Some Winter Sparkle Artist Trading Cards

Our 10th Artist Trading Card swap is drawing to a close and the ATCs are all finding their new homes, or on their travels. Fingers crossed they all find their destination safely and quickly. Here’s some of the lovely cards that have been made this time round.


By Sue D


By Paula


 By Sherry


ATC by Ellie, photographed by Larisa


By Larisa


By Louise


By Julia B


By Lisa

I’m sure you’ll all agree they are all just wonderfully sparkly. And if you are feeling inspired there will be another Very Berry ATC swap along in the spring, and in the mean time, a mini-embroidery swap is planned for early 2017. The easiest way to find out about the swaps is to subscribe to the blog, or follow me on Instagram.

Winter Artist Trading Card Swap: Sign-ups!

I’m happy to announce that sign-ups for the winter 2016 round of the Very Berry Artist Trading Card swap are now OPEN!

Winter Sparkle 2016 Textile ATC Swap with Very Berry Handmade.jpg

Old-timers might remember that we’ve had the ‘Winter Sparkle’ theme before.. I hope you don’t mind the repeat – it produced such great work last time round, and I absolutely loved it. Meanwhile, newbies will be thinking, what the heck is an ATC… happily I have the answer!

ATC guide

Making an ATC is a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way.  All you need to remember for this particular ATC swap is that it is a TEXTILE ATC swap:

  • the card needs to be mostly fabric
  • there must be a little bit of stitching involved. 
  • the card must not be too thick – no more than 1/8″ (3-4mm) please
  • you must put your name and date on the back of the card (plus title and email address if you like)

If you’re still a bit unsure of what all that means – why not check out the the Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps?

Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines.

Now the good stuff..

  • You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
  • It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don’t let your partner know who you are!
  • Your card must be the right size and fit the theme, and MUST have your name and date on the reverse.
  • You can sign up for the swap by commenting on this post AND completing this Google form by 7pm on Monday 17th October, and swap partners will be assigned by Wednesday 19 October.
  • Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs won’t be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions… just let me know on the form).
  • Cards must be posted during the week  5-10 December 2016. (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it).
  • Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a note if you like! Don’t forget to include your email address so your partner can thank you.
  • Obviously we are approaching Christmas, but not everyone wants to receive a Christmas themed ATC. There will be questions about this on the signing up form, so do please remember to be respectful of your partner’s feelings on this.
  • Please avoid religious themes.
  • Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks.
  • This swap is open to all, so there’s no social media requirement, but it is MANDATORY to reply to a couple of check-in emails which I will send during the swap. Please keep in touch with me by email and you must also let me know when you have posted and received your ATC, again by email (or a tag on Instagram will probably find me!).
  • Keep in mind that it’s really nice to  share progress and pics and generally be part of the swapping community. If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if at all possible. Please use #veryberryatcswap to tag your posts, where applicable.

I wanted to inspire you all, so I’ve already made an sparkly ATC:

Can’t tell you how much I enjoyed working on this! It’s Liberty appliqué using Bondaweb, with machine stitched embroidering using Madeira Metallics Heavy Metal thread in silver. 

Scattered throughout the Very Berry blog there are some brilliant posts about making an ATC… they are all tagged so should appear if you click on this link, but here are some super-practical posts that will reassure you if you haven’t made an ATC before:

Being brave and signing up for the swap

A way of making the back of a textile ATC

Printing the back of your ATC

Some more methods of constructing your ATC

Using transfer paper to label your ATC

Finding your ATC inspiration

Looking forward to swapping along with you all!

How to write a Guest Blog Post

This week’s Artist Trading Card guest post comes with a little twist.. Lu has written some fab advice on how to write a guest blog post. She makes some brilliant points and has great advice, and what’s more, she’s made a fab ATC! 

Say something, they said . . . it’ll be easy they said!

Writing about your ATC 1

Remember that feeling on school speech day, wishing you could be invisible or go home with a serious illness, because you were so nervous? All eyes were on you as you to fumbled through your words. As part of my day job I do a bit of marketing style writing online and in designing leaflets, so am fairly comfortable writing for a particular audience. However, when it comes to writing about my own little world and its contents, I find the task as daunting as speech day.

Writing about your ATC 2

I have guest blogged twice before and I am still not comfortable with it but with enough practice everything becomes easier. What does it take to do a guest blog? Here are my thoughts:

  • The blog:  Always have a good look at the blog you are writing for; previous guest blog entries and the bloggers own. This gives you a feel for the style and typical content of the blog. Is it chatty and informal? Is it serious and filled with facts? What is the reader looking for?
  • The guest: Be yourself. Uniqueness is what the host wants to feature. Writing in my own voice flows more easily and helps a reader to connect with me and my world. They may like what I do and decide to follow me.  
  • What to do: Keep to the point. Blog entries needn’t be long and wordy. You have been given the go ahead to write about yourself and your work – a subject you know well. Readers are interested in something new and interesting, so tell them something new and interesting. Everyone loves to pick up tried and tested methods and tips. Be specific and stick to your theme. Get someone who knows you really well to proof read your ramblings before submission.
  • What to show: Photos, photos, photos! Obviously these must be yours and must be crisp, well-lit and relevant to the theme.
  • When in doubt, ask: Bloggers have busy lives too, but their blog is their window on the world and they will be happy to support a good blog entry you can both be proud of. Ask before you include any links or references.
  • Always: Say thank you for the opportunity to get your work shown in the very crowded online world.  Be prepared for editing to happen. Engage in feedback comments by answering questions and thanking people for compliments. In other words, be a good guest and use your manners!

Writing about your ATC 3

Hopefully next time you have the opportunity you will try it out.

Writing about your ATC 4

Say something – go on, it’s really not as hard as you think!