Blocks of Summer fun with Xyron…

Linda_Neff_mug_shot_2013I love it when I actually get to dig into my bins of unfinished projects and continue to work on them. This has been one of those days and I’m excited to share it with you! It all started because Xyron announced some new product releases and the Xyron Design Team members were able to play with them. We had the new dots and tapes in both sizes and I really wanted to focus only on those products so I really had to give it some thought as to what I could do with only these adhesives.

I thought about my six wood home-decor blocks that I had made several years ago for Spring – always intending to complete the other three seasons so they could be displayed throughout the year with a simple rotation. After wiping off years of dust I was ready to begin.

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I used Xyron’s newest High Tack Adhesive Dots in  3/16 in. and 3/8 in. along with Xyron’s Double-Sided High Tack Tape, a 6X6 paper pad from My Mind’s Eye (In Bloom) for my backgrounds and a mix of chipboard letters from my stash. The rub-ons are by Kathy Davis, Journey’s, from GCD Studios; ribbons by May Arts.

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The white letters are painted brown with Ranger’s Espresso Adirondack Paint Dabber and the blue ones covered with the coordinating papers (by running them through my Xyron 2.5 inch Create A Sticker machine, then trimming and sanding).

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I made some dimensional flowers by cutting them from the coordinating papers with a Sizzix die – Flowers, 3-D (I used the smallest flower). The papers are cut to fit the wood blocks with an inset margin of about 1/8 inch. The edges are all inked with Ranger’s Distress Inks, Old Paper and Vintage Photo.

I stitched on some of the papers just to add a little character and grabbed a few buttons. Now I’m ready for assembly.

I used the Xyron Double-Sided High Tack Tape, in it’s own dispenser, on the outer edges of all the background papers and any little strips I thought I might add. The handy built-in dispenser is pretty easy to use and the tape tears very nicely. The paper lining peels away very easily from the tape so taping and peeling went very quickly.

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One thing I can say about this tape is that it is VERY tacky and it adheres nicely to the wood.

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Once the background papers were all taped into place I moved along to embellishing. This is the fun part! I added the rub-ons here-and-there, tied some pretty ribbons around a few letters then used the Xyron 3/8 in. and 3/16 in. dots to adhere everything in place. I am amazed to think I only used these three adhesives on the entire project. It made for a nice clean finish and the only thing left on my fingers were the inks and few rub-on pieces that got stuck there somehow.

I can display these blocks lined up or stacked. They look nice on a mantle or in a window sill and I only have two more seasons to do!

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Check out more projects by my Xyron Design Team mates on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/xyroninc

Happy birthday, precious

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotOur baby turned 30 last week.

It’s been a rough road for her over the past year or two but she’s a survivor and I know in my heart she will come out on top and happy. She’s been tough and head-strong since day one and always presents an upbeat and positive attitude – if only on the outside some days. The photo I pulled out to use in these projects reminded me of that.

When this picture was taken, it had been a rough week. She was so sick but still smiling and happy through it all – just taking it all in stride.

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I had some projects due for Xyron – birthday and baby themes. The timing was perfect to work both those projects around Rachel and her birthday.

For this card I started with a plain A2 card cutting a pattern and coordinated cardstock to use for the matting on the front and inked all the edges with Ranger’s Archival Pitch Black Ink.

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Then I ran all the paper pieces and photo through my Xyron 5″ Creative Station.

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It is so quick-and-easy to assemble the card once the adhesive is on the back of each piece – just peel-and-stick!

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I used the same photo on a scrapbook layout as well. I have to admit, the layout isn’t my usual distressed style but I really like it. I started with the die-cut hearts (Sizzix Primitive Hearts), some burlap cut for the photo mat, coordinating yarn, a couple vintage white buttons, and some scrap lace. I cut the title from my Sizzix Go Slim alphabet die. I was able to process all these pieces through my Xyron Creatopia using the Stickz Fabric Adhesive at one time – love it!

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Once I peeled off the top cellophane layer all I had to do was peel-and-stick onto my background cardstock. I am so happy with the results of this layout and couldn’t believe just how quick-and-easy it was to put together using the Creatopia. It just makes me smile every time I pass by this layout on the table. I’m going to have to put away soon.

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This layout is one piece of a three-piece collection centered around a baby theme. The other pieces include an adorable fabric bunny and a cute frame for baby’s room.

The fabric bunny is one of three that was cut and processed through the Xyron Creatopia with the Stickz Fabric Refill. I then stuffed them, ever-so-slightly, with a tad of polyester stuffing and stuck them together. The Xyron Fabric adhesive holds the stuffing and opposite side into place for stitching.

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I also cut more fabric hearts, stuffed and stitched and processed the title ‘Precious,’ and the hearts through the Xyron 5″ Creative Station with the 5″ Permanent Adhesive Refill. These were used to decorate a black, framed mirror. The entire collection looks really nice together and would make wonderful gifts as a group or on their own.

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Projects like these make me realize that sometimes simple really is the way to go!

ATC sparkles and shines

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Well, I’m finally delving into the art of Artist Trading Cards thanks to our Cracker Jack Stamp Club! We’re hosting an ATC swap at our April meeting so I’ve been experimenting with products to use on them. This one is stamped, glittered and inked. Skip on over to Art Glitter’s blog for a tutorial on how it was created.

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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Adding simple elegance to everyday cards

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Linda Neff

I rather enjoy the challenge of making cards nowadays. It took me a long time to feel comfortable creating a card, but it isn’t nearly as scary as it once was. I’ve learned to keep my designs simple, use my scrap papers and stick with simple embellishments. This first card is a design I use often. It’s great for using two pattern papers that coordinate and the pieces can be moved around, put at angles, left uneven and the design also works horizontally or vertically. The embellishments used here are by Globecraft & Piccolo, known as G&P.  They’re a local company out of Midland, Michigan and I like their products.

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I’m on their design team, but I was using their products long before that ever happened.  What I like about the bookboard accents for card making is that they are pretty thin. If they’re adhered directly to the page and not lifted, they will go through the mail at a normal rate.

For the card above I removed the pieces from their backing and coated them with Glastique Gloss Finishing Glaze. This product leaves a nice shiny finish on the piece and acts as a sealer. These pieces are from the Birds & Butterflies Accents. There are enough pieces in this collection to easily stretch over two to three cards.

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The Glastique is applied directly to the  bookboard piece from the bottle with the fine tip and left to dry for a bit. I also used the Glastique as an adhesive to attach the bookboard pieces to the card.

The next card uses the G&P Girl’s Night Out Embossing Powder applied with the G&P Embossing Powder Adhesive with a dabber top. The dabber top on the embossing powder adhesive really helps it to apply easily and with good coverage. We always recommend rolling our jars of embossing powder to blend the granules rather than shaking which could cause the larger granules to sink to the bottom of the jar. The heart on this card has three coats of powder on it; each applied after the previous coat is cool to the touch and then heat set again till smooth. The variegation of colors in the powders gives the embossed pieces a great dimensional look.

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The key is embossed with two coats of G&P Vintage Silver Embossing Powder in the same manner as the heart. Each piece is adhered to the card with Glastique. The embossing powders help to create a faux metal look which blends well with the paper selection.

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Cardmaking is a fun activity that anyone can learn. It doesn’t have to be difficult and over-the-top. Keep your cards basic and simple and easy to mail. It’s the sentiment that you write on the inside that touches people’s heart and the just the thought alone that you cared enough to send a hand-made card.

A glittery I Love You

I’m not a big Valentine celebrating kind-a-gal, but I did have fun making this sweet little card this week. It was really quite simple and it’s all pink and glittery! And it’s perfect to give to that special person in your life any day of the year.

I started by cutting a heart shape from chipboard and coating it with Piccolo 3D Enamel Gel Pink Rose.

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I squeezed the Enamel Gel straight from the bottle and starting by outlining the heart then filling in from the outer edge. The gel will self-level then it just needs to set up.

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While it was setting up I thought it might look cute with some glass shards floating in it. I grabbed my jar of Art Glitter Briar Rose 923 Vintage Glass Glitter Shards. I just lightly sprinkled it over the wet heart.

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While the coated heart is setting up I cut some scrap strips of pink and red cardstock about 1 1/2 inches wide.

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This width is perfect to pull through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker and that’s what I did. I ran all the strips through the Xyron then simply rubbed and peeled. Then I sprinkled the adhesive side of the strips with several different glitters from the Butterfly Transparent Holly Berry Combo and sliced them on a paper trimmer to about 1/4 inch wide. Once all the strips are cut I did a simple over-and-under weave.

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I cut a piece of pattern paper for the card front then flipped the weave over and puts dots of Designer Dries Clear glue on the tightest part of the weave (in and around the center). The I flipped it over onto the pattern card front which I had already stamped “I love love love you.” This is an old Penny Black stamp I’ve had for quite a while. Put some DDC on the back of the glittered heart and place it in the center of the weave and call it good.

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If you like this card, hop on over to the Art Glitter blog to see a glittered mosaic card I made this week also.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who celebrate it! I’m to teach at a weekend retreat in Clare, Michigan at Cottages at Sunset Shores.

Cousins share pages in Tiny Tabs mini …

There’s nothing I enjoy more than looking through old family photos. I have this wonderful cousin (Tammy), who for our past two family reunions has gone way overboard in bugging all of us for old family photos. She’ll call and say something like “I’m coming over tomorrow with my computer at 2 o’clock to scan photos so have them ready.” And, she doesn’t take ‘no’ or any other excuse! For someone like me, that’s most likely the only way she’d ever get those pictures. I’m glad she plays the drill sergeant in the family or we wouldn’t have access to all the wonderful old photos she’s managed to collect in just two years. She burns a stack of cds so we can all take one when we attend the reunion. I always scan mine in and peruse the photos as soon as I get home.

So when I found out Xyron was hopping with Basically Bare I couldn’t wait! I love mini albums and I love acrylic just about as much so a book that combines all my favorite things was something I couldn’t wait to play with! I already knew what I would do with my book before my shipment from Xyron even arrived. I was thrilled with my Basically Bare Tiny Tabs mini book that I received so I grabbed my latest cd and downloaded and printed photos of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents.

I started with the Tiny Tabs mini book and a jar of Claudine Hellmuth’s gesso. The acrylic pages in this Tiny Tabs book come with a protective covering which I left in place till I was ready to work with them. It really helps to protect them from the slob that I am!

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I went through the entire book and painted all the pages on one side and let it sit to dry a bit then went through and painted the backside of every page. I do this to cover the kraft color of the pages as well as to reinforce them. The gesso adds to the thickness and durability of the pages and it enables paints and inks to stick as well. Notice I didn’t worry about painting around the binding wires. I love a vintage, distress style and this just adds to that look. I left the book to sit and dry while I readied the papers for the pages.

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I used my Xyron Creatopia with the Scallop Cutz Cartridge to cut several 12-inch by 2 3/4-inch strips from Prima’s Nature Garden collection. This gave me a cute scallop edge for the bottoms of the pages. The pages were trimmed to fit just inside the Tiny Tabs chipboard pages, edges were inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, then the three straight sides were distressed with the Distrezz-it-all. They were all put through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station to apply adhesive to the backs. I use a Xyron with permanent adhesive for all my mini books. I love that the paper adheres solidly and never lifts and the fact that it is so clean and neat – can’t be beat for mini books!

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Once the gesso on the pages was dry enough to work with I readied my supplies for the acrylic pages; there are four in this book. Because of the vintage and distressed style and the colors in the paper I used Staz-on opaque ink in Butter Cream to stamp on three of the acrylic pages (Staz-on ink is made for slick surfaces so is perfect for stamping on acrylic, glass, etc.).

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On the fourth acrylic page I tried my hand with a stencil. I used painters tape to hold the stencil in place and spread a thin coat of gesso across the stencil; carefully lifted the stencil and stood the book to dry once again.

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While that was drying I put together some embellies for the inside pages and cover. Then it was time for assembly. I stuck all the pretty pattern papers down, making the determination on which would be my cover and back cover first. With the pages already being passed through the Xyron it is so quick-any-easy to stick them down that you can move right on to the fun part of dressing the book and adding photos (did I mention that I love my Xyron 2.5″ Create-a-Sticker for this)!

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For an accent on the cover I used a Basically Bare Small Pennant to simulate a tab closure. It is covered with scraps of the Nature Garden, inked and edged with a Gold Dabber from Ranger’s Adirondack line. In fact, I edged all the page edges with this gold paint – a little tip I picked up from Wendy Vecchi a few years ago.

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I also punched some punctuation marks, inked the edges, ran them through my Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker, dipped them in Art Glitter Poupon Microfine glitter then ran them through the Xyron again so they would adhere to an acrylic page (see below).

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As you can see above, there is stamping on the acrylic page as well as the inked, glittered and Xyron-d punctuation. This is so cool because when you lift or lay down the page the elements give you a sneak peek of the page either below or above it. For this instance it is important to place your photos first so you can tell where the punctuation marks will fall on the photos (see below). I love to play with acrylic peek-a-boo pages!

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This is the acrylic page with the stenciled design on the left and I added three punched tags to one side of the page and a punch ticket stub to the other.

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There are so many pages is this cute Tiny Tags book that I actually stapled a couple of them together to make pockets and tucked in some tags to journal on. Enjoy some more pages here – just because!

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This little book will be the perfect gift for a close family member (if I can stand to part with it). I may add a few more photos and something to the tabs on the acrylic pages yet. I believe you can never have too many photos or embellies in a mini book; the chunkier the better!