Have a little Christmas heart …

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI get a lot of pleasure out of my love of Christmas by sharing my craft with friends and co-workers. Once I start making my list of recipients, though, it seems to continue to grow and grow and grow. Because of this, I realize I need to create with supplies I really, really love (otherwise it turns into a chore) and it needs to be a fairly quick-n-easy project. Sometimes it may be a special holiday tag or picture frame but this is the year of the ornament. Throughout the year I have found ways to incorporate this wonderful Primitive Heart  die cut into a lot of my projects. I just love the look of the heart and when it’s cut  from corrugated cardboard and I find I can rough it up, peel it, tear it and poke it to give it that rustic, vintage look that I just love.

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My Xyron Design Team challenge for December is to create an ornament using my favorite Xryon products. I thought long and hard about how I was going to be able to incorporate one of my Xryon machines into the making of an ornament. So many ideas bounced around in my head for weeks as the deadline drew closer and closer. It was down to the wire when I spotted some extra corrugated heart die cuts in a container on my shelf – I tend to save my extras and challenge myself to find ways to use them. I removed them and spread them on my desk, thinking, thinking and thinking. And then inspiration hit!

Here’s what I did: Take the hearts and spritz them heavily with water. While the hearts are wet, use an Exacto, edge distressor, scissor blades or your fingernails and rough up the edges of the hearts. Peel and tear off some of the top layer, revealing the corrugated layer. Haphazardly, brush on a coat of Claudine Hellmuth’s Gesso. This can air dry, or if you’re like me, heat them up with the heat tool. A little bubbling can be a good thing!

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When the Gesso is dry, place the Gesso-ed hearts face-down on the Creatopia (with permanent adhesive) and process through the machine (the Creatopia is the only adhesive machine that will accept items up to 1/2 inches thick so it’s great for corrugated cardboard, thick chipboard, etc.)! I can get about eight or so hearts lined up on the Creatopia by alternating up and down and placing them close together. Normally, I would rub and outline my paper pieces while still on the Xyron adhesive backing so it peels easily, but we want an altered, distressed look so just whip those hearts right off the backing. Some adhesive will remain on the heart, some will not (this is the look we’re going for). Place the sticky heart sticky-side-up in a glitter/bead tray and sprinkle with a clear fine glitter. Make sure to glitter the edges as well – no sticky areas should remain. Tap off the excess glitter and set aside.

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Cut about a 5-6 -inch strip of cream or white tulle from a spool; tie a tight knot in the middle. Use a very strong clear-dry glue on the tulle’s knot and press in the center of the heart; clamp with a clip clothespin and set aside to dry. While your knots are drying on the hearts, cut and ink Christmas words from a typed and printed sheet of white cardstock. Gather some little bells, pearl gems, buttons and white wire.

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Process all the cut and inked words through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker. Begin decorating the hearts. Keep it very simple. A word or two, a button or a bell, or a few gems is all that is needed. Place the heart on a piercing pad and pierce two holes for the wire. Insert the wire and twist ends around the wire to secure. These make a wonderful gift on their own or attach them to a bag or box as a gift tag that can be saved.

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I love experimenting with new ways to make my Xryon’s work for me with my mixed-media, distressed style and am really so pleased with how they turned out. I love the way the Xyron adhesive weaves and spider-webs across the corrugated parts of the heart and holds the glitter so well.

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Hop on over to the Xyron blog and check out our Xyron Design Team Ornament album on Facebook that is full of all kinds of beautiful ornaments!

Rolling out the dough …

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotHey there! It’s getting closer and closer to Christmas and I’m running further and further behind – who doesn’t this time of year? How come in November it seems we have so much time and then all of a sudden it’s gone!

It was my turn to do a post for Art Glitter (by the way, hop on over there when you’re done here and check out my other glitter project) and I was pressed for time and out of ideas so I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and found some really cute salt dough ornaments. I thought they would look really cute covered in glitter and I was right!

I googled salt dough ornaments for recipes and several came up, then at the very bottom of the page there was one that called for microwaving the ornaments to dry. That was fantastic because nearly all the other recipes call for air dry (36-48 hours) or oven dry (3-4 hours). The salt dough ornaments are very easy to make and would be a perfect project to do with children.

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The recipe for salt dough is easy – half, half, whole.

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour (I used bleached flour to get the white ornaments)

Mix ingredients and knead on a floured surface till soft and smooth. Roll out with a floured rolling pin to any thickness you like. Mine are about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out with standard cookie cutters or free-hand any design you like. If you intend to hang them make sure to make a hole for the thread. A straw works for a larger hole or use a toothpick for a smaller one.

The easy-and-quick part is the baking. This recipe calls for baking in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on a flat surface. I placed my ornaments directly on the glass tray in my microwave. I had to flip them over after about two minutes and cooked for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.

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The ornaments cool off quickly from the microwave so they can be decorated right away.

I gathered up the glitters I wanted to use and poured some Designer Dries Clear onto my non-stick craft sheet. I applied the glue with a brush to one ornament at a time and sprinkled on the glitter.

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I used three different glitters: Art Glitter Antique Silver Fine Vintage Glass Glitter, Silvery Moon Vintage Glass Glitter and Mini Pearl Microfine Pearlescent.

To finish them off I used a few tickets from a Crafty Secrets cut-out sheet and coated them with Clear Crackle Paint.

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This is really a quick-and-easy holiday project. The dough can be cut into a variety of shapes and decorated in a number of ways. They would make great little gift tags on packages, too!

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Check out my remake of a vintage-style lantern I picked up in the clearance section at a resale shop. It’s over on the Art Glitter blog. Art_Glitter_Linda_Neff_Victorian_Lamp_photo_6

Making a holiday fashion statement …

I love Christmas decorating. It’s killing me that my tree isn’t up yet and my decorations are still in tubs! Hopefully we’ll remedy that later this week.

I’ve been working with these ornaments from Globecraft & Piccolo (G&P) a lot lately and just having so much fun with them. The ornaments are really cute and come with holiday figures in them, but as you can see I opted to use G&P’s DIY Ornament (which is blank inside) and a fairy from Crafty Secrets Altered Fairy 09 cut-out sheet.

I ran the rings through my Vagabond in an embossing folder to add some texture then painted the top and bottom rings of the ornament with Pearl Adirondack Paint Dabber. When the paint was dry I brushed on some G&P’s Glastique Gloss Finishing Glaze. Glastique in a clear-drying dimensional adhesive so have a multitude of uses! While the Glastique is wet I sprinkled on G&P’s Pure Sparkle Glitter to add a bit of shimmer to the ornament.

After all that dried, I put a heavy coat of Glastique Gloss Finishing Glaze on and let it sit to dry. A coat this thick will usually need to cure overnight so I set it aside and worked on the inside of my ornament.

I used the Glastique again by painting it on the inside of the back bubble. This acts as my adhesive to hold my Krystallos Vintage Glass Glitter in place. I just sprinkled on the glitter and tapped out the excess. The glitter in the back of the bubble allows the light to show through but still gives your interior a background. The cute little Fairy is fussy-cut from the Crafty Secret sheet and all decked out for the holiday in more glitter! She’s wearing Art Glitter Ruby Red 500 Microfine Opaque and Cavalado 109 Ultrafine Opaque. The little word phrase is printed on white cardstock, but out and trimmed in a fine line of glitter.

I use dried moss behind my characters to lend them support and give them dimension. It’s all glued in place and left to dry before sealing in the bubble frame.

The next day the thick layer of Glastique on the outer rings should be dry and assembly takes place. I simply layer all the pieces, following assembly directions for the ornament, and glue it all in place with Glastique. I clamp it together with wooden clip clothespins because they are gentler than binder clips and will not leave indents in my Glastique finish. Usually it only take 15-20 minutes for the frame to set up nicely.

I finished this ornament off by piercing a hole in the bottom, inserting a jump ring and adding a clear bead with mini gold jingle bell. I used a thin wire to make a beaded hook at the top for hanging and added a pretty bow.

I’m in love with these ornaments. They make such a lovely gift and can be filled with a variety of clip art to be used year-round! I like to hang them from lamps and drawer pulls. Some day I hope to have a vintage ornament tree of ancestors!

I’ve been busy making Christmas decorations and gifts. Take a look over on the Globecraft & Piccolo blog today to see how I made these terracotta pot Christmas candle holders!