Gem Eleanor Sahagun - Gem35
Chino, CA
Hello everyone! I am Gem Eleanor Sahagun aka Gem35 aka Gem E.S. Like the other Dirty Girls in the pile, I was elated when Lydia e-mailed me. I am not really a stamper, though, so to be considered a Dirty Girl despite that was surprising. I thought she made a mistake and that she messaged the wrong person!

I am Filipino American, born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States more than 27 years ago. I used to be a Math teacher, then studied computer programming and became a Programmer Analyst. My husband and I were both in the IT industry. When my oldest daughter was born, it became really stressful, so I quit my job. My second daughter was born almost three years later, and when she was old enough to go to school, I took a job as an interpreter. I could speak Filipino(Tagalog), Ilocano (a dialect spoken in the northern Philippines) and English. However, when my son was born (about 5 years later), I resigned from that job, too. My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 5, and knowing that he would need plenty of support, I could not go back to work… which led me to card-making.

Clip art – that’s what got me into making cards. This was around 2002 – I would buy CDs with cute clip art and print cards using Word Perfect (anybody remember this software?). Later on, PCCrafter started selling downloadable art and that’s where I started my graphics collection (the digital counterpart of a stamp collection). I taught myself to use Adobe Photoshop to better use the digital art that I had, and at a certain point, started creating my own digital art.

I would often check on Splitcoaststampers, though. I loved going through the galleries and looking at all the paper art - my sort of eye candy! But since I started on the digital side, it was difficult for me to use stamps. I compensated by using punches, die-cuts and later on, a Silhouette. Most of my cards are designed and made using Photoshop or Inkscape (to make cutting files) and the Silhouette. From time to time, I would steal some of my daughter’s watercolor paintings and incorporate them in my card.

Thank you to Splitcoaststampers and the people in this community for being inclusive. Although I come from a different background and have a different approach to making cards, you make me feel that I belong here. I am honored and humbled at the same time to be a part of this group.