Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why you should join this year's Index-Card-a-Day challenge

It's that time again!  Tammy, of Daisy Yellow fame, is hosting her third annual index-card-a-day challenge.

Her first challenge started just a few months after I started blogging.  I was new and green and eager, and let me tell you, this challenge changed my life.  I don't say that lightly.  I made an index card every single day from June 1st - October 1st.  

It set up a daily creativity habit that lasted well over a year.  

It made me figure out how to post pictures to flickr so I could join the flickr ICAD group. Once there, I started connecting with wonderful artists and bloggers who quickly turned into friends.  It gave me something to blog about at a time where I had lots of blogging energy, but little blogging fodder.  I gained skills and confidence, as an artist, a writer, and member of a community.

This year's challenge runs from June 1st - July 31st.  I can't recommend this challenge enough.

And since I already said it so well 2 years ago, I'm re-posting all the things I love about this challenge.
(originally posted July 8, 2011)

We're more than a month into the index-card-a-day summer challenge and I absolutely love it. Every once in a while I think "I'm too tired to make a card". But then I remind myself ANYTHING GOES - even a scribble on a white card that says "I'm too tired to make a card". So I sit down to dash something off, and immediately find myself absorbed and energized and I usually end up making something far better than I expected.

The size of the card is so perfect for me. Big pages are intimidating. I love to paint backgrounds, but then what? how to fill them? I don't do a lot of writing in my journals so after a few words and images I'm stuck with "what now?" Never a problem with the index card.

But ohmygod, on the other hand - the inchie? Have you ever tried something that small? I thought I was going to love it because I'm drawn to miniature. Boy was I wrong. I find it nearly impossible to make a piece of art that small. I'm very comfortable making a bigger piece and cutting it into one inch squares, but that's cheating. Creating an original piece of art in that small space just isn't happening. But the index card! ah...the index card. It's just right. Big enough to collage, big enough for a decent background painting, big enough for SOME text. But no cavernous empty spaces. Not as much oddly placed, disjointed images and me scratching my head wondering how to integrate them into a whole.

And it's just stiff enough to withstand globs of paint and glue and layers of paper. But so cheap that if I totally mess it up I have no qualms about pitching it and starting over. And no worries about measuring and cutting to precise sizes (I refuse to pay for those pre-packaged ATCs because really - how hard is it to run some water color paper through the paper trimmer? except it IS kind of a pain in the neck and just one more step to go through before I can actually make something). I love that there's a whole package of them just sitting there on my worktable. If I'm having so much fun with one, I can grab another, and another. No waiting, no measuring, no cutting, no "saving my good paper for something really special"- grab and go.
I love the community of fellow ICADers. The flickr pool is so much fun. Amazing work, huge variety, loads of inspiration and support.

Some cards mean something, some cards don't. Some days it just feels good to smoosh the paint around. Some days it's a full day of stress packed into 3x5 inches. Every day it feels good to take a few minutes to create.

Even the cards that don't mean anything capture a time and a place. They reflect my interests and skills as an artist. I know that I will look back on this collection and have powerful memories of the summer of 2011.

Huge shout out and thanks to Tammy at Daisy Yellow for challenging us, inspiring us, and cheering us on. I'm so glad I'm playing along!


  1. You are a wonderful ICAD ambassador!

  2. I love your cards! They are gorgeous and inspiring. I tried joining the ICAD mid-way through last time, and I think I did 3 cards. I came across one recently, and on it I had written, "I wish today had been better." All 3 of my cards were green, heinous and discouraging. Maybe I will work up some gumption and try again!

  3. I missed Tammy's post - so glad you wrote this one to remind me. I loved doing the challenge last year, but this year is so busy for me I'm not sure I'll be able to complete it, but will try. Thanks Karen!!!

  4. I'm in! I was only able to do a few last year, but this year I want to get in on all the ICAD fun. See you there :)

  5. Your cards look great and the challenge sounds interesting. Maybe I am going to join it too. Thanks for telling us about it!

  6. Yes! I did it last year and the first year she stared it I started and stopped. I love this challenge so much. It really is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and to experiment with different mediums or techniques. I use the 4x6 index cards. They are a bit bigger and I feel more comfortable and able to 'stretch out' more on that size. Can't wait to touch base with you throughout this challenge!!

  7. I remember you doing this challenge last time and it totally intrigued me. I am going out of the country from June 23 all the way to July 14, so I can't do this one...but would totally do it if I was in town. Can't wait to watch your progress this time! Ready, Set, GO!:)

  8. Looks like you will be having marvelous fun again....too much on my plate this year, so I will have to be a voyeur....xox

  9. Snap! I did a post on ICAD yesterday as well. :) My index cards are ready!

  10. I did it last year and really enjoyed it - although I stressed too much when I missed a few days and then reasoned (incorrectly) that as I'd missed a few days there wasn't much point in picking it up again and carrying on.


    I'll be joining in again this year with a far more determined yet relaxed attitude (yes, that is possible!).

    See you in the ICAD flickr group :)


  11. Loved seeing your cards! I am new to it this year & am really looking forward to it as well!
    Did you know there is a DY FB group just for ICAD this year?! Awesome-ness! :)

  12. I just might sign up. At first I was worried it was one of those 365 day long challenges. I do have to go to the store today, index cards are on the list!

  13. You are an amazing bloggist, mailartist, artist, index carder, swap host, and I think you probably make some mean waffles. But I'm just going to say that if you aren't going to stop twisting my arm, I'll DO IT! I'll do the ICAD challenge! On top of the MMSA swaps, the 365 collages a year challenge, and the neverending cooperative journal I'm working on with somepinkflowers. I will be doing ALL of that, and when my boss calls me and says,

    'Ehhhh. What the hell is GOING ON? Why haven't you been here in a month!?'

    I'll give her your contact info.

    Because, I just know you are also an amazing conflict-resolutionist.

  14. Yikes. I can't possibly add this to my full plate...??!! I could cheat and make all of them collages that I could count in my 365 collages that are not done on a daily basis right now :D... Is there 365 collage or ICAD police that will arrest me?

    I do like the openness to it, because there might be a day when only a squiggle mark will end up on an index card!!

    So, help the DimWit here... do I sign up with you just by adding this comment, or do I sign up with DY? Both? Looking at both blogs I'm not clear on that, simply because I'm missing something right in front of me I'm sure!!
    Thanks for any help, and thanks for one more challenge....!!

  15. I totally plan to use my index cards for collage purposes and have them count toward my 365. and you don't need to sign up anywhere, but you can join the icad flickr group and post your stuff there.

  16. I just started ICAD!! And I'm in love too! It has seriously changed my life too by just letting me have that creative, non judgemental, non scary outlet. Thank you for this great post!

  17. I'm not sure if this is where I should post this, but I put a link to this page from my blog cuz I loved it:) I'd love to do it in the future if that's ok with you. If I should be doing this somewhere else just let me know...I'm a tech-dork still:) Lovin' your blog!

  18. Gorgeous work!! Found you via Tammy & I can't wait to do ICAD this year!

  19. Great post! I'm going to do it!!!