Monday, 30 September 2019

Beautiful Boughs Christmas star decoration

Feeling festive yet? Is it wrong that I have this Christmas star decoration hanging up already? I promise I'll take it down soon, ready to come out again at a more respectable time.

I made this at the weekend using the Peaceful Boughs bundle and have to say I love it. I have precisely five of these stars left which is just enough for a small, friendly class which I'll be holding in December.

The link to register will be going out in my newsletter tomorrow so make sure you're on the list if you want to join me!
Stamping the star with the Birch Background stamp was easy because the die-cut pine sprigs cover the joins. I just made sure I kept the stamp level, and turned it 180ยบ occasionally. It was one of the very rare occasions that I used a clear block with a background stamp; normally I just leave it in the box and apply paper to stamp.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Perfectly Plaid Christmas gift tags

It can be very difficult working out how long projects will take to create, especially as everyone works at different speeds.

For my All-Day Craft Event, I thought I’d play safe and pack an extension activity... and I’m glad I did because I think everybody moved onto it.

These cute tags are simply made using leftover cardstock (plus a bit!) from our earlier projects. They're simple and fun, and will make your presents look really impressive.

When using the Perfectly Plaid stamp set, you'll see that some of the trees require the trunk to be stamped separately. If you are planning to punch out your tree, my top tip is to stamp and punch the main body of the tree, then stamp the trunk on last, as it will be easier to get it in the correct position.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Pillow box pouch and Perfectly Plaid cards

The afternoon session at my All-Day Craft Event was especially relaxed. Fuelled by lunch and cake, we settled down to make this cute hanging pouch and two cards.

The pouch, inspired by US demonstrator Connie Babbert, is especially clever. While the pillow box is still flat, you punch through both layers with a label punch to create the hole. If you like, you can even colour your pillow box before you start by spritzing with ink and alcohol, brayering with ink or simply sponging all over it.

The cards were easy, too, thanks to the silver foil-edged note cards and envelopes (they are available in gold, too). In fact, they were so easy that absolutely everyone moved onto the extension activity, which I will show you on Friday.

Please click here to download the instructions

The bell is tied with baker’s twine, with around 1cm ends left so you can tape it behind the ribbon. Another tip: when working with foil sheets, avoid Tombow adhesive like the plague as it just slips and smears. SNAIL or double-sided tape works best.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Snow globe Christmas ornament and shaker card

It was my autumn All-Day Craft Event at the weekend, with a distinctly festive theme, and we spent the morning creating these snow globe-themed projects.

I had completely overlooked the Snow Globe Scenes dies but was blown away by a project in Stampin’ Success, the magazine for Stampin' Up!® demonstrators. The ornament is created by sticking two shaker domes together with a miniature scene inside. The card is made to match, and I used the Noble Peacock Foil Sheets to provide the shimmer.


Take great care when adhering your shaker domes, whether on the card or when joining two together, as the adhesive is very strong. Once it’s stuck, it’s stuck!

Friday, 20 September 2019

Perfectly Plaid in Pretty Peacock

Perfectly Plaid in Pretty Peacock? Try saying that without spitting on your computer screen!

I’ve been getting myself in the mood for Christmas in readiness for my All-Day Craft Event tomorrow, where we will be using the Perfectly Plaid stamp set all day long.

While playing around with some ideas, I came up with this colour combo – what do you think? Could this be the hot Christmas combo for 2019? It’s Pretty Peacock, Pool Party and Cherry Cobbler.

To get the Pool Party behind the punched tree, I simply sponged in a circular motion until I was happy with the results. No fancy technique – and if you get any blobs you're not happy with, just stick your tree on top!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Simple Stamping with Nature’s Beauty

Simple stamping is perfect for new crafters and those in a hurry. I only have a one-hour session for my Cuppa & Cards and never know how many will turn up, so I keep the projects really simple with minimal preparation.

That doesn't mean the projects are dull; far from it. I love the look of these cute note cards using Nature’s Beauty.

Simply stamping the animal on a separate piece of Whisper White cardstock and popping it up on Dimensionals gives these projects a lift in more ways than one. It also saves you having to create a mask.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Clearance Rack updated - and a host code offer

There are lots of new items on the Clearance Rack, so please do take a look if you like a bargain. 

If you’re shopping online, please use the host code


and if you spend £25 or more, as a thank you, I will send you a small gift. Please don’t use the code for orders over £150 as that would prevent you from receiving your own Stampin’ Rewards. 

Monday, 16 September 2019

Nature's Beauty deer in the silver birches

Third Monday of the month is Make-It Monday with the local WI ladies. They have very particular requirements and are not afraid to tell me about them! I know they enjoy masculine cards so this is one of today's projects. I hope they like it!

For this sample, I stamped the deer onto Crumb Cake cardstock before colouring with watercolour pencils and Blender Pens. It gives the image much more depth and allows it to stand out from the background.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Repurposing the Bird Ballad tin for gift packaging

Reduce, reuse, recycle... it’s a challenge for us all but I’m doing my best and one of my targets this year is reusable gift packaging.

I bought a scarf for a friend and it just happened to be a similar colour to this tine, so I package it up inside. One of the first things she said was “can I keep the tin?” Yes, of course! That's exactly the plan.

The question for you though is: “Can you bear to give your tins away?” They are the Bird Ballad Laser-Cut Cards & Tin (149595) – £17 for 12 cards and this gorgeous tin.

 To turn your stamped flowers into these lovely cup shapes, place them in the palm of your hand and use the rounded end of a pencil (with rubber is best) to press into the centres. Don't be tempted to use anything sharp, but I'm sure nobody would be THAT daft, would they? (*whistles*)

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Nature's Beauty with Feels Like Frost DSP

Woodland theme again! You can't escape it on this blog because it's my favourite theme. And how gorgeous is the Feels Like Frost Designer Series Paper with this lovely Nature's Beauty stamp set?

The animals are coloured with Stampin' Blends but I was concerned the colours weren't quite right so I gave the rabbit and deer a swipe with some Seaside Spray ink on a sponge to tie them in with a hint of blue.

The silver birches are stamped in Seaside Spray, too, but stamped off so they don't overwhelm. I used the Stamparatus for perfect positioning - just move the plate along one slot each time.

The copper leaf accent brings out the colour of the fox (coloured in Calypso Coral Stampin' Blends). I made sure to position them on opposite sides of the card to balance it out. 

Monday, 9 September 2019

Fabulous fox from Nature's Beauty

If you’re a regular visitor (and, if you are, thank you!), then you’ll know I’m a sucker for a woodland theme.

My craft stash is bulging with woodland-themed products – and, with the new Autumn/Winter catalogue, my collection just got a whole lot bigger.

The Nature’s Beauty stamp set was sure to end up on my list – and finding out that £2.50 from every sale goes to mental health charities in the UK was a bonus.

This is one of the projects we made at Crafty Friday last week. Along with the stamp set, I used the new Beautiful Boughs Dies and the Woodland Embossing Folder.

I stamped the fox first, then masked with a sticky note before stamping the foliage around him in Gray Granite. The stark white theme is enhanced with a splash of silver, which echoes the Gray Granite (my silver ink pad isn't due to arrive until today!) and really helps the Cajun Craze fox to stand out. 

Friday, 6 September 2019

Beautiful sponged landscape card with Snow Front

This new Snow Front stamp set looks set to be as popular as Waterfront, especially if you love stamping. I know that sounds silly; we all love stamping, right? But we all love different aspects – some love fussy cutting, some love assembling projects, some love colouring, and some love the act of stamping with lots of images to build up a scene. This stamp set is for those who fall into the last category.

I totally CASEd these projects from Aussie demonstrator Linda Dalke, when I saw her beautiful projects online. Check out her video tutorial here, although I confess I didn't find the video until after I'd made my projects so may have used a different method.

I always try to build in a slight variation when CASEing... this time I made one version without the sponging (stark and clean, and considerably quicker!) and a landscape version, too. I think I still prefer the original, though!

This amazing effect doesn't require any special tools; just an ink pad, sponge and paintbrush (you could even use your fingers instead of a paintbrush!). 

Sponge your background then simply flick water on top by holding a wet paintbrush horizontally over the cardstock and tapping the top. Allow the droplets to soak in for a few seconds then dab them dry with kitchen roll (tissue paper). 

When sponging – and I know I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating – start OFF the project on the grid paper and work in circles, gradually working towards the project so you don't go straight in with dark ink which can look blotchy. 

Monday, 2 September 2019

Autumnal card with Snow Front

I do hope you like trees as much as I do because there are going to be many more woodland-themed projects coming from me! I think every stamp set I have ordered from the new Autumn/Winter catalogue has at least one tree image.

For this project, I used the new Snow Front stamp set to make a small card with autumn trees. The 'snow' stamp is perfect to make autumn leaves for these little trees and, thanks to my tree obsession, I had a choice of products to put with it, eventually settling on the Pinewood Planks embossing folder for my background.

Stamp your greeting before embossing the white cardstock for a really professional look. I love techniques like this, which may the recipient go "how...?"

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.