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Friday, July 20, 2012

Groovy Times

I have another wedding to attend tomorrow.  My cousin Rachel loves stuff from the 60's and 70's.  Her theme is peace and love so I thought I would break out the Groovy Times cartridge.  I actually had cut these a few weeks ago.  I store my cuts in a binder in those plastic cover things by theme.  I LOVE rainbows which is one reason that I had to have this cart AND overpaid for it on Ebay.  However, I have such a hard time making the rainbow.  It looked like a third grader made it (no offense to any grade 3's out there!) so I used the glitter glue to cover any gaps.  
I embossed the blue paper using swiss dots from cuttlebug using the sizzix die cut machine.  The red gem is from Michaels.  I also put the smiley face image on the inside along with more gems.  

I probably should have used a black background or something....

The musical tape is Tim Holtz.  I'm not sure if this works....the tape is very easy to use. I probably could pull it off.

I might have gone overboard with the gems...

I used my sizzix die cut machine for the hearts.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cricut Mat Revival

As we all know, Cricut cutting mats are notorious for not lasting a long time.  I have about ten mats and none of them were sticky anymore.  I decided I needed to give "revival" a try.  There are many YouTube video tutorials from crafters who have saved their mats.  I couldn't find the Slice brand that many seem to like so I used Loctite Spray Adhesive-Repositionable from Joanne's. 
STEP ONE:  Wash mats in detergent and hot water.  Scrap off glitter and small paper bits.  Let mats dry.  Then, tape the corners of your mat with blue painter's tape.  If you skip this, your fingers will stick to the corners of the mat.

Step Two: Shake can, put on gloves if you like, gather your newspaper, AND put on a dust mask so you don't breathe in this stuff.  Even with a mask and spraying outside I still felt a little woozy!

STEP THREE: Go outside and spray.  I did this on my deck.  Make sure you put something under the mats to protect the surface.  Don't over spray.  Try to evenly coat the surface but don't overdo it.

Step Four: Let mat dry, remove painter's tape.  Some of my mats were extremely sticky.  I tried to cut down on the mats' stickiness by pressing my palms to each mat several times.

Results:  It worked.  However,  thin paper stuck a little too well and ruined some cuts. A 12 X 12 sheet of glitter paper which was heavier worked the best for the first cut.  I think I really oversprayed some mats because on two I had to tear the paper off using the metal spatula.  There are a lot of other Cricut mat revival methods out there.  I think I will use this one again though!  Before this, I had to tape all my paper to mats.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wildlife Scrapbook Page

                                                                    Wildlife Cartridge

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”  Ellen DeGeneres

Wildlife cartridge

A few weeks ago I went on an eBay Cricut cartridge frenzy.  I bid on a lot of different cartridges at the same time.  I didn't check back to get in any "bidding wars."  I ended up with some cartridges that I hadn't really know about: Yee-haw, Wildlife, and Wild Card 2.  I was really glad to get Wildlife as I see deer almost every day here in Western PA.  Sometimes when I glance out my window in the middle of the night, I'll see at least one or more deer walking, standing, or eating in my backyard.  I have some kind of cherry tree that they love.  Also, we have woods behind our house so I have to barricade my deck garden or my tomatoes are goners.  (I think the ground hogs ate all my sunflowers again! Every year...) I also have some shots of geese and this lake my family went to for Flat Stanley pictures for my cousin's class.  

I do have all these cell phone pictures of deer.  I think once I got a blurry shot of seven deer eating from that tree. However, right now I am trying to finish scrapping the latest lot of pictures from my sister.  My brother-in-law hunts during every season (deer, turkey, and whatever else gets the "ax" around here...). I had just gotten these print outs for my nephew's scrapbook so I thought I would give Wildlife a try.  I liked how the cut-outs are only two layers.  I am starting to loathe very small layered images.  I had a rustic looking sewn pocket...I had some extra pictures that I stuck in the pockets.  My sister can do the journaling on them later.  (I think I had this sewing machine that worked for five minutes...note the erratic stitches!)  I also used some handmade green paper as a forest background.   The text is from the cartridge.  I did have a shadow layer but it got torn so I just used one layer.  I still ruin a lot of paper (especially thin paper and white core) because my blade is set to the wrong level.  Some of my paper is so old that I only have one sheet or don't know the brand so I can't really test it.  BTW, the baby did not go on that hunting trip.  In my opinion, he is about 30 years too young!  He can stay home and make soap and paper with his old auntie instead...Hmm.

 I think I will also use this cartridge for some male birthday cards.  I love the fish image!  I didn't cut it yet, though.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dinosaur Tracks and Create a Critter/Chalkboard File Cabinet

                                  Dinosaur Birthday Cards 

The dinosaur's eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better.
ERIC JOHNSTON, Today's Realtor, Jan. 1998
T-Rex from Dinosaur Tracks and the palm tree is cover with Martha Stewart glitter glue.

Dinosaur Tracks

The dinosaur and "Dinomite" are from Create a Critter. The tree is from Dinosaur Tracks.

The dinosaur is from Create a Critter.
I made these cards for my little cousin's ten year old birthday.  Well, the one I gave him isn't here but it is similar.  I'm trying to use at least two coordinating patterns with one solid color as a background. I also used glitter paper, which cut great on my expressions 2.  I actually liked the Create a Critter dino better than the T-Rex on Dinosaur Tracks.  Plus, I didn't have to layer it while the T-Rex needed to have a shadow layer.  However, I did like the leaves better on Dino Tracks.  The ones on Create a Critter have a goofy little face cut out.  I also used some cuttlebug embossing folders to pop out some features.  I use my Sizzix die machine with the Sizzix system converter.  I am trying to use the supplies I already have and not buy anything new, just to buy it.

                      First Try at Chalkboard Paint

I also have been playing around with chalkboard paint. The first thing I do EVERY SINGE MORNING at school is write the date, day, and other daily agenda.  (Okay, I actually do this in ROY G BIV order in sidewalk chalk...) I love writing on the board!  So why not create my own chalkboards at home?  It is now possible with chalkboard paint.  Caution: This stuff is a mess! I ruined part of my art room rug.  Once this stuff dries, it is not coming out.  I should have known  better but in my frenzy of painting, I didn't realize what a mess I was making.  Also, wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and nails.  Lava soap just would not get this stuff off.
I used Rust-oleum Chalkboard paint black finish.  I painted over old collage images on the front of my old art file cabinet.  I did two thinner coats.  Let this dry.

Cover the whole surface with chalk to prime. Then, wipe off with a wet cloth.

Start writing!  This paint really hid the collage under.  If I wanted it to be perfect, I should have scrapped off the magazine images below. However, I was happy with the results.  Now, the carpet is another matter...

I played around with some chalk pastels and they also work great in addition to regular white chalk.

I had some leftover paint in my cup. I covered some metal boxes, cardboard boxes, and altered book pages with this paint.  Oh, I also covered some Cricut cut tags.  I didn't want to waste any of this awesome paint though I have a lot left. I am going to look around for a little play table for my nephew to write on. (He's only one but time flies...) I also have the magnetic spray paint to try.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Martha Stewart Glitter Butterfly Kit

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  

                                                      ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

For this kit, all you do is peel off the sheets over the adhesive and cover with glitter.. Cover area with a lot of newspaper.

This is the frame after the glitter has been shaken off.  I also brushed off excess with a soft brush.

Here are the butterflies.  All you do is peel over the pre-cut sheets.  I used that sharp dental like Cricut tool as some spots are tiny.  I also used multiple pieces of paper to keep under the glitter.

Final project.  I still have three butterflies to "glitter."  I put one butterfly on a wobble.  
I really liked this kit.  It was easy to do but very messy.  I used my dining room table and covered the area with newspaper. When I first started teaching at my current job, the custodian warned me to never #1 make popcorn and #2 NEVER USE GLITTER.  Of course, I love glitter. I did respect this until one year my classes were making cards for the troops...Needless to say, glitter was everywhere.  My theory is that it is almost impossible to use glitter and not get it everywhere.  

 The only thing that I didn't like was that this project would be difficult to reproduce.  Does the Cricut have a scoring blade?  That is the only way that I think you could do a project like this again.  I did get the Martha Stewart glue stamping kit.  However, those stamps would not have a tenth of this level of detail.  I can't imagine trying to do this with glitter glue.  

Overall, I think the final products are pretty cool.  The glitter was a very fine quality and really stuck to the adhesive.  Also, the black glitter really made the images "pop." However, the project was fairly messy and time consuming.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I finally watched some wobble videos on You Tube today.  It is so simple to make them.  First of all, a "wobble" is just a wire attachment that allows a die-cut or something to move on a card.  All you do is take some wire and twist it into a coil and secure the ends on paper. Then, glue on the die-cut.  I have a lot of wire from jewelry making.  I used 24 gauge wire but I heard that 26 gauge might allow for more "wobble." 

I went to Joanne's and Walmart.  I got some "bing" on clearance and adhesive, which I always seem to need.  I also got some spray adhesive to re-stick all my Cricut mats.  Wow, that stuff was not easy to find. The quilting stuff was $16 so I ended up just getting the glue kind for about $8.  I just washed my mats in hot water, added some dish detergent, and scrubbed with one of those green things.  Now, I am letting my mats air dry.  Then I plain to mask off the edges with blue painter's tape and then spray on my deck.  I detest the smell of goof off or any type of spray paint.  I always cover my mouth and try not to breathe it in.  

Here's the cards I made today.  I think my "eye" for design is clearing.  It takes a while for me to get back into art mode.  I always look forward to the start of school but I am going to miss crafting all day long.  During school, I am so busy grading papers, making new assignments, emailing, lesson planning, and reading that it is like the total opposite of now. Oh, and meetings, meetings, and more meetings!  There is always somethings that I need to prepare for another meeting... I have very little that I need to do during the summer. Go to the gym, do laundry, water plants, pay bills, and really that's it.  Oh, play with my nephew, buy things for him, scrapbook for him, and try to talk to him on the phone. (Difficult since he still has his own language...He does talk though!) During the school year, there are always ten things that I need to do.  Feast to famine, I suppose.  
The pink heart on the left wobbles. "Love" was made from the Cricut Feeling Groovy cartridge.

The larger heart on the right wobbles. Inside is another pop-up heart.

The heart on the right is the wobble.

Made using Dinosaur Tracks Cricut cart

Put yourself on view. This brings your talents to light.
Baltasar Gracian

Monday, July 2, 2012

Paper Pack

Sometimes instead of being encouraged by other blogs, I feel discouraged.  I feel "out of it" because I stopped scraping for years.  I am not familiar with a lot of the "new" techniques and products.  {Like stickles (some kind of glitter?), wobbles (not sure yet), and Coptics(very expensive markers)!} Plus, I look at some blogs and the cards and scrapbook layouts are amazing.  There are buttons, ribbons, sewn on designs, cricut imagine cutouts, and all other kind of BLING.  I think first that I want to craft like that. Then, I wonder how much time and money went into that design. Then I realize that some of these people are professional designers and product people.  Some are just very creative...Then I think, well, I went to college and studied art for years.  All those art history classes, painting, printmaking, design, sculpture, and weaving. Shouldn't I be doing these amazing things?  Plus, I have visited and lived all over.  I think of that silk village in Bangladesh, the paper making in Thailand, and even the cool recycled rugs that people made in "Garbage City" in Egypt...All those amazing things that I have seen...the Louvre, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and Karnak temple at night.  Why am I trying to imitate others' designs when I have such a well to draw from?  No, I love all the fantastic things I am seeing that are made.  I don't want to turn my back for "high" art.  Not that I won't ever break out the oils but that is not what interests me much anymore.  I do want to learn from current designers yet I STILL want to do my own thing. Yet, my style is sloppy and loose. I want to work neater, tighter, and brighter.  Can I change?

 However, I have tons of materials, I just "forget" to use them. That is what frustrates me.  I need to plan more what I want to do. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I want to feel inspired more.  Oh, and the patterns!  I love all the different patterns that crafts use.  I have never been good at using more than one patterned paper on one project.  To combat this, I decided to use a pack of paper that I bought many years ago.  I wanted to make a wedding card for my cousin's wedding.  This is what I came up with:

Here are the materials I used: 
-Colorbok Pattern Paper Pack Valentine
Martha Stewart Craft glitter glue
Elmer's Dot Runner
Vintage family photos-recopied
K & Company cards and envelops 4.37 in. X 5.625 in.
DCWV adhesive ribbon 5/8 reds
K & Company Proverbs to Go
Cricut Expressions 2
Carts: Groovy Times, Songbird, Sweet Shop
Distress Ink-Old Paper

The Cure for "Cricut Back" Pain

I woke up this morning with upper back pain. That's odd because I usually have lower back pain. I know it's from leaning over my "art" trunk.  For some reason, I have to sit on the floor to do art work.  I need all my supplies spread out where I can see them.  Since my gym buddy is off this week, I decided to go back to aqua aerobics. WOW! I feel great.  I took two classes and went in the hot tub twice.  I really need to get back to the pool everyday there are classes.  The weight room also helps.

Also, my gypsy is fixed.  Finally, after 12 tries, the sync went through.  I also was able to get the cartridges on by pushing the cord in hard with my thumb.  I really don't think it is supposed to work that way but it worked.  I am overjoyed!  So far, I love the Gypsy.  I think it is great to use different carts on one page.  Time to make some cards.  Also, my nephew just got his first official haircut so I am inspired to scrapbook again.

I'm still working on several altered art projects.  I'm using a lot of stamps and pictures from my relatives or my relatives' relatives.  I look to look at those old pictures and wonder what those people thought about their lives.  My grandfathers in the Army, my grandmother with her friends at the factory she worked at before she got married, and my father as a child in a cowboy outfit.  It's bittersweet to peer into the past already knowing  what happened in the future.  Here's a glimpse of these works in progress.  I'm trying to use more color.  I am experiment with cutting windows and backing them with transparencies.  In school, I don't even even transparencies anymore because I use an ELMO document camera or Smart Board.  I never miss that old overhead or making those transparency sheets.  They were always such a pain to make!  I look at my altered art and think that it is ugly at time and painful.  I tear up little pieces of paper and small words in foreign languages and odd images.  Yet, I do it because I must.

"If you bring forth what is within you...what you bring forth with save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
-Jesus Christ, The Gnostic Gospels

I know this is hideous but it is in a very preliminary stage. I'm a lot out of practice.
The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Julia Cameron


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gypsy Nightmare

Jackson's monster first birthday party was a huge success. I don't have any picture yet because I was with Jackie the whole time.  Over 50 people attended so he wanted to be held the whole time.  Everyone loved the monster decorations and one year display board. The only real problem was that Jackson ripped off a goggly eye and tried to eat it.  In terror, I wrestled it out of his little hand.  Jackie was furious!  I tried to put the decorations out of his grasp. Luckily, all the decorations are now down.  I'm back home and ready to work on my back to school campaign.  I have a lot of things that I want to make before the first day of school.  Yet it seems that the adage "Nothing that is worth it is easy" must be true...
Don't be discouraged.  It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.
 ~Author Unknown

I finally got my Gypsy.  Sadly, I can't sync or update my cartridges.  I WAS able to cut using the installed Gypsy Wandering font so I guess that is good.  Also, for some reason, I did not receive a wall charger.  I tried to recharge through the USB cable but apparently that does work unless it is already charged?  This is what I discovered as I sat in my car in the 90 degree heat trying to charge the thing.  I have tried to sync on THREE different computers.  It just never stops syncing! I literally left it sync ALL NIGHT and it never ended.  I am beyond frustrated. I emailed Provocraft at the address.  I have tried so many thing. I unscrewed the stylus and tried to hit the master reset button.  Didn't work.  I hit three buttons and got the rainbow screen...Didn't work.  I feel like destroying the machine but I guess that is not good "problem solving."  OH, and the ironic thing is that now my Cricut Craft Room works!!! That's the only reason I ordered the Gypsy in the first place.  I did make sure that I got a new one from eBay but now I'm thinking that I should have just waited.  The lady I ordered it off of eBay said that she never used it.  I just got a nice message from her yesterday.  What if this one is broken and Provocraft won't replace it?  I thought if it wasn't already used, I would be okay but now I wonder.