Saturday, 31 March 2012

An Easter card - quick and easy

Oh, I'm so in love with Penny Black Stickeroos - thanks to Irene I could be going to bankrupt myself :( No sooner had a shed load of few sheets arrived here than Handy Hippo had 20% off on Thursday so I only ordered some Christmas ones! I made a couple the same of this Easter card:
Very quick and easy in between packing school newsletters - those are all posted now though, phew!

I used:

- C6 white linen card stock

- white linen card embossed with a sort of vine swirls pattern - well covered by the image etc. and it doesn't even show on the photo though so bit of a waste of time there :(

- Penny Black Stickeroo from 'Wherever they grow' sheet, really lovely images for Easter on this set

- little pieces of aqua card from the snippets folder

- ribbon from the ribbon box (bought recently with these cards in mind from Hobbycraft)

- 'Happy Easter' stamp by Funstamps, inked up using SU's Baja Breeze Ink Spot (remember that Sarn is a Stampin' Up demonstrator folks!)

And, that's about it. Hope you have a great weekend!

Snippets roll call day tomorrow in the playground :)

Di
x

Friday, 30 March 2012

Another Christmas card - is this woman mad?

I know, I know - folk prancing round in skimpy tops, shorts and flip flops in the Post Office yesterday (and that was just the chaps!) and Dumbo here makes another Christmas card in the early hours of this morning. Thanks for waking me up Mr Blackbird :)

I used:

- 4.5" x 4.5" square cream card

- a chopped down Christmas card from last year

- backing papers and gold card from the snippets folder

- small piece of gold lurex ribbon from the ribbon box, tied in a bow

This card is for two challenges. Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge (which is to use a house, door, window or such on your Christmas card this week - snort, I threw in a garden gate and pair of boots for luck!). And, a third card for Sandra's Rudolph Day Challenge, you could still join in both challenges if you're quick!

Yay, it's Friday, and the weekend beckons :)

Di
x

Friday Feast - Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with Parsley Sauce

With the current gorgeous weather in the UK, this is a tasty and easy to make meal - and if you don't like capers then I'm sure you could leave them out, they add piquancy (a big word, haven't done one of those for a while) and we love them though.
I plonked added a second fishcake onto the plate after taking this photo :)

Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with Parsley Sauce

Serves 4 - or 2 for a good meal

For the fishcakes:
450g carton ready-mashed potato
500g smoked haddock fillet, cooked
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
1 med egg, lightly beaten
60-90g dried white breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
300ml skimmed milk
2 level tbsp cornflour
2 level tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salad, to serve
Baking sheet, either a non-stick one or with non-stick liner or baking parchment

To make the fishcakes: Put the mashed potato in a bowl and beat to soften it slightly. Flake fish and add to the potato, along with spring onions, capers and seasoning and mix well. Divide mixture into 4 and shape each portion into a round, flat fishcake.

Tip the egg into a bowl and spread the breadcrumbs out on a plate. Dip each fishcake into the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Re-shape them if necessary. Place them on a board and chill in the fridge until firm.

Set the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Place the fishcakes on the baking sheet and cook them for 20-25 mins or until they start to turn golden.

To make the sauce: Do this just before fishcakes are ready. Pour milk into a pan and bring it to the boil. While it’s heating, mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp water. When the milk reaches boiling point, gradually pour in the mixed cornflour, mixing well to give a smooth sauce. Simmer sauce for about 1 min, then stir in parsley and season to taste. Keep sauce hot until serving.

Remove fishcakes from oven and turn them over before serving, as the bottoms will be more golden than the tops. Serve with a little sauce spooned over (and the rest in a jug), and salad.

Things I do: I made this for the first time very recently (it's on the menu again tonight or tomorrow though!) and, although you could either use leftover 'real' mashed potato or a carton as suggested, I used frozen potato which worked brilliantly. Just either let it thaw at room temperature or defrost it very slowly in the microwave. You don't want to be working with hot potato here and it's also better to work with cool fish. I poached the haddock fillet in milk and a tip for poaching fish in milk is to use made up dried skimmed milk - I make it quite watery and that keeps the calories down even further. The cooler the fish and potato mix, the easier the fishcakes will form. The chilling before baking in the oven is also well worth the extra 10 minutes or so, I think it helps to stop them 'collapsing' a bit although they would taste just as good, you can clear the cooking space during that time :)

Am I the only one who gets moaned at for dragging every bowl and utensil out to make the simplest of dishes? Need a knife? Whoosh, go grab a fresh one.

I'm trying out a cake recipe this afternoon for Friday Feast - and am waiting until 'someone' is out at archery. That way I can be as messy as I like and hopefully have cleared all the evidence when Robin Hood returns home.

Yummy fishcakes though and well worth trying - enjoy!

Di
x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

'Noel' Christmas card

Another quick and easy card, using a PSX sticker set sent by Irene:
I used:

- 4.75" x 4.75" square white card stock

- red and green backing card from the snippets folder

- white embossed card - using a Cuttlebug Holly design folder

- PSX stickers for the main image and at each corner of the card

- Josy Rose nail heads - none at all, for a change :)

I quite like the fresh and crisp white and it's another one for Sandra's Rudolph Day Challenge, why not join in? She might not have skipping ropes but there's a little prize on offer!

Di
x

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WOYWW - 147

Not a lot of activity when I took this photo yesterday afternoon:
The usual cup of black coffee, gone cold. Cards awaiting inserts at the back. Penny Black Stickaroos (my almost latest love) on the glass cutting mat. And my very latest loves - lots of SU stamp sets awaiting their first inking :)

But, right now, crafting is taking a back seat as I'm currently packing 620+ school association newsletters to post off, about 100 go overseas, and that's a lot of labels and stamps to stick on! The trouser alterations were finished last week just so I could take over the dining room table as the 'packing production line'! And you thought that Len scared me into it :))

For more scintillating desks - hop over here to Julia's - be warned though, it's addictive snooping! You can begin with Julia's desk and the avalanche of buttons.

Wow, I linked in at number 16 this week :)

Happy WOYWW!

Di
x

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Tuesday Tale - the perils of teaching

Some of you have remarked that perhaps I got my sense of humour from my Dad - well, this tale of his still makes me giggle over 30 years later. It isn't true but it was one of his favourites!
A teacher of infants kept finding little puddles in the classroom - someone wasn't properly toilet trained. Eventually, she made an announcement to the little faces gazing up at her from their desks.

'Alright, so someone here is leaving puddles on the floor and I need to know who it is. We're all going to close our eyes, including me, and then I want the person responsible to come to the front of the classroom, take a piece of chalk, walk behind the easel and write their name on the back of the blackboard. Then after class we can have a secret little talk and see how we can sort the toilet training problem out. No-one else will know. I'm going to close my eyes and turn my back and I want all of you to close your eyes tightly and put your heads on your desks'.

The little ones nodded and all closed their eyes and dutifully put their heads down on their desks.

'Right' said the teacher, 'my turn now, and don't worry - you won't get into trouble - we just need to sort out the problem' At that point she turned her back and closed her eyes.

After a little wait she heard a chair being pushed back and the patter of feet to the front of the classroom, then behind the easel. This was followed by slow and very drawn out careful screeching of the chalk on the blackboard as the culprit 'wrote their name'. Afterwards, the little feet pitter pattered back, the chair scraped again and the teacher announced that everyone could open their eyes.

She then walked behind the blackboard to see whose name had been written there - and promptly skidded in a puddle almost doing the splits before sliding across the floor and landing in a heap.

Then she collected herself and looked up at what was written behind the blackboard and this is what it said, in childish writing:

THE FANTUM PIDDLER STRYKES AGAYN 

End of Tuesday's Tale :))

Di
x

The Tim Holtz giveaway draw results

OMGosh - how I wish I had enough TH stamp sets to give away to all of you lovely people who commented, I included all the yeses up to 11pm. But, there is only one winner I'm afraid, and it's lurking there, in my 'folding up sun hat' for hot holidays - and in also use in the UK right now:)
Rummage, rummage.....................hurry up Len!!! Choose one NOW!
Well done Dee - the prize will be on its way ASAP. I'm happy for anyone who wins, but I hope you're extra happy for Dee as she deserves something back for her kindness. Karma for sure!

Well done honey - hope you make lots more tags and have a blog really soon!

Di 
x

A Saturday Giveaway

This is a sticky post, for more recent posts please scroll down.

Saturday is a busy day as I'm often writing the playground roll call, and also frantically making a snippets card - but, to let you know I still care:
I found these Tim Holtz stamps (Eclectic Palette) in my craft room whilst looking for something else the other day. Never been opened and are unloved. Sadly, TH style isn't really in my comfort zone and it's a crying shame to waste them - so they need a new home girls if they are more to your taste!

Just add a comment, including 'Yes please' if you'd like to be in the draw - which I'll get my OH, or Spike the Hedgehog (grin), to do on Monday evening. Going to try the old fashioned and folded pieces of paper this time :) I'll post to anywhere.

Di
x

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Rudolph Day card

In between the sunshine calling to me, I managed to make my card yesterday for Sandra's Rudolph Day Challenge:
It's another PSX Christmas sticker one, I'm quite hooked on these (sent by Irene - thank you!)  and Penny Black Stickaroos for fast and easy images :)

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- plain white and green card from the snippets folder

- PSX sticker, I think it's a Red Cardinal birdie - such glorious colours too

- backing paper from Jennifer Ellory's Berry Merry Christmas papers, free with Card Making and Papercraft magazine

- red organza ribbon from the ribbon box

- sentiment by Craftwork Cards

- Josy Rose nail heads - I'm so in love with these, brilliant for just adding a touch to squared off corners without messing round with corner punches, thoroughly recommend them :)

One more card for the Christmas card box - why not join in - it'll help to avoid the last minute panic plus Sandra has a little giveaway too. What's to lose?

Di
x

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Pixie's Crafty Snippets Challenge - Number 13

Wow, what lovely sunshine we've been having over the past few days down here. I hope the sun has shone for you too - we might have to arrange for an ice cream van to start calling at the playground gates!

This is my snippets card for this week, quick and easy:
 I used:

- 5" x 7" white card stock

- all other card and papers came from the snippets folder

- the plain purple card was embossed using a Crafts Too 'flying butterflies' embossing folder

- image is a Penny Black Stickaroo from the 'sun-kissed' set - sold in the UK by Handy Hippo, and thanks to Irene for the inspiration

- the sentiment was stamped using my new Perfect Plum SU 'stampin' spot' ink pad (my not so little order arrived on Friday and I love these!! Thanks Sarn, I'm one happy bunny here) - the stamp was a 'magazine freebie' which I doubt I'll use again as it doesn't stamp at all well and it's a bit like chewing gum, but with writing the roll call I had no time left to re-do it. Am convincing myself it looks a bit 'shabby chic' - OK, just shabby then :(

- double lemon and purple organza ribbon from the ribbon box, wrapped round the card all in one piece and tied in a bow which worked first time, for once

- Josy Rose nail heads

And now for the roll call, lots of fun things this week too.

First into the playground was  Brenda, suffering a bit from being in the sunshine over in Michigan. Her card, here, was a Christmas stunner - super papers and such a cute Christmas Fairy! Then, on a second visit Brenda brought another fabulous card, such gorgeous flowers and a load of work must have gone into making it. It's truly beautiful and I've got it earmarked to be a challenge winner Brenda. Brenda's next card was another really super Christmas one, using tapestry stamps - if you haven't tried them yet, they really are huge fun to use and give terrific results as you'll see over at Brenda's.

Poor Sam had been rattling the playground gates during the night, when yours truly went to bed and forgot to open them up again :( She would have been first in to play so apologies Sam! What a great card she was clutching when she finally got in as well - very British and of course, featuring chickens! Do go and see it here, one to make you smile :) Then, later in the week, Sam hopped by again after suggesting that we sweep the gravel from the playground and play at wheeling one another up and down on her new pretty pink craft room chair. It's a beautiful chair - and so are all the cards that Sam posted here in one go (thanks). All quite different, and if I was forced to I'd probably pick the 'script and flowers' card but it's a very close call. Great stuff Sam!

Mrs A brought a cupcake this week - but a very special one on a card, and made of fabric no less. The hundreds and thousands are tiny little seed beads and the cake was also carefully stuffed to give some real dimension - a brilliant idea Mrs A, I take back everything I said about you being the playground hooligan :) Do hop over and see, I've noticed that Mrs A (along with a few others I know, and notice!) is really diligent about commenting on her fellow playmates makes as well.........I wonder how she'd feel about being promoted to 'keeper of the cupcakes'?

Hazel's been really busy this week, and hopped in quite a few times with lovely goodies to share. Firstly, such a striking butterfly card here with the sentiment printed using Safmat, reminding me how useful that stuff is - if I can remember where it is! Then, some really fun sticky note holders - those animals are just too cute Hazel! A Christmas card was next, with a beautiful sentiment and two really sweet owls, followed by a reindeer Christmas card and the reindeer on the image in the centre has such a cute expression on his face! Altered notebooks are a favourite with Hazel and her first one this week just sings of Springtime, here. Then, Hazel brought a really bright and cheerful card with some truly zingy flowers on - sometimes I'd love to be given just half an hour to go and rummage through all of Hazel's snippets! Another beautiful floral altered notebook was next, in pinks - my favourite colour just in case anyone hadn't guessed :) Then Hazel kicked off her own Craftyhazelnuts Christmas Challenge for this coming week with a Christmas card (of course). The theme is a house, home or part of a house such as a fireplace - and Hazel had chosen a house within a 'snow globe', really effective too!

Bernie was next, with one of her usual funny posts to make you smile - seems this past week a few of us have been battling with Mr Blogger :) And what a card Bernie brought to show too, here. The most gorgeous butterfly and lots of pretty flowers - a real beauty! Plus, a very clever trick to help disguise foam tape or pads. Thanks for that Bernie - and the profile photo is great, so well done on not giving up when Mr Blogger was stamping his feet!

Next was Sarn, with four cards in one posting - three Forever Friends Bear cards and a very delicately coloured card with horseshoes and flowers on, they're all beautifully coloured of course. I did laugh as Sarn has even used up some snippets sent to her by Sam - each card is lovely SarnSarn's monthly challenge - and also to see what her chickens are up to.

Gilly's card this week is very cute, a baby card with an 'all in one' baby suit, cleverly paper pieced and hung on a little washing line. The colours are gorgeous Gilly and I do so love that little suit!  I spend a lot of time here with my nose pressed against the screen peering at all your photos girls and even the little elephant seems to be paper pieced, and holding a little glossy heart in his trunk - aaaah, lovely Gilly!

Next was Jules, finding time to bring along this cracker of a card. If you haven't already been over to sigh over it, do go now. I love the stamp that Jules used and of course it's just perfectly composed and made, as always. The heart is easy to find as well :) It's good to see you Jules, this playground is growing and it's all down to you for starting it off in the first place. It's great that business is doing well for you - which reminds me I have some wedding invites to get on with ASAP!

Karen called by next, offering to tidy the skipping ropes. But, I'm going to do that job all this next week as punishment for not calling by to leave a comment before Saturday as I'm writing this. I'd missed such a lovely card too - a really elegant 'Thank You' card in white and lilac. Love the stamped background and all the pretty punched flowers Karen - it's beautiful, and I'm a very naughty girl for missing it on Tuesday! Forgiven I hope, now let me at those skipping ropes!

Next was Ali, on her first visit. Ali is a relatively new blogger and needs more visitors and followers so I hope you call by to say hello. Her card, here, cleverly re-uses a tag from a coat - a polo player no less, looks like a posh coat Ali! Picking up the same blue and adding some pinks has transformed something we'd usually throw away into such a great card. I did laugh as that sent Mrs A into a frenzy rummaging round in the bin for a tag that her husband had very selfishly discarded. Oh dear, I now have visions of lots of little legs stuck up in the air as you check your bins out :)

Carol brought a really beautiful card to show this week. White with splashes of orange - I totally love the Marianne Design border dies and the way Carol used them - combine that with those gorgeous flowers, the bow made with such pretty striped ribbon and a heart shaped button to finish it off, a stunning result! I'd be so delighted if I'd made this Carol, it's elegant and striking at the same time.

Then Liz hopped in, using one of those fabulous Marianne Creatables butterfly dies - teamed so well with the green spots in the backing paper. Very eye catching and a perfect result Liz. To see what I mean, hop over here to say hello! I can't see butterflies ever going out of card making favourites - they're so versatile and always add something special to cards I think.

Sandra H visited, fresh from an overnight break at a hotel I know well. She went with her OH and they got an amazing deal at the really nice hotel in beautiful grounds. Her card is so pretty, a delightful silhouette (crumbs, I managed to spell that right!) of a lady in a bonnet - mostly pale blue but offset so well with splashes of pink and red. Love it Sandra!

Next was Irene, with four delightful baby gift cards. Two for a boy and two for a girl, as always, beautifully made and really elegant. The blue and pink baby embellishments are the perfect finishing touch too. It was thanks to Irene that I bought a load of Penny Black Stickaroos - I used one on my card today. And thanks again Irene for sending me some sheets to try them out - fabulous for fast cards!

Linby's card was made for an expectant Mum - and it's perfect too. At first I thought the image was a Stampin' Bella one, quite similar in style and beautifully coloured and matched to the great backing papers too. I love the idea of cutting some of the flowers from the same BP to spill onto the white background - another neat trick I've picked up so thanks. No wonder your work colleagues didn't believe it was hand made - great result!

Then, Heidi brought a card with loads of techniques and colour - here. Lots of flowers, butterflies and such a sweet little girl all wrapped up cosy in pink - yay for pink! Heidi had been playing with a Tim Holtz rosette die and the results are super. By the way, the backing paper is by Kate Knight, called Spring Fling, and was a recent freebie with Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine - I know this as I just can't pass a magazine with free papers and not buy it!

Tammy was next - and shame on me again, another card I missed seeing this week. Sorry Tammy - it's gorgeous and I love the clever twist of the camera and the sentiments. You have to go and take a look for yourselves - plus more pink too :) I do think that Tammy is our button queen in the playground! Great card!

Next was Anne, with some lovely cards which you can see here. Four gorgeous cards, all different and all made whilst under the stress of her Mum being unwell and in hospital, plus some other issues. A worrying time Anne and we all send our love and best wishes for your Mum's recovery - better still girls, why not hop over and say hello. I see that Mrs A and Brenda have already been and commented - bless.

Shazza raced in on Friday waving a Christmas card - and it's really cute, you can see it here. We then started a game of 'commenting ping-pong' with Sarn (her sis) joining in and eventually Mrs A, who must have been watching on the sidelines in disbelief, hopped in with this comment: 'The above comments read like an act in a play!! Can I join in? I've got cupcakes over at the swings. Might be a few nibbled ones left if you hurry. Hugs Mrs A.' Never a dull moment in the playground!

Next was Debbie, with these beautiful 'memory tags'. Made for members of her nephew Nick's family, each year I think, and such a touching thought. The tags are beautiful Debbie, white with a blue bird and some really elegant lacy edging. I'm really glad you came back to play this week. I told you they're a fun-filled crowd in the playground and am glad to see that you agree! Good point about punching before embossing as well.

And, last but by no means least, Maggie arrived with five cards to show all in one go. I think, from her posting there was perhaps was a sixth but I could only see five images - here. They're all lovely, I have some of the Debbi Moore Art Deco ladies languishing somewhere waiting to be used up too - must do that as they're really elegant. Also, Maggie brought a very pretty card, coloured with Pro Markers - love the roses Maggie, as well as some cards that look almost as if they're made up of tiny jewels. Really lovely! Quick edit: Maggie has uploaded the sixth card - and very pretty it is too Maggie!



So, that's this week's roll call done. I hope you remembered to change your clocks in the UK? It'll be lighter this evening, whoop, whoop!

As usual, Mr Linky is below - have a great Sunday everyone, whatever you have planned, let's hope the sunshine lasts too. Hope to see you in the playground this week! 

Di
x

The only conditions to playing nicely in the Snippet Playground are that your card (or anything else you wish to bring here to show) must be made by using up snippets (card, paper, lace and ribbon are all fine), and a link back to here in your own blog posting will mean that you'll be included in the Weekly Roll Call. Oh, and no nipping or hair pulling of course :)  

Friday, 23 March 2012

Christmas on a sunny day

Wow, the sun is shining here and it's a glorious day :) But, I suddenly remembered I hadn't made a card for Craftyhazelnuts Christmas Card Challenge - which this week is to use buttons. A quick bit of rustling up and I hope one single button qualifies OK Hazel - it is a BIG one!!

As luck would have it, I decided to blitz my desk today before there was a total avalanche and a few things just screamed out to be used together :)

I used:

- C5 white card stock

- a quirky Santa sticker from Irene, made by PSX from the Christmas Follies set. Very similar to Penny Black Stickaroos and a happy and smiley set too - thanks again Irene!

- papers from Hot off the Press Forever Christmas cards paper stack, along with the little sentiments which were included

- red backing card from the snippets folder

- red velvet rick rack and red felt flowers (thank you Helena!), button from the button box as well as some bakers twine

- Josy Rose nail heads

Whoosh - done in time to catch Hazel's challenge! And, don't forget that Sunday is Rudolph Day over at Sandra's - and if you haven't come to play in the playground this week you could always combine a snippets card with Christmas over at Sandra's next week. Maybe there'll be a few Christmassy snippets flying round :)

Di
x

Friday Feast - Spiced Sweet Potato Soup with Garlicky Croutons

Spring seems to be on the way, but we aren't quite out of the woods yet so I thought it best to share this soup recipe now - before we're all running round in bikinis and crafting in between having cool showers......in between shooting for pork as well :)
Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Garlicky Croutons

Serves 8 - but I think it's more like 4 or 5!

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped (about 500g/1lb prepared weight)
1 onion, peeled and chopped
500g (1lb) prepared weight of sweet potato, diced
1 tsp each ground cumin and ground turmeric
900ml (1½ pints) hot vegetable stock, plus an extra 600ml (1 pint) stock, for serving
410g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp seed mix, dry-fried, optional
A little chilli or paprika flavoured oil, optional

For the croutons:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
4 thick slices white bread, crusts removed

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and fry the leeks and onion gently for 5 mins. Add the rest of the oil and then fry the sweet potato, stirring, for about 3 mins.
Stir in the spices, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15-20 mins until the potato is soft. Add the chickpeas and cook for another 5 mins.
Blend the soup in a food processor until smooth. Pour back into the pan, add extra stock to get the consistency you like, and heat through. Check the seasoning. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with seeds and a few croutons, and drizzle with chilli or paprika-flavoured oil, if you like.
To make the croutons: Set the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Put the oil in a small roasting tin with the whole, lightly squashed garlic cloves. Put in the oven for 10 mins until hot. Break the bread into small cubes and stir into the hot oil to coat them. Cook them for 10-15 mins until golden, turning them halfway through cooking.

Things I didn't do :) I didn't make the croutons or dry-fry the bird seed, but thought you might like the option anyhow so it's included in the recipe. It's a really filling and thick soup and the 'two-legged mouse' went back for seconds AND thirds!

To stretch the soup even further, add a potato and carrot. Add more spices if you want to give it an extra kick. Freeze the thick soup, adding more stock or water, on reheating. Ha, ha - fat chance of that here :)

Enjoy!

Di
x

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Return to the craft room, and the return of Spike

Yippee, the trousers got finished and I dived into the craft room with just time to whip up a card in celebration, both of the finished sewing - and, the return of Spike the Hedgehog! Our CCTV picked him up in the back garden on Monday night! So, despite being quite small, he made it through the Winter! Little Happy Dance here - instead of the nightly fencing routine :)

Time constraints meant it had to be a quick make:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- green Core'dinations card

- backing paper from a 'Sweet Wishes' paper stack, free with Papercraft Essentials magazine some time ago
- butterfly sentiment by Craftwork cards, from one of their goodie bags

- Josy Rose nail heads

- and last, but by no means least - a Penny Black hedgehogs Stickaroo. Dopey Di got caught out thinking that the lovely Irene had coloured some images (she's good enough to have coloured them anyhow!).But they turned out to be Stickaroos (stickers of Penny Black favourite stamps, that have been water coloured before being produced en masse so they look very realistic). Yesterday Mr Postie brought me some of my very own, from Irene! Am thinking, perhaps I should play dumb a lot more often, thank you so much Irene!

So, a quick and easy make as I said, I did wonder whether to prop it up beside Spike's little dish of food we're now leaving out again :)

A little question - if any of you are using the new Blogger interface, and feel happy to help out a new blogger, could you let me know and I'll put you in touch. Some things are very different between the two and I only know the old interface but it would be so good if we could offer a little help. Her blog is all set up, it's just a few bits and pieces - for example, she ended up following herself and can't change it. I can do that fine using the old interface but am a bit stumped. My email is di_wray@hotmail.com as lots of you already know anyhow :)

Friday Feast tomorrow remember!

Di
x

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

WOYWW - 146

Oh dear, my OH has just gone off to play Robin Hood archery so I thought I'd break off from what I was supposed to be doing and sneak up to do a WOYWW posting. He knows me too well, this was stuck to my craft room door!
Then, I wandered disconsolately back down to the dining room table and the three pairs of Len's trousers that I started altering about two weeks ago:
They're all turned up and tacked so it's just a matter of doing the machining. Shame on me though, it's so long since I used the sewing machine I had to get the instruction manual out to check how to thread it! My excuse is that I've only used it a couple of times since I got it not that long ago (OK, OK - over a year, happy now?).

But, it has set me thinking about 'advice to young ladies' - do check that your chap has a standard inside leg length if you plan on a long term relationship!!

Happy WOYWW - and do hop over to Julia's here to see what everyone else is up to today. I bet they're having more fun than me, although possibly nothing like the fun I had with Julia and Jan this time last week :)

Di
x

Less Is More - Week 59 - Masking

It took me three goes before I felt OK-ish about this card, orange sun, pale sun and finally no sun :(
I masked across the centre of the card using Eclipse Strips - I'd heard about them a while ago and to my delight a friend gave me a pack of three brand new rolls the other week, found in a bag of craft goodies at the charity shop. She didn't have a clue what they were, so I kept quiet and accepted them pretty smartly!

The cloudy sky was made using a 'cardboard cut to cloud shapes' mask which was just moved about and daubed along the edge with a duster brush using Tumbled Glass DI. More detail about how to do this can be found in an older posting here.

Just a punched butterfly and sentiment to finish it off. I'm entering this into this week's Less Is More Challenge. Good job you can't see the really rubbish options that ended up in the wastepaper bin though!

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- Kanban 'African Gold' design card from snippets folder

- butterfly punched from a snippet of orange card and topped with teeny black gems

- sentiment by Elzybells stamped in 'Tuxedo Black'

It's just gone midnight and my carriage already turned into a pumpkin here so I'm off to bed. Hope to be back with WOYWW - if I can find my camera in amongst all the rubbish craft stuff piled on there!

Di
x

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A Tuesday Tale - An Innocent Abroad

My Mum often said she would write a book about life as an Army wife and I just bet this tale would have featured :)
Mum and Dad married just after the end of World War 2, when Dad was on a short leave before being posted off again. I think they only had a weekend, if that, before he boarded a troup ship bound for India. Mum was to leave the UK to join him just a few weeks afterwards and she spent her time gathering together a little 'trousseau' of nice undies, lingerie and even some silk stockings. Then her six week voyage to India began - on 'HMS Andes' I seem to recall.

Mum, like a lot of 'girls' in those days had never set foot outside of the UK, so it must have seemed like an amazing (and quite scary) adventure to be moving halfway around the World. As a child, I remember her telling me about seeing flying fish, dolphins and so on (no wildlife TV programmes in those days of course). But the following tale was usually related by Dad!

Within a day or so of arriving in India there was to be an evening function - Mum's very first. Bearing in mind that she had led quite a sheltered life, plus the fact that her family were strict Wesleyan Methodists and teetotal, an evening cocktail party must have seemed very daunting. She dressed very carefully in her best new clothes, right down to a 'girdle' and silk stockings. Now that in itself shows Mum's innocence, she hadn't expected those hot tropical evenings but still thought one should be properly attired. Then, feeling very nervous, she asked Dad if she would be expected to have a drink - and if so what. Dad said she should have whatever she fancied but the main rule was NOT to mix her drinks, stick to exactly the same drink all evening was his advice - then off they trotted.

The evening went well although, as one was expected to 'circulate', they were separated a lot of the time and Dad really only caught up properly with Mum just as it was time to leave. She was very pink and hot - then as they stepped out into the night air, one big gulp of fresh air and she collapsed in a heap. Ever practical, as well as being aware it was so NOT a 'good look' from his new bride, he hoisted Mum over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and scarpered into the night, with her bouncing round like a rag doll.

Cut to the next morning and one HUGE hangover. Mum looked at Dad through a pounding headache whilst fighting her heaving stomach - and asked what had gone wrong. She'd done exactly as he said and not mixed her drinks all evening - err, sadly it turned out that totally in innocence, she'd squeaked the first name of a drink that had popped into her head when the circulating waiter asked what she would like ' May I have a port please' and stuck to it all evening. I think she'd heard Dad speaking about port and lemonade being a pleasant drink, but only the word port had been squeaked to the waiter, and she'd dutifully stuck to it all evening, fearful of changing to even a soft drink! Lethal stuff!

That was bad enough, but then Mum asked Dad how she'd got home, so he told her about the sack of potatoes stunt. Then she asked how she'd got ready for bed as every stitch of her finery had been removed. 'I had to undress you and put you to bed' came the reply - and as a young bride the pink cheeks began to rise. 'No! I must have done it myself' was Mum's shocked reply - to which Dad merely swept his arm round the bedroom and said 'So did you do this as well?'.

Knowing the disbelief that would follow, when he'd undressed and put Mum to bed the night before, that naughty scallywag had only 'drawing pinned' every item of clothing to the walls. As the girdle with dangling suspenders hung jauntily beside the silk stockings on the wall - I can only wonder at the level of embarrassment and horror Mum must have felt!

I know she used to go pink if Dad ever brought this tale up - and I can't say I ever remember her being very keen on port either!


Di
x

Monday, 19 March 2012

Sharing is good.......

......and, my friend Dee and I share a liking for vintage papers and embellishments. So, we share our goodies quite often - and just look what arrived the other day:
Tags, made by Dee! They're gorgeous and, as Dee doesn't have a blog yet, I thought they were much too pretty not to share with you. She does hop in here for regular peeks, from work, the naughty girl :)

All of us bloggers love encouraging comments, and I hope that before too long Dee will have more time for a blog, which will be such fun to set up for her. But, meanwhile this is a little showcase so you can see some of her work.

Pretty aren't they?

Di
x

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Pixie's Crafty Snippets Challenge - Number 12

Oops, I went to bed early and forgot to release this last night :( The best laid plans and all that - especially as I'd ages yesterday getting everything poised for that last check before publishing! I think I hear some rattling of the gate right now - sorry girls, you can have two goes on everything!

Straight in today - here's my snippets card this week:

Sarn used this stamp a while back, and being a bit of a copycat admirer I just had to have it. Ahem, bunnies on pogo sticks in the playground now!

The image is coloured with chalks - which I'm learning are NOT so good for colouring large areas as Pro Markers are but too late to do it for the third time as writing the roll call was calling to me. I totally mucked up the first coloured image by trying out 'over stamping' and ended up with a bunny that looked like it had been at the sherry bottle, all blurred and wobbling around like crazy :(

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card stock

- a whole sheet (shame on me!) of backing paper from Pink Petticoat's 'Wild Blossoms' collection which came free with Quick Cards Made Easy

- LOTV stamped image called ' Spring Bunny With Eggs' - not a very imaginative name, 'Mrs A in Disguise' would be much more apt, badly coloured with chalks

- all other card and backing papers came from the snippets folder, and the pieces of ribbon are little snippets too

- the flowers were punched out of the same papers and card, along with the little butterfly. That lilac card is yellow on the underside so the butterfly has yellow underneath its flicked up wings, but no way am I attempting to show that here, I ain't a contortionist so you'll just have to trust me

- Josy Rose nail heads to finish off

Now, onto the all important roll call!

Carol arrived, bright and early and wondering where everyone was last Sunday, bringing with her a really terrific Christmas card, with the theme of 'Winter Sports'. Red, white and silver - and a LOTV image - what more could you want? To see what I'm on about. go here. And, get a load of the stitched ribbon while you're having a peek - recycled from the Christmas Cake - we crafters are always thinking of ways to recycle aren't we! Love it Carol!

And, on the subject of cakes, Linby hopped in next with this super cupcake shaped card. Great colours and such a fun card shape - I did smile at Linby saying that jam sandwiches had been on offer even if you had to watch that duckpond :) Love the combination of stripes and dots Linby, and no need to feel that peel offs are a no-no 'cos the sentiment works perfectly!

Hazel's first card of the week was also a Winter Sports Christmas card - it's a great way to find out what challenges are going on by the way if you keep an eye on what our playmates are up to :) I love the blues and silver Hazel, perfect with her red hair. Next was this perfect card for a cricket loving chap - definitely a card to hit you for six! Hazel's next card is such a chirpy (you'll see why when you look) Easter card, using positive and negatives from a die - all bright and cheerful yellows too. Then, Hazel brought a few altered notebooks along with her - the first, all pink and girlie (here) is so perfect for a teenager I think. Then a great bicycle one for a boy, I think the background is just so perfect too. This was followed by another brilliant notebook, this time with a gardening theme - just right for keeping tabs on what's growing in the greenhouse! Then, back to cards went our Hazel, with a great one for a football fan here. I think the grassy background card is so useful and use it myself sometimes, made by Kanban and it's generally available from places like Hobbycraft and eBay. As I'm writing this early on Saturday morning, I'm not sure if the next card is Hazel's last trip into the playground this week - but if it is, talk about ending on a real high with a stunning card for her Mum. It's a side stepper card and truly gorgeous - just perfect for Mother's Day too, really worth hopping over to see and be inspired by!

Jules managed to whizz in on Sunday with one of those cards that makes you bite your lip and wonder if it's time to throw away all things crafty. Such a beautiful card, perfectly made as always, see it here. Stamping, embossing, die cutting, punching - all going to make a butterfly card with some delicious spotty ribbon. The heart is quite subtle, I wonder if you found it? And, to make matters worse, it's apparently a very quick make! Eeek!

Next, in burst Mrs A (never one to walk sedately) waving a kite and asking who wanted to have a go. Yeah right, I had visions of little Dorothys taking off from the playground :( Thankfully, when you go over to Mrs A's here, you'll see that her card does have a little kite on. And it's just so flipping clever too - made of teeny scraps of material (and yes, I also used to send SAEs away for material samples like Mrs A) - oooh, I just love it! A really bright and cheerful card - and neatly squashing my future plans for a kite snippet card (but just using paper) - just couldn't compete I'm afraid :(

Liz was next, with a Mother's Day card - so pretty in pinks and take a look at those beautiful flowers, made using Liz's Craft Robo - you can see the card here. Writing this roll call is such a dangerous job - people seem to have so many tempting gadgets :( I also think that Liz's next offering might have been made using the craft robo? Take a peek here to see a really lovely flower, very cleverly made using layers of white card and vellum, a gorgeous result Liz. I'm going to dig out my vellum and try this one, using the TH Tattered Florals Die and embossing folders. Thanks for showing us Liz!

Then we had Karen calling by, with a perfect card for a man. Burgundy always makes for a really rich looking card, and this works beautifully with the map background and the stamped vintage car. Some gold is the perfect foil, plus a couple of peel offs to add a great finishing touch. I honestly think that, used well as you girls show, peel offs do still have a lot going for them. Whoever is the lucky recipient of this card Karen will be delighted I'm sure!

Gilly's snippets card this week is a beauty. Like me, Gilly used lilac and lemon which you can see here, a beautifully balanced card. There was a comment Gilly made in her posting about her sewing skills needing some work. I didn't agree and think what she produced is just fine - although, for me, I'd like any tips on machining on paper as I find it tends to slip easily. Any ideas girls? It's always good to share :)

Right, now be prepared to be a bit over-awed by what Sarn brought to show here. I'd been waiting with interest to see what Sarn did with the lovely album that Sam had sent to her - to make a record of her chickens antics in. And Sarn certainly didn't disappoint - a brilliant end result indeed! It follows the 'life and times' of Harriet and Margot from their arrival (aged only 6 months - aah) last year and is such fun. The bit that I thought was really inspired is the page with the little door in it - to see what I mean you'll have to go and take a peek behind the door, so clever  Sarn!

Irene's card this week is another very elegant one, I do love the way that Irene always uses white so beautifully. Dumbo here asked how Irene stamped the image and got such a lovely blend of colours - I think that's the second time I've asked that. So, looking at the comments just now, the penny (Black, tee, hee) has just dropped here - I'd thought that Stickeroos were just clingy PB stamps, whereas they're the most gorgeous image stickers based on PBs most popular stamps! Handy Hippo stocks them and there are some really gorgeous floral images to be had. I bet Irene thought I was a real Silly Billy :( These are now on my wish list needless to say!

Next to nip in for a go on the swings was Sandra H, with such a cute card - in pink too :) You can see it here - the image is a pre-coloured LOTV Cute Square (one of my favourites too). And, the really clever part, in addition to the card as a whole, is that Sandra punched holes to thread ribbon through on one of the border strips. Then she used the punched out circles at each corner of the image to pull it all together. Just shows, don't sweep those punchings into the bin before checking if they can be used - clever girl Sandra.

Hettie, Sam really, brought a gorgeous canvas, in mostly blues and peachy pink tones to show this week. It was made instead of an anniversary card for some friends, and such a great idea as it can be kept on display. Even better, Sam went right through the steps she took when making the canvas. The result is absolutely great, every element works so well - do go and see, you could well be inspired to have a go yourself! And, not forgetting the bag to tuck it in as well of course! I love them both Sam - I bet the recipients were pleased.

Then Shaz In Oz hopped in with a totally beautiful 90th Birthday card which you can see here. It's truly exquisite with some really delicate embossing and lovely aquilegias in gorgeous shades - just perfect for a 90th Birthday. There were also other celebrations as Shaz has joined a new DT in Oz, Card Making Online. Great news Shaz - does that mean you bring a cupcake for us all? That was always the tradition where I worked - birthdays, bits of good luck, any excuse really!

Not content with the gorgeous napkin card last week, Mary had been playing with crepe paper - and a stunning card was the result too! Again, a gorgeous white embossed and punched background - topped with a beautiful crepe paper flower in rich ruby red. Beautiful Mary! Also, I spied the inside of one edge of the card was also given the crepe paper treatment, along with a scalloped trim. Another technique to try out!

As I've been saying, hopping round all the playmates is a fabulous way to find inspiration. It's not to a formula, apart from using snippets, so I never know what's going to appear next - and am constantly surprised and delighted by you talented 'snippeteers'! Thank you all for taking the time to come and play - and hopefully make new friends too.

Tammy arrived next with such a lovely St. Patrick's Day card which you can see here. The posting is entitled 'Sweet Little Irish Girl' - and that sums it up perfectly.
Plenty of green, a shamrock, buttons, lace, seam binding and a touch of gold. But for me, the even more clever twist is the die cut edging along the top of the card - made from cork. I wonder if Tammy had made the link with Cork when she chose to to it? Certainly a great result Tammy! Then Tammy called by again with this beauty. There's lots going on which you really should peek at - embossing using the only way I can use my brayer with success by inking the folder before embossing, patterned papers, seam binding, a felt die cut flower and lots more besides. Oh, and a button of course, Tammy is known for her lovely collection of buttons, great stuff!

That reminds me of something from school days - we used to carry a tin of either paper scraps (the really old fashioned image ones which are so popular for vintage cards now), small pieces of material or buttons with us to school (before I was banished to boarding school) each day and sit and do 'swops' at playtime. Easily pleased in them days! That's today's history lesson!

Anne joined us for the first time this week - with three cards and a bag, all beautiful and of course using snippets. Lot of lovely punching and embossing and a great way to use ribbon, another tip I've picked up. I love the colour combinations that Anne used on everything. The bag and one of the cards is for her Mum - I bet she'll be a happy lady today! To see what I'm talking about, hop over here to have a look! Anne recently deleted a lot of older posts and lost some very precious comments (don't we all smile when nice people leave us comments?!) - so it would be great if you could go and say hello and build up those comments again!

Now, I do sometimes prompt people who post delicious things on their blogs to come and play here - OK, so I nag them! When I saw this next card made by Sally I was straight onto the case as I just knew you'd be as excited as me. Wow and double wow is all I can say! The Diamond Anniversary card is a real beauty of course, but just get a load of those amazing roses! So realistic and cleverly made - Sally has also added a link to a tutorial - and I just bet a few of you will be keen to have a go for yourselves :) Sally's next cards are baby cards, one for a boy and one for a girl, I love them. Great use of snippets Sally and those cheeky babies are so cute!

Lyn brought a sports themed card with her this week - to see it hop over to here. It's such a cute golfer and very cleverly made too using corrugated card as part of the backing behind a terrific image. Again, such a clever touch to use a backing paper to echo the diamond pattern on the little golfer's sweater. It's another perfect golfing card for any chap who indulges in the (to me at least) slightly pointless recreation of whacking a little ball around whilst having a good long walk! I can understand the walking bit though! Eeek, I can hear you golfers out there shouting at me :(

Next, we had a visit from someone who's been peeking through the railings at us for a while now and has only just been brave enough to come and play - introducing BetteK, really Debbie! Hi Debbie and a big welcome - I see that some of the girlies have already been over to say hello and leave comments, great stuff! Debbie brought two really beautiful tags with her, you can see them here. One blue and one pink - and both stunning too. I love them both equally, the detail is gorgeous - and if this is TH stuff then it's time I had another go at making some 'pretties' too! Don't forget to come and play again Debbie, no hiding in the shadows :)

Karen T came back for a return visit this week - we must have played nicely after all the first time :) And what a gorgeous card Karen brought to show as well. A lovely combination of turquoise, cream and white - some super backing papers and a beautifully coloured Tilda image. Love all the lacy punching Karen, great idea to layer it as well. Karen says she's really proud of the result, and so you should be Karen - it's really lovely! If you haven't already called by to have a look, why not? You're missing a treat!

Next was Kimberley, I think also on her first trip into the playground, with such a sweet card. You'll get the play on the word 'sweet' when you hop over to here for a peek - it certainly brought some memories back to me Kimberley! Great card. I did laugh when Kimberley made reference to 'this shading malarky' - lovely phrase and much more descriptive than plain old 'colouring in' :) Hope to see you again Kimberley, I've been peeking through your blog and know you'll be up for more snippets makes!

Maggie nipped in yesterday with a host of lovely cards which you can see here.  All different techniques too ranging through decoupage,  Joanna Sheen goodies, embossing, colouring acetate (with some good tips), and the cutest gift card. Always one to try something different is Maggie, and also on a drive to use up her bits and pieces including peel offs. I know, it's not everyone's taste but I personally think that used properly peel offs have loads going for them - so there. This is my blog (even if it's not really my playground) and if I like peel offs I'll say so - catch me if you can! Super makes Maggie!

Last to arrive was Sam (aka Hettie) who raced in with her kite, carrying some gorgeous cards and wearing some wonderful new wellies. I promise you, they're really super - oh, and the cards are too :)) To check the cards and wellies out go here. The cards are white and blues, with embossed backgrounds and butterflies - and what an amazing central stamp! Ha, ha - am I allowed to confiscate things in the playground? Hmmm, I think the wellies would be first though - they'll make you 'chookle' when you hop over to Sam's and see them!

What a fun week girls, and some really brilliant shares too. You constantly amaze and inspire me (and your playmates) and it's a privilege to have the snippets playground keys, thanks again Jules - most of the time but perhaps not when I'm banging my head on the desk frantically checking I've covered you all properly :)

As usual, Mr Linky is below - have a great Sunday everyone, whatever you have planned! I'm closing the gates again at 10pm UK time next Saturday, and will do so in future - it really worked for me this week, hope it didn't catch anyone out. Hope to see you in the playground this week! 

Di
x

The only conditions to playing nicely in the Snippet Playground are that your card (or anything else you wish to bring here to show) must be made by using up snippets (card, paper, lace and ribbon are all fine), and a link back to here in your own blog posting will mean that you'll be included in the Weekly Roll Call. Oh, and no nipping or hair pulling of course :)  

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Jan and Billy No Mates

Two things, if you seem to have lost your followers from your blog sidebar, apparently it's a known bug and is supposed to be fixed ASAP. You should still be able to see them when you go to your dashboard so they haven't disappeared altogether. There are some tips on the internet about going into HTML and doing it yourself - I'm going to sit tight though and see if it's rectified. It's all to do with domains having to have your country of origin now - best not to play until we see if Mr Blogger comes up with the goods as promised earlier today! Playing with HTML can be tricky business, it's really easy to get wrong! 

Edit: Whoop, whoop - looks as if it's been fixed by Mr Blogger:))

Secondly, after a posting earlier that triggered a few sad memories for so many of you, and some very moving comments, I thought maybe this might make you smile a bit.

Remember the paper sack from Wednesday when I met Julia and Jan. We decided that 'Billy No Mates' the paper sack wasn't needed but he still wanted to play and here he is beside Jan, (sorry the piccie is dark, the sun had also come out to play!) - trying to decide how to eat his lunch :) Nah, that's NOT me inside the bag you daft lot, it's over Jan's hand!!
Oh dear, am surprised we didn't get ejected - with my record that was a distinct possibility!

Have a super weekend y'all!

Di
x

Sunday is a day of mixed feelings.

Each year I sort of dread Mother's Day - my Mum died when I was 22 so it's been a long time, but of course I still miss her. However, socks have to be pulled up a bit as I do have a step-mum to make a card for, even though I'm not sure if she fully realises what's going on. Advancing dementia and living in care now means that some days are good and some not so good as far as her awareness is concerned.

She loves the colour blue so for a change I've gone for blues rather than the soft pinks she also likes:
I used:

- a LOTV Cute Square, which comes already coloured so it's most certainly not my own colouring. I love those little girls sharing a cuppa! Die cut into a circle using a Nestie

- dark blue card from snippets folder for the scalloped circle and the scalloped edging strip. I found a Fiskars edge punch that I've had for donkeys years in amongst the punches here - it's going to be used a lot more from now on

- papers from a Papermania Capsule Collection, loads of lovely papers in this pad - and quite a few are great for 'chap's' cards

- white flowers with the diamantes already on - bought ages ago from Hobbycraft

- a row of diamantes down the scalloped strip

- sentiment from a Craftwork Cards goodie bag

I hesitated about posting this card on here as I know that one friend especially really goes through a lot of pain at this time of year. So, this card is also a little tribute to those of you who are also missing your Mums right now, I do think that they're still watching over us.

Di
x

Friday, 16 March 2012

Glam it up with glitter

Oooer, two posts again today! It's 'cos I want to catch Hazel's Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Number 63, which is 'Glam it up with glitter'.This card is really such a cheat, but I couldn't bear to throw away a glittery card from Christmas 2011 so just did some chopping and layering onto gold mirri card then onto a cream card. Ha, the work will come when I need an envelope as it had to be made to a very non-standard size to accommodate the size of the image. Maybe not such a time saver after all:
I resisted adding anything else to the card - it looks elegant as it is to me so best not to make it into a bit of a dogs dinner!

Di
x

Friday Feast - Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Plate Pie

Oops, I accidentally published, then swiftly deleted, a snippet of this posting yesterday - so perhaps today's recipe isn't a surprise:
Friday Feast - Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Plate Pie

For the shortcrust pastry:
250g plain flour
Pinch of salt
60g butter
60g lard

For the filling:
2 tbsp light olive oil
4 chicken breasts, skinned and cubed
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
30g butter
30g plain flour
150ml milk
1 chicken stock cube
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
Egg, for glaze

24cm (9½in) enamel pie plate (I usually just use a Pyrex pie plate)

To make the pastry: (Or cheat like me and use ready made!!)
Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut the butter and lard into cubes and add to the flour. Use a knife to start cutting the fats into the flour.

Rub the fats into the flour, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, lifting the mixture.

Add 2 tablespoons very cold water and start mixing it in to the mixture with a round bladed knife. Gradually add enough water until the mixture binds together, using only the minimum amount of water, because too much water will make a tough pastry.

When the mixture starts to form the dough, roll it into a ball — again, handling it as little as possible. Wrap the pastry in a freezer bag, or cling film, and let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour before rolling out.

To make the pie:
Set the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7 and place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the chicken and bacon, and cook for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened. Remove mixture from the pan.

Melt the butter in the pan and add the flour. Stir well and then gradually beat in the milk and 150ml (¼ pint) water to give a smooth sauce. Crumble in the stock cube and stir until it dissolves. Stir the chicken, bacon and mushrooms into the sauce and add the chopped parsley and season to taste. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Roll out half of the pastry to a round large enough to line the base of the pie plate. Spoon the chicken mixture on top. If the chicken mixture is still warm, then you’ll need to work fairly quickly, so that the fats in the pastry don’t melt.

Roll out the remaining pastry for the top. Brush water around the edge of the pastry on the pie plate and lay the top  over it. Seal the lid of the pie and decorate if wished with pastry trimmings.

Brush beaten egg over the top to glaze and make a hole in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape when it’s  cooking.

Place pie on the hot baking sheet. Bake it in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until pastry is golden in colour. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
 
Things I do: I usually cheat and use Jusrol frozen pastry sheets, already conveniently in round shapes :) Chestnut mushrooms really do give this pie added flavour. The recipe suggests serving this with salad, I usually serve it with new potatoes and either a nice green vegetable or asparagus.
 
Enjoy!
 
Di
x

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Less Is More - One Layer - Script - Week 58

I'm beginning to really look forward to the LIM Challenges, even if it takes some time chewing over what to make. This week's challenge got me thinking a bit - do I stamp the script and a flower separately, or resort to a lovely and very rarely used stamp peering at me accusing from a shelf and begging to be allowed to play? It won in the end :)
I used:

- 4.75" x 4.75" square white card stock

- image stamped in 'London Fog' using the 'now happy' stamp, it's a Penny Black one called 'Letters & Flowers'. Softly coloured using lilac and green chalks with that wonderful Dove blender pen that I've raved about on here before

- a piece of lilac organza ribbon from the ribbon box

All done - and I'd like to enter this into  the Less Is More Week 58 Challenge.

That piece of ribbon has been on and off the card more times than enough - in the end I opted to keep it :) My in-house critic had the deciding vote in the end!

Di
x

Meeting Julia, Queen of WOYWW and her handmaiden, Lady Jan

Well, where to begin huh?
Julia and I - just having met! See, I've just been given a WOYWW badge - hence the pink embarrassed nose and cheeks as well! Trust me, if I ever had to go and be 'invested' at Buck House I'd be in danger of keeling over!

For me, it was a brilliant lunchtime (hope Julia and Jan agree). I promise you, they are two totally fabulous ladies and within minutes it was as if I'd known them both for years, so warm and welcoming! We chatted and laughed non-stop (and also included Sandra in the fun, by phone.....talk about tele-conferencing).

The brown paper sack wasn't needed at all - I think we christened him Billy No-Mates at one point, as I had taken him along as an emergency opt-out :) Julia did take a photo of him with Jan, but I don't have a copy of that little masterpiece!

So, all I can say is one very big thank you to Julia and Jan for making yesterday's lunch such great fun. Hope you ladies don't come by again without letting me know - just remember the cherries for the stone spitting contest next time!

OK, so here's the usual silly tale. On Monday I went to get my hair chopped in honour of the occasion. I think my hairdresser totally messed up my usual light honey 'semi' colour mix! Oh boy, since Monday morning I'd washed my hair three times and was still squeaking in alarm every time this no-longer blonde stranger peeked back at me from a mirror. So there was another reason for almost resorting to the paper sack!

And thank you too for the lovely comments on here yesterday everyone :)

Di
x

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

WOYWW - 145

Not a lot on my desk this week - just this:
Yes, you do see right - a paper sack with eye holes. Just 'rustled' up (ha, ha) yesterday afternoon when the enormity of this week's WOYWW hit me!

I won't be here at lunchtime today, instead I'm 'the stranger off the internet' who's meeting up with Julia, Queen of WOYWW, and Lunch Lady Jan about five minutes (for me) away from here - right next door to Hobbycraft (where else!).

OM Gosh!! I have to look out for their WOYWW badges so thought I maybe ought to go in disguise and check them both out first, before I decide whether to stay or run away :) Mind you, it's not exactly a very discrete disguise I must admit :(

Have a super WOYWW, whatever you have planned for today! Do go and check out what everyone else is up to today here - bet they aren't nearly as nervous as me!

Di
x

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Tuesday Tale - 'en garde'!

Although not a truly naughty kid, I did end up in pickles at school, mostly through either talking too much or giggling.

In the late afternoons, once lessons finished and we'd had tea, there was a gap before it was time for supper - which was then followed by prep. time. The school deemed that we had to choose at least a few extra-curricular activities to fill up most of those late afternoons - they sure kept us busy there! Sport was top of my list - especially during the warmer months as it got pretty cold on the North Sea coast of Germany. One Winter term I got terribly excited about some new indoor lessons though - in fencing!! Whoop, whoop - now, that was much more like it!


I signed up immediately! We spent what seemed like endless hours learning the moves plus the correct names and terms before even being allowed a sniff of a foil, but I just loved the pure elegance of the moves - a bit like 'ballet for fighters'.

After a while, the big day eventually arrived and we raced off to get all geared up. Now, in those days, fencing apparel was nothing like it is now - as I was soon to learn. My pal and I found a couple of jackets - hers was a good fit, mine was too large :( Undaunted though, I carefully turned the cuffs back and then we were shown the 'additions'. WHAT? Tin saucer things, and you had to put them WHERE? In my haste I shoved the pair of saucers up inside the front of the jacket and scampered off to join in the fun.

We dutifully lined up and were finally given our foils to hold - after another safety lecture. On went the masks - ooer, beginning to look 'the business' here I thought. We lined up, raised our foils in salute and then it was lights, camera, ACTION!

Yeah, right! Remembering the previous lessons, back and up went the left arm, gracefully curved in one of the more balletic poses. Feet in position at 90 degrees, knees bent and foil arm outstretched - then 'Lunge' came the order. Left arm was sharply brought down to counterbalance the lunge - and then it all happened. The left hand tin saucer promptly popped up and partially out of the neck of the jacket, walloping underneath my chin. A squeak of pain and sharp intake of breath, meaning that said jacket was even looser for a moment, and the right hand tin saucer then decided to make a bid for freedom - choosing the bottom of the jacket as an exit point. With a clatter it hit the floor, rolled a few feet and then merrily and very noisily spun round for ages before finally grinding down to a halt. By this time the mask was off and yours truly was gawping in horror at what had just happened before dissolving into embarrassed hysterical laughter.

This was absolutely not good etiquette and it was tersely explained that you didn't just 'shove the tin saucers up the jacket front and hope for the best', apparently there were pockets inside the jacket for them to be placed in :) Unfortunately, the laughter merely subsided to uncontrollable giggles which just wouldn't stop so that was another exit for me - shame, as I truly was keen!

This incident was brought to mind when we were watching a James Bond film with some fencing in the other evening and later on, having already told my OH about the incident, he was in bed and heard me scuffling around on the landing in front of the full length mirror there.

Next thing I knew, he was looking out of the bedroom door demanding to know what on earth was going on. 'Err, just wondering if I could remember the correct fencing moves' I replied, followed by a quick demonstration of 'en garde, lunge and parry'. 'And anyhow, I bet Errol Flynn practised his fencing moves in front of a mirror' I added defensively.

With a sigh Len said 'I doubt if he'd have been wearing pink fluffy slippers, a Winnie the Pooh night shirt and hopping about brandishing a hair brush instead of a sword though!'. You know what, sometimes he is such a 'party pooper' :(

Di
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Monday, 12 March 2012

Made for each other

Sometimes, totally different sources of things seem to be perfectly made for each other. Whilst rootling round looking for something or other I came across some vintage style decoupaged toppers, already made when I bought them ages ago. I needed a 'quick to make card for today', writing up the snippets playground roll call took my crafting time up over Saturday. Sunday was all booked up but I ended Saturday by finding the backing papers I had in mind and bingo - one very quick and easy card!
I used:

- 6" x 6" cream card stock

- backing paper from Pink Paislee's 'Butterfly Collection' - oh boy, are there some gorgeous papers in this collection

- the teddy bear topper came from a pack I found in Wilkinson's of all places! They seem to get odds and ends from 'Craft and Create' in sometimes, so it's always worth checking what they have - I just used a decoupaged teddy topper and added the lilac butterfly, also in the packet, to what seemed to be a bare spot on the heart. It doesn't show in the photo but there are lovely touches of glittering plus some little gems on the toppers too

- organza ribbon from ribbon box

Whew, a quick and easy card which I think makes good use of that fabulous paper!

Di
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