Saturday 26 August 2023

Butterflies at Allsorts

Morning everyone, we are back to our normal weekly challenges Allsorts and this time round Dena is hosting with the theme of Butterflies.

Above an A5 size canvas, it was pre-primed but I gave it another coat of Gesso before decorating with part of a floral napkin which I cut out and fixed centrally then added some stencil work. I stamped a sentiment from my Moments stamp set available at Create and Craft here or Stamp Addicts here.

I also made a tag, a base layer of Distress sprays, sun rays stencilled with texture paste, a bit of background stamping and the Butterfly which is AALL and Create but at the time of writing this post the name of the set evades me as I look to have returned it to the wrong carrier sheet! The word Peace stamped, plus words from A&C washi tape and a pen nib for the thorax.

Happy weekend all and as always my appreciation for your visits and words of encouragement.
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Friday 18 August 2023

'F' for Flower

Morning Peeps, time for our mid month inspirational posts at We Love Stamping and Stamping Sensations where our theme options are Masculine and a Summer mood board. Prizes this month come from Highlight Crafts and Craft Stash

Above my masculine make using a rustic wood slice, covered in gesso and inked around the edges with Oxides, part of the large pine branch from AALL and Create's Pinecone, it's an A4 set and the little Birdie is another image from it. Words from Power of the Word. I thought I would share at Ellies I Spy challenge with the new theme of 'Something for Boys and Men'.

Following the mood board colours and randomly inked and brayered oxide background, stencilled sunrays, the focal flower from A&C Flower Trio, a few extra circles from various sets to extend the pattern and the 'F' from Textured Florals which I use time and again. The word Sun stamped using Garden She Wrote and the little Cockerel from Bright Dawn.

I would like to enter this one into the current Path of Positivity challenge, their optional theme is By the Sea, whilst my card is not sea or beach related I hope the fresh sunny colours following our Summer mood board give a hint of days spent there.

And here is one for the new Butterfly Challenge, a circle version of the square one I shared, it's one of my DT samples using the newly released Tattered Lace Chantilly and Twine collection featured on Create and Craft last week. A bit of a curve ball this time with a bingo grid and I have tentatively gone with 'Die cuts, Flowers and Spots', I say tentatively as the spots come in form of the pearl dot spots on the new TL frames used on the mentioned in last weeks post, these match the original pearl dot frames many of us have from years ago.

This Summer we have seen many more Butterflies which is so encouraging, for the last few years our neighbouring farm has left a couple of acres to grow wild to provide a habitat for wildlife, we now do the same. The "Butterfly Man" from the Cambs/Beds Wildlife Trust comes out to catalogue activity every now and then and believes we have set up a natural pathway between the two areas of land proving conducive to breeding habits. This year we have also seen a return of Hedgehogs on our land, something sadly also in decline in the UK and hope they will settle and breed.

If you've not joined in yet then there's still plenty of time as both challenges run until Wednesday 30th August.
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Saturday 12 August 2023

All creatures great and small and tomato soup?

Morning everyone, it's the second of our two weeks challenges at Allsorts to take us through the holiday month. This time I hosting and my chosen theme is All Creatures Great and Small, so any domestic or wild creature but definitely no fantasy creatures or teddy bears! Prizes are an A 4 stamp set from AALL and Create and a £15 store voucher from WOWVOW.

Dominic Phillips dog stamp sets from AALL and Create were an immediate hit with me and I have made so many cards using them. Above the Lab from Canine Dreams, he's probably my favourite from the three Dog sets released. Simply stamped, stencilled sunray's, a sentiment from the set used for the card below and some little hearts and Mouse from another A&C set.

The Dachshund from Man's Best Friend, stamped ahed heat embossed with detail clear EP, the same sentiment again and stencilled stars.

Something out of the norm for me, I thought I would share my current favourite tomato soup recipe. We have two greenhouses so always have an abundance of them and this year one has just an Italian plum variety, very meaty and perfect for stuffing as well as soup and sauces. I've always used my Gran's recipe peeling them first and long slow cooking, the Italian way. Then recently I came across a couple of suggestions to use them as is, so devised my own version, might not be new to some but thought I would share:

Tomatoes, I rarely weigh anything but roughly 2 kg
4 cloves garlic
3 large onions (I use one red and two regular)
Handful sun dried tomatoes (ones in oil) roughly chopped
A few tbsp of the oil from above
Oregano (I use dried as it's doesn't grown well in our soil)
Fresh basil (we grown purple and green, dried is not a substitute)
Few fresh sage leaves
Olive oil and seasoning
Dessert spoon dark muscovado sugar (from my Gran's recipe)
Good slug white wine
2 tbs good balsamic
About 1-1.5 pints water or stock (can be adapted for vegan/veggies)

Chop onions and divide two thirds between two baking trays (the other 1/3 comes in later). Cut tomatoes into 2/4 pieces dependent on size, divide between the two trays. Do the same with the garlic. Sprinkle on the Oregano, seasoning and olive oil, mix well and put into oven at 200deg for about 3/4 hour, turning one or twice. Your after a slightly charred finish.

Meantime put the oil from the sun dried tomatoes into a large pan and fry off the rest of the chopped onion, when browned add the white wine to deglaze the pan. Remove tomatoes from oven and add to pan, add a little water to the baking pans to get all the caramelised edges and add along with all other ingredients. Simmer for about an hour, cool a little and use a stick blender which not only blends but the skins just disperses into the soup. Adjust seasoning to taste.

As you can see it's a really chunky consistency after cooking but blends down to a lovely soup and not a sign of any skin.

My first attempt ended up as a tomato sauce for meatballs as I didn't add any water/stock, it hadn't occurred to my that by roasting the tomatoes the liquid content had evaporated, but it did give a lovely thick sauce. So the method works for both sauce and soup. One of my Granddaughters used the recipe and added roasted peppers as well and said it was tasty.

Finally back to craft, several asked me about the card above which was one of Sunday's sneak peeks and the "floating" bells. I used this construction weight acetate which myself and the Highlight DT work with, it's significantly stronger than the usual available. Not the cheapest but you can get an extra 10% discount with my code on the sidebar. I tend to fold manually as I find it's dons't work as well using a scoreboard, I fold, use a bone folder then pull into shape.

Have a good weekend.
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Sunday 6 August 2023

Sunny Sunflowers, Buttercups and sneak peeks

Morning everyone, the first Sunday of August means it's time for our new challenges at We Love Stamping and Stamping Sensations where our themes are as always Anything Stamped with options of Masculine and a Summer mood board. Prizes this month come from Highlight Crafts and Craft Stash

Above my take on the mood board taking the colours, Sunflower and birdie. The base panel is inked then a spritzed stencil laid over and dabbed to lift some ink. The Sunflower is from AALL and Create A4 stamp set Friendship Florals, the little birdie from Blackbird, the circles from various sets and the words from Seasons. Both this card and the one below show, I hope, how well A&C stamps sets work together, you can pull small elements from different sets and they blend into a design as thought that's how it was meant to be. The mesh is another piece sourced from one of hubby's greenhouses.

My masculine card again combining different A&C sets has a scored and inked base panel, love the effect created by just dragging ink pads down the score lines. Some stencilling and circles and leaves from Foliage, coloured, cut  out and layered and Woody from Follow you own Path and an envie to match. There's lots of snippets in this one (all the elements, bird, leaves, circles, sentiment) so popping to the Playground and Simon Say's Wednesday challenge with the Sunflower at the top of my post.

Another taking the sunny yellows from the mood board using one of the new Tracy Evans releases from AALL and Create which showcased on Create and Craft recently. I am late to the party with these samples due to the eye issues which I'm pleased to say now seem settled. For a change of scenery I'm going into Stamford hospital this week for another spinal procedure......I like to mix it up! It's some distance from us but has a wonderful pain management department which seems to be in a time warp, usually as many staff as patients in the small ward. 

I love the Buttercup called Build Me Up and have used several of the stamps to make a larger plant stamped onto a brayered and stencilled background, I used blue and yellow but the colours merged to create a greenish colour......should have remembered that from school days! 

I have also been having a play with the other stamps and stencils in the release and whilst I love most......I have always said I will be honest in my appraisal of any products I am promoting....... I remain unconvinced with Flower Smudge. Whilst they still have excellent stamping quality and I usually love working with silhouette stamps these seem neither one thing or the other.......sorry guys, may just be me! Below one of those I made using the set, I tried lots of variations and colours but still not happy.

Finally a few sneak peeks of new releases coming to Create and Craft TV tomorrow, the first Chantilly and Twine, a new Tattered Lace collection of foundation dies with beautiful Orchids, flowers and fauna all of which have free complimentary Reflections/Charisma sheets. Tattered Lace is now back in house with Stephanie at Highlight Crafts and products can be found under the Brand section of the website. The Orchids in particular really lend themselves to decoupage.

The decorative dies above come in both square and circular sets and match the pearl dot frames I have from many years ago as a DT for them and I know from your blogs many of you have them as well. I've always been a fan of an arch shape so this new set below really appeals, I cut twice and made little hinges from offcuts to make a gatefold card. 

Below a new Create and Craft in house die release and there is also a USB which contains all the elements plus Backing DP's and lots of cute little mice and other characters......yes I did get outside my comfort zone and make samples with them, proof below! There's a real feel of tradition with these dies but blended with elegance for some special seasonal cards.

The above card has a frame made from stitched dies cut twice and hinged at the top to create a top fold card (may be called an 'A' fold, sure someone can tell me), then acetate added to the aperture which gives an impression of the bells floating/hanging. The TL sentiment has been fixed onto the back panel acetate. The backing DP on the second comes from the USB.

Many thanks for your visits and have a good Sunday. 

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