Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What Are Craftster Swaps Good For?

I just completed my part in another Craftster swap. This one was the, "Work Your Theme" ATC Swap, Round 2. 

I had been wanting to try my hand at making ATC's for a little while now, so this was my excuse. And the answer to this post's title? The Craftster swaps are a good way to try out smaller projects or skills you might not have ever done before. They get you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking about new things and ways of doing projects.

That being said, I learned that I am not happy with the ATC's I've created. :)

An ATC is an Artist Trading Card. "As their name indicates, ATC are collectables, a brilliant idea born of the older sports-themed trading cards. The one rule that makes an ATC derives from their origins: the dimensions of the ATC must be 2.5"x3.5", or 64x89mm. To this rule are appended a couple of conventions. As the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting (by correspondence or online if need be) and exchanging their works, thus meeting many artists and getting exposed to many personal styles. Second, on the back of each ATC the artist writes part or all of the following information: name, contact information, title of the ATC and number (1/8, 2/8...) if it's part of an edition. By definition ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. Don't be intimidated by the concept of small editions or originals: very few people are anal about this. What most collectors really want are cards that were made with care. Based on that, numbers are meaningless."

The three categories of cards I had to make were:
--N for Star Wars
--Jet Star from the Killjoys (My Chemical Romance)
--Adam Munroe from "Heroes"

Ummm, WOW! I only knew about Star Wars. The other stuff I had to research.

For my Star Wars partner, I accidentally had to make her two cards. She wanted vertical cards and the first one I made was horizontal. I knew from the get-go that I didn't want to do N IS FOR NABOO. I wanted something a little more unknown. Plus, these cards gave me the chance to play around with the water color set I bought last year on Black Friday (I thought I was actually buying the powdered chalk I had been looking for).
N IS FOR NYORK: The nyork was a small, hard-shelled, carnivorous clam native to the Gungan swamps of Naboo. They "nipped" with their mouths located inside their shells, and would jump out of the water at whatever seemed to be prey to them. The nyork's main predators included the otta and the blarth. Gungans also ate nyorks, usually wrapping the meat in nave leaves. Jar Jar Binks was eating a nyork when he was rescued by Qui-Gon Jinn.

N IS FOR NAGI: a planet located in Firefist of the Unknown Regions. It was the homeworld of the Nagai. Nagi was an arid world, and quite mountainous, characterized by very high mountain peaks separated by deep, wide valleys. The thin upper atmosphere was relatively ineffective at blocking solar radiation, and the high peaks of the world were bathed in it. As a result, the deep valleys, which were often cast in shadow by the towering mountains, were the site of the Nagai's cities. At the height of their civilization just prior to the Tof invasion, Nagai cities were composed of wire and crystal, and were perceived as beautiful.      

I don't know a damn thing about "Heroes" because I never got into it. But I decided that since every photo of the Adam Munroe character looked sad or upset, he needed to be a sad looking little chibi.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The poorly written Kanji above his head is supposed to say his name, and he's in front of the Japanese flag.

For the Jet Star card, I had to doublecheck with this partner that it was from My Chemical Romance, because there was a lot of Killjoy and Jet Star info online that covered a variety of topics. This also ended up being two cards, because I didn't like the first one.
My initial thought (on the left) was to do Jet Star as a bright and colorful children's cartoon character, like something Sesame Street-related, because the whole idea of the Killjoys is so NOT bright and happy. So I did that first card, wasn't happy with it at all, and let the idea fester in my head for a few days. I finally came up with something that struck me as good: a quick and dirty, simple water color painting of the American flag patch on the back of Jet Star's jacket, along with the spider on it. I decided to tell my partner why she too was getting two cards instead of the required one. Even though I hated the first one, maybe she'll like it.
So my ATC's are on their way from my three partners. I don't remember for sure what I listed as my themes, because I kind of want it to be a surprise to me. My plan is to actually keep the ATC's and use them for greeting cards later on. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reusable Grocery Store Bags

A word to the wise about those reusable grocery store bags: I learned the hard way that these are very particular about how they are repaired. I'm hoping I'm not the only person out there to try and repair these cheapo things, but I figure if I repair a bag, it keeps it usable that much longer.

Anyway, they look and feel like cheap thing fabric of some sort. I've actually resewn the edges when they've fallen apart. But what about if you poke or cut a hole in them? Trying to iron on a patch is NOT a good idea.

These suckers melt once exposed to a hot iron. They're made out of some sort of plastic that makes them stronger than regular plastic grocery store bags, so they'll make a mess out of your iron. However, once your iron cools, the hardened plastic can be picked off and your iron's surface will be/should be fine again.

I was talking to my step-mother-in-law recently about this and she laughed and laughed over the mental image of me ironing a patch on one of these bags. :) She said, "You really do like you reusable bags, don't you, if you're going to fix them!" :)