Saturday, 22 April 2017

Caturday: City ginger


Here’s a big fluffy ginger cat spotted by my daughter on her way to uni in Derby. She keeps seeing this one and, inevitably, is working on befriending it. As long as she doesn’t bring it home, that’s fine by me!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Window Box Thinlits basket


I’ve been sitting on (not literally!) lots of projects made with the Window Box Thinlits as I wanted the ladies as last night’s party to be the first to see them. I wanted to show the versatility of this fabulous set which, used at its simplest, makes fun hexagon boxes, but can also be adapted to produce so much more.

This little basket is simply made by cutting off some of the flaps and sides and adding a handle. It’s the perfect size for a roll of ribbon, ideal for a hostess gift.

I love this colour combination of Sweet Sugarplum, Rich Razzleberry, Blushing Bride and Mint Macaron, and will be very sorry to see Mint Macaron leave us in a few weeks.

Seriously, if you need to order anything from the retiring list, please don’t delay as they are selling like hot cakes.  In fact, as last night’s party, I put the order in there and then, so we could check availability as we went along, and unfortunately a few people couldn’t get what they wanted. For instance, the rhinestones shown here are already out of stock – the good news is, a reconfigured pack of rhinestones will be in the new catalogue.

To place your orders, simply click the image below, and head to my online store. Thank you!




Wednesday, 19 April 2017

In The Meadow: Retiring!



Don’t miss out! In The Meadow is a beautiful set, featuring natural images, which is on the retiring list. I love this set and have used it a lot so it would be a valuable addition to your stash. Please don't put off ordering, as items are selling out daily. 

The safest way is to order through my online store (link below), rather than trying to get hold of me as I am back at work this week so may not see your email straight away. Thanks!



Monday, 17 April 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Birthday Fiesta



This colour combination from my In Color charts is not a million miles away from the one I used in last week’s Mix It Up Monday project. I really feel like I’m on the home stretch now, as I have seen the new catalogue and the lovely new colours heading our way.

And what’s particularly unusual this year, is that I actually LIKE them. As in, straight away, it hasn’t taken me two years to start enjoying them fully. 

Because that’s exactly what’s happening right now with the outgoing In Colors; I was very slow to warm to them but I’m beginning to miss Mint Macaron, Tip Top Taupe and Delightful Dijon already. 



But enough looking forward and backwards, how about now? This week’s combo uses Dapper Denim in a patriotic red, white and blue scheme. Yes, there’s grey – and you probably know I’m not a fan – but I’ve kept it in the background out of harm’s way. 


It’s nearly time to say farewell to the llovely llama, too. I normally sell ALL of my retired products but I may have to make an exception for this fellow. 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Retiring products selling fast!


It’s retiring products time and they are already selling out fast! Please click the image above to start shopping, or go here to see the retiring products list.

NB: Products are only available while supplies last. If you see something you MUST have, please order from my store, rather than waiting for the next party or trying to get hold of me, as it is Easter weekend and I am out and about. Thanks!



Friday, 14 April 2017

Window Box Thinlits Dies


I’ve been sharing a few projects using the Window Box Thinlits dies... and yes, I have more to come which I’m trying to hold back until after a party which has been postponed until next week. Meanwhile, here is the SU video on how to assemble the box in its traditional form. It’s definitely worth watching if you’re considering the dies!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Window Box Thinlits boat


How cute is this little boat? I was so excited when I saw this project – and even more so when I realised it had been made with the Window Box dies. And the nautical colour scheme, from my In Color charts is perfect for this Mix It Up Monday project.

How to make the boat? Same method as the Easter basket...




Saturday, 8 April 2017

Caturday: Bittersweet day for Tutheran


It’s happened at last. Tutheran has left the garden. After getting increasingly desperate, and concerned for our cats who were living scared of a Tutheran fight, I finally managed to get him a place in a local animal shelter and an appointment to take him there on Thursday.

But then I had a last-minute pang of guilt – I know from my experience helping at the cat shelter that certain cats do NOT get adopted easily. Black cats. Older cats. Ugly cats. Cats which scratch.

So a few frantic phonecalls later and my Mum manage to track down a lady who had previously considered having him, but we had both agreed it wasn’t a great idea as she already had a cat. Since then, her elderly cat has died, which is very sad for her, but great news for Tutheran as she said YES!

Catching him was another matter. He’s all cuddly and loving in this picture but as soon as a cat carrier came into the equation, everything changed. It was bit like when you feed Gremlins after midnight.

Eventually, three of us managed to wrestle him into the cat carrier. Daughter – who worked the original miracle on him and turned him into a pet rather than a wild animal – sustained the biggest scratches. We haven’t heard from his new owner so are rather hoping he didn’t escape from the carrier on his way to his new home and cause some sort of road traffic accident. Doesn’t bear thinking about really.

So that’s that. End of an era. Within a few hours our cats had twigged that he was gone. Pooboo has been rubbing around everything on the patio to make it his again.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Don't forget to order your In Colors while you can!


It’s very nearly retirement time and we know from experience that the In Colors are nearly always the first items to sell out. Get ahead of the game by placing your orders soon as I do hate to disappoint people. You can order online by clicking the image below, or email me.




Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Window Box Thinlits Easter Basket


How cute is this project? It’s made with the Window Box Thinlits – just slice off the top of the hexagon and move to the opposite side, as shown below. Yes, exactly the same method as for this project except this time you only need one die-cut piece instead of the usual two. 




I CASEd the idea from Libbystamps, improvising with the flower dies I already head, Botanical Builder Framelits. You don’t have to have the exact supplies to CASE a project; just use what you have. Although I have to say, these Window Box Thinlits dies are extremely versatile, as you’ll see over the coming days...

Monday, 3 April 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Window Box Thinlits


This amazing card is a work of genius. I totally CASEd the design from a hugely talented Australian demonstrator called Bronwen Eastley, whose blog pointed me towards this fabulous video tutorial from Barry & Jay. As I have a party coming up where I plan to showcase these gorgeous Window Box dies, I just knew it would be perfect for this week’s Mix It Up Monday colour challenge. 

It ’s an amazing design, which folds flat and fits in an envelope. Pity I didn’t think to photograph that, but Bronwen has pix from all angles on her blog, so please do take a look. 


I chose this colour combination from the few remaining from my In Color charts because I wanted to use a touch of GOLD. Can you imagine why? For the remaining two or three people in the world I haven’t yet told, I have just promoted to Gold – this is huge news and even more exciting as it comes in my 10th year of being a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator. 

To celebrate, I have a special offer running throughout April. Simply spend £25 with me and I will send you a special gift of “gold” and a thank you card. I couldn’t have reached Gold without the support of my amazing customers and downlines, so thank you to everyone! I won’t do a speech...


Saturday, 1 April 2017

Caturday: Mystery ginger cat


Who is this ginger cat? It turned up at our house the other day, seemingly drawn to Tutheran. I wasn’t sure if it was a male spoiling for a fight, or a female looking for luurrrrve. Either way, it scarpered pretty quickly when I took the photo through the glass. And either way, the last thing we need in our garden is yet another cat!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Last day of Sale-a-Bration 2017!



This is it, folks! The last day of Sale-a-Bration 2017! Your very last chance to:

Spend £45 and earn a fabulous FREE product, such as the gorgeous Hey Chick stamp set - the most popular SAB item this year!

Host a £200 party and get an extra £20 in Stampin' Rewards - while you may not get a party booked for today, you can place your own qualifying order online and still earn the rewards, so call your friends, quick!

Join Stampin’ Up! as a demonstrator for just £99, and get an extra TWO stamp sets of your choice (not SAB sets) in your Starter Kit!

I’ve had a fabulous Sale-a-Bration, so I’d like to thank everyone who helped by hosting, joining and placing orders. I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

In The Meadow and Mixed Drinks: just what the doctor ordered!



Last Friday I held my first Stamp Doctor night, where guests were invited to bring along their ‘stamping maladies’ (products they’d purchased but struggled to use).  As this was my first time holding the clinic, I’d asked for advance warning of the stamp sets they were planning to bring. 

Only two people wanted to bring sets, and their problems turn out to be In The Meadow (one of my favourites!) and Mixed Drinks (which, fortunately, Kelly has). Between us we created the following projects for the ladies to make on the night. 

My projects incorporated watercolouring, as it’s one of my favourite techniques; also it’s very soothing, and therefore must be good for the health! 

The first project (above) I CASEd from Jennifer Frost; I love the way the mountains provide the perfect backdrop to the deer. 


The second was inspired by Connie Babbert. The masking really makes this card, in my opinion. But I also thought that some people love watercolouring as much as I do, so may prefer to spend more time on this technique. For those ladies, I created this project, CASEd from Michelle Zindorf, and which can be created from the same kit as the card above. 


Meanwhile, over at the Mixed Drinks table, Kelly had used clean and simple repeat stamping to make these fab samples. 



The kits were provided in bags with these fun labels, which I created in Canva and, even if nobody else appreciated the joke, they cracked me up so it was worth it. And no, I didn’t wear a lab coat… although I now have one on order for the next clinic! 


After a few hours of stamping and laughing, everyone went away happy, which just proves that crafting is the best medicine!
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Monday, 27 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Window Shopping Bundle birthday card


I spent much of Mother’s Day happily crafting with the Window Box Thinlits. Other than making the projects for my All-Day Craftathon, I haven’t really given this bundle much attention, and yesterday I discovered just how versatile it really is. 

But more of that later. Today I want to show you this simple card, which uses the lovely candle die from the set. I simply painted a strip of watercolour paper in my three colours and laid it behind my die-cut piece of Very Vanilla.  It was a very easy way to meet the Mix It Up Monday challenge of creating a project using this colour combination from my In Color charts.


In other news, we are now on the final Sale-a-Bration countdown, so if you wish to: 
  1. Earn a FREE Sale-a-Bration item, by placing an order of £45 or more, or
  2. Join Stampin’ Up!® as a demonstrator and get TWO FREE additional stamp sets in your Starter Kit...
... you need to act fast, as SAB ends on 31st March. Please don’t leave it until the last minute as that is the path to internet connection failures and disappointment. 






Saturday, 25 March 2017

Caturday: Hamish on the compost heap


When it’s warm and sunny, does it really matter that your bed is a compost heap and you’re surrounded by rotting vegetables? If you’re a cat, it matters not one jot.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dragonflies on watercoloured background


This was the Make & Take at a Stampin’ Up!® party I did last week. The host, Pat, is a big fan of brights, so Melon Mambo was the order of the day... not exactly my comfort zone!

The fab background was created in the same was as for this dragonfly egg box; you just scribble with watercolour pencils and then go over it with a wet paintbrush or Aquapainter. It’s a lovely technique, which works best on watercolour paper.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Grown-up mini egg carton project


I do love these egg boxes, they’re so cute... even more so if you take the time to colour them. How? With a small amount of ISO Propanol (rubbing alcohol) mixed with reinker. Here I’ve used Sweet Sugarplum to match this fabulous Glimmer Paper (SAB item only available while stocks last or until 31st March!).

The panel beneath the dragonfly (Detailed Dragonfly Thinlits) was created by scribbling with watercolour pencils with a few colours onto watercolour paper, then swishing it around with a wet paintbrush. You could use an aqua painter, but I’m a purist and prefer a paintbrush.

And it’s all tied together with some gorgeous metallic ribbon, another SAB item which is only available until 31st March, or while supplies last.

We’re on the Sale-a-Bration countdown now, and yesterday a new group of items were added. These are catalogue items which you can earn FREE between now and the end of March with a £45 order. There are some gorgeous products on this list, so do take a look.

Oh, and inside are four hollow chocolate eggs, wrapped in Sweet Sugarplum foil. Sainsbury’s do a pack of 25 which just happen to be wrapped in Sweet Sugarplum, Bermuda Bay and Crushed Curry. Wish I’d found those before my all-day event!



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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Extra items added to Sale-a-Bration - catalogue items you can earn FREE

A little surprise for everyone (including me!)... some extra items have been added to Sale-a-Bration. These are regular catalogue items, which you can earn with a £45 order. Just make sure you use the special item code from the flyer below, otherwise you will be charged as normal. 

And don’t forget that now is a GREAT time to join SU... with your choice of two extra stamp sets added to your already amazing-value Starter Kit. Please contact me if you’d like more information, or click the image at the bottom of this post to get started with your application to join! 




Monday, 20 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Sweet Sugarplum with In The Meadow


This Friday is my first Stamp Doctor event, where guests are invited to bring a stamp set or other product they’ve purchased but not used. So I have have kits on hand ready, I asked for advance notice and one lady says she is bringing In The Meadow. 

As this is one of my favourite stamp sets, I couldn’t be more pleased to have an excuse to bring it out and use it again. I have two gorgeous projects waiting for Friday, but this is the one that go away, which I’ve created for Mix It Up Monday using a Sweet Sugarplum combination from my In Color charts.

This is a fun technique with clear blocks, which I’ve played with many times before. You apply ink to the block with either markers or ink pads – I used Sahara Sand and Sweet Sugarplum ink pads – and then spray it with a little water. 

Press the wet block firmly onto Whisper White cardstock and wait for the liquid to be absorbed; you can see this happening. When it’s all soaked in, lift the block and you’ll have a pleasing backdrop to your main image. Do, however, wait for it to dry fully before stamping on top. 



Saturday, 18 March 2017

Caturday: Indie


Spent a lovely evening at Pat’s Stampin’ Up!® party this week, and it’s always a pleasure to meet her two beautiful Ragdoll cats; Ruby and Indie. Ruby wasn’t up for a photo, but Indie was happy to pose...

Friday, 17 March 2017

Sweet Sugarplum baby card


When I create projects for Stampin’ Up!® parties, I try to hold back on using too many products, so guests aren’t overwhelmed.

But when I create projects for personal use, then there’s no holding back. This is why this card uses not one, not two but three stamp sets. Can you guess what they are?

I am not a big fan of pink, but Sweet Sugarplum is just right for baby girl cards, and this gorgeous paper from the Succulent Garden DSP pack is ideal. Mint Macaron is the perfect, gentle green for this  job... just be aware that it’s part of the In Color pack which is retiring at the end of May, so stock up now if you’re a fan!

So, the stamp sets. I know you’ll have worked it out but, just in case, the sheep comes from Barnyard Babies, the clouds from Lift Me Up and the sentiment from Bookcase Builder.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Lift Me Up projects


Sticking with the Lift Me Up theme, here are the results of last week’s Crafty Friday session. After making a Mint Macaron version of this card, we all went a bit ‘freestyle’. We all created a striped balloon and a gift bag, which everyone decorated differently.

Naturally, I didn’t manage to finish mine off, so played around with the products for a short while afterwards, coming up with the card above, which started life as a CASE of this card!


My gift bag evolved, too, as I wanted to stamp the background and keep the colours quite striking. I masked the greeting stamp with some washi tape before inking, so I could just get the “Happy Birthday”. Trouble was, I left the inky washi lying on my work surface and ended up with some unsightly ink marks on the front of my project. THAT’s why there are so many clouds on it!

And as for the CASE of this card, originally created in Watermelon Wonder, this is what it looks like if you switch to my favourite sheet of DSP from the pack, and a Mint Macaron background... I love it! And now would be a good time to stock up on Mint Macaron, as it’s part of the retiring In Color collection which will be leaving us at the end of May!




Monday, 13 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Lift Me Up congratulations card


It’s Mix It Up Monday again and, as we’re on the Sale-a-Bration countdown (it ends on 31st March) I thought I’d use some of this fabulous Carried Away Designer Series Paper to create a Flirty Flamingo card from my In Color charts.


As you can see, this fab paper co-ordinates perfectly with the Lift Me Up Bundle in the Spring/Summer catalogue. And, while the stamps and dies will be available until the end of May, you have less than two weeks to earn this FREE paper. 


I’ve created a striped balloon using the clever dies that make this so easy. It makes this challenge easy, too, as all I had to do was make my stripes in the required colours. 




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.