Friday, February 25, 2011

Thanks Patricia, I'm tickled pink:)

My very talented friend Patricia (aka Scrapflower on Flickr) surprised me this morning with a wonderful gift of this new banner for my blog and a super cute watermark for my photos. So as you can see I've gone all pink and girly on my blog! I absolutely love this new banner with the gorgeous flower, buttons and of course all the yummy stitching!! Now I'll have to work on getting the watermark onto my cards. Thank you so much again Patricia, you've made my day and also made my blog a lot prettier:)

This hardly ever happens but this is my second post for the day. A post about the Hero Hostesses Cooking Challenge is further down.

Hero Hostess Cooking Up Challenge

The Hero Hostesses in the Hero Arts Flickr group are hosting a Cooking Up Challenge. Each of us has cooked one of our favourite recipes and is sharing a project inspired by our cooking. I baked a carrot cake and gluten free carrot cake buns. Both recipes are at the bottom of the post.

Carrot cake and a gluten free carrot cake bun.

I love carrot cake and my hubby loves it too but since he was diagnosed as a coeliac a few years ago I usually make the gluten free version. Sometimes gf baked goods like scones and pastry can taste quite dry, but because carrot cake is moist the gf version is as nice as the one using ordinary flour. Normally I’d never put both of these on the same plate in case some gluten got on the gf version but just did so for the photo – it meant an extra bun for me too! If you’d like to take part in the challenge the details are here. I’ll be sending a prize out to a winner picked by a random drawing. The prize will include the cookbook in the photo, "101 Cupcakes and Small Bakes", plus some other small goodies that I'll get when I’m shopping over the weekend.

Cooking up challenge
Stamps (Hero Arts) – What’s Cooking, Envelope Pattern, Scallop Borders and Raindrop Background.

When I'm cooking, I usually sling on an apron which is mainly black and has touches of hot pink and white, so that's what inspired my projects. The recipe card is in the form of a card so that it will stand up when I’m baking. On one side there is the ordinary recipe and on the other the gf recipe. I paper pieced the bowl and whisk, added Glossy Accents, the cute Hero Arts heart pearls and lots of faux stitching. I came across a wonderful tutorial on making corner bookmarks here and have made lots of different ones - it's a great way of using up scraps. The apron, bowl and whisk are paper pieced and I added Glossy Accents to the bowl. The scallops and sentiment are embossed in white. I just added lots of faux stitching and the pearl hearts to finish.

I'm submitting these project to the Paper Piecing Challenge in the Moxie Fab World.

Carrot Cake

140 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
200 g dark brown sugar
300 g grated carrots
100 g sultanas
50 g chopped walnuts
180 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
250g cream cheese
50 g butter
1 tsp lemon juice
275 g icing sugar
1. Beat the eggs then add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot, sultanas and chopped nuts.
2. Sift the flour, spices and salt into the mixture. Mix well.
3. Pour the mixture into an oiled loaf tin and bake at 150C for approx 1 hour 5 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
4. After taking it out of the oven allow it to cool for about 5 mins before removing from the tin. Cool on a wire rack.
5. Icing: beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until well combined. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice. Mix until the icing is smooth and thick. Spread the icing over the cake.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Buns

4oz dark brown sugar
6oz grated carrots
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ pint water
8oz gluten free self raising flour (I use Odlums Tritamyl)
6tbsp clear honey
6oz sultanas
3oz chopped walnuts
4oz margarine
2 eggs
7oz low fat cream cheese
1tsp lemon juice
1. In a saucepan mix together the sugar, carrots, spices, water, honey, sultanas, walnuts and margarine.
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Pour into mixing bowl and leave to cool.
3. When the mixture is cold beat in the eggs and fold in the flour. Mix together well.
4. Put mixture into bun cases and bake at 180 C for approx 15 minutes (until the bun centres spring back up when lightly pressed).
5. Cool on wire rack.
6. Beat the cream cheese and lemon juice together and spread over tops of buns.
7. Top with a walnut.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Valentine from Joy and blog awards

This is the wonderful card which I received from the lovely and talented Joy though a Valentine swap organised by Anita in the Hero Arts Flickr group. I love Joy's gorgeous design and the beautiful colours she has used.

Her colouring is gorgeous and I love the sprinkling of pearls. Joy, thanks again for this beauty and for all the lovely goodies you sent along with it. Unfortunately the Valentine which I sent to Amy seems to have gone astray so I’ll be sending another card to her. I won’t post my first card here just yet in case it eventually turns up.

A little while ago I was delighted to be given blog awards by two very kind and talented ladies - Dawn and Rosemary.

This is the award from Dawn

To accept this award I need to do a few things:

1. Thank the person who gave it. Thank you so much Dawn for the award and lovely compliment!

2. Copy the award and put it on your blog.

3. List three things which you love about yourself (this is the hard bit!). I hope these will do!

a) I love that I’m lucky to have wonderful family and friends.
b) I love that I feel life has been kind to me and that I’m a very happy person.
c) I love that I’m always ready for a good laugh.

4. Post a picture that you love.

My favourite photos are of my kids and hubby but I’m not sure that they would want to be on my blog. So here’s a photo of the hairy guy in my life – Toby. This is from last summer when we dropped down to Kilkenny (love that city) for the day. Toby loves coming on day trips with us and I took this photo just after we finished a picnic in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle.

5.Pass this award to 5 people--in no particular order

Trinh - She is so creative, kind and is a great and fun friend.
Linda - Another great friend who is talented in many ways and is full of the joys of life.
Sue - A genuinely lovely friend who has the most amazing talent.
Sue - Another very talented lady whose cards I admire very much.
Lin - She’s so talented, kind and thoughtful. Love her style.

Now on to Rosemary's, award. Firstly Rosemary, thank you so much for this award and for your lovely words that went with it.

I have to pass the award on to 5 bloggers and tell you 5 things about me.

Libby – I always love visiting Libby's blog to see her wonderful cards, yummy recipes and her fun postings. She is so funny and I often end up giggling right the way through her posts.
Patricia – I love visiting Patricia’s blog for her fab and fun creations. I’m always amazed by her colouring skills – I need to take a trip to Spain for some lessons.
– A really lovely and talented lady who is so kind and encouraging.
Deirdre – She is such a talented and sweet lady and has been a great help tipping me off about where to shop for crafty supplies here in Ireland.
Virginia – A really lovely lady with a great sense of humour who has a wonderful blog covering her gorgeous creations, lovely family and yummy food.

Thanks to all you ladies, it's been great getting to know you and see your fab creations:)

So here are five things about me – be prepared for a snoozefest!

1. We have a dog called Toby as you can see above and a goldfish called Bubbles. My son Mark had his name drawn out in a raffle and could choose either a chocolate cake or a goldfish. He loves chocolate cake so much but Bubbles it was!
2. I used to always put brown sauce* on my dinners and bring a bottle of it on holidays. One time for a bet I ate some on chocolate cake – it actually tasted really good! Now I don’t eat it at all.
3. I met my hubby in work.
4. I’ve no head for heights.
5. Years ago I lived in Florida for a year. I can’t believe I actually missed our changeable Irish weather when I was there!

* I had a couple of questions about brown sauce - it's a kind of steak sauce made from malt vinegar, tomatoes, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices.

Phew, sorry for the extra long post today!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friendship Flowers

I’ve been looking forward to playing with the new Flower Text stamp from Hero Arts. For my first time to ink it up I’ve used the striking colour combination from the Play Date Cafe Challenge #69, elements from the gorgeous CASE Study Challenge #27 card by Eva Dobilas and am also submitting it into the Moxie Fab World paper piecing challenge.

Friendship Flowers
Stamps (Hero Arts) Flower Text & Friends Definition.

I embossed the Flower Text in white on black card, green patterned paper and red patterned paper (the paper was originally pink and I applied barn door distress ink to it). I don’t know what it is but I love cutting out little bits of paper or fabric and putting them back together again so I really enjoyed paper piecing the flowers and leaves here. The butterflies were punched out of a piece of white card which had been stamped with the Friend Definition. To finish I just added some buttons to the flowers and gems to the butterflies. The card was framed using an EK punch.

Hope you all have a great weekend! I’m off to do a mountain of ironing and will get back to enjoying the weekend after that!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Imperfect Kiss

As soon as I saw the photo above on Moxie Fab World I wanted to make a card inspired by this gorgeousTuesday Trigger. The elements that inspired me were the wonderful mix of blues and white, the distressed wood, the flowers, all the textures, the grid pattern on the couch and the square cushions. I also thought it looked like a comforting snuggle place so made a get well card and used vellum because of the light airy feel due to the sunlight and colours.

An Imperfect Kiss
Stamps (Hero Arts) - Poppy Background, Ancient Motif and Envelope Pattern

I wanted to try out the stamp kissing technique which is part of Hero Arts challenge this month. I have never tried this technique before and decided to start with the poppies and ancient motif images. I applied broken china distress ink to the poppy image and faded jeans distress ink to the ancient motif image. After a bit of kissing went on I stamped on white card. The first time I didn’t manage to kiss the images fully but did on the second attempt. In the end I decided to go with the first image as I liked the look of the imperfect kiss.

I added some beads to a couple of the flower centres and the sentiment is white embossed on vellum. Then I found a button with a little square pattern on it, added a yarn bow which had been coloured with broken china distress ink and one of my favourite Hero Arts embellishments – a pearl heart. The card base was white and I applied broken china distress ink and stamped the envelope pattern with the same ink. I don’t usually do a lot of distressing but went a bit distressing crazy on this card I think!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Butterfly Friends

This is another card I made for this month’s challenge (love, friendship or stamp kissing technique) on the Hero Arts blog.

Stamps (Hero Arts) - Antique Engravings, Fabulous Flourish, Scallop Borders, Tree Birds and Messages.

I clear embossed the Fabulous Flourish on kraft card. The butterflies were stamped on white card and coloured with ProMarkers. For the scallops I coloured some white card with the same green marker I had used on the butterflies and embossed the scallops in white. The sentiment is also embossed in white and I lightly inked the edges of the sentiment panel with white ink. Then I added some blue gems to finish.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Fuzzy Valentine

I thought it might be fun to have a soft and fuzzy heart on a Valentine and the tutorial further down in the post explains how I made this faux chenille one.

Stamps (Hero Arts) - Old Letter Writing & Tree Birds and Messages

For the top part of the panel I embossed the Old Letter Writing in white. I spotted a heart in a scrap of patterned paper (sorry it was only a scrap so I don’t have the name of it) and thought it would be nice for the bottom part of the panel. Then I added lots of buttons which had been recycled off old blouses\shirts. The buttons had been threaded with twine or white yarn (coloured with antique linen distress ink). Hopefully the yarn “x”s on some of the buttons look like little kiss signs! The sentiment is stamped with barn door distress ink.

I'm submitting the card into -

Double Dutch Challenge #61 - Love is in the Air.
Tuesday Throwdown Challenge #35 - Buttons
Fab'n'Funky Challenge #59 - Tempting Texture

So here’s a tutorial for the heart. Cut 5 assorted pieces of red\pink cotton fabric to the desired size.

Stack the fabrics and tack together (I skipped the tacking bit!) to prevent them shifting while sewing. Then stitch a diagonal line across the middle. I didn’t bother marking lines but you can do so if you wish.

Stitch lines 3/8 inch apart on the diagonal across the whole surface.

Cut through the top 4 layers in the middle of the channels between the stitching.

To fluff up the fabric you can either wash the panel or if you’re keen to go like me fray the raw edges by scraping along them with your fingernails.

Pin one of the heart templates by Shari Carroll from Hero Arts to the fabric and machine stitch around the heart with a very small stitch.

Cut the heart out by snipping as close as possible to the stitched outline without cutting through it.

I was able to cut out two large hearts and two small hearts from the panel I made. I’ve order this Hero Arts sentiment set and will probably use the other hearts with the “sending warm fuzzies” sentiment.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hero Hostess Good Friends

Over at the Hero Arts Flickr group all the new Hostesses have happily donned their new colourful aprons – Linda (purple), me (green), Anita (hot pink), Sharon (aqua) and Sally (pink).

Sarah came up with the brilliant idea of a colour combination challenge based on the apron colours. Here’s a quick card I made this morning to celebrate becoming a Hostess with these wonderful ladies. I'd love if we could all meet in real life as we did on this card, well just not on a tree branch!

Good Friends

Stamps (Hero Arts) – Clouds, Heart Owls, Tree Bird and Messages

I ran out of the smaller size googly eyes so my little owl has the same surprised and excited look as I did when I received Tami's email about becoming a hostess!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wild Flowers and Butterflies

This month the challenge on the Hero Arts blog is to make a card, page or project with the theme of love or friendship or else to use the stamp kissing technique. I love making cards for friends and it’s great to send a card to a friend without a particular occasion in mind.

Wild Flowers and Butterflies
Stamps (Hero Arts) Wild Flowers, Old Letter Writing & Tree Birds and Messages

To start with I applied faded jeans distress ink to white card and using the same ink stamped with the Old Letter Writing. For the main panel I applied shabby shutter, broken china and faded jeans distress inks to white card and spritzed with water. Then I embossed the Wild Flowers in white and added some gems.

To make the butterflies I embossed the Old Letter Writing in white on vellum, punched out four butterflies, layered and added gems. The sentiment is embossed in white.

I'm submitting the card into these challenges -

ABC Challenge - N is for Nesties.
C.R.A.F.T. Challenge - In the roll of a die.
Stamptacular Sunday Challenge - Whateva!
Stamp, Scrap & Doodle Saturday - A Punchy Challenge

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hero Hostess and Friends : )

I still can’t quite believe this is happening, but I have just become a Hero Hostess!! I’m so excited and feel honoured to have been invited to be a Hostess by Hero Arts. I would like to say a big thanks to Hero Arts, my absolute favourite company (as you can probably tell from my blog!), for everything so far and for what promises to be a fun three months ahead.

Hero Arts is such a generous company and I love the fantastic quality and amazing range of their images\products. Nearly everything I’ve learned about card making has been through the artists on the Hero Arts blog and the members of the Hero Arts Flickr group. As well as learning and enjoying the fun aspects of the blog and group, one of the brilliant and unexpected benefits for me in joining the group has been the wonderful friends I’ve made within the group. I know a lot of other great friendships have also been formed because of the group. My good friend Linda donned her apron yesterday and I’m so happy we’ll be sharing this great adventure together. I can’t wait till you “meet” the rest of the hostesses during the week – you’ll love them!

Rainbow of Friends
Stamps (Hero Arts) - Scattered Leaves, Antique Engravings, Clouds Background, Big and Small Flowers, Music Background, Tree Birds and Messages

Tami from Hero Arts gave us the great theme of friendship to work with for our cards for the blog this week. The blocks on my card represent some of the wonderful friends I’ve made in the group and have had great chats and laughs with. A detailed description of how I made the card can be found here on the Hero Arts website, but here is a brief description. I applied various distress inks (Shabby Shutters, Mustard Seed, Broken China, Spiced Marmalade, Dusty Concord, Faded Jeans and Barn Door) to panels of white card and spritzed some with water. Using the same inks I stamped the images on each panel, the exception being where I used white ink for the Music Background. The sentiment was embossed in white and the completed panels were then machine stitched to the card base.

Rainbow of Friends Close Up

To make the flowers I stamped a piece of red fabric and a piece of yellow fabric with the small flower from the Big and Small Flowers set. Then I put together three layers - a piece of unstamped fabric on the bottom, wadding in the middle and on the top the piece of stamped fabric face up. Using a tiny stitch setting on my sewing machine, I stitched all the layers together by stitching the outlines of the petals. The smaller details were hand stitched and I sewed some beads to the centre. Then I cut out the flowers trimming close to the stitched edge without cutting through the stitches.
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