Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Toot toot!

Welcome to my first Tootorial Toosday!

Every week, I plan to share a new idea or technique with you - it might be something I worked out for myself, or it might be something I found somewhere and tried out (in which case I will give full credit to the original genius and may be post pictures of my version!)
This week I'm starting with a fairly simple idea which I've used a LOT since I first discovered it ...

Cuttlebug Bottletops!!!

I had seen similar ideas on YouTube and experimented with what I had available - have a go yourself - it's so much fun!
Here's an example of the kind of gorgeous trinkets you can produce yourself at virtually no cost at all
 This is what you need
Some Beer Bottle Tops - about a quid from the Home Brew section at our local supermarket, some scrap paper, a 1" circle punch makes life easier, plus pva glue and Glossy Accents might be handy
You also need your Cuttlebug of course, with 2 B plates and 1 A plate
Arrange the bottletops frilly side up on a B plate (you can do 6 at a time) - then make your Cuttlebug sandwich with the A plate, the B plate with the bottletops and another B plate on top
Wind this sandwich through your Cuttlebug ...
And ta-Dah! this is what will come out the other end ...

...squished bottletops!
I prefer to pull off the plastic liner ...
... so it looks like this, just begging for embellishment!
Use your punch to cut lots of circles
Try them for size in your bottletops
 Then seal them if you like

 using these stick-on transparent domes

 or if you don't have any, you can use Glossy Accents

Which will look like this at first
but will dry to a clear coating
Here's another look at the finished product - I've used patterned papers, stickers, rub-ons, paper flowers, washi tape and gems to finish these ones , but there are so many ideas to try - what about cutting photos to fit inside the bottletops? Or fill them with glitter, beads or watch parts before sealing with Glossy Accents. You can also colour the rims with Sharpie pens to coordinate with your choice of pp.

Please let me know what you think of my first Toot!

Next week, I have a Big Idea about Toilet Rolls - so start saving them now if you want to have a go!

TFL :0)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Deck the Halls

Fa la la la la!!! Here's the last tag for tonight - another one made ahead for December Tag Tuesdays. The theme for this one was "Deck the Halls" which made me think of when my boys were little - I'd be aiming for some tastefully festive colour scheme, but of course they would just want the brightest, sparkliest decorations we could find - tinsel and baubles in every colour available and of course - paper chains! This tag is to remember how much fun we had!
I'm also entering it for this challenge over at Jennifer's Jumbles Frosty Festivities. This challenge was to add glitter or shimmer - you can't really see it in this photo, but the tinsel is VERY glittery, so is the silvery ribbon and the holly berries are glitzed up with Stickles.
Twinkly fun! :o)

Oh! Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!

Here's another tag made ahead for Tag Tuesday cos I know things are gonna get hectic over the next few weeks. The theme for this one was to decorate a Christmas ornament, so I made it like a tag so it could be hung, but also with a framework so it will stand on a shelf or whatever.
I'm also entering it for this challenge over at Jennifer's Jumbles as part of her Frosty Festivities event. The challenge was to overlap.
I started with a basic inverted triangle tree shape, then gradually covered it with overlapping torn strips of patterned paper, working from the bottom upwards to create the feel of the branches. Then I tucked in some strips of washi tape (that stuff gets everywhere in my projects at the moment) and snippets of paper doiley. Some Distress Ink in Mowed Lawn was used to deepen the colour around the edges. Another inverted triangle was attached to the back with a tab at the top, then a rectangle was attached at the bottom to form the pot, folded to form a sort of A-frame so it will stand up on its own. More washi tape was used to decorate the pot and then I went mad with stickles, sequins and sparkly pompoms, finishing with a gem star at the top and some twine.
Lots of cutting and sticking fun! :o)


I've had a lovely time in my workroom today and I've made all my Tag Tuesday tags for December cos there won't be much free time in the next few weeks.
Here's the first one - the theme for that week is going to be "Winter Wonderland"

I'm also entering it for this challenge over at Jennifer's Jumbles "Frosty Festivities" event. The challenge was to make a winter-themed papercraft project without using any specifically winter supplies.
The plain white tag was coloured with Distress Inks in Weathered Wood and Faded Jeans to create a winter sky, using a torn paper mask to leave the hill shape white. Leaving the mask in place, the tree was stamped with DI in Black Soot. After writing the words on, I dotted the whole thing with "snow" using Liquid Pearls in White Opal. The tag was then finished with a piece of pale grey organza ribbon through the top.

Hairy Bikers Skinny Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes

Yum! John brought me a deLISHous cupcake home from work last week. One of his colleagues had made a batch of the Hairy Dieters skinny lemon drizzle cupcakes and she very kindly sent one for me with a copy of the recipe. Double YUM and only 167 a pop (if you can stop yourself from scoffing the whole lot at once!)
You can find the recipe here on the Hairy Bikers website. I had a go this afternoon and honestly they are just SO easy to make. Here are the ingredients
Didn't have to get anything in specially as I had all this in anyway. But it was an excuse to buy a proper muffin pan ...
The recipe included the suggestion to use folded squares of baking paper instead of paper cases - what a clever idea! It took me longer to weigh out the ingredients than anything else - the mixture was ready in 5 minutes flat ...
Then in the oven (my lovely new oven which has a thermostat that really works - with the old one it was set to "warm breeze" or "incinerate", nothing in between) - et voila!
Here they are cooling ... and here they are with their sticky little coats on ...
Gorgeous - and easy and low fat :o) Thanks Hairy Boys!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Nutcracker SWEET!

The theme at Tag Tuesday this week was Music, so I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to play with some of the gorgeous Graphic 45 papers I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago.
I always loved the story of the Nutcracker, with all the wonderful characters in Clara's dream on the night before Christmas, and I think they are illustrated beautifully on these papers.
I also loved the Nutcracker Suite music and indeed it was the first LP I ever bought, when I was about 11 (geeky nerdy kid that I was!)
Here are some close ups - firstly, the handsome Nutcracker himself ...
The tag was cut from scrap paper, then I added layers torn from the G45 pp, a strip of washi tape for contrast and a row of tiny gems. The tag was finished with a treble clef charm and a big red bow saved from last Christmas.
Next is the Mouse King, ready to do battle with his cloak and dagger ...
I gave him a row of little nutcracker soldiers, cut from the G45 pp and given a coat of Glossy Accents to make them shine.
I still have lots left to play with - maybe I can feel a Special Card for DH coming on ...

Pop over to Tag Tuesday to see how all the other Taggers have been making music this week!

TFL :o)

Purple Reign!

Case File #46 as CSI was irresistible (click on image to enlarge)
It's been ages since I played with purple so I couldn't wait to get stuck in. As luck would have it,  my stepdaughter Sarah had chosen Cadbury's purple for one of her wedding colours and her bouquet was in gorgeous shades of lilac and white - perfect!
I love this picture where Sarah's laughing - and we have several other informal snaps we took ourselves, so I may do a few more while I'm on a roll!
The CSI Coordinates were FAB as always (they're the free printables which are designed to go with each Case File)
Here's how I solved the Case -
Scheme: I used all the colours plus white
Evidence: texture in the lace, ruffles and leaves; glimmer in the liquid pearls, glassine envelope and glitter strips; woodgrain and grid design in the Coordinates pp.
Testimony: hidden in the translucent glassine envelope behind the photo is a copy of John's speech as the proud father of the beautiful bride xxx
TFL :o)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Winter Warmer

Hi everyone,
This was inspired by this post on Jennifer's Jumbles Frosty Festivities. Jennifer posted about one of her family's favourite winter warmers, which made me think of this
Granny Robinson's Dal - my childhood comfort food! This dish has been a family staple for many years and each generation has tweaked the recipe. My version is fat free, but still includes all the basic ingredients and all the comforting warmth of the original - and it's so easy to make - you can have it bubbling away within ten minutes of getting home ...
Here are the essentials, although you can adapt to suit what you have available/what you like
You will need
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup red lentils
1 or 2 chillies, depending on how hot they are and how hot you like it!
1" cube-ish ginger root
tsp chilli powder
tsp salt
pinch coriander seeds
few black peppercorns
a tin of chopped tomatoes
lime juice

How to Cook
Pound together coriander and cumin seeds, salt, chilli powder and peppercorns
Finely chop onions, chilli, ginger and garlic
Rinse lentils in a sieve
Throw all these ingredients into a pan, add tomatoes and water to cover
Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 mins
Squeeze over the juice of half a lime

That's it! YUM :o)

ps you can serve it in a bowl with a dollop of yoghurt; or with rice, fresh chutney and a hard boiled egg; leftovers can be made into a dip, a soup or a sandwich filling
pps you can substitute the ingredients to suit what you have available - liquid can be just water, or stock, you can use different types of lentils (may need longer cooking time), you can add aubergines or peppers or smoked bacon - so many possibilities :o)

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Paper Dolls

Here's a card I just made for my sister Mandy

I spotted this fab paper doll image on Graphics Fairy (click on the pale blue button to the RHS of the screen) and I couldn't resist it.

She looks so much like Mandy did when she was little and we always loved those paper dolls...

Here's her back view from inside the card

And I paperclipped the extra outfits to the back page.

Hope Mandy likes it xxx

Home (is where your heart is)

Case File #45 over at CSI was so gorgeous and came with an irresistibly temptacious set of CSI Coordinates (FREE printable goodies) that I just HAD to play (even though I didn't really have time this week). Here's the Case File (click on the image to enlarge it)
Here's my solution to the Case
The Scheme: I used all the colours in this muted scheme
The Evidence: windows (from the coordinates - aren't they FAB?); vintage text and book pages (again from the Coordinates); buttons (at last got to use the gorgeous vintage linen one); lamps (Coordinates again); woodgrain (pp from my stash and the window frames of course).
The Testimony: I used the Inspiration Words - Comfort, Family, Home.
The photo was taken during my early days with John - it shows him with his Mum, daughter Sarah and little grandson Bailey - my new family in the home where John grew up.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Browned Off and Distressed?!

The theme over at Tag Tuesday this week is "Sepia" - I didn't have a plan for this one at all, just rummaged about in my workroom for likely bits and bobs and waded in ... here's the result
The photo's not great as this week there haven't been too many opportunities for taking pictures in natural light without getting drenched!
 I started by tearing off a scrap of patterned kraft paper, inking it and attaching it to a tag cut from plain kraft cardstock. Then a scrap of paper doily and a snippet of Magic Mesh were inked and tucked in behind the pp. I stamped some antique script down the LHS then added some faux stitching.
The vintage spool label was printed from the internet (I found a link on Counterfeit Kits) and adhered with foam pads for depth. Then I added a little mouse cut from some Beatrix Potter scraps I bought in Lakeland years ago, as well as a couple of flowers inked and clustered together with a die cut leaf. Finally I added some vintage buttons and tied ribbon and cord through the top.
Next up -

The Tim Holtz tag for November was FABulous of course! Tim showed us a technique which involves using heat embossing as a resist, then lots of Distress Inks, and finally using an iron to remove the embossing - I don't have an iron dedicated to crafting so I had to improvise with a heat gun, absorbent paper and my Amazing Asbestos Fingers (don't try this at home folks!) - but anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I'm very chuffed with the results!
TFL - check out Tag Tuesday and Tim Holtz for some Inspirational Ideas :o)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Calorie-free Mince Pie!

HI everyone!

Thought you might like to see what I've just finished making  - a costume for my little step-grandson Bailey, who is going to be a Mince Pie in his first school Christmas play. I sort of made it up as I went along ...
The idea is that Bailey will wear the top on his front and the bottom on his back, so it looks like he's sandwiched in the middle - there are cotton tapes which will tie at his shoulders.
The pastry crust was made of stuffed, stitched and painted felt; the mincemeat filling was crumpled tissue, painted and then coated with Mod Podge; the silver foil case was created with layers of felt, wadding and silver lame, stitched through to add texture and stability.
Let's hope he likes it ... and let's hope my stitching holds! :o)
All being well, I'll post a picture of him wearing it next week ... keep them all crossed for me!
A x

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Sky At Night

This week's theme over at Tag Tuesday is "CELESTIAL - STARS MOONS PLANETS AND THE SKY AT NIGHT". Here's my version
It was done very quickly this week - several shades of Distress Ink were applied to the background, with torn paper masks to create the hills and a circle cut from a Post-It Note for the moon. The trees were stamped with Jet Black Archival Ink (re-using the same masks to make some of the trees appear to be partially hidden by the hills). The stars are dots of White Opal Liquid Pearls and white journaling pen. Finally, I punched holes along the bottom and added some tiny silver stars from an old pair of earrings and threaded a twinkly black ribbon through the top to finish the tag.
Now I need to see if I can work out how to schedule this to be posted after midnight - how hard could it be?!
TFL - visit Tag Tuesday to see all the other creations and the rest of the themes coming up for November.
Annie :o)