Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small Inspiration, Big Results

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

Sometimes its the little things that bring the biggest rewards.

Last year I received a small rubber stamp depicting a cat giving itself a tongue bath. I loved the image but didn't use it, preferring instead to let it "speak" to me in its own good time. One day I decided to stamp it in the corner of a piece of scrap cardstock I had left over from a previous project and began coloring it. One thing led to another until a scene began to spontaneously emerge around the cat. It was as if I could see the scene in its entirety inside my head and all I had to do was to put that image on paper. This freehand drawing took several months to complete because many times I would set it aside in favor of other things but I always kept it on a small easel on my craft table so I would always see it and come back to it.

I'm happy to say that I finally completed the scene and am very pleased with the way it turned out. I have entitled it "A Purr-fect Day". It is unlike anything I have ever created before and has taken me a step further in my growth as an artist.

For those of you who may be interested, the drawing was done using Prismacolor and Berol/Verithin pencils. The cat stamp (Bath Time, AAA plate 107) comes from About Art Accents and you can see this little fellow here. While you're there, be sure to check out the wonderful items available on the site and if you decide to purchase something, let them know Gitana sent you.

I would love to hear your critique on my drawing. Please leave a comment so I can get your feedback. Thank you so much.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Giveaway at Trial and Error Blog

Like blogs? Like free giveaways? Like acrylic paint? Well, if you do, Trial and Error blog is sponsoring a free giveaway of the book, Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner. Go here to leave a comment on her blog and qualify for a chance to win. Good luck!

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Card for My Senior Citizen's Crafting Group

(Click on an image for a larger view.)

The ladies in my crafting group at the senior center are loving the cards they have been making. Designing a new one and creating the kits they will need to assemble the cards is a lot of work but I'm enjoying it immensely. Last week I had created 10 kits figuring this would more than accommodate the six or so individuals who participated in the past few weeks. Well, it seems I garnered a bit of a following at the center because last week there were so many people who wanted to "play" that I actually ran out of kits. This week I made twelve kits in the hope that this is a sufficient amount.

Pictured above you see the card the seniors will be working on this week. It features high contrast colors, decorative die cut elements and a simple layout that make it easy enough for a child to make but sophisticated enough to satisfy an adult's aesthetic sense. The front of the card has a stamped greeting layered in the center of a stamped medallion. A Nestabilities die was used to cut out the medallion as well as the black scalloped layer under it. This three-layered medallion is adhered to the front of the card with foam tape to give it a little dimension. The pictured greeting says "Happy Birthday" but the group will have other sentiments to choose from as well including "Feel Better Soon" and "Thank You".

Black and white dotted paper layer, which lends crisp visual interest to the bottom half of the composition, is topped by a punched lace ribbon. By coincidence I discovered that I had a small six-sided floral punch that punched flowers that fit perfectly behind the floral eyelets in the ribbon.

The inside of the card features a simple white liner with decorative die cut corners and provides a place for a hand written greeting.

Material used:
- Green A2 sized card (8.5 x 5.5 card stock folded in half)
- Lime green paper - for medallion and backing of lace eyelets
- Martha Stewart Crafts (r) die punches: double loop corner punch and doily lace double-edge punch
- Inkadinkado clear stamps: # 97635 - Round frames (for sentiment and medallion)
- Spelbinders Nestabilities Dies - Classic Round and Scalloped Round
- Making Memories 5 x 7 mat stack - Black and white (dotted patterned paper)
- Fiskars Small Pop Up Punch Set - 6 petaled flower punch
- Foam tape or Pop Dots
- Glue stick or double stick tape

The ladies at the senior center and I had a good time creating this card. Here's a photo of some of them taken during the crafting session.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring is in the Air - A Sneak Peek

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Here is a sneak peek at the card the seniors will be constructing this week. In order to accommodate individuals with limitations in dexterity and/or vision, I do all the cut work and stamping, assemble card kits and guide them in assembling the finished card. For those of you who would like to create this card or one like it, the instructions are below. Happy crafting!

Spring is in the Air

After the long, cold days of winter, the soft, warm colors of spring are a welcome sight. The bright pink of this card provides the perfect backdrop for a collection of fabric flowers in black, white and pastel pink. The pretty decorative edge of the card front is created with a die punch edger. The same edger is used on the white inner liner of the card, adding a bit of visual interest. Two pink butterflies flutter in the left bottom edge of the liner, echoing the dominant color and motif of the card. This layout is fast and simple and lends itself to different color schemes and themes. With a change of sentiments and embellishments, this can become a card for any occasion.

Materials List:

1. A2 size card in fuschia (A2 is 8 ½” x 5 ½” open, 4 ¼” x 5 ½” folded in half)

2. White paper cut into two pieces as follows:

a. One 2 ½” x 4” piece (for card front)

b. One 4 ¼” x 5-3/8” piece (for liner)

3. Black marker

4. Black pigment ink, pink dye ink

5. Black embossing powder (EP) – superfine detail powder preferred

6. Studio G clear acrylic stamps – VC0023 Series 45 – Spring is in the Air

7. Small butterfly stamp

8. Five fabric flowers for embellishing: 1large, 2 medium, 3 small (Flowers used here are Petite Petals by Michael Miller Memories – item discontinued. Any other flowers can be substituted.)

9. Edge punch of your choice (Fiskars edger used here.)

10. Strong glue, glue stick or tape.


1. With edge punch, punch long edge of card front and one long edge of the white liner paper.

2. Align the straight edge of the liner flush with the straight edge of the inside card. The punched edge should be pointing towards the fold. Glue or tape in place.

3. With pink ink, stamp butterfly twice on lower left corner, angling them slightly in opposite directions. (See photo.)

4. With black pigment ink, stamp sentiment in center of smaller piece of white paper. Stamp butterfly above and slightly to the right of the upper right corner of the sentiment. Angle butterfly slightly to the right. Emboss sentiment and butterfly with black EP.

5. Slowly drag black marker around the edges of white paper, allowing the ink to soak into the edge and feather slightly. Glue paper to the center of the card front.

6. Arrange flowers in upper left and lower right corners of card front, placing the large flower in the upper left to balance the composition. When you are satisfied with your arrangement, glue the flowers in place.

Your card is now complete.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Supporting a Fellow Artist

As I've mentioned many times before on this blog, I am a member of Oriental Stamp Arts (OSA), a Yahoo group comprised of fabulous paper and rubberstamp artists. One of our members, Cindy, has a blog of her own that she began in January and in this short time has already amassed over 500 hits! Amazing! To show her appreciation for all the support she has been given, she is offering blog candy to one lucky reader. Check out her blog, Asian Paperlinks, to find out how you can qualify for her free goodies. Make sure to look at all the beautiful eye candy she has on her blog also.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Too Busy to Blog

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

The winter is ebbing, Spring is tentatively showing her face and there are signs of new life in my garden. Just as the energy of nature is increasing so, too, is the energy of my life. Things have been happening at a rapid pace and it seems that every day there is something else that demands my time and attention. I'm not complaining, mind you, just saying that I've been busy...very busy. So much so that I haven't been able to sit down and chronicle it all. It's been a very gratifying kind of busy.

I have continued my weekly crafts sessions at the senior citizen center. They had to be postponed for a couple of weeks due to a couple of unexpectedly heavy snowfalls in late February and early March but I picked up again when the weather broke. So far we have created two cards and have decorated a box that is the perfect size for storing those cards. The ladies apparently like what I'm doing to the point that they have been asking for me in my absence. They want to know when I'll be back again to continue our card making sessions. I find this especially gratifying since I was concerned that my inexperience in dealing with a senior population, some of whom have limitations, might prove more challenging than I could handle. Apparently I'm doing just fine. The seniors are happy and the center director is happy. I can't ask for better than that. Here's a picture of me and some of the ladies taken at our last crafting session. They are holding the boxes they decorated.

I will be entering in no less than three art competitions within the next month or so. One competition, sponsored by the FEGS Health and Human Services System, was brought to my attention by my senior center director. The winning artist not only wins a prize but the organization the artist represents also wins a cash prize to be used for its arts program. That would be such a bonanza for my center if I were to win. I have nothing to lose so I've already entered that contest. Fingers and toes dutifully crossed. Another contest is being sponsored by my husband's union local. The prize is a small one - a $50 US savings bond - but all entries will be exhibited at the local's annual spring art festival. I have the option of submitting up to four entries in various categories and I've already chosen some of those entries.

The last contest comes with a little story. I entered a few of my cards into a watercolor challenge hosted by a rubber stamp company. Turns out my entries were not eligible because of an oversight on my part but they caught the eye of someone at the stamp company who contacted me by email. It seems my entries were among the favorites. I was invited to submit more of my work using the company's own line of stamps and I was given the option of choosing any sheet of stamps from their collection. My work would be displayed at the company's trade show booth and on their website art gallery. In addition, it would be entered in the contest that is currently being hosted by the company. I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose and at the very least I gained a free sheet of rubber stamps. I'm currently busy designing some entries for that contest. I'll post those pictures in a future article.

On top of all this, I'm volunteering my time and talents to my daughter's high school for this year's graduation. This is a new charter school and it will be promoting it's very first graduating class of which my daughter is a member. The budget for this event is darn near non-existent so everything is being done on a shoestring. Furthermore, since this school focuses on sustainability and environmental careers, everything must be eco-friendly. To this end, I'm designing paper flowers that I will use to create floral decorations for the auditorium. My challenge? I know next to nothing about floral design but lack of knowledge hasn't stopped me before. I'll just fake it 'til I make it. The raw material for these flowers will come from the schools recycling bin so we don't have to purchase paper. How's that for being green?

So as I said at the very beginning, I've been busy...very busy...a good kind of busy.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva