The Cropped mystery box challenge #2 was to use this special paper called Paper Layerz to create 9 mini layouts. After researching this paper some more, I found out it’s actually made for creating die cuts with your digital or manual die cutter – so you get 9 coordinating colors from 1 sheet of paper. Kinda cool especially for those layered designs!
I hemmed and hawed (or whatever that saying is) over what to do with this for awhile. My original plan was to make a mini book but then I looked at the colors again and decided it matched some of the accent colors we’re doing in the baby room – and why not create a little “family tree” picture frame for the baby? Conveniently, it fit all the members of our immediate families on there too. Sweet! I decided to accent each mini layout with a little cut out of something that person likes, or their hobby. I think it came out pretty cute though I need to work on my project photography skills still… I think maybe next time I’ll not have it in the frame when I’m taking the photo The glass causes all sorts of issues! Anyway, I had fun, and hopefully it’ll be educational to our baby some day!
I could call myself an “artiste” after creating this fine canvas creation, but that would be a big lie. A friend from college, Nichole, is having a little baby girl this December! For her shower, she registered for a bunch of cute owl-themed things for the baby’s room. I saw a canvas on the registry and thought – hey, I could totally make that! So, I basically stole the idea for this from some baby home decor company. Oh well! haha.
So I did. It started off with a regular cheapo canvas from Michaels that I painted pink. Then I really went at it with my Silhouette. I bought the owl image, which included the branch and its leaves, and then used some shapes I already had for the grass and flowers.
The Silhouette I have only cuts a regular letter-sized piece of paper, up to 8.5″ wide. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to effectively fill the large canvas (I don’t remember the size, but it was probably 16×20″ or maybe a little bigger). Didn’t turn out to be a problem at all – the big secret was to cut the branch using the slice tool into 3 separate pieces. Then, I positioned the owls on the strategically so the joints in the paper didn’t show.
I glued everything down with Claudine Helmuth multi-medium. I found this stuff pretty nice to work with. It has a matte finish. I glued all the pieces down first and let them dry. Even though it’s matte, I did find that you could see the adhesive if it was elsewhere on the canvas. I ended up doing a few layers of multi-medium over the whole thing, which alleviated this issue and sealed it all up. It works very similar to mod podge, but leaves a less sticky finished surface.
I don’t know if shows well in the picture, but the paper is all lightly patterned. It’s mostly from the Little Yellow Bicycle Fresh Print Clothesline collection. (Thanks to Belinda for this generous hook-up!). The color scheme was just perfect for this, and since at the moment I don’t use much pink or pastels, it was a great way to play with the paper. I think the orange and purple pieces came from an old K and Company collection pack that I had.
This was a ton of fun to make, and now my brain is contemplating how to make a more “adult” canvas for our living or dining room. You could definitely get creative with the paint layer, and even paint over the shapes as well, or use them as a mask. I think it could look pretty chic with some nice organic flower or leaf shapes. It’s all the fun parts of making art without having to do the difficult drawing part.
PS I’m in uber crunch mode at work now, so I can’t help but see about 900 “technical writer” style/error issues in this post. It’s quite annoying but I’m trying to ignore it. The word “this” without a noun after it? Vague pronouns? Sound the sirens, people… I have to remember, this is a BLOG not a warranted technical document.
OK, bye for now!
My friend Elaine had a baby shower last month. I got the crazy idea that I was going to make her a baby book. Once I got in the groove and made the initial decisions, it actually didn’t take that long to make. I based the page ideas off the baby book at younghouselove.com. Of course, I couldn’t just use their format, so I re-created some of the fill-in pages in Adobe Illustrator. After browsing Archivers for an hour for inspired ideas, I decided to use the Little Yellow Bicycle Snugglebug collection for the main embellishments, though I also mixed in a bunch of stuff that I already had – great excuse to use up a bunch of pastels that I never use otherwise!
I cut the titles out with my Silhouette. Otherwise the layouts are pretty simple, I put photo mats in that would fit 4×6″ photos so it’s super easy for Elaine to fill in! Enjoy:
Here is the book for your viewing enjoyment:
Find more photos like this on The Crop Circle
Progress has been made on the scrappy chica cutting machine front. I’ve done more than just cut out letters. I finished a Christmas-style title that has little trees as part of the background. I’m also working on a tracing of a map of India, which I’m planning on using as a title page for that book, with dots for each city. (Or , I am seriously considering Belinda’s suggestion of using bling-bling for this purpose!)
Another thing I’m finding this handy for is to create my own version of licensed scrapbook embellishments. Of course, I’m sure this is violating some copyright law, so I won’t share those files, but I think it will be pretty neat to have the Warner Brother’s logo on the page about the studio tour that we did there, for example. I figure as long as I’m not selling, sharing, or otherwise profiting off of the cut-outs or the files I’m okay. Heck, you can acquire tons of vector files of logos for free on the web.
I now know that I took those courses in college that involved Adobe Ilustrator for a reason. bwah-haha. More soon.
Apparently Oak and I find the best time to work on our hobbies when the other is sleeping. This is my product of last night after Oak went to bed… my first actual completed project using the Silhouette. I found this funky Indian-style font on dafont.com. This is pretty much what Hindi looks like, but without the Western characters.. haha I then used one of the tutorials I’ve found online to weld the letters together. Each character has a line above it, so I welded the line together so it could be placed on the page in one piece. There were a few detached characters (the a, e, and i), but those were easy enough to place with all the other letters attached to each other.
The paper is from Rusty Pickle, the “Pashmina collection.” Belinda is the one that actually found this paper – she was much better at finding Indian-themed scrapbook papers than me.
I have about 3 or 4 more pages before my India scrapbook is done. I think I’m going to eventually put them all in my gallery on scrapbook.com. I just need to work on getting some better skills at taking pictures of layouts!
This layout is about the kite festival in Ahmadabad – Nirav’s cousins taught us the art of tying and flying kites. The main goal during the festival is to knock other people’s kites out of the sky. The string on the kites is very abrasive and has little pieces of glass in it so you can actually cut the string of the other kites. It’s kind of like a kite war. When we were there, it was a few days before the festival actually started so people were out on their roofs practicing. I’ve never been very good at flying kites (as a kid I think my kites always got caught in a tree), and this was no exception. Someone always had to save my sinking kite… haha. Sigh!
Scrapbooking/computer nerd post.. beware..
So, I’ve been contemplating purchasing a digital craft cutter for quite some time. Last year when Belinda and I were first getting hard core into the scrappyness (I think we had just discovered that BasicGrey is awesome), we were talking about how it’s a pain to either buy premade embellishments (hello expensive), use a die cutting machine for which you have to buy dies (hello again, $$), or cut out all your embellishments by hand (ok, time is money in this one). I thought I was being so clever and said something like, “There should be a machine that cuts stuff out for you, like a printer with a blade!”
While I thought I was exploring a realm of uninhabited intellectual property, I sigh, learned that such a thing already existed. Good for my sanity, bad for my patent portfolio (or lackthereof). The first one I encountered was the Cricut, which is very popular in the scrapbooking community. Well, that one kind of had the same limitations as a regular die cutting machine has. You have to buy cartridges that contain designs on them to cut out. Tres limiting! Plus who wants to buy an $80 cartridge every time you want some new designs? No thanks.
So, I continued my investigation then I discovered what I actually was thinking of – the Silhouette. I was liking what I was reading – you hook it to your computer and it can cut any TrueType font that you download on the web. That in itself is enough for any scrapbooker that has tried letter stickers and found themselves with a pile of Qs and Xs at the end of a hard core cropping session. Some more research and I found that people are pretty open about sharing files they’ve made for different shapes/themes, and you can buy shapes from places like Quickutz for much cheaper than a Cricut cartridge.
There are actually 3 machines that are the exact same thing – Craft Robo, Wish Blade, and the Silhouette. I chose the Silhouette because it was over $100 cheaper than the other two. For the same exact machine, except the Wish Blade comes with slightly different software and a snazzier case. The price had dipped pretty low on Overstock and Oak decided I would finally get one for Christmas. Huzzah! (yes, we have already exchanged gifts. We are bad about that.)
Well, my new toy actually arrived in the mail the same exact day I had that terrible fall at work. Talk about bad timing! But my honey actually helped me get it all set up and within a half an hour or so we had cut out our first items – a heart and our names. Pretty amazing! I think this is a craft tool that guys could get into. It’s geeky enough to intrigue them, and if you get the Silhouette, it’s not at all girly looking.
So, using the premade shapes and the letters is pretty darn easy! And, since I’m sure you know how many fonts there are out there, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Not to mention the fact that I’ve already downloaded a buttload of premade images – I even found a Scottish piper for our Highland games page. I’m sure when I get into Super Scrapbooking Mode, I’ll be using all of these shapes like no tomorrow.
However, since it’s the holiday season, I haven’t really been scrapbooking too much, so I decided, me being the nerd that I am, that I also need to learn how to make my own designs with this thing. There are a ton of tutorials online that help with learning different methods (see my delicious category for a bunch of links). I downloaded a program that is basically the freeware version of Adobe Illustrator, called Inkscape, which is where you make your designs, and then you import them into the CraftRobo software that comes with the Silhouette. Conceptually it is not very hard. However, I have a fair amount of experience working with vector graphics from college so I’m pretty sure that has helped.
I’m still working on my first design- it’s all done in Inkscape, but for some reason it didn’t cut correctly. And, let me just tell you, that the CraftRobo documentation is notsogood. Sorry to whoever wrote it, but it breaks pretty much every technical writing rule there is. It’s very componentized – no, I do not want to learn about the print window, I want to learn <i>how to print</i>. It’s pretty clear that Quickutz took the software and slapped their logo on it – and they didn’t really even do that in most places! Talk about interesting branding and vendor issues (oh, I am such a nerd.). So, I’m pretty sure I won’t be using the CraftRobo documentation as a reference very often and will instead print the tons of tutorials that people online have written up.
I have to say, for an open source project, I am pretty impressed with Inkscape so far. I’m so used to Illustrator though that I might just install the old copy that we have as well. For example, it took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to ungroup a set of shapes. Mon dieu! The pro is that you can directly export your images to the file type that the Craftrobo software uses. Very handy!
So, I will try to keep updates going on when I start figuring out more. It’s a very powerful little tool – the challenge is just learning how to leverage all of it! I’m up for it! stay tuned..