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!

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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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Sincere Form of Flattery

As many of my readers know, we in the stamping world use the phrase CASEing to refer to the practice of copying another stamper's work and giving credit ("Copy And Share Everything") or using it as the jumping-off point to a very different card. In many communities, including StampNation, we suggest that a CASE have three or more things that are different from the original card, so for that reason I prefer the acronym be used as Copy And Selectively Edit.

I take inspiration from cards all the time, sometimes without even realizing it. I don't think I'm alone in this, as we are all looking at each others' work all the time and it would be impossible to not be influenced by it. I try my best to give credit where credit is due, though, and today I would like to give credit to Heather North, one of the Dream Team members at StampNation, for a batch of cards that I had a lot of fun with. Here is her card:

Is that not gorgeous? I love pinks and blues and purples together to begin with, but then Heather knocks it out of the ball park by using butterflies and a fabulous quote.

I wanted to recreate her card, but got off to a rocky start. (Don't laugh too hard when I show you this!) Here's my mess:

Sometimes I think I'm smart, but then experience usually steps up to give me a reality check. I used the same supplies as Heather, most significantly embossing powder and Zig Clean Color Brush Markers, but the result was marginal. I started by embossing the three butterflies in silver and then the quote in clear embossing powder over Onyx Black VersaFine ink. Next I scribbled with the markers in the same colors as Heather used, then added water and utilized my Ranger heat tool to move the color around. Try as I might, I just could not get the color to spread like on Heather's. I finally had to give up because the watercolor paper was starting to pill and the embossed images were starting to flatten and spread.

That's when I had my "Aha!" moment. I touched base with Heather and confirmed my theory that I should have done the color background first and then embossed. (It's rather obvious when you think about it, lol.) By embossing over dried color the images remain raised and clear. Also, more water can be added to create the color background to begin with.

Armed with this knowledge I was able to create these two cards:

Thank you, Heather, for the wonderful card idea! I hope my little story gives you a chuckle. 

Stamps: Beautiful World (Gina K.); Uplifting Thoughts (SSS)
Paper: Distress watercolor; Basic Black (SU)
Inks: Onyx Black (VersaFine), VersaMark
Accessories: Zig Clean Color Brush Markers, detail silver embossing powder, detail clear embossing powder, sequins, Corner Chomper, corner punch (SU)

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World Card Making Day is just around the corner! I hope you'll be able to join us on StampNation in the celebration! There will be challenges, live events/chats, and prize drawings from some amazing sponsors, so don't miss out! I have a little surprise of my own to announce as the date gets closer.

Today IS a good day to smile,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

The Card that Almost Was

"The best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry," wrote Robert Burns in a poem back in 1786 - and ain't it the truth! Many times I have started a card and then been interrupted by a more pressing deadline or project or by life itself, only to put the pieces of that card put into scrap months later without ever finishing it. This card was almost one of those. I ended up finishing *a* card with the supplies intended for this SC608 sketch challenge from Splitcoaststampers:

but it's not quite the card I had in mind. I used the pieces I had pulled together so far to create this card a few weeks later (mostly to get the parts off of my desk!):

The tree is from a new-to-me Stampin' Up! set called Thoughtful Branches, while the trim is gold embossed from a stamp in Catherine Pooler's 2015 Holiday Magic Stamp of Approval collection. The sentiment is from a wood-mounted SU! set I've had for years and years, and the DSP is also SU! from years back. Add a little Soft Sky ink and a punched scallop circle (to create the sky) along with a Garden Green card base - and that's how far I had gotten toward creating the card I originally had in mind. It would have taken some more stamping and finessing to finish up, so I went with what I had. Everything came together rather quickly to create this square card (unusual for me), bringing me one card closer to my goal for this year's Christmas cards. A decent save, don't you think?

To be completely transparent, I had two card bases and DSP squares since my plan at the start was to make two cards with the sketch challenge. I've put the remaining pieces with my 2016 Candy Cane Lane Stamp of Approval (still untouched at the moment) in hopes they'll be put to good use rather than retired to the scrap box.

Do you ever get taken off-course once you've started a card? If so, I'd love to hear in the comments how you handle it and what you do with your unfinished pieces.

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This coming weekend, September 30 through October 2, StampNation will be celebrating World Card Making Day in style with challenges galore, live chats, and even prizes. Rumor has it that Catherine has something up her sleeve, (we shall see), and I'm happy to say that I have a secret, too! I can't wait to announce it!

Revealing nothing (giggle),
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce