Monday, March 26, 2012

The Arrival of Spring

 (Click on any photo to see a larger image.)

Due to an unexpectedly warm winter, here in the northeast we are experiencing an unusually early spring. With temperatures at times reaching upwards of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, all manner of flora and fauna that would usually be out of sight until April has made a glorious appearance in mid-March as evidenced by the beautiful daffodils I photographed in my garden. There was actually a period during which daffodil shoots were actively growing with nary a crocus in sight when the reverse is usually the case. Eventually the crocuses got their act together and showed their faces before the arrival of the daffodils but it was a pretty tight race.

Although I announced in a previous post that I would no longer be conducting weekly craft classes at the senior citizens center, I agreed to continue putting up the seasonal decorations. I wanted to really celebrate the arrival of spring's colorful flowers in a way that all the members could enjoy so I created a large (12" x 34") sign to go over the entry door to the main activity/lunchroom, a place where it can't be missed by anyone who enters the center.  All the materials used to create this sign were either free or donated, including the electronic cutter I used to cut out the various elements of the sign. The paper and fabric flowers came from Materials for the Arts and the cutting files came from, a site that offers free cut files for electronic cutting machines. The butterflies were created with Memory Box dies I purchased for my personal use but once I cut and colored them, they were so beautiful I just couldn't keep them all to myself. Click on the photo and zoom in to see the details on those blue beauties. There is also an invisible detail that doesn't show up in the photo. The oval in the center of the sign has flowers stamped in watermarking (transparent) ink and dusted with gold pigment powder. The stamped flowers can't be seen until you pass underneath the sign. When the light catches it just the right way all the flowers appear to shine.

This is the first large scale project I've done with my eCraft and I still have much to learn but I'm very pleased with the way this first attempt came out. Ya know, I had so much fun making this sign, perhaps I'll make another one for summer.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Friday, March 16, 2012

Caught in a Crafty 'Net

Magnetic Mousetrap Clips
I love surfing the web in search of craft ideas, tutorials and artistic inspiration. Fortunately there are hundreds of wonderful sites with tons of eye candy for an artist with a sweet tooth. Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom is such a site, loaded to the gills with all manner of crafty ideas. The Plaster Casting with Sand tutorial really grabbed my attention, as did Popsicle Stick Bracelets and Magnetic Mousetrap Clips. They are wonderful sources of inspiration and appeal to all levels of crafters, from the novice to the advanced, and I know I'll be going back to this site in the future.

From time to time I'll be featuring noteworthy craft sites on my blog in order to spread the artistic wealth around. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blockhead Stamps Banner Ad

I'm not one given to placing random ads on my blog so when I choose to do so there had better be a good reason. In the right column you'll notice a new ad from Blockhead Stamps. A couple of years ago I submitted some of my work to one of their creative challenges. I didn't win but the owner liked my work so much she asked if I would be willing to create some pieces using Blockhead Stamps that she could use as part of her display at shows. I agreed and got to choose any stamp set they offered for my work. I chose Inspired by Nature. Here you see a card I make with this stamp set using a bleach technique on watercolor paper. The background was misted with a variety of liquid watercolors, the images were stamped with a permanent solvent ink, then the color inside the images was removed using a bleach pen. After the color was lifted out, it was replaced using watercolor pencils. The butterfly was stamped on and cut from a separate piece of  paper and attached with its wings raised up as if in flight.

The entire exchange with the owner of Blockheads was friendly, supportive and professional and left me with a very positive impression. So when I read on Blockheads' blog page that there was a one in ten chance of winning a stamp just for placing the banner on my page, I jumped at the chance to win a prize as well as show my appreciation for a great company to do business with.

If you haven't checked out the wonderful stamps and other crafting supplies they have available, give Blockheads Stamps a look-see.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva