Monday, July 6, 2009

Another way to use "A Child's Year"

When I first opened the "A Child's Year" cartridge I could feel the wheels start turning as I imagined all sorts of projects I could make in addition to the usual cards and scrapbook layouts. When I was growing up we had some beautiful cut and pierced lampshades in our home. There was a woman in town who created them for a local shop and they were just beautiful (but also expensive!).

I thought that I could make a really pretty lampshade with some vinyl and my Cricut using the silhouettes from this cartridge. You could actually do this with almost any of the designs and any cartridge - just use your imagination. I wanted to try it right away but didn't have time to shop for a suitable lampshade on the holiday weekend.

Last night I noticed a spare lamp in my older son's bedroom (it is the place lots of things end up now that he is out of college and living and working in San Francisco). While it was not the ideal choice and the lampshade doesn't even fit the lamp it is on (!) I decided to give it a try. This was so much fun to do and I wanted to share the results even though it isn't quite up to what I had envisioned. I will definitely work on an upgraded version - I need to go to IKEA for more boxes and containers for my new craft island and I am sure I can find a reasonably priced lamp there.

I cut a variety of images in white vinyl. It is tricky to figure out the sizing to get the figures to be proportional - this is one thing that will be easier to do once this cartridge is added to Design Studio and you can work with the images on the screen. I went through a lot of trial and error, but eventually I got sizes that worked (even though they are still not strictly to scale).

When I cut vinyl, I set my blade depth at 4 and speed and pressure at medium. This works perfectly to "kiss cut" the vinyl and leaves the paper backing intact so I can easily peel off my images. The vinyl goes on the mat with the paper backing side on the mat - be sure to smooth the vinyl down and eliminate any air bubbles before cutting.

Below you can see the inside of the shade. When the lamp is turned off the images are not obvious - if my shade was a bit heavier, I don't think they would show at all.

I used the "flip" key on the Expression for most of the designs when I cut them - remember the sticky side of the vinyl adheres to the inside of the lampshade, so if you want the image to look like the one in the booklet you have to flip it. This is particularly important if you use words since they will be backwards if you don't use "flip." For the images, the choice of flipping or not flipping just gives you more design options.

Here is another view of the inside. My lampshade was rather small so I had to be careful to smooth the designs along the curves. The vinyl adheres very well to the shade and does not seem to get any hotter than the shade itself. I am more comfortable using vinyl for this project than I would be using paper, which could come loose and touch the bulb. The vinyl is also very easy to work with, it has some "give" so you can fit it to the shade and the adhesive is already applied which saves time. The tiny little details cut more smoothly in vinyl than they would in paper.

I found it difficult to get good photographs when I had the lamp turned on due to the nature of the incandescent bulb (which gives such a yellow light) and the concentrated brightness of the bulb.

I took some more photos with the lamp turned off and my sunlight lamp shining down through the top of the shade - here are close views of the all of the sides of the shade as I rotated it...

Starting from the seam - I added the cat but I think maybe I should try trimming the grass a bit to avoid the double layers which make the image darker (or maybe that just emphasizes the cat lurking in the grass looking at those birds!).

Don't you just love the flying ponytail on the girl pushing the wheelbarrow!

This boy digging and the girl with the watering can are out of scale but I just decided he must be a very tall boy!

The end of the rotation - the boy with the large sunflower is positioned at the seam again.

I hope I have inspired you to try this - you could do a very simple shade for a nightlight or a large elaborate design. I'd love to see what you come up with if you make a custom shade - imagine how nice this would be for a baby gift and you could even personalize the shade with the name, date, etc.

A quick update on the island project - the platform is done and everything has been moved to the craftroom. I am in the middle of a big mess with things out everywhere as I try to reorganize and move into the island. The top is not done yet but I will try to share some progress photos later today or tomorrow. My birthday isn't until Friday so there is still time to get everything done (well...I hope it is enough time!).

Another update - so many of you have told me that you really like this project and several have suggested I submit it for the Cricut/Today's Mama contest. I hadn't considered doing that since I have the four cartridges - but I sure would like to find a "golden ticket" and go on a cruise! Here is a LINK to the Cricut site and a LINK to the Today's Mama site. The badge in my blog side column will take you to the page that tells you all about the "Cricut Ticket" which could be in any of the four new cartridges (Stand and Salute, Jubilee, Home Decor and Simply Sweet) sold between July 1 and August 15, 2009. There are twenty out there to be found and I've only heard that one has been found so far.....


  1. Cap, you are a genious!! This is so gorgeous!

  2. WoW! The shade is truly stunning! Thank you so much for helping to get me excited about this cart!

  3. Oh Diane, that is simply stunning. I only found 2 places that have this cart on the internet, one was %60 and the other was $58 with free shipping, so I ordered it last week, can't wait for it to get here. I know it will be one of my favorites too


  4. I've ordered it too Diane! Can't wait! I really love the lamphade idea. This cart is so nostalgic for me. Hey, be sure to give me the heads up when you come to visit your son in SF. Would love to meet you in person. xxD

  5. GORGEOUS!!! You did a FANTASTIC job!!

  6. Absolutely stunning!! The more I see of this cart the more I want it. Diane, thank you so much for sharing all your creative visions with us.
    Angie Person

  7. Wow! That is simply amazing! Another cartridge I'm going to neeeeeed!

  8. What an excellent idea for this cart!

  9. wow, that is so clever!!..You just amaze me and they sure picked the right person to show this cartridge!

  10. What an awesome idea. I think I may have to try this myself, I love how it turned out.

  11. Wow, this is an inspiration. I might even try it myself when I get the cartridge. This opens up another road to follow with the vinyl. Thanks for sharing

  12. This is stunning! So creative!

  13. Oh Diane, how awesome is this.. I am with Donna, I would love to meet you when you come to see your son in SF, I am only about 2 1/2 hours away... how fun that would be. I so want to try this.

  14. Diane, this is incredible! I never would have thought to use vinyl in such a way. What a beautiful gift this would be for a child. :) You should SERIOUSLY consider selling these on eBay... :) they're beautiful! :)

  15. I keep coming back over and over to look at this lamp - I just love it!

  16. this is adorable and what a great idea!

  17. You are AMAZING!! So talented and so sweet for sharing your gift with all of us!!! Thank you for your awesome videos and instructions!!! Best Wishes!!

  18. This is so awesome, I love your blog btw. Can't wait to try this.


  19. Woo you come up with such neat ideas I am definitely going to try this. Thanks for the idea. xx


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