Friday, July 29, 2016

Michael Strong: Nite Owl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Birthday Cards for Two Cool Kids

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

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

(Click on picture for a closer look.)

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the inside:

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


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

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

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

Paper: Daffodil Delight, Pool Party (SU!)

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Beautiful World Stamp of Approval

Back in April I purchased Catherine Pooler's fourth Stamp of Approval collection with the theme "Beautiful World," but because I was knee-deep in other projects I didn't break into it until this month! It was a long wait, but my first two card designs turned out pretty decent.

I tend to dive into projects that are very detailed and time-consuming, and then I get discouraged because it doesn't seem I'm making many cards at all. Once I finished the bendy cards (see previous post), I decided that I should start creating some very simple cards and see if I could make at least one in one evening. To my amazement, I created one card in a little over an hour, and then two of another design that emerged rather quickly after that. 

Card 1 was made with the stamp set Enchanted Garden by Sugar Pea Designs along with their Enchanted Butterfly die. I didn't use any special or fancy techniques; I just randomly stamped the images to create a floral collage. The hardest part (and it wasn't all that difficult) was choosing ink colors. I settled on the following Stampin' Up! inks: Gumball Green, Sweet Sugarplum, Flirty Flamingo, Peekaboo Peach, Pool Party, and Marina Mist. I stamped the sentiment with VersaFine Onyx Black because I like how that ink captures little details in a sentiment without spreading. I was tempted to break my "nothing fancy" rule and heat emboss to avoid smearing the black VersaFine, which is a pigment ink, but I decided to just be careful with the card front until the ink dried.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

The inside of the card matches perfectly:

I see myself making quite a few more of this card design because it's so quick and easy. I just love the whimsical designs of the flowers and leaves!

Cards 2 and 3 are nearly twins. For both I embossed my favorite image from the Gina K. set Beautiful World in detailed clear embossing powder onto Whisper White and then sponged with Salty Ocean and Picked Raspberry. I embossed the sentiment from the CAS-ual Fridays stamp set All About You in detail white onto Basic Black cardstock, then used Stampin' Dimensionals to attach it to the front. The addition of the Elegant Butterfly die and some black sequins completed the cards.

The top card has some sequin-sized dots added to fill in empty spaces; and it amused me to use a half-sequin I found in the package from Pretty Pink Posh at the top of the card. The bottom card has more black sequins, (I wish I would have added fewer!), and the additional distress color of Wilted Violet.

The insides were simply sponged with matching distress ink, and then I added another Elegant Butterfly. Pretty easy!

I've barely gotten started with all the ideas I have for products in this Stamp of Approval collection, and when I pull in components from other collections, it feels like the possibilities will be endless! If you missed out on this or any SOA collection, you will be able to purchase most of the products in Autumn when Catherine Pooler opens her own online store. Cool, eh?

And if by chance you have no idea what the "Stamp of Approval" buzz is about, you can learn more about it at the website. I am still and always a huge fan of Stampin' Up! and its products (which is why I'm a demo!), but I do feel Catherine has created something really special with SOA. The products are both trendy and classic and are designed to work together amazingly well. In my experience they also play nicely with Stampin' Up! products, which is a huge bonus! 

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Tomorrow I'll be showing you two cards I made to celebrate the birthdays of two awesome young men. I'm pretty sure you'll be impressed with at least one of them!

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Meowy Christmas Bendy Cards

Exciting news: I've made two more Christmas cards this month! Woot! I can't wait to show you my bendy cards!

This post is going to be picture-heavy simply because, as they (whoever "they" is) say, a picture speaks a thousand words. I'll sprinkle in some information as I go, and if I leave any questions unanswered I hope you'll leave a comment or email me.

Let's start at the beginning, the fronts of the fully assembled cards:

(click photos to see them enlarged)

I made two almost identical cards; the main difference is that one of the cards has candy dots on the trees in addition to the stamped ornaments, so it looks a little more detailed. I'm a novice at alcohol markers, but I got brave and decided to use my Spectrum Noir pens to color the stamped images.

Closer view of one of the cards:

Looking from the sides:

The stamp set I used exclusively is Christmas Cats from Simon Says Stamp, and I was grateful I invested in the coordinating dies. I chose this set because I needed images that I could glue back to back so they'd be seen on both sides of the hills - and the cats and the trees fit the bill.

Here's what the card looks like right out of the envelope (and yes, it does fit in a standard A2 envelope):

The recipient tucks in the two tabs to make the card bend, hence "bendy" card. (I've also seen this style referred to as a "bendi" card, but I think that is the East Indian version. ;) ) I haven't decided whether to label the tabs A and B or trust that whoever gets the card will figure it out, so I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Here's how the tabs curl:

Top view:

When the right flap is open, here's what you see:

The inside of the left flap:

Completely open:

The tricky part of this card was shaping the hills so they'd begin and end in the right place. I think this is why most bendy cards I've seen have either straight or angled sides. Once I masterminded the shapes (okay, so it wasn't THAT hard, lol), I added shading and Dazzling Diamonds glitter along the top edges and the snowbanks. In real life they really are dazzling!

Close-up of the glitter-embossed sentiment:

I used some DSP to cover the back of the card and also hide the slots. I added a sponged Top Note die cut as a place to put a personal message since there's not a lot of room to write inside the card:

I started out this project following some directions sent to me by one of my StampNation Sistahs (Hi, Tristan!), but if you're interested in making a bendy card for the first time, I'd recommend the tutorial on the Splitcoaststampers website.

This turned out to be a time-consuming project for me, probably because of all the little details I put into it, but I'd say it was totally worth the effort!

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Coming up next: Some Stamp of Approval cards
Followed by: Birthday cards for two awesome young men

Bendy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Monday, July 25, 2016

Froggie Cards

I meet the most interesting people in StampNation! A few months ago I found out one of the Sistahs used to have her own stamp company, and she mentioned she had some stamps leftover and would be happy to send me some from her catalog. I looked through it and picked out what I considered to be a reasonable number of stamps, and in time they arrived on my doorstep. I offered to at least reimburse her for postage, and she said she'd love it if I would make a card using the stamps. And thus it began, one of the most detailed batches of cards I've ever made.

At first glance they don't look like much, but I used this project to practice coloring and shading as well as to practice creating a scene. Here's the first of four cards, my prototype for the rest:

I used ten of her stamps (plus a few of my own) to make this card front. (For other insanely curious people like myself who might have to know which ten, they are: the frog, two dragonflies, the flower with ladybug already on it, the "enjoy" sentiment, the grass, and the branch with three leaf clusters.) 

I started each scene by using Stampin' Up! inks (Wild Wasabi and Soft Sky) to lay down the background color. I used two sizes of scallop circle punches to create the clouds with a sponge. The most time-consuming part was creating grass that I could be proud of. I had one stamp of grass close to an inch long, and I used it to create hills and valleys, shadows and sunny spots.

The rest was coloring and fussy cutting, then mounting the images with Stampin' Dimensionals.

I experimented with a different froggie color on the fourth card since I was getting restless. Here's the inside of the card:

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Coming up next: Bendy cards! Oh, my... so much fun!

Froggie smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Beginning of an Art Journal

I've been wanting to start an Art Journal for a very long time, but it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I just wasn't getting to it because there was always some other deadline to meet first. In a brazen act of friendship my crafting buddy Carey provided me with the blank journal, black gesso, and most importantly, her time. We sat down one weekend day in May - she at her house clear on the other side of town, and me in my own workspace - connected ourselves on Skype or Facetime or some such app, and worked on our pages simultaneously. 

I gesso'd and painted the first double-page spread in my favorite color purple, but then I was stuck. I struggled for awhile until an idea hit me square in the noggin: What I really needed to do was start at the beginning. I grabbed the black gesso and painted the single page before the purple one I had just started. While the gesso was drying I decided to look through my Dazzles (brand of stickers) to see if a visual theme for my beginning page would jump out at me - and jump it did! I found some copper steampunk-related Dazzles that just happened to have the perfect expression:

(Click to view in a larger size)

Given the purpose of my Art Journal - to express myself either for public eyes or just my own using whatever art or craft supplies I feel like in the moment - it feels appropriate to call it an adventure! I intend to use it as a venue for my own prose or poetry, thoughts, feelings, quotes, or anything that strikes my fancy. The only rules are: 

1) When a page is done I still should be able to close the book.
2) I am not allowed to anguish over a page more than a sitting or two in an attempt to make it perfect. This is a place for learning and for practice.
3) I am allowed to keep parts of it private if I wish. I figure this will help squelch the need to be a perfectionist.
4) Any other rules I may make up as I go should not be restrictive, but rather make my process easier.

Back to this page... Besides black gesso and copper dazzles, I also used some copper ink and a grunge-themed stamp set or two from Stampin' Up! I made a bit of an oops in one area but decided to leave it. (No anguishing allowed!) When I felt the page was finished, I was rather pleased with it.

Of course, in no time I was doubting myself over the validity of using stickers to make an "Art" Journal page. After some thought, though, I've concluded that while I don't particularly think of stickers as art, I believe they can be used to express oneself as well as any other medium. So stickers are okay in my own Art Journal. :)

What's your take on stickers? Do you think the use of stickers somehow compromises visual art? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Coming up in the next posts
Tomorrow - a set of Froggie cards
Next - the great Bendy card adventure of 2016
Then - some cards made with Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval collections
And then - a couple of birthday cards for boys
After the next four posts, I will be caught up on my blogging! Yay!

Wishing you many Adventures of your Own,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. Stamper Joyce

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Challenges from Splitcoaststampers

I've taken a liking to doing the sketch challenges over at Splitcoaststampers, but due to time constraints just do the challenges my friend Carey hosts there. Without further ado...

Here's the sketch:

and here's what I did with it:

Additional information about this card can be found in my SCS gallery here.

Here's the sketch:

and here's what I did with it:

I actually made two of these cards with the Cloisonne Horse stamp; the other one had the background colors in reverse, but I messed up and forgot to take a picture before I sent the card out into the world. You can read a little more about this card here.

Here's the sketch:

And here's my simple creation:

The deets about this card can be found here.

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Coming up next: a peek into the humble beginning of my Art Journal. See you tomorrow!

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Happy Cake Day!

No doubt the title of this post is a dead giveaway - I made a birthday card. It's been awhile, (my friend's birthday was in May!), but if I remember correctly there are three Stampin' Up! sets used to create this card: Build a Birthday provided the candles and sentiment on the card front, Age Awareness was used for the inside sentiment, and Gorgeous Grunge provides the ambiance. The embossing folder used on the front panel is Decorative Dots, one of my go-to's for texture, especially for something celebratory like a birthday. 

My favorite part of this card? you ask. Of course it's the colors! I had every intent of doing this post the day the new Stampin' Up! In Colors for 2016-2017 went public, but I obviously missed. If you haven't seen them yet, let me introduce you to Dapper Denim (the card base), Sweet Sugarplum (the embossed panel behind the candles), Flirty Flamingo (the sentiment strip), Emerald Envy, and Peekaboo Peach (the two leftmost candles). Aren't they a dream? The Sugarplum and Flamingo make me swoon, and the Denim is going to prove itself quite useful. I used these colors to introduce my birthday friend, who is also a stamper, to the new In Colors. 

Happy Birthday again, Carey, if you're reading this!

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I have a bazillion (well, okay, maybe ten) more projects to post in order to get caught up with everything I've done since the last post in April, but I think you'll enjoy seeing my creations. I'll combine similar projects into one post wherever possible so as not to annoy my readers who just skim the pictures with excessive email.

Up next will be three cards I made for challenges at Splitcoaststampers, followed by my very first Art Journal page. After that will come some froggie cards, bendy cards, cards made with a couple of Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval collections, and various technique cards. Yup, I've been busy!

Joyce Spear a.k.a Stamper Joyce