Of fabric ATCs and Millie

I have been busy sewing ATCs for the Summer Camp swap. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it has been quite a while since I made ATCs for pleasure, with just a theme, and not for a challenge. I thought I’d share a few things that I do with these, as it’s such a labour-intensive process.

I use craft or pelmet (heavy-duty) vilene, or interfacing, for the base of ALL my fabric cards. This enables me to “lay down” initial designs without having them slide around a table or cutting mat. I don’t use Misty Fuse, I just stick a couple of pins in and start machine-stitching! I like to cut some fabrics and rip others, for extra texture.  If I’m making a batch of ATCs, for example, this is an example of how it begins:

The piece on the top is a triple ATC, waiting to be cut into 3. It consists of base, fabric scraps attached with white zig-zag stitching and a rectangle of stamped linen in the centre. That bit has been ironed to heat-set the stamped words. On the top is more ripped fabric strips, attached by machine-stitching and a bit of turquoise netting for texture. It all adds to the “touch-factor”. My pieces are always untidy but I do try for a tactile end-product!!

Two things and two people I have to credit here – Belinda Spiwak (Crazy Art Girl) was the initial inspiration a couple of years ago when I first saw some of her wonderful, mixed media, textile artworks. Then, if you apply the same recipe of paper, layers, colour and textures to a card base – no fabric – you get Lisa Vollrath’s “serendipity” backgrounds for ATCs – check out the Ten Two Studios – Projects – website for ideas and tutorials, because she never stops coming up with ideas!!

I did say these were labour-intensive, didn’t I? But, they can be made in stages. The bases for half of these were stitched a few months ago… Above are 6 ATCs awaiting the faux leather, seaside embellishments I have made for each one!!!

I won a set of collage stamps from Shelia Oliver a few years ago (she was decluttering to raise money for a worthy cause) and they happened to be seashore-themed. That fits perfectly for me with the Summer Camp theme – I always equate summer with the seaside! And I chose the colours of my scraps for the sun (golden yellow), sand (oatmeal linen base), and sea (vivid shiny blue fabric) to fit that theme.

The embellishments were stamped onto heated up fun foam, pressed down hard and removed when cooled. I then cut round them and attached them to each ATC (or I will do…!!). I have another issue with neat fabric ATCs – the backing! This time, instead of hunting for yet more fabric and having  to cut bits up, I decided to back them with old book pages. Some of my old books are quite small in page size, little more than a large postcard, so they will make 2 backs per page. They are thick soft paper, stitched into the book-blocks, so they tear really easily…

You can see the serrations in this pic where I have stitched an ATC to the page and then gently torn it out afterwards!! Finally, I print out my ATC labels using a Dymo (address) label printer and stick them to the back. It means that

  • no-one has to struggle to read my writing if they want to get in touch;
  • I can include all the info I want up to about 6 lines
  • I don’t have to write out 14 labels
  • they all have the same info on them!!
Here are a couple that are finished, waiting to be labelled and posted!
Hopefully, you’ll find some of my process useful if not exactly “interesting”!! All the steps I take are the result of research and mistakes. Truly! I never undo anything or unpick stuff – life’s too short. I either add another layer or paint over it! 😉
Speaking of “trial and error”, I took this pic of Millie to remind myself of how she should look after I have clipped her:

TAW – Wedding!

When I was working with Lisa Vollrath on her DT for Ten Two Studios, we always had some beautiful vintage images to use.

I recently combined 3 small altered frames to make a vintage-style wall-hanging.

I used lots of broken/recycled costume jewellery, scraps of ribbon and lace and the whole thing has a D-ring brass hanger!

Personally I am no fan of weddings – especially when they are outrageously expensive these days – but there’s something so innocent about this vintage couple’s photos, that I enjoy seeing this hanging every day. It’s one of those creations that you really don’t mind hanging onto!! 😉

See more interpretations of WEDDINGS over at Take a Word this week!

Guess who’s on her wishlist?!

Wishlist is the theme at SPA today, chosen by the formidable Fatma… Here’s my entry postcard!

"Ho ho ho!"

Those great fun images are from the Silly Santas collage sheets by Lisa Vollrath at Ten Two Studios. They’re fab and I have lots of “Bah Humbug!”-style fun with these images, as you can see. All the stamps are from Ria’s Christmas Sheet, handpainted holly berries by moi! 😉

I’m painting a mixed media background on an 18″ x 14″ canvas for my “Angel” from Tam’s online course. Her new “Magickal, Mythical Makings” class has opened now for registration, is that’s your ‘bag’. I’m still going to buy the Fabulous Faces DVD so I can draw and shade better and bigger faces… although they might be “slightly monstrous” or somply “dark”! The experimenting will be fun!

I also have a 3D altered collage on wood in progress… a row of houses, waiting for more ‘stuff’. This one will be fun to complete so I am taking my time.

Day of the Dead!

Over at Sunday Postcard Art, I got to kick back with this very vivid theme this week… I used a piece of cereal box cut to 6″x4″, brayered white and then collaged with assorted text and music paper. The piece of OS map is from a Country File magazine and I used a little pigment ink in mauve and blue (direct to paper), some orange translucent paint and Neos. The outlining of the image and words was done using a 9B graphite stick.

Club 1830?

I used an image from Ten Two Studios, just trimmed a bit and it was a lot of fun! I always miss my Mum at this time of the year, so this bright and colourful postcard cheered me up no end. I also seem to have issues about starting my Whimsies – maybe they’ll resolve themselves next week! Have a great weekend! 🙂


This is my entry to Mixed Media Monday’s monthly challenge… A tiny altered canvas/shrine:


The canvas measures 7cm x 7cm – just under 3″ square!

I love texture… don’t you? I painted the canvas and then glued torn pieces of napkins to the edges. I’m too impatient to wait for that to dry so I started gathering “stuff” to fill the void meantime…

Not sure if you can see it, but there’s lace behind the image and more metal flowers under all those beads! The torso on the left hand side is a clay piece that I made a couple of years ago when I was experimenting with air-dried clay and rubber stamps/making beads, etc.

The image is a bottlecap “Round” from Ten Two Studios, on top of which I have stuck a glass pebble. There are buttons, a mini peg and a link from an old watch strap around the frame, and a grungey flower with a pearl centre. The whole thing was sponged gently with black and copper acrylic paint to give an aged and “mucky” effect, whilst still allowing the colour to show through! The easel was also painted to show the shrine to advantage.

I enjoyed making this and have another 7 mini-canvasses left. There might be a series coming – who knows?! 😉

Scary Clowns!

That’s this week’s Sunday Postcard Art challenge… and more from me in red and black. So maybe I can sneak it into Theme Thursday too? 😉

Family Pictures

My husband has a Circus background, as a clown, so it’s no lie that this could be one of our “family pictures”, although all the images are from various black and white collage sheets available from Ten Two Studios. Lisa V. has a vast collection of dark and macabre stuff, ideal for this time of the year!!

I am in transition mode again… I have been cleaning, knitting, gardening – of the brutal variety, like moving dead stuff and making way for other stuff!  I call it “un-nesting” – that’s what I do when I feel that the time has come to move on. I’ve got my ‘restless’ socks on again… 😉

I haven’t exactly been prolifically arty lately either. DD has gone back to school, facing another tough 8 months till she can leave and go to college. DH is slowing down for the winter, but getting busier behind the scenes, raising funds (and awareness) … and me? I made a conscious decision NOT to do the Craft Fair in November. Instead, I am going to take my time building my website and putting all my saleables on there. The big handmade marketplaces are not for me, so I shall be doing my own thing.

There will be more art journalling, more fiberarts, more handmades/wearables and less stress! There will be a lot of smaller items  for sale and I have found a local guy who will help me with top quality printing (again, cutting out the middleman), and I am also going to have some of my favourite artwork printed on T-shirts so I shall be wearing original stuff! How cool is that? *grins*

I am so looking forward to the coming months! What are you up to?

Marie loves flowers…

Sunday Postcard Art “Dark Marie”… Well, she was such a ‘girly girl’, wasn’t she? Not looking her best in this wondrous collage image from Ten Two Studios, but nevertheless, she is just adorable! To make her pop a bit from the multi-blah blackground, I gave the image a coat of Golden’s Liquid Polymer Gloss. (It also protects the image!)

Marie loves flowers...

My friend Fi sent me the oversized paperclip and I have included the string for Hels’s Sunday Stampers challenge. The stamps are foam ones that I have mainly for use with paint and gesso.

Got loads to share today too – If you look at my left hand sidebar, you’ll see I have added a new badge – The heart of ART. It links to the  Willowing art group on Ning.com where Tam is offering a FREE 4-week online course for mixed media fans. If you’ve never taken a course or workshop (and let’s face it, sometimes we don’t have the budget for it, do we?), well this is a great opportunity. If you follow that link, there’s a video which explains what it’s all about and that will help you to decide if this could be good for you. I signed up after seeing the badge at Hermine’s blog. 🙂

I’m still trying art journalling, using books I made from the Kelly Kilmer course and I started a new one a couple of days ago – a journal about my Weightwatchers journey! I thought if I write down what my goals are and then journal the journey, it may help keep me on track? Well that’s  the theory – I shall be sharing how that goes on my blog and probably on Facebook too!!!

Dark + Victorian!

For the Three Muses “Victorian” challenge this week, I created this page in my altered Girls’ Book!

"We are not amused"

And Queen Victoria wasn’t amused, was she? The Victorian era was probably the most mutable in our history – complete with double standards, the Industrial Revolution and Victoria & Albert, (also my favourite museum!!)… I used brown and black acrylic paints scraped across the page for the background, and silver paint to represent steel (through the sequin waste). I think it has a bit of shock value, don’t you? Well, I hope so, because I also want to use it for Hels’ Sunday Stampers “Paint it black” theme… I’ve used my MaVinci latin text stamp liberally Hels, and also my RV barbwire too!

Less demanding, the Theme Thursday Dark, Gothic and/or Halloween challenge… used to be my fave time of the year, but not really these days *yawns*! All images used on these altered game pieces (and the collage), are from Ten Two Studios – Lisa has a very dark section… 😉

Doesn’t the application of aged mahogany distress ink round the tiles look a bit like blood??? *grins*  I also created a rather outrageous mail art piece which will be on its way to London tomorrow – did a swap with Jackie aka Jester Crafts! So, I won’t show you that one till she has received it. 😉

Sea Voyages…

They remind me of Captain Ahab, Moby Dick and are as rare as rockinghorse “doodies” in my house! My postcard depicts a sailor’s voyage, seeking  the rare and wonderful puffy-fossil-fish, whilst pining for his sweetheart, whom he has left behind in Osaka…

Well, it’s just a bit of relaxation and romanticising the collection of scraps I sewed together to make this postcard for SPA – where Sandy is the Guest Host this week…

From the Bay of Bengal...

Now for the technicalities! The fossil-fish stamp is from Home Impressions – gorgeous detail, and I must thank Ria, because I asked for the 2 individual fish stamps specially… so thanks, Ria! The image is from Ten Two Studios – one of my duct-tape image transfers. The rest is clutter and stuff from my desk-top!

Yesterday I spent a lovely day in the gardens of the Winsford Trust in Halwill Junction, North Devon, at the Family Arts & Crafts Day, showing people how to make the scruffy ruffle flower pins. These were very poshly described as “Rag Rose Corsages” and raised a few eyebrows. I met a couple of delightful, arty-farty, outside the box teenagers and hope I inspired them to follow their respective passions! I was certainly able to furnish them with a few websites that will help!

I was also invited to Hatherleigh Festival to show and demo what I do/create, but I’m already committed to the Pirate FM Charity Garden Party on July 24th, where Nick and I had such an enjoyable, awareness-raising day out last year, so Reels on Wheels got me first… Nice to be popular though!!

Today is Father’s Day in the UK so I took my man out for a big breakfast locally and we had what used to be called a “comfortable cose”, all to ourselves, just the two of us, spending some brief, quality time together.

I must wish Diane a very Happy Birthday (Mixed Media Monday), and as she’s chosen “Something Old!” as her birthday theme, I think I’ll enter the Fossil-Fish postcard!! Love you, Diane – Happy Birthday!! xoxoxo 😉

Vintage ads/labels

I am Guest Hosting again for Diane at Mixed Media Monday – and very grateful that it keeps me blogging whilst working my way through an exceptionally busy summer this year!!

These make great springboards for collages, big or small. I fell in love with little images when I was designing for Ten Two Studios – I used a lot of small images on altered cutlery, for example. Here are a couple more examples of altered/wearable art, using vintage ads and labels.

Mixing vintage and contemporary.

I painted the entire bamboo tile silver, added the image and mounted the piece on a ball chain with the addition of turquoise and pink wooden beads!

It's the little things...

I always decorate both sides of these, then you can wear them either way round!! It’ll be fun to see more takes on this challenge – and thank you to everyone who joined in with last week’s “Floral Tributes!” challenge! One of my arty flower pins is published in the Ideas Gallery of July’s Craft Stamper magazine…

"Fleur" de Lys mixed media pin

I used the fleur de lys stamp from Home Impressions Marie Antoinette plate. Such versatile images… 🙂