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.


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!


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…………

Image Map

The fun that is Tumblr.

So I know how hard it is to update your blog. Mine too.

Sometimes, you kinda get tired of the daily humdrum and want to have all these exciting, amazing photos on your blog, which unfortunately, are not in your camera’s memory.

So my happy solution for you is Tumblr. (For the record, Gauche Alchemy is not, in any way or form, connected with Tumblr. We’re not making any money from this post. Nina just really, really likes it.)

I stumbled onto Tumblr recently and it has been an amazing journey. It kinda feels like I followed the White Rabbit and fell down the rabbit hole.

Here, in the site’s own words, is what it is: Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme’s HTML. The easiest way to blog.

The opening page leads you to a link to “21 Reasons Why You’ll Love Tumblr“. And of course you should totally check those out.

In a nutshell, it’s fun, it’s easy and it’s a breeze to post anything. The uber cool thing about it is that it’s a wealth of inspiration, amazing photos, cool quotes, cool blogs, and just plain fun.

So you have to have a starting point to jump down the rabbit hole, right? Kindly visit my Tumblr blog to know what I’m talking about.

Trust me, it’s not really easy to explain. But it’s very easy to show you what I mean.

Oh and if you want to learn more about it, here’s an article on it: “What is Tumblr again?

P.S. Oh and the talented lady (whom I stalk and don’t personally know) who got me addicted to it in the first place? The fabulous Kristina Contes has a Tumblr blog HERE.


Nina’s layouts, December kit

Before I get to Nina’s magnificent layouts, wanted to share a link with you.  I stumbled across this site with photos of altered books.  This is the kind of stuff that makes my heart sing! Make sure you click on the thumbnails – you’ll want to look at these up close and personal-like.

Here are a couple of layouts Nina made using the December kit. I just adore Nina’s style and am so thrilled she has designed for us this month!  Keep an eye on our Flickr group for future work from her.  Enjoy!


Bet you’d never guess that round “When It’s Right You Know It” piece is a vintage Schlitz beer coaster, huh?  Did I mention our kits are versatile?  Oh, I did?


One of the most enjoyable things about sending our kits out into the world is seeing what fresh creative eyes can do (ha! “can do!”) with them.  It just never gets old.  I am awed by the use of ephemera in these inspirational journal pages.

Freaking Huge Contest!

rhonnaI just couldn’t help but share this incredibly generous giveaway from Rhonna Farrer. Her digital designs are truly outstanding, and here is your chance to win 209 of them (can you believe it?????)!
Follow the link here: Rhonna Farrer Christmas Giveaway

Visit her etsy shop HERE to view her collage-y style– just fabulous!rhonna-1

Eye candy extraordinaire – Dec kit projects!

Okay, peel your eyeballs and get ready to be delighted – this post is going to be CHOCK FULL of some delightful eye candy and even a tutorial from Nina Patena.

Lets start with some gorgeous projects from our December guest designer, Nina.  I just love these projects – great job, Nina!

We still have a couple of December kits left  – visit our Etsy shop to grab one.

Look at these adorable cards with envelopes!


Then there’s this awesome gift box:


Here’s the inside:


And as if that weren’t awesome enough, here’s a little accordian book that goes inside.  I love the color combination!




And finally, here is Nina’s altered book-within-a-book – scroll down for the tutorial!



ninap-inside-mini-bookHere’s an altered book I used as a box for a mini-book I made from the kit.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial:
I found this unicorn journal in a used bookstore for around $3.
1. Apply gel medium to all the sides of the pages of the journal and then clamp the pages with binder clips overnight.
2. Cut a square hole in the middle of the bound pages. Make sure to put a cutting mat between the back cover and all the pages so you don’t cut through the back cover.
3. Stick chosen image from the kit behind the hole.
4. Glue bound pages to the back cover with gel medium and let dry.
5. Paint inside cover and the bound pages with acrylic paint.
6. Stick images from the kit on the inside cover with gel medium and seal images with gel medium.
7. For the mini-book, I used the small book covers of “The Night Before Christmas” that came with the kit and used double-sided tape to stick the green felt tree (also in the kit) to the cover.
8. I also used the chipboard pieces from “Goodnight Moon” that came with the kit as pages of the mini-book. I stuck cardstock (cut to size) from the kit to the back of the chipboard pieces before punching holes in the upper lefthand corner.
9. I also used the vintage Bingo card that came with the kit as binding. I folded the Bingo card and punched a hole in the front half to insert the fiber that came with the kit and used that to bind the “Goodnight Moon” chipboard pieces to the Bingo card.
10. Stick the back half of the Bingo card to the inside back cover of the mini-book.
11. Use a little gel medium to stick middle part of the Bingo card to the middle of the mini-book.
12. Journal inside as a sweet little Christmas gift to a little one.


Next up – I know you’ve been waiting for it: here’s Yasu’s completed project that she started in our beeswax tutorial.  She decided to make an ornament out of it.  Go to Yasu’s blog to see more of her amazing work, including some similar ATC/ornaments.


To pick up where the video tutorial left off:

Yasu machine stitched over the beeswaxed paper (didn’t work so well -may not want to try this at home – resulted in some thread jams and tangles!), added some eyelets, threaded the fiber from the December kit through the top eyelets, and attached a Santa earring to the bottom eyelet.  Then she outlined our happy couple with the Stickles included in the December kit.

Here are my projects using the December kit – I made gifts for my sister-in-law, Melissa, and my mother-in-law.  Let’s start with Melissa’s gift.




I started with a great little tea box that my mom gave me, knowing I would find a use for it.  😉  I covered it with the cardstock and patterned paper in the December kit.

Then I painted the edges of the box top with brown acrylic paint.

Next, I cut out the 50’s lady (from an old vaccuum advert) and attached her to the box, top and bottom.  I put the “m” epoxy sticker on the top of the box.

I added a Rusty Pickle rub-on to the side of the box.  (It says: “It’s called personality, and baby, you’ve got it!”)

I took a gold-colored Colorbox Cateye ink pad and ran it over the bottom of the box to give some texture and draw out the texture on the cardstock.

Then I Mod-Podged the entire box.

When dry, I added the green 7 gypsies buckle from the December kit, onto which I had tied a wire-edged ribbon from my personal stash. I glued the buckle to the box using Ranger Inkssentials Glossy Accents (gel medium works just as well).

I added clear square Glitz Frosting rhinestones to the edges of the top of the box.

Here’s the last project I’m going to show you today.  I made these cute re-useable gift tags for my mother-in-law, who is a champion at saving all the pretty wrappings everything comes in for re-use later.  Gotta love that – appreciator of beautiful things AND so green!  🙂


Here are the back of the tags – they are spray-painted with Krylon blackboard paint, so they can be written on again and again with chalk!  I wish I could claim credit for this fabu idea, but I stole the idea from… someone.  I’m sincerely sorry I can’t remember who to give the credit to.  (If it’s you or you know where the idea came from, let me know – I’ll credit the appropriate person, of course!)


How to:

I used both wooden and heavy cardstock/chip tags.

First, take the tags outdoors (the Krylon paint is REALLY noxious!), lay out your tags on some kraft paper or other backing material (to protect the surface you’re spraying on – unless you want your sidewalk to be a blackboard).  Spray TWO coats of blackboard paint and let dry between coats.

When the paint is dry, cover the opposite side with whatever decorative elements you see fit.

For these tags, I used several items from the December kit: felt penguin and red Stickles (embellished with a pink rhinestone and Ranger pearls for the eye), silver paper and Santa ephemera (from an old nut advertisement), green cardstock, beeswaxed ephemera, tiny ornaments, more ephemera (blue bows), and more stickles (swirls on blue vellum).

Everything else came from my personal stash: Creative Memories vellum, black thread (machine stitching over beeswax – as I said, I learned the hard way this is not a great idea – lots of tangles – machine did NOT like it), Imaginesce Joy rub-on embellished with Copic glitter pens and a rhinestone, stamps embossed with Ranger red puff powder and Tim Holtz Distress powder. I used some Colorbox inks to edge some of the tags.  You could also Mod-Podge them when you’re done to make them more durable (just the paper – not the blackboard paint!).

Then I punched a hole with my Crop-a-Dile and added an eyelet.

Next, I turned the tags over to decorate the blackboard side: stamped in white ink and added a rub-ons and rhinestones.  I used a Ranger Inkssentials white pen to handwrite “to” and “from.”

Then I tied up the tags with a strip of black vintage ric-rac and included a piece of chalk.  I have a lot more painted tags with which I intend to make more re-useable gift tags later.  It’s always good to get the messy/smelly part out of the way in one go!

December paper crafting kit revealed

It’s time to unveil the December kit. As I mentioned before, this kit is positively STUFFED with great finds and vintage ephemera. 

Our first four orders will receive a complimentary Cosmo Cricket Just Your Holiday Type booklet of 144 cardstock stickers (holiday alphas, sayings, and images – totally adorable!), worth $10 retail.  These will be listed on Etsy in a couple of days, but if you want to reserve one now, e-mail me at gauchealchemy at cox dot net.

PRICE $39.95

This is the heaviest kit we’ve ever made – I counted up over 45 pieces of vintage paper (at least 10 of them full-page vintage magazine ads)… we’ve got a little bit of everything here – baubles, costume jewelry, beer and wine labels, vintage snapshot, vintage coaster, felt shapes, vintage bingo chips and card, fabric and matching buttons, fibers, old playing cards, children’s book pages, yellowed dictionary pages, recipes, sheet music, Stickles, Bazzill cardstock, 12×12 patterned paper, a vintage partridge-in-a-pear-tree Christmas card, vintage pamphlets, 2 lengths of punchinella in red stars and patina circles, Goodnight Moon illustrated chipboard…. well, see for yourself:





Just to show you, these items are the only manufactured craft/scrapbooking/art items we’ve included in this kit – EVERYTHING ELSE is found objects and ephemera!

Daisy D’s 12×12 patterned paper – 1 sheet of Silver Damask and 1 sheet of Sheherazade
Bazzill cardstock 8.5×11″ – 4 sheets, 2 of each color
Imaginesce circle epoxy letters, 42 total, Out on A Whim Collection, Forget-Me-Not Fonts – these have a lovely aged look to them.
Wire angel wings
10 felt shapes (assortment of star, angel, snowman, evergreen, deer, penguin, stocking)
4 baubles/ornament charms
Stickles in Real Red

“eyelash” fiber (color varies but coordinates with papers)

2 retro-style fabric swatches

7 gypsies buckles in “Sea” (1 each of 4 kinds)

Ratting out the competition

Hey fair readers!

Not to toot our own horn…
ah, who ’em I kidding? Damn WELL tooting our horn!

Have you noticed how much vintage ads cost through other avenues? $3-7 per PAGE!

Check out this site, for instance.
Or how about eBay?

Now ask Amy Duff or Shannon Glasscock-Zuklich how many ads of similar nature they got for FREE with their prize packages. Go on… ask!

Or how about vintage snapshots? Check those out on E-bay, too – crazy!

Oh, there are deals to be found – trust me, I’ve found some good stuff on eBay. Occasionally. But why bother? We’ll do the work for you – and after we’ve uncovered the deals and finds, we even coordinate it for you. And we sure as shit don’t charge you several DOLLARS per page of ephemera!

If you’ve not looked at our Etsy listings for a while, go take another look. We always include SEVERAL full page ads or magazine illustrations with various other smaller pieces from dictionaries, children’s books, etc. You’re not going to find a kit more valuable than the one we put together month after month. At THEIR prices, who dares use them in paper crafts? I think that’s why most people FRAME them.

Well, not us. And neither should you. Rip ’em up, play with ’em, and have a grand time doing it.

We’ll be releasing details on our December kit very soon. And I have to tell you that this is our heaviest kit yet. It also has pages upon pages upon pages of vintage ephemera, most of it straight from full-size vintage magazines like LIFE or Collier’s. We want to convince each and every one of you what a fantastic deal our subscriptions will be when they start in January. In fact, we made the main kit so humongous, we don’t even HAVE an add-on kit for December… pretty much it’s included in the main kit, and of course, the price is still $39.95.

Stay tuned for more details. If in doubt, just ask Nina Patena, our December guest designer, what she thinks of the kit we sent her. She’s the only one who has a December kit, so she’s the one to ask… if it’s not in her eager hands right now, it will be very soon. And remember, there are only TEN kits, so if this sounds as magnificent as it should, you can pre-order one by e-mailing me at gauchealchemy at cox dot net.

Whew. Okay, I’m done ranting now. Here’s some cards made by the fantabulous Julie Kirk with our Fun and Games Slurry.

Click images to enlarge.

A handmade card and kit club SUBSCRIPTIONS!

Using the November kits, this lovely card was made by our very own, very talented guest designer, <a href=””>Anne-Marie Teo</a>.

I love the beautiful simplicity of this card. Anne-Marie makes it easy to believe we can all make wonderfully polished projects, doesn’t she?


Two announcements – KIT CLUB SUBSCRIPTIONS and December kits:

We have determined the subscription structure, which will be starting in January 2009.

Each main kit will be worth about $40 retail, with each add-on kit worth about $20 retail. We’re offering subscriptions in 3- and 6-month increments. By subscribing, you will get the following price breaks:

3-month main subscription: $38 per month and $18 for the add-on should you choose to add it

3-month inclusive subscription (main and add-on kits each month): $52 per month ($8 savings)

6-month main subscription: $36 per month ($4 off per month) and 20% off any additional items shipped with it, including the add-on kit (which would come to $4 off on the add-on kit alone)

6-month inclusive subscription: $50 per month and 20% off any additional items shipped with it ($10+ savings)

As a United States subscriber, you will never pay more than $9.00 in shipping, regardless of the weight of your order. International customers will get a 5% discount off shipping fees.

Each package sent to a subscriber will have a few free goodies tucked inside. We plan to offer random “exclusives” to our subscribers, secret limited-time sales, and first dibs on any clearances or discounts. Also, current members will have first chance at future subscriptions, as we are able to offer only a limited number of them.

We’ll bill you monthly, or you can pay the entire subscription upfront. If you pay upfront, you will get MORE FREE GOODIES! For the 3-month subscription, choose any add-on kit or Slurry kit currently in inventory as your freebie. For the 6-month subscription, choose any main kit currently in inventory as your freebie (including any premiere kits we have left over – remember, these kits are worth about $60 each, as they include both the main and add-on portions in ONE kit!)

So tell your husband and mother-in-law and kids and best friend that you NEEEED a Gauche Alchemy subscription. If they love you, anyway. 😉

If you’re a scrapbooker, cardmaker, or collage artist, put a Gauche Alchemy subscription on your wish list this holiday season. They are up for sale in our Etsy shop NOW. Alternatively, we can bill you (or anyone who wants to buy you a gift subscription) directly if you e-mail us at We’ll provide a lovely gift card for any giver to present as a holiday gift – and of course, we’ll have to throw in some free goodies in the bargain!

The number of subscriptions will be limited (and top secret!), so make sure you’re one of the privileged few!

Upcoming December kits
We wouldn’t be Gauche Alchemy if we didn’t put our quirky little spin on a holiday kit, so here’s what I’ve got in mind. According to, December holidays are far more numerous (and strange) than the ones we’re most familiar with. Our kits will include elements to celebrate ALL December holidays – we’re nothing if not equal opportunity!

Not only is December BINGO MONTH and WRITE-A-FRIEND MONTH, but here are some common and lesser-known days that very well might inspire what we choose to put in your kits:

1 Eat a Red Apple Day
1 World Aids Awareness Day
2 National Fritters Day (I had no idea there was a fritters trade group, did you?)
3 National Roof over Your Head Day
4 Santas’ List Day (We personally prefer the people on the “naughty” list)
4 Wear Brown Shoes Day (Even if you love your red pumps)
5 Bathtub Party Day (Hey! why didn’t I think of that?!)
5 Repeal Day – The 21st Amendment ends Prohibition. (“Ossiffer! You’re twins!”)
6 St. Nicholas Day
6 Mitten Tree Day
6 Put on your own Shoes Day (Certain to be a hit with my toddler!)
7 International Civil Aviation Day
7 Letter Writing Day (What’s that? Does it have anything to do with e-mail?)
7 National Cotton Candy Day
7 Pearl Harbor Day
8 Eid-Ul-Adha (date varies)
8 National Brownie Day
8 Take it in the Ear Day (I don’t even want to know…)
9 Christmas Card Day
9 National Pastry Day (Glory glory hallelujah!)
10 Human Rights Day
11 National Noodle Ring Day (Haven’t you always wanted a noodle ring?)
12 National Ding-a-Ling Day (Haven’t you always felt like a Ding-a-Ling?)
12 Poinsettia Day
13 Ice Cream Day (This one must be in honor of me.)
13 Violin Day
14 International Children’s Day – Second Sunday in December
14 National Bouillabaisse Day (Bouillabaisse chefs unite!)
15 Bill of Rights Day
15 National Lemon Cupcake Day (This sounds like an incredibly good idea!)
16 National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (I’m having a lot of dirty thoughts right now…)
17 National Maple Syrup Day
18 Bake Cookies Day (Pheeeeenomenal!)
18 National Roast Suckling Pig Day (The only day with “suck” in the title)
19 Look for an Evergreen Day
19 Oatmeal Muffin Day
20 Go Caroling Day
21 Forefather’s Day (Foreskin day? Oh wait – ForeFATHER’S Day!)
21 Humbug Day (Why is this day not better promoted!?)
21 National Flashlight Day (Point it where the sun don’t shine!)
21 Look on the Bright Side Day (brought to you by Mary Sunshine)
22 National Date Nut Bread Day (brought to you by
23 Roots Day (Is this the day I finally cover my gray?)
24 National Chocolate Day
24 National Egg Nog Day
25 Christmas Day
25 National Pumpkin Pie Day
26 Boxing Day
27 Make Cut Out Snowflakes Day
27 National Fruitcake Day (This one is just begging for a rude comment…)
28 Card Playing Day (When you get a gift only if you play your cards right! hoo hoo ha ha ha!!!)
29 Pepper Pot Day (My pot-smoking friends will be so happy to know there is a new variety!)
30 National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (For all the ways it has changed our lives…)
31 Make Up Your Mind Day (because they didn’t want to call it “Poop or Get Off the Pot” Day)
31 New Year’s Eve
31 Unlucky Day (But hey – better luck next year!)

Feel free to add your own snarky comments below!

And the inspiration continues

Ladies, ladies, ladies…you’re all just too good!  These guest designers that we are so lucky to have just keep on amazing me!  Some more delicious work from Anne-Marie using our November kit, “That’s the Ticket”…this is a perfect example of the versatility of our kits; she’s created a darling, girly piece suitable for hanging from our politically themed kit.  I just love it!!





And here are a couple cards created with our “Moms for Mams” kit inspired by Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Keely Yowler really has a knack for combining elements, don’t you think?



**Please visit Keely and Anne-Marie’s blogs to see more of their work and be inspired!  And for goodness sake, go buy a freakin’ kit!!!**

New kits posted on Etsy!

In honor of the recent U.S. election, the November paper crafting kits are full of delicious items based on (loose) political themes. Readers of our blog will get either FREE SHIPPING or $5 off your entire order if you put the words “blog discount” in the “message to seller” section at checkout. Please specify which you’d like: free shipping or $5 off.

Here’s the full reveal:

That’s the Ticket! $39.95


What you get:
At least seven (7) pieces of our signature vintage ephemera – varies, may include vintage magazine pages/ads, children’s book pages, postage stamps, etc.

Six (6) 12×12 pages of paper: 2 red patterned (Basic Gray and Daisy D’s), 2 blue patterned (Basic Gray and K&Co), and sheets of Bazzill cardstock (red and blue)

One (1) full-size road map (varies, U.S. locations)

Three (3) patches – VOTE, American flag, and tattered “W”

18″ blue sequin ribbon

18″ brown Bazzill pom ribbon

Five (5) large U.S. play-money bills (1, 5, 10, 20)

Three (3) metal K&Co military-style pins (varies)

Three (3) dollar-sign bling rhinestone stickers

Fifteen (15) metal star brads in red, white, and blue

Three (3) elephant brads

Heidi Swapp acrylic clear stamps – wings (1 set of large, 1 set of small – 4 stamps total)

One package of six (6) red Rob and Bob Gelly-O acrylic sandwich frame charms

Queen & Co. Be Blue acrylic sequins, 100 pieces

Maya Road chipboard arrows, six total

Swatch of American dollar fabric

Dark blue Stickles fine glitter glue

Miss Piggy, add-on kit, $10.95
Anyone following the U.S. 2008 elections will know who inspired this kit. I’m not naming names, but it’s not too hard to figure out.


You get:
At least six (6) pieces of our signature vintage ephemera, varies (magazine pages/ads, children’s book pages, illustrations, etc.)

Several pieces of Provo Craft Etcetera ephemera chip

18″ red sequin ribbon

A sprinkling of mud-colored poms (mudslinging, anyone?)

Three (3) beauty-queen crown brads in pink, silver, and/or gold

One (1) patch – “I’m the Beautiful Brute”

Queen & Co. acrylic sequins in Real Red, 100 pieces

Stay tuned – soon we will be posting some projects by Keely Yowler that just knocked my socks off – she’s working on a little tutorial so you can add one of the elements she used to your own projects!

We have such talented designers – warms my heart!