Category Archives: tutorial

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!

Drying Herbs

The standing, self-watering garden that my sister sent me is fantastic. Not only do I not have to break my neck to plant anything – there’s no grubs or critters digging through the soil. This one pictured just has one tomato plant and herbs. So far everything is thriving and necessitated a session of drying herbs way earlier than I usually do in the summertime. (I have the same plants in the ground, too, but they’re doing so poorly it would be embarrassing to photograph and include them here. I may never go back to regular gardening after this.)

Tamdoll's Standing Garden @GardenersSupply. I may never go back to regular gardening after this.

Drying herbs is easy; I just take a few snips, and place them in a cool, dry place in a paper bag until they’re crumbly (6 second video below, if you don’t see it, please let me know!).

Faster Way to Drying Herbs on a Sunny Day

I thought I was being clever and quick until I dug up my old how-to from 2009, which was much simpler & would have been quicker on a sunny day!

Drying Herbs with the Sun. Simply cut, lay out on one layer, cover with a screen and put out until dry. via

  • Cut herbs and lay out on cooling rack in a sunny spot.
  • Turn a screened window frame over the rack, so delicate herbs don’t blow away.
  • Bottle, label and pack them up. (Makes a nice gift!)

So easy, will definitely use this method on the next sunny day.

Drying your own herbs, or have summer gardening tricks to share?

Welcome 2014 with a Snowflake Tutorial

I am so excited for the fresh start of 2014, Happy New Year to all!

To kick off the year, I’ve created a snowflake tutorial. I was inspired to make this particular project thanks to Pam at Gingerbread Snowflakes. Pam always has fresh and inspiring content and her warmth and personality shine through in her blog. She sent me a beautiful handmade holiday card this year and I instantly wanted to create something unique of my own. (I’ve been neglectful to family and friends – it’s been a few years since I sent out any seasonal cards.) Being close to New Year’s, I thought of creating one based on the date and a new project was born.

Tamdoll Snowflake Tutorial

Having a community of friends online has meant the world to my creative work – I’ve been thinking about you for the past few months and there will be some inspired projects coming out this year. I also started a Made with Tamdoll Flickr group for those who, over the years have created projects based on my tutorials or purchased my patterns from Etsy or Ravelry. (I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner – I’ve been selling my patterns online since ’03!)

Tamdoll Snowflake Cutout Tutorial -028

Please visit the full how-to at Snowflake Cutout Tutorial. As I worked on it, I thought that it could also be appropriate for a milestone birthday or a graduation celebration. I haven’t lost sight of creating a New Year’s card out of it, but the large square shape leaves me with some more work to do until it’s ready to be mailed. Of course, once the wheels started turning, more and more ideas developed – what if I used the snowflake as a stencil, or decided to embroider the pattern, or cut one out of felt and applique it? If I do nothing else this year, I already have ideas to keep me very busy!

But that’s not the case. I have many ideas. I’ve signed up for some online courses. I’m determined to focus this year. There may be only 5 of you reading these posts nowadays, but I’m happy you’re still here. Thank you. That New Year’s card? Will probably come out next December and I’ll have to work on “2015”.

Thank you for visiting! And happy 2014!