Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at:  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at:
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Discussion on Blogs and Photo Hosting Sites

Does it seem like everyone has a blog but you?  Maybe you have no interest in blogging but you could really use a place to store and share your photos online?  Did you realize there are lots of FREE and EASY TO USE places on the internet where you can do just that?

All of the Paper Traders mods have Flickr accounts for our photos and we've found it easy to use but there are other sites to choose from as well - each with it's own pros and cons.  In researching this topic, I found an online review here which was very helpful.  Most of the free sites have limited storage or limited functionality which can be expanded with an optional premium package.  I pay for a premium membership with my Flickr account - it's about $25/yr for unlimited storage.  The thing I like most about Flickr is that you can download your stored photos at their original size - this is a huge bonus for me because it means I don't have to save the originals on my computer and it frees up a lot of hard drive space.  Connie says she figured out that if you set up a bunch of folders while you have the two week pro trial period, even though you cannot set up more later, the ones you set up during that trial stay active.  Below are some snippets from the TopTenReviews website...

Using Flickr is pretty simple. Since the site is clean and uncluttered, you can find what you need easily. All of the options are listed in dropdown menus, so there’s no searching needed.  One example of this free image host’s usability is that photos and videos can be organized into collection albums, or “sets,” by dragging and dropping the images into the organizing area. There’s no need for tedious ticking each and every photo you want to sort.  Plus, Flickr offers advanced photo editing options like other, more complex sites such as Photobucket.

Those just looking to casually share some snapshots and home videos will be pleased at how easy it is to upload files and share them with emails, custom links, automatic social media posts and more.  Novice users will be pleased to know that this image hosting site includes editing capabilities, so there is no need to buy expensive photo editing software. Photobucket Pro is an upgrade option for those that need a little more of everything. If you need more than 6M of image and video storage, Pro provides a whopping 25GBs. Photobucket Pro users also benefit from no ads on albums, the ability to store and retrieve high resolution images, unlimited bandwidth and more stats to track views of your images and videos.

Shutterfly’s uploading system may lack any high-tech bells and whistles, but it gets the job done. You simply open the file you want to upload photos from, drag your mouse over the photos you want to select and press the “OK” button. Simple.  The free account lets casual users do most of the things that are common in any image hosting service. Unfortunately, Shutterfly has very basic editing options and very few ways to personalize your images.  The paid Pro Gallery account, on the other hand, lets those who want to sell their images create a professional gallery, set prices, and track sales. The site works as a built-in print lab where you can get images at wholesale pricing.

Snapfish is primarily for displaying photos and buying prints and gifts. So what makes Snapfish a special photo sharing site? It offers “group rooms” where multiple users can add photos to one album. This is a great way to add various points of view to one event. Users can create a personalized URL, decorate their group room to match the theme of the photos, and then send an invitation email to people they want to join in on the group room. Everyone invited can add photos and comments to the event’s specific room.  Another plus is that unlike other many other image hosting services, Snapfish offers free, unlimited uploads. This means you can store photos there as well as share them with others.

Kodak Gallery
Kodak Gallery has two goals for its users: post your photos for friends and family and buy prints and gifts. If that’s all you need from an image hosting service then you will be pleased with this image hosting site’s simplicity. If you want advanced editing options or to customize your image’s display area, you would be better off with an online picture hosting site like Photobucket or Picasa.  Kodak Gallery doesn’t have the multimedia features that other sites have, but it does offer the basics. You can send images by email, create slideshows and download hi-resolution images to your computer, making this image hosting site a great place to store your photos online.

Uploading videos and photos to Webshots isn’t difficult and you can do it several different ways. You can download the free desktop software, perform a web upload that allows you to search for files one-at-a-time, or you can do a multiple file upload. This photo hosting site supports both PC users and Mac users, too.  The best part about this photo hosting site, though, is the free desktop software. With it you can make calendars, animated photo screensavers and wallpapers without any coding experience at all. This is a great option for anyone who wants to make their own customized gear for their computer, but have little to no technical knowledge.

SeeHere is an image hosting service for those that want to post photos fast and those who really enjoy creating personalized gifts.  SeeHere is really a site made for adults that don’t have time for fussy details and rummaging for embellishments.

Overall, Picasa is a very user-friendly image hosting service. And those who are more serious about photography and videography will find that Picasa doesn’t skimp on features such as editing, video making, sharing, and printing options. Those with little to no experience can get the hang of using Picasa quickly without much trouble. Instead of going to a photo sharing website and uploading photos, you use a downloadable program to upload images to the web. Everything is contained on your computer, free for you to play with online or off. To use Picasa, you have to download the free software. Once you have the software on your computer, it automatically searches folders that you specify and adds the files to your Picasa desktop, arranged neatly in albums.  By clicking the “Sync to the Web” button at the top of the album, you post the album’s pictures to the web. The program will continuously and automatically add pictures that you put in that album on the web as long as you like. Since Picasa is a Google creation, it automatically creates an album of all of your Blogger images and organizes them in your account, as well.

Did you know that if you have a Blogger site, you automatically have a Picasa account where your blog photos are stored?  Blogger lets you upload your photos directly instead of having to link them to a URL where your photos are stored.  The mods all have blogs on Blogger and it is the most popular free blog hosting site.  It's easy to use with pre-set templates but also allows you to edit the html to customize your design if you're so inclined.  Again, there are many FREE blog hosting sites to choose from.  The following snippets were taken from the reviews found at TopTenReviews here:

Blogger is easy to use, yet is flexible enough for advanced users who want to build their own templates. The only drawback to Blogger is that you have to add your own traffic tracking devices if your want to monitor your visitors.  You can access opensource blogs, import blog templates or just use a simple pre-built template with Blogger. Unlike many free blog services, Blogger lets you change the HTML code in your templates to customize your blog. Additionally, since Blogger is so preferred there are countless free opensource templates available from other sites, so your template choices are endless.  It is easy to insert images, but there are only a few preset sizes; however, you can change image size with your photo editor and import any size you want. Unlike some sites, Blogger lets you import images from a URL or from a file.  The text box is easy to use and has an HTML mode; it also has a preview and a spell check. You can insert images as well as links and they have a block quote tool and a choice of fonts.  We really liked Blogger’s design options, but for those that are nervous about editing HTML, it may take a bit of practice to figure out how to add links, edit background colors, change borders and so on. But Blogger is free, so if you want to dabble in HTML, this is a good place to start.

While WordPress is designed to be simple enough for non-coders, WordPress does allow you to customize templates. There are many open source templates out there for you to choose from or, if you like (and you have knowledge of CSS), you can alter your own to fit your needs. If you'd prefer to stick to standard WordPress templates, you still have dozens to choose from, so you won't be limited in designing your blog. You can customize the templates with your own header image, font color, sidebar widgets, plugins, and more.  The posting box is easy to use and can be used in either text or HTML mode. The standard text box operates a lot like a word processor with similar controls. For instance, there are buttons and fields that allow you to change fonts, increase font size, bold text, change text colors and many other standard formatting options. The WordPress posting box also has a spell check and a preview. You can easily add links and images, however images are added by URL, so if you are using your own image you have to upload it and use the WordPress assigned URL. Fortunately, the photo uploader is fairly simple to use and offers you several different options about how the picture will appear on the blog (size, orientation, etc.).

Xanga offers a free classic version with a variety of skins and you can change the look with a little HTML familiarity. We liked the fact that they offer simple templates as well as advanced options. To make setting up a blog easy, they have a set up wizard.  This blog service supports audio, video, and image uploads; with their free download, you can utilize a tool that supports quick multiple image uploads. The blog entry interface is better than most since it enables you to change font and fill color as well as insert images, links, symbols and smileys.  The site has some ads and posts google ads on your blog, but if you upgrade to the premium you can get an ad-free blog.

Finally, there is the phenomenon of social media with sites like Facebook, MySpace, and others.  Some people might enjoy interacting with people around the world who have similar interests even if it's someone they don't know.  I am a Facebook user, as are the other mods, but I only "friend" people I actually know - but it's all about personal preference.  The point I'm making here is that you can also upload photos to your social networking site and set the permissions to share with just certain people, all of your contacts, or public for everyone to see.  Additionally, there are applications which allow you to import your existing blog as a post on your page.  (I use Networked Blogs to import my Blogger postings to my Facebook profile).

The possibilities are numerous and really pretty simple to use with help features and tutorials on every site.  If you want to make the leap but don't know which site to choose, I recommend asking your friends and family...  There's probably a pre-teen child around who can teach you all you need to know - LOL!

So now that you're going to set up an online home for your photos, we're looking forward to seeing pictures of all your fabulous art!


fairyrocks said...

Thanks for this very comprehensive post Becky.
I especially find the saving outside my hard drive to be a timely reminder. I not only seem to collect real paper...the digital files expand daily!!

Beckie Holso said...

Isn't that so true? I recently starting using digital scrapbooking software and downloading lots of files for that, which is quickly taking up too much space... Ack!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks bunches for all your efforts on compiling this list!You are the best :D

Heather Robinson said...

Okay, this is an amazing post! Honestly, I have never explored these options for posting photos. You have made them all seem accessible. Thank you so much for the information Beckie!