Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pretty Sure I'm On The Naughty List...

If anyone had recorded my last little photo session they would have had to had extensive use of jingle bells ringing to block all my swearing. I'm pretty sure if Santa was watching/listening I'm now on the naughty list, but honestly I have a good reason!


See those adorable reindeer? Aren't they the cutest little critters? CURSE THOSE DEER I TELL YOU!

I've actually had this set from LD done for weeks, but much like my still un-photographed 3d train set it's big, too big to figure out how to get even a semi decent photo of. Did I also mention those deer are made with one layer of cardstock? It wasn't to hard getting them to stand individually, but when I tried to connect them all with the single piece of twine around their necks... think deer dominos over and over and over again AARRGGGHHH. 

However for you my deer (hehehee) readers I persevered and captured some photos. Even if I had actually made a light box already this set wouldn't have fit so work with me here :) 




Of course it occurred to me after the fact that I could have used some white stuffing material to look like snow which would have also severed to secure their little paper hoofs to the board, next time. I'm also considering drawing some eyes on them, or grabbing a small hole punch. That red sparkly nose won't help anyone if they can't see where they are going now will it? 

Little tip for anyone else making these and having issues with them standing, or standing straight. Put the legs on before the little saddle piece, it will help hold those back legs in position and for the front you need some tiny pop dots, position them under the front legs and they will hold those so you can then stand your deers up w/o them wanting to bend forward. 

Before & after fix:
 




Hanging out Under a Cherry Tree

Those who follow me know that I've only been blogging a short time, and I've only been following blogs a short while longer then that (you wouldn't know that if you saw my reader feed though, my laptop starts smoking when I open it I have so many I follow now LOL) however a couple really stand out, both because of amazing projects but even more so because of the amazing ladies who run them. Jin from Under a Cherry Tree is one of my favorites!

It was Jin's hilarious cutter reviews that made me decide to purchase a Silhouette Cameo. Though focussing on the Lynx in this portion the photographs and comments will crack you up: Jin's cutter reviews. I have Jin to thank for my addiction to buying from introducing me to Lettering Delights amazing files.

This week she posted a wonderful tutorial on how to make the cutest pnc holiday tags using one of LD's newest releases (which for you cricut users might look familiar, they were designed by the amazing Nancy Kubo who also designed Create a Critter for Cricut). She then asked for submissions to be featured on her blog, what an honor!  You can watch her tutorial and learn how to make your own here: Jin's tag tutorial.

I dropped everything and made a few tags to share with her readers, and here they are for you too!


You guys know my love of layering so it about killed me to keep these one layer, I even went one step further then Jin and even made my bottom layer part of the pnc. Knowing I could easily create cards to go with the gifts, and layer those like crazy kept me calm ( check back for those soon <wink> ). 

However I knew I could still dress them up a bit with some sparkle & gloss! 




I used my Copic Atyou Spica glitter pens to add some sparkle, along with stickles on the wreath and ultra fine white glitter for the hats, and glossy accents for shine (I love using this on eyes as in the bird above). Some new twine from The Twinery and they were ready to attach to some gifts, which I really need to get wrapping! 





Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gingerbread House


Every Christmas Eve for the past few years my older daughter and I have worked on making a Gingerbread house, which inevitably ends in her getting bored and wandering off and my cursing at the gumdrops which refuse to stay put and at the colored sugar coating the floor, it's a wonderful afternoon or evening of time spent together and memories that last long after we've tossed the house.

This year I saw the adorable gingerbread house file from Lori Whitlock in the Silhouette store and couldn't wait to make one that would last long past this year's Christmas.

I made a couple of changes to the house, designing a layered roof (so easy with the Studio program) and using a wreath from a Lettering Delights set instead. I found some wonderfully textured cardstock in my stash that really does look like baked gingerbread up close (sorry no idea where it's from), glittered up the windows using my xyron, I cut vellum and tinted it yellow w/distress inks which shows so nicely when the battery tealight is on... yes that's right, I turned ours into a tea light holder by using little velcro circles to hold on the roof (these are awesome for this type of use and to use on paper purses etc:clear velcro dots)For the candys I used my stylus to round them out a bit and then coated with glossy accents, some glitter on the candy canes, 2 trees decorated by my daughter, and a scrap of Christmas paper with the perfect sized gingerbread man for the doorway.







Friday, December 16, 2011

Silhouette Advent Calendar



I'm so far behind! What's new right? Honestly though life just keeps getting into the way of my crafting. <wink> I've had several projects done (and when I say done, I mean pulled together just enough to be displayed w/o my un-crafty family/friends wondering why I didn't finish them). Are they as adorable and embellished as I had planned/hoped/dreamed? NO NO NO :( but they are going to have to suffice otherwise I'll never get anything posted before spring!

First up is my Silhouette Limited Edition Advent Calendar, omg have you seen these all over the web? I've seen some AMAZING examples of these. I hope Aliya (my 7 1/2yr old) will allow me to add to this one next year, she didn't even want numbers added this year so what you see is what we've got. At least I was able to attach some cute little pnc (print & cut) details. So sort of squint your eyes and look at it sideways and pretend you see all the boxes numbered in various cute fonts and more ribbons and bows and all that good stuff okay?!? Oh and all papers used were digitals, love using the Studio program to fill shapes or just print sheets of papers!

I can't wait until next year, I picked up another of these with a great sale at OhMyCrafts.com for Lily to start next year (when she'll do more then just crush the boxes like she's been trying to do this year to Ali's) and she'll still be young enough to have no say in how I decorate it MUHAHAHA (insert evil over caffeinated mommy laugh here). On the top is one of my holiday cards I'm sending out this year and a cute little tree made from another Silhouette store file. (all the lids fit perfectly, but as mentioned above little fingers keep trying to grab these.)




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Take your PNC to the next level

Just a couple months ago I had never even heard of a "pnc" (print & cut), however after hearing about the Silhouette Cameo I learned it was one of the top features this machine offers. Besides the ability to make a cutting file out of anything I can imagine or find online I can also import any image file I want and then trace it, send the image to my printer to be printed with registration marks which my silhouette then reads and cuts perfectly on the lines. Seriously awesome right? However once I received my machine I realized I wasn't doing much with the pnc except for fonts/sayings on the fronts of cards. I adore layering and paper piercing and to me most pnc images were just to flat.

Determined to change my perception and utilize this great feature, because seriously there are some darn cute images out there, I started playing around with Studio more to use the tools and my imagination to come up with ways to make pnc's pop for me.

This week Kristi Dailey from www.kristidailey.com & www.myscrapchick.com posted on facebook that she was looking for volunteers to take two .png image files she would provide and show how they could really come alive. It sounded like the perfect excuse to test out the ideas I'd come up with so I signed right up.

Kristi sent me two very cute, but very out of my normal style, fairy bear .png files. I won't lie to you, at first I had no clue what I was going to do with them... but after a few mins of looking at the images the card ideas came to me. I'm happy to report that they are now 2 of my most favorite cards I've made! Now here they are for you :)
I really wanted to give the images some life and texture, and I think I succeeded.

Here is my recipe for taking your print & cut images to the next level:

1. Foam Pop Dots: We've covered my love for pop dots before right? It comes just after my love of glitter! Using 2 different thicknesses also allows you to add additional dimension (I used 1/16th & 1/8th on these two cards) without to much bulk (these cards would easily be mailed in a standard envelope). Since it's hard to sense the depth in the above photos here are some more so you can see what I'm referring to.

2. Textured cardstock for printing: I'm LOVING Joann's "The Paper Company" value packs of textured 65lb cardstock, on sale they are only a couple dollars for 40 sheets and they run though my Canon printer perfectly and my Silhouette reads the registration marks & cuts them like a dream. IMO it's a great and easy way to add some texture and interest to your pnc. Plus it reminds me of AC Cardstock and you can put that down as #3 on my love list.

3. Layers: Since you can do pnc's with the Cameo you can also easily add multiple visual & physical layers. I like to draw a rectangle in the size of my finished card, I fill it with a digital paper (so easy and fun to do, drag and drop!) and then I add some images that I plan to only print and not cut. On my cards I did a shadow layer for the text that is printed on the actual bottom layer, I also printed the two smaller flowers on the one card and a row of grass on the 2nd, by printing these as part of the background I visually add depth w/o physically having to add another layer of bulk. After cutting my main pnc images I still wanted more. The Studio software does a great job of tracing the outer edge but I wanted to isolate certain portions of the image to pop out. After some playing around I realized that I could use the eraser or knife tool to achieve this or even easier one of the drawing tools to draw a new cut line around the portion I wanted to separate, sounds far harder then it is and I'll try at some point in the future to do a video on it or at least a more detailed post. You'll see I popped the one bear's hat & paws and the others limbs in this manner. Here is a photo showing what I mean (warning decapitated bear head below)
4. Lil' something something: Adding a bit of sparkle can also add visual interest, same with gloss or glaze. I used a Sakura glaze pen to make the bear's noses glossy and used my favorite clear Copic atyouSpica glitter pen to add a touch of sparkle here and there. I added the tiniest dots of glossy accents to the eyes of one of the bears (when you do this on larger images you can even fool people into thinking you added google eyes, I've had people shake my cards and wonder why the eyes didn't move LOL). Things like twine, buttons, etc also add dimension and interest so I added 2 buttons tied with floss (yes I hang my head in shame, I don't own any twine but it is on order!)

So there you have it. Don't shy away from print & cut files because you think they are too flat or boring, let your creativity flow & step outside of your crafting box... you might just surprise yourself! Be sure to go check out www.kristidailey.com & www.myscrapchick.com for the two images used here and many more!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sneak Peak Sunday

Do you have a million and one things you'd like to accomplish before your given official holiday? I sure do, and every time I check reader or pinterest I add about 20 more. I have so many 1/2 started projects right now you can't even find one inch of my craft table! I do however have our tree up and decorated, and I at least ordered shirts for my girls to wear to take some photos (I was going to make some but who are we kidding, it would be spring before I got around to that) I haven't even given thought yet to my holiday cards this year... OPPS!

I'm determined to find time this week to construct at least a simple light box (I've already bought 2 cheap lights and some sheets of foam board, let's see if I make the box before I forget what I bought them for) so that I can actually get semi decent photos of my projects for you guys.

Until then I'll just show a couple sneak peaks of things I'm working on. I also did finish the Silhouette advent calendar but still need to get photos, it's not as embellished as I was planning since I ran out of time and now my 7yr old doesn't want me adding anything to it, not even numbers! Waa what's a crafting mommy to do, oh I know, make something else :)

Here is the beginning to my Christmas train (new sneak peak purchase from Lettering Delights), which I so didn't have time to be starting with all my other projects but I couldn't resist. Only 4 more train cars and lots of embellishing to go!
This next project is actually finished now but I still need some photos. I'm pretty sure you can guess what this might be?
Thanks for looking!





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Squeezing in my last Fall post!

The snow might have arrived last night but it's not December yet so I'm squeezing in one last post with my Fall projects! Here are the two pumpkins I told you about a few days ago, still not the best photos (and yes, you can see the snow in the background the only way I could get decent lighting was right in front of a window, though today I did buy the things I need to construct my own light box!)

The paper pumpkins are from a kit put out by www.svgcuts.com. If you're not familiar with svgcuts head over there right now, they are awesome! It's a couple (Leo & Mary) who truly care about their customers and make the best svg's. If you're a cricut owner who is familiar with the nightmare assembly that awaits you when trying to assemble anything 3d from a cricut cartridge you are in for a treat (assuming you have another machine that can cut svg's... you don't? Well what are you waiting for, go buy yourself a Cameo already!!!) Their files go together so quickly and easily, it's a pleasure to create with them! I bought a super cute Christmas themed set that I'll be showcasing this week as well if all goes well in my chaotic life .

I love this little guy, one of the sides actually has slits for a name tag and I had dreams of making one of these for everyone's spot on Thanksgiving but that didn't happen (I did make a cute simple place card but didn't snap photos of them yet) The stem is a bit squashed since my 19 month old thought the pumpkin was cute too.
I love this one too, panels were embossed with my big shot and inked with distress inks, don't you love those stems, they curl around in the neatest way and they are so easy to assemble!
Here they are together, there is a 3rd style which actually opens up but I didn't have time to make it this year. Both were made with my awesome Silhouette Cameo.

That's all for tonight, I'm going to be working my butt off come about 11pm to finish the limited edition Silhouette advent calendar tonight, I don't think I'll have time to do a ton of embellishing but hope to continue to add to it this month since my 7yr old can't wait to start opening boxes tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gobble Till You Wobble

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? This was the first Thanksgiving we've spent with family in the past five years, it's so nice being back at home! We hosted this year, though it was just DH's parents and my mother it was very nice.

I made two of the gorgeous 3d pumpkins from svgcuts however the lighting has been so horrible that even with our DSLR camera I can't seem to get a decent photo, I might have to look into making one of the photo boxes I've seen others create to get good photos of their projects, until then you'll have to bear with what I'm able to get.

Here are some of the Thanksgiving cards I sent to family, mostly made with my Cameo.
The first turkey was run through my xyron and then heat embossed with metallic embossing powder, I love how that technique gives a hammered metal finish.
How fun are those buttons? They are my 7yr old's newest obsession... I purchased a package of plain white/shimmery buttons, then using our Bic markers she and I have been coloring them to match whatever project we need them for. You really do need to go quickly to get an even layer but it's such an easy and fun way to customize your embellishments!

If I can get some decent shots of my pumpkins I'll post those later today. I've also started on our holiday decorations so expect more posts soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Rosette Wreath

It's turning into another of those weeks. I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year (just a small gathering) so I'm busy with that. Yesterday my 7yr old fell and received a mild concussion and today I woke up with a migraine. Currently I'm not just creating in chaos, I'm living in it LOL.

All my plans for Thanksgiving decorations are looking less and less likely but I did want at least a few things around, my daughter and I quickly made this rosette wreath. The few cuts were done using print & cut with my new Cameo (turkey with my Cricut).





Sunday, November 20, 2011

I crown myself "worst blogger ever"


I accept my crown with a head hung in shame. Honestly no excuse here, even if I've been to crazy busy to post anything new I've got TONS of old projects I could be sharing with you and I apologize for not posting. The good news is that my Cameo just needed a new blade (a very common issue it turns out, I sure hope Silhouette addresses this issue) and right now is working like a dream, while I still have nothing but love for my Cricut (more on that in another post soon), the Cameo is tons of fun to design with and I'm loving svg's. I'll be doing some posts on it soon, I promise!

A craft I taught myself (and have since forgotten, I sure hope it's like riding a bike and comes back to me) is crocheting. When I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter I kept seeing adorable handmade crocheted toys, I HAD TO HAVE THEM. As per my usual I *knew* I could learn how to make them and save myself lots of money (HA HA HA, sure if I didn't obsessively compulsively buy every crochet book & pattern known to man and didn't have a huge tub full of unused yarn maybe, but I digress). One of my first projects which I learned on was this, which I thought was perfect to share for Thanksgiving. It's composed of free patterns you can find on the lionbrand.com site.
Thanks for looking today! I'll be posting the Thanksgiving cards I made this week later today or tomorrow, and my rosette Thanksgiving banner as well (see I haven't posted but I'm still crafting, I even have the trashed house to show for it)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One of those weeks.


Ever have one of those weeks? You know the type where a "force quit/restart" option would have really come in handy? Ugh... this was one! I was planning to wow you all week with amazing cards and projects done with my knock the socks off the Cricut Silhouette Cameo. I've been awaiting "Cameys" arrival for almost 3 months since I pre-ordered her. Don't worry Cricut friends I have nothing but love for my little bug but I wanted the ability to also cut anything I wanted font/image/print & cut/etc wise so I made room in my heart, and my crafting table, for a Cameo.

She arrived last Friday and my first cuts left something to be desired but I figured there must just be a learning curve and left her to the weekend. I won't bore you all with long, rambling, whiney, pouty, angry rantings (I've already done that to my new Silhouette friends). Let's just say that my Cameo didn't work correctly out of the box and now I'm stuck waiting around for a backordred replacement blade housing to be sent before support will help me further even though I already purchased a 3rd party holder and it doesn't work either.

Next I updated my macbook pro to Lion finally, not realizing that in doing so I'd lose the ability to use timemachine with my NAS drive for backups. I hate Iomga, we'll leave that rant at that.

So between Cameo woes and issues with my storage drive I've been a bit grumpy. Hopefully things will improve this coming week and I can just forget this whole past week even happened :D

I did use my cricut to make up a few Halloween cards, please let me know if you want any details on them.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Distress Inks

I promised you some organizing tips so here is my first. Are you familiar with the Tim Holtz distress inks? If you are I don't need to tell you how amazing and versatile they are, if you aren't then OMG am I about to enable you. We'll start easy, google them... set aside a few days for this, because you WILL be reading and looking and then going over to youtube to watch videos and asking yourself how you lived this long with out them, then you'll start reading up on which ones you must buy, stop there... you need them all. Ok ok, I don't own them all, you can probably do without a few of them ;)

Here are two cards I used them on, I can't take credit for the designs as both are cased (if you know where I found them let me know so I can give credit, I can't remember and I only had the images saved).

Both were cut almost entirely from my go to white cardstock with my cricut (see link, it's awesome and so cheap!) and then colored with the distress inks.
On the shell card the only part not cut from white paper and colored with distress inks was the sand paper background behind the shell (yes I used real sand paper, I love doing that with beach themed cards... just remember to use your junky scissors and NEVER your diecut machine)

Needless to say I adore my distress inks, and I needed storage for them. Look what I came up with!
It's a Stanley brand tool organizer (see thinking outside the craft store again paid off) You can find it here on Amazon Tool Organizer. It's the perfect depth for the inks (and yes you can leave the lid on if you want, since I hung mine on my pegboard I didn't feel the need but if you want to keep it on the floor or your desk you can keep it closed with the lid). I printed off the ink names on labels and then labeled all 4 sides (so I don't have to pay attention to which side is facing out when I put them back) and then sponged some color on each one as well.

Speaking of sponging... if you have inks you need a way to apply them, I really like the foam applicators you can get from Tim Holtz as well and while I like his applicator tool it was getting really old switching out the sponges every time I used a different color and buying one for each color would have cost far too much. Little shopping at HD solved that problem as well. I purchased a single piece of wood and then marked and cut pieces, used my sander (but a sanding sponge would work too) to remove the hard edges and then applied a layer of double sided foam and a piece of velcro. Just like that I had an applicator for each color! I think they are even easier to use then Tim's tool since the handle on that just got in my way holding it.
I'll be back to post again soon with my storage solution for my collection of Cricut cartridge booklets.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Organization, Distraction, & A Review

I'm attempting to organize some of my chaos in preparation for my big new arrival on Friday (more about that on Friday). As always happens I keep finding myself distracted, not by my little darlings this time (they are tucked into bed) but by all my pretties and the ideas in my head. For instance tonight I'm trying to find the top of my work table, I'm pretty sure it's somewhere under all these paper scraps. Of course I realize I need to put away the couple little things that came in the mail today, and well come on... if you get a new crafting toy you MUST play with it (that's a rule isn't it? I'm pretty sure it must be).

So before I dive into telling you all about one of my new toys I have another Candi fact to share with you, right after my love of glitter comes a love of shiny objects. I coat everything I can in glossy accents, and epoxy stickers... ohhhh I <3 me some epoxy stickers ladies (and any gentlemen who might be reading this, no discrimination here folks). I don't really buy all that many because (I'm cheap) I can't part with them, and because my 7yr old swipes them (she's a worse horder then I am!). A few months ago I found out about the epoxy bottle cap stickers, and immediately I realized I could make my own little round epoxy stickers. I bought a 1" hole punch and ordered some epoxy stickers from etsy and love making them. Long semi-aimless story later... I found out about the Epiphany Crafts Shape & Button tools this past week. Interest peaked! After spending the required countless hours reading every blog post about them I could find and watching youtube videos I felt that I needed to have one. I really wanted the button one but J's was having a 40% off sale and only had the round, so I ordered the smaller one.

Welcome back to the present. If you read all of that and are still reading go ahead and take a break, grab a coffee and come back for some photos and a review.

Side note, love the DCWV stack here, it has the perfect combo of papers for all your Halloween card making needs, cutesy stuff for the littler ones and more mature papers for adults all in one stack!

As I was saying... I decided to try out the "epoxy shape tool", I'm all for gadgets but let me save you a few dollars right off the bat. Don't buy it. Oh but its round and cute and lines up the epoxy sticker and punches the paper and pushes them together and bla bla bla. Yeah yeah yeah, I know I told myself all that too, which is why I bought it. Buy the epoxy stickers, they are great... thicker and even cheaper then what I found on etsy. Then buy yourself a 1/2" circle punch and call it a day. The tool might not be huge but it takes up space and is awkward to store, and look at my little shape. The poor thing has extra paper sticking out past the epoxy circle. This wasn't a fluke, I made 3 more and all were the same. GRRR now if I was just winging this with my own punch and their shapes I'd say it was acceptable but using their tool and their epoxy and they should be the exact same size and line up PERFECTLY.
For comparisons sake here is a 1" that I made with my own punch and stickers from etsy
See, it's perfectly lined up even without a tool to assist me. The 1" circle of paper and the 1" epoxy are both... wait for it... ONE INCH. I'm going to have to buy or borrow a 1/2" punch to see if the punch is off with the Epiphany tool or if its the epoxy stickers.

Now all of this said would you believe I was still thinking about the button version of this tool. I know I know I just said to save your money but come on, custom buttons... I mean have you SEEN the buttons? Then in a moment of brilliance (or desperation, hey don't judge) the little light bulb went off. I have a big bite ( you know the giant hole punch we all swore we'd use to set eyelets but we just use as an industrial hole punch?) That bad boy can punch though anything so ... hmm.... see where I'm going with this yet?
EKKKKKK!!!! Can you stand it? Oh I can't stand it... SOOO CUTE! Yup, I turned my epoxy circles into epoxy buttons with the big bite. CHOMP! (oh and no that little circle didn't come out perfect, I took a nail file and filed off the extra paper)

So... I didn't get any actual organizing done but hey we still had fun right? I promise to be back tomorrow with some actual organizing tips for you! In the mean time want to see my whole box full of little creations that I've made when I was supposed to be organizing? (see the little button & epoxy shape, they made it to the box tonight too LOL)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Couldn't wait any longer, rolling flower garden


Remember the sneak peak from a few days ago? Did you wonder what I was doing with the big ol' felt flowers and how on earth they had to do with Halloween? Here's the answer:
My 18month old daughter is going to be a bumble bee for Halloween and this is her rolling flower garden. Last year it was a rolling pond, and while it just about killed me to pull all the pond embellishments off I decided it was easier then trying to sew a new one (I avoid sewing like the plague if at all possible LOL). Here she was last year as a dragonfly, as you see the flowers survived and are part of the garden this year:
We had our first Halloween excursion last night (Greenfield Village in MI) however I didn't get any good photos as the sun set to quickly, but fear not I'll be bombarding you with images of my 2 little monsters in their Halloween best soon enough :)