Friday, November 18, 2016

There Was a Crooky Tree...

A Brief Story
Once upon a time (let's call it Spring 2016), there was a Queen (let's call her Catherine Pooler) who had begun creating toyboxes (let's call them Stamp of Approval collections) to the great joy of her beloved subjects who adored these boxes more than the Queen ever anticipated they would. A new toybox was released every three months, and preparation for each of these boxes began many months prior to their release. The Queen, who loved her subjects very much and wanted to please them, had a special group of highly devoted followers (let's call this group StampNation), and she periodically asked this group what they would like to see in future toyboxes.

One toybox contained toys that were about birthday celebrations, and one toy in particular deeply amused the Queen's subjects, especially one named Joyce. This toy was called the Crooky Cake ("crooky" being short for crooked), and it looked somewhat like this:

Joyce had great fun stamping and die-cutting and layering the Crooky Cake, so much so that when the Queen asked her devoted followers what they might like in a Christmas-themed toybox, Joyce suggested that the Queen could offer a Crooky Christmas Tree. And guess what! Many months later, lo and behold, the Queen released a toybox with just such a tree! And there was great rejoicing, and Joyce was once again deeply amused.

The End.

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With Christmas slowly closing in, I found myself increasingly eager to open up the Candy Cane Lane Stamp of Approval and start making some Christmas cards with it. Along came the sketch for the Splitcoaststampers challenge SC619 -

- and I just knew I had to bring the Crooky Tree into the picture. And I did! Here's how the card turned out:

... and here's the inside:

I had a great deal of fun putting together a bunch of matching Crooky Trees and using them in my cards. I made one of the above cards and then decided it was time for me to start making multiples of my Christmas cards assembly-line style if I was serious about making fifty of them this year. And that's when I made these four cards:

They are almost identical with one major difference. Can you spot it?

If you noticed that I used different embossing powder on each card, you got the answer right. The first (and my favorite) card's sentiment is embossed with gold detail embossing powder. On the second card I used Ranger's Platinum. The card below is embossed with silver detail embossing powder, and the last one is clear embossing powder over Black Onyx VersaFine ink.

I used my MISTI to stamp the peppermint stick backgrounds in Pink Pirouette and then die cut them with a stitched rectangle die.  Next I cut the vellum cardstock panels down to size and used a scalloped stitch die to fancy up the edges. I embossed each sentiment, then folded the ends around to the back and fastened them with simple tape. I attached the trees with Stampin' Dimensionals, added some sequins, and voila'! The card fronts were done.

Here's how the insides look:

In retrospect, I would have used a different sentiment or embossed each one to coordinate with the sentiment on the front... but hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? The baubles or ornaments in five different colors from the tree bounce around inside the card as well as on the envelopes. 

Oh! I almost forgot to mention: One card is on a Pink Pirouette base while the rest are on Whisper White. Why the difference? It's because I had a mishap and accidentally glued the card front on upside down on one of them. It was easier to get to the colored cardstock than the Heavy Whisper White, so one's an oddball. I think it's pretty, though.

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So with this post you have now seen everything I've made to date! It's time for me to clean up, regroup, and get back to the drawing board. I hope to get at least one batch done this weekend since on Tuesday (November 22, two days before Thanksgiving) I begin the process of tooth extractions in order to get full dentures. I have no idea how functional I'll be afterwards, but I'll get back to crafting as soon as I can. It'll be my therapy. :)

In case I don't report back here until after the holiday, let me wish all of my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Toothy smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Bit of This, a Bit of That

I've been stamping a little more than usual lately, which is not surprising with the winter holidays just around the corner. My last post was a birthday card for a dog, and the three I'm showing today were also for special occasions.

Card 1: This "chalkboard" card was born after a rather impulsive decision to take on a StampNation weekend challenge earlier this month - done entirely with the intention of procrastinating on making Christmas cards, which is ironic considering this turned out to be a Christmas card. StampNation has hundred upon hundreds of challenges in the forum that never close, so members revisit them and sometimes add a new cards to the threads. Ally, one of our Dream Team members, offered to assign anyone who wanted to play two challenges to choose from so they could make a card by the end of the weekend. One of my challenges was to use the chalkboard technique, one I don't recall having tried before, and this is how it turned out:


Card 2: One of my "old" stamping friends and coworkers (who really isn't all that old, lol) sent me a cake for my birthday in September of this year. Well, more accurately, she sent me a picture of a cake:

and suggested that I color it and send it to her for her birthday in November. It felt like a cross between a request and a dare, so I had to do it. Here's how the card front looked once I colored the cake with colored pencil and raised it up over a stamped background, then added sequins as a final touch:

For being a digital image, it turned out better than I expected, although in retrospect I should have taken more time with the shading. Here's the inside:

I haven't heard from her yet, so I need to follow up this week and be sure she received it. It would be sad if it were lost in the mail.

Card 3: I have the coolest home health aide, and one of the many things I appreciate about her is that she loves to do DIY projects and is familiar with a lot of art and crafting terms; and what she doesn't know she asks about. During one of our discussions, she mentioned she really likes Steampunk, so for our six month anniversary I made her a card using Steampunk stamps:

The card base is Stampin' Up! Chocolate Chip, and the flowers you see on the side are on designer series paper (or maybe gift wrap, come to think of it - I'm not really sure). The images are embossed in copper, and a few copper sequins finish it off. This is the inside of the card:

Close-ups of some of the embossed images:

and the envelope:

I was really happy when she got the card and said she loves it!

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So that's it for today! Coming up next: Some non-traditional Christmas cards made using the Hip Holiday stamp set by Catherine Pooler Designs, specifically her "crooky tree." I'm rather proud of this next batch - but I'll say more about that tomorrow when they post. See you then!

Thankful smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Birthday, Nicodemus!

One of my dearest friends has a dog named Nicodemus (Nic for short) who will be turning 15 years old today. He's pretty old for a dog his size, and although he is slowing down he's still going strong. Nic is a huge part of my friend's life, so I hope he stays with her a few more years.

Anyway, I decided this would be a good year to start including Nic on my birthday card list. For my first birthday card to him, I began with sketch challenge SC615 from Splitcoaststampers, which looks like this:

I interpreted the sketch pretty literally, and here's what I ended up with:

I began by masking and using distress inks to create a blended strip across the center of the card. I used my MISTI to stamp a solid image of the dog, then die cut some grass for him to sit in. The Happy Birthday is from the Young at Heart Stamp of Approval collection, and the silver glimmer numbers were created with Stampin' Up dies. All-in-all, it's a pretty straightforward card. Here's the inside:

The silver glimmer paw is inlaid into the heart, which is also a die cut.

Here's wishing Nic a very Happy Birthday with many more to come!

Woof! and a smile,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce