Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ship In a Bottle Card

When I first saw the ship in a bottle card, created and posted by JulieH, I was totally blown away. I thought it was the coolest looking card I'd seen in a long time, and of course I wanted to try one too. But when I went over to to purchase the template, I was disappointed because I couldn't find it anywhere on the site. I really had my heart set on making this card for my his younger years, building ships in tiny glass bottles was a hobby of his and I have always been so amazed with his beautifully detailed creations. I thought this card would be perfect for his upcoming birthday. So after spending a long time staring at the photos Julie had posted, I decided I would try and wing it. Ha, ha...yeah, I'm nutz. Anyway, you definitely should go take a look at Julie's card, because it is truly awesome. Mine is my lame attempt to re-create it without a template. If you read Julie's post on this card you'll see that she ran into some difficulties constructing the "bottle" even with the I pretty much figured I was up for quite a challenge.
The boat was easy. The Mayflower cut is from the My World cartridge, cut several times at 2-3/4" and layered. The bottle was another story all together. Everything was guess-timated based on Julie's photos. Basically it was just "cut and create as you go". For the body of the bottle, I cut a rectangular piece of clear shrink plastic with tabs which I tried to tuck into slits cut in the base card stock. The shrink plastic was way too rigid and difficult to work with. For the neck and bottom of the bottle I used pieces cut from a plastic pillowbox I had, which was a little more flexible and cooperative. A funnel shaped piece connected to a smaller rectangular piece were used to create the neck of the bottle and an circle shaped piece folded in half for the bottle bottom. I used double stick tape to connect all the pieces and a lot of twine and gold foil ribbon to hide all the seams and tape. The finished size of the card was about 8.5 x 5.5".
The end result was kind of messy looking, but okay I guess. I wish I had a cork like Julie did to cork my bottle too. I'm pretty sure I'll never be making this again unless I get ahold of the template. Either that, or maybe I will try using a plastic water bottle cut in half lengthwise next time....any brave souls up to the challenge?

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

Didn't get a chance to make anything crafty this year, but here's a silly photo of our fur baby, Latte with her Thanksgiving bib on, ready and anxiously waiting for her first bite of Gramma's yummy turkey and stuffing. Oh, and don't forget to leave room for the pumpkin crunch for dessert!

Guess this doesn't really qualify for being a card or crafty thing, but these are tags that were put together at the last minute with the Cricut as we were already getting ready to leave the house for our Thanksgiving get together. Didn't even have time to wrap the boxes of chocolate, just tied the tags on with a bow. Turkey cuts are from the Animal Kingdom cartridge.

And here's the Thanksgiving card which was created on and sent to family. Lol, poor Latte...she doesn't look too unhappy in this photo, does she?

I know dd really gets a kick out of these cards, especially since now that she's away at college she no longer has to be in these crazy photos. BTW, the little pilgrim hat Latte is wearing was cut and created from a piece of 8.5x11 cardstock. Did a search for pilgrim hats online and was surprised that there were so many different versions to choose from! The one I made is here, on the Kaboose website which I thought would be easiest to down size from child to doggie head size.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Princess Birthday Cake

Here's the second Pop up Cake card I made, this one for dd's birthday. She celebrated her 25th birthday this year, but to dh and myself, she is and always will be our little princess. I admit, it was a lot more fun decorating this cake than the golf one I had done for dh because I could go all out girly with it.

Ran into the same "bulky card problem" as with dh's card and used the same matchbook style closure. This time I used a layered filigree heart cut from the Wedding Solutions cart as the tab to keep the card closed. Printed and glittered card stock is from the Sparkly Sweet stack by K & Company. Really loved the look of this paper but realized later that it wasn't a good choice because it wasn't strong enough. The bulkiness of the pop ups inside was probably too much, eventually causing it to begin tearing along the folds.

Fortunately, by gluing on an additional layer of cardstock I managed to hide some of the tearing and hopefully minimize any more damage.

Inside, I decorated the cake using the scallop border from Plantin Schoolbook for the icing, and added a few Primas, and a lot of pretty paper flowers from All Natural Accents.

The doily under the cake is a Nestabilities scalloped circle, punched with a Fiskars hand held heart punch. Word to the wise: I've found that assembling the cake onto a doily or a plate first, and then gluing that onto the center fold of the card is a whole lot easier than trying to assemble the cake directly onto the card.

The rhinestone studded flourishes in the corners of the card were cut using a die from Cuttlebug's Vintage set.

The little princess die cut was created using a digital stamp called Princess Clarissa, purchased from Instyle Stamps. BTW, if you like the anime look, you will love the digital images and rubber stamps offered at Instyle Stamps!

I converted the jpg image of Princess Clarissa into a vector file (svg) using Inkscape, imported her into Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL), then cut with Cricut. Still not doing as well as I'd like with Inkscape, but I will continue to persist until I get all figured out! Since I wanted my princess to have a more updated look, I removed the medeival head gear she donned in the original image and replaced it with a crown embellished with rhinestones.

Used some shimmery Bazzill Bling cardstock for her gown and added a little flower shaped rhinestone bling. Chalked her a little to add some color to her cheeks and used a few drops of Diamond Glaze for a little twinkle in her eyes.

Princess cut was then attached to the center of the card with an easel-like tab so she would pop up and stand next to her cake.

These pop up birthday cakes are really fun to do! At first I thought they might be too complicated to assemble, but found some excellent tutorials with lots of advice from others who have tried them. Karen Burnstein, who designed this die for Sizzix has a lot of helpful tips and trouble shooting on her blog, I Am Not Left Handed. Paper engineering wiz, Carol of Extreme Cards And Papercrafting has posted the Stampin Up instructional video as well as a very detailed five part tutorial on "Building A Better Pop Up Cake" with lots of photos and some great solutions to problems you may encounter. And you gotta take a look at some of the unbelievably creative pop up cake decorating ideas over at Creations by Patti...she is one talented lady!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Golfer's Birthday Cake

Finally got the chance to put my Sizzix Pop-up Cake die to use! Though I purchased this die earlier this year, I wanted to wait for a couple very special birthdays (for dh & dd) to use it for the first time.

So this was my very first try at the Pop-up Cake, made especially for dh's birthday with a golf theme, of course. Couldn't think of many creative or exciting ways to decorate a "golf cake" other than to top it off with a golf ball and I tried to liven my card up a bit by adding a Darcie Hunter golf bear cut with SCAL and Cricut. I used a sizzlit die for the Happy Birthday sentiment on the front of the cake and a nestabilities scallop circle die for the base for the cake.

One of the biggest challenges for me with this card was thinking of a way to keep it closed. The cake inside the card was pretty bulky, and because I was afraid the cake would not pop open correctly, I was hesitant to flatten it completely in the closed position.

By using a golf ball and tee (cut smaller than the one on the top of the cake) as a stop, I was able to tuck the front of the card behind it to keep the card closed, even though it still bulged quite a bit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Transformer Birthday Wishes

Here's the card I created and sent to dd's bf last month for his birthday. Ah yes, another masculine birthday card, this time starring Bumblebee, the yellow autobot transformer. He was a svg file generously shared by Cricut Message Board member Mary, on her blog, Mardenz. Mary did an awesome job re-creating this as a svg file and I was very impressed at how cleanly it cut with SCAL...thank you so much, Mary! BTW, if you own SCAL and are looking for svg files, you must visit Mardenz to browse through all the wonderful files Mary has created and shares...from Star Wars to Lion King to Harry Potter...just amazing!

Okay, so if you're hardcore into transformers, you'll probably notice that Mary's Bumblebee cut looks more like the Generation I autobot which transforms from a Volkswagen Bug. But since this card was supposed to be the prelude to a birthday gift which included the newly released Transformers Movie Blueray disc, I decided to go with the yellow Chevy Camaro of the Generation II Bumblebee instead.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find an svg file for a Camaro anywhere. There were a few good line drawings on the web, so I figured I could easily convert one into to svg file using Inkscape and Susan Bluerobot's trusty tutorials. No such luck. I'm still not sure why, but I really had a hard time with this. Either my settings are off, or I'm just not doing something right... well anyway, I finally got it done after many tries but still wasn't very happy with the final result. Couldn't get Cricut to cut the grillwork on the front of the car correctly ( I ended up drawing it in) and the car pieces just didn't seem to fit right. Still got a lot to learn about using Inkscape.

I made the card into a tiered tri-fold card using some of my Basic Grey stash, cutting the tiers by hand, then inking all the edges. The sentiment on the front of the card is computer generated, using a font called "Transformer" (of course!) from my favorite free font site, daFont. Inside sentiment and transformer mask were printed on vellum. Added dewdrops from Robin's Nest to accent the corners.

Added Bumblebee to the last fold in the card using a simple parallel pop up to just the top half of his body so his legs would hang free. In the end, despite the problems I ran into with the creating the Camaro, I was pretty happy with how this turned out, and even happier to hear that dd's bf enjoyed it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Projects...a little late

Halloween has come and gone, the end of the year is just around the corner and already I feel myself falling procrastination is taking its toll.

The inspiration for my Halloween luminaria came from the October issue of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine. She had done up some pretty elaborate and intricate designs for her luminarias, and I decided to give it a try with Cricut and Design Studio. I welded shapes from the George cartridge to do the basic luminaria, a frame from the Jasmine cart for the oval cut out, then welded the scaredy cat and fence cuts from Paper Dolls Dress Up to the inside of the oval. Orange vellum was taped to the inside of the luminaria, and I added a little battery powered flame to light it up.

Photocraft's Cricut Club held their second meeting in October with quite a good turnout. Look at all the neat Halloween projects that were shared!

This cute spider bag was shared by Robin. She used a CD envelope to create a very cool window package for her Halloween treats. Robin inked up her embossing folder with a black stamp pad to create the spider web and used the Doodlecharms cart to cut her scary spider and cute pumpkin.

Kris shared a number of SCAL projects cut with her Cricut at the meeting. Everyone thought this pop up Halloween card was just awesome, with so much detail, and oh, so fun how the ghost pops out from the haunted house to say "Boo!"...another great example of the v-fold pivot at work.
Kris also shared this super neat spider and web box, cut with SCAL and Cricut. Love those googlie eyes! Kris purchased the svg files for this box and the pop up card from Paperthreads. (Very cool site with over a thousand different kinds of svg cuts you can purchase at really reasonable prices)

And this neat double slider treat box is yet another project shared by Kris. Isn't she just amazing? This looks really hard to do, but Kris claims it's really just a double slider card, only with a box on one side. Gonna have to spend some time later to figure out how to make this....

Jen from Pieces of Me showed up for the meeting too! Jen shared her very cute backpack goodie box, but I missed getting a photo of it. You can see it and even download the cutfile over on her Cricut sharing blogsite, Cricut Cuts By Jen. While you're there, be sure to take a look around because you'll find cutfiles for a lot of awesome projects created and generously shared by this multi-talented lady. If you decide to download any of her files, please don't forget to leave her comment to thank her!

The project I shared at the meeting was inspired by a cute Pumpkin Make and Take Card that Jean of Dandelion Designs had done earlier at the store to showcase her new line of sweet little Halloween stamps. Jean is always so creative, and always comes up with the neatest creations. I used her pop out of the pumpkin card idea and stuck it on to a goodie box. The cutfile for the box was done in Design Studio using George, and the jack-o-lantern and ghost cuts are from Paper Dolls Dress Up.

If you are interested in sharing projects done with the Cricut, you should definitely come to the next meeting! We'll be sharing Christmas and holiday projects at Photocraft Hawaii on Sunday, November 15th at 12:30. It's really fun to learn and share!

Here's another spider treat box created by my sweet friend and dh's talented co-worker, Heather. Spider cut is from the Doodlecharms cart, and I suspect she may have created the box in Design Studio. I really like the festive Halloween-y cardstock, and how the spider was cut large enough so his legs would extend past the edges of the box...neat, huh. I loved Kris' spider box so much that I made up a bunch to share with friends at work. As always, I was so last minute so I didn't get to add the fun googlie eyes to my spiders, but they turned out okay. Eeek! Lookit all those spiders on my floor!
I also decorated some gift bags with the Halloween-y cuts from the Hello Kitty cartridge for special friends and family. Being that I had procrastinated till the end, it was a good thing that these came together really quickly!

Last, but not least, here's the Halloween card our doggie sent out to her friends and family this year. The cards were created online by uploading my photos to The cards are really quick and easy to create, and the nice thing is that Hallmark will mail the cards directly to your recipients.I guess the most difficult part was getting little Latte into her costumes and trying to convince her smile. Needless to say, she did not enjoy this a single bit...
...and by the end of the photo session both doggy and photographer were totally exhausted!