Sticker-Slapped Artist Trading Cards (ATC)

I hadn’t done an ATC in a long, long time, so when I saw the “Sticker-Slapped ATC” swap last month, I took advantage of an opportunity to do an ATC without the pressure of impressing the receiver.

The object of the swap was to use at least six stickers on the ATC.  I guess, this was sort of an unspoken “response” to those swap coordinators who caution “no sticker-slapping” or who allow only one sticker on an ATC.  It was also an opportunity for swappers to use loose, unwanted or miscellaneous stickers.

Here’s what my partner sent me.

Sticker-Slapped by Swools

Sticker-Slapped by Swools

Now, that’s “sticker-slapped!” Some of the stickers come off easily, so I have plans for the ballerina teddy and the butterfly stickers. I don’t think the ATC will miss them. 🙂

I fretted over my own ATC much longer than I should have.  I wanted my partner to open up her envelope and find the required “sticker-slapped” ATC but also something visually appealing.  I used a few of my favorite things; a 2.5 x 3.5 inch cut of scrapbook paper, nine stickers, bling, and a coating of sparkle Mod Podge later, I ended up with this:

"Life, Love, and Laughter"

“Life, Love, and Laughter

I actually liked it, and the receiver described it as, “beautiful.”  Go figure.  😉

The Return of the Butterfly…

[I might be hearing a little too much about Star Wars lately…]

Finals are done. The semester is over. I just have a few hundred essays to grade (slight exaggeration), a few Christmas parties and a couple of concerts to attend, and then I can say “Good riddance to Fall 2013!”  I am awake at 2:30 a.m., so what better way to deal with my anxiety-induced insomnia than writing an overdue blog post.

Way back in late September,  just before work and other non-family-related obligations took over my life, I joined a “Sheet Music with a Butterfly” ATC swap.   My lovely partner sent a sweet collage ATC made with various paper elements.

Music and Butterflies by Sherri for the Sheet Music with a Butterfly ATC Swap

“Music and Butterflies” by Sherri for the Sheet Music with a Butterfly ATC Swap

I really like the color scheme and how the butterfly sticker complements the butterflies in the postage.

Here’s what I sent my partner (I just realized Sherri and I used similar color scheme):

Sheet Music ATC with a Butterfly by Me!

“Musical Butterfly” by Me!

It was very “sparkly.”  How did  I make it?  Really simple materials:  a leftover strip of glitter card stock, sheet music .jpg file, part of of photo I shot of Hani Shihada’s amazing sidewalk art and a coating of sparkle mod podge.  I used this butterfly many times before–in ATCs, on envelopes and cards. In fact, you can see another ATC and envelope art featuring this same butterfly in an earlier post.

Just a few more days till I have time to craft and create again! Woohoo!

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Dr. Seuss: Postcards and Kid Art (+ Freebies)

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd?  Did you pick up a book in his honor?  I have been having a lot of fun reviewing Dr. Seuss’s books and enjoying the zany and just plain strange art he created. I hosted my third annual “Dr. Seuss’s Birthday” swap on swap-bot just to get some adults involved in my obsession with Dr. Seuss, so a few of us had a little fun sending each other flat-themed packages based on Theodor Geisel’s children’s literature. My partner will receive a bunch of cool Dr. Seuss-inspired items–“The Cat in the Hat” swap cards, sparkly stickers, the Yertle the Turtle  story, a book suggestion, two bookmarks and this postcard I found on ebay:

“Find the Cat in the Hat Today”

This is actually an ad card for HarperCollins Publishers, but it doesn’t really look like one.  It was designed and printed by Boomerang Media, a UK-based marketing company.

My partner, “JaMaJo” sent me a handmade postcard and an ATC.  The ATC took a little bit of a beating on its way through the postal system, but it’s still cute.

“Try them, try them and you may!
Try them and you may, I say.”

And here’s the “Green Eggs and Ham” ATC:

“Green Eggs and Ham” ATC by JaMaJo

Dr. Seuss reminds me of childhood reading and fun.  I loved reading as a child and read every book I could get my hands on.  I spent hours on weekend afternoons lying in my bed reading. I vividly recall my Beverly Cleary phase.   Although our teachers encouraged reading and often offered incentives, we didn’t have cool programs like the NEA’s Read Across America; nor did we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  I feel like I missed out on something big (like I do when I see that baby dolls can do so much more now), but one of the wonderful things about having a young child is that I can re-visit my childhood through him and with him.  So I celebrate RAA/Dr. Seuss’s birthday with him. Last week, his first/second grade class participated in Read Across America and held a weeklong celebration of Dr. Seuss.  The kids read and shared their favorite books and ended the week with a birthday celebration/Dr. Seuss-themed costume party.

They also completed a few creative art projects. If you’ve been following my blog, you should know I was thrilled to see the children’s art (see earlier post on children’s art) .  I photographed some of the projects just so I can enjoy them a little longer. Let’s take a look at some of the art from Adrienne Saulsbury’s class.  This first set features the children’s artistic renderings of “The Cat in the Hat” (Click any image to view larger).

I think they’re pretty good for first and second graders!  I can’t draw as well as some of them as an adult!

The second set showcases book covers the students created.  Inspired by There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, the students came up with a silly book title that included a made-up item that rhymed with a real object.

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The silly titles are adorable.  They certainly captured the spirit of Dr. Seuss.  Oh, to be a kid and have such wonderful projects!  It’s cute that the kids signed their books, “Dr. ___.”

I’m convinced these art projects not only stimulate creativity, but they pique the children’s interest in reading.  Isn’t that what celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday is all about? I appreciate Mrs. Saulsbury for focusing so much on reading and for doing what she can to make reading fun for her students.  She encourages the children and parents to read together daily. She reminds parents that they should read to their children and their children should read to them.  She even urges the children to keep a reading log. My little one has been reading since he was 3.  He is quite a reader and although he claims he has to “be in the mood,” we have never had a problem getting him to read.  He reads everything–the Bible, storybooks, serial novels, kid-friendly comic books, magazines, informative books on robots (of course), space, science and nature.  We sometimes read as many as 5 or 6 books in one evening–down from 10 (when he was much younger).  Reading is such an important fundamental skill. Without it, the other skills can be inaccessible.

If you want to get into some Dr. Seuss this week, check out Lysa’s Illustrator Study list on Amazon for suggestions.  There’s something for all ages.  Brain Pickings also offers a number of excellent posts on Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss):  WWII Political Propaganda Cartoons and The Seven Lady Godivas and The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.

Oh, I almost forgot. I created two bookmarks for the class, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I designed these using papers and elements from myfuninvites.com.

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

If you have any problems downloading any of these, let me know via “comment” and I’ll deliver the bookmarks to you via email and, if necessary, in another format.

I also photographed each student in his or her Dr. Seuss-inspired costume and holding a favorite book.  Here’s my own little “Cat in the Hat.”

My own personal

My own personal “Cat in the Hat”

Happy reading!

A Month of Letters and January Goodness

LetterMo2013square-300x300Author Mary Robinette Kowal offers a fabulous postal challenge for the Month of February: Mail an item through the post every day it runs.  This year, that’s 23 days.  A minimum of 23 items.  Not so hard.   I am going for it and am looking forward to posting something every day–maybe, even on Sundays just for kicks.  I’ll try my best to post daily in February to update you on my progress–this will be quite a feat and almost a miracle.  If you want to find out more about “A Month of Letters,” check it out at www.lettermo.com.

January was a pretty busy mail in/mail out month for me.  I’m pretty sure I met February’s “Month of Letters” challenge in January!  I  sent and received a number of ATCs, postcards, photos, photo note cards, letters, collages, packages and much more.  It was a great mail month.  I can’t remember exactly when items were sent and received, but I’ll highlight several.

Imagine my excitement when I received the Shakespeare Book of Postcards (Pomegranate) which features art from the “vast collections” of  the Library of Congress.  I ordered them (“used”) through Amazon (seller: cheapdozen) and was delighted to receive them in pristine condition.  The postcard book offers “oversized” art reproductions based on Shakespeare’s plays and a few artistic renderings of the Bard himself.  There are also representative lines from the play highlighted on the back each of the postcard.

Front cover of Shakespeare Plays:  A Book of Postcards

Front cover of Shakespeare Plays: A Book of Postcards

Here are a few of the postcards included:

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That wasn’t the only bit of Shakespeare I received this month.  “Txstitcher,” my partner in a floral mail art swap included a couple of Shakespeare-inspired embellishments in the super-stuffed envelope of floral goodness she sent.   I’m a little more Shakespeare-obsessed than usual at the moment because I’m teaching Shakespeare this semester and it’s great to have all of this visual inspiration.

Shakespeare Quote Embellishments

Shakespeare Quote Embellishments

I also received a number of ATCs this month on various themes:  Photo ATC, Valentine Owl, Pink Valentine and Dr. Seuss.  Some of the ATCs that came in:

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And some that went out:

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One of my favorite swaps this month was “Take a Photo:  Look Up.”  My partner sent a lovely photo note card that was taken on a dreary day in Pennsylvania.

"Look Up," by swap-bot CDheartsdragonfies

“Look Up” by Chari, swap-bot CDheartsdragonfies

Chari reports the weather’s been dreary and it’s difficult to get great photos.  This particular photo was taken on a nice warm day at about 11 in the morning.  So yes, that’s the sun, not the moon. And, though the photo looks black and white, it’s actually a color photo.  I like it! The feel and the color. Sometimes, dreary, rainy, and/or foggy days “make” the best photos!  (This scan does little justice to the actual photo and note card).

And here are my own “Look Up” Photos.  I chose two cloud photos taken from a plane en route to New Orleans from New York City.  I captured at least a dozen great cloud photos that day and I get a kick out of how clear the photos turned out.  They were taken through dirty airplane windows, after all!

"It's Wonderful to Look Up"

“No Boundaries” by Me!

"Liquid Mountains" by Me!

“Liquid Mountains” by Me!

This is just a little of the January goodness.   I’ll have to highlight the many postcards I received in January in another post.  Until then…Toodles!

A Couple of Smiles…

This is simply a follow-up post to “I Made a Smile,” posted two days ago.  I received smileys from my partners and they certainly brightened my day.

The first card, made by wenturner71, one of my “Professors United” pals on swap-bot, arrived yesterday.  Wen is an amazing crafter and an awesome artist.  If you have a moment, check out her upcycled wares and her ATCs. She also has an Etsy store, if you’re interested.

Image

“Groovy”

“Groovy” was made with wax and alcohol inks.  It is certainly groovy, man! Wen also enclosed a couple of quotes and some REALLY nice and PURPLE ATC background papers that I’m dying to use on something special!

The second ATC, made by desolateros3, arrived today.  Its name is “Smiley Face” and it came in an appropriately smiley-decorated envelope.

"Smiley Face"

“Smiley Face”

Don’t they bring a smile to your face?

I Made a Smile!

My son “talked me into” joining a Smiley Face ATC swap because he “would like to get some smiley faces” in the mail. I’m a sucker for Smiley, so I joined–even though I desperately needed to use every “spare” minute to prepare for spring classes (which begin tomorrow–eek!). I’m grateful I participated in the swap because I received distressing news a few hours after joining the swap. I was sick and worried and just plain out of sorts. I needed something to defuse the stress, so I went to my son’s crafting table and crafted three smiley face ATCs–two for my partners and, of course, one for my son. The light painting, cutting, gluing, working with the crackle and deciding on placement were therapeutic enough for me to feel less like I was operating in some nightmarish space and more like I was present in the here and now. So here are my smiley faces:

These were made with acrylic paint for the background; Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” sheet music .jpg; crackle accents; and embellishments and stickers from Jolee’s Boutique (Smiley), Sticko (treble clef), and DeJa Views “Girl Talk” (word stickers). I kept them simple. After all, a smiley face has no frills–it consists of a a pair of eyes and a smile inside a simple (typically, yellow) circle. Despite its simplicity, it is capable of making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I think what draws me to the faces is that my husband, son and baby sister have gigantic smiley face smiles that warm my heart. I used to tease my hubby and sister and tell them they both have big “smiley faces.” My son, also known as “my little smileycon,” has a smile that lights up the world. It was knowing I would get another one of those smiles that made me “give in” and join the “Smiley Face ATC” swap.

Note: The colors of the treble clef match the colors of the smiley faces on each ATC, but they seem to have taken on other colors after photographing them.