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Miller April Update 2024

Another month has come and gone. A bit quicker than we expected but most likely made the best of it that we could. This month had a lot of activities and a whirlwind of changes and shifts we had to keep up with, But we managed to keep a handle on it all.

Let's get into it!

Sherlock was very happy to have us home more.

What we got:

Artist Trading Cards- Newest Cards

Crafty Card Collective

WGAS- Paper Day

Kits and Updates

Art Swap

PPLD Makes

Our Newest Business Book!

[->Saal Professional Photo Book Review

Quick delicious recommendation~

More Art We Did

Artist Trading Cards- Newest Cards

We've been creating! This month we got a little more time to create on our designated rest days. We end up being more productive when we don't force ourselves to be productive. And without the stress or burnout that usually follows. Instead, we work on what we want to work on and if it starts feeling like 'work', then stop and move on to something else. This allows progress to still be made with what is constantly around us, whether it is high up on the list or not. They usually feed into what we are currently doing anyway so we can share more of what we do. So it is a win-win!

Here are some of the new cards we made this month:

All of our lovely new cards that we made. Many ended up being gifts.

Two different cards made for me that are now kept in our Other Artists Trade Binder.

Card on the (left) was made by an attendee at the PPLD Makes event April 27th. He was about 10-12 talking of a book he was writing about zombies that was to be published. He was prepared to go to book signings in a few weeks as he focused on this card. He knew what he wanted, what he was doing, what to expect, and getting it done. What ambition! I kept his card to keep an eye out for his book: "Escape the Zombie Attack".

Card on the (right) was made by John starting from the beginning of PPLD Makes. He was going to see if he could finish one card in the span of the event (as in work on one card the whole time). He completed it within an hour and a half. He used very small intricate designs to fill each section until he decided to be the designated socializer for us with the other vendors.

John came up with some amazing new ATC designs this month that are a bit more advanced. If you are looking for an art challenge kit, we have Photo Reel kits and Layered Paper Kit. He worked extremely hard to get one of them ready before PPLD Makes and the other just a few steps away from completion!! They will be available for purchase or possibly put up for free in our Ko-Fi shop:

He has instructions on how to change the pieces (i.e. the words around the open frame and the images inside) if you happen to have Inkscape. There are other ways to adjust it but he only had time to make instructions for that one program. If you would like instructions for others, check YouTube first and if you still can't figure it out, send John a message with where you are personally stuck and he can help. Usually, YouTube tutorials are better than what we can make so see if they explain it where you can understand it first. The skewers roll left to right or right to left to 'scroll' through 6 different images that can be customized. It's very cute and I suggest you keep an eye out for the video we put out of it in action!

This one is actually a lot less work than the last one. It does involve using an x-acto knife which could limit the ages making these. You get to choose any design you like making this open to so many possibilities. He's been on a layered paper kick so this idea just happened. This kit will also be available on our Ko-Fi shop: He just needs to complete the instructions and video before it'll be up. Stay tuned.

Crafty Card Collective

So some news about this. Our regular location has changed for our monthly events. We had another location reserved for our event this month but it conflicted with building construction so lost it again a week before. The Sunday before our event we were graciously offered a location at Rainy Day Anime an Anime store down S Academy Blvd. Thank you so much Erissa! We switched to host it there~ The turnout was pretty good, many who wanted to come couldn't to this location or had prior schedules. So despite many things up in the air, those that showed up, all seemed to enjoy themselves. Not that I couldn't rehost this theme again when it suits others' calendars better. It's a really fun theme.

Our theme for April was Shaker Card ATCs!

I was proud of this ad considering it was pulled together in 15mins! New Record!

I had a lot of fun pulling everything together for this event. We tried a few new things with this round and learned a lot from it all. We hope the next event goes just as well if not better! Slowly building but with consistency and constant improvements.

We had 3 different designs based on the recycled/upcycled materials I had available or that were able to be donated to me in time. Each had their own page of instructions to be followed based on each design. To begin, they picked a pack with two shaker card bases in either Style A, Style B, or Style C. Style C had a small bag that could hold more inside but Style A & Style B allowed you to decorate the background.

Thanks to my little sis and her friend for helping us out too!

Next month's theme: ATC Art Therapy. But Art Therapy as in "Art in a Therapeutic sense" and not Art Therapy (tm). I do not have the qualifications for that (yet, hopefully one day ). We will go through ways to use this 2.5" x 3.5" sized format to help with emotional processing, coping, reflecting, communication, and sharing your personal experiences. Whether you share it with others or just keep it to yourself, it's a huge relief to find a healthy way to release that tension. Very doable and achievable size, giving you the motivation to try more.

This month there will be 10 free Trading Card Insert Pages up for grabs with prompts to make at least 9 new cards. So make sure you keep an eye out for when our next event will be (and possibly when if we need to change that). You will have to be one of the first 10 people to show up to get one this month while supplies last!

If you are curious to see what this is like or what this means, follow the account: on Instagram or @MichelleHoilingMiller on Pinterest to see one example a day from the 365 ATC Art Therapy Challenge.

The location of the next event will be updated through an updated blog post or through our Ko-Fi page so keep an eye out. We are planning to possibly go back to Rainy Day Anime, or try one or two at either East or 21C libraries on Friday/Saturday for the different groups we have encountered. If you would like to have a group closer to you and know of at least one other who will want to join, let us know so we know how to make adjustments!

Sherlock helped us prepare for the event. Kinda.

WGAS- Paper Day

We were extremely excited they did this again! Last time it had snowed and froze our car so we had to skip. This time we made it! John worked on one project for the whole 4hrs (it still has about 3 steps left before done), while I bounced in between about 4 different projects. We will share the results of that once he has it done...most likely next month.

Paper Day at Who Gives a SCRAP is a four-hour crafting time to come in and use any paper supplies (and tools) they have pulled aside for this event. It costs $5 per person and you can stay the whole time and use up as much material as you can there. This also includes stickers, magazines, and embellishments. Many of them are antiques for people to use (i.e. old emphemera: event programs, maps, magazines, photos etc). You'd be able to come across many surprising finds to add to your project. They also provided a thin paper book to use as a base. Candice (Cheech) and I had the same idea of collecting what we could for our own junk journals.

This was John and my craft date for the month. We had a lot of fun creating together!

(Not shown) but I also managed to make a few hundred ATC Blanks for future kits!

Looking forward to the next one. We saw Cheech, Sara, and Belinda there! More fun crafting with these lovely ladies who are a joy to be around.

Kits and Updates

Artist Trading Card Kits! We have sent out I think about 138 free kits for Who Gives a Scrap for April. Each month we are aiming to release one new kit design to try out based on the materials we have on hand. For the month of May, we are creating special sets in connection with Mental Health Awareness Month. With the month being busy, we weren't able to work on those kits until April 29th. But they should be on time for their release at the store (WGAS) come Monday, May 6th. They will put out new kits every Monday for you to grab under our trade display by the entrance!

Don't forget our monthly ATC event at the end of the month: Crafty Card Collective with the theme of Art Therapy! Freebie Kits available while supplies last.

I...forgot to take an updated photo of the display when we updated it. So no updated photo this time. So sorry~

Art Swap

We missed the Art Swap!! This was the day that was predicted to rain, maybe snow lightly but melt quickly. Where we were it stuck and definitely collected a few inches before melting about 2pm. This is why we don't trust what Colorado meterologists say...It even changes in subbiomes all across the springs anyway. North Springs could be completely clear while South Springs trudging through 2 feet of snow. Or be completely sunny on one side of Jack-in-the-box and hailing on the other side. (That was a fun one going through their drive-through!)

Earlier in April we just replaced two of our tires with the other two still way past due for replacement and brakes that still freeze solid when the outside temperature hits freezing. So we ended up being stuck at the library for the whole event.

A bit disappointed as I had many items I needed to trade at the Art Swap and looking forward to meeting the regulars there to create cards with! We were able to share the existence of these Art Swaps with quite a few new people thanks to PPLD makes! But this snow ended up being very peaceful...

PPLD Makes

...even if the library was far from peaceful. That same day was Pikes Peak Library District Makes from 10am-3pm. It overlapped the Art Swap too with that starting at 1pm-4pm. We even had our friend volunteer her help to take over our table with us planning to leave by 12:15pm to make it there in time. But it was, as you can see in the pictures above, pretty bad and didn't happen.

Despite the snow dumping and limiting the possible expected people, the library stated they still got over 1000 attendees!! Many were extremely happy with the turnout (I think there were about 6 tables out of 40ish that didn't show). We noticed there was a common thread for if vendors felt that they were happy with the event versus those that were unhappy with the event. For PPLD Makes, if you are looking to SELL and make a PROFIT, then this may not be the place. If you are looking to make connections, share what you create, and interact with the public, then you'll be ecstatic with the event.

We noticed that our year of consistency has now reached people we have never encountered knowing what ATCs are. We heard a few walking past looking at our table saying "oh those ATCs! Like those little playing cards". YES! We want word to spread about Artist Trading Cards to get more people participating.

Also, I am quite proud I have got the packing and unpacking everything to about 15-20mins by myself!

All of our stuff fit in one large luggage, two large canvas bags, and a cardboard box,

All in All, we both had a lot of fun at PPLD Makes and were so glad that Cheech was there to help. We all worked really well as a team. John headed the vendor interaction, Cheech focused on interacting with visitors, mostly children creating, and I led the business side of the table and the overarching direction of our booth. TEAMWORK!

Our Newest Business Book!

[->Saal Professional Photo Book Review

Our pretty little book!

John somehow managed to get us this amazing photobook deal for us and we wanted to share our honest review of it. Thanks to Saal Digital for creating this masterpiece! No, we aren't sponsored, just wanted to share something that went beyond our expected standards!

"We absolutely LOVE our photobook. We ordered an 8x8 Professional Line Photobook, matte photo paper with an acrylic and black leatherette cover. Inside had a mix of photos of our art, travels, and our furbaby Sherlock. As you can see the pages are extremely well printed and each page is quite thick. Unfortunately for me, perhaps a little too thick. I kept having this urge to peel apart what I think are two pages stuck together. If I have others look at it I'd have to either warn them about this concern, as to not ruin it or flip the pages myself.

The size and weight were perfect, it fit the style and our brand. This was to help show off what we've done and it did well to emphasize it! I did have some concerns over the app when trying to put together my book. The images would pick their own sizes or proportions I would sometimes struggle to get what I wanted. They would struggle to break away from locking to specific parts of the ruler and not where I wanted it on the ruler. And this was in the fully custom option of building the book. I think I spent a few hours then gave up switching to desktop. It did so much better but with a few of the same struggles. The program was a little glitchy but overall did what I wanted enough to make me happy. 

We showed this book to a friend of ours and she was amazed by it telling us she even gave it her two thumbs up approval too! This book has helped us have a way to show off our business and brand in such an elegant and classy way. "

Don't you love it? All of these photos were taken by us, representing a lot of what we are both personally and in a business sense. We still look through it every few days because it just makes us so happy to see! Hope one day we can show you in person just how great this book is. (It was also a gift to me from John <3)

Quick delicious recommendation~

Not a usual piece we add in these updates but we came across these chocolate treats in our quest to search for foods with more organic ingredients. This one hit the mark both in what they are made out of and the taste! Highly recommend giving it a shot.

We didn't have any negative side effects (Autistic and hyper-sensitive to food ingredients) and the shape of these were fun to eat! Speaking of which...I forgot to grab more during our last grocery stop...

More Art We Did

These stamps are a few designs in.

Can you guess who designed what?

We get sidetracked a lot. How did someone put it? It feels like our life is full of accomplishing 'side quests' and never really getting to the 'main storyline' activities. But both John and I suddenly got obsessed with making our own stamps. So we made one. Then two. Then just a few more. Then we realized we could cut more on the backs so we made more.

(left) I needed to make tons of business cards to hand out, and decided to make some stamps to help.

(right) You can see how our collection grew in just a week or two.

John is now at the phase where he is laser etching foam to create more intricate stamps for us to use. Don't get us wrong, we still love hand-cutting these. Now we just have a wider range of what we can make! Some samples shown below.

If you are looking for a stamp to be made, you can message us for quotes! All these designs John generated, fixed up by hand, and altered to work through his laser-cutter. So you can ask for unique stamps to be made that won't be found anywhere else!

Back when it was warmer eh?

Do you remember this project we started last month? We are keeping up with another step towards completing! Tho it has been such a great little shelf it's hard to complete while being useful. I finished covering all three (John's not shown) in a day (one of our days off). Down-the-line we will make more with recycled cardboard projects like this from what we we come across. But not until more of the other projects are completed.

Has that 'crafty wip' look doesn't it?

Lastly~ Continuing with the junk journals I created last month, I started adding more in that I came across while cleaning through our home. My goal is to process through as much of what we have as possible this year. Since ATCs don't take up as much art materials nor do most people make more than 2 cards in one sitting....we still have quite a lot to go through. I love Junk Journals and will be making many more of these before passing on materials that could be used elsewhere or blending it into new papers. (We will still be recycling papers this summer to make tons of handmade papers once the weather warms up). Right now I have about 6 of them ready to be sewn together when I get to that stage. They are so pretty and fun to make! What am I going to do with them? Well some I may gift as I have met some people that love these and the rest I may sell. These are fun works of art that I'm sure many would appreciate once completed or to complete themselves. But maybe next month?

What do you think? Were there things we did this month that you were interested in? Would you like us to do more? Is there something you'd like us to teach you? Send us a message at and let us know!

(p.s. we had a raffle at PPLD Makes and our Crafty Card Collective event. Winners will be announced soon!)

Thanks for keeping up with us and hope to see you again in the next update!

Sherlock says goodbye until next time!

(tho next time bring her toys and treats)

Bonus Fun:

We did a fun little Painting with a Twist with my family! Went to the one up on powers with Kanik who was a lot of fun and very skilled. The painting my mom chose for the class was two polar bears sitting on an iceberg (or snowy ground) looking up at the Aurora Borealis. As you can see from our results, half of us stuck with the instructions 100%, two of us killed off our bears, and one of us didn't do any of it. Sounds about right! Highly recommend doing this at least once with a group of people you like to hang around. I enjoy spending time creating with my crazy family.

We had so much fun! Want to invite us to your party? We'd love to go!

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