Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bits and Pieces Paper Challenge

I was thinking today about the kind lady (P.L.) in the ATC (artist trading card) club who shared her bits and pieces of clip-art with me during the JAM portion of the club meeting. I asked her how she came by her sandwich baggies of paper embellishments that we used to glue to the atc's during the JAM session of the meeting and she said she collects and throws all paper bits small enough for artist trading cards that come in her junk and happy mail, from chipboard boxes, swaps, old calendars, etc. into a basket; then, when she sits down at the TV, she trims the extra paper away from the images and stores them into sandwich-sized baggies so all she has to do is grab a bag to bring with her to club. She said she has some rubber stamps, but why not make use of all the FREE goodies that come into her house for this purpose.
I wondered just how much mail actually came to her house and then decided I ought to challenge myself to find out how much I can scrounge up to recycle from now until the next meeting which is the second Sunday of August. The images need to be small enough to place on an atc or be something I can tear off pieces of to mod-podge onto one,  so I grabbed a sandwich size zippy bag from my pantry today and started putting stuff into it. I bet I can make some paper piles I have around here disappear quickly.
So far today I have these images and words from: those freebie digital calendar stamps from Crafty Secrets (they are a little big, but we can cut or tear them down);  a Joann's coupon mailer (I cut out the coupon, a dolphin, a jar, a picture frame & the word "MAKE,"); 2 notepad imagespostage stamps from several returned envelopes (we just had a family reunion & I'm secretary); 3 beat-up recipe box tab dividers that I was getting ready to toss (they have the distressed look LOL!); and  3  tea boxes (while I was at it, I made me a cup of hot tea to drink while I cut out those little stars from a Stash tea box, a heart, recycle emblem, a tag,  a teacup, tea envelope, a teapot, and words). I think I'll separate the words and put them into that pencil box I mentioned in my last post.

Anyway, I'll come back and update you from time to time on what other goodies I find, so come back to read the next installment to this post! At the end, I'll upload a photo, also, of just how much I have found. Good time for "spring cleaning!" Cleaning house is NOT my favorite thing to do, but this is a good challenge to spur me on to get some stuff done that has stacked up for awhile. Come to think of it, I NEED a checkered or cherry lanyard to wear around my neck to attach a small pair of scissors to! The son found a pair of his Fiskars kindergarten scissors out in the yard that I must have dropped sometime while I was transporting stuff between the craft barn and house.  I still use those scissors that he had way back then and he's 20's something! So that tells you how well those scissors stand up to wear and tear!

 7/18/2015 Update = I am amazed at how much scrap paper this generates. Thot maybe I could make more paper with the scraps if I were so inclined, but I'm not. I don't think I need another project to do on top of this one, so my little trash can next to my chair is full. So here's what I've collected today: postal meter strips, old Posh stamp-offs, words and images from an old historical society newsletter, emblems from stationery letterheads, more postal stamps and printed address labels. I had an extra reunion reminder, so I cut out the good parts of it (a flower, borders, & letters) and I cut up a security paper business envelope. I figured we could tear off bits of it to use as background paper. One of the guys was throwing out a car magazine, so I snatched it out of the trash and now I have itty-bitty cars to put on a masculine style jam card. My sandwich zippy bag is getting fatter.

7/19/2015 Update = Well, I made a small dent in our stock-pile of junk mail. *wink*  You know, the bad thing with ad mailers is that prices are often printed over the product, however, I was able to glean some bikes, sofas and a barbeque grill from one. I also obtained more security envelope backgrounds. It's just amazing the variety of small patterns that these have. I also began another baggy for Mary Engelbreit like images. Some of the security envelopes had checked type patterns which I put into it and I discovered a ME scratch pad wallet with several used sheets that I pulled out and trimmed a few Anne Estelle portraits from the bottom of the page. Oh, and did you know that Michaels will no longer be carrying Mary Engelbreit products except at Christmas? BOO! I also found the small print on the back of some junk mail letters that would do in place of dictionary pages (I dislike cutting up old books), so pieces of that went into the bags. I obtained 2 fake credit cards (good for spreading paint). And tiny maps and photos of exotic places from a couple of travel guides.

7/21/2015 Update = I intended to come back and add more last night, but our son was not feeling well and ended up going to the ER during the night. He's going to be fine and the doc gave him meds so that he could go home. And speaking of docs, me bad. Yesterday I found a "personal appointment itinerary" for my next eye doctor appointment in a pile of papers on my nightstand and had to reschedule it. I put it in my Documented Faith planner that I set up so I would NOT forget it this time. I also added in a prescription insert to use in place of dictionary pages too. Perhaps this paper challenge is a God-kick-in-the-seat-thing! LOL! Anyway, I have a neat and tidy wrapping paper drawer now. I pulled all the bits of paper I have been saving and cut out Christmas trees, Santas, and various other bits to add to my bag. Also found some more "paint spreaders." And a utility newsletter to which I cut out the clip-art from. By the way, do you know how to cut paper quickly? Do you move your scissor hand or your paper hand?

7/22/2015 Update = Baggie #3. O.H.I.O (Only Handle It Once). I found all kinds of catalogs today that I'm still cutting down, but I have found phrases, quotes, faces, patterned paper, angels, crosses and thumbnail sized books in them.  I also cut out a cartoon dino from a library pick-up card. I was getting ready to toss a cracker box when I noticed some stripes around the wording on the box, so that got cut out and the little man on the vanilla wafer box was cut out too. Then I went over to the frig to unload my "bulletin board" and found outdated coupons that were harvested for the pics. I looked over all the papers stuck to the frig for images and the ones not needed anymore, if they were printed on one side only, went into a little drawer on my desk for scratch paper. So now my frig front is neat and tidy.  I began next on the kitchen table. We used to eat there, but it's now become a catch-all. I found theatre tickets, baseball game tickets, a little paper mustache and a Chinese fortune strip, decorative clothing tags, a used Christmas tag, and a torn paper bag with paper twist handles that got cut off (good for projects that need crimped paper like a thatched roof on a beach cottage). I think that's it for today. I'll still be working on the catalogs tomorrow, I think. I have several more to go through. And by the way, I watched a glue Youtube video by Jennifer McGuire this evening. She switched out the glue bottles' own tops for fine-tip no-clog quilling glue nozzles. I'm going to have to look for those nozzles because they would be just the ticket for some of these tiny images that I've been cutting out.

7/23/2015 Update = Etc, Etc, Etc. Still working my way through the wrapping paper and catalog pile, however, I've been thinking of design while cutting this paper out and thought I would head on over to Youtube and see what I could find on making collaged atcs. Found several - for your viewing pleasure -- one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go! I also found some background techniques using catalog pages which I'm going to keep under my hat to use as backgrounds for my cards. By the way, I'm not fond of glue sticks. They are okay for preschool kids to use in their artwork, but I figure if I'm going to all the trouble of making atc's and cards, then I'm going to use something a little more permanent.

7/24/2015 Update = Still working on the pile of paper, but also did a little research at Pinterest too. One thing that became apparent to me in researching collaged or altered ideas for those paper bits is that we only have 15-20 minutes "JAM" time to assemble the cards. Would we have enough time to shellac this paper down on an atc with gel medium and have it dry in time so that the next person would have time to add their bits onto the card too? My friend, Julie, assured me that we would if we put a thin coat on under and over the card (kinda like "decoupage"). Maybe if I hit it with a heat gun that might speed up the drying time? I'm gonna have to experiment this next week and see how much time it takes. I almost forgot, I found a magazine subscription card that had an atc size photo of the magazine on it!

7/26/2015 Update = I didn't get any paper cut up here at home yesterday as we had to get up early to be somewhere else to sort and break down recycled boxes. The company my husband works for schedules a community service project once or twice a year. It's strictly a volunteer thing, but it's a two-fer,  for it helps any employee's high schoolers who need community service hours to graduate and helps those in need. Yesterday's service project was at the  Harvesters warehouse which rescues and collects food for the hungry from local groceries, restaurants, community gardens and donations and distributes it to several food pantries and schoolchildren in a several county area here in the midwest. We were to pile the flattened good  boxes back up on pallets and wrap them in plastic so that they can reuse them at a later date. The guy who ran the pallet jack could turn that puppy on a dime! Tonight I found a R. M. Palmer's Easter candy box to cut up.

7/28/2015 Update = By the way, take a look at R. M. Palmer's website. They have crafts for the kiddies on their site. Finished cutting up my last piece of wrapping paper for my Mary Engelbreit baggie and found several decorative paper bags to cut up for background pieces and images. I cut out cartoon characters and letters from a couple of cereal boxes and cut the scottie doggies from a Walker shortbread cookie box, also,  for my Mary Engelbreit baggy. And my husband ordered a Mary Engelbreit rubber stamp for me from eBay (I need it for my September atc) and it came wrapped in a magazine page, so it got looked over too! I think that's it until tomorrow.

7/29/2015 Update = Happy Birthday to my sisters! They have birthdays ten days apart! I received my 2nd ME rubber stamp in the mail today -- one I need for the August swap -- and my envelope had a RAK inside as well as the stamp. A whole envie full of punchies! I certainly wasn't expecting that! *smile* I've been working on laundry and typing today, so didn't get much scissor work done, however, I did dig out my Quik Trip plastic drinking glass full of used dryer sheets. I cut an X into the snap-on lid  and stuck them inside after pulling them from the dryer. I've used them in the past to make interesting backgrounds with liquid glue.

7/30/2015 Update = I just knew I would find some paper goodies out in my craft barn and I did! My in-laws have been saving empty tissue boxes for me ever since I began making little notebooks as prizes for my Sunday School kids, so I have a ton of them. Most have floral patterns, but I did find a few with cartoon characters that I brought back into the house to cut out. I also looked at the bottom of the box and decided instead of punching out scalloped circles to ink clouds with on atc's, I could cut out the "Puff cloud" on the bottom to use as a mask instead. It might last a little longer than a paper scallop too. I figured the floral patterns on tissue boxes might be cut down to use as atc backgrounds during the "JAM" session, so I began taping on cardstock  to the back of the cut-down chipboard pieces to write out what we put on the atc. Certainly cheaper than adding scrapbook paper to one and a little sturdier than flimsy cardstock.

8/1/2015 Update = Been a little busy, but have good news!

8/3/2015 uPdAtE = the guys donated another car magazine and this issue seemed to be focused on round things like wheels, steering wheels, headlights, etc. so that's what I cut out besides textures like stripes and sand. I also cut out the Japanese script from a Japanese red bean candy box that the son picked up at the World Market. Don't know what it says, but might look good on Asian-themed cards. Also cut out a few Minions from cereal boxes and the ones too big, got their features cut out! Then I cut out all the chili's from a Chili's brand of baked macaroni box. And another tea cup from an illustrated notepad! Almost forgot, I added another prescription leaflet to the bag. You know when one gets to a certain age, it seems like one is swamped with those tissue like papers . . .

8/4/2015 Update = Okay, I got busy out in the craft barn this afternoon and got several tissue boxes cut down into ATC sized backgrounds -- one of each color for each month until November. Then I've got to dig around and see if I can come up with red, green, & white backgrounds for December, however, each little set of background cards are in a labeled baggie on my work desk out there. Tomorrow I'm gonna have to work on my themed cards. I've seen several interesting background ideas for the seashore themed cards, so I'm not sure how I'm going to make them. Maybe 3  cards of 4 techniques or visa versa and let the ladies choose the one they like best? The hubby came out to check on me and while he was there, I got him to help me haul in some paper that I found stashed in a filing cabinet drawer -- a Mary Engelbreit calendar envie that I'm going to cut down for those itty-bitty pictures on the back, and gobs of security envelopes, a gallon sized zippy bag full of tea bag envies, and the bits and pieces of the tissue paper boxes that I had left over, a gallon sized zippy bag full. 

8/5/2015 Update = I've been digging in my craft barn some more.  I began two more baggies yesterday -- one for that ME calendar I cut down and the other for ordinary stuff. It's about full and my thumb is getting sore from all the cutting I've been doing. The piles are shrinking though. I remembered P. L. wanted some postage stamps, so she'll be getting some as I'm cutting them off of the security envies. I was  thinking today, since most of the tissue box pieces are big enough for something, I should see what dies I have that are small enough for atcs and cut something out of them besides the flowers.  I dug out a sack of striped black/khaki shopping bags too and found some stamped-off butterflies and heat-embossed cowboy boots at the bottom of the sack, so those all got cut up.  Some of the shopping bags were torn, so I removed the good parts and cut the paper down to atc size. I saved some of the tissue box bottoms to cut down to atc size to upholster in other papers. I had forgotten that I needed a metallic atc for the jam session in November and so covered one side with black cs and then applied a piece of dry-embossed aluminum flashing tape over that, wrapped it around to the back and then covered it with the white cs so it would look nice. Next week looks like it gonna be a busy one -- Sunday is atc club, Tuesday is Kathy's annual  shoebox party and Friday afternoon is my husband's company picnic!

8/7/2015 Update = Yesterday I was busy with family history emails for most of the day so didn't get any crafting done, however today, I got out in the craft barn as soon as I could and finished cutting up the rest of the sack of tissue boxes into atc cards and Tim Holtz's scissors that I received for Christmas wore a blister  that broke on my middle finger. OUCH! Good thing I remembered to buy a small first aid box. So anyway, I cut the bottom of the tissue boxes also into atc sized cards and glued the first layer of wrapping paper with gel medium on them. I felt like I was back in kindergarten playing with the paste and paper! LOL! This "paste" though didn't smell wintergreen like the old paste I remember. I also dug around in the barn some more and ran across an box of miscellaneous puzzle pieces that I had purchased quite some time ago from a Teacher's Resource Center that merged with Wonderworks Children's Museum. It's now called the "Repurpose, Imagine, Create (RMC)" store and is open to the public. When I was homeschooling and teaching Sunday School, I used to go over there all the time. It's been awhile since I've been there, but I always take something to donate with me, while I see what goodies they may have to purchase. Besides charging admission for the museum (it's free to go into the store, if you tell them at the entrance that you are just shopping today), this is one way for the museum to finance exhibits and special programs.  And we recycle instead of throwing something into a landfill. In the past I've also donated finished craft projects in which we used something recyclable -- like a cardboard castle, birdhouses, etc. They have a list of things they are always looking for in the link above, however, since corporations sometimes donate odd lots of stuff, one is never sure of what you may find there. Oh, and I almost forgot, Kelly, the editor of Scrap and Stamp Arts Magazine sent me an editorial calendar today. Have an original design idea for an atc, card, paper crafts, or scrapbook page?  Send it in! You never know if you don't try! Click on their "editorial calendar" link from my link to see what they are looking for for next year's issues.

8/10/2015 Update =

Okay, I will admit, I'm a packrat, since I found this much and there is probably more paper stuff out in my craft barn (see baskets in clean corner; lots of embellies there). And speaking of being a packrat, that was one of the topics of discussion yesterday during the ATC club meeting. Some of us more mature ladies have been crafty quite a while! HA!  P.L. and I swapped some of her bits and pieces for some of my bits and pieces. In fact, I kept my baggies of Mary Engelbreit paper bits which I'm using for a another project -- I share a pic in another post later and P.L. took four of the baggies to go through and pull out what she wants. And I need to remember for next time, that P.L. and I agreed to swap stamp-offs of Mary Engelbreit rubber stamps. She had a Henry stamp-off in her stash that I don't have. 

Toodle do!


  1. This is a good challenge!! I could do this - so many things on junk mail that could work on ATC or Card!! Great idea!

    1. Karen will be joining me after all. Here's what she is doing: "I just check every junk mail piece that comes in! I also check bulletins and letters/envelopes from anything I get. I cut off words from offers for credit cards- some are great - "you, important, free, card, free...." some have colors I like, so I cut off a piece of that color."


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