Friday, 19 December 2014

The Christmas tree is a star!

What do I  have in common with Ellen Degeneres, Jonathan Ross and Leona Lewis? Well yes, as well as being witty and talented (!) we've all had Christmas trees from Balsam Hill!

Our family usually gets a real tree locally but this year, with our puppy, we decided to go for an artificial tree so that we didn't have to worry about her eating pine needles. I was delighted then when the lovely people at Balsam Hill offered to send me a tree to review - their 4' Vancouver Spruce.

The first thing I noticed was how nicely packaged the tree was. It came with instructions, some gloves to protect your fingers while opening the branches out (even though they aren't as prickly as real pine needles!) and a strong dust sleeve for storing the tree away until next year.

It was easy to assemble the tree - it comes in two pieces which slot together and fit into a stand which is provided. My daughter and I did it together with Christmas music playing (and there may have been some chocolate involved too!) Balsam Hill do sell trees with lights on but mine was unlit so I added a string that I had.

I'm a fussy old weasel and didn't like the stand so we put the tree in a pot instead and wedged it in with stones and gravel which worked really well.

We noticed that the tree was a realistic colour, a darkish green with brown bits, just like a real fir. It was a nice shape too, quite full and fat and not particularly symmetrical which helps it look real! The 4' size was just right for putting on a table top out of the way of inquisitive puppy noses!

We decided on a red, gold and white colour scheme for our tree. If you've been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, you'll have seen my mini crackers, designer paper baubles and clay snowflakes...

... but we also added lengths of the gorgeous Stampin' Up gold sequin trim (which looks STUNNING in real life) left-over wooden snowflakes from the Many Merry Stars kit decorated with gems and ribbon bows made with lush Real Red satin woven ribbon. There was only one thing remaining - a glorious star for the top of the tree!

Er... no, I don't think that would work Nina!

Luckily I had Stampin' Up's star framelits to hand and was able to rustle up a rather glamorous tree topper by layering foil and glimmer paper and adding a couple of those left-over snowflakes that I'd covered in versamark and embossed with gold embossing powder.

So, let's have a look at the final result:

I'm delighted! An artificial Christmas tree that looks pretty realistic, with no dropping needles to worry about, and decorated from top to toe with lovingly handmade decorations.

And what did Eva the pupsicle think of it?

Well, she had a quick romp with a stray bauble I dropped but was much more interested in her pristine (but not for long!) new polar bear friend!

Tuppence is far too grown up to waste her time batting baubles about (unless she thinks we're not looking!)

As always at this time of year, I think of how fortunate I am to have such a great job. It wouldn't be possible to be a Stampin' Up demonstrator without my wonderful customers and I truly do appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you.

If you'd like to buy Stampin' Up products from me, just visit my online shop - the shelves are full of the wonderful Stampin' Up products and it's open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! It's easy to pay using Visa or Mastercard too. Go on, treat yourself - or better still, get someone else to treat you!

If you love Stampin' Up products and have a long wish list, it could be worth your while joining Stampin' Up. Find out more here.

And now it's time to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a lovely break. See you soon for lots more crafting fun.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Oh Christmas tree! - Stampin' Up Artisan blog hop

It's Thursday and that means it's time for another inspirational Artisan design team blog hop! Before we start, I just want to let you know that there won't be a hop next Thursday because it's Christmas Day but we'll all be back the following Thursday on New Years Day! So - are you ready to hop today? Come on then!

I love this time of year - the rustling of wrapping paper, exciting parcels appearing under the tree, pretty decorations - it's all so much fun! I've always loved homemade Christmas decorations and if you've been reading my blog this week you'll have already seen lots of ideas for making them. Here's another idea:

Aren't these fab?! I love the way they swing in the slightest draught and they're so easy to make. Here's how:

You'll need Stampin' Up's beautiful All is Calm washi tape, silver foil card stock, the Mosaic punch and the star punch from Itty Bitty Accents punch pack, basic rhinestones, drinking straws and a needle and cotton.

Cover short lengths of the straws in washi.

Thread the straws with a needle and cotton, leaving a piece of thread at the bottom and a length at the top looped back on itself. Trim the straws into a Christmas tree shape.

Punch the silver foil twice with the Mosaic punch and twice with the star punch. Trim the Mosaic shapes into a pot shape.

Sandwich the thread between the two stars at the top and between the pot shape at the bottom. 

Embellish with gems on both sides.

I hope you find time to try some of my simple decorations. It's the perfect crafty activity to do with family members young or old!

Now, I wonder what the ever-inventive Allison Okamitsu has been up to? Let's click the button below and hop over to find out!

(Click on any item to be transported to my online shop!) 

Mosaic Punch

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 managed to dash out for some Christmas shopping with my daughter yesterday. She spotted this display in a shop window:

"Look!" she said. "Even the jewellery is happy at Christmas!"

I'm so excited to show you my Christmas tree tomorrow, laden with Stampin' Up style decorations! Do join me then,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Decorate your Christmas tree with Stampin' Up clay ornaments!

This year, my daughter and I challenged ourselves to decorate our Christmas tree entirely with Stampin' Up crafting products! And I have to say it has been as easy as pie (well, easier actually!) We made designer paper baubles yesterday and today I'm going to show you some pretty snowflake decorations. Come and see:

These rustic medallions are made with Simply Pressed Clay, stamped with the snowflake from Stampin' Up's Trendy Trims stamp set.

Fancy making some yourself? They don't take long! Here's what you'll need.

I pressed out the clay with the heel of my hand and stamped the snowflake in the middle. TIP: I've tried this before with wood mount stamps with great results but when using photopolymer, tapping the stamp into versamark before imprinting the clay gives a cleaner image.

I pressed a circle framelit round the snowflake. This doesn't cut the circle out but it leaves a perfect imprint to trim round with sharp paper snips. It's easiest to do this when the clay is dry (I left it for about half an hour while I had a cup of tea and a revivifying chocolate brownie!)

Once the circle was cut out, I punched a hole in the top of the medallion and threaded it with cotton.

And that's how to make cute snowflake clay decorations for the tree!

(Click on any item to be transported to 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.

In our house, whenever anyone annoys us, we say: "Hisses at you!" which relieves our feelings rather nicely! Yesterday I said this to my youngest son who, despite the house rule that says No Crockery In Your Bedroom, had no fewer than three cereal bowls in his room. He came over and pecked my cheek. "No hisses," he said. "Only kisses!"

Christmas is coming and there's still plenty of excitement going on here this week. The Artisan Design Team will be getting together for the last blog hop of the year tomorrow - don't miss that! And then on Friday, it will be my last blog post before Christmas and I'll be revealing our Stampin' Up tree in all its glory!

Thank you for keeping me company in the run up to Christmas. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Trim the Christmas tree with handmade baubles

Is there no end to what you can do with your Stampin' Up stash?! The answer to that is no, of course! My daughter and I snatched a little crafty time together at the weekend to make some baubles for the Christmas tree - come and see:

Aren't they fun?! And so easy to make using snippets of designer paper and a punch.

Appropriately enough, the papers here are from the Trim the Tree designer paper stack!

I cut out five ovals with Stampin' Up's extra large oval punch...

... folded them in half with the wrong side showing and made a nice crisp crease with a bone folder.

The ovals were then ready to stick together as shown and to get the hanger, I laid a piece of cotton in the final piece before fitting the last oval in.

Here we go! Another cute bauble for the tree!

Now, I wonder if the Snippets Playground is open? There might just be time to join in with the carols and I think I know where Miss hid the glitter...!

(Click on any item to be transported to my online shop!) 

Bone Folder

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.

It is so good to have my lovely daughter home. She has made friends with Eva-puppy very quickly and has given the pup a voice. Yesterday, naughty Eva got her hands on my make up bag and ran off with it. After I'd retrieved it (yes, I know, that's supposed to be Eva's job!) my daughter pretended to be the dog. "Day 35. Managed to get hold of the exciting Green Bag I've had my eye on! They got it off me but I'll get it back! Day 37. I can smell the Green Bag. I know it's out there somewhere. I will never give up!"

See you tomorrow,

Monday, 15 December 2014

Putting life on paws

Due to unforeseen craziness at Crafting Clare Towers, today's post is conspicuous by its absence so let's have a giggle instead!

I saw this photo on Pinterest...

It was captioned: No thanks. I'm only looking.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hand stamped Christmas snow with Letterpress Winter by Stampin' Up

It's a crisp, bright winter day here in the heart of England and my menfolk have gone off to do some Christmas shopping, leaving my daughter and me to play with puppies and Stampin' Up to our hearts content! Here's a snowy little number using a surprising touch of Pistachio Pudding:

I'm using Letterpress Winter, a recent acquisition which I absolutely adore!

I love the way you can layer up the snowflakes using just ink and of course it has the added advantage of being a super fast technique (perfect for people like me that would like some extra hours in the day for Christmas, please Mr Santa!)

But wait. There's an even quicker version of this card!

Those same snowflakes have been stamped onto Stampin' Up's thick ready-cut note cards. I blinked and it was done!

• Click here to see some Christmas gift wrapping projects made with this wonderful set.

I'll be linking this card up with 52CCT where there's a Pick a Previous Challenge on. I've chosen Snowflakes (April 2012). The second card is for today's one layer Snow challenge at Less is More.

(Click on any item to be transported to 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.

My daughter has been making friends with Eva, the puppy, this morning. "There are so many animals in the house now!" she said excitedly. "Well, there's a dog and a cat," I said. "That's two. Oh - do you mean your brothers?!"

I'd hate for you to think our Tuppence is being neglected now that Eva has moved in.

Here she is is, looking rather stern and demonstrating the kind of aloof elegance that Eva can only dream of!

Hope your Christmas plans are going well. Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon.