Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Wasteland Foraging.

There's a scruffy bit of land on the outskirts of town where I walk my dog - he gets to root around in the earth, drag around some ten foot lengths of  abandoned qualduct and eviscerate headless dollies, single shoes and other detritus that fellow humans dump on there with depressing frequency. 
 As grim as all that sounds, there have been the most fabulous shows of poppies and dog daisies this year - whether by intent or design, there has been a lot of different types of poppies, from the early, large poppies that look like loads of layered tissue paper to tiny poppies in bush form and the familiar black centred single poppy in every shade of red through to orange. 
I have scattered lots of the seed heads and gathered some as well, hope they make an equally fabulous display next year.
Over by a pylon, there are some huge fennel that have somehow naturalised themselves, I guess they may have been dumped by one of the garden centres, as I often find empty plant pots strewn across the waste ground. They are now going to seed but at the base of the pylons are those thorny jewels of Autumn - blackberries and a thought is forming of a pairing of blackberry and aniseedy fennel in a syrup; a great cough suppressant and all round winter pick me up ..... further thoughts are of syrup paired with alcohol for a less sweet form of pastis - I am partial to the odd Pernod but refuse to pay 33.99 for a bottle in the supermarket, so wondering whether a base of vodka or gin would fit best and whether the fennel would sufficiently infuse to give that aniseed flavour - maybe I'll add some seeds as well. 

Blackberries are just shiny free super foods and really there's no excuse for not boosting your immune system with these little wonder berries before Winter kicks in.  Blackberries are also loaded with all kinds of goodness. They have high levels of anthocyanins, which are what give berries their characteristic red, blue and black colours. Antioxidants protect the heart and circulatory system, staving off mental decline and beating back the ageing process. (I'll take as much as I can get!) The darker the berry the higher concentration of antioxidants so blackberries rate pretty high.Of course the very best way to eat blackberries is raw, fresh off the vine. That is when they are full of all the nutrients that nature gave them. When you cook them they lose a lot of their nutrient value but still retain their antioxidant benefits. (Amazingly enough, frozen fruit does not lose much nutrient value).

A couple of weeks ago someone gave Keith a jar of their homegrown Tipperary honey and it looks amazing - it's a really pale golden tinged honey, although I am not a fan of honey in general, I am determined to try this in a paleo style raw blackberry sauce. 
Last Sunday I picked enough berries for a couple of jars of blackberry compote (I use half the sugar and keep it in the fridge) but they have proved rather popular in our house and wont last the week at this rate - I wanted to try a coconut milk and cream layered dessert with some blackberry compote and ginger, an ice cream would be rather nice but I don't have a churn and cannot buy yet another kitchen gadget.
So we are off blackberry picking - I was out earlier scouting the brambles, they are filled with drunken wasps gorging on blackberry nectar - between those and the thorns, I think we may have to pay in blood for our haul. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Making More Stuff .....

I'm back. Making Stuff.
New classes starting early October - card making and pottery classes. Come and try something new. Play with clay. Play with Paper. It's good for the soul!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Accucut & hotflex t-shirt

So after a rather prolonged hiatus I've been "making stuff" again. My personal creative journey had deviated away from paper & now includes fabric, ceramic, sublimation, t-shirt and baby designs - all kinds of stuff really. Today I'm showing you a t-shirt that I made for my DD to wear as a beachshirt (as it reaches past her knees). I picked it up in the sale in Penney's for €1.50 and I've used die cut hotflex to decorate. Accucut are currently running a competition using their products - details are here
 A couple of years ago, I splashed out and bought an accucut Grande Mark and some wedding stationery dies - I have to confess I've never really used it to anything like its potential. And the cost of postage on new dies has stopped me buying any more of them, the postage is all but the same as the cost of a die :-(  
So the T is decorated with black and gold hotflex die cut with my 4 inch Black Tie uppercase alphabet (I just love these dies & drool over the 1 1/2 inch version & nearly swooned at the prospect of a massive 7 inch alphabet! ) The scalloped detail on the letters are made by die cutting scraps of hotflex with the scalloped frame die and trimming to size. Scraps of flex were used to cut the various flowers as well. All were heat pressed into position. I might add some hotfix jewels to the letters when it goes through the wash (daughter was too impatient to wait and the T is currently outside being used as paddling pool attire & already in need of washing.)
Hope you're enjoying the sunshine - we are -paddling pool & a picnic in Coole park later. Happy Days.

P.S If there is anyone else using accucut dies please get in touch - I'd love to do a die lend/swap to try new ones. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Mami Doodles the BIG FAREWELL Blog Hop

L is for Living, Loving and Looking.

I've resurrected my blog so that I can pay tribute to the truly lovely Elisa. In the time I have known her online she has left me some really inspiring, thoughtful and encouraging comments on some of my makes and I admire her work immensely.
I have not been keeping up with online friends much in the last 12 months and so I went off to have a little blog stalk of Elisa's recent endeavours. For those who don't know, she is also a talented scrapbook artist and keen photographer.  While LOOKING at her fabulous photographs (she's doing the 365 challenge and I had found a link to all her photos so far but now I have lost it ) - I realised that she has the ability to actually SEE things, past the actual and into a world of light and form.
And through her photos I see Elisa's LOVE for the every day - as she captures and documents those fleeting moments that we can so easily overlook or forget about when we're doing our daily LIVING. Those also obvious joy and love in the hearts of her precious and oh so photogenic children - her photos really do make me smile.
I guess it's trying to keep the balance in LIFE that has led to Elisa's decision to close Mami Doodles. Like Elisa herself - SIMPLY LOVELY just about sums it up.
So for Elisa - a couple of little cards  and a little compilation mug I have made from my recent blog stalk of your latest postings using my latest toy - a sublimation printer and press. It shows Elisa's fave pic of her children this month, her scrapbook blog header, Mami Doodles, a self portrait and her word of the year - Focus. LIVING, LOVING, LOOKING.
The cards are paper pieced - I used publisher to make some simple patterned and coloured  digi papers and made the Mum to be digital image into a transparency in photofiltre, then overlaid it onto the patterned digi papers. I did the same with the bed quilt on the second card.Apologies for poor images - late night and baaaad lighting - also I can't get blogger to leave my photos the right way up - they were when uploaded ... oh I forgotten how to do this!
And for everyone else - leave a comment for a chance to win a Mami Doodles Digi and a lace, ribbon and flower embellishment pack (crammed with over 30 metres of ribbon and lace) - and all you have to do to win is leave a comment below this post.
Oh and you can also snap up some more lovely Mami Doodle digis over at the Mami Doodles Shop with 50% off all images - but hurry, the shop will close it's doors forever on March 16th.

There are more Mami Doodles images to be won - just check out the blog hop list below and keep hopping! It's off to Stephanie now and don't forget to leave a comment to be in a chance of winning my blog hop prize.

Deirdre Frances Jackie Jenn Lisa Manuela Pam Ren-Yi Sarah Stephanie Trinh

Friday, 27 May 2011

Colour My Day ...

So, I have been working on some new DIY wedding invitation designs and invariably when I speak to craft and stationery retailers they invariably want to see white and ivory - while these are "the classic" wedding invitation colours, I think that sometimes brides (and grooms) choose these time honoured neutrals because they are not quite sure were to start with colour.
I just love colour on a wedding day! Carry an idea all the way through from stationery - whether premade or DIY wedding invitations,  to bridesmaids dresses, to the flower on the MOB's hat, on past the flowers, the church pew ends and into the reception, on the tables, on the cake, with the favours, toiletry baskets - make it a scheme, rather than a single colour and create a wow with layers of colour throughout the day to make an impact.

Pick a Colour!
Article one in a series of colour theory for brides.

Some people are simply overwhelmed by the array of colour choices. All too often it's safer to pick a colour and stick with it - but let's mix it up and add some colour to your wedding day palette.
So first off - think it through! Sit down and think about colours you like, the season you're getting married in, the colour theme in the dining room at the reception, team colours, anything that will influence your decisions.
Make a list of all the things that you will be having on your big day - invitations, flowers, bridesmaids dresses, napkins, favours etc. Then pick a colour scheme - so how do we do that?
This basic colour theory is used by every designer - whether you are making websites, revamping wardrobes or planning a wedding.
So let's start right at the beginning...The Color Wheel!  The first color wheel has been attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, who in 1706 arranged red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet into a natural progression on a rotating disk. As the disk spins, the colors blur together so rapidly that the human eye sees white.

It is composed of your Primary Colors (Red, Yellow and Blue), your Secondary Colors (Green, orange and violet) and your Tertiary Colors which are a mix of a secondary and a primary (Red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet).

You may have also heard the terms shade, tint, tone and value.

Tint - Color + White (Red+White=Pink thus pink is a tint of red)
Tone - Color + Grey (These make pastels)
Shade - Color + Black (Red+Black=Burgundy thus burgundy is a shade of red)
Value - How light or dark a color is.
Colors are also classified as to their "temperature".

 Warm (or Aggressive) Colors are the yellows, oranges, and reds. These come towards the eye more (spatially) and are generally 'louder' than passive colors.
Cool (or Passive) Colors are the greens, blues, and violets. These recede from the eye more (spatially) and are generally 'quieter' than the aggressive colors.
There are 6 common color schemes:

MONOCHROMATIC - Monochromatic colors are all the hues (tints and shades) of a single color. The tints and shades add depth and highlights. Simply select one "portion" such as blue from the color wheel.

COMPLEMENTARY - Colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look.

ANALOGOUS -Analogous color schemes use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel.  Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.  Choose one color to dominate, a second to support.  The third color is used as an accent.

SPLIT COMPLEMENTARY - The split-complementary color scheme is a variation of the complementary color scheme. In addition to the base color, it uses the two colors adjacent to its complement.

TRIADIC - A triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel.  Triadic color schemes tend to be quite vibrant, even if you use pale or unsaturated versions of your hues.  To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colors should be carefully balanced - let one color dominate and use the two others for accent.

TETRADIC - The tetradic color scheme uses four colors arranged into two complementary pairs. It offers plenty of possibilities for variation and works best if you let one color be dominant.

Obviously this is a lot of information to remember but with practice you learn to team colours together and instinctively recognise which colours work and in time you follow these colour theories without even thinking about.
Colour is fun - I think too often people play it safe and stick with neutrals but a little splash of colour can really lift things from "nice" to "wow"!
So take your favourite colour scheme and see if you can make it really pop ...

Monday, 16 May 2011

let them eat cake

This week's 3d challenge on papercraft planet is from the talented Adela and includes a gorgeous cake box template. Here's my take on the challenge - a chocolate and caramel confection topped with a fimo cupcake and one adorned with flowers and pearls. Even though I don't take part every week, I think the 3d challenge is my favourite - it makes me think outside the cardmaking box!

thanks for looking

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Miss you Robot

Some days you just have to play .... and yesterday I got out some fimo and had a play. I made an Aoife version and a Brianna version but already small hands have decapitated Brianna and pulled all of Aoife's hair off - so only this one has survived to face the camera ... so here he is my "miss you" robot ...
Decided he needed a little embellishing so I added some pearls and a little glint in his eye .... plus I stuck Brianna's errant head back on :-)

Friday, 6 May 2011

celebration cards and kits.

Now I have my 5.5 by 7.5 inch die cut card boxes I'm making nothing but boxed cards this week - and these are 2 quick and easy cards that can be so easily customised for weddings, anniversaries and even communions (add the child's name and a chalice topper on a layered piece of mirrored card).
This card is available completed and personalised with printed insert from my ETSY shop or for cardmakers - a new option, as a kit.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tilda writes a Letter

This post is especially for Catherine, she stamped me these little Tildas on the proviso that she'd be watching my blog to see what had done with them and today I got some time to play. Shamefacedly admit it must be more than 6 months since I last touched a promarker - so I really enjoyed my colouring session, although my attempt at a bright Tilda in orange wasn't too successful, I've 3 cute cards all finished. I've had a real problem with cute lately, I was just fed up with it but I've tried to keep it simple and I just LOVE my 4 inch alphabet letters .... thanks for the lovely comments too, I will be a better blogger, I promise!
Sorry about the sideways pics - tried three times to get it straight and I give up!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Plush Pals flower card

So, I was asked to make 6 - yep, 6 cards for the same wedding. By the time I hit number 6 I needed a fresh take on traditional wedding cards and I came up with this using the blue flower embellishment sheet from the Plush Pals cd-rom .... sometimes we need to dust off those old favourites and rework them .... I pinched the flower petals and layered with foam pads, added handcut flowers and a sentiment - and layered them into an oval aperture panel - then to make it into a keepsake, a navy blue box with the wedding details on top. Quick, easy (once I had the basic idea) and it was my friend's favourite - she kept it as the one to send for herself.