Saturday 30 November 2013
Serves 6 - WHAT?! No way, I only just spotted that on the recipe :) I'd say it's very filling for 2 people with good appetites (and/or a two-legged mouse) and probably OK for 4 people with a dessert to follow if you're being posh. Certainly a great dish for having friends round if you do all the chopping etc. in advance.
2 x 15ml spoons olive oil
1 x onion, finely chopped
1 x red and 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
20g pack coriander, stalks roughly chopped and leaves reserved
15ml spoon Cool Chile Company mole powder (optional - I didn't use this)
Approx 500g good quality frying beef, or less, cut into strips
1 x 400g can tomato soup
1 x 400g can mixed beans - in water not salad dressing (the slightly smaller size will do fine)
(NB. If you can find 'tomato soup with three types of beans' in then just use two of those - Sainsburys used to sell them but I couldn't find any so I improvised with one can of soup and one of mixed beans)
2 x plum tomatoes, each cut into quarters
150g nacho cheese tortilla chips
25g Mexican-style cheese, freshly grated
130g tub fresh guacamole
142ml pot soured cream
60g bag herb salad or whatever salad mix you fancy
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Remove and put to one side on a plate.
Place the coriander stalks, mole powder and the beef into the same pan and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the soup and the drained beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Return the onion and peppers to the pan, then add the tomatoes and coriander leaves and combine.
Preheat the grill to a moderate heat.
Place the chilli into an ovenproof dish. Top with the nacho cheese tortilla chips and scatter with the cheese. Place under the grill and cook until golden brown. Keep an eye on it as those tortilla chips will burn easily.
Serve with the guacamole, soured cream and herb salad.
Things I do: I did buy really good frying beef the first time but the second time I counted out me pennies and bought fillet steak - well worth the extra money! No way can I find the mole powder stuff so that was omitted. Plus, I actually just used good ole grated Cheddar cheese as the deli counter never seems to have Mexican-style cheese which has little bits of chilli in.
The two-legged mouse thought my version was fine, and he's a chilli fiend usually!
AND, we passed not just 60 but 70 Playground entries already! Remember the Playground is open until 11am tomorrow, UK time, this week - but we achieved 60 plus so, if you wanna little rest, please do have a lie down. WELL DONE! Mwah :)
Friday 29 November 2013
I LOVE this sentiment stamp, and over the past weeks it's been so very true. So many supportive comments when I felt like throwing the towel in :( Thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart! What lovely friends I have, comments, emails and phone calls - I can't ever thank you enough!
I used the sentiment on this card as a thank you note for one very special act of kindness - my lovely bouquet of flowers which arrived from Elizabeth when almost at the lowest point:
- a shaped card (Craftwork Cards?), with the edges stamped with SU's little leaves stamp from their 'Bloomin' Marvellous' set and 'Certainly Celery' ink - snigger, as it was for a lady who does beautiful work on the insides of her cards I did do some rather pathetic stamping inside too :)
- the flowers are stamped with SU 'Smokey Slate' onto assorted pieces of pink snippets, die cut (all with SU stamps and die cuts from the ' Secret Garden' matching set' ) - edges and other bits tweeked with different sparkly Stickles and also some Liquid Pearl Drops in the centres
- the SU 'Certainly Celery' leaves were die cut using the same set plus even more Stickles
- the sentiment is by Penny Black and is called 'Friends Matter', stamped in SU 'Smokey Slate'
Then I made a box, with help from Len who climbed up to where I keep the box of un-assembled boxes - bless :)
And then what did I do - crept into my car, went and posted the card and also did a supermarket shop - YAY!! Not there yet and I do ache but it felt do good to be more mobile after two weeks plus! Len is quietly proud as he sort of pushed me but is still watching like a protective Daddy Bear!
OMG!! I just spotted we reached 60 entries into the Playground - the BEST medicine ever! Thank you soooo much! I will catch up on commenting ASAP, don't want to get too cheeky and let this back bite back at me!! It's 9pm here and am off to bed to rest. Love you all!! xx
Thursday 28 November 2013
We walked into the hotel restaurant for dinner on our first evening (Cape Panwa, Phuket, Thailand) and the resident group, who we knew well from many previous visits, spotted us. I was wearing red - albeit not with long black gloves, snort - and they immediately stood up, grinned a welcoming 'Hello again' across at us and began to play that very song. Heads turned and I think my face also turned ....... the same shade of red as my outfit ...... as we practically danced across to our table :)
- delicious ready embossed and gilded card stock which was a free gift with an order a while back, can't remember where though, just very slightly trimmed and folded to fit into an A5 envelope. That's a trick I've learnt the hard way, always check that the ready made envelope you want to use isn't a smidgen smaller than the card - unless of course you have the time to make an envelope
- topper is by Kanban as is the sentiment
Told you - it was made toot sweet :)
And this is for all of you lovely folks who are celebrating Thanksgiving:
Wednesday 27 November 2013
- A6 gold card blank, already with the 'Happy Christmas' wording embossed in gold. Had them ages and in the end they were the best background card I could find here - funny how old goodies can come to the rescue
- the 'trees' image (Clarity Stamps - Birch Trees) was stamped using black Archival ink onto one peeled off side of a piece of double sided adhesive sheet
- then, the stamped image was covered with a piece of acetate - over the already exposed sticky
- the backing was peeled off the self adhesive sheet on the reverse side of the image, and then I covered all that sticky sheet behind the image with 'Winter Dawn' gilding flakes, by Indigo Blue, rubbed in first with finger and then with an Indigo Blue scoochy sponge
- next, the flakes were covered with more sticky sheet and stuck onto card then trimmed to size before being mounted onto a snippet of SU 'Early Espresso' card
- the deer were die cut, also using a snippet of 'Early Espresso' and popped on with Crafter's Pick Incredibly Tacky Glue. I didn't give 'Rudolph' a red nose though :)
- the whole little scene was popped onto the card blank using thin sticky pads
Progress is slow but getting better - although yesterday I sadly cancelled the planned trip to Bath's Christmas market this coming Saturday. Found out that the whole day is scheduled to be 14 hours long and that really was going to be too much, sigh. A tough decision but common sense prevailed in the end. What made it even worse is that I was due to meet up with Sam there :( So, despite feeling a bit relieved that the decision had been made, I felt a bit low here.
THEN, the door bell rang and Mr Interflora handed over these fabulous flowers:
They came complete with vase so I didn't have to go hunting for one - thank you SO much Elizabeth! And yes, the splash of pink did perk me up no end! Mwah!
I'd also like to enter the card into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November.
Tuesday 26 November 2013
Here's my offering:
And he's right, although that's the way the stamp is - looks as if it's been handwritten without the aid of a ruler 'cos I did line the bottom up perfectly - but I think it adds a certain child-like charm :)
- A6 white card blank
- a rub-on by Forever Friends from their 'Christmas Wishes' set, popped onto white card. Then I went hunting for backing papers and came across a Christmas paper I doubted I'd ever use 'cos it was a landscape scene with a very unexciting image on - and bingo, when I measured, by trimming the Santa Bear carefully round the edges, he would just cover said unexciting image
- the paper I used is from Fizzy Moon 'Festive Fun' pack, popped onto SU's 'Real Red' card stock backing - all the snowflakes were already printed on the paper
- the sentiment is by Pink Gem Designs, stamped in SU 'Real Red'. Now I look at the piece of acetate the clear stamp comes on it most definitely is meant to look 'wonky'
- and just for fun I added a teeny little 'rub-on robin' (try saying THAT one after your third sherry on Christmas Day) from the same Forever Friends set
Remember it's Rudolph Day right now over at Sarn's - but this card isn't for RD, I have more plans a buzzin' for another card!
I can't believe it - we have 25 entries in the Playground already as I type this on Monday afternoon. My fingers are crossed for that elusive 60 :)
Monday 25 November 2013
Sunday 24 November 2013
First, here's my snippets card for this week:
- 6" x 6" square white card blank
- snippets of card in SU 'Real Red', silver, Centura pearlised white and mirri blue already sprinkled with silver stars
- Memory Box 'Winter Cabin Landscape' die, cut from Centura pearlised white card and tickled with 'Icicle' Stickles
- the blue starry background card was a little bit tricky-woo as I had to make sure there were no stars peeking through the windows or the door :). I glued the cabin landscape down using some Crafter's Pick Incredibly tacky glue - the stuff I was banging on about here - and it worked a treat! Oooer though, that there cabin is leaning a bit to one side, sigh :(
- the snowy foreground was cut in two sections, the top one by using the edge of the MB die to get the correct curve and trimming off the little bit of outline that had been die cut, then they were both run through the Cuttlebug using Cuttlebug's 'Snowflakes' embossing folder before being stuck in place and the ridges also tickled with 'Icicle' Stickles. I've said previously that as am so clumsy, to apply small amounts or narrow lines of Stickles I squeeze a small amount onto a scrap of paper and pick it up with a very fine stiff brush
- Poppystamps 'Santa's Magic Sleigh' die cut from SU 'Real Red' with silver trim cut using the same die then a few small clear sparkly gems added. Tip, keep the other pieces as you will then end up with two sleighs in reversed colours
- the sentiment is by Craftwork cards, popped onto a SU punched 'Large Oval' snippet of 'Real Red' and one teensy clear gem above the letter 'i'
- both the sleigh and the sentiment were added with thin sticky pads
When my in-house critic saw this he immediately said - 'But the red frame at the back doesn't go right round' so I told him it was deliberate to offset the red at the bottom of the card. Snort, he didn't buy that one of course - rightly so as I didn't want to cut into a larger piece of red card - but I like it for a change anyhow - so there Mister Hawk Eyes :)
Right, moving smartly onto this week's picks - and we still didn't reach the elusive 60 entries - but what smashers you all brought!
I truly think these are two of the loveliest baby cards I've ever seen - well done girls!
I could go on and on with loads more picks but it's time to welcome three new Playmates into the Playground!
A HUGE welcome to you girls, we do hope you had fun using up your snippets and come back to play again.
OK, so now it's time for the draw for the lovely traditional Santa stamp and packet of charms I showed you last Sunday - and the winner is:
And as you might guess, this week's prize is connected to my snippets card, it's two dies the same as the ones I used:
A slight change to our closing time this coming week girls! I'll be missing in action all day next Saturday.
Therefore, the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Sunday 1st December and will open again at midnight UK time on the Sunday as well. Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be the winner of the prize this week, as shown above. In fact, you might want to play for only one part of the prize - do say in a comment and I'd just draw again for the second item as well.
Mr Linky is below - 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.
AND, if you hop back tomorrow I'll have news of our bumper prize which is in addition to the normal weekly draw. There's so much to it I need to write about that separately as I've done my allocated time at the desk for today. All you have to do to be included for a chance to win that is to enter a total of three snippets makes over this week and next (100 and 101) - not three per week, unless you want to - just three spread over the two weeks. You might want to start sorting out your snippets in readiness for what's coming!
PLUS, on Monday (tomorrow) it's the final Rudolph Day of this year, over at the lovely Sarn's blog - so remember that you can combine a Christmas snippets card with the one entry Sarn allows into Rudolph Day too.
Almost forgot in the excitement, I'm entering this card into the following challenges:
Allsorts Challenge - 'Bring on the bling'
Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November ' Anything goes'
Have a lovely week, stay warm and cosy and keep those snippets coming :)
Di ( and Parsnip - who is currently rifling through the bumper prize. I'm gonna have to frisk him!)
Saturday 23 November 2013
Dance ti' thy daddy, sing ti' thy mammy,
Dance ti' thy daddy, ti' thy mammy sing;
Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in.
This leads nicely into a little incident which happened yesterday morning. I'm still not driving while this back keeps seizing up - I dread to think what would happen if I was tootling along the road and it happened, screeeeeeech, crunch - but we need to eat of course. So, off trotted Len with a list of fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and fish to the supermarket - covering things which I don't trust unless I (or Len in this case) get to choose them myself. And I sat here doing an online order for the rest to be delivered today.
When Len came home he was still red-faced. He'd gone to the fish counter as I wanted 300 grammes or so of smoked haddock to add to other white fish and prawns we already have here in the freezer for our favourite fish pie. The fact I'm thinking about proper cooking is a step forward - yay!
Only, he asked for 300 kilo grammes!! Without even cracking a slight smile the fishmonger said 'Are you sure Sir?'. Quick as a flash Len said 'Ooops, wrong amount, should be 300 grammes - I don't really need a boat load'. And you know what, still not the whisper of a smile from the guy behind the counter as he solemnly weighed out the correct quantity! But it gave us both a good laugh anyhow :)
Never send a man to do a woman's work eh?
Annie might like this tale for her Friday Smiles.
Snippets write-up day today as well as the launch of our 100th Week celebrations tomorrow :) See you then!
Friday 22 November 2013
The little kitten is sooooo like Sammy, our little Grand daughters' new kitty. Sadly their lovely cat Lucy was killed on the road a while back and broke everyone's hearts (it's a rural but quite fast road) but the final introduction of a new kitty after a few months of sadness is bringing them so much joy.
Oh, and it's also for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November as well.
Edit: I thought you might like to see the real life Sammy too :)
Thursday 21 November 2013
Couldn't wait to use it of course:
- A6 black card blank, with a sliver cut from the bottom edge
- silver and blue (SU's 'Marina Mist') backing card from the snippets folder
- used the Noel Frame stamp by Clarity, and also Clarity Silk finish white card stock. First of all I followed Barbara Gray's advice and cleaned off the blue 'inking' which defines the stamp, using nail polish remover, thereby keeping my Versamark Embossing ink pad nice and clean - err, and in the process removing half my nail polish, duh :(. Carefully dusted over with an anti-static bag (a light brushing of talcum powder would do just as well) and then I stamped the NOEL in Versamark and embossed it with 'Sterling Silver' powder. Heat embossing and your truly have never really gotten on but I followed Barb's way and heated from underneath - bingo, success!
- phew, after a lie down to recover from that it was time to tackle the image. I'd been watching one of Barbara's DVDs and had all the tips if not the talent. To do the image within the frame you just stamp the Noel onto a post-it and carefully, and slightly generously, trim out the centre of the letter 'O' and dispose of it. The resulting template then covers the embossed Noel leaving the centre of the 'O' exposed and protects the rest of the card stock while you play with the image, still with me?
- for the background tore a hill template from some spare paper and used Tim Holtz 'Faded Jeans' distress ink and a small duster brush for the sky plus a teensy touch where the deer would go
- then stamped the trees using a Black Archival ink pad and a little set of trees, double stamped from the 'Northern Pine' set by Inkylicious, also from the NEC trip
- next the little deer was also stamped in Black Archival ink - have had this for years and finally discovered it's by 'Stampscapes', called 'Doe - 229A'
- finally just added some dots with a white Signo pen for the snow flakes
For a first try, I ended up with two successful cards the same - err, and two spoiled images in the bin. But, there's nothing like having a play and learning from mistakes :)
Wednesday 20 November 2013
- 6" x 6" white card blank with the top right hand corner rounded
- a silver gel pen for the cords and little bows - I did those first and worked out the positions so that the fir tree bough and the baubles would be lined up properly when they were added
- a plain green snippet for the tree bough, die cut using a Marianne Creatables die 'LR0181'
- baubles die cut from a purple patterned snippet suing SU's 'Holiday Ornaments' framelits dies, and small snippets of silver card die cut with the same dies for the 'caps'
- sentiment was stamped using Memento 'Elderberry' and a sentiment stamp from the Woodware 'Tipsy Tree' set
Two more for the box and they were quick and easy too.
Of course I'm also linking this card into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November, where it's always 'Anything Goes'.
I'm gonna whisper this, today (Tuesday as I type) is the best I've felt in a week - no trampolining for me just yet but I think this ole gal's back might finally be improving - fingers crossed! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, the best medicine possible!
Tuesday 19 November 2013
Monday 18 November 2013
Picks of the week first I think - and it truly gets more and more difficult as time goes by - you girls are coming up with some amazing makes using snippets! We reached 58 entries this week - almost at 60.
Sorry girls, Blogger spacing is playing up here - even fiddling with HTML ain't working so please bear with me!
I could go on and on with picks of the week, BUT we also had FIVE new Playmates arrive to play with us - and as is tradition let's give a big round of applause to:
And I'll also post yours Irene from the previous week - it's only early evening here, no commenting today as yet (sorry) but I need to lie flat for a while. Am being good and trying to move about as well as rest - time, some strong pain killers and heat stuff - I'll get there, promise!
Sunday 17 November 2013
- 6" x 6" square cream card blank
- a snippet of cream card stock, onto which I stamped such a jolly Santa, called 'Noel 1' - made by PaperArtsy, and I used Versafine 'Vintage Sepia'. I rounded off opposite corners on the image. I'm afraid the photo is rubbish BTW as right now I can't easily raise both arms at once :(
- the very dark brown card backing, both behind the DP and the image, is from the snippets folder - then I popped the image on using sticky pads to raise it - the bulky bow has already taken this card into large letter thickness so what the heck
- the patterned paper was cut from a fresh sheet (slap my wrists) from the LOTV 'Krafty Christmas' paper pad
- the ribbons are from the ribbon box, plain brown satin and brown organza with a striped edge, layered and tied together in a bow
- then I just added a snowflake charm (from a packet made/sold by Inky Doodles), originally silver but 'vintaged' using my darkest brown Pro Marker and some black too, tied on in 'Jules style' with brown shiny cord
This coming week's prize is, as so often, connected to today's card:
The Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 23rd November and the gates will open again at midnight UK time on the Saturday as usual. Maximum of three entries and please say 'No thank you' in a comment if you wish to still play but not be the winner of the prize this week, as shown above. In fact, you might want to play for only one part of the prize - both items do constitute one prize but if there's only one thing you'd use please do say in a comment and I'd just draw again for the second item as well.
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.
So, I 'm sorry this is only half a snippets Playground post - I'll be back (no pun intended!) tomorrow with the results of last week's draw (it takes me time to double check that potential winners haven't already commented 'no thanks', I normally note this down during the week but my brain was elsewhere I suspect!), picks of the week and of course our usual welcome to our new playmates.
See you then I hope!
I'm entering this card into the following challenges:
Chocolate, Coffee & Cards where the theme is 'monochromatic'
Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November ' Anything goes'
Saturday 16 November 2013
Kale and Chorizo Stew
Serves four - more like three at most!
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
150g chorizo, diced
200g kale, shredded
½ litre vegetable or chicken stock, made from 1 stock cube
1 x 420g can butter beans in water
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp paprika
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and chorizo for a few minutes until the onion has softened. Toss in the kale, stock, butter beans, squash, mixed herbs, paprika and tomatoes. Season to taste.
Bring the mixture to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until the squash and kale are tender.
Friday 15 November 2013
- 7" x 5" white card blank
- image from shop bought card, trimmed down then mounted onto SU 'Smoky Slate' grey and then Wedgwood Blue card stock (yay, I found a few more snippets of that lovely blue!). What I loved about the image is the way it was divided up on the original card with faint chevrons behind
- the white backgrounds are one plain white card and then one embossed white panel, using SU's 'Chevron' folder - and then strips of blue and grey ribbon popped across . ...... to hide the join in the embossed panel :)
- the Birthday sentiment is also SU, stamped onto a strip of the faint chevron pattern from the original card using 'Smoky Slate' and mounted onto grey and blue card
I wish I could say this was quick and easy to make. It certainly should have been but every movement was painful here despite sitting with huge cushions to support me back :( And taking the photo from a half bent position was a nightmare.
So, back to yesterday's card - which if you remember was like this:
First of all, for Darnell, the blue background was die cut using a solid die which matches the swirly Memory Box 'Winterland' tree - I think it's a fairly recent release:
Of course, you could trace around the outline of the swirly die and trim just inside the pencil lines if you have patience and a very steady hand - and you don't really need to include the swirly top bit at the very top of the tree on the backing.
So, that's the die cutting secret.
Then, Carol says she has the swirly tree die and it doesn't cut well. I might not have the solution but here are some thoughts anyhow. If the die truly isn't cutting through the card properly, leaving the die in place, run it through the machine again. You might have to move the die carefully across the cutting plate or perhaps add a shim of paper - one sheet at a time though 'cos you don't wanna overstress the die cutting machine. Taping the die in place to the card before you start can help to hold it firm. But, occasionally some dies, even from reputable companies, just aren't good cutters and it's worth checking back with the manufacturer or retailer. When you think how finely die cutting machines are calibrated I guess now and then there can be a bad apple or die in the barrel.
Another issue might be removing the cut out card from the die - and this die is a really tricky one - probably the trickiest one I have. Some people advocate candle wax rubbed onto the die or even a tumble dryer sheet rubbed over supposedly helps. I now swear by waxed paper between the die and the card - huh, although then you do have to carefully peel the waxed paper from the front of the beautifully and easily released die cut of course, most folk don't tell you that part! The swirls do take a bit of of poking out anyway, a pokey tool plus a teeny pair of scissors are what I use. The teeny scissors are because the swirls you want to release and discard can get tangled around the actual die cut image so careful snipping sometimes helps to release them from their determined cuddles!!
Another thing I learned the hard way - originally this card was going to be the pearlised white on the silver metallic backing card I used. Nope - not such a good idea. To adhere the swirly tree to a die cut or even plain background you need just little touches of glue/adhesive - I use a Quickie Glue pen here. And glue pens do not like shiny surfaces, they just won't stick, full stop :( Any thoughts of using the Xyron were also discarded - that machine does have limitations and this swirly die would mean far too many bits of excess adhesive to remove, and from metallic card you will actually get smears. Trust me, I've been down that road before. Hence the switch to the blue matt card background where it worked like a dream.
So do be aware that perhaps matt backgrounds and shiny swirly toppings are best for this tree die. Even adding double sided self-adhesive sheet before you cut would probably mean a nightmare when you try to remove all those excess pieces from the cut out die.
Pfffft, I bet you wish you hadn't asked now :)
Have a nice day - I hope I wake up feeling easier, getting fed up of being bent over looking at my feet for the first hour of the day!
Thursday 14 November 2013
- A6 pearlescent white card blank
- iridescent silver card, topped with a layer of pearlised white card which had been embossed using SU's 'Square Lattice' folder
- the tree was made in two layers, one using white pearlescent card and a Memory Box 'Winterland' tree die then the backing layer used the Wedgwood blue card snippet and the matching 'Winterland Background' die. I've had the scrolled 'Winterland' die for ages but only recently got the background die - that finally spurred me into using a die I'd always been wary of :) I can now see loads of combinations and uses for these - wahoo, money well spent
- the 'tub' for the tree was punched using SU's 'Large Oval', and the bottom trimmed flat
- sentiment is by Craftwork Cards, mounted onto the very last of that lovely blue card
- three clear sparkly gems in the bottom right corner
I'm entering this into the current Jolly Holly challenge, which is 'Oh Christmas Tree' this week. It's a new challenge to me and looks like good fun.
And it's also for Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for November, where it's always 'Anything Goes' .
Doubled up wiv me back here right now, but will add more to tomorrow's post about today's tree in reply to some comments already left. See you then - grin, I might be lying on the floor typing though!