Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Tutorial: Rooted in Nature teabag holder


Every month I like to honour and reward my team members who have gone above and beyond. for my first level team members, there are rewards for promotions, achievements and for simply selling more than they did in the previous month.

For my extended team, I also send out three “random rewards” which are little handmade gifts to three people chosen at random (the only qualification is that they have placed an order during the month).


This month I sent out these cute teabag holders, inspired by a gift from my downline Stampy Sue and shown on Monday in this post. Inside are three little envelopes, each containing an individually wrapped teabag - plastic-free of course!

But before I show you how to make these, here’s a close-up of the front. For the circle panel, I embossed using the clever leaf embossing dies from the Rooted in Nature bundle. Then I stamped on top using the Artisan Textures stamp set, for a rustic look. 


Here are the measurements... you should be able to see a larger image if you click on it.

Once you’ve made the outer, as shown above, you simply make three little envelopes using the Envelope Punch Board. I’m turning to inches for these as it’s easier... 

They are made from 5.5" squares
The first score line is at 2 3/4"
Then simply proceed as normal, turning the DSP 90ยบ anticlockwise to make the envelope.

These are then stuck inside - onto the green M shape in the diagram above. 



Finally, decorate the front, making sure you leave the top section of your decorative panel without adhesive, so the front flap can slide in and out easily. 

Hope you like it - and have fun!

Monday, 18 June 2018

Tropical Chic in super bright colours



I held a Stampin’ Up!® party on Friday for the first time in years. This is a shameful admission when you think I am very keen for other people to hold them. And it also made me wonder I haven’t been doing it more often as I had a great time... didn’t have to pack the car or drive anywhere, and thoroughly enjoyed choosing my free products!

A BIG thank you is in order to everyone who came along and ordered products, and generally made the evening a fun one.

I demoed the Tropical Chic bundle, which I’m delighted to play with at last. I’ve had the dies since February, for my Display Team projects, but have only just taken delivery of the stamps.

Above is the Make & Take, which I CASEd from the latest edition of Stampin’ Success (the magazine for demonstrators) but changed to even brighter colours. I’m a big fan of the new, revamped Brights collection!


This was the prize for the evening which, in the absence of Karen, inevitably went to Sharon. This seems to be how it works at EVERY party. Karen nearly always wins (although she denies it!) and, if she’s not there, Sharon will win.


This was my 3D demonstration... a fun little teabag holder. I used the ‘smoosh technique’ on the watercolour paper before cutting out with this fun die.

As for the teabag holder, I have another version of this to show you on Wednesday so please do pop back, and I may even have some instructions for you.

What do you think of the colour combo? Too bright? Not bright enough? I’d love to hear your thoughts...

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Caturday: Crich cat


On a walk around Crich, we spotted this monochromatic beauty... not one for cuddles, apparently.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Varied Vases vibrant colours



I had lots of fun creaeting these vases of leaves and succulents using the new Varied Vases stamp set. The stamp set was inspired by Mary Fish, a US demonstrator who recently hit her $1m sales mark and was given the privilege of helping to design the stamp set.

So it seemed only natural to turn to the creator for inspiration for this project; I love Mary’s style anyway and CASEd the vase layout from her colour block card from this post.

I liked it so much that I adapted it for a set of Thank You cards (yet to be used, so look surprised if you receive one!)...


Naturally, when making this many of the same design, things are bound to go “different” at certain points. Can you spot the differences between the two cards below?




As for the colour combination, I turned to my charts for the perfect combo, but ended up changing it slightly to add the Shaded Spruce. I do love this combo, but feel it gives the card a slight “vegetable box” vibe. If I find the image I’m thinking of, I’ll let you know.



Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Lilypad Lake rubber band technique


This was a super-fun and effective technique demonstrated by my friend and downline Tricia on a crafty weekend away last month, and I must get round to trying it again – a fun one for a Crafty Friday I think!

We began by masking the strip with sticky notes.

To create the “reeds”, we wrapped elastic bands around a clear block in a random fashion, then pressed it into an ink pad before spritzing lightly with water and stamping onto the masked off area. Repeat without reinking, then reink when necessary. We used Sahara Sand and Garden Green here, then sponged over the top (when dry) with Coastal Cabana. I love it!

Finally, we all added our herons/cranes? and greetings to suit. I kept mine very simple as I didn’t want to distract from the clever technique.


Monday, 11 June 2018

Delightfully Detailed Golden wedding anniversary card



I don’t normally do card commissions but my Mum laid on the emotional blackmail pretty thickly so I caved in for this one. To tell the truth, I’d agreed to create a golden wedding anniversary card before the true scale of the job was revealed. Gold-themed card? No problem. “With their names on...” Aaaaaaagh!

I have known Jean and Tony all my life so know Jean isn’t a fan of bright colours and favours pastels. (She also likes frogs but I held back, despite the temptation of using Animal Outing...) So I created a gentle watercolour wash background and, thankfully, managed to stamp their names right first time using the Pick a Pennant stamp set.

You may recognise the watercoloured background from these projects, which were made from the leftover pieces.

You can’t see from the photo but I have applied Wink of Stella all over the laser-cut DSP to give a hint of glitz, and the sequins and gold “celebrate” are a further reinforcement that this is for a 50th anniversary celebration.



Saturday, 9 June 2018

Caturday: Marvin


Poor little Marvin had a tough start to life... he was from an abandoned litter of four kittens. Sadly, one died, but the rest were successfully hand-reared by veterinary nurses.

Marvin has just suffered the trauma of moving house and his owner was so worried because she thought he'd escaped and got lost. It turned out he was just hiding in his new house!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Retro colour combo for Rooted in Nature


It’s weird but whenever a new catalogue comes along and I have loads of lovely new products to play with, for some reason I always lose my mojo. You’d think the opposite would apply but I suspect I am overwhelmed by too much choice!

Pinterest came to the rescue; specifically this project by Aussie demo Kate Morgan, which was sent to me by my friend Donna.

I modified it by laying the leaves (from Rooted in Nature) on the diagonal, and used a retro and slightly autumnal colour combination.

Some copper trim and a copper leaf finishes it off nicely, I think. But more importantly, what do YOU think?


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Hi! - Lined Alphabet meets Pick a Pennant


Showcasing some of the lovely new In Colors. The new colours this year are Bright with a capital B, but if that’s not your style, I’ve shown here how they can be toned down with a background of Smoky Slate. A bit of freestyle doodling adds interest to the main panel.

I do regret stamping the bird in Smoky Slate - I think it would stand out more in black or Blueberry Bushel, but it’s not the end of the world so I left it as it is. What do you think?

Monday, 4 June 2018

Varied Vases - and a summery colour combination


How gorgeous is this colour combo? Three new colours mixed with Daffodil Delight give us a really summery look. I’ve decided I’m not going to commit to Mix It Up Monday this year, but will be bringing you colour combinations as and when I use them. You can still see all of my colour combinations on my Facebook page, here (you don’t have to be a member to view).

I’ve used Varied Vases, a brand new stamp set which handily has a co-ordinating punch, so you don’t have to fussy cut those vases. I did, however, fussy cut ALL of those yellow flowers... which are actually stamped in every shade of yellow possible. 

I confess, however, that I only went down that route because I messed up the stamping of the stem (should have used the Stamparatus!) so wanted to cover it up. There’s always a way!


The background is watercoloured using Balmy Blue, Highland Heather and Daffodil Delight. I painted one big piece then cut it in half to make the panels for these two cards; you can probably see where the Balmy Blue section originally joined.

Hope you like them! I confess I love them!




Saturday, 2 June 2018

Caturday: Molly


This is Molly - full name Molly Billy Bunny (that’s what happens when you let kids name pets) - making the most of a box. She belongs to a friend who has somehow managed to get a lovely cat who just happens to get on very well with their lovely dog. We can't even get our cats to get along with each other!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Rooted in Nature gift bag of cards


I LOVE the new Rooted in Nature stamp set and, for a recent crafty weekend, wanted to make a set of cards on a mixed metallics theme.

This is how I discovered that stampin the trees and leaves onto foil cardstock in Stazon looks absolutely gorgeous... I particularly love the look on the Champagne Foil, above.

These, plus two other cards, will form the basis of an upcoming workshop, so if you like the look of them and want to make them, please watch this space. I reserve the right to change them slightly, of course; you know I can’t help myself!


Monday, 28 May 2018

Catalogue launch projects - sneak peek

It’s another sunny Bank Holiday here in Derbyshire and today I have the some of the projects from my catalogue launch party to show you.

We used the hostess stamp set, Hand Delivered to make one of these two projects...


The above card uses the new colours Highland Heather (a lovely, delicate lilac), Gorgeous Grape (a perfectly co-ordinating purple) and the barely-there Soft Sea Foam.

The alternative uses new colours, too; Poppy Parade (U-turn alert! This is becoming a firm favourite), Granny Apple Green (my favourite new colour) and, again the delicate Soft Sea Foam.


The second card was a variation on the OnStage Make & Take using the absolute must-have Delightfully Detailed laser-cut Designer Series Paper...


Please do put this paper on your first new catalogue order as it’s really gorgeous and so versatile. Here we’ve just used a panel on top of the perfectly sized new note cards - which come with beautiful watercoloured effects in returning colours Mint Macaron and Blackberry Bliss.

But there’s so much more you can do with this paper, too, and I will be exploring some of the options in future projects.


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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Caturday: Indy

Last week we had Ruby... this week it's her housemate Indy, "helping" on the computer. He's a truly handsome specimen, isn't he?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Retiring product focus: Marquee Messages and Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper


All good things come to an end, even catalogues and favourite stamp sets such as Marquee Messages.

But we all have to move forward at some point, so this is my last look back... from now on I will be looking forward all the way! I couldn’t leave the old catalogue behind without one last play with the beautiful Tutti Frutti DSP and this really fun stamp set. Love it!

My favourite way to use this main image is paper piecing, and the chalk marker makes the letters and lights stand out. I have seen the arrow embellished with tiny pearls on each circle, which looks fabulous, but you know me... I couldn’t bring myself to be THAT extravagant!


This is a great set to use for teenagers, so if you have any of those in your life I suggest you invest in this stamp set before it leaves us forever. And perhaps pour yourself a glass of something strengthening, as those teenage years can be challenging, to say the least. It does get better, I promise!

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Colour combinations for the Stampin' Up!® Colour Revamp


This year I have created a whopping 210 colour combinations for you to use and enjoy. These take in not just the new In Colors™ as normal, but the six returning colours and 10 brand new colours. It’s taken me ages!

With 21 colour charts, it would be impractical to attempt to show them here, so I’ve posted them over on Facebook.

Please click here to see the 2018 colour charts


You don’t have to be a Facebook member to view them. I hope you like them! And please, if you enjoy my colour combinations and especially if you use any of them, please tag me in your post or let me know in the comments.

Thank you!




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Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Sneak Peek: Sympathy, masculine, birthday... Rooted In Nature does it all


To me, this card really evokes a woodland glade on a summer day, with rays of sunshine filtering through the tree canopy. A bit fanciful, perhaps, it IS just a card, after all.

In fact, it is one of the first cards I made for my display at OnStage Telford, when I received my box of goodies back in February. I really love this Rooted in Nature stamp set, and the wooden elements which continue the leafy theme. The ribbon is Granny Apple Green, one of my favourite new colours – it’s so vibrant and happy and, here, adds a touch of zing to an otherwise relatively subdued project.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Sneak peek: Hand Delivered new hostess stamp set


This is a REALLY fun stamp set, but I confess it was a little out of my comfort zone when I first received it back in February, for my Display Board projects.

But after a shaky start, I did manage to create these three beauties... and soon realised that I really should expand my crafting horizons as stamping outside of your comfort zone can be really satisfying.

For the top card, I really pushed the boat out: lots of die-cutting, fussy cutting, colouring with Stampin’ Blends and embossing! Definitely not one for a Make & Take but it’s a lovely special occasion card.


For this card, I stuck to bold, primary shades... little realising that these colours would be so on-trend this year. I adore that Granny Apple Green ribbon, it’s so vivid.


For this project, I used the little flower stamp to create a subtle background – really old-skool, eh? – but with 21st-century sponged, layered ovals and a whole heap of fussy cutting around those balloons.

All the images are coloured with the Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers, which are coming back soon... and in even more colours than before. Can’t wait!

If you’d like to get your hands on this stamp set, it’s available from June but only for hostesses... so get that party booked ASAP!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Caturday: Ruby


This is Ruby, the beautiful Ragdoll belonging to one of my customers, Pat. Ruby likes to get into everything - and what self-respecting cat could resist a basket?

Friday, 18 May 2018

A crafty gift for a crafty lady


A friend asked me for a gift voucher with a difference for her mother. Apparently her mum has “plenty of craft stuff already” (ha ha, how deluded are non-crafty people?) so she wanted to treat her to some classes – what a lovely idea.

I thought Crafty Friday would be the best “starter ” class for somebody who hasn’t experienced the full rowdiness of my evening or all-day events, but because you and I both know that you can never have “plenty of craft stuff already”, I have provided the option to use these vouchers for other events or products if the recipient prefers...


I’ve used outgoing colours Sweet Sugarplum and Soft Sky, because they go so beautifully together and I couldn’t let them leave us without one last play... or two... or three...


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Thursday, 17 May 2018

Retiring product focus: Pop of Paradise, Happiest of Days


A panoply of retiring products here... Pop of Paradise for those lovely pineapples, the gorgeous Tutti Frutti Designer Series Paper stack and Happiest of Days for the greeting.

I wasn’t in the mood for fiddly masking, so I simply covered the leaves and flower from the sentiment image with a couple of pineapples. Cunning, eh?



This ribbon is retiring, too, which is a shame as it’s lovely Lemon Lime Twist – don’t worry, there will be something equally fab in the new catalogue.

Don’t miss out – these are all fabulous products which would make a great addition to your craft stash!
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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Celebrating 10 years with the new Rooted in Nature stamp set


How amazing is this? My downline Tracey has just celebrated her 10th anniversary as a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator. Tracey joined not long after I did, and I’m so happy she chose me as her upline. I remember her sitting in my kitchen, testing out the rubber stamps and being really impressed by the quality. It’s fantastic that she’s stuck around for so long. Congratulations, Tracey!

To help her celebrate, I sent her a gift and this card, which uses one of my favourite new stamp sets, Rooted in Nature. I teamed it with the Hardwood background stamp and the new Artisan Textures stamp set to distress the edges.

Some flowers from Best Birds give the project a pop of colour, and the Champagne Foil die-cut word adds some celebratory bling.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Citrus zing gifts for my crafty buddies


Today I’m returning from a weekend away in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, where I spent several days crafting with some of my stamping friends. With one exception, these are all ladies I would not have known, if it wasn’t for Stampin’ Up!® Yes, SU really does Make a Difference. 



As we are crafty ladies, we like to celebrate each other by swapping handmade gifts. I put together these little pouches with a mix of old and new products. The bags are long retired but needed using up, the sequins and Tutti Frutti paper is going at the end of the month but I’m sure you’ve realised my obsession with this paper by now... and the rest of the produts are coming soon.

Look out for these gorgeous Tropical Thinlits – don’t they look great in acid colours? And don’t miss this Lined Alphabet stamp set; it’s so clear and clean and I love it.

I’ve given the leaves some texture by stamping with Artisan Textures; another new stamp set which I was lucky enough to win at OnStage Telford last month. It’s one of those sets you could be forgiving for overlooking in the catalogue, but it’s going to be so useful especially if, like me, you like a touch of grunge adding to your projects.



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.