Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 - Year of the Rooster

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The Christmas and New Year's celebrations have come and gone but at the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center we're still in the holiday spirit. With our sizable Asian contingent of members, we always make sure to celebrate the Lunar New Year. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster and the official start is January 28 but we're wasting no time in crafting some decorations to get our celebrations off to a beautiful start.

No Asian celebration is complete without lanterns so for this project we created a faux lantern adorned with an ornate rooster on one side and the corresponding Chinese symbol on the other. I took pains to use culturally traditional and appropriate colors and to make sure that no one assembled the kanji symbol incorrectly or inadvertently placed upside down. (Of course my Asian ladies knew the proper orientation.) I was complimented on the accuracy of the symbol by my Chinese crafters who painstakingly placed every stroke in its proper place. Everyone was a bit disappointed when I told them the lanterns would not be going home with them until the end of the month as they were created to decorate the center but they all proudly handed them to me so they could be displayed. As you can see from the photos, the Asians weren't the only ones who enjoyed creating the lanterns. One of my crafty ladies learned to create a beaded rooster to celebrate the New Year and she gave it to me. I absolutely love it.

I learned another cultural tidbit. Some of my crafters are Russian. They told me that January 6, traditionally known in the United States as Epiphany or Three Kings Day, is the day they celebrate as Christmas and there was Christmas music playing in the background as we made our lanterns. As a Latina, I know that Latin Americans celebrate El Día de Los Reyes Mago (Day of The Magi or Three King's Day) as well. Gotta love all this cultural diversity.

While the major holidays may be over, there's still plenty to celebrate in the weeks and months ahead. There are hearts on the horizon. Valentine's Day soon come.

 Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas? Already?

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Where has the time gone? It seems Hallowe'en was just a few days ago and now Christmas is fast approaching. Well, we haven't been letting grass grow beneath our feet at the Dorchester Senior Center. We've been busy crafting! Just take a look at some of the things we've made in the past month.

We celebrated the beauty of autumn's colors with two different cards. One card featured a bare tree that was covered with tiny, multicolored leaves applied one at a time. The other was an easel card that featured detailed rubber stamped images of autumn leaves and a diagonal border of leaves across the front. The unique construction of this card allows it to stand up like a painting in an easel, hence the name. The ladies liked the easel card so much, I created another one, this time featuring a photo frame.

With the holidays right around the corner, it was time to start Christmas crafts. My crafters really liked the decorated gift bag they created some weeks back so I designed another one for them to make. We followed that with paper ornaments, reindeer gift tags and a Christmas card.

On top of all this crafting madness, I have been doing my annual holiday decorating thing for the senior center. Decorating for Christmas and Hanukkah takes a lot of time because there are a LOT of decorations and because it is a large room. I'll take pictures of the room when it is completed and post them for you to see.

In all of this, I haven't done a lick of holiday shopping or decorating for myself. Time's a wasting'. I'd better get cracking.


Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Moments to Live For

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know that I conduct a crafting class at #DorchesterSeniorCitizensCenter every Friday afternoon. 
At last Friday's crafting class , we were being serenaded by one of the members who happens to have a wonderful voice. I asked to sing a duet with him and we began a rendition of "Tonight" from West Side Story. A quiet woman sitting at his table, whom I have seen there many times but who rarely gives me more than a nod, came over to me, apologized for not being able to pronounce my name, and then launched into a story about her late husband. He was a military man, she said, and when he got leave time he would call her up and sing "Tonight" to her over the phone as a signal that he would be home to see her and their children that evening. As she recounted her tale, her eyes welled up even as her face smiled at the memory of the man she obviously loved dearly.
Moral of the story: You never now how profoundly the littlest thing you do can touch another person's heart.
#MomentsToLiveFor #GitanaTheCreativeDiva #DorchesterSeniorCitizensCenter #DSCC #BrooklynNY #ArtIsLife

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Crafty Antics

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I just looked at my calendar and realized that it's nearly the end of September. Where did the time go? Well, wherever it went, it left in a big hurry and I haven't posted any of the crafts projects I've done with the senior ladies at #DorchesterSeniorCitizensCenter on Friday afternoons.

We've done quite a few things; some cards but others not. I challenged the class by doing a small project...small in size that is. I had them decorate plain dominoes with nail art decals to which I affixed strong magnets with hot glue. Voila! Refrigerator magnets. These dominoes are not large and the decals are even smaller yet my ladies pulled off the project like champs.

Continuing on the theme of useful items, we created pretty gift bags with a decorated tag. The floral paper used is actually wallpaper border cut down to size. Coordinated accents on the bag and tag make this a beautiful way to present a small gift to someone special. We also made a magnetic shopping list complete with individual lined papers inside a decorated pocket for creating a list. This project was the first of our autumn-themed projects.

Of course I can't let a month go by without creating at least a card or two. One was a colorful card with an all occasion saying on the front. The card featured die cuts and flowers with a little bling in the center. The second card was our farewell to summer and nothing says summer like a flip flop sandal. This shaped card was created using a digital cutting file by My Scrap Chick. For details on this and other cutting files, visit the website here. It went together easily and the ladies were delighted with the results.

It is officially autumn now and future projects will carry the seasonal theme until there is a nip in the air signalling the approach of winter and the year-end holidays. Until it is time for snowflakes and mittens, autumn's leaves will rule the day.

I love the colors of the change of seasons, don't  you?


Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Zen of Creating

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At the last two craft classes I conducted at Dorchester Senior Citizens Center,my crafty ladies really enjoyed themselves. We made a decorated matchbox in one class that they really liked, so much so that they requested to repeat the class and were giving me suggestions for alternative colors and designs they would like to see for the next time. (Note to self: definitely do this class again.) There's a photo of me with some of my "girls" holding their finished boxes. They were all smiles.

This week I decided to up the ante a bit. Usually I design a project, create a kit and lead the group in assembling it. This time, using stencils donated by The Crafter's Workshop, as well as blank paper fans and markers obtained at Materials For The Arts, I told them that there was no kit. They were going to design their own project. Good thing I brought plenty of supplies for the class. It was a FULL house.

I gave the ladies a rudimentary lesson in the art of zentangling.  I described it as conscious doodling where the aim is to concentrate solely on what you're doing and pay no attention to what is going on around you. I told them there was no right or wrong in whatever they chose to do. THEY were the artists and they decided what they wanted to do. Then I said, "Go!".

Boy, did they take that direction to heart! These ladies dove into their fans and stenciled away. It was so quiet at the table, you could hear a pin drop. When they were done, there were more smiles going around that table as they showed off their finished creations. Just take a look at those fans and those smiles.

When I asked them how they felt during the exercise, the consensus was that they were all very relaxed and focused. One participant said her friend sitting next to her was talking to her and she didn't hear a word, so focused was she on her doodling.

So it's official. The Friday afternoon crafting class is becoming a go-to at the senior center. Autumn, one of my favorite times for seasonal crafting, will be here very soon and I can't wait to see what projects I'll be dreaming up for this wonderful group of women. I'll do anything to keep them smiling.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Creativity can be messy

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There's an old saying: "In order to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs." It essentially means that to reach your goal, things may get messy along the way. The important thing is to keep your eyes on the prize. These photos illustrate that premise rather well. I recently made some floral wreaths to decorate the offices of the director and staff of the  #DorchesterSeniorCitizensCenter. Frankly, it was a mess. Flowers, ribbon, hot glue, straight pins, yada yada yada...all over the place. Finally, from the chaos came the beauty of the finished wreaths. These were so much fun to make. All materials received from #MaterialsForTheArts.


Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva




#DSCC, #MFTA, #ArtIsLife, #GitanaTheCreativeDiva, #BrooklynNY #SummerDecor, #Flowers, #Wreaths

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Method to My Madness

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The ladies of the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center and I have been busy crafting away our Tuesday afternoons for the past several weeks, creating the prettiest things. We've made cards and created wall flowers for decorating the senior center. This week's embellished gift bag was a big hit. Creating, cutting and packaging a new project every week requires hours in front of a computer creating graphic cutting files, cutting them with a digital cutter and packing everything into individual bags is a lot of work but I do enjoy guiding the ladies through the assembly process and they seem to enjoy it as well. Just take a look at these smiling faces.
 I just never get tired of them.









Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spring crafting continues...

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 Anyone who knows me knows I am a gardener. I love flowers and all manner of plants and this invariably shows up in my work at this time of year. In addition to craft classes, I decorate the center to reflect the season so, of course, flowers play a major role in the decor.

In February, I decided to remake some decorative floral panels I had made for the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center in 2011 and I promised to show photos of the installation once it was in place. That took place last week and I have to say the effect is wonderful. Here you see it paired with a Spring sign I had originally made in 2012 to go over the entry door of the main activity room (as seen in the original post from 2012). That sign still looks as good as it did when I first made it and it blends seamlessly with the new floral panels. All the pieces were tacked onto a canvas covered frame in the office area and is a very eye catching display as people walk into the center.

 There are also decorations in other parts of the main room. Here are panorama photos of two large wall displays. The butterfly swarm is a crowd pleaser as they appear to chase each other down one panel, across a cork strip and up another panel, essentially taking up the entire wall with color. On another wall, there is a row of flowers gently rippling up and down across it.

There's more to come in the spring decor but I have to take a break to prepare for the next crafting project. It is a lovely card featuring flowers and butterflies on a high contrast background of black, white and a third color. It is a layout that looks as well in either landscape or portrait orientation. The ladies will have the opportunity to emboss the design of their choice on the base panel, assemble the flowers and butterflies and manipulate the paper so the various elements pop up away from the card, giving them a three dimensional look. This card has already generated some interest so I'm hoping for a full house at the next crafting session. I'll let you know how that goes.

Until then, keep crafting!


Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Back in the Crafting Saddle

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Sunburst Card
As I mentioned in my last post, I have returned to conducting craft classes at the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center. This time around I have a new crop of crafters so I'm hoping to try out some new techniques and projects with them. The first two projects were simple greeting cards assembled from kits I designed and created. Simple projects give me an idea what the participants are capable of and what they like to do.

This week I tried something a little different and had them create three dimensional dahlias that will be used as decorations. The project itself was really very simple...roll and glue square pieces of paper into cones to form the petals, then hot glue them onto paper circles to form the flower. Here's what I learned from this exercise: a) rolling 41 squares of paper into cones takes time, b) not everyone can easily roll a paper cone and glue it into shape, c) not everyone knows what a glue gun is, let alone know how to use one, and finally d) when Access-A-Ride shows up, I lose my class as they run out to catch their ride. As a result, most of my ladies did not complete their flowers but they promised to return next week to finish it up. Nevertheless, a couple of diehard crafters who did not depend on outside transportation stayed and completed the project. They are shown here with their completed flowers.
3-D Dahlias on Display @ DSCC

The prototypes that I completed prior to the class for demonstration purposes as well as those completed by my class were tacked to a fabric covered panel on the wall of the room and are now part of the center's spring decor which I am currently in the process of mounting. In the next post I will have photos of some of the spring decorations that I have put up, some of which I have created specially for Dorchester Center. Until then...


Ballo ergo sum - Gitana, the Creative Diva