Friday 30 December 2011

Foodie Friday - No Jelly Trifle

Afternoon All,

As we are still in celebration mode I thought you might like the recipe for this really special trifle which will make a delicious end to your New Year's day dinner. It has the virtue, for me at any rate, of having no jelly in it and the slightly tart lemon flavour is very refreshing . The recipe for the trifle is my easy take on Nigel Slater's Mincemeat Trifle ... substituting a good quality bought lemon curd for Nigel's homemade and raspberries for cape gooseberries, simply because I couldn't find them in the shops before Christmas. The bonus is that raspberries are my all time favourite fruit :) Apologies for the quality of the photograph but the light quality in my kitchen on Christmas Eve was dire. Anyway, here's the recipe:


For the mincemeat sponge

· 250g/9oz butter
· 250g/9oz caster sugar
· 75g/2½oz ground almonds
· 100g/3½oz plain flour
· 4 large eggs, beaten
· organic or unwaxed orange, grated zest and juice
· 100g/3½oz good quality mincemeat 

For the curd
· 1 325g jar of good quality lemon curd
· 1 orange, zest and juice

To serve
· 2 tbsp Marsala or dry sherry
· 400ml/14fl oz ready-made custard
· 300ml/10fl oz double cream
· 1 350g fresh raspberries
· handful pistachios, shelled and chopped 

Preparation method

1. Line a shallow 23cm/9in cake tin, with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. 

2. Set and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 

4. Mix the almonds and flour together in a separate bowl and set aside. 

5. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar, slowly a little at a time. 

6. Add the zest and a third of the almonds and flour, mixing slowly slow until the dry ingredients are incorporated, repeat this process by adding the second, and then the third lot. If you do this too quickly you will end up with a heavy cake. 

7. Finally, mix in the orange juice and the mincemeat. 

8. Transfer the mixture to the lined cake tin and bake for 35 minutes. 

9. Run a knife around the edge of the tin and turn out onto greaseproof paper and leave to cool.

10. For the orange and lemon curd layer, empty the jar of curd into another bowl and stir in the zest and juice.  

11. To put the trifle together begin by breaking the mincemeat sponge into small pieces and put them in the bottom of a serving dish. 

12. Sprinkle with a little of the Marsala or dry sherry. 

13. Pour the custard over the sponge. 

14. Next spoon the curd over the custard, cover and chill for an hour. 

15. Whip the cream and then spoon on top, 

16. Decorate the top of the trifle with a scattering of chopped pistachios and the raspberries

Whilst most of the ingredients are readily available at any supermarket, I can recommend the mincemeat and lemon curd from M&S - very tasty.

I think it would also go very nicely with Di's surprising Friday Feast this week - Ham in Coca Cola. Yes, you read that correctly - yet another use for coca cola! I haven't drunk coca cola since we experimented cleaning pennies with it in the science lab at school but I might just be persuaded to give this recipe a whirl :)

The EM usually makes a very traditional English trifle - well, he is English after all - but, as he is still recovering from that nasty accident he had a few weeks ago, it was down to me to make it this year.  I really don't like traditional trifle at all - all that jelly and soggy sponge doesn't do it for me, yuk! So when I saw Nigel making his recipe on TV and it had no jelly I just had to give it a go. I'm pleased to report that the EM thought it was scrumptious :))


Wednesday 28 December 2011

WOYWW - Week 134 - the last of the year

Good Afternoon Everyone,

Here we are at the very last WOYWW of the year and I've just got to thank Julia for hosting this weekly treat on her blog, Stamping Ground. Since I plucked up the courage to join in I have had such fun visiting your blog each week and snooping around, I mean viewing the workdesks of so many crafters. Long may you continue to host this craft fest - Julia, you're a star!

I do hope you have all had a fabulous and fun Christmas. We spent the day on our own, although a couple of visitors did pop in during the afternoon, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We lounged around in our PJ's half the morning, cooked up a storm for dinner, and watched a couple of our Christmas DVDs, and, of course, the Christmas Strictly. All very relaxing. However, the craft space has been seriously neglected ... one project started but not completed ... so I thought for this last WOYWW of the year I'd show you some of the goodies Santa delivered :)

My fingers are itching to do something with the Wendy Vecchi Spool Set and Timmy's grungepaper - it's hidden under everything else. And I've not had a chance to do anything with the Photo Projects software yet except to load it onto my PC. The book, Delight in the Details by Lisa M Pace, was an early present and it is fabulous - I can't tell you how many times I've read through it admiring the beautifully photographed projects. But my favourite pressie, which you can just about see at the bottom of the photo, are these reverse action tweezers.

They're brilliant, and hopefully will mean the end to the cramp I get in my hands when I'm heat embossing :)

We were so impressed with the kit I had made up for my celebration candy last month that my DH treated me to one for myself. The contents vary slightly but it's all gorgeous and  I can see I'm going to have fun creating beautiful layouts with the kit.

The eagle-eyed of you might have spotted the letters lying at the top of the desk and may even have read my previous post announcing the birth of our great-niece on Christmas Eve. You might even have noticed that the letter H has crept into the layout. That's because I got the spelling of the name wrong - she's Arihanna, not Arianna as I had it. That's what comes of just hearing a name and not seeing it written down :(  We've not had the chance to see her yet because she's not been too well since birth and has been in special care. Mum, Louise, has been too upset to want anybody but her own mother with her. But that was up until this morning when the good news was that she is now doing quite nicely and feeding by herself. We're now in the middle of some nasty weather here in the west of Scotland, but as soon as it improves we'll be driving over to visit both mum and baby, hopefully before the year ends!

Now, I'm off to blog hop and hopefully visit as many of you as I can but if I don't manage to leave a comment I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2012, with lots of crafting going on of course :)

Happy New Year Everyone

Saturday 24 December 2011

It's Christmas Eve ... we've had an unexpected delivery ... a baby great-niece!

Happy Christmas Everyone

Yes, my great-niece, Arianna, decided to make an unscheduled arrival. She wasn't expected until the 19th January. but clearly didn't want to miss all the fun of Christmas. I thought I had a couple of weeks yet to make this little gift for her.

Arianna arrived at 7.22am today, 24th December, weighing in at 6lbs 6oz. This is my niece's, Louise, first baby and, as Louise has been insulin dependent since she was a little girl, Arianna is something of a little miracle. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though mother and baby will be home for Christmas Day - Louise's diabetes has to be treated and Arianna's blood count is giving cause for concern ... hopefully they will both do well and get home soon - we can't wait to visit. Margaret, my sister and Louise's mum, is just thrilled to bits with Arianna, her first grandchild - telling me she is so little :)

I've not decided exactly how I'm going to decorate this papier mache letter A - I think it will just evolve as I go along - but I've given it two coats of white gesso to start with. The baby's nursery  is decorated with Tatty Ted so the colours I have to work with are white, grey, pink and blue.  The letters are made of wood so I've given them a couple of coats of gesso too - and I'm not sure how I'm going to place all the letters on the capital A - I'll have to think about it :)  

I don't know about you, but I've been on the go all day - the morning was spent doing housework ... I know, the dreaded word, but it had to be done ... and the afternoon was given over to baking.

Trifle sponge - all ready for putting all the ingredients together tomorrow morning.  I'm making Nigel Slater's version this year ... it has no jelly, but has custard, lemon curd, double cream and topped with pistachio nuts. Nigel used cape gooseberries to decorate too but I couldn't find them in the shops so will be using raspberries instead.

Orange mincemeat cake - made with leftover trifle mixture which has mincemeat included in the ingredients.

Coffee Kisses - these were so popular with my children when they were young but it's years since I made them.

That's us ready for any visitors, expected or otherwise ... the EM thinks I could feed the five thousand with the food I've got in, but after the last few years, when I wasn't really well enough to do much in the way of Christmas preparations, it makes a nice change to be able to do it this year. However, I think I need a week off now!!

We usually stay up late on Christmas Eve, waiting until the clock strikes twelve, then open one present each before going to bed ... we're never tempted to open every package because we enjoy the anticipation ... like a couple of big kids really :))

I think it is highly unlike I'll be on-line tomorrow so I'll leave you with this message:


Friday 23 December 2011

Introducing Max ...

Afternoon Folks

Readers of this blog will know that my SIL, Graeme, lost his beloved pet, Mac recently as I wrote a wee obituary to him - you can see him here.   It was a distressing time for Graeme, as he had also lost his best friend only two days before. My grandchildren were sad too at Mac's passing, but even more upset for their father and decided to do something about it - what he needed, they thought, was another wee Jack Russell puppy to keep him company ... and here he is ... Max:

Apparently, my granddaughter, Jenny, carried out an Internet search for puppies and found that little Max here was looking for a new home ... and he looked perfect. There was one wee problem however, he was in Wales and we are in Scotland! That didn't stop my grandchildren, they got in the car and drove all the way down to Wales, picked Max up and brought him home to Scotland ... just in time for Christmas. Look at him, who could not love that adorable face :) He's a sweet little puppy who just loves to be cuddled. My SIL and Max have bonded already ... and Max looks well set to be the perfect companion for Graeme.

Ah, I do like a happy ending :)

Happy Christmas everyone,

Tuesday 20 December 2011

WOYWW - Week 133 - last Wednesday before Christmas

Hello All,

Can you believe it ... we're almost there, and if we can make it, next week will be the last WOYWW before the New Year! For those not in the know, do pop over to Julia's blog - Stamping Ground - just click the WOYWW link on the sidebar and you can join in the fun. Wednesdays are the days when a goodly number of us bare all - deskwise that is :)

Below is the Christmas card I've made for you all to wish you a very happy holiday season wherever you are and whatever you are doing, whether basking in sunshine or freezing in arctic conditions - I hope your day is packed full of fun.

This represents all the crafting I've managed this week so far - I've been so busy with the million and one things that have to be done before the big day. Today, Tuesday - yes, I'm writing this early for fear that if I leave it until tomorrow I won't find time - I visited my sister, Margaret, and got the chance to view the new nursery for my niece's expected baby ... only about 4 weeks to go now. Another New Year baby ... last year this time we were anticipating the birth of my great-granddaughter. Yesterday, I did the very last of the present shopping and posted the very last of the cards ... it's all go :)

This afternoon I finally got around to baking Lisa's Golden Christmas Pudding - as she very kindly posted the recipe, you can see it here ... ta da!

It's an easy pudding to make - I microwaved it. That didn't stop me from burning my finger, though - very careless of me ... on the plus side, it does mean I can't wash up for a while, shame :)  See, I'm typing with one digit down.

Because the recipe makes a pudding big enough to feed the proverbial army, I split the mixture in two, one for us and one for our daughter. And that is where we will be going tomorrow - delivering the presents over there for our grandchildren - no doubt I'll get to view the Hello Kitty haven that is my granddaughter's newly decorated bedroom :)

Not much else to report - except that the weather forecast for here is that it is going be warm but wet, so a white Christmas is unlikely. We've put the sledge back in the shed ... yippee!!

Signing off for another week but I'll leave you with this little message just in case I don't get around to visiting all of you over the next few days.

So much to do and so little time ...

Evening Everyone,

Just popping in to give a quick update. No card, scrap layout or project of any kind made today, I'm just soooo busy with all the last minute preparations for Christmas.

Instead, here's a pic of the last rosebud of the year - I picked it, together with some greenery, and brought it in a couple of days ago and it is slowly opening in the warmth of the lounge - gorgeous :)

Today I've queued in the post office, queued at the coffee shop, queued in the supermarket, queued in the garden centre - I'm shattered!

Thankfully, just a bit of last minute present wrapping to do and then it will be a round of hand delivering of gifts and cards over the next few days. Then there's the baking session I've promised myself - unlike Julia of Stamping Ground fame, I've not got that far yet, - it's not lack of motivation, just lack of time! And that's not to mention the last minute food shopping - goodness knows when I'm going to find time to craft again - not to mention finding time to draw breath ... and I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms just thinking about it :(  

Enough of the moaning now, I'm off to bed to get some shut-eye before I tackle the next on my now diminishing to-do list.

We're nearly there - just five more sleeps!

Saturday 17 December 2011

More Tree Decorations

Afternoon Folks

Happy to report that the weather has improved here ... the wind has died down, no snow to be seen, and the birds have come out to play again. I believe there's been a snowfall down in the Borders - hope it isn't too bad for those of you down there.

Between working on all the other stuff that has to be done at this time of the year I've managed to pop into the craft space now and again and make more tree decorations for family and friends.  Aren't they pretty? I've had a great time raiding my stash for ribbons and embellishments - and I've plundered the snippet pile too. The backs are also decorated so using up more snippets - as long as a piece was big enough to punch with either the 3" circle or the 2.5" scalloped circle punch it was suitable to use. I've even decorated a couple of them with lace and more ribbon to give a more vintage look to them.

Here's a close-up of the one with buttons. I got the idea for this one when Jules, Always With a Heart, made a card featuring a garland made up of an awful lot of buttons - you can see her card here. Jules took her inspiration from a tag featured on the Hero Arts blog -  you can see it here - and advised us never to copy someone else's work because it took so long to place all those buttons, etc. to her satisfaction. Needless to say, I took no notice of her advice because I liked the effect she achieved. However, I did simplify things by using only buttons -  all from Dovecrafts, Back To Basics Christmas pack. I love the colour mix, very festive looking and perfect to give to my little great-granddaughter - it's her first Christmas this year. I plan to make her a different one each year so that eventually she should have quite a collection to decorate the tree each year.

And talking about Jules, more snippets have been used so I think they are perfect to submit for Jules' Crafty Snippet Challenge - Wks 48 & 49

According to the news this is the busiest day for retailers in the year - so I suspect many of you have been out doing the last of the Christmas shopping today. I hope you were successful and found everything you were looking for and now that it's all over you will be able to put your feet up and take some time out.

For me, that's getting settled down to watch the final of Strictly this evening. Although, I almost had no television at all this week. Sky TV went down midweek, and we were not the only ones so the engineers are working flat out to get round everyone - the earliest they could come to us is tomorrow, Sunday - too late!!! Help! The EM to the rescue - of he went in search of an aerial for Freeview, set it up and, voila, this Cinderella will get to see the ball :))

Right, I'm off to continue with the present wrapping - typing up this post is simply my way of procrastinating :) I'm good at that - I've dusted the lounge furniture, cleaned the back door (the Boss leaves scuff marks scratching to get in), filled a bowl with potpourri, dust mopped the lounge floor, and so on. Yes, definitely and expert and putting off jobs I'm not keen on :(

Maybe I should make a cup of tea first before I get stuck in again :))

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy crafting (if you can find the time),

Friday 16 December 2011

Foodie Friday - Josh's Posh Macaroni Cheese

Hello Folks

What a busy time we are all having now ... and only about 9 days left to get everything that needs to be done, done. There's still a few cards to write, though most are winging their way now, and presents to wrap for hand delivering, and then I plan a big cook in this weekend ... yes, still so much to do :))

And talking about cooking, on to this recipe. I could never get the EM to eat macaroni cheese ... he just didn't like it and completely refused. However, at a family gathering recently we were discussing this with Josh, our chef grandson, and we decided the problem is that the EM remembers the tinned (Heinz) variety from his childhood ... pretty yucky stuff and certainly enough to put anyone off their food. Josh suggested he try this rather posh variation which includes the unlikely, but tasty, combination of shredded ham and flaked smoked fish. Result! It's delicious and we've won the EM over, so here it is.

Josh’s Posh Macaroni Cheese Bake(Serves 4)

1 smoked ham shank – in Scotland this is known as a ham hough – cooked in a large pan with enough water to cover. Cool, remove skin and fat, strip meat from bone and break into shreds.

Small fillet of smoked haddock – cooked in milk, strained (reserve the milk for the sauce), cooled and flaked

8oz macaroni – cooked according to the instructions on the packet, strain and return to pan – it should definitely be al dente for this recipe 
2 ½ oz butter
6 tbsp plain white flour
1 ½ pints of milk (use reserved milk from cooking the haddock and make this up to the required amount)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dry mustard powder
8 oz extra mature cheddar cheese, grated

4 large tomatoes, sliced
1 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
Melt butter in a pan
Add the flour and cook for a minute
Whisk all the milk in at once, bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes
Stir in two thirds of the grated cheese
Season with salt and pepper
Stir in the mustard powder

Pour sauce over cooked macaroni
Add the shredded ham and stir in the flaked fish and heat through
Butter a large ovenproof dish – I used a lasagne dish – and turn on the grill to high
Pour the macaroni mixture into the dish
Arranged the tomato slices over the top
Mix the leftover grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the tomato slices
Place under the hot grill to brown before serving

We ate the macaroni just as it is but a rocket or watercress salad, or even lightly cooked broccoli, would make a nice accompaniment.

Cooking the ham shank does take a bit of time but you can use the cooking liquid and some of the shredded ham as a very good basis for soup, making it worth all the effort. I made a lovely pot of spicy lentil soup with it. If you really can't be bothered then perhaps you some chopped ham would make a perfectly adequate substitute.

Apologies for not being exact with the weight of the fish ... I forgot to weigh the little fillet I used, but believe me it was small. Only a little amount of fish is required.

The recipe feeds four big appetites easily ... we got two meals out of this amount.

I hope some of you will try this recipe, especially if there is a reluctant macaroni cheese eater in the family ... I think they will be pleasantly surprised. And, if you do try it, I hope you will let me know what you thought of it so I can pass your comments on to Josh. He has just started a new job at the Stravaigin2 in Glasgow's West End so we wish him luck and success there. Stravaigin is a great old Scots word meaning to wander or roam around, suggesting that the food/recipes served at the restaurant must be garnered from many places around the world.

Okay, I'd better get back to these Christmas jobs still to be done, not to mention the need to visit a few more WOYWWers blogs today ... I'm running behind on that too.

In the meantime, I wish you all a very good weekend and happy crafting,

Wednesday 14 December 2011

WOYWW 132 - What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday

Morning WOYWWers,

Where is the time going - the days seem to be just flying by and Christmas will be upon us in just about 12 days ... and, I am nowhere near ready ... help!!!

This morning we have a wreck of a garden to look out on ... the storm has created havoc ... and the temperature had dropped like a stone ... it's so cold in our less than winter wonderland. I just don't do winter well at all, can't wait for spring.

So what is on my desk - just more of the same actually. More of the little tree decorations in various stages of completion. They are a pleasure to make though because, as I work on each one, I think of the person it is intended for ... I suppose that makes them bespoke creations :))

Here's one I made for a very special little girl.

This is for my youngest granddaughter, Shari-Ann, hence the initials. The family have recently moved house ... I know, just weeks before Christmas is not a good time to move house ... and her new bedroom has just been decorated. It is now a Hello Kitty haven, pink, pink and more pink, so I stuck with pink :)) It's not showing up in the photograph but the roses are edged with WOW Magenta Twinkle embossing powder and the wooden based letters are also very twinkly.

The back has on it a disc of very pretty Prima paper from the Romantique stack, so it will look good seen from any direction.

I'm out to lunch to day so must get a wriggle on or I will not be ready when my Prince arrives to whisk me off :)

I hope you all have a fabulous WOYWW day - and if you don't know what this then please click on the WOYWW logo on the sidebar, you will be whisked off to the Stamping Ground, where  Julia, our able host, will have a register of other WOYWWers showing their desks to the world today.

Hope to visit you all later but in the meantime, Happy Crafting,

Monday 12 December 2011

Christmas Tree Decorations

Evening Folks,

I'm back! Apologies for having been away for so long but I'm now back and have cranked myself into action today to make these little tree decorations.

Pretty aren't they. They are made from bits and bobs from my stash for the Scrap Our Stash December Anything Goes Challenge. I just made them up as I went along. Even the base of the top one is just made from punched circles of packaging materials covered in circles of patterned paper from my snippet box, including one cut from the leftovers after poinsettias have been cut out of it. I just backed it on to another co-ordinating circle of paper. Even the gold ribbon bow was saved from the packaging of a 2010 Christmas gift and the backs have a little bit of decoration too.

They don't take much of anything ... a little bit of ribbon, twine and some interesting trim, a few flowers, glitter, brads, gems, card candy, peel-offs, various adhesives and a hot glue gun and they can be made in super quick time ... ready to go on the tree.

Yes, the tree is up so Christmas has arrived at Casa Worthington ... and this is what started it off ...

Lunch Lady Jan's gorgeous bunting which I won last week ... isn't it positively festive  ... love it Jan, you are such a clever needlewoman ... thanks so much for drawing my name out of the hat.

I don't know how you are all getting on with your Christmas preparations but I am really lagging behind. Lot's planned and a to-do list that would choke the proverbial elephant ... I'm like one of those beautiful swans that grace our river estuary, calm and serene on the top but paddling like crazy beneath the surface :) However, I did find time to pop into the supermarket today to buy the ingredients I didn't have in the cupboard already for Lisa's Golden Christmas Pudding Recipe - Lisa has very obligingly posted the recipe and it looked so delicious I'll be in the kitchen tomorrow giving it a try.

As the tags are made almost entirely of snippets, leftovers and bits and bobs from stash I'm sure they fit in perfectly with Jules Sunday Snippet Challenge Weeks 48 & 49

Right, off to visit as many of you as I can tonight and leave a few long overdue comments ... and tomorrow I'll be back with a hanger I've made for a little girl's bedroom.

In the meantime, take care everyone and happy crafting,

Friday 9 December 2011

Goodbye to Mac

Hello Everyone,

Mac, my SIL's little Jack Russell died just two days after his best friend, Gordon. Despite having all his inoculations, Mac developed kennel cough recently. The vet prescribed medication but Mac got increasingly ill, so much so that he wouldn't eat or drink. He was found to have an enlarged heart and fluid on his lungs. He had to be put on a drip and for a while it was touch and go, but he rallied and was allowed home. However, because of his heart condition the family were told that he would be on medication for the rest of his life. Sadly, his life proved to be a short one - only two weeks later, on December 1st, Mac's little heart gave out altogether.

He was such a bright, cheerful, biddable wee dog ... though he could be a bit nippy when he became over-excited. He loved to run around and play football and quite obviously enjoyed life to the full. We are all shocked at the loss, especially coming so soon after the loss of Gordon.

I'd like to give thanks for the thoughtful and comforting messages received from all you kind and caring people ... they are truly appreciated. Gordon's funeral was a moving experience - many who attended were, as Gordon himself was, deaf so it was a silent service, there were no hymns sung, and there was a sign language interpreter. The eulogy from the minister was a fitting tribute to a lovely man.

Life goes on for us all, but I did have to take a day or so off from the blogging just to take it all in and come to terms with losing these two dear souls. I'm sure you all understand that I needed some time out. I will be back soon.

Take care, all of you,

Tuesday 6 December 2011

WOYWW - Week 131 ... making Christmas decorations

Good Morning WOYWWers, followers and all,

It's Wednesday and that can only mean one thing  - What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday has come around again ... to quickly for comfort. If you are one of the few left in cyberworld who does not know what this entails then I suggest you hop over to Julia's blog, Stamping Ground, by clicking on the WOYWW logo on my sidebar, where you will find that on Wednesday over 100 crafty folk line up to reveal the state of their creative space ... that could be anything from a desk to the floor depending on whose link you click on ... enjoy - it's a revelation :))

I'm actually writing this on Tuesday night because I've got to be out early tomorrow morning, to attend the funeral of my SIL's friend ... you may have read about him in a post I wrote a few days ago. I'm hoping to add my link to Julia's blog first thing before I dash out the door so, apologies to all, but I'll not be able to leave comments until some time later on in the day.

So, what is on my desk then ... well, I've been going through all my Christmassy stash and pulling out stuff with the intention of making some Christmas tree decorations.  Ours are looking a bit tired and although there are some that I'm very attached to for sentimental reasons so would never throw away, I think a few replacements would not go amiss. If I'm pleased with the results I might make some to give to the family. So here you see me at the planning stage. There's a pile of paper pads, die-cut shapes, die-cut labels, boxes containing flowers, leaves, blingy brads, buttons, and so on. And that's only the working area, over to the right on top of the guillotine there's more ...

Boxes of laces and ribbons with some toppers that need to be used up ... I bought packets and packets of these when I was a newbie to papercrafting thinking that was what you did. Little did I know that eventually I would prefer to make my own ... time to use them up or toss them and free up some space for other more important items.

Before I forget, congratulations to Hels on her first TV appearance - she did a great job and I enjoyed the demonstrations.

Okay, short but sweet today ... got to get some beauty sleep or I'll be fit for nothing tomorrow. I believe the weather is going to be dire ... groan ... in fact, I can hear the wind building to a gale as I sit here.

Take care everyone, have a lovely WOYWW and happy crafting.

December Anything Goes Challenge - country style birthday card and bookmark

Afternoon Everyone,

Well, we had our first snowfall yesterday - it didn't last long and the snow melted away in no time at all, but it was enough to bring home the fact that autumn is over and winter has definitely set in. When the weather is cold it's great to be indoors, crafting away and here's what I've been working on today. It's another project for the December challenge, Anything Goes, on the Scrap our Stash Challenge Blog ...  a birthday card with a matching bookmark again - this time for my brother, Douglas, who is 63 years old tomorrow.

Following Sue Althouse's example - see here - I'm sharing a photo of the design paper I used for this project.

It's a Simple Stories 6x6 paper pad called Generations and I chose it because the patterns and embellishments are vintage country-style in earthy tones suitable for a male card.

The card measure 8" x 8" so I've treated the card as I would a scrapbook page, cutting out and piecing together the papers to create a background. There's also a snippet of DP from Papermania Birdsong I've added because I thought the textured pattern coordinated well with the Generations DP.  I created the topper using the brayer and blue and green inks pads for the background, together with a combination of Clarity stamps ... the birds are an exception - they are from a Tim Holtz set - on silk art card matted on to gold pearlescent card.

The bookmark consists of gold pearlescent card decorated with strips and embellishments cut from the Generations paper and finished off with a bronze brown tassel - an eBay purchase.

There's a pocket inside the card for the bookmark.

The design for the pocket is the result of a suggestion from the EM ... is there no end to this man's talents :) You can see from this shot that there is a little pleat on the side giving plenty of room to neatly hold the bookmark.

And just in case Douglas hasn't got the message to 'live, laugh and love' it's on the back as well as the the front and inside - some things are worth repeating :))

Douglas loves our beautiful Scottish countryside, having been a farmer for much of his adult life, hence the topper. Unfortunately, due to ill health, he's now retired and so doesn't get out into the hills as much as he would like. I'm hoping he will enjoy this little reminder as much as I enjoyed making it for him.

I spent an hour or so on writing out cards to post whilst watching Hels demonstrating with Dawn Bibby on Create and Craft this afternoon - she did a great job and I love those Wendy Vecchi stamps.

The EM is raking through his wardrobe looking for something suitable for the funeral tomorrow ... why is it we always get caught out clothes-wise for this sort of thing ... could it be we hope we will never have to attend another one, ever again :( 

Right, I'm off to have a cuppa and watch Pointless before I think about dinner.

Take care all, and happy crafting,

Sunday 4 December 2011

Rose Sympathy Card

Evening Everyone,

I mentioned in my last post that as well as the usual birthday cards I had a couple of unscheduled card to make. Sadly, this is one of those cards .It's one I never expected to have to make, and one of the hardest.

My son-in-law's best friend of many years, Gordon, died on Monday this week. He did have a heart condition but was scheduled to have a triple heart by-pass operation later this month ... he was only 54 years old ... so none of us expected this. Sadly, he died on his fiancĂ©e, Debbie's birthday.  As well as being a good friend to my son-in-law and my daughter, he was like an uncle to my grandchildren. We will miss his gentle manner and cheerful smile always.

I made this card for Debbie.

Materials used:

Cream card base
Joanna Sheen's Jane Shasky, From the Heart of the Garden
DP from The Nitwits Heavenly Collection, from Simply Cards & Papercraft Magazine
Stampin' Up, So Happy for You stamp set
Memento Rich Cocoa ink pad
White card candy

Goodnight to you all,