Sunday, 29 December 2013

Love You More with World Map background

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, whether celebrating with family and friends or enjoying some quiet time to yourself.

Our phone line is back up but the internet is not yet, although there are several BT men on the road working away and battling against the winds. Sometimes we can get online via the BT hotspot, sometimes we can’t. Even when it works, it’s very slow. If this post appears, it will be a miracle.

If you have Christmas money to spend, you might want to consider the Whole Lot of Love promotion. The products are designed for Valentine’s projects but can be used for so much more. Check out these cards I made for my team members who joined me at Convention.

I used the globe from the Love You More stamp set and teamed it up with the World Map background stamp. Not to pat myself on the back too much, but I love the background I’ve created here and plan to incorporate this into a class at some point in 2014. It’s done with the brayer but don’t panic; it’s REALLY easy.

The “banner” is created with the Mosaic Punch. I cut a strip of cardstock just narrower than the punch aperture and slid it in to punch just one end.

Stamps: Love You More, World Ma
Cardstock: Pool Party, Basic Black, Rich Razzleberry
Ink: Black Stazon, Pool Party, Crumb Cake, Certainly Celery
Accessories: Mosaic Punch, Brayer, Chalk Talk Framelits, Markers – Gumball Green, Rich Razzleberry, Pool Party

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

The latest here is that our phone line is down and won’t be fixed this side of Christmas. Probably due to the high winds we’ve been experiencing over the past two days. But my mobile is working and I can get my emails if I stand in the right part of the house for the BT wifi hotspot!

So I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas – and I’ll be back soon with some more projects and news. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Calm Christmas card

It’s not too late for this card, either, as it’s not one you’d want to post due to the bulky element.  I have been known to receive a handmade card from my friend and downline Alison at late as 6pm on Christmas Day because she’s been running behind on her making. Considering that this is also her birthday, I feel privileged to have received one at all! But she’s ahead of me this year, for the first time in history.

Stamps: Calm Christmas
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Soft Sky, Whisper White
Ink: Soft Sky, Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Cherry Cobbler ribbon, Frosted Finishes Embellishments

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Chalkboard Christmas gift tags

Here’s a little project that it’s not too late to start, yes even now. All you need are some dies (or some scissors and a steady hand), some white embossing powder and a Chalk Marker.

We made these at my Christmas: All Wrapped Up class and I love them, especially when added to a plainly wrapped present with some white trim*. Very stylish - even when I've pressed too hard with the stamp and created white where there shouldn’t be white! 

It’s the chalkboard technique – all you do is white emboss some words onto black cardstock and then swipe your white inkpad across the cardstock to represent chalk marks. Alternatively, use the embossing buddy to add the chalky effect. I used the Chalk Marker to draw dots around the edges to complete the look.

Stamps: Merry Little Christmas, Greetings of the Season
Cardstock: Basic Black
Ink: Whisper White
Accessories: White embossing powder, Chalk Talk framelits, Ovals framelits, Chalk Marker, Cherry Cobbler seam binding ribbon

(bell is from the 99p Shop in Westfield Derby - you get 10 in a pack!)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Caturday: kittens and a laser pointer!

Kittens and laser pointers go together like Christmas and Slade... and these three cuties had a ball chasing the impossible-to-catch light at Woodland Nook last weekend. They need homes, in case you’re interested...

Friday, 20 December 2013

Going crackers with the Mosaic Punch

These crackers are all the rage since the arrival of the Envelope Punch Board.

However, I tried making one using cardstock and the board and didn’t feel comfortable about the amount of pressure I needed to apply to punch through a double thickness of cardstock. So, rather than risk my beloved Envelope Punch Board, I used the Mosaic Punch instead.

A cracker like this is a fun way to wrap a medium-sized gift such as a scarf or a few pairs of socks. But you will notice that smaller items could fall out – you can remedy this with two squares of cardstock on the insides of the ends – remember not to add them until after you’ve inserted the gift though!

I used a tutorial by UK demonstrator Caroline Hallet.

I used a piece of 12x12 textured Cherry Cobbler cardstock cut down to 12” x 9½”
Put the short side up against the top of the Simply Scored tool and score along the length at:           


Turn your cardstock 90º and put the long edge up against the top of the Simply Scored tool.  Score along the width at:                        

Turn your cardstock 180º and score again at the above measurements.

Next you punch out as shown in Caroline’s video – I used the Mosaic Punch, pushing it in just under halfway. As you’re punching a double thickness, it’s a lot easier than using the Envelope Punch Board, although the board should be fine for crackers made from DSP.

The DSP to decorate measures 5” x 1 7/8”

Stamps: Greetings of the Season
Cardstock: Textured Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White, Old Olive, Silver Glimmer Paper
Paper: Season of Style DSP stack
Ink: Old Olive
Accessories: Cherry Cobbler seam binding ribbon, Festive Flurries Framelits dies, Chalk Marker

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Muslin bag with Santa's List

I love this muslin bag which we decorated at my Christmas: All Wrapped Up class at the weekend. It would be a gorgeous way of giving a small present such as jewellery.

I adapted this from a video tutorial by Connie Collins – although I discovered that if I attempted to add any adhesive over the coloured image, the colours would run.

Santa is stamped onto tissue paper, Mod Podged onto the bag, sealed with more Mod Podge and then coloured with blender pens and ink pads. Instead of Mod Podging over the top of the coloured image, I sprayed it with some craft sealant, although hairspray would probably do the same job.

The snowflake is made from some white wadding which came with our new bed! I knew it would come in handy one day. It was a gamble using the Framelits on it, but I’m happy to say that no harm befell the dies. There’s a hint of a Pool Party marker around the edges.

Stamps: Santa’s List
Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Silver Glimmer Paper
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Crisp Canteloupe, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Muslin bag, Festive Flurries dies, 1” circle punch, ¾” circle punch, Seam Binding ribbon – Cherry Cobbler, Frosted Finishes embellishments
Other: tissue paper, Mod Podge, craft sealant

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas banner - Stampin' Up-style!

First things first: my mobile phone is currently out of action so please don’t text me. Use email or my landline if you need to get in touch.

Now to today’s project, and it’s a whopper! Saturday was my final class of the year – the much-anticipated Christmas: All Wrapped Up.

The main project of the afternoon was this one and I admit that this project was big enough to fill a whole class. I’ll be working on timings next year, I promise! The picture isn’t great as it’s so dark all the time right now; I should have taken one at the hall on Saturday.

We used the banner kit from the Autumn/Winter catalogue. This kit is really generous and definitely one to consider for any time of the year. In the kit you get:

  • 18 canvas banner pieces in three different shapes
  • Three pattern stencils
  • One circle stencil
  • A full alphabet of stencils
  • A length of thick jute twine
  • Two spritzer bottles 
You can also purchase additional banner pieces to make more projects. I highly recommend both and wish I’d latched onto this earlier in the life of this catalogue, which expires at the end of January!

We began by sponging ink onto the banner pieces through the stencils. I’ve been reliably informed that spritzing ink through the stencils can cause smudging, so we used sponge daubers instead, picking up the ink from the lids of ink pads. 

It's a shaker behind the Frosted Finishes embellishment
There was a LOT of die-cutting for this project so, in the end, I stood at the Big Shot to help out. The muscles in my right arm are now quite developed!

I love the stamp set, Lovely as a Tree, and was surprised that one of the ladies at the class hadn’t used it before. Needless to say, it’s now on her wish list. She won’t regret buying it; it’s one you can use all year round for Christmas, birthdays, masculine cards and sympathy cards. Here we stamped and stamped off to get various shades of Old Olive on the Very Vanilla ovals.

Chris was justifiably proud of her banner!
The embellishments in between add some bling – and are a little over-the-top for me, I’ll admit. I was inspired by a swap I received at Convention from my friend Frenchie Jo

Jo's fab Christmas ornament
What you can’t see from the photo is the shaker element of these sections of the banner (that’s the bit inspired by Jo). This bit was quite tricky as it has to be done in the right order! Behind the Frosted Finishes embellishments is a piece of acetate covering a spoonful of glitter which is held in with the fabulous Shaker Frames from the main catalogue. These are perfect circles in various sizes and made just for creating shaker cards.

We have silver AND gold on this banner – Silver Glimmer Paper and some Gold Foil cardstock, as well as lots of Cherry Cobbler and Old Olive… my perennial favourite colour combination for Christmas.

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree
Cardstock: Textured Cherry Cobbler 12x12, Very Vanilla, Silver Glimmer Paper, Gold Foil cardstock
Paper: Season of Style DSP stack
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Baked Brown Sugar
Accessories: Build a Banner Simply Created Kit, Banner Simply Created Kit, Frosted Finishes embellishments, Festive Flurry framelits, 1” circle punch, acetate, sponge daubers, Gold glitter, Shaker Frames

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Caturday, Dennis, Twinks and Felix

A bit of an update on the Dennis and Twinks romance for you. I’m afraid it’s all gone a little bit Jeremy Kyle show... as Dennis and Twinks have welcomed Felix into their lives. To make it even more tabloid-friendly, Felix is actually Twinks’s grandfather. Maybe he’s there to chaperone? Personally I think it has a lot more to do with the heated bed!

Edited to add: Forgot to say that my mobile phone hasn’t worked for a few days and won’t be fixed for another few days. If you need me, email me or phone the landline please!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas swaps

I have lots of lovely Christmas goodies to show you but they’re a secret until after my final class of the year tomorrow.

So, to keep the festive feeling alive, here are some of my favourite Christmas swaps from Convention. It’s no surprise to me that many of these are from German demonstrators as I really like the German style. 

Fabienne Klinger, Germany - look at all the detail!

and on the the back of the envelope, too!
Alexandra Hamm, Germany -

Christine from, Germany

My friend and downline Alison Richardson, UK

Lisa Runnalls, UK -

This one has lost its rhinestone! Martina Petersen, Germany

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Santa's List Label Card Thinlits - and Clearance Rack news!

If you like smaller cards – or want your main element to be a bigger feature of your card – you can cut down the cards made by the Label Card Thinlits to make any size you like. This one is sized to fit our note card envelopes, which we can buy in Crumb Cake, or which come in white with the Whisper White note cards.

I stamped around the bottom with that old favourite, Lovely as a Tree, in Old Olive. Then used the same stamp to represent branches around the white label on the inside. If you don’t have this stamp set, I highly recommend that you get it as it’s suitable for very many occasions; Christmas, masculine, sympathy, birthday… you name it, you’ll be able to make it with this versatile stamp set.

It’s not too late to buy for Christmas presents – why not take a look at my online store and, while you’re there, check out the Clearance Rack. New items have just been added and there are some great bargains on cardstock (some of your favourite retired colours!) and ribbons, not to mention dies and embossing folders and embellishments, too!

You can have your order shipped to any UK address for just £4.95 – and delivery should be within about five days at the moment.

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree, Santa’s List, Wishing You
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Cherry Cobbler, Whisper White
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Label Card Thinlits, Modern Label Punch, Basic Rhinestones, Old Olive Simply Styled Embellishments

Monday, 9 December 2013

Santa's List label Thinlits card - simple and stepped-up


Today’s project is a quick and easy Christmas card that still looks impressive – it was my workshop card for November and one of the projects at last week’s Crafty Friday. Please scroll down for the stepped-up version. 

Despite its flip element, it’s very easy to make – using the new Label Card Thinlits dies. The co-ordinating label shape and arrow are just two of the accompanying dies that come with the large die which scores and cuts the basic card shape.

I kept this card pretty simple, as Make & Takes need to be – just adding a piece of DSP, a tiny bit of bling and some Cherry Cobbler Baker’s Twine.

Stamps: Santa’s List, Wishing You
Cardstock: Old Olive, Whisper White, Red Glimmer Paper
Paper: Season of Style DSP Stack
Ink: Cherry Cobbler
Accessories: Label Card Thinlits, Cherry Cobbler Baker’s Twine

And here is the stepped-up version, which sees Santa popped inside instead of on the front label, which is stamped with that old favourite, Lovely as a Tree.

Stamps: Santa’s List, Wishing You
Cardstock: Old Olive, Whisper White
Paper: Season of Style 12x12 DSP
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Basic Rhinestone, Naturals Trim

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Meet Jarvis Cocker

Here’s a cat who proves that spots and stripes DO go together. It’s Jarvis ... and he wants to live with the Common People... or, in fact, any people who love cats and have room in their home and hearts for a fine feline like him. More about Jarvis and the other cats at Woodland Nook Cat Shelter on the shelter blog, here.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Guest crafter - textile artist

Textile artist Samantha Schofield

For a change, today I’l like to introduce you to one of my Twitter friends, Samantha Schofield, a textile artist from Derby.

As my regulars know, I am way out of my comfort zone with anything to do with fabric and especially *shudder * sewing… so it’s great that Samantha is offering classes in this area.

Samantha very kindly reviewed our beloved Santa’s List stamp set on her blog recently so I asked her  what inspired her crafting. Like many of us, she started crafting as a child.

“I learnt skills from my family here in Derbyshire; my grandmothers knitted and stitched, my mother sewed (and still does) and my father was a watercolour and pen and ink artist.”

But it was sewing which became her passion and she went on to study a BA in Textile Design, specialising in print design.

“I love repeating patterns on fabric and paper. It's my weakness,” she says.  “I like to look back at old-fashioned crafts and make them current and practical for the here and now. Vintage books and magazines are my main reference points.”

Samantha holds classes in Borrowash, focusing on her passion for textiles. She says: “Seasonal wreaths, textile keepsakes, brooches, corsages; using fabrics, threads and buttons... and lots of fun! I take on special requests too, a hen party have just asked for French knickers! All my classes are half day so you leave with lots of ideas.

“I enjoying being able to create something handmade and bespoke. In my workshops, you bring your own creativity and learn new skills and techniques while making, with the added bonus of lots of tea and cake! I enjoy sharing my knowledge, it's great to get together and get social and share some of my crafty secrets!”

Samantha runs Crafternoon Teas (wish I’d thought of that title!) at Marmalade and Tea, Borrowash:

Sew a Christmas Keepsake
This Sunday, 8th December, 2pm-5pm (only two places left)
Handstitch and embellish it with embroidery, ribbons and buttons. Add a vintage hand-typed message to your creation.

Create a bespoke springtime floral brooch
Sunday, 19th January, 2pm-5pm
Using vintage fabrics, buttons and your own creativity! Choose fabrics from the stash to make yours truly unique.

Rose Textile Corsage
Sunday, 9th February, 2pm-5pm
Make a beautiful fabric rose for yourself or to give as a gift. Using pinks, creams and reds to create a real keepsake, all finished with a vintage button.

Each Crafternoon Tea comes with a pot of tea, hand baked scone, jam and freshly whipped cream plus a crafty goodie bag.

£20 per head. To book contact or call 01332 672862.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Convention Make & Takes

At Convention we all receive packs for our Make & Takes, which we can complete there with our new stamp sets, or bring home to finish.

It’s nice to get away from the hubbub and sit and create for a while – but this year it was just as nice to look around at all that Convention had to offer in the Expo, so I only made one card while I was there this year.

But, in a first for me, I completed them when I got home! It’s a miracle. I wanted to see if I could get a class out of the Convention projects, and I think I can (with a few tweaks here and there). The packs this year were extremely generous – we received a full Tag a Bag Accessory Kit, which I’ve used on this project.

At the top of this post is a clever bag made from the flat gift bags on page 158 of the main catty. The instructions even came with a video we could find online via a QR code. You can see it here.

There was also this project, using the bags flat – it contains a set of note cards, which I changed quite a lot to suit my needs.

This box needs finishing off with some Gorgeous Grunge stamping – I swapped my wood-mount version for a clear-mount set which arrived yesterday, after I’d made it.

And finally, there was the Gorgeous Grunge card and envelope which I completed at Convention but appear to have mislaid! It’ll turn up one day.

So, would you be interested in this as a class? We can change it around – different colours for example – or keep it as it is.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Whole Lot of Love - brand new Valentine's products!

Christmas is just around the corner – the countdown began today as the first window of the advent calendars across the nation are prised open and, in most cases, the chocolate eaten from within. I remember the days when we had to be satisfied with a little picture of a robin! (Clearly I’m getting old.)

If Christmas is just around the corner, that means Valentine’s Day is not far behind and, as crafters, it’s helpful to stay one step ahead.

Releasing our Valentine’s products early means you can get cracking on your projects over the impending break, or even buy these gorgeous stamps and accessories as gifts for friends for Christmas. 

We saw sneak peeks of all of these products at Convention and I have to admit that, despite not being a big Valentine’s sender, I love them! I won the Love Your More stamp set (well, swapped prizes with a friend) and have been playing with it over the last couple of days.

Here’s what I made for a friend’s birthday – I don’t think she reads my blog, so it should be ok. I coloured the bird with markers – it looked really crisp until I decided to add Crystal Effects to the heart. You can just see that the word “Love” has faded slightly, where the Crystal Effects has made the ink run. I know I should have left the ink to dry for longer but patience isn’t a strong point.

So, despite being a Valentine’s set, my first use of it was for a birthday card – and I know I can get lots of use out of these stamps – in, fact, any of the products on the list below would be useful for all kinds of occasions!

The Monster Hugs received the biggest reaction at Convention – these are soooooo cute! They don’t require much crafting (you just add a chocolate or something small to the centre of the monster, wrap the arms around it and seal with a sticker) so are perfect for beginners, for children, for non-stampers you want to tempt into the craft and for when you need something really cute in a hurry. They’d be great for party favours, for giving out to the class on your child’s birthday… and just for keeping in stock for when someone you know could do with a hug.

Check them out… these products are available from 1st December to 27th January only, or while supplies last.


Love You More Stamp Set (wood) - 131850 - £19.95
Love You More Stamp Set (clear) – 131853 - £15.95
This set is also available in French and German in clear-mount only – ask for details

Follow My Heart Stamp Set (wood) – 134611 - £13.95
Follow My Heart Stamp Set (clear) – 134614 - £10.95
Flowerfull Heart Stamp (wood only) – 134617 - £8.95 


Sweetheart Treat Bags – 134610 - £4.50
12 Heart bags, 12 die-cut labels, 12 pre-cut pieces of Pool Party Baker’s Twine 

Monster Hugs Boy – 132162 - £5.50 (available 9th December)
Monster Hugs Girl – 132163 - £5.50 (available 9th December)
Each pack contains 18 monsters, in either pink or blue, 18 goggly eyes, 18 adhesive hearts 

Sweet Sayings Cards and Envelopes – 134609 - £5.50
12 printed card bases, 12 envelopes (four Real Red, four Pool Party, four Crisp Canteloupe) 

Recipe for my Love You More card: 
Stamps: Love You More, Summer Silhouettes
Cardstock: Whisper White, Pool Party, Calypso Coral
Ink: Pool Party ink pad; markers in Pool Party, Marina Mista, Calypso Coral, Raspberry Ripple
Accessories: Chalk Talk dies, Chevron Ribbon – Marina Mist, Baker’s Twine from Tag a Bag Accessory Kit, Crystal Effects

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.