Friday, August 31, 2012

Something New from Dover Publishing

I have written about Dover Publishing fairly often in the past since I frequently use images from their free samples or from books that I have purchased.  I received an email from Dover announcing a new way to buy their royalty free artwork.

Dover Pictura will sell books (full collections of images) or a single page from a book (an "image sheet").   Instead of shipping the book and/or CD you now have the option to buy content as digital downloads.  The prices are significantly lower than the prices for the books and CDs, you have access to your purchases right away and there is no shipping.  Once you purchase an image or collection, you have unlimited downloads and can use it on any of your devices (you must be a registered user - guest user links expire after 48 hours).

When you register as a new user on the site, you will get a confirming email with a code that will allow you to download three images sheets for free.  I chose the butterflies at the top of this post and I am still deciding on my other two free downloads.  I have a plan for the butterflies - maybe I'll have time to work with them this weekend...

Did you see the Blue Moon?  We won't have another one until July 31, 2015!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gift Card Holder - part one

This gift card holder with a pretty shape is from the Cricut  Artiste cartridge.  I used the stamped banner for a card earlier this month (the stamp is from one of the three coordinating sets that are bundled with the cartridge).  I liked it so much that I used it again for this holder.  It is part of a bigger project that I'll share as soon as I can.  Thanks again for all of the good wishes you have sent to my husband for a speedy recovery from his injury - I have been pretty preoccupied with taking care of him and some other family events.

If you are thinking about purchasing the Artiste cartridge, it is available only through Close to my Heart consultants.  My friend Melanie Brown is a consultant and she would be happy to help you.  Melanie's site is HERE.   The Cricut Artiste Cartridge bundle is HERE on her site - it includes three coordinating stamp sets and three sheets of chipboard shapes. 

Friday, August 31st,  is the last chance to order the Artiste cartridge and get the August Stamp of the month (Baroque Borders) for $5.   The September Stamp of the Month is Fall Favorites.  Until September 30th, you can also get the special National Stamping Month set for only $5 - it is a double set you can see HERE and you add it to  your cart HERE.

Here is a peek inside the gift card holder.  These are so quick and easy to make - just  score and fold on a few lines, add some adhesive, and your card has a pretty presentation.  This card holder is on page 55 of the cartridge handbook (letter G key, card function).

Melanie has an additional special offer for the month of August.  If you buy the Artiste bundle through her, she will put your name in a drawing to win a brand new Cricut E2 machine with purple end caps.  Friday will be the last day to receive a chance to win - it will be very exciting for one lucky crafter when she draws the winner!

There are lots of special offers and sales for the Labor Day weekend - both online and in stores.  I hope you find some great deals if you go shopping! 

Lettering Delights has a huge new bundle of simple cuttable shapes in many file formats for a special price of $49, ending August 31st.  Click HERE to go to the site and then click on "What's New" to find the Simple Shapes Super Plus Bundle.  If you first order the freebie of the month and check out, you will receive a coupon code for 25% off with your order confirmation email to use on your order.

I am a bit behind on email with everything that has happened this week - I'll try to catch up over the weekend.  If you have sent a question and you don't get an answer from me by Tuesday, please send another message.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Memory Manager 4.0 Upgrade

I have been getting calls and messages from people who are interested in the new upgrade to Creative Memories Memory Manager program.  The new version will be 4.0.  If you already have Memory Manager 3.0, you will be able to upgrade to the new version.  If you have an earlier version but never upgraded to 3.0, you will need to buy the new full program.

The downloads for both the full program and the upgrade from 3.0 are supposed to be available on September 1st (Saturday).  I'll post links as soon as they are available.  You can read more about the program HERE on my Creative Memories personal website.  There is an introductory video HERE.  The new version has facial recognition for tagging your photos and  one click enhancement using Perfectly Clear™ by Athentech Imaging.

If you want to get a head start on learning the features of the Memory Manager 4.0 program, there are already ten training videos on the Creative Memories You Tube Channel HERE.

I'll need to drive my husband to appointments and work for the next couple of days but I do intend to get back to the craftroom as soon as possible - it is in a state of chaos since I had moved everything off the shelves to shift things around just before he had the accident.  Thanks again for all of the messages, prayers and good wishes for a speedy recovery - his stitches come out next week.

I hope that you have some nice plans for the upcoming Labor Day weekend holiday - I think things will be pretty quiet for us.  No more home improvement projects for the time being! 

(The image at the top of this post has nothing to do with Memory Manager - it is just a layered doily design for the Sihouette that I haven't had a chance to test cut yet). 

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Old Friends and a "find" at Costco

We have lived in many places, sometimes for just a year or two.  When our boys were younger, we spent nearly three years living in Germany and then we moved and spent another five years in England.  When you move a lot, you are constantly meeting new people and saying goodbye to old friends.  This can be hard, but sometimes you do manage to keep in touch with people long after your paths have parted.

Today, our friends from Italy were in town and we had a brief but wonderful visit.  They did some sight seeing in town and I cooked lots of favorite dishes for dinner.  It is always fun to see how the children have grown up - it is hard to believe that the years go by so quickly.

Their daughter is attending college nearby and is just starting her second year so we hope to meet up at least once each year while she is here.  

I bought many of the foods we had for dinner at Costco.  While I was shopping I saw that some of the holiday items are already on display.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I went to the PaperWorld trade show in Germany last January (you'll find a blog post about it HERE).  The ChristmasWorld show was at the same time and I really liked these floral LED light trees (but of course it was not possible to bring one home with me!).

While I was shopping for our dinner, I saw this smaller (but still 7 feet tall) version of the tree.  Dangerously tempting...

The tree is very beautiful - but the price is rather high (and I really don't have a spot for yet another tree).  Still...I may have to see if I can find a space (and some cash!).

You never know what you'll see in the "seasonal" area at Costco.  I have learned over the years to pick up the things I like even if it is far ahead of season because once they are gone, they may never return.  I wonder if I can convince my husband that we "need" another tree?

Thanks again for all of the thoughts and prayers.  My husband's injured  fingers are starting to heal and the stitches will come out in a week.  He'll need to keep the splints on for a while to protect the cracked fingertips - so it will be a while until everything is back to normal.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

End of Summer Sale extended

I have a quick update for any of you were trying to place an order Monday night from the Creative Memories End of Summer Sale. 

EDITED TO UPDATE - The Sale has been further extended to 10 p.m. Central Time Tuesday, August 28th

Due to problems with the server with the exceptionally heavy traffic, the sale has been extended to 12:00 Noon CST Tuesday, August 28th - so if you are reading this Tuesday morning, you still have a chance to place an order.  You can click HERE to go to the sale page on my CM personal website.  I hope that all of the issues are resolved and I apologize in advance if you run into difficulties and can't take advantage of the sale.

Thanks for all of the kind messages and good wishes for my husband's speedy recovery.  He is doing the best he can with two fingers in splints.  Aside from the pain, I think it bothers him that he won't be able to work on his project for a few weeks.

I'll be back to normal posting in another day or two - thanks for your understanding. 

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Amazing Oz Centerpieces

I've been wanting to share something amazing that my brother made for the National Convention for the International Wizard of Oz Club, but I had to wait until the event occurred for these centerpieces to be "revealed."

You can read more about the steps that went into making these and see many more photos on my brother's blog, The Oz Enthusiast.  Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

I think they are just wonderful and I want to get my hands on some of the metallic crepe paper he used to make the husks!  Please leave him a comment if you pop over to his blog.  If you are interested in the Wizard of Oz and the artwork from the original books, you'll find lots of interesting posts there.

We had planned to do lots more work on our remodeling and rearranging projects today but that didn't happen.  My husband injured two of his fingers when a piece of wood he was cutting kicked back at him - thank goodness it wasn't the blade!  We spent most of the afternoon at the emergency room where they stitched him up and added splints to protect the fingers since the top bones were cracked by the impact.  The projects will just have to wait while he heals.  We are very grateful for the care he received by the emergency crew and our local hospital. 

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

One thing leads to another...

While figuring out where to put my great new shelving from Freecycle, I realized that there was only one spot that would work.  This meant emptying out a huge set of cubbyholes and moving it to the other room.  The wall behind the cubbyholes had not been painted (because it was such a big piece and very full of stuff!).

So...Saturday was painting and moving day.  I painted the wall and then decided that I really needed to paint the area on the other side of the door and had to move out three more bookcases - one thing really does lead to another -and all started by a free shelving unit.

My craft area is in our walk out lower level.  There were two finished room when we bought the house but the painting seems to be just a primer.  I had painted most of the main room a couple of years ago but just couldn't face moving everything to get behind the biggest pieces of furniture.  Here is the first wall when I started...

...and here it is after the first coat.  The color is called "Chai" and we have used it in other rooms in our house.  I finished two coats on the walls and then did all of the trim (Navajo White).

We had dinner with friends (and another birthday celebration) and when we got home the paint was dry and the shelves could be put in place.   They just fit in this spot.  I had measured but I didn't realize that the short wall is a bit crooked so my number was about an inch off.  Each of the 12 spots will hold four of the Iris project cases - I can't wait to fill it up!

I still have lots of work to do to get things back into place and reorganized.  I'll definitely be doing some purging to get rid of things I no longer need (old Creative Memories catalogs, bits and pieces that I have saved that I "might" be able to use or alter and lots of scrap paper that my little friends up the street will be happy to play with).

While I was moving things around, I found these stamps that I bought at the flea market in Wellfleet last month.  The dealer thought that had been used for making store ads.  There was an odd assortment of words and I settled on "opera" and "kangaroo" to bring home.  (I wanted to get three but she wouldn't make me a deal so I got stubborn and just bought these two).

The stamp surface is old and rather brittle but I did manage to get an image.  I may use these on a collage or some altered art or I may just display the stamps in a shadow box.  I wonder if there is an opera that has a kangaroo in the story?

Design Studio updates on

I had a phone call from a friend who was looking for the links to update the Cricut Design Studio.  When they redid the website, the entire section where the updates used to be found disappeared (I wonder how many of my blog posts that talk about the updates have links that just go nowhere now... ).

The Design Studio program has not been updated since May of 2010 but there are content updates for new cartridges.  If you haven't updated and you are looking for the download links, you can click HERE to go to a post on the Cricut message board with temporary links.

Reminder - The Creative Memories End of Summer Sale will be over on Monday, August  27th at 10 p.m. Central Time.  You can read more details about the sale on my post HERE and if you don't have a consultant and would like to shop with me online for delivery direct to your home click HERE to go to my CM Personal Website.

I hope you are having a great weekend.  If you are in the areas where the tropical storm/hurricane is headed please be careful!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

A Great Freecycle Find!

Happy Friday!  I hope you have some nice plans for the weekend - it's hard to believe that summer is nearly over.  We have been enjoying the slightly cooler weather.   The days are getting shorter and there have been some beautiful evening skies over our neighborhood.

I was out and about on Thursday - checking out another scrapbook store from the shop hop and doing the usual errands.  I did get some time to do more organizing in my craft room(s) and I stumbled on to a very lucky find.  When our son was getting ready to move to an apartment this spring, I discovered

Here is the description from the website. 

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,057 groups with 9,061,088 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free. 

I signed up on our local list which is run through a Yahoo group.  It is fun to see the sorts of things that are offered - everything from old National Geographics to baby clothes.  Today an email came through with a bookshelf described as "nine segment."  That caught my eye and I checked out the photo on the group page (there isn't always a photo but it is helpful when there is one to give you a better idea of the offer).

As soon as I saw this photo on the website, I rushed to answer the offering message.  I could see that this would be a fabulous solution for storing my ever-expanding paper collection.

After a few messages back and forth, I arranged to pick up the bookcase in a neighboring town.  It is now in my garage, waiting for me to rearrange some other pieces of furniture - my project for the weekend!  After I took this photo, I brought one of my Iris plastic 12 x 12 paper cases out to the garage and it was a perfect fit!  I am so excited to have discovered a great (free!) solution for my "paper problem" and very motivated to finish the never ending reorganization of my space.

I have lots of things around the house that I can list and pass along to someone who can use them.  I think it is a great solution for finding new homes for good objects that you no longer need.  If you haven't heard of this organization, it would be worth checking to see if there is a group in your area.

No project photos to share today - I have some more things finished but didn't have time to edit the photos for posting.   I did take a photo of the wonderful tricolore salad (fresh tomato, basil from the garden and fresh mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar) we had for dinner.  It was delicious!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sunflower Thanks Card

This card is another example of the inset designs that I like to create with the Silhouette Cameo.  I wrote about my method for making these cards earlier this month (HERE).  The only difference is that the design in the center of the card is something I drew instead of using a shape from the Silhouette Online Store.

After I created the shape and set it into the card front, I used the outer line of the image to create and offset and subtracted that shape from a 4 x 5.25 inch rectangle to create a decorative top layer on the card.  I made an offset of the oval shape to create the mat that I added to the inside of the card.

Here are the pieces I cut for the card.  I used the Cuttlebug Combo "Everyday Greetings" die to cut the "thanks" sentiment.

The card base is brown Core'dinations textured cardstock and the decorative papers are from this "Moonrise" collection by SEI.

The Core'dinations cardstock has a colored core but it is a bit lighter and sometimes shows on the inside of the sharp cuts.   I don't like the way it looks when this happens - it detracts from the cut.

I used some Vintage Photo distress ink to ink the center of the card and cover all of the lighter brown areas.  I also inked the white edges of the patterned paper cuts.

I deliberately cut the sentiment so the stripes in the paper would be at an angle - I just think it is more interesting this way!  This card would work as a vertical or a horizontal card.

The mat on the inside is centered to fill the cut design with color when you view the closed card.  To hide the writing inside, you need to write only in the area directly beneath the oval shape in the center of the cutout design. 

Once you have designed the file, it would be easy to make a set of these cards with various papers for the front mat and inside layer.  I have the whole stack of the SEI paper to work with so I might try some variations - I'll post them if I do.

Thanks for the positive feedback about my potential new venture selling some of my files.  Would you be interested in the more generic files like this one or just the specialty photo cutting files.  I am working on setting up a "shop" and may be putting out a call for a few file testers who use machines or programs that I don't own in another week or so.

We have had some nice weather here - I hope it sticks around for the weekend!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Double Happy Birthday

Our little neighbors turned three this month.  We have triplets and twins in my husband's family and it is fun to have another set of twins living right up the street.  I made their birthday cards using the Artiste Cricut cartridge which is available exclusively from Close To My Heart Consultants.  My friend Melanie Brown (of Courtney Lane Designs and Everyday Cricut) is a consultant and she would be happy to help you with any questions. 

I browsed through the handbook and started choosing some shapes.  This cartridge has some very nice welded phrases and word art and the "Birthday Girl" and the "years old" were perfect for my card.  I used Design Studio to help me see how things would look and to take the guesswork out of sizing each piece that I would be cutting for the cards.  I used a total of nine cuts from the cartridge.

Here are all of the pieces for one card, ready to assemble.  I'll give you a list of the cuts and sizes to make it easier:

The card base is on page 57 of the handbook (card function, shift) and I cut it at 5.5 inches.  The purple cardstock is from Martha Stewart.

I found a shape that worked to layer on the card on page 77 of the handbook (card function, no shift) and I cut it two times at 4.5 inches (the dark pink silk texture cardstock is from American Crafts and the pink design for the inside of the card is by Martha Stewart).  I cut another of this shape at 4.75 inches (in green Core Couture glitter cardstock from Core'dinations).

The "Birthday Girl" phrase and the tiara are on page 69 of the handbook.  I cut the "Birthday Girl" base at 2 inches from  American Crafts white pearl cardstock.  The letters "G I R L" (also at 2 inches) and the tiara (at 1.5 inches) are cut from DCWV Dazzle paper in silver.

The "years old" phrase is on page 70 and I cut it at 1 inch from the same American Crafts dark pink cardstock that I used on the front layer.  The number "3" is cut at 1 inch from the dark pink cardstock and the "burst" shape behind the number 3 is on page 44 and was cut at 2.25 inches from the same white pearl cardstock that I used for the phrase on the front of the card.

Whew! - that's a long list of cuts but it was really quite easy and quick to make the cuts once I figured things out on the computer.  I did not cut from the computer but simply used it to figure out the correct sizes for all of the cuts.  You can also do this with the Cricut Craftroom program.  If you are using a Gypsy, you would probably just go ahead and cut from it after determining the sizes.

You could cut the "Birthday Girl" and skip the top layer for a different look.  I wanted to tie the tiara and the words together so I added the sparky letter layers.

I sized the tiara to extend over the edges of the mat shape and then hand trimmed the sides before adhering it to the green layer.

There is not an actual shadow layer for the shape that I used so I cut it at just 1/4 inch larger to create the contrasting line of green color and add more sparkle to the card front.  You can get away with this for small increments but if you cut a significantly larger shape the proportions will be off a bit. 

I lined up the tiara on a straight line in the pink textured cardstock and also measure the distance from the side points with a ruler to keep the tiara level on the shape.  I didn't save the dot for the "i" because I knew I wanted to add a gem sticker for the dot.

One large foam dot would have been fine to raise up the burst shape with the number three, however, I wanted to use three dots since it was a third birthday card (crazy, I know!).

I could have taken this a step further and added a circle with a pin behind the shape so it could be taken off and worn for the big day (a few ribbons attached to the medallion would make the pin even more festive).

I tied some sparkly sheer ribbon around the fold of the card - this helped to hide the "tick marks" that I usually eliminate by checking "weld" when I am using the software or the Gypsy device. 

A little purple gem finishes off the card front.

I put the cards in large envelopes that are meant for an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper folded in half.  This left plenty of room for the bulky card.

It was fun to look through the Artiste handbook and find so many pretty things I could add to my cards.  As I looked for the images I wanted to use, I was once again amazed to see how much content is included on this cartridge.  This is definitely a cartridge that you can use over and over again.  It is sold only in a bundle with three stamp sets and three sheets of chipboard shapes that coordinate with the cartridge cuts.

Remember, the deal is even better now for the bundle.  You can get the cartridge with the three included stamps sets and three sheets of chipboard shapes for $99 and then add both the stamp of the month for $5 and then the National Stamping Month double stamp set for another $5 - so for $109 (plus tax and shipping) you can get the cartridge, three sheets of chipboard and six stamp sets!  Melanie will be happy to answer any questions you have before you order - you can contact her through her blog, Courtney Lane Designs HERE or her website HERE.

Melanie has an additional special offer for the month of August.  If you buy the Artiste bundle through her, she will put your name in a drawing to win a brand new Cricut E2 machine with purple end caps.

The days are getting shorter and it is a bit cooler.  I wanted to share this photo of the beautiful sky we saw over our neighborhood on Tuesday night - fabulous colors!

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