Thursday, June 14, 2018

100.

According to the post list, this is my 100th post. Wow. I'm actually surprised this blog is still up and I post to it fairly regularly after 2 years. I don't have anything else going on except sharing my art, so I guess I'll just keep on keepin' on. Here's to 100 more.

The exciting news this time is that the prompt list for #cutpastejuly is live. I've been sitting on it for a couple of weeks already and there's still a couple more weeks left in June, but ugh. I can't hold it anymore. Last year was the first year and not that I consider myself so popular that hosting a daily art challenge is a big deal, but I'm just really looking forward to it as a personal project. I get in a mid-year seasonal funk with art and following a list and filling a whole gluebook (and having people work along on the same list and share their stuff) was pretty therapeutic last year. ANYWAY! Here it is!


This year I threw in a few techniques and some favorite collage artists.
I'll be working in a gluebook again. I made a duct tape journal that should be more expandable and easier to work in than last year's magazine journal.

In other creative news, it's been 6 days since my last ATCs were made. I finished 2 sets of cards that I can use for this month's mixed media collage ATC swap.


I started the bottom set and was kind of iffy about it, so I started the second (top) set.
AND THEN I got iffy about that set....I went back and forth, but finally finished both to my liking. Now I just need to decide which ones to use for the swap. I don't even know for sure if anyone else is participating. LOLOHSHIT.

Since then, I've moved on to some mail art projects. I held a little RAK giveaway for kids on Swap-bot for those cute monster sticker ATCs I made and got a wild hair up my butt and made a mini zine to go along with them.


It's got Summer activities in it like a backyard scavenger hunt and a "design your own Hawaiian shirt" fill in, plus some images to color.

I also marked this month's Artsy Mail Pals swap off my list.
We're making creative hands - hand-shaped art cards.
I've made 5 so far and love how they turned out.


I used a clip art hand as a template because I liked its shape.
I want to make more, because it proved to be a great excuse to cut up some pretty papers I've been hoarding for ages, but I need to start planning my next project: an irreverent prayer flag or "freak flag" for a Swap-bot swap I'm hosting. Gonna get the fabric out! Might sew. Oooh boy. Will have to wait for Mom's visit though because I've forgotten how to work the machine, it's been so long (and I didn't really know what I was doing to begin with).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Just keep going.

I'm in a weird sort of middle-blah mood where I have a lot of creative activities going on, and have a long list of things to-do, but I don't have anything I really want to work on right now. So I'm just kind of poking things and shuffling papers and doing laundry. It's like being hungry in a house full of food but you don't want to eat any of it.

*rolls eyes*

Anyway, since my last report, when I said I was going to go on a postcard-making bender because I've been making too many ATCs...I managed to make ONE postcard.


Ta-da.

Then I got nervous about deadlines and put the postcard pot on the back burner. I made another accordion house for the Artsy Mail Pals swap.


I thought I was being all cute & clever making a gnome home, but 2 other people made gnome themed homes, too. 😄
Maybe I'll make another one in a different theme...will have to see what pops up.


Over in Swap-bot "Lord of the Flies" Land, I'm hosting a few swaps. Some public, some in groups. Public ones are more nerve-wracking because there's a lot more admin work and watching involved. It's a necessary pain in the ass if you want to mingle with new people though.

I had to go back to ATCs because I'm hosting ATC swaps. One is for altered Mona Lisas - one of my favorite themes.


I used bodies from a Roaman's catalog we recently got and was tickled at how seamlessly her head fit on the bodies.

BTS of the surgeries.
I'm also hosting another big group ATC swap - after the Art Ladies swap worked out so well, I've decided to go ahead with hosting quarterly.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi7Nw0VHb3x/
New subject - same mixed media collage style.
I even broke down and went back to Pinterest to make an art inspiration board for it.
I had deleted my account previously because it was a dumpster fire of spam and click-bait like Facebook (which I also finally deleted).
I think if I just stick to making inspiration boards for swaps and stay away from the homepage, it'll be less aggravating.
Hopefully.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Glue.

Glue is a hot topic for paper crafters, collagers and mail artists. I'm a glue nerd myself, but I don't think I've ever talked in depth about it here. Seeing as I'm hosting a public collage postcard swap on Swap-bot, now seems like a good time to get into it.

I've been a loyal Elmer's CraftBond Glue Stick user for years now. It's my main glue for collages - postcards, envelopes, ATCs, artbooks, etc. I tried UHU once in the early days and didn't care for it, so it's been Elmer's all the way since. I like it for a few reasons, not just because it has good sticking power, but it has a nice consistency (goes on smooth and doesn't crumble), it's not messy and it's readily available at different stores.


I know a lot of people complain about glue sticks - they say the glue doesn't stick well. To be honest, I don't believe their problems are because of the glue, but because of application. I've received mail art myself with papers flapping off in the breeze and you can clearly see that the paper has no evidence of ever being glued. When you use glue sticks, you need to REALLY get in there and rub it everywhere, multiple times. Like this:


This is how I glue everything that is going out naked in the mail. I don't have to be quite as thorough with things like ATCs because they won't be handled nearly as much. It seems like a lot, but in a normal month of creative projects, I'll only go through 1 glue stick - 2 if it's been a busy month for postcards. I rarely have anything arrive at its destination with any significant damage so it's worth it.

My glue palette is a big office supply catalog sat in a short repurposed cardboard box so I can easily grab it and move it around when I need to.


Gluing on this provides a bit of cushion so the glue stick meets the paper more evenly without having to press so hard. When a page gets glued up too much, I rip it off and move on to the next one. The old card is my scraper/smoother.

Some more tips for collage mail art:
  • If you're using any kind of glossy materials, it's good to use sandpaper to scuff up the sides that are going to be glued. This'll give the paper some tooth to grip with. I get sanding blocks from the Dollar Tree - they're a lot easier to handle than sandpaper (sandpaper paper cuts are awful).
  • Use papers of similar thickness/weight. This helps create a uniform surface that won't snag in machinery. You can thin out thick papers by carefully peeling off layers. I do this with postcards when I rather use the images in art (or when I goof up filling out a cool postcard and still want to use the image).
  • Though if you do want to mix in thicker papers, just use a heavier glue. I use Aleene's Tacky Glue when I need to apply papers that are thicker compared to others in a collage - or for small/fiddly bits.
  • With every piece you glue down, burnish the heck out of it! I'll put the lid back on the glue stick and use the top of it to squash the papers down thoroughly or use a plastic card to smooth papers out.
  • Before you mail something out, run your hand over it and check at the edges for any papers that aren't glued all the way and touch up with more glue where needed. If you can pull it up, postal machinery can pull it up (and wreck the shit out of it). 


This is the "lay of the land" of the collage postcard I made while thinking about this post. For the most part it's a smooth layer of multiple papers. The punches are from drywall tape which has a heavy-duty glue already applied to it so I'm not all that worried about them. The thin black strips in the middle make up a quote and were applied with Aleene's.


I don't usually seal my collage postcards - at least not usually with a heavy sealer.
If it's a mixed media collage that has a lot of paint layers, then I'll seal with Mod Podge.
If I just add some pencil doodles or stencil a few dots with paint, I'll spot-seal with some sort of spray varnish. Otherwise collage postcards (and envelopes) go out as-is.

That's my glue post - as it pertains to mail art at least.
Hope it's useful in some way.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New swaps.

Besides Swap-bot swaps, I've been working on other artsy exchanges. Last month I asked someone who I trade with regularly on ATCsforALL if she'd be interested in a monthly "anything goes" exchange and she said yes.

So after being sick at the end of April I was kind of starved for a project. Thinking about this, that and the next thing, I thought up something new. At least new to me...I looked and couldn't find it anywhere. Anyway, it's an accordion house - a mashup of an accordion fold book and house shaped ATCs. I thought it was the perfect thing to send my art pal.


The main "structure" of the house is standard ATC dimensions - the roof extends over that.


I took a sheet of heavyweight cardstock, scored twice, cut off after the third "ATC" then trimmed out different rooflines for each panel.


I liked how it turned out and have ideas for more so I set up a swap with the Artsy Mail Pals.

Speaking of, the other swap I finished was an Artsy Mail Pals swap.
A "Whose Line is it Anyway?" style handmade postcard swap.
We suggested a few random ideas, then from the list of ideas we had to pick at least 2 to incorporate into a postcard.
I chose onomatopoeia and ballerina and came up with this...


Rainbow ballerina Milton Berle. 😆
I also got some glitter on there, which was another suggestion.
Before Milton was glued down and sent away, I posed him around the yard for giggles.


Happy Mother's Day to all the motherly types out there today.
All I wanted was Dunkin' Donuts and a weekend doing nothing but making art and I got that.
Now I'm off to watch Ali Wong's new stand-up special on Netflix.
💖

Monday, April 30, 2018

Back at it.

Allll last week I was sick with some sort of cold-sinus thing, brought on by Husband's sinus infection he had the previous week. There was no cooking, no cleaning and no arting going on. I'm feeling a whole lot better now though, so everything's resumed. I'm getting myself reoriented in my craft cave today.

Before I got sick, I put a couple of creative pots on the stove. I'm hosting some Swap-bot swaps - the public one is for ATCs featuring stickers. Because stickers get a bad rep and I wanted to play with some new stickers...


I got these cute "doodle monsters" at Michael's in the kids/school section.
Cute monsters with paint brushes and rainbows and hearts and junk. I was not resisting.
The backgrounds are from a sheet of cardstock I had smeared some excess paint on. I finished it with more paint smears, marker doodles and spray splatters.
I'm pretty sure only kids like me will want these cards though, so I worked on some more....


Using some of the couple dozen masterboard ATC background leftovers I have.
I usually only use stickers for decorating postcards, so I got to dig back a bit in the hoard.

The last thing I worked on before sickies befell, was gathering a bunch of papers & images for pop art-y collage postcards. That's what I've been working on the last couple of days since I've been feeling better.





Now everything is copacetic.