Featured Artist at Leda Art Supply

I am very honored to be a Featured Artist for Leda Art Supply. I just love their sketchbooks and use mine on a regular basis. You can not go wrong with Leda. They have the perfect size book for the art you love to make! Thank you, Gary and Leda! You made my day!

Vintage Santa ATC

Christmas ATCs and a surprise. The swap in Creative Crafty Friends called for making three of these. Today I want to walk you through the making of my favorite one. The vintage Santa. I have just been waiting for such an opportunity as this.

Christmas ATCs means Christmas ephemera, papers, scraps, images, anything Christmas related is fair game. So I started by pulling out anything and everything Christmas and figured out three ATCs I could make with the fixings.

Another element of the swap was to build all this on a playing card. What???? Yep! Did you know – cause I did not – that a playing card is the exact same size as an ATC? I learned something new with this one. I had these beautiful images I got from Barb at Joggles. com and I knew I wanted to use one of the old timey Santas. And I wanted a layering of papers behind him. These color scraps were just perfect! I knew the one on the left was large enough to cover the playing card, and I hand tore the top edges of the other two because I like torn edges, and they really adhere well. Hahahaha!

I began by coating that card with clear gesso and placing the paper down, smooshing it down real well. There are a lot of products you can use for this step. I use the clear gesso because it is what I have.

Next I attached the red piece, then the other patterned piece last. Notice the red doesn’t extend all the way to the bottom of the card. That doesn’t matter because the patterned piece covered it up. And yes, they are not even on the sides. Hahahahah! Not important at this point.

I mentioned a surprise. I imagine most people making these will have the card back as the back of the ATC. Not me. I intentionally left the important part of the playing card where it would be what is visible when the new owner turns this ATC over. And here you can see all the paper sticking off the edges. Once everything was dry, I just trimmed it away and tossed the leftover in the trash.

This is how it looked at this point in the game.

You know what came next, right? I used an Archival black ink pad to go around those edges and to scruff up the surface a bit. I wanted this ATC to look aged a bit and this is a perfect way to do that.

I showed you this tray a couple weeks ago. I mixed up some of my favorite colors of Lindy’s Shakers and keep them on hand for quick projects. Glittering gold is an awesome one! It doesn’t so much add color as it does shimmer! And I thought it would be magical on this ATC.

See what I mean? It doesn’t greatly change the color of the underlying paper but it does add some awesome glittery, shimmery beauty. Still wet in this photo.

Check this awesome bit of wonderful out. Let me find a link because you need some of these in your stash! Chris, do you hear me? Hahaha! Think art journaling wonderfulness. These Victorian image sheets are made in Germany. Joggles has a large selection – with and without glitter. A couple years ago Barb was including a sheet of these as freebies with orders. She saw they were a huge hit and now carries them regularly in the store. I knew I wanted to use that Santa in the center – which is why I used the color papers I did.

I trimmed Santa out with all the toys and ran him through my sticker machine. Then lined him up where I wanted him to be and stuck Santa in place!

By trimming the bottom off – my Santa is still grounded and looks right. Then I added some ink along the cut edge to cover up and blend in the line of his robe.

The last detail was the metal snowflake at the top corner. I put it in place with small Zots dots. They work great for embellishments with a little weight to them.

I touched up the black edges one more time just to be sure and called this one done. One of my favorite ATCs I’ve made. And I have two more Santas on that sheet so I could totally make myself one when I have the time. Hahahahaha! Time. What a precious commodity.

The Key to Hope

ATCs. They are consuming my waking hours right now. And I love it! They are fun, easy, quick to put together and rewarding. A short amount of time yields a completed piece of artwork. And I can make them while I watch it snow out my studio window. Or watch CW. Too cold to do anything else. Hahaha!

When we sign up to swap in Creative Crafty Friends we agree to make two ATCs to send to one person. For this particular swap I was working on the Letter K. Yesterday I showed you the first one of the set – King – and mentioned the keys to the kingdom. My second ATC is for Key. Specifically the key to hope is faith. I started with these three main elements. I have a small drawer I keep metal pieces like this in – pieces I can use in various types of art. When I have a new theme to work with one of the first places I look is my element drawer.

Originally I thought about building this on a black ATC but I changed my mind at the last minute. I wanted to put down a layer of color and started with these three and my tiny little brayer. Remember – ATCs are 2.5″ x 3.5″ so I didn’t need the big brayer.

I used all three colors by putting just a small dot of color on the paper and rolling it around with the brayer. Not going for any specific look – just trying to mottle the color and cover most of the white.

Start the amount of paint out small, you can always add more if you need to.

I really wanted this ATC to be kind of grungy looking. Old, vintagy, like something you’d find in an antique store. Those first colors were good for a base, but I needed something older looking. Dina’s evergreen color was perfect.

I added it the same way – small dot and roll. And added more where needed. I really loved this layer now and was ready to move on.

A friend sent me some pages from a pocket sized Bible and I thought scripture would be the perfect accompaniment for my Key theme. Especially this scripture. I had two pages and this little section was perfect, as scripture usually is. I attached it with clear gesso and covered it as well. Then trimmed that excess away.

A lot happened since that last picture. Hahahaha! You know me. I get in the zone and forget the phone. I used the moss color of Dyestress Ink Pad and a stamp from Deep Red to make that jumbled background. Then I used a cattail color Dyestress ink pad and a black Archival pad to add color inked around the edges and scuffed over parts of the ATC. Trying to age this piece of paper.

I had an idea that I really wanted to make work! I wanted the recipient of this ATC to be able to look at it and read the key to hope is faith just by interpreting the image itself. I grabbed my modeling paste, that beautiful gold Lindy’s Shaker and a stencil that I forget to photograph.

On a styrofoam plate, I squeezed out a bit of the modeling paste, then added some of the gold Shaker to it. I mixed it together with a palette knife. The stencil I chose had the number two on it, so I lined the stencil up where I wanted the two to be and scraped that gold modeling paste over the number 2 on the stencil. Then gently lifted the stencil away and let this dry and harden. That ‘2’ feels a bit like concrete now. Hahahaha! I adhered the old key and the hope block with small Zots. And stamped the word ‘is’ with a small lettering set I got at Michaels years ago for $1.00. Wow! Look at that! Now that set costs $8.99!

The only thing left was to add the faith block with the same Zots. And I reinked the black part of the edges to make sure it still looked good. And called it done. The key to hope is faith. Because it is. This ATC and the King one have already been delivered to a sweet lady in Oklahoma. That is another fun part of swapping ATCs. All the friends you make and share art with.

The Making of a King

Well that feature photo tells you absolutely nothing about this post except that it will be colorful. And if you have followed me for long . . . well, you already knew that part. Hahahaha! On this particular day I was setting out to make a King. To build a King – so to speak. Not quite from scratch because I cheated. A bit. Let me show you.

Not sure what I was thinking but I signed up for a total of seven swaps in Creative Crafty Friends. I think I was just in the mood for something that wasn’t tangling. You ever get that way? Some days I just don’t want to draw or tangle. I just want to make art. And ATCs are a quick and fun way to do that. And because of their size you can make a complete piece of art in a short amount of time. Well, I had my list of seven topics in hand and I pulled out a bunch of supplies to provide fodder for those topics. Before I am done I will be making a total of 13 ATCs to fill those obligations.

I needed to make two Letter K ATCs and I did not have a lot of K material to work with. Hahahaha! I know you find that hard to believe, yes? Hahahaha! Then I had a brilliant stroke of an idea – grab a playing card, cut it apart and rebuild it. So I did. An ATC is 2.5″ x 3.5″ and I chose to use mixed media paper for this particular one. I cut that playing card into pieces. And because a playing card is the exact size of an ATC – I trimmed away bits that I didn’t need in order to reduce the size of the pieces I kept.

I began by coloring my base. I wanted it to sparkle and shimmer and shine and there is no better product for that than Lindy’s Magicals. Not the ‘flat’ colors but the shimmery ones.

These three colors are what I decided to go with. I thought they would compliment my King.

Just using a regular old water brush filled with water to spread all that beautiful color. You can actually see the sparkle in this shot. That is really hard to capture in a picture. We got lucky 🙂

Here it is dry. Yes, most of that will get covered up with the playing card pieces, but isn’t it beautiful? I used this Caribbean Dyestress ink pad to go around the edges. It just doesn’t look finished to me if I can see white edges. Totally a personal preference.

I even inked these pieces with black. Those little bits were a little tricky and I mostly had ink stained fingertips when I was done. It goes pretty well with the perpetual blue and purple fingers I normally have on any given day.

I’ve talked about my sticker machine before. Want to see it work? I slid the main block of the card into the slot and turned the blue handle that you can not see on the right hand side. And apparently Aurora has been near my machine and left some evidence behind.

The paper feeds out on the back side of the machine and this card is now a sticker. The rest of the white paper is not sticky, but when I remove the card piece it will be covered in sticky adhesive on the back. Just like magic!

I have a smaller machine for little pieces – that is why the paper looks different. But it works basically the same way. Then I place a paper towel over both pieces and smooth it all down with my fingertips and any sticky residue adheres to the paper towel. Then I just peel the pieces off and use them like stickers.

Ta-da! Stuck in place. I thought I needed to darken up those edges of the overall piece so I added black around the edge in some places, keeping the Caribbean in others.

Now I needed to do something to jazz this ATC up. My TWSBI Eco fountain pen was perfect for some scribble lines around the card pieces.

A white Sharpie water based paint pent added a faint outline around the card. This didn’t work so well so I moved on.

The pink you see is Jane Davenport’s Paint Over Pen. The white Sharpie worked great for dotting those lines. And I liked it but this king still needed something.

I grabbed my bottle of Dina Wakley’s black acrylic paint and squeezed out just a bit onto my craft mat. And added water – enough to make it watery. Not painty.

And used a fan brush to pick up watered down black color and flick it or splatter it across the ATC and much of my desktop cause that’s how I do it.

Still not feeling it so I grabbed white acrylic and did the same thing with it. I like the combination of splatter colors.

And dry. I had a hard time getting a photograph. I think my camera was trying focus on the glossy playing card and not focusing on the matte ATC background. Anyway – you get the idea. And I was happy with the ATC finally.

I needed to make another K ATC. I looked at my king and thought ‘key’. There is an old Christian gospel song called Keys to the Kingdom. Well maybe my king needed a key, too. So that is what I worked on next. Probably going to be a short post for tomorrow.