Loving this art journal thing!

Teaching classes at the CoBACH center in Brighton came to an abrupt halt back in October when the center was closed for building maintenance. With no word on when it might reopen I decided to try the classes in my  home. I won’t lie, it’s been cozy but it’s also been fun and rewarding.

My most popular has been my Art Journal sessions. I never thought I could enjoy something as much as this form of free-form crafting. It’s a way to incorporate products you most likely already have and chances are haven’t used much.

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From Art Journal-Fly Away

My Art Journal classes are offered in four-week sessions. Each week I teach a different technique and the students play with that technique, experimenting to make it their own. They’re able to see how other products they may have at home or items found around the house can be worked into their art journal.

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It’s fun to watch the students grow each week and become a little more free in their interpretations of the projects.

We’ve had to limit class size for these but hopefully the CoBACH Center will reopen early next year and I’ll be able to accept additional students. The sessions have continually sold out.

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Heat guns, acrylic paints, tissue papers, glazing mediums and more!

In the meantime we just keep plugging along having a grand ol’ time right here in my living room where I set up extra tables, push the furniture back, put out the chocolates, and we all get nice and cozy to play and socialize.

Let it snow!

Howdy! It’s really cold this week here in Michigan, which led me to create this Winter-themed configuration tray. You like?

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Our Xyron Design Team is sharing 30 days of Holiday Projects with you and I’m up today. I’ll tell you, I absolutely love this Bundled Up Crate Paper line! The retro style and colors are just so cute!

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I started out with a blank Tim Holtz Configurations Tray and before opening the package experimented where the die cut pieces would lay; then I took a picture with my phone so I could recall the placement. I’ve also learned to circle the layout of the box I want to use on the package insert. These are hard to get back in place where you wanted them without a map of some sort so this works for me.

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Then I painted all the box edges with white acrylic paint, including the large outer box and let them dry.

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After measuring the boxes and recording the dimensions I cut all the papers and placed them in the boxes to ensure they fit before applying any adhesive. Trust me, it’s so much easier this way and really doesn’t take that much more time. After trimming any pieces (and there are always one or two that need trimming), I inked all edges – even the die cuts – with Ranger’s Old Paper Distress Ink.

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Then, all the box papers go through the Xyron with permanent adhesive. I used my Xyron 9″ Creative Station by lining up the pieces across the loading tray. This box is so easy to assemble with the Xyron adhesive on the back of all the pieces! So it costs about $2 to put all these papers through the Xyron and about five minutes to tuck them into the boxes versus the time it would take to use a different adhesive – love it!

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You’re probably wondering how I will know where all those papers go. Cell phone! Yep, remember the photo I took in the beginning? I just open it up and follow my little map.

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The papers are in and I’m thinking it’s needs some more bling. I’m thinking glitter on the box edges so pull out Xyron Clear Hold Adhesive from my Xyron Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit and a small paint brush. I brushed the box top edges with the adhesive and dipped them face-down into a tray of Donna Salazar clear transparent glitter.

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Pretty, pretty! This added just the right amount of glitter glistening snow.

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The boxes are held in place with Xyron’s 3/8″ Adhesive Dots. I used two on most boxes and 3-4 on the larger boxes.

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The die cuts are given a little extra dimension by adding Xyron’s Black Foam Squares to the backs.

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Here’s the finished piece and a close-up. Be sure to check out the Xyron Facebook Page for so many festive ideas from my other Xyron Design Teammates.

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ATC’s dressed for the holidays

ATC’s are just not my forte. I keep trying but I’ve never been quite happy with the finished results. The Cracker Jack Stamper’s that I’m part of have been swapping ATC’s recently and every time the sign up sheet comes around I swear I’m not going to participate again, but when that paper lands in front of me I pick up the pen and sign my name once again.

These are my attempt at a holiday-themed ATC for this months’ swap. I’m not afraid to show my failures!

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They started out as watercolor paper die cut with Tim Holtz’ ATC die. I needed eight so cut 16 pieces – front and back. They are brushed with one coat of Gesso and left to dry.

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Then they’re painted with red paint and left to dry before adhering a torn strip of patterned paper with a Xyron Glue Stick.

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A thin coat of soft gel medium, colored lightly with a touch of black acrylic paint to make a tinted glaze, is brushed on. While the medium is still a little tacky I randomly pressed down some gold leaf to add a touch of bling – it is the holidays after all!

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I typed up a saying – “And she wore holiday dressings” and printed it out on plain office paper. I trimmed the sayings down and inked the edges with Ranger’s Archival Black ink before running them through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker.

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The saying is split and adhered to each ATC then the ATC’s are brushed with a thin layer of soft gel medium tinted with Ranger’s Adirondack Metallic Gold paint dabber. I used a baby wipe to blot and gently wipe away some of the gold layer; I wanted just enough left to add a slight sheen.

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I prepped eight Dress Form Hangers from Maya Road by tying a piece of Maya Road Twine Cording around each one and trimmed the ends.

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To complete the look, I stamped the other eight blank ATC’s with a label stamp, wrote my info on the back and ran them through the Xyron 9″ Creative Station. Then I matched them back-to-back with the finished fronts.

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I finished them off by edging them with the gold paint dabber and added the cute paper clip!

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I took them to Club and exchanged them with the others. Though I don’t love them I’m not ready to give up yet! I love a good challenge so keep watching for that perfect ATC from me!

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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Artful tag

1379285_10201160006777115_1053883481_nWelcome to the Xyron and Core’dinations blog hop! We’ve been hopping all week so if you missed any, please click this link to catch up on all the other fantastic projects.

I had a grand time playing with the Core’dinations cardstocks in creating this tag.

I started by cutting the tag using dot textured tan cardstock from the Core Essentials Collection by Core’dinations and the Tim Holtz Tag & Bookplates die by Sizzix.

The pinecone and greenery are cut from Core’dinations Tim Holtz & Ranger Distress Collection using the Tim Holtz Tattered Pinecone die by Sizzix.

Coredinations_Xyron_Tag_linda_neffI inked the edges of all the pieces with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and edged with Black Soot. The pieces really started to shape up when I lightly sanded them all with the Core’dinations Sand It Set sanding block and wiped the dust away with the kits’ cleaning cloth. I loved the way the sandpaper squares stick to the loops on the sanding block. It is so easy to switch out to a new sandpaper! Some Ranger Clear Crackle Paint is spread across the greenery and set aside to dry and crack.

Coredinations_Xyron_Tag_linda_neff_2The pinecones assemble so easily. I rolled them as directed and sealed them shut with the Xyron’s Clear Hold Adhesive from the Teresa Collins Adhesive Kit. I also put a small amount of the glue on my non-stick craft sheet and used my finger to spread in on the pinecone tips and then sprinkled on a bit of gold glitter for some sparkle.

Coredinations_Xyron_Tag_linda_neff_3Once the pieces were assembled and dry, the sentiment stamped onto a scrap of manilla tag, I was able to construct the tag. The small flat pieces were processed through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker.

Coredinations_Xyron_Tag_linda_neff_4Once assembled, I tied a pretty piece of May Arts wrinkle ribbon to the top so it could hang and it looks great hanging from this burlap wreath!

Coredinations_Xyron_Tag_linda_neff_5Thanks for visiting my blog and be sure to hop over to all the others!

On the cuff – charms, buttons and braids

Linda_Neff_mini_mug_shotHey there! I want to share my Pinterest-inspired braided cuff with you. It’s something I pinned a while back and when I got word Xyron was doing a blog hop with Epiphany Craft I thought it a great opportunity to track down the tutorial and make it.

I love Pinterest and the board list just keeps growing under my name, but fortunately I’m learning to organize them a bit better so I can actually find something when I need it.

When my package for the hop arrived from Xyron with the Epiphany Crafts products inside I was so excited to find I had received a packet of charms because I knew immediately they would be used on the braided cuff. I had never used any of the Epiphany Crafts products prior to this but they were so easy to use and worked just as the package said they would!

I love that the charms I received are double-sided. So often these little charms are one-sided so the backside remains plain. I was able to utilize both sides of the charms for when they flop over.

I gathered up a grouping of old family photo copies and used the Epiphany Crafts Shape Studio Tool Square to punch the photo and apply the Shape Studio Accessories Bubble Caps Square Epoxy Shape.

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I am impressed as to how easy it is to punch and adhere the epoxy with just one step. I swapped in some pretty pattern paper and little word stickers from Tim Holtz to use on the opposite sides of the photos for the charms.

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Then I ran all the little pieces face-up through the Xyron 1.5″ Create-a-Sticker and adhered them into the charms.

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When the charms were all done I started work on the braided cuff. Heidi over at Sew, Craft & Create has a wonderful tutorial for cuff and I was able to understand the directions as well as have the cuff turn out well.

I started with the leg from an old pair of jeans that my husband saved for me. He’ actually beginning to understand there are certain items you just don’t throw in the trash and denim is one of them!

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I cut the denim to the dimensions specified in Heidi’s tutorial and wrapped it around my wrist and having a 1-inch overlap.

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Next I cut the strips and stitched them to the main piece just like the tutorial said. Then I followed the directions to make the braid. Easy-peasy!

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The braided cuff provided the perfect backdrop for the Epiphany Charms. I hand-stitched them on using carpet thread because of it’s durability. This is the first cuff I’ve made and I’m really liking it and will be making plenty more of these. They’re so much fun to make and to be able to add old family photos (or use someone else’s family) is just the icing on the cake!

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I chose to use photos of my mother at various stages in her life. I have since added some vintage white buttons and I may add some clear beads to it as well. The denim with its unfinished edges frays nicely and give the cuff that worn, vintage look. It is very comfortable to wear. I can’t wait to see what other shapes Epiphany has for the charms. I think this would be great with a mixture of shapes and sizes.

Be sure to stop by the Xyron Blog and Epiphany Blog to see what great projects the other designers have been creating!

Sincerely

Just coming off CHA this week. For those of you who may not be aware, this is one of our major trade shows for the Craft and Hobby Association. There are two shows each year; the first in January. It’s a show where the manufacturers display their wares for store owners and designers. It’s a great place to spot new trends and see which timeless classics are still around. It’s very exciting to have an opportunity to attend and I had the double pleasure of also being able to share my love for some of my favorite products from Globecraft Memories. It was a great time but I’m home again and it’s time to get that craft room (aka Studio) cleaned up and organized again so I can get back to work!

This month I completed a cd mini book  for our partnership with Xyron and Trinity Paper Arts using the “Sincerely” packet I received. I used 5 cds which gave me 10 pages to play with – lots of room to add photos of my daughter, Rachel, and her boyfriend, Kyle. I still own a Coluzzle and love the circle template because it’s the perfect size to fit the cds. I use nothing but my Xyron machines to coat the paper with adhesive. It holds really well to the plastic cd and I’ve never experienced the papers or photos lifting – even after several years of use and abuse. For the cds, which are about 5 1/2 inches in diameter, either the 9″ Creative Station or the Creatopia work great!

I also used Spellbinder die Mix’d Media Elements for the first time and was so impressed as to how it embossed! I’ve started using Spellbinder dies and can understand how people get hooked. Notice the two embossed hearts on the cover flower. The bird and frames/mats are all die cuts from the same Spellbinder die too.

The flower is cut from Tim Holtz’ Tattered Florals die and the ornate plate is chipboard cut from Tim Holtz Tag and Bookplates which is painted with the Adirondack Snow Cap Paint Dabber then coated with Glossy Accents on the inner rim and Crackle Accents on the outer rim. That’s a sticker in the middle from Trinity Paper Arts.

       

The photos were edged with Jet Black Archival Ink (Ranger), heat set, then run through my Xyron 9″ Creative Station. I decorated several cd pages prior to using the Xyron.

   

And this is how the rest of the book turned out! Check out the rest of the Design Team’s projects using Xyron and Trinity Paper Arts by visiting http://aintshecrafty.blogspot.com/

    

  

   

Aren’t they the cutest couple!