Monday, June 18, 2012

The Making of an ATC...

I have to make ATCs for a swap I'm in.  They aren't due until next Saturday and I realize that this isn't the Friday before, but really I would prefer to get them done early.  I just don't do it often.  First I ponder the themes we were given: scenic or flags.  When I signed up I totally was going to do scenic with a miniature Stampscapes scene.  However, I changed my mind once I heard the total number we had to make: 15.  If you think I'm making 15 Stampscape scenes, you would be wrong.  I opted for flags and wanted to use this stamp.

However, I was certain that this stamp had been used to death in previous flag/patriotic swaps.  I don't know why that mattered, but I felt the need to check it out.  So I had to get out my book of ATCs and check.  Surprisingly no one had used this stamp before. I was golden.
I knew I wanted to incorporate my blue shimmery paper into the design, so that meant finding it. I was pretty sure it was on the closet floor in a container of paper, and it was.  Doesn't everyone keep paper on the closet floor?  I keep a lot of stuff on the floor there.
Since this was going to be an ATC swap with multiple layers I rejected using the expensive 110 lb paper for the cards and opted for more inexpensive paper. I got a pleasant surprise when I found out that that white paper I found to use was shimmery as well.

Then it was time to cut up the papers. I've learned over the years not to cut up all 15 at once. It is better to make one complete one first because you just never know what twists and turns you will encounter along the way (this is called 'foreshadowing').

Then I had to go find some markers, with the help of my lovely assistant, Poppy.  However, the only Tombow maker I could find was a light blue one and I was terribly unhappy with the resulting image.  I wasn't sure if I should cut it following the waves or try to square it off.  I did the wave and didn't like it.  Worse though, was the color. Light blue isn't our flag's color, nevermind that our flag doesn't have a heart on it. I just did not like it.

At this point the camera declared its batteries dead. I complained to the cat for allowing the batteries to go dead while making a documentary. The cat was unphased.  At that point I decided to make dinner and feed the cats. As I was pulling shrimp out of the freezer (for us, not the cats) I noticed two things.  One that that shrimp needed to be detailed (as in tails pulled off, de-tailed) and that there were spare AA batteries in the freezer.  After dinner I pondered my ATC design.  Without a better blue, I would have to go for a different stamp.  I had some ribbon out to use on my ATC and that influenced me to try a certain set.  The ribbon was called Americana and so is this set.

 But puttering around with it wasn't doing "it" for me.

I then thought that maybe I should use my new A Muse stamp set. I mean, after all I sell the stuff and I should make more samples with it for the world to see in hopes that they will want to buy it.  People always want stamps they see samples made with, right?  Right!

However, the fun and funky grundge flag was too big for an ATC.
Then, Poppy reminded me that I had some older markers in the rolly cart. We both hoped that there was a darker blue in there and that it would work.  We were in luck.

I decided to square off (rectangle off, really, but that sounds dumb) the image this time since I didn't like it cut with the wave. I also decided that it would need a red mat to mimic the red, white and blue in the flag and in my ribbon.  I perused the red paper stash and found there wasn't enough red scraps in the right color for 15 mats so it was off to one of the many paper storage units for the nice dark red paper.

Once I got that matted, I started thinking about my ribbon. I knew I wanted to use that cool Americana ribbon, but how.  I thought of wrapping it around but then I thought that attaching it with a Fastenator staple would be awesome.  It would give my ATC another dimension and if I used the staples with the star cutouts in them, that would ever cooler. 

Image how shocked I was to discover that there were no staples with star cutouts!  Wherever did I get that idea from?  I did find a different staple with a starburst like design on it.  By that time I realized that to attach the ribbon with those staples would require me to have 30 of them (you know, 15 ATCs x 2 staples for each side of the ribbon [see, some math is useful]). I only had 24 of the starburst design, plus having two Fastenator staples per small hunk of ribbon would look really clunky.

I thought about using regular staples and started actually playing around with the ribbon and ATC.  That's when I realized that the ribbon wasn't going to work no matter what I did.  It made me sad, but sometimes that is how it goes.
I knew I had some red and white baker's twine that I could wrap instead of ribbon. I wondered if I might also has some blue and white baker's twine so I could put them together. I opened the twine drawer and what did I find?
Red, white, AND blue twine.  *ding*ding*ding* We have a winner.  And yes, the cat helped. Long ago I learned from my artistic mother that odd numbered elements were more pleasing to the eye than even numbered ones.  My ATC design was currently a main image and a wrap of twine, that's two elements. I decided that I would use the Americana stamp set and stamp "USA" in the bottom corner to give my that needed third element. It would be subtle enough to not be distracting but help make the eye happy. 

I also had to ponder if I wanted to knot the twine or put it in a bow. I knew a bow would look better but I also knew that I can't keep my own shoes tied, so how was I going to get a bow to stay put?  Why, with nail polish, of course.  Everyone knows that.  I mean, even my own husband knows that.*
I don't actually own nail polish though. I have this bottle of crap for soft nails that stinks a thousand times worse than regular nail polish, but I had to work with what I had.  I put that on the bow and spent the rest of the evening wondering just what on earth was that horrible smell?  Oh yeah!  That damn nail crap!  I got the ATC finished by then there was the whole business of what to put on the back of the ATC.  I had two ATC-specific designs to chose from.

Which one did I pick?  Neither.
I put some random stuff on there instead.  The slash is so I can number them.  I need to make 15 but sometimes I end up making more, so no numbering until I'm completely done.  See how ardourous this whole process is?  See how it can take the whole day to complete one project?  See how come I can't create anything at get-togethers away from home?  I think as I go.  I pull out a ton of stuff. I make a huge mess.  It is all part of the process.
Thanks for reading all this.  How do you  create?

The Fine Print: I'm too exhausted for this, really.  God Bless America flag stamp by Stampin' Up, Americana stamp set by The Angel Company, Let Freedom Ring set by A Muse Studio, Americana ribbon by Michael's, RWB twine by The Twine Bitch (okay, not really, I can't remember who makes it but wouldn't that be a fun company name?).  *Okay, true confession time. I had no clue that to keep a bow shut tight you put clear nail polish on it. My husband told me.  He learned it from his crafty mother.  My mother somehow missed teaching me this important life lesson.  Maybe that's why my shoes won't stay tied.


505whimsygirl said...

Oh Princess Judy,

Your talent amazes me -- what amazes me more is your process of decision making! hee hee I had no idea about the finger nail polish, and after reading the small print I feel better about myself.

The flag ATC looks great. I'm quite impressed with the book load that you have!!!


sandee said...

I am amazed that you have the patience to record each step of your creative process, and I love the kitty in the pictures, just following you along, listening to you talk to yourself as you go, lol I did love the American grunge flag stamp, very cool and will have to check out your store! I hope your day is as fun filled as you are! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

Sheri said...

I seriously love your twisted sense of humor! Yes, the old "LOL" struck several times while reading your post, especially the fine print about the twine company name! Bwahaha! Thanks for sharing. (I have that old SU flag stamp, too.)

Georgiana said...

You are just too funny! I loved reading this...yes, I read it! I giggled at the nail polish comment...I had NO idea...I don't use the stuff, but I might just try to see if it will work. The end product...priceless!

Stay Creative,
Carson's Creations

Darnell J Knauss said...

That was a witty whiz of a recreation (both as in fun and recreating) of your process. It was definitely exhausting. For you, I mean. For myself, it was quite enjoyable. Here's another shoe-lace-won't-come-untied-tip I just learned a few months ago and I'm about 50 years older than you. You know how you tie the knot and then you make your right rabbit ear and then you bring your left rabbit ear over the top and through? Well, stop. Make your knot and then your right rabbit ear but this time take your left rabbit ear and bring him around BEHIND the right rabbit ear, over, and through. Here, let me show you. See that? I promise, they stay tied. If you're left-handed, well, I can't help you.

VonnyK said...

You are terrific, I laughed all the way through. That ATC is fabulous but the journey to get there was fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing.

Sandy said...

I just loved the way you wrote how you did this. I didn't know about the nail polish tip thanks for that. Love your helper kitty. Sandy :)

Sandy said...

Oh forgot to say I love the Atc's you made for me just awesome and your lovely post card of Arizona. Thanks Sandy :)

KatzElbows said...

Superb photojournalism. I enjoyed the highs and lows, as well as the finished product.

By the way, if your shoes keep coming undone, change the way you tie the initial knot. You know, if you usually go right over left, go left over right. It changed my life!

cheers, rachel

RosA said...

How do I create? Well, in a scaringly similar fashion ... rifling through boxes of supplies to find THAT stamp, THAT paper ... I know they are there ... and leaving a trail of chaos and devastation.
I have a Fastenator thingy too. I can't use it properly. Why not?
That's a rhetorical question (probably). This one isn't: why are the batteries in the freezer?

Eliza said...

You are not alone in this department girl, I am right alongside you, sometimes it comes together and sometimes it dont. I get that, you get that, but others don't, why? It really isn't worth going there, best of sticking to what you know works eventually for you and that is to work from home or on your own. LOL