Sunday, November 8, 2015

Christmas Tags 2015

I've been a busy little bee for the last couple of weeks! I had surgery scheduled for November 9 and needed to finish the tag swap I signed up for in StampNation before going in. At the last minute I found out that the surgery will have to be rescheduled, but that just puts me ahead of the game as far as Christmas preparations.

(For those wondering, I have carpel tunnel in both wrists and pinched ulnar nerves in both elbows. It's painful, and it's making crafting challenging because I'm having a hard time holding on to things.)

The tags are pretty self-explanatory, so I'll let the pretty pictures do the work in this post. These first five photos show each tag front and back:

The rest of these pictures show just the front of the tags:

Thanks for looking!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Bird Crazy Thank You Cards

Like so many of my stamping buddies, I am smitten with the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Collection stamp set called Bird Crazy... and the accessories, and the dies. (At least I haven't gotten the dies for the accessories...yet! or the coordinating sentiments.) But who can resist these birds' crazy expressions and hilarious body language?

Recently two of my dear friends, Carey and Kevin, gave me some amazing gifts, so I just HAD to do up some extra-special thank-you cards for them. I adore both of them for their warped sense of humor and felt the Birds would be perfect for them. I decided to make their cards "fraternal twins," i.e. make them at the same time using the same supplies, but changing up some of the details so they each would have a unique card.

Without further ado, here is Kevin's card:

and Carey's card:

I started by doing the card backgrounds on Ranger's distress watercolor paper using distress inks and a blending tool. (I learned that I still suck at using a blending tool, so I either need more practice or more sponges to use instead.) I added a few water droplets and patted them off to create a watery effect, but felt more interest was needed. So I pulled out my stencils and and started blending in some contrasting colors - blue on purple, for example. The more color I added, the happier I got. When I was satisfied, I moved on to the birds.

I used my MISTI tool to stamp all the birds and accessories in Stampin' Up!'s archival black on white cardstock, then colored them in various colors with my Spectrum Aqua markers. I used my trusty dies to cut out the birds, then took my Cutter Bee scissors to fussy cut the rest.

As I was assembling, I realized that I had left the crazy birds floating in mid-air, so I created some grass for them to stand in.

By this time, (a week later, haha), the ink on the background panels was dry enough that I could safely heat emboss the words 'thanks so much' and 'you're amazing' at the top of them. Since I wanted the words to really POP! off the backgrounds, I used my MISTI to perfectly place them, inked the stamps several times with VersaMark ink, then used detail white embossing powder before applying heat to achieve the effect I was looking for.

I glued the grass directly on the card panel and attached the birds with Stampin' Dimensionals, bending the outside edges down to create a more 3D effect. When all the glues were dry, I adhered the panels onto a heavy white card base. As a special touch, I used Crystal Effects on the sunglasses.

I sat back to admire my work, but felt the cards weren't quite done. I thought to myself, "Sequins!" -- and a three-day search for my giant bag of sequins began. On day two I decided to take drastic measures to finish the cards, and ended up die cutting a bunch of teeny tiny circles out of glimmer paper to add in place of the sequins. In retrospect, I'm not so sure about the placement of them, and I think I may have added too many in some places. But overall, I'm pleased with how the cards turned out. Both Carey and Kevin indicated that they like their cards, too, which says a lot because they are both very talented crafters themselves!


Thanks for taking a look at my crazy Bird Crazy cards!
Coming up next: Christmas tags! 

Happy Stamping,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wedding Card

A friend of mine asked me to create a wedding card for a couple who is getting married this week. Normally short deadlines lead me to stress, but somehow this card came together rather easily.

Except for the detail black embossing powder I used, this card is made entirely out of Stampin' Up! products. The sentiments are from the set called Something to Say.

I can't remember the last time I made a wedding card, or even IF I have ever made one, so I was happy when my friend said she really likes this card.

Sophisticated Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Coloring with Crayons (and other things)

Over at StampNation this month one of our Dream Team members, Allison Cope, is teaching a class on coloring using all kinds of mediums from crayons and colored pencils and watercolor paints on up to Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers and Copics. She's sharing some color theory with us, but mostly she's encouraging us to experiment with the mediums we have in our homes already.

The first lesson was about crayons. It doesn't sound like much, but it actually was a fun class. We learned that because crayons are made of wax, they melt when heat is applied and can even be blended to produce new (and, in my case, sometimes ugly) colors.

In order to do the "homework" I had to dig out my crayons, and it turns out I have quite a few:

I won't bore you with my coloring/scribbles, but I do want to show a card I made using my Gel FX crayons. They show best on black, so I found an open flower stamp and stamped in black in on Basic Black cardstock, then traced over the stamped image with the neon crayons. I then fussy cut the individual flowers, curled the petals, and then placed them on a black panel with Stampin' Dimensionals. I added a few sequins and a smidge of Wink of Stella, and here's how it turned out:

Allison's month-long class is nearly done and I have a lot of homework to get caught up on if time allows. If I make cards with any of my "experiments" I'll be sure to post them here. In the meantime, never underestimate the power of a crayon!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Friday, September 25, 2015

Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval: WOW!

So about a month ago I posted a couple of bright, cheery cards that I made for a sketch challenge with a promise I would soon be posting another three cards in the series. I spaced and totally forgot to come back and post them - but here they finally are:

Here are the other two (previously posted) cards for your convenience:

I made all five of these cards using goodies from Catherine Pooler's first Stamp of Approval box. What's that? you ask. Well, Catherine had a brilliant idea to curate a set of "approved" stamp sets, dies, stencils, and embellishments that she feels will stand the test of time and be something stampers return to over and over again. A new box will be released quarterly, and each will have a theme. The first box's theme is Friendship, and the stuff she pulled together for us is amazing!

First of all, let me say that the arrival of this box was a triple hit of excitement for me. It arrived around my birthday, the contents were better than I expected, and I even WON the box in a StampNation drawing! Can you believe it?? I'm still pinching myself!

I was pretty thrilled the day it arrived:

If you look closely you can even see on the box a personalized note from Catherine congratulating me!

Here's a quick look at the contents:

The box contained three stamp sets, four die sets, a stencil, a bag of sequins and stuff perfect for using in shaker cards, and a link to a whole bunch of ideas for cards that could be created with the contents. Nice haul, eh?

The next box, which will be holiday themed, will be released sometime in October, and from there it will be quarterly. If you would like more info on the Stamp of Approval product, be sure to check out Catherine's blog.

You will probably be seeing more cards made with these SOA items over time, but I will soon be switching gears towards making Christmas/holiday cards. I have some incredible ideas up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Sunday, September 13, 2015

StampNation's California Vacation

I thought I was caught up on showing cards I've made recently, but because I blogged things out of order I totally missed a batch of seven cards. In August StampNation had its quarterly event, and this time we took a virtual California vacation! With each event there are Challenges and prizes, and even though I wasn't one of the lucky winners this time I did have a blast making the cards for those Challenges. I was on the fence about participating at all, but one of my StampNation Sistahs who lives in the area (Hi, Carey!) kidnapped me for a Friday evening and we started on our cards together. What fun!

I happen to have several dear friends who have birthdays in August and September, so the timing was perfect to make their birthday cards at the same time I was completing Challenges. The first card is one of those, and it went to my friend and faithful commenter Chris (Hi, Chris!).

Card 1
The first Challenge was to use GOLD for the California gold rush. I pulled out my foil cardstock and set to work making my first ever inlaid die cut card, which is exactly what it sounds like - a card where the die cut is laid into the background. 

I used Cucumber Crush paper from Stampin' Up!'s Color Me Irresistible specialty DSP for the striking background.

Inside I used the very popular stamp set called Bird Crazy put out by Tim Holtz and Impression Obsession, and colored them with my Zig Clean Color pens and clear Wink of Stella (for the eyes).

Yes, I do color outside the lines...

Card 2
There's no question why SUN, SURF, AND SAND was the theme for the second California Challenge, and here's my fun card:

As you can see, it's a shaker card filled with sequins and small beads. The butterfly and word 'hope' were die cut from purple metallic cardstock and laid into the background. I didn't initially intend for this to be a shaker card, but I misplaced the innards of the butterfly wings and so couldn't lay them back into the background. Yup, you guessed it... the wing insides reappeared as I was putting the final touches on this card.

The background was created by scribbling with Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens on watercolor paper, then misting with water. It's layered on a Tempting Turquoise card base and jazzed up with Sparkling Clear sequins in various sizes from Pretty Pink Posh. The background behind the butterfly is also done with Zigs.

Years ago when I tried to make a shaker card I had a horrible time with it, but this card came together pretty quickly once I made peace with having to abandon my original plan. In fact, I had so much fun with it that I ended up buying lots more sequins and other sparkly things to put inside... so keep watching, there are more shaker cards in my future!

What does this have to do with the Sun, Sand, and Surf theme? you may ask. I got the bright sun with the yellow, the surf with the blue, and the sand.... well, if you squint enough you can see it.  :)

Card 3
The third theme was GLITZ & GLAM, a reference to the glamorous stars of Hollywood. This was the first card I started while at Carey's home, and I used (and fell in love with) her My Favorite Things' Ride the Wave dies. I started by running several colors of metallic/foil cardstock through the Big Shot with the MFT die set and a butterfly and word die. From there it was like putting together a puzzle:

Once again I used the inlaid die cut technique. Can you tell I really like doing this? Unfortunately my camera likes foiled paper even less than it likes bling, so you'll have to trust me when I tell you that this card looks incredible in person!

Card 4
STRIPES was the theme for the fourth Challenge as a nod to Alcatraz. I again used the Bird Crazy set and combined it with images from Stampin' Up!'s Sketched Birthday set. Since I was using Stampin' Up! DSP, I used Stampin' Write markers to color the images in coordinating colors. The sentiment is one of Carey's stamps and was perfect for a birthday card being sent to a special male friend.

I tried my hand at a free-style border on the inside... but I'm not so sure I like how it looks.

Card 5
I might have gone a bit overboard with the fifth Challenge theme, PRINTS, which is a reference to the fashion industry. The stamps are by Inkadinkado.

Card 6
Challenge 6 requires THREE OR MORE COLORS, a reference to the Painted Ladies row of houses in San Francisco. I decided to try my hand at a CAS (clean and simple) card, and ended up with something that I felt was just "okay," but everyone else loved! The butterfly is the positive of the die I used to make Card 2, and I just accented it with clear Wink of Stella. I offset both the butterfly and the word 'hope' with black, added a scrap of black and white DSP to the side, attached some sequins, and Voila'!

Card 7
The final card Challenge was a tip of the hat to California's wineries, and the card was to somehow reflect MY FAVORITE BEVERAGE. I was working into the wee hours to complete the last card before the deadline, so rather than spend my time hunting for a coffee or booze stamp set, I decided to just tell everyone the truth, that this card was made possible by my new friend coffee. (I never used to be much of a coffee drinker, but now I can't get enough of the stuff!) The butterfly was one of Carey's scraps, and she initially used it to show me how to use a laminator and sheet foil to turn an ordinary paper butterfly into something magical. A laminator has now been added to my wish list!

So that's it folks - all of my recently completed cards. I have another series of cards I made with products from Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval box, but I still need to finish up the insides before I post them. The flowery card from my last post is a sample of how those cards turned out, and my intent is to have the rest finished and posted this week.

There are so many challenges and bloghops and projects going on right now that I'm a little frustrated with how little of it I get to participate in. My focus right now, though, is in getting my "studio" (aka living room) unpacked and organized because I'm tired of rooting around boxes to find my supplies. A few weeks ago I was very excited when my long lost companion (my beat-up but still wonderful 6' long worktable) joined me beside my desk:

It's already been buried under "stuff" and then cleaned up several times, which is a good sign that I'm making progress.

And speaking of progress, I better get moving... !

Joyce Spear aka StamperJoyce

Monday, August 24, 2015

Freshly Made Sketches Celebration

As you may have noticed (ahem), I'm a wee bit behind in my blogging. I am determined to get caught up before too long, but today I have a timely post.

Today I'm doing something new and different at the nudging of a StampNation Sistah (Hi, Carey!), and that is taking part in Freshly Made Sketches celebration of 200 sketches. Wow, that's a lot of inspiration! 

Here is the sketch that was the starting point for the cards I'm showing today:

My first thought was, "Gee, that doesn't look like much," but the more I played with it, the more ideas I had. And there's also a plethora of cards made by the design team of FMS, the design teams of the sponsors (yes, there are prizes!), and all the folks who, like me, are joining in this celebration that you can draw inspiration from. (If you're looking for more eye candy, definitely check out the link above!)

With this same set of cards I'm posting my first creations from Catherine Pooler's Stamp of Approval box of goodies. (More on that later. I need to stay on topic or else this blog post could end up being a sizeable newsletter!) The colorful flowers are from the fabulous stamp set called In Bloom: Eva's Favorite Flowers by Winnie & Walter. The sentiments are a combination of the stamp set Girlfriend by CAS-ual Fridays and word and flower dies by the same. Are these products not AWESOME?

As you can see, these cards are very similar, but they are not the same. The horizontal line through the center is done differently in each card, and the flowers are also scattered differently.

Colors are: Cucumber Crisp (one of Stampin' Up!'s new In Colors that I'm madly in love with), Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Daffodil Delight, and Memento Tuxedo Black. Sequins are by Pretty Pink Posh. 

I used a lot of glue (Tombow Multi Mono) in the making of these beauties. A lot of patience went into gluing the wee flower pieces, and although you can't quite see it from the photos, the "love ya" pieces are actually four layers of cardstock tall - a trick I learned from the geniuses over at StampNation to create depth.

I'm dying to show you three other cards I made with the same or similar supplies, but the hour is late and my pillow is calling me. I plan to spend some time tomorrow getting caught up with posting, so please be sure to stop by again soon!

Love ya!
Joyce Spear a.k.a StamperJoyce

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Card... and Something Different

The first thing I want to show you today is a card I made for a StampNation challenge this last week. We were given an inspiration photo to springboard from...

... and this is what I came up with:

As you can see, I was inspired by the colors, the zigzag pattern in the pillows, and the row of what I think is in part flowers down the center of the table. This is a little more "beige" than I usually do, but I thought I'd work out of my comfort zone. The cardstock is SU! Naturals in both white and ivory. I embossed the Vivid Vases image with detail gold embossing powder, and added color using primarily my Spectrum Aqua markers with a wee bit of Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers as well.


My other project is from a Hunkydory Oriental Blooms kit, and the project is called a Lotus Blossom box. This is my first purchase of a Hunkydory kit, and I have to say I'm impressed! The gold foiling is exquisite, the Asian artwork is divine, and the instructions for this particular project in the kit were relatively easy to figure out. The lotus blossom easily folds up to fit under the lid. I think my next projects from the kit will be even better now that I know I need to smooth off the nibs that show from where I punched the project pieces from their original pages, and I need to do something (to be determined) to be sure the tips of the blossom do not get bent. I have three more of this project in different colors to make, and will post them when that happens.

As I confessed to my StampNation sistahs, I typically feel like I'm "cheating" if I use a kit rather than design projects from beginning to end. In the last year or so, though, I've branched out and used My Paper Pumpkin kits from Stampin' Up! as well as some other kits they've offered in their catalogs. As a result, I'm starting to lighten up on myself for using kits because I see that there is room for creativity because kit instructions are not written in stone, and in fact they often contain added materials to encourage artistic license. I've had some long spells of low mojo in the last year, and I think I'd rather use a kit to keep my hands busy (and possibly inspire me) rather than sit idle as my frustration grows.

How about you? How do you feel about using kits? I'd love to hear your opinion, so please leave a quick note in the comments below to weigh in on the subject.

Shiny Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Color Burst Cards

It took me awhile, but I finally sat down and turned my Color Burst backgrounds from the last post into cards - and I love how they turned out! Special thanks goes to Tristan and Michelle W. in Australia, two of my StampNation Sistahs, for their help during our Skype session. 

I'm posting the cards in the same order as the "Experiments" in this post, in case you want to compare the 'before' and 'after' photos. I used as much of the color pieces as I possibly could to minimize waste and have the biggest "burst" of color on each card.

Card 1:

Of these seven cards, this one is my favorite! I just love the mixture of violet and blue with a wee bit of pinkish red... and the person who will be getting this card will, too, I think. I was especially happy when I realized that the color in the lower right corner was dark enough to emboss over in white, and I couldn't resist using this sentiment (which I left plenty of room to apologize for on the inside, lol!).

Card 2:

I wasn't quite sure what to do with my second Color Burst panel until I remembered how Sharon had used a butterfly die on her first background -- so I stole the idea! I was pleased to get five butterflies out of the one panel. I'm still not sure if I overdid the sequins here.

Card 3:

The pattern the Color Burst made on this green card reminds me of fireworks, so I just had to go for a "Celebrate" theme. The gold is embossed, but looks flat on the distress watercolor paper on the card front, maybe because I used detail gold embossing powder. The inside embossing is raised and shiny, though, and looks very delicate.

Card 4:

Anyone who knows me well knows I hate the color orange. Don't know why, just do. Since I had the orange Color Burst, though, I felt compelled to use it, and then felt compelled to take the resulting panel to completion. I'm glad I did! I love how the turquoise came in over the edges, so I went with a Tempting Turquoise card base which I think tones down the orange. I used my MISTI to stamp the inside perfectly. 

Shout out to Tristan for her input on this card. I originally had 4 turquoise sequins and 3 gold, but when I showed her my work she suggested I go with all gold. I think it's better this way!

Card 5:

I was on the fence about using this panel because the butterfly embossing got a bit washed out along the edges during the process of adding the color and water. I decided to forge ahead, though. I initially chose a Brilliant Blue card base to bring out the blue Color Burst, but at Tristan's suggestion went with Lovely Lilac instead - which turned out to be a good decision.

Card 6:

The Color Burst resist technique turned out much better on this piece, and just for fun I embossed a smaller butterfly next to it. The shimmer on this card is amazing, which would make sense considering I used shimmer spray instead of water with the Color Burst.

Card 7:

I die cut this large butterfly from the piece of distress paper I used to sop up extra Color Burst and water with while making the previous cards. I like it!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm making a conscious effort to move along in my unpacking and organizing, which seems like a good idea considering I moved back into this apartment around a year ago. (I think I just needed a long rest after the two moves last year!) It's coming together slowly but surely as I am purchasing iris carts and other things to help me sort through my supplies without having to shift boxes all the time. In the process of unpacking I'm finding all sorts of "new" stuff I want to play with, so I will continue to create during the organizing process.

Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back soon!

Happy Stamping!
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce