Wednesday 31 December 2014

December 2014 Challenge Winner

Hi everyone, Leandra here

Wow, what a great month, what a great semester, and what a fantastic YEAR!.

As Darcy highlighted last night, so many superb things were presented in the final semester of this year.

Suffice to say, we would like to extend a massive thank you to all our Signature Stamp Designers, Our wonderful blog Guests who have featured every semester, our random one-off people who have posted here and there (such amazing eye candy-treats), and our #3UP contributors who have shared their ideas throughout the year. It has been a very busy year with post going up almost every night. 

Of course, I cannot thank Darcy and Gillian enough for their magnificent administrative work they do, juggling the content, designers and so forth. I think we have only had a few hiccups this year, which is pretty amazing! The time it takes to get content ready, edit, make sure photos are the right size , check links are correct, prize draws and so forth...let alone the planning, approaching people, managing the calendar, Twitter, facebook relationships....when you add it all up, it is a very time consuming process. I prevaricate all they do so VERY, VERY much!

The highlight for me is when we get to meet up with blog and twitter followers at shows around the UK and beyond. There is nothing like putting the face to the name, and this year in particular, our collective relationships off line have deepened among twitter, facebook and blog followers, with PaperArtsy being the interest we all have in common. This is awesome. you guys are the best, and its so nice that what we do for 'work' has generated a wide circle of very lovely, supportive friends.

Next year we have decided after 3 years of this past format it is time for a massive change to the format, line up, challenges and more.

The new format will launch on Sunday Jan 4th, and as you will see, all will be revealed in due course. I'll see you back here then, but for now, I'll hand over to Darcy with the challenge winner info....

Wishing you all a very wonderful New Year!


Hi all, Darcy here

It is now time to announce the winner of the December 2014 Challenge winner.

Thanks to everyone who joined in with our December challenge. It is a busy time for everyone and we really appreciate that you take time out to join in. 

You know we love seeing how you interpret these ideas in your own projects so keep them coming. Thanks too for all your support and comments over the month, it means a lot to our designers, and they read all of them. 

The winner of the December Monthly Challenge is: Gail /Ionabunny

Please get in touch with Darcy ( to find out how to claim your prize. 

We'll see you all back here in the New Year on Sunday night!


Tuesday 30 December 2014

Semester 3 Summary

Good evening everyone, Darcy here. We at PaperArtsy hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas with your families and friends. The last week has been the perfect end to the year with so many projects from you, our followers, full of fun and inspiration. It was an absolute joy for us to sit back and see what you love to do with your crafty supplies. 

Thankyou to each and every one of you that joined in, made projects and left comments. The support you show  us, the PaperArtsy team, and the designers, and each other is heartwarming, and so very special. 

December Challenge Reminder. The current monthly challenge closes tomorrow, December 31st at 5pm, so you still have a little time to join in and link up here. The December winner will be announced shortly after at 7pm, 31st December to nicely wrap up 2014.

New Year Ahead. It's all change here at PA Towers, we do like to shake things up and keep the blog looking fresh. So we have brand new plans and format for 2015. Watch out for a special blog post on Sunday 4th January 2015. This is when the new plans will be introduced. The new challenge link will also go live at that time too.

We would like to take this opportunity to give a huge thanks to all of our semester 3 guest designers, signature designers and random guests. You have all brought so much enthusiasm and vitality to your posts, creating some truly amazing projects. 

Let's take a look back over the past 4 months at some of those creations. 

First up these cards by Wanda, this background technique creates such an interesting base layer, see how she created it HERE.

These funky tags were made by Anneke, gorgeous colours and a perfect idea all year round. Take a look at the original post to see how they came together and the texture was added.. HERE

This bunting by Lelainia combines card and fabric, lots of layers of paint and even stitching, such fun! Pop back and see it  HERE. 

Our very own admin Gillian made this gorgeous feather canvas, a fantastic mash up of different  styles of stamps and beautiful muted colours. See how she created that awesome two tone effect HERE. 

Seth Apter joined us, bringing his very distinctive style of journalling. His pages are so rich in their layers, their depth and their surprise elements.. such as the small photo in this one. See how all these parts came together HERE. 

Clare Lloyd, one of our signature designers, created this fabulous journal page using her range of stamps. Not only is this a great background, but Clare also takes you through the steps of shading this lovely face. If you would like to have a go at faces then check out her post HERE. 

Julie Ann always comes up with really innovative ideas, this was no exception. Would you believe this is some recycled packaging? Transformed into an amazing gift folder. Bursting with sumptuous colours and texture, one not to be missed. See it HERE.

One of our newer signature designers is Liz Borer, she has an amazing eye for colour and composition. This plaque is just stunning, come and see how she achieved that flowing textured area HERE. 

Sue is a regular contributor on the blog and always comes up with something beautiful. This flower is  simple but visually so beautiful and elegant. This frame also has an extra hanging element below, come and see how it came together HERE

Another of our signature designers is Ellen Vargo, she has a superb collection of stamps including these petal shapes which she transformed into trees. Genius! Come and see them HERE. 

Our designers do like to borrow each others stamps, here Darcy used Ellen's stamps to make these gift bows. Not only are there step by step photos there is also a great video. Pop back to the post HERE or see the video on its own on the PaperArtsy channel HERE. 

Jo Firth-Young is also a signature designer, her creations are full of whimsy happiness, look how fun this snowy canvas is. Come and see how she made it HERE.

One of our PAtwits, Lesley, joined us for an evening. We were delighted with how she took elements of Liz Borer's stamps to create these elegant Christmas cards. Just perfect. See all the details HERE.

One of our longest standing PAtwits is Helen, we were thrilled when she agreed to make a project for us. This journal cover shows the perfect fusion of stencilling, stamping and embellishing. See how all the elements built up HERE. 

Another of our signature designers is the lovely Sara Naumann, who creates gorgeous projects in her studio in Poland . She makes it all look so easy and her videos are so clear and informative. Come and see how she made this card HERE. 

One of our guest this semester was Lisa, using Hot Picks Haberdashery stamps she decorated this sewing box. How awesome is that lid. Come and see all the details HERE. 

Lynne was another guest, you may have seen her work in Somserset Studio magazine, we were so happy when she joined us for the evening. Her creations are so very lovely, delicate and vintage. This assemblage incorporates paper clay, see how Lynne used it HERE. 

Some wonderful reminders of the semester. I have loved looking back over the past 4 months and hope that you have too. We aim to keep your creative juices well topped up with delicious inspiration. Next year we will have even more fabulousness for you, make sure you 'subscribe by email' {fill in the box in the right sidebar} that way you won't miss any posts. 

Have a fabulous and safe New Year

Gilded Cards {by Jo Firth-Young, Signature Designer}

Hi everyone Jo Firth-Young here, joining you this evening with a post about creating cards using a simple masterboard, stamping and gilding flakes. Christmas is finished and we're about to welcome in a new year- I wanted to create a batch of 'simple' cards to use as 'thank you' notes or plain 'just in case' cards...

I created quite a simple masterboard - a sheet of painted blended colours - that could be cut up and decorated as required - rather than a fully patterned traditional masterboard.  I chose 2 translucent colours (Blood Orange (a firm favouite of mine), Pumpkin Soup (a nice bright but warm yellow) and Amethyst (from JOFY Limited Edition set 1 - I know many of you have this set so I hope this board inspires to use it in a different colour scheme- away from Dolly Mix and Dusty Teal also in the set).

I created the masterboard by painting a sheet of Smoothy with big bold stripes of the colours, overlapping and blending until I had the effect I wanted.  I dried and smoothed it out ready for cutting up and stamping.

I really like the effect of gilding - the shine and lustre of gold leaf.... or gilding flakes as I'm using here. I'm happy that, with the use of stamping, we are now able to create a delicate fine gilded image (as opposed to all over gilding on big surfaces).

All the cards I made here were created with similar techniques and using the same products; embossing Ink, Stamp 'n' Bond powder and gilding flakes (of which there are many types on the market). You could also use sheets of traditional gold leaf (Dutch Metal) available from art shops.

I stamped the image with embossing ink and covered with Stamp 'n' Bond, heated until melted and sticky.

Cover in gilding flakes - pressing down (carefully as it will be hot) and gently rub away any loose flakes - I use a sponge stamp cleaner ('Rub it scrub it' by Ranger), Cut 'n' Dry foam and then buff with a piece of kitchen towel to create shine.

Here is the finished effect:

I treated each of the cards I created slightly differently so here are the cards and a brief instructional 'how to', and the stamps I used.

My initial plan was to create a batch of 'thank you' cards... and while doing so (while gathering everything up that I planned to use) I realised that there isn't a 'thank you' stamp in the JOFY range!! Why! I asked myself! I think I'd better do something about that! (adds it to a list...)

Card 1: This is a small card (9x9cm), I cut the panel of masterboard so the colour is horizontal across the card, stamped and gilded circles using EEVO6 .  It is then mounted onto a kraft card blank and tied with a white tag and string (I tied this on as it would be nice to put the recipients initial here). The double line of stitching is a stamp from JOFY26, stamped in Jet Black Archival ink.

Card 2:  This card (10x10cm) also uses EEV06 - a really versatile stamps set - great for backgrounds and abstract cards. I sewed on  a button, and tied some string around the fold.

Card 3:  This card (12.5x12.5cm) uses images from JOFY26 . I stamped the images first in black, dried the ink, and then stamped the same images and gilded these - I like the contrast between the black and the gilding.

Card 4:  This card (12.5x12.5cm) combines several of my favourite elements - book text, dots and stitches (from JOFY26, as above)

This is what I called the 'thanks but no thanks' card because it didn't go to plan... I planned to spell out 'thanks' using the alphabet I designed for JOFY 21 but decided against it... maybe a different colour used for the word thanks would've been nicer... sometimes designs work better in your head than in reality but its good to try them out...  So I'm showing you both options so you can compare the two..

Card 5:  Another small card (7.5x9cm), the panel mounted onto kraft card with colour blending vertically to work with the gilded lines of stitches an the dried seed head (gathered in the summer), same greeting as used on card 1.

Card 6:  I like creating cards on a 10x15cm size. I used stamps from JOFY14 - I created a small gilded 'washi tape' effect using the border design and the flower stems to create central motif (in both black and gilded finishes).

I wanted to carry the gilding through to the black stamped images and so used a cotton bud pressed into embossing ink to add powder and flakes to the 'buds' on the design (because the cotton bud head is circular its the perfect applicator) ... and to tie the images together more I added black pen detail to the gilded stems.

I sat back and looked at the finished cards, as you do, and decided to try out some ways of adding the greetings.  If I don't have a suitable greeting stamp (as I didn't here) i like to create a strip of greetings on the computer that I can cut into strips and add to cards - really simple to do.  I create lines of text with a spare line in-between with a dash at either end - these dashes act as a cutting guide.

Here are the cards shown in the 'how to' section with added greetings created with the text above.  The first two cards have the text cut into little 'ribbons' with a single phrase, the first using the button that was added previously.

On this card the ribbon has been added near the line of stitching. I would draw the line of stitching over the ribbon (with a black pen) to make it look as it has been sewn onto the card.

These final two options show the text strips in different colours. It is simple to create and change the colour of the font and background - any font can be used... I used 'another typewriter' in a 14pt, I  alter the font and size depending on requirement.

I really enjoyed making these cards - relatively quick and easy but the gilding flakes give the cards a special twist. The gilded effect is so easily achieved with the flakes and can be used for many occasions and used as little or as much a you like on a card's design - or just use them for part of stamped image.  A really versatile technique - don't just use it on cards - it can also be used on objects, ornaments, scrapbook and journal pages (the list is endless!) - give it a go!


Wow, what a lovely sparkly end to the year Jo, thanks for your card ideas! This looks like a lot of fun to do, and the painted paper would look good in all kinds of colour combinations!

We would love you to join in with the challenge. If you are inspired to action by any of this month's guests who have blogged in December 2014 then join in and link up your creativity HERE. You might win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. You need to add your link by 17:00 (London time) Dec 31st 2014, the winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00, Dec 31st, 2014.

Monday 29 December 2014

Xmas 2014 #3UP {Stencils}

Hi everyone Leandra here for the final night of #3UP for 2014. What an amazing week our 3UPpers have provided us with! Thankyou!

Tonight we finish with the most popular technique of all, Stencils. As it is the final night, and there are about a zillion things you can do with a stencil, we have 4 people lined up for you!

First up it's Claire Snowdon (@Claires10) Stencil bumping is her thing...deliberately of course! If you haven't tried this yet you are missing out!

Hi Everyone, I'm ecstatic to be on the PaperArtsy blog tonight sharing my fave stencil technique with you all - stencil bumping!

Here is my finished project

Step One:
I used a 5x7" PaperArtsy grey-white board as my base and covered using Sage, Hint of Mint and Vanilla - spritzing with water as I went to blend them all together for a nice muted background.

Step Two:
I took the Lin Brown bubbles stencil PS001 and used Chalk for my first layer.  Once dry I moved the stencil slightly and added Ice Blue over the top of the Chalk creating a reverse shadow effect aka stencil bumping!

Step Three:
I then used the reeds from JOFY stencil PS007, first using Mocha Mousse then drying, moving the stencil slightly before using Irish Cream and Vintage Lace creating a shadow.

Step Four:
I then decided the background needed a little bit more interest so I used Vintage Lace to sponge through the flower image on the Lin Brown PS005 stencil - subtle but I like it there in the background.

Step Five:
I stamped the sentiment from Lin Brown ELB05 using Jet Black Archival Ink and also the foliage from JOFY22 using Olympia Green Versafine straight onto the grey-white board.  I distressed the edges of the board using the Prima Distress Tool then coloured the edges with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.

Step Six:
I created my flower embellishment by painting some scraps of card using Hyde Park, Blush, Haystack and Plum then stamped the leaf and flowers from JOFY 22 cut out and assembled using a rusted brad.  Finally I added a rusted metal corner.

I hope you all enjoyed my stencil bumping 3 Up project! 

Love Claire x

Next we have Jax (@jax1369). Jax enjoys all things mixed media, and she's sharing some stencil tricks and tips that you need to remember to get good results every time.

Hi everyone Jax here

Tonight I am using tinted Grunge Paste through a Stencil to create the main image on an 8X8” cvanvas.  I got this idea originally from the Christmas special videos and projects from our very own Leandra made last year and have been using it in varying degrees since.

I started by using the following ingredients, plus a stencil. 

Step One:
I used the stencil as a guide and drew pencil lines for where I wanted the Baltic Blue to be as this would create Stars part of my Canvas.  I then used the Bora Bora to create the sky the flag was flying in and finally the messy bit begins.

I mixed Blood Orange into Grunge Paste until I got a washed out faded red and then scraped this through the stencil to create the Stripes.  I then used Dusty Teal to Create the lady.  The trick to doing this one is to let the previous area dry completely before doing the next.  The stars were created by using Snowflake white and GP (just to make it pop against the blue.

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Next I used Aquamarine and Pewter Treasure Gold to add age and depth and finished her off with the ladies first stamp from Gentleman Plate 3 as Lady Liberty is the first thing you see when heading to New York.  Finished the whole thing off with TG around the edge of the canvas as a frame.


Next up a #3UP newbie,  Chris Cresswell (@artmadnana) She might be new to #3UP, but she's been crafting for years, and is a great PA enthusiast from way back! Her work is always beautiful, and tonight I think we will start to understand why she is such a stencil addict.

Hi everyone. 
I am so excited to be here. My real passion is 'art journaling' and my favourite 'tool' is 'Stencils'. My favourite technique is layering stencils and mixing the media I use with them. I am a bit of a 'mongrel' crafter, using different media and influenced by different artists. In this project I have used various fresco chalks and added Dylusions inks over the top! 

Step One:
As you can see this page is very influenced by Dina Wakley. I love this technique of painting over what has already been created to make the focal image really pop. So how did I begin?

Step Two:
Using a small brayer I covered the page with a thin layer of Vanilla, then Cheesecake, leaving some white space. Using a credit card I then scraped Yellow Submarine here and there to float over the previous layer in patches. I then added Butternut and Tango in a few areas with a dry brush. 

Step Three:
Now the fun begins with stencils. Lots of stencils. With no thought or planning I just start layering different stencils over the page. I used the previous colours to sponge through a variety of stencils: dark colours over light and vice versa, and then added different colours to add more depth e.g. Pumpkin Soup, Blood Orange

Step Four:
Next I used Dylusions Inks (squeezed orange and postbox red) sprayed through different stencils, over the fresco chalks. I also immediately flipped over each stencil that I sprayed through, pressing down each one elsewhere on the page and drying them off by rolling kitchen paper over each image.  A technique I learned from Dyan Reaveley.

Step Five:
This produces a lovely transparent layer as the fresco paints generally resist the sprayed inks. I then sponged Snowflake through a Linda Brown stencil PS001  to reduce the brightness and to add a further layer over the inks which are just visible through the paint.

Step Six:
The next step was to mix Old Gold with Prima's 3D Gloss gel in equal parts and scrape it through yet another stencil. This gloss gel really makes the Old Gold shine. This takes some time to dry. A layer of stamping using different PA background stamps and a few ink splats (Squid Ink) completed the page.

Step Seven: I took a Dina Wakely Girl figure stencil and painted the entire area around it in contrasting colours (Claret, Amethyst and Plum) thus painting over almost all of the page I'd just created. A scary technique, but one that allows the focal image to come forward. Next, I used Sky to paint in some circles to help balance the page; finally adding words and doodling to complete the project. 

I hope you like it.

Finally tonight it's Hazel Agnew (@craftroomgran). Hazel is another art adventurer, of late she is on a face drawing kick. However, she diverts from that to reduction stencilling....we are hoping we all lose a few pounds when we master this one!

At the risk of waffling, I just wanted to point out that, until I joined the crazy Patwits I was doomed to a life of card making. Having discovered PA, it opened my world to a maze of mixed media which I love!

I chose "reduction stencilling" because, to me, it is a bit like a magic trick. I decided to experiment with different colours first and this "practise" turned out to be my submission.

Step One:
First of all I gessoed my page to give it some tooth to work on. Next, I applied blocks of colour using Portfolio Pastels in Pink, Red and Violet and PaperArtsy Fresco Paints in Blood Orange, London Bus, Plum and Snowflake.

Step Two:
I worked a small section at a time, overlaying the Crafter's Workshop Heart Stencil and removing colour with a baby wipe. 

Step Three:
I laid the stencil in different directions for variation. I also applied colour through the heart stencil over the top. I layered colours by adding Snowflake over the top of some areas to reveal layered patterns.
For added interest...
  • I stamped through the heart stencil onto the heart shapes with Geranium Red and Black Archival Ink. The script was from ESN11
  • I drew through the stencil and cut out hearts on manuscript paper and edged them with Distress Black Soot.
  • I stamped the sentiment from Sara Naumann's ESN11 onto manuscript .
  • Finally, because this was only a practice, I drew around the edges in paint and doodled around the edges with Black Fudeball pen.
So, I stopped there and voila, my piece of work to show "reduction stencilling!"

Thanks Everyone

Well everyone, that is the final #3UP for 2014. We really hope you have enjoyed these wonderful ideas from all our crafting gurus from the wider PaperArtsy family! A big thank you to them for taking the time to share their magnificence with us all.

The 'end of semester' round up will be on the blog tomorrow, with the December challenge  link closing on December 31st, so you've still got a couple of days to join in, details below.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations, stay safe.


We would love you to go in our challenge draw for a prize from PaperArtsy, a voucher to spend in our online shop. Link up your creativity HERE. All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. This link will close 17:00 (London Time) December 31st 2014, the winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00, Dec 31st, 2014.