Monday, 28 April 2008

Using the cricut like a robo with Sure Cuts A Lot

When craftrobo was first introduced I talked my mate into buying one, the pair of us just couldnt get it to work right. We spent hours with tutorials and when eventually it did start cutting it was 50/50 whether it would cut the card properly or not. All in all it was a bad buy for her and spent time gathering dust until she sold it. We were both gutted as others were getting good results and neither of us are dunces when it comes to pcs & graphics programmes. Sara then bought a cricut, wow what a difference... it cut everytime and was easy to use. She was over the moon with it but it wasnt for me, I rarely use diecuts and wanted to be able to do my own thing not what someone else has designed. I decided that I'd wait until the robo cut as well as the cricut.

Jump on a year and while reading the forum at UKscrappers someone mentioned there was a programme you could connect to a cricut and you could design your own patterns. I instantly realised that if this was true it was exactly what I'd been waiting for. Now being a bit of a sceptic I rang Sara and got her to download a trial version... within minutes she was on the phone saying WOW and paying for the full version. I dithered for a week or two (as I'm prone to) as to whether I'd really use one.... then while looking at how much carts are going for on ebay (Sara is selling all of hers now) I saw an expressions at a really good price and had to click to buy... Next day I went to see Sara use the Sure Cuts A Lot programme to cut a silhouette image on her cricut. Less than 2 mins later her cricut was cutting it out!! Normally I'm over hers for ages but my cuppa went down my throat in record time and I was making excuses to leave. She understood lol.

Now I havent actually finished anything but I was so excited by it I felt I had to share how & what I've done.

An A5 lattice gatefold card.

Now it's only cut on cheap duo card to show the lattice and it needs a wee adjustment (doors dont quite meet when closed) but it does show that the cricut will cut patterns without buying extra carts.

Here goes with how I managed it. It sounds complicated but trust me once the image was drawn it took a couple of minutes. If you are starting with a black & white image it wont take you very long.

Here's the image (drawn in PSP on a transparent background). Save it as a .jpg file and close/minimise your graphic programme.

Open Inkscape ( free programme) and load your file. Click the image to select it then click Path, trace bitmap.

You'll have a blank image on the pop up box or the image you last traced, doesnt matter either way. Click update, then OK, then click the cross to close the box.
Save the file, this time as a .svg format. Close or minimise inkscape.

Open your Sure Cuts A Lot programme ( and import the file you've just saved. DONT click open file, it must be import.

Now all you need to do is resize & position the image where you want it. Then click the scissor icon to make it start cutting.
It might sound like gibberish but it really is simple.
Now I have to add just in case the legal bods read blogs, Provocraft do not endorse this programme, it is nothing to do with them and it's best to read about the technical bits at craftedge. The craftrobo has been improved since Sara had hers, they arent for us but others love them. If you're thinking of buying one go, see a demo and make your mind up based on the demo not whether I or others didnt get on with it.

2 Tildas

Thanks to the ladies that have left comments and nominated me for awards, havent figured out how to put them here but I will have another go later.

Now, I know I said not to look for stamping here as it's not really my thing but Tilda is an exception. I dont know what it is but there's something about these stamps that I actually love. Wish I had more time to play with them but I'm generally doing samples for shops that I have to use items they sell.

Petticoat tilda is probably one of my favourites, although the pic doesnt show it she has been coloured with polychromos with some paper piecing. Papers are from DCWV All Dressed Up stack, sentiment is a penny black clear stamp.

This was playing around with a sketch from a dutch group and ended up being nothing like it. Tilda was stamped on the reverse of some linen card and coloured with polychromos. Normally I would use smooth cardstock but I wanted to get a textured effect on her jeans. The large circles are cut using a CM cutting system and the sentiment with 2 nestie dies. I've got dozens of different colour prima & silk flowers but I never seem to have the right colours so I ended up using my clip punches.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Star Collection stencil

Here are another 2 made for Art Of Craft this time I've used this star collection stencil. I've played about with the placement and have found so many different ways of using it that it's going to be one of my all time favourites.
The lily decoupage is from Joy Crafts, all I've done is emboss the simple flourish in the corners on some white card. Matted & layered on pale blue pearl & a dark blue with a few stick on pearls & an organza bow. Very simple and not too time consuming.
The pansy card uses papers from Joy Crafts and added some stickles glitter glue. Same stencil but a different section. Again I've embossed into the corners but this time I've played with my knife and cut away the lattice area. Hidden under the white card is my favourite deep purple card which peeps through the cutwork. Not sure if there's a brand to it but I buy a1 sheets at the Range. This is then mounted on some green glittery paper from a DCWV stack and a 14.5cm sqr base card. I've had real fun adding plenty of bling with 2 shades of purple 2mm and deep green 4mm gems. To stick gems I find it best to use art institute or anitas tacky glue applied with a tiny steel nib. I dip the tip of a cocktail stick either into the glue or a pot of water, the moisture is enough to pick the gem up and move into place.

Suzy stencils from Marianne Design.

These are both samples made for Art Of Craft and are made from the same new Suzy template from Marianne Design. The floral decoupage is from Joy Crafts. I've used a flourish stamp with versamark & some stampendous gold detail powder to create the illusion of a background paper it's then been layered on some gold silk mirri. A plain gold border peeloff helps define the area. The suzy template has been used twice to emboss on to white pearly card. Both patterns have been cut, embroidered with a gold rayon thread and finished off with some gems then mounted on green card & gold satin mirri.

The elephant paper is from Marij Rhyder. This time I've cut the same white card into a 13cm square. On the reverse I marked a 2cm border and used this to position the stencil into the corners. It's then been embossed and had a few areas cut away. I've used the same gold satin mirri & some red card to matt & layer. I'm a bit of a magpie and love sparkly things so added a few small green gems, the bindi style ones are from Joy Craft. A nice organza bow in the corner with some gold bead chain threaded through and a peeloff to finish. I think I might pop to the shops later and get another elephant sheet to make it 3d but I'm housebound until Argos turn up with the new tallboy & bedside cabinets so it might stay as is.