Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Today I'm excited to share that Stampin' Up! are making a difference during this global pandemic.  We just launched our Sharing Sunshine digital stamp set.  EVERY penny from sales of this PDF goes straight to support COVID-19 efforts through two different organisations:
The World Health Organization’s COVID-Solidarity Response Fund
This fund supports the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, which includes:
  • Tracking and understanding the spread of the virus.
  • Ensuring patients get the care they need.
  • Buying and shipping essential protective gear for frontline workers.
  • Generating awareness for the general public on ways to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Accelerating efforts to develop vaccines, tests and treatments.
Learn more about WHO here.
United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund
This fund supports communities across the world struggling to cope with COVID-19. United Way is working to protect the most vulnerable by helping them access food, shelter, vital information, and more through United Way’s global network.
Learn more about United Way here.

It's really easy to buy this download, just click this link here
You will be directed to a one-off purchase site operated by Stampin' Up! where it's simple to make your purchase and download the printable stamp set.
Here's what Stampin' Up! say about Share Sunshine:
"Stampin’ Up! is committed to making a difference in our global communities and caring about people first. As part of our Making a Difference programme we’re offering a product giveback opportunity to support organisations that are helping COVID-19 frontline responders and communities vulnerable to the pandemic.
You can purchase the Share Sunshine PDF Download and we will donate 100% of the proceeds to COVID-19 efforts.
The Share Sunshine PDF Download is a digital stamp set that’s packed with both light-hearted and heartfelt sentiments and imagery relevant to the unique COVID-19 and social distancing situation we’re currently experiencing–including many ideas that came from Demonstrators and our customers! You can use the download in your cardmaking and papercrafting projects. Simply print the imagery on cardstock and cut it out using our Paper Trimmer, punches, or dies. Since we are physically distanced from each other, now is a perfect time to share sunshine with our friends and family by sending cards!"

I hope you enjoy the images and sentiments contained in the digital stamp set and I look forward to seeing what you've made and how you've used them.  The set is mostly sentiments with some imagary and is perfect to use in conjunction with some of our other cheerful image stamps.  I am certain that by purchasing this offer we can collectively make a difference.  
Stay safe, stay positive and Share Sunshine, crafty hugs Issy x

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Tuesday again and I'm going to be live over on my facebook page with a 'make along' session this evening at 7pm.

This week I'm making another fancy fold and this one is re-visiting a card I taught in a class about a year or so ago; the pyramid fold.  It's a great fancy fold as you can get two of the card bases from one sheet of A4 cardstock.  I'll teach you how to measure, cut and score this card base and I'll be decorating the card during my live session, sharing a couple of tips for assembling it along the way.

I'm going to be continuing these regular Tuesday evening make along sessions BUT I am so delighted to say that I'm also going to be offering one session per month when you can actually make exactly the cards I am making using exactly the same stamp set with a pre-order service.  This month the date hasn't been set just yet as I want to ensure that I can get the stamp sets out in the post to anyone who wants to join in.  The stamp set we will be using is the Parisian Beauty set. This set is part of the Parisian Blossoms suite which actually has two bundles, Designer Series paper, beautiful ribbon and embellishments.

I will be texting my regular class attendees today with instructions on how to join the class and order the set.  If you are not one of my regulars you can still join in.  If you don't already have the stamp set and you are in the UK then please contact me by Thursday 23rd April at 10pm and I will give all the details.  The class will include three cards and lots of fun!

So, try a virtual class with me tonight - Fancy Fold 'make along' live at 7pm over on my Facebook page.  And why not pre-order your stamp set for the Parisian Beauty class coming later! Shop with me now or watch for the text coming if you've subscribed to my text service.

Stay safe, keep calm and craft at home!

Monday, 13 April 2020

Make Along Live Sessions

Hi everyone!

While we are all staying home and I can't run in person classes I've managed to overcome my fear of going Live on Facebook.  I've decided to do a 'Make Along' session every Tuesday evening at 7pm and you can join me.

Even if you don't have a Facebook account you are still able to watch me live and join in with the fun, you just won't be able to post comments.  If you don't have a Facebook account I can honestly say that this would be a great time to get one, you really don't need to use it much if you're not interested or you've heard negative things about FB, it's just a brilliant way of watching live demonstrations or joining an interest group.

Last week I shared how to use 'sketch' layouts when creating cards and during the make along session some of you made cards with me all with different results but using the same sketch for inspiration for the layout. The session is still available to watch on my Facebook page and the beauty of watching it back and not live is that you get to FF it!!

This week I'll be showing you how to make a fancy fold and you really don't need any fancy kit to do it.  

To decorate it you might want to use stamps with matching punches or dies but don't worry if you don't have these you can always 'fussy' cut the images.

Materials you will need are simple:A4 Card stock in colour of your choicePatterned paperWhite card stock for stampingruler & scoring tool - or if you have a trimmer with scoring tool or scoreboard scoring tool even better!
Ink - you'll need at least some black ink to stamp your images and sentiment and ideally some coloured ink but really, if you don't even have stamps and ink you can cut images from patterned paper.Snips - large and smallAdhesive

Looking forward to going live with you again, hope you can join me 

Issy x

Thursday, 2 April 2020

New products EARLY!

 See the suite here
As we are all adjusting to spending our time at home and re-organising our lives I wanted to share what this means for me.  My new 'normal' at the moment is that I am still working three days a week in my part-time admin job for our County Council.  I am lucky as I have a great space in which to work at home, my craft room has always been half office and half creative space so with very few adjustments I was quickly up and running supporting our front line social care team.  On the downside it means that I am spending three days per week in my creative space doing business work and so my motivation to return to the same room on an evening to do creative work is a real struggle.

My Stampin' Up! business is having to change dramatically as I have always loved being a face to face demonstrator running local classes.  I am really, really missing not seeing all my regulars.  Facebook Live has been working OK for me to be able to talk to you but I miss the interaction and cheeky exchanges that we have in 'real life'.  I am determined to keep doing these and have been planning some different sessions which I hope will become a bit more interactive... Watch that space.... you can click the link on this page to go to my Facebook page or find me on social media by searching @issyscraftybees.

I offer an apology if you only follow my blog here and don't have a Facebook account, but really this is the best time to get yourself on Facebook if only to connect with your creative friends and stay off the main newsfeed.  There are some amazing groups on Facebook and they can be a source of inspiration and support.  For example, I am a member of a Facebook group called the Hygge Nook and it's just a fantastic place to interact with happy people with positive messages and there's lots of sharing of homemaking ideas and recipes.

This week saw the close of our annual Sale-A-Bration event when we enjoyed three months of fantastic opportunities to get free products when you placed orders, joined my team or hosted events.  I had customers who all benefited from all three of these ways of getting freebies.  I'm going to do a review of my Sale-A-Bration goodies and invite you to join me over on Facebook for that in the near future.

This week also saw the release of a whole suite of NEW products called the Ornate Garden suite.  All these items are going to be available in the next annual catalogue when it launches at the start of June but you can get any of the items from this stunning suite right NOW as it's been released early.  Here is a short video which brings to life some of the products.  You can also click my shop link and see each individual item in more detail and of course place an order if you are tempted.  Don't forget that Stampin' Up! always charge a flat rate for shipping and you can have fabulous products delivered direct to your door.

I really hope that you are all safe and well and taking time to be creative in your enforced time at home.  Please connect with me in person or via social media and share some of your creative projects.  And, as always I'm happy to receive your suggestions for what you'd like me to make and share with you.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Making adjustments

Hi everyone,
Since last Wednesday when I went live on Facebook for the first time I've been quiet as I needed some time to consider this new way of living as I am absolutely sure you will have too.

Being a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator is really important to me.  I absolutely love to share and teach and as a very sociable person running classes in person has been such a wonderful part of my life for the last 9 years.  I often pause before I say 'customer' or 'friend' when describing someone in my circle as I consider everyone who shares my passion for being crafty is a friend even if I only see you once a month in a class!

So, while things are ... shall we say 'different', I have had to think about how to proceed.  The business model of direct sales is great but might not be appropriate for everyone while we all adjust. For example, the way I operate as a Demonstrator I don't earn an income as I've always run it as my hobby fund; after overheads of venue hire and materials the fee I charge for classes mean I break even.  The commission I earn on sales is re-invested in new products to keep my classes fresh.  My income is from my two part time jobs: Wednesday to Friday as an admin support for the county council and my wedding Ceremony Officer role.  I am fortunate enough to be able to continue my admin role from home with technology however I have stepped down from my wedding role as I practice social distancing, this has been heartbreaking as I love that job so much.

My husband is self-employed as a handyman working locally with private customers in their own homes and so his work has stopped entirely.  With this situation we need to carefully consider all our financial outgoings - we're not on the breadline and this post it aimed entirely at explaining my decisions regarding what I'm going to do as a Demonstrator, please - no sympathy at all, we have been living a frugal life for a few years and we are well adjusted to budgeting carefully.

So, here is my plan:  I am motivated to keep being creative, after all I have more time to be creative in lots of ways.  I am absolutely going to continue being a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator even if I have to go back to the beginning and start again at some point.  I really want to do more online live sessions and I am aware that not all my creative friends have Facebook accounts.  I don't want to go down the YouTube route because I don't get excited about creating videos and having the editing etc to master.  I will endeavour to find a way to share live, uncut, unedited demonstrations here - so watch this space and stick with me (I have an idea).

For the short term I am not planning on ordering additional products for myself as I already have a craft room full of fabulous stuff.  You can however, still place orders and receive Stampin' Up! products direct to your door if you want to.  It's easy to place orders direct using my online shop, just click the link at the top of this page.  You can also earn FREE products with Sale-a-Bration until the end of March and more items are being added tomorrow (24th March).

While I've been contemplating things over the last few days I have considered putting together packs or kits to run online classes but this causes me a couple of issues; firstly we are not permitted to stamp images on behalf of customers, secondly I would need to post these packs and as part of social distancing I am not going to the post office (I am aware that I could print off postage labels and put small packages in the post box but this could become problematic if we go into lockdown). And thirdly I don't want to use up all the cardstock I have available and be left with none to use for demonstrating live.  The struggle is real folks! My top tip is that I would urge you all to consider our fantastic all inclusive kits if you want to get creative and do some stamping.  These kits are a brilliant way of having everything in one package and will give you some really brilliant crafty opportunities.  There are kits in each of our catalogues and we currently have THREE catalogues live:

Our fabulous Beginner Brochure

The January - June Mini 

And, of course, the main Annual Catalogue

So, this has been one of the longest blogs I've written in a very long time and if you've got to this point, thank you for sticking with me.  I do need to say a massive thank you to all my regular customers (aka friends!) who gave me encouragement and feedback last week.

Finally, I am going to turn my Facebook page over to being a totally fun, creative and sharing space where I would encourage you to share your makes no matter what they are.  If you have baked a cake, knitted a jumper, painted a picture or grown tomatoes from seed for the first time then please share your pics and a bit of info about what you have made.  My Facebook page will not be a place to talk about the virus at all, it will be an escape place, just for us.  These are strange and different times and one thing we do need to be creative with is our time.  Now, let's stay safe, be well and create stuff!!

Much love to everyone, one day we'll all be back on the beach having fun!!

Issy x

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

My first ever Facebook live!

Join me and watch my first ever Facebook Live on replay as I show you how to make these three cards.

I faced my fears and went live for the first time this evening instead of delivering my regular monthly card making class.  It wasn't nearly as much fun as seeing my fabulous regulars in person but I hope that by going live and sharing the video - totally unedited here (you can FF of course!) I will inspire you to take a look.

I will make a longer blog and share some of the measurements etc and more details of the actual products used, but for now I wanted to share the video.  I've never done it before so I hope it works, if it doesn't I'll try and fix it. 

Click HERE

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Fabulous February!

I had a day off from my part-time job yesterday and so did my colleague and friend, Linda.  I asked her if she would like to come over and have a craft day with me and she was delighted.

We knew we would be making a couple of cards and I asked her to let me know if there were any particular techniques she wanted to learn.  One technique was a triple layered card which she had seen on Pinterest.  I knew immediately it would work really well using my new Timeless Tropical stamp set from the Jan - June mini catalogue.  I had just received the matching die set and have been wanting to use it all week. Now I love bright colours but am always challenged when using orange and I asked Linda to pick out the colour scheme which was Mango Melody for the base card and Poppy Parade for the layers, she did a great job of getting me out of my comfort zone and I love the vibrant result.  

Now, there are a couple of different ways of making a card using this technique and I decided to show Linda the frugal crafter way which saves you cardstock and therefore money - we all love that I'm sure!

After I cut the base card I cut a piece of Poppy Parade 13.5cm x 10cm and a piece of Whisper White the same size.  We used Mango Melody, Poppy Parade and Grannyapple Green ink to stamp a random pattern all over the white piece.  In actual fact we also used a couple of stamping techniques while we did this too: for the large hibiscus flower images we first inked up in Mango Melody and using a dauber we smooched some Poppy Parade ink in the centre before stamping - this gives a lovely two-tone look.  We also used a masking technique to get some of the leaf images so they look like they are behind the large flowers. 

I then used my Stitched Rectangle dies to cut the whisper white piece down to 13cm x 9cm, then cut it down to 6.5cm x 10cm then down to 3.5cm x 7cm.  You're then left with three 'layers' but the largest and middle layers are actually 'frames'. This means that you are only using one piece of cardstock and not 3.  I did the same for the Poppy Parade layers but only used two dies.  

I hope you agree that the finished layering is very effective and I love that I didn't waste any cardstock.  The cute little accent flowers and leaves are from the matching In The Tropics die set which can be purchased as the Timeless Tropical bundle saving 10%.

This bundle is part of a suite of products in the mini catalogue which includes gorgeous patterned Designer Series paper, an embossing folder, pretty trinkets, some braided burlap trim and Memories and More cards.

The second card we both made was this one which was pretty much CASED from the mini catalogue.  CASEing is when we Copy And Share Everything and is a term we use lots in Stampin' Up!  One common comment I hear from my customers who attend my classes is that they find it hard to come up with ideas and designs for their cards when they are crafting at home.  Sometimes they are surprised to hear me say the same!  I often have a creative block and so I turn to CASEing - I go to our catalogues and look at the fabulous cards and projects displayed there and sometimes I copy them straight up.  Other times I am inspired by them and change them or tweak them a little.  This card was pretty much copied straight out but I did have to change the embossed layer as I haven't got the embossing folder from the catalogue yet.  I also changed the sentiment as I wanted this card to be specifically for someone I have in mind (*wink*).

I used Lovely Lipstick cardstock as a base with Sahara Sand for the layer inside the window.  We stamped onto Shimmery White cardstock and used ink squished into the lid and an aqua painter to watercolour the flower blossoms.  The stamp set and matching dies are from the Parisian Blossoms suite; Forever Blossoms stamp set and Cherry Blossoms dies which are available as a bundle - saving 10% on the individual prices.  This suite is absolutely gorgeous and evokes spring in every element.  The script background was from Parisian Beauty stamp set which is also part of the suite.  You've got to check it out.

If you would like details of all the products used in these two projects then click the links in the description and you'll go straight to my online shop.  If you live local to Retford or Bawtry and want to learn tips and techniques then check out my class dates and book a place.