Homemade SVG files

I’ve got a new YouTube video up showing the process I went through to create my own SVG cut file. Because I don’t own illustrator, I used an open-source graphics program called Inkscape. You can watch my adventure on my latest YouTube episode.

I ran into a few troubles with this process. I have basic graphics skills so that part was no problem. The challenges came when trying to understand the software itself and how svg files translate into machine-specific cutting software. To begin, the graphics software on my mac was a bit buggy and caused significant user frustration. Plus, it was not very intuitive. I decided to watch a two-hour long tutorial before I could get a hang of the controls.

Once I had those controls problems figured out the actual image creation went smoothly. It was just a matter of welding together some rectangle and text shapes. Voila, lovely graphic simply saved as an svg file type instead of an jpg file type.

How it behaved in the Cricut cutting software and the Silhouette cutting software was yet another story. Find out in my video how it all played out.

If you would like to have this svg file for your use, please visit my freebies page. The video will give you tips on how to make this cut file work if you are using Cricut or Silhouette cutting machines. If you have another cutting machine you’ll have to experiment on how to get it to work in your software.

CHA 2016 Projects for DCWV

I am so excited to say that I was invited to submit projects to DCWV for their CHA 2016 booth! I ended up submitting 5 projects. I was provided with the products to use for their “existing product” displays. While I was was compensated for these projects, I happily use their products anyway and was glad to showcase what I could do with some of their products I haven’t used before.

toothfairy

This was probably my favorite. I used the DCWV Insta Photo Fun paper stacks (4×4 in size!). I had a white + foil stack and a kraft + white-print stack. Using the back side of the kraft paper gave me some rest from all the pattern. I used my punches for the circles and fairy wings and my silhouette for the title and fairy dress. I also used some ink to change the white paper into colors that worked for the layout. The foil resists the ink, so you get lovely colorful foiled papers.  Add in some some silver thread to the fairy’s dress and that finishes it off.

5x5card

The second project used the DCWV 5×5 notecards. Just using punches and layering, I used DCWV cork and foiled vellum 6x6x stacks to bring a focal to the card. I punched the card edge and added more layering with the vellum. This allowed the sentiment on the inside to peek out for added dimension. Add in some twine, gold thread and Blue Moon seed beads and the card is nicely finished.

burlapcard

As soon as I was asked to use the pre-made burlap cards, I knew I wanted to add in stitching! And what better way to accent stitching than to add in some Blue Moon seed beads. I had some DCWV white-core cardstock out on my desk from another project, so I sanded it down and ran it through the printer. I sanded it both to get some texture of the white core peeking through and to get the ink to adhere to the cardstock! Cut out and back that sentiment tag with a little vellum. Punch some holes in the layered tag and tie it with a bow to the project using the loose thread ends from the stitching. Pretty.

yourockcard yourockcloseup

I used the DCWV 5×5 kraft pre-made cards, vellum, cork and printed kraft, and stencil stacks to pull this card together. While it used a number of differing stacks, you can see how all these products work nicely together. I used white acrylic paint for stenciling the stars and hand lettering the sentiment. I used ink to change the kraft color of the printed stack to create a “washi” tape look. A bit of gold thread and gold ink spray was used for a sparkly pizzaz of a finish.

flowercloseupflowerframe

And the final project gave the most oomph out of just cardstock! The frame I painted with white acrylic paint giving it a white wash then a layer of stenciling using the DCWV stencil stack. Punches and the Silhouette, gave me many lovely flower petals. Then it was just layering, layering, layering. A strong glue (Ranger matte multi medium) made the flowers sturdy. Add a little bling with the Wink of Stella pen and some Ranger Stickles gave a nice final touch.

Painting Christmas gift

Watercolor, watercolor, watercolor. I think I am obsessed.

My husband likes lighthouses, so instead of buying him a Christmas gift, I made one instead. I wanted to play with a freehand drawing, which quite honestly scares me. I don’t consider myself a “fine” artist, meaning I can’t do representational drawing very well. I’ve done a little practicing here and there with different things but I still have a long way to go. And you know what. That is okay. Everyone starts somewhere. Here I am at 41 starting something new. You can too!

lighthouse

I used a pencil to sketch out the drawing first. Erasers are your friend, let me tell you. I used markers to go over the pencil once I was happy with the composition. Double ended markers made this job easier. I used the broad tip for larger areas like the rocks, and the fine tip for details like the roof tiles, railing and grass. The fine tip left enough detail to give the hint of structure without leaving harsh lines. Once the color is in place, use a wet brush to pull and move the color. Don’t work two different colors near each other while they are still wet as this will cause colors to bleed into each other. Luckily, this simple marker technique drys fairly quickly and you can just move around the piece working here and there.

I wasn’t sure how to achieve a nighttime sky for the lighthouse so I skipped it and went with daytime. That presented another challenge. Blue for the ocean and blue for the sky. I just played with the markers I had and made a decision. I was happy with the cool blue ocean water (I did touch in a hint of violet also for some depth on the crests of the waves). The warmer more vibrant blue of the sky I think is too much of a mismatch in tone. But it is what it is and I learned plenty.

If you want to learn more about watercoloring (aimed at card makers) I highly recommend the Online Card Classes website. They have 2 self-paced workshops (for card makers and exploring mediums) on their site as well as an upcoming intermediate watercoloring class beginning at the end of January. I’ve taken the first two and will be in class for the third. Maybe I will see you there.

Happy 2016

2016

I hope you all had safe & happy holidays. I wish you many good things as we move into 2016. I started off my year with watercoloring of course. I realized after I photographed this painting I hadn’t actually finished it. I intend to add spatters onto it, because everything is better with spatters!

Here is a little closeup of the work.

2016side

In real life it is shiny and sparkly from the foiled DCWV paper and the Prima gold mist I used. A festive start to the year.

Every year I start by printing out my letter size calendar pages. I journal on these throughout the year. One for each kid plus one for the family. Each month I create a layout for each kid’s scrapbook and tuck the month’s journaling behind the page. Here is a peek at the binder I use to store all these pages for the year. The binder sits by my bed so I can make some notes before I go to be.

calendarbook

calendarbook2

 

 

Maybe this system will work for you too. I will post .pdf files soon for you if you’d like to print them to use.

DCWV cone wreath

I received some paper stacks from DCWV to make projects, including one to make seasonal cone wreaths. As Thanksgiving approached I decided to quickly try to put together the fall wreath.

cone wreath 3

I had to cut my own circle base from chipboard. There is one base included but knowing I will need to make 4 wreaths total I just started this one with my own chipboard. I trimmed all the papers from the stack into their rectangle shapes. After a little playing around, I figured out how to quickly fold each rectangle of paper into a cone and hot glue it together. Each layer uses slightly smaller rectangles. I found the center to be rather deep and didn’t want to decorate down in that hole so I took some leftover chipboard and created a platform to fill in the hole.

cone wreath 2cone wreath 1

And that is as far as I got. Why you ask? The project wasn’t hard and it was starting to shape up to look lovely. But in the end I decided I just didn’t like the colors for Thanksgiving. Too much black. Too much orange. I will save this wreath for Halloween next year. I may try some other papers in greens and browns and golds to make a Thanksgiving wreath some other time. But for now, this project remains unfinished.

And that is okay. Go ahead and try things; and then decide you don’t like them. It is all part of the creative process.

I will give the winter wreath a go soon and see if that one fits my color ideals better!

 

Thanksgiving Place settings

Okay, I realize that Thanksgiving was yesterday. I thought I would share anyway. Go ahead and adapt these and use them for Christmas instead. No biggie.

I used Core’Dinations envelopes and tags, my cutie little Lawn Fawn Turkey stamp and my kiddo to complete these table name tag/place settings/gift “box” (for the ornaments I made earlier here and here).

1supplies

 

Envelopes were simply inked using Tim Holtz distress inks to add color to the background. Tags were decorated with a watercolor marker technique (Art Impressions have good YouTube videos on how this works).  Once the turkeys were done, we inked the edges for a little more depth and threw on some twine. The final touch was to add each person’s name. I was going to use a rotary text stamp at first but decided to go with hand written names. Then I remembered I had some new India ink that I haven’t played with much. This further reminded me that a young friend had shown me her art marker that was really a water brush filled with ink. Bingo. I pulled out an extra water brush and filled it with my ink to make my own calligraphy brush.

1inkpen

And the results really were pretty. I’m not an expert hand letterer but practice makes perfect and here is a good place to practice.

1done

 

And here it all is put into action.

placeset1

placeset2

 

placeset3

 

Hope you enjoyed.

Update & crafting with kids

Remember these guys? I posted about them a few days ago.
ornaments

I didn’t mentioned that I was still working on two more designs. Well I got them finished and look how cute they turned out.
moreornaments

My middle child got really involved with decorating all the stockings on the fireplaces. We’ve made at least 10 of each style of ornament so that means 30 colorful stockings that she worked on. That yellow ombre stocking was our favorite of the batch.So pretty. It is going to be hard to give them all away since they are so fun. (If you didn’t read the last post, these are all gifties for the holidays.)

Which brings me to the second part of my post today. When I bought all these to make my own gifts, I also bought a batch for the kids in my card class. I teach a card making class at my kids’ alternative school. It is so much fun to share my love of crafting with all of these young people. So here is what they look like before young minds get to work on them.
cardclassornaments

I’ve removed the price labels and used my crop-a-dile to punch holes in them for the hanging string. I’m looking forward to seeing what they all come up with to decorate these items.

It just so happens that Jennifer McGuire’s theme this week for her Share Handmade Kindness campaign. What perfect timing since I am sharing these small wood disks for the kids to turn into treasures. Why don’t you go craft with or even for some kids in your life.