Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas tree from paper scraps

This is the second project we made at our team training at the weekend. It was inspired by a demonstration at Convention by Charlotte Harding, from the European head office.  It’s a brilliant way to use those tiny bits of DSP that you’ve been hoarding – just punch triangles from them using the Petite Pennants Builder Punch – you don’t even need whole triangles for all but the top one! Mix packs of DSP and go wild with the colours – go on, I dare you!

Stamps: Greetings of the Season
Cardstock: Lucky Limeade, Island Indigo
Paper: Festival of Prints DSP stack
Ink: Early Espresso (looks like Artichoke in this pic though)
Accessories: Petite Pennants Builder Punch, Merry Minis punch pack, Woodgrain embossing folder, basic rhinetones

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Slim cello bag favour

This fab little project was one of the Make & Takes at my team meeting at the weekend. This M&T was provided by my very first downline, Alison Richardson, who also celebrated her fifth anniversary with Stampin’ Up!® recently!

She used the fab little cello bags (which are now definitely on my next order!) which we filled with Skittles and then created a very speedy tag using the Mixed Medley hostess stamp set. You’ll be seeing a lot more these, I’m sure!

Stamps: Mixed Medley (hostess)
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: Primrose Petals, Gumball Green
Accessories: ¾” circle punch, 1 ¼” scallop circle punch, baker’s twine, those narrow cello bags, sorry don’t have time to find the size, got to go to work!

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stampin' Up! Convention - want to have this much fun? If so, sign up as a demo today!

Do YOU want to have this much fun? All you have to do is sign up as a Stampin' Up!® demonstrator and you, too, could be enjoying Convention in 2013! Take a look at this year's official highlights video... extra points if you can spot me!

When you've watched, why not join the fun by signing up? All you have to do is click here to join my friendly team. It will only cost you £99 and you'll start saving money straight away! Do it before the end of November and you'll also earn:

1. FREE Designer Series Paper every month for SIX months!
2. A gift of a brand new stamp set from me!

What have you got to lose?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Festival of Prints chocolate box

Anne Honsel's swap
Cute little box received as a Convention swap from German demonstrator Anne Honsel – easy to recreate, yes? You’d think, wouldn’t you? But no, I must have been having a mental block because I had to have at least four goes before I finally got the measurements right... and this was AFTER taking it apart and measuring it! 

The good news is that the original is back together and now at last I know what I’m doing.

This box was made from Festival of Prints paper stack, you know, the little one that everyone loves so much! The measurements are really easy in metric but I wanted to adapt it to inches because I don’t have the metric plate for my Simply Scored.

Boxes for my team

Once I had my Simply Scored set up – I marked two of the markers with a permanent pen so I’d know which measurements were which – I was flying and made a whole batch of these for my team training event yesterday. The finished box just fit one Ferrero Rocher chocolate, so these are perfect for table favours or little gifts at work. Sometimes I make projects like these for work instead of cards – no writing required (they’re obviously from me!) and I don’t have to worry about missing anyone out.

I like the sanded Core-dinations hearts best!
Metric instructions

  1. Take a sheet of DSP from the Festival of Prints stack and cut down to 15cm long
  2. Score along the long edge at 2cm and 9cm
  3. Turn 90º and score at 3cm, 7cm, 10cm and 14cm.
  4. Fold and cut away the smallest piece.
  5. Cut up along the short scorelines. If desired, you can cut narrow triangles from these to shape them slightly.
  6. Keep one piece as the top flap, the one next to the side flap
  7. Cut away all the other sections from this edge piece (shaded areas in diagram). Round the corners on the remaining flap
  8. Now assemble 
Imperial instructions

  1. Take a sheet of DSP from the Festival of Prints stack
  2. Score along the long edge at ¾” and 3½”
  3. Turn 90º and score at 1¼” -  2 7/8”  -  4 1/8"  -  5 ¾”
  4. As above 

The “bow” is made from Cherry Cobbler tulle – about an inch of it, turned sideways and then pinched in the middle with some linen thread or baker’s twine wrapped around it a few times and knotted. It’s attached with a Glue Dot®. Anne’s original had really cute magnets as a closure but I don’t have those so simply attached the scallop circle at the bottom only and then tucked the top flap behind it to secure. It worked!

Stamps: Mixed Medley (hostess)
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Coredinations cardstock - Early Espresso
Paper: Festival of Prints, Cherry Cobbler Glimmer Paper
Ink: Crumb Cake, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Little heart punch, ¾” circle punch, small scallop circle punch, linen thread, baker’s twine, Cherry Cobbler tulle, Glue Dots®, corner rounder

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Caturday - and it's black cat time again

Who's this? Well it's a black cat and it's in our garden ... but it doesn't have the finely-chiselled good looks of Mr Winky so calm down, Emma from Wales!

This is a visiting cat we call Tutheran ("t'other 'un" in Derbyshire means "the other one") and he's very shy with humans (this was taken zoomed in and through glass) and unfortunately quite aggressive with our cats. We thought he was a stray as he was looking a bit manky and we were going to try to capture him - but he's looking a lot better groomed lately so perhaps he was just going through a rough patch.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Masculine sympathy card

Continuing my theme of adapting Convention swaps, I made this card earlier this week. I received some sad news affecting a former colleague and wanted to make him a card. Two challenges faced me: a sympathy card, which I never find easy, and a card for a man, which I know many of us struggle with.

Hopefully I hit the right note with this adaptation of a swap by Sharon Sim – who herself has made two versions of the same card and shows them on her blog, here.

I used French Foliage, one of my favourite sets which I really should use more often, and kept to the same color combo, but with a darker mat as I thought it was more manly and more sombre. No bling, of course!

I seem to be hearing a lot of sad news lately, so if anyone has any happy news they’d like to share, I’d love to hear it! Please leave me a comment to cheer me up!

Stamps: French Foliage, So Sorry
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Island Indigo, Very Vanilla
Ink: Crumb Cake, Island Indigo

All products by Stampin' Up!® 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Celebrating five years with SU!

Congratulations to me!

Today is a very special day – do you know what it is?

It’s my Stampin’ Up!® anniversary! I can hardly believe that I joined SU five years ago today – the past five years have flown by and now I can’t imagine life without Stampin’ Up!®

Stampin’ Up!® is also celebrating five years in Europe – yes, I joined in the first week... becoming an “early adopter” for the first time in my life. I had been waiting for that moment for so long that I didn’t give it a second thought. It was only once my Starter Kit had arrived that I realised I was too scared to hold any workshops (see item 3, below).

Five things I’ve done in the past five years:

  1. Made loads of crafting friends
  2. Experienced the excitement of Stampin’ Up! events, including training sessions, leadership events and three Conventions
  3. Overcome what I thought was an insurmountable fear of public speaking
  4. Vastly increased my stamping stash (oops)
  5. Made so many crafty U-turns that I feel dizzy! 
Oh no, five isn’t enough, here are five more! I’ve also...

  1. Promoted several times
  2. Stayed in swanky hotels
  3. Been on the Eurostar for the first time
  4. Flown (almost) alone for the first time
  5. Walked across the stage at Convention! 
There will be more excitement to come for sure as I continue to spread the word about SU and help others to unlock their creativity and to increase their own circles of crafty friends.

Meanwhile, if you’re a long-term SU fan, you’ll probably remember the early days of SU in Europe and appreciate just how far we’ve come. Here are a couple of facts and figures from Convention, showing our amazing growth!

Catalogue size
2007-08 Idea Book & Catalogue = 96 pages
2012-13 Annual Catalogue = 204 pages!

We had a pretty small range of stamps, very few ribbons and, imagine it... no Big Shot, Simply Scored, clear-mount stamps, no individual reinkers, and, brace yourself... no Cherry Cobbler!

Now, of course, we pretty much have it all – did you know that we now offer 1,463 products in our two current catalogues?

Convention attendance
First Convention, Frankfurt 2009 = 135 demonstrators
Fourth Convention, Mainz 2012 = 829 demonstrators!

Word spreads you see. Convention is an unforgettable experience and, once word gets out, people join SU just so that they can come along. And then they get so fired up with enthusiasm so that they stay!

In Europe, there are now 3,360 demonstrators... an increase of 51% on last year! Which is pretty amazing... and only set to get even better. Austria currently has 42 demonstrators and the Netherlands has  63... just watch those figures grow!

The card I've shown was made by my friend Kelly - let's pretend she made it to congratulate me on my fifth anniversary! 

Stamps: Make a Cake, Itty Bitty Banners
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: Midnight Muse, Primrose Petals
Accessories: Bitty Banner Framelits, Rhinestones

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Monday, 19 November 2012

Inspired by a Convention swap

I received loads of beautiful swaps at Convention, which I haven’t got round to photographing yet because I never seem to be here in daylight. I find blogging at this time of year very frustrating... will have to dig out my daylight lamp again, although even that doesn’t produce best results. But anyway, enough griping, I have decided this year to make better use of my swaps. Normally I just add them to my displays but this year I’m going to use some of them as starting points for new designs... or even just CASE them if I have the correct supplies!
The inspiration: A Convention swap

These little cards (forgive the photo, you know the problems) were made to include in a recent party order. It was a VERY successful party, so I needed a LOT of cards. For my thank you cards for orders, I make half-sized cards, starting with a piece of A4 cut into quarters.

My starting point was this anonymous swap I received at Convention. (Edited to add: Turns out it was by Val Moody.) And, as we were all given this stamp set at Convention, I could make it myself! Well, I had some help from my friend Kelly, who was given free rein to choose colours... as long as I had enough to hand. Between us we made about 30 cards in a couple of hours!

Stamps: Summer Silhouettes, Sweet Essentials
Cardstock: So Saffron, Very Vanilla, Raspberry Ripple
Ink: Pool Party, Early Espresso, Raspberry Ripple
Accessories: Big Shot, Butterfly Embosslits

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Caturday... and a new app for your iPhone!

Meet Tak, one of the Cretan cats currently residing at the shelter. I don't know him that well but daughter assures me he is a lovely, friendly fellow!

Stampin' Up!® news... there's a brand new iPhone/iPad app available in iTunes. It's called Simply Sent and it allows you to design simple cards and share them with your friends via Facebook etc. I don't have the facilities to try it own so please download it (it's FREE) and let me know how you get on!

Gotta dash, got visitors this weekend and have loads to do before they arrive!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Get extra free products when you join in November

Today I’d like to remind you of the most fabulous sign-up offer we’ve ever had. But first...

  1. Do you want to see sneak peeks of all the new goodies Stampin’ Up!® has to offer?
  2. Do you want a discount on all your craft products?
  3. Do you want to be part of a friendly, supportive team? 
I could go on (and frequently do) but am trying to keep it short. So, if you answered “yes” to ANY of those questions, it’s time you got in touch to find out more about being a demonstrator. But please hurry, as November will be over before you know it – and you’ll have missed a fantastic deal!

So, what is this deal?

In short, join this month and you can order FREE Designer Series Paper every month for SIX MONTHS.

There’s more... if you join my team this November, I will also give you an additional brand new stamp set as a special welcome gift!

Why not ask for your Starter Kit as a Christmas present? It’s a gift that could change your life.

Don’t want to do workshops? You don’t have to. Honestly. Just drop me a line and I’ll explain how you can do it YOUR way. You are also welcome to come to my next team meeting to meet women who are happily doing it THEIR way.

Already convinced? Click here and you could be a demonstrator by tomorrow!

Meanwhile, take a look at these little notepads and pens I decorated using the Brights DSP stack. They were gifts for my Virtual Hostess Club members last month.

Stamps: Mixed Medley (hostess)
Cardstock: Whisper White, various Brights
Paper: Brights DSP Stack
Ink: Basic Black, various Brights
Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, 3/4" circle punch, 1 1/4" scallop circle punch

All craft supplies by Stampin' Up!®

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Peace at Christmas

I have to say I’m really disappointed in my new camera. I thought it was user error but I’ve had chance to explore its features now and it doesn’t perform anywhere near as well as my old camera, which has fewer megapixels. I wonder if they’ll take it back?

Here is an attempt to photograph the Make & Take from a workshop I did a couple of weeks before Convention.

Stamps: Scentsational Season Bundle, Greetings of the Season
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Gumball Green, Whisper White
Paper: Snow Festival DSP, Red Glimmer Paper
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Gumball Green
Accessories: 2 ½” circle punch, dotted scallop ribbon border punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Caturday ... and Convention part 2

It’s Caturday... and part 2 of my Convention report.

Today’s Caturday pin-up is poor cross-eyed Lucky. There is another cat which apparently is a mirror-image of Lucky, called Charm, but I’m not sure I believe this as I have never seen him. In fact, I think I’ve only ever seen Lucky peeping out from behind the Wendy House but daughter spends more time there than me so managed to capture him on camera when he ventured into the living room. Yes, the shelter has a living room, with settees and a TV!

Now onto Convention, part 2...

Award Night is always inspirational, as you get to see demonstrators who have achieved amazing things. For instance, the top German seller had made over 77,000€ in sales! Imagine typing all those order numbers in to reach that height!

But the evening began with SU’s chief financial officer Scott Nielsen and his wife dancing, Strictly-style on stage, which was a big surprise and very entertaining.

Next year I and at least one of my team will be on that stage, if only for reaching our five-year anniversary with SU! So why not sign up and join us to watch us squirm!

There was a party atmosphere to the whole evening, as SU is celebrating five years in Europe this month. Hard to believe I’ve been a demonstrator for five years! What did I do with my time before SU?

So there was cake (although not big enough for all 850 of us!) and party gifts of a gold and silver pen and a bouncy globe ball to inspire us all to aim for the Grand Vacation in 2014, which will be a luxury cruise!

Following the ceremony, hands hurting from so much applauding, there was an After Party, with a live band and a buffet. This was described as finger food but actually it was much more than that. What was nice about this event was that the venue made it possible to be all things to all people. There was a small area for dancing in front of the band yet around the corner there were tables and chairs for those who wanted to take it easier. And of course, the display boards were still up so we could take even more photos of the samples.

That's us!

We did try to have our picture taken in our finery in front of the special chalkboard-style display, but they are very dark. Another tip for Convention: don’t take a brand new camera until you’ve worked out how to use it!

There was also a photo booth for demonstrator use which was a bit of a laugh. We ALL tried to cram in to get our picture taken but, sadly – and somewhat inevitably – we ended up with one blank screen and one of the back of my head! What we didn’t realise was that we were being filmed while we were in there – luckily we didn’t end up on the Convention highlights video like some folk did!

Convention slippers!

Fancy shoes were causing our feet to hurt so we switched to our Convention slippers and headed back to Alison R and Donna’s SUITE (did I mention they had a suite?) with our bottles of wine (no alcohol is served at Convention) and started working our way through all the nibbles we’d packed, so that we could make room in our suitcases for all our Memento Mall goodies and free stamp sets!

Back to bed to attempt to get some sleep before the second day of Convention. Ann set her alarm for 7am so we’d have time to get ready for doors opening at 8.30am.

Only she hadn’t set it so our morning began with a knock at the door (which I ignored because surely it couldn’t be our door, it was still the middle of the night), followed by another knock at the door which caused a panic scrambling for specs. Ann is deaf and had removed her hearing aid so was still out for the count. Next thing I know there’s a man entering the room! Eeek – another tip for Convention: put the bolt across your hotel door!  I’m afraid I shouted at him when he switched the “big light” on, partly because of the liberty, partly because I was scantily clad and partly because Ann was still in bed. Anyway it was only room service; our rooms hadn’t included breakfast but we found room service to be excellent value, delivering far more than requested and keeping us going throughout the day.

This is two Danish pastries at 2,70€ each, plus 2,50€ delivery!
Picture posted for Angela T's benefits as I know she expects
a food image on a Convention report!
Day 2 featured more demonstrations and business talk – and, of course, more prizes and giveaways. I forgot to mention the giveaways! We were promised all-attendee giveaways if attendance reached certain targets... which of course it did! So, in all, we were given THREE stamp sets on top of one ones for the Make & Takes. We received Papaya Collage, Summer Silhouettes and another one which I don’t think is released yet so I’d better not mention it!

I have to mention the brave demonstrator presenters here. There were three – one representing each country. Ooh, I wonder if that means there will be five next year, when Austria and Holland join us?

The UK’s Becki Ritson showed us some fabulous tips for using fabric – which were perfect for someone so useless with a needle as me. Cécile Ortiz, from France, showed us stunning techniques with flower stamps, creating dimension and depth. She doesn’t speak English; she a translator with her, but Cécile’s  facial expressions said it all anyway and had us in stitches.

Representing Germany was Cynthia Jacoby-Deventer, who was hilarious. She is an opera singer apparently and very at home on the stage, but got a little flustered demonstrating and even resorted to flinging pieces of cardstock around. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a demonstration. Well, maybe at the last two Conventions!

At lunchtime we headed back to Memento Mall to discover that we’d probably left it a little late. But I did stock up on a few gifts for the people back home who help me in my SU business – and, lucky me, I managed to get to Chris from Demo Support’s till again! (I know he stalks all our blogs so I’d better be nice to him, LOL!)

Over lunch we managed to shift the last of the swaps. Another Convention tip: Don’t make too many swaps, or you’ll never get rid of them as other people will have run out.

Then it was a useful presentation on recruiting, which had the effect of inspiring some of my reluctant recruiters to take action. I’m looking forward to congratulating them on their promotions soon!

The final session saw more demonstrations and motivational speaking and, most importantly of all, sneak peeks of new products and Sale-A-Bration stamp sets! Whoohoo! It’s coming soon and you’re going to love it!

Patsy takes a break from falling over

Then it was all over, so we collapsed on the sofas in the hotel foyer before perking ourselves up with coffee and chocolate so that we could head into town for one last look. Found a lovely chocolate shop and lots of lovely Christmas decorations, grabbed a slice of pizza and returned to the hotel to wait for our taxi back to Frankfurt airport.

Excitement levels were building again in the back of the taxi – I’m sure this is why our driver, a pretty dour-looking chap, handed round sweets to shut us up!

At the airport we went our separate ways to do any last-minute shopping – there’s a fantastic little supermarket at Frankfurt airport so I could stock up on chocolate for the kids. Well, for me really.

In the departure lounge we realised that, once again, the plane would be filled with demonstrators. I somehow was seated away from the rest of my team but found another friendly demo to chat to on the way home – and we could see the Bonfire Night fireworks the window as we came into land at Birmingham.

Meanwhile, in the back of the plane, the rest of my team – and several other demonstrators – were enjoying free Champagne. I don’t need to spell out that this extra treat went to lucky Alison R and Donna... you know, they of the SUITE, the PRIZES and now the FREE Champagne! Not bitter, promise.

Taxi driver Steve picked us up at the airport but the adventures didn’t end there, as a lady stopped us to point out that Ann had her husband’s suitcase, which was identical in all but contents. So it was back to baggage collection for a quick swap!

And home we went, giggly and excitedly planning our trip to Manchester next year!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Convention report, part 1

It’s a long one!

Hard to believe that this time last week I was busy swapping with demonstrators from France, Germany and all over the UK! It’s a frenetic part of Convention but a great way to meet other demonstrators, practise your shaky French and German (often getting the wrong language because their name tag is hidden by their swaps box!) and get some fabulous ideas.

Jacqui's gorgeous "Convention Kit" containing tissues,
snacks and other essentials
But let’s start at the beginning with a hasty gift exchange outside my house (because really I couldn’t fit all those bags in my suitcase!) and an excited taxi ride from my house to Birmingham Airport, where we met up with Val, another demonstrator who didn’t want to travel alone.  As it turned out, nobody was alone for long on that plane, as it was packed with demonstrators!

Bit of a shout out here for Lufthansa. I’m hardly a seasoned traveller but I was assured that a free newspaper, sandwiches and drinks is not the norm.

Along the way we picked up another demonstrator, Rachel, who was in need of a taxi to the Hilton. We had a spare seat in ours so that was easily solved!

Donna's beautiful needle case with
 detachable flower brooch
We had a bit of drama at the hotel check-in desk, as they tried to offer us double rooms. Well, we’re friends but we’re not THAT friendly, so we insisted on the twin rooms that we’d actually booked.  Ann and I were very happy with our room... until we visited Alison R and Donna... in their SUITE! Fancy coffee machine, dressing room and free slippers! Sheesh.  Apparently Alison H and Jacqui C had a bigger room than ours, too – but we didn't bother visiting. We’d seen enough.

My beautiful Silver 2 pen set and journal
There wasn’t much time for envy or bitterness though as it was almost time for the evening activities. If you’re considering Convention next year (and why wouldn’t you?), I will warn you that there is very little down time. This is why we all come home exhausted and incapable of updating our blogs! This year, Thursday activities were introduced which, for me, meant a lovely reception, where I could meet up with other demonstrators who have reached the title of Silver 2 and above. Far more intimate than the main Convention events, it was chance for a quick chat with SU’s co-founder and CEO Shelli Gardner, who was happily cuddling a beautiful German baby (“babes in arms” are allowed at Convention. We had canapés, business talk and were all thanked for our hard work with the gift of a beautiful journal and Mark Twain pen set. Oh! And of course we were given our Convention bags and stamp sets, too!
The Convention bag!

You get a LOT of presents at Convention. On you check in, everyone receives the much talked-about Convention bag... and I have to say, opinion is usually divided on this subject! This year’s was a trendy chevron-patterned fabric shoulder bag in, I still maintain, Summer Starfruit. It is pretty cool but I’m not sure yet if I will get much use out of it. Last year’s was the bag that bucked the trend – EVERYBODY loved it as it was black and practical with lots of pockets. But the great thing about the bags is that they are so very different every year.

Inside your bag are your stamp sets – and we always get told in advance what they will be, so that we don’t need to order them in advance. This year we received Affection Collection from the Autumn/Winter catalogue and Daydream Medallions. There’s also your Make & Take pack, which uses your free stamp sets, a special Convention pen, your programme for the weekend, lanyard, name badge, Convention badge on this year’s theme of I Am... and any reward badges you have earned. None for me this year but next year I’ll get my 5-year award so it’s back onto that stage... eek!

Meanwhile, the rest of the team seemed to be causing havoc in the Make & Take room, which is where I found them after the Silver 2 reception. Not sure how much wine had been consumed before they went to the M&T room but one of them was already mixing up her words and managed to stamp one of her M&Ts upside-down! Later events, involving tripping into a lift and getting stuck in a revolving door means she will forever be known as Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous!

I can’t function on just canapés so we all headed into the hotel restaurant for a meal. We picked up another couple of demonstrators on the way, Joanne Friend and her downline Sharon, who joined in May to get a free Convention ticket.

Then it was off to bed to prepare for the next day’s activities, when Convention started properly!

Check-in queues were a lot smaller this year, as so many had checked in the night before. And Memento Mall was remarkably quiet, too. This is where we get to buy exclusive SU items, including tote bags, pens, magnets, card display trees, lipbalm... can’t remember what else. Oh yes, I bought some rather fab cookie press stamps featuring the SU logo and various stamping-related messages. Cool! Everything is limited to one of each item per person until everyone has had a chance to get around, which is very fair I think.

And the tills are operated by SU staff, so it was lovely to see Chris from Demo Support there. I think his queue was the longest!

The first General Session began at 11.30am, and it was opened with a bang as the huge screens showed the SU office lip dub video of this year's song, I Am...

You'll see in the video that SU staff run onto the Convention stage at the end - well that happened for us, too, only with a mixture of American and European staff! It was a great way to start Convention. 

Next on stage was Shelli Gardner – who was also greeted with rapturous applause and a standing ovation. As always, she was overcome by emotion at the sight of us all cheering for her, which is very touching, if a little bemusing to us stiff upper-lipped Brits! The sessions are nearly always a mixture of business talk and product demonstrations – sometimes with current products and sometimes with sneak peeks, which is exciting!

After lunch (a packed lunch is provided), we split into groups according to country and attended a great class by two UK demonstrators, Sally Jo Houghton and Elizabeth Shannon. Their theme was I Am Having Fun... and we ALL had fun in that class, which was a hoot!

The rest of the day was spent with more demonstrations, business talk and prizes! Yes, prizes, too! During the weekend, two of our group won Prize Patrol gifts – Donna and Alison R. Yes, the ones who were staying in a SUITE (not bitter!).

Then it was time to disperse and prepare for the Awards Night party. There was a bit of time so we headed into town to take a look at Mainz. We didn’t make it into the older part of town but found a nice coffee shop where I had a lovely apple and nut cake and the most gorgeous hot chocolate. Unlike many of my companions, I bit the bullet and asked for it in German – remarkably, I was understood.

I’m going to have to leave it there for a while as the day is slipping away from me and I have to pack for a Stampin’ Up!® party tonight. Don’t want to forget anything (again)!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A handbag?

Oops, getting behind again. But I bet you’d like to hear about Convention wouldn’t you? 

Sorry, that will have to wait until tomorrow as I’ve just realised how late it is and I have to go to work.

Meanwhile, here’s one little Convention project I forgot to show you. First an explanation: when members of my team promote to Bronze 2 they receive a keyring with a glass bead. They receive another bead for each promotion, so that they have the opportunity to fill their keyrings up gradually.

Some of my team, however, prefer to remain as hobby demonstrators so don’t go through the promotions. (That’s the great thing about Stampin’ Up!®  – you really can do it YOUR way.)  So everybody gets something for their keyring for every SU event they attend, too. Training events earn them a bead but Convention is special – last year I sourced some cool Eiffel Tower charms for our Paris excursion but that raised the stakes... what to find for Germany? After much Googling, I discovered that the eagle is the official bird of Germany so I finally found (ebay of course!) some golden eagle charms. Which I foolishly forgot to photograph and I don’t have time to take a pic of mine right now.

To hold them, I made these cute little handbags using the Apothecary Accents framelits dies. I scored twice near the centre, then snipped off one end – a bit of folding and there you have it. The handles are made with circle punches. They’re very simple as I was seriously running out of time!

Apologies if you’ve seen these before – have been through the blog but can’t find them... BUT I do remember typing all this out before!

Stamps: Fruit & Flowers
Cardstock: Pacific Point, Midnight Muse
Ink: Pacific Point
Accessories: Apothecary Accents framelits, 1 ¾” circle punch, 1 1/4” circl punch (probably – can’t remember!), glimmer brads

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Storytime swaps

I still have lots of Convention news for you but not until things have calmed down a little and I've recovered from all the excitement.

These were some simple card swaps I made at the last minute and, like all last-minute projects, they turned out to be my favourites. I’m sure it helps that I absolutely love this stamp set and my new Chevron Folder. They were pretty economical to make, too – which has to be a factor when making swap projects. Each scallop circle of DSP was cut in half and poked behind the embossed panel so that just a few scallops showed.

These images are really easy to colour – I used Watercolour Wonder™ crayons (my favourite colouring medium) and blender pens. Just a scribble here and there, then blend with the pens using a circular motion and they’re done.

I’ll post the colour combinations, then the general recipe...

Cat: Midnight Muse, Tangerine Tango, Tempting Turquoise
Dog: Soft Suede, Old Olive, Real Red
Duck: Night of Navy, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive

Stamps: Storybook Friends
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Whisper White, then see above
Paper: Designer Series Paper Stack - Brights
Ink: Black StazOn
Accessories: 2½” circle punch,  2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch, Corner Rounder, Itty Bitty Shapes Punches, Adorning Accents Edgelits dies, Chevron Embossing Folder,  Watercolor Wonder Crayons – Brights, Blender Pens, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Sunday, 4 November 2012

November offers for everyone!

I’m back from Convention and exhausted but buzzing. I have this year’s Convention song, “I Am” going through my head on continuous loop and can’t wait to get chance to look through my gorgeous swaps, sit down and try some of the fabulous techniques I saw demonstrated and use my FIVE new FREE stamp sets. Not to mention write in my new journal with the elegant new pens I received at the special reception for demonstrators who have promoted to Silver 2 and above.

I cannot explain how incredible it is to get together with sooooo many (850 this year) demonstrators from Great Britain, France and Germany and share the Convention experience. It’s great, too, to meet Stampin’ Up!® “celebrities”, including co-founder Shelli Gardner and the UK demonstrators’ favourite: Chris from Demo Support.  It’s also wonderful to get away with my team and have fun. You do learn some interesting things about people... but perhaps I’ve said too much, LOL!

I’ll have more to report when I have more time (and energy!) but now there are more important things to tell you. Being away on the 1st meant I missed all the start-of-month updates on the SU website and wow, what a month it is! This month we have offers for everyone!

... get a FREE Festive piercing pack (RRP £7.25) when they purchase either the Ornament Keepsakes Bundle along with the Candelight Christmas Designer Series Paper, OR the Ornament Keepsakes stamp set and the Candlelight Christmas DSP. That’s our Christmas gift to you!

... who hold a party reaching sales of £325 or higher can add a set of 10 ink pads worth £44.50 to their hostess benefits! Choose from Subtles, Regals or Brights and, of course, they will be the new firm foam style. How fab is that?

New demonstrators
... who join in November will have the opportunity to order FREE Designer Series Paper for six months! My October recruit tells me that this even applies to the DSP Stacks, which is an unexpected treat!

So, which offer do you want to take up? Join my team (click the link, go on, I dare you, LOL!) and you could take advantage of all three and get a discount and commission, too!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Purr-fect Percy

Percy, the cat with the loudest purr in the cat shelter. Why nobody has snapped up this little beauty I don't know. He's so lovely and when he purrs, you really know about it!

Feathery swaps

I was due home from Convention late last night but please forgive me if I don’t post Convention news today as I’ll be recovering!

So here are some more of my Convention swaps. For these I wanted to do something a little different and was keen to try out my new Fine Feathers stamp set.

I used reinkers to create a watercolour wash, which I painted onto watercolour paper using, wait for it... a paint brush. These all came out differently, especially as I was experimenting as I went alone. Some, such as this Old Olive sample, were very wet while, for others, I allowed the brush to run dry, as on the Rose Red sample.

They had to dry for quite a while, then I stamped onto them using Basic Black ink. On top of this, I used a paint brush to apply Frost White Shimmer Paint. It is actually more subtle than it looks in the photo – I think the light must have caught it.

I cut the First Edition DSP using the largest Apothecary Accents die. I suspect I’m going to be using this set a LOT. It was also quite economical for making lots of these as I could cut them in half to get two from each. As the paper is double-sided, I didn’t end up with upside-down words, as I’d feared!

You probably can’t see from the photo but behind the clear buttons is punched DSP (top sample) or Basic Black cardstock (bottom sample). This is threaded through with Linen Thread.

Yes, these were a little fiddly for swap cards but I did a bit at a time using the production line method and I’m sure that by now I will have received some fabulous samples in return!

Stamps: Fine Feathers, Itty Bitty Banners
Cardstock: Old Olive (top), Rose Red (bottom), Basic Black, Very Vanilla, Watercolour Paper
Paper: First Edition
Ink: Old Olive (top), Rose Red (bottom), Basic Black
Accessories: Big Shot, Apothecary Accents Framelits, Bitty Banners Framelits, Itty Bitty Shapes punches, Bitty Buttons, Linen Thread, Frost White Shimmer Paint

All products by Stampin' Up!®

Friday, 2 November 2012

Team gifts for Convention

Today I feel I can show you my team gifts. This started as a simple idea and grew and grew... then, due to feeling under the weather, shrunk quite a bit again!

It all started at Convention last year when I was a source of amusement (again!) for having “holiday slippers”. I have a pair of ballerina-style slippers which I always take away with me, wherever I go, because I don’t like wandering around in socks or bare feet on strange floors. Does that make me weird? Apparently so.

So I decided that this year’s Convention gift for my team would be holiday slippers, decorated with Stampin’ Up!® fabric. Creating these was really easy, mainly because my Mum did the sewing for me! Thanks, Mum! 

I began by cutting the fabric into the size of the Bigz die and fixing them to iron-on interfacing. I ran these through the Big Shot using the Fun Flowers die and then stacked up the flowers with a co-ordinating button. To be honest, the hardest part was removing the satin bow that was very clumsily glued on to the front of the slippers! Oh, and getting their shoe sizes proved a little tricky, too!

One of my lovely customers came up with the rather fabby bags for me. They were the perfect size for the slippers but begged to be decorated, so I added some co-ordinating Floral District paper, then adapted this year’s Convention logo to feature their names, cut out with Labels Collection Framelits. 

I made a divider using pieces of backing card from DSP packs and, in the back, added a pack of tissues, some biscuits, a notepad and a decorated pen. Forgive me if I don’t post a recipe as there are lots of elements to this and I’m running out of time. Also I made five of these which were all different in various ways.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Have lollies, will travel

Today’s the day that we all head off to Germany for the annual Stampin’ Up!® Convention. We’re all very excited and hopefully all prepared.  Yesterday was spent putting the finishing touches to my swaps, responding to a frantic phonecall from Alison by rushing my Big Shot over to her house because she had broken hers (!) and then frantically calling Alison because my suitcase was too small so she dashed over with a huuuuuge one. We took one look at it and decided that I would be laughed out of Germany so it was back to squishing and folding.

In my defence, I have to say that the problem was largely caused by swaps and team gifts. When will I learn than SMALL items make the best team gifts when travelling abroad? You can see the gifts tomorrow – not risking anyone seeing them before we set off!

Today you can see some swaps. I made three batches of swaps, each in at least two colourways because I get bored quickly.

Just in case you don’t know, demonstrators like to swap projects. So we make a project, either 3D items or card fronts (we only do fronts to save on cardstock) in multiples and then swap with each other. It’s a fantastic way not only get to get really new ideas (it’s amazing what other people come up with!) and to meet other demonstrators.

These were started by a rare act of interest in Stampin' Up!® from my daughter. She returned from her school fair with load of lollipops, left over from her stall, and said: “I thought you could use them for your Convention swaps”, which really put the pressure on! I finally came up with these little flowers using the Blossom Punch and, at the back, the Apothecary Accents framelits. I used lots of different Brights cardstocks which, coincidentally, were the perfect colours! I was going to come up with some sort of leaf but ran out of steam and went with the project recipe instead.

Stamps: Mixed Bunch
Cardstock: Various brights
Paper: Patterns Designer Series Paper Stack – Brights
Ink: Various brights
Accessories: Blossom Punch, Apothecary Accents Dies, 1 ¼” scallop circle punch, ¾” circle punch

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.