Saturday, 26 May 2018

Caturday: Indy

Last week we had Ruby... this week it's her housemate Indy, "helping" on the computer. He's a truly handsome specimen, isn't he?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Retiring product focus: Marquee Messages and Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper


All good things come to an end, even catalogues and favourite stamp sets such as Marquee Messages.

But we all have to move forward at some point, so this is my last look back... from now on I will be looking forward all the way! I couldn’t leave the old catalogue behind without one last play with the beautiful Tutti Frutti DSP and this really fun stamp set. Love it!

My favourite way to use this main image is paper piecing, and the chalk marker makes the letters and lights stand out. I have seen the arrow embellished with tiny pearls on each circle, which looks fabulous, but you know me... I couldn’t bring myself to be THAT extravagant!


This is a great set to use for teenagers, so if you have any of those in your life I suggest you invest in this stamp set before it leaves us forever. And perhaps pour yourself a glass of something strengthening, as those teenage years can be challenging, to say the least. It does get better, I promise!

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Colour combinations for the Stampin' Up!® Colour Revamp


This year I have created a whopping 210 colour combinations for you to use and enjoy. These take in not just the new In Colors™ as normal, but the six returning colours and 10 brand new colours. It’s taken me ages!

With 21 colour charts, it would be impractical to attempt to show them here, so I’ve posted them over on Facebook.

Please click here to see the 2018 colour charts


You don’t have to be a Facebook member to view them. I hope you like them! And please, if you enjoy my colour combinations and especially if you use any of them, please tag me in your post or let me know in the comments.

Thank you!




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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Sneak Peek: Sympathy, masculine, birthday... Rooted In Nature does it all


To me, this card really evokes a woodland glade on a summer day, with rays of sunshine filtering through the tree canopy. A bit fanciful, perhaps, it IS just a card, after all.

In fact, it is one of the first cards I made for my display at OnStage Telford, when I received my box of goodies back in February. I really love this Rooted in Nature stamp set, and the wooden elements which continue the leafy theme. The ribbon is Granny Apple Green, one of my favourite new colours – it’s so vibrant and happy and, here, adds a touch of zing to an otherwise relatively subdued project.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Sneak peek: Hand Delivered new hostess stamp set


This is a REALLY fun stamp set, but I confess it was a little out of my comfort zone when I first received it back in February, for my Display Board projects.

But after a shaky start, I did manage to create these three beauties... and soon realised that I really should expand my crafting horizons as stamping outside of your comfort zone can be really satisfying.

For the top card, I really pushed the boat out: lots of die-cutting, fussy cutting, colouring with Stampin’ Blends and embossing! Definitely not one for a Make & Take but it’s a lovely special occasion card.


For this card, I stuck to bold, primary shades... little realising that these colours would be so on-trend this year. I adore that Granny Apple Green ribbon, it’s so vivid.


For this project, I used the little flower stamp to create a subtle background – really old-skool, eh? – but with 21st-century sponged, layered ovals and a whole heap of fussy cutting around those balloons.

All the images are coloured with the Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers, which are coming back soon... and in even more colours than before. Can’t wait!

If you’d like to get your hands on this stamp set, it’s available from June but only for hostesses... so get that party booked ASAP!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Caturday: Ruby


This is Ruby, the beautiful Ragdoll belonging to one of my customers, Pat. Ruby likes to get into everything - and what self-respecting cat could resist a basket?

Friday, 18 May 2018

A crafty gift for a crafty lady


A friend asked me for a gift voucher with a difference for her mother. Apparently her mum has “plenty of craft stuff already” (ha ha, how deluded are non-crafty people?) so she wanted to treat her to some classes – what a lovely idea.

I thought Crafty Friday would be the best “starter ” class for somebody who hasn’t experienced the full rowdiness of my evening or all-day events, but because you and I both know that you can never have “plenty of craft stuff already”, I have provided the option to use these vouchers for other events or products if the recipient prefers...


I’ve used outgoing colours Sweet Sugarplum and Soft Sky, because they go so beautifully together and I couldn’t let them leave us without one last play... or two... or three...


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Retiring product focus: Pop of Paradise, Happiest of Days


A panoply of retiring products here... Pop of Paradise for those lovely pineapples, the gorgeous Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper stack and Happiest of Days for the greeting.

I wasn’t in the mood for fiddly masking, so I simply covered the leaves and flower from the sentiment image with a couple of pineapples. Cunning, eh?



This ribbon is retiring, too, which is a shame as it’s lovely Lemon Lime Twist – don’t worry, there will be something equally fab in the new catalogue.

Don’t miss out – these are all fabulous products which would make a great addition to your craft stash!
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Celebrating 10 years with the new Rooted in Nature stamp set


How amazing is this? My downline Tracey has just celebrated her 10th anniversary as a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator. Tracey joined not long after I did, and I’m so happy she chose me as her upline. I remember her sitting in my kitchen, testing out the rubber stamps and being really impressed by the quality. It’s fantastic that she’s stuck around for so long. Congratulations, Tracey!

To help her celebrate, I sent her a gift and this card, which uses one of my favourite new stamp sets, Rooted in Nature. I teamed it with the Hardwood background stamp and the new Artisan Textures stamp set to distress the edges.

Some flowers from Best Birds give the project a pop of colour, and the Champagne Foil die-cut word adds some celebratory bling.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Citrus zing gifts for my crafty buddies


Today I’m returning from a weekend away in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, where I spent several days crafting with some of my stamping friends. With one exception, these are all ladies I would not have known, if it wasn’t for Stampin’ Up!® Yes, SU really does Make a Difference. 



As we are crafty ladies, we like to celebrate each other by swapping handmade gifts. I put together these little pouches with a mix of old and new products. The bags are long retired but needed using up, the sequins and Tutti Frutti paper is going at the end of the month but I’m sure you’ve realised my obsession with this paper by now... and the rest of the produts are coming soon.

Look out for these gorgeous Tropical Thinlits – don’t they look great in acid colours? And don’t miss this Lined Alphabet stamp set; it’s so clear and clean and I love it.

I’ve given the leaves some texture by stamping with Artisan Textures; another new stamp set which I was lucky enough to win at OnStage Telford last month. It’s one of those sets you could be forgiving for overlooking in the catalogue, but it’s going to be so useful especially if, like me, you like a touch of grunge adding to your projects.



Monday, 14 May 2018

Sneak Peek: Tropical Thinlits meets the macramé trend


Remember those push-the-boat-out tropical plants I showed you last week? These are the same dies but used to make a bang-on-trend macramé-themed card.

It’s worrying to think that macramé is now back in fashion, as I remember it the last time round. If that’s not a sign of getting old, I don’t know what is.

I made a basket using the Layering Ovals Framelits (just slice an oval in half!) and the Basket Weave embossing folder, then painted some die-cut leaves with watered down inks. You could paint the watercolour paper first and then die-cut; it really doesn’t matter.

I knotted some linen thread at the top to create the hanging element of the basket, splashed some ink around and finished it off with this beautiful ribbon, which I now know to be Gorgeous Grape, although at the time of making this card, all I had was a roll of unlabelled ribbon to play with and the excitement of knowing that a Colour Revamp was on its way but being unable to tell anyone about it!
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Saturday, 12 May 2018

Caturday: Eddie


I love this picture of Eddie, proud owner of my downline Kelly. Cats and books ... a recipe for a happy life.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Love What You Do, Lovely Lipstick... and lovely weather


Flower cards are difficult for me for some reason; I’ve always struggled. But this card came pretty easily to me. Perhaps I was inspired by the gorgeous new Love What You Do stamp set ... or maybe I took my inspiration from by the weather, because it really was a Beautiful Day when I made this project, and I took advantage by sitting crafting on the patio in the sunshine.


As you can see, I had to spread my supplies onto a chair (I can’t be the only one who does that!) because I was sharing the table with my daughter, who was working on her university project. If you like mid-century retro, bold colours and space themes, you can check her out on Instagram here.


This colour combination uses the new In Color™ Lovely Lipstick, as well as returning Coastal Cabana (the hottest spot north of Havana). If you’re looking for LOTS of colour combinations, please do keep an eye on this blog as I am squirrelling away behind the scenes to bring you some fantastic combos for ALL the new and returning colours. As you can imagine, this is a considerably bigger job than usual due to the upcoming Colour Revamp. Not complaining – I LOVE colour combos!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Tutti Frutti witty birthday celebration



Birthdays are for celebrating; that’s a fact. Which reminds me that last year, I told my Mum I was starting my birthday celebrations early and she said “Why? It’s not a big one this year, is it? ”

I put her straight and said: “At my age, every birthday is a big one!” And it’s true, there’s no point in waiting for the next decade to come round. 

With this in mind, members of my Virtual Hostess Club get a card and present in their birthday month and this was for one of my April ladies. I love this Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper, with its vibrant fruity patterns, so wanted to make the most of it for this card. I came to these designs late – I honestly don’t know why I overlooked them in my early orders – and absolutely love them. I’ve been trying to make up for lost time by making lots of projects with them, in the vain hope of trying to use up the whole stack. 

Have you ever tried to use up a whole Designer Series Paper stack? It’s not easy, as they are so generous!


Inside I stamped this fun greeting from Birthday Wit; I’m sad to see this is retiring as it has some really great sentiments, which are ever so slightly sassy. (For extra sass and sarcasm, do invest in an alphabet stamp set).


Karen’s present was wrapped up in a souped-up lunch bag, with a bold, brash tag and just a hint of Tutti Frutti to link in the theme. Hope she liked it!

Monday, 7 May 2018

Sneak Peek: Rooted in Nature


How I love the new Rooted in Nature stamp set. I’ve always been more about trees than flowers so this stamp set could have been made just for me.

I’ve had this set under wraps since February and have loved creating with it for my Display Board at Telford OnStage, so when I discovered there were Framelits to go with it as well, I was delighted.

I’ve mixed things up here by stamping the trees in Berry Burst, then sponging some Blackberry Bliss ink around the edges of the stamp to give it a little lift. Talking of lifts, the top tree is popped up.

Hope you get chance to get out among the trees on this Bank Holiday Monday!

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Caturday: Lake District Cat 5


And finally, Lake District cat no. 5. Which is definitely a record number of cat sightings in the Lake District for us. This one was lurking in a field near the Sourdough Pizza Company, distracting us from placing our order. No strokes allowed unfortunately.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Tailored Tag Punch and True Gentleman Paper - Masculine Workshop



Today I am showcasing the projects we made at my last Hygge Night, which was a Masculine Workshop.

I know many people struggle with masculine projects so I try to do at least one event on this theme each year, usually in time for Father’s Day.  

We used the True Gentleman Designer Series Paper and the co-ordinating Tailored Tag Punch, combining them with other stamp sets, including Birthday Wishes For You, which you can see here...


... and Guy Greetings which you can see below on this joy-fold card. The nice thing about Guy Greetings is that it has all the men in your life covered, so those who don’t need a Father’s Day card could easily switch this to make another birthday card.




The Tailored Tag punch is pretty versatile; we sliced it in half and inverted the shapes to create a funky bow tie for this box...


This is one of the silver gable boxes from the Spring/Summer catalogue, carefully dismantled and turned inside out!

And for another Tailored Tag punch trick, how about this?


For more tips and tricks like this, please like and follow my Facebook page!

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Love What You Do - NEW stamp set


A mix of old and new today... outgoing colours Soft Sky (sob!) and Sweet Sugarplum and a brand new stamp set called Love What You Do.

It’s a gorgeous set and I fear I haven’t done it justice here. It’s coming up in the new catalogue next month but you can order it NOW in a special bundle just for May. Ask me for details!

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.