Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My how we change.

Do you ever look through your old cards and see how your crafting style has changed? It's so easy to tell what trends were in at the time. Much like you can tell what year it was by your hair style. Ugh, big fluffy bangs and spritzed out side wings...can anyone say hello 80's!!!

These cards were all made in 2008.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Card for my Sweetie

It is SO hard for me to make cards for men for two reasons:

~ I can't make a card without it being 'pretty'
~ I don't think men really care about cards

But I still make them for family members and of course, for my sweetie.

For this I used the Cuttlebug dotted embossing folder, and Stampin' Up for the sentiment. The blurry image below is to show the dimension of the focal point.

This card, by Nichole Heady, was my inspiration. It's the perfect man card...pretty but not too fru-fru.

Hate your ribbon? Improvise!

I ran into this dilemma while making some Christmas cards. The gold ribbon I had was either too wide & bland or too narrow. So rather than throw them both out, I sewed them together to make a fabulous ribbon that is just what I needed. And it was totally easy.

Check it:

At first I pinned the ribbons together to feed through the machine. Then the pins became a pain in the butt, so I decided that it would be easier to just hold it together for the initial stitches. After the ribbons are secured together, you just let the machine do the rest, making sure the smaller ribbon stays centered. And you can't even see the stitch because I used shiny gold thread.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Addiction - Papertrey Ink.

Like I totally need a new addiction when it comes to crafting supplies, but here it goes.

Papertrey Ink (PTI) is a manufacturer that I've watched for a LONG LONG time. I've read the blogs, I follow the designers' work, hang out for as much of the release parties as I can being that they start so late and I'm on the east coast. I've commented, viewed pictures, drooled, added things to my cart, taken them out when I saw the final bill, emailed customer service with questions about the products, then decided to just go for it.

I thought I would start first by getting the cardstock sampler. It is a great value ($10 for 50 sheets are you kidding me!) I'm always leery to purchase from a company for the first time because you just don't know what you are going to get. Sure, you can read raving reviews about something but I'm still a skeptic. And I figured that with paper, even if it doesn't live up to your expectations, you can still use it as a photo mat or something.

Let me tell you....the paper = TO DIE FOR. The first thing I noticed was the care that is taken in getting my paper to me without any creased corners. They take major precautions to keep everything perfect and pristine. Don't you hate that when the corners are all crinkled during shipping? It's like your paper just shrank in size because you can't use that crinkled bent corner. And it is never just one page either, it's the whole stack! What kind of chimp is throwing the boxes around at the shipping place? Anyway, it won't matter because PTI puts these cardboard guards around the edges. I think the most barbaric of shipping personnel still could not damage the paper stack.

So how is the quality of the paper? When they say 110lb they mean every bit of 110lb weight paper. The cards I plan to make could literally stand up for themselves in a fight. My other fave company (Stampin' Up) has 80lb cardstock that is pretty durable, but obviously we cardmakers know the stronger the better.

I also purchased the little ink cubes in a variety of colors, but I haven't used them yet. I will post later on my review of the ink. I'll say right now that I am already expecting great things!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stuff you wish you could find a rubber stamp for...

I discovered a blog today that had funny sayings for stamps, but they all were negative towards men. I happen to love men (well...one man) so I thought up some other uses for witty/snarky stamps. The first part is what would go on the outside of the card and the part after the "..." goes on the inside.

Note: These are purely for the sake of humor. I am not having these issues.

The Resignation Card:

  • Hey, thanks...for stifling my creativity, my earning potential, and my will to live.
  • Working here...makes panhandling seem like a viable option.
  • I'd really like to say thanks for being such a great boss...But I'm no liar.

    The "Your Service Really Sucks" Card:

  • Your company is like Congress...it rips a gaping hole in my wallet giving nothing in return.
  • Thanks for the job you did on my car...I didn't know chimps were so dextrous.
  • I love coming to your office...while I wait I have plenty of time to pay bills, finish the novel I began writing last time I was here, and have another birthday.

    The Break Up Card:

  • I'm just not ready for a commitment right now. With you.
  • The tribe has spoken...You've been voted off the island.
  • It's not you. It's me....Not liking you.
  • We can still be friends....Just not with each other.

    The I'm Sorry Card:
  • I'm sorry...You have no sense of humor.
  • I'm sorry...that our friendship has been tedious and one-sided. For me.
  • I'm sorry that she dumped you....I am sure things will get better. For her.
  • Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Card using "Just Because Cards"

    Okay so I'm super excited to tell you about this card. I used a feature on my Gypsy that I JUST learned about and I'm gonna bust. Jerry, I'm bustin! The feature turns off certain cuts in an image. That's right...you heard me. You can actually make the machine ignore certain things that it would normally cut. It's on the 'advanced' tab and the icon looks like 2 right angles.

    From the Just Because Cards cartridge, I put the "Bee Happy" stencil image on my mat. If you aren't familiar with this image, it is an oval with the words "bee happy" cut out of the center. I also put the phrase "happy" from the same cartridge on my mat. Sized both to the dimensions I wanted.

    I didn't want the card to say "bee happy" but I still wanted to use the oval, so I turned off the bee happy cuts. Then I moved the word "happy" onto the oval and centered it, then welded it. The result is what you see on the card.

    To grasp how fabulous this feature is, let me tell you a little story. I needed to cut out about 25 baby dresses. The only cartridge I had at the time would cut out a dress but also had bloomers that I didn't need. So, to not waste paper, I had to sit with the machine while it cut the dress and then press the cancel button before it started cutting the bloomers. Yep, x25. How tedious! The whole point of having an automated machine is so you DON'T have to babysit it, right? So you can see how the 'uncut' feature would have saved me a ton of time.

    Maybe I'm the last person to learn how to use this feature...I mean I don't even know what it's called, but do you realize how many more options you now have? It jacks up the number of things you can make by like a bazillion percent. Okay raise your hand if you want to marry your Gypsy. Am I the only one?

    Stay pretty!

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Fabric Blocks for Baby

    This is the first fabric toy project I ever made. At the time (2.5 years ago) I knew less than nothing about interfacing or types of stitches or anything like that, so it is grossly unpolished.

    The project idea came from a book called "Crafts for Baby" by Alison Jenkins and it was a set of 3 blocks.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Fabric Bracelet

    I picked up a book called "Sew Darn Cute" by Jenny Ryan at the Hobby Lobby grand opening in my town recently. It has sewing projects for a variety of skill levels. There are several that seem to be appropriate for the beginner (that's me!) and I can't wait to work my way through the whole book.

    For my first attempt, I chose the Snappy Fabric Bracelet. This is a photo from the author's website. I did not make these bracelets. It's just here so you can see what they are SUPPOSED to look like.

    I'm pretty sure you'd need to buy the book to get the step-by-step instructions. But I think I can share my experience working through the tutorial.

    This is what my bracelet looks like.

    The author recommends using snaps for the closure (duh...."snappy" bracelet???) but I didn't have any and decided to improvise with things I had on hand (velcro.) The velcro is on the inside, of course.

    You can see that the snaps look much classier and make the bracelets less Wonder Woman-y. And although the velcro makes the bracelet easier to put on with one hand, I will definitely use the snaps for the next one.

    Of course there are things I see wrong with my bracelet. Like the *top stitching needs to be cleaner. I imagine I'll get better at that as I practice more. And I will be making more because two people have asked for bracelets.

    I'd also like to get the corners more square. I read somewhere that if you clip the fabric at an angle near the corner before turning it right side out, the fabric will be less bulky giving you crisp square corners.

    Duly noted.

    *Look at me using the cool sewing lingo like I know what I'm doing. Ha!

    Stay pretty!

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    Lamb Pillow....I did it!

    This was an easy enough project that I found in Molly's Sketchbook at the Purl Bee. I didn't use the exact same materials called for but the lamb is still soft.

    Because I'm lazy normally pressed for time and very efficient, I traced once with the vanishing fabric pen, folded, and cut through two pieces of felt at the same time to get the two face sections. This technique worked well for the ears and leg pieces as well.

    I know, I know, my sewing is cringe-worthy. But I'm working on it. Check me in 6 months. I'll be a sewing fool with crazy clean lines.

    One thing I didn't pay attention to is making sure my bottom and top thread matched. I forgot that the thread would show on both sides of the lamb. So my lamb has white thread on one side and brown thread on the other.

    Oopsies. I broke the crap out of my needle. These are the kinds of things that make a 1 hour job take 2 hours. Now I must take time to go read the manual and figure out how to change the needle. Luckily that was an easy thing to do.

    Pieces are all pinned together and ready for stitching, stuffing and finishing off the opening.

    I think he turned out really cute. I could have made him fluffier with the stuffing. And next time I might make a larger momma sheep.

    Now I'm off to remove something from my To-Do list. I love that.

    Stay pretty!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Sunshine Applique and a sewing machine that hates me.

    Making an applique seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world. But for me, nothing is easy. Especially when my idiot sewing machine is involved.

    I confess that I have recently learned how to say "applique" correctly. My mom and sister about died laughing when they heard me pronoune it "app-leek". In my defense, it is spelled like critique! Stop laughing. It's not like the average person has occasion to use that word much anyway.

    "Hey Bob. How was your weekend?"
    "Great, Sam. I was up to my neck in appli-KAYS. It was awesome."
    "Man, don't I believe it!"

    See...you just don't hear that around the office much.

    1) Prepare the fabric. I ironed Heat N Bond onto the back of the fabric I would be using to make my appliKAY. I've learned that HnB works better at all if you let it cool completely before you take off the paper backing.

    2) Next I cut a cardstock sunshine using my Cricut machine. This is what I will use to trace the pattern onto the fabric.

    3) Trace the sunshine onto the back of the fabric and cut out.

    4) Then I used a circle Spellbinder die run through my Cuttlebug machine on the orange fabric to cut out the center of the sunshine. Yes, I know people should be able to free-hand a circle but I use my dies as much as I can. When I figured out they could easily cut fabric, I was like "YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Why have a shakey wobbly hand-cut flat-tire-looking circle when I can have a perfectly round one in a matter of seconds?

    5) Next I ironed the sunshine and it's center onto the outside of the onesie and some fusible interfacing onto the inside of the onsie. The interfacing makes fabric more sturdy for when I stitch around the shapes.

    6) Finally I get to sew stuff. You might be wondering why I need to sew the sunshine even though I just ironed it onto the onesie. Well, I want to throw in some hot pink and I want it to look more finished. Plus, I think stitching around the edges helps prevent fraying or something like that.

    So here is where my nightmare began. I'm happily sewing but realize the tension is set wrong because the white bobbin thread is showing. I pick out the thread. *Adjust tension* Start over.

    Something is still wrong. Pick out more thread. *Adjust tension the other way* Start over. Yes, something is still wrong because at certain points the needle just won't come back out of the fabric like it is stuck on something. I check the underside of the garment. The freaking bobbin is all knotted up! What gives?

    Apparently the tension was only half the problem. I was using embroidery thread and the spool didn't fit properly on the spool holder thingy so the thread was jerking and pulling around as the needle went up and down. Dang it! FINE. I'll pick out the thread AGAIN and use a different spool and a different section of the design. I am NO quitter.

    *Happily sewing sewing sewing.*

    Things seem to be going great. Until I flip the onesie over to check on the bobbin thread and see THIS. Gaah! *Bleeeeeeeep*

    I gasp in horror at the idea of picking out the thread one more time. And I can feel the sewing machine mocking me. It's like it knows I'm about to lose it. Yet I carry on. Clipping away another failure but determined to finish what I started.

    *more fiddling with the tension settings*

    Well, finally I get the tension right and finish the project. Do you smell that? I believe it's called V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.

    I can't quite say whether it was worth it or not. This project should not have taken so long. But I did come out having learned some things about my sewing machine. And I do love prettifying my daughter's clothing, but when I walk through Target and see adorable clothing with elaborately stitched designs that I can buy for $7.00, yeah it kinda makes me wonder why I do this.

    Yet on I go. I am NO quitter.

    Until next time, stay pretty.