Monday 31 December 2012

January {SALE} now on

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year and a fantastic 2013.

We hope you have found some time over the Christmas period to enjoy our latest technique videos recently added to the PaperArtsy You Tube channel featuring many ideas with paint, texture and gilding products. Thanks so much for the fantastic feedback on the blog and the You Tube channel. It seems that you enjoy the longer in depth videos, and that many of you are picking up a paintbrush & paints and having a go with fantastic results.

If you need to top up your stash, you may be pleased to know we are kicking off the 2013 with a short sale to celebrate. So grab a bargain to suit your budget!

Spend over £50 and get 10% off
Spend over £100 and get 20% off
Spend over £150 and get 30% off

The discount is automatically activated for you when the SUBTOTAL (ie before tax total) reaches the required threshold. So you don't need to do anything except add items to your shopping basket, and then proceed through the checkout.

The shopping cart seems to like it better if you log in first (if you are a returning customer) using your email and personal password you set up the first time you ordered with us. You can log in on the bottom left of the shopping cart side bar.

We have some new changes coming up for the PaperArtsy blog in the New Year, so make sure to subscribe now so that you get the low down as soon as it happens!

For now, let me leave you with a taster of Jo Firth-Young's 2013 stamp release. This gives you an idea of what's up her sleeve this New Year! Here is the first advance release from her new series of stamps. 

This plate is available now online (JOFY09) and I'm sure you'll agree with me, Jo's style has huge appeal! You can do so much with this plate, Jo will be blogging soon with her own ideas using these too
Have a safe and happy New Year, don't forget, the sale starts New Year's Day at PaperArtsy

Saturday 29 December 2012

Emerging from the leftovers...

Christmas has come and gone in a flash, always such a big build up and before you know it it's been almost a week since it happened!!

We have had an interesting time. One of my favourite 'down-time' things to do is enjoy cooking in a relaxed, no pressure manner. However, this year our landlord gave the thumbs up for the kitchen renovation, so it was a bit touch and go as to whether we would actually have an oven to use on the big day! In the end we did, but that meant Christmas food shopping was literally just before the big day, although I was surprised how quiet it was doing everything last minute, so it worked out OK in the end.

So I guess you want to see kitchen pics! I would too!

We went from this with 2 working days to go....

To this, I know it looks done, but none of the tiles are grouted, no plinths around the cupboards, new skirting boards not in place yet, and still lots of white gloss paint needed, appliance heights need i think there is still 2-3 days work left to do.

But the best part is the oven got wired in just in time, which was good because the old oven is in the garden, and with all the rain we've had it would have been camp stove with 2 elements and a very dodgy microwave as the only alternative. I am loving the tiles, and I am really loving the wall colour, so every morning I feel like I am walking into someone elses's kitchen!

So this was the temporary kitchen which we put in the lounge, and it actually worked really going back to New Zealand open plan living! Damn lucky the fridge fitted behind the door! Just!

We were joined with my sister and her BF from Cambridge for Christmas, in fact they are still here for this weekend, but it has been very relaxed, and lovely to have extra helping hands around! Plus of course Courtney is back from Uni for 3 weeks, and her BF arrives for a few days today. So Even though Millie and Ella left us for New Zealand, we have been just as busy as a household! And we are only a Skype call away from the girls, so it's been pretty cool.

They didn't want to pose for a normal photo at Heathrow - typical!

So Christmas morning the team decided Eggs Benedict was the order of the day with bubbly. How civilised I must say, eh what! At least I didn't curdle the proper home made hollandaise sauce! It was ace!!

Next up the 'turkey baby' that we had prepared the day before. Mark and I (and kids) are rather partial to a 3 bird roast. It's not as hard as you'd think, and so worth the effort. Once you've had this, you would not go back to turkey on its own, the flavours are amazing, and so juicy.

De bone your outer bird, we usually use a really large chicken to keep costs down, but we couldn't get one big enough, so we opted for a small turkey from the local farmer's market this year. You cut down the side of the backbone, to open butterfly styley, leave the legs and wings intact on the outside, but removing all the inner bones, creating a big open cavity. You lay a layer of christmassy sausage, then the next 'bird' although we just use breasts (duck) and repeat with pheasant. Then my last layer is a normal breadcrumb style stuffing, with fruit/ nuts/ herbs.

Then you start sewing it up - which is where the teddy bear stitch I learned about 24 years ago comes in handy to create an invisible seam. Once you have sewn it back together it looks like a normal turkey again! Only better on the inside! I like to cover with a lattice of streaky bacon. And then you cook it based on the weight, as you would for roast poultry.

The beauty of this is I think the layers of sausage meat on the inside keep the turkey meat much moister than usual, so it's a win win.

So we sat down to a proper Christmas meal after all - yay for the kitchen guys getting it done to usable status just in time, and yay to having Emma and Nick here to help us unpack everything into it, and restore normal working order to the lounge and house in general!

And so we sit in front of the fire each night, with the tree blinking each evening watching the rain come down outside watching the Christmas tellybox, and generally eating too much chocolate and other festive food! There is deffo something magical about a winter Christmas, rather than the hot ones in NZ! Although I could handle a beach right now!!

We are still managing snippets of work, trips to the post office and so on in between the leftovers!

Here's wishing you all a wonderful New Year, we'll see you on the other side, it's nearly 2013!!! Flipping Eck!!


Monday 17 December 2012

Layers, cracks, texture....oh my

I think i've come to the conclusion that the layering of paint is the whole point of Acrylic Paint. Of course you can use it as one layer on an item if you wish, or you can water down and whitewash. So those things don't include layers at all. BUT, if you really want to enjoy the true nature of acrylic paints, then the excitement and unexpected loveliness comes from creating layers. Knowing when to use your opaques, when to use translucents, and how to create contrasting areas. It's not all that difficult, and you just keep going until you are happy with the effect. We have both light and dark shades of translucent paints - these can really make the layers more interesting.

I totally lose myself when I just let go and enjoy the process of letting the combinations flow. This is the accidental way to find out that blue can look amazing with orange, or pink, orange and red can pop with a touch of zesty zing bright yellow. Equally you find colours that are a real struggle to get to work. I am really not great at autumnals because I find they require a lot of drying between layers or you can get mud- but then mud is a shade of autumn right? But I have accidentally made tertiary colours like purple from inky pool and claret. OK so maybe this is basic colour theory, but I was never taught any of that stuff, so for me, colour theory happens in real life when I muck about and see it working or not working under my nose.

What I enjoy most about this experimentation, is that it takes as long as it takes, and you can keep tweaking until you are really happy. The feature of this piece is getting the crackle effect, and the paint layers to blend together.

I happily used up the left overs on the other sides of the wooden gift box, like the back, and I also painted the handles black, then rubbed treasure gold over them.

And, of course on the raised areas of texture (which is ferro under the paint), I have used lighter shades of Treasure Gold over the top, applied softly with a brush.

If you want to see a looooong video of me figuring out how to layer the paints, then you can see it here on our You Tube channel.

We have an exciting week here ahead. Millie (14) and Ella (16) were 3 and 5 when we left New Zealand to come over to England. They fly back tomorrow evening to spend Christmas with the extended Franich family. They are a bit nervous about the trip, but I am sure they will be fine, and they are going to love getting to know all their Aunts, Uncles and cousins, and working on those sun tans. Gran and Poppy have been here to visit us a few times, so they are looking forward to meeting them off the plane on Wednesday in Auckland. Ella is in the middle of GCSE mocks, so she's hardly had time to pack her bag!

If you've been following me on twitter, you'll know our landlord decided a week or so ago that the kitchen could be re-fitted before Christmas. Well, we have a sink plumbed in. LOL. The temporary kitchen in the lounge is working out pretty well actually, but of course the only appliance I miss is the oven, which would be helpful come Christmas Day! They still have to tile, floor, paint and wire the whole kitchen back into the mains. Oh and fit the oven/extractor. In five days. I reckon they can do it. Just. But the dust everywhere is mental. I guess I'll spend all of the weekend cleaning and moving us back in. I reckon if its not done I can cope with Xmas dinner from a microwave and the 2 element has camp stove! Unless someone wants to drop a cooked turkey around??? LOL

I'll keep you posted.


Friday 14 December 2012

My oldest technique: corner-corner-side

For me, this technique was a crucial 'a-ha' moment. About 15 years ago the concept of 'direct-to-paper' or DTP as we would refer to it in our yahoo groups back then was all the rage with Cats Eyes pigment ink pads (colour box) where the shape was specifically suited for DTP, and I also loved using the gorgeous VersaMagic ink (Tsukineko). Those colours were (and still are) so soft and chalky, and if you dried between layers you could put the lighter shades on top of the darker ones to soften back, or even successfully stamp the white on top of dark blues. Then we would stamp our preferred images in Brilliance Black, which was juicy, black, and dark, and easy to emboss in clear powder. Or background stamps in other lighter shades. he effect was very similar to this below, however, the piece below is done with Fresco Finish Acrylic Paints.

For DTP, we would apply the ink directly to you paper using the ink pad itself as the applicator, and because they were pigment inks, and wetter/thicker than dye inks they would blend beautifully, apply easily, and of course there was no mess. We did do try to do this with Adirondack ink (Ranger Industries), but dye inks, as you know have a firmer felt pad rather than the sponge of pigment ink pads, and so the dyes tend to suck onto the paper in one spot and are not as easy to blend, so to get the ink onto the paper more effectively, and softly for backgrounds, our preference was to use mens shaving brushes, or various thickness of stipple brushes to apply dye inks. These are the days of the Grid Technique, Masking stamped images, plenty of embossing powder, and who can forget the star books that kind of popped out and you could hang like a Christmas decoration.

Of course this all happened in the years before Distress Inks and Ink Applicator tools were invented! LOL Hard to imagine now isn't it! We did fabulous watercolour techniques with Adirondack dye inks, as they are non-permanent, I really think that colour palette has stood the test of time. I must have bought my first Lettuce and Cranberry ink pads about 19 years ago, and they are still reinked regularly, and still going strong.

So the challenge with all these inks was how to get the ink onto the paper backgrounds, and have a variety of blended colours across the entire piece. And, if possible, layers. And thus, about 11 years ago from my very own head was born the concept of 'corner-corner-side'.....11 years ago. Hmmmmmm....So it must have taken me at least 8 years to figure it out then? LOL

It's pretty simple, all you need is 2 groups of contrasting colours, eg blues/greens and a light, medium and dark of each group. You apply the lightest shade to 2 corners and the opposite side (centre) of your substrate. Then in the contrasting shade fill the 3 gaps, which should be the remaining corner, corner and opposite side. Now start building depth using the darker shades, and try to blend the different zones into each other so they don't look like separate blocks of colour. You can use background stamps as 'bridges' between the colours, for example, stamp a script in green over the blue zone, and postmarks in blue over the green zone.

So the natural progression was to also do this technique with distress inks, you can get some great effects when you apply, then knock back the concentrated ink with a baby wipe.

I also have done this for many years with acrylic paints, which I do find, are much easier than inks to get the zones to blend. Remember, the light shades like Vintage Lace and Snowflake, Moonlight, Ice Blue, Sherbet, Honey Dew are your blending friends!

So take a look at this video, and maybe 'corner, corner, side', even though it's quite an analytical and structured process, will help you achieve totally random, blended backgrounds. I hope you enjoy it!



Tuesday 11 December 2012

Do you {bump} ...cos i do !

Today's video is all about a fantastic technique that Lynne Perrella taught us when she came to teach at ArtsyCrafts. How I have not thought of doing this before I'll never know but its deffo one of those doh moments. Thanks Lynne for sharing it with me, this year I have shown it to a few thousand more at many shows!!

You can do this really fast, and very effectively with Fresco Chalk effect paints, particularly the opaque ones really fast. But if you want to take things the next level, then you'll want to introduce some translucent shades for depth, and you need a sanding block to sand back sneaky peeks to previous layers. I feel like I say quite often 'this is my favourite' product, technique etc all the time...but it is fair to say, this is one of the most frequently used techniques in the last 12 months on all kinds of projects. It's great onto wood, its perfect to use several different stencils on the same background, and its awesome with fine detail or blocky stencils, in other words, they all work well for this!

So go and check out this video, a nice blue and orange combo it is too! 

Monday 10 December 2012

Stamped Fabric coloured with {Fresco} Acrylic Paints

It was only supposed to be a 5 minute thing, and when I demo this at shows, that is really all it takes, but I had to choose an image to match the size of fabric, and of course, large images take longer to colour in! Doh! Colouring 101! I got a few boo boos happening along the way, no biggie, but the trouble shooting on that took time...but hey ho, it all worked out well enough in the end.

I certainly enjoyed the experience, hope you do too! Its a very soothing thing to do, and one of those in front of the telly things you can potter about with. You can find Fresco Finish Paints here.

You deffo need a cuppa and piece of Xmas cake for this one...a nice 40 mins feet up...which is why it took about 2 days to upload to you tube!!!
The Lynne Perrella and Jo Firth-Young images are perfect for stamping onto fabric. 

Lynne's because of the way she collages so many elements into the stamps, that there are loads of quirky bits to highlight. I also find that her images really come to life once lots of colours are added, the detail can be lost in black and white, so when you add the colour, the image makes more sense IYKWIM. 

And Jo's because the images are so simple, that often only 1 or 2 colours are all that is required with some soft shading, so hers are perfect for quick Xmas card, particularly if you are doing a production line of card making. But wait till you see her new stuff coming In January....OMG I am going to be doing loads of fabric projects, and so will Jo! Very excited!

We are still filming today, I'm onto the Shabby Chic French Furniture distressed paint effect. One of my favourites at the moment! I'll try to make it snappy so its not a 18 hour upload situation again!

Oh and thanks for all your lovely comments. Much appreciated. My passion as an ex-teacher has always been to share ideas, and for you to twist them/ adapt them, or use them however you wish. It is totally my pleasure to do so. Enjoy.


Friday 7 December 2012

Fresco Painted Background {Dark Colours}

I was impatiently tapping my feet yesterday waiting for this video to upload. Mark films them in HD, so the quality is such that you can watch them on a big screen HD TV. But that also means so much information, on quite a long video takes a looooong time to upload on our not-so-brilliant connection out here in the middle of rural farmland. But today, hooray, I wake to a new video ready to share with you all!

We have been building up all week to prepping you for some more nitty gritty stuff that you can really get your teeth into. Up until now it's been some more simple stuff, quick effects, textural ideas, nothing too challenging. But I know many of you have watched my demos at shows, and wanted a detailed how to that you can follow along with, so this is one of those videos.

Can I just say at this point. I am not an formally qualified artist, I have no art training, I never studied art at school. What I do is all self taught, or methods I have learned from many other lovely sharing people by reading (books/magazines/blogs), taking classes, watching people demo etc. I went to uni and I trained as a secondary school teacher in the late 1980's. The main subject I taught was Japanese, with a dabble of geography, and social studies (a year 7-10 humanities subject in New Zealand). So if I can do this painting malarkey, then i KNOW you can too!

What I do, and how I do it may quite possibly be frowned upon by some, hey-ho. I tend to do things in a rustic manner which probably raises more than a few trained artists' eyebrows! My philosophy has always been, try it, if you like it go with it. By jumping in boots and all, you often experience many happy accidents along the way. I think that we, and even the education system here is a lot less formal about how you get from point A to point B these days compared to how artists used to be trained, and this freedom means it is OK for us crafty peeps to have a go, there certainly is no right or wrong. Theres all kinds of ways.

To utterly lose yourself in the enjoyment of discovering 'what if' is great therapy, great relaxation, and a perfect way to wind down. So, please don't be fearful of creativity, once you get started, it all seems to just happen, and your inital worry about doing something wrong, or making a mistake evaporates.

We put videos online to help consumers and the shops we supply around the world understand more about our products, ways to use them, tips, shortcuts, product features etc. You Tube is an amazing resource. I love to see what other people are doing with our products. We are so fortunate in this day and age to have so many people who are freely willing to share their time and expertise in this way. It does take time to plan, prepare for and produce this information, so your comments and questions on all of our videos are very much appreciated more than you will ever realise. So a big thank you for taking the time to comment on our blog, or on the YouTube videos, it's very kind and thoughtful of you. Particularly as you put up with my kiwi accent- I forget how strong it is! We live in the part of England where most people speak Jamie Oliver Essex styley. I tend to think/hear in my own head that my accent is a mix of BBC English/Essex, but clearly it is nothing of the sort!! LOL still speaking the New Zealand lingo 100%.

Fresco chalk acrylic paints are all available online here. One tip I forgot to mention on the video, as they are so chalky, I find I don't need to use gesso so much anymore. The paint is perfect direct onto all kinds of surfaces, and generally does not require any primer.

Have a wonderful weekend. I am off to shoot another nitty gritty video.....I think of it as the shabby chic French furniture effect.... A bit similar to today's, but with the addition of crackle glaze, and using lighter shades of paint. It's my most fave technique at the moment. An ikea mirror might like this one!

Take care


Wednesday 5 December 2012

Puff Paint, Liquid Leaf and Treasure Gold

Today's videos are still starting off with the textured surface (ferro or puff paint). On top of those backgrounds are 2 options

Firstly Liquid Leaf. This comes in 8 colours, that are literally like those Krylon pens we used to use back in the day .....the most metallic thing ever. You can see for yourself in the video below. The Xylol that suspends the metallic powders evaporates, leaving the powders bonded to the surface of whatever you are working on: wood, paper products, metal, plastic, fabric etc. It smells really strong, but the effect is amazing! Happy Crafting!! ...well you will be after a session with Liquid Leaf!
The next video uses puff paint as an easy base. I love this effect, so easy, but of course could equally be done onto fabric, wood etc, so check out the items here and here online. Loads of new products have been added in recent weeks to our online shop, and there are some amazing bargains hidden in the Sale area too!.

We are shipping orders out on a daily basis, so there is still plenty of time to order in time for Christmas.

Don't forget to subscribe to the PaperArtsy You Tube Channel so you get immediate notifications. Still more videos to follow this week! On a roll....

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Texture with Treasure Gold

This week PaperArtsy HQ has become filming central! Not quite Hollywood...errrr PA-llywood??? LOL 
Mr PaperArtsy is the very capable director and editor, for the most part I try to do as I'm told.  I think he is now know as Hatman Productions....maybe he's found a new vocation... certainly his skills and talents seem to know no bounds. Yay!
We are filming a series of You Tube videos showing all the techniques I was demonstrating at shows throughout the autumn. This will give you some great ideas to get stuck into over the Christmas holiday period. It gives you the perfect excuse to get you friends, family and partners to go shopping online now for all the bits and bobs (or get you a gift certificate), and then after the fuss of Christmas has died down, you can watch the videos, and sit down and have lots of fun with these ideas!
The first two videos that went online today are using Ferro texture paste to get a really nice raised texture, like that in the pictures above of finished samples. This is done with a stencil, Ferro and a bit of heat directly onto a wooden gift box.Then you can add other gorgeous things like Treasure Gold, Fresco Acrylic paint or why not both!
The second video is the same technique onto a tag with Ferro, and then Treasure Gold applied directly to the tag to give a stunning metallic background.
This December we dare you to take the bull by the horns and have a go. Get stuck in. Try it, twist the ideas or colours to suit your preference, but just give something new a try. It's fun, and gets new ideas sparking once you've made a start. 

We are adding more videos almost daily in the next few weeks, so make sure to subscribe to the PaperArtsy Channel on You Tube so you get notifications as soon as the videos are online.

I'll chat to you again tomorrow no doubt!