Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday 29th



Catching up again - things to tell but didn't get round to updating.

Thursday I met Sue and we went to LB Crafts at Olney, I spent the most I have ever in one crafty shop before - she is such a bad influence...I will have to refuse to go shopping with her again teehee. Now if you check out her blog she says she spent the most....BUT I managed to spend another £4 on shrink plastic just as I was going out the door! We then had a lovely lunch at the Courtyard - really had a good time - shopping, lunch and a laugh...ooh and a little bit of planning for the May challenge - so keep watching the forum for that!

I will have to make some cards with my new stamps later.

I have just launched a new rubber stamp challenge make a cut I hope you manage to have a go if you are a rubber stamper. All you need to do is make a cut in your card somewhere - you can get the idea with my two examples.

The latest Create a Card challenge is continuing on the forum if stamping is not your thing.

I added some new ribbons to the shop and have forgotten to take the photos that I missed....but everything is there to buy - when the sun comes out later I will get the photos taken!

Yesterday it was the Ampthill Farmers Market, I offered to do a shift as I have not been on there since January. It was fairly busy - but such a shame that it has had to move due to Waitrose and is now really tucked away. I am sure with a bit of lateral thinking it could be better placed, but lack of support from the powers that be seems to be a problem. There were a lot of plants this week - I guess it is that tome of the year, along with honey, cheese, game, turkey, lamb, pork, caribbean cooking, indian cooking - so worth a wander.

Anyway - I managed to sell 12 cards - so wasn't all bad and gives me a reason to make 12 more....so this week 27 have gone from my stock. I don't have that many at any one time so stocks are looking low again!

I did have play with the robo and made some words for a new home card - I did cut some more and need to make them into cards - still good fun playing.

Finally, I did buy a cheap laminator from Smith this week - after Lisa posted on the forum - and the pouches are excellent value too 75 for £4...not used it yet - biut have plans for some signs and postes.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Carrot Cake


Well the sale on Monday was a disaster - but luckily I didn't go so I didn;t waste any time really! Karen came round yesterday and she had sold 15 cards - so that was good - we had a nice chat over a coffee, and I topped up her box back to 35 cards.

I am thinking of a few things to challenge the rubber stampers and will do something at the weekend.

I made a carrot cake yesterday - I had three different recipes - that were all very similar and this was what I used finally - and it was perfect

Carrot Cake
6oz (175 g) dark brown soft sugar, sifted (or a mix of honey and sugar)
2 large eggs
4fl oz (120 ml) sunflower oil
7oz (200 g) self-raising flour (two suggested wholemeal but I didn't have any)
1½ level teasps bicarbonate of soda;
2 0r 3 rounded teasps mixed spice
grated zest 1 orange
7oz (200 g) carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
6oz (175 g) sultanas

Gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C). oblong roasting tin – 4cm deep (swiss roll tin size but deeper),
Whisk sugar, eggs and oil together. Then sift together the flour, bicarb, mixed spice. Stir all together, fold in the orange zest, carrots and sultanas. Pour the mixture into tin, centre of oven - 35-40 minutes.

I also saw this suggested but didn't bother....
Syrup – stir juice ½ small orange;
1 desstsp lemon juice;
1½ oz (40 g) dark brown soft sugar (melt together).
Prick cake and pour on syrup while hot.

Topping:
I squeezed the juice of half the orangeand mixed with icing sugar and drizzled it over the top.

also suggest for the topping:
9oz (250 g) Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese);
¾oz (20 g) caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract; (mix ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy, chill)
then dust with 1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ice with topping of your choice, cut it into 12 squares and dust with a little more cinnamon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Runner beans


I have planted my runner bean seeds today - but they are an old packet so I hope they are OK! I also put in courgettes and some french beans - all old packets - so fingers crossed for them! They will stay indoors until they have started sprouting then I shall pop them in the cold frame. Although another job is to clean out the cold frome as it has not been used since last year.

I wanted to cut down the Photinia that has got far too big this year - but spotted a nest in the middle so have had to abandon that! If you look at the nest closely you can see a tail poking out, if you click through I have marked it.


I had a lovely walk up Gas House Lane in Ampthill today, to a friend that lives at the end and took some photos - of course the sun went in.....I see someone is rearing these birds - I am not sure what these are - anyone know - BUT I just love the cat fast asleep, far too tired to think about hunting them!


Apparently this tree which is a sweet chestnut is hundreds of years old and was planted as part of Houghton House. The lane used to be one of the entrance drives to the house. There are only a few surviving now - although there has been some new plantings.

I see the Rape Oil Seed is all coming out and there are now fields and fields of the stuff, I stumbled across this web site in the local paper today, buy-local, and on there you can purchase local Rape seed oil - check out the deli part of the shop. Although there does seem to be a lot of items whislt they are stocked by local suppliers they are not local food, an interesting web site and only one delivery charge - so maybe worth a visit.


And on a completely different note I have just been 'talking' to my brother on MSN, he lives in Arizona, and he sent me this picture of bats stealing hummingbird food!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The weekend


Well having worked a short week the weekend seems to have come round very quickly. So nice for it to be sunny again. I am trying to focus on making some cards this weekend, as I have a few things coming up. But somehow I keep getting sidetracked! My new stamps have arrived from Stamping Bella, but was concentrating on non stamped and mens cards...so have not got round to using them.. Will have to have a play in a day or two.

I do think this chap is great for the fishermen in your life...not that I actually have one!

Just popped to Bedford interchange Retail Park this afternoon, and got Owen some trainers and a pump for the footballs! Looked at laminators...I really think I need one - but was not sure what to get.

Owen is off to a St Georges festival thingy with the Scouts tomorrow, looks like fun, over at Milton Bryan camp site

Thursday, April 19, 2007

choc cookies

A lovely day on Ampthill Market today, sunny and busy - but sadly my worst for a long time and only sold one card :(. Never mind I only stand on there once a month so it isn't too bad. I have now been persuaded to join the committee for Ampthill Country Markets and went to my first committee meeting this afternoon. So somehow I didn't get much else done today. The Ampthill Country Market are having a stall at a WI event next Monday evening - Anne Widecombe is the speaker and they have sold loads of tickets - so need to make sure I have some cards there to sell.



Another recipe for today, I would love to have some recipe for little cakes or tray bakes if anyone can recommend something, Owen said he loved the banana cake and that I need to make it again!

Chocolate cookies:
115g 4oz unsalted butter
115g 4oz light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
150g 5oz Self raising flour
75g 3oz porridge oats
115g 4oz plain chocolate roughly chopped
115g 4oz white chocolate roughly chopped (I didn't have this so put in dried fruit instead!)

190c 375f gas 5 - 2 baking sheets makes 18-20
cream butter and sugar, add egg and essence, beat well. sift flour and fold in. Add chocolate and oats.

Place small spoonfuls onto a baking sheet in heaps. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden, let cool for a couple of minutes and transfer with a spatula to wire rack.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wed 18th April


I had Monday off so have only managed one day at work so far - quite like that kind of working week! Really glad I was not due to work today as the M1 is shut both ways - so it will be choas out there - someone has just phoned the radio to say they have been stuck for 2 hours!

I went to a florist wholesaler on Monday as they are closing down. I didn't really buy much at all, but did get some flowers to take apart. I have not got into these big blooms yet - these are smaller 'big blooms' and only available in the one colour - so thought I would give them a go! This is my first attempt - not sure if it is me - but I need to make a few cards as I need to top up my stock.

I have a list of things to do - and as usual procrastinating is the top of my list! It is that time of the year for tax returns - and have been very naughty and not done much work towards it. Everything is filed - but not documented really :( oops - never mind will soon catch up and have ages yet......

I have been adding labels to my back posts - to try and make sense of all the things on here - I hope that they are useful. Should be able to find all the baking and the cards etc etc

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Busy - spring cleaning


Well, I have to say I have been doing domestic duties today - the house is so tidy (well quite tidy) that I feel I ought to invite someone around before it gets a mess again! I didn't have any time to make cards today, although I found loads of magazines I had forgotten about and have started to browse through them! I decided to have a wander around the tinernet and that is a terrible time waster isn't it! But there are some great cards out there.

I sat in the garden for a short while - wasn't it lovely? - and did some gardening...planted 3 plants and gave them a quick watering in, and then helped Owen on his castle - which is almost complete now. so my sit down didn;t last for long really!

I made this card the other day for my boss. I have had this PSX stamp for years and years - and I have had great use out of him - such a cuddly bear.

Carol has just launched a 'guess the number' competition on the forum pop along and get your entry in

Friday, April 13, 2007

Stondon Transport Museum



We had a trip out to a local museum today, the weather here was nothing like the forecast - chilly and slightly misty, and stayed like that until mid afternoon. So we decided to go to Stondon Transport Museum.

We had quite a nice time - although for the £15 entry not so sure it was VFM. The cars were more for nostalgia than any real 'cool' cars. A lot of cars were lacking information signs, we did take a book and managed to find some, and luckily I remembered a lot from the 70s!



There is a replica of the Endeavour and it has got to be the biggest white elephant ever! I just don't understand why they would think of building it...they could have used the cash to smarten up the museum and offer I nice tea room.

I reckon with a little bit of cash and some business sense it could be far better - they have loads of stock, just needs a tidy, and a few 'star' cars. They had a Ferrari but it was at the back and you couldn't get to it Owen was most disappointed. He was fairly occupied taking photos and looking through the book - so we managed a couple of hours there...others came and went while we we there. They did have this bus that you were allowed on!

We then had lunch at the Crown, shillington - a bit more expensive than some pub food - but lovely hot fresh cooked food. You can see the menu on their web site.

I then made a few cards when we got back, the first I used my stamp that I bought from Hobbycraft on Tuesday, it is an Inca stamp one. I used the paints from The Works - that are sparkly - excellent value at £2.99


The 3 handbags are for the Create A Card set on the forum by Sue, using the trusty Quickutz handbag die - it must be the most used die I have. The papers are from a MM pad.

The final one is for the Rubber stamp challenge on the forum - 3 times over. I love the colours on this one

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Baking Again


Owen went to a friends this morning while I did my orders, and then this afternoon we went out for a little drive to a florist wholesalers. Didn't buy much as they really didn't have much that took my fancy - but did get some plants for the garden!

So I then suggested that we did some baking together - as I felt that was far more beneficial than Owen playing a computer game!

I bought Green & Blacks chocolate recipe book the other day...and this was a recipe form there:
Banana and White Chocolate Cake
(except mine does not have any white chocolate! In fact you do not need chocoalte for this)
175g 6oz unsalted butter
175g 6oz caster sugar (I used ordinary!)
3 large eggs
2 ripe bananas mashed (I added 3)
250g 9oz self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven 180c 350f gas mark 4 - you will need to prepare two 7 inch tins

Cream butter and sugar and then beat in the eggs, then beat in the mashed banana. Fold in flour and baking powder. Divide mix between two tins and bake for 40 minutes.

Now in the recipe book they suggest
for the filling:- slicing two bananas thinly and toss in the juice of a lemon. add 1 tablespoon of rosewater to 150ml of creme fraiche, spread on cake and add the banana slices.

For the topping:- 250g good quality white chocolate and 40g (1 1/2) unsalted butter, melt in a bowl suspended over hot water, then spread over the top, and let it dribble down the sides.

My toppings
Well I did neither, I did two versions by cutting it in half! - one I sandwiched together with jam, and dribbled icing over made with 3oz icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a runnyish mix. (this was my fav)

The other I sandwiched with chocolate butter icing (the cake was still too warm to do this - but Owen was keen to taste!) and covered with chocolate as above but used plain and not white as I didn't have any - this version was chosen by Owen!

I reckon this was a great cake and as I love dried fruit I would add sultanas (I added a few but should have added more). Perfect for using black bananas!
I did manage another card for the stamp challenge today:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Castle building

I did suggest that we went out today - but Owen said he didn't want to go if it involved walking or shopping (we went shopping to Bedford on Thursday)! That narrowed my options so we stayed in and busied ourselves....

Owen has to make a castle for his school history project. Apparently they could work in pairs - but he explained that when he has done this in the past he has done a lot of the work - so he decided to do it all himself. Now I am not convinced he has done it all himself as he seems to have chosen me as his partner.....So we started with a cardboard box and two shoe boxes that we undid and measured up to make the towers.

This is the progress so far. It needs another coat of paint and the towers need sticking, along with doors and windows (to be drawn on!)

He seems to be pleased with his efforts!


I also made some cards today and have added another entry to the RS challenge - have you done one yet - I would love to hear. This little stamp has been in my collection for ages - so he has come out for an airing. I did another using him so will put that up tomorrow when I have taken a photo. Don't forget all the activities that are going on at the moment on the forum check out this entry for details

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two card commissions


A friend of mine asked me to make two cards for friends. The first was for a lad of 11 that is a Sunderland supporter. Well I really don't have much in the way of footie stuff, no Sizzix die cuts etc etc, and those stripes didn't fill me with joy making a shirt from scratch! So I decided to use a logo that I got from the internet. I guess as this is for a one off card that I am not selling it is OK from a copyright point of view. The footballs are rubber stamped and embossed, a
stamp that I have owned for many, many years.

The second card was for a walker...so luckily I have the Quickutz walking boot stamp and the sign. Although I actually only used the post from the sign as I couldn't work out how to print in the sign.... The jigsaw pieces were given to me by Em last year at the Hitchin meet, so I have had them quite a long time and only used them once before. I also used some ribbon that Sue gave me over a year ago...finally getting round to making cards and using some lovely things that I have had tucked away. The paper is from a pack I bought in Poundland. They are ideal with the boots, so I really must make some more as there are lots of ramblers in Ampthill.

Had to go to B & Q in Milton Keynes on the way home from work today...and it is right near Hobbycraft - did seem rude not to go in...managed to buy a new rubber stamp and some papers

Monday, April 09, 2007

Harrold Odell Country Park


We took a drive over to the Country Park. As is often the case when we decide to go out - the sun went in. It was still very pleasant having a wander around the lake. I was amazed to see the cormorants nesting on the island and they were very noisy! I did take a couple of pictures - but have to say they were very grey - so decided not to publish! They were plenty of people over there with picnics and the little cafe was very busy with afternoon teas. I didn't sample the food - but the hot chocolates certainly looked nice.

We then took a drive through Harrold and Odell - not really looked around the villages before, I have been reading the property pages on Friday and was amazed at the size of some of the properties for sale around there....so we thought it was worth a nosey :)

I have just launched a new rubber stamping challenge on the CraftsbyCarolyn forum - you must use a rubber stamp at least 3 times. These are my two attempts at the challenge, Nick (Purplepenguin) was the one that suggested the theme some time ago, and being a novice stamper I had to have a think about this one!

The ice cream card is using a Denami stamp that I just love, Sue lent me the words to go with it. The paper is also from Denami - the Bella Press. I used ribbon and a gem from the shop.
The golf stamp is from Pixiedust...and the little one to match.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sharpenhoe Clappers


Yesterday we took a drive over to Sharpenhoe Clappers - it is only down the road but we had never been. It was a fabulous clear day and you can see that there are magnificent views, there are very few hills in Bedfordshire so it is quite exciting finding one and being on top of one!

It is chalky like the rest of the hills over this way, apparently formed from fish bones. The ice age stopped to form the 'cliff' of the clappers. It is a National Trust Site and they say:
"Reputedly haunted, Sharpenhoe Clappers is a classic chalk escarpment and part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is crowned with traces of an Iron Age hill-fort and an impressive beech wood."

As you can see an ideal place to try out your binoculars. According to some web sites it says you can see Milton Keynes - but I couldn't see anything that made me realise I was looking at MK - certainly you couldn't see as far as the snowdome and the Theatre, which are the only land marks that I could think would stand out!


We also went to the Co-op in Barton Le Clay, as when we bought the car Feb 2005, they were part of the co-op now and we handed over out divi card. A couple of months ago we recieved 4 X £47 of vouchers....so we thought we had better spend them. Not bad something for nothing eh.

Got my rubber stamps out and started making some cards - thinking of the next challenge.

We all sat down and watched a Night at the Museum last night - it was quite good - but I kind of feel it could have been better. Having caught the end of Starsky and Hutch the night before seemed like Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are always on the TV!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vegetables

I got out in the garden and planted the potatoes - they have been chitting in egg boxes for a while (Dad sorted that all out!). So they are now in, along with onions and lettuces. The radishes I planted a few weeks ago are coming up. But I reckon the pigeons are pecking at them.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hello - Happy Easter

Sorry guys seem to have been ill and busy and not had time to blog. I am now back on track hopefully....

Not that I have crafted - but I have baked some cookies and I will add the recipe tomorrow...

I have (well DH did a lot of the work) just added a Quotes and Quips database to the site. You will now be able to add you favourite sentiment or quote to share with us all. I decided that it would be useful after we had a few threads on the forum for themed sentiments eg farm animals, or what can I do with a sheep die cut etc etc. So I really hope we can get some use out of them. I have started adding some that I have seen on the forum and other places, and will continue adding them. I will pick a name at random from those that add something in the next few weeks and send something from the shop.

Here is the list for you to search through and if you fancy adding some more you need to use this form, you will need to have registered on the forum - as I didn't want a load of spammers adding their wares for us all to see!

Clare and Sue have both launched challenges on the forum...firstly Clare is getting you to rifle in your drawers and find all that crafty stuff that you have not used in ages and make a card - or in fact anything crafty would be find.

She started us off with this card she has used accent beads - that were the in thing at one time! I got out my Friendly Plastic, and others have found all sorts of things at the back of that cupboard that were bought with good intentions at the time!



Sue has then started a new Create a Card (fondly known as CAC) challenge and this one is a recipe...it must contain the following:
0 BIG BLOOMS
1 FEATHER
2 BRADS
3 GEMS
4 PATTERNED PAPERS
and she started us all off with this card:


Andrea challenged us to tart up an egg box and the entries are all great you can see them all here...and Carol set us off on a Round and Round SB layout challenge - you can see all of the entries here

Melissa is going to get us all motivated to alter a few bits and pieces and this time she is getting us to dig out an old pressie that just wasn't your cup of tea and get someone to 'alter' it into something wonderful - the details can all be found here

Sue (how busy is she!) has got the 'inchies' bug and has set us all off on a challange to make some and share....they can be used to make a card after maybe so take a look at what is going on here

Carol has just launched a fabulous project to make a mini album using envelopes, check out the details here

Wendy is still busy with the ATC's - have you had a go yet? Fantastic Floiage has just ended and you can see the results on the gallery (very shortly), and the new theme will be decided by a poll currently running on the forum.

If you join in with any project or challenge you can add you name to the list to be entered into a lucky dip draw.

So it is busy, busy - and I hope that you are enjoying it - and will come along and visit if you have not joined us already. I have even added some more smileys - to bring a smile to your face, if you have any favs you want adding give me a link or send them to me and I will add them.