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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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thinking of you Card


I love elegant lacy things so the new dies from Anna Griffin were pretty irresistible when they appeared on HSN last month.  Of course, I "had" to sign up for the autoship program, so I will be busy creating elegant lacy and embossed things for some time to come!


This is the die I used for the silver medallion on the card.  This die both cuts and embosses.  If you look carefully at the die you can see some places where there is an open space within a cut line.


In this close up view you can see some of the embossed areas and the openings in the die that created the embossed effect.  Some of the openings are simply to help push the cardstock from the die after cutting.


I wanted to have a coordinating shape to back the medallion cut so I followed the same procedure that I  used to make the stamp backgrounds (see the post HERE) but I scanned an actual cut from the die and used that to create the blackout shadow piece in the Silhouette Studio software.  I hope that the ability to offset or shadow a shape will be added to the Design Space program for the Cricut Explore however, at this time, there is no easy way to create a complex shadow shape like this.


I cut the background piece from some American Crafts pearlized and textured specialty cardstock.  This cardstock has a white core so I needed to ink the edges to hide the white.  It just happened to be a great match with the Dusty Concord Distress Ink.


It can be difficult to ink an irregular shape like this.  I didn't really want the front side to show inking but just needed to hide the white edges to make the card look more finished.  I find it is easiest to lay the piece face down on a piece of scrap paper and use the blending tool to ink all over the outer edges.  When I try to hold a delicate shaped piece like this in the air to ink it, there is too great a chance that I will bend the cut or get an excessive amount of ink on the front side.


After the edges of the base piece were inked, I adhered the lacy die cut to the mat.   I use an adhesive pen to glue delicate shapes like these.


I wanted to raise the medallion from the card so I used lots of little foam squares.  I don't remember the brand, but these have not been the easiest to use and I am almost done with them at last.  Since the medallion is large, I decided to use up the edges of the foam square sheet in the center.


 I took the "waste" strip from one side and cut it into three sections.  These work well to hold up the center of the image.


Here is a quick shopping tip - always check the clearance area in any store.  I came across this box of printable invitations at Staples when I went to buy ink cartridges a couple of weeks ago.  As you can see they were marked down from $24.99 to $3.  When I paid, they actually rang up at $1 - a super bargain.  In the box there are 50 large invitation cards and 50 reply cards along with envelopes (100 envelopes in two sizes).  I'll be showing some of the things I made with these pieces over the next few weeks.


I used one of the reply cards to make a layer for the purple card base.  Since it was exactly the size of the card front, I trimmed away a bit of the borders leaving the embossed silver line around the edges.  I had some silver "peel-offs" that were perfect for the sentiment.


The standard way to place the medallion would be straight across the card.  As you can see, the matted shape barely fits on an A2 card.


I turned the medallion at a slight angle and centered it within the silver lines.


The peel offs are fun to use - they give an effect similar to heat embossing but with no mess.  I find it easiest to peel up the sentiment and then use a bone folder or other tool to hold it as I work out the position on the card.


The finished card is simple but elegant.  The silver and the embossing make it more formal and suitable for a sympathy or wedding card (with a different sentiment!)

I hope you are having a nice weekend - we will be seeing family this afternoon after we usher at church this morning.  The weather here is really nice - they predict 72 for the high! 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Flash Sale at Craftsy

Craftsy

If you haven't checked out the craft learning site Craftsy, this weekend would be a good time to visit the site and see what they have to offer.  Craftsy offers classes about Cake Decorating, Jewelry, Crocheting, Knitting, Paper Crafts, Quilting, Home & Garden, Spinning, Weaving, Fine Art, Photography, Embroidery, Food & Cooking and Sewing.

I know that many paper crafters also have a few other crafty hobbies.  I have been a quilter for quite a while and I took a Craftsy class recently to learn more about art quilts

Craftsy has just announced a Spring Flash Sale for this weekend only.  There are savings of up to 50% on select online Craftsy classes, but for a very limited time.  Visit Craftsy by clicking HERE to see what classes are on sale.  This offer expires at 11:59 MT on Sunday, April 13, 2014!

I hope your weekend is off to a good start.  I finally got through all of my non-crafty paperwork and will spend some time in the craftroom - and some time outside in the garden if the weather stays nice!

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