Friday, March 13, 2015

Hello to my StampNation Friends!

I'm excited to announce that Catherine Pooler over at StampNation has done a "Member Highlight" on me today! I will post that below, but first I want to give a shout out to my SN Sistahs and Brothah who may stop by. 

Hey, there! So glad you decided to check out my blog! It's in serious need of updating (hangs head in shame), but I have high hopes of bringing it current over the weekend. Same story with my Pinterest page. Given a choice between stamping and blogging, stamping always seems to win... but I'll work on getting into a routine of posting as I go.

I invite you to become a subscriber of my blog by simply entering your email address over to the right. Then you'll receive an email anytime I update. I think it's safe to say there won't be a ton of emails, and I do (of course) promise not to share your info with anyone else.

Here's my bio as published on StampNation:

Joyce has been a part of our StampNation family for about 6 months now and she has made herself quite cozy over there. It's been a delight to get to know her, though this feature has taught me a ton of stuff about this fabulous lady.

Let's learn a bit about Joyce and get a bit of stamp history while we're at it! I just LOVE hearing stories about how people got started stamping and card making!!



"I bought my first stamp when I was in high school in the 1970s. It was from Inkadinkado, who was then selling from mall kiosks, and featured a rainbow coming from behind a cloud. Little did I know this single purchase would become a lifestyle!

I was fascinated when I learned that there were a few different colors of ink besides black, and my first non-black color was a dark blue. (Why do I remember this stuff?) I bought it at the same time I bought my second stamp, a stamp that would get me through college. It said simply SEND CHOCOLATE.

I survived college despite some unhappy run-ins with the Art Department who persuaded me I would never be an artist. The last homework project I completed was to make a set of four cards, and I remember being intrigued with the whole idea of useful art – something I could create and then send to someone else without appearing to be too full of myself.

Then life happened, and creativity got swept under the rug.

Fast forward to the early 90s, when a co-worker of mine (I was working at Harley-Davidson at the time!) said, “Hey, I found a store I think you might like” and took me to a local stamp store. I knew the second I walked in that this would be my new home. The store owner sat me down and taught me how to make a card with stamps, and I was hooked.

I ended up working at that store, and throughout the years at several other stamp stores in my hometown of Milwaukee. Despite being painfully shy, I enjoyed teaching classes and doing product demos. I had the best job in the whole world because once I finished my chores I was being paid to make cards!

I uprooted myself in 2001 and moved to Columbus, Ohio. Settling in was rough, and it took several years for me to get back on my feet and back into stamping. I had to put all of my belongings into storage for awhile, and the hardest part was being away from my stamping supplies. One of the biggest thrills of my life was opening that first box of stamps after having been separated from them for so long. I actually cried because I was so happy! (I know… corny.)

Making cards is my bliss. It’s when I’m happiest and when I feel the most useful. I am disabled (with advanced osteoarthritis, fibro, side effects of diabetes, and a few other diagnoses) and stuck at home most of the time, and sometimes I struggle with depression. I’ve learned that the best way to lift my spirits is to break out some stamps and ink and get busy! If I could, I would do nothing but stamp all day every day, but unfortunately “life” and my health seem to make a lot of demands on my time and energy.

This past year my apartment building was renovated. It was a nightmare having to pack everything up in April, live out of boxes for four months, and then move back into my apartment again in July. I had a little bit of help packing from the movers, but I’m unpacking all by myself now and the process is slow. I’ve dug out most of my basic supplies, but some are still in hiding. I keep wondering what rule of the Universe makes things hardest to find when I need/want them the most.

I’ve been a member of StampNation since September 2014, and I am so happy to be here. I feel like I’ve finally come home! Being housebound, I’m not able to play with other stampers, so SN fills a social void for me. This is even more true thanks to the miracle of Skype! (I’m looking for friends to Skype with – so if you’re interested in trying it, give me a shout.) I also love StampNation because I’m learning so much from Catherine and the Dream Team and everyone else! When I spent my first $1 for a three-day pass, my head nearly exploded! Eureka! I knew I had found gold!

For me, stamping is about creativity and self-expression, but it’s so much more. I believe I am most strongly connected with my Creator when my hands are busy creating. Is it any wonder that stamping brings me so much joy?"



Thank you, Joyce, for sharing a piece of yourself with us!
Here are some of Joyce's beautiful creations. You can see more of her work by visiting her blog or on Pinterest.






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After submitting my bio, it occurred to me that I forgot to mention what a big part Stampin' Up! has played in my stamping and learning. I signed up to be a demo in the early 90's, but led very few workshops because of my shyness. I struggled over this for many years before I made peace with being simply a hobby demo. I had to give up my demonstratorship when I first moved to Columbus, but then picked it back up again in 2006. I happily submit orders for anyone who asks me to, but I do not hold workshops or "hard sell" to anyone. I'm perfectly content with my demo discount. That being said, if there is something I can help you find in the Stampin' Up! product line, I will be glad to assist. I am so grateful to SU! for all the techniques and training they've provided over the years, and I really can't recommend a better company to work with.

The other thing that I just touched on at the end of the bio is the spiritual aspect of stamping for me. I am not particularly religious and do not consider myself to be Christian, but doing any kind of art or crafting for me is, like I said, a way of reconnecting with my Creator. I have found stamping to be a very healing activity in so many ways. It takes my mind off my pain and focuses it instead on creating something that will bring joy to others. It challenges me to do my best work, something I would be proud to share. I get to learn new techniques and ways of doing things, and sometimes I get to try mediums that are new to me. By problem-solving on a small scale I gain confidence in dealing with problems that aren't necessarily crafting related. Any way you look at it, stamping is good for my soul!

Now that you know a little more about me, I wonder if you view my work differently. If so, I'd love to hear how! Please consider leaving me a comment below.

Stay tuned for a bunch of catch-up posts showing what I've been up to since Christmas. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Warm smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce
.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Gift of Geraniums

I received a surprise gift for Christmas from one of my StampNation girlfriends. I had mentioned in one of my forum posts there that I generally don't exchange Christmas presents so wasn't expecting anything this year. Well, my friend is a firm believer that everybody should have a present to open on Christmas, and so she surprised me with a prezzie! It arrived a little less than a week before Christmas, and I was so intrigued with the packaged gift that I had to put it on the other side of my room from my desk so that I wouldn't peek. Mercifully she gave me permission a couple days later to open it early, but I managed to be good until Christmas Eve day. I had a sneaking suspicion it was a stamp set, but wasn't completely sure... and I certainly didn't know what kind of stamps it might be.

When I opened the package, my jaw dropped. Not only was it a stamp set, but it was a very nice stamp set from Power Poppy! Lookie:


I typically am not a florals kind of gal, but this set just spoke to me of possibilities with its two flower stamps and seven sentiments. I recently bought some Blendabilities markers from Stampin' Up! and decided these images would be the perfect ones to break the markers in with. 

My first attempt was a hot mess:


but I started getting a little better with my second and third tries.



I know I still need lots more practice, but I figured these two images were card-worthy-ish and made these two cards with them:




That fabulous background stamp? Something Lacy from the Stampin' Up! Occasions 2015 catalog. It's stamped in Old Olive on an Old Olive card base. The baker's twine is gold and white. The top flowers are Real Red, and the bottom are Wisteria Wonder.

As you might guess, one of these cards is going to my friend. :)

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So there you have it. To my amazement, I am finally caught up with posting all the cards I have made and photographed. Definitely time for me to get busy! Now that the holidays are over, I'm hoping to get more unpacking done, but you can be sure I'll be making time for stamping!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
                

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lotus Blossom

Stampin' Up!'s Sale-a-bration started a little early this year, and among the great FREE products they're offering is one set that really stands out for me: Lotus Blossom. It features a gorgeous flower and stem as well as two sentiments. (The sentiment I used on the card below is not one of them.) The really cool thing about the flower is that it is a three-step-stamping image, which means that three separate stamps are used to create the flower top. You can stamp with three colors, two colors, or even one color if you wish, but having three layers makes all kinds of color combinations possible, which makes this image immensely fun to play with! In fact, I couldn't resist using the set the very day it came -- which is very unusual for me. Here's what I came up with:


The card base is Primrose Petals (retired), and the embossed layer is Pink Pirouette. The green panel is a watercolor design which I took from one of the cards in the Watercolor Wonder notecard set (currently on the Clearance Rack at a hard-to-resist price). I used only two colors for this flower, Primrose Petals and Pink Pirouette. The sequins are the small Sparkling Clear ones from Pretty Pink Posh. The card layout is courtesy of a StampNation Challenge. I have to say, this is one of my favorite cards I've ever made... maybe because it speaks of Spring.

Coming up next: A Gift of Geraniums

Thanks for spending a moment here in my Creative Corner!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce
      

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cards from All Over the World!

And still another perk of belonging to the StampNation community of stampers is being surprised with cards from all over the world! I was astonished as the cards kept coming in just before Christmas -- I just couldn't believe so many people had thought of me! 

I'm going to share my cards with you, my readers, because they are just too good to be hidden away somewhere. If you have any questions about the tools or techniques used to create these, please leave a note in the comments and I'll do my very best to answer or get more information from the card creators.

Got your cup of coffee or hot chocolate? Here we go! 

Card 1: From the founder of StampNation herself, Catherine Pooler! Actually, this card came with my prize for the Challenge I wrote about here, so it's actually a double-duty card. I'm pretty sure Catherine used this card for a tutorial or video somewhere along the way.



 Card 2: From an already-dear friend from StampNation that I've been exchanging emails with for a couple months, Charlene Thompson. We'll be exchanging cards at least monthly (maybe more?), so if she's agreeable she will be regularly featured on this blog. I love the die-cuts on this card, and I'm hoping she'll cut me a few of the border (if I remember to ask her) as the year goes on.



Card 3: From Gail Hislop in Canada, who is another StampNation friend. The inside of the card has the BEST inside sentiment I've seen in a long time: "Don't get your tinsel in a tangle"! I roared with laughter when I read it because it arrived at a rather tangled moment -- so it was quite a gift. The cover picture is sparkly, and the gold embellishments are perfect!



Card 4: From Janet Gillen, another SN buddy whom I adore. The embossed Rudolph is a bit lost in the strange shadow in this photo, but combined with the greeting it makes for a simple yet beautiful card.



Card 5: From my SN Brotha Kevin Devine, who I'm learning is very talented with mixed media. I just love the simplicity of this card, and I am so delighted that he thought of me when sending out his cards!



Card 6: From Kristie Goulet, another of the whizzes that keep StampNation rolling along smoothly. This was the first card I received this year, and I had a funny feeling it wouldn't be the last. Gosh, was I ever right! In case you can't tell, Kristie is from New Hampshire.



Card 7: From Linda Wilkinson who lives in Michigan, another Stamption Sistah. I love that she use the popular Ornamental Pine set from Stampin' Up! The front of her card is covered with Dazzling Diamonds, and it make the card sparkle no matter which way you look at it. I just wish my camera could have captured some of the glitter.



Card 8: From Michelle Wallace, one of the Sistahs from down under! I squealed with delight when I saw the Australian return address, and then squealed again when I saw the card itself. Michelle does amazing work, and this card lives up to her reputation. Each of the dove's wings have a shimmery iridescent tint to them that makes this card stand out as special.



Card 9: From my friend Rose Ann Urbanic, the only non-StampNation person to send me a handmade card this Christmas. (I guess I'm not the only stamper who didn't send out cards this year, lol.) Rose Ann's card is CAS, something that I strive to do. Rose Ann, if you're reading this, it was good to hear from you!



Card 10: From Sharon Salerno, another talented Sistah from SN. The photo does not do the card justice! The snowflake is die cut, and through the raised panel we can see silver glimmer paper. With a shimmery sentiment and strategically placed gems, this card is quite elegant.



Card 11: From Susan Powell, another Canadian friend who also does fabulous work. The "joy" is a die-cut, and the three buttons are perfectly suspended on coordinating bakers twine. I just love this simple but very trendy card!



Card 12: From Tristan Dawes, another Aussie and awesome stamper that I'm so tickled pink to have received a card from. Her multi-layered card is beautiful in its simplicity. I'm touched that she - and all of these people whose cards I've posted here - took the time to think of me during the busy holiday season.


Aren't these cards the BEST? I've spent the last couple of weeks admiring them, picking them up and running my fingers over the embellishments and layers, and I'm still not bored with them. I am SO lucky!

I am also resolved to get my act together so that I, too, can be sending cards to my Sistahs and Brotha next Christmas! I've seen how much a card can mean, and I intend to do my part in spreading the love!

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And now for some wonderful news: This is my last Christmas post for 2014! I plan to take a bit of a break from Christmas cards during January, but start up again with occasional holiday cards throughout the year. Hopefully that will eliminate the loooong posts with a million photos as I try to keep up on my holiday blogging next Christmas.

I've got two more posts buzzing around in my brain before it's time for me to make more cards to show you! I've been experimenting with embossing paste and playing with Stampin' Up! Blendabilities, so hopefully I'll have some fun stuff to show you in the weeks to come!

Thanks for being here!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce
          

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Almost" My Christmas Cards!

I got an early start to my Christmas cards this year, but ended up sending only a very few out. Why? Because the cards I made for myself got kidnapped by my neighbor -- the same one that ordered fifty cards from me last year! He enlisted me to make five for him this year, which would have been easy enough to do. I was sitting down to work on them one evening when he came by to visit and saw my finished cards sitting on the table. There were twelve of them, and he asked if he could have them all. There's pretty much nothing I wouldn't do for him, so I gave him the cards. To my surprise, in return he gave me much more than I feel the cards were worth.

Luckily, I had already taken pictures of them. For one I used a snowflake made from a kit Stampin' Up! had available last year, and for the rest I used a brand new photopolymer set called White Christmas... which I have dubbed their Best. Christmas. Set. Ever!

Card 1:

(Click on any of these pictures to enlarge them.)


Notice the pretty sequins? I'm loving sequins these days
and couldn't resist putting a few on this card.

Card 2:

The four gold circles are nailheads, another favorite thing.
The eyelet border was cut on my Big Shot, then pressed with
Delicata Golden Glitz ink. Very shimmery in real life!

          Detail:

           Inside:

          Envelope:

Yep, I even took the time to watercolor the envelopes!

Card 3:

I used clear Wink of Stella to make the
stars shine on all these cards.

          Detail:
  
          Inside:

 Card 4:

Watercoloring was done with a waterbrush and a bit
of ink squished onto the lids of the inkpads.

          Detail:

Card 5:

The borders are washi tape with silver
glimmer paper running down the center.

          Inside:

Card 6:

          Detail:         


The rest of the cards my neighbor took were duplicates of my StampNation swap cards (shown in the previous post) plus some non-Christmas cards that he loved. 

I had every intention of starting over with making my own cards to send out this year, but I had a bad case of "life happens" and ended up sending out only a handful of cards I had in my stash. Ohh, the shame of it all! A cardmaker not sending out Christmas cards! *hangs head in shame* I fully intend to be making Christmas cards throughout the year so that I don't have a last-minute rush to make some for both myself and my friend next Christmas.

Coming up next: Handmade cards I received from my StampNation and other friends. There are some beautiful cards here, so you won't want to miss it!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce
             

Monday, January 5, 2015

StampNation Christmas Swap

One of the fabulous perks of belonging to the StampNation community is being able to participate in periodic swaps. We did a Christmas swap in December, and I am blown away by the quality of the cards I received! Before I show them off, let me show you what I did.

I used the Stampin' Up! set Festive Flurry and the coordinating dies to make this little beauty:


As you can see (I think), there are lots of layers. 


Above is another pic of the same card in different lighting. Are you diggin' all that gold shimmer? Believe it or not, it's not embossing! The shimmer is courtesy of Delicata Golden Glitz ink. Yep, it's just ink from an inkpad. (And if you're wondering if it comes in silver, too, it does! Just look for Delicata Shimmery Silver ink.) I tell you, the Delicata inks are all that and a BIG bag of chips! I used them both a lot on my cards this season.



And, of course, the inside.

Lest you think I magically come up with great cards on my first try, look at these not-so-great cards that preceded the one above. It took me two tries to realize that Less is More.




 (Wince.)



(Wince again.)

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Let me share with you the cards from the other participants in the swap. Prepare to have your socks knocked off! (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)









Pretty amazing, huh? And my photos only begin to capture the shine and shimmer and depth and detail of each card. I can hardly wait until the next swap!

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Coming up next: My own 2014 Christmas cards that never got sent (oops!).

Thanks for stopping by!

Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce