Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Penguins a plenty

I took another trip into town today and spotted some more penguins I had never before met. The pic on the right was taken in the "hatchery".
The middle penguin, called Sparkly, is certainly the "King of Bling" and was found in the Cavern Walks shopping precinct.
On the left is "Our Neighbourhood Hero" and a beautiful horse drawn carriage can be seen in the background, waiting to take the tourists on sightseeing trips.

One thing is for sure... the weather is perfect for these penguins!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Birthday Reminder Pocket

Today's fog kept me indoors, so I have used the time to prep a couple of workshops I am soon to give. I have several projects half made but this Birthday Reminder is complete so I thought it would be good to share my idea.
It is a pocket, very simple to make, containing 6 double sided cards, one side for each month. There is tiny pocket to hold postage stamps, a pad of post it notes, a pen, and little pegs and paperclips to hold messages or photos. There should be a calendar on the front of the post it pad which I'll add when I've been out to buy one. Other than changing the calendar each year this will last until it is worn out.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Angel orchestra

Peace love and joy to everyone

Each year our friends Gabriele and Dietmar send us one of these special tiny angels from Germany, which are folk craft collectors items. I love to open the box to see what instrument the angels is playing and this year it is the double bass on the left. We've a few more than shown in the pic so we're on the way to a tiny orchestra! Thanks so much to Gabriele and Dietmar.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Alcohol Inks on Silver

After some discussion on one of my groups about using alcohol inks on metal, I've added these pics to show how well the AIs work on silver. One is coloured all with pink, the other is a rainbow riot of colour and I change it to suit my mood or my outfit. I wear this pendant every day and leave it on even in the shower and find that AIs stay on for a month or two, eventually wearing off. They have never come off on my skin or clothes but I wouldn't guarantee this to anyone. The inks come off easily with a wipe of blending fluid. If I demonstrate AIs at shows I change the colour of this pendant numerous times during my dems just for fun.
Another card to add to my stash. I stamped words over white card, dried it then stamped the seedhead stamps in Versamark and clear embossed. I then sponged all over with a few colours of Adirondack inks and after a quick wipe over with a paper towel the lettering showed through the resist area. It's a bit of a nice mess but I must play again till I get some better results.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Another Penguin

I spotted this gorgeous Penguin in pride of place in a shop window. I think this is my fave one so far.
Take a look at www.gopenguins.co.uk to find out all about the project and they will be on public display until 10th January 2010

Acetate overlays

As I haven't sent any Christmas cards this year, and now I have time and we have heavy snow to keep me in, I thought I'd make lots of cards to send out to my neglected friends. For these 3 samples I returned to the acetates we coloured in a great class I took, early in the year, with my lovely friend Jaqui. The coloured acetate is laid over stamped images quite effectively.
I must admit that I love these Clear Impression Stamps.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Black Forest Trifle Recipe

I have just been looking at Susie's fab blog http://1stfloorflat.blogspot.com/ and she has given her excellent detailed recipe for trifle. I cannot better it, but can recommend it, as it is just as I make it myself and is fabulous.
However, it gave me the idea to offer an alternative trifle I have made for many years that friends and family really enjoy..... Black Forest Trifle.
Every year I make a double sized trifle for some Chinese friends as a gift. They love both types so I alternate with traditional or Black Forest year by year.
No picture to show until I make them on Thursday.
My recipe is not as detailed as Susie's great recipe but... here goes....

A good quality chocolate Swiss roll I use Cadbury's)
A tin of cherry pie filling
Custard (I make mine with Bird's Custard Powder)
6 squares of good dark chocolate
Whipped Cream
Marachino (or Glace Cherries) and extra chocolate to decorate

Cut the Swiss roll into slices and lay them in the bottom of a Pyrex bowl bowl.
Sprinkle with Kirche (or another spirit or liqueur) as lavishly as desired. (You can be stingy and buy a miniature bottle of this if you don't have any at home but, needless to say, I like to add more than a miniature.) Just remember it's spirit and is stronger than sherry!!! Hic! so keep the children away from it, this is a trifle for grownups!!
Spread the cherry pie filling over this.
Make a pint of custard, not runny but not too thick, and whilst it is piping hot, break into it the 6 squares of dark chocolate, stirring whilst they melt.
Cover with cling film and leave a while to cool. The cling film will stop a skin forming.
When cool spread the chocky custard over the cherry pie filling.
At this stage this can be left refrigerated and the cream added just before the trifle is needed.
When completely cool, cover with whipped cream and decorate artistically with cherries and coarsely grated chocolate.

ENJOY but beware of the consequences!!!
Don't eat Trifle and Drive!!!

Peace and Joy

Tonight I made my one and only Christmas Card of the year. I opted out completely due to all the travelling I've done lately but I just had to send a greeting to all my online friends. I'm disappointed that the photo doesn't show the sheen of the Glimmer Mists I used. The pleats are open at the side of the card which gives an unusual effect which isn't too obvious from the pic.

Happy Christmas decorations

After spending precious time this week with family in Brighton..... altogether for the first time in years, my DD2, SIL and baby decided to leave early to take the long, 13 hour, drive home to Germany. Thankfully they thus avoided the treacherous conditions of the unexpected heavy snow through England and France but, most importantly, they would have been trapped in the Channel Tunnel blockage overnight, if they had left as originally planned. We are all so grateful for such amazing luck.
Getting home safely was wonderful and the next day they went out to buy their Christmas Tree and decorated the stairs (with the beautiful results shown above) whilst thanking their lucky stars.
I'm looking forward now to their next visit in January but they'll travel BY AIR!!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Big Wheel, Penguins and a Castle come to town

These are a few of the hundreds of penguins which are decorating the city through the Winter. The basic white models have been transformed into works of art by schools and community groups.

I ventured into my busy city centre today and it was amazing to see all that has transpired since I was on holiday. This big wheel is the first to be erected on top of a building and is really spectacular, especially when it is lit up in the evening.
The picture below shows the fairytale castle grotto, created for the children, and although it is a poor picture taken through a store window, I think it makes the castle look more magical.

Monday, 14 December 2009

French playtime

I cut strips from one sheet of card and reformed the strips. This was then cut into squares

I found some more of the papers we made. The card is coloured with Conte Crayons, then spritzed with glimmer Mists and stamped over at random using every stamp I took with me.

Doors in Valbonne

Doors in Biot, France

A few pics of the many doors I photographed.

I love the letter box on the right hand door

Sunday, 13 December 2009


Along the promenade there was an Artisan Market with artists working and selling their art. Many inspiring but unnaffordable pieces there.

Outside the Palais des Festivals Caz got friendly with George Clooney.. It was Brad Pitt's face missing from the headhole but she did a great impression which makes me laugh each time I see it!
We had fun comparing our handprints with those of famous film stars which were set in the pavement all around the building.

The ducks were on a stall at the Marche de Noel.. we didn't manage to hook any.

Cannes Antique Market

Chanced upon this amazing market in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. Caz, alias Miss Marple, sleuthed out some rubber stamps for 2 euros each and we both splashed out on a selection of old latch keys at 3 for 1 euro. Sadly I couldn't afford the delectable doll!
We intend to use the keys as a project in the future and I wish now that I'd bought more but easyjet are strict on their luggage limit!!

Visit to Grasse

Interesting day when we visited Grasse, the Fragonard perfume museum and wandered through the narrow streets of the old town. Note the washing!!

Still time for crafting!

We were out and about every day in the sunshine, but the evenings were cold, so after dinner we poured a glass or two of something really enjoyable and played with the limited craft materials we had stuffed into our cases. Some black and white card, a dozen UMs, one black ink pad, a few mini misters filled with Glimmer Mists and a pack of Conte Crayons. It's amazing what happens when supplies are restricted and a glass or two is consumed. We produced some interesting backgrounds from which I intend to make some cards very soon.
Just look at the mess on that table!


Fred valiently drove us up through the Gorge du Loup, along really hairy steep drops along windy bends in the road, to visit the mountain top town of Gourdon, which can be seen behind us.

French Vacation

Back to the frost from an inspiring week enjoying the sunshine of the South of France. So many photos to share but I'll start with windows and doors... I was fascinated with the range of different portals to people's homes but I was accused by my friends of being obsessed with all their laundry, which was often hanging out to dry from the windows in the narrow streets. The first three windows are in the little town of Valbonne.
Lots more to come......