Friday, 24 November 2017

Stained glass technique with Stampin' Blends

This card shows the stained glass technique, which is really easy to do with some vellum and the new Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers.

For this technique I found that Memento Black ink took quite a long time to dry so, because the images so look fine in reverse, I used my Archival Black to stamp on the back of the vellum.

Normally Archival Black and Stampin' Blends don't work well together because they are both alcohol-based so the ink will run.  This is the usual rule of thumb...

But, because I stamped the outline image on the BACK of the vellum, I could colour the other side with no bleeding, and create a lovely stained glass effect.

The White Perfect Accent is also coloured with Stampin’ Blends, for perfect co-ordination.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

CAS cards with Stampin' Blends

When I saw this card from Dani Dziama, I knew it would be perfect for a Make & Take using the Stampin’ Blends. So this is exactly what we did at a party last week... the fun thing was, everybody used a different colour. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Mix it Up Monday: Pretty Pines with Tree Rings

It’s Mix It Up Monday again and time for a Tranquil Tide combination that’s subtle, to say the least. It comes from my In Color charts and I thought it was perfect to use with Tree Rings and the Pretty Pines dies.  I coloured the pine cones with some Wink of Stella to give it a bit of festive glitz. 

Don’t forget the Online Extravaganza runs all week. Please visit for details and, if you order through me, please use the hostess code: CNVMKKYM

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Online Extravaganza

A BIG sale starts at Stampin’ Up!® today! There are THREE strands:

1. FLASH SALE, 20% off selected stamp sets for 24 hours only from 11pm today (Sunday 19th Nov)

3. FLASH SALE on 27th November (details to come)

2. Online Extravaganza, which runs until 10.59pm on 26th November

Shop online at and please use the host code: CNVMKKYM

Thank you!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Caturday: Ginger friend

This fluffy ginger fellow lives not far from me and we occasionally meet when I’m on the way to the post office. On this occasion he was in somebody’s drive but I could see he was determined to get out to greet me officially, so I waited patiently while he laboriously clambered a wall and came for some attention.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Color Me Happy with Stampin’ Blends

Just playing around with my new Stampin’ Blends and the gorgeous Color Me Happy stamp set. The above is CASEd from an idea by Stesha Bloodhart and the one below is an All Things Stampy original (shocking, I know).

These alcohol markers are such fun to use – take a look at my Collect & Earn Programme to see how you can build up your collection!


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Reserve your Stamparatus from today

This brand new tool from Stampin’ Up!® will change the way you stamp forever. No more imperfect images or fiddly stamp positioners, just precision stamping, as many times as you like.

You may have seen similar tools to this on the market, but the Stamparatus is different; it has TWO flaps, which can easily be removed and repositioned, giving you FOUR stamping surfaces.

Remove a flap and move it down the hinge and you have a simple way to create repeat images.

The purchase price is £44

Due to what is likely to be huge demand, and in the aim of eliminating backorders, the Stamparatus will initially be sold in a different way to normal.

The Stamparatus will be in the next Annual Catalogue in June 2018 when you can order it in the usual way but you can get one EARLY by reserving it later today (Thursday) for February delivery. Here’s how:

1. Create an online account

You MUST have an online customer account to reserve a Stamparatus. If you don’t have one, you can create one at my online store here.

2. Reserve your Stamparatus

Visit the Stampin’ Up!® website (or the SU site for your country) from 9pm UK time today – the Stamparatus link will be on the front page – and click RESERVE. The Stamparatus will be added to your basket - DO NOT REMOVE it unless you wish to cancel, as you will not be able to add it again during this reservation period.

There are THREE reservation periods:

3. Receive an email

You will be sent a confirmation email but please note you will not be charged until the Stamparatus is shipped in early February.

4. Modify your order

You will receive an email in late January/early February, when the Stamparatus is ready to ship. You will then have the opportunity to add to your basket, to take advantage of Sale-a-Bration, which gives you a free item when you spend £45. Shipping and handling at £4.95 will also be added.

This short video explains some of the fabulous features of the Stamparatus...

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Log slice ornaments with Carols of Christmas

I didn’t make swaps for OnStage this year, but made these gifts for my team members who attended. I kind of guessed they’d be popular so planned a class around them so you too can join in the fun!

Come along and find out how to make the Mini Pizza Boxes turn green and much more...

Monday, 13 November 2017

OnStage 2017 - a global gathering of Stampin’ Up!® demonstrators

My haul of goodies from OnStage2017 - there were SU pens, too!
It should be Mix It Up Monday today but you know what? I’ve decided not to let that rule my life any more, and not worry too much if I don’t manage to create a project with all 50 colours from my In Color charts

I thought today you’d be far more interested in my OnStage2017 experience. This is where demonstrators around the world gather to share ideas, business tips and, most exciting of all, see new products from the upcoming Spring/Summer catalogue and Sale-a-Bration brochure! Yes, of course we received both publications and a good haul of products from them, too! Plus, we get to order from them early, as a special On Stage treat!

My name label for the day featured my achievements from the past year. The numbered badge was for Prize Patrol!

More than 450 demonstrators attended the UK event, at the National Conference Centre in Solihull, and thousands more attended events worldwide, including the main OnStage Live event in Salt Lake City in the home of Stampin’ Up!® in Utah, USA.

It was a chance to recognise the top achievers and I was honoured to be invited to walk the stage for my promotion to Gold earlier this year. This was more daunting than I expected as I didn’t realise there would only be TWO of us walking the stage for this achievement! The video MIGHT be on Facebook.

Not quite one Big Shot each, but three stations like this around the room
It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with demonstrator friends from around the country – people we didn’t know until Stampin’ Up!® came into our lives – making the event like a hug reunion.  

In addition, there were demonstrations, product spotlights, display boards, gifts and, of course, Make & Takes. Here are the Big Shots, lined up and ready for action. Oh, what a shame you can’t see the fabulous dies we used... 

10th anniversary cupcakes - one for everyone!
And because Stampin’ Up!® will soon be celebrating 10 years in Europe, there were extra treats, too... and more celebrations to come in the year ahead.

It's our 10th anniversary year in Europe
Demonstrators are given titles based on sales and recruiting and everyone awarded Silver Elite and above is invited to a special evening celebration the night before On Stage. This is called Centre Stage and was attended by around 50 demonstrators, including me and my downline Tracey. We were treated to a three-course meal, plus special gifts and we had the chance to share business ideas with other leaders. Plus - and this cannot be under-estimated as a perk - we received our catalogues early! And another valuable perk is that we get to register early so can skip the HUGE queues for check-in on Saturday morning!

A three-course meal and special gifts at Centre Stage
I can’t share any spoilers yet but trust me, there is LOADS to love in the two new catalogues. Whether you like floral, fun, funky or innovative, you’ll find something you’ll need. Yes, I said “need”.

My team at the end of a tiring day! They'll kill me. But then they don't read my blog so serves them right...

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Caturday: Crate of Kitty

When I ordered a crate of cats, I naturally assumed it would contain more than one. Always read the small print, folks!

Mr T gets comfy in a plastic crate... but I honestly have no idea where this crate even came from. Bizarre.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Carols of Christmas gets the Lemon Lime Twist touch

I LOVE Lemon Lime Twist and think it looks great against the starkness of Whisper White and Basic Black. Here’s a project using the trees from the Card Front Builder dies set; all I did was die-cut the trees from a Whisper White panel and offset them to reveal the Lemon Lime Twist beneath. No waste and you get four trees from one roll of the die. 

On the same colour theme, I created a 3D package, designed to hold a roll of ribbon. This time I did die-cut two sets of trees; one in white, one in black. The cunning trick here is the border; if you look closely you can see the join where the two sections of the border die meet. This is a bit hit and miss and I have to confess this isn’t my best effort. If you’re particularly fussy, you could cover the join with some ribbon or other embellishment. 

The inside of the package was created with a pocket made from Merry Music Designer Series Paper; it may seem extravagant but it’s thinner than our usual paper so perfect for the job and also you get 24 sheets in a pack, so plenty to go round! And I like that it subtly adds interest to the project, like the fancy lining of an expensive jacket.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Hearts Come Home Crafty Friday projects

Crafty Friday was a packed one last week, so it was a challenge getting this card – more complex than our usual Crafty Friday projects – completed in time.

It’s inspired by the hugely talented Sandi MacIver, who created this beautiful project. For this CASEd version, I watercoloured the houses and trees but decided for Crafty Friday to switch to Whisper White cardstock and colouring with the new Stampin’ Blends for speed. I loved how everybody’s project turned out differently, so am kicking myself that I forgot to photograph them.

For the border, we mounted the Merry Music paper onto some cardstock and then cut out the centre to create a frame. But the middle bit wasn’t wasted, oh no...

We cut this into two 2" strips to create some cute matching tags. (I only managed one, hence the photo!)

Monday, 6 November 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Color Me Happy with Stampin' Blends

It’s Mix It Up Monday again after a short break. Sorry about last week – I was I’d been away for the weekend and just didn’t get time to make a project. 

For this one, I turned to my In Color charts to find a colour combo that uses shades which match my growing collection of Stampin’ Blends alcohol markers. Daffodil Delight and Pool Party; I have those so stamped myself a load of flowers from the new Color Me Happy stamp set, masking as I went so the flowers wouldn’t overlap.

Something else you can use your Blends for is to colour embellishments, such as the Pearls, which I’ve coloured here with Daffodil Delight, opening up a whole new world of possibility!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Caturday: Reggie

Apparently Reggie always looks cross. Could it be because his brother, Ronnie, moved in with my friend Kelly and now he doesn’t have his playmate (sparring partner) on hand all the time? Or is it just his face? Handsome fellow, all the same.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Painted Harvest with Woodland Embossing Folder

I love the clean crispness of this card, which I blatantly CASEd from the talented Monica Gale. The Woodland Embossing Folder has been around for a while now but it always worth adding to your craft supplies if you don’t already have it.

I used a splash of copper foil below the greeting and echoed this with my very last piece of copper trim. Might have to get some more...


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Stampin' Blends are here!

Stampin’ Blends are here! These are quality alcohol markers which come in 12 Stampin’ Up!® shades (not all shown here).  They’re easy to use and give your colouring project the wow factor as the colours are vibrant and the markers easy to use.

Download the brochure to take a closer look

Check out my first efforts below...

I made a big batch of these cards to thank this month’s club ladies, and I can honestly say, colouring them was really easy and quick. And I say this as somebody who isn’t a big fan of colouring! (There, I said it.)

The markers are available in 12 colours, each with a light and dark shade. You can buy them singly, in packs of two, or the full set (the price is the same regardless, £4 per marker). 

Do you need the light and dark? I’ll let you decide that. Below you can see how I’ve coloured the birds in just the light marker (on the left), just the dark marker (in the centre) and using both. As you can see, you can still get some shading using a single marker, but the shading is more pronounced (and arguably easier to achieve) using both.  

Want to find out more? 

Download the brochure to take a closer look

Or drop me a line if you have questions!

Want to find out about my Stampin’ Blends Collect and Earn programme? 
Join my mailing list to be kept informed!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Caturday: Tabitha

Meet Tabitha... who has just moved into the home of one of my long-standing customers, Tracey. Tabitha is enjoying exploring the house and trying out different places to sit. She has been up the chimney twice... hopefully this visit to the sink in the utility room came afterwards to get rid of the soot!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Swirly Snowflakes Thinlits

These delicate dies can be a little fiddly to pop out all the tiny pieces but oh, so worth it - aren't they gorgeous?

When I'd made the card, I just had to die-cut some more immediately, to create this cute little tealight. The vellum piece is die-cut using the same set - and this one isn't just for Christmas. As the set (Swirly Snowflakes Thinlits) also features a folding tag, a dotted line and a cute swirl, it makes it a good year-round investment.

PS, isn't that ribbon gorgeous? I love it! (Main catalogue, p198)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Year of Cheer Suite

Three classy projects for you today, using some stunning products from the Year of Cheer Suite in the Autumn/Winter catalogue. 

I LOVE the Winter Wonder Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, which is practically hiddeon on page 37 of the catalogue. If you want quick and easy Christmas cards this year, this folder is definitely one to add to your stash. 

A hint of Year of Year Designer Series Paper adds some bling, along with a strip of tiny silver sequins. 

The products work just as well for gift boxes, with these gorgeous Year of Cheer Embellishments and die-cut snowflake from the Swirly Snowflakes Thinlits set (p35). Come back on Friday for some more projects made with these delicate dies...

Monday, 23 October 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Hearts Come Home

It's Mix It Up Monday again and a fun gold combo to play with. This year I added metallics to my In Color charts as I felt they were lacking, and it's always fun to add a touch of bling. 

But Fresh Fig, gold, Soft Sky and Whisper White? would that work? I wasn't convinced to begin with but now I quite like it... what do you think?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Caturday: Belper car park cat

Always a pleasure to bump into the Coppice Car Park cat in Belper. She sits on warm car bonnets (don't park near the houses if you're bothered about potential scratches) and waits for passers-by to stop and stroke her. She's a delight... if a little dirty of paw.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Two black cats and a sparkly sun

Perfect for a wedding card, anniversary, Valentine, or just to say hello to a friend. This is another of the projects from my Caturday Live event.

To create the shiny sun background, we began with the 'smoosh technique' on some watercolour paper. This is how...

  1. Spritz a piece of watercolour paper with water
  2. Take one of your clear stamping blocks and press into an ink pad, then 'smoosh' it onto the wet paper
  3. Take a clean, dry block and repeat with another colour
  4. Allow to dry (or speed up with the heat gun) then die-cut your circle
  5. Ink it all over with Versamark and then emboss with a mixture of clear embossing powder and Dazzling Diamonds glitter. 
The result is a no-mess glitter effect. Hurrah!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Moon cat

Cat punch time again! I can't get enough of this punch - it's sooooo versatile and, as you may have noticed, I haven't made a single Halloween project (I never do).

This was from my Caturday Live class and is a simple folded card with a piece of Brick Wall embossed cardstock to hold it all together, tucked under the cat for stability. The stars are embossed in white and there's just a hint of the gorgeous stitched Cherry Cobbler ribbon because it's too nice to share!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Pieces & Patterns

Mix It Up Monday is back! My computer is still broken but I'm working round it (it's a bit laborious though - I don't enjoy change), although photo quality is suffering unfortunately.

Anyway, here's a fun way of using those circle dies and showing lots of images from one stamp set - in this case, one of my favourites; Pieces & Patterns. My daughter dared me to do the doodling... which was a bit scary when I already thought I had a completed card! 

This colour combination from my In Color charts left me a little cold; I'm not a fan of pink as you probably know, but in this case I enjoyed teaming the Powder Pink with Cherry Cobbler and in fact it was the Marina Mist which threw me. But it's worked out ok, I think?

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.