Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Be Back Soon!

I thought I'd take a minute to check in since I've been gone for awhile. I've been laying around nursing a messed-up back since the beginning of December -- taking painkillers and alternating between Icy Hot patches and my heating pad. Needless to say, this has really cut into my stamping time! More accurately, it actually hurts to stamp! I'll be seeing my doctor on this coming Saturday, and hopefully she'll be able to identify what's going on and offer a solution. Meanwhile, here I sit going through rubber withdrawal.

It feels like I've pulled a muscle, but I find it hard to believe that if this is the case, the muscle hasn't been able to heal yet, especially with all the bedrest I've been getting.

A shipment will be arriving from Stampin' Up! on Thursday, so I'm trying to loosen up my back today by pushing through the pain and stamping some images for a friend. It would be miserable to have new SU! toys and not be able to use them!

It looks like I'm going to miss the DCBD challenge for this week. I have forty Build-a-Bear cards to make, and I've volunteered to help out a fellow demo by making some cards for her as soon as I'm up and about. I have a gazillion Christmas cards made, but not a single one has been sent out yet. I'm frustrated, but I have to count on people's patience with me until I can get back into the swing of things.

So, have no fear! As Arnold would say, "I'll be back!"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

DCBD Challenge #156

The challenge this week over at Diva Coffee Break Designs is a color challenge: Melon Mambo, Bermuda Bay, Basic Grey, and Whisper White. Piece of cake!

Stamp sets: Patterned Pines, Holiday Collection
Colors: Melon Mambo, Bermuda Bay, Basic Grey, Whisper White
Punch: Jumbo Snowflake
Big Shot: Petals-a-Plenty embossing folder
And: Stampin' Write Markers, gemstones

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Card Mix

I made four cards this weekend -- a scrap card, a CASE, a soda pop can card, and a personal challenge card.

Scrap Card:
Stamp: Holiday Best
Colors: Real Red, Soft Suede, Whisper White
DSP: Christmas Cocoa
Punches: Wide Oval, Scalloped Circle, Scallop Border
And: Stampin' Write markers, Signo Gel Pen

I CASE'd the next card from Brenda Taylor (if I'm reading the watermark on the photo correctly). I just love how this card comes together with a perfect balance of elements, including flocked DSP and Mistletoe ribbon from the Holiday Mini. Brenda, if you're reading this, thank you for my favorite card (so far) of the season!

CASE'd Card:
Stamp: Delightful Decorations
Colors: Real Red, Whisper White
DSP: Christmas Cocoa
Punch: Ornament
And: Mistletoe ribbon, Stampin' Dimensionals, gemstone

I got the idea from Barb Mulliken to run a Diet Mountain Dew can through my Big Shot with the Snowflake #2 die. This simple card is for a fellow Dew lover... there's not a lot of detail, but I'm sure he'll love it.

Soda Pop Can Card:
Stamp: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Glorious Green, Real Red, Whisper White
Punch: Modern Label
Big Shot: Snowflake #2 die, Movers and Shapers Modern Label
And: Lots of glue dots

My last card for today is all the fault of Gretchen Barron -- and as I type this, she's probably oblivious to what she started! I read her post today about making Christmas cards in non-traditional colors, and since it's one of my favorite things to do (much to the exasperation of my friends!), and because she asked for other color combinations to try, I challenged Gretchen to make a holiday card using yellow, red, and orange. The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became... and so I had to try it myself!

Challenge Card:
Stamp: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: YoYo Yellow, Only Orange, Real Red, Shimmery White
Punches: Ornament, Scallop Border, Word Window, Modern Label
Big Shot: Petals-a-Plenty embossing folder, Movers and Shapers Modern Label, Merry Details Sizzlet
And: Real Red 1" Double-stitched Grosgrain ribbon, Real Red brads, Stampin' Write markers, Stampin' Dimensionals

I'm not sure how many more Christmas/Holiday cards I'll be making, as I have more than enough for my own needs. I hoping to sell some, though, so maybe I'll just keep going while I'm in the groove!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

DCBD Challenge #155

What's DCBD? Well, it stands for Diva Coffee Break Designs, and it's a weekly (I think) challenge -- usually either a sketch or color challenge. Now that I'm not doing card swaps anymore, I figure participating in DCBD will be a good way to keep the ol' creative juices flowing.

Here are my cards for DCBD Challenge #155:

Stamps: Grateful Greetings
Colors: Real Red, Soft Suede, Whisper White
DSP: Christmas Cocoa
And: Gold brads

Go ahead and take a look at the DCBD blog -- and jump right in on a challenge if you think you're up to it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The One That Got Away

I was commissioned to make another pet sympathy card this week, and I must say I did a fine job! ... well, until it was time to remember to take a photo before sticking the card in an envelope and sending it on its merry way. They say the memory is the first thing to go, but -- what was I saying?

I used a piece of Shimmery White cardstock as the base, which made for a really classy looking card. The Elegant Bouquet embossing folder offset a picture of a dog dish with some roses in it, which I had layered on Handsome Hunter. I put the "With Sympathy" sentiment from Warmest Regards on the Modern Label punch and then layered that over a slightly larger Modern Label which I cut out using my Big Shot. Inside was a verse, computer printed on Shimmery White and layered on Handsome Hunter, to complete the card.

Here's wishing all my USA readers a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Joyce Spear, a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Christmas Cocoa

It's rare that I set out to CASE (Copy And Selectively Edit) a card, but I was so taken with a card by Jill Hilliard, which you can see here, that I thought I'd give a shot at reproducing it.

Well, I mucked it up -- not once, but twice -- all because I was too lazy to get out my Stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp the sentiment straight. I had to jump through some hoops to save the cards, and here's what I ended up with:

I'm actually rather pleased with both of them, but that could be because I'm absolutely loving the Real Red/Soft Suede/Shimmery White color combination.

Stamps: Holiday Best, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Real Red, Soft Suede
Papers: Shimmery White cardstock, Christmas Cocoa Specialty DSP
Punches: Jumbo Snowflake, Wide Oval, Large Oval, Scalloped Oval
And: Red button from the Playground Designer Button set, Clear Rhinestone brads from the Pretties Kit, 1" Double-Stitched grosgrain ribbon, Stampin' Write markers

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Merry Moments

I made three more holiday cards over the weekend, all of them with the Merry Moments Designer Series Paper.

This first one is my favorite, probably because of its simplicity. The fir trees were made by punching out a strip of DSP with the Scallop Border punch, then using a square punch at an angle to create sections of the tree with 3, 4, and 5 scallops. Then the sections get layered, and a tree trunk gets added. Voila! Instant fir tree! If I do this again, I hope to remember to sponge the scallops so they're more defined.

Stamp set: Four the Holidays
Colors: Bashful Blue, Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Real Red
Papers: Merry Moments DSP, Shimmery White cardstock
And: Glue pen, Dazzling Diamonds glitter

ETA: I thought I may have seen the fir trees somewhere while "blurfing" (blog surfing). Luckily, Adela jogged my memory that she recently posted a tutorial, which you can see here. Thanks, Adela!

The other two cards I came up with are "okay," although they're growing on me the more I look at them.

Stamps: Warm Words, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Real Red
Papers: Merry Moments DSP, Whisper White cardstock
Punches: Jumbo Snowflake, Word Window, Large Oval, Scalloped Oval, 1-3/4" Circle, Round Tab, Ticket Corner
Big Shot: Snowflake from Merry Details Sizzlet
And: Chocolate Chip felt ribbon, Stampin' Dimensionals, Clear gemstone brad (from the Pretties Kit), red gemstones (from my stash)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The More the Merrier

Here's three cards I made today using the level 3 hostess set, The More the Merrier, along with some Christmas Cocoa DSP.

Stamps: The More the Merrier, Four the Holidays, Teeny Tiny Wishes
DSP: Christmas Cocoa Specialty
Colors: Soft Suede, Real Red, Shimmery White
And: Stampin' Write markers, Word Window and 1" Circle punches, Stampin' Dimensionals, 1" Double-Stitched Grosgrain ribbon, 3/4" Polka-Dot Grosgrain ribbon

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Seven Holiday Cards with Shimmery White

I felt ambitious today and came up with seven very different looking cards, all using Shimmery White cardstock which I dug out of my stash. (Why do I hoard the good stuff instead of using it?)

The only stamping on this first card is the sentiment, from Teeny Tiny Wishes. I ran a Night of Navy Top Note through my Big Shot with the Petals a Plenty embossing folder. I sponged the Shimmery White layer with Night of Navy to soften the look. The snowflakes are also die cuts, from the Snowflakes Set #2 Sizzlet 4-pack. Three half pearls from the Pretties kit complete the card.

I'm very pleased with this next card which uses the Gifts of Christmas set. I markered the stamp with Glorious Green, Real Red, YoYo Yellow, and Brilliant Blue. I layered the image on Brilliant Blue and used the Ticket Corner punch to fancy it up a bit more. The card base, which I ran through the Big Shot using a Texturz Plate, is Real Red with a scalloped panel of Glorious Green. The image panel is raised up on Stampin' Dimensionals.

I only had enough patience to marker the dove image once, so next I decided to emboss it in gold on the Shimmery White. I layered it on a piece of Brushed Gold cardstock on which I used the Scallop Border punch. The card base is Not Quite Navy, and I used the Petals a Plenty embossing folder to jazz it up. The final touch was to scallop the right edge of the card (where it opens) and then add some gold embossing. Pretty cool, eh?

I had embossed a second Gifts of Christmas dove image in gold, and decided to do something a little different with it: I trimmed the top close to the image, but left the bottom intact and just used a Corner Rounder punch to soften the look. I chose very non-traditional Christmas colors -- Lavendar Lace, Tempting Turquoise, and Pink Passion -- to finish the card. I used the Petals a Plenty embossing folder (can you tell I like this one?) on the Pink Passion panel. Three half pearls add a slight touch of elegance to this unusual card.

Next I grabbed the Dasher stamp and stamped three images in Rich Razzleberry highlighted with Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint. The first card has a Melon Mambo card base. I stamped Rich Razzleberry snowflakes (from Serene Snowflakes) the same way as Dasher. The Top Note panel is raised on Stampin' Dimensionals. The snowflake is from the Snowflake Set #2 Sizzlet 4-pack. A tied piece of polka-dotted Melon Mambo grosgrain ribbon and some strategically-placed gold brads complete the card.

My last two cards for the day are pretty simple. On the top one I ran a piece of DSP from the Lovely Flowers Bundle (Level 3 Hostess) through the Big Shot with a Texturz plate.

The striped DSP on the final card is from the Rich Razzleberry Patterns pack. The "Peace on Earth" sentiment is from Four the Holidays.

It's unusual for me to make this many cards in one sitting, but I sure earned a good night's sleep for my efforts!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank You!

It's pushing midnight and I've been up since a little after 4 a.m. I was in bed before midnight last night, but after a little more than four hours of sleep, I jumped out of bed itching to stamp! Weird, huh? I finished these first two cards before 9 a.m., much to my astonishment.

Maybe I couldn't sleep because my conscience was bothering me. Yesterday I had opened up my Stamping Schedule, the spreadsheet where I keep track of all the swaps and card orders and projects I'm doing, to keep myself focused -- and realized that I had neglected to send a friend who takes me out to lunch periodically a Thank You card for our last outing. Oh, the shame! I plan to rectify the situation tomorrow when I see her again by giving her two blank Thank You cards that she can use herself... oh, and by apologizing profusely. I'm a bit of a stickler about thank-you's, as I know how much they mean to me; and I hate to leave anyone else feeling like I don't appreciate their efforts.

Stamp: Pun Fun
Colors: Real Red, Basic Black, Whisper White
DSP: Night and Day (the polka-dotted acetate), Christmas Cocoa DSP
And: Filigree Designer brad, Gold brads, White Taffeta ribbon, Full Heart punch, paper piercing tools

I still had energy to burn, so I went out with the help of my aide and got my haircut, stopped at Archivers, and treated myself to lunch from Steak n Shake. My butt was dragging when I got home, but then I got my second wind and made another card:

Stamps: For All You Do
Colors: Pretty in Pink, Old Olive,
DSP: Pawsitively Prints (a print from the Build-a-Bear project which jumped into my path as I was working)
And: Scallop Circle punch, Mistletoe ribbon (from the Holiday Mini), an Old Olive button I just happened to find laying around, Natural twine, Stampin' Dimensionals

It sure would be nice if I have the same energy level tomorrow as I did today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Build-a-Bear Cards, Set 1

I returned to the Build-a-Bear project this week, and put together the first ten cards to go to the Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House kids.

Stamp: "Thinking of You" from Trendy Trees
Colors: Pretty in Pink, Ballet Blue, Pumpkin Pie, Olive Green, So Saffron, Basic Black, Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Really Red, Tangerine Tango
DSP: Pawsitively Prints
Punches: Scalloped Border, Boho Blossoms, Modern Label
Big Shot: Stampin' Up! Bear, Beary Essentials, Beary Girl, Beary Boy, Top Note, Sparkle
And: Gold brads, Pink Grosgrain ribbon, Flower Fusion, Natural Hemp, Natural Twine

I want to thank Cynthia Ferenz once again for taking the time to cut out all the bears and clothes and accessories -- that alone was a huge project! Thank you, Cynthia!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Star Trek Birthday Card

I was commissioned to make a birthday card for a friend's husband who is a Trekkie, and since his birthday is next weekend, I figured I'd better get the card made.

Since I can't stamp (more on that later), I had to rely on my computer and printer to Make It So. I decided on a Stampin' Up! Basic Black card base of 5-1/4" square, and layered the picture of the crew as well as the sentiment and inside saying on the colors Ruby Red, Certainly Celery, and Brocade Blue. I used the same colors to jazz up the envelope.

In case the birthday guy stops by to visit his card on my blog: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CALVIN!

Personal update:
I've spent most of the weekend in bed, partly dealing with emotional stuff, but more so because my gout is acting up -- and of all the places, in my right elbow! I tried to stamp, but I can't put any pressure on that joint. And stamping with my left hand was a disaster, lol! I have to use my left to eat because my right elbow won't bend far enough, and I have to blow my nose with one hand. My computer time is limited because when I sit at my desk I tend to lean on that arm. Sheesh! Remind me never to take my right elbow for granted again!

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Patterned Pines

It's been a long, hard couple days, and I find myself seriously evaluating my place in the stamping community... in the Yahoo groups to which I belong, and even in the Stampin' Up! community. I've been working too hard; and while I don't expect any great rewards, I guess my expectation was to not get kicked in the teeth for the work I've done, much less for who I am and what I believe. Apparently my expectations are too high, as I find myself the victim of some hating, ignorance, and just plain stupidity as of late. I'm just weary of it all.

But you didn't come here to hear me whine, did you? Here's my cards for the day...

Stamps: Patterned Pines, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Taken with Teal, Sahara Sand, Whisper White
DSP: Holiday Lounge
And: Word Window punch, Modern Label punch, White Taffeta ribbon

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Couple Holiday Cards

I took a break today from the not-so-fun (personal business) stuff I've been doing to make two cards.

Stamps: Patterned Pines
Colors: Taken with Teal, Sahara Sand
DSP: Holiday Lounge
And: Gold brads, Stampin' Dimensionals, Circle punches

* * * * * * * * * *
Personal Update:
I've been in business mode the last few days, going through papers and making phone calls and doing what needs to be done to try and keep my housing and mental health care assistance. Tomorrow I meet with my case manager and some of the powers that be. I hope the outcome is positive, as I'm not dealing with the stress very well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Update from Bear Central

It's been a busy bear day! I was feeling yukky yesterday and didn't do much on the bears, so today I decided to work double-time to catch up -- and actually finished assembling all them!

First up, the last of the girl bears in skirts:

Next I did twelve boy bears. Twelve seemed like a good number since I had eleven sets of boy shoes and could get away with using blue shoes on one of the boy bears to make an even twelve. I'm not sure my fingers or my sanity would have taken much more. Notice the ties on the shoes? OMG, talk about detail work!

The last batch of bears could pass as boys or girls, depending on who's looking. I used the baseball caps that were on the boy die, but shoes from the main die, which I interpret to mean they could be for boys OR girls. Who cares? As long as they bring a smile to a kid's face, I'm happy.

I might take a break from this project tomorrow, just to give myself time to physically and mentally regroup before starting on the cards. I have a Netflix movie to watch and send back, and boring/obnoxious paperwork calling my name; so it'd be nice to get those out of the way. I have a hard week ahead filled with doctor and nurse appointments, some housing errands (to hopefully avert crisis!), bills to pay... you know: Life. I'm hoping my fifty furry friends will keep me grounded 'til next weekend, when I can (I hope) breath a sigh of relief.

Wishing us all peace and harmony in the days to come,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Girl Build-a-Bears

I accessorized ten more girl bears today! Aren't they fun?

I notice that I'm getting better at the assembly process as there are fewer glue trails to clean up.

I've fallen in love with these Build-a-Bear die cuts. I don't know if it's that the little girl in me remembers playing with paper dolls, or if it's how the bears come alive and develop personalities as the details are added, but I'm starting to really really want the dies. I don't know if I can afford them right now, though. Still, there's no guarantee that they'll be around after the Holiday Mini expires, so that adds a little pressure.

Here's a picture of "Bear Central." Notice the piles of bear clothing in front of my computer monitor? That's in addition to the shoes and cuffs that are on the paper plate. The boy and girl accessories are sorted into the plastic bags on the left. My glue holder is an incense burner. The bears spread out on the keyboard and desk are waiting for their glue to dry. Boy bears with just shirts and pants are piled on the left, and the girl bears with just tops and skirts are over on the right. Would you believe I cleaned my workdesk on Monday?

I'm calling it an early night as I've been drowsy all day and need to catch up on my sleep. My goal is to finish the girl bears tomorrow and then start on the boys -- or are they girls in pants, lol?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Build-a-Bear Project

I am having a BLAST with these Build-a-Bear die cuts! I've decided to keep a log of the project for prosperity -- ups and downs, ins and outs, and what I learn along the way.

I now have ten (all girls) of the fifty bears dressed and accessorized except for purses, which may or may not be added as I make the cards. I may add some hearts or flowers on shirts at card-making time, too, but for the most part, these gals are done.

Before I show the picture of the ten bears, I have to mention that I have three new best friends as the result of this project: Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue, my adhesive eraser, and a pair of reverse tweezers.

I'm a SNAIL (monoadhesive tape) girl most of the time, but I knew before I started that my SNAIL wouldn't serve me well in all the nooks and crannies on these bears. I started out with my two-way glue pen, but then remembered reading in a blog somewhere that the Tombow Multi was good for putzy work if applied in small quantities; so I gave it a try, and loved it! I found a little container to store it in while I'm working so that the glue all stays at the fine point end.

My adhesive eraser, not a stranger to me, but usually not used very often, is working its rubbery butt off for me as I learn exactly where to (and not to) put the glue. I also tend to slide pieces into place, leaving a trail of shiny glue behind -- but my good ol' eraser takes care of the unsightly glue.

And the tweezers? I have never used tweezers for a project, but the little cuffs on the shirts and sweaters/blazers were driving me INSANE! My fingers have never felt so gigantic and unruly! So I broke down and dragged out the tweezers and voila! my life has been made a lot easier. Yay!

Okay, enough blah blah blah. Here are the ten girl bears I've dressed up so far. Aren't they just the CUTEST??

It's after 9 p.m. as I write this, and I just realized I got so engrossed in the bears that I forgot about supper. I think I'll remedy that and then take a bear break until morning. My head is swimming with possibilities on how to dress up and use these bears, to the point where I think I might be a little obsessed. Perhaps it's time for a movie or some Pogo... but I'll be checking in again real soon!