Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope you all have had a great Christmas and that the New Year is brilliant .

 It's quiet on here at the present for two reasons. Firstly, my craft room is next to an occupied guest room. Since the occupant is a late riser, I'm not in my craft room in the mornings in the way I often am!
Secondly, I am busy when I am in there, learning how to use my new Silver Bullet cutter (which is really, really great!) and the SCAL 4 software that goes with it.

Give me a week, and I shall be back on the tutorials again, with lots of info and screencasts so you can see what it's like.

Meanwhile, have a browse through here for anything you may have missed and have a look at the youtube channel too.

See you soon!


Friday, 26 December 2014

Silver Bullet Cutters

Well I hope you all had a great Christmas!

I must have been VERY good this year because Santa was very generous. I got a SILVER BULLET cutting machine! I was jumping up and down with excitement, I can tell you. It's a wonder no one heard me across the pond.

Now I have loved having my Cameo and it is a great machine but I was wanting to cut more things than it can handle - and I wanted too, to be able to save files to SVG, so that they can be cut by people owning different brands of cutter and sadly, Silhouette America are not allowing that.

It will mean that I have to learn SCAL 4 software but I'm sure I shall cope. Less than 24 hrs after getting it I have already got the machine calibrated and done a successful print and cut.

My hubby is going to be selling my Cameo for me  (ebay!) but I shall continue to have the SSDE software, since it is user registered and I will keep up to date with that too.

What it does mean though, is that my files will be in SVG format from now on, and that I will also be making tutorials for SCAL 4, when I have got to grips with it. So those  who like my video style and want to learn the SCAL 4 software will be able to get tutorials in my familiar format.

The youtube channel 'createinspain' will be the same one, nothing is changing in that way.

Happy New Year to Everyone!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Book Style Luminary

I really love Christmassy scenes combined with battery powered tea lights. I've made simple box style ones before but had not made a 'layered' one.

I do remember seeing some in a Christmas fayre at one time, but they were made from wood and quite pricey. I don't even think they had the option of having lights in them, it was too long ago.

What I did want to do, was make sure it wouldn't take up too much space when stored, flat storage being preferable.

Anyhow, I spent a couple of days fiddling with a basic design that would function and then with adding a scene to it.

This is what I came up with.   (No lights on it at the moment, since the pic is in daylight.) I have found it very hard to take decent night shots of it!

The background is just blue paper with some sparkle glue on it, stuck to the inside. Most of the rest is in white card, with just the front in a shimmery pale blue.

I've got some refinements to make and I need to do a video and written tutorial showing how to put it together but I thought I 'd show you what  I'm up to!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Move and Replicate Windows in Silhouette Studio Advanced Settings.

I have spent the last day designing a basic form for a layered box frame card. This involved a fair number of pieces, each has to be precisely cut and scored, because if not, they just won't fit well together. It got me to thinking that many of you probably don't use the Move or Replicate windows to their full advantage.
So what do these windows do to make life easier? Let's look at the Move tool first.

The move tool should be used if you need to move an existing object to a precise position.

The top window allows you to move something in one direction at a time only -by a set amount. 
The second window allows movement of an object both to the left or right and up and down at the same time. (If the X and Y settings get you confused, just think of the X as across).
The third window allows you to choose where to move the object corner, also on both planes, while the last window allows you to choose to move the centre of the object to a precise location. 
The differences between these windows are subtle, you need to take care selecting the right one and then click on apply.

More useful, as far as I am concerned, is the replicate tool. This allows you to control exactly where a copy of an object is positioned. Very handy for lattice, grids and indeed, accurate score marks!  Windows in buildings are another use.
So here is the Replicate window, we are going to look at the Advanced pane at the bottom.
Most people are familiar with the basic functions already but the advanced ones are not hard to use, just often forgotten. Interestingly, this is where the duplicate in same position is located. I do sometimes use it when rotating objects around a centre point if I just want one more - as with flower petals because I then know exactly where the duplicate is.
Anyway, the duplicate to a custom position is particularly useful and the panel is pretty simple. Choose the number of replicas and decide how you want them laid out.

You can even choose to rotate the object by a set number of degrees while duplicating and moving them at the same time.

Just think how long it would take to draw all those shapes, replicate it so many times and then change the angles of them all! Here, a couple of clicks and you're done.

So, when you need to do something and repeat it, think about these windows, they could save you hours.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Making Simple Boxes, Simply!

Here  is a link to a video I have made on how to easily make a simple box, without using a template from internet websites. Maybe your internet is down one day, or you don't have access for any reason.
It is useful to know how to make a box, without having to do it by trial and error. Believe me, there can be a lot of error involved!

You start with the basic size of your box. In my case a 10 cm square. To get the size you need to cut, you need to add twice the depth required to the length of each side. So, in my case, 10 cm + 2cm + 2cm = 14 cm. So that is the size square I drew to start off with.
 Next, I drew some 2cm squares. They need to be the size of your box depth. I used the knife tool (on solid setting)  to cut one diagonally to make two triangles.

After proper alignment, the triangles are subtracted from the corners of the large square. Then horizontal and vertical score lines are added. To make a lid, I duplicate it and then with all of it grouped, scale it to 102%. In most cases this is enough to allow the lid to fit over the box.  Do remember to label the top or bottom - if you want to make a plain base but cut out the wrong one, it will be a waste!

If you wish, you can add a circle to each side of the lid and subtract (modify window) to make finger grip placements, like this

To get all the details, watch the video linked at the start.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Seasonal Ramblings!

Well, if you have not done your Christmas shopping  by now then you are officially a last minute shopper. I've just returned from the UK, visiting friends and family and was in shock over the crowds of tormented souls dashing around the shops like there was no tomorrow.
Being in Spain, we tend to forget how manic it is in the UK. Here, the 6th of January and Three Kings is more important than Christmas, so often the shops are not even that busy, even on Christmas Eve!

I do confess to preferring to shop on line. I hate crowds when I know what I want but just can't reach it because there are others in the way.  However, family got me vouchers to spend while there, so I duly braved the local Marks and Spencer to find something special to take home. I decided on an oversized, hooded, furry sort of dressing gown, the sort of luxury one that covers you from head to toe and back again (especially if, like me, you are short and buy the long version). As you can imagine, there is rather a lot of it and I was concerned that the one suitcase we were taking back would not be able to cope with it and everything else. I would look like a furry Darth Vader, but who cares when you can snuggle up like that?

Hubby duly suggested I look on line to see if I could buy it and get it posted back to Spain. Brilliant idea!  So on line at the UK site I went, only to find I could get it sent to heaven knows where, but not to Spain. Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, everywhere BUT Spain. I had a light bulb moment. Perhaps, I thought, it was possible that you had to buy it on the EU site. Yes! That was it!

My joy was short lived. While I could in theory buy it (and even get it posted for free) what I could not do was pay for it with a gift voucher.  In desperation I rang both the customer service in the UK and the EU version.  Although the staff were trying to help, there was no way it could be done. Neither could I go into the local store with the person who had bought the voucher and get it refunded.

It says something for the dressing gown, that in the end, I bought it in store and we managed to squish it into our case. I'd had visions of wearing it through the airport but the security staff might not have approved.  I'm counting down the days till I can snuggle into it.  The cats will probably love it too. Perfect for lap hogging...because, yes, it gets cold in Southern Spain too! Come to think of it, hubby was eyeing it up.....

Monday, 8 December 2014

Will be Quiet Here for a Few Days

 I can't access my craft room for a few days so it will be quiet here.  It does not mean I am not thinking crafty thoughts, just that I can't put them into practise just now. Service will resume soon!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Traditional Picture Advent Calendar

I know, it's a bit late, but if you are going to be giving Advent calendars this weekend, you still have time to make some. If not, heck, keep the idea for next year. Or a count down for another occasion.

I've done other types of Calendars for Advent but not the traditional picture ones, so thought I'd give it a go for a young Spanish friend of mine.

It wasn't as simple to design as I thought it would be, hindered by the fact that for some reason my printer changed it's settings so that it was printing with a border and therefore would not print all my registration marks. Grrrr! Then when I did a test run, I found I couldn't open the windows easily. Hmmm. Then my printer ran out of ink..

I have split the file into several parts to make it easier to understand and because some parts may need different sizes of card.

You can find the file here.

I chose to make my base 25cm x35cm, to allow for the windows and a margin around them, but the printing of images needed to be done on an A4 paper to fit in my printer. Because of this, I chose to import my clipart and cut the pictures out in rectangles to mount on my base. There is one larger rectangle to be used for Christmas Day.

Here is the base. The lines only need to be sketched in by Studio, not cut, so I have made them black.
MAKE SURE TO CENTRE THE DESIGN TO PAGE, BOTH FOR THE BASE AND WINDOWS. You could be very disappointed if you don't.  Just to make sure, you may want to copy one onto the other, to check!

The next item is the print and cut of clipart or whatever images you choose. I am not supplying the clipart! People have different taste, you may want religious ones, or all teddies or something.
Just make sure it fits in the rectangles.The rectangles only, should be cut.

The windows were trial and error until I ended up with this. Notice that I have actually chosen to cut right through on the right sides of the rectangles. This is to make it possible to open them more easily.

I've added a Merry Christmas logo, to be sketched and cut, along with an offset to be cut in a different colour to add oomph. Finally, there are numbers ready to be cut, nice and chunky to make glueing easier!  You can place the numbers in an order you please. I used small remnants of card for these.

Now, a note on putting it together. The pictures are cut and glued onto the sketched places on the base. So far, easy! But then you have to line up the windows and the base, so that they will open up on the pictures but of course the windows have to stay shut... Now if you use the same size card for the base and the window piece, this is not a problem. My problem came about because the patterned card I wanted for the windows was 1cm smaller in both width and height, so it needed special attention.

A TIP - use a pin in the top right corner of the top right square (on the base) and put it through the corresponding point in it's window. Get another pin and do the same for the bottom right point of the bottom right square. When these are matched, glue down the opposite edge. Then the pins can be removed and the rest glued down.

Put the numbers on and decorate the border with tape if you like. I had some silver glitter tape unused and wanted to try it out.

Cut and arrange your sentiment as you wish and glue on firmly.

I punched a couple of holes in the top for a ribbon, tied it on and then backed the whole lot with another piece of card to increase the strength.

For final prep, I decided to draw lines inside my windows, with a silver pen, to make it clearer where the opening was and add a bit of further decoration.  I don't for some reason, have any Christmas themed card, so went for colourful stripes instead. Here is the end result.