Friday, 22 September 2017

That wine bottle die again

I have a feeling, based on what I'm seeing around blogland,  that the wine bottle die given away with a recent issue of Die Cutting Essentials is going to become as iconic as the now-famous "That Embossing Folder" of a couple of years ago.

Here I've cut it in green, made a centre stepper card from embossed Hunkydory card and cut the embellishment for the bottle from a smooth version of the same card, then added labels made using the stamp and die set from one of their sister magazines.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Gals Corner - Fancy Folds
Crafting by Designs  - Drink Up!

Little doggies

Some time ago I got this doggie stamp from Little Claire in two sizes, and have used the larger one many times but never inked the smaller one. Until today.

I've teamed it with a selection of masculine papers from the docrafts Heritage press range. I don't know why but I always think of dogs when making pet themed cats for men, and cats when making them for women. Goodness knows why - I know lots of dog loving women and cat loving men.

I am sharing this with
Use Your Stuff - Pets 
Watercooler Wednesday - masculine anything goes

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Recipe - Pheasant and wild mushroom casserole

NOTE - do not used foraged mushrooms in this dish unless you are ABSOLUTELY certain that you know exactly what you are picking, that the ones you are choosing are both safe and good to eat, and that you are picking them from somewhere where you are allowed to do so. My thanks to Mark for his expertise and photographs.

I was having a rummage around the freezer, as you do, when I spotted a pack of pheasant thighs - skinned and boned ones. I have no idea where I bought them - the label has a brand name, "Wild", rather than a supermarket name, but it seems very much like game casserole weather so that's what I decided to make.

Mark had managed to find a lovely mixture of wild mushrooms for this, but supermarket ones would work too - use the ones that are like small flat chestnut mushrooms that every supermarket gives a different name to, if you can find them.

To serve two people you need:

1 pack (4 thighs) skinned and boned pheasant thighs
about 150g wild mushrooms (or see above)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbs sunflower or rapeseed oil
25g butter
1 tbs seasoned flour
200ml beef, game or strong chicken stock
1 tbs chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tbs dry sherry.

Heat oven to 160C (fan 140)/325 F/gas 3

Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Unroll the thighs ( they may be divided into two pieces each) and roll each piece in the flour.

Heat half each of the oil and butter over medium heat in a wide, shallow lidded flameproof casserole  dish and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften and then push them out to the sides of the pan and add the pheasant to the middle in a single layer. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (the onions around the edge might need a little bit of a stir but you want them to start browning).

Give everything a stir, stand back and chuck in the sherry. (If you have some brandy, it would be even better but you may want to shut any doors between the hob and the smoke detector before adding it).

When you've swabbed your singed eyebrows (see, I told you to stand back!) stir in the stock and thyme, cover and place in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring every half hour or so. Add a little hot water if the sauce seems to be getting too thick.

Half an hour before it is due to be ready, clean the mushrooms and break them into bite sized pieces. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan over a high heat and toss in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. At first a lot of juice will come out of them - keep on cooking until the juice has evaporated and they start to fry again.

Stir them into the casserole and return to the oven until the cooking time is up.

I can assure you it tastes a lot nicer than it looks - the pheasant is meltingly tender but not falling apart and the rich, gamey flavour goes beautifully with the mushrooms. We had it with mashed potato to soak up all the rich juices and some steamed leeks for a fresh green contrast.

Big blue flower

I've discovered a serious flaw in my stash - I do not possess a light blue inkpad. However for this card I got round it by sponging blending ink onto my stamp.

The delicate result made it perfect to use as a background for the BIG BOLD sentiment which is from a stamp set I won in the Playground. I used the Misti to stamp it several times to make sure it was really REALLY bold. The flower, leaf and butterfly embellishments were just stamped once so that they don't fight the sentiment for attention.

I am sharing this with

The Flower Challenge - Tic Tac Toe - I have used the right hand column, sentiment/CAS/blue

CASology - BIG

Fab 'n ' funky - Floral Embellishments

Addicted to CAS - Florals

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

pink for a girl

There are no babies on the way in the family, but I've just started making cards for the local hospice to sell so I'm trying to give them a good variety to cover all occasions.

I've used a stork die from the Xcut "Baby Icons" set and a word from a Spellbinders set, and used the Gummiapan "Stitched squares" for the layering. The pink is a snippet - such a small one that I had to cut the stork and word out from the area behind where the white layer would go. For some reason I can never remember the name of this technique - is it "guttering"?

Although I wanted to give an impression of sky, I also wanted to keep things very CAS, so I used a small cloud stamp and a few strokes of blue pencil to create just a suggestion of sky behind the stork.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - take flight
Cardz 4 Galz - Welcome little baby
Pixie's Crafty Workshop - Weeks 299 and 300  

Now that's the end of today's crafty posts, but read on if you want to see a follow up to Saturday's Pasta making Class....

Yesterday we went into London to attend another class, this time a bread making one, but it was cancelled so we came home and spent the rest of the day cooking at home instead. We retrieved our pasta machine from its new home in our daughter's kitchen and made ravioli,  using a wild mushroom filling that Mark had made on Monday after a successful foraging expedition. The sauce we served with it was a rich ragu which included pancetta, sausage and lots of red wine.

We were delighted with the results!

Horse Chestnut

Autumn seems to be coming early this year and some of the leaves started to turn before the end of August. So I'm sure it won't be very long before parks and footpaths are scattered with conkers, the nuts from the Horse Chestnut tree.

I love the colours of chestnut trees, both Horse and Sweet, in the autumn, although sadly in recent years some kind of disease means that many leaves go brown and withered without taking on their beautiful seasonal colours.

One of my favourite stamps, and one of the oldest in my collection, is this single Horse Chestnut leaf. It is so versatile, being a single leaf rather than a large stamp, and looks great in summer or autumn colours. It is so old that the lettering has worn off the side of the wood block, eroded away from hundreds of uses, so I can't tell you who originally made it.

Here I have made a background stripe of assorted inks, sponged and blended, then stamped the leaf over it in brown ink, adding a sentiment that I won last year in the Playground. I've stamped it again with Versamark ink on orange card and embossed it with a variegated brown embossing powder.

I am sharing this with
Allsorts challenge - Feels Like Autumn
Always Fun - Fall colours
Sweet Stampin - Your Favourite Stamp
Make My Monday - Autumn Colours
AAA  - Autumn Colours
Rubber Dance - Use your fave stamp

Creative with Stamps - leaves

Monday, 18 September 2017

Bird on a branch

While sorting out some papers the other day I came across a pack of mulberry paper that I've had ever since it was fashionable - still unopened! It must be donkeys years old, so I thought I'd get it out and have a play.

I completely covered my card front with a slightly larger piece of mulberry paper then used a damp paintbrush to go around the edges to make the mulberry paper wet, enabling me to easily tear it close to the edge. Once the water had dried, I inked around the edge with distress ink.

The square of newsprint effect paper is stencilled with a woodgrain stencil using DI, then the edges inked with the same ink and distressed with an edging tool.

The sentiment is one from an old sheet of copper embellishments which I seldom use as they seem too bright and shiny for their style and until now my attempts to colour them have failed. However this time I coloured the whole surface with a brown Promarker then left it to dry overnight - success! I sanded the surface lightly to make the letters stand out then attached it with brads to the strip of cream textured card.

Finally I added a die cut sprig of foliage and a vintage bird sticker.

I am sharing this with

House of Cards - Text and/or colours
More Mixed Media - Anything goes/Brown
Little Red Wagon - distress it  
Country View Challenges - Metal