Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Shadow Box Card

I have purchased many shadow box cards through my Silhouette subscription but haven't gotten around to making one until last night.  This one is by designer Daniela Angelova.  She has the most beautiful designs - especially her cards.  I do wish she would offer instructions as I was unable to find any on the Silhouette site or her blog.  Tried searching You Tube and found a similar tutorial by Lori Whitlock but there was a glitch in her video and the end part was cut off and that was the part I was having problems figuring out.  Arghhhh!! The card is supposed to be able to fold flat in either direction so that it will fit in an envelope.  That was the tricky part.  After much trial and error finally figured it out.  If I can get my camera to cooperate, I'll try to post a mini tutorial in a few days in case anyone else needs help. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mouse in the House

Someone on the Cricut Lover's Guide to Design Space FB page had posted a cute pic of a mouse hole that she found on the internet and cut from vinyl.   I thought it was cute so I went and found the same image and then a few more and did a mouse village in my craft room.  It was very simple - just searched for the term Mouse Hole Silhouette png and then searched images.

Tip: Always try to find and use png images when looking for art over the internet because then the background is clear and there is no erasing and clean up. 

At first I intended to cut just one mouse hole from black vinyl but was having too much fun so kept creating until I had an entire mouse street.  Thought the black cat was a nice touch too.  I have to admit that the first black cat I was going to use looked like it was about to pounce and it creeped me out a little bit - a real evil looking cat.  Decided I didn't want that vibe going on in my happy craft room so went back and searched for a kinder, gentler version. 

The entire project took only about 3 hours.  This included searching for images, importing them into Make The Cut and converting to svg files, exporting and re-opening in Cricut Design Space. Had absolutely no issues with the Cricut Explore cutting the vinyl perfectly and because the images were large and chunky there was not much time spent weeding.  The mice are so easy to do that I didn't even need transfer tape for them.  Just used them like a sticker.

I mentioned in my post on Cricut Lover's FB page that I thought about adding captions to each scene - some thought bubbles above some of the characters because I can imagine what they might be thinking or saying.  Yes, I need to get out of the house more probably....hehehe.  If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.  Do you think it would look too cluttered if I added more?

The timid mouse hiding in the hole staring at the cat is my favorite scene. I can imagine the small mouse thinking "Feet don't fail me now!"

One mouse family has put their home up for sale due to location.  Too close to the cat!  Far left and cut out of the picture is an adult mouse trying to gather up the babies who are headed towards the cat.

This mouse family appear to be comfortable enough to be outside and visiting despite the cat down the street. The two women mice are obviously gossiping.....but what about I wonder?
The pictures don't do it justice because the whole thing is about 10 feet long and in a semi - L shape.  Thank you for stopping by to look.  I have a few more projects to share as soon as I get the pics taken.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vinyl on Glass Cutting Board

One of the hot items to find when you're out shopping right now is the mini see through cutting boards at the Dollar Tree.  I've been to every store on my side of town without luck.  Last weekend I finally scored and found 4 of the round ones.  They are small - about 7 3/4 inches in diameter.  The small size and small cost make them a perfect canvas to practice on while learning to work with vinyl.

I picked up this free SVG file today at My Scrap Chick and liked it so much I decided to use it on one of the mini cutting boards.

Here are a few mistakes I made and will hopefully not repeat next time:
  • When working on a non porous surface like glass use the wet method to apply the vinyl.  The first time I applied the vinyl dry and was unable to remove all the bubbles so I scraped it off and started over. 
  • Put a little bit of liquid soap in the mister bottle and shake well. 
  • Use a mister bottle that sprays very fine. Less water is better than more.
  • The wet method will also be more forgiving.  If the artwork goes on a bit crooked there is some forgiveness and it is possible to reposition it.
  • When using the wet method, don't use clear contact paper as the transfer tape.  It takes longer for the water underneath to dry than it does when using paper backed transfer tape.  I want instant gratification and don't want to wait 24 hours to remove the tape!  I was doing good to wait 30 minutes and had to work carefully with it even then.
  • If planning on placing the artwork on the back side of the glass, don't forget to mirror the image before cutting!!!!  I had to do two cuts because I forgot the first time.
This sentiment is entirely true!

Doggone Cute Picture!

I've been experimenting with cutting vinyl with the Cricut.  It's a bit time consuming but the end results are worth it.

Still feeling in the mood to pay tribute to my dogs so I made the framed picture below.

The frame came from Goodwill on half price day for under a dollar.  I used a sheet of metallic card stock for the background.  The phrase is a file from the Silhouette website.

The sentiment is sometimes true....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Heart My Dogs Word Book Mini Tutorial

Word books are so much fun to do still.  I found they are very easy to create in Design Space.  The open area is easy to work with.  Remember - the fewer letters in the word book the easier it will be to read.  More letters mean the book needs to be smooshed together closer and the letters will overlap more.

Just start with a square and size it to your liking.  I make mine 5" tall and 2" wide to start so is now more of a rectangle.  Duplicate the rectangle once for each letter in the word book and drag aside.

Insert text.  I chose to do mine one letter at a time but you could type the whole word and then separate the letters to alter each one.  Take the first letter and resize it so that it is about as tall as your rectangle. Adjust the width to your liking. It helps to unlock the proportion lock. It should over lap the rectangle enough to be able to weld. Chunkier fonts work much easier than thinner ones.  I used Cricut Keystone.  

Once the first rectangle and letter look good, duplicate both the letter and the rectangle and set aside.  They will be needed later.  Weld the rectangle and letter together.

Grab the next rectangle and drag it on top of the first welded piece. I start with it being the top layer. I prefer to use the mouse and resize images by dragging. The sizing can all be done from the edit panel as well. Make sure to keep the height at the correct measurement and increase the width either by dragging or using the edit function. Once it is wider than the bottom welded piece, I move it to the back and adjust the length to my liking.  The length should be just slightly shorter than the letter on the first welded piece. Take the second letter and place it on the new rectangle.  Make adjustments until it looks correctly placed - either by changing the length of the rectangle or the size of the font.  Duplicate the letter and the second rectangle, set them aside and then weld the second rectangle and letter together.

Keep going in this fashion until all letters of the word are complete.

Before cutting, eyeball the length of the longest welded piece.  If longer than 11 inches select all and lock the proportion  lock.  Resize until the widest welded piece fits in the allowable cutting space. I believe the actual cutting space is larger than 11 inches but I'm too chicken to push the limit!

The book base (all the welded pieces ) are cut from thin chip board or cereal boxes. The duplicate copies of the rectangles that were made will be used to cut out decorative paper to adhere to the fronts of the chipboard welded pieces.  The duplicate letters created will be adhered to the front of the welded letter piece to give it more definition.  Place the duplicate letter on top of the duplicate rectangle that is adhered to the chipboard welded piece.  For the back pages of the book, cut the welded pieces again but this time out of decorative paper instead of chipboard.  Either mirror the image or use double sided paper.

I am not sure where the paper clips, frames and embellishments originated from.  I made them all but they have been in my stash a long, long time.  If memory serves right, it could be Tags, Bags, Boxes and More or possibly a Sizzix die.

The Bind-It -All was used to hold the book together.  I don't use that tool nearly as much as I should.  It does a great job but every time I go to use it I have to get the manual out and re-learn it.  sigh....

Note to self:  Buy new light box.  This one is really ugly.

Below is a screenshot of part of the file. The duplicate rectangle pieces are lower and you would need to scroll to view.

  My first attempt at sharing a file so hopefully it works. 

Tim Holtz Tattered Flowers

Sometimes I just feel like sitting around and creating embellishments to add to my stash for future use.  Tonight I played around with Tim Holtz regular sized and jumbo sized Tattered Flower die.  As much as I love my Explore, there are times when the Tim Holtz Vagabond is my tool of choice. I love the simplicity of just choosing a die and cutting without having to sit at my computer and  make choices on an image, size and arrangement.  With a die - it is what it is. 

The vintage grunge style of Tim Holtz has long been one of my favorite looks.  I am slowly building up a collection of his Alterations dies.  They don't have the value that a Cricut Cartridge has because you only get one image.  I have to really like the cut before I'll purchase and it has to be something that would be able to be used for multiple project themes.  You can never go wrong with flowers so the Tattered Flower dies are a must have for any TH fan.

For these flowers, I cut burlap, lace, old sheet music, card-stock and corrugated cardboard to form each flower layer.  I used German glass glitter on the leaves.  It has so much more sparkle than regular glitter and easier to work with.  Fine glitter doesn't go flying everywhere!  Unfortunately, the pictures do not do the glitter justice for how beautiful it truly is.  Must be my lighting.

The jumbo flower is about 5 inches across without the leaves or tulle bow included.  It's big enough that it can be used for a home decor project.  Not sure what I want to do with it yet but kicking around a few ideas. 

The regular flowers are about 3 inches across without leaves or tulle bow. The smallest is created just by omitting a few bottom layers.

Jumbo Tattered Flower

Regular Size Tattered Flowers
Thanks for looking and please come back often.  I plan on keeping the ol' blog up to date with all my crafting projects.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Something to Crow About Again!

In my post from a few days ago I had mentioned how much I enjoyed the Cricut Imagine because of its ability to cut layers from printed images.  All of the cards I posted in 2010 were made with the Imagine.  I was so sad - even mad - when PC discontinued the machine and no more cartridges were made. Well, imagine my surprise today when I did the Hot Fix for the DS update earlier this week and now I am able to use all those cartridges again the way the were originally intended! Yes!! The Explore and DS will now print, layer and cut all of my favorite images from the Imagine cartridge library.  I am beyond thrilled and have now officially forgiven PC/Cricut for all of their previous offenses.

Original card made in 2010 with the Imagine

Screenshot of images to recreate the same card in 2015 with Design Space and the Explore

Why get excited over being able to use cartridges that are 5 years old?  I never did really explore my way through all of them so there is undiscovered territory. It's also like being reunited with  an old friend. The cartridges have been lined up on my shelf, unusable for years and now they have come to life again.  Oh happy day!