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:


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.


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.


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!


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

Monday, October 3, 2016

World Card Making Day 2016, Part 2

I made two cards during WCMD weekend, both pretty simple.

Card 1
This was for the 4:00 challenge on Friday, and the theme was Land - in other words, greenery found on the land, images of the countryside, etc. I decided to focus on trees and use the Stampin' Up! set Totally Trees.

Stamps: Totally Trees; Live, Love, Grow (SU)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento), Crushed Curry, Gumball Green, Rich Razzleberry, Tempting Turquoise, Real Red (SU)
Paper: Gumball Green, Whisper White (SU)
Accessories: Decorative Dots embossing folder (SU), Brights and Regals Enamel Shapes (SU), Stampin’ Dimensionals (SU)

Card 2
I made my final card for the weekend for the final challenge over at StampNation, which was All About the Weather. Predictably, I chose to work with a rainbow.

Stamps: Hello Sunshine (Pink Paislee), Strokes of Wisdom (Raisin Boat), Collectable (My Mind’s Eye)
Ink: Real Red, Pumpkin Pie, Daffodil Delight, Cucumber Crisp, Pacific Point, Soft Sky, Wisteria Wonder (SU), Lavender Fields (Altenew)
Paper: Cucumber Crisp, Whisper White (SU)
Accessories: Scallop Circle punches (SU), Stitched Circle die (SSS), Brights Enamel Shapes (SU), Crystal Clear sequins (Pretty Pink Posh)

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I've done five of the twelve challenges so far, and hope to do a few more yet. In order to be eligible for prizes at StampNation from our generous sponsors, our cards must be submitted by October 22nd. I'm hoping things will be pretty quiet around here so I can focus my efforts.

So how did you celebrate World Card Making Day? Did you do anything special? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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

World Card Making Day 2016, Part 1

This year WCMD weekend turned out to be a blast for me! I had fun being a Guest Designer on StampNation and making a couple inspiration cards in advance for the event, and then I even was able to make a couple of cards during this weekend. I probably could have made more than I did, but I spent a lot of time looking at the cards everyone else posted - and WOW! The creativity blew me away! The quality of the cards is top-notch, and the quantity is unbelievable! One of the StampNation Sistahs counted 208 cards before the last challenges were even announced. Can you believe it?

Anyway, today I'm sharing the three cards that I submitted as a Guest Designer, along with some "almost" cards that didn't quite make the cut.

Card 1
This card was made for the "Take Flight!" challenge which went live at 8:00 on Saturday morning.  I made two versions of this card - the original and a do-over. On the original I brought out my Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors to color die cuts of the hummingbird and flowers:

I wasn't feeling very confident about how they turned out, so I did the card over again using colored cardstock.

I decided to make the second card more interesting by spattering some metallic copper watercolor paint across the card front. You can see this better in a close-up":

Stamps: Strictly Sentiments 2 (WPlus9)
Ink: Pool Party (SU), Onyx Black (VersaFine)
Paper: Gumball Green, Real Red, Whisper White (SU)
Accessories: Hummingbird die (Cheery Lynn Designs), Flourish Thinlit dies (SU), Stitched Rectangles die (SSS), Circle Scallop punches (SU), Meteor Copper (Stargazers Watercolor Palette), Clear Gloss Super Fine embossing powder (WOW!), Brights Enamel Shapes (SU)

Card 2
The second challenge I chose to play with was for 8:00 on Sunday morning, and the theme was "Galaxy Technique." I made several of these cards at once since I wasn't sure I'd nail it on the first try.

This one's not bad, but I do have a splash mark just above the sentiment.

This one also isn't bad, but I had problems with the toothbrush I was using to spatter dripping in all the wrong places.

Here's a close-up of the second card. Pretty groovy, eh?

And finally, here is the card I decided to use for the challenge:

Stamps: Uplifting Thoughts (SSS)
Ink: Mustard Seed, Spun Sugar, Picked Raspberry, Tumbled Glass, Salty Ocean, Wilted Violet, Seedless Preserves, Dusty Concord, Chipped Sapphire, Black Soot (Ranger Distress), Onyx Black (VersaFine), VersaMark
Paper: Distress Watercolor paper (Ranger), Basic Black (SU)
Accessories: White gesso (American Journey), Detail White embossing powder (Stampendous), Stampin’ Dimensionals (SU)

The following card was actually my first attempt at creating a galaxy look, before I went on YouTube and found several instructional videos that resulted in the three cards above. Not too bad for winging it, is it?

Would you believe the moon is not really a stamped image of a moon per se? My genius friend Carey showed me how I could create a moon using Stampin' Up!'s Gorgeous Grunge set and a circle punch! She is so brilliant!

Card 3
The theme for Sunday's noon challenge is Citiscapes. Pretty easy, especially if you have a friend with a Silhouette cutter who volunteers to mail a city skyline die cut to you. (Thanks, Carey!) She sent me several cuts of the skyline, so I layered two together to create some depth. I faded the back one with a bit of Picket Fence (white) distress ink, and glittered the front one with a Spectrum Noir clear sparkle brush marker. It looks much better in person than it does in the photo.

I used a bunch of distress ink colors to create the sky, and I think it turned out rather well. I couldn't resist adding the music notes once I picked out the sentiment.

Stamps: Happy Hello (Whimsy), Uplifting Thoughts (SSS)
Ink: Mustard Seed, Fossilized Amber, Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Carved Pumpkin, Ripe Persimmon, Abandoned Coral, Picket Fence (Ranger Distress), Tuxedo Black (Memento)
Paper: Distress Watercolor paper (Ranger), Heavy Whisper White (SU)
Accessories: Cityscape Border die cut (Silhouette), Tuxedo Black marker (Memento), Clear Sparkle pen (Spectrum Noir), Post-it tape (3M), Stampin’ Dimensionals (SU)

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Tomorrow I'll have at least two more cards to show you, and I think you'll like them. :)

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

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!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
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