Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!


I am in the process of loading a new video but while that is happening, I thought I'd take the chance to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

I'm going to take a few days off for the holidays but I shall be back in the New Year with more projects, ideas, hints and tips.

Best Wishes


Monday, 7 December 2015

Airbrushing for Card Makers

I have finally got around to making a short video on basic stuff for people who may want to airbrush for the first time, mainly those who want to use it for card making, not modelling or fine art.

Now I have 3 airbrushes. An Iwata for the more serious stuff, one dedicated to food dyes and another for what I would describe as 'dirty' paint. Stuff like acrylic or enamels.

In this one I am talking about the middle one. A cheap brush but perfectly adequate for basic usage.
I have a small air compressor that I keep under my desk, it's pretty quiet and after a few minutes I forget about the purring!

Now a few things I did not go into on the video.

Protect yourself and your surfaces. We're talking highly atomised paint here, you have no idea how far this stuff can travel!  I usually wear latex gloves when painting because otherwise I end up with multi coloured fingers for a few days. I wear old clothes too, don't want to wreck your decent stuff on this.

To keep the paper in place, I use some adhesive, like Zig that is temporary. It grips enough but not too much. I have masking tape but it ruins the edges of my paper or card.

Always refer to the manufacturers instructions for full clean up. It only should need to be done occasionally, but if you are using paints with solids in it, you need to keep things REALLY clean or your needle and nozzle will get dirty and paint will not flow.

I find an occasional clean out with dilute window cleaner does a great job - but not if using your brush for food use!

If you do have to take your brush apart, have a nice soft towel on the table to catch the bits. You don't want to drop anything as it will most likely damage it.
Again, refer to instructions on how to take apart and reassemble, not all brushes are the same.

Quite often I will spend an entire morning or afternoon making backgrounds. You can make lots of different ones to store and use as necessary, saving money on coloured or patterned card.

Now there are ways of using your markers with a converter -  Copic make one that is in several forms, some for use with a compressor, some with canned air. However, canned air is not going to be a cheap option if you do much. There is also an e-Brush, similar but with it's own tiny compressor and used with various markers. I have not tried these. While they avoid clean up, I can't help thinking they must shorten the life of your marker rather a lot - great for those selling refills!

So it is a matter of choice but whatever you choose, have fun with it!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Special Friend Card

I have recently got set up with a new heat gun ( from a kit in Lidl) and it is much better than my previous one from Hobbycraft. It has two heat settings which is a bonus. Since I also got some stamps recently from Aldi, I thought I'd try using one of them.

I chose a small flower stamp and chopped the front panel diagonally to add interest. The sentiment was one I made into a stamp myself and I used copper embossing powder on that, putting it onto a plain white banner, then using a pen to add colour to the edge of it.

The flowers were stamped in a slapdash manner for a more random coverage.  This is exaggerated by using a clear embossing powder on it that had a bit of glitter thrown in and this picks out random areas.

It was then mounted onto a brown card stock panel and that was in turn put over another piece of yellow, this time using the Silver Bullet and SCAL to make a scalloped edge. The whole lot was then put onto a scalloped white base.

To finish off, I applied a string of gold beading to top and bottom of the sentiment, using hot glue. This is where my Rapid fine point glue gun excels!

Hard to see here but it is beautifully glittery!  Hope it inspires someone to have a go, it really is a simple card to make.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Stop Press! You CAN now convert STUDIO files to SVG!

I am happy to announce that someone has come up with a way to convert Studio files to SVG format!

It isn't that you never could do it, but Silhouette America took that option away from its Studio software a long time ago and in spite of requests, would not re instate it.  I was not the only one who told them that it was a mistake to do that. The reason for the decision was never made clear, so we could only jump to the conclusion that it was protectionist.

Here follows a message from the creator  of the conversion software   (No, I am not affiliated in any way).

"The online Silhouette Studio to SVG converter is now public :). You may now tell anyone you wish about it. There is also the Silhouette Studio Library File Extractor, and a Desktop Interface to the Online Converter for those who buy Conversion Credits http://ideas-r-us-software.uk/.

The free conversions are now 10 per day for Brother FCM, Graphtec GSD and Silhouette Studio files. Conversion Credits are £3.49 for 200, £6.99 for 500, and £10.99 for 1000. Converting 1 file costs 1 Conversion Credit.

Cutter Controller V1.0.20 now supports Provo Crafts Circuits."

So now you can choose to convert your entire library if you so wish!

Ian has other software there too that you may find interesting, so feel free to spread the word by whatever social media you use!

Thanks Ian!


It appears that some people don't approve of being able to translate a file to another type. WHY ON EARTH NOT?  If I design a file and sell it in one format, do I care that it is then put into another one? NO!
Why? Because I know only too well, that it makes no difference what file type it is, as soon as you sell a file there is pretty much nothing you can do to stop anyone from copying it if they are really determined.
Most people however, are not in the business of stealing files and selling them on. Most people are using their own files for their own pleasure and have every right to do so.

Take the instance of someone upgrading their plotter after a few years. Why should they lose all the files they have bought/ made and loved, just because of a format? To me, to try and put this in conditions of use is unfair, unjust and unreasonable. It is worth noting that a contract also has to be reasonable for it to be upheld in a court of law - just because you put it in a contract, there is no guarantee of that.

Silhouette does not even restrict itself to governing what you can do with its own designs, that would be bad enough -  it governs what you can do with your own, made from scratch designs!  I don't think there is a single tube of paint ever sold that places conditions on what you can do with your painting after painting it, to do so would be seen as plain idiotic.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to bash Silhouette America. True, I don't understand them, in not allowing saving to SVG in the first place, but I liked my Cameo and the Studio software (most of the time anyway) I just out grew it. However, I do think they should be more upfront when selling the machines and Software, about the terms and conditions placed on it. As in, it should be on the outside of the box, and in the advertising. You should be fully informed before you lay out your hard earned cash.

There is too, an element of hypocrisy. Studio can OPEN SVG files (from any source) but once you save it, that's it, studio or nothing. Now how fair is that?

The purpose of this translation software is not to break copyright, it is to allow us to share our own designs with whomever we choose, in the format needed to do so. I have friends with Cameos - it has been known for me to use Studio to open MY designs to convert them to a Studio format for them to use but they can't do the reverse for me. Only now, they can. Well done Ian!