Friday, 31 March 2017

Last day of Sale-a-Bration 2017!

This is it, folks! The last day of Sale-a-Bration 2017! Your very last chance to:

Spend £45 and earn a fabulous FREE product, such as the gorgeous Hey Chick stamp set - the most popular SAB item this year!

Host a £200 party and get an extra £20 in Stampin' Rewards - while you may not get a party booked for today, you can place your own qualifying order online and still earn the rewards, so call your friends, quick!

Join Stampin’ Up! as a demonstrator for just £99, and get an extra TWO stamp sets of your choice (not SAB sets) in your Starter Kit!

I’ve had a fabulous Sale-a-Bration, so I’d like to thank everyone who helped by hosting, joining and placing orders. I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

In The Meadow and Mixed Drinks: just what the doctor ordered!

Last Friday I held my first Stamp Doctor night, where guests were invited to bring along their ‘stamping maladies’ (products they’d purchased but struggled to use).  As this was my first time holding the clinic, I’d asked for advance warning of the stamp sets they were planning to bring. 

Only two people wanted to bring sets, and their problems turn out to be In The Meadow (one of my favourites!) and Mixed Drinks (which, fortunately, Kelly has). Between us we created the following projects for the ladies to make on the night. 

My projects incorporated watercolouring, as it’s one of my favourite techniques; also it’s very soothing, and therefore must be good for the health! 

The first project (above) I CASEd from Jennifer Frost; I love the way the mountains provide the perfect backdrop to the deer. 

The second was inspired by Connie Babbert. The masking really makes this card, in my opinion. But I also thought that some people love watercolouring as much as I do, so may prefer to spend more time on this technique. For those ladies, I created this project, CASEd from Michelle Zindorf, and which can be created from the same kit as the card above. 

Meanwhile, over at the Mixed Drinks table, Kelly had used clean and simple repeat stamping to make these fab samples. 

The kits were provided in bags with these fun labels, which I created in Canva and, even if nobody else appreciated the joke, they cracked me up so it was worth it. And no, I didn’t wear a lab coat… although I now have one on order for the next clinic! 

After a few hours of stamping and laughing, everyone went away happy, which just proves that crafting is the best medicine!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Window Shopping Bundle birthday card

I spent much of Mother’s Day happily crafting with the Window Box Thinlits. Other than making the projects for my All-Day Craftathon, I haven’t really given this bundle much attention, and yesterday I discovered just how versatile it really is. 

But more of that later. Today I want to show you this simple card, which uses the lovely candle die from the set. I simply painted a strip of watercolour paper in my three colours and laid it behind my die-cut piece of Very Vanilla.  It was a very easy way to meet the Mix It Up Monday challenge of creating a project using this colour combination from my In Color charts.

In other news, we are now on the final Sale-a-Bration countdown, so if you wish to: 
  1. Earn a FREE Sale-a-Bration item, by placing an order of £45 or more, or
  2. Join Stampin’ Up!® as a demonstrator and get TWO FREE additional stamp sets in your Starter Kit...
... you need to act fast, as SAB ends on 31st March. Please don’t leave it until the last minute as that is the path to internet connection failures and disappointment. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Caturday: Hamish on the compost heap

When it’s warm and sunny, does it really matter that your bed is a compost heap and you’re surrounded by rotting vegetables? If you’re a cat, it matters not one jot.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Dragonflies on watercoloured background

This was the Make & Take at a Stampin’ Up!® party I did last week. The host, Pat, is a big fan of brights, so Melon Mambo was the order of the day... not exactly my comfort zone!

The fab background was created in the same was as for this dragonfly egg box; you just scribble with watercolour pencils and then go over it with a wet paintbrush or Aquapainter. It’s a lovely technique, which works best on watercolour paper.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Grown-up mini egg carton project

I do love these egg boxes, they’re so cute... even more so if you take the time to colour them. How? With a small amount of ISO Propanol (rubbing alcohol) mixed with reinker. Here I’ve used Sweet Sugarplum to match this fabulous Glimmer Paper (SAB item only available while stocks last or until 31st March!).

The panel beneath the dragonfly (Detailed Dragonfly Thinlits) was created by scribbling with watercolour pencils with a few colours onto watercolour paper, then swishing it around with a wet paintbrush. You could use an aqua painter, but I’m a purist and prefer a paintbrush.

And it’s all tied together with some gorgeous metallic ribbon, another SAB item which is only available until 31st March, or while supplies last.

We’re on the Sale-a-Bration countdown now, and yesterday a new group of items were added. These are catalogue items which you can earn FREE between now and the end of March with a £45 order. There are some gorgeous products on this list, so do take a look.

Oh, and inside are four hollow chocolate eggs, wrapped in Sweet Sugarplum foil. Sainsbury’s do a pack of 25 which just happen to be wrapped in Sweet Sugarplum, Bermuda Bay and Crushed Curry. Wish I’d found those before my all-day event!


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Extra items added to Sale-a-Bration - catalogue items you can earn FREE

A little surprise for everyone (including me!)... some extra items have been added to Sale-a-Bration. These are regular catalogue items, which you can earn with a £45 order. Just make sure you use the special item code from the flyer below, otherwise you will be charged as normal. 

And don’t forget that now is a GREAT time to join SU... with your choice of two extra stamp sets added to your already amazing-value Starter Kit. Please contact me if you’d like more information, or click the image at the bottom of this post to get started with your application to join! 

Monday, 20 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Sweet Sugarplum with In The Meadow

This Friday is my first Stamp Doctor event, where guests are invited to bring a stamp set or other product they’ve purchased but not used. So I have have kits on hand ready, I asked for advance notice and one lady says she is bringing In The Meadow. 

As this is one of my favourite stamp sets, I couldn’t be more pleased to have an excuse to bring it out and use it again. I have two gorgeous projects waiting for Friday, but this is the one that go away, which I’ve created for Mix It Up Monday using a Sweet Sugarplum combination from my In Color charts.

This is a fun technique with clear blocks, which I’ve played with many times before. You apply ink to the block with either markers or ink pads – I used Sahara Sand and Sweet Sugarplum ink pads – and then spray it with a little water. 

Press the wet block firmly onto Whisper White cardstock and wait for the liquid to be absorbed; you can see this happening. When it’s all soaked in, lift the block and you’ll have a pleasing backdrop to your main image. Do, however, wait for it to dry fully before stamping on top. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Caturday: Indie

Spent a lovely evening at Pat’s Stampin’ Up!® party this week, and it’s always a pleasure to meet her two beautiful Ragdoll cats; Ruby and Indie. Ruby wasn’t up for a photo, but Indie was happy to pose...

Friday, 17 March 2017

Sweet Sugarplum baby card

When I create projects for Stampin’ Up!® parties, I try to hold back on using too many products, so guests aren’t overwhelmed.

But when I create projects for personal use, then there’s no holding back. This is why this card uses not one, not two but three stamp sets. Can you guess what they are?

I am not a big fan of pink, but Sweet Sugarplum is just right for baby girl cards, and this gorgeous paper from the Succulent Garden DSP pack is ideal. Mint Macaron is the perfect, gentle green for this  job... just be aware that it’s part of the In Color pack which is retiring at the end of May, so stock up now if you’re a fan!

So, the stamp sets. I know you’ll have worked it out but, just in case, the sheep comes from Barnyard Babies, the clouds from Lift Me Up and the sentiment from Bookcase Builder.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Lift Me Up projects

Sticking with the Lift Me Up theme, here are the results of last week’s Crafty Friday session. After making a Mint Macaron version of this card, we all went a bit ‘freestyle’. We all created a striped balloon and a gift bag, which everyone decorated differently.

Naturally, I didn’t manage to finish mine off, so played around with the products for a short while afterwards, coming up with the card above, which started life as a CASE of this card!

My gift bag evolved, too, as I wanted to stamp the background and keep the colours quite striking. I masked the greeting stamp with some washi tape before inking, so I could just get the “Happy Birthday”. Trouble was, I left the inky washi lying on my work surface and ended up with some unsightly ink marks on the front of my project. THAT’s why there are so many clouds on it!

And as for the CASE of this card, originally created in Watermelon Wonder, this is what it looks like if you switch to my favourite sheet of DSP from the pack, and a Mint Macaron background... I love it! And now would be a good time to stock up on Mint Macaron, as it’s part of the retiring In Color collection which will be leaving us at the end of May!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Lift Me Up congratulations card

It’s Mix It Up Monday again and, as we’re on the Sale-a-Bration countdown (it ends on 31st March) I thought I’d use some of this fabulous Carried Away Designer Series Paper to create a Flirty Flamingo card from my In Color charts.

As you can see, this fab paper co-ordinates perfectly with the Lift Me Up Bundle in the Spring/Summer catalogue. And, while the stamps and dies will be available until the end of May, you have less than two weeks to earn this FREE paper. 

I’ve created a striped balloon using the clever dies that make this so easy. It makes this challenge easy, too, as all I had to do was make my stripes in the required colours. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Caturday: Newton

Meet Newton, a very handsome, pampered cat we discovered at the Hanging Gate, Shottle. I didn’t spot him immediately; I thought he was a cushion! Then he stirred when he was treated to a dish of ham. I said he was spoiled!

Friday, 10 March 2017

And the most popular Sale-a-Bration product is...

Bit of a daft question as the answer is staring you in the face but do you know what the most popular Sale-a-Bration product is BY FAR? Yup, it’s Hey, Chick, which comes as no surprise to me as I was so excited when I first clapped eyes on it way back in November.

It’s such a fun stamp set and was inspired by the artist’s experiences on a friend’s farm. The illustrator, Loris Sume, said:
"When I was a child growing up in Canada, I remember some family friends who had little chickens that I thought were so cute. A couple of summers ago here in Utah, I stopped at a friend’s ranch and saw all their cute animals including their chickens. They had typical chickens but also another kind called Polish Frizzle Bantam White Chickens. I think they are so funny with all those feathers flopping around on the top of their heads and how they like to stare straight at you and cock their heads.
"So when I was assigned to create the Hey, Chick Stamp Set, I was so excited. I wanted to exaggerate the rounder chickens and really make them round, and I also really wanted to draw one of those funny chickens I saw at my friend’s ranch. It was a really fun set to create."

Time is running out to earn this stamp set, if you haven’t already done so. There are just THREE WEEKS of Sale-a-Bration left, so don’t delay if you must have chickens in your life!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Tasty Trucks... speeding away

This fab Tasty Trucks card was designed by my friend and helper, Kelly, for a colouring class. I love the clever use of Gorgeous Grunge inside to represent the speeding van... and the way the cakes are tumbling out of the back.

You can tell this project didn’t come out of my head because of the bright colours used! But I have to concede that they suit this stamp set perfectly. The image is coloured with our lovely new watercolour pencils... which just happen to be the most popular item from the Spring/Summer catalogue with my customers.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Bookcase Builder

Mix It Up Monday is back with an Emerald Envy colour combination from my In Color charts. I’ve used the fabulous Bookcase Builder stamp set to create a birthday card and matching wine label for a friend. 

The colour combination was a little tricky. It seems that Calypso Coral and Watermelon Wonder are a lot closer to each other than they first appear!

The bunting stamp is quite ingenious. I was wondering why there were two stamps, almost identical but of different sizes. Then it hit me: you use them together but in different colours. I’d already made the wine tag by the time I worked that out!

I introduced a few other sets to create these projects: Birthday Bright for some smaller bunting; Tasty Trucks and Barnyard Babies for some subtle ‘happy birthday’ greetings.  The In Color enamel shapes in Emerald Envy added the finishing touches.  

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Caturday: Cobweb’s apology

She may look like butter wouldn’t melt (well, she doesn’t actually - most of the time she just looks cross) but Cobweb is a very shouty animal. And at last weekend’s All-Day Craftathon, the poor ladies who were sited in the dining area were subjected to an almost constant barrage of abuse from Cobweb. Here’s her almost-an-apology.

And for an insight into her true nature... here’s another photo, taken later that weekend... just don’t look into those eyes for too long!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Nailed It masculine card

Who would have thought a stamp set featuring a hammer, saw and screwdriver would prove so popular? But Nailed It is definitely one of the most popular sets of the Spring/Summer catalogue. It co-ordinates perfectly with the Hexagons Dynamic Embossing Folder (to be honest, what doesn’t?).

Here I’ve taken a piece of black cardstock, embossed the whole piece with silver embossing powder, run it through the Big Shot with the Hexagons Dynamic Embossing Folder, then sanded it slightly at the edges to reveal some of the black. It’s a fun technique, but not one you’d do when making a batch!

We’ll be using Nailed It at my upcoming Masculine Workshop in May... details of which will be revealed soon.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Hygge Night with a difference: Stamp Doctor

Badly punched? Rash purchase? Scared of die-ing? There are many maladies which can afflict even the most experienced crafter, which is why I’m holding a Hygge Night with a difference this month. 

Please come along and meet the Stamp Doctor! I’ll have you up and about in no time. 

We’ve all purchased products which haven’t seen the light of day because we simply can’t get inspired. So guests are invited to bring along a Stampin’ Up!® stamp set, punch or die set which they’ve struggled to use. Advice will be provided on all products brought along on the night and we will make projects using some of them. 

Please book before 10th March if you wish to bring a product

The cost is £8 which includes all materials plus refreshments. Please bring your own scissors and adhesives.  

Date: Friday, 24th March, 7.30pm-9.45pm. Doors open at 7.20pm. 
Venue: My house (directions available on request)
Cost: £8
Please bring: Usual craft kit including scissors and adhesives.  
Closing date: Places are strictly limited. Registration will close automatically when all places are filled, or on 16th Mar, 11pm, whichever is sooner. Your place is secured on receipt of payment. 

For more information, please email me. To register, please click the image or here.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

All-Day Craftathon - Dragonfly Dreams workshop

The final workshop of my All-Day Craftathon featured the Dragonfly Dreams bundle, again with the gorgeous Succulent Garden DSP.

We made two cards, presented in this really simple pouch. It’s really simple because the bag is already made for you (Glassine Gift Bags, p176); all we needed to do was add this belly band and embellish it with a Bermuda Bay dragonfly.

This card is another of my favourite projects from the day. It’s really clean and simple and combines some subtle spatters from Gorgeous Grunge, with a debossing effect using the Softly Falling embossing folder (not just for Christmas!).

The dragonfly is coloured by inking the wings stamp with Mint Macaron, then gently tapping the ends into Bermuda Bay before stamping. Alternatively, you could use sponges for a more blended effect. A hint of Bermuda Bay glimmer paper from the Sale-a-Bration second release adds a touch of bling.

There’s more bling on the final project, which features more dragonflies. This time we cut the top dragonfly away carefully with scissors, and added it to the Window Shopping greeting.

And then we were done – without going over schedule, too! Thank you to everyone who helped or came along on the day. I’ve had some really positive feedback about the day, so I’ll be looking to hold another in a few months’ time. Watch this space!

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.