July 29, 2011

Today, instead of sharing some craft, some thoughtful post, or my latest project (which I can't wait to show you) I'm going to share what's on repeat at my home today. It's one of those days that I need a loud, motivational song going. So Jumpstart from These Kids Wear Crowns (an awesome group that my brother went to high-school with) is playing as loud as my computer speakers will allow. My four-year-old is also making me sing along. Darn. At least he's not screaming at me not to sing.

This is not their actual video, which I've heard is awesome but I can't find online. If you have the link, please send it, I'd love to see it. This Lyrics version is pretty cool too though.



I also love some of their other songs (but I haven't listened to everything, so don't get offended if they have anything appropriate). If you like Jumpstart you should really check out their music.

July 27, 2011

For all those who still want a Silhouette SD let me share the good news. Silhouette has dropped their prices on their site to $249 since announcing the Cameo. They are selling out their stock of the Silhouette SD. Prices may drop again before the Cameo is released, depending on how sales go now. You can find discounts codes to get the machine for $175 right now at these links: Infarrantly Creative, Today's Creative Blog. Just copy their coupon codes and use it on Silhouette's online store. The codes are also good for 20% the materials and their NEW starter kits - so if you already own the machine and just need to buy some supplies, go get that code first! Check out the great blogs while you are visiting too.


I also found it discounted HERE for $174.99 but shipping is free! I haven't ever purchased from this site though, so I can't give you a well informed recommendation. If you see any other deals, feel free to comment and let other readers know here.

Don't forget, I did say they are most likely to drop prices again. I purchased my Silhouette just before the new Silhouette SD came out for $120 because it was the discounted model. It wasn't as popular a machine then, in fact, I'd never heard of it, but with it's massive growth, I'm certain there will also be a lot of used machines being sold once the Cameo is available as well.

July 25, 2011

You all know how much I love my Silhouette. I've had it for two years now. I seriously can't get enough. Since I purchased my Silhouette the company has released new products, new software, and has created thousands of new images. But this summer they are topping that all with the announcement of their latest and greatest machine. The Silhouette Cameo. It will have the capability of doing everything the Silhouette SD can do but the added bonus of 12" cutting width and cuts 10' long. Yes that's 10 whole feet! The awesome thing about it is that you can still adjust the rollers to 9" cutting width but when you want something 12" wide you easily can.

This new machine will be released in October (just in time for the holidays) for $299. You can watch an video about the announcement HERE, read more from Silhouette's web site HERE and HERE or read their latest post HERE.


From my searches I can't find any information on the actual cutting force of the machine but looking at Craft Robo's similar machine I'd guess it will be somewhere around 300 grams. 

When the Cameo is released you can also look forward to a new blade being released! The new blade will not have colored caps to interchange, but will have a ratchet that you turn on the end to set it to the cutting depth you want. The new blade will have greater cutting depths than the current blade so you won't have to double cut thicker products. For those of you who already own the Silhouette you'll be excited to know that the blades will be completely interchangeable between machines! Which means you can purchase this new system for your current machine.

In other news Silhouette is also releasing a Silhouette Designer software next month. (From the sounds of it, there will be a charge for this software.) It is meant for opening files from other cutting programs and that designers have made in other programs. I look forward to learning more about it.

As if that's not enough they also released Fabric Inks. This has a starter kit like their Rhinestone Starter Kit. Anyhow this will be so you can cut your stencils and "paint" fabric using their ink and stencil. It sounds similar to Silk Screen OR what I do with the Freezer Paper Stenciling but with a Stencil Vinyl instead. I am wondering if the stencils will be re-usable or not.


Isn't that box adorable. I'm tempted to buy the Starter Kit just for the box!


Wait, there's more! They also improved their mats. Yet again. Better mats, better adhesive, and apparently longer lasting. Look for them on their site. (It may seem the same to you, but you'll note that there is no longer a "thick" or "thin" mat, it's all the same now.)

Do you get excited about new Silhouette products too? Are you now planning to hold out for the new Silhouette Cameo, or are you going to bargain shop for the discounted SD's after the Cameo is released? Because I'm sure, like all technology that gets updated, the older version's price will go down significantly!

July 20, 2011

A Reminder that I'm Blessed.

Last week in a buffet restaurant a young 13 year-old boy ahead of us in line got out of hand. He spit in the cashier's face, threw a glass plate that shattered everywhere, and as his mother and younger sister forcefully escorted him out, he spat again (towards my son) and then grabbed my arm and dug in, scratching and hurting me. I think he was trying to get away from his mom and sister by using me as an anchor. At least, at the time that is how it seems.

I was holding our youngest boy in the very arm that this young boy grabbed. It has been days now and I still have the massive bruises as evidence of his vice-like grip. While I was in pain, and the staff of the restaurant were in shock, luckily my children were unharmed. It is a blessing that the boy grabbed me and not my nearly two-year-old.

The employee at the restaurant was so upset and worked up and some of the patrons there followed the family out, discovering a man waiting in the car for them.

The police were called to report the incident and we went and ate. It was the talk of the employees the entire time we were there. And yet, somehow I remained calm. I had a wounded arm but my problem was nothing in comparison to what this mother had (and yet has) to deal with.

Now before you get all worked up about this, let me explain something. The young girl came back to apologize and explain that her brother was handicapped. That was her explanation, not mine. What his problem was, I will never know. But even before I knew that he had something wrong with him my heart was filled with compassion for the mother. Even more so after I heard what the daughter had to say, and then even more so when I heard that the man (who was assumed to be her husband) that brought them, didn't even accompany her in to the restaurant. What?! Yes, this young man's behavior was  inappropriate, but knowing what it's like to deal with an almost two-year-old who can't contain himself sometimes, I couldn't begin to imagine how much harder it would be when the child was 13!

I can't imagine her trials, I can't imagine what her life must be like, and I can't imagine her pain and embarrassment at that moment. I am sure she needed a night off (and thus, they were out to eat). I am sure she needed some arms thrown around her to comfort her and lift her up and I pray that they came. But I worry that they didn't.

We all have our trials, but many of us are blessed with comfort and peace. My comfort and peace comes from my friends, my family, my husband, and most importantly my Father in Heaven, who constantly comforts and uplifts me in trial. I am truly blessed.

If I could find that mother I would make her a card, take her some flowers and let her know that I have been praying for her. Instead, I'm posting this free file for all of you - so that you can make the card and take the flowers and give that needed hug to those that you know need it.

Comfort & Peace

I actually think this would be really cute in black vinyl wrapped around a vase filled with flowers! Or framed by another shape and used as a Print & Cut. If you use the file please take pictures and send them to me - or post them in my Flickr Group. Get the file HERE.

*This file is for personal use only. Feel free to link to this post directly, but this file is not to be shared or distributed in any other way.*

July 19, 2011

Once a year the Young Women celebrate "New Beginnings". It's the kind of event when new themes are introduced and parents, leaders and all the Young girls that are about to enter Young Womens are taught and re-taught about the purpose of the program. This year was beautifully done. I came home feeling uplifted, knowing the girls better than ever, and wishing with all my heart that the new Beehives (12-14 years) would enjoy the Young Womens program as much as I did.

This is the invitation I made up for their special evening:

New Beginnings Invitation

Why am I posting about this now and not back in January? I was just looking through my files the other day and found it. That's all.

July 14, 2011

Disney's newest preschooler show is becoming really popular for for the young Disney audience! I've posted about a lot of the details of my son's Jake and the Never Land Pirates Birthday Party, but I'm going to give one last brief overview of the party here with links to the past posts.

The Invitation

Find out more about the invitation here.

The Food

Pirate Pizza

Simple Pirate Table Setting

Sea Animal Cupcakes and Pirate Ship Cake

Chocolate Pops
Pirate Ship Chocolate Pop

The Activities

Jake and the Never Land Pirates Telescope

Pirate Party Treasure Hunt
(The Perfect Moment to Toss a Few "Gold Doubloons")

Treasure Chest

The Wardrobe

Jake and the Never Land Pirates Headband

I made Jake's Vest and Bag for my son too.

The Goodies

and Compasses
Jake and the Never Land Pirates Treasure Map

Pixie Dust Pouches

There we have it. Now it's all in one place. Soon I have will post about the Vest I made for my son and Jake's Treasure Hunting Bag, but those will be another day my friends. I have a lot of things going on and am super busy!

Linking this up to CSI's Parties and Picnic's Challenge.

Visit thecsiproject.com
For my son's party you may recall that he had both boys and girls over. Thus we had both Pirates and Pixies arriving to take part in the mayhem. Of course, we had some girl pirates, but with girls you never know. So for girls coming I knew I needed to make Izzy's Pixie Dust Pouch.

I heard after from a few Mom's how disappointed their girls were by the fact that their Pixie Dust didn't actually work. Just be careful to let them know this is pretend!

Izzy's Pixie Dust Pouch
Pixie Dust Pouches

I used a large gold organza bag that I had and cut it up into smaller sizes, then sewed them into small bags. You could skip that step by just buying them pre-made in the small size. Most craft stores have these bags or you can get them here. We popped in little tubes of glitter from the dollar store. My son managed to pop his tube open inside the bag and guess what? The glitter doesn't come out, it's too big. So you can test the glitter you get and try just dumping glitter in instead.

I tied these shut using necklace ribbon but you can use pretty much anything. I lopped it around and through, which would have been long enough, but once I lopped it around wasn't long enough to fit over heads anymore. Oops. To fix that I tied my sons with some jewelry wire and looped a jumpring through it and around the ribbon.  Now he can wear his Pixie Dust just like Izzy does!

July 9, 2011

A reader of the blog asked a fabulous Silhouette question. I love getting questions because they help me learn more about the Silhouette Studio Software then I ever thought possible.

The Question: "Can you import backgrounds into the "fill pattern" section? Shouldn't the Silhouette be able to create printables?"

Silhouette's Answer in their manual this:  "Additional patterns cannot yet be downloaded and added to the pre-installed selections." (Sounds to me like there are future plans there, but none yet.)

I know some of you are thinking - I just print the pattern onto the paper and then cut the shape out. But seriously, where's the precision in that? Yes it's a solution, it's the first one I thought of, but it seemed like there had to be an even better one. Are you ready for it?

My Answer: There's another way to combine a pattern (or an image) with a shape you already own. I'm going to show you right now! This is a post full of pictures but it's so worth it. This is the end product:

Birthday Cupcake Toppers

The reader wants to make print and cuts for a Sunshine birthday for her little baby. How adorable, right? Now if it's a baby girl, you know I'd be buying up all the "Little Miss Sunshine" shapes from Silhouette and using those for the party. But, we're going to go with something more simple and more in line with the "typical" party packs.

So let's say I want a scalloped circle, a pennant banner, and a sign.

Fill A Shape With Your Own Pattern

1. Go through all your designs and choose the shapes that work for you. You will have to look at the designs differently. A frame might be the perfect shape for you sign, part of a flower might be exactly what you want for the circles, OR you might already have a shape for a pennant banner that is perfect!

In honor of the Sunshine Birthday I chose an adorable Sunshine image from the Silhouette store!
Sunshine Silhouette Image

2. Then choose the pattern you want to "fill" your shape with. You might have digital scrapbook paper (I'll be doing another post on that soon), it might be a picture, it might be an image you made and prepared already. This is your party you can choose whatever you want!

I decided to use my Everday Digital Scrapbook Kit from Sahlin Studio.
tlpeverydayfolder

Your only limit is in the file types that Silhouette will load: .BMP, .GIF, .JPG, .PNG, .TIFF.

3. Open the file you want to fill your design with. Move aside off the screen to make working with the design easily. Put the image to the side of you work space so you can work with the design easily (it's hard to select the design pieces with the image directly behind them.

Choose the Image

4. Open the design you want to fill and if needed ungroup it and delete (or move) pieces until you are left with only the shape you want to fill. Then, if needed, resize it to your desired size. This is important because once the pattern is filled in, resizing it will make the image you fill with change in size as well.

Isolate the Design Piece

5. Move the image back onto the work space and align with the design. Select both the design and the pattern. Go to the Modify menu and select crop. WOW - that was easy right?!
 
Cropping

No Cut Edge

6. There is one more step to that though, you need to change the cut line because for some reason it's set to "no cut" after the crop. Select the design and go to the Cut Style menu. Choose "Cut Edge".

Set to Cut

This shape is now a "Print & Cut" on it's own. You would just add registration marks, print and cut it if you are done at this step. But you can do much more with this if you want.

Create A Really Cute Print And Cut

We're moving forward with the same image we just made and turning it into something really cute for a birthday party.

1. You can either use other parts of the original image, or move ahead on your own. This is the part where you get to be creative. You most likely have an idea in your head of what you would like but I'm going to walk you through my idea one step at a time. For this button I decided to continue with the original design.

2. Take the center circle and change the fill color and line color to white. Don't worry about alignment yet, I'll show you how to do all that in a minute.  Draw another circle just smaller and make the fill color none.

Fill in the Color

*To make a perfect circle hold the Shift key as you drag the mouse.
Now go to the Line Color window and select the eye dropper. Hover over your original image and you are going to see a little window pop up with the color you are over. Now you can select a color from the pattern you filled and match exactly to it if you want! Lastly go to the Line Style window. Change the Line Style to dashed (second down), line thickness to about 7, Corner Style to Rounded, and End Cap Style to Rounded. You can play around with these settings, but this gives you a perfect polka dot circle.

Use Eyedropper to Match Colors

Create a Polka-Dot Line

3. At this point select all three images. Go to the Align window and click on centralize. Did you see that magic happen? You didn't have to try to line them up yourself at all. It just does it for you!

Select all to Center
Centralize

4. I filled in the remaining pieces of the image (eyes mouth and cheeks) with colors from the menu. Make sure to change the line color too. I arranged them as I wanted over the original image.

Fill Design with Color

 Button Tut14

5. Lastly I select all the images except for the filled in image, go to the Cut Style Window, and choose "No Cut". I strongly suggest grouping this image unless you want to create another variation of the it.

Only Outer Edge Set To Cut

Variations: You could also put in text, fill in other shapes to put on top, put .png (scrapbook elements) on top and have a really fun time creating a lot of variations of this same shape.

 Variations of the Topper

July 4, 2011

I didn't want you to think from my last post that I think all Americans are mean and rude to me. Oh Contraire! The vast majority are truly wonderful people, but there are those mean teasing few that set this red-head off.

Anyhow, it's the 4th of July and a wonderful day to party, BBQ, play, and just relax. But I thought I'd show you a fun shiny red & white Onesie made using my Silhouette that would be perfect with a little denim skirt for the 4th of July (or any other time).

More Spice Than Sugar

I used Red Glitter Heat Transfer Vinyl to give it even more sass. I have to warn you though, this stuff is so hard to weed. I could barely see the cut lines so I was up close and personal with it for quite some time before I had every little detail showing!

Silhouette Image: more_spice_than_sugar_phrase_C00662_20509

July 1, 2011

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

I am Canadian. I love that I am. Even though I live in the U.S. Tonight we'll break out the All Dressed Chips, Smarties, Caffeine Free Mountain Dew, and other Canadian treats we brought back from our recent visit and have a little party here, but right now I think about how grateful I am to be Canadian. Politics, Education, Lifestyle, Our Heritage and much more than our accents distinguish us from our neighbors to the South. But I'm not going to get into all that. Instead let's discuss something that I feel is really important.

You see, after living in the U.S. for 6 years I can confidently say that the teasing, the negative comments about Canada to my face, and even the horrible Canadian jokes don't just verge on racism - but given any other situation (ie. any other country of origin) are racism. Why is it that such bullying, rudeness and utter lack of disrespect for one's nationality is OK when directed at a Canadian, but not for Mexicans, Asians, Indians, and so on? I've experienced it, I've endured it, and tolerated it. But I feel the need to stand up for my nation. Yes, even though I've lost some of my accent, and I live in the U.S. I still get teased about being Canadian. Really people? Do you realize how rude and demeaning your behavior is? And if you really want to mock me could you please learn the proper placement of  eh?

If you look at it all though, the problem lies in our similarities. When you see a Canadian you can't tell them apart from any American. Only when they finally distinguish themselves by using a slang term or catch their accent would you know them apart. Of course, a simple proud declaration of nationality always helps too. We love who we are. We are proud to be Canadian, and perhaps our humble acceptance of the mocking shows how truly awesome of a nation we are. We don't get upset, we don't yell at you for being so rude, for the most part we just take it. Although if I caught an American travelling on the streets of Italy sporting a Canadian Flag in order to "be a little safer" during their travels I might let the frustration all out. Anyhow, I believe our lack of major distinguishing features and the ability we have to communicate so well make it a lot more difficult for those Americans who are so rude to even realize how negative their actions can be. Isn't it just light teasing? I understand that may be what was in mind, but beware of the direction a little teasing can go. Please. It can go too far.

Honestly, I do not usually rant about such things. Don't worry. I have a loving American husband and our children will all be dual citizens - raised to love both countries they came from. I may even become a American Citizen someday too. BUT they will be taught about both places, they will travel both countries, and enjoy celebrating several extra holidays! I love my heritage and the wonderful country I am from. I love the country I live in now. I am blessed to have the best of it all.

For these really cute free Canadian Printables (shown below) go HERE.