Sunday, 31 January 2010


This is a variation on a theme – this card to be precise. I wanted to have another go using the Pink Flamingo papers, which are very exciting actually. Very bright and cheerful.

Wish I'd given the bird a constrasting wing though.

Stamps: A Bit of Birthday Cheer
Cardstock: Cameo Coral, Tempting Turquoise
Paper: Pink Flamingo
Ink: Basic Black
Accessories: So Tweet Chipboard, wide striped Grosgrain Ribbon - Basic Black

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Faux buttons

This is one of my projects for my Sale-A-Bration workshops. Actually, it’s not, as I’ve adapted it to use A Tree For All Seasons but this is how it started out.

Yes it’s another variation on the little square card with the circle element but if it works, why not keep using it? The new element here is the faux button, made from cardstock, paper and Crystal Effects. Here’s how:

1. Punch several circles of cardstock – I’ve used the ¾” circle punch which is small enough to be realistic but large enough to accommodate the holes.
2. Glue these all together using a strong adhesive such as Tombow Multi
3. Punch another circle from Designer Series Paper and stick it to the top of your cardstock circles.
4. Punch out two holes using the Crop-A-Dile™ which, as we know, will punch through almost anything.
5. Cover the top with a layer of Crystal Effects® and set aside to dry.

When this is dry – I would leave it at least an hour, if not overnight – you have a shiny button which will match your project perfectly.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB), Whimsical Words (SAB)
Cardstock: So Saffron, Pink Passion, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White
Paper: Kaleidoscope
Ink: Basic Gray, Tempting Turquoise
Accessories: ¾” circle punch, Crop-A-Dile™, Crystal Effects®, Grosgrain Ribbon - Tempting Turquoise, 1 ¾” circle punch, linen thread, eyelet border punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A cracking idea and a cracking offer

This is the cracked glass technique, which you can read about here. As you need about seven or eight layers of standard clear embossing powder, I’d stamped and embossed these in advance of my embossing class to save time. Sadly, I forgot to do one for me so I didn’t get to make another of these cards, which is a shame as I really like it.

The cracking offer of the title is Sale-A-Bration. Find out how you can get your hands on this stamp set - and three others - for FREE by clicking here.

To make this card, first we stamped half of the front of the card using En Francais. This is a big background stamp so, to make things easier, we made a mask from a piece of scrap paper with a torn edge and covered half of the card. The edges were distressed.

The embossed birds were removed from the freezer and cracked. You need a firm glue to stick cracked glass images down afterwards so we used Sticky Strip.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Sage Shadow, Kraft, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Close to Cocoa, Versamark
Accessories: Eyelet Border punch, Wide striped Grosgrain Ribbon - Chocolate Chip, Clear embossing powder

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 25 January 2010

Faux metal technique

This embossing technique is a bit of fun but, again, you need the right kind of stamp – not every image will work. It’s the faux metal technique and this is what you do...

1. Take a small piece of cardstock just larger than your stamp or the punch you are going to use. It actually doesn’t matter what colour the cardstock is, so you could use something you’ve stamped on by mistake, anything.
2. Ink up your stamp with Versamark. This protects it from the melted embossing powder.
3. Press the cardstock into a Versamark pad so it is completely covered – you may wish to leave a corner unlinked.
4. Dip this into a pot of metallic embossing powder – I’ve used silver.
5. Heat to melt the powder and then quickly dip it in the powder again. If you’re not quick enough and the powder has set, you can either reheat it to melt it again or add more Versamark. But beware – if you’re going to add more Versamark, make sure the powder is fully set so that you don’t contaminate your pad.
6. Repeat step 4 – you need about three layers of embossing powder.
7. Next, stamp your image into the melted powder and remove immediately.
8. When the powder has set, punch out your image – a circle punch is ideal as you create a kind of medallion.

If you’re not happy with your stamped image, you can reheat and have another. I do find with silver that this can leave a darker shadow in the powder but you can always add another layer to cover this. But too many layers of powder I find give you too much depth. Just experiment until you’re happy with the results.

So, for this tag we created a faux metal medallion, which is mounted on a tag embossed using clear powder and the French Filigree background stamp. Sorry for the ropey picture, it was a tricky one to take.

Stamps: French Filigree, True Friend
Cardstock: Elegant Eggplant, Whisper White, Perfect Plum (textured), Lavender Lace (textured)
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: 1 ¼” circle punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, Scallop Circle Punch, silver cord, Crop-A-Dile™ , Silver eyelet, silver embossing powder, clear embossing powder

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Help for Haiti

Stampin' Up!® has a long history of helping out in times of crisis and the appeal to help those affected by the terrible earthquake in Haiti is no different.

As Stampin' Up!'s CEO Shelli Gardner reports on her own blog, here, the company has bought some supplies for 5,000 hygiene kits. Staff at the head office at Utah were asked if they could help assemble these kits and there were so many volunteers that this task was completed in just one day.

In addition, Stampin' Up! is donating £1 from every sale of the stamp set, Greenhouse Garden, until the end of February to the American Red Cross’ International Response Fund. And, if you purchase this set from me, I will donate a further £2 from the sale to the disaster appeal, through Oxfam. So, while the set will cost you £22.95, a total of £3 will go to help people in Haiti.

If you prefer to send your donations direct, you can do so through various charities, including Oxfam.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Wet, Wet, Wet

This is a variation on straight black embossing. We tried out the wet on wet watercolouring technique, which isn’t ideally suited to this style of image but works particularly well with nice pastoral scenes or beach themes. The main thing for wet on wet watercolouring is that your image has to have no gaps – you know how some images are more stylised and the lines don’t join up exactly? They won’t work with this technique.

For full details of this technique, click here, but the short version is that you emboss as normal and then completely soak your paper before adding dots of colour which spread up to the embossed edges. Here, we used ink pad lids to colour with, remembering to dry them before closing again to stop any water contaminating the pad.

I made this card slightly shorter than normal so that the hanging red element wouldn’t prevent it from fitting into a standard envelope.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Tempting Turquoise, Basic Black, Whisper White, Green Galore, Real Red
Ink: Versamark, Real Red, Tempting Turquoise, Green Galore
Accessories: Black Embossing powder, Eyelet Border punch, Crop-A-Dile™, Black eyelets

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Feeling fruity

Unless you have pigment ink pads, embossing in colour requires a little forward planning. But it’s very simple - you just need a Versamark® pad. This is what you do:

1. Wipe cardstock with Embossing Buddy®
2. Ink your stamp with Versamark.
3. Ink your stamp with the desired colour and then stamp on your project.
4. Sprinkle with clear embossing powder and tap off the excess.
5. Heat to set.

The last step is the most important or you will dirty your Versamark pad.

So, having accidentally purchased these card blanks before Christmas, I thought I’d use them for some really simple cards using coloured embossing. And I love them - not least because they are my favourite colours. I just love the clean simplicity of them – my hubby said they were too boring for the embossing class but I went ahead anyway and I think the ladies loved them, too.

Stamps: Tart & Tangy, A Bit of Birthday Cheer
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: Versamark, Real Red, Old Olive, Basic Black
Accessories: Striped Grosgrain Ribbon – Real Red and Old Olive, Clear Embossing powder, Stamp-a-ma-jig®

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Stand out with embossing

Ok, so moving on to the embossing class, which seems a long time ago now. Many thanks to the ladies who trekked through the snow in their wellies to get to my house – and hats off to those who had the presence of mind to bring their slippers!

We tackled several embossing techniques, this one being the simplest. This is just straight embossing, using a Versarmark® pad and black embossing powder. We coloured in the image using blender pens and ink pad lids then, to add some extra dimension, we used Crystal Effects® on the flower heads.

I make no apologies for recycling an old card design – this is one I’ve used again and again and will continue to do so until I get fed up of it... which I can’t see happening soon.

And what do you think of the crazy colour combination of Real Red and Cameo Coral? I would never have put them together if it hadn’t been for these gorgeous papers from the Pink Flamingo pack.

The stamps are from the Happy Moments Sale-A-Bration set – which you can earn free if you spend £45. As simple as that. £45 on anything from the current Idea Book & Catalogue and the set is yours.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Cameo Coral, Real Red, Whisper White
Paper: Pink Flamingo
Ink: Versamark, Basic Black
Accessories: 1 3/5” circle punch, Whisper White Grosgrain Ribbon, Crystal Effects®

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 18 January 2010

Oops, forgot to show this Christmas card

Ooops, a Christmas card which slipped through the net. This uses the totally fabulous Lovely as a Tree stamp set, as well as the retired set, Seasonal Wishes.

I stamped the large tree in Bordering Blue first on scrap paper to get rid of some of the ink and then stamped on the panel at random, repeatedly to create different shades. There are more on the background of the card base. The main tree is stamped in Night of Navy and then glittered using Dazzling Diamonds.

I couldn’t work out how to get the red gingham ribbon through the wider ribbon so, in the end, I just poked two pieces in. Hope they’re still there!

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree, Seasonal Wishes
Cardstock: Brocade Blue, Real Red, Very Vanilla
Ink: Bordering Blue, Night of Navy, Real Red
Accessories: Stampin’ Glitter - Dazzling Diamonds, Brocade Blue Grosgrain Ribbon, Red Gingham Ribbon

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Rusty giraffe

And here endeth my In Love With Stamping Cup Challenge samples. This one is a limited supply challenge. Only one stamp set allowed and no embellishments, although punches and piercing were permitted. The jaunty angle of the Really Rust is just a leftover scrap – no design feature intended! It’s left over from this card - doing this for a class meant I had lots of triangular pieces going spare.

Stamps: Animal Stories
Cardstock: Pumpkin Pie, Really Rust, More Mustard, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip textured
Ink: Really Rust
Accessories: Paper piercer and mat pack, scallop edge punch

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Friday, 15 January 2010

You've been framed

And another one for the masking/household object challenge. Nice idea in principle but you can see that I didn’t wait long enough for the Two-Way glue pen to dry before I applied a paper mask. Consequently, removing the mask tore the cardstock – doh! The wooden frame is made of cocktail sticks, lashed together with linen thread and trimmed with very sharp scissors. Still haven’t found the bits which went flying across the kitchen.

Stamps: Pocket Silhouettes
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: More Mustard, Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Linen Thread, Pumpkin Pie Grosgrain Ribbon

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Stapling issues

Eeew, not so keen on this one, which was going ok until the stapler came out. The challenge was to make a card using an everyday household object... plus a masking technique. So I masked the sun and chalked a blue sky, which you can’t see too well due to the late-night lighting. Then I used a cotton bud to colour in the white area with Summer Sun chalk and stamped over the top before colouring the image with Watercolour Wonder™ crayons. The staples are disastrous, especially the bottom ones which had to come out and be redone. But what can I say? It was 11.30pm.

Stamps: A Tree For All Seasons
Cardstock: Gable Green, Green Galore, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White
Ink: Basic Gray
Accessories: Stampin’ Pastels, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons, blender pen

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Muted neutrals

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; I don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment, I just keep forgetting to post. I don’t deserve a blog, do I?

Anyway, still wading through my Cup Challenge cards and here’s a last-minute Limited Supplies Challenge card made at about 11.30pm. Despite the late hour and my weariness by that point, I still quite liked what I came up with and I’m loving these neutral shades! I stamped the image in Chocolate Chip and coloured it using a Very Vanilla Watercolour Wonder™ crayon, blended with the blender pen.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Kraft, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons – neutrals

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Another elephant

And here's a last-minute sketch card. For the January Cup Challenge on In Love With Stamping, we were split into teams and I was in the Earth Elements team (hurrah!). The winning team was the one which uploaded the most projects before midnight. Well, at 11.15pm I did a little count-up and realised we were close but not close enough, so banged out another three cards really quickly. This is one of them – a more colourful version of the last elephant card, using scraps... hence the rather violent colour combination.

Stamps: Animal Stories, Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Ruby Red, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive textured, Whisper White
Paper: Tall Tales
Ink: Old Olive, Basic Gray
Accessories: Earth Elements buttons, Pumpkin Pie Grosgrain Ribbon, Word Window Punch, Scallop Edge Punch

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Friday, 8 January 2010

A sideways look at things

This is the sketch again... but turned on its side. I was in a neutral mood so went with these colours and I rather like it!

Stamps: Circle Circus, Animal Stories, Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Kraft, Chocolate Chip, Close to Cocoa, Very Vanilla
Ink: Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Earth Elements and Neutrals buttons, Striped Grosgrain Ribbon – Chocolate Chip

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bird sketch

Greetings from Narnia! Looks very pretty but will the schools be open today? Will find out in the next hour I suppose.

Meanwhile, here's another challenge card from Saturday night. This time the challenge was to follow a sketch, although it was supposed to have three circular elements at the top left and I could only squeeze one of these jumbo eyelets in. Not to mention the fact that three jumbo eyelets on a card is just way to extravagant for me!

I wasn’t thrilled with the word window but once I’d done it, there was no going back. To get the greeting in the exact position, I cheated – I stamped it on a scrap of Sahara Sand cardstock and positioned it behind the Old Olive layer before sticking it all down on the card.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Sahara Sand, Really Rust, Old Olive textured, Very Vanilla
Paper: Spiced Cider
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Jumbo eyelets, word window punch

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Monday, 4 January 2010

Spotted: a free stamp set

This is probably my favourite card that I made for the In Love With Stamping Cup Challenge. It was a limited supply challenge – we could use punches and any paper but only one stamp set and no ribbons or embellishments. Well that was easy for me!

So I stamped the image from Happy Moments in Chocolate Chip and coloured it using Watercolour Wonder™ crayons and blender pens. If you want to earn this stamp set for free, click here to find out how! But be quick as it’s only available during January and February.

The rather funky spotted strip is really easy to make and a good way to use up scraps. I punched the holes using the half-inch circle punch and the Crop-A-Dile™ then added the scraps behind. In fact this card is made mostly from scraps, which is why you’ll see precious textured cardstock on there!

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Summer Sun, Chocolate Chip, Cameo Coral, Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Ruby Red
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: ½” circle punch, Crop-A-Dile™, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons – Earth Elements and Neutrals, blender pens

All images © Stampin' Up!®

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A rainbow challenge

I took part in the January Cup Challenge over on In Love With Stamping last night. Achallenge was posted at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm and we had until midnight to upload our projects to the site. It was a lot of fun – some challenges were easy, some were hard and I managed to make eight cards in the evening, which must be a record for me!

I tried to keep things simple by only having out my Earth Elements inks and cardstock, plus neutrals... but then came the colour challenge... to use the outlandish combination of Old Olive, Bashful Blue, Apricot Appeal, Regal Rose, Cameo Coral and Pretty in Pink. I NEVER use six colours on a card and would never have put these together but Monica, who set the challenge, insisted she wasn’t crazy and would reveal the inspiration for the combination later. It turns out it’s used on page 88 of the current SU catalogue!

So here is my effort – inspired by the logo for the More4 TV channel! The stamp is from the Happy Moments Sale-A-Bration set. Click here to see how you could earn it for free!

I coloured the flowers using ink pads and blender pens then went around the whole image with a Bashful Blue Watercolour Wonder™ crayon and blended that, too.

Stamps: Happy Moments (SAB)
Cardstock: Whisper White, Bashful Blue, Old Olive, Pretty in Pink, Apricot Appeal, Regal Rose, Cameo Coral
Ink: Basic Gray, Old Olive, Pretty in Pink, Apricot Appeal, Regal Rose, Cameo Coral
Accessories: Blender pens, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons – Soft Subtles, Word Window Punch

All images © Stampin' Up!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Birthday moments

Happy New Year to all my blog readers and stampers everywhere! I hope 2010 sees you inspired to create lots of lovely stamped projects.

Here's one I made earlier...

This useful set from the Sale-A-Bration brochure can be used for all occasions. Here I’ve made what was supposed to be a masculine birthday card... but the red colouring turned out a little pink. I stamped the image in Basic Gray then coloured it with Watercolour Wonder™ crayons used with the blender pen. I cut it out, removing the bow at the top and replacing it with silver cord. It’s popped up for dimension and to leave room for the cord behind it.

Stamps: Happy Moments
Cardstock: Night of Navy, Whisper White, Kraft
Ink: Basic Gray
Accessories: White Gel pen, Silver Cord, Word Window Punch, Bold Brights Brads, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons – Rich Regals, Blender pen

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.