Random ATCs

Here’s two more ATCs made for swaps on Swap-Bot.

Recycled Robot

So many random bits and pieces on this one! I wanted my robot to look metallic, so I hunted down lots of… well, rubbish really. I used a sweet wrapper for the head, and the foil top from a bottle of milkshake for the body. The antennae were made with leftover pieces of craft wire, gems for the eyes and nose, and a teeny tiny bit of leftover peel-off for the mouth (never throw anything away – see?!). The legs, as you can probably work out, were just a couple of paperclips, with some silver ribbon arms, and brown gems to make grabby hands. I drew rivets on the robot with a fine permanent marker pen, and decided to do the same around the edge of the ATC to match.

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Orion

This ATC was made specifically for my swap partner. Her favourite constellation is Orion, so I gathered up all the peel-off sheets I could find that had stars on them (a surprising number, actually!), and set about placing them accurately to create the constellation. Luckily I had a few picture to copy (thank you Google images!), so it was just a case of working out which star to put where, so that they would all fit on nicely. I added a couple of gems, and used a white pen to connect the stars together in the traditional shape of Orion. A few peel-off letters in the corner clarifies it!

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ATC challenge #1

ATC Challenge #1: Kirsty’s challenge

In my ‘Z is for…’ post from a few weeks ago I asked for some challenges on what theme to make my next ATC. I got some great replies, and have been spending lots of time since thinking and planning. This post is the first of several (hopefully!) showing the fruits of my labour!

This evening I completed my good friend Kirsty’s challenge. Kirsty is an Occupational Therapist, a lecturer, and a writer. Her blog is a veritable feast of all these subjects, and can be found here, do take a look. Her challenge to me was something on a ‘writing / booky theme’. My first thought was, ‘oh, that’ll be easy!’, but as I considered it further I realised that making an ATC about writing was going to be tricky!

My finished product has a very simple look, but I’m quite pleased with the individual elements of it. I have used some slightly unusual items on it, as is normal for me! I do like the oddball stuff!

The basic look is a notepad and two pencils, with one of Kirsty’s most used memes, the #amwriting hashtag along the top. The pencils are made from a toothpick, cut in half. I coloured the ‘nib’ with black ink, and painted the barrel with orange nail varnish. For the notepad, I made a spiral out of craft wire and threaded it into a few mini sheets of paper. A peel-off border and peel-off letters complete the ATC (I had to improvise the hashtag by cutting a thin strip off the edge of the peel-off sheet though!).

I love being able to create the parts of the ATC from scratch, and I’m so pleased with how the little pencils turned out – they’re so cute!

I have two challenges left to complete – unless anyone wants to add any more…

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Swapping ATCs

Although I haven’t been blogging this week (completing that A-Z challenge was hard work!) I’ve still been busy crafting. I went a bit mad at the start of the week and joined three new swaps on the Swap-Bot website, all ATC swaps. Most Swap-Bot swaps are international, but I managed to find a UK only one, which helps to save on  postage a bit. Two of the swaps, the UK only one and a ‘quick’ swap (where you only get a few days between being given your partners name and having to post out) were free theme. 20110508-204328.jpgHowever, for the other swap the ATC made had to follow the theme of ‘red’. This is quite a wide ranging theme, which was good for me as I’ve never done a themed ATC before. My problem generally is that my finished ATC often bears little or no resemblance to the one that was in my head at the start! And in fact, that was the case with this one too! I used some peel-offs and papers that I’d received from a previous swap, plus a chinese word peel-off, and some Card Candy. I basically gathered up as much red stuff as I could find to begin with, and worked from there. I was pleased with the end result, and got the ATC posted off to someone in the States at the start of the week.

For the UK only swap, I used an ATC I’d already made. When I looked at the profile of the person I was sending to I saw that she liked daisies and the colour green. As I had a green daisy ATC already, I used that.20110508-204334.jpg

The final swap I found more tricky. Although it was free-theme, I like to look at my partners profile and send them something they’d like. My partner for the ‘quick’ swap was quite young and fashionable, and liked fluorescent colours. Now, as I did fluorescent colours the first time round in the 80s, I’ve really not got into it this time round! As such, I honestly thought I didn’t have anything that would work. However, after a good dig around in my stash, I discovered some brilliant double sided card – bright pink on one side and lime green on the other – perfect!

I used a mirror I’d received from my very first swap, and decided to embed it in layers of the card – this was far more complicated than I expected! I have a craft compass, which has a blade instead of a pencil at one end. This enabled me to cut the perfect sized circle in each sheet of card fairly easily, although it took a little while. I found a ‘you’re special’ rub on which was a very good colour match, and then coloured a few star shaped peel-offs pink to match as well. The finished ATC is very different from anything I’ve made before, but it was good to try and push myself to do something slightly out of my comfort zone.

So, as if all that wasn’t enough, I’ve joined two moe swaps this weekend. The first one I’m really looking forward to – it’s a ribbon swap! We have to send 6 x 12″ lengths of ribbon to our partner. I’m really excited about what I’m going to receive!

Finally, one more ATC swap, another quick one. I got my partners name yesterday, and I have to post the ATC by Wednesday. More red, and more peel-offs on this one, but after re-discovering my craft wire last week after doing one of my A-Z posts, I’ve used some of it on here. I’ve still hardly made a dent in it – I have so much left I think I could put a craft wire embellishment on everything I made from now until the end of the year and still not use it up! To use craft wire properly you should really use special shaping pliers, which I don’t have. So the hearts were made by hand, hence the fact they’re a bit wonky. I’ve always struggled with how to adhere the wire to the card – if you use glue it’s going to be pretty obvious – but with this ATC I used the cunning ploy of sellotape hidden by the peel-off heart.

I’m really looking forward to starting a collection of swapped ATCs. It’s lovely to see somebody else’s designs, and how they use different techniques.

At the end of my ‘Z is for…’ post I asked for ATC challenges. I received three good ones, which I have been working on today (I will show you when they’re done, don’t worry!), but would love some more. So please, what would you like to see on an ATC? I’m looking for any sort of theme, from the simple like ‘red’, to the more difficult, like ‘stressed out’ (cheers Michelle!). Give me something to get my teeth into!

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A – Z challenge: W is for…

W is for wedding.

The lead up to my wedding was my first experience of crafting. It was my mother-in-law who first suggested hand-made invitations. I had no concept about the level of work or effort involved (and certainly no concept of what it would lead to!), so she very kindly made an example invitation for me to look at. I wanted something simple and elegant, but easy enough to make that I wouldn’t be spending hours on each one. She came up with the idea of a heart peel-off over a lilac handmade (textured) paper backing. I saw her example and instantly loved it. To make about 50-60 invitations I needed about 3 or 4 heart peel-off sheets, another couple with saying ‘wedding invitation’, two A4 sheets of handmade paper, and a pack of white card blanks. This came to well under £20. The inserts were printed on the computer onto matching lilac paper also.

The final design was so straightforward that once I’d prepped the handmade paper (by using a paintbrush to lightly wet it in rectangles, then tearing it neatly along the wet lines) each card took less than a minute to construct. I glued a rectangle of the handmade paper to a white card blank, placed a heart peel-off on top, then put the ‘wedding’ peel-off above, and the ‘invitation’ peel-off below the heart. Glue in the insert and voila – one handmade, personal wedding invitation in my perfect colour scheme.

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By the time I’d completed those, I was completely hooked on crafting. I decided to make the place-name cards too. Lilac card, holographic silver card for layering, and the name printed onto matching lilac paper meant everything matched perfectly. The addition of the same heart peel-offs really set the design off. Again, these were so simple to make, and the only really time-consuming part of the job was deciding which font to print the names in!

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After I’d finished those I was ready for a challenge. I remembered that I would need wedding favours, usually five sugared almonds wrapped in cellophane, tied with a ribbon. As my husband-to-be and I had already decided that we didn’t want almonds, we chose (well, okay, *I* chose) to use Minstrels instead as they were nice and flat (and yummy!) and easy to fit inside a handmade flat box.

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I can’t remember how I designed the box – probably trial and error. They were much more time consuming than the cards or place-names as each had to be individually cut out carefully, folded, taped together, hole punched, filled and ribbon tied through the tops. Of course, the addition of the ‘one Minstrel for you, one for me’ rule helped proceedings along no end! Finally, another peel-off heart set off the perfect match again. 

As if that wasn’t enough, I decided to make one final thing for my wedding. Unusually, this time not paper-craft! Having looked for a tiara and not being able to find one to my liking (that didn’t cost a fortune) I decided that I couldn’t be too hard to make, so bought a plain silver Alice Band from eBay for a few pounds. I ‘invested’ in some silver craft wire (again, a few pounds, and I still have heaps of it left), and an amethyst stone bracelet from a market stall, which was no more than a fiver. The genius of using amethysts from a bracelet was that each stone already had a perfect little hole in, ready and waiting for my craft wire. 

The tiara took a long time to get right. I had the vision in my head of how I wanted it to look, but I couldn’t quite get it perfect until I’d fiddled around with it for some time. However, I was really pleased with the final result, and the pleasure in being able to tell my visiting family that I had made it myself was wonderful.

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PS My husband is not impressed that I am posting this picture of us on our wedding day as he says he looks too fat in it. He wanted me to edit him out, and I refused as that’s not the point (it was *our* wedding after all!), so the compromise is that I point out that he has lost lots of weight recently and now looks much slimmer 🙂