Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Card for Edward

One of Len's great-nephews just celebrated his 19th Birthday. As always, I struggled making a card for a young man (any man or boy for that matter!) but came up with this:
I used:

- A6 white card blank, tent style

- pieces of rhubarb red and air force blue card stock for the narrow frames - one outer set and one inner set

- piece of patterned paper from the Dovecraft Back to Basics 'Monochrome' paper pack

- I used a snippet of white card for the stamping, already trimmed to the size I wanted

- but first of all I stamped the plane onto a snippet of white card, using Memento 'Rhubarb Stalk' ink and a stamp from the Stampin' Up 'Sky Is the Limit' set

- then carefully cut around the plane leaving a narrow white border

- using the Misti stamped the 'vapour trail' with Memento 'Teal Zeal' ink. The trail stamp comes with a looped heart but it was easy to just avoid inking that up - and of course I used the fussy cut plane to check the positioning of the 'trail'

- added a couple of clouds using stamps from the same set and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- then added the sentiment (I liked the swirls around the word Birthday - as if someone was doing a loop-the-loop) - using Memento 'Teal Zeal' ink and a stamp from the Penny Black 'Special Thoughts' set

- as all the pieces for the layers had been trimmed to size when I first set out to make this card, I just glued them onto the card front before adhering the plane with a couple of thin sticky pads

Showed it to Len and got a big thumbs up! Hooray indeed :) Adding the plane raised with sticky pads makes a huge difference and I'll be using that trick again for sure.

The SU stamp set is a pre-loved Sale-A-Bration freebie from a couple of years ago- so glad I recently found and then bought it. Lesson there though - don't dither else some things do disappear.

I Googled the stamp set and found umpteen card ideas - the one I based this card on can be found here. My version quite isn't a straight copy but Brandy's card of two years ago certainly provided the inspiration in a big way - she's a clever crafter!





Sunday, 21 January 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Weeks 317 and 318

Well folks, we're finally back into the usual fortnightly routine in the Snippets Playground. All of the sand erasers and also the grand Christmas Draw prizes have been sent on their way...........although Maxine hasn't claimed hers as yet. I'll give it another week and then redraw for it if I don't hear anything. Just hope all is OK with the weird weather we've been having and flu germs flying all over the place etc.

My snippets card for this fortnight came about when Tara, of Seven Hills Crafts, very kindly donated a cute stamp set for the Playground. It popped up unexpectedly in an order a little while before Christmas and I wanted to share it with you as soon as possible. There was a duplicate set of stamps for me to play with as well - and this is what I made:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, tent style

- a snippet of patterned paper glued on to cover the whole of the card front. I was hunting for something Japanese in style but found this instead, which contained all the colours I wanted to use for the little images and a spot of paper piecing

- then I die cut a snippet of white card using a Lil'Inkers 'Stitched Rectangle' die - and set it aside for the time being

- used Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink to stamp a real selection of little images onto another snippet of white card and also a piece of the patterned paper (the hat and vase - for paper piecing). The Misti was invaluable for getting nice solid black patches on the little pandas - and the cute set of stamps is by MFT - called 'Sushi Date' 

- coloured in all the images using Faber Castell 'Polychromos' pencils - matching them to the patterned paper as I went

- ha, then the fun began! I spent a happy couple of hours carefully cutting around all the images by hand, leaving narrow white borders and popping them into a little plastic container as I went for fear of losing any of them

- then added each main piece to the stitched edge rectangle of white card I'd cut earlier, to build up the scene

- the little die cut hat comes with the V shape finishing off the top. I dealt with that by placing the paper piecing hat where I wanted it to be on the bear's head (poor little thing, I had to give the ears a bit of a trim!) and then placing it on the card front and lightly drawing a pencil mark around the top of the hat's intended position. That meant I had a guide to use a fine line black pen to draw the V shape before erasing the pencil line and then popping the 'hatted bear' in place

- at that point I took the risky step of stamping the sentiment with a lot of the scene already in place. The reason I felt confident enough was because of using the Misti plus the fact that MFT stamps always work so well giving a clean, crisp result. Also, I did a little trial run on a spare piece of card - as well as using an acetate grid to position the sentiment in the first place :) It's called the 'belt, braces and double knicker elastic' technique

- then I glued the white rectangle 'scene' to the patterned card front and added all the other bits and pieces of food - right down to the little green whirl of wasabi!

- final touch was to add some light grey to 'ground' the vase and bears and also add Glossy Accents to the eyes 

This is such a cute set of stamps, and a total delight to work with - although I was a bit daunted before I got going I'll admit! There are dies to match this stamp set apparently, but they aren't essential as there are no really awkward bits to hand trim. I do buy matching dies but it's generally only when I feel that the images really would be too tricky to trim.

So, here's this week's Snippets Playground prize:
And a huge thank you to Tara for offering this lovely prize - some of the sentiments are 'raw-some' indeed - I've increased the size of the photo so you can see them easily)! A perfect stamps set for anyone who likes sushi - or even just the clever play on words in the sentiments.

I love to look at sushi (perfect little works of art really) and in Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport there's a sushi bar (called Yo! I think) with a selection of ready portioned and quite delicious looking things to pick which  roll past the seated diners on a circular conveyor belt. All neatly enclosed in clear domed dishes (sushi, not the diners - silly!). But, so far, we haven't ventured to try it - I'm not sure about raw fish somehow.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Tara and her husband Rick own Seven Hills Crafts - and for us here in the UK it's a real treasure trove of USA craft goodies which we can't usually get our little paws on. Over Christmas and New Year Tara and hubby moved their home and business and it was dreadful not being able to order during that period of time. No wonder I've gone a bit mad since! The Playground toy box is looking quite healthy again, after the big Christmas purge. I just can't help myself, sigh.

BTW. I mentioned sand erasers earlier in this post. I do have a rubberised glue eraser which generally works well but one stubborn little bit came off perfectly with the sand eraser as a last resort! Yay!

As always, the Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 3rd February. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' - just in case you're playing only for fun. Thanks!

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winners of last fortnight's Lawn Fawn 'Shammy' stamp cleaners. We won't have a guest designer as I just haven't had a chance to contact anyone to ask in plenty of time and this coming week is a busy one for me. Thank you so much to those of you who have offered your services - you're on my little list :) I'll be showing my 'picks' from last fortnight of course.

Remember, it's ScrappyMo's Rudolph Days challenge from the 25th (I might make a snippets card for next Sunday just for Rudolph Day, but with no prize as this one will still be running). You also have a little bit of time to enter Darnell's new 'Twofers' challenge if you're quick!

Love from Parsnip (he's totally back to normal now - whatever THAT is!) and of course from me,

Friday, 19 January 2018

Twofer Card Challenge #1

I was going to leave my entry for Darnell's new 'Twofer' card challenge until my usual Wednesday post. But, that's really very last minute, the cards are made already, and I'd cry if someone comes up with one of my ideas.

We have to use a 'feather' stamp and/or die on two different cards, for two different occasions - and you need a stamped or die cut sentiment to emphasise which occasion the card is for - easy huh?

After much pondering about just how to achieve what I wanted for the Christmas card I found a neglected set of feather stamps lurking here. And away I went with these cards as a result:

This is the stamp set I used - just the the smallest feather stamp on the bottom right:
Here are the cards on their own, with how I made them:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, tent style

- snippet of SU 'Certainly Celery' card for the backing layer, topped by a piece of paper from the 'Sweet Wishes' paper stack (free with a magazine ages ago) - glued together and set aside

- then stamped the blue and pink feather onto a snippet of white card using a slightly curved feather from the Viva Decor stamp set, which has loads of lovely feathers in. Made in Germany but also available over here in the UK. The inks for the feather are Memento 'Summer Sky' and VersaMagic 'Pink Petunia' - chosen to match the patterned paper

- next, stamped the sentiment using stamps from the 'Hot Stuff' stamp set made by Clearly Besotted and SU 'Wild Wasabi' ink pad

- die cut the 'banner' using a die from the MFT 'Stitched Fish Tail Flag' Stax set

- then drew around the same die and cut it even bigger than the pencil lines using more 'Certainly Celery' card - the dies cut really close to the edge of the metal so I had to create my own wider border

- glued the two layers together, trimmed the top and added it to the layered green and patterned paper before then gluing them to the card front

Loved making this card, lining up the patterned paper was a challenge - and there's no way I could have stamped the sentiment without the Misti!

I thought about Darnell and her lovely little (not so little now) twin grandsons whilst making this - even though the card is for a 'one of each variety' :)

My Christmas card is next, and that's the one I'm really happy with as I stretched the Misti a little bit further. I've never seen this done before but someone will already have 'sussed' it I'm certain:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank, side opening

- then cut a piece of white card to an exact square - I think mine was 5" x 5" - just make sure you have it big enough to either die cut or trim down later as placing the feathers was a bit of an unknown in terms of the final size I confess

- I marked the centre and then lightly drew around a circular die using a soft pencil

- selected the same smallest feather stamp along with three different SU green ink pads and it was time to play

- set the card in place in one corner of the Misti (for some reason I tend to go for the bottom left corner but the principle is the same however you prefer to position your card for stamping)

- then placed the 'softly curled' feather stamp in place at 12 o'clock on the pencilled circle. A slightly curled or curved feather is likely to work best for this technique

- picked the feather up with the lid of the Misti and then stamped it onto the card using SU's 'Certainly Celery' - the lightest of the green ink pads I'd chosen to use

- to be honest, at this point I could already see enough about where this was going so I carefully erased the pencilled circle and 'winged it'

- leaving the stamp in place, I rotated the piece of card by 90 degrees to the left, inked up the stamp again and stamped another feather. I did this twice more for the other two stampings, rotating by 90 degrees each time (I went to the left but either way would work I'm sure)

- now I had a piece of white card with light green feathers stamped at North, South, East and West - or, 12, 3, 6 and 9 on a clock face

- let's stick with the clock face descriptions (sheesh photos would be easier but all the photo editing is crazy!)

- next I cleaned the stamp using my Shammy and placed it onto the card in the Misti, at 11 o'clock this time, so it was overlapping the first feather by about half and also following the curve in my mind. One could argue that I have a VERY curved mind to be honest!

- stamped the feather four times, as before, this time using SU's 'Wild Wasabi' ink and of course rotating the card by 90 degrees each time

- last of the stamping was to clean the stamp and replace it at 10 o'clock on the happily forming circle. Then stamped as before, four times using SU's 'Old Olive' ink and rotating the piece of card by 90 degrees each time - so the circle was complete

- and there we have it, one feather wreath, all thanks to the Misti

- I die cut the wreath panel using a die from the 'Stitched Squares' set by The Works, and mounted it onto a slightly larger square of red satin mirri card 

- using more of the snippet of red satin mirri card, I backed it with Stick-It and die cut a sentiment using the Presscut 'Merry Christmas' die and a bow using one of the Memory Box 'Crisp Bows' dies

- snipped the long string off the bow and added that to the bottom of the wreath and then popped the sentiment in place

- did my usual trick next of running the panel through the Cuttlebug using the embossing plates on either side of the panel and an embossing  folder (left folded) on top to give the right pressure without leaving any indentations on the panel

- glued the panel in place on the card front

- added a few Josy Rose shiny gold star shaped nail heads here and there on the wreath and also on the 'knot' of the red bow 

I think this could work well using gold/ silver stamping inks as well - of course, if you're really wanting to 'sit and peel grapes' then you could possibly emboss each set of four feathers as you go.

I did read a few folks saying how much fun they had being able to use stuff for both cards whilst it was all out on the desk. The only thing I used more than once was the feather stamp - and I guess the Misti, guillotine and die cutting machine!

It was fun to play and after such a long absence I did spot my mojo peeking round the corner of the craft room door - almost ready to return!

Thanks Darnell for the swift kick in the rear end! I hope to be back to play again - once I recover from this first marathon!

 




Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Birthday card for a 2 year old

One of our little neighbours (Jack) just celebrated his 2nd Birthday. As I was up to my eyes with the Snippets Giveaway, Len came to the rescue and pulled together a picture for me to use - and this is the end result:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank

- slightly smaller square of yellow card, from the snippets folder, glued onto the card front

- then the trimmed image panel, glued on top of the yellow layer

- finishing touch - a thick coating of Glossy Accents on the cherry

Thank you Len! Saved my bacon once again.

All the Snippets Playground prizes (apart from one) have now been posted. Am still waiting to hear from one winner - 'Hello, anyone there Maxine?!'. 






Sunday, 14 January 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Weeks 313 and 314 - Holiday Giveaway results

At last, all the holiday season giveaways are closed and also the draws have been made.

No Guest designer Designer this fortnight, I've just a few names left as 'volunteers' - so if anyone else wants to also join in do please let me know. Otherwise I'll just make a normal snippets card myself on prize draw week when we run out of Guest Designers - with no giveaway attached to it. Or, not bother and just launch into the picks and prize draw result.

I did actually make 20 snippets cards, to include with prizes over the coming weeks but then realised it was 'that little bear holding a huge flower' image of 'Parsnip' yet again and a bit repetitive so I haven't bothered uploading it here. I might be wearing the stamp out in fact as it isn't stamping very clearly - but it was a freebie so possibly over time they deteriorate? (Lucky I did buy a second one as I did wonder at the time - well, OK, I confess I lost the original one and had to buy a second magazine - whereupon the original stamp reappeared of course!). But, I ploughed on with the original stamp and when I used another (branded) stamp for the sentiment it came out really crisp so it isn't  the card or the ink - but at least Parsnip has a fuzzy outline :)

Eraser winners have the delights of Parnsip's rear end to look forward to - I used a PB bear stamp - where the little bear is bent right over trying to do a hand stand :)

So this time around, let's go for the fortnightly picks right away - starting with a Gold Star:
Heather always makes wonderfully clever snippets cards, and this time she's showing a fabulous way to use up snippets of mulberry paper over on her blog HERE. What a lovely design and such pretty colours too. This is my first Gold Star pick of 2018 of course and once you check out this little beauty more closely you'll understand why I'm sure folks! I bet you'll be hunting out that long forgotten mulberry paper! Please feel free to take the Gold Star badge for your blog Heather (see RH sidebar) - no offence taken if you don't though.

Sandy J made this marvellous 'Bridge' card. I recently featured one that Sonia had made and make no apologies for picking another one this time round. LOVE the technique and it's such a clever way to make a card with depth which also folds flat. Such a sweet design, as well as being a 'snippets buster'!

Oh WOW - and White On White it certainly is! I just love this gorgeous card, made by Lynne. It's a mix of all white - vellum, sparkly card and also plain card - so, so pretty. Sigh, what a design and so beautifully made as well.

And how about this for a brilliant idea, from Kath?! So elegant and a great way to use up strips of snippets - I can see a few of you having a go at this card! I can see this card two ways - I know it's an optical illusion but it sometimes looks as if the heart is the very top layer on the card (which it is), and other times it looks as if it's actually a heart shaped aperture backed with those luscious snippets. Perfect for Valentine's Day - which is our next big 'event' isn't it.

In the UK, we only send Valentine's cards to our partners - in general. Or, as teenagers, those we had a super-huge crush on of course!

Over the Holiday Fortnight we had a total of 73 entries and those of you who came to play brought some wonderful makes as usual!

Prize draw time (BIG drum roll) and  I haven't gone through the rigmarole of adding in screen shots of the Random Number Generator results. You have to trust me - all the more when I tell you that not ONE of the prizewinners was just playing for just part of a prize! To be honest, I had visions of total mayhem with prizes being split here, there and everywhere, but I'd allowed folk that option and would have stuck to it.

However, each one of the winners was playing for the lot when it was a bundle on offer. And why not indeed - I did choose everything to work together to make up  a bundle. But, as already said above, I was also willing to split if that's how it worked out. I've been mulling over the 'odds' and am obviously too long away from my working life of probability calculations to get my head fully around why this happened - except that the majority of people had gone for whole bundles where applicable so they outweighed the 'part only' entrants - even though the numbers were drawn totally randomly.

Anyhow - enough wittering - here's the list of lucky winners:

Prize A - Penny Black 'Chill Day' stamp
Lesley G (26)

Prize B -  3 x Inkylicious 'Winter Snow Pines - Large' stamps
Carole D (12)
Maxine (31)
Linby (24)

Prize C - Stampingbella 'Elf with a Reindeer on Top' stamp and Frantic Stampers 'Stitched Fishtail Banners' set of three dies
Liz (53)

Prize D - House Mouse 'Mistletoe Mice' stamp and Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings stamp set
Val (3)

Prize E - Creative Dies 'Wonky Stitches - Nesting Squares' set, Altenew 'Poinsettia Pine' set of stamps and Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings' stamp set
Jane W (22)

Prize F - Spellbinders Borderabilities 'A2 Curved Borders' die set, Echo Park 'Snowman #2' set of dies, Sweet Dixie '4 Layering Snowflakes' set of dies and Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings' stamp set
Janis in ID (57)

Prize G - Sugar Pea Designs 'Tinsel in a Tangle' stamp set and a Creative dies 'Wonky Stitches - Nesting Rectangles' set of dies
ionabunny (37)

Prize H - Inkylicious 'Xmas Tree Swirl Small', Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings' set of stamps and Bo Bunny 'Father Christmas' set of stamps
Alison C (11)

I hope there are a few Happy Dances going on right now. I seem to recall for example that Jane W was really keen to win the Inkylicious sentiments - you sure did that Jane, with a good few extras as well :)

And I do know that just a few of you did recently win a sand eraser - which is already on the way to you. The eraser draw was totally separate to this one and absolutely no way should you feel that perhaps your name coming out again isn't right. I would be quite upset if any of you reacted like that - you played along in both giveaways and won fair and square!

Of course, I have the addresses for those of you who won erasers already dropped into a file for printing here. But, I do need addresses for the rest of you (with your full name as well please) so I can do some quick copy/pasting. Just add the subject 'Giveaway' in an email and send it to my addy which is on the right hand sidebar. The sooner the better please as I discovered on Friday that it is so not a good day at our little Post Office. I had to go back in and holler for the person who'd blocked my car in so tightly that there was no way I could get in without scrambling over the passenger side. I was polite but for goodness sakes, some people really would be dangerous if they had two brain cells rather than just the one!  Plus the Post Office is having an IT upgrade on Wednesday - and it's almost bound to be a disaster for the rest of the week.

Keep those snippets entries coming folks, you still have a week left to play HERE for weeks 315/316 remember! The prize is a Lawn Fawn 'Stamp Cleaning Shammy' - and there are two of these on offer so double the chances of winning.

Love from the little white peril Parsnip - and of course me,





Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Make a wish

Quite a while before Christmas, I bought some pre-loved Penny Black stamps, and one was just perfect for a friend's card recently. The 'dandelion clock' blowing in the wind to settle wherever it lands is always special for someone who was a Military Child - all the more so when it's a Penny Black image:
I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank

- a smaller layer of SU's 'Certainly Celery' card stock as a 'frame' - glued in place

- then a smaller layer of spotted patterned paper from the Teresa Collins 'Sweet Afternoon' paper pad, glued in place

- stamped the Penny Black 'Cheesecake Wish' image onto a piece of white card and coloured it using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils and Sansodor blending solution

- tickled the flying seeds and the actual flower head with clear Wink of Stella

- stamped 'Make a Wish' using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a stamp from Clearly Besotted's 'Say What? sentiments set

- die cut the image using a 'Stitched Circle' die by The Works and glued it onto the card front

Oh I do so love this adorable little mouse stamp, and it's really lovely to colour as well.

Edit: Linby says I ought to enter this into the current Penny Black and More Challenge - which is 'Something New'. The stamp is new to me and it was my first time of using it. I really ought to make a list of my fave challenges and check them out regularly - too busy running the Playground I guess! 

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Weeks 315 and 316 - plus Tombow Sand Eraser winners

Bet that's got you wondering! Although it's the week I always make a snippets card, generally with a linked prize - this week there isn't a snippets card at all. Basically I ran out of time and also inspiration after rattling off several cards in quick succession for the Christmas and New Year bumper giveaway.

That has now closed, along with being able to comment on prizes - on the dot of 11am this morning - here in the chilly UK. I'll publish the winners next Sunday along with the fortnight's picks - much the same as usual but with a good few more prizewinners of course.

Speaking of prizewinners, before I move onto our prize for the coming fortnight - here's a list of the 20 winners of the Tombow Mono Sand Erasers. I used the random number generator but it takes too long to fiddle around publishing 20 screen shots, so you'll have to trust me.

1 - Christine Smith

13 - Carol L

8 - Sue (Morris)

28 - Janice

35 - ScrappyMo

5 - Karen L

18 - Viv

31 - April

9 - Lynne in NI

15 - NanaConnie

7 - Val

29 - Lia

22 - Kathy A

10 - Liz C

12 - Kath

19 - Alison C

20 - Sandra H

24 - Em

33 - Helen

16 - Sandy J

I took the time and trouble to link back to your blogs - only hope I got them all correct! The names are right - even if the links aren't.

To make life much easier for me in terms of addressing all these prizes, can you please send me an email with your name and address (my addy is on the RH side bar) with Eraser as the subject. I know I have a good few of your addresses but it would save me from flipping through files and old emails - a quick copy and paste into a labels template here would help me loads! Thank you - and congratulations to all the winners!

I'm not holding any of the eraser prizes back waiting for the 'big draw' - once a prize is drawn and won then it's got to be sent on its merry little way, otherwise I get into a real pickle. I'd rather post two packages and keep things in order :) Besides which, it sends Parsnip into a little white fluffy ball of confusion!

Now we've got the 'eraser draw' finished off - let's see what's on offer this coming fortnight:
 
I recently watched a Jennifer McGuire video, where she was showing the Lawn Fawn Shammy and singing its praises. Lately I've got much more picky about any teeny bits of 'fuzz' that get left behind when cleaning my stamps with baby wipes - those little perishers tend not to show up until you next come to use the stamp needless to say! And, of course popping used baby wipes into the waste all adds to landfill issues. I ordered three of these little beauties and have to say that I'm delighted with mine. This fortnight the other two are on offer - two winners, with one Shammy per person.

One could always buy a synthetic shammy and cut it up to use - in fact am sure we have some in a cleaning cupboard here, bought at the Ideal Homes Show many moons ago! But, I like the size and also the pretty colour - although it's only fair to say that it will become stained straight away - but 'oh boy' will your stamps be lovely and clean! It just works with water like any shammy and whilst it apparently will clean off some amount of the permanent inks such as Stazon - you're probably still stuck with using the proper cleaner for those. But, for water based inks (which as I said will also stain the shammy, just so you don't get a surprise!) this really is the business - and no more nasty little pieces of fuzz to catch you out! I keep mine in a poly zip lock bag in a drawer beside me - with just enough left open for it to breathe. I think a stained shammy means happy stamps :)

As always, the Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 20th January. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' - just in case you're playing only for fun. Thanks!

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winners of last fortnight's Bumper Christmas/New Year giveaway! Again, we won't have a guest designer but I'll be showing my 'picks' from last fortnight of course.

Love from Parsnip (he's still recovering from being such a little Hampshire piglet over Christmas, in between fussing around muttering about padded envelopes and the number of lists I have here!) and of course from me,