Category Archives: Gifts

Displaying Your ATCs and ICADS- They’ve Been Framed

I love creating ATCs ( Artist Trading Cards) and ICADs ( Index Card a Day) and over the period of 2 years that I have been doing mixed media I have quite the collection.  I admit it I have a hard time giving away or even trading my little pieces of art. I imagine many of you are just like me , with a growing pile of ATCs , ICADs etc. So what do you do with them?

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Initially I bought baseball card plastic sheets and stored my ATCs in them in a binder. This works well but I found that I didn’t look through it often. And I wanted to see my art,and be inspired by it. My ICADS I hole punched and put on a ring.  This kept them together, but was hard to display and I feel like I damaged my art by punching a hole in it.


One day shortly after we had moved my husband and I got onto the task of hanging pictures. Some of the things we had previously hung no longer appealed or ” fit” our new home. By the end of it, we had a stack of unused frames of various sizes and shapes. This is when I got my idea. Now that I had an actual art studio dedicated to my creativity I wanted to hang some of my creations. I gathered up all the unused frames onto the dining room table and took out all my creations that were not in a journal. Here’s what I came up with.

Now I didn’t do anything fancy, such as get custom matting for them- but you definitely could do this.  Part of my plan was to use what I had without buying anything new. This also meant that I could just get this done and hang the frames without delay or procrastination.

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These two frames that are basically two panes of glass surrounded by wood . I believe they are called “float” picture frames.  These work particularily well since they will fit a variety of sizes of my art.  If I wanted I could paint a background that would go with the selected ICADS/ATCs  and mount the ATCs/ICADs on it. For now I like the look of the wall showing through. Gives it a sort of 3 D effect.

Here are a couple links to similar frames

Wood Float Frame 10X20 –

Wood Float Frame 51/2 X 13 –


This frame had a pre cut mat that was intended to use with 3 5 by 7 photos.  The size of the opening was too big for just one ATC so I paired them up and mounted them on the backing. The matting really makes these ATCs pop. Afterwards, I realized that I could have used foam tape or dots to adhere the ATCs. This little change would set them off even more.


These multi-picture frames come in a variety of orientations, but are the perfect size for either ATCs or ICADs.  I loved that I could use my ICADs that went horizontally as well as vertically in this frame. I simply mounted them on the black background without adding any backing paper. At a later time I could mount them on matt board or get a matt cut. ( My husband purchased a matt cutter when I first got into art. I may have to nudge him to get it out and start using it).

Here are some links to similar frames if interested

Puzzle Collage Picture Frame –

10 Opening Collage –

The best part of having my art in frames is I get to enjoy them in a way I couldn’t before. It inspires me to have my art hanging in my work space. Plus, whenever it strikes my fancy I can change the arrangements putting in other favorites or newer creations.

Have fun “framing” your art.





Salt Technique: It’s Not Just for Watercolor : ATC ” Joy”

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If you watched some of my videos you know that I love using the salt technique frequently on my journal pages. I use it with my homemade Wilton sprays, Inktense Blocks and Lindy’s Starburst Sprays. But did you know you could use this technique with acrylic paint?

I didn’t either . At least not until I did a YouTube video seeing which color mediums the salt technique works with. You can find that video by clicking on this link.

The background created for this ATC was made during the video. On this background I used the following Liquitex Basic Acrylic Paints. Ultramarine Blue, Hookers Green, Bright Aqua Green, Light Blue Permanent and Old Gold.

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Onto a gessoed card I applied a generous amount of aquamarine blue with about half as much of each of bright acqua green and light blue permanent. I sprayed each with water and mixed loosely with my finger. I added a touch of hookers green afterward with a bit of water. When using the salt technique you want to have a bit of liquid for the salt to soak up. I applied sea salt to the card taking care not to sprinkle it on most parts.

If I was doing this again I would mix each paint color with water prior to putting it on  the card. I believe this will amplify the effect of the salt technique.

After it was dry I gently brushed off the salt with my fingers. You can feel the texture the salt created. I then put some of the Old Gold Liquitex Basic on my craft mat. I dipped a makeup sponge into it and applied it to my Hero Arts “Old Letter Writing” wooden stamp. I stamped the card so the script was vertical.

Now, it was August when I did this, but for some reason when I looked at the background I saw a Christmas tree. So I happily dug out my  new Penny Black Christmas clear stamps and using Versamark stamp pad stamped the dangling ornaments across the top of the card. I poured white embossing powder on it and activated it with my heat tool.


When that cooled, I got my small letter stamps and stamped the word JOY onto the card using Versamark Inkpad. I used white embossing powder again. To finish the card I edged the card with the makeup sponge and gold paint.

Instead of Christmas Cards I may just send out Christmas ATCs.  No two would ever look the same even if you use the same paints each time. I love that.

 Would you mind getting an ATC like this instead of a card?                Creative Kady

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You Are My Missing Piece-An ATC Tutorial

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Throughout my entire life I  always did something creative: cross stitching, paper tole, folk art, landscaping.  Then I didn’t. I don’t know when or why exactly it changed, but it did.

Then about three or four years ago I ended up off work for 6 months with my fibromylgia, migraines and a multiple chemical sensitivity. While recouperating I discovered Pinterest. All the posts of water colors called to me. My husband picked up on this and bought me a one huge one box fits all art set. I started to dabble in watercolor. I discovered YouTube videos. I was hooked. I loved getting creative.  Something in me perked up. Then last February I discovered mixed media and art journaling. It’s not an exageration to say that art now fills my mind and is part of every day in some way. It balances me. In fact you can say  creating or art was my “missing piece.”

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I started by gessoing the Artist Trading Card ATC. I used Liquitex Professional Gesso. Why? It was on sale and when I started I didn’t know any difference.

I took my Inktense Blocks and colored on the gesso using violet, pink and teal colors. I blended them with my fingers  and water and dried it with my heat tool. While I used Inktense Blocks you could do the same with Neo-Color IIs, pastels, watercolor crayons.

I then sprayed the card with Lindy’s Stampgang Starburst Sprays in the colors, Violet Purple Teal and Afternoon Delight Denim. If you haven’t used these let me tell you they are AMAZING. The Starburst line has two toned shimmer. An effect you can’t duplicate and well worth the price ( in my mind). Again, don’t have Lindy’s use whatever kind of spray you have, if it has shimmer all the better.

I stamped the card with Dylusions stamp heart dangles from the set entitled ” Inbetweenies”. I used black StazOn ink. Substitute with any pattern stamp.

Then I gessoed the puzzle pieces. I bought the puzzle at the second hand store. A great place to find some well priced art materials by the way. I sprayed the puzzle pieces with the same two Starburst sprays I mentioned above. I repeated the spray , drying the pieces until I got an effect I liked. I then outlines the pieces with a Pitt fine liner pen.

I printed off the quote and sprayed the words with another Starburst spray called Tibetan Poppy Teal. I glued the words onto the puzzle pieces and the puzzle pieces onto the card using Golden Gel Medium. I then tool my white Uniball Signo pen and went over the letters and added dash marks around the card. The color of the sprays does bleed through the white somewhat- but I like the effect.

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Please take time to share your story of how you came to your “art”. I’d love to hear about it.


O Christmas Tree- The Gelli Print Way

After watching several YouTube videos I decided to take an idea from one video by Einat Kessler who does a 12 Cards of Christmas series and one idea from Prairie Paper and Ink who also do a yearly Christmas Card series.  Then I tossed in my own idea of using some of my ( you guessed it) gelli prints.

First thing I did was pull out my Christmas themed gelli prints that I made using my GelliArts 8×10 plate.

Next I created a triangular template out of manila tag.  Here you see it on top of an ATC or Artist Trading Card which measures 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Depending on the size of your card or how many trees you can change the size to fit.

I traced out the triangle three times on each of the three selected gelli prints. See how I saved paper by placing the third one between the first two. These means less cutting too. You could use a triangular die and cut these using a BigShot or other such diecutting machine, but I don’t have one of these so had to do it the old fashioned way.


Next. I folded them in half with the pattern in the middle. It’s important to get this fairly exact. Then two folded pieces together on one half of the non-patterned side. Followed by attaching third piece to second piece the same way. I used an ordinary glue stick for this. Repeat for other two trees. See how they look when the three pieces are attached. The back side is uncolored paper and will be attached to card at a later step.


Now, you may notice that you may not have been as exact in matching folds and gluing. This is where we hide the flaws. I used Distress ink in colors that matched the patterns I had chosen and shaded all the white edges and mistakes. See how it improves the final look.

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Now I put these aside and got out my Strathmore Watercolor Cards.  These can be purchased in boxes of 10 -100 and come with envelopes.

I put the back side into a sleeve I made to keep paint from getting all over it. I painted the sleeve with several coats of modpodge to make it waterproof-ish.IMG_2277I then got out my homemade sprays that I made using Wilton gel colorant for icings. I will attached the link to the video where I do this so you can check it out.

I sprayed a couple colors of blue, purple and teal on the card after sprinkling the card with Magicals from Lindy’s Starbursts. Magicals are intense color with shimmer.


Before I dried it I sprinkled sea salt on the card, especially where it was wetter. This will give a great textured effect. After drying with my heat tool I attached the 3-D trees with Golden Gel Medium, to the front of the card.  I cut out tree stands from bits of gelli print and glued them on as well. I may go back and add a star to the top of the trees. You can do a vertical card or horizontal as you desire.

Next I got out my letter stamps from Recollections and stamped Merry Christmas with black Stazon ink. I outlined the letters with my gold GellyRoll pen. Then I used some glitter glue to add dots that shimmer and shine. I tried to get a close up so you could see the great texture and shine.

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If I was doing this project again I would do it kind of assembly line -like where I do all the cutting, folding, shading, backgrounds etc. all at the same time.  There are lots of variations you can make to this card from the background colors, techniques used, patterns of gelli prints and number and size of trees.

I just realized that I could use this same technique and do this on an art journal page. There may be a video coming with just that.

If you try this project please come back and post it. I would love to see it.

Happy Creating






The Perfect Stocking Stuffer

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These cute mini-composition books are a quick, easy project that will turn into a great stocking stuffer, or thank you gift that everyone will appreciate. The possibilities are endless for color, or design. Easy to personalize to any taste.

Start with a plain, IMG_4474 [407819]book. I buy them at our local dollar store called “Your Dollar Store with More”. They come in a package of 3 for $1.25. I tape off the black binding with painters tape and apply a coat of white or black gesso. Be sure you put papers between the cover and the first sheet to prevent seepage.

For the next step you can use a variety of things. Gelli prints , paint colored paper towel/napkins/coffee filters or paint covered drop papers.  Apply a coat of mod podge matte on the cover and lay the selected page on top. Cover with another layer of mod podge. Let dry or use heat tool. The books that I covered with paint/inks from other projects I ripped up and collaged on to achieve a textured look.

This is where you get to get your “create” on. Get out your stamps  and put on whatever design/pattern you or your intended recipient may like. Use acrylic paint applied with a make up sponge or a permanent ink like StazOn. Or if you want use embossing powder for that little extra something something.  Finish the edges either  by dipping in Versamark embossing ink and then applying embossing powder then heat activating, OR shade with stamp pad, gelato, inktense block or acrylic paint applied with a blending tool.

Have fun.

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This one was done with collaged colored coffee filters- look at the gorgeous texture.

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This was done with collaged colored paper towels. More yummy texture.

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These are all on gelli prints . They are either stamped with ink or embossing powders. One even got splattered and doodled on it.

If you want to see this process please check out my YouTube video where I make a few of these.

Have fun. Don’t forget to come back and post books you make.