Saturday, October 31, 2009

Harvest Lanterns

Happy Halloween!  We had only 77 trick-or-treaters this year (when we first moved here 9 years ago we would get more than 200).  Fortunately I did not buy too much candy - all the full size bars are gone and about half of the bag of fun size but I will be able to put the leftovers in the freezer and save them for occasional treats for the adults!

Earlier this fall, I was in the drug store and all of the back to school supplies were half price. I saw this self adhesive book cover material.  It is a sort of translucent contact paper in bright colors.  I thought I could probably do something crafty with it so I bought a roll in each color for $1 each.  The rolls were 18 x 48 inches so there is a total of six square feet - not bad for $1!

Today I was tidying up in my craft room and I found the rolls so I decided to give them a try.  I cut off a 12 inch section, trimmed the extra six inches from one side and smoothed the 12 x 12 piece on the mat.  The material had a tendency to form air bubbles so I lifted the vinyl from the backing and used my wide putty knife to make sure it would stay flat. 


I used two leaf designs and the pumpkin from Gypsy Wanderings - I like these shapes.   I am finding it handy to grab the Gypsy and quickly set up a mat to cut.  I can take it downstairs and make my cuts without moving my laptop downstairs too.

When I lifted my adhesive pumpkins from the backing paper, I found it easiest to stick them to my hand to remove the thin detail cuts.  This book cover material is transparent and very sticky.

I applied the designs to a rectangular glass vase and a candle holder that I had around the house.  They were easy to apply.  I am not sure how easily they will come off if I leave them on for a while - even if they are ruined when I remove them it will be an inexpensive project.

Do you recognize the tealights?  I told you they would start appearing in my projects...  A few people have asked just where they were located at Costco.  I imagine each store is set up a bit differently but they were in the center section with the other holiday items at my local store.  I know that some stores get things at different times - when I wrote about the ribbon I used to make some quick Christmas cards (here is a LINK to that post) my sister in New Jersey could not find any ribbon at her store but it did show up in another week or two.
Remember to turn your clocks back tonight - I am looking forward to that extra hour of sleep!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.....

Here is the first of many Christmas card ideas I have been trying out.  I made this card using  the Gypsy but it can be easily duplicated in Design Studio.

When you use Design Studio or the Gypsy you can save time and paper by setting up your mat with all of the elements of the design and  placing pieces paper in the appropriate sizes according to the grid for cutting.  Here is the mat for this card.

This photo shows you the cuts after they were removed from the mat - they are in the positions they were in on the mat for cutting.

The card base is from A Child's Year and is sized at 8.50 width and 5.50 height in True Size Mode.  In Design Studio, set your default size at 5.5 inches and check the "Real Size" box to the left of the slider bar.

The mat layer is also from A Child's Year and is sized at 3.78 width and 5.48 height in True Size Mode.  In Design Studio just enter these values in the Shape Properties box.

"Merry Christmas" is from Lyrical Letters and is sized at 3.97 width and 2.43 height in True Size Mode. Once again, simply enter these values in the Shape Properties Box to duplicate this in Design Studio. This is the "Connected" font on Lyrical Letters and it is one of my favorites.  I do wish there were shadow versions of the fonts on this cartridge (or an easy way to create a proper shadow layer).

I cut the "Merry Christmas" from red foil cardstock.  When I placed it on the patterned paper I used for the mat it got "lost" so I needed to do something to help make the words legible.  I cut a piece of vellum to approximately 3 x 4 5/8 inches to layer between the words and the patterned paper.

 Here you can see how the vellum "tones down" the bold pattern.

I use Creative Memories Frosted Splits to adhere vellum - they disappear when you adhere the vellum for a very clean look.

After the vellum was adhered, the edges looked a bit unfinished so I decided to add something (can you guess what I added?)

Yes - Stickles again! The Frosted Lace version of the white/clear Stickles varieties is one that I seldom use but they were good for this purpose - not as sparkly as the others so they give a very subtle effect.

The Stickles have a tendency to pull the paper a bit as they dry but you can put the fully dried papers under some heavy weights to flatten them out again.

Finally, I could add my "Merry Christmas" and it is much easier to read with the vellum layer added. Be sure to keep track of that tiny dot for the "i" (or have a small jewel handy to dot the "i").

There is a "blank" area at the top of the card.  I thought of adding ribbon but I didn't have any that seemed to suit (incredible if you could see how much ribbon I have in my craft room!).  So I cut a strip of green glitter cardstock to 1/4 inch and adhered it to the top.  I hand trimmed the edges to match the curves as you can see above.

I used foam squares to raise up the mat layer from the front of the card - this gives a nice shadow effect on the lace edges.

Here is one more view taken with the card flat on the table.  Less than two months until Christmas - do you have some cards started?

I am not posting a file since I did this card using the Gypsy and the file sharing function is not quite ready yet.  I think you can use my directions to make your own file - if you make one I'd love to see how yours turns out.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween..

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Red leaves and some shopping tips!

 Today's post is mostly about shopping (with a bit of photography thrown in).  I just had to share a couple of photos of this amazing tree that I saw Sunday when we visited my mother-in-law.  The leaves around here have not been as spectacular as they are some years but this tree was incredible.

 Here is the tree in a longer view - it was so brilliantly red, like a giant ball of flame!

So now I have a bit of "enabling" for you.  I found this pack of 28 battery operated tealights at Costco.  There are 20 white, four metallic red and four metallic silver and they come with a complete set of extra batteries.  All this for $13.89, so check your Costco for this great deal. 

The package claims that they will last 80 hours on one battery - I hope that is true.  I have some projects coming up very soon where you will be needing some of these (hint, hint!).

For my next tip - you need to click this LINK and see the images of some great new Cuttlebug folders on the CuttlebugChalllengeBlogspot.  If you look at the more recent posts you will see some examples of the folders in use - lots of great ideas to get you inspired.

I really enjoy using Cuttlebug folders to emboss - the effect is always so interesting and adds a lot to a card or layout.  I have learned that finding the newest folders in the stores near me is very difficult.  There are six new folders coming out for the holidays that I just "had to have" - three of them are in a new 5 x 7 inches size.  There is a bundle of all six available on HSN - they will be featured in a few days (I think November 2) but I discovered that you could actually order them from the site already - so I placed an order tonight.  They could have a special deal on the 2nd but I didn't want to take the chance that they might be sold out and $19.95 for the six seemed like a good price to me, particularly since three of the folders are the larger size.

Here is a LINK to the HSN page where you can see the folders (and order them if you want to).  I think that the two with the ornaments (one 5 x 7 and one A2 size) are exclusive to HSN.

 I also want to let you know that this Halloween card is now up on the Custom Crops site and you can download the file and see the instructions if you'd like to try making it - here is a LINK to the page.

I'll be back with an actual Cricut project tomorrow - I have a lot of things in the works but some of them have to stay "secret" a little while longer!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Kimberley!

Today is my sister-in-law's birthday.  It is a "milestone" birthday - you may be able to guess which one by looking at the card (!)  Happy Birthday Kimberley - your card is in the mail but probably won't be there here it is.

The card base is Papertrey Ink cardstock in Dark Chocolate.  The next layer is ivory cardstock cut to 5 by 3.75 inches with the corners rounded.  The dark pink layer is 2.75 by 4 inches (I think that is correct - I forgot to measure before I mailed it).  I used the Martha Stewart loops corner and edge punches.  On the dark pink layer I punched only the corners.  The light pink center medallion started at 3.25 inches and is fully punched.

 I used foam squares to raise up the center medallion.  The "50" is cut from brown glitter cardstock using my ancient Sizzix machine and the Fun Serif numbers.


For the inside of the card, I cut a piece of ivory cardstock to 5 x 3.75 inches and punched the corners only.  The "Happy Birthday" is heat embossed in brown.  (I blurred out the handwritten note in this photo).

Here is the handy guide for calculating the sizes that will work out perfectly with the Martha Stewart "Punch around the Page" punches. (Remember, you can click on this image to make it larger). You start with a 3.25 inch square and add increments of 1.75 inches to the sides to have the punches align perfectly.  You should punch the corners first and then do the sides.

I used this punch on a couple of other cards recently - a baby card (LINK) and a Thanksgiving card (LINK).  I have seen many other Martha Stewart punch sets with different designs (snowflakes, leaves, geometric, lace, etc.) that make these continuous edges - more things to add to the wish list!

Just for fun - if you'd like to send a birthday message for Kimberley and give her any advice you have for "the fun side of 50," please leave a comment on this post.  I'll make sure she sees them!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Design Studio update - European Decor added

There was a lot of activity with the Design Studio/Gypsy today.  updates were posted for both programs but the Gypsy update was still buggy so it has been pulled and will be reposted with fixes soon.

I started taking a look at Design Studio to see what changes had been made and I found that the Solutions cartridge "European Decor" has been added to the list of cartridges.  This is one that I have been eagerly waiting for since we lived overseas for eight years!

I took quick screen shots of the regular and shift versions of the keys.  This is a Solutions cartridge so there are only two other features - shadow and blackout.

So, with no further ado - here they are:







I see lots of images that I really like - so this one is going on the wish list!

This update also gives you the option of saving a file as a .gypsy or .cut so we are getting closer and closer to being able to move and share our gypsy files - very exciting!

I am going to see what other changes I can find  - be sure to update your Design Studio so you can check out all the new things too!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A quick "catch up" post

 I wanted to catch up on a few things and to let you know what I have been up to lately.  I am finally getting over the cold that had me moving so slowly for a week or two. 

I know that some people are still having issues with the morning emails having text and images overlapped or arriving with the subject as ${latestItemTitle}.  I am sorry that I haven't been able to resolve this.  As far as I can tell, the issues arise only with certain internet providers - it doesn't seem to matter what operating system or web browser people are using.  Since I am sure you won't be changing your internet provider just to receive the Feedburner emails, my only suggestion would be to subscribe in a reader or become a follower if you want to keep up with what I am creating.  Thanks for understanding that I have no control over this and can't seem to fix it from my end.

I worked out a way to make a pretty eyelet border - I am really excited about this design so watch for it to show up here soon - here is a tiny peek at the edge.

 I have started a new series of post on the Cutting Above blog about Design Studio.  Many people are confused about whether to get the Gypsy, or Design Studio or both.  There are also a lot of people who bought Design Studio and then for one reason or another never really got comfortable with using the program.  Maggie at Cutting Above asked if I could do some posts explaining the basics of using the program - starting from the very beginning.  Here is a LINK to my first post.

On Tuesday, there will also be a short review that I did of the From My Kitchen cartridge on Cutting Above - I'll put a link here when it goes up.  I have enjoyed using the cartridge since I received it as my prize for being featured in the Project Corner and Spotlight in the Cricut Chirp in July.  I have a lot of ideas about things I want to try making with it.  While it is great for cooking and kitchen projects there are many "outside the box" ways to use the items on the cartridge.

I also have a few new projects that will soon be on the Custom Crops website so check my sidebar blinkie to see if they are available to view.  Here is a "sneak peek" at the Halloween card I made - the file and directions will be on the Custom Crops site.  I am ready to move on from Halloween now as you can see from the screen shot at the top of this post!

Finally, we do have some spaces still available in the Design Studio online classes this week so be sure to check the Let me Show you How to Do that blog to see if the times and topics suit you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One more Halloween idea.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that we have lots of young family members - triplet nephews in one family and a set of twins (niece and nephew) and their younger brother in another.  They all live in the area but not close enough to come trick or treating at our house for Halloween.  So today I made these little treat buckets and dropped them off at Grandma's house for delivery later this week.

I found the little orange buckets in the dollar spot at Target - 2 for $1.00.  They may still be available if you check a local store.

I set up a couple of files in Design Studio to make the decorations.  For the Halloween items I used Paper Doll Dress Up for the ghost, bat, cat & spider and A Child's Year for the witch on the broom.  I checked "weld" on all of the but the witch to eliminate the detail or "webbing" lines and avoid having so many tiny cuts in my vinyl.
By using Design Studio I could fit many more items into the space with a few rotations and some nudging.  When I cut vinyl I use blade depth 4, medium pressure to "kiss cut" the vinyl so that the backing remains intact.  This makes it easy to remove the tiny items by bending the vinyl at the cut line and peeling.  Be sure to smooth the vinyl down firmly on your mat to make sure it does not shift while cutting.

The names on each bucket were done with Keystone.  I welded them and adjusted the height to three quarters of an inch.  I cut everything from Wall Pops because I didn't need much room and the 6 1/2 inch stripes worked perfectly with very little waste - I actually have some leftover from the name mat.

The buckets have candy and a Halloween pencil (also from the Target dollar spot - 10 for $1).  I put in some green paper shred to make them a bit more festive.  Here you can see them in an apple basket ready to go with Grandma.  You may notice that there are more than six.  I decided to make extra buckets for the big sisters of the triplets as well - the oldest is 24 (I hope she doesn't mind being "one of the kids"!).

Just a reminder - Jen and I are doing several Design Studio classes this week - Word Books, Getting Started and Creating with Shapes.  check the Let me Show you How to Do that blog for times and details.