Friday, 30 December 2011

The Stampman 3rd Annual Awards

Evening folks. I hope you've all had a great Christmas and are enjoying some rest and relaxation now that all the hectic time is over. I've been totally confused over what day it is being out of normal routines which is a lovely feeling and have been busy doing Christmassy things like playing games and doing jigsaws with no crafting in sight!!

Jill is holding her Annual End Of Year Awards over on The Stampman Challenge blog and has asked the team to share their favourite project of 2011.

I chose my Nightime project which was one of those that just evolved. I had no real plan in my head but it just grew into something that seemed to work and that for once I was reasonably happy with.

We'd love you to share your favourite project from the last 12 months with us. It doesn't have to be something that was created for a Stampman challenge, it can be anything that you've made that has become your favourite for any reason. Just up load it onto the challenge site HERE and you could be in line for one of Jill's amazing prizes. She is going to select the winner from random who will then receive a £30 voucher to spend in the online shop. There will also be several runner up prizes. All the details can be found on the challenge site.

All that remains is for me to wish everyone a Very Happy New Year and I'd just like to thank all my lovely followers for your continued support and encouragement over the last 12 months. I feel truly blessed to have made so many friends, some real and many only in cyberland and I look forward to many more chats and laughs over the coming year. You are an amazing bunch and you never fail to brighten my day.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

WOYWW 133 Christmas Has Arrived

Afternoon lovely Crafty Friends and WOYWWers. It's time for a last nosey at all your desks before the big day arrives and on the Winter Solstice too. If you have just come out of hibernation and have missed all this WOYWW fun then get yourself over to our DeskMistress Julia, HERE and join in all the fun. It's addictive.

I love this week full of preparation and expectation, it's my favourite time. Lots of cooking and wrapping with Christmas songs on the radio and of course food shopping, not looking forward to that bit.

Here's my desk today with those last minute pressies still being made. I can't tell you who the box is for but I can tell you it started life as a persil tablet box!! I've got some lovely goodies to put inside.

I was lucky enough to be the very happy recipient of some of Lunch Lady Jan's Christmas bunting and here it is gracing my Craft Room. I can't get in there to craft at the minute, it seems to have been taken over by Santa!! but I love seeing the bunting hanging there.

And this last photo is for Jozarty. She asked what our favourite traditions are and one of ours is putting all the baubles we have collected and made over the years on the tree. A lot of them are handmade by both Grandma and DD and they all find a space. We also buy a new decoration each every year so as you can see it's very full but I absolutely love seeing it twinkling in the corner and especially love how the lights shine on the wall behind. Magic!!

I would just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a very Peaceful and Healthy New Year and special wishes to Julia, the lady who brings us altogether on a Wednesday and who we have to thank for many new friendships.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A New Technique For The Stampman Challenge

Afternoon lovely bloggers. Well, just a week to go now until the big day. It's been soooo cold here this week but at least we missed the winds. We were just reminiscing back to last year, can you believe we were under mountains of snow. Doesn't look like it'll be a white Christmas this year, I've checked the forecast and it looks like it'll be mild and damp!!

Over at The Stampman Challenge our lovely teamie, Sue, is asking you to think about a new technique you haven't tried before so if you want a break from all the preparations why not have a go. Jill is offering a £10 voucher to spend at The Stampman for the winner.

I struggled to think of something, as you know I love playing with all sorts of things, but then I remembered seeing a demo somewhere recently where they were stamping with alcohol inks. It appears you can stamp with anything if you try hard enough. Anyway, I'd never tried this.

I made a background by putting the inks on my craft mat with some blending solution and then slooshing some glossy card round in it. The I stamped with the gold mixative and sure enough it works brilliantly. Just for a laugh I then tried with the steam alcohol ink and that worked too although it spread out when it hit the blending solution on the paper but I quite liked that.

The dragonflies were stamped and I then tried colouring them with promarkers which did work OK. Vellum wings were added to the big dragonfly and some stickles.

I inked up some pages from an old book with the alcohol inks and pleated them across the bottom on the page, something else I've never done before.

The rest of the design team have created some beautiful projects with techniques I need to try now so don't forget to pop over to the challenge blog for a peek.

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely weekend, whatever you are up too.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

WOYWW 132 & Something To Make You Think

Morning lovely Bloggers. I hope I find you well this Wednesday morning and if not I send you wishes for a speedy recovery. Here we are with one more week of workdesks before the big day, can you believe it? I have to admit that now the decorations are up I'm feeling more festive but it still seems like 5 minutes since the Summer holidays!!

I can't wait to see what the rest of you are up to in WOYWW land this week, what's the betting that most desks are full of Christmas preparation? Mine certainly is.

I'm still in Christmas card mode although there are some finished ones now and one has actually been delivered, yes, I know...amazing. My goal is to finish them today, write these and the bought ones and post them tomorrow, well, that's the plan anyway.

If you want to see what the rest of the WOYWWer's are up to pop over to see our Desk Headmistress, Julia, HERE.

I recently came across this little gem and have been meaning to share it with you so as we are approaching a time of year when we tend to end up running around and getting stressed I thought today was the perfect moment. I know time is precious and you don't want to read reams of typing but please do, it's well worth it.

When things in your life seem too much to handle, when 24 hours in the day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.....

A professor stood before his philosophy class with some items in front of him.

He wordlessly picked up a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and filled it with golf balls before asking his class if it was full. They agreed it was.

He then picked up some pebbles and poured them into the jar, shaking it so that they rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar which of course filled up all the remaining spaces. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students all agreed it was now definitely full.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now", said the Professor "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things, your health, your family, your children, your friends and your favourite passions, things that if everything else is lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else, the small stuff.

If you put the sand in the jar first there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children, take time for health checkups, take your partner out to dinner, play 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and mend the shed roof.

Set your priorities. Take care of the golf balls first, the rest is just sand."

"But what about the coffee?" One of the students asked.

The Professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked that. It just goes to show that how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee."

And with that I'll say thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of your week. Don't forget the golf balls and the coffee!!!

Monday, 12 December 2011

A Few H20 Samples

Evening all. I hope you all wrapped up safe and warm and out of this wet and windy night. I can hear the rain lashing the windows as I type but it's all snuggly here with Christmas songs on the Ipod and the tree lights twinkling. Yes, I think Christmas has arrived at The Craft Garden, although Christmas cards are STILL being made!!!! I seem to be making a real job out of it this year and keep finding other things to do, naughty!!!

Anyway, as I haven't done anything else crafty over the weekend I thought I'd share some of the cards I made for Sheena Douglass' shows on Create and Craft last Friday. Not many were actually shown on the programmes and as I made quite a few it seems a shame not to share them with you , my blogging friends, instead.

The first one is gold embossed with gold sparkly WOW powder and painted on black card. I love this effect, it's a bit like stained glass.

This was strips of air dry clay with Sheena's fern stamps pressed in and dried. I then painted them with the H20's and rubbed mica powder over to highlight them. The backing paper was made by stamping with paint using the same stamps.

The last one is the violets from the "Wouldn't It Be Lovely" set of stamps painted with the H20's. I made the backing paper by just splodging colour onto watercolour paper.

Right, I'd better go and get those Christmas cards finished so that I can post them tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely evening.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Golden Christmas Pud Recipe

I took this recipe from the Good Food Magazine some years ago and it says it serves 10-12 people so if you want a smaller one I would halve the quantities.

3 tbsp golden syrup
227g can pineapple rings-drained and chopped
grated zest 1 orange
2oz toasted flaked almonds
2oz dried cranberrries
2oz dried apricots
2oz raisins
4oz freshly grated carrot
6oz butter softened
6oz dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour
1tsp cinnamon
2oz fresh white breadcrumbs

1) Butter 3 pint pudding basin and spoon in golden syrup. Put quarter chopped pineapple and cranberries, a few flaked almonds and a little orange zest into the syrup in the bottom of the basin.

2) In a separate bowl mix the rest of the pineapple, orange zest, almonds, cranberries, raisins, apricots and carrot.

3) Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well, then fold in flour, cinnamon and breadcrumbs.

4) Stir fruit mixture into egg mixture and mix well. Pour into pudding bowl and level the top.

5) If microwaving, cover loosely with cling film and microwave on medium for 20 minutes. (Our microwave wasn't a very high powered on so I found it took about 40 minutes checking every 10 mins or so)

6) Or if steaming in a pan of boiling water, butter a piece of greaseproof paper and fold a pleat in the middle. Put over pudding and secure tightly with string . Cover with pleated piece of foil.
Steam for 3 hours checking water level every 30 mins and topping up if necessary.

7) Run a knife around bowl and invert onto a serving plate.

8) Store in a cool dark place for 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.


Morning everyone. Another Wednesday closer to Christmas. I think I need to hide in a dark corner for a while and calm down. The weeks are just flying by in a blur and I don't feel at all ready for the big day. How are all your preparations going? I bet you are all organised.

Another WOYWW and today there is no crafting happening yet....... Christmas cards HAVE to be made later, or at least the important ones. I think I may have to resort to bought ones for those distant relations that have no idea I craft!!

Instead, there is cake make happening, or rather there was at 9.15am when I took this photo. The cake is now out of the oven and smelling delicious. It's just a plain sponge but I make one every year for the Husband of a good friend who sells my cards in her shop as a thank you. It's his birthday on Saturday so that gives me tomorrow to decorate it.

Don't forget to share your desk with the rest of us by visiting the Head Deskmistress, Julia, HERE.

I must also share with you this exciting parcel that arrived this morning from the lovely ladies at the Just Traceys challenge. I was thrilled to win their recent sketch challenge with the LO of my dear Hubby enjoying the sunshine.

Just to prove that I have been busy creating and not just sitting with my feet up thinking about Christmas cards instead of making them, here's one of the cards I made for yet another up coming show on Create and Craft with Sheena this Friday. This time she asked us to play with the new Twinkling H20's and I've had a great time with them. I've had some of the old ones for years and used them to colour the odd butterfly and that was about all but to think about using them in different ways has been exciting. The new colours are beautiful. I think they will quickly become a firm favourite.

Apologies for the slightly out of focus photo!!!

I just clear embossed the tree, the beautiful colours didn't really need anything else.

For those lovely WOYWWer's who asked for the Christmas Pud recipe from last week, I'm going to do a separate post after this one so that I don't bore the rest of you to death with miles of typing to read.

Now, time for a cup of coffee and then those Christmas cards!!!!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great Wednesday.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Stampman Challenge-An Ornament

Hello everyone. How's your week been? I hope you all staying clear of these nasty bugs that are flying about at the minute and if not that you feel better really soon.

It's time for another challenge over at The Stampman and this time Mrs Stampman herself, Jill, has asked us to make an ornament. This can be anything from an altered piece to an ornament shaped card, so plenty of options to play with.

Here's my DT piece this time and as you can see I opted for a Christmas Wreath using the tattered Florals Die. It was a great way of reducing my pile of scraps and very easy to make.

My DD helped with the cutting of all the florals and then scrunching them up before adding a brad and spraying with mica powder to crinkle them further. I added some stickles glitter when they were dry and then stuck them on a doughnut of navy card, cut out by drawing round two plates.

I added some silver elegant Flourishes cut from another die for a bit more interest and a piece of oddment ribbon to hang it up with. It's now hanging on a cabinet in our lounge and looking very seasonal.

Jill is offering a £10 voucher to the winner to spend on her shiny new website so why not have a go. The rest of the DT have some gorgeous projects to give you more inspiration so don't forget to pop over to the Challenge blog and have a look.

Thanks for stopping by and have a really lovely weekend whatever you are up too.