Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer "You Pick" Swap Challenge #1

I joined a swap on the Cricut message boards for the Summer. You pick a partner from the message boards and you each complete challenges issued by the host and then send them to each other.

Challenge #1 was four Summer themed cards with 3 elements and 3 papers each.

Here are the four I created. TFL!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dream Books

This is a picture of the front of one of the 17 "Dream" wordbooks I made at the end of the May/beginning of June. I was SO mad at myself for not taking a picture of them all together but I finished them at 5 am after staying up all night and then wrapped them in boxes before I thought to take a pic. I was recently able to retrieve one temporarily and get a pic so I thought I would post it.

I was paid to make 17 of these for my mom to give as gifts to some people in her business. They all loved them and I have to say that they all turned out lovely. All the covers were very decorative and the books were done in pinks, blues and purples. The insides were decorated very simply to give the recipients lots of options for what they wanted to ultimately put in them.

I used the Mickey Font Cart for this particular book.

Click here for the cut file.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fiskars Circle Border Punch Review

Some ladies on the Cricut message boards were inquiring about these punches so I decided to play with the ones I bought last weekend and see what I thought about them.

This is a link to the 6 circle border punches that are sold by Fiskars:

I personally purchased the "Antique Elegance" and "Heart of Hearts" punches.

Like all punches, the circle punch has it's limitations. It only punches properly with circles that are 4 inches or 6 inches. Each punch comes with a template like this. The inner circle is the 4 inch template and the outer circle is the 6.

Instead of using the template, I cut circles from the "All Mixed Up" cartridge on my cricut. I was surprised to find that the sizes did not match up. It only occurred to me afterward that they may have matched up if I had used "real dial size" but I'm not sure because I didn't try that. So, without using "real dial size", a 6 inch circle on the Cricut, equalled the 4 inch template, while a 9 inch circle on the Cricut equalled the 6 inch template. I know that doesn't seem to make sense but it's true. I also found a use for a 4 inch circle on the Cricut which I will show you further down.

On the punches, you turn one direction for the small circle and one direction for the large. I found that the small circle was EASY while the large circle was more tricky. Here is a picture of the two punches. You can see the guidelines and directions for punching on the listed on the punch itself.

The only difficulty I had with the small circle was keeping it in place to line up the punch properly. To aid this, I just put a few swipes of removable dotto adhesive in the center of the circle so that once I had it lined up, it stuck to the punch base and didn't move while I punched it. The small circle was SUPER simple and lined up beautifully.

I did NOT need the removable adhesive to assist with the large circle but no matter how I tried, could not get it to make a perfectly perfect circle in the end. There was always a tiny little overlap that didn't allow the design to complete itself fully. Now, you honestly wouldn't know if you weren't looking for it so it doesn't bother me that much but it IS imperfect and I know that this might really bother those with detail-oriented personalities. :)

Here are pictures of 3 cards using the small and large circles I punched:(Please note that I was doing this quickly just to play with it so my work is a little sloppy)

This last card, I cut a 4 inch circle on the Cricut, folded it in half and punched it. I kinda liked what it created so I decided to use it. One note of caution though -- these punches cannot really handle doubled cardstock very well so you should only use this method with paper or VERY thin cardstock.

Overall, I am very happy with the Antique Elegance punch but not as fond of the Heart to Hearts. I may try to return it for a different one. I found it harder to use and line up with the large circle than the AE punch. I like the idea of these punches and I think I will find lots more uses for them as I go along. They certainly provide a simple way to make a card VERY elegant!

I hope this helps you make your decision! Happy scrappin' everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Candy Cake for Dad

I did it! Yes!! I set out to do something really new and different for my dad's Father's Day/Birthday cake this year and I was able to do exactly what I had envisioned!! You know when you have a vision of something and it just doesn't come out like you'd planned? That happens to me alot but this was a pleasant exception!

My dad's birthday is on June 20th so we always celebrate it on Father's Day. This year is his 50th so I wanted to make a very special cake for him. I'm a great cook but not so much in the bakery department so I decided to get creative. I've seen a few candy bar cakes created on the Cricut message boards so I decided to search the internet to expand on the ideas I had seen.

I was inspired by this woman's creations and after browsing her website for about 20 mins, I decided I could imitate some of what she did and spin it to work for my occassion.

I wanted a LARGE cake. This became an instant problem when I went to buy styrofoam for the inside. I can't BELIEVE the price of styrofoam! After perusing my local Michael's, I decided to head to an old craft store that I haven't been to in over 10 years. It's a run down lil' old place but wouldn't you know it, they had exactly what I needed! I decided to go with 3 different sizes of round paper mache boxes. They are 13 inches, 9 inches and 5 inches in diameter. The cost was half what it would have been to create the same sized cake with a styrofoam center.

The next challenge was the candy. I wanted to decorate the cake solely with my dad's favorites and still keep some color coordination (color coordination was the only thing I found lacking in the cakes from the site listed above -- they were a little too ..... confetti for me). I eyeballed what I thought would fill up the boxes nicely and purchased ALL of my candy at WALMART (I later had to run to my local grocery to grab one more package of fun sized snickers and they were almost $1.00 more per package -- sheesh).

This is the candy I settled on. My original plan was to make a band of licorice at the top of each layer almost like an icing/border thing but I found that licorice is too waxy to adhere with hot glue so I ditched that right off. Anyone want a 2 lb bag of licorice?

~Insert V8 bop to the forehead here~

I also didn't end up using the cinnamon bears and later added some reeses singles cups to the bottom layer. And I can't account for the peanut butter twix -- they were an impulse buy, near the register...... I thought I might use them but now I'll have to eat them -- oh darn.

I used hot glue for the entire project and to offset the effect of hot glue on chocolate, I put everything in the freezer for about an hour before I started. I also glued the lids upside-down to the bottoms of the boxes to separate the layers nicely. I covered the sides of the lids in a brown satin ribbon from Michael's.

I used skewers, Accent Essentials, Paper Pups and Celebrations for the top. My dad has a Great Dane and a Standard Poodle -- hence the dog cuts. I'm going to add 'googly' eyes to them tomorrow to make them extra cute and silly. I used a generic sentiment since it's for both his Birthday and Father's Day. The flowers have rolos candy in the centers and they are all embossed with CB swiss dots, though you cannot see the detail from this picture.

This was loads of fun and turned out fabulous! The cake stands 2.5 feet tall with skewers and all. I'm so excited to see his reaction tomorrow. TFL!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mother's Day Gift

I'm behind on my scrap blogging so I'm trying to catch up. This is a clock I made for my mom to go in her Mother's Day basket. She loved it. "Dream Big" is kind of her motto so I like to put it on things I make for her. I used a basic clock kit from Hobby Lobby and just decorated it with cardstock and cuts from the Alphalicious, Jasmine & Home Accents.

More Cards

Patriotic Centerpiece

This was inspired by an idea from the Cricut messageboard. The original creator's name is "Freddie" and this is a link to the post on her project:

I put my own spin on it to make it appropriate for the occassion. I used this as our table centerpiece for homecoming family gathering for my brother-in-law; then I gave it to his wife as a gift at the end.

This was made using Accent Essentials. Starting at 3 inches on each flower, I dialed down 1/4 inch for each cut. If you have the Expression, push your quantity button and set it to "1". This will hold the design so you don't have to push "repeat last" each time. I used the shift lock to avoid any details or holes being cut into the flowers. In the case of the double sided flowers, I simply made them twice and stuck them together back to back.

All the flowers are put together with 1/4 double sided adhesive foam squares. DO NOT USE SCOTCH BRAND. I found that they did not work very well as they are soft instead of firm like most foam squares. For the stems, I used red, white and blue straws because they worked with the colors but you could use popsicle sticks, sucker sticks, skewers, etc. I attached the flowers to the straws with big thick glue dots.

I filled the bucket halfway with white decorative sand and stuck the straws in that. I cut some stem-like accents and stuck in as filler. Again, all of this was pulled from Freddie's post on the Cricut messageboard -- this is NOT my original idea, it is simply my take on it.

Thanks for looking!

Welcome Home Wordbook

This is a wordbook that I made back in May for my brother-in-law, Josh & his wife, Stephanie. Josh had just returned from Iraq after a year of service for our country. He is a proud Marine and we were so happy to have him back home again.

I made this book for them to put in the pictures of when he first arrived, etc. They liked the book and I was happy with how it turned out.

Click here for the cut file.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Congrats Card for My Niece

My cute little Niece made it to the State competition for Elementary School debate (she's in fifth grade). This is a card I made her for the occassion.

I used Alphalicious for the "Congratulations" and PDDU for the girl inside the card. The flowers were done with Accent Essentials and the centers are done with acrylic beads aka: "skittles".

Grams Wordbook

This is a wordbook I made for my Grandma for her 80th birthday. I took pictures at the party to put in the wordbook later. This was a simple layout, 8x8 square to accomodate more pictures. It was made with Mickey Font & Accent Essentials.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My First Word Book - Dream BIG

This is my very first word book. It was an absolute BLAST to make and I had so much fun and SO many ideas that came to mind as I was making it that I cannot WAIT to make more!

This was done on the Expression but could also be done on the lil' Bug. I used Plantin Schoolbook on CDS for the design (cut file below pics). I used .22 chipboard at a blade depth of 5, full speed, full pressure and multi-cut on 3. Heavy cardstocks on both sides of each chipboard page and patterned pieces are just standard scrapbook paper. Be sure to reset blade depth to 4 and lighten pressure when cutting standard paper to avoid tearing.

Click here for the cut file but note this disclaimer: Because this was my first word book, I didn't realize that manipulating the width of the letters would render the shadow function less "functional" which is to say, the overlay letters do not fit perfectly within the chipboard cuts. I didn't realize this until I had already cut the chipboard portion of the project and I wasn't inclined to fix it.

My First 7 Cards

These are pictures of my first 7 cards. Since I'm fairly inexperienced with card making, I started by using simple white prepackaged 5x7 cards and envelopes purchased a Walmart. This tends to give them all a rather simple look since there's no color variation in the back but I'll branch out as I get better, I'm sure. Here are the pictures, along with details on cartridges used.

The bees were done with WIMG and words with MTG. I used gold Stickles on the wings.

Embossing was done with the CBF: D'vine Swirl. Flowers were done in varying sizes using Accent Essentials. Green Stickles dotted in corners.
Happy Day 4 inch with shadowed background from MTG. Pink stickle dots.

Cuts from Celebrations. Red Stickles outlining balloons.

Cuts from Paper Pups.

Smile cut using GP -- shadowed and embossed with CBF: Swiss Dots.

Present cut from Celebrations & embossed with the CBF: D'vine Swirl. Thank you cut from Alphalicious.