Thursday, 31 March 2011


This just announced on the SU website:


31 March 2011
We’re happy to announce the Extra-Large Ornament punch (item 116794) is available to order. The quality problems we were experiencing with the punch have been resolved and our supply is ready to go.
Thank you for your patience as we work to provide you with high-quality products.

So let me know when you want me to order yours! 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Calorie-free birthday cake

Here’s a cute little idea I picked up at Convention last year. It’s a calorie-free birthday cake in its own little box.

The “cake” is just a battery tealight (and it's VERY important that you use a battery tealight and not a real one), covered with a strip of Designer Series Paper. Actually, for this one, I used a border from a retired Simply Scrappin’® kit, but any co-ordinating paper will do. It didn’t stick to the plastic particularly well, so I tied a piece of ribbon around it, too.

The top and base are made by punching out a scallop circle. For the top one, I stamped with Circle Circus first – imagine how cool this would look if done in glitter, or embossed in white to look like icing! You punch a small hole in the top one and snip it with scissors to look a bit like an asterix. This allows the flame to poke through.

For the base, you punch a hole with a ½” circle punch, to leave room for the switch. Depending on the design of the tealight, you may also need some Stampin’ Dimensionals to give the scallop circle something to stick to.

The box is just made from a square of cardstock – 15cm square in this case. You score at thirds to create a grid of nine squares. Next cut along the scorelines towards the centre on opposite sides and then fold everything towards the centre.

The lid is made from a square of Pumpkin Pie cardstock measuring about 8.3cm square. Measure from each edge at 1.5cm and score to create the lid. But before sticking it down, punch out a scallop circle from the top and line it with a piece of vellum cardstock. You can decorate the top if you like, and the light from the tealight will show through the vellum.

Party This Way is perfect for this set and with these colours – very jolly. But you could make it in gentle pinks for a little girl or dark neutrals for a man. Have fun!

The final touch was a little heart – again from a retired scrappin’ kit. You could use a scrap of Old Olive cardstock and the small heart punch.

Stamps: Party This Way, Circle Circus
Cardstock: Pumpkin Pie, Pacific Point, Whisper White, Old Olive
Ink: Pacific Point, Pumpkin Pie
Accessories: Scallop Circle Punch, 1 3/8” circle punch, 1 ¼” circle punch, ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon - Whisper White, ½” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sympathy card

During Sale-A-Bration, demonstrators have the opportunity to earn free catalogue stamp sets, through sales and recruiting. I was lucky enough to earn four free sets this year and chose Hopeful Thoughts as one of them, because I thought it would be useful.

I didn’t think I’d need it quite so soon, however, but found myself needing a sympathy card this week, unfortunately. I wouldn't normally post a card on my blog until it had been received, but this has to go to America so could take a while to get there. 

I’ve put together some of my favourite colours for this card; Old Olive (naturally), Cherry Cobbler and Elegant Eggplant. I inked the stamp using markers so that I could get the flowers a different colour to the leaves. I masked part of the sentiment (which also reads “Please know that I care”) so that I could stamp just the words “Thinking of you” on the front. In retrospect, I should have mounted them separately, as I think I will use them separately more often than together. I stamped the rest of the sentiment inside the card.

The Designer Paper is from the Play Date collection – not the pack you’d usually pull out for a sympathy card, but the colour was just right and the pattern nicely understated.

Stamps: Hopeful Thoughts
Cardstock: Old Olive, Elegant Eggplant, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Paper: Play Date
Ink: Cherry Cobbler (ink pad), Elegant Eggplant and Old Olive markers
Accessories: Taffeta ribbon – Old Olive, Scallop Edge Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A monster creation

I cannot lay claim to this wonderful creation at all. It was made by Kelly during a morning’s craft session at my house. She said she was going to leave it behind for me to put on my blog but I insisted she took it home with her. Being a disorganised sort, I didn’t realise that she had left it behind until about six weeks after it was made!

Look at the way she has made the planets. The holes are made in a large circle with the Crop-A-Dile™ and overlaid on another circle of cardstock. But the smaller planet has an extra dimension in that there are three layers of cardstock. The bottom layer is a plain Daffodil Delight circle. The second layer is Real Red, punched with random holes. The top layer, in Tempting Turquoise, also has random holes. She has put them all together for quite a spectacular effect.

The alien is stamped on Daffodil Delight cardstock and cut out. The eye and tongue are stamped directly onto the yellow and also on white, cut out and overlaid.

Stamps: Make a Monster, Party This way
Cardstock: Daffodil Delight, Whisper White, Basic Black, Old Olive, Tempting Turquoise, Real Red
Ink: Whisper White, Tempting Turquoise, Basic Black
Accessories: 1 ¾” circle punch, Wide Oval punch, 1 ¼” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Joseph's Coat technique

The final project from my Brayering Class used the Joseph’s Coat technique. Here’s what you do:

  1. Brayer random colours over a piece of glossy cardstock. You can sponge the ink on if you prefer to be more precise
  2. Tap or swipe all over with the Embossing Buddy® - this really does make a big difference
  3. Stamp solid image in Versamark and clear emboss
  4. Brayer over the top in a darker colour – here I’ve used Not Quite Navy
  5. Gently wipe away the ink from the embossed areas

And that’s about the size of it really. This, I believe, is called a tent topper card and, while it’s a novel idea, this one was born from me finding a piece of Pear Pizzazz in my scraps box that was just the right size to make the card base. The leaves along the bottom are stamped in Versamark. Pear Pizzazz would have done the same job.

And here is a version which didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. As you can see, I haven’t stamped firmly enough, so the image is incomplete (if this was a small amount, you could fill in the gaps with a Versamarker). You can also see speckles all over where the embossing powder has spread beyond the image – this is because I forgot to use the Embossing Buddy®! Told you it works!

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Pear Pizzazz, Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla, Glossy White
Ink: Not Quite Navy, Versamark, various Subtles and Brights
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Taffeta Ribbon – Daffodil Delight

All products by Stampin’ Up!®            

Friday, 18 March 2011

Stampin' Up! relief efforts in Japan

Just thought you'd like to know how Stampin' Up!® has reacted to the recent natural disasters in New Zealand and Japan. Below is a message to demonstrators on the SU website, which I'm sure they won't mind me sharing with you.  This is just one of the many reasons I love Stampin' Up!

"Like all of you, we are deeply saddened by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and our hearts go out to all those who were affected. On behalf of our demonstrators and customers, Stampin’ Up! is making a donation to the American Red Cross’ Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief fund. If you feel so inclined and have the means to do so, we encourage each of you to make a donation to the relief organisation of your choice.

"While we always strive to make a difference, how we support relief efforts for natural disasters is decided on a case-by-case basis. In countries where Stampin’ Up! has a presence, we look to our local market management to determine how we can best support our demonstrators, customers, and the local relief efforts. 

"For example, during the flooding in Queensland, Australia in February, the local market management arranged to donate $2 AUD from the sale of every stamp set with a value of $30 AUD or more to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal. 

"After the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, the local country management felt it was most important to support our demonstrators and customers directly, so we are waiving the registration fee to the Christchurch regional* and turning the event into a fun day of crafting for both demonstrators and their guests. The company is also supporting demonstrator fundraising efforts related to the earthquake by donating free products.

"In the case of Japan, because we do not operate in that country, we feel the most effective and efficient way to provide immediate support to those affected by this terrible tragedy is to give a monetary donation."

* This is a training day for demonstrators

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Brayered triptych

Triptych? Is that even the right word? Anyway, it's another project from my Brayering Class. Sorry it’s taking me so long to post these – it’s still a bit of a building site here with work going on in a bedroom and the bathroom.

I modified this design a little for the class-goers – I thought the squares were a bit big on my card, which didn’t leave much room around the edges to show off the lovely Baja Breeze cardstock.

We began by brayering onto Shimmery White cardstock. Sadly, you can’t see just how beautiful and shimmery this cardstock is so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  It’s shimmery on both sides, too.

By beginning brayering on the corner, we created this lovely shadow on the diagonal.

And, by a happy accident, on this cards I’d used three products which feature in the March Frenzy offer: Shimmery White cardstock, Hodgepodge Hardware® and Greenhouse Gala Designer Series Paper.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Baja Breeze, Rose Red, Pear Pizzazz
Paper: Greenhouse Gala
Ink: Baja Breeze, Rose Red, Pear Pizzazz
Accessories: 1” circle punch, Modern Label Punch, Hodgepodge Hardware®, Scallop Edge Punch 

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Leeds training day swaps

Here are the swaps I received from the Stampin' Up!® training session in Leeds. I can't say too much about the day because there are still training sessions ongoing and I don't want to spoil any surprises for any demonstrators attending them, but suffice to say, we had a blast. One of my new team members said she hadn't laughed that much in ages. 

The day was a mixture of business training, demonstrations, make and takes ... and we all had a good look at (and play with!) some of the new items from the forthcoming Mini catalogue. And, of course, we got to meet up with demonstrators from all over the area and swap projects, which is always fun. 

If you're a demonstrator and have never been to SU event, I highly recommend it. You'll learn loads and have a great time. If you're not a demonstrator and this sort of event sounds like fun, why not get in touch for a no-obligation chat about signing up?

Looking at the picture of the swaps, I see one there that shouldn't be there - the Eiffel Tower bookmark was actually a swap from a French demonstrator last year at Convention. I also notice that I've missed this fab little box off, so here it is. Cute, eh?

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Brayered card

It’s still a bit gloomy but it was bright enough for a photo so, as promised, here is the first of the projects from this weekend’s brayering class. We made three cards, using different brayering techniques.

For this card, I had the brainwave of providing black and white layers, so that each person could make the card in colours of their choice. We started by changing the colour of the ribbon, which started out as Basic Black with Very Vanilla stripes (or Very Vanilla with Basic Black stripes, depending on which way you look at it). We placed a small piece (you know me, when it’s one of the more expensive ribbons, it’s only ever a small piece!)  directly onto the ink pad and brayered it to squish it into the ink. If necessary you can turn over the ribbon and do it again on the other side. This is a brilliant way to colour your ribbon, especially if you don’t have the correct colour marker. However, it does take absolutely AGES to dry. We did this right at the beginning of the class and put the ribbon on one side to dry, for assembling at the end. But the ribbon pieces still weren’t dry, even when we had a go at them with the heat gun.  In fact, my sample card has ink stains on the crease, where the ribbon has bled onto it.

Onto the brayering... we were brayering onto glossy cardstock, which gives fantastic results. What’s more, the glossy cardstock is on special offer at the moment, in the March Frenzy promotion. That was a happy accident for me, as I’d planned to use it long before we received details of the offer.

We each chose two inks, mostly from the Subtles range, as here. Some people picked brighter colours and they looked absolutely fabulous. One of my favourite combos was Judie’s Wild Wasabi and Rose Red.  Here I’ve used Daffodil Delight and Baja Breeze.

We stamped onto the brayered backgrounds using Black StazOn® ink, which is ideal for non-porous surfaces such as glossy cardstock and gives a really crisp, dark image. This second picture here shows what it looks like stamped in Basic Black ink.  This ink is perfect for Whisper White cardstock, but not so great on glossy, as you can see. You can also see where I had a go at some white highlights with a gel pen, but it didn’t quite work out. I make mistakes so you don't have to! 

And you can’t see it but the card base is Shimmery cardstock, which is absolutely gorgeous. It’s shimmery on both sides and really sparkles in the light. It makes really nice card bases as it’s heavier than our Whisper White... and it, too is part of the March Frenzy promotion.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Shimmery White, Glossy White, Whisper White, Basic Black
Ink: Jet Black StazOn®, Basic Black, Daffodil Delight, Baja Breeze
Accessories: Brayer, wide striped ribbon – Basic Black, Neutrals buttons, linen thread, Word Window Punch, Modern Label Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Something's coming...

I'm so sorry I haven't updated recently. I do have some projects to show you from yesterday's brayering class... and all my swaps from the Stampin' Up!® training session in Leeds.

Also I've been working on some projects with my NEW goodies from the forthcoming Mini catalogue. I'm very excited about these ... and have been making some cards with them.  And if you place an order during March, I'll send you one of them as a thank you and a little sneak preview...

Anyway will try to photograph my projects if and when it gets light!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Beads for my team

Last minute as usual, I decided to make little pouches for the beads I’d bought for my team members who were going to the training session in Leeds last weekend. They are to add to the keyrings I gave them at our last team meeting (see below). 

They had to be simple due to time restraints and due to my lack of enthusiasm for making more than one of the same thing!

So this is just a length of cardstock, scored at thirds and a border punched at one end.  The section at the opposite end has a ¾” circle punched from it to reveal the bead in a little plastic bag beneath.  Should have taken a pic of the inside, I suppose. So, in theory, if you undo the ribbon and lift the top flap, you’ll see the bead through the hole.

I stamped Vintage Vogue on the top flap, folded it down and held it together with the ribbon. I added a monogram with Just Perfect Alphabet, which I mounted onto the largest flower from the Boho Blossoms punch. Done!

Stamps: Vintage Vogue, Just Perfect Alphabet
Cardstock: Elegant Eggplant, Baja Breeze, Very Vanilla
Ink: Elegant Eggplant
Accessories: ¼” Grosgrain Ribbon - Very Vanilla, ¾” circle punch, Boho Blossoms punch, Scallop Edge Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Paper share update

Now only ONE PLACE left! Please click here for details.

Team gifts

Here’s one I made earlier and forgot to show you, which was a bit remiss of me as it uses a now retired Sale-A-Bration stamp set.  But I’ll show you anyway as you may have that set by now and, if you don’t, the design can easily be adapted.

I made lots of these to give to my team members in recognition of their hard work. Inside is a keyring/bag charm. They receive this charm from me when they reach their first Stampin’ Up!® promotion – then another bead for every further promotion, or Stampin’ Up!® event they attend. So why not join my team and see how quickly you can earn your keyring?

This one is mine (I couldn’t leave myself out!) although it now has a shiny purple bead on it, too, to represent the Stampin’ Up!® training session I went to in Leeds at the weekend. But more about that fabulous day another time.

Back to the pouch. I’ve made these loads of times before because they are so simple; it’s just one strip of cardstock, with two score lines to create a base. Just make sure your base is wide enough that it will stand up and then fit the rest around the contents.

I wanted to make these in pink but didn’t have enough cardstock so settled on So Saffron, with Early Espresso and those gorgeous paper daisies. The heart accent is made by punching the heart first from a piece of cardstock, and then punching a circle around it – this is 1”, if I remember correctly. There’s a piece of Saffron cardstock behind it. A bit of bling in the form of a rhinestone and they were done.

Stamps: Tiny Tags, Sweet Summer (SAB, now retired)
Cardstock: So Saffron, Early Espresso, Whisper White
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: Rhinestones, 1” circle punch, small heart punch, Jewellery Tag punch, ½” circle punch, 1/8” Taffeta ribbon – Early Espresso, Paper Daisies

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 7 March 2011

Paper share - places limited!

UPDATE:  Now only ONE PLACE left! 

This morning I sent out a quick email about a Designer Series Paper Share, with a view to putting it on my blog this evening when I'd got all my other jobs done. 

But I've had loads of responses already and there are now only THREE places left on this share! So hurry and, if you're too late for this one, I can put you on a waiting list until we have eight more people. 

Here are the details...  I need eight people in total but five slots are taken. I can't afford to take more than one slot for myself as I've treated myself to something very BIG and very EXCITING lately... but more about that another time!

Back to the papers, which are ALL gorgeous, as you know, but buying them all is out of most people's budget. All 13 packs (not including Patterns Stacks) would cost you £116.15. And, frankly, you'd probably never use it all. 

So, how would you like to get your hands on a little bit of EVERYTHING (not including Patterns Stacks) for £14.60? That's less than the price of a large punch!  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) (NB, one of these papers is not square, so you'll receive a quarter of a circle) 
* 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)
Please see pages 88-91 of the current Idea Book & Catalogue for images. Please note, you will not receive sheets from the Patterns Stacks - these are excellent value as they stand and well worth the £15.50 investment. 
The 6x6 sheets you receive can be used 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 THREE slots left in this share so please email me asap 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 or deliver it to you at my next event. 
I will order as soon as I have enough takers for this... preferably by Monday 14th as I will be placing my usual monthly order on Tuesday 15th March.

Friday, 4 March 2011

My swap card for SU training day

Tomorrow I’m off to Leeds for a Stampin’ Up!® Regional Training event, with five of my team members. I’m really looking forward to it; not only will it be a great opportunity to catch up with some of my team, but SU events are always fun, even when there’s work/training involved!

There are about 70 demonstrators going, I believe, so it will be nice to bump into some familiar faces from previous events, too. One way to get to know other demonstrators is to join in swaps. For the uninitiated, this means we make a batch of cards using SU supplies, then swap them with other demonstrators. This way, we get our hands on lots of different samples to show at our workshops – often using techniques we haven’t tried, or stamp sets we don’t have.

I’m not a big fan of making swaps – I get bored quickly – but I do love to see all the fabulous creations that other people make, and often get ideas from them. When I’m telling stampers about the great opportunity that joining Stampin’ Up!® represents, one of the most common replies is “but I couldn’t think of the ideas”. Well, here’s a little secret for you: you don’t have to! Stampin’ Up! is all about sharing and, with all the resources on offer, you really don’t ever need to think of an original idea of your own if you don’t want to!

Now my swap card is not particularly original, especially as it was made from leftover Make & Take packs from my Sale-A-Bration workshops, which was this card. For swaps, only card fronts are required, so I dismantled the kits and put the remaining notecards away for another day, and simply cut some Whisper White cardstock to notecard size, which is 5in x 3.5in. There weren’t enough bits leftover to make 25 swap cards but it definitely gave me a head start.

I couldn’t swap using a Sale-A-Bration stamp set, as those sets are no longer available, so I used Just Believe instead, which is one of my favourite new sets. The decorated label stamp looks lovely as a border – and because of the size of the layers I could stamp it all with no fuss then cover the rectangle with the Rich Razzleberry layer.

This particular stamp is just leaves, so I added a flower of my own using the Boho Blossoms punch. I really hope the other demonstrators like it! And, if they don’t, I’m sure they’ll be too polite to say!

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Note Cards (if making to send rather than a swap), Whisper White, Rich Razzleberry, Old Olive, Pretty in Pink
Ink: Old Olive, Rich Razzleberry
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Boho Blossoms Punch, Silver Brads, Old Olive Taffeta ribbon

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Last call for brayering class

Still wavering about my brayering class on Saturday, 12th March? Waver no longer because today is your last day to register!

I know some of you have a love/hate relationship with your brayers. Ok, a hate/hate relationship with your brayers! But trust me, it's just a matter of practice and this refresher class could be just what you need.

Here’s a taster of what we’ll be making. We won’t be making this exact card but something similar, along with a couple of other brayer projects so we can have a go at a few different techniques.

Check out that gorgeous background – it looks lovely with the stark silhouette of Just Believe.

Stamps: Just Believe
Cardstock: Shimmery White, Whisper White, Glossy White, Basic Black
Ink: Marina Mist, Tangerine Tango, Basic Black, Black StazOn®
Accessories: Regals Buttons, 1/8” taffeta - Basic Black, Modern Label Punch, Word Window Punch, Basic Pearls, Brayer

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

March Frenzy!

As promised, there’s a brand new offer for March, with 30% off selected catalogue items! Please click on the picture to enlarge it and you’ll see all the details. If you can't read it, please click here to visit the Stampin' Up!® website. 

These items are available in limited numbers at the special prices, although we have been reassured that good quantities are available. But please don’t delay placing your order or you could be disappointed.

Gotta dash!

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.