Thursday, May 21, 2015

Made It: iHanna's Spring 2015 Postcard Swap Part One

Hello! While I've been plenty creative lately, I haven't been doing much in the way of paper arts. 

Then came the announcement on iHanna's Blog that a postcard swap was being launched. Participants would sign up, then create 10 postcards of original art. After the sign-up deadline, participants would then receive the names of the 10 people their postcards should be mailed to. Each participant will receive 10 postcards in turn, of course - if everyone does their part and mails out the promised postcards. 

The swap was open to people from all over the world, and in fact Hanna of iHanna's Blog is from Sweden herself.

This news came about a month ago, and I kept the email notification in my inbox while I decided if I should join the swap. I'd never done an artsy/crafty swap so I was a little nervous about it - would the recipients think my postcards were a joke? 

But then I finally decided to take the plunge and risk it. I had kicked myself a bit for not participating in the one Hanna had late fall of the previous year. I enjoy her blog and the positive, creative energy she generates, so I had faith that I could rise up to the challenge and create something that strangers might like too. 

I signed up late Monday night, about two days before the deadline. Hanna requested that the postcards be mailed out this Friday, or no later than next Monday. Well, Monday is Memorial Day here in the US, which means no postal service. So a Friday mailing it'd have to be. 

Obviously this didn't give me much time to make my postcards, but I wasn't worried. I already knew they'd be collage-style, and I've found I do collaging better when I don't overthink it. 

I began the process by going down to my studio to look over my supplies. I thought about this theme or that, until I spied a package of vintage stationery I'd purchased at a thrift store awhile back mainly for the cute owl stickers inside. And wouldn't you know it - there were exactly 10 owl stickers in that package. Perfect! The stickers are primarily pink and green, so those two colors set the tone for my postcards. 

The rest of today's post will show off half of the postcards I made, so follow along. I enjoyed making them and I hope you enjoy viewing them. 

Painted green background, pink paint accents, stamped butterfly and pale pink paint chip. The background color of the owl image looks yellowish-green in my photos but is actually more a prettier lime green.

Close-up of the butterfly, which had been stamped on a pale pink  page from a vintage recipe leaflet. One reason why I could make these postcards on short notice is that I have a stash of stamped images, painted papers left over from other projects, and other "goodies" at the ready. Thus, when a new project comes up, often it's just a matter of combining elements that I already have on hand. 

Two kinds of rubber stamps for the background, plus a hand-carved rubber stamp heart I'd made was used to create the center motif. "dream big" and the four squares in the lower right-hand corner are also stamped images. 

I thought that this "who what where when" stamp was fun to use, and filled in the squares with info pertaining to the swap. Maybe it was grandiose of me to describe myself as a "postcard artist" - but for the purpose of the swap, that's what I was!

Above, the owl is joined by green paint, a scrap of vintage wallpaper on the lower left-hand corner, a facsimile of a Victorian image above that, and bits of green-checked scrapbook paper scattered in the middle. Not really visible in the photo are the words I wrote in pink ink near the top right-hand corner: "no rules just right" - a sort of motto as I crafted my way through the postcards. I had remembered this phrase from an advertising campaign, but didn't recall whose campaign it had been. Looked it up - the answer is Outback Steakhouse. 

Here, I used a scrap of altered vintage map (below the owl sticker) and a strip of decorated duck tape (opposite side). I added a previously-stamped bird image and cut out "THE HAPPY WAY" from a vintage book. For the background, I dotted the postcard blank with pink paint and added swirls with a green marker. 

I began this card by painting the background pink, then added a strip of a green-toned paint chip that I'd previously punched hearts from. (The green hearts had been used to make "shamrocks" for a St. Patrick's Day craft project - see what I mean by having things on hand to use when a new project comes up?)I added a narrow paint chip strip for a bit more contrast to that pink background, and drew hearts around the edge to create another pattern. I also drew hearts within the punched portions of the paint chip piece.

I think I did pretty well for a first-time effort. I admit, some postcards turned out better than others, but I will also say that overall they look more colorful than what the photos indicate. So I think they're good to go!

Just as well, as I received my 10 addresses earlier today. I'll mail out my postcards tomorrow - and tomorrow I'll blog about the ones I left to show off. 

If you'd like to know more about iHanna Blog's (always worth reading, in my opinion) and the postcard swap, read this. It's obviously too late to participate in this springtime swap, but if you follow her blog, you'll get word when the next one will be.




  1. Aimee, so glad you wanted to join the swap and become the postcard artists you are now - all it takes is making a postcard, right? I think yours are great, and all in my two favorite colors. Thanks, and thanks for the kind words about my blog - it warms my heart.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words as well- coming from someone as awesome as you, it means a lot!

  3. These are great. Really love the owls and the "who, what, when, where"

  4. Thank you, Nepermhome! Can't go wrong with owls, I figured!

  5. iHanna's postcard swap was my first "official" art swap too, although I guess I'd done deco books before. But I had never made art that had to stand alone, and it was such a friendly swap, with email thank you followups, and the Flickr community, and it was also a reassurance when other people's postcards came in the mail, to see other people's art and...not compare, or put them down, but to finally feel like I was on par with that, you know what I mean? Like, I felt like my postcards were nice enough to be included in this swap, and it was so neat to see everyone's different style, and I was trying to figure out what adhesives to use, so I made sure to take an informal survey in my thank-yous on which adhesive/sealer the artist used. I hope you enjoy the postcards that come your way!

  6. thank you, thepathunfolding! I do know what you mean about feeling on a par with others' art. I think there's just a natural insecurity when one's creativity is "exposed" for others to see. I've had to learn to trust myself and just try to combine colors, images, etc. to the best of my ability. It was smart of you to ask what adhesives people used for their postcards. I discussed this matter in the Part Two blog post about the swap.

  7. Whoooo Whooo, Hi Aimee, glad you took the plunge and joined in. Part of the fun for me in these swaps is to see artists from everywhere doing all kinds of things, and how they're willing to share their art. I used to have a hard time letting my favorites go, because I was used to just making them for me. But, as Hanna said, you get to get Happy Mail delivered to you! Pink and lime green is a great color combination, by the way, and I love using paint chips too like you did.

  8. Thank you so much, Marcia! I'm so glad I took the plunge and joined it too! Haven't even gotten a postcard yet but it's been so fun to see others' postcards and to read their blog posts about the creative processes they used while creating them. Now for the fun of getting postcards in the mail! I got a huge set of paint chips for two bucks at a creative reuse store a few years back and it's been a lot of fun to use them in projects.

  9. I'm glad you joined in this year, Aimee! Hanna's swap was my first a few years ago, and it gave me a lot of confidence to keep going with swaps and mail art. Isn't it fun when the bits and pieces you have saved come together in such great ways?! And the perfect "meant to be" ten owl stickers...that's great! Hanna loves pink, green, and owls, so I know she must love these! I really like that who/what/where/when stamp--what a great succinct way to record info on a postcard or journal page!

  10. You're very kind, Andria - thanks for stopping by! I bought that stamp to use in a travel journal, but have found lots of other uses for it. Like Hanna, I do love pink and green together, and owls are always fun!