Tuesday, July 8, 2014

To Russia with Love

Yes, Virginia has gone to Russia..
...to a Russian blog, that is.

It brings me great joy to share my Russian guest feature with you today. Daria over Memories Blog was so sweet to invite me to do some guest design for the Russian scrapbooking /card-making blog.

The theme is "Create with Distress Inks"
 I shared a photo tutorial of  "How to Create a Scene card with Distress Inks"
life is good
I also did an interview. Daria had some great questions for me and I thought I would share some of them here. For the full interview, please go to Memories Blog.

Daria: Hi Virginia, welcome to our living room.
Please make yourself at home. Tea or Coffee?
Virginia: Coffee is my go-to drink in the morning! I will drink tea throughout the day after that first cup though.

Daria: I didn't want to use a standard set of questions for this interview such as "what is your favorite brand or what is you scrap-dream". But there is one question that I cannot ignore - Will you please tell us about yourself?
Virginia: I am a Mom with two college aged children and a wife of a supportive husband. Previously, I managed my husband’s medical office for over 25 years. These days, I have the luxury of spending all my free time in pursuing my hobby: card-making. I started to make cards when my son was a baby. (He’s 19 now!) Because he was very fussy, I needed a creative outlet. I would carry him as a baby with me to shop/browse the local craft store. After being introduced to stamping by a local stamping expert, I was hooked! I started my blog (Yes, Virginia… ) after my daughter settled into university in 2009 and I have loved every minute of it since.

Virginia, I know you as a crafter of your own style :) that is more related to CAS. Have you ever tried other styles as well? I can see that you definitely enjoy playing with paints.
Virginia: I like to try new things - new products and new techniques. To me, that’s what makes stamping so appealing. I have been playing with Gelato, paint, and watercolors lately. I have tried to create all sorts of styles: shabby chic, graphic, fun and cute, etc. But in the end, I find myself creating more clean and simple cards than anything else, and always with lots of impact and details.

Daria: Also you are known as a creator of your own challenge blog which currently consists of 240 members.
Why did you decide to open one? Can anybody can enter it?
Virginia: I started it just for fun. The first challenge, which was on my personal blog, took place in March. The theme was “watercolor.” It got to be very popular in just a few days. More popular than I expected! Because of that, I decided to host the challenge on a separate site. And that’s how the Virginia’s View Challenge site came to be.

Daria: In your challenge blog you have to look through a lot of projects of different crafters. Some of them are beginners. Can you tell us about the most common mistakes? And also can you give beginners one major piece of advice?
ginia: That is a great question. No matter what level we are at, there is ALWAYS room for improvement. They can be in skill, design, or execution. I think there are definitely a few things to take note of for beginners:
1.      Make sure your card is well photographed. Watch out for the lighting (not too dark, not too bright) and white balance (not too blue, not too yellow). Is your card nicely represented in the photo? Can the details be seen? Are the colors sharp and close to your original work? This is no easy task and I still struggle to get the white balance right.
2.      Try to keep a good balance of design elements. We often want to include all the latest embellishments and use the latest supplies we like in one card. I am a frequent offender of this myself! But it’s important to look at the overall design and how cohesive everything fits together. You do not want to pile on too many elements on to one card.
3.      Be observant of the color scheme. The colors you use have to be purposeful. Even if you like two colours a lot, they may not work well together. Pay attention to what colors work (use a colour wheel, or look for inspiration online). Ask yourself which colour schemes excite you and which ones make you feel calm and serene. Then you can decide what “mood” is most appropriate!
4.      Execution is key. We may often think we have the BEST design ideas, but we fall short in translating that idea on to a card. This is always a challenge for me. Sometimes I find it helpful to make a few rough samples to see what works best, before making a decision.
5.      There is an old saying: “Practice makes perfect. I must say that this is also true in card making. The more you make, the more passion for it and skills you will gain. In the process, you can only become a better card maker.

Daria: Every crafter has her own favorite project/work. Can you show us yours? And tell why it is “the one”?
Virginia: I’ve chosen my latest favorite (“thank you so very much) as an example. This card prompted me to be creative and to step out of my comfort zone. It made me realize that I should do a YouTube video to share the creative process. My very first tutorial video was the result - Create a Collage Card with Alcohol Inks.  This card shows my growth as I used some skills I didn’t have when I first started making cards!

Daria: Everybody finds their inspiration in so many places. Which one is your usual one?
Virginia: I like to look at fashion sites and I subscribe to some color websites, such as Designer Seeds and Fresh Hues. And of course, the ever popular Pinterest is another great source to find inspiration. I often find inspiration when I least expect it. Sometimes I find it in magazines when I am waiting at the dentist’s office. Other times I get inspired by shop window displays or even TV commercials!

Daria: And in the end of the interview...Can you tell us a scary/funny/amazing scrap-story from your life?
Virginia: There are so many amazing moments in my card making life. Here’s a summary of a few…
The most amazing: Competing in the Top 5 Gallery Idol 2013 was the most intense and exciting moment that I have experienced in card making. I went through a lot in that short 4-week period.
The most fun: I am known for meeting online card makers from all over the world when I travel, from Denmark, Netherlands, UK, US, Canada, and Taiwan.  I have made numerous friends throughout the years. I am looking forward to meeting more friends in Europe later this summer.
The most scary: Thankfully there are no scary moments that I can think of. The only time I found it scary is when I made ugly cards! Often my blog followers are so kind; they never say harsh words about them. And it’s the same for my first YouTube video. Even though I spilled some ink while I made the video, the responses have been amazing!

Daria: Thank you Virginia! We are lucky to have you in our living room (we all know how busy you are). And now let's play? 

 Thank you, Daria, for this special feature! I am thrilled to share my love of card-making with Russian paper-crafters. I would love it if you can stop by Memories blog to see the complete interview and tutorial.
Lastly, I am sharing photos of me and my family in Hermitage Museum (left) and Peterhof Palace
in St. Petersburg in 2012.
 To Russia with love!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Travel Photos!

Happy Sunday, my friends! 
In the midst of winter, we crave for warm temperatures, lovely breezes and beautiful sunshine! Well, look no further, I have brought some of these back for you from my Panama Canal cruise.

Here are the BEST pictures from the entire trip. Enjoy!
 White sandy beach in Aruba
 Baby Natural Bridge in Aruba

Folk Dance in Columbia
 Panama Canal (view from the cruise ship)
 Panama Canal
 Panama Canal 
 Tropical flowers in Costa Rica
 Scrumptious lunch in Costa Rica ( BEST pineapples!!)

Evening beach scene in Costa Rica
Cabo San Lucas
 Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas
My family--in our last stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Thanks for stopping by!