Monday, 12 November 2018

Centre Stage and team notebooks with Tin Tile and copper

Over the weekend it was the BIG event of the Stampin’ Up!® year... OnStage! We hold these twice a year, exclusively for demonstrators, but this was the BIG one because it’s the 30th anniversary of Stampin’ Up!®

I was there, with a group of team members, and I have some more news about the event below. 

But first I would like to share with you the gifts I made for my team... a monogrammed notebook with on-trend copper accents.

I used the Tin Tile embossing folder (because I love it), which I swiped with copper shimmer paint for a verdigris look. They are finished off with a copper monogram, some leaves from Rooted in Nature, a flower from Best Birds, some Rich Razzleberry velvet trim, copper thread and a wooden heart, sponged in copper shimmer paint. Oh yes, I used circle dies and the Artisan Textures stamp set, too.

Yes, they are product heavy – but there’s no need to hold back when creating for fellow demonstrators!

This one is a little different, as I have a man in my team, so I created a more masculine look for his notebook. I also used both initials as the “I” on its own looked a little lost.

The main event was held on Saturday, but on Friday evening there is an even more exclusive event, for demonstrators who reach certain sales and recruiting levels. This is called Centre Stage and they really treat us well at these events. We had an incredible four-course meal, some sneak peeks about the coming announcements and some great gifts. Take a look...

If you’d like to find out how you can enjoy exclusive demonstrator events, I’d love to talk to you about joining my growing team. The best thing about being a demonstrator is being able to do it YOUR way... whether that means holding classes and events, or running an online business, or simply stamping with friends. There's room for all of us!

Please click here if you’d like to arrange a no-obligation chat or, if you already know you’re ready to take the plunge, you can join my friendly team here.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Caturday: Viola and Mindy

Meet Viola and Mindy, who live in Kentucky with my friend Karen. I wish my cats would snuggle up like this! Ours just grizzle at each other and occasionally whack each other on the nose!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Winter Woods log slice ornament

I can’t stop using the Winter Woods stamp set but was trying to find something completely different for the Crafty Friday ladies this month.

Eventually I returned to that old favourite, the log slice ornament, which proved so popular last year.  We stamped our pine trees, and stamped off for a paler image, in Mossy Meadow, directly onto the slices of wood (eBay, since you ask).

It’s decorated with a Merry Merlot greeting, on a strip of copper foil, and embellished with some stamped pine cones and sprigs, along with die-cut snowflakes and some copper rhinestones.

Yes, I said copper rhinestones.


Yes I know we don’t sell copper rhinestones. But you can make them REALLY easily simply by colouring in our normal rhinestones with a Calypso Coral Stampin’ Blend. Magic, eh?

Oh and finally... much, much later for some of the ladies, we added some embossing paste to create snowy branches. This has to be done later as if the ink isn’t fully dry, it is absorbed into the paste, creating a muddy mess of yellow snow. And there ain’t nobody who likes yellow snow.  An alternative is to seal the ink before applying the paste. That worked, too.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Copper and navy themed Tin Tile card

I promised you more on Crafty Friday and here it is; the first of two projects we made. As I designed my projects for this event, I realised they bore no relation to each other whatsoever. Then I realised that this was an advantage... Crafty Friday has become so popular lately that we need two tables, and having two entirely different projects using different products makes that so much easier... and is easier on my legs!

This was one of the projects, using the Tin Tile embossing folder. We embossed it onto Night of Navy cardstock and then very gently swiped across it using a sponge dauber dipped in Copper Shimmer Paint.

The copper theme is continued with a copper embossed leaf, and some copper thread behind the greeting. And the little scalloped feature is from the Delightfully Detailed Laser-cut DSP.

I love this colour scheme; it was inspired by a visit to Trowell Garden Centre, where there was a beautiful display of navy and copper Christmas decorations. I took a photo as I planned to make all my Christmas cards with this theme, but it hasn’t happened of course. But the seed was planted for this card, so it wasn’t wasted!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Modern Calligraphy workshop highlights

I held two classes on Friday. The morning was my usual Crafty Friday – more of that later in the week – and in the evening I held a Modern Calligraphy workshop.

Well, I say “workshop”... it wasn’t exactly work, it was quite relaxing as we practised our strokes on the sheets provided and then make up these four lovely cards from the Calligraphy Essentials kit.

As you can see, we did chicken out when it came to adding our modern calligraphy to the cards themselves. Fortunately, there is a coordinating stamp set which makes things a bit easier. Above are Karen’s cards... I love the extra touch of a flower on the thank you card. (Well you have to give the early finishes an extension activity, don’t you?)

Here are some more pix from the event...

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Caturday: Bolehill beauty

This beauty was spotted on a walk around the Wirksworth area a few weeks ago. She (surely a she?) is a beauty and was relatively amenable to strokes.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Peaceful Place sympathy card

The problem with sympathy cards is that when you need them, you need them in a hurry. And I prefer to keep them simple rather than put the focus on the card. So I made this quickly from my UFO (unfinished objects) box, where I have a stash of these beautiful images already watercoloured. A bit of layering, a quick greeting and it was ready to go.

I do love this image from Peaceful Place; it’s very soothing to colour in and I think it looks fab. You can make it easier to colour, as I’ve done here but you can’t see from the photo, by embossing in black.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Precision stamping with the Stamparatus

The Stamparatus is for so much more than repeat stamping. Here I’ve used it to create two-tone words using Bermuda Bay and Old Olive. All you have to do is ink up half of the image and stamp, then ink up the other half of the image and stamp directly on top. Perfect positioning, every time.

I felt like a break from festive colours so created a big batch of these for my customers this month in bright cheery Lemon Lime Twist. Just what we need to brighten up the chilly days ahead.

The stamp set is Warm Hearted, one of the host sets from the Autumn/Winter catalogue. I love this big bold "Thanks".

Monday, 29 October 2018

Deck the Halls with this tiny woodland dome

What do you think of this? Something a bit different?

This is an early prototype of one of the projects from my upcoming Deck the Halls event, where we will make festive decorations to adorn our Christmas trees. There’s a bit of work required to make this a little easier to create, but we’ll get there.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Caturday: Lyric

It’s National Black Cat Day so let’s celebrate Lyric, who is peeping out from his lofty position on a fridge in Virginia.

Black cats struggle to get adopted for some reason, which is why Cats Protection have their annual day to highlight just how gorgeous these animals are. We have a black cat, as you probably know, and he’s an idiot - but he’s a lovely idiot nonetheless, and I’m so glad he chose us.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Wonderful brayered Rooted in Nature cards

I do love to brayer... as you may have noticed. The new sponge brayers are so much quicker than the old rubber version, and I made these cards in minute by brayering across a whole piece of A4 Whisper White cardstock. Then I cut it into three pieces to top these cards.

Perfect positioning was achieved with the Stamparatus and bam! Three cards made in minutes, to celebrate my lovely team members who have gone above and beyond this month. They all get a voucher, too – happy mail!

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a demonstrator, please click here, email me or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can join my friendly team here.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Mini treat - Maltesers

These Clear Tiny Treat Boxes are lovely for displaying the tasty Maltesers inside. I was surprised how many the box would hold, too - but luckily I had a decoy box so I didn’t go hungry.

This was part of my “simple Christmas” demo where I showed the hostess and guests how easy it can be to make your own festive projects... especially if you use washi tape.

Do you like what I did with the Tailored Tag Punch? I simply popped the punched piece back in to add some little flags to each side. Not sure if I love it but it does make a change.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Glamorous gold snowflake gift bag

I love these gold and white striped bags - but you don't have to leave them as they are; you can add more to them. Here I’ve used washi tape to add some extra stripes, as well as some Delightfully Detailed Designer Series Paper, which has some really pretty borders. They come in white and vanilla (one colour on each side) but I’ve sponged them in Cherry Cobbler for a festive look.

Snowflakes in gold add some glamour, and there’s some festive bling, too. The whole thing took less than five minutes to make. Result!

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Caturday: Penelope

Pretty Penelope is part of a wider family of furry friends who live with my online friend Jane in North Carolina. She’s pampered and adored, as all cats should be!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Moody blue Christmas

Want to make a lovely night-time snowy background like this one? It's easy - and you don't need any special equipment; just ink, sponges and water.

All I did was sponge the two colours – Pacific Point and Pool Party – onto Whisper White cardstock, then splash it lightly with water. The water absorbs the ink, leaving the snowy effect. You can dab any excess water off with a piece of tissue if necessary.

I used the Stamparatus to stamp Winter Woods on top in black ink, mainly so I could stamp again and again to get a really dark black image.  I punched a hole out and stamped the greeting on the card blank behind, finishing off with some black baker's twine and a bit of festive bling. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Dashing Deer and Winter Woods... a match made in heaven

I can’t get enough of Dashing Deer and Winter Woods... as I’m sure you’ve noticed. They are a match made in heaven and perfect for really simple projects like the one above, as well as more complicated technique cards like this Winter Woods card using a Stamparatus technique or this vibrant brayered deer card.

I needed lots of these cards to thank my lovely customers, so brought out the Stamparatus for speed stamping. Once those stamps are in position, you can stamp really quickly and accurately. The only image I stamped by hand was the one to represent the ground. As I needed this to be stamped repeatedly and largely at random, it was easier to use a clear block.

The Designer Series Paper you see here is no longer available I’m afraid – I forgot to post this project in September, sorry – but you will find a great range of equally beautiful and suitable designs in my online store and in both the Annual Catalogue and the Autumn/Winter catalogue.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Simple Christmas? Or stepped up?

The card on the left is a three-minute Christmas card, proving without a doubt that you DO have time to make your own cards this year. Time is saved by using the pre-folded Notecards and Envelopes, and the fabulous Suite Season Washi Tape.

The fiddliest thing about this card is the linen thread bow, but you could skip that and replace with a jewel... just be aware that the faceted gems will bump up your postage in the UK to a “large letter”, and we don’t want that!

For the stepped up version, I dispensed with the Sprig Punch and used the fabulous new Blizzard Thinlits die instead, as well as some basic rhinestones to add a mixed metallics theme.

You can also see a hint of a scalloped Cherry Cobbler edge. This is a piece of the Delightfully Detailed Laser-cut Designer Series Paper, brayered in Cherry Cobbler ink. So, on the whole, a more time-consuming project, but nice if you want to send something a bit more “special” to a close friend or family member. Or, if we’re being honest here, a fellow cardmaker. We know we all save our “best” cards for crafters, don’t we?

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Caturday: Co Mayo cat

Last week we spent a few days exploring a corner Ireland and spotted a fair few cats on our travels. Unfortunately this is the only one I managed to catch on camera, and even that isn’t a great achievement as it’s looking the wrong way!

We visited County Mayo and it was everything we expected it to be and more. Definitely would recommend a visit. Take a look at this, for example... look at the colour of the sea, it’s almost Bermuda Bay! (Not as warm though)

Friday, 12 October 2018

Keeping it simple for Christmas

I have a Stampin’ Up!® party tonight for a lady who prefers her projects to be quick and easy. This is the perfect time of year for quick and easy cards, especially if you’re planning to make all your own Christmass cards. So my challenge has been to produce a Make & Take which could be used as a really simple Christmas card design, perfect for making in bulk.

No spoilers, though... this isn’t it. This is one of the ones that got away. I decided I could possibly scale things back even further. Come back next week to see the finished design...

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Dashing Deer - simple or stepped up?

Which do you prefer? The vibrancy of the brayered card above? Or the simpler version below?

The card above was one of our projects at last week’s Crafty Friday. The ladies loved the brayering technique and had fun creating their own colour combinations. The one above is Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo and Crushed Curry.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Dashing Deer brayered Christmas card

I was inspired by this beautiful card by Dawn Olchefske to make a festive version using the gorgeous Dashing Deer stamp set.

The ladies loved having a go at brayering at Crafty Friday last week and all produced two cards, including this one - or a version of this... as some of them decided to go “off piste”! I love the vibrant colours, although they have blended into each other (that WAS the intention) so you probably can’t identify them at a glance: Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo and Crushed Curry.

Come back Wednesday for our second vibrant brayered creation!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Caturday: Cobweb 2.0

Cobweb 2.0

This is Cobweb 2.0, who belongs to my friend Andie, and is not to be confused with the original Cobweb, who lives in my house but I wouldn’t say belongs to me as she seems to call the shots.

Andie loved the name so much that, when two kittens came into her life earlier this year, she blatantly copied the name. Fortunately, there are 15 years between them, so it’s not like they'll be in the same class at school or anything.

Our Cobweb is a beauty, too...

Friday, 5 October 2018

Celebrate gift envelopes with Tropical Chic

These envelopes contain a little gift for some of my team members who took part in a challenge recently. I used the Calligraphy Essential stamp set combined with the Celebrate You dies in the cheery colours of Grapefruit Grove, Bermuda Bay and Pineapple Punch.

The focal point are these lovely flowers from Tropical Chic, sponged and stamped to give them a slight two-tone effect. Simple, and effective.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Wonderful pillow boxes

These pillow boxes have been so useful for making quick gifts for my team members and customers. These were created for my All-Day Craftathon to thank the ladies for spending the day with me.

I used the Dashing Along Designer Series Paper which was available to hosts for September only, but any festive DSP would do the job nicely. The sprigs finished it off and the sentiments came from Rooted in Nature.

Inside are some scented wardrobe sachets which I assured the ladies are perfectly nice in isolation, but completely overwhelming when you have 12 of them in one room, so they were banished to a sealed box in the porch (the gifts, not the ladies).

Monday, 1 October 2018

World Card Making Day discounts

Check out these great offers which run from 1st to 7th October only. 
Please use the host code 


and if your order is over £25, I will send you a thank you gift

Please click here to start shopping

(PS, if your order is over £150, please don’t use the code
as you will qualify to for your own Stampin’ Rewards)

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Caturday: Bluebells cat


Doesn’t this cat have unusual markings? I initially thought those black markings on its head were its ears. In fact, I’m still struggling not to see it that way. 

It was spotted and snapped at Bluebells Farm (the ice cream people) in Spondon by my customer Karen. Good catch, Karen!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Blizzard Thinlits meet Peaceful Noel

Today I want to show you the last of three workshops we completed at my Autumn All-Day Craftathon.

We returned to the Christmas theme by combining Peaceful Noel with the Blizzard Thinlits die to create this no-waste set of projects. Can you see what we did?

We began by die-cutting the snowflakes from Pool Party and carefully prised out all the snowflakes to leave this lovely template behind. It would be a waste to discard this so it formed the basis of the front of this Night of Navy gift envelope, again using the Farmhouse Elements, this time sponged in Blueberry Bushel.

As you can see, it’s just a standard envelope, created using the Envelope Punch board. We used it to store four gift tags, but it could easily contain a gift card, money, or a small gift of jewellery.

Take a look at the tags close up... we’ve used the little stars from Farmhouse Elements, too, as well as red rhinestones for a touch of glamour. The “splodge” and greeting both come from Peaceful Noel.

As for the card, that continues the theme but keeps things Clean and Simple, too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my Craftathon projects. The next All-Day event will be early next year and in you’re local to Derbyshire I hope you’ll join me. The ladies have asked for fewer workshops next time, to give them more time to chat, so we’ll be doing one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with a buffet lunch in the middle and lots of cake available all day. Hope you can come!

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.