Small things artist trading card

Back in the autumn Ali at veryberryhandmade announced she was hosting another atc swap. I’ve loved every one I’ve participated in so far, so I signed up immediately. The theme this time was small things. I like to use making these cards as an opportunity to try a new technique or experiment more with something. I knew I wanted to try embroidery this time, after seeing some amazing work on instagram.  Therefore I kept that in mind when I was planning the design. I had two ideas in mind, things that grow and all the small things by blink 182.

This is how I plan

In the end the all the small things idea was too captivating, and as my partner in the swap hadn’t given me any directions, I went with my heart. I took one of the lyrics from the song as my inspiration and wanted to embroider roses on the stairs. I’m not an artist so it took me quite while to work out how to make it look in proportion.

I used satin stitch for most of the background. I started with the stairs, where I used a mixture of colours to help with the shading. I then randomly stitched roses all over the stairs. This was a very fun part, I like the playing with colours and sizes.

It took me quite awhile to figure out what to do with the background, and which way the stitches should go. I’m glad I did it though because it really helps with the proportions.


Every time I make these cards, I use a different construction technique. This time I needed it to have a fairly stiff structure so the satin stitch stays in place. I used a sort of English paper piecing technique, I based the front and back onto paper pieces but then left the paper in when I whip-stitched the two halves together. It worked pretty well.

My completed ATC

Hopefully my partner liked it. In return I received this beautiful ATC. It depicts a little manchester bee.

This is number four in my collection 

Winter Sparkle

I took part in another veryberry ATC swap just before Christmas, the theme this time around was Winter Sparkle. I was determined to bring my beads into my next ATC and this was the perfect theme to do so.

This is how I coral my ideas into some sense

After a little pondering – I draw sketches in my notebook – where I considered various frosty scenes, I came up with the idea of mimicking some fair isle knitting patterns with beads. Fair isle knitting is the knitting with rows of repeated motifs and contrasting colours. After looking up some Christmas patterns I found the reindeer and star motifs. I didn’t feel up to doing free form bead embroidery of something that is so geometric, so I used aida (cross stitch material) for the backing. I use frixion pens to mark out the pattern.

Work in Progress: you can see the frixion markings I use as guidance

I started with the star and once I got going quickly figured out a technique that worked for me. However once I’d done the star and border, I realised I was going to have a lot of background showing. At first I decided to fill it in with cross stitch, which I probably should have done first, but hey ho. I worked around the border beads doing cross stitch and quickly realised how long this was going to take. So I swapped to half cross stitch (diagonal line) – My background was sparkly white on white aida so the coverage was pretty good. It still look a long time. The second half of the ATC, where I did the cross stitch first was much easier than the 1st half – so I know for next time.

After all those hours doing the background, I kept the backing and edging very simple, simply whip stitched the two sides together (with seams folded inwards). I also just wrote on my details.

I return I received this beautifully packaged and gorgeous artist trading card from Jayne. I’m loving my little collection I’m building.