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!

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.

Good times and butterfly kisses

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotI’ve really enjoyed my time on the Xyron Design Team and am so happy to announce that they’re letting me stay for another six months! They have partnered with so many wonderful companies during my term and this month my shipment from them contained a wonderful assortment from Kaisercraft. I’ve always enjoyed Kaisercraft products. Their paper designs are always so pretty and their Beyond the Page elements are so much fun to play with!

We’re involved in a Blog Hop with them this week so be sure to visit Xyron’s blog for all the links to see what the other designers have created. Today, I’m sharing a Round Shadow Frame and a tag I made using the 75 Cents collection and my Xyron!

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For my first project I used a Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame to create a home decor piece titled “Butterfly Kisses.” The Shadow Frame comes in two pieces and it’s naked (meaning it is a wood color) ready for you finish. I painted the top portion with a thin coat of gesso which preps the surface so it accepts inks or paints. I spread the gesso on the top, outer edges and inner edges – any portion of the frame that will be visible.

Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame with a thin coat of gesso.
Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame with a thin coat of gesso.

The gesso dries fairly quickly, especially when applying a thin coat. Once dry, I literally globbed on Ranger’s Picket Fence Crackle Paint. The more you glob the better the cracks. Then I went to bed. I like the crackle when I’m patient enough for it to dry thorougly without getting my fingerprints in it so I try to apply it at night then go to bed to avoid any temptation of speed-drying it.

Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame with Ranger's Picket Fence Crackle Paint.
Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame with Ranger’s Picket Fence Crackle Paint.

I selected two pattern papers from Kaisercraft’s 75 Cents collection of 12-inch by -12-inch papers; laid the round bottom of the frame on them and pencil traced. I cut two portions of the papers to fit the bottom, making sure the seam would be covered by the wall in the shadow frame, and processed them face-up through my Xyron 9″ Creative Station. This puts total adhesive coverage on the back of the papers and makes it stick to the Shadow Frame background circle very securely.

Processing pattern papers face-up through the Xyron 9" Creative Station.
Processing pattern papers face-up through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station.

Peel the top layer of cellophane from the papers and then peel the papers -one at a time – from the backing and place them on the Shadow Frame background circle. Adhere the frame to the covered bottom circle.

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Adhere Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame adhered to paper-covered background.

The white was way to bright so I used Ranger’s Vintage Photo Distress Stain and coated the top frame portion (outer and inner edges too) and lightly wiped with a soft, clean rag repeating these steps until I got the look that was right for me. I added an extra dose or two of stain over the crackle paint cracks to they would be a bit darker (I changed this up in the end and totally coated it with Ranger’s Tarnished Brass Distress Stain instead. It gave the piece a lot more depth and a bit of sheen). Next, I made a mixture of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls and water in a mini mister and spritz the Kaisercraft Paper Blooms. This tones down the color for me and adds a touch of gold shimmer to the blooms.

Spritzing Kaisercraft Paper Blooms with a mix of Ranger's Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls mixture.
Spritzing Kaisercraft Paper Blooms with a mixture of Ranger’s Perfect Pearls and water.

I used a pack of die cut pieces – 75 cents collectibles – to add lots of dimension and texture to this piece without using any photos. All the edges are inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink. Then I took my tub of clear UTEE and a Perfect Medium Pen (clear embossing ink) and edged or colored in nearly every 75 cents collectible used on this piece. I love the look the shiny embossing lends to the die cuts.

Use a Perfect Medium Pen to outline or color in then sprinkle with UTEE and heat emboss to add dimension.
Use a Perfect Medium Pen to outline or color in then sprinkle with UTEE and heat emboss.

I had fun just playing with the different combinations and layering of the die cuts to create a dimensional collage. The pieces are adhere with Xyron’s Glue Stick and dimensional tape (did you know you can make your own dimensional tape from chipboard scraps cut into little squares and run them through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker to put adhesive on them. Use just as you would foam tape to add dimension).

I added three corks and a little bottle to the bottom and stuck an embossed butterfly into one of the corks using a stick pin. The Kaisercraft wooden letters are one of my new favorites. These are just the right size for projects like this. I painted them with Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabber in Willow to coordinate with the papers then coated them with Glossy Accents – then went to work and they were ready to adhere when I came home.

Completed project: Butterfly Kisses (Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame).
Completed project: Butterfly Kisses (Kaisercraft Round Shadow Frame).

Added bonus: I hate to waste any spritzing mixture by just wiping it up. I will usually grab a few tags and blot up the leftovers from my craft sheet and save them for another project. This is a tag I created from leftovers.

Tag using Kaisercraft 75 Cents Clear Stamp, paper and paper blooms, Xryon Glue Stick.
Tag using Kaisercraft 75 Cents Clear Stamp, paper and paper blooms, Xryon Glue Stick.

Watch for a tutorial to post later this week on the tag. Don’t forget to visit Xyron’s blog so you can check out what the other design team members have created!

Seeing Magic in Fall colors…

Don’t you just love the colors of Fall? I love the mix of gold, red, green, yellow and bronze mixed with the varying shades of brown. And, after a light rain when the sun comes out the shimmer and sparkle on those fallen leaves is just so captivating! I could live year-round with Fall colors. In fact, I usually do! My wardrobe usually consists of lots of browns, golds and reds. Those same colors often filter into my creative works as well. I think it’s because I find them calming. These colors are more subdued and quiet. I’ve never been a fan of ‘in-your-face bold and colorful. So when I received my Art Glitter design team packet for the Tombow cross promotion this month I was a happy camper!

My set of markers had all my favorite colors so I couldn’t wait to get busy and create using them. I’ve had this photo frame hanging around forever and decided to utilize it for this project. I began by placing the frame on the pretty plaid paper from Little Yellow Bicycle’s Acorn Hollow collection, traced around it and cut it out. I then used Glastique Gloss Finishing Glaze as a collage medium by painting in over the frame. I laid the paper down on it and used a brayer to ensure good contact.

I sanded all the edges before applying adhesive tape. Once the tape was laid down on all the outer edges I sprinkled Honey Dew 318 Ultrafine Transparent over the tape. I also ran the brayer over the glittered tape to make sure it would stay put. I also put adhesive tape on the inner edge of the photo opening and sprinkled that with the same glitter.

I pulled out some KaiserCraft Paper Blooms in Terracotta. Love this color and it works so well with the plaid paper. I experimented with painting the leaves and flowers with Glastique Gloss Finishing Glaze and while it was wet I lightly sprinkled some of the Honey Dew Art Glitter over them. They all turned out just as I had hoped! The Glastique sealed the leaves and flower blooms, leaving them flexible and the glitter stuck perfectly. They all just really sparkle don’t you think?

While the leaves and flowers were sitting around drying I inked a Tim Holtz stamp with my Tombow markers No. 837, 969 and N57. It’s really fun coloring in stamps with these markers because you can mix in a few colors, unlike using an ink pad that only gives you one solid color. The ink in these markers are water-base so it’s easy to bring them back to life with a huff or two. Then I stamped on some cream cardstock and heat set.

I added some Piccolo chipboard corners that I coated with Piccolo Vintage Gold Enamel Powder and heat set, then decided to include a Piccolo Filigree Heart and Key that I also used the Vintage Gold Enamel on. I added these to the leaves and flowers decoration with a few jump rings and thin wire and tucked in a couple leaf-style stick pins. Way cool!

I placed the Tombow-stamped ‘Wishes’ quote behind the glass and it was finished. I think this will make a nice gift for someone and if they don’t want to add a photo that’s fine – the quote fits beautifully! Have you ever tried brushing glue on an object and sprinkling with glitter?

Shoot on over to the Art Glitter blog to see my other project using Art Glitter and Tombow!