January 30, 2015

Tips for Cutting your own Stencil Masks

Hey everyone, Today I am up on the Hazel and Ruby blog sharing my settings and tips for using their "cut your own stencil" material on die cut machines. I decided to share them with you guys here, as well in case you are curious about what settings to use!

I love using Hazel and Ruby's stencil masks on my projects and while there are a good variety of shapes and fonts already available you can also purchase the stencil mask material to cut your own stencils!

Silhouette Portrait

  • Blade: 4
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 15
  • Double Cut

At a thickness of 15, the silhouette cuts through the mask material, but not the backing. Which I like so that I can easily place my mask back on the backing sheet after I'm done using it.

Brother ScanNCut

  • Blade: 4
  • Speed: 5
  • Pressure: 2

I did these settings so that the machine cuts through only the mask material and not the backing, just like on my Silhouette.

Spellbinders Artisan X-Plorer

To cut my material in my manual die cutter (the Artisan X-Plorer) This is how I stacked my plates/dies:

  • Base Plate
  • Die
  • Mask Material
  • Cut Plate

My best tip is to always do a test cut if you're not sure of the settings. On both the Brother and the Silhouette you have the option of doing a "test cut" and you can just use a tiny die on a manual machine to test out the settings.

This was you know for sure if they'll work without having to cut your whole design. It's disappointing when you unload the mat and find that it hasn't cut all the way through.

I hope you find these settings and tricks helpful! The other design team members have been sharing their tips this week as well so be sure to look back at the previous posts!

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Inks Lake Mini Album

I shared this on the Paper Wings Productions blog last week, it was my last post for them. I love their stamps, but I've just decided I needed to take a break. ;)

I created this mini album using photos from our camping trip to Inks Lake state park and Longhorn Caverns.
It was an older American Crafts album but I didn't like the pattern on it anymore so I covered it with some red Hazel and Ruby tissue paper and added a strip of stamped patterned paper + letter stickers to the cover.

I wanted to embellish it with some scalloped washi tape I had (also by Hazel and Ruby) but I decided the tapes were a bit plain for what I wanted and so I grabbed my stamps and embellished them! I used the Earth and Sky Melange stamp set with stazon inks

Here are my pages. When I make mini albums I actually like to keep the pages fairly simple, with just a few embellishments so that the photos are the focus point.

I also stamped the inside of the album cover.

Have you ever stamped on washi tape? It's a fun technique. :)
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January 29, 2015

DIY Valentines Elephant Art

Sometimes when Taylor is in town. we just break out any fun new supplies I might have and make something small and fun. This is one of those projects!

I recently got a bunch of iron on transfer sheets from Tulip  and so we used those to make this adorable Valentines inspired art.

We call it "eLOVEphant art". :)

Supplies: Tulip  Iron On Glitter/Holographic Transfer Sheets, Scissors, Die Cut Machine (optional), Iron, Embroidery Thread, Needle, Embroidery Hoop, Muslin Fabric

1. Start by cutting out your elephant and hearts from the iron on transfer sheets. I actually used my Brother Scan N Cut die cut machine to cut them out, but I know not everyone has a die cut machine. 

Those of you that don't- You can find an elephant shape online and use it as a template to cut it out by hand.

Also cut out about 9 or so hearts.

2. Place your embroidery hoop on top of your muslin and use it as a guide for where you want your elephant.

3. Remove the hoop and iron on the design according to the instructions on the envelope (covering with a piece of fabric and pressing firmly for 40 seconds).

4. Now get out some red and black embroidery thread! New to embroidery? Wild Olive has fantastic tutorials for embroidery basics.

Start by placing your fabric inside your embroidery hoop, making it tight.

5. Use the red thread to make simple running stitches up through the larger hearts.

6. Use the black embroidery thread to give your elephant an eye.

7. Flip your embroidery hoop over and trim away the extra fabric.

That's it! This was really quite easy and is one of the cutest crafts I think we've done in a while. I love it!

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January 28, 2015

Reasons to Keep an Art Journal

As I'm sure you know (if you're a regular reader), I love getting our my art journal and spending some time trying out new techniques and jotting down some thoughts. It's definitely something I love doing.

It may not be for everyone, but if you're thinking about starting an art journal, here are a few reasons why I like to art journal and why you might enjoy it:

First, what is an art journal exactly?
Well, I think it is whatever you make it. It's up to the artist who is making it. However, basically it's a journal where you combine words, thoughts, quotes etc with art. That can be painting, doodling, cut up magazine pages, whatever your style is.

For me, It's a place to turn my feelings into art. To explore different mediums or techniques without fear of "failing" (because it's hidden away in a journal), and a place to document quotes that really speak to me.

Why should you keep one?
Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, an art journal can be a fun way to document your life.
  • It keeps you creative. If you make it a goal to play in your art journal every day, once a week, or even just once a month, you're making a creative habit. It will make you think of new ways to document your life or turning your feelings into art.
  • It documents your life. I'm not great at keeping a regular written journal. I feel a bit awkward, like, "who am I writing to?".  But when I combine my words with a bit of paint that awkwardness goes away and I'm able to document my day, my feelings, etc.
  • It's fun to look back through old journals. I personally love looking back through my art journals. Sometimes I read what I wrote that day, or find a quote I loved but had forgotten. Other times I just find an art technique I haven't used in a while.
  • It's calming. At least, for me it is. There's something about drawing a face on a page and writing down my feelings that helps control my anxiety a little bit. It helps me to write down my dreams, or fears.
  • It's fun! Who doesn't love getting a little messy with paint or gesso? As a kid, I loved cutting out things from magazines. So, embrace your inner child and get creative!

Should you share your pages online? If you want. It's certainly not a rule (there are no rules!).  I do share most of mine, because I like to, but I don't always share. If it's a page where I wrote down something I don't want to share, I just don't post a picture.

Another way to hide something you don't want to share is to use a photo editing software and to blur out your journaling. Then you can share the design/art part of the page if you want, but keep any personal stuff hidden.

How do you get started art journaling? One of my art journal inspirations is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and she has a wonderful blog post here, about how to get started art journaling. 

Just use what you have if you don't want to buy a bunch of new supplies. Cut up magazines and adhere them to your pages, color with markers and crayons. However, if you want to buy more supplies, I will be sharing my favorite supplies soon, so check back!

Do you keep an art journal?
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January 27, 2015

Product Review- Amazing Remelt

Today's product review is the Amazing Remelt mold by Alumilite. I saw this mold in their booth at CHA earlier this month and thought it was really.. Amazing! I chatted with the folks at the Alumilite booth and they decided to send me a mold to review, so here it is! :)

For my first test project using the remelt mold, I chose a few buttons, tiny embroidery scissors and a mini spool. I took the remelt material out of it's container, cut it up into little squares (It looks a lot like Jello when you do this!) and microwaved for about 15 seconds at a time until it was a liquid.

Amazing Remelt comes in multiple sizes, but I'm using the .625lbs mold for this project.

I put the items I wanted to make a mold of from inside the container that the mold came in and poured the liquid mold over top of them.

It did take quite a while to cool off and harden (I'm not very patient), so don't get in a hurry. Once it became solid again My buttons and scissors came out nicely!

My "mini" spool was actually a little too tall for my mold so it didn't turn out right. Oh well.

To try out my new mold, I dusted the inside with a little bit of Alumilite metallic powders and then poured in some Amazing Clear Cast, which also took a while to completely cure. You can see my completed resin buttons and scissors below. They came out quite nicely, I think!

Overall thoughts- I think this mold is fantastic! Personally, I only most molds a few times before I get tired of that shape, so I love that I can just remelt this mold making material and shape it into a new mold whenever I feel like it. It's completely reusable! If you like doing Resin crafts, or maybe need a chocolate or fondant mold, definitely check out the Remelt! It is.... Amazing!

Thanks, Alumilite, for sending me a free Amazing Remelt mold to review!
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January 26, 2015

Make it Monday

Happy Monday everyone! (Is that too enthusiastic for a Monday?)

Here's your weekly dose of crafty inspiration that I've found around the web.

Create a Mountain Shaped Jewelry Holder using this tutorial.

Make a Customized Leather Notebook using this DIY.

Make these artsy Watercolor Journal Cards following this DIY.

Make some Striped Vases following this tutorial. (I love that he uses a record player to paint them!)

Learn how to make this neat "Ship in a Bottle" Lamp using this DIY.

Make these easy Rope Coasters following this tutorial.

What are your crafty plans for the week? Are you making anything interesting, or maybe working in your scrapbook or art journal?
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