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Digital ATCs – sort of

Yesterday was a black hole of unexpected issues, including a cancelled knitting session, a trip to the dentist, and a call to the Dr. Annoying and hopefully sorted out soon. For once I was not a bit ahead in my blog posts, so this is quite late. Something I had worked on a couple of weeks ago and then set aside, but it seemed like something I could finish up today – and my hints about something coming had to be put off because of stupid errors on my part – I might just have to hold on to that till next week. ANYWAY…

I had bought a digital element that was a full sheet of Frida Kahlo images as one image. With a lot of fiddling I extracted the images as individual items then framed them to fit an ATC. I then created a single sheet of digital paper that had the bits from about 5 or 6 different digital papers placed just so

Once I did that I was able to precisely overlay the images and create a single sheet to print

Once I printed them I decided to use those gel pens, the neon and gold ones, to tart up the print out

I really like making my stash work for me in ways I need it to, and I am not opposed to chopping up something if I think it will work better that way. I bought (total impulse) a set of bugs, stamps and dies. In the end I haven’t really used them like I expected

But one of the first things I did was cut away the little Fig. # bits. For a start, that bit is not included in the die-cutting area, and the extra makes it harder to line up the bit you do want to cut. Or at least it does for me. And I actually have used the words more often then the actual stamps/dies at this point.

It was a nice addition to each card, along with the gel pen doodles and some other stamping.

They still need something, but now I have other stuff to do so they won’t get finished till either later today or tomorrow, depending on when I feel up to it. This does bring me to my actual point. Other ATC makers, if you stumble on this, what is your feeling about digital ATCs – printed or printed and tarted up? On some sites it seems the are thought of as other, maybe not as good as ones made from scratch. There seems to be a hierarchy – hand painted or hand drawn, mixed media or collaged, printed + extras, just a print. I’m not sure I buy that, because I have seen some digital collage ATCs that are freakin’ amazing, and some hand-painted ones I would have been ashamed to tell people I was the one responsible for them! Thought?


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WOYWW643 – just a bunch of stuff

Happy WOYWW to all – once again I am knitting on a Wednesday, and next week too, as my mate had a conflict on Tuesday this week and I do next week. Bah! So we have a couple of messy desks, but actually sort of in reverse. As I mentioned yesterday, my main desk was quite tidy

with only a few thing hanging about – like this set of gel pens my daughter decided she didn’t want to use, and didn’t want them cluttering up her space so she announced I should have them cause she knew I needed them.

I’m sure I can find a use for them… Also my junk journal. It’s getting used, not every day, but more often than it was over the summer. Lots, maybe even all, of the tuck spots are full and I am down to writing on the backgrounds or adding tip-ins.

The other desk is a bit of a mess:

It is littered with ATCs and coins and stuff that needs sorting out. Problem is, that sort of spilled over across the room to my MAIN desk so that looks like this as I schedule the post Tuesday night!

Literally as I was creating this post, I got some news I was waiting for so I hope I can share something soon.

So just the cards. An easy one this week!

I don’t watch sports, really so if I had to limit myself to only watching the Browns or not watching sports at all I could live with that. I suspect you would have to think long and hard about what sort of business could be successful with only swans, talking or otherwise, as employees….

Have a great WOYWW!!


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Misguided Angels ATCs

I am always looking for ways to use stuff up. There are things I have been clinging to for YEARS, without finding just the right way to make use of them. These stickers are a perfect example.

They are a combo of strips from a very very old Club Scrap kit -and I am ashamed to admit exactly how much of my CS kits remain unused – and some Magenta stickers that I just thought were really pretty. They kinda went together to me so I built up some backgrounds using them

They were just a tiny bit shiny – not shiny, more..semi-gloss I guess. So I scraped on a bit of gesso on to give them some tooth and make them more interesting

You can see at the top some collage images I planned to add – slightly western style dance hall gals

As soon as I saw them, the old Cowboy Junkies song Misguided Angel leapt into my head. That gave me my title. So now, this is interesting. I normally would have spent a bit of time looking closely at the lyrics of the song, probably picking out bits that would work for the text on my cards, typing them in to a program I use, fiddling with fonts for ages, printing them out, cutting them out, inking them, sticking them…but I didn’t. I just grabbed one of the Tim Holtz clipppings books and picked out my text from those. What’s wrong with me?? Am I finally going off making ATCs, maybe even a little? I might be. A WOYWW participant had something on her desk last week and it sent me off down a bit of a weird path. Not sure I am to the point I can share where that path is taking me quite yet, but maybe soon. I feel like I want to send her a note to say thanks before I share. Anyway, here they are, my Misguided Angels:

I quite like the lush, intent on behaving badly. Hard to see the gold glittery bit on the wings (Antique Linen stickles, another old product that has been hanging about for AGES) and the little tiny numbers make me think of them as trading cards! What an odd idea…

WOYWW tomorrow and I already tidied up one of my desks – not sure if I will get to the other one or not.


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A delaying tactic…

I have had a busy weekend so today I am sharing a few of the ATCs, cards and coins, I have received, with a couple of interesting highlights for you:

First, a few of the coins. I really enjoy working with the limitations of the small space and the curved edges. Such an interesting mix, and these are a few of my most favourite ones.

I am still quite keen to make a set with these gelli print on tape backgrounds. I keep pulling them out and trying them with a variety of toppers/focal points and nothing is grabbing me and saying THIS IS IT!

Now some cards. Again, such an array, but clearly I have a type that I pick when swapping:

I am sure I had that Lynne Perrella stamp (lower right) at some point but can I find it? BAH! I love clever words on a card or coin. But any words work for me – these are amazing

Now, the most special recent ATC wasn’t even a trade. My weekly knitting partner (one of the Knitting Bags group, who I always refer to as “my bestest bag,” reads my blog daily. She did the research on ATCs, sizes, etc and made me one! While she is quite crafty (knitting and crochet mostly, and a keen sock knitter) papercraft is very much NOT her thing. It was this day. Here is a shot of my album – I don;t think you could pick hers out as the one made by someone who never makes ATCs.

She was quite clever. She used some bits from a handbag tags and even repurposed the text from something:

I wish my first ever ATC was this good. MWAH, my bag!

One last thing – I did a swap with someone and when her ATC arrived….

Yep. I don’t even think she was aware of the fact she sent me an ATC using the back I designed and shared. Makes it all worthwhile…. OK, actual art tomorrow, no more delays!


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Circle edge text – will it work? Try it and let me know!

So I have gotten a few queries about the way I put the text around the edges of my ATC coins. I use a function in my program called “Attach Baseline to Path” under Path Binding. It makes the text run along any shape. inside it or outside it, forward or reverse, hugging the baseline or a ways away, and showing the path or not. It is interesting to play with. I have been trying to work out a way to share something you can use and had no luck. If you don’t have (and know how to use) a program that does this then I suspect, well, you just can’t.

I think I finally worked out something useful, if not perfect. You will need:

  • the download below, printed at 100% exactly (more on that later)
  • a 2 inch punch
  • a 2.5 inch punch

(you can try to make circle dies work or cut by hand, but the punches are the best option.)

Here are a few of the coins where I have used this technique:

The first thing i did was create some text in a circle. Much like those booklets of useful arty words that you can peel off and stick, I made circles of text that can only be use in limited ways. I have tried to pick phrases I see a LOT, that could work for a few different situations, and where I have grouped them, I’ve tried to make the sort of GO together, so if you wanted to use the whole circle, you could. This is what it looks like – this image will not print the the exact right size for the instructions I will be giving you – download the PDF HERE

Firstly, print the PDF. Be sure that your printer is not trying to re-size the file! For some unknown reason mine always tries to print it at 103%. Change it – in my case I have to tick SCALE and then enter 100

The fine grey lines are to help you line up your punches. If you are hand cutting, or trying to line up circle dies, they will be helpful. The outside dimension is 2.5 inches, the inside circle is 2 inches. This is how I do it:

Don’t be alarmed by the mis-spellings in the PHOTO, they have been corrected in the PDF. When you have the phrases cut, you can edge them using a marker – and I love the Sharpie Chisel tip – for a fine line, or a dauber and ink for a more smudgy look.

Now, I think most of these could be made to work with any generic, pretty or arty ATC. It isn’t a crazy difficult process so I would be open to further suggestions if you care to eave them down in the comments – if I get enough that I feel are likely to be useful to many people I might do further sets. Hope this is useful!


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Some not-yet-shared ATCs

Let’s see – what have I made that I have not yet shared?

Well, I made this little set of cards, using the scraps from my desk and some washi take I got as a little extra in a swap – it says ART IS MY LIFE and was very much appreciated! It’s a lot more obvious, the text, in real life, than it look here.

And I finished up the ones built on another Vaseline resist + Distress Oxides experiment. The must remain as pairs, give the quoted dialog follows from one card to the other. From Repo Man, and ols movie with a bit of a cult following:

I love the Rubbermoon stamp set and the trick of adding just a smidge of the Stabilo All pencil and water activating it to give the stamped image a slightly more…drawn look, I guess, is a handy one. I wish more Rubbermoon stuff was sold by UK shops, now that you can’t order direct without being a paid Patreon of the shop owner.

And this little foursome of Owls.

The text is all found poetry from information about OWL STRIKES. It’s a thing apparently – I remember hearing it mentioned in an old documentary called The Staircase. I think Netflix has a newer/updated version of the original, and in English. For years after I bought this from Amazon France I kept getting recommendations from them of other things to buy – but I don’t speak French at all LOL! The second of the two documentaries was available in a French version with a secondary English soundtrack, for a HUGE discount. I did the same with Ashes To Ashes, bought a German language copy for 1/3 the price and just used the English language option. But I seriously digress!

The owls are by Lily Chilvers of The Octopode Factory. Sadly, she died in 2015, suddenly and very young. She was a talented lady, and it is fortunate her art lives on, still available on Etsy.

I have a couple of other sets on the go, but nothing to share as yet. I do have something to share tomorrow that I think will be of interest, if you like the text-on-the-edge look of those coins, so drop back by for more on THAT.


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Dapper Gents – more swap fodder, mostly.

Here is the companion set to those Vintage Ladies I made last week, all from swap fodder.

These use up two small ATC backgrounds and some plain paper from a note card, plus some of the word tape still on my desk and those typewrite key stickers I was abut to toss in the bin cause they had fused to the acetate sheet they came on and peeling them off was getting on my nerves.

The text is from O Brother, Where art Thou? and seemed to fit. A bit about making the background bits stretch to fit four coins. Each of the two bits I had were ALMOST, but not quite, ATC sized. they were both just slightly short. I folded each in half, to get the four pieces I knew I would need to work with.

In order to get the absolute most out of those bits, I attached each chunk to a “handle” and slipped it into the punch. That let me cut the largest semi-circle I could.

and each one mostly filled the coin. A bit of the plain paper and tape over the join and it was just enough. Another something from nothing set and lots of fun to work out how best to use up the limited bits I had.


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WOYWW 642 – best mask ever

Happy WOYWW to all. Lordy, lordy I did such a bad job last week of WOYWW visits. For some reason Wednesdays seem to be jammed up with stuff. And then I manage to let it slip my mind until I am not in a place where I can just start my hopping. BAH! This week I have a meeting that was rescheduled from last week, about darling daughter and her transition to adult services. I have shifted my knitting mate to Tuesday so I am hopping it’ll be smooth sailing for the first time in a while. So we begin with messy, as ever.

What a chaotic shot! If yo looked at my post from yesterday, those dapper gents are from the Livbrayr of Congress free-to-use images. Printed on the 170gsm version of the coated cardstock, they work great for coin-toppers. The other bits are from my pile of swap-fodder. I thought as I had done the vintage ladies I would do the vintage gents as a companion set.

Next has to be the tidy shot!

What a difference an hour makes…well a bit more as I have completed the coins in the interim but will save them to add tomorrow, as I have more to show. The ATCS there are a pair I made using a digital stamp from Wonderstrange. I edited out the words on the mask so I could (digitally) add my own. I saw a mask with Schrödinger’s Smile on it and decided it was the best mask ever. It’s on my birthday list cause it is just too perfect! I used that as one of the mask words, and Ceci n’est pas un masque is the other, riffing off Magritte (hence the green apple!)

The background is, of course, a mask, cut up. And there is a lovely tag/card that I got along with one of my ATC swaps. It is so pretty I had to share!

And lastly, the If you HAD to… cards. An odd pair this week

I cannot image it would be tolerable, having a drunk leprechaun in a baby sling (or even a sober one!) on you 24/7 and while I might be tempted to go for the frozen/revived option, I can’t see leaving my family behind. Both options suck. Which is worse? I can’t decide!

Have a great WOYWW day and hopefully I will hit a number of desks early then finish up later!


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All you need to create your own quirky envelope for mailing art!

Settle in. This is not a super complicated process but it does have a few steps and you will maybe want to really explore the links I’ve added. First, let me show you the kind of envelope we will be creating in a low tech sort of way:

This version uses another of the quirky character downloads you will find linked in this playlist on YouTube. The one we will use for the play today is this one:

This is a low-quality image! Be sure to go to the video and use the link there to grab the HIGH QUALITY version.

Next, grab this envelope template. Print it. It will print on A4 or US letter but the envelopes will be of slightly different sizes. That should not matter in the slightest. But you might like to print it on heavyweight cardstock so you can keep using it over and over.

Now go grab some digital paper – you could use scrapbook papers, but frankly they will likely be too thick. If mailing, you don’t really want to add a lot of weight it you don’t have to. I have found that quality printer paper is fine for envelopes, 90-120gsm. Here are a few links to some free digital papers that would work. You don’t want super busy patterns, nor heavy, dark colours. This is a good link to begin with and the paper I used for the sample above AND the one today is this one. Right click and save the image. Now print it, ticking the SCALE TO FIT option (or whatever the equivalent is on YOUR printer) so you fill the whole page with the image of the paper. You may need to rotate it to portrait orientation first.

Now use the template to cut an envelope shape out of your digital paper.

The images from the download are quite large. Possibly too large for your envelope! Print them, but select the option to print TWO images per page – on my printer that is COPIES PER PAGE. The page prints with figures of about 5 1/2 or 3 1/2 as they come, but if you print them 2 sheets per page printed, they are more like 3 1/2 and 2 1/2. MUCH better for envelopes!

OK. one more bit of techie stuff. Grab this PDF of decorative address blocks. Sorry it isn’t a full sheet, but there area few styles.

Now you have a bunch of elements and it is time to put them all together!

And this would be the time for the glue stick or maybe even better, some temporary adhesive. That way, you can use the same envelope base and make a variety of envelopes to scan!

And I also used an image for another collage sheet I bought

and yet another that uses bits from a number of collage sheets that I shared before, I think:

In close-up I think you can see all the bits I cut to assemble the figure. At this point you just need to scan the envelopes and print them as you need them! Or, as I mentioned, you could possibly photocopy them and then use them up and then copy more.

I hope that was useful and you will share with me your envelopes, if you makes some! I had an ATC come to me in a trade this week that was from someone I didn’t know personally and she had my own designed ATC by Me back on her card! Honestly, it totally made my day, to see someone using something I made and cast out to the winds!Doesn’t take much to make me happy LOL!

WOYWW tomorrow. I have had chaotic days lately, all I can do to keep up with my blogging, and WOYWW visits on the day are getting harder and harder. Even when I don’t have my knitting friend over, I have a meeting of some sort, like today. I always get to them but it seems to take till the weekend for me to manage it. Bear with me…


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Arty Envelopes to download

My ATCs have begun to land and I am getting a LOT of questions about the envelopes. I thought I would do a post about them again, with some to download, made from freebie images and free digital papers.

The thing is this – the program I use to do this kind of work (and by the way, the book folding templates) is no longer supported. The Mac mini I use is from 2009 and while it is not the last one this program will work on, the new ones running Big Sur break the Intaglio completely. So I am nursing the poor thing along, doing frequent back-ups, and hoping it stays healthy. So while I COULD explain how I do these, there is little point. I have downloaded a few potential replacements and frankly none of them work as well as Intaglio.

Here are the ones I made. Clicking this link will download all four but you can print just the one you want if you select that page and print only the selected page.

And this one, which I like a lot.

The original files were pretty massive, so this PDF has been reduced using a Quartz filter. If the images are less that crystal clear and crisp, it was either that or a 30+mb file to download and stored on my blog. Trade-offs, ya know?

The images came from a variety of places. The quirky face is from CraftyHodges on YouTube, who I have linked to before. She has a number of downloads that would work very well for the sort of low-tech solution I will walk you thru, and I will use one of her sets to shoe the steps. The crazy cat dressed as Brunhilde comes from a free image collection from the Library Of Congress. The butterfly is from The Vintage Moth – old site, but still with some nice images. The lovely face is from Freepik, which is a site I have a paid membership to so am able to use and share the images without copyright concerns. I think the digital papers came mostly from Freepik but some might just be from my collection, the download link lost to time. You can use Freepik personally without attribution, for this sort of work, so go have a look. I’ve had a membership for years and it is well work the yearly fee for the wide range of digital goodies it has.

Rather than go into some long explanation of my steps to make digital envelopes, using a program that you can’t get anymore, tomorrow I’m going to explain how you can do this in a more low-tech way and show you the steps I would use. You will need a scanner at the very least, to make your own digitally, and to print at will, but you COULD use a photocopy machine in a pinch! I will try to add a lot of links to freebies so you can have a go.