Saturday, 30 June 2012

Caturday kitten

This little beauty is currently living at a cat rescue centre near here. My daughter is due to start volunteering there this weekend and I’m confident she will be in her element. It’s a lovely shelter and, when we asked what duties would include, we were told “sometimes they just need stroking”.

We were instructed to familiarise ourselves with the cats and by the end of our visit we were beginning to recognise quite a few of them, including Dave, who rarely ventures out from the top of the shed. 

At the other end of the social spectrum, there are lots of inquisitive little ginger kittens there right now and I’m sure they will have no trouble finding homes. Some of the cats there are older - or, like Dave, troubled - and therefore harder to home. Some will even spend the rest of their days there. But I have to admit that it’s hard to feel sorry for the cats as the shelter is so lovely and homely!

I’m deliberately not naming the shelter as I haven’t asked permission to publicise but if anyone local is in need of a cat or two (and I firmly believe it’s a “need” and not a “want”), please get in touch and I’ll give you the details. 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Kelly creation

This card has attracted sooooo much attention at parties. It is picked up and admired wherever I go. Somewhat inevitably, I didn’t make it – that always seems to be the case! So I say with a smile through gritted teeth: “My friend Kelly made that one for me.”

Kelly is a super-talented stamper and, even though she’s no longer a demonstrator, we’ve remained friends – because that’s how Stampin’ Up!® works! (Several of us are not-so-secretly hoping that she’ll join our team again one day, too.)

The card is such a simple idea but very, very effective. Punch the front layer and pop it up over some DSP. What a brilliant way of using those little scraps, too! Sorry about the ropey picture - I took this batch inside and have never got round to retaking them. 

Stamps: Curvy Verses
Cardstock: Whisper White
Paper: Sweet Shop
Ink: Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Boho Blossoms punch, Basic Pearls, Baker’s Twine – Lucky Limeade

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Christmas update

No time for a project today, just a quick update to warn you that there are only THREE places left for my Christmas in July all-dayer!

This is a really popular event so don't miss out. Click here for full details. If you'd like to come, please complete the registration form and then drop me an email as well if you don't mind as I've been having a bit of bother with the registration system.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Twitterpated card

This was the Make & Take for my recent workshops, showing some of the fabulous products in the Twitterpated suite.

I began by stamping the greeting in Island Indigo on some Confetti White cardstock. I stamped the greeting first because it’s easier to fit the flowers around the greeting (as it doesn’t really matter where they go) than it is to fit the greeting around the flowers. Next I stamped the greeting, using Basic Gray because I find it less harsh than black and because it goes with the paper. I used Confetti White for two reasons: one, because it’s great when used with blender pens as it’s more absorbent than Whisper White and two, because I was getting very low on Whisper White! I coloured the image using the blender pens to pick up ink from ink pad lids.

The Baja Breeze card base was embossed using the lovely new embossing folders from the Summer Mini catalogue and then stamped using the co-ordinating stamp from Bordering on Romance. See how the flowers fit inside the scallops – I love the way Stampin’ Up! products co-ordinate so well!

After assembling the card, the final touch was a Twitterpated button threaded with some Island Indigo Baker’s Twine, stuck down with a Glue Dot®. Glue Dots® are the perfect adhesive for buttons as they’re not only very, very sticky but they’re button-shaped, too!

Stamps: Bordering on Romance, For My Family
Cardstock: Baja Breeze, Pear Pizzazz, Confetti White
Paper: Twitterpated
Ink: Basic Gray, Baja Breeze, Island Indigo, Pear Pizzazz
Accessories: Twitterpated buttons, Island Indigo baker’s twine, Adorning Accents embossing folders

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Friday, 22 June 2012

Stop, thief!

Oh what a terrible opportunist Pooboo is. This is why we have to keep our porch door firmly closed all the time. Caught red-handed and only given a moment’s reprieve while I quickly took a photo. Bad cat!

More Mixed Bunch

This is a variation of a card we made at Stampin’ Up!® Regional Training day last month – although I think it’s lacking something so might add a greeting when I get chance.

I really like the flower – this is a piece of Pink Pirouette embossed with the Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder and then punched out. You could do it the other way round but I was just using a piece of embossed cardstock I found in my scraps box. I knew it was worth saving...

The rickrack effect is created with the Scallop Edge Punch – punch once, then turn the strip of cardstock around and punch again, off-centre. Easier said than done, to be honest, as I had to have three goes!

Stamps: Mixed Bunch
Cardstock: Marina Mist, Pink Pirouette, Very Vanilla, Basic Gray
Ink: Marina Mist, Pink Pirouette
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Blossom Punch, Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder, Big Shot, 1” circle punch, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Exciting announcement

Stampin' Up!® has just made a HUGE announcement which I'm sure will make you very happy indeed. Our Stampin' Up!® dream is coming true: we are getting greater alignment with the US market! In future we will have one Annual Catalogue and two seasonal catalogues; an Autumn/Winter and a Spring/Summer. The really exciting news is that they will be BIGGER and that the product offering will be almost the same as the USA!

These are the next few catalogues you can expect and their publication dates:

Autumn/Winter Catalogue
Dates: 1st Sept 2012 until 30th Jan 2013.
Size: About 40 pages. Full size pages, too!
Content: Expect loads of lovely Christmassy products and much, much more!

2012-2013 Annual Catalogue
Dates: 1st Oct 2012-30th Jun 2013. NB: This will run for a shorter period than usual to allow for the transition year. Subsequent Annual Catalogues will run for 12 months.
Size: A whopping 204 pages!
Content: All of our core products such as cardstock, inks etc, plus loads of fab stamps, papers, punches, fabrics and dies. You will go wild with excitement!

Spring/Summer Catalogue
Dates: 1st Feb 2013-30th Jun 2013
Size: Same as Autumn/Winter
Content: More seasonal products to supplement the core offering in the Annual Catalogue

I hope you're as excited about this news as I am. I can tell you that demonstrators all over the country - and no doubt in France and Germany, too - are jumping up and down with glee. It's what we have wanted all along and it's only thanks to you and your enthusiasm for the products that Stampin' Up!® has been able to roll out a wider range of products to us. So thank you!!!!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Christmassy bird

This is the card we made at the fabric class on Saturday. Yes, it’s a variation of this card but I wanted to make it Christmassy with lovely reds and greens (still my favourite festive combination).

I began by sticking the fabric to some Designer Series Paper backing card using the Big Shot adhesive sheets (which are brilliant by the way). Note that I caught a piece of stray thread underneath mine and it shows up through the fabric.  So don't do that with yours. The bird was die-cut in the Big Shot.

To ruffle the fabric, you simply lay a line of adhesive (Sticky Strip or a piece of the Big Shot adhesive sheets) along the bottom of the cardstock and roughly pleat the fabric while sticking it down. Another strip of tape over the top ensures it won’t move.

The rosette is made using Crochet Trim ribbon, with a running stitch through it, pulled up and sewn together, with the button stitched in the centre. Well it was only a “nearly” no-sew class!

Stamps: Curly Cute
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Always Artichoke, Confetti White
Ink: Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Big Shot, Bird die, scallop edge punch, basic pearls, Deck the Halls Fabric, Crochet trim, Neutrals buttons

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 18 June 2012

No-sew fabric bauble tutorial

Fabric was the subject of Saturday afternoon’s class (although some would argue that a certain book was a hotter topic than the crafting) and we made three fab projects: a decorated bag, a card and a Christmas ornament.

I always like to start with the most challenging project, then it’s plain sailing all the way afterwards. So we began with the bauble, which I think looks gorgeous in this Deck the Halls fabric. For this you need:

1 smooth polystyrene ball, any size but ours are about 3”
2 designs of fabric
20cm length of ribbon or twine
2-4 buttons
2 x hairpins, rounded ends trimmed off with pliers

The only tools you need are a good pair of scissors, a craft knife and a bone folder (or butter knife)

How to make the bauble:

Preparing the ball
(We were lucky that our balls came with faint lines exactly where we needed to mark, so no marking was required!)

  1. Find the top of the ball and mark a line vertically to the bottom. You may find it easier if you use a tape measure as a straight line. Repeat on the opposite side so that you have marked all the way round the ball.
  2. Turn the ball 90º and repeat so that you have quarters marked on the ball, when viewed from the top.
  3. Turn again and mark in between the quarter lines until you have eight lines marked, as shown.
  4. Using a craft knife, you need to cut down each of these lines. Cut about 5-8mm (about 5/8”) deep.

Cutting the fabric

  1. You now have eight long elliptical shapes marked on your ball.  Measure across the widest part of one of these and add 10-15mm (about half an inch). This will be the width of your pieces of fabric.
  2. With your tape measure, measure the length of the ball from top to bottom – this will be the height of your fabric.
  3. Mark these measurements on your grid paper and draw freehand the same elliptical shape as on your ball. It doesn’t have to be accurate.
  4. Cut this out of the paper and use as a pattern to cut four in each of your two fabrics, making eight in total.

Assembling the ball

  1. Hold a piece of fabric against the ball, holding it in place with one finger and thumb at the top and bottom of the ball.
  2. Using the bone folder or butter knife, carefully poke the fabric into the slots – start at the widest point of your fabric and alternate sides so that you don’t end up short on the opposite side.
  3. Repeat around the ball – don’t worry too much about the ends at the moment.
  4. When all eight pieces are inserted into the ball, you may need to trim the ends but there’s no need to make them über-neat.
  5. Take a button or two – I’ve layered constrasting buttons on the bottom and used a single one at the top.
  6. Thread a trimmed hairpin through the buttons and then squeeze it slightly so that the ends are about 5mm apart. Carefully insert this into the bottom of your bauble – you may need to press it down onto a cutting mat or hard surface to get it all the way in.
  7. Repeat for the top, but this time thread some ribbon or twine through the hairpin before it goes through the button.


Stampin’ Up!® supplies used:
Deck the Halls fabric
White Baker’s Twine
Cherry Cobbler reinker (to dye the twine – do this at least a day or two in advance)
Regals Buttons

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Caturday... and the birds fight back

Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s been a tough week at the real job this week and crafting has had to take an unfortunate back seat.

But, regarding Wednesday’s post, to everyone who said “Toy Story”, you are correct! Not sure which one it was either but that scene still makes me laugh when I think about it.

Glad you liked the angry little bird – there have been some very angry birds in our garden this week as Pooboo seems to have found his running legs. Yesterday I saw him leap high into the hedge, so I ran out to chase him away. I hope there’s not a birds’ nest in there or he’ll be back until his evil work is done.

And earlier in the week, he attracted the attentions of a very inquisitive magpie. He was so intent on stalking a sparrow (or similar) that he didn’t notice a magpie creeping up on him, fascinated by his swishing tail. The magpie got about six inches away from the cat but, unfortunately, no sooner had I grabbed my camera than it flew away.

So today’s Caturday star is Pooboo, pictured here having a sneaky cuddle. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Did you pack your angry eyes?

The answer to yesterday’s little teaser was that I was dyeing some Baker’s Twine. Well done to Val for guessing correctly!

I used the plain white twine with reinkers. Just a few drops of reinker (Cherry Cobber and Always Artichoke) in a dish with a few more drops of water... probably a ratio of 1:10? I don’t know, I just winged it! Left them to soak until they were completely covered, then dragged them out, put them on some kitchen roll for a few seconds and then hung them up on our Sheila Maid, with some newspaper on the floor to catch any drips. 24 hours later and they are completely dry and ready to use in my (Nearly) No-Sew Fabric class on Saturday.

Think of the possibilities: Baker’s Twine (which costs next to nothing) in any color you like. You can even mix reinkers to create totally new shades.  You can buy reinkers in all our colours and there are loads of uses for them, not just reinking your pads.

So, to today’s project: a quick based on lots I’ve seen on the internet featuring an Angry Bird. Perfect for children, and those tricky teenagers because everyone loves Angry Birds. There are many more samples out there in blogland, some featuring different birds and those naughty pigs but I was in a hurry so kept it simple. Fun, eh? Teaser for today: name the film quoted in the title! 

This is what you need to punch:

1 ¾” circle in Real Red
1 ¾” circle in Whisper White (insert this into the punch again to create the chest)
½” circle x 2 for eyes
5-petal flower in Daffodil Delight for the beak (trim off one of the petals)
Boho Blossoms punch medium flower in Real Red for the tuft on his head (trim two petals and tilt behind the head)
 Curly Label punch in Basic Black: punch once and then punch the template to create the angry eyebrows
Boho Blossoms punch largest flower in Basic Black for the tail

Tear two different shades of green cardstock for the grass. And if you managed to get the Cupcake punch from the Spring Mini, you could create clouds, too!

Stamps: Party This Way
Cardstock: Real Red, Basic Black, Bashful Blue, Old Olive, Pear Pizzazz, Daffodil Delight
Ink: Basic Black
Punches: see above
Accessories: Stampin’ Write Journalling Pen

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A Tuesday teaser

No project today, just a little quiz for you. What do think this is? The clue is that I should have worn gloves because now I feel like Lady Macbeth! Out, damn’d spot! out, I say!

Supplies: not telling...

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 11 June 2012

Masculine Monday

No, Masculine Monday isn't a new regular features - it just sounded right! 

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday and if you have The Open Sea, you’re home and dry, so to speak. This is a birthday card (obviously) but could easily be changed for any occasion. It was inspired by someone out there on the internet but I made it a while ago so unfortunately can’t remember. It was really fun to make because of the background.

I began with a Confetti White card base. I love this cardstock, with its flecks of colour. It’s heavier than our Whisper White so perfect for card bases. It’s also good for watercolouring, or blender pens, too as it’s more absorbent.

I cut more Confetti White into a panel and decorated it before popping it up on Dimensionals. Decorating it was the fun part: I stamped the Open Sea images in Crumb Cake, stamping off to keep them nice and pale. I also used the flat stamp from the Distressing Kit to ink around the corners and edges to give it an aged effect.

I stamped the word in Island Indigo and the words in Cherry Cobbler – using clear-mount stamps means it’s really easy to get the images where you want them.  The anchor was the tricky bit – this was stamped onto Very Vanilla cardstock and cut out, yes – even the hole at the top. The hole is important as it gave me somewhere to thread that gorgeous Baker’s Twine that everyone’s going mad for! A dot of adhesive make the twine stay in place while looking casual and random. Sssh, don’t tell!

Stamps: The Open Sea, Curly Cute
Cardstock: Confetti White
Ink: Island Indigo, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Baker’s Twine, Distressing Kit

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Ooh la la, it's la chat-urday

Once again it’s Caturday... or, rather, Chat-urday... as today we go back to 2010 and travel deep into France to an absolutely gorgeous B&B in Provence, where we stayed for a couple of days. I didn’t think I’d like Provence because of the heat but we had an air-con unit in our room, there was a swimming pool, and the evenings were just gorgeous... not to mention the breakfasts under the peach tree in the mornings. Happily, the place (La Nesquiere – check it out) was swarming with animals, including this rather shy cat. One of the dogs was a lot more forward and sat with his head on one of the kids’ knees while we ate breakfast!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Flower trio

Now I wasn’t sure about this one – but when my Mum saw the full set of Mixed Bunch cards, this is the one she picked out and said she liked. Personally I think I was losing interest by this point and feel it could do with a bit more embellishing.

Again, CASEd from someone on the internet whose name I have lost. Oops. 

The full set will be going in a box or tin of some description (not decided yet) as a gift for one of the teachers at my son’s school, who is retiring after 27 years’ service. I can’t imagine working for 27 years in one place... but then I’ve already clocked up 11 years at the day job and four and a half as a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator! Time just flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? And I definitely don’t mean that sarcastically when referring to Stampin’ Up!

Stamps: Mixed Bunch, It’s Your Day
Cardstock: Marina Mist, Confetti White
Paper: Beau Chateau
Ink: Soft Sude, Marina Mist
Accessories: Blossom punch, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Two ways with two punches

Another Mixed Bunch sample and I like this one a lot more now that I’m looking it it a few days later. I CASEd it from a sample I saw on the internet but I’m really sorry, I’ve lost the bit of paper I was using as a guide and which had the name of the originator on it. I think it was a US demonstrator. Maybe I like mine more now that I can’t see hers – sometimes it’s easy to be harsh on your own creations if you’ve been trying to copy someone else.

I really love two things about this card and they both demonstrate the versatility of the punches:

1. The way the Blossom punch is used to create the effect of leaves. Totally nicked that from the US demonstrator I CASEd from.
2. The very very tiny Pear Pizzazz flower on the centre of the main flower. This was inspired by the card I was copying. I didn’t have the right punch so used one of the bits which fell out when I punched the Lace Border punch to go under the Thank You.

Stamps: Mixed Bunch, Curly Cute (just for Elizabeth in Texas!)
Cardstock: Marina Mist, Pear Pizzazz, Very Vanilla
Paper: Beau Chateau
Ink: Pear Pizzazz, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Lace Border Punch, Blossom punch, 1” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 4 June 2012

Mixed Bunch medallion

Happy Monday! Hope we get nice weather for the bank holiday but you know how it usually is. Wouldn't want all those street parties to be a wash-out!

Anyway, if it rains you can always stay inside and do some crafting instead! And I'm back to Mixed Bunch samples today with another pink and brown affair. Still using up the Beau Chateau paper, which just never ends, and some scraps left over from my Beau Chateau class. Hmmm.... don’t think I ever posted the samples from that event, did I? Must rectify that before the paper retires at the end of September!

The Pink Pirouette panel is “debossed”, ie it’s embossed but I’ve used it upside-down. Why? I don’t know, it just happened that way. Makes a change anyway.

Stamps: Mixed Bunch, It’s Your Day
Cardstock: Pink Pirouette
Paper: Beau Chateau
Ink: Soft Suede
Accessories: Blossom punch, ¾” circle punch, Word Window punch, Modern Label punch, Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder, Big Shot, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Caturday is for courting...

Caturday again and it’s the first day of the extra-long bank holiday weekend. Hope you’re doing something nice. Maybe getting out the bunting and holding a street party to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee?

Slinky, our oh-so-sexy pin-up of the day (although, to be honest, I think it's probably only me, my friend Alison, and Emma in Wales who are smitten), will probably be celebrating with his... wait for it... girlfriend! Yes, we found out this week that he has been “stepping out” with one of the lady cats from next door. Her name is Theo and, frankly, she’s not the sharpest tool in the box so they are very well suited. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

TWO great offers!

Wow! I wake up to TWO great offers from Stampin' Up!® today! In brief, you can earn FREE Designer Series Papers when you purchase three packs (it's a "four for the price of three" offer). Additionally, if you host a party, there are extra benefits to be earned if it reaches £325. Please click the Paper Party banner at the top of the page for full details.

Got to dash but before I go, here's a fun project I made using Twitterpated fabric. Soooooo easy! And I really like the boho, beachy effect. All you do is tear some strips of fabric and wrap them around a cheap bangle. Secure with Sticky Strip at the beginning and either tuck in the end or secure with more Stick Strip or fabric glue. Quick, easy and I love it!

Supplies: Twitterpated Designer Series Fabric, Sticky Strip

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.