Friday, 31 December 2010

Sale-A-Bration is here!!!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...

The Christmas pudding may have all gone, the presents opened, the tree dropping most of its needles, but there’s no reason to be glum because Sale-A-Bration is here!

Sale-A-Bration is one of the most exciting times in the Stampin' Up!® year. Why? Because you can get FREE STAMPS!

Sale-A-Bration runs from 30th December to 28th February, 2011 and there are several ways you can get your hands on exclusive free stamp sets. Four special sets have been designed just for Sale-A-Bration. You can't buy them, you can only earn them for free and only during the promotion period. You can see them all in the attached brochure but first let me explain how you can earn free stamps:

As a customer:  For every £45 you spend during Sale-A-Bration, you can choose a free set from the SAB brochure. Spend £90 for two sets, etc. All orders over £45 count - you can order at a party, at a class, or just by dropping me a line. There is no limit to the number of free sets you can earn. 

As a hostess:  Hold a Stampin’ Up! party during Sale-A-Bration and if the party reaches £300 you can choose an extra Sale-A-Bration stamp set in addition to all your usual freebies. Please contact me as soon as possible if you’d like to book a party as my diary is filling up.  It's the perfect way to banish the post-Christmas blues! 
As a new demonstrator:  Join Stampin’ Up! during Sale-A-Bration for £119 and you will not only receive the Starter Kit worth £240, you will be able to choose an extra catalogue stamp set of any price... yes, even a £44.95 alphabet set. After that, the choice is yours; you can use it to build up a business, or leave it at that and just enjoy your bargain. The only financial commitment is the purchase of the kit itself. There really is no catch!
As an existing demonstrator: There are free stamp sets up for grabs for existing demonstrators, too. So if you sign up right now, you can earn an extra catalogue set in your kit... plus Sale-A-Bration sets for any qualifying orders during the period... plus more catalogue sets if you meet certain targets during the promotion. You could be swimming in stamps by March! Please drop me a line if you’d like to find out more. 
What else do you need to know? Well, one of the most exciting things you’ll discover in the SAB brochure is that there’s a stamp set called Punch Bunch which is made up of stamps which co-ordinate with our punches... and one of them is an OWL!!!! We don’t have an owl punch... yet... but read the small print in the brochure and you’ll see that we’re getting on in our Mini Catalogue on 1st April. I can’t wait as I’ve been wanting this punch for ages! If you think you’re going to be getting the owl punch when it’s released, be sure to put Punch Bunch at the top of your SAB list because, at the end of February, the stamp set will be gone forever!
You also need to know that all SAB sets are available in wood or unmounted, so don’t forget to let me know which you require when you order. 

I can’t wait to share Sale-A-Bration with you! I have some samples made with Sweet Summer to show you but need some daylight to get good pictures. My usual problem at this time of year! 

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Growing Green birthday

So, that friend who loves Wild Wasabi and Early Espresso just happens to have a birthday on Christmas Day. Inconvenient, eh? Poor Alison, her birthday is pretty much a non-event for her every year.

Here’s the card I made her – which I copied and adapted from a sample in the US Idea Book & Catalogue which somebody was kind enough to give me for ideas. Their sample used a stamp set we don’t have, but that never puts me off using an idea.

I stamped the main flower in Early Espresso onto Very Vanilla cardstock then coloured it in using the ink from the Early Espresso ink pad lid and a blender pen. The two flowers behind the main image are stamped in Early Espresso onto Crumb Cake cardstock and cut out. The photo makes it look a bit flat but there is a slight 3D effect, even though I haven’t popped them up using Dimensionals.

The largest flower in the background is stamped on Crumb Cake using Crumb Cake ink.

The greeting is from the Perfect Punches stamp set – I inked up just the words, omitting the oval outline, using an Early Espresso marker.

Stamps: Growing Green, Perfect Punches
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Early Espresso, Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Early Espresso, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Spiral Punch, 1/8” Taffeta Ribbon – Early Espresso, blender pen, Early Espresso Marker

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 27 December 2010

Dashing through the camera files...

Hope you are all having a nice Christmas. I realise it’s over in America but over here we keep Christmas going right into the New Year, don’t we? We have a day off from entertaining/visiting today, which is good as hubby has a stinking cold/hacking cough so could do with a break.

And it's snowed today! Big juicy flakes, leaving about half an inch on the ground... on top of the two inches we had last week... which are resting, in places, on the big piles of snow from the first big snowfall. So we haven't been without snow now since the end of November - pretty unheard of for us! 

I’ve just found this Christmas card on my camera. Sorry it’s a bit late but you can file it for next year perhaps! The picture is a bit ropey but it’s so hard to get decent pix when it’s dark all the time!

So, just in case you can’t tell, the colour combo is River Rock, Cherry Cobbler and Elegant Eggplant, with Dasher stamped onto Very Vanilla.

You also probably can’t see that there’s glitter – yes, glitter! – on the antlers, as well as a tiny bit of bling; a silver rhinestone on one of the snowflakes. Less is more where bling is concerned... for me, at least!

Stamps: Dasher, Perfect Punches, Serene Snowflakes
Cardstock: River Rock, Cherry Cobbler, Elegant Eggplant, Very Vanilla
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Elegant Eggplant
Accessories: Scallop Square Punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, Dazzling Diamonds glitter, Rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A White Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers, whether casual or regular visitor, subscriber or follower. Hope you have a lovely day doing whatever you want to do.

We do have a proper white Christmas, which is the first one I can remember... ever I think. About an inch of snow on the ground, so enough to look pretty without inconveniencing us. I know others aren't so lucky, so I hope your plans haven't been disrupted or, if they have, that your Plan B is working out well.

So far today's main crisis has been that the table - all set up and ready for Christmas dinner since last night - collapsed at one end, sending everything sliding slowly but dramatically towards the floor. Remarkably, the only casualties were two wine glasses! But... when we went to get the hoover out from under the stairs, we found one of those little surprises that cats like to leave you at the most inopportune moments. So today has been spent cleaning!

(I did have a festive icy picture to upload in lieu of a papercraft project, but Blogger isn't playing ball and I have too much to do to faff around, so this post will be image-less.)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Even quicker Christmas card

My Christmas tutorial is now on the Most Wanted website, so feel free to pop along and leave a message telling them how fab I am, LOL!

Meanwhile, here's another really quick Christmas card, with barely any cutting. The card base is 9cm square, with an 8cm square of Not Quite Navy layered on top. Then it’s just punching – easy!

It’s weird that I never liked Not Quite Navy until the new colours came out this October. Now I love it with Cherry Cobbler. And Union Jacks in darker yet faded shades of red, white and blue are all the rage at the moment, so this colour combination is very current.

Stamps: Season of Joy, Perfect Punches
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Not Quite Navy, Whisper White
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Accessories: 1 ¼” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Quick Christmas

Running out of time for your Christmas cards? This one is really easy and is inspired by the pouch I made for my workshop hostesses recently. It’s just a square card with a smaller square of Designer Series Paper and the stockings stamp from Gifted layered on some Old Olive cardstock.

Ideally, I’d have used markers to ink the stamp but I don’t have a Riding Hood Red one to match this paper, so I inked the stamp with the Riding Hood Red ink pad, then carefully cleaned off one of the stockings with a cotton bud and then inked it with an Old Olive marker. Then I had to clean it off carefully again before inking with Riding Hood Red, so as not to contaminate my ink pad.  So, technically a quick and easy card, but not so much when you’re making lots, like I did!

Stamps: Gifted
Cardstock: Riding Hood Red, Old Olive textured, Very Vanilla
Paper: Love Letter
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Old Olive

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Going wild for wasabi at Christmas

Still have Christmas cards to make? Good, because I still have some to show you. But I will warn you that the photos are all ropey, due to lack of daylight.

Here’s one for a friend whose favourite colour combination is this. She made her swaps with it for Convention and challenged me to guess which colours she’d used. I got two out of three; Wild Wasabi and Early Espresso.

I stamped some random snowflakes on Whisper White cardstock and then punched them out, layered them on Early Espresso cardstock and again on Bashful Blue. In fact, this card is pretty much random snowflakes everywhere. A tiny rhinestone adds a touch of bling.

Stamps: Serene Snowflakes, Perfect Punches
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Bashful Blue, Early Espresso, Whisper White
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Bashful Blue, Early Espresso
Accessories: 1 ¼” circle punch,  1 3/8” circle punch, corner rounder, scallop edge punch, 1/8” taffeta – Early Espresso, rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Sunday, 19 December 2010

More monster fun

I do love these monsters, as I may have mentioned already! The stamp set is perfect for the little monster in your life – it features these three bodies, plus various eyes, mouths and hair/horns etc. This time I used the White Gel Pen to colour in the eyes and teeth.

Stamps: Make a Monster, Basic Phrases
Cardstock: Real Red, Basic Black, Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie
Ink: Basic Black
Accessories: Silver Eyelets, Crop-A-Dile™, 1/8” Taffeta Ribbon – Basic Black, So Saffron Marker, Scallop Edge Punch, White Gel Pen, Wide Oval Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Friday, 17 December 2010

Gift pouch for Christmas

If you held a party in October or November, you’ll have had one of these with a little stamping gift inside. Hope you liked it!

It’s a very simple pouch, which you can make in any size to suit any small gift. Just make sure the base is a reasonable width so that it will stand up. You can't see very well from this dark picture, but from the side it looks like a triangle, with open sides. So really very easy. 

I decorated mine with Love Letter paper. Aren’t those polka dots gorgeous?

I stamped the stocking from Gifted on some Very Vanilla cardstock, then again in Old Olive on a scrap, which I cut out. (I cut the stocking out at home before the  parties – I didn’t want all those eager stampers seeing the look of horror on my face when I cut one in half!).

Stamps: Gifted
Cardstock: Riding Hood Red, Early Espresso, Old Olive, Very Vanilla
Paper: Love Letter
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Old Olive
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon – Old Olive, Corner Rounder

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas robin tealight holder tutorial

I don’t create tutorials very often but when I was invited to take part in the Most Wanted Christmas DIY Challenge, I could hardly say no, could I?

The Most Wanted folk want everyone to have a go at making something for Christmas, and discover the fun of getting crafty.

So today I’m showing you this cute little birdhouse, complete with Christmas robin (yes, I know that robins don’t use birdhouses but let’s suspend disbelief for a moment, it is Christmas after all), glitter and the warming glow of a tealight. The project is simple but the instructions are long - sorry about that but I wanted them to be useful to new crafters as well as the more experienced among you.  

Important: Please don’t use a real candle in this project because you could well burn your house down. Battery tealights are cheap and available from Wilkinson’s, Ikea and, I believe, Asda.

To make my birdhouse, I’ve used products from Stampin’ Up!® because I am an independent SU demonstrator. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have lots of lovely SU supplies, you could compromise.

These are the Stampin’ Up! supplies I used, with alternatives where applicable in brackets.

Crumb Cake cardstock (or a natural pale brown)
Early Espresso cardstock (dark brown)
Riding Hood Red cardstock (any red will do)
Always Artichoke cardstock (any green with do)
Vellum cardstock (you could also use vellum paper, acetate or even greaseproof paper/baking parchment?)

Serene Snowflakes stamp set (any snowflake stamps, just doodle them on or leave it blank)
Riding Hood Red ink pad (or any red ink pad or brush marker)
1 3/8” circle punch (or any similar-sized circle punch)
Extra Large Two-Step Bird punch (hmm... you could try cutting out your own bird from cardstock scraps, or cutting a robin image from an old Christmas card)
Dazzling Diamonds Glitter (or any glitter, or no glitter, if you don’t like vacuuming)
Scallop Edge Punch (if you don’t have an edge punch, you could tear the edges for a wooden roof effect)
Small Heart Punch (optional)

1. Start with a piece of Crumb Cake cardstock, cut to 21cm x 12cm. This is the width of A4 so you’ll get two pieces from one sheet. Before you do anything else, stamp it all over with red snowflakes.

2. Now, score it along the long edge at 5cm. I’ve used my Fiskars Trimmer. The orange blade cuts, while the black one scores. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve used the wrong one!  Turn your piece of cardstock sideways and score at 5cm, 10cm, 15cm and 20cm. This should leave you with a 1cm strip at one side – left or right, it doesn’t matter. Mine’s on the left because I’m lefthanded.

3. Cut away the smaller section of this strip, as shown.

4. With your piece of card in the same position, ie with the cut-away section at the bottom left or bottom right, cut along the score lines from the bottom edge up to the 5cm horizontal score line.

5. Fold along all the score lines, all in the same direction, away from you. You may now attach a piece of double-sided tape to the flap, as shown, but do not assemble the box just yet.

6. Using your circle punch, punch out a circle of scrap paper and stick this to the front of your cardstock on one of the two centre panels. This gives you a guide for punching in the centre. Don’t put it too far down or your punch won’t reach.

7. With your punch upside-down, so that you can see what you are doing, punch out the circle, using the scrap piece as your guide.

8. Turn your cardstock over and apply adhesive around the edge of the aperture. Cover the hole with a piece of vellum cardstock. Vellum paper is just as good but I prefer the cardstock because it’s easier to handle and doesn’t crease so easily. If you don’t have any vellum, experiment with different materials, such as greaseproof paper/baking parchment or some coloured cellophane from a sweet wrapper! You can use clear acetate or leave it empty, but I prefer not to see the tealight inside as it spoils the effect.

9. Now you can assemble the box. I find the easiest way to do this is by folding the edges in and joining them with the cardstock lying flat on the table. This way you can get your edges to join neatly and when you let go, the box will pop up to make a square tube.

10. Stand it upside-down and fold three of the flaps down. Leave one of them sticking out, as shown, and apply adhesive. I am using Sticky Strip which is a red-line tape and very, very strong; ideal for making boxes.

Tip: I like to apply the adhesive to the flap which is joined on to the front of the box, ie the one with the circular aperture. This makes it look a little neater.

11. Fold this final flap down to finish assembling the box. Turn it the right way round and you have a basic box. You can use this box template for all kinds of projects – omit the hole and fill with shredded tissue and it makes an easy gift box or favour box. But, pressing on, we’re going to make a roof...

12. For a basic roof, you will need a piece of cardstock measuring 12cm x 6cm. If you want to scallop the edges, as I have done, or even tear them to create a rough-cut wood effect, cut your piece to 14cm x 6cm.

13. If you want to add the extra scallops to resemble tiles (again, you could tear them for a wood-effect), you will also need one piece of 6cm x 5cm cardstock, scored in half (ie, at 2.5cm) as well as EIGHT pieces of 6cm x 3cm cardstock.

Tip: If you are using the scallop edge punch, it is easier if you cut FOUR 6cm x 6cm pieces of cardstock, scallop two opposite edges and THEN cut them in half to create eight pieces. The larger pieces of cardstock are easier to slide into the punch and you end up with the same result. Just quicker.

14. Now the messy bit: glitter. Regular readers of my blog will know that I am not a big glitter fan, but at Christmas I do occasionally make an exception. To minimise mess, I have decanted my glitter into these plastic lidded takeaway pots (new ones from Home Bargains). I keep a small plastic spoon in there, too, but you won’t need it for this project.

Use a glue pen to apply adhesive to the scalloped edges and dip them into the glitter. Tap off the excess and you’re done. Well, you will be when you’ve done the 11 other edges...

15. To assemble the roof, adhere the scalloped strips to the largest roof piece, spacing them about 1cm apart. The smallest folded piece forms the top of the roof.

16. Now the front of the roof. Take a piece of Early Espresso cardstock measuring 7cm x 5cm and scallop (or tear) along the long edge. This is the bottom. Measure halfway (3.5cm) along the top edge and draw a pencil mark. Now score from this mark diagonally down to the bottom left edge and then again down to the bottom right edge. This will create three triangles.

17. Fold the two outer triangles backwards to create the gable end of your birdhouse. If you want a little heart on the front of your house, punch one from some scrap paper and fix it in position on the brown cardstock. Again, use this as a guide to punch the heart.

18. Take a scrap of red cardstock and cut a rough triangle. Attach this to the inside of the roof piece – you can pop it up with foam tape if you prefer a little dimension. I did on the finished project but not for my step-by-step pictures because I forgot!

20. Attach this to your main roof, setting it back about 5mm for an authentic look.

21. Now it’s time to make your robin (or go and find one if you don’t have the bird punch). But I cannot recommend this punch enough. It came out in April and I’ve used it for everything ever since. It’s great for using all those little scraps of cardstock that you wondered why you were saving. With the punch upside-down, you can feed little scraps into it and just punch the section that you need.

As so many rubber stamp companies are American, you don’t often see rubber stamps of British robins so this punch is a brilliant way to get round the problem.

As shown in the photo, you will need a brown body and wing, a green branch and an additional wing piece in red - this will attach to the body to represent the red breast. Complete the bird by adding the brown wing and the green branch. Now he can be attached to the front of the birdhouse.

23. And you’re done! The roof simply rests on the birdhouse so that you can get in to turn the light on and off. These would look great on a mantelpiece among some festive greenery or to decorate your table for Christmas dinner. Why not give them as cheap and cheerful teacher gifts? (They really don’t need any more mugs, honest!)

All products by Stampin' Up!® Please email me to order a catalogue, or click the link on the right to view it online.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Christmas favour boxes

I have to thank my 10-year-old son for helping me to make these because I needed 17 of them in a hurry! And you know how much I love making projects in bulk.

These were little boxes of (not many) chocolates for all my lovely team-members who came to my meeting on Saturday morning.  I love getting together with my team as everybody learns from each other, picking up great stamping ideas as well as business tips. The newcomers were all keen to learn how, as a new demonstrator, you can earn loads of free stamp sets to supplement your Starter Kit.

This little box is really simple – it’s made from a piece of 13cm x 21cm (the width of A4) cardstock so you can get two from a sheet. Score along the bottom (long) edge at 4cm and then vertically at 6cm, 10cm, 16cm and 20cm.

Follow these ancient instructions to assemble the box.

Nearly forgot: always stamp before scoring to avoid blank bits.

The front is decorated with a scallop circle punched from Very Vanilla cardstock. I used the Perfect Punches stamp set, which has stamps for all year round, and I had been looking forward to using this particular stamp which says “Joy at Christmas”. Unfortunately my robin covered up the “at Christmas” bit but never mind.

The packing is created from some cream-coloured printer paper (I wasn’t wasting Very Vanilla on packing!) which I crimped using the Paper Crimper and then ran through my shredder. Ok, I confess, I did it the other way round and then spent ages trying to feed little shredded strips into my crimper. But learn from my mistake and crimp FIRST!

Stamps: Perfect Punches, Serene Snowflakes
Cardstock: Riding Hood Red, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Old Olive
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Old Olive
Accessories: Two-Step Bird Punch, Scallop Circle Punch, Paper Crimper

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Events page updated (a bit)

I've just updated the events page with news of my Punch Pals class. This is the class that many of you have been requesting since March - so I expect a full house!

Today I spent a lovely morning with some of my team - plus a couple of guests. We met in Pride Park in Derby for a morning of business ideas, demonstrations and, of course, some stamping. You can't put a group of crafters together and not make something! We all had a go at origami, learned a fab 3D project and made a card using a brand new Sale-A-Bration stamp set. Watch this space for more info about Sale-A-Bration!

One of the ladies was there to find out more about becoming a demonstrator. After chatting to us all, I'm pretty sure she was convinced it was a good idea. What gave me my first clue? Maybe it was her words: "It's a win-win situation!"

We'll be meeting up again in the New Year - if becoming a demonstrator is something you've considered, why not get in touch and join us?

Meanwhile, I am anxiously awaiting new camera batteries so I can upload my Christmassy projects. My batteries aren't completely flat - they will allow me to take photos but not upload them to my computer. Grrr.  I ordered some new ones online because it's much quicker than going to the shops, right? Well it is when you've not been living with a foot of snow for a fortnight and had barely any post for days!

Almost all the snow has melted now so normal service should be resumed soon. I hope.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Same stamp, similar design, different look

It’s surprising how different the same image can look when stamped in a different way.  This is the same stamp as on Wednesday’s card – and the design is pretty close too – but it’s a completely different look.

This is another colour variation on the card we made at Convention. To get this watery look, I inked up the stamp using markers, then lightly sprayed the stamp with water before stamping it onto watercolour paper. The paper is torn and the whole card spritzed with Always Artichoke using the Colour Spritzer.

The Colour Spritzer is fab: you insert a marker (any brush marker which fits in the gap is fine) and pump it to blow air across the end of the brush end of the marker to create this spatter look.

I then stamped the sentiment on Crumb Cake cardstock, punched it out using the 1 ¾” circle punch, screwed it up (aaagh!) and then spread it out again, to create a distressed look.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Always Artichoke, Bravo Burgundy, Crumb Cake, Watercolour Paper
Ink: Always Artichoke
Accessories: Stampin’ Write Markers – Always Artichoke, Real Red, Bravo Burgundy, Colour Spritzer, 1 ¾” Circle punch, Regals Buttons, Satin Ribbon – Real Red

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Faux embossing

I have been squirrelling away on Christmassy projects but have no photos to show you just yet. Am working on that...

Meanwhile, here's another card made with that gorgeous set we received at Convention, Just Believe. The stamping on this card is perfectly flat – but several people have reached out to touch it because it looks embossed. How come? It’s called the shadow stamping technique and you need a stamp, two inks (one in a shadowy colour) and a Stamp-a-ma-jig®.

First I stamped the paler image in Crumb Cake. Then I reinked with Cajun Craze and used the SAMJ to position the stamp very carefully slightly up and to the right of the first image. Ok, so one version went in the recycling, but I was happy with this one – quite effective, I think.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze, Very Vanilla
Ink: Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze, Early Espresso
Accessories: Stamp-a-ma-jig®, Scallop Edge Punch, 1/8” Taffeta Ribbon – Early Espresso, 1 ¾” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Creating a vintage look

I demonstrated this card at all of my recent workshops. I wanted to show how you don’t always need vintage-looking stamps to create the vintage look. I love this card – I love all “dirty” distressed looks... it doesn’t half cover a lot of mistakes!

To create the look, I first stamped snowflakes on a piece of Very Vanilla with Riding Hood Red ink. I tore along the bottom edge and then used a sponge dauber to sponge some Always Artichoke and River Rock ink around the edges. I took the ink from the inkpad lids – that’s what it’s there for! Finally, I used the Colour Spritzer to add some spatters of ink from the Always Artichoke and Early Espresso markers.

Did you know that you can now buy some of our markers individually? Look out for the Getting Started colours – these are the ones to watch if you want ribbons and individual markers. Check out pages 82-85 of the current Idea Book & Catalogue.

Stamps: Gifted, Serene Snowflakes
Cardstock: Riding Hood Red, Always Artichoke, Early Espresso, River Rock, Very Vanilla
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Always Artichoke, River Rock
Accessories: 1/8” Taffeta ribbon – Early Espresso, sponge dauber, colour spritzer

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Monster fun

I have taken some snowy pix to bore you with - but my camera batteries are flat and I can't find the spares. I wonder which remote control toy they will be hiding in? I'm sure you don't need my pictures of snow anyway - as most of the country is covered in the stuff! 

So, to distract you from the winter wonderland, here's something non-Christmassy, and not at all wintry!

How fun are these monsters? I actually sat chuckling to myself as I played with this set. This is my version of a card demonstrated at Convention by SU’s Charlotte Harding. Charlotte’s card had funky rhinestones around the spaceship – so, naturally, they are now on my wishlist!

I love the brightly-coloured monster – created by stamping the image on some Old Olive cardstock and cutting it out. I coloured the arms, legs and antenna with a So Saffron marker because I didn’t have a Daffodil Delight one to match the cardstock. The eye was stamped on to the Old Olive and again on Whisper White and cut out, as was the tongue. I confess that Kelly did the tongue for me because I get so irritable when cutting out small things!

Oh, and no Stamp-a-ma-jig® was used because my monster set is unmounted!

Below is the inside of the card. Fun, eh? I told you I had found a fun use for Party This Way – this is the balloon from the set and the arrow on the front is from the same set, too. The planet is created with a circle punched out with the 1 ¾” circle punch, holes added with the Crop-A-Dile™

To get the hole in the right place on the front, see Birthday Pants card for instructions.

Stamps: Make a Monster, Party This Way
Cardstock: Old Olive, Basic Black, Real Red, Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight
Ink: Basic Black, Old Olive, Tempting Turquoise
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Wide Oval Punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, Stampin’ Write markers - Basic Black and So Saffron, 1 ¾” circle punch, Crop-A-Dile™

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas make and take

Last night was my last workshop of November, and it was great! (Driving home in a blizzard: not so great.)

I am sure the hostess, Helen (no, not me) will be thrilled when her big box of goodies - with so many freebies! - arrives! And I was happy to introduce several new people to the joys of Stampin' Up!®

This was the Make and Take card that everybody made. 
Aren’t those colours gorgeous? I can admit now that I was sceptical about River Rock. It’s a very unusual colour, not quite beige, a bit more greeny. Very odd. But when I tried all the Neutrals with Riding Hood Red and Old Olive, River Rock just shouted at me because it was the best one.

Thanks to everyone who hosted/attended/placed an order at the workshops – hope you had as much fun as I did! I’m now taking bookings for January onwards ... and you KNOW that January and February are the BEST times for a workshop! Banish the winter blues with some stamping!

Stamps: Gifted, Serene Snowflakes
Cardstock: Riding Hood Red, Old Olive, River Rock, Very Vanilla
Ink: Riding Hood Red
Accessories: Wide Oval Punch, ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon – Old Olive

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas Market at the Roundhouse

It's a winter wonderland out there, so what better day to show you our stand from the Christmas Market at the Roundhouse last weekend. It was a steep learning curve for us, the beginners, but we loved it and are definitely up for next year’s Fabulous Places Christmas Market – and probably the summer one, too!

On our stand we had a selection of products and stamped projects. Several people wanted to buy our cards – and I could have sold my Eiffel Tower journal over and over again! – but we were there to promote Stampin’ Up!® and the idea of making your own handcrafted projects.

It was wonderful to receive to many visitors, and to get so many people excited about rubber stamping! I hope to see lots of them at my classes and events in 2011.

One of the most popular items on the stand was the Designer Series Paper star. Alison and Tricia had made a few of these to put on the tree and dot around the stall. I will be sending the template to everyone on my mailing list but if you’d like one, too, please leave a comment and I’ll get one to you.

The most traumatic part of the day for Alison was cutting into her brand new roll of Basic Black 1¼” Striped Grosgrain ribbon to make tie-backs for the “curtains” and to decorate the tree pot. But don’t worry, she will be using it again!

Thanks to Alison and Tricia for all the help, and big thanks, too, to Kelly, who made so many fabulous things on the stall, including the stunning tie-back holders. She’s a real stamping star and I know a lot of you are concerned about her because she hasn’t updated her blog recently, but she has had to cut back on crafting and computer time for health reasons, unfortunately. But she’s fine and, if you sign up for any of my classes in 2011, I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of her!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Get your birthday pants on!

Today is a friend from work’s Big Birthday so I hope she is wearing her birthday pants!

Birthday pants? Well, apparently in her family, it’s a tradition to have new pants for your birthday and she was telling us all about this when it was her son’s birthday a few weeks ago. It’s a tradition which she sees as perfectly normal (as we all do with our quirky family habits) but that everyone else in the office thought was downright weird, so we decided to surprise her at work yesterday with a special gift of some Really Big Pants, lovingly made by the office seamstress in vile brown and yellow checked fabric.

I also surprised her with a cheeky pink and red number featuring pom poms (her reaction is unprintable) and made her this card.

You open it up to reveal a line of colourful pants, all punched from the Greenhouse Gala Designer Series Paper using various circle punches. The striped pair was a little pale, so I brayered some Daffodil Delight ink over the top. The washing line was hand-drawn with a marker – scary, eh?

Here’s how to get the hole on the front of the card in the correct place.

  1. Decorate the inside of the card first. Yes, it feels weird to do it in that order but it works.
  2. Punch a circle from some scrap paper and apply a small amount of any adhesive to it.
  3. With adhesive side up, place it over the part of the image you want to show through to the front.
  4. Close the card. The circle will stick to the inside of the front of the card.
  5. Now you can use this circle as a guide to punch a hole in the front of the card. 
NB: Punches do not like going through more than one layer of card at once. They don’t mind one sheet of Designer Paper and a sheet of card, but not two sheets of card. So punch each layer separately.

Here’s how to get the scallop edging around the aperture:

  1. Punch 1 3/8” circle from a piece of Baja Breeze cardstock, leaving more space than usual around the edge.
  2. With the Scallop Circle Punch upside down, carefully position it over the hole so that it is nicely even, then punch again. Now you have a scallop circle with a hole in the middle which you can glue to the front of your card.
Stamps: Just Perfect Alphabet
Cardstock: Daffodil Delight, Pear Pizzazz, Baja Breeze, Whisper White
Paper: Greenhouse Gala
Ink: Baja Breeze, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: 1 3/8” circle punch, Scallop Circle Punch, Scallop Edge Punch, ¾” circle punch, 1 ¾” circle punch, Stampin’ Write Journalling Pen

All products by Stampin’ Up!®           
PS: A note for American readers who are not familiar with the British use of the word “pants”. Pants are what you call underwear, which you will no doubt have worked out by now from the picture. The word “pants” is also used as a general derogatory term. 

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Get your hands on all these Designer Series Papers for less than £15!

Aren’t all the Designer Series Papers in the new Stampin’ Up!® Idea Book & Catalogue gorgeous? Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on all of them? The problem is, if you buy all 13 packs (not 
including Patterns Stacks), it will cost you £116.15... and it would take you ages to get through it all!

So, how would you like to get your hands on a little bit of EVERYTHING (not including Patterns Stacks) for just £14.60? In this share you will receive one 6”x6” square of each double-sided sheet from the following collections:

*   Nursery Suite Speciality  (full pack £9.95)
*   Sweet & Sour Speciality (full pack £9.95)
*   Greenhouse Gala (full pack price £8.75)
*   Woodland Walk (full pack £8.75)
*   Love Letter (full pack £8.75)
*   Celebrations (full pack £8.75)
*   Jolly Holiday (full pack £8.75)
*   Lap of Luxury (full pack £8.75)
*   Sunny Garden (full pack £8.75)
*   Blueberry Crisp (full pack £8.75)
*   Newsprint (full pack £8.75)
*   Elegant SoirĂ©e (full pack £8.75)
*   Play Date (full pack £8.75)

Use these sheets to make 6x6 scrapbook pages, to embellish your cards or to create other projects. You’ll soon discover which ones are your favourites and then you can order full packs if you wish.

Each sheet is double-sided. If you wish to make the most of both patterns on each sheet, put yourself down for two slots in the share.

There are only SEVEN slots in this share (because I want a pack!) so please book early to bag yourself a slot! The paper will be delivered to me for cutting, after which you can collect it from me or I can post it out to you at cost. Please email me asap to reserve your slot! 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Channelling Shelli Gardner

This is my version of a much nicer card created by Shelli Gardner, Stampin’ Up!’s co-founder and CEO at Convention. I was getting frustrated because I didn’t have the “right” ribbons... but, of course, once I’d finished the card and rooted in the bottom of my ribbons box properly, I found them after all. Must tidy my ribbons box.

The ribbons are stuck down on a piece of any coloured cardstock. Then you punch out the Fancy Flower Extra Large from a piece of Crumb Cake and pop that up on top. The leaves are an optional extra – created using the wing from the Two Step Bird punch. The button adds the perfect finishing touch.

Stamps: Tiny Tags
Cardstock: Elegant Eggplant, Crumb Cake, Certainly Celery
Ink: Rich Razzleberry
Accessories: Regals buttons, Two Step Bird punch, Fancy Flower punch, linen thread
Ribbons: ¼” Grosgrain - Real Red, Rich Razzleberry, Old Olive, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery, Pumpkin Pie; 3/8” Grosgrain– Marina Mist

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 22 November 2010

Party This Way

I have pictures to show you of our stall at the Roundhouse but I haven't got round to uploading them yet so they will have to wait. 

Meanwhile, here's one I made earlier... a really cute little card, which we made at Convention using our free Party This Way stamp set. Now I’ll admit I wasn’t too sure about this set – until I used it... and now I’m convinced that it’s a really useful little set and I’ve used it a few times in a way I wouldn’t have expected. Watch this space...

Stamps: Party This Way
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Rose Red, Bashful Blue, Pear Pizzazz, So Saffron, Whisper White
Ink: Rose Red, Pear Pizzazz, Bashful Blue, So Saffron

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fabulous Places - WOW!

What an amazing - albeit exhausting - weekend! Nearly 7,500 people through the Roundhouse doors over the two days and LOADS of interest shown in our little Stampin' Up!® stand. We enjoyed spreading the word about Stampin' Up! and showing people the lovely goodies available.

Will definitely be doing Fabulous Places events next year!

Friday, 19 November 2010

At a loose end this weekend?

Looking for something FABULOUS to do this weekend? Want to get some Christmas shopping done and support local businesses? Want to come and say 'hello' to me and some of my team-members and help spread the word about rubber stamping being the best hobby ever?

Then please come along to see me at the Fabulous Places Christmas Market! We'll be preaching to the unconverted so could do with the support! 


PS: It's from 10am-4pm and £1 admission (free for under 16s). 

Convention swaps - part 1

These are some of my swaps from Convention – what a lot of stamping talent there is out there in Great Britain, France and Germany! I had so many swaps that I couldn’t fit them all on one photo, so took out all the Christmassy ones to show you another time. Although, oops, I see one slipped onto this photo in the bottom left hand corner.

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Watery thanks

Here one of our make and takes from Convention. If you’re a regular blog-hopper, you’ll probably recognise this card as it’s been everywhere, especially on US blogs after their Convention in the summer!

To create this watery look, we coloured the stamp in using markers, then sprayed it with water – a little too much water in my case! Then we stamped the wet stamp down onto watercolour paper. Did you know we now sell watercolour paper? Useful little rectangles which are just right for cardmaking.

We stamped the greeting, tore and curled the edges, then spattered ink all over it using the new Colour Spritzer. This is a FUN tool!

I love this card and have since made it in another colourway – but you’ll have to wait a few days for that one.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Not Quite Navy, Bashful Blue, Watercolour Paper
Ink: Not Quite Navy, Old Olive and Bashful Blue markers; Bashful Blue ink pad (for envelope)
Accessories: Brights Buttons, Satin Ribbon – Old Olive, Colour Spritzer

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Olive and I are reunited

This card is inspired by the beautiful work of Pam Morgan, vice-president of Stampin’ Up!®, who demonstrated some wonderful projects to us at Convention. It’s not a lot like her card, but it’s where the idea came from.

First I punched a large flower from some Newsprint paper, then brayered it with Certainly Celery. I sponged some Old Olive ink around the edges of the petals to create a bit of contrast.

Next I ran the flower through the paper crimper. Then again the other way. And again. And possibly again, I can’t remember. By now the paper was looking pretty battered, which is just what I wanted. The battered look is in, have you noticed?! The rest is just layering of Newsprint papers, distressed around the edges, then layered onto some Old Olive cardstock. Oh Old Olive, I have neglected you so much recently – will you ever forgive me?

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Old Olive, Basic Black
Paper: Newsprint
Accessories: Fancy Flower Extra Large, Regals Buttons, ¾” circle punch, linen thread, 1/8” taffeta ribbon – Basic Black, Scallop Edge Punch, paper crimper

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

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.