Wednesday, 18 December 2013


My completed card - my version of their fairy tale.  I used my bind-it-all
on either side so I could get the effect I wanted.
Once upon a time

And my story begins, using pages from the DCWV pad and some printed pictures of WW1 maps (slightly burnt)
In a far away land

Torn papers and an altered picture bring life to a joke from the invitation. 
Laid waste by war

A photo of Bedgebury pinetum becomes my forest, layered and tweaked using craft artist
There was a vast forest
 The same photo with a fairy 
tale castle added to it and some stamping.
In the heart of the forest stood a castle
And the story continues in a similar style of altered photos and stamping.
Inside the castle kept safe behind high walls,thorny hedge and gate

They lived happily ever after.   
My (found)cat wedding picture used and the last half page turns for our message to the Bride and Groom.

Thursday, 12 December 2013


 SOME VERY GOOD FRIENDS ARE GETTING MARRIED and I found a lovely picture that I wanted to use in some way on their card.  A picture of two cats.  I had no idea what form this card was going to take - just that I wanted this picture.  Various ideas drifted about but none were quite right.  Even after the invitation arrived I had no clear idea.
 Then my muse struck ...... a booklet type card.  A lot of work, yes.  Worth every minute, yes.  
Starting with the DCWV Once upon a time 8" x 8" pad I looked for the right images for this fairy tale.

A castle, a forest, gates and a joke linked to the invitation.  Pictures found and then altered using CRAFT ARTIST.

To make my card I began with a sketch, I don't usually do this but I wanted to know exactly how many pages I would need.  I also had to know where to split the pages to add an air of mystery to my story.  With the pictures chosen, altered and stuck to my backing pages I bound my card using my Zutter Bind-it-all.  It seemed right to try alternate pages for this card, I was a little worried about doing this without a trial run but it worked really well.  I rounded the corners of the pages to give a nice finish. 

With the base card made I can really go to town decorating the pages.  
Using an arched window background sheet I cut out the bridal cats and after sticking them down highlighted some features with glitter glue.

Saturday, 30 November 2013


I have a very bad habit of creating odd size cards.  Sometimes I mean to but mostly it is what I end up with.  This means that I have a beautiful (in my opinion) card and no envelope to fit it.  In the past I have put it into an envelope that is an OKish fit but I haven't been happy with my presentation or put the card in with the present.  All that is changing from NOW.

I have been asked to make some cards for a friend for her nieces, a few guidelines but anything I liked to do.  The first card was not a standard size - this time I was not going to be beaten.  Armed with a CRAFTERS COMPANION ulitimate pro and an additional envelope board I decided to beat my envelope jinx.

The first problem was easily solved; a card that was rather thick just needed a box-type envelope, so using the ulitimate craft pro I made the envelope wide enough.  The second problem was a little harder.  A 12" x 12" piece of 160gsm was not quite big enough for an envelope for my 8" x 7.5" card.  After a little thought I found the answer . . . make the envelope to size on three sides leaving the top a little short and then cut two triangles to make the top piece of the envelope large enough to cover the card.  Glue one to the outside and a slightly smaller one to the inside of the flap.  No one will ever know it wasn't meant to be.  I finished of the envelope with a little ribbon.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

BAKING ATTACK - a different look at baking problems.

I am currently having a baking attack - this is the only way I can describe it.  The first symptoms appeared on wednesday evening when I made a batch of sausage rolls and about 100 spiced pork in filo pastry bites.  I made the pork bites to freeze, I find it very useful to have a variety of uncooked savouries ready to bake at a moments notice. 

Then friday evening I realised there wasn't any bread in the house for toast in the morning.  Easy way - go to the garage and buy some, my way - to make the first bread for a year and it wasn't to bad.

Now to saturday, you can see why I have called this an attack, I had promised oat and sultana cookies (this was an attempt to use up some oats), then as I had some tea left in the pot I decided to make my version of a boiled fruitcake recipe using the tea instead of water,  and finally I had all the ingredients for making mincemeat so I thought I would get that done as well.  
The recipe I use for mincemeat is one I have used over and over.  This time I didn't have any blanched or flaked almonds so I decided to blanch my own.  Can't be that hard I thought, no it is not that hard but it is fiddly and time consuming - very time consuming - now I know the reason why blanched almonds cost more.

This is where my 'problem' starts to rear it's head, while cooking and looking forward to the eating my mind is thinking of all the other things I could be baking . . . I have had this problem before when it is not enough to bake a cake I want to bake all the cakes NOW!!!! Last time it took inviting lots of people to tea to help resolve the situation.  There are not enough people in my house to cope with the amount of baking I want to do during one of these 'attacks'. 

Is this just me or do others have this problem as well? 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

JAM - A JAR TO FAR? 2013

 This year we had to find a new pick-your-own farm as the one we have been using had not been cared for as well as it should, the cherries were good but it would appear that the fields hadn't been watered so the fruit wasn't very good.  The farm we found was near Sittingbourne  best range of soft fruit we have seen for a long while, they even had redcurrants and blackcurrants.
Usually after hot (yes there were a few this year) summer days picking fruit I freeze it so I do not have to spend hot summer evening sweltering over the jam pan.

This summer a lack of foresight meant that the freezer was too full to stock with fruit, especially as I still had some beautiful golden cherry plums that I had been given last year lurking in the bottom of the freezer.

Jam making for me always means pouring over the pages of one of my favourite cookery books - THE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING COMPLETE BOOK OF HOME PRESERVING, 1981
before using a strawberry jam recipe - slightly modified  Strawberry and Raspberry jam.  The other jams I made were :- blackcurrant (a half batch of this one); cherry and pineapple; golden cherry plum jam.
1.75kg fruit 
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1.5kg sugar
knob of butter

Place the fruit in a preserving pan with the lemon juice and simmer gently stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes untill really soft.
Take the pan off the heat add the sugar stirring until dissolved, then add the butter return to the heat and boil rapidly for about 20 minutes.
Test for a set and when setting point has been reached, take pan off the heat and remove any scum with a slotted spoon.  Allow jam to cool for 15 minutes to prevent fruit rising in the jars, then stir gently and pot and cover in the usual way. 
 I use this recipe for mixed fruit jam especially if I have any small amounts of left over fruit.

CHERRY AND PINEAPPLE JAM - this is a really nice jam.  I wasn't sure if I would like it and had only made it because I had been a little carried away while picking cherries.

Labelled and ready for storing.

A very small house and kitchen means storing the jam where there is space.  Lots of room behind the DVD collection, which is just as well as this year I seem to have made an awful lot of jam.

Just the mincemeat to make in a couple more weeks, when the apples are ready.  That will give it pleanty of time to mature before Christmas.  

Monday, 9 September 2013


 This is the latest card that I have made. Some time ago I used a pre-printed kit to make this effect, this time I wanted to start from scratch.  The end result has a different picture depending on which side of the card you view it from.
 To make my card I printed two photos just under A5 size - one was a picture of Broadstairs, Kent and the other was of Campbells Bay, Auckland.

I cut each picture into 1cm  wide strips being very careful to keep all the strips in order.

Then I stuck alternate pieces onto a sheet of A4 paper with double sided tape.

I photocopied the photo onto thin card.

Using a bone folder I scored the line between the different photos.


Making nice sharp folds I worked my way across ....

The beach at Broadstairs.

The beach at Campbells Bay.

With the photos scored, folded and stuck onto the card it was time to add some papers and embellishments to finish off the card.

A few paper flowers, card fish and some tiny seashells .... then a twist of ribbon.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

A little sewing/a little shopping

After visiting the WAR AND PEACE REVIVAL SHOW at its new venue (Folkstone racecourse) I became very inspired by the fantastic array of vintage clothing, hats and bags.  If you love vintage then this show is a must for you.  It may be advertised as the largest display of military vehicles on the planet but don't be fooled.  There has always been vintage clothing stalls and as there are dances 'for the troops' in the evenings places to have a make-over 40's style.  This summer was even better with an entire vintage village.   Original and repro items to suit every budget.  I even found a parasol. 

We also went to MILITARY ODYSSEY - we have been visiting this show at the Kent County Showground since the first show. 
This is a multi-period show and covers so much history from stone age through to modern day.  Quite apart from all the 'living history and arena events there are wonderful opportunities to buy items that would be either hard to find or only available on line.  This year I found the range and number of stallholders very disappointing - several traders that I have dealt with in the past weren't there and things seemed to be spread out so the lack of traders wasn't as noticable.  

 Still I did manage to find a fabric stall and get some very nice linen and cotton.  A length of what I think may be matress ticking and most importantly a length of (small) dog tooth check.  

This weekend dressmaking has begun!  A pinafore out of the ticking to begin with and enough left for at least two more items of clothing.  And now I have the sewing bug again I might even do the few items that need mending.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Time for Tea - a collection of tea sets

 This is an overview of the tea sets I played with as a child.  Three different tea sets and a few extra little bits and pieces.
Playing tea parties started in earnest when I was five years old.

  My first tea set was given to me by my Grandad. This was the only present for one of his grandchildren that he brought himself instead of sending my Gran back to get it.  I can only suppose that he fell in love with it.  I know I did.  He died not long after he gave me this which makes it even more cherished.

 I played with the tea set so much.  My Mum brought little loaves of Hovis bread which she sliced so they were the right size for my tea set and baked me little cakes and tarts.

I can remember buying this tea set when I was eight from a toy shop in Ramsgate and a whole new era of tea parties began.

Luke warm tea in the teapot and multi-coloured sugar crystals meant that the cups were always filled with undissolved sugar.
This set had its good and bad points.

The shape of the teapot, milk jug and sugar bowl meant it was easier to use but it did not have plates.  Mum found me some small plates that matched.
 This enamel Chad Valley set was given to me when I was about ten or eleven, My sister who is nine years younger was also given one.
I find it surprising that this set that was not played with as
much is the one that shows signs of wear.  All my tea sets were used - a lot, the handle of this milk jug is broken and I have lost a tea cup.

I aslo had this lovely peices of minature glassware.  A cakestand, fruit bowl, wine glass and six tankards.

There were breakages, after all I was a child, this little Noddy teapot has a broken lid.  And one of the white tea plates was broken into three and had to be mended.

Other treasures include this little tea cup, the coffee cup and a very small milk jug.

  With all of my tea sets washed and ready for action I may have to put them to use again and have a tea party.  Baking is fantastic fun and I have quite a few mini cake and loaf tins.  So the question now is who to invite first .......... that is if I can bring myself to share my precious toys.