November 26, 2008

Holiday Table Seating Cards

This Thanksgiving, totally in the ATC mode, I decided to make name cards for each guest at our night, trying to fall asleep, I thought of the many buckeyes we'd collected just a month or so ago. I thought of spray paint, and holiday greetings...

I ended up spray painting the buckeyes gold. I'd actually spray-painted them a week or so earlier, in anticipation of another project (see bird's nest arrangment, coming soon). So I had plenty on hand. I'd also painted some small pine cones, the kind that are two inches or less in length.

A quick Google image search pulled up various clip art sites with holiday borders. Using Photoshop, I forced the dimensions to fit ATC card size.

I then went to a site that listed hymns for every occassion and picked out a few verses that seemed appropriate to each guest. I printed the cards out on one large sheet, and cut them into 2.5 x 3.5 inch rectangles.

Then, I picked out buckeyes that had one flat side; they stand up better that way. I put a dab of glue on the top of the buckeye and placed the pinecone on top.

I had also had some green leaves that were leftover from a flower arrangment. They seemed to never wither or die. I had sprayed them gold as well. I cut one leaf off for each name card and after the pine cone was secure, glued the leaf to the buckeye as well. The leaf was used to give interest to the back side of the seating cards, what people would see from the other side of the table. So, I put the right side of the leaf facing the pine cone.

Next, I glued the printed cards to the front of the buckeye, about 1/8 inch from the table's surface. I also put a dab of glue in the middle of the leaf and adhered the card to the leaf as well.

Below is a photo of the back of the cards. They looked really pretty on the table. The next time, I will also print something on the back, and likely use my own drawings. Also, I will use shorter verses and a larger font, as our table consisted of 2 80-somethings, 1 60-something and 2 50-somethings. We were all looking for our reading glasses to see the darn things. But they did look good on the table!

November 19, 2008

Handmade Stamps

I'd been wanting to try making stamps for a while, something not too time-consuming or intricate... just some new images that can be used on gift wrap, ATCs, tags, or cards... Today I found a way that was quick and easy.

Using a sheet of foam (sold in drug stores where the crayons and modeling clay is and also in craft stores in a variety of colors) I grabbed a sharp X-acto knife (yes, overcoming my aversion to knives) and some cast-off cardboard.

I cut the cardboard into rectangles no larger than an Artist Trading Card (2.5 x 3.5). I took a pen and drew the shape of a tree on the foam. I cut the tree out and grabbed my old-fashioned hole puncher. I punched holes in the tree for where I figured later I would put dabs of red or gold paint, or perhaps glue rhinestones (on the stamped image).

I then glued the foam tree with holes onto the cardboard with Elmer's glue. Then I gave the stamp a coat of acrylic gloss gel medium and went and ate a really good turkey and imported Swiss cheese sandwich made by Mark.

I also took all the holes I'd punched out of the tree, and glued them onto another rectangle of cardboard. And, I cut a four small strips of foam out with deckle-edged sissors and glued those in the shape of a not-too-square frame onto another rectangle of cardboard. So, now I had three new stamps. All were given a coat of gel medium just to seal them somewhat.

Returning to my craft room for Disk 3 of MI-5, season 3, I found the stamp dry. Now, lunch was over and time to try them out. They worked pretty well, don't you think? (see photo above. The images on white are the stamps on ATC cards. The images on brown are the stamps-on-cardboard I made. Keep in mind these were made quick, easy, and are a first attempt...)

One of the online trading groups I am in (see my blog article on ATC trading groups with the huge list of groups) is having a two-sided ATC swap, and I want to make 9 almost-identical ATCs, so will use the Christmas Tree stamp for that.

Jackie, my Chihuahua, is clamoring for me to make a stamp of her to use as gift tags on the stuffed dogs she wants me to make of her (she never stops). Jackie has set up a Ralvery page and is amassing huge amounts of yarn. No one will be without a scarf this year!

My suggestion with the stamps is:
Go slow.
Use a sharp knife.
Use smallish sissors.
Keep it simple.
Get some metallic stamp pads. That's next on my list.

Have fun!

November 15, 2008

House of Cards Box

At the recent workshop, there was some interest in a box I'd brought. This little box was made at a workshop I went to a few years ago... each square card was provided, 6 in all, and decorated with stamps, collage materials, and markers... then the 6 cards were joined together with string to make a box. The end result is like a dress that can be worn either side out, because, depending on how you fold it up, that determines which side of the cards is most visible. (Click on the images shown and you can pull them up enlarged.)

I scanned the flattened, joined cards, so you could see how they were decorated and arranged. When I do this again, I will think more about how to join the boxes together--the two strings were a bit flimsy for me.

My theme for this was "A wonderful life" and I tried to capture components of that on each side of the box, inside and out.

ATC Workshop

If you are in the Columbus, Ohio or Athens, Ohio area and want to participate in our next workshop on Dec. 7th, visit for more information.

November 12, 2008

First Creative Workshop

This past Sunday, five of us met for the first ever Athens, Ohio Creative Workshop, held at ACEnet in Athens. Paulette Halliday, Art of Ohio (A Service Project of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, aka ACEnet) arranged for use of the space, and we had lots of room and a sink! So, painting, gluing, glitter, and collage activities were all easy to do.

It was very energizing for me to be a part of the sharing of creative ideas and see the great results each of the women came up with. The focus was on ATCs (artist trading cards) and we explored various techniques as well as talked about ways to use ATCs for expression and networking.

I'm hoping to set up another workshop for December, perhaps focusing on gift tag ATCs. If you are interested, visit and add your name to the group list. There is no obligation and you'll receive automatic emails on future workshops and meetups.