Sunday, January 30, 2011

Siren of the Sea ATC

I like Artist Trading Cards (ATC) because they are small (2.5 x 3.5 inches) which means that they work up more quickly than a standard card. Since there isn't a lot of room to work with, it is best not to clutter it up with a lot of busy-ness. This provides the perfect canvas for me to try out new ideas and techniques without investing a lot of materials in the process. In spite of the fact that I like ATC's so much, it has been a year since I've made one, so busy have I been with a hundred and one other things.

It was a real treat to make this one because I was working on a new idea. I wanted to continue exploring the interplay of light and shadow that I had begun several months ago when I created my Night Flight series of cards using supplies I had gotten from the CHA Crafts Supershow in Illinois last summer. I have always liked the way light filters through deep water, particularly the way it illuminates a small section of the water while everything else is shadowy and murky. I wanted to try my hand at creating the suggestion of light rays shining through water and the shadows beyond the light's reach. This ATC was my second attempt and although I'm still not satisfied with the way the mermaid looks, I like the overall effect enough that I'll keep working at this until I get something I really like.

Working on a base of pale green card stock with slight variations in color saturation, I sponged various inks to create the gradations of color in the background. The rays were achieved with masking and sponging. The masking technique was also used on the mermaid to prevent her from being contaminated with background ink. The image was colored with a variety of media: colored pencils, inks and markers. Cutting the left edge of the image into a curve was a last minute decision as was placing the image to the right. The original design was all straight edges and left aligned. I like this much better. The gold embellishments are carefully and strategically placed stickers.

Mermaid stamp: "Sea Siren" - Faerie Song Art Rubber Stamps
Seaweed stamp: Me and Carrie Lou Stamps
Background paper: Enchanted Complements Moonlight Lime - The Crafter's Workshop
Base card: "Navy" - Cardstock Warehouse
Stickers: Starforms Outline Stickers

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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby Bananas

(Click on any photo for a larger image.)

Recently I attended a baby shower to welcome the newest member of our family, a beautiful baby boy born to my second cousin, Melissa. For her baby registry she had chosen all the sheets, clothes and accessories in a Jungle Babies pattern featuring tiny jungle animals. In keeping with this theme I created this banana tree scene in which to wrap the baby gifts my sister and I had purchased.

The bananas contain the baby clothes. Each individual piece of clothing was folded and rolled up jellyroll style with a floral wire in the middle. Then it was rolled up in tissue paper, the ends secured and several of them tied together to resemble a bunch of bananas. The three dimensional tree is built on a brown paper-wrapped box that contains another gift. The ends and sides of the fruit crate were covered with personalized labels I designed in a drawing program. The little monkey was inspired by the monkeys on the clothing, What you can't see is what's inside the crate hiding under the paper hangers to hold all the clothes! The monkey, the bananas in the bunch hanging from the tree, and the leaves on the tree were all created in a drawing program, saved as .svg graphic files and cut with the eCraft electronic cutter.

If you are interested in how I created the "baby bananas", just drop me an email and I'll send you instructions. (Note: Instructions are for the tissue wrapped bananas only. The tree, monkey, etc. are not included.)

Thanks for stopping by.

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

...and Jill came tumbling after.

(Warning! Graphic image.)

Something happened to me on Sunday night, 1/23/11, that although it occurred frequently during my younger years, it hasn't happened to me in a long, long time. I fell down a flight of stairs. The basement stairs, to be precise. It all  happened so quickly it was like a blur. One moment I was at the top of the stairs speaking to my husband then the other I was at the bottom of the stairs, having slid down its entire length on my left leg. I remember turning away from my husband as we finished our conversation. He closed the door at the top of the stairs and was heading for the living room. I turned to descend to my basement work room, and that's all I can clearly remember other than the sound of thump-thump-thump-thump as my body collided with the edge of every step from the top to the bottom. Oh yeah, and there was also the sound of me yelling on the way down.

I was fortunate on a number of counts. 1) My husband was still close enough that he heard the whole thing and was able to help me up immediately after the fall, and 2) I didn't hit any bones on the way down else I surely would have broken something. This was one time I was grateful for the extra junk I have in my trunk because it cushioned what could have been a disaster. The pain was immediate and very short lived although the bruising...well, let's just say if bruising was an Olympic sport I would have made it to the podium. The image you see here is what it looks like 5 days after the accident. It's already beginning to heal as evidenced by the areas of angry red surrounded by dark purple. It took a full 24 hours for the  bruising to fully bloom. I'll be seeing a doctor soon and will have myself looked over thoroughly to make sure nothing else is going on inside that needs medical attention.

In spite of it all I've been smiling like a champ. Why? Because I recognize just how lucky I was not to have been seriously injured. Because I feel as if I have just dodged a bullet. Because I know that no matter how bad this bruise looks, in time it will heal and I will be fine.In the past few weeks I have had the sad task of visiting an old friend in hospice. Her days are nearing their end. Compared to her I am the picture of health. So with that in mind I'll take the bruises, I'll learn the lessons and I'll be thankful for every single day I have on this earth.

Life is short. Live it.

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