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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Greek Valentine’s Date in Review

You may recall my blog about my Greek Valentine’s Day expectations. I shot a little high considering my super lazy attitude from last week. However, we still ate very well and had a lot of fun.
I tried to get pictures of everything, but had been running flat out since 6:30A and was a determined just to get supper done at a reasonable time.

hummuspeppersI made the mistake of laying around on the couch on my day off which left us with having to make the pita bread the evening of our date. We threw everything together in the bread machine to save time and while that was mixing and rising I got to work on the other parts of the meal. Kit had gotten the steak marinating early so we didn’t have to worry about that at least.

Pictured above is the garlic and lime hummus that I made. It looks like boatloads of hummus but we killed it after supper and some for lunch the next day. I cut up two big bell peppers for dipping. Notice the three tiny crackers….I forgot to buy crackers as an alternative dipper. Oh well!
After grinding up the chick peas and spices in the super teenie tiny food processor, Kit washed it and I prepped the next thing to blend up.

The tzatziki was easy to make, there were just several semi-tedious steps. I bought plain yogurt and set it up over a bowl in a sieve with a little bit of cheese cloth. It probably would have been find in the sieve alone, but I didn’t want to lose any deliciousness. After the yogurt was set to draining, I peeled, scraped out the watery seedy center of the cucumbers and cut them in pieces. I placed those pieces in a colander, salted them and left them alone to drain.

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Once the bread machine finished the pita dough we got them prepped for the oven. I doubt I will follow the bread machine recipe again. Out of the eight pita circles we baked we only got three that came out of the oven puffed up and perfect for making pocket sandwiches. We had plenty for supper and don’t you worry, we are eating our very flat pita bread with our meals. They act as lovely food shovels with scrambled eggs, just so you know.

veggiestation

 

Sadly, I couldn’t find the dill weed in our cabinets and had to substitute thyme into the tzatziki, but I thought it was delish anyway. After I blended up the tzatziki and put it in the fridge to chill I set about to chopping veggies and Kit cooked the steak on the Foreman Grill. I found feta cheese on sale–yessss–, chopped up some more cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives and opened up the bag salad I bought at the store.

sweet tater fries

We were hungry mungries at this point but since the hummus had distracted our appetites we decided to go ahead and make the sweet potato fries. They turned out quite yummy, but as always there will be changes to the recipe next time we try it. gyro closeLike I said, because I had been running wide open all day I decided against making the lemon brownies and the suddenly salad that night. Although I still can’t wait to try those recipes, we were super duper stuffed like ticks after we finished our steak gyros.

gyro2

 

Of course during our food coma we enjoyed My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I hadn’t seen it in a while and had forgotten how much I loved the movie. There are some hysterical points in that romantic comedy. All in all, a successful evening.

Did you Valentine’s Day live up to your plans and expectations?

 

Kat’s V-Day 2013

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This Valentine’s Day went pretty well. I was very pleased that Kit and I decided to stay at home. I hate the stress of going out for a fancy dinner only to find every restaurant over-packed with other noisy people. Besides our food was better. First, we got semi-dressed up and were witnesses at a friend’s wedding. We had lunch with the happy couple and then went trudging to do the V-day shopping we should have done days before.
I was surprised how many men were snatching flowers with a desperate look in their eyes and how many folk there were in the grocery store.

Samplecards

This is a hugely popular DIY gift on Pinterest. The project is called 52 Things I Love About You. On each card I wrote something that I love about Kit. I copied some from another crafter, but I found that the ones that meant more were the personal ones. My Kit rarely wears pants. He is a shorts-man. Because of that fact I wanted him to wear shorts for our wedding. The phrase “Two Wild Banshees” is one of those things I catch him saying all the time.

cardsWhen Kit looked through the cards on Vday, he was chuckling and smiling all the way through. Because I wrote on the face of the cards, they can still be played with normally.

wineSupper started the only way it could; with wine. I bought a bottle of the same wine we had for our wedding (a peach chardonnay) and threw some frozen peaches into it. Perfecto.

kabobsHonestly, the first thing I did was begin marinating the shrimp and steak. The shrimp was medium, fully-cooked and frozen. I used a lemon ginger marinade that I should have started the night before, but the hours run away from me. The marinade for 1 pound of shrimp is:

  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/8 onion, chopped
  • 5/8 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro leaves (I used cubed bouillon style cilantro)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (dash)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper (dash)

I cubed up a steak and threw it into a gallon bag and tried to follow this steak marinade recipe: (I didn’t have W-sauce, oops!)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • dash of pepper

As you can see in the photo above, I skewered quartered small sweet onions, whole mushrooms (baby portabellas were on sale), whole grape tomatoes, and fat slices of red and green bell peppers. I baked these kabobs on a cookie sheet (I recommend putting aluminum foil on the trays to help with cleanup). Bake them for 10-12 minutes at 450F, flip them over and bake an additional 7-8 minutes. Thanks for the oven kabobs recipe, Sarra!

cccakeI made coca-cola cake for dessert. I failed to check my stock of butter and only had enough to make the cake and not the glaze that went on top. What makes coca-cola cake special or different from a regular chocolate cake? I honestly have no clue. Google is not helping a sister out either. It was a good recipe that I have to try again when I can do the glaze as well. I honestly love my mom’s recipe for crazy cake. This was more moist…almost like a light brownie.

The rest of the evening was spent enjoying our present that we gave to each other. Our Roku is so much better than jewelry I may never wear. Tons of Netflix TV shows at our fingertips. In one month, the Roku has already paid for itself several times over because we were frequent users of Redbox.

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).