Saturday, March 28, 2009

Easter Greetings

This is the Easter Card I created and sent out last year. If there is anyone you wish to send Easter greetings to, here is a card to do it.

Gnome Sweet Gnome

It's my friend's birthday today. When she and her friends go out they get a picture of Mr. "Ibin Everywhere" (a garden gnome) hanging out with them. It got me thinking that if I had Mr. Ibin, he would be called "Ibin Nowhere" since I rarely, if ever, go out. It also got me thinking of ways I could make Mr. Ibin out of paper. This is my first attempt at creating this kind of paper toy and I was pleasantly surprised. I think I will play around with him some more and see what I can come up with.

Click here to download:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My New Paper Toy

Not too long ago I purchased a Craft Robo vinyl cutter. I like it ok but had some difficulties with it in the beginning. First of all, to get my product registered (which gives you the Adobe Illustrator plug-in application as well as a bunch of paper craft files) you must access the Craft Robo website directly from the Graphtec America, Inc. website. If you google "Craft Robo" you get a different website (I think it's a UK site) and your registration password won't work. So if you have problems with your registration working, make sure you're at the right site. In case someone is thinking about purchasing one or is having some difficulties with their Craft Robo, I have a couple of tips about designing templates and cutting cardstock. First off, when designing a template to be cut out of cardstock, make sure you break your cutting line to leave some of the paper in tact so part of the cut image doesn't get jammed in the machine while the rest of the image is being cut. For example, I used it to cut large paper dolls. It would cut fine from the head to the feet but as it rounded the legs and shifted to finish cutting up the other side, the trianglular space between the legs would get caught causing the paper to jam.
The next thing you have to look for is paper fibers getting caught in the blade. You'll know this because the tight corners of your image will bunch a bit. Just pull out the blade and make sure it's cleared of any paper fiber.
The type of cardstock you use is also a factor. There are some nice hot-pressed cardstocks out there that work beautifully and some really cheap ones (selling for the same price no less) that aren't so nicely pressed and ultimately gum up your blade. A brand to stay away from..."The Paper Company" Meadow Colors. Their primary colors seem to work ok, I don't know if it's the dye of the purples and some blues that make it a poorer quality, but it's misery to work with. Finally, the cutting area of the Craft Robo was much smaller than I thought. I knew the cutting area was smaller for print media, I just hoped I could maximize the 8.5x11 paper up to 1/2" all the way around for non-printed media. What I found out was that you really have to leave plenty of margin at the top and the bottom because the cutter runs the full length of the paper before it cuts. If you don't allow for the rollers to hang on to that paper with plenty of margin, the paper slightly shifts and your cutting lines are off. So that's something to watch out for.
I designed a card and table center piece for a function recently and got to mass produce these items for around 110+ people. The card shape was a basic circle so I designed it to fit a Coluzzle template. I have found that cutting circles with a Coluzzle is a lot easier than with other cutting devices. It was a pain to mass produce but with printing, Coluzzling the circles, cutting (with an xacto knife 4-5 at a time) and folding vellum envelopes, the project took me a little over 4 hours. A new record for me.
The table centerpieces were joined paper dolls. I wanted different colors on each paper doll so I had to design them to interlock. I used the Craft Robo to cut all 120+ of them. Note that for the function, balloons were flown from the center of the circle of dolls instead of the candle.

If you would like a template of my paper doll design, follow the link:

If You Build It They Will Come

I read in a magazine once that the season for Love Bugs begins in January and continues on through Valentine's Day. The article then went on to say that if you build a house for the love bugs they may spend the night there. If it's cozy enough, they'll nestle in for a bit and you can leave notes for them to respond to. It sounded fun so my daughter and I set out to create a home. My goal was to construct a basic paper house my daughter could decorate. Here is the template should you wish to create one.
After my daughter finished her house I decided to try one.

If you would like to download and print this house click here:

First Post

This is an experiment. I don't know if I have the attention span or dedication required to maintain a blog. Mainly because I have small children and so much of my life is dedicated to them. So, we'll see how this goes.