Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome back Dan

Welcome back Dan
Dan has just come back from 10 days in Scotland with Allan, they certainly didn't sit around & made the most of their time.
The first picture is of the mirror people in the grounds of the David Marshall Lodge


Can you see the face in the second picture?
Aw & this one is so cute & I just have to share it with you.

Dan took over 400 pictures & has edited his favourite 60 & added them to his Flickr account, if you click on any of the above photo's you will be directed to the larger versions of the pictures, or click here to go to the Flickr set.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can you guess what this is made from?

Recycling at its best

If you haven't guessed, this magnetic note holder started life as a baking sheet from poundland
The papes are from the designer paper stack called sweet pea & the magnets are decorated with the Sweet Pea stitched felt flowers.
I used the big bite cropodile & it went through the metal baking sheet like a hot knife through butter.

All of the decorative parts of this project are from Stampin' Up & are available to purchase  through me.
The metal baking sheet is from the local pound store.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vintage Vogue feature

Have you seen this months issue of the Making cards magazine? The July Issue has a feature using the lovely Vintage Vogue stamp set & they ise the kissing technique.

The kissing technique is a great way to get more use from your stamps. There are several different ways to use this technique:

Take a background or textured stamp and ink it with a dark color. Place it face up on your work surface. Then ink a solid stamp with a lighter color. Press the solid stamp into the background stamp so that they “kiss” each other. The background stamp leaves a pattern into the solid stamp. Then take the kissed solid stamp and stamp onto cardstock.
As a variation, ink the two stamps in coordinating colors, rather than a lighter shade of the same color, and “kiss” them together. Then press the solid stamp onto cardstock.

Ink a solid stamp and “kiss” it with an un-inked pattern stamp. This removes ink in the shape of the pattern. Stamp the kissed solid stamp onto cardstock.

All of the Stampin' Up products are  available to purchase through me including the very versatile Vogue set used in this feature.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NEW stampers 6 group starting

I am starting up a brand new Stampers 6 club with effect from September
Heres the deal!!

I need 6 ladies to join the club who commit to spending a minimum of £25 a month (plus P&P) for 6 months September - March. This is without a December meeting, which I can do ( If required ) as an additional meeting with a draw for hostess, so the chance of a bonus hostess month.
Each month one of the 6 ladies will be classed as the "hostess" for that month and will receive freebies of the minimum of a Level 1 stamp set and £15 worth of goodies from the catalogue. Dont worry being hostess simply means you get freebies that month, it doesnt mean you have to let us all come round to your house!!!!!

You will receive a free Stampin Up catalogue at the start of the club and any further mini catalogues that might appear during the club run.

Occasionally I will send out challenges and prizes to some lucky winners

Do you like the sound of it ???
Please mail me for more information or to register a place before they fill up !!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lemon tart


4 unwaxed lemons (zest of 3 of them)
170g butter, cubed
4 large or 5 medium eggs, beaten
1 large or 1 medium egg yolk
220g unrefined caster sugar
375g frozen Cooks’ Ingredients All Butter Shortcrust Pastry, thawed (2 x 250g in one pack)



  1. Roll the lemons on a work surface with the palm of your hand (to make them release more juice). Juice them and measure out 150ml. Place the juice, zest, butter, eggs and sugar in a saucepan over a low–medium heat and stir continuously for 10–15 minutes (do not allow to simmer) until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat a little and stir until it begins to simmer; simmer for 5 seconds, then remove from the heat. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm to avoid a skin forming. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll the pastry between 2 sheets of clingfilm to a thickness of 2mm. It should be 10cm wider than the tart case. Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4. Peel off the clingfilm, roll the pastry around a rolling pin, lift it over a 23cm tart case and unroll it so the edges hang over the sides. Press the pastry to fit the tin leaving the edges overhanging to trim after baking (this will ensure the tart case is unaffected by the pastry shrinking). Prick with a fork and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Take a sheet of parchment larger than the tart tin and scrunch it up. This will make it easier to fit into the corners of the tart. Place baking balls or coins on top and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the parchment and baking balls or coins and return the tart to the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. Take the tart out of the oven and allow to cool completely before running a knife around the edge of the tin to remove the excess pastry. Carefully lift the tart case out of the tin.
  5. When cold, pour the lemon filling into the centre of the tart allowing the lemon curd to flow evenly to the edges. Place in the fridge for 1 hour before serving with crème fraîche and fresh raspberries if they are in season

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mini Pizza box & 4 vintage vogue cards

With my new stampers 10 starting this week I thought I would start with one of my favourite sets & a mini pizza box and 3 cards which include a mini easel card at Angie's request.
Vintage Vogue 117690
Tiny tags 118091
Live your dream 111486
Very Vintage wheel  117693
Soft Suede
Mellow Moss
Barely banana
Blush Blossom
Apricot appeal
Sage Shadow
Very vanilla
Sage shadow ( the photo's aren't an accurate representation )
Blush blossom
Stampin' pastels
Sponge Daubers
3/4" circle punch
Scallop edge punch
Medium Jewellery tag punch
Very vanilla Taffeta ribbon
Kraft Taffeta ribbon

Step 1

With short side of 6" x 11" cardstock at the top of the scoring tool, score at 1" and 5".

Step 2

Turn cardstock, and on the 11" side of your cardstock, score at 1", 5”, 6” and 10”.

Step 3

Following the scored lines along the 11” side, use scissors to cut flaps.

Begin cut on outer edge of paper and stop at the perpendicular scored line

Step 4

Adhere flaps to inside of box.

Step 5

Decorate and fill box as desired.

The finished box measures 4" in width and 1" in height


    Different Sizes To figure out the cardstock size you need for a different size box, try this formular" Cardstock width: 2 x height of box + finished box size Cardstock length: 3 x height of box + 2 x finished box size

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The final pieces

After a busy year learning 2 completely new subjects the night of the 'A' level Photography exhibition is here. Its hard to believe that 14 months ago Dan had barely used a camera & yet tonight we have been to the exhibition which contains some of his final pieces. Dan first used a DSLR camera at last years race for life on the May day bank holiday weekend, and now this passion & enthusiasm has been converted to a 6th 'A' level.

Well done Dan

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Making your own bunting



What you need

Pencil/tailors' chalk
Scissors (for cutting card)
Pinking shears or scissors suitable for cutting fabric
Needle and thread/sewing machine
2m ribbon or cotton tape (wider than 2cm to make it easiest)

Step one: Make a template

To make sure all the triangles are the same size, cut a template from card to draw around. I reckon long triangles are better than short stubby ones.

Step two: Draw the triangles

Draw around the template on to your fabric using a pencil or piece of tailors' chalk. Remember to rotate the template each time you draw another triangle so you can get as many pieces as you can from your fabric.

Step three: Cut out the pieces

Use pinking scissors to cut around the triangles - this gives them a zigzag edge and stops the fabric from fraying. If you don't fancy investing in any new tools, use normal scissors to cut out and:
a) Put up with the fraying (really, this isn't ideal).
b) Use felt - which doesn't fray - or strong upholstery material
c) Overlock around the edges with a sewing machine

Step four: Attach the triangles

Take a long piece of ribbon and fold it in half, lengthways, so it is just as long but half as wide. Iron to keep the fold in place (this makes the next bit easier). Pin the fabric triangles on to the ribbon at equal distances from each other.

Step four: Sewing up

With the triangles pinned in place, sew all the way along the ribbon, at least 1cm from the edge, making that sure when you stitch, the needle goes through the triangle and both sides of the ribbon. A sewing machine makes this easy, but if you don't have one, hand-sew using a backstitch.

Creamy spaghetti with crispy bacon

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 Minutes
Cooking time: 15 Minutes
Nutrition per serving: 779 cals, 39.2g fat, of which 20.9g saturated fat, 8.3g added sugar, 3.5g salt

You will need

  • 300g  unsmoked back bacon
  • 400g  mushrooms
  • 200g  young leaf spinach
  • 150ml pot of single cream
  • 500g  spaghetti
  • Onion
  • garlic
  • egg
  • milk


  1. Cook 400g  spaghetti, following pack instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips, over a medium heat for 5 minutes until browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  3. Fry the mushrooms, sliced, 1 onion and 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced, for 3–4 minutes in the oil left in the pan from the bacon. Return the bacon to the pan and add the spinach leaves, 1 egg yolk, 75ml single cream and 75ml milk, and stir well until heated through.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the cooked spaghetti and stir through to serve.

Friday, June 11, 2010

You never know

You never know when someone
May catch a dream from you.
You never know when a little word,
Or something you may do
May open up a window
Of the mind that seeks the light
The way you live may not matter at all...
But you never know - it might.
And just in case it could be
That another's life through you.
Might possibly change for the better
With a broader brighter view.
It seems it might be worth a try
At pointing the way to the right.
Of course, it may not matter at all,
But then again it might.


They told me that Life could be just what I made it -
Life could be fashioned and worn like a gown;
I, the designer, mine the decision
Whether to wear it with bonnet or crown.
And so I selected the prettiest pattern -
Life should be made of the rosiest hue -
Something unique, and a bit out of fashion,
One that perhaps would be chosen by few.
But other folks came and they leaned o'er my shoulder;
Someone questioned the ultimate cost;
Somebody tangled the thread I was using;
One day I found that my scissors were lost.
And somebody claimed the material faded;
Somebody said I'd be tired ere 'twas worn;
Somebody's fingers, too pointed and spiteful,
Snatched at the cloth, and I saw it was torn.
                   Oh! somebody tried to do all the sewing,
                        Wanting always to advise or condone.
                         Here is my life, the product of many;
                     Where is that gown I could fashion - alone?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Work in progess at the moment is yet more bunting at the moment I am making up some bunting I've called Strwberries & cream. The fabric in the machine is a michael miller fabrics called Sandi Henderson - Meadowsweet - Strawberry Fields - Cream.

I have now hit a slight hiccup as all of the other fabrics I originally gathered for this project were from the Nicey Jane range by heather Bailey & now I'm not so sure that they all look right together as they are predominately pinkier than the Strawberry fabric I have based the project round.

So I'm wondering weather to use
Plain cream
Plain red
Red Gingham & 
Green Gingham

If anyone has any suggestions Please e-mail me.

My little Janome machine is the 140M model & is just so cool, especially for just £40.

New fabrics have just arrived

For the past week I have been stalking the postman, well thats the way it feels, just over a week ago I ordered these beautiful Riley & Blake fabrics from America to start making Halloween bunting & today they have arrived. Just one more pack to come & I can start the halloween bunting. I dont know wether to use black tape or to dye some lime green, or orange maybe, what do you think?

The fabrics are from a range called Boo to you available from 

Now just because I shared that link with you I take absolutely no responsibility if you choose to follow the link & subsequently get a letter from you bank manager about your severe overspend. Delivery only took 8 days so I was really pleased & I got some free charms of Fabrics that are lovely for boys.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flea market bag ~ Home sewn of course

A few weeks ago I found this lovely pattern for a bag & thought I would give it a go, as many of you know Me & sewing machines were an alien concept until about 4 months ago, so I got the pattern checked out to make sure that I wasn't running before I could walk.

The Fabrics are By Tanya Whelan & they are stocked at work.
After a couple of false starts, because the bag is double sided & has an interfacing as well, I kept sewing them together in the wrong order, not once, not twice but three times & to make it worse I had to unpick it each time with a needle & sharp scissors. I learnt my lesson fast & bought an unpicker & touch wood I haven't needed to use it yet.

The bag is reversible & has a double pocket inside.
The pattern actually makes a larger messenger bag as well & you can choose 4 different strap styles & lengths.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Italian Sausage Spaghetti

Italian Sausage Spaghetti
 The beauty of this spaghetti recipe is that it is very easy to make and you don't have to add any seasoning to achieve wonderful flavor. The sauce gets all of its seasoning from two Italian sausages - one sweet, one spicy.


Italian sausages

  • 1 large Italian sweet sausage
  • 1 large Italian hot and spicy sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 large (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb (16 oz) spaghetti pasta
  • Salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


The Sauce:
Take the Italian sausage meat out of the sausage casings. Break up into pieces and mix the sweet and spicy sausage meats together. Brown the sausage meat in a large skillet on medium high or high heat with a little olive oil. In a separate skillet sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent. Purée the tomatoes in a blender, add to the skillet with the sausage meat. Add the cooked onions and garlic.

The Pasta
Fill an 8-quart or larger stock pot at least half full with water and bring to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Slowly add the pasta, stirring to prevent clumping. Allow the water to come to a boil again. Cook, uncovered, with a fairly vigorous boil, for as long as the directions on the pasta package say, usually about 10-12 minutes. When pasta is al dente (cooked but still a little firm), remove the pot from the heat. Add a cup or two of cold water to the pasta to stop the cooking. Drain the water from the pasta through a colander. Place the pasta in a serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4-6.

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce


  • 1 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Heat 4 quarts of salted* water in a large pot for the pasta. As the water heats, prepare the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chicken pieces, spreading them out initially and then not stirring them, so they have an opportunity to brown. Once lightly browned on one side, use tongs to flip the pieces over so they brown on the second side. When pieces are browned on both sides, and just cooked through, remove to a paper towel lined plate.
2 Deglaze the pan with white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and let liquids reduce by half (turn up the heat if necessary). Add the cream, mint, thyme, lemon zest, honey, salt, and vinegar. Reduce the sauce by half again.
3 Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook following directions on pasta package. When pasta is ready, drain and add to cream sauce when cream sauce has been reduced by half and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add chicken to the pasta and sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
* Use a teaspoon of salt for every quart of water. Some people wait until the water is boiling to add the salt. Makes little difference to me. Just make sure you get the salt in the pasta water or your pasta will be tasteless.
Serve immediately. Garnish with a little chopped fresh mint and thyme. Serves 4-6.

Parmesan chicken breasts with crispy posh ham recipe


  • 30g Parmesan cheese
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, preferably free-range or organic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • Olive oil

Method: How to make Parmesan chicken breasts with crispy posh ham

To prepare your chicken

1. Grate your Parmesan.
2. Pick the thyme leaves off the stalks.
3. Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss-cross fashion with a small knife.
4. Season with a little pepper (you don’t need salt as the prosciutto is quite salty).
5. Lay your breasts next to each other and sprinkle over most of the thyme leaves.
6. Grate a little lemon zest over them, then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
7. Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast, overlapping them slightly.
8. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves.
9. Put a square of cling film over each breast and give them a few really good bashes with the bottom of a pan until they're about 1cm thick.

To cook your chicken

1. Put a frying pan over a medium heat.
2. Remove the cling film and carefully transfer the chicken breasts, prosciutto side down, into the pan.
3. Drizzle over some olive oil.
4. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning halfway through, giving the ham side an extra 30 seconds to crisp up.

To serve your chicken

1. Either serve the chicken breasts whole or cut them into thick slices and pile them on a plate
2. Serve with some lemon wedges for squeezing over, and a good drizzle of olive oil.
3. Lovely with mash and green veg or a crunchy salad!

Parmesan Chicken Recipe


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or 2/3 cup if you are using a Microplane zester)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat, cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches


parmesan-chicken-1.jpg parmesan-chicken-2.jpg
parmesan-chicken-3.jpg parmesan-chicken-4.jpg

1 Preheat oven to 450°F.

2 In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.

3 Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 baking dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.
Serves 4-6.