Welcome to Squirrel's slightly nutty world of rubber stamping, papercraft, cats, Formula 1 and a variety of other off-the-wall topics. It's fabulous to see you and I hope you enjoy your time here. Please do pop back and visit me again soon!
I'm sure there is a word for when the man in your life takes over the computer to do something "important" and manages to slow it down to slower than the slowest slow thing!
I'm also sure that there is a word missing from the LESS IS MORE blog title, and this week I think that word is DIFFICULT! How can one very simple sketch be so hard? Chrissie and Mandi, I have to hand it to you girls, this one was fiendish!
Anyhoo, here's my take on it:
I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long I was faffing around choosing papers for this, so I won't! The images are all from the same stamp in the Penny Black Flower Gallery clear stamp set, I just moved it around and stamped different sections of it on the circles. Coloured with Copics, matted onto a piece of Joanna Sheen Marble paper and layered onto a piece of PaperMania that matched the blue. Hero Arts sentiment to finish.
When I was 6, my mum had an old treadle Singer sewing machine. Wanting to be like mum, I asked if I could have a go. Within 30 seconds I had stitched my index finger to the footplate.
So why did I not remember that painful lesson this afternoon when I hoiked out of a very dusty box my Easy Stitch portable sewing machine? I didn't actually sew my finger to anything today (but only because I had removed thread and bobbin). However, I did manage quite a painful poke with a fast moving needle!
So I resorted to faux stitching, lol - it'll hold about as much securely as my hand sewing anyway! Penny Black duck stamp, coloured with ProMarkers, Basic Grey papers from Sweet Threads and Basics Manilla, with Hero Arts sentiment and washing label.
Dinner is just about ready so I'll be back tomorrow.
Guess what? I managed five straight hours sleep last night! Yaay! Still a bit sore on the old bones today but I at least felt a bit more alert this morning and no where near as grumpy, lol! Fingers crossed I might manage the same again tonight.
Anyhoo, whilst Mr Murray does his Wimbledon thing downstairs I thought I would share with you a little card that I would like to enter into two challenges tonight:
Love this James the Bear stamp with all those presents, isn't he gorgeous? The colour scheme came from this sheet of double sided paper from a pad of 12x12s called Desert Blooms (can't remember who by) - it just reminds me of a frothy cappuccino. I painted James in Distress Inks in Antique Linen and Frayed Burlap, they match the paper beautifully. Hobby Craft snowflake punch (thanks so much Sarah) and a Martha Stewart border punch and hey presto, done. Ooh, and I sponge inked around the edge of the white circle in Antique Linen too.
Right, back down to the tennis. And it's a Grand Prix weekend - bet that won't be as exciting as the Canadian one was. And as if that's not enough, the Tour de France starts next weekend. I think I'm in sport heaven!
Evening all, sorry I've not been around much this week. I've tried to keep up with comments but you lot are so prolific that it's a struggle! I am completely exhausted, not slept right through the night for about a week (did you know the Dawn Chorus starts at something stupid like 3.15?) and I am full of arthritis pain at the moment. And I won't even begin to bore you with what's been happening at work!
My only night for crafting in the week is Thursdays and what do you know, all my fave challenges have sketches this week so it was a decision to be made on which one to go for first .... so eenie meenie minie mo... SIMON SAYS STAMP has a wonderful sketch by DT member Jane this week - here's my card:
I've had this cute Anya stamp for a while and only used her once so tonight she got an inking! Painted in Distress Inks to coordinate with these Wild Blossom papers by Pink Petticoat (free with Quick Cards this month). A Hero Arts sentiment, Martha Stewart branch punch and some gorgeous Wild Orchid Crafts flowers with narrow black peel-off borders from stash.
Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Your kind words and encouragement always manage to lift a droopy squirrel!
Now, I'm not sure if I've got the right interpretation of the MAKE IT COLOURFUL challenge of Colour Cast/Reflection but I thought I'd have a go and submit my first entry to their interesting and challenging challenge!
So, with the idea of reflecting the colour from the background (the papers I used) into the main subject, here is my card
I've used Maise Sitting Pretty from Lili of The Valley, and have watercolour painted her using Distress Ink ReInkers. The rather bold papers are from Craft Too, the card stock is Bazzil. Martha Stewart border punch (done twice - thanks Delphine for the inspiration for that) and Anita's ribbon for the lilac flowers.
I may get disqualified for not understanding the challenge properly but hey, I've had a go! Here is the image in close up.
When it works well, technology can be wonderful ....... but when it won't play the game, there is nothing more frustrating! Computers - aarrrrgh!
Anyhoo, got that out of my system - let's hope I can post this now. This is my second post today, please scroll down for the earlier one.
Over at JUST MAGNOLIA this week the girls are asking for paper piecing so I had a good old rummage through my scraps box.
Love this laying down Tilda, she looks so chilled out. Scraps of paper for her clothing, the rest of her coloured with ProMarkers, Edwardian Country Lady paper for the background (as I had the pad out) and a scrap of Basic Grey punched with Martha Stewart for her to lie on. Note to self - domed flowers don't work on a dark background! The orange flower is much more orange really but the colour just disappeared once it was stuck.
Have remembered to take the cheesecakes out of the freezer to defrost for tonight - just hope I don't get caught in a downpour with them!
Morning all, hope it's a happy Saturday so far for you! Off for a tail tidy later and then this evening we are over for a meal with some friends and to sit and see Dave's photos from his month-long trek in Nepal last autumn (yeah, we don't get over to see them too often, lol!).
But first, this week LESS IS MORE have a themed challenge of Monogram. Now, I love my letters - I even got an A+ at school for lettering in art, but that was about 400 years ago and my hand isn't as steady as it was, lol! And our printer is out of action so no fancy work from me, I had to rely on good old fashioned rubber for this one.
I bought these alphabet stamps from Create & Craft ages ago and I adore them but keep forgetting I have them so this was a great excuse to hoike them out of the cupboard. Edwardian Country Lady papers that were free with a mag - the pad fell open at the poppy paper so I just went with it! So simple. Black pearl card base (did toy with embossing it but the Toad said it was too much) and the rest is self explanatory.
I will also enter this into the SIR STAMPALOT June Challenge who have a photo inspiration challenge of poppies.
I will be thinking of other ideas while I sit in the hairdressers so there will be other attempts at this challenge later in the weekend.
It's FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAY !!!! Wheeeeeee, it's the weekend at last! And we have rain too! Our lawn is finally starting to look like grass again instead of Shredded Wheat (other straw like cereals are available).
Just a quickie for you tonight - my new LOTV stamps arrived on Wednesday (24 hours after ordering - impressed? I was) and last night was my first chance to grab one for a play. I needed a simple get well card for a friend's sister who is having a carpel tunnel operation next week ......
This is Milly Just For You - isn't she such a sweetie - I love the way she is peeking in from the side. Painted in distress inks with a strip of Dovecraft Back To Basics II for contrast and some Coordinations card for matting. Gems from stash and a Hero Arts sentiment to finish.
Evening all - how's your day been then? I've had two Thursdays this week - woke up yesterday convinced it was today and just could not shake that feeling off, so it's been a partial Groundhog Day today. Thank goodness tomorrow is definitely Friday!
This week, LILI OF THE VALLEY are asking us to Bring On The Music - use a song to inspire your card.
I thought long and hard about it, but there is only one that will really fit so I'm going to stick with it (even if some of the lyrics are a bit suspect) - George Michael's Father Figure!
I decided to have a go at a joy fold card for my Father's Day card and this LOTV bear (Dad's The Word) was the perfect size. He's distress ink painted. The papers are DCWV. I've used Craftwork Cards metalic gold Candi for accents and a screw head brad as a fastener. Here's the inside
Yep, another LOTV bear (Mini Bear), and an LOTV sentiment as well! Used my smallest Nestabilities star and some Bazzil cardstock to finish off.
Well, if this publishes it'll be a miracle - internet has decided to throw a hissy fit. So much for broadband being faster than dial up!
Hello All! And a special BIG HELLO to my new Followers - not had a chance to pop round and visit you yet but I will do soon. Just wanted to say welcome, and hope you enjoy your time here.
So, has anyone noticed that since I mentioned a Summer themed candy that the weather has gone downhill? I hope you are not actually blaming me for that one. Only 54 entries for the candy, which is a little disappointing but I guess it increases your chances of winning!
Yeah yeah, I know, cut the chat and get on it with woman. I was going to ask Vince to choose a winner but he told me to crank up the old Random Number Generator and the result is ............
So, let's have a look see who 24 is and ...... ooh, it's you..... well blow me down and fancy that ......
The winner of my summer themed surprise candy is ...........
Just couldn't resist another entry into LILI OF THE VALLEY's 100th challenge this week - Anything Goes.
It all looks a bit squint in the photo, but I am blaming my phone camera, it is much straighter than this really! I've used the adorable LOTV Spring Swing - what a sweetie, painted with Distress Inks. Papers are all Basic Grey Marjoleine - a total fluke that they match in with the image as I am one of these daft crafters that paint first and think about papers later! The sentiment is also LOTV.
And, unless you have been living in a coal mine somewhere, you will know that today LILI OF THE VALLEY have released their Summer Girls collection. I'm not telling you what time I got up to place my order .... but it was EARLY!
OK, I didn't anticipate being back again today (scroll down for earlier post) but Toad dropped it on me this morning that he needed a card for a colleague who is leaving this week! When I asked if she had any particular likes the answer I got was dogs and flowers. Right, thanks then. So I had a rummage in my stamps and found this neglected little cutie from Elzybells:
I'd love a pup that cute! Painted in distress inks. Basic Grey papers and Coordinations cardstock. I tried to match the flowers to the one next to the kennel by using my retro flower punches. Martha Stewart branch punch for leaves and LOTV New Job sentiment.
And while I had the inks out I had the urge to paint something just for the fun of it:
This little chap is Romeo from Lili Of The Valley. Not sure what I'll do with him yet but I'll let you know what he ends up as.
A back to front day today - it's evening Mass, so dinner mid afternoon, and Canadian Grand Prix clashes with church so I'll have to record it and watch it later. I'm all of a muddle!
Morning all, hope you are ok. I've been reading this morning that a couple of my bloggy pals, Clare and Vicky, have been in the wars so sending you both tons of love and get well quick wishes. I had something similar many years ago and thought I had broken my back, the pain was so awful. Big hugs and mwahs to you.
Before I move on to my card, I have some sad news for those of you who have been so kind about my mate Ali and her darling cat Teddy. Despite the very best efforts from a superb team of vets and Teddy being allowed home last Monday, the brave little chap lost his fight yesterday morning. It was as if he had lost the will to live and really didn't want to go on. So the hardest decision had to be made.
I said on Thursday, very briefly, that I would explain my LOTV card - well, yes, it was made with so much love because I knew what was coming and my head was so full of thoughts and feelings - oh lord, I've started myself off again. Pass a tissue someone please. OK, enough - onto my card for today.
This week's LESS IS MORE challenge is a One Layer Card challenge with the theme of In The Frame. I actually really like these OLCs but today my heart isn't really in crafting so that could explain my first two attempts at being inky-messy ending up in the recycling. However, on ferreting through my stamps I found this little love from LeLo Designs by Stampavie
So, I gave up on trying to be arty-farty-creative and just stuck with the character stamps that I love. Lightly coloured in distress inks with Prisma shading. Pawprints and Miaow are from Wild Rose Studio.
A flying visit this evening - trying to do about eight things at once - had a bonus hour at home this morning (waiting for dentist appointment) so managed an entry for this week's CUPCAKE CRAFT CHALLENGE which is Things With Tails
Visible Images bear (and sentiment), distress inked, Wild Rose Studio polka dot papers, photo corners and butterfly from stash.
First of all, I must thank you for all your kind wishes to Teddy and my friend Ali. The news is better but not wonderful. Yesterday afternoon the vet, Rachel, had to lightly sedate Teddy to put in a chest drain to try and get rid of some of the fluid on his lungs - she pulled off 100 ml (that's about 4oz in real money), and said that this amount would make a human being feel very ill, let alone a medium sized cat. He was put in an oxygen cubicle overnight to rest.
This morning, he's eating, purring and much more comfortable but ....... Rachel tells Ali there is still some fluid which she could not get with the drain and has put Teddy on duretics to try and shift it. She has been unable to get a clear xray of his heart and may not be able to do so until the fluid has cleared. However, he has been a good lad and just sat happily on the table while she xrayed him. The more sinister news is that she has discovered a "white spot" on one of his lungs. This could simply be a collection of fluid, something that he has inhaled or something we don't want to think about. It could be that Teddy has been too greedy with his biscuits and one has gone into his lung, which could also explain the fluid build up. Rachel wants to keep him in for another 24 hours for observation so we will know more during the day tomorrow.
In the meantime, Twinks is wandering the house like a little lost soul wondering where he is. I thought she'd be partying by now as Teddy's favourite game is "Let's Attack Twinks".
So, onto today's cards - three for you to see. Here's the first:
This one started life as another entry to this week's LIM Monochrome challenge but I got distracted and it ended up different to intention! LOTV Clear Additions stamps for the postcard, the roundel and the text, Martha Stewart border punch, Papermania cardstock, Joanna Sheen script paper and a domed stamp that has been in stash so long the vinyl has curled, but it stuck down ok.
For card number 2 I must say a BIG THANK YOU to my wonderful blogging buddy SARAH WRIGHT - I won Sarah's blogoversay candy recently and the most exciting parcel of goodies arrived yesterday morning. One of the stamps is a Hero Arts "Brushstrokes" shadow stamp which I used on this very simple little card
I inked the shadow stamp in Angel Pink Memento, and then I overstamped it with Penny Black's "Aspire" stamp in Paris Dusk Memento, and added the Woodware sentiment in the same.
And last but not least (are you still with me? awake?) is the little fella from the top of this post. He is a Lili Of The Valley from their latest release:
Coloured with Distress Inks and a touch of Prismacolour. Papers are Dovecraft Back To Basics II, corner stamps are LOTV Clear Additions, peel-offs and holographic dots for the shower of magic sparks are from stash and the gold glitter letters are Anita's.
And just to really send you over the edge, here's a larger, clearer version of my magician!
That's All Folks! You can take a well deserved rest now if you ploughed through that lot!
So, on to this week's LESS IS MORE challenge and it's a colour theme, sort of - Monochrome! I've made two cards - one is definitely more less than the other one! Here's the first:
Using two Tim Holtz stamps, masking technique, and a Woodware tiny greetings stamp, all stamped in Memento Rich Cocoa - the photo doesn't show the lovely chocolately brown very well.
And the second:
There is a school of thought that character stamps don't work well for either LIM or Monochrome but I think this fabbie little Laurence Designs bunny really does prove that theory wrong (or am I totally deluded?). Stamped in Danube Blue Memento ink and painted in Faded Jeans Distress Ink. Central border stamp is an old unmarked one, no idea where I even got it from but it may have been Lakeland when they did craft stuff. Sentiment and little flower are Hero Arts, again in Danube Blue. The matting card is Coordinations and IRL it tones in much better than the photo shows. Corner punch for final detail.
That's it for me for today (promise) so I'm off to chop some onions. Anyone got any goggles I can borrow?
Afternoon all! Hope you are ok. Well! What a day so far - we had planned a simple, quiet weekend, just me, him and the hairy thing, but you know what happens to plans .....
I'd done a bit of challenge browsing this morning and decided to combine a card for the PENNY BLACK AT ALLSORTS June Challenge "You're My Favourite" (sadly I didn't make the DT but Clare who was chosen will do them proud, well done Clare) and this week's PENNY BLACK SATURDAY CHALLENGE of "Doodlebug". So far so good.
For me, the challenge was actually having to CHOOSE a favourite Penny Black! They are all my faves, so it was a hard job to narrow it down. In the end I selected a few and did a blind pick - but it was a good result as I love the stamp I chose.
Anyhoo, before I could do any more than stamp the image, my mobile rang. It was my mate Ali, in floods of tears and I could hardly make out what she was saying. Turns out that she was calling me from her vet surgery where she'd had to take her cat, Teddy, as an emergency. The surgery told her to get over to the vet hospital near me - but she doesn't drive. So she called me - but Toad was out in his car and the other car is temporarily dead in the drive. The poor love had to get a taxi 10 miles across town with a very sick cat. She called me when she arrived and I walked up to meet her there. Teddy is a very ill boy - the vet says he has fluid on his lungs which will need to be drained. She suspects his heart, but cannot rule out a mass, so they are keeping him in for 24 hours, he's on oxygen, he's got to have an xray, and we'll know more later. Ali came back to mine and when Toad returned I nicked his car and drove her home.
I know none of you know Ali or Teddy (one of two cats she adopted from a rescue home) but I would be grateful if you could all keep her in your thoughts and say a prayer or two for them.
Anyhoo, back to the card ........ after Ali was returned home, I got back to some crafting and here it is.
And of course I forgot to write down the name of the stamp! Painted in Distress Inks. Papers are Basic Grey from the Wander pad. Martha Stewart picket fence punch. Pebbles Inc Candy Dots - I coloured a white one with a Lime Green ProMarker to get the shade I wanted. Have doodled around the red matting circle, the image circle and the bottom of the fence strip.
Evening all, bet you didn't expect to see me tonight! To take my mind off another cruddy day at work, I've been thinking about some challenges today that I wanted to take part in - so when I got the offer of a lift home rather than having to slum it on the bus, I grabbed the chance with both hands and was home in half an hour instead of the usual hour! Which has given me time to play, yay!
I've had a few queries about Squirrel Stew (which we often have at weekends as it is quick, wholesome and oh so tasty) so here is the recipe.
When I say recipe ...... well, this is a dish that has evolved and I've just sort of tweeked it as we've gone along so this is probably the nearest you'll get to it without actually having me there to cook it for you.
(or Skwirrel Stoo if you come from Suffolk)
Serves 3 to 4 normal people or 2 greedy ones
Ingredients: 250 gms minced beef 6-8 large closed cap mushrooms 1 medium fresh onion 1 handful of sultanas 1 small can chopped tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato puree 1 tablespoon garlic puree 3 good shakes of Tabasco bottle 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano Generous sprinkling all over mince of garlic salt 1 sprinkle of paprika 1 sprinkle of ground black pepper
Method: Chop mushrooms into little chunks and if using fresh onion finely chop that.
Lightly fry onions until translucent – I use butter with a dribble of Olive Oil to stop the butter from burning.
Chuck the rest of the ingredients (except the tinned tomatoes) into a large pan. Cook on hob until mushrooms golden and mince cooked through. Should take about 10 – 12 mins. You will need to stir to make sure it cooks evenly and you don’t get dollops of puree in one place.
Turn off the heat. Empty tinned tomatoes into mixture and stir through. If mix seems a little dry (very much depends on your mince) add a little cold water if needed and continue cooking.
Cook enough rice for personal appetite. You will need enough each to make a nice comfy mattress for the mixture.
At 7 minutes before rice is ready, turn heat back on to meat mix and heat through thoroughly, giving it a good stir.
We use pasta bowls for this but plates are just as good so long as they are big enough.
Side dish of garlic bread or ciabatta works well.
Grated parmesan or fine grated cheddar to dress the Stew once dished up.
Don’t worry if you have too much mince mix, you can always freeze the leftovers. Mince mix also works very well with salad in fahitas.
So there you go! Would be interested to know if any of you actually give it a try.