Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raisin Boat: Strokes of Wisdom

I've been really enjoying all of the Raisin Boat stamps I've had my hands on so far, but I have to say Strokes of Wisdom is my absolute favorite!! I just love the freehand swooshes and shapes, the bold lettering, and the wonderful selection of little phrases that add so much. It reminds me a lot of Stampin' Up!'s new set Work of Art, but it has a whole different personality. I'm happy to say I'm the proud owner of both, and I'm looking forward to seeing if they play well together.

I decided to keep this batch of cards pretty simple so that the stamps could speak for themselves. I made a total of four cards, with the first three being quite similar:

The only differences are in how close the swooshes are to each other, whether the corners are square or rounded, and whether the edges of the front panel are sponged with yellow or not.

Here's the inside of the cards:

This last card is the result of me not paying attention while I was stamping. The flower centers are blue instead of yellow, and the accent circles are yellow instead of blue. I prefer it the other way around, but it still makes a cute card!

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So, that's the end of my first round of Raisin Boat cards. My next two stamp rentals were mailed today and will be arriving very soon. While I'm looking forward to playing with them, I'm also looking forward to playing with Work of Art and other of my new SU! stamp sets and toys while I wait!

Celebratory Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Friday, June 27, 2014

Raisin Boat: Free as a Bird

The other set that arrived from Raisin Boat at the same time as Cattitude was Free as a Bird. Then few days after I purchased Cattitude, the next set on my list arrived, and there was no way getting around it: Strokes of Wisdom was a keeper. As soon as I submitted payment for that set, Raisin Boat sent me the fourth set on my list, Growing Love, which also got added to my personal collection.

I really like the Free as a Bird set, and so had to have a stern talk with myself about the practicality of buying EVERY set that Raisin Boat sends me. Once I made up my mind that I would not be buying it, I was motivated to get stamping, i.e. to use the set as much as I could while I had it. 

In my "Art Survival Kit" I had a bunch of card bases ready to go, so I decided to work with the purple ones: Lavender Lace (retired) for three of them and Almost Amethyst (also retired) for the last. I did my stamping with Elegant Eggplant onto Whisper White, and then used dies (Ovals Collection, Apothecary Accents) and punches (Word Window, Modern Label) to cut out the shapes. 

Card 1:

The little heart stamp, which is not part of the Free as a Bird set, was borrowed from Growing Love. Silver Dazzles add a touch of class.

Cards 2 and 3:

The decorative Elegant Eggplant panel is embossed with a Feathers embossing folder. The two cards are essentially the same, with the only difference being that one is on a textured cardstock base. The Dazzles once again add a lot to the cards.

Card 4:

This simple card speaks for itself.

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The next batch of Clean and Simple cards are identical except for the colors of the card bases. My first one was on Crumb Cake:

On Baja Breeze:

and the full set:

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It was hard to mail Free as a Bird back because it's such a pretty set, but I reminded myself that if I want to use the set again, it's easy enough to put it on my Pick List or to buy it.

In my next blog post I'll be featuring one more set of Raisin Boat cards before I shift back to Stampin' Up! stamps. I'd be interested to hear what my readers think about Raisin Boat and the stamp rental idea! Any comments would be appreciated!

As for me, it's time for some stamping therapy!

Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Introducing: Raisin Boat!

"So what's a Raisin Boat?" you ask. Well, it's another stamp company with unique stamp themes and designs - but with a twist! While you can purchase exclusive stamp sets from Raisin Boat, their main focus is on stamp set rentals. For a reasonable monthly fee, they will release a certain number of stamp sets of your choice for you to use as long as you want. When you are done, you return the stamps in a prepaid envelope, and they will send the next stamp set on your pick list. It's like Netflix for stamps!

I started out with an introductory plan that allows me up to two stamp sets per month. As it turns out, I enjoyed the first sets that I picked so much that I bought most of them. Each time I bought a set, I received the next set on my pick list to take its place as a rented set. Pretty slick, eh?

The first set I worked with is called Cattitude, a cat-themed set. I made one card and one ATC with the set, and by then was so in love with it and had so many ideas for it that it just made sense to purchase and add it to my own collection. I wouldn't say these are my very best work, but I think I did pretty good with limited supplies and embellishments.

I'm not crazy about the colors, so I'm considering a do-over. I do like the paws embossed on the front of the card, though, and the use of the Top Note die. I had fun stamping and then fussy cutting the cat and the bowl of milk, then layering those on top of the image stamped directly on the card. I made the milk stand out with a white gel pen. Simple but sweet!

Here's the artist trading card I made using the same cat stamp:

I'm not convinced that it's finished, but I haven't decided what more it needs. The cat is colored with Derwent Inktense pencils, and you can tell that I need to work on my technique. I'm sure it will come in time... practice, practice, practice!

If you're curious to see the whole Cattitude set, you can view it on the Raisin Boat website here. You can also learn more about how the program works and view their other stamp sets on the website.

I am a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and plan to be for a good, long time. My core supplies - ink, cardstock, and stamps - are and will remain mostly Stampin' Up!, so if you're here to see SU! stuff, I don't think you'll see a huge difference in my blogging other than that I'll be using Raisin Boat stamps from time to time. If you have any concerns about this, leave me a comment or contact me privately.

I have two more Raisin Boat posts to make, and then I'll be featuring some NEW Stampin' Up! sets. Just wait til you see these Works of Art! (That's a not-so-subtle hint about which set I'm working with today!)

Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Moving and Settling Into Chaos

My plate's been pretty full with having to move to a temporary location for four months while my apartment building is being renovated. Before the move, though, I made one last card - one that I hope I won't need to use for a long time: a sympathy card. While the stamp I used, a weeping willow tree, is not by Stampin' Up!, the rest of the supplies are. (Simply click on the photos to enlarge them.)

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The first cards I made shortly after I moved was made from leftover My Paper Pumpkin kit parts plus some washi tape. I'm not thrilled with them, but given how little I had to work with when I made these, I think they turned out relatively okay.

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My original plan was to work out of one box which I labeled "Art Survival Kit" which consists of project parts (i.e. things I started but didn't complete + leftover parts that I wanted to challenge myself to use + a few templates and other tools) and a second box containing only my photopolymer (clear) stamps. With my health being as it is, packing is difficult, so I don't have the luxury of unpacking my wood mount and cling mount stamps, Stampin' Up! or otherwise. 

I think my Easter card turned out pretty cute. The bunny, butterfly, flower, and greenery were all fussy cut and paper pieced onto a scrap of patterned designer series paper, which was then layered onto another DSP piece which covers the front of a Crumb Cake card base. 

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I'm not so sure about my next card, mostly because the layout left some empty spaces that my instincts tell me to fill. I was reminded by my stamping buddy that not every part of a card needs something on it, hence the concept of Clean and Simple. I agree with her in theory, but I still think something is off-balance here. The carousel ostrich stamp and the sentiment are both from Paper Wishes. I colored the ostrich with Derwent Inktense pencils, a new medium to me. They work a lot like watercolor pencils, but the color is so much more vibrant. They also react differently to water than traditional water color pencils. I need a lot more practice, but I think this is not too bad for a first attempt.

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My last card for this post is all Stampin' Up! I ordered the set You're Amazing when I put in my final order before the new catalog, so I was relieved to have some SU! stamps to work with once again! The card base is Island Indigo, and the colored circle background is from the newly-retired Watercolor Wonder DSP. The card itself is pretty simple, with the only thing really needing to be pointed out is the paper piercing in the corners and on the Happy Birthday panel.

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I want to show off one last thing before I close. Stampin' Up! recently introduced a photopolymer personalized stamp option, and I played with the idea until I came up with this:

It's much smaller in real life, and looks great on the back of my cards!

Next up: Introducing (at long last) RAISIN BOAT!!

Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Monday, June 16, 2014

Swaps with Margie

My friend Margie and I, like I'm sure many other stampers, both have a stash of images that have been stamped in black or brown ink on white cardstock by other stampers. Because we have just the images and not the original stamps, it's tempting to hoard the images instead of making stuff with them because we don't know if we can get more of them. Well, Margie and I challenged each other to use four each of these pre-stamped images and turn them into ATCs, cards, or whatever we wanted. Then we'd trade these little pieces of art! I'll show you what I made, and then what Margie made.

My batch included three Artist Trading Cards plus one notecard. 

1) Anyone who knows me knows I adore hummingbirds, so it's no wonder that when I found this stamped image (retired Stampin' Up!), I just had to work with it! It's painted with radiant pearls (a big item years ago; SU! carried it in their product line), simply mounted on a piece of retired Glorious Green cardstock. I've included a second picture in hope you can see the incredible shimmer. 

2) This one is also one of my favorite ATCs of all time. I named her Rosie. The stamped image was just the face, so I colored and added some floral trim for the hairdo. Isn't she charming?

3) Next up, an an ATC that features a painters' tape technique in which you take a length of tape and apply it to your stamp pad so that it picks up the ink color that you then transfer to your card or project. My stamped image is simply adhered on top of this background and colored. Candy dots from Stampin' Up! give the ATC even more interest.

4) You might recognize the background of this ATC from a previous project. It's simply ink daubed through a stencil. The butterfly is my image, and I'm not sure what I colored it with, although my hunch is that I used either Derwent Inktense pencils or Stampin' Up! markers.

5) The image for this card was not just pre-stamped, but pre-embossed using copper embossing powder on a glossy cardstock (...I think. If it wasn't embossed, then it was stamped with copper Brilliance ink. See, this is why I should blog things closer to when I made them, so I remember the details, LOL!) The large image was then layered on (I think) Rose Red cardstock, which was then layered onto a metallic copper cardstock for a big WOW factor. Gold bakers twine is wrapped around the spine of the card.

Yes, yes, I know that is five images and not four, but here's why: In addition to doing the four-image swap as friends, we also did a swap in an Artist Trading Card group to which we belong. (If you'd like more information about this group, please let me know!) So one of the ATCs I sent to Margie was in trade for this ATC of hers, which I think is the cat's meow:

Isn't that the coolest? The cat is multiple layers of black cardstock glued together to give it a chipboard look in real life. I just love the fallen O on its tail as well as the street map in the background. Brilliant!

Margie doesn't make cards very often - ATCs are more her thing - but here is a card by her! The apple basket (nicely colored with Spectrum Noirs) is the front, with the image below it being the inside.

ATC with one of what must be millions of her kittie images!

I *love!* this collage ATC!

As usual, this ATC looks better in real life. The CATfish is just too cute!


Wasn't that a fun swap? I just love trading cards with Margie because (in my humble opinion) I usually get the best of the swaps! :)

Up next: It's hard to say! My camera is empty now, but I have about twenty newer cards to take photos of - and I've decided that I have to blog everything I've done before I can make more cards... and since I have several sets that I can't wait to stamp with, I have incentive to get moving with the blogging! Oh, but I can give you this hint... two words: Raisin Boat.

Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Paper Pumpkin - March 2014

It's been a difficult few months thanks to having to move so that my apartment can be renovated. Moving day was April 11, and to be honest my head is still spinning. If all goes as planned, I will be back in my apartment around July 28th - and then the unpacking fun begins!

Needless to say, my blogging has fallen by the wayside, but I have a lot to show you. I'm starting with some pictures I took before the move, and I'll try to post the art as it happened chronologically (as best I can remember). I'll start with the cards I made with the March 2014 My Paper Pumpkin kit from Stampin' Up!

While I stuck with the blueprint provided with the kit for some of the cards, on others I went in a different direction. Here are the five done as Stampin' Up! suggested, using their design and ink colors of Calypso Coral or Island Indigo on the striped Bermuda Bay card base, plus my own idea of Melon Mambo. The glitter dots and wooden elements were provide by SU!, while the gold bakers twine was my own idea.

These are the ones I played around with:

Rather than stamping, I added some natural chevron ribbon. Meh.


Here I used non-SU! stamps and colored the inside of the heart with my new-found favorite glittery pen, clear Wink of Stella.


This one's my favorite...

The butterfly is cut from a Spellbinders die set which I suspect will see a lot of use. I'm not sure about the stamps, but if my memory serves me the front of the card is non-SU! while the inside is from a SU! photopolymer set. I used a multi-colored Brilliance pearlescent ink pad, which gives the stamping an incredible sheen in person.


My next post was partially written back in early April and will feature both cards and ATCs by my friend Margie and myself. Watch out for some eye candy!

Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce