Monday, February 18, 2013

Introducing Our guest Designer... Maria!

Die Cut Divas let’s get to know....Maria Fernanda McClure!
   Tell us a little about yourself
 I was born in Argentina, raised in the Washington, DC area of the United States and went to University in Montreal, Canada. I’ve been married for 10 years to a wonderful man who has a vague understanding of my hobby yet indulges that need for me to disappear into the crafts room every now and then. My two beautiful daughters, Maddie (8) and Catherine (4) keep me busy with their antics and scheduled activities. Fortunately, they both love stamps, ink, paper and scissors as much as I do, so there are some good times in our basement hideout! I go by MadCat2002 on Flickr, an alias based on my girls’ names. Having worked in the Real Estate and Research industries for many years before having children, it was a big change becoming a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I am always looking for something to keep myself and my brain busy, whether it’s volunteering at school and in the community or connecting with people around the world who share my interests.
How long have you been a card maker/scrapper & when did you start?
I’ve always liked to do crafty things, but my love for stamping and card making started in 1999 when my mother gave me a small mermaid stamp, embossing ink and powder and a heat tool. Once I saw the magic that happens when you heat the powder, I was hooked! About an hour later I was in the closest stamps store learning all I could. I took some classes and started quite a collection, but I was not so focused. For me the most fun came from the social aspect and learning from others. When the store closed, all of that was gone. I dabbled a little here and there, got married had children and then found there was not a lot of time for crafting. About 2 years ago, while looking for a Cricut tutorial, I found blogs that eventually led me to Die Cut Divas! In the process I also realized that the internet now offers a wealth of information and an opportunity to connect with crafters all over the world!! I may not have the local craft shop anymore, but I have certainly made some wonderful friends.
 Do you follow sketches or dive right in?
That depends… Sometimes, I’ll run down to my crafts room with an idea in my head, other times I really need the push from a sketch or color inspiration challenge. In fact, some of my favorite cards are the result of a lot of playing around and rearranging. As much as I love paper crafting, it takes me a bit to let go of all the everyday thoughts and responsibilities before I can get going. There are some wonderful challenge blogs which provide all kinds of inspiration – even when I miss the deadlines. J
How many projects do you make a week?
In a good week, I might make 3 or 4 cards, but there are times when I just can’t make the time for even one! Fortunately, The Hero Arts Flickr group holds 90 minute scrambles every two weeks. Even I can set aside an hour and a half to just immerse myself in one challenge. It’s fun knowing that there are women doing the same thing at the same time across several continents!
What is your favourite tool (what can't you create without) & why?
My favorite tool just might be my Cuttlebug. I used to use it only for dry embossing, but have now started collecting the thin metal dies as well. The fact that so many companies are now coming out with matching stamps and dies is fantastic!! I love the look of paper piecing and fussy cutting, this just gives me a faster way of achieving a similar effect. My Cricut is a great tool for larger projects, but I am very tempted by the capabilities of the Silhouette. Hmmm… maybe sometime soon?
What at the moment is your most favourite thing to do on your project?
I love adding pattern and texture to cards through a variety of techniques – whether it is dry embossing, raised die cuts and the shadows they create, or emboss resist inking.
How would you describe your style?
Ummm… Hit or Miss? Sometimes, it’s clean and simple; other times more graphic and others still with lots of detail. I suppose it depends on my mood or the ultimate recipient of the card. My favorite cards do tend to be more streamlined and with lots of white space, but very rarely are they only one layer. Here are some of my favorites:
What about your style would you change (or not) & why?
I’d like to improve my eye for balance and detail. I know it when I see it, but have a hard time achieving it myself. Thank goodness there are some fantastic online classes and blogs where we can learn more about design principles. Ultimately only practice will help me get there!
Have you been published or on a Design team - when & where?
Nope… I’ve never submitted anything for publication (see my comments above) and have not dared apply for a Design Team. I worry the demands of being on a DT might take the fun out of the process for me and don’t think I could take another deadline!! J
 That being said, I am in awe of the many, many talented paper crafters who bring us amazing work and inspiration week after week. Not only do they come up with jaw-dropping designs, but they graciously share their tips and techniques so all of us can improve our work. Remember… don’t just peek at the inspiration pieces when you visit a challenge blog. Make sure you take a moment to stop by each DT member’s blog too. You are bound to learn something and you might make a new friend along the way.
  Describe (pictures are even better) your crafting area
It’s a small windowless room in our basement with plenty of storage for paper, stamps and tools. Every little thing is within reach. The lighting could be improved, but I make do with my little clamp lights. There’s another table near the desk where my girls do their work too. It can get a little cramped, but we love it. I just happened to take some pictures the other day after straightening it up, so I’m glad you asked now instead of a few weeks ago!! Here are some photos:

        Do you have a blog? If not where can we see more of your fabulous creations?
I don’t have a blog, but do keep a Flickr photostream where I share the cards I make. You can see it here: As a relatively new member of the outstanding Hero Arts Flickr group  I found a wonderfully encouraging and supportive family of crafters. I love their enthusiasm and the incredibly informative discussion threads that keep all of us engaged. Last December, one of my Flickr friends (Debbie of Vancouver Island) proposed that I start a new group to run a Valentine’s Card Chain. The idea was to just use it for seasonal challenges, but then I saw an opportunity to create a group where we could all share cards made with stamps and products from other companies year round. We gave the group a Love/Friendship theme and have invited crafters with varied interests to participate. With 94 members in just under 6 weeks, we’ve held our first Valentine’s Card Chain exchange and are looking forward to more fun throughout the year. HERE, you’ll find not only love-themed handcrafted cards, but also ATC’s, Zentangles and home décor projects. We hope to grow the LOVE! group into a place that offers a similarly encouraging and informative atmosphere as the Hero Arts group for those who create with products from other companies. I do hope you’ll visit, enjoy that you see, leave some LOVEly comments and join in the fun. We’d LOVE! to have you.
Thanks Maria, it was great getting to know you! and may I say what a nice craft space you have.
Ladies, if you would like to see more work of Maria's Check out the above links and come back here Wednesday to see what Maria has made for us!


rcwidow (Linda) said...

Great reading about you Maria!

Kailash said...

Great interview Maria, loved reading (more) about you :-)
I'm just soooo happy for you my friend!!!

Betty said...

wonderful to get to know you better, Maria.

Linda W. (ScrappinBari) said...

Great interview, Maria - so fun to learn more about you!

Jutta said...

I'm very happy for you Maria! Thanks for inspiring us to share the love!

Greta said...

What a great pick for a guest designer--good job, DCD! Hi Maria--I love knowing the meaning behind your Flickr name--really neat to use your girl's names. It's really fun to read this interview & somehow it feels like I've talked with you. I love some of the same cards you chose as favorites & am so privileged to own one! Looking forward to seeing your creation Wed.

walchowDesign said...

Great interview, Maria! Glad to know a little more about you!

Arlene said...

It's always nice to get to know the people behind the moniker. Your comments were fun and enthusiastic and just as though I were talking to you across the hall.

Thank you so much for sharing a part of you today.

SusanLotus said...

I really enjoyed reading more about you Maria! And it´s always fun to see where other creates... :)


Susan on Flickr

Cindy C. said...

So nice to know more about you Maria!

joy said...

Congrats, Maria! I loved learning more about you - great interview!!

Dawn Turley said...

Hi Maria... nice to "meet" you here!!!! LOL,,, great to learn more about you, Love your work too.

Barb Ghig said...

It was so nice to get to know you better...great interview!

Cat Craig said...

Maria, what a lovely interview. Your way with words is as beautiful as your card creations. A very engaging interview, and it was fun to see your crafting space. i smiled a lot while reading through.

paula laird said...

Hi Maria,

What a great interview, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you.

Kim Hall said...

Maria your interveiw is wonderful, great to learn a little more bout you. Have fun guesting.

Karen L K said...

Maria - Nice interview. Enjoyed reading it.

Kathy (krolski) said...

Great interview Maria! Loved learning more about you!

Barb said...

Love that Maria girl!!! She's awesome and a great supporter of any card maker she comes across. Congrats on having Maria GD for her to bits! :)

LaVon Hall said...

Great interview Maria! You have been a great source of both encouragement and information for me. I enjoyed learning a bit more about you!

maria f. said...

Hey am I glad I saw this interview - I always imagined there was a lot more drama behind "MadCat" :) Great job GDing here, Maria.