Brussels, what a lovely place to spend a few days. Especially when a large proportion of those few days includes hanging out with lots of lovely Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators and Staff members!
Today I am sharing my OnStage Live swaps which I made especially for the Brussels event. I was quite proud of myself as I made 100 swaps in total, and this was the first time I had swaps in 2 colourways. (Though I have to be honest, I found having a choice a little more stressful than anticipated! Maybe next time I will stick to a single colourway.)
I will just quickly share the thinking behind my design, and then I will finally show it to you. I wanted to make a Christmas card as Christmas is definitely on it’s way, but ideally I didn’t want to use stamp sets from the Seasonal catalogue as there are only a couple more months of that left. As at the time we didn’t know which stamp sets and accessories might carry forwards to the next catalogue, and which will be retiring come January, I didn’t want to provide people with ideas that they could only use for a short period. I know that a lot of us are creative people who could take a concept and use it with other sets instead, but it is nice to be able to share ideas with your customers and friends which you have received at events like in Brussels, etc.
So bearing that in mind, I had a look through my stamp sets and had a bit of a think, and came up with the concept of making a Christmas cake using the Build a Birthday set, along with a few additional “decorations” to make it more obviously a Christmas cake and not just a strangely coloured birthday or other cake! Take a look:
I stamped the blue cards out first, as I liked the thought of a wintery frosty-feeling cake. The blue colourway is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to the traditional reds and greens. There is also the bright pinks and lime greens, but that didn’t appeal half as much as a cake colourway!
Once I had cut 50 cards and stamped out 50 cakes (one layer at a time, stamping all of the cakes and then moving on to the next layer), I cut out 50 washi label tags and stamped the sentiments onto them. The joys of photopolymer stamps!
That was the work of an evening, and it was very enjoyable spending time at my dining table cutting and stamping and listening to my audiobook. (It’s a murder mystery on board the Titanic and is actually very good. I like the narrator!) Having done so many without really “feeling the pain” of making lots and lots of swaps, I decided later in the week to make a whole bunch more in a red and green colourway. Again, I sat and stamped while relaxing once the twins were in bed.
I stamped all of the cakes, and punched and stamped the washi label sentiments, then popped them to one side for a few days. I just needed to decide on the base card colour for each option. I had a few different options, especially for the blues, but Gary helped me to determine that Island Indigo made a good grounding for the blue option, and Cucumber Crush worked well for the reds. It took a third evening to put them all together (not to mention a couple of Snail refills!). I used Cucumber Crush for the tree on top of the blue cake, as it seemed to fit in quite nicely with the blues, and actually looked much better than a blue tree, interestingly. I used my grid paper to test out the various colour combinations and orders before committing to my Whisper White cardstock!
Originally, I cut the image bases to squares, as per the example below, but when I was making up the “cards” (they are not full cards, only a card front), I determined that we could easily “lose” a bit of the white space at each side and translate the cards into standard A6 card fronts which allowed me to get 4 cards from each sheet of A4. If I had left them as squares, I would only have achieved 2 per sheet of card, and had a lot of leftover “bits”!
(I also realised after stamping this one that I’d used a retired colour – Pistachio Pudding – for the tree, which was not good! Luckily, Cucumber Crush came to the rescue and I think it is actually better, as it is a bit more striking.)
I have a few of my swaps left over, but that was partly because I didn’t make a concerted effort to get them all swapped. I went with a design which I knew I could make use of if I was left with any at the end, and I will be mounting these to create useable Christmas cards for this year 🙂 So I wasn’t upset or miffed to be bringing a few home from Brussels. I could have passed them out if I had made the effort!
I was interested to note that the blues seemed to be a lot more popular than the reds, lots of people gravitated to that option when given a choice of swaps, though some people chose the red. I’m not sure if that is because it feels more “modern” or they preferred the monochrome look, or because it was a bit different to the norm, or what, but people were very complimentary. I got lots of lovely items in return, including 3D swaps, card fronts, gift tags, bookmarks, lots of things! Some are Christmassy, some are not, some look very complicated, some are very simple, some are easier to make than it would first appear, but all have been made with lovely products and care and attention. I am very inspired by them and plan to share at least some of my favourites with you guys! I will also be making use of some of the techniques and ideas for both my Christmas cards and other card-giving occasions throughout the year.
In case you wanted to see the backs, these are the labels which I printed to pop onto the backs of my Brussels swaps. We are supposed to mark up our swaps with our name, and what products we have used to create them. Sadly, not everyone does this, so sometimes you can be stumped as to where a stamp came from (especially the little accent stamps) or simply cannot give the credit for a beautiful swap to the right person as you have no idea who made it!
Overall, OnStage Brussels was a wonderful experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. But you can only come along if you are an “active” Stampin’ Up! demonstrator – i.e. if you have a current account and have met your minimum sales requirements for that quarter. If you time it right, you can join up and attend an OnStage event without ever having to buy anything more than your Starter kit! Talk to me if you want more details about this. At this event we got to see (and receive) copies of the new Seasonal Spring/ Summer catalogue and SaleABration brochure, we received brand new stamp sets and other goodies, we got to “play with” and try out some of the upcoming product suites, and also to pre-pre order items before anyone else which is a perk of being an OnStage attendee. The general Demonstrator pre-order period for this catalogue starts on December 3rd, but I already have new products in my possession, and a (small) box of goodies which shipped yesterday and will be here soon. How exciting is that?!
I am strongly considering heading to Utah in April for the next OnStage Live event! There will be an OnStage Local event in Telford at the same time, but now that Stampin’ Up! have opened up OnStage Live attendance globally (anyone can go to any event), it is very tempting to visit the Home of Stampin’ Up! And Gary didn’t say I couldn’t go… 🙂 I just have to work out the cost and the logistics of it all!
I am at a craft workshop all day this Saturday, with the lovely Sheena Douglass, so I won’t be creating with my new goodies, sadly, but I will definitely try to have a play with them very soon. I think you are going to like what you see! I certainly do. I might get some bits done tonight, but I have a number of jobs to do as they have been neglected this week as it has been very busy in the evenings. I have far more ideas than I have time to create! But I am really trying to prioritise my crafting as it is good for me, and “fills my cup” as it were. I hope that you get some time this weekend to do something which makes you happy.
I will “see” you soon. Don’t forget about the 20% off promotion which ends TOMORROW! If you want those stamp sets, you need to be quick. There are no limits on how many discounted sets you can buy, so go for it! Enjoy.
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Punch: Washi Label.
Accessories: Stampin' Trimmer.