Punchinella, oh my precious sequin waste!

We gals here at GA love garbage. We love to keep it out of the landfill, and we love to make kewl stuff out of it. Now, seriously, folks, I’m not talking about banana peels and kitty box trash. That would going too far, even for us. But punchinella – now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout. That’s prime, grade-A, Gauche Alchemy trash of the most gauche-tastic variety.

Variety Pack Punchinella

Punchinella is the hottest mixed media item right now and can be used for a variety of projects.  It is sometimes called sequin waste because it’s the material left over at the factory once the sequins are punched out of it.  It comes as a heavy-duty mylar-type ribbon with various circular sizes punched out, but I also snap up shapes when I can find them.  Currently, we have blue stars, purple flowers, and teal leaves available on our shop.  (I actually just picked up some teal hearts, as well, but part of the roll is a little screwy – as soon as I sort that out, it will be up on the shop, as well, so keep an eye out!)  The ribbon is not fabric nor paper – it’s made from the same material as sequins, and it can be folded, crimped, or applied as a smooth, flat trim.  It can easily be wrapped around 3-dimensional objects and therefore is a perfect item to use on altered objects.

It can be used as a mask to add designs or the appearance of texture.  Paint over it or spray mist over it.  It can be used as pockets to contain smaller items in a mini-book or scrapbook.  It can be used as trim on paper art, cards, or even home decor projects.  Do y’all remember when Kas used it to make earrings!?  And Lara is always using it for wonderful techniques.  One thing you can try is blasting it with a heat gun – that creates some interesting texture, for sure.  Check our Flickr group for more ideas.

The uses are limited only by your imagination, and as far as I know, we offer the best bargain on the Internet!  If you find Punchinella cheaper anywhere online, be sure to send us an e-mail (MyMuse@GaucheAlchemy.com).  We’d love to stay competitive if we possibly can… if there’s a way to lower the price any further, I’m committed to finding it.  Smile

And… oh, oh, oh… AND!  We don’t charge shipping on punchinella for orders in the U.S. and Canada.  $2 shipping everywhere else.  Am I proud of myself for managing that little situation for you and your wallet?  Yes, I am.  Indeedy.

Want a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog post or issue of our e-mail newletter, DIRT? All you have to do is share your work with us on our Flickr group (and check out the endless inspiration from others) – we’d love to see your creative genius when it comes to working with punchinella!  Every time I think I’ve seen it all, someone comes along and surprises me with a new, creative use.

If you’re a class instructor, art teacher, fantatic hoarder, or have need of specific colors or shapes, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We love to work with you on custom orders, and our supplier is local and has a circulating stock of punchinella.  What this means for you is that if I can find it in their warehouse, it will soon be yours.  I keep quite a bit of punchinella in stock, but let me assure you – there’s more where that come from.  Punchinella for all!  Wheeeee!

Lara’s Pre-Art Journal Art Journal

Lara here….
I’d like to share with you a project I just made for a friend of mine for her birthday. I’ve been calling these things “pre-art journal art journals” as I’ve made a couple so far and am starting to figure out how to perfect them. And using Gauche Alchemy products to do so since they’re so diverse and repurposeful friendly 🙂

Anyways, these journals started out as just envelopes bound together (Version One Here). Then I started adding some paper in for journalling in addition to the envelopes (Version Two Here). Which brings us to this Version Three which takes the envelopes and paper further (can’t give away all my secrets now, can i?).

First of all, yes, I am a paint whore. And i’ve become OBSESSED with spray paint. So, indeed, there are about five layers of paint on this! For masking the paint I’ve used a variety of Punchinella as well as Plastic Canvas which comes with the Wholey Sheet Kit. You might also see some errant stamps here and there I’ve collected over the years…

So, the shtick I have with these “pre-art journals” is that they’re all made from materials I already have – including envelopes of all sizes and varieties. The cover is an interoffice manilla envelope i made more sturdy by inserting chipboard into the front and spine. The back is still open for sticking things in! That’s the point of these things – to stick things into them! (that’s what she said)

Can I get a “what what” for Punchinella and the Envy Green Kit please?!

I have no idea if i’ve invented a special binding method, but there’s no kookiness to it – just metal binding rings 🙂 That way things can be easily added or removed if the envelopes start getting to thick with shtuff.

Many of the pages in the book that can be written on are from kits Gauche Alchemy has put together! Most notably the Wholey Sheet Kit and the Geekery Mixed Media Kit. The Geekery kit in particular has some awesome fun papers with things you probably haven’t seen since childhood!

Some inside pages… My friend loves puzzles and it just so happens that many of the Color Mixed Media Kits include these! There’s fun little doodads throughout the journal, actually, from the color kits. Things that make me giggle.

I feel any journal should have some hint of inspiration so i like to finish mine off with some quotes I find particularly inspiring, and I believe my friend might as well.

Hope you enjoyed looking through my friend’s journal! 🙂
Have a great weekend!

Punchinella Princess with Erika

And now a sing-a-long with Erika!

Punchinelly, Punchinelly
Night and day it’s Punchinelly
Make a border, do some masking
cut out patterns, Multitasking
Every time I’d find a minute
That’s the time that I’d begin it
Punchinelly, Punchinelly

Yup, this stuff could definitely have its own Disney movie. It’s complex, interesting, somewhat funny and downright beautiful.
Maybe it could even be one of the Disney Princesses???!!! Oh to dream

Today I’ve got a quick and easy way to take a strip on Punchinella and make it go from chambermaid to PRINCESS!!!!
This is so easy and quick too.

First you will need a strip of Punchinella and ribbons. Did you know you can find Punchinella at our Artfire Store? It’s there in all sorts of fabulous colors and shapes!!!

Your ribbon should be about the width of the punch out image on the strip.
Start weaving your first ribbon, making sure to leave a punched out shape open for viewing.

Continue weaving until you hit the end of the road

Repeat with a few other colors

Heat seal ends of ribbon. This is what the final border will look like

Adhere to layout or card as a border.

See what I mean? Definitely a Princess!!!
Now I’ve got that darn song stuck in my head, and I hope you do too.
Show us your weaving techniques using “Punchinelli”

Erika Taylor

Treasure Hunting with Yvonne

Yvonne here!
Treasure hunters

So my sister and I spent a day at the newly-opened Universal Studios Singapore. In this photo, we were treasure hunters, driving our desert jeep through an abandoned Egyptian excavation site…Okay, it was a totally lame ride but we took lots of fun photos!

Treasure hunters closeup<

I used Sassafras papers along with the cutest embellishments from the Purple People Eater Mixed Media Color Kit and the Envy Green Mixed Media Color Kit. Totally fun!

Getting Naked with the Kitcsh Delish Kit

Hi! It’s Yvonne with a weekend project for you to do! 🙂

A friend of mine passed me a really beaten up but naked Maya Road lunch tin. The naked part got me excited of course because it means a host of possibilities for decorating…:) The lunch tin got me thinking about food of course (I’m a total foodie!) and so I played with the Kitsch Delish Paper Craft Mixed Media Kit with some bits from the Scarlett Fever Red Mixed Media Color Kit for that punch of color!

Eat only the best

Love this Jenni Bowlin paper which I decoupaged to the front of the lunch tin….I love the faint “Best” so I just added some gold distress stickles (for some glass glitter sparkle!)…and embellished with bits of patterned paper, stickers and rubons.

Eat only the best closeup

I painted these wooden letters (Kaiser Craft) with acrylic paint and inked the edges with distress ink. The brown letter stickers are from Cosmo Cricket.

Eat only the best closeup2

Some bits from the Scarlett Fever Red Mix Media Color Kit

Eat only the best backview

I used the wrapping tissue to fill up the back part of the tin (in place of patterned paper), added the misted doiley, some lovely punchinella (love this stuff!), rubon and sticker!

Eat only the best top view

For the top of the tin, I used patterned paper, a beer label, sticker, doiley, bling, lacey fabric and some charms…
Do you like it?

angela is such a geek!

Angela Here!

Before I get into my fun & fabulous product review, I’d like to invite each of you to take a gander at the PaperLife blog, where I was this week’s Spotlight!  There’s a podcast which can be listened to right on the PaperLife page (my geeky little heart is all aflutter!)  Ok, so that may sound like I’m REALLLLY full of myself, but that’s truly not the reason I want you to go check it out.  Gauche Alchemy has generously donated a huge CUSTOM ACME Sampler kit, and you can win it by simply leaving a comment to the Spotlight post!  I promise… you’ll want to get your hot little hands on this kit, so don’t dilly dally.  I’ll wait here while you go check it out!  🙂

Link to PaperLife spotlight post

Back so soon?  Did you leave a comment so you can be entered to win the kit?  Excellent!  Now, on with our regularly scheduled programming.  🙂

It’s sad, but true. Before you even get inside my front door, you immediately know you have arrived at the House of Geek. There isn’t a square foot of our home that isn’t the resting place for some sort of computer equipment or electronic gadget.

Even our cats are geeky. Our Oriental named Ambrose loves to watch TV (COPS is his favorite show!) He is so in love with television that we keep a spot on the shelf beneath it cleared off just for him. The other day, as my son sat playing his PS3, Ambrose hopped into his favorite cubby amongst all the TV equipment, and I took the opportunity to snap a shot.

When I received the Geekery kit from Gauche Alchemy, I reached for this photo right away. I knew exactly how I wanted to immortalize our nerdy, furry friend. The Geekery kit includes everything you need to make multiple projects showcasing your favorite nerds, geeks, and gadget nuts. This kit is also PERFECT for little boys (and not-so-little boys) who love their toys. With tons of papers, including vintage graph, ledger, and technical booklet pages, you’ll have what you need to get your pages and mixed media projects started. My personal favorites were the retro comic book pages! Be sure to read on to see what I did with these!

Chock full of fun and funky embellishments, the Geekery kit provides you with ample treekets (geeky trinkets) to keep you busy for hours. The mix of vintage and retro, along with new products from Cosmo Cricket, K&Co, and Karen Foster, is spot on!

For this layout, I began with a sheet of kraft paper from the Gauche Alchemy Wholey Sheet kit as the base, then sprayed the funky background using Glimmer Mist and a template from Crafter’s Workshop.

The photo mat is actually a trimmed graph from a technical page included in the Geekery kit. For the title, I cut the words “house” and “nerds” from a vintage Spiderman comic book cover included in the Geekery kit, using my Cricut machine and the Opposites Attract cartridge. The black chipboard robot, gears, and circles are all included with the Geekery kit. The alpha stickers are from Paper Trunk and My Little Shoebox. Oh, and white Gesso on the black chipboard for effect! The thing I truly love about all the Gauche Alchemy kits is how perfectly they work with literally ANY supplies I already have on hand. I have yet to find a project that I cannot use a Gauche goodie on!

This page was super easy to create and put together, thanks to the well thought-out Geekery kit. I had this layout done, start-to-finish, in less than 45 minutes. So head over to the Gauche Alchemy ArtFire store, grab a Geekery kit for yourself, and embrace your inner pocket protector! And don’t forget to share your work with the class – we’d LOVE to see what you create!

Review: Pasticcio Quartz art zine

Hello ladies and gents! Amy here, and I have the honor and delightful pleasure of reviewing the latest copy of Sarah Fishburn and Angela Cartwright‘s art zine Pasticcio Quartz.  The latest edition is Issue 9, Spring 2010.

Would you like to WIN a copy of Issue 9?  We we’ll be choosing a winner Thursday morning, so please comment on this post for your chance to thumb through this lovely lovely – compliments of Sarah and Angela.

I will admit that I’m not the most well-versed reader on the zine scene… but I can say that most zines I’ve managed to get ahold of are self-published black-and-white versions.  Delightful as they are, it’s a breath of fresh air to get a slick, colorful paperback booklette, especially when the contents are so yummy and luscious that you just have to pore over every single page (52 of them, to be precise).

Let me walk you through this issue, bit by bit…

The zine features equal parts artwork and articles.  I can tell you that my blog feedreader is bursting even fuller at the seams since scanning through this latest issue, which focuses on ADORNMENT.  Embellishments galore – and who doesn’t love that?  Among the varied offerings: digital art, mixed media, collage, oil and acrylic painting, pen and ink drawings on plywood, jewelry, metalsmithing, fabric and stitching – and of course, contributions from the editors themselves.  Each page is full color and boasts a plethora of eye candy – yes, even the articles are printed on backgrounds that invite careful scrutiny.

Among the featured artists:

DJ Pettitt

Lynden St. Victor

Amanda Blake (her contribution makes my heart hurt – that’s how bad I want to hang it on my wall!)

Joe Carrion

Paul Murray

Diana Frey

Cecilia Swatton

Tawnya Romig-Foster

Tim Mitoma

Roxanne Stout

Colin Gerety (Sarah’s hubby!)

Megan Gray (her contribution also makes my heart hurt… *sigh* pitterpatter pitterpatter)

Stephanie Lee

Connie Freedman (Angela’s ac studio9 partner)

Krista Silvia Raak

Pearl Red Moon

Patricia Ayres

Nina Bagley

Riki Schumacher (gasp!)

In addition to the amazing artwork, you will find a multitude of quotes – from this year’s Oscar contenders to quotes about adornments – articles about calligraphy, steampunk, charms, buttons, and book reviews.  (I have to say, I happened across a book review by Sarah on Amazon.com, and her [very accurate] review tipped me over into knowing I *had* to have the book – it’s a good one – Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials.  I’m glad I trusted her judgement on that one!)

We are also treated to a couple of kick-ass tutorials (one by a favorite artist of mine, Judy Wise) and an article by the one and only Suzi Blu.  There’s a full page of awesome links to the most awesome stuff, and a couple of profiles about artists whose artwork lives on though they have passed – both of whom I was not acquainted with before, and both well worth knowing.

The best thing about an art zine is knowing that it is the vision of unique artists just like us.  As much as we adore the mags with wide publication and big budgets (and they are ALL OVER the Somerset/Stampinton pubs, as well – Angela even has her own paper line with them), there’s nothing like holding a bit of personal love from a couple of talented women in our very own community.  If you’re inclined to agree, get your hiney on over to this link and pick up a few back issues while waiting for the release of Pasticcio Quartz 10!  Issue 10 will be available in the Fall – be sure to sign up for their e-mail announcement if you don’t want to miss it.

Let me tell you a little bit about Angela and Sarah.  Nicole introduced us to Sarah Fishburn last Wednesday.

Sarah has been one of my favorite producers of eye candy for the past few years, and hers is the site to which I generally point people when asked, “What’s mixed media art?”  Her work has been widely published in a whole buncha books, and she and Angela have written a couple of books together: In This House and In This Garden.  (I hear this is only the beginning for this series!)  Imagine my delight to discover that she is as sweet and accessible as any fan could hope!

And now let’s talk about Angela.  Angela is an artist, author, photographer, mom of two, clothing and jewelry designer, and former actress of some fame.  (She was Brigitta in the 1964 film version of The Sound of Music, was on Make Room for Daddy for its 7-season run, and played Penny Robinson on Lost in Space.  I hadn’t realized!)

Although I somehow didn’t make the connection between Angela and Brigitta, what I *do* know Angela for is her fabulous book Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery.  She also conceived the concept for and contributed to the book Transparent Art, all about using transparencies to amazing effect.  (You can also see Sarah’s work in this volume published by Somerset.)

I’ve learned that any project with which these two are associated indicates a project I’m likely to enjoy.  Here are some more publications entirely worthy of your perusal – you’ll see more of their delicious work and meet other fabulous artists along the way:

True Colors: a Palette of Collaborative Art Journals

Alphabetica: an A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists

Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking

Artist Trading Card Workshop: Create, Collect, Swap

The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success: Turn Your Crafts into a Career

A few more book reviews – ATCs, mosaics, altered imagery

Let’s get back into my favorite books, chock full of inspiration.

I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while. I’m not much of a rubber stamper, but this book is so full of great paper tricks, I had to have it! Click on the photo to go to Amazon and take a closer look.

rubber stamping ATCs

This book has a whole bunch of ways to alter photographs that you probably never thought of. Some of them even require ventilation. That’s some serious stuff.

altered imagery

I have been thinking for quite a while about getting into polymer clay. As Yasu will tell you, making your own embellishments is quite fun. This book can be interpreted that way… or you can go ahead and make your own mixed media mosaic.

mixed media mosaics

This last book for today is a favorite among so many people I know. It’s like a luscious zine that you can keep on your bookshelf forever – so much inspiration and eye candy. The contributors write with such soul you can’t help but get pulled in.


More art books – jumping tall buildings in a single bound

Thanks for tuning in again, fans! It’s late in the day, but I did promise another post for you bookworms out there. In fact, I think I’ll be making a whole series of book posts – so if you want the scoop, I’ll save you all the trouble of having to research. If you like researching, by all means, don’t let me get in your way.

Here are the other books I bought yesterday.

I have been interested in drawing lately. I just love the non-polished personal look of doodles in art journaling and even scrapbook pages. Of course it translates well to mixed media art… and though I’m improving, I still think myself more an admirer than a artist in my own right. Erk. Gotta get past that.

drawing skills

Of all the books I looked at, this one seemed the most varied. Perspectives, form, expressions, still life, natural world drawings, portrait drawing (male, female, young, old…), figure drawing, caricatures, tools and materials… lots of good stuff. Click above to check it out at Amazon.

Finally, the last book I bought yesterday:

paper transformed

I was very excited to take a peek inside this book – it has tons and lots and many way to create different surfaces on paper using all sorts of techniques and media. Whoa. Great book. Can’t wait to try some of these out. As a burgeoning (wannabe) mixed media artist, I have nervousness and insecurity about how best to create a textured background. Methinks no more!

Now, these two are from my bookshelf – I’ve had them for a while. I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t spent much time with the techniques in them yet (yet!), but the contents are tremendously EXCITING! (Get excited, people!)

The first one is similar to the one just above (Paper Transformed), except with clay!

polymer clay

You will not BELIEVE the crap this woman can do. She can make clay look like anything!  Bone, marble, metal (various kinds), turquoise (and a bunch of other semi-precious stones), leather, mother of pearl, slate, copper verdigris, wood, river rock, cloisonne, dichrotic glass… it goes on and on.  Really amazing stuff.

Last book for today.  This is one of my absolute favs.  It’s only 51 pages long, but it is essential if you’re starting to use acrylic paints (and maybe even if you’re somewhat experienced).

altered surfaces

The reason I find this book so exciting and useful is because, in addition to presenting some groovy techniques, it unravels the mystery of the bajillion different kinds of acrylic paints and associated media – colors and how they work with one another (do you know which colors “cover and color”, which “color without covering”, which are thick, which are thin?); gels, grounds, pastes… this is one I read every word of – it’s concise and packs a real punch for the number of pages. It actually shows you what each color looks like over other colors – glazes, mineral and modern pigments. It shows you what each type of medium looks like on surfaces (gel medium, fiber paste, crackle paste, etc.). It has a section about tools and brushes. Oh and it has purty examples. 🙂

I honestly believe this book will save me years of aggravation (and potentially giving up) by explaining things so well. That’s important for an untrained artist like myself. I can just take a flip through this book, pick something that looks good for the project I’m working on, and go to it.

Be back soon for more reviews. I’ve got some great stuff you’ll want to see.

Art journaling and art education books

Dear loyal readers,

Sorry to have been MIA for the past couple of days.  I spent a wonderful weekend with the in-laws.  I regret to say I haven’t had a chance to take a close look at the applications for our “average scrapper.”  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it because I neglected to post the challenge on the actual blog.  My bad.  🙂  I’ll make up for that oversight someday soon.

I want to report the books I got today at Chez Barnes und Nobles (a mixture of French and German should indicate that I speak neither).  I am so happy with my finds, even if I can’t quite justify spending the money.  😛

First up:

journal revolution

There are tons of art journaling books out there – and I love them all.  But this one seemed especially worth my dollars.  It appeals to me because it has tons of ideas for “bits and bites” of journaling ideas.  Things like using a calendar where you turn the page every day (any idea what I’m talking about?) as your art journal – very cute, and a nice way to record your days.  There are paper plates and brown paper bags, bras and old socks, and best of all… great brief sayings that seem to say a lot more than you’d expect.  Click above to go to Amazon and take a little look around.


color edwards

Had to look around quite a bit for this one.  I have wanted to learn about color theory for quite a time, but most of the color books out there contain palattes for mixing or for matching hues for projects.  I want to know how it works.  This book is by the chick who wrote Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  She starts by writing about how our brains process color, how light changes color, and how colors affect each other.  Then she moves on to color theory.  Next, she talks about the “vocabulary” of color – primary colors, secondary and tertiary colors, analogous and complementary colors, hue/variety/intensity.  Then you get to learn about using paints and brushes… then a bunch of stuff about using color wheels… well, that covers the first four chapters or so.  There are 12 chapters!  It’s not a big book – it’s a fairly slim paperback.

Not your cup of tea?  Too cerebral?  Well, I’m a big dork.  What can I say?  If you’re a big dork, too, click above to go to Amazon and take a peek inside.


acrylic revolution

I’ve been coveting this book for months.  I checked it out at my library and knew it was going to have to live on my bookshelf at some point.  It’s just not the kind of thing you can get full value from in 3 weeks.  Not unless you have one hell of a photographic memory.  It has all sorts of amazing and death-defying tricks inside!  Oooh!  Aaah!  Take a look inside – click above to go to Amazon.

Can’t wait to get to work on this one.  If only I can get some creative time.  😦

Well, that’s enough for tonight.  I bought two other books, but I’ll introduce you to them tomorrow.  Yeah – I went a little crazy in the art section at the bookstore today. 🙂