Scrapbook Soup: On the Set
Art Journal Every Day: On the Road

Gauche Alchemy: Guest Designer for March

Another great day on the set of Scrapbook Soup! Thanks for all your nice comments about my new stamp line!  While I'm away, here are some fun projects I did for Gauche Alchemy!

Two definitions from

Gauche (pronounced: gohsh) is an adjective that means lacking social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkward; crude; tactless: Their exquisite manners always make me feel gauche.

Al·che·my (pronounced: al-kuh-mee) is a noun meaning

  1. a form of chemistry and speculative philosophy practiced in the Middle Ages and the renaissance and concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding a universal solvent and an elixir of life.
  2. any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance, usually of little value, into a substance of great value.

Put them together and you get a mixed media kit club called Gauche Alchemy.  From their about page:

Gauche Alchemy is for those that create outside of the box, those that create inside of the box and those that tear the box a new one…

Discover the secret that every great altered artist, scrapbooker, cardmaker, memory-keeper and mixed media artist knows. Whether you are new to the process or have already discovered the joy and flexibility inherent in a varied stash of inspiring supplies, Gauche Alchemy is here to feed your art and soul – a friendly push from your personal muse! Each kit is designed to jostle your creativity with unique tidbits, coordinated colors and delicious textures. If you are unaccustomed to working with our unique offerings, GOOD! Our goal is to encourage different ways of thinking about the art that is all around us. We are big fans of “upcycling” and hope to encourage others to join us on our path to “recycle, reuse, repurpose!”

Yvonne Yam (who did a great tutorial on upcycling a box for my Holidays Handmade series) is one of Gauche Alchemy's Design Team Captains.  She invited me to guest design for the kit club in March.  I was told that this month's theme was "lucky," and so I sat down and wrote up a list of things that came to mind when I heard that word.  And this project was the first thing on that list: a gift. 

But let's talk about my inspiration.

This is how my kit came wrapped:

I took that plain newsprint and pink lace ribbon and put them to work!  First I painted the newsprint with blues and purples.  Once the paint had dried, I used the ribbon as a stencil and sprayed through it with black spray ink.

My sprayed wrapping paper looks like it has blue and purple lace on it, but that's actually the paint underneath (the part that was hidden by the ribbon) peeking through.

And I made a layered tag to go with my gift.

Flashcard, dress pattern, and some painted patterned paper all stitched together to create the body of the tag.

A lovely gift that I think anybody would feel lucky to get!

For my second "lucky" project I made a scrapbook page about the man I'm so lucky to be married to!

The circle around the photo is made up of lots of little bits of paper.  I took some of the yearbook pages and other fun ephemera from the kit and painted them with graphic designs and lots of glitter.

(You can see that I use my shower as a drying rack for wet papers!  It's one of the few places that I know no one will step on them!)

Take a peek at all those little bits of colored paper up close:

In the photo you can also see the stitching around the circle.  There's no adhesive keeping these papers down.  It's all stitching!

Paint is a fantastic way of altering vintage papers to suit your needs!

For my third "lucky" project I continued to play with those painted papers and created this canvas:

I was looking through some of the ephemera I got.  Lots of it was yearbook pages and it got me thinking about what happened to all of these anonymous people on these pages.  I started making up stories in my head -- some tragic and some happy.  And that got me thinking about how some people have all the luck...or is it the right attitude?  And so I started to create a story about someone who refused to feel like she had bad luck.  Rather she is in charge of her future!

I really like the symbolism of using all of these paper shards to represent something shattered, but put back together again.

For my final lucky project I started to think about reasons I'm lucky.  And one of the first things that came to mind was because I live in the best apartment.  After so many years in New York City I finally have an apartment that I love and adore absolutely everything about.  This canvas was inspired by the idea of a happy home.

And here's a fast forward video of me making it from start-to-finish:

Canvas Collage Fast Forward from Julie Balzer on Vimeo.

Thanks to Gauche Alchemy for having me all month!