Sharing friends on the Creative Blog Hop

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI’ve been asked by fellow artist, Tracy Alden, to participate in a different kind of blog hop – no special product or technique, no particular manufacturer – just a Creative Blog Hop where I share a little info about myself (I answer the same four questions posed to each hop participant) and introduce you to other creatives you might enjoy. I’ve followed this Creative Blog Hop back through several months and have discovered so many talented artists involved in so many different genres. You can do the same. Just follow this link back through the blogs starting with Tracy Alden who blogs at Art Resurrected.

Tracy and I have actually never met face-to-face; it’s one of those cyber-relationships. We met while working together for Globecraft & Piccolo a couple years ago. I admire her attention to detail in the makings of her jewelry – it’s truly amazing what this woman creates using resin. She also has a passion for science. Check out her blog posts to see how amazing her work is.

So let the questioning begin!

1. What am I working on?

This week I’ve actually been working on an art journal spread for an upcoming class. It’s a class I offer each month in my Studio and I really enjoy the challenge of creating a new spread each month. I challenge myself to use just a few products and limited color palette. This month being October, and the fact I live in the mid-West (Michigan), I wanted to focus on the beautiful colors of our Fall season – over the top of all these words.

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2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

I don’t know that it does really.  A lot of us play around with the same techniques and products but our goal is to develop our own style and that’s what I aim to do. I have friends and students who tell me they can pick my projects out of a lineup because they’re familiar with my work so I’ve developed a style known to me but I wouldn’t say it is all that unique and different from others – just personalized to my taste and likes.

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3. Why do I write/create what I do?

There are days I wonder the same thing! Crafting keeps me sane. There’s nothing more relaxing than rolling paper flowers, spreading Distress Inks on tags, or painting with glue to add glitter to a tiny, intricate piece. It’s the mundane repetitive tasks of the crafting process that I find so relaxing; the mind can just go blank and release all worries, cares and bad thoughts. It’s the combination of those same mundane tasks that push me to add more – more technique, more product, more texture, more dimension to create a final piece that is pleasing to my eye.

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4. How does your writing/creative process work?

That’s a tough question. Lately it seems my creative process is taking a vacation. I hadn’t been inspired. I attribute some of that to the fact that most of our local scrapbook and stamp stores have closed over the past three years. I used to draw inspiration with a visit to my local craft store while looking at all the pretty papers and embellies. The ability to touch them, pick them up, turn them over – physically and in my mind – would inspire and start the creative process flowing. Seems much harder now to find inspiration from product that can only be seen on the Internet and not held in my hands.

Then out of blue I hear from Tracy Alden. When I asked why she chose me, this is what she had to say: “Linda has the amazing talent to take the most ordinary paper, wire, frames and old objects and turn them into heirlooms to be treasured for years.” So that was my answer – get back to my roots. Go dig up some old junk or leftovers and play with them a bit and turn them into something pretty! Thanks, Tracy! I needed that little reminder.

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Now, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Laura Drahozal who blogs at Remembering Life’s Moments. Laura and I actually met when working in the same local scrapbook store several years ago. I’m in awe of her talent when it comes to Dreamweaver Stencils and metal work and her work with the Silhouette cutting machine. Take a trip through her blog and relish in all the beauty.

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Sweet Dreams – A banner idea

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotWhen you’re not much of a card maker it’s often a challenge to figure out how to use products made for card makers in a different way. That was my challenge for my new Spellbinder’s die I received recently.

This is the new Spellbinder’s Die Labels Thirty-Six, S4-418. They’re really cute labels! I used them to create an adorable banner. I love banners – don’t you? They just look so cute hanging across a window, cabinet, on the wall – just about anywhere! I started by cutting the shapes from a DCWV Stack titled Dark Romance. I chose several coordinating papers and cut each size out of different designs for stacking.

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The title ‘DREAM’ is made from chipboard letters. I placed them in the Xyron 2.5″ Create-A-Sticker face-down then sprinkled with a pretty pinkish glitter – Tea Rose Ultrafine Opaque from Art Glitter.

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I like to gently press the glitter into the adhesive to ensure it stays put. While the chipboard was out I ran some scraps through the Xyron as well to make dimensional squares for stacking the labels.

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The two bottom layers of the larger flags are layered on top of one another, stuck together with Xyron 5″ Creative Station and permanent adhesive. The top layer is popped up with the home-made dimensional squares.

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After stacking the three large labels together I then stacked the three smaller labels together to use as filler between the larger flags on the banner and added a little fussy-cut butterfly and moth.

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After the letters are glittered they’re put through the Xyron 2.5″ Create-A-Sticker face up and then centered on the larger flag.

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I used a 1/16″ Fiskars hole punch to make small holes near the tops of all the flags and threaded May Arts Solid Wrinkle Ribbon through them.

I’m happy with the results and think it looks very nice hanging on this old cabinet I’ve been working on lately. I think it would look very cute in a little girls room. I can see it hanging on the wall above the bed so send her off to slumber land with thoughts of sweet dreams.

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To see even more great ideas for Xyron and Spellbinders check out their Facebook pages.

 

 


Ugly box upcycle

linda_mug_2014I’ve basically built my new business on upcycles and redos so when I received a collection of Anna Griffin products from Xyron I knew I wanted to upcycle a box of some sort.

I hit up our local Salvation Army on Senior Day – one of the perks of getting older – to see what they might have. I selected this bright, bold and ugly box with three drawers. It was just gaudy enough to demand a redo.

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I know it looks like it might have six drawers but there are actually only three.  I thought about painting the base but then opted to leave it white and go with it.

I measured the beautiful Anna Griffin papers to fit the sides, top and drawer fronts. Then I inked all the edges with Ranger’s Black Archival Ink and processed them all through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station with permanent adhesive.

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The full adhesive coverage of Xyron makes the paper stick really well to all parts of the wooden box. I removed the knobs from the drawer fronts and painted them white to coordinate with the papers then reattached them after the papers were in place.

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I also cut more of the coordinating papers to fit the insides of the drawers as well.

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I had this idea that I would create several little 3″ by 3″ note cards to tuck in the drawers. I think I made nine and could have kept going. These are so easy to make using the scraps of papers left over from the box fitting as well as the cute Anna Griffin Stickers and cardstock borders. I just snipped the borders in intervals of 2 3/4″ and adhered them to the card front.

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A silver, gold or white marker would add a touch of elegance to whatever little note you wanted to send to someone! They store really nicely inside the little drawers. So the next time you’re perusing the aisles or your local resale shop take note of those ugly little boxes or trays that you can transform quickly and easily with pretty papers and a Xyron machine!

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Doll house Halloween decor

Got my hands on this little Altered Doll House by Prima last week and decided to use Graphic 45’s An Eerie Tale to create a little Halloween home decor. It came together so easily and quickly especially with the use of Xyron!

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I began by measuring each square and rectangle then selected papers from An Eerie Tale 8X8 paper pad and cut to fit. Edges were inked then run through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station to put a solid coverage of adhesive on the backsides and stuck them down.

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I covered a Globecraft DIY Ornament frame with paper and used my Xyron Glue Stick to adhere to the frame then sanded down the edges.

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There are so many beautiful papers and cut-outs in the paper pad to choose from, it was fun to play with placement and to decorate each little room.

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Dimension is added in the doll house rooms with matting and layers. The globe holds a cut out from the papers and Art Glitter adds the sparkle in the background.

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This Altered Doll House is fun to work in and An Eerie Tale paper pad is the perfect accompaniment. Register for this class at Green Door Studio by calling (810) 225-9190. Visit our calendar for more information.

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Back to School in mini style

linda_mug_2014This little book came together so quickly and easily you’ll want to make one for each child, grandchild or friend’s child!  linda_neff_Xyron_Pebbles_back_to_school_mini_9

I started with four 12X12 sheets of pattern paper by Pebbles back to school collection: Notebook, Scissors, Apples and Rulers. They’re all double-sided so it’s like working with eight sheets! I also used Pebbles back to school stickers: Accent Stickers 6, 7 & 56; Accent & Phrase Stickers 10 & 18. Frames by Studio Calico, Xyron 5″ Creative Sticker Maker and Xyron Creatopia – both with permanent adhesive, Perfect Paper Crafting layering ruler, Ranger’s Black Archival Ink (for edging all papers), Westcott scissors and a paper trimmer.

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After measuring the library pockets the paper is cut to fit just inside the pocket with about an 1/8″ edge from the library pocket edge and at least 3/4″ down inside the pocket. I cut small pieces to fit the bottom flap and larger pieces to cover the entire back. All paper edges are inked.

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After it’s all inked, all the papers are passed through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station and Xyron Creatopia to place a solid covering of adhesive on the back.

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After every piece is run through I then, flip and rub the back before peeling the top layer of plastic coating off, so it looks like this – all nicely lined up and ready to peel-and-stick!

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It is so easy to simply peel the papers from the Xyron backing and adhere them to the library pockets in manner you wish. I like to mix up the patterns to create lots of contrast.

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The fun comes with decorating each little pocket. The Pebbles stickers made this part really easy as well! I had the sticker Frames by Studio Calico so opted to stick them to white cardstock (so photos could be added later) and then use the Perfect Paper Crafting layering ruler to cut a 1/8″ frame around the sticker frames.

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Then I ran these through my Xyron 2.5″ Create-A-Sticker and stuck them to the back side of the library pockets. Cool eh?

Once I started using the stickers I couldn’t stop! They’re just so stinkin’ cute and show me a kid who doesn’t love bright, colorful stickers! These pages turned out so cute and will easily hold 3X5″ photos. Just print your photos and tuck them into the pockets for a great Back-to-School memory book.

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I used the Crop-a-dile to punch a hole in the upper right corner and inserted a book ring to hold it all together. I love this and I know just the person I’m going to give it to!

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Creating perfect layers

10487465_10203247648726859_5415453188514283000_nlinda_mug_2014I’m so happy to be back with the Xyron Design Team! As you all know, I LOVE my Xyron and it’s so easy to work with products that I already know and love. Our first post for the new team came up rather quickly and we were presented with products from Perfect Paper Crafting and Xyron.

I had no idea what Perfect Paper Crafting was all about – especially their Perfect Mini Layers rulers. It didn’t take but cutting a couple mats around a photo before I realized I really needed these tools! The Perfect Mini Layers rulers are very easy to use. They’re all well marked with easy-to-read measurements.

They have a little edge that grabs the paper and then all you need to do is run a nice sharp craft knife down the edge. A perfect straight mat edge each time!

I started by putting Xyron Double-Sided High Tack 1/2″ Tape on the back of my photo and adhered it the paper I was using for the mat. Placed the ruler against the edged of the photo and used a sharp blade to slice down the edge.

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I was able to build up the layers in matting and with so many width choices it was easy to do.

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This beautiful paper is DCWV and I used several papers to layer color and pattern. All embellishments came from the pack; they were made by cutting out quotes and phrases and using punches to make some flowers.

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The pieces for this layout were so quick and easy to assemble by using Xyron to evenly distribute the adhesive on all the small pieces. That old Karen Foster corner punch was used to make pieces to stack along a border strip as an added decorative element.

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The punched scallop circle serves as the background for the flowers. I used Xyron Adhesive Dots to stack the flowers then finished off with an Adhesive Dot for the flower center and sprinkled with a bit of glitter.

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This layout came together so easily and I really like it. It’s the perfect photo of my brother and our cousin Liz. Just two fun-loving cousins sharing a moment at a Father’s Day gathering.

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I also used the Perfect Paper Crafting Mini Layers rulers to create this quick little card. The mats were extremely easy to cut and create with the rulers – even in calculating the larger spacing on the top and bottom of the center mat. After the mats were assembled and the ribbon tied, the entire front was passed through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station and placed on the folded card – Ta Da!

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Be sure to hop on over to Xyron’s blog – Ain’t She Crafty and the Perfect Paper Crafting blog for so many more tips, techniques and projects using these fantastic products!


Floating down the river

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It had been nearly two years since we’ve had the kayaks off the custom-made trailer and in the water. Some summers it seemed life just got in the way of a float. But not this summer!

We cleaned and loaded those babies, packed a nice lunch and hit the chain of lakes over in Pinckney.

We’ve always put in on Hyland Lake where’s there a nice little boat access. For a quick trip we’ve spent a couple of hours just floating around the lake’s shoreline. Hyland Lake also connects to another small lake so it’s a nice way to spend a few hours.

But on Monday we decided to make a day of it and float down the chain and enjoy time in the outdoors. So we donned our swimsuits, slathered on the sunscreen, put hats our heads and hit the water!

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linda_neff_kayak_tunnelI love floating through the little canals and rivers that connect all the lakes on this chain. The first little stream travels past a few houses that line the water’s edge and there are a couple little tunnels that are fun to go through. When I was a kid we would whoop and holler and listen to the echos. On this day I just enjoyed the quiet.

The weather was just perfect for being on the water – high 70’s to low 80’s and sunny. Just a slight breeze so we never really had to work hard to paddle across any of the lakes. And, we paddled through many!

We also got a glimpse of the new Yert on the river entering Bruin Lake. The Yert sits close to the river’s edge and would be a lovely place to spend a night or two. There was a family staying there or we would have pulled in to investigate more.

Floating along the water’s edge we seen heron fishing for their next meal, lots of fish, a few turtles and lots of singing birds. linda_neff_kayak_river_trip

After paddling through six lakes we worked up an appetite. We had a hard time finding a nice place to pull in for lunch. Seems there are lots of marshy edges along all the lakes and streams so we finally gave up and pulled over near one of bridges that cross the river for the Potawatomi Trail. We spread lunch across the backs of the kayaks and ate while wading in the water. We waved to a couple of bikers on the trail as they crossed over the bridge (too hot for me to be biking out there) and chatted briefly with other boaters cruising the river.

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Lunch consisted of Dennis’ chicken/cranberry salad in pita pockets and some of my potato salad; it all packed up nice and was easy to serve. We each can carry a small cooler in the kayaks so we put food in one and water and soda in the other. We use regular dishes so everything goes home with us for washing and/or recycling.

After lunch we began our journey back to the boat launch, but we were in no hurry – besides, it’s hard to hurry in kayaks!

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linda_neff_kayak_endWe left the house around 10:30 a.m. and got off the water around 3 p.m. and headed over to check out the beach at Bruin Lake where there is also a boat launch. We were hoping to find a beach and picnic area we could us while traversing the waters for next time but were told the beach is for camping guests only. We did discover that Half Moon Lake also has a beach and boat launch and that is open to anyone so maybe we’ll try that one next time.

kayak_trip_selfieBefore loading we took our first selfie! Not a very good one but we got it!

 

It was a lovely day on the water and we finished it with an ice cream cone – dipped in chocolate and nuts – from Captain Frosty in Pinckney – YUM!

 

* I’ve recently decided to change my blog up a bit and my new tag line is “the scraps of life.” Rachel came up with that one for me – “The Facts of Life” was one of her favorite TV shows in her younger days.

On my blog I want to include more of my everyday life as well as my scrappy projects. There are just so many things that fill my days and I want to share posts about scrapbooking, gardening, cooking and more  – it’s what makes me a whole person.


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