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 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 & 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 & 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!