Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ATCs Galore!! (And a Tutorial!)

Hey all! Okay, so I know that I promised you all an ATC tutorial when we last met, and I'm not one to break my promises. At least I try my very best not to. :) So anyways, I'm here with some ATC's. No lie. So here's the deal. Some of these steps may seem pointless, worthless, or meaningless. And I almost guarantee that at least one of them will seem that way. But when it actually comes down to it, and you dig out all your supplies in order to try and make SOME sense of this tutorial, you'll thank me. ;)

So first off I'd like to start with a basic definition of an ATC. An ATC is a miniature piece of art. Otherwise knows as Artist Trading Cards. Thus the acronym. So basically what you do with them is to take your medium and work with it on a miniature "canvas", which is 2.5"x3.5." An ATC can be worked in many, many, MANY different mediums, so you never can be quite sure what you'll receive back when you participate in a swap. Some people collage, some paint in watercolors, some in acrylics. Some draw theirs, and some even embroider (a medium that I have yet to try in ATC form :O) theirs. For my example I'm going to show you a collaged one. (For the time at least)

Okay. To start off, you need to collect your supplies. I collect a vast variety of supplies, pulling anything and everything that could possibly match the idea I have forming in my head. That's another thing to note. When I'm working on an ATC, I normally have a basic idea in my head, though it is only in the VERY beginning stages. Don't be intimidated by my large pile of supplies (otherwise known as arty crap); I won't use them all, only a few of the actual things in the pile shown will be used.

I'm more of the out of sight, out of mind type. So having all of my possible supplies out in front of me (even for something as small as an ATC) is very helpful. Notice that I have various images, stamps, papers, inks, punch outs and punches, trims, tapes, embellishments, and paints sitting out in front of me. I'm telling you, it totally helps.

A closer shot of the various papers I was trying to choose from. I had a piece of a magazine image, a paint chip, several specialty papers, and some pages from an old book. These show the variety that can be used. For a tutorial, I should have also included some cardstocks, but unfortunately they didn't quite match the vision I had in mind for this particular card. Also, don't be afraid to choose and pull several papers. Or even try out several for the same image. The thing with this kind of art is, that if it doesn't work, just use it on something else. :P I'm telling you; my method's foolproof.

The next step is to cut your paper into 2.5x3.5" rectangles. When you are cutting and measuring for this step, make sure that they stay pretty true to the initial measurements. When you're just getting started it doesn't matter that much, as you're probably not going to be trading your first cards, but when you get started trading they need to be pretty precise. Some people even think that if the measurement varies too far from the right proportions, then they cease being ATCs!! So be careful. One more note on this picture; as you can see, this is actually a perfect example of the tip I mentioned in the last paragraph in action. I couldn't decide between the specialty or the text paper for my image, so I cut one of each and tried out the image on both. It gives me a better visual. Also, the one that you decide not to use can always be used for your next card. :P

I decided on the specialty paper. It just seemed to work right with my image. After looking at it for a moment, I decided that it seemed a little plain, so I jazzed it up a bit with a cursive background stamp. You can see that the bottom stamping defiantly isn't perfect, but you won't be able to notice in the finished card.

Next up on the list; paint! I love paint for all of my projects, so when you mention collage ATCs, that's sort of the first thing that comes to mind. Don't ask me why, it just does. When I looked at what I had already decided, I thought that a more monochromatic type scheme would work best for this project, so I found a nice metallic bronze. You can't really see here, but it's actually a bit sparkly and shiny in real life.

Also, instead of using a paint brush to spread my paint like a "normal" person would, I use an old credit/gift card. They're sturdy and fun to use and they sort of resemble a pallet knife when they're used. Plus, as an added bonus, I don't have to clean any brushes; I just let the paint dry on the card! I'm a lazy bum when it comes to art, I admit it, but I don't really care...

This is what the card looks like after being spread with metallic paint. I told you it resembles a pallet knife!! And can you see the sneak peek of my image there in the corner?

Now for the stamping. I like to add at least a bit of stamping to each of my cards and art journal pages. Actually, anything that uses even a bit of collage automatically needs some stamping. Sometimes I use rubber or acrylic stamps with ink pads, but this time I thought the card was calling for something drastic. I used a large (and I mean LARGE) spiral foam stamp with black acrylic paint. It gave me just the look I was going for!! If you want another tip for stamping, here's one for you; when stamping on anything (art journal pages, inchies, ATCs, scrapbook pages, etc) always stamp at least SOME of the images off of the edge of the paper. It gives it a nice cohesive effect.

Next, I went over the entire card with a layer of distress ink. A tip for using this stuff is to NOT apply it evenly. I know that it goes against everything you've ever learned about crafting. Ever. But trust me. It really works, and just adds to the distressed effect that's so popular recently. Now that I think about it, I should really do a distress ink tutorial/technique examples post. Hmmm...

Next I placed my image on the card. Isn't the owl so cute?! Anyways, you see how the tip of the owl's tail has a streak of black on it? Or how the sentiment has a streak of metallic brown running through it? That was an accident. Purely mistake. But unlike some other people, who may have tried to cover it up, or even reprinted the entire thing, I just went with the flow. It's the same way as when I'm working with an art journal page. Almost every single time I sit down to create, another color gets mixed into the white background. Instead of getting upset, and either trying to cover it up or flipping to a new page, I just use it as a prompt! For example, if a bit of green gets scraped onto my page since it was left over on my pallet, I simply make a green page! Great inspiration.

Okay, anyways, back to the card. I thought that the above owl was looking a little bit white for the card, and it felt like it stood out too much. So, I went over it with an small amount of antique linen distress ink. I love this stuff and I'm proud!! :D

So anyways, here's the finished card. I just added the small piece of black electrical tape in the lower left hand corner and spotted it with white stickles (which is a professional glitter glue which has much more sparkle than regular glitter glue. Though I'm not really a sparkly/glitter person, when I do want bling, I want it to sparkle!)

So that's about it!! I know that the post was long, and maybe a bit annoying to read the whole thing, but I hope that I at least helped somebody with this. I know that I had fun writing it! Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

An Update

Hey people. I'm back from a couple of days break. Sorry about that, but it couldn't be helped. I had a bunch of stuff going on, and I was just really busy. So yeah. I've got a bunch more pictures for you guys too. So I went to Hobby Lobby for the first time the other day and had a ton of fun. I just about fainted when I walked in the door because of the size, but it was all good in the end. What ended up happening was that I got some pom poms for a vest I want to make, some embroidery floss for my next cross stitch project, and some aida cloth to go with it. I also got a few mixed media/scrapbooking supplies. So anyways.

Here are some yarns that I've been working with lately, and they are all for a challenge that I've been working on. It's for crocheted jewelry on Craftster. The moment I saw the challenge, I knew what I was going to make, and pretty much got started with it right away. The winner of the challenge gets their pattern and pictures featured in a magazine (I can't remember exactly which one right now). Mine is pretty much done so far, but I'm just posting pictures of the yarn currently. I used all shades of blue along with accents of white and green.

Here's a full photograph of the cross stitch that I've been working on. It's not quite completed yet, but I'm still working on it, though not as much as I was before, since I ended up starting the new cross stitch pattern (I just couldn't help myself!!). What I like about this is all of the shading and the variegating that works through it. This was my first bigger piece.

Here are some pictures of the embroidery floss that I bought for my new project in rainbow order. It's pretty cool looking. I tend to do that when I make stuff, just because I get to fondle the materials a little and mess around with them.

Here's another.

And, on a finishing note, I want to update with a bit of progress on my second project made using the supplies above. This is going to be a toy train. I've got quite a bit more done on it since this was taken, but I'll post that another time. Tomorrow I'll try to get on again. And I'm hoping to have an ATC tutorial for you all.

I know that I've talked a lot about my ATCs in the past, but still haven't posted any pics yet. I think that a nice tutorial might be a good way to showcase that. Of course an ATC can be done in many different ways, but I thought you guys may like to see my progress. We'll see if I can get pictures. I might go work on that now. Thanks for the inspiration!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hey all. It's me again. And guess what? I brought pictures!! Yep. You got it. I actually found my OLD camera and took some photos. Sorry about the crappy quality of this first cross stitch photo, but still, after a few years, it's hard for me to take good close up photos without a flash. Once I find the cord for my new camera, the pics will be better, I promise. It's a lot more user friendly than my other one. So anyways, back to this picture. I told you yesterday that I was working on the outline of a cross stitch project. That would be the brown. I'll get back to you with the number of the floss I'm using. This project is probably my second or third piece, with a level of expertise being 3 out of 5 stars. So probably an intermediate piece.

Personally, for only being my second or third cross stitch, I think it's pretty good. Of course, I'm biased, but whatever. I liked the pattern instantly when I saw it in a thrifted pattern magazine, and just had to make it. The problem still remains however. I'm going to go crazy looking for the two previous issues of this magazine (I might post a pic of it tomorrow), because this is the third and last of a set of flower patterns. This is the lily pattern, and the two others are made in the same color scheme, but they're roses and tulips. I really want to make them too, but in the magazine I have now, there are only two tiny pictures, so it's not even like I could develop my own pattern from it. Like I could do that. But you better believe that if I had a good enough picture, I'd try. :)

Next up on the list we have the gloves I'm working on. The fingerless ones with the cable knit pattern. I know that I've spoken about these on numerous occasions, and really, really, REALLY wanted to post yesterday with an in progress picture, but, obviously, my camera cord was missing. So this is what you're getting. :) This morning I finished the first glove, and it turned out pretty good. Sorry I couldn't get a close up of it, but the ones I did take were crap and you couldn't even see the cable. This was the best one I've got. So the needle on the left is the next glove being cast on. You cast on 40 stitches. That was just a random piece of pointless information that I just felt like sharing. So yeah. Here's the link to the pattern: Pattern. so yeah. It's a pretty easy pattern in general, and this is my first time knitting anything other than squares and rectangles, and my first time also working with cables.

So far I really like it. It's just fun for me to see patterns developing in the fabric right before my very eyes. And it's cool to be able to say: "Hey, I made that you know. I know it's awesome. I'm just cool like that." :P. Sorry, I just had to say that. But anyways, check out the pattern if you feel like looking up a cool knitted pattern that works up pretty quickly, and works even for a beginner. (Just so you know, I have absolutely no rights to this pattern. I didn't design it. I just stumbled across it while browsing the web. Like I normally do.)

Just a last picture before we go today. I just liked the way it turned out. The dots in the background are seemingly perfect, and the way that the needles are perfectly place, and the yarn just seems to flow out of it... in reality this pic wasn't posed at all. :) I just plopped the needles down on the background (my bedsheets) and snapped the pic. And it came out perfect. I just thought it was cool. So anyways. Until we meet again... peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Destruction of a Project

Hey all. I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The good news is that the bad news isn't reeeally bad. But the bad news is that I don't have any pictures for you guys AGAIN today. I know. I'm sorry. My bad. You see, I had actually taken all of these pictures, and even took special care to make them cool looking and professional. But then, I found out that my cord was missing. And I was so ready to share some pictures with you too. I'd use my old camera and retake them, but it's not where I left it, so that's pretty much M.I.A. But anyways, I guess that even though the picture thing is disappointing and really stinks, I can still share with you. At least my internet isn't down. So yeah. I had some pictures of a cross stitch project I was working on today, and also a few of my in progress fingerless gloves. I'll try and clean my room today or tomorrow in order to find the cord, but my day is pretty busy. I just got done with my schoolwork, and soon I'm hopefully going to the craft store. I've got some cool stuff in mind for some projects I've got planned, so we'll see if that works out. Plus I have a worship/prayer meeting at church later this evening.

But anyways, as a type of update, I think I'll first talk a little bit about my fingerless gloves. Are they working? Are you doing it right. The answers to these are I think so and I hope so. Like I've said before, they're black, so that's a bit of a challenge for me. I'm more attracted to bright colors like lime and turquoise. So yeah. But now that I'm thinking about it, I'm wearing a black Tae Kwon Do shirt right now, so apparently I'm not totally turned off to black. Actually, they sort of look nice so far. When I do an outfit, or put together something to wear, I'm more of a one or two simple accessories in neutrals type of person. Because they match the brights. So maybe it was a good idea to do them in black after all. But yeah. Even though I'm fourteen, I'm not really all that into fashion. Normally I only wear jeans and a tee shirt. Year round. In the winter. I don't know why, I just do. I guess I take after my dad. He always wears tee shirts. But my mom will always wear a sweater. I can deal with the short sleeved ones. I've actually been thinking about knitting one. But the long sleeved ones? You might as well forget about it. Too scratchy in my honest opinion.

Sorry about that totally non related rant there. I don't know what came over me. :P. Sometimes when I'm doing something, like typing, my mind just starts to wander, and I totally have to tell somebody about everything. (Actually, I think I have slight A.D.D. At least I do A.D.D. things.) So yeah. Sorry if that bothers you, but that's my personality and I'm sticking to it. Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Those fingerless gloves. So you see; I was actually working on them last night when all of a sudden, I counted my stitches and found that I had dropped a stitch somewhere along the line. I was struck dumb. But, like the easily annoyed person that I am, I simply increased a new stitch and continued on like nothing had happened. *blushes* Anyways, when I got to the end of the row, I found the stitch I had dropped. And I couldn't just leave it there. And I didn't feel like ripping out a whole row just to get back to where I had increased. So yeah. You guessed it. I picked up that one too, and continued on as normal. I did one more row and realized my mistake. I couldn't see the cable anymore... I had totally cut off the pattern when I picked up an extra stitch.

I was so annoyed with myself, and I was totally freaking out. So I put away the knitting for the night, and devoted the rest of it to searching craft blogs. Sad, I know. But I found some pretty good ones... Okay, enough with the excuses. It was a sad thing to have done and I'm sorry I did it. So the next morning (this morning) I decided what I had to do. I ripped out two rows. And I know it wasn't that much. I'm just a lazy crazy person when it comes to ripping stitches, especially when it comes to knitting. Because you have to get each and every single one of those loops BACK onto the needle without letting them pull themselves out. My back starts to hurt, and I can't see very well. (I know I'm only fourteen and my vision shouldn't be blurring, but I have contacts, and sometimes when I stare at something too long it does.) So yeah. Thus the title of this post. Don't be afraid to rip when it comes to fiber arts. I know that I should know that with my experience (a good 7 or 8 years), but sometimes I just get annoyed and mad at the piece and don't want to.

So please, please, PLEASE learn from my mistake. When you're making something DON'T be afraid to rip. Whether it's embroidery or cross stitch, sewing or quilting, knitting or crochet... make sure you rip if it's necessary. So now, speaking of cross stitch, that's another thing that I wanted to touch on briefly. I've mentioned before that I cross stitch. Even though that is very true, my cross stitch box has been stuffed in my closet for three or four months now, because I was getting frustrated with the project. I know, I know. I shouldn't be so easily annoyed. But that's my personality. I can't be any other way. So anyways, today I actually dug out that box to see what I had left. I was left with a rather pleasant surprise. It seems that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was; I think I was just tired of it. It was done. Well, practically. All that's left is some of the backstitch outlining and some french knotting. Things like that. When it's that close to being finished, who knows why I put it away. So I should be finishing that sometime soon. I'll definitely try and post here when it is.

So yeah. That's pretty much all I have for you today. Again, I apologize for not having any pictures yet, as that's something I'd really like to have on here. I'll try. I really will. Until next time, have fun creating!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Plan to Create

There are a lot of people who will do crafts or art, and they will do it with absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. I know that sounds like a normal way to do it, but even though it's normal, doesn't mean it's the right way. I know, I know. There's no "right" way to create. Though that is true, having a plan for your crafting isn't exactly the art itself. It's just a way that you can get more time and enjoyment out of your craft. So here we go. I guess I'll show you guys a certain way to come up with a simple plan. Some people have their plan in their head. And then there are others (like me), who would rather write it all out. In my honest opinion, writing it out is a better way of doing it since then you can see the whole thing; all of your ideas and future plans for working. Especially if you want to start a business selling your crafts, crafting a plan is especially important to the success of your business.

So let's get started in crafting an arting plan. The most important parts of writing a crafting plan is the goals. I know that we briefly touched on the importance of goals in your crafting in the last post, but right now I'd like to just say that you need goals for your crafting plans. I'll give you a couple of examples of good goals in this post, just so you can have a sort of idea of some goals. Feel free to come up with your own, or use mine. The basic idea of goals is to have a bunch of different types of goals. Such as some easy, intermediate, and long term or hard goals. Let's start with goals for ATC making. An easy goal would be to try a new technique; such as working with distress inks, or setting eyelets. A more intermediate goal would be to create something like 30 or so cards within a time limit; say 30 days. Some harder goals would be something like create a card every day for a year, or, perhaps my personal favorite and currently one of my goals, trade 1,001 cards with other artists.

It is important to have more than one type of goal. It's sort of like when you're working with money, trying to save it. Especially as a kid. You have short term goals (like action figures) and at least one long term goal (like a new bike or a car.) It's the same way with crafting. If you have short term goals, you'll have the pleasure and enjoyment that comes with completing something, but the long term goal will give you something to work towards. Another part of your creative/artistic plan, is that you work towards those goals. And you use one spot to track your progress towards those goals. That's sort of what I'm doing with this blog. You however, can do it on a blog if you want, but, if you'd rather, you can do it through notebooks. This also works very well. In fact, before I started this blog, that's what I was doing. I also used a ton of other blogs. But I thought that it would be a better idea to just have one blog and post everything on here. It'll probably work a lot better for me.

So now that I've at least somewhat explained to you the importance of having a plan for your crafting and arting, now it's time to give a type of progress update/first post on my art. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures yet, but I'm hoping that soon, hopefully next time, I should have some. So today I was working on some ATC's for a technique swap I'm in. I think I did two or three. Also, I did a little bit of planning for a clothing line/collection that I'm working on. So far the colors are turquoise, lime green, chocolate brown, and an ivory color. The lime and turquiose are pretty much my favorite colors ever, so you can understand why I picked them, and I just think that chocolate brown goes so well with bright colors. Black is another that works really well in combination with blacks. Also, earlier this afternoon, I actually started a new project. It's a knitted project. Fingerless gloves.

You see, I've been wanting some fingerless gloves for a long time now, but it seems like I'm always broke, even though I don't really buy that much stuff. And these gloves are sometimes going for as much as twenty bucks, which I personally think is ridiculous. So anyways, long story short, I was searching through blogs (like I always do) and I came across somebody who was making these gloves. And I thought 'Hey, I've been wanting some of those! I bet I could do it too...' And then, one thing lead to another and next thing I knew, I had another started project. So these are going to be my first knitted "garment" if you could actually call it that. Also, they have a knitted cable running down the center of the top of the glove. And this is also my first time ever working with cables in general. So here's the dealio. Now you know how normally, when you're working with cables, you need to have an extra needle known as a "cable needle"? Well, I didn't have one. And I didn't have the money/I was too impatient; to go and buy one. So I searched for a tutorial for knitting cables without a cable needle. And it came up with a ton of results.

The first one I found worked like a charm. So that's another lesson. If at first you don't succeed, go do a search! It always works for me. As a side note, the part of the glove I've done so far is about 4" into it or so. And they're black. Yep. Black. I'm more of a bright color girl myself, but I thought I'd try something different for a change, and get away from blues and greens. Plus it was the only thing I had in my stash. Besides a soft baby pink, which is pretty much my least favorite color in the known universe. I don't know why I own it. But who cares. Some people like it, so I'll probably make something with it and sell it. Who knows.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Day at a Time - My Artistic Journey

I posted briefly in my last post about my life as an artist and a few of the things that I may or may not do in only a single day. I thought that today I'd go a little more in depth into some of the other parts of my creative journey. What is a creative journey? You may be asking yourself that very question. Though, on the other hand, you may not. It's all the same to me. Anyways, everybody has their own description or feelings on an artistic journey. Or a creative journey. See, there's an example right there. Some people call it a creative journey, while others refer to it fondly as an artistic journey. Some might not even refer to it as anything, but it's there just the same. I know it sounds strange; having an opinion on something, but not necessarily being aware of it. But it happens every day, in almost all aspects of our lives.

I call it an artistic journey. Because I'm an artist. And this post is to introduce you to what I think it is. Everybody has their own opinion. This is just mine. So here we go. Three. Two. One. My idea of an artistic journey are the goals that you go through to become a greater artist. Think about it. We all have creative goals. Whether they are small things, such as finishing sewing the buttons on a jacket we've just created, or if they're something huge, like one of my goals is to make and trade 1,001 ATCs, which are small (2.5"x3.5") pieces of art. Yes it's a big goal. But it's a good one. It gives you something to work towards. Something that, in all, will actually make you that much better as an artist.

These goals are important in everybody's life as an artist. If you don't have goals, then there is nothing for you to complete, thus, nothing to do. I'm not going to share all of my goals here with you, because there are far too many to list. And most of them wouldn't be exciting to anybody but me. Let's take for example, some of your goals. Depending upon what type of artist you are, you will have different goals than the next, or the previous person reading this post. For instance, if one of your goals is to cross stitch a pillow, then great; that's good. It's a goal of your's and that makes it special to you. However, to someone else, specifically artists that don't cross stitch, that may seem like a meaningless goal. At least it is to them. Since they don't know what it takes.

That's another benefit of my style of art. I do so many crafts and different types of art, that there probably aren't many that I haven't tried, or at least heard of. So I learn to appreciate all types of art, and all the goals that come with them, no matter how small they may seem to others less interested. That's my opinion. And I'm sticking to it. Perhaps tomorrow I may be able to share some of my work with you guys. I'd like that. I'd like it a lot.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Introduction to Me - An Artist

Hello all. My name's Jordan, and I'm 14 years old. I have tried in the past to start blogs but I always suck at keeping them updated. It's really quite annoying. But those were all single topic blogs. This is for all of my crafts and art forms that I do. That means that pretty much any artist or crafter can find a good source of information here, since I do quite a few things. I've done so many things, it's verging on ridiculous, but I just can't help it. I love to work with my hands, and crafting and arting gives me that satisfaction that I need.

I do a lot of different things, such as scrapbooking, quilting, clothing, ATCs, inchies, twinchies, crochet, knitting, cross stitch, and probably a whole lot of other things that I can't think of right now. It's actually kind of sad. It's annoying. But I can't stand being without them. It keeps me from getting bored. And I can continuously change my mind about what I'd rather be doing. For example, if I'm sewing one day, the next day I may possibly get bored of sewing and put it away, getting out something else, maybe knitting or cross stitch. The next day may be ATCs. Then crochet. And then back to sewing. Maybe I'll change crafts several times in one day.

More lately than in the past, but there have been days when I've done four or five different crafts on the same day. Just the other day as a matter of fact, I was making ATCs in the morning, sewing in the afternoon, crocheted a little, also in the afternoon, and knitted in the evening. I know it's sort of weird and maybe a little annoying and unorganized to some people, but, there is a method to my madness. If I time everything just right, it all works out in then end, and I get a lot of joy and pleasure out of it. That's what matters to me. But anyways, I just wanted to post a sort of introduction to me and this blog. And the way I work.

And if you think about the way I work, then you won't be SO confused when I post about making inchies one day and the next I'm sewing clothes. That's what works for me. I live it. I breathe it. I love it.
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