Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Something a little different - Happy 50th!

Today I have a different type of project to share - and a little challenge for you!

My neighbor wanted to make something special for her husband's 50th birthday. She had seen a website where you could have a framed print of a customized street scene created with buildings labeled to mark important places, storefronts and ads on the buildings representing particular companies and other signs with names and symbols that were relevant to the person you were honoring. It wasn't quite what she wanted, but it sparked an idea for some sort of a framed piece.

We came up with a different way to present significant aspects of his first 50 years and created a time line collage using cuts from many different Cricut cartridges. We used an eight by twenty inch picture frame and sized the cuts to fit within this space (remembering that about 1/4 inch is taken up by the "lip" of the frame as it overlaps the paper.

It seemed best to keep the piece fairly monochromatic since there would be so many items included. We chose a background paper with some texture and two coordinating solid colors for the cuts. Most of the items had shadow options in the cartridge we used and in a few cases we created a shadow or altered a cut to fit our purposes.

Here is a closer view of the left side. To accentuate the detail cuts on the houses I used a brown fine tip marker. It was very easy to use these as a guide to hand draw the details - on a cut this small the Cricut markers would have been too thick.

The buildings representing his college and graduate school were altered in design studio or hand trimmed to create a fairly close representation of the campus buildings. The skyline was cut in half - coincidentally each half looked enough like the cities we wanted to represent (New York and Boston) that we didn't need to alter them further.

The two babies representing the children are rather large, but nothing is true to scale and, as my friend said, they do take up a lot of "space" in real life too! We used a few corporate symbols and logos from letterhead to represent jobs and volunteer work and the boat and water skier for their lake house.

It is difficult to photograph this long thin piece to show here - remember, you can click on any photo to see a larger view. The Design Studio software made this project much easier to do - we could set up all of the cuts needed on two mats - rusty brown for the top layer and ivory for the shadow or lower layers.

Here is one more view of the final framed piece. The sign at the far right has one arrow pointing back that says "The First 50" and an arrow pointing out of the frame that says "New Adventures"

So - here is the challenge for you...

To make this project I used the most cartridges in a single cutting file that I have ever used (I generally tend to design using three or less - in fact I consciously try to use as few as possible to get the effect I want).

How many cartridges were used? Just leave your guess in a comment to this post - I am curious to see if anyone will identify all of them. I certainly had a good time searching for cuts that would suit our project and found a few "hidden treasures" in the process!

There may be a small prize for the first person to get it right! There is no cut file to share today as this is so personal to the project (and you could quickly answer my question by using the "This Project" option in the Cartridge Library menu). Have fun figuring it out!

(One more small note - I reread yesterday's post and realized that I had inadvertently omitted one step in my explanation - the square welded within the frame of four scallop sections. Fortunately, the file is correct and even if you create a new one as I described, the card will cut correctly - you will just have different offcuts from the front.)


  1. Hey, Diane, this is a great project! I like to limit the number of carts, too! I'm guessing that you used 13 different cartridges. What a great variety of cuts!

    CindyS. from the Cricut MB

  2. What a good friend you are. OK, I'm counting cartridges...

  3. Wow, what a lot of work! Just finding all the Cartridges took me a while. I'm guessing eight cartridges. There is one thing I'm not sure of but I think I'm right or one off. Good luck everyone.

  4. This is a very cute idea. I know what you mean about hidden surprises. I sit down alot of times with DS just to look through carts sometimes because it is so easy to find something new. Okay here is my guess if I counted correctly, there are 10 cartridges used.

  5. I'm guessing 7. Great idea! I love this project. My dad turns 70 this month, if I had the right cartridges this would have been perfect!




  7. (I am just adding in Gloria's guess since she responded directly to the feed email instead of using the comment posting - Diane)

    What a special gift..

    It looks like 12 carts were used..


    I forgot to say which ones I think.. (12) Base Camp, George, Plantin School Book, Camp Out, My community, My world, Wedding, Locker Talk, New Arrivals, Going Places, Christmas and Mickey & Friends..


  8. What a really neat gift...I am sure your neighbor will love it!! I am guessing 12 cartridges were used. Thanks for sharing your talents and helping to inspire so many others!!

  9. Hi Diane,

    What a wonderful gift.. I think there are (12) carts.
    Base Camp, George, Plantin School Book, Camp out, My Community, My World, Wedding, Locker Talk, New Arrivals, Going Places, Christmas anf Mickey & Friends.

    Gloria Cirelli

  10. I am guessing 9 cartridges used.
    BTW great project.

  11. Hi Diane,

    I am going to guess 11. I think my most used for a single project was 7, once. Nice work!

  12. We have a winner!

    The eleventh comment and the correct number is 11 cartridges!

    I have a little something for you if you could please send an email with your postal address to


  13. I love this, it looks great...OK, I am going to guess 6.

  14. What a neat gift!! Well, I counted all the cuts, but I think you used one cartridge for several figures, so since no one has guessed 15, I'll try that number LOL


  15. My guess is you used 5 carts.

    Am I Close????


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love to hear from the people who read my blog. I moderate all comments to keep spam off the blog without making you decode the squiggly letters so your comment may not appear immediately.