Saturday, March 29, 2014

OSA Swaps and Challenges

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OSA Crane Swap 2014
OSA Layout Challenge #263
One of the challenges of working from home is the lack of interaction with other like-minded individuals from whom you can learn and draw inspiration as well as share ideas, news and techniques. Years ago, in an effort to combat this artistic isolation, I became a member of Oriental Stamp Arts Yahoo Group, a wonderful group of people who share a love of rubberstamping, card making and Oriental motifs. These people are wonderfully supportive and welcoming to everyone, no matter what their level of expertise, something I sorely needed when I was a newbie to the world of rubber stamping techniques. 

One of the great things about the group is the card swaps and layout challenges that are held on a weekly and monthly basis. This gives those of us who wish to participate the opportunity to practice our craft and share our work with others of our ilk. Recently I have tried to participate as much as I can in order to get my idle hands back into the rhythm of papercrafting and you can see those efforts in my previous posts here and here. Above are photos of my most recent cards. The green crane card was made for a swap in which I had to make four identical cards with a crane motif and send them to the swap hostess. In return I will receive crane cards from four other artists participating in the swap. In this manner we are able to physically exchange,or swap, our work. It's a great way to compare your work against that of others and see what techniques others use to create their cards.

The butterfly card was made for a weekly challenge in which we had to create a card that conformed to a layout selected by the challenge hostess. These challenges involve photographing our work and posting them on the OSA Yahoo group site for all to see and comment. No physical swapping of cards occurs. It never ceases to amaze me how many different interpretations people can come up with, some of which would never occur to me. It's a great way to learn new things.

I hope to participate in more swaps and challenges as time permits and I will post those images here. If you have any questions about the materials or techniques I used to create a card, please feel free to send me a message and I'll be happy to answer your questions. 

Until then, happy crafting. 

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, March 15, 2014

OSA Crane Swap – 2014

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As I said in one of my recent posts, I'm making an effort to create more cards through the OSA weekly layout challenge. (Click here to read that post.) Each week a winner is randomly chosen from the participants in that week's challenge to win a small prize. My card at right featuring the Asian fans was chosen as a winner and my prize was a set of acrylic stamps from Mark's Finest Papers and Stamps (Birds of the Orient 2014) that featured cranes and Asian kanji symbols. Inasmuch as I only had one crane stamp that had already gotten quite a bit of use, I was thrilled to receive some more cranes. In order to put some mileage on my new stamps, I was invited to join OSA's Crane Swap 2014 by its hostess, Margo Seegrist.  Below is the card I created for this swap. This card also gave me the opportunity to work with a wonderful new cutting die I recently purchased. The details on all the materials used in this card are below. 

Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions on how either of these cards was created. I love getting feedback. 

OSA Crane Swap – 2014

  Crane, kanji: Birds of the Orient 2014, Mark’s Finest Papers & Stamps
  Bamboo:  Asian Influences, Inkadinkado #97616
  Versafine Onyx Black
  Whispers Apple Green
  Versamark Dazzle Champagne
Flourish die cut: Viney Swirl, Hot Off The Press #5319
Polka Dot Background: Michael Miller Memories Fabric Paper (discontinued)
Base Card: Die Cuts With A View Street Lace Box of Cards

Self Adhesive rhinestones in various sizes

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pinterest Ne'er Do Wells

Are you a "Person of Pinterest"? I definitely am. If you're unfamiliar with Pinterest, here is the Wikipedia definition of it:

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes... Pinterest allows users to save images and categorize them on different boards. They can follow other users' boards if they have similar tastes. The most popular categories, as of March 2012, were home, arts and crafts, style/fashion, and food

I love having a place where I can place and categorize all those interesting links I find online and where I know I can go back to find them. It's also such a nice place to "hang out" and peruse what other people are "pinning" and perhaps share those pins also. Pinterest is one of my happy places.

Recently I received a message from Pinterest that gave me cause for concern. It warned me that suspicious activity appeared to be taking place on my account. It went on to say that as a safety precaution, the account was locked and I would have to re-establish a new password and a link was provided for my convenience. Inasmuch as I am suspicious of unsolicited links, I went directly to the Pinterest site to log in but was unable to. To make a long story short, it turns out that the email from Pinterest was legitimate and I did have to change my password. A few days to a week later I again received the "suspicious activity" email and was requested to change my password. An email to Pinterest after the first episode asking what type of activity occurred was never answered so I never really knew what they considered suspicious activity. That is, not until today.

While checking my boards, I noticed one that I had not created, one that had a link to some unknown site. Then when I was updating my profile, I noticed that some of my profile information had been changed, also linking to this unknown site. In all cases, I deleted it and replaced it with the correct information. Now I know what Pinterest referred to as "suspicious activity". Some miscreant had hacked my account and was using it to try and redirect people to another website.

Moral of the story: If you're a Person of Pinterest and receive an email claiming suspicious activity similar to the one I received, do the following:

  1. go directly to the Pinterest site (don't click on any links in emails), 
  2. change your password, 
  3. check your boards for any that you did not create. (I found  mine at the very end of my board list.)
  4. check your profile settings and check that all information is correct, particularly where it asks for your website address (if you have one). Copy then delete any incorrect information and replace it or leave it blank.
  5. Optional: send a message to Pinterest and provide the suspicious web address (that you copied before deleting). This step never occurred to me before deleting so I was unable to follow through with this one.
  6. Pin this post to one of your Pinterest Boards and let your People of Pinterest know about this. Wish someone would have done this for me.
Thanks for reading. Happy Pinning!

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Saturday, March 1, 2014

OSA Weekly Challenge #261 - Sunburst

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This week's Oriental Stamp Art weekly challenge was to create a card using a sunburst or starburst pattern. I chose a pallette of cream, gold and black. I created the rays out of various papers in shades of cream and placed them on a gold paper with an embossed brocade pattern allowing the gold underneath to show between the rays. The coin pattern was stamped in clear Versamark watermarking ink and dusted with gold Pearl-Ex pigment powder to echo the look of the three Asian coins in the central motif. What I like about this pattern is that it can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation as I've shown here.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva