Sunday, 30 October 2011

A birthday and two recipes

Another family birthday this week and I thought I would make it a practical gift this time.  I found this cook's gift idea in one of my Susan Branch books - an old mixing bowl filled with the ingredients and recipe for Cranberry Apple Crisp.  Well I'd been on the lookout for a suitable bowl for weeks but when time started running out I decided had to buy new and found this blue Melamine bowl at our local Ironmongers.  It was just the right size, very practical - and a bit 50s in style to my mind.

The card is a steal from Cristina's fabulous project and I added my felt leaf pin as an extra little gift. 

Sadly the clocks went back last night and it feels like the end of the summer all over again. Only 2 days ago I was digging up my tomato plants and now have a large bowl of small  red, orange and green tomatoes that I hope will all ripen to red over the next week or so. And I'd like to share this delicious tomato recipe I've used quite a few times since the tomatoes started ripening - its quick, easy, tasty - and just the thing for a glut of cherry tomatoes. You can watch Lorraine Pascale making her Tomato Basil Tarte Tatin here on Youtube.

Lastly just have to post this photo of the garden robin who hops around when I'm digging.  He/she keeps an eye out for any tasty morsels my fork uncovers and enjoyed quite a few while I was digging up the tomatoes and putting in my onion sets on Friday. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Papertrey October Blog Hop

If its October its got to be pumpkins, witches and trick or treat - although trick or treat is a very new idea here in the UK. But I have to admit that I absolutely love the shape and colour of pumpkins and have a few favourite Papertrey Ink pumpkin images in my collection.  I used them to make small trick or treat gifts for some of the younger family members who are really looking forward to the 31st.

And I'm looking forward to the Papertrey blog hop tonight. Its always inspiring to see what other PTI addicts have been making and of course I want to join in and offer my treats - especially the pumpkins ones! The lunch box die is perfect as a treat holder and I purchased some fun-size (don't know why they call them fun size - a larger size would be much more fun!) chocolate buttons and bars that fitted in nicely.

My lovely blog friend Theresa is currently holding a Halloween blog party with a giveaway and she wants to know our favourite Halloween memories.  Well, as I said, we don't really have a tradition of celebrating on Halloween here in the UK but I do have a little pottery witch I bring out every October.  She sits on my mantelpiece until its time to put up the Christmas decorations, so to me she is the very beginning of the Christmas crafty season.  I remember buying her at one of those bargain basement stores many years ago.  When my son was small he and I used to go with my Mum and Dad on Saturday shopping trips and on this trip Mum and I both bought a witch - Dad thought we were daft, but I've loved her ever since.  She has decorated my October mantelpiece for at least the last 35 years and is a happy reminder of long ago shopping trips with my parents.

Oh, and I've two blog posts today.  If you are curious to find out what constitutes a good Sunday afternoon outing here in Wales, scroll down and take a look!

Supplies: all PTI -  Lunch Box Note die, Limitless Layers die collection, Tag-Its stamp sets #2 & #7, Friendship Jar Fall Fillers, Autumn Tags 2009

Tractors and chips

I wonder what passes for a Sunday afternoon outing where you are?  I work until 2.00pm on Sundays but as the local Vintage Machinery Show and Threshing Demonstration last week was only down the road, I was able to fit it in.

It was a beautiful day with the sun shining on the hills behind and the old cars, tractors, trucks, motorcycles and farm machinery made a colourful picture. My  readers in the US might be interested to learn that the green tractor on the right found its way to North Wales all the way from Ohio!

The event was held at our local mart (cattle market) and as you can imagine, as a vegetarian its not somewhere I frequent too often but more and more local events seem to have been held there recently, including the summer Flower Show, Bonfire Night Fireworks Display and various vintage, horse and pony shows and sales.

I don't know how long these men had spent feeding this old threshing machine, but they were at it the whole time we were there and I hope they had been able to fit in a break at the market cafe as we did!

Double egg and chips with a mug of tea was just the job after my exhausting shift at the small hotel where I am housekeeper/maid of all work three days a week! I haven't eaten at the market cafe before and although you certainly couldn't call the decor luxurious or stylish, the food was fresh, simple and delicious.  Maybe not what I should eat every day, but I don't think once in a while will hurt.  I don't make chips at home and they are always a treat.

And it was most enjoyable watching the old farmers enjoying a cuppa and a good old gossip.

There were a few stalls selling bits and bobs and I was lucky enough to pick up an old wooden embroidery frame and some vintage button cards - and I was sorely tempted by this old homemade child's sledge...... but where would I put it!  Though later I did think it might have been a good addition to my stall at the next craft fair - which will no doubt be very Christmas orientated.  Oh well, too late now!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree....

We had another glorious warm and sunny day here today, but when I should have been planting my onion sets in the garden, I was making these Christmas tree decorations instead. There are only two craft fairs before December 25th and the next one is on Saturday! I really haven't made enough stock yet so had to forfeit the good weather and get down to it.

Today it was tree decorations. Again I've used Erin's cereal packet idea and Papertrey Ink stamps and dies. As the die cuts need to be seen from both sides I found two layers of cereal packet plus the two stamped cardstock layers is enough to create quite a sturdy ornament.  

The angel is from the Love Lives Here Holiday set. She comes without a face but I just couldn't bring myself to leave her without features and added a few pen strokes to give her a bit of character.  I've varied the set of her wings to make each angel different and added a punched circle of velum to represent a halo. I also made little trees, bells, bird houses and stocking and mitten tags.

I did manage to get a bit of time in the garden before the sun dipped below the horizon.  I decided I should photograph the decorations hanging in our very own real Christmas tree. One year we had a rooted tree and my Dad planted it in the garden after Christmas. This must have been more than 25 years ago now and the tree has grown into the perfect shape and is about 15 feet tall. If it was in the front garden we could put lights up but its too far from the house to run an electric cable - perhaps I could try solar lights this year.

Supplies: Papertrey Ink Love Lives Here, Love Lives Here Holiday, Bells & Boughs plus the matching die sets and Limitless Layers

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Just a little something

I've really taken to Erin Lincoln's idea of re-using cereal box-type card and die cuts to make small chipboard accents or decorations. It appeals to my fondness for recycling and for fiddling about with bits of card, stamps and ink. So I'm scrutinising everything I put in my recycling box at the moment in case its suitable for running through my long suffering Cuttlebug.
I'm in the middle of Christmas tree decorations at the moment but also thought these little chipboard shapes could be perfect small 'thank you' tokens to fit inside the PTI lunchbox note. This one is to go with one of my lavender scented hanging birds sold from my Folksy shop today. I'm going to enjoy trying out other shapes.

The vintage sewing machine on the front of the note is another old letterpress block I acquired recently. Its just right to accompany a sewn item.

Supplies: Papertrey Ink: Lunch Box Note die; Heart Prints stamp set and matching dies; Limitless Layers dies 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Bert Jansch, 1943 - 5th October 2011

I've been listening to Bert and The Pentangle since the 1960s and created this digital scrapbook page after we'd been to see the band in concert at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall in July 2008.  I made my own digital elements by scanning the concert programme and our tickets and saving them as PNG files.  Then it was easy to resize them to fit on my page.  A souvenir of a great night!  And so sad to think we won't see all the band together again.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

DIY Washi Tape

Another great creative idea from Papertrey Ink's Make it Monday challenge this week - make your own Washi tape from stamps, double sided sticky tape and tissue paper. That Nichole is SO clever!

I was asked to make a 'congratulations on passing your driving test' card in a hurry this week (did no one think she would pass!!) so took the opportunity to enter the MIM challenge again. I did have a roll of 1" wide tape but its a pretty cheap make and wasn't easy to use but I'm fairly happy with the result. A roll of good quality tape would make the job easier next time I think.

And I might also have found it easier if my cat Sausage hadn't decided he wanted to sit just here in the middle of my desk! Poor Sausage lost his sight this year so he's become a little spoilt and I tend to let him do what he likes now - especially as he has to be locked in the house at night and when I'm at work to stop him getting lost or knocked down.

Supplies: Papertrey Ink: Enjoy the Ride stamp set and die; Waltzing Mouse Stamps: Off Beat Backgrounds

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Letterpress success

I've recently become interested in old letterpress printing blocks as I've seen some lovely vintage images used on letterpress printed cards and stationery recently. I wondered whether I would be able to get them to print without a letterpress printing machine and as there are lots of blocks for sale on ebay for not much money, I decided to risk buying one to try it out.  So I bought this lovely old fashioned Christmas greeting and set about experimenting.

I first tried just hand printing with an ink pad and a mouse mat underneath my cardstock to make a surface with some "give".  It worked but not very well and there was no impressed effect. So I was very brave and carefully prised the metal print plate from its wooden block and set about experimenting with my Cuttlebug until I found a sandwich that worked. I also remembered reading somewhere that using Versamark on a stamp underneath the ink might give a better impression - and it did!

It doesn't show up in my photo, but the greeting is impressed into the card. I cut the print out with a tag die and added holly stamps. Then I used Old Paper Distress Ink on the edges, matted onto some red card, and cut it out.

I couldn't resist making some more cereal packet chipboard accents yesterday and added one to my tag before attaching to a Favor-It Box which had had the Papertrey impression plate treatment. As you can see I tried printing in red too and I'm not sure that I don't like that version even more than the green. I just need to work out how to get the greeting onto the inside of a Christmas card now.

This little project will be entered into the current A Passion for Papertrey challenge and its also a SECOND (good grief!!) entry for the Make-It-Monday challenge over on {Capture the Moment}.

I can't wait to find a few more suitable printing blocks to try but don't worry Hannah, if you are reading this I don't think I'll be going into the letterpress business! The process is a bit fiddly and rather hit and miss. So I'll still be looking for my letterpress goodies at Little Red Press!

Stamps: Papertrey's: Holy Jolly; Love Lives Here
Dies (all Papertrey): Favor-It Box 3; Tag Sale 1; Mat Stack 1; Love Lives Here collection
Other: Papertrey Linen & Canvas Impression Plate

Saturday, 1 October 2011

October already.....

.........just where did September go!!  Two posts today as I want to fit in the October children from Children Month by Month, the old book I wrote about at the beginning of September.

Now children, please don't try burning leaves on the garden path yourselves.... this looks a very dangerous occupation and I'm sure this illustration would not be published in a children's book today!  The book comes from the stock of an old publishing house being sold on that well-known on-line auction site recently and is in mint condition. I was interested to see a printing error on this page. The stick or poker the boy is holding isn't there! Probably why the book didn't get to a book or toy shop - bad for the publishers but good for me.  Look out for the next page on 1st November - it will be here before you know it!

We've had another glorious day here in the UK. I spent most of the morning making this mobile, which I want to enter for the Papertrey Ink Make-it-Monday challenge.

That clever Erin Lincoln made some lovely chipboard accents using cutting dies and cereal packet cardboard recently and this week's challenge is to make a project using the same technique. Now I was hoping my September release goodies would have arrived by today as I had an idea for a Christmas mobile - but they haven't dropped on the doormat yet so I decided to make an Autumn mobile instead - after all it is only October!

So here it is - I've used leaf and fruit dies, 5 layers of cereal box cardboard and stamped cardstock for the fronts and backs. I found a suitable stick in the garden and tied it all together with hairy twine. I'll hang it in the window tomorrow.

Oh, and does anybody need any cooking apples! Free to a good home but must be collected - any takers!!

Stamps: Papertrey Ink's Leaf Prints, Fruit Fusion Apple and Pear plus the matching dies.
Cardboard courtesy of Dorset Cereals!

Indian Summer

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky;
I left my shoes and socks there - I wonder if they're dry?
Spike Milligan

I nearly did leave my shoes there as I got a bit stuck in some muddy sand!  Due to work and lack of transport at the weekend, I knew Wednesday would be my only chance to walk by the sea before the end of this heat wave, so off I went to our nearest beach.  Its 18 miles away in Rhyl, North Wales - the seaside town where I was born. Much of the "Sunny Rhyl" I knew as a child has disappeared, removed by the local council (misguidedly in my opinion).  But this far end of the beach has thankfully been left alone, apart from some storm defence boulders and the wind farm out to sea. 

As children we loved to spend time on the beach, most often here in Rhyl (that's me and my sister in the 1953 photo), at Criccieth - my Mother's birthplace and at Butlins Holiday Camp in Pwllheli on our much anticipated summer holidays.
This part of the North Wales coast is mostly ignored both by holidaymakers who prefer the more remote beaches of Gwynedd - which of course I absolutely love too - and by day trippers who want a traditional day out at the seaside with all the trimmings - amusement arcades, cafes, candy floss and fish and chips - though sadly no Fun Fair, which closed in 2007.
And I like that too on occasion, but I prefer my beaches mostly uninhabited. And Splash Point is almost always that. Its just that bit too far from the centre of Rhyl for most people.  Even on this beautiful day there were no more than a dozen or so people enjoying the sun, sea and sand.


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