Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Keep Calm and Wag On with Happy Tails

We live in strange times and never has this sentiment seemed more appropriate. Keeping calm may be beyond us some of the time but we can keep wagging on as best we can.

Crafting on is something we can do, too, of course – so I spent the afternoon making a big stack of these for my March customers. I used the fabulous Happy Tails stamp set, which I haven’t used in a while, so that was fun, and finished off the last of my Golden Honey Designer Series Paper, too.

Use the Stamparatus with a two-step stamp set like Happy Tails and, once it's set up, every single one will be a hit.

Monday, 30 March 2020

The Gang's All Meer head to the mountains

How’s the isolation going? These socially irresponsible meerkats decided to self-isolate in the mountains, ignoring all government advice to #StayHome.

They don't need to stay two metres apart as they are in isolation together... however, they are now stuck in the mountains as flights are grounded so they can't get home.

Don't be a meerkat! But do grab The Gang's All Meer stamp set while you can as TOMORROW is the last day of Sale-a-Bration! 
Tip: Mix those stamp sets! I used The Gang’s All Meer with Snow Front to create this fun scene.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Simple Stamping with Honey Bee

How are you liking the Honey Bee bundle? For me, to bee or not to bee is no question because I love it. These were my Cuppa & Card projects for March. Sadly, I only managed to visit one venue before the lockdown so I’m glad I have the opportunity to share them here, too. 

For the above project, I stamped the bee in the centre of the panel, then stamped with Artisan Textures on top. A very quick way of colouring an image!

The second card features some die-cut stamped images, although for Cuppa & Card, where we keep things simple, they fussy-cut these instead. Such bright and cheery projects for worrying times.

However, I am determined to keep crafting through the crisis and hope you will, too.  My online store remains open for now, so please head on over to stockpile the real essentials... cardstock and adhesives!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Sale-a-Bration third release

Yes, MORE Sale-a-Bration freebies to earn! Working on the theory that you probably have everything you want from the exclusive SAB collections by now, there's a whole new selection of products now available with a qualifying spend. Choose from these fab products if you spend £45 or more, or £90 or more for the punch or dies.

Remember, crafting is the perfect isolation activity!

And if you shop at my store using the host code A9JXEPUT, I'll send you a little thank you gift when I can next get to the Post Office.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Distance crafting - with Honey Bee and Golden Honey DSP

Honey Bee Stampin' Up! AllThingsStampy Helen Read Golden Honey DSP
I am so proud of all the oldies and non-techies who are rapidly learning to use technology so they can keep up with their activities and families. This past week I’ve had several people who are not at all comfortable with technology join me on video conference calls so they can continue to enjoy craft classes.

This was my first demo by video. Only three people were able to join me (it was a rubbish day and time, to be fair) but it went swimmingly, with everyone able to chat to each other, too. I think this bit is extremely important – it’s great watching Facebook Lives but it is a bit one-way.
Kits to make these cards will soon be winging their way to customers – and best of all, they can still make it even if they don’t have the Honey Bee stamp set because everything but the greeting is made from Designer Series Paper. I will die-cut the beehive for them, and they can fussy-cut the rest from the DSP, using their own greeting stamp to finish off.

They can keep us apart but they can't keep us from crafting!

Friday, 20 March 2020

Pigment Sprinkles meet Friendly Silhouettes and Honey Bee

As much as I love Stampin’ Up!® product coordination, sometimes I also love to mix things up. It's a real pleasure to find that your older products work perfectly with your newer ones.

It’s no secret that I love the Honey Bee stamp set and also that I love the Pigment Sprinkles. But I've sadly neglected The Friendly Silhouettes dies, so I thought it was time to bring them all together and create crafting magic, although I say so myself...

With Pigment Sprinkles, it doesn’t do to have a fixed idea of what the results will look like before you start. Just let the magic happen!

For the rainbow card, I sprinkled some of each powder onto some watercolour paper and spritzed with water. For the green and yellow card, I wet the watercolour paper first, sprinkled green and yellow powders and then spritzed on top. 


Thursday, 19 March 2020

The AllThingsStampy guide to surviving self-isolation

How to survive self-isolation social distancing coronavirus crafters

I regret to say, I have suspended all in-person events for the time being and am exploring other options to help see us all through the current pandemic. One thing which will be at the forefront of many people’s minds is how to cope without their regular craft sessions, or working from home without their colleagues to chat to in the kitchen.

I’ve worked from home for many years, with varying degrees of success. I was surprised to learn that even an introvert like me can go stir crazy with a sufficient level of isolation. The hardest times were when I didn't feel part of a team but I was required to be at my desk for most of the time.

Some people – particularly extroverts – will find social distancing and/or self-isolation harder than others, so here are my tips for coming out of the other side of this with your sanity intact. Feel free to share with your self-isolating friends:

👭 1. You need your “tribe”.
Stay in touch with the mates who make you laugh - the ones who will happily spend half an hour debating the best biscuit, if David Tennant is still sexy now that he's too skinny or if Matt Lucas is a suitable replacement for Sandi Toksvig on Bake-Off. And not just by text or messenger. Phone them or video chat – seeing their faces make it so much more real. Best of all... you only have to be dressed from the shoulders up.

🌳 2. Go outside
At the moment, self-isolation doesn't mean staying indoors 24/7. In uncertain times, when anxiety levels can be high, the constancy of nature can be very calming so if you can get to some trees, try to do this every day. Google shinrin-yoku for proof of its value – there’s a scientific reason why it works.

Walk the dog, walk somebody else’s dog, walk to the postbox to send a card to a friend. If you can, meet up with someone to walk with. Just remember to stay the required distance apart – so no hugging!

🗣 3. Enjoy a natter
Visit a neighbour and chat in the garden. Chat to the strangers you meet on your walk. This comes naturally to us in Derbyshire but I understand it is unusual in some parts of the country. Use this as an opportunity to spread the habit; people tell you all kinds of weird and wonderful things when they think they’ll never see you again!

🦆 4. Appreciate nature
If you can’t get out, open all the windows to let some air in. And get a bird-feeder. Watching nature in action is a great distraction from boredom or anxiety. Not convinced? Read Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness.

✂️ 5. Stay creative.
Last but definitely not least... keep crafting! Having a creative outlet has been proven to be beneficial to our mental health. Concentrating on making something pretty can take our minds off the world outside. And if you make a card, you can share the benefits by sending it to a friend.

How will you be coping with reduced (or no) in-person contact? Please share your ideas below and help make this easier for us all. 

And finally...

The small print

This is my personal blog and my sole responsibility as an Independent Stampin' Up!® demonstrator. All images are © Stampin' Up!® All content including photographs, projects and text are © Helen Read, unless otherwise stated. Please feel free to copy my ideas for your personal use and inspiration - if you are a SU demonstrator you may use these ideas for your events but please give credit where it is due. Please do not use my ideas for monetary gain, competitions or publication. The images on this blog - including blog buttons - should not be copied and used elsewhere on the internet or on CDs.