Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Crafting Day 2

The only "every year at our house" holiday is Halloween!  The tradition is supper at 5:30, followed by getting in costumes and trick-or-treating. Sometimes supper is chili and hot dogs, sometimes, it is ordering pizza and having sides, once, we made our own pizzas.  Somehow, all the other holidays were "taken" and we ended up doing this for our daughter's first Halloween and it stuck. Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends know to show up! The challenge is always finding something that the kids will eat (my picky kiddo) that the adults will also consume with all of their individual food "issues" (diets, meat preferences, and whatever they make up when the wind blows). I eat everything so these crazy food issues just seem unfair to easy-going me!

This year, Halloween is on a Friday, so there is also a sleepover involved with my daughter and her friends.  We live in one of those neighborhoods where everyone decorates, hands out candy, and even the adults dress up.  They drop off kids from other parts of town by the minivan-load.  The awesome thing about all of this is that the evening entertainment for the sleepover is built-in with trick-or-treating until their little feet get too tired or the wind gets too chilly.  My kiddo has also warned her friends that I will make anyone wear a coat who doesn't layer under their costumes adequately for warmth!  Hey, it's my issue but no one gets sick on my watch!

Last year, as anyone in this region with kids will remember, was horribly stormy.  So much so that we changed the date for trick-or-treating.  Hey, they might do that where you are from, but here, we stick to the calendar.  With storm warnings and wind advisories, the whole city ended up at the malls and they all ran out of candy!  Can you imagine the mall running out of the cheapo candy they hand out?!  I had my daughter and her little cousin with me and we ended up finding our treats at Claire's in the form of silly accessories.  Then we trick-or-treated in the neighborhood the next day.  It all worked out, but I take my traditions with actual tradition thank you!

So we are making up for it this year with extra treats and extra treat-getters!

Each of the girls from school will be getting pumpkin boxes filled with candy and fun stuff.  These pumpkins are from SVGcuts and can be found by clicking here!

What is always so clever about the way that SVGcuts designs rounded vessels are the decorative panels that cover over the scoring and gluing, forgiving lots of less-than-perfect crafting!  Those panels are great for embossing, painting, or just using your favorite decorative papers.

For my little niece, I wanted something fun.  I love the old-fashioned stuff on SVGcuts' Midnight Jamboree.  This little bucket is a great size!

This black cat bucket is found here.

I also had to do another quick candy box for another ballet teacher for my kiddo.  Yesterday, I posted all my ballet school Halloween treats.

If you missed them, here's a link to that post:  click here.

For this box, I just wanted to decorate a few chocolate squares.

The box is from Cricut Cartridge Box It Up.  The ghost is from Cricut Cartridge Charmed and the text is Smiley (free from dafont), written with a Pilot Precise V5 pen in the Explore.  My file for this project is here:

The flowers were cut from Art Philosophy.  These are spiral cut that roll up to create a 3D flower.

Unlike the rest of the neighborhood, I don't decorate outside.  That's really because I hate to un-decorate in the cold and I am doing my neighbors a favor by not having Halloween decorations up until Derby Day...and that's my story and I'm sticking with it.  But we do put up things around the inside of the house. I did add a few things to our decorations.

These are fun for doors and so incredibly fast and easy....Spiderweb Rosettes!

This is also from SVGcuts and you can find it by clicking here!  They are funky and dimensional and simple!

Great designing in the features of the cut file is something I really appreciated with the banner I made.

Another SVGcuts file (click here for this one), this project went together so fast because there were no little "rippy bits" of faces that had to be applied, but rather full layers of cut away features that layer one on top of the other.  This is something I used to love about the Cricut cartridge images, but I have noticed that some of their new designs (like Anna Griffin's Christmas Kitsch's Santa face image) have missed this important concept in designing multi-layer die cuts!

See how although there are little teeth and eyeballs, and a nose that you never are picking up tiny facial features and placing them.  See how they form automatically!  This same thing is found on Cricut Happy Hauntings and PaperDoll Teen Scene.

These are issues I actually spoke with the old Provo Craft management about in person!  Another thing that wasn't passed on to the new team, I suppose.  Hopefully they will get clued in.  I suggest they all cut out and glue that Santa I mentioned at two or three inches and then they will know!

Designed correctly, this is a DREAM to assemble...and so fast!

Well, my crafting weekend has come to an end!  That was so much fun!  My little autumn treat!  Thanks for checking out my post!

Quick links to things in this post:

3D Pumpkin Boxes:  click here!
Spiderweb Rosettes:  click here!
Black Cat Bucket and Jack 'O Lantern Banner:  click here!
Black Flower Box in Design Space:
Smiley font:

I think we are all ready for Halloween over here!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Explore Writing Options and Alternative Pens II: Halloween Treat Boxes using Jellyroll Pen and Dingbat Drawings

Since I bought my Cricut Explore back in March, I have been very interested in handwriting options and pen choices aside from the Cricut branded ones.  I did previous blog posts on both of those subjects, but now I have even better news!  The Chomas Pen and Marker Holders allow for even more options, including Sharpies, Jelly Roll Pens, glitter pens, and more!  (For my original post on pen options, click here! For my previous post on handwriting fonts to download, click here!)

Now you can write in WHITE gel ink!
The Chomas Pen and Marker Holders are aftermarket items.  In order to use them, you will need to swing open the arm of the pen holder and pop out the holder.  To see this in action, check out Amy's video (click here).  I like this option much more than some of the homemade things I have been seeing people do with tape and things that risk breaking the holder.  Her implements fit in the spot that the holder would normally set in and the arm will swing shut to hold it in place.  See links at the end of this post for how to buy this from her.  (And just so you know, I had to buy mine- regular price, and she did not ask me to post this.  I don't benefit in any way from sales of her tools. I really just love having more options to use with my Explore!)

I have missed the use of my Jellyroll pen!  The closest I had been able to come to a usable WHITE pen in the Explore was chalk markers.... but they are engineered to be choppy.  They are supposed to look like chalk!  I wanted a smooth gel for writing on dark papers and I love the way the Explore writes with gel ink! 

And the only thing more fun than finding new pen options is finding new free fonts to use that mimic handwriting and pen art!  Remember, all true type fonts (TTF) are system fonts so they will outline.  Using skinny fonts simply means that they will look like single stroke fonts.  Your chosen pen or the point size you choose can make certain ones look even more like handwriting.  For a full explanation of this and info on how to download, check out my previous post about this.  These are all from  Under each photo, I have links to each font. 

Jack and the Beanstock
Killah Pika Pika
PW Smokey
Spider Font

Hanging Letters 
 Janda Hide and Seek
KB Fun House

Origami (Dingbat)
Pig Rules (Dingbat)
Tamoro Script
KG Say Something
Daisys Delights
Austie Bost Somersaults
Something Blue
Woodcutter Invisible

Pig Rules (Dingbat) - repeat
FFC Indo (Dingbat)
Dextera - repeat
Janda Sparkle and Shine
Daisys Delights - repeat
Kara Kaboodle
Something Blue - repeat
Posey Blossom
Bernardo Moda

Using these new options, I created some tiny treat boxes for the ballerinas in my daughter's Junior Pre-Pointe Ballet class and a little candy dish for her ballet teacher!  Her academic school doesn't allow the kids to even mention the word 'Halloween' so we make up for it with her extra activities, like ballet class!

Thanks to MizEsther and Margo Jacobson, I was introduced to the fabulous little box on the Cricut Baby Shower Cartridge!  Cut at 4.5", this box is the perfect size for three Ghirardelli Squares!  

I found that I could fit only two boxes on the mat, whether the paper is 12x12 or 8.5x11 so using up smaller paper is the way to go.  This design utilizes the score tool as well, so the box folds perfectly.  I added text using Dafont's 'Smiley' and had the Explore write it in white Jellyroll pen with the Chomas Pen Holder!  My Design Space File for this is here:

I tied on little tags I made using a simple circle tag from my Cricut images and text that included dingbats.  Check out Dafont's WTF Sweet Halloween Dings!  Have you used dingbats with your Explore?  You can cut, print, or write the characters and there are so many fun ones!  (Be sure to print out the key so you know which drawing relates to each alpha-numeric character.)  For these tags, I used Pilot Precise V5 black pen.  This pen fits just fine in the regular Explore pen holder with no other assistance or implement!  These pens are super fine so tiny details don't get lost!  This is my file for my tags:  The text is Smiley font.  The tags were cut from Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More 2 at 1".

The fun thing with this little box is that you can use all kinds of re-purposed materials for the window.  On these, I used the plastic film that comes on Cricut cutting mats.  I have lots of those.  I cut them using the cardstock setting.  I love embossing it too!  (Embossing also hides any scratches or imperfections on the film.)

The candy dish was super fast and easy!  This was a quick file from SVGcuts from the Midnight Jamboree collection!  

To the little strip, I had the Explore write "Happy Halloween" in the Smiley font using a glitter pen.  I used the Chomas marker holder since this pen is thicker due to the rubber grip on the barrel.  

Quick Links:

My Design Space File for the Boxes (you will need Baby Shower and the Smiley Font installed):

My Design Space File for the Tags (you will need Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More 2 and the Smiley Font installed):

Chomas Creations Blog for Video on using her aftermarket pen and marker holders:  click here!

Chomas Creations Store to buy aftermarket pen holder, marker holder, and engraving tool:  click here!

Free Fonts:  find links to specific ones listed under each photo.  Just click the font name!  For the Halloween Dings, click here!

For my previous post on fonts that look great written by the Explore and how to download fonts and get them into Design Space, click here!  

My Previous Post on Pen Options that FIT in the Explore withOUT aftermarket holders or other assists:  click here!

Midnight Jamboree Collection from SVGcuts (candy dish):  click here!

Thank you for checking out my blog post!  I am in the middle of an on-line crop and these are two of my challenge projects!  Gotta get back to cutting and gluing!  Are you getting your craft on today?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Designing Tags in Design Space

I was able to do some crafting this weekend in preparation of a Susan G. Komen for the Cure fundraising event.  One of the events is a silent auction at a truck and tractor pull so I decided to put together a Cookout Basket for a personal (non-company) donation.  I bought some items and I used some sponsor swag that I had in the office that I have been hoarding for months to use.  The items were kind of uncoordinated in color and style so I wanted to create a theme to make them work together in this basket.  Fall colored throws, a pink hat, bright blue soft drink bottles, wood and metal grilling tools... you get the point.

I decided on an autumn theme and used a natural colored basket.  I created tags to group the items and give them a "fall and outdoorsy brand".

The tags were created in Design Space.  I was thrilled to be able to use a website that created palettes for me and offered hex codes for each color.  By having the code, I could change the color of the tags to fit my theme!  There are tons of websites for doing this.  I used this one: .

I used the artwork from Campin Critters.  The ribbon image was from Pink Journey.  I was able to use the animal characters and badges from the cart, changing the badges to include imported logos that I created from PNGs.  Because I could insert a circle from one of my images and change the color to match the other badges, I was able to make my own custom badges that matched the others in size and color.  I loved using RGB color codes with my Imagine so getting to use hex codes with Design Space felt familiar and freeing!  And getting to combine imported images to personalize something along with the ease of using Cricut artwork made this such an easy project to do!  What made this extra simple though was the fantastic Cut Then Print feature, which eliminated any need to piece die cuts.  Not only was I able to customize the colors, but I was able to have the image flatten and print.  Then the Explore simply cut around the outer perimeter for me.

Now, I will say that this was not a fast project... and not because I couldn't figure it out or had trouble searching for something or was slow at making decisions.  No... it was slow to use Design Space.  Each step required a bit of waiting with the worst of it being the insertion of text.  As you can see, I used a lot of text.

My font is from the Southwest cartridge.  That's a cart I don't own but I bought this font because it was the closest to a system font I wanted to use, and system fonts sometimes don't save (for some reason on some fonts which you aren't warned about ahead of time).  At these unpredictable times, DS can't "find" the font and it replaces it.  Since this was an important project that I knew I would want to save for future reference, I chose instead to use a Cricut font.  I do look for these issues to be corrected with future Design Space updates.  I mention it here for full disclosure in the event that you are planning a similar project!

I used dacron to raise certain elements in the basket and natural colored shred to hide the dacron and add to the fall coloring.  To bring more fall colors in, I cut a ton of leaves from Designer's Calendar, crushing then spritzing them with black ink.

I added them in and attached leaves to some of the items.

And once I added heat shrink wrap, and the large outside tag, my basket was ready to donate.  The heated wrap, if you are not familiar with it, uses the heat of a hair dryer to shrink it down tight around the object it covers.  This holds all the basket items in place and keeps those leaves from floating away as well.  At this outdoor fundraiser, it is a must!  I found it in a roll at Michael's crafts.

Hopefully the guys will bid on it!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Decorated Bras for Breast Cancer Awareness

It's October so that means that everything is pink for Breast Cancer Awareness.  Every year, October also means the last outdoor truck and tractor pull for our company. Running these shows with our series, insuring them, finding sponsors, and televising them on NBC Sports is what we do for a living.  Needless to say, my summers are pretty "testosterone-y".  I have to put aside crafting, sewing, and being a ballet mom in exchange for diesel fumes, trucks, dirt, and engine talk.  But the last show of the year is different.  It is a fund-raiser for Susan G. Komen and a tribute for cancer survivors as well.  This year, the promoter and his family came up with a few extra ways to meet their donation goals, including a bra decorating contest.  Finally, a good reason to CRAFT that my husband supports!!  (He portrays himself as a crafting widower.  Give me a break!)

The object is to make something that the folks at the pull will "vote" for by making a donation on the entry.  The entry with the most votes wins bragging rights for the maker.  I didn't sign up for bragging rights; I signed up for a full day of crafting!  My husband even took our kiddo to the mall so I could have time to finish.  Is this a dream or what?!

So these are my entries... First the lady-like entry....

Although I had played with the idea of making a paper bra... even looking for a bra pattern before deciding that they really probably wanted us to start with a real bra and work from there, a hot pink one was the base for this.  I used my Explore and Design Space to size out several flowers from Mother's Day Bouquet, Flower Shoppe, and Art Philosophy.  I love spiral flowers.  They are so fast and look great!  If you haven't made those before, you simply start at the small end and roll them up using a quilling tool and just squirt a dab of hot glue on the base that is at the other end.  I let it un-twirl a bit and voila!  A flower!  For my Design Space flower file that I used:

The butterfly was a great find!  It was designed by Annette Yoacum and she not only provides the SVG for free, but she also provides permission on her blog to use this image for fundraising for a breast cancer foundation of choice.  To find that svg: I attached it with a piece of acetate so that it would float a bit.  

The next one... well... it is a bit much.  First let me preface this by saying that in truck pulling, there is a rule that headlights have to be off so that the driver doesn't blind the flagman at the 300' line.  It is actually a serious rule but I used it to kind of mess around with the slang of 'headlights.'  

I know... those on/off buttons....

And yes, they do work!  

Starting to look like minions to you now, right?  Is it just me?

I used Meridian Easy Touch Tap Lights from Walmart.  Just a few bucks each and they have a compartment on the back for batteries.  Since this is a two-day event, I wanted to be able to change the batteries!  (These are big so I had to get a larger cup than I needed for the floral one!)  I cut out circles from the bra cups and used Duck Brand silver waterproofing tape to attach the lights to the insides of the residual cups.  

Then I covered all of that up with white regular Duck brand tape, taking care to leave free the battery compartments.  

 I cut 5" paper circles with the Explore to make a loose cover to hide the black boxes and made a simple tape hinge for easy access with white tape.  I am not sure how these will be displayed so I didn't know if the backs will be visible. I did this just to be sure.

The tap lights were pretty heavy so I used artist board for the back and a small piece for the area in the front between the cups to keep them separated and make the whole thing sturdy.  

I used the Explore's writing ability to make a banner with text written on a shape from Formal Occasion.  I used the Print Then Cut feature in Design Space to make a tiny version of our logo and attached that with a bit of acetate so that it would hang below the banner.  

Text reads:  Headlights must be off before Green Flag will be dropped.  This friendly reminder brought to you by the Battle of the Bluegrass Pulling Series.

I left both of my entries on the silly hangers that they came on, as I am unsure how they will be displaying them and assuming that the hangers might come in handy.  

I am looking forward to seeing all the entries!  The ones they have peeked out on their Facebook page have been funny and creative!  Now, I need to work on the basket we are donating for the silent auction.  I am gonna squeeze out all the crafting I can today!  I hope October finds you in the pink!

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!