Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Christmassy sneak peek

Want another sneak peek? I bet you do – although from my comment count lately, it’s almost as if nobody is looking (hint, hint!).

Before I show you, though, I want to share some exciting news; when the October issue of Papercraft Inspirations comes out today, my blog will be featured! It’s the first time I’ve ever had one of my cards in a national magazine so I’m pretty chuffed, to be honest. So a warm welcome to anyone who has found my blog through the magazine. 

Now the card – and it’s a Christmas one using the new Scentsational Season bundle from the new Autumn/Winter catalogue, which goes live on Saturday. I enclosed one of these with each of the catalogues I sent out to my Virtual Hostess Club members. They are only card fronts (still guarding my new In Color™ cardstock very carefully!) and I fully intended to write on the front, postcard-style. But, when the time came, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want my scruffy handwriting ruining the cards... and I thought the recipients could recycle the card fronts by mounting them onto a full-sized card base, if they wished.

The strips of paper are from a gorgeous new pack of DSP – and every piece shown is from the same sheet. Well, you didn’t think I’d be cutting into more than one sheet just yet, did you?

Stamps: Scentsational Season
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White (some of it is textured, just using what I have)
Ink: Gumball Green
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection Framelits Dies

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A few reminders - some urgent!

No project today, just a few reminders:

Reason to Smile
If you want to get your hands on this beautiful  set – which you can either buy or earn free with a qualifying order – please hurry! This set is only available until 31st August. Please click here for details.

Summer Mini Catalogue
This catalogue expires on 31st August so if there’s anything on your wishlist, please get in touch asap. Some products will carry over to the new catalogue in October but not everything, so please contact me for more information.

NB: While the deadline for Reason to Smile and the Summer Mini is 31st August, I will be unavailable on that day, so if I am your demonstrator, your deadline is tomorrow!

Autumn/Winter Catalogue
This fabulous new catalogue (40 full size pages!!!!) is out on 1st September. I am holding my launch party on the afternoon of 8th September and there are some places left. If you’d like to join us, please complete a registration form, here. Please don’t delay as I will have to close registration soon so that I can start preparing the Make & Takes. Thanks!

Annual Catalogue
The new name for the Idea Book – and it’s bigger and better than ever. I will be ordering these at the weekend so if you want one, please let me know asap. How do you get one?

  1. Come to my launch party on 29th September. Please click here for details and registration.
  2. Host a party – book yours now and I’ll send you a catalogue with your party pack.
  3. I’ll include a free catalogue with your first order of £30 or more.
  4. Purchase one for £5.50 including postage to any UK address.
  5. Virtual Hostess Club members get catalogues free but you still need to let me know if you want to come to the launch party. Please click here to register.
That’s all for now – got to go to work!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Introducing new colours...

Did you have a good Bank Holiday? It rained as usual - I don't think I can remember a Bank Holiday when it didn't rain! 

Today I thought I’d show you all the new In Colors. These will be available to purchase in the new Annual Catalogue, which goes live on 1st October, but the colours have been released to demonstrators early – whoohoo! If you’d like to get your hands on products early, please do ask me for more information about becoming a demonstrator, or click the links down the right hand side of this page.

The stamps and dies are from the new Autumn/Winter catalogue, which is released on 1st September - and we're all very excited. If you'd like to come to my launch party on the afternoon of 8th September, please do get in touch asap as I will be prepping the Make & Takes soon!

So, we will be getting five new colours, which you can see on this card. 
  • Summer Starfruit (used for the card base – and my favourite so far!)
  • Raspberry Ripple (square panel, top left)
  • Gumball Green (top right)
  • Midnight Muse (bottom left)
  • Primrose Petals (bottom right. Don’t be confused about the name – apparently primroses can be pink in America!) 

Which one will be your favourite?

Stamps: Perfectly Preserved
Cardstock: Summer Starfruit, Raspberry Ripple, Gumball Green, Midnight Muse, Primrose Petals, Whisper White
Ink: Summer Starfruit, Raspberry Ripple, Gumball Green, Midnight Muse, Primrose Petals
Accessories: Big Shot, Cannery Set Framelits Dies, 1 3/8” square punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 26 August 2012

First Autumn/Winter sneak preview!

I’m back – against all odds. You don’t need to know the details but here they are anyway... too dark to take photos yesterday, got up this morning, still dark, dug out daylight lamp, set up background, camera wouldn’t work! Gave it a shake and it came back to life. Took photos, plugged camera into computer... camera batteries died. Spare batteries missing from camera bag, eventually found them (still in the charger – fully charged... phew!) and uploaded.

So here I am with my very first sneak preview of the Autumn/Winter catty.

I promise you will LOVE this catalogue. Not only is is WAY bigger than previous Minis – which is why you won’t see the word “mini” on this one – but it’s absolutely packed with loveliness. I ordered a modest amount of stuff for my pre-order but suspect I’ll be going back for more!  The themes are autumn, Halloween and Christmas but I’ll give you a break from Christmas for a while and start with autumn.

Even though the products don’t appear in the Autumn/Winter catty, we demonstrators were allowed to order In Color items, too, so I couldn’t resist having a play. I really love this year’s new colours – it’s the first time I’ve bought all the ink pads and I know I’m not going to regret it.

This is my favourite colour combination so far: Gumball Green, Midnight Muse and Summer Starfruit. I used the Perfectly Preserved Bundle (yes – you get bundles this time, too!) to stamp and die-cut the jar, the pear and the little leaves at the top. The greeting is actually a sneak peek from the Annual Catalogue but more of that another time.

So, what do you think?

Stamps: Perfect Preserved (Autumn/Winter), Itty Bitty Banners (Annual Catalogue)
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Midnight Muse, Summer Starfruit, Whisper White
Ink: Gumball Green, Midnight Muse, Summer Starfruit
Accessories: Big Shot, Cannery Set Framelits Dies, Scallop Edge Punch, Baker’s Twine – White

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Cat time!

Meet April, a young mum at the cat shelter. She had four kittens, two of which were homed so fast that we didn't get to meet them and the two below stayed a while, although happily have since gone to new homes.

April's kittens are May (the one with the white face) and Gus... which is short for August. Cute, eh?

In cardmaking news, I have made quite a few cards - 15 in fact! (although 10 were the same) - but have to dash out now so will deal with them later, honest!

Friday, 24 August 2012

What's going on?

So, just in case anyone's looking and wondering, here's a bit of an update...

Got back from France on Sunday - docked in Plymouth at 6.30am!!!! (I don't do early) - and spent the rest of the day unpacking and doing mountains of laundry. Did manage to find time to place my Autumn/Winter catty pre-order though, which I've been anxiously awaiting ever since.

Then it was straight back to the Day Job - and new, longer hours. So apologies if you've emailed or texted and not had as speedy a reply as normal; it's going to take me a while to adjust to my new routine. Hopefully the washed-out feeling in the evenings is only temporary.

I am completely out of samples to post  - used them all up on scheduled posts while I was away - but the great news is that my Autumn/Winter catty pre-order has now arrived so today I plan to get crafting. Can't reveal too much just yet, other than to say that everything which came is absolutely gorgeous. There's one pack of paper in particular that I keep taking out and stroking. I have fabric - and ambitious plans for it! I have stamps, I have scented embossing powder (didn't know I was getting that - that was a freebie!), I have lovely new Big Shot dies...

I also have a stack of catties, which I plan to send out to my Virtual Hostess Club members asap!

So in other words, watch this space... I'm going to knuckle down now and get making!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Christmas is over at last

At last! The very final Christmas in July project – I bet you thought we’d never get there! This one is, miraculously, designed by me. I know, shocking, huh? We stamped the image twice – once in Garden Green, once in Cherry Cobbler. The red version was cut out and overlaid onto the green one, popped up for dimension. The rest of the card is pretty self-explanatory!

Stamps: Pines & Poinsettias, For My Family
Cardstock: Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla, Garden Green
Paper: Holly Berry
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Garden Green
Accessories: Cherry Cobbler seam binding ribbon, Scallop Edge Punch, Word Window Punch, Modern Label Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 20 August 2012

Christmas rosette

The first of the final two Christmas cards from Christmas in July (seems a long time ago now!) and this one uses Pines & Poinsettias stamp set. I have to confess that this set really isn’t my cup of tea – but  I appreciate that I’m in the minority as it’s really popular with customers. And I do love both of the cards we made – I just found the stamp set hard to work with because it’s not really “me”.

This one is a CASE (only slightly changed) of a card made, I believe, by a UK demonstrator called Zoe.  I love how she incorporated the rosette into the card – and everyone loved having a play with the new Simply Scored tool at my Christmas in July event.

The main image is coloured with markers, which allows you to get all those fab different colours in one go. And that background paper is fab – those polka dots are all glittery!

Stamps: Pines & Poinsettias
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler
Paper: Holly Berry
Ink: Early Espresso, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Simply Scored, Lots of Tags die, Big Shot, Wide Oval Punch, markers – Early Espresso, Old Olive, Real Red

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Quick and cute

A quick little card using Bright Blossoms, some Brights cardstock scraps and one punch. How’s that for a Limited Supply Challenge?

Stamps: Bright Blossoms
Cardstock: Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, Pacific Point, Whisper White
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Pacific Point
Accessories: 1” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pebbles - holding court

Pebbles is another of the larger-than-life characters at the cat shelter. Sadly, Pebbles has been mistreated so is now very fearful of people – I made the mistake of trying to stroke her once and received scratches as a souvenir.

I’m delighted to say that Pebbles now has a home and hopefully she’ll be happier there and learn to trust people again. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Retro flowers

Bright Blossoms is a really popular stamp set in the Summer Mini, so I had to have a play with it. I love the bold, retro look of the vases and flowers in this set and dug out some of my favourite colours for this card.

Stamps: Bright Blossoms, Party This Way
Cardstock: Real Red, Old Olive (textured), Pacific Point, Whisper White
Paper: Brights Designer Series Paper Stack
Ink: Pacific Point, Old Olive, Real Red
Accessories: ½” circle punch, modern label punch, basic rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Cheery flag card

I keep seeing these flag cards on Pinterest and elsewhere and really love them. I haven’t used my Brights paper stack nearly enough so have LOADS left – and this card didn’t really dent my supplies. I just cut five strips of the dotted paper (my favourite pattern) in varying widths and then cut the V shapes out to create the flag/banner shapes. It makes a really bright cheerful card – and can be done with any Designer Paper scraps you have lying around.

Stamps: Tiny Tags
Cardstock: Old Olive, Whisper White
Ink:  Pacific Point
Accessories: White Baker’s Twine, Jewellery Tag Punch, Basic Rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Small cards to say a big thank you

A welcome break from Christmas to show you a small batch of little cards I made. These are half-size – ie you can get four from a sheet of A4. I don’t bother with envelopes and have started putting these in with people’s orders to thank them (when I remember! Sorry if you receive an order without one!).

Stamps: Mixed Bunch
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, So Saffron, Early Espresso
Ink:  Early Espresso, So Saffron
Accessories: Blossom Punch, 1” Circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Caturday - and it's Solo's turn

Happy Caturday everyone!

I know you shouldn’t have favourites but there’s something very special about this cat at the shelter. His name is Solo and he came all the way over from Crete on a four-day journey in a van! He settled in well at the shelter and became best friends with a black and white cat called Harley.

Solo is a real character and a bit of a thug – I once caught him simultaneously chasing a toy mouse, attacking an artificial flower and beating up one of the kittens. On our last visit to the shelter, he ran up my daughter’s leg, to attack the phone charm which was hanging out of her pocket. He hung on for a while but unfortunately not long enough for me to get a photo. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Another simple Christmas card

The second Ornament punch card also uses the Delightful Decorations stamp set. Again it’s CASEd (this time from US demonstrator Diane Schultz) and again it’s a simple card to reproduce quickly.

The foliage is simply the largest tree from Lovely as a Tree (that stamp set never goes out of style!), stamped repeatedly in Wild Wasabi. A hole is pierced for the Cherry Cobbler twine to go through and a punched ornament popped up on top.

Stamps: Delightful Decorations, Curly Cute
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Real Red, Wild Wasabi
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Real Red
Accessories: Ornament punch, Basics glimmer brads, white Baker’s Twine, Cherry Cobbler reinker Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Simple punch Christmas card

The first of two Christmas cards using the Ornament Punch, this one was blatantly CASEd from (US?) demonstrator Catherine Pooler. It’s a nice easy one to make in multiples when you want to churn out a lot of Christmas cards in a hurry. The top layer of Crumb Cake cardstock is popped up over a small piece of Designer Series Paper. The Baker’s Twine (dyed Cherry Cobbler using reinkers) is simply attached at the back and then the bow (well it was a bow, once!) is tied separately.

Stamps: Curly Cute
Cardstock: Crumb Cake
Paper: Holly Berry
Ink: Real Red
Accessories: Ornament Punch, White Baker’s Twine, Cherry Cobbler reinker

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 4 August 2012

"I am a cat and I will walk in front of your card"

A cat and a card today – in the same photo!

I needed a white background for this card (will tell you why one day) so went out into the sunshine with two bits of DSP backing, propped them up against a wall and began to snap away.

Enter, stage left, Cobweb... seemingly oblivious to my presence and the important task in hand.  But, as a long-term cat owner, I know better and that she was probably thinking: “I am a cat and I will walk where I please for I am more important than you and your stupid card.”

Just in case you can’t see the card properly, due to the presence of whiskers and paws, here’s a more successful photo from the session.

I had Christmas in July cardstock and papers out but wanted to make something not so Christmassy. Many of the Holly Berry papers can be used for other occasions, too, and I really love the tiny flowers and delicate design of this sheet. Sadly, it’s the opposite side of my other favourite sheet from the pack – the glittery polka dots! But sometimes tough decisions have to be made.

There’s a hint of a new product on there – see if you can spot it. This one won’t  be available until October but it was perfect for the card, so I thought I’d slip it on there.

Stamps: Aviary
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler, Wild Wasabi, Chocolate Chip, So Saffron, Real Red
Paper: Holly Berry
Ink: Early Espresso, Cherry Cobbler
Punches: Scallop Oval, Boho Blossoms, Itty Bitty Punch Pack, Bird, ¾” circle
Accessories: Big Shot, Adorning Accents embossing folders, pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Beautiful Season embossing technique

Still wading through the Christmas in July samples... here’s the second card we made using Beautiful Season. This card is inspired by – but in the end quite different to – one I saw on the web by US blogger Joanne Travis.

For the background we used a really cool technique which marries embossing folders with the much-maligned brayer. You can create a really impressive (no pun intended) effect by following these simple steps:

  1. Take your embossing folder and open it up
  2. Find the front – ie, the side that says “Sizzix” on it and brayer it all over – go over a few times to ensure it’s completely covered with ink
  3. Insert your cardstock and emboss as normal
  4. Result? A beautiful embossed panel, with plain raised areas and ink everywhere else

You can ink the opposite side of the embossing folder for the opposite effect if you prefer.

To clean your embossing folder, just rinse under the tap and allow to dry.

Stamps: Beautiful Season
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Soft Suede
Ink: Basic Gray, Soft Suede
Accessories: Watercolour Wonder™ crayons, blender pens, Seam binding ribbon – Cherry Cobbler, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border, Vintage Wallpaper embossing folder, Big Shot

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New stamp set available

Happy August, everyone!

Everyone loves new stamp sets – and there’s a gorgeous new one available this August.
Stampin’ Up!® has released a new set called Reason to Smile which will only be available from 1st to 31st August 2012. After that, it will be gone forever!

Best of all, you can choose whether you purchase this stamp set or earn it for free!

Please click here for full details.

In other news, don't forget that you only have this month to order from the Summer Mini catalogue. Some items will carry over to the Annual Catalogue, but not all, so check your wishlists please!

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.