Wednesday, 28 December 2016

If you left it too late to send Christmas cards...

...join the club!

Train strikes, work deadlines, college work, my best girls back from Uni.  A perfect storm of extra-busyness meant somehow I didn't manage to make cards in time to send this Christmas, but I still really want to keep in touch with neighbours and distant friends.  Well - Christmas Miracle - I don't have to go back to work till 3rd January so I decided to make some New Year's Cards instead.

It's a simple design that uses some super-sparkly wallpaper samples I was given and some large number die cutters.  I set up a production line - making a satisfying 23 cards in just a few hours in front of Strictly Come Dancing and Gogglebox; and here they all are...

I didn't have enough rhinestones so I just used a hole punch to make some inexpensive embellishments out of scraps of sparkly paper.

I'd love to see your new year's cards in the comments below!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A bit more wow with marbling...

About a year ago I blogged on some experiments with shaving foam printing.  This evening I had another chance to explore shaving foam marbling with re-inkers and I have a few more insights to share with you!

1) You can make a swirly background (maybe a second or third print) and then "paint" the ink onto the shaving foam with a fine paint brush or skewer, placing it very specifically rather than just using the dropper.  It seemed to work best with sparing amounts of ink; otherwise it will smudge when you wipe the foam off the print.  I just stirred some deep spirals into some pink blobs and made roses - some of them came out lovely, just had to be a bit selective with my heart punch!

2) I wanted a more detailed liquid effect so I tried a cornflour solution and it worked a treat.  I blended a teaspoon of cornflour in a small mug of boiling water, and poured it into a shallow dish (about 5mm deep). When I started to drop the blobs of ink they spread and looked like coral. Then I spread it in lines back and forth. The smoothness of the cornflour was really effective and I got this using two shades of blue:

The second time I blended the cornflour with cold water and microwaved it.  This made a terrible mess in the microwave, and the first print was rubbish:

But I stirred what was left around and the second print was very pretty if rather gentle.

With the cornflour I felt I needed to rinse it off with gently running water, but the photographic paper I used held the ink colour very well.

3) Finally, you can really bring out the lovely effect of the marbling by carefully cropping the best bits of your prints and mounting them on some cardstock that brings out one of the colours,

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Do you hate....



Me neither. But Linda and I laughed our heads off when we saw a cross stitch saying that. Something about the juxtaposition of gentle sweet cross stitch with such a miserable statement. So I made her this for her recent birthday. It still makes me giggle, hope it does the same for you:

I freely admit that this wasn't my idea: I saw it on Pinterest and followed the link to but it's in the States and as usual I had left it to the last minute, so I decided to stitch it myself.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A naughty elf on a shelf has come to stay...

...with us this Christmas season. Every night he gets up to some gentle mischief, like hiding in a saucepan or frightening us in the bathroom, but last night he excelled himself... It even took me a while to find him:

If you are feeling completely mystified, this slightly creepy little doll is an "elf on the shelf", allegedly sent by Santa to spy on children and report back whether they have been naughty or nice. I'm not very fond of this kind of seasonal tyranny, but I have been enjoying some of the things he gets up to (have a look on pinterest if your interest is piqued).  My kids are nearly grown up, but I decided that rather than be sorry that we didn't do the Elf when they were young, I would get one anyway, and so far it's working out very well for us, as you can see!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Vicky of Crafting Clare Towers ...

... has closed the drawbridge for the last time. Sob!

My lovely ex-Stampin Up Mummy, prolific and super-creative blogger and generous friend Vicky Hayes, aka Crafting Clare, recently announced that she has blogged her last blog.

Seriously, I can't quite take it in.  This lady, if you are not already acquainted with her work, has inspired me time and time again, with her elegant and inventive paper creations gently punctuated with stories of her family's little funnies.  Luckily she has left her blog up so that crafters can continue to be inspired by her wonderful work at

Vicky, you have been an inspiration to me, in more ways than one, thank you.

Monday, 31 August 2015

These home made gluten-free crackers...

... have actually changed my life!

Now then, sorry if you've called in for something about crafting but may I bend your ear for a moment about a recent foodie discovery?

Like many people, I have come to realise that normal bread, pasta, cake and so on just don't work for me.  I won't go into the problems eating them causes, because if you suffer, I'm sure you already know only too well.  Suffice to say I have been attempting to avoid wheat and gluten (oats are ok) for about 15 years, and I think my gut is very grateful!

Lately I have been exploring cooking with so-called superfoods, for example through the Deliciously Ella blog,  My favourite finds are some great recipes for a loaf or crackers, my favourite is this one:  They are slightly chewy, incredibly satisfying, full of good things like seeds and oats and  I now have them instead of sandwiches for my work lunch virtually every day.  I find them delicious, and as they are full of fibre they are great for your digestion, especially if you remember to drink more liquid with your meal than usual.

The problem was I haven't got time or inclination to cook much, so I needed to make it easier to "mass produce" and clear up after.  Now it takes me about 10 minutes to prepare 4 batches of dry ingredients, and about 10 minutes' effort per batch to cook and clear up, whenever I need more. It's well worth that very small amount of effort, here's how I do it:

Line up some lidded boxes.  Into each box, mix:
1 cup of Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup of Sunflower Seeds,
2 scant cups of Porridge Oats
3 tbsp Psyllium Husk Powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Seal and store the boxes.

When you're ready to make the crackers, in a mixing bowl whisk
400ml warm water
3 tbsp warmed coconut oil.
1 tbsp runny honey

Add one box of mixed dry ingredients and mix very well. Allow mix to soak for at least an hour, then spread half the mix onto a large baking tray lined with a silicone sheet (I just use my hands, easy to wash!). Bake for 10 minutes at 180C then flip it and bake the other side for another 10 minutes or so.  I use a pizza cutter to slice it into pieces before it sets too crispy.  Once cooled, store in boxes or baggies for up to 3 weeks (I keep in the fridge).  Simples!  You can also bake the whole mixture in a silicone loaf mould: cook for about 20 minutes, then turn out of the mould and cook for another 40 minutes or so until it's nice and firm, Once cooled, slice thinly and freeze so that you can toast a slice or two at a time when you fancy it.

For lunch I just spread them with a nice runny cheese or some mashed avocado. By the way, the cup I use is 250ml, I think American ones are about 240ml, so near enough the same (it's a pretty forgiving formula, I also add a few chopped dates or nuts sometimes).

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Crafty Lass made beads @ mine...

,,, a little while ago!

I ran a glass bead-making (lampwork) session recently, and one of my guests Paula was kind enough to blog about it here.

She blogged some great photos including this one of my "ladies in waiting"


...and this one of her in action!

Do check out her blog - lots of great crafting ideas!