Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Trying Something New Is Easier With a Friend

Years ago, I saw a beautiful quilt hanging in our church and I remarked that I'd always wanted to learn how to make one but that I didn't know where to begin, so I had just never started.  The woman who'd made the quilt offered to teach me and that was enough to encourage me to pick up fabric and turn on a sewing machine.  I loved sewing my quilt and the most important reason why I loved it was because of the kind woman who offered to show me how.

If you have ever thought you'd love to try stamping but didn't know where to start, I'd love to do for you what my church friend did for me long ago - come alongside you and help you have the most enjoyable experience!  

The best place to start is with an all-inclusive kit that is packed with high-quality supplies.  The supplies you need are in the kit, the cardstock is cut to the correct sizes for you, instructions are included to guide you to success, and the finished products are ones you'll be excited to give for all occasions.  Now you can top your gift to a loved one with a tag you made yourself!  Or slip cash into a birthday card that you created and then slip that in an envelope you stamped to match!  How fun would that be!

Here are some kits ranging from cute to elegant that are perfect with which to start (kit photos on left; finished products on right):

Magnolia Lane Card Bundle Magnolia Lane Card Bundle finished cards Celebrate With Cake Card Bundle Celebrate With Cake Card Bundle finished cards Delightful Day Tags BundleDelightful Day Tags Bundle finished tags Hoot Hoot Hooray Card Bundle Hoot Hoot Hooray Card Bundle finished cards
Looking Up Card Kit

Once you decide which kit appeals to you, it's time to start your creative journey!  I'll send you a welcome package that includes a handstamped thank you card and Beginners' Stamping Brochure to further help you.  And you can always contact me.  I started at the beginning one time, too, and I am so grateful to my sister-in-law for introducing me to stamping.  It would be an honor to share that joy with you, too!  

Last Day for Bonus Days!  Get a $5 coupon to redeem in August for every $50 (before shipping and tax) you order now.  The kits above could earn you Bonus coupons!  Click the image to begin shopping my online store.

Monday, July 29, 2019

You Can Do Hard Things

Yes, you can!  At 44, I have learned this lesson many times, but those much younger and greener to the experiences of life could probably use the encouragement.  I have someone in mind who is getting this card and it will be at the God-prompted moment (The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl. Proverbs 25:11).  

Stampin' Up! Sunny Days encouragement card by Nicole Steele The Joyful Stamper

I turned to Sketch-N-Scrap's Card Sketch #149 for some help in making this colorful summertime card.

Sketch_N-Scrap's card sketch #149

I took some liberties with the three star elements but those little images are SO cute!  And it was fun to pull out my Stampin' Blends to color them.  I added some straight stitching with black thread and my sewing machine along the top and bottom of the Whisper White cardstock panel, just like in the sketch.  The stitching could be drawn in with a black journaling pen, also.

Making this card reminded me of when I had my first lemonade stand around the age of 7.  I made an eye-catching sign, stacked the paper cups on my table, prepared batches of lemonade, filled my change box with coins and dollar bills, then sat there with a big smile, positive that crowds would soon flock to my little business on the corner of 7th and Maplewood in Ambridge, PA.

People did come and it was great!  Then during a slow period, one woman came and sat next to me and began to talk to me about expense and revenue, profit and loss, cost accounting, and the value of my time.  I remember feeling utterly bewildered at the big words and ideas she was tossing at my 7-year-old brain.  I remember swinging my legs in boredom and thinking, "Why can't this lady just buy some lemonade?"  She meant well, of course, and was trying to teach me a great business lesson.  As I grew into my pre-teens and teens and had other businesses I was better able to understand and use those concepts that nice lady had been trying to teach me.  

If you found yourself getting enthused as I related my profit and loss lemonade stand story, then consider joining my team of Joyful Stampers.  If you love being a smart shopper and getting a discount on high-quality products, then you also should consider joining my team of Joyful Stampers!

Stampin' Up! Sunny Days encouragement card by Nicole Steele The Joyful Stamperfor Sketch-N-Scrap card sketch #149

There is a fantastic deal going right now - $155 of product and free shipping for just $99, plus you get a $10 coupon to use in August (on your Holiday catalog pre-order, perhaps.....).  Sign up today and you'll get to see the online Holiday catalog right away!  

Friday, July 26, 2019

Pretty Card Elements Using Patterned Papers

If you've read a number of my blog posts, you can tell I love to use DSP - especially scraps - in my projects.  You see, I have trouble choosing colors.  No joke, brown is one of my favorite colors and some wouldn't even call it a color!  But using Stampin' Up!'s Designer Series Paper means a color palette has been chosen for me that already looks beautiful.  So I go with it!  Using all this DSP, though, means scraps are plentiful.  Fortunately, there are loads of ways to use those pretties.  Today I'll show you one of those ways.  At the end of this blog post, I'll link to two other ways I showed of using DSP scraps.  

Kindness card using Stampin' Up! Bird Ballad DSP scraps and Painted Harvest stamp set

That stitched circle in the middle of the card front was made using 1/2" wide strips of Bird Ballad DSP.  The strips varied in length since I was using scraps.     

Glue Stampin' Up! Bird Ballad DSP strips to scrap cardstock then use Stitched Shapes Dies to die-cut

And the smallest circle on the left of the card front with the bird isn't stamped - I die-cut it from a sheet from the Bird Ballad DSP.

Use Stitched Shapes dies to cut images from Stampin' Up! DSP

Experiment with different shapes - squares, rectangles, hearts, labels - anything could be used!

Check out my posts here and here for some more ideas on using DSP scraps.

Card Recipe:

If you would like a Stampin' Up! Catalog and don't already have a demonstrator, contact me with your name and address and I'll send one out to you. I so appreciate the opportunity to earn your business!

Last few days to earn Bonus Days coupons!  Earn a $5 coupon redeemable in August for every $50 order (before shipping and tax) placed in my online store.  Shop online here.  
Earn Bonus Days coupons with your Stampin' Up! order with Nicole Steele The Joyful Stamper through July 31

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Bathroom Wall Made Me Do It

Did you ever see something and feel like you had to drop everything and make it into a card right now?  It doesn't matter whether or not you actually could drop everything and run to your stamp table.  I'm asking if you've ever felt that feeling, that burst of inspiration, that urgency to get the idea out of your head and onto something tangible, that itch to play with colors and shapes and stamps.  At those moments, I'm grateful for the humble pencil and notebook since I usually cannot stamp at the exact moment I have the Greatest Card Idea Ever.  Jotting it down preserves that nugget of creative genius for later.

Here's the card that was the result......

My card is covered with 9 colors of stamped and punched daisies from Stampin' Up!'s Daisy Lane Bundle

And this is the cause....

It is a wall decor piece that I bought at Hobby Lobby about 4 years ago.  It's rather large and covers one wall of our bathroom (the only one in our home I might add and we have three teenage daughters - sharing is caring!).  I have always loved the colors and when I realized the other day that I have a stamp set and a punch that I could use to recreate this, I was SO excited!  As in, I shouted to my husband, "I can't believe this!  I can actually make that now!" He responded with great enthusiasm, taking the scrub brush from my hand and exclaiming, "Let me finish cleaning the bathroom!  You must go make it now!"

Actually, he didn't.  It would have perfectly finished the scene, though, right?

While making the card, I ran into an overly juicy ink pad that stamped blotchy, so I thought I'd share a tip with you.  Blotchy images are a result of a too-inky pad, so take a plastic spoon and use the back of it to massage the surface of the ink pad.  This pushes the surface ink down into the pad, leaving less on top to make your image blotchy.  And please excuse my chipped self-done manicure.  My house doesn't self-clean, my meals don't self-cook, and my laundry doesn't self-wash and fold.  

Use the back of a spoon to massage ink down into ink pad to prevent blotchy images

The stamped daisy on the left is before using the spoon, the stamped daisy on the right is after using the spoon.  Much better!

Stamped images of before and after the spoon massage.

And here's what I used to make my card, in addition to the larger Daisy Punch:
Stampin' Up! Daisy Lane Bundle

 See another card using this bundle here

I hope you found that helpful.  I want you to have a fun stamping experience, so I love to pass along what I've learned.  If you have a tip to share, leave it in the comments!  And if you want more tips and project ideas, be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter here.  You'll receive a free Class To Go project instruction sheet as a thank you.  You'll love the card ingredient list and measurements, clear step-by-step instructions, and color photos.  You can stamp with confidence!  Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter here.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog - I so appreciate you!

Monday, July 22, 2019


I am thankful for challenges and those that host them!  I need that jumpstart, otherwise it would take me 5 hours to make a card or scrapbook page.  Any other slow creators out there?  

The challenge at Hand Stamped Sentiments was to use this board as inspiration:

At first, I tried to make a card using the top right image but I could not get my frames in a pleasing arrangement, so I moved on to using the bottom right image. 

Stampin' Up! Thankfulness card by Nicole Steele The Joyful Stamper for HSSSIC#319

I have lots of tips and tricks for making this card!

To make the background: I stamped the Hardwood image in Soft Suede ink onto my Soft Suede cardstock base, then lightly swiped my Whisper White ink pad across it.  I wasn't concerned with the exact placement of the ink, just that some got on various places.  I took a sponge and lightly brushed it across my card base to smear and soften the Whisper White ink.  I love this look!

To create the three frames: I used an old set called Frame It to stamp in Versamark and heat emboss with White embossing powder.  I did this three times to get three frames.  I used the brush tip of a Stampin' Blend marker to color each embossed frame.  From left to right, I used Dark Smoky Slate, Light Bermuda Bay, and Dark Soft Sea Foam.  Once I fussy cut them, I used the brush tip to go around the cut edges of each frame.

To create the word die: I die-cut the word three times from Whisper White cardstock.  On one of those die-cuts, I used the same Stampin' Blend markers as above to color it in, making sure to blend where two colors met.  I used Fine-Tip Glue to adhere all three die-cut layers together, then used the brush tip of each Blends to color the white edges of the cardstock.

To glue vellum and the metal ribbon Bird Ballad trinket: I rolled up a glue dot to stick behind the metal ribbon embellishment.  I put dabs of Multipurpose Glue on the back of the vellum where the frames would cover it (so glue the frames to the vellum first).

I hope you appreciate these tips for making this card!  Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter here so you can get happy digital mail in your inbox!  My newsletter always includes tips and tricks, the latest Class To Go, additional projects, sales and specials, and other fun things.  Sign up here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Spiders, Halloween, and the Holiday Catalog, Oh My!

I saw a spider give birth today!  

Let me back up.  When we returned from vacation, I left our cooler out to dry.  Several days later, I picked it up to clean it and saw inside our cooler hundreds of teeny, tiny little creatures scurrying around a rather large and intricate web.  I peered closer and realized they were newborn spiders!  Hundreds of them!  And a little to the left, on the other side of the cooler, was Mama Spider hiding under a leftover water bottle.  She was big.  Big.  BIG.  Since my Mama Human had taught me to never kill a spider, and I did not have the heart to kill hundreds of her precious babies, I left the cooler alone.  It was clear she had given birth just hours before I found her - the poor thing was exhausted, as any postpartum mom would be, especially one that had just delivered hundreds of tiny offspring.  And now I and my family have the privilege of watching how a spider raises her brood.  Incredible!

It's possible you don't share our fascination with Mama Spider and her babies.  Maybe you prefer your spiders and webs on paper and stamps.  On July 23, us Stampin' Up! demonstrators get to see the online Holiday Catalog and on August 1, we get to order from it.  I will soon have REAL PAPER spiders and webs and all things Halloween in my craft area (notice I said "area" and not "room"...someday I will show you just how small of a space I craft in).  Customers join the fun September 1.  You don't have to wait, though.    

$155 of Stampin' Up! product, free shipping, $10 bonus coupon, become a Joyful Stamper, all for $99.

You can have spiders and webs and Halloween (and Christmas and fall and Thanksgiving) on July 23, too.  AND you can have $155 of product with free shipping for just $99.  Plus a $10 coupon to use on your Holiday catalog pre-order in August.  Plus you can be a Joyful Stamper - and who doesn't want to be both joyful and a stamper?  They are the best kind of people!  Sign up here, read more here, or contact me here.  

It would be an honor to meet you and to have you on my team!  Please consider it!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Zesty Birthdays

On Hilton Head Island, there is a little Italian Ice shop on Pope Avenue called Sunset Slush.  It's easy to miss.  We discovered it after a very long and very hot bike ride (think multiple hours in the afternoon in the South in July).  Nothing - and I mean nothing - ever tasted so good at that moment.  They have straight-up flavors like grape and cherry, but where Sunset Slush really shines is in their unique combinations.  My favorite is The Donald which mixes tangerine, pineapple, peach, and raspberry.  YUM!  A close runner-up is a mix of Pink Lemonade and Strawberry (I forget the name of the concoction).

When I was handed my first cup of Sunset Slush, I was instantly in love with the paper cup it came in.  I took that cup home with me and made a card with it.   

birthday card made with Stampin' Up!'s Lemon Zest inspired by Sunset Slush cup

 Isn't that cute?!  I used a retired set called Lemon Zest.  Pineapple Punch and Blueberry Bushel were an exact match for the background, then I stamped the citrus slices in Pumpkin Pie, Certainly Celery (retired), Melon Mambo, Blueberry Bushel, and Pineapple Punch inks.  The gingham strips are 1/2" x 5-1/2" and are from the 2018-2020 In Color DSP Paper Stacks.  The ribbon is Blueberry Bushel Grosgrain.

I was so excited with the first card that I made a second one, using Blueberry Bushel cardstock as my base, gingham strips of Pineapple Punch, and Pineapple Punch Grosgrain Ribbon.  

birthday card made with Stampin' Up!'s Lemon Zest inspired by Sunset Slush cup

That's not all!  Do you ever get frustrated because you've laid your card elements out perfectly only to have to move them to add adhesive to the backs and then not be able to place them perfectly again?  Read on for a tip to solve that problem using Glad Press N Seal!

Use Press N Seal to maintain perfect placement of project elements

Use Press N Seal to maintain perfect placement of project elements

Use Press N Seal to maintain perfect placement of project elements

Isn't that the best?  I learned this tip awhile ago and have used it so many times.  You can even reuse the Press N Seal sheet several times before having to toss it.

I hope you liked my cards and the tip today.  Keep it coming by subscribing to my weekly newsletter here (you'll get a free Class To Go pdf as a thank you).  You can also subscribe to my blog and you'll get my posts in your inbox - it's digital happy mail!  I so appreciate you choosing me as your demonstrator and thank you for the opportunity to earn your business!  

Monday, July 15, 2019

TGIF and Splitcoatstampers Challenges

Woo-hoo!  I got to stamp this past weekend!  After being on Hilton Head Island for a week, then jumping right into our church's kids' Bible camp, it had been a few weeks since I'd created anything.  Sometimes that break is a good thing, though, because I find the ideas come easily after returning from one.

Free As A Bird card for #tgfic220 and Splitcoaststampers cc747 challenges

I made this for TGIF's #tgifc220 and Splitcoaststamper's CC747 challenges.  TGIF's is a sketch challenge and Splitcoaststamper's is a color challenge, so combining the two allowed me to focus on the elements of my card.  I had to substitute the retired Primrose Petals for Rococo Rose since I did not have any of the latter, but it worked!

As I was coloring the images from the Free As A Bird stamp set, my mind wandered to time spent at my parents' camp in the Allegheny National Forest near Tionesta, PA.  They have a big front porch with rocking chairs and, when my three girls were small, we'd sit there with my mother as she played bird calls on this little machine she had.  The machine came with cards that had calls from loads of bird species recorded on them.  Whichever bird the girls wanted to call, my mom would put the proper card in the machine and the girls spent so many hours having fun trying to lure real birds to call back.  My mom also had a hummingbird feeder on the porch and it was constantly seeing activity.  The girls loved seeing how long they could sit quietly so as to attract more hummingbirds to the feeder - sometimes there were so many they'd "flit" each other away so as to get a drink!  My daughters' sweet excitement and joy in God's creation is such a beautiful memory.

I encourage you to play along in challenges like these two if you find yourself short on stamping time or in a creative rut.  They really are fun, plus you get to see others' takes on the same challenge.  

Here's the Card Recipe so you can make this, too: 

Last day to register for the Daisy Lane Class To Go!
Use Host Code KVQ6SS4R
Sign up now - I promise you'll love this class!
USe Stampin' Up!'s Daisy Lane in The Joyful Stamper's July Class To Go

Friday, July 12, 2019

Daisy Lane Class To Go Project Sneak Peek

One of the projects from the The Joyful Stamper's Stampin' Up! Daisy Lane Class To Go kit

Sneak peeks are fun!  Even more so when you know the peek is just a sampling of what's to come.  In this case, it means more beautiful projects are yours for the making and sending in this month's Class To Go!

The Joyful Stamper's Stampin' Up! Daisy Lane Class To Go projects

What You Get with a Joyful Stamper Class To Go:
  • Daisy Lane Bundle (includes Daisy Lane stamp set and Medium Daisy Punch)
  • 2018-2020 In Color Stampin' Write Markers (set of 5)
  • FREE kit with all the cardstock, embellishments, and ribbon to create the projects
  • FREE envelopes
  • Step-by-step instructions with full color photos of finished samples emailed to you as a pdf file
  • $5 Bonus Days Coupon to use in August
  • A completely fun crafting experience designed with your enjoyment in mind
I Want a Joyful Stamper Class To Go!  How Can I Get One?

Go to my online store here and order:
  • Make sure to use the Host Code KVQ6SS4R if your order is under $150 (very important as this lets me know you want the Class To Go).  If your order is over $150, do not use the host code because you get free Stampin' Rewards!  You'll still get the free kit and pdf instructions.

Deadline to register by ordering is July 15.  I have limited spots for this Class To Go so get in now to receive your kit!

Please email me with any questions.  My desire is to make this a fun, immersive crafting experience for you!  Remember that there are limited spots so it's best to order now.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

July Paper Pumpkin Deadline Is Today!

Sail into summer with Stampin' Up!'s Paper Pumpkin July kit

 Summertime bliss should include crafting time!  Paper Pumpkin lets you have that time while still enjoying all that is beautiful about summer.  Each kit is designed to be completed in 30-45 minutes and is fully transportable (perfect for taking along on that weekend trip or extended vacation).

But what is so great about July's kit in particular is that it coordinates with three Stampin' Up! suites: Woven Threads (pg 12-13), Garden Lane (pg 40-41), and Come Sail Away (pg 144-145).  Imagine what you can do with all that coordination!  

Besides product suite coordination, here are a few more details to help you get excited about the On My Mind July Paper Pumpkin kit:

  • Makes 9 mailable cards with envelopes (3 each of 3 designs)
  • Coordinating colors: Gold, Kraft, Mossy Meadow, Old Olive, Pear Pizzazz, Pretty Peacock, Sahara Sand, Seaside Spray, and Terracotta Tile
  • With the Bonus Days promotion (every $50 ordered before shipping and tax earns you a $5 coupon to use in August), you can earn oodles of $5 coupons with a prepaid Paper Pumpkin subscription and add-ons from the coordinating suites!

I would so appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and thank you for choosing me as your demonstrator!  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Daisy Lane Class To Go

Daisy Lane Class To Go - 3 cards + 1 bonus project

You are going to love this class to go!  I was so excited while designing these samples!  I was even able to add a bonus project for you and it is an adorable way to give a small gift to someone.  

What You Get with a Joyful Stamper Class To Go:
  • Daisy Lane Bundle (includes Daisy Lane stamp set and Medium Daisy Punch)
  • 2018-2020 In Color Stampin' Write Markers (set of 5)
  • FREE kit with all the cardstock, embellishments, and ribbon to create the projects
  • FREE envelopes
  • Step-by-step instructions with full color photos of finished samples emailed to you as a pdf file
  • $5 Bonus Days Coupon to use in August
  • A completely fun crafting experience designed with your enjoyment in mind

Look at all you get with the Daisy Lane Class To Go

I Want a Joyful Stamper Class To Go!  How Can I Get One?

Go to my online store here and order:
  • Make sure to use the Host Code KVQ6SS4R if your order is under $150 (very important as this lets me know you want the Class To Go).  If your order is over $150, do not use the host code because you get free Stampin' Rewards!  You'll still get the free kit and pdf instructions.

Deadline to register by ordering is July 15.  I have limited spots for this Class To Go so get in early to get your kit!

Please email me with any questions.  My desire is to make this a fun, immersive crafting experience for you!  Remember that there are limited spots so it's best to order early.  

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

In America, we are celebrating our independence today.  It's traditional for fireworks to be involved.  We are at the beach and we discovered last year that vacationers here LOVE to put on firework shows right on the beach.  And it's wild!  Up and down the shoreline, it's one colorful explosion after another for about an hour.  It is SO fun to be amongst it!  We'll be swimming and grilling burgers poolside, then watching the fireworks on the beach.  

I love the period of history of America's birth.  I have read biographies of almost every major figure from that era.  My most recent one was Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson.  I knew Franklin was highly inventive, witty, and charming but this book revealed those qualities in such depth that I felt really sad that I would never know the man.  I laughed out loud many times as I read this - how often can you say that about a biography?  Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin are my two favorites of that era.  I call them my "dead man crushes".  Franklin's biography was entertaining and I recommend it!

Have a Happy Fourth of July, everyone, and thank you for reading my blog.  I so appreciate the time you take to come here.  I love creating and writing and I am grateful to have the freedom to do so. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Beautiful You Watercolored Card - Three Techniques

Have you really looked at the samples in Stampin' Up!'s catalogs?  They're gorgeous!  And you can make any of them!  Play with new color combinations, create something different from your usual style, or try a new project.  The Stampin' Up! catalog is a very useful tool to keep at your crafting desk.

Beautiful You watercolored card case from page 114 of Stampin' Up!'s annual catalog

I loved this card on page 114 and knew I had to make it.  All the watercolored details caught my eye.  It features the Beautiful You set.  I'll show you the three ways I watercolored this card.  

close up of watercolored and die cut background

To create the background, I used an Aquapainter to brush clean water over a piece of watercolor paper.  Then I loaded my Aquapainter with Daffodil Delight ink refill and brushed it on the wet parts of my paper.  Immediately it spread into interesting patterns and shapes because of the clean water I had already laid down.  Once it dries, you can add more ink to achieve layers of colors, if you like.  The blue splatters were created by flicking the brush end of a Bermuda Bay Stampin' Write Marker in its cap.

close up of watercolored flowers on Beautiful You card

To get the watercolor look of the flowers and leaves, I inked up the images (found in the Free As A Bird set), then stamped them onto wet watercolor paper.  I added touches of Daffodil Delight ink to the flowers, but they mixed with the Melon Mambo ink and turned a little orange!  I was ok with that, though. 

I also watercolored the girl's dress and hat.  First, I stamped and heat embossed the image.  Heat embossing contains the colors, which I like for this image.  I squeezed a couple drops of reinker into the lids of a Melon Mambo and Daffodil Delight ink pad and used my Aquapainter to add the color to my image.  The vibrancy and intensity is amazing!

Give watercoloring a try!  Grab a couple reinkers in your favorite colors, an Aquapainter, watercolor paper, and jar of clean water.  Stamp several images onto the watercolor paper and spend some relaxing time experimenting.  Make sure to use Staz-On ink for watercoloring to ensure the image doesn't bleed when you add water.

Earn $5 coupon for every $50 you order in July

Don't forget to shop to earn Bonus Days coupons July 1-31! 

Join my team in July and August and earn an extra $30 of product plus a $10 coupon

Join my team in July or August to earn an extra $30 of product in your Starter Kit PLUS free shipping PLUS a $10 coupon to use the month after you join!  Contact me with any questions.  
01 09 10