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.
I got fewer layouts done this year than I normally would. The difference was twofold.
I didn’t pack kits for each layout like I would normally do. This meant I was spending more time browsing through supplies to come up with ideas (see post #3 and #4 to see how my thought processes played out).
The scrap space was full and I had to share a table with other people. That meant I was chatting more with people. It was a good trade off as I had fun getting to know some people who turned out to be really local to me!
It is okay that the quantity wasn’t there. I’m happy with what got made and I had a good time. Scrapping is so much more for me than just the final product.
For this layout it was all about theme. The photo represents characters from a WiiU game called Splatoon. That game is all about paint. So, yes I used painting techniques for this layout. Ink puddles and ink splatters were the focus. I wanted a lot of contrast and happened to have a bold, black alpha for my title. I went with that and matted my photo in black as well. Then I added red as another smaller, yet still high contrast element to finished it off. These high contrast pieces actually help the colors pop more than they would have otherwise.
Had I planned things better I would have used watercolor paper as the base for this layout. This cardstock did not hold up well to all the water I put on it and it buckled. It isn’t the fault of the paper; that just isn’t what it was meant to do. But again, I went rolled with what I had on hand. Like I said at the start of this post, it isn’t always about the finished product!
So I have all these photos full of purple. Where to go with the color scheme? I don’t want more purple. So I look through my supplies, embellishments mainly, to see what I can decorate with and pull colors from those items. I grabbed that die cut that reads “you are my greatest adventure.” (This kid of mine loves to DO things, so I’m often dragged along into her world. So, yeah, she is my adventure.) Pink embellishment? Pink and purple color scheme! I kept the purple smaller with just a strip of patterned paper, rhinestones (her character is named Amethyst after all) and a bit of twine (Honestly, I just needed a filler for the awkward white space at the bottom.) The star pattern paper offers some neutral contrast and provides a bit of theme (the character is famous from a TV cartoon). I grabbed a couple more pink items to create my visual triangle and threw it all together.
There is some tonality difference between the main die cut sentiment and the brighter white of the “this!” word and star paper. That might bug some people but I don’t mind. I think the wood veneer actually helps pull in the color from that one die cut and makes it work okay.
So when you are stuck with photos, look to embellishments to find your color scheme and pull together items that helps everything flow.
pattern papers: Stampin’ Up (purple), unknown (rest)
Where to start when you don’t know where to start? That is the problem I had with this next set of photos. I’m at a crop with a limited set of supplies and I don’t know what I want to use to capture the mood of these photos. Even at home with a whole craft room you may find yourself in this situation. Do you wait and go buy something new that fits or do you just make some choices and go with it. I decided to just make some choices!
As I’m looking at my photos and looking at my supplies on hand I decided more neutral would work and the neutral I had was wood grain. Sure that could work; it would mimic the idea of siding on a house. Plus the DCWV “The Guilded Paper” stack offered enough contrast in papers to mat my central photo group. When I was flipping through that paper stack I found a journalling card that reads “you are my shining star.” I just laughed at the contrast of the photos and the sentiment, so I knew I had an angle. A bit snarky, just like the photos. I grabbed this LOL flair button as soon as I saw it and the basis for my page was there.
The black button gave me an addition to the color scheme. The “star” sentiment gave me a way to go literal with embellishments; I chose stars in wood grain and cork to match paper textures and sentiment. More black stars in epoxy and vellum to match my black button add more texture. Then a few gold sequins, again to match the gold sentiment, finish it all off. The design reads as elegant, but diving into the photos and title leads to the snark.
I did something different here with title and journaling. I made them both the same thing. By using a mixture of large and small fonts with a mixture of colors the words can be read in multiple ways.
The scale of the brown font reads as a title with the contrast of the white font adding into that tile. The green font (chosen as a contrast to the paper but a match the hair!), can then wrap it all together to create the journaling. Repeating a bit more journaling in the bottom right corner both enhances the green letters as the journaling words and creates flow from left to right, top to bottom across the page.
It did take a while to get all those tiny letters organized but it was worth it. The rest of the page was pretty simple so keeping my focus on the words made the design what it is. To make this easier I used a leftover scrap of clear packaging from an embellishment. I drew a line on the plastic with a sharpie and a ruler right near the edge. Letting the letters hangover the top and aligning them to the drawn line gave me a place to hold all the words as I spelled them out. Then I could just line the letters up where I wanted on the page and press them in place as I pulled the plastic away from underneath them.
I will try and get a post organized on more details of this technique. A video perhaps? I’ve done just a couple of videos and I find the learning curve steep but this may be a good way to jump back in. Now that I said it, can I hold myself accountable? We’ll see.
Welcome to another day of the Shimelle scrap party. I looked over ALL the challenges this morning (benefit of her being GMT and me being PST) and decided to start with the color story challenges since it best fit the project I wanted to work on next.
Using the colors tan, red, aqua, navy and yellow I created this page about my kids playing Legos. I thought the colors were a perfect fit for a Lego page!
I grabbed my Shimelle supplies of course and went to work. The English Breakfast pattern paper from the True Stories line had the perfect combo of blocks of color on one side and tan on the other. When I saw the cork house in Shimelle’s cork stickers and knew that would fit my story. Add in more cork for my typical embellishment triangle and I was off an running. The cork pieces didn’t quite fit what I had in mind, so here is my tip for you today. Don’t be afraid to alter your cork stickers!
With the ampersand I used a die circle to cut it down to just the size & piece I wanted.
With the house sticker, it was just to big for what I wanted. Scissors solved that problem!
Hope you check out Shimelle’s challenges. And don’t forget to try altering some of your supplies if they aren’t working at first. Besides that leaves extra pieces that you can then use on other projects.
So Shimelle’s scrap party is moving right along. Her third challenge for the day is to use old fashioned color blocking. I’ve actually been thinking of a design layout that combines blocking and fish-tail banners. So this challenge was super easy for me to pull together.
Shimelle talked of bringing modern personal style to the old blocking look. I did this with the banner tails, embellishements (enamel dots & phrase stickers, both by Shimelle), stamping, and by outlining blocks & photos with pen. These are all current touches I add to my layouts.
When I was trying to think of a little something to put into the middle of the title, it popped into my head that I had this old Making Memories stamp set with a mantis on it! It was a good touch and a nice use of a stamp set I have hardly touched.
Because the quality of the stamp set isn’t what I am used to I wanted to use my Misti stamp tool to position the stamp. With this tool I can line up my paper on the grid and stamp my image. If the stamp isn’t clear enough then I can just make sure it is lined up right and stamp again. This gives perfect over-stamping for a nice crisp image. This tool is sized for greeting cards and I wasn’t sure the 12×12 layout would fit without without bending/squishing the paper. But it worked very nicely. In the end the imaged stamped just fine the first try. However, what did happen was that I dropped the ink pad on my project.
It smudged my title and parts of the other papers. I used a trick I learned from Jennifer McGuire. I used a craft knife to scrape away the stained paper, then an eraser to smooth out the scrape. Once done it looked alright.
So go check out both lovely crafters I mentioned and try the blocking challenge or even some stamping on your layout.
After the busy holiday and CHA season, DCWV is back with their monthly challenges. There is the usual layout and card sketches to give your crafting a design base. Check these sketches out.
And here is my take on the challenge.
I used the DCWV Blue Citrus stack, plus some gymnastics paper and embellishments I’ve been hanging on to for years. My older two kids took gymnastics when they were younger and I never scrapped any of that adventure. Now that my middle & youngest are (back) into gymnastics, I can pull that product back out!
My least favorite paper in the Blue Citrus stack was that geometric paper I used for the background. I thought it an odd addition to such a floral driven collection. But I think it worked perfect for a page. The hard geometric lines remind me of the structure of the gym equipment, especially the balance beams. The florals and curves soften out the layout with the idea of grace and music that gymnastics incorporates.
And now, I have one tip for you on this layout. One of the gym embellishments I pulled out was this “Perfect 10” brad.
But the color and distressed look was too harsh for this layout. So I took the idea, and parts of the embellishment, and altered it to fit my needs. I pulled off the epoxy top layer & sticker. I punched a circle from the same paper I used for my journaling and stamped a “10” on it in a lighter ink. I added this back onto the brad and found in my stash an epoxy circle that just fit over to make the brad look almost exactly as it was to begin with. It just has a new toned down color that fits a bit better.
And now on to the card…
I used the Stencil DIY stack for this one. Even the card base is kraft paper from the stack, cut to create a large 6×6 card. To create the circle, I heat embossed the little hearts over a white pattern paper (using the heart stencil and clear embossing powder). I then inked over that with pink ink. You can still see the pattern even under the ink. I then used a pen to outline a few hearts to add extra layers to this simple card. It is a nice effect. Add a few more hearts and it is done.
Shimelle has a new weekly challenge up… use hearts. When I sat down to scrapbook tonight I didn’t intend to work on this challenge but them two things happened. 1) There were a pile of hearts on my desk from a previous project and 2) The papers I pulled for this page happened to have a small pink heart print on the B side. Guess hearts is where I needed to go!
(Just FYI I blanked out faces for privacy.)
I didn’t have any plans for this page in mind when I started. I just had my photos printed in 4 2×3 prints and one 2×3 plus a border print. So those sizes lead to the page design. I knew the focal photo with the border needed to be up higher on the page near the title and the other photos would be in a block to continue the story. The focal photo placement made for a good place to add a large vertical block and it would serve as my journaling space also.
This brought the hearts into play. One of my go-to journaling tips is to number each photo and then number my journaling to match each photo. What better way to number my prints than with popped up hearts? Plus the Shimelle roller date stamp has little hearts and numbers that I used to print on the journaling “tabs”.
The heart theme led to another benefit to my page. It helped me with my title. This page is just different things that my daughter did for the month of March 2015. And what “love”ly little things they were. See what a did there, hearts, love. Get it? Ha!
I filled in some empty space with more hearts and some stickers and called it done.
This lead to part two of scrapping tonight. I’ve been on a mission to get a bunch of pages done so I can get “caught up”. (Yes, I still have the mind set, but I’m happy with it, so don’t worry). In order to get things done I need to work fast and work simple. So for this second page I used many of the design elements from the first page to just make life simple. I kept the small block of photos, the large vertical strip and the numbering of the photos. Only this time the numbering is a sequence of events. See how that numbering could work in more than one way? I love it.
I used up leftover papers from what I pulled for the first page. Made the page all about the story. I even needed more space to add more story. So I just added some note sheets that came with a Shimelle roller stamp to finish my journaling. Throw on some of my favorite embellishments, wood veneer and cork shapes, and called it done.
Hope you can use the heart challenge and also use your own design to keep going to make more pages.
I’m back with another day of Watercolor Intermediate techniques for card makers class offered by Online Card Classes. The pre-class assignments are all geared to get to know your watercolor mediums. I’ve decided to focus on tube paints, just because it makes me feel more like an artist ;). But this could work for markers, watercolor pencils, ink pads and other water soluble mediums.
Last time I showed you color swatches. This time I am using just the primary colors (all I own of a “pro” quality paint) to create color wheels and what is called a glazing chart (a new concept for me!). I’ve used Winsor & Newton Professional line of paints. I have a set of “cheap” paints but bought primaries of these professional paints just to see what the difference is. All the samples in this post are used just with these paints.
Sorry about photo quality but I’ve decided that documenting the process is more important than perfection of presentation! And now you can see what I’ve managed to do with them.
Here is my color wheel using Strathmore paper (left) and Arches (right). I like how the paint floats on the Strathmore but once it dries, I’m not happy with the blotchy results. The Arches just sucks up water so I feel the need to use less pigment in order to save money. But perhaps creating art is not about saving money. Hmm.
Well, the next couple of pictures shows the difference between my pigment use. Both are on Arches paper. I’ve decided to save the Strathmore for simple projects only. The first is the heavy pigment, which felt “right” when I was mixing but in the end came out way darker than what I really wanted. The second photo used a more dilute solution. Honestly it seemed so watery when I was mixing it. But when it dried, the results were soft and lovely. I guess less really is more.
So if you are experimenting with watercolors, really do try different papers and different concentrations of color to see what is good for you.
I will be starting the Intermediate Watercolor class for card makers over at Online Card Classes here in a few days. As part of that class I have purchased some new papers, a few new paints and have been experimenting. So far the type of paper has made a huge impact on my results. I have a 12 tube set of “cheap” watercolors and 3 primary colors in a professional grade watercolor. I did some color swatching and the paper seemed to matter more than the paint at this point.
Here I have 3 papers. The bottom being Arches hot press, which I haven’t played with yet. The middle is Strathmore 300 series cold press (a student grade paper) and the topmost is Arches cold press 140lb. The color of the papers are different as you can see. But what you can’t see is that the textures are quite different as well. The Arches has a finer tooth, with almost a sandpapery feel. I honestly don’t like the way it feels. But as you can see from the color swatches in the next photo, the paper behaves how you would expect a watercolor paper to behave. The Strathmore paper ended up very blotchy for nearly all of my color swatches. I just showed a few of the worst samples below.
In each of the samples the Strathmore is on the right and the Arches on the left. Notice how solid and smooth the color is on the Arches and how blotchy it is on the Strathmore. I’ve heard the term granulating in the watercolor world recently and I thought this splotchiness was what they meant. Now I know it is the paper that is doing that and not the paint! (All of these colors are from my cheap set of paints.)
I think why this is happening is that the Strathmore is a less absorbent paper. The water would float on top of the paper and swirl around as I was using it. The Arches just sucks water and color into the paper. It was a little disconcerting since I was used the the Strathmore and the very fluidness that I’ve come to associate with watercoloring. The Arches, I had to mix up large pools of color and keep reloading my brush to get good coverage. I feel like I’m using way more paint on the Arches, which means more money. But for prettier results, I guess that is the price you pay!
I’ll be back tomorrow with some more progress on my watercolor explorations, so stay tuned.