Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Free Digital Paper

I'm in a generous mood today, so I thought I would share one of my paper designs with you.

The effect is supposed to be very light, almost transparent colour with veins shot through it.

Now, here is the interesting part. To make this paper extra special, I wanted the veins to be metallic. Sadly, unless you have a very expensive professional printer, you are not likely to be able to reproduce metallic colours any more than I can on mine. 
So what to do? Well, if you are anything like me, you have a stash of metallic pens. Pick a fine tipped one and LOOSELY follow the veins. Don't try to emulate the thickness of the line or follow it too exactly. I did mine with a gold one. 
The file is here

It has been pointed out to me that you may want tiled versions, so I have attempted that - let me know what you think!
Tiled version Marble  here
Tiled floral here
I hope you like the effect, if you have graphics editing software, you can even change the tints to suit whatever project you need it for.

Happy crafting!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Adapt Pens for Your Cameo

After my last post, on making your own mats, someone asked if they wouldn't have to have a special pen holder to do it this way.

Well, the answer is yes and no! Yes, you need to have something to hold your pen, no, you don't need to buy an expensive holder just for this.

The way to go is adaptation. Ok, go the whole  hog perhaps if you do a lot of sketching with the Cameo or Portrait or whatever but if you don't want to do that or can't afford it, there is a work around.

Craft foam, an ice lolly stick and masking tape.  Now, the foam I can easily get my hands on is 2mm thick, as is most of it unless you manage to find the thinner stuff that the Cameo will cut.

For this purpose though, we need the 2mm variety. The permanent pens I have are the same size as Sakura Jelly Roll pens, Staedtler fine tipped ones.

All you do is cut (scissors here!) a rectangle about  two inches wide, big enough to just fit round your pen, not overlapping. A little masking tape around that to hold it together and you should be done. Your pen will have its own little jacket that can be used on your other pens too, just slide it on or off, it should be snug but not so tight you can't remove it easily.

Test it to check the fit, twisting it in. The foam should go down to about half an inch from the tip of the nib.  Now, with the machine SWITCHED OFF, move the carriage over to the right a little bit.
Place the lolly stick under where the pen should be. Push/twist the wrapped pen into the holder until it just touches the lolly stick and turn the clasp to tighten it. Check that it is firm in there, if not, remove and add another layer of tape, normal sticky tape this time will do.
Remove the lolly stick and you can switch back on. Remember to use Sketch pen setting and off you go!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Make Your Own Cutting Mats

For those whose machines are out of warranty, I see no reason to buy expensive branded mats - but make your own mind up on the matter!

At the moment, Aldi are selling 6 flexible cutting mats for €4.99. They are approx 30.5 x 38 cm, and just the right size to cope with the card from books they also sell at times!  I have used many cheap flexible mats for a while with no problem, these are good quality ones.

Now, the question is, how to mark up the grid. In the past, I have done it the hard way, by hand. Duh?
What have I been doing?  I'm an idiot! Why didn't I use my Cameo to mark it for me?

This is so easy, you are going to kick yourself if you have not thought of it.

Create a new page and a cutting mat of 12x 24 inches. Put in a page of the same size.  I worked out that the grid would fit at 11 x 13 inches. So create an oblong that size and position it at the top left of the mat.

Now for the insides.

Draw one horizontal line of 11 inches and a vertical one of 13.

Use a guideline to position the horizontal one, 1 inch down from the top of your rectangle.
Go to the Duplicate page advanced settings and choose the number of repeats, to go below, select the 'y' axis and put a value of 1 inch in the box, click enter and apply.

You should now have all your horizontal lines done.

Do the same with the vertical ones, placing the line 1 inch in from the left, and duplicating to the right at 1 inch intervals and choosing  the 'x' axis.

You should now have your grid!

Now, all you need do, is load your unmarked new mat, without anything on it and use a permanent fine tipped marker pen to draw the lines on it!  I used the copy paper setting and 'sketch pen'.
If you are not comfortable with the replicating method, you can simply trace the lines of the cutting mat on screen manually.
I use a temporary spray mount - I think 3M make one but others certainly do - or, if I want a lighter tack, sprays designed for appliqué.  That needs applying more often but is good for lighter papers.
If you want, you can use masking tape at the edges to stop them from getting sticky.

NB: Although there is room for another row on the bottom, I have not put it in because the mat would not be gripped by that point to draw it. If needed you can put that bit in by hand later.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sorry! Bug in Replicate tool, so video changed!

I am sorry to say that when I went to make the video this morning on the Advanced settings, I was getting a lot of unexpected issues. I shall be reporting to Silhouette and hopefully they will get them sorted out! So I decided it was better not to confuse anyone with a tutorial that didn't work properly.
Bear with me, I have a busy few days, but will post again very soon!


I'm just loading a video on how to make patterned borders, it's a very useful tutorial that I hope you will enjoy. It should be on Youtube shortly! It's called Making a Scalloped Decorative Border watch here

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

That Black Cutting Strip - replacing

I had noticed that my black cutting strip was worn, I think it had been ever since I bought my Cameo, second hand. I always use a cutting mat so had not bothered to change it, since it is rarely exposed. However, at a loose end this morning, I was watching a video on replacing it and came up with an idea.

Down in the basement, hubby found what I wanted. A dark brown tough plastic strip - it is meant to be folded along its length and used as a draught excluder on door frames.
The total width is twice that of the black plastic protector but only half of that is sticky backed, perfect! So I cut it to length and then cut down the length leaving only the sticky backed piece. Lo and behold, although brown and in much better condition, it looks exactly like the stuff I removed. And it was only going to cost pennies even had I needed to buy it. The fitting instructions were just the same, unplug the cameo, move the carriage over, peel away part of the backing, lay it down, making sure it is straight, move the carriage in the opposite direction and finish laying the tape down.

So I have replaced my strip and probably just as well, it almost fell apart in my hands.

While I know this would void a warranty, mine is not covered anyway. I really can't see any reason not to use what I did, if anything it looks a bit more robust than the original!

How To Create A Card With A Shaped Edge - new video on Createinspain Youtube + free file to download

This video is a simple tutorial on how to incorporate a shape into the edge of a card. It is just right for beginners and the instructions deal with cutting out in both the Standard and the Advanced methods of Silhouette Studio V 3.0.343. However, if you have an earlier version of the software, the video will still be useful, you just follow the Standard cutting procedure.

This is an example of the effect you can achieve - the butterfly shape is added to the edge of the actual card and then a cut out is added over that to get another dimension.
Here is the link to this card - created in the  last Version 2, there is no reason why it should not cut out well in V3.

The background is a watercolour I painted last year, although the colours are off due to my printer being on the fritz!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition V 3.0.343 and a freebie!

Well, I have finally managed to work out how to get my video files to upload directly to my Youtube channel createinspain!
Yay! I even did it without the help of a 10 yr old which I think is pretty impressive:)  So far, I have loaded several tutorials on the new Silhouette Studio Designer software V3.0.343.

When V3 was first sent out into the big wide world, it was, I think it is fair to say, a bit of a disaster.  Those who were used to the way the old one worked missed well loved features and new features that were very important, that replaced them, did not work. I am talking seriously, did not work.
However, Silhouette America have worked their socks off to rectify the situation, and although they admit the current version is a work in progress, it is very much a working piece of kit.

For those who have not loaded the new one yet, it is still split into Studio and Studio Designer Edition. I can't remember exactly the differences between the two, only to say that in my opinion, if you want to make your own files, then the Designer one is the way to go. OK, so it costs in the region of $30, but that is nothing compared with the cost of the machines or the advantages it gives you. How much decent, useful software can you buy for that? For those that already have the old DE, the new version is still a free upgrade.

Here is a taster from my Youtube channel.

So to any of you wondering, my advice would be to go for it. Meanwhile, the 'Legacy' version is still there, so if you are not sure designing is for you, then try that out first, then watch some of my videos on the new DE and see if those features are things you want.

I shall be doing more designing with the new software and, shall be sharing some designs here (as long as I can figure out how best to do it!)

Here is a print and cut I had created for the holidays, in the new version, since it is only simple cut lines, you should still be able to use it in the Legacy one, be sure to only have the pieces set to cut and the patterned bit set to no cut.

Easter Egg Jigsaw

TIP : Print another copy to act like a box lid would.  If the puzzle is cut from thin card, either cut out twice and carefully match up the pieces and glue together,  OR spray another piece of card with temporary adhesive and put the puzzle together on that, it will hold the pieces in place. I use a spray for embroidery, but temporary or reposition able spray mount is great.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

I Think I've Done it!

Trying to set up this blog has made me feel ancient. Where is a handy 10 year old when you need one? I can find my way around a computer but all this Google stuff leaves me positively baffled!
Still, if you can read this, then I must be getting there. I have a  Youtube channel again, after managing to lock myself out of my previous (baking orientated) one  bakeinspain after posting a couple of Silhouette Studio tutorials - don't ask me how, I've got splinters from scratching my head about that one!

My new one createinspain  is on my more crafty interests, using my Silhouette Cameo cutter to start with, and if I can get a handle on taking videos with my camera again, maybe some other crafts as well.
You can tell how hard I find it, when I did a few tutorials for some other software a while ago, I had my camera set up so that it focused on my laptop screen. When my elder son found out what I was doing, he burst out laughing (sensitive soul!) and gave me a brief low down on screencasts...:)

 I do have the occasional helper in the form of our two cats. A huge black and white Tuxedo British Shorthair with a penchant for yowling at me early in the morning (he believes I should be awake when he is) and a smaller, oh so cute and adorable Black Tippy BSH, who loves typing and strawberry yogurt.

So be patient and hang in there while I learn the techie side of things please?