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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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.

Who Knew Fried Rice was SO Easy

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Who knew? Even though I have made fried rice before, I always seem to forget how ridiculously easy it is to make at home.
I have been told that day old rice or leftover white rice is the best to use, but I’m not sure why. Perhaps it has had the opportunity to harden a touch and won’t mush as you cook it again.

The ingredients, more or less

• 3 tbs sesame oil OR dump some olive oil in the pan and about one tablespoon of sesame seeds

• 1 large onion, chopped or diced

• 1 TBSP minced garlic

• 3 carrots, peeled and grated

• 1 large green pepper, chopped

• 2 eggs, slightly beaten

• 3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice)

• 1/4 cup soy sauce

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Directions

-Saute sesame seeds and garlic in oil in a large wok or large bottom soup pot.

-Add the onions, green pepper and carrots. Add any veggie you prefer really. Most people do the frozen veggie mix of peas and carrots.

-Move all the veggies to the edge of the pan (make a hole) and scramble the eggs in the middle. When they are fully cooked, mix everything around.

– Lastly add the rice and soysauce. I added less than the 1/4 cup the recipe called for and I thought it was perfect. Just remember that is is easy to add a bit more soysauce than add a cup more of cooked rice.

-I added a tablespoon or two and mixed it all around to see if I needed more soysauce or not. Since everything is cooked, go ahead and taste it as you go to make sure it is the way you like it.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken {Recipe Revealed!!}

spicythaiprogressMy SiL made this for me when I went to visit her down in Illinoise and I finally got brave enough to try it myself. I will link to my pin of the original recipe and below is my version of the recipe.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken

Ingredients:

2-4 chicken breasts (depending on size)
Salt, garlic powder and curry powder to taste
1/2 box of angel hair or linguine
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of dried red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 whole sweet onion, diced
1 medium sized green pepper, diced
4 carrots peeled and grated
6 Tablespoons honey
6 Tablespoons soy sauce

Directions:

Grill or cook chicken with desired spices (I sprinkled mine with salt, garlic and curry powder). Allow to cool and chop up the chicken. Add to pot last along with the noodles.
Start boiling pasta, follow box directions for cooking and drain to prevent overcooking.
In a medium sized pot, cook oil, red pepper, sesame seeds. Once you chop up the onion and peppers throw those in as well. Continue to cook on medium heat ntil desired tenderness is reached.
Peel and grate carrots and add to pot once veggies are cooked.
Whisk together honey and soy sauce then add to pot and allow to simmer together for a few minutes.
Add drained pasta & cooked chicken to pot of sauce and veggies. Combine well until all the noodles are covered in sauce. thaispicenoodlesThe best thing you can do is let it sit overnight. You might even consider making a whole box of pasta just so you have the delectable leftovers the next day. spicy thai noodlesThis is the darling recipe card that the original blogger made for her readers. You will notice that I omitted several things. I didn’t feel a need for the toppings so I left them out. I also reduced the amount of oil and added sesame seeds to olive oil because I didn’t have any sesame oil. You might even consider playing with this recipe some more and add even more veggies or add tofu instead of chicken if you fancy that.

I love, love, love this recipe.
Hubbster got one bite of the leftovers, because I refused to share more.

~Kat~

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~

Toastada con Tomate

While in Spain I ate a type of breakfast I never would have tried without a recommendation. So, let me begin by saying
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To my friend Yan that I met on trail.
Since having this breakfast I wanted to know everything there was to it and was pleased to find it was quite simple.
Toastada con tomate or tomatoes on toast is:

• Toasted bread
• Grated tomato
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

That truly is it. Now, it may not sound like much but it is wonderful.
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I drizzled maybe a teaspoon of olive oil per piece of toast. Because it is oil you won’t need much. 

If you want a proper recipe check out A Painter of Modern Life’s blog recipe.
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Shortcut Pumpkin Cheesecake {Recipe Revealed!!}

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I found plenty of from scratch pumpkin cheesecake recipes. I knew I could figure out a way to do this in a quick and dirty fashion. I left out the dirt in the recipe below.

Enter Kat’s Shortcut Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Supplies needed
• One box of no-bake instant cheesecake
• Butter & sugar as directed by box for crust
• One can of pure pumpkin (15 oz)
• Pumpkin pie spice to taste or cinnamon/nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger to taste
• 2 TBSP brown sugar
• Dash or two of water to aid with smooth consistancy
• Pie plate or other container you want to be filled with amazing flavors

Method

Combine sugar, butter and graham cracker crust packet. Mold to pie plate.

In a medium sized bowl combine, cheesecake mix, pure pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Add water a little bit at a time until you have a smooth mixture, about 1/4 cup.

Dump into prepared crust/pan and chill in fridge for 30 minutes. Serve awesome.