Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Embossed Leaf Punches

A few days ago I posted a peek at a card my neighbor made using punches she borrowed from me.  These punches are the Nellie Snellen punches that Mandy, Enfys and I were so impressed with at the PaperWorld/CreativeWorld trade show in Germany last January.

Here is another peek at Nancy's card.  The punches are available in a number of flower shapes and several different leaves.

There are two punches in each set - one to punch the shape and one to emboss the shape.

This is the inside of the embossing punch (I guess it isn't actually a "punch" - it is just for embossing!).

After you punch the shape with the first punch, you simply place it in the embosser, close the top and "punch" again.

The effect is wonderful - the leaves are so much more lifelike with the veins added and the subtle rounding of the shape to make it more three dimensional.

For the card at the top of this post I used both the three leaf cluster and the single leaf.

Here is the before and after photo for the single leaf.

I'll post the details about my card separately - I just wanted to let you know about the punches since several people had asked me about them.

These punches are available in Australia in the Scrappy-Go-Lucky store HERE.  They are quite heavy so I am not sure if Mandy can ship them to the US (I'll check with her and post her answer as soon as I can).  I checked with Mandy and you can order from her in Australia.  The shipping will be calculated when you put the items in the cart so you can decide if the shipping cost is acceptable (they are heavy).  She did also point out that the GST (tax) does not apply to shipments that are sent out of the country so the prices would be 10% lower than what you see listed.

I think they add such a nice touch to projects and it's great that you can totally customize the flowers and leaves by using your own papers.

I am trying to catch back up to my usual schedule of posting the night before for the following day - so there will be another short post today...and two will end up on the email tomorrow morning.  Summer is playing havoc with my timing!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

A Bright And Cheerful Birthday Card

The bright colors and pretty patterns on this card just make me smile!  I used digital files from Cosmo Cricket from the DeLovely line.  Everything except the card base was printed on my regular home printer on textured white American Crafts cardstock.

I made all of the pieces to fit the card base that I designed and set up one file to cut the pieces.  When you are doing a print and cut project with the Silhouette software you need to add the registration marks (the small black square in the upper left corner and the two "L" shaped lines at the top right and bottom left).  The machine will use these marks to align the cuts with the edges of the printed designs.

I have a normal size printer so I could only use and 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of cardstock.  I am seriously thinking about getting a wide format printer so I would be able to do full 12 x 12 pages.  I am frustrated by the fact that I actually own a machine (the Imagine) that will print 12 x 12 - and very nicely - but I can only use it with cartridges.

I cut out the card base from some heavy Martha Stewart cardstock in a greenish blue that coordinates with the detail lines on the flowers.  In my original file I had chosen a darker shade of green but I think this color works well with the patterned papers.

The card base is an original design that I made by simply drawing in the Silhouette Studio program.  I really like having the ability to edit the design point by point so I can make exactly what I want to make!

I had sized the inner layer to the exact size of the card front (4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches) in my file but I realized that I should have make it slightly smaller so I trimmed a sliver from each of the four sides.  I did this because I  had very carefully centered the pattern on the paper to match the openings in the card front and I didn't want to throw the design off center.  I'll fix the file for the next time I make this card!

I don't like to put a tight lining on a card with a cutout design so I added adhesive only on the top of the liner piece and centered it inside the card.  Then I folded the top down to adhere the liner to the card.

This allows the card design to be seen a bit better and also keeps the front from puckering as it can when there is too much adhesive holding two papers together.

The liner stays in place but the open cuts can "show off" a little bit more by leaving the bottom half free of adhesive. 

Next, I added the yellow layer with the cut out coordinated with the card design.

The small flower fits nicely in the center diamond.  I used a foam dot to raise the flower up a bit for more dimension on the card front.

I printed two version of the "Happy Birthday" sentiment and auditioned them on the card front.  I decided to go with the white background so the sentiment would stand out a bit more.  I could have just printed the words on the top layer but I wanted them to be separate so they would be more noticeable.

I added a small bright pink gem sticker to the center of the flower for just a touch of sparkle.  I restrained myself from adding any more bling!

I was lucky to have a gem in just the right shade of pink.

I like to add a liner to the insides of most cards to make them more "finished."  I used a piece of the textured white cardstock and cut it at 4 x 5 1/2 inches.  Then I punched the top and bottom with a Martha Stewart border punch called "Loops."  The top of the card is covered with the back of the pink patterned paper with the large printed flower added.


When I adhered the flower to the top liner, I added adhesive in an "L" shape to leave an opening.

This makes a pocket for an gift card, an artist trading card or even some folded cash.

If you would like more directions on actually creating the print and cut page, please leave a comment and I'll try to do a tutorial or video (or both!).

I actually got to cut out several designs after I got home from the dentist - I just need to do some more assembling and photographing to get them ready to post.  I hope your week got off to a good start!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back in the Craftroom...at last!

It has been such a busy summer.  With everything we have going on I haven't had time to make nearly as many projects as usual.  When I have some free time, I am not always home with my supplies.  So I have been doing a lot of designing on my computer and now I am finally getting a chance to turn those designs into finished projects.

If you are a long time follower of my blog, you know that I like to make cards with cut out designs.  I started years ago doing the aperture cards with initials welded in the opening with my Cricut machines and Design Studio.  I still make those types of designs by using "hide contour" to embed an image into a card front.  Over the years, many cartridges have come out that have designs using this technique (most recently, the A Quilted Christmas cartridge).

I have started to design my own shapes with the Silhouette Studio software.  I'd love to do this with the Cricut, however, it is much more difficult to create totally original designs.  You have to start with a shape on a cartridge and the options for aligning, shadowing and rotating your design are not as extensive as they are in the Silhouette program.

There are still lots of times when I use the Cricut because it is the fast and easy alternative, so I really do have a foot in both worlds.  I have found the Silhouette option for print and cut projects to be much better than the Imagine.  I like that I can use any digital papers or elements that I own and even create my own unique papers and images.  For a card that I made this weekend, I used the DeLovely collection from Cosmo Cricket.  I bought this while they were still selling their designs in digital format through Jessica Sprague.

I did pull out my Imagine for a little while this weekend and printed some full sheets of paper.  I have had only marginally acceptable results on most of the print and cut images that I want to cut "on the line" with the Imagine.  Maybe if I spend more time doing the advanced calibration again I'll be able to get better alignment.

In the meanwhile, I do like printing full sheets of 12 x 12 paper.  I have managed to collect quite a few Imagine cartridges and there are some very pretty papers available.  I do wish that I could unlock the machine so I could use it as a 12 x 12 printer to print my other digital papers.

Well, I got sidetracked by the Olympics and I have a early dentist appointment, so I'll have to share the finished card and details of how I made it on Monday.

I hope you had a great weekend!

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Sidewalk Sale

For the first time in quite a while we have a weekend at home with no visitors or events planned.  It turned out to be a sunny day (in the morning and early afternoon) and our town had a sidewalk sale.  Every so often there are special markets in our tiny downtown area.  A few blocks are closed to traffic (there is an easy detour route) and we can stroll right in the center of the streets for a while.

It was a hot day so the little pop up tents were greatly appreciated!  I looked for some shoes at the store on the left but didn't find any today.

The "lady lamp" was out of the lamp shop and attracting attention to the sale table.  (You may remember seeing this before in another post about downtown Concord).

There was music, food and entertainment.  This Chef was demonstrating his talents and offering some free tastes - the strawberry shortcake was delicious!

We have several antique shops in town and I had fun looking through their displays.  I only made one small purchase - a flower pot for our outside plant stand.

The most unusual thing I saw was this skirt made from fabric yo-yos.  I wonder what you wear as a first layer since this was definitely a "see through" fashion!

If you don't know how to make fabric yo-yos, I did a post last summer HERE with some simple directions.  I used sparkly gold netting for the yo-yo behind this sentiment sticker.

This spinner was at the booth of a local real estate company.  I liked the shape of the central stars as well as the overall design so I snapped a photo for reference.  It should be fairly simple to draw a similar star in the Silhouette Studio software.

In the afternoon, we had a good amount of rain with thunder and lightening.  The power went out several times and I didn't do any test cutting of my backlog of projects .  Maybe I'll get to do that on Sunday....

I hope you are having a great weekend!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

A Gift from a Friend

Today is my friend Marilyn Mae's birthday - Happy Birthday Marilyn Mae!  I've known her for a few years.  She was a follower of my blog and one day called me up with some questions about Design Studio.  We talk on the phone every so often and I finally got to meet her in person at the Tim Holtz classes this spring.  In fact, without her help I wouldn't have been able to get signed up for the classes.

Marilyn Mae doesn't have a blog but she makes wonderful things.  She is much better than I am about getting cards sent to people - if I mention that I have a bit of a cold in a post on my blog, the next thing I know there is a get well card from Maine in my mailbox.  When we were together for the Tim Holtz weekend, she gave me an amazing album and I told her I'd like to share it with my blog readers.  

She told me it was fine to post photos of the book but that I should give credit to Laura Denison of Following the Paper Trail since she used Laura's design to create the album.  You can click on the red links to see the Following the Paper Trail blog and website.  I am not sure which set of directions Marilyn Mae used, so I hope she will pop in and tell us so I can add a link directly to the proper set.   

ETA The pattern she used is called Stack the Deck with Pockets Mini Album - just click on the name to go to the page on Laura's site where you can buy the pattern.

Please be sure to leave a comment for Marilyn Mae - to wish her a Happy Birthday and to tell her what a great job she did with this book - I just love it!

(just click on the photos to see them at a larger size)

front of album
spine of album
back cover
inside front cover
first page insert flipped over
first page insert unfolded
pages 2 and 3
pages 4 and 5 first view
pages 4 and 5 insert opened
pages 6 and 7
flamingo on page 7
pages 8 and 9 with insert opened
pages 8 and 9 back of insert
pages 10 and 11
page 12 and inside back cover
page 12 insert opened
inside back cover
black insert in each of the six pocket pages

There are so many little pockets and tags or inserts for adding photos or journaling.  I am fond of butterflies and she used lots and lots of them in this book.  I spotted some bits and pieces that I had sent Marilyn Mae sprinkled in on many pages.

I hope you find a lot of inspiration from these photos.   I know that I want to try to make something along these lines now that I have a bit more crafting time (and I know where I'll be sending it when I finish!).

Happy Birthday Marilyn Mae!  May you have many more wonderfully crafty years ahead.

Have a great weekend - it is the first weekend in quite a while that we will be home with no travel plans or visitors. 

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