Art Day: Artist Trading Cards

For many years, my sister has been re-branding Valentine’s Day as not a day to buy overly expensive material things to prove your love but a day about appreciating beauty and creating art. Way more classy than an Anti-Valentine’s Day party in my book.

We celebrated Art day on February 15th this year–because we had the weekend off–by making Artist Trading Cards. Apparently this is a big thing, but it was my first time hearing about it. My mom gave us a brief oral presentation about history and such. If you want to know more I encourage you to do your own batch of Google searching, there are tons of links.

I think the Wikipedia page offers a good summary:

Artist trading cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern trading cards baseball cards, or 2 12 by 3 12 inches, small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves….Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or fiber. The cards are usually traded or exchanged. 

There are tons of lesson plans and how-tos around the Interwebz. One I found fairly decent was a Wikihow page in 11 Steps where they suggest using playing cards if you can’t cut out the typical size for the cards.

The School Arts Room website offers a more standard layout of a classroom lesson play for the teacher types of the world. The Student ATC website has several great sub-pages with some theme ideas to get your brain or your pupils’ brains working. It also includes a little history and a how-to.

We all had Valentine’s Day and love related things on the mind but our official theme for our Art Day was Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love. Yeah, inspired by some Moulin Rouge loveliness.

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There were several different artists present and art styles. Forgive me if you don’t get our sense of humor. We had a blast and created art cards for almost five hours.
Sorry I didn’t get a picture of our hugely messy art table. There were stacks of colored paper, stickers, markers, paints, crayons and tons more stuff. We had a blast cutting and pasting and creating. Our art cards were cut out of index cards and my mom purchased a package of 100 trading card sleeves for storage once finished. 

PATC

Ideally, these are supposed to be traded, not sold. I’m not sure if anyone would pay for mine, but there are some really inspired pieces in here. I’m saving mine for last so you can be sufficiently unimpressed by my work.

LATCOn the backs of the art cards we wrote our artist name, state and month/year it was created. A couple of the cards even got named and those were written on the back. By the end of the evening most of us didn’t want to immediately trade our hard work, but we’re looking forward to creating more and maybe trading them or giving them others.

All--ATCThere is whole cluster of our pieces together.

All--ATC2

Sorry for the fair bit of fuzz-o-vision. I didn’t have a good camera with me and the light wasn’t ideal. You get the idea here though.
Below is my cluster of cards:

atcroseAnd one of my personal favorites of the ones I created:

visitparks art cardDoctors have started prescribing their patients with visits to National Parks. I have known for a long time that getting a daily dose of nature and light exercise can make huge wonders of difference. Recreation–my major–is hugely important to me.

Questions for my readers—-

Have you ever heard of artist trading cards? 

Have you been inspired by this blog, searching or the links provided to create your own mini-trading art cards? 

Do you have any fun alternative ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day?

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Playing with Scents

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Over Christmas, my SiL pulled out an awesomely smelifurous crafty thing.
Wadgie had been hanging on to tons of glass bottles with eyedroppers for just such an occasion. She also gathered all her essential oils and grape seed oil.
Then the smelling commenced. We got to smell the different oils and my other sister brought some tiny vials of fancy perfume that we got to whuffle.
Whuffle–To smell vigorously. As a dog looking for a treat hidden in bed covers.

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I would share some recipe, but it really depends on your individual likes. Put a desired amount of grape seed oil in a bottle. Add an essential oil you like drop by drop. It is easier to make the scent a little stronger by adding a few more drops.
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I mixed a bottle of lavender and infused it with leaves from a lavender bush in the front yard. My second bottle used one of the perfumes called Snapdragonfly. It has almost a vanilla and cotton candy sweetness to it. For my final bottle I used the grapefruit essential oil. That will be lovely to use once the fruit trees start blooming.
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Because we had so many smells flying around we had to make sure each one was perfect. We ran out of “clean” spots on our hands and wrists. We had to start using elbows for smell tests.

So how do you use it?
I mostly I put a few drops on both elbows and hands. My hands especially get super dry and cracked in the winter.  Rubbing it in takes just a second and the grape seed oil soaks in faster than many greasy lotions.
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My SiL also uses it for a nice relaxing soak in the bath tub. Just put enough drops in to satisfy your nose and hop in!

This was an awesome activity to get our noses working around Christmas. I tried to drag Kit into the mix, but as you can see it turned into a girls only smellathon. I can’t believe how much fun we had! May have to buy some more essential oils and do this again or at our next get together!

~Kat

Finger Knitting

Just before Christmas I discovered this craft called finger knitting. Okay, I might be stretching the truth. I had a pin for finger knitting, but had never tried it and found out the Instructables video (linked below) that Beffers found was much simpler. Beffers (my SiL) learned it and showed me how cool it was. As soon as she showed me what she was doing I demanded she send me the pin and help me along. Yes, demanded is the right word. I lacked the gumption ever try it. And yet, it didn’t need gumption to learn! Just about 10 minutes and then I replayed the video to make sure it sank into my brain. It makes me wonder what other gems are hiding in the depths of my pin boards. Are you a cool pin hoarder too?fingerknitting1

Here is the link to the sweet tutorial video. Before you click I want you to know that the video is a little odd as it is shot upside down and the maker of the vid at one point misidentifies her fingers. Just keep watching what her hands do and don’t worry about silly little things like a mix up in words. Instructables wins again!

Sorry for the fuzzy-vision

Sorry for the fuzzy-vision

There are many different things you can do with your finger knit projects depending on your level of creativity. Bracelets, scarves, and (my favorite) Christmas tree garland. 20131213_212018
Beffers followed the tips on this website, the blogger made several different strands of different colors and then laced them together to make a beautiful rainbow scarf. It helps that Marlena has phenomenal hair to go with her lovely rainbow scarf. Instead of making a rainbow scarf, Beffers knitted orange and gray together then laced the strands to make a huge fluffy scarf to match the handmade hat her hubbster had received as a gift the previous year. You gotta love handmade matching fashion!

Isn't he adorable?

Isn’t he adorable?

A couple of quick tips to add to the awesome bloggers and instructors there already are out in the world. To take a break and save your work put your finger loops onto a chopstick. I was going for marathon knitting and couldn’t avoid a potty break any longer so that tip really helped me. If you are teaching a younger person or it is your first time trying finger knitting, avoid the fru-fru fancy yarns and just pick a no frills yarn to learn. Later on you can do the fancy stuff but it is important to learn it at first.

Ultimate Fall Bucket List

Fall is my favorite time of year and I realized that it has become a thing to make seasonal bucket lists or other short term Fun To Do lists. I searched the topic to death and came up with a massive fall season Bucket List. I have already completed a couple and will insert those pictures as breaks from straight text.
jacksonsorchardFall Bucket List

  1. Make a new fall wreath
  2. Visit an orchard
  3. Make Chili
  4. Watch Football
  5. Go apple picking
  6. Bake a pie
  7. Go on a fall color drive
  8. Enjoy cider
  9. Make/Eat caramel apples
  10. Sit by the firegirlspumpkinguts
  11. Go on a hayride
  12. Celebrate Oktoberfest
  13. Visit a pumpkin patch
  14. Carve a pumpkin
  15. Play in the leaves
  16. Find your way through a corn maze
  17. Decorate pumpkins
  18. Fall crafts
  19. Go trick or treating
  20. Make Halloween costumeKitpumpkinseeds
  21. Take fall photos
  22. Make apple cobbler
  23. Rake leaves and jump in pile
  24. Make pumpkin dessert
  25. Tailgate football game
  26. Find the perfect fall sweater
  27. Perfect a pumpkin/caramel/or/apple latte DIY
  28. Host a friendsgiving
  29. Go on a picnic
  30. Have a campfireKatcarving
  31. Roast marshmallows
  32. Go on a hike
  33. Make pinecone bird feeders
  34. Go out for coffee/hot cocoa and doughnuts
  35. Host a football party
  36. Stargaze under a quilt
  37. Bake pies
  38. Roast pumpkin seeds
  39. Create leaf art
  40. Decorate for fallpumpkinseeds
  41. Candles and music at night
  42. Crunch leaves
  43. Make fall soup
  44. Jump in puddles
  45. Fall treasure hunt
  46. Have a Halloween party
  47. Bob for apples
  48. Make a scarecrow
  49. Make apple cider
  50. Learn the Thriller danceKspumpkin
  51. Wear flannel
  52. Go to a fall festival
  53. Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  54. Gather leaves
  55. Press leaves
  56. Make pumpkin pancakes
  57. Make mini caramel apples
  58. Blend pumpkin smoothies
  59. Go to a haunted house
  60. Watch Halloween/Thanksgiving movies
  61. Aspumpkin

DIY Googly Eyed Headband & Hat

katwithcrosseyeheadbandI found a great craft on Pinterest done by The Crafty Blog Stalker.
The best part about this craft is that it is almost entirely a Dollar Store Craft. The one exception is you must buy or already own a hot glue gun and glue sticks.

supplies-needed-googly-craftJust so we’re clear you will need:

  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • A package or two of googly eyes
  • Headbands (the wider the headband the better for gluing eyes)
  • And/Or, a knit hat

Step One: Gather supplies and get a workspace.

Step Two: Plug in your hot glue gun.

Step Three: kitgooglyhat
For the hat–Lay out a pattern that you like. I put a piece of cardboard (used the tag from the packaging) between the hat fabric layers. It would be lame to make a fun hat that you inadvertently glued shut.

For the headbands–Pick out a pattern that you like.

Step Four: For hat–Apply dots of glue to the backs of the googly eyes and stick to your hat. Allow to fully cool and dry before throwing it on your head. Again, you don’t want to have glue and hair and forehead all trapped and boiling hot.

For headbands–I applied glue to the headbands directly because my headbands were a bit more narrow than my big googly eyes. Be very careful not to get glue on your fingers. It’s stinkin’ hot! For the large eyes, I mashed them down and waited a couple of seconds to make sure I didn’t knock them back off while they were still cooling. pileofheadbands

Step Five: Once you allow the pieces to fully cool, I picked away those little hairs that I always seem to have to deal with when hot gluing.

After doing that bit of housekeeping, throw on your accessory and hit the town.
I believe that people should dress up, or at least start getting festive during the whole month of October. I think the headbands would be a great accessory for people to wear who work in places they are not allowed to dress up. Offices and such typically err on the serious side. Hopefully your office doesn’t have a policy against wearing googly garb.katgooglyeyehat

Kids: Get someone intelligent to supervise you. Or better yet, learn how to properly use tools, because when you’re an adult no one will stop you from chainsawing your fingers off. Hot glue is painful, please be careful.

This would make a fantastic costume piece too.
For example: I am working on creating a cherubim costume. The cherubim from L’Engle’s Wind in the Door were described as being a mass of eyes and feathers and wings. I believe a huge package of craft feathers and more hot glue is in my future. Feel free to use this idea and out-nerd all your friends at the next Halloween party. Perhaps more simply, this could be the spider eyes for a fun spider costume.

~Kat~

Luau Island Party

A couple of weeks back I went on a mini-vacation, just to get away from it all. I decided that I was going to the beach….In Illinois.
My SiL, Beth and brother planned an epic Luau party. Here are pictures, links, descriptions and recipes to what we did for our Par-tay.

Kat dance pose

Essential Party Supplies

  • Accessories
  • Food
  • Music

Accessories

Believe it or not, it is very difficult to find Luau related party garb in September. However, true party planners never come up empty. After visiting several stores we got serious and ended up at a party supplies store. We hunted all over before finally getting desperate and asking gentleman sporting an officials vest—He was labeled as a Halloween Expert.

He also turned out to be a store expert and pointed us directly to the quarter aisle of luau supplies. We didn’t need much. We left the store with three sparkly leis in our favorite colors. We also grabbed a pack of shiny umbrellas to embellish our drinks. I brought some large colorful smoothie straws from home. They were purchased at salvage for $1.25.

Some things we didn’t find in the store is pictured above. Because money can’t buy a Hawaiian style skirt such as this! If you’re looking at cost or supplies needed: Staples and stapler, grocery sacks, and a binder clip for quick clasp of skirt. We’ll get to how you make it later.

Essentially, we purchased all of our accessories for under $10.

Food

island drink blenderI would call the drinks daiquiris, but truly, they were so much more than that. We added: very ripe bananas, frozen strawberries, mango, fresh pineapple, and tropical punch flavored white rum. Blend well and serve immediately with awesome umbrellas.island drinks

asparagus       Asparagus. Yes, I did just have this in my fridge and it needed to be cooked up. I love asparagus. If you cook it, I will eat it. This were laid out on a cookie sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted in the oven until delightfully crispy.

waikiki chicken prebake

The very best and the highlight of supper was our Waikiki Beach Chicken and Tom’s Waikiki Beach Tofu (he’s vegetarian). Want to know the original recipe that Beth based the above on? Here is the original Waikiki Beach Chicken recipe.
We loved it! Here are some of our recommendations: We backed off the sugar in the sauce to 3/4 cup instead of a whole cup. You could back down to a half cup. We liked ours on the salty side, no worries, a dash of soy sauce and overnight the flavors mellowed so it was even better! We used boneless skinless chicken waikiki beach chicken platebreasts and it did seem to take forever in the oven—This could have been because we were starving and are like small children waiting for Santa.

I don’t have much advice about the tofu version. Tom said it was delish though. If you have questions, please hit me up and I will consult the veggie-guru that is my brother.

Music

Why is music so important? Don’t ask such stupid questions. This will set the mood and help aid in the silliness that is a faux-Hawaiian. The more important question might be, Kat, what did you listen to? That is something I will answer. We used Spotify to keep our music rolling throughout the evening. No, they aren’t paying me money to use their name and yes, I wish someone was paying me for this drivel.

lilo and stitch ST spotify blogThe obvious first choice here, the soundtrack from Lilo & Stitch the Disney flick. Now, I don’t care if you like the movie or not. The music is sweet.
Beth and I wanted to get in the mood before the party got started. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride and a little Elvis. How can you go wrong?

luau mix spotify pic for blogTom was smartsies. He found this premade Hit Nation playlist on Spotify and it had nice nice tunes on it. Both playlists are, as you may have noticed, finite. We needed more music so we added some tracks from these selected artists: Beach Boys, I accidentally added and discovered Spike Jones and His City Slickers, and more songs from that dude that sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole, I didn’t know either).
I am pretty sure I have discovered that next silly artist that my brother will get into. Spike Jones and His City Slickers have lots of weird and funny songs. Go ahead and listen to Water Lou (drip, drip, drip). I am sure that it is on….ah, there you are.

Tom also added some more awesome ambiance to our party by muting and playing this youtube video that shows 43 minutes of Hawaii landscapes and such. It was beautiful. If you need something to play in the background of your life, I highly suggest this.

Let me know, via comments, if you are interested in a step by step instructional blog on how to make a Hawaiian style “grass” skirt. Just to recap, we used grocery sacks (Kroger has brown!) that were fanned out or staggered then stapled together. If you are making one for a child or small adult you may want to add a second layer around to add more fluff. Cut slits almost to the stapled area (leave about two inches). Use a binder clip to pin it around the waist quickly. Do not try to go to the bathroom in these guys—you will want the quick removal aspect. T making skirt

Tom is cutting the slits in his grass skirt.

Beth dance pose

 

K&T drinks poseK&B drinks pose

Now, go and enjoy your own luau party!!    We did some hula dancing tutorials on youtube, but ultimately were too full and just laid around the rest of the night. It was great fun!!

Bibs for Baby K

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Recently, I found and got inspired by some plain baby bibs and have begun putting some simple embroidery designs on them.

Each bib will have one item on them, I feel that too much fancy takes say from the wearable napkin purpose of it.

A blue anchor on the blue bib, ‘Hungry’ on the green, ‘Feed Me’ on the yellow, and the baby’s name on the orange.

My little cousin is coming soon! I had better get crackin’! I can’t wait to meet the little sucker!