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). 


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Caturday: Scottish (not at all wild)cat


This time last week we were beginning the long drive back from Scotland, where we spent a fantastic week in the Cairngorms. During the week, we saw lots of wildlife which we don’t get in Derbyshire, including reindeer, Scottish wildcats, ospreys, red squirrels, a crested tit and red deer. We saw some impressive non-native species including wolves (grey area - they are native but were wiped out), a wolverine, red panda and much more.

But we only saw two domestic cats. One was in somebody’s garden, near their house, and I draw the line at taking pix of those as it’s too intrusive. This was the other one. Quite far away, hence the fuzziness.

What we DID see, to our surprise, was the Loch Ness Monster. It was quite a drive to the shores of Loch Ness but worth it as you can see...


Friday, 11 August 2017

Sneak Peek: Spooky Cat bundle


I don’t normally post new catalogue sneak peeks so early in the month but I am SO excited about one particular new product and I think you will know why!

Yesssssss! A cat punch! I know more than a few people who will be purchasing this in their first order!

In another first, I bought a Halloween stamp set and its co-ordinating DSP. Why? Well take a look at the black cat on the front of this card – it’s punched from the Spooky Night DSP, which fits exactly. This one was on the edge of the paper and I didn’t want to waste it, so positioned it on the edge of the layer. Not sure what I’m going to do with the bottoms from the other side of the sheet, though!

Yes, it’s Halloween DSP and no, I don’t make Halloween projects but each sheet has a patterned side which can be used for any occasion, so I thought it was worth the investment.

As for the Spooky Cat stamp set, so far I’ve only used the cat’s face stamp but there are others I can use for non-Halloween projects and some which will need some creative thinking, so watch this space!

Ok, brace yourself for the inside of this card...


How cute is that? I repurposed a design from my Crafternoon Cream Tea event to make this fun pop-up card. Cats and boxes go together so, to me, using the Wood Crate Die was so obvious! I made a “blanket” by die-cutting a scalloped oval from DSP.

So who’s joining me in Team Spooky Cat this autumn?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Foxy Friends baby card


I have a confession to make. I have had this stamp set for over a year and it’s barely seen any ink. Shocking, I know. It’s not that I don’t like it – I love it! I honestly don’t know why I haven’t used it, because it’s really sweet.

I do feel I’ve redeemed myself slightly with this card but it still works out as quite a pricey card so I will have to knuckle down and make lots more.

Who had a baby? One of my downline has just welcomed another grandson into the world and he’s gorgeous. If that’s not reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.



Monday, 7 August 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Happiest of Days fancy fold birthday card



Good morning! I have the post-holiday blues today as it’s back to work after a week in the beautiful Scottish Cairngorms. We’ve never been before but will definitely be back – we just wish it was closer than an eight-hour drive. 

It’s business as usual on the blog, too, as it’s Monday and time for another Mix It Up Monday project using a colour combination from my In Color charts


Today’s Mix It Up Monday project uses three shades of purple and that lovely rich green, Tranquil Tide. This should be a winning combo but I admit I struggled, probably because I need to get back into stamping after a week away. 


As you can see, it’s not your run-of-the mill card. It’s a fancy fold inspired by Connie Stewart, who produced a very helpful video, which I recommend you watch if you want to have a go at this project. Be warned, though, it uses US sizes so to save you the hassle, I sat down with a load of scrap paper and came up with my own measurements so that the card would fit in a C6 envelope and can be made using A4 cardstock.  



Whisper White/Very Vanilla cardstock: 14cm x 20cm
Score @ 4.5cm and 7cm from each end.

Card base: 10.5cm x 14.8cm 

DSP design 1: 4.2cm x 13.7cm (you’ll need three pieces of this size)
DSP design 2: 2.2cm x 13.7cm (you’ll need four pieces of this size)

Belly band: 28cm x 3cm (or wider - adjust the width to suit your main image)



Saturday, 5 August 2017

Caturday... no, wait... Dogurday!


I’m all for inclusivity so why shouldn’t Caturday be taken over just this once by an extremely cute puppy? This is Ernie and while he may look like a pyjama case, he is actually a real dog.


He only has little legs though, so it doesn’t take much for this to happen. Completely wiped out, bless him.

Don’t panic, cat fans... normal service will be resumed next week.


Friday, 4 August 2017

Happy Birthday to a Fun Guy


I crack myself up, I really do. I’ve been waiting for inspiration to strike with this mushroom-themed DSP for some time. I really love it so didn’t want to cut into it for the sake of it (I know, I know, I should practise what I preach). Then I had this idea and chuckled to myself all the time I was making it. Well, somebody has to laugh at my jokes!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Carols of Christmas bundle with Wood Textures DSP


I think this Wood Textures DSP is the perfect accompaniment for this new stamp set, Carols of Christmas. I do think I should have cut the DSP smaller but, by the time I realised this, I was too far down the line, so we are left with a too-slim border of Crumb Cake.

Still, lovely versatile stamp set and lots to play with in the accompanying Card Front Builder dies, too.



Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Carols of Christmas stamp set and Card Front Builder dies available now



Available now: the brand new Carols of Christmas stamp set
and Card Front Builder Thinlits!

Please click the images to start shopping 
or contact me to place an order. 



Monday, 31 July 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Carols of Christmas sneak peek


Hello Monday… and goodbye July. Today is the last day to take advantage of the best sign-up offer I’ve ever seen. Join today and you’ll get this stamp set free, as well as a fabulous pack of vital craft tools to add to you stash. 

It’s also the last day to earn a Bonus Days coupon to spend in August – spend £45 today and get a £4.50 voucher to spend next month. 

But most of all, it’s Monday, and time for another project using a colour combination from my In Color charts. Today’s Mix It Up Monday project is a CASE of this gorgeous project by Holly Stene. Unfortunately I didn’t have any suitable ribbon so my version is a little plainer. 


It uses the new Carols of Christmas stamp set and co-ordinating Card Front Builder dies, which will be in the upcoming Autumn/Winter catalogue (goes live in September) but you can purchase from tomorrow. There are lots of possibilities with this set and I look forward to showing you more projects… when I get time to make some!


The colour combination uses a splash of Lemon Lime Twist, which is a favourite of mine but even I had to admit that it probably wasn’t appropriate on this particular Christmas card, so I kept it as subtle as possible. 

For the trees, I stamped them lightly in Whisper White using Timeless Textures, then embossed with white embossing powder to create a frosted look. I don’t know what’s got into my lately... I don’t usually emboss anything and now I can’t seem to stop!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Caturday: Hamish


Left my phone unattended again and came back to find it filled with selfies. I don’t blame the cat... he was just dragged along in the crime. He’s Hamish and no, he’s not ours... he just thinks he is, so hangs around all the time. He’s a lovely boy though, and does love a lot of fuss and attention. Which is lucky, as giving cats fuss and attention is my daughter’s raison d’ĂȘtre. Ooh, get me, all French and posh.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Sharing Sweet Thoughts - Crafternoon Cream Tea projects


For my Crafternoon Cream Tea, the projects had a strawberry theme... to go with the homemade scones (not by me, by Mum), strawberry jam and clotted cream. We warmed up with a simple card and tag...


Then finished off with this fab (but oh so easy) pop-up card, which uses just one piece of paper cut with the Wood Crate Builder die. Love it!

And every time you purchase this stamp set, Stampin’ Up!® will donate £2 to the Ronald MacDonald House Charities, to help families of children receiving hospital treatment away from home.



Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Happy Birthday Thinlits graffiti card


I never thought I’d have so much fun with this Happy Birthday die. I was only borrowing it from my friend Kelly, but now it’s on my list of must-haves.

I particularly like watercolouring a background and then cutting it out to create a multi-coloured greeting. Here I ’ve used Lemon Lime Twist and Emerald Envy.

It tops a graffiti-style card inspired by Julie Kettlewell.  I’ve used a bunch of stamp sets... In The City, Marquee Messages and Five For All. I wish I could say the card was appreciated but, as it was for a teenage boy, I think the money inside may have been of more interest!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Mix It Up Monday: Card Front Builder dies - sneak peek


It’s Monday again and time for another project using a colour combination from my In Color charts. And once again I’m using Powder Pink – admittedly to make up for lost time because I could see that this colour was lagging behind as I worked with the In Colors I found more appealing. 



But, even if I’m not a fan of baby pink, I get that others are, so I forced myself out of my comfort zone again for this Mix It Up Monday project.

It uses the brand new Card Front Builder dies, which will be feature in the Autumn/Winter catalogue in September. But it gets better than that, because they will be available to buy from 1st August, along with a co-ordinating stamp set called Carols of Christmas (I confess I haven’t used mine yet!).

But I was keen to get playing with my new goodies, even if Christmas wasn’t on the menu – so I made these thank you cards for my club members. I couldn’t find a ‘thank you’ stamp to fit the banner, but thought ‘special delivery’ worked just as well, as they were receiving the special delivery of their July orders. 

Any idea how I made the banner? Scroll down for the answer. 



I had a bit of a drama while making these projects. After die-cutting an oval mask and stamping Hardwood onto the Very Vanilla cardstock (stamping off to get a paler shade of Chocolate Chip), I had just finished 15 pieces and cleaned away the relevant supplies when disaster struck and I knocked a glass of water over. The air was blue, I can tell you!

Fortunately only four were damaged, so I finished them off, in a VERY bad mood. Lesson learned though!


(As for the banner, it's one of the ‘stripes’ from the hot air balloon in the Up & Away Thinlits set.)



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.

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.