Friday, 23 June 2017

Merry Monday #253 - Bears

Such a cute theme over at 'Merry Monday' this week - 'Bears'! As I used the image from an up cycled Christmas card we were sent a couple of years ago, this is a 'one off'. Meaning my monthly target for 12 Christmas cards per month beginning in December has really slipped for June - but in the current heatwave, even I'm finding it hard to feel Christmassy! And that's quite an admission from one who can normally howl Christmas carols at the drop of a hat :)

Anyhow, this is what I came up with:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, side opening

- piece of apricot Core-dinations card stock (chosen to pick out the apricot ribbon on the little bear's parcel) - which was die cut using the MFT 'JOY photo card frame' 

- then I placed the frame how I wanted it to be over the image and popped the piece of waste from the centre in place. Holding it down firmly I then carefully removed the die cut frame and used low tack tape to hold the waste panel over the image (you could just pop a little bit of low tack sticky runner on the back of the waste panel before dropping it in place of course)

- then carefully cut around the image, just about three sixteenths of an inch away from the piece of die cut waste which was covering it, and took the piece of waste away

- that gave me enough room to add very narrow red line tape around the back of the die cut frame and then carefully pop it over the image panel

- glued the framed panel in place and left it at that

Of course, another way would have been to just lightly run a pencil line around the frame inner as a guide - but OCD was lurking here!

The card came with the gold stars already glittered, extra bonus. The colours are really non-traditional and, the white card blank I used is actually very slightly 'off-white'. I love really crisp, very white cards but I bought these on line and was quite disappointed when they arrived a while ago. But, they do have a use as a lot of commercially produced Christmas cards are printed on slightly off-white card - which makes for a good match when up cycling!

Still think it's hard to beat Hobbycraft if you want to buy bright white card blanks - and their 'own brand' 300gsm own card stock is also great for making your own blanks too. Of course, my favourite Samuel Taylor also do brilliant white card stock in various weights as well - it's usually best to buy at craft shows for good deals though.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Birthday card for Uncle Frank

This is my quick card for today, very clean and simple:
I used:

- 5" x 5" square white card blank

- a snippet of white card onto which I stamped the old fashioned gramophone and sentiment using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and stamps from a 'pre-loved' SU 'Timeless Talk' set - gosh the Misti was so useful for the solid black stamping!

- then added a layer of black card to the card front, using Colall All Purpose glue, leaving a narrow white border all around

- next die cut an aperture for the image using the largest die from the MFT 'Peek-a-boo Wonky Windows' set of dies and a piece of red card from the snippets folder, which I'd trimmed down to just slightly smaller than the black layer of card

- then ran the die cut piece of red card through the Cuttlebug again, using a Couture Creations embossing folder called 'Scattered Notes'

- laid the red card on top of the image panel and gently drew a pencil line around the inside of the aperture 

- then hand cut around the image - a good quarter of an inch outside the pencil line so I could add red line tape to the edge of the image and stick it behind the aperture (having first rubbed out the pencil lines)

- then just glued the red panel to the card front and decided to leave it as it was

My card was made for my 'Uncle Frank's' recent Birthday, who along with his late wife Alice was my guardian when my parents left me at boarding school in Germany. This was so that, in case of emergency (medical or otherwise), they could step in and sign documents on behalf of my parents, who were back in the UK. No emails back then - in fact a telephone was a rarity!

It also meant that I could go and stay with them at half term and that's why I chose the stamps I used for the card - to remind Frank of something he did to amuse me all those years ago. Alice and Frank didn't have any children of their own so my 'long weekends' must have been a bit of a nightmare in some ways. Their music tastes for instance were sensible and I was your typical teenager of course! But, to entertain me, I clearly recall Frank playing some of his precious records at 45rpm instead of the old 33rpm - just so we could listen to what sounded like 'The Chipmunks' - or someone singing who'd been on laughing gas! Happy days! And we still laugh about it too :)

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 283 and 284 - results

Hello again! Time for the fortnightly round up of  the Playground which includes our latest Guest Designer, some 'picks' of the fortnight and of course the prize draw.

As our Guest Designer this fortnight we have a lovely lady who did need a teensy bit of coaxing - our Val of 'Aquarius Blog' is so delightfully modest!

This is the snippets card that Val made:
Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? Love the background Val made, using the credit card technique which is very popular right now and the whole card is so, so pretty. This is what Val said about her card and herself - but please hop over to her blog HERE to say hello and find out a bit more:

I spotted a tutorial on Karen’s blog ( showing an interesting technique for using Distress Oxide inks and an old credit card. I was sent in the direction of this tutorial from Loll’s blog. I coloured a fair sized piece of white card using this technique and I’ve used a left over snippet of it  behind the window on my card and used various snippets of white Centura pearl card for the layers, corners and of course the blossom.  Some time ago I acquired a supply of Centura card in the A3 size, originally for making boxes and of course this has left me with some quite sizeable snippets to use as well as the inevitable small bits which I can never bear to throw away. 

I suppose I’ve been making cards for about 15 years or so and thinking about it has made me realise just how much the equipment and availability of materials has moved on since then.  My first die cutting machine was an original Sizzix which was tiny, red and worked on a sort of press/lever method and the dies were very simple shapes, quite small too. Any more intricate cutting was of necessity done with scissors – and patience!! We are so fortunate now to have so many resources at our fingertips to be able to produce professional results.  I really enjoy the challenge of working with what I have, combining colours and techniques to produce unique cards – I doubt I’ve ever made the same card more than once and would just hate to work on bulk production.  I’ve been blogging for some years but not sure quite how many – probably about eight. I’m always on the lookout for different techniques to try and of course blogland is a great source of inspiration as well as putting the ‘buy now’ temptation in front of us all.

Thank you so much Val for agreeing to be our Guest Designer this fortnight. Val enters the Snippets Challenge every single time and her work is always such a delight.

These are my picks from this past fortnight - the usual difficulty in whittling a very long list down to three picks - tough call as always:
Just take a look at the snippets background on this adorable card girls! It absolutely blew me away - and so many of you commented how much you also loved the very clever technique of piecing snippets and then filling in the gaps with heat embossed EP. So creative, and just what we've come to expect from Carol L too - And, worthy of her second Gold Star I'm sure you all agree!

My next two picks are a bit similar and I couldn't have one without the other - both are lovely and are a perfect reminder that Summer is finally here, with a vengeance here in the South of England as well:
Viv made this fabulous gift as a thank you for some people who kindly lent them the use of their static caravan down on the South Coast. It meant that Viv and her hubby could relax for a couple of days during a year of travelling so much as Bowls England President. How lovely to even include shells collected from the nearby beach!

And Tina also made a beautiful beach scene - I love the inclusion of the hessian 'mat' and the deck chair. You feel as if you want to tuck your skirt into your knickers and go for a paddle!

It's absolutely beautiful weather here as I'm typing this - let's hope that it's lovely and sunny when it publishes on Sunday. No doubt UK will go silly and everyone will be running around in little vest tops and shorts - and that's just the menfolk!

That's my three picks - I do hope they will inspire you as well girls. Of course we had loads of fabulous ways to use up snippets, so I do recommend that you grab a cup of coffee (or iced tea even!) and spend some time visiting blogs - the thumbnails with links are always there for you to look back over.

61 of you joined in this past fortnight - with one new Playmate:
What a fabulous card, made by Maria of 'Ivy Leaf Crafts'.

Welcome to the Snippets Playground Maria, and I do hope you return to play again soon.

Prize draw time now and our winner of the W Plus 9 'Doodle Buds' stamps set and the Avery Elle 'Postage Elle-Ments' die set is:
Well done Karen - can you please drop me an email with your address in and I'll post your prize off as soon as possible. My email address is on the right hand side bar.

Keep those snippets entries coming girls, you still have a week left to play HERE remember! And the prize is a Spellbinders Spellbinders 'Borderabilities A2 - Curved Borders One' set and Clearly Besotted 'Baby Shower II' set of stamps with little matching dies. I will split the prize if you only want to play for the elephants or the border dies.

Love from the little white peril - and of course from me too

Friday, 16 June 2017

Less is More Challenge #332 - one layer- Sweet Things

Hooray, I found time to make a card for the latest Less is More challenge - it's one layer, 'sweet things'. And this is what I made:
And to prove the shimmer and gloss:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, tent style

- Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a stamp from the Penny Black 'loads of love' set

- the sentiment was stamped at the same time, using the Misti and the same black ink plus a stamp by Whimsical Designs from the 'Whimsical Fun - Vol. 1' set 

- coloured the image using Pro markers and added a tickle of grey to 'ground' the mouse

- added shimmer to the icing using clear Wink of Stella and then some Glossy Accents to shine up the red heart

That was it - done very quickly.

I'd also like to enter this into the current challenge over at Penny Black and More for June where they're celebrating their 7th Birthday with 'Anything Goes'. Many congratulations ladies - and especially to Brenda who works so hard running several challenges.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

School reunion weekend 2017

I've been asked to spill a few of the beans about our school reunion weekend in Stratford upon Avon - so here goes. First of all, I took only a handful of photos and it seems that not many have been popped onto FB that I can 'borrow' either.

To outline some of the background, I was a British Army Brat and went to 15 schools in total. Luckily, with hindsight being 20/20 vision, the final four and a half years of my education was spent at a British Boarding school on the North Sea coast in Germany (Wilhelmshaven). Here's an aerial view - it's a photo of my much treasured mouse mat:
This shows how closely we were surrounded by water and it's actually what was known as the Main Site. The boys lived in fairly similar houses but on sites a couple of miles away (not that it stopped some of the Romeos among them!), where they also had their own dining rooms. If you look fairly closely you'll see a couple of massive square bunkers which were left from when the place was originally built as a U-boat station/barracks.

The long low white building with a red tiled roof (Raleigh), which is actually along the boundary of the site, housed a lot of the classrooms as did the red brick building tagged on at a right angle. Classes were mixed in the main, apart from sports and more gender specific subjects. A railway line ran along that perimeter of the Main Site and it's where we boarded and alighted from our school trains at the ends/beginnings of each term. Long before J K Rowling even thought of the Hogwarts Express!

Adolf Hitler himself gave an address from the balcony which led from the Headmaster's study in the red brick building and during all the years the school was open that balcony was never used again. Looking down the site there are 'houses' which were occupied by the girls - 60 or so per house, with staff flats at one end of each of the long corridors plus one house for the youngest boys. That was to give the boys time to settle into school life and basically learn to stand up for themselves! We girls mothered the little girls but I doubt if the youngest boys were exactly cuddled to sleep when crying for home in their first weeks. Amazing, we girls all cried our eyes out all over again when the time came to leave the school for good!

Main Site also had the Catholic and C of E churches, a huge building where school assemblies, plays, Saturday cinema shows, social events, dances etc. were held and a very well equipped gymnasium. Also red shingle tennis courts - which I dragged and swept as punishment on more than one occasion - the punishment came from senior girls when I was just a junior and basically it was due to them being too lazy to do it themselves. It certainly taught me to be kind to the younger girls when I was in the 5th and 6th Form for sure!

There was also (to the top left of the photo) a house called Nelson where all the girls trooped for meals - regardless of rain, deep snow - if we wanted to eat then we wrapped up and battled the elements if the weather was bad. In fact, skipping meals wasn't an option - and most of us were skinny as rakes from all the sport we played.

The big field was where we played hockey and practised our athletics - although we were bussed to a huge outdoor swimming pool and athletics ground for the 'serious' competitive stuff. In front of the Raleigh long white block of classrooms there were netball courts - which sometimes were deliberately flooded during the icy Winters so they could be used for ice skating.

So that's a quick potted overview of the school - and during the mere 25 years it was open, literally thousands of us came and went, due to our Dads being posted on quite frequently. Past pupils include Ridley Scott and Mandy Rice-Davies - neither of whom grace our reunions with their presence needless to say!

The School Association was formed in the early 1990's and in 1995 we had our first reunion at Newbury Racecourse - with over 600 ex-pupils plus quite a few former  members of staff turning up. Then, two years later we accepted a marvellous invitation by the townsfolk of Wilhelmshaven and hundreds of us returned for a fabulous long weekend to actually wander around the school site and buildings, dance and make merry. By then the buildings were somewhat neglected but it was still very much like returning to a much loved old home. Probably the very best reunion of all needless to say. And, the Headmaster's study was actually open, complete with the doors to that unused balcony being unlocked - needless to say those ex-pupils who smoked in those days 20 years ago hopped out to have a quick ciggie on the balcony in total defiance!

Sadly, little remains of the Main Site buildings now 20 years further down the line - it's a Science Park, but our school is marked by several monuments so that we're not forgotten. Ha, as if they ever could forget the 'orrible little perishers :)

Perhaps this goes a little way to explaining just how precious our reunions are - we're scattered not just over the UK but all around the world. Yet people were there at this latest reunion from Australia, Canada, various European countries and every corner of the UK.

So, what was the Stratford upon Avon weekend like then? Absolutely brilliant!!

Angie and I arrived on Thursday and returned home on Monday - thus adding a day at either side of the reunion itself. We missed our friend Moira very much indeed and drank a toast to her several times needless to say :) It just had to be done.

Here's a few photos - as I say, not many are available and our main photographer opted to take video clips which of course are good if you were there but probably a bit too manic if you weren't :)

We both arrived at the hotel literally at the same time - I trundled up to reception and there was Angie checking in beside me! Needless to say, having driven there, I arrived with the customary bottles of wine and stemmed plastic wine glasses - for pre-dinner drinkies of course!

Some 'early arrival' friends went to the theatre on Thursday evening to see the Shakespeare play 'Julius Caesar' - too heavy for us.'Twelfth Night' or 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' would have been great though. One tale that filtered back was that just at the intermission - when Julius is lying covered in blood having been given a good going over (to put it mildly) - there was a kerfuffle right at the front of the audience. It seems that someone had collapsed, quite noisily as well. Good ole Julius completely forgot that he was dead, hopped to his feet dripping 'blood' and peered into the auditorium enquiring 'Are you OK down there?'.

Sat out on the decking all Friday afternoon and evening - it was so warm right the way to midnight when we tottered off to our respective rooms (which is early for us!).

Spent much of Friday catching up with the main tranche of friends as they arrived - bearing in mind that I was being a bit careful with this back and Angie has a knee problem. Friday evening was a buffet, which had been planned as a BBQ to be held on the hotel's huge decking area overlooking the river. But, rain clouds were threatening and 'sho 'nuff' it absolutely threw it down during the evening - good job plans had been switched to indoors! Having said that, a BBQ would have been more fun and probably tastier as well. Oven-cooked chicken drumsticks, sausages, burgers and the like just weren't the same without the obligatory burnt bits.

The only photos from Friday evening are video clips - sorry!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny so with the rest of our little group we set off to explore as much of Stratford as we could.The river beckoned so we did a little trip on a barge/river boat - really good commentary as well, and some music at points on the trip where it was just us, the water and ducks/swans gliding along in harmony.

General view along the river from the boat
Swans and ducks, gathering for the food being thrown by a crew member on the front of the boat
Well hidden by trees, this is a peek at part of the church where William Shakespeare was christened, and subsequently buried
Loved this swan. it kept swimming alongside us -  when you leaned out of the boat and looked through the curve of its wings from the tail to the head, they formed a perfect heart :) So, so beautiful.
A couple of very old, typical buildings in the town - I cropped out the ice cream eating tourists from the bottom half!
Left to right, Babs, me and Angie. Taken on the Sunday just before Babs left. Babs and I were friends during school days and have more or less kept in touch ever since. And of course Angie is one third of the terrible trio - a real trouper and much loved friend. If only I could Photoshop Moira in we'd be complete!

The last photo made me realise just how much of a toll the past year or so has taken on yours truly. Constant pain is a nasty thing to deal with as so many of you know - it wipes you out, drains you - and turns your hair very silver as well. Of course, the silver could also be due to the decision to give up the blonde highlights! :)

Edit: This post was meant to stay in draft whilst I added a bit about the Saturday evening Dinner Dance. Suffice it to say I mucked up, lost a whole post for Less is More and this popped up overnight to my surprise.

The Saturday evening was more formal, with the usual speeches, raffle and stuff. Lovely meal and a very enjoyable time was had by all. There were a few bleary eyed folk on Sunday morning, but with the passage of time most of us have learned it isn't essential to sit nattering until it's time to watch the sun rise the following morning!

Well, that was the weekend of our 2017 school reunion - in a very rambling nutshell!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 285 and 286

Well, the school reunion is over for another two years! And the back held out, yay! We all loved the venue and location so much that there's a whisper we might even return there in 2019 for our next reunion. That would be a first as we've always moved around the country - a bit like the old quip about only going back a second time to apologise :)

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who came to play this past fortnight - loads of gorgeous entries. And a really massive thank you to Megan for her sterling work commenting as well. It was such a help - huge hugs from me Megan!

This is my quite plain and simple snippets card for the coming fortnight - I made it before skipping away for the long weekend so kept it easy peasy:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, tent style

- snippet of white card stock, trimmed to just slightly smaller than the card front

- snippet of green card, die cut using one of the dies from the Spellbinders 'Borderabilities A2 - Curved Borders One' set. A set I'd kept forgetting I even had! 

- glued the curved green die cut piece to the bottom of the card allowing the side edges to overhang - then just snipped those flush with the side of the piece of white card from the back which ensures a straight cut

- then found snippets of mauve, turquoise and pink card onto which I stamped little elephants, with separate ears in a contrasting pattern - using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and the Clearly Besotted 'Baby Shower II' set of stamps

- then used the matching set of Clearly Besotted dies to cut out the elephants and their ears - following the 'cut a template for positioning of a die' method I often mention - and set them aside for a minute

- then stamped the 'Jumbo hugs' message on the front panel using one of the two sentiments in the stamp set and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- fixed the panel to the card front with a sandwich of white fun foam in between

- finally added the three little elephants along the green border using pieces of thin sticky pads, and added their ears using little snippets of sticky pad

The Clearly Besotted stamp set is a fairly recent acquisition - at last their store has re-opened after Stephanie took time out. To be honest I suspect she was plain exhausted - but I'm so glad they're up and running again with her sister at the helm. They have lots of new stock, sadly for us it's selling out fast too but these little elephants just called for me to buy them :) The set is perfect for baby shower cards but I think the 'Jumbo hugs' sentiment I used is nice and versatile - plus elephants can so easily be mixed and matched with other sentiment stamps. And of course the ears could have been contrasting colours - but this was my first play plus I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn't go too mad!

As I said, I've badly neglected the Borderabilities dies - shame on me! A lot of people use them vertically down cards and the results can be fabulous.

As is often the case, no need to really spell out what this fortnight's prize is made up of:
The prize is the Spellbinders Spellbinders 'Borderabilities A2 - Curved Borders One' set and Clearly Besotted 'Baby Shower II' set of stamps with little matching dies. I will split the Spellbinders and Clearly Besotted parts of the prize in two if you only wish to play for one or the other.

I bought my own set of the Borderabilities dies ages ago and am sure that Spellbinders dies are now more competitively priced than they used to be - certainly the place I just bought this set from was doing good prices :)

The Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks from now on and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 24th June. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's still a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. The prize is both items together as a single prize, unless you really do only want to try for a 'split' - in which case I'd do a further draw for the other item. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' just in case you're playing only for fun. Thanks!

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winner of last fortnight's prize (the Avery Elle dies and the W Plus 9 Doodlebuds stamps) plus my picks from the past two weeks - as well as another lovely guest designer too!

Love from Parsnip and of course from me,

Friday, 9 June 2017

More Christmas cards

I whipped up a further four Christmas cards, all the same, to keep up with the self-imposed target of 12 per month from the beginning of December through to the end of November. I'm now halfway there and managing to keep up - so far!

This is what I made:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, tent style

- piece of deep red satin mirri card, cut to the same size as the card front and then glued in place

- piece of plain white card, cut down to 4" x 5.5" so that a band of the red layer would show at the bottom of the white panel (bit hard to spot in the photo but it's there I promise)

- then die cut the 'Merry Christmas' using a NBUS Memory Box die called 'Fancy Merry Christmas Channel'

- next die cut the reindeer using Stick-It backed gold shiny mirri card and a Cheery Lyn 'Santa's Sleigh and Reindeer' die

- peeled off the Stick-It backing from the reindeer and positioned them so that only the reindeer were on the card with the sleigh hanging off the edge. I then trimmed the sleigh itself off the side of the card - leaving just the reindeer 'cantering or flying' across the top of the word panel

- glued the whole white panel onto the red card front and called it done

Shame on me, I bought this word die months ago and had forgotten all about it! I had spied a card very similar to this one on some Memory Box adverts for the word die. It had sparkly snow added underneath the word 'Christmas', using what looked like white Flower Soft. I had the materials but skipped that bit as it seemed just a bit too fussy to me. Ditto with adding a red gem to the leading reindeer's nose - my red gems aren't tiny enough and Rudolph would look like he had a red traffic light as a nose :)