Monday, 31 December 2007

The blue one

Here's a close-up of the blue card so you can see it properly. It does just fit in the tin, after all, but the envelope is a bit of a squeeze. Bad planning, eh?

I coloured the image using ink pads and blender pens - if you squeeze a closed ink pad it creates a pool of ink in the lid which you can use with blender pens or a paintbrush. It's important not to use a blender pen or paint brush directly on the ink pad itself.

Stamps: Cheers to You (p35), Circle of Friendship (p62).
Cardstock: Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery, So Saffron, Whisper White.
Paper: Designer Series Paper - Cutie Pie (p73).
Ink: Basic Black, So Saffron, Bashful Blue.
Accessories: 1" circle punch (p80), 1/2" circle punch (p80), Taffeta ribbon - Bashful Blue (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Mrs B's birthday present

This is a birthday present for a friend, Mrs B, who seems to have a lunch tin fixation. After I made one for her last birthday, she somehow acquired two more during the year and then requested the same for her birthday again! 

For variety, I made different-sized cards but eagle-eyed readers may spot the flaw in the plan; the long blue card at the front won't fit in the tin!

The patterned papers are all from Stampin' Up!'s Cutie Pie range (p73). You get two sheets each of six double-sided papers which gives you loads of choice; the hardest part is deciding which side to use!

The big flower on the front of the tin was a real lightbulb moment. I was leafing through the Cutie Pie paper and realised that one of the sheets co-ordinated with the On Board Blossoms & Basics (p79) chipboard sheets. So I covered one of the chipboard flowers with a big flower from the paper, sanded and inked the edges with Certainly Celery. 

I used 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon in Certainly Celery to embellish the tin; I also used 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon in Always Artichoke and Taggeta Ribbon in Bashful Blue for the cards.

The stamps on the cards are Cheers to You (p35) and Circle of Friendship (p62). In fact you can barely see the Circle of Friendship on the blue card so I will post that as a separate project tomorrow. Hmmm.... I could spin these out all week! 

Tip: The Cutie Pie Designer Series Paper uses the Stampin' Up! colours So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Rose Red and Bashful Blue. 

Edited to add: For the lunch tin, I used two sheets of Designer Series paper. I stuck it down with PVA glue (the children's craft type), which I spread with a foam brush from Wilko. You can also use Mod Podge craft glue but I am almost sure it's the same as PVA (unless you can find the matt type). 

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008

Friday, 28 December 2007

Small and sweet

The festive season is almost over but don't put away those Christmas stamp sets just yet; there are still the thank you cards to be made. 

This little card measures 9cm (3.5in) by 7.5cm (3in). It's quite quick to make although, if I was making a lot of them, I'd probably simplify it.  I would also make them postcard-style and write my message on the back.

Tip: The Circle of Friendship stamps co-ordinate perfectly with the 1" circle and the 1/2" circle punches. But don't even attempt to stamp perfectly on a punched circle. Stamp on a piece of cardstock first, then turn your punch upside down so you can see exactly where to punch. It's easier to punch out the small centre first but if, like me, you forget, simply stick your punched circle to a piece of scrap paper and then feed it through the small punch, removing the scrap paper afterwards. 

Stamps: Hung Up on the Holidays (p25); Circle of Friendship (p62).
Cardstock: Real Red, Creamy Caramel, Whisper White. 
Ink: Creamy Caramel; Real Red
Accessories: Stampin' Write Marker - Real Red (p70); 1.4" Grosgrain ribbon - Real Red (p86); Gingham Ribbon - Creamy Caramel (p86); 1" circle punch (p80); 1/2" circle punch (p80);  Stampin' Glitter (p82). 

(As a Shrek fan I really should have made the buttons purple!)

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

No new projects I'm afraid, as nasty bugs have been sweeping through the house. But Merry Christmas everyone!


Saturday, 22 December 2007

Wow! Look what postie brought me!

Look what I got in the post! I'm so thrilled with them all! My cousin in Canada gathered all these card samples together for me to give my Stampin' Up! business a head start. Thanks, CC! 

Thursday, 20 December 2007

And here's the other one...

As promised, here's another mug I made. 

Stamps: The Snowflake Spot (p30).
Cardstock: Real Red, Whisper White.
Ink: Real Red, Basic Black.
Accessories: Gingham Ribbon - black (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Snowman Soup

I made loads of these at the weekend! They make a nice "token" gift for someone. I have another one to show you but it will have to wait until tomorrow as I am struggling to get two pictures on my post without it looking a mess!

Here's what you need:

a mug
a sachet of hot chocolate
some marshmallows (ideally, small and white but these are currently very hard to find due to "a problem at the factory")
a candy cane
elastic band (this makes it much easier to tie the ribbon)
cellophane (I bought a roll online but, if you only need a small amount, a florist should be willing to sell you some)

...and, of course, a gift card. Inside the gift card is printed a little cheesy poem. There are several available but I chose this one:

As winter weather spreads its chill,
to stop you feeling blue:
a mug of warming chocolate,
I'm sending off to you.
I hope you like this Snowman Soup
complete with stirring stick.
Just add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!

I think they look great when they're all packaged up - the cellophane seems to add "sparkle"!


Stamps: Shapes & Shadows (p54).
Cardstock: Real Red, Old Olive, Whisper White.
Ink: Real Red, Old Olive.
Accessories: Gingham ribbon - red (p86); 1/4" Grosgrain ribbon - Always Artichoke (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

My order arrived!

Wow, that was quick service - ordered Wednesday evening, arrived today! It's so exciting to get a box full of goodies - what a pity it's not all for me!

Going to unpack...

Monday, 17 December 2007

Oops! Made a mistake here.

Something summery

I was going to post the snowman soup mugs I decorated yesterday but the camera has gone walkabout so here's something completely different; another summery card made with Cheers to You. This stamp set is on of Stampin' Up!'s British exclusives... and it's proving really popular. I love it because it's so simple and you can use it to make cards for lots of different occasions.

Stamps: Cheers to You (p35).
Cardstock: Whisper White, Green Galore, Only Orange, Yoyo Yellow.
Ink: Basic Black, Real Red.
Accessories: Stampin' Write markers - Green Galore, Only Orange, Yoyo Yellow, Real Red (p70); 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon - Real Red (p86); Blender pens (p81).

I coloured the image using blender pens - if you're not familiar with blender pens, see this card.

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

An easy gift

Here's a really easy project for a last-minute gift. This was once a coffee jar, now decorated and filled with mint imperials.

Stamps: The Snowflake Spot (p30).
Cardstock: Creamy Caramel, Ruby Red, Whisper White.
Ink: Ruby Red.
Accessories: Gingham ribbon - red, caramel (p86); 1 3/8" circle punch (p80); 1 1/4" circle punch (p80); staple.

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Thursday, 13 December 2007

I placed my first order!

Well I've done it at last: placed my first Stampin' Up! order. It's scarily easy; just click click click and in a few days I get PRESENTS! I LOVE online shopping!

What did I get? Oooh, loads of gorgeous things: ribbons, brads, punches, background papers, THREE sets of Cheers to You - that set is REALLY popular! - and lots and lots of lovely cardstock; the colours really are fabulous.

I also bought all the supplies for my January events. I'll be coming to a village hall near you for demos and rubber-stamping sessions. Details to be announced later!

I'll also be holding workshops in people's homes in the New Year; I'll demonstrate a couple of projects, then we'll all make a project together. All you have to do is find the guests and provide a few drinks and snacks - and if there are enough sales you'll get FREE stamps and accessories! Sound like fun? Then please email me to book a workshop!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Blame the tools...

I was stamping inside my Christmas cards last night (one of my many bad habits is forgetting to do this when I make my cards) and one of them smudged horribly. I was sooooo cross and thrust it at my husband with the words: "Do you know why that happened?" He looked up and said: "Because it isn't Stampin' Up! cardstock."

He's learning.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Christmas is coming...

I'm sure it's not escaped your attention that Christmas is on its way. This year - for the first time in YEARS - I decided to make all my own Christmas cards. I took part in a challenge with a group of stampers around the world to produce half a dozen cards every month, starting in January (which seemed very weird at the time). So I do have quite a selection of handmade Christmas cards to send but, sadly, not quite enough.

So I threw together a handful of these at the weekend - they were really simple and quick to make; just a standard design with a bit of doodling thrown in for good measure. I love doodling - it's been one of the hot trends in papercrafting this year and it's so easy and fun! Just do what suits you; lines, dots, crosses, squiggles... whatever you feel comfortable with.

I coloured the night sky with Stampin' Pastels - which are basically chalks. They co-ordinate perfectly because they come in all the 48 Stampin' Up! colours, plus neutrals. The applicators that come with the set are ideal for tiny areas but for larger areas like the sky on this image I prefer a piece of torn sponge; I use the cheap decorators' sponges from Wilko. To get nice bright mittens and scarf, I used a marker.

Stamps: A Tree for All Seasons (p44).
Cardstock: Whisper White, Real Red, Night of Navy.
Ink: Basic Black.
Accessories: Stampin' Pastels (p82), Stampin' Write markers in Real Red (mittens and scarf) and Night of Navy (doodling) (p70-71).

And here's another quick card I made with the same set:

On this one I chalked all over the image, and highlighted around the snowman by removing some chalk with a rubber (American readers stop sniggering at the back please - you know as well as I do that I mean an eraser!).

Stamps: A Tree for All Seasons (p44).
Cardstock: Creamy Caramel, Whisper White, Real Red, Night of Navy.
Ink: Basic Black.
Accessories: Stampin' Pastels (p82), Stampin' Write marker - Real Red (p70), Gingham ribbon - red (p86), 1/4" Grosgrain ribbon - Real Red (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Monday, 10 December 2007

My first order!

I'm getting ready to place my first order as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, which is quite exciting. I'm planning to put this through on Wednesday morning so if you want anything, let me know asap please!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

And now for something completely different...

I thought it was time for something a bit more elegant... a style that doesn't come naturally to me! But as soon as I received this stamp set in my Demonstrator Starter Kit I couldn't wait to play with it! I used a few techniques on this card:

Two-step stamping: This is the technique I used on the butterfly card. You stamp once in a pale shade, then again on top with a co-ordinating stamp in a darker shade. Accuracy is not important!

Distressing: I distressed the edges of the card by running the blade of my scissors along it to roughen it up. You can do this as much as you like until you're happy with the effect. It does create a lot of paper dust so do it over some scrap paper to catch the bits! This technique comes in REALLY handy when your paper cutter blades are getting blunt. If you're not happy with the cut, just distress the edges and nobody will know!

Direct-to-paper: This is when you hold your ink pad in one hand and apply it directly to the edges of the cardstock for a shabby chic effect. Stampin' Up! ink pads are designed to make this easy as they have non-slip sides for your fingers.

Stamping off: This is a great way of getting the most out of your ink pads and is perfect for two-step stamping. On the sample above I only used this method on the leaves but the example below (sorry about the ropey picture) shows you just how many shades you can get from one ink pad. For lighter shades, stamp your inked stamp on scrap paper once, twice or even three times before stamping on your project. The roses are stamped in Rose Red (what else?) and the leaves are stamped in Sage Shadow.

And, finally, here's the recipe for the Roses in Winter card above:

Stamps: Roses in Winter (p47), En Francais (p58).
Cardstock: Sage Shadow, Rose Red, Very Vanilla.
Ink: Sage Shadow, Rose Red, Pretty in Pink.
Accessories: Hodgepodge Hardware - Pewter (p84).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Friday, 7 December 2007

Banish the winter blues!

It's been so grey and miserable outside lately that I thought I'd brighten things up a little with a cheery card. Oh, and I also wanted to prove to my friend Alison that you CAN team pink and red and get away with it (you may think otherwise, of course).

I coloured the image with blender pens and two ink pads. If you squeeze a closed Stampin' Up! inkpad hard with your thumbs on the lid, when you open it there is a little pool of ink on the inside of the lid. You can use this for watercolouring or for blender pens - never use a paintbrush or blender pen directly on the ink pad!

Blender pens: For those who are unfamiliar with blender pens, they are clear, double-ended markers. You can use them with chalks or with your ink pads. You can then colour in your project in any shade of the ink - if you want a stronger shade, add more ink; if you want a paler shade, use the blender pen on scrap paper to get rid of some ink. Using this method I coloured both the strawberry and the very pale pink drink with the same Real Red ink pad.

"Clean" the blender pen on scrap paper and then you're ready to go again with another colour. It won't look clean but as long as it runs clear on scrap paper, it will be okay. You can also use blender pens with markers - just scribble with your marker on a plastic surface (I use an ink pad lid or the lid of a stamp set box) and take up the ink from there; perfect if you want a paler shade of a marker but don't have the corresponding ink pad.

The greeting says "Cheers to you!" but I only wanted "Cheers" so I masked half of the stamp with a piece of scrap paper while inking it. Remember to remove the scrap before stamping on your project - sounds obvious but... well yes, I found that one out the hard way! You could also ink just part of the stamp with a marker.

Right, enough rambling... here's the recipe:

Stamps: Cheers to You (p35).
Cardstock: Pink Passion, Real Red, Green Galore, Whisper White.
Ink: Basic Black, Real Red, Green Galore.
Accessories: Blender pens (p81), 1/4" grosgrain ribbon - real red (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

A flurry of butterflies

What IS the collective term for butterflies?* This card is made with a fantastic stamp set called Shapes & Shadows. I love this set because it's fun, funky and incredibly versatile as it includes flowers, butterflies, leaves, Christmas trees, and snowflakes. The technique used here is two-step stamping. If you look closely you'll see that I stamped a solid butterfly in a pale colour and then used the corresponding outline butterfly to stamp over the top in a darker shade. The best thing about the stamps is that they are not designed to to fit each other perfectly - so there's no need to try! As long as you stamp roughly on top, it will look great. When I stamp a random pattern, I always make sure I turn the stamp around a little every time, so that the result doesn't look like a pattern.

I think it's easier to read if I post the "recipe" like this:

Stamps: Shapes & Shadows (p54); Sincere Salutations (p61).
Cardstock: Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Whisper White.
Ink: Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Mellow Moss.
Accessories: Gingham Ribbon - Moss (p86).

(All page numbers refer to the UK Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalogue 2007-2008)

* It's a "flight of butterflies" or a "rabble of butterflies" apparently. I prefer "flight" as I think "rabble" implies some kind of misbehaviour.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Another Be Happy card

I sliced the end of my thumb off yesterday in a cake-related incident; so it's true when they say cake is bad for you! Luckily I have a few cards made to keep me going until my thumb is fully functional again.

Here's another card made with Be Happy, this time in more subtle shades of Certainly Celery, Barely Banana and Perfect Plum. I stamped the spotted tag in Certainly Celery on the same coloured cardstock for a subtle effect. "Enjoy" is stamped in Perfect Plum on Whisper White. The 5/8" grosgrain ribbon is Very Vanilla; I can be quite tight with ribbon when I want to be, as you can see!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Be Happy!

I'm surrounded with new stamps, ink pads, ribbons and other Stampin' Up! goodies - that's a very good reason to Be Happy!

I made this before all my lovely new things arrived so it's a bit of a "beg, steal or borrow" card. I borrowed the stamp set, Be Happy, from my friend Sue and I begged the button from my friend Alison, The Button Queen. I stole the idea from the Stampin' Up! website -; it also features on Page 69 of the UK catalogue. Mine is slightly different because I do have a problem with copying things - I try to do them from memory and always end up going my own way...

The cardstock is Almost Amethyst, Elegant Eggplant, Real Red and Whisper White. I used Elegant Eggplant and Real Red inkpads. The 1/4" grosgrain ribbon is Real Red, as is the button. To stamp the flowers on the Almost Amethyst strip, I inked part of the stamp with my Elegant Eggplant marker. I didn't line them up - I was going for the "charmingly homemade" wonky look!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

A girly birthday card

Here's a girly birthday card I made with Birthday Best, a cute little set of four rubber stamps. As well as this cake, there's a flower, a balloon and a greeting which says "happy birthday today - happy times all year!" but I just inked "happy times" with a marker. The cardstock is Whisper White, Pretty in Pink, Barely Banana and Basic Black. I coloured the image with markers - Pretty in Pink and Barely Banana. The gingham ribbon is black and white - I dyed it pink by pressing it into my Pretty in Pink ink pad but you could also do this with a marker.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Welcome to my blog!

Are you crafty? Do you enjoy making cards, scrapbooking or other papercrafts or want to learn how? If so, this blog is for you! This is the first blog I've ever had so it's all new to me - to be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing. But I really wanted to show you some fabulous new rubber stamps and accessories which are now available in England and some of the projects you can make with them. The products are from Stampin’ Up! Established in the United States nearly 20 years ago, Stampin’ Up! is a market leader for high quality rubber stamps, supplies and accessories. I’m really excited that Stampin’ Up! has now launched in the United Kingdom and we’ll all be able to get our inky hands on some wonderful products. One of the things crafters love about Stampin’ Up! is that it’s so easy to make co-ordinating projects. Stamps are sold in sets; a set might come with two or three themed images, plus a background stamp and a greeting. A set might feature just background stamps, or just greetings. They’re sold unmounted which makes it easy to assemble them just how you want them – and it keeps the cost down too! In fact, Stampin’ Up! stamps are excellent value compared to individual stamps of similar high quality. The colours all co-ordinate, too. Stampin’ Up! uses its own palette of colours for top quality cardstock, ink pads and markers. There are co-ordinating patterned papers and scrapbooking kits – even matching ribbons, eyelets, buttons and brads! On this blog I'll be showing you some projects you can make with Stampin' Up! products and giving updates about special offers. I'm not sure what else at the moment, so watch this space!

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.