Sunday, February 22, 2015

Happy Snow Day

On Monday, I made a rare stop at Burger King for lunch.  I rarely eat fast food but I could hear my stomach growling over Haydn's Symphony in C, so decided to get off at the next exit for some lunch.  When I pulled up at the window to pay, the cashier handed me a dollar bill and told me that it was from the lady in the truck in front of me. He said "The Lady in the green truck told me to give this dollar to you and tell you to have a happy snow day." It just so happened that the forecast was calling for 3 inches of snow later that day. I handed the dollar back to the cashier and told him to pass it along to the man in the truck behind me with the same message. Hopefully it brightened his day as much as it did mine.  This lady has no idea how much her act of kindness actually meant to me.  Lately everyone that I have had to deal with has been crabby, surly and some of them down right mean, but this little act of kindness made me realize that there still are nice people who care about others. Hunger aside, I was actually glad that I took the time to stop for lunch that day.

Like everyone I'm getting a little tired of the cold, snowy weather and can't wait for it to end.  I am taking advantage of this time to work on some craft projects and really try to learn all of the features of the Silhouette Cameo. We have a plastic memo paper holder (attached to our fridge) that has become faded and worn over the years.  The decal on the front of holder has country themed designs in slate blue and mauve.  Not only are the colors dated ( from 1990's) but the decal is faded.  I contemplated throwing it out but I couldn't bear to part with it because it is useful and Michelle sold it to us for a 2nd grade school fundraiser.  This became a snow day boredom, makeover project.  I used the Cameo to print and cut some cute little owls that I found on Miss Kate's Cuttables for 50 cents. I printed the owls on white card stock with a HP Laser printer and then sent them to the Cameo to cut. 

Finished Memo paper holder.  
I should note that the flower stickers on the owls are not actually on my memo paper holder, I just placed them there for copyright purposes so I could share this project with you.

Directions for Owl Memo Paper Holder:

Plastic Memo Paper Holder or something else that needs a makeover, this would also make a cute card.
Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder
Embossing machine- I used the Sizzix Boutique
Pale pink, white and scraps of pink card stock
Ranger Liquid Pearls- platinum, blue, pink and white. The blue, pink and white were part of a set purchased at Michaels
Four self adhesive gold beads
Mod Podge and foam brush
Cutting machine that has print and cut capability- I used Silhouette Cameo
Owls sitting on a branch design downloaded from Miss Kate's Cuttables

1.   Unzip the owl zip file from Miss Kate's Cuttables.  Import the image to the cutting machine (Cameo) and resize if desired.  I sized the owls at 3 1/2 inches wide.  The next instructions are for Cameo users. Set the page size to letter; click show registration marks (make sure the image is inside the grey area); open the Trace window- turn off the high pass filter, move the threshold until the image is completely yellow, click trace outer edge; open the cut window and click cut- thick red lines should outline the image.  Click the printer icon and print the design.  Place the printed card stock on the left edge of the Cameo mat and load into the machine.  Click send to Silhouette. Turn on a light is the room is not well lit so the Cameo can detect the registration marks. I rotated my desk lamp to provide more light for the Cameo.  Carefully remove the image from the mat. The hearts each cut separately from the owls.

2.  Cut a piece of pale pink card stock approximately 3 1/4 inches high by 4 1/4 inches wide.  Use the Swiss Dots embossing folder to emboss the card stock.

3.  Liberally apply Mod Podge to the back of the pink card stock with a foam brush.  Cover the front surface of the memo paper holder with the card stock. Smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers. Apply Mod Podge to the back of the owl design and center on the memo paper holder and repeat the process for the hearts.  Cut four small triangles by snipping the corners off of a scrap of pink patterned paper.  Glue the a triangle in each corner of the card stock. 

4.   Apply Mod Podge over the entire surface and set aside to dry.  After the surface is dry, attach a gold bead to each corner.  Apply a dot of platinum Liquid Pearls to the ends of the branches, a dot of blue to each of the blue owl's feathers (on his head) and a dot of pink to the pink owl's feathers. Apply small dots of the white Liquid Pearls to the center of each heart.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Be Mine! Heart Balloon

The Silhouette Cameo finally arrived and I couldn't wait to take it out of the box and start using it.  It cut the images from the pre-loaded Silhouette library beautifully. Wow this was easy, almost a little too easy. Next I printed one of the images from the Silhouette library on my printer and loaded it into the Cameo to cut. The Cameo cut the image, just not around the image (instead it was slightly off center). The booklet that came with the machine and the on line user's manual were not very helpful. I still had no idea why the image of the cute little fox holding a heart would not cut correctly.  Frustration finally set in and I turned to the internet to search for help, any help. Finally I found a tutorial on Silhouette School (silhouette school that walked beginner's step by step through the cut and print process. My image didn't cut correctly because the machine did not know where to cut. All cut and print images must have registration marks on the page to show the Cameo where to cut. After the adding registration marks to the page the machine cut perfectly, for a few cuts and then it just started making random cuts. Now what? It seems that sometimes the machine can not read the registration marks if there is not enough light in the room and providing more light to the machine will help.

Although I really like the capability of the Cameo, it does have a learning curve. Now that I am becoming more familiar with the software it's definitely easier to use and a lot less frustrating. Silhouette has a Designer Edition software which will allow the machine to cut SVG files. There are lots of files (some free) available on line. Miss Kate's Cuttables offers a freebie of the day and Silhouette offers a free file every week. Recently I came across Fleurette Bloom's site. Her Love Is In The Air is so cute that I thought it would be perfect for Valentine's Day (and Weddings as a centerpiece). I downloaded the file and cut it out. The Cameo cut the balloon parts flawlessly. Then I hit a snag in the assembly. The glue that I was using, Scotch Scrapbooker's Glue, had a long drying time and the card stock pieces would not stick together. I found the instructions for the heart a little confusing and not very clear. My heart balloon was a lopsided disaster. Fortunately Fleurette Bloom made an assembly tutorial for You Tube (Assembly for Love Is In The Air Heart Balloon). The assembly of the balloon is really easy once you see it done.

So it was off to Photo Scraps for some Bo Bunny paper and Tombow Aqua Liquid Glue and a bag of Valentine's Hershey Kisses. The Tombow glue is strong, dries clear and has a shorter drying time than the Scotch glue. The assembly of the heart went together effortlessly.

Front of Love Is In The Air Balloon.

Back of the Ballon.

Love Is In The Air Supplies:

Love Is In The Air SVG files- purchased from Fleurette Bloom.
 Bo Bunny Double Dots Passion Fruit Vintage (the heart balloon uses 3 sheets of paper) card stock
DCWV Shimmer Stack Grey Dot (for flags)
Recollections Metallic Card Stock-silver for basket overlay
White Card Stock for the banner
Scrap of dark pink card stock for small hearts and trim on basket
Ranger Liquid Pearls-Platinum
Self Adhessive Pearls-2
Pink Heart Ribbon
Pink Twine-about 28 inches
Pink Button
Small amount of lace trim for basket
Martha Stewart Heart Border Paper Punch- for small hearts and bottom of basket
Tombow Aqua Liquid Glue
Hershey Kisses

1.  Assemble the heart balloon and basket as directed in instructions. I used the reverse side of the paper for the small hearts in the center of the balloon.

2.  Using the Martha Stewart Heart Border punch and dark pink card stock, punch a border long enough to produce about 30 small hearts (left over punched pieces).  Glue a small heart in the center of each pennant and in every other scallop on the trim for the basket. Glue the left over triangular pieces from the border to the bottom edge of the basket.

3.  Glue the lace under the scalloped edging for the basket.

4.  Attach a self adhesive pearl to the center of each of the center hearts on the balloon. Place a small dot of the Liquid Pearls in the center of each heart (on the pennants and on the scalloped trim) and around the edges of the balloon's center hearts. Place a small dot of the Liquid Pearls at each criss-cross of the basket overlay. Set aside to dry.

5.  Thread a piece of pink twine through the holes in a pink button and tie into a small bow.  Glue the button to the bottom of the small, center heart on the balloon, covering the point where the twine edges for the pennants meets.

6.  If you are not using the "Love Is In The Air" jpg that came with the SVG kit, print a Valentine's Greeting on plain white paper in Microsoft Word ( Be Mine is printed at 36pts). Cut the paper to fit the center of the banner for the balloon and glue in place. Glue the banner at the base of the small heart to cover the center where the twine edges meet.

7.  Fill the basket with Hershey Kisses. Wrap the balloon in cellophane gift wrap and add a bow for gift giving or use as is for a Valentine's Day centerpiece.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Cat Cupid Valentine's Day Card

This past Christmas I realized that as much as like my Cricut Expression it was limiting me creatively. This became very obvious when I was working on the inspirational book. There was so much that I wanted to do but my beloved Cricut Expression just didn't have the capability. C'est dommage! My Cricut just didn't have the ability to to allow me to import my own designs, fonts, etc for cutting and the cartridges in my library didn't have the fonts that I was looking for and even if they did; there was no way to weld the letters into words. Although I found ways to work around this limitation, the designing and planning was time consuming. I am computer savvy and would like to use my PC to modify the images on the cartridge rather than to have to cut and piece the image on my own.

While searching the web for more information about the Cricut Explore, I came across  Joy thoroughly explained several cutting machines. After reading about the Cricut Explore, I decided that even though it has a lot of impressive features it doesn't really meet my needs. I went on to read about the Silhouette Cameo. I could connect it to my PC, send the images to my printer, cut my own images and use the fonts already on my computer. I researched a little further and then jumped of the fence and ordered it from Amazon. While I am awaiting the arrival of my machine on Thursday, I downloaded some .svg cut files from Kadoodle Bug Designs.  I adored the cute "Cat In The Hat" type design. The file was only $1.00 and included three images and a title. This was my first time downloading .svg files but it was really easy. After payment for the design was received, Kadoodle Bug Designs sent a confirmation e-mail and I was able to download the files from there. The file  was sent as a zip file and when unzipped revealed an SVG, jpeg, dx and a couple of other formats.  The files are still sitting on computer awaiting the arrival of the Cameo, but I was able to print the "Cat In The Hat" cupid and cut him out to use on a Valentine's Day card.  My husband was really impressed with the quality of Kadoodle Bug's graphics-the image is crisp and clear, even when printed on card stock.

Here's the card that I made with the "Cat In The Hat" cupid design. It was hard to see the shading of the cat once he was cut out so I added some shading with  grey and pink Copic markers.

Directions for Cat Cupid Card:

Kadoodle Bug Designs Cat Cupid  image
Card stock: medium teal, pink dotted, grey and a scrap of pink
Teal satin ribbon
Self adhesive pearls
Lace trim with aqua beads
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist Dazzling Diamonds
Sizzix Valentine's embossing folders
Sizzix Texture Boutique or other embossing machine
Teal feather
Small pink heart shaped crystal

1.  Cut a piece of teal card stock approximately 5 1/2 inches high by 3 1/2 inches wide and emboss using the hearts embossing folder in the Sizzix Valentine's embossing folder set.

2.  Download the Cupid Cat image from Kadoodle Bug Designs and print the image on white card stock at 3x5 on an inkjet printer.  Carefully cut the white background away from the image.  Lightly spray the cat with Glimmer Mist and set aside to dry.

3.  Cut a piece of pink dotted card stock (I used Martha Stewart) to approximately 4 1/2 inches wide by 6 inches high and round off the corners.  Cut two pieces of lace trim to fit across the top and bottom of the card stock and glue the edge underneath the edge of the card stock.

4.  Center the cat on the teal embossed card stock and attach him using foam dots.  Glue a small pink heart shaped crystal to the tip of the arrow and a teal feather to the end of the arrow. Place a small pearl in each corner of the teal card stock. Glue the teal card stock on top of the pink dotted card stock, centering it.

5.  Attach foam dots to the back of the pink dotted card stock and center it on the front of a card and press in place.

6.  Cut the teal ribbon 1/2 inch longer than the length of the card, tuck the ends of the ribbon under the ends of the card and glue in place.  Tie a small bow and glue in the center of the ribbon.

7.  Cut a small heart from the scrap of pink card stock. This can be cut freehand or using a die cut image. I used the Sizzix heart die.  Print BE MINE and cut away the white paper close to the words. Glue the phrase to the center of the heart. Attach a foam dot to the back of the heart and stick the heart in the upper right edge of the teal card stock.