21 March 2012

Make Your Own Cabochons!

Who doesn't love to save some moolah, especially in these times?  Usually the first things that get the axe are our hobbies and extras.  Well, here's a small but helpful shortcut for you.  Make your own high end cabochons!

I picked up my molds from a wonderful shop on Etsy called MoldMuse.  I was shown this little gem of a shop by my friend, Jess.  She made her own cabochons several months ago and they were so adorable.  I had to try for myself.

MoldMuse Molds

They were so ridiculously easy to make, I decided to make a tutorial for you here and for those who follow us over at Gauche Alchemy.  We encourage savvy craftiness and anything to save a buck along the way.

Supplies Needed:

MoldMuse molds of your choosing
Oven-bake polymer clay (I used Sculpey)
Cookie sheet or other oven safe dish or pan
Bloody Mary or tasty libation of your choosing (ok...that's not required but they are delish!)

First things first.  Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F and grab the mold and clay you want to use.  I used the Lolita, Frame, and Big Open Rose molds.

 Next, be sure to soften you clay and roll it into a ball.  It's best to use small amounts and then add until your mold is full.  Be sure to push the clay down into the mold.  And push hard!  You don't want any bubbles in the mold and don't worry.  You won't damage your mold with your awesomely strong guns.  ;)




Be sure to level off the clay with the edge of the mold, otherwise you end up with a "lip" around the edge that will have to be filed off.

If you want to do a 2-tone cabochon, here's how!  I know!  I'm so accommodating and efficient.  It's part of my charm.  ;)

Fill your mold as you would if you were making a single tone piece.  Be sure to leave the place where your second color is going empty.

Fill mold

Leave the second color area blank

Now for your second color.  Add the second color the same way.  Mash tiny balls ::snort:: into the blank area of your mold, making sure to keep the edge of the mold clear to avoid unwanted lips.  (Heeheehee.  Unwanted lips.)

Tiny balls...

Filled mold

Ok.  Now for the baking.  Take your molds and put them onto an oven safe cookie sheet and pop those little baddies into the oven!  Bake them according to the directions on the clay packaging.

For the single color pieces, you can pop them out of the mold before baking and make multiples of the same cabochon.  However, if you are using 2-tone, it's recommended to let it bake in the mold.

When they are done, take them out and let them cool.

Those are some "cool" li'l molds right there!

Once they've cooled completely, gently pop them out of their molds!

And voila!  Last step is to grab your bloody mary, kick your stilettos and fishnets up, sit back and admire your work!

Everyone together now!  "Ooooooooo!" ....


Head on over to MoldMuse and check out her HUGE selection of molds.  Also, be sure to check out Gauche Alchemy for more cool tutorials and project ideas.


19 March 2012

"Embrace the Fug" -- Beth

Sooooooo, I have been itching to break out of this rut.

I've tried making cabochons, which turned out great!

I've made a large ATC for the Art House Co-Op swap.  That turned out great!

 I figured, "What the hell!  Might as well try a page.  I haven't done one since last summer."

So I break out my awesome October Afternoon "Sasparilla" collection kit that I ordered from the wonderful Cassie over at Paper Issues

I find an awesome photo of Romy while deployed.  It's one of my favorites of him.  I print off several copies in different sizes, both in color and in black and white.  I come up with my photo array on my page.  It's definitely out of the norm from what I usually do.

I start to work.  Doing this, and doing that.  Adding things, moving things, taking things away.  A bit of misting and masking, which went horribly wrong.  So I redid it on the other sheet of paper in the collection kit.  And it came out equally bad.  I should've stopped then, while I was ahead.

But no.  I just keep powering on and through.  And this is what I ended up with:

The only "doctoring: this photo received is the cropping.  This is the page in all it's fugly splendor!

I have decided that this is definitely true to my nature.  GO BIG OR GO HOME!  After not doing a page for almost a year, I pick October Afternoon papers, which are not the easiest to work with.

Oh well.  I like to chock this one up as an "eff it" type of thing.  We all make less than perfect things from time to time and it's ok to show them!  I think this is actually quite funny.  Like I mentioned to the lovely Beth Gaddis this morning when you so wisely said, "We all must embrace the fug!".  We can't all make crafty stuff that's all rainbows, sunshine and unicorns with butterfly farts.  In this case, the unicorn straight up took a dump. 

Let's see some of your "back of the album" pages!


18 March 2012

HOP On Over to the Candy Shop!

Good morning!  And a wet, dreary, rainy morning it is here in southern Cali!  And since it's so gloomy, something to brighten up my day would be perfection.  Even if it's sunny where you are, everyone loves a trip to the Candy Shop!

The next issue is live over at Paper Issues.  The theme for the next 2 weeks is Candy Shop!  We are kicking of this theme and spring with a mini hop of sorts for you.  And what's a hop without an awesome giveaway?!

"Neopolitan" Giveaway!

Now what do YOU have to do in order to enter the drawing for this giveaway?  Visit these blogs, leave some love then stop over at Paper Issues.  Be sure to become a follower of the Paper Issues blog AND a "like" the Paper Issues Facebook page.  Leave a comment saying that you've done it all, and you are automatically entered into the drawing!

Be sure to read each blog.  Some of them have tucked their coupon codes in their posts somewhere!  The coupons codes will save you 20% on your order in the Paper Issues shop!  Now for the blogs:

Now, go on and hop along in the mini hop and enter for your chance to win! 

16 March 2012

A New Love..and a HUGE Giveaway **WINNER**

Edited to add the winner:  Congratulations to HeatherLynn, who commented on Frank's blog, on winning the huge Basically Bare giveaway! 

Wow.  Spring is in the air early this year.  The flowers are blossoming.  The bees are buzzing.  And loooooove is in the air!

I have found a new love.  ::cue overly dramatic audience gasp::  Whaaa?!  Huh?!  But aren't you happily....?  BAHAHAHA!! YES!  Relax!  It's not that kind of new love.  This is a new paper, canvas, felt, chipboard, mixed media-sreamin', kind of love.  Two words.  BASICALLY BARE.

I had heard of this company last year and have been stalking..uh...drooling over...uh....eying them ever since.  Anyone who knows me and the type of projects I gravitate toward would totally get where I'm coming from.  I love a fun mini album or an eclectic piece of altered art.  Basically Bare has come along at THE PERFECT time where mixed media is becoming more and more mainstream and user friendly.

If you aren't familiar with what Basically Bare offers, they offer raw chipboard, canvas, and felt embellishments, mini albums, and mixed media mini albums.  They just SCREEEEEAM to be painted, gesso'd, inked, rubbed, waxed, and any other medium you can slather on.

I was browsing their stuff and oh my heck.  I was overwhelmed with the possibilities that came rushing into my head.  It was almost like being hit with a creative freight train!

For example, can you picture their Polly Pockets mini album all distressed?  Add a layer of some gesso, a fine coat of beeswax with some sequins or beads embedded in it.  Some delicate lace, some ragged stitching.  A nice romantic photo of you and your honey.  Tuck an old love letter from that special someone  into the pocket.  I can totally see this beauty all done up in grungy romantce and use it as my little art journal to document the first year my hubs and I were together.  ::le sigh::

Polly Pockets is just screaming to be "loooved" on.

Ok.  So you may not be a hopeless romantic like I am.  That's cool too.  But can you picture a fun summery album showing little glimpses into a fun summer bbq or party?  Using some bright, fun, and festive colors, some crepe paper streamers rolled into flowers, some glitter, bold and colorful photos, fun paint splatters, the Wonky Windows album would be perfect to document a fun and carefree summer day.  And that's not the only idea that occurred to me using this album! 

Take a peek into our carefree summer!

Even I can appreciate sitting down and doing a scrapbook page, or making a card.  Heck!  I just like sitting down and taking a chipboard embellishment and trying different technique on it.  I'm always down for a little play time!

When I saw the Sew Vintage chipboard embellies, the ideas of what I could do those beauties flowed one after another.  I can see these painted black, then add a fine layer of crackle accents and iridescent gold glimmer mist for that old Singer machine look.  I see them paper collaged using old sewing patterns.  How about a really cool filigree rhinestone brad as the hinge point on those scissors after you distress them, paint them, and wrap the finger holes in a fine gold thread?  Be still my heart.  Be still.  ::fanning face and clutching my pearls::

SEW screaming to be crackles, painted, bees waxed, and soooo much more!

I had originally planned on doing just 3 project ideas but I just can't shake these large pennants out of my head!  I just made a mini shadowbox type thing and these would look AWESOME as a banner across one of the cubbies or even across the whole thing!  I see them misted and painted with some ragged stitching and loose thread ends hanging off.  I would attach some small crystal beads to the loose thread ends and in between each pennant for the extra carefree and whimsical touch that I am so fond of.

Whimsy me away?!  OF COURSE!

I sit here typing and letting these ideas flow and more ideas are popping into my head!  Ack!  It's amazing how amazing these bare products are.  I love how fully customizable they are.  Whether you are the clean & simple girl or the eclectic gal, I'm almost positive you can find a way to use these things in your way.  LOVE IT!

Of course, what's a post chock full of inspiring ideas without the possibility of winning this awesomeness??!!  ::GASP::  What's that you say??!!  WINNING SOMETHING??!!  Why yes!

Be sure to leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST and you could win a ginormous prize.  Basically Bare is going to choose one commenter to win some Basically Bare products including...wait for it...THEIR ENTIRE CHA-WINTER LINE!  Holy Heck!!!  Holy Shnikies!!   Holy (other words that I can't say here)!

You have until March 15th to comment.  The winner will be chosen by Basically Bare the following day.

Good luck and have fun!


14 March 2012

Art House Co-Op and Beating the RUT!

Wow!  It's been a week since I last uttered a peep over here.  Depending on who you ask, that would be a blessing to some.  ;)  And it's been even LONGER since I made something.  I hate getting in that creative rut.  For real!  It's frustrating for me and yes, even frustrating for the hubster.  He gets frustrated because rut = spending!  Yay for me; BOOOOO for him.

I know that I've been wanting to kick this rut straight in it's arse, but wasn't sure what was going to do it.  I've tried browsing blogs, galleries, products, and coming up less motivated than I was before and an emptier wallet than I had before.  I knew that I needed to get out of this quagmire because I have a deadline to meet this month.

::GASP!::  A deadline?!  Now THAT is word you haven't heard me utter here in FOR.E.VAR.  You see, there's this totally awesome, and yes, I'll use the word, DOPE, website called the Art House Co-Op.  They are an organization that puts on these crazy project challenges of sorts.  They are most widely known for their Sketchbook Project (which *I* will be participating  in next year come hell or high water!).  It's such a cool thing they do.  Read up on it.  You'll be amazed at what it's about.  There will be no spoilers here.  However, I will drop one clue:  Brooklyn Art Library.  Still curious?  Well, go check it out.

Anyway, I got sidetracked.  SQUIRREL!  Deadline.  Yes.  Ok.  I decided to sign up for the second worldwide 4 x 6 art swap so brilliantly named "The 4x6 Exchange 2".  The first one they did filled up so quickly and was received with such amazing response, that they did a second one.  I signed up.  I love a good challenge.  For the details on it, just click the link and read all about it.  But it pretty much says that you create a 4x6 flat piece of art, mail it to them, then they mail it to someone else some where in the world and you get a piece from someone else some where in the world...yadda yadda yadda...you get the point.

Here's what I made.  I was inspired by an awesome video tutorial put together by Amy Lassiter.  She had this cool tutorial on how to paper collage corrugated chipboard, namely, the Ouchless Cardboard from Gauche Alchemy.  Talk about an amazing "AHA!!" moment!  I used a recycled piece of cardboard from inside an old picture frame and gesso as my foundation before I started collaging.

I used her idea of collaging piece from the Foreign Text paper kit but I wondered how it would work using the Napkin Kit as well.  The flowers are cut from a napkin!  I instantly saw it coming together as I began mod podging stuff down.

Once I was happy with the paper placement, I added a few spotty sprays of Tattered Angels glimmer mist in Fully Purple and some paint splatters in Citrus by Adirondack.  My alphas are OOOOOL' SKOOOOOOL Pink Paislee and Making Memories.

Since making sure the alphas stay in place while being mailed internationally (possibly) can be a bit tricky, I decided to take the lazy man's way out and slap some gel medium over the top of them.  It actually works out because it add a slight visual texture and the tiniest bit of a gloss.  I also added the gel medium over parts of the flower and sporadically over the entire card.

My gel isn't dry yet.  ::blush::
A final bit of a run through the sewing machine and I call it DONE SIR DONE!

Thanks for taking a look and be sure to check out the Art House Co-Op...and it wouldn't hurt for you to swing by Gauche Alchemy either.  Especially since we are having a sale!  The whole store is marked down 10%.

Or if you choose, you can use the code "BADASSERY" for 20% off your purchase at Paper Issues!  Decisions, decisions!!


07 March 2012

I Made The Cut!

Wow.  I can finally say it.  Scream it to the world.  Shout it from the mountain tops.  Put it to the tune of an Irish drinking song (which sounds like the most fun to me!).

I made very first manufacturer DT!  I am proud to say that I am now part of the Basically Bare team!  So stoked right now!  ::throw back a glass of wine::  I am part of the Art Assembly team, which focuses on altered pieces and home decor.

I took a peek at the other team members' blogs and holy shnikies!  Talk about an amazing pool of talent!  Go take a look!  You'll see!  They are over there -------> on the side bar!  To say that it's humbling, puts it very mildly.  To be honest, I am damn intimidated!  But that's ok.  I'm sure it will pass.  You  know.  I'm a n00b and such.  ::laugh...snort::

I can't wait to get started on work!  Let's party!  And a huge CHEERS and CONGRATULATIONS to my fellow team mates!

Photo Source:  http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/5066 


An Awesome Sale and DT Call!

Who doesn't love a deliciously fabulous sale?  In honor of National Craft Month, the Gauche Alchemy store is having a sale!  The whole store is marked down 10% for the month.  No coupon code!  This does exclude the ACME subscriptions though.  But everything else is already marked down and couple that with some items that ship for FREE?!  It's irresistible.  So grab your mimosa, bloody mary, gin an tonic, wine spritzer, or whatever libation suits you and head on over to the shop!  You don't even need a designated driver so it's a win-win situation for everyone!

Onto other big news.  WE NEED YOU!  That's right!  We are looking to add some new members to our already awesome-sauce team!  Do you love artsy style with fartsy attitude?  Do you love some snark?  The read on for the delicious details!

Here's what we are looking for:

"Here at Gauche Alchemy, our goal is to support and encourage creative thought and expression by providing materials that help artists of all types 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 and we’re looking for 3 creative, dedicated and enthusiastic people to join our team!

Current Open Positions:

Blog Writer:

Blog Writer Wanted

Writing should be as much (or more!) your passion as creating projects. We are looking for 1 writer who is committed to writing the best darn blog posts on the ‘net, incorporating content from designers’ projects (including your own) to trolling the web for eye candy and inspiration. We’d like your thoughts on art, life and everything.

This position entails writing 6-7 blog posts plus one newsletter article a month. Writers post on an alternating weekly schedule (meaning one week you’d post on Wednesday and the next you would post on Monday and Friday) working two weeks ahead. We will keep you flush with goodies from our stash and you may design to your heart’s content (we encourage it!) but you will not have specific deadlines for projects, only your blog posts.

You must possess the ability to meet deadlines and stay in consistent communication with the team.  Knowledge of SEO principles and procedures a plus, WordPress experience preferred but not required however you do need to have a knowledge of blogging and basic HTML coding (i.e. creating links and uploading pictures). This is a 6 month position.

Newsletter Overlord:

Newsletter Writer Wanted

We’re looking for an overlord to ROCK our monthly newsletter! You’ll be responsible for receiving newsletter articles from our writers (as well as adding your own short articles), creating an exciting monthly newsletter using Mad Mimi (Mad Mimi experience a plus but not required) and sending it to our subscribers on time. In addition, this position also requires that you create 2 projects a month that will be shown on our blog. You will be sent a design kit of GA products to enable your creative muse! This is a 6 month position.


Videographer Wanted

If you like to create video how-to’s on all things artsy and crafty, this is the job for you. You will be responsible for one video a month, due on the 1st of the month, which will be posted to our YouTube channel and distributed across the web in a variety of social media outlets. We want to see creative tutorials and process videos to inspire artists of every medium. You should know how to work a camera and do some simple editing (to add our website address to the frame, for example). SEO knowledge a plus.

You don’t have to be a professional – but the videos need to be clear and concise (5-10 minutes at most). You will be kept flush with goodies to inspire your creations and you will occasionally be assigned tutorial topics that we’d like covered. This is a 12-month position.
*All members of the design team will receive a discount in the store along with a generous Alchemist kit, filled with Gauche Alchemy greatness!

To apply, send the following to maggi@gauchealchemy.com by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 30th with the phrase “2012 DT Call” in the subject line.
All applicants please send us:

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?

For writer applications, send a sample of your writing (blog posts will suffice – but give us specific posts you’d like us to look at – you can list 2 or 3, please provide direct links) and 2-3 pictures of your best projects.

For newsletter overlord applications, please provide direct links to 2-3 of your best blog posts and attach 2-3 pictures of your best projects or links to where we can see them. Please also let us know if you have any experience with Mad Mimi or newsletter writing in general.

For video applications
, please provide a 1-2 minute video (upload it to YouTube or similar video service online and give us the link). Use this as an opportunity to show us your style. You may appear in the video personally or do voice over or even just do brief written instructions on screen – whatever works for you and showcases you best. Show us your idea of a good tutorial. It need not be art-related. Show us how to fry an egg – whatever you like, but make it fun and interesting.

Good luck everyone, we look forward to receiving your application! If you have any questions before you apply, please feel free to e-mail Maggi at maggi@gauchealchemy.com.

02 March 2012

My "Mold" Experiment

A few months ago, my friend Jess made these cute little cabochons.  Now, I loved the ones that are made by the major manufacturers, but let's face it.  They can be a bit pricey so I decided to go the way that Jess did and make my own.

I ordered some molds from MoldMuse.  She has AMAZING molds at some awesome prices.   I picked up the mini owl, the Lolita cameo (swoon), the roses, and the mums.

My molds!

I used Scupley polymer clay and here's what I came up with.

My lovely li'l cabochons!

And here's the queen of the ball, my favorite of them all.  Allow me to introduce you to Lolita.

Lo Lo Lolita!

Isn't she beautiful?!  I want to try and make a 2-tone version of her and maybe experiment with resin and dyes.

Here's some close ups of the other li'l cabos I made.

My Kawaii Owl!

Rose and Mum

I am thinking about doing up another post in the future.  I full blown tutorial on how to use these awesome molds.  What do you all think?  ;)