Friday, 20 September 2019

Perfectly Plaid in Pretty Peacock

Perfectly Plaid in Pretty Peacock? Try saying that without spitting on your computer screen!

I’ve been getting myself in the mood for Christmas in readiness for my All-Day Craft Event tomorrow, where we will be using the Perfectly Plaid stamp set all day long.

While playing around with some ideas, I came up with this colour combo – what do you think? Could this be the hot Christmas combo for 2019? It’s Pretty Peacock, Pool Party and Cherry Cobbler.

To get the Pool Party behind the punched tree, I simply sponged in a circular motion until I was happy with the results. No fancy technique – and if you get any blobs you're not happy with, just stick your tree on top!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Simple Stamping with Nature’s Beauty

Simple stamping is perfect for new crafters and those in a hurry. I only have a one-hour session for my Cuppa & Cards and never know how many will turn up, so I keep the projects really simple with minimal preparation.

That doesn't mean the projects are dull; far from it. I love the look of these cute note cards using Nature’s Beauty.

Simply stamping the animal on a separate piece of Whisper White cardstock and popping it up on Dimensionals gives these projects a lift in more ways than one. It also saves you having to create a mask.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Clearance Rack updated - and a host code offer

There are lots of new items on the Clearance Rack, so please do take a look if you like a bargain. 

If you’re shopping online, please use the host code


and if you spend £25 or more, as a thank you, I will send you a small gift. Please don’t use the code for orders over £150 as that would prevent you from receiving your own Stampin’ Rewards. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Nature's Beauty deer in the silver birches

Third Monday of the month is Make-It Monday with the local WI ladies. They have very particular requirements and are not afraid to tell me about them! I know they enjoy masculine cards so this is one of today's projects. I hope they like it!

For this sample, I stamped the deer onto Crumb Cake cardstock before colouring with watercolour pencils and Blender Pens. It gives the image much more depth and allows it to stand out from the background.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Repurposing the Bird Ballad tin for gift packaging

Reduce, reuse, recycle... it’s a challenge for us all but I’m doing my best and one of my targets this year is reusable gift packaging.

I bought a scarf for a friend and it just happened to be a similar colour to this tine, so I package it up inside. One of the first things she said was “can I keep the tin?” Yes, of course! That's exactly the plan.

The question for you though is: “Can you bear to give your tins away?” They are the Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Cards & Tin (149595) – £17 for 12 cards and this gorgeous tin.

 To turn your stamped flowers into these lovely cup shapes, place them in the palm of your hand and use the rounded end of a pencil (with rubber is best) to press into the centres. Don't be tempted to use anything sharp, but I'm sure nobody would be THAT daft, would they? (*whistles*)

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Nature's Beauty with Feels Like Frost DSP

Woodland theme again! You can't escape it on this blog because it's my favourite theme. And how gorgeous is the Feels Like Frost Designer Series Paper with this lovely Nature's Beauty stamp set?

The animals are coloured with Stampin' Blends but I was concerned the colours weren't quite right so I gave the rabbit and deer a swipe with some Seaside Spray ink on a sponge to tie them in with a hint of blue.

The silver birches are stamped in Seaside Spray, too, but stamped off so they don't overwhelm. I used the Stamparatus for perfect positioning - just move the plate along one slot each time.

The copper leaf accent brings out the colour of the fox (coloured in Calypso Coral Stampin' Blends). I made sure to position them on opposite sides of the card to balance it out. 

Monday, 9 September 2019

Fabulous fox from Nature's Beauty

If you’re a regular visitor (and, if you are, thank you!), then you’ll know I’m a sucker for a woodland theme.

My craft stash is bulging with woodland-themed products – and, with the new Autumn/Winter catalogue, my collection just got a whole lot bigger.

The Nature’s Beauty stamp set was sure to end up on my list – and finding out that £2.50 from every sale goes to mental health charities in the UK was a bonus.

This is one of the projects we made at Crafty Friday last week. Along with the stamp set, I used the new Beautiful Boughs Dies and the Woodland Embossing Folder.

I stamped the fox first, then masked with a sticky note before stamping the foliage around him in Gray Granite. The stark white theme is enhanced with a splash of silver, which echoes the Gray Granite (my silver ink pad isn't due to arrive until today!) and really helps the Cajun Craze fox to stand out. 

Friday, 6 September 2019

Beautiful sponged landscape card with Snow Front

This new Snow Front stamp set looks set to be as popular as Waterfront, especially if you love stamping. I know that sounds silly; we all love stamping, right? But we all love different aspects – some love fussy cutting, some love assembling projects, some love colouring, and some love the act of stamping with lots of images to build up a scene. This stamp set is for those who fall into the last category.

I totally CASEd these projects from Aussie demonstrator Linda Dalke, when I saw her beautiful projects online. Check out her video tutorial here, although I confess I didn't find the video until after I'd made my projects so may have used a different method.

I always try to build in a slight variation when CASEing... this time I made one version without the sponging (stark and clean, and considerably quicker!) and a landscape version, too. I think I still prefer the original, though!

This amazing effect doesn't require any special tools; just an ink pad, sponge and paintbrush (you could even use your fingers instead of a paintbrush!). 

Sponge your background then simply flick water on top by holding a wet paintbrush horizontally over the cardstock and tapping the top. Allow the droplets to soak in for a few seconds then dab them dry with kitchen roll (tissue paper). 

When sponging – and I know I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating – start OFF the project on the grid paper and work in circles, gradually working towards the project so you don't go straight in with dark ink which can look blotchy. 

Monday, 2 September 2019

Autumnal card with Snow Front

I do hope you like trees as much as I do because there are going to be many more woodland-themed projects coming from me! I think every stamp set I have ordered from the new Autumn/Winter catalogue has at least one tree image.

For this project, I used the new Snow Front stamp set to make a small card with autumn trees. The 'snow' stamp is perfect to make autumn leaves for these little trees and, thanks to my tree obsession, I had a choice of products to put with it, eventually settling on the Pinewood Planks embossing folder for my background.

Stamp your greeting before embossing the white cardstock for a really professional look. I love techniques like this, which may the recipient go "how...?"

Friday, 30 August 2019

Peaceful Boughs with Pretty Peacock

I can never wait to get my hands on the new Autumn/Winter catalogue products and generally gravitate towards the Christmas section.

Woodlands are my favourite places and, after two trips to the Abernethy Forest in Scotland, pine woodlands are the top of the tree. So it was never a question of "if" I would get the Pine Boughs stamp set, more a case of "when"... and it went straight onto my first pre-order.

They're really crisp images which I can see getting LOTS of use. The set will go brilliantly with the rest of my collection, which includes Dashing Deer, Winter Woods, Woodland embossing folder, Pinewood Planks... you get the idea.

Don't feel your “Christmas” stamps have to be saved for the festive season. Pine trees are evergreen so, using that logic, I think the stamps can be used all year round, too... hence the thank you card! Using Pretty Peacock instead of traditional green makes it a little less festive. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Snow Front: with lovely lilacs

I have a confession: when I get a stash of new stamps, I tend to freak out a little and my mojo goes walkabout. I have no idea why – I’m brimming with ideas until the moment I open the box. This is why my first efforts with new products are invariably simple, CASEd or involved UFOs (unfinished object). This is the latter... with a leftover watercoloured background from this project.

I used the new Snow Front stamps which I know you're going to love as they are in the same vein as Waterfront... in fact you could use them together if you enjoy stamping scenes. They're available to customers from 4th September or to demonstrators now (you could always sign up, you know).

Get the dark black look of Stazon even when using Memento Tuxedo Black (which tends to come out slightly greyer) by stamping with the Stamparatus. Position your cardstock into the corner and stamp, inking and repeating until you're happy with the depth of colour. This works especially well on watercolour paper, which has a texture, and when your ink pads are drying out, too.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Feels Like Frost? Not with these cheery colours

Silver Designer Series Paper is very hard to photograph, especially when you're wearing an orange T-shirt. Unfortunately, I didn't notice this until AFTER I'd sealed all the envelopes with these cheery cards.

They’re going out to my team members who achieved qualified status – they get a £30 voucher, too, so I’m sure they'll be pleased to receive them!

I used the new Feels Like Frost Designer Series paper, which has a photorealistic image on one side, and shiny silver designs on the other. To make it less Christmassy, I sponged the white areas in Pacific Point, Daffodil Delight and Granny Apple Green. 

The sentiment panel is die-cut with another new product: Beautiful Boughs dies, which is quite intricate but I wanted it to stand out more from the background. Using a journalling pen, I doodled a simple design around the edges. This can be daunting but is quick and easy really – I simply drew a dot at each “junction” then a line in between, without joining them up. Give it a go and see how it looks!

Friday, 23 August 2019

Seaside Notions with deckchair stripes

August to me means beach-themed projects - even though I don't have any seaside plans at the moment.

I've revamped an earlier project to make it more suitable for my class of WI ladies and added lots of zingy colours, inspired by this strip of Bird Ballad Designer Series Paper - I think the stripes are reminiscent of a traditional deckchair.

This Seaside Notions stamp set should definitely be on your wishlist if you love seaside projects as much as I do!

I stamped the seahorse using the Stamparatus but this tip works just as well for traditional stamping, too. I inked up the seahorse using Calypso Coral then used a sponge dauber to add some shading in Soft Suede. It gives the image depth and interest. Just remember to start with the paler colour, so you can add a darker colour on top. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Friendly Silhouettes meet Perennial Essence DSP

I love these Friendly Silhouettes Dies and couldn't wait to get my hands on them... and then, as is so often the case, they sat in the craft room unused for weeks. I finally managed to play with them last week and came up with these two projects for my team achievers this month.

I had planned to create watercoloured backgrounds but time was short so the Perennial Essence Designer Series Paper came to the rescue. With the white silhouettes in front, I think it works just as well, if not better.

Your eyes are not deceiving you, by the way; the top card is slightly deeper than the bottom one, because I got my cutting measurements wrong! Still, there are no mistakes, eh?

 The 3/8" Reversible Ribbon in Old Olive/Pretty Peacock was just right to go with these cards but was too wide to work well; it just overwhelmed. So I snipped off the edge and extracted some of the shiny threads from the length of the ribbon to add some colour and shimmer behind the greeting. 

Monday, 19 August 2019

Sneak Peek: Perfectly Plaid

The new Autumn/Winter catalogue is now available to demonstrators - and we get the perk of being able to order early. One of the first items on my order was the Perfectly Plaid bundle as these are the projects we'll be using at my All-Day Craft Event next month.

Everyone who attends will get this stamp set as part of the kit, and there is the option to upgrade to get the Pine Tree Punch at a special price, too.

This is the first project I've made with my new products; a simple Make & Take for a team garden party I hosted at the weekend, using a non-traditional colour combo of Cherry Cobbler and Seaside Spray.

Everyone brought some food to share and a project to make, and a lovely time was had by all. The sun even shone, which was a miracle after the wet week we've had!

Pop your tree up on Stampin’ Dimensionals before attempting to tie the linen thread around the trunk as this will make it more stable and easier to manage. Sounds simple but sometimes we can overlook the obvious!

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.