Monday, 30 March 2020

The Gang's All Meer head to the mountains

How’s the isolation going? These socially irresponsible meerkats decided to self-isolate in the mountains, ignoring all government advice to #StayHome.

They don't need to stay two metres apart as they are in isolation together... however, they are now stuck in the mountains as flights are grounded so they can't get home.

Don't be a meerkat! But do grab The Gang's All Meer stamp set while you can as TOMORROW is the last day of Sale-a-Bration! 
Tip: Mix those stamp sets! I used The Gang’s All Meer with Snow Front to create this fun scene.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Simple Stamping with Honey Bee

How are you liking the Honey Bee bundle? For me, to bee or not to bee is no question because I love it. These were my Cuppa & Card projects for March. Sadly, I only managed to visit one venue before the lockdown so I’m glad I have the opportunity to share them here, too. 

For the above project, I stamped the bee in the centre of the panel, then stamped with Artisan Textures on top. A very quick way of colouring an image!

The second card features some die-cut stamped images, although for Cuppa & Card, where we keep things simple, they fussy-cut these instead. Such bright and cheery projects for worrying times.

However, I am determined to keep crafting through the crisis and hope you will, too.  My online store remains open for now, so please head on over to stockpile the real essentials... cardstock and adhesives!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Sale-a-Bration third release

Yes, MORE Sale-a-Bration freebies to earn! Working on the theory that you probably have everything you want from the exclusive SAB collections by now, there's a whole new selection of products now available with a qualifying spend. Choose from these fab products if you spend £45 or more, or £90 or more for the punch or dies.

Remember, crafting is the perfect isolation activity!

And if you shop at my store using the host code A9JXEPUT, I'll send you a little thank you gift when I can next get to the Post Office.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Distance crafting - with Honey Bee and Golden Honey DSP

Honey Bee Stampin' Up! AllThingsStampy Helen Read Golden Honey DSP
I am so proud of all the oldies and non-techies who are rapidly learning to use technology so they can keep up with their activities and families. This past week I’ve had several people who are not at all comfortable with technology join me on video conference calls so they can continue to enjoy craft classes.

This was my first demo by video. Only three people were able to join me (it was a rubbish day and time, to be fair) but it went swimmingly, with everyone able to chat to each other, too. I think this bit is extremely important – it’s great watching Facebook Lives but it is a bit one-way.
Kits to make these cards will soon be winging their way to customers – and best of all, they can still make it even if they don’t have the Honey Bee stamp set because everything but the greeting is made from Designer Series Paper. I will die-cut the beehive for them, and they can fussy-cut the rest from the DSP, using their own greeting stamp to finish off.

They can keep us apart but they can't keep us from crafting!

Friday, 20 March 2020

Pigment Sprinkles meet Friendly Silhouettes and Honey Bee

As much as I love Stampin’ Up!® product coordination, sometimes I also love to mix things up. It's a real pleasure to find that your older products work perfectly with your newer ones.

It’s no secret that I love the Honey Bee stamp set and also that I love the Pigment Sprinkles. But I've sadly neglected The Friendly Silhouettes dies, so I thought it was time to bring them all together and create crafting magic, although I say so myself...

With Pigment Sprinkles, it doesn’t do to have a fixed idea of what the results will look like before you start. Just let the magic happen!

For the rainbow card, I sprinkled some of each powder onto some watercolour paper and spritzed with water. For the green and yellow card, I wet the watercolour paper first, sprinkled green and yellow powders and then spritzed on top. 


Thursday, 19 March 2020

The AllThingsStampy guide to surviving self-isolation

How to survive self-isolation social distancing coronavirus crafters

I regret to say, I have suspended all in-person events for the time being and am exploring other options to help see us all through the current pandemic. One thing which will be at the forefront of many people’s minds is how to cope without their regular craft sessions, or working from home without their colleagues to chat to in the kitchen.

I’ve worked from home for many years, with varying degrees of success. I was surprised to learn that even an introvert like me can go stir crazy with a sufficient level of isolation. The hardest times were when I didn't feel part of a team but I was required to be at my desk for most of the time.

Some people – particularly extroverts – will find social distancing and/or self-isolation harder than others, so here are my tips for coming out of the other side of this with your sanity intact. Feel free to share with your self-isolating friends:

👭 1. You need your “tribe”.
Stay in touch with the mates who make you laugh - the ones who will happily spend half an hour debating the best biscuit, if David Tennant is still sexy now that he's too skinny or if Matt Lucas is a suitable replacement for Sandi Toksvig on Bake-Off. And not just by text or messenger. Phone them or video chat – seeing their faces make it so much more real. Best of all... you only have to be dressed from the shoulders up.

🌳 2. Go outside
At the moment, self-isolation doesn't mean staying indoors 24/7. In uncertain times, when anxiety levels can be high, the constancy of nature can be very calming so if you can get to some trees, try to do this every day. Google shinrin-yoku for proof of its value – there’s a scientific reason why it works.

Walk the dog, walk somebody else’s dog, walk to the postbox to send a card to a friend. If you can, meet up with someone to walk with. Just remember to stay the required distance apart – so no hugging!

🗣 3. Enjoy a natter
Visit a neighbour and chat in the garden. Chat to the strangers you meet on your walk. This comes naturally to us in Derbyshire but I understand it is unusual in some parts of the country. Use this as an opportunity to spread the habit; people tell you all kinds of weird and wonderful things when they think they’ll never see you again!

🦆 4. Appreciate nature
If you can’t get out, open all the windows to let some air in. And get a bird-feeder. Watching nature in action is a great distraction from boredom or anxiety. Not convinced? Read Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness.

✂️ 5. Stay creative.
Last but definitely not least... keep crafting! Having a creative outlet has been proven to be beneficial to our mental health. Concentrating on making something pretty can take our minds off the world outside. And if you make a card, you can share the benefits by sending it to a friend.

How will you be coping with reduced (or no) in-person contact? Please share your ideas below and help make this easier for us all. 

And finally...

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Here’s how to create the look of runny honey with Pigment Sprinkles and Honey Bee

Stampin Up Honey Bee Helen Read Allthingsstampy
There are no mistakes in stamping... only happy accidents. How many times have you heard that? Read on to find out how a happy accident resulted in this card, which just happens to be one of my favourite Honey Bee projects so far. 

I absolutely love the “runny honey” effect in the background. I created this using Pigment Sprinkles which I dabbed onto the edge of the paper using a dry brush. Then I spritzed with water towards the centre so the colour ran into the card.

Stampin Up Stamping tip Helen Read Allthingsstampy
This project was the result of one of those happy accidents. It was supposed to be an aperture card but, somehow, things weren’t going well. Instead, I slotted the watercolour paper into the circular hole; ideal if you need to keep your card flat for posting. Just don't add the ribbon, like I did!

Monday, 16 March 2020

Seven Tropical Oasis projects with measurements for a simple card wallet

Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read

It may not feel particularly tropical as I type this but it was on Saturday when I held my All-Day Craft Event using the Tropical Oasis Suite.

Everyone received the stamp set to use at the event, plus half a pack of Memories & More Cards to use on their projects. We made a simple card wallet to hold six cards, which used the Magnolia Lane Memories & More Large Specialty Cards & Envelopes (item 149487) for ease and speed. 

Simple card wallet stampin up tutorial
These are the measurements for a wallet which will comfortably hold six multi-layered cards. Once you have scored as above, cut the grey areas away as shown here...

Simple card wallet stampin up tutorial
And these are the cards we made to go inside. Well, these are my samples – some people went quite a bit off-piste! That's the beauty of having all that choice in the Memories & More Cards.
Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
Inspired by Gail Ellis of Blue Rose Paper Treasures
Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
Inspired by Brian King of Stamp With Brian
Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
 Plus the one you’ve already seen...

Timeless Tropical Stampin' Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read

Stamping Tips Stampin Up AllThingsStampy Helen Read
To colour the image quickly, use sponge daubers! Simply swirl in the centre of the big flower with one colour, then add a paler colour to the edges. Or keep going with the same colour, working outwards so it gets paler towards the petal tips. Because you’re die-cutting or fussy-cutting the flowers, it doesn’t matter if you go over the edges.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Choices, choices... with Tropical Oasis Memories and More cards

Timeless Tropical Oasis Stampin Up Helen Read Allthingsstampy Memories and More

I’m busy preparing for my Spring All-Day Craft Event tomorrow, where we’ll be using the Tropical Oasis Suite to make one big project which should take all day. Intrigued? All will become clear sooner or later.

While designing projects for this session, some inevitably were rejected. Here’s one that got away. One of these is NOT one of the planned projects for tomorrow, but can you guess which one I rejected?

Timeless Tropical Oasis Stampin Up Helen Read Allthingsstampy Memories and More
Timeless Tropical Oasis Stampin Up Helen Read Allthingsstampy Memories and More

However, the nature of the event means the guests will have lots of choice; they can copy my designs or make the projects just how they want to. Flexibility is the key!

Stamping tip stampin up helen read allthingsstampy Memories and More
These projects both use the Tropical Oasis Memories & More cards, which are ideal if you like quick projects. You get the same designs of the Designer Series Paper plus many more, so they’re perfect if you rarely use big pieces of DSP or if you find you’re reluctant to cut it up! There are sticker sheets, too, which make projects even quicker. 

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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Simple stamping with Honey Bee

Honey Bee Stampin Up Simplestamping AllThingsStampy Helen Read

When you’ve been crafting for many years, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has a room full of supplies to draw on as required. I remember the early days of seeing amazing projects which I hadn’t a hope of emulating because I didn’t have a fraction of the products required.

So it’s good to scale things back now and again and prove that simple projects can be just as striking. Whether you’re new to crafting or just in a hurry, this project is a fun one to make – and it’s so satisfying to produce something in minutes which you know will have a big impact if you send it to a friend.
Stamping tip stampin up helen read allthingsstampy
We don’t currently sell black rhinestones but you can make your own by colouring our basic rhinestones with a permanent black marker such as one of our Stampin’ Blends alcohol marker or a black Sharpie. 
Leave the rhinestone on its backing and colour very gently if using a Stampin’ Blend, to avoid smashing the brush tip. Allow to dry for a few seconds and then use as normal. 

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Monday, 9 March 2020

A taste of honey with Pigment Sprinkles

Honey Bee bundle Stampin Up Allthingsstampy Pigment Sprinkles

I’m mad for the Honey Bees at the moment, and have recently rattled out about a dozen projects using this fab bundle. But I don’t have time to show you them all, so here are the two we made at last week’s Crafty Friday session.

Honey Bee bundle Stampin Up Allthingsstampy Golden Honey DSP

If you, too, love these products, I advise you to plan your purchases wisely. While the Honey Bee bundle is available throughout the current Mini catalogue (January-June), the Designer Series Paper is a FREE Sale-a-Bration item, so only available while supplies last, or until the end of March, whichever is the sooner.

stamping tip stampin up helen read allthingsstampy pigment sprinkles
The honey effect in the top card was achieved with the Pigment Sprinkles by sprinkling them onto dry Designer Series Paper and then spritzing with water. You get a more blended look by wetting the paper first, as you can see in the sample on the right...

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Friday, 6 March 2020

How to step up from Simple Stamping with The Gang’s All Meer

Simple stamping with The Gang's All Meer Stampin Up Saleabration

I’ve had enormous fun with these meerkats throughout Sale-a-Bration so far, but now I think it’s time to move on. The set has proved really popular, being chosen by the majority of my customers for their free Sale-a-Bration item. And the ladies who attended my Cuppa & Card sessions all enjoyed making these two #simplestamping projects.

Stamping tips from Helen Read Allthingsstampy
The same basic card design can be stepped up or down, according to your time, your supplies and your skills. Take a look at the evolution of this project... 
The Gangs All Meer Saleabration Stampin Up

And, to a lesser extent, this project...
The Gangs All Meer Saleabration Stampin Up

Both series use the same card sketch, but add or remove elements according to the time restraints and the crafting audience.

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Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Beautiful wildlife cards with Nature's Beauty

Stampin Up Nature's Beauty Helen Read Allthingsstampy

This stamp set is ideal for nature-lovers and, as yesterday was World Wildlife Day, it seems an appropriate time to share.

It’s also appropriate because these projects, inspired by Paula Dobson, were among my Stampy Buffet projects back in January, and I’ve just opened registration for my next card buffet event, which takes place in May.

Please click here for all of my upcoming events

The stamp set is Nature’s Beauty, which was launched in last year’s Autumn/Winter Catalogue but is still available as it is on the Carryover List. Even better, £2 from every sale will go to MIND, or a mental health charity within your own market, if you’re outside of the UK.

Allthingsstampy Stamping tips from Helen Read
Notice the positioning of the animals on these cards. The rabbit sits on the left of the circle and looks to the right, while the fox sits on the right of the circle and looks to the left. Notice, too, the position of the circles on the cards.

Don’t worry, writing it down makes it sound more complicated than it really is. 
The simple formula is that both animals are looking into the circle and into the card. If they were positioned differently, they’d be looking off the edge of the card and, trust me, they just wouldn’t look right. I know I always say rules are there to be broken and they are, but some rules are there for a reason!

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Monday, 2 March 2020

Two explosive colour effects with Pigment Sprinkles

Pigment Sprinkles with Happy Birthday to You Saleabration AllThingsStampy

You're either going to love this or hate it. And it’s the same with the Pigment Sprinkles I used to make this vibrant card. You'll either love messing around with the pigments, seeing what different colour combinations you can create and how to get different effects ... or you’ll hate the mess!

I began by heat embossing in white the main cake image from Happy Birthday To You then sprinkled with various colours of pigment. When you spritz the powders with water, the colours just explode.

You can see more powders on the card base itself; to get this less blended effect, I just added less water... one quick spritz and I was done.

Allthingsstampy stamping tips
I learned the hard way to COVER EVERY SURFACE. Despite wiping my surface down thoroughly, I was getting pink on my hands for DAYS. In fact, the pink smudges on the greeting panel are what you could call “a happy accident”.

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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.