Tuesday 31 December 2013

Happy New Year

Hi everyone, Leandra here

What can I say, where do I start. This year has been an utter joy and it's all because of you guys. We had our 10th birthday, and what a great way to celebrate the PaperArtsy brand with you guys. Thankyou!

The blog has evolved remarkably this year. Thanks wholly to Gillian and her wonderful administrative skills coordinating 12 beautifully talented Guest Designers, the PaperArtsy blog has been such a huge success and massive inspiration to people the world over; you the crafty people, you the amazing shops we supply, and a fantastic resource for those of you who are craft teachers looking for ways to share all things PaperArtsy. Thankyou!

The friendships that have developed online, off line, in classes, at shows, at PA tweet-ups, and via the end of semester PAtwit challenges has been fantastic. It is so fabulous to be one small part of a fully supportive, friendly and encouraging community. You are so good at welcoming new PAtwits to twitter or blog land, you all greet each other with such excitement and joy at the shows, and you all ask each other advice and offer support 24/7 be it leaking roofs, crazy weather, unwell pets, or the sad loss or ill heath of a loved one. Through thick and thin you guys are there for each other, and the crafting journey is just one part of the enjoyment we share together. Thankyou!

The participation in the weekly blog challenges has been fantastic to observe. You have no idea how important it is for our guest designers to get to see the impact of what YOU chose to make on the back of their posts. It is such a buzz for them to hear from you via the comments on each post, or with an evening chat on twitter. Thankyou!

And none of this would have been possible were it not for the wonderful products, stamps and ideas that our in house designers have brought to the table this year; Lynne Perrella, Jo Firth-Young, Lin Brown, Sara Naumann, Darcy Wilkinson have each created so many beautiful products. It has been an utter joy for Mark and I to work with you all and supplement your ideas with co-ordinating products. Thankyou!

I am very excited for 2014. We have brilliant new products to share with you and many of them will start to be featured in January by the first semester's guest designers. January is going to be all kinds of crazy as we get all the final details of these new products signed off. I wish I could say more, but I can't just yet! Our new guests are so excited behind the scenes and absolutely bursting to share their ideas with these products. They have such big boots to fill after our 2013 guests, but I know you will be awesome. Thankyou! 

2014 also sees some more changes to the blog, but those will be revealed on Sunday night. Will are thrilled that Darcy is joining Gillian as an additional administrator to help coordinate the new features. Thankyou!

We have a couple more videos to share with you to round off this week before the new kids kick off the term on Sunday, here's a sneak peek of tomorrow's video...I know, I'm ending the year on purple!! And starting the new one on purple! So I invite you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new too!
Oh, and I almost forgot, the January sale starts tomorrow too, our annual way to thank you! The more you spend the more you save. Discounts of 10%, 20% and 30% will be automatically applied to your shopping basket SUBtotal once it exceed £50, £100 or £150 pounds. The subtotal is the value before VAT and freight are applied. 

Our wish for you is that 2014 brings you happiness, good health, many new crafting friendships and much enjoyment!

From all of us here at PA HQ, a very happy New Year to one and all

Mark and Leandra, senior elves, and the munchkins x

Sunday 29 December 2013


Last week we had some great projects from Jo Myhill. We were shown some amazing home decor pieces. Two of her projects featured tissue paper, an extremely versatile  medium, firstly the crumpled texture and then the repeat stamping in the Moth project. Wow! that tissue ended up looking like expensive shop bought tissue. If you missed Jo's projects due to the chaos of Christmas, then be sure to go back and check them out. 

Thanks to everyone who joined in and made projects alongside Jo.

1. And the winners are...
Random winner #1 from the First Challenge draw (every single entry linked, including multiple entries) is: Emma D

 Congratulations, you have won a PaperArtsy A5 stamp of your choice. 

 Random winner #2 the winner from the Second Challenge draw, (only one entry per name)
 is: Janet

 Congratulations, you have won a PaperArtsy A5 stamp of your choice.

*Winners please get in touch with Darcy (darcydotneedles@hotmail.com) with your full  name,  address and choice of stamp plate. 

This concludes our last semester of 2013, thankyou to all our designers. Also a huge thankyou to everyone of you that, took time to read the blog posts, be inspired by them and then joined in with the challenges. Congratulations to all of the winners.

2. The week ahead...
Coming up in the week ahead we welcome back ...uh oh! We have nobody to welcome back, instead we have some more fabulous videos for you put together by our very own Mr and Mrs PaperArtsy, so be sure to check back over the week as the videos and blog post go live. Each video blog post will have its own challenge in the coming days, so that gives you more chances to win, and the prizes are brand new stamps and products not due for release until February 2014!

3. Multiple Challenges from....{Leandra}

I do hope that you will find time to join in with Leandra's techniques this week. You can link to your own blog, Pinterest or Flickr pages, or any webpage that shows us what you have made in response to her posts this week.

At the end of each of Leandra's video posts you will find a link-up tool, there is a separate link up for each video,so be sure to link up to the right one.

On Sunday 5th January  by 5pm (GMT) you need to have your link entered to be in with a chance of winning  a set of Limited edition paints and a brand new 2014 PaperArtsy A5 stamp set for each of the video blogs Leandra posts between now and January 5th.

Saturday 28 December 2013

2013 Christmas Cracker Video #2 {Abstract Canvas Prep}

Hi Everyone, Leandra here again

If you haven't noticed yet, post-Christmas we've gone a bit crackers here at PaperArtsy

This video is another 'foundation' idea. It's possible to adapt this idea onto all sorts of surfaces, chipboard or wood, in fact the idea could be used for pretty much any type of substrate preparation. 

Sometimes, when you are working on canvas, you may not want to see the weave of the canvas texture, it might be too dominant, or perhaps you don't want to see it at all, particularly if you plan to stamp on top, in that situation it may need to be particularly smooth. 

Alternatively, you could use Grunge Paste as the canvas feature. Today it has been both tinted and textured a variety of ways to create an abstract canvas background. 

The canvas was then framed with a second bespoke heart-shaped canvas.

2013 Christmas Cracker #2: Abstract Canvas Preparation

With this technique, we are trying to soften the texture canvas has, but also add a bit of colour, and perhaps some more random, and interesting texture at the same time. It's pretty fast, fun, and again, helps to kick-start your muse into action.

You could use this idea for book covers, a wooden frame, in your journal, or as I am doing, as the first step for a canvas feature. The possibilities are endless.

Cracker Ingredients:
Paint: 3 or 4 Fresco paints (opaque, light shades); Lake Wanaka, Stone, Sage, Space Cadet, Snowflake, Taupe, Mud Splat
PaperArtsy Grunge Paste
Palette Knife or old credit card
Pointy thing like a skewer or end of a paint brush
Stencil: Art is
Craft mat
Script stamps eg: Mini 44, Mini 23, Mini 29, Mini 62

Cracker Method: Grunge Paste dries in its natural state a sort of off-white shade, but as there is no pigment in GP at all, it is really easy to tint it. This means you can turn it into a texture past of any colour you like. Handy!

In today's video we are applying 4 shades of tinted GP to a small 8 inch canvas board in blocks, then smoothing off, and adding texture with stamps, tools etc. We will then frame it with a second bespoke heart-cut canvas in neutral brown tones with stencilled detailing, and finally we wash the texture on the canvas in taupe to reflect the tones of the frame.

Play Along:
ink how you have been inspired by this technique below. Play along and you will go in the draw to win a set of Limited edition paints and a brand new 2014 A5 stamp set.

Link closes 17:00 Sunday Jan 5th 2014.

Winner for Christmas Cracker Video #2 will be announced 19:00 Sunday January 5th 2014.

Thursday 26 December 2013

2013 Christmas Cracker Video #1 {Sanded Foundations}

Hi Everyone, Leandra here

Don't you think the days after Christmas are often the perfect time for getting creative?

People generally have a few days off work, and the frantic madness of the lead up to Christmas celebrations fades into a few welcome days of rest and realxation. The kids are happy chilling, playing with new toys. Christmas TV is littered with movies or special shows, teenagers disappear to friends houses and older family members bury their noses in books, or come to grips with new technological toys. Family visits are over with, and it's the blissful calm after the storm. With the family settled and plenty of leftovers in the fridge, its not too hard to escape to your craft space and try out some ideas.

Normally at the end of a semester we would have a 3UP or some other crazy week-long blog idea that I dream up, but this time we are doing a series of short videos that you can quickly watch and hopefully have a go yourself.  Some are ideas that I have wanted to do all year, others are versions of things you might have seen before, but all use our favourite PaperArtsy products of 2013 and a wide variety of techniques.

We are calling this series our 2013 Christmas Crackers, so grab a hold of the other end of this cracker, and take a look at what's inside - I promise...no cheesy jokes! You will have had enough of those already! It's going to be a nice round-up to the fabulous year we have enjoyed here at PA HQ!

You can sit back and watch, or if you prefer, you can pull the cracker with me, and play along. At the end of each blog post there is a place to link your version of this technique, the links on each post will all close 17:00 Sunday Jan 5th 2014 (London time).

The linked entries from each 2013 Christmas Cracker Video Blog have a winner drawn. The prizes will be brand new sets of limited edition paints and a brand new sets of stamps. These products are new for 2014, and won't be available until mid February, so join in the fun and start experimenting with some of these ideas!

2013 Christmas Cracker #1 : Sanded Foundations

The beginning of any project for me is generally to contemplate the possible layers I might build on. Foundations can be created in numerous ways with endless products. 
For example:
  • patterned or plain papers, torn, cut, punched
  • die cut layers cut from paper, smoothy or heavyweight smoothy
  • stencilled texture
  • embossed patterns in paper, card, foil, crunchy waxed kraft paper
  • grunge paste applied various ways
  • resist techniques
  • puff paint
Many of these layers are unmovable. Once you have laid them in position they are there. This may impede the direction you want to explore, for example how do you stamp a detailed image over a lumpy clear shiny resist, or puff paint, or a paper doily? Textured foundations may kick your muse into the range of possibilities that develop thereof.

You don't know what might happen until you have a go and find out, so let's try a new foundation technique today, and see what happens!

I'm using tinted Grunge Paste to highlight different parts of a stencil. But after application and drying of the GP, I am sanding back to reveal the many colours within. 
Taking this idea a step further, the ability to sand tinted grunge paste means you are not sanding OFF any colour, and you are in control of the height of the Grunge Paste which gives you options should you wish to add further stamped layers.
Cracker Ingredients:
Grunge Paste
Craft Tools: Palette Knife
Stencil Girl: Blackbirds in trees
Fresco Chalk Acrylics: Tinned Peas, Hey Pesto, Nougat, Lake Wanaka, Space Cadet, Green Olives, Holly, Pumpkin Soup.
Old Postage Stamps
Wooden Prima embellishments

Cracker Method:
In today's video we are using tinted Grunge Paste through a stencil, then layering paint gently over the top with soft shades of Fresco to create a soft background. This is a great starting point for a journal background, or it could be used on the front panels of a wooden triple icon, or perhaps down the side of a Scrapbook layout or as a card. Sanding back the GP, and adding details with postage stamps, wooden embellishments and white washing helps create a cohesive piece with depth and interest. Most other texture pastes cannot be easily tinted, and are generally too plastic in nature to be able to sand back, so these are unique features that makes GP different to other texture products. 

Play Along:
ink how you have been inspired by this technique below. Play along and you will go in the draw to win a set of Limited edition paints and a brand new 2014 PaperArtsy A5 stamp set.

Link closes 17:00 Sunday Jan 5th 2014.

Winner for Christmas Cracker Video #1 will be announced 19:00 Sunday January 5th 2014.

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Jo Myhill Project #3 Decayed Painted Wall ....

Hello all, Jo here with my finale project. I’m really enjoying creating different types of textures and how versatile Grunge Paste is, so I thought I’d continue on the theme using another 10x8” deep canvas.

Cover the canvas with a fairly thin layer of Grunge Paste over most of the canvas, leave a rough edge approximately 1” all the way round. This time smooth it apart from at the edges and then use the palette knife or an old credit card to score lines in the Grunge Paste and then smooth them out as you don’t want them too deep. Think what it’s like when you score wallpaper with a scraper to let the steam seep under so can remove the wallpaper from the wall.

Mix Brown Shed, London Bus, Cinnamon and Blood Orange to make a rusty red colour. Paint this all over the canvas, don’t forget the sides. You might need two coats as you want quite an opaque solid coverage. Dry.

Mix Blood Orange and a tiny bit Of Little Black Dress add a tiny amount  of water just enough to thin the paint down a little bit. Dab this on with a brush at the edges of the canvas (in that 1” gap) and dab off with kitchen roll. You are drying to get a dirty texture to the edge that isn’t a solid colour.

Mix Sage and Hey Pesto and gently stipple this colour on the edge of the Grunge Paste where it meets that 1” gap. Let it dry for about 30 seconds and then dab off with scrunched up kitchen roll, you can also use a circular motion a bit like polishing to remove the paint. If you get paint in the middle of the red use a baby wipe to remove. The look we are trying to create is a layered paint distress look, here and there on the canvas you see bits of the under layers of the painted wall.  Any spare green paint you can add to the sides of the canvas.

Over the central panel of red add a layer of Crackle Glaze. Let this dry.

Mix Cinnamon, Brown Shed, Blood Orange and paint this over an entire sheet of Smoothy White Stamping Card, use quite a wide brush and really sort of slap the paint on quite quickly and move it around. Some areas will be more intense than others and it’s ok to see some brush marks. Dry this.

Now mix some Limelight with water and using the wide brush again paint this over the card.  Use quite long strokes up and down and across the card. I also add some tiny blobs of the paint directly to the card and because it’s wet from the previous layer you can move it around quickly and get varying shades of colour. It's is a wash so make sure you don’t leave obvious brush marks. Next add a really watered down layer of Inky Pool as a wash all over the card. You can leave pools of the paint in place just to add the tonal colour variations.  Leave this to dry.

By now the Crackle Glaze should be dry. Use Tinned Peas to go over the top. In some areas you need to give a light coverage and in other areas a bit heavier. On the whole you want fine cracks. Once this is dry you are going to sand using sandpaper. The big blobby bits of paint will come off revealing the red underneath and the lines we scratched into the Grunge Paste start to appear adding to the texture.

I mixed Sage and Tinned Peas to make a shade lighter than this top layer of Tinned Peas and stencilled through a damask design stencil. I’ve started using a bit fat stencil brush to stencil as it gives a much softer effect. Really pounce (up and down motion as if you were hammering) the brush in the paint on the craft mat to get it deep into the bristles, dab the excess off on kitchen roll and then start pouncing over the stencil. As I wanted to continue the faded distresses look I didn’t cover the whole canvas and made sure I went beyond the Grunge Paste.

In the corners of the canvas I added further stencilling using a tiny squares stencil.  This time I used Blood Orange and Inky Pool. First the Blood Orange and then a tiny amount of Inky Pool overt the top of this in just a couple of areas. By using the same colours I used on the Smoothy White Stamping Card the whole piece should tie in together as a whole and your eyes and brain are able to make connections between the different elements. Take a range of different sized Manilla Tags and brush on Sage, don’t go all over the tag as you want to see a little bit of the Manilla Tag. Next add a tiny amount of Inky Pool to act as a contrast and again reflect the colour scheme of the whole piece. For a more opaque top layer add Tinned Peas.

Now on these Manilla Tags stamp a range of Lynne Perrella images in French Ultra Marine Archival Ink. I used: LPC003, LPC011 and LPC004. On the bigger stamps I laid the tag on top of the stamp on the part of the image I wanted. Edge the tags in Walnut Stain Distress Ink and then staple together. I coloured my staples with Ginger Alcohol Ink to give a brown rusty look to them. Now back to the Smoothy White Stamping Card. Cut it into strips so that you can cut out a number of bird dies. Choose a part of the card you really like for the top layer. I cut out 9 shapes and glued them all together to create a very solid bird shape. I used bulldog clips to hold it all together.

Once the bird is dry, paint the edges with Brown Shed and Cinnamon mix. Also paint the back. When this is dry sand the edge of the bird to add contrast to the browny red colour.

Emboss the flourish from ID03 in burgundy embossing powder. Although colour wise it tones, the contrast of the gloss against the matt adds another layer of texture.

I also added some of the embossing powder to the edges of the canvas. I just swipe my VersaMark pad against the edge and dab the canvas in the powder on my sheet of folded paper and gently move it around so that it isn’t too thick or opaque – think shabby grungy distress!

Rip a strip of Crunchy Waxed Kraft Paper and crunch into a ball to crack it. Also concertina fold this as well. Staple some string to the waxed paper.  

Assemblage! First glue toe tag element to the canvas. Then glue a length of crochet lace on top of this. Next, add the Crunchy Kraft Waxed Paper to the lace and finally the bird. I used a hot glue gun for all of my sticking it’s really useful for the bird as I wanted it to sit proud of the background.

I really love the contrast of the red and green and finished piece reflects the look of a decayed peeling wall I wanted to create. All the different textures work so well together and the lines in the Grunge Paste are subtle but really effective.

Well I hope you like and are inspired to have a go at some or all of these techniques, perhaps combining them with the previous ones to create your own piece of decayed texture! 

Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in the PA family for all the support and kind words shown during my semester as Guest Designer. Have a Merry Christmas everyone. x

Leandra Says: Wow Jo, Iove the amazing effects within this piece, and the final composition is so perfectly YOU! LOL {why wouldn't it be?} You have mastered grunge paste above and beyond this week!

Can't thank you enough for your wonderful semester of contributions! I'm sure we will see more of you in the future, thank you so much!

Gillian Says: Adore the composition and colour to this canvas Jo, thank you for sharing your inspiration and techniques with us all. Have a lovely christmas. xx

A note from Leandra: As it is Christmas Eve here now in the UK, we would like to take this chance to wish you all a very wonderful and super special Christmas. May your every dream come true, and I hope Santa brings you good things! Cos we know you have been extra good this year, so you are very worthy! :)

Usually we would have a round of 3UP at this point at the end of a semester, but we have another cunning plan up the numerous PaperArtsy sleeves that shall be revealed once the Christmas madness abates. In the meantime enjoy yourselves, and a huge thank you to all our guest designers of 2013, you have been fantastic!

If you can play along with Jo this week, please link your entry here http://blog.paperartsy.co.uk/2013/12/challenged-by-jo-myhill-and-winners.html to join in this week's challenge which ends on Sunday, noon.

Monday 23 December 2013

Jo Myhill Project #2 Roman Fresco ....

"Hi everyone Jo here with tonight's project. I want to continue the theme this week and play some more with texture again with tissue paper".

I started again with a 10x8” deep canvas and put a thin layer of Grunge Paste over the canvas really smooth in the centre and some texture towards the edges. Again I didn’t go all the way to the edge of the canvas. 

Once this was dry I added some stencilled leaves top and bottom at the edges. Again, not symmetrical, but at differing heights as I was trying to create a Fresco wall finish that had been worn and crumbled away through erosion and decay.

Now for the tissue paper. I took a pack of 5 sheets of white tissue paper and roughly tore them into pieces about A4 size, it doesn’t have to be exact. I then crumpled these up into balls and then flattened them out, as I wanted the creases. On an old piece of heat mat (I have quite a few with holes) and using watered down PVA, I started sticking the tissue paper down layering it on top of each other. I really dabbed and prodded the tissue with the glue to get it all to stick together. I wanted it to look like a piece of plaster all rough and crumbly. 

When you’ve got enough layers and the shape you want carefully peel it away from the heat mat and lay on another piece of tissue paper that has been flattened out. Leave it to dry, mine took overnight but you can help it along with a heat gun. Having it on the bigger piece of tissue paper means you can move it around easily and turn it over to dry on the other side. Make sure you keep it flat and if it does warp put it under something heavy.

Now to start adding paint to the canvas. Start with Cheesecake all over the canvas and then layer of Haystack and Pumpkin Soup. To the Haystack still on your craft mat add Snowflake and tiny amount of Rose to make a pinky terracotta. Put this over the canvas especially the raised bits of Grunge Paste. With all of these layers remember you aren’t trying to cover up the previous layer but add tonal depth, so it doesn’t matter if some areas have more of one colour than the other but make sure they blend and the previous layer is dry before you add the next.

Don’t forget to do the sides as well. With a text stencil add some text using Cinnamon at the edges of the canvas in the middle. Once this is dry start adding washes of Pumpkin Soup and Snowflake to really done everything down. It’s a fine line between making it too pale and losing the text. So make sure the layers are really watered down. Better to keep adding transparent layers rather than going too opaque with the first coat.

Finally over the raised stencilling dry brush some Tango. On some spare tissue paper I stamped the scroll from HP1107 in Sepia Archival Ink. Once dry, I wetted the edges to gently rip the excess tissue paper away and added these to the canvas in places using Satin Glaze.  Ripping the edges means the tissue paper seems to disappear even more into the background when you stick it down. 

Back to the tissue paper plaster. Mix the paints again to make the same of nearly the same shade of pinky terracotta and paint the tissue paper. Once dry wet the edges of the flattened tissue paper and gently tear the excess from the plaster piece. Now you can keep adding paint using Cinnamon, Pumpkin Soup and Snowflake to get contrast and texture.

Using Sepia Archival Ink stamp the wrought iron gate stamp from USWI2 on the tissue plaster. You won’t get an even stamp just hints of the stamp because of the heavily textured tissue paper.

Now comes the scary bit. Rip the tissue paper plaster into pieces, I did 4 horizontal across the whole piece. 

Ink the edges in Vintage Photo distress Ink and staple back together. I stained my staples with Ginger Alcohol Ink to get that rusty colour. I did put all 4 pieces back together again but it looked too big on the canvas so I went with 3.

Finally add some copper foil over the raised edges of the tissue paper plaster. I use a Versamark Ink stamp to lightly touch the tissue paper and put sticky powder on. Heat this and when it goes shiny lay the foil down colour side up and rub it down.The foil sticks to the sticky powder! Again remember worn and decayed rather than even and neat. 

I stuck this on the canvas in a position that made sure that I could still some lettering and the tissue paper scrolls. Off centre slightly is better than dead central. I also added some copper foil to the raised Grunge Paste. For the plaque I coloured a small piece of card covered mount board with Haystack and Pumpkin Soup. I lightly dabbed the Versamark ink pad on this, added sticky powder and gently rubbed my finger across it to remove even more of the powder. Heated it and put foil on. I then stamped the plaque stamp from USAA3 in Potting Soil Archival Ink. Around the edges I added some black embossing powder just to define the edges. 

I then stuck this to the tissue paper plaster, again slightly off centre.

To be honest this didn’t end up as the idea in my head. I was going to use one of the Arched Aperture images but when stamped it was too big so I had to have a slight rethink. The plaque from the same plate was the right size and it reminded me of wall art in roman times, hence – roman fresco! 

For me this is the joy of crafting being able to adapt something, change your mind because it isn’t quite working. So I have the inked Arched Aperture image and the spare piece of tissue paper plaster and I’ll be able to use those in another piece of art exploring similar themes. 

I really hope you are inspired to have a play either using all the ideas and techniques or picking a couple out to try. I really enjoyed making the tissue plaster and want to try that again, another idea is brewing! See you all again tomorrow night.

Looking for a post christmas pick me up, then why not be inspired by any of Jo's techniques this week and join in our challenge, simply click HERE to join in the party.

Leandra Says:Oh wow, this looks amazing Jo!. I adore texture, and this ticks that box!

Gillian Says: The warm/rich tones combined with the black & embossing is beautiful Jo. Your roman fresco project looks amazing with such wonderful textures and composition, a real statement piece.