Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

No projects from me this week as I am taking some time off for Christmas and to recover from a stomach bug. I hope you are having a lovely Christmas break (yes, it goes on all week in the UK!). Christmas has been postponed in our house to allow a quarantine period before we socialise with elderly relatives, so it’s still all to come here!

Meanwhile, if you are in the UK and would like to order, please visit my store and, if you use the January host code RNU3JCR9, I’ll send you a thank you gift in the following month.

Does your wish list come to more than £99? Please get in touch and I will help you get more for your money and unlock discounts all year round.  

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Sneak peek: Grassy Grove bundle

My final Christmas project of the year is this set of simple cards, which blend Stampin’ Up!® products old and new. I have used the absolutely gorgeous Blackberry Beauty Designer Series Paper which is retiring soon... in fact in Europe I believe it has now sold out.

But I couldn’t pack it away without giving it one last outing so used it to make these Christmas cards, combined with the brand new Grassy Grove bundle which is coming in the new Mini Catalogue on 4th January.

This new Mini Catalogue has lots of products which are out of my comfort zone, so I have been having fun with some of those to challenge myself – but it also has many which are right up my street so I bought some of those as well, to satisfy my cravings for projects themed around wildlife and trees. 

For these cards I began my creating a background using Blackberry Beauty Designer Series Paper, as many designs have quite a festive feel. The design on the left in this image even features holly, albeit in Blackberry Bliss on Rich Razzleberry. 

I used a panel created with the Stitched So Sweetly Dies, which are among my most-used dies, especially since I lost my favourite die from the Stitched Rectangles set! Some are cut from Basic White and some from Very Vanilla – with this Designer Series Paper it really doesn’t matter which you use and I am trying to use more vanilla because it’s so soft and lovely... plus it doesn’t go on back order quite as often as Basic White!

I stamped the trees in Rich Razzleberry, the greeting in Blackberry Bliss and the deer in Cinnamon Cider. I used the Stamparatus for this as it meant I could get the trees and greeting in the correct position each time, and also that I could die-cut the deer in advance then just stamp straight onto them, maximising my use of cardstock and saving time. 

For the ground, I experimented with blender pens but didn’t like the look, so eventually settled on one of the cloud images from the stamp set that comes with the No Matter The Weather Kit. Many of these kits come with really useful little stamp sets which are well worth hanging on to once your kit is completed. I stamped this in Cinnamon Cider, stamping off onto scrap paper first. 
In fact, the greeting – along with the one inside – comes from the Christmas Whimsy Card Kit – this is a stamp set I have probably used more than any other this Christmas, as the greetings are so useful. 

Finally I tied a piece of Elegant Trim around the whole card to finish it off. 


This Designer Series Paper may have sold out but there are still some amazing products on the Last Chance List and Clearance Rack. If you are in the UK and would like to order, please visit my store and, if you use the current host code TFBG2JJB, I’ll send you a thank you gift in the following month.

Does your wish list come to more than £99? Please get in touch and I will help you get more for your money and unlock discounts all year round.  

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Last-minute Christmas gift projects – with free tutorial

It’s around about this time of year that I begin to lose interest in Christmas projects and get anxious to start crafting with my new Stampin’ Up!® supplies. But there are still Christmas gifts, decorations and more to be made so for my penultimate craft class of the year we made a gift card holder and a couple of packages for tiny gifts. 
All of these projects can be made from one sheet of Stampin’ Up!® Painted Christmas Designer Series Paper (or any other designs of your choice). 
We began by making the bauble/gift holder which can be made from any size square but I went with 7" (17.8cm) to allow enough leftovers to fit the gift card holder.

This is far simpler than it looks and requires no cutting, measuring or special tools. I used this tutorial by Aussie demonstrator Fiona Bradley
The only thing I changed from Fiona’s tutorial was to punch my corner holes after the first two folds – it’s way easier to do this when the paper is still flat. Punch through both layers when the paper is folded corner to corner, then repeat on the other two corners. 
We held our baubles together using Simply Elegant Trim and decorated with a gift tag made with the Seasonal Labels Dies and coordinating Christmas Season stamp set. 

The card is a square one made to fit some 13cm (5") envelopes from my stash. All the pieces of Designer Series Paper you need can be cut out of the remaining sheet you used for the bauble.
 Make sure any decorations you add to the front of the small square don’t overhang on the left or this will make the card difficult to open.  

Inside the right flap you can stick a piece of Designer Series Paper and there is just enough room for a credit card-sized gift card... if you don’t apply adhesive on the right hand side. 

With our leftover pieces we decorated these little Simply Classic Treat Boxes, which are ideal for table gifts or for packaging something small such as jewellery. You could even hang them on the Christmas tree filled with chocolates.
There wasn't a long enough strip of Designer Series Paper left to go around the whole box so I cut two 3.5cm wide strips and joined them. Once the gold trim and decorations are added you can’t see the joins.

I hope these projects have inspired you to make some last-minute festive packaging. They are a great way to use up any leftovers – and don’t feel you have to hoard this pack of paper as it is only going into hibernation. The Painted Christmas Designer Series Paper will not be available from 4th January but will return in July 2022. 

The Christmas Season stamp set and Seasonal Labels Dies are both carrying over into the new year, although will not be available as a bundle from 4th January. So if you want to make your 10% saving, I suggest you order before then. They have proved to be my most-used Christmas stamps this year and the dies will prove useful all year round.

Want to craft with beautiful projects like these? If you’re in the UK, please head on over to my store to shop. If you use the host code TFBG2JJB before the end of December, I will send you a thank you gift next month.

Does your wish list come to more than £99? Please get in touch and I will help you get more for your money and unlock discounts all year round.  

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Sneak peek: Five cards with the Rainbow of Happiness bundle

Do you love rainbows? Come on, who doesn’t? Well, how about a sneak peek today? Do you want to take a look at one of the fabulous new bundles coming up in the Stampin’ Up!® January-June 2022 Mini Catalogue?

The Rainbow of Happiness bundle features the beautiful and versatile Rainbow of Happiness stamp set and the coordinating Brilliant Rainbow dies.

Rainbows can mean many things to many different people. They have spiritual significance for people of various religions and cultures, they can be a sign of good luck to those searching for a pot of gold at the end and they are a sign of equality for the LGBTQ+ community. They are also pretty amazing to see on a wet day, as I did when out walking in the Derbyshire countryside on Saturday.

Whatever your reason for loving rainbows, the new Rainbow of Happiness stamp set will enable you to add more than a splash of colour to your craft projects and I made a batch of cards using this fun new set, to mark a number of celebrations. 

First of all I wanted to celebrate two of my team members who were recognised by Stampin’ Up!® for their achievements during 2020-2021. I used the Pattern Party Designer Series Paper which is only available if you host a qualifying party but had just the right colourful vibe to go with these projects. 

For the first card, picking the colours from this paper, I used Poppy Parade, Pumpkin Pie, Granny Apple Green and Pool Party to stamp my rainbow to match the Designer Series Paper behind. 


I added interest to the white panel with a polka dot design created using the Checks & Dots Embossing Folders and a subtle greeting from the Sweet as a Peach stamp set.

For the second team card, I needed make the card a little more masculine so stamped in shades of blue/green. I used Pool Party, Coastal Cabana, Bermuda Bay and, after trying several blues and not finding the right one, finally settled on Shaded Spruce. 

I used a spotty piece of Designer Series Paper from the same Pattern Party pack, so this time used the checked embossing folder. These are narrow embossing folders which means you can use them in the Mini Stampin’ Cut & Emboss Machine – but you can also used them with a larger piece of cardstock if you run them through twice as I did, carefully positioning the cardstock so the pattern repeats. 

Next up was a congratulations card to celebrate the birth of a baby girl. I don’t currently have much call for baby cards so I was struggling for a stamp set, but then saw this beautiful card created by Canadian Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator Tina Zinck and used that as the basis for my own version.

I used Shimmery White cardstock to add some sparkle (which doesn’t really show up in the photos) and gave one piece a wash of Pool Party ink to look a little like the sky. This was die-cut using the must-have Stitched So Sweetly Dies.

On top of this I created a pink rainbow and clouds using Brilliant Rainbow dies, and added a penguin stamped using Count on Me and fussy cut. 

Finally I wanted to make a card to support a friend who is transgender and has been receiving lots of hateful messages online purely for being her true self. I began by researching the colours of the trans flag, which is pink, white and blue – not colours I would normally use. I ended up making two cards as I couldn’t really decide where I was going with it. 

This one – the one I sent – is based on a card demonstrated by Emma Parkin-Wilson at OnStage@Home, an event for Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators. Emma’s card used Designer Series Papers behind the white rainbows but I was limited to Balmy Blue and Blushing Bride so stamped them to create my own pattern. As the stamps I used were tiny, this was quite the task!

The greeting is cut out using Tasteful Labels Dies. I keep spare labels die-cut in Basic White to hand so I can finish projects without having to pull out lots of different die sets. The card is finished off with a hint of silver in the cord and rhinestones. The result was that this really did brighten my friend’s day. 

And finally, the one that got away, which I didn’t send in the end. The rainbow is stamped in Balmy Blue and Blushing Bride with the greeting fitting perfectly in the centre. The cute border comes from the Brilliant Rainbow dies, and I still had the Checks & Dots Embossing Folders out from the earlier projects.

I hope you enjoyed these projects and will maybe consider adding this bundle to your wish list for when the Stampin’ Up!® January-June
2022 Mini Catalogue goes live in January. I have to say this is not my usual stamp set style but I thoroughly enjoyed using it and plan to make many more cards to brighten people’s days. 

Meanwhile, there are lots of fabulous products which are due to retire very soon, with some of them reduced by up to 50%. You can check them all out in my online store and, if you use the current host code TFBG2JJB, I’ll send you a thank you gift in January.

Does your wish list come to more than £99? Please get in touch and I will help you get more for your money and unlock discounts all year round.  

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.