Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Paper Dolls Altered Jewelry Box

I found an old black jewelry box at a yard sale a few months ago for 25 cents.  The exterior was scratched and faded and the inside had very old, yucky padding where it had most likely once held a necklace.  I wasn't sure what to use the box for at the time but felt inspired to renovate it and then hope an idea came later.

Started out painting the outside with a fresh coat of black acrylic craft paint. After that was dry, I used a stencil and applied molding paste to both the front and back cover.  Allowed that to dry and then painted the molding paste design with various colors of Golden acrylic paints.  Added a large Prima flower and some ribbon and called it done.

I removed the old insides and cut some Tim Holtz paper to size for the background and also a front pocket.  Added some machine stitching for decor.

Once the box was done, I just stuck a few Tim Holtz tags inside and sat it on display in my craft room.

Recently while looking through some clip art on the internet I came across some cute vintage paper dolls.  This brought back a flood of memories as I had quite a paper doll collection when I was young. I wondered how well the Cricut Explore would do with the print then cut feature and gave it a try.  I started by upping the resolution to 300 dpi in Photoshop Elements and making color adjustments.  This made the clip art a bit less grainy and more vibrant.  I imported into Design Space as a jpg and used the clean up tool to remove the background then proceeded with the print then cut.  It worked fairly well except for some jagged cuts around the images.  I am looking into ways to eliminate that from future attempts as I plan on cutting out lots of different paper dolls. 

The banner along the bottom is a Tim Holz die and the lettering was cut on the Explore using the Lyrical Letters 2 Slab font.  A bit of gel pen work was added to create stitches and highlights.

Lastly, I glued dresses on some Tim Holtz hanger clips and hung them from a piece of jute strung across the top left of the box.  Used a high pop up dot to keep the dresses from falling off or swinging around.

This project was fun because it was an original idea (with borrowed clip art) for an enjoyable process of trial and error with no idea how it would all turn out.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Little Piggy Bank Card

The Cutting Cafe just released a set of really cute "shaker" type cards for use on cutting machines.  There are seven different designs in the set - Piggy Bank (pictured), Gumball Machine, Air balloon, Baby Rattle, Candy, Flower and a Ladybug.  It also includes a small box the dimensional card will fit into for gift giving.

Assembly was fairly simple with the aide of Regina Easter's You Tube video tutorial.  The most time consuming part was uploading and resizing the images into Cricut Design Space.

There are a few minor tweaks I will do next time.  I think the tail should be elevated more and not flat on the card so will use pop dot pieces or another method to achieve that look.  I would also like to come up with a few different sentiments to make the card more versatile. 

I'm looking forward to making all seven designs in this series.  Lots of fun!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Explosion Box

If you aren't a member of the Facebook group Cricut Lovers Guide to Design Space, join now!  There are some amazingly talented women who love to help and share projects and ideas.  The project below is a Design Space file from a truly wonderful gal - Jackie Russet.  I think it is one of the prettiest takes on an explosion box that I've seen.

The little box in the middle is so perfect for jewelry and other small gifts. I plan on making three more of them for my grand daughters and daughter in law. I'm going to put a cute Wish necklace in each box.  The necklace has a small paper scroll and a few beads inside and you write your wish on the scroll and seal it up in the bottle.  Who knows.....maybe their wishes will come true.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Grouping

I've determined that I'm a lazy crafter.  A couple 2 or 3 hours tops is the optimum amount of time I want to spend on a project.  Anything more than that and it feels more like work instead of fun.  Now, this may change once I retire and have more free time. As long as I am a working girl, I do prefer quickies. 

The projects below are good examples of what I consider fast and fun projects.  The pink Bunny box pushed the boundaries a little bit and took a a while longer but in this case was worth it because it is just so darn cute.

I've also determined that I'm a cheapskate crafter.  Often my projects don't look as stunning or picture perfect as they could because I'm too cheap to use my good paper.  <blushing>   I use a lot of my 8.5 x 11 paper that I get for cheaps at Michael's when it's on sale.  Often, the colors aren't perfect and I'll settle for the wrong shade so I don't have to break into my "premium" stacks of 12 x 12. It kills me to do so!  Is that wrong?!

Am I the only one with these quirks?

The bunnies on each end are Silhouette files, the yellow basket is from my Cricut DS subscription and of course the infamous bunny box that everyone has been making is from SVG Cuts.

Easter Bunny Belly Box

Only a few more days until Easter!  The projects have been fun - cute bunnies and chicks in soft spring pastels.  It lets me know that summer is just around the corner. 

Belly Boxes are fast and easy to assemble and look adorable.  Will fill this cute chick with colorful candies and use for decor Easter Sunday.

Silhouette File

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!