Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snowflake Checkerboard

I just can't seem to get over my fascination with combining shapes from the cartridges to form entirely new designs. Many of these remind me of the effects of certain quilting patterns by combining one or two blocks or changing the spacing.

This finished design looks like a summer picnic tablecloth to me - but it is actually composed of snowflakes from the Home Accents cartridge!

In this screen shot you can see the one shape that was used to create this design.

After cutting the design the outer border can be removed and used as a border for another 12 x 12 page as you can see above.

Here is the design on the mat after removing the outer border. To take the full page off the mat just work slowly and carefully from one edge.

Then gradually start on the perpendicular edge working toward the corner

The most delicate part of the design is the small weld between rows of snowflakes so be extra careful as you reach these sections

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I have trouble throwing anything away (!) I think this design actually achieves a "no wasted paper" goal since you could use all of the offcuts - first the border

then the stars (or flowers or suns, depending on the color you choose and how you see them)

After the stars are removed, these are the remainders on the mat

The small "fancy" squares are also useful

and if you are ultra green you can save these final bits (they could be used to decorate a border strip)

Since I never throw anything away (!) I use empty Studio G sleeves from the $1 sets of stamps to store these pieces

Here is the design on a tan background

and one more close up photo of the design.

There are two baby bug version included in the file. On page two there is one that is identical to the 12 x 12 version in size and on page three there is a version which is slightly stretched to fill the entire mat. Be sure to change the mat size in the view menu to the size you are intending to cut.

Snowflake Checkerboard

Three Bar Filigree (by request)

Many of my designs require the use of the Expression but I try to make variations that can be cut with a baby bug (the original Cricut)whenever I can. A reader asked me if it was possible to adapt the Five Bar Filigree design I did in September for the baby bug. I changed the proportions of the bars to come up with this revised design.

Here is a LINK to the entry for the five bar design I posted in September (a photo of this version is below).

The file is set up to cut the design once on a baby bug mat on page one and you can cut two on a 12 x 12 mat by using page two (you can just flip the mat and cut a second design). The reason for the two files is that the "uncuttable" area of the 6 x 12 and the 12 x 12 mats is slightly different. I wanted to maximize the cut for each size of mat.

The first time I cut the design on the 12 x 12 mat the very end of the section did not cut, as you can see in the photo above (I was able to do some hand trimming to save the cut).

You will need to do a very small bit of hand trimming to finish the outer bars of the design as you can see in the photos above and below

Below you can see the slight difference in the width of the outer bars on the design. You could trim these to make the design edges perfectly consistent.

I have learned that with my machine I need to put the paper slightly lower than the top line to get an even frame (you should do a test cut with"ugly" paper to see how your machine and your loading technique affect the cut and adjust the paper placement accordingly).

You will also need to trim the "bumps" which were in the uncuttable area of the mat on the 12 x 12 design. This is very simple to do.

You may remember from the original post that this design will yield some usable offcuts - you can see the shapes in the photo below.

This design still reminds me of the elaborate iron gates you might see at a park or estate. I will eventually get around to cutting it in black and placing it over a landscape photo ...

Three Bar Filigree

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fourth of July - full page design (by request)

In September, I was asked by a Cricut Message Board friend if I could create a Fourth of July design similar to my Halloween design for an event at her church where the theme was holidays through the year - her month was July. She had located some glass vases like the one I used for the Halloween lantern and was planning to make these as table decorations and favors for the other guests to take home. Unfortunately, she did not take a picture (she is hoping to "borrow" one back for a photo) so I don't have a lantern version photo to share but I did test cut the design after I got home (I was in New Jersey when I got her email). I think it also works well as a framed piece. Here is a LINK to the post about the Halloween design as a framed piece.

Once again this is cut on a 12 x 24 mat with the paper placed at the one inch mark. Here is a screen shot of the design.

and here is a photo of the design on the mat after cutting so you can see the paper placement a bit better.

The look varies, as always, depending on the paper you choose to place behind the cut - here are a few examples...

Fourth of July - full page mesh

Seaside Mesh (for a lantern)

This is the mesh I originally created for the Cricut Message Board swap mentioned in my last post. It was designed for a lantern similar to the Halloween lantern I did last month (here is a LINK to that post). When cutting the 12 x 12 version you need to use the 12 x 24 mat and place the paper at the one inch mark. This design takes quite a long time to cut and you need to be very careful in removing it from the mat.

There is also a baby bug version on the first page of the file. The design is slightly different - here is a screen shot (I have not cut this version yet). The shorter baby bug version may be more versatile.

I decided that this design wasn't quite right for the swap so I created the heart mesh in my last post. Once again, I am pleased to see how useful the Disney cartridges can be even if you are not cutting out the characters - the seashell and ocean designs are lovely on this cartridge.

Seaside Mesh (for lantern)

Heart Mesh (I'm Back from San Francisco)

I've been away visiting our oldest son in San Francisco so I apologize for the long gap in posts. I had limited internet access and was busy enjoying the sites and the food - what a great city! Now it is time to catch up and post a lot of things that have been waiting for me to have time to post!

I participated in a mesh swap on the Cricut Message Board this month. Here is one of the files I contributed. It was shared with the other swap participants by email and I am posting it now so people who weren't involved in the swap can use it. The only cartridge needed is the Wedding Solutions cartridge.

Heart Mesh

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tag Star

This afternoon I saw a post by Kathy on the Cricut Message Board which gave this LINK to a star made from a tag punch. (please use the link to see the photos - I can't post them here since they are not mine). I loved the idea and instantly thought that something similar could be done with the design studio software that would actually be quicker and easier to produce, once the original file was created.

Unfortunately, I could not make this an adjustable file, because individual elements need to be turned at various angles and we don't have a true "grouping" function available to us yet in the software - it is something I wish for many times every day as I try to think of ways to create designs that can be easily resized, copied and pasted and otherwise manipulated in full.

The basic idea of this design is to overlap silhouetted tags to form a subsidiary design which looks like a star. The original star was made using flat top tags which produce a square center (well, actually more of an octagon with tiny corners). In checking the various carts for silhouetted tags I remember that there were some on the Wedding cart and decided to try this rounded top version.

Here is a screen shot of the finished design - the overlapping of the tags produces a flower like image. I added a small circle to make the center more even since the tags do not align perfectly to produce a circle.

Be careful when the design is cutting - since there are so many passes around the center, the circle actually came loose from the mat in all four test cuts that I made - you should be sure that it is removed when you unload the mat and that it does not get caught in your machine somewhere!

Here is the cut as you would lift it from the mat

Two tiny snips at each point will create the star - it is best to snip from the center outward to get the neatest cut.

You can cut four of these on a 12 x 12 sheet of paper - cut one, unload and turn and reload the mat. Then remove those cuts and turn the paper 90 degrees and restick it to the mat so the top left area is uncut paper and cut, unload, flip and cut again.

The 12 x 12 sheet of paper will look like this and you could use it for a scrapbook layout (I hate to waste perfectly good paper and this is an interesting design in the offcut).

Below you can see the final star on the left and the image that the file cuts on the right - for some purposes you might want to use the design without trimming. There will also be offcuts that look like little houses that you can save for another project (from the outer area - I forgot to take a photo but will add one when I can).

If you check out the link above be sure to click on the link in that posting which shows the card the designer made - it is beautiful! You can use this design as is or adhere vellum or another pretty paper or even glassine (like I used for the Halloween lantern) and create lovely cards and ornaments.

Tag Star

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scalloped square in a Square (adjustable)

I was contacted by a blog reader who was trying to recreate a design she had seen on a card as a Design Studio cut. She was having problems with the welding, with some areas not previewing properly. Here is a screen shot of the preview

I explained to her that when you are welding inside a silhouetted shape you must build the design from the inside out - in other words start with the center scalloped square, then add the connecting pieces and then the outer silhouetted square.

If you have been reading my blog for a long time, you may remember the way I finally figured out to make an oval aperture card with something welded inside - here is a LINK to the old entry. Fortunately, with the latest update, welding inside a shape is easier and you do not have to build the shape from other shapes.

So, by simply starting in the center and working your way out, you will end up with something that looks like this in the preview.

After I replied to her with the revised file, I got to thinking - could this be made as an "adjustable" file? Then it would be adaptable for many card sizes. Tonight I did a quick version. This file uses both Accent Essentials and George (much easier to start with the scalloped square on Accent Essentials) but, with patience, it could be done in all George. I may try doing that on the plane when we go to San Francisco this weekend.

Once I had the file done, I copied and pasted and changed the sizes. I made a mat full of these to test cut - here is a screen shot of the mat

and here are the actual cuts.

I sized the smallest at 1.5 inches so I could stamp the center with my Halloween clear stamps. You could thread a ribbon through the sides or the top and bottom to attach these to a card or for a bookmark.

The number of "bumps" for the scallops stays the same as you change the size, but, as you can see in this closeup shot of the smallest size, they become less pronounced as the size decreases.

(edited 10-16-08 to add a photo of a quick card I made using these squares)

Scalloped Square in a Square (A)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spooky "snake" Mesh

Here is another mesh I did using the Storybook Cartridge. You may think it is a "girly" cartridge but I think these elements combine to look like snakes! A lot of snakes! This could be a great background for some Halloween photos. Below is a screen shot showing the element I used to create this design

This design is cut on the 12 x 24 mat - here is a photo of it after cutting with the outer waste piece removed. Be sure to place your paper at the one inch mark on the mat as you can see below. You also need to remember to change the mat size on the Expression before cutting on the 12 x 24 mat (if you forget to do this, the computer will prompt you, but it is easier to just change the machine setting when you load the mat).

There are many small circles to be removed - some will stay on the mat as you peel the design off but there will be some "cleanup" required! This design takes a long time to cut so be patient.

Here is a closer view of the "snakes" - a bit creepy!

Storybook Snake Mesh