Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Birthday! (Asian Long Life)

Dh's uncle is celebrating his 70th birthday next month and I decided I wanted to do another Asian style card with the Chinese character for "long life." I figured I'd better get started on it right away since creating these types of cuts usually take me forever to do on Design Studio. Only this time, I decided to put my Sure Cuts Alot program to the test. Together with the help of Susan Bluerobot's Inkscape Logo tutorial, it took me a whole FIVE MINUTES to create this cut! (Jen Y, are you reading this?) Absolutely incredible and amazing.

Of course I'm still keeping Design Studio because of its links to my Cricut cartridges and right now I still feel more comfortable using DS to create card and box templates, but Sure Cuts Alot together with Inkscape is certainly a powerful addition to my crafting toolbox.

For this card, I used the Textile texture embossing folder from Cuttlebug on a piece of Bazzill Bling cardstock (January Gemstone) and the George cartridge to cut the octagonal window and frame (Currency gold cardstock). The Chinese long life character was cut using Hygloss red foil cardstock and backed with gold vellum. I used Bazzill Metallic Luster for the card base.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day, with a Wow!

Fathers Day cards...more guy cards and yet another challenge. Fathers Day cards, and for that matter all cards for my dad and dh are especially challenging because I know they have big expectations. For my cards to dh, who sponsors most of my high ticket crafting "toys", and my dad, who is extremely artistic and crafty himself, I always try to push for the "wow factor". Ya know, if they don't say "wow!" when they open my card, it just ain't worth it!

After much deliberating, I decided to go with this pop-up ball card. First saw this ball a while back while browsing through miscellaneous paper engineering books at Borders. My first thought was, "okay, cool...but what the heck would I use it for?" Sizzix came out with their version of this hexagonal ball earlier this year, and I found a pattern created and posted by Jenny Red, which she calls "the jumping box". But it wasn't until I stumbled across Karen Burnisten's blog that I thought "okay, maybe I might want to try this... Karen is the designer of the Sizzix version of this ball and has posted some wonderful projects created with this. Be sure you take a look-see at the transparency version...totally, totally awesome! Later, Cricut Messageboard member Laurinda created a cutfile for the two piece version similar to Jenny's in two sizes on Design Studio. Incredible! Cuts with a whole lot of specific angles make me crazy, it would have taken me forever to create this. Thank you for sharing this Laurinda, you are amazing! The beauty of this two piece version is that it's pretty easy to assemble. Laurinda used George, Accent Essentials and Pooh Font files to design her cutfile. Since of the three, I only own George, I had to change the file a little so I could get a cut.

I used a brad in the bottom panel of the ball to attach it to the card This way the ball is very securely attached with no worries that it might pop off the card due to faulty gluing, and it allows the ball to rotate...very cool!
The card above with the Asian undertones was created for my dad, and for dh, I did a version with his favorite golf theme.

For the card base, I used Karen Burnisten's idea of using a petal fold type card. It's a good way of keeping the ball flat inside until it's opened, plus it's super neat how all four sides of the card pop open to reveal the ball. Karen created and shares the template for this petal card on her blog. For my card, I added a 1/4" spine to all four sides so that the ball would not be completely flat inside the closed cards. I decided to do this because I wanted to be completely sure the ball would pop up the instant the card was opened. I then added a belly band to keep the card in this closed position.

The golf bag on the belly band of dh's card is a digital image from a Darcie Hunter clipart CD colored with copics. On the inside, to make it look more like a golf ball, I embossed glossy photo paper with the Cuttlebug bubbles embossing folder to embellish the top and bottom panels of the ball. The golf club is a cutfile I created using George.

Quickutz Skinni Mini Rollerskate die was used to cut the "love you" sentiment on the top of the balls. "Dad" on the bellyband of my dad's card is Cricut Stone Script welded in DS. Printed cardstock for both cards are DCWV, which I found to be nicely thick and sturdy enough for this project.
Dh got his card before he went out to the golf course this morning . "WOW! That's the neatest card you've made so far!" (smile) Grandpa will get his card tonite at dinner...hope he likes it too! These "wow factor" type of cards do take a quite a bit more time and effort but it's all worth it, right? Afterall, these two are the most important guys in my life, and I want to let them know how special they are.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pochacco for Friends

Been playing around with my new Sure Cuts A Lot Program (SCAL) and Inkscape and trying to learn how to use them whenever I can find some extra time. For my second project, I decided I should choose a simple line image to practice with... and cute little Pochacco fit the bill perfectly! I scanned this image of Pochacco from an old notepad I had and saved it as a jpeg file. I used Adobe Photoshop to clean up the image a little, then imported it into Inkscape, which is a vector graphics editing program. In Inkscape, I converted the jpeg file into a svg file, and tried to clean up the image a bit more so I could get smooth cutting lines when I imported the image to Sure Cuts A Lot to cut. All of this sounds complicated and admittingly had my head spinning in the beginning, but thanks to the awesome and very detailed tutorials by Susan Bluerobot on this, I am slowly learning. At first it seemed like it took me so many steps to get to a cut-able image, but in the end, I found it really was much quicker than trying to design the same in Design Studio. Now all I need is to find time to practice, practice, practice....and hopefully one day I too will be able to do some really fancy cuts!

I used the Pochacco svg file I created to decorate little goodie boxes I recently made for some friends. Filled these with my favorite Yokumoku Cigaru cookies and wrapped them in a cellophane bag finished with a little bow. The box is a Design Studio cutfile created and shared by a very talented lady, Melanie (MeFlick). You can access this round top box cutfile by visiting Melanie's blog, MeFlick's Cricut Cutfiles and More, and clicking on the "box" .cutfile link on her sidebar. Please be sure to leave a comment thanking her if you do. And while you're there, be sure to take a look around, you'll be amazed at all the she wonderful projects she's created in Design Studio as well as with SCAL and generously shares!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

For a Special Graduate

It's graduation time again! This year there aren't too many friends I know who are graduating, which is a good thing because it gave me plenty of time to search around for a special card to make for my dd's bf, who will be graduating from UC Davis with his master's degree this week. I spotted this card created by Kim Nath on Splitcoast Stamper's gallery and thought it would be perfect.

Really like these types of non-traditional shaped cards! This card is opened by lifting the top portion of the hat, which causes the enclosed giftcard or monetary gift to slide out from it's pocket. Neat, huh. The instructions and template were created by Alicia Coulombe, which she generously shares on the Splitcoast Forum. If you own the Expression and Design Studio, you can email me for a cutfile I created of Alicia's template using the George cartridge. Please download Alicia's pdf file from the link above for assembly instructions.
I changed the inside of my card just a tad from the original by Alicia by adding the sentiment to a separate piece of cardstock instead of onto the sliding element as Alicia did. I cut a piece of cardstock the same as I had used for the base card to make the sliding element and adhered the sentiment piece right over the top of it to hide part of it, thinking it might increase the "wow" factor when the card is opened. Also, since I was planning to use a check instead of a gift card (and didn't want to put adhesive on the check), I folded the end of the sliding element and applied a little adhesive to the left side of it to create sort of pocket for my check to sit in. The last thing I did differently was to use thin strips of foam tape to create the pocket at the bottom of the card so the slider/giftcard would slide in and out more easily.
The front of my card is embellished with the Grad Ian digital stamp I purchased from The Greeting Farm and colored with copics in UC Davis colors blue & gold. "Congratulations" is a die from the Sizzix cardmaking set and "Jason" is cut from a Sizzlit Decorative Strip, Skittle Dee Doo font. The tassel is from JoLee's, shortened by cutting off about 2 inches and attached to the hat with a large brad. Gold edging around the hat was done with a Krylon Gold Leafing pen. And the "You did it" sentiment on the inside slider is from the Beyond Birthdays cartridge.

And then of course, every college graduate with Hawaii ties needs a lei, right? I used yellow rattail cording to crochet the "roses" and single crocheted different lengths of blue and metallic gold eyelash yarns in between to make this lei I mailed with my card. I hope he likes it! Wish we could be in Cali to congratulate Jason in person and present him with real flower leis instead...he's worked so hard for this, and we are full of joy and pride for his crowning achievements!