Heading West – the beginning

den_linda_leaving_2015It started out all flat and good. We gathered maps and sight-seeing books, packed the car and hit the road about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, headed toward Chicago to pick up 94 then 90.

The cityscape there is beautiful but traffic leaves a lot to be desired. Seemed like it took us forever to get through the congested area and on to some open roads.

chicago_2015We didn’t get nearly as far as we thought we would that first day, stopping for the night in East Madison, Wisconsin. We always pull in early for the night if we’re near a place that has hotels and after pushing through all that traffic we both needed a break.

margarita_time_Roadhouse_wisconsinMy reward for the day on the road is usually a nice, cold margarita and this one was perfect! I don’t travel freeways when I travel throughout Michigan, but on this trip we needed to use freeways and I don’t always handle that well.

Travels through Wisconsin and Minnesota were pretty uneventful, but the scenery is so very pretty. Rolling hills and crisp, clean farm lands. We seen numerous wind farms along the way and were always surprised when we would come across even more.

We pushed on to Mitchell, South Dakota to stop at the Corn Palace. It’s changed a lot on the inside since our last trip there over 10 years ago. The exterior changes each year and is always spectacular to see. It’s amazing to realize the exterior design is made up of corn – lots of corn!

corn_palace_2015Ran into this guy across the street from the Corn Palace. Couldn’t resist having the picture taken.

indian_corn_palaceOnce back on the road heading toward Sturgis traffic started to increase. Even though we were well over 150 miles from Sturgis (where the motorcyle rally was preparing to start) we were finding it hard to find availability at hotels and after stopping for lunch traffic really picked up. We decided to head South to I-80. I picked an exit and we ended up on gravel road for about 1/2 hour before picking up a two-lane highway (83) that would take to I-80 and into Nebraska, 200 and some odd miles later. Backroads travels are my favorites so I was a little sorry when we finally ran into 80 and headed toward Cheyenne.

The end of day four brought us to Laramie for the night. We love to eat where the locals eat so was directed to Altitude. A short drive from the hotel and a quick walk from the public lot near a railroad station where beautiful flowers welcomed guests into the city.

flowers_in_bloomThis unique restaurant and brewery grows its own herbs on the outside of their building that are used in their food preparations. Our dinner was fantastic and the dessert menu changes monthly so we had to try the August Lemon Parfait. So yummy! Murals adorned several buildings and this one of a tree bicycling was so cute – he looked like he was really having fun.

altitude_restaurant_collageTo follow along on our road trip, jump on over to my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/linda.rootneff

This mini makes me happy

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI’m often asked which Xyron machine is my favorite and for this assignment that’s exactly what the Xyron people wanted to know. Such a difficult question to answer – especially for me. I own, love and use them all and have for all my crafting years. My Xyron 1.5″ Sticker Maker was purchased on my very first night of scrapbooking at a crop. I had no idea what I was doing back then but realized quickly this was one little special tool! It didn’t take me long to purchase the 5″ Creative Station then before I knew it I just had to have the 9″ Creative Station because I make a load of mini books. So, for this tutorial I chose the 9″ Creative Station as my favorite (though I did bring in the my 5″ and 1.5″ machine as well).

I’ve wanted to make a little book like this ever since I seen the one, Heather Conklin, fellow Xyron Design Team member made last year. So here’s my version!

I began with a paper pad from KaiserCraft – Telegraph Road. I also used craft-colored paper to cut my own tags to make the pages.

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The papers were cut, punched and inked before running them through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station. Love my Xyron machines! Xyron makes it so easy to create beautiful mini books. The papers are secure on the backgrounds and I never worry of any of them lifting.

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Then just remove the top covering of cellophane, peel and stick.

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When the pages were all decorated I stitched them around the edges a bit randomly. Half the finished pages were processed through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station so I could stick them back-to-back with the remaining pages.

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This book contains five pages back-to-back with room for photos on both sides. Holes punched in the top allow book rings to hold it together and hang from the Ikea Tolsby frame. I added photos of my adorable grand-dogs, punched flowers, some ribbons and punch-outs from the paper pack to finish it off.

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This is a wonderful way to display some of your favorite photos and Xyron makes it so easy to make!

Quick & easy last minute holiday ideas

It’s time for more holiday ideas through Xyron’s 30 days of Holidays!10372750_10153350649544251_5810699339160766702_nThere is nothing I like more than a home-made Christmas. Brings back great childhood memories of making ornaments and decorations with my mother and siblings. I’ve come up – with some help from Pinterest – with some quick and easy decorations that really lend that home-made look to the home and gift items that are equally fun to do with the kids.

First up is a book mark. This was so easy to make with Xyron’s laminate cartridge and it’s a great way to preserve your art or that of a child – show me a grandma or grandpa who reads who wouldn’t love their grandchild’s art work done up in a useful gift. I sliced up an art journal page to about 1 1/2″ by 7″ sections. I ran them through my Xryon 5″ Creative Station with the Laminate/Permanent Adhesive.20141204_133816Then I stuck them together back-to-back and trimmed around the edges, punched a hole with the Crop-a-Dile and tied a pretty ribbon through the hole.20141204_134754My next project is one I found on Pinterest but revised it to make it even easier to assemble. I started with an empty toilet paper tube and flattened it with a bone folder. I wanted to print some holiday clip art onto a book page so after finding some free downloadable art I printed the two pictures on office paper to line up placement.

I was able to add just a tad of adhesive with the Xyron Mega Runner to all four sides of the book pages to hold them in place on the office paper. The paper (with the adhered book pages) was reinserted into my printer so the images could be printed on the book pages. I ran the printed book pages through the Xyron Creatopia with permanent adhesive and gently peeled it off the backing. Lay the toilet tube on the sticky side of the book page so the image is centered in the front of the tube. Wrap the page around the tube, fold up the bottom and clip the top sides of the book pages so you can tuck the top flaps down inside the tube.
linda_neff_Xyron_ornamentUse the Teresa Collins Stapler to secure the bottom of the tube. 20141204_131417Pierce a hole on each side of the tube top and add some wire. I added a jingle bell to one and white-washed one with a dilution of gesso. Stuff with special candies, candy canes, or other small items and hang on the tree as a special treat for visitors.20141204_142800My next project uses Xyron Laminate Magnet refill in my Xyron 5″ Creative Station. I took a piece of red glitter paper from DCWV Christmas & Winter Glitter Cardstock Stack and ran it through the Creative Station to put full-coverage magnet on the back and laminate on the top. Then I die cut it using a Christmas ornament die. I added the word ‘JOY’ that was die cut and run through the Xyron 1.5″ Sticker Maker. A pretty ribbon finishes the look. I also die cut letters to spell ‘peace’ from the scraps. It looks so cute hanging on the fridge!

linda_neff_Xyron_Christmas_Fridge_Magnets_blogFor the final hooray I grabbed my bag full of last year’s Christmas cards. How many years have I saved Christmas cards always intending to do something with them – well, this is the year! This actually was the easiest and my favorite.

I cut the card fronts just a hair smaller than the manilla tags I wanted to use, inked the edges and ran them through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station with permanent adhesive.

linda_neff_Xyron_tags_swagMy original plan was to make gift tags from these, but once I got them all done and laid out they looked pretty enough to hang so that’s what I did. I simply strung them some twine and hung them from a shelf. Aren’t they cute! When I actually get around to Christmas shopping I can slip the tags off the twine one-by-one and use them on the packages.

20141204_171327Make sure to visit the Xyron Facebook page to check out other great projects from the rest of the designers. There’s been some great ones and we ain’t done yet!

2-in-1 gift boxes

So…would I do it again? Yes, probably would. Ever had a project in mind that should be pretty easy to achieve only to find out it’s a whole lot more complicated than you thought? That’s where I am with these adorable little Gift Boxes/Ornaments. They are more work than anticipated but the end result is so worth it!

Welcome to Xyron’s Holiday Blog Hop!

10372750_10153350649544251_5810699339160766702_nMy first contribution is today and I’ll be back in December with another project. In the mean time be sure to visit all the other designers to see what they’ve been up to for Xyron – some amazing projects out there!

I began with regular matchboxes from the dollar store, chipboard pieces cut a bit smaller than the box front, some pretty Christmas papers and my Xyron 1.5″ Sticker Maker to build up the box front to look like a drawer.

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Then I painted them white and dry-brushed them lightly with some gold acrylic paint, used a jewelry drill to drill holes in the front so I could wire on some mini jingle bells for drawer pulls.

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The wire doesn’t hold tight so I added some Christmas paper on the inside that I ran through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station with permanent adhesive. This holds really well so there is no worry about the wires pulling out.

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Next step is to stick the boxes together. Here, I used Xyron’s High Tack Tape. Two strips on two of the three boxes, peel and stick.

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The exterior is finished by wrapping plain cardstock around the back end so you have a signature spot and the ugly back is covered. Then I cut and inked paper strips that would wrap all the way around the sides, put them through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station and wrapped.

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To hang I pierced a small hole in the top and inserted bakers twine, tied a knot on the inside to hold it in place and tied a loop knot on top for hanging.

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These look so cute hanging from the tree and will be greatly appreciated when filled with special candies, a little love note or money!  When I finished these I was immediately reminded of a good friend of mine who passed several years ago. She always re-gifted or hand-made a special ornament each Christmas just for me. It was always signed and dated and each year when I hang those special ornaments on the tree it reminds me of the good times we shared. I think this year I may start this tradition again with some friends of mine.

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Just a note…

20141126_151719Thanks for stopping by on this wonderful Thanksgiving day! This is my last post as guest designer for Dreamweaver Stencils this month. I enjoyed my stint this month and had so much fun playing with Dreamweaver Stencils.

The Dream Team challenge you to be especially “Thankful and Thoughtful” during this month. Link your creations with this theme in mind on the Dream It Up! blog using the Inlinkz tool and you could win the stencil of your choice. A bonus stencil of our choosing could be yours for using Dreamweaver product(s) in your artwork.
Today I want to share a technique to make another art journal background, but this time we’re going to cut it up and make mini notebooks from it that will fit in your purse or pocket! How cool is that – and just in time for gifting.
I started with Dreamweaver embossing paste, this beautiful Zen Flower Stencil and watercolor paper.
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After my paste dried I colorized the background with Ranger’s Distress Inks, dried and continued to dip and spray until the color was just as I wanted. I added more color by rubbing in some Adirondack Dye Ink using another Dreamweaver Stencil, Tapestry, that is a big favorite of mine.
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After the Tapestry Stencil I used some Aqua ink and rubbed it through Dreamweaver Stencil, Vintage Decor (click here to see how I used this stencil to turn an old drawer into beautiful home decor storage).
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I added some images and text with rubber stamps then more color sprays and blotting to get this final look. This turned into a beautiful art journal page but I’m still cutting it up!
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The art journal page is used to cover salvaged chipboard. I connected the two by running the journal paper through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station, stuck it to the chipboard and used another journal section to cover the inside and the back cover as well.
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Once the covers were covered I punched the binding holes with my Zutter. The inside pages were cut about 1/8″ smaller than the cover on both sides and bottom.
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The covers are so pretty – I really enjoyed this project. I gave no thought as to how they were cut, I just cut them to a size I wanted to use. Once bound they make a perfect little stocking stuffer, thank you gift or something pretty to keep for yourself!
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By the way, the Dream Team are very THANKFUL when our followers are THOUGHTFUL enough to leave us a nice comment on our posts! Here’s the “A” team lineup for this week.
Link your own project using this link:  An InLinkz Link-up

A Simple Thank You

As we officially head into the holiday season, the Dream Team are challenging all of our followers to be especially “Thankful and Thoughtful” during the month of November. Link your creations with this theme on the Dream It Up! blog using the Inlinkz tool and the end of this post. Our “thanks” to you is providing you with the opportunity to win the stencil of your choice, and a bonus stencil of our choosing could be yours for using Dreamweaver product(s) in your artwork.
I hope you enjoy my post today. There are times I tend to over-think a project or struggle to come up with a new idea when all that is required is clean-and-simple. I struggled to come up with a creative approach to use this Dreamweaver Pine Cones Embossing Folder and finally settled on clean-and-simple and love it!
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I used some Fall-colored card stock as matting for the embossed tag. I tore some of the tag bottom off so it fit on the card better then placed it in the embossing folder and ran it through the Vagabond. It embossed so beautifully on the manilla tag that it required nothing else but a little “Thank You” to go with this month’s theme.
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The detail that comes out in the embossing is amazing!
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I layered up the mats on the card front and wrapped a piece of May Arts ribbon around the top mat and inserted the tag with adhesive on the back to hold it in place.
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I love the simplicity of this card – how about making a set of four or five and wrap as a gift for a special someone? They make cute little Thank You notes.
I thought you might like a flashback to one of my Dreamweaver guest designer posts from last year. I came across this adorable little Christmas decoration when unpacking holiday decorations this week. Here’s the link for the how-to information: Quick and Easy.
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By the way, the Dream Team are very thankful when our followers are thoughtful enough to leave us a nice comment on our posts! Here’s the “A” team lineup for this week.
Don’t forget to link your creations with this theme on the Dream It Up! blog here: An InLinkz Link-up

Christmas is a coming!

linda_neff_dream_weaver_art_journal_6Howdy again! I’m back again as guest designer with Dream Weaver this month and looking forward to sharing with you some ideas I have for using Dream Weaver products. This is my second post this month for the theme Thankful and Thoughtful.
Link your creations, using the Thankful and Thoughtful theme on the Dream It Up! blog using the Inlinkz tool at the end of this post – you could win the stencil of your choice and a bonus stencil of our choosing could be yours for using Dreamweaver products in your artwork. Be sure to stop by the blogs of the regular Dream Team members as well – loads of great ideas out there!
I have another Art Journal page for you this week and an ATC (Artist Trading Card). I love to give credit where credit is due but, honestly, I was on my phone either reading emails or Pinterest and I seen something similar to this technique but my phone wouldn’t let me bookmark it and I haven’t been able to find it again! Don’t you just hate that?
*A friend found the link for me – yippee! This technique was done on Julie Fei-Fan Balzar’s blog by guest designer Melita Bloomer.*
The end result is such a bold and dramatic effect. I just love it!
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I began with watercolor paper and used the smoosh and spritz technique with Fired Brick, Peeled Paint and Mustard Seed Distress Inks – Christmas colors. Stamped with a Christmas script stamp using black Archival Ink then laid Dream Weaver’s stencil, LX7007 Leaves, in the center of my page and traced all the inside openings with a black journal marker.
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I worked out from the center after that till the entire page had traced openings on it.
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After that it’s all hand-painted with black gesso and that creates that very dramatic effect.
It was time to make some ATC’s for my stamp group and I had this cute little Nested Stocking Die DG692 from Dream Weaver along with an adorable embossing folder, FJ922 Christmas Borders. I made the background similar to the art journal page then cut it to ATC size (2 1/2″ X 3 1/2″) then ran it through my Vagabond in the embossing folder. All the edges are inked with Peeled Paint and I also rubbed Peeled Paint across the ATC’s to bring out the embossed areas. I used Dream Weaver’s white embossing paste to make the rim of the stocking look fluffy.
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I actually cut two each of the stocking rim so I could stack them and make them dimensional. I glued a small piece of chipboard in-between then assembled the stocking, added it to the ATC and finished it off with some printed words and cute little gold jingle bell.
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I think these will be a hit with my exchange group. I’m thankful I’ve been able to have this opportunity to challenge myself with my craft using these Dream Weaver products this month!
Be sure to visit the other designers to see what they’ve been up to this week.

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