Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Unexpected Gift

I recently received an unexpected envelope in my snail mail, and it when I opened it I discovered a pocket letter that my friend Carey had sneakily done without mentioning to me. It's pretty amazing, so I asked for her permission to post it here since it just screams to be seen.

Here's the front of the pocket letter:

and close-ups of the individual cards:

In the back of each card was a liner with a special surprise behind each one! The center pocket held a little letter to me, and in the other pockets were metal cogs or gears, some hummingbird and butterfly embellishments, and some decorative napkins that will make amazing backgrounds for future cards or ATCs. It was so delightful to hunt and find all the little gifties!

Thank you, Carey, for taking time from your hectic life to spend time making these ATCs and putting together a pocket letter for me!

Big smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dragonfly Dreams Birthday

I just made a complete fool of myself by calling my friend who designs some of the Splitcoaststampers weekly sketch challenges and bragging that I finally finished a card before the day it was due to be posted. My bubble burst when she reminded me that this is the day to upload and post it. Rats! I feel like I lost a couple weeks this month.

This is the sketch for SC638 ...

... and here is the card I made using it:

Here you can see the iridescent green (courtesy of Perfect Pearls) on the wings a bit better:

It was hard choosing how I wanted to do the wings since I could have used an iridescent embossing powder, mica watercolors, Pearl-ex, or even a clear Wink of Stella or Spectrum Noir sparkle pen. I chose the Perfect Pearls because I love their subtle shine in just the color I wanted, and no fixative was required because I used the Perfect Medium.

A close-up of the dragonfly:

And the inside:

The dragonfly on the card front is actually two glued back-to-back so that you can see the iridescent underside of his wings when they are lifted up for display.

Stamp set: Dragonfly Dreams
Colors: Sweet Sugarplum, Soft Suede, Whisper White, Wisteria Wonder, Wild Wasabi
Paper: Falling in Love DSP from the current Occasions catalog
Dies: Detailed Dragonfly Thinlits, Stitched Shapes, Layering Squares, and a border die that was one of the first ones SU ever released and also one whose name eludes me.
Other stuff: Perfect Medium, green Perfect Pearls, Stampin' Dimensionals, paintbrush, sponge, markers

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What's next? you ask. (Or am I hearing voices?) To be honest, I'm not really sure. I do need to regroup and finish up an ATC project, then check to see what birthdays and deadlines are sneaking up on me during April. I *might* do an art journal page related to me getting dentures, as there have been quite a few hilarious moments this week after their arrival on Friday. I'm learning how to talk and eat, sometimes together, all over again!

Brilliant new smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Beautiful You

Recently I joined in on another Splitcoaststampers sketch challenge, SC636, using it to make a birthday card for a friend of mine in Canada. (Hi, Lydia!) Here is the sketch designed by my friend Carey. (Hi, Carey!)

I had just received a Stampin' Up! order that included the fabulous stamp set called Beautiful You and was eager to use it, so this card fell together pretty quickly.

The card base is Pacific Point, and the striped left edge Party Animal designer series paper contains that color as well as Crushed Curry, Emerald Envy, and Whisper White. I used a Real Red SU! watercolor pencil to color the lady's hat and dress, but chose not to add water for fear of touching the Pacific Point ink and ending up with a mess. (I have shaky hands.) 

The scalloped edge was cut with the first Edgelit I purchased long, long ago. Both the scalloped circle and the inner circle were cut with the Layering Circles framelits. and the sentiment banner was cut with using the Banner framelits. The yellow flowers were punched from a retired SU! punch, and the blue centers are Pacific Point candy dots. The circle and the banner are popped up with Stampin' Dimensionals, and most edges are sponged to soften the look.

I like the inside of the card even better:

Beautiful You is a wonderful stamp set that I'm sure I'll be coming back to frequently.

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In other news, I'm still working on a set of ATCs for a friend. I keep getting sidetracked, though, which probably indicates that making ATCs is ultimately not my "thing." Either that or I have the attention span of a gnat. ;)

Beautiful smiles for Beautiful You,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pocket Letters Project

I recently learned about Pocket Letters, a current trend popular among papercrafters. The idea is to start with a clear 9-pocket page, the kind that sports enthusiasts use to store their trading cards, then fill those pockets with artist trading cards (ATCs) or decorated placeholders, embellishments and small gifts, a short personal letter, and some questions you may have about the recipient. I expressed an interest in trying this, and one of my StampNation sistahs (hi, Robi!) stepped up to swap with me. I'm also now working on a Pocket Letter page for a personal friend (hi, Tammie!) -- but more on that in another post.

ATCs are what intrigued me most about this project, so I ended up making nine of them for Robi's page. We decided to use a Spring/Butterfly theme, so every one of my ATCs have a butterfly on them. (I do love butterflies!) Here's how my completed page looks:

Here's a closer look at the ATCs:

(Click pictures to enlarge.) 

I chose to work with the colors Sweet Sugarplum (a current In Color from Stampin' Up!), Blushing Bride, and metallics (gold and silver), plus spots of other colors to add interest.

I used traditional ATC backs on the cards, although if I preferred I could have just left them decorated placeholders.

I then filled the pockets with a variety of crafting goodies, plus a letter to Robi.

My little gifts were a handful of paper paperclips cut with a die set from Stampin' Up!, wooden butterfly embellishments, sequins, a length of rickrack, some gold bow paperclips, some bronze circle paperclips, and some wood veneer speech bubbles. I stuck a business card as my personal info into the final pocket.

The Pocket Letter was a fun project to do once, and it gave me a chance to look through my stash of embellishments. I learned, though, that I really like making ATCs and really dislike writing letters. The page I'm filling for my friend Tammie will have the letter omitted since we talk to each other almost daily, and most of the ATCs will be different from the ones I sent to Robi.

Have any of you experimented with exchanging Pocket Letters? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Quick Party Collection Cards

Today's post will be quick, just as the two featured cards were to make. I used my new Catherine Pooler Designs inks from the Party Collection along with some of her stamp sets to create these one-layer cards.

This first one uses the colors Lime Rickey, Grass Skirt, Fiesta Blue, and Something Borrowed along with Memento Tuxedo Black. I think the dots are from the chevron in the Yay Stripes set, and the greetings are from Hello World, but if anyone would like to me to double-check I'd be happy to do so. The 'hi' and 'hello' were stamped on die cuts from Stampin' Up!'s Word Windows die set and layered on black cuts of the same, then popped up with Stampin' Dimensionals after hand-drawing the lines around the bubbles. I added a bit of black and white baker's twine and some gold sequins and Voila'! I had a general purpose masculine card.

To create the yellow panel on the next card, I first laid down some post-it tape to mask the diagonal, and then carefully stenciled inside of it with Tiara ink. I stamped the words with Memento Tuxedo Black ink, the leaves with Lime Rickey, and the blue doo-dads with Fiesta Blue. I was pretty pleased with the card even before I decided to add the bling in the stenciled area, but I think the clear gemstones give the card a bit more personality.

How's that for quick and easy?

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I'm still working on my Artist Trading Cards which I will use in a Pocket Letter I'll be exchanging with one of my StampNation sistahs. I'm also making a second batch of ATCs which I will be trading with a long-lost friend from high school, so I'm putting extra effort into those! Pictures of these 18 ATC cards should be ready to post within the next week or two. Meanwhile, I also need to work on some birthday cards and I am longing to get back to my art journal. Sigh... I wish I could hire someone to do my day-to-day life stuff so that I could sit and create all day, every day! Quite a dream, huh?

Busy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Adventures in Art Journaling

Back in early summer of last year, I began an art journal with a page called 'Let the Adventure Begin!' I started out with a layer of black gesso, then used copper Dazzles stickers to embellish the page. The final touch was to add some texture with rubber stamps using copper ink. 

I was so excited to finally be starting an art journal after a couple years of just thinking about it. Once this first page was done, though, I abandoned my journal in favor of more timely projects that came up, mostly birthday and Christmas cards.
With the start of the new year, however, I resolved that I would do my best to keep moving on the art journal project. Below is the next set of pages I created in early January. I started out with white gesso and then gradually added lavender acrylic paint with the intent to leave the center area lighter than the edges. To be honest, I made this background before the black and copper page, but I just could not figure out what I wanted to do with it. One of the groups on Facebook that I'm a member of recently became active again, and in one of our conversations the phrase "butterfly mind" came up. "Blissful moment..." is from a creative prompt. I was tickled pink (or lavender, lol) when I realized the two phrases play well with each other! Naturally, I had to include some butterflies, so I started by stenciling some in a slightly darker purple onto the page. The gold and white crocheted butterflies were the last to be added, along with a few clear gemstones to bling things up a bit.

The third set of pages has a beautiful stenciled background that I was quite proud of and didn't want to cover up. After admiring the Flirty Flamingo (a current Stampin' Up! In Color) background, I finally decided I wanted to do flowers. I grabbed the perfect set of flower dies from Paper Wishes and proceeded to give my Big Shot a workout. I wasn't initially sure that the papers I chose coordinated with the page, but at the encouragement of a couple friends I forged ahead and started building up the flower layers. The white paper that you see has specks of gold in it, and that really jazzes up the page. (Click on the picture to enlarge it!) I knew I wanted to add a hummingbird since it goes so well with the saying I used, "Hope is a waking dream," so I was elated when I found I owned the perfect hummingbird die.

I generally don't like doing collage work, but last week I got a wild hair to make one. It all started when yet another Good Housekeeping magazine that I never ordered appeared in my mailbox. As much as "good housekeeping" does not apply to me, the thought of simply throwing the magazines away pained me. So I started flipping through them and pulling out images and words that appealed to me. I ended up with a rather large pile! The next natural step was to start trimming and layering the clippings into my art journal. I found some words that spelled out a message perfectly: "Happiness is real easy... Look for those with heart, and activate your own awesome, good, real heart." The box in the lower right corner reads: "This is not a quick fix. This is my decision to make beauty last." I have no idea if the message makes sense to anyone else, but to me it's rather profound.

Below are some closer-ups, and if you wish to see it even closer just click on the picture.

Upper Left
Lower Left
Upper Right
Lower Right
As you can see, I also added a bunch of hearts, a few hummingbirds, and a black border to hold it all together. The hearts both match the message and are a nod to Valentine's Day, which was when this project was finished.

Once I was satisfied with my collage, I sealed it with matte Mod Podge. In the process the magazine paper wrinkled, but I'm considering those paper wrinkles to be texture added for overall effect! :)

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out my Turkey Lady on the far right. She even wore a scarf to celebrate the holiday! (I'm so easily amused, lol.)

So that's my art journal to date. I anticipate future posts about it will be much shorter than this one. If you have any questions or observations about any part of the project, please leave a comment for me and I will get back to you.

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My next project involves making some ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and something called Pocket Letters, but first I have some completed cards to show you in the next post. Stay tuned!

Happy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Friday, February 17, 2017

Valentine's Day Cards

I don't ordinarily make cards for Valentine's Day, but this year I decided to swap cards with a StampNation sistah -- and while I was at it I ended up with three more cards.

The card began with some simple stenciling using the color Party Dress from Catherine Pooler Designs' new line of ink pads:

Next, I narrowed down my stamp choice to the Stampin' Up! Host set called 'Love You Lots' because the critters featured in the set are so adorable. I had great fun using colored pencils to color the hedgehogs, ladybugs, and frogs.

I used the Sweet & Sassy framelits and the Stitched Shapes framelits to create layers and add interest.

The sentiment is from another set -- I don't recall the name, but anyone needs me to look it up I'll be glad to.

The final touch was to add a few strategically placed sequins on each card.

The frog I referred to earlier was stamped on each envelope and also colored with pencils... but I forgot to take a photo. (Sorry!)

The cards turned out cuter than I had imagined them, and I'm already looking forward to making next year's valentines. (Let's hope that feeling lasts another year, lol.)

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Coming up next: a quick update on my Art Journal, including an introduction to the Turkey Lady. ;)

Heart-y smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Happy New Year 2017

Here's a card I made at the end of 2016 to give to someone for the New Year's holiday, but then forgot to send.

I began by blending Fossilized Amber, Worn Lipstick, Salty Ocean, Broken China, and Wilted Violet distress inks onto heavy white cardstock. I added the black die cut of a cityscape and then began embossing fireworks stamps from The Ton's Pyrotechnics set in a variety of colors of embossing powder.

I mounted this colorful piece onto a Basic Black card base and then used Stampin' Dimensionals to add a black banner with the words 'The best is yet to come' embossed in white.

The inside of the card simply says 'Happy New Year' amid another shower of fireworks. The photos only hint at how sparkly the entire card is.

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Coming up next: Valentine's Day cards and an update on my Art Journal.

With optimistic smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Friday, December 23, 2016

Bear on Candy Cane Lane

As you might recall, I've been making Christmas cards with Stampin' Up!'s suite of Candy Cane Lane products. I have a handful of pieces to turn into cards yet (most likely for next Christmas) and decided to put some of them towards a card using Splitcoaststampers sketch challenge SC624 which looks like this:

Here's my card, front and inside:

I nearly abandoned the project when I cut the bottom piece of designer series paper and realized that I had a headless Gingerbread Boy right over the sentiment "Put on a Happy Face," and that just didn't seem right. I saved the card by fussy cutting his head and reattaching it to his body. I wasn't sure I'd like the Gingerbread Boy hanging over the diagonal, but once I saw it I thought it was rather cute and kept working on the card. It was the extra attention on this little guy that gave me the idea of cutting pieces out of the designer paper to decorate the card inside and envelope. The final touch was putting the Real Red Candy Dots on the front to balance out the bear. Despite the beheading, this card was a breeze to make and done in record time compared to how long I usually dink with my cards.

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... and that brings us to Christmas! I have a low-stress weekend planned for the holiday -- a couple friends will visit tomorrow and one will take me for a much-needed haircut, and the rest of the time is mine to craft, sleep, read, eat, watch movies, or do whatever else strikes my fancy. Love it! I'll likely be talking on the phone with out-of-town friends as well.

Let me wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays filled with love and laughter! 

Big, big smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

P.S. I'm not sure if I'll have something to post next week, but I will be back soon!