Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sizzix Accordion 3-D Flip Die - Birthday Card

I received a lovely letter from my friend Caroline  from Georgia, America yesterday. I started following Caroline's blog way back when I bought my first Cricut Machine and was looking for on-line help. We have kept up the correspondence over the years and I always enjoy hearing from her. She reminded me that I had not posted anything for a while, so here goes.
My mother-in-law turned 90 on the 9th December 2013. What a wonderful age and she is still as spritely as the day I met her. What a blessing to have had such a caring and loving mother-in-law over the last 40 years! (Secretly I think she was relieved that I took over the responsibility of looking after her son - but don't tell either of them!)
I wanted to make a 3-dimensional card because it always has more impact. I saw this wonderful 3-D Accordion die from Sizzix and could not resist!

Back of card
A bit of detail
The nice thing about this die is that you can start with two pieces and add on as many as you like.  I have realised though that you cannot use paper thicker than cardstock.  I made this card with thick board and not only had a problem folding it, but definitely could not add another layer.  This is also a great die for making mini albums. 
The embellishments were made with dies from spellbinders and die-namics.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Cricut Expression vs Silhouette Cameo Review

Let me say from the outset, I own both a  Cricut Expression and Silhouette Cameo machine and I am not in any way compensated by either Provo Craft or Silhouette. In my humble opinion, there is a place in the market for both. I have read some negative comments online about Provo Craft's after sales service. I have had a few software updating problems with my Provo Craft Gypsy, and even phoning the USA from South Africa, has not been problematic at all.

Herewith a breakdown, I hope you find it helpful in making your choice:

No ‘cartridges’ necessary – thousands of single images available online at reasonable prices.  Free shape and loads of images ‘on sale’ every week as well as new shapes by well-known designers.
Although lightweight and easy to transport, you need your computer to run Silhouette Software to operate the machine.
Apparently images can be saved to an SD card which can be plugged into a slot on the Cameo, but I have not tried this option yet.  If this works, you may be able to cut images without a computer (I will report back on this issue)
Customers outside the USA have same access to all images/designs – very important.
Handbook provided with software is not adequate for someone who is not computer literate.  I had to sit through hours of YouTube clips to understand some basic principles (no teacher available in my area). Silhouette does have a dedicated help site, but I found some individual sites  more informative.   Thank you to all those wonderful people who posted the tutorials. 
To use the Cameo extensively, additional software has to be purchased (Designer Edition), but well worth the extra cost.
Can use any image = png, jpg, svg etc. 
Images can also be created from scratch. Some talented users create cutfiles and share it online (thank you!)
Colours of images can be changed according to a palette available or touched up with the help of a dropper (Photoshop type feature)
No deep cut blade for cutting really thick materials.
My favourite feature: you can download any image, trace it, print the image with a setting to print registration marks at the same time.  The silhouette recognises the registration marks, synchronizes and aligns the cutting exactly with the pre-printed image. 
Negative:  your Silhouette Machine must be calibrated to the printer you are using, and as this is a precision setting it would be best to choose a dedicated printer (so no printing at work on that lovely laser printer and then taking it home to cut – images won’t line up)
Can print and cut any True Type Font available on your computer.
Machine is lightweight but will cut paper, cardstock, vinyl and fabric (latter with special blade) with ease.
Can accurately cut very intricate and lacy patterns and smaller images like lettering.
Machine reasonably quiet when cutting.
Once you understand software, possibilities are limitless.  Do not need to be connected to the internet to work in the program.
Cutting Mats 12x12 or 12x24 and can cut certain media (vinyl) without a cutting mat (up to 10feet)
Starter Kits available:
Stamping; Heat Transfer; Rhinestone; Fabric Ink, Vinyl; Double Side Adhesive and Glass Etching.
Works with specialised Silhouette pens or a pen holder in which a ‘normal’ pen can be inserted.
Silhouette specific printable media available:
Magnetic Paper; Cotton Canvas;  Adhesive Cardstock; Tattoo Paper and Silver and Gold Foil.
Silhouette does not have an Angel Policy in place whereby an individual is allowed to make limited items for sale.  If you are planning to make cards for your local charity, think again, you have to pay a hefty Commercial  Use Licencing Fee per image!
You do not have to be connected to a computer to operate the Cricut unless you are working in Cricut Craft Room.
Cartridges are expensive, especially if you are not a USA/Canadian Citizen.  Customers outside USA cannot buy from Cricut Shop or redeem their rewards – a BIG negative.
Single images/cartridges through Cricut Craft Room are also not available outside USA
Machine very sturdy.
Cartridges take up space (especially if you have limited storing space like my ‘little scraproom” – see my post below) – but I think you would agree this is not a ‘serious’ con.
Can cut heavier/thicker materials like chipboard, poster board and thin magnets with deep set blade – additional cost: deep cut housing and blade.
This option is one of the main reasons why I have kept my Cricut.
Cannot cut small intricate lacy patterns (even though they are available on the cartridges), no matter what speed, different pressures or types of paper I have tried.
Do not need a computer to cut images.  Gypsy handheld device is available (like a mini computer) – costly but worth it.  Owned Cartridges can be linked to the gypsy, which means you don’t have to keep on changing cartridges. Gypsy or CCR software allows you to weld, tilt or flip images as well as a few very basic editing features.
Cannot custom or create any images other that what is predetermined on your cartridges.
Third party software used to be available, but class action lawsuits have made these illegal.
Cricut Craft Room free software is limited and very slow – often almost to a point of freezing up.  Need to be connected to internet to do anything in CCR (data expensive in a country like South Africa)
Let us all hope that Provo Craft  will move with the times and develop the Cricut Craft Room software extensively to cater for the serious crafter.
I do love the multi-layering option.  While available on Silhouette, the Cricut handbooks make this feature visually easier to complete.
To be fair, while cartridges are expensive if you only want one image, $ for $ it is probably cheaper if you have a specific project and you are going to use in excess of 20 images.  I am sure someone can give me feedback on this.
Machine quite noisy when cutting. (I have added this ‘con’, as I do a lot of work in the evenings when my family have gone to bed already!)
Cutting Mats 12x12 or 12x24 – not sure if you cut vinyl without a cutting mat.
Additional Accessories:
Embossing Kits
Specialised colour pens
Scoring Housing & Blade
Additional Cricut  Machine Options:
Cricut Imagine (not to be confused with the Expression) can print and cut images, but only those available on the imagine cartridges.
Negative: Cricut Imagine printer ink cartridges very expensive.  On the positive side, you don’t need a to be connected to a general printer.
Cricut Cake available for cake decorators (selective market).
Provo Craft has an Angel Policy, which grants limited permission to private individuals to incorporate Copyright Materials and Third Party Rights into Finished Products that may be offered and sold to others, but only in the quantities and in the manner expressly permitted in the Angel Policy (excluding Disney, Sesame Street, Martha Stewart © etc.) This basically means that you can make cards for your local charity’s annual market.

Have a lovely day and thank you for visiting.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Hoarders Video Revisited

Please enjoy this video as much as I have!  She is absolutely fabulous!  Was there not a time in your life when one bottle of  glue and one pair of scissors did the job?  I can so identify with her!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Bella Sophia

I made this mini album to celebrate the birth of a beautiful baby girl called Bella Sophia. I left enough space for the proud parents to do their own journaling about the happy event.  I used the Teresa Collins Chic Bebe Range of papers.

The Little Princess!


The photos in the album are not  of the best quality as they were
 taken with a mobile phone in the hospital.  
Isn't she beautiful though!

Thank you for visiting my blog and for all the lovely comments!

Friday, 26 July 2013


My dear brother André and his lovely wife Bettie share my love of animals. Any dog who is lucky enough to end up with them, will have a lifetime of  endless attention, luxury and more love than the Third in Line to the British Throne!
It was therefore devastating when their Rottweiler Lara was diagnosed with cancer and had to be euthanized.  It was all the more difficult as she was only 7½ years old.

This is a dedication to a wonderfully unique and highly intelligent dog who brought joy into all our lives.

The book is inspired by Judy Hayes' Vintage Book from her blog: Creating ......My Style

Lara loved sleeping on her back! 

I left some space for André and Bettie to write down their own memories of Lara

The little kennel folds open into a mini booklet.  Lara (of course) never slept in a kennel!

I used faux leather paper for the covers and stitched around the edges.  
I used my We R Memory Keepers Cinch for the holes and the wiring.

P.S.  The story has a happy ending.  There is a beautiful new Rottweiler puppy being spoilt as we speak.  More on the boisterous Luga in another post!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Exploding Box

My boss turned 70 in September 2012, and instead of buying a present, I decided to make him an Exploding Box with memories of his past.  I had secret meetings with his wife and contacted his sister who lives in Johannesburg a few months before the event. Both gave me lovely stories relating to the photos, some of which he could not remember ever seeing!  It was quite a mission and in the end I could almost not close the box!  Try and fit 70 years of living into a little box!  I added little fold-out and loose mini albums to maximize the space available.  

I used cardboard boxes to cut the different layers which I glued together with a glue gun.  I then distressed the box by tearing off pieces and chalking it with Tim Holtz Distress Inks.

The box consisted of 12 single pages, a mini fold-out album with 4 pages on each side, a small booklet with 6 pages, 8 single and 5 double-sided tags, 5 mini tags, a matchbook with 2 pages, 6 certificates, a holder with 6 photos sewn onto ribbon and a 3- tiered jacobs' ladder made of wood and ribbon.  

The Closed Exploding Box

Open view from the top

The Lid (The newspaper is a copy of a paper printed on his birthday in 1942)

I had four themes inside the box (small to large pages) - His Childhood & Family, Life in Rhodesia, Life in England and Life in South Afirca.
Above is part of his life as a policeman in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

Yes, it is true - while staying in London, he was given the Freedom of the City, which gives him to right to drive his sheep and cattle over London Bridge while carrying a naked sword!

This is part of the fold-out booklet.  The photo on the far right is of his little brother Dawson, who passed away as a young child.  It was especially emotional as he had never seen this photo before!

The tags were nice to capture snippets of his life.  Such as being granted
permission (by the then President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda),
entrance for one day into the country to get married!

Another view.

Before I started this blog, a very good friend mine in the USA whom I met through scrapbooking (of course) posted an article on her blog of my Exploding Box.  Here is the link to Carolyn's Creative Corner:

Following her blog is a bit like having a private teacher at home!  She explains every project meticulously. Please feel free to join her circle.

Thank you for visiting my blog. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

30th Birthday Card

I am very fortunate that my son is engaged to a wonderful girl.  She recently turned 30 and I loved making her birthday card to celebrate the occasion.

I also made a matching 'x-mas cracker' to use instead of gift wrapping. After some trials and errors,  I decided that I liked the square cracker the most.  I attach a template for easy reference.

Use a normal 12x12" scrapbook page.  Score on the vertical and horizontal black lines and the dotted line behind the diamonds - at 3" and at 9".
Fold each vertical line separately - the diamonds will now become triangles - cut out.  These diamond holes allow the 'neck' of the cracker to collapse.  Cut on the red 3/4" line as indicated to allow a flap. It is not necessary to cut a flap, but it does make the cracker look neater.
I did not want to spoil the lovely paper, but it also looks lovely to punch the two edges with a nice pattern.

Thank you for visiting my blog!   

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tim Holtz Tags inspired Birthday Cards

I have been a bit quiet lately, but everyone who works an eight hour day will understand that it is a monumental task to keep a blog going.

I try (as far as possible) to attend Bella's Tim Holtz Tags classes.  If you don't know it yet, I share her love of all things Tim Holtz!  Thank you for your ongoing inspiration Bella!  You should be in the Tim Holtz Hall-of-Fame by now!

These are the two tags we did in the class.  

These are my Birthday Card versions of the one tag.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Tri-Shutter Card Templates and Tutorial

Although it looks complicated, the tri-shutter card is relatively easy to make and the final result is always visually stunning. It is a lovely project to use all those left-over bits and pieces in your stash. If you have a couple of photos, it is also nice as a keepsake for the recipient.

I have included a template with imperial and metric measurements. 
Below are a few variations on the different shapes you can cut to cover the panels:
This is the basic card:  Panels can be matted for extra effect.
 The "D" Panels must only be attached on the one side and be loose over panel A,
which will give a different dimension to the card (See Birthday Card below).
 "A" panels are cut as one piece.
 Above are only a few ideas, the options are endless.
Some easy steps:
1. Score

2. Cut 
 3. Fold
A few finished samples:
A Thank You Card 
A Christmas Card (with permission from Carolyn) 
And finally, two Birthday Cards:
(Using sample 2 with bigger D panels)
 Photo Story for a 70th Birthday celebration:
I hope you find the templates useful.  Please remember that it is just a guideline and you can adjust sizes proportionally according to you own taste to make it smaller or bigger.