Sunday, July 31, 2011

Craftastic Link Party & A Crafty Giveaway!

Happy Monday Everyone!  I figured we'd try something new today.  Since everyone is sharing something crafty at the party how about having an opportunity to get some crafty goodies at the same time?

Last week's CraftShare theme was Cutting Machine Crafts & I shared a few items made with CRI-Kits gel pens & embossing kits.  I've fallen in love with all the fun ways I've been able to use them.  Just put them in your Cricut, Silhouette, eclips or Pazzles machine and go!  Like making elaborate, colorful cards,

Intricate writing (a huge plus for the penmanship challenged like myself),

And add detailing to decor:

They even have a new Mar-Kits version to use felt & fine tip markers in your designs.  So let's give you a chance to win some crafty stuff!

CRI-Kits is giving a gel pen kit & holder to one lucky Sew Can Do reader! 

The winner will get to select their choice of color set AND a holder compatible with their machine (a $25 value!).  

Here's how to enter:
  • Visit the CRI-Kits site and check out their kits.  Then comment below on which gel pen kit you'd like if you won. (be sure to include your email address if it's not on your profile!)

For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each one):
  • Become a fan of CRI-Kits on Facebook
  • Become a follower of Sew Can Do
  • Become a fan of Sew Can Do on Facebook
  • Mention & link to this post on Facebook

The giveaway will be open through 11:59pm EST August 5th, 2011.  The winner will be announced on August 7th. 

And for a limited time, CRI-Kits is offering Sew Can Do readers a 10% discount on ALL purchases.  Just use the code  hedgehog2 to save now!

Now let's take a look at what great goodies were shared in last week's link parties:

How sweet & whimsical are these little bird earrings from Simple Simon & Co.?  And they're even easy to make: 

Candidly Kate shared this awesome recipe for homemade oreo cookies.  I SO want to make this right now!!

Check out this enchanting living fairy garden from The Picket Fence.  It's even got a babbling fountain and tiny fairy mailbox.  So lovely!

And the Kids Can Craft party's "Pick of the Week" was from Making Memories With Your Kids, for these tasty food scooters.  In an amazing co-incidence, my mother-in-law made this very snack for all the grandkids this weekend, so I knew I had to show it:


The Kids Can Craft Party is for projects kids can make.  It's always open and the projects do not have to be new (so if you've got a good one from last year, throw it up there!).  You can link up ANYTIMEJust click HERE to get to that party.  Please remember to link back or put the Kids Can Craft button on your blog:)

Ready to link up?
Party rules are simple:

  • As long as it's crafty and made by you it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, other link parties or other people's work - THEY WILL BE REMOVED).  Just add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog.  The code's on the sidebar ->
  • Check out some of the other great links and share some crafty comment love.
I leave the party open until 10:00pmEST every Friday, so there's plenty of time to add your newest creations.  Have a great, crafty week!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cutting Machine Stencils with Rae Gun Ramblings

Today we've got a special guest, Marissa from Raw Gun Ramblings, with a great Cutting Machine Tutorial: How to Make Freezer Paper Stencils.  So let's get to the goods and see how to make these!

Hi, I'm Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings.  I blog about all things crafty, tasty, pretty and just plain life. I'm an insanely huge Harry Potter fan, fresh pasta addict, and married to a crazy talented musicianI also run a handmade baby and toddler clothing shop on Etsy called Rae Gun. Hopefully you'll stop by my blog and shop and see some of my latest adventures.

Today I want to show you how to use your cutting machine (or an exact-o knife plus some patience) to make awesome stencils. Sorry most of my examples are Harry Potter themed, I wasn't kidding when I said I'm a big fan, but the wonder of freezer paper stenciling is that you can make anything you want.
Freezer Paper Stenciling

1. Pick your design and cut it out of freezer paper. You want the shiny side down so consider that while positioning. I used my Cricut and put the shiny side on my mat when I cut my stencils out but you can use a Silhouette or even an exact-o knife and put a print out under the freezer paper to trace. I use a program called Sure Cuts A Lot for the Cricut that allows you to cut almost any image you find or make on your machine. Keep in mind that when you pick a design the simpler the better. When I cut the Potter font it usually takes me 3-4 tries and when I cut the Lego Star Wars stencil it took me 2 tries (luckily the paper is cheap and comes in a gigantic roll). This is the most time consuming and annoying part. And you may need to trim it a little when you're done cutting.

2. Iron the stencil on your shirt (or bag or whatever). Shiny side down. Be anal about this make sure you do a good job getting all the edges. This is the step that I worry about most since if you don't have it ironed tightly, paint might get onto parts you don't want.

3. With a board or more freezer paper (shiny side up towards the part of the shirt with the stencil) in between your shirt layers use fabric paint (I got mine at Jo-anns and Michaels) and a foam brush and apply the paint. Blot and smoosh as opposed to brush.  Don't go too heavy at once just keep on blotting and adding a little paint at a time. I add a pea-bean size amount to my brush each time.

4. Next you pull off the stencil. I like to wait about an hour. It will still be wet so be careful not to touch the paint and not to touch the wet stencil to the shirt. Sometimes I use one hand to lift the paper and the other has a pin to either hold down the shirt or lift up stubborn parts of the stencil.

5. Let dry and enjoy.

I hope you stop by my blog to say hi and definitely let me know if you have any questions or try it out.

Thanks for sharing this today Marissa!  Don't forget there's a new giveaway for some great cutting machine tools going on now - click HERE to head over & enter!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CraftShare: Using Add-on Tools in Cutting Machines

We've been getting crafty with cutting machines this week, so today is all about using different tools to let your creativity go wild.

Both Cricut & Silhouette have designs you can buy and add-on accessories for their machines and most scrapping stores have loads of pre-fab embellishments, but as a someone crafting on a tight budget I can't really go wild with extras.  This is why I love the gear I used for today's projects - more bang for the buck!

My Personal Fave Paper Crafting Tools:

  • Sure Cuts A Lot Software makes it easy for me to make exactly what I want with minimal effort and there are loads of free svg files out there so I don't have to design from scratch.  I've never had to buy extra cartridges or files for designs.  EVER.  It also imports all my fonts from my Office Suite so it doesn't involve sifting through cartridges or a giant online catalog to get the right look for my text.  

  • CRI-Kits Gel Pen Kits add the detailed touches my horrible handwriting can ruin and are a lot nicer & faster than trying to cut tiny shapes and lettering from paper.  Being easy to use also makes it easier to be creative.  I also love the effects the metallic & glitter gel pens add (and how I can uses them outside my machines as well).

  • CRI-Kits Embosser Kit let you get fancy looking with vellum or metal without it being too complicated.  Just like the pens, there's an easy-to-swap-in holder, so you can do your drawings, cuts and embossing quickly & efficiently.

The key element to success with any/all of these tools is doing things in the right order.  For a layered card like the one above above:

Step 1 - I used SCAL to cut out the background card & corners (from a free svg file for making invitations).  

Step 2 - Then I made a rectangle design with my custom text in it (using the cute Care Bears font no less!).  I deleted the rectangle and used a CRI-Kits gel pen in my machine to write the text.  

Step 3 - Then I hit "undo" and deleted the text instead.  Hitting "reload" instead of "unload" made sure the cut would be exactly in the right spot.  I swapped in my cutting blade & cut it out.

Step 4 - For the embossed border I put a sheet of vellum on my embossing mat & swapped in my embossing stylus + holder.  In SCAL I made a rectangle around my original text box and inserted in some baby-themed stock images, shrinking them down so they'd make a perfect frame.  I deleted off the text rectangle and embossed away.  Repeating Step 3, all pieces were now cut & ready to stick together.

Sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES too so click HERE to check them out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CraftShare: Embossing Decor Tutorial

Yesterday we took a look at how embossing works in Cricut, Silhouette or other personal cutting machines.  Today I'm going to share some ways to use it to make some great decorative accents that are perfect for wall decor, scrapbook pages or cards.

For this little garden themed project I used the CRI-Kits Embosser kitmy Sure Cuts A Lot software, and a Cricut machine.

I used a 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbook paper for my main background and cut a large scrolled rectangle shape from some complimentary colored green paper:

For the vellum center I used my SCAL software to make a rounded rectangle that was 3 inches smaller in height and 2 inches smaller in width than the green background shape.  Then I inserted my text, one word at a time, in various fonts.  I dragged the words around until I liked the placement.

I loaded my embossing stylus & holder into my machine and put a sheet of vellum on my embossing mat.  Then here's the easy trick - I deleted the rectangle so I'd just emboss the words.

After the embossing was done I hit the "reload" button on my machine so the mat would realign in the right spot to cut the shape out (this is critical so everything lines up perfectly every time - DO NOT unload the mat).  Then I hit "undo" to to bring back the rectangle, deleted out the words.

I swapped in my cutting blade and clicked "cut".  When it was done I peeled the excess vellum away first and then peeled off my center piece.

I used the cartridge method for the flowers & leaves, by embossing the detailed version of shapes first, then hitting reload and swapping in a cutting blade to cut the outline version of the shapes around the embossing details.

I also cut the shapes from card stock to layer under the vellum cutouts,

And used small bits of double stick tape to adhere the vellum to the card stock:

Then I attached the accent shapes to the background paper

and the artwork was complete!  

The embossing adds that delicate detail that layered cuts of paper just don't quite have.  

I also like the softness it gives on colors that would normally be a bit louder than I'd usually like.

Got any ideas on uses for embossing?  I'd love to hear them:)  Head on back tomorrow for more die-cutting projects!

Sharing this creation with my FAVE LINK PARTIES too so click HERE to check them out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CraftShare: Embossing With Cutting Machines

This week's CraftShare Topic is Cutting Machine Crafts.  If you're even slightly crafty chances are you know about machines like Cricut, Silhouette, etc.   You can cut things like paper, fabric, vinyl and more into all the shapes & sizes of your dreams which is very cool.  But did you know you can also emboss with these machines?  CRI-Kits, the maker of the Gel Pen Kits that I love, has introduced an Embosser Kit that turns your die cutting machine into an embossing tool as well.  They ask me if I'd try out and review this new kit, so I'm here to share what I've learned with you!

The CRI-Kits Embossing Kit comes with a magnetic holder, steel embossing stylus and special embossing mat.  It can be used to emboss and deboss shapes, fonts and designs on vellum and thin metals.  There are sets for Cricut, Silhouette, eclips & Pazzles machines.  No need to go to a fancy retail printer for embossed designs or have to stick to the limited sizes of embossing folders!

Getting going is pretty simple: 
Adhere the bottom of the embossing mat on top of a regular machine mat (they recommend you use a spare mat, so it's always prepped to go).  Press or roll over the top so the mats stick together well.  For the adhesive top style, peel off the protective "zebra" stripes and the mat is ready.

Place a piece of vellum or metal on top and carefully smooth it on with a brayer, rolling pin or side of the magnetic holder so it's smoothly attached.

Like the gel pens, the embossing stylus just slips into the magnetic holder and is loaded into the machine in place of the cutting blade.

Select your design as usual.  Set the machine to highest pressure and slowest speed and go!

Like any new tool it takes a few tries to get the hang of things, but playing around with it is a lot of fun! Depending on the design a second "cut" can help make the embossing look more defined.  I was able to try out a lot of different combinations on vellum, since I have a Cricut and a Silhouette, as well as CRI-Kits magnetic holders for both and Sure Cuts A Lot software:

On the Cricut the results were nice and deep when using either a design cartridge or SCAL and about any type shape or font:

On the Silhouette the best results were for simpler shapes using the Silhouette software and definitely required multiple passes.  Designs using the SCAL3 software left some dots every time the machine started & stopped drawing.  The overall results were a bit fainter, but depending on your design or the look you are going for, the softness could be ideal.

The biggest tip I learned was to give the embossing the best background to show off the delicate lines.  Placing deep, solid colored cardstock or paper behind the vellum shows off the results the best.  When planning a project keep in mind that the Embossing Kit isn't meant for use on paper, but besides using vellum, it works well with thin metals to make lovely metallic seals and intricate etched designs in moments.  And CRI-Kits offers sheets of metal in a range of sizes & colors in addition to the Embosser Kit so it's easy to get all the gear at once.

For the next few days I'll share some tutorials for projects using the embosser as well as gel pens and Sure Cuts A Lot in die cutting machines and a very special guest so stay tuned for more die cutting fun!


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