Friday 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Now I'm feeling slightly less like the creature from the black lagoon and have stopped coughing long enough to colour inside the lines, I thought it was time I made a card again, so I made a couple of Happy New Year cards for my mum and auntie.  I used a Mo Manning image of a little child asleep on his dog and made my own sentiment.  It reminded me of when I was a child and used to fall asleep on the dogs in the pub when my parents took me to the parties on Christmas Day Night when the pub was shut.

This image fits with the theme over on Mo's Digital Challenge which is "Bless the Beasts and Children" so I am going to enter my card into the challenge.  The image is called "Buds" and comes in 4 versions - the one I used can be found here but search for buds if you want the girl or aa versions.

As there is a child in the card, it also fits the theme of "C" on the Anything Goes Challenge Blog, so I am playing along with that this week as well.

I printed the image onto glossy card stock and coloured with copics - I should have added some texture to the fur with pencils, but I was short on time as I need to deliver them today, but I think the copic shading gives a hint of fur.  I double mounted onto plain card stock, added ribbon and a couple of buttons, and mounted onto patterned paper from My Minds Eye - Laundry Line.

Hopefully we'll be able to keep our eyes open for long enough to see in the New Year tonight, but if past performances are anything to go by, we might be emulating the little boy and miss it all again!

Happy New Year everyone - and here's to a very crafty 2011!!!

Thursday 30 December 2010

Book Group Christmas Dinner 2010

I started this post much earlier in the month, but have been down for a couple of weeks with a chest infection (early unwanted christmas gift!)  It was our annual Christmas dinner for bookgroup in early December and all the ladies bought me this gorgeous Christmas table centre as a thank you for hosting book group and feeding them throughout the year.  Isn't it beautiful?  I just love the colour combination of the lime green orchids, the red roses and the gold leaves.  Thanks ladies :-)  (It even stayed fresh for Christmas day!)

I always make the ladies something crafty, either to put in a cracker or as a table decoration that they can take home with them.  This year I made paper ornaments using my delightful new stamps from Waltzing Mouse which fit perfectly in the traditional ornament nestability.  I love these vintage style ornament stamps and I stamped 5 to make each decoration into a sort of bag to hold some candy canes and the second hand-made gift of a badge. 

I saw this sentiment on something earlier in the year and thought it would make a great badge - appropriately worded for a group of busy readers....  I rolled out some sculpy, stamped the sentiment into using an Elzybels alphabet stamp.  I covered with glossy accents once baked and added christmas tinsel glitter to the edge.

Dinner itself is always the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, but one of our ladies turned veggie this year, so I had to come up with a vegetarian option for her and I have to say, I wanted to eat it myself so I thought I'd share it with you.

To begin with I peeled and cubed a small butternut squash and pan roasted the cubes along with diced onion, and diced courgette.  I added cumin and a little alfez lemon stir fry paste for warmth and flavour.  I dry roasted some cashew nuts and then blitzed half of them with half a pack of pistachios - I wanted to leave some for texture and crunch but wanted the ground up nuts to form a mortar to hold the dish together.  Finally I stirred through the remaining nuts, a pack of cubed feta, lemon zest and lots of fresh parsley. I would have added a few diced apricots ideally but my vegetarian friend doesn't like dried fruit.  The resulting mixture can be seen below.

I arranged 6 feuille de brique sheets so that they overlapped to form a rectangle, brushing each with butter to make them stick together.  If you can't find feuille de brique, filo would be a prefectly good substitute, but I would make sure I used more so that it was double thickness everywhere as the brique sheets are stronger and less likely to tear than filo.  I put the filling in the middle, rolled and put seam side down on a baking sheet.  I brushed the top again with butter and sprinkled with sesame seeds and baked in a hot oven for 15 minutes until warm throughout and crispy on the outside.  It went down a treat with the vegetarian guest and was also pretty decent cold for lunch the next day. 

Thursday 2 December 2010

Mo's Design Team

My all time favourite rubber/digital stamp designer is having a DT call.  I'm not sure my work is worthy, but it really would be a dream to join Mo's Dream Team.  If you haven't heard of Mo, then go along to her blog where you can see her new designs and buy them in digital download format.

For the DT call, the rules are simple - just choose you're favourite Mo image, make a card, and link it back to her site.  I say simple, but it wasn't easy - my first problem was choosing my favourite image - it took me 5 days to make a choice - they're all so darn good!  I narrowed it down to a handful - Diva, Young Love, My Friend, Bossy or Fairy Dee.  In the end, the cupcakes in the Fairy image won out (well cupcakes are becoming part of my identity...)  One of the things I love most about Mo's images are their humour, and I love that this little birthday fairy has pigged out on the cakes - so much so that she can't even finish the one she started - you can even see the little plum shaped belly she's developing that's full of delicious cake!

I also found this image a challenge to colour as I've only ever done caucasian faces before so figuring out the colouring took a few practices.  For anyone else in the same predicament, I ended up using the following copic colours:

E31, E11, E35, E57 and E50.  I substituted a stronger peach tone in R32 for the cheeks.

For the cupcake cases, I switched to pencils and used the following colours from Faber Castell:

9201-133 - Magenta
9201-125 - Middle Purple Pink
9201-151 - Medium Flesh.

For the cupcake top I used one of my new copic sketch pen in the really pale colour range - RV0000 and added some shading with another Faber Castell in 9201-189 - Cinnamon.  A bit of glitter for the hundreds and thousands finishes it off nicely.

I went for a green dress on Dee as I love pink and green as a colour combination.  So to make the image into a card I picked two pink papers - one pale with glitter from the DCVW Sweet Treats stack, and a simple darker pink polka dot beneath.  More cupcakes, with my favourite EK Success punch and some nontraditional "green" cherry's on top with some iron on clothes sequins simply stuck on with a little silicon.

You can check out all the entries here - there are a lot there already - I just hope Mo likes mine :-)

Wednesday 1 December 2010

It's Snowing!

Snow is definitely the theme for today, so I've decided to enter one of my favourite Mo winter images which is now also available in rubber from Stamping Bella into the weekly Bellarific Friday Challenge which is "snow" this week.

The door is coloured in pencils and blended with sansoder and blending stumps.  I used Linda's towel technique using lots of dots in various shades of green copic markers to colour the actual wreath.  Red stickles for berries, and white stickles for the all important snow finish the look, along with a little bow from my stash of ribbon.  The background papers are both from the DCWV Christmas Stack.

We've already got the worst snow Sheffield has seen in 30 years, and its still falling.  The cat has cabin fever and much more of this and we'll not be far behind her!  Keep warm everyone and get the soup on!

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Antipodean Wedding Card

I made this card for a friend whose sister is getting married on December 1st on Hamilton Island in Australia (the one from Murial's Wedding).  I made a box card, with a picture of the love heart reef which is just off Hamilton Island as the background image, a Magnolia arbour stamped and cut out as the middle ground, and an Elzybels bride and groom stamped a cut out on the frame in the foreground.   I used my new copic sketch colours from the 0000 range - the more 0's the paler the colour - perfect for snow and wedding dresses!  I stamped extra flowers from the Magnolia arbour and stuck them over a MarianneD swirl.  The side view below shows the layers a little clearer.

Friday 26 November 2010

Woofs and Paws

It was my friends birthday last week and she owns an adorable little whippet who looks exactly like the whippet on this card I made for her.  I found the rubber stamp on eBay over the summer and bought it in preparation as I just knew she'd love it.

I stamped and coloured with copics, added glossy accents for a nice shiny nose, and mounted onto Die Cuts With a View papers from their Pet stack.  A craftwork cards sentiment tinted with distress inks and a bone ribbon rosette finishes it off.

As I knew she would love the image so much, I decided to make her a set of note cards as a gift.  I made a simple folder, covered it and added ribbon ties and a gorgeous sentiment stamp from Stempelglede stamps mounted using a nestabilities lables die.  (Actually, I should confess, I got my husband to do the measuring for the folder - I just cut it out!)

I used the same paper inside and yes, putting the flowers upside down WAS a deliberate mistake  ;-)

I then made 6 A6 notelet cards, same image but stamped on brown as I didn't have time to colour them all in, with the same bone ribbon as an accent.    Simple and elegant.

Thursday 18 November 2010

50th Birthday

Not a lot of text today as I've been either in bed or on the sofa since Sunday with the dreaded lurgy and today I'm channelling Phyllis from Corrie with my growly voice!

However, last week was a busy week from a crafting point of view as it was a friends 50th and I made her a jewellery gift and a tower of cupcakes for her party.  The cupcakes were somewhat of a marathon, especially in my tiny kitchen, so I had to put up my culinary paste table to hold all 120 of them....

I made 3 flavours - coconut and raspberry with malibu american frosting, chocolate with chocolate ganache and my personal favourite, caramel mud cakes with baileys toffee cream frosting.  I topped the whole tower off with the birthday girls favourite flavour in cake form - lemon with lemon curd cream cheese frosting.

As these were special cakes, for a special birthday, I wanted to decorate them in a style to suit the party girl, so I  made sparkly pink glittered stars, black glittered 50's and disco glittered cocktail glasses.  All made out of fondant, painted with edible glitter and some extra glitter on top for added birthday sparkle!

Unfortunately, the birthday girl herself didn't make it to her party as she was unwell, but the cakes went down well with the guests and family took some home for my friend.

She's a bit of a jewellery fiend, and liked the last necklace we made at jewellery class, so I adapted the design and made it in pink and silver, along with a matching charm style bracelet.  Hopefully she'll be well enough to party soon and give them an outing.  Happy 50th and get well soon xxx

Monday 1 November 2010

Halloween Challenge

A bit late I know, but after chatting to Lynne at the Craft Den on Saturday (whilst ordering my cricut - and yes am very excited!) she asked if I'd be joining in with the challenge again this week over at Anything Goes Challenge, and I said I wouldn't because I don't have any "halloween" images to colour as we don't really do much for it with not having kids in the family.  However, a challenge is a challenge, and  I don't like to back down, so - I came up with a little beaded spider - not very ghoulish, but turned out quite cute ;-)

You can hang it by its head and turn it into a pendant, or I think it would make a very nice ring, or maybe a brooch, and could be made smaller to turn into earrings.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Anything Goes Black and White Challenge

I haven't joined in with any challenges before, but I found this gorgeous ribbon in CostCo this week - its for decorating my Christmas present wrapping really, but when I saw that Anything Goes Challenge Blog were doing a black and white theme this week, I knew it would be perfect to make a really quick card.

I covered a strip of white card with the ribbon to make sure the black card didn't show through, then mounted it and added some black plastic pearls to areas on the design.  I matched these with some white liquid pearl dots to the right edge, and a CraftWork Cards black and white circular sentiment to finish it off.  Full card in under 5 minutes from start to finish which has to be a record for me!

Monday 11 October 2010

Kraftin Kimmie Stamps

Kraftin Kimmie is a relatively new range of stamps from Canada - Kimmie recently celebrating her first anniversary - boy what a great range they've produced in just a year!   I love their Moonlight Whispers range - the characters are just gorgeous and colour up amazingly!  I bought a couple to try and had such fun with both of them.   I get mine in the UK from Quixotic Paperie and if you hurry on over to her store, Elaine has 10% off all rubber stamps until 13th October.

My first purchase is Suzette the Can Can girl - isn't she fab?  I stamped and coloured her with a mix of copics and pencils blended with sansoder and blending stumps.  I cut her out and mounted her onto color-core black magic card which I embossed using a "twinkle" crafts too embossing folder in my big kick, and sanded the embossed areas to reveal the color-core card to look like lights twinkling behind her on stage.  I added a co-ordinating strip of paper embossed again with a crafts too folder - this time damask which I adore.  A little card candy and copic colour-co-ordinated sentiment from craft works and a glitter strip finish off the card.

Most of the stamps come with a matching sentiment - I went for Rapunzel here because I could see lots of cards I could make with the sentiment of "let your hair down"  I coloured her with copics and pencils as before, but slightly over blended the hair so it looks a bit flat unfortunately (good excuse to have another go later!)  This time I used a Marianne D Creatables die to cut out the star border, and threaded some silver ribbon through it and mounted it onto black card.  I like the black background with these stamps - it really makes them pop, so I cut her out and half mounted her onto the black borders strip.  I stamped the sentiment in silver to match the ribbon and added another Craft Works sentiment, again, colour matched to the dress with the same copic (they colour so well with copics - the pearly card still shines through)

I've just ordered Cinderella from the same range - for her the sentiment is "its all about the shoes" which is very apt for me and many of my girl friends so can't wait to get her!

Saturday 9 October 2010

First Attempts at Scrapbooking

I've got a lot of scrapbooks - 6x6, 8x8, 12x12, mini, shaped - you name it, I've bought them all, but after buying they've sat, pristine in their wrappers, looking sad and lonely at the bottom of my crafting drawers, and some of them, I am ashamed to say, have sat there for nye on 5 or 6 years now.  Why?  Well up to now, I have to admit, they've somewhat scared the hell out of me.....

I can make cards, they're small, simple and for most people, a throw away item once the birthday or event is over.  But a scrapbook is bigger, and a more permanent record for you or whoever the recipient may be, the layouts are more complicated, there are photos to print, journalling to consider, embelishments, titles, double page spreads - not to mention trying to work out if your products are of 'archival' quality - its all just a big scary prospect, so I've just looked longingly at blogs and books and magazines and stroked my beautiful albums thinking "one day" I will be brave and I will take on the scrapbook challenge.

Well my friends - the whole of September was pretty much that "day"!  I did it, I bit the bullet and I did a scrapbook - and not being one to dip my toe in the water with the easy stuff, I went straight for a 12 x 12 book, to be given to someone as a gift! (and it was a boy, just to make it all a bit more complex as it was full of geology and rocks rather than flowers and glitter and manly embelishments are much harder to track down as we all know!)   Oh yes, no pressure then, just produce something beautiful, even if you've never done it before and you only have 3 weeks to do it.

This is why the blog has been pretty quiet of late - every waking non-working hour has been spent in the craft room, fidling with paper, stamps and photos and scratching my head (a lot) and going over and over the same pages trying to make it all "fit".  I have to say a big thanks to Lynne at the Craft Den for responding to my panicked questions and helping me with the last tricky layouts.  But finally I did it - I broke my srapbooking duck as it were, and, although it was very frustrating at times, and even more time consuming than I'd ever imagined, it wasn't nearly as scary as I'd feared, and I loved it, and I even think I ended up with some pretty decent pages for a beginner........

Now I can't share too many pages, as the photos aren't mine, but here's a select few:

My first page - monochrome and simple, with a border using victorian lace punch from martha stewart to add to the vintage effect.

I found gelogical papers hard to find, so printed out some pebble images and overlapped them to create a background, then found an image of rocks on the edge of a canyon, and cut them out to create a foreground - I love the finished effect.

I used a 'create a swirl' stamp to overstamp the printed poem of the glory of the garden and I think this gave a great effect, and I love the look of the "sliced" photo.

The last page was journalling stamps, and stamped tags in individual pockets for people at the retirement party to write their personal messages on.

Monday 27 September 2010

A Crafty Recipe Solution

I made this cute little recipe tin for a friend who, like me, loves to cook.  Some of the stamps from Magnolia's  A Little Yummy for Your Tummy Collection made the perfect addition to the normal divider cards and they look cute with their faces poking out of the tins.

I love the little oven mit brads and the ginger bread cooker cutter on the outside.  The papers are Die Cuts With a View from the Nana's Kitchen Stack which is a personal favourite of mine, I added a little red gingham to complete the country kitchen look.

Saturday 4 September 2010

October's Craft Class

It was jewellery class day again today at the Craft Den which means a new design to get ready for next months class so everyone knows what we'll be making next time.

The next class is 1.30 - 3.30 pm on Saturday 2nd October and we'll be making this gorgeous charm necklace made from black agate, freshwater pearls and silver rings, beads and chains.  Classic design that would make an excellent homemade Christmas present for anyone looking for ideas......

The class costs £12 and this includes 2 hours of tuition plus all the materials to make the necklace which is yours to take away on the day.  No previous experience is necessary and tools will be provided if you don't have your own - but please bring jewellery pliers if you own some so you don't have to share.   Places are limited so call the Craft Den to reserve a place.

Friday 27 August 2010

September's Jewellery Class Designs

In the class at Craft Den on Saturday 4th September, we will be making two bracelets:

A simple daisy chain, where the first daisy becomes the fastener for the bracelet.

A double-linked chain with Thai-silver melons and rainbow seed-beads.

If you want to join us and learn a new skill - call the Craft Den on 0114 2340732 to book a place.  The class costs just £8 for 2 hours hands-on tuition and this includes all the materials you need to make both bracelets which are yours to keep after the class.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Birthday Diva Two Ways

I needed to make an 18th and 40th Birthday card this week for my cousin's daughter and one of the book club girls respectively and I thought that "Diva" by my favourite digi-stamp artist Mo Manning would be just about perfick for both of them.

I coloured her up in two completely different ways - one pink, one green and blue and to be honest I'm not sure which I like best - the image itself just makes it so easy to colour it right.  Copics, blended pencils and quite a bit of glitter and crystal embelishment and you're good to go Diva-tastic.  I even used a little "smooch" pearl ink to highlight the pearls around her neck, highlighted with glossy accents.

The bracelet was for the 18th Birthday - it's a clubbers bracelet - the round beads glow in the dark :-)

Thursday 12 August 2010

A few card commissions

These are the cards I've made for people to send to friends and relatives recently

A new baby girl - ultra-cute Elzybells special delivery stamp - great to go either pink or blue with.

A tripple Bella card for a special 40th birthday showing how the birthday girl would spend the weekend with cake, cocktails and pressies from her mates.

Another Bella image - this time Eloise Greengrass from the chichiboulie fairy range - I love the way these colour up - lots of opportunities to get the sakura pen and glamour dust out too!

This is a sugar nellie stamp "Guitar Hero" - I used Smooch pearlised accent ink in moonlight colour to paint the guitar which added a touch of realism.

Finally another Bella (I'm becoming a bit of a Bella addict - there are just so many lovely stamps to choose from that there is always one to match the occassion you need an image for!)  This is Golfafella from the Fellabella range.  Rather than going straight to copics - I paper-pieced his jumper to give it a pringle feel and shaded over the top with pencils.  I did the same with the golf back to add a leather look.

Saturday 7 August 2010

A Cheesey Quiche Experiment........

My husband, who usually isn't around on our book group nights, is now at home, and therefore has to be fed along with the girls.  Not a problem normally, but this month I'd decided to make a 5 onion and gruyere quiche and my husband does not eat cheese - food of the devil according to him (he's pretty normal apart from the cheese-issue honest!)  So I was going to make him something or a separate "cheese-less quiche" but I thought I would experiment and see if I couldn't make a cheese-less section in the big quiche.

I lined the tin as normal, but then rolled out a quiche-height strip and stuck it in a V shape to create a separate section within the quiche.  Adding the greaseproof to fill with baking beans around all the sections was a bit trickier than filling the whole circle and I had to make sure there were enough beans to support the V until it firmed up during the blind baking process.  It was trickier still to get them out ;-)

But it seemed to work and after 20 minutes in the oven I had my very own pastry pie-chart!

This is the photo of the different flavours - after this stage I just added the egg and cream mixture carefully so that the cheese didn't leak into the special slice.....

....and hey presto - one husband-friendly slice of quiche without cheese!   The only issue was that the extra pastry in the V didn't crisp up like the edges and base as it was surrounded by the egg mixture, but if you need to keep your flavours separate it does work and you can always throw the slightly soft pastry once it's served its purpose.

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