Archive for the ‘artist trading cards’ Category

Favorite Holiday ATCs

Our final set of ATCs was originally going to be on the self portrait theme, but there wasn’t much enthusiasm in the group for that, so we changed it. We finally decided on the theme of favorite holidays. This one was kind of tricky for me because the closest thing I have to a favorite holiday is Christmas, and other than that I don’t especially care about most holidays, and we had already done Christmas themed cards. Thanksgiving was another option but I wasn’t thrilled or inspired by that idea, so I decided to try and come up with something unique. Everybody has days that are important specifically to them and feel more like holidays than “official” holidays, so I decided to think out what one of those is for me and do that. I considered my birthday, but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about my own birthday since about age 13 and choosing someone else’s birthday as my favorite holiday seemed weird. Then it occurred to me. My favorite holiday is the day that Andy came home from the hospital for the last time and we could finally focus on getting him back to healthy and getting our life back on track. For those who may not know, my husband (then boyfriend) Andy was diagnosed with Leukemia in December of 2011, and spent 8 months undergoing intensive chemotherapy, most of that time while also being stuck in the hospital. I decided to call this holiday Remission Day, and got thinking.

I decided that this was another time that my usual more pictorial style wouldn’t work, and I wanted to try to use inkle weaving to make the card, so I decided on an abstract design meant to show the feeling of moving from darkness and doom (because I can’t think of a less melodramatic way to say it right now), back into the light and adventure of every day life. So I warped up my loom with thread moving from black and browns into the brighter colors of reds and greens, but with a few blacks thrown in there because life isn’t all happiness and joy. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, at least that I can find, while I was working, so you don’t get any process pictures this time, sorry. 😦

There was a big range of holidays chosen, and the cards were all really cool, as usual. Some of the more unusual holidays included Holi, an Indian festival that involves throwing colored pigments, National Procrastination Day, and the Festival of Broken Needles, which is apparently a holiday specifically for seamstresses! There were plenty of more standard holidays as well, of course, including Independence Day, Arbor Day, and Halloween/Valentine’s Day (she couldn’t decide on one so she combined them!). Here are all the pictures.

Looking through my pictures I realized that I have 7 of these cards when I should only have 6… one must be my mother’s that I borrowed for taking a picture and haven’t gotten back to her, woops! This was the last group of ATCs, so next up I’ll post some wedding stuff, and then I’ll post about the Designing Quilter’s current project, a postcard exchange!

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Fall ATCs

Remember when I said I would post about the fall ATCs soon? Obviously that didn’t happen, sorry. But seeing as my mother is the person who has been pestering me most to update again, and tomorrow is mother’s day, I figured now is as good a time as any to start posting again! And school is done, so I suddenly have more free time. First, the post about the fall ATC exchange, then more about life in general, and soon more posts about ATCs, my wedding dress (!) and new projects. This time I promise those posts will come soon, cause I’m going to write them today!

The fall theme was a bit tricky, because I usually work in more pictorial images, but all of my inspiration was scents, sounds, and colors. I knew I wanted to do something with fall colors, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing leaves or just abstract color combinations. When I really think about fall I think of the crisp feel and smell of the air, along with the damp smell of leaves and the scent of bonfires. So I decided to do something portraying bonfires. I didn’t just want to do a fire with logs, that was too boring and I was trying to do different things with my ATCs, so I finally decided to do a sort of close-up of a fire.

I have really been impressed with what Vicki and Donna do with the many, many layers that they put on their pieces, so I decided to play with layering to try to get the real fire texture. I figured that would be easier to do on a larger piece so I decided to make all the cards as one larger piece and then cut it up. It turned out to be sooo much easier in my head. First, I discovered just how hard it is to get a flat piece of fabric to lay in a way that looks like the motion of flames, or anything really other than a flat piece of fabric. Then I realized that I would need to sew down each layer at a time because there was no way I could stack all the layers up pinned down the way I wanted and then be able to sew them down without taking the whole thing apart, and I knew I would never get it back together correctly. So it became a matter of just slapping layers on and hoping they didn’t look terrible. I can’t honestly say that I really liked the piece for most of the time I was working on it. I managed to get it looking okay as a whole, although I probably would have started over again if I hadn’t left it to the last minute (procrastination is my favorite past-time). Then I sewed the lines for the edges of the cards on and cut the cards apart and decided all but a couple of them looked terrible. In the end, though, when I finished the edges off and added a few extra touches to some of them, I’m actually quite happy with them. They don’t look anything like I had originally pictured, but since I can’t remember now what I originally pictured, that’s not a problem! 🙂 The wonders of time. Here are my pictures of the whole process.

Unfortunately, I don’t have as many or as good pictures of the other cards for this group than I usually do. I helped to swap the cards into their groups, and then we got very busy discussing other things, so I didn’t have a chance to take good pictures of the cards before they were swapped and they didn’t get passed around after getting swapped. So I have good pictures of the ones I got, and some general pictures of the ones I didn’t. Here are all the pictures I do have.

There’s only one group of ATCs left to post, and I’m going to write that post right now, so it should be up in the next day or two (I’ve gotta spread them out you know, don’t want to spoil you). Now a life update. The wedding went incredibly well! No real hitches and no major disasters, which was amazing and also really relaxing. I’ll post pictures of the dress my mom made for me (it is such an awesome dress that I wish I had other places to wear it to!), the fabric flowers that Virginia made for us, and a highlight or two from the wedding soon. We also bought a house in October! Life has just been blowing up with things to do! Once I get my work room into more order I will post pictures of that as well (it’s getting there, but I still have boxes all over the floor and want to get that dealt with before showing anyone).

Summer ATCs

My ATCs for the summer exchange were a lot more involved than my spring cards. And the involve electronics! Sort of. Coming up with my cards for the summer exchange was even more difficult than coming up with the spring ones, because when I think summer everything I think of is smells and sounds and feelings (sunscreen, humidity, heat etc) which I couldn’t figure out how to make into images that I liked. Then it finally occurred to me that two of my favorite things in the summer are the smell of rain on hot pavement (I recently came across a word specifically for that smell but I can’t remember it now), and thunderstorms. So I decided I wanted to put a thunderstorm on my cards and I wanted the lightning to actually light up! They didn’t end up how I was picturing them originally, but they’re pretty darn cool.

I made the lightning light up using LEDs and watch batteries. I originally asked the fiancee if he could rig something up for me so there would be a little button or switch inside that you would push, but he wasn’t real interested and couldn’t come up with a real good way to do it and finally just sort of quit thinking about it. But when he was trying to figure it out he mentioned that it would be easiest to just use the LED and the battery straight (because you don’t actually need anything else because voltage on the battery is correct for the LED already, or some other electronics concept that I only vaguely understand) but he didn’t know how you could keep the leads (the two metal bits sticking off the LED) separate so that it was only lit up when you pushed them together. My first thought was a spring, but if it were a metal spring that would create a short and it wouldn’t work. Then I suggested foam and he said it might work, but he didn’t think the foam would hold up well. But I went hunting around the random junk in our apartment and found foam that worked! Then I had to figure out how to get the light and battery to stay in the right place in relation to each other and the rest of the card, while putting enough stuffing, or whatever I used, in the card so that the light apparatus wasn’t creating a great big bump on the surface. I ended up solving both problems by using multiple layers of timtex, two of which had space cut out for the light and battery to fit in to. To get the lightning itself, I ended up cutting the shape of the lightning out of the front fabric and putting a piece of nappy liner (my mom has some of the strangest and most useful things) behind that fabric so there was some sort of surface to the lightning. Then I painted gold onto a piece of this papery stuff, also from my mom, which went underneath the light to try and give the lightning some sparkle. Then came the layers of timtex, all finished off with another piece of fabric on the back. I sewed around the edges with the sewing machine to keep things together, and I can tell you that my machine did not like going through all those layers! Now, process pictures!

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And here are all the other summer ATCs, there are some more really cool ones! I really like the one my mom made, and the flower garden done with the ribbon embroidery.

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Next up: fall!

Spring ATCs

I am terribly behind on posting about the artist trading card exchange (two whole seasons!), much less posting about anything else, but I will totally make the excuse of life being busy. This weekend is the Fiber Arts Festival here and that seems to have inspired me to post again, so today I’ll post about the spring ATCs, then tomorrow I’ll post about the summer ATCs, and Thursday I might post about the fall ones. Thursday is the exchange for the fall cards, so if I get my act together quickly enough I can post about them right away, but more likely I won’t get that post out until next week some time.

The cards I made for the spring exchange were pretty simple. I couldn’t think of much for spring other than flowers, then my mom suggested lambs, and I liked that a lot better. So I needle felted little lambs onto some felt (in poses that are supposed to look like they’re frolicking) and added a little bit of embroidery to fill in the blank spaces, then used blanket stitch to attach another piece of felt to the back and add a little more interest around the edge. These were pretty definitely the simplest cards I’ve made so far, but they needed to be done right at the end of the school semester so I was totally out of energy and time to do anything more complicated! And I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Here is a picture of them. I didn’t take the process pictures that I usually do with these cause I was pretty rushed to get them done.

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I was quite impressed with the other cards this time too. And here are those!

Tomorrow, summer ATCs!

Winter ATCs

Now that it’s finally feeling like spring, I think I can face posting about the winter artist trading cards! Yeah, we’ll say that’s the reason I didn’t post sooner.

To start, here are the ones I made, and pictures of the process.

So I decided I wanted to play more with free-motion machine stitching to make this round of ATCs. I used metallic silver thread on dissolvable plastic interfacing stuff (I’m really not good with the technical names of things, so I make my own up. Can you tell?). I figured I could easily cut a single snowflake into four pieces, and I needed six cards, so I decided to make two snowflakes and planned to then have two extra cards. After making the first snowflake, I was running low on time and really didn’t want to make another one that big, so I made a smaller one that I could just cut in half and make the final two cards out of.

I had expected the big snowflake to take up more of each card once it was cut up. I think it shrunk a lot as I was stitching (you can see the dissolvable stuff is pretty bunched up) which I hadn’t taken into account when I was marking out the size for the snowflake, and that’s why it turned out smaller than I expected. The background really needed something though, since the main snowflake was way too small on some of them, and I didn’t have time to make another snowflake, so I figured I would just hand stitch some small “snowflakes” in the background. I’m actually really happy with how that worked out, it looks nice. I like how the small snowflake looks a lot better. I think it looks more like a snowflake than the big one. The big one turned out looking rather like a doily, and I’m not totally sure how I could have avoided that with the style of snowflake I wanted to do. But everyone who got one of the cards was happy with it, so I’m satisfied.

And here are the other ATCs. I only got half of them, because we have twelve (or maybe it’s even thirteen) people in the exchange and nobody wants to make twelve cards, so we only get half of the other people’s cards at each exchange. But there are pictures of all of them (I think), and a couple of the highly complicated exchange process.

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The next exchange is at the April meeting and the theme is spring! I will have more pictures after that, and I’m going to a needle felting retreat in a couple weeks and will try to take lots of pictures there to share with you. There will even be little lambs!

ATCs and Inspiration Boxes

As my mother keeps reminding me, it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. So, remember my post months ago about the artist trading cards I made and the exchange for them? Well here are pictures of the other cards from the exchange!

I managed to miss getting a picture of one person’s cards, they’re adorable kangaroos with Santa hats! Somehow I was thinking that I had one of them in my set so I didn’t take a picture of them at the meeting, and today I discovered I didn’t get one.

The next exchange is this Thursday, so I will post more, including the ones I’m making, sometime next week! (hopefully)

We also exchanged “inspiration boxes”. Somebody found one on Etsy that you could buy, and figured they’d be good for an exchange. So first, here’s the one I put together.

And the inspiration box that I got. I think this one was a lot better than mine!

My inspiration box came from Australia, hence the Koalas and the neat fabrics that I suspect you can’t get here. And I love the sparkly box, but boy does it shed everywhere! I put it in my purse after I got it, and have been spreading sparkles everywhere, even at work, ever since. 🙂

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