Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Sometimes too much of a good thing, is just… too much. (Rainbows of colors to choose from, varieties of mediums, unlimited ideas and possibilities – it can be overwhelming!) Having limits and guidelines to creativity can often funnel thoughts into inspiration. When infinite possibilities stall the beginnings of a project, a limited focus can make a path more clear.

As soon as I saw the title for the ATC (Artist Trading Card) Swap going on at Willowing & Friends, I knew I wanted to participate – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I loved the earth-friendly topic & wanted to jump right in.

blank cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Of course, when I sat down to create, I froze, not knowing what I was going to do next. Looking around at the mess on my desk, I saw an abundance of recyclable items –  pieces of paper and scraps just lying around, waiting to be re-purposed.

Reduce, Reuse, Recyclebeginning ATC cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap

By focusing on the theme of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I became determined to only use what I had on my desktop to complete the cards for the swap.
Desktop Recycling ATC cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap

The images on the cards grew from pencil shavings, the lids of paint jars, gesso, and markers.recycling in action for ATC Swap of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In the end, I completed two of these & sent them off to my partner -

completed ATCs for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap with Tamdoll

I also decided to scan & upload these images to a new Society6 shop, where they’re available as prints, cards, phone covers and device skins. I named them after the idea I kept having while creating – “There is Beauty in Everything” & “Find the Beauty in Every Thing”.

I think these sat on my desk for too long after completion, because I went on to make a little booklet to hold them, using pieces of: cardboard, a thank you card, and a subway map for the insides; then covering it all with painted paper towels. Yes, this was all on my desk, I did say it was a mess, didn’t I?

Tamdoll booklet Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Thanks to for the booklet how-to.

Of course, this was a swap & I got the most lovely package from my partner Gracie! I love those cards & have placed them on a shelf next to my desk. The extras she sent will definitely find their way into a future project, too.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap from Gracie Howle

This was fun & a good exercise for me. My personal goal for the year has been “focus” and I think this fits as a good reminder that narrowing focus can help to get things done. There was another limiting factor to this project – the time-frame. Having a commitment to my swap partner ensured that I’d finish this and send it out in the mail on time.

How do you get your projects started and finished in a timely manner?

*Disclaimer: The Society6 link provided is an affiliate link, I will be compensated if you make a purchase from Thanks for your support!

Photography, Prizes and Packages

It’s so important to have good photos when wanting to show off or sell work online to people who may never get to see it in person. Photography has always been important to me, especially when I started putting art online back in 2003. Taking the picture is the first step – digitally editing and color correcting is the second. For photo editing on my desktop, I mostly use GIMP and Picasa free software.

On my smartphone, I’ve been using the awesome Pixlr Express app to edit and enhance  photos. It’s really versatile & easy to use, (I could gush on, but you should just go check it out and see for yourself); there are also desktop versions, with the Pixlr Editor being a more powerful tool. Lately I’ve even been using Pixlr to add special effects to images that I use at work – it’s fun and simple. What do you use for photo editing?

At the Pixlr blog, you’ll find great images, photo editing ideas, inspiration and contests. Last month I entered one of my “I see faces on inanimate objects” pictures in their #mysuperpower photo contest & I won one of the prizes! I came across this cool antique car in a restaurant parking lot & instantly saw a face in it. Do you see it?

Photography with Tamdoll and Pixlr

Along with the contest, the Pixlr app had new stickers to use, so I took advantage of a pair of eyes (usually I’d try to draw something with my stylus, but I thought these worked perfectly). Here it is, along with some other faces I see on things and post at either Instagram or Flickr:

Photography Tamdoll sees faces in inanimate objects

I have so many more of these pictures on my computer – most of them are the rear view of cars. One day, after I smudge out all the license plates, I’ll do something creative with all of those tail-light/bumper faces I see.

I got to choose from some awesome prizes, and picked a 6-month subscription to Lootcrate. I’ve received it as a gift before, and the monthly surprise package can be fun. Last month’s box theme was Galactic & that Firefly paper currency will definitely be making it’s way into a future art project.

Lootcrate prize from Photography with Tamdoll and Pixlr

Have you ever tried one of these monthly subscription services?  My daughter gets a monthly “Glam bag” with makeup samples and beauty products from and those are a lot of fun. She’s never been disappointed with her packages each month & I feel like she definitely gets her money’s worth (whether she needs another $10 of makeup each month is another story).

I’ve also received with a monthly DIY craft project – supplies and instructions included in each shipment. I’m sure I’ll get around sometime to creating them and then will blog about it, too.

I have a feeling I’ll be seeing many Lootcrates in my future, even after the 6-month prize runs out.

Whew. I missed blogging, will have to make sure to stick with it more regularly.

*Disclaimer: This post has not been sponsored and I have received no products in return for a review. Links to & are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of these and purchase or subscribe, I will receive credit for products in those accounts.
Thanks for your support!

Dark Eden, a Book Review

My life has become so hectic lately, the only consistency in it has been the constant stream of books – audio books, digital books, adding books to my to-read lists…. Dark Eden, by Chris Beckett was a book I received from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. I read this one in a few evenings on my Kindle.

In this story we’re introduced to “the Family” on an alien planet, forced to adapt in order to survive while waiting to be rescued by Earth. In the 5 generations since the first settlers, food sources have been depleted, old traditions have lost their meaning, and inbreeding has resulted in disabilities. What can one dissatisfied youth do about the future of his people? Because the main character, John, was about 15 years old, I kept thinking this was a Young Adult novel, but the content was definitely more mature than what I initially expected it to be.

I gave Dark Eden 3.5 stars out of 5 – I liked this unique story and would read more if there are sequels.

I knew little about this book when I started it, but as soon as I began, my curiosity kept me reading through the story very quickly.

I thought the degeneration of language was clever, had me saying things aloud as I read (“Secret Ree” …secretary, “Any Virsry …anniversary, and so on). The world building was well intertwined into the plot, introducing flora and fauna along with the story-lines, showing us how survival was possible for humans on a sunless world.

I was left with more questions than answers by the time I was done:

  • How was it possible that John was the first to question things and want to quest out of the settlement?
  • Why did the women who were warned about men and their reach for power do nothing to stop the escalation?
  • Will sequels of the book show that the humans, in this alien environment, somehow mutate so that their inbreeding doesn’t render each generation more helpless?
  • Would love to read a prequel with explanations from the original settlers.

Questions aren’t bad in this case – the book wasn’t a cliffhanger, but thought-provoking.

Dark Eden, Book Review with Blogging for Books

I jumped at the chance when I heard about Blogging for Books and will likely choose a new one to read this week. Books are like portable magic – I can’t get enough of them.


*Additional Disclaimer: The Amazon links provided are affiliate links, I may be compensated if you make any purchase on after clicking through. Thanks for your support!