Thursday, 26 May 2016

Masculine Projects for Father's Day




Saturday was my Masculine Workshop, so that the ladies could be prepared for Father’s Day in good time. There was also the option to use different greetings for various male relatives, if they wished. 

These were the three projects for the afternoon. I roped in my friend Kelly to creating these projects for me as I’ve been so busy with work lately – and didn’t she do a great job? 


The chocolate slider is quite a - okay, a very - complicated project, taken from a tutorial by German demonstrator Alexandra Grape. I’ve made lots of these before but still struggled on the day! You pull the ribbon to the right, and the greeting pops out at the left – genius!


Because this was such a time-consuming project, we kept the other two really simple. This wine tag is really easy – just a simple score line and a punched hole and you are halfway there.



The Open Sea card is really fun. It looks pretty unassuming from the outside...


But I particularly love the inside of the card, with its pop-out Chalk Lines waves and bobbing ship (well, it doesn’t really bob, but it looks like it does) as the front layer of waves are popped out on window sheets, concertina-style.


The projects also showcase lots of retiring products, including the Banner Punch, Bird Builder Punch, Going Places DSP, The Open Sea, Chalk Lines, map embossing folder, corrugated paper, black satin ribbon, circle and oval framelits, decorative label punch, mini brads, word window punch… not to mention the inks and cardstock in Lost Lagoon, Delightful Dijon and Mossy Meadow. Phew!

Some of them are carrying over to the new catalogue, though, including the lovely In The Meadow and really useful Guy Greetings, as well as the Scallop Tag Topper Punch. 


I’m not going to do a recipe as it will take ages and this post is long enough already! Plus, many of the items will be sold out by now. Anyway, I think it’s now time we started looking forward, not back – it’s new catalogue time in just a few days! 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

In Color™ Share – three great options available



On Sunday, I sent out an email about an In Color™share... and by teatime all five slots had gone! But don’t despair, I’m pretty sure I can fill another share at least... and I can always use any leftovers myself. 

So if you’re like me, and take a while to grow to love new colours, this is a great opportunity to dip your toe into the water before investing your hard-earned cash.

I have three In Color Bundles available:


Bundle 1 – £20
My entry level In Color Bundle is perfect for those who aren’t sure if they want to commit fully to the new colours. It costs just £20 and includes a taste of cardstock, ribbon, DSP and embellishments. You’ll get:
  • 4 sheets of each cardstock
  • 1.5m of each ribbon
  • 1 sheet of each colour of DSP (cut into 6x6 sheets unless stated when ordering)
  • 1/5 pack of enamel shapes (8 of each colour)

Bundle 2 – £30
is for those who want to head a little deeper into the water. You get exactly the same as above, plus a set of In Color Markers, for the discounted price of £30.


Bundle 3 – £40
Bundle 3 is for those who like to jump feet first into the deep end - and enjoy the best bargain! Just £40 will get you all the items in Bundle 1, plus a set of five In Color Classic Stampin ’ Pads. 

Most people are opting for Bundle 3 because it’s such a great deal. Let me know if you’d like me to put your name down for any of the shares above. I will be ordering first thing on 1st June. 


The prices above are for collection from my house. If you wish to have your bundle posted to you (UK only), this will be charged at cost. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Mix It Up Monday: Love You Lots with Emerald Envy



It’s Mix It Up Monday and time to start creating with my brand new set of In Color charts, featuring 50 colour combinations using the 2015-17 In Colors. 



I’ve started with a combo that’s WAY out of my comfort zone, using two brand new colours, Emerald Envy and... I can hardly bring myself to say the words... Peekaboo Peach. I’m going to feel SO ridiculous saying that colour name at Stampin’ Up!® parties! I even dug out my little-used Tempting Turquoise for the occasion. Definitely not my sort of colour combo but it seemed to fit the image. You’d be forgiven for missing this stamp set as it’s right at the back in the Stampin’ Rewards section, but do check it out. It’s called Love You Lots and you can earn it free when you host a £150 workshop. 

It’s just ripe for watercolouring, so that’s exactly what I did, using the ink in the lid of my Emerald Envy and Tempting Turquoise ink pads. 

Here’s a tip if you’re nervous about going over the edges (not that it matters, honest!) or about colours bleeding into each other and you’re too impatient to wait for them to dry. 

Start by painting with clean water. Paint the area you want to colour – in this case, the frog and, with a slight gap, the puddle below. Now, when you add the ink, it will only spread as far as the edges of the water and won’t bleed over the edges. Genius, eh?

And, of course, this gives you a useful margin for error: if your water painting goes “wrong”, you can allow it to dry and start again with no harm done. 

Watercolouring completed, I added a greeting with the new Thoughtful Banners stamp set and matching punch. To finish off, I had fun with some Timeless Textures spatters which, to my surprise, gave the card a bit of a 90s vibe; not sure why, but that’s the impression I get when looking at this project. 



Finally, I tried to photograph my project... and got photobombed!



Saturday, 21 May 2016

Caturday: one-eared kitty


Oh lordy, it's Caturday again already! I meant to post more projects during the week but it just didn’t happen. I DO have Monday’s project ready to post though... featuring a brand new stamp set from the new catalogue AND a brand new colour combination!

Meanwhile, it IS still Caturday, so here’s a lovely cat we found on a walk around Wirksworth last weekend. It was lurking on a wall under a tree and we wouldn’t have spotted it if it hadn’t shouted at us as we walked past. Clearly a cat in the Cobweb mould – shout and the humans will stroke you. Look closely at the picture... the poor cat only has one ear. We didn’t like to ask why.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Just a note with Picture Perfect




Picture Perfect is a  beautiful stamp set which involves three-step – and even four-step – stamping. Some of the images take a little practice but the flower is fairly straightforward as there’s lots of margin for error in something as natural as petals.

The stamps are numbered, which helps, but can also hinder as it doesn’t always make sense to start at number 1! But it does for the petals, so I stamped in this order, with the following colours:

1. Blushing Bride
2. Calypso Coral
3. Watermelon Wonder.

For the leaves, however, I found that stamping in reverse order worked better. Also, to simplify things slightly for the Make & Take, I only stamped two of the steps, like so:

3. Mint Macaron
2. Garden Green

The background panel is created using Timeless Textures. I cannot stress enough how fantastic this stamp set is – if you love textured backgrounds or the shabby chic look, this set is an absolute must!


Monday, 16 May 2016

Mix It Up Monday: 50 colour combinations using 2016-18 In Colors



Sit yourself down with a cup of tea because it’s that time of year again. The time to wave a fond farewell to five beloved friends, welcome in some new chums and see how they rub along with the rest of the gang. 

The new folks may take a little time to get to know, but I’m sure they’ll soon become as well loved as our good pals Mossy Meadow, Lost Lagoon, Blackberry Bliss and the other two. Sorry, that was a bit harsh on Hello Honey (although I prefer the dirtier shade of Delightful Dijon) but I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the back of Tangelo Twist, can you?

But while they’re busy packing their bags and getting ready for the off, we can start preparing the the guest rooms for our five new visitors. They’ll be sticking around for the next two years so we’d better get used to them!

So it is my great pleasure to introduce you to… 

Dapper Denim: a casual chap, who will rub along happily with just about everyone. I think we’re going to get on just fine and we’ll be enjoying lots of outings together.

Emerald Envy: a slightly snooty lady, who is a little fussy about the company she keeps (but not as difficult to get along with as Cucumber Crush). 

Flirty Flamingo: the clue is in the name, this lady ain’t fussy. She’s like the old Martini ad: “any time, any place, any where”. Yep, she’s a tart, but I’m sure you’ll love her!

Peekaboo Peach: Seriously, who saddled this poor girl with that name? Stampin’ Up!® didn’t think of us demonstrators at all, did they? It’s like calling your cat “Bumfluff” and then burning with shame as it’s called across a packed vets’ waiting room. Anyway, despite her unfortunate name, Peekaboo Peach is definitely not as coy as she sounds. She’s remarkably versatile and will turn her hand to anything.

Sweet Sugarplum: I’m not sure I’m going to get on with this little lady. She may be all pretty pretty,  nicey nicey, but I have a feeling there’s a sting in her tail. You know the sort; a bit too smiley to be sincere? Anyway, I’m reserving judgment until I’ve had more experience of her. 

So far, fairly positive. To save myself the effort of a U-turn, I didn’t even bother wasting any energy disliking the new colours this year. I just ordered them and will decide later if I like them. I had a hunch which ones would get used the most but, when creating my much-anticipated colour combinations, I began to see lots of possibilities. So watch this space for some interesting Mix It Up Mondays in the year ahead. 

And now, what you’ve been waiting for… this year’s In Color charts. This year, you get 50! Please pin, share, enjoy and, most of all, create!







Saturday, 14 May 2016

Around the World Blog Hop - Retiring Favourites



I’m back with my second post of the day because it’s time for another Around the World Blog Hop. Yes, you can travel the globe, visiting Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators along the way and seeing some beautiful projects made with retiring products. 

You may have travelled here from Julie Davison’s blog; if so, you’ll be wanting to head off to visit Martha Lucia Gomez after this. But it doesn’t really matter which order you take the tour – all the links can be found further down this post. 


It’s always fun to take part in a blog hop with these talented ladies and I was glad of an excuse to play with some of my favourite retiring goodies before they go. Demonstrator or customer, you don’t have to pack away your retiring products forever, but I choose to get rid so that I can concentrate on new products and keep my craft stash down!

One of my favourite retiring sets (as you probably guessed) is Summer Silhouettes (available in wood only in Europe), particularly this image, and I thought it was perfect for using with the resist technique, the topic for yesterday’s Crafty Friday. There are lots of ways to approach this technique but we concentrated sponging colour around clear-embossed images. And while I was busy demonstrating subtle pale shades, one of the ladies got to work on an amazing Daffodil Delight creation which I just had to CASE. So thanks to Kate C for the idea for this project. 

Other retiring products shown here include the Word Window punch (now sold out in Europe), the Hello Honey ink (pad and refill both sold out in Europe) I sponged around the bottom of main image panel, Something to Say for the greeting (still available in both clear-mount and wood in Europe), and the beautiful black satin ribbon (still available in Europe). 

Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of the tour!  Then please come back on Monday as I will be releasing 50 new colour combinations using the brand new 2016-18 In Colors! 


Julie Davison (United States)

Helen Read (United Kingdom)

Martha Lucia Gomez (Estados Unidos)

Miriam van Eyden (Netherlands)

Barbara Meyer (Austria)

Marie-Josée Trudel (Canada-Québec)

Anke Hämsch (Germany) 

Alisa Tilsner (Australia)

Liz Goldhawk (Canada)




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.