Mixed-media paper crafter; stamper, freelance craft tutor, designer of PaperArtsy JOFY stamps

30 January 2015

busy little bugs.....

... beetling about getting ready for next week when they can all come out of hiding for everyone to see....

28 January 2015

Countdown to Christmas!...

Don't panic, I'm not going to tell you how many days it is until christmas day 2015, and start counting down (but just incase you're now wondering how many it is - its 331! lol)  I just want to share with you my final christmas project.... (I would've shown you earlier but 'secret' stuff took priority...)

I made a book of this year's christmas (or oops, last year! 2014) - a sort of mini journal.  Sometimes its hard to decide what is the 'perfect' format/size for books/journals/scrapbook so I left it to chance:  all the pages are made from the envelopes christmas cards arrived in through the post..

This was a fun way to create the book- and challenging and freeing - no worrying about 'what if its not the 'right' size'!...

My general self-imposed guidelines for the 'upcycling' of the envelopes were:
* cover the address with papers, photos, embellishments
* decorate the front, journal on the reverse
* use up stash! (a never ending goal and guideline!!)
* start and, more importantly, FINISH the book

The cover is created from corrugated cardboard (the spine) and 2 1960's book covers that I've been saving for a 'special' project... I used instructions that I saw on Julie Kirk's blog (go here to take a look).. a really useful way to bind a project because its so adaptable...
2014 is American Crafts stickers - nice white sparkly ones - very wintery and suitably festive, Noel is a die by Sizzix, and the tag you might recognise as the one I 'upcycled' from a Next jumper swing tag (here)

So here, in no particular order, are a few of the pages... (btw the 'leather' behind each page is to hide the other other pages behind the one featured)

Several of the cards use left-overs from festive projects and class kits - like on  this page: the snowflakes are a die (poppystamps) used in a class - such a pretty die it was a shame not to use it. The envelope was stamped by the sender - a lovely finishing touch when you're sending a card..

I am having a lot of fun with pocket scrapbooking cards at the moment (they feature quite heavily in this book).. on this page I repeatedly stamped 'eat, drink & be merry' onto a card and let it flow onto the page (ties the card and the background together) - the phrase is from JOFY02.  The tag is another upcycled product swing tag..

This is me in my natural state - angelic (ahem) - complete with halo! lol  teaching a festive workshop at The Artistic Stamper.
The UK stamps were nice this year so I kept them visible when possible when upcycling the pages.

This page uses a headline from a shopping event... I thought this was appropriate because we all spend quite a few hours (at least) shopping at christmas for the 'perfect' gift for our loved ones...

 ... which leads nicely onto this page - a quote from one of my favourite christmas films - 'The Grinch'... (stamp is by Kaiser Craft)

This page reminds me of the decorations in our hallway - sometimes a photo isn't necessary, a decorative element can be enough... this is quite a dimensional page but the loose construction of the book can cope with that..

..The tags I made for the christmas presents.. teamed with one of my favourite 'go-to' christmas stamps - JM07

 .. and here are the presents under the tree... this is such a fun page - little 'packing' notes & bobble/pom-pom fringing - whats not to love about bobble fringing!!!  It makes me smile.

and here is the tree (with another upcycled tag!)... decorating the tree this year was a very stress free task - its pre-lit! A revelation!... 3 pieces, 2 connections, plug it in... ta-daaaaaaa! ho ho ho!

My favourite ornaments.. I love the simplicity of the colour scheme, the classic design, and this year I displayed a few of them in a bowl surrounded by lights - so pretty... The dark grey wall behind them really sets them off...  I liked creating the page in the colours of the baubles - crisp white and deep baby blue....
Next year I display coloured baubles in the same way - I think it will be really effective..
The pages of the book are all quite clean and simple - and thats how I wanted it - this isn't a sketchbook christmas journal its more of a scrapbook christmas journal...  its quite thick - about 4cm but light, all the pages are different sizes and colours..

and what I like the most is that I FINISHED it!!

I'd really recommend using envelopes as the pages - its fun & creates an interesting, unpredictable book... leave the book pages to chance - you don't know what size they'll be until the post arrives.. :o)

ho ho ho

24 January 2015

ALBOTAT: Frosty!!

bbbbrrrrr its a bit chilly here in Essex at the moment, the sprinkling of snow was .. well... pathetic to be honest lol. but the frost had a very pretty effect on the garden...

... and I have no idea what this poppy is doing... shouldn't it flower in the summer?? 

and the gates look lovely with a dusting of frost! (makes up for the lack of plant coverage!)


23 January 2015

DLP & a sneek peek

I am loving the Documented Life Project - I might not always stick to the plan/theme (at the moment) but I am having fun covering pages in my journal...

Here is another one of the pages... and a sneek peek (just sayin...)



22 January 2015

Busy busy busy.....

so many exciting things going on at PaperArtsy at the moment....

here's a sneek-peek at what's buzzing around in the JOFY section of HQ

so exciting!!! not too much longer to wait- can't wait to show you all.....


13 January 2015

DLP: Week 1

Oh the 'drama' of getting this page to this stage! Sooooooo many layers, rescues, & the hour or two (split over several days) of getting it finished & being happy (ie not wanting to rip it out!)


11 January 2015

ALBOTAT: New layout, new desk...

.... I reorganised my workroom recently... It hasn't been working for me for a while.. It's a nice size but felt cramped - never enough worktop space (but isn't that always the case?!).  So we (hubby & I) moved the desk (which is in the centre of the room) rotating it 90 degrees... Taadaa!!!  Surprising how much space that simple alteration created!  I'd always wanted/dreamed of a second desk in the room - somewhere I could keep my sewing machine and diecut machine out all time... (I'd use them more if they were easily accessible, I hope!)... a 'clean' desk - away from the existing inky painty desk.. 
I'm very grateful to my oh-so-handy hubby who built a desk out of an 'off cut'  length of worktop left over from our kitchen refit (it's 1.7m long lol!! a little bit more than an 'off cut' lol) - it fits in the 'dead space' under the window... It's nice to put this to good use & it's perfect for its intended use- heat proof, easy to clean, sturdy:  win win.
Hubby did good! (& he braved Ikea on a Sunday (& during their sale) to get the legs! Lol).

So there they are- my new desks that make it feel like a new room! ... I find it so much easier to work in... the only downside is that I now have TWO desks to keep tidy!
I'd encourage you to move your work spaces around if possible- is surprising the difference it can make - if just storage on desks or shelves... (and you 'rediscover' items.. in my experience lol)

PS: this photo was taken just after desks were finished & so tidying is needed, but that's for another day... when the 'to-do' list is shorter


10 January 2015

Some dies are like puppies - they are not just for christmas!

I love a bit of die cutting!!  and recently the lovely Paula Pascual gave me several of the die sets she designed for Sizzix - such a clever chickie!!

I've been using this one- its a christmas set - but I seriously think its too good to use only at christmas! (called 'Christmas Phrase Cards' ref 659973)
The 9 dies cut pocket-scrapbooking sized cards and co-ordinating elements - words, a word block.  and a really useful circle.

I have used it for festive projects, obviously - as part of my 'christmas book' (more about that tomorrow)...
On this page I cut a white panel, a kraft word block and a blue spotted word - love how all the elements layer up - and looks great laid over my snowflakes stamps.

On this page I just used a single word... (I'm definitely a 'less is more' type of person)

I started playing around with non-festive ways to use the dies and elements, using the Prima Epiphany 6x6 paper pad for these projects - great pad - lots of each design, double sided & a little bit distressed... but not grungy - nice.

What I like about the dies is that they can be positioned in just the right place over patterned papers to create perfect little scrapbooking cards, or panels for cards - so it you want to cut at an angle right in the middle of the page you can!... It so much quicker and accurate to die cut than to sit and measure the space - not lazy just time efficient!
I use the magnetic platform with my BigShot to hold thin dies in place - genius piece of kit for the BigShot - you NEED one of these is you use thin dies! I bought mine from the The Stamp Attic

I got busy cutting bits and pieces: several panels using the different sizes of journal cards (creating perfect mat'n'layers (bottom left in picture), and circles as motifs.. the rectangular cards are ready for journaling or large words of photos...

On this card I mat'n'layered two panels, tearing off the bottom of the smaller panel.  I chose this circle motif because of the hanging thread of the cages...

I marked the position of the hanging cord, so I could remove the circle and sew the line on my sewing machine

Here is the finished card - the circle a has been 3d mounted...  Note about the sewing: my sewing machine was having a funny five minutes and the tension wasn't quite right which caused the odd stitching (in cream) down either side of the card...
I could've unpicked it and restitched but one of my new year resolutions is to 'embrace the imperfections' and so I left it as it was... the stitching isn't horrible, its just not what I planned ... so it'll stay

This card is created with the scrap panel remaining when the circle was punched out..(too interesting to waste!)..  I rounded off the corners (with the We R Memory Keepers Crop-a-dile Corner Chomper - another go-to tool)

The circle becomes an aperture to mount flowers, embellishments onto, and one of the words from the die set - nice for a birthday card (or if used with the right colours, papers and embellishments- a baby card)

I liked how this card looked (I'd added lines of stitching...) so I mounted it onto a 12.x12.5cm greeting card:

I sewed the die cut circle onto a card to create a simple panel:

I stitched onto all of the cards to add texture/interest, but the stictching can be seen on the other side of the card so I covered the stitching with washi tape (LOVE!)

I had fun playing with this set of dies - I like them very much - going to be using them A LOT - and are definitely not just for christmas.

I created the pieces above but then discovered lots of little bits & pieces of the paper that were too nice to throw away, so I chose some scrapbooking cards and altered them... (cards that I wouldn't use in their current format).. I think covering the words also makes them more versatile...

Here are the cards - I also added some stitching - all these little additions and alterations makes them more personal, individual and less generic...

and created a whole batch of co-ordinating cards.... ready for journaling, scrapbooking & cardmaking - even a quick thankyou note or gift card...

And now I am definitely finished- no more scraps to use!


9 January 2015

ALBOTAT: Testing testing 1 2 3 ....

... these 2 pieces started out as a couple of 'tester/ lets try this and see what happens' pieces... but I liked them so much I thought I'd show them to you...

The board canvas (5x7inches) was painted with Fresco Finish paints (Blood Orange, Orchid, Tango (loving Tango at the moment!), Claret, Chalk, Tinned Peas) , the tile effect on the background is the 'blocks' stencil  by Georgina (available from The Artistic Stamper).
Stamps are all JOFY - JOFY13, 14, 26,  JM40

This little block of wood (5x4cm) is an offcut from recent work on our house (I 'rescued' it from a pile of 'stuff', receiving strange looks from our builders lol) .. enjoyed painting this ... it felt as if I was proving a point - it was not rubbish - too good to throw away!  (I have another block in this February's Craft Stamper magazine)
I added strips of lazer cut greyboard flowers on each side (from buzzandbloom.com) - cute little strips out of the 'lasercut elements' box on the shelf...

Don't throw away offcuts - upcycle them!

8 January 2015

First workshop of 2015!! .....

.....  I'll be at Birds in the Barn on Saturday January 17th where we'll be using all sorts of creative products to decorate a papermache mannequin....

Call the shop on 01206 211099 for more details and to book a place.


3 January 2015

ALBOTAT: Tag - you're it!

Clothes come with such nice swing tags that its hard to throw them away so here's a quick blog post about how I altered a couple..  quick n easy...  great for all types of presents or embellishments on cards and other projects....

first up is a Next tag - loved this one as it had holly leaves cut out of it! (& yes it was on a christmas sweater lol).. it definitely needed to be upcycled! (the tag, not the sweater!)
I pulled together some 'supplies' - bits and pieces to hand really - from christmas projects I'd been working on..
I cut a wide band of the red paper and glued across the tag to block out all the product information, and also attached a snowflake punched from kraft card (this is my 'go-to' Martha Stewart snowflake punch)...

Nice but looked as if it needed 'something' else... green spotted paper and gems..  I cut a piece of the green card to cover the holly leaf cut out, this also meant that I would be able to write on the reverse of the tag if I needed to...

Here's the finished tag - I'll show you how I used this in the coming days..

I was on a roll now and so 'up-cycled' another tag - this time from Monsoon - this shop always has lovely packaging: swing tags and bags.. and the items wrapped in tissue paper sealed with stickers (I'm so easily pleased!) ... lovely!

Here are the pieces I gathered up - these were on my desk in a 'stash' pile (its good to create with items on the desk because they are still 'inspiring', still in the mind set of creating with that colour or pattern palette)..
The tag has a printed/embossed pattern on that I wanted to keep but I needed to hide/disguise the shop name on the tag and on the tube/stopper on the string.

There was a lot of text on the reverse of the tag so I covered this with the pink paper:

I wrapped a length of the striped paper around the tube on the string to disguise the word, and glued a strip of the striped paper around the tag...

So here is the finished tag, front and back - really simple to alter and now I can use it on someone's gift!


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