Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Xmas crackers and boxes & WOYWW 130

This is one of those 'before and after' posts, this pic is actually the 'after', but I wanted to show it first as it's 3 cute Xmas projects in their finished glory!

Then there's the next pic, which is the 'before and during...' pic of my desk................








So you can see the 3 projects scattered on the desk, and the template for the hexagon box on my cutting mat, and stacked under the Christmas Cracker are the papers for yet more crackers!

to the far right, just in the pic is my grotty old black craft knife.  This was 'donated' by my DH some years ago (he is a draughtsman and used to use this regularly) The knife has been shrink wrapped several times, which has made it non-slip grip and has many layers on the cap, so I can shove the blade into it without worrying about my fingers - perfect, but not pretty!  DH bought me a lovely pink and purple 'proper' craft knife once, but I reverted to his (now mine!!) within a few days - do you have any favourite craft tools/kit that you wouldn't be without?????

I only managed to visit a few crafters corners last week, and I'm pretty late adding my contribution to the blog hop today at Julia's, so will have to wait til tomorrow to check out the WOYWW entries, as I'm working tonight, but I;m looking forward to seeing what's out there in craft cyberspace!

Happy WOYWW

Debs x

Monday, 28 November 2011

Mens cards - and recovered mojo!

 Thought I would share a couple of men's cards that were a recent DT project. The first one is a birthday cake made out of tools and bits of wood.  The birthday candles are screws with little flames added to the top, and the background paper with hammers is from a Joanna Sheen Messy Rabbit CD.

I stamped the image several times (you can see the full stamped image in the next photo) and coloured with Pro Markers, then I set about cutting it into pieces and assembling into a 'cake' - I was quite pleased with the end result - something fun and a bit different.

This second card uses the whole stamp (Personal Impressions - from Hobbycraft) as a background frame for my birthday message. Again, I stamped it out a couple of times and cut out individual pieces to decoupage on the main pic. Added a DIY guy from another Personal Impressions set - Cute Characters 1 - and used a cut out saw to create a stop for my easel card. Background paper from Messy Rabbit cd again (great papers on there!)

My DH is always pottering in the garage, and in our house it's known as 'the man's room!' so thought this was quite appropriate!

Been a strange week in our house, brother in law took a turn for the worse, then rallied, still in ICU, but slight improvement.  I had the lurgy - one of those strange ones where only one side of your nose is runny, and your head feels like it's full of soggy cotton wool, but to the outside world you appear 'normal' (well, as normal as I ever look lol!) - and I blame this (and my pathetic attempt at batch Christmas cards) for my loss of mojo.

However, after my last post, I decided to set myself a challenge - to take my multiple stamped images that look oh so samey, and to use each one to create a card that was different from the last. Going well so far! Will share some pics later in the week.

Off for my late morning cuppa and choccy biccie (Remember people, biccies are for life, not just for missing mojo!!)

Thanks for stopping by

Debs x

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

WOYWW 129 - and self inflicted mojo departure!

OK, so I normally love to make Christmas cards, I actually started in January this year (only cos I had a couple of free days when I was bored & still in the christmas spirit, so made a few in the first week!!)  

Then pretty much nothing until I had to start making Christmas samples for publication, and that was in the summer! Made a bunch of sample cards and then forgot about my own Christmas cards, until this week, when I decided I really should get my act together. So I decided to get all clever and make a batch of snowmen cards.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!  I have discovered that batch making cards is a sure fire way to kill my crafty mojo! 
As you can see from the pic above,  my desk has a few snowmen, and I couldn't cope with them all being the same, so started changing the colours, and I stamped off a load of identical 'SNOW' letters, and cut them all out, made a couple of cards with the words on, and  now I'm bored with looking at them! 

So I am going to resort to my crafty inspiration - tea and chocolate digestives (and tonight's Pro Marker class!) And of course, taking a world-wide wander through other people's crafty inspiration over at Julia's WOYWW blog hop.

thanks for stopping by, and hopefully there will be something more fun to see next time you visit, and the crafty mojo will have reappeared courtesy of Mr McVitie's biscuits!

Deb x

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Spending dilemma and blog Candy!

So my very kind Hubby gave me a voucher to buy some goodies at the craft Barn, and when I went on line to spend, I found they have a great Blog Candy giveaway!

I don't know about you, but whenever I get gift vouchers I develop a form of 'purchase paralysis'.  I want to buy something I wouldn't just go and buy myself anyway, as it's a gift, but then I end up spending hours (literally!!) roaming the websites trying to make up my mind how to spend my voucher. 

Such a tough decision!

Not a lot of crafting going on today, spent time cleaning the house - it so needed it! I'm not a great fan of housework, and positively hate the vacuum (see Bubbles!, that's why you should come to me for your vacuuming fix!!) so our house tends to get what my Mum used to cal 'a lick and a promise' now and again, then a full scale battalion attack when people are coming to visit :-)

so, housework done, and Blog Candy posted, I'm off to spend another happy hour deciding how to spend my voucher

Debs x

Friday, 18 November 2011

Fat and sugar free mincemeat (and it's delicious!)

For those who asked, here is my recipe for mincemeat.  My family have now got to the point where they won't eat the shop bought varieties as they find them too sweet and greasy.  A bit embasrrassing when you're out visiting!

This is an absolute doddle to make, and will keep in sterilised jars in the fridge for up to 4 months, and for a week once opened.  But in our house, it all gets used the day it's made, makes about 6-7 dozen mince pies (depends how generous you are with the filling). We then eat any that broke apart (and some that 'got' broken!!) on the day, and the rest are frozen.  If you're not bothered about the sugar, you can dredge with icing sugar once cooled, and I'm not too precise about the measurements any more, I just tend to go with what feels right. (I have been using the recipe for 20+ years, so it's almost second nature now lol!)

It has been known that all 7 dozen have gone before Christmas, and I've spent christmas eve frantically baking the same amount again, which duly disappeared by New Years!!



spicy fat-free mincemeat
1kg mixed dried fruit
600g cooking apples (about 3) peeled and grated (they will go brown, don't worry about it!)
2 tsp ground mixed spice, plus 1tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground cinnamon (or whatever mix of spices you prefer)
600 ml sweet cider (eg; Woodpecker)
50g chopped mixed nuts
100g chopped glace cherries
2tbsp brandy

1. Put dried fruit in large pan with apples, spices and cider.  Simmer for about 20 mins until pulpy and nearly all liquid evaporated

2. Turn off heat, stir in nuts, cherries and brandy

That's it!  Simple, delicious and smells AMAZING! Pop a large spoonful into each pastry case, pop in the oven for 15-20 mins and you're done.

Enjoy

Debs xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WOYWW 128 - Christmas boxes

So I'm a bit slow with the WOYWW pic today, if you hop on over to Julia's blog at the Stamping Ground, you get to take a peek at lots of crafters creations - it's great fun but be warned - it's hugely addictive and can swallow a whole day if you're not careful!

I've spent the morning playing with templates for Christmas gift boxes ready for an upcoming class, and you can see a couple of them on my cutting mat, and another unfinished, with a red ribbon around it and a finished icicle box next to it. Lots of punches, some gems, some Pro Markers, a box of distress inks and the ever present baby wipes! And top right, a box of wires to try out with my new toy - a Zutter bind it All! I bought this on E-bay a week ago and didn't have any binding wires to try it out.  Christmas calendars here we come!

I have some beautiful craft cd's, including the Joanna Sheen 'Ivory Cats' cd, and they have fab Calendars on them, so I'm looking forward to giving calendars to friends and family. Just have to think up ways of personalising them so they aren't just 'print and bind' pressies. Also need to find some of those big cardboard envelopes for calendars - if anyone knows where to get them, let me know!

Next I need to plan and organise my Christmas 'bake in'. My Christmas starts when I make the christmas puddings, mince pies and cake - and I'm a little late this year so need to get my act together. I started making my own Christmas puds about 20 years ago, making only one that first year from an old Family Circle recipe (anyone remember that??) which I still use - it doesn't even have metric measurements! Then family members asked 'are you making them this year?' and it grew from there. Now I make lots of them!  They take about 6-7 hours steaming, the whole kitchen gets soggy, and while they are cooking I make the mince meat (sugar and fat free - so you can have twice as many lol!!) Then I bake the mince pies (8 dozen last year!)and I play Christmas music all day long, much to my husband's disgust!

I love this part of Christmas, the traditions and rituals that are my build up to the big day. Everyone is getting home made pressies this year, and I will be baking, cutting and sticking for a few weeks!
Happy blog-hopping everyone, and thanks for stopping by

Debs x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WOYWW

So an early entry from me today for the international snoopathon that is over at Julia's where we get the weekly delight of being able to see what others are creating, and show our workdesks to the world! Mine is relatively tidy (for me!) cos you can still see the table top in places!

Centre stage is a wedding card I'm working on for an old student of mine, and to the left are a batch of stamped images and samples ready for this weekend's Pro Marker workshop, and my 2 fave daisy punches, which I use again and again. Above that a pack of core'dinations and some beautiful Cheery Lyn dies I bought at the NEC - if you haven't seen these take a look, they are gorgeous! I have used one on the top right of the wedding card.

Hiding at back left behind my caddy is a tea bag box waiting to be altered, flip top tea boxes are just right for recipe cards etc. and to the left of the table out of shot is a huge bag of loo roll inners ready for more loo roll mini albums and Christmas crackers!

Hope you're having a fab Wednesday, and enjoy blog hopping around the other desks out there

Deb x

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

NEC visit, traffic jams and guilt!

If you read my earlier posts, you will know that I was not planning to go to the NEC, although I had some samples that were going to be on display.  I had a freebie pass, but not a free day.  Well, I had a last minute cancellation of a meeting on Friday morning, and had the whole day free, so thought to myself 'a-ha, serendipity! Off to the NEC for me!'

You would think that this would be a nice day out, free pass, goodies to drool over etc. I left home at 10.45, expecting to be there by 1.00 (usually 2 hours door to door) but actually parked up at the NEC at 3.30. Yep, nearly 5 hours in the car!  Teeth gnashing and wailing to no avail, there was a crash on the M42 and they closed the road for the air ambulance - and when I heard this after nearly 2 hours sat in the jam, I immediately felt bad that some poor soul had been so badly injured and all I was doing was 'off on a jolly'. Then the 'it could have been me if I was half an hour earlier' syndrome kicked in, and then guilt that I could be so selfish. Then later that night when I saw the terrible crash on the M5, I was so grateful that all that had happened to me was a traffic jam.

So, had about an hour and a half to rush round the NEC, indluding a stop at the WOW embossing powders stand, where my DT samples were displayed and here are some pics of my creations...

(still gives me a thrill to see my creations on display or in print :-)  Met some lovely people, didn't spend much (makes a change!) and got soaked in a torrential downpour - all in all a good day!


Thanks to the lovely people who have asked how Barney the kitty is doing, he's happy and healthy and the vet gave him a week off for good behaviour!  Back to the vet next week for a check up when hopefully he'll get the all clear.

Thanks for stopping by

Debs x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Kitty update and WOYWW

Thanks to everyone who asked after Barney the kitty over the last few days.  He is home now on 'Mummy Watch' feeling rather sorry for himself, but I think pleased to be home judging by the limpet-like attachment to my lap!  Not conducive to crafting!

One unfortunate side effect of his having been on an open catheter is the awful stink. Good job I love him. Let's just say every surface is covered in old towels to avoid contamination!  Poor little guy is still on tons of meds and with daily vet check ups, but definitely on the mend, so I gave him a bit of a wash earlier today - not sure who got wetter - him or me!

So, crafting mojo seemed to have left the house with the Kitty, and I was forced to tidy my craft table -eeek!! found half finished projects I had set aside for later (erm.......forgot about) and that pesky quickie glue pen that disappeared suddenly, miraculously reappeared.

So here's  a pic of the 'tidy' table - bet you can't tell, huh?  the clue is in the visible table top, a rare sight around here lol lol!!

Am part way thru prep for tonight's class and the glitter is out in force :-) the little purple and lime zippy centre stage is my glitter storage bag, an old cosmetic case that is plastic lined and so doesn't let the glitter out unless I set it free!

Now I'm off to Julia's blog where she hosts the weekly sneaky peek at other crafty desks around the world, have fun desk hopping, and thanks for stopping by.


Deb x