Friday, January 31, 2014

New Video - Cricut Craft Room Tip

One of my goals for this year was to get back into making videos and teaching.  I wanted to get my first video up before the end of January.  Well, I made it - just in the nick of time!

There were changes to my editing program, changes in the You Tube procedures and just a little bit of stage fright.  This is a quick video the shows how to get rid of the tick marks that show you where to score a card when you are using the Cricut Craft Room.

I would love some feedback on the sound levels, video sharpness, whether it plays properly on your mobile devices and any suggestions for improvement.  I try to keep all videos short and to the point - I know you don't have time to listen to me ramble (I do enough of that here in writing!).

Please leave a comment or email me with any topics you'd like me to cover in a video.  I have a list started but will be happy to add more.

If you can't see the video, click HERE.

I hope you are having a great day! 

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Simple Adore Card and some last chances

This simple card has just a couple of unique features and it is perfect to send to your Valentine.

Adore A1123 click HERE to order

The stamp set I used is from Close To My Heart It is one of the sets that are retiring in just a few days.  You can click HERE to go to my friend Joy's CTMH website to see all of the retiring items - January 31st (Saturday) is your last chance to order them!  I used Ruby ink to stamp the image.

I stamped the heart and the sentiment on ivory cardstock cut to 3 x 4 inches.  The card base is the same ivory cardstock cut at standard A2 size (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches folded in half to make a card 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches).  The red linen print layer was cut at 4 x 5 1/4 inches - it is the back of a piece of Christmas cardstock.  You often find that the "B sides" of papers are much more neutral and will work for different holidays and occasions.

Both the stamped ivory cardstock and the red linen layer were punched with this Martha Stewart Mini Heart border punch.  This is an older punch, before they changed to the design with the folding wings.  It is a little more trouble to store but I do like the tiny detail it adds.

I punched a hole at the top of the stamped piece and threaded some satin ribbon through it, clipping the ends of the ribbon at an angle.  The ribbon is Scarlet Jewel from Papertrey Ink.

After the ribbon was added, I had to twist one side to keep the shiny side of the satin showing.  The ribbon is held in place with glue dots.

I took another piece of the same ribbon and tied a small bow.  When I put it into position, I didn't like the way it looked... I flipped it over and made all of the tails go toward the top.

I rounded the top corners of the card base, the red linen layer and the stamped piece with my ancient but very useful Creative Memories corner rounder.  I wasn't happy with the extra space at the bottom of the card - so I chopped off about a quarter inch.

This makes the design look more balanced.  It also allows a little extra space for the funny bow in an envelope.

Do you like the upside down bow?  It was a whim but I think it adds interest to a rather plain and simple card.  I am amazed that I managed to restrain the impulse to add some bling or shimmer.  (true confession - I tried some gold Smooch ink around the outside of an "oops!" stamped heart and I really didn't like the way it looked with these colors...).

There is a very long list of items that are retiring - you should hop over to Joy's site HERE to check it out.  Some of my favorites are going away (but there are lots of great things in the new catalog - ordering from that starts in February).

Last Chance Deal for LOAD 214

It is almost February 1st and I am excited to be participating in another Layout A Day challenge in February.  If one of your resolutions or goals for this year is to do more scrapbooking, the Layout a Day (LOAD) program is a wonderful help in reaching that goal.  Lain Ehmann produces this event and she is a great motivator!  Participate for the entire month and you will end up with 28 finished layouts.  You will also have lots of fun along the way with daily videos, sample layouts and a private Flickr group where participants share their pages and stories.

This time the theme is "Scrapbook Mythbusters" and we will spend the month breaking all the written and unwritten scrapbook rules that might be holding you back from creating pages and sharing your stories.

One of my pages from LOAD 513 - simple, it tells the story and it's done!

I have participated in LOAD several times and even completed the full month last May.  Paper, digital or hybrid scrappers are all welcome.  I really enjoyed working with the prompts - sometimes my pages were right on target for the prompt and other days it was more of a stretch, but the prompts do get you thinking.  The feedback in the gallery is also a very helpful.

This event only happens twice a year.  There are almost 400 people signed up and it will probably sell out.  If you have been thinking about trying LOAD, Lain is a offering a special last minute deal - use the code 28DAYS to save nearly 40% - this deal ends today, January 30th.

Click HERE to see all of the details and sign up. 

It looks like things will warm up just a bit - I hope that Groundhog doesn't see his shadow on February 2nd.  I am ready for some warm weather - or maybe just a visit to someplace warm!

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine favor bags made with Square 1 Printable Iron-on

Yesterday,  I showed you how I used the print and cut abilities of the Silhouette machine to print some Valentine images on the printable iron-on fabric from Square 1.  You can print photos or any digital art on the fabric and cut it to make customized iron-ons to decorate all sorts of projects.  You can find that post HERE.

I used a rectangle measuring 4 x 5 inches to help me size the large images to fit the bags which are 5 x 7 inches.

I fit as many images as I could on the 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of printable.  I don't like to waste the space between images so I added lots of smaller images to fill up the page.

The registration marks are added by the software to give the machine a guide for cutting in the proper place.  You can adjust the placement of the marks if you are printing just one image - I used the full sheet.  If you have the Cameo you need to set the page size to 8 1/2 x 11 and you can print the page in a regular ink jet printer.

The fabric cut beautifully - here you can see the images left on the mat after I removed the background.  I placed the shiny side of the printable iron-on fabric directly on the mat.  I used a newer mat that is quite sticky and a fabric blade. The fabric blade is the same as a regular blade but the housing is blue to help you keep it separate for use only with fabric.  I used the settings for "thick fabric like canvas" with the blade at 5, speed 5 and thickness 33.

I used a variety of digital images from several digital scrapbooking kits I have purchased over the years from Creative Memories. Creative Memories no longer offers digital options but the CM artwork can be purchased from Panstoria until March.

I saved the small images for other projects - I think they would be cute for doll clothes.

The directions on the package for the Square 1 printable iron-on fabric are simple.  The iron should be set to medium high or high (cotton) setting with no steam.  You just place the cut image in position and press for 10 - 15 seconds, taking care to see that the edges are bonded well.

The muslin bags I used are from the State Line Bag Co. and they come in a variety of sizes.  The company sent me some bags to try and these are the 5 x 7 single drawstring design.  I have a couple of tips for customizing the bags.  First, I turned the bags inside out and clipped the excess fabric at the corners to make a sharper corner.

By removing some of the excess fabric you will get a smoother look when the bag is turned - just don't cut too close to the stitching.

I also "fancied up" the drawstrings by adding beads on some bags and by replacing the cotton string with ribbon on other bags.

You can use the string that is already in the bag to pull a small ribbon through the casing.  Tie the ends together with a square knot.

Then, pull the knot tight and tug on the string to pull the ribbon through.

This bag now has thin sparkly ribbon that "dresses it up" a bit.  You could put a small gift or candy inside and use these for table favors.

The wider ribbon I used on the Teddy Bear bag was trickier to pull through.  With a little patience you can work the ribbon through the opening - particularly if it is a stiff ribbon like this one.

Changing the string to ribbon gives the bag more personality.

On the two heart bags, I just added some beads at the ends of the string.

Depending on the size of your beads, you will need to knot the string once or twice to hold the bead on the end.  Don't give the bag with the beads on the string to a young child since they could pull them off and put them in their mouth.

The pink satin ribbon was too wide and slippery to pull through with the string - even with the knot it slipped off before I could pull it all the way through.  I used a safety pin through the folded end of the wide ribbon to work the ribbon through the casing.  The end result is much more elegant and suits the pretty rose image ironed to this bag.  I tied the ends of the ribbon in knots to keep it from sliding through the bag.

I really enjoyed making these bags and I have a lot of ideas for other projects that I can do with the Square 1 printable iron-on fabric.  The iron-on fabric printed with your images would be great for customizing clothing and home decor items.  You can find the fabric on the Square 1 site HERE.  What sorts of projects would you make?

You don't have to have a machine to cut the fabric - you can print it on your regular printer and cut it very easily with scissors.

If you are in one of the states that is dealing with the cold and storms please be careful.  We are used to this sort of thing in New England but it must be quite a shock for those of you in the South.  Take care!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Valentine Project - Print & Cut Iron-on

I tried using the Square 1 printable iron-on fabric for the first time a few days ago.  It was very easy to work with and there are all sorts of ways you could use this product for practical and decorative purposes.  Above you can see some of the images that I cut out with my Silhouette Cameo after printing the page in my regular inkjet printer.

I'll post the finished project tomorrow, but I wanted to show you how easy it is to bring any graphic that you own (I have hundreds of digital scrap kits!) into the Silhouette software and make a cutting file for it.

If you are bringing an image in from the Creative Memories StoryBook program (no longer available to purchase but if you own it you can still use it) or the Panstoria Artisan program (this is the program I now use), you will need to export the image into a file on your computer that you can access easily.  Right click and choose "Save selection" - "Export to image file" from the drop down menu.

There is an additional screen where you acknowledge the copyright and agree not to violate it.

If you already have some digital scrap supplies in a file you can just drag them in to the Silhouette Studio from an open folder or choose "open" from the file menu and browse to the image.  Be sure to change the drop down menu to "all files"

The images tend to come in at very large sizes but you can quickly adjust them to a better size using the scale tools.  Once you have added the image to the mat, you need to trace it to add cut lines.

Choose "Select Trace Area" from the top of  the trace menu and draw a blue box around the shape.  Then uncheck the "High Pass Filter" box and adjust the Threshold until there is a solid yellow line around the edges of the image.  Since you are going to do a print and cut, the interior details do not matter.

Just choose "Trace Outer Edge" and a cut line in the shape of the image will be created.  I have separated the shape and the cut line for this screen shot.  You will want to "group" them so the cut lines stay with the image as you set up the mat for cutting.

I repeated this process for each image I brought in to the program and filled the mat as neatly and as fully as I could (I didn't want to waste any of the material).

Use the "Cut Style" menu to set the file to cut on the edges of the printed images.  When you choose the cut setting, the screen will gray and the bold red lines will show exactly where the cuts will be made.  Sometimes I do an interior offset of the shape to create a slightly smaller proportioned cut shape.

Here is the fabric with the images and registration marks after I printed the file on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of the Iron-on Printable Fabric.

Here you can see all of the cut shapes on the mat after I cut the file with the Cameo.  I removed the excess material, but I have a tip for using the leftovers - stop by tomorrow to see.

The cut shapes were nearly perfectly aligned with the printed images.  Once these are ironed on to fabric any slight variation in the cutting line is not noticeable.

Are you wondering what I made with all of these?  Tomorrow I'll show you part two!

There have been several requests for more photos of our new cat so I have a few to share...

She likes the heated floor and the rug in our sunroom - especially in this cold weather...

Such a pretty little face...

She can be a bit grumpy if you try to get her to leave her special spot.

Look at this great new feeding dish we found for her at Tuesday Morning for only $5!

Thank you for all of the kind comments about my Dad yesterday.  He was a very special man.

Quite a few people have asked if I sell my files.  I was planning to set up a store just about the time Dad's health deteriorated and those plans were put aside with our crazy year.  I hope to have the store ready sometime in the next few weeks.  Thanks also for the lovely compliments on the Valentine card and the encouragement to move forward with these plans. I have something special planned for next month - if you have been reading my blog for a long time you might have an idea about what will be happening...

One final note - Happy Birthday Kelly!!!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Remembering Dad

Today I have a very personal post.  One year ago we lost my Dad at the age of 88.  It's been a difficult year, but we have lots of great memories of a life well lived.  I've been thinking about Dad a lot lately.  I took some of the photos we used at his memorial service and put them together in some simple digital pages.  It's a fairly random assortment of photos but it was comforting to put the pages together and think about him.

Thanks for letting me share - give your loved ones an extra hug and appreciate every moment!

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