22 December 2009

Catch up & Cards

I'm completely snowed in today, it snowed heavily over the weekend and the temp dropped right down so everywhere is now covered in ice. Also add to the mix I've ended up with the classic Christmas cold. Whisk it all up and it's the perfect recipe for staying indoors and catching up with some stuff. I've been busy with my December Daily book and I've just taken a few snaps of some of my faves from the last few days.

Had some stem ginger left from the Christmas cake so I chopped some up to add to the gingerbread - defo makes it extra delish you get a hit of chewy ginger when you get a bit it's mega.

Made lots of tree cookies this year as some of them went out to different places. A mix up of sugar cookies and gingerbread.

I left most of my cards to the last minute so I decided to go for something simple I could reproduce lots of times over

Ended up using a Crafty Template, one of my faves from this year the Christmas jumper. Used a variety of different papers I had in my stash so everyone got a completely different jumper.

This page was a page protector so everything showed through to the other side so all I did was mirror everything I'd done on the other side for this side. I thought it worked out quite well!
Took a quick piccy of my cards before I posted them out. There were quite a few of them to make so I kept it really simple but I liked them. I actually enjoyed making them this year!

Got a toppling pile of prezzies to wrap up so I'm going to make a start on that this afternoon along with mince pies and hot chocolate with whiskey (for my cold! not a massive afternoon whiskey drinker, although it is the season! lol)
Merry Christmas
xx Leo

3 December 2009

December Daily, the 3rd

Today I started making the experimental Christmas cake. I mixed in a pan figs, sultanas, dates, apple the juice and zest of two small oranges and 200ml of ginger wine. It's sitting and maturing till tomorrow. Used October Afternoon stickers, paper and some found items.

2 December 2009

December Daily days 1 & 2

It's only 23 days until Christmas! I've begun to fill in my Christmas journal. I'm not following any prompts or have anything fixed I'm just journalling Christmassy things I see and do from now until the big day.
Day 1

The first page is a page protector but I wanted the photos to 'float' so I put one inside and then stitched it in place with the sewing machine. The tree photo is stuck on top.

Day Two

I got a lovely surprise in the post too this morning. A huge big box full of October Afternoon goodies from Lyn at The Craft Emporium! Lyn sponsored the mystery kit prize at the Cyber Crop on UK Scrappers and I was lucky enough to be picked out to win. Thank you so much Lyn it's fantastic and it's going to good use in my Christmas journal! xx

23 November 2009

Challenging myself on a rainy day

This Sunday was so glum weather wise the only thing to do was whack the heating up high and get down to some crafting. I had a look for some inspiration and I decided to do a couple of challenges. First one was this weeks Daring Cardmakers challenge, which I haven't done in a while and this week discovered it's decidedly tricky! We have to make a card with at least 3 things on it that have the same first letter as your initial - I'm Leonora so for me it's L. Now can you guess what I used?.........

OK this one is (faux) Letterpress stamped background, Layers and Letter stickers. A bit tenuous maybe? OK next one is a bit more literal then.....

This one is another faux Letterpress stamped background, lace, label stickers and a lollipop! If you're wandering what I mean by faux letterpress I used my Cuttlebug and embossing folders with paint rolled onto one side (the side that when you open it out is facing you) and cotton paper, that helps the paint release without breaking up the paper, any paper that's fibery would work just as well. Jam it all together, roll it though your bug and you get a cool faux letterpress effect. Had lots of fun playing with that.

Next I did a scrapbook page and got inspiration from the sketch challenge on the Sarah's Cards blog that I got emailed. I only just realised while I was photographing it, the bright colours must have been my reaction to the horrid dark rainy weather! lol

I used some lovely Prima paper from the Paradise City collection and off cuts of Basic Grey Nook and Pantry and American Crafts Letterbox. The base card is American Crafts, I absolutely love AC cardstock the colours are so lush. This one is Lemon I think - I'd call it pow in your face yellow, love it! :-) The letter stickers are a mix up of Prima chipboard ones, Making memories and Jenni Bowlin. The flower embellie is a Prima one too but I pulled it apart and layered some of the papers up in the middle of it then finished it off with a vintage button. Add on a bit of stitching and some sloshy white paint and that's it.

I'm off to invent a cake recipe now that has everything in we have in the cupboard, I know I've got marshmallows and cocoa powder so it might involve those two. Going to snuggle up and watch Americas Next Top Model tonight and indulge in hot chocolate and cake! lol
xx Leo

7 November 2009

Christmas Album Part Two

Here we go with the second half of my December Daily Album starting with page 15.......

Page protector with fabric stitched on, Thickers and a frame made from a kitschy digitals kit printed onto shrink plastic and shrunk down.

Stuck down American Crafts envelope with woodgrain tape and October Afternoon stickers

Page protector with a sassafras sticker and a Jenni Bowlin journalling card popped in then stitched along the side to make two pockets in the page protector.

18 a Heidi Swapp large playing card with an October Afternoon sticker and a date stamp

 19 page protector with a October Afternoon journalling card inside and stitching along side it to make a pocket. Embossing and Pink Paislee alphas for the date.

20 a page protector with a tag from a Quirky Kit inside. I stitched down the edge of the page protector then trimmed it down. The date is a Jenni Bowlin chipboard button and Thickers.

For 21 a cut down (6x6) piece of  Basic Grey Doillie paper and Thickers

A post card from a Quirky Kit for 22 with a date stamp

23 Bazzill dotted swiss card with an American Crafts glitter chipboard embellie, the pin and these black letters I've been using I got in a swap so I'm not sure where they're from.

The 24 page is not so Christmassy because this is mums birthday so we always do something a bit not Christmassy. It's a trimmed down paper bag with gaffer tape and buttons.

And 25 is a larger page protector that I trimmed down and re-stitched together to make it fold out and give extra space. For the date I added glitter to some felt Thickers.

That's it for now. :) xx Leo

6 November 2009

Christmas Album Part One

My December Daily Christmas album is finished, at least for now anyway. It's just waiting for December to roll on. :) I've photoed the pages to share the first half today and then I'll edit and do the second half tomorrow. My main inspiration came from looking at things I'd already got and thinking up ways to use them. That dictated the size of the album I made up, sizing it to fit the leftover page protectors I wanted to use. I didn't have many tags for each page so I looked at what I did have and one of the things that jumped out at me most was stamps. My main idea for the look of my book was to make it quite textural but soft so I really wanted  the stamps to look like snow and that thought prompted me to get out my {very} old embossing powders and have a play with those. I've got some puffy white embossing powder and some lovely glitter ones. I'd forgotten how much fun embossing powder is! When I was embossing on the page protectors I used lots of little bursts of heat so not to melt the plastic. I've also recycled lots of stuff and used up last little bits of stash to make pages with.
Anyway pages.........

First page a page protector with a Sassafras sticker, Thickers and October Afternoon mini alphas and an embossed stamp.

Page 2 stuck down American Crafts envelope with woodgrain tape, a Jenni Bowlin journalling card and cut outs from American Crafts Merry Mint paper

Next page is a piece of Creative Imaginations felt with a felt Thicker and more of those October Afternoon mini alphas

Thicker on red Bazzill with the corners rounded, might add a stamp around the number on this one.

Jenni Bowlin Bingo card with a Elle's Studio tag attached with an eyelet

Page protector with October Afternoon stickers and  American Craft Merry Mint glitter chipboard. The paper email slip is just popped inside for now.

More of the red Bazzill card, this time sandwiched with canvas with an embellie made with jenni Bowlin Crepe paper ribbon and an October Afternoon diecut.

Page 9 is a glued down kraft envelope with gaffer tape bindings.

The date I added in with a date stamp and embossed it with silver glitter powder which will not photo but it's much more glittery irl.

Page 10 is a piece of canvas with more of the same felt as before but in brown, that's just stitched on.

Another page protector for 11 with an embossed stamp, those same alphas and a American Crafts Flair embellie.

The 12th is a page protector with Hambly and October Afternoon rubons.

13th is a piece of packaging from some Jenni Bowlin buttons covered with paper. The label is October Afternoon stickers

 Page 14 is another glued down envelope with a Cuttlebug embossing folder.

OK that's part one I'll post up the rest tomorrow.
xx Leo

2 November 2009

Pumpkin Cake and Christmas album

Finally got around to making the pumpkin cake over the Halloween weekend and it was delish! It went down really well on Saturday and I managed to hide a tiny piece to photo for my recipe scrapbook, one tiny extra piece I was hoping to enjoy myself........

Then this happened...........

Well I did say it was really yum..... needless to say I didn't get to eat the last piece! I think it serves me right really, because BB cat is so used to the camera now I'm sure she thinks she has to be in every photo...
I read through a few recipes online, most of them read like carrot cake but with pumpkin so I ended up making it just like that with a few small changes. I scooped out all the fresh pumpkin and then blitzed it in the food processor instead of shredding it because it was really ripe and soft. The cake I made with wholemeal flour too, I think it adds to the yummy texture and there's loads of moisture in the pumpkin so it can get away with it. Spices I used were nutmeg (1 tsp) cinnamon (1 tsp) and ginger (1/2 tsp). Cream cheese topping for me doesn't need messing with so it's just cream cheese, lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of icing sugar. If there are pumpkins still in the supermarket going cheap it's worth a go at making some, I'm defo going to be making more.

Now we're officially into November I think it's ok to start doing some Christmas stuff now. I made a start on my daily Christmas album. Last years was made up of quite chunky stuff like corrugated card so I felt like making something a bit softer this year. Started out with the page protectors that I had spare from another album then made an album to accommodate them. It's a simple one I made with a card spine, cropodiled and eyeleted and a sewn fabric cover. I was going to leave it just with the fabric but I ended up stiffening it with card because I wanted it to stand up on my shelf.

To go along with the using what I've got/recycling theme I also made some pages with stuck down envelopes and pieces of an old canvas bag. Not decorated it too much yet inside, need to spend some more time on it.

Will add some more piccys when I've done some more. xx Leo

24 October 2009

{Grown up} Snickerdoodle Cookies

One of my favourite words has to be cookie. Just saying it makes me feel all snugly! It's national baking week this week, or I guess it was this week it's kind of coming to an end now but that won't bother me too much, I've still got more stuff I want to make it's just a good excuse to actually get something started!
I got a craving for something sweet and spicy and I thought the Snickerdoodle cookies seemed to be the answer so I had a go at making some. They're nothing fancy kind of like a soft melt in the mouth cookie that's rolled in cinnamon and sugar to make the outside crunchy and as I found when I made them it also makes them mega sweet! Far too sweet for my personal taste so I had another go and tweaked the recipe a bit to make them more grown up. This consisted of adding less sugar and instead of rolling them in a cinnamon sugar coating I mixed up cinnamon and ginger and rolled them in that instead. Just perfect dunked into black coffee - which I think is an essential for any cookie!

The one at the bottom was a first batch one based on the Martha Stewart recipe here. It looks tastier than my cinnamon and ginger ones above it but it was very cotton candy sweet, not what I was after. This was my tweaked recipe if you're interested:

75g butter (or low fat alternative, I like to use Burtoli)
120g caster sugar
1 egg
160g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of powdered cinnamon + 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger mixed

Mix the butter and sugar together until really light and fluffy and pale. Stir in the egg. Measure out the flour and add the baking powder to it then stir in a little at a time until you form a sticky dough. If it's mega a sticky just add a bit more flour or pop the mixture in the fridge to firm it up. Make the mixture into balls about an inch and a half in size then roll them in the cinnamon and ginger mixture. Put them on a baking tray leaving a good two inches between each one (they spread out) then squish the tops down with the back of a fork. Bake at 190c for around 10mins. The cookies will spread out and crack more on top so you know they're done. Cool on a wire rack for 10mins then make a coffee sit back and enjoy! :-)

I'm on a mission to make some spicy pumpkin cake next. I've read some recipes and it's basically carrot cake but with pumpkin instead so I'm hoping it tastes as good as carrot cake! Has anyone tried it and can advise?
xx Leo

19 October 2009

Autumn Decor

I've got a little Ribbon Oasis project to share today. I'm determined to enjoy autumn this year and not jump too quickly into winter and Christmas so I decided to make some pretty autumnal decor. Before I started this project I did a quick google for autumn wreaths and found lots and lots of inspiration so if you're wanting to make one for yourself that's a great place to start to pool your ideas. Most of the instructions begin with buying a ready made wreath or ring but I'm a bit of a recycler so I decided to find something I already had and found the perfect solution in a cardboard pizza base from a ready made pizza. I rescued it from the paper recycling bin and cut a hole in the center to make it into a perfect card ring base. Because it was white I covered it with brown paper first - again reusing some brown paper bags too! Next came the fun part of picking out some ribbons to use! These are the colours I went for.... I picked out the Browns and Golds organza mix, Yellow and Orange organza mix, the Browns and Golds solids mix, the mesh and chain ribbon in gold and the green leaf colour satin ribbon. I also picked out this lovely red stitched ribbon to make a bow centerpiece.
As well as ribbon I had a little look around the house for some bits to use. I found lots of lovely spices in the cupboard to use I picked out cinnamon sticks, cloves and these lovely star anise that echoed the tones in the ribbons.
Now it's time to start playing! I started by using some wired ribbon to make these rose type embellishments. I just twisted one end of the ribbon around my thumb and then took it off and bent the ribbon over to make extra petals then fixed it all together by twisting it at the ends. The buds were made the same way but without the extra petals just twist it around your thumb, pull it off then twist the ends together. It's really fun to have a go at and the wired ribbon makes it easy to 'sculpt' the ribbon into the shape you want. There are lots of wired ribbons to choose from here so you can pick out some that work with your project I went for ones in orange and gold colours.Another quick embellishment I made was to tie ribbon around the cinnamon sticks. I grouped together the green leaf colour satin ribbon and one of the brown organza ribbons and tied them in a bow around each of the cinnamon sticks.
To cover the inside of the ring I layered two more of the ribbons from the browns and golds set and tied them together in knots at regular intervals then glued it to the ring all the way around. To make extra embellishments I picked out some papers and cut out leaf shapes to layer with the ribbon embellishments.To fill more of the ring I glued another knotted length of ribbon around the ring. Then started to add more flowers.
Some of the flowers I made with more scraps of patterned paper. These are really simple to make. Just cut out a rough circle of paper and distress the edge.
Cut a spiral into the circle of paper
Then roll it up from the middle to the end, securing the end with a dab of glue.
I made a few of these up in patterned papers that worked with the colours of the ribbons.
Another quick embellishment I made was to use some of the orange organza ribbon looped over and then tying a piece of the brown organza ribbon around the middle to make a different kind of bow embellishment.
Once I'd got a good collection of embellishments made I started to build them up around the ring mixing in some other found objects like the pine cones and the little glittery balls that I found in last years Christmas decoration stash.
The gold mesh ribbon I made into little tiny flowers just by rolling small pieces of the ribbon around and gluing it at the end. They add just a touch of extra sparkle.
To finish off the ring I made a ribbon bow with the red stitched ribbon and glued it to the bottom leaving the ends long to hang down.
This was really lots of fun to make and I love the finished effect.
xx Leo