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.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
... 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!
          

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Candy Cane Lane Christmas Cards

When Stampin' Up!'s Holiday Mini catalog first came out, I was decidedly unimpressed with the Candy Cane Lane suite of products. I thought the colors were bland and the theme was unimaginative - and now I can't get enough of them! I wish I had been able to snag some more of the designer series paper before it sold out during the Holiday Extravaganza. I'm nearly halfway through this pack of paper, which is unusual for paper that I'd usually hoard, and I still have a handful of cards in progress.

For this batch of six cards I used the photopolymer Cookie Cutter Christmas stamp set almost exclusively. You may be able to tell from my cards that I'm totally in love with Gingerbread Boy and the Bear.

Card 1

Isn't that embossed background AMAZING? It was made with the Cable Knit 3D embossing folder turned so the design moves horizontally. If you have yet to see a 3D embossing folder in action, you must check it out! The 3D folders work much the same as regular ones, except that you need to spritz the cardstock with water before embossing. This helps the fibers break down and hold the texture more deeply. Both sides of the embossed cardstock look fantastic!

Card 2
Here's the same card but with the Cable Knit folder turned 90 degrees to emboss vertically:


The bear is raised up with Stampin' Dimensionals over an oval die cut from Stitched Shapes matted with a scalloped oval from the Layering Ovals die set. Don't they work wonderfully together? I used the same size shapes for the sentiment on the inside of the card:



Close-up of the sentiment, in case the above picture isn't readable:


Cards 3 and 4
These next two cards feature the Gingerbread Boy standing in front of a row of gingerbread houses. (How fitting!) Once again the cards are almost identical except for the direction of the Cable Knit embossing:




I kept the inside of these two cards pretty simple, leaving plenty of room for any personal note I might want to write out:


Cards 5 and 6
Here are two more Gingerbread Boy cards, this time using Candy Cane Lane designer series paper as the backdrop instead of the Cable Knit embossing. The cards are essentially identical except for which section of the designer paper is showing:




The insides of these last two cards are also simple, so simple that I forgot to take a photo. There's a Gingerbread Boy stamped in the lower left corner on a Whisper White stitched rectangle, and then the "Warm Heartfelt Greetings" sentiment from Cards 3 and 4.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
... and that brings you current with all I've finished making so far. I'm pleased to say that all of this year's Christmas and holiday cards have been mailed, so any more I create will be for Christmas 2017. 

How about you? Have you finished your Christmas cards? Hung your stockings with care? Baked cookies to feed Santa on Christmas Eve? I would love to hear how you all celebrate the holiday and where you're at in your plans!

Gingerbready Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
                

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Festive Christmas Treat Boxes

Friday can't get here fast enough! It'll be the Friday before the Christmas weekend this year, and I have small gifts for both my aide and home health nurse that I can't wait to give them!

I was looking for something little I could do for them since I'm not allowed by their agency to buy them presents (and I don't exchange presents anyway). They adored the Halloween tins I made for them in October, so I wanted to do something a little more creative for Christmas. What to do, what to do? And then I saw Sandi MacIver's goodie box and I just knew I had to make something like it for my peeps. 

I took Sandi's basic idea and converted it into a box 4.5" square and 2" high, my secret plan being to put a couple cookies inside each box. Here's how the boxes look:



Since I'm no longer much of a baker, Pepperidge Farm did my baking for me this year. I was astonished at how many Brussels and Milanos fit inside each of my "little" boxes! 

I did CASE (Copy and Selectively Edit) one of Sandi's box top designs, adding a little more to it since I had so much more surface to cover. The two jingle bells hanging from the moose's right horn makes me giggle.

Have I mentioned how much I'm looking forward to delivering these two boxes? I think both ladies will be quite surprised and pleased.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
As I finish up this post, I realize that I unwittingly lied mis-spoke last post when I promised pictures of some of my Christmas cards in this post. How about I show them in the next post, and you can consider this post a bonus?

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

Wonderful Winterland

While I'm not a monthly subscriber to Stampin' Up!'s My Paper Pumpkin, every now and then SU! will give hints as to what's in the upcoming kit, and if it strikes my fancy I will sign up for the month. A couple weeks before December's kit came out they enticed me with a beautiful blue box in place of their trademark red-orange box, and on the box was a beautiful winter scene. How could I resist? Well, I was delighted with the kit when it arrived because it included supplies to make eight gorgeous Christmas cards I liked so much that I ordered the kit refill! Without further ado, here's what the card looks like when made according to the kit's instructions:



The card itself is rather small, but the kit came with notecard-sized envelopes which can be put into standard mail. I did not stray much from the original design, simply adding some Wink of Stella to the evergreen trees as my own personal touch. 

The card base is white, and on that are stamped some stars. Over that is laid a sheet of vellum on which are some pretty sequins. On top of the vellum layer are three more layers in Pool Party, Soft Sky, and Whisper White, all adhered with Stampin' Dimensional to create a scene with lots of depth. The included stamp set allowed me to stamp the trees in Pear Pizzazz, and on a few of my cards I stamped the left-most building in Island Indigo. The final touch is some silver metallic bakers twine strategically tied around the top of the card to help keep the vellum attached to the card base. I don't know if my photo does the card justice.

Shortly after I finished my cards I started to see what other Paper Pumpkin subscribers did with their kits, and the most frequent modification was to put the scene onto a standard A2 card base (4-1/4" x 5-1/2") with various colored layers to complete the design. Why didn't I think of that? (It might have something to do with my mouth pain - from having teeth pulled - and the pain medications I was using. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) I was considering ordering the kit refill already, but when I realized what great A2 cards I could make using the kit, reordering was a done deal. I haven't assembled the second kit yet, but plan to do so sometime during 2017 to create some of next year's holiday cards.

I decided that it would be more fun to use some of my other supplies to make a variety of 2016 cards with my time instead. The next post will showcase those cards, so I hope you'll stop by to see them.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

There Was a Crooky Tree...

A Brief Story
Once upon a time (let's call it Spring 2016), there was a Queen (let's call her Catherine Pooler) who had begun creating toyboxes (let's call them Stamp of Approval collections) to the great joy of her beloved subjects who adored these boxes more than the Queen ever anticipated they would. A new toybox was released every three months, and preparation for each of these boxes began many months prior to their release. The Queen, who loved her subjects very much and wanted to please them, had a special group of highly devoted followers (let's call this group StampNation), and she periodically asked this group what they would like to see in future toyboxes.

One toybox contained toys that were about birthday celebrations, and one toy in particular deeply amused the Queen's subjects, especially one named Joyce. This toy was called the Crooky Cake ("crooky" being short for crooked), and it looked somewhat like this:



Joyce had great fun stamping and die-cutting and layering the Crooky Cake, so much so that when the Queen asked her devoted followers what they might like in a Christmas-themed toybox, Joyce suggested that the Queen could offer a Crooky Christmas Tree. And guess what! Many months later, lo and behold, the Queen released a toybox with just such a tree! And there was great rejoicing, and Joyce was once again deeply amused.

The End.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
With Christmas slowly closing in, I found myself increasingly eager to open up the Candy Cane Lane Stamp of Approval and start making some Christmas cards with it. Along came the sketch for the Splitcoaststampers challenge SC619 -



- and I just knew I had to bring the Crooky Tree into the picture. And I did! Here's how the card turned out:



... and here's the inside:



I had a great deal of fun putting together a bunch of matching Crooky Trees and using them in my cards. I made one of the above cards and then decided it was time for me to start making multiples of my Christmas cards assembly-line style if I was serious about making fifty of them this year. And that's when I made these four cards:



They are almost identical with one major difference. Can you spot it?



If you noticed that I used different embossing powder on each card, you got the answer right. The first (and my favorite) card's sentiment is embossed with gold detail embossing powder. On the second card I used Ranger's Platinum. The card below is embossed with silver detail embossing powder, and the last one is clear embossing powder over Black Onyx VersaFine ink.



I used my MISTI to stamp the peppermint stick backgrounds in Pink Pirouette and then die cut them with a stitched rectangle die.  Next I cut the vellum cardstock panels down to size and used a scalloped stitch die to fancy up the edges. I embossed each sentiment, then folded the ends around to the back and fastened them with simple tape. I attached the trees with Stampin' Dimensionals, added some sequins, and voila'! The card fronts were done.



Here's how the insides look:



In retrospect, I would have used a different sentiment or embossed each one to coordinate with the sentiment on the front... but hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? The baubles or ornaments in five different colors from the tree bounce around inside the card as well as on the envelopes. 

Oh! I almost forgot to mention: One card is on a Pink Pirouette base while the rest are on Whisper White. Why the difference? It's because I had a mishap and accidentally glued the card front on upside down on one of them. It was easier to get to the colored cardstock than the Heavy Whisper White, so one's an oddball. I think it's pretty, though.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
So with this post you have now seen everything I've made to date! It's time for me to clean up, regroup, and get back to the drawing board. I hope to get at least one batch done this weekend since on Tuesday (November 22, two days before Thanksgiving) I begin the process of tooth extractions in order to get full dentures. I have no idea how functional I'll be afterwards, but I'll get back to crafting as soon as I can. It'll be my therapy. :)

In case I don't report back here until after the holiday, let me wish all of my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Bit of This, a Bit of That

I've been stamping a little more than usual lately, which is not surprising with the winter holidays just around the corner. My last post was a birthday card for a dog, and the three I'm showing today were also for special occasions.

Card 1: This "chalkboard" card was born after a rather impulsive decision to take on a StampNation weekend challenge earlier this month - done entirely with the intention of procrastinating on making Christmas cards, which is ironic considering this turned out to be a Christmas card. StampNation has hundred upon hundreds of challenges in the forum that never close, so members revisit them and sometimes add a new cards to the threads. Ally, one of our Dream Team members, offered to assign anyone who wanted to play two challenges to choose from so they could make a card by the end of the weekend. One of my challenges was to use the chalkboard technique, one I don't recall having tried before, and this is how it turned out:

 Inside:

Card 2: One of my "old" stamping friends and coworkers (who really isn't all that old, lol) sent me a cake for my birthday in September of this year. Well, more accurately, she sent me a picture of a cake:


and suggested that I color it and send it to her for her birthday in November. It felt like a cross between a request and a dare, so I had to do it. Here's how the card front looked once I colored the cake with colored pencil and raised it up over a stamped background, then added sequins as a final touch:


For being a digital image, it turned out better than I expected, although in retrospect I should have taken more time with the shading. Here's the inside:


I haven't heard from her yet, so I need to follow up this week and be sure she received it. It would be sad if it were lost in the mail.

Card 3: I have the coolest home health aide, and one of the many things I appreciate about her is that she loves to do DIY projects and is familiar with a lot of art and crafting terms; and what she doesn't know she asks about. During one of our discussions, she mentioned she really likes Steampunk, so for our six month anniversary I made her a card using Steampunk stamps:


The card base is Stampin' Up! Chocolate Chip, and the flowers you see on the side are on designer series paper (or maybe gift wrap, come to think of it - I'm not really sure). The images are embossed in copper, and a few copper sequins finish it off. This is the inside of the card:


Close-ups of some of the embossed images:



and the envelope:

I was really happy when she got the card and said she loves it!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
So that's it for today! Coming up next: Some non-traditional Christmas cards made using the Hip Holiday stamp set by Catherine Pooler Designs, specifically her "crooky tree." I'm rather proud of this next batch - but I'll say more about that tomorrow when they post. See you then!

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Birthday, Nicodemus!

One of my dearest friends has a dog named Nicodemus (Nic for short) who will be turning 15 years old today. He's pretty old for a dog his size, and although he is slowing down he's still going strong. Nic is a huge part of my friend's life, so I hope he stays with her a few more years.

Anyway, I decided this would be a good year to start including Nic on my birthday card list. For my first birthday card to him, I began with sketch challenge SC615 from Splitcoaststampers, which looks like this:


I interpreted the sketch pretty literally, and here's what I ended up with:


I began by masking and using distress inks to create a blended strip across the center of the card. I used my MISTI to stamp a solid image of the dog, then die cut some grass for him to sit in. The Happy Birthday is from the Young at Heart Stamp of Approval collection, and the silver glimmer numbers were created with Stampin' Up dies. All-in-all, it's a pretty straightforward card. Here's the inside:


The silver glimmer paw is inlaid into the heart, which is also a die cut.

Here's wishing Nic a very Happy Birthday with many more to come!

Woof! and a smile,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
          

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween Surprise!

I don't often have a reason to make anything besides cards, but I really wanted to do something nice for both my home health aide and nurse to let them know I appreciate how much they spoil me. Since it's Halloween time and I have both tins and Hershey's nuggets, I decided to put them all together and make a small box of chocolates for each of them.


Close-up of the tag:

I had such fun coloring the jars and pumpkins with my Spectrum Noir pens, which I don't use nearly enough. I found the designer series paper around the nuggets and on the belly bands behind the main images in my stash. Really, there's not much more to say, it's such an easy project! The hardest part was staying under my aide's radar since she's everywhere and notices everything. Oh, and not saying "neener neener, I have a secret" to either of them, as that would only have ended in me spoiling the surprise.

At any rate, they both loved their gifts and were duly surprised. Since they both have kids, the hard part for them will be to enjoy the chocolate for themselves!

To those of you who enjoy the holiday, Happy Halloween!

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

World Card Making Day 2016, Part 3

I started this post last week and then promptly forgot about it. Please tell me I'm not losing my mind.

Anyway, these are the last four cards I made to celebrate WCMD with StampNation this year. 

Card 1
The theme for this challenge was Globes, and while there was an inspiration board to gather ideas from, I chose to keep it simple and straightforward. A friend cut some shapes on her Silhouette for me last month, and this was a full card idea in the Silhouette store. I took the cut white pieces of cardstock and sponged ink on them to bring them to life. I computer-generated the sentiments both on the front and inside.


Inside:

Stamps: None
Ink: Real Red, Marina Mist, Gumball Green, Daffodil Delight (SU)
Paper: White (Recollections, Staples)
Accessories: Silhouette, Sparkle pen (Spectrum Noir), Stampin’ Dimensionals (SU)

Card 2
I made this card to meet the first challenge theme given on Friday morning, which was "Where in the world...?" The idea was to showcase our home countries by featuring some element that reminds us of them. Being from the USA, I wanted to do a 4th of July themed card, and was excited to pull out my Pyrotechnics stamp set from The Ton. I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I used glittery embossing powders for the fireworks, and they shimmer a LOT when the light hits them. Before I embossed, though, I used distress inks to color the background. The city skyline is one of the things my friend cut for me on her Silhouette. (I think I might have to get one of those things or something similar!) I love the sentiment, which came with fireworks stamp set.


Inside:

Stamps: Pyrotechnics (The Ton)
Ink: Squeezed Lemonade, Fossilized Amber, Spun Sugar, Victorian Velvet, Tumbled Glass, Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire, Wilted Violet (Ranger Distress Inks), VersaMark (Tsukineko)
Paper: Distress Watercolor (Ranger), Basic Black (SU)
Accessories: Citiscape Border (Silhouette store), Blue, Red, Copper, and Silver Fire Opal Double Delight embossing powder (Embossing Arts), Glimmering Gold embossing powder (SU), Detail Gold embossing powder (Stampendous)

Card 3
The challenge theme for this card was Maps, and I was baffled when I first saw it... until an outdated map of my old stomping grounds when I lived in Wisconsin fell into my lap while I was going through some old papers. I noticed there was lots of orange, yellow, and green on the map; and then it occurred to me to make an Autumn-y leaf collage. I mixed the leaves I cut from the map with ones I stamped from the Stampin' Up set Lighthearted Leaves. I created my collage on a background of Brutus Monroe watercolored paper, sponged some of the leaves, and then used two of the stamps from The Ton's Pyrotechnics set (which I hadn't yet put away after making the previous card) to gold emboss some areas of texture on top of everything. I then cut a hole in the panel and gold embossed 'For You' in that space. The last step was to adhere the panel to the card base with Stampin' Dimensionals. The card turned out better than I expected!


The inside is simply a strip, leftover from when I cut the panel down to size, along one side of a stitched layer of Whisper White.

Stamps: Lighthearted Leaves, Thoughtful Branches (SU), Pyrotechnics (The Ton)
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Soft Suede, Cajun Craze, Tangerine Tango, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, Garden Green, Crushed Curry, Perfect Plum, Elegant Eggplant (SU), VersaMark (Tsukineko)
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Whisper White (SU), Watercolor Elements Paper Pad (Brutus Monroe), Old map of Waukesha, WI
Accessories: Leaves dies (SU), Detail Gold embossing powder (Stampendous), Stampin’ Dimensionals

Card 4
I had planned for the previous card to be the last of my WCMD creations, but then a friend from StampNation requested that we create and send cards for his neighbor's mother who is turning 100 on November 2. (I can't even imagine being alive that long. Wow!) It immediately occurred to me to use bright primary colors since she'll probably already be getting a lot of sweet pastel colored floral cards for her birthday. Not long after that I remembered that a lot of countries use the primary colors for their flags - and then I realized my card would fit perfectly for the Flag challenge!


Inside:

Yep, I had to use the Pyrotechnics stamp set just one more time before putting it away. I couldn't get the fireworks to shimmer for the photo, but they will definitely flash when she opens the card. I wrote a personal note to the birthday girl and sent it off to my friend with hopes that it will bring a smile when it reaches the centenarian.

Stamps: Number of Years (SU), Pyrotechnics (The Ton)
Ink: Real Red (SU)
Paper: Real Red, Pacific Point, Daffodil Delight, Whisper White (SU)

Accessories: Sunburst thinlits, Large Numbers framelits (SU), Celebration Words: Script (Sizzix), Stitched Rectangles die (SSS), Stitched Circles dies (SSS); Blue, Red, and Silver Fire Opal Double Delight embossing powder (Embossing Arts), Glimmering Gold embossing powder (SU), Stampin’ Dimensionals

* * * * * * * * * * * *
This wraps up almost a month's worth of World Card Making Day projects. I did nine out of twelve challenges, which I think is pretty respectable, although I would have loved to do all twelve. I may come back to the remaining three challenges at some point and finish them up just to be able to say I did.

What's coming next? you ask. Tomorrow I will be posting a couple of small gifts I made to give to my nurse and home health aide, and then I need to make a few cards for birthdays or 'Thinking of You.' And then the fun begins... time to get started making holiday cards! I'm really looking forward to putting on the Christmas music, making some hot chocolate, and rolling up my sleeves to get busy!

Thanks for sticking with me! I know this was a long post, but I do appreciate that you took the time to look.

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello, Fabulous!

Here's a card I made last night in answer to My Favorite Things' Weekly Sketch Challenge (#MFTWSC302) - with a sketch too simple to pass up:


The sketch itself looks like this:


Could it be any easier? I told myself that since the sketch is so uncomplicated, this would be the perfect opportunity to give myself some practice with CAS (Clean and Simple) - a style which does not come naturally to me, creatively or practically. (Some days I think I can make just the simple act of *breathing* challenging, lol!) 

I kept the colors to simply black and white with some silver bling. The designer series paper I used is from Stampin' Up, as are the silver glimmer paper and the silver enamel elements. The "hello" is from the Hello World stamp set just released by Catherine Pooler Designs. The fabulous "fabulous" was cut from a die by Brutus Monroe.

Even as I write this I'm resisting the urge to add some clear Wink of Stella or Real Red or Flirty Flamingo marker to the background hearts... but I won't. ;)

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I have three more World Card Making Day 2016 cards to show you, so that will be an upcoming post, as will Splitcoast-stampers' SCS615 tomorrow. StampNation offered a total of twelve challenges for WCMD. I've finished eight so far, and I still have hopes that I can complete the remaining four... but we shall see. If anyone has extra hours in their days, could they please send them to me?

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