Welcome To My Classroom


Posted by Cathy Mc Grath

4 September, 2015 - ,

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Today I have a very special post to share with you all. I am a Primary School Teacher and I currently teach a year three class. Earlier this year, I was emailing
Jenny Grotherus about some Maja Design related things and I shared some stories
of how I make cards with the children at school. She was really impressed about
this asked if I would like some papers to do some craft with my class. She
asked Marie for the ok and then suggested the Sommartider Collection. I had a
look at the papers and agreed that they would be perfect. After meeting with my
Head of Primary to discuss this idea, she said I could go ahead if the project
I chose related to the curriculum. I didn’t share any of this with the children
as I didn’t want to get their hopes up in case I received a ‘no.’
I was interested in what the children would want to create. I projected the
papers onto the Smartboard and asked them what they would create if they had
these papers. They said cards and simple paper crafts. They really liked all of
the papers. As I had received a ‘yes’ by all parties at this stage I could
reveal to them what was in store and they were very excited! Next I had to come
up with a project that met curriculum outcomes and made authentic links to our
We had just started a new Unit of Inquiry (UOI) as part of our PYP investigations.
Our central idea was
Different factors affect personal well-being. This unit was the way I would be able to make the authentic links to meet syllabus outcomes. I decided we would make a mixed media canvas and use the She Art style. The children would be able to personalise their She Art girl/boy and also learn new techniques. The learning intent for this project was to create a She Art girl/boy which reflected themselves. Their inspirational quote had to show positive personal well-being.
Where to begin….when I walked into the classroom with the Maja Design box the children were jumping for joy! I had already made a sample canvas (as shown above) to demonstrate what we would be creating. We had a lot of planning to do. 
I created an Art page on our class page on Haiku Learning (College intranet) with YouTube links to She Art tutorials. We watched and discussed them in great detail.  I
had a Pinterest board where we viewed samples of art so that the children could
see examples, discuss techniques and considered different interpretations of
She Art girls/boys. Next I added a discussion onto our Haiku page:

What design are you thinking of using for your canvas? Share them in this discussion. What inspirational word will you add? Here are some suggestions…

Dance Hope Inspire Dream

Here are some student responses:

Soccer inspires me to follow my dreams because when I’m older I want to be a famous soccer player – Anthony

She art really inspires me – Hilary

The children had a chance to plan their designs on some scrap paper using
the She Art style. Some found it difficult but it gave me a chance to see who
needed templates to assist later on. In Australia, children in year 3
participate in national testing (NAPLAN) which was due to occur very soon. I
decided that we would create the actual canvas at the end of the testing as
NAPLAN spans over four days and to make a day of it. It’s much easier having
all of the art supplies out, having the drying time and to keep the creativity

Here are some photos of the children creating their She Art in various




Here are some of the completed canvases……


Sit back and enjoy a video of the all of the completed artworks and the creative process.
After the children completed their canvases, they then completed a reflection. I have two to share which captures the process and their learning.
When my class and I did She Art we learnt so many new tips and used so many tools. It was so much fun, we tuned the classroom upside down! We used mod podge, paint, bubble wrap, rub ons,stamps, gelatos, book paper, stencils, modelling paste and of course we got to use a canvas. We also chose our words.
I learnt that mixed media is not neat. I thought my She Art was going to turn out messy but instead it tuned out great. I loved using the Sommartider papers. It was so much fun. I enjoyed making the girl and using the rub ons to make lots of texture. The mod podge was very, very sticky. But what I really enjoyed was designing it. It looks amazing! I love the ice-cream paper. It took us a whole day to get it done. – Zahara
We first created our background using Maja Design paper and then sketched our
girl/boy onto some scrap paper. We also painted the sides. Miss McGrath and Mrs
Harris helped us to create the suns. Then we traced our girl/boy onto Maja
Design papers. Next we cut the traced lines and mod podged them on. We put
bubble wrap paints onto our canvas. Our girl’s/boy’s faces, arms and legs are
made from book paper. Finally we added some finishing touches like stamps,
rubons, and some texture and much more.
I learnt that when we add texture our canvas becomes more attractive. I also
learnt that in She Art we don’t use eyes, nose or mouth on the face but only
cheeks. I enjoyed adding the extra texture. It had one attitude – creativity
and maybe confidence
. – Elena
The canvases are proudly on display in our learning space (classroom) and we stop to admire them regularly. The parents have had a chance to look at their children’s work and were amazed at what their children have created. I am always amazed at how children are fearless when they approach art. They enjoy using mediums and love exploring new techniques.
A big thank you to Jenny and Marie who offered the opportunity to my class and to Camilla for finalising the delivery of the papers. We still have a lot of papers to use…not sure what will come next but will share when we do!
Maja Design Papers:






Cathy Mc Grath

Hi! I'm Cathy. I live in Sydney and am a Primary School teacher. I am passionate about teaching and love what I do. At present paper crafts are my creative outlet, which is my other passion. I am drawn to vintage, shabby chic styled crafts which I love to create. I do enjoy other crafts such as sewing, quilting, knitting and crotchet…not enough time! I am always inspired to learn and to try new techniques in both teaching and my crafts. I love Maja Design papers and enjoy creating with them.

Nothing but blue skies – Sommartider


Posted by Nancy Hanttula

24 January, 2014 - ,

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Hello Maja Design fans and friends!  Nancy Hanttula here, and I’m back again to share another mixed media project I created, this time with the amazingly colorful, Sommartider paper collection.


I know I have said it many, many times, but I do love this paper collection.  Whenever I need a bit of color to brighten my day, I create with this collection. Which leads me to this 12 x 16 inch canvas panel mixed media piece I call, “Nothing but blue skies.”

Nothing but blue skies B

I am constantly being inspired by my children.  And this piece was inspired by the packaging of a “Barbie” (at least I think it was “Barbie”, all I have is the inner packaging of a Christmas toy) that my 6 year old daughter got from Santa Claus, and by one of her fairy books (hence, the paper doll-like girls).  While I was creating this, she asked me, “Why are you using my stuff for your art?” In my head I was thinking, “really?”…but I just simply explained to her that some things just inspire me, and after all, I was just inspired by the packaging, which was essentially trash and going to be put, and has since been put, into the recycling.  Well, all that did was lay her claim to this piece, which I was making for her anyway….so a win-win situation, don’t you think!

background B

My canvas pieces always start by figuring out the design I am wanting to create on the background…and then choosing the papers to create the scene.  In this case, creating the background “horizon,” so to speak.

horizon B

I decoupage them down, add some acrylic paint to streamline the design, and add stamping for texture and interest.

the first phase B

For this piece, I created 2 paper-doll girls.

hand drawn and cut out girls B

I then dressed them in clothes from other patterned papers from this same Sommartider collection.  In fact, every single piece of paper used for this project was from this particular collection.  (all papers used are listed at the bottom of this post)

girl with blonde hair B

The “magic wand” was created with a toothpick and some ribbon from my stash.  I glued the ribbon down to make it look like it was blowing in the wind.

girl with brown hair 2 B

The sunflowers were created using stamps from Heartfelt Creations and the button centers were from my personal stash.

flowers B

I created the tree trunk, cut out circles for the “leaves” and added doodled details.

tree B

This was a fun project to create, and really, it is the fun projects that feed my soul.  What about you?

Sommartider papers used for this project included:  Sky: Sol Och Bad (bs); Hills/Grass:  Lunch I Det Grona, Lata Dagar, & Pathway; tree trunk:  Hallonsorbet; clouds:  Massor Med Glass (bs); sunflowers:  Bad Shorts (bs); Park Benches:  Strandmode (bs); the bodies of the girls:  Lata Dagar (bs); the clothes for the girls:  Massor Med Glass (bs), Hallonsorbet (bs), & Blomsterprakt (front & back);

Other supplies used to create this included:  stamps from CTMH, Unity Stamp Co, Kaisercraft, Heartfelt Creations, & Prima; flower stickers from Sassafras and my stash; leaf punch from Martha Stewart; ribbons, buttons from my stash; white paint pen from Elmers; other pens from Permaball, CTMH, & Sharpie; decoupage glue from DecoArt; heat gun from Tim Holtz; and acrylic paint from FolkArt in Calypso Sky (a true personal fave), Lime Green , & Cereale; and acrylic paint in Bright Magenta (Apple Barrel)

Thank you so much looking at my latest project.  I really hope that I have inspired you to create something today that feeds your soul!



Stand Out – Sommartider Paper Collection


Posted by Nancy Hanttula

18 October, 2013 - ,

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Hello MajaDesign fans and friends!  Nancy Hanttula here, back again, to share another mixed media project using the Sommartider Paper Collection.


For this project, I decided to use a larger scale canvas…measuring in at 18 inches by 24 inches.  Above you can see my 8 year old son, Saylor, graciously assisting me in displaying it’s size.

I used the gorgeously vibrant Sommartider paper collection for this project and….oh, how I love this paper collection. It has the perfect combination of prints and colors to satisfy my color obsession.


My 6 year-old daughter immediately laid claim to this piece, and it now resides quite happily in her bedroom.

So, here is how this piece was created:

#1 I painted the entire canvas.  Although it is difficult to see here, I actually used 3 different acrylic paint colors to paint the canvas:  FolkArt’s “Patina” and Apple Barrel’s “Calypso Sky” & “Bimini Blue.”  Note:  Be sure and paint the sides of the canvas as well.  This gives the piece a more finished look.


#2  I then stamped and stenciled onto the background and sides to give interest, depth, and dimension to the piece.


I used various stencils and stamps from The Crafter’s Workshop, Dylusions/Ranger, Close to my Heart, Kaisercraft, Stampendous, Glitz Designs, Unity stamps, and various other odds and ends from the “soles” of flip-flops :).

#3 I then cut out butterflies from the different patterned papers of the Sommartider paper collection.


After choosing the papers I wanted to use & cutting out the butterfly shapes, I then laid them out onto the background canvas to figure out exactly how I wanted to lay the project out.

I LOVE dimension and texture….and so, I dove into my vast collection of buttons to create the butterfly centers.


#4 After deciding the basic “composition” of the piece, I then glued my butterflies down using Mod Podge & adhered the buttons down using hot glue.


#5  After gluing everything down, I shaded my butterflies using Inktense blocks and a Faber Castell India ink pen in Warm Grey (the key to this step, is to “smear” the ink after applying it….otherwise, you get a very hard line)……  (If you look at the picture from step #4 and compare it to the pic in step #5, you can really see what shading brings to your projects).  After shading my butterflies, I went back in and added more stamps, stencils, acrylic paint, and some “sayings” around the butterflies.


For all of the butterfly antennaes … I used clothes pins.  I separated them, and then glued them down with hot glue.


& #6  To create my message, I used some of my Stampendous alpha letters to stamp on paper.  I also shaded the letters to add depth via the very same process as I shaded the butterflies.


Thanks for looking! and I hope this has inspired you to create today!   I challenge you…..let’s get MESSY!

1` A A Nancy-sign (1)

There’s No Place Like Home – Creating with the Sommartider collection


Posted by Nancy Hanttula

23 August, 2013 - ,

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Hello Maja Design fans and friends!  Nancy Hanttula here, and I am back again to share another mixed media project.  I created this piece using absolutely every single paper from the gorgeous Sommartider paper collection.


Home Maja

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with maps.  I have maps and a budding collection of globes in my studio, as well as all over my house.  I’m not even sure why I love maps so much…but I know that something about them makes my heart happy…and makes me want to create.

I was inspired to re-create a map of the United States mainland using the gorgeous array of prints from the Sommartider collection…. (and yes, I mean no disrespect for Hawaii and Alaska, they just didn’t fit into my scheme of things.)  I am going to share with you how I did this map….so if you feel so inclined, you could do this with any map, for any country, or area.

My inspiration originally came from one of my kiddo’s puzzles….a map of the United States.


After I put the puzzle together, I took some tracing paper and outlined all the individual states.


After all the states were traced….I made a copy of the traced image via my printer.  I did this so that I would have a “base” to glue my states down onto once they were cut out of the different patterned papers.


I then turned over my traced image, and using a soft leaded pencil, I shaded the lines.  Basically, this works like carbon paper.


Once you have scribbled a generous amount of soft pencil lead onto the back-side of the tracing paper, you just flip it over, place it over the patterned paper of your choice and trace over the lines of the “state” using a fine, but hard, ball-point pen.


This is how you are able to transfer the shape onto the patterned paper exactly as you traced it.  By using soft-lead pencil, you are then able to erase these same pencil lines AFTER you have cut out the shape.


Once the shape has been cut out and the pencil lines erased, I then glued down the shape into my “copy” of the tracing.


After all the shapes were created, I then cut out the entire piece as a whole.


And that is how I created my “map.”  I won’t lie…there is a bit of a time investment in this process.  But I hope it has inspired you to give it a try.

Other ingredients used in this project include.  Crafter’s Workshop stencil: Subway; Ranger Archival black ink; Staz-On archival ink in Teal Blue; black Sharpie marker; black and grey Faber-Castell pens; Stampendous Alphabet stamps; Tombow permanent adhesive; & clear acrylic stamps from CTMH.

Thanks for looking! & I hope this has inspired you to create something today!

1` A A Nancy-sign (1)



Shh…..sleeping baby – Sofiero Limited Edition Collection & A Birthday Everyday Mixed Media canvas – Sommartider Collection


Posted by Nancy Hanttula

27 July, 2013 - , , , ,

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Hello Maja fans and friends!  Nancy Hanttula here and I’m back again to share some of my creations using some of the many gorgeous Maja paper collections.  Today I am going to share 2 projects….the 1st created with the Limited Edition, gorgeously sweet, Sofiero Collection (and the 2nd, a mixed media canvas, created using the vibrant Sommartider collection, so keep scrolling.)  I won’t lie….this is a rather long post, so I hope you find the time to kick back, relax, and enjoy. shhh My 1st project is a door hanging, to be used on a nursery door when a wee little princess is sleeping.  I have broken this project down into steps so it can be easily re-created! First:  Using some basic “paper plates” that I had stashed in my kitchen…DSC09808 I cut out several sizes of circles from the paper plates. DSC09810 I traced the paper plate onto the paper, making marks at the paper plate creases. DSC09815 I then took one of the smaller circular parts I had cut from the paper plate….traced it in the center… & then scalloped the edges. a I cut it out from the paper, cut out the individual “petals”, and inked their edges…and then erased all of my errant pencil markings. DSC09823 Next, I glued down one of the circular pieces that I had cut from one of the paper plates to the back to reinforce it. Below is a backside view of the project.DSC09825 Next, using 2 different sized circles that I had cut from the paper plates as templates, I traced and cut out 2 circles from different papers…punched holes around their edges so that I could stitch borders onto them.DSC09828

After stitching borders onto the inner circles, I hot glued them down only in the center…being careful to leave space underneath the circle edges for my next step.


I cut some strips of the different patterned  paper to create some paper ribbons.


After cutting out the strips…all approximately 4 inches long, & about 3/4 inch wide….I inked their edges, gently folded them in half and stapled them down at the ends.


I then alternated the patterned strips and tucked them under the middle circle and glued them down.


I did the same basic technique to the smaller top circle…only I cut the strips in half.


I used a Martha Stewart corner punch to create a fanciful little embellishment that I adhered to the outside petal tips from the backside.


Below you can see the basic wall-hanging completed, with the addition of the corner punched details.  I also added some little pastel clothes-pins, that I bought at Walmart, around the inner circle.


Now the fun part.  Embellish the center circle to your hearts content.


I glued a ribbon onto the back so that it could hang either on the wall or from a door knob.


And because I was going for a “prize-ribbon/dream-catcher” type effect, I raided my enormous ribbon stash to embellish the bottom.


Once all the ribbon had been layered and adhered to the back, I secured it by gluing another circle over all of the ribbon.


And without further ado, here is the finished project.


I used a little bit of every piece of the gorgeous Sofiero Limited Edition collection on this project.

Sofiero Collection

Other ingredients used in this project included:  CTMH ink, Bella Blvd feathers, Zva Creative bling, Flowers from Bo Bunny, Petaloo, & Kaisercraft, alphabet stickers from EK Success & the Girls Paperie, Martha Stewart corner punch, little clothes pins from Walmart, dragonflies from Reneabouquets Etsy shop, “My Glittered Life”, & ribbon and paper plates from my stash.

Now…for my 2nd project…..Here is a 14 x 18 canvas mixed media piece that I created with the vibrant Sommartider paper collection.

EveryDay Birthday


I started with my canvas….and chose scraps from this paper collection for my background.


After choosing my background papers, I decoupaged them down with matte Mod Podge.


After letting it dry, I added stamps and acrylic paint to the background for added depth and interest, and then I constructed my main image…in this case, my birthday cake.


I really wanted my birthday cake to pop out against the background, so I decided to use some bright inks and stamps on my cake layers.


Then I glued all my of my cake layers down to the canvas.


I added fancy ribbon to embellish my cake, and added more stamps and rub-ons to the background.


I created my birthday candle by rolling up some paper and adhering it to the canvas with hot glue.


I added shading and my saying, a few doodles & extra rub-ons here and there, and voila, I considered the piece done.


All paper used for this project is from the Sommartider collection.  Other ingredients used here included:  alphas from the Girls Paperie, Staz-on ink, Acrylic stamps from CTMH, Prima, Kaisercraft, Rub-ons from Bo Bunny, Basic Grey, CTMH, matte Mod Podge, ribbon from Webster’s pages and from my personal stash, Derwent Inktense blocks and pencils, Faber Castell pens, & Permaball permanent black pen.

Thanks for looking, and I hope I have inspired you to create something amazing (and perhaps, a bit messy) today!

1` A A Nancy-sign (1)