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ATC trade fodder – all those extras make something!

As much fun as it is sending out the ATCs, it is as much fun picking the “extras” to include. With very few exceptions, I usually get quite a bit of extra stuff in each envelope. As the vast majority of the swaps I have done are with people in the USA, that is even more impressive cause it costs a bit to mail.

Here are a few shots of the goodies I have amassed. I tend to keep them all in a plastic folder, which I sometimes draw from for my own extras:

But I had the idea to see if I could make a set (or multiple sets) of ATCs from just the trade extras. I duped it all out on the desk and sorted the goodies into loose piles of related items:

and I set aside the items that I knew were good for focal points on the cards or offered a “theme” – I had a quirky pile and a vintage pile.

I loved the old fashioned ladies, they were amazingly easy to cut out, and the colours very much fit in with the potential backgrounds I had. Within a very short time, no more than an hour, I had a set of vintage, snarky ATCs ready to go:

I realize I have postage stamps on three of the four and there is a perfect spot for on on the last card, and I have a large pile of those so I’ll probably add one and keep that as a unifying element. I think I had one set aside to add then just…forgot!

I think this was a lot of fun and I am keen to see if it is possible to do something with the “quirky” pile. Not sure I can, yet, as backgrounds, in particular, are now a bit thin on the ground – and the ones I do have are still more in the “vintage” style. There are a few trades outstanding still so I may have to wait for my next visit from the postie and see. But I really love this sort of challenge to myself and these last few days have been a little on the stressful side so it was fun to tune out and focus on something purely for fun.

Busy weekend ahead….


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Mushrooms from The Evil Garden – ATCs

The images that spoke to me were some fabulous colourful mushrooms and as soon as I saw them I knew they were just what I wanted for my ATC toppers. I was browsing thru my Edward Gorey book The Evil Garden and while none of the quotes worked perfectly, it did give me the idea to look for unpleasant mushroom quotes to go with the images. I found an old PDF that was a guide to mushroom gathering, but it included within a load of quotes, some from as far back as 65 AD, about the danger of mushrooms. The Hubster adores them – I loathe them. There was my theme! Here are my cards.

As the ATC bases were pretty much all warm colours, I picked a set of four blue/green mushrooms for the toppers. The smallest of the paper dolls fit, and the addition of a circle punched from tracing paper and efged with gold, set behind the dolls, helped soften the bright background and let them stand out just a bit better. I suppose you could take it that the girls are as deadly as the ‘shrooms LOL!

I am keen to do something with my Edward Gorey books. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is pretty well known, The Evil Garden maybe less so, although it is similar is tone. I have a few EG stamps, a set, a square with a man, a woman, a boy and a girl, dancing, and a single stamp of another guy, dancing, that I used with the Stamping Gear (remember that!?) in an interesting way a while back:

and a stamp of a girl pulling a wagon of books (gotta be Matilda, right?)

I also have a toy Dracula Theatre that comes as a book, to punch out and assemble:

I’m still putting it together in my head, but there is a germ of an idea!


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Experiment with Vaseline resist, Distress Oxides and glossy photo paper

I have been wondering about glossy photo paper and how it might work with DO inks and I finally found a longer bit of time to give it a go. I dragged out the paper I have the most of which is HP premium glossy photo paper – I had an HP printer for a bit and got a pack of it when I bought it but never really used it. I did the thing I showed a while back, sponging Vaseline thru a stencil, then covering the paper with DO inks, in layers. Let’s just say this was an EPIC fail:

Oh, it looks pretty enough but as soon as you try to rub off the Vaseline, the ink just sloughs off like snake skin. Ugh.

I wondered if maybe I had not let the ink dry enough, or if using the heat gun, even lightly, to dry it, caused this effect? So I grabbed another sheet of the HP photo paper, some Epson gloss photo paper and some no-brand linen texture paper I got from the £ shop eon ago and cut strips to test:

I think you can guess which was the HP. Even letting it dry naturally it is still an epic fail. But the other two are WINs for me. I cut a few ATC sized cards from the two good strips:

and added a bit of surface embellishment, stamping with a couple of colours of Archival Ink

I am really happy with them! I can’t say it is anything superior to glossy cardstock, but I have only small sheets of glossy card stock (two ATCs at most with a TON of wastage) and lots of old photo paper that is of dubious quality for photos. The HP paper is fab for that and rubbish for this. So yeah. WIN/WIN/WIN.

Now what to top them with? I had a last minute binge over the final week of the Mischief Circus site before it closed down on Sunday and I am pretty sure there are a few images that will call out to me once I unzip and review them all. I do have one idea…


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WOYWW 641 – still dithering, but in a different way

Happy WOYWW to all. What a mess I was in last night! The re-cap of my play will be here tomorrow because I am not quite done with what I am making for some experimental Distress Oxide bits. But my desk at then end of yesterday was in a state.

You can see the bits from the final contest coins I showed yesterday still hanging about. I had a quick whirl of cleaning (even hoovered the floor!) and …

The little magazine journal is made from an old issue of Vamp Stamp News (an old stamping mag from, gosh, the 80s I think) and it may get used at some point, not sure for what. It was the making that interested me not what I might do with it. A couple of other coin options for the contest that are, for the moment, unfinished. Up at the top you see my folder of dither. I had begun a set of ATCs on the topic of Dystopian quotes, all from 1984 (a great book that I love, love, love) and as I was making them I was feeling a little sense of unease.

I was feeling like the casual observer might take it to mean I was anti-vaxx, anti-mask mandates, anti-government, whatever. I am not. I am very much PRO vaxx, PRO mask mandates, and while I am not ANTI-government, I am not blind to its failings. Hence the putting in a folder of these. If I make one, I suspect I might opt for the two quotes at the top:

  • War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.
  • Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence and as difficult to attain.

but for now, they will stay tucked away. Just the If you HAD to.. cards left, I think, then off to knitting with my mate.

Hummm. Tricky. Voldemort is pretty horrible and has no sense of loyalty, so I’m thinking I get to be a billionaire then spend my money just to pay my family all of it. Then *I* don’t have to spend anything anymore! Of course, that depends on my family having that loyalty I mentioned…. LOL!

Happy WOYWWeeeee!


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Dither, dither, dither – for a contest!

Not one with a real prize or anything, I treat them more like a challenge,but one of the FB swap groups I am part of has a monthly contest. The “winner” is drawn at random, so no skill required LOL! Still I like to do my best. This month the challenge theme is GEMS. I had loads of ideas, many of which were a total fail. I knew I wanted to use this half-tone die and fill the holes.

None of them really worked, but when I combines the sequins with a gem topper, I liked that pretty well.

I messed around with combos and placement and in the end it looked like this!

Gosh the gems do not look sparkly in the least in a photo. As ever, a slight tilt helps a LOT:

That is just the first – I can do two. The other one is a collage image of the Red Queen from Alice and some pearls, because, well, the quote!

I enhanced the collage image with some gold glitter pen and shadowing an while I wish I picked a thicker font so the white letters stand out a bit more, overall I like it a lot.

I cannot believe it’s WOYWW again tomorrow! Best tidy up that desk. It’s a tip!


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ATC coins – used the watercolour birds!

Well, I couldn’t let them go to waste, so I’ve managed to make a set of coins. I made coins a while back where I printed some text in a curve to go around the edges of the coin and I really liked it. I wanted to do it again.

I had the idea I might be able to create an editable PDF that I could share (so you could do it to without a specific program) but I failed, miserably. Ah well…

The other thing I did that I seem to do a LOT it stuck a very large, very bright gold dot from some tissue paper I have to a bit of cardstock and then punched out with a circle punch. It looks really lovely, but in photos it looks a bot like a dull grey blob. The magic is revealed when yo tilt it ever so slightly:

Kapow! It just glows. Still considering what I want to focus on next – or do I just keep making my cards and coins, trading them across the world, and writing in my journal? I simply cannot decide!


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The risks of swapping ATCs internationally

Oh I am so very sad! I always take my envelopes with ATCs in them to the post office for mailing and to ensure that the thickness fits the Large letter/Small letter requirements. I have mailed a ton of them out (20 or more) and gotten quite a few ATCs back, but yesterday the unthinkable happened. I had mailed a couple of ATC coins off to The Netherlands. At the local Post Office it was deemed the right thickness and the “standard” to Europe postage of £1.70. The woman took it from me at the counter and dropped it in the bag. I received the coins from the person who mailed to me in very good time and she was super generous, sending more than I expected. Then she sent me a message asking what the envelope looked like. I sent an image of maybe the one I used (I have a few) that I print out when I need to mail something

and then she explained why – apparently her post man, hiding the envelope from her view, told her that there was postage due of £3.60 (!!) and would not let her see the envelope but insisted she pay before she could look at it. She refused and he took the letter away. The coins inside may very well now end up in the bin in some foreign country.

Wwwaaahhhhh! I am at a loss. Is it the mailman who is dodgy here? Is he trying to pry some money out of someone? Is it my local PO that bollocksed it up with the postage somehow? Was this not my envelope but some other one (seems the most unlikely scenario) or something else entirely? In the end I felt so bad I had a go at making another set. Not sure they are as good, but it’s something anyway:

I wonder if this is a sign to move on? Ya gotta wonder…. I really need to at the very least figure out what to do with these birds I watercoloured. I didn’t use them on the swatch backgrounds but they are very cute and need to find a home!

Darn it. I am enjoying this process and making the small art pieces and I am angry this happened.

Grrrr. I just needed to vent for a bit.


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Watercolour ATCs – a struggle

I had an idea for making a set of ATCs using my watercolours. I enjoyed the swatching process a week or so back and thought it might provide a nice base for some cards

Keeping the lines straight was the first challenge! Once I had the whole sheet full of blobs of colour I used an ATC sized window to audition areas. The swatches were all a bit random so just cutting them to size as a grid was not really going to work. And at least one card ended up being seriously wonky to the point of being unusable as a base. Once I cut the cards, I doodled a bit with some white gel pen, ome black Micron pen and some gold ink and a dip pen.

But then I really struggled with the toppers. Would it be just text? and image? would it be stamped over? I did photo two of the most promising options:

I liked the birds as they were watercoloured as well, but in the end the quirky people spoke to me louder LOL!

It isn’t obvious, but the words were available as…well, WORDS, but I preferred them as LETTERS so, yeah, I cut them all apart, inked all four edges of each letter block then stuck them back together as words. Cause that’s how I roll…. LOL!

Now what next? I don’t know but I have some ideas….

Some of my traded ATCs have begun to land in the USA – I have yet to receive any back yet. I hope I do soon. I am anxious to see that international mailings are problem free….


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Absurd Birds ATCs

Just a quick set of ATCs today. Lots going on, as ever. I realize I never shared these and yet have traded most of them already! They are backgrounds from a book about flower arranging I grabbed from the SCOPE shop when picking darling daughter up from her volunteer time there, and printed images from a collage kit. The text is from a collection of “surreal” quotes – as opposed to quotes about surrealism. Very different!

Only He Spoke Fire, He Runs, and Runs Again and Shadows Collect are still available. I really must stop adding text as individual words. Tedious for sure, but I do love this font with these images.

I am still quite keen to follow thru on something I mentioned a while back, melding a LifeBook class with an idea for a set of ATCs. I may find time to work on them later today and maybe share soon. And I need to check on the LB classes again to see if I am tempted by anything newly released. I think I missed out on a Wanderlust discount so not sure if I will follow thru on that or not. Honestly, my track record with even classes I PAID for is rubbish and I have 100 free classes queued up tooso it seems madness to even consider adding another pressure point! But we’ll see….


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WOYWW 640!

Happy WOYWW all! Last week’s WOYWW seemed to be riddled with technical issues so fingers crossed this week it will be back to normal. Let’s see – what is there to talk about…I am still into the ATC thing. I am really enjoying nearly daily Happy Mail from all over the world trades. My desk, as of yesterday, was in a bit of a state.

Perhaps not as bad as it could have been but not tidy in the least. The trimmed is acting up a LOT and I’ve ordered a couple of new ones but although I have had a notice it was shipped in the 30th, nothing has arrived yet and when I check the site, it tells me I have placed no orders! I did one of the online contact forms and no reply as yet. Annoying. Other stuff is all collage fodder, and did result in a set of cards that I really like a lot:

Keen eyed British folk might recognize the text. I found it amusing that Tim Holtz and Timmy, the dog from the Famous Five books share a name, and that bit of (exact) text from The Famous Five – Five Run Away Together worked so perfectly on that card with Tim Holtz paper dolls! Made me laugh anyway. I call the series Bad to the Bbbone but it probably should have been Bbbad to the Bbbone, as I sing it in my head. Ah well.

If anyone is a at all interested in trading coins or cards, I have added a page with my currently available items at the top.

And speaking of trades, I did a set of oddly shaped coins and traded one of them with WOYWW mate Bishopsmate! Here is hers:

Pink is indeed good. And these two really made me smile, from a trade in a Facebook group:

Let’s see…If You HAD to… cards for the week:

Seems like hair-trigger harpoon arms are pretty deadly, and having to make multiple trips to the store is good exercise, so a clear choice for me. How about you? And a final shot of my desk after a good clear up – much better!

My junk journal (that I am managing to write in most mornings, well on my way to establishing that habit) and a pile of cut but not decorated ATC card bases. What’s on YOUR desk? Do share, I’m dyin’ to have a look….