Sunday 27 December 2009

New coolio things to {play} with

We had a fabulous Christmas this year, the snow, albeit a few days early was magical, and all the trees looks just like a scene from Narnia! We had people over for snowmen competitions and lots of soup and bread was consumed to warm up those cold fingers! Our 3 bird roast was superb on the day, and is extremely tasty on sandwiches too!! (Chicken, Duck and Pheasant with 2 stuffings in between)

Courtney's GCSE mock exams are over so she is more relaxed, and my mother is here to visit from New Zealand too, so she is enjoyed catching up with the kids (and all her many rellies up north) after a couple of years.

I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year being a great time to play with arty things and ideas. This creative time often continues well into January once life settles back down after the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

Mark was a busy bee putting some new goodies on the site recently, so I thought I should let you know what is there, I am itching to play with many of these bits too!!!

This little 'jewellery' box caught my eye as a nice thing to alter. I would look superb with some metal or paint on it, but it has a clever insert to accommodate a necklace or earrings, so if you make jewellery for gifts, then this is a must for you and at £1.08 (GBP - pounds sterling)

We also have a pair of papier mache suitcases; these are the best and would look great on display in a room. £2.84 for both suitcases before VAT.

The small notebooks are a reasonable price too. The ones with the window niche have graph paper, just pale grey squares, so not too dominant, but I totally love that niche in the front. The plain covered books have regular lines, and again, books like this work well with a metal cover to jazz them up.  10x10cm are 51p, 14x14cm are .83p (before VAT)

A simple idea to cover the notebooks would be this. Put humungo tape over the entire cover. Run some strips of metal through the cuttle-bug then arrange them on the sticky tape. Where 2 pieces of metal meet each other, it’s a good idea to run a texture wheel (fine dot, or diagonal are good) along the join to ensure the metal has good contact with the humungo tape. Don’t scrimp on the tape, I know it’s expensive, but you need a super strong tape like humungo to do this job or the metal will fall off the book cover before too long.

Next up, the micro canvases. I have been doing all kind of projects on these for a couple of years now and they are so cute. We have 2 sizes, and you get one of each size for .85p I am quite partial to the idea of making these into little houses, with some metal rooves!!

We also have 3 sizes of square canvases (those flat hard backed ones) which fit into a wooden frame. Use them together or separately. Prices from .69p to £1.51 (before VAT)

Loving these wooden ‘icon’ frames, both as a double (£1.05 ex VAT) or triple (£1.56 ex VAT) hinged pieces, they are beautiful to alter and of course, being solid wood, they take metal very well.

Lastly the 3 in a row small frames and the pencil cases are back in stock, these are always popular items. Leandra had a project with the frames in one of the pre-Christmas issues of Craft Stamper magazine.

And a paint palette may come in handy if you plan on using those Viva paints! You will find all the terra, ferro, croco and Viva precious metal colour paints are back in stock so if you were gifted some money to spend over Christmas, those are very versatile products to play a round with for sure!!

Yes we are open this week, and we will be shipping out orders super quick, so if you need stuff either call us on 01277 212911 or place an order online.

Have a great week, we are nearly at 2010!!!! The millenium celebrations don't seem like 10 years ago!!! Yikes! Keep safe.


Thursday 17 December 2009

Weeks whizzing by

Yesterday we had snow, and this afternoon and tonight it's going to snow heavily down here in Essex, and the East of England, so I think this morning is my last chance before school ends to get those last few presents sorted out. You  think you have it all done, and then you think of another 6 things you forgot about. So just thought I'd get a note out to you all before I hit the panic button.

My mother is here from New Zealand this year, she has just spent the last couple of weeks up in Lancashire for a family wedding, and catching up with some old school friends, then on Monday she will come down to us. We have lots of evening parties planned next week, so I think by the time Christmas eve arrives we will enjoy a day on the couches watching the tele!!

We launched a PaperArtsy Youtube channel last week and I have put a couple of videos up relevant to recent blog posts. 

Firstly stamping into texture. In this video I used Terra and Ferro, but you don't have to use both on the same project, you could use one or the other. I put a couple of dark colours into the dips, but you can put light in the dips, or leave as is and put darker colours on top. It really is a lot of fun, and great for onto wooden frames or surfaces as well as papier mache or chipboard.

I am expecting a delivery of Terra and Ferro today, so there will be plenty of choice in the shop, plus we have a whole lot of new wooden items to put online too, so get your orders in now ready for that wonderful week between Christmas and New year whihc is a great art-play time!

The second video is the technique of 'puffing' metal. For this you can stamp an image and puff out sections of it. The image might be a bird cage, the castle turrets, birds on a wire, or in the case of the video, a simple flower which makes a beautiful card or scrapbook embellishment. But I also added a simple frame to it.
We will continue to add more videos to the PaperArtsy channel so you can see first hand how to use products that we stock. If you have any specific request, then let us know.

Wishing you all a totally fabulous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Leandra & Mark.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Official {ARTSYCRAFTS} dates for 2010

Here it is...the waiting is over......
we have been getting loads of phone calls, emails and enquiries...every day for a few weeks from keen peeps wanting to book.....and now all the info for 


is online ready for you!!


Bookings open Monday 14th December 10am. 

We have had to make some changes to our original March plans as .....big news..... Lin's daughter has set her wedding date for the end of March (much excitement) so here is the new plan.

We have 3 events scheduled for the first half of 2010

Event Dates

March 13/14, 2010 at DeVere Daresbury Park, Warrington (nr Manchester).
This is a one weekend only "Best of" ArtsyCrafts  event). This will include the fabulous Gothic Arch with a new twist, plus the most popular classes from our 2008 ArtsyCrafts events. 

The March event is going to be perfect for people who missed our first ever AC classes in 2008, or for those who have never attended an AC event before and of course for ArtsyCrafts addicts who need a hit of inspiration during the winter months. PLUS it's happening in the North of England, so those of you living up that way won't have so far to travel! The venue offers superb, 4 star accommodation, has a healthy food restaurant, wireless internet throughout and a really nice large room to work in, easy access from the motorway, and only 20 mins from both Manchester Airport and Liverpool's John Lennon airport.

None of the classes will be exactly the same as previously taught, so even though the event is based on prior classes, all of the projects will involve different stamps and twists on techniques to keep it fresh.

Techniques you will learn:
  • metal embossing (cuttle bug and moulds)
  • stamping on metal
  • sanding metal
  • tape sandwiches
  • adhesive metal
  • alcohol inks on metal
  • making a metal frame from a wooden substrate
  • stamping/colouring fabric
  • embellishing stamped fabric
  • Terra texture with kaiser-colour paint
  • the Leandra bead from UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel)
  • working with PaperArtsy papers and Stamps
May 8/9, 2010 or May 22/23, 2010 " Flights of Fancy" at DeVere Harben House, Newport Pagnell (nr Milton Keynes)
  • new curriculum based on the theme "Flights of Fancy" developed by Linda Brown (LB Crafts) and Leandra Franich (PaperArtsy)
  • plenty of innovative techniques to learn in every session using metal, stamps, paints etc.

The Price for every weekend is £275.00. This includes 

  • use of plentiful class supplies (stamps, inks, paints etc)
  • prepared class project kits (items to make your projects)
  • full colour step by step notes for each project
  • innovative, technique-loaded class projects over 8 sessions using a wide variety of current products
  • personal metal working tool kit (on loan for the duration of the weekend)
  • tea/coffee cold drinks and snacks on tap
  • beautiful lunches in the restaurant Saturday (buffet of many choices) and Sunday (carvery)
  • spacious venue workroom: beautiful large working area with plenty of space and easy access
  • Well known craft teachers Lin and Leandra facilitating the weekend with their additional experienced staff on hand to assist
Earlybird booking price: £250.00 valid until 31 January 2010

The Accommodation

Accomodation on site is available at both venues if you require it. You will need to book this directly yourself, or elsewhere nearby if you prefer. 

DeVere Daresbury: £50.00 incl VAT for bed and breakfast choice of twin or double bedrooms
DeVere Newport Pagnell: £39.00 ex VAT for bed and breakfast. Double rooms only available so not suitable for friend share.

Evening Meals
We leave you free to organise your own evening meal on Saturday in case you prefer to eat elsewhere locally for a change of scenery.

Transport Links
DeVere Daresbury Park, Warrington. You can fly either to John Lennon Airport, Liverpool, or Manchester. From Manchester take the train to Warrington, then catch a taxi to the venue (5mins).  From John Lennon its a 20 min taxi drive to the venue.

DeVere Harben House, Newport Pagnell. Closest airport is Luton (40min taxi drive). Or take the bus to Milton Keynes, then another to Newport Pagnell. You may need to consider arriving Friday night and leaving Monday morning for easier transport options.

If you want to read more about our most recent ArtsyCrafts event which was held in October 2009, then red about it here on Leandra's blog, or here on Linda's blog. Many previous attendees have left comments or links back to their blogs too. It's a great way to get a feel to see if this might be an event you would like to attend.

To Book you need to follow this link to the ArtsyCrafts Web Page.

DeVere Daresbury Park, Nr Warrington:March 13, 14, 2010 booking form here

DeVere Harben House, Newport Pagnell:May 8,9 or May 22,23, 2010 booking form here

How to book?
1. Download the relevant booking form for the weekend you wish to attend.

2. Fill it out, and send it with payment to:
    LB Crafts Ltd ArtsyCrafts
    6 Rose Court
    Market Place
    MK46 4BY

3. Pay. Either send a cheque in the post to LB Crafts Ltd ArtsyCrafts, or if you want to pay via Credit Card, then send your form, and once it arrives  we will call you for payment. (for card security we do not want you to send card details in the post, nor can we keep a written record in the shop)

4. Bookings will be processed strictly on a first come basis, and no bookings are final until the completed form and payment are both received.

Any queries please phone LB Crafts on +44 (0)1234 714 848 or PaperArtsy on +44 (0)1277 212 911

Tuesday 1 December 2009

A day of {cheers} at PA world HQ

PaperArtsy stamps in Stampington's Stampers' Sampler (try saying that 3 times in a row!)

Over the weekend an American retailer we supply emailed to say that some of our stamps were being used in the newest issue of Stampers Sampler that she had just got in the post. I hot footed it over to the Stampington website hoping to see some sneak peeks from inside the issue so I could identify the stamps that had been used.... but the new issue wasn't online yet. The today our rep Kay phoned to say that the artwork was on the front cover. Hooray we said, and went back to Stampington to see this. 

And here's the sneaky peeks of inside the mag. Some of our stamps nestled in among gorgeous hand drawn images by the author, who we are told is Anie Frazer so hope that information is right....well done, we love what you did!

So go get your copy now and then come to PaperArtsy to get the stamps. The image on the left is from SILK1, the arch shaped house. NExt is SIEN1 (xmas trees) with the tall house from SIBM3. The tiny little house nestled in on the flower is also from SIBM3 and Love you more is from SILK1. Then the row of houses under the flowers on the far right sample is from SIBM2.  

I love the combination of stamps surrounded by easily created hand drawn images. And colouring in like this ...lots of fun whether you use waxy pencils, watercolour pencils and of course copics.



Ohhhh { Love these metal birds}

 Before we start...A few words on the rugby...
If you were following me on twitter (@paperartsy) the other weekend you would have seen my blow by blow account of the New Zealand All Blacks playing the English. Yay to the AB's. and yay that Mark and I were able to go along to watch with some other kiwi friends. Getting tickets to go to Twickenham is never easy for games like this, so we got them through the New Zealand Rugby Union verified by our kiwi passports. A great method as the section of the stadium we were in was all black too, so that made it even more fun! Plus a try that was scored (AB's) happened in the corner right in front of where we sat, so we were up and out of our seats with excitement!. We had a great spot: the higher stands protected us from the wind and rain, and the corporate "boxes" we just behind us, so we had the same view as them but way more fun! And of course the icing on the cake was the win.

The best part of rugby is the freindly atmosphere. When the poms scored we clapped, and when we scored they clapped...very sporting of us all and exactly how it should be....oh and the TV ref comes in very handy too!! Fair play all round makes for a great event. Had a few laughs on the train on the way back with other supporters from both sides.  Very very enjoyable.

Spinach Pie Success...
Oh and Patricia emailed me last weekend to say she tried my Spinach pie recipe, and her family loved it...that was funny...I know I put the recipes up there for people to try, but didn't think you actually would! SO I may have to put something else up there soon if you are liking that additional feature! lol Really tickled me that.3 bird roast for Xmas coming soon!!

Gift Certificates......

Mark has spent some time crating a series of VERY cool looking gift certificates. These are perfect for you to give firends or family vouchers that can be redeemed online, over the phone or as a postal order. Check them out here.

Back to the metal working....

After being out and about at a few shows in the last couple of months, I seem to get loads of emails from peeps asking me how I did this that or whatever, or how do they get started, usually that they don't remember a thing of what I demoed and want a blow by blow summary. lol. The shows over here like the NEC are absolutely massive. You are doing well to get around all the stands in a day, and you see soooo much thatit can be a bit of a brain drain. So thanks for taking the time to email and ask for help or inspirational ideas and reminders.

This blog is your first port of call. I do try to put up online the samples I made at the shows and give instructions of how they were made. That way, if you were stood watching, you can remember more easily how it was made. This works well until stuff "walks" off the desk....or people poke your samples so the metal gets crushed before the glue supporting it has set. 

Often I come up with new ideas while demoing, and this time, I had a great idea with some of the bird stamps and the little chipboard arches, and it was all looking awesome, but before the filler had set up, nearly every time I would go to show the sample to the next bunch of people watching, and bang, the blimmin thing was all mangled.  So on the last day of the show i tried to make some samples and hid them so i could blog un-poked items. :-)

I am pretty forgiving - poking raised metal is probably something even I would do lol... I guess we must all have some innate desire to have to just test to see if the metal is supported/strong. And people stood there aren't to know that it's not set hard. The drying process for fillers can be 24 hours, so usually the stuff on my desk is at some stage of drying out, but it certainly isn't fully set.

So let me show you what I was up to. If people are interested in how to stretch metal, then the samples above (fleur de lis) is a classic I do a lot, or maybe I might use a small flower, and stamp with a section that would look good puffed out will work, start with a simple design. 

The process is the same. Here is the same idea using the row of birds from that stamp(above) Or with a dragonfly stamp...this one is from the Squiggly Mini #13 .

  1. Substrate. Choose a substrate to work on (this is a mini chipboard arch -we have several new chipboard shapes going online this week) and trace the outline onto a piece of metal and cut out. 
  2. Stamp. Stamp the image onto silver, copper or coloured metal in the position you want with stazOn black ink and dry.
  3. Outline. Use a teflon pointed tool to gently outline the stamped design on the front. Lean on a wad of paper for this.
  4. Puff with paperstump. Flip the metal over, and on the back you will clearly see the outlined shapes. Put the metal onto a soft mat, and use a small paper stump in a circular motion to start puffing the metal inside the design lines. You might find the metal is resistant to you initially, then suddenly the warmth from the friction kicks in and you will feel the metal much more willing to oblige. Don't stop, keep puffing - you need to gradually stretch the metal.
  5. Refine on acrylic mat. Once you have the image puffed out to the depth you like, flip the metal over (puffy side up) and place it on an ACRYLIC MAT. People forget this bit and its the most important. You need to tidy up all the other bits of metal surrounding the puffed design that got mangled or stretched in the process. Use a large paper stump to gently flatten all the areas up to the edges of the stamped design. Don't press hard. Gradually encourage it to do what you want and again it will eventually play ball. At this point you can also place your refine metal back onto a wad of paper, and gently use a small fine perforated dot tool to outline the birds.
  6. Filling Metal. Now you need to fill the metal to support the puffed section. You need a product that will set up hard. Not silicone glue which is a soft flexible glue, even when dry.  You need to use either a glue or a poyfiller type product that will set hard. I use glossy accents for small areas, or polyfilla (plaster-like) for larger areas. There are many polyfillers out there, and some are more lightweight than others...which is good for cards that get muck about and do some tests to see which products you like the best. Apply the product to the recess and let set overnight. Cut a piece of humungo the same size as the metal. Stick the humungo tape to the substrate, then stick the metal to the humungo. Run a patterned wheel around the edge like a herringbone wheel to finish the edge nicely.
  7. Stamp again. You can add more flourishes, words etc to your piece, and use texture wheels around the edge.

These simple tag-shaped pieces make great tags for presents, and of course you can write a message on the that before you stick the metal down for ease, or if you forget, then place metal side down on a soft mat and then do your writing! The backs would look great with some rum and raisin papers on them!!'s a poked one! grrrr...

...and a few more samples so you get the idea...note how once the metal is on the chipboard base, you can still outline the stamped lines as the chipboard with humungo tape is soft enough to accept lines made with a teflon pointy tool.

Love this sample below where part of a flower from SIEN2 or use SIEN4 for a larger one.

Here's one with a difference for those of you who want more of a challenge! Love the added colour which comes from the glimmer mists with a dab of paint underneath.
  1. Outline. Trace around the tag chipboard shape onto a sheet of silver metal with your pointy tool. Cut out
  2. Sand. Use your sanding block to sand the metal in both directions (horizontal and vertical) This will give the metal a stainless steel effect, and adds some 'tooth' to the shiny doing this before stamping in general...but don't do it to coloured metal ..all you will do is sand off the colour! LOL (you knew that already didn't you!!)
  3. Paint. Apply paint to the surface...if you want the glimmer colours to be rally strong, then use a pale kaisercolour like white, eggshell, antique white, blossom, coastal blue, or one of those really ligfht shades. Swipe a very small amount of paint on with Cut and Dry foam, and then wipe off the excess with a paper towel. You still want to see the shine of the metal.
  4. Glimmer. Paint and sanding the metal gives 'tooth' so that Glimmer mists can stick to the metal. So now you can choose 2 colours of glimmer to use on the metal. Spray Patina onto part of the metal and then dry. Next spray khaki on the remaining area and dry. If you spray loads, you will get 'watermark' type effects. It's a good idea to heat the metal with your heat gun first, and then spray while its hot, this helps the glimmer to dry faster.
  5. Stamp. Now stamp your birdcage image from SINM6 in archival jet black ink on top....DON'T use stazon....why? Because stazon is used onto smooth and shiny NON-POROUS surfaces (eg. metal, acetate, acrylic). We just added paint, and glimmer to the metal, so now you want to use Ranger's archival jet black ink or a black pigment like brilliance would also work. These will give a much better black colour onto the painted, glimmered surface.
  6. Emboss the image. Puff out the image as before, so outline the image from the front with a pointy tool, then flip onto the soft mat and puff out the birdcage from behind with a paper stump, or for a lage area like this the round teflon tool is perfect!. Carefully refine on an acrylic mat to flaten the surrounding areas, and to finish, use a fine dot perforated wheel around the edge of the birdcage if you wish.
  7. Fill the metal. OPTION A: Fill the recess with glossy accents.  You can also apply glossy accents to the rest of the metal, but only a small amount, and you need to smooch it about with your finger so you have a thin even layer. now stick the metal directly to the chipboard. OPTION B: Fill the recess with polyfiller. Let dry overnight. Cut humungo to fit the substrate and stick to the substrate. Stick the metal to the humungo.
  8. Stamp. Add more stamping to the edges of the piece or words like those from SINM6. Also edge the metal with a decorative wheel, like the diagonal. You can also sand the edges of the metal after using the wheel to make a nice frame.

OK so that's your lot for today ..plenty to be going on with... we are mega fast on shipping at the moment, everything is going out within 24 hours, so what are you waiting for!!!

Don't forget that Tim has started his 12 days of Xmas tags today too, so many ideas and techniques to look forward to. I loved his iwred ribbon idea on Tag 1..I'm off to do that with paper!

And please leave a comment with your thoughts on what you will do with these ideas! I love hearing about what you are up to!

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Your Patience Rewarded!

Loved being at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre), Birmingham this last weekend for the HobbyCrafts show. This is one of the Uk largest retail craft shows with thousands of people coming through every day to see all the stands. The show was different this year as it was relocated into hall 20, but very enjoyable with all the shows being in the one place. I thought it was a lot cooler as the space was bigger, all the different shows (Hobbycrafts, Art Materials and Christmas Gifts) were in the same hall, so it was easier to see them all. This meant there was more space, the aisles were wider. It was a new layout, so it took a while to get your bearings and work out where your fave sellers were, and there were not enough toilets, so many desperate ladies found the mens loos a better option! 

Here is part of our stand, you can see the paints and glimmers on the shelves, and the demo desk to the right.

Our stand was in the row which was half Hobbycrafts and half Art Materials, which fitted us as that was exactly the type of stuff on our booth! here is part of the top of my demo area...lots of stuff to hand to play with: glimmers, vivas, kaisers and textures.

People seemed fascinated with the textures I was creating onto chipboard or wood substrates like this one below which has been embellished with a piece of silver metal shaped to a mould and painted with black paint.

 We demoed a variety of ideas. Stamping on metal, embossing metal on moulds, stamping an image and puffing out (embossing) the metal in specific areas of the stamped image (as above). We also tried altering metal before stamping (with paint and glimmer mists), as well as altering the metal after stamping and embossing. 

Here is one of the moulds done with a coloured metal. Position a strip of coloured metal onto the mould and rub over with a paper stump. Start with a fat stump, and move to a thinner one to accentuate finer detail. Next work wround the mould with a rounded teflon tool then finally use a fine teflon tipped pointy tool to outline the detail in a sharp refined manner. Sand the raised parts of the mould with a sanding block. Fill the back of the embossed area with a polyfiller, then fix to humungo tape and cardstock, and add a border with a diagonal texture wheel. I used this to accent one of the door hangers which I had coloured in Pinks and oranges.

We also demoed textured backgrounds made with pastes, stamps, paints, and altered with paints (kasier colour or Viva Decor) and glimmer mists.

Texture Products

So let me show you in more detail the texture technique that caused such a buzz over the weekend. Everyone was loving this idea with either Terra or Ferro as a base. If you are going to paint over the top with either kaiser colour acrylics or with Viva metallics, it doesn't matter which base product you use or the colour of it, particularly if you are going to paint over the top. Terra is slightly thicker, it is an earthen-looking texture (think clay or terracotta) with a creamy-gritty texture. Ferro is a slightly softer texture, it's sparkly and rusty, so all the colours of that collection are very metallic-rusty looking. 

How to use texture

  • You can stamp into both these products, but make sure to wet your stamp first. If it's damp it will release more easily from the texture.
  • Apply your chosen product to the surface with a spatula, its nice to have some thick and some thin areas. Stamp into it. Set aside to dry (10 to 15 mins)
  • If you don't like the image created, smooth over and re-stamp with a different image, or add more product if the texture is too thin. If the texture is too thick, thin it down a little with your spatula.
Using Paint on top of Texture
If you want a matte finish, then Kaiser colour acrylic Paints are the ones. These are a basic crafting acrylic, with a superb colour range. KaiserCraft (an Australian company) release paints regularly to match up with their scrapping papers, so the colours are on trend and the very matt finish is perfect for stamping on top of.

When using kaisercolours I choose a couple of light shades and a couple of darker shades. Eg Turquoise, coastal blue, Olive and Pistachio. Onto that was sprayed iridescent gold glimmer which has warmed it up and added some sparkle.

Other colours I like are in the dips Red and Tropical Waters and lighter on top with dusky pink , Coastal blue and white

 For autumnals, how about Raw Umber, raw sienna, terracotta , soft moss, olive and antique white. You can really use any colours, just make sure that they contrast with each other. 

 For the brights I adore Hot Pink, candy, Orange and Mango. White also looks great on top of this as do glimmer mists.

So now you have seen some colour ideas, how do we do it?
  • First you want to paint the dips (the crevices created by stamping into the texture - see above). You can either put light or the dark colours into the dips. Use about 3-4 different colours randomly applied one at a time around pushed into the texture using the paint applied to cut and dry foam. Dry after painting each colour.

  • Now you can bring a contrasting colour over the top. This colour need to be different to all those in the dips. If you have used a light shade in the dips, then put a darker shade on the riased areas, or if you have dark colours in the dips, then use a light colour on top.

  • If you have a couple of colours on top then you start to add more interest to the piece. Below I have used Mocha and Coastal blue on the top, but in the dips was Raw umber and turquoise (the turquoise looks paler because it was sprayed with patina glimmer mist later whihc lightened it a little). How cool does that clock stamp look!! See it here. The script in Mini 44. A fave of mine!

  • To finish you can add some glimmer mists for a touch of sparkle, or you can add sparkle with Viva decor Precious metal colour paints. Shake the bottle, open and dip your finger into the lid, then rub the paint over a few raised sections of your textured background. This sample below has Moroccan Brown terra as the base, then in the 'dips' are Olive and Raw sienna Kaiser colour. Also we have Antique white to lighten and add contrast to the dips. You can see a little Viva Gold is rubbed over some of the bumpy areas on top too.

So there you have it for now. I'll post some more later this week about other techniques I demoed at the NEC. Have a great week!!


Thursday 5 November 2009

NEC Day 1

Fantastic day. It's the best bit demoing on the stand. All the planning and organisation reaches the point of the whole process.

Lots of freindly faces, new and old, came by. For some people they found us later in the day (because of our slightly unusual location where Art Materials meets the hobbycrafts section of the show, but I think its the perfect spot for us, as most of what I am demoing is paints (kaiser and viva) with the texture pastes, so a lot of the tradition "fine art" people enjoyed taking a look too.

I took lots of photos of today's samples, but can you believe it, both Mark and I left our camera-to-laptop cables behind, so I shall have to figure that problem out tomorrow!

Suffice to say, some stuff with Archie..yes he can be bought now! Also did a few bits with the marhsmellow glimmer mist...nice!!! And i love sanding the silver metal  before painting, glimmering and then stamping on it...

The bargain bit got a good workout today, and the mixed metal pack of coloured metals are something people are enjoying as a starter taster pack.

Plus we have the 2 new colours of metal, a nice olive green, and autumnal orange...very very nice. Might play some more with those tomorrow!!

Really wishing i could show you the large tag in blues and reds with a metal embossed mould strip across the bottom...oh well  guess you'll just have to wait! 

Fingers crossed i can find a camera cable tomorrow!

Hope to see you on our stand AM06 over the next few days!


Best ever Spinach Pie-Quichey thing

I know this is completely off topic, but winter makes me into a homebody be it pies, soups or baking. So I thought I'd share a few fridge-empty-ing tactics that are family faves, and perfect for lazy Sunday lunches in winter. Kids who don't eat spinach, usually will eat it this way! I have to think up lots of cunning plans to get green veges into the kids; pie and soup are my 2 most successful ways to input green veges into those relucatant mouths! 

I actually don't really use recipes, I just chuck stuff in as I go along based on what is in the fridge, but I concentrated hard this time so I could report back to you!! Last night we had this with a green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, chives and Miss Millie knocked up a blue cheese dressing (recipe below).

Leandra' Spinach Pie

50g butter
1small onion
1 clove garlic
1 bag spinach leaves (can also use silverbeet - common downunder - but cut out the white stalks)
6 eggs
1 tub of ricotta cheese
1 pkt feta cheese (200g??)
2 cups of grated cheese (tasty/ medium..whatever cheddar you have to hand)
150ml cream (double in the UK, single downunder...can use the whole pot if you wish)
salt and pepper to season
1 packet of puff pastry.

Put the butter to melt on medium heat in the frypan, and while melting finely chop the onion and garlic and add to the butter. Stir until soft, but you want this to happen slowly, no browning.

Wash the spinach and drain a little, then add the the onion mix, stir around until JUST wilted, and turn off the element, set aside to cool.

Take the puff pastry out of the packet, roll in the lengthwise direction until the rectangle is longer, then cut into 2 pieces: make one portion 2/3rd (base) and the other 1/3 (for the lid).Roll out the base and place into a butter-greased dish.
Note: I use a really large rectangular ceramic dish that takes up most of the over (like a lasagne dish) , but also a roasting tray would do...this makes a large pie about 2 inches high which is enough for us (family of 6) to have 2 meals, evening then lunch the next day. But you can also freeze the leftovers for another day, or you can bak in a smaller dish, and make a much taller pie, up to 4" tall is also a nice way to go.

In a large bowl crack the 6 eggs, the tub of ricotta, the feta (crumbled), the grated cheese and the cream. Whisk with a fork until the eggs are just broken up, don't over-mix its nice to have feta and ricotta lumps. Add to this the cooled spinach mix, salt and pepper seasoning, and with your fork gently mix through again. Pour this onto the pastry base.

Roll out the pastry for the lid. Fold the base flaps/ edges to lie on top of the mix, brush with egg, then put the lid on top, brush with egg and bake at 180 degrees Celcius (375F). When you can smell the pie, and the pastry in brown on the top it is usually done, but check with a sharp knife pushed into the centre of the pie that it comes out clean.

I guess this is a bit like a quiche with a lid, and you can also add cooked chopped bacon, grated courgette, lightly steamed broccolli and other green veges into the mix before baking. Its one of those things that is also nice cold the next day (or warm!). Our kids sometimes add tomato sauce on top, but if that's what it takes to get them to eat greens, then so be it! I wish I'd take a photo of this last night now!!!

Millie's 1 minute salad dressing
Basic Viniagrette
equal amountds of olive oil and white wine vinegar (3T each??), salt, pepper, 1/2t dijon mustard and shake and serve.
T= tablespoon
t= teaspoon

To make this into a blue cheese dressing, add a dollop of sour cream or plain unsweetened yoghurt, and crumble 1 t of blue cheese into the dressing shaker. Put on the lid and shake. keeps in the fridge for a few days, but the oil may need to come to room temp if you store it in the fridge. We just make what we need fresh each day.

Franich Green Soup
Again this recipe can be adapted to what is in the fridge, but blended, creamy soups are a great way to trick kids into eating their veges.

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
5 stalks celery
1 large leek
2 large courgettes
5 potatoes
1 head broccoli
chicken stock (4 OXO cubes, 2 litres water)

 Turn a huge soup pot onto medium heat, and put 50g butter in to slowly melt. Add all the ingredients as they are prepared.

FInely diced onion and garlic, diced celery, chopped leek, courgettes grated, potaotes peeled and diced, brocoli chopped. Keep stirring, but don;t allow to brown, this should soften.

Pour enough water on the veges until the are just covered. Crumble in the 4 stock cubes, bring to the boil slowly, then turn down to a slow simmer until the veges are soft (40 mins)

Blend soup with a blending gizmo gadget (the one that goes zzzzzzzz). Just before serving add half to 1 pot of cream and season with salt, pepper.

Optional : you can also add spinach to this, or just use broccoli on its own...or just leek and potato..there are loads of options to the basic concept.

I make this with an easy peasy homemade bread recipe that is also never fail and no-kneading required! this makes a massive batch of soup (like 3-4 litres) but eat some and freeze the rest. Be careful when reheating if it has cream in it.

Easy Peasy Bread

4 cups strong white flour
1-2 cups wholemeal flour
1T salt
2 packets of yeast ( or about 1 Tablespoon loose granules)
1.5 C boiling water
1.5C cold milk from fridge
herbs, salt/pepper, olive oil

Put the flours in a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon salt, dried herbs (dill is nice). Stir to combine.

In a 1 litre jug, pour 1.5C of boiling water. To this add 1T of sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Now add the cold milk from the fridge. This makes the temperature of the liquid lukewarm. Now add the yeast to this sprinkled on the top. Set aside for 5 minutes until it is good and frothy. Add a good glug of oil to this miz (about 3-5T)

Here is the trick to mixing the bread. Get a rubber spatula, and while evenly pouring the fluid into the flour, keep lifting the flour with the spatula from the bottom of the bowl to the top in a cutting motion so that the liquid evenly gets the dry ingredients wet. Do this fast, but DO NOT OVERMIX. Once you have all the fluid poured into the dry, the contents of the bowl will probably be still a bit dry. Don't mix any more, tip contents out onto a floured worktop, and with your hands gently pull all the inredients together until they are mixed. The mixture should feel soft. Again, do not overwork this, just keep flopping the mix over until it all comes together. If the mix is too wet, then add more flour from the work top while kneading until it is not sticky. Place into a warm, well oiled bowl, and leave for 20-30 mins to rise.

Once the dough has risen to the top of the large bowl, tip out and re-knead for a minute or 2 until it is back to normal size and nice and soft and oily.

I bake this in a roasting dish lined with a craft sheet that I use for baking, pizzas and bread (not crafting!!). The craft sheet fits in my roasting dish enough to line 2 sides and the base. The 2 ends that are not lined I rub with oil.

Press the dough into the baking tray, encouraging it to go into all the corners. use your knuckles to make dimples all over, then grate/sprinkle rock salt generously all over, and drip some olive oil all over the top. Sprinkle fresh herbs on (rosemary or whatever you have). Set aside to rise again until it has doubled in size. (10-15 mins). Turn the oven onto 180 degrees celcius to pre-heat.

Bake the bread in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins. Usually its close to ready when you can smell it, but test that a knife comes out clean. Remove from the roasting tin fast so that it doesn't sweat and place on a rack to cool. the bottom should be hollow sounding, and browned like the top. If the bottom is pale, then it's probably still gluggy inside the loaf too and not quite done.

This basic bread recipe can also be used for pizza bases (we make alrge rectanguar ones on a baking tray), small muffin-sized rolls, or if you let it rise on a round, no-hole pizza tray, it is idea for making large round sandwiches for parties or entertaining. I fill mine with ham, avocado, letuce and tomoato and cut into wedges for people to help themselves. Delicious.

So there you have it, the Leandra cookery corner! LOL

NEC - Our location at the show...important

Being a bit blonde, as you all know, I only just figured out yesterday that our booth at the NEC is in the Art materials section of the show. All the sections (art materials, hobbycrafts, Xmas gifts etc) all blend into one this year, so you will probably end up walking all the aisles anyway, and the nice coffee place is down in the art section...and the loos!!!

So if you are looking for PaperArtsy the stand number is AM06

All the show is in a different place/ hall this year, you will be in for the long walk to Hall 20 rom the main entrance where the buses drop you off. Probably faster and closer to walk from the North carparks!!! 

Our booth row is the very first row of the Art Materials section, and our information is listed in the guide unders the "art materials" section too, so if you are looking us up under "Hobbycrafts" you won't see our name.

The stand looks fab, we are just off to do the final touches now, so see you there. I'll tweet a piccie before the show opens, so follow me on @paperartsy to get show updates live!!

Come by and say Hi over the ext 4 days!! Lots of yummy stuff to play wiht on our booth!


Tuesday 3 November 2009

We're going to be at the NEC

We have decided very last minute to book a stand at the NEC. After doing the Artisan show a few weeks back, we kind of got the bug to maybe try a few shows again. I wanted to see if we had enough energy after all the ArtsyCrafts and other events we have done of late, and we are feeling up for it!! I used to go and demo for companies at the NEC in the past, but this time we shall take our own stand, we are quite excited!!!

We shall ahve all the full collections of PaperArtsy stamps (Ink and the Dog, Urban Snapshots, Squiggly Ink) plus our own Rum and Raisin papers. Come by to see the new Clock stamps and how to make those crazy Ding and Dong birds.

Plus we will have Viva Decor products, paints, texture pastes, and the Kaisercolour acrylic paints to create effects like this. 

 We have plenty of wooden and chipboard substrates, plus all the metalworking tools and products we sell such as inidividual wheels, pointy tools, sheets of aluminium metal and moulds. These are all very reasonably priced items, and you must drop by our stand to get some great ideas of how to use these items.

Also you will be able to see the latest samples from our recent ArtsyCrafts event, and the techniques we used to get those effects.

Plus we will have some of the newest glimmer mist colours including the amazing Marshmellow which is opaque and creates some VERY cool  results!!!

So come by our stand, we are in the HobbyCrafts section of the show close to the Art Materials Section.


Sunday 1 November 2009

ArtsyCrafts - 2 fabulous weekends

What can I say? Lin and I are both totally overwhelmed with the wonderful feedback from the delegates who attended both of these events. We think we have now found a format that works really well, operates at a nice pace, and creates a warm friendly and supportive environment suitable for newbies and experienced alike.

 So many people told us in their evaluations that this altered art weekend was the best they had ever attended, which was the biggest compliment to us we could ever hope to receive. So take a look at the pictures below from the event, because maybe this kind of thing is somrthing you might like to attend in the future. We had people in the last 2 weeks travel from as far away as Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Devon, and even some international,"across the ditch" people came from France, Holland, and Norway. So if you live in England, the location near Milton Keynes is very central, and close to Luton airport. So don't try telling us it's too far away, we won't believe you!!! LOL

We provice everything for the weekend that you need. In fact if all you arrived with was a pair of Tim Holtz scissors, you would be set to go! Here is the table set for the first class, with step out colour notes, the class kits, and lots of goodies on the table to work with. We issue each person for the whole weekend with a metal working kit, so you have a basic tool set with paper stumps, a mat set, sanding block, glues etc for you to use whenever you wish.

Each table also had one of these samples to refer to so you could see how the colours might work together.

We were very pleased that just about everyone got all their projects finished at the event, so the timings were pretty much on the button for all the classes. People seemed to enjoy all the projects and techniques we taught, and everyone met new people and made fantastic new friendships.

Here are some of the projects we made in various colour groups. Below is French Maison (blue and beige),  Autumn Days (warm tones of rust, olive and brown), and English Rose (soft pink and cream). We also had Peacock (rich greens, blues and chocolate with gold and copper highlights), Cappucino (coffee coloured shades of brown), and Country Charm (pale soft shade of duck egg blue and pistachio green with silver highlights.

 Within the groups there was the opportunity to ramp up the colours or tone them down based on your personal preference. So it was fascinating how a table could have huge variations by only using some of the colours, eg just using green instead of blue and green, or by creating the project rich instead of pale with cream or white base.

The rooms were quite spacious, with an area for the shop at one end of the room. With 5 people per table, and supplies in the centre, there is plenty of room to flap your wings, and yet you can still reach what you need.

As you have probably gatheredhe theme was "time" and the main project was a large clock which we created over 3 sessions. We also made a mini box decorated inside and out, a small arch shaped concertina book and a UTEE metal clock embossed embellishment with grunge wings, perfect to decorate a diary or journal cover.

The techniques and products we focussed on were viva Decor Terra texture paste, Kaisercolour paints, and Viva Decor precious metal colour paints. Our aim during the weekend is to use most of these products a few times in different ways so that people grow in their confidence with those products, and understand the versatility of how to work with them in a variety of situations. Each event we also try to incorporate an item with UTEE, and so we had a session with the melt pots too. Melt pots are always a new thing for some of the delegates, but it's nice to show how versatile they are.  And of course the glue of all these sessions are Lin and my specialty areas; Metal and Stamps. We incorporate new techniques and ideas with Metal and stamps in all the sessions so that people learn many ways to use these products together.

If one thing came through in the evaluations forms is that it is very evident to the delegates at ArtsyCrafts events how much preparation Lin and I put in. It is very important to us that people go home with full colour step-by-step notes for each session. We impart so much information, that it's nice to have a professional resource to refer back to when you are at home and wondering "how the heck did i do that?" 6 months later!

"A bit of me time" Mini Box.
This was a cute little box which we painted, decorated with stamped/ coloured papers, and then adorned the inside with metal embellishments.The outside has a fob watch with a cracked face on the cover. The sides of the box had cuttlebugged metal on them.

"Storytime" Arch concertina book
The cover chipboard and pages were all painted with Kaisercolour paints, stamped, and we did some masking, adding more paint for depth, and decorating insdie the arch with metal birds on pearl metal.

"Time Flies" UTEE Embellishment
The clock with wings was our UTEE class. Lin worked out that using UTEE on top of embossed metal is a great way to support the metal instead of using a polyfiller type product from behind. So we stamped an image onto pearl metal, embossed (puffed out) the metal, then glimmered it and finally added a layer of clear UTEE. this was cut out with a cookie cutter. To this we attached wings made from painted and stamped grungepaper.

"Tick Tock" 
So to our big project, the clock. We taught this over 3 sessions. The face of the clock was textured with Terra which we stamped into. Once dry we painted it with acrylic paints, and sprayed with glimmer mist, and added some Viva Precious metal colour accents to the high points.

We also painted some metal to match the colour of the clock face so that we could stamp on this surface for embellishments on the canvas, however, some people opted to do these directly onto the copper painted metal.

The base that the clock rests on is a large rectangular canvas. This was painted, and stamped. with pale colours. Then overstamped with Viva preciuos metal colour.

Then we added quotes in black, and together with the metal panels and painted embellishments, plus the clock numbers it all starts to come together.

The 4 metal panels to go on the canvas had been embossed on the Ten Seconds Studio moulds.

 The panels were painted and perhaps glimmered to antique them.

We also created some other clock metal embellishments (the painted/stamped pieces mentioned before), and of course the numbers for the clock were also stamped onto metal.

It was wonderful to look at all the artwork that was displayed around the room as each person developed their own version of each project. We were amazed how the artwork different even within a table.

Here is a group photo of weekend number 2, we never got a piccie from the First weekend, but we'll make sure to do this at future events! 

Colours choices at ArtsyCrafts events

When people register with us to attend the event, they indicate their colour preferences from a list of up to 10 options. We count up everyone's first choices, and this determines the colours available at the event. For this event, 'French Maison' was so popular we had 3 tables of that colur scheme (soft blue and beige) and we were thrilled that practically everyone at the event got their first available colour choice to make the main project (clock).

When making other projects over the weekend we allow a free choice system so that delegates can have a go at a different colour, which means there are about 2-3 opportunities to try something different. This system also means that you don't know who you will sit with until you arrive, and at the end of the weekend you have met so many new people, that even those who came with friends were happy to have made many new ones too.

Lastly can I say a huge thankyou to all who came and made the event such a success and so enjoyable. Both groups each weekend were so lovely to teach. Even those who were out of their comfort zone jumped in boots and all to give every project 100% effort and it really showed in the results. We were in awe of the wonderful and inidividual ways you all expressed yourselves. And of course Lin and I couldn't do it without our fabulous helpers. Here we all are in the picture, from the left Jo, Lynne H, Lin, Karen and Leandra.

This was the 5th ArstyCrafts event we have offered, and with so many new people and committed fans who have attended every single event, we anticipate the march 2010  weekends will sell out fast. The popularity and high quality of these events have created a demand point where we could probably offer 3 weekends, but we cannot fit this into our schedules. So with this in mind, we expect it's likely to be a bit of a rush to book places. To be fair to everyone, we will be announcing the details in full for a few weeks before the booking date commences. If you are on either the LB Crafts or PaperArtsy mailing lists, you will get an email, otherwise sign up to this blog or Lin's blog (LB Crafts) where the same info will also be made public. Start saving now, we have a fabulous theme lined up and Lin and I have already had a meeting where we have sketched out some potential class ideas! I think you will love it...we are buzzing about it !!

If you attended one of these events, please can I ask you to leave a comment on this blog post and a link back to your blog post about the weekend so that people can come and take a look now and in the future your opinions of ArtsyCrafts weekends and the items you made.

Have a great weekend, now that the rough winter weather has arrived, it's perfect to start thinking about Xmas cards and gifts...maybe you could make small clocks for gifts???