Monday, August 23, 2010

News from CHA Summer 2010

Tim Holtz and I get close.
 Robin, Scott, me, Sue and Rachel.

It has been three weeks since I returned from my extraordinary trip to the CHA Supershow in Rosedale (Chicago) as the grand prize winner of the A.C. Moore/CHA Sweepstakes. So much happened immediately upon my return that it totally interrupted my posting any information from that wonderful trip. I will try to recapture some of the highlights of what I experienced, complete with photos, over the next couple of weeks. I will also post some work I have done with the wonderful new materials I got from the show.

No sooner do my sister Sue and I arrive at our hotel from O'Hare Airport than we were greeted by Scott Ridgley, Director of Customer Loyalty for A.C. Moore. We were to see a lot of him over the next few days. He welcomed us to Chicago, gave us our entry passes and escorted us to the convention center where the show was being held. There we met two other AC Moore representatives; Robin Beam, Director of Education and Rachel Ginter, Social Media Specialist. These three individuals, whom I shall refer to as the ACM Dream Team, treated us like visiting royalty every day we were there.

Dresses designed with the E-Craft cutter.

As you can imagine, the CHA show is BIG, really big, with vendors as far as the eye can see. Although I had never been to a crafts convention before, I felt as if I was at a family reunion, meeting the manufacturers of the supplies and tools I have been using for many, many years. McGill, Fiskars, Provo Craft, Die Cuts With A View, Janome, BabyLock, and many more. Many of these vendors offered give-aways, contests, raffles and  make-and-takes. It's like being in a big candy store filled with crafting goodies.

My sister and I pose with Suede.
I specifically wanted to check out the electronic cutters being offered by Craftwell USA (E-Craft) and Provo Craft (Cricut Imagine), both of which were raffling off machines at the show. The E-Craft, the machine I was most interested in because of its ability to cut user-created SVG graphic files, held the most appeal and as luck would have it, I WON in one of their raffles. Yes, that's right, I won a Craftwell E-Craft machine and am scheduled to receive it sometime in October, according to a recent email from Craftwell. At the Craftwell booth, my sister and I met Suede, a Project Runway Season 5 designer, who had been commissioned by Craftwell to create some dresses with the E-Craft. Two of the three dresses can be seen in the photo above.

That evening the AC Moore Dream Team treated us to dinner at Gibson's, a fabulous steak restaurant located in the lobby of our hotel. While we're waiting to be seated, Robin darts away for a moment and returns with none other than Tim Holtz, crown prince of scrapbooking and crafts supplies. After introductions, he graciously agrees to pose for a photo with me. Now not only was I living a dream, I was canoodling with celebrities.

It would seem that I was enjoying an incredible winning streak and this was only the beginning.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva
Design team member for About Art Accents (

Monday, August 2, 2010

Stretching My Creative Wings

(Click on an image for a larger view.)

As a new design team member for About Art Accents, I am sent rubber stamps with which to create artwork that is then featured on the AAA website. Because I have no choice in what images are sent to me, I invariably receive stamps that I would not necessarily have chosen for myself. This actually turns out to be a good thing because it forces me to think outside my comfortable box and come up with fresh ideas. That was the case with these two stamps.

These cards were created with About Art Accents rubber stamp images. The upper image is AAA plate #246 - Gnarled Pine Tree. The lower image is AAA Plate #246 - Umbrella People. They were created using totally different techniques. "Gnarled Pine" was done using brayering, masking, sponging and reverse stamping techniques. "Stormy Day" uses chalking, masking, coloring and wet embossing. Although I have used those techniques before, I haven't used images like these before. They strike me as moody, evocative and strong, lending themselves well to being used as focal images.

It never ceases to amaze me that when I'm not totally comfortable or pleased with a piece of my work, it tends to turn out better than I expected. That was the case with these two cards and with "Stormy Day" in particular. I had never before attempted to make a "wet" card, that is to say one that simulated wetness, in this case, rain and puddles. Although I have created clouds before, I've never made storm clouds. In spite of stumbling about a bit on this first effort. I think I managed to accomplish it well enough that I am pleased with it. Several of my fellow members of the Oriental Stamp Art (OSA) Yahoo group I belong to seem to agree and have asked me to describe how I did it. To that end I have created a document outlining the steps I used to create the clouds, the shadowy reflections on the ground and the raindrops. If you are interested, just send me an email requesting the Stormy Day tutorial and I'll be happy to send it to you. My email address is Thanks for your interest.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva
Design Team member for About Art Accents