Wednesday 30 November 2011

WOYWW - Week 130 - the dumping ground revealed

Evening Folks,

I'm oh so late to the party today ... in fact, thought I might have to give it a miss entirely due to the EM's accident - for the story see my earlier post. He has asked that I pass on his thanks to all the well wishers - they are much appreciated. He has been in terrible pain and quite unable to do much for himself since it happened. However, I'm glad to report that he has perked up a bit today and things are looking a bit brighter. Unfortunately, the dinner we planned for my birthday yesterday evening had to be postponed ... we will just have to celebrate at a later date.

Now, to the reason for the post ... what's on my desk ... well it's become a dumping ground and I feel I've probably just won my first merit badge as a WOYWWer!!!! My desk has become like so many other WOYWWer's :))

The box on the left, under the partially completed birthday card, contains my stock of A4 sized DP - most came free with magazines - I got them out with the intention of making good use of them but ... well, they're still there. The unfinished card ... I'm not happy with it so it's awaiting a tweak or two. Mind you, I'd better get a wriggle on because it's due for a 5th December birthday.  There's several piles of photographs at the back... the packet is full of pics taken in Italy in 1998 when we holidayed on the fabulous Amalfi coast ... what I'd give to be there now ... and on top are some photos of my lovely grandchildren - all awaiting sorting/scanning before scrapping. Next to them are some 2012 calendars - I intend to do something with them ... soon. The little pile of photos at the front are from a friend - they are so nice I'm planning to use them in a project ... some time soon. Underneath them are two scrapbook pages waiting to be blogged about. And then there's the memo pads - I'm going to re-cover them with DP, they will make nice stocking fillers, I think.

So that's it for this week. Anyone interested in joining in Julia's weekly blogathon, feel free to pop along to the Stamping Ground where you will be made most welcome - just click the WOYWW logo on my sidebar. I will be doing my best to pop in and check out as many desks as I can but I may fail miserably ... you see, I'm not only nursing the EM, but also carrying out a lot of his duties and responsibilities and he's an exacting task master :)))))) Off to make him a cuppa before I start this week's hop.

Wishing you all a great week and happy crafting,

Edited note: Many thanks to all who expressed an interest in the tutorial for the Christmas catalgue tree - I've posted it and you can find it here.

Also: this is the last day for the chance to win my celebration giveaway - click on the photograph on the sidebar and leave a comment to be included in the draw.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Tales of Woe at Casa Worthington

Evening Folks,

A quick message just to explain to you all why I haven't been blogging and commenting this last few days. Firstly, I came over all poorly on Thursday and just as I was getting back to normal today disaster struck. The EM took a tumble on the High Street this morning, grazed the left side of his face and injured his shoulders and arms trying to save himself. We spent a good couple of hours at A&E and in the X-ray Department this afternoon and thankfully no bones were found to be broken. Still, he's all shaken up and will be in pain for a while. So, any crafting/blogging/commenting will be taking a back seat whilst I nurse the dear man back to health ... that's not to say I won't pop in whenever I have a moment though.

I hope your weekend has gone rather better than ours and wish you all happy crafting.

Christmas Tree from a Supermarket Catalogue Tutorial

Hi Folks,

Here, by popular request, is the method (warning, this post is photograph heavy) for making the Christmas tree ...

... from a supermarket catalogue like this:

Apologies for the glare on some of the photographs - the pages are made from shiny material and glare is really hard to avoid in the appallingly dull light at this time of the year.

Step 1: Open the catalogue and manipulate the spine to break it up and soften it.

Step 2: First Fold - bring the top right corner down towards the spine and run your finger down the fold to create a sharp crease, thus:

Step 3: Second Fold - bring the page over from the right side to the spine and again press with fingers to create a second crease, this:

Step 4: Third Fold - fold tail of page under and to back of page and crease, thus:

Step 5: Final Tuck - bring bottom folded section to front and tuck under folded page, thus:

Step 6: Continue folding each page in the same way, thus:

Eventually, the finished tree will look like this from the base:

Step 7: Adhere the two back pages together with double-sided tape to form the tree shape.

I hope I have explained the process clearly for you - any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to provide an explanation.

 I still haven't decorated my tree yet, but you could add glitter, beads, etc., whatever takes your fancy.

Have fun and happy crafting,

Wednesday 23 November 2011

WOYWW - Week 129 - Recycling for Christmas

Good Morning WOYWW, Followers and All,

It's Wednesday once more, time to reveal What's On Your Workdesk - to join in pop over to Julia's blog, Stamping Ground where you will find a host of links to other brave crafters willing to show all. Whether they work in pristine and orderly craft space or in a creative mess and muddle, and whether on a desk, table, kitchen worktop or, in some extreme cases(oh yes, extreme crafting!), on the floor, they show all for your delight :)  Feel free to join in - you'll discover it's an education and a pleasure - by clicking here.

After that big build up my desk is a tad disappointing today. I had a big clean up yesterday - well overdue I can tell you! All I have on my desk is ... well, what is it. Well, it's a Christmas tree - or it will be after I've added a bit of festive glitter. And this is what it was in a previous life:

Yes, it's a supermarket catalogue! I was shown how to transform the catalogue into a tree at the Monday craft class a few weeks ago. It's just a case of folding every page -  three folds for each one - and that's it done. If you are interested in a tutorial let me know and I'll put one together.

It's not a bad way of re-using an item that usually ends up in the bin, unloved and unwanted. It's easy, if a bit time consuming, to make - this one was made in an evening whilst watching TV. However, I've heard that it's a great way to keep children occupied on car journeys!

This is coming from a wet and miserable corner of Scotland today - with really bad light - I've had the lights on all morning because it is so dull. Bad enough, but spare a thought for my son, he lives up in rural Aberdeenshire where they have an even shorter period of daylight at this time of the year - and he always develops SAD over the winter period because of it.

Right, I'm off to join the EM for lunch then I'll be back to begin this marathon blog hop and visit as many of you as possible.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great day and  crafting,

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Monday Card Class - Dimensional bauble card and Rudolph gift bag

Afternoon All,

I'm sitting here in the craft space with a 101 things to do and everything is looking a bit of a muddle and needs clearing up ... so why am I writing this post ... I'm procrastinating! It's got to be tidied up but just not now ... instead here are the two projects we worked on yesterday at the craft class.

Firstly, the card:

You might recognise the bauble from an earlier project made at the class. This time it's been given a bit of dimension by stamping and punching it out 3 times, folding them in half and sticking them together (leaving two sides unstuck) before adhering the finished bauble to the card. As you can see there was a bit of card tearing done to produce a sort of snowy scene - this is because our instructor, Evelyn, wants us to get over our fear of paper tearing :)

Just a simple insert - I didn't get the greeting stamped quite straight enough so I think I'll have to try again!
All the materials were provided by the SU demonstrator:
  • Cardstock: smooth card in soft suede (base), cherry cobbler & whisper white;
  • Stamping: Bauble and greeting stamps from various SU sets; Whisper white and cherry cobbler ink pads
  • Tools: Bauble shaped punch 
  • Embellishments: White satin/organza edged ribbon; white crystal glitter; Anita's gems & crystal stickles from stash
The second project was this cute gift bag:
Rudolph's face is made entirely from punched ovals & circles ... easier to make than it looks and great fun to do.
This view shows the little box inner part sandwiched between the two die-cuts. This was also easy to make, just a bit of cutting to size, scoring, snipping, folding and gluing. A ribbon handle fixed with a couple of small brads finished the job. It could be filled with sweets or a chocolate bar or, if sweets are a no-no, a lovely bar of perfumed soap or a pack of playing cards, Happy Families, perhaps ... do children play with these any more?

He even has a wee tail.

Materials used: 
  • Cardstock: Smooth card in soft suede, really red, whisper white, crumb cake, black (all SU) & thin white card (source unknown)
  • Sundries: narrow really red grosgrain ribbon (SU); Anita's gloss, 2 small red brads - from stash
Tomorrow is Wednesday and that means WOYWW ... it does seem to come round all too soon each week. And for that reason I'd better set to and tackle the various piles messing up the workdesk ... it's not a pretty sight and definitely not one I'd dare reveal to the world.
I hope you all had a satisfying day, whatever you've been up to, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Happy crafting,

Sunday 20 November 2011

Christmas Alphabet - Y for You and Z for Zero Temperatures

Evening Everyone,

Well, here they are, the last two cards in the Alphabet series. First up is Y for You.

This is for my sweetie. The digital stamp is another of those I coloured in with ProMarkers (sorry, once again I can't remember the colours) whilst on holiday in Wales. I really had no plans for it at the time, however, when I saw this paper, from Memory Box (in the pack included in the recently won blog candy from Jude) I remembered the image ... and it has all come together perfectly to make this card ... serendipitously, you might say :

My rediscovered B-C-E layering template has been pressed into service again to mat the image using a scrap of brown card and some of the co-ordinating paper. The same paper together with a second co-ordinating paper have been cut into strips and scalloped with a border punch to form the trims.

And that is about it - some glitter, gems, card candy and an embossed greeting finish the card off.

The trim is repeated inside and on the back just to finish it off.

Materials Used:
  • Cardstock: Stampin' Up 12"x12" card, Whisper White, trimmed to make a 6" square card base; Neenah Solar Smooth white card for stamped topper; Papermania textured card, brown for matting
  • Design Paper: Memory Cox 6x6 paper collection, Mistletoe
  • Stamps: Digi Stamp Boutique, Henry & Zoe Xmas Kiss; Docrafts Penelope & Percy Christmas Greetings
  • Tools: B-C-E Layering Template, Baby Nesties Square; X-cut scalloped border punch
  • Sundries: ProMarkers; VersaMark; Sheena Wow EP, Burgundy Red Regular; Iridescent Glitter; Card candy, Vintage Berries red, Anita's tiny gems, red
The only snippet used in this card was the brown card in the matting, I wonder if  this qualifies for the snippet challenge? It does prove that even when I'm creating yet more leftovers I'm still trying to make something of a dent in the snippet mountain.  I'll let the lady herself decide by submitting it to:

Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 46

Last, but perhaps not least, here's the Z for Zero Temperatures card.

This shaped card was printed from Joanna Sheen's CD-ROM, Jane Shasky, From the Heart of the Garden, onto Neenah Solar smooth white card.

The front is decoupaged and embellished with Polar White Flower Soft, iridescent glitter, snowflakes punched from holographic mirri card, and Anita's gloss for the holly berries.

Although the finished card is A6 in size from the top of the red cardinal to the bottom, the inside is actually about half the size. To reduce the insert to fit I imported it into a graphic programme and re-sized it to fit the inside, then printed it onto copy paper.

The instructions on the CD-ROM do not include decorating the back but when the card was completed I was not happy with it. The back of the 'fence' was just white card and and, to my mind, did not look good so what to do? Well, what I did was to capture the front of the card using the snap tool in Adobe and import it into the graphic programme too. Once there, I was able to re-size and flip the image, then cut out and adhere it to the top half. If I were to make this card again, I would do this bit first before attaching it to the front ... having left it to the last, I had to nudge the bottom edge of the 'fence' down below the back - very fiddly!

The bottom half of back is simply decorated with part of an insert cut to size.
It might have taken twice as long to make as anticipated but it's a cute wee card and I love red cardinals ... I wish they came to live in this country during the winter as, with their vivid red colour, they are a pleasure to watch. However, I'm not sure what our very own little robin redbreasts would take kindly to such stiff competition in the colour department :)

So that's it - the Alphabet Series is complete for 2011 and, added to the one/two a week I've been making since Week 1 this year, I now have a sizeable stash of cards ready to send/hand out to family and friends - yeah!! I'm so pleased to have finished early this year because I can now concentrate on making some handmade gifts - there's 5 weeks left in which to do this ... hopefully, I'll be able to complete a few nice projects in that time.

In the meantime, the weekend is almost done, Russell has been voted off Strictly and we are left with the real contenders, and the lights were switched on in Ayr tonight ... and I missed it :(  I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend, and if you haven't, I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

Take care everyone and happy crafting,

This Week's Craft Class Makes - my first decorated candle

Afternoon All,

I intended posting this earlier but, I had a sleepless night so have been on slo mo all day. Also, I got distracted by the birds visiting our garden this afternoon and spent ages just watching their antics. And then, The Boss was being extra needy and demanding of cuddles. When she's like that I just have to settle down on a comfy chair, make my lap available, and keep her company, nothing else will do :)  So I'm late but here at last with what we made at the craft class this week.

The 'branches' stamped up on the right upper corner were made using a tree stamp selectively ... just the upper part of the tree is stamped to look like branches hanging down. The bauble stamp is designed to fit the Stampin' Up bauble punch making it really easy to make this lovely embellishment.

The insert is trimmed with the same pretty border punch used on the front of the card.
Materials used:
(all materials provided by Stampin' Up demonstrator)
  • Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler for base; whisper white for topper
  • Ink pads: Cherry Cobbler & Old Olive
  • Stamps: Bauble & Greetings from SU stamp sets; Tree from Lovely as a Tree stamp set
  • Punches: Bauble & scalloped edge - SU
  • Sundries: white copy paper for insert; glitter and white faceted gems for embellishments

And here's the candle. To be honest, I can take or leave candles and wouldn't bother with them but for the EM ... he does like them, especially scented ones, and often has one burning away in the lounge, so this is one for him! The little Christmas trees were stamped on to tissue paper and coloured with pencils before heating onto the candle. It was a lot easier than I anticipated and does make a nice little gift when wrapped, tagged and tied up with a pretty bow.

All materials were provided by Evelyn, the SU demonstrator. The candles were from Asda, tissue and baking parchment from Tesco and everything else from Stampin' Up.

I'm looking forward to class tomorrow because I believe we are going to be making card candy, i.e. gift tags. Now they are always useful to have ready for present wrapping time.

Right, after a day of not crafting, I'm off to try to do something ... I have a list of projects to be getting on with so better shift myself and do something before I find some other distraction :)

Hope you are all having a lovely Sunday - happily crafting, perhaps,

Saturday 19 November 2011

Christmas Alphabet - X for Xmas

Evening All,

I went for quick and easy in the making of this card. I already had this cute little Santa Claws stamped out and coloured with ProMarkers, just waiting to be made use of, and the greeting was one I prepared earlier too. The image is layered on to black and red card and the white 'furry' bits are covered in glitter. The base is a long and narrow card, 3.5"x8", and the rest of the decoration is made up of a strip of thin black card, borders punched, with a layer of glittery striped paper on top.

The inside has similar strips decorating each side ...

.... and the back is finished off in the same way.

Materials list:
  • Cardstock: Craft Essentials white card base. 3.5"x8"; Papermania red textured card, matting; smooth black card, matting & punched border trim; Neenah Solar smooth white card, stamped topper
  • Design Paper: Papermania, A Silent Night A5 paper pad
  • Stamps: Penny Black, Santa Claws; Sentiments 4 You digital stamp, Merry Christmas
  • Tools: Martha Stewart border punch; Stampin' Up 1" & 1.25" circle punches 
  • Sundries: ProMarkers (poppy, ice grey 1, sandstone, blush, ivory, pink); very fine iridescent glitter
And that's about it for that card - as I said, quick and easy. Except, I thought you might like to see this snap of the card before it was cropped:
Is it me, or do those hens look as though they are giving Claws the malevolent eye :)
Happy Crafting,

Christmas Alphabet - W for Winter

Afternoon Folks,

I hope you are all having a great weekend - whether you've been crafting or doing all the 101 things that need to be done at the weekend because there isn't any time during the week.

Here's the card with the stamped image you might have spotted on the WOYWW post on Wednesday. It's a great digital image from the pencil of Mo Manning - it takes me back to the days when my grandchildren were tots ... sigh for the good old days! Sorry, but as this is one of the images I coloured when on holiday months ago I cannot remember the ProMarker colours used :(

This is another pre-cut scalloped card base which I randomly stamped around the edge with a fir branch before adding the topper. I traced round the stamped image using a layering template and cut it out - I've discovered that if I use a 1" circle punch on the corners I get a much more even and professional finish than if I cut round with scissors :) - and then layered on blue card before adhering it to the card. A blue bow, greeting, dewdrops and glitter - lots of it - completes the front.

The envelope is decorated with fir branches too - that'll cheer up the postie :)

No insert this time - just more fir branches.

... and the back too.

Materials list:
  • Cardstock: Pre-made scalloped card base; Papermania texture card in blue; Neenah Solar smooth white card
  • Stamps: Sheena, A Little Bit Sketchy 2, Faith - stamped with VersaFine Olympia Green; Mo's Digital Pencil, Winter Boughs - coloured with ProMarkers; Sentiments 4 You Stampin' Up Oval Stamps – Christmas
  • Tools: B-C-E Layering Templates, Square Baby Nesties; Stampin’ Up Scalloped Oval Punch
  • Embellishments: Papermania Adhesive Dew Drops, Aqua; Blue satin ribbon from stash
Apart from the base card the materials used are from the leftover pile - even the ribbon - gorgeous blue colour -  was a tiny length leftover from another project. That being the case this is yet another card I'm submitting to Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 45. I'm trying to make an impact on the snippet pile, honest Jules, but no sooner have I made one card from snippets than I add to it again by making another using something from the untouched pile!
Tonight I'm going to be MIA for an hour or two ... why, because it's Strictly night and it's coming from Wembley ... simply not to be missed, especially as the competition is hotting up!! So see you all a bit later with the next in the alphabet series - the letter X. The whole series is now complete, so the letter Y is ready for posting, but I've still to get the camera out for the Z card. Now that it's done, I'm done, with Christmas cards, that is ... though, no doubt I'll have forgotten somebody and there will be some emergency cards to make ... but, I'm calling it done for now and will be concentrating on making Christmas gifts over the next few weeks. I'm really looking forward to making the projects I have planned :)
So, I'll sign off and wish you all a happy evening.

Friday 18 November 2011

Comfort Food - Cold Weather Cooking

Afternoon Folks

A slightly better day here today - it's still dull and dank but the winds have died down from gale force to a gentle breeze. But it is clear that winter has arrived so time to get out the slow cooker - there's nothing better than getting home, chilled to the bone, to be greeted by the delicious aroma of a warming and comforting stew wafting through from the kitchen.

Many of you will have gathered from my posts that my DH, Alan, is a handy person to have around -he can do just about anything he turns his hand to, especially in DIY sphere. So perhaps it's no surprise for me to reveal that he's not a bad cook too - as long as it's simple! He may have been a research chemist in another life but he does not like measuring things out to the nearest nanogram :) So for no other reason than it's not an exact science, he particularly enjoys making soups and stews and the following recipe is one of our favourites. I believe it's Alan's variation on a Marco Pierre White original - yes, it was as much a surprise to me that he read the recipe, let alone tinkered with it to suit our tastes! 

Alan's Chicken & Vegetable Pottage
Serves 3/4 people depending on how hungry you are.


12 large chicken drumsticks
3 large potatoes – cut into bite-sized chunks
6 medium sized carrots – sliced into bite-sized chunks
2 onions – finely sliced
3 sticks of celery – sliced into bite-sized chunks
3 chicken stock cubes made up with 1 litre of boiled water
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
A handful of chopped chives
2 bay leaves

Method Throw all the prepared ingredients into a large slow cooker.
Cook on high for one hour, then on low for 6 hours.
Serve from the slow cooker – two to three drumsticks per person.
Crusty bread goes very nicely with this dish - but then we think crusty bread goes nicely with most soups and stews :)
Alternatively, this dish can be cooked on low for 9 hours and be ready for when you get home from work or a day out.

If you haven't got a slow cooker, and why should you - a lot of people don't own one - then you could stick everything into a large casserole dish and cook in a slow oven for several hours. I don't think the timing is crucial as long as the ingredients are cooked all the way through.

The weekend is almost upon us and, for once, I've no plans to take me out into the cold, yet ... no, I intend crafting away in my little room for as much of the weekend as I can get away with. Alan, of course, may have other ideas and could easily drag me out for a walk along the promenade - nothing like a good bracing walk to put some colour in your cheeks, he'll say! I have the patience of a saint :)

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, whatever the weather and whatever you do.

In the meantime, take care and happy crafting,

Thursday 17 November 2011

Christmas Alphabet - V for Vintage


As promised I'm back.

This could just as easily have been C for Cuddles :) Not that Santa would be allowed to cuddle children anymore, or dandle them on his knee like the one in this old postcard is doing. This is another gorgeous sheet of Bo Bunny paper, this time depicting old Christmas postcards, and all it needs is some lace, ribbon, pearls  and a greeting and, voila, you have your card. The pretty pearl swirls were leftovers from a scrapbook layout. In fact, apart from the DP, all the other materials were from that never ending scrap pile!

The insert is just some white copy paper with a decorative edge punched out of it. The colour of the base may seem a bit odd, grey, but I think it suits the vintage colours in the DP very well.

The trimmings from the piece of DP used on the front of the card is now the trim on the back - I try not to waste a thing and I still have a mountain of snippets to get through ...sigh ... as if I didn't enjoy challenging myself to do something with them :)

Materials list:
  • Cardstock: Papermania Textured Cardstock - grey (base) & green (mat)
  • Design Paper: Bo Bunny 12" Noel Postcards
  • Stamps: Digital Greeting from Sentiments 4 You
  • Punches: Stampin' Up scalloped oval; X-Cut 4cm border punch
  • Sundries: white copy paper for insert; Double-sided green/pink satin ribbon & Prima Say It Pearls Swirls from Funky Farm Scrapbook Barn; Marianne ecru vintage lace
Having used so many bits and bobs of leftovers again, I think this is another card for Jules Crafty Snippet Challenge - Week 45

I'll be back tomorrow with another couple of alphabet cards, but right now I'm off to think about the last two cards in the series, Y and Z ... not easy.

In the meantime, I bid you all a good night and happy crafting.