Sunday, 20 August 2017

Very grumpy cat!

It was my birthday last weekend and my lovely friend Claire bought me a set of Dylusions snarky sentiment stamps called "Ugh, People!" which is packed with wonderfully grumpy sentiments - all of which work perfectly with the Katzelkraft grumpy cat from the Les Chats Russes set.


I decided that today  Grumpy Cat had gone out to the shed for a sulk, so I made him a wood-effect background by covering  the card with Twisted Citron Distress oxide. I spritzed it a bit then added some bigger drips of water before blotting and drying, then used Imagination Crafts Stardust Paint to stencil the wood effect over it. Having been quite wet the card was a bit puckered, meaning that some of it lifted from the stencil and made the lines a bit smudged in places, but then whoever heard of a perfectly evenly grained symmetrical piece of wood?

I cut a piece of woodgrain paper to give him a shelf to sit on, and coloured him with Promarkers, fussy cut him and, in true Grumpy Cat style, added the sentiment directly over his head.

I'm sharing this with
Cardz 4 Galz - cats and kittens  (actually I think this would be suitable for a gal OR a guy, but I think we women tend to have more "Ugh, people!" days than men!)
Just add ink - Stencils

A rescue operation

Yesterday I decided to make a card for the Butterfly challenge, which this time is Your Choice/Wedgwood Blue. I don't have any card or paper the right colour at the moment, so I coloured some card with Cosmic Shimmer Colour Cloud blending ink.


I used my very oldest punch on the panel corners and die cut the white central motif using a Creative Expressions die and the butterfly using a Sizzix one. You can't see the butterfly very well on the photo although in real life the dimension makes it show up clearly, so here is a close up.


At that point, the card was finished - then disaster struck! The white die cut is a two part one, a frame and central panel, and I'd been frugal and cut it from the reverse of some card that had failed stamping on the other side. I'd adhered it to the base with wet glue - and all along the border between the two parts of the die cut, the colour started to seep through. I very nearly cried "Abandon ship" - there was too much of it to cover with white pen or pop another butterfly over - then I had a brainwave and covered it all with the narrow pearl braid that I think gives the whole card an opulent look. If you squint carefully you can still see one tiny grey splodge towards the bottom left of the die cut but the rest of the rescue job has worked pretty well. my only regret is that I'd already added silver gems to the butterfly - pearls would look better now!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Recipe - Marudi Pork

Right, here's a little story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.....

A long, long time ago - actually nearly 40 years as it was when we were newly married - Mark and I went to live in Brunei on the island of Borneo. After a few weeks, we decided to take a short break to go and see the interior of the jungle, so we boarded a bus in the nearby town of Kuala Belait and headed along the jungle road into the nearby Malaysian state of Sarawak.

The bus itself was very rickety, probably mostly caused by travelling daily along rutted jungle tracks; in fact at one point the track was so rough the driver simply drove the bus through the undergrowth to the nearby beach where he could drive more safely. The bus was absolutely packed with people loaded down with shopping bags full of fruit, fish and even squawking live chickens, all being tossed around together as we passed through dense jungle and field after field of watermelons and gourds, and even over two ferry crossings.

We left the bus after the second crossing and waited for the boat that would take us up the river into the interior of the jungle,  while sitting in the cool shade of a wooden hut sipping on ice cold Green Spot and watching saronged ladies haggling over the price of durians and hammerhead sharks.

Our destination, several hours up the river by jet boat, was the jungle village of Marudi, where we stayed in the faded grandeur of the Government Rest House and visited a longhouse where the family got us tipsy on their home fermented rice drink and showed us their pepper fields, then the next day we flew low over the jungle in a six seater plane back towards the coast. We could look down and see the logging operations which I believe have now cleared most of that area of jungle, seeing the spectacular sight of the long platforms of logs being floated along the river to the coast.

Our destination was the coastal town of Miri, where we stocked up on the local carved pottery and bought a bag of green-skinned oranges to refresh us on the long bus ride back home to Kuala Belait.

Now on to the recipe - I've no idea if it is an official dish or has a real name, or if it is just something that was thrown together just for us,  but the night we stayed in Marudi we went to eat at a Chinese food stall. Mark used to speak a little Malay as a child, but he could remember very little, just enough to say to the woman on the stall "Food, please, but no fish" and a few minutes later we were brought a delicious dish of stir fried pork with cherry tomatoes. It was only lightly seasoned with a little soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil, letting the fresh flavour of the tomatoes through, and sitting there in the clean, fresh air of the jungle village and tucking into our pork and tomatoes with steamed rice and a glass of cold Tiger beer was a really magical experience. We bought green-skinned oranges from a nearby stall for dessert and a Michelin starred meal couldn't have outshone it!

I've recreated the dish just for us many times but I've never shared it with anybody before, so consider yourselves privileged.



Ingredients (to serve two greedy people)

200g pork fillet, sliced into long thin strips
for marinade - 1 heaped tsp cornflour, few drops sesame oil, 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry

Rub all the marinade ingredients into the pork and set aside for at least an hour before cooking. You will then need:

6 large spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger cut into julienne pieces
cherry tomatoes - as many as you wish to use or have handy, I used a small cereal bowl full
1 tbs peanut, ground nut or sunflower oil
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1 tbs light soy sauce
150ml chicken stock
1 tsp cornflour

Heat the oil in a wok until smoking hot and tip in the pork. Fry, stirring and tossing, until he pork has no raw meat visible, then mix in the spring onions and ginger and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes. Now add the wine, standing well back as you will get a cloud of scalding steam, followed by the stock, soy sauce and tomatoes. Mix together then blend the cornflour with a little cold water and add to the pan. Stir until thickened and serve.

The tomatoes will be only very lightly cooked so their freshness bursts out when you bite down on one.


I've added a side of pickled green chillis, made from a recipe in Ping Coombes's book "Malaysia".

Christmas Kisses

I'm getting behind with my Christmas Card making at the moment so I'm hoping to make a few over the weekend. For this one, I've used papers from an old issue of Making Cards.


I've added a sentiment from Craftwork Cards and a flurry of die cut snowflakes - in real life the gems I've decorated them with are a good match to the colours of the dress.

I am sharing this with:

Holly and Ivy - Anything Goes
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Girly
CRAFT Challenge - Christmas
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - August  

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge #91 - Weddings

Edna's getting married in the morning, ding dong the bells are going to chime.....


Image may contain: 1 person, wedding

Well, maybe not, but our challenge this time at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is weddings. The twist is, you don't need to make a wedding card, you just need to include SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED AND SOMETHING BLUE on your work. This is a traditional rhyme that says the bride should include all of those items in her outfit on her wedding day in order to have a successful marriage.

Just digressing a moment, I included all those - my dress was new, I borrowed old shoes from my cousin and wore a blue garter. It must have worked, we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in September. (On the 17th, not that I'm hinting about cards or anything...)

Anyway, back to the card:





My Something old is the set of green papers, which I printed out from a Crafters Companion "Love" CD to make the thank-you cards after my daughter's wedding, 7 years ago, making them extra-appropriate for the wedding theme too!
Something new - the Beauty and her Beast image which was a free download from Free Dearie Dolls Digis and the gorgeous lacey heart die which was NBUS.
Something borrowed - the sentiment which I borrowed from a site offering free jokes for wedding speeches.
Something blue - well, all the blue stuff.

Definitely a wedding card for the 21st century!
I am sharing this with Country View Crafts - Blues and Greens 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Cheers!

I was delighted with the wine bottle and glass die set that came with Die Cutting Essentials this month, so much so that I also bought Simply Cards and Papercraft  to get the stamp and die label set that works so well with it in some of the samples they give.

Here is my first make using the sets - I'm sure there will be many more!


The bottle is cut from white card and then coloured with Promarkers and Distress inks following the instructions in the magazine - I'm very pleased with the results. The glass and gold medal are also cut with the die set, and the label for the bottle was stamped using the stamps from the other magazine. I cut a curve in the label to match the way the bottle would curve, but I wish now I hadn't added the red bands to it, they are too straight.

The background is made by dabbing the base of a shot glass lightly with ink and pressing it onto the bard. I wish now that I'd used a cream or grey card so the wineglass would have stood out more. The word "Cheers" is cut out of the intricate grapevine patterned bottle insert die that is part of the set.

I am sharing this with

Fab 'n' Funky - Anything Goes
The Male Room - Drinks
Watercooler Wednesday - Masculine  Anything Goes

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Recycling old ATCs

While rummaging through some old stash I discovered a little box of ATCs that I had made but not sent, probably about 10 years ago when I belonged to a few swapping groups, so I decided to try recycling some of them as card toppers.

The two I have made today used stamps that I'd already owned for many years, little red rubber ones that came in a grab bag - I probably bought it from one of the small ads in the back of Crafts Beautiful. (Do other UK crafters remember when that was just about the only craft magazine available here, and we all used to dream of trips to America to stock up on copies of things like Rubberstampmadness and Somerset Studio?). They were part of a family of three stamps. I still have these two but unfortunately I lent the third to a friend who never gave it back.

Here's my first make:


The ATC background was made by brayering ink over a sheet of bubble wrap then pressing the cardstock to the surface. Those pink lips are brads, and I added the Glossy Accents to the water and the bubbles today. The pink glitter card is from my snippets box and the sentiment is a dovecraft one. The lovely embossing folder I used for the background was a gift from a very kind Facebook friend.

I am sharing this with
Shopping Our Stash - Chillaxin' and relaxin'
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
Crafty Gals Corner - Add a star
Retro Rubber - sketch  

RRCB 69













Now on to my second card, using a sister image  - I have made this one as my naughty entry to the Naughty or Nice challenge, where the theme is On the Move.  For some reason, the first thought that sprang to mind when I read the title was *shudder* exercise!


Well, what happens AFTER exercise! The ATC used the stamped image, masked and then stamped all over with a tape measure background stamp. The words were cut from magazines. The bicycle is cut from a scrap of background paper in my snippets box and I've brought the two together with mats of orange and green. The sentiment is a Dylusions one (of course!) and the background card is some pre-embossed Hunkydory stuff aged a little by gently rubbing with brown ink.

The twine and sparkly washi tape came from the amazing bundle of goodies I recently won from Lau and Home  - yes, the bundle included about 6 rolls of different plain and patterned sparkly washi tape. Oh dear, now you all know I own sparkly washi tape, maybe I need to post an armed sentry on the craft room door!