Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Had a Secret...

I had a secret, but now that the cat's officially out of the bag I can finally announce it here on my blog.

I'm excited to reveal that I've been chosen as a Guest Designer for World Card Making Day weekend at StampNation! I'm one in a team of fifteen who were asked to make inspiration cards ahead of time for some of the twelve challenges that will be posted throughout the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! I am truly honored to have been asked to contribute in this way.

And let me tell you, the other designers are no slouches - so if you're a member of StampNation, prepare to feast your eyes on some amazing cards! I think you're going to love the challenges! And don't forget, every card you post on a challenge thread makes you eligible to win one of the fantastic sponsor prizes. Our beloved Catherine Pooler also has two Live Events scheduled so far - and I can tell you from experience that her live videos are a hoot! I hope you can join us.

Not a member of StampNation yet? It's not too late to sign up and join in the fun with us! If you have any questions about our community, feel free to ask me in a comment below or to contact Catherine herself at the website. I do hope you can play along with us this weekend!

Stoked to Stamp,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Running Around in (Concentric) Circles

I have out-in-the-world appointments four out of five days this week, which is a lot for someone who is generally housebound. No wonder my head is spinning and I feel like I'm running around in circles!

I like circles, though, especially in the Concentric Circle die that Catherine Pooler released in her Lovely Notes Stamp of Approval collection. I've heard comments from some people that they've had difficulty with the die because it is so detailed, but I've had no problems, probably because I'm using the Precision Die Plate which I got from Stampin' Up! recently. The Precision Die Plate is not for everything - for example, it will warp simple framelits - but on detail dies it is an invaluable tool.

I didn't get a chance to play with the Lovely Notes collection until several weeks after it arrived, but now that I've broken into it I'm kicking myself for not making time sooner. To be honest, all of Catherine's SOAs have been awesome, and it seems each collection is better than the one before it. Her Candy Cane Lane holiday collection was just released and it is fantastic! I can't believe the cards I'm seeing that have been made from it, and I can't wait to start making my own! But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Back to the Concentric Circles die...

The first card I made with it was for Splitcoaststampers challenge SC611. Here's the sketch:

and here's what I did with it:

I made several cuts with the Concentric Circle die, so I decided to go ahead and make cards with them as well. I needed thank you cards, so I made two that I think turned out pretty cool. The first was in bright colors:

and I used more subdued colors for the second:

I have a bazillion other ideas using this die, but I'm thinking I need to get through World Card Making Day weekend and then start getting serious about my Christmas cards before the holidays sneak up on me. I'm sure you'll be seeing more Concentric Circles from me in the months to come!

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The clock is ticking! It's almost time for World Card Making Day! (and almost time for me to reveal my little secret!) If you're not already a member of StampNation, I hope you'll consider joining us for a fabulous weekend of fun September 30 through October 2. There will be card challenges, live video events, prize drawings, and... I think other surprises as well. ;)

Just two more sleeps!
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Sincere Form of Flattery

As many of my readers know, we in the stamping world use the phrase CASEing to refer to the practice of copying another stamper's work and giving credit ("Copy And Share Everything") or using it as the jumping-off point to a very different card. In many communities, including StampNation, we suggest that a CASE have three or more things that are different from the original card, so for that reason I prefer the acronym be used as Copy And Selectively Edit.

I take inspiration from cards all the time, sometimes without even realizing it. I don't think I'm alone in this, as we are all looking at each others' work all the time and it would be impossible to not be influenced by it. I try my best to give credit where credit is due, though, and today I would like to give credit to Heather North, one of the Dream Team members at StampNation, for a batch of cards that I had a lot of fun with. Here is her card:

Is that not gorgeous? I love pinks and blues and purples together to begin with, but then Heather knocks it out of the ball park by using butterflies and a fabulous quote.

I wanted to recreate her card, but got off to a rocky start. (Don't laugh too hard when I show you this!) Here's my mess:

Sometimes I think I'm smart, but then experience usually steps up to give me a reality check. I used the same supplies as Heather, most significantly embossing powder and Zig Clean Color Brush Markers, but the result was marginal. I started by embossing the three butterflies in silver and then the quote in clear embossing powder over Onyx Black VersaFine ink. Next I scribbled with the markers in the same colors as Heather used, then added water and utilized my Ranger heat tool to move the color around. Try as I might, I just could not get the color to spread like on Heather's. I finally had to give up because the watercolor paper was starting to pill and the embossed images were starting to flatten and spread.

That's when I had my "Aha!" moment. I touched base with Heather and confirmed my theory that I should have done the color background first and then embossed. (It's rather obvious when you think about it, lol.) By embossing over dried color the images remain raised and clear. Also, more water can be added to create the color background to begin with.

Armed with this knowledge I was able to create these two cards:

Thank you, Heather, for the wonderful card idea! I hope my little story gives you a chuckle. 

Stamps: Beautiful World (Gina K.); Uplifting Thoughts (SSS)
Paper: Distress watercolor; Basic Black (SU)
Inks: Onyx Black (VersaFine), VersaMark
Accessories: Zig Clean Color Brush Markers, detail silver embossing powder, detail clear embossing powder, sequins, Corner Chomper, corner punch (SU)

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World Card Making Day is just around the corner! I hope you'll be able to join us on StampNation in the celebration! There will be challenges, live events/chats, and prize drawings from some amazing sponsors, so don't miss out! I have a little surprise of my own to announce as the date gets closer.

Today IS a good day to smile,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

The Card that Almost Was

"The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry," wrote Robert Burns in a poem back in 1786 - and ain't it the truth! Many times I have started a card and then been interrupted by a more pressing deadline or project or by life itself, only to put the pieces of that card put into scrap months later without ever finishing it. This card was almost one of those. I ended up finishing *a* card with the supplies intended for this SC608 sketch challenge from Splitcoaststampers:

but it's not quite the card I had in mind. I used the pieces I had pulled together so far to create this card a few weeks later (mostly to get the parts off of my desk!):

The tree is from a new-to-me Stampin' Up! set called Thoughtful Branches, while the trim is gold embossed from a stamp in Catherine Pooler's 2015 Holiday Magic Stamp of Approval collection. The sentiment is from a wood-mounted SU! set I've had for years and years, and the DSP is also SU! from years back. Add a little Soft Sky ink and a punched scallop circle (to create the sky) along with a Garden Green card base - and that's how far I had gotten toward creating the card I originally had in mind. It would have taken some more stamping and finessing to finish up, so I went with what I had. Everything came together rather quickly to create this square card (unusual for me), bringing me one card closer to my goal for this year's Christmas cards. A decent save, don't you think?

To be completely transparent, I had two card bases and DSP squares since my plan at the start was to make two cards with the sketch challenge. I've put the remaining pieces with my 2016 Candy Cane Lane Stamp of Approval (still untouched at the moment) in hopes they'll be put to good use rather than retired to the scrap box.

Do you ever get taken off-course once you've started a card? If so, I'd love to hear in the comments how you handle it and what you do with your unfinished pieces.

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This coming weekend, September 30 through October 2, StampNation will be celebrating World Card Making Day in style with challenges galore, live chats, and even prizes. Rumor has it that Catherine has something up her sleeve, (we shall see), and I'm happy to say that I have a secret, too! I can't wait to announce it!

Revealing nothing (giggle),
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Paper Pumpkin Kit for August 2016

It's been awhile since I've ordered a My Paper Pumpkin kit from Stampin' Up!, but last month they gave us a sneak peek of the full-size stamp set (gorgeous!) and told us we'd be making cards. (Some months they feature banners, decorations, gift-giving projects, etc.) I just had to see the Bold Botanicals stamp set to know I wanted the little red-orange box this month.

I'm so glad I got it, too! At first I was disappointed at the colors (primarily Bermuda Bay, Cajun Craze, and Mint Macaron... bleh!), but as I got into the projects the color combination grew on me - to the point that I know I will use those colors together again on my own non-Pumpkin projects!

The kit provided materials to make a total of nine cards: 3 regular A2 sized cards, 3 notecards, and 3 pocket cards that can hold small messages and/or gift cards. While I stuck closely to the original designs, I did manage to throw in a few extra steps to jazz up each card, including putting sentiments on the inside. Here's the first card as designed:

I added a little flair to the Mint Macaron background:

Inside of card, with sentiment taken from the Love and Affection set in the annual catalog:

and envelope:

For the notecards I made one as designed and then Joycefied the other two:

Notecard inside:

and envelope:

The pocket cards are so stinkin' cute! Check 'em out:

The pockets were easy to assemble and even had adhesives strips on them ready to go. The mini index card is lined, making it easy to write a personal note - but I decided to make a bold statement with the Love You stamp instead. The little embellishments are adorable - a tiny burlap banner with a flower, and then a tiny clothespin with a bow tied onto it holds the index card in the pocket. 

I had so much fun with this month's My Paper Pumpkin that I'm toying with the idea of becoming a monthly subscriber again. I do love designing my own cards from scratch, but sometimes I need a less challenging project like this was. I have until September 10th to decide, so we shall see what happens.

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In other news, I've been going through lots of boxes that never got unpacked after the renovation moves in early 2014, and in the process I'm being reunited with an amazing amount of art and crafting supplies that I'd long forgotten that I had. It's like Christmas here! Truly, I never need to buy another stamp ever again! (but knowing me, I will anyway!!) In fact, I find that I own two or more of some things (heat tools, craft mats, and other tools) because I had to replace items that I couldn't find in the boxes.

I'm so grateful for all the "stuff" I now know I have, but I'm becoming painfully aware that I need some sort of system to organize it all. Seriously, I have stamps that I don't remember seeing ever before! And if I don't know I have them, they will never get used.

And, of course, I'm entertaining thoughts of purging. I love all my "stuff" but I just don't have room for it all. I think of people who pretty much stamp for a living, the Jennifer McGuires of the crafting community, and can't help but wonder how they have time to both stay organized and create! If anyone has suggestions of how to go about organizing stamps and supplies, I'm all ears!

'Tis late and my pillow calls me. Until next time,

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, August 22, 2016

Riding the Wave

Today's card is from another Splitcoaststampers challenge, SC606. Here's the sketch:

... and here's what I did with it:

The "Happy Birthday" is inset between two raised panels, and then the yellow balloon is also raised. I really like the look, and it was relatively easy to do with the Ride the Wave die from My Favorite Things.

Stamps: Wavy Greeting (MFT)
Colors: Bermuda Bay, Daffodil Delight, Real Red, Crisp Cucumber, Mint Macaron, Basic Black, Whisper White
Paper: Cherry on Top DSP stack (SU), Daffodil Delight, Heavy Whisper White
And: Ride the Waves die set (MFT), Balloon Bouquet punch (SU), Stampin' Dimensionals (lots of them!), silver thread

If you'd like to see the card on the Splitcoaststampers website, click here. I'm tickled pink that a few ladies left lovely comments there for me!

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Coming up next: a look at this month's My Paper Pumpkin kit

Until then,
Wavy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, August 15, 2016

Birthday Waffles

Sometimes I make cards that defy explanation. As an introduction to today's card, all I can say is it's a strange story involving two strange people - myself and a crafting buddy named Margie. In a nutshell, we both love words - word meanings, puns, and even how certain words sound. Like waffle. And indubitably.

So for Margie's birthday, here's the card I made her:

(Click to see a larger photo.)
 Inside left:
 Inside right:
How's that for a one-of-a-kind birthday card?

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Coming up next: a Splitcoaststamper challenge card

Until then,
Waffley Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, August 8, 2016

Floating Butterflies

One of my StampNation Sistahs, Robi Kublin, posted some cards she made similar to something she saw on Pinterest - and Robi's cards sparked my own imagination!

The idea that Robi picked up on involved stamping a cluster of flowers and then die cutting a butterfly or another flower out from over this cluster. The die cut piece would then be strategically glued back in place with the wings or petals pulled up so as to look like they are floating over the stamped flowers. My jaw dropped when I saw these cards, but then it occurred to me to take it a step further.

The cards I am CASEing here have a layer of white behind the layer the die cuts are taken from. My thought was to make two identical clusters of flowers using my MISTI tool, cut the butterflies out of the top one, and then layer it over the uncut one so that the flowers can still be seen even where the wings are lifted out. A picture speaks a thousand words:

It's easier to see from a side angle:

The inside is pretty simple:

Stamps: Eva's Favorite Flowers; Love Ya, Girlfriend; Lovely Notes (all from various Stamp of Approval collections)
Colors: Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie, Gumball Green, Perfect Plum, Strawberry Slush, Whisper White (all SU!)
Dies: Bold Butterfly Framelits (SU!); Butterflies (HOTP)
Other: MISTI, Corner Chomper, Sparkling Clear sequins (PPP)

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I'm currently working on cards for several of my friends who have birthdays this month, so once their birthdays have passed I will be posting those cards. I also had a chance to play with some of Ken Oliver's liquid metals this weekend -- and are they ever fabulous! You will be seeing cards made with the pieces I created sometime relatively soon.

Another exciting piece of news is that Stampin' Up!'s Holiday mini catalog can be ordered from starting on September 1st, my birthday! I'm still in the process of familiarizing myself with this upcoming catalog, but I can already tell there's lots of fun stuff in it that I might just have to preorder!

Floating butterfly smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Friday, July 29, 2016

Michael Strong: Nite Owl

I'm a fan of Michael Strong's cloisonne' style stamps, and I've been trying for months to get my hands on two particular sets - Whimsical Owls and Hetty's Coffee Cup - but they've been out of stock. I was very surprised when Mike sent me some demo stamps, one or two from each set, to tide me over until the full sets are back in stock. Naturally, I felt a thank you card was in order. And since I had a coffee cup and an owl already in front of me just begging to be inked, I decided to make a 5" x 5" card with them:

Stamps: Whimsical Owls, Hetty's Coffee Cup (Michael Strong Stamps); Stationary Noted (Teresa Collins); Hardwood (Stampin' Up!)
Inks: Early Espresso, Dapper Denim (Stampin' Up!), VersaMark
Papers: Early Espresso, Dapper Denim, Basic Black, Crushed Curry, Whisper White, Gold Foil (retired), Affectionately Yours specialty DSP (Stampin' Up!)
And: Hearth and Home thinlits, 1-1/4" circle punch, Early Espresso embossing powder, gold embossing powder, white gel pen (Stampin' Up!), sponge, Stampin' Dimensionals

I debated whether the card needed the "nite owl" sentiment or not, since when I showed the card-in-progress to a few people they had to work to figure out what I was trying to convey. 

The card's already speeding its way to Mike in California so it's too late to do so, but in retrospect I think I should have put a tree or tree branch in the window to carry the brown through. 

The metallic is quite flashy in real life, so that really adds to the card. Truth be told, the flecks in the wallpaper are copper, but I figured that since the gold foil cardstock and the embossing powder gold aren't an exact match, the copper could pass as a gold.

I really enjoyed making this card, especially because there's a word play involved and I'm a bit of a punster. I sure hope Mike likes it!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Birthday Cards for Two Cool Kids

My stamping buddy and friend Carey mentioned in a recent conversation that her middle son was having a birthday and entering into his teen years this year, and his younger brother would be turning 11 three days later. Since the new teenager really likes the card I made for him in January and even keeps it on display beside his bed, I decided I would make another display-worthy card to celebrate his birthday.

I remembered that he likes cats, the color blue, and ice cream (we have so much in common!), so that was my starting point. Long story short, he ended up with a shaker card full of kitties!

(Click on picture for a closer look.)

Close-up of the kitties with their ice cream cones:

Stamp sets: Christmas Cats by SSS, front sentiment by Stampin' Up!, and the inside sentiment from Playful Kittens by SSS

Colors: Pool Party, Mint Macaron, Watermelon Wonder, Blushing Bride, Soft Suede (all from SU!), and whatever black ink pad I had handy, most likely either VersaFine Black Onyx or Memento Tuxedo Black, both of which are my go-to black inkpads these days

Paper: Pool Party card base, Mint Macaron inside balloon, and SU!'s Birthday Bouquet DSP from the most recent Occasions mini catalog

Accessories: VersaMark ink + WOW! clear gloss super fine embossing powder; shaker guts (a combination of sequins from Pretty Pink Posh and Darice, stars and tinsel from Martha Stewart, and a bunch of wee kitties created with a die from Impression Obsession); dies that coordinate with Christmas Cats; Balloon die set from Simon Says Stamp; silver and white baker's twine; and foam adhesive strips from SU!

Here's the inside:

I had a moment of brilliance when I thought of cutting out ice cream cones from the DSP and giving them to the cats to hold.


Today's second card was designed for the youngest brother whose favorite color is yellow.

Stamps: Party Pachyderms (Lil' inker Designs), Big Scripty Greetings (SSS), Gradation background stamp (Impression Obsession)

Colors: Dandelion, Danube Blue, Love Letter, Bamboo Leaves, Grape Jelly, Lilac Posies, Tangelo (Memento)

Paper: Daffodil Delight, Pool Party (SU!)

Accessories: Party Pachyderms dies, WOW! clear gloss super fine embossing powder

This was a really fun card to put together, maybe because it's so simple, or maybe because I stretched myself to use my Memento inks instead of my usual Stampin' Up! pads. I think it's good to try different brands, but at the end of the day I'm a Stampin' Up! girl at heart.

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With this post I am finally caught up with blogging several months worth of cards, so now I need to go make new ones... yay! I hope those of you on email enjoyed finding something from me in your inbox every day for a week. I haven't posted this regularly for a long time, and it felt good. I miss my little buddy Chris who faithfully commented on every post, but she passed away in June so now I'm acting on faith that you guys are out there and breathing. I hope you'll consider leaving a comment every once in a blue moon, even if it's just to say hello. Anytime you have questions about a product or technique I will do my best to answer them in a helpful way.

I'm currently working on a thank-you card using some Michael Strong stamps, and I think it'll turn out great. Lots of other birthdays are coming up in the second half of the year, especially in August and September. (I'm a virgo myself, so do virgos naturally attract other virgos as friends?) I owe thank you cards to several people, and then the Christmas / winter holiday season will be upon us. And somewhere in the middle of all that I hope to be working every so often on my art journal, too... so barring health issues I should have lots of eye candy (the artsy type, lol) for you.

Thanks for stopping by!

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