Art Journals: Simply irrisistable

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI resisted Art Journaling for several years. I suppose it was because I basically didn’t understand the concept. I’m still not sure I understand it but I’m hooked now so it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve followed Margie Kemper for several years and have always enjoyed her colorful art journals. I also really enjoy following along with France Papillon and her Journal on Monday. Another favorite is Roben-Marie Smith. If you visit their blogs you’ll notice they all have very different styles – and I love them all!

Even though I have followed these designers for quite some time and read their blogs I just wasn’t getting the big attraction to art journaling. Then we were talking about art journals at Cracker Jack Stampers one night and my friend Robin stated that it was basically a place where you could experiment with design, technique, style. There was no right or wrong – it was a place to play freely. At least that’s the explanation I walked away with.

So, this year I decided I would try my hand at art journaling. I’ve decided to scrap in my journal. So as soon as I figure out which theme I want to scrap I’ll begin adding photos to my background pages. We’ve turned this into a monthly workshop at Green Door Studio and so far we’re loving it!

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Sometime during the month I peruse Pinterest in search of inspiration for an art journal spread. I pull out a few products and my journal paper and sit and play. I create my art journal spread and share those products and techniques later in the month during the workshop, giving the students total freedom in how they interpret what I share. It’s been so much fun, especially to see how differently the techniques and products are used by the students. No two pages look alike.

This month during my research I kept seeing cute little houses being used on art journal and scrapbook pages so I opted to cut some cute little houses of our own using my Tim Holtz Artful Dwelling die by Sizzix. I’ve had the die for at least two years and never used it. Fell in love!

Look what we did with them:

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Join us for our next Art Journal workshop slated for Saturday, April 26. Sessions begin at 10:30 a.m. and run for four hours that just seem to fly by! Call us at Green Door Studio (810) 225-9190 to reserve your space.


From box to gift

It all started when I received a Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit from Xyron. The box is wonderful. It  has a magnetic closure and it was perfect for being altered.

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It’s perfect for keeping my Teresa Collins supplies in but it’s also great for packing with some nice chocolates and small gifts to give away. I didn’t want to cover the entire box because I liked the pretty pink surface so opted just to alter the top. I started with a pulled-paper technique by running my inked background paper through my Xyron 9-inch Creative Station.

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I peeled it from its backing and stuck it down to the box cover, rubbed it down really well then found a loose edge or two and ripped off quite a bit of the paper. This leaves a thin layer of the paper behind in some areas – really a cool look! This creates a nice base to build layers on and started by adding a length of pink krinkle ribbon with the Teresa Collins Tape Runner. This ribbon wraps around the lid and ties on the inside.

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After cutting, distressing and inking another pattern paper I coated it with a thin skim of white Gesso and let it dry.

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While the backing was drying I spread some Teresa Collins Clear Hold Adhesive randomly across a strip of corrugated cardboard using my finger and lightly sprinkled with some Sea Shell Art Glitter.

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I stapled this strip to the dry backing using the Teresa Collins Stapler. I love this stapler! It goes through really thick stuff! I was able to tuck a decorated tag into the strip and glued a title on that will go behind a Tim Holtz metal bookplate.

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I made several different sizes of paper flowers using a Spellbinder’s Donna Salazar die, glued them together with the Teresa Collins Clear Hold Adhesive, inked them then spread a thick glob of Tim Holtz Clear Crackle Paint on them and left them to dry.

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Let the assembly begin! I just played around with lots of stuff out of the table and continued to layer items till I got the look I really liked. The filmstrip is stapled through the tin heart with the Teresa Collins Stapler. Once the backing was completely assembled it’s glued on the cover with Teresa Collins Clear Hold Adhesive; the same adhesive is used to fill the bookplate. It dries clear and dimensional.

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I added a bit more detail to the cover with some tissue tape and tied a pretty ribbon through a key and attached it with jump rings. It’s now ready to be packed up presented as a very special gift.

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Beginning with a vision

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI’m trying to get a jump on the new year with classes and projects that will be happening at Green Door Studio and wanted to share a peek at a new Pinterest-Inspired Tag Art workshop we’ll be offering each Thursday.

I love Pinterest for all the inspiration, knowledge and beauty that can be found there. It is so easy to lose an hour or two or more surfing the boards. The Pinterest-Inspired Tag Art workshop is taken from a myriad of tags pinned in my board: Tag- You’re it!

Each week I’ll select a tag from the board and teach the techniques involved in creating it or we’ll make something up and show you how you can recreate that tag with other materials and techniques to make it your own, which is what I do to this tag.

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For those of you who may not be aware, my daughter Rachel and I opened Green Door Studio in September. We offer a variety of arts & crafts classes for individuals or groups such as birthdays or bachelorette parties and  work or church groups. We also upcycle and refurbish furniture pieces and home decor items as well as offer custom furniture painting. We’ve taken advantage of both our talents and passions and located them in one brick-and-mortar location in Brighton, Mi.

I’d appreciate if you jump on over to our new site and click ‘follow’ (down in the lower right-hand corner) for our blog posts. You’ll find posts covering all sorts of things from furniture redo’s to class offerings, tutorials, yummy recipes we’ve tried and more! From the blog, you can also sign up to receive our newsletters which are sent about once a week. The newsletters usually contain a list of upcoming classes, events or happenings in and around the studio. And, if that isn’t enough information for you – ‘like’ our Facebook page. Rachel does most of the posting here about new furniture pieces that have come in or have been finished and are available for sale. You’ll also see her babies show up quite frequently there. She works a lot from home and I’m usually in the Studio. We’d love to have you stop by if you’re in the area – coffee is always on! And, if you’re not close by, please stop by the blog or Facebook pages for the latest news and happenings at Green Door Studio!

Visit our Green Door Studio blog for more info on the Pinterest-Inspired Tag Art workshop that utilizes gesso, color spritzes, ink, stamping, Xyron, die-cutting and distressing.


Quick cards for the New Year

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotEvery year I always miss someone or two or three on my Christmas card list. I’m sure that never happens to happen of you! My solution is to send a New Year’s card and include a little family newsletter. That way it looks like I haven’t forgotten them – I just choose to wish them a Happy New Year!

I made these cards from left over Heidi Swapp Christmas papers and embellishments. Who says you can’t use Christmas paper for other occasions? Without the phrase Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, these papers are just lots of pretty prints!

This set of cards came together really quickly: using a paper trimmer, a couple of punches, some Distress Ink and my trusty Xyron Creative Station.

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After gathering all supplies I cut simple rectangles to fit my standard A2 cards. I punched some borders with a Martha Stewart border punch and used a Fiskars hexagon punch to create some coordinating hexagons. I also used some of Heidi’s Believe Banner Delights as added elements. I just played around and did a quick layout of designs before inking all edges with Ranger’s Black Soot Distress Ink.

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I don’t seem to own a ‘Happy New Year’s’ stamp so printed my sentiment on white cardstock. I punched some with a Marvy scallop circle punch and trimmed out the others with the paper trimmer. I used my Teresa Collins Stapler to add some detail to one of my sentiments before attaching it to the card.

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All my card pieces are run through my Xyron 9″ Creative Station. I like to use this size when I have lots of pieces. I can line them up before shipping them through so adhesive is not wasted.

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Then the fun begins – peel and stick! So easy!

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These are the finished cards so now I only need to type up the newsletter and pop them in the mail after Christmas! This makes me feel like I’m actually ahead of the game.

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Holiday scrappin’

Howdy! We’re posting 30 Days of Holiday Projects with Xryon. I haven’t scrapped in quite some time but this paper from American Crafts/Imaginisce inspired me. Hope you like it – the papers went together very well.

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I decided this was a good opportunity to document our first year in Green Door Studio so took a few photos around the shop. I wanted to layer the papers so trimmed some off the ornament paper and punched the edges with a Martha Stewart scallop-edge punch, then layered it over the snowflake paper adhering it with Xyron Mega Runner.

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To bring in some more action I cut a couple strips of the gorgeous red dot paper and angle-cut the ends.

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When I was happy with the placement I tacked the strips in place with the Xyron Mega Runner with dot adhesive. This is a great way to hold them in place temporarily.

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When the position was just right I stapled them in place permanently with a Teresa Collins Stapler. I love this stapler! It is so easy to hold and use; a good weight – it just feels good in the hand. And, the staples add to the look of the page.

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The page was easy to finish up by adding a colorful mat around the focus photo then adding another two photos. The title was the easiest part – just peel and stick the foam Thickers letters to spell it out! The color of these letters are Cherry and the color is perfect with all the papers. Lastly added is the Peace dimensional sticker and it’s finished!

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Very quick and easy and the colors are fantastic!

Xyron is celebrating this week with a huge giveaway for reaching 100,000 Facebook Fans! Be sure to enter!


A bunting we will go…

Oh what fun it is to play with Xyron and Heidi Swapp!

The Xyron team is hopping with Heidi Swapp this week and I’ve seen some of the projects already and let me tell you, you’re all in for a real treat!

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Thanks go out to Heidi Swapp for the collection of wonderful products we received. At first I wasn’t sure what to create, but this little pack of Color Magic Jumbo Pennants just kept calling out to me. I’m in love with buntings/banners recently. I’ve made a slew of different types and still haven’t tired of them. They can brighten up the dullest blank walls, mantles or windows and just put a smile on your face.

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Here’s the steps to create this rustic-style holiday bunting on your own. I started with the pennants and attached silver eyelets in each top corner with a Crop-a-dile. Then I edged all the pennants with metallic silver Adirondack Paint Dabber. I wanted to use some of Heidi’s Believe papers and cut eight 3/4-inch strips of the sheet music paper from her Believe 12X12 paper pad. I folded all those into accordion strips – by hand – no scoring tool used (think rustic). I threaded a needle with a good strong thread; I like to use carpet or heavy-duty quilt thread for these type of projects. Then I ran the needle and thread through the center of the strips. The needle actually goes through the paper pretty easily.

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To give it that rustic look I added strips of burlap as well, gathering it through the center with a simple running stitch. All the pieces are connected as we go along so you need to determine in which order every piece will lay. I alternated paper strips with burlap strips in between the pennants. Run the thread behind the pennants so it doesn’t show.

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The problem I ran into was that it looked so plain so I just went crazy and kept adding bits and pieces here and there – if you can call that a problem! The real problem is knowing when to stop and I didn’t. To add some burlap strips to the front of the smaller pennants I ran them through the Xyron Creatopia with permanent fabric adhesive.

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Because burlap is an open-weave fabric and the Xryon adhesive gives total coverage, I was able to add some beautiful Antique Silver Fine Glass glitter. I sprinkled over the entire piece of burlap and gently pressed it in before tapping off the excess.

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I encircled the word ‘JOY’ with a Heidi Swapp Color Magic Pressed Paper Frame that I painted with the metallic silver Paint Dabber; the Heidi Swapp letters are painted with the same paint. The frame is raised up with the Xyron Black Foam Squares from the Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit.

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I added two holiday phrases to two of the larger pennant pieces. They’re decorated by running the Xyron 1/2-inch Double-Side Tape on all four sides on the backs of these two pieces then pressing in silver tinsel pipe cleaners so they hang just slightly over the edge. These are also popped up with the Xyron Black Foam Squares.

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I also made several rosettes using the Tim Holtz Sizzix die and topped them with punched circles from another Heidi Swapp paper from the 12X12 paper pad.  The punched circle is also raised by the Xyron Black Foam Squares. I lightly inked the edges of the rosettes with Ranger’s Black Archival Ink and the punched circle is edged with the metallic silver Paint Dabber.

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The rosettes are adhered on top of the glittered burlap strips.

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This bunting measures around six feet and looks great hanging between two windows in the studio. I love the rustic feel the burlap adds to the white and silver elements.

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Be sure to visit all the other designers participating in this hop. You can find the links here: http://aintshecrafty.blogspot.com/


Super Quick and Easy!

Howdy! Welcome and Happy Thanksgiving. Have a piece of pumpkin pie for me – lots of whip cream!

This is my last post as Guest Designer for Dreamweaver Stencils and I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how easy this project was.  But, like many of you this time of year I have more to do and not enough hours in the day so a quick and easy project is just perfect!

This is a cute little holiday decoration and I just am very pleased with the final results.

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I used nothing more than an Ikea .99 cent frame, Dreamweaver Embossing Paste and the Ornate Xmas Tree stencil and just a bit of Christmas papers from the Bundled Up collection from Crate Paper.

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This frame comes with two acrylic sheets that I slid out and peeled the protective layers off before taping the stencil to the acrylic sheet. I taped it so it doesn’t slide on me when I spread the embossing paste.

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I spread the paste across the stencil to fill in all the tiny details of the stencil then carefully peel the tape away and lift the stencil leaving an embossed pattern on the acrylic sheets; repeat on the second acrylic sheet.

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While the paste is still wet I sprinkled with a clear transparent finely ground glitter. I left it sit for an hour or so with the glitter on so the paste would set up and dry.

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When the paste is dry I tapped the access glitter onto a sheet of office paper and slid back into the glitter container. Then I cut two 4X6 -inch sheets of the paper and slid the paper and the two embossed acrylic sheets into the frame – that’s it! They’re double-sided so what a great little table decoration or a piece to sit on a shelf for the holiday.

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Like I said, a bit embarrassed at how quick and easy this was. It took me longer to write this post than to make this!

Make sure to visit these designers for even more great projects and tips! Now go create!

Linda Neff (Guest Designer – that’s me!)
Lea Kimmel
Louise Healy
Terrece Siddoway
Pam Hornschu
Cherylynn Moser

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