Saturday, 29 September 2012

Summer snuggles

Sorry for the silence over the last few days;  not only have I been preparing for my Catalogue Launch (which is today) but I had one day with no phone line. Anyway, it’s the final Caturday of the summer and what better finish than this group soaking up the last rays of September sun? These are the “teenagers” of the cat shelter. How many can you see?

There are actually five of them: from left...

Harley (black and white) – sadly this lovely cat has been poorly for some time and it turns out that he suffers from FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) which is usually fatal. He does not need to be isolated as apparently many cats can be carriers and it’s pretty rare for the full disease to develop. Very sad news about a cat so young.

Solo – the lovely Greek boy who has been inseparable from Harley since his arrival at the shelter. He’ll miss his buddy when he’s gone.

Bandit – another beautiful cat from Crete. So long and sleek and such a speckly tummy.

Hawthorn – a gorgeous, sleek black cat who looked like this when he arrived at the shelter... when everyone thought he was a girl. Hawthorn was due to be rehomed this week with last week’s cutie, Bramble.

Tiger – the brother of Bandit and the owner of another very speckly tummy. He’s gorgeous and always up for a cuddle!

I love it when they all snuggle up together for a lunchtime nap – but I suspect the naps will be moving indoors from now on. After all, this is no ordinary shelter and they can snuggle up on a choice of settees, chairs and beds – even watch TV if they wish!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Looking ahead with Betsy

Time is running out to order from the current Idea Book & Catalogue – your last chance is 9pm on Sunday, although I prefer to keep my Sundays free where possible so please get any orders to me by the end of Saturday. As I won’t be placing an order for myself until 1st October, the cost of shipping will be £4.95 per order. Please do check out my “out of stock” page before ordering as items are going out of stock all the time. I keep the list as up-to-date as possible but sometimes we just don’t know until we try.

Meanwhile, we demonstrators (and lots of customers, I’m sure!) are looking forward to the next catalogue, which I have in my possession and is an absolute whopper! Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come...

Stamps: Betsy’s Blossoms, Mixed Medley
Cardstock: Whisper White, Raspberry Ripple, Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse
Ink: Raspberry Ripple, Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, 1 ¼” Scallop Circle Punch, stitched satin ribbon – Gumball Green

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 24 September 2012

Hot cocoa weather

Brrr... wasn’t yesterday horrible? There was a real wintry feel and it was definitely a day for steaming mugs of cocoa. I spent the afternoon and evening making samples for my forthcoming Annual Catalogue launch and playing around with new Autumn/Winter catalogue goodies. Can’t wait to show everyone what I've been making next weekend.

Here’s a card made using the Scentsational Season bundle from the Autumn/Winter catalogue. I love the clean lines, crisp colours and simple design... which I CASEd and simplified from Cindy Malone.

Stamps: Scentsational Season, Curly Cute
Cardstock: Whisper White, Crumb Cake
Paper: Snow Festival
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Gumball Green
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection Framelits

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Caturday kitten

All together now... awwwwwwww! How cute is this kitten? His name is Bramble and, when we visited last weekend, he was the newest addition to the shelter, after being found wandering along a road all by himself. He seemed to be a little intimidated by the bigger cats at the shelter (he’s the smallest one there right now) so daughter and I settled him down in this cosy bed, and watched as he fell asleep. I love how kittens fall asleep – their eyes close and they start to sway slightly as they try desperately to stay awake so as not to miss anything. And then they fall over.

And if you're after a furry addition to your household, head here - loads to choose from!  They aren't all listed on the site as cats come and go quite quickly sometimes, especially the kittens. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Really simple tag project

Not the most elaborate project in the world but quick and simple to reproduce – and another use for those handy little tags in the Autumn/Winter catalogue. I’ve taken the plainest tag, scored it down the middle and used it to decorate a cello bag topper. I would probably stamp it with some festive words, too, but I was waiting for my Greetings of the Season (p8) set to arrive when I made this and, somewhat inevitably, haven’t got round to changing it.

If you wanted to make a lot of these – bear in mind there are only four - oops sorry, FIVE - of each design so, at first glance, only five tags suitable for this project. But don’t forget that all the tags are double-sided, with a funky DSP pattern on the reverse – so, if you can bear to hide the cute little owls, baubles and reindeer, you have plenty of options. Great for craft fairs, Christmas gifts etc!

Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler
Paper: Snow Festival
Accessories: Cello bag, Snow Festival Designer Printed Tags

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Simple tag Christmas card

Got your Autumn/Winter catalogue? Turn to page 12 and check out the Snow Festival Designer Printed Tags. They’re really cute (really cheap, too!) and so much more than tags.

As tags, they’re really useful – and I’m sure they’ll be popular with those guests at Stampin’ Up!® parties who just don’t “get it” (yes, it happens sometimes!). But for those of us who really do “get it”, they’re actually quite versatile.

One has been used in the catalogue to dress up a mug as a gift and here I’ve used one for a really quick and simple card. All I’ve done to the tag is stamp a greeting (from Polar Party) and add a touch of Crystal Effects® to highlight the bauble. Then, treating it as a stamped image, I’ve layered it onto a card as normal.

Check back tomorrow for another simple use of these great tags!

Stamps: Polar Party
Cardstock: Baja Breeze, Soft Suede, Lucky Limeade, Cherry Cobbler
Paper: Snow Festival
Ink: Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Big Shot, Polka Dots embossing folder, dotted scallop ribbon border punch, Crystal Effects®, Snow Festival Designer Printed Tags

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Really cool Christmas tree card

I LOVE this card – I demoed it at my Autumn/Winter catalogue launch and will be demoing it at parties for anyone who couldn’t make it to the launch, simply because it’s so fab.

It wasn’t my idea of course – I couldn’t come up with anything this cool. I found it somewhere on the web and traced it back to the blog of Melissa Stout, who rather handily has posted a video tutorial here.

For the swirly “sweet”, Melissa used a set called Sweets for the Sweet, a set we won’t have until 1st October, so I used Trendy Trees (which is retiring) instead.

You can change it up however you liked – I made one using Festival of Prints paper stack, and another using Snow Festival DSP. I used green cardstock to create my scalloped strips, while Melissa used Whisper White. My downline and friend, Donna, used new Champagne Glimmer Paper on her version for a really blingy touch! 

Stamps: Scentsational Season, Trendy Trees (retiring)
Cardstock: Whisper White, Gumball Green, Chocolate Chip
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Summer Starfruit, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Square punch, Perfect Pennants Bigz die, Holiday framelits, scallop edge punch, dotted scallop ribbon border

Stamps: Scentsational Season, Trendy Trees (retiring)
Cardstock: Whisper White, Lucky Limeade, Early Espresso
Ink: Early Espresso, Summer Starfruit, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Square punch, Perfect Pennants Bigz die, Holiday framelits, scallop edge punch, dotted scallop ribbon border

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 16 September 2012


And now for something completely different! Although I can’t lay claim to much of this project at all; it was more of a committee effort.

My daughter made the marmalade, although she insists it was “cheating” as we used some pre-cut oranges in a can, from Lakeland.

I borrowed my downline Alison’s scallop circle die to make the fabric tops.

A fellow downline, oops, I mean demonstrator, Joanne, kindly provided the stamped and punched the pieces for me, when it looked like my SU parcel wouldn’t arrive in time for my Autumn/Winter catalogue launch. In the end it did arrive the day before the launch, but having the pieces stamped ready saved me from a last-minute rush, so thanks Joanne! She used the cute new scallop circle punch, which is only 1¼” in diameter. If you already have the original, or some circle punches, imagine the layering possibilities!

The jars? Cute, aren’t they? They’re only about four inches tall and are recycled yoghurt pots. We bought the yoghurts in France this summer – they were NestlĂ© La Laiterie. I haven’t seen them over here but, to be fair, I haven’t really looked.  

Stamps: Mixed Medley (hostess, Autumn/Winter catty)
Cardstock: Whisper White
Fabric: Orchard Harvest
Ink: Lucky Limeade, Island Indigo
Accessories: Baker’s Twine – Island Indigo, Lucky Limeade; Scallop circle die, 1 ¼” scallop circle punch,  ¾” circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Cretan caturday

These are two of the Greek cats at the shelter – yes, they’ve travelled all the way from Crete because there’s a shelter there that is so overwhelmed. They’re called Tiger and Bandit and they’re absolutely gorgeous – so long and sleek, with fantastic speckled tummies!

Tiger got stuck on the roof the other day and had to be rescued – he couldn’t get down because Pebbles was there. Yes, Pebbles (the one with issues) is still there, not sure what’s happening about her new home. I suppose it doesn’t help that the cat carrier which has been put in her favourite spot in the hope of trapping her has become the favourite sleeping place of Teddy.

Friday, 14 September 2012

This takes the biscuit

This is my take on a fab card by Margaret Raburn. I love these little gingerbread men and the way Margaret combined them with the new Woodgrain embossing folder. In fact, this card was the inspiration for one of my launch party Make & Takes... you know, the one I still haven’t taken a photo of!

The Woodgrain folder goes perfectly with our new Core-dinations textured cardstock. Unlike our retiring textured cardstock and our smooth cardstock, this has a different coloured core so that you can sand it to reveal shade beneath. This is how you get such a great wood-effect – emboss with the folder, then sand the raised areas. Love it!

Red pearls and brads? Yes, very easy if you use a permanent marker (I used a Sharpie). I’ve also been told by the very knowledgeable Monica Gale that you can indeed use Stampin’ Up!® markers for this... just give them a blast of hairspray afterwards to seal.

I’ve also used the new Snow Festival DSP, which is just gorgeous. And the eyelet border punch, to show people how great it was before it retired... sadly it’s now out of stock so if you don’t have it by now,  you’ll have to manage with a different one!

Stamps: Scentsational Season, Pennant Parade
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Baja Breeze, Whisper White, Core-dinations – Early Espresso
Paper: Snow Festival
Ink: Soft Suede, Gumball Green
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection framelits, Woodgrain embossing folder, Word Window Punch, Basic Pearls, Basic Rhinestones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Another steaming cup of cocoa

Back to Christmas now, with another CASEd sample using the Scentsational Season bundle. It’s another one cased from Jill Hilliard – looks like I’ll be visiting her blog a lot for ideas, LOL!

This would be a great card for a Make & Take – minus a button perhaps. Yes, yes I know you all think I’m tight but really, as a demonstrator, you do have to keep an eye on costs, both for you and for your customers.

The mug and steam are die-cut. The steam has a rounded base but I cut a slit in the mug and poked it through. Couldn’t find a craft knife so used my Stampin’ Snips. Ssssh, don’t tell anyone!

The little flags of paper are from the Festival of Prints stack. I took this along to my Autumn/Winter catty launch and it proved really popular. It’s so handy at 4½” x 6½” and you get loads of different patterns.

Stamps: Scentsational Season, Polar Party
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Whisper White
Paper: Festival of Prints
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Early Espresso
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection framelits, Regals buttons, Neutrals buttons, scallop dotted ribbon – Old Olive

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Cherries in a jar (sorry, not very imaginative)

I held my Autumn/Winter catalogue launch yesterday and we had a lovely, relaxed afternoon. I don’t have a pic of the Make & Takes and demos just yet so here’s one of the samples I had on display. Thank to the help of my downline, Donna, we had enough samples for two display tables – one for Christmas projects and one for autumn.

We haven’t moved onto Halloween just yet but I kept hearing people say how much they love the Halloween products, following it up with... “and I don’t even do Halloween!”. So I think there will be a lot more people “doing” Halloween this year!

Several said they hadn’t been sure about it until they saw all the lovely samples and actually had a play with the products. And I saw wish lists being started, scribbled out and started all over again!

Everyone also had a chance to play with the new In Colors and, of course the new-style ink pads. They give you fabulous coverage but definitely require a different technique so I kept these on a separate table away from the old-style ink pads to avoid confusion. The feedback was positive – even though one lady ended up covered in ink!

This sample is made with the Perfectly Preserved bundle – and since photographing it I have covered the cherries with Crystal Effects®, as it just seemed the right thing to do. Not sure if you can tell from the photo but the jar is stamped on a lower layer and then overlaid with another layer of Shimmery White cardstock, popped up. I am really enjoying this jar – and notice that jars are a key stamping trend this autumn. Who knew?

Stamps: Perfectly Preserved
Cardstock: Primrose Petals, Raspberry Ripple, Midnight Muse, Summer Starfruit, Shimmery White
Ink: Primrose Petals, Raspberry Ripple, Midnight Muse, Summer Starfruit
Accessories: Big Shot, Cannery framelits, Crystal Effects® (not shown)

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Abuse of feline trust?

Got a sleepy cat? Got a pen? Here's NOT what to do! The daughter just can't resist drawing teddy faces on cats' paws - the smaller pads serve as teddy paws. Cobweb escapes the humiliation because she never relaxes long enough but daughter isn't deterred by Mr Winky's jet black paws - she just uses a Stampin' Up! white gel pen. Luckily it rains enough to wash off in the grass pretty quickly.

Cute, yes...  but I think it's an abuse of trust. How would she like to wake up and discover someone had drawn a moustache on her face?

Today is my Autumn/Winter catalogue launch - thankfully it's this afternoon, as it's been a hectic week and the weekend isn't letting up either. But I'm really looking forward to showing people the fab new products we have.

If you'd like to come to a catalogue launch, there's another one at the end of the month for our new Annual Catalogue - please click here to register.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Fresh out of the pan...

This cute little card is my version of one created by super-talented US demonstrator Mary Fish. I love Mary’s fresh, clean style so am a regular visitor to her blog, even if I don’t always get time to comment.

Playing by my own rules, I changed at least one thing, although – to be fair – this card is so simple that there’s not a lot to change. So I went for a Soft Suede gingerbread man (not quite so “high-bake”, perhaps?) and switched to a different patterned paper.

Stamps: Scentsational Season
Cardstock: Soft Suede, Crumb Cake, Whisper White
Paper: Snow Festival
Ink: Soft Suede
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection framelits, regals buttons, basic pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Christmas CASE-fest

Playing with the new Scentsational Season bundle, I went on a shameless CASE-fest. I find it easier to “borrow” ideas from other people when I have lots of new supplies to play with – otherwise I can easily get overwhelmed.

I loved this gorgeous card by US demonstrator Jill Hilliard, who made this for her Convention swap – I’d have been thrilled to receive this as a swap!

When CASEing, I try to change at least one thing from the inspiration card, so I used different strips of paper, added some ribbon, left off the greeting and finished it off with a button and pearl. Small changes but it kept my conscience clear, LOL.

Loving these stamps and framelits by the way – and in this catty, you can buy them as a bundle at a discount.

Stamps: Scentsational Season
Cardstock: Soft Suede, Crumb Cake, Whisper White
Paper: Snow Festival
Ink: Soft Suede
Accessories: Big Shot, Holiday Collection framelits, regals buttons, basic pearls, scallop dotted ribbon – Cherry Cobbler

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Pears on a branch

Take a look at the list on the left – retiring items are selling out FAST. I have never known then go so fast, so please do order early if there’s something you absolutely must have!

My favourite In Color™ colour combination – Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse – is perfect for this little pear card. The idea for the card came from my son. I was musing what to do with the pears when he suggested hanging them from a branch, and even pointed out that the bird punch had a branch with it! I think I’ve probably brainwashed him...

Stamps: Perfectly Preserved, Pennant Parade (greeting)
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse, Whisper White
Ink: Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse 
Accessories: Big Shot, Cannery Set Framelits Dies, Bird punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 3 September 2012

Corny card - and an In Color announcement

I love corn on the cob – just wish the season was longer and it was cheaper! Here’s a card made using the new Perfectly Preserved bundle from the Autumn/Winter Catalogue. I really like these fresh colours – Gumball Green and Summer Starfruit – which are from our new In Color™ collection. And here’s some great news for you – even though the In Color™ items don’t appear in any catalogues until 1st October, you can get your hands on them now so that you can co-ordinate with products in the Autumn/Winter catty. See below for the items available, with codes and prices – you may need to click on it to make it bigger.

To make this card I coloured the corn with new In Color™ markers ad stamped on Whisper White. Next I die-cut them with the new Cannery Set Framelits Dies – these are outline dies so you can see where you are putting them. The background is embossed using that old favourite; the Polka Dot embossing folder, and there’s a bit of linen thread to give it a slightly rustic look.  

Stamps: Perfectly Preserved, Pennant Parade (greeting)
Cardstock: Gumball Green, Summer Starfruit, Whisper White
Ink: Gumball Green 
Accessories: Big Shot, Cannery Set Framelits Dies, Polka Dots Embossing Folder, Modern Label Punch, Linen thread

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Autumn/Winter catty is here! (And it's Caturday, too)

Hmmm... I always get confused when big stuff happens on a Saturday – because it’s Caturday, too! So a busy post today, with lots of news... AND a cat.

First, the cat. Meet Beau, a handsome chap who is half pedigree English Blue (his mummy was naughty and escaped!). According to his owner, who is one of the Alisons in my downline (I have three), he loves to fish, hunt and attack – mainly his two housemates who get their revenge by pouncing on him when he’s asleep.

And now some news...

Retiring products list
I’m not around first thing today to check but this should be available by now on the SU website. Take a look and see if there’s anything you would like to get your hands on as I will be placing an order on Sunday.

Remember, these products are only available while stocks last – once they’ve gone, they’ve gone!

New Autumn/Winter catty
Yes, it’s here at last! For something we didn’t even know about until relatively recently, it feels like we’ve been anxiously awaiting this for quite some time! Here’s a pic of the lovely cover – don’t you just love that fabulous Christmas ornament? And here’s a link to the online version.

If you want to come along to my launch party, please let me know by the end of Monday. You can register by following the links under Classes & Events (yes, I updated it at last!).

New Annual catty
Not available until 1st October but I will be putting my order in for catalogues this weekend, so please let me know if you’d like one! See this post for how to get hold of a copy. 

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.