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.


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/


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