Thursday, March 31, 2016

Asian Thank You Cards

I made two cards in answer to sketch challenge SC586 on Splitcoaststampers, and here's what that sketch looks like:

I was a bit intimidated by all the boxes when I first saw the sketch, but I reminded myself of how when I first started cardmaking everything I did was in a framed box, and it took me a long time to get out of that pattern - so while I am out of practice, I do have it in me. I also told myself that I didn't *have* to use boxes - instead, I could replace them with other shapes or design elements. After pondering for a few days I ended up sticking pretty closely to the sketch, as you can see below:

I went with an asian theme after randomly grabbing The Oriental Collection stamp set which I received from Cardmaking & Papercrafts magazine awhile back. I've always been fond of cherry blossoms, so I decided to start with that and find a background paper that has that feel. I looked just a little further than the tip of my nose to find a lovely floral print in Stampin' Up!'s Birthday Bouquet designer series paper which was sitting at my feet waiting to be put away. I decided to layer this print onto a blue background, but I wanted something not quite solid in color - and out jumped the free Sale-a-bration DSP called Perfectly Artistic. I couldn't decide between the Soft Sky watercolor print or the marbelized Blushing Bride, so I decided to make two cards.

I used blender pens with Stampin' Up dye inks (Mossy Meadow, Soft Sky, and Blushing Bride) to add color to the images stamped in Mossy Meadow or Archival Basic Gray onto Whisper White. I cut the Whisper White  panel into sections and attached them to the card base with 1/8" foam squares. I added some Wink of Stella sparkle to the flower centers on both the free falling flowers as well as the flowers in the fans. 

Other than background color, the primary difference between the two cards is the number of floating flowers. I'm still not sure whether I prefer 3 or 5, but I am leaning towards the 3. I'd love to hear your preference in the comments section below.  :)

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I find myself now at a glorious crossroads where I'm not scrambling for the next deadline and can choose whatever I'd like to work on next. Product contenders are Prima opal magic acrylic paints (which turn a different color depending on what color background you put them), gold foiling using a large Nuvo glue pen, and a wide variety of coloring media. Or I can work ahead on some birthday cards I've been commissioned to do. Or I could take on some Challenges over at StampNation. Or work on some Christmas cards. Or I could start swatching out my inkpads so I have a better idea my color choices and can use more than just SU inks. Or... I could take a break altogether and color in some untouched adult coloring books I have! Decisions, decisions. I hope you'll drop by again to see my next project.

Make it a great day!

Spring-y Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ruffled Feathers Tapestry

I did these two cards in answer to a sketch challenge on Splitcoaststampers. Here's the sketch:

and here are my cards:

Card 1:

Card 2:

Now, if you're like everyone else who has seen these cards in person, you're thinking to yourself, "Well, Joyce, that's a hot mess you have there."

And here's where I burst out laughing and tell you that that's exactly the look I was going for!

The sentiment reads, "Don't let life ruffle your feathers," so I wanted a ruffled feather look and feel.

I also wanted to create a tapestry effect by layering colors and then adding gold. If you could see the cards in person, you would probably agree I accomplished that. Here's a picture that sort of shows more of the gold:

You still have to use your imagination, but I promise you, the cards have a rich tapestry look.

Stamps: Feathers (HOTP)
Inks: Distress Peacock Feathers, Picked Raspberries, Salty Ocean, Wilted Violet, and Squeezed Lemonade, Delicata Golden Glitz, VersaFine Onyx Black
Paper: Watercolor paper, Elegant Eggplant, Heavy Whisper White, Whisper White
Other: Stitched Rectangle dies, gold sequins

Thanks for looking!

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Fun with Stencils and Pastes, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the previous one which you can find here if you're getting this by email. To those of you just now joining me, I'm showing ten cards I made using stencils and embossing paste; the previous post showed five, and this one will show five.

I thought what I had used for stenciling up to this point was pretty awesome, but then I broke into a new-to-me product that knocked my socks off. The product is Dazzlerz by a company called Shimmerz, and it's the shiniest embossing paste I've ever seen. I saw Catherine Pooler use it in one of her blog posts, and I had to have it! I purchased four colors, and will consider buying more when I come back to working with embossing pastes again. I'm hooked! :)

Card 6: Hedgehugs

I used Spun Sugar Dazzlerz on this card, along with a couple of adorable hedgehogs by Lawn Fawn. The stencil I used is called Harleen, and it was made by Winnie & Walter for the most recent Stamp of Approval collection. Love!!

Do you see what happens when light hits Dazzlers? It's almost blinding... well, dazzling! 

I stamped the hedgies in Early Espresso, the heart in Real Red, and the sentiment in Smoky Slate. The card base is Pink Pirouette. Here's the simple inside:

Card 7: Live, Laugh, Love

This card might just be my favorite. The embossed background sure is! I used the Harleen stencil again, this time with Dazzlerz in Sea U in the Mornin', a pretty light green. 

The background was done in two steps; first, I embossed, and then I shifted the stencil and sponged Pink Pirouette ink into the gaps. 

I did some inlaid die cutting with a stitched circle and added some light pink sequins, then mounted the whole thing on foam to raise it up off the Pink Pirouette card base.

Inside is a pretty border stamp that matches the envelope. (I make matching envelopes for all my cards.)

Card 8: Butterfly Birthday

I "stole" the inside circle from the previous card and used it on this next one.

The butterfly is a Martha Stewart punch that I coated with clear Wink of Stella.

Colors are Pink Pirouette on a Whisper White card base with a Smoky Slate sentiment. The pink cardstock is embossed with SU's butterfly embossing folder. The inside:

Card 9: Butterfly in Tutti Frutti

This card looks a lot like the Pearlescent one, but the shine is the giveaway that this was done with Dazzlerz.

I expected the Tutti Frutti Dazzlerz to be pinker, so I intend to call Shimmerz and see if I can add some dye ink refill to make it darker without ruining the "recipe." I know for sure I can add to the pearlescent embossing paste without a problem, so I may do that as my Plan B if Shimmerz says to not alter their color. 

Card 10: Live, Laugh, Love in Grapetastic

And finally, my last card for the day - done with Grapetastic Dazzlers and a detailed stencil that was a challenge to work with. 

Some of the embossing paste oozed under the stencil, but I used my handy dandy stitched circle die to cut the worst of it out of the panel before mounting it on an Elegant Eggplant card base. 

I then took that stitched circle and cut it into quarters. I trimmed off the oozed part and used the rest as accent corners on the inside and envelope:

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So there you have it, ten cards using eight different jars o' goodness. If you haven't given embossing pastes a chance, please consider giving them a try. I almost decided not to because it's so hard for me to run back and forth between my work area and my sink, but I managed by putting a dishpan full of warm water next to me to house the stencils until I could completely clean them off; and paper towels and my Absorber cloths did pretty good with the palette knife and work area.

Coming up next: Ruffled Feathers

Thanks for stopping by, and leave a comment if you really want to make my day. Until next time...

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Fun with Stencils and Pastes, Part 1

February was a terrific month to be a StampNation member. In addition to the usual excitement, we celebrated our 5th birthday! Now, Catherine Pooler and the Dream Team usually put together a special event for our birthdays (as well as something quarterly), but this year they went over the top! They served up a FREE (to members) class on using stencils, and the participation was amazing. No wonder, since the content was both thorough (nineteen lessons throughout the month!) and well-presented. I learned so much my head is still spinning, and I can't wait to get back to playing with my stencils.

(By the way, the Creative Stenciling and Mediums class will be offered to non-members as part of the Technique Toolbox series later this year. Jump on board if you can -- you won't be disappointed!)

We covered so many techniques, but the one that caught my fancy the most was working with embossing pastes and similar mediums. I was a little hesitant at first because I knew it could get messy, but once I figured out some ways to do it more efficiently it became more fun. In the course of two sittings, I used my stencils and creative mediums to make what would become ten cards. I'd still be going strong if I didn't have to take care of things like eating, sleeping, and housekeeping. 

Oh, and I had to stop stenciling to give myself enough time to make my cards, since every card a SN member posted was a drawing entry to win one of many most excellent prizes. I'm happy to say I won a Mini MISTI which is already in my possession and being used every time I stamp. Love it!

So, I'll go through my cards in the order I made them and give a little info about each one as I go. I'll do five cards here and five cards in the next post. Hang on to your hat, because heeere we go!

Card 1: Wappy Hirthday Bishes

I used regular Wendy Vecchi white embossing paste and added yellow (Daffodil Delight) ink to it before spreading it through a stencil onto Stampin' Up!'s Whisper White cardstock. (In hindsight I would have used a brighter white.)

As you might be able to see in the next photo, I stacked several layers of the die cut words on top of each other to give them depth, then used a clear Wink of Stella brush to add sparkle to them. The balloons were created with a SU punch and also highlighted with WoS. The balloon strings are white baker's twine, and the finishing touch was three strategically placed sequins.

I kept the inside pretty simple: 

At the time of this posting, only one person has commented on the switcharoo in the first letters. I find that hilarious! Even when I've pointed it out, people look at me like I'm daft before they finally notice them.

Card 2: Count Your Blessings

I had twice the yellow embossing paste I needed, so I decided to make a second pass using that same stencil. 

I learned the importance of working fast while doing this. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but the paste is a bit drier and was starting to crumble. I used a die to trim off the worst of it, and I think the remainder made a cute card.

The inside:

Card 3: Checkerboard Christmas

This next card was made using translucent embossing paste and a checkerboard stencil.

I used the translucent embossing paste once before, but with some blue added to it. If you'd like to see that card, it's here.

I like how the embossing turned out, and I kept the card simple. The card base is Cucumber Crush, and the accents are Real Red. Here's the inside:

Card 4: Pearlescent Butterfly

I cracked open a brand new jar of pearlescent embossing paste for this next card, and was amazed at how pretty it is. It's a bit wetter than the two previous pastes, and I was dealing with a flimsy (detailed) stencil, so a bit slipped under - but I don't know if you would have noticed if I didn't tell you.

I finished up the card using a SU embossing folder, die, corner punch, and some pearls.

I kept the inside simple as well:

Card 5: Bronze Hugs

My next choice was Viva Metallic Bronze 3D Modeling Cream, and it turned out to be a WOW! This stuff was thick and went on surprisingly dark, so I was glad I used Very Vanilla cardstock. 

I finished up the card with some stitched circle dies and chocolate sequins, but hoped the background would still be the star. The card base is either Chocolate Chip or Early Espresso, I can't remember which.

I ran into a little glitch with the "to you." I'm kinda weird about mixing Whisper White and Very Vanilla unless doing so is an integral part of the design, so I hit the wall when it was time to choose an embossing powder. After a short powwow with my stamping buddy Carey, I decided to try embossing with white and then (very gently) altering the color with a skin-toned Spectrum Noir (alcohol based) marker. It worked! Here's the inside:

Because this post is getting a bit long and I'm only halfway through my stenciled cards, I'll continue it in the next post.

Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce