Saturday 31 January 2015

Winter Sale, knitting, recipe and he's 21!

Hello friends

A long chatty blog post today!
First off my eldest, Mitchell is 21 today!!
I remember my 21st clearly and I cannot believe I now have a son who is 21,
someone please stop time!
Here he is with a variety of pets....oh yes he's a bit of an animal lover!
With Imogen - posh name for a grumpy cat of ours!
Lucy - Mum and Dad's cat.

 And of course Bella!
Mitchell has chosen to spend his birthday with Elliott and I,
he's just not into parties and drinking (unlike me when I was 21!)
We have a busy fun day planned in London, we are visiting some really geeky stores...
Forbidden Planet, Cyber Candy, Tokyo Toys and a special dinner planned at
Benihana - a Japanese hibachi restaurant.
I am sure I will be posting on Facebook and sharing photos on my blog.

I've received a few requests for the blueberry muffin recipe.
These muffins are calorie free - well, in an ideal world!
But they do contain a lot of blueberries so that's good.
They are not too sweet, if you prefer sweeter I would add a little more sugar on the top!
350g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g sugar
125ml vegetable oil
1 egg
125ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.
Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Add the blueberries and mix.
(Do not over mix, it makes the muffins too firm and chewy!)

Spoon mixture into a 12-hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.
Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked
when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack. 
Eat and enjoy!

I will be posting the chocolate chip cookie recipe soon,
again it is nice and simple - I cannot cope with complex recipes!

Next item...

I heard from Raystede Wildlife - they are doing really well for chickinis now,
if you are knitting them then please finish and send.
There is now another item they need... knitted nests!
Though it may not feel like it, spring will soon be upon us and Raystede see a surge in the 
numbers of young birds being brought in. 
Knitted nests provide a safe and comfortable place for the baby birds whilst they are being looked after.

This is the pattern:

Using 2 strands of yarn, cast on 54 stitches; then divide evenly among 4 dpns (double pointed needles).
Work in stockinette (all K stitches) until the nest is approximately 3″ tall.
Purl one row, and then start to decrease:
Row 1) K7, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 2) K6, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 3) K5, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 4) K4, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 5) K3, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 6) K2, K2tog—repeat to end
Row 7) K1, K2tog—repeat to end

 Cut yarns, leaving a 6″ tail. Slide yarn on needle, draw tight to close up end 

(put a few stitches across the gap if need be.) Weave in yarn and cut off.


To make sure the nest is tight and washable, use two strands of washable yarn 

(using two different colors to make counting stitches easier). Use three strands if the yarn is very fine.

Use double-pointed needles—just about any size, from 5 through 9, depending on the weight of the yarn. 

You can use circular needles if you prefer.

When doing K2tog, it seems to be easier to knit through the back loops rather than the front. 

If you’re still having problems with K2tog, try using a crochet hook to pull the yarn through.

Only decrease to the point where you have a small, easily closed gap in the bottom of the nest; 

otherwise there can be a bump on the bottom that can make the nest unstable.

Directions given are for nests that are about 4” across. Cast on fewer stitches for smaller nests. 

They knit up so quickly, it’s easy to experiment. 
(If the nest is much smaller, start the decrease with K6, K2tog.)
The yarn should not be fuzzy so toes don’t get caught!

And lastly... phew...long blog post!
Over on the website there's a Winter Sale going on, nearly 200 items reduced!
Pop the kettle back on and have a browse - here is the link.
Take care friends - keep warm,
I'm back tomorrow - 1 February!

Friday 30 January 2015

Friday Die Day

Hello friends

It's Friday so that means Friday Die Day!
This week I am featuring Diagonal Chevron.
This is one of the Spellbinders® decorative card front dies, using these mean your
half way there in creating a card!
The set consists of two die templates, the outer border and inner decorative die.
Approximate measurements:
Inset: 3¾ x 5”
Border: 4¼ x 5”
This is how it looks cut/embossed.
To create my card I wanted to use the bottom section of the inset die to cut/emboss
patterned chevrons (the fallout pieces).  And yes, that's a well loved cutting plate!
Here they are, lots of patterned mini chevrons. I've done this with
two pieces of patterned paper from my scrap box.
Adhered my white card front to some spotty kraft card.
I then started to apply the chevron pieces,
raising some of them with 3D Foam Squares cut in half.
I matted the card front onto pale green patterned paper and white cardstock.
Then the extra die cuts to decorate, Sprigs, Blooms One and Sentiments 4.
The finished card.

Eagled eyed may have noticed that the card is a little similar to a recent
Tuesday Tip/Technique...
the same spotty kraft paper and the sentiment - I made use of the 'Get Well'!
All bits and bobs still laying around on my craft desk.
Have a great weekend everyone, still no snow here which saddens me a little,
I love the snow although I know it's not practical, can't help feeling excited by it though!
I've had a few requests for the blueberry muffin recipe, stop by tomorrow :)
Take care friends.

Thursday 29 January 2015

Let's bake ...and craft!

Hello friends

I've been hit by a sudden urge to bake this week!
Not sure if it is the cold weather, craving home cooking or just that I'm waking up
early and wanting the house to smell of cookies and cakes.

So far this week there has been chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins.
There was 8 cookies but by the time I took the photo the boys had walked by!
 I found the simplest blueberry muffin recipe so I think these could be a frequent make.
One of the first Charity Kits was a recipe notebook/organiser with additional
monthly add-ons and recipes, it proved really popular.

I'm wondering whether for March onwards a journal with add-ons may be a good 
Charity Kit idea - what do we think?

February's kit is well underway, here's a sneak peek!
Full details will be revealed next week.

Back at London work today and while I'm away I'm having work done on the roof
of my house, there's been a few leaks and I'm finally getting things sorted.
The boys are left in charge of tea making and offering blueberry muffins!

Take care friends, stop by tomorrow for Friday Die Day!

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Charity Kit Winning Number

Hello friends

January's charity kit has been such a success - huge thanks to you all!
There is still a few left and it's not too late as a lucky number gets placed
in every kit and it follows on to the next month's draw :)

For this month...announcing the winning number and it is....

Rush off and have a look at your tickets please.
If you are the winner please send me an email
Don't forget to include your address and a whole host of goodies will be
on its way to you - dies, stamps, papers, embellishments and more!

Now what else have a I got for you today...??
my fellow Ambassador Yvonne made up some beautiful cards featuring
Card-io stamps, I featured some last year and here are some more.

These stamps work beautifully with your Spellbinders too,
Yvonne has used Matting Basics for her tags.

Take a look at the website as all Card-io stamps have been reduced,
in fact I've been hitting that 'sale' button quite a bit recently :)

There appears to be an error on the website this morning,
I've got my best techy people working on it (got the boys out of bed!) - apologies -
hope it have it up and running again very soon!


The little Versa Color ink pads work brilliantly with these stamps and
they appear to be on sale too!

Take care friends - I'm back tomorrow.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Tuesday Tip/Technique

Hello friends

It's Tuesday Tip/Technique.  As with most weeks this might be a new tip/technique
for you or a reminder of what you can do with your Spellbinders dies.

Today's project uses A2 Fancy Postage Stamps.
I've cut/embossed the edged rectangle and left the die cut in place in the die.
I applied a little distress ink around the edges first - Antique Linen.
 Still keeping the die cut in the die, stamp the complete area. I've used a script stamp.
 You can see it has stamped onto the outer edges of the die - no problem,
a quick wipe and it comes off easily.
 And this is how it looks when the die cut is removed from the die -
selective shading and stamping, you get the nice crisp edge.
 I chose to use it on a tag along with Jewel Flowers and Flourishes and Foliage.
The other die cuts are all from the A2 Fancy Postage Stamps set.
 A close up pic.
Have fun die cutting, inking and stamping! :)
Take care friends, I'm back tomorrow.

Monday 26 January 2015

Winner! And some other bits and bobs!

Hello friends

I hope you all had a good weekend, still chilly isn't it.
I like winter but I must admit I'm definitely craving Spring at the moment.

Thank you for the lovely response to Chickini's!
Some lucky hens will soon be cosy and warm.

The January Charity Kit is still selling - again, thank you so much everyone!
Elaine kindly sent me a photo of her made up kit and said:

"Really loved this months kit it's beautiful, however I couldn't bear to cut up 
 the beautiful flower die. So I used some pink paper and used 
the whole die cut on a card instead."

I love this - it is great to see that the kits can be versatile too.
Thank you Elaine.

Now to announce the winner of last Sunday's Giveaway, the prize 
is Sentiments 5, all the Sentiment dies have been popular and I'm pleased
to say I have all the designs back in stock here.  
The fineness of the script works so well on cards and tags!
The Winner is.....


Congratulations Sandra, drop me an email with your postal address and I will
pop the die set in the post to you.

Please stop by tomorrow for TTT (Tuesday Tip/Technique),
I'm thinking this is becoming more popular than Friday Die Day looking at my 
blog views!  Who would have known.

Take care friends, keep warm.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Knitting needles at the ready please!

Hello friends
As you know last year I sent out a request for knitted squares and the
response was amazing, I am so grateful.  The blankets are still being made up,
I'm enjoying it in this cold weather - makes evenings very cosy.
For now, I probably have enough squares to be working with but I've realised
there are many keen knitters out there so I have another plan for you....
(aka Knitted Hen Jackets)
There was an article in the Daily Mail recently highlighting a charity called Raystede
who at least twice a year rescue ex egg laying hens that would otherwise be sent to
slaughter at just 72 weeks old, incredibly sad.
Some of the birds are missing feathers and need to be kept warm in this
cold weather and there is a special pattern to knit hen jackets -
now fondly known as 'Chickinis'!
I got in touch with Raystede and they are keen for us to help, apparently
December's rescue went very well, with over 260 birds being saved and
brought to Raystede - hurrah!
The pattern can be downloaded from their website -
 (if you experience any problems viewing it just drop me an email and
I can forward it to you in PDF format).

For those of you who are going to give this a go, please note:
Mum has knitted the pattern up and we think there is a tiny error - 
the first row after you increase for tabs should say:
Cast on 10 sts at beginning of next row, k14, k to last 4sts, k4

Also of course, if you are able to rehome any chickens -
please call Raystede on 01825 840252 or email

If you are not a knitter but would like to help the chickens and other rescued animals
while they recuperate and find a new home, 
you can make a gift to the animals at

All knitted hen jackets can be sent to:

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare
The Broyle
East Sussex

Growing up we had chickens and bantams in our garden, once they stopped laying
they remained our family pets.  They were pretty clever hens, at Easter somehow
they managed to lay Cadbury Crème Eggs - well, I was only about 6 at the time
so I believed it for sure!

Thank you for all your kind comments yesterday, the tiny flowers used on my card
are from Homespun (sadly a retired Spellbinders die set but I love it!)

Mrs B also asked after the boys - they are fine.
Mitchell is going to be 21 next Saturday - no idea how that happened because I'm only 21!
We have a fun day in London planned so there will definitely be photos.

Elliott is doing great, he is still on lots of medication and daily injections but
we are all very used to that now.  He is taller than me and definitely
growing into a fine young man.  Thankfully he still helps out and he's just designed
my new watermark featured on yesterday's card.  Geeks are handy!

As always sending out huge thanks to you all, I know lots of you will want
to help with knitting 'chickinis' - I have the best blog followers!
Take care friends.

Saturday 24 January 2015

Ambassadors Victorian Blog Hop

Hello friends

Welcome to the very first informal blog hop for the International Ambassadors!
We got together (online of course) and decided to have a blog hop, just for fun
and we hope to inspire you along the way.  It is a great way for you to get to know
who we are and to see our different styles.

We have chosen to use dies from the Victorian range, these dies are divine
and it is so much fun to create with them, as you will see as you stop by each
Ambassador's blog.

I chose to use Elizabeth Border Strip and here are a few photos of my card.
I kept everything clean and white to keep the focus on this beautiful die.

With a touch of colour from the tiny flowers and leaves.

Sentiment stamped onto Back to Basics Tags and pale ribbon threaded through and 
secured at the back.

Here are all the International Ambassadors with links to their blogs,
stop by to see what Victorian dies they have used.

Christine Emberson (you are here!)
Ursula Langhammer

We hope you enjoy your time visiting us all, we will be back with more..
you can count on it!

Take care friends.

Friday 23 January 2015

Friday Die Day

Hello friends

Cuteness today!
I wasn't sure what die to feature this Friday Die Day until my work colleague
announced she was organising a baby shower...yes they seem to have arrived in the UK now!
I did a bit of research about baby showers, it seems they are a party before the
baby is born, games are played, gifts exchanged - it is assumed to mean the expectant
mum is 'showered' with gifts - very nice too!

I thought the new Die D-Lites Bunny fitted the bill perfectly.
The die measures approximately 1¾ x 3½“ and this is how it looks cut/embossed...
in pink...yes, it's a girl!
I selected a Square Petal Top Box, die cut in white linen cardstock and 
wrapped around a piece of pink satin ribbon.
Adhered the bunny to Classic Ovals Lrg.
His ears are off the top of the oval and look cute bent forwards a little.
I then added a few tiny flowers, leaves and pink gemstones.
Attached the oval with 3D Foam Squares.
The ribbon can slide off to open the box.
A close up photo - I love the scroll design of the Bunny
Bunny is available to pre-order on the website, I've got these arriving from
the USA as soon as they are available.
Be sure to take a look at the other pre-orders too - some really gorgeous dies on their way.

Take care friends and have a lovely weekend.

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