Saturday, 23 September 2017

Caturday: Ginger cat needs a home!



I paid a visit to the cat shelter last weekend, for the first time in nearly a year, and couldn’t believe how much it had changed. There had been a lot of issues with maintenance - cat wee rots woodwork! - and there were concerns that it would have to close.

The solution was to convert half the shelter into and extension of the luxury boarding cattery, which Jane also has in her garden, and use that to raise much-needed funds. Boarding cats stay in VERY comfortable rooms, with a double bed, television and outdoor run, while the cats needing homes stay in the neighbouring shelter.

Here’s one of the shelter cats - I don’t know his name, sorry – poking around between two of the boarding lodges. This poor cat is very shy, so has been at the shelter with his brothers for over a year now. They’re all beautiful but need a lot of patience.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Best Birds gift and card combo


A gift for one of my club members – she has two slots in the club, so gets a double present, which meant I could give her a stamp set from her wish list. Love how the In Colors go together beautifully for this project, which gave the Best Birds bundle a rare outing.


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Some non-Halloween cat punch projects

Here are the cat punch projects I demoed at a party recently... the host is the only one of my customers who actually makes Halloween projects, so I was keen to show its versatility with some generic cards and gifts.


Pizza box
We sell these fab little boxes in the Autumn/Winter catalogue. They are food safe with a shiny interior, but the exterior can be stamped or coloured. I mixed some rubbing alcohol with a few drops of Cajun Craze reinker and sprayed it all over to get this lovely effect.

It’s embellished with a black rhinestone. I’m quite embarrassed to admit I didn’t even see these in the Autumn/Winter catalogue so have been colouring my silver ones with a Sharpie! And, of course, that gorgeous black vintage crochet trim – a must have, in my opinion!


The notecards
Inside I placed three 3" square notecards - we now sell the mini envelopes again, in the Autumn/Winter catalogue. They all use the Spooky Night DSP but the reverse sides, which can be used for any occasion (not weddings perhaps, unless it’s a Goth wedding!).


I made a belly band to go round it – you can just see the pumpkins peeping out from the inside, but you can’t see them when the box is closed. 




The badge
Inside the box I also popped a cat badge mounted on a decorated backing card.

To make these badges, I punched out 6-8 pieces of the white card that backs Designer Series Paper and stuck it together using Tombow, so that it will slip and is easier to line up. I topped it with a punched cat and then Versamarked all over the front so I could emboss it with clear powder, two or three times. Finally a badge clip was stuck to the bag using a heat gun.

Hope you like!

Monday, 18 September 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Winter Wonder Textured Impressions Embossing Folder


Bring out the Powder Pink for another colour combination from my In Color charts and another Mix It Up Monday project. 

I had a spot (or two) of bother with this card as the unlucky recipient will notice. I managed to get Tombow EVERYWHERE and, in the case of Silver Foil, nothing will clean it off. I didn’t have time to start again so only managed to produce a card suitable for posting thanks to the power of photo editing.  



This is the Winter Wonder Textured Impressions Embossing Folder. If you’ve seen it in the Autumn/Winter catalogue, then I salute you because it’s almost as if SU don’t want anyone to buy it, it’s so hidden away. (Page 37, if you’ve given up looking). It’s gorgeous, it will make your Christmas cardmaking an absolute breeze but my top tip is this: if you’re using Silver Foil, stick to SNAIL rather than Tombow.  






Saturday, 16 September 2017

Caturday: shy kitty


On a short walk around a small Derbyshire village the other week, we saw not one but SEVEN cats... every last one of them an anti-social misery. This one stared at us from a fair distance away in a field. And that's all I got...

Friday, 15 September 2017

Cat punch birthday card


I did it at last! I managed to create a non-standard cat... in Lemon Lime Twist. And why not? This is a fun card which shows you can use your cat punch with all your Designer Series Papers, and for all occasions.

For more cat projects, including a card on this theme and some really cute mini cards in a pizza box, please visit my Facebook page for a cat project video! (Give us a like while you’re there, why don’t you, please?)


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Forest scene with Card Front Builder Dies


This card was inspired by our summer holiday in Scotland, so features:

  • Wooden boards - made with the Pinewood Planks embossing folder)
  • A little red house in the woods - made with the Hometown Greetings Edgelits 
  • Lots of Scots pine trees - Card Front Builder Dies, with each tree hand trimmed to expose the long trunks
  • A shy deer - Cart Front Builder dies again.

Two of the main products I used are from the Autumn/Winter catalogue and are actually Christmas products... but don’t let that stop you; as I’ve shown here, they are suitable for year-round use, especially when trying to recreate the Abernethy Forest in paper form!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Mix It Up Monday: sparkly dragonflies


It’s time for another colour combination from my In Color charts and another Mix It Up Monday project… or two projects in this case. 

My club members always get a gift of SU product in their birthday month and September is Mandy’s birthday. Here’s her card and present, made to co-ordinate and also to fit this week’s colour challenge. 


It’s hard to see from the photo but the dragonflies are cut from Marina Mist cardstock and then painted all over with Wink of Stella to give them some sparkle to go with the silver foil and the rhinestones. Behind the dragonfly the white cardstock is embossed with the Pinewood Planks Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder… a little hint as to what was inside!

I made the gift package using the Envelope Punch Board, just adding an extra crease all round, a half inch further along to give the envelope more depth. 



Saturday, 9 September 2017

Caturday: Cobweb makes the most of the weather


Oops, I could have sworn I’d scheduled a Caturday post for today but evidently not, so here’s one now, better late than never!

It’s our very own Cobweb, enjoying the best of the British weather. Above, possible the last of the summer sun...

... and below, making the most of the rain by licking the water off the rooflight.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Painted Harvest in rich purple shades


The first Friday of each month is Crafty Friday – a relaxing class suitable for all abilities. There is often an element of freestyle, where we all begin from the same starting point and then go our own way, if we wish. 

So we all made the card on the left, then moved onto a simple easel card. The Painted Harvest stamp set proved really popular, especially in these gorgeous rich colours of Berry Burst, Fresh Fig, Soft Suede, Tranquil Tide and Lemon Lime Twist. Yum!

To see the projects made by the six ladies who came to the class, please visit my Facebook page



Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Pieces and Patterns gift wrap


I LOVE these dinosaurs and I LOVE Lemon Lime Twist, too... so I made my friend and helper Kelly this cute gift bag to carry her birthday present. Yes it’s a stamp set and no, I don’t have measurements, sorry, I just winged it. I do remember that I needed to use 12x12 for the base, if that’s any help. (No, it isn’t really, is it?)

Monday, 4 September 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Cat punch birthday card


Continuing my campaign to prove that you don’t need to celebrate Halloween to enjoy the new cat punch… here’s a fun birthday card in this week’s Mix It Up Monday colour combination from my In Color charts. It’s a great combo but I wish I’d made more of the Old Olive as it does get a bit lost.

Cat-wise, I’m loving the cat in an ombre Berry Burst – I knew I’d come round to colourful cats eventually. 






Saturday, 2 September 2017

Caturday goes large: Snow leopard


A little bigger than the usual stars of Caturday, this snow leopard was spotted (geddit?) at Highland Wildlife Park on our visit to Scotland last month.

She’s a beautiful creature and posed very nicely for this photo. In case you’re concerned about space, the pair of snow leopards frequently have access to the huge hillside area  beyond this fence; they take it in turns with the neighbouring Turkmenian markhor (never together - that would be disastrous!) and enjoy exploring the scents they leave behind.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Cat punch - gift-wrapped!


I’ve wanted to share this card on here for ages but have had to wait for my friend and able helper Kelly’s birthday to come and go!

But now I can reveal all... along with the link to the brand new Autumn/Winter catalogue, which is where you will find this fabulous cat punch and the DSP which fits it perfectly.

I’ve placed the cat in a box by cutting off the end from a wooden crate die-cut from Kraft cardstock (yes it’s back! Page 12). The background is watercoloured in two of Kelly’s favourite colours: Soft Sky and Smoky Slate and the words are stamped with the Labeler Alphabet, which is really coming into its own now that I have cat cards to make!

Find the new Autumn/Winter catalogue here!






Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Sneak peek: Spooky Cat owl birthday card


It’s birthday season – from last week until the middle of September it’s just birthday, birthday, birthday. There’s even a run of four or five on consecutive days. And, in most cases, I can’t just root around for a card in the samples box. For instance, I don’t have an 18th birthday card lying around, so made this one specially, using a number of stamp sets:

  • Spooky Cat – as part of my mission to prove that it’s good for more than just Halloween
  • Number of Years – perfect for those age cards
  • Best Birds – so the owl doesn’t fall off his perch
  • Labeler Alphabet – for the inside greeting. 







Monday, 28 August 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Pieces & Patterns


A teeny tiny sneak peek for you today - can you spot it?

Yes, it’s the Vintage Crochet Trim, which is tucked away at the back of the Autumn/Winter catalogue with the Spooky Night Suite. I do love a pop of black on a project, and thought it was perfect to add some punch to this super-bright colour combination from my In Color charts.



I was convinced that I had a ‘blob’ stamp I could use to colour these cute little bears for today’s Mix It Up Monday project but apparently I don’t, so my fingers and thumbs came to the rescue. I’m not sure how long it will be before the Melon Mambo fades!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Caturday: Shining Cliff Woods


We often walk in Shining Cliff Woods in Ambergate, but we have never seen a cat there at all. So we were very surprised on a walk the other evening to see not one but THREE cats. There's some sort of cat shelter behind one of the houses there so we did half wonder if they'd all escaped!

Unfortunately, this was the only one I could capture on camera, and even that was touch and go as this was as close I could get before it ran away.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Sneak peek: Hometown Greetings Edgelits


What I would like to know is this: how come, when a German demonstrator (any German demo – they all seem to have this talent) creates a project using Sahara Sand (or Crumb Cake) and one other colour, it looks fabulous and stylish and gorgeous... but when I try it, I never seem to be able to pull it off?

But while the cards may not overwhelm, I think the products will. I LOVE the Pinewood Planks embossing folder, which I have only just purchased, and I LOVE these new Hometown Greetings dies.

I made a batch of these for this month’s club ladies, to thank them for their orders. I wanted to showcase some of the new Autumn/Winter products but in all honesty, I’m not quite ready for Christmas just yet. I know if I start on the Christmas cards this early, I’ll be sick to the back teeth of it by November.

But these little die-cut houses are good for lots of occasions. They are part of a border, so I had to cut off another house, and they are one of my favourite products in the upcoming catalogue. I have lots of ideas for these, and a trip to Ikea may be in order.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Blooms & Wishes gift pack for a special silver celebration


I am very proud of my team member, Sue, who has just promoted to Silver! I may not be Sue’s direct upline but I’ve pledged to be better at celebrating my team members’ achievements so popped a little packet of Rhinestones in the post for her, with a matching card.

I used flowers – because Sue LOVES flowers – and a splash of silver to mark the occasion.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Mix It Up Monday: sneak peek Cat Punch


As you may have gathered, the product I am most excited about in the upcoming Autumn/Winter catalogue is the cat punch. And, as I have no reason to celebrate Halloween, I’ve been looking for ways to use it for other occasions. 

Not sure what occasion would warrant this particular Mix It Up Monday project but it kept me amused for half an hour. And I’m proud to say that I stamped the words in one go. 



Here’s my three-step method for stamping with the Labeler Alphabet stamp set (or any alphabet set):
  1. Draw a fine pencil line along a ruler and mark the centre point.
  2. Have the word or phrase written on scrap paper so you can copy it (it’s so easy to stamp the wrong letter otherwise), then count the characters – including spaces and any punctuation – to work out the centre point.
  3. Stamp from the centre point outwards; this is when having the phrase written down will help as you will be stamping half of it in reverse. 

I scoured my In Color charts for a combo with a cat shade in it (I’m not quite ready for fantasy cats in crazy colours but I’ll get there) and found this one… and a mistake which slipped through not one, not two but THREE proofreaders! Yes, the chart says Tangelo Twist, which is a retired In Color, when actually I meant to say Tangerine Tango. I always get those two mixed up. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Caturday: Marmaduke


Meet Marmaduke, a very friendly farm cat who lives alongside 170+ alpacas! We met him on our visit to Charnwood Forest Alpacas to meet the babies (crias) last weekend. Here they are...




Friday, 18 August 2017

Cat punch sneak peek - Catzilla!


My mind is racing with ideas for this fabulous new cat punch, which is coming to an Autumn/Winter catalogue near you in September.

I don’t know why, but I wanted to place it with the fun buildings from the hostess stamp set, In The City, so I stamped a row of properties, cut them out and overlaid them onto some Soft Sky cardstock, with a Basic Grey cat sitting there, sinisterly peering over the top. Catzilla!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Carols of Christmas - one design, two cards


At last week’s Crafty Friday event, we made a fancy fold card to this design, then scaled things back by making a much simpler card along the same lines.

The one on the right folds out and is held together with a belly band, and is ideal for a “special card”, while the one on the left is a bog standard card design, much more suited to making multiples for most people on your Christmas mailing list.


It was fun to get the glitter and gold glimmer paper out on a warm August day, and we had lots of fun using the new Carols of Christmas bundle, which is available to purchase ahead of its official release next month.





Monday, 14 August 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Tranquil Tide with Vintage Leaves



Tranquil Tide goes brilliantly with copper, so I placed some Copper Foil behind this die-cut piece to create a contrasting border for this Mix It Up Monday project. 

The dies are in the new Card Front Builder set, which is an Autumn/Winter catalogue product available a month early. It’s part of the festive Carols of Christmas bundle but there’s not reason you can’t use it all year round. 

What I like about the border stamps is that it only die-cuts one end, so you cut one end and then run it through the Big Shot again to cut the other. This means it fits our card sizes in the UK as well as those in the US, which are proportioned slightly differently. 


For autumn (which I’m afraid to say is looming large), there’s no finer stamp set than Vintage Leaves and this is a pretty good colour combo, too, if I say so myself. It comes from my In Color charts, which feature 50 colour combos using the latest In Colors. 

I sponged the top image in Cajun Craze and Early Espresso onto Very Vanilla, with leaves die-cut from the two colours of cardstock in the background. That’s it, quite a simple card, topped off with a greeting from Better Together (a must-have, in my opinion). 


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.