Back to school fun abounds!

Linda_Neff_mug_shot_2013Hey, I know I’ve been missing in action for quite some time but I’m back now and ready to move on! I’m kicking August into gear (better late than never) with these back-to-school pots of creative fun.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve had children in school but I tried to remember what my kids loved about school – art class! Who doesn’t love art class? It was always one of my favorites, right on into high school. Can you imagine sitting down at a desk with these pots full of goodies and a stack of clean paper? Wow – could just sit and draw, paint and doodle for hours.Xyron_Linda_Neff_back_to_school_pots

These were so easy to make and they look very cute sitting in the middle of a classroom work table. I started with three different sizes of used Terra-cotta pots (you have the option to buy new if you must). I washed them in soapy bleach water and let them dry before painting a coat of Kilz primer on them. They’ve been in the garage just waiting for me to think of this project to use them in. I brought them in and painted them with some sampler paint I had on hand.

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While the paint was drying I wanted to experiment with printing on muslin. I created my own printer-friendly muslin by running a sheet of office paper through my Xyron Creatopia with Creatopia Repositionable Adhesive Refillz. I then peeled the backing and placed the sticky side down onto my muslin and trimmed around it.

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I was able to process that through my printer. I’m excited just imagining all the possibilities now!

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I cut out the words I wanted to use and sewed them to my burlap strips which I had cut and measured. These strips are processed through the Creatopia again but this time I used the Creatopia Stickz Fabric Adhesive. This stuff is soooooooo sticky. It clings very well to the painted pots.

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I simply wrapped the burlap strips around the pots and trimmed any ends that were too long, overlapping them just slightly.

I used beans in the pots to hold the items up so needed to cover the holes in the pot bottoms. Easy peasy – just cut some chipboard pieces, ran them through my 2.5″ Create-a-Sticker with permanent adhesive and stuck them to the bottoms.

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Such a cute, easy and inexpensive project for creating table decor for any occasion.

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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!

Up against the wall …

Linda_Neff_mug_shot_2013I’ve been dying to share this project with you all since I finished it the other day! It is so not-my-style, but I love it just the same!

It’s the week of projects created from the partnership between Xyron’s Design Team and Little Yellow Bicycle. I have always loved Little Yellow Bicycle products and was so excited to receive my generous packet of supplies with their newest collection – Acorn Hollow. As much as I love mini books I wanted to do something different with the canvas mini book I received. I wasn’t sure what, but after discovering the sticker collection with the title “5 Things I am thankful for” I decided six book pages would be perfect to work with – one for the title and five more for the 5 things.

I started decorating the book’s pages individually using the 6-by-6-inch papers with no focus in mind really other than I would have six finished squares. Using the Xryon Creatopia made it so easy-peazy to cover the pages. I was able to line two 6-by-6 inch papers side-by-side and run them through the machine. After all six were sticky back I just needed to peel-and-stick the papers to the pages.

They needed a finished edge and I originally inked them with Ranger Black Soot Distress Ink but it didn’t feel right. A lot of the embellies with this collection are highlighted with copper so I dug out my Ranger Adirondack Metallic Copper Paint Dabber and gave that a shot. It was perfect! After all, Fall is all about the glow!

To make the paper leaves and flowers more dimensional I rolled them gently with a stylus on a mouse pad until they curled and then outlined them with the copper paint. The Acorn Hollow collection has so many different embellishments that were just so darn cute that I just kept layering and layering! I layered the chipboard embellies with the paper ones and ran the clear acetate embellies through the Xyron 2.5″ Create-a-Sticker Maker to hold them flat and in place. This project was just so much fun!

    

So, I have the six squares finished and I experimented with laying them out and hanging them like a banner. I really liked them stacked and thought they would look nice framed and on a wall. Went to the garage and rummaged around for different pieces of junque to mount them to and came across an old photo collage frame pained in country blue – yes, you remember the style. Wasn’t sure what I was going to place inside the frame for the background but proceeded to take the frame apart to paint it and clean the glass.

I settled on a black frame (Ranger Adirondack Pitch Black Paint Dabber) and highlighted with touches here and there using the Copper Paint Dabber that I edged the pages in. I really like the way it was going. I decided on a plain black background so painted the corrugated cardboard backing and turned it to the inside. While, when I was replacing the glass I broke it so was left with just the painted cardboard. That actually worked out well because it gives it a more rustic feel which I like. I mounted the finished squares with dimensional foam tape to pop them up just a bit. It looks really nice! It’s big. It measures 17-inches by 22-inches.

I wanted to make a scrapbook layout too because I had papers and embellies left over – there’s still enough left to make several cards – so chose some pictures from my favorite place to visit, Sunset Shores in Clare. The photos worked well with the papers and embellies. This layout is a bit more my style. A little torn up and distressed. I stamped on the tan background paper with Archival Jet Black ink, heat set, and then spritzed it with a homemade concoction of Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold and water.

Hope you like and be sure to visit the Xyron and Little Yellow Bicycle blog all week long to see what my other team members are up to!