Monday, 20 October 2014

Back from Stampin' Up convention!

Oh my goodness, have I been having fun! I've just returned from the annual Stampin' Up convention where I have been enjoying fun, excitement, the company of my Stampin' Up friends and a whole bunch of inspiration!

My husband had decided to accompany me but had to pull out at the last moment because of work commitments. That was disappointing but guess who took his ticket?

One of my favourite people in the world - my daughter! She's doing French and English at uni so naturally she needs to take every opportunity possible to practice her French!

We had an smooth journey on the Eurostar and enjoyed meeting other Stampin' Up demonstrators on their way to Convention (we could spot them a mile off because their excitement levels were off the scale!)

This was the place we called home for a few days. The lovely people at the Hotel Dixseptieme couldn't have been more welcoming and we were perfectly placed, both for me to get to Convention and for my daughter to explore beautiful Brussels.

On the first evening, I scooted up the hill to attend a special reception for demonstrators who have achieved the Silver 2 title and above.

The wonderful Stampin' Up staff had worked hard to make the room look stunning and we were spoilt with gorgeous gifts, delicious food and brilliant entertainment. The evening was rounded off by a chocolate fountain complete with marshmallows and fruit to dip into it. I couldn't work out how to eat these elegantly but luckily for you I managed to avoid a photo of me with chocolate all over my head! 

Every year we are given a Convention bag especially designed for Stampin' Up. This year's is stunning in Real Red lined with Soft Sky and I adore it! There are plenty of pockets to organise your belongings and of course the all-important Stampin' Up badge! I added a hand stamped tag to mine so that I wouldn't lose it...

... and made a matching tag to hang round my neck in case I got lost too! 

(Click on each item to find it quickly in my online shop) 

My shop is open 24/7 so you can buy Stampin' Up products from me any time, day or night.
If you have any queries, or prefer to speak to me, I'm happy to help.
You can contact me by email or phone on 01280 820593.

I have got so much to share with you but the thing I most want to say is just come and join me in Brussels next year 13th-14th November 2015! If you love Stampin' Up, going to Convention and sharing the excitement with friends who share your passion is an experience you will never forget. Click here to find out all the info about joining Stampin' Up - and don't miss the fab freebies you'll get if you sign up this month!

Do you remember the other day when I told you that my youngest son had asked how I'd got on in Manchester after I'd returned from a trip to Cambridge? I'm afraid his geography (or his hearing!) is not improving. I gave him a big hug before he trotted off to school on the Thursday I left for Convention. When he'd crossed the road he turned and waved cheerily. "Have a great time in Berlin!" he yelled.

See you tomorrow,

Thursday, 16 October 2014

For All Things - Stampin' Up Artisan blog hop

It's Thursday and that means it's time for another round of inspiration from the Stampin' Up Artisan Design Team! I am working with some very talented ladies on this team and their ideas take my breath away week after week, so do make sure you hop all around the world to see what they've been up to won't you.

When I first saw Stampin' Up autumn/winter catalogue, I instantly fell in love with the stamp set I'm using today - For All Things. This set is definitely an all-the-year-rounder and makes a great companion set to Gorgeous Grunge. Come and see:

My colour palette of Mossy Meadow, Hello Honey, Tangelo Twist and Early Espresso gives this bundle of cards an autumnal feel but the leaves would also look lovely stamped in green and teamed with flowers for spring or summer.

For the first card I used the Kissing Technique. No! my husband didn't wander in while I was making this card - it's a stamping term to describe two stamps being pressed together!

In this case, I inked up both the large leaf from For All Things and the 'speckled' image from Gorgeous Grunge and 'kissed' them together. The acorns add a bit of depth to the design - I LOVE these acorns!

And I was very well behaved in the making of my second card too!

First I stamped the bunch of leaves over the watercolour background image, then I made a mask by cutting a hole in a sheet of scrap paper, held it over the stamped image and added Gorgeous Grunge speckles.

See how the two sets go so well together? This little detail made me very happy! For a bit of golden sparkle I added some sequins too, pulled off the Gold Sequin trim.

The third card shows how you can use that bunch of leaves image in a different way by stamping off the edge of the panel.

I added those fabulous acorns and speckles again but you can see that this card is much more delicate-looking than the first with the large leaves.

All three cards and envelopes were bundled together with a band made of burlap ribbon tied up with Venetian lace trim. Wouldn't this be great as an informal napkin ring for a bonfire night or thanksgiving dinner?!

I hope you've been inspired by my autumnal bundle of cards. Now it's time to hop on over to Allison Okamitsu to see what fabulousness she has to show you! Click the button below:

(Click on each item to find it quickly in my online shop) 
If you have any queries, or prefer to speak to me, I'm happy to help.
You can contact me by email or phone on 01280 820593.

Tuppence is in a strop because The Suitcase has made an appearance in the hall. This is often the precursor to being bundled into The Cat Carrier - but not this time. This time the menfolk will remain at home to serve their feline mistress while I jaunt off to the annual European Stampin' Up convention in Brussels today! I'm afraid the rainbrella is at the ready - but nothing can dampen the enthusiasm of a whole bunch of Stampin' Up demonstrators, all getting together for fun and jollies! Has Brussels been warned?!

See you soon,

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Why I joined Stampin' Up

It's nearly time to go off to the annual Stampin' Up convention and while I would love to say I am totally organised and have everything ready to go...

Oops! So instead of a project today, I thought you might like to hear my Stampin' Up story.

I had chosen to stop working to focus on bringing up my young family but, as they grew older and our circumstances changed, it was time to go back to work.

I didn't want anything full-time as it was important for me to be there when the children weren't at school so I looked for local, part-time work. It was a pretty depressing couple of months. There was a lot of competition for the jobs I did find and they all offered little money and were pretty inflexible about hours. I was reluctant to turn into a drudge with no control over my life.

But then, I had a light bulb moment!

I loved crafting and remembered that Stampin' Up offered a business opportunity, so I contacted my demonstrator and set about joining. I felt nervous as I'd never done anything like this before but the starter kit didn't cost the earth so I didn't feel like it was a huge risk. I didn't know whether I'd be able to make it work - but I was darned well going to give it a go!

Where it all began - a display from my first Open House event in 2010
My excitement when my starter kit arrived was off the scale but once I'd calmed down (!) I set about building my business. It took time and hard work but I loved it, and something else happened that I wasn't expecting: people started to thank me for helping them discover their creative side. So as well as doing something I loved, I felt that I was doing something worthwhile too.

Once I had begun to build a loyal customer base, people started wanting to join Stampin' Up as part of my team. I found it really rewarding to share what I'd learned with others and help them with their businesses if they wanted me to.

I made loads of mistakes and had some set backs but gradually I began to reap the benefits of my hard work.

Stampin' Up has a clear career plan with training, goals, incentives and rewards and that makes it easy to progress. The company has other ways to reward us too and one of the highlights of my Stampin' Up career has been winning a place as the UK representative on the Stampin' Up Artisan Design Team!

Earn awards, free products and all-expenses-paid holidays with Stampin' Up!
One of the things I love about the company is its 'do it your way' approach. You decide when you work and how you work to fit in with whatever else is going on in your life. There is definitely no single way to run a Stampin' Up business and I have seen demonstrators achieve success in many different ways.

Stampin' Up offers a strong support system. I always have the Demonstrator Support team and my upline to help me directly as well as a great big extended family of team members.

A lovely bunch of Pinkies having fun at Stampin' Up's annual convention 2013

I work with some fabulous people - and they ALL share my passion for crafting!

I'd say a resounding yes! Whether you want to be a hobby demonstrator or a business demonstrator or somewhere in between, there's a you-shaped place in Stampin' Up! It's a low-cost business to start and there are no catches - if you try it and don't feel it's right for you, then you simply stop. There's nothing to pay back and you get to keep your starter kit.

There are lots of happy, successful demonstrators operating in different ways and at different levels. Me? I'm happy running my business around my family, doing something I'm passionate about and sharing it with others - what could be better?!

I'm very happy to answer any questions you may have about joining Stampin' Up yourself. If you'd like an informal chat just give me a call on 01280 820593 or click here to send me an email.

There's a fantastic offer on at the moment if you're inspired to join! Click here for details.

I'll be back tomorrow with my latest project for the fabulous Artisan Design Team blog hop. There is always HEAPS of inspiration on blog hop day so don't miss it!


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hello Love and Crushed Curry from Stampin' Up!

When it's a gloomy old day you need a colour like Stampin' Up's Crushed Curry to give you a lift! That was the idea behind today's card, made to cheer up a friend.

Add to that lovely bright colour a bird singing his heart out, sunshine, sequins and a directional arrow saying go, go GO! and surely this card couldn't fail to put a bit of pep in anyone's step!

I used a couple of strips of the Color Me Autumn washi tape and my favourite of this year's Stampin' Up hostess sets, Hello Love.

So how do you get your hands on the exclusive Stampin' Up hostess sets?  They're available free as part of your Stampin' Up rewards when you place an order of £150 or more but, if you prefer to spread the cost of your craft supplies, members of my Stampers 6 club can also get them for free in their hostess month!

Click here to browse my shop and place an order
Click here for more information about joining my Stampers 6 club.

I'll be linking today's card up with the ladies at CAS Colours and Sketches where this is the sketch to follow:

(Click on each item to find it quickly in my online shop) 

My shop is open 24/7 so you can buy Stampin' Up products from me any time, day or night.
If you have any queries, or prefer to speak to me, I'm happy to help.
You can contact me by email or phone on 01280 820593.

I hope my card cheered my friend up but I should have lent her my youngest son!

I bought some pears from the market the other day, gorgeously ripe and bursting with juice. My boys had one after dinner yesterday and the youngest immediately wanted another. "Could you get one for me?" I asked as he hovered over the fruit bowl, looking for the best ones. He began to sing in the tune of the Adele song 'someone like you'. "I want nothing but the best pear for you-hooo!" he wailed. He carried on in this vein until the end when he gazed soulfully at me and sang: "Sometimes the pears are ripe and sometimes..." he paused and said abruptly: "Sometimes they aren't!"

See you tomorrow,

Monday, 13 October 2014

With Sympathy, with designer paper by Stampin' Up

I use my Stampin' Up stash pretty much every day to celebrate birthdays, new arrivals, weddings, anniveraries, to say thank you or congratulations or good luck... well I think you get the idea with that! But as well as making cards for high days and holidays, it's important to offer support during sad times and that's what today's card is all about. Come and see:

I had a left-over snippet of the wonderful leafy design from the Motley Monsters designer paper pack and I thought those swirling leaves would work well with the trees from White Christmas. I added a touch of colour to the ground with a sponge dauber and filled in the trees with a Crumb Cake marker.

The sentiment is from the Love and Sympathy stamp set and I think it's beautiful both in what it says and in the way it looks.

I'll be linking this card up with the Snippet Playground where it's high time I joined in again - it's conker season for goodness sake!

(Click on each item to find it quickly in my online shop) 

Pear Pizzazz Classic Stampin' Pad
Pear Pizzazz Classic Stampin' Pad
Sponge Daubers

My shop is open 24/7 so you can buy Stampin' Up products from me any time, day or night.
If you have any queries, or prefer to speak to me, I'm happy to help.
You can contact me by email or phone on 01280 820593.

I had this impassioned text from my daughter yesterday: "Maman? How does one Launderette?!" The thing is, I actually don't know as it's been, ahem, several years since I used one! I'm so impressed that she's making the effort actually; I thought all students just brought their washing home!

See you tomorrow with something bright and cheerful!