Thursday, 31 January 2013

Winter Warmer

We have finally arrived at the last day of January. Although the snow has gone and it has been quite mild this week the cold weather is set to return again for the weekend with some night time frosts. This cold weather has made it really important to find ways of snuggling up and keeping warm. Last summer (now that seems a long time ago now) I wrote a post about my favourite summer tipple, Pimm's. Some of my overseas friends had never tasted Pimm's and I wrote a little about the history of it here. If you want to "feel" some summer sunshine have a re read of that post. It certainly made me long for sunny days and blue skies.

I mentioned in that post that I had not been able to get the other Pimm's, which is still made, Number 3 cup,or Winter Warmer as it is known. Again it is a secret mixture and this one is brandy based.Well that has all changed as I found out that some Waitrose supermarkets  stock it and recently my Mum and Dad managed to pick me up a bottle.
I checked the ingredients for a winter warmer which is 3 parts of apple juice to one part Pimm's

Pour the juice and Pimm's into a saucepan and gently warm; don't let the mixture boil.
I put a few segments of satsuma, a few cloves and a grating of cinnamon into a glass
And then sipped slowly.....mmmm.....
and yes, it is absolutely delicious. It has a rich mulled taste with a hint of orange zest and spices but it has not the usual bitterness that you often get with mulled wine and is just sooooo mellow and a great winter warmer. If you can find the Pimm's No 3 do try it. We enjoyed a glass of it at the weekend and will have another this!

My card challenge today is trying to also bring some sunshine to the winter and I used one of the first stamps I ever bought from Lili of the Valley
I made this card as a recent commission and as you can see I can now personalise my cards. If you would like anything similar just email me or contact me via my Etsy Shop here This card was made for a sweet little girl's upcoming 1st birthday.

Here she is in close up. I coloured her
with my Promarkers. I have added 2 of my new Memory Box corner die cuts.
I printed my own sentiment which I then cut using my spellbinder small fancy oval to cut out. I added Dimensional Magic to the wings which is quite hard to see.
The backing paper is covered with sweet little hearts. To add some bling I used glamour dust on the dandelions.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges.

I love Promarkers Love is all around #153
Forever Friends Ribbon or lace #54
Bearly Mine hearts galore there are hearts galore here, the whole backing paper is covered with them ;0)
Sweet Stampin Ribbon
Whoopsi Daisy For a child
Bunny Zoe anything goes
Whimsy Card Challenges fancy edges
The Inky Chicks Bingo my line is sentiment/image/bow
Simon Says anything goes
Natalie and Amy something old/something new #6
Crafts and Me favourite embellishment #118 my fave embellie here is that lush organza satin edged ribbon
Woopsi Daisy For a child
Pan Pastels seeing stars there are stars on the oval die cut of my sentiment
Cute Card Thursday A different corner #254 I have used my new Memory Box corner die on 2 corners of my card
Crafty Ribbons Challenge anything goes #38

It's my day off work today so I am heading off to get some cards made as I have couple of commissions I am working on. It's nearly the weekend (again) and I hope you all have a wonderful one. We have a nice quiet one planned so with a bit of luck I can also fit in some crafting time too.

Keep warm and carry on crafting. Thanks as always for visiting and all your lovely comments.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday, 25 January 2013

How to do baking...with Billy

I have a wonderful old Children's Baking Book which was bought for me as a 7 year old (ahem...yes a few years ago now). I still use it for making some of my small cakes. As the weather was too bad for everyone to get here last weekend I decided that I would bake some small cakes rather than 1 large one for my Hb's birthday.
As you can see it has been very well used. I just love this retro cover.

Inside it has very cute 1968 instructions and illustrations. I love the way it tells you to remember to sweep any crumbs from the floor when you tidy away! Very Brownie Guide ;0)

There are lots useful recipes and my most used recipe is for the small iced cakes. I know I probably remember it but I just love getting out my childhood baking book as I have fond memories of cake making many years ago.

So I made up the recipe for the small iced cakes with Billy checking that I had added all the right ingredients.

I spooned the mixture into their cases and then popped them in the oven to cook.

Billy checked that they were cooking by peering through the oven door. There is nothing like having someone checking up on you is there?

I had not been able to get to the shop to buy some fondant icing due to the snow so I decided that instead of making a plaque I would make a little snowy scene. I "made" a tiered cake stand by putting one on my cups upside down and standing a second small plate on top. I made some more of my fab chocolate "buttons" which caused a stir a Christmas. Would you like to see the end result.....
Yes I know the birthday plaque is pink but again it was the only one I had in the house. Needs must. You can see the cup underneath supporting the the top "tier". It was all a bit Heath Robinson but it went down really well.
These little snow people I have had for years when the children were young and the snowy post box I bought this year to put on the chocolate yule log. Now all this time we wondered what Billy would think about the end result...
Well he sat himself up at the dining room table all ready for the food to be served and gave me a purr that he approved. We even used the Christmas candle again and if you looked outside there was a good reason why..

Yes, lots of the white stuff. It really was a winter wonderland. Brrrr....

My challenge card today is this cutie. My vintage baking book inspired me to make a card with a vintage feel to it. I think this feels circa 1960s with all the gingham ribbon and swirls.
Don't you just love this gorgeous stamp? It is one from the Wild Rose Studio called Bella Sleeping. It is one of my new "treats" and I had not inked it up before. I coloured it with my Promarkers.The backing papers are Nitwit plus a download by Sheryl's designs. The die cut is the fab new bow from Memory Box. I have used my Spellbinder floral ovals to frame the image and the sentiment. All the bling extras were winnings from the lovely Tracy of Dies to Die For, including those sweet charms. I used a rather different pink/grey/yellow colour combo and I was pleased the way it came together. Just a little update with my cards; do you remember my recent tea pot card...well is was one of the cards featured in the "Fabulous Friday Selection" on the new Tiddly Ink Stamp Challenge post today ;0) I am wearing a new badge in my sidebar with pride. Thanks Tiddly Inks.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Papertake Weekly Tie up your lose ends
Inky Chicks #2 Bingo Ribbon, sentiment, flower
Bearly Mine Tick, tack, tock I am using the line;Lots of embellies, stamped image, ribbon, the colour pink
Penny Black and More Love is in the air
Crafty Ribbons Love/Romance
My Mum's Craft Shop  anything goes
Bunny Zoe's Crafts anything goes
Emma's Cards Animals #12
A+T Emerald Faeries Celebration #39
Paper Shelter anything goes #96
I Love Promarkers  anything goes #152
Divas By Design fairy tales My Fairy tale is Disney's Dumbo
Whimsy Stamps Fancy edges #55
Crafty Catz cute as a button #167
Jelly Park Challenges button up
Winter Wonderland It takes 2 I hope this counts, there are 2 elephants here, Bella and her Mummy!

The snow is finally clearing away today and now we are forecast some rainy weather. Spring certainly seems a long way off at the moment. I so miss being out in my studio in the garden; the blinds are down and there is no one at home. I have a couple of card commissions I plan to work on at the weekend and on Sunday we are seeing our daughter and SIL and my parents as they missed my Hb's party last Sunday. I hope you enjoy your weekend whether you are taking it easy or have some plans made.

Thanks as always for your visits and the kind comments you take the time to leave me. Roll on Spring!

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Snowy Show in London

The eagle eyed of you will have noticed that the blocks in the centre of this photo read "Matilda" and that is where I took my dear Hb to see this great musical at London's Cambridge theatre on a very snowy Friday night last week. I really was not sure we would get there as this was the conditions as I sat at my local railway station earlier in the afternoon.

As everyone knows the UKs transport system grinds to a halt at the first snow flake.Luckily the trains were still running at that time and I met my Hb from work in Spitalfields (he recently moved jobs from Farringdon). I had not seen around Spitalfields for a few years so we had a snowy walk before we found a spot for an early dinner date.

Although some of the photos are a little blurred as the light was really poor I think they add to the effect. Spitalfields is a really interesting area, it is very ancient but has been developed over the last 10 years and there are some great office buildings. There is also a good view of the Gherkin (top small photo above). It was so cold that we quickly found a restaurant, the trusty Carluccio's.

It is very unusual to get snow in central London so it was fun to see this wintry view.

There was no one sitting outside....perhaps these snow covered tables and chairs were waiting for snowmen? We went inside into the warm and were shown to a lovely table by the window.

We enjoyed this lovely wintry view. M and I had a delicious relaxed  Italian meal.
Matilda was due to start at 7.30pm so at around 6.30pm we took the tube from Liverpool Street  to Covent Garden and made the short walk up to the Cambridge Theatre which is situated in the Seven Dials area.

Already the area was buzzing with lots of taxis dropping people off.

There is a very interesting sun dial at the top of the road which is what the area is named after

The view below is opposite the theatre.

and the photo below I just love...
It really has the feeling of all the buzz and excitement going on. We found our seats in the stalls, they were really excellent seats, right near the front.

This was the view from out seats. If you have not see Matilda it is an absolute treat. It is true to the plot of Roald Dahl's book and the actors are fabulous. The little girl who played the lead role of Matilda was quite outstanding and received a standing ovation at the end. If you are in London in the coming months do try to see it. I even came home with a couple of souvenirs.....

A brilliant tin which I shall use for my card making stash and also one of the props which came flying out into the audience during one of the songs.
It is a pretend report for one of the children, folded up as a paper plane.
It landed in my lap so I thought I would bring it home to show isn't it ;0)

My challenge card today is the card I made for my Hb's birthday. I wanted it to be "Vintage Childhood" birthday card to complement our visit to Matilda. I knew I had a wonderful Lili of the Valley stamp which I had not inked before which would be perfect. I also decided to make my first stepper card. The stamp is called Times to Treasure, how very apt.

Here is a side view of the card. I used Promarkers to colour my image and I highlighted using Prismacolor pencils.

The sentiments are also LOTV. I had fun with my new Big shot and cut some fun flourishes. The surround of the stamp is a Martha Stewart punch.

This is the other side view . I added lots of embellies including diamond gems, hand punched hearts, ribbon, Baker's twine and spotty buttons. My hubby loved this card and he actually said that it reminded him of Matilda and also of vintage childhood memories. I could not ask more could I?

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges.

Winter Wonderland Vintage
Whimsy Card Challenges #55 Fancy edges
Crafty Ribbons #37 Love/romance
Visible Image Time to Reflect
My Mum's Craft Shop anything goes
Forever Friends Monthly Challenge Birthdays
Cutie Pie Use 3 different textures I used lots of textures on my card but 3 to name are my spotty ribbon, my Baker's twine and my gems. 
Bunny Zoe Anything goes
Stamping Sensations Friendship
Penny Black and More Love is in the air

Unfortunately the weather really deteriorated yesterday and it snowed all day meaning that only my son and his girlfriend could make the journey to us for my Hb's birthday party. It was still a lovely day and of course we had plenty of food ;0)  We are still in the middle of a wintry grip here and the forecast is showing more of the same for the coming week. I am not sure I will get to my silversmithing class tomorrow and dancing tonight also looks very unlikely. Never mind at least we are safe and well and keeping snug. Luckily I can walk to work so even with the heaviest snow I can make it in.

I hope everyone in the UK is not too disrupted by the snow but  I must confess, it does look so very pretty ;0)
Thanks for visiting me here and for all the kind comments you take the time to leave.

Keep warm and Carry on Crafting,

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Chain reaction

Hello everyone, as promised I am back to share with you my recent chain making project from my silversmithing class last term. Before I do that I just wanted to share a little bit of cheerfulness as here is my daffodil yesterday.
Yes two more flowers in bloom ...and some sunshine ;0). My hyacinth is also unfolding and that glorious smell is infiltrating my kitchen. The sunshine is deceptive though as it has been freezing cold since the weekend and we did get a dusting of snow on Monday. Yesterday barely got above freezing point all day.

It's so lovely to have these growing on my kitchen side and even better to see the sun shining.

So back to chain making....for this project we were shown a great technique using square wire. Square wire is really great to work with as you can get some really interesting effects with it rather than using the more commonly used round wire.

We first had to saw off 5 cm lengths of square wire and then measured them carefully as we were going to add a "twist" to the centre of each piece.

These measurements were marked on the wire. The wire was held in a vice and 6 half turns using parallel pliers made the pattern you can see here.

I then filed the ends of the wire pieces and flattened them slightly so that I could form them into the curved ends as shown. To do this I used my round nosed pliers. These curves are used to join each piece via a jump ring. To keep them secure I also soldered them.

Here they all are with their rounded ends. To join each component together we next had to make some jump rings. These are always fun to do....

I wound round wire into a coil using a hand drill. A mandrel had been put into the jaws of the drill and this ensures equal sized round jump rings.

The coil of wire is removed and stuck to a piece of masking tape. This holds the coil steady for sawing.
Then it was a case of hand sawing through the coil, all the jump rings then fall off when the tape is removed.

Here are some of the jump rings before I tidied them up with some light filing. It was then a case putting each component together to form the chain.

I also used one of the twisted links to fashion a clasp shown in the 2nd photo on the right below.
Are you ready for a ta dah moment................
OK but this is so hard to photograph

It is a lovely long chain and much prettier in the flesh.  I showed this to my darling daughter and yes she liked it and yes she has given it a very happy home ;0) At my class now we have started making other types of chain including chain maille. These are looking really good but OMGoodness they so fiddly. It will take a few weeks to come together but I will show and tell at some point.

Today's challenge card is one I made to cheer up a very dear friend of my Mum's who is sadly not well at the moment and in hospital for another month.  I understand that it brightened up her day and that makes me very pleased.
The stamp is Tiddly Inks, Love Grows. She is such a cutie. The card base is this most unusual tea pot which I found in good old Wilkinson's. They have a great craft section in my local store. She is coloured with Promarkers and highlighted with Prismacolor pencils.
The die cut is a newbie for me, Spellbinders floral ovals which I love, love, love.
I also punched some MS butterflies and a Magnolia sentiment. The bling jewel on the lid is another winnings from the very generous Tracy of Dies to Die from.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Tiddly Inks Anything Goes
Papercrafting Journey Anything Goes
My Mum's Craft Shop Anything Goes #1
Natalie and Amy My favourite things
Crafts and Me Something new #116  I have never made an embossed floral die cut. I only got my Big Shot for Christmas and I am enjoying playing with it. It has been quite tricky to get the embossing correct, I had several wasted ovals!
Inky Chicks Anything Goes #1
Stamping Sensations Friendship
Forever Friends Fortnightly challenge #53 favourite embellishment my favourite embelli here is that lovely spotty button in the centre which I added a ribbon to.
Bunny Zoe's Crafts  Anything goes
Creative Inspirations #197 one for the girls

We have a special weekend coming up as it is my Hb's birthday on Sunday. We have tickets to see Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre in London on Friday and then on Sunday the family are coming over for a birthday lunch to help us celebrate. The only thing that could put a damper on all this is that we are forecast some heavy snow here on Friday night and Saturday. Fingers crossed that it will not affect us too much. Enjoy the weekend when we get there and thanks so much for all your visits and the lovely comments you leave me here. Keep warm.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday, 11 January 2013

Winter walking

Last weekend we went down to visit our daughter and son in law in Southampton, Hampshire. We are all great walkers and despite the very dreary weather we donned our walking boots and set off after lunch for a good long walk to the coast.

We took a route though the local woods. I loved the roots of this tree, they look like masses of toes to me. I wonder if a little creature has a home in that hole?
The constant rain we have endured here in the UK has made the ground so wet and there were plenty of filled ponds along the pathway, which the ducks loved.

Eventually we ended up at Warsash our destination.

I love the stormy sky in this photo. It looks so heavy and threatening. Luckily it did stay dry the whole time we were out.
We walked past the mud flats and the estuary at Hamble.
There is an old ship wreck here which always makes a good photo.

We checked out some of the moored boats and enjoyed the view. We then made our way home via a welcome warm drink at Costa ;0)

My card challenge today is the birthday card I recently made my for my son in law. He is a fantastic handyman (and cook I should add) and is always busy with projects in their new home. I bought a fantastic digi image from Mo Manning called Mr Fixit. I thought it was most apt. I also decided to made a gatefold card for a change.

I thought the sentiment was "true" something means to make it level/equal and as Tom is quite a perfectionist it was most apt. I coloured the image with Promarkers and highlighted with Prismacolor pencils.

This is how the gatefold works.

and here is the inside when both flaps are both opened up.

I had fun adding lots of "DIY" extras including ribbon tape measure and screw head brads. The old fashioned embossed labels are a brilliant download from Fuzzimo. I use these on lots of my male cards, they look so realistic and can be personalised too.

I would like to enter my card into the following card challenges;

Inky chicks, this is a brand new blog and their first challenge Anything Goes #1
Bunny Zoe's Craft Challenge Celebration
Cards for men Work #1
Papertake Weekly Happy New anything my new are those amazing screw head brads.
My Mum's Craft Shop Anything Goes #1
Natalie and Amy Your favourite things my favourite things here are the embossed tape and the tape ribbon
DP2 Challenge Something new #168 my new are my screw head brads and the ebossed label download
Papercrafting Journey anything goes
Cute Card Thursday Beat the blues #251 I think my fun, cheerful card really does beat those January blues
Totally Papercrafts Ribbon #149 my "tape measure" is actually a ribbon..I love it!
A+T Emerald Faeries Celebrations #39

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post about my French Knitted necklaces. I returned to my class on Tuesday and we have started a new project; making chain maille. OMGoodness is it fiddly but such great fun. I know I have not yet shared my square wire necklace from last term yet, that is on my blogging post list and I will probably make it my next post.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for stopping by. We finally had some sunshine today but the temperature has really slumped and we may even seen some of the white stuff (yes snow this time ;0) over the weekend. Keep snug and carry on crafting,

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x