Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting It Just Right

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I've begun serious deliberation over what this year's holiday card should look like. I came up with a layout I like and began to create it in several different color schemes. Sometimes a card just comes out right the first time and I don't have to tweak it. Other times I need to go over it and over it, changing a little something each time until I achieve something I'm totally satisfied with. When I'm unsure and need a fresh perspective on my work, I call in the children. You might think that my kids are biased in favor of my work but that is not the case, and I have come to rely on their brutally honest insights. They don't try to water down their opinions in order to placate me. They tell me exactly what they think about anything I'm creating and many times I have used their constructive criticism to improve on my work. In addition, since this year's holiday card is something that will represent us all as a family, I thought it was appropriate to get them involved in the creative process.

Above you will see three variations of the card layout: green/red, lt. blue/dk. blue, and silver/gold. When I asked my kids for their opinions I deliberately asked them separately because I didn't want them influencing each other. Interestingly enough they both said exactly the same thing. They immediately set aside the traditional red/green and said they would prefer the blue trees on the white background. I took their suggestions to heart and came up with the card you see below. When I again asked for their opinion, they once again agreed: the new version got a thumbs-up from both of them.

So here's our family's card for the 2009 holiday season. Creating them won't be nearly as daunting as addressing and stamping all those envelopes.

Anybody know how to mail-merge?

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

It's Been an Exciting Month!

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This month has been an unexpected whirlwind for me. In September I wrote about a card I created for a challenge swap being voted first place by my peers in the Oriental Stamp Art Yahoo group I belong to. (You can read that post here for some background info.) Well, this month I had the unrivaled thrill of being notified by the editor of Vamp Stamp News ( that this card was also chosen for publication in their December 2009 issue! I was over the moon. First time one of my cards was submitted for publication, it was chosen. As if that wasn't unbelievable enough, it got even better. It wasn't just chosen for publication, it was chosen for the front cover! AMAZING! The owner/moderator of the OSA group who submitted the cards on behalf of the members told me that no one EVER gets published on their first time out, much less on the cover. What a rush!

But wait...there's more. Lightning struck twice. Within days of this news, another of my cards that was submitted for publication was chosen by yet another magazine, Rubber Stamp Madness (! That's two cards chosen for publication by two different magazines. I'm still reeling from all this.

I'm including images of the two cards chosen for publication. The Holiday Tri-Shutter card appears in the December 2009 issue of Vamp Stamp News. The other card, featuring two figures walking together, will appear in Rubber Stamp Madness' Spring issue scheduled for release in January.

Hmmm, I just noticed something. Both cards are green. I guess that must be my lucky color.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Friday, November 6, 2009

I have a question...

I have often considered giving a workshop or teaching a course on papercrafting and cardmaking. My question to you is this: if you wanted to take such a course, what things would you like to learn? Would you want to learn the techniques I use so you can use them to create your own cards? If so, what techniques would you like to learn? Would you prefer to create a card from a template? If so, do you have a preferred style of card? (You can choose from among my cards or send me a link to the kinds of cards you like.) I'm trying to get a seat of the pants feel for what people would like to learn in such a workshop or class before committing myself to such an endeavor.

I would really appreciate any and all feedback and comments you may have. If any of you have conducted workshops or taught classes of this type, I'd be interested to know what your experience was like. Please leave me your comments on the form at the bottom of this post. Thanks again.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Better Late than Never

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Last week my family and I sat down and actually spent some time doing something together...we painted pumpkins for Hallowe'en. Usually the only time we are together in one room is for the occasional family dinner (which is becoming rarer as the children get older) or the occasional family television program (which is extremely rare given our disparate tastes in entertainment). When the kids were younger we used to get pumpkins and carve them for the holiday and create a scarecrow out of their outgrown clothing, but we haven't done either of those activities in some years now. This year I decided to resurrect them, as much out of my personal affection for this holiday as for gleaning the last drop of childhood out of my young adults as I can. My husband brought home two large pumpkins for carving and I brought home four smaller ones for decorating. In these pictures you will see my husband and children busy working on their creations. My kids decided on creating video game motifs on their respective pumpkins while my husband, anxious to watch a baseball game, created a quick and dirty grimace on his pumpkin, complete with bloody scars and stitches. I, anal-retentive artist that I am, took my time painting an outdoor scene featuring a blue sky with clouds, trees, stalks of corn, a pumpkin patch (pumpkins on a pumpkin, how original) and some pretty hybrid sunflowers. My daughter calls me Bob Ross, a reference to the late iconic oil painter who brought art into America's living rooms through his long running television show. Well, Lord knows I'm no Bob Ross but I enjoy creating art. Two views of my pumpkin can also be seen; one showing the pumpkin and corn patches and a top view of the starry night sky.

Last night was Hallowe'en night and all of our pumpkins were on display on our front steps, greeting the little gremlins, goblins and princesses as they came to trick-or-treat. Our pumpkins were in their element and in their full glory. Today the moment has passed. The pumpkins no longer reign supreme. Yet here, in this blog, they are immmortalized. They and the loving hands that created them.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva