Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Birthday Cupcake

When I want to craft just for fun, I come cross a lot of cuts that I think would be fun to do for birthday cards. Then when I need to make a birthday card for a custom order, I just immediately jump to cupcakes! I think cupcakes are for all days of the year, but pop a candle in it, and it just fits!

I did want to make this one a little different so I made a card base that would fit in a business size envelope. I actually really like 4x9 in cards mainly because I feel that when they are mailed, people don't immediately think of it as a card because it looks like it could just be a bill or some other important piece of paperwork.


I didn't have any specific guidelines for this card, so that made the cupcake even more appropriate. It was cut from the "Simply Charmed" cartridge at 6 in. The face cut out without any issues since it was a larger size. Then since there was plenty of room underneath, I decided to stick with a Cricut cut for the sentiment instead of using a stamp so the "Happy Birthday" is from "Wild Card" also cut at 6 in (that seems weird, but you have to understand the cartridge to know why it's 6 in; it's all relative to the size of the card base cut on the page).


I was planning on adding the silver ribbon between the cupcake and sentiment, but I glued the sentiment on too high. Whoops! I then figured I'd use it to line the edge of the white mat on the top and bottom, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out since the ribbon itself is really pretty. It frays at the ends, but since I taped it on the back, it's not seen. I think I'll be doing that more often!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No More Fussy Cutting!

I think every time I write a post about the Silhouette, I will feel as if I need to compare it to the Cricut! I think they're in two different classes, but in terms of which machine has more capabilities, that is definitely the Silhouette. One of the most amazing things that it can do is the Print and Cut feature. Basically, you can just print whatever you want  from your printer, and then feed it into the Silhouette machine to cut for you! That means there's no more need for fussy cutting digital stamps!!! It would open up even more options if I had a color printer, but this is still enough to wow me! 

I watched a random video on YouTube and followed the directions and paused it so I could do each step as well because I had read that some people avoided it because it was difficult. It really wasn't, but I did have to figure some things out for myself. In short, the image is printed out on the paper with registration marks. Then when it is fed into the machine on the mat, it detects the registration marks to know where to cut. CRAZY! There's also the option of having it cut on the outer edge of the image or with an offset, which is what I did.

I chose a Pink Cat Studios gnome digital stamp, but this is what happened on my first attempt.


Whoops! I forgot to change the paper size to 8.5x11, so all the registration marks were missing. I had to click around to figure out what I did wrong. Once I adjusted it, I tried it again but forgot to put in cardstock so it cut out on copy paper. Despite that, it was fine because I just changed the blade settings. It cut so perfectly! I went through a digital stamps phase, but then I stopped using them because I got a little annoyed at having to do all the fussy cutting, which is basically taking the time to cut all the small details by hand.


I decided to try it one more time to make sure I really did get it down and remember all the steps, so I used a different Pink Cat Studio digital stamp. I love this birthday dinosaur, but it's time-consuming having to cut around the candle and the spikes. Now I don't have to! I made this offset a little smaller, so it's closer to the black line, but next time, I think I want to see what happens when I decrease it even more! I think it can cut directly on the line, but I actually prefer the white outline.


I'm just going to continue to be amazed at all the things this machine can do!

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Christmas!!!

Yesterday Howard and I went over to his sister's house for a barbecue because more of their relatives were in town to meet Toby. I'll possibly write a bit more about that some other time if I can get pictures from hubs, but for now, here's a picture of some of the BEAUTIFUL tomatoes that we got from my sis-in-law and her husband! It's funny that despite the language barrier between his parents and me, they still know things about like including how much I just love love love homegrown tomatoes.


My mom used to grow tomatoes in the backyard, and I would go outside and pick them for her when we saw some red peering through the green leaves. We put them in salads, but most of them were eaten just off the vine. If the tomato wasn't very flavorful, we would add a pinch of salt to them. Often times I'd eat them as if I were eating an apple! I used to wonder why my mom took the time to garden when it was hot outside, but once I started enjoying them as as snack, it made much more sense.

I hope to one day have room to grow some tomatoes too! They're just so delicious compared to the tomatoes at the supermarket that can sometimes be a little bit watery and bland. I'm so grateful that my in-laws have the room to grow them and are more than willing to share with us! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Owl Remember You

Despite my newfound appreciation for my Silhouette Cameo, I do look back on the cards I had to make for custom orders and love the fact that my Cricut is much easier for things like that. In comparing the years of using my Cricut vs. the two days I used my Silhouette, the layers on the Cricut are easier to assemble especially in the newer cartridges like "Create a Critter," which I used for the card below.

The customer asked for cards to give to the teachers who worked at the camp with her this past summer, so I tried to find something that would be appropriate for that. I chose to use the owl, which is an image I had never used before. I cut it at 2.75 inches in more "neutral" colors that could be somewhat appropriate for guys and girls. The branch was also cut from the same cartridge at 2 inches.


I used kraft cardstock for the card base since I was running out of white cardstock. Thankfully, Michaels had a paper sale last week continuing into this week so I was able to stock up finally. Is it just me or are they decreasing the number of times I can get paper for $2 or less? Plus, I don't seem to see the 50% off coupons lately, and I'm in need of some Zig chisel-tip glue pens! Lack of supplies helped in this regard though because I much prefer the white layer on the kraft base.


The sentiment is from K. Andrew Design's set called "Scripture Sayings" since the customer said that it was a Christian camp. I probably mentioned it before, but when these stamps were going to be retired, I had to snag them. I love how well they stamp, and of course, the verses themselves.


The 16 cards did take a bit of time to assemble, but I have to say I love when large orders are done and Howard can take a picture of all of them at once! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First Cuts with the Silhouette Cameo!

Despite the fact that I still have a bunch of cards I have to make for some orders, I just wasn't int he mood to deal with them today. I wanted to just craft for fun without feeling that I had to cut certain images or meet a deadline. I knew that if I didn't take the time to learn the Silhouette Cameo before school started, it would continue to sit in the box. It's been in the box since last Christmas when Howard surprised me with it! I had actually debated getting it myself with credit card rewards points (the same way I got my Cricut Expression), but he had already purchased it for me when there was a great deal on Amazon that included more goodies in the package. I was ecstatic! But clearly, the idea of having to learn a new machine was rather intimidating, so I didn't deal with it for a while because I knew I'd need a good chunk of time.

Sorry if it's not rotated or rotated and stretched; Photobucket is being a little funky.
Well, today was that day! It was comforting knowing that Howard was home so that I wouldn't get frustrated. Or it was more like, it was good he was home to help me when I did get frustrated.


The first step was taking it out of the box, peeling off the tape, and removing all the Styrofoam pieces that are in place to prevent the blade housing from shifting in transit.


I downloaded the software and upgraded it to Designer Edition. I actually had to do a search in my email to find my activation key because I had purchased it last December through SVGTools. There was a great deal on it as it cost only $25.99 when it's $49.99 on the Silhouette site. Plus, I got a $10 code for SVGs at SVGCuts too. The Designer Edition basically gives users the ability to cut SVGs whereas the regular Studio edition can't do that. It'll be much easier when it comes to designing SVGs too, but I'll get to that in a bit.

I wanted to choose a really simple image for my test cut, so I chose the music notes from the limited library of free images. Compared to the Cricut, I have to say that it was a little annoying that it's not as easy to line the mat up to load into the machine. I'm sure I'll get used to it after a while though. The sound was also something to get used to! It's not as loud as the Cricut, but the Cameo varies in its noise. Howard commented that it sounded like weird music. 


The image cut out perfectly! It was seamless; I couldn't tell where the cut started and ended. Often times with Cricut images, it's easy to see because sometimes the cuts don't meet and I have to trim it a bit. So in terms of cutting ability, the Silhouette definitely wins. I tried out another feature of the machine in cutting out letters using ANY font that's on my computer. I chose a random script, but I forgot to weld it together or something because it cut as individual letters. Regardless, it was cut perfectly! It is going to be awesome not having to choose from the limited amount of font cartridges I have for the Cricut machine. I anticipate being a huge fan of sites like dafont.com!


Once I did those two cuts, I was ready to try something a little bit more complex but not too difficult. I chose this adorably cute Patrick cut that I got for free when I did the blog hop with "Scrappin with my Bug" sponsored by SVGCuttingFiles. The crafters on the hop used these files for their projects. If the entire hop was completed (following all blogs and commenting), we got such cute images! Howard and I don't even watch Spongebob, but I knew it'd be easy to put together. The only thing is that I had to cut the long piece for the arm into two smaller pieces so that it wouldn't show any pink where the eyes and mouth are, but other than that, it was super simple. I love just how cute he is!


After Patrick, I thought that I'd try something with more layers, so I chose a cupcake that was part of a freebie from Miss Kate Cuttables. I love checking the site as a new freebie is offered every day! I was absolutely amazed at how I didn't have to spend time carefully ripping pieces of paper out of the kraft cardstock on the bottom portion of the cardstock. It also cut the black outline so cleanly without any tears. Beautiful!


Okay, now it was time to get even more complicated with the "Dragon Princess" cut that's part of the "Pretty Little Princesses 2" set that I purchased from Too Cute by Jessica with a great sale (it was 90% off or so). It's basically the Disney princesses, so I just had to have them! Unfortunately, I got extremely frustrated with this one because there were pieces that had to go in certain spots, and there were no indicators as to where to glue them. The Cricut layers are pretty easy to glue on because there are cuts in the base layers to show where to glue, but these SVGs had absolutely nothing. Howard had to help me a ton with the placement, but it came together! The two black dots for the eyes were so small, so I wasn't going to deal with gluing them on, so I saved the negative of the cut for the face and placed it on top when I was finished to show me where to use a marker to color in the eyes. They look a tiny bit crooked, but if anything, it just looks as if she's looking at something. Isn't she absolutely adorable?! If I ever had to make a card with her or the other images from these sets, it would definitely not be just $2. It requires way too much work!


This one is definitely one of my favorite SVGs of the day. Why? Because Howard designed it! Um, yes, he designed this SVG on Illustrator! It's the monorail in front of Spaceship Earth. It was part of something he was working on for a birthday surprise, and I saw it and thought he was making SVGs for me so that's what he decided to do. This was 3 separate cuts with a black base, white layer, and red layer. So cool! I can't wait to see what other Disney things he can design (as well as other images too!). It's pretty fun that I started a label called "SVG: Howard" since he'll probably be very interested in it for quite some time!


The last cut of the night was another image from Miss Kate Cuttables. This penguin was adorable because I love penguins, of course, but the greatest thing was just how easily the string cut out for the string on the balloon. That detail is just amazing. Howard and I were in awe that there weren't any issues cutting it out. 


I had so much fun with the Silhouette today! I was trying to play around with making my own SVGs from images online, but I was too tired to really deal with it and test them out, so that'll have to be for another day. Don't worry; just because I finally pulled the Cameo out, it doesn't mean I will completely forget my Cricut! Just from today's experience with the machine, I have to say that I really appreciate the Cricut for mass producing as the cuts aren't as intense. I look forward to one day having space for both machines to be out side by side!