Thursday, September 16, 2010

Well, What a Surprise!

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I have, on many occasions, mentioned the Dorchester Senior Citizen's Center, the place at which I volunteer. Due to many other conflicting commitments, I have been on hiatus from the center since the end of May 2010 and am due to return this month. In my absence, the center director, Ms. JoAnne Biswakarma, updated her center's blog and among her posts what should I find but a photo of myself standing before a display of the projects I did with the center's members. What a surprise!

Click here to go to the post featuring me. Click here to read about all the events that have taken place at Dorchester Senior Citizen's Center.

Ballo ergo sum

- Gitana, the Creative Diva
Design team member for About Art Accents

Friday, September 10, 2010

Saved from the Recycling Bin

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Candleholder - before
Candleholder - after

I've been having such a good time playing with my CHA goodies that I decided to try my hand at something that wasn't made of paper.

My philosophy is that if something is so bad that it can be thrown out, it can't be made any worse by an attempt to fix it and perhaps might actually turn out well. I have a very old candle holder that was so rusted and peeling that it should have been trashed but I like it so much I tried to rescue it with some paint and some of the templates I received from The Crafter's Workshop. (Thanks again to Jaime Echt. What a sweetheart.)

After cleaning and removing the rust, I sprayed it with flat black high temperature paint, the type used for barbecue grills. Then I tried my hand at painting it with some acrylics that are suitable for permanent outdoor use. 

In the process I discovered that some of the problems I was encountering had nothing to do with the stencil or the paint but with the application. Apparently what you apply the paint with and how you apply the paint is as important as the paint itself. After trying a variety of tools I found that a sponge, a dauber or a small stipple brush work well IF the paint is applied thinly and the applicator is nearly dry. Paint that was too wet or too thick tended to seep under the template. As you can see in the second photo, I had to cut the template to accommodate the odd surfaces of the candle holder. The final product is okay for a first attempt. It won't win any prizes but I like it enough to keep it.
Some of the materials used.

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

Creating with My CHA goodies

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Stencils by The Crafter's Workshop
Moon Gate to Mt. Fuji
In my previous post I showed you a small fraction of the enviable stash of goodies I brought home from the CHA Summer 2010 Supershow in Illinois. In this post you can see some of the things I've done with these materials.

Not to be confined to my favored pastime of creating cards, I decided to try my hand at decorating a pair of paper slippers. These slippers were from a diagnostic procedure my daughter underwent recently and she had kept them because she thought they were "cool". Since she is now away at college, I thought I would jazz them up and send them to her for a giggle. Her area of interest is Marine Biology and she loves all things fish-related so the choice of angelfish was a no brainer. Stencils for all the designs were provided by The Crafter's Workshop. Dye inks, fine point black marker and gel pens were used to color and doodle the design.
"Night Flight" Series -Dragonflies
"Night Flight" Series - Bird

Also from The Crafter's Workshop is the patterned paper used in the "Night Flight" series of cards. The paper is from their Enchanted Complements line and features a softly muted text pattern that appears over a barely discernible pattern of fern leaves done in various tones of one color. These cards were done with Moonlight Aqua and Moonlight Lime. The foliage and flying creatures on each card were stamped in Versafine fast drying black pigment ink, a gift to me by the Tsukineko booth at CHA. Versafine claims that it captures details like no other ink and I'm happy to say this superior ink has lived up to its claim. My images were crisp and dark with no muddiness around the edges. These cards were all created using pigment inks, a departure from the dye inks I have been using of late. I was reminded of the creamier texture and slower drying properties of pigment inks, allowing themselves to be moved around by the artist, creating smoother transitions between colors. I took full advantage of this characteristic when creating the ombre background. A fine tip black marker was used to darken the winged creature silhouettes for added emphasis and a white gel pen was used to add highlights.

The green base card for Moon Gate Path to Mt. Fuji was a gift from the folks at the DCWV (Die Cuts With a View) booth at CHA. This particular card comes from their new Street Lace Collection. The main image is from About Art Accents (plate A246) and was colored using a combination of coloring pencils and markers. The shimmering branch to the right of the main image is "Bonsai Sprig" by Stampendous, stamped in Versamark Ink, also a gift from Tsukineko, and dusted with PearlEx pigment powder, a gift from A.C. Moore as part of my sweepstakes prize.

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

CHA Convention Swag

A fraction of my "swag" haul.
DCWV designer series cards
The Crafter's Workshop papers and stencils
Cutting tools from Fiskars.
Chalks and rub-on colors by Craf-T.
A bonanza from Tsukineko

Never having been to a crafts convention before, I had no idea what to expect in spite of the fact that I had done quite a bit of reading about CHA before I went. Although I had been warned by the staff at A.C. Moore that I should expect to receive some goodies, I had no idea I'd be coming home with so much stuff. Apparently seasoned convention attendees come prepared for "swag", the insider's term for the giveaways and free goodies that one receives at these conventions. I saw some people walking around with rolling luggage just for that purpose.

I received beautiful cardstock, inks, chalks, magazines, catalogs, stencils, cutting tools and more from companies like Fiskars, The Crafter's Workshop, Tsukineko, Dies Cuts With a View (DCWV) and others. Pictured here is just a small fraction of the treasures I brought much that I was concerned about exceeding the weight limit on my luggage. (Side note: On the return trip home, I placed my carry-on bag on the luggage scale. It weighed 15 pounds and it only contained the magazines and catalogs I received. The rest of the goodies were in my sister's carry on and in our luggage.) Seriously, it took me four days just to put some of it away and I still have some things in my crafts room that are floating around waiting for a permanent storage place. All this does not take into account the goodies I received from A.C. Moore BEFORE attending CHA as part of my sweepstakes prize! Heaven knows what is going to happen when my big win...the E-Craft electronic cutter... arrives. I suppose I'll have to rent a storage room somewhere.

So what to do with all of this wonderful material and inspiration that I brought back from CHA Summer 2010? Start crafting, of course!! Look for my next post where I'll show pictures of some of the things I've been making.

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