Welcome to my blog

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Getting ready for the New Year - trying to find somewhere to work or even sit

 I finally plucked up the courage after lunch to get started on the disaster that was my craft room.  I was very honest and took photos of the before and the after so far.  Needless to say, I am nowhere near finished, but I did make a start.  This is just to the left of my cutting mat, and everything had started to cascade and get thoroughly mixed up.  Even the clock had fallen over and joined the general wreckage.
After an afternoon of hard work, this was the same bit of my desk.  The Christmas stuff that had taken over and collapsed is now away in one box.  It had been in two boxes, but I managed to get it all into one - the only problem is that the box is twice the size.  I want to know how I can make 70 cards from what I had in the boxes, and now there is more stuff to put away.  How does that work, then?  
The whole of the desk has now been dusted and cleaned of random bits of glue.  You can see the two new sets of CD Rom's from Joanna Sheen, the Patience Strong set and the Faye Whittaker one.  (Pretty good service on those.  They were in the special offer section at half price, and they came within 36 hours of ordering.)  My now empty bottle of water is there under the light (must bring that downstairs to refill it for tomorrow - the water bottle, not the light), but you can see most of the cutting mat, which is a novelty.

I am lucky enough to have two printers in my room, one for general purpose and the other to take the thicker card, and also, as an extra, it prints pretty pictures on DVD's and CD's.  After the pre-Christmas panic, they were both submerged under piles of UFO's and general dross.  This picture does not show them at their worst.  There are replacement printer cartridges, empty containers, sheets of Christmas papers and projects, cards and envelopes.  

By the end of the afternoon, I had managed to replace the dead cartridges, and clear the tops of both printers.  Now they are both ready to use. There are a couple of things still in situ, the can of air to clean the keyboard and the air vents on the computer, a set of discs for Greeting Card Factory, and another container of assorted ribbons.  I have followed Shaz Silverwolf's advice and ordered some of that foam board to store my ribbons on, so that will have to wait until the package arrives.  

That will do for today, but I will continue the clear up tomorrow, maybe, hopefully, but I do need to do a couple of cards for early January as well.  Speak to you all later.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Jude's Blog Candy - Ends Jan 6th

Follow the link in the sidebar to Jude's blog to see the wonderful goodies she has on offer.

WOYWW - 134

Never mind all the expensive gadgets that we are all told we cannot do without for Christmas.  This is what it is all about for me.  This gorgeous canvas was a very special present, created by our very clever daughter.  All four grandchildren together for once.  The original picture was heavily photoshopped to sort out the fact that the colours all screamed at each other, and to create a professional looking background.  It must have taken hours of work, but, I am sure you will agree, the result is stunning.  I will show you the other picture she did for us next week.

It was great to have all the grandchildren together on Christmas Day, although it was a shame that son's poor wife was on duty till about 5pm, so she missed this part of the festivities.

Looking at Shaz Silverwolf's blog today, she has been busy sorting out all her ribbons, and they look really good and easy to find.  I wish that was all I had to do.  My room looked a wreck when I closed the door on it on Christmas Eve, but I thought it would do until after the big day.  Oh boy, was I wrong?  When Steve arrived with the two girls, the youngest was distinctly cross and tired, having not even closed her eyes on the journey down.   So she urgently needed a sleep in a darkened room, so as my room has black out curtains, things were moved rapidly to make room for the travel cot, out of reach of anything dangerous.   I really need to start working my way back in to make it fit for working in again.

I also failed miserably in my mission to use up all the Christmas stuff and reduce the two boxes to one.  In fact, despite making over 70 cards with the stash, I think the stuff left over got busy breeding, and I am not sure it will all fit back in even two boxes.  So my next mission is to make Christmas cards throughout the year to clear the backlog before panic sets in next year.  I have quite a few stamps that were intended to be used for this years cards, but there was no room or time to play with them.

My final card to be finished this year nearly sent me to an early grave.  The topper was already done, one of my stained glass variety of a Nativity stained glass window, with the acetate married up with the paper version underneath.   I needed a frame to cover the glue holding the two halves together, but then I discovered that nothing was the right colour.  OK, strong sticky tape round ti and Martha Stewart fine glitter rubbed into it.  That looks good.  Now back it onto black card.  Fine.  Now I need gold card as the final matt - problem, nothing matched the gold glitter.  Here we go again.  this time, spray glue on the mount, stick the topper on that and rub glitter into the edges of the matt.  Then the whole thing was finally stuck on to the black pearlescent card.  That looks fine.  Now all I need is the gold holographic sentiment - problem - I used all the gold ones, only silver left.  Out came the spray glue again.  I cut the sentiment off the sheet, sprayed it with glue and rubbed in more glitter.  Then I peeled off my newly glittered sentiment and stuck that on back card and mounted it in the same way as the topper.  All that was left the the simple job of printing out the insert, which was already set up.  Did I say simple........  What a mistake that was.  It printed fine, but then it needed to be trimmed.  After three disasters when bits got chewed off, I looked at the guillotine and found that the channel the blade runs in was clogged with glue and general stuff.  After I cleaned that out, things worked better and the card was finally finished, and was very well received.  Sadly, I cannot show it to you this week, as I forgot to photograph it before I handed it over, but I will try to remedy that and post it here in a later post.

I hope you all had a great time at Christmas, with various ailments taking a back seat for the day, and lots of family all around.  It looks as though Julia did, with her family together.  Just click on her name to find out what she and many other friends got up to.  Meanwhile, Happy New Year to all of you.  I have really loved reading your posts and your comments this year.  Keep them coming and enjoy your crafting and your lives in 2012.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas to all of you.

A very Special Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all of you who visit my blog, and I hope to see much more of you in the future.  I love to read your comments,

Friday, 23 December 2011

Memories of Christmas past.

Just listening (not watching cos I am typing) to Grumpy Old Men at Christmas, and really giggling about it.  They are just discussing how their fathers would always talk to each other ad infinitum about the best route through Birmingham to get from one family member to another.  That took me back instantly to my childhood.  I am now really going to show my age as it was during the time when the centre of the city was being torn apart.  We had to get from Redditch to Walsall and did it most weekends to visit family.  I don't think we took the same route two weeks running.  I still know most of the back roads of the city.

Once we got to Walsall, we went straight to Dad's parents, who lived behind the undertaker's shop in Stafford Street, so we had to go through the shop, past the chapel of rest to get to the living room at the back.  I never remember that room as anything else but stuffed full of family and friends.  After a noisy welcome there and a lot of chat, we would carry on to the next, which was a maiden aunt (my godmother) further up the road on the Wednesbury Road.  The main thing I remember there was the quietness, the lace runner on the table and the scratchy horse hair sofa (the end of which folded down so you could put your feet up).  The next port of call would be my other grandparents in Dartmouth Avenue.  The garden there was huge, and Grandad grew a row of peas just for me to eat, straight from the plant - I suspect it was to protect the rest of the peas from me so that everyone else could have some.  The Christmas visit was actually to collect them and bring them back to our house for Christmas.

Christmas dinner was, of course, turkey from our local butcher.  Each year, we would order a small turkey from him (he raised them himself) and it would turn out to be so big that it would not fit in the oven without removing bits.  Boxing Day was cold turkey and pickles, including pickled cucumber and onion (must go and make some), with my uncle and aunt joining us.  Then Mum and Dad, and uncle and aunt would spend the evening playing Solo Whist for halfpennies and pennies, very competitively and very loudly.

How did I get from Grumpy Old Men and routes through Brum to parents playing whist?  could have something to do with the Bailey's to celebrate finishing the last card.

Happy Christmas.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

WARNING TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND

WARNING TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND
This is an addition to my normal post added this evening.   We have just had another phone call which seems to be another scam.  It was a telephone call from someone trying to sell us insurance for our new Sony TV.    We never do business like this over the phone anyway, and choked him off eventually (he was persistent), then did a 1471 to see if there was a number.  It came up with 0002071839757.  Having checked it out on the internet, it seems to be an extension of a previous scam to get money from Sky customers.  Put the number into a Google search and see for yourself.  The main thing is to check every caller out before you do anything.  Be careful. .  

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

WOYWW - 133 It is nearly here - Happy Christmas to Everyone

My second desk downstairs - computer desk, really.
WARNING TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND
This is an addition to my normal post added this evening.   We have just had another phone call which seems to be another scam.  It was a telephone call from someone trying to sell us insurance for our new Sony TV.    We never do business like this over the phone anyway, and choked him off eventually (he was persistent), then did a 1471 to see if there was a number.  It came up with 0002071839757.  Having checked it out on the internet, it seems to be an extension of a previous scam to get money from Sky customers.  Put the number into a Google search and see for yourself.  The main thing is to check every caller out before you do anything.  Be careful. .  
Today, I am so late posting after missing last week completely.  My excuse/reason,truth is all down to technology.  After buying me my fantastic Silhouette for Christmas, my wonderful husband decided that he needed to get more up to date with his phone.  That decision coincided with a call from Virgin offering a better deal on our home phone together with a contract phone at a very good price, so we decided to go with it.  The phone arrived the following morning early and I go the job of setting it up for him as it is similar to mine.  Similar - yes, but different enough to bring on a nervous breakdown.  Finally sorted that one, then mine needed a software update.  What a mistake!  The update was fine, but then I found how to download apps for it, and my credit vanished in a puff of hot smoke!

PANIC!!!!

So this morning was a rush uptown to the local Orange shop for help.  As usual with techie things, we chose the youngest assistant, who immediately stopped my money haemorrhage, and explained it clearly to me, and showed me slowly and carefully how to avoid the problem in the future.  We then discussed tariffs and what I needed and wanted, and came away two hours later with that sorted out and also a new dongle to allow me to use the laptop on holiday.

The afternoon was taken up with registering the SIM's and then creating two quiz rounds on a musical theme for our friends for Christmas day.  Sounds easy, but takes forever to remove all identification from each one of the tracks before recording them.  Still, it is now done, and it is just down to cooking and present wrapping.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  I am sure you will enjoy going round a few more desks thanks to the wonderful Julia.  Have fun and see you after Christmas.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bread Pudding - or How to avoid throwing away cake and bread

I think this recipe came originally from my grandmother in Walsall, Staffordshire.  I certainly remember eating it there, although my recipe says I had it from my mother.  It is a great way of using up any stale bread or cake, or using a cake that did not turn out right.  Originally, it was just bread, but after a recipe went wrong for me (I still have not worked out what was at fault), I could not bear to throw all that cake away.  So after a couple of days cogitating, I decided it was worth trying to see if I could rescue it.  The result was so successful, that I have done it several times since.  It is slightly different each time, depending on how much cake or bread you add.

Ingredients:
½lb stale bread and cake
3 oz sugar
2oz butter, margarine, or dripping
4oz mixed dried fruit (the sort with candied peel in)
¼ pint milk (you may need a little more if your bread and cake is very dry)
1 egg
a little freshly grated nutmeg to taste

Method:
1.  Crumble the bread and cake into a large bowl, and pour the milk over it. 
2.  Mix and then leave it to soak for at least one hour.
3.  Then mix in the fruit, sugar, beaten egg and nutmeg.
4.  Melt the fat and mix it into the mixture.
5.  Pour mixture into a well greased pie dish and bake for 1 to 1½ hours at Gas Mark 4***, until a knitting needle poked into the middle comes out clean.
6.  Cut it into suitable sized portions and enjoy (hot or cold)

The texture should be fairly firm but not hard.  Instead of the nutmeg, you could add your own mixture of Christmas type spices, and replace some of the milk with an alcoholic liquid of your own choice. It will be different each time you make it, according to the mix of bread and cake.  I hope you enjoy it. 

*** Temperature conversion
Gas Mark 4 - Conventional oven 350° F/180°C - Fan oven 160°C
The time will vary a little according to your oven.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

WOYWW - 131 Help!!! It's getting closer!

This is a scheduled post, so the photo was taken on Tuesday afternoon while I still had some daylight.  If I am awake at the right time, I will link up early on Wednesday morning.

I know this is not really my desk, but I am sure you will soon get bored at seeing the same desk as last week, so instead here is an anniversary card.  This was a real mix of techniques and bits and pieces. The card itself was cut and shaped on the Silhouette, using a design downloaded from a free site, but it would be easy enough to create the design for yourself.  The gold flower pattern down the side was drawn by the Silhouette and then filled in by hand with a Sakura gold pen.  

The flowers and leaves were from a kit I bought ages ago, but I cannot remember where or who they were by, but they are brilliant if you want to send a more dimensional card through the post without paying too  high a price.  They are very thin but only glued down the very centre, allowing the petals and the leaves to be curled more naturally.  They will flatten to fit easily into an envelope, and spring out again when opened.

Once everything was glued down and the pen was dry, I just added a few gold gems to give it a bit of bling.  The recipient is a crafter in her own right, and really had fun trying to work out what I had done and what I had used to create it.  

Wednesday is earmarked for getting back to inserts for Christmas cards.  I also need to make some more bread pudding (not bread and butter pudding - completely different).  It is a very tasty recipe for using up slightly stale cakes and bread, or even cakes that have gone a little wrong.  They can still be rescued and turned into something good.  I will post that recipe tomorrow for anyone who is interested.

If you are still with me at this point, I know you will love visiting a lot more blogs around the world, who are hosted on a Wednesday by lovely Julia, whose sense of humour keeps us all going.  Just follow the link here and enjoy yourself.  I hope to get round to visiting as many of you as possible over the next week.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Fridge Cake

Several people asked me for this recipe yesterday, so, as I promised, here it is.  It is not my original, but came from a friend, Trissa, many years ago.  I have not made it for a long time and I had forgotten just how sticky and rich it is.  My tastes and appetites have changed in those years, and I cannot eat the size of portions I would have done.  A very small piece is enough to satisfy my desires.

Ingredients:
8oz digestive biscuits
4oz margarine
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ cup cocoa powder
3-4oz sultanas
3-4oz chocolate to cover

Method: Melt the sugar, Margarine and syrup together in a saucepan.  Then add cocoa, then sultanas and crushed biscuits.  Mix thoroughly, then tip into a 7 inch square baking tin (I usually line the tin with baking parchment).  cover with the melted chocolate (I melt that in a jug in the microwave), and put it all in the fridge until set.  Cut into small pieces and store in the fridge.

Hope you all enjoy this one.  Me, I'm off now to start the bread off, and to make some cheese scones.  Then it is back to the Christmas cards - time to finish them and get them in the post.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

WOYWW - 130 - Cameos. Cards, Cakes and Christmas Stockings

No. not this kind of Cameos, but I do like them.  Two of them came from trips to Italy and were bought from the factory shop near Naples.  the third one is just a very cheap scarf ring.  My favourite is the dark cameo, just my preference.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about our workdesks, so I had better get back on theme.  The Cameo I really meant to show you is my new baby, the new Silhouette Cameo.  I still have not had a lot of time to play with it to get  the best from it.  My biggest problem is to convert gsm to the American version of lbs.  I have now found a fairly good conversion chart so I might have more success.  Sorry about the rotten photos, it is rather on the dark side, but then we are heading to winter gloom.  I did use it to create a couple of borders for card toppers, as you can see from this one.

The image is from a MCS disc, treated in the same stained glass method of last weeks cards..  The border was cut from green mirri card on the Silhouette, and then I added a bit more bling with the stones.  It is all matted on to white pearlescent card.

You might notice from the next picture that I am really into the elbow it out of the way method of working at the moment.  This lot is mostly to do with Christmas and all the stuff I need to get rid of this year so I can start fresh next time.

Following the order in the title, these are the the cakes I made today - not too difficult.  It is Fridge Cake, very sticky, very fattening and very tasty.  We have visitors tonight who happen to love this, hence the choice for today.  I have been seriously into baking lately, having got fed up of buying "plastic" bread that goes mouldy before we can eat it.  I would rather make a small loaf twice a week and use it all, and enjoy the flavour and the texture.  It is ages since I did much baking, so most of my cake tins are fairly manky, and have had to be replaced.  At least the cakes and bread comes out of the tin easily now.  I was concerned that we would eat more of fresh things, but we don't seem to be, just enjoying what we do eat rather more.


The last "C" on my list is the Christmas stockings.  I showed you those  recently, but now I have done some of the small ones too.  I still have quite a lot of wool left, so there will be more stockings made before I finish.

I am off now to visit a few more desks, hosted by the Queen of the workdesk, Julia.  Why don't you come and and join me over there and see what all those talented people are doing and talking about.?  I did not blog at all last week, nor manage to visit anyone else.  I hope to do better this week, and I will definitely visit anyone who leaves me a comment.  Have fun out there.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WOYWW - 128 I want to play

 Not my usual desk this week.  That has been overtaken by all the things that had to be moved out of the spare bedroom to allow the new carpet to be fitted.  So I decided that it was a good time to finish off a very long standing project.  About 38 years ago, I found a pattern for these Christmas stockings in Woman's Weekly and started one for our daughter.  Then I had to do one for our son, when he arrived.  Gradually, all the children in the family had one, and I kept buying more wool when I saw the right shades of red and green.  The result is that now one of the drawers under the bed is full of Christmas stocking wool - not good, as we are trying to clear unnecessary stuff out of the house.

As I could not get to do normal crafting things or play with my new baby, I decided that it would be satisfying to get as many stockings done as I could out of the remaining wool.  So far, in the last three days, I have completed four stockings and still have enough wool for several more.  Happily, this is  a craft I can do at night, while watching television without having to use my reading glasses.  I have reprinted the pattern in huge font so I can read it at a glance.  By the way, they are crocheted in squares, ten to each stocking (mainly trebles), then sewn together, before crocheting the gusset which goes all round (all trebles again), then there are two rounds of double crochet around the top and to form the loop for hanging.

Our children used to love their stockings, which were always stuffed with small items gathered over the year.  They always had the traditional apple, orange, and nuts, but also there were things like balsa planes, bags of marbles, spinning tops, yo-yos and anything else that we could squash inside.  Each one was separately wrapped.  Big presents were always from a person, but the stockings were always from Father Christmas, and they would leave him a glass of whisky, a mince pie and a carrot for the reindeer before they went to bed on Christmas Eve.  Even as adults, living in their own homes, they still requested their stockings for many years and never said that Father Christmas did not exist.

The son of one of our friend's once said to his parents that Father Christmas did not exist.  His parents were keen to keep the magic for his younger brother, so they told him that if he did not believe in Father Christmas, then he would not be left any presents.  When he refused to back down, they called his bluff and when it came to Christmas morning, there were no presents for him.  After a bit of swift thinking, he finally agreed that Father Christmas did exist.  Sure enough, in a short while, he heard the sound of sleigh bells and his presents appeared as if by magic.  He never voiced his disbelief again.

That's it from me this week, folks.  Thank you to all those who came to visit and left me such lovely comments.  I really appreciated them all, and I think I did manage to get back to you all.  While I disappear now to do some more Christmas stuff (did the cake yesterday), I am sure you would all enjoy the goodies on show on all the other desks on offer this week at Julia's place.  I hope to get round as many as possible myself, so I will see you there.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

WOYWW - 127 It arrived!!!

 Wait for it,  I will tell you in a minute.  Meanwhile, here is my desk at the moment - not too messy for me.  You can actually see some desk, but only 'cos I had a major tidy up again yesterday.  I went through all my Christmas bits, gathering together all the bits I cut out two years ago.  some of them I just looked at in horror and threw them in the recycling bag.  Others you can see.  On top and to the side of the cutter are four toppers I created, by printing onto gold paper, then reversing the image and printing it on to acetate.  I sprayed the gold paper with glitter.  when it is dry, you marry up the paper and the acetate images exactly and glue them together round the edges.  This makes the images really strong with much more of a look and feel of stained glass.  I usually mount them, either in a triple fold window card or straight on to plain card with a frame cut and placed over the top of the edges to keep things looking tidy. 

There are lots of other bits and pieces around, such as my Fiskars scissors, my finger blade, computer duster (can of spray air), water bottle for me, pots with lengths of pretty ribbon.  You can also see a tube of silicone glue, which I found lurking in the bottom of my glue box.  I normally use the Pinflair glue these days, and I had forgotten how strongly the normal silicone smells.  Never mind, it will soon be gone.

You can also probably see something shiny and red, yet more stuff I started and have not finished.  These three topper use a similar technique to the gold ones above.  They are clip art images, printed on card and then flipped and printed on the acetate.  The two images are married up carefully, glued together and then I mounted them on holographic wrapping paper, then on to card to give strength.  I did spray the back of the acetate with glitter again to make them really sparkle.  These two sets of toppers will be mounted later today on plain cards with a peel off sentiment.

Thank you to all those who liked my baking desk last week.  I have not abandoned the baking this week and I may post another recipe later this week, once I have tried it out in this cooker.  Watch this space!  So many of you said you were going to have a go at the cheese scones.  If you did, please let me know how you got on - good or bad.  Just as an extra, we had one left from the last batch, which had gone a little solid and not really as good to eat.  I happened to have the grill on for our sausage, so I stuffed the scone underneath for a few seconds on each side, and it really revived it, both in flavour and texture.

Now, this is what I have been waiting for - my lovely brand new Silhouette Cameo.  Not a very good picture of it.  If I get time later I may get another picture and post that instead.  I have had a Silhouette for some time, but I have a feeling that this one had been abused before it came to me.  sometimes it worked but it would often just chew things up.  Big simple shapes were no problem but the more intricate stuff did not really work as well as it should.  So I have been yearning to replace it for ages, and my very lovely and very, very kind husband said I could have the new Cameo, which has only just come out.  When I ordered it (from a company working through EBay), I was frustrated to be told that it was out of stock, but then they promised that it would be sent during the first week of November.  That was only one week to wait.  Sure enough, it arrived just when it was promised.  The postman was killing himself laughing at me, when I flew to the door to grab my huge parcel from him.  He knew I was a very happy bunny.

It is a fantastic bit of kit, and well supported by Silhouette.  They have been constantly updating the software for all the Silhouette machines, so the version I already had was more up to date than the one in the box.  All I needed to do was to exchange the power and USB leads and I was away.  If you succumb and upgrade to this gorgeous machine, do not try to use the connectors for your old machine - it does not work properly.

Once set up and connected to your computer, it acts like a printer, but cutting rather than printing.  You can still use the Silhouette pens and the other pen adaptors in place of the blade to draw.  I can now cut quite intricate shapes with no problems.  It will cut a full 12x12 piece of paper or card.  All the other things it will do can be better found on other web sites and YouTube videos.  Suffice it to say, I am ecstatic to be able to use all the designs I already have. 

The real benefit of the Silhouette over other die cutting machines is that you are not limited by the imagination of others.  You can design and save your own ideas, either onto your computer or onto a SD card.  You can cut your own fonts, using any font on your computer, any style, any size.  You can set it to cut your own decoupage designs.  You can cut all your own backing shapes for your toppers.  You can buy loads of designs for $0.99 from the main Silhouette site and there is a free design to download each week.  The limit of your use is just your imagination.

As you can gather, I am so chuffed to get this for an early Christmas pressie.  I shall use it this afternoon to cut the frames for those gold toppers, plain or with swirls - not decided yet.  While I am doing that, You should go and wander round more of the desks on display at Julia's place.  by the way, well done to Debbie for getting herself on this week with no help from me.  Go, gilr, have fun.  Hope to visit as many as possible of you this week.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bogus virus and spam warnings.

I have already posted about this one but it will bear repeating.  Yet another friend has been attacked by a phone call, asking her if she had a computer with Windows on it (a fair bet that, as not many o us run other systems) and telling her that her computer had a virus.  She told them it was not even turned on, so the next thing they said was could she tell them when she was turning it on so they could ring back,  Fortunately, she had the sense to realise that she was being conned and asked them for their number so she could call them.  Needless to say,  they refused, so she hung up.

There is no way that anyone else can know that your computer has a virus unless they are illegally hacking into it.  It is a con to get lots of money from you after playing on your fears.  One suggestion to deal with it that I have heard is to say you are putting them on hold for a moment, then you press the play button on some awful music, put the receiver next to it and go off to do your shopping.  I bet they will get bored very quickly.

Also, do not be taken in by well-meaning friends sending you emails with warnings of a new deadly virus coming their way.  Most of these emails have been doing the rounds for years.  Before you pass them on and create more panic, check online for yourself. 

Never, never delete files in response to such an email warning.  You will crash your own computer very fast.  Just ensure you have a very good virus checker, a malware checker, and a spybot type checker.  Keep them up to date and set them to check your computer automatically several times each day.  That should keep you as safe as it is possible to be.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

More cake chat - Kunzle, Japs and "Cup cakes" and other things.

Since I posted the recipe for the cheese scones, so many people have said they are going to make them.  I hope you all enjoy the results, which should be fairly light and melting in texture.  We went to see our grandaughter, Merlin, in a school performance yesterday (it was billed as a Grandparents's tea party).  Shaz Silverwolf and her husband (our computer doctor) also came as they are our co-grandparents.  The singing was superb. the school is very lucky to have a brilliant musician in charge, who believes in really stretching them to sing quite complicated things.  One of their songs was the Lord's Prayer from African Sanctus, sung with excellent harmonies, and these children are only 9.  It was superb.

Afterwards, we came home while Doug and Shaz took Merlin home, before coming to do some more work on our computer.  Between getting home and them arriving, I made another batch of cheese scones.  We managed to demolish most of that batch between the four of us, so they seemed to like them.

This morning, as I finished my coffee, my husband asked me what temperature I wanted the oven on, so I took the hint and started again with the Vickie and the scones.  I must say in my defence that we have not eaten all that I have baked this week.  We have shared with a lot of visitors.

Back to the Kunzle cup cake bit, they were proper cup cakes.  The ones we are bombarded with these days are not cup cakes, they are just larger versions of what we always called fairy cakes.  If you cut the tops off  and in half, putting them back on top with butter icing, then they become butterfly cakes.

For those of you who have problems with the new words creeping into food these days, here are a few translations for you:
Fairy cakes (UK) = Cup Cakes (USA)
Icing (UK) = Frosting (USA)
Gravy (UK) = jus (posh cookery programmes and restaurants)

I will add more as I get to them.  By the way, I still cook in imperial measures, as most of my tried and love recipes are from a pre-metric age.

There are web sites and blogs devoted to finding Kunzle cup cakes, so I am not alone in my yearning for those delicacies.  There are also sites devoted to finding Jap Cakes, also luscious and melting.  By the way, do you remember Spangles, square boiled sweets in a square packet.  They were brought back briefly a few years ago, then the name was changed, and they vanished.

As you can see, I am in a seriously reminiscing mood at the moment.  What else do you miss that you used to adore?  Let us all know.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

WOYWW - 126 Part 2 - Cheese scone recipe.

Several people have asked for the recipe for these tasty cheese scones.  It came from Mollie Harris, who played Martha Woodford in The Archers.
Ingredients
3oz grated cheese (I prefer mature cheddar)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dry mustard (Colemans)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ oz margarine
6 oz SR flour
Milk to make a soft dough
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, roll out and cut into scone shapes as usual.  Put on a flat baking tray, brush the tops with milk.  the cook at 425F, 220C or Gas Mark7 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from baking tray and put to cool on wire rack.
You can either cut them and butter them, or freeze them for use later, or even toast them in they last long enough to turn a bit stale.

Enjoy!

WOYWW - 126 Part 1 - Are you hungry yet?

My workdesk this week is actually in the kitchen, so don't expect to see any Christmas or birthday cards etc.  And I am writing this on Tuesday evening, as I want to do some more baking tomorrow.

First of all, how many of you will own up to knowing what these cakes are?  Every time I hear someone talking about cup cakes, my thoughts fly to these beauties.  For those of you who are too young, they were a smooth cup of dark chocolate(round, square, hexagonal, or triangular), with a very thin layer of sponge cake in the bottom and them a very thick layer of luscious creamy mix on top, flavoured orange, chocolate and vanilla, and were topped with a chocolate drop or a slice of orange etc. 

Having wet your appetites with those, I then decided that it was time I really gave my new cooker a good try out by cooking a Victoria Sandwich.  I haven't done any baking for some time, so it was a major operation to gather all the ingredients and implements needed.  However, this is the result, full of raspberry jam and waiting for our visitors tonight.  It looks OK, but the acid test will be when it is cut and tasted. 

Right, having now got into the cooking mode again, I thought I would like to try some cheese scones.  It is a lovely recipe, and came from the broadcaster, Mollie Harris, who played Martha Woodford in The Archers.  These came out so well, very light but very tasty.  A couple of them look a little dark but they are not burnt, it is just where the cheese has coloured.  Those will definitely be back in my list of top recipes.  They freeze well or can be toasted if they last long enough to get stale.

If you are not drooling too much, you will probably want to get back to our normal idea of crafting.  I recommend that you pop over to see what Julia has to show us, and from there to all the other bloggers out there.  If you visit someone, I hope you feel able to leave us a comment.  Your thoughts and ideas do mean a lot to us all.  (I was so chuffed with myself as I got round every single one, and only failed to leave a message on 2 - could not find the link on those for some reason).  I do not promise to do that every week, but I will do my best.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Guess what - I cannot wait.

Could not resist teasing you with a hint of my news and a tiny sneaky peak.  I have been trawling through the internet, looking at reviews, YouTube videos and other information about a certain brand new piece of equipment, and finally decided that it was just what I wanted.  Not only that but my DH watched me digging up every bit of info I could find, and yesterday told me to go ahead and order it.  I think it will be my Christmas and Birthday present for quite a while.  Anyway, it is on order - out of stock at the moment but expected in this week.  I can't wait.  When it arrives, I will let you know how it performs.

Anyway, it is time for lunch - a little sod, roast potatoes and mixed veggies - Yum.  Then as it is sunny at the moment, I might  go and do some cards as I still have a lot of stash to use up.  I need to get them done and out of the way before my new toy arrives.

Have a good day, all of you, and remember that crafting is supposed to be FUN.  If it isn't at the moment, find something new to do for a while.

PS It is not the Christmas tree.   By the way , the little sod is not swearing - it is what our butcher calls a chicken breast with stuffing in and bacon wrapped round the outside, and they are delicious.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WOYWW - 125 OK, I know Christmas is coming - fast!!

It is that time of the week again, the first of the two Wednesdays in this week (there must be two or the time is flashing by even faster than I thought). so it is time to bare all - well, not all, but our desks in all their glory.  What is on my desk this week is rather a lot of stuff.  We went over to Webbs of Wychbold last week and, of course, it would have been rude not to wander round Hobbycraft, and even more rude not to buy something.  So you can see a couple of packets of white flowers with gems on, ready to colour in, and a little storage box with coloured and textured flowers.  They are on the left.  On the right you can see some of my Silhouette pens, which I have been using a lot to draw some of my cards.  In the middle you can see a pile of recycled toppers from previous cards, ready to use in some way.  On the far left you can see one of my Really Useful Christmas boxes, full of stuff, decoupage, peeloffs etc.

 I have finally given in to the Christmas rush.  I got the two really useful boxes out at the end of last week and had a good sort through.  I had a bag of recycled toppers from previous year's cards, all shop bought.  A couple have been turned straight into new cards by cutting them and folding them.  As you can see, they are both robin pictures with out of focus backgrounds.  I found the centre on each side, and cut the top half of the robin with my trusty finger blade (Fiskars) and then folded the card at that point, so that it will stand up.  I still have to work out how to do the inserts, which will help to strengthen the finished card.

I have also had the Silhouette out again with the pens, rather than the blade.  The tree design is one I bought from the Silhouette site.  I used the coppery Silhouette pen to draw both the tree and the Happy Christmas, the filled in the design with Sakura glitter pen, then dug out all my gems to decorate the trees.  I am quite pleased with them, they are simple in style but still have that glitter we all want at Christmas.

I have just added the new Silhouette Cameo to my Christmas list - it looks awesome and is bigger than the previous machines, and will take 12x12 papers/card.  I prefer the Silhouette to the idea of the Cricut, as you can use it to create your own designs and you are not limited to buying expensive cartridges.  The software is continually updated to supply what we as crafters want.


I have used some of the toppers I recycled from previous year's cards, and added a bit of a twist to them with peel offs.  I am determined to use more of what is in those boxes this year - I need the space for other things.

If you managed to get all the way down here, thank you for visiting me.  Please leave a comment. I really do value your opinions.  I would also be grateful if you would visit a friend of mine, Debbie, who is just starting to get her blog up and running.  She would love to hear from you all, although there may be a problem with her being able to leave you comments - we have not sorted that bit out properly yet..   You will find her at  http://acrafterslife.blogspot.com/
When you have done that, it is time to head over to http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/ Julia's blog where you will find loads of other desks to wander round.   Have fun.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WOYWW - 124 Where has the time gone?

I cannot believe that we are nearly at the end of the year again.  Where has 2011 gone?  I seem to have achieved so little.  Is it a sign of age or is it happening to everyone.  The pace of life seems just so fast.  You blink and another week has gone.  I am struggling to get round even half of all your lovely desks each week, for which I apologise.

I have been a good little girl this week, finishing off several projects and getting all the cards done that I need for November (only 4 needed for December).  So before I descend into total chaos with the Christmas stuff everywhere, I thought I would show you some of my finished projects.

I think I have shown you some of these before.  They are from a set of decoupage sheets that I picked up from Little Lou's in Redditch (Hayley West's shop), and are very pretty.  However I did have a problem deciding how to mount them.  In the end, I went for the simple approach to allow the artwork to show itself.  I think they could be used as sympathy cards too as they are plain.

My next finishing off was the Peter Rabbit Winter Tales kit.  I don't often go for kits these days, and I realised why, when I started work on this lot.  There is nothing wrong with them and all the elements are good quality, but they do not leave a lot to the imagination.  Anyway, they are finished and ready to send off, probably to our local children's ward.  I did add a little glitter to each one - well, it is for Christmas, after all.  I used some of my Martha Stewart glitter on top of the Quickie glue pen in strategic places, so it is not over the top.


Here are a couple more of the cards themselves.  You might struggle to see the glitter, but it is there.  The kit had the basic printed card and then there were lots of rub ons, which were quite good, apart from the white writing, some decoupage, some gems and paper flowers and I still had some left after I had finished the 24 cards.  It also contained the rubber stamps to go with it, so it was quite good value.  It is just that I prefer now to do my own thing.

They are a mixture of scenes and shapes and sizes, all with their own envelopes.  I quite liked the two bridge scenes, they seemed to lend themselves to setting up a story.  Because I was really trying just to get them done, I did tend to follow the pictures in the booklet to some extent, to make sure I had enough bits to finish all the cards. so there is not much of me in this set.

Today, I am hoping to get round a few more blogs than I managed this week, and still get some crafting in later on.  If you arrived here by accident, you are very welcome.  However, you might also like to have a nose over at Julia's blog, where you will find links to loads of other workdesks, some tidy and some very creatively covered.  You will be very welcome at all of them.  Please leave us messages, so we know you have been, and we will try to get back to you.   You will find Julia at   http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/

Monday, 17 October 2011

Computers and the big C word

Our computer has come out of intensive care and is back with us.  It still needs a bit of work but that will have to wait till the computer doctor is free and we have all the bits required.  Then after that, our very kind computer doctor is going to set up a server for us to link all the computers in the house and the TV, so we can update everything easily and share files between the hard drives.

In the meantime, I have been putting together some of the cards we need for the rest of November, just one left to do, then four for December.  Once those are done, I can really settle down to sort out Christmas, and perhaps do some playing.  This is the first one, using a Clarity stamp on parchment, which has then been embossed, and mounted on dark brown PDA card, using brads, before sticking the topper to the background with Pinflair glue.  The base card has been printed with the feather design in a random pattern.  I first stamped the image, then scanned it and manipulated it to create the backing.  I also printed one single feather on the back to provide some interest.  

The insert also used the scanned and printed feather, and because I wanted the sentiment inside to fit a particular space,I typed the sentiment from Barbara Gray's stamp in a freestyle script.  As it for a man, I needed it to be fairly plain, with no real fuss, and Barbara Gray's stamps just fitted the bill perfectly.

My other offering today is a card for a 1st birthday for a little girl.  It is from one of the Crafters Companion cd's and I quite enjoyed making it, although if I did it again, I would use thinner card for the topper to make the cutting out more accurate and less stressful.  I do like easel cards, and most people who receive them seem to like the format as well.

While our pc was out of action, we took the chance of hooking up every other machine to the broadband modem and updating software and virus protection.  although they all work on Windows 7, each one had to be done in a different way.  What worked for one did not work for the others.  What a pain.  I cannot wait for this server to be able to do all of them in one go.

Right, I am off now to watch Doc Martin and The Hotel Inspector before getting off to bed.  Sleep tight, everyone.  See you soon.
PS Just realised there is not much about Christmas in this post to justify the title.  The reason (excuse) I forgot what I was talking about and just waffled on on to a different track.  Never mind, I will show you some of my Christmas creations tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I'm back - for the moment

As you can see, I am finally back online properly, by using the laptop with the Virgin modem.  It has taken a while to update the laptop virus software, not to mention Firefox and the email program Thunderbird.  I was so frustrated  yesterday when I could look at everyone's desks but I could not comment.  For some strange reason, the Orange dongle we use with the laptop normally will not allow me to leave comments - I can type them but when I press the button to leave the comment, it just sits there.  Never mind, I am back on broadband now.

The Headland between the Harbour and Fistral
I thought I would brighten your lives today by showing you a couple of photos from our holiday last year.  I have always loved Cornwall from when I was a child.  This first photo is of the Headland between the harbour at Newquay and the famous surfing beach at Fistral. 

The Huers Hut, Newquay
We used to stay in a small family run hotel, overlooking the harbour, and after our evening meal, we would walk across the Headland and sometime as far as the headland beyond overlooking Pentire, before ambling back to the milkbar across the road for a large mug of Horlicks before bed.  The owner used to do a fair bit of traffic control when things got busy.  He would leave his bar and go out to direct the traffic round the junction to get things moving at rush hour.  It was another world.  These days, I would not want to stay in Newquay - it has changed so much.  It is too big and busy now, not the relaxing family resort it once was.  We usually visit when we are in Cornwall, but now we generally stop at the outlying beaches such as Porth or Mawgan Porth, where we can park close to the beach and take the dogs for a run.

One of our favourite outings in Newquay when I was a child was to take the bus as far as Porth, have a coffee and a cream tea there while we waited for the tide, then we could walk all the way back to our hotel along the beach, just creeping round the headlands, keeping dry, apart from a bit of gentle paddling.


I did have a break from screaming at inanimate objects yesterday afternoon and spent a bit of time adding a little gentle glitter and glitz to all the Peter Rabbit Christmas cards I had made the day before.  Not a lot of creativity, but lots of fun.  When I am sure they are dry, I will show them to you.  If they are ok, I may donate them to the children's ward of our local hospital or some similar children's charity.  They are mainly cards for children, so they would be appropriate, in my opinion.

Hope you are all having a good day, despite the dull skies, such a change from all the late summer we have been having.  See you all soon.