Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A New Look

I've decided to freshen up my blog's look with a new template so if things look different to you, you're not mistaken. Let me know if you like (or don't like) the change. Stay tuned for more creativity in the future. Thanks.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bold Contrast, Geometric Lines and a Dash of Asian Flavor

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been making Asian-influenced cards for Mother's Day and I promised to give the details on how I created the card on this page. Here's the scoop:

1. White A2 sized card (4.25" by 5.5" folded);
2. 1 sheet glossy black cardstock;
3. 1 pc Asian motif patterned paper measuring 4.25" x 5.5";
4. 1 pc gold paper measuring 3.5" x 4.75";
5. 1 pc Asian motif patterned paper measuring at least 4" x 5" (for one oval);
6. 1 pc white cardstock measuring at least 4" x 5" (for one oval);
7. 1 set EvoTemplates Ovals;
8. Stamp images of your choice. I used an iris stamp and a butterfly stamp;
9. VersaMark embossing pen;
10. Clear embossing powder;
11. Heat gun;
12. Pale dye ink to coordinate with your paper (I used Whisper Designer Ink in Tulip Yellow);
13. Ruler and a sharp craft knife;
14. Markers or your choice of coloring medium;
15. Clear spray sealer (I used Krylon Clear Finish);
16. Adhesive of your choice (I use 3M 77 spray adhesive but a strong double stick tape or quality glue stick should do the trick.)

The following items are optional:
- Two dragonfly brads or embellishments of your choice;
- Versamark ink pad
- Aztec Gold PearlEx pigment powder
- Repositionable tape

1. Place the 4.25" x 5.5" of patterned paper on the face of the white card. Glue in place, trim if necessary and set aside for now.

2. Cut a 3.75" x 5" piece of glossy black cardstock. Set aside.

3. Cut a 3.5" x 4.75" piece of gold paper. Set aside.

4. Using the fifth largest oval (from smallest to largest) in the EvoTemplates set, cut out two from black glossy CS, one from white CS and one from the patterned paper. (FYI - this oval measures 3.5" x 4.5").

5. Measure and cut three inches from the end of the two black ovals and the one patterned oval. Remove and discard the smaller ends.

6. Measure and cut 2.5 inches from the end of the white CS oval. Remove and discard the smaller ends.

7. Stamp your images on the cut white oval and color in your choice of medium. (I used Prismacolor permanent markers because they will not bleed in the next step.)

8. Go over your stamped image with a Versamark embossing pen. (If you used a coloring medium that is not permanent and colorfast, spray first with clear sealer and allow to dry before using the Versamark pen.) Emboss using clear embossing powder and the heat gun. I find this really makes the colors pop.

9. Lightly sponge over the exposed white cardstock with the pale dye ink, being careful not to cover the white completely. You just want a hint of color.

10. Optional Step: Lightly sponge on Versamark ink over the yellow ink then very lightly dust with gold PearlEx powder to give it a faint shimmer.

11. Using a clean paper towel or rag, carefully wipe off the embossed areas to remove any excess ink and/or PearlEx. Spray with clear sealer.

12. Now to assemble the concentric oval sandwich. Things can get a little tricky here. First align the flat edges of the stamped white cardstock and one of the black ovals. The black should extend about a half inch beyond the white. Glue them together.

13. Align these two pieces with the edge of the cut piece of gold paper but do not glue down. (Optional Step: Use a small piece of repositionable tape at the flat edge to hold them in place while you arrange the other two pieces.)

14. Slide the other two pieces underneath the first two and arrange as in the photo being sure to alternate the papers to create the contrasting effect. They should all extend out from each other approximately a half inch. You can fiddle with this a bit if you prefer.

15. When you've got these last pieces placed where you want them, hold them in place and remove the black and white layer. Make a pencil mark along the flat edge of the patterned layer. Remove it and do the same with the last black layer. Now that you have marked their positions, you can adhere them into place in the proper order, starting with the black oval on the right and working your way back to the left. Turn it over and check to see that the ovals lie within the edges of the gold paper. If not, carefully trim the edges.

16. Center this "sandwich" on top of the previously cut 3.75" x 5" piece of glossy black cardstock and glue.

17. Optional Step: If you want to add embellishments, this is the time. I added two copper dragonfly brads, angling them for visual interest. By adding them at this point, the prongs do not show in the finished piece.

18. Center and glue the assembled pieces on the card with the patterned front that you set aside at the very beginning.

That's it. You're done. Step back and admire your creation.

Some ideas:
- Although I prefer the bold contrast that black offers, this design would work well with a coordinated palette of colors for a subtler contrast.

- If you substitute glossy white cardstock for matte cardstock, after you have completed embossing your image you can ink or brayer the background in the style of Michelle Zindorf. Check out her blog if you're not familiar with the work of this fabulous artist.

- I don't use Nestabilities dies so I'm unfamiliar with the sizes available but I imagine that those could be used to cut the ovals (either simple edge or scalloped). The size of the base rectangles may have to be adjusted to fit those ovals.

- With some further adjustments, this design could be used to create a "booklet" type card with each oval opening as an individual page. Just imagine flipping each oval and revealing a line of Haiku on each page

Did you like this project? Then show me what you've got. Email me at gypsiwoman55@yahoo.com with your creation and your work could be featured on my blog.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Asian Influence

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)
I have always had an affinity for Asian cultures, especially Asian decorative motifs. I recently joined the Oriental Stamp Arts Yahoo group (OSA) and have been inspired by the beautiful artwork created by its members. This week I have begun working on Mother's Day cards with a decidedly Asian flavor.

The first card began with a self-imposed challenge to use a Cuttlebug® die to create something other than for what it was intended . Using the 4-pointed blossom from Cuttlebug's 2x6 Flower die #37-1508 (indicated with a red arrow in the illustration at left), I cut several flowers from a green-gold iridescent vellum, then used the inner cut-outs as leaves for the stylized tree. (I'll save the flower petals for another project.) I also punched small blossoms from the CB 2-step Paisley die in gold foil, then drew in a slender trunk and branches for the tree. An elegant Asian woman was stamped under the tree and colored with water color pencils. The card appeared to lack something so I began to draw in some details by hand and didn't stop until I had created an entire background scene. Two hand fans were stamped on the inside front of the card, also colored with water color pencils. The edge was colored with a marker, deliberately dragging it to give a ragged appearance. This card is a departure from my usual style in that it has very few layers (only two -- leaves and blossoms) and is predominantly hand drawn.

The second card is a variation of a prize winning ATC design I created for a vendor challenge some time ago. I'll give the details of its construction in the next posting.

Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear what you think of this post. Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

(Cuttlebug is a registered trademark of Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc. All rights reserved.)

My Mexican Treasures

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)

This is a continuation of my last post where I posted some of the colorful images I photographed while in Mexico recently. Here I have posted pictures of some of the beautiful hand painted woodenware I bought at a Mexican artesania. You can see a photo of the piece followed by a close-up of some of the detail work. (Click on any of the images to see a larger image.) I was told that it takes three hours to hand paint a plate with a design like the red chile peppers. I'm imagining that it would take a bit more time to complete a more detailed design like the black and white peacock plate or the black tortillera, the covered bowl into which freshly cooked tortillas would be placed prior to serving them with a meal. (I promptly filled it with gumdrops but that's another story.) Each of these colorful treasures is a source of artistic inspiration for me and evokes memories of my trip.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Colors of Mexico

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)

I admit I'm not much of a traveller, preferring to nest at home. When I do venture from my surroundings I am invariably attracted to the colors and textures of my surroundings and I make it my business to seek out the local artisans for a taste of authentic craftsmanship. This trip to Mexico did not disappoint me on that score. In these photos you get an idea of the colors and textures that can be found in almost any corner of Ixtapa and the nearby town of Xihuatanejo.

Soon I'll be posting some photos of the beautiful painted wooden and ceramic ware I purchased while in Ixtapa. The colors are delicious and the patterns beautiful. Stay tuned for that.

If you would like to see more photos of the trip, click here. Enjoy.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Friday, April 10, 2009

Down Mexico Way

Tomorrow my family and I are off to Ixtapa, Mexico for a week. I'm hoping for warmth and relaxation, at least as much relaxation as one can muster up when travelling with family. I'm also hoping to come back revitalized, invigorated and artistically inspired. One of the things I love about going to a new environment is seeing the colors and patterns. They infuse me with the desire to create using a new palette. Let's see what Mexico does for me. See you soon.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, April 6, 2009

Scratching a Creative Itch

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)

In my last post I told you I would be on a short hiatus as I prepared for a one week vacation to Mexico. Well, that hiatus lasted about a hot minute after I bought a new set of stamps and papers at my local Target. I just had to sit down and started crafting. Here are a couple of cards I created last night, both using a tangerine polka dot paper that just caught my eye. One of them incoporates die cuts I made with Cuttlebug dies 2 Step Heart and 2 Step Paisley. I limited myself to orange, white and one other color, allowing myself a range of shades within a color. Here's what I came up with. This has given me the idea to create a color challenge in the future. Hmmmm. That's something I'll have to think about while I'm in Ixtapa, sipping pina coladas on the beach.

You would think now that I have scratched the itch I would be at peace. NAH, not a chance! Now I am itching even more. I guess I need this vacation. Otherwise I would never pull myself away from my work table.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Short Hiatus

I've been very busy with home-related issues as well as preparing for an upcoming vacation. As a result, I haven't been able to do very much crafting nor will I be able to for the next couple of weeks. In the meantime things will be very quiet here at The Creative Diva. However I do hope to be able to play catch up once I return from Mexico. I have a few ideas for a new Cuttlebug tutorial and I've joined some great swap and challenge groups that promise to be very inspiring. Until then, keep those hands busy creating beauty.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva