Saturday, October 31, 2009

You are invited...

to join the party! It's not my party, but I am a guest and I'm allowed to bring friends. So, pop along to see Kirsty Neale and Julie Kirk's double-blogged Hallowe'en inspiration party. They asked me to join in and make a little something Hallowe'eny, so I have.

I think I've realised that I get a little carried away when people challenge me to do things. Last time was here, when Shimelle Laine challenged me to make things with her printables during her weekend party. That was 4 things. Now, I've calmed down a little today; there are still 4 things, but I've only made 3 out of paper and digital. The first was the invite that you see at the top of the post. Dead simple, with a couple of digital scrapbooking kits from the Shabby Shoppe - I used "Boo" and "Bountiful", though mostly Boo for that project.

Then I made this:

A little close-up of that tag:

This repurposed Prima flower tin was covered in printed out digi-designed paper, using the Bountiful kit. I then printed out the phrase, the digi-rub-on bird and the lettering on card, cut them out and stuck them together. Add a touch of ribbon and ta-da! Possibly the prettiest thing I've ever made, apart from my darling daughter ;)

Now I can't promise you actual party cake, but I am going to give you a rather lovely recipe for sticky gingerbread, and for those of you who may be dairy-free, you can make this one, just use the veg/sunflower oil option :)

Sticky Gingerbread

Makes 1 x 25cm/10in square "loaf"

275 g (10oz) plain flour
5ml (1tsp) ground cinnamon
5ml (1tsp) ground ginger
5ml (1tsp) bicarbonate of soda
100g (4oz) butter or margarine or sunflower oil
175g (6oz) golden syrup
175g (6oz) black treacle
100g (4oz) brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
150ml (1/4pt) hot water

Sieve together the flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
Melt the butter/margarine/oil gently with the syrup, treacle and sugar and pour into the dry ingredients (the heat helps to combine all the sticky stuff properly).
Add the eggs and water and mix well (the mixture will be very runny, but I promise you it does work).
Pour into a greased and lined 10 inch square cake tin, or 2 large loaf tins, then bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 40-45 minute until well risen and springy to the touch. Test with a skewer to see if middle is cooked.

(adapted from the classic 1000 cake and bake recipes, Wendy Hobson)

I'm afraid I didn't have time to bake one to show you (plus there's only me to eat it, although it freezes VERY well), so you'll just have to imagine a chunk of sticky, moist cake delicatey placed on a pretty plate alongside a steaming hot cup of tea, coffee, or whatever you fancy!

Now for the last one. It's a layout that I've decided will join this one to become part of an album on "5 things". The first layout was published in Scrapbook Inspirations earlier this year, and I really enjoyed messing about with the photo. My new layout came from this photo taken on my web cam:

(a pretty scary photo in itself I think you'll agree!). Then by resizing, fiddling around with the brightness and contrast and then applying a cut-out filter effect, I ended up with this, on an 8" x 8" document:

Woah, look at those pink eyes. Can I hear you say "conjunctivitis"? :)

Now, I am currently working on the title and journalling on this, and later this morning I hope to photograph and upload a picture of the finished article, but I really wanted to make sure that this blog post was ready to go for when it all kicks off. So, pop back later and find out exactly what this layout is all about...

ETA: Done, done and done. Here you go:

I used "Thriller" font, the bargain pound alpha stamps from studio g, some my little shoebox alpha stickers, and my trusty bare chipboard American Crafts Thickers. The thickers got covered thickly in copper acrylic paint; I then sprinkled a bit of dark blue embossing powder on them and gave them a good blast with a heat gun (until it all went a bit bubbly). Great fun.
I'm very pleased with the finished article, and am now racking my brains for other "5 things" to do. Any ideas gratefully received!

Thanks for looking, and if you haven't come from Kirsty or Julie's blogs, go look at their individual and their joint copy and paste challenge blog as well. Maybe see you in the kitchen :)
ETA Apparently if you sign up for their 12 days class this weekend, you get a bonus set of printables... look here for details. I love freebies!

Friday, October 23, 2009

OK, so I lied...

...I may be fitting in a little crafting, but not so much of the blogging.

Crafting for November starts here for me. It's a 12 day crafting explosion, with gorgeous crafty ladies Kirsty Neale and Julie Kirk. I quote "With twelve full projects, plus a whole bunch of bonus ideas, downloads and tutorials, it’s designed to help you make the most of your creative supplies in the run up to Christmas. What's even better is that we’ve designed each of the main projects, and many of the additional ones, to be adaptable, which means that, instead of turning into giant crafty pumpkins the minute Boxing Day arrives, they’re just as relevant at other times of year. "

I've been lurking on the Copy and Paste blog for a few months now, dabbling my toes in their challenges,but mainly just being gobsmacked at their creativity. BUT, now they're sharing it with me. Well, not just me, other people too. I just had to go along for the ride. The idea is that they are providing 12 projects for 12 days for a handmade Christmas, using (hopefully) things that you have around your house for minimal outlay, which in this climate is purdy darn tooting, if you ask me (but then, any old excuse will do for me to have a Christmassy play with card, glue and glittery stuff, really). It all looks wonderful, and if you have a browse through their blogs, I'm fairly sure you'll agree.

So, maybe I might get round to posting a couple of pics, like the advent countdown calendar I've made out of BIG matcheboxes, or a recipe book out of an old filofax-type organiser, or some of the results of the new class. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

In addition to this, I also signed up for this class, Blogging for Scrapbookers. But that was a given really, since there's only one class of Shimelle's that I haven't taken. It was inevitable I'd sign up for this one, as it was part of my plan to change the blog layout after new year. Perfect timing. So who knows what this class will prompt me to do, I'm sure I'll love it, Shimelle has a lovely way with words and will get me thinking I'm sure!

So, I feel my evenings are going to be fraught with tricky decision-making... craft, blog or dissertation. Which would you choose?

P.S. Amazing blog candy here - go see! A silhouette die-cutting machine. Love my cricut, but I think this looks even better.