Monday, January 6, 2020

ATCs - The Original Adult Valentines + $50 Giveaway + Season's Givings Winner Announcement

When I first got onto Splitcoast, it was in the heyday of ATCs - Artist Trading Cards.

I was in some of the most stunning swaps back then. I love how ATCs are like the condensed soup of cardmaking - that smaller canvas (2.5" x 3.5") condenses your design, and I often found them more detailed and higher quality than larger format cards - more of everything. Concentrated.

As I learned how to stamp a little better, I've always found myself more at home in smaller formats - even in my watercolor. I much prefer small scale paintings, for example.

But as I start to see Valentine designs come into the stamp world, it occurs to me that ATCs were really just grown up Valentines we used to make for each other.

I think none of us ever got past how great it was to get those tiny cards from each other as children. I remember wanting so badly to find unique ones that my classmates would love. ATCs capture exactly that sort of innocent enthusiasm for art.

When I first participated in swaps of these, I marveled at the incredibly detailed backgrounds and collage many artists did. Fast forward twenty years, and my vast collection of ready-to-use Gel Press prints makes it all make more sense. I had to create mine from scratch back then. Now I can pull out some prints or backgrounds and half the work is done for me!

I decided to look up the history of ATCs and found it fascinating. It's really not that old - occurring just slightly before I started making them. I'd love to see the catalogs they reference in this article. I bet they are gorgeous.

I purchased this book in 2008, and I still refer to it often - it has some beautiful samples and techniques, and I love the artists featured.

My style is a little different from what I think of as the "classic" ATC style - which is a bit more collage-y and vintage. I like bright colors and clean, simple images.

I've been wanting to use a Hero Arts Kit release for a set of ATCs for a while, and when I saw this month's kit, I knew the time had come. The main kit has images that are perfectly sized for ATCs, AND a bonus stamp of text that's perfect for these little cards. The add-ons and dies are perfect too, so I'll walk you through my process for creating all of them in a video later in this post.

But first - just my approach is this: I decided on a common element for all the cards, and the easiest way for me to do this is to pull some coordinating prints out of my UFO pile and choose backgrounds that tie together.

In this instance - I had lots of orange and pink to work with, so I decided that would be the link. I chose three prints, and one - wait for it - KLEENEX BOX - for the base of the cards. Here's what they look like together.

Aren't those fun? Here they are close up.

I used the cancellation stamp from the main kit, as well as the sentiment and used the banner die in the kit for the perfect size sentiment strip. The flowers in this die-heavy, amazing kit are gorgeous, so I chose the one that would leave me room for the print to shine. I painted it with Daniel Smith watercolor, and used some no-shed glitter paper and a handheld punch for embellishments.

The sweet little postal images are so fun. The print I used was orange and pink, so I wanted to add a little complementary green on the bird in the stamp image. I used the text image from the kit for a little detailed interest. 
Here's what the full kit looks like - the envelope die is ADORABLE.


The add-ons, which you'll see in closeups below, can be bought in a bundle for a discount! Here's what they look like.

The Cup of Love add-on has matching dies, and is also perfectly sized for an ATC. Again, I added green and pink to tie these together. The sentiment is from the same set.
 You'll see in the video that I used a Kleenex box from Costco for this background - I painted it with matte medium so that the ink would stick, and then I used the Unbearably Thankful set with matching dies to add the pink, green and orange that make up my theme. I just thought this heat-map warm bear needed a cool blue background. I used a white gel pen to color the bee.

I went back to a past kit for the images I thought were perfect for the white spots on my pink and orange gel print. I had a bunch of these little girls cut out and in the stamp pocket for the kit and I couldn't resist the throwback as part of this set.

 Finally, I really thought I'd watercolor this stunning bouquet image and cut it out with the matching dies, but it looks so pretty as line art, that I just stamped it and highlighted it with a white paint pen (I got too enthusiastic with it, as you'll see in the video). I used the sentiment from the same set.
Want to watch me make these? Stay tuned afterwards for a $50 giveaway, and the winner of my Seasons Givings Blog Hop giveaway.


My Monthly Hero Kit January 2020
[ HA ]
Get Them All - January Add-Ons
[ HA ]
Togetherness Flower Bouquet
[ HA ]
Loving Messages
[ HA ]
Floral Heart Wreath
[ HA ]
Flower Bouquet Pieces
[ HA ]
Cup of Love
[ HA ]
Togetherness Flower Bouquet Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Floral Heart Wreath Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Flower Bouquet Pieces Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Cup of Love Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
Candy Hearts Peek-a-boo Cling
[ HA ]
Bird With Bouquet
[ HA ]
Unbearably Thankful
[ HA ]
Unbearably Thankful Frame Cuts
[ HA ]
January Word Fancy Die
[ HA ]
MMH July 2019 Kit - Hero Arts
[ HA ]
Liquitex Matte Medium
[ BLIC ]
Neutrals Glitter Paper Pack - Concord...
[ C&9 | ELH | SSS ]
Crop-A-Dile Power Punch, 1/4" - Ellen...
[ ELH ]
Sakura CLASSIC WHITE Fine Line 05...
[ SSS ]
White Porous Point Pen
[ BLIC ]
Artist Trading Card Workshop: Create,...
[ AMZUS ]
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSP | HA | SSS | ELH | MFT | UNT ]
Gel Press 5 x 7 REUSABLE GEL PRINTING...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Inovart Pro-Roller Brayer
[ BLIC | BLIC ]
Art Anthology BIG CRAFT MAT 24x36 311473
[ SSS ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
[ BLIC ]
LightView 2in1 LED Magnifier for...
[ BRG ]
Teflon Bone Folder - Ellen Hutson LLC
[ ELH | SSS ]
Crafter's Companion GEMINI...
[ SSS ]
Scor-Pal MINI SCOR-BUDDY Scoring...
[ SSS ]
Essentials by Ellen Storage...
[ ELH ]
Die Storage - Clear Storage Pockets...
[ CHC ]
XL Stamp Storage Pockets
[ ELH ]
Mermaid tidy towel case and glue...
[ ETS ]
Lawn Fawn STAMP SHAMMY Cleaner LF1045
[ SSS | CST ]
Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]
Hero Arts Blog
[ HA ]


As usual, Hero Arts is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky commenter, so leave me a comment and let me know if you ever did ATC swaps - or any swap!

And I wanted to let my Seasons Givings winner know the happy news! Lauren, please use the Contact Me button in my sidebar to send me your shipping address! Congratulations!

Here's the rest of the Hero team for inspiration! 



Loveyameanitbye.

99 comments:

  1. Awesome Kit! Beautiful creations! I especially love the You Fill My Cup card!

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  2. Love all your card designs! I have done swaps with ATC's which was a really fun project to do!

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  3. Your backgrounds are so gorgeous - yes, even the Kleenex box! (do you know how many times I've eyed the ones sitting on my bathroom counter...) The only ATC swap I've done was last year, in your lovely UB Facebook group - I still have those gorgeous pieces of art!

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  4. I too love the You Fill My Cup card, fabulous with that added punch of green. I received my Scorpal today - too cute and received my Ink on 3 new inks from your post about them last week. I need to play with them and make a card. Thanks for the info. Hugs

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  5. I have done some ATC and card swaps. I love the inventive use of Kleenex boxes.
    Your ATC's are really fun.

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  6. fabulous backgrounds on all your cards Lydia, love the beautiful colors and this kit has to be one of the best they have come out with.

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  7. Wow! The colours are just.. Wow! So vibrant and beautiful 😍 i really need to try to stop being afraid of such strong colours!! It looks so amazing! Thank you so much for the amazing inspiration ❤️

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  8. I love your colorful and artistic ATCs. I haven't made them for a long time--thanks for the inspiration!!

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  9. Wonderful video! Love the ATC’s. I participated in a swap about 3 years ago. It was international which made it extra fun and special. I think swaps should be done much more often! Thanks! Sue Fontaine

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  10. I thought I was the only one that kept tissue box pieces for cards. They are sometimes to pretty to throw away! Love your cards, especially the adorable bear!

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  11. Love your ATCs!! I've done a bunnch of swaps in the past, but haven't done any lately. BUT your post is totally making me want to do an ATC swap!!

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  12. WOW! Great samples! I have been in swaps before but never any ATC swaps. Now I'm looking at Kleenex boxes!

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  13. I have done some ATC swaps at shoebox gatherings. I usually turn what I receive into greeting cards but a few have a place of honor next to my TV so I can admire them for a long time. A friend of mine goes through her big book of ATCs every year and turns some into Birthday cards for her church. It's fun to see how her cards turn out. I love your use of gel prints as backgrounds.

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  14. Oh Wow! These are amazing. thanks for sharing.

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  15. I have never done ATCs but yours look amazing. The colors are great and the combination with your focal points too.

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  16. Beautiful ATC's Lydia. I love that they're all different, but go together by your color choices and the little gold glitter circles. Great idea. I've participated in ATC swaps before, starting on the Club Scrap site & then UB. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  17. so fun to see your ATC's Lydia - I still have some from swaps years ago - still do the Card Chain Challenge which is a monthly swap - love this kit and have already ordered it!

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  18. Cute little ATC cards. Love the gel prints in the background. Thought it was cute to see art in the kleenex box and it is everywhere you just have to have an open mind.

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  19. I have a gel press but haven't used it yet. Thanks for inspiring me to trying it out.

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  20. So nice!! I have never been to a swap before

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  21. I started card making after the ATC craze, so it was fun to read about its history and to see your wonderful cards. Love the vivid colors!

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  22. You really have a great sense of layering and detail. Thanks for sharing your art.

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  23. Wonderful ATC's and great HA kit. I've tried to make ATC's but I think it takes a special knack to work in a much smaller area. I like the background idea taking in half the work - I've used tissue boxes to do just that. Thanks for a great tutorial and ideas!

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  24. These are fantastic! I can't pass up anything postal related.

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  25. Great cards, this looks like a great kit, looking forward to receiving mine

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  26. Beautiful, colorful cards. Thanks for a great explanation of ATC cards. I never understood what they were about.

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  27. The bear, with his bare buns, is so cute!!!! I need him.

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  28. These are so cute! I did do an ATC swap - back in the days of the Cricut message board!

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  29. These are AMAZING! I LOVE the bright colors! HOW COOL!

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  30. Oh these are so great, so fun you went back to your stampy roots.

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  31. These designs of yours are almost beyond words!!! THAT is what I call creating outside the box. They're all, bold, beautiful and unique to themselves. You have a very creative mind and you should be proud, because you've done a GREAT job!!!

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  32. I have not done ATC swaps but I did enjoy the ATC coins we did through UBlue group!!! So fun and even smaller. As ever, your cards are amazing and always do a fantastic job of making us all want the items you have!! 💜🌵

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  33. Awesome job on all your cards they are adorable!
    natgodfrey4@gmail.com

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  34. Fantastic cards and a wonderful release.
    Thanks so much for sharing...

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  35. It's my first time to your blog! Wow, what wonderful and unique cards that you create. I love them.

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  36. as always your projects are amazing! I Love this kit so glad I ordered it

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  37. Thanks for the video. It was fun watching you make the ATCs. They all look fantastic. I'm going to your channel to find videos on making those gel press papers. I love them-especially the one you used with the flower.

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  38. I heard of ATC's when I first started card making but never made one or participated in an exchange! Love the vivid colors!

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  39. Absolutely beautiful. I've never done a swap but it sounds like fun.

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  40. Great cards, but my favorite is the bear.
    Animals always get me.
    I did a swap of greeting cards a few
    years ago. Not many people participated
    so I didn't get much inspiration.
    Haven't made any ATC's.
    thanks for sharing
    txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  41. Your bright and colorful ATCs are gorgeous! Each one is a winner!

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  42. Awesome creations with this beautiful kit! Love your color combos!

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  43. always love your creations - adore that bear!!

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  44. TOTALLY FAB!!! I love the idea of ATCs being like valentines...all grown up! Yes!
    Your ATCs are so vibrant and awesome. I need to revisit ATCs. Thank you for the inspiration.
    <3 J

    jwoolbright at gmail dot com
    HerPeacefulGarden.blogspot.com

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  45. Love your artsy take on these cards!

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  46. I love your wonderfully vibrant set of cards with their clever background and modern take, Lydia! So eye-catching!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  47. I love your idea of making ATCs with this kit. They all look great!

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  48. I've never participated in a swap. It sounds like great fun though. This new kit from Hero Arts is so beautiful.

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  49. The bear is so fun and I love that you have shown some of the add-ons. They are great. The ATC's are so great and I love the mixed media feel!

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  50. Nope never done ATC's!! I should though! Gorgeous projects as always ... love your creativity!

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  51. I love your pink and yellow atc's - such a great color combo. I have participated in calligraphy ATC swaps before I got into stamping. My problem is how to display/store the ones you receive, and guilt if I throw them out!

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  52. These are quite a stunning set of cards! love all the fun details!

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  53. I've never done a swap! But I love the idea. I have a question... is matte medium similar to Gesso? i.e., could I use Gesso instead? I have it... and not matte medium. LOL

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  54. Your ATC’s are so vibrant
    and fun! I did participate in several
    ATC swaps with some online crafty
    friends I met on an online community.
    They are fun to make and try new techniques,
    since they are a small canvas. I tried napkin
    transfer art on one and it was fun!

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  55. Your ATC's are so pretty with the color combo you used. I have only made a couple myself, but have never done a swap. I've wanted to make a pocket letter of ATC's for a few years, but just haven't dived in. lol

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  56. Love your backgrounds, I thought about making my own gel pad but probably easier to just buy on. lol I have not made any ATC or done any swaps, maybe in the future. Thanks for a chance to win.

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  57. Love this kit...awesome backgrounds...thank you for sharing.

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  58. LOVE what you created and this new kit! I have not done any kind of swap but it sounds like fun.

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  59. ATC's passed me by, but I was thinking about those tiny Valentines we cherished when in grade school. I absolutely love the card with the girl jumping on the pier. Sadly, it's all gone now. But all of your creations are just the bomb, Lydia. Your style is like none other.

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  60. Made ATC exchanges, but a long time ago lol

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  61. I also have used tissue boxes as background. Some have very nice prints.

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  62. These are so cool!! Love the bold, vibrant colors!

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  63. WOW your colors are so striking - they just leap of the page!!!

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  64. Nice cards! Beautiful use of colors on all the cards. Thank you

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  65. Lydia, it is so good to see your talent just exploding in color all over these amazing cards.

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  66. Fabulous ATC cards. I like that you used a kleenex box. I have not participated in any ATC swaps.

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  67. WOW. This boggles my mind that the gel prints seem to mimic the subject; spilled coffee next to the cup, trees behind the bear, a petal fallen from the flower, a pink sunset at the pier's end. Absolutely stunning

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  68. Great color combos and a beautiful way share this release. thank you.

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  69. Your ATCs are great. Thanks for the super video.

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  70. Creative way to use the supplies from the kit!

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  71. You little Rebel! I love them all. Never had the pleasure of a swap but what a fun idea! Thank you for all your inspirations.

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  72. Ooh these are awesome!! I used to participate in some ATC swaps years ago, thanks for the inspirations :)

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  73. I love your ATCs! I bought that same book back around 2008/09 too! I just got back into swapbot and am looking forward to atc swaps again.

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  74. I have not participated in any swaps but sounds super fun for sure! The die cut flower and the flower background are absolutely stunning atc's, just wow! Amazing work!

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  75. I have actually never done a swap, sounds like its overdue lol! Bother the diecut flower and the floral stamp atc turned out gorgeous!! Just wow! Amazing work!

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  76. Your cards are bright vibrant and really beautiful, I don’t know anything about ATC but I thank you for sharing your talent and inspiration.

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  77. Fantastic set of cards! I am loving these bold artsy backgrounds!

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  78. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing your inspirations.
    Blessings,
    karen Letchworth

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  79. Great cards, thanks for your video. Awesome kit!

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  80. How fun! I've made my share of ATCs but what I did the most was inchies. Couldn't get enough. Love your colors, so vibrant. what a fun release to revive interest in ATCs. TFS.

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  81. Love that you brought back the ATC and yours are little works of art!

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  82. Beautiful ATCs, and I haven't ever done a swap but it looks so fun and full of inspiration at your fingertips!

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  83. What fun ATCs, so vibrant and colorful- I would never have imagined using a kleenex box! Your creativity always amazes me! Thanks for sharing!

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  84. What fun ATC's. Great release, especially that cute bear.

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  85. Years ago I made some ATC's at a local stamp store for contests, and one for this year's Heirloom Arts Stamp show, but that's it. Love your creations. So colorful!

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  86. I have not done a ATC, thanks for you ideas with these new products.

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  87. Such vibrant beautiful colors! Love your creations, thank you for sharing!

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  88. Beautiful cards. Your backgrounds are amazing.

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  89. Love what you created. That bear is the cutest and I need him.

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