Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter


Have a Joyous Easter.  We'll be at sunrise services at the Old North Bridge and later will enjoy time with family. 

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Free Files for Bunny Candy Favors


I hope you are having a great Saturday.  We have a lovely sunny day here.  I promised to redo the file I made in the old Design Studio software for the Cricut Craftroom and Design Space programs.  You will need to have the Doodlecharms cartridge to make these bunny candy holders.  For full assembly directions (very simple to do) see the original post HERE.


The scoring in the Design Space program has been improved.  The stylus goes across each score line twice and this made a score line that was very easy to fold.  The scoring is not as deep as the scoring you get when you use a score board and scoring tool but it works just fine for folding along the lines.  I think this scoring ability is a great feature of the Explore.


I made three test bunnies.  If you use double sided paper, the inside will be cuter!  The bunny on the left had a carrot pattern on the inside.  I folded the center bunny to put the carrots on the outside.  I think it is too large a pattern for the size of the bunny.  A more regular and relatively small paper pattern will make the bunny look nicer.


I used ribbon around the base of the original bunnies.  For a quicker alternative, try using washi tape.  It wraps around the base neatly since the base is 1/2 inch and most washi tape is about the same width.



The Cricut Craftroom file can be downloaded HERE.

If you have a Cricut Explore, here is the link to the Design Space file with score lines:

https://www.cricut.com/design#/canvas/project/16630678

Happy Easter!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Bunny Candy Holders


These cute bunnies make great last minute candy favor holders for your Easter celebrations.  I designed these back in 2009 using the Doodlecharms cartridge and a rectangle.  You can see the original post HERE.



The Doodlecharms - Life image set is available to cut for free until April 23 in both the Cricut Craftroom and Design Space.  Cricut offers free images each week and you can find them by clicking the "Make" title at the top left of the Cricut home page (HERE).


This type of box is simple to make.  You just put a rectangle on the mat (I used a 2 x 5 inch rectangle) and then size the shape you want to use for the box front and back at about four inches tall.  Add the first shape and then copy and paste or duplicate that shape and flip it to create the opposite side of the box.  The area of overlap between the shape and the rectangle should be about two inches at the center of the rectangle.


After you score and cut the side to form the box it is easily held together with tacky tape or ScorTape at the sides.   There are more photos and directions on the original post HERE.

I created this file in the old Design Studio software.  If you'd like to try to make your own file, it is really pretty simple.  I put together a file for the CraftRoom and the Design Space but I didn't get to test cut the new files yet.  I'll post download links as soon as I have a chance to check the files on Saturday.

I hope you will be able to spend the holiday weekend with friends and family.  Our weekend is a day longer since Patriot's Day is celebrated on Monday.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update available for Silhouette Studio V3


At the beginning of this month, a new version of the Silhouette Studio software was released.  There were a number of issues with the program as released and on April 16th an update was released.  The changes and fixes are extensive and I haven't had a chance to try everything yet.  I will post more tips on the new version once I have spent more time with it.

You can download the updated version from the support page HERE and find the release notes detailing all of the changes for version 3.0.343 HERE.


The free shape of the week from Silhouette is this set of Easter Photo Props.


You will probably want to save an image of the set in a size large enough to see how all of the bits and pieces go together to make the various items.  You will need to ungroup and regroup various shapes and also to add colors to get the proper look for your project.  I have started to get spoiled by the fully assembled and colored images that you add to the Design Space work area when using the Cricut Explore - the plain red outlines in the Silhouette Studio look odd to me now.




There are also some daily free shapes available from the Silhouette Store.  I am not sure how long these will be free or how many will be added.  It is a good idea to just keep checking the Online Store for freebies.  You can find the links posted on the Silhouette Facebook pages HERE if you are a Facebook user.


If you don't use Facebook, you can quickly find any free shapes by choosing "Browse All Designs" at the top of the page and then setting the Sort option "Price - Low to High" using the drop down menu.

I hope to have some time to sort through the changes but we will be busy with family for the holiday weekend.  Have you dyed or decorated any Easter Eggs yet?  Do you use hard-boiled eggs that you later make into salad or do you empty eggs before decorating them?  I bought a new type of coloring kit that I haven't tried yet - maybe on Friday I'll have a chance...

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cricut Design Space Update


An update to the Cricut Design Space (the online software that controls the Cricut Explore) was released on Tuesday.  Quite a few improvements were made and many of them were directly based on user feedback.  While the software still is missing some widely desired features (such as alignment tools and shadow/offset), the new version has improved many features of the program.

There were a few issues with updating (some cartridges were suddenly not showing up in the library) but these seem to have been corrected quite quickly.  I took some screen shots as I did the update and  they might be helpful if you haven't been able to update yet.


When you open the Design Space and try to insert an image, you will see this message alerting you to the need to update.  Be sure to read and follow the directions.


Click the green "Download Update" button and then save the file to your computer.


After the file has downloaded, double click on the Cricut Design Space icon (wherever you saved it upon downloading, usually it is automatically placed in the download folder) to start the installation process.  Be sure to close your browser when you start this process (you will get a warning notice if you forget).  You will need to agree to the License Agreement to continue with the installation.


Now you can start the set up process.


Just follow the on screen prompts to install the new plugin for the Design Space.


Click yes to create a desktop shortcut (if you want one).


Click "Next" and wait while the setup takes place.


It took just a couple of minutes to do the update


Click Finish and you are ready to start using the updated version.  I am using Windows 8 so your screens may be different on another operating system.

Here are some of the improved features...


Instead of seeing four random and not always readily identifiable images for each image set, some of the cartridges and sets now have two images and the name of the cartridge (in tiny black type - it would be nice it it could be made a little larger).  There is also a blue background at the bottom to make it easy to read the status of the cartridges (purchased and linked, subscribed or free).


When you hover over an image, you can see the name of the cartridge or image set at the bottom of the preview box.  You can click on this name and go to the page showing all of the images in that set.

If you want to be able to share notes about your projects, you may want to write down the source of each image.  At this time, once the image is in your project, there is no easy way to determine which cartridge or set it came from.  You can do this by creating a text box in the work area and listing all of your "ingredients" for the project.  Then, just hide the text by clicking the eyeball in the layers panel to hide the information when it is time to cut the project.


The grid lines have been made darker in the updated version.  This makes it easier to plan your designs.  To turn the grid lines on and off, just click on the small box at the top left of the work area.

Some additional highlights of the changes are:

You can now delete images that you have uploaded and don't want to keep in your library.

You can link cartridges that you own to your account at any time, even if they are included in a subscription plan that hasn't expired yet.


A Material Saver mode now allows images to be cut in the most efficient manner, conserving your cardstock, vinyl or other material.

You no longer need to ungroup text in order to attach it to an image.


A color picker has also been added allowing a full range of colors to be chosen as you design.  I wish there was an eyedropper to sample colors and apply them to images.

You can see the full release notes HERE.


It snowed here today - it seems like winter still isn't quite finished with us this year!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easy Custom Pocket Scrapbooking Cards


One of my favorite Cricut cartridges from several years ago is the Graphically Speaking cartridge.  This cartridge came out at the same time as the Storybook cartridge.  This was in the days when cartridge releases were few and far between, and the build up of excitement on the message boards was a little bit crazy.  Most people loved Storybook but took a little longer to warm up to  Graphically Speaking.

It occurred to me that many of the images and word art on Graphically Speaking would be perfect for making the 3 x 4 or 4 x 6 cards that are used in pocket scrapbooking.  I started to make 3 x 4 cards in the Design Space and these are just a few of the possibilities.  We are busy with some family things this week but I will be cutting these out as soon as time permits.


Once I got started making 3 x 4 cards, I found so many possibilities for cute and creative cards for journaling and decorating a pocket page scrapbook.  The cards above use images from Destinations, Just Because Cards, Designer's Calendar, Elegant Edges, Elegant Cakes and Cricut Craftroom Basics.  All of these cartridges are included in the Cricut  Image Library Subscription.  The Graphically Speaking cartridge was designed by Kerri Bradshaw and is not included in the subscription plan, but you can buy the entire digital cartridge for just $19.99 on the Cricut website HERE.

https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=1342084&c=ib&aff=230427&cl=100873

If you are interested in pocket page scrapbooking, don't forget that there is special pricing on classes from True Scrap Pocket Pages.   Full descriptions of the classes can be found HERE. Each class is normally priced at $12.95 but for a limited time the price is only $9 per class.  If you want all of the classes, you can get an even better deal - buy five and get one free.  Just put all of the classes in your cart (HERE) and use the code "SAVE40" to get them all for $45 - that's just $7.50 per class.

Have you tried pocket scrapbooking?  It seems to be getting more and more popular.  I think it is the idea of just sliding things in to pockets that makes it so appealing.  The papers and supplies are fun to work with and if you supplement the printed items with some of your own die-cut shapes and sizes you can make a truly unique and personal album.

Passover began last night. Chag Sameach to all who are celebrating.  There was also a red moon but I didn't get to see it, did you?  Today is a somber day as it is the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing.  There are numerous events planned to mark the day.  This year's marathon will be run on Patriot's Day - next Monday, and I think we will all breathe a sign of relief when it is over.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Vintage images for pretty cards


This Easter card features a beautiful vintage image from Twisted Papers.  The owners, Russell and Stan, have had health and computer issues recently but they are still selling their wonderful vintage images.  The image on the front of this card is from a CD with 121 individual images and 21 collage sheets that sells for just $9.95.  You can find that CD in the Twisted Papers Etsy shop HERE.

I like to use the vintage images with some sort of die cut frame to show them off a little better.  For this card, I made a frame that I cut with the Cameo machine.  There are many potential frame designs available for Cricut machines as well.  You would just need to resize them appropriately for a card topper.


If you need to make a lot of matching or similar cards, just set up six card toppers to cut on a single mat.  You can read the original post with full directions HERE.


Twisted Papers is offering a buy two get one free special on their Mother's Day collage sheets in their Etsy shop.  These sheets usually have six images (sometimes four if they are large) at sizes that will work well for cards and other projects.  Just enter the code MOTHER to get 33% off a $6 purchase.  The offer runs until Friday the 18th.

You can find the Twisted Papers Etsy shop HERE.  Their regular website is HERE.  I have used their images for years and they are very high quality.

Do you like to use vintage images?  Have you tried added a vintage image to a card that you have made using a die cutting machine?  I think it's fun to combine old images with new shapes.  If you visit the shop, you might want to leave a message for Stan and Russell to wish them good health and a full recovery.

By the way - did you notice the date today?  It is 4-14-14 - that seems lucky!

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