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!®

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.