Saturday, June 25, 2011

My secret

Okay, as promised, here's what I figured out recently.
  The shimmer spritz sprays are beautiful, but expensive.  Some people on the internet have figured out how to make their own, and thats the best kinda sharing the internet does.  Tim Holtz makes these Ranger brand micro misters, they're small, maybe they hold 10cc (2 teaspoons)?   The problem with most sprayers is they eventually get clogged & need to be rinsed under hot running water.  I've played with the airbrush kids marker Sprayza set, thats a lot of blowing work!  I was snooping around a local craft store & had a look at the airbrush supplies.  It dawned on me that airbrush paint is super fine, so I bought a bottle, blopped a few drops into the mini spritzer, added water to fill & WHOOOO HOOOO!!!  It works beautifully!  It doesn't glob up into cement in the spray bottle because its already a water based product.  The bottle says to wear a mask if using, but thats airbrushing, for a pressurized superfine spray mist purpose.  I'm using water in a spray bottle in small amounts.  As you can see it gives great coverage across the bottom quarter of the page.  Any spray bottle would work well with this.  

If you try it & use it a lot, you should wear a mask,
 protect your lungs, they're important too.
Never spray alcohol mixed with paint or dye.  Alcohol was never meant to be inhaled and that could do some serious lung damage.
Post back & tell me what you made with it, I'd love to know!  If you share my secret, go ahead but please reference credit back here to  Thanks!
Viva la internet sharing, hee hee!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Canadian Eh!

To continue yesterday's post, here are the pictures!  I have had this rattling around in my head for a few days now. I got this done over two days.  I've been surfing the internet for Canadian inspiration and was only sort-of inspired.  I've been reading the Circle message-board chat & all these great challenges have been coming through.  There's always a challenge to use what you've got; to use a cricut cartridge you haven't used; to use a new product.  The ones that caught my attention were to make something Canadian (I started that challenge), and to make a layout ready for pictures.  This is some handmade paper that I got from a bulk pack at Costco a few years ago.  Its nice, but a bit bland.
 I bought 3 colour sprays to try.  Basic colour theory allows most colour combinations to be made from yellow, red, and blue.  I also have white and black so then whatever colour I make would be bright or dark enough.

These sprays all have a fine pearlized shine to them.  I used lemon meringue (yellow) Tattered angels brand glimmer mist; "perfect copper" and "forever blue" perfect pearls brand mists. I sprayed the blue across the top half to deepen the colour to more night sky looking.  Then I spritzed the copper close to the page & let the colour pool so I could tip the page to let it run across in streaks.  The yellow was added more to the right & middle of the page to bring out a green colour.
 The below picture shows more mists used.  I will keep secret until tomorrow how I made the bottom half of the page pearlized creamy looking.  These spray mists use up fast, kinda disappointing to me.
I used the gypsy digital font cartridge and welded the letters together.  I manually snipped off the inside lower curl of the C afterward because I didn't want to cut it out again, I just didn't like the look of a tail curling in like that.  I don't know the brand of papers used, they were all scraps, yippee!  It's way easier to assemble these layer things on the mat with a glue pen than to chase them all over a layout.
This is my first guess at placement of pieces.  I manually cut out the Inukshuk from scraps.  An Inukshuk is the singular Inuit word meaning "in the likeness of a human" or "someone was here" or "you're on the right path."  I just really liked the idea of early graffiti, hee hee!  The circle was a scrap of aluminum foil that I used to sharpen a punch.  I saved the circle in my scrap bin, but it didn't make the cut to be cast as the moon.
Here is the words layered.  I really like the look of the plaid peeking out.  I haven't glued anything down yet, still playing around.  The leafs are layered the same way the words are, cut from the gypsy wandering digital cartridge.  I edged the page with tattered angels glimmer glaze "midnight rendezvous" (deep denim blue) which is a fine glimmer paint to visually ground the edges.  The head has 2 layered leafs for visual interest.
This is it, this is the final look of the page layout.  The northern lights appearance don't seem to show up so well in the picture but for real they shimmer.  I also like the celebration effect, not quite hockey arms up, "we scored!" look either.  Oops, looks like I didn't snip the curl off the C on the plaid shadow layer in time for the pictures.  I just amputated it off now, no-one will know, eh.  Canada day coming up soon, I hope you have a nice one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Canadian Eh!

July 1 is right around the corner.  I challenge everyone to think of their nationalism & what it means to be that nationality.  How Canadian is that!  I started a challenge on the Canadian Circle chat to create something Canadian & it sort-of sparked a loose topic of what is Canadian art.  What makes something Canadian?  If you do a google images search, Emily Carr & other Canadian artists come up with native graphics, red & white graphics, Maple leafs, Hockey, Beavers, Moose.  Canadian pride is so different from our American neighbors.  Unless you are watching a hockey game with a Canadian team involved, then there seems to be a lot more excitement!  The Winter 2010 Olympics inspired some patriotism, but that was winter & it fades in the short burst of greenery summer brings.

Picture coming!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Canadian Cricut Circle Calling Card

I've been torturing the participants of the CCC Swap about an surprise enclosure for everyone for participating.  I decided that I'll probably never be able to afford to go to a big Cricut Swarm gathering.  The only other way to get an official circle charm is to participate in a swarm or Circle membership.  
 I've already posted my experiments with shrink plastic.  Here is what I was really wanting to make.  I cut out the circle antennae thing on my expression with Gypsy assistance.  I punched holes using my "CropaDile" tool.  I used that liquid sharpie & traced a Maple Leaf that I printed from the internet somewhere.  It wasn't perfect sizing so I had to trace a bit smaller.  This is the before & after pictures.
I definitely made extra & played around with an older magnetic Making Memories stamp set.  The supporting tool wasn't quite long enough so I improvised with a 6" metal ruler which worked well.  I used pigment ink from my stash, its dollarstore unknown brand.  The red paper is leftover posterboard from the post about making a Valentine mailbox.  The maple leafs I punched with a manual Marvy brand paper punch.

 I had a post all done about making these additional calling cards to go with the Canadian charm, but it went bu-bye by mistake for me.  Maybe one day I will learn how to back up my posts in case Blogger bites the bullet & all my posts vanish.
Here is the charm compared to the original charm I received when I signed up to be a circle member.  The green string was a lucky find at a chinese store.  It took me awhile to figure out how to attach the charm to the CC when it occurred to me to just tie it on & call it done.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shrinky Dinks!

Well, I remember them being called ShrinkyDinks.  I have read a few places online that say plastic with the #6 recycle symbol also works as shrink plastic, but I have not tried that.  Other internet reading cautions that when heating plastic to do it in a well ventilated area.  Apparently some plastics when heated release a very fine powder, and of course fumes are always something to be cautious of.

Here's my nice set of sharpie markers.  I wrote each colour on a scrap of this shrink film to see how the colour changes when heated.  The strip on the right is what some permapaque markers by Sakura look like once shrunken.    A little experimenting up front helps get better results.  The colour gets darker after shrinking for some, more intense for other colours..

This is a sample ruler to determine shrinkage.  The package says it will shrink 20%.  Ya, using cross multiplication I figured out its more like 35-37% shrinkage.  I'm not a math person but I do remember how useful that equation is to solve for an unknown.  Here is where going back and forth between imperial & metric is an asset for simple measuring.  6"=15cm.  I have no idea how to make a teeny decimal point number translate into imperial.  I'm no math teacher so you can do an internet search for "cross multiplication" if you need a refresher.

I did an inch ruler, each number is one inch apart.  The side bars on one side are 1/2" marks, the other side is 3/4" marks.  They don't lay 100% flat once shrunk to the stopping point.  I really like my Ranger heat gun, its hot, low force, easy to hang onto, and best of all its quiet!
This shrink film stuff gives me ideas like the little shrunken head apple faces from old elementary school projects.  I wonder how distorted I could get doodle faces to look on shrink plastic, hee hee hee!  I shrunk these on an inverted cookie pan with parchment paper to prevent super bonding to the pan.  I used an old chopstick to push the pieces around while heating.  I did it over my stove cooktop with the fan blowing high and the patio door open to drag in fresh air.  Be careful if you try this yourself.  There will be another post using shrink plastic in July.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Canadian Calling Card swap

I organized the first Canadian Cricut Circle Calling Card Swap.  I have never done this before, I learned a lot & got to know some great new people.  I started it in April & finally mailed them back June 4.  These are what each participant will receive.

Here is how I did it.  I asked people on the messageboard (MB) if anyone would be interested in participating in a Calling Card (CC) swap.  I forgot to add in the request to send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope, but got feedback that week that it should be SASE so I don't incur extra cost.  Someone else suggested that it would be nice to include a few extra stamps or dollars in case there wasn't enough postage.  Someone else needed them mailed back as flat as possible so they would be able to get them through their postbox.  See, learning as I go...   I set the parameters to commit by April 24 & mail by May 1.  That gave a nice window of time to get participants to commit to the swap and make them.  I asked for 3"x3" cards, with real name, MB name, email address, blog address.  If people wanted to add more information they could but were not obliged.  I posted links to other CC's from other discussion posts for inspiration.   Once the commit-by date came up I private messaged (PM'd) my mailing address to each participant.

Inevitably someone had to back out, I didn't make a bid deal about it because this is meant to be a fun thing for everyone, life does get in the way.  I would rather someone backed out than "flaked" and didn't send their CC's which would hold up the whole thing.  A new MB member appeared & asked if there was time to join so I offered her the opening.  Then Canada Post send back someone's CC & someone else's express post wasn't received in the promised CanPost timeline, then CanPost decided to start rolling strikes...

I have learned:

  • Using the first post to track details of who is participating and how many is smart
  • Be patient & post clear instructions.  People are busy, life is busy, people don't always read instructions, its okay, it does work out.
  • Suggesting looking around at what others have made for inspiration is good.  
  • Suggesting to make extras while learning to make projects to swap is helpful to take the stress off of "messing up" while figuring it out.
  • Asking for help or direction from the group is smart.
  • SASE envelopes are nicer if the participant has already written in the return mailing adress, then I don't have to do it.
  • Postal outlets are not allowed to use scale prepaid postage labels because they are not legal, they are not meant to have the wrong date to return mail.
  • stamps, cash, prepaid Expresspost envelopes are all easy.  To cash a money order CanPost needs to see your ID to cash, but I can't believe the policy is write down the information, I didn't think that was legal.
  • Regular mail cost for 20 CC averaged between $1.25 and $2.06 They arrive in 4-10 days from mailing.
  • Packing flat cost less than packing bulky
  • Saran wrap in bundles of 5 or 10 CC was nice, neat, easy to put into envelopes.
  • Pretty packing tape really looks good for the packaging details
  • Gift enclosures with received CC are such a sweet & unexpected fun bonus!  I didn't post to the main thread but made sure to PM and write a thank you note as they were to received enclose in the return mail.
  • Noting the arrival date on each received parcel for reference is good, as well as noting the MB name,  what extras for postage or directions is helpful.
  • Being flexible for expectations is good, but parameters are important to keep it fair to everyone.  I didn't want this to drift along all summer.
  • A friendly reminder to not post or blog other people's details on the CC they receive is courteous and respectful of participant privacy.  (boy that sounds official!)
  • I asked everyone & got about 50% approval to sent one of each CC to an American friend who used to moderate the MB.  When sending to the USA customs declarations are required, I labeled them as about $10 value & declared them as crafting cards.

We are sooooo politely Canadian, so many apologies & thank you's!  I'm so proud of each participant for jumping in & trying this with me!!!  Aren't they beautiful, now everyone gets a fun day of mail when their CC arrive.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Random Act of Kindness

These are 4" cuts from my new "Elegant Edges" cricut cartridge.  On the Cricut circle messageboard, Canadian chat, a lady posted that the first person to private message her would win a cartridge.  I sent a message, thinking its gone for sure, she posted 15 minutes earlier.  I won!  She had a spare cartridge & decided to give it away as a "Random Act of Kindness" for Friday the 13th.  I got it, but the plastic case was crushed in delivery.  I've been doing all sorts of test cuts to make sure its okay, so far so good, the cartridge seems to work properly.  After posting to the MB for help, and fairly extensive testing I learned that 54 border cuts will not work if cut at 2", they're too big for the cutting mat.  Thats just one of many interesting quirks that you learn via trial & error with some of the images on the cartridges.  Sometimes images cut out portrait vs landscape & its unexpected.  To check these things in advance the graphics can be checked 4 ways:  trial & error; "design studio"; Gypsy, or the newest program which is online only, "Cricut Craft Room."
 One sheet of double sided paper torn in half yielded all these flower layers & 4 book pages cut with my baby bug (cricut).  

Here's how I made the flower in the centre of the above picture.  I didn't use the same paper so the colours don't match, but you get the idea.  Flowers are trendy again, all over the internet people are making paper, tissue, felt, and cloth flowers.  
 These are cut at 1".  You will need 5 symmetrical flowers, folded into quarters and a stapler or glue gun.  This is my new TimHoltz tiny attacher, with tiny little 1/4" staples.  It is very easy to use.
 Once the flowers are folded into quarters open them into halves.  Lap them one over the next.
 The above picture shows 3 halves.  The below picture shows how the fourth half is lapped in.  It helps to think of how you would lap the 4 flaps of a box to close it if you were not taping it closed.
 Here they are snugged in with one staple to secure it.
 2 staples & its secure.  I pushed open the petals with my finger to bring up the dimension.  I also twisted some of the flaps back on themselves to open them up.  It will need a button, bead or glitter glue in the centre, just something to pretty it up a bit.  You can't be afraid to wreck an experiment, sometimes its in the destruction the learning comes.  This paper isn't as pretty, plum on one side/red flowers on white on the reverse, but it does contrast how the flower looks.
 Here's Boomer sniffing the flower.  I used 3 single binder rings to turn it into a little book with the extra flowers interspersed inside.  Its not quite done yet, need a bit more jazzing up with ribbons & stuff.
By the time this post  is published, I am hoping the recipient will have it because I am giving it away to someone from the Canadian Calling Card Swap.  What do you think?  Have you ever done a Random Act of Kindness (RAK)?  If everyone in the world did one just once a week we may all have something to be happy about.