Saturday, 22 July 2017

Caturday: Canalside cat


Just an ordinary cat on an ordinary wall, right? Well, not exactly. We spotted this lovely tabby on a recent walk along Cromford Canal and zoomed right in for a fuzzy photo. But if you zoom out...



... you see that the cat clearly isn’t afraid of heights! Or, presumably, trains.


Friday, 21 July 2017

Pick a Pattern DSP with glittery embossing



I’m going through a glittery embossing phase, and it all started with a video by Kristina Werner, which inspired me to try some sparkly techniques. While Kristina’s techniques didn’t directly translate to Stampin’ Up!® supplies, the concept certainly did, so I set to work.

I began by watercolouring a background in some bright colours, the die-cut a circle using the fabulous, must-have Stitched Shape Framelits. I embossed the greeting on top in white, then embossed the whole thing using a mix of clear embossing powder and Dazzling Diamonds glitter. Sparkly!


The only ribbon I had in a relevant colour was Crushed Curry, which didn’t quite look right, so I turned to my talented team for some help in finishing off the project, and this suggestion was put forward... curly strips of cardstock. I love it! And it means you can create fabulous embellishments from the bits you’d normally throw away. 


Here’s the card to go with the present – another sparkly greeting and the same fabulous Designer Series Paper. I’m so glad I finally plucked up the courage to start using this paper, instead of just looking at it.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Glittery embossing on Happy Birthday Thinlits


How’s this for a different look with the same stamp set? For this project, I took inspiration from another Artisan Design Team demonstrator (aim high, that’s what I always say), Paula Dobson. It was her gift bag which inspired me to create this funky card; the black really makes the colours pop.

We made this card at last week’s Crafty Friday event, which is a really relaxed class where we often try different techniques. This was actually the only card we made in the session, because there were many steps.

For the greeting, we began by painting some watercolour paper with bright colours – I used Melon Mambo and Lemon Lime Twist. When this was dry, we die-cut it using the Happy Birthday Thinlits die. It looked pretty fab, and you could leave it there, but we were having too much fun to stop, so decided to do some glittery embossing  on top.



We Versamarked the whole piece and added a mix of embossing powder and Dazzling Diamonds glitter to create a shiny and sparkly effect. It looks really cool. If you do this, keep your mix made up ready – I use about 60% embossing powder, 40% glitter (roughly!) but be prepared to keep topping up with embossing powder, as the glitter will begin to take over.

The background is stamped in Craft Whisper White ink and, in the absence of ribbon, I added a flower which was stamped on the leftover piece of watercolour paper. Ooh, that would have looked nice embossed, too.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Happy Birthday Gorgeous


Happy Monday, everyone. It’s time for another project using a colour combination from my In Color charts – this time, something subtle and floral. Do not adjust your sets, this is really happening!



For this Mix It Up Monday project, I took (rather a lot of) inspiration from an talented Artisan Design Team demonstrator, Katy Harrison, and her beautiful card made with Happy Birthday Gorgeous. CASEing (Copy and Share Everything) is definitely the way forward when you’re out of your comfort zone with flowers and pink.

I confess I completely disregarded this stamp set when I first saw it. Why? Because I really am not keen on the trend for birthday balloons. But they are just a few of the stamps in this very varied set, which has loads of useful greetings and plenty of flowers and leaves so you can create some very pretty scenes. 


Hope you like the colour combo, it’s very subtle for me, so I was relieved to see I’d had the foresight to throw in some Basic Black to hold it all together. Don’t forget you can play along, too!


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Caturday: RIP Felix


Sad news from Woodland Nook. Resident cat Felix, the patriarch of the shelter, has died after a battle with cancer. Felix was rescued by shelter owner Jane who found him as a stray in Crete. After a life of fighting for survival and scavenging for food, he loved the running buffet of the shelter, as you can see from the pictures! He loved fuss, and always took care of any kittens who needed someone to snuggle. A huge presence in the shelter (and not just literally), he will be sadly missed. RIP Felix.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Bookmark card challenge with Pieces & Patterns and Pop of Paradise


At my last meeting for my team of Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators, we held an informal shoebox swap. I always make it “informal” because so many of my team are very busy people, holding down full-time jobs and volunteering commitments, as well as having families. So the deal is, if you have time, you bring a project for everyone to make. If you don’t... you just come along and enjoy it. It all balances out in the end.

One of my team, Ian (yes, men can be demonstrators, too!) had a brilliant idea to bring us all a half-finished project. We all received the basis of this card – with a diagonal pocket on the front and a plain bookmark inside. The challenge was to decorate it and post it to our team Facebook page.

I was a bit slow to complete mine but this mean I could see what everyone else had done – naturally, people leaned towards the floral and pretty, so I thought I’d go for something completely different... with a dinosaur. The leaves from Pop of Paradise are just what this little dino needs to hide in – and three three shades of green (Old Olive, Tranquil Tide, Lemon Lime Twist) co-ordinate and contrast perfectly.  Hope you like it!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Pieces & Patterns film strip


Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake and it took me a while to realise that this funky black and white DSP would be perfect to create a film strip effect. I overlaid a strip of Basic Black cardstock and then topped it with some pieces of this really cut and fun DSP from the same pack. Love the effect... and the camera image from the co-ordinating Pieces & Patterns stamp set is just perfect to finish it off.

This film strip concept would be great for scrapbooking, too, as you could put photos in the spaces.

But isn’t this DSP with the little rabbit cute? Oh... just seen the snail. Don’t like it any more.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Sharing Sweet Thoughts


A challenging subtle colour combination for me this week’s Mix It Up Monday... I never do well with pinks and pastels but I had go and came up with this fun butterfly card. The lid was due to go on top of the jar but I couldn’t bear to trap the butterflies, even if they are only made of paper and ink. 


This stamp set, Sharing Sweet Thoughts, is this year’s Ronald McDonald House Charities set... which means every time you purchase it, Stampin’ Up!® will donate £2 to RMHC, which provide support and accommodation to families of children receiving specialist medical treatment around the UK. 

For more fab colour combos, take a look at my In Color charts… and, if you get chance, why not play along with the challenge?



Saturday, 8 July 2017

Caturday: Callie



There’s a new cat in the family! No, don’t panic, not in our house – we’re full. This is Callie, who lives in Canada with my aunt. She (Callie, not my aunt) turned up at a neighbour’s house begging for food but they, like us, were already full, so Callie has been happily rehomed with my aunt. So happy for them both – a house isn’t a home without a cat!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Clean and simple Pieces & Patterns


So you think you don’t have time to make your own cards? Think again. I turned out 20+ of these note cards – with stamped envelopes – in about half an hour. That’s just over a minute per card.

And if you’re wondering why the photo doesn’t show the pure Whisper White of the note cards, it’s because they’re not white. We now sell these handy little fellas in Very Vanilla, which is just perfect to co-ordinate with the Cajun Craze bear, Lemon Lime Twist pencil and Tranquil Tide greeting.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tree Rings with Happiest of Days and Pieces & Patterns


This card is my version of one featured in Stampin’ Success, the magazine sent out to demonstrators. And don’t tell anyone... but I like my version better. Possibly because it features my favourite new colour, Lemon Lime Twist, and possibly because I got to use two of my favourite new stamp sets with the Tree Rings.

This completes a set of three cards made with the same three stamp sets to create three very different looks. This was the first – a cute mushroom is offset with two different wood effects. The second was a masculine look and this one is, as you can see, unashamedly girly... for me at least.

The background is stamped in Craft Whisper White ink and then embossed in white, just to give it a bit of extra oomph.  I love the effect this creates and some of the ladies who made this at the weekend – my team in the morning and my club members in the afternoon – said she thought the tree rings looked like flowers in this context.

Personally I think they look like Tree Rings, but who am I to argue?




Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sign up as a Stampin' Up!® demonstrator and get an early Christmas present



Wow, there is an AMAZING sign-up offer for July. You can join for the usual fantastic bargain price of just £99, but on top of your Starter Kit – which includes up to £130 of craft supplies of your choice – you will also receive additional gifts worth £65!

These are:

An Essentials Gift Pack, which features: 

  • D Block (2) ~ 118485
  • Grid Paper ~ 130148
  • Paper Snips ~ 103579
  • SNAIL Adhesive ~ 104332
  • Bone Folder ~ 102300

PLUS the brand new Carols of Christmas stamp set

What’s more, there is a set of dies which co-ordinates with this set, too, which you can choose as part of your Starter Kit if you wish. 
I’d love to welcome you to my team so please contact me for a no-obligation chat or, if you’re ready to join, please click here to get started!


Monday, 3 July 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Tree Rings and a little bear



Three stamp sets, same three as on this project, but a very different look for today’s Mix It Up Monday project. My club ladies made this project, along with another card using the same stamps, at Welcome event over the weekend. 

I think the pop of Lemon Lime Twist (my favourite new In Color - did I mention that?) really makes this card zing and the Tree Rings background stamp really comes into its own when used in Soft Suede as a subtle woodland backdrop. 

I wanted to see if I could use this fairly girly greeting from Happiest of Days on a gender neutral card. I couldn’t face masking off the flower so stamped it all and covered it with the little bear. I had planned to cover it with the dinosaur (hence the green) but it wasn’t quite big enough. Dinosaurs may not have been green anyway… and bears certainly aren’t, but who cares?



For more fab colour combos, take a look at my In Color charts… and, if you get chance, why not play along with the challenge?


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Caturday: Ginger Tom


What a battle-worn old bruiser. Ginger Tom is a regular visitor to my friend Kelly ’s house. He’s not very popular with her four cats, but he’s a pussycat really, and lapped up the attention from a group of crafters last weekend.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Butterfly Basics bundle pop-up card


A pink card? With a butterfly on it? No, do not adjust your sets... I stepped out of my comfort zone for this one, as I was making a card for a very girlie friend. And I’m happy to report that it was very much appreciated - she loved it.

I was completely at a loss when faced with the Butterfly Basics stamp set - told you I was out of my comfort zone - but thankfully, this project by Julie Davison came to the rescue. Thanks for the inspiration, Julie!


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Daisy Delight Bundle with Wood Crate Die


Wooden crates don’t always have to be with the Wood Textures DSP (although they look pretty fab in that paper), they can be made from anything and I really like how it looks in the Color Theory DSP as shown here.

This was the hostess gift for a party I did recently, where I showcased the Daisy Delight Bundle. The flowers were made in the same way as for this card, but sponged in Berry Burst and Powder Pink. It’s really easy and a lovely effect.

And don’t you just love this crinkled ribbon? Looks gorgeous in bright Berry Burst.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

We Love Our Hosts Blog Tour & Mix It Up Monday: In The City


Thank you for visiting my blog for a very special Mix It Up Monday. Night owls and folk from the across The Pond will observe that it’s still actually Sunday for one thing!

But I couldn’t post something at 11pm on a Sunday and not use one of my colour combinations from my In Color charts because that would put me a week behind and I might not complete my year-long challenge!

I’m taking part in a global blog hop to celebrate the We Love Our Hosts promotion – which means if your workshop total reaches £300 during June, you get an extra £30 in Stampin’ Rewards. You have just a few days left to take advantage of this great offer, so don’t delay – you don’t even have to hold a party; you can gather orders from friends and still get the rewards. 



The theme of the hop is therefore hostess sets and I’ve chosen to showcase my surprise favourite: In The City. I wasn’t keen until I tried this set with a very limited colour palette; now I love the way it looks like an old screen print. And really, you cannot go wrong with Lemon Lime Twist and Basic Black – they’re made for each other!


I will say this about this stamp set; it’s a “stamper’s stamp set”. Much in the way that the Mini is a “driver’s car”. If you want to make a quick card before you dash out to catch the last post, this isn’t the set for the job. But if you really enjoy stamping and have the time to play around for a while to create one scene, you’ll love it. I just kept stamping and stamping until I had enough for five projects… then quickly assembled them using very simple designs. I hope you like them!







And now, please head over to the next blog to see some more hostess set inspiration!






Caturday (yes I know it's late): Professor Happy Cat



It’s a topsy turvy weekend. Caturday is extremely late this week... because it's already Sunday. This is mainly because I've been so busy with many things, including the Birthday Wishes Challenge but also because I was holding out for this particular photo, which just makes everyone smile (except cat phobics and dogs, perhaps).

Let’s just focus in on that happy smiling face, shall we?


This is Pooboo, who crashed into our lives by smashing up the locked catflap and never really left. We nicknamed him Tavish, for reasons I can’t be bothered to type, but he soon gathered many more names, the most commonly used being Pooboo (NO idea why). He’s also known as Powbow, Sweet Pete Sweet, Big Bob, Robert Dobert, Jonathan, Big Choobalooba, Cowboy Sneep Snip (honestly, ask my daughter if you want reasons... and the full list) and, more fittingly, Professor Happy Cat.

He is worshipped. The most amenable cat you could ever wish to meet, he likes nothing more than having his tummy rubbed and cannot walk across the patio without flopping over to present his finest asset to you.

Anyway, come back later for Mix It Up Monday... yes, on a Sunday, at 11pm. I told you it was a topsy turvy weekend.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Tree Rings with Happiest of Days and Pieces & Patterns


As soon as I saw this Tree Rings background stamp, it went straight onto my wish list. But then, when I finally got my hands on it, I sat here for ages, not knowing where to start... completely stumped (see what I did there?).

Finally, last weekend I managed to create some cards with this set. I’m holding off showing you the other two for now as they may well become the Make & Takes for an event I’m holding for my club ladies, and I do like to surprise them.

I’ve used it here with Pieces & Patterns (love that set!) and the ever-so-versatile Happiest of Days. This stamp set will be getting a lot of use tomorrow as I hold a charity stamp a stack for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Guests will be stamping up a storm to donate cards to the charity, which provides accommodation for families who have to travel to specialist hospitals around the UK. We will be creating at east 50 cards to donate... hopefully many more!


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Daisy Delight with the smoosh technique


This was my first time trying the “smoosh” technique and, naturally, I was instantly hooked. Anything that creates a watercolour effect is usually a hit with me!

I found the instructions on Patty Bennett’s blog but, in brief, you simply wet a piece of watercolour paper, then use a clear block as a stamp... ie stamp the block onto your pad and then “smoosh” it around the wet cardstock. Repeat with a second and even third colour.

For these thank you cards, I used Lemon Lime Twist and Emerald Envy to make a gorgeous colourful green background. I then die-cut them using the Stitched Shapes Framelits Dies, stamped a greeting (from Pieces & Patterns) in Tranquil Tide, inking the stamp with a marker as I only wanted part of it, and added a punched daisy from Daisy Delight. These were supposed to be quick cards, but they didn’t turn out that way!




Monday, 19 June 2017

Mix It Up Monday: In the City with Berry Burst and Lemon Lime Twist



Yes, it’s time for another colour combination from my In Color charts because it is indeed Mix It Up Monday … yes, again! They come round very fast!

Berry Burst and Lemon Lime Twist are the stars of the show this time and it was a great opportunity to use this fabulous Color Theory DSP Stack. I love the ombre effect on this sheet and thought it would be perfect for the biggest hot air balloon. 

I’ve teamed it with a surprise favourite: In The City.  I confess that when I first saw this hostess set I didn’t just pass over it, I actually scoffed. I thought it was horrible, childish, badly drawn… you name it, I threw that insult at it. 

“What happened?” I hear you ask. The answer, as is so often the case, is “Pinterest happened”. Demonstrators can purchase hostess sets in our pre-order month so lots of people had taken up the opportunity and loads of fabulous samples kept turning up. I warmed to the set and, naturally, caved in. 



I love this card - with the balloon looming large over the domestic scene - but I love my other In The City samples even more. However, you’ll have to wait until next week before I show you those as they’ve been created for a blog hop. Meanwhile, just marvel at the fact that I used Tempting Turquoise because that never happens! 



Don’t forget you can join in the #MixItUpMonday fun now, too. 

Create a Stampin’ Up!® project using either this colour combination, or one I’ve previously showcased, there are several ways you can share it:

  1. Upload an image of your creation to your own blog, Pinterest board or Facebook page or Twitter, then post a link to your project in the comments section of the relevant post on this blog.
  2. Upload an image to the comments in the relevant post on my Facebook page. 
Whichever way you choose, please use the hashtag #MixItUpMonday

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Caturday: The Boyz share a special moment


What special moment. Sorry, you missed it. Here is Mr T (right), who has forced his way into our lives due to his ability to open a locked catflap, with his brother, Hamish (left), who keeps trying to move into our house but lacks the necessary skills. (I fear determination may win through in the end - it's especially difficult in the summer when the French windows are open.)

Anyway... Mr T spied Hamish on the patio and approached him. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “Here comes the fight.” Sometimes they spin round like they're in a tumble dryer and leave a carpet of white fur behind.

But no, Mr T went up to Hamish, put his arm (leg - you know what I mean) around his brother and started washing his head. Aaah, what a beautiful thing to witness. I must capture such precious moments on my camera.

Unfortunately, in seconds it took me to locate my phone and open the camera app, the moment had passed, and turned into this hostile stand-off. Siblings, eh?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Label Me Pretty simple Fresh Florals DSP card


Another CASEd project (what? I'm a busy person!) - this time from Stampin’ Success, which is the quarterly magazine sent out to demonstrators. I used the Fresh Florals DSP (but changed the colour and design) and some of the gorgeous new Powder Pink Shimmer Ribbon, topped with an image from the new Label Me Pretty stamp set, which has a new co-ordinating punch. I coloured it in with my lovely new In Color markers.

What do you think of this new colour, Berry Burst? It’s proving extremely popular!




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.