Sunday, 29 April 2012

Summer Mini sneak peek

So, it’s nearly May! Which means you only have until the end of Monday to order from the Spring Mini catalogue. If you would like to place an order, shipping is £4.95 and I can have it sent to any UK address.

But if you’d rather wait for the Summer Mini, here’s a sneak peek for you. It was my Summer Mini launch on Saturday and it seems that everyone loves our new catalogue... even those who were initially sceptical! I watched a couple of U-turns in action over the course of the morning!

Big thanks to my friend Kelly, who made lots of beautiful samples for my display table - and also to everyone who washed up or helped tidy up and the end. I feel very lucky to have such helpful customers and team members.

As a Silver 2 demonstrator, I was lucky enough to receive a whole bundle of goodies from Stampin’ Up!® for free. Always exciting to get freebies! I don’t have a project showing off all of the freebies I received, but this one comes pretty close.

You’ll see the Bordering on Romance stamp set – which features beautiful flowers and a couple of pretty borders. I’ve stamped it in Basic Grey and coloured the images using blender pens and ink pad lids. There’s also the gorgeous Twitterpated Designer Series Paper, which features some lovely floral designs, as well as geometric patterns and these lovely stripes. Check out the cute buttons! These come in a mixed pack of Baja Breeze and Blushing Bride; some are little flowers and these ones are amazingly detailed. Finally, the ribbon is Pleated Satin – my bundle contained Blushing Bride but here I’ve used Riding Hood Red. There are two other  great colours available, too!

If you couldn’t make it to my launch to collect your catalogue, or aren’t in my Virtual Hostess Club (club members get their catalogues early – and got to come to my launch party for free!), you can see it online on Tuesday. Don’t worry, I’ll post the link.

Stamps: Bordering on Romance, Perfect Punches
Cardstock: Lucky Limeade, Whisper White
Paper: Twitterpated
Ink: Basic Grey, Island Indigo, Baja Breeze, Riding Hood Red
Accessories: Twitterpated buttons, Pleated Satin ribbon – Riding Hood Red, Curly Label Punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Caturday already?

Wow, Caturday came around quickly this week! It’s been a busy week, preparing samples for my Summer Mini Catalogue Launch this morning. It’s not normally this frantic but April has been really busy with the school holidays, a couple of weekends away and some Canadian visitors!

In my hurry to prepare for my launch party, I completely forgot about Caturday, but here’s one from the archives. We don’t know the name of this cat but daughter found him (I’m pretty sure it was a he) at a B&B we stayed at in France in 2010. Perhaps this should be chat-urday? We stayed at four different places on a mammoth trip – and fortuitously found a cat at each one!

This one was most obliging and happy to have his photo taken over and over and over again. I just love tongue-out cat pictures... and check out the little beads of saliva on his chin!

Better dash - have about a million boxes to pack in the car and I always underestimate how long it takes to load up.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Very Brave Animal

Today’s star of Caturday has to be Winky again –because he’s our Hero of the Week. Why? Well, despite not normally being blessed with courage, on Thursday he demonstrated that he was a Very Brave Animal after all. Faced with a canine intruder in the garden, he made no hesitation in biffing the dog on the nose. The intruder yelped loudly and fled, leaving Winky proud and, no doubt, a little dazed. (Rumours that he didn’t notice the dog until it was too late to run away are being ignored.)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bird cage ornaments

I’m going to have to take a break from blogging for a few days. Caturday will go ahead as usual of course, but beyond that, I need a few days’ gap to give me chance to prepare for my Summer Mini catalogue launch on Saturday 28th April.

So as a Spring Mini grand finale, here’s a fun tutorial for you, using the Spice Cake Papers. Don’t miss these fabulous papers, which are only available until the end of the month!

I saw this cute idea on Pinterest – an online pinboard website which I joined recently. The birdcages on the website it led me to had a tutorial for much larger cages and birds, but I wanted to adapt it to SU products, specifically our lovely bird punch.

So here’s how I made my 100% SU bird cages:

1 empty brad/button pot (lids work too)
1 mini brad
4 strips of DSP or cardstock measuring 20cm x .5cm
1 strip of DSP or cardstock measuring 22cm x the depth of your pot/lid
scraps of cardstock/DSP to make bird etc
linen thread
ribbon, if desired

Paper piercer
Large scallop circle punch
1 ¾” circle punch
Bird punch
Sticky Strip
2 3/8” scallop circle punch

Using the 2 3/8” scallop circle punch, punch some Designer Series Paper or co-ordinating cardstock and attach to both the inside of the pot and the base.

Punch a bird using the bird punch, and the wings from Designer Series Paper. Assemble, attaching linen thread underneath the wings.

Pierce a hole in the centre of each strip of paper and carefully thread the linen thread through, so that the bird is below the strips. Using the same hole, join the pieces together with the brad.

Place your pot/lid on your grid paper so you can mark it at eight points, equally spaced around the edge. 

Bend the strips of paper carefully and attach on the outside of your pot, lining up with the marks you’ve just made. Sticky Strip works best for this.

Finally, using more Sticky Strip, cover the ends of your strips using a strip of Designer Series Paper or ribbon.

Paper: Spice Cake
Cardstock: More Mustard, Pear Pizzazz, Early Espresso
Accessories: Bird punch, linen thread, scallop dots ribbon - Chocolate Chip

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Fabric notepad

I made this little notebook weeks ago but have been searching for something to close it with. In retrospect, two buttons would have been a better idea, then I could have used Linen Thread.

But no, I was stuck with one button and wanted one of those long elasticated hair bands to go round it. They were more expensive than I had anticipated – far too expensive for a 40p notebook! But then I found 10 of them for £1 in Wilko – gotta love Wilko.

To begin, I made a larger notebook cover, to create the flap. Then I covered it with Spice Cake fabric – I simply treated it as I would paper, cutting it a little larger than the notepad cover and sticking it down. Although, if I remember correctly, I used Fabric Mod Podge as my adhesive.

I sewed (!) the button on using strong thread and then covered the inside covers with Soft Suede cardstock.

The hairband is wrapped twice around the button and then stretch all the way round the notebook to close. Simples! Although I've just realised that the notepad is upside down in the main image - oops!

Don’t miss: Spice Cake fabric and buttons, both in the Spring Mini so only available until the end of April

Supplies: Spice Cake Fabric, Spice Cake Designer Buttons, Soft Suede cardstock

Products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 16 April 2012

Beyond the Garden Make and Take

Look familiar? Yes, a few tweaks from Friday's card and this was the Make & Take from Angela’s party last week. We don’t have the final total yet as her party will include my Virtual Hostess Club order (Angela is this month’s hostess) but we’re confident it will top £500!!!

To simplify the card from the other day, I used the Charming stamp set and some pearls on the main image circle.

Don’t miss: Charming stamp set, 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch – both in the Spring Mini so only guaranteed available until the end of the month.

Stamps: Charming
Cardstock: Pacific Point, Wild Wasabi (textured), Whisper White
Paper: Beyond the Garden
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Pacific Point
Accessories: 1 ¾” circle punch, 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch, Basic Pearls

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 14 April 2012


The cat you see before you is the most friendly, cuddly, benign creature you could wish to meet – unless you’re his brother. Unfortunately, he’s not ours. Fortunately, he visits most days so we get the opportunity to rub his tummy; his most favourite thing. In fact, you only have to look at him and he flops over, legs in the air, waiting for a tummy rub. We call him many things, but daughter mainly calls him Pooboo. Not sure why, although he does tend to whiff a little on occasion.

He is often in the wars and you can probably see the furless patch on his cheek – we assume this was from a fight with another cat but it’s all healed now and the fur is growing back nicely. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

Growing Green

This was a prototype for the Make & Take at a recent party. It didn’t make the grade, purely due to time restrictions. The time-consuming bit was colouring the flower with ink pad and blender pen, then covering it with Crystal Effects® and sprinkling with Dazzling Diamonds glitter. It looks fab in real life, but it would have taken too long to dry in a home party situation, so I simplified the card to produce the very similar one I’ll show you tomorrow. (Having to spread blog projects out at the moment, due to lack of stamping time!)

Beyond the Garden Designer Series Paper is FREE with a £45 order during April. Click here to see the other papers you could earn free.

Don’t miss: 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch, which is a Spring Mini product, so only guaranteed to be available until the end of April.

Stamps: Growing Green
Cardstock: Pacific Point, Whisper White, Wild Wasabi (textured)
Paper: Beyond the Garden
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Pacific Point
Accessories: 1 ¾” circle punch, 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch, Crystal Effects®, Dazzling Diamonds glitter

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Postage stamp flowers

Another version of yesterday’s postage stamp punch card – this time using Beyond the Garden Designer Series Paper and a flower made using the Blossom Party die.

Don’t miss: Blossom Party Die and the Postage Stamp Punch, which are in the Spring Mini and therefore unavailable from 1st May.

Stamps: Curly Cute
Cardstock: Pacific Point, Wild Wasabi
Paper: Beyond the Garden
Ink: Basic Grey
Accessories: Postage Stamp Punch, Big Shot, Blossom Party Die, Brights Glimmer Brads

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Not just for babies

Showing off some more of the Nursery Nest designs – remember, this pack of paper is free this month when you spend £45... and it’s not just for baby projects!

Don’t miss: the Postage Stamp Punch and the 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch are both in the Spring Mini, which ends on 30th April. Even if these products do come back in the main catalogue (there’s no guarantee they will), that isn’t until October, so quite a long wait.

Stamps: Aviary, Curly Cute
Cardstock: Basic Grey, Marina Mist, Confetti White
Paper: Nursery Nest
Ink: Basic Grey, Pear Pizzazz
Accessories: Postage Stamp Punch, 2 3/8” scallop circle punch

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Monday, 9 April 2012

Funky free papers

Beyond the Garden is another of the Designer Series Papers available for free during April when you spend £45.  It’s packed with bright, funky floral designs, some of which you can see on this card.

I’ve used the Charming stamp and some bright colours to match the papers.

Don’t miss: Charming stamp set and 2 3/8” Scallop Circle Punch, which are in the Spring Mini so only guaranteed to be available until the end of the month!

(Love that spotty ribbon by the way!)

Stamps: Charming
Cardstock: Daffodil Delight, Pacific Point, Wild Wasabi, Whisper White
Paper: Beyond the Garden
Ink: Pacific Point, Wild Wasabi, Melon Mambo
Accessories: 1 ¾” circle punch, 2 3/8” scallop circle punch, scallop dotted ribbon – Melon Mambo

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Winky's the star of Caturday today

Hurray for Caturday and here he is, the picture of perfection you’ve all been waiting for: Mr Winky. That’s not his real name, which is Slinky Malinki, after the cat in the children’s book as he fits the description exactly. But somehow, over the years, his name has evolved and he’s now more likely to be known as Winky, Binky, Tinky Winky and, most bizarrely, Mr Trousers.

We didn't set out to get a black cat. We wanted "one girl cat, not black". Why not black? Purely because we were concerned about its visibility on the road. Turns out that black cats are really hard to house so now I feel a bit guilty about that. But anyway, all turned out well because Slinky and Cobweb (or Shadow and Patricia as they were then known) were the only young cats at the shelter and, selfishly, we didn't want to go through the trauma of nursing an old cat so soon after our bereavement. As soon as we lifted Slinky out of the pen, he curled up in my husband's arms and the deal was done. 

Not to mention that the shelter wouldn't separate them because "they love each other so much". Ha! Insert hollow laughter here. 

Winky isn't the sharpest tool in the box – we always say that when he was being created, he was so busy queuing up for handsome, that he forgot to queue up for brains. But he has learned a few tricks. He now understands "come on Winky, it's time for bed" and gets up off the settee to go to the kitchen. And he has learned from the ginger cats how to knock on the window to be let in. Impressive, eh?

Supplies: Black cat, broken garden chair

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

More Spice Cake fabric projects

This first fabric project won’t make it to the class – mainly because this bauble took me an hour and a half to make... and I still got it wonky! But it’s pretty impressive, if you only view one side at a time anyway.

I nearly fell at the second hurdle on this one as, with instructions in front of me and 42 squares of fabric cut and ready to go, I read the dreaded word “press”. Yes, you’re supposed to fold them and then iron them into shape. “Stuff that”, I thought – there will be no time to iron in a class!  So I decided to wing it. Turns out there would be no time to make one of these in a class either, unless it was an all-dayer, so I knocked it on the head.  If you’re tempted to have a go, I found the instructions here.

I wanted to use taffeta ribbon but in the end it had to be seam-binding to cover my terrible joins!

Supplies: Spice Cake fabric, Crumb Cake seam-binding ribbon
Non-SU supplies: Polystyrene ball, hundreds of pins

Meanwhile, In my search for fabric projects, I stumbled across a really cool rosette which can be attached to a bag, hair slide or band, or a box or anything really.

The sewing looked pretty easy so I stuck my neck out and decided to have a go. It couldn’t be that hard to make something reasonable could it? Well it turned out that even this was probably a bit too hard for someone as sewing-challenged as me. Look at the lovely pleating on the top left. Now look at the lack of pleating at the bottom. Hmmm.

But the main thing is that I had a go. It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part, etc etc. Bah.

To make this properly, all you need is a strip of fabric – mine was about 14” by 3” (ish). Fold it along the length and then sew with very large stitches along the rough edges to join them together. Gather it up and then sew the two short ends together. All went well up to this point, it was adding the button that made it all skew-whiff! Someone who is good at sewing would also realise that a cross stitch in the middle of the button would surely look better. Ah well. 

Supplies: Spice Cake fabric, large Designer Buttons

Monday, 2 April 2012

Spice Cake fabric - get it while you can!

Fabric has been a feature of the Stampin’ Up!® catalogue since last October but I confess I haven’t made best use of it. That’s because I can’t sew. Really, I can’t. I get in a horrendous mess, with bits of cotton everywhere.  I am impatient so I always make my thread too long to save time, then it all gets tangled up.

But I love fabric, so I’ve been scouring the web for some no-sew fabric projects. This is one that I have been trialling for my Nearly No-Sew Fabric class (provisional date, afternoon of 16th June).

It’s made from a polystyrene ball and there really is no sewing involved. Mine is a little ragged around the edges but it was my first and I hope to get better at it before the class! I will of course provide instructions at the class and on my blog afterwards, but you can probably find them by Googling.

Just so you know, this gorgeous fabric will no longer be available after the end of April, as it’s in the Spring Mini. It might reappear in the new Idea Book & Catalogue in October but I can’t promise anything because I genuinely don’t know.

Supplies: Spice Cake fabric, linen thread, Earth buttons, clear rhinestones
Non-SU supplies: Polystyrene ball

All products by Stampin’ Up!®

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Earn Designer Papers FREE!

Sale-A-Bration is now over for 2012, but don’t despair – there are more lovely freebies to be had during April! This time it’s Designer Series Paper you can earn FREE for a £45 purchase.

These are the four papers being offered with April’s Gift With Purchase promotion:

Berry Blossom (from the Spring Mini)

Beyond the Garden

Nursery Nest

Pocketful of Posies (Spring Mini)

You earn any one of these packs when you spend at least £45. Unlike Sale-a-Bration, you do not earn two packs for a £90 purchase. However, if it's possible, the order can be split into two to get two packs. 

And today’s project uses the oh so sweet Nursery Nest Designer Series Paper. I fear the name could be offputting but don’t feel you have to make baby projects with this paper – it’s really versatile. In fact, there’s nothing babyish about it at all, apart from the colours – and they are suitable for many occasions.

It co-ordinates with the lovely Aviary stamp set – some of the other designs of paper feature the same birds and owl of the stamp set. But here I’ve just selected a few of the more geometric patterns to create strips across my card.

April’s a manic month for me so, if you’d like to book a party, please get in touch asap!

Stamps: Aviary
Cardstock: Pear Pizzazz, Marina Mist, Basic Gray, Whisper White
Paper: Nursery Nest
Ink: Marina Mist, Pear Pizzazz, Basic Gray
Accessories: Modern Label Punch, Word Window Punch, Clear Rhinestone brads, ¼” taffeta ribbon – Marina Mist, Stitched Polyribbon – Pear Pizzazz

All products by Stampin' Up!®

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.