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Reasons, Reasons, Reasons

Initially I was going to title this “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses.” But as I was writing was able to admit there are few excuses good enough to get myself out this screw up unscathed. So I’m accepting responsibility. With an explanation…or in other words, “Reasons, Reasons, Reasons.”

First the story (ridiculous as it is) followed by photos of the process.

I belonged to a now defunct ATC group. For years we did a monthly challenge, sending in 3 ATCs following the theme that the hostess for that month set. In the beginning there was lots of participation, and slots for getting to be the hostess were filled up a year in advance.

But as time went by, people’s lives changed, they got busy, lost interest, and by early 2014 we needed to invite people from outside our initial group to participate. Even then, participation was low. Hostesses backed out at the last minute, and it was a struggle to keep going.

But I really didn’t want to let the group fall apart, so I stayed and continued to be involved long after the thrill was gone. It really is just not as fun when only a few people are involved.

So. I volunteered to hostess for June. I knew I was busy, but I figured how much work could it be with so few people likely to sign up? As long as I’m done by early July, I’ll be able to handle it.

As predicted, only 3 three people in addition to myself  signed up. Piece of cake.

But then not all the cards came in, and by the time the last one arrived, it was July and we were leaving on vacation early the next morning, I was up to my eyeballs in preparations, and they would just have to wait until I got home.

Until that point, I was on solid ground. I felt completely justified in not being able to get them out until August. It was later when it got weird – almost a comedy of errors, a bit of procrastination, and, let’s be candid, everything else in my life being more important combined with a little “I don’t want to do this.”

Every time I would get to the point where I was about to force myself to sit down and take the few minutes needed to get them out, something would come up and it wouldn’t get done. They’d fall through the cracks again, and weeks, if not months would go by before I thought about them again.

At one point, I couldn’t find the cards I’d done myself and had to do them over again. I did that, not once, but twice. TWICE. SOMEWHERE in this mess I call a studio, there are 2 sets of “Hearth and Home” cards. And I have to confess, doing them over for a third time just wasn’t floating to the top of my “to do” list.

And, of course, our travels have gotten in the way, as well.

Finally, today I decided I needed to get these off my plate. Yay me! I’m igniting (you know, my word for the year – getting inspired to complete all those unfinished projects!)

And now that they are done, and the cards are in the mail, I’m wondering why I made such a big deal about it. I LOVE doing them, and now that the group is no more, I am going to miss it.

And while I’m at it, if any of you ladies involved in this fiasco (you know who you are) are reading this, my apologies. No excuses. I screwed up. And I REALLY don’t like disappointing people, and I know I have. I probably owe y’all a little sumpin’, sumpin’. But by the time I figured that out, I knew it would mean them not going in the mail today, and we know where THAT would lead!

For starters, my work area is a disaster (yet another “reason” why it’s been so hard to get in there and get this done.)


So. For these cards, I used stuff I already had on hand, and as much recycled stuff as I could. For my substrate I used old business cards a friend sent me, cut to size. To that I modpodged torn pieces of a book page, and sheet music left over from another project.


Then I laid down the first coat of paint, dried it, and added the sky color and a few accents in a deeper shade.


I’d purchased an architectural stamp awhile back (I didn’t have it when I did the 1st two sets!) and decided it would make an interesting accent.


Then I found a card I’d started with a background I’d done on my gelli plate. I thought it might look good for the hills, and cut them out and glued them on.




Then I paper-pieced a simple house out of scraps and added a few accents with my pitt pen.


A little chalking, a bit more color, and a little more pen work, and they were done.



So should I save the scraps for another project?


I’m tempted. But, no. They’re going in the trash.

And in the back of my mind I’m wondering “should I find another ATC group to hook up with?”

I know. I’m nuts.


Inspiration Deck Tutorial

One of the gals from my art group thought it was time to do an Inspiration Deck again, so we’re doing it!

But, rather than keeping it within our small group, she’s opening it up to anyone who wants to participate.  SO, if you’re interested, join us! Ask to join the Facebook group at then once you are in, go up and click on files, add your name (for as many decks as you want to make) along with the saying you want to reserve. There is no particular theme, just pick something that is meaningful to you, and make sure no one else has already signed up for it. You can do as many decks as you’d like, then you will receive that many completed decks in the end. They are great for gifts!

Several of the people doing it have not done one before, so I thought I’d do a little tutorial based on what I’ve learned in doing them myself.

Inspiration Decks are like ATCs (artist trading cards) except instead of being done on art paper, they are done by altering playing cards, the ones that measure 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. And yes, playing cards come in different sizes, and size DOES matter. Make sure you’re starting with the right size. Also, please use new ones, not ones that are old and frayed. Where I LOVE things that are “Tattered and Worn” (heeheehee!) not everyone does, and new ones work best for this.

For the purpose of our deck, we want to do 52 cards, so we have one card for each week of the year. So that means we need 52 people to do one deck each, or for some to make more than one deck, or the suggestion was made that we do 2 sayings per deck, then we’d only need 26 people. We’ll decide when we see how many people are interested.

So, you’re signed up and you have your deck of cards.

The next step is to decide what medium you want to use. You can use any medium that can be used on a card – fabric, paint, paper. You just want it pretty flat, not too much dimension, as they will rub a little, and things like buttons would be apt to come off.

Paint is the most commonly used medium, and if that is what you’re going to use, you need to start by putting down a layer of gesso on the side that have the numbers on them. The paint will flake off of the card without it. Some people leave the other side as is, others decorate it, but w/o a saying, and some put their contact info (mostly for those who want to advertise their business) on it. Whichever works for you is fine.



One thing you want to keep in mind, no matter what medium you use is that you need to do your design vertically, NOT horizontally, and leave the area in the upper left hand corner free of writing so a hole can be punched for putting a ring through. DO NOT punch the hole yourself. The hostess will determine what size she needs to make, and do them herself.

You don’t NEED to go crazy with them. This is supposed to be fun, so intricate, time-consuming designs, no matter how fun they are to do, will become tedious after the first 30 or so. Make it easy on yourself and keep it fairly simple. You want them to be attractive, but it is the sentiment that is the most important part.

They are easier to do if you do them “production style.” Clear off a table so you can line up all 52 cards at once, then do each step to all the cards at once. For example, gesso all of one side, let them dry, then flip them and gesso the other (if you’re going to paint both sides.) Then do the base coat on each, then do each layer or color to each card before going to the next step. It makes it go oh so much more quickly than doing the cards from start to finish one at a time. Trust me on this. I’ve done LOADS of production work. With the last deck I was involved in, I did 4 decks, and it looked like this!


Some of us are “over-achievers”  and I’m one of them. No matter how hard I try to “keep it simple” I just keep adding little details. BUT. I enjoy the process. I do not find it to be a chore to work on them for many hours. You do NOT need to make this an overwhelming project. It is not a competition. The idea is to share inspiration that uplifts you with others. So only put the amount of effort into it that you are ENJOYING! It should not be “work!” It should not be stressful!



The major issue I had with the cards when I was the hostess was that some came badly stuck together. If you are going to use a coating on them, it is best to NOT use mod-podge. It seemed to be the main culprit. I did NOT put a coating on mine. But if you chose to do so, make sure whatever you use will not get sticky, and give them plenty of time to dry before mailing.

If you are looking for ideas/inspiration, try googling ATC images, because these, are, for all intents and purposes, ATCs. And there are TONS of samples on the internet.

As you will see when you sign up, Kim Hyer is our hostess. The cards will be be mailed to her. She will punch the holes, collate the decks and mail them back to you. There is a small charge ($7.00) for participating to help defer the cost of the rings and mailing them. The $7.00 will cover up to two decks. If you are doing 3-4, the charge would be $14.00, as the small priority mail box will fit 2 decks. Most of you will fit into that 1-2 deck charge of $7.00. Please send the money with your deck.

We are looking at having all of the cards to Kim by September 1st. This is not a HARD deadline, but please do your best to have them to her by then. Being the hostess can be a little like herding cats, so let’s try to make it as easy on her as we can.

I think that’s it. If you have any questions, please ask on the Facebook page so everyone will see the question, and we’ll answer there!




ATCs and May Flowers Day 25

Happy May Flower Day #25!

Today’s offering is Geum, a dainty little flower on long, stately stems that produce blossoms nearly all summer as long as you continue to “deadhead” or cut off the dead blossoms. I have them in both red and yellow, and just discovered a bright orange variety.

Have you been by to check out all the other flowers being presented on the main May Flowers Blog? My friend Lori Moon has been combining her art, architectural features and the flowers of NYC…

You’ll recall that I have talked about ATCs several times before…Artist Trading Cards? My art group does a swap every month. Each artist does 3 cards and mails them to the hostess, who then distributes 3 different ones to each participant. So every month, I get three little treasures in the mail.

This is one of the three I sent, all a variation of the same theme…

And these are the three lovelies I got back!

Thank you, Sally Rose, Kim Hyer and Carol Bray! They are beautiful!

I could never have full-sized paintings from all my artist friends (not enough wall space even if I could afford them!) so it is great to be able to have little samples!

Next month’s theme is “Mellow Yellow” and I have no idea what I’m going to do! Ha! Inspiration doesn’t normally hit me until the moment I need it!

Day #5 – Art Every Day Month – Yay! Studio Time!

One of my new painter friends, Pati Hannah, sent me an adorable card with a print of one of her paintings on it. My youngest granddaughter, Bea – age 3 – is one of Pati’s biggest fans. She is enchanted with the details and all the little surprises in the paintings. Today Bea decided (all on her own) that she wanted to do her own drawing and came up with this little masterpiece! She has learned to write her name (don’t you think that’s a very creative “E”?) You can barely see her little sun, but it is her twist on Pati’s original.

This evening I got to the studio, and hardly knew where to start. I’ve got so many ideas rolling around in my head it’s about to explode!

I cleared off a tiny space and base-coated some ATC sized canvases.

They are the beginning of some “Jesus is the reason for the season” Christmas ornaments I’ve been mulling over.

While they were drying I base-coated the ATCs for the Winter-themed swap with my fly girls…

Since they would take a bit to dry, I got started on a pair of earrings, which led to a matching necklace…

Today was a very productive “art” day.  I feel super-charged and can hardly wait to get back to the studio tomorrow!

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