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Making Handmade Cards

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts demonstrating how to add foil accents to handmade cards

This summer at the shop we’ve been sharing ideas for handmade gifts and décor for the holidays. Manufacturers ship their seasonal fabrics in the early summer, and we have some beautiful ones available for you! Their arrival was the catalyst for our “don’t get your tinsel in a tangle” attitude — beginning holiday projects during the summer and knowing your homemade gift list is taken care of already really reduces end of the year stress! Visit the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel for these archived videos of our Saturday morning Facebook Live presentations, including my demonstration (pictured here) of using foil products and my Holiday Paper vintage paper collage pack and more to make mixed media cards.

A foiled card example and supplies from Artistic Artifacts

Along with new cards created this year, I’m sharing from past blog postings as we celebrate our Summer Start = Holiday Peace concept.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I often use gel printing plates to create layered backgrounds (see my post A Peek at Gel Plate Printing for more on monoprinting). The above includes stamped fabric strips layered atop block printed found paper.

Mixed media greeting cards using ephemera and more created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts
Detail of a mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Our Found Paper Collage Packs are full of themed paper ephemera for you — all original pages (not photocopied). I also make scans of many vintage items in my collections such as cabinet cards and other photographs, postcards and more, enabling me to use them more than once or resize them for projects. Greeting cards or Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are the perfect place to use up treasured scraps and bits. I used a scrap of a vintage handkerchief as the base/background for my elegant woman photograph and contrasted it with a trimmed piece from one of my fabric postcards. You can see the dimension added by the batting and machine quilting in this detail photo. Visit this blog post for my tutorial on making fabric postcards.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

New to our Found Paper Collage Packs is a vintage photo pack. Another favorite ephemera are antique ledger pages. I love combining fabric and paper scraps for these collages.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, I revisited the ephemera that inspired my Blue Fish Quilt.

Block printed cards created using wooden printing blocks and textile paints sold by Artistic Artifacts, accented with paper ephemera

Above, our wide variety of wooden printing blocks includes a variety holiday designs, including some really fun sets! Block prints combined with book text, sheet music and other found paper are collaged to make holiday cards.

Block printed cards with sketching created by Celia Middleton

Several years ago my niece Celia Middleton embellished her block prints with fun sketching details using her favorite pens and markers, then turned her artwork into handmade cards and tags!

Greeting cards by Judy Gula using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards

Many of you know I got my start as a weaver and I often weave both fabric and paper strips into small compositions I adhere to cards. The cards above are from my December 2018 post Using ATCs on Greeting Cards.

Woven paper and ephemera greeting cards created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, these cards are examples from my Greeting Cards with Woven Paper post in December 2015. Both fabric and paper strips are satisfying to weave together. Or mix them! It’s so easy to accumulate remnants resulting from straightening ragged edge fabrics, trimming from wonky/improv piecing, strips left behind after using your paper cutter, etc.

The result from weaving together fabric strips

My fabric weaving instructions were originally shared in 2014 — that card post also included these are little mixed media collages, 4 in. x 6 in.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I was testing a set of blank Strathmore mixed media cards, using spray inks and stencils. I created backgrounds on the cards and after they dried, stamped over the inks with paints in a different color. Then I found my collection of retro sewing patterns and began cutting out and pasting figures and text from the cover packages.

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Mixed media greeting card created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I hope this post and the tutorial links give you some inspiration for your own handmade cards and collages!

Fragment Doll Raffle Benefitting India

TAP Fragment Dolls created by Artistic Artifacts that are being raffled off to benefit India

As previously shared here, the Fragment Dolls project in The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley inspired us to create these fun fabric dolls with Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) faces. You can now purchase your chance to win your choice, with 100% of our proceeds going to support our artisans in India struggling to survive the severe Covid-19 pandemic impacts.

Plea from India to support artisans who carve wooden printing blocks

The more chances you buy, the greater your chance to win! Please share this opportunity to own an art doll while contributing to a great cause. Our six winners will be randomly selected from entrants for each Fragment doll, and winners will be announced during our Facebook Live presentation on Saturday morning, July 10.

As I shared in our video reintroducing you to our finished dolls, and showing our new kits so you can make your own, the entire country of India is really suffering right now. The products we import help support many artisans whose livelihood has been severely impacted due to the pandemic and current crisis in their country. We are in contact with our distributors there, and our orders are helping them purchase food and necessities — even oxygen cylinders to save Covid-stricken family and community members! In addition to our raffle tickets, your orders of hand carved wooden printing blocks, handmade block printed fabrics, and handmade paper boxes and 100% cotton rag sheets create the demand that allows us to order restocking shipments from India, in turn employing these talented artisans.

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Pictured above, Sheba was my first doll — purchase your chance to win her!

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Jane was in progress when we last posted here, and I enjoyed completing her. Purchase your chance to win Jane!

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts created Wanita (which is Indonesian for woman). Purchase your chance to win Wanita!

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Painter’s Muse is Chris’ second doll. Purchase your chance to win Painter’s Muse!

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon McDonagh created a mermaid inspired doll. Purchase your chance to win Ocean Goddess!

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon’s Soleil was her second doll. Purchase your chance to win Soleil!

Our new Fragment Doll Kits let you join in the fun and create your own! Each color-themed kit includes a sheet of Transfer Artist Paper (preprinted with faces), muslin, a variety of handpainted and/or hand dyed fabrics pieces, embellishing fabric such as hand dyed linens and trims, leaf vine ribbon, a scattering of beads and vintage buttons… and more!

Visit our YouTube channel for my video as I introduced these kits and reintroduced you to our dolls, sharing how desperate the need is in India and how grateful they are for the support from us.hank you for purchasing your chances and helping us support our global partners in India! You can also to learn more about TAP, Lesley’s book and how we created these Fragment Dolls in our previous Fragment Doll video.

Block printed fabrics available from Artistic Artifacts and photos of the intensive hand process by artisans in India.

TAP Fragment Dolls

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts films a video sharing the Fragment Doll project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley
The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

We were happy to be a part of The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley Instagram book tour for — our ‘stop’ was Thursday, April 22! Visit our Instagram page for our video post of how this new guide inspired our latest Transfer Artist Paper projects! Commenters there were eligible to win a free ebook version of this Ultimate Guide, specific to the new TAP formulation with many new techniques and project ideas: our randomly selected winner was Gerri Congdon — congratulations Gerri!

There was a new prize drawing for each stop. The Transfer Artist Paper Instagram Book Tour participating artists were:

We were inspired by Lesley’s ‘Fragment Dolls’, one of the projects in the book. It was coincidental timing since our Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) group (meeting via Zoom during the pandemic) had issued a Spirit Doll challenge — we’ll be sharing those results soon!

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, my first doll. I used TAP to transfer the vintage photograph and lots of scraps, stitching and embellishments to complete her. Of course I dug out my beads and our leaf vine ribbon was perfect for her. I really enjoyed spending time with this project! I have another one in progress:

Judy Gula in progress Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

In our video I explain the vintage jewelry piece you see — I’ve glued it to a small piece of Ultra Suede, which will give me a surface I can stitch so I can add the brooch later by trimming and stitching. This is one of my favorite tricks to incorporate jewelry or found objects.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts shared her beautiful doll during our April 18 JAMs Zoom call. I was delighted to see that she had reduced a photograph of one of her batik panels by Mahyar to use as her face! Chris shows us that Eyelash Silk, one of the products by Painter’s Threads (formerly known as Tentakulum) makes perfect hair for an art doll! She also used the handpainted pearl cotton from Painter’s Threads for stitching and French knots on her Fragment doll.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Chris also enjoyed this project and created another gorgeous doll using hand dyed silk fabrics accented with her hand stitching — this time using Eleganza variegated perle cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. You can see a bit of a line in the face — she transferred her TAP onto silk, and the silk had a slub thread. Lesley makes the point in her book that the TAP is very sensitive and any bit of unevenness in your surface can show. I love it for the vintage feel it gives. In her IG book tour post, Liz Kettle even mentions trying to intentionally distress a TAP transfer to get that worn feel.

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon McDonagh of our shop was eager to explore TAP’s ability to take a variety of art media to add color, whether paint, inks, etc. She printed her TAP transfers out (remember, inkjet printers only) in just black and white, and then added color using her favorite product, Gelatos by Faber-Castell and loved the results! She also ‘dyed’ her mermaid’s cheesecloth wrap with Gelatos — visit our YouTube channel for her method and more in Using Gelatos. (Note Sharon’s doll was stitched but not turned due to its design; she painted the visible white edges with blue acrylic paint.)

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

For her Sun doll, she transferred onto yellow cloth, and so just added a touch of orange Gelatos to the checks and the rays, with a blend of red. She loves uses small pieces of our Web Weave Ribbon for texture in fabric collage and mixed media.

Some of the supplies available at Artistic Artifacts used to create our Fragment Dolls

Our Fragment Dolls are all fabric, but TAP can be used on many substrates — Lesley’s new book includes instructions on transferring onto canvas, metal, mica and more. In addition to the book and TAP itself, we have so many wonderful supplies for fiber and mixed media art: our Inspiration packs full of hand-dyed fabrics, linens and trims, sari ribbon & yarn, specialty ribbons, WonderFil Specialty Threads Sue Spargo products for hand stitching (an Eleganza thread pack is pictured), buttons and more — our Fabric & Fiber Packages are a wonderful way to build your stash with a variety of textiles.

(Our video is also available on our YouTube channel.)

Creative Organizing

I’ve asked Cliff Wilson to share his tips on organization, which have made his creative experience more satisfying. We’re delighted that Cliff and his husband have become part of our Creative Minds family! — Judy

tiny flower brightening Cliff Wilson's sewing space

Guest post by Cliff Wilson

I have landed on the other side of the realization that life likely won’t be “normal” again this year. Being on the other side makes it a lot easier to figure out what you need to get through. One of the most valuable things for me is safeguarding my creative space. This isn’t a reference to square feet in a craft room, it is a view into empowering the creative mind to flourish. I found this empowerment through organization.

Before the pandemic, and buried deep in the back of the closet, was a simple sewing machine gathering dust. My husband and I both have several beginner quilts on our crafting resume, but it was far from a regular hobby. A month into being socially distant at home every day and we had not only dusted off that sewing machine but knocked out five baby quilts, finished several unfinished objects, and started to learn about an obsession with quilting fabric I didn’t know I had.

Cliff Wilson's Tula Pink Limited Edition BERNINA 770QE

Since that first month, we have added a Brother straight stitch machine, a unicorn of sewing with the BERNINA 770 QE Tula Pink edition (pictured above), and a BERNINA Q16 stationary longarm machine (below). A special shout out to Artistic Artifacts for their continued help and BERNINA inventory — a great relationship we never would have had without the pandemic. [Editor’s note, while the Tula Pink limited edition is sold out, you can learn more about the B770QE on the Artistic Artifacts website.]

Cliff Wilson's BERNINA Q16 and machine quilting example

With the new machines, we have created many more quilts and learned so many lessons. We have also found ourselves with a pretty healthy fabric hoard conservation practice. Most hobbies seem to be similar in that there are many things we “definitely need”…and that stuff can accumulate quickly!

All of these supplies quickly take up space and managing all the things can bring stress into the creative space. For me, I learned that if I didn’t have the ability to focus only on the creative and not also on a mess of supplies that it was a much more fulfilling experience. I am excited to share a bit of my approach to organization that has made my creative process enjoyable.

Fabric shelves with touches of whimsy in Cliff Wilson'e sewing space

Make it magical: Think of your favorite shops you visit to source supplies and how you feel when you are on the hunt for the next must-have supply. You get to decide how your creative space feels. I like to add funny items around the space that spark a bit of joy and keep things light.

Scissors on display on a jewelry stand repurposed by Cliff Wilson

You can also use things you may already have around the house as a sort of shop display. Take scissors for example — I love seeing scissors on display, so we repurposed a jewelry holder we already had and it became a magical scissor station!

Find your balance: Take the time to figure out how organized your creative stuff needs to be for you to maximize your creating time. I enjoy organizing, but I also know just the thought of organizing ignites stress in others. Make it work for you.

Beautiful fabric storage shelves from Cliff Wilson's sewing studio

Cliff Wilson uses comic book boards and fabric clips to keep his fabric stash neatly on display and easily accessible

An example of what brings me joy in the organization space is how we manage our fabric collection (pictured above). I like to see what we have and it feeds my inspiration. It is also a secret weapon when I need a little pick-me-up on those tough days. This spark happened when I read about using comic book boards similar to how fabric is wound around a cardboard bolt. I partner these with Pals Bolt Buddies and it easily provides a consistent process to have fabric on display and ready to be used.

There is a sort of internal alarm for me when the organization of something needs to be tweaked. A recent tweak was with how we store our machine quilting rulers. These are one of those hobby items that aren’t cheap, so they fall higher on my organization radar. Our machine quilting rulers are now organized within arms reach of the longarm and within protective envelopes with laminated labels (pictured below). Sometimes organization is a crafting process all on its own!

Cliff Wilson's machine quilting rulers are stored within protective envelopes with laminated labels

Make it easy to maintain: My creative spark can leave me as fast as it arrived. I have found that using totes helps me keep everything together for a project so I can easily put everything away. This helps keep my creating area ready for the next spark that comes along.

Cliff Wilson favors clear plastic totes to organize his current and planned projects

An added bonus is it makes things feel more organized with minimal effort! I am partial to these clear totes you can find at a certain store that pretty much only sells containers…and “container” may be in the company name 🙂

I hope you are all able to find the magic in your creative space this year and find joy in creating all the things. Stay safe!

Quilt featuring Tula Pink fabric being machine quilted on Cliff Wilson's Q16


Judy here again… thank you Cliff! I’m sure our readers will enjoy your ideas — you’ve got me inspired!

Customize Your Aster & Anne Projects!

Aster & Anne Luella clutch by Jennifer Moore with block prints using Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint

Customize your own purse or accessory with Aster & Anne! The Artistic Artifacts Facebook Live presentation on February 20th shared with you examples of completed projects to inspire you on how you can embellish your own. We showed you how these kits arrive with everything you need to get started — precut wool felt shape(s), pre-punched grommets (where needed), required hardware such as buckles, closures and straps, sturdy pins and instructions. Watch our archived presentation:

I was joined by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts for this live event, and we were happy to screen-connect with Jennifer Moore, the designer behind the Aster & Anne name, who stayed up late to share in our presentation too — it was 1:30 am in Australia!

Aster & Anne kits, finished projects and Artistic Artifacts products

Above, a glimpse of our presentation setup, with Aster & Anne packaged kits, selections of our wide range of fabrics, and one of our Inspiration Packs, bundles of hand dyed fabrics and found textiles that are perfect for fiber collage. All Aster & Anne precut wool felt pieces are sent unassembled so that you can work on them flat, and they are very easy to stitch through, whether by hand or by machine.

Completed Zipper Purses customized from Aster & Anne kits

The two finished projects shown are Zipper Purses. Chris attached Stitch Meditations (stitched with Eleganza) to either side for hers, leaving off the hardware to create a zippered pouch. For her version our BERNINA Ambassador Kathy Lincoln selected machine embroidery designs (remember you can order embroidery designs, stabilizers and other supplies from the Artistic Artifacts store at Embroidery Online) and sized them to fit her flat pieces. She used WonderFil Specialty Threads for her machine-embroidery — this is a beautiful example to show you in February which is National Embroidery Month. During her assembly Kathy added the adjustable cross body strap that is included in the kit.

Completed Anna tote made from Aster & Anne kit by Christine Vinh

Chris showed her completed Anna tote, embellished with with a piece of the Aviary Panel from Dashwood Studio that was stitched and embellished with hand emberoidery using Eleganza perle cotton, available in three weights.

WonderFil Specialty Threads thread packs with Aster & Anne kits

The thread packs curated by WonderFil Specialty Threads — available for both machine and hand stitching — are the perfect way to build your thread stash and to try out WonderFil threads you might not have yet experimented with. The newest packs are designed for the type of sewing you do (quilting, machine embroidery, serging, fashion sewing) and offer you multiple spools in a set that saves you between $18 and $31 off retail price!

Amalia backpack made by Judy Gula using an Aster & Anne kit

Above, my Amalia Backpack. I covered the pieces with a Marcia Derse fabric and machine quilted to enhance the linear design. And my latest Aster & Anne project is pictured in progrss below, the Needlecase/Cardholder Kit. I completely fell for the Little Forester Fusion- Sova Forester from Art Gallery fabric when it arrived in the shop and cut several of the adorable owls out to fuse on my needlescase as appliqué.

Details of Judy Gula's Aster & Anne needlecase

Then came the fun of hand-stitching! I’m really enjoying filling in design elements with various Tentakulum Painter’s Threads products. Those who watched our presentation on Tentakulum threads and trims saw the beginning of this needlecase project. Handpainted and imported from Germany, Tentakulum’s color blends and variations are gorgeous, and the specialty trims like the Ric Rac I use for a flower stem are so unique.

Needlecase/Cardholder Kit by Aster & Anne in progress by Judy Gula

Many of you know that of the many hand stitching and embroidery books we carry, I have a personal connection to Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler. Ruth is not just a friend but someone who really re-ignited by love of hand stitching with her approach as I noted in my post Block Printed & Slow Stitched Quiltlets. It gives you well-illustrated instructions on creating basic embroidery stitches. The fun of the book is how she shows you many ways you can adjust and alter those stitches for a new look.

Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh
Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh

Look at this wonderful Book Cover/Project Bag by Chris Vinh! She fused on a fish cut from a batik panel by Bambang Dharmo, first laying out a piece of hand dyed cheesecloth. She machine appliquéd and quilted it all, then accented with hand-stitching and embroidery. She used other portions of the panel to embellish the interior as seen here.

As noted in the product description, you can use this kit in several ways: as a notebook/diary cover, with the extra felt pieces (which are business card sized) placed as desired. You can stitch the included elastic as a pen/ pencil holder. For a project bag (like this example), the extra felt can become holders for needles or pockets for scissors, and the included zippered mesh bag can be attached. It has been designed to hold your thread (it fits up to 40 Sue Spargo hand stitching thread spools —Eleganza, Ellana, Efina) or any other project supplies you might want to carry along.

Technique tip: due to the nap of the Aster & Anne wool felt pieces, we recommendation is applying your fusible to your fabric and then ironing the fabric onto the felt. We carry a wide range of Fusibles, Interfacings & Stabilizers — and for fusing cheesecloth, lace and similiar fabrics, Mistyfuse, which is very sheer, should be your first choice!

What do you get when you mix a Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons? If you’re Jennifer Moore, the answer is “super cute little clutch purse, that’s what!”

Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons by Jennifer Moore

We have to agree! In her blog Jennifer wrote she was “so in love with these Tula Pink Line Work Ribbons” that as soon as they arrived she got to work, sharing how she created her beautiful project.

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Of course we’re also very partial to the Luella clutch shown at the top of this post. Jennifer shared its story on her Facebook page last fall: “I recently purchased some divine metallic paints and wood blocks from Artistic Artifacts… Judy Gula and I met at International Quilt market last year where she was signing copies of her book, which by the way has loads of inspirational ideas. So these lovelies have been waiting for me try (even though it is definitely not my usual colour palette). I used the metallic paint to create a wood block print.“ Jennifer’s final step was embellishing with Dazzle 8wt thread by WonderFil Specialty Threads, ending up with a bag she loves.

Jennifer reminds us all, “Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques, textiles and colours.” Visit the Aster & Anne website and scroll down to the subscription link (pictured here) to receive their newsletter filled with projects, offers, events, ideas and inspiration.

Beautiful Grace Tote customized by art quilter Tina Curran

The beautiful Grace Tote pictured above was customized by art quilter Tina Curran, who shared her praise for the kit and her process for inspiration with her own newsletter subscribers. We really loved Tina’s use of black and white fabrics to create her trademark ‘whimsical garden’ flowers. Read Tinas’s newsletter (shared with permission) that contains lots of beautiful photos of her Winter Garden tote, plus her assembly and technique tips.

Marie Sepe machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel for her Book Cover/Project Bag by Aster & Ann

Above, one of our favorite Creative Minds, Marie Sepe, often uses our batik panels in her art quilts and art-to-wear. We love how she machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel onto her Book Cover/Project Bag and how they peek out of her pockets.

WonderFil Specialty Thread products

“Look what you can do with a Zipper Purse, Sue Spargo Pre-Cut Wool Pack and some Eleganza perle cotton from WonderFil Specialty Threads,” shared Jennifer on the Aster & Anne Instagram page, creating this adorable bag to Glenda Cust. Precut from 100% premium grade Australian Meriono wool fabric by Sue Spargo, these circles and shapes are ready to be stitched down and embellished — a perfect way to transform your Aster & Anne project.

The Aster & Anne website and their YouTube channel offers instructions and assembly videos, plus loads of inspiration!

Lots of inspiration from Aster & Anne with these examples of completed projects

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