The Runt of the Litter – Festive Feast

Well hello everyone!

I know it’s unusual posting after the Clearly Besotted Release is live.. but just in case you’re wondering and still dithering… against my better judgement, I’m showing you the runt of my card litter! Obviously the runt is NOT the stamp set ‘Festive Feast‘ which is witty and cute. If you head over to the Clearly Besotted Facebook page or IG, you’ll see that they’ve designed a beautiful and thoroughly respectable scene where everyone is delicately and carefully carrying the festive food to a groaning table. My lot of characters?

Well , they’re a little more unruly!

There’s actually only Frank and his ham that’s behaving himself. The rest are actually ON the table. No-one has clocked that the candle is beginning to burn the roast potatoes that Belinda is carrying and poor Felicity got so carried away after watching the Great British Badger Bake Off,  that she’d decorated the Christmas pudding as a Bakewell tart, complete with a peculiar almond icing and a macerated cherry.

It was a real feast for the eyes. Everyone agreed except for Henry who was feeling a bit green around the gills as every time he looked at the green garland bedecking the Christmas table as it reminded him of a bow festooned large colon after experiencing a really unpleasant colonscopy for his irritable bowel last week.

One of the friends was hiding behind his pie. Tim had spent hours baking his speciality pastry and was embarrassed to admit that he’d actually put his neighbours into the pie. He was a firm believer in ‘waste not want not’ but had a hunch that this potentially didn’t extend to your neighbours and realised that the hosts request for a vegan pie wouldn’t really be satisfied by his curried rat pie.

Undeniably the most excited of the bunch was Hazel. You can see her boinging up and down at the back. She hadn’t eaten for 2 days and that wasn’t due to opportunity but she was on a 5:2 diet and felt starving. She wasn’t very good at cooking but she was amazing at eating and Christmas dinner was her ultimate favourite meal EVER. She was warned that one of the conditions of her attendance at Harry’s Christmas bash was that she didn’t take any photos to post on Instagram. Last year the meal went completely cold as she physically stopped all the guests eating until she got the perfect angles and everyone got very upset.

In all of the commotion, no-one had noticed that the enormous turkey and stuffing balls was heading perilously close to the edge of the table. With every jump on the table from Hazel, it  juddered one step nearer to careering off the edge. With a final mighty thunderous jump, Hazel looked in horror as the turkey disappeared and before anyone could scoop up the crowning part of the meal, Harry’s pet adder slithered up and wrapped his mighty jaws around the poultry piece and swallowed it whole.

Everyone stopped. Hazel began to cry, and Harry looked even more glum. Tim decided that now was the perfect time to explain his alternative course. On any other day, everyone would have been mad at him, but today, Tim was about to save the meal. They all sat down and had the best Christmas dinner they’d ever had. The moral of the story ( apart from not jumping on the table, enveloping your next door neighbours in a pastry case nor allowing your adder loose around an important holiday meal) is to be flexible, gracious and remember that it’s about who’s around your table rather than what’s on it.

Here’s the fun set

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my silly seasonal story and have loved this exciting release from Clearly Besotted! Keep an eye out for another post using some of the sets I didn’t get around to using!

Keren x

October 2, 2019 at 8:08 am 5 comments

Mushroom Bag with Vlieseline Recycled Interfacing

Hello everyone!

Hope you’re having a fab day.

I wanted to show you in a little more detail, a bag I made recently using both recycled fabrics and materials and using some recycled interacting which Vlieseline have recently bought out.

Increasingly, I’m using recycled fabrics in projects. Most of my bags are using charity shop bought clothing, and it feels good to be repurposing them. I still can’t do without new fabric, but it helps me feel I’m behaving in a more sustainable way and having less reliance on ‘fast fashion’ has to be a good thing. To make this bag unique, I used a PaperArtsy stencil by Darcy and some Fresco Acrylic paints.

Once the stencilling was done, I went back and painted some detail onto the image to give depth to the bag.

The plan was to create a bag that actually looked like a mushroom and it needed some extra structure and support and that’s where the Vlieseline recycled interfacing came in. I actually prefer this interfacing, so plan on using it regularly. It feels super soft to touch, so is really nice to work with and gives medium support. It also feels good knowing you’re using a product that is being kinder to the environment too.

Vlieseline kindly sent me some to try and this is what they’ve said about their recycled products:
Vlieseline are committed to reducing carbon footprint, offering products made from
plastic bottles and other recycled polyester materials. There are many positive
reasons for reducing consumption of new and precious raw materials and Vlieseline
are able to do this without compromising on the superior quality they are renowned
for.
Optimising environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and transport
conditions alongside minimizing use of new raw materials are high priorities and in
this way Vlieseline are able to support customers wanting to make their own
contribution to sustainability.
There are a growing number of Vlieseline products made from recycled material and
are manufactured using 100% recycled polyester are:
H310 (the one that I’ve used in this project)
A medium weight, fusible nonwoven interlining suitable for home sewing,
dressmaking, crafts when using medium fabric weights. Ideal for use on garment
facings, pockets, ties, collars, cuffs. Machine washable to 40, available in white only,
90cm wide. RRP £4.99 per metre.
Why choose Vlieseline products made from sustainable materials?
1. Synthetic waste materials are recycled and don’t end up in landfill or the sea,
polluting the environment.
2. The quality of recycled PES is just as good as that of newly produced polyester but
needs considerably fewer resources for its production.

h310

So once I’d stencilled onto the half circle of recycled jeans, I wanted to add some stitched detailing and used the Gutermann hand quilting threads which have a lovely sheen and don’t tangle half as much as thread that I’m used to!

To make the handle, I re-purposed a belt I’d bought for 99p. I had to unpick it at the buckle and resew to keep it from unravelling but it tied the colour of mushrooms in well.

Now to the design of the bag. The semi-circular bit was fine- and even the zip went in well. I added in some lining but then I had to work out how to the insert the bottom of the bag.

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Here you can see my mistake; I should have sewn in the handle before the lining; but then this is what comes of doing your own pattern and not thinking it completely through. I had to hand stitch around the bottom of the top onto the bottom. This is what the finished bag looks like.

The problem then was that my kids thought it was embarrassing. This should have been a real plus point, as its my job to embarrass my kids. However, I had the idea of adding a button so I could hook the bottom up if you wanted to be a little less conspicuous.

This is it hooked up at the back.

I do love a good challenge and learning how to engineer a bag is always a good thing. It gives you confidence to tackle something else more complex, but I definitely would sketch and plan it out better next time.

The interfacing works brilliantly and I hope you’d consider purchasing recycled interfacing. The Gutermann Hand Quilting thread is well worth trying too.

Hope you enjoyed my mushroom bag!

See you soon!

Keren x

October 1, 2019 at 1:07 pm 1 comment

Clearly Besotted October Release Day!

Hi everyone, and thanks for popping over to my blog to see the Release Day project. For today’s project I chose the new set ‘Christmas Panda Plushies’ which is just too cute.

I thought I’d create a snowstorm but in a slightly different way; using an acetate folded piece.

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I started out by stamping colouring and trimming out the pandas and extra images. I did a little blending with some Broken China Distress ink, added some green ‘ground’ and arranged all the elements around the card.

I stamped the sentiment below and then attached a tent folded piece of acetate onto the top of the card, attaching on the inside flap. I added lots of pearl Nuvo drops so it looked a little like a snow storm and waited impatiently for them to dry.

Those little Pandas sure are making a mess and they’ve had some wonderful gifts on Christmas morning. One of them is making sure that all the Christmas wrapping paper is away tidily, another is making a list of their gifts so they can thank the correct giver for the correct gift and another is mentally estimating the value of each gift so he can work out whether he’s received the same monetary value as his brother and sisters!

I moved the snow flurry acetate piece out of the way, so you could see the cute little characters and also observe my slightly heavy handed stamping on the left side of the sentiment!!

Do go and check out the rest of the sets. This month you really are spoilt for choice. I will be back tomorrow with the runt of the cards- but it’s worth having a look at all the same!

All sets and stencils are available from 8pm GMT tonight on the Clearly Besotted store and Simon Says Stamp

There are still some more projects to see from  Clearly Besotted BlogMichelleLisa and our guest Joy Taylor.

Here’s a list of all of the sets I’ve used this week with the links too! (Links live at 8pm GMT)

Christmas Corners

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One More Sleep

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Sing It’s Christmas

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Nativity Play

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Christmas Panda Plushies

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See you tomorrow,

Keren x

 

I will sometimes add links that are affiliate links, where I get a small payment for recommending a product but at no extra cost to you x

October 1, 2019 at 8:00 am 4 comments

Clearly Besotted October Teasers Day 4

Hellooo. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The best Christmases in previous years have often involved Nativity Plays with my kids. It’s sad they don’t get involved in them any more as they’re too old, but any production with kids invariably goes wrong and ensuing hilarity occurs!

Today’s Teaser is using a great set called unsurprisingly ‘Nativity Play’. There are lots of little mice, dressed up all ready for the play…

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St. Bridie’s was a posh school in a leafy part of Birdieville and its plays were definitely a cut above the rest. The drama coordinator was no stranger to dramatic events herself but dreamt about the Christmas production from the February half term onwards. Whilst the teaching staff loved the finished result, they all tried to hide from Ms Strychnine when they saw her marching purposefully towards them with a pile of scripts.

This year, Ms S was determined that the play would top all others. The SMT in school secretly thought that Susan had watched the Nativity! trilogy a few times too many. When she excitedly informed the teaching staff meeting that she’d secured the services of a cherry picker and wiring team, there was a collective gasp of horror.

After what seemed like a million practices, the children of St. Bridie’s were brimming with excitement. All the children were bedecked in the most beautiful outfits that Ms Strychnine’s sewing group had spent months knocking together. The Headmaster Mr. TooTired was concerned that children might inadvertently swallow the beads so lovingly sewn upon the Angels wings, but Ms S assured him that all was well and the threads had been double knotted for safety. On the night of the performance, parents shuffled into the dimly lit auditorium accompanied by the screeches of Key Stage 2’s violin group.

As the play was coming to its thrilling conclusion it involved the angels being lowered down from above. Amidst the canned carol background music could be heard the sound of Billy, first whispering and then getting increasingly louder as the audience could hear ‘Miss, Miss, the wire is wrapped around me leg and it’s cutting off me cirgulashion’. As Ms S frantically gestured towards the cherry picker man, all the flailing from Billy had caused him to move sideways and before anyone knew it, 3 now dishevelled angels were utterly tangled and the perfectly sewn-on beads had started to unravel and rained upon the parents like a sudden flurry of snow.

Janey was upset that she hadn’t been picked to be Mary, but not half as upset as her Mum who was Chair of Governors. Janey’s anger over not getting the starring role spilled out as she wrenched ‘Mary’s’ headdress off and planted it firmly upon her own head. The audience started to giggle as Janey’s triumphant supplanting was evidenced by the look on her face. Less amusing was the multitude of tears from ‘Mary’ and ‘Mary’s’ Mum and ‘Chief of Governors’ started shooting increasingly angry looks at each other.

Mr TooTired could see the whole play unravelling. He turned up the carol volume, motioned for the angels to be hoisted down and was just about to sigh with relief when Adam started sliding down the astroturfed ‘hills’. His ‘wheeeeeee’s’ soon turned to ‘owwwww’s’ as he exclaimed ‘Mum, I think I’ve hurt my…..’. All this emotion and fracas was too much for the ‘baby in the manger’ who had been squished into a wooden crate for far too long. He leapt out of the crate and started jumping on one leg wailing ‘craaaaammpppppp’ which was the last straw for Ms S, who left the stage sobbing whilst the parents and staff en masse were laughing so hard that tears were running down the Deputy Head’s cheeks.

Even the vicar from St.Birdie’s church had a job saying the closing prayer, as he stifled laughter and as the thunderous clapping continued, the catering staff brought around plates piled high with mince pies. They were the Head Cook’s secret recipe, and everyone knew they were laced with something very strong after one of the toddlers had ended up in Casualty after eating one last year, but the Cook was always so cheerful at Christmas, that most parents were happy to cough up £2 for the PTFA funds and nibble them politely whilst looking for tissues to stuff the rest of the offending pastries into. The children had completely excelled themselves and everyone had loved it. Mr TooTired managed to shoehorn Ms Strychnine back into the auditorium in time for more rapturous applause. As she bowed slightly to acknowledge the appreciative audience, Janey and ‘Mary’ could be seen fighting in the background with half of Mary’s headdress in each of their hands.

Mr TooGood thanked everyone for another successful Nativity play whilst busy composing his resignation in his head and simultaneously planning the quickest escape route out of the school building. Mr Grumps the site manager could be heard muttering about ‘those hoity toity parents and their mincepie crumbs’ as he shuffled across the back of the hall, but not one parent or teacher left without agreeing that this was the finest and funniest Nativity play that St. Birdie’s had ever seen. Ms S flopped down on one of the infant chairs at the front of the hall, mentally planning next year’s Nativity play that would supersede even this one…..!!

I’ve pretty much used the same colouring supplies; Nuvo Alcohol markers and a little Nuvo White Blizard for the ‘bead snow’. This set is so cute, you could do a myriad of things with it! What’s not to love about mice dressed up as the nativity characters!

Before the nativity play is completely done, please visit the Clearly Besotted Blog, Michelle, Lisa and our guest Joy Taylor. Can you believe it’s Release Day tomorrow?

I’m back tomorrow with a slightly crowded Christmas morning scene!

Keren x

 

September 30, 2019 at 8:00 am 5 comments

Clearly Besotted October Teasers Day 3

Hello everyone!

Thanks for coming back to the blog today. We’re already on Day 3 of the Clearly Besotted Teasers. Time has gotten away from me, so there’s no story ( some of you will be relieved not to have to scroll down so much 😂).

Today is bright and tuneful and cute and weird! I decided that card really could be any colour they wanted, so whether it was a natural dye or they were born that way, I thought it was time for a green and aqua feline to join the ranks of the norm.

Isn’t this set delightful!! It’s called ‘Sing It’s Christmas’.

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Now you might be wondering how I blended the background so perfectly!! I cheated. I just used some blended style paper from Hobbycraft 😉. I’m all for shortcuts! I added a few more lampposts as there is nothing more annoying than trying to read carols in the dark when you can’t read the alto line! These cats are making a vaguely tuneful din..I added a subtle stamped music image at the top to help create depth.

I live using Nuvo Drops and the White Blizzard is perfect on coloured card as it takes the colour. The drops ended up looking like rain which is thoroughly appropriate for Dec too!

I do love these little moggies. They were all coloured in using Nuvo Alcohol markers. Back tomorrow with some shenanigans!!

It’s time to visit Clearly Besotted’s blog, and then see Michelle and Lisa and not forgetting Joy Taylor

Keren x

September 29, 2019 at 8:00 am 5 comments

Clearly Besotted October Teasers Day 2

Hello lovely blog friends! We’re onto Day 2 and a slightly ironic card.

The sentiment simply doesn’t reflect the card- but then, who doesn’t love a card with a little irony thrown in for good measure. Or maybe it’s simple rebellion? You decide!

This beautiful set is called ‘Christmas Corners’ and there are two largish corners so you can increase the images per card and do both corners if you so desired.

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Inspired by the last lot of no-line colouring I attempted, I decided to do it again. Using a combo of Metro Grey Nuvo Ink, Nuvo Alcohol Markers and Prismacolors works well. When you get the set, there aren’t any juggling balls…but that’s because they’re holly berries 😉

In real life, these mice faces are altogether cuter, but I couldn’t work out a way of re-stamping that didn’t involve masking. Truthfully, I should have made more effort, but I’m a bit like the family in this house on Christmas Eve.

The true situation on Christmas Eve is rarely like the quote. Have you ever seen a house where everyone is neatly off to bed at a reasonable hour and no one wakes excitedly because it’s nearly Christmas? Nope, me neither.

We won’t talk about the Christmas Eves where I’m regularly peeling carrots alongside the rather late televised Christmas carol service. Nor shall we mention the time that I forgot the ginger cake for the special stuffing, or that time when the defrosted turkey ended up being rancid and we had no turkey at all 😂

These two little guys are in a typical ( yet not typical household) where no one is stirring EXCEPT the mice. They were getting a little bored of not stirring and decided to explore the surroundings that had changed recently. All of their usual mouse holes had been disturbed. The little entry into the living room had been obscured by a green spiky tree that had magically come indoors. Ben couldn’t see where its roots were but Barty insisted that this was just the magic of Christmas, and anyway, his girth was increasing due to a preponderance of mince pie crumbs in the family kitchen and he didn’t really fit into the lounge mouse-hole presently.

Ben rather loved that they no longer had to squint to see around the house, as it was lit up like a night sky. Barty had complained that all that twinkling was giving him a headache, but Ben said the lights made him smile and have a warm feeling inside his tummy. It really was a mouse paradise. The house was cluttered with brightly coloured parcels. No matter where you went, there was ribbon to chew and treats to consume. The parent’s wardrobe doors hardly closed as they had become storage cupboards for more ribbon wrapped gifts. All the extra bits and bobs meant that mice were harder to discover and even the resident house cat Thomas remained asleep for longer. Barty reckoned it was due to something called ‘festive spirit’ that made humans give their pets more food and smile a little longer. Ben wished that this generosity would extend to mice, but was content with the ‘brandy laced all butter mince pies’ that kept appearing on side plates after meals. He wondered why people bought them when so many were left until February and invariably made into a strange ice cream, but it was a welcome change from stale multigrain loaves.

They had seen enough Christmases to know that Christmas Eve was one of the most frenetic days in the year. He heard Mr Jones muttering under his breath that he’d better keep the receipt as the necklace would end up back at the shop and overheard the children giggling that they’d managed to peek at one of their presents and made it look like no-one had touched it. The sideboard filled up with tins of items that looked like individual miniature stained glass windows and there were mountains of foodstuffs that had gotten larger since October in a plastic bag that Mrs Jones called ‘Christmas food’. Their older relative had called several times in the past few days with oddly shaped biscuits and some off smelling substance they’d called ‘Eggnog’. Barty said it was there as a punishment for the children but Ben felt sure it was something to clean the toilet with.

As the house filled up, there was a little corner with an old wooden stable. It contained lots of woolly Christmas characters and Ben proudly told Barty that they were what Christmas was really about. Ben had visited a church last year and heard the children as they put on a nativity. Barty felt sure it wasn’t right, but was willing to be proved wrong. As that evening wore on, they ran out of things to do. Something inside told them that they should be still, like statues, but Ben said that that was boring. So he picked off some of the berries from Mrs Jones’ perfectly positioned floral display and proceeded to practice juggling. Barty was very impressed and wanted to try. He was utterly useless. Ben grabbed the berries so violently from Barty that a few went spinning across the room and cracked against some of the Christmas lights. Such was the force that one of the tiny vintage lights shattered. Now a brighter light without its glass decoration was shining down into the wooden stable. It was like a spotlight onto the little baby in the middle. Ben knew that it was the perfect accident and was shining on the one who was the ‘reason for the season’ as Mrs Jones said. Barty looked on thoughtfully and wondered if Ben had been right all along…

As is the Teaser’s custom, please visit the Clearly Besotted blog along with Joy Taylor, Lisa Tilson and Michelle Short.

I’ll see you tomorrow with something more tuneful! x

September 28, 2019 at 8:00 am 4 comments

Clearly Besotted October Teasers Day 1

Hello everyone!

Happy Friday and welcome to another set of Teasers. This is one humongous blockbuster of a release and you will be utterly spoiled for choice! As usual, I’ve got 4 days of Teasers, plus the release day and I’ve even got one extra beyond that! 😉

This is possibly my favourite set of the October release ‘One More Sleep‘. This set covers more than just Christmas and I love the idea of scene creation that this set makes so easy.

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Isn’t the set utterly delightful! I can just imagine best friends Foxer and Rabbina bundled up in their hand knitted cosy scarves, watching silently as Santa and his reindeer floated effortlessly across the sky. They weren’t always friends. As children, Rabbina spent most of her life running away from Foxer. Rabbina’s mother spent many an evening writing passive aggressive notes to Mrs Fox. Mrs Rabbit received several responses about it ‘being natural’ and ‘she would always defend her son’s right to a mid morning snack’.

Mrs Rabbit really wanted to speak face to face to Mrs Fox, but knew it would end in a flurry of fur and a motherless brood of rabbits. Most of Rabbina’s school days were spent dodging Foxer but once she developed a friendship with Skunkette, Foxer backed off. As they got older, both animals viewed each other from a distance and learned to appreciate the differences between them. Rabbina had a wonderful sense of humour and Foxer was actually a loyal friend who was really good at maths ( which turned out really useful during GCSE mocks).

Anyway, their friendship blossomed and Foxer would no more want to eat Rabbina than his own mother, so one fine night, on Christmas Eve, they packed a picnic supper with flasks of hot chocolate and pickled mice. As they say gazing into the giant moon, they fell silent under the gentle glow of the moon and watched as Santa navigated his present sledge towards the millions of children eagerly awaiting. They reminisced about how their friendship was strained when they were young, but how much they appreciated each other. Foxer couldn’t wait for Rabbina to open his gift ( which was a hand carved tail comb). Rabbina wished she could be there tomorrow morning to see Foxer unwrapping the claw file she’d forged in DT. Best friends have a complicated history, but they couldn’t imagine spending time with anyone else. Even though they’d been told that Santa wasn’t real, the proof was there before their eyes and momentarily Foxer wondered whether reindeer was as tasty as his Dad made out!…

Creating the sky was easy, using Black Soot distress ink. I started out stamping the moon/house image and then stamping on a sticky note and trimming out. With the mask on, I added some Squeezed Lemonade ink first and then added the black ink around the edges, not getting too close to the yellow so leaving the ‘glow’. Then I just flicked water onto it and dabbing off, which gave a real snowy look!

You can see the moon here; I just added 2 grey alcohol markers onto the centre of the moon. Colouring in the animals was easy and they are quick to trim out. Add some white gel pen details to the sky for better dimension. You can see the glittered snow below which is fun! The whole card came together quicker than I thought, and I love the result!

As usual there is inspiration galore via the Clearly Besotted blog, then visit Michelle and Lisa then please pop over to our guest again this month Joy Taylor!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first card; tomorrow’s project is an altogether more energetic one!

See you tomorrow!

Keren xx

September 27, 2019 at 8:00 am 5 comments

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I'm a wife, Mum to 6, crafter, Christian and fortunate to be doing a job that I love!

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