Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tea Bag swap ATCs

Huh, it appears that I never blogged about the cards I made for this swap. I scanned them but just never got around to doing a post. Oh, well, now I don't have to link back to it, you'll get it all in one sitting.
So... this person had a swap where you had to use tea bags - the contents, the tag, the wrapper, the bag, the grounds - on your ATCs somehow. I made a first batch that didn't really fit the theme so I went back and made a second batch that actually adhered to the rules a bit better.    

This first one has a green inked background with all the various brewing instructions glued to it, a definition of 'tea,' plus a tag and some TEA stamps.

The second one is on a background of dictionary page showing the definition of 'tea,' plus the ingredients from a tea package in various languages.

A folded over round tea bag is hand-stitched to the bottom edge with the string from a tag. 

It's hiding the tag from a Stash tea bag that you can open to read the words 'cup of joy.'

Card is also stamped with some postage cancellation stamps and the word TEA.

 The 3rd one started out with a pictures of Alice's tea party, then a strip of tea boxes all in a row from a magazine ad.

Then a Twinings tag with a mini tea bag on the end. I had tea grounds all over the kitchen table by the time I had that little thing made.

Then three tags glued down on one side, stamped with TEA, and openable so that you can read the inside (which were originally the outsides...).

These are the 3 cards I got back. Each of them is very well done and quite creative.

Lyn in Australia made the first one. It's fabric, tea dyed and stitched on, with hand-stitched and drawn embellishments, and a bit of tea label stuck on. It's very cool and actually sort of looks like Australia to me.

The next one was made by Jamie and has tea grounds stuck to the background to give it a neat texture. Alice's tea party, a cut out, textured tea pot and bits of label finish it off. This one is fun to rub your fingertips over.

The last one was made by Nicole and happens to be in my favorite shade of green and has torn tea packaging glued down only on one edge so that the whole thing is ruffley and very 3-D when out of its plastic sleeve.

The quote says 'Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.' Henry Fielding. I'm going to matt this one and hang it in my kitchen with my other green collectibles.

What a great swap!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1 plus 58...

me at 1 year
...equals 59, which is what I am today.  

I've been reading about various journaling artists in one of those $14.99 Stampington magazines that I can't resist now and then. One of the women felt that self-portraiture was key to understanding yourself as an artist, finding your true voice,etc, etc, so this morning I grabbed my camera and fired off a bunch of shots in the front hall while trying not to have a goofy self conscious expression on my face.

me this morning
God, were they awful. Bulbous nose, double chin, eyes of two different sizes. I'm just not a photogenic person. When you say that, everyone assures you that you really are, but, no, some of us just aren't. Anyway, I picked one and tweaked it a bit in photoshop. My face isn't red like it looks in the photo but I couldn't figure out anything in photoshop to fix it.

Also grabbed a couple shots that Steve took of me the other day as I was working away on something at my craft table. I actually like those. I'm wearing 5 layers of clothes cause we keep our house pretty cool and I was freezing that day.

I don't feel especially enlightened by my self-photo session, altho I am somewhat more determined to get that eyelid lift sooner rather than later. The dark chocolate cake I baked and took to work seemed to have a more positive effect on my sense of self than did the photos of my face.

The Starbucks in the studio shots is an imposter. I make my own mochas and just use a Starbucks sleeve on the cups I buy at Costco. It's to the point now where I like my own concoction better than SB.

I bought the drawing lab book at left in the bottom shot in a vain effort to locate my inner van Gogh. I really can't draw worth a damn. Maybe taking a class with a real person is the way to go. I'd like to be able to at least sketch a bit in a journal or add silly animals or people to ATCs. I started at the front and worked my way thru the exercises one evening on the couch. When I showed my ten little dog drawings to Steve he spit his water all over Maggie, who was sleeping between his knees on the stretched out recliner he was sitting in. Not very encouraging , honey...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Blue Swap ATCs

The theme for this swap was just something blue on the card, otherwise you could do whatever you wanted. 

That sounded simple enough, but I was amazed at how few blue papers I had. For the first one, I used an image  I've used before. There's nothing special about this woman but maybe that's why she appeals to me - she's so neutral, she goes with anything. She's on a hand painted and stamped background, with a bit of purchased paper trim, a big old #1 stamped with red to pick up the red in the trim, and some text from a book. I like all the colors in this one quite a lot.

The next one is a woman I originally downloaded for the Tea Bag Swap but didn't use. I think she's Russian but I picked her because her cup was blue and I loved the colors in her shawl. She's on a torn paper background, dry brushed with gesso, with some designs cut from some fancy paper that had the right colors in it. I went over some of the designs on the paper with metallic gel pens. Since no ATC looks complete to me without some text on it, I added the definition of 'delicious' from an old dictionary.

The last one are the four legs from a magazine spread. They're on a hand painted background with red splotches from stamped bubble wrap. A #4 edged with red ink, some dots of white paint to echo the white of the 4, and, of course, some more text - this time 'denim.' The fact that I switched sides with the legs sort of makes me dizzy when I look at it, like my brain's trying to make the feet pair up properly even tho they're out of place.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

torn paper swap ATCs

For this swap, you could use only torn paper. No stamps, no scissors, no nothing except paper, your nimble fingers and glue.

I took some ATC blanks, a couple glue sticks and a box of misc papers to my Monday morning coffee cloche with a knitting friend. I tried a couple landscapes which shall remain unposted because my art skills are really lame. Then I tried something else, which is in the other room right now and I can't remember what it was, but it was bad, too.

Then I started playing with a Chinese newspaper I'd grabbed at the library last week. There was a city scape but it was too wide for the card, so I got the brilliant idea to scrunch it up and have the wrinkles be a design feature. It worked pretty well and I finished it off other bits from the paper. It's a technique I'm going to use more often cause it provides visual interest and texture without a lot of bulk or weight.

The next one is all bits from old books, plus Alexander Hamilton for absolutely no particular reason other than he seemed to go with it, then found the definition of 'tear' in a dictionary and added that. it's a real mish-mash of stuff but I like the overall look.

Last one is fanned out strips torn from a French textbook, plus a couple feature items from the history section of the book. I have no idea whatsoever what the text says, so if the card ends up with someone who can read French, they may be in for a surprise if it says something really odd...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ATCs with text

Three of these will go off to a swap, the rest will go into my 'for trade' pile.

I think I've been scanning on 72dpi and need to make sure it's higher in the future cause these all look blurry to me. In real life, they're nice and crisp and you can read the text with no problem.

Of this batch, I'm very fond of the Juliet ATC at the bottom. Also like the African-American girl in the red dress.

theme thursday challenge ATCs vintage children

Theme Thursday seems to often have challenges that appeal to me.

These were easy. I was at the kitchen table working away on ATCs with text for a swap and just added two kids to the images I was working with.

I put wings on both of them cause I keep seeing other ATCs with wings and like them but always forget to do it before I stick the image down. Kinda tough to add them after.

The background of the baby is watercolor pencils then stamped with green ink on bubble wrap. Love how it came out. I'm doing a lot more creating my own backgrounds now instead of just slapping fancy paper on a chunk of card board.

I'm also getting a little freer with odd color combos. Normally pink, mustard yellow, olive green, and sky blue wouldn't come to mind as something that would work, but I quite like the baby ATC and may keep it around instead of putting on my swap page.

The girl is from a Green Paper collage sheet and the baby is from my own collection of old photos.

Monday, January 10, 2011


A Collage Obsession challenge ATC using with the image of the woman, and/or the theme 'jewelry'. I went with the woman.

I had this background made up for another set of cards, but nothing looked right on it so it got shoved aside. When this challenge was posted, I printed the woman, cut her out, then went looking for something to do with her. Turned out she was perfect on this background.

The Italian verb conjugation book that I got at the library for a buck provided the text, but it was stark white so I toned it down with some teal chalk to pick up the background colors a bit.

I stuck three little blue jewels to her to add some jewelry bling and called it done.

This one of nine (9!!!) ATCs I churned out on Sunday the 9th, along with a bunch of backgrounds. I sat at the kitchen table piled high with art supplies, tea, and cookies, going back and forth between the NFL playoffs and a figure skating/gymnastics extravaganza. What a juxtaposition of sports, huh? Hulking, grunting linebackers and lithe, twirling skaters. It was a really good day! (DH is fishing in Mexico for 10 days...)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Green Paper Challenge ATC

January's challenge at Green Paper was to use pieces from all three of the images. I'm sneaking in just under the wire cause it's over tomorrow morning.

I played and played with this in Photoshop but ended up printing everything out and doing a tradition ATC using only the 3 images. I brightened the colors and contrast of the ledger page and printed it out large, so that I can use pieces of it for other ATCs. I did de-saturate the roses cause I have a heck of a time fitting one color image in with sepia or b/w images, then colored them in a bit with chalk.

I like the way the angle of the roses picks up the angle of her hat.

The ledger page immediately made me think about what a balancing act a relationship is, so the title Love's Balance Sheet was an easy one to come up with.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

remembering 2010

I've never been a goal setter, a resolution maker, a long-term planner. My approach is a bit better than day-to-day, but not by much. So instead of looking ahead to 2010, I'm going to look back at 2010 and see if there's anything to be learned.

And, because I'm so totally a glass half empty person, a negative event is the first one that comes to mind. 2010 will stick in my head as the year we lost our sweet old Amazon parrot Sadie.

She was somewhere between 45 and 50 when she died, and we had her for 14 of those years. She was wild-caught, and we bought her from a bird store when her previous owner gave her up because his girlfriend didn't like her. Unreal.

She was a wonderful old bird and we miss her terribly.

On a positive note, 2010 was the year Photoshop made sense. I'd tried to figure it out years ago, but just didn't have the right frame of mind or something because it was incredibly frustrating. This time, I installed it, started playing around and googling websites with tutorials, and I'm on my way to being able to create things I'm happy with. Yay. 

2010 was also the year I discovered collage, altered books, and ATCs. My craft room went fairly quickly from a place of yarn skeins, ball winder, and knitting needles to a place of glue sticks and old books and piles of magazines and paint pots and scissors and paper. 

I've always been a bit of a pack rat and mixed media collaging hasn't helped at all. Darn near anything is fair game to get glued to something, so my room is full of little drawers filled with seed pods and old safety pins and odd old bits of metal. Not to mention the beads, buttons and lace left over from my CQ days.

At first I really struggled with what to put on the paper. Just cutting out random things was too unorganized for me, I needed something to go by, at least a vague road map on what to do, so I went to Flickr and searched collage.

Up came over 100,000 images of wonderful works of art that ranged from ultra modern to goofy to vintage and everything in between. As I looked thru them, ideas began to come and the longer I do this, the easier it is to sit down and be creative. It's like my imagination had to get warmed up or something.

Also, google is invaluable. Just sayin'.

I can't really even remember much more of 2010. And I'm not choosing a word or making any lofty resolutions. I just want to get thru 2011 intact emotionally and financially, and not have my health degrade any further. If I can get those things to happen, I'll call it a success.