and dried ones don't really work well, so I often compromise by slicing a stem of fresh lemon grass across into three or four pieces and then removing the pieces before serving the curry.

'Light' soy sauce if fine if you can't find Thai soy sauce - or just use one tablespoon of normal dark soy sauce.

Until recently I couldn't find palm sugar in the UK, but Sainsburys now stock it in their specialist foods area. Light brown sugar does work fine but there's just that something about palm sugar if you can find it.

Enjoy! Or should I say ทานให้อร่อยนะ !


Friday 16 August 2013

Two for the price of one

Before running out to play with another (non blogging) friend yesterday lunchtime, I rustled up a couple of Christmas cards, Snigger, she did remark on my red inked paws though:

Both used the same ingredients - and that brings the total number of 'that word' cards made to 61 :)

I used:

- A6 white card stock

- red pearlescent backing card

- patterned papers from Wild Rose Studio's 'Annabelle's Christmas' paper pack

- ready coloured toppers are LOTV, had them for ages, die cut with dies that fitted the images best

- sentiments are also LOTV, also had them for ages and now wonder why it took me so long to use them. They're from the 'Christmas Grungy Messages' set. Such a wide selection of messages and they're very appropriate for all sorts of images too - stamped using SU 'Real Red'. Mind you, the 'neat freak' in me flinched a bit at the deliberately 'uncrisp' look of the sentiments

Julia sighed on Wednesday when we touched on the subject of me 'getting messy' and having a go at Art Journaling - she just shook her head wisely and said 'Nah, can't see it'. I suspect she could well be right, given my normal and a bit fastidious style, but now it's become a challenge - besides which I stupidly, in a moment of madness, having lost the plot entirely bought a load of acrylic paints at Flutterbys last week in anticipation :(

And I pinched a photo from the lovely Lunch Lady Jan's blog, being as I didn't take any piccies on Wednesday, showing from left to right yours truly, Jan, Annie and Julia at lunch:
We had a great time and, as always, it just flew by. Even Jo joined in the party by sending a piccie to Annie's mobile of her waving :) If you wanna see more, hop over to Jan's blog on the above link.

My cards for today are for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge where this is the photo inspiration - I covered the red, green and white - plus Christmas trees, holly (if you look closely enough at the cards) and stockings:
And also for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for August, where it's always 'Anything Goes'.