Friday, December 11, 2009

Free Range Domino's

Aren't these wonderful? I received these "free range domino pins" from Rebecca in a private swap. Rebecca writes the Going Green Column in & I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting her when she asked if she I would be interested in being in her column based upon my upcycled art from chip/soda/candy wrappers.

Rebecca has created some wonderful things in her shop, if you get the chance, you should really check it out (I really like her pendants!)

Thanks Rebecca for the wonderful swap!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Same materials, something new............

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, but with the holidays upon us & the fact that I've been very busy creating the same kind of items for my shop that you've seen in previous posts but from different recycled soda labels/chip bags/coffee bags, I didn't think you wanted to see another luggage tag or mini wallet :)

However, I've come up with a couple of new ideas I wanted to share & have plans for more to come when things slow down a little bit.

(LOVE that color!!) I used Mt Dew & Diet Mt Dew soda bottle labels for this journal cover.

The interior is hand dyed poplin & has a sleeve that holds removable 4" by 6" notepads. (You can find this in my shop, where I've posted more pics of this journal.)

Below (I'm excited about these) are sunglass/eyeglass cases. The interiors have hand dyed bamboo fleece......YUM!!!!

The green & black McCoy's case is from Crisp bags from the UK. Lynda generously sent me a wonderful package full of Crisp bags & I've finally been able to start cutting into & using them. (You know how it is, when you get a new material, you can't use it right away, it needs to sit around for a little while so you can admire it.) I had originally planned on putting all four of these into my shop, but when I brought them in to show to some co-workers, I sold the McCoy's & Dr Pepper cases immediately, so back to the studio to create more!!

Ok, so I had to share a tag & a mini wallet with you that I made from Lynda's bags. The colors are wonderful & it's nice to work with graphics you're not used to seeing. The Walker's Luggage tag has also been featured on the Shop Etsy Blog here.

Thanks for the wonderful bags, Lynda!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I'm on TryHandmade.Com

Here's the link I promised you in the last post & for those that didn't see the last post.........

Rebecca Hadfield writes the "Going Green Column" for & she contacted me last week about featuring my "upcycled" pieces in her column.

(I'm VERY honored to have my work chosen for her Going Green Column!!)

If you'd like to check it out, you can click here!!

Sorry, couldn't do a blog post without a photo :)

On another note, I had an elementary teacher from Massachusetts contact me to see if I was interested in participating in their Teracycle program & taking a few chip bags that the students had been collecting off their hands. (Of course, I jumped at the chance!!)

Both Rebecca & this school teacher found me through my Etsy shop, which is fabulous!! Ever since I've opened my shop, I've had this underlying fear of, "is my work getting seen" "am I placing my work in the right places for people to see me?" So when opportunities like these two happened, it was SO nice to know that someone out there other than my closest artist friends & family weren't the only ones visiting my shop!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lay's Potato Chips from Thailand??

Sorry that I haven't posted in awhile, but my home has been battling with some type of bug & we can't seem to shake it. The only thing I do know is that it's not the regular flu or the H1N1 flu, thank goodness!!

The opportunites that I have felt good, I've been creating art, like a mad woman, from my upcycled chip/soda/candy wrappers materials!! The custom orders have really been helping since I received word from my "day job" that each of the staff have to take a day off every two weeks until February without pay :( I try to put a good spin on it & look at it as another day for me to create art & maybe clean my house just a little more often. :)

I wanted to share with you these WONDERFUL chip bags I found on Ebay from a seller in Thailand. At the time, the seller offered these with the chips inside, sealed. I was concerned with customs & didn't really need 4 bags of Lay's Sweet Basil chips, so I contacted the seller to see if he would sell them to me empty & sure enough, he did (I wonder if he thought it was odd that I only asked for the bags?)

Aren't the colors just YUMMY?!!! Not sure what to do with these just yet & I'm thinking that they might have to sit in my studio for a little while before getting cut up. I do know that one of the things I make from these will be MINE :)

The Thai language is just beautiful on these bags, even the Nutrition Facts are in Thai. Funny how you can find such beauty in everyday things.

On another note, I'm excited to announce that Rebecca from is going to feature me & my art made from recycled chip/soda/candy wrappers in her Going Green column this week. I think it's to be posted this Thursday. I'll post the link here as soon as Rebecca releases it. (I can hardly wait!!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Keep those wrappers coming!!

As I was sitting in the airport, waiting to board the plane, a second time, to Iowa, I was fiddling with my luggage tag. I think the DH & I got the idea at the same time. Luggage tags!! I could make luggage tags from my chip/soda/coffee wrappers.

I've never been very thrilled about the luggage tags that are on the market & what a GREAT way to distinguish your bag from the others at baggage claim (& have a really cool luggage tag too)!!

These are my first efforts & I have to say that I'm very happy with them!!

The tags are approximately 3" by 4" & have hand dyed coordinating bamboo poplin on the back. They were then covered front & back with a clear vinyl.

I think the Dr Pepper tag might be my favorite (it's my favorite soda). I had a lot of fun making these & have plans to make more for my shop!!

I was really excited about trying to use aluminum soda cans for my "material" & after my first completed tag, I was sad to discover that it wasn't going to work out as well. My sewing machine sewed right through the aluminum like butter, but it was the holes that were left by the sewing needle & the non-flatness of the aluminum that made me decide that this was not going to work for these. But that's ok, I have many more ideas using many other materials. Now let's just hope other people like them enough to want their very own!! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ok, sometimes it pays to be a packrat.......

God love 'em, but at least 4 generations of the women in my family have been packrats & we're talking serious packratitus. Where upstairs bedrooms are so full of things that "you might need someday" that all you can do is walk into the room & walk back out backwards in your same foot steps. Hallways crammed with filled boxes of outdated fabrics & patterns. Closets of extra serving dishes & platters. My grandpa, bless his soul, also had this "problem" (don't want to call it a disease, since I question if it was something brought about from living during the Depression Era). He would go to estate sales & bring home boxes of "things".

Growing up with this, it seemed "normal". I never questioned the clutter. Once I moved away I realized, "oh my God, these people are packrats!" I vowed from that day on, that I would break that chain in my family.

I did pretty well until I started creating art again. It's a lot easier creating when you already have the paper you need for a journal signature or the right color of thread to finish a quilt. I spoke with other artist friends on how to "cope" with this disease & if it was acceptable or shunned & I was reassured it would be ok, but that I had to be careful, that it could easily get out of control. So, I keep it "in check" by organizing. All of my paints are in 2 clear rubber maid totes, my rubber stamps in another, fusible webs, etc AND they are kept in my studio either in the closet or underneath my work table. I cannot store extra rubber maid totes visibly in my studio, so this is a way of me controlling how much I can "hoard".

I generally give my grandma a hard time about all the things she keeps & shouldn't, but this time, I'm glad she did. When we went back to see her last week, she gave me a grocery bag full of the postcards that you see here. There had to be over 150 of these postcards & in fabulous shape for being over 97 years old!! They're all correspondence between my great grandmother & a friend of her's, most of them still have the 1 cent stamp that was needed to mail them on it still.
I feel like these postcards are a small part of my family past so I won't be cutting them up to use in my art. Instead, I have plans to scan them into my computer & then use them possibly in my work & as for the actual postcards, I think they'll be put into an archival binder where one can easily enjoy them any time!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Headin' Home to Iowa

I won't be posting for just a little while since we're heading back home for a family wedding & the highlight of my see my 82 year old grandma. That woman is absolutely awesome!! All of her funny little quirks, habits & values, I SWEAR, I take after her :) (I wonder if it's possible for a granddaughter to take after her grandmother?) I did have the wonderful opportunity of my grandparents living right next door while growing up so I guess I can see there being a possibility.

I also took advantage of while I'm gone, my sewing machine is in the shop getting it's 1st year checkup. This worked out perfectly, since I didn't know how I was going to be able to be without my sewing machine for a week. :)

A small favor of those reading my blog.................I'd really love to change my blog background, but haven't really found anything that fits me. Everything I see out there is either too formal or Shabby Chic so this has me toying with the idea of hiring someone to design it for me if I can't find anything out there on the internet. If you have any suggestions for background sites or someone who can create a background relatively inexpensively, please let me know!!

Thanks & have a great rest of the week!!!
(Adriana will be flying back to Iowa with me, so maybe she'll have some interesting pics to post here when we get back.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Halloween Goodies

I LOVE Halloween!! I think it's my most favorite holiday & to help celebrate Halloween, I made a couple of Halloween Mini Wallets for my shop.

The first mini wallet was made from recycled Halloween Plain M&M wrappers.

For those that prefer peanut M&M's, the wallet below was made from recycled Halloween Peanut M&M wrappers.

Interiors of both wallets were made of hand dyed bamboo (LOVE that orange color).

No calories were gained by me (having to eat the M&M's to get the wrappers) they were happily donated to my DH's co-workers, who were happy to receive them. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm Going to be Published, TWICE!!!

Remember this...............

© 2009 Tracy Borders
Sandra Salamony was seeking submissions for her new book, 1000 Artisan Textiles. I submitted Green Apple Martini & it was accepted!! The book is slated to be published May 2010. (I'm not sure if I can wait that long!!)

I also have another piece that is to be published in Marion Barnett's new book, Exquisite Evolon. The publish date for that is right around the corner. Sorry no pics to show of that piece yet, I sent it out the next day after I completed it & didn't have time to photograph it. Marion promised me some digital photos.

I am hoping to add a third piece to my "being published" list this year. I submitted art work to Greencraft Magazine. The deadline was last week & I'm waiting to hear back. Sorry, I can't go into detail with what this may be (don't want to jinx it) but will tell you it's for Greencraft Magazine, that's totally dedicated to art made from recycled materials & it's something I've never created before. :)

Fingers & toes are crossed!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

For Michele & Michelle

I made each of these wonderful cyber friends mini wallets (I hope they like them).

For Michele, I made her wallet from Torrefazione coffee bags.

I'm not sure I've ever worked in white before, so this was a new experience. I really like how it turned out except for the smell. I washed the bags really well before using them & in all of my handling with them, after they were finished, they still smelled like coffee (I'm not a huge coffee fan).

I made this mini wallet for Michelle from Lay's Salt & Vinegar potato chip bags. Michelle saves wrappers for me & I bottle caps for her, so as a thank you, I asked her what she would like to have her wallet made from, which was the Salt & Vinegar chips, her favorite. I was a little unsure of myself when I first started as I didn't have much for Salt & Vinegar bags to use, so I was actually impressed that this wallet was made from very little "material" & with it being another color I generally don't work in, I really like how it turned out.

Each of the interiors have hand dyed bamboo poplin & on Michelle's Lay's wallet, I went even a step further with recycled materials. The clear vinyl covering came from clear curtain packaging. (I knew there was a reason why I kept that empty packaging!)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Yes, I am 40 today or as I'd like to say 20 (times 2). :)

A very wonderful friend of mine, Michelle, made these fabulous things for me for my birthday (they're SO cool & they're in my favorite color!!)

40 tudes is a little journal that she made using painted interfacing & on each page is a different technique that Michelle likes to use in her art. Also, on each page is a clear little sleeve that I've been told that are for me to put pictures in of my party that we're having tonight. Michelle has said that she'll be posting on her blog more info about this wonderful little piece if you'd like to know more.

She also sent me these earrings that were made from a Fresca can. (Aren't they great!!)

Make sure you go over & check out her blog & see what she's been up to lately!!

Thanks Michelle, I love them!!

I had planned on doing a giveaway drawing for my birthday, but I've been so busy working on creating a piece to submit to Greencraft Magazine, I didn't have to the time to create anything. After I submit to Greencraft Mag, I'll do a giveaway, maybe a journal from Cheetoh bags or a mini wallet or maybe both :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crisp bags from the UK

My wonderful friend, Lynda, sent me a huge envelope full of Crisps bag wrappers to use in my mini wallets. It felt like Christmas in August!!

I thought I'd share a few pics so my US friends can take a look.

They have flavors like we have in the US, like the Salt & Vinegar, BBQ & plain salted, but there were some that seemed strange like the Chicken & Onion, the Prawn Cocktail (no, I'm not kidding) & then they have interesting ones like the two below.

These bags above are beautiful!! I'd be interested in seeing & tasting the 8 other flavors :)

Thank you, Lynda, for sending me these wonderful Crisp bags, I can hardly wait to start using them to create my wallets!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

ATC's in the mail............

...........have started arriving from the Surface Design "show a technique" & they're all absolutely wonderful!!!

This first ATC is from Annette in the UK. Annette recycled Crisp bags (what Americans call potato chip bags) which she wove for the background & the beautiful flower, made from recycled sheers, was created by using a metal stencil in which she burned out the flower shape. You can visit Annette's blog here where you can see all of ATC's that she made & also gives a better description of her process. Love the colors & the spiral is just fabulous!! Thanks, Annette!!

This ATC was made by Michelle. I would have never thought of pairing salmon with turquoise but the colors really worked well together. She layered bit & pieces of scrap material on top of cheesecloth & then a layer of silky solvy, to hold it together while she free motion quilted it. After the silky solvy was washed away, she applied gesso, then a layer of emulsion house paint. After all was dried, she then applied color with Golden Acrylics. You can see her process here & view more of her finished cards here. Thanks Michelle, I always love trading with you!!

This beautiful ATC is from Dotti. The black with the copper really makes this card pop!! That rusty brown color strip down the middle was actually created by rust dyeing, which I've always wanted to try but have never had the time (too many ideas in my head & not enough time to try all of them). The copper metal "laugh" plate on this card, reminded me of a book I just bought, "The Art of Stitching on Metal" by Ann Parr. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to sit down & actually read the book as of yet, but at a glance, it appears to be a terrific book!!

Thanks, Dotti for the beautiful ATC!!

Another great swap from a bunch of fabulous artists, thanks ladies!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Double-sided ATC's ??

These look SO much better in person! Apparently, I'm very good at creating work that just doesn't seem to photograph very well.

These ATC's are for a swap in Surface Design. We were to "show a technique." They were made using 8 different layers. This wasn't my intentions, but since my first idea didn't work, I ended up using if for the backing.

My intentions were to use layers of black felt, hand stamped with lumiere paint, painted bond a web, Angelina Fibers & black tulle. I then stitched all four layers together. I had hoped that when I hit it with a heat gun that it would melt through the many layers, creating interesting surfaces. I didn't give it much of a soon as it melted through the tulle & turned the Angelina Fibers brown, I stopped. I had hoped that the Angelina Fibers would retain their initial color. I then flipped the piece over & started melting through the felt. The stitching worked well & prevented the piece from shrinking or curling very much. The problem I faced as I melted through the black felt was that I could see the purple painted bond a web, but no Angelina Fibers (they were on the other side of the painted bond a web). I then realized that I needed to start over & have the Angelina Fibers facing the black felt, so when I melted through the felt, you would see the colorful Angelina. This seemed to work.

After everything had cool, I then applied color using Shiva sticks, (which I've never been a fan of & after this project STILL not) & Golden Fluid Acrylics. I then used metallic thread & free motion stitched over the entire piece.

I've enclosed closeups so you can hopefully get a better idea of what is happening within the ATC's.

Remember the fumbled first try at these? I ended up using it for my backing fabric which ended up giving me the opportunity to make double-sided ATC's :)