Thursday, 30 January 2014

New Texture Boutique Embossing Machine - and extended Valentine's promotion

Are you back for news of an exciting new product? Good. Because I’m here to tell you about the brand new Texture Boutique Embossing Machine... and, if you scroll down, there's more exciting news to share, too!

Small and portable, the Texture Boutique Embossing Machine is designed to be used with our Textured Impressions embossing folders, to add an extra dimension to your projects. 

We have three new embossing folders in the new Spring/Summer catalogue. Order all three at £7.50 each and the Texture Boutique Embossing Machine at £26.95 and you'll qualify for a FREE Sale-a-Bration gift. Why not stay with the embossing theme and order the Textured Impressions Decorative Dots folder?

Decorative Dots Textured Impressions Embossing Folder

Check out the Stampin’ Up!® video for more about this new tool.

Ok, are you ready for some more news? I am absolutely DELIGHTED to be able to tell you that some of the products from the Whole Lot of Love promotion are still available!

This is something I’ve been emailing Stampin’ Up!® about in the past few weeks as I felt that these products were lost over the Christmas period and have much wider appeal than just Valentine’s Day. And you know how excited I am about the Monster Hugs!

Check out the list of what’s still available*. But they’re not around forever... they will be here until 14th February, so hurry!
  • 131850: Love You More Stamp Set (wood-mount)
  • 131853: Love You More Stamp Set (clear-mount)
  • 134611: Follow My Heart Stamp Set (wood-mount)
  • 134617: Flowerfull Heart Stamp
  • 132862: Toujours + d’amour Stamp Set
  • 134610: Sweetheart Treat Bags
  • 132162: Monster Hugs Boy
  • 132163: Monster Hugs  Girl
  • 134609: Sweet Sayings Cards and Envelope
* Just compared lists - looks like the only thing which isn’t available is the German stamp set. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Just Sayin' card with Word Bubbles Framelits

Yesterday I told you about Sale-a-Bration, the most exciting promotion in the Stampin’ Up!® calendar. Sale-a-Bration (SAB) means freebies for everyone – customers, hostesses, new demonstrators (and existing demonstrators)!

In the very unlikely event that you’re thinking “but I don’t need anything else from the current catalogue”, help is at hand…

We have a brand new catalogue packed with gorgeous seasonal products for spring and summer. You can view it here, or follow the link at the right of this page. 

One of my favourite products in the new catalogue is the Just Sayin’ bundle. This consists of seven fun speech bubble images, with Framelits to match. Use them separately or together… or ink up the outlines of the speech bubbles and add your own words. 

Here’s a card I made with this set, inspired by this card by Cathy Caines. It uses another favourite product from the new catalogue; the Fresh Prints DSP Stack. These stacks are ideal for those people who can’t cut into a sheet of 12x12 because “it’s too nice”. You know who you are! Sized at 6.5” x 4.5”, they are perfect for card making or for matting photos on a scrapbook page. I love the colour combo in this new pack; Coastal Cabana, Crumb Cake and Real Red. So fresh and springy but also ideal for Christmas (if you can bear to keep it that long!). Hmmm… that’s just given me an idea actually…

Stamps: Just Sayin’
Cardstock: Coastal Cabana, Crumb Cake, Whisper White
Paper: Fresh Prints DSP Stack
Ink: Real Red
Accessories: Word Bubbles Framelits Dies, Scallop Edge Punch, Candy Dots, Corner Rounder, Black Marker

I have news of another new product for you tomorrow, so be sure to come back then! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Sale-a-Bration is here!

January and February can be a dull time of year – and the weather isn’t helping right now. 

But help is at hand because today sees the start of the most exciting promotion in the Stampin’ Up!® calendar!

Yes, Sale-a-Bration begins today and will see us all the way through to spring, with special offers and freebies for everyone.

The SAB brochure is now available online - you can download it by clicking here – and I have lots of paper copies available, too. Let me know if you’d like one. 

To get the absolute best out of Sale-a-Bration, it’s a good idea to have a party and the good news is that I have a few dates left, so please contact me ASAP to grab your date. For your party, all you need to do is invite your family and friends into your home, serve a few simple refreshments, and I’ll do the rest. I can even send out email invites if you want to save some time!

At your party, I will demonstrate some new products and then everyone gets to make something before placing their orders. Everyone who spends £45 will get to choose a FREE item from the SAB brochure. This is just one reason why Sale-a-Bration is so popular!

As for you, the hostess, you’ll get to choose freebies based on the workshop total. A £150 party will get you £25 of freebies… and as the party total increases, so do your freebies! If you reach the magical £250, you’ll get an additional £25 on top of usual hostess benefits, so you'll get £65 of freebies of your choice. This is another reason why Sale-a-Bration is so exciting!

Of course, SAB is also a great time to launch your new craft business! Whether you want to fund your hobby, supplement your income or start something big, we have room for everyone in Stampin’ Up!® Joining during SAB means you can choose £150 of craft products to set up your business, for just £99. You’l also get a business kit including catalogues, order forms and more. To get your business off to a great start, I suggest you join at the beginning of SAB, so you can encourage your new customers with all the benefits that Sale-a-Bration has to offer. 

So, what are you waiting for, please get in touch ASAP to place an order, book a party or find out more about signing up!

Monday, 27 January 2014

MDS scrapbook page

I’m back with another My Digital Studio (MDS) scrapbook page, again made entirely using the free trial software with no add-ons. It actually makes sense to start off with the bare minimum as it allows you to focus on the techniques used rather than be distracted by extra stamp sets and background papers.

In an attempt to hone my skills, I have been CASEing a few MDS creations by other people and, using this page as inspiration, came up with this 12x12 page. Still no journalling, but I’m working on that, I promise!

The background is Soft Sky, with strips of DSP from the Delight in the Day kit. The word “BEyouTIFUL” is a stamp (digital, of course) and one my discoveries while creating this page was that you can colour stamps with different colours, just as you would with markers on a real stamp. So I coloured it with Basic Gray, then changed the “you” to Real Red.

Another exciting discover was the ability to round the corners of an element. This was simply a case of a right click and hitting “round corners”.

I kept the page simple, in line with the original, and because it’s all too easy to keep adding element after element and losing sight of the photo.

If you haven’t tried My Digital Studio yet, I dare you to have a go! You can download it for free (30-day free trial) at my online store, here.  It’s quite easy to learn to use and there are lots of free tutorials out there on the internet.

And, in case you’re concerned that I’m leaving paper behind, do not worry – I even have a paper scrapbooking project to show you soon. I just have to find some photos to put in it!

PS, if you know me in real life, please don’t tell my son I used this photo here! He’s unlikely to see it so hopefully I’m safe. He doesn’t look like this any more, needless to say, so won’t exactly get recognised in the street!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Caturday - Ceefur

Jane from Woodland Nook Cat Rescue sent me this fabulous picture of Ceefur.

Ceefur used to hold court at the cat shelter, tolerating the odd stroke but hissing and scratching after a few minutes. This behaviour is thanks to some horrible person (can’t use the word I really want to use – this is a family blog) who used to abuse her while wearing gloves.

She was really poorly a few months ago but, after moving to Jane ’s cattery and having several teeth removed, she has blossomed. Here she is, chilling out in her luxury apartment.

You can find out more about Woodland Nook Cat Rescue at the blog, here.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Monster Hugs - going soon!

Time is running out to buy these fab little monsters. 

My Virtual Hostess Club resumed after a break for Christmas and, as I always like to thank the members with a little gift, I thought they deserved a hug!

Out came the Monster Hugs and, within minutes, I’d rustled up 10 gifts. All you have to do is stick a little something on the self-adhesive panel on the monster’s belly, wrap the arms around and slot them together. Then, if you wish, you can seal with a self-adhesive heart. 

I wrapped a couple of mini chocolates in some brand new paper - there’s a tiny sneak peek for you. This paper is coming a brand new mini DSP stack (and we all LOVE those, don’t we?) in the Spring/Summer catalogue. 

Oh, you have to see the back, too - check out his little bottom!

I love these monsters and wish they were sticking around longer - they are part of a promotion which ends on 27th January. They’re perfect for party favours (available in pink, too), to use as gift tags, or even just to give to a friend who needs a hug. 

Supplies: Monster Hugs in Blue, Fresh Prints DSP Stack

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Sale-a-Bration sneak peek - Petal Parade

I have another Sale-a-Bration sneak peek for you today, again showcasing the Petal Parade stamp set. As I mentioned before, I didn’t really like this stamp set as it appears in the SAB brochure, so I thought I’d order it and see if it was any better in real life. And of course it is I really don’t think the harsh Bermuda Bay shade they use in the brochure does it any justice at all!

But stamp it out in on-trend pastels and you have a winner. Here I’ve used Calyspo Coral, Strawberry Slush and accented it with tiny flowers made from Wild Wasabi, Raspberry Ripple and Pistachio Pudding, along with an abundance of pretty pearls.

Stamps: Petal Parade (SAB), Happy Day
Cardstock: Whisper White, Raspberry Ripple, Calypso Coral, Pistachio Pudding, Wild Wasabi
Ink: Strawberry Slush, Calypso Coral
Accessories: 1 3/4” circle punch, Itty Bitty Punch Pack, Basic Pearls

Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Digital Studio (MDS) - first scrapbook page

Have you downloaded My Digital Studio yet? I have been playing around with this design software for about a week now and think I’ve got the hang of it. It’s really quite straightforward and there are lots of tips and tutorials out there in blogland. 

Here’s my very first scrapbook page – what do you think? Interestingly, I noticed that I still struggled to make space for journalling. Will have to look into that for future pages. 

This page is made entirely using the free trial software, so didn’t cost me a penny, although obviously there will be printing costs at some point.  

I used Marina Mist, Baked Brown Sugar and Midnight Muse as my colour scheme. The background paper is Downtown Grunge, which I recoloured in Pool Party. And then I went a bit mad with the Vintage Overlays – these are my favourite stamps in the software so far!

The event captured in the images is a visit to Mwnt beach in Wales in 2006*. Someone had made some fabulous sand art so my daughter, who was 9 at the time (really? Was this really seven years ago?*) decided to have a go herself and created this amazing sea monster. It attracted a lot of attention!

But, like all sand art, it was doomed to disappear and, by evening, the sea began reclaiming the monster which was sad, but inevitable. 

I honestly think MDS will be a the answer to my scrapbooking problems. I tend to neglect scrapbooking for various reasons, the main one being that it means getting photos printed! I don’t feel it’s worth getting just a few printed, so it becomes a big job, then I have dozens of photos which need scrapbooking and it all becomes a bit daunting. 

When I do finally get round to scrapbooking, pages take me so long to create because I’m always apprehensive about sticking things down in case it’s not straight or doesn’t look right. Silly really, as it goes against everything I’m always telling my customers!

So, for me, I think digital scrapbooking might just be the future. Rest assured, I won’t be leaving my scissors and glue behind – I still love playing around with paper and card stock and buttons and ribbons for cards and other projects… but My Digital Studio might just allow me to get some scrapbooking done and photos into albums. I plan to create some mini-albums, too, as I think these will be perfect to represent a special event or holiday. Watch this space!

*Edited to add: It turns out it was September 2009. I KNEW it wasn’t seven years ago but hubby seemed quite convinced. So daughter was 12, which makes more sense. The beauty of MDS is that I can go back and amend the date very easily.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Caturday - Cerise


You shouldn’t have favourites ... but it’s very difficult not to when faced with a kitten of such cuteness and happy nature as Cerise.  I have enjoyed cuddling this gorgeous little kitten so much that I even tried to trick my next-door neighbour into adopting her so that I could sneak in extra cuddles when they’re on holiday.

So you can imagine how I felt when daughter returned from a visit to the cat shelter earlier this week with the heartless words: “Cerise has gone.” I know I should be happy that she’s found a loving home, but I really am going to miss seeing her this weekend. 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sale-a-Bration sneak peek - Banner Blast

Another Sale-a-Bration Sneak Peek for you today. I am very excited about this promotion as I know just how much people love it. If you’d like to book a party during this very special time, please do get in touch ASAP as my calendar is rapidly filling up!

This card showcases TWO new SAB products, as well as something from the Spring/Summer catalogue. 

The Sale-a-Bration stamp set that people are predicting to be the most popular is this one, Banner Blast, which consists of seven little banner stamps, plus three small images to stamp on top. So 10 stamps in all… and all FREE when you spend £45!

You know how much you love a co-ordinating punch? There’s one to go with this set, also available FREE with a £45 spend. And, if you can wait that long, this punch will be available in the next Annual Catalogue, out in July. 

I made this card at our recent team meeting, in a Make & Take provided by my downline, Patsy who was lucky enough to win both the Banner Blast stamp set and punch at Convention in November. We were all given a pack of this Designer Series Paper, too - it’s called Retro Fresh and comes from the upcoming Spring/Summer catalogue, which I just know you’re going to love! 

I joined the banners up with the Chalk Marker - although in retrospect, I think a fine black marker would have been more effective. But it does give me the opportunity to tell you that the Chalk Marker will still be available from the Spring/Summer catalogue, so that’s great news, as the chalk trend looks here to stay for some time. 

Stamps: Banner Blast (SAB), Happy Day
Cardstock: Naturals White, Coastal Cabana
Paper: Retro Fresh
Ink: Baked Brown Sugar, So Saffron, Coastal Cabana

Accessories: Banner Punch (SAB), Itty Bitty Punch pack

Monday, 13 January 2014

Cheery card with Betsy's Blossoms

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding these dark mornings very tiresome and look forward to the day when I can get up in daylight. 

So I thought I’d show a bright, cheerful card today.  I made it ages ago but somehow it seems to have slipped through the net. I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong and it’s already been on the blog. 

In other news, time is running out to register for my Launch Party, to celebrate the arrival of the Spring/Summer catalogue and our biggest promotion of the year, Sale-a-Bration. The closing date for registration is tomorrow and you can find out more details by clicking here.

Stamps: Betsy’s Blossoms
Cardstock: Strawberry Slush, Soft Sky, Midnight Muse
Paper: Quatrefancy
Ink: Midnight Muse, Strawberry Slush, Soft Sky

Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, 2 1/2” circle punch, 2 3/8” scallop circle punch, basic rhinestones, Midnight Muse marker

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Caturday - happy ending for Pebbles

After last week’s sad news, how about a happier ending? Meet (again) Pebbles... the cat with “issues”. She was a resident of the cat shelter for a very long time before a kind cat lover with nerves of steel took her on and very slowly gained her trust. Read more about Pebbles’ happy ending on the Woodland Nook blog, here.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sale-a-Bration sneak peek - Petal Parade

How about another sneak peek? This one is made using a Sale-a-Bration set called Petal Parade. Yes, the very same stamp set as I used on this card. From the new set, I used the groovy arrow and teamed it up with a greeting from Happy Day and some background elements from Gorgeous Grunge. I think this is a fun project, which would work well as a masculine card.

Stamps: Petal Parade (SAB), Gorgeous Grunge, Happy Day
Cardstock: Coastal Cabana, Midnight Muse, Very Vanilla
Ink: Coastal Cabana, Midnight Muse, Gumball Green

Accessories: Corner Rounder, Stitched ribbon - Midnight Muse, Essentials Hardware Clips

Monday, 6 January 2014

Spring/Summer catalogue sneak peek - gold washi tape

You’ve seen a Sale-a-Bration sneak peek… now would you like a sneak peek of the new Spring/Summer catalogue, which comes out on 28th January? Well, first of all, you need to be registering for my launch party for an afternoon of fun and crafting to get rid of the winter blues. Just click here, or the link at the top of the page, for details. 

Catty-wise, I’m lucky enough to be holding one of these beauties in my hand (well, not literally, as I’m typing) and I am really enjoying it so far. I’ve placed my pre-order and can’t wait to play with the new products – but I already have some items, as we were given them at Convention. I love freebies!

One of the new products we received was this new gold washi tape. Mixed metallics are BIG news in the crafting world for 2014 and the new catalogue reflects that trend with several products. As you know, I’m not into bling, but even I had fun with this new tape – I do love washi tape, after all.

I made several cards with it to congratulate my team members on their recent promotions to Bronze 2. Demonstrators have titles, starting at Bronze 1 and working their way up (if they choose) to Platinum!

I wanted to include some Bronze on this card and decided that Cajun Craze was the nearest so used this for the main image. Next I had a play around turning Glimmer Paper bronze. It can be done! I did it by spraying some Champagne Glimmer Paper with a mix of IPA (rubbing alcohol) and Early Espresso ink. It worked a treat and I now have rather a lot left over because, as you can see, I ended up using the tiniest amount on each card! I made a tiny heart using two petals from one of the flower punches from the Itty Bitty punch pack.

To encourage (subtly) the demonstrators to aim higher and go for Silver and even Gold promotions in the future, I added some silver in the form of a rhinestone and, of course, the gold washi tape. And so we have a mixed metallics card from a total blingaphobe.

Stamps: Tag It
Cardstock: Whisper White note cards, Whisper White, Champagne Glimmer Paper
Ink: Cajun Craze
Accessories: Chalk Talk Framelits, Basic Rhinestones, Itty Bitty Punch Pack, Watercolor Wonder Designer Washi Tape

I also made another card in this design for a downline who got herself a new job, so used Gingham Garden Designer Washi Tape instead, with Raspberry Ripple ink for the main image. 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Caturday - RIP Cookie

Oops, I’m having sooooo much fun doing my tax return that I’ve only just remembered that it’s Saturday and, therefore, Caturday!

There was no Caturday last week as we had no internet connection, so I am late reporting the sad news about Cookie, an elderly cat from the shelter, who had to be put to sleep just before Christmas. She had been very doddery for some time but suddenly went downhill fast, so the deed had to be done. She was a sweet old lady and we miss her.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year - and diary dates

Happy New Year everyone!

Time to crack open the new calendar (I have “Black Cats” of course!) and start writing in those dates for the year ahead. If you’re on my mailing list you will have received my calendar of events for the year. If you’re not, check out the Events section for details. 

This year I want to reach out to more people and share my love of papercrafting, so if you’ve not been to one of my events, please do come along. We’re a friendly group and everyone is always willing to help if somebody gets stuck.

First event of the year will be my launch party for Sale-a-Bration and the new Spring/Summer catalogue. This will be on the afternoon of 1st February and registration is now open. For full details and to book, please click here

Fancy a Sale-a-Bration sneak peek? I felt sorry for this stamp set as I don’t think the SAB brochure does it justice. So I decided to get it first and hopefully show that it has lots of potential.

I’m so glad I did as the gamble paid off – I love the way it stamps and am pretty chuffed with this card. I made it for my friend and downline, Alison, who turned 50 on Christmas Day.

I began by heading to the ink pads and picking out all the colours which felt right for Alison. I ended up with what I think is a winning combination. Next I played around and discovered that Very Vanilla made the best base for this combo, creating a lovely retro look. I can’t wait to play with this set some more.

Stamps: Petal Parade (SAB)
Cardstock: Very Vanilla, Wild Wasabi, Soft Suede, Summer Starfruit, Soft Sky
Ink: Soft Sky, Summer Starfruit, Wild Wasabi, Soft Suede
Accessories: Alphabet Bigz Dies, Small Heart Punch, Basic Pearls

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.