Friday, December 31, 2010

Problem with downloads...

Thank you to everyone who has let me know that there is a problem with the file downloads.  I have contacted 4shared and hope to have the problem sorted out soon but since it is New Year's Eve and then the weekend I am not sure how quickly they will respond.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to sort this out and we are heading off to celebrate with some friends so I won't be posting anything "crafty" today.  I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year's Eve celebration - and Happy New Year!  to my friends in Australia, Europe and other places that are have already reached 2011!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Dressing Up" an Imagine Card


I haven't had a lot of time to post about the Imagine but I have been using it for some quick projects.  I still can't get the calibration to work perfectly and I need to spend some time troubleshooting.  I also feel a bit stifled by the inability to adjust all of the things I'd like to be able to modify to make my own custom designs.  For example, I'd like to be able to control the scale of the papers because a lot of them are smaller than I'd like when they are scaled to the image size.   I would love to be able to use my own paper designs and not be limited to those available on the cartridges.

I have to say that it is a good tool when you need a very quick and easy project.  This card is an example of a totally predesigned card from the bonus content on the Country Carnival cartridge.

The cut line was not precisely at the edge of the printed card so I inked the edges with some brown ink.  This is a pretty card but it seemed too "prefab" to me and I thought I would try to customize it a little by adding some embellishments.

The printed card has a thin border strip which was a perfect place to add some pearls.  When I put a white pearl on the card the color contrast was too harsh.

I used a tan ProMarker to color the small white gradient pearl stickers and the pearl brad in the center of the vintage brown velvet poppy from Creative Charms.

It is very easy to color the tiny pearls while they are still on the plastic backing sheet.

The color difference on the pearls is subtle but effective.

I also added just a bit of Stickles glitter glue in the printed flower centers.

The back of the card is also printed.  I'd like to be able to have the option of eliminating the color to save ink but this card is one of the bonus items on the cartridge and can't be edited.

With the addition of just a few extras, I was able to give this card a more handcrafted look and it took very little time to make.  If you need a thank you card in a hurry this one works very well!

Only one day left in 2010 - I'll be busy trying to finish all of the things I need to do on Friday.  We are looking forward to seeing some old friends on New Year's Eve.  Our older son was finally able to leave for his vacation and the planes were all flying on time - what a difference a few days make!

If you want to be included in the random draw for the set of ProMarkers from Letraset please be sure to leave your comment on the original post at THIS LINK.  These are the only comments that will be included  - one comment per person please.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A favorite file converted for Gypsy users.

A couple of years ago I designed some cards that I called "stair step" cards.  There is another completely different style of card called a "stair step" card that I was not familiar with at the time (I might have chosen a different name if I knew it could cause confusion!).  I have recently had several requests for these files in the .gypsy format so I converted the file for the card above and test cut it tonight.  This card uses the Alphalicious font and either George or Plantin Schoolbook (there are two separate files for the base card).

Here is a LINK to the post where I first shared this card.  These cards are fun to make and there are so many variations that are possible starting from the basic card.  With a little imagination you can make this style of card for any occasion.

This was one of the first stairstep cards I did and you can read more about it at THIS POST.  A blog reader and message board friend sent me an image of a card she wanted to try to make and I figured out a way to cut something similar with the Cricut.  Once I got started it was fun to try all sorts of different ideas and I developed the double stairstep card idea and used fonts with a stencil version to cut words into the "steps."

This is another variation of the card - here is a LINK to the original post.

I have converted the two files and tested the base card cut for the "happy happy" card.  Please let me know if you need one of the other variations and I will try to convert and test cut those for posting as well.  I am happy to share my files for personal use.  Please respect my terms in the left side column and do not convert my files and post or distribute them on a blog, group, post on a messageboard, etc.  They are also not to be used for contests or claimed as your original work for publication submissions.

We are still busy with holiday events and I get a lot of email everyday.  Today was the last day our older son was here with us - he flies to Mexico tomorrow.  If you send me a message and don't hear back right away it is entirely possible that your message was not seen so please try again if you are looking for some help or an answer to a question.  I do my best to answer all messages but it can be difficult to keep up, especially at busy times of the year.

If you want to be included in the random draw for the set of ProMarkers from Letraset please be sure to leave your comment on the original post at THIS LINK.  These are the only comments that will be included  - one comment per person please.

Double Stairstep Happy Happy (George)
Double Stairstep Happy Happy (Plantin Schoolbook)

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Thank You card and a new set of ProMarkers...

I am happy to see that quite a few people have found the quick video I did about grouping in Design Studio helpful - I will do more as soon as I can.  Today was another busy and family filled day for us.  The snowstorm was intense but relatively short and our roads and services are pretty much back to normal.  We had most of the family here this evening (a few couldn't make it due to work schedules) and I have been pretty busy with all the food preparation and visiting.

After everyone left, I had a chance to  spend a little time trying out some recent arrivals.  I ordered these stamps by Heartfelt Creations from Terri at Stamps Alive and, as usual, they arrived in record time.  These stamps are designed to coordinate with the Spellbinders Blossom 2 Nestabilities dies.

I visited the Heartfelt Creations booth at CHA this summer and I was very impressed by their products.


I used the next to the largest die and stamp - you can see how perfectly they fit in the photo above.

I decided to try something different and embossed the stamped image.  You can see the finished image at the top of this photo and the image before I applied the heat gun at the bottom of the image.  The transformation is always magical!

I used this metallic blue embossing powder from American Crafts called "Zing" - this is my favorite brand of embossing powder.

Here is my stamped and embossed image after I cut it out with the Nestabilities die.  I had a bit of trouble lining things up and had to do a little hand trimming.  I checked on the Heartfelt Creations site and found a better way to cut the images that I will try next time.

A couple of weeks ago I told you that I had received a package with something interesting to share with one of my readers.  It was this set of 12 ProMarkers that also includes a fine liner pen.

The colors in this set are Henna, Ruby, Bright Orange, Canary, Lime Green, Forest Green, Sky Blue, Indigo Blue, Amethyst, Rose Pink, Cool Grey 4 and Black (along with the bonus black fine liner pen).

I used the Sky Blue, Rose Pink and Amethyst to color the flower.  The Rose Pink and the Amethyst worked together nicely to give a highlight to the larger petals in the design.  I added just a bit of shading in the blue sections with an extra application of the Sky Blue marker along the edge after the first coloring had dried.

After I colored the flower, I cut another flower from light blue Core'dinations Couture glitter cardstock using the largest die in the set.  I also cut the "thanks" sentiment using the "With Gratitude" Cuttlebug cut and emboss set.  The card base is a dark blue Bazzill cardstock.


I wanted to add a pearl brad to the center of the flower so I used the handy "hook" tool from the Cricut tool kit to make a starter hole.  

I usually have some of these pearl brads left over when I change out the centers of the Vintage Velvet Poppies from Creative Charms.

I flattened the ends of the brad so I could adhere the colored flower to the larger glitter flower.  You will notice that the ProMarker alcohol inks bleed through the cardstock - this is completely normal but you do need to remember to color with a few layers of paper for protection under the stamped image so your table surface that won't be damaged.

Here is a closer view of the glittered cardstock and the flower.  These three colors from the set of twelve work nicely together.

This is a simple card but it was fun to try some new tools and techniques to make it.

Letraset has given me an extra set of these markers to give to one lucky blog reader.  I was going to do a mini blog hop with my "evil twin" Okie (she will also be giving away a set of these markers).  Unfortunately, Okie has been under the weather with a terrible cold so she has not been able to do much crafting.

I think Okie is starting to feel better, so there will soon be some more ProMarker coloring projects on her blog to inspire you.  We are both still getting familiar with these markers and have found them to be easy to use and fun to experiment with!

If you would like to try the ProMarkers, this would be a great set to get you started.  The markers are also sold individually and are quite reasonably priced so you can build your collection in certain color groups as you work with the markers.  You can find ProMarkers online at Carpe Diem, Art Supplies Online and other art supply stores.

Please leave a comment on this post and be sure that there is a way for me to contact you (blog, message board name, email address - with the "at" and "dot" typed out to help you avoid spam).  I will pick a winner next Wednesday, the 5th of January, so leave your comment by Tuesday night. 

There are just a few days left in this year - do you have any resolutions for the new year?  I am working on mine...

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Grouping and Resizing in Design Studio

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I generally work with the Design Studio software and in many ways, I prefer it to the Gypsy.  I am planning to do a post with a side by side comparison of the Gypsy and Design Studio soon, however, today I saw some comments on the Cricut Message Board and realized that there are many people who do not understand all of the capabilities of the software.

I haven't made any videos for quite a while for reasons that are a bit complicated and I don't think they are appropriate to share here.  However, when I read some of the complaints and saw that some of the frustrations people have with Design Studio are due to the lack of information on how to use it, I decided to go ahead and make a video to show you how to create simple or complex designs, group them and resize them to suit your projects.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need help with this - it really is pretty simple to do.

I hope you are getting a chance to relax after the hectic holidays.  The snow is finally stopping but we did get a lot of accumulation and everything is moving pretty slowly today.  Our son has managed to rebook his vacation and the silver lining is that he will actually be with us until Thursday.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day and a Snowstorm

When we lived in England we always enjoyed the Boxing Day holiday.  (Here is a LINK to the Wikipedia entry about Boxing Day if you are not familiar with this holiday).  We were planning to host most of our extended family at our home today but a winter storm has changed a lot of plans all over the East Coast.  Everyone is staying home out of the weather and we will try to reschedule in a day or two when the snow has cleared.  Our older son was to leave for Mexico tomorrow but flights are canceled so he is trying to sort out some new arrangements.  You do have to learn to be flexible during winter in New England!

Since 1998, my husband's mother has been making hand stitched felt ornaments for all of the grandchildren (along with the great nieces and nephews - I think she is up to nearly 50 ornaments each year!).  Traditionally, we open these ornaments on Christmas Eve and add them to the live tree in the sunroom (the rest of our trees are reusable and live in the attic during the summer).

This year, as the boys were hanging the ornaments, my younger son put together a snow person from six ornaments.  I thought it was so cute that I had to share it with you!

I am working on converting my photos of these ornaments into PNG files that I can use in my digital projects.  Here is one that I have completed.

Taking a photo of the assembled cousins on Christmas Day is always a challenge.  This is the best of the many shots I took.  If the snow stops, we hope that most of them will be able to visit on Tuesday.

Until then - this is what we will be looking at.

A few more notes....

If you are curious to know more about the publications of Northridge Publishing, the company that is publishing the new Cricut Magazine, you should visit their blog Create (just click the link to go to the post).  They are giving two digital scrapbooking kits and access to the January 2010 digital issues of Scrapbook Trends, Cards and Bead Trends.  You will need to enter your email address to access the magazines.  For a sneak peek sample of the new Cricut Magazine, click HERE.

Okie Ladybug (my "evil twin") and I had a surprise planned for this week but she has been under the weather with a bad cold so we may postpone it for a few days.  I think you may be able to figure out what we are up to if you check Monday's post.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you have a lovely holiday!   
This is still my favorite Christmas card to send to you all.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Bill!

Today is my brother's birthday.  It is a "milestone" birthday so I thought I'd embarrass him a little by writing about him on my blog.  He will always be my "baby brother" and I sometimes feel older when I hear his age than when I think about my own age!

Since he was born the day before Christmas, I was a little confused when my mother came home from the hospital with this amazing doll that actually moved and made noises.  I had received a few dolls for Christmas but I wasn't allowed to play with the new doll very much.  I have two older sisters so he was the first boy in the family and I was a little jealous that he got new clothes and toys while I had a lot of "hand-me-downs" from my sisters.

Bill is an incredibly talented artist - the image at the top of this post is a pencil drawing he made years ago of an old photograph of the two of us.  He looks a little grumpy, but I was very proud to be allowed to hold him while the photo was taken.  He painted my college graduation portrait and he has done some book illustrations, but he does most of his work in stained glass these days.

We don't get to see each other very often since he lives in the Minneapolis and he and his partner have a store in St.Paul which keeps them pretty busy.  I have written about the shop, Century Studios, a few times.  If you live in that part of the country and like stained glass and Arts and Crafts style I am sure you would enjoy a visit to the store.  Bill and Irwin are on vacation until the New Year but will be open again for regular business on January 4th.

Bill is also a collector of all things to do with the Wizard of Oz and has a blog called The Oz Enthusiast where he shares his collections.

This is a window that Bill designed based on the Oz Parade mural John R. Neill painted for Marie Lufkin. You can read all about it starting at THIS POST on his blog.

Happy Birthday Bill - and many more!

I also have a little gift for my blog readers.  Lettering Delights is now offering SVG files (scalable vector graphics) and for those of you who work with this type of file here is a LINK that will automatically download a zip file with the Nordic Christmas set of images you can see above.

9 Free Fonts

You can click this image to go to the Lettering Delights site and see more of the items they offer.  There are quite a few SVG sets and there are two more freebies, Merriment and Merriment Alpha that are available until the end of the month.  You can also save 30% on a $15 purchase with the code "Holiday Delight."

We are doing all of the usual Christmas Eve activities and putting out the luminaries along our street.  It is always a beautiful sight - if you were not reading my blog last year you can see more about  our tradition HERE.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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