Monday, 24 January 2011

Serene Birthday Card (or How to Hide Mistakes)

Hello! I made this card for the January challenge at Inkredible Stampers, which was to make a "golden birthday" card. Your golden birthday is the one where you turn the same age as the date. I passed mine a while ago, so I just used a birthday theme with gold elements.
I started off with the black panel, stamping it in Memories Soft Gold using the Cornish Heritage Farms Spanish Script backgrounder. Then, I added that beautiful leaf stamp (Wild Raspberry, Fred B Mullett) and embossed it in gold. Fred B Mullett has beautiful stamps from nature prints, lots of botanicals and vegetables, as well as fish and other sea creatures. They're gorgeous. Anyway, back to the card. I stamped the happy birthday (A Muse) and embossed it too, and mounted all on a gold mat. I thought this mossy tsumugi card base was nice, but when I folded it, it cracked, so I covered it up with some tissue tape (Tim Holtz). I stamped the card base in versamark with the same wild raspberry leaves, and added a strip of plum textured paper. I like to keep strips like this for accents, and not just because I can't bear to part with the smallest pieces of my favourite paper. Now, having introduced purple, I felt compelled to follow the rule of threes, so I added some eggplant dimensional pearls. Have you spotted them? No? Well, that's because they really blobbed out into enormous blobs in the top left corner, so I applied a Tim Holtz metal corner. (Two actually, another on the bottom left, but it was too much so I pried if off, with some difficulty I might add). During all this, the other smaller dots of eggplant dimensional pearls under the happy birthday got smudged, so I scraped them off too and covered up the damage with mushroom dimensional pearls instead. Take that rule of three! Take that.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Clean and Simple Birthday Card

Hello! I made this clean and simple birthday card for a friend using a brand new stamp (Local King) that I got for Christmas. (Thanks Mum!!!) I love how it stamps - I used Fresh Ink here, in Slate, and heat set it with the iron. I had used chalk inks for a few tries, but settled on this one, for a more muted colour scheme. They say on design shows on tv that you should look at what people choose for their clothes to see what colours they like, and my friend wears a lot of black, charcoal, grey, slate, and white. I didn't go black and white (though I think that would look amazing with this stamp), rather with shades of grey. I was unable to resist a splash of colour, added with some red embroidery floss. The image is matted on silver cardstock, the lone nod to sparkle on this card. I am going against the grain here - no big experiments with colour, no distressing, no stickles, no colouring, just simple stamp+ink+paper (+thread). I can see making a few like this in various colours - would make a good gift set. I haven't tried Local King stamps before, but they seem quite good quality rubber. They come on cling cushion and they're a Canadian company, with a variety of styles of images.

Thanks for stopping by!
Wheeee - it's Friday!!!!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Birthday card

Hello! How are you? I'm great - it's been a really good day. Great day at work, lunch with a friend, met a friend after work, nice time with the kidlets in the evening and my mother came over and we had a great time stamping together. It's my brother's birthday soon, so we were making cards for him. Here's my effort - with Marci and Mort has a Pin Curl from Stampotique. I started by making the background, which is a piece of smooth white cardstock that I used to blot a colourwashed & misted piece of watercolour paper. I ironed it and then stamped and embossed this pair in black and coloured with Distress Ink (accented with Distress stickles). The "to brother sister" are Stampin' Up! stamps and the "from" is Karen Foster snap stamps. The grass is Stampotique and the rest of the stamps are Stampers Anonymous (Tim Holtz collection). I did some sponging of Black Soot around the edge, created a frame with markers and then added a grey mat and some black enamel accents. I really love this card. This pair really cracks me up and it's a bit unexpected. I like that Marci even looks like a big sister. She looks after her little brother and makes sure he brushes his fangs - I even whitened them with pigment ink to show what a great big sister he has.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a great day too.
PS I discovered that mixing Dusty Concord and Aged Mahogany gives the most wonderful plummy reddish purple. Gorgeous! I will be using that colour combination again. Dusty Concord also combines beautifully with Chipped Sapphire. I love that about Distress Inks - if there isn't quite the right colour, you can mix them together for beautiful results, and because they don't break down when wet, the colours really go well together.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Japanese Doll

I don't know how the colours are showing up for you, but in real life, this is a fresh celery green (like celery hearts) and cameo coral for the pink. It's gorgeous and I love it!!!!! That's extremely immodest, but I love this card. And look at the acres of hoarded Japanese paper I used! Acres! It's a lovely background, and I actually coloured her to go with it.
I have happy memories of colouring this doll - DD1 and I made dolls together one happy afternoon. She loves to blend and make colours with Tombow markers. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree ;-)
The image (Hero Arts) is embossed in black and coloured with markers, and the message is Papertrey Ink. I struggled a bit with the layout, but settled on this. The card base is a lovely celery tsumugi square card, and the pale paper is more hoarded paper (Soft Sky). The girl is festooned with Stickles - yum yum!
Well, it's going to be a short post tonight. I've been slacking on my getting to bed early so it's time to fix that. Starting tonight!
If you're in the area, I have a class coming up at Heather's on January 29th called Lily Splendour. I also have my February class project done and it will be a great class - lots of fun. It will be Feb 19th.
NSR: I made a yummy dinner tonight - roast chicken with lemon and garlic. I got home, whipped it in the oven with a pan of potatoes tossed in olive oil and dashed out to work out. When I got home the kitchen smelled amazing, micro'd some veggies and dinner was delicious. I will have to remember that a roast chicken is that easy and self-minding. I used a great herby-salty-rub, Tuscan blend, to season the chicken. Very nice. I got it in the impulse purchase section next to the cash at LaPointe's (fishmonger) but I have also seen it at the Butchery. Great stuff to jazz up a meal. And really, nothing smells better when you come in the door than roasting chicken. Mouthwatering! As far as recipe went, I saw a bunch of variations on line and just did a version of those. If I were a Kitchen Jedi, I would say I used the Force, but then the Health and Safety vigilantes would close down my blog and start wittering on about inner temperatures and food safety. So I won't. (Besides, who are you going to trust - me, or the people who say leftovers only keep for two days?)

Friday, 14 January 2011

? of butterflies

Hello! Does anyone know what the collective noun for butterflies is? Flock? Swarm? I have no idea. If it were up to me, it would be "a drift of butterflies". What do you think?
I woke up early this morning (coughing, not personality transplant) and thought I would spend some time stamping. I had this panel leftover from various stages of trying to find something to do with it. Much like a butterfly, it has gone through many stages before it emerged onto this card. It started out as a page in my new booklet for a class at Heather's Stamping Haven, but it wasn't going to work for that purpose. Then I stamped some more on it. Then I stamped some more on it, then I stamped words and tried some distress crackle paint (rock candy). Then stamped the butterflies. Then it was time to go to bed last night. This morning it found a home on a black mat, some sequin waste really spruced it up (man, that stuff can rescue any project), as did some punched butterflies from another discard from the class project. I also doodled a border with my black Micron (also another guaranteed rescuer of ailing designs). I quite like this now - lots of texture, colours, etc.
Some details: I stamped that grungeflower frame (Hero Arts) and embossed with Old Paper Distress embossing powder, sloughing off the release crystals. Then I sponged on various colours of Distress Ink with my ink blending tool. I stamped on the ship's register stamp (Heather's Stamping Haven) and the butterflies (Stampers Anonymous) and the words (Stampin' Up!). The punched butterflies were from another image (Sunshine Designs hydrangea) that had been sponged and crackle painted, also with rock candy. The butterfly punch is the one with three butterflies on it (Martha Stewart). The ribbon is the two-tone kiwi kiss/vanilla ribbon from Stampin' Up. The card base is PTI (#enchanted evening).
Well - now it's time to click on "publish post" and go get ready for work! This was definitely a better way to spend an hour than lying in bed coughing and trying not to sleep in.
NSR: So, here we are, two weeks into January. How are your New Year's resolutions holding up? Mine are hit and miss. I have been hitting the sack before midnight (usually with just minutes to spare, but sometimes as early as 11) and eating more fruits and vegetables. I have been more patient with the children, but it's early days yet. On the miss side, we haven't had any friends over, I have one basket, two hampers, and one dryer full of clean laundry and #flashmobs seen=0, though apparently there was one at daycare when the kids had a big dance party to "I gotta feeling" by The Black-eyed Peas (I cringe as I write that, even though this blog isn't exactly good grammar's last bastion). BTW, the muffins from last post were disliked by the children, despite the chocolate chips. Apparently they took exception to the fig seeds, which, I thought was the best part (other than the orange-spice-chocolate-fig taste). Sigh. Good thing I resolved to be more patient! In other news, I'm reading a very interesting book about the history of the English language (The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, by Bill Bryson). It's a fascinating collection of facts about English and how it got to be the way it is, and if history is anything to go by, there is no last bastion for good grammar and "I gotta feeling" will soon worm its way into the canon by virtue of popular use. Ain't nothing like the English language!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Exciting news

Imagine my delight and surprise when I checked my favourite blogs today and discovered that Vicky Garrett chose my Starry Lady card as one of her challenge favourites! I was so excited. It's one of my favourite cards that I've made and I felt very honoured to be chosen from such wonderful entries in the challenge. Thanks Vicky!!!

Check out the entries - they are all fantastic!

There's another challenge on right now, masking, and you can use any stamps (their first challenge of the month is open to any stamps) so go out and get inky!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Mystery Muffins (NSR)

Mystery Muffin Recipe (Fig, Orange Spice & Chocolate)

Original recipe in Company's Coming: Muffins & More by Jean Pare. Modifications by me!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bran flakes breakfast cereal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cooking oil
1-1/2 cups buttermilk (1 tbsp of vinegar will sour 1 cup milk, for a substitution)
1/4 cup orange juice (squeeze the juice from an orange you zest for...)
1 tsp orange zest (I use the Lee Valley rasp for zesting citrus fruit)
2 cups chopped dried figs (I removed the stem)
the end of a bag of chocolate chips + the end of a bag of mini choc chips or about 1 cup of choc chips

Measure first seven ingredients into large mixing bowl and stir thoroughly. Make a well in the centre.

In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients and figs. Pour into well. Stir to moisten (get all the dry ingredients wet, but don't over mix). The batter will be lumpy. Fill greased muffin pan (or use muffin papers). You will need two 12-hole muffin pans. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.


Scrap Sunday 10

I had a few minutes this morning since DD2 and I were home from church with sore throats and a cough. She was sneezing a lot too, so I thought we would just stay close to home. She wanted to do some "blending" (the kids' words for colouring with Tombows and blending with a paintbrush), so I had to clear off a spot for her at the stamp desk. In the pile of scraps I removed, there were these pieces of patterned paper and the embossed velvet piece. They looked nice together so I hunted in my scrap basket for something to go with them and this pear image fair leaped into my hand. Seriously, it was the first thing I touched and I couldn't even see what it was. Spooky! Anyway, I stamped it "collage style" (ie crooked and uneven, adding more to make up for it) and matted it on some coordinating cardstock. I used the light blue (Baja Breeze, SU) to coordinate the pear with the paper. This pear had been my first foray into flocking and had been waiting for an occasion to appear on a card. I finished off the card with a few PTI buttons from the stash. Presto, change-o, done! Today will be a day of tidying and putting away Christmas decorations, so I'm glad I got some stamping in when I could.
Thanks for stopping by.
NSR: We went out to see Harry Potter last night. It was pretty good, and I'm looking forward to the next one in July. We rented a great movie on Friday night too, called In the Loop. It was really funny (though the language was pretty extreme, so consider yourself warned), but in a dark sort of way. Apparently it's based on a BBC Television series (In the Thick of It), but it's not one that's made its way to Canada yet. If it does, I would certainly watch it.
Also apropos of nothing, yesterday I made some muffins to use up some languishing buttermilk and oranges. I found a recipe for date bran muffins, and in the absence of dates, substituted figs. They turned out to be delicious! I also added a bit of cloves and nutmeg, and those flavours with the orange zest and juice were very nice. I also used the ends of two bags of chocolate chips (in my experience muffins with chocolate chips get devoured by the children, regardless of how much bran, etc. I have sneaked into the muffins). Altogether, it's quite a pleasing combination, though it was a bit of a gamble. So: figs, orange, chocolate, cloves, nutmeg. Not in any recipe book, but made for a tasty, tender muffin, with the added benefit of putting dried-out oranges and last-day buttermilk to good use.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Hello! Happy New Year! I hope you are having a nice New Year's Day, wherever you are. If you're here for a stampy post, stamping references will be thin on the ground. Feel free to click my sidebar to greener stamping pastures. Otherwise, get yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a nice fireside chat.

We've been having a great Christmas. Here are some highlights:
- lots of family time, with cousins, grandparents (my parents), my brother and his family, and friends over
- great food, from family favourites to several marvellous recipes from British celebrity chefs (Jamie Oliver's greens with flavoured butter must be tried - fantastic! and his festive strudel was a wonderful way to use up the leftover Christmas pudding and well worth the trip to the produce market for a quince, though an apple would be fine instead - I just wanted to try a quince; lots of great Nigella recipes)
- pyjama days
- the new Maeve Binchy
- the new Jack Whyte
- Playmobil (the kids LOVE it, we are all converts. It's great stuff, fantastic play value and very good quality)
- great Christmas CDs (faves are Barenaked Ladies, the new Bob Dylan, Maddie Prior and the Carnival Band, the Irish Tenors, John Denver and the Muppets
- picnics in forts with the cousins
- Church on Christmas Eve
- listening to DH play his guitar
- tobogganing
- lots and lots of other great things!

Since it's New Year's Day, I thought I would mention resolutions. I don't normally make a lot since I am not very good at keeping them. I more take a day-to-day approach since trying to be perfect for a whole year at a time seems doomed to failure since I can't make it through even one day without some sort of lapse of character, if not several lapses on many dimensions throughout the day. Still, I did try to think of some goals. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
2. Put laundry away when it's done in the dryer/off the line.
3. Be more patient with the children.
4. Use my bread machine.
5. Hang out at airports and train stations in effort to see real-life flash mob.
6. Go to bed before midnight.
7. Send some of the cards I make.
8. Have friends over more often.

Well, that's it for blogging this evening. My first post of 2011. Here's to many more, hopefully more with stamping in them! Happy New Year! May it be a good one for you.