Hark the Herald Angels

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Today I am super, super excited! Clearly, at this time of year, my excitement meter is usually up high but today it may just go off scale. Mr Beez and I are going out for lunch. Now going out for lunch is always a treat but at this time of year it seems extra special. However, the additional ingredient in the mix is that we are going to the restaurant where my youngest son is a commis chef - Fischers at Baslow Hall. We have been lucky enough to dine there before but not since our son has been in the kitchen. Not only does it have a Michelin star it is also in a beautiful setting. One of my son’s joys of working there is that he goes out and picks herbs and vegetables from the garden. It’s a short drive away but it takes us through some of the most beautiful countryside of the Peak District. I can’t wait.

Today I am sharing another of my Gecko Galz projects that I have made for the ornament challenge.

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This uses an image from the Beautiful Dreamer collage set and I’ve simply created a skirt from some net/tulle and some beautiful lace that is sprinkled with gold.

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The wings are from the Altered Artifacts ephemera set and I’ve added some gold glitter glue.

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I used a scrap of gold Venise lace, braid and a gold rose to decorate her dress.

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Her crown is made from some gold star wire trim.

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We have had the angel that sits on the top of our tree since our first married Christmas, 31 years ago. I think I chose her because she was similar to the angel that my Mum and Dad had which had lived with me through my childhood.She came from Woolworths and is a little battered. But then who wouldn’t be after 31 years spent mainly living in a box!

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A few years ago a bought a brand new angel but when it came to the crunch I just couldn’t replace the old one! My vintage angel is sitting on top of a little metal tree that I have at the bottom of our stairs.

Thanks for buzzing by.

It’s (finally) beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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Well finally, it’s done, the tree is up. It took about four hours before it was finished but it was well worth both the wait and the effort. My photo’ isn’t that great but I thought I’d share it with you as today’s project isn’t a Christmas one:

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Today I am sharing one of my Gecko Galz design team projects and I apologise for it not being Christmassy although I suppose you could hang it from your tree if  you so wished:P1060482This is just a little piece of whimsy made from a chipboard ATC. All the images and papers are from the Gecko Galz.

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I added the words (from the computer), a button and a little feather.

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Across the bottom I’ve used gold Dresden trim and some net/tulle.

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I love this lady’s serene appearance – bet she’s not getting ready for Christmas! I gave her a little paper rose in addition to the flowers already in her hair.

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Now I’m off to put up some more fairy lights and then it must be time for some mulled wine.

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festive twinchies

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So, how’s the run up to Christmas all going in your household? Are you all joy to the world or are you a fa-la-la-la-lahed out? I think I’m somewhere in the middle. We still have a leaky roof and no chance of getting a roofer this side of 2013 but we seem to have weathered last nights torrents and wind. However, the best news (can’t think why Mr Beez thinks my priorities are all wrong!) is that my new tree lights arrived this morning. I think I scared the FedEx man with the unbridled joy with which I greeted him. Unfortunately, I am home alone at the moment so will have to wait patiently until there is someone to assist.

I have a little handful of festive goodies to share today. First up are some Christmas twinchies that I will be linking up with this month’s Show Us Your Twinchies challenge.

P1060781I’ve used some Bo Bunny papers and a selection of stamps (if you are a regular, you will recognise them) together with paper piecing.

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The first two are made using Darkroom Door stamps.

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For the snowman one I’ve stamped the snowman on to the twinchie and then stamped it again on to white card and cut out just the body and head before sticking it over the original stamp. I’ve used the same technique with the little heart, which is by Stampotique.

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Next I wanted to share the card that arrived this morning from my friend Dionne, who you will remember has shared many beautiful butterfly projects in support of Amy and Friends.

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Isn’t this stunning? The snowflake is the ruby slippers of snowflakes – I love it.

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Lastly, I have been baking again. This time I have made some little parmesan shortbreads.

P1060763These are the most delicious savoury morsels and are so easy to make. I make them in advance and freeze them as they only take a little time to defrost. I usually warm them through, ever so gently, just to refresh them. It’s difficult to say how many the recipe makes as it depends on how large you make your initial “log.” If you haven’t got a food processor I’m sure it will work just as well if you beat everything together with a spoon.

You will need:

90g parmesan cheese, finely grated

90g plain flour

60g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

15 – 30 ml olive oil (I used extra virgin)

  • Place the cheese, butter and flour in a food processor and  blitz for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the olive oil and blitz again until the mixture comes together. It should be slightly softer than pastry but not overly sticky. I usually add 15ml of oil and then add a bit more if it needs it, but don’t worry as if it is too sticky you are going to chill it in the fridge so it will be fine!)
  • Shape the dough into a sausage and wrap in clingfilm. Mine is usually just over 1 inch in diameter and I give it a final shaping once it’s wrapped up.
  • Chill in the fridge until firm. I find overnight is easiest.
  • To bake, heat the oven to 160 C/Gas4 . Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the dough into slices and place on the tray – they will spread a little. Bake for 10-15 minutes – they will be a pale gold.
  • Enjoy!

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

Star of wonder with a side order of pretzels

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Still waiting for my replacement Christmas tree lights to arrive :( Also haven’t managed to find a roofer who is able to come and look at our leaky roof before the end of the year. The order of those statements will give you a sense of my priorities!! The good news is that I am having a lovely festive time, having finished work, in all sorts of other ways including churros and chocolate sauce and a gingerbread latte (I was totally over excited when it came in a snowman cup and with a mini gingerbread man!)

Today I am sharing another canvas that I have made for this week’s Sunday Stampers. The theme this week is to use crackle effects in some way. Although I often use crackle paint or medium in my projects I never think it seems to work very well for me. I must do something wrong but I’m not sure what. So, to play safe, I decided to use a stamp instead.P1060753

 

I’ve used a small square artists canvas and covered it with fibre paste which gives it a lovely texture. As the paste is slightly grey I gave it a coat of white acrylic paint once it had dried.

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I stamped and heat embossed the crackle stamp using gold ink and powder then rubbed on a little gold gilding wax.

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The star is a wooden decoration that I’ve coated with gold embossing powder. I’ve covered the hole with a tiny bow made from gold thread.

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The words were printed on my computer, coloured with distress inks and then had a little gilding wax rubbed on. This doesn’t show up very well in the photograph.

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I have also been doing a bit of festive baking and thought I would share one of my favourite sweet treat recipes with you. If you like a sweet/savoury combination then this is the recipe for you. It comes with a health warning as once you start eating it, it’s very difficult to stop. It’s also super easy to make. The recipe is not my own, I found it on Pinterest and you can find it here.However, I have adapted it so the measurements are in grams.

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You will need:

150g small salted pretzels (I get these from Sainsbury’s down the crisps aisle)

225g brown sugar (I use a mixture of light muscavado and dark brown)

225g butter

100g each of milk, dark and white chocolate (or use the combination you prefer)

Sprinkles (optional)

  • Line a large baking tray with foil (no need to grease) and lay the pretzels on it in a single layer. I’m not very particular about this as long as they are spread out.
  • Switch oven on to 190C/Gas F/350F
  • Place butter and sugar in a pan and place over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and let it boil gently just until it starts to thicken. Allow to bubble so it turns quite thick (about 5 mins but don’t have the heat too high)
  • Pour the caramel over the pretzels as evenly as you can then place tray in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven – take care as it will be very hot.
  • Melt the chocolate in separate bowls and use a spoon to drizzle over the pretzels. Cover with sprinkles and leave to cool.

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  • Once cool, place in the fridge to firm up – preferably overnight.
  • Remove from the fridge and break up into pieces. It should come away from the tray really easily – you can even see through some parts if you hold it up to the light!

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  • Store in plastic bags in the freezer. It can be eaten directly from the freezer. People always question me on this but trust me, it works. However, if you prefer could also store in the fridge.

If you can bear to give any away this would make a lovely gift if popped in some pretty packaging!

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

Christmas roses ornament

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I can’t believe that this is my last week as a special guest over at City Crafter Challenge Blog. I’ve enjoyed every minute and it’s particularly special to be part of all the fun in the run up to Christmas. The themes have been fabulous and this week is no exception. Challenge #190 has the theme of jingle bells.

P1060587Now this was not the project I had planned originally but very pleased that I took a slightly different route. The base of this is an old tin lid from one of my altered tin projects. It’s similar in size to an Altoids tin. I’ve covered the lid with music manuscript and then added the image, which is from The Graphics Fairy. Then I coated the whole thing with chunky clear glitter. Once dry, I’ve added a border of gold Stickles to the image and a border of gold tinsel trim to the outside edge of the lid.

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I’ve added pearls, lace ribbon trim, mini roses and, of course, some gold jingle bells at the bottom.

P1060585P1060586The hanger is made from more gold tinsel and topped off with a tiny pink bow, another jingle bell and a sentiment. There’s also a little cluster of pink and white roses at the top of the image.

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This is quite similar to the stag/deer ornament that I shared on Sunday but funnily enough I didn’t realise that until I took another look at this.

P1060738Make sure you buzz over to City Crafter Challenge Blog and take a look at the fabulous inspiration from the Design Team. Thank you Kirsty for inviting me to be your special guest, I’ve had a ball and thank you too to Ros, Charlene and Wendy not only for your inspiration, but also your support and kind comments :)

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

Comfort and Joy

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Seems the storms are back in the UK, not as fierce as those a couple of weeks back but enough rain to sneak it’s way through our roof and into our bedroom! Roof problems are always a joy and at this time of the year the joy is multiplied!

Joy is also the new theme over at Every Inchie Monday and I have been playing with my new Darkroom Door Christmas Inchie stamps to make this little collection.

P1060745I have made an early New Year’s resolution to not buy any new crafting stash, with the exception of staples such as glue and cardstock. I’m sure I will redefine what constitutes a “staple” once the bite of my resolution takes hold!! Anyway, as this resolve does not start until 2014 I am of course making sure I stock up on non-staples before the time runs out! These inchie stamps were one such purchase. There are 24 different stamps in total so I’m sure I’ll get lots of use out of them.

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My first inchie was stamped, using Pine Needles distress ink, onto a background of Iced Spruce. I’ve used a glitter pen to add sparkle t the branches and I couldn’t resist adding some snow. Then it was just a question of adding the letters.

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Here I’ve stamped in black directly on to red card so the letters come through in red.

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I just happened to spot that this stamp contained the word joy and kept it simple my stamping in Vintage Photo and then inking the edges.

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This is a little holly frond with a music manuscript background. This was stamped in Vintage Photo and then I added some gold glitter to the berries.

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My final inchie is not a stamped one but I wanted to make one which represented the true Christmas “joy” so used a clipart image instead, coloured the background with Chipped Sapphire distress ink and added the words.

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Thanks for buzzing by.

Christmas ornaments

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Today has not quite gone as planned. Having felt on top of my (Christmas) game yesterday, today it has all gone a little pear shaped. I have been having stern words with myself to remind me that it really isn’t that much of a big deal. My major plan for today was to decorate the tree and then a little light baking and crafting all of which would be jobs to cross off THE list. Mr Beez had the tree up in record time without me even having to say whether it was straight (it was). I had got the lights down early to check that they worked (they did) and we checked again to see if they were still OK (they were). You can now probably guess where this is going! As we reached about the halfway point, which equates to 200 lights, I thought we’d just double check what they looked like. Well let me tell you – the half on the tree were not working at all, whilst the half on the floor twinkled merrily. You can no longer get replacement bulbs for these and we have had them for at least 5 years so they had to go. Well you can’t decorate a tree until you have the lights on can you so that was that. I comforted myself with a cup of coffee, laced with a shot of Bailey’s, and took myself off for a little light crafting.

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I have two glittery ornaments to share with you today, both of which use images from The Graphics Fairy.

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I’ve used a glittery snowflake, picked up in last year’s sales, as the base and added a circle of starry tinsel. I printed two of the little girl images, punching a hole in one and layering it on top of the second, then I’ve placed an epoxy dome over the centre.

P1060724I’ve added some crystal clear glitter over the dome and some chunky glitter to the wreath part of image.

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Next I framed the image with some clear and red gems. These came on a sticky strip so were easy to apply.

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I’ve added holly leaves and berries at the top and a Merry Christmas and a red satin bow at the bottom.

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The base of the second ornament is the inside of a Kilner jar (canning/mason jar?) that I’ve covered with music manuscript and then edged with thin gold tinsel.

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After punching out the image I’ve edged it with gold glitter and then applied to the centre. Next I gave the whole thing a coating of chunky clear glitter.

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I’ve added some faux spruce fronds and gold berries to the top and a tartan bow and rusty jingle bells to the bottom

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This part of my day I am very happy with and I hope that you like them too. As I have used images from The Graphics Fairy I will be linking them up for the Brag Monday party tomorrow and I’d love it if you buzzed over and gave them a “like” tomorrow afternoon.

Now you will recall my other job for today was a little light baking. I’m not sure I will manage that now so, I shall add it tomorrow’s list. I’m hoping to share some of my endeavours, together with the recipes so I hope you’ll buzz by and take a look.

Thanks for buzzing by today.

 

 

Christmas window and a bonus butterfly

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So my last day in the office this year has been successfully completed and I am now able to dedicated myself 100% to Christmas. :) :) :) This morning Mr Beez and myself had a big supermarket shop which, hopefully, means there will only be a few top up shops to do. Another major task this morning was to get all the parcels in the post, now I just need to persuade Mr Beez to sign the cards and they can be dispatched. It all seems a bit too calm – I must have forgotten something somewhere along the line!

I have two projects to share with you this morning and the first one isn’t my own, but is the work of my lovely friend Dionne who has so loyally shared and supported my mission to raise awareness of Cockayne Syndrome through the work of Amy and Friends. I should have shared this yesterday but I think you’ll agree that this was worth the wait:White_Wreath

I love the white wreath with the tiny, red, glittery butterfly and the bow adds an elegant touch. Please do buzz over to Dionne’s blog for all the details and I know she’d love it if you could take the time to leave a comment.

I also have a Christmas card to share with you and once again have used some papers and images from The Gecko Galz.

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I don’t think it’s terribly clear from the photograph but this is actually a shaker card. The window is dimensional and has a layer of acetate so I could add some frosty white glitter behind it.

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I’ve decoupaged the little boy and some of the holly.

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I’ve used some beautiful cream ribbon and a coordinating button across the bottom and added a bow in the top corner.

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I’m sharing this over at Papercraft Star for their latest and, very sadly, final challenge. I’m SO sorry to see them go and will miss their challenges with inspirational photo’s and design team projects. Thank you Jan, Anitra, Ros, Deanne and Sue I will miss you.

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

Christmas Holidays

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Today I am super, super giddy as it as my last working day this year and will be on annual leave until January 8th! In celebration, I am sharing two Christmas cards that I have made using papers and images from The Gecko Galz.

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I love this retro image from the Christmas Whimsies collage set as it reminds me of the cards we used to receive when I was little. P1050851The Santa bingo card and sentiment ticket are  from the Altered Christmas collage set. I’ve layered up some papers from the Here Comes  Santa Claus paper set together with some black card.

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Baker’s twine, mini pompoms and some die cut snowflakes, very kindly provided by my friend Dionne, complete the look.

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P1050855P1050852My second card uses a super cute and festive image from the Christmas Kids collage set.

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The paper is from the Here Comes Santa Claus set as before.

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P1050861I’ve added some punched fronds, berries and some gorgeous Christmas red seam binding.P1050862

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 Thanks for buzzing by.

Just love Christmas

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It is no secret that I absolutely love Christmas, so much so that I actually have a second celebration in July. Yesterday I had my first festive lunch, celebrating with work colleagues. Today I had my second with an old friend. Now I am feel I am like one of those inflatable snowman and need a couple of days respite from any eating at all. If you know the episode of the Vicar of Dibley where she eats umpteen Christmas lunches you’ll get the picture.

I have a double portion of craftiness to share with you today with two of those lovely little canvases from Calico Crafts

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I shall be sharing these over at Sunday Stampers where the theme is “love.”  I shall be giving these as gifts to two of my work colleagues who also love Christmas.

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I made this one first – I used papier mache to cover up a previous, failed, project, that had included the use of Snowtex. I quite like the uneven texture. I painted it red and, whilst it was still wet, added a smidge of gold to tone down the colour. Once completely dry I rubbed on more gold paint.P1060714

I stamped the heart directly on to the canvas and then again on to an old book page.

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The tree is from a fabulous set by Darkroom Door. I stamped on to a book page and the cut it out.

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The words were written in my best teacher writing, as small as I could, on to blank scraps of book page.

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The second canvas was made in exactly the same way but the paint was applied directly to the canvas. This one looks sharper than the other but I think that is an illusion created by the camera.P1060715P1060716

I’m seriously thinking that they would be a great alternative to Christmas cards for next year. They were certainly a lot less faff than my Christmas cards and probably work out cheaper. However, you would probably have to pay out a small fortune in postage.

Now, just before I start rein back my festive eating I think there might be an Advent chocolate with my name on it!