Breaking routine for weekend art experience

I spent the weekend with inky fingers, creating art with my peers at Artiscape in Dublin, Ohio. I had so been looking forward to the annual weekend-long event. My friend Cathy and I travel together – she’s the driver. We left Friday morning and took nearly the whole day to get there, stopping at any antique store along our path. We even ventured into one estate sale where we scored some interesting objects!

We took a little side trip to Wapakoneta to visit Gild the Lily, a lovely little antique shop we visited about three years ago. We were so glad we made to effort to get there because Glenna, who is 90 years old and the shop’s owner, was selling everything off in preparation for her retirement. We had a lovely chat with her and I bought some beautiful vintage lace to use in classes and on my own projects. Love my road trips with Cathy!

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My first class Saturday was with Nancy Curry, who I was not familiar with, but her class sample intrigued me. I’m so glad I ventured into her class. It was three hours of play time with intense water colors, beautiful fibers and beads and I am so pleased with the final results. I walked away with a new enthusiasm for playing with watercolors!

green_door_studio_artiscape_tin640Saturday afternoon I played with burned band-aid tins, rusted metal, vintage papers and old photos. This wonderful little tin houses an adorable mini book created from small Formica tiles, vintage papers and other little dangly things all tied together with raggedy muslin. I would have never thought old rusty stuff could look so nice. Four full hours of creative, free-flow fun with Lesley Venable! It doesn’t get much better than this – unless, you get to do it all over again Sunday!

And I did! Sunday’s class with Lesley included a kit with more Formica tile samples – large ones this time! In the bag were also vintage cabinet cards and papers, mica and a few other little trinkets. Another three hours of free, creative time, chatting with new friends and sharing a laugh or two.

green_door_studio_artiscape_tag640There’s something to be said about breaking routine, meeting new friends and being open to learning new techniques.

It’s good to get away and enjoy new experiences, but now it’s back to work. We’re prepping this week for the popular Davisburg Antique Festival.

This will be our first major show so it’s a little nerve-racking trying to figure out what to take and how to get it there. I spent an hour today making a list of necessary items to bring along with the furniture. Stuff like phone charging cord, rope, signage, Sharpie, credit card reader and so much more! My biggest fear is we’ll get out there, the show will start and THEN I realize I forgot a very important thing like the change box! Hoping for good weather and lots of people who like to shop. Search out our booth – we’ll be in the tented section (not quite sure where that is). It’s a great show and they have lots of fair food – love me some elephant ears!

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!

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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Getting ready for the 1st Snow

1379330_10201327703969440_1970198601_nXyron has teamed up with Maya Road (one of my favorite companies) for a wonderful blog hop this week. Maya Road shared so many fantastic products with us for the hop that it was a pleasure to create this project.

I live in Michigan and I’m in that crowd of others who rush outdoors to take a ton of photos when we receive our very first snowfall of the season. It’s true – we rush outdoors to take all those photos because it’s so beautiful and three months later we’re wishing it would all just quit and go away!

I always say I’m going to scrap those photos or share the beauty with a relative who doesn’t live in Michigan, but they usually just end up sitting in my computer with the thousands of other photos that never get printed. This year will be different. I made this ‘1st Snow’ mini album to hold all those photos. I started with the Maya Road 5X8 3-ring Chipboard Tab Book and painted the pages with some homemade chalk paint I had left over.

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Quite a few of the Snowflakes Mini Chipboard Set were painted in the same color and then embosssed in a Crafter’s Companion 6″X6″ Embossalicious Embossing Folder – Let it Snow. After the snowflakes were embossed they were glazed with some dark brown acrylic paint. I rubbed it in with my fingers and wiped the access off with a baby wipe. This allows the paint to settle into the textured areas.

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The next step is to run the snowflakes through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker facedown. This puts the adhesive on the top surface so they can be sprinkled with Art glitter Ultrafine Crystal Glitter. I love this technique for applying glitter because it gives a nice smooth finish for the glitter to land on rather than a raised trail of glue. The Xyron Clear Hold glue from the Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit is perfect to hold gems in the center of each snowflake.

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A few of the snowflakes were used to decorate the adorable Maya Road Vintage Linen Burlap Bag used on the front cover. Title letters were painted with Adirondack Snowcap Acrylic Paint Dabber and treated as the snowflakes to add a layer of glitter. I then brushed on some Xyron Clear Hold glue to the tops of the title letters to add another layer of chunky glitter, Art Glitter Krystallos Shard Glass, to simulate fallen snow resting on the ledge.

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All the backgrounds on the pages are created by stamping with Wendy Vecchi and Tim Holtz stamps and Adirondack Snowcap Acrylic Paint. I brushed the paint onto a non-stick craft sheet and stamped into it to pick up the paint and then stamped onto the page. Be sure to wash the stamps immediately before the paint dries. This added a nice soft look to all the pages. Several sentiments were stamped onto High Gloss Cardstock by Crafter’s Companion.

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Xyron High Tack Adhesive Dots proved very useful in attaching the chipboard snowflakes and the title. With the two sizes – 3/16″ and 3/8″, it was very easy to place them in narrow and thick areas.

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The interior pages were dressed with sentiments, snowflakes and few embellies – kept light so the photos become the center of attention.

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Several sentiments are attached with the Teresa Collins Stapler on the outer edge so photos can be tucked under the loose edge. The journal card is hinged with the arrows from the Maya Road Vintage Kraft Star & Arrow Pins collection.

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Pretty ribbons adorn the rings that hold the book pages together – Alterable Scallop Trim by Maya Road and May Arts Krinkle Ribbons.

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Exploring my backyard …

936118_10200443269817690_1038169553_nAll this week Xyron and BoBunny design teams are working together to share some great ideas using their products. I received BoBunny’s Trail Mix collection. I created this little mini to document areas in my yard and garden that need some extra attention this summer. Of course, as usual, I’m about two weeks or more behind in garden work so now I have to play catch-up. But, I digress. On to the mini book.

I started with a plain mini book from Basically Bare – Krafty Keepsake Vintage. This mini has four white envelope pages with flaps and a heavy-duty chipboard inner page along with two black chipboard covers.

After measuring the covers, envelopes and center page I cut papers to fit each of these along with some smaller pieces to cover the envelope flaps. I inked all the papers with Vintage Photo Distress Ink followed up by a light edging of Black Soot Distress Ink then processed them all through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station.

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With full coverage of adhesive on the papers it is so quick-and-easy to put this little book together – just peel and stick! I even process my photos through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station because they stick down so very well. Mini books often get a lot of handling so I like to make sure my photos and papers are stuck down securely.

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After adhering BoBunny’s papers to the envelope flaps I made reinforcers by punching 1/2 circles, coating them Piccolo Glastique Gloss (clear-drying dimensional glue), and adhered them in place with little black brads. I added a length of Cappuccino twine from The Twinery as the closure.

I intend to tuck garden notes and receipts into the envelope pages. Seems like every time I purchase garden plants with a one-year guarantee I can never find the receipt the next year if I need to return it because it didn’t survive. This way I’ll be able to access the receipt!

I popped up several of the BoBunny Noteworthy die-cuts by trimming some leftover Grunge Board which I processed through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker, flipped over and processed again. This applies adhesive to both sides of the Grunge Board so I’ve just created my own dimensional adhesive.

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The flat embellishments are adhered with Xyron’s Mega Runner and Xyron’s Glue Stick.

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I added a dollop of Glastique to the eggs on this little tag to make them a bit dimensional. It dries in about an hour and adds a nice touch.

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I love this large postage-stamp embellishment. I inked the edges and used Xyron’s new High Tack Adhesive Dots to adhere the metal BoBunny Trinket in the center.

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I also added the Explore Trinket to the cover with two black brads and tucked in a little bird from the Noteworthy collection.

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I added the BoBunny double dot ribbon By using Xyron’s High Tack Adhesive Dots to the back cover and pressing the ribbon in place. It keeps the garden journal closed by tying a simple bow.

For even more ideas using Xyron and BoBunny be sure to visit the Xyron and BoBunny blogs.

Creating projects using Childhood Memories …

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotThis week the Xyron team has the opportunity to share projects made with Imaginisce paper and stamp collections donated by the scouts who did a little fundraiser at a Staples near Me. I received their Childhood Memories line and had fun creating several projects over the past couple weeks.

xyron imaginisce logoI started off with a discounted and discarded frame due to its broken glass. Without the glass it opens the possibility for dimensional embellies that I knew would be fun to play with.

This frame is the perfect accessory for a child’s room and it was way too easy to create with Imaginisce and Xyron. Here’s how: I removed the broken glass and measured the openings using the faux photos that came in it. I kept the background paper of faux photos to use as a template. The Imaginisce papers (Carefree, Snapshots, Day in the Life, and Tree House) were cut slightly larger than the openings then processed through my Xryon 5″ Creative Station.

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Once processed, it’s a simple matter of peel-and-stick! The papers are adhered over top of the faux photos for a perfect fit.

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Once the papers are were in place a put the frame back on and decorated the front with a variety of stickers from the Childhood Memories collection. I used stickers from the Just Be Little Icons and Kid’s Stuff 5X7 Sticker Stacker. To create a very stable dimension on flat stickers I run scrap chipboard pieces through my Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker (both sides) to make my own dimensional pop-ups. This works great and the chipboard is very sturdy.

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Here’s the finished frame. I think it would make a great piece of wall decor in a kid’s room as is or pop photos onto the pattern paper backgrounds.

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But that’s not all! I had fun making a little wall hanging from corrugated cardboard and more of the Imaginisce Childhood Memories collection.  This is a scrap of cardboard box painted with Claudine Hellmuth Gesso from Ranger, strips of Childhood Memories papers processed through the Xyron 2.5″ Create-a-Sticker and the photo through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station. I used the Childhood Memories ABC Sticker Alphas to spell out siblings and popped the ‘Cherish the little things’ sticker up for some added dimension. I bet my Aunt Alice will love this when she receives it in the mail!

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Next up is a simple coin envelope mini book using scraps of the Childhood Memories papers and stickers along with Snag ’em Stamps that go with this collection. They are just too cute! I inked my tags first then stamped with Ranger’s Archival Jet Black Ink and used Ranger’s Perfect Medium Pen to color in the images, sprinkled it with UTEE and heat set. This creates just a bit of dimension and shine on the tags that easily slip in and out of the coin envelope pages.

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And, there’s one more! I made this card for my Aunt Jane’s birthday recently. She turned either 88 or 89 (I got contradictory ages from different people). It’s a picture of her and my dad many years ago. I love making photo cards as much as most people love receiving them. They seem to bring back fond memories.  This card uses paper from the Childhood Memories line as well along with a coordinating sticker. The paper was processed through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station. Hope you’re inspired to give one of these projects a try soon.

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Wrapping up with Shades of Blue

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotAs you may already know, I’m participating in a Blog Hop this week with Xyron and Kaisercraft. I received beautiful papers and embellies from Kaisercraft’s 75 Cents collection and I’m in love! The papers are so pretty and delicate-looking and the shades of blue mixed with light golds, greens and black just really inspired me for several projects. This is the final project for the Hop but I’m sure you’ll be seeing me use this collection again. I want to try a few more tags and maybe some cards and I think it would come together nicely for a cd mini book.

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This project is a small pocket-page mini book made from toilet paper rolls. I started by gathering five rolls all the same size and flattening the rolls before painting the ends with Adirondack Pitch Black Paint Dabber.

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Kaisercraft 75 Cents collection 6 1/2-inch by 6 1/2-inch paper pad and empty tubes.

Excuse this next step because I was so excited to see the paper on the painted tubes that I totally forgot to take photos! But here’s what I did: I cut the paper a hair under the width of the tubes and processed them through my Xyron 9″ Creative Station side-by-side and face-up. This puts a solid coating of permanent adhesive on the paper backing. Peel the protective cellophane from the top and peel the tacky paper from the backing – one sheet at a time. Lay the paper down – tacky side up – and place the tube in the middle; wrap the paper around the tube. You’ll have about a 1/2 inch of so of overlap which is perfect! Flatten again with a bone folder.

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Painted tubes (left); 75 Cents papers adhered to tubes with Xyron 9″ Creative Station (right).

Once all tubes are wrapped it’s time to remember to punch your binding holes. I use the Zutter Bind-it-All so really try to remember to punch my slots early on in the project before I start adding embellishments. As you can see below – I forgot once again – it’s the excitement of a project coming together, I just forget! I used the Kaisercraft 75 Cents Collectables for embellishing. The pack is chock full of assorted die-cuts for embellishing. All the edges are inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and some are heat embossed with the Perfect Medium Pen and UTEE technique from the Round Shadow Frame.

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Book pages decorated with 75 Cents from Kaisercraft, Xyron 9″ Creative Station and Xyron Glue Stick.

I made tags to slide in the tube pages by cutting rectangles that easily slide in and out from more of the papers. The upper corners are trimmed out to look like a shipping tag then processed through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station and stuck back-to-back to create the tag.

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Handmade paper tags processed through Xyron 5″ Creative Station.

I like to make my own reinforcers so they match the tags. A 1/2-inch circle punch and Crop-a-Dile, combined with Xyron 1.5″ Create a Sticker are perfect for this part.

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Easily make your own reinforcers to match your project; Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker and punches.

I’ve had people tell me this book is too small for photos so wanted to add photos to show how it’s a great size for photos. I located photos I wanted to use on my computer and resized them to fit the pages and tags. They’re all printed out on matte photo paper, trimmed and edged with Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain Distress Inks. Then I simply run them through my Xyron for full coverage. I determine which Xyron to use by the amount of photos I will be using. I had a lot of photos for this book so ran them face-up through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station. I just pack them in nice and tight and it uses very little adhesive. I’ve calculated the price out before and have discovered even at full price it only costs about $1 per foot of adhesive to use my Xyron which gives me a nice clean way to adhere papers and photos. My fingers don’t get all gooped up and my projects remain sticky, messy-free and I don’t have to wait for dry time.

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Sized-to-fit photos processed through Xyron 5″ Creative Station for full coverage.

I also like to make my own captions for my little books so write and print them out on ivory cardstock. I trim them out, ink the edges and again run through one of my Xyron machines. These captions fit perfectly through my Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker. I love the fact that I can adhere over the photo if I want or anywhere on the page and that they are personalized. I can also make the font fit the theme and style of book.

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Create your own photo caption stickers by printing and running through Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker.

This book just turned out so much nicer than I anticipated and it would make a lovely family gift, but I may just have to keep this one for myself!

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Be sure to visit Xyron’s blog to check out projects by the other design team members as well. Check my calendar to see where this class is being taught.