Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Mystery Crime Reading Challenge.

Month 3 of the Crime reading challenge. Details can be found here.
I have another two books to review this month. Both books I picked up for a snip from my local charity shop and now that I have read them will be returned for resale.
Thr first one By Ruth Rendle is a Chief Inspector Wexford novel. I have never been able to get on with watching the television series so I was very pleasently suprised to find that I could not put this book down!  The crime has been long committed at the start of the book over ten years previously so all the police have is the remains  to try and not only identify the corpse and how they died but who did the deed.  The pace is fast and you soon have a mismash of likely suspects some of whom are not slow to try pulling the wool over the Inspectors eyes. A second corpse is found  within a short distance  of the first one but this one has not been  dead for quite as loig so are the two deaths related or just a coincidence?
I got to almost the end of the book before I realised whodunnit. A throughily good read and i will certainly be looking for some more Wexford Crimes to solve.
My rating 9/10 (only because I sussed it!)

The second book is another Georgette Heyer novel written and set in  the 1930'3.  I couldn't help thinking as I was reading the book how it would have made an excellent Brian Rix 'Whitehall Farce'.
You are presented with a dead body right at the start and within a very short time a group of very likely suspects all who had good reason to kill and no alibi for the night in question.
You are fast drawn into the life of the upper classes of that era and I found the book a very good insight into the life of those times. You are kept in suspense almost right to the last page. I enjoyed this one better than the Georgette Heyer I read last month so my rating is

I did read a load more books during the month  on my Ipad but as they were not crime related they did not count.
You can join in this challenge at any time during the course of the year.

Carrot Wishes to You.

Not your traditional  Easter Egg or Chicken themed card. I have had these NitWit  Collections papers (Thimbles 'n Threads  & Spring Whimsy) in my stash for simply ages along with the topper sheet of images. They came free with two different craft magazines and I thought it high time I made something with them.

A slightly larger center step card so that I could fit all the embellishments on.
Sentiment came from an old Easter card. It does  show up on the card  though  it is in yellow  but couldn't get a good photo even by waiting till this morning to take it.
Entering into the following challenges:
Use It Tuesday: All about Spring.
Shopping Our Stash: Very vegetable fruity fun.
Creative Inspirations: Easter Wishes.
Fussy & Fancy: Spring Days.
A Gem of a Challenge: Make it cute.
Frosted Designs: Scallops.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

P is for Patchwork.

The current letter over at the The Craft Barn is P. I was originally going to go with Poppies but at the eleventh hour changed my mind to Patchwork!

I have used a wash of pale  pink and green water colour paints on the dictionary page leaving the definition of the word clear. The patchwork is made up from NitWit papers which  were a freebie in a magazine. The lace, trimming, buttons, ribbon  and flower backings are all from my stash to pick up the colours in the papers. The letter P is a free download and can be found here.

Entering into the following challenge:
The Craft Barn: Alpha challenge letter P.

Vintage Birthday.

When I was making the TAP transfer tags here I found that two of the images had left a residue of the picture still on the contact paper. (The instructiuons do say you cannot over iron and you really do need to iron the transfers to within an inch of their life!!)
Now not one to waste anything I thought that these could probably still be put to use.
By laying a piece of sparkly organza over the image I found it not only darkened it down but gave a lovely mellow look to it.
I used a cream sheet called Cream Sparkour available from here and this is the resulting card that I made. 

Flowered backing paper is by Nitwit Collections 'Thimbles & Threads' and was a freebie in a magazine. Seasoned followers of my blog will know where the lace trim came from! Butterflies are a Tonic punch and sentiment is a clear stamp by Wow. I die cut a nestie to cover the image and trap the organza in between.
Entering into the following challenges:
Emmas Cards Uk: Vintage.
Hiding in My Craft Room: Free style anything goes.
Charisma Cardz: Happy Birthday
All Sorts: Vintage.
LEJ Designs: Vintage or Retro.

Posting Letters.

Another card to add to my ever increasing pile of Crimbo cards. Thought I would try a bit of
Decoupage so bought a sheet for 99p with 3 images on and this is the first one. Crimbo Crackers are asking for a card this week using no papers so racked my brain to come up with a suitable design to fit the bill.
I already had this card base sat in my stash from where I had die cut a shape to use on a previously made card. It just seemed to lend itself  for the decoupage postbox . The  thick card adhered to the back  is the left over piece from the photo folders that I had cut up to make the tags on the previous post.  The folder had a rather nice texture to it and because of it's age (date on back said 14th May 1974!) had gone a creamy colour.  Sentiment was cut from an old used card , 3D foam adhesives (for decoupage) and pearls from my stash. You can see the open card below.


 Entering into the following challenges:
Crimbo Crackers: No papers used.
Christmas Card Challenges: Clean  & Simple.
Rudolph Day: Festive entry.
Crafty Hazelnuts Extra: Anything goes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Whose Chookin at You!

Just realised Easter is nearly upon us and the egg waiting to be decoupage is er still waiting. Then I had a sudden thought that a gift I sent out last week ( which has now been received) sort of fits the bill ,so I think I may have cracked it!! ( I know. Don't give up the day job!)
It's another bit of recycling. I do love to reuse the boxes that  8 out of 10 cats prefer.
Again no pattern used . I knew what gift was going inside so just 'Cut my Cloth' accordingly! (Groan).
Getting there. All the pieces are covered.  It's beginning to look like um a box.

Ok. so it's not an egg but hey which came first the chicken or the egg?
The top.

The inside.
And lastly the bottom. Oh look theres the eggs too!. Can't show you what went inside cos I forgot to take photos so must wait for some to be taken for me.
Hot footing it into the playground as everything was snippets of this and that. Have any of the playmates guessed who it was for?
Entering into the following challenges:
Pixies Crafty Workshop: Use up your snippets.
Frilly and Funkie: Easter spring gifts but not in a basket.
Fab 'n' Funky:  Boxed In.
Tuesday Taggers: Recycle it.
Tammy's Scrappin Corner:  Anything goes but a card.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Transfer Tags

I have just completed some tags for a swap using Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) which  you can purchase from here.  The swap was for 3 tags using this technique. Your backing paper needs to be fairly plain in colour  (dictionary, music sheets old letters, pages from an old book) in order for the transfered image to show up. I have a large number of coloured  images on my computer that I had saved from various free blog  downloads and quite a number of suitable backing papers from freebie sites.
These are the 3 tags that I made.
Once I had mastered the technique (full instructions included with the TAP ) I really wanted to go to town with adding lots of paper made flowery embellishments but as the tags were going first to USA and then onward to their new homes I had to keep the tags lightweight and flatish. Showing each tag seperately below.
Backing papers both the patterned and the writing sheet were freebies in magazines. The image is from  Home & Heart.
Buttons, pearl, fabric flower and trimming from my stash. Lesley, you may just recognise the strip of ribbon at the bottom as being used at the recent SU party and this was a  left over 3" piece sitting on the table which just happend to fall into my bag along with a few other tiny bits and bobs dicarded by the other Ladies!!! (what can I say, waste not want not.)
Gardening background text was a free digi download from Beyond the Fringe. The text comes with the swirly corner so I trimmed the paper to fit my Tag and then did the picture transfer over the top. I thought the image with the lady reading a letter was quite appropriate and again came from the same site above. The image background had a very slight green tinge so I picked  ribbons, lace trim and sticking pearls  (in the corners of the transfer)from my stash to compliment.
The sheet music is a download from Free Vintage Digital Stamps. The picture the same site as above.
I picked the pink roses out for the ribbon, pearls, trim and lace ( from MIL's unmentionables) in my stash. The tags were also made from cream card in my stash  as they were not a standard size that we had to use.  The card was  originally the folders that individual wedding photos come in. When we cleared FIL's and my parents houses we ended up with a lot of duplicates of ones we already had, so again waste not want not the empty folders went into my stash.
As I have used mostly everything from bits and peices am popping over to Pixies Playground for a go on the swings.
Entering into the following:
Pixie's Crafty Workshop: Use up your snippets.
Dream Valley: Pearls and  Lace.
613 Avenue Create: Anything goes.
Ladybug Crafts Ink: Anything goes.
Penny's Paper-Crafty: Anything  but Square.
Simon Says Stamps: Anything goes.
Make It Monday: Link up Monday.
Crafting for all Seasons.  Anything but a card.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wish Upon a Star.

I made this card for the challenge over at Lady Anne's which was to use this image by
Stamp N Doodle. The details of their site can be found here.

I wanted to pick out the detail of her wand and found this deep blue  card stock with twinkling stars on. (Again it was from candy I won ages ago from America).
The image is coloured using Distress Markers and then pearlescent chalks on top in cordinating colours.Background is coloured just using the chalks. I used my largest  die to cut an oval from the star paper and adhered over the image which in turn was adhered to matching blue cardstock for the base. The sentiment is an adhesive from Anita's called Glitterations.  Ribbon, bow and black pearls from my stash. This will be for my Granddaughter as she loves dressing up as a fairy.
You can see a close up below of the pearlescent effect from the chalks which leave a lovely sheen over the  coloured image.
Entering into the following challenges:
Lady Anne's: Use image from Stamp N Doodle.
Love to Create: Anything Goes.
Christmas Cards all Yr Round: Sparkle & Bling.
Winter Wonderland: Pretty in Pink.
Crafty Hazelnuts Extra: Anything goes.


Friday, March 22, 2013

It's Cold Outside.

Another up cycled Christmas card for the ever growing pile. I liked the soft greys and pastels on this card and cut the original card down using my largest fancy circle die. I had this grey hexagon 12 x 12 card stock that had been sent to me ages ago from America in some candy I had won. The pattern reminded me a little of snowflakes and when I placed the cut image on top it just seemed to go so well with it . The sentiment is from another cut up card and the ribbon from some more candy I had won  last year. Pearls from my stash which compliment the glitter on the original  image.

Entering into the following challenges:
Craft your Passion: Ribbon or Lace.
Bearly Mine: Anything goes.
Crafty Catz: Sparkle witha bow.
Crimbo Crackers: No stamped Images.
Jelly Park Friends: Pretty Pastels.
Jingle Belles: Neutral colours.
Christmas Stampin all Year Long:  Anything goes.
Crafty Hazelnuts Extra: Anything goes.
Sweet Stampin Christmas: No Red or Green.
Pixie's Crafty Workshop : Use up your snippets (recycled card)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wine Anyone!

I have just completed a swap to make a fabric wine Tote and my partner in Oz has received it now so I can post about it.
I don't generally use patterns I just make it up as I go along so there are no measurments(I just eye balled a bottle of wine for the sizing)!  I had some  sage green fuzzy fabric left over from making a project last yr and as you can cut and leave raw edges without it fraying decided this would be ideal for the outside of the cover. I also had a fat qtr of fabric which had fruits of the forest on it  along with bunches of grapes to use for the linning and decoration. Very appropriate I thought.

I used a leaf stamp that I had and stamped it out to make a template to cut out some vine leaves to applique on the outside.

You can see the finnished applique with embroidered vines and the linning material before I
did the final seam and inserted the base and attached the carry handles.

Not a very clear photo I'm afraid as it was a dismal day for taking pictures when I had to wrap it up to go in the post. I did stand a bottle of  Australian Hardy's VR Chardonnay next to it for the photo shoot though!
Entering into the following:
Pixies Crafty Workshop: Use your snippets.(green fabric and embroidery thread).
Craft us Crazy:  Anything but a card.
Tuesday Alchemy: Anything goes.
Pause Dream Enjoy: Anything goes.
Challenges 4 Everybody:  Anything goes.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


 Been away from my blog due to Bugs!!!  I hate them.

I have just had some very nice person (at the Weekend) highjack my email address (not the one I use here on my blog thankfully) and sent out scurrilous emails in my name, thousands of them in fact which resulted in thousands more  descending back into my email box all with potentially harming attachments if opened!!
It took an IT man most of Monday to clear my spam box out and put in fixes to prevent/monitor any more coming in. A few are still trickling back in though which are being cleared out periodically for me.
The result of this is that all legit  emails were deleted at the same time which included all my incoming blog post notifications. I am now slowly getting round all the comments left on my blog in the past week and will visit you all shortly.

To cap it all my mobile packed in at the Weekend too ( totally unrelated) so have had to purchase a new one which arrived today. A nice shiny red one for me to play with.

Hugs Mrs A.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

M is for Manor House.

The current choice of letter over at the Craft Barn Alpha Challenge is M but with a twist.We can only use words bewteen MA - ME!  
I initially  had six words picked out but in the end went with 'Manor'  because the difinition of the word (which you need to have showing) was at the bottom of the page leaving plenty of space for my image and embellishments.

 The stamp is by Stampendous CRY024 called Contry Manor so fitted my theme perfectly.
A good rummage in my odds box produced some green braiding (which reminded me of the heavy trapestry curtains in old houses), deep burgandy trim and old english lace that I had dyed pink. years ago. The whole page has been painted using a match pot paint 'Willow Tree' diluted down with water to show the dictionay wording beneath. The stamped image  has been coloured in using pastel chalks and distress markers, then cut with a Sizzix nestie die. The letter M downloaded from here.

Entering into the following challenge:
The Craft Barn: Alpha challenge letter M.



It looks like Google Reader is going on the 1st July 2013.  To avoid loosing all the blogs that I currently follow I have imported my blog into Bloglovin. Please follow me by clicking on the link to the right in my side bar. I would love to have  you still follow me.
You can find me on your list following you as ValeryAnne.

hugs Mrs A.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birthday Suprises.

It's Fluff's Birthday today  and I made her a couple of suprises which she received in the post today so it is safe to show one of  them.
I did a covered note book swap a while back and  whilst the original was a fabric one with applique I have chosen to make this one using  mixed media  and paper piecing instead.

As the note book has a spiral edge I could not make a cover for the whole of the front and back so made up panels instead. (Thick card cut to size and covered in a floral paper which was sent to me by a blogging friend in USA so do not know the make). Fluff loves yellow and mauve so I used those  as the main colours. I made up a smaller panel for the front in the same way and used a plain yellow backing paper which came as a freebie in a magazine. The lace is from her Nan's unmentionables, ribbon and other papers from my stash. The butterflies were cut from small snippets of cardstock using a tonic punch. Sunbonet Sue came from 'The Ultimate Sunbonnet Sue Collection' of quilt block patterns which I cut smaller to fit the panel.
Here is the back showing the panel of pretty floral paper which I left plain. I distressed around the edges on all the panels using distress ink and a handy little gadget for doing the job.
Entering into the following challenges:
Tuesday Throwdown: Paper Piecing.
LEJ Designs: Things with Wings.
Crafts and Me Challenges : Ribbons and Lace.
One Stitch at a Time: Anything goes.
Pixie'sCrafty Workshop : Use your snippets.
Pin and Tack: Anything goes.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Having Fun.

The challenge with Crafty Hazel Nuts this week is to use Santa or his helpers on your Christmas Card. A quick look through my stash of recycled used cards produced Rudolph taking some time out having fun skating. Hazel did put 'Helpers' so another trawl through found these eight toppers which all had red noses and we all know there is only  one Rudolph so some quick blackening with a drawing pen and black sticker pearls and hey presto the rest of the team! 

A centre step card again.The sentiment had been saved from another used card and the green card stock and backing papers from my stash. I didn't have a die cut to fit the image  (without cutting the original card down drastically) so I used my corner punch to create the shaped edges.instead. A dollop of glossy accents on his nose to match the shine of the pearls on the others.

I must admit they do rather look like the huntsmen's trophies mounted as they are but I would just like to reassure my readers that no Reindeer were shot or hurt in the making of this card!

Entering into the following:
Crafty Hazel Nuts: Santa or his helpers.
Hiding In My Craft Room: Super Scraps.
Created with Love: Different Fold.
Crimbo Crackers: No Stamped images.
C.R.A.F.T Challenges: Christmas in March.
Crafty Hazel Nuts Extra: Anything goes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

William Morris Style.

The current challenge over at Frilly and Funkie is to be inpsired by the work of the designer William Morris. I love his prints in soft furnishings so just had to have a go at making a card.
I went on line to see if I could find anything suitable and came across his Kelsmcott Tree print and instantly knew that was to be my inspiration piece.
I used my Little claire Designs 'Changing Tree' to make a tree and then cut just one section of it out  which I then placed behind  a panel made using  A Wow stamp  called 'Brocade'
I used distress ink Forest Moss , then overstamped with  Pine Needles and using s paint brush picked up the residue of the ink left on the stamp to fill in the the background.  I used a sizzix die cut for the window and coloured the tree panel with distress markers and promarkers. I then adhered to a panel of cardstock which picked out the mauve colour on the birds.
The flower just happend to be sitting on my desk as it was a reject  from an earlier project and matched the mauve panel perfectly, though the photo shows it as being  more of a blue colour. The sentiment is a Wow clear stamp.
Entering into the following:
Frilly and Funkie: William Morris Style.
Moving Along with the Times: The birds and the bees.
Pixie's Crafty Workshop: Use your snippets( reject flower made orignially from snippets).
One Crazy stamper: Anything Goes.
Great Impressions: Going Green.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Red & Green.

A bit more upcycling of an old christmas card and a play with stuff from my stash  produced this card.
I was going to have everything on the card bang in the middle but then I started playing , cut the red paper down a bit and quite liked the result of placing it all off centre.
I cut slits for the tartan and red ribbon to tuck into and then covered with a strip of edging from another card cut to look like faux ribbon. Papers have been in my stash forever and were loose so not sure of the makes.

Entering into the following:
Holly Jolly Christmas: Christmas Greenery.
Sarah Hurley Challenge: Recycle.
Tammy's Scrapin Corner. Red and green + ribbon.
Crafty Hazel Nuts Extra: Anything goes.
Christmas Cards All Yr Round: Sparkle and bling.
Pixies Crafty Workshop: Use your snippets.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


This is the second flower from the stamp set that I won a few weeks back on Di's blog and have been itching to use it ever since. A centre fold step card as I like making these and you can just keep layering up and covering every available inch!.  There is an easy tutorial which you can find here for cutting this shape.
The backing papers are by Correen Silke called Sunday Gardens and came from here. Doily, lace,ribbon and  pearls are from my stash. I have used Distress markers and pearlescent chalks to colour the daffodils and an Xcut nesting die to cut the shape out. The sentiment is a clear stamp by Wow.
A side view which shows the papers a little clearer as the doily covers up quite a large area and you can also see the step feature. The inside of the card also had a matching paper from the same set.  Below a close up of the daffodils. The pearlescent chalks give a lovely
sheen to the image.
Entering into the following challenges.:
Bearly Mine: Mother's Day.
Creative Craft: Mothers Day.
LEJ Designs: All things spring.
Creative Inspirations: Happy Mothers Day.
Crafting for all Seasons: Spring into Spring.
Ruby's Rainbow: Spring colours yellow/green.
Cute Cards Thursday: Spring Fever.
The Crafty Bloggers Network: Spring or pastel.
The Cupboard Trilogy: A Mother's Love.
Bunny Zoe's Crafts: Flowers and pearls.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hand written letter.

Over at Tage Tuesday the theme is also the letter H this week and I have gone with H is for Handwriting.

Tag has been made up from an assortment of items on my desk or readily to hand. The tag hanging is made from some tape heading from a pair of  really old curtains I had thrown out but not before I had rescued the tape along with the binding on the edges of the curtains. Flower was a reject sat on my desk that hadn't turned out quite right for the project I was working on so I removed the centre and replaced with a pearl. Leaves were templates I had used on another project (so I just coloured with brown ink). The lace was part of some snippets I had sent me by Sabine (Colour Fly) and the box it was in was still out from using some up last week. Stick pin and beads were already out as I had been playing with them on a previous post. The stamp for the letter is by Crafty Individuals that I simply printed onto a scrap of waste paper and tore round the edges and splashed with water. (I had a paintbrush standing in a pot of dirty water waiting for me to clean it). Oh yes waste not want not here.!!!

Entering into the following:
Everybody Art: Tag
Shopping Our Stash: Create a tag or use one.
Tag Tuesday: Letter H.
Fab 'n' Funky:L Pastel colours.
Catch the Bug: Anything Goes.
The Ribbon Girl: Add ribbon or twine.
That Craft Place: Anything goes.
Joanna Sheen: Layer it up.
Come and Get It challenges: Anything  but a card.
Challenges 4 Everybody: Anyhting goes.
Pixie's Crafty Workshop: Use your  snippets up.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Seeing Pink.

This is the second card made for my swap partner with the theme Use a stick pin. Again now sent safely on its way to Australia.
I have used a Cuttlebug 'Concentric Hearts ' die cut and a SU Embosslits 'Beautiful Wings'
die cut. Both using snippets of card from my buddy Miss Di.
The butterfly was just crying out to have antenna added so they became my scaled down stick pins. Ribbon and bling from my stash. Card was in a pack of ten that I came across in the local 99p store and I rounded the edges to give a better finish.  Sentiment is a clear stamp by Kanban.

Entering into the following challenges:
Totally Gorjuss:  Anything goes with Pink.
Card Mania: Faires or Butterflies.
Celebrate the Occasion: Girl Birthday. Must use Pink.
Penny's Paper-Crafty: Use your Favourite colour. (mine is pink. Yay.)
Crafting for all Seasons: Dies & Punches.
Crafts and Me:  Dies or punches.
Crafty Ribbons: Anything goes with ribbon.
In the Pink: Punk and bling.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Party Time.

I made this card for a swap and it is now well on its way to Australia. The theme for the swap  was use a stick pin somewhere on your card.  The digi stamp is by Little Miss Muffet
and to my mind was just crying out to have a pin as an adornment in her hair piece. I have scaled the pin size down accordingly. The style of the ladies dress also seemed to me to fit this window die by Spellbinders so the card just evolved from there
Coloured in using distress markers and pearlescent chalks. Even though I have purchased some more of the pens I am still curtailed somewhat for choice of colour so think a little spend is in order. (All in the name of art you understand!) The window was cut  from seperate cardstock and adhered to the front with sticky pads for a 3D effect and to see the scene behind which is has been  coloured directly onto the card front. Sentiment is a clear stamp by Kanban. 

Entering into the following challenges:
Moving along with the Times : Lovely Ladies.
Ooh-La-La Creations:  Sparkle & Shine.
Simon says Stamps: Anything  goes.
LEJ Designs: For a lovely Lady.
Divas by Design: Anything goes
Craft us Crazy: Anything  goes.
All Sorts: For a Lady.
Digital Tuesday: Birthdays


H is for Humming Bird.

The choice of letter this time over at the Craft Barn Alpha Challenge is H and I have chosen the word Humming Bird.
I'm determined to only use stamps,photos of items, dies or in this case an embossing stencil which I already have in my stash. Nothing new to be bought.
This humming bird (called Summer Bloom by Papermania)  was one of the very first items I purchased when I started blogging over 3 yrs ago so high time it came out for another airing.
I wanted the page to be colourful so looked through the rest of my stash for embellishments.
The lovely trim is from Sabine  of (ColourFly) and was amongst a lot of her leftover bits and bobs that I won on her blog back in April 2012. The little flowers are from my stash and go way way back, decades in fact. I only have a 12" string of them left now so must go careful!
Page is coloured with a wash of  'White Linen' match pot with just a hint of a green Jo Sonia paint mixed in.  Th letter H is downloaded from here
Entering into the following:
The Craft Barn: Alpha challenge Letter H.