Crayons and my iron

I signed up for this “crayons only” ATC swap and then a “crayons only” PC swap on Swap-bot which I decided to give a go last night.  I had originally thought of trying my hand at crayon coloring when I signed up, but I had this idea that came to mind last night after dinner.  I wanted to experiment with crayon shavings and melting them by using my clothes iron.

I’m sure you’d be as surprised as I am about how the whole thing came out.  Ta-da!
ATC and Postcard: Abstract melted crayon print

These are my first pieces which I’ve decided to keep for my personal album. I need two of each for the swap and will be doing them later. I did three pieces last night but I had to discard the second because the colors didn’t quite “meld” well and it came out a dark grey in some areas.

All you need are crayons, paper labels/wrap removed, a blade or paring knife to shave the crayon, parchment paper, paper towel, and an old magazine. What I love about this is that it gives me something new to use those discarded crayongs from Angelo’s old sets. I also almost always keep the crayon sets given with the kiddie meals in restaurants.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do a video using my cam of choice (my blackberry bold) but I will do a tutorial once I get that figured out. Unfortunately it’s hard to do the tutorial in pictures but if I can’t do the video, I’ll it the old fashioned way.

I was so amazed at the texture that pulling the protective parchment paper on top produced as you can see in the postcard upclose below.
Mail art: Postcard with Melted Crayons

More on this later!

Artist Trading Card Megaswaps

I participated in two megaswaps in the last few weeks where we made artist trading cards or ATCs with a “catch” where a component of the ATC was handmade by us. All my ATCs have been sent but uploading has taken me a bit of time, but better late than never.

megaswapcatchusa

For the megaswap above, I used some dried paper towels I had used to wipe off spray ink one time I was creating backgrounds for some doodled maps I was making. I also used pressed flowers I had done myself of peonies, roses and hydrangeas.

ATCmegaswapwithaCatchIntl.jpg

This second set was done using my favorite background method whereby I paint the actual background. I cut some flowers using my Spellbinder Grand Calibur which I hand-painted as well.

I kept some extras of both sets, but my favorite are these two:

ATCMegaswapwithacatch3USA11Keeper03

My new toy: Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine


I am all excited about my new “toy”, a birthday gift of sorts to myself. I got this Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine which I found to be cheapest at Amazon. I have used it only a bit since I got it but the possibilities are endless.  It took me a while to decide which machine I would get as my first die cutter, considering the various offerings in the market.  I definitely didn’t want anything electronic.  First there was the price factor (too prohibitive) and then there was the possibility that it wouldn’t work for me and I would end up having to buy something else.  I saw the Grand Calbur at work firsthand so I was leaning towards it from the start.


What’s a die cutter without the dies?  I had bought the Spellbinders Mega Dies, Rose Creations and have been having a grand time  learning about my new toy and figuring out possibilities.  I am already excitedly planning my niece, Andreanna Lux’s invitation for her first birthday, and that’s not until September! Ha!  I like this set because it gives you a choice of making the bigger blossoms or sticking to the smaller dies.  I like them all!

The machine came with plates that you use to sandwich the dies depending on what you’re tryig to do (emboss or cut), and I think it’ll be a good idea to have sticker labels on the machine itself telling me which plates go in when.

I also tried embossing some paper with one of my new folders, Ecstasy Crafts Embossing Folder -Flowers, but I think I made the mistake of using the wrong set of plates and I heard some resistance when I let the “sandwich” through.  It looks like it didn’t damage the cutter so I’m good.  It gave me a chance to use some of the paper stock I had bought from The Paper Cut when I went to the Allentown Rubber Stamp & Paper Crafts Fair last April 13.

Allentown Rubber Stamping & Paper Crafts Fair - The Paper Cut

I hope to post more regularly here and give a progress report on my craft experiments. My big swaps from Swap-bot are almost done, and I’ve resolved to take a swap break for a bit as I’ve been creatively taxed from all the creating.

More handmade cards coming!

A Book of Treasures for Swap-bot

I’ve gotten into mail art and journal swaps at Swap-bot.com of late.  One of the things I’ve been devoting time to is a Book of Treasures swap. 

So what is this swap about?  This swap is being hosted by druideye (click here for her craft blog) and this is the swap description she provided:

This swap is for a special journal… A Book of Treasures… The book itself should be at least 8 inches x 5 inches – a composition book is a bit bigger than that, but would work perfect. It can be handmade, or storebought. The outside should look very special, like something you’d see and be dying to open to find the treasures inside.

The journal should have a minimum of 20 pages with 20 treasures (you can include more pages and/or treasures if you want).

You can attach the treasures into the book however you see fit… pockets, envelopes, fold-outs, tied in, etc. At least 12 of the treasures have to be removable items. The other 8 CAN be (but doesn’t HAVE to be) permanently part of the book, like pop-ups, fold-outs, spinners, artwork etc.

The pages of the journal should be decorated and fun/beautiful/interesting to read through and look at. Please don’t just glue a bunch of envelopes on each page. Make the pages something your partner will treasure forever. I’d recommend if you are painting, or doing things that could make the pages stick together, to put wax paper between each page.

To make sturdy pages if you use something like a composition book, it’s a good idea to glue several pages together to make it thick, and then cover it with gesso especially if you want to draw/paint/artfully decorate it.

What IS a treasure, you ask? A treasure is any little surprise that you can somehow manage to stick into the book- tags, recipes, letter sets, notecards, postcards, bookmarks, cds, dvds, atcs, picture frames, zentangles, envies full of supplies (like ribbons, eyelets, beads, atc blanks, etc), coupons for something free, patterned paper, jewelry, photographs, charms, etc.

This is SENDER’S CHOICE but I would really love if you were to look at your partner’s profile to get some ideas on things they’d really treasure.

I did this swap a few years ago, and my treasure book is so precious to me that it still sits on my craft desk. My partner really outdid herself, and it is an amazing work of art. I hope you all get a book you are proud to own.

Please send on time! Rate promptly! And rate fairly! If the swap is completed correctly with the size of the book, 20 pages, and 20 treasures – please rate them as completing the swap EVEN if you don’t like the treasures they included or it isn’t “pretty” enough. Everyone is at different creative and crafting levels.

I have permission from @rubyfreckles to host this, she hosted the one I was in years ago, thank you.

Note: If you look up “book of treasures swap bot” on google, you will find several photos of books that were done, and pages.

I signed up and have started working on my book.

I always say the hardest part is choosing the book, album or journal that will house everything you create or write.  I knew right away I needed something that was not hard bound, because the ideas I have for the treasures would require spacing and some buffer.  I was upstairs in the attic when I found 2 of around 6 postcard/photo albums I had bought a while back at a Daffy’s in the village.

It was a two-inch thick three-ring-bound 9×10 (approximately) hard bound album.  I will cover the album in full to go with the theme of my book but I’m saving that for last.

I already made up my mind to “make” the pages myself instead of using ready-made journal or scrapbook pages.  I’ve been creating these the last two weeks (partners were assigned late February) and I’m creating them like I would create art journal backgrounds.  I’ve cut up used manila folders, corrugated boxes, gift box cardboard, working extended lengths of my 8 1/2 x 6/75 inche base page.  Most if not all my layouts will be fold-outs.

I’ve been working on “wrapping” the cardboard with my printouts and other paper so that I can make it look like a sturdy folder bound into the book.  (It’s a little difficult to explain without visuals, but I”m not ready to show any pictures just yet.)  The only thing I”m afraid of is that I might end up liking this so much I might have a hard time parting with it to give it away. =)  But I am creating the book with my swap partner in mind.

I’m writing about it here because I want to feature how I am creating the various pages for reference.  More to come!