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!

Working on Cards for (RMH) Kids

I haven't posted for a few days because I've been busy working on cards for the Ronald McDonald House kids.

I made a small batch of cards using the "I stink you're sweet!" stamp from the Pun Fun set -- not my greatest cards, but still cute. If you'd like to see them, give a holler.

My BIG project is making fifty Build-a-Bear cards for the kids! Cynthia Ferenz, a fellow member of the Late Night Stampers group, generously volunteered to cut out a bunch of Build-a-Bears from the dies being offered in the current Stampin' Up! Holiday Mini Catalog. To my astonishment, she went all out and sent me 50 bears and a huge assortment of clothes and accessories for the critters! I spent Monday evening assembling their little faces, and most of yesterday and today matching up shirts and pants or skirts and doing the glueing for those. Next I'll pick out sweaters, shoes, and boy and girl accessories and finish assembling the bears. And then... I plan to make 50 cards with them! It's a bigger project than I anticipated, but I am having a blast, plus I feel really good it's for a good cause.

Here's an up-to-the-minute photo of the bears:

Stay tuned for BPRs -- Bear Progress Reports!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pinwheel Card and Shimmer Background Cards

It's been a rough and wild week, but between dramatic episodes I gathered my wits by working on and off on these five cards.

I've been intrigued for some time now with Pinwheel Cards, thinking they were difficult to do. Barb Mullikin set me straight, though, with her wonderful tutorial. I used up some scraps on my desk and created the following:

Colors are Bermuda Bay, Rich Razzleberry, and Crushed Curry. The pinwheel is made from Rich Razzleberry Patterns DSP. The sentiment is from Teeny Tiny Wishes. I used a Texturz plate to get the checkerboard pattern on the Crushed Curry layer. In the center of the pinwheel is a Flower designer brad. As a final touch, I used Stampin' Dimensionals to pop up the pinwheel.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The rest of the cards in this post have backgrounds made with the scrap papers I used to blot up the spilled Champagne Mist shimmer paint I wrote about in the previous entry. Taking decent pictures of this stuff is like nailing jello to a tree, but I did the best I could.

Stamp Set: Warm Words
Colors: Ruby Red, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White
Punches: Eyelet border, Large Oval, Scalloped Oval
Big Shot: Snowflakes Set #2 Sizzlets 4-pack
And: Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint, Old Olive grosgrain ribbon

I used both the Rich Razzleberry and Chocolate Chip shimmer papers on this next card:

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White
Punches: Word Window, Modern Label
Big Shot: Snowflakes Set #2 Sizzlets 4-pack
And: Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint, paper piercing tools

Here's another simple one:

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White
Punches: Large Oval, Scalloped Oval
Big Shot: Snowflakes Set #2 Sizzlets 4-pack
And: Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint, paper piercing tools

And finally:

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Whisper White
Punches: Word Window, Modern Label
Big Shot: Snowflake #2 Originals die
And: Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint

Wishes to all for a peaceful, harmonious weekend,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shimmer Paint Adventures

Today was interesting, not so much by design as by gravity. But more on that later...

I came up with two very similar cards this afternoon using Stampin' Up!'s Champagne Mist Shimmer Paint (available in the Holiday Mini Catalog). The main difference is that on one of these I stamped the snowflakes on the card base with Rich Razzleberry (second card below), and on the other I used the shimmer paint for the background snowflakes (first card). I was amazed at the difference the shimmer paint made!

I intentionally posted a less-than-perfect picture in the first photo so that you can see just how shimmery the shimmer paint is. To accomplish this look, I simply inked up my stamp with dye ink, then used a sponge dauber to pat a wee bit of the shimmer paint onto the stamp before stamping it on Whisper White. Is that cool, or what?

Stamp sets: Serene Snowflakes, Four the Holidays (on the inside)
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Orchid Opulance
DSP: Rich Razzleberry Patterns
Big Shot: Texturz plate (on the Orchid Opulance layer)
And: Champagne Mist shimmer paint

* * * * * * * * * * *

And now, for today's adventure:

I may have created a new technique! It could be called "Painting by Gravity" or "Klutz Backgrounds" -- but it certainly wasn't intentional.

I was oh so very careful using my shimmer paint today. Really I was! It's such great stuff that I didn't want to waste a drop, so I was very carefully daubing out of the cover of the bottle with the bottle itself put safely out of the way. Or so I thought. I went to put the lid on the bottle after stamping the snowflakes when, to my horror, I dropped the opened bottle! I quickly put the bottle right side up so I wouldn't lose any more of the paint, and then sat there in shock for a few seconds. Instinctively I grabbed my bone folder and started scooping up as much paint as I could to put back into the bottle. (I still have 2/3rds of the bottle left, so I consider myself fortunate.)

Faced with a remaining puddle, I grabbed the nearest paper and started blotting up the paint. It happened to be a sheet of solid Rich Razzleberry DSP, and when I looked at the design the paint made on it, I thought to myself, "Hey, I may be on to something!" So I grabbed the nearest cardstock, Chocolate Chip, and blotted up the rest of the paint that hadn't dried yet.

I put the papers aside to dry while I cleaned up the rest of the mess. I must say, my grey sweatshirt is looking mighty glitzy tonight! Astonishingly, no paint hit my keyboard, my pile of DSP and cardstock, my camera, or the carpet. I took pictures of the dried papers from several angles, and below are two photos of each piece.

I have NO idea what I'll use these nifty papers for, but perhaps I'll find the right stamp down the road that just begs for something like what I have here.

I can't say that I'd recommend this new technique to anyone -- it aged me rapidly -- but I did my best to make lemonade out of lemons.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Just Messin' Around

I had problems getting started today, and the result is that I ended up with a strange combination of projects.

First up we have a Christmas card. I used the Dasher stamp, as well as the Four the Holidays set, for the first time. New rubber... yummy! It all started with a little square of shimmery handpainted paper leftover from a previous project. I noticed Dasher would fit nicely on the scrap, and I just sort of built the card around the image. Notice I'm starting to remember to use the Texturz plates with my Big Shot? Colors are Lavendar Lace, Pixie Pink, Basic Black, and Whisper White. Both Dasher and the sentiment are embossed.

My attention was drifting back and forth between Spooky Slots on the Pogo game site and this next card. After I put it together and looked at it, I noticed a glaring problem with the mat under the turkey. Normally something like that would throw me into a tailspin, but today I left it alone with the feeling that I have bigger fish to fry. Anyway, the stamp is Gobble Gobble, colors are Crushed Curry, Dusty Durango, and Chocolate Chip. Love the felt ribbon that I inherited recently (smile), and I think the button is just too cute. I used a Texturz plate on the Dusty Durango layer.

Now, I normally let projects make themselves -- I might have an idea or two before I start, but card design for me most of the time is an as-I-go sort of thing. Well, I saw a stairstep card somewhere today, and got a wild hair to make one of my own. I measured, scored, folded, measured and cut decorative layers, and -- BAM! I hit the wall. No ideas. Well, none that thrill me. So I decided to just call it a day and sleep on it. No telling what this lovely card base is going to be when it grows up.


On a personal note, I'm feeling a bit better, both physically and emotionally. My usual support network of friends went MIA this week and my abandonment issues have been niggling at me -- but I've been totally touched by the support of my online stamping buddies and blog readers. All your kind words and well wishes have served to remind me that I will always have what I need; it just may look different than what I expect. Thank you all so much!

Friday, October 16, 2009

LNS Challege 41 featuring Autumn Days

In a bold attempt to fight the blahs this evening, I put on my stampin' hat and took on Challenge 41 of the Stampin' Up! Late Night Stampers Yahoo! group. (Not a member? It's free and it's fun! Check out my sidebar link for more info.)

My challenge to myself: Use some clear buttons and linen thread from my stash, before they retire! (That's usually when I get most interested in something -- when I'm no longer able to order it. Sad, but true.)

I'm happy to report, mission accomplished! Challenge 41 is a sketch challenge, and I ended up turning the sketch on its side in order to accomodate the clear buttons, which were much larger than I remember them to be.

Stamps: Autumn Days, Stem Sayings
Designer Series Paper: Autumn Traditions
Colors: More Mustard, Always Artichoke, Elegant Eggplant, Ruby Red, Sahara Sand, (and Soft Suede in the the DSP)
And: Clear Square Buttons, Linen Thread

Honest truth, I feel a lot better having accomplished something! There must be magic in my stampin' hat!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Falling Leaves

I switched gears from making Halloween cards to cards with an Autumn theme. I was going for a generically autumn feel rather than Thanksgiving-y, but I think the "Thankful Thoughts of You" sentiment could be taken either way.

This last card is a little bit different. I splurged and got some Sizzlets dies, one of which is the Flower Blossom. The only stamping on the card is the sentiment; everything else was done with punches or the Big Shot.

Supplies Used Today:
Stamp Sets - Falling Leaves, Teeny Tiny Wishes, Grateful Greetings
Colors - Dusty Durango, Soft Suede, Crushed Curry, Old Olive
Punches - Word Window, Oval, Scalloped Oval, small and large Squares, hand-held hole punch
Big Shot - Texturz Plates, Flower Blossom Sizzlet
And - In Color markers, In Color Polka Dotted Grosgrain ribbon, Crystal Effects


Personal stuff... (feel free to skip):

Today is the first day I've had in weeks all to myself -- no nurse, no aide, no visitors, no pressing personal business -- just peace and quiet and quality time with my stamps.

And then the phone rang. It was my case manager from my mental health agency, and she dropped a big bomb on me. Because I don't qualify for Medicaid and have only Medicare, I'm being dropped as a client due to budget cuts. In addition to losing both my case managers, this could result in me losing my Section 8 housing, my psychiatrist and access to my psych meds, and ... well, let's just say it gets real messy. I've been bawling my eyes out for an hour. I know it's fear that's taking hold, but at times like this it is really hard to trust the Universe and believe that I will have what I need.

Guess I will simply wait and see what happens, as there is nothing I can do today, right now. It's all out of my hands. And, worst case scenario, I've been homeless before and survived, so while what happens next may be inconvenient, it is not life-threatening.

I guess I better get in all the stamping I can before "things" start to happen... you know, enjoy my blessings while I have them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fun with All Hallow's Eve

I slept all day yesterday because I wasn't feeling good (more on that after the stamping stuff), and so was up all night stamping while playing on Pogo games (another obsession of mine, lol). I wanted to make some quick Halloween cards for the Ronald McDonald House kids, and so decided to work with the tres cool All Hallow's Eve background-sized stamp and the Scary Skeleton set.

I received the Scary Skeleton set (which I won as blog candy from Rachel Brumley) yesterday afternoon, and I couldn't figure out why it looked so familiar to me until I grabbed All Hallow's Eve and saw that the images match! Look!

How cool is that?

The cards I made were super simple. I brayered from a multicolored ink pad onto the All Hallow's Eve stamp, stamped onto Whisper White, trimmed and sponged the edges, then layered the resulting images onto several shades of violet card bases (since I couldn't decide between Lavendar Lace, Lovely Lilac, or Elegant Eggplant). Next I made a couple more cards doing the same thing again, only with Basic Gray and Basic Black. I had intended to layer the "Goblin Greetings" from the Grateful Greetings set onto the front, but decided that it would block too many details of the neat picture, so I just quickly stamped it in a darker color over the picture so it would stand out a bit.

For the inside, I sponged the edges of a piece of Whisper White and stamped a couple images from the Scary Skeleton set.

I'm still toying with the idea of pulling out my Stampin' Pastels to color the witch green and add a few other spots of color... or maybe I'll do that next time around.

I still have a gazillion Halloween cards in my head that I want to make this year, but now that my sleep schedule is all messed up, I'm not sure if I'll get to them all in time for this week's mailing. We'll see.

I mentioned earlier that I haven't been feeling too great lately, probably the result of a change in how my diabetes is being treated. I recently switched from taking a large dose of insulin at bedtime to taking smaller shots before every meal. Well, in talking with my doctor on the phone this afternoon, she audibly GASP!ed when she realized that I had misunderstood her directions and had stopped taking the bedtime insulin. Her intent was for me to continue the bedtime shots and take the mealtime shots in addition to them. No wonder my blood sugars have been so high and I've been feeling so lousy! Armed with this bit of knowledge and a lot more insulin, I think I'll be feeling better within the next few days. Hooray!

Feeling better means more energy for stamping, so stay tuned to see what "stuff" I come up with later this week!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zoofari Birthday

Today I pulled together a set of cards for one of my friends. I was able to pull most of the cards from my stash to provide what she's looking for, but there was one card -- a young child's birthday -- that I decided to make special.

I just got my hands on the retired Zoofari set this week, and I thought it'd be fun to make a card using all the critters.

Stamps: Zoofari, Dot Greetings
Colors: Tempting Turquoise, Green Galore, YoYo Yellow, Only Orange, Real Red, Orchid Opulance
Designer Series Paper: Kaleidoscope
And: Glitter glue

Tomorrow, if everything goes as anticipated, (what are the odds?), I'll be working on Halloween cards for the Ronald McDonald House kids.

Peace to you,
Joyce Spear, a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Inspired by Nature

I can't believe I've had this stamp set since it came out, and this is the first time I've used it! I pulled it out because I was requested to make a birthday card for a friend for someone who likes silhouetted images. Stampin' Up! provides several sets that meet that criteria, but I was most eager to finally use the set Inspired by Nature. And what better birthday reminder than to "Live with Passion"?

The card is quite simple, but it's the coloring that makes it so striking. I used a piece of my handpainted paper (last month's obsession) and embossed the flowers and the sentiment using black craft ink and clear embossing powder. I layered the main image on black, and then layered all that on a card base of Blush Blossom.

I feel like life's been moving top speed for the last couple weeks, so I'm looking forward to a relatively quiet week with no doctor appointments, no pressing errands, and no visitors other than my home health aide and nurse. It's a good thing I have a bit of quiet because I've been feeling run down and frazzled. I'm hoping some quiet, some extra sleep, and some serious stamping will bring me back to my usual effervescent self.

Peace to you,
Joyce Spear, a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Monday, October 5, 2009

Roof Garden (Blast from the Past)

My butt's been dragging in a major way thanks to the change I'm making to a new insulin regimen. I haven't been able to sleep well, but neither have I been able to focus to get much done. I was in the throes of frustration this afternoon when the mailman dropped off a couple packages for me, immediately improving my mood. One package was a share of the three AWESOME designer series papers in the current Holiday Mini catalog. Drool!! The other box contained two retired stamps sets (Alphabits and Zoofari) that I got at a price that made me smile... PLUS a kit based on the Roof Garden Accents and Elements from a previous catalog.

Yeah, yeah, I know... who gets excited about retired stuff? Well, ME! I ripped into the kit like a kid at Christmas -- ahhhh, Kiwi Kiss and Baja Breeze. Instantly I felt better. You know how that goes, don't you, when old friends come back and evoke that warm, cozy, familiar feeling? I made a gob of cards using Roof Garden back in Spring, so I knew I could whip through today's kit in no time and make some darn good cards, only this time using a stamp set I didn't have back then as well as some different accessories. I used the layouts shown in the kit as a starting point, but then strayed off the beaten path a bit.

Not Quite Navy and Basic Gray are colors that I tend to neglect, so today's exercise rekindled my interest in them, which I'm sure will show in the cards I make over the next few weeks.

I'm tired and I'm rambling. How about I just shut up and show you what I did?

Stamp Set: Heard from the Heart
Colors: Not Quite Navy, Basic Gray, Baja Breeze, Kiwi Kiss, Whisper White
And: Roof Garden (retired), Scallop Border punch, Horizontal Slot punch*, Whisper White Taffeta ribbon, retired Baja Breeze and Kiwi Kiss ribbon, retired Kiwi Kiss button, current Whisper White Button Latte button

[*Hey, did you know that when you turn this punch around, it becomes a Vertical Slot punch? LOL]

And without further ado, the pretty pictures:

Here's hoping for a good night's sleep! Tomorrow's going to be another fun day, complete with a Depo-Provera shot and a mammogram. Woohoo.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sympathy Cards

I had a request this week to make some sympathy cards. Here's what I came up with yesterday afternoon.

This first one is my favorite -- but then I tend to be partial to purples. I used a piece of handpainted paper for the daisy background and the sentiment.

Stamps: Upsy Daisy, Canvas background
Colors: Lavendar Lace, Basic Black
And: Black Craft ink, clear embossing powder, brads
Handpainted paper: Reinkers, iridescent medium

* * * * * * * * * *

I struggled with the following card, but finally it came together once I added the Chocolate Chip panel and figured out what to do with the sentiment.

Stamps: Branch Out, Warmest Regards
Colors: Old Olive, Chocolate Chip, Lovely Flowers DSP
And: Modern Label punch, brads

* * * * * * * * * *

Here's a simple one. It was my first card of the afternoon, so I think of it as a warm-up card. :)

Stamps: Flower Lines, Warmest Regards
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Old Olive
And: Ticket corner punch, Wide Oval punch, Slot punch, Whisper White Taffeta ribbon

* * * * * * * * * *

Here's another simple card, made with the sympathy set Close as a Memory. I'm not sure why the photo's wonky, but you get the idea.

Stamps: Close as a Memory
Colors: Pixie Pink, Garden Green
And: Big Shot, Texturz plate

* * * * * * * * * *

I used the Manhatten Flower embossing folder and my Big Shot to create this last card for the day.

Stamp: Warmest Regards
Colors: Riding Hood Red, Whisper White Craft ink
And: White wide organdy ribbon (retired), Flower brad