Friday, 30 December 2011

Belated birthday greetings, Judie!

Oops, missed the date again because I didn’t have time to post on here before I went to work yesterday (first day back, you know how it is).

Anyway, I meant to say Happy Birthday, Judie! This is Judie’s birthday card – and yes, Judie is the fourth member of my team to have a birthday in December. Remarkable, considering that I have a relatively small team.

I wanted to make something quirky with Aviary and this is what I came up with – although I kind of wish I’d used a paler ink for the background as it’s a bit crazy. Love Melon Mambo with Basic Black though – and the new scallop ribbon is a winner every time.

Stamps: Aviary, Happiest of Birthdays (hostess)
Cardstock: Melon Mambo, Basic Black, Whisper White
Ink: Basic Black, Melon Mambo
Accessories: Scallop dots ribbon, linen thread, 1 ¼” circle punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, Scallop Circle Punch

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Alison!

Ooh, a bit late this one but you know how it is at this time of year. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that things are getting back to normal now (if that’s what you want) or that the revelry continues (if that’s what you want). We have a day off today, which will give us chance to eat some leftovers, then it’s back to more visiting/entertaining etc.

But I am a bad friend and upline because I didn’t wish Alison a very happy birthday on the 25th. (Well I did to her face, but not on here.)

Here is Alison’s card, shamelessly CASEd from a lady called Danielle Daws. Love the colours and the simplicity of this, using one of my favourite new stamp sets. Sorry for the dark photo, it’s impossible right now, but we’re past the solstice so things should be looking up soon!

Stamps: Aviary
Cardstock: Crumb Cake
Ink: Crumb Cake, Basic Black
Accessories: Cherry Cobbler seam-binding ribbon, Antique brads

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Tricia!

If my calculations are correct, this is the card I made for my downline, Tricia, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday, Tricia – hope your celebrations aren’t eclipsed by Christmas (again).

It’s a similar theme to Sue’s card from the other day – still enjoying drawing borders on cards and stamping with Hopeful Thoughts and Aviary.

Stamps: Hopeful Thoughts, Aviary, Happiest of Birthdays
Cardstock: Real Red, Pool Party, Confetti White
Ink: Pool Party, Real Red, Basic Black
Accessories: Basic Rhinestones, Stampin’ Write Marker (black)

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Sue!

Today is Sue’s birthday, so Happy Birthday Sue! Your card is on its way but you know what the Christmas post is like.

Sue is my "great-grand-downline" if you like and an enthusiastic member of our team. Not sure if I mentioned it at the time but I was lucky enough to win a free ticket to Convention in a Stampin’ Up!® competition and, as I was already booked in, I offered it in a prize draw to my team. Sue was the winner and was delighted to join us.

Anyway, this may or may not be her birthday card. Incredibly, there are four members of my team who have birthdays in the next week, and I confess I can’t remember if I sent this one to Sue or to Tricia, whose birthday is on Christmas Eve.

I am loving this colour combo at the moment – Pool Party and Real Red. I began by stamping the foliage from Hopeful Thoughts onto Confetti White cardstock. Yes, it’s a sympathy set but the images are too lovely to save just for sad occasions. I stamped one of the bird from Aviary onto a branch in Real Red. I really wanted it to stand out so covered it in Crystal Effects®. 

Now here’s a weird thing: when you use Crystal Effects® on top of Real Red, the ink goes a bit orangey. I tried to rectify this a little by going over the top of the bird with a red Sharpie but I’ll know in future. If I want the same effect again, I’ll use Cherry Cobbler embossing powder – don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!

The line is hand-drawn; you’ve probably guessed that this is my technique of the moment – I love the effect it creates.

Stamps: Hopeful Thoughts, Aviary, Happiest of Birthdays (hostess)
Cardstock: Pool Party, Real Red, Confetti White
Ink: Real Red, Pool Party
Accessories: Crystal Effects®, Real Red marker

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Saturday, 17 December 2011

One-layer snow card

I absolutely love this card created by Vicky over at Crafting Clare so thought I’d be brave and have a go, despite not having the French Foliage stamp set she’s used for the splatters (LOVE that set but never seem to get round to getting it) or a decent standalone “Merry Christmas” stamp (must rectify that before July!)

So here’s my take on the card, with the addition of a hand-drawn border because I didn’t feel I’d quite balanced those snowflakes as well as Vicky did.

I made it by stamping the star from Pennant Parade repeatedly in Versamark, then embossing with clear powder. Next I sponged around them using Pool Party ink and sponge daubers (sponge on scrap paper first or it’s too dark – ask me how I know!). Then I stamped the snowflakes in Concord Crush, and the “Merry” in Real Red, drawing the border with a Real Red marker.

Hmmm... I could have sworn I’d finished it off with a rhinestone but maybe not. Or maybe that’s where the one I found stuck to the sole of one of my slippers came from!

I like it, but not as much as Vicky’s, and I wish I’d omitted the stars. But too late, this one is now winging its way to Canada so if you happen to be a cousin of mine, pretend you’ve not seen this!

Stamps: Serene Snowflakes, Pennant Parade
Cardstock: Confetti White
Ink: Concord Crush, Real Red, Pool Party, Versamark
Accessories: Clear embossing powder, Stampin’ Write Marker

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas chocolate slider

So... here’s the Christmas “card” I sent out to my Virtual Hostesses and gave out to all those who attended my team meeting last weekend. I tell a lie... this is a more elaborate version - I scaled it back a little for mass production. But they were fun to make, and no writing involved! Best of all, they get chocolate!

It’s a chocolate slider box, which means you simply pull on the knot or bow and the chocolate slides out. You can make them to fit any chocolate bar by drawing round the chocolate on grid paper (see how with this old tutorial) but if you want to recreate this one with these measurements you’ll need to head back to Lidl for more chocolate. These little bars come in packs of five and in several flavours. The white one is probably my favourite, which is why nobody received one of those! Oops.

So... I drew round the chocolate on the grid paper, added 1cm for the sides and base, then a back the same size as the front. I like to mix metric and imperial to suit - basically, I just pick the measurement that's easier, so I ended up with a piece of cardstock measuring 3" x 25cm. Starting with this, here's how to make the box:

1. Before scoring, stamp background image over the cardstock, if required.
2. Measure 1cm from each of the long edges and score all the way along.
3. From the short edge, measure 12cm and score along the width of the cardstock. Repeat from the other end. 

4. Snip the shortest score lines but don't cut off the little squares (see picture). 
5. Add tape along two of the long flaps, opposite each other. Sticky Strip is best for this but I've used cheap white tape so you can see it in the photo (and because I'd run out of Sticky Strip – but please note that all the boxes I made with cheap white tape came apart and had to be remade!
6. Holding the box closed, punch a hole in the centre, about 1cm from the open edge.
7. Assemble the box - the chocolate should fit snugly inside.
8. Here's the clever bit. Take a length of ribbon (I needed about 38cm for each of these boxes - extravagant or what?) and feed it through both holes so you have the same amount of ribbon each side. Use the chocolate bar to push the ribbon down to the bottom of the box, then tie a ribbon or knot to secure. 

The design is very simple but here's the recipe:

Stamps: Autumn Days, Serene Snowflakes
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler (main pic), Riding Hood Red, Early Espresso, Always Artichoke, Confetti White
Ink: Cherry Cobbler (main pic), Riding Hood Red
Tools: Crop-A-Dile, 1 3/8" Square Punch, Scallop Square Punch, Old Olive/Early Espresso markers
Accessories: Always Artichoke Seam-binding ribbon

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Merry Chocolate!

I quite like making Christmas cards (as long as there’s a bit of variety) but I have made quite a few this year for classes (not enough classes, according to Helen J!) and demos, so I thought I’d do something a bit different. Also, I confess that I really don’t like writing Christmas cards – after years of typing almost everything, my hand cramps up when I have to use a pen and I lose interest quickly.

This year I had a solution, to alleviate at least some of the problem. People at work all received one of these instead of a card – and the fact that it contained chocolate made it all the more special for them, I believe! You get 16 bars of chocolate so that's what I made, hope I don't run out!

It’s only after I photographed them that I realised the design was a bit of an homage to Monica Gale’s Convention swap, but I didn’t have that in mind when I made them – although it was Monica who originally gave me the idea of turning this tag into a little chocolate container. Remarkably, the actual design of the container is all my own, created by chance when fiddling around with a little bar of chocolate and a tag.

After stamping the tags, I trimmed the bottom 5mm off the tag, then used the natural crease that comes with the tag as my starting point. I scored 1cm above this crease and 1.5cm below it. Then again, 1cm below that one. Fold, fold, fold and you have room for one of these delicious bars of chocolate.

Before attaching the scallop circles, I sprayed them all with my recently re-found (it was at the back of the cupboard) Champagne Mist shimmer spray. I got a bit carried away though so some of the “Joy at Christmas” greetings are a bit blurry now. Ah well, after a couple of sherries nobody will notice.

The scallop circle is stuck at the bottom only (Sticky Strip for security) and then tied at the top through the hole I’d punched with the Crop-A-Dile™ .

The chocolate is by J.D.Gross (not the most promising name but trust me – it’s fabulous chocolate). You’ll find it in Lidl and they look like this. They didn’t have them in the Derby (Meteor) branch last week but they do have them in Ripley.

Make the ribbon longer and you can hang these on the tree!

Tomorrow I'll show you another alternative Christmas "card" - the one I sent to my Virtual Hostess Club members and gave to my downlines who came to our team meeting on Saturday.   

Stamps: Perfect Punches
Cardstock: Pool Party, Real Red, Whisper White
Ink: Pool Party, Real Red
Accessories: Scallop Circle Punch, 1 3/8” Circle punch, Crop-A-Dile™, ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon and ¼” Taffeta Ribbon – Real Red, Two Tags Die, Big Shot

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas cards as easy as 1, 2, 3...

As you know, stamping can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I like to keep my Make & Takes simple for speed, but show slightly more complicated (“stepped up”) versions to show the potential of our accessories. Here are three Christmas cards, starting with the simplest – the design you’d use for mass production, which doesn’t require extra postage...

Next we move on to a slightly more “dressy” version with Designer Series Paper and a bit of Frost White shimmer paint and punching.

Finally we have the "top-of-the range" card, with Designer Series Paper, punching, piercing, some beautiful dotty scalloped ribbon, some gorgeous pearls and a button.

If you substitute Whisper White for the Very Vanilla, the first card can be made using a very basic kit comprising stamp set, Getting Started cardstock assortment and Basic Grey ink pad. A new stamper can colour it in using their own pencils, moving onto more sophisticated colouring media as the bug begins to bite. I’ve coloured it using blender pens and ink pads.

Stamps: Easy Events
Cardstock: Old Olive, Real Red, Early Espresso, Very Vanilla
Paper: Patterns Stack – Brights
Ink: Basic Grey, Real Red, Old Olive
Accessories: Linen thread, Scallop Edge Punch, Scalloped Ribbon Border Punch, Neutrals buttons, basic pearls, frost white shimmer paint

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Friday, 9 December 2011

Stampin' Up! on Facebook

I know a lot of you are on Facebook. I am resisting as long as I can (have enough web things to update as it is!) but if you want to keep up-to-date with Stampin' Up!® news, there is now a UK Stampin' Up! Facebook page, here. I've just had a peek and there are some pretty fab projects on there, including brand new stuff made by our country manager, Paula Gorry, and some of the sneak peek items we saw at Convention! Ooh, just noticed there's an album of Convention photos, too! Off to have a look...

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Convention Make & Take 3

Wouldn’t this look fabulous hanging in your craft room? Pity I don’t have a craft room to hang it in!

This was another of the Make & Takes we did at Convention and I’m ashamed to say I did it wrong. The banner is made from the Petal Cone die (see right). You are supposed to cut the flap off and then cut it vertically so you are left with a triangle and a semi-circle joined together – this acts as a flap which hangs over your linen thread. But in my wisdom, I cut the semi-circles OFF and joined the two triangles together using the flap I should have cut off!

This made joining the banner together tricky... BUT I am left with a banner you can actually put things in, so you see? There really are no mistakes!

The banner is made from smooth Early Espresso and Not Quite Navy cardstock, along with textured Old Olive and First Edition Speciality Designer Series Paper. I’ll admit I was dubious about this particular pack of Designer Series Paper – the special feature is that it’s a lighter weight that our usual DSP, but you get 24 sheets in a pack. Needless to say I’m now sold on it – it’s easier to fold and you know I LOVE newsprint in all its forms, so that’s going on my shopping list.

Stamps: Creative Elements
Cardstock: Smooth Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Not Quite Navy; Confetti White, textured Old Olive
Paper: First Edition Speciality
Ink: Old Olive, Not Quite Navy
Accessories: Big Shot, Petal Cone Die, Fun Flowers die, Itty Bitty Punches, Basic Pearls, markers – Cherry Cobbler, Not Quite Navy, Old Olive, Early Espresso, linen thread

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Convention Make & Take 2

This is the second card we made at Convention during our Make & Take sessions. It’s a lovely design, featuring colouring with markers, direct-to-paper, crimping, tearing (actually, I added the tearing)... some of my favourite things! We were also stamping on Confetti White cardstock, which also adds a shabby chic feel to a project.

Stamps: Creative Elements, It’s Your Day
Cardstock: Confetti White, Old Olive, Early Espresso
Ink: Old Olive
Accessories: Stampin’ Write Markers – Old Olive, Not Quite Navy, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border Punch, Paper Crimper

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 5 December 2011

Convention Make & Take 1

Today I thought I’d show you one of the Make & Takes we did at Convention. We received our four M&T packs in our fabulous bag at registration and there was a M&T session on each day.

As all the projects used the same basic kit, we could choose which ones to make at each session – in fact some demonstrators chose to chat instead, taking their kits home to complete... which was possible as we also received the two stamp sets to make them with!

This is one of the cards we made and I really like it... especially the split image. Will definitely be trying that idea out again. The Not Quite Navy cardstock underneath is crumpled, too, for extra texture, and I added some ink to the raised surfaces too, using the Direct to Paper method.  And there is some spritzing over the background which you probably can’t see too well.  Lots of distressing techniques – it’s no wonder I love this card!

The image features some lovely Champagne Mist shimmer paint – I think you were supposed to put it on the flower image, but I did it around the edges instead. Can’t remember why, probably slipped!

For the flower on the card, I inked the stamp with Early Espresso and then added the shimmer paint directly to the edges of the stamp, rocking and rolling-style.

Stamps: Creative Elements
Cardstock: Early Espresso, Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler
Ink: Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Not Quite Navy
Accessories: Itty Bitty Punches, Basic Pearls, Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint, Seam Binding Ribbon – Crumb Cake

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 3 December 2011

No mistakes, see?

You know how there are no mistakes in rubber stamping? This is one of those occasions. It was my first time stamping with this set and seasoned stampers will know that sometimes the images don’t stamp evenly straight away.

This is because they have a coating on the rubber to ease their removal from the moulds – rather like greasing a cake tin. Some residue of this coating may remain on new stamps and you can remove it by sanding the rubber, or  even just rubbing it on your jeans or on the Stampin’ Scrub.

Anyway, moving on... this image didn’t stamp perfectly – the bottom of the cage was fuzzy, so I coloured it in completely with a black marker. It looked a little stark which is when I had the idea to add the rhinestones. Don’t they look fab? I might do that every time!

Stamps: Aviary
Cardstock: Rose Red, Whisper White, Basic Black, Wild Wasabi
Ink: Basic Black, Rose Red
Accessories: Scallop edge punch, rhinestones, 1/8” taffeta ribbon - Basic Black, Big Shot, Elegant Bouquet embossing folder

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Gift Guide

NB: I'm having trouble with my emails right now - can receive but not send. Please be patient - if you need a quick reply, stick your phone number on the end and I'll call you. 

It's one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year as everyone gets ready for Christmas. Why not take the stress away this year and get your gifts from Stampin' Up!® No frantic dashing to the shops - just drop me a line and I'll get it all ordered for you. If you want free shipping, hop onto my orders which I'll be placing on the 5th and 10th please. Otherwise, it's £4.95 to any UK address of your choice. 

So, who are you shopping for?

For the friend you just know will love cardmaking...
Simply Sent kits (£11.95 and £12.95) are a great way to start them off.  You get all the supplies to make eight cards and, if you like, you can top them up with a small set of two greetings stamps (It’s Your Day or You’re Cherished, both £7.95.) They’re all on p104, so check them out.

For the seamstress...
How about some of our gorgeous designer fabric? We have five collections, each containing three co-ordinating pieces measuring 68.6xm x 45.7cm (that’s a bit bigger than a fat quarter). As you’d expect, the quality is great and the designs are gorgeous. £8.95 per pack, p105.

For the little princess in your life...
The Little Princess stamp set (£16.95 in wood) and a black or grey ink pad (£4.95) is the perfect way to get them started – they can colour the images with their existing pencils or crayons. They can use the set to make birthday cards for their friends and even make their own party invites, too! Page 32

For the scrapbooker...
Our Simply Scrappin’ kits are excellent value at £18.95. You get six sheets of Designer Series Paper (three each in two double-sided designs), eight sheets of textured 12x12 cardstock (two each in four colours) and three 12x12 sheets of top quality self-adhesive die-cuts.  There really is loads of stuff in these kits and I highly recommend them! Page 100.

For the non-crafter...
Just can’t convince them that they’d like crafting? Why not make them a present instead? How about decorating an On Board Journal (£6.25, p103) with some of our lovely Designer Series Paper (from £9.95, p96-99)? Or buy one of our Designer Printed 6x6 Ring Albums for £9.95 (p103) and fill it with photos from the year? They make perfect “brag books” for grandparents!

For the artist...
They may not be into stamping but there are still plenty of top quality products for the true artist. Try our Watercolour Pencils (£19.25, p112) or the Watercolour Wonder™ crayons (£16.95, p112). Our Aqua Painters (£12.25, p113) are popular, too, and can be used with ink, crayons, pencils... you name it. Less mess, too, as all the water is contained within the brush handle.

For your crafty friends...
... the catalogue is your oyster!

Can’t decide?
Why not treat them to gift voucher – these are available from me in any denomination and come with a free hand-stamped card.  

For any of the above, please email me and I'll do the shopping for you!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Step up for Christmas

And this was my Make & Take, which I think everyone loved! This is one of the most popular images from Easy Events right now (might have something to do with the time year!) and here I’ve shown the basic Make & Take we did at the workshops (top), along with an example of a stepped-up version for those who have more time and resources at their disposal.

Some of the cards were Cherry Cobbler and some were Real Red, purely because I had a LOT of Make & Takes to pack up, and ran out of Cherry Cobbler towards the end!

Both cards see the image stamped in Lucky Limeade and the leaves coloured using the same ink pad and a blender pen. For the Make & Take, we coloured the berries in using a blender pen and either Real Red or Cherry Cobbler ink pad, according to which card base was used. But for the stepped up version, I wanted to make it look like real mistletoe, so coloured the berries using Frost White shimmer paint, applied with a cocktail stick. It looks fabulous, but took quite a while to dry, which is why we couldn’t do it at the home workshops.

Both cards feature the gorgeous new Scallop Dots Ribbon in Chocolate Chip, and a strip of Lucky Limeade cardstock, corrugated using the paper crimper. The stepped up version has the image mounted on an extra layer of Lucky Limeade cardstock – looks lovely but you might want to keep to the simpler version if you’re making a lot and are concerned about time, cost and postal weight.

You can also just see that I added a scalloped edge to the bottom card – this is using the fab new Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border Punch with just the tiny scallops showing. Subtle but effective.

And finally, I finished off the bottom card with a flower button and a hint of linen thread.

Oops, nearly forgot to say that I totally CASEd this card from a Canadian demonstrator called Carrie Gaskin.

Stamps: Easy Events
Cardstock: Real Red/Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla, Early Espresso, Lucky Limeade
Ink: Lucky Limeade, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Paper Crimper, Scallop Dots Ribbon - Chocolate Chip, Linen Thread, Regals Buttons, Frost White Shimmer Paint, Blender Pen, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Two Tags Die projects

With all the excitement of Convention, I never got round to showing you my October/November workshop projects!

I was concentrating on a few products: the new Easy Events stamp set, the new Two Tags die and two old favourites; Watercolour Wonder™ crayons and blender pens.

First let me explain the Two Tags die. It looks like this and you won’t be surprised to know that it creates two tags – one looks like a bookmark and one more like a luggage label, with a score line across the centre. When I first saw it, I admit I thought “Tags? Why?” and moved on. But then I started to see it springing up on blogs by more imaginative demonstrators than me, and had another look. That’s when I realised just how versatile this die really is – it’s fab and I’m using it ALL the time right now – yes, it’s the same die as the one I used to make my swaps and the container for the Eiffel Tower charm.

This was my 3D demonstration, which also doubled up as the hostess gift.

You simply take two of the wider tags and fold them at the score line. While they were folded, I stamped flowers along the bottom in Wild Wasabi ink – using the clear-mount set meant I could do this quickly without the use of a Stamp-a-ma-jig.

Next I joined them together to make a 3D triangle, thus.

The main image is stamped in Basic Grey (so much softer than black, I think) and coloured with Watercolour Wonder™ crayons.

Inside, there’s the smallest cello bag filled with bits and bobs for my hostesses – buttons, ribbons, embellishments etc. I punched a hole in the bag using the Crop-A-Dile™. I threaded two pieces of ribbon (Grosgrain Ribbon  and new Chantilly lace) through the hole in the front, through the bag and out the other side, then gathered it all up together and tied around the top with linen thread. Very cute I thought!

And just to show people how they could use the other die-cut from the Two Tags die, I also showed these projects – very simple bookmarks and another 3D item. They’re all decorated with Easy Events and all use various Subtles cardstocks. The 3D item at the back is the same principle as this one.

Stamps: Easy Events
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Pretty in Pink, Very Vanilla, Rose Red, Whisper White, Bashful Blue
Ink: Basic Gray
Accessories: Big Shot, Two Tags Die, Watercolour Wonder™ crayons, blender pens, linen thread, Chantilly lace crochet trim, Pretty in Pink Grosgrain Ribbon, Pretty in Pink Scallop Dots Ribbon, Crop-A-Dile™

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bags, bags, bags - and SU fabric!

As well as the Eiffel Tower charm, I wanted to give my team members something to remember Convention by – as a thank you for coming along and being such great downlines. So I decorated a jute bag for each of them, as I knew they’d be needing extra luggage on the return home!

They were all different but I’ll just show one of them – this one uses the Timeless Portrait fabric, combined with a little black felt to help it stand out.

To make the fabric stiffer, I made a 50/50 mix of PVA glue and water and painted it on. It dried very quickly and worked remarkably well. Next I ran it through the Big Shot to create the flowers and layered them up on the felt, topping it off with a black button. I had to sew them together, which is a bit of a trauma for me, but even I managed this. The stiffened fabric can be scrunched up to make it stand out more, too.

The tag is made from fabric, too! And, after a few experiments, I settled on this method:

  1. Take some of the backing from a pack of Designer Series Paper and cut a piece slightly larger than the flower you plan to use.
  2. Cover on both sides with a piece of one of the Big Shot Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets (p122).
  3. Peel off the backing and cover with your chosen fabric.
  4. Run through the Big Shot with your chosen die. It works brilliantly!

I punched a hole with my trusty Crop-A-Dile™ and threaded some ribbon through to finish.

While I was at it, I decided it was high time I finished off this gorgeous little bag which my friend Kelly made for me using the fabric. She knows I can’t sew so offered to make me some fab samples. The bag is reversible, but I wanted to decorate it in some way, so added a flower to my favourite side; the Cherry Cobbler one of course!

Again, this is made with a combination of black felt and fabric, topped this time with a couple of buttons from the Regals and Neutrals packs. Sewn on by my fair hand – I even managed to ensure that the stitching only went through the Cherry Cobbler fabric and not through to the inside! Impressed I hope!

Cardstock: Just the backing from a pack of DSP
Tools: Big Shot, Fun Flowers die, Crop-A-Dile™
Accessories: 1/8” taffeta ribbon - Basic Black; Designer Buttons – Neutrals, Regals; Timeless Portrait fabric.
Other: Black felt

All products by Stampin’ Up!® apart from black felt and jute bag

Monday, 21 November 2011

Convention 2011

 So.... I’m back from Convention at Disneyland Paris and beginning to feel a little more human again. Was too exhausted to post anything yesterday. But it was a good exhausted as, just like last year, we had a fabulous time!
Here's as short a summary of the weekend as I could write -and some pix, too. Sorry no picture of the team, but I forgot to ask their permission to post them and don't want to delay any longer. 

I travelled by Eurostar to Paris in a group of six demonstrators – four of my downline (Alison H, Judie, Jacqui and Sue) and Ann, who lives nearby but has been adopted into our team because her upline lives on the other side of the country.

Convention is an exciting couple of days, jam-packed with great demos, inspiring business sessions, fun Make & Takes, swapping, prizes and presents - and some very, very exciting sneak peeks! This year's theme was "Grow", so there were lots of displays featuring flowers and plants, all made with SU products of course. 

And there are lots of display boards, featuring artwork by European demonstrators and SU staff. They range from simple to really complicated - but are always inspirational. I was delighted to see a couple of my own projects on the boards, too! 

On arrival, we all received a fabulous Convention bag. This year Stampin’ Up!® have excelled themselves, with a really handy business bag in practical black, with lots of pockets – and, as we discovered on our way home, a strap to slot it over the handle of a wheeled suitcase. In it was an Idea Book & Catalogue in a gorgeous binder, as well as our free stamp sets – Creative Elements (p67) and It’s Your Day (p104) - which we used for the Make & Take sessions. I’ll post the Make & Takes over the next few days – I’ve missed daylight again so don’t have photos of them yet.

During the two days of Convention, there are various sessions - some motivational, some new product demonstrations, special announcements, Make & Takes (we did four - two on each day). And, of course, there's Memento Mall (right), where you can buy lots of exciting goodies, including shopping totes, umbrellas, keyring charms, playing cards, an exclusive "Grow" stamp, pop-up bins, etc. It's very hard to restrain yourself! After each demonstration, there's Prize Patrol - and I'm delighted to report that Alison H won a fabulous pack of goodies – a stamp set, Designer Series Paper and fabric from the forthcoming Mini catalogue!

On the Friday evening, there's the Gala Dinner, where the top achievers are rewarded for their efforts. I didn't get to walk the stage this time, but I have to admit I was relieved about that! What was more special than any awards was our welcome from the French demonstrators, who lined the entrance to the dinner hall, wearing feather boas and straw hats, singing us in! I didn’t catch all of the song, but did hear the words “mes deux amours... Stampin’ Up! et Paris” (my two loves... Stampin’ Up! and Paris).

There isn’t a lot of down time at Convention but there was a little more than last year, thanks to our feedback, and we had some time to spare in between events, which was a great opportunity to catch up with other demonstrators from the UK as well as France and Germany, and enjoy hanging out with our own group.

Ann and Sue took the opportunity to take a tour of the park on the free bus service... only to discover that it was merely a shuttle to take visitors to and from the train station! I can still hear Alison H saying in exasperated tones: “You were supposed to take the little white train not the yellow bus!”

I asked my travelling companions for feedback and have received two so far.

Sue says: "A weekend of firsts: first Convention, first trip to Paris Disneyland, first outing with our team, first experience of a Stampin' Up! event and, of course, first trip on the yellow bus! A real sense of belonging and looking out for each other. Well worth the effort."

And Ann says:  “Convention was absolutely fantastic, and made even more so by the companions I had. I would like to thank all of you for adopting me into your team  and making me feel so welcome. I had a fabulous time and even enjoyed the yellow bus ride Sue and I took. We at least got to see Disney Station. The one thing about being a Stampin’ Up Demonstrator that really struck home over the weekend, apart from all the material benefits etc. is that you do feel part of one big family. Last year I went alone, but this year I was lucky enough to have been adopted by Helen’s team and they really made me feel part of it. Thank you girls.”

Next year’s Convention will be held in Mainz, Germany, from November 2-3. I don’t know if I will be able to go just yet as it falls in the school holidays so I may be going away with my own family (rather than my SU family!) or may not be able to get time off work. But if you’re free, I highly recommend it – you are guaranteed to have a great time! Of course, it’s only open to active Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators, so if you’re not a demonstrator yet, you know what to do and where to find me!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Team gifts for Convention

We couldn’t go to Paris as a team without commemorating the occasion in some way. As I’ve mentioned before on here, every time one of my team attends an official Stampin’ Up!® event, I present them with a bead for their keyring. They earn a keyring from me when they achieve their first SU promotion and become a Bronze 2 demonstrator – so yes, sometimes they have a bead before they have something to put it on!

Instead of a bead this time, I thought we should have something special – so found these cute little Eiffel Tower charms. I’ve cheated and had mine on my keyring for weeks – thankfully, nobody has noticed! I packed them up using the fabulous Two Tags die, scored twice and folded forwards this time. The Scallop Circle is only attached at the top, so that the flap fits under it. I used the Artistic Etching stamp set because it has an Eiffel Tower stamp in it – sadly it wouldn’t fit on this project, but the thought was there!

Again, all different colours – got to use those scraps!

Stamps: Artistic Etchings, Tiny Tags
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Certainly Celery, Baja Breeze, Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla
Ink: Not Quite Navy, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: 1 3/8” circle punch, scallop circle punch, Two Tags Die, Big Shot, Heart to Heart Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Convention Swaps 2

Today’s the day! Off to Convention, so just a quick post to show you my other set of swaps. These are that old favourite: Elizabeth Shaw after-dinner mints, which fit perfectly inside these little favours made from the Two Tags die. I LOVE this die – it has so many possibilities!

All I’ve done is score the bookmark shape at 3.5cm and 5cm from the short end and fold it up. The chocolate is taped inside using sticky strip.

And isn’t it clever that the Scallop Circle Punch fits so perfectly inside the top of the bookmark? Stampin’ Up!® are so good at that sort of thing – it definitely won’t be merely a happy accident.

All these are different colours as I was using up some scraps of cardstock, and it made the job less repetitive for me. I will list some of the colours used, but don’t hold me to them!

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Pretty in Pink, Rose Red, Elegant Eggplant, Old Olive, Whisper White, So Saffron, Perfect Plum, Melon Mambo
Ink: Melon Mambo, Elegant Eggplant, Rose Red
Accessories: 1 3/8” circle punch, scallop circle punch, Two Tags Die, Big Shot, Word Window Punch, Modern Label Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Convention swaps 1

Getting very excited now because tomorrow I’m off to Paris for the annual Stampin’ Up!® European Convention! I’ll be travelling with five other excited demonstrators to Disneyland, where the Convention will be held on Friday and Saturday. I don’t expect I’ll be able to update my blog while I’m away but have scheduled a couple of posts to keep you going – and will have lots of news when I return!

Swapping is a big part of Convention but I have to admit that making the same project over and over again really doesn’t float my boat. So I may not have made as many swaps as some ladies but I have made an effort and there are some little cards made to fit the small square envelopes in our new catalogue.   They’re all bagged up and ready to go, with the recipe printed on a piece of paper in the back. As you can see, they’re not all the same – that’s partly because I didn’t have enough of the same sheets of Designer Paper for 30 cards and partly to keep the job interesting for me!

I’ve used the hostess stamp set, Happiest Birthday Wishes, which I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of. This is the most expensive hostess set in the catalogue – one of the benefits of the new Hostess Scheme is that even a £150 workshop can earn you the biggest hostess set, with some free spends to spare!

I’ve stamped the image three times – once in Melon Mambo on Whisper White; twice in Concord Crush – on Melon Mambo and Pink Pirouette. I’ve punched them out using the 1” circle punch, 1 3/8” circle punch and the scallop circle punch. In fact, you’ll notice that there’s very little cutting on these cards – the punches did all the hard work!

Stamps: Happiest Birthday Wishes (hostess)
Cardstock: Pink Pirouette, Melon Mambo, Certainly Celery, Whisper White
Paper: Cheerful Treat (hostess)
Ink: Melon Mambo, Concord Crush
Accessories: ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon - Certainly Celery, 1” circle punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, scallop circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 14 November 2011

I'm back! (Not that I ever really went away)

Ooh, sorry for my terrible blogging lately – have never been so lax! It’s partly because I’ve been so busy doing workshops, preparing for Convention (it’s this week!), having visitors and generally getting on with life, partly because I haven’t had time to make anything new recently (apart from my Convention swaps) and partly because it’s always so blooming dark that I rarely get an opportunity to take photos of my projects anyway! Managed to snap some this morning though and here’s one of them... which uses the oh so lovely Aviary stamp set, which I totally love.

I’ve stamped the bird cage in Basic Black, then stamped the little bird in Rose Red and topped the cage with a Basic Pearl. It’s a very simple card, but I really like it – especially the dotty background, which I have been forced to stop using because it’s rightful owner demanded its return. Doh!

Stamps: Aviary
Cardstock: Pink Pirouette, Basic Black, Whisper White, Rose Red
Ink: Basic Black, Rose Red
Accessories: Big Shot, Polka Dot embossing folder, taffeta ribbon - Basic Black, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Little thank yous

A set of little thank you cards made using Easy Events. I made them all different colours because I get bored doing things all the same – and because I’m trying to wade through my Subtles scraps box! (I’m finally beginning to make an impact – it was VERY full!)

I coloured the flowers with Watercolour Wonder™ crayons and blender pens, then – quelle horreur! – I even added a little glitter in the centres of each flower. Don’t know what came over me.

The little scalloped tab feature is made using the Pennant Punch.

Stamps: Easy Events
Cardstock: Various Subtles, plus Whisper White and Basic Black
Ink: Basic Gray
Accessories: Watercolour Wonder™ crayons – Subtles, Pennant Punch, Dazzling Diamonds glitter, blender pen

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Friday, 4 November 2011

Beau Chateau gift set class

This beautiful gift bag is made with Beau Chateau Designer Series Papers. I love these papers and I love this bag – although next time I think I’ll make the cardstock trim in Soft Suede.

Fill the bag with a set of beautiful handmade cards and you have a fantastic gift for Christmas – something the recipient will know you’ve made with care.

So, why not join me at my class on Saturday, 10th December to make the bag and four cards to go inside? Yes it will be intense as we don’t usually make so many projects but we’ll keep the cards simple and I’m sure we’ll have fun! We’ll be using brand new products from the new Idea Book & Catalogue so this is a great opportunity to get your hands on something new and exciting and have a play!

The cost of the class is £15, which will include a fab goodie bag to make your projects with. Among your goodie bag items will be: 
  • Half a pack of Beau Chateau Designer Series Paper (one full sheet of each design)
  • A quarter pack of Antique Brads (one of each design)
  • 1m Soft Suede taffeta ribbon
  • 1m Marina Mist Scallop Dots ribbon
  • 1 sheet of Stampin’ Dimensionals 
Plus all the pre-cut cardstock and envelopes required to complete the projects. Any leftovers will be yours to take home.

The class is on Saturday, 10th December, 2pm-4.30pm (doors open 1.45pm) in our usual venue in Horsley Woodhouse. Booking is essential, with payment by 20th November, so I can buy the supplies.  The cost is £15. If you would like to make two of each card, please add £4 to cover supplies. You can either work quickly at the event or complete them at home.

I do hope you can come! Please email me for more details.

Cardstock: Marina Mist, Soft Suede
Paper: Beau Chateau
Accessories: Stampin’ Pastels, Sponge Daubers, Neutrals Brads, Antique Brads, Big Shot, Fun Flowers Bigz L Die, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fab offer for hostesses!

Ooh, how exciting! Extra freebies for hostesses who hold a party between now and 15th December!

In this fabulous new offer, anyone who holds a workshop totalling £300 or more will earn a Paisley Petals Bundle FREE! The bundle consists of a pack of Paisley Petals Designer Series Paper and the Paisley Petals stamp set (wood or clear-mount), worth up to £33.90.

This is in addition to the usual hostess benefits. A £300 party earns you £50 to spend anywhere in the catalogue, including on the exclusive hostess products. It also earns you the opportunity to purchase ANY item at 50% off! So yes, you could get your hands on a half-price Big Shot!

My calendar is pretty tight but I do have some slots at the end of November and during December, so please get in touch if you want to take advantage of this fab offer!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Circus birthday scrapbook page

And yes, yet more mileage from the Pennant Punch and Polka Dots embossing folder! This is one of the projects we were given to make at a Stampin’ Up!® training session last month. I’ve changed it slightly from their design because I really wanted to use the new Pennant Punch.

It’s a 6x6 scrapbook page and quite simple to make. You cut a piece of the striped paper from Big Top Birthday to the same width as your photo. The sentiment panel is created using the Curly Label punch – you punch it again from Real Red, then cut it in half and layer behind the white.

The clown is stamped and coloured in using Watercolour Wonder™ crayons. And the linen thread is secured behind the white layer and the end hidden by the flags. The bunting on this occasion is created with the circle punch – just cut them in half and stick them down.

Stamps: Under The Big Top
Cardstock: Real Red, Whisper White, Daffodil Delight
Paper: Big Top Bithday
Ink: Tempting Turquoise, Basic Gray, Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Pennant Punch, Big Shot, Polka Dots Embossing Folder, Curly Label Punch, circle punch (I forget which one – but it doesn’t really matter), ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon – Daffodil Delight, Linen Thread

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Friday, 28 October 2011

Polka dot Christmas

Another simple Christmas card... and another way of getting mileage out of Pennant Parade and the Polka Dots embossing folder!

Here I’ve even used the scalloped bunting created with the punch to make a little tab for the greeting.

Stamps: Pennant Parade
Cardstock: Real Red, Old Olive, Early Espresso
Ink: Real Red, Old Olive, Early Espresso, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Pennant Punch, Itty Bitty Shapes punches, scallop edge punch, Big Shot, Polka Dots embossing folder, Basic Rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Going dotty over these products

Yet more bunting and polka dots – I think I’m going to wear these products out!

The challenge here was to get the whole piece of Whisper White embossed, when it’s actually larger than the Polka Dot embossing folder. So I embossed one half and then carefully positioned it back in the folder, ensuring the raised dots went back into the indentations in exactly the right place. It worked!

This is a square card measuring about 12.5cm (can't remember exactly). Anyway, the point is that we now sell square envelopes to fit this card. Yay!

Stamps: Pennant Parade, Sincere Salutations
Cardstock: Pool Party, Wisteria Wonder, Lucky Limeade, Whisper White
Ink: Pool Party, Wisteria wonder, Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Big Shot, Polka Dot Embossing Folder, Scallop Edge Punch, Pennant Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Monday, 24 October 2011

Bring out the bunting (again)

Another simple bunting card for you – this punch is such a hit with those who are enjoying the bunting trend as it eliminates lots of cutting out.

Here I’ve used some of the new In Colors and the Pennant Parade stamp set. I’ve stamped the bunting onto cardstock of the same colour as the ink, then punched out the simple triangle with the punch. A strip of cardstock was scalloped and then run through the Big Shot with the Polka Dot embossing folder. I’d saved a piece of Lucky Limeade ruffled ribbon from a recent SU training session (was still waiting for my order when I made this card) and tied it round with linen thread. Very easy card to make.

Stamps: Pennant Parade
Cardstock: Pool Party, Wisteria Wonder, Lucky Limeade, Whisper White
Ink: Pool Party, Wisteria wonder, Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Big Shot, Polka Dot Embossing Folder, Scallop Edge Punch, Pennant Punch, Ruffled Ribbon – Lucky Limeade, Linen Thread

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Oh what a circus!

OMG! As the young people say.

But seriously, how totally fabulous is this? Regular readers will be able to tell at a glance that I didn’t make this – I just don’t have the patience for all that cutting out.

Very regular readers will probably have worked out that this is the work of Kelly, a friend and former downline. She’s super-talented and spent quite a while at my kitchen table squirreling away at this card, refusing to tell me what she was doing until it became obvious. Look at all the paper piecing! She’s stamped and cut out the ball (in two pieces), the clown’s hair, his trousers, the seal’s podium... she has the patience of a saint!

Stamps: Under the Big Top, Party This Way
Cardstock: Concord Crush, Lucky Limeade, Whisper White
Paper: Cheerful Treat
Ink: Basic Grey, Concord Crush
Accessories: Curly Label Punch, ½” circle punch, linen thread, blender pens

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.