Thursday, 28 July 2011

Book recommendation

Hello! Nothing stamped to post today, just a book recommendation. I just finished reading Remembering the Bones by Frances Itani. It's a wonderful book! Frances Itani is an Ottawa writer, and has won numerous awards. I really enjoyed another of her books, Deafening. Remembering the Bones is beautifully written and a wonderful, empowering story. Reading a well-written book is such a pleasure, and when it's a great story, even better. It makes me wish I belonged to a book club, so I could discuss it with other people. Things like why all the women have men's names, and what that might mean. Have you read that book? Do you have a recent favourite? Now that I've finished that one, I'm treating myself to a frivolous mystery novel, and I chose one by Lynda LaPlante, writer of Prime Suspect. So far it's a good one, with a twist in that the protagonist is a bad guy. I'm also reading what claims to be a suspense thriller, but so far the only suspense I'm in is wondering when it's going to get interesting. We recently read our elder daughter another book by Kate diCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. What a lovely story! We'd loved reading another of her books, Despereaux, and I mean to get her others. They are such beautiful stories of hope and courage and the struggles to do the right thing even when it's hard. Not bad messages to convey to children! Happy reading! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wedding card

Hello! Here's a card I made for a lovely person at work. She's getting married this summer, and I wanted to make a card for everyone to sign. I used this beautiful Penny Black image and heat embossed it and added colour with Twinkling H20s. Her colour scheme is shades of green, so I went with fresh shades of green on the card, with white embossing on ivory shimmer for the panel underneath (Stamp: Bella Toile, Stampin' Up). I accented with some glitter and pearls here and there as well (click on the image for a closer look). The scan doesn't do it justice - it's very elegant and shimmery in real life.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Summer Card Camp Week 4, part 2

Here's an ATC I made for the colour challenge this week at Summer Card Camp. I thought it would be fun to try an ATC using a piece of background paper I made. I started with a piece of Heather's 130 lb cardstock and wanted to try my new stamps from Crafty Individuals that I won with the Gothic Arch challenge (thank you!). I stamped one of the flowers in white paint and let it dry. Then, I brayered on shades of fluid chalk ink (Colorbox), in the challenge colours. I think I used French Blue, Ice Blue, Lime Pastel, and Ice Jade. Then, stamped on more floral motifs with Deep Lagoon. Set aside, made yesterdays card, and came back to it tonight. I used the floral motif tree and embossed in white, adding colour with Tombows and detail with seed beads. (These were glued on as after thoughts, but realistically I was never going to sew them on.) The bottom is some grass punched with the Martha Stewart grass punch, and the words are clipped from a Darkroom Door wordstrip. I also accented parts of the tree image with a Sakura glaze pen. The image was whiter until I sponged over some Deep Lagoon chalk ink. Note to self - this stuff does not completely rub off white embossing powder. Next time I'll use dye ink for that little step. I matted the piece on some black and felt done. I think I wish the tree were a bit whiter, but I am not going to start from scratch all over again. I like it well enough. I need to get to bed - I have an important meeting to go to tomorrow and will need my wits about me. Speaking of work, I am really enjoying my new job. It's completely different, which is lots of fun, and I am using so many things I learned in the other job over the past ten years. I do miss the great people where I used to work, but I am getting to know some people at the new place, so that's good. The main thing about the new place is my "international" keyboard. The punctuation is all in weird spots and the shortcut functions are in different places, so my touch typing is really getting messed up. It's the little things that drive you crazy, isn't it! You never know how much you use an apostrophe until it is in an awkward spot (right right finger, lower row + shift). It's easier to type the yen symbol on my new keyboard than the apostrophe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Summer Card Camp Week 4

According to the descriptions, this week's colours include a soft denim-y blue, so I chose this cardbase (Memory Box) and punched out a large number of small flowers from white linen paper. I glued them down into a rectangular area and popped up the top layer of flowers. To bring in the other colours of the colour scheme, I added centres using stickles and dimensional pearls in lime green, blue and teal. The sentiment (A Muse) finishes off the card. Simple!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

RAK from Sarah S

Hello! I wanted to post a quick card that I got in the mail last week. I was lucky enough to win the stamp draw for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch challenge, and my prize package arrived last week. (More info on the challenge wind-up here.) In that package were the lovely Crafty Individuals stamps and designer paper, but also this wonderful card, made by Sarah Schwerin, who hosted the challenge. I love this card - the blues just glow and the netting and braided twine add such lovely texture.

Also in my envelope were my Inkurable Stampers ATCs from a swap I participated in. I'll try to get a photo of those and post, but they are all lovely, each and every one, and I keep going back to look at them and see something new each time.

Thank you for the lovely card, Sarah, and for the great prizes! I can't wait to get them inky :-)

Saturday, 16 July 2011


Hello! No stamping post today - just a couple of random recipes I came up with last week. These are "fridge scrounging specials", using what's on hand. It helps to buy interesting looking things at the store! Amounts here are approximate - use more if you need to, use less if you don't have enough.

Blue Potato Salad

new blue potatoes (1 lb? 2 lb? enough to feed 4 in a salad), washed and boiled (halve them if they're bigger than the rest)
2-3 stalks celery (give or take), roughly chopped
2 apples, chopped
2-3 shallots or 1 onion, finely chopped
a good hunk of soy curd (by which I mean double-smoked bacon, chopped or approx 4 slices bacon, chopped)

1 tbsp strained soy whey liquid (by which I mean rendered bacon fat with the shallots/onions in it)
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR if you just bought sherry vinegar because it looked interesting, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar and 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
good pinch Maldon salt
good few twists of ground pepper

Saute bacon to crisp up and render fat. Drain fat, leaving approx 1 tbsp. Saute the onions or shallots until translucent. Whisk vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the bacon and onion/shallot. Taste, and if too tart, add a teaspoon of sugar. However, the dressing should taste stronger than you like when tasted by itself as it needs to be able to flavour the potatoes. Pour over warm potatoes, apple and celery and toss to dress the salad. The warm potatoes will drink up the dressing beautifully. Serve warm or at room temperature. Also good cold for lunch the next day. The blue potatoes are beautiful with the red apple skins. This was a hit with 3 out of 4 family members, but earned a solid 5 stars since my vote counts for more. I loved this. It's the double-smoked soy pellets - beautiful.....

Quinceatoonapple Crisp

Toss together in a casserole dish:
2 quinces, thinly sliced (or use 4-5 apples instead)
2 apples, sliced
1 1/2 cups saskatoons (or blueberries if you are not so fortunate as to have saskatoons on hand, but it won't be the same)
3/4 cup sugar (or less depending on how sweet your apples are)
sprinkling of cinnamon

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
pinch poudre douce (Victorian Epicure, optional)
sprinkling of cinnamon
pinch of salt

For topping, mix together in a bowl and sprinkle over the fruit mixture. You can add some chopped nuts. This is quicker if you use the 1/4 cup measure for all topping ingredients, measuring the oil last.

Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes or until you see the juices bubbling up through the topping. Serve warm. Very nice with vanilla ice cream, or custard, but delicous all by itself. Also nice cold the next day. This earned a "I love this" from DD2 who is very hard to please. You can substitute other fruit, but you must create a new name that incorporates all the fruit. No "bumbleberry" cop outs allowed.

Ok, I realize that the best thing about foodie blogs is the lovely photographs of the dishes, attractively plated and steaming fragrantly. However, I am never (as in never) in the frame of mind to try to photograph dinner. It's hard enough to rush home from work and get it on the table before the family devolves to hunger-induced barbarism. You will have to believe me that the blue potato salad was a feast for the eyes made all the more appetizing with the smell of bacon and onions and the quinceatoonapple crisp had jewel tones fit for the Tower of London, with a crispy golden-brown topping that smelled like oatmeal cookies.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Summer Card Camp Week 3

Here's the colour combination for this week's project at Summer Card Camp. I was stuck in Christmas theme cards, but couldn't bring myself to do a Christmas card. It's July!

Speaking of July, we have started getting our veggie box from a local farm (Foster's Farm). We've been enjoying the most delicious fresh vegetables. Tonight was beet greens, sauteed in flavoured butter I had in the freezer thanks to Jamie Oliver. The greens were delicious and I swear you feel healthier just cutting them up, inhaling the antioxidants and enjoying the emerald green leaves and ruby stems.

Back to the card. Here I started with a scrap of off white paper, stamped the quote (Fred Mullett) and embossed it in Bavarian Bronze (metallic brown). I thought I would incorporate the stone and butterfly imagery from this poem and stamped my Stampotique stone (large and small sides) here and there in Lake Mist. I antiqued the edges a bit with distress ink and matted it on some brown card and some medium brown Bazzill. The card base is 3 1/4" x 6 1/2" and stamped with a butterfly and the word Papillon (both Quietfire Designs). I used a bit of fancy Japanese paper for red accent behind. More red elements are the red eyelets (I knew they would eventually find a home on a project!), some crochet cotton and a button. The button was a late-game addition, added on this morning before I went to work. This description makes it sound like the card came together in a hurry and part of some master plan, but really it came together like all the others, trial and error, and hemming and hawing, trying different things. I like how the butterflies came out - stamped in Toffee versafine, and the lovely "papillon" from QF, hand lettered by the owner, Suzanne Cannon. A long time ago I dabbled in calligraphy and have always loved it. As for that poem, well, it came in a lovely parcel of Fred Mullett stamps, as the English translation to the Japanese calligraphy stamp I bought. I presume someone more cultured than me would be able to plumb the depths of that poem, but for me it was the ideal shape for this card, and had the words "stone" and "butterfly". More opportunistic than cultured, granted. Still, maybe one of my readers will enlighten me. In the meantime, I'm pleased with how this turned out even if I don't have the faintest idea who I'd give it to.

Well, off to enjoy an episode or two of Game of Thrones with hubby. Sean there's a reason to pay for extended cable!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Summer Card Camp Week 2

Hello! Here's my card for Summer Card Camp, Week 2, featuring this week's colour combination (pale yellow, rusty orange, poppy, lime, grass green). I'm also using this card for this week's Bellarific Friday at Stamping Bella. I placed the three daisy stamps on an acrylic block and stamped them down the length of a 3"x6 1/2" piece of Bella's Bestest paper. I chose Copics in this scheme, or as close as I could get. I don't have a juicy yellow green like that - all mine are a bit greyer. I love that juicy lime colour - you can almost smell the lime zest! Anyway, I coloured it and then had to figure out the layout, which has to include ribbon for this week's Bellarific challenge. You know me and ribbon (love-hate releationship - I love ribbon, it hates me). Anyway, I finished off the card by matting onto some So saffron (SU) and Poppy Parade (SU) in an oblong card. I embellished the flowers with matching stickles (lime green, yellow, copper, Christmas red) so they're quite sparkly in real life.

NSR: Two notable family achievements today: DD2 (age 5) rode her two-wheeler today for the first time, no one holding on, no training wheels, just free-wheeling down the street and pleased as Punch. She must have gone up and down the street a dozen times (Hubby's going to be sore tomorrow - jogged alongside). Second notable achievement, different scale, different continent, different generation. Grandpa is due to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro at sunrise, which is some time in the middle of the night tonight my time (see earlier post on baffling nature of timezones). He was going to try to send a text, but wasn't sure whether it would work. Part of me hopes that at least mountain tops are unsullied by digital traffic. But part of me hopes it works. Apparently he's having a great time and really enjoying himself.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Glimmer fish

Here's another card I made with a glimmer-misted sheet. I embossed the fish image (Heather's Stamping Haven) in black and matted on a blue-green piece, then black. The card base is more of the same sheet of glimmer misted paper, but I sponged on some sequin waste, stamped a shell (Stampin' Up) in orange distress ink, and a fan coral (Coronado Island) in black. A little piece of netty looking mesh ribbon is an accent. I misted that with light yellow to tie it in. Overall, I like it, but it's a bit busy. If I had my time back, I'd re-think the black fan coral and the really dark sequin waste. Still, I like it well enough. In real life it has a life of its own with all that sparkle.

NSR: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in town today, but we're not battling the crowds. We went last year to see the Queen, but that was enough for a few years. We'll watch on TV. I had my last day of work at my old job yesterday - very emotional. Was there way too late cleaning out my filing cabinet and backing things up. That always takes longer than you think it's going to. Backing up is a pain in the neck - and the program we use at work won't allow you to take out the disk without turning everything off and on again. That adds a lot of time and headache. I made stern vows to myself to become paragon of organization and order in my new job. This may be a vain hope, but hope one must. Well, must dash. 1001 things to do today and I forgot to add blogging to my list so it would "count" as a legitimate activity.