Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Meowy Christmas Bendy Cards

Exciting news: I've made two more Christmas cards this month! Woot! I can't wait to show you my bendy cards!

This post is going to be picture-heavy simply because, as they (whoever "they" is) say, a picture speaks a thousand words. I'll sprinkle in some information as I go, and if I leave any questions unanswered I hope you'll leave a comment or email me.

Let's start at the beginning, the fronts of the fully assembled cards:

(click photos to see them enlarged)

I made two almost identical cards; the main difference is that one of the cards has candy dots on the trees in addition to the stamped ornaments, so it looks a little more detailed. I'm a novice at alcohol markers, but I got brave and decided to use my Spectrum Noir pens to color the stamped images.

Closer view of one of the cards:


Looking from the sides:



The stamp set I used exclusively is Christmas Cats from Simon Says Stamp, and I was grateful I invested in the coordinating dies. I chose this set because I needed images that I could glue back to back so they'd be seen on both sides of the hills - and the cats and the trees fit the bill.

Here's what the card looks like right out of the envelope (and yes, it does fit in a standard A2 envelope):


The recipient tucks in the two tabs to make the card bend, hence "bendy" card. (I've also seen this style referred to as a "bendi" card, but I think that is the East Indian version. ;) ) I haven't decided whether to label the tabs A and B or trust that whoever gets the card will figure it out, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Here's how the tabs curl:


Top view:


When the right flap is open, here's what you see:



The inside of the left flap:



Completely open:



The tricky part of this card was shaping the hills so they'd begin and end in the right place. I think this is why most bendy cards I've seen have either straight or angled sides. Once I masterminded the shapes (okay, so it wasn't THAT hard, lol), I added shading and Dazzling Diamonds glitter along the top edges and the snowbanks. In real life they really are dazzling!

Close-up of the glitter-embossed sentiment:


I used some DSP to cover the back of the card and also hide the slots. I added a sponged Top Note die cut as a place to put a personal message since there's not a lot of room to write inside the card:


I started out this project following some directions sent to me by one of my StampNation Sistahs (Hi, Tristan!), but if you're interested in making a bendy card for the first time, I'd recommend the tutorial on the Splitcoaststampers website.

This turned out to be a time-consuming project for me, probably because of all the little details I put into it, but I'd say it was totally worth the effort!

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Coming up next: Some Stamp of Approval cards
Followed by: Birthday cards for two awesome young men

Bendy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce
             

Monday, July 25, 2016

Froggie Cards

I meet the most interesting people in StampNation! A few months ago I found out one of the Sistahs used to have her own stamp company, and she mentioned she had some stamps leftover and would be happy to send me some from her catalog. I looked through it and picked out what I considered to be a reasonable number of stamps, and in time they arrived on my doorstep. I offered to at least reimburse her for postage, and she said she'd love it if I would make a card using the stamps. And thus it began, one of the most detailed batches of cards I've ever made.

At first glance they don't look like much, but I used this project to practice coloring and shading as well as to practice creating a scene. Here's the first of four cards, my prototype for the rest:


I used ten of her stamps (plus a few of my own) to make this card front. (For other insanely curious people like myself who might have to know which ten, they are: the frog, two dragonflies, the flower with ladybug already on it, the "enjoy" sentiment, the grass, and the branch with three leaf clusters.) 


I started each scene by using Stampin' Up! inks (Wild Wasabi and Soft Sky) to lay down the background color. I used two sizes of scallop circle punches to create the clouds with a sponge. The most time-consuming part was creating grass that I could be proud of. I had one stamp of grass close to an inch long, and I used it to create hills and valleys, shadows and sunny spots.


The rest was coloring and fussy cutting, then mounting the images with Stampin' Dimensionals.


I experimented with a different froggie color on the fourth card since I was getting restless. Here's the inside of the card:


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Coming up next: Bendy cards! Oh, my... so much fun!

Froggie smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce
             

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Beginning of an Art Journal

I've been wanting to start an Art Journal for a very long time, but it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I just wasn't getting to it because there was always some other deadline to meet first. In a brazen act of friendship my crafting buddy Carey provided me with the blank journal, black gesso, and most importantly, her time. We sat down one weekend day in May - she at her house clear on the other side of town, and me in my own workspace - connected ourselves on Skype or Facetime or some such app, and worked on our pages simultaneously. 

I gesso'd and painted the first double-page spread in my favorite color purple, but then I was stuck. I struggled for awhile until an idea hit me square in the noggin: What I really needed to do was start at the beginning. I grabbed the black gesso and painted the single page before the purple one I had just started. While the gesso was drying I decided to look through my Dazzles (brand of stickers) to see if a visual theme for my beginning page would jump out at me - and jump it did! I found some copper steampunk-related Dazzles that just happened to have the perfect expression:

(Click to view in a larger size)

Given the purpose of my Art Journal - to express myself either for public eyes or just my own using whatever art or craft supplies I feel like in the moment - it feels appropriate to call it an adventure! I intend to use it as a venue for my own prose or poetry, thoughts, feelings, quotes, or anything that strikes my fancy. The only rules are: 

1) When a page is done I still should be able to close the book.
2) I am not allowed to anguish over a page more than a sitting or two in an attempt to make it perfect. This is a place for learning and for practice.
3) I am allowed to keep parts of it private if I wish. I figure this will help squelch the need to be a perfectionist.
4) Any other rules I may make up as I go should not be restrictive, but rather make my process easier.

Back to this page... Besides black gesso and copper dazzles, I also used some copper ink and a grunge-themed stamp set or two from Stampin' Up! I made a bit of an oops in one area but decided to leave it. (No anguishing allowed!) When I felt the page was finished, I was rather pleased with it.

Of course, in no time I was doubting myself over the validity of using stickers to make an "Art" Journal page. After some thought, though, I've concluded that while I don't particularly think of stickers as art, I believe they can be used to express oneself as well as any other medium. So stickers are okay in my own Art Journal. :)

What's your take on stickers? Do you think the use of stickers somehow compromises visual art? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Coming up in the next posts
Tomorrow - a set of Froggie cards
Next - the great Bendy card adventure of 2016
Then - some cards made with Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval collections
And then - a couple of birthday cards for boys
After the next four posts, I will be caught up on my blogging! Yay!

Wishing you many Adventures of your Own,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce
            

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Challenges from Splitcoaststampers

I've taken a liking to doing the sketch challenges over at Splitcoaststampers, but due to time constraints just do the challenges my friend Carey hosts there. Without further ado...

SCS593
Here's the sketch:

and here's what I did with it:


Additional information about this card can be found in my SCS gallery here.

SCS597
Here's the sketch:


and here's what I did with it:


I actually made two of these cards with the Cloisonne Horse stamp; the other one had the background colors in reverse, but I messed up and forgot to take a picture before I sent the card out into the world. You can read a little more about this card here.

SC602
Here's the sketch:


And here's my simple creation:


The deets about this card can be found here.

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Coming up next: a peek into the humble beginning of my Art Journal. See you tomorrow!

Big Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce
          

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Happy Cake Day!

No doubt the title of this post is a dead giveaway - I made a birthday card. It's been awhile, (my friend's birthday was in May!), but if I remember correctly there are three Stampin' Up! sets used to create this card: Build a Birthday provided the candles and sentiment on the card front, Age Awareness was used for the inside sentiment, and Gorgeous Grunge provides the ambiance. The embossing folder used on the front panel is Decorative Dots, one of my go-to's for texture, especially for something celebratory like a birthday. 


My favorite part of this card? you ask. Of course it's the colors! I had every intent of doing this post the day the new Stampin' Up! In Colors for 2016-2017 went public, but I obviously missed. If you haven't seen them yet, let me introduce you to Dapper Denim (the card base), Sweet Sugarplum (the embossed panel behind the candles), Flirty Flamingo (the sentiment strip), Emerald Envy, and Peekaboo Peach (the two leftmost candles). Aren't they a dream? The Sugarplum and Flamingo make me swoon, and the Denim is going to prove itself quite useful. I used these colors to introduce my birthday friend, who is also a stamper, to the new In Colors. 


Happy Birthday again, Carey, if you're reading this!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I have a bazillion (well, okay, maybe ten) more projects to post in order to get caught up with everything I've done since the last post in April, but I think you'll enjoy seeing my creations. I'll combine similar projects into one post wherever possible so as not to annoy my readers who just skim the pictures with excessive email.

Up next will be three cards I made for challenges at Splitcoaststampers, followed by my very first Art Journal page. After that will come some froggie cards, bendy cards, cards made with a couple of Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval collections, and various technique cards. Yup, I've been busy!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a Stamper Joyce
                 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Another Sketch Challenge

My friend Carey is hostessing another sketch challenge at Splitcoaststampers this week, and I'm offering my support by playing along. Without further ado, here's the sketch:


Since another friend of mine has a birthday tomorrow, it seemed like a good idea to make birthday cards. I made two which are essentially the reverse of each other. 

Card 1:


Card 2:


(Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Stamps: Young at Heart (CASual Fridays), Label Maker Sentiments (MFT)
Paper: Birthday Bouquet DSP, Blushing Bride, Pool Party, Mint Macaron, Heavy Whisper White for card base
Ink: Mossy Meadow
Based on Splitcoaststampers' sketch challenge SC588

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I hope you enjoyed today's cards! I'll be dreaming up some more very soon, so stay tuned!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
             

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Asian Thank You Cards

I made two cards in answer to sketch challenge SC586 on Splitcoaststampers, and here's what that sketch looks like:


I was a bit intimidated by all the boxes when I first saw the sketch, but I reminded myself of how when I first started cardmaking everything I did was in a framed box, and it took me a long time to get out of that pattern - so while I am out of practice, I do have it in me. I also told myself that I didn't *have* to use boxes - instead, I could replace them with other shapes or design elements. After pondering for a few days I ended up sticking pretty closely to the sketch, as you can see below:


I went with an asian theme after randomly grabbing The Oriental Collection stamp set which I received from Cardmaking & Papercrafts magazine awhile back. I've always been fond of cherry blossoms, so I decided to start with that and find a background paper that has that feel. I looked just a little further than the tip of my nose to find a lovely floral print in Stampin' Up!'s Birthday Bouquet designer series paper which was sitting at my feet waiting to be put away. I decided to layer this print onto a blue background, but I wanted something not quite solid in color - and out jumped the free Sale-a-bration DSP called Perfectly Artistic. I couldn't decide between the Soft Sky watercolor print or the marbelized Blushing Bride, so I decided to make two cards.



I used blender pens with Stampin' Up dye inks (Mossy Meadow, Soft Sky, and Blushing Bride) to add color to the images stamped in Mossy Meadow or Archival Basic Gray onto Whisper White. I cut the Whisper White  panel into sections and attached them to the card base with 1/8" foam squares. I added some Wink of Stella sparkle to the flower centers on both the free falling flowers as well as the flowers in the fans. 



Other than background color, the primary difference between the two cards is the number of floating flowers. I'm still not sure whether I prefer 3 or 5, but I am leaning towards the 3. I'd love to hear your preference in the comments section below.  :)

* * * * * * * * * *
I find myself now at a glorious crossroads where I'm not scrambling for the next deadline and can choose whatever I'd like to work on next. Product contenders are Prima opal magic acrylic paints (which turn a different color depending on what color background you put them), gold foiling using a large Nuvo glue pen, and a wide variety of coloring media. Or I can work ahead on some birthday cards I've been commissioned to do. Or I could take on some Challenges over at StampNation. Or work on some Christmas cards. Or I could start swatching out my inkpads so I have a better idea my color choices and can use more than just SU inks. Or... I could take a break altogether and color in some untouched adult coloring books I have! Decisions, decisions. I hope you'll drop by again to see my next project.

Make it a great day!

Spring-y Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
         

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ruffled Feathers Tapestry

I did these two cards in answer to a sketch challenge on Splitcoaststampers. Here's the sketch:


and here are my cards:

Card 1:




Card 2:



Now, if you're like everyone else who has seen these cards in person, you're thinking to yourself, "Well, Joyce, that's a hot mess you have there."

And here's where I burst out laughing and tell you that that's exactly the look I was going for!

The sentiment reads, "Don't let life ruffle your feathers," so I wanted a ruffled feather look and feel.

I also wanted to create a tapestry effect by layering colors and then adding gold. If you could see the cards in person, you would probably agree I accomplished that. Here's a picture that sort of shows more of the gold:


You still have to use your imagination, but I promise you, the cards have a rich tapestry look.

Stamps: Feathers (HOTP)
Inks: Distress Peacock Feathers, Picked Raspberries, Salty Ocean, Wilted Violet, and Squeezed Lemonade, Delicata Golden Glitz, VersaFine Onyx Black
Paper: Watercolor paper, Elegant Eggplant, Heavy Whisper White, Whisper White
Other: Stitched Rectangle dies, gold sequins

Thanks for looking!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
         

Fun with Stencils and Pastes, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the previous one which you can find here if you're getting this by email. To those of you just now joining me, I'm showing ten cards I made using stencils and embossing paste; the previous post showed five, and this one will show five.

I thought what I had used for stenciling up to this point was pretty awesome, but then I broke into a new-to-me product that knocked my socks off. The product is Dazzlerz by a company called Shimmerz, and it's the shiniest embossing paste I've ever seen. I saw Catherine Pooler use it in one of her blog posts, and I had to have it! I purchased four colors, and will consider buying more when I come back to working with embossing pastes again. I'm hooked! :)

Card 6: Hedgehugs

I used Spun Sugar Dazzlerz on this card, along with a couple of adorable hedgehogs by Lawn Fawn. The stencil I used is called Harleen, and it was made by Winnie & Walter for the most recent Stamp of Approval collection. Love!!


Do you see what happens when light hits Dazzlers? It's almost blinding... well, dazzling! 


I stamped the hedgies in Early Espresso, the heart in Real Red, and the sentiment in Smoky Slate. The card base is Pink Pirouette. Here's the simple inside:


Card 7: Live, Laugh, Love

This card might just be my favorite. The embossed background sure is! I used the Harleen stencil again, this time with Dazzlerz in Sea U in the Mornin', a pretty light green. 


The background was done in two steps; first, I embossed, and then I shifted the stencil and sponged Pink Pirouette ink into the gaps. 


I did some inlaid die cutting with a stitched circle and added some light pink sequins, then mounted the whole thing on foam to raise it up off the Pink Pirouette card base.


Inside is a pretty border stamp that matches the envelope. (I make matching envelopes for all my cards.)


Card 8: Butterfly Birthday

I "stole" the inside circle from the previous card and used it on this next one.


The butterfly is a Martha Stewart punch that I coated with clear Wink of Stella.


Colors are Pink Pirouette on a Whisper White card base with a Smoky Slate sentiment. The pink cardstock is embossed with SU's butterfly embossing folder. The inside:


Card 9: Butterfly in Tutti Frutti

This card looks a lot like the Pearlescent one, but the shine is the giveaway that this was done with Dazzlerz.


I expected the Tutti Frutti Dazzlerz to be pinker, so I intend to call Shimmerz and see if I can add some dye ink refill to make it darker without ruining the "recipe." I know for sure I can add to the pearlescent embossing paste without a problem, so I may do that as my Plan B if Shimmerz says to not alter their color. 



Card 10: Live, Laugh, Love in Grapetastic

And finally, my last card for the day - done with Grapetastic Dazzlers and a detailed stencil that was a challenge to work with. 


Some of the embossing paste oozed under the stencil, but I used my handy dandy stitched circle die to cut the worst of it out of the panel before mounting it on an Elegant Eggplant card base. 


I then took that stitched circle and cut it into quarters. I trimmed off the oozed part and used the rest as accent corners on the inside and envelope:



* * * * * * * * * * * *
So there you have it, ten cards using eight different jars o' goodness. If you haven't given embossing pastes a chance, please consider giving them a try. I almost decided not to because it's so hard for me to run back and forth between my work area and my sink, but I managed by putting a dishpan full of warm water next to me to house the stencils until I could completely clean them off; and paper towels and my Absorber cloths did pretty good with the palette knife and work area.


Coming up next: Ruffled Feathers

Thanks for stopping by, and leave a comment if you really want to make my day. Until next time...

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce