2013 Alchemist Call!

Hi everyone!  Chrissy here to ask a couple question. Do you love Gauche Alchemy?  Are you irreverent, snarky, creative AND maybe just a wee bit coo-coo cachoo? If so, we want YOU!

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Here at Gauche Alchemy, our goal is to support and encourage creative thought and expression by providing materials that help artists of all types and skill levels think differently about their creative pursuits. We endeavor to be the “jumping-off point” for your next great idea! We are all about upcycling, as well as digging up the best manufactured products we can find.  We are all about being inclusive rather than exclusive.

And now is *your* chance to get in on all of the fun, snark, and gauche awesomeness we pride ourselves on.  We are on the hunt for a few new faces to add to our team of Alchemists.

“What does an Alchemist do??”  I’m glad you asked!

“Alchemists” are more than just “oooh lookie what I made” and “here’s how I did it.”  Our Alchemists are teachers, crafters, artists, and enablers.  We share our knowledge as well as our projects.  We are here to inspire.  After all, we are regular schmoes too.

“What kind of workload is required of me?”

As an Alchemist, you will be required to submit 2 projects per month.  One project is for the newsletter and one is for the blog.  Occasionally, we may have special events such as swaps in which additional projects will be asked of you.

“Projects” include actual finished projects, technique tutorials, and anything related to what we do.  These posts can be about your craft space, what inspires you, how to bust a rut and so on.  Like we said, we are more than just a “creative team” who shows off pretty schtuff.

“Now how about the whole quid-pro-quo thing?  What do I get in return?”

As an Alchemist, you will receive an Alchemist “kit” that is looooooaaaaaaded with Gauche goodness.  You will also receive a discount to the Gauche Alchemy store.  There are other perks you receive but those will be discussed with you should you make the team.

“How long is my term?”

An Alchemist term is 12 months with the possibility of being invited to extend.

 

“Now where do I sign up?”

 

To apply, send the following to GaucheAlchemistCall@gmail.com by midnight Eastern Standard Time on  Tuesday, April 30th with the phrase “2013 DT Call” in the subject line.  This call is open to international aspiring alchemists too!

 

All aspiring alchemists please send us:
Name:
Location:
Your blog address:
Are you currently on any other design teams? (Previous DT experience is not required)
Your favorite type of project to create:
Which products in our shop inspire you the most?
Why do YOU want to work for Gauche Alchemy?

 

 

Washi Thank You Card

Good morning everyone!  Marilyn here with a quick project from our very own Mama Amy.  She has created a wonderful “Thank You” card that I believe you will love.  Amy, please tell us how you made this beautiful bright and happy card.
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Washi Tape Thank You Card

I begin the card by laying down drywall tape as the base, then layered floral washi tape from our Green Washi Tape Combo Pack and aqua striped tape from our Diagonal Stripes Washi Combo Pack over it.  Next came some Heidi Swap neon letters and Basic Grey chipboard pieces.  Lastly I inked the edges and chalked over the drywall a bit.

Washi Tape Envelope

For the envelope, I added chevron washi tape from the Green Washi Tape Combo Pack to give me a decorative area in which to write in the mailing address.

This card was done for a special person whose very kindness brought tears to my eyes.

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Amy, thank you for a wonderful, thoughful card.  It’s so great that you were able to repay a great kindness with one of your own.  Anyone would be thrilled to receive the beautiful card you have created.  Plus, I LOVE the chicken!

Until later…………………….
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Do-It-Yourself Craft Mat

Hello, Marilyn here with a cool how-to from Alchemist Misty.  Have you ever need something, but just can’t seem to make yourself part with those hard earned bucks to purchase it?  Never fear!  Today, Misty shares with us how to make one of those much longed-for items, a craft mat.  So without further ado or to-do, here’s Misty……………………………………………………

If you’re like me there are things you should probably have but don’t buy because you would rather spend your money on more paper, inks, mists, etc.  One of the things I really needed was a craft mat, but I really couldn’t see spending $20 on one!  So I kept trying different things to get the same effect and finally stumbled upon a roll of laminate…the kind you can find in hardware stores to protect drawers and shelves.  I has some on hand as I had just laminated a chore chart for my kiddo.  Anyway, I decided to test it out over a piece of cardboard and I was so excited to see that it worked PERFECTLY for my needs!

Homemade Craft Mat

First you find a large piece of cardboard.   I’ve used the Gauche Alchemy “pizza box”.  It’s the perfect size and you already have the shape lined out for you!  Plus, who wouldn’t love to have their own Gauche Alchemy craft mat, right?

Craft Mat Step 1

Then you use the “magic cover”, which is just a roll of clear laminate, and cut two pieces about an inch or so bigger than your cardboard piece.  Take the first piece and slowly remove the backing off small sections at a time while laying it over your cardboard piece….trying to smooth it out and prevent any bubbles or creases.  Then once you cover the first side, repeat with the opposite side.  The second side is a little harder because you want to make sure that you place the laminate on the cardboard without touching the sticky side of the laminate on the opposite side…or you will have troubles detaching them.

Craft Mat Complete

Once you have both sides laminated, cut the excess around the cardboard and your mat is ready!

Nonporous craft mat

Craft Mists

As you can see from the pictures you can use inks and mists and since its a non-porous surface, it has the same effect as the expensive craft mats, and you are paying less than $5 for this one!

Now, I’m not saying that this is just as good as a craft mat in every way.  For instance, the Ranger mat is supposedly heat resistant, and this one will melt under extreme heat!  If your a cheap-o like me though, this is a perfect knock-off so that you can spend your money on better things like more mists, inks, and glitter!

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Thank you Misty for once again giving us a great how-to.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is the perfect solution to a problem I’ve been having.  See, I LOVE glue, but I get it everywhere & my nice, expensive craft mat is just too big for my work area.  So did I give this a whirl?  Oh, yessiree, yes I did, I sure did, I made a smaller one using Misty’s instructions.  PERFECTION! Now I can glue to my heart’s content and when done, move the mat out of the way.

Until later……………………
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Among Trees: In The Style Of

Good Morning!  Marilyn here, with an experiment from Alchemist Jo.  Jo was inspired by an artist she read about and decided to create something “in the style of” that artist.  She’s done a bang-up job and the result is an awesome piece of artwork.  Jo, show us how it’s done.

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I wanted to complete a project using a paper napkin background and chose a very striking black and white paper napkin from the Paper Napkin Art Kit .  While very striking by itself, I wanted to see how it would look sprayed with some vibrant color (using Dylusions Ink Sprays – mmmmmm, yummy), which I liked.  So, I stuck the napkin onto a cardboard base using Mod Podge (although as you can see, I’d torn it a bit small!).

Paper napkin background

OK, I’d gotten my background, but now what was I going to do with it?  Hmmmmmm (** thinking face**).  I had a few ideas but nothing that was exciting me.  So, I picked out one of my ‘Stuck Sticks‘ (a previous Gauche project) and it told me to study an artist and have a go at creating something in their style.  Good idea (if I do say so myself).  But first, coffee!!  I took myself off to my local coffee shop and sat with a “medium cappuccino to have in please” and the Mar/Apr 2012 issue of Somerset Studio.  As I’m leafing through, what should I see?  An article by Mary Beth Shaw who, wait for it, studied an artist and then created artwork inspired by that artist.  Wow!  How serendipitous!  The artist she’d chosen to look up?  A Viennese artist named Hundertwasser (1928-2000).  I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of him.  His artwork, full of detail and colour, is STUNNING.  I’m in LOVE!  Back home, I carefully studied the main elements that make up his artwork and picked out several to create something which nods to his style but doesn’t copy it.

Napkin Collage Punchinella

On one side of the paper napkin background I smeared black gesso over some large hole punchinella from the Punchinella Variety Pack .  Once dry, I used the ends of pens and paintbrushes to add neon bright acrylic paint dots (I was inspired to use neon colours by Alchemist Michelle’s stunning layouts and photographs).  Using black Staz-On, I stamped a Claudine Hellmuth line circle image onto paper which I then cut out and painted with neon acrylic paints.  These became my trees.  Once they were stuck on, I painted their trunks.  Often in Hundertwasser’s paintings you can see the trunk of a tree through the ‘foliage’ of the tree in front, so I replicated this by using charcoal pencil.

Background Gesso Paint

The finished piece includes a Hundertwasser quote,  which I’ve handwritten.  I initially wrote it with a white paint pen but it didn’t look very good so I painted over it with neon yellow paint.  Better.

I learned such a lot from this exercise.  From Mary Beth Shaw,  I discovered a new (to me) artist.  I REALLY enjoyed experimenting with a style totally out of my comfort zone.   From Alchemist Michelle I got the confidence to try using colours that I would NEVER previously considered using.  From myself, I learned that I can spread my little arty wings and try something new without fear of failure.  Have I created perfect artwork?  NO!  Did I enjoy creating it?  YES!  Will I do this exercise again with another artist?  DEFINITELY!

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Jo, what a truly beautiful work of art you have created!  Thank you for showing us that experimenting is good for our creativity, can bring us enjoyment, and that we should never fear the unknown.  All it takes it that one “AHA!” moment and we are off on a new adventure.

Until later…………
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Gauche Alchemy + Paper Issues = TOTAL AWESOMENESS!

Hallooooo out there!  This is Chrissy to let you in on an awesome collaboration we are participating in!  For the next two weeks, the Paper Issues crew is doing an awesome theme that gets you to think outside of your comfort zone and guess who has eight thumbs and is sponsoring! That’s right! We are!  Here are some awesome projects from a few of the Paper Issues gals (and you’ll probably recognize two of them, our own Gauche Mama, Chrissy and our Newsletter Overlord, Lori!

We also have news of an awesome giveaway on the Paper Issues blog and a 30% off coupon code for our very own sweet shop!  For the Paper Issues giveaway, just head on over to Paper Issues and become a follower as well as “like” their Facebook page.  Here’s the awesomeness you’ll be in the running for:

Now for our awesome little coupon offer.  Just go into the Gauche Alchemy shop anytime between now and the 27th to take advantage of the 30% off coupon.  Upon checkout, use coupon code PAPERISSUES2012 to get 30% off your order!  This excludes the ACME Kit subscriptions though.

Be sure to check out all of the amazing mixed media projects over at Paper Issues and we would love it if you linked up your projects with them as well as within our Flickr group!

Cheers!

Chrissy

Stuck Sticks to Get You Creating

Hi there, folks! Scraps, here, with a necessity-is-the-crafter-of-inspiration project from Alchemist Jo!

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Jo: I keep myself busy with quite a few art challenges which is great for inspiration but every so often I want to create something just for me, just because I can, just because.  So there I am, I’ve set aside some time, I’m sitting in my crafting area and, oh dear,  wondering what I can do.

**Tumbleweed Moment**

I’ll twitch a few pencils, stroke my favourite cardstock but will be stuck for inspiration.  Sound familiar to anyone?!  A-ha!  I now have a solution to this problem!

STUCK STICKS!  You’re stuck?  Pick a stick!

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The pot is a food can (baked beans in this case) covered with washi tape. Have you checked out the Gauche Alchemy WASHI TAPE yet?!  My secret mission is to end up with one of each set!  It’s so easy to use and looks wonderful (especially if I don’t drool over it!).

The sticks are coffee shop wooden stirrers (ok ok, I drink too much coffee) which I color-tinted with Distress Inks and Distress Stains.

inspiration_colour_words_washi_tin

I rubber stamped with Staz-on ideas for creative things to do–sometimes very specific like ‘ATC’, ‘alter something’ or ‘watch a gauche video and have a go at the technique’, other ones giving broader inspiration such as ‘quote’, ‘choose a decade’ or ‘open a technique book and have a go at one’.  One of my most effective inspiration un-stucker stickers is to tidy up my crafting area – it’s amazing what gets found and I’m instantly inspired to create :o)

This was a quick and fun little project.  It would be great to team up with a like minded friend and make a set for each other – then you wouldn’t have a clue what idea you were going to pick out, what fun!

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Oh how fun! Not only did she dress up a lot of things that would have otherwise been tossed into the trash, but she made them into an awesome creativity tool for herself! And I love the idea of a stuck stick swap, anyone game?

~Scraps~

PS: As Sunday is Mother’s Day, I just wanted to take a moment to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to our Gauche Mamas, Mom-Alchemists and all our Mom-readers, too! Wishing you much crafty time to indulge your passions!

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Smashing the Washi

Hey everyone, it’s Gauche Mama, Amy.  Just wanted to share a quick n’ simple, very gratifying project with ya.

I don’t know ’bout you, but I am a total washi tape addict.  I admit, I have about 100 or more rolls of washi tape, including most of what we’ve got listed in our shop.  The addiction started years ago, when Yasu gave me a roll or two… then sent about 12-15 of them in a big care package once she moved back to Japan.  You can thank her for my fixation…

Anyway, one big bonus with washi tape is that it’s easy to cover just about anything in no time flat.  I decided to apply various patterns to a smash book I made a few weeks ago – the illustration board cover just looked so sad and bare.

Being as it is (sigh), my crafting time is limited.  I got a few lines of tape laid down and then realized I had to get to the grocery store before the end of the day lest we all starve to death.  Well, okay that’s a little dramatic.  Lest we have to eat plain tuna fish for three meals daily.  A Mama’s work is never done, what can I say?  So, I gave my big bag o’ tape to my 13-year-old and 5-year-old daughters and told them to have at it.  (And share.  Definitely SHARE!)

When I got home with my 15 bags of groceries, this is what they had done:

washi tape decorated book cover

Well, they ALMOST did all that – I added the brown solid edging, and then my 13-year-old genius suggested adding the organically grown tape that was wrapped around our quart of strawberries.  (And shame on me for not thinking of it, organic foodie that I am!)

washi tape smash book cover

So, what have you been using your washi for these days?  We totally need to know, as the GA team is fired up with washi madness lately.  Share your ideas and projects on our Flickr stream or Facebook fan page (go on and click the bottlecaps below!).

 

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