Saturday, 26 December 2015

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Hi everyone!

      I always love making Christmas gifts for family always get something homemade each Christmas and I try to come up with something new each year.

     Ok, this time it isn't a craft present - but I still wanted to put it on my blog as it did involve a bit of crafting decoration too.

    This year was so much fun - I had my husband's help as we discovered flavoured vodka!!! We are not drinkers at all - but several of our friends have had fun flavoring vodkas and it looked interesting. I found some Christmas themed drink ideas online, and we put together a "Six flavours of Christmas" themed booze for our family and friends...We were going to try to make twelve!!!....Perhaps next year? We have already started preparations for next year so it could happen!

     While researching some recipes a friend of ours told us about how they make Sloe Gin each year and that this was a great year for sloes and we should set it up now for next year. So we have a litre of Sloe Gin soaking in the cupboard that will be ready Christmas 2016! And of course there are favourites on this list that we want to make for next year and there are some we didn't get time to do this year that we do want to try! This has turned into a bit of a hobby.....

Before bottling them up we couldn't resist having a taste taste and some friends also joined in with the taste reviewing - they are very dangerous (most were way too drinkable!)

I  had a lot of fun making the name tags for each and decorating the bottles with charms and ribbons.

As you might be interested in making your own flavoured alcohol for next year I have included the recipes here for you. These recipes can be tweaked to suit you so have fun experimenting! The great thing is that you can use anything to flavour alcohol...the only strict rule you must follow is to be careful to sterilize jars, bottles and muslins properly...the rest is all up to your imagination and how brave you are!

Plum Liqueur

1lb Plums
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup Vodka
1/2 cup Brandy

Sterilize jar. Wash plums carefully then cut them up, discarding the stones. Put sugar into jar and then add plum pieces. Pour the alcohol over the sugar and fruit and seal jar. Keep for two months in a cool dark place, shaking jar daily. Strain liquid through a sieve, pressing the fruit to get out all the juice. Strain through a muslin to remove any tiny pieces of fruit that got through the sieve.

The liqueur can be drunk at this point, but the flavour is improved by keeping for a further four weeks before serving.

Orange and Coffee Vodka (Liqueur 44)

1 litre Vodka
1 Orange
44 Coffee Beans
44 Sugar cubes

Sterilize jar. Add sugar cubes. Cut into an orange 44 times and insert a coffee bean into each cut. Place the orange into the jar and then cover with a litre of Vodka. Seal jar and keep in dark place for 44 days before removing the orange. Pour liquid through a muslin to remove any small particles of orange skin.

Christmas Pudding Liqueur
Use 650mls of your choice of alcohol. You can use just Vodka or make a mix of favourites. I used this combination -

150ml Vodka
250ml Liqueur 44 (If not using Liqueur 44 add some finely grated orange peel to the fruit mixture) 200ml Brandy
50ml Cherry brandy

200g dried fruit mix
2 cloves
100g dark brown sugar
50g molasses sugar
2 tsp mixed spice

Add fruit, sugar and spices to a sterilized jar. Pour over the alcohol. Shake to mix and leave for one week. Strain through a muslin and squeeze to extract all liquid.

Pomegranate and Vanilla Schnapps

3 very ripe pomegranates
Vanilla pod
500ml Vodka
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Mix water and sugar together and melt to form a sugar syrup. Leave to cool. Cut pomegranate in half and remove all the seeds. Add the seeds to a sterilized jar and add sugar syrup with vanilla pod. Cover with vodka and seal. Leave in dark place for about 2 weeks before pouring through muslin to remove seeds. 

 Candy Cane Vodka
500ml vodka
120g candy canes

Put Candy canes into food processor and whizz until it becomes a fine powder. Add powder to a sterilized jar and pour over vodka. Shake to mix. Leave for a few days to ensure all candy cane particles fully melt. 

Salted Caramel Vodka
500 ml Vodka
200 g chewy caramels
Pinch of salt

Add caramels into a sterilized jar and pour over the vodka. Shake to mix and shake daily for several days until caramels are all melted. If there is any froth on the surface pour through a muslin.

I am looking forward to drinking a few of these on Christmas day! 

Happy Christmas!

From Laura xxxxxxxxxx

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Friday, 25 December 2015

A Vintage Christmas

Hi everyone!

 First of all I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. Today is extra special because I am featured A Vintage Journey as one of their Guest Designers!

I am so pleased to be able to join in with Annie's challenge of Vintage Christmas - it was a total joy to make! I am so happy to be there....I can't wait to show you what I made!

Here is a sneak peek of it...I do hope you will pop over there to find out what it is and how I made it!

Wishing you all the very best for a very happy New Year in 2016!

Happy Crafting

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Believe for always

Hi everyone!  A seasonal creation today!

I recently bought a heat tool after mine had exploded in my hand ages ago...Yes, I was without a heat tool for over a year!....I don't know how I managed!

Anyway I had to finally give in and buy one because some embossing enamels were sitting there having never been used and I was desperate to try them out....and I never did have the patience to wait for things to dry....

 I made a background by swiping some Ground Espresso and Gathered Twigs DI on the craft mat, spritzed with water then swirled the card in the ink. I stamped some images from a Tim Holtz Christmas set in Ground Espresso DI and a script stamp in Jet black Archival ink to give layers and depth.

   I decided to use a stamp by Artistic Outpost - the vintage Santa is such a gorgeous image. I stamped it in Potting Soil Archival ink and blended some Vintage Photo DI over his coat and hat.

   I had just bought a Sizzix Thinlits Holiday greens die cut set and was so keen to try them! I had also had purchased a Sizzix flourish die cut by Pete Hughes called 'Graceful Flourish'

  ...I was soooo thrilled with it. It is a very delicate flourish and is so beautiful - the main thing I love about it is it's versatility. While it can be used whole as a gorgeous flourish, it can easily be cut into small sections to give various flourish accents. My favourite craft items are the ones with the most versatility - and so this is perfect.

     I cut out the flourish, the holly and snowflakes and wanted to cover them with Stampendous Frantage Embossing enamel. I began to dab them with clear embossing ink.... 

The holly was covered with Aged Hunter Green embossing enamel.

 The flourishes were covered with Aged Bronze embossing enamel 

 .....and the snowflakes were covered with Aged Ivory embossing enamel.

   I love that thick enamel effect!!!

I stamped the word 'Believe' in Archival ink and cut the word out before attaching it to the hanger with two bronze brads

I attached some lace to the bottom of the hanger along with some twine and I used twine to form the hanger at the top.

A final spritz of a snow effect with a bristle brush and some watered down Picket Fence DP.

And there is a Vintage Christmas hanger with enameled embellishments!
I hope you like it!

Happy Crafting!
Laura xxxxx

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Friday, 4 December 2015

How many days?

Hi everyone! 

How many days until Christmas day?

 People usually keep count via the traditional advent calendar. Opening a window to reveal a picture or a piece of chocolate. We go a bit over the top in our house... 

We have the advent calendars for the kids with the daily chocolate would think that would be enough wouldn't you?

We also have an advent house that we have had for so many years - It plays Christmas music, the Santa turns around....

and the house lights up!

The kids love it and won't let us not have it...even though the pictures have long since stopped being a surprise!

We also have a family tradition of advent gifts each year...and somehow we always manage to leave it until last minute causing a huge panic...(Note to self )- buy the gifts by October and wrap them in November next year!

And this year I decided it wasn't enough countdowns...we needed to add to it all....

And yes, it is (as of this moment) 20 days (and 14 hours) until Christmas day...

I decided to make this after having a shed built a few months ago - there were some blocks of wood left over...and I didn't like the idea of throwing them all away...

So I painted the block with Decoart Gesso. Then I stenciled some snowflakes with texture paste all over the block of wood

I used Decoart Americana Frost Gloss Enamel as dots and swirls

Buttons were stuck underneath the block 

When the texture paste was dry I covered the block of wood with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Titan Buff. This was followed with Raw Umber Antiquing cream applied all over and left to dry. I then wiped it with a damp cloth, being careful to not wipe too much Antiquing cream away.

The calendar was finished with Decoart Ultra-Matte varnish

I added a chalkboard using balsa wood and chalkboard paint. 

I made a little tray for the chalk by cutting a piece of soft balsa wood and wrapping sandpaper around a pencil and using that to sand away the wood.

I wrote the words 'Days until Christmas' with an italic embossing ink pen and sprinkled it with gold embossing powder. 

The gold embossing was a bit too bright and dazzling - so I just rubbed it with a pencil eraser and it toned it down perfectly without losing any of the metallic embossed effect.

A little wipe of White Fire Treasure Gold with a soft brush was used to just highlight the texture snowflakes and add a delicate glimmer.

Hope you like the additional countdown calendar!

Happy Crafting!

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wish upon a Star

Hi everyone!

 It is a new Challenge at Our Creative Corner today! Our wonderful Trish is hosting her first ever challenge and she has chosen the perfect seasonal challenge for you....

My challenge to you all this month is a very simple one... 


I have a passion for stars. Stars are incorporated into my email addresses, internet log ins, business name and even my tattoos :)
I would love for you all to share your creations, full of stars! 
Star stamps, star die cuts, star embellishments, star shaped backgrounds, it's up to you! 

Use lots, or just the one, as long as there is a star somewhere, you're good to go!

I can't wait to see all your wonderful creations!
Each Christmas I try to find time to make a Christmas wreath but I have never got around to it. This year I had bought a pre cut circle wreath and was determined to make one....
Trish's challenge of using stars in our project seemed the perfect inspiration - why not make it entirely of stars?

I planned to use different size stars, patterns and texture...add some flourishes, fern, holly as added embellishments....

Should I add a splash of colour? At one point I was really tempted to add bright red to it but then I started to really adore the developing colour scheme of ivory, brown and gold...Making this was so much fun!

I knew not much of the circle would be seen, but I wanted the parts that would be seen to be crackled instead of plain.

The circle base was covered with Decoart Americana Acrylics in White Wash. Then a layer of Decoart Crackle Glaze was applied with a spatula. When the Crackle Glaze was dry Decoart Raw Umber Antiquing cream was applied before being wiped away with a damp cloth.

       I cut the stars by hand because I wanted rustic (wonky!) shaped stars rather than each shape be identical. I cut several sizes of stars and covered some with text paper

Some were covered with German Gothic font print

I added some pictures from french dictionary pages

Some were stamped with script

Some were stamped with images

Some were stamped with music 

I embossed some stars and covered them with White Fire Treasure Gold

Some stars were stamped and then covered with embossing powder...

I painted the holly leaves with Decoart Dazzling Metallics Champagne Gold acrylic paint (which is one of the BEST gold paints I have ever used!) and while the paint was wet I sprinkled them with Antique Linen Distress Glitter. It is already a gorgeous sparkling gold paint, but the glitter just added some extra dazzle and a beautifully delicate texture!

I covered the flourishes with Aged Gold Frantage embossing powder - I love that enameled effect

I covered the fern leaves with Aged Ivory Frantage embossing powder

Other foliage was covered with Ground Espresso Distress ink

I also added some holly leaves covered with Ground Espresso Distress ink

I lightly dabbed the edge of each star with Ground Espresso Distress ink before arranging the stars around the wreath.  Different sizes, shapes and colours were arranged randomly to emphasize contrast. I stuck them down layering until I was happy with the result. I added flourishes and foliage to the stars.

 I then added further decoration of 3D plastic stars that had been painted with Decoart Dazzling Metallics Champagne Gold acrylic paint. I must admit I LOVE this paint!....have I mentioned that already?

I covered some Grungeboard letters with gesso then coated with several coats of Decoart Dazzling Metallics Champagne Gold acrylic paint (of course!) This was followed with a coat of crackle glaze followed by Raw Umber Antiquing cream which was wiped away when dry to reveal the crackles. The word 'Noel' was added to the wreath along with an extra star added.

A bow made out of twine ribbon was added

A length of twine added to hang up the wreath

To add the finishing touch of an extra festive sparkle and a snowy, wintery shabby chic effect, I spritzed the entire wreath with Perfect Pearls Spray in Biscotti and some White Linen Dylusions spray.

I finally have my handmade Christmas wreath!

I hope you like it!

Please hop over to Our Creative Corner and see what my talented team have made to inspire you this month...

Why not get Star Struck and enter our Challenge this month!

Our wonderful sponsor this month is

Tando will send a parcel of goodies to the randomly drawn winner - it could be YOU!

You could be our winner and be invited to appear as our Top Talent!

You could be one of our Top 3

Come and shine at Our Creative Corner!

Happy Crafting!

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