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.

CKC 2016 #5, final

I got fewer layouts done this year than I normally would. The difference was twofold.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.

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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!

RECIPE

  • cardstock: Bazzill
  • ink: Ranger
  • large font: Studio Calico
  • small font: Simple Stories
  • stickers: Me & My Big Ideas, Simple Stories
  • epoxy stickers: Eyelet Outlet
  • cork stickers: Hello Forever
  • washi tape words, enamel dots: random stash

CKC 2016 #4

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.

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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.

RECIPE

  • pattern papers: Stampin’ Up (purple), unknown (rest)
  • gems: Queen & Co. (goosebumps), Want 2 Scrap (rhinestones)
  • wood veneer: Studio Calico, Scraptastic Club
  • letters stickers: American Crafts
  • ink (to color letters): Ranger
  • die cuts, tag, twine: unknown stash

CKC 2016 #3

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

RECIPE

  • paper: DCWV “The Guilded Paper” stack
  • large letters: Hobby Lobby
  • sequins: Doodle Bug (black), Hazel & Ruby (gold)
  • vellum tape: BasicGrey
  • vellum stars: Studio Calico
  • wood grain & cork shapes, flair button, small letters: random stash

Color scheme challenge

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!

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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!

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With the ampersand I used a die circle to cut it down to just the size & piece I wanted.

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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.

Shimelle Challenge #3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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So go check out both lovely crafters I mentioned and try the blocking challenge or even some stamping on your layout.

DCWV Feb challenge

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.

Feb. Layout Sketch

Feb card sketch

And here is my take on the challenge.

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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.

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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.

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And now on to the card…

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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.