*NEW* Digital Scrapbooking Kits

After the great launch of Scrap Basics a few weeks ago I've been hard at work coming up with some accessory kits and my very first full kits with papers, embellishments and alphabets, perfect for digi scrappers! I hope you like them! Here is my first layout with one of the kits 'Say Cheese'...
I put this layout together in Serif Craft Artist (its the program I find the easiest to work with!) so I could add text and 3D effects etc... but you can achieve the same with Photoshop, Gimp or whatever graphics program you have (all the files are JPEG and PNG files so can be imported easily)

You can get hold of the 'Say Cheese' kit here, which has a vintage camera / photography theme and my other kits Britannia (great for the upcoming Jubilee celebrations!) and New Directions.
There are also 3 new additions to the Scrap Basics range with the addition of these accessory kits - including my absolute favourite - digital Washi Tape!!!!

Check out all the kits and other bits here and if you pop over to my Facebook page you will find a code for a 10% discount on everything in my shop!

Thanks so much for dropping by today, I hope you love these digi kits as much as I do and I look forward to seeing your creations with them. Now I'm off to bake some chocolate chip cookies ready for a whole night of digi scrapping with these! :o)

Sarah x

Washi Tape Love

The last few weeks I've become slightly obssessed with Washi Tape - between my lovely Rico stash and some that I've been tempted by from the girls on the Facebook Smash Book group I've built up quite a collection! I've been using it in my books and journals but hadn't been brave enough to use it in my Scrapbooking, until now!
Supply List - Bazzill Basics Cardstock - Cream Puff & Almond Cream, Basic Grey Basics white 6x6 paper pad, Coredinations Cosmo Cricket Cardstock, Woodgrain & Teal Stripe Washi tape - Angel Cards, Buttons & Market Street Alpha Stickers - October Afternoon, Glitter Alpha Stickers - Dovecraft, Cricut Expression & Princess Cartridge - Provocraft, Twine - The Twinery 
It was great to use as an accent in place of ribbon or banners as I did here.

This layout kind of put itself together, it didn't seem like work, from the vintagey style Instagram pic of Fuzzybutt, the muted tones and the perfectly coordinating tape, it just flowed, and I so enjoyed making it, I even used a bit of my treasured Basic Grey Basics paper which I very rarely use as I love it so so much and dread running out of it!

I cut the Hexagons with my Cricut using the Princess Cartridge (its the background for one of the alphabets on there) and added some buttons and twine.

It was great to get a bit of crafty time over the weekend, in amongst a bit of work, catching up with friends, baking a ham (more about that another day!) and doing some writing, so fun!

I also found out today that something I've been working really hard on and keeping super secret will be launching one month today on the 28th June - I'm beyond excited and can't wait to share!

Now I must get back, I promised to cook B dinner tonight and if I don't make a start soon it will be beans on toast! LOL

Thanks for popping by
Sarah x

Cookery Corner - Dreamy Apple Pie

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for the fantastic response to my first Cookery Corner post! I had such great feedback that I couldn't wait to post my next one!.

Today I'm going to be sharing my recipe for my Dreamy Apple Pie - this wasn't going to be my next one, but I made this last week and posted about it on Twitter and got so many people asking for the recipe that I rearranged my recipe schedule to move this one up!
Dreamy Apple Pie


For the Pastry

220 grams plain flour
40 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoons icing sugar
150 grams butter
1 medium egg
1 tablespoon ice cold water or a melted ice cube
pinch of salt
egg wash (1 medium egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of ice cold milk) and caster sugar to dust

For the Filling

Approx half a dozen medium sized apples (you can use cooking apples but I just used a bag of small value apples - approx 8 in a bag - from Morrisons)
80 grams butter
half a teaspoon of cinnamon
50 grams caster sugar
75 grams light muscavado or brown sugar
a generous handful of sultanas
Vanilla Extract
pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten

Firstly, the secret to good pastry is to keep everything as cold as possible. about half an hour before making pastry I open the kitchen windows and put all the ingredients, including the bags of flour and sugar in the fridge. If I can fit them in I also put my food mixer bowl and rolling board in the fridge too. For the water, I let an ice cube melt instead of using actual water (just put two in a small bowl or ramekin in the fridge at this point too. Just before I start I run my hands and rolling pin under icy water too before getting the ingredients out of the fridge and making a start.

In a food processor pulse the flour, caster sugar, salt and icing sugar together
Cut the butter into cubes and add to the mixture along with the beaten egg and ice cold water - mix together in the processor (don't overmix, you should still be able to see flecks of butter in the mix)
Dust your board with plain flour and tip the mixture out of your bowl, knead gently for a minute or two until the mixture is smooth and firm
Make two balls from the pastry, one large and one small, set the small one aside and roll the large one out using it to line a baking or pie dish (I use a pyrex dish my Mother in Law gave me as I like a nice deep filled apple pie)
The small ball will be used to make the lid of your pie so just set it inside your dish for now and put the dish in the fridge for at least half an hour

For the Filling, peel and core the apples
Dice half the apples into small cubes
Put half of the butter into a saucepan and melt over a low heat, add the small cubes of apple and keep them moving gently over the heat with a wooden spoon until they become soft and are coated in butter.
Add half the caster sugar and brown sugar to the mixture along with the cinnamon and a drip of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and leave to simmer for a minute or two
Tip the mixture into your food processor and pulse until the mixture is like a lumpy sauce - set aside
Using the same pan, add the other half of the butter, and sugars and melt together
Slice or largely dice the other half of your apples and add to the pan, stir until they just begin to go soft and are coated in the butter and sugar mixture - this should only take a couple of minutes, don't overheat or your pie filling will be too mushy
Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool
Stor the beaten egg and your sultanas into the first bowl of filling you set aside earlier, this should be cool by now (don't put it in while hot or your egg will start to cook and scramble - ick!)
Layer the sauce and the chunkier filling together in your pie case making sure to combine well
Roll out the lid of your pie and add to the top
brush with egg wash and sprinkle with caster sugar
bake for around 40 minutes on a medium heat (with my electric fan over I use 150) in a preheated oven until the pastry turns golden
Serve with ice cream, cream or simply on its own - pure heaven!

My top tips!

* with pies I always pierce around four tiny holes with a cocktail stick around the edge of my pie, its not noticeable but it allows the steam to escape through the filling keeping your filling hot and tender and your pastry top crispy and light without becoming soggy
* Don't be tempted to use too much cinnamon, it's only lovely if you use it quite sparingly otherwise it overpowers everything!
* if you don't like cinnamon try nutmeg instead
* Keep your pastry as cold as possible right up until its time to put it in the oven
* Adding a pinch of salt to your pastry may seem strange but it helps to enhance the sweet flavours, you won't actually taste it!
* a lot of pastry making is by eye, the basic rule is to use twice as much dry ingredient as wet ingredient but judge by eye and if it looks too wet add some flour and sugar, if it looks too dry add a touch more water or a splash of milk. Your pastry should be firm to touch, dry and easily kneadable without breaking apart.

I hope you love this as much as we do! Let me know what you think :o)

Thanks for popping by!
Sarah x

A Fine & Sunny Card...

Today was the perfect day to share this card, as its made form the Kaisercraft 'Fine & Sunny' stamps and today was a fine and sunny day!
Supply List - Kaisercraft Fine & Sunny Stamps - For stockist please contact Jones & Co, Coloured card from Bramwells, Bleedproof card - Rymans, Promarkers - Letraset, Fancy Card Blank - Craftwork Cards, adhesives from Stix 2, memento ink pad

This is another card I made while filming for the new Kirstie Allsopp Channel 4 craft show (Kirstie's Vintage Home) recently (Kirstie actually coloured that yellow bird!)

Today I also received a copy of Simply Cards & Papercraft in the post and there is a teeny feature on my Britannia CD (yay!) - just in time for your London / Great Britain projects to tie in with all the coming events.

As I've received lots of requests my next post is going to be my Dreamy Apple Pie recipe - don't miss it! You can rustle one up for the weekend - heaven!

Thanks for dropping by today!
Sarah x

More MyMemo Love & Rico Giveaway Winner!

Last week I posted all about my fabby new client Rico and their ranges of products and promised a giveaway of these lovely goodies! You can read that post here if you missed it.
Random.org picked out Sazzle as the winner - congrats! - please email me here with your address and I'll get your goodies in the post to you!

I also promised to show you a few more bits from the range, so here they are...

A close up view of the MyMemo smash style book showing the inside pages - these are 3 versions, brown (this one) pink and blue. This one is ideal for doing a daily diary type journal which is what I'm attempting to do! I'll show you some next week :o)

 Just some of the delish Washi Tape - swoooooon!
 My favourite punch and stamp...
I've also been asked for stockists, please bear in mind that this range is quite new, although I previewed it back in February I only received samples in April and it started shipping about 2 weeks ago so I will update you as I can. I've spoken to Cullen Crafts who have it on order and due in hopefully next week - keep your peepers peeled! and I've been told that 'My Mum's Craft Shop' have some in stock or on order, I've not seen it on their website so you may need to call them or look out for it. Details of more stockists in all areas of the UK and online are being collated for me, I'm expecting them any day now and I'll post the details here as and when I receive them.

Now after a busy day of designing and writing, I'm off to make some cupcakes - B (the man who previously didn't like cake!) has become obsessed! :o)

Thanks for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Hobbycraft Demo for Kuretake

As I mentioned last week, I spent Saturday at Hobbycraft in Romford, Essex, demoing watercolour and calligraphy pens for Kuretake. The Calligraphy pens especially were very well received and I spent most of the day showing people those, how to start basic handwriting, make flowers and flourishes and blend the colours together on the nib (one little girl was completely convinced that this was achieved by magic!) in fact the children who tried the pens seemed to take to it very naturally, its great to start them young! Maybe Calligraphy will be the next big thing?

I did also try to show the watercolour pens as much as possible throughout the day but only managed to get 2 full images coloured  in that time although lots of people were impressed by my 'bendy nib' demonstration (the pens nibs are made from rubber so don't split like fibre nibs)

I met lots of lovely people who stopped to chat, try the pens and tell me all about their crafting, if you were one of them then 'hello' and thank you for stopping to chat, it made my day very interesting and the time just whizzed past! One man who stopped to chat done the very traditional ink calligraphy with brushes and told me all about that and another man was starting a calligraphy course (if you're reading this, I hope it goes well!) Very embarrassingly, but very sweet, someone also went to the till to tell one of the ladies that they thought I was very pretty and had nice hair, that kept me blushing for a good long time! I don't who that was but it made my day and made me want to crawl into the back room and hide in equal measure! lol

The staff at the store were really lovely and made me feel very at home, popping by to make sure I was OK and see what I was up to at regular intervals :o) if you're local to Romford, please do pop in and check out the store if you haven't already!

Today I was going to have an extra day off to account for my working Saturday but I'm so excited about some of the projects I'm working on that I just can't tear myself away! I'll save my days off for the next bank holiday...

I should also mention that Friday I spent most of the afternoon baking up a storm and creating new recipes for my blog which you will be seeing very soon! One word of advice though, do not try to cook 5 things at once! I almost gave myself a breakdown as I juggled making Cornish (Essex) pasties, Lemon Tarts, Vanilla Cupcakes, Steak & Vegetable pie and a dreamy Apple Pie, yummy but tiring! It's been B's turn to cook since :o)

I'll be back tomorrow with the winner of the Rico giveaway and the stockist information I know you've been waiting for so you can get your hands on those scrummy papers and the lovely MyMemo range!

Thanks for popping by today
Sarah x

Hobbycraft Demo - Romford, Essex

Tomorrow I will be taking a break (ha!) from my manic schedule and demoing at Hobbycraft in Romford, Essex from 10-4 - I hope some of my fellow Essex crafters will pop along and say hello! :o)

I'll be showing the Kuretake watercolour and calligraphy pens, come along and take a look and try them out, I look forward to meeting some of you then!

Sarah x

Making Cards Magazine & Lets Make Cards Magazine

This month I was lucky enough to be featured in two wonderful craft magazines, firstly I was asked to be one of the 'experts' for Lets Make Cards magazine's 'Ask the Experts' feature...
and secondly I have some of my cards featured in this months Making Cards magazine...
I hope you will be able to get hold of copies and let me know what you think!

Today has been a busy day working on lots of new designs, catching up on some book research and sorting out more filming dates. I had hoped to get round to some baking but I think that may have to wait until tomorrow now. I am cooking dinner tonight though, trying out another new recipe! I'll have another one to share with you all soon :o)

I will also be posting up the winner of the Rico giveaway and stockist information for you very soon, I haven't forgotten!

Thanks so much for dropping by today
Sarah x

An Inktense Canvas for Derwent Pencils

This week I am up again on the Derwent blog, this time I have made quite a personal piece, a canvas using Inktense blocks and pencils featuring one of my favourite quotes by Marilyn Monroe, it's now hanging in my studio :o)

Here is a little preview...
To see the full canvas please pop over to Derwent's blog here.

Thanks for dropping by today!
Sarah x

Family History Update with Ancestry.co.uk

Today I'm so excited to share another family history update, so much has happened since I last posted!

Firstly, I mentioned in my previous update that I wrote to my aunt in America who I never knew about, well about a week later I had an email from one of her daughters, my cousin, we connected on Facebook and she has put me in touch with more cousins I knew nothing about! I'll be sharing more info on that later as some of the information is a bit confusing at the moment and I need to work out who's who etc... My aunt also replied to my letter a few weeks later telling me a bit about her life in America and asking me about my life and sending me a photo, it was so nice and I have replied to her with a more in depth letter (my first one was very brief)and some pics.I hope to have a nice Scrapbook page of that story to show you soon!

Secondly, I wanted to share one of my Smash pages to show you how I'm researching and keeping all my info together. I'm using a Smash Book (like a less organised scrapbook or less arty art journal - if that makes sense!) these have become so popular recently and a friend of mine bought me one for Christmas (I also recently started working with Rico Design who have a great range called 'My Memo' which is very similar) so I was keen to get stuck in and give it a whirl, it works perfectly for this, I can stick in all the bits I've been sent, all my info, doodle and take notes and there is a pocket at the back for anything I haven't had chance to categorize or get to yet.
 I have also started working on the first few scrapbook layouts using the photos that have been sent to me from family members, I'm only doing these once I have enough info to add some journaling or a bit about them to the layout and I'm scanning all the pics first so I can do more than one if necessary, digi scrap them and send them to other relatives etc... and I'm keeping all of the originals  in my Smash Book so they are easy to reference. 

I'd love to see / hear about how you organise your research if you'd care to share with me.

I also heard a very interesting rumour from three separate sources, which if it turns out to be true will be a VERY exciting story to share - I'm doing a lot of research into that now. As I've heard it from many different sources, I'm guessing there's no smoke without fire! ;o)

Today you get to search the 1911 census for free on Ancestry.co.uk so I'm taking full advantage and looking up everyone I can - it's so interesting to see a bit more about how people lived, what their occupations were and look up their old addresses on google maps to see if they still exist! I hope to have a lot more to add to my tree and Smash Book today

I'll be sharing another update soon!

Sarah x

Cookery Corner - Mushroom Risotto

Werlcome to my first 'Cookery Corner' blog post!

I was a bit nervous about starting this little blog series, I've never been an expert chef, but I've always enjoyed making things, whether they are from paper, fabric or food! I was determined to be good at cooking, it was something I always enjoyed, even when the results weeren't quite what I'd hoped, and when I want to do something I never give up until I achieve it, however slow the progress!

Well after much practice, quite recently, something clicked, at first I thought it was fluke, had I really made something *that* delicious? could it be?! well, it seems it did and it wasn't just a fluke, after practice, determination, studying and refining (all self taught, no classes) I've finally cracked it! I decided to spend a few months practicing some more, making sure I could do it, before I started this feature and sharing my dishes with all of you, but I finally feel ready to share my first recipe with you.

I don't cook fancy food, there will be very little swirly plate stuff and no fancy ingredients that cost a squillion pounds per ounce, but I can promise you it will all be good, delicious, home cooked food that you will love and can whip up quickly (I don't have hours for cooking one meal and I'm sure you don't either!)and relatively easily and thats what's important!

My first recipe is one of my favourites, one of the first things I perfected, my delicious Mushroom Risotto...
 Mushroom Risotto (serves 2)


200 grams of Risotto Rice
1 pint of chicken stock (or vegetable for the vegetarian version)
4 chestnut mushrooms (you can use regular mushrooms but the flavour of these is exquisite - trust me!)
1 1/2 teaspoons of butter
a splash of white wine (and a glass for the chef ;o) )

Melt the butter in a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat
Slice the mushrooms and stir in, allow the mushrooms to absorb most of the butter
Add the Risotto Rice and fold into the butter so the rice becomes coated in butter
Slowly start to add the stock, a little at the time (about a ladleful at a time is perfect) continually stirring, as the stock absorbs slowly add more (don't be tempted to chuck the whole lot in and leave it - this really needs to be done slowly!)
after about 15 minutes the rice should start to look glossy and there should be very little liquid, add the splash of white wine and the last tiny bit of stock and a knob of butter, cover the pan and leave to simmer for a few minutes - the rice should be soft with a slight bite to it and deliciously rich and creamy.
Serve immediately - great with chicken (or Quorn), prawns, crusty bread or just on its own!

I hope you love this as much as we do! Let me know what you think :o)

Thanks for popping by!
Sarah x

p.s. if you're looking for the giveaway, please see the post below

A New Client and a Giveaway!

Today I get to share some more fun news that I've had under my hat for a while (that hat is getting bigger and bigger with all the things I'm having to keep under it! lol) Today I get to tell you about a great new company, Rico Design, who I'm thrilled to be working with.

You may remember that I attended the craft trade show earlier this year, at the end of February. I only had a few hours there this year as I had so much on and all my meetings were tightly scheduled (though it didn't really work that way in the end!) anyway, while I was there I bumped into a friend of mine and wandered off course, eeek! as it turned out this was totally for the best as I stumbled across a great stand full of gorgeous papers and Smash Book type goodies. I got totally caught up in browsing and had a chat with the lovely people on the stand. We exchanged business cards and a week or two later I had a call asking if I'd like to work with the products - I didn't have to think twice, i couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on those lovely books and papers so I said a big fat YES!

Once the products started arriving I knew I wouldn't regret my decision, the papers were just as gorgeous as I remembered and the books and accessories are truly amazing! Here is a layout I made from one of the paper pads and some accessories...
The papers are shabby chic gorgeousness and I love those fabric labels! I used lots of distressing and stitching to complete the look.

Here are the pads of papers...
and some of the fabric labels...
and if you love to Smash Book or journal, you will love these from their 'My Memo' range. I will show this in more detail here in the next few days - I didn't want to overload this post too much! but here is a sneaky peek of one of the books and some of the little accents... *swoon*
You may know Rico for their range of wools but you will be hearing a lot more about their papers and other bits and pieces from now on!

Last but not least, Rico have kindly sent me a few bits to give away to one of my lovely blog followers - just leave me a comment below (I'd love you to follow my blog if you'd like to but you don't have to be a follower - no arm twisting here! lol) before midnight on Friday (11th May) and I'll randomly pick a name over the weekend to win these goodies - felt stickers (like Fuzzy Felts if you're an 80s child like me - but awesomer!) some My Memo sticky journaling notes, 2 rolls of washi tape and one of those gorgeous vintage style fabric labels
Good luck everyone and I can't wait to hear what you all think of the range!

Thanks for dropping by today
Sarah x

Exciting News!!! Lights, Camera, Action!

Today I finally get to share some exciting news (you may already know this if you follow my Facebook page) I have been asked to take part in the new Kirstie Allsopp craft series (Kirstie's Vintage Home) on Channel 4 - wooooooohooooooo!!

Filming started yesterday and I was able to take two friends with me to join in the fun and I was lucky enough that Emma and Diane (who I had met on Twitter and spoken to via email but not actually met in person!) were able to come with me (a big thank you to them both for holding my hand on the first day!) so we packed our giant bags of crafty goodies and set off for London to take part in lots of crafty activities - I won't be giving away any secrets but I can't wait to see this new series, its going to be fabulous! :o)

I actually came back from lunch to find Kirstie had discovered my promarkers and was gleefully colouring in all my stamped images! I gave her a quick run down on the pens and she was hooked - I'm determined to get everyone colouring in! She sent me this tweet shortly after... LOL
Here is one card I made yesterday while I was there, Kirstie admired this card and couldn't believe that I had coloured it in, she had thought it was printed!
 Supply List - Paper by Bo Bunny (contact Bramwells for stockists) Stamp & Rose embellishment by Kaisercraft (Contact Jones & Co for Stockists) Card Candi - Hardware & Fancy Square Card Blank by Craftwork Cards, Tattered Florals Die - Tim Holtz, Promarkers, Kraft Cardstock, Coated Cardstock (for stamping onto) from Rymans. Sentiment pinched from Diane as I forgot my sentiment stamps - thanks Di! :o)

We spent the whole day there crafting, chatting and having fun while they filmed and took lots of pictures (eeek, I hope my hair looked OK and my make up held up, lol) I have more days of filming booked in between now and June and this morning I was asked if I could go back tomorrow for some more filming, a bit last minute but how could I say no! So I have lots to finish off and my bag to pack before trying to get some sleep so I don't look like Uncle Fester  in the morning! hahaha

Thanks so much for dropping by today
Sarah x

April Round Up

I can't believe that today is the first day of May! How quickly the year is flying by, its frightening... Here is a little round up of all the excitement of April through my instax pics...

My Britannia CD was released, I say it every time, but this is my current favourite and I'm loving making things with it!
 My desk looked like this for much of the month - eeeek! and I was featured on Fuji's Choose Film website (yay!)
Of course, I can't forget Easter, I indulged in a few too many choccie treats - oooopsie!
I started cooking again and got much better this time! and had pretty nails a couple of times (before ruining them with alcohol ink / paint etc...)
I got messy with Art Journaling and got to open a brand new pack of Derwent Aquatones...
I can't miss out a couple of cute pics of Fuzzybutt of course!
I had some super super exciting news (which you will know if you follow my Facebook page) I will be sharing it here on my blog soon though, promise! and last but not least, I'm a whole month closer to being able to tell you what this is for...
I've been keeping this secret way too long, I think I'll burst from secrets one day!!

Of course as well as all this I've been working on brand new shiny things which you will see on my blog soon, launched the Craft Basics & Scrap Basics collections (which you can see in my shop) working on new designs, magazine projects and lots of frantic sketching and writing, its a crazy busy time, my desk is full, my studio is full and I'm relying on disco naps to get me through the day - of course my insomnia is still raging, how else would I get everything done! lol, saying all that, I wouldn't have it any other way, its a fabulous busy tiring rollercoaster but very exciting and super fun!

Thanks for dropping by to catch up on what I've been up to.

Sarah x