February 27, 2012

Last week I had an Apicoectomy. No, that is not a removal of the appendix, although it sort of sounds like it. It is root end removal on a tooth. You see, four years ago I had a root canal done. My tooth was in pain. A lot of pain and I had the dentist do it as quickly as he could. The pain got better, but still my face hurt. We moved, I had another kid, and off and on since then I've had problems. My jaw started to really hurt, so I tried a night guard. My nasal passages were blocked constantly - and I was told the solution was constant allergy medicine and/or surgery to correct my deviated septum. (Which had never been a problem before.) I started getting more headaches, not sleeping well, and just genuinely being tired and sick OFTEN.

Finally after years of pain and months of trying a night guard and still waking with my jaw completely locked (or having it lock at importune moments like while eating, kissing, or brushing my teeth) I went to see a specialist recommended by my dentist. We were suspicious from the x-rays that a root had been missed when the root canal was done and I would just have to have it re-done.

That was not the case. Cone-beam imaging of my mouth made it VERY clear what the real problem was. The dentist, instead of following my extremely curvy root, had gone straight up. There was a large portion of the root left alive on the end - and it was causing all the pain.

Last week I underwent the surgery. I have to confess the pain medication and antibiotics left me a little loopy. But this morning I woke up after a random dream (I can remember a dream!) without pain for the first time in over a year. I had no jaw pain, no headache, and I didn't feel like I hadn't slept. It was glorious! Do you want to know the best part though? I can breathe through my nose. It has been constantly clogged and infected for a LONG time now. Allergy medicine did nothing to help. Suddenly, since the surgery, I have had no nasal infection, clear passageways, and better than ever lack of congestion! It's amazing! I'm even suspicious that my deviated septum is not so deviated. I know headaches, congestion, and sleepless nights are still in my future. I don't live in a bubble, and I do have seasonal allergies. But I am feeling SO good that it's amazing me - especially considering the fact that I've been given WEEKS or MONTHS to fully recover from the surgery - not 1 week!

Normally I don't complain about my health or share much about myself for that matter. I'm kind of private when it comes to myself and my family. But lately I've been feeling the importance of being HEALTHY and dealing with issue and solving problems sooner rather than later. I've had to push my Dr's and give them the extra nudge in the right direction (describe in explicit detail my long list of symptoms) to have other health issues discovered. I hope that by sharing my story (just one of them) it might motivate others to seek answers to their own health issues. Just get it taken care of and quickly!

February 21, 2012

Have you downloaded and or used the free shapes this month? There are some really cute ones this month:

Silhouette Free Shapes for February

There are some great posts on the Silhouette blog with ideas on how to use each shape. Head on over, check them out and get inspired. If you have used these shapes, or use them this month. Come back and link up on the Silhouette Free Shape Link Party.

These are the projects that were linked up last month. They are so cute:

Love is a work of ♥


February 20, 2012

A long time ago I started on a quilt and finished the top. (I posted about it 3 years ago, to be precise.) I was still learning about quilting and didn't understand the concept of lining up the blocks as well as I do now. Then of course, how to finish it overwhelmed me. Tie it, get a little more fancy, or just stitch along the lines? Of course, I didn't have backing fabric so it sat in the closet for a while. Then, last year, one of my cousins had a baby boy and named him Jack. I couldn't think of a more perfect boy to get this quilt. A rabbit quilt for Jack, get it? OK, maybe I'm the only one that thinks that is funny, but I just couldn't help it. Anyhow, I FINALLY finished it!

Bunny Luv Quilt

Here is the finished quilt. It uses Maywood Studios Bunny Luv Flannel by Woolies Light. I had bought a whole bunch of miscut scraps of this fabric by weight, so it was REALLY cheap and I managed to make the entire quilt top from it. (Except I skipped the last border.) I found backing fabric to match in a local quilt shop. I still have a ton of this fabric so I'm thinking about making another one, or making a different quilt from it. We'll see.

Bunny Luv Quilt Block 1

Bunny Luv Quilt Block 2

Bunny Luv Quilt Block 3

I couldn't find the pattern in my box to tell you which pattern it was. If I find it I'll post it later. I chose to stitch the large block lines only. It was also easy to do - I used spray adhesive to get the back and front to stick to the batting and that helped keep it from shifting while I sewed.

Bunny Luv Quilt Back

Linking this up to Get Your Craft On Blog Party on Today's Creative Blog:

Today's Creative Blog

February 17, 2012

I told you I was working on a makeover. Well, it's almost complete. In the last few days I have prepared for this serious overhaul. Then, last night, I started making the change. Thanks to Cinnamon Girl Studio I didn't do half as much work as last time I updated the blog.

The New Look

Over the last 4 years I've changed, and grown and moved things several times. This latest move is to maggiemugginsdesign.com. I now have my own website! Yes, it's still mainly just the blog. But after closing my etsy shop last year I decided I wanted to bring things together to one site. Eventually, my shop will be here as well. When I'm ready to open up shop again. There are still a few kinks to work out, some things showing up in weird spots, some links in my menu aren't set up yet, and a few more pages for me to work on. Those things will come as I find time though.

Maggie Muggins Designs

I love the new look and I hope everyone else does too. I wanted something a little more classy and I think I achieved that. My new logo I designed myself. It was so much fun to see it all come together. My tag line "creativity is cheaper than therapy" has been a motto of mine for several years. I started crafting more when I was having a difficult time after the birth of my first son and it helped me work through things without going to a therapist. I really truly believe in creative therapy - starting and finishing something is SO rewarding. The main reason I blog and share my ideas with everyone is to inspire others to create as well.

Here is my new button for you to put up on your blog and share the love:

post signature
<a href="http://www.maggiemugginsdesigns.com/"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/6889947193_6a8edea509.jpg" width="150" border = "0" alt="Maggie Muggins Designs"></a>



Pop on over if you're viewing this in a reader and check out the new look for yourself!

February 15, 2012

Last weekend I took a photography class from Nicki Callahan on shooting in Manual Mode. I bought the class on Groupon the minute I saw it. I love photography, but one thing that has overwhelmed me since I got this camera is manual mode. I knew the ins and outs of my last camera so well, but a little  is nothing in comparison to a Canon 40D.

This class was really more of a refresher for me, but last time I learned these things I didn't have this camera, AND a refresher is always worth while. Nicki and her assistants were great. The class was very informative and the hands on at the end was when I REALLY learned better than ever how to use this camera in manual.

I felt a whole lot better after setting up everything on my camera (looking through my manual a few times to do so) and then getting solid black photos. It was so frustrating. Nicki took over on my camera and got a few black photos herself before she reset the F-Stop by scrolling it until it reset itself. Technology! Thankfully I didn't feel like a complete and utter fool.

Here are a few SOOC shots after that:

Nicki Callahan Apple Photo Shoot

Nicki Callahan Manual Mode Photography Class

Is it bad to say that I am now afraid to take it out of manual mode? Lest I forget anything I learned.

This refresher has really got me going again! I love learning new things! It's funny because I think some people think I know everything and can do anything. No I can't. I know how to learn. If I can't do something I search for an answer. If it seems like what I'm doing is taking too much time, I look for a faster, easier way to do it. It's how I work. I really don't know everything, but I love to learn and try everything.

Photography is not the only thing I've taken classes on. Last year I enjoyed learning new scrapbooking techniques with my sister at a Creative Keepsakes convention. We took two classes together and had a blast! Of course by the end of the convention I'd talked so much about the Silhouette I should have set up my own booth for it! Ha ha. I guess it shocks me how many people just haven't heard of it (and I'm not just talking scrapbookers - I'm talking about business owners at the convention - paper designers and many others - it astounded me!)

I look forward to the classes I'm taking next month too. I'm going to learn more sewing techniques at the Sew Expo! Yipee! I love so many crafts and techniques. I wish I had more time in a day just to dedicate towards crafts. But I have many more important things to do in a day first.

February 13, 2012

We have all sorts of plans for tomorrow. Of course, instead of spending money on jewelry, chocolates, books, or other things I just booked our family getaway at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm so excited that I got my husband the Sony Cyber-Shot for Christmas right now. (Purchased for 1/3 of it's price on Black Friday, Whew!) He loves that camera for so many reasons! One being you can take still photos WHILE recording video. How cool is that? But as we plan a trip to a water park I can' help but appreciate that we have a waterproof camera. It's small and perfect and I won't freak out even if it did fall in the water! Plus how fun would it be to record that first trip down the waterslide?

Today we made some of these for Preschool friends. There were so easy with the FREE printables and my boys loved helping too!


I decided to actually do a little more for Valentines too. So in the morning the boys will wake up to this:

Valentines Mailbox

No I didn't decorate the mailbox. I know, I could have done a million cute things - but I'm not going overboard here. Simple and cute. There is a car each for the boys in there. I was going to get playdoh, but I got lazy tonight.

I also made this banner in a few minutes (15) for a little more decor:

Valentines Banner
Inspiration: Rebecca Cooper on Pinterest

I even saved myself time and cut out hearts around buttons on the paper. (Some buttons are real and some aren't - can you guess which ones?) Don't mind my empty IKEA frames. I hung them two weeks ago in hopes that it would motivate me to fill them. Still hasn't happened. I'll show you when they're done.

Happy Valentines Day everyone. I hope you all have a day full of fun and love and get to spend it with the best of friends and family!
I saw this card on pinterest and it got the creative juices flowing.

INSPIRATION:



With much patience during the design, and a longer than normal Silhoeutte drawing time (this has a lot of lines) I created this simple card. Using Silhouette Pens is fun. I really like being able to make my own sketches now!

CREATION:
You Mean the World to Me

This version is plain and simple. Sketches, paper, and a little inked edging and that was it. Of course, this could be totally changed up but this was exactly what I wanted it to look like.

Have you notice a trend where I show you my inspiration from Pinterest? I love that site, but more so, I like to show you how one idea can be used to help create another. These cards have their similarities and yet, they are so different!

Visit thecsiproject.com

February 12, 2012

You may have noticed I'm making changes to the way the blog looks. It was cute - but it's been a year and I'm bored with it. I will be slowly working on it until I've got it just so. Please be patient as the blog suffers through cosmetic surgery!

Blog Being Updated

February 11, 2012

Over a year ago we bought this Pleasant Journey Safari track for my son at a Christmas Fair. He was thrilled, and it provided hours of entertainment. We only bring it out occasionally.




Of course, parts of the track have broken, batteries have been replaced, but thankfully the cars still run. Of course, the rubber treads were another story.

At first, we had to remove the treads from the front wheels to keep the cars on the track. If the front wheels have treads it drives up and over the edge WAY too easily. Then, over time, the treads broke, or were ripped off by our fascinated little toddler. Of course, some of them were just ripped up. Eventually we ran out of treads. At the fair this past Christmas we were given a few extra treads - which were quickly ripped off. I found a cheap solution even though a thorough internet search provided only one solution: Buy replacement cars ($8.41). I wasn't about to buy new cars however, when the old ones only needed new treads.

Then, I remembered my Dad fixing a similar problem on another car using rubber O-rings from Lowes a few years ago. I grabbed a car and headed off to Lowes with the boys. Thankfully a very helpful employee got me to the right isle, and then proceeded to assist me as we tried several different O-rings. We found them!

The Solution

BrassCraft's O-Rings SC0583 are absolutely perfect replacement treads. They are thick enough that they stick out past the wheels edge, they provide more grip than the other treads did. I occasionally, even with treads on only the back tires, have the cars go up and over the edge. They were only $.45 for a pack of two. (Don't buy them from Amazon - linked in the image below - go to the store and save yourself money!) With taxes is was barely $1 to fix two cars! But that's not the best part! The O-Rings are next to impossible to get off! I had to get my husband to pry them off with a knife. No toddler will be pulling these off anytime soon!

If you are looking at O-Rings from a  different brand - here are the measurements: 9/16" I.D. (13/16" O.D.) x 1/8" Wall.


If you buy this track for your kids I HIGHLY recommend running to pick a few of these up before you even get started. That way you won't be losing treads.

At the thrift store two days later I found a whole set of extra track (track only) for $3! The boys were thrilled!

February 10, 2012

UPDATE: As of November, 2013 Silhouette Connect was released for Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw users to be able to cut directly from their programs to their Cameo or Portrait.



These are the links for the Adobe Illustrator Plug-Ins. I will try to update them when I can, but if you are having trouble let me know.

Windows Plug-in HERE
Mac OSX 10.4-10.7 (Lion) Plug-in HERE.
Mac OSX 10.2-10.3 Plug-in HERE.


I have tested (honestly) to see if past models specs work with the Silhouette Cameo but no such luck. Thankfully it is still possible to export the file (as a .dxf) to import to Sihouette Studio!

To install the correct drivers for your machine:

Select CC200-20 for Silhouette Machine.
Select CC300-20 for SIlhouette SD Machine.

February 3, 2012

I saw this pillow on Pinterest a while ago and when I saw the Scale Background Free download this month I thought about it.

Source: etsy.com via Maggie on Pinterest

I was inspired by the colors and the shapes on the pillow. As this project came together I got really excited. It took a little time and patience, but the result was exactly what I was going for. I love it when that happens!

I'm not a professional card maker. In fact I've probably only made 10 cards in my life so far. If you don't count the hand drawn ones I did as a kid. So I'm really just learning and having fun here. The reason I made a card is I wanted to make something I don't normally make with my new free shapes.

First I made a rectangle (around 6.8x4.6 inches). This was for the folded card. Then I turned the quote "i'd tug you anywhere" into a sketch shape. (I finally caved and bought Silhouette Studio Design Edition.) I lined up the sketch shape in the card (for the inside) and sketched the words onto the paper.

Inside Tug Boat Card Design

*When you are cutting and sketching something start with the sketch. Make sure to change all non-sketch lines to "no cut". You can also move the lines off the page before cutting and then "undo move" after and they will be in the right spot for cutting. When you go to make the cut make sure you do the same for the sketch - set it to "no cut" or move it.

Inside Tug Boat Card

I'd Tug You Anywhere Card

After the card was ready it was time to decorate it. I flipped the Scale Background design vertically and ungrouped it. I removed a large amount of the scales and then regrouped the ones left. I cut this on a simple blue paper with a yellow splashed in it. I thought it would look good as water and waves.

Waves on Tug Boat Card

To apply the scales I used my Xyron Sticker Maker (my sister convinced me to buy one and I'm so glad she did - it's so much nicer than gluing for small pieces). I placed the sheet I cut from on the top of the card. You can make sure it's lined up well by marking a horizontal line and placing the card along that line. OR you can cut out the card square as well, as shown above and not only make it easy, but have a second card! Then, I stuck the scales into the openings and filled it all up! It looks like it might take forever, but honestly it took less than 10 minutes!

Paper Outline placed on Card

Scale Stickers put into Outline

Scale Background on Card

Lastly, I used the Tug Boat shape and cut it in black. Again, I adhered it with my sticker maker.

Tug Boat on Card

I think this card would be a great heart-felt message of not only condolences but also let's the receiver know you really want to help!

Tug Boat Card

Font:

Silhouette Shapes:
scale_background_C03084_1
Tug Boat
(Click on the shapes to see them in the Silhouette Online Store.)

Paper:
Black Cardstock
Teal Cardstock
Blue/Yellow Paper

Other Supplies:
Silhouette Sketch Pen
Silhouette Cutting Mat

This is part of these parties:

Maggie Muggins Designs

Visit thecsiproject.com

February 2, 2012

*Update - if you were having trouble uploading your image, try again. I'm new to link parties, and I've figured out the rules to make this easier for all of you!

I have been looking forward to this all month! The idea for this party began with a fleeting thought - how cool would it be to see a bunch of ideas for the same shape? Of course, that got my brain rolling and the Silhouette Free Shape of the Week Link Party was created.


Silhouette Free Shape Link Party!

JANUARY'S SHAPES:

January Free Silhouette Shapes

Shapes:
3d Fanned Flower
Be Mine
Happy 2012
Heart Ticket
Rhinestone Bow
Scale Background
(Click on the shapes to link to them in the Silhouette Online Store.)

WHEN?

At 3pm on the first Thursday of every month I will put up a link party for projects made from Silhouette's Free Shapes of the previous month. The link party will be open for links for one week from the date it is posted. (Giving you an extra week to work on your projects!)

THE RULES:

1. You may link up ONLY one item per free shape from the previous month. (Meaning 4-5 different projects may be linked depending on the month).
2. The free shape must be incorporated in the project but does not have to be the main shape, or only shape in the project.
3.The project you enter must be your own project and something you have made. (It can be inspired by someone else's project, but must be your work!)
4. All Silhouette shapes used must be listed within your post or on the SAME page as the photo linked. (Sources for other shapes not from Silhouette would also be appreciated, that way we can all easily recreate your project.)
5. The party will be open for one week to link up. It will close the Thursday after it opens.
6. You must specifically link back to my site within your blog post or on the SAME page as the photo you link up. There are two button sizes and a banner with their links for you to choose from.
7. I will reserve the right to remove any links (be it inappropriate, marketing, or otherwise).
8. If you link up please check out the other projects linked up and comment on them.

When possible (remember, I am a MOM first and foremost) I will do reviews on my favorite projects. 

ADVERTISING:

If you are interested in promoting your business (Silhouette related) by sponsoring rewards for the SFS Link Party or by having your business highlighted in the link party post, please feel free to contact me. I will have more information up about this in the days to come.


Alright, Link up Everyone! I can't wait to be inspired!

February 1, 2012

Do you have projects to link up tomorrow? Have you used any of these shapes yet? Don't panic, I'll leave the party open for one whole week. That will give you plenty of time to still use your ideas and link up projects!

Here are the shapes you may use for this link party:

January Free Silhouette Shapes

Silhouette Shapes:
3d Fanned Flower
Be Mine
Happy 2012
Heart Ticket
Rhinestone Bow
Scale Background
(Click on the shapes to link to them in the Silhouette Online Store.)

The link party starts tomorrow at 3pm. I will include the rules again and possibly refine them. If you have any questions you can email me from my contact page or post comments. If you are a "no-reply" commenter please check back for your answer as I will post it in the comments below. I can't wait to see what you have done with your shapes!