Monday, 17 December 2018

Sneak peek: Amazing Life

Christmas is over, crafting-wise... and it’s all about looking forward from now on because, as a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator, I am now able to order from the upcoming Spring/Summer catalogue!

But those of us who attended OnStage have had a head start, with the items we were allowed to order early and with all the gifts we were given on the day. This was one of them – a lovely stamp set called Amazing Life.

I made this fun card using the new set, the Stamparatus (for perfect positioning of the cakes) and my Stampin’ Blends. What do you think? Will this set be on your wish list?

Friday, 14 December 2018

Waterfront #simplestamping thank you card

We demonstrators have been challenged to go back to basics with some #simplestamping. The challenge was to make a thank you card using just notecards, one stamp set and ink. I used the Stamparatus to get perfect positioning for all 12 of my cards, which were heavily inspired by my recent week in the Lake District. Just one reason that Waterfront is one of my favourite stamp sets!

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Snowflakes and Peaceful Noel

This is one of my “bulk” Christmas cards this year – I took all the supplies away on holiday with me, but didn’t actually manage to make them until I get back. To be honest, I’m not very good at crafting away from home.

I used the Peaceful Noel stamp set and the Blizzard Dies, along with the Stitched Shapes Framelits and one of my favourite festive colour combinations; red, white and blue. Hope you like it!

Monday, 10 December 2018

Glowing Christmas house

I love this technique and will be returning to it again and again, I'm sure. It particularly lends itself to Christmas cards like this one, which we made at Crafty Friday last week.

You begin by taking a piece of Pacific Point cardstock and wiping it with the embossing buddy before embossing your image using white embossing powder.

Next simply sponge around the image – don’t get too close – using Pacific Point ink. Then build up some darker colour around the edges; I used Night of Navy at the bottom of this one and Blueberry Bushel at the top.

This bit is important: swipe it all over the whole lot using the embossing buddy again before stamping and embossing the greeting. If you don’t, the powder will stick to the whole sheet! (Ask me how I know).

Colour the front door with a Stampin’ Blend (it needs to be an alcohol markers as a water-based marker will just pool on top of the embossed image).

Finally, spatter the whole lot with some Frost White Shimmer paint, by tapping the side of a paintbrush.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Caturday: Dilly

Meet Dilly. I tried to, but she's a young kitten who was dashing around my friend's house and I was only making a flying visit so couldn't get a proper photo. This will have to do...

Friday, 7 December 2018

Deck the halls with a woodland scene dome

This was the last of three projects made at my Hygge Night last week, where we decked the halls with handmade ornaments.

I’ll be posting a tutorial on my Facebook page later this evening if you’d like to know how to make this.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Winter Woods sparkling bauble

Here’s another project created at Friday’s Hygge Night. This is a sparkly black and white bauble stamped with Winter Woods. Actually, you stamp onto tissue paper first and then apply it ... full details will be in a tutorial posting on Facebook later this evening.

Meanwhile, you can see all three projects in this video. Enjoy!

Monday, 3 December 2018

Sprig Punch wreath ornament

Friday night was my monthly Hygge Night, where we made three Christmas ornaments... all very different. This was my take on the Sprig Punch wreath which you can see in the Autumn/Winter catalogue.  Mine isn't as scrunched up because I chickened out!

The whole thing is spritzed with a mix of isopropyl alcohol and Champagne Mist Shimmer paint - you can mix it with water, but it tends to clump, and also doesn't dry so quickly so can warp your cardstock.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Caturday: Hope

This is Hope, the latest addition to my friend Jane’s feline and canine menagerie. She’s named after Hope, Alaska, as Jane is a big fan and frequent visitor to the state. And also because we can all do with more Hope these days.

Looks like she’s settling in well. At the time of writing I don’t think she’d been introduced to her housemates yet, which include PenelopeAllie and Elsa.

One thing is for sure: Hope has definitely landed on her feet in that household!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Keeping it simple with Winter Woods

At first glance, is this really #simplestamping? I think it is... as it uses one stamp set, one punch and three ink pads (Old Olive, Soft Suede and Crumb Cake), although you could get away with stamping off with the Soft Suede to created the pine cone background.

You get lots of different shades of green (in this case, Old Olive) by stamping the image repeatedly without reinking. That’s how I built up the forest of pine trees.

The punched image is given a background layer simply by offsetting a piece of Real Red cardstock behind it. I fussy cut the pine cones - no dies used here... I’m #simplestamping, remember!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Keeping it simple with Dandelion Wishes

Keeping with the #simplestamping theme, these cards really could not be more simple. Well, I suppose they could if you stamped directly onto the card inestead of creating a layer. Oh, and I’ve used two stamp sets because the greeting I wanted was not included in Dandelion Wishes. But you get the idea... just stamping onto white cardstock with two ink pads can give you striking results.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Keeping it simple with Accented Blooms

There’s a theme to this week’s blog posts, which wouldn’t necessarily be obvious at first glance.  I’m using three different stamp sets, three different colours schemes and the cards are for three different occasions. So what’s the theme?

The theme is ... #simplestamping.

We demonstrators have realised that we get so into our craft that we sometimes neglect the new stamper. We are so keen to throw everything at our projects – purely because we can – that we forget that some people are starting out with limited supplies.

This project, then, takes things back to basics. One ink pad, one stamp set, one colour cardstock, one punch and one pack of embellishments. Perfect for the new stamper... or the experienced stamper in a hurry.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Caturday: Allie (and Elsa)

My friends have been trying to sneak a dog into Caturday. So far, only Ernie has managed that incredible feat (twice!)

But today I bring you a cat AND dog, living in the sort of harmony that we can't even achieve with just cats, let alone another species. They are Allie (cat) and Elsa, a rescue dog which my friend Jane fostered temporarily but who inevitably wormed her way into Jane’s heart and life permanently.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Frosted Floral card, three ways

I needed three cards to contain garden centre vouchers, so this Frosted Floral Designer Series Paper proved perfect once again. I wanted to make them all different, so picked a colour from each piece of pattern to highlight.

I think the Blackberry Bliss one is my favourite, although my favourite design of paper is the one below...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Frosted Floral celebration cards

How lovely is this Frosted Floral Designer Series Paper? It has a mix of large and small patterns which can be used for festive projects and all year round. 

I’ve used one of the big, bold patterns here for a really quick and easy card. Just a die-cut sentiment and some embellishments and I was done. 

Can you see the vellum flag? It’s a bit too subtle for the photo but I ran it through the Subtle embossing folder, in both directions to give it a crepe textured. It’s a great way of using up any creased sheets!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Colourful Christmas with Snow is Glistening

I have loved playing with the Snow is Glistening stamp set, and really enjoyed creating these colourful cards with the Stamparatus.

I inked up the stamp using sponge daubers, then stamped onto the Whisper White cardstock. The great thing about the Stamparatus is that if you miss a bit, you can stamp again, perfectly.

Scroll down for close-ups of all the colours...

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Caturday: Dora

Dora is back for another appearance as the star of Caturday. She is a rescue cat who lives with my friend Christine in Derby and is totally and utterly adored. What a star!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Non-traditional Christmas copper

Gotta love a bit of copper and I think it makes a great choice for a non-tradtional Christmas card.

I’ve embossed the big tree from Snow is Glistening onto some Wood Textures Designer Series Paper (Kelly's idea, of course!). Similar to Wednesday’s projects, I sponged around the edges again, this time in Cajun Craze and Early Espresso, before splashing with Frost White Shimmer Paint (love this stuff!).

I finished off with some copper accents using the Detailed Deer dies. I stamped the deer in black Stazon onto Copper Foil before die-cutting him out. He hasn't stamped fully but I quite like that as it shows off more of the copper and it gives him a slightly 'aged' effect.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Snow is glistening, snowflakes are glowing

Clean and Simple these cards ain’t! But sometimes it’s fun to get stuck in and enjoy some fun techniques. 

I made these projects using the new, limited edition Snow is Glistening stamp set, which is available for November only, and even then only while supplies last.

For all of these cards, I used Pacific Point cardstock and stamped and embossed in white; I find white ink AND white embossing powder gives you a stronger image.
I sponged around the image in Pacific Point ink, then around the edges of the cardstock in Blueberry Bushel to provide more depth. This seems to make the images ‘glow’. 

For the starry/snowy event, I flicked some Frost White Shimmer Paint over the cardstock; I love it! I used the same paint, mixed with this Real Red ink, to create the delicate red dots, but here I must issue a word of caution, as over a week later, they still haven’t fully dried and I need to get round to sealing them somehow. 

You can buy this beautiful stamp set, and some great accessories to go with it, by clicking here

Monday, 12 November 2018

Centre Stage and team notebooks with Tin Tile and copper

Over the weekend it was the BIG event of the Stampin’ Up!® year... OnStage! We hold these twice a year, exclusively for demonstrators, but this was the BIG one because it’s the 30th anniversary of Stampin’ Up!®

I was there, with a group of team members, and I have some more news about the event below. 

But first I would like to share with you the gifts I made for my team... a monogrammed notebook with on-trend copper accents.

I used the Tin Tile embossing folder (because I love it), which I swiped with copper shimmer paint for a verdigris look. They are finished off with a copper monogram, some leaves from Rooted in Nature, a flower from Best Birds, some Rich Razzleberry velvet trim, copper thread and a wooden heart, sponged in copper shimmer paint. Oh yes, I used circle dies and the Artisan Textures stamp set, too.

Yes, they are product heavy – but there’s no need to hold back when creating for fellow demonstrators!

This one is a little different, as I have a man in my team, so I created a more masculine look for his notebook. I also used both initials as the “I” on its own looked a little lost.

The main event was held on Saturday, but on Friday evening there is an even more exclusive event, for demonstrators who reach certain sales and recruiting levels. This is called Centre Stage and they really treat us well at these events. We had an incredible four-course meal, some sneak peeks about the coming announcements and some great gifts. Take a look...

If you’d like to find out how you can enjoy exclusive demonstrator events, I’d love to talk to you about joining my growing team. The best thing about being a demonstrator is being able to do it YOUR way... whether that means holding classes and events, or running an online business, or simply stamping with friends. There's room for all of us!

Please click here if you’d like to arrange a no-obligation chat or, if you already know you’re ready to take the plunge, you can join my friendly team here.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Caturday: Viola and Mindy

Meet Viola and Mindy, who live in Kentucky with my friend Karen. I wish my cats would snuggle up like this! Ours just grizzle at each other and occasionally whack each other on the nose!

Friday, 9 November 2018

Winter Woods log slice ornament

I can’t stop using the Winter Woods stamp set but was trying to find something completely different for the Crafty Friday ladies this month.

Eventually I returned to that old favourite, the log slice ornament, which proved so popular last year.  We stamped our pine trees, and stamped off for a paler image, in Mossy Meadow, directly onto the slices of wood (eBay, since you ask).

It’s decorated with a Merry Merlot greeting, on a strip of copper foil, and embellished with some stamped pine cones and sprigs, along with die-cut snowflakes and some copper rhinestones.

Yes, I said copper rhinestones.


Yes I know we don’t sell copper rhinestones. But you can make them REALLY easily simply by colouring in our normal rhinestones with a Calypso Coral Stampin’ Blend. Magic, eh?

Oh and finally... much, much later for some of the ladies, we added some embossing paste to create snowy branches. This has to be done later as if the ink isn’t fully dry, it is absorbed into the paste, creating a muddy mess of yellow snow. And there ain’t nobody who likes yellow snow.  An alternative is to seal the ink before applying the paste. That worked, too.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Copper and navy themed Tin Tile card

I promised you more on Crafty Friday and here it is; the first of two projects we made. As I designed my projects for this event, I realised they bore no relation to each other whatsoever. Then I realised that this was an advantage... Crafty Friday has become so popular lately that we need two tables, and having two entirely different projects using different products makes that so much easier... and is easier on my legs!

This was one of the projects, using the Tin Tile embossing folder. We embossed it onto Night of Navy cardstock and then very gently swiped across it using a sponge dauber dipped in Copper Shimmer Paint.

The copper theme is continued with a copper embossed leaf, and some copper thread behind the greeting. And the little scalloped feature is from the Delightfully Detailed Laser-cut DSP.

I love this colour scheme; it was inspired by a visit to Trowell Garden Centre, where there was a beautiful display of navy and copper Christmas decorations. I took a photo as I planned to make all my Christmas cards with this theme, but it hasn’t happened of course. But the seed was planted for this card, so it wasn’t wasted!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Modern Calligraphy workshop highlights

I held two classes on Friday. The morning was my usual Crafty Friday – more of that later in the week – and in the evening I held a Modern Calligraphy workshop.

Well, I say “workshop”... it wasn’t exactly work, it was quite relaxing as we practised our strokes on the sheets provided and then make up these four lovely cards from the Calligraphy Essentials kit.

As you can see, we did chicken out when it came to adding our modern calligraphy to the cards themselves. Fortunately, there is a coordinating stamp set which makes things a bit easier. Above are Karen’s cards... I love the extra touch of a flower on the thank you card. (Well you have to give the early finishes an extension activity, don’t you?)

Here are some more pix from the event...

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Caturday: Bolehill beauty

This beauty was spotted on a walk around the Wirksworth area a few weeks ago. She (surely a she?) is a beauty and was relatively amenable to strokes.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Peaceful Place sympathy card

The problem with sympathy cards is that when you need them, you need them in a hurry. And I prefer to keep them simple rather than put the focus on the card. So I made this quickly from my UFO (unfinished objects) box, where I have a stash of these beautiful images already watercoloured. A bit of layering, a quick greeting and it was ready to go.

I do love this image from Peaceful Place; it’s very soothing to colour in and I think it looks fab. You can make it easier to colour, as I’ve done here but you can’t see from the photo, by embossing in black.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Precision stamping with the Stamparatus

The Stamparatus is for so much more than repeat stamping. Here I’ve used it to create two-tone words using Bermuda Bay and Old Olive. All you have to do is ink up half of the image and stamp, then ink up the other half of the image and stamp directly on top. Perfect positioning, every time.

I felt like a break from festive colours so created a big batch of these for my customers this month in bright cheery Lemon Lime Twist. Just what we need to brighten up the chilly days ahead.

The stamp set is Warm Hearted, one of the host sets from the Autumn/Winter catalogue. I love this big bold "Thanks".

Monday, 29 October 2018

Deck the Halls with this tiny woodland dome

What do you think of this? Something a bit different?

This is an early prototype of one of the projects from my upcoming Deck the Halls event, where we will make festive decorations to adorn our Christmas trees. There’s a bit of work required to make this a little easier to create, but we’ll get there.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Caturday: Lyric

It’s National Black Cat Day so let’s celebrate Lyric, who is peeping out from his lofty position on a fridge in Virginia.

Black cats struggle to get adopted for some reason, which is why Cats Protection have their annual day to highlight just how gorgeous these animals are. We have a black cat, as you probably know, and he’s an idiot - but he’s a lovely idiot nonetheless, and I’m so glad he chose us.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Wonderful brayered Rooted in Nature cards

I do love to brayer... as you may have noticed. The new sponge brayers are so much quicker than the old rubber version, and I made these cards in minute by brayering across a whole piece of A4 Whisper White cardstock. Then I cut it into three pieces to top these cards.

Perfect positioning was achieved with the Stamparatus and bam! Three cards made in minutes, to celebrate my lovely team members who have gone above and beyond this month. They all get a voucher, too – happy mail!

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a demonstrator, please click here, email me or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can join my friendly team here.

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.