Monday, 30 September 2013

Washi tape Merry Little Christmas tree



By the comments I’ve received, this seems to have been one of the most popular projects I made for the Creative Tour display, so here’s a closer look.

To create it, I applied strips of washi tape to Whisper White cardstock and cut out using the Perfect Pennants die. For the plant pot, I put just the Cherry Cobbler washi tape onto Cherry Cobbler cardstock, cut out using the same die, but cut the point off.

I can’t actually remember how I made the tree trunk, but suspect it’s just a strip of Crumb Cake washi tape.

These were all stuck to a piece of Whisper White cardstock, which is overlaid with a piece of stamped vellum.

The main problem with vellum is adhesive, as everything will show through, so I stuck it down with a glue dot at the top, which is covered with the rhinestone, and another behind the word “little”, which hides it.

Stamps: Merry Little Christmas
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Whisper White, Cherry Cobbler
Ink: Black Stazon
Accessories: Perfect Pennants die, Large rhinestones, washi tape (Season of Style)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Caturday - My name is Earl




Lovely, lovely Earl. Regular Caturday readers will probably have realised by now that I have a bit of a thing for black cats. Earl is a relative newcomer to the cat shelter and if we weren’t already fully occupied here, I’d be adopting him for sure (along with Dennis).

Earl is a really chilled-out kitty, despite his youth. Last weekend he sat on the new castle ramparts – yes, there’s a castle now! – and purred while I stroked him. All the other young cats were hurtling around but Earl just wanted to be stroked.

Did I mention that I’ve taken over the Woodland Nook blog? It’s fairly new so we need to bump up our visitor numbers. Please drop in by clicking here

Friday, 27 September 2013

Washi tape Christmas tree



Washi tape makes everything easy. For this card I just tore different lengths to make a tree, which I embellished with a few rhinestones. You have to stick them down well as the tape is slightly shiny so the rhinestones are prone to slipping.

We made a similar one to this at my Christmas is Coming… Stamp-a-Stack at the weekend, but we used small circles of Champagne Glimmer Paper instead of rhinestones. Washi tape is one of my favourite products at the moment, so I made sure everyone had a full pack to use and take home afterwards, to make their Christmas cardmaking quick and simple!

There are only a few days left to book for my next event, which will be a fun and fab all-dayer. Places are filling fast, so please visit this link to see more details and register. 

Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Accessories: Season of Style Washi Tape, Expressions Thinlits Dies, Basic Rhinestones

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Creative Tour display - and washi tape bird



I was very honoured this summer to be asked to create some projects for Stampin’ Up!’s Creative Tour, which ended last night. The projects have had to be kept firmly under wraps while the tour was in progress but now I can show you at last.

I was asked to showcase two products from the Autumn/Winter catalogue; the Season of Style Washi Tape and the Expressions Thinlits Dies. In the beginning it was a bit of a challenge but I soon got into the groove and I think it make me think outside of the box a little, too! It helped that the colours of the washi tape are my most favourite Christmas colours – I do love to keep things traditional with red and green.

Above is (almost) the full set (I accidentally missed one off the photo) – I’ll be showing you the projects in more detail over the coming days.




Today you can take a closer look at one of my favourite projects – my little Christmas robin. I got the idea from a magazine but then went my own way. Here’s how to make him:

  1. Take some newspaper and screw into two balls, one larger than the other. Make a long triangular shape, too (for the tail).
  2. Bind it all together with masking tape. If you’re making your bird from DSP instead of washi tape, you could use Sellotape but washi tape is semi-transparent, so I wanted to hide the newsprint.
  3. I made a black cardstock beak with quite big flaps, taping it down using masking tape.
  4. Next I stuck washi tape all over the bird. I wasn’t sure whether to go random or aim for a pattern, and in the end settled on a red breast (the temptation was too much to resist) and some green “wings”.
  5. The legs are made from wire. I won’t pretend this was easy – in fact I had to call on my husband for help. It might be easier if you have softer wire, but he just found this in the garage for me. The feet are so big so that the bird stands up easily.
  6. To “install”, I poked them into the newspaper to make the holes, then removed them and covered them in Crystal Effects before re-inserting.
  7. The eyes are Basic Black candy dots – big thanks to fellow demonstrator Michelle Bryant for coming to the rescue with those!
  8. Finally I made a tiny envelope for his beak – not sure how well this has lasted on the Creative Tour; it was looking a little limp by last Wednesday, so by Convention I’m sure it will be very droopy!

Hope you like him!

Stamps: Wishing You
Cardstock: Basic Black, Very Vanilla
Ink: Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Season of Style washi tape, Neutrals Candy Dots, Crystal Effects
Other: Newspaper, masking tape, wire… patience!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Clearance Rack is up and running!



Clearance Rack is live! So get yourselves to www.helenread.stampinup.net and start shopping! You’ll find lots of your retired favourites, such as products in Baja Breeze and Lucky Limeade, as well as bargain scrapbook albums and kits, ribbons, buttons, dies, folders… there’s even the tabletop cutter, which is well worth having – I was very sad to see that retire. Missing the fabric? There's Spice Cake fabric at just £2.19. Yes, £2.19!

Remember, items are only available while stocks last and there is likely to be a LOT of interest today with it being the first day, so don’t delay – get what you can while you can!

The Clearance Rack is intended to be a permanent feature of the website, so keep checking back, whenever you get the urge for a bargain. Even though the products are all retired, you’ll find that some have carried over in a different format, eg you can (at the time of writing) get a full pack of Primrose Petals Core’dinations cardstock, which is now only available in the catalogue as part of an In Color assortment. And there’s a pack of old In Color markers, of which four out of the five have carried over to become core colours.

Anyway, enough rambling, take a look – and remember you’ll need an account and to pay shipping to have it delivered to your home. 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Flower Shop bundle card



This was one of my party Make & Takes for the past month or so. We used the Flower Shop bundle which features a set of flowers which all fit their co-ordinating punch. The words are from Remembering Your Birthday – I thought it would be handy to have a belated birthday card in stock!

You probably can’t see from the photo but the little flowers are stamped in Daffodil Delight on Whisper White. I used one of the other flowers from the set, which has various patterns on each petal – these Itty Bitty Punches are small enough that you can punch a patterend flower from each petal.

And in other news, this Sunday I am having a Macmillan Coffee morning in the garden, 10am-1pm. If you'd like to come along, please drop me a line and I'll send you the details!

Stamps: Flower Shop, Remembering Your Birthday
Cardstock: Pool Party, Rich Razzleberry, Whisper White
Paper: Epic Day
Ink: Island Indigo, Rich Razzleberry, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Stitched Grosgrain Ribbon – Daffodil Delight, Itty Bitty Punch Pack, Pansy Punch, Candy Dots – Brights

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Caturday: Dennis and Pan


Sorry for the Catur-delay - I've been out all day, stamping! This morning was my team meeting. We were a select few today but had a lovely time, chatting, laughing and stamping together.

This afternoon was my Christmas Stamp-a-Stack, where everyone made 10 cards in five different designs. I'll show you those another time because today is, of course, Caturday. By the skin of my teeth, anyway!

And here we have lovely Dennis and the equally lovely Pan... just before it all kicked off. Here's what happened...

Dennis is still quite shy. When he arrived at the shelter several months ago, he was totally traumatised, having been run over. For months he rarely left the safety of the rafters or the top of the shed. Lately, though, he's been coming down to sit in the Wendy House, where he's happy to be stroked and have his tummy rubbed. Even more recently, he's allowed us to stroke him outside, too, which is a big breakthrough.

Last weekend was a Big Day for Dennis, as he was being visited by a prospective owner. So daughter brushed him to make him look nice for the lady. He REALLY enjoyed this, and began rolling around, asking for more. He clearly forgot himself, as he ended up rolling around in front of Pan, who was having none of it and just after the camera went "click", pounced on Dennis and it all ended in tears.

But not for long, as the good news is that Dennis has now gone to his new home (it took an hour to catch him, apparently!) where I hope he will be very happy. I will miss him though. :(

UPDATE: Dennis was so traumatised by being moved that unfortunate he has had to return to the cat shelter for the time being. He's back to his usual self, but will need longer in the shelter before he's ready for a "forever home". Sad for Dennis but secretly pleased that he's back!

Friday, 20 September 2013

My Creative Tour swaps - and exciting news about Clearance Rack!


Long post today as I have two projects for you (scroll down) and some VERY exciting news! 

If you love a bargain – and, frankly, who doesn’t? – you will LOVE the Clearance Rack! Starting on Tuesday, 24th September, there will be a Clearance Rack section of the online store. This is intended to be a permanent feature of the store and it means you can get your hands on retired stock at substantially reduced prices! Can I get a “whoohoo!!!!”?

There are some things you should know:

  1. I will only be taking Clearance Rack orders through online shopping, so you will need to create an account at my online store and paying the £4.95 shipping charge. Due to supplies being so limited, it is impractical to include Clearance Rack items in workshop orders.  
  1. Clearance Rack will be used to clear out surplus items which have retired – no current items will be sold this way. For this reason, items will only be available while stocks last.
  1. Items will be listed and pictured only in the online store, so visit www.helenread.stampinup.net periodically to get the best bargains. 
  1. No returns or exchanges will be accepted, except in the case of defective product. 
So, while you are waiting for the Clearance Rack to open, why not bookmark my online store, create and account and familiarise yourself with how it works?

And now, as promised, here are my swaps from the Creative Tour. I made Christmas cards as I'm in a festive frame of mind right now, with my Christmas stamp-a-stack coming up tomorrow. Photos are a bit dodgy, but I just took them on my phone a few minutes ago because I'm feeling lazy today.


Stamps: Santa's List
Cardstock: Old Olive, Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Paper: Season of Style DSP
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Early Espresso
Accessories: Chevron Embossing Folder, Ovals Framelits Dies, Basic Rhinestones


Stamps: Mosaic Madness, Greetings of the Season
Cardstock: Old Olive, Whisper White
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive
Accessories: Mosaic Punch, Cherry Cobbler Baker's Twine, Mosaic Embossing Folder

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Chalk Talk and Alphabet Press - masculine card



What’s the weather going to do today?* After a summer of sweltering because the air-con apparently wasn’t working properly, I went to work on Monday and it was ab.so.lute.ly freezing. So yesterday I wrapped up warm and guess what? Boiling! I think layers are the answer today.

Last night was Stampin’ Up!® Creative Tour in Loughborough and it was a really enjoyable event. MUCH smaller than SU events have been of late, which was really nice and relaxing – it was like the old days! Lots of great demos and and some exciting news, which I can’t share just yet but I promise I’ll tell you as soon as I can!

I don’t have a photo of my swaps just yet (it’s on the massive “to do” list) so I’ll show you this very clean and simple project instead.

I am loving this Alphabet Press embossing folder and think it looks great done in Whisper White cardstock, which makes the letters look so crisp. I kept this card really simple as it was for my 25-year-old nephew (25!!!!! Makes me feel VERY old).

* Answer: Rain!

Stamps: Chalk Talk
Cardstock: Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse, Whisper White
Ink: Midnight Muse
Accessories: Naturals Trim, Chalk Talk Framelits, Alphabet Press embossing folder

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New Christmas-themed single stamps



Here’s exciting news if you like making Christmas projects – a new set of single stamps!

There are eight stamps to choose from, six of which co-ordinate with an existing punch or die. They are:

Be Merry – 134767 – £7.95
Joy and Love – 134771 – £6.50
Prince of Peace – 134811 – £6.50
A Gift For You – 134765 – £4.50
Cheers – 134769 – £4.95
Christmas Star – 134813 – £8.95
Magical Season – 134777 ­– £4.95
Wonderful Blessing – 134779 – £7.95

These stamps are available in clear-mount only and come packed in a cello bag. They are available until January 31, 2014, or while supplies last.

Don’t delay, if you’d like to place an order, please email me! Alternatively, you can order anything, day or night, through my online store!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Wetlands - faux watercolour note card



How can anyone fail to love Wetlands? Barring Christmas, I think I could manage with this set all year round… just don’t tell anyone I said that or they’ll wonder why I have quite so many stamp sets in my possession!

We made this at one of my Crafty Fridays, where I host a small group of stampers and we keep things simple. I hold these events on the second Friday of every month and the cost – if you’d like more info, please email me.

We used one of the new Note Cards and Envelopes from page 162. They are the same as the old Note Cards but made from heavier cardstock, which is fabulous. If you’d like Stampin’ Up!® to introduce some A4 cardstock in this heavier weight, don't tell me, tell them! You'll find their contact details on the SU website relevant for your location. 

We had great fun playing around with the faux watercolour technique – inking up our clear blocks with markers and pressing onto the Whisper White cardstock. 

Stamps: Wetlands
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: Basic Gray, So Saffron, Summer Starfruit, Pool Party
AccessoriesNote Cards and Envelopes

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Christmas crafting... messy desk


Managed to craft myself into a tiny corner of the kitchen table yesterday. But it was all in a good cause - I was making the samples for next weekend's Christmas is Coming Stamp-a-Stack, where we'll be making two each of five easy-to-reproduce designs. You would not believe how much Old Olive and Cherry Cobbler cardstock I managed to get through! Well, perhaps you would, as you know how much  I like the traditional look for Christmas.

And if you're looking for clues on the desk, concentrate on the products not on the cards you can see!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Caturday: Twinks


Meet Twinks. She looks a little startled, don't you think? That could be because she's come all the way from Greece, where it was lovely and warm, to live in England, where it's gone decidedly autumnal recently. More likely it's because she was enjoying a nap in a cosy igloo bed and some nutter started poking a camera in her face. She's very sweet though.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Wetlands with faux watercolour technique



I’ve made this card at two classes recently – after carefully checking that nobody was attending both. But I LOVE this stamp set (as you know) and really love this card, too. It’s loosely based on this card by Vicky Hayes, a very talented demonstrator who really rocks the Clean and Simple style. I stepped up her design as I wanted to incorporate the technique of the moment, faux watercolour backgrounds.

We began with this technique, using clear blocks, ink and a spritz of water. While this was drying, we created the rest of the card, colouring the goose with blender pens and ink pads and cutting him out.

I think the ruffled ribbon looks gorgeous on this card!

Stamps: Wetlands
Cardstock: Pool Party, Baked Brown Sugar, Whisper White
Ink: Pool Party, Coastal Cabana, Pistachio Pudding, Baked Brown Sugar
Accessories: 2 ½” circle punch, Ruffle Stretch Ribbon – Baked Brown Sugar, Blender Pen

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Too Kind card


Apologies for the earlier hitch! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ah, well, nothing to worry about and you can continue under the misapprehension that I'm efficient. But if you subscribe to the blog or visited in a certain five minutes earlier on, you’d have seen a repeat post pop up. So I deleted it quickly and have since been scrabbling around to tidy up my folders so that it doesn’t happen again.

Now I’m back with something I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen before!


When my friend Kelly is in the room, everyone makes fabulous cards. She’s a very creative influence!

This is simple but I do love it. It uses Kelly’s stamp set, Too Kind. It’s not the sort of set I’d normally look twice at but I really enjoyed using it and it’s so easy to layer up. I stamped the larger images in Crisp Canteloupe then overstamped with the co-ordinating smaller images in Calypso Coral. The stems and words are Baked Brown Sugar. Gorgeous!

Stamps: Too Kind
Cardstock: Crisp Canteloupe, Whisper White
Ink: Crisp Canteloupe, Calypso Coral, Baked Brown Sugar

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Masculine card and gift box with Chalk Talk




Masculine projects are difficult, I think we all agree – and teenage boys are the hardest of all. And, let’s face it, you’re probably not going to want to spend a lot of time creating something that will likely get thrown away instead of nurtured, cherished and stored away in a keepsake box between layers of tissue paper; the fate we like to imagine for all of the cards we make and send!

But in the new Autumn/Winter catalogue there is a pack of washi tape that will solve your problems. It’s meant for Halloween, but skulls are for life, not just for Halloween, right? So I made another one of these little boxes (click here for Brenda Quintana’s great tutorial) to house a gift card, and a co-ordinating card using some of the same projects. Actually, now that I see them side by side, I could have made more effort with the co-ordination. But then, as I say, it will only get thrown away.

I followed Brenda’s instructions exactly this time but, when I came to placing the pack of Rolos in the box, they didn’t fit. Turns out American Rolos are in shorter packs. So off I went to the local shop with my completed box! I discovered that you can fit in a Twix or a Daim bar in there.
 
Another stamp which proves so useful in masculine circumstances is the little hand from Morning Post Alphabet. I’ve used the hands far more than the letters so far – must rectify that.

Stamps: Chalk Talk, Morning Post Alphabet
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Smoky Slate, Basic Black, Very Vanilla, Whisper White
Paper: Modern Medley
Ink: Black Stazon
Accessories: Chalk Talk Framelits, Linen Thread, Naturals Tape, Witches’ Brew Designer Washi Tape, ¾” circle punch

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Chalk Talk and Flower Shop: gift card holder




I thought I’d better push the boat out for this card, which is for a valued customer who celebrated a milestone birthday recently. One of her friends contacted me to request a gift voucher and I was more than happy to oblige. The voucher is inside, so I hope the recipient was pleasantly surprised when she opened it.

The project was inspired by UK demonstrator Laura Mackie, whose version you can see here. I found a random envelope in my stash which suited the gift voucher shape, so started from there, with a three-panel card. There’s a bit of everything on here – but if you’ve got it, use it!

I liked it a lot when I’d finished – so much that when it came to my downline/friend/stamping inspiration Kelly’s birthday, I made a similar one for her, too.

Stamps: Chalk Talk, Flower shop, Summer Silhouettes
Cardstock: Coastal Cabana, Strawberry Slush, Pistachio Pudding, Whisper White
Ink: Black Stazon, Coastal Cabana, Strawberry Slush
Accessories: Paper Doilies, Chalk Talk Framelits, Eyelet Border Punch, Bird Punch, Pansy Punch, Ruffled Ribbon – Pistachio Pudding

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Caturday: Pasca


It's Caturday and here's is lovely Pasca, all the way from Greece. She's not a fan of other cats, but she's very pretty an affectionate. Want?

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Calm Christmas card



What a glorious morning it is! I have pegged the washing out and it's actually steaming in the sunshine. But there's a real 'end of summer' feel to the weather now; everyone (in this house at least) is back at school today and you can tell we're heading for autumn. 

Autumn naturally gets us crafters thinking about Christmas projects and I have a handful made that I can show you... all using brand new products from the Autumn/Winter catalogue. Have you had a look yet? I’d love to hear what you think!

But most of my Christmas projects will be top secret until after my Christmas is Coming Stamp-a-Stack. Talking of which, this event is now completely full! Sorry if you’ve missed the boat; my Christmas events are always really popular but I just don’t have room in the hall for any more people.

The next Christmas event will focus on packaging, d├ęcor and gifts and will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, 14th December – registration is not yet open. But you CAN register for my Epic Day of Crafting, on Saturday, 19th October. This will be an all-day event with three fab workshops. You can secure your place now with a £5 deposit. Click here for details.

Meanwhile, here’s another stamp set that I love from the new Autumn/Winter catalogue. It’s called Calm Christmas and features this beautiful dove, along with two greetings stamps.

Here I’ve used that same direct-to-paper technique that I used on this Wetlands card. I simply swiped the Soft Sky ink pad across the paper to create a sky, then stamped the dove on top in Midnight Muse.

An image from Mosaic Madness in Smoky Slate completes the effect and keeps things quite serene, I think.

Stamps: Calm Christmas, Mosaic Madness
Cardstock: Soft Sky, Whisper White
Ink: Midnight Muse, Soft Sky, Smoky Slate

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

My Digital Studio, markers and online ordering!

Oh wow, lots of announcements this morning!

New colour markers
Individual markers are now available in some of the new colours, so that you can fill any gaps in your collection.

Stampin' Write Marker New Colour Kit - 130034 - £23.95
Comprises Bermuda Bay, Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, Crushed Curry, Island Indigo, Pear Pizzazz, Pool Party, Smoky Slate, Soft Sky, Wisteria Wonder

Bermuda Bay marker - 131899 - £2.95

Crushed Curry marker - 131901 - £2.95

Soft Sky marker - 131900 - £2.95

My Digital Studio
This is now available to customers. Demonstrators have had a chance to play with it for a while and it's great fun. Best of all, if you're not sure, you can try it FREE for 30 days, using this code: 130910. If you enjoy it, you can then purchase the software for just £13.95 and, if required, download additions to the initial package. Both are available at my online store. See below.

Shop online
You can now shop with me online at my Stampin' Up!® website. I can set up hostess codes for you to use if you want to host a virtual party, but I need to set aside time to find out more about this before trying it.

Ok, I have to go to work but feel free to try My Digital Studio or the online shopping - just bear in mind that I won't be around to troubleshoot until this evening.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Butterfly bundle offer - save 15%



Papillon Potpourri is one of our most popular stamp sets - but if you're one of those who doesn't yet have it, why not get it this month while you can save on a product bundle?

Until the end of September, you can save 15% when you purchase Papillon Potpourri (page 90) and co-ordinating Bitty Butterfly punch (page 183). This offer is available on both wood-mount and clear-mount options:

Wood-mount bundle - 135311 - £26.52 (a saving of £4.68)
Clear-mount bundle - 135312 - £23.97 (a saving of £4.23)

Interested? Just email me to place your order!

Monday, 2 September 2013

I'm back with a Santa's List card




I’m back! And all of a sudden it’s Christmas! Well, not quite, but we do have a brand new Autumn/Winter catalogue to enjoy!

In ordinary circumstances, I’d have been whetting your appetite with projects made with new catalogue products for the past week or so. But no, I have had no internet and, at times, no phone, for what seems like ages now and it has been so frustrating – not least because the people at the call centre unswervingly follow a script, even if your problem isn’t an exact fit.

But I won’t bore you; I’ll just show one of my first projects made with a gorgeous new Christmas stamp set called Santa’s List. Check out the new catty, here. Or download the PDF file here.

Stamps: Santa’s List
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Paper: Season of Style
Ink: Black Stazon
Accessories: Chevron Embossing Folder, Scallop Circle Punch, Old Olive Simply Styled Embellishments

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.