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.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
... 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.

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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.

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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.

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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