Thursday, December 28, 2006

My Artist Trading Cards: Peanuts Comic Themed (Part Two)

Here are the other five Peanuts themed artist trading cards that I made today for a ATC Swap.

Title: "Smack!"

Title: "Say That's Pretty Good"

Title: "Lucy Perplexed"

Title: "Linus Map"

Title: "Charlie Brown and Lucy"

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My Artist Trading Cards: Peanuts Comic Themed (Part One)

I made these today for a themed swap. We had to use elements from a Peanuts comic strip.

Here are the first five that I made.

Title: Peanuts Characters

Title: Nyahh, Nyahh

Title: Lucy's Wish

Title: Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy

Title: Charlie Brown and Snoopy

Swap-Bot Has New Category For ATCs

Swap-Bot has a new category for “ATCs”. This now makes it easier to find all of the ATC swaps.

Previously ATCs were mixed in with several categories depending on what the host had chosen, such as “art” or “paper goods”.

To view the swaps currently available to sign up for, go to and then “view all swaps”. If you want to see just ATCs (or some other category) use the drop down menu labeled “Search By Category” to select the category.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Working On An Artist Journal

Just quickly checking in to say that since December 19th I have been drawing in my artist journal (a cheap spiral bound sketch book) daily.

I finished reading “The Creative License” by Danny Gregory, finally. But before I finished I took Gregory’s advice and began practicing drawing a little each day. I have been doing this while in bed at night that is the only time so far that I have been able to squeeze it in, the rest of my time I am distracted to do other tasks.

My children and also (gasp) my husband says my drawings are coming out well. They do chuckle sometimes at the mistakes. I don’t feel badly as Danny Gregory has me all psyched up to not get mad at myself for making errors or bad drawings while practicing.

I am drawing with a roller ball ink pen. So far that is it; there is no embellishment with color on the page in any form.

So far this is fun!

My younger son is interested in learning to draw again and so his sketch journal is out and he made a drawing the other night.

With all the holiday prep going on last week that is all the art I had time to do last week.

Made A Dozen ATCs Yesterday

The day after Christmas was designated “making art and having fun and relaxing day” by me, for me.

So I had a leisurely day with only one family medical crisis (my paternal grandmother). That was handled so far, by phone.

The fun part of the day was had working to make more ATCs to finish swaps that I signed up for on

I made six ATCs with a challenge to use a children’s book illustration as the main subject of the ATC. I made six ATCs with a challenge to use a product label as the major part of the ATC.

I have scanned the ATCs and when I can Photoshop them to prep them for uploading to this blog, I’ll do that.

It was fun to work on the ATCs yesterday.

My older son laughed when he entered the kitchen yesterday. What he saw and heard was my music playing on the CD player, a scented candle lit, and the kitchen table filled with ephemera and art supplies. He said that I turned the kitchen into a “haven”. Then both of my kids launched into a discussion about where I could have a studio space. I had said in the past that in my dreams we’d renovate the unfinished attic into a third floor studio space for ME because no room in this house is just for me to have fun and to make my own space for my own pursuits. My kids want that space for a playroom but the thing is they already use what is supposed to be a fourth bedroom for a playroom! And they use their bedrooms and the living room to store toys and to play in also! Enough is enough! I’d love my own well-lit, clean, heated space (so the unfinished dark and spider-y basement is not a place I want to have a spot to make art on, sorry). For now the kitchen is my studio.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Postcard: Mystery Poem Postcard # 5

I was working on an artist trading card swap using only junk mail so I had saved the junk mail that arrived in the last few weeks.

The entire background including the black color and the gold edging was from a DKNY advertisement.

I needed an image of a man who this woman might not be attracted to. I selected this man’s face from The Wall Street Journal. I left the charts to show that he possibly is a boring business man who this sexy woman may not be attracted to.

I wrote the poem on the computer and printed it off on the printer. It was too stark white so I added color with a Ranger brand distress ink applied with a stipple brush.

A top coat of Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss was added. The scan of the postcard shows little lines and those are just the lines of the clear gloss sealer, in real life those are clear and those are just brush strokes. I wanted to seal it so that it would be more durable in the mail.

The size is approximately 4x6 inches.

This was for a swap-bot swap. You can read more about the rules and how the poem's words were found in my other blog entry, here.

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My Postcard: Mystery Poem Postcard # 4

I was working on an artist trading card swap using only junk mail so I had saved the junk mail that arrived in the last few weeks.

The entire background including the black and the gold edging was from a DKNY advertisement.

I needed an image of a man who this woman might not be attracted to. I selected this man’s face from The Wall Street Journal. To change the cast from grey to a warmer tone I added distress ink from Ranger (color: vintage photo).

I wrote the poem on the computer and printed it off on the printer. It was too stark white so I crumpled it up and then used distressing ink from Ranger to color it, then spritzing it with water.

I thought the whole thing looked too glossy and dark. I used sandpaper to distress it. However the pure white that came through was not appealing to me. I then took the distress ink from Ranger and dabbed it all over the postcard, then rubbed it all around with a little piece of paper towel.

A top coat of Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss was added. The scan of the postcard shows little lines and those are just the lines of the clear gloss sealer. I wanted to seal it so that it would be more durable in the mail.

The size is approximately 4x6 inches.

This was for a swap-bot swap. You can read more about the rules and how the poem's words were found in my other blog entry, here.

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My Postcard: Mystery Poem Postcard # 3

I was also working on an artist trading card swap using only junk mail so I had saved the junk mail that arrived in the last few weeks. The base of this postcard was an invitation to a charity fundraiser. It had a great ecru color to it.

I looked through the junk mail for images of a man and a woman together. I was looking for either an image of a sexy couple or else a woman laughing. Since this poem was a bit sexy I was looking for attractive people. Since the word ‘sleek’ was in the poem I was looking for something to illustrate that word.

This couple was in an advertisement for upcoming live stage performances at the Shubert Threatre. This couple performs contemporary ballet dance shows.

As a coincidence the color of the leotard was a main color in the large brochure for all of the upcoming performances at the Theatre. I cut out some blocks to make a collage with, mostly to cover up the invitation’s writing that was showing.

I wrote the poem on the computer and printed it off on the printer. It was too stark white so I used distressing ink from Ranger to color it, with a stipple brush, before cutting it out and adhering it to the collage.

I didn’t scan the back but it had more text on it. To cover that up I randomly ripped pages from another piece of junk mail which was absent of text and glued that onto the back.

A top coat of Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss was added. The scan of the postcard shows little lines and those are just the lines of the clear gloss sealer. I wanted to seal it so that it would be more durable in the mail.

The size is approximately 4x6 inches.

This was for a swap-bot swap. You can read more about the rules and how the poem's words were found in my other blog entry, here.

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My Postcard: Mystery Poem Postcard # 2

For this postcard I started with a recycled food box as a base.

I was also working on an artist trading card swap using only junk mail so I had saved the junk mail that arrived in the last few weeks.

The main image of the woman laughing is from a DKNY ad. I started with that.

It looked very plain so I crumpled black tissue paper and adhered it to the right side of the paper. It is bumped up and has texture.

The image of the man is from the Wall Street Journal. He looked very stark and grey from the shade of the newspaper so I added distressing ink from Ranger to darken it.

It still looked very bright so I rubbed sandpaper over the image of the woman, then used the Ranger distressing ink on top.

A top coat of Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss was added. The scan of the postcard shows little lines and those are just the lines of the clear gloss sealer. I wanted to seal it so that it would be more durable in the mail.

The size is approximately 4x6 inches.

This was for a swap-bot swap. You can read more about the rules and how the poem's words were found in my other blog entry, here.

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My Postcard: Mystery Poem Postcard #1

For this postcard I started with a pasta box with a clear window in it. My goal was to use the window in some way or leave it transparent. (That did not work out in the end, more on that later.)

I was also working on an artist trading card swap using only junk mail so I had saved the junk mail that arrived in the last few weeks. Everything on this except for the comptuer generated poem words is from junk mail. Two different ads for DKNY products were used.

I made a collage of the advertisement cut-out's. I wrote the poem on the computer and printed out the words and glued them to the clear part. I then realized that perhaps in the mailing process the plastic window might rip and the poem would be destroyed. So I glued an image onto the back side.

A top coat of Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss was added. The scan of the postcard shows little lines and those are just the lines of the clear gloss sealer. I wanted to seal it so that it would be more durable in the mail.

The size is approximately 4x6 inches.

This was for a swap-bot swap. You can read more about the rules and how the poem's words were found in my other blog entry, here.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Finished A Mystery Random Poetry Postcard Swap

I have been working here and there on five postcards for a random poetry postcard swap. Here were the instructions and rules.

Get a mystery novel and go to page 15. Write down the 15th word on the page. Go to the next 15th word and write that down. Repeat until you have 15 words.

Keep the words in that order OR rearrange them into a more pleasing arrangement.

Make art on a postcard and put the words on the postcard.

We could make all originals or we could send high quality photocopies.

Day 1: I went to the library to get some words because I don’t read mystery books so don’t have any on hand.. I used three books to get words from.

Day 2, 3, 4: I worked with all three word groups to make poems as I didn’t like the original order the words were in. I don’t usually write poetry so this was a challenge for me. I found I could only do a little then leave it alone for a while then look at them again with fresh eyes worked the best. My intention was to use all three poems.

Day 5: Rearranged a formerly ‘finished’ poem to something even better. Liked this one the best and decided to use just one poem for all of the postcards.

Day 6: Received one postcard in the mail from another swap on swap-bot which was all falling apart due to poor construction (a bad adhesive method and product). Decided to not make all originals as others are using photocopies so why don’t I?

Day 7: Made one postcard using all junk mail and collage. I printed the words using the computer and added them. Original plan at that point was to make high quality photocopies of this to send to the five swap partners.

Day 8: Received two postcards in the mail with all original art on them. Felt guilty at the idea of sending a photocopy.

Day 9: Made three more originals using recycled food product boxes and junk mail. Sealed them and am letting them dry.

Day 10: Made the last postcard. Let them dry.

Day 11: Wrote down what I wanted to say and the addresses and adhered it to the postcard with Golden Acrylic Gel Medium Soft Gloss. Let them dry. Scanned the postcards.

Day 12: Mailed them off. Noted in Swap-Bot that I mailed the postcards.

I am busy with Christmas prep and typical family life. I hope to add the scans of these postcards here on my blog when I can squeeze in the time to do so.

About the Poem

The words were from “Murder in Three Acts” by Agatha Cristie. The poem reads more like a sexy poem, I think. Here it is.

I didn't give it a title until just now. I'll call it:

The Tease

No attraction in
straight man Oliver.
You play,
his very sleek
Laugh about it.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Copy Left ATC Editions Site

I remember looking at the Copy Left site when I first got involved with ATCs.

Then while reading Lisa Vollrath’s site this weekend I saw a link to the site mentioning a swap. has very good basic instructions for making ATCs for newbies, by the way.

If you go to this page on their site you can see the directions for a Copy Left Editions Swap. The way it works is you send in 20 of your own ATCs and then you will get 15 back in return. They are mailed to an address in Switzerland. There is no mention of who pays return postage so I am confused about that.

I would love to do a swap with them but probably will have to wait until after Christmas when I have more free time to make ATCs.

Also if you go to this page on their site you can view ATCs made by other people.

Click on the names in the right hand column to view the ATCs which that person made.

I found the ones made by children in the Indiana Children’s Correctional Facility very interesting! There are 9 pages of ATCs to view there.

And I loved these ATCs made by BuZ Blurr. See all three pages of them if you wish.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My ATCs: "Number One" For Numbers Themed Swap

In October 2006 I sent these ATCs in for a themed number swap. I was assigned the number one.

I will briefly describe the technique then the image it applies to is below it.

1. This background was hand drawn with chalk. The image and the number is rubber stamped with chalk ink. The border coloring is chalk ink.

2. Background is acrylic paint, hand painted. Rubber stamped images of the leaf and the number.

3. Background is acrylic painted. Image is from a tourist brochure and is a quick gel medium transfer. Number one is rubber stamped. Ink edges the border.

4. Tree image is a citrasolv transfer from a newspaper advertisement image, onto white cardstock. Number one is a rubber stamp. Cropped and placed on a background of black gesso'ed cardboard (recycled box).

5. Tree image is a citrasolv transfer from a newspaper advertisement image, onto green cardstock. Number one is a rubber stamp. Cropped and placed on a background of andmade paper (purchased at the craft store).
6. Background is hand painted with watercolor paints on watercolor paper. Rubber stamped images of sun with ink. Cropped and placed on background of handmade paper. Number one is again, a rubber stamp.
7. Background is hand painted with acrylic paint. Flower image by Hero Arts rubber stamp. Nubmer one is a rubber stamp. Light border coloring is ink from a rubber stamp pad.
8. Background is hand painted with acrylic paint. Leaf image and number one is a rubber stamp. Edged with color from ink pad.
9. Packing tape transfer of image of man from a tourist brochure (this is William Gillette the actor and builder of Gilettte's Castle in Connecticut). Bacgkround is hand painted with acrylic paint. Number one and text is rubber stamped images.

10. The scanner cut off this image (sorry). The background is acrylic paint. The leaf and number one are rubber stamped. There is some ink around the border, from an ink pad.

To be honest I had creative block with this themed swap. I had to sign up in advance, something I don't like to do. I then had a deadline to meet. I thought it would be easy to do this swap but it was harder than I anticipated.

When I sent these off I worried that the recipients would not like these. I hope they were appreciated. I did not receive one single response or thank you from people in this swap. Oh well. That was the last swap I did with that specific ATC Yahoo Group, by the way.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My ATCs: Men and Time

I began this collage in June or July 2006 but finished it in November 2006.

This was a 5 x 7 inch collage which, when finished, was sliced into four ATCs.

The base is a piece of a box of some product or food item.

I then applied a piece of a wallpaper sample to it, using Golden acrylic gel medium as an adhesive.

I then added rubber stamped images of a watch and a decorative square image to the piece.

I then added a top coat of a tinted acrylic glaze over the top. I originally thought this collage was finished but it looked incomplete, more like a nice background image. I put it away for a few months.

Last month I pulled it out and contemplated what to do with it. I added a bunch of cancelled postage stamps from around the world with faces of men on them. This was from a collection from the Kenmore Stamp Company, where you pay $2 for 500 cancelled stamps (however you end up getting stamps sent to you that you then are either tempted to buy or must return to them by a certain date).

I liked the theme of the old fashioned watch, the old fashioned images of the men, and the idea of men and time and men working and sticking to schedules and such.

I still enjoy making a block collage like this and then cutting it into four equal parts when finished and having a bit of a surprise at the end to see how each individual ATC looks by itself. I try not to analyze that while composing the bigger collage.

The original concept for this was inspired by a themed ATC swap with the theme of “clocks” and “time”. However I didn’t finish the ATCs on time so in the end I did not sign up for that swap and did not participate in it. (I like to make the ATCs first then after they are made I sign up for the swap.)

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Monday, December 04, 2006

My Book Review: How To Make A Journal Of Your Life by D. Price

Title: How To Make A Journal Of Your Life
Author D. Price (Daniel Price)
ISBN 10: 1580080936
ISBN 13: 9781580080934
Full retail: $9.95
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Format: Softcover

This small format book is entirely handwritten, and those two things make this book inviting. It reads like a journal. Hand drawings and photographs illustrate the author’s method of illustrating his own journals. This is not just a book about how to journal but we read actual journal pages from the author.

This book speaks to a person who always felt they should write a journal but were afraid to start.

Price gives encouragement along the way such as using the journal for positive thoughts not just for complaining. Journalists don’t have to be professional novelists before they can begin writing about their own life for their own eyes!

The addition of ephemera from the journalists daily lives is encouraged (ticket stubs, random paper clutter from our lives, etc.).

The end of the book features twenty pages of Price’s journals which were formerly published in 1991 to 1991, as a small independent zine called 'Moonlight Chronicles'. Later a book by the same title was published (I have not yet read it but want to!)


Previously I thought the only journaling that was done in our modern day was in fancy blank journal books and I assumed they were filled only with text in beautiful script. Other journals with writing prompts with someone else’s ideas of what we should be writing further discouraged me from beginning a journal.

I found this little book just the encouragement I needed to start writing a journal with whatever I wanted to say in it. It is alright for the journal to be imperfect.

Price journals in black pen. The journals are not highly adorned nor does a person need to take art classes in order to journal in this style.

If you like this book and crave more, I also recommend the similar and highly encouraging books by Danny Gregory. Gregory’s own journal was published as “Everyday Matters”. Gregory’s second book “The Creative License” further encourages non-artists to draw with pen and to keep their own journal to record their own lives.

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Currently Re-Reading: All the Back Issues of Art and Life Zine

The last two nights, before bed I have been re-reading and skimming the first five issues of Teesha Moore’s magazine, Art and Life.

This is great reading before bed as it winds me down. There is nothing stressful in these zines to upset me and to prevent me from falling asleep. I cannot say this for some of the novels I own or some non-fiction books I have here, nor of the newspaper or some of the magazines I subscribe to!

Also I have been in a creative mood again. I find that thinking of collage and actually imagining making collage pieces in my head helps me fall asleep. It is a non-stressful activity to do.

What I like about Art and Life is that it focuses on creativity in general. The attitude overall is that playing around and making art is a fun activity that should be done by everyone. We are encouraged to make art and to enjoy it. This is not a judgemental or critical attitude zine, there is no saying that art should be done this way or that way. They don’t glamorize fads or trends, either. Whatever anyone is doing is fine, the authors of the articles and the editor, Teesha Moore all just encourage us to do any kind of art that we want that makes us happy.

This would make a good gift for someone for Christmas.

I also recommend the wonderful back issues of the zine Play, also published by Teesha Moore, they are still available on her website. Play is in full color and is all scanned images of artist journals. Art and Life is in black and white and is mostly text with a smaller number of images.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My ATC: Geisha

The background for this ATC was hand painted by me with acrylic (cheap-o brand) craft paints a number of months ago on a day when I painted a giant bunch of backgrounds for ATCs.

The geisha image is from Autumn Moon Paper Company. The owner of the company sent me some complimentary samples of her new collage sheets and asked if I would make some ATCs with them.

I had the idea to make the image into a packing tape transfer so that the beautifully colored background would show through.

I made this back when I was making a lot of ATCs and listening to some older Tori Amos music.

I decided that the lyrics to the song “Girl” applied to the geisha’s life. A geisha doesn’t truly get to be her own person, she is groomed and trained to work as a geisha and she is actually considered to be the property of the geisha house owner.

After putting the packing tape transfer onto the ATC I was not sure if it was complete or not. It looked unfinished to me. I left this sitting for several months and took it out in November. I decided I liked it just as it is and so for now it remains still this way. Sometimes if an image is nice and simple and a message is simple that is enough for me. I don’t always feel the need to overly embellish everything I do just for the sake of using lots of craft materials. Sometimes less is more.

This is an artist trading card, it is an original and no copies have been made. This was not made to resell. Whether or not I have made a copyright infringement by using a line from a copyrighted song is unclear to me, especially since this item is a piece of 'artwork' and is not being sold or mass produced. I have hesitated to send this to Autumn Moon Paper Company because if they used it for publicity for their collage sheets I was afraid they'd get slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit from Tori Amos! So for now I own this ATC, it hasn't gone anywhere yet.

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My ATCs: Brownie Scouts

Here are five artist trading cards that I made in late November 2006.

The inspiration was a 1951 Brownie Scout handbook which I found at a library book sale. Actually I found two identical books, one was in pristine condition and the other was not in very good shape, each were $1.00. I bought both, I could not resist. I love old books and old images. I bought both so I could keep one (the nice copy) and the other I purchased so I could cut it up and use elements in artwork such as in these ATCs.

I used a base of a recycled food box.

I then adhered a vintage girls dress costume (bought at a thrift shop for 25 cents) as the background. I layered a few layers of it. The adhesive is Golden acrylic gel medium, soft, in gloss. I then cut out pieces from the book.

I then put the gel medium as a sealing top coat.

I liked the simple look to these and felt that no border coloring and no further embellishment was necessary.

One ATC has a packing tape transfer of some of the text in the book, while others are simply the original pieces of text from the handbook.

So here are the five ATCs that I made.

These activities are things that a Brownie Scout was to learn to do as part of her requirements for becoming a Brownie Scout.

I made these just for fun, this was not for a themed swap.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Worked On My First Traveling Journal

Last week I finished working on a traveling art journal which I signed up for on the site. This was the first time I worked on a traveling journal.

We could do up to ten pages in this very small journal.

The style and assignment of this art journal was to journal in the style of Danny Gregory such as he did in his published book “Everyday Matters”. He further talks about how to teach yourself to draw with pen in “The Creative License”.

I wrote and sketched everyday objects and things around me, in pen. I also added some partially finished artist trading cards which just ended up looking like collaged items in the book. I added some photographs. Some of what I added was the proof strips that the film developing place gives you when they print up the photographs. They were fun for adding to a journal.

I also did an evidence page a la the artwork of Candy Jernigan. There was one day that my two sons and I experimented with polymer clay. I used aluminum foil to line the pans with when the pieces were baking. Later I crumpled them up so they could be recycled. One day my older son took the meat tenderizing mallet to it and squished it down and put all kinds of patterns into it. A large amount of aluminum foil was compacted into a flattened sphere. I adhered that to a page in the journal and labeled it as evidence of a day of making polymer clay pieces. That day was the first time I actually used polymer clay and my sons and I were teaching ourselves what we could do with it.

I am looking forward to doing another traveling journal one day.

One thing I’d like is a journal with a deadline. This one had no deadline and I ended up keeping it for a full month to work on then was delayed with Thanksgiving prep and didn’t get it in the mail for one fuller week. I usually don’t drag my feet, but sometimes I do need a deadline to make myself finish something, even an art project!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Dining Room Is Now Empty (of art and craft supplies)

I began decluttering, straightening, reorganizing the house and also cleaning the house in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday four days ago. I systematically did various tasks plodding along.

Yesterday was dedicated to getting all the art and craft stuff out of the dining room. In September I had straightened up and put everything in cardboard boxes and then stacked them along the walls, so that homeschoolers coming here for a co-op could eat on the table. But anyway between the last meeting and yesterday the table was a bit cluttered up.

I sorted everything on the table. I put the two rolling carts full of rubber stamps into the basement.

I sorted what was in the copy paper cardboard boxes. I put all the books and magazines to be cut up to use in making art or else to become an altered book in boxes dedicated for just those things. I then put random ephemera, saved, free stuff in other boxes. I had only half of one box full of purchased supplies such as some colored papers from the craft store. Most of what I have saved is random ephemera such as junk mail, colored paper from junk mail, clippings from mail order catalogs or newspapers, old ticket stubs and other random things. I labeled the boxes to tell what was in it “random ephemera” or “books and magazines for making art”.

My filing system is not very organized. I basically fill boxes with the papers. Then when I go to make something I sift through it. I toss out the stuff that I determine won’t be used and I use or save what I see as the best or most interesting.

I think I have enough stuff saved. I was not angry at myself for saving up all this stuff. However after looking at ten boxes of books, magazines, and random ephemera, I think that is enough.

I was inspired by doing that task yesterday and really wanted to sit down and make some art.

However instead I hauled everything to the unfinished basement, where I have ample storage space for stuff like this.

Oh did I mention I already have some boxes of stuff down there similar to this stuff?

I have enough, I think.

I also found two blank journals that I purchased at a used book sale at a library fundraiser. One is big and square shaped, about the size of those old large square photo albums. The other is a leather bound journal with lines on one side of the page. It has an advertisement for a prescription drug embossed into the leather but perhaps I can alter it in some way to hide that.

So anyway right now the dining room looks like a perfect dining room with (just) furniture and framed art on the walls and vases and candlesticks to decorate the room. The room looks quite nice but that art-mess that defines that stress-relieving part of me is absent.

One problem with this house right now is that so many rooms look good and the way they are ‘supposed’ to look but that leaves me no space for things such as a place to sew, a place to make art (and to leave the stuff out), etc. I could convert a corner of the unfinished (dreary and dark) basement for this endeavor but the atmosphere would be so depressing I would dread being down there (with the spiders). Ugh. So for now it will be stuff stored in boxes and hauling things out when I want to do something then cleaning it all up when done and putting it all away, I guess.

Confession: for a few months earlier this year I kept the art supplies in boxes and stacked them along the kitchen floor near the table. I made a lot more art during that time as the materials were two feet away from the table and I could pull them and out throw them back in very quickly. It didn’t look so great to have copy paper boxes lining the wall over there but it sure was good for creativity.

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Lisa Vollrath’s New Websites

Artist Lisa Vollrath has some new websites. One is called In order to gain full access to the site users must agree to the terms of use, then must register with a username and password.

One of the terms which is a bit gray to me is that we are not supposed to sell anything we make based on the directions on the site. My only complaint with this is that if the technique is not unique and patented by Lisa Vollrath I don’t see how this makes sense. For example last month I read on a blog about one inch collages. I then linked from that blog to many other blogs talking about the technique and showing many different unique one inch collages. Never along the way did I see any references about Lisa Vollrath. I see today that on there are directions for those same collages. I don’t see how it is possible to expect me to promise to never sell one? I have NEVER sold an art piece of mine and don’t know if I ever will. But, I don’t know, something bothered me about that rule.

I joined the new site: and looked around a bit today after our Thanksgiving guests left. The site is small so far but is interesting and gave me some enthusiasm to really get going and to make something.

I am grateful that the site is free. I can’t wait for the site to grow even more.

I see also that Lisa Vollrath has another site, and also she has now password protected her original sites, and Ten Two

I encourage you to go check out Lisa’s sites if you want some interesting ideas.

The thing I have always appreciated the most about Lisa Vollrath’s site is the detailed directions along with the photographs of each step along the way.

By the way Lisa Vollrath sells CD-ROMs of various images and antique photographs. She also sells some CD-ROMs of instructions on how to make various arts and crafts. I purchased a $10 disk that contains information to teach how to make metal jewelry with soldering. That will be one of my Christmas gifts for me. Hooray!

Lisa Vollrath also publishes an e-newsletter.

So anyway go over there and get some inspiration and then buy some of her stuff from her!

I mention Lisa Vollrath's sites not because I earn a commission from the referral but just because I thought you may want to know about these changes in her sites and also of the various cool things she sells.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Dadaist Postcard: Summer Fun

Here is another Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article which described a new summer camp for special needs children which a nearby town was offering for the first time.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush.

I thought the pretty blue colors with pastel yellow and pink accents was summer-like.

I added a packing tape transfer of a photograph from the newspaper article which shows children playing. The odd thing is that the transfer was clear and bright but after application against this colored background it is hard to figure out what is depicted. Oh well.

The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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Dadaist Postcard: Photographing Mountains

Here is another Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article which described a book that was about to be published. It featured photography, landscape photography of mountains and about mountain climbing. I used just one paragraph. I selected this as it had a lot of adjectives which I thought would work well for a poem.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush.

I selected blue as it reminded me of the color of the night sky.

I tried to think of ways to embellish this without covering up the text and came up empty handed. So it is just as it is, words on a hand painted background.

The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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Dadaist Postcard: Steamboat Willie's Transition to Mickey Mouse

Here is a Dadaist postcard that I made for a swap of that theme for

We were to select a paragraph or two from a newspaper article, cut up each word, "put them ina hat" ranomly select each word and to glue them down in the order they came out of the "hat".

I chose a newspaper article about the history of Mickey Mouse. The gist of this first paragraph was that Steamboat Willie was quite wild, a drinker of alcohol, a jazz dancer and a womanizer. However, at some point Walt Disney cleaned up the character to appeal more to young children.

The background of this postcard is acyclic paints which I applied using a stipple brush. I was trying to go for a red, black and white theme. In the end I decided since the text was so long to just leave the newspring on the red painted background and to leave it simple. I thought about adding a packing tape transfer of Mickey Mouse and one of Steamboat Willie but it seemed too cute-sy so I just left it as is. The base is the cardboard of a recycled cereal box.

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My ATCs: Christmas in Maine

Here is the end result of the mixed-media collage that I made and then cut into four artist trading cards.

You can read about how I made the collage in this past blog post of mine.

Top Left Corner:

Top Right Corner:

Bottom Left Corner:

Bottom Right Corner:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My Collage: Christmas in Maine

I made this 5x7 inch mixed media collage last week. The intention is to cut it into four artist trading cards.

I was inspired by an L.L. Bean catalog page which I had saved depicting winter in Freeport, with ice skaters on a pond near the L.L. Bean store. Actually in real life there is no pond near the Freeport store but why ruin a nice scene?

I covered up the words on the catalog’s cover with layers of tissue paper with stars on it (at the top). At the bottom I used a list of words from an easy reader book for children learning to read. I added bits of ephemera including a bar code from an envelope that came to my house.

I was using a phone book from Maine as my collage gluing surface. If you don’t know this trick, here you are. You open an old phonebook to a clean page. You lay down the paper you need to apply adhesive to. Brush the adhesive over the item and lift it up and glue it to your artwork. When that phone book page is used up enough, turn the page and use that clean surface. It takes a long time to go through one phone book!

So I had this old phone book from Maine and decided to tear out a listing of towns and also a tiny map of Maine. I marked an ‘x’ on the map to show where my grandmother lives, the place where our family’s homestead is that I still visit many times per year.

I then went through a Dover book catalog and cut out small images to add to the piece. I chose some of Eric Sloane’s illustrations as they reminded me of Maine: axes (for cutting down a Chrsitmas tree), holly, and two barn images. Two of the images were aged/darkened using the Tim Holz ink in the color 'straw', and two were made into packing tape transfers.

I added a recipe torn from an old Betty Crocker cook book with a recipe for hot cocoa from scratch, because obviously those ice skaters would love some hot cocoa when they were finished.

Going through a stack of papers I found a colored envelope from a card that my grandmother in Maine had sent to me. Bits from that showing the words “Eastern Maine” were added. I then got on the postage them and dug out my stash of cancelled postage. I took out only holiday and Christmas themed stamps. One stamp shows a puffin which is a bird that lives on the Maine seacoast.

The lighthouse image and the church are from tourist brochures and the Maine phone book.

The piece of colorful map and the maroon colored lace were sent to me by an ATC swap participant as a thank you gift to me, the hostess (thank you Maureen!).

So there is the scan of the 5x7 inch collage. I plan to cut it up this weekend and then will scan the individual ATCs and hopefully can get those uploaded for you to see also. It is interesting how different the little artist trading cards look as individual pieces when compared to the larger sized collage.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

My Collage: Early Bird

Last week I unearthed this finished collage which was long forgotten.

I made this collage in July 2006 when I had Lyme Disease very badly. Actually the day I made this collage I had started the antibiotic treatment and was feeling horrible, having what is called a Herxheimer Reaction. This is a worsening of symptoms that happens due to a large die-off of spirochete organisms. Anyway that day I felt so horrible that I declared it a ‘make art and try to feel better’ fun day.

Then I put it with some ephemera and forgot about it completely and never did anything with it.

The base inspiration was that I saw an ATC swap online requesting the artists to use the colored part of security envelopes in the ATC in some way, shape or form.

I used a 5x7 inch piece of recycled cardboard as my base. I then used some of the security envelope paper on it. The intention was to slice this into four ATCs when it was done. I call these “block collages” as I make one big collage first then later cut them into ATCs. I don’t plan out each single ATC, I try to concentrate on the collage as one large piece and try to not think about how each little ATC will look in the end. I like the surprise at the end when it gets cut up.

I used a 1977 newspaper that my grandmother had saved. I liked the color of the “foxed” paper (slang term for oxidized paper). I enjoy the different kinds of font that older newspaper used. I liked the little bird which was in an ad for early bird and for an early spring store sale.

I then had the bird theme going and added in some complimentary colored postage stamps with birds on them.

There is a Citrasolv transfer of a digitally altered photograph of my younger son on here as well.

I also used some map images from an small and old world atlas. I added some ephemera with numbers such as the calendar. I saw some text on a piece of junk mail I had saved and cut it up to spell out “Please use your gifts”. I was in a mood that day thinking that we really all should be putting our natural talents to full use.

In the end I like the color palate of mostly white, off-white, beige and black with the accent of pink and a few other random colors thrown in. The collage started off colorful wit the tea bag, Ben Franklin postage and the mountain range but as I worked with it, it became more subdued.

There were some other swaps going on at the time that required the use of a map on the ATC, and another with the use of thigns we got for junk mail. I was trying to throw a little of this and a little of that together. My plan was that if I was able to get all the ATCs finished on time I’d join up with that swap. I prefer to make the ATCs FIRST then I sign up and send them in. I hate being caught with a deadline and no time to finish it, that is when making art for fun turns into a chore and a pressure deadline.

So anyway here is the 5x7 inch block collage. I will slice it up later today, and will scan that over the weekend then hopefully can get each single ATC uploaded to share with you.

These ATCs will be swapped privately, they are not going to be used in an ATC themed swap.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Worked On a Dadaist Poetry Postcard Swap Today

I was on the site looking at what types of swaps are going on there and saw one for a Dadiast poetry postcard swap. I love the Dada movement but had never heard of this poetry.

The technique is to take a newspaper article, as many paragraphs as you want your poems length. Cut up each single word and put them in a bag. Take out one at a time and arrange the words in the order that they come out of the bag.

We were to put these words on a homemade postcard and to decorate the postcard in some way, any way we want.

Last week I cut up cereal boxes and painted the backs with acrylic paints and then cut those into postcard sized pieces.

Today I cut up the newspaper articles and applied the words to the background using acrylic gel medium in soft gloss. I figured out a technique that worked well by the time I struggled with other not useful methods. Here is what I did that worked. I spread some gel medium on the postcard’s surface. I then dabbed my finger with the gel medium and used that tackiness to pick up the tiny word and I adhered it to the postcard. When I was done I lightly put a coating of the soft gloss acrylic gel medium over the whole postcard so that all the edges of the snippets of paper would be adhered well, and left them to dry.

I did three postcards today. One article was about summer camp for special needs children, run by a town. One was about the history of Mickey Mouse and how the original Steamboat Willie was a womanizing, jazz dancing, and alcohol-drinking prankster. The last postcard was about a book that was published showing gorgeous wilderness mountain scenery.

The hand painted backgrounds are pretty or shall I say nice looking. I don’t know if they need any further embellishment or not, I will have to ponder that over the weekend.

If you would like to see some other people’s example of Dadaast postcards, go here.

If you want to check out Swap-bot for yourself, here is that site.

This is the first real mail art that I have ever made and participated in! I don’t consider artist trading cards pure mail art as they, themselves, don’t go through the mail.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Quotes I Read Tonight (From Rubber Stamps!) That Apply To Me and My Life

Today I was looking at the Zettiology rubber stamp catalog. These quotes which are on their rubber stamps struck me. I think you will like these, too.

“You finally do have to give something terribly intimate and secret of yourself to the world and not care because you have to believe that what you have to say is important enough”.
–May Sarton

Rubber stamp #34-178-E by Zettiology

This stamp is applicable to me right at this exact moment in time! It is hard sometimes writing here on my blogs as I am putting pieces of myself out there to the great unknown public and sometimes it makes me feel vulnerable. Today someone navigated to my other blog by doing an Internet search for “frumpy homeschool moms”. Oh my! Am I a frumpy homeschool mom and is that why it pointed them here? Nah, it was because of something I had written about in the past. The reason I mention is that I then saw that another person linked through from a blog I’d never visited so I went over there and saw that the blogger spoke in a positive way of the post I did earlier today, and she called my blog ‘cool’ which was nice and frankly I was flattered. I went to thank her in the comment but first, I read that one of her readers shared her opinion that she’s read my blog and ‘doesn’t like my tone’. Oh my. The bubble of happiness was deflated. Sigh. See what I mean, it is a risky business sharing my thoughts with the world. Of course not everyone will agree with what I say and some may not like my tone but really, do they have to talk about me like that, what purpose does that serve? Whatever.

“What you are will show in what you do.”
–Thomas Edison

Rubber stamp # 1047-D by Zettiology

“Each of us has more power over the world than we imagine.”
–Marguerite Yourcenar

Rubber stamp #32-168-C by Zettiology

“Begin where you are”

Rubber stamp #33-171-C by Zettiology

“Things are only impossible until they’re not.” –Jean-Luc Picard

Rubber stamp #1045-C by Zettiology

I love Jean-Luc and Star Trek Next Generation so I just love that there is a rubber stamp with one of his quotes on it, plus it is a great statement!

“Thus to be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.”
(quote from G.W.F. Hegel but it is not stated on the rubber stamp)

Rubber stamp #28-131-E by Zettiology

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
–Martin Luther King

Rubber stamp # 1103-C by Zettiology

“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”
(quote from Gilbert Highet but not stated so on the rubber stamp)

Rubber stamp #29-140-C by Zettiology

Hey here is one quote I just found on the Internet that I absolutely love!

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

Hear, hear!

Back to the art stamps…
Zettiology is a rubber stamp company and a vendor of some other art supplies (like all these collage sheets!), owned by Teesha Moore and her husband Tracy Moore. You can view their rubber stamp catalog online (and place orders if you want). Also they have lots of photos of their studio and tons of scans of their artwork, go check it out! Some of Teesha’s is here and some of Tracy’s journals can be seen here. Their newest line of stamps is art by the very interesting artist Theo Ellsworth.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Collage: Scotland/Ireland

I made this 5x7 inch mixed-media collage today.

The base is a recycled piece of cardboard from TGI Friday’s Potato Skins.

The background was given to me by a participant in an ATC swap which I hosted, whose name is Maureen B. I also added some other collage elements from Maureen B.

There is a piece of magenta colored lace fabric in the upper right hand corner.

I liked the background so much that I had trouble covering it up!

The black blocks are stickers from the sides of postage stamps (from the packaging).

I used tiny cut-out’s from a Dover Publishing book catalog, going with the theme of celtic and medieval images.

Snippets of text were cut from junk mail that I had received. The hopefully inspirational messages were actually from an ad from Sears trying to convince us to remodel our kitchen (hilarious)!

As you can see there is a piece of a round playing card. I own a deck of this but I think this one card was also a gift from either Maureen or another ATC swap participant.

Maureen also gave me the moon face which I believe she printed on her computer printer directly onto acetone, or it may be that plastic for an overhead projector (or are they the same thing?).

Someone, it could have been Maureen, gave me those silver stickers which actually are raised up and have a texture to them (the four leaf clover, the cross and the bow).

The adhesive I used was Golden acrylic gel medium in soft gloss. I also used it as a top coat.

Since the heat is on in the house it is very dry and this has completely dried in about two hours.

I love the background especially the color of that yellow in the map. I like the type of illustration on that background map as well as the font type.

Originally I was going to use rubber stamps or painted effects on top of the collaged elements but in the end I didn’t think it needed any further embellishment.

The original intent for this piece was to be a collage which would be cut into four ATCs. However I really like how it looks as one piece and I may just keep it for myself.

I have been thinking of starting an art journal just for myself to keep and if I do something like this could be added in as one page in the artist journal.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Most Disturbing ATC Ever

In an ATC art box I just saw the most disturbing content ATC ever. I am very bothered by this image. It literally is haunting me.

The background card was lovely and I believe was alcohol inks, in pretty pink colors with a tinge of light yellow. There was an accent of a handmade paper that was light yellow. Lovely, so far.

The center and main image was a photograph. It was an image of a girl who was either four or five years old. She was wearing a pretty pink dress that looked like a little prom gown or perhaps it was a little girls beauty pagent gown, which complimented the color of the background paper well.

She was dressed in costume, for Halloween, one can only assume.

Her face had white makeup on it and black around the eyes such to look like whe was a member of the living dead. She was making a gruesome face bearing her teeth like she was a mean possed person or something like that. Her face also had makeup like blood streaked on it.

In her upraised arm was a chef knife at least 12 inches long which was colored to look like dripping blood was all over it. Her pink dress was spattered with blood as if she had just murdered someone.

I hate to be judgemental but I cannot for the life of me fathom a parent dressing a girl of age four or five to look like a murderer. It was the creepiest image that I have ever seen.

I also would dare to say that this crosses the line between what is art and what is not art. My issue with this is not whether this is a piece of art but that the imate in it and what the parent chose to dress a young girl as is very disturbing to me.

At that moment I was glad that I did not have my young children looking at the art box with me. I used to have them look over the ATCs with me when they arrived.

So the question is if you saw an ATC of content that really distrubed you would you keep it in circulation or would you remove it and destroy it?

(I swear I won't be able to get that image out of my mind now that I've seen it!)

ON a related note...
The last art box I had had a photo of two teenaged girls dressed in gothic clothing and makeup who were french kissing. That is another image that I'd not want my very young children to see. We have not yet discusses the gay and lesbian lifestyle and I didn't think that ATCs would be the door to open that topic for discussion.

The question of what is offensive to some in the 'artist trading cards' art world is a controversial one. Some online groups have rules about what can be traded on the list such as PG content only, no nudity or some other rules. I am not sure if the two ATCs that I didn't like that I discussed actually would break any of those rules.

It is something to think about.

What do you think?

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Monday, October 23, 2006

My ATC: Distressed Alphabet "Z is for Zebra"

Here is one of the ATCs that I made for a "Distressed Alphabet" ATC Swap. This was the letter Z and as you can see I chose a zebra for the image.

The image is from the Internet. I resized the image in Photoshop then printed it off on my computer printer.

I used colored inks from a distressing kit by the company "Making Memories" which did not have labels on them to describe the colors or type of ink. The ATCs were then sanded and rubbed with an emory board. I rubbed the edges with black rubber stamp ink by dragging the card along the top of the rubber stamp pad.

I used different rubber stamp alphabet sets to write the words. The tiny font one is by Hero Arts and the Z in the square is by Dawn Hauser.

I then sealed the ATC with Golden brand acrylic gel medium in soft gloss.
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Heard About Swap-bot

I have heard about Swap-Bot from about three different people on various ATC Yahoo Group! discussion lists and I wanted to share this resource with you.

It is being called by some the new and better way to do swaps through the mail.

Here is the site's URL.

You will see they do all different kinds of swaps, not just art swaps and not just ATC swaps. In fact I saw one swap for swapping girls panties which I thought was potentially a little kinky if not just strange.

I have not joined yet and so I have not participated in any ATC swpas on Swap-Bot yet. I have not even spent a ton of time browsing the various swaps available there.

My goal for ATC making is to first make a bunch for just fun. When I have some made I will then think about doing some private swaps or swapping them out on Swap-Bot.

I am not in a rush to find new swaps to join and to participate in, but I wanted to share this with you in case you find it of interest.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Made Some ATCs for a Numbers Swap

Two weeks ago I made a bunch of ATCs for a swap with the theme of numbers. I was assigned a number (one) and I had to make 10 ATCs for that number.

I procrastinated on doing these as I was in an art slump. The deadline was looming so one day I just decided to make them and be done with them.

My original plan was to use a rubber stamped image on the ATC and rubber stamp the number 1 on the card. However when I began looking through my rubber stamps I could not find any images I liked. It also got tricky because when I looked at images I saw other things. For example the image of a man’s face had two eyes and so that could be either the number 1 or 2. A flower with a certain number of petals could be 1 flower or 10 petals. I then felt stumped about what background to use and felt that colored cardstock was too boring.

I then dove into some half-done ATCs and my mistake pile of ATCs. I was surprised to find some great things in there. What I ended up using for the swap ATCs in the end were some ATCs that had some different kinds of transfers on them. I also used some hand painted backgrounds and applied some rubber stamped images on top of that background. I added other decorateive elements so the ATCs were not too un-decorated.

Once I got working the work went quickly and I was surprised when I had ten finished ATCs that I was proud of and felt good about swapping out to others.

I also had some botched ATCs that I threw away, some mistakes that I don’t think were wroth saving.

One thing I realized was that I don’t own enough rubber stamps with numbers on them. In my mind I thought I owned more than I did. I also would like to suggest to rubber stamp manufacturers that when they sell alphabet stamp sets they should also have the numbers 0-9 in those sets, so the fonts match. I realized I had some great alphabet stamps but not enough great number stamps in those same fonts. So one thing for my wish list for future buying will be some great number rubber stamps in different sizes.

I was then very prompt about packaging up the ATCs to get them out before the deadline. I also packaged up some background prepared ATCs as a hostess gift and I think I also gave her a finished ATC. I wrote my thank you note then rushed off to the post office to mail them out that afternoon (after the scans were finished).

This will be my last ATC swap on a certain Yahoo Group then I will be done with that Group.

I have been so busy homeschooling my kids and running around to various children’s classes and activities that I have not made time for making art.

I have begun quilting and am taking a class but that is a story for another day.

Now I have to go bake some bread for a bake sale fundraiser!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Made Some Distressed Alphabet ATCs

I signed up for participation in an ATC swap called "Distressed Alphabet". Each player was assigned two letters. I had to make 13 ATCs for each of my letters.

I thought I signed up very quickly but by the time I signed up what was offered to me was Y & Z (not easy), the next choice being X & V. I kept Y & Z.

I procrastinated on making these ATCs. I also was in an art slump. I also have been in a slump about chatting about ATCs and overwhelmed by negativity from that ATC chat list.

I did go 'no mail' on that chat list and finally did sit down to make these ATCs last week.

Over four sessions I spread the work of making these ATCs. My six year old son joined in and I let him use the sandpaper and emory board on some of the ATCs. He only ruined a few, by getting carried away. It was a good thing I was making extra ATCs!

I did scan the ATCs before I sent them out last week. I hope to find time to resize the dpi so I can upload the images here to Blogger. At that time I will share about the actual process.

It feels great to be back to making art and ATCs.

I am so busy now with homeschooling the kids that I have little time for ATC making and I am beginning to feel resentful about it.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

One Inch Collages!

Today I learned of this little fad, and I mean little. Here is a great write-up of the process, written by Zorena on her blog.

I can't wait to try these.

I have been itching to make some art over the last few days. Maybe I'll stay up late tonight after putting the kids to bed and make some art.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rubber Stamp Consignment Sale Westport Connecticut This Weekend

I just found out about this today.

Happy Shopping or Happy Selling!

Here is the invitation that I received today.

Come to the
2006 Rubber Stamp Consignment Sale
at the
Great American Stamp Store
September 30, 2006 10-5
October 1, 12-5
Over 75 customers have stamps to sell.
Don’t miss this sale!

Note: All sellers must be registered by Wednesday September 27.
Call the store at 203-221-1229 to reserve your kit.

Note: I receive no money for promoting this sale. I am just sharing it in case you are interested.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

UK ATC Exhibition Accepting Submissions

I received an email inviting me to participate in an ATC exhibition in the UK. There was a link to the website. From reading it I see they are accepting submissions from anyone. The exhibition is being hosted by "The World Has ATCs" website.

There is a 2 ATC minimum submission.

There is no fee (unlike the Ohio, USA exhibition).

If you are interested, read the simple and few rules here.

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Update With Me

I have been too busy to make ATCs.

I camped out with my son at Cub Scout Camp.
We went on a family trip to Cape Cod with relatives.
I've had two relapses of Lyme Disease.
I restarted homeschooling my children.
I have been catching up on housework and decluttering which built up while I was sick.
I held the family party for my older son's birthday.

I miss making art. Can't wait to get back to it.

I am not up to date with reading chat lists about ATCs. After I decided to not read all the emails due to the negativity, even more negative threads came up.

One good thing was that when I got home from my trip the latest issue of Art and Life published by Teesha Moore was waiting for me. Reading that helped inspire me again to create and do what I want.

I received a random act of kindness ATC in the mail a few days ago, what a big surprise.

Due to Blogger's new rule about only accepting uploads of image files of 50 dpi that means yet another extra step of work on my part to share my ATC images with you. Sorry but I've not had time to do that lately.

I am more up to date wTechnorati Tags: , .ith my other blog, oh well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Too Much Talking About ATCs and Not Enough Making of ATCs For Me

I have not made ATCs in over two weeks. I really miss it.

I have been too busy with things in real life and/or too sick to do it. I did have three chances to make art this week but had creative block. I didn’t have enough time to haul out the paint or to make a big mess, so I just didn’t do much at all.

I flipped through a few magazines and took out some images that I may use in collage some day.

Last month while quite sick with Lyme Disease, I went gone ‘no mail’ on all the art email lists except for one. I am up to date with checking and reading those emails. I have been annoyed with some of the messages. So I am considering going no mail from that list as well. Perhaps I’ve been doing too much thinking about making art and talking about making art and taking in too many ideas. Perhaps I should just take that time and actually make the art and try the ideas.

Once I had a nice email reply from Teesha Moore, a response to an email that I wrote to her. In it she shared that she does not discuss art on the Internet as it got too negative. I was surprised. Another thing we were discussing was the critique of another person’s art work, how dangerous that is. She was encouraging me to do what I want; make the art I want for my own self and to not think about if anyone else will like it. If I have to stop the part of artist trading cards that is about the talking about them in order to continue the swapping part of artist trading cards then I may have to do that. I could also just stop making ATCs and just make other art as well, art that doesn’t involve swapping and dealing with other people (but then I’d miss out on some great/good conversations and also I’d not get to own some wonderful little pieces of other people’s artwork).

I only send out ATCs that I think are decent, that is, they follow rules, they are glued together well, they are cut in straight lines when the lines are supposed to be straight, they are the right size, etc.

I can’t control if anyone likes what I make or not. I am alright with the idea that someone may think what I do is weird or perhaps even ugly or stupid or whatever. My little ATCs are what they are, they are not masterpieces but they are little creations from my own mind and hands.

However I would never send out an ATC which I thought was garbage or that I just threw together for a trade in order for me to be collecting back something that was of higher quality. That is not my intent with being in an ATC swap, to produce garbage in order to quickly collect lots of other ATCs. I have a lot of supplies here, and using an assembly line style and some ideas that I see on other ATCs I could rip out a slew right now if I wanted to. But I am not, because my own ATCs are my own creations that may be inspired by someone else’s work but they are not a direct copy of it.

I don’t expect that I will always like the other ATCs that I receive in blind swaps or blind private trades. I know that when I participate in a swap, that I may be disappointed with what I get, I set myself up for that, and then if I am not disappointed it is like a surprise gift!

I don’t judge others if I don’t like their ATC style, color, theme, etc. I just don’t have to like them. It is alright not to like something.

It is also alright to own something and to like it for a while, but to not keep it until I die.

I am sick of the debate over what to do with ATCs that a person doesn’t want to keep. Some people throw the ones they don’t want in the trash. That is their prerogative. I don’t do that. I trade mine out again to someone else who does like them.

I am sick of the controversy about that: trading ATCs. I don’t know where some people get the idea that an artist TRADING card is not meant to be TRADED. Those that state that say that they view an ATC is a GIFT. I disagree as participation in an Internet based SWAP is BLIND and the maker usually doesn’t even know who ended up owning their ATC. So to say it is a gift is a stretch to me.

To those who make handmade greeting cards: do you think everyone keeps every card you gave to them? You may be disappointed to know that your work ended up in the trash bin, where most people put their greeting cards. One reason that I’ve not gotten into making intricate homemade greeting cards is that I know that most of my friends and relatives throw them in the trash two seconds after reading them. If they don’t value them, why should I put more money and effort into them? I know some of you are already answering that, you’ll say that your joy comes from the process of making it and that the greeting card served a purpose, to give you joy while you were creating it. Okay, that sounds good, I can agree with it. I have to pick and choose how I spend my spare time and so, that reason is not good enough for me, I still prefer to spend my time making ATCs that are traded and which part of the fun is in the swap part, the part where my mail comes and not everything in it is bills or junk mail—sometimes tucked in with the mail is a package with some fun ATCs in it to brighten my day and give me a fun surprise—what will the envelope have inside it today? That to me is a lot of fun and why I have not quit ATC trading (so far).

Back to ATCs as a gift…
Also who ever said that a gift must be kept? Do we all keep every gift we ever receive just because it is a gift? That is one source of developing a clutter problem, in my opinion. I am a Pack Rat by nature so believe me, I know clutter problems and they are problems that I want to avoid if possible.

I can’t relate to those who say they love every ATC they own even if they hate the way it looks or if it is poor quality (such as literally falling apart)? How can you love something that you have used such a strong word to describe: hate? Hate is a strong word!

I have received some ATCs that were morally offensive to me, and I have no qualms about not keeping them. It is interesting that some of the people who keep saying they love every ATC they get publicly announce their Christianity to all through their email signature lines and/or content on their website, however some of the ATCs I’ve seen contain very obvious sins including nudity or pictorial representations of s*xually sinful acts as defined by the Ten Commandments, and some have content that is morally oppositional to Christians. So I remain miffed—perhaps those Christians have not seen those types of ATCs? Some Christians say “no nudes on ATCs for me due to my religious beliefs”. Well it is okay for someone to say that for religious purposes but if a person doesn’t like a certain other kind of image on an ATC we are BAD people? Huh??

I assume that not everyone who owns one of my ATCs will love it. That is alright.

I don’t care what someone does with my ATCs after they own them. I’d hate for you to sell it for a profit though, if you could actually find someone willing to pay for it. I would be very, very happy if you swapped out/traded my ATC to someone else who would enjoy it. It would be good if someone ended up owning it, who liked it. I don’t like the idea of someone keeping my ATC just for keeping-it’s sake but every time they look at it to say “blech, that is ugly/weird/stupid”.

Because I have experience in a second generation swapping list, I can attest to how fun and great it is to participate in the art box swapping process. The art boxes that come to me have 90 ATCs in them. I get to admire in person, so many ATCs! I am inspired by many, even though I don’t end up keeping all 90 of them. So you see, those re-traded ATCs are inspiring more people than the one original owner! Swapping in that way with this group is not anything negative. We don’t sit and slam the people whose ATCs we put into the box. It is all quite anonymous in the end anyway; no one knows who put what in the art box. Note we call it an ‘art box’ which indicates appreciation for them; we don’t call it a ‘junk box’ or a ‘crappy ATC box’.

When ATC trading began, the trades were done face to face, and people would look at ATCs and PICK the ones they wanted. I cannot find any documentation that when this began, that the artists only traded out the ATCs that they created themselves. There is nothing in the rules to indicate that trading the trading cards is not ethical or ‘not nice’ let alone ‘against the rules’.

We have also had a discussion about the collecting of ATCs and selling them for profit on eBay. I feel that doing it is unethical. Some people feel that once the ATC is out of our hands the owner can do anything they want with it (true) but to me that doesn’t make it ethical.

I have said in the past that baseball trading cards are meant to be traded and collected. They are sold in stores for goodness sake, and paid for with money. When you buy a pack of them, you don’t know what is in them. You may like and want a certain team’s cards, but what you get is a crapshoot. Trading is encouraged. Selling old cards is what some collectors do. The cards are made in a factory and are mass produced. While some are intentionally rarer due to lower production numbers, the whole thing is a commercial enterprise, therefore setting the stage that more commercial activity with selling them to collectors is not only ethical but encouraged.

To me artist trading cards are meant to be traded, not sold. ATCs are handmade, not bought with money, and they are traded out. They are usually traded out, in a group swap or a game type swap (‘winner takes all”) or in a privately arranged swap. Lucky people live in areas where face to face swaps are done, where they can hand pick the ATCs they want to swap for. I think that ATCs should not be sold because they were made with the intention of being traded only, that is the spirit of the process, of the game, in my opinion.

If you want to make one of your own little cards that are sized 2.5x3.5 inches and sell it, the proper name for it is an ACEO (art card editions and originals). So do that if you want, call it an ACEO and sell your stuff, make a profit, good for you, go for it.

After writing all of this out I think I really do need to stop thinking and talking about ATCs and just sit down and make some.

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