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!

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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

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Playing with Color Burst

A friend/enabler of mine (you know who you are... Chris!) introduced me to a product by Ken Oliver called Color Burst, and I've been having fun with it!

Color Burst is a pigment powder that comes in six different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. While these are the main colors, each bottle also contains specks of other colors. When water is added to these pigments or the pigments are added to water, amazing things happen! Here are some of my experiments with the product:

Experiment 1:

For this being my first attempt, I think it turned out pretty good. I used blue and purple Color Bursts and added water very gradually. In some areas I let the water take the pigment wherever it wanted to, and in others I moved it around with a paint brush and blotted with paper towels.

For all of these experiments I used Tim Holtz's distress watercolor paper, and used washi tape to attach it to a clipboard so that it could be easily moved while minimizing warping due to the water.

I want to give a shout out to two of my StampNation Sistahs who were with me as this Color Bursting was going on. Sharon, who lives in Colorado, was in my area to visit family, and she managed to break away for a few hours so we could meet and play. Then shortly after we started playing with the Color Bursts, Carey joined us on Skype and worked on her own project. The three of us laughed so hard and had so much fun, you wouldn't believe it was the first time we had gotten together!  ... which is just another reason I love StampNation so much! There aren't many places where you can instantly connect with like-minded people as we do in StampNation. (There's a new video describing the place, and I promise you want to check it out!)

Experiment 2:

On this one I used lots more blue and purple Color Burst and lots more water.

Experiment 3:

This one was done at Carey's suggestion. She noted that she likes the patterns more when there's less water and less playing around with it, so I grabbed some green and tapped out some of the powder, spritzed, and let it do its own thing.

Experiment 4:

This one is my favorite so far! I'm thinking I may want to do something floral with it, but I haven't decided what.

Experiment 5:

Here I clear embossed a butterfly, then added water and a lot of red ColorBurst. The color was too intense for my taste, so I blotted it and then tapped in some blue powder. I used way too much water, which is why the color bled into the butterfly.

Experiment 6:

After embossing the butterfly with detail white embossing powder, I added (instead of water) shimmer spritz over the Color Burst powder. The result is stunning in person! You can see just a hint of the shimmer in the bottom picture.

Experiment 7:

I salvaged some of the washi tape I had been using to hold the watercolor paper onto the clipboards, and lined it up on a scrap piece of cardstock. I plan to use this piece in a collage someday.

Experiment 8:
I used a piece of watercolor paper to sop up extra Color Bursted water, and this is what I got! I think it's pretty enough to make a card out of.

Actually, my next challenge is to make cards out of all of these! We'll see what happens next...

With Color Bursting Smiles!
Joyce Spear a.k.a. StamperJoyce

P.S. If you have any questions about these fun, exciting Color Burst powders, leave a comment below and I will be sure to answer!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sneak Peek: Sprinkles of Life

Hooray! It's getting close! The brand new 2015-2016 Stampin' Up! catalog will be released to the public on June 2, and I can't wait to get my hands on a bunch of the fabulous new stamps, papers, and supplies... not to mention the new In Colors! I think I can safely say that the new catalog will knock your socks off!

To be honest, I already have my new In Color stamp sets, markers, cardstock, and reinkers as well as several other items that we as demonstrators were allowed to preorder. (I love being a demo!) Last night I made some time to play with a few of my new toys.

The stamp set I used is called Sprinkles of Life, and it's the new Ronald McDonald House charities set. This means that portion of the proceeds from sales of this set goes towards supporting this worthy cause. While this year's Flamingo Lingo set is cute (and available through June 2), Stampin' Up! really pulled out the stops on Sprinkles of Life! The 22-stamp set has a coordinating Tree Builder punch as well as designer papers that work super well with it.

The Tree Builder punch cuts out more than just the matching tree trunk stamp. It also cuts the leaves, and this same shape can be used as clouds, cupcake tops, and ice cream scoops -- like this:

Inside of card:

The punch also cuts shapes for an apple/cherry, a small bird, little blossoms, and leaves/raindrops. I think this is the most flexible punch I've ever seen!

When I saw a card sketch by Allison Cope over on StampNation this week, I knew I would have to use it on my next card. The papers I chose to work with are from the Cherry on Top stack which reminds me a lot of Mary Engelbreit's bright and cheery artistic style. There's a matching set of five Cherry on Top washi tapes as well.

You can see two of the new In Colors in this card. The lighter green lined design on the left section of the card is Cucumber Crush, and the red at the top is Watermelon Wonder. The new In Colors not shown are Delightful Dijon (similar to the retired More Mustard), Mint Macaron, and Tip Top Taupe.

I'm tickled pink that I had some time to do some stamping this weekend, and I'm hoping I can play some more this week. There's a number of products with a beautiful, rich Bohemian theme, and that's what I plan to work with next.

Big Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Sew You Paper Pumpkin!

I can't sew. Sewing machines hate me, and I don't have the patience for embroidery or even for the cross-stitching I used to enjoy. These days my fingers aren't quite so quick to do what I tell them to and my eyes try to tell me everything's getting smaller. As I tore into the My Paper Pumpkin kit that came from Stampin' Up! in March, I groaned when I saw that there would be sewing involved in the project. 

I unsubscribed from My Paper Pumpkin awhile back after being disappointed with the projects being sent. SU! has since gotten its act together, and these days the kits are looking pretty good. The projects are more attractive, have more variety, and you can make more with the supplies that are sent. They also offer refill kits to subscribers, so if there's a project that you really like, you can make even more. I learned, too, that the color of ink spots that come with the kits each month are not repeated within a year, so it's a handy way of collecting ink colors you may not have. I was most enticed to sign up for My Paper Pumpkin again by the unique stamps offered each month, though.

As I pulled out the sewing needle and yellow embroidery thread from the red-orange box, I cringed. Was I going to regret re-subscribing? As it turns out, I absolutely LOVED the kit!! Included were nine black and white notecards with Pool Party envelopes and epoxy stickers, plus nine white die-cut speech bubbles with holes spelling out the world YOU, plus a bunch of Stampin' Dimensionals (foam adhesive) to adhere the speech bubbles to the cards with. 

Here's how the cards were designed to look:

Card 1 -

Of course I had to use the other stamps in the kit to jazz up the inside of my card, too:

After sewing the first card, I realized it wasn't so bad. The needle had a big eye and was easy to thread, and the holes were large enough that I didn't have to squint to see what I was doing. I decided to sew the remaining eight cards as well. I saw that lots of people used markers to draw in the lines where the thread was designed to go, but I found the sewing rather therapeutic. 

As charming as that first card was, I chose to add in some additional supplies to complete the rest of the cards. I pulled out some Pool Party, Whisper White, Daffodil Delight, and Basic Black cardstock, some stitched dies, and some other decorative elements. Here's the result:

Card 2 -

Card 3 -

After making three notecards, I decided to cut the notecards in half and use the front and back as panels on separate A2 cards. By doing this, I will be able to create six additional cards.

Card 4 -

Card 5 -

Card 6 -

Card 7 -

Card 8 -

Card 9 -

Notice the perfectly aligned little yellow stars on the inside of Card 1?  I used my MISTI to stamp each star separately, and used grid paper to space them out. I do so love my MISTI! Today little stars, tomorrow the world!!

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I'm excited to say that I'm caught up on blogging my finished cards, which means it's time to get back to stamping and making more projects to show! WooHoo! I have high hopes of finishing up some cards yet this weekend, so hopefully you'll be seeing another post from me in a day or two.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy what you see here!

Big Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Little This, a Little That

Amazingly, I'm nearly caught up with posting my cards from the last few months. I have a few odd cards to show you today, and then my next post will be cards from a recent My Paper Pumpkin kit which, as anyone who knows me knows, will not be made exactly as directed. (Yup, I have to put my own spin on things!)

Card 1: I'm starting today with one of my favorite cards, both to make and because of how well it turned out. I made about twenty (give or take) of this card for a StampNation swap in February/March. The swap was a Tic Tac Toe, meaning we had a grid of supplies and techniques, and our instructions were to pick a row across, down, or diagonally and incorporate all three of those into one card. My elements were Banner, Patterned Paper, and Hearts. I had just gotten my Butterflies thinlits from Stampin' Up! and was itching to use them, so of course I had to use a butterfly, too. Despite knowing what I wanted to work with, the card design eluded me until just before the deadline, so I ended up making these quickly in the wee hours of the morning.

The banners were cut with the Banner thinlits from Stampin' Up!, and there's a vellum cardstock layer over the print from the Painted Blooms DSP. All blue and yellow card edges are sponged, giving the card a depth that I couldn't really capture in the photos. The embossing on the yellow panel was done with the only non-SU! supply I used besides vellum adhesive. The small hearts were made with a retired punch. The white heat-embossed sentiment is from the Crazy About You set in the current Occasions catalog.

I kept the inside simple, and managed to find time to stamp up the envelopes with the Painted Petals photopolymer set.

Card 2: This sweet card features the Kind Koala stamp from Stampin' Up!'s big catalog. It was the first card I used my MISTI stamp tool to create; the MISTI enabled me to both get a clean image of the koala with perfect overstamping, and made lining up the diagonal accent a snap. (If you haven't heard of this tool, look it up! It's a fabulous tool that most stampers could benefit from using!) 

I made this card for a StampNation sketch challenge. The challenge made my brain work overtime, but I'm glad I participated.

Card 3: I had plans to jump into a game of card tag on StampNation after being inspired by a card that featured rays of sunshine created with a stamp. I was trying to remember a technique I had seen to create the rays with alternating papers, and ended up finding five ways to do it... and the next thing I knew, I had decided that I wanted to try all of those ways. (Talk about going off on a tangent!) This is the first card I finished -- because it was the easiest.

I have a substantial pile of partially-completed cards, and my goal now that I'm nearly caught up with my blogging is to finish off those cards so that I can start fresh with whatever catches my fancy. I'm also working on pulling together a batch of birthday cards for a friend, so I'll be doing birthday cards for awhile.

Remember, tomorrow is My Paper Pumpkin day! I hope you'll enjoy it!

Bright, Sunshiny Smiles,
Joyce Spear / StamperJoyce