Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 5 - Cutting Vinyl

Thought I better get this posted before I get busy making more projects for Christmas *okie looks at the calendar and panics a tad see that Christmas is only a week away*. I actually could have written the vinyl review before but I kept making things for gifts and then would be like "CCRRAAPPPP! I can't post that!". Last night I decided to try and cut the Grinch file because I needed a gift for Dirty Santa at school today and figured it was as good as any for the review.

I found an 8x10 inch frame at Goodwill for 99 cents and was a little apprehensive about trying to cut the file at this size, which was actually 7.25 x 9.25 inches. I knew some of the lettering was delicate but then also I thought it was perfect since I am trying to put the Explore through it's paces. I have read that some folks are having a tough time with vinyl and to be honest I think most of them are using Cricut vinyl, which I do find inferior to the Oracle and Avery that I tend to use. It seems to be too rubbery or something and I have seen it tear and snag where I generally get crisp cuts with the vinyl products I have around my craftroom.

Even though vinyl is a lot easier to cut when doing delicate work than most paper I still wondered how the settings on the Explore would handle the different vinyls I used. I actually used some Avery, Oracle and then some kind that said graphic film on the back and I'm not sure of the brand. I didn't change the settings for any of the vinyls and they all cut beautiful. I will say that on another project I did use the custom setting for glitter vinyl and it worked perfectly. 

Ignore that my Grinch is a little off in placement. I did the mirror image so the vinyl would be on the inside of the glass instead of the outside and I need to work on my skills of layering backwards on glass.






Now where I thought there might be problems were on some of the letters that had very small cuts on the interior of the letters and also some small *okie wonders what to call them because all the sudden her brain isn't working properly* I guess finger like projections on the ends. I actually smiled at one point because I thought one of the interior cuts had messed up but when I weeded the piece it was fine *okie is still bound and determined to find a fault in the Explore's cutting abilities*.

MY HONEST OPINION: I am quite impressed with the built in settings with the Explore and the setting worked perfect every time no matter what brand of vinyl I was using. The precision of the cuts, no matter how small is splendid. At no time did the blade go through the carrier material which is a problem I would have with my Pazzles and Expressions. Each and every color was cut flawlessly with a kiss cut and there were no places where I had to take a craft knife or scissors and complete a cut.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crafting and Shopping!

Well I don't have any files to post, not that I haven't made any but I just can't post them because they are for gifts and that would ruin Christmas! I got a project done on Friday that I had planned to do a vinyl review on concerning the Explore and then I realized "DUH YOU CAN'T POST THAT BEFORE CHRISTMAS!". I will say that the Explore cut vinyl extremely well and the vinyl setting is really nice to have built in. I also cut some glitter vinyl which I found the setting in custom settings and it cut it perfect as well. I will still try to get a project to post and a full review done.

I had my company Christmas dinner Friday night and I took my friend Nancy with me. She has been sick for about 3 weeks  now and was finally feeling a little better. During dinner I looked at her and she didn't look too good and she said that all the sudden she felt sick so we left early. I really didn't mind, her health is much more important.

Saturday my friend Linda and I went to Oklahoma City to do some Christmas shopping. Neither of us bought much but I did get a few things that I was looking for and couldn't find somethings that I wanted. We at lunch at Ted's Escandido Cafe which is awesome! We hit Michaels and left with nothing. At Hobby Lobby I did get what I needed to make a gift and I also splurged on myself and bought a Santa since I hadn't gotten one this year. Usually my friend Karen gets me one but since I didn't have my party and she didn't come visit this December I had to buy my own LOL.

Yesterday I spent all day messing with a design for a gift and it literally took me all day! I kept changing how I wanted it and then when I did get it done I ended up ripping it off and starting over. I did like the end result and I will say it is a glass block with a light but I can't say of what because then the recipient will know what they are getting for Christmas. I think I might be too much of a perfectionist when it comes to designs and tracing images because I like nice clean lines and I spent hours cleaning up lines and such on that design.

I am hoping to get some sugar cookies baked this week so me and the girls can decorate them next weekend. I really had plans on doing some yesterday but like I said that project took me all damn day and that ain't no joke! I still haven't cut the Grinch file yet and I want to find a large picture frame to put it in. Guess I might go to Goodwill or Salvation Army and see what I can find there.

This is going to be a busy week since I have a doctor appointment, party at school and working on more Christmas items but hopefully sometime this week I can make design a file or two and post for download. I have no idea of what but most of the time I never do!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grinch Christmas Means - Vinyl Project

So last night I was going to work with some vinyl on the Explore for my next review and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I looked through my files and started playing with a Grinch file and a quote file I had and came up with a new file. I posted it in the Design Space Facebook group to see if it could be read and my friend Jackie pointed out that one word was hard to read so I went back and edited the file and it did work a lot better! THANKS JACKIE!

A few people said they would pay for the file and I had to giggle to myself because obviously I guess there are a lot of folks out there that don't know I very, very, very rarely charge for files I make! Anyway I thought about charging but then quickly decided to make this file free as my Christmas gift to my readers! So many of you guys and gals have been with me for over the years and have shown such loyalty even when I was on my hiatus from crafting that I thought I should show my appreciation! You really have no idea how much it means to me to have people stick with me even when I was gone for months and months!

I did import the SVG file into Design Space, it imported just fine so it should be ready to use once you download the file and then upload into the program and of course as always I have the MTC file available as well.

So to all of you MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ME TO YOU! And thank you so much for always being there to read all my dribble even when I have no files or projects to offer.

DOWNLOAD FILE:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 4 - The Dreaded Scallop Circle

For folks who have been around for awhile will immediately understand the "dreaded scallop circle" and why it was so dreaded by all of us who wanted nice neat scallop circles but they seemed to be unobtainable! When I got my first Cricut, the baby bug, it cut wonderful scallop circles and didn't have a problem with the ones I designed in Design Studio *okie wonders if she needs to explain Design Studio but then decides not go down that road* but once I got an Expression and started using it the scallop circles were WONKY! If you cut them large enough, usually over 4 inches or more then the scallops weren't too bad but anything smaller and the scallops were all lopsided. Matter of fact I sent back two Expression machines for just that reason. I finally kept the third because I gave up. When I started working with the Pazzles I was excited thinking I would have perfect scallop circles and while they did cut better than what the Expression did I still had slightly lopsided scallops. Matter of fact I even invested in Scallop Circle punches so I would have perfect ones.

Now fast forward from those days to the present crafting day where I thought "OMG! I NEED TO TEST AND SEE HOW SCALLOP CIRCLES CUT WITH THE EXPLORE!" and so I did. I, being the fiendish person I am, chose the dreaded Stampin Up Coredinations cardstock that so many people had problems cutting. My Expression or my Pazzles never cut that stuff very good, especially when it was smaller cuts. It always seemed to rip or tear *okie still thinks there was some kinda degrading in the SU Coredinations since the regular Coredinations seemed to cut very nicely* and cause much frustration.

I opened Design Space and put some scallop circles on the mat and sized them to different sizes and was almost bemused at the thought of "I got this machine now...scallop circles and Stampin Up Corediantions cardstock! TAKE THAT PROVOCRAFT!". I got the circles ready to cut and loaded the mat watching it with a sneer on my face *okie thinks she probably looked like some mad scientist sitting in front of the Explore* just waiting for the scallops to be lopsided and the cardstock to tear!

My sneer soon turned to a grimace as I watched the blade cut through the cardstock like it was butter and the scallops were PERFECT! I think I might have yelled "SON OF A BITCH...NO F'ING WAY!" as the machine finished up cutting the images and as I unloaded the mat I kept looking closely for errors...which I did not find!

Every size cut perfectly! I set a 3", 2 1/2", 2", 1 1/2" and 1" scallop circle to cut and everyone of them were exquisitely impeccable! How could that be? No way did Provocraft finally make a machine that could cut breathtaking scallop circles on crappy cardstock! I stared at the delicious goodness of scallops and even thought about substituting them with some wonky ones but then I remembered I promised to give an honest review *okie curses herself for being an honest Injun*.




Just in case you wonder if your eyes are deceiving you I took a close up of the 1" scallop circle so you could see how perfectly it cut.

MY HONEST OPINION: I am BEYOND IMPRESSED with the Explore's ability to cut perfect scallop circles at every size and especially since I purposely fed a cardstock in the machine that generally doesn't cut well on other machines...even *okie takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, closes her eyes and just says it*.....my beloved Pazzles!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teachers Change the World - Vinyl Project

I gotta stay out of that Facebook group or I am never going to finish reviewing the Explore. Someone asked for some help with tracing an image and I was able to get it in Make The Cut and well...you know the rest!

DOWNLOAD -
MTC file - Teachers Change The World Apple
SVG file - Teachers Change The World Apple

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grandma & Grandpa's House Rules - Vinyl Project

Once again I saw something in the Facebook group of Cricut Design Space that someone was wanting and I thought "I can do that" and told them I would give it a try. I tried to keep it as true to the picture that was posted but I did have to change a few fonts and adjust them to what I thought might cut better.

I think this would be a lot of weeding and not sure how well it would do on smaller projects such as glass blocks as someone suggested but I think it would be nice for a wall quote or if you had a larger canvas, I'm thinking the ones larger than 11" in length. The picture is kind of small since it is a screen shot of the image but the letters are a bit more clear and crisp in the file.

DOWNLOAD BELOW-

MTC File - Grandma Grandpa House Rules
SVG File - Grandma Grandpa House Rules


Cricut Explore Review 3 - Intricate Cuts and Vellum

So many of us love using vellum and those who try to cut it know the horrors of ripping and tearing and the crying that comes along with ruining that ever so beautiful and expensive divine goodness. And with that out of the way vellum was the next thing I wanted to try and cut!

I decided to upload an image that was available this time instead of importing one of my thousands of SVG files I had because I wanted to see how easy it was to use one of their images and...it was easy. I thought I would see if I could find something to cut that I could put in a clear ornament and thought about a snowflake but then when I saw the design I used I thought "oh yeah, let's see if that machine can handle that design at 2 1/2"! I just knew I had the correct design to finally show some limitations of the machine.

My first cut I had chosen the setting of parchment in the custom settings since what I was cutting isn't true vellum and is actually called translucent sheets, not even sure what that means but it is exactly like vellum but I wanted to see what it would do on that setting. It did cut but didn't cut all the way through.

I reloaded the mat and changed my setting to vellum and this thing cut like a champ! The tears and blemishes you see are not because of the machine but because of my errors in getting it off the mat, I kinda forgot how careful you have to be with this delicate material.  I should have put the ruler up there so you guys can believe what you are seeing, the image was set at 2.6 inches, so just a hair over 2 1/2" and it cut FAB U LUST LEE! Once again I was disappointed because I could say "AH HA! YOU CAN'T CUT THIS" *all the sudden okie has MC Hammer's "You Can't Touch This" playing in her head*.




I guess I will go ahead and find something to decorate the top of the bulb but here is the image I cut out in a clear bulb. I did have to use a stick to straighten it out once it was in the bulb but it turned out really nice and it does look better in person *okie looks and notices she can see her fingers and camera in the reflection and is suddenly glad she wasn't craftin nekkid when she took this picture*.
 



MY HONEST OPINION: I am IMPRESSED with how well the machine cut this delectable material! I think I will be looking forward to working more with vellum since I know the Explore can do such a wonderful job with it. Vellum is something I have always loved to use but dreaded at the same time but not anymore!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

So I can kiss you... FILE AVAILABLE

Someone in a Cricut Design Space Facebook group I joined had posted a quote of "So I can kiss you anytime I want" wondering what font it was. Of course I immediately recognized it as the Samantha font, some of y'all might remember all the time I spent converting that font set! Well since I was in the mood to do a file I thought I would give it a shot.

Of course I had to do the file in Make The Cut but was able convert it quickly into an SVG file so those with other programs can use it. I think I will be converting almost every file I make in MTC into SVG format from now on since I am really liking the way the Explore cuts. I do see limits in the Design Space software but as long as I can design in MTC and then upload the SVG into Design Space I think I will do just fine.

DOWNLOAD BELOW -
MTC - SO I CAN KISS YOU
SVG - SO I CAN KISS YOU

Wow two posts in one day! This reminds me of the good ol days when I was constantly making designs and posting them! *okie grins a little and winks* Told ya I was back!!!

Cricut Explore Review 2 - Intricate Cuts and Cardstock Thickness

I have seen pictures of small cuts the Cricut Explore made and most of those were from examples given by Provocraft so of course me being me I was skeptical about how well it would do for a consumer and I figured that would be one of the first things I would try. I will say I am able to make some pretty intricate cuts with the Pazzles but do have problems with paper tearing or blade dragging at times so I wondered if the Explore would do better.

One of the last designs I did was a layout design of Happy Fall Y'all layout, and there is an SVG file available for that design, and thought it might be a good one to test out due to the eyes of the crow and the intricacy of the vines on the pumpkin in the design. 

I first cut the little crows and I was dreading it due to having worked with the Tinkerbell cartridge in the past and having so many issues *okie vividly remembers wanting to grab that little fairy by her ankles and shaking every bit of pixie dust from her evil little body* with the smaller things, specifically the eyes. Actually I ended up drawing the eyes in with pens due to not being able to get good cuts from them. I will say I was watching the blade with a magnifying glass *okie suddenly wonders why she keeps a magnifying glass in one of her spinners and where the thing even came from* just waiting for the cuts to mess up but as you can see from the picture....THEY CAME OUT PERFECT! I thought it might be helpful to lay a ruler next to the cuts so you can see for yourself the size of those cuts.

Okay so I was impressed with the eyes of the crow but next came the delicate swirls of the pumpkin and I just knew the Explore would mess up on them but once again...PERFECT! Some parts of that vine are less than an 1/8" and it cut them like a champ! 

Another test I wanted to do was about the settings. I used 4 different cardstocks on some of the cuts, some that I have problems cutting with other machines, some that were very thick and some that were thinner and I never changed any of the settings and each time they cut just perfect! 

Tomorrow I will post the finished layout so you can see the project completed.

MY HONEST OPINION: The Explore cut the intricate designs with no problems and much better than any other machine I've tried even when I tried different cardstocks without changing the settings of the machine. This was another test that did IMPRESS me with the ability of the machine.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Search for The Skirt

I had full intentions of getting ready another part of the review for today but instead I did other things in the house and then my daughter called wanting to know what I was doing and the kids ended up coming over and staying until at least 2am, not sure what time they left but I will explain that later.

For some reason I can't put presents under the tree until my Christmas Tree skirt is in place, dunno why but that's just the way it is with me. My daughter didn't find it in the totes with the other Christmas things and I knew I had washed right before I moved and I even remembered folding it. I told her about my dilemma of not being able to find it and she kept suggesting places it might me.  I had put it somewhere so I would I remember where it was...guess we know how that turned out. So began the search for the skirt! I spent hours searching the house and garage for that dang Christmas tree skirt. 

I ended up organizing part of my garage and breaking down some boxes. I got the box with my camping gear opened and found homes for those items *okie sees the puzzled look on some people's faces*, yes I did use to go camping...A LOT. I hauled two more of my totes of Santa's in the house and found spots where they could be displayed and ended up hanging some Christmas pictures. I moved my silver wire shelf to the garage since I really am not sure what to do with it yet, watered my poinsettias, swept the kitchen floor *okie thinks she really needs to teach the dogs to wipe their feet before coming back in the house* and of course all the time wondering where I put that damn skirt but it still boiled down to no Christmas tree skirt! I had about decided that those mean, evil little gnomes that everyone loves posting on my Facebook wall had snuck in and stole the damn thing!

My daughter and her roommate Sabrina, who so far seems to be the sweetest thing and funny as hell at times, came over with some wine and wanting to play dominoes. I had told my daughter I really wasn't any good at dominoes and I haven't played since probably college. I did use to play Mexican Train dominoes during our summers when we use to go to the lake all the time and always enjoyed it. Shiane and Sabrina sat in the kitchen as I continued my search for the Christmas tree skirt. I did find a box of snowmen decorations that my daughter had started collecting and set those out for her. I also found my terry cloth heads for the Shark steam mop and asked the girls if they wanted it and they said yes. I use my Hoover Floormate now instead and didn't need the steam mop any longer. I searched my closet, the guestroom closet and even reorgainzed a few things in there, the craftroom closet and every damn tote in the garage and still couldn't find the elusive skirt! Finally as we were standing in the kitchen, which I love by the way, I decided to go check under the guest room bed. I remembered putting blankets in a plastic bag contraception and putting that under the bed so just maybe...

I looked under the edge of the bed and saw the bag of blankets but didn't see anything else and for some reason I thought I should get on my knees and look and lo and behold under the bag of blankets there was another plastic bag contraption and it had two Christmas table clothes, my Christmas bath towels and the Christmas Tree skirt! I yelled at the girls "I FOUND IT! I FINALLY FOUND THE DAMN THING!" and I didn't see my daughters reaction but I am quite sure it got a head shake and an eye roll followed by a smile. I get that reaction from her quite often and one day I will have to ask her what it means but then again I might not want to know. Immediately I got the skirt and started putting it under the tree and that was a bit of a challenge because Wonka, my daughter's dog who I have now claimed since I have been his main care giver since she got him when he was only 6 weeks old *okie thinks there might eventually be an ugly custody battle in the future*, decided he wanted the skirt for himself. I sat in the floor and put his huge head between my hands and explained to him ever so sweetly that if he so much as laid one toe of his huge paw on that skirt he would be living in the garage the rest of his damn life and I think he understood because he left it alone after that. I had wrapped two presents earlier and was able to finally get them under the tree!

By this time my shoulder and neck were killing me and I knew I needed a muscle relaxer. Oh for those who don't know I was in a bit of fender bender on Monday and I will have to write a post about that one for sure in the future. My daughter poured me a glass of wine and I took a muscle relaxer and we decided to play dominoes. We waited for Chuck to arrive so we could begin which he did within a few minutes. Of course I had to announce to him I found the Christmas tree skirt. The kids and I played a game of dominoes, which by the way I won, and then Chuck's friend Lamares called and Chuck went to pick him up from work and bring him over. I have tried to get the kids to play Mexican Train dominoes with me several times and my daughter offers but it isn't any fun with just two people, and the kids usually don't want to. Last night they decided to appease me and play the game and I think they really had a lot of fun. I know we all laughed through the whole game. Well we didn't get to officially finish the game because after several hands my wine and muscle relaxer were kicking in, but by this time it was around 2am or so I can't be sure of the time due to my medicated and wine induced state, and I was ready for bed. The kids said they would clean up, which they did a good job because when I got up this morning the kitchen was all in order, and off to bed I went. 

So you see while I didn't get to work on a review of the Cricut Explore I did get to spend some wonderful time with the kids and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 1 Calibrating Print And Cut

Okay first off I want to be completely honest with everyone about this whole Cricut Explore review thing and how it came about...because as we all know I am very honest with my readers and I don't want to stop being that way anytime soon. I was contacted via Facebook by the CEO of Provocraft and during a brief conversation he asked if I would be willing to review the Explore and I told him I would be willing to do so. I also told him that I only give my honest opinion and he said that is what he was wanting. Of course in my little smug mind I thought "yeah I bet!" but he did seem sincere about wanting only the most honest of opinion from me. So before anyone asks...yes, I was sent the Cricut Explore, I did not purchase the machine. And before anyone jumps to conclusions if that would effect my opinions and review the answer is NOPE *okie thinks she should have said hell no actually but figures people will read that in the NOPE anyway*. No matter if a product is purchased by me or sent to me I still review it fully and honestly and give my opinion. Now that is out of the way let me begin with my first review.

The first thing I did was hook up the machine as directed and I had some problems getting my computer to recognize the machine but that could easily be a problem with my USB port as I have problems with my thumb drive at times as well. After getting my computer to recognize the machine I was ready to set up the print and cut, from now on will be referenced to as PNC. The instructions were clear for the most part and the only problems I had with that was I was out of ink in my printer and had to install new cartridges. 

I got my piece of cardstock printed and loaded in the machine and was ready for it to do it's thing. I watched it with curiosity waiting for it to do some kinda jerk and bump terrible cutting thing but it didn't. It made quite a bit of noise with beeping and moving around and cutting little lines. To be honest I thought it was kinda cool how it jumped from one registration mark to another. 


 



I remember it said something the process might have to be repeated and I was understanding why after I looked at the cuts and unloaded the mat from the machine. As you can see in the picture the little square in the middle is not cut very well and is off center. 

If you look at the cuts along the numbers and letters they are much like when you add new cartridges to a printer and have to calibrate it.

I was afraid I would have to repeat this process like 20 times before I got it to calibrate right but I was in it for the long haul and got ready to repeat the process.






After printing another sheet of cardstock and loading in the letter and number that had the best cut in the middle I actually got a good cut and to be honest I was like "OMG! It's centered perfectly!". You might need to click on the picture and make it larger to see what I'm talking about it being centered.





Next it was time to try to PNC an image and me being me I didn't want some simple image I wanted to test this baby's ability to cut something difficult. Of course the software warned about using complex images so that didn't deter me but instead challenged me! I chose an image of my niece's caricature she uses for her real estate business.  She had asked me sometime ago if I would be interested in making some cards for her to use when she sells a home and she wanted the caricature used and I never could figure out how to get a nice clean cut of it with Make the Cut and the Pazzles so I never did. This failure with what I was use to using was the exact reason I chose the image I did.

I got the image printed on some cheap Walmart cardstock, which never cuts nicely in any machine I've tried, once again testing the bounds of the Explore and set about cutting it.

This is the image after it was printed and then cut, at this point it is still on the mat. I was giving it a good look over and wondering if even the smallest of pieces were cut neatly and smirked a bit thinking "yeah it probably screwed up somewhere or cut jagged on the cardstock".










As I lifted the outer cardstock off the mat the image left on the mat seemed to have clean cuts. How could this be? I used the crappy cardstock? This can't be happening! As I continued to remove the outer cardstock I looked for errors and couldn't find any...no jagged or torn edges, no irregular cutting lines...it was...well...PERFECT!

Now you can see a slight lighter edge along the left side of the image but notice it is equal all the way around and I think it part of the shadow on the image.


MY HONEST OPINION: The calibration was simple to do and even though I had to repeat the process the software clearly informed me I might have to do so in order to get the machine calibrated correctly. I am truly impressed with how well the machine was able to cut accurately around the difficult image I chose, especially with me using cheap cardstock that generally tears with other machines. So over all I am IMPRESSED with the Explore's ability to do print and cut!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

I didn't get to play with the Explore last night due to the kids coming over. My Goddaughter Amber and I had started watching American Horror Story Freak Show series before I moved and last night was the first time we were able to catch up. Thank goodness I figured out the DVR and can record shows! Also my daughter had texted me and asked if she could come over and put up the Christmas tree so needless to say my evening was filled with time with the kids...but that is a good thing! I cooked dinner for the kids, we had Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, Garlic Bread, Breadsticks and Salad *okie wonders if she should tell that the pasta and bread were from the frozen food section but decides to let everyone think she has become a master chef over the last 6 months*. I made them eat at the table and told them "no cell phones at the table". I really enjoyed listening to them have conversations about various things and the good thing was that most of the people they talked about I was familiar with and that lets me know I'm doing something right because even though they are young adults I am still in tune with what goes on in their lives.

The Christmas tree I have was procured *okie is suddenly impressed with her vocabulary with using the word procured and then feels sad remembering she is easily impressed* at my local bargain store a few years ago. My daughter and I were in there looking around and came across this tree and I liked it because it was slimmer than the one I had and it also already had the lights on it. I think I paid a whole $20 or $30 for it and then come to find out it was an almost $400 tree from one of those home shopping network places. The lights at the very bottom on one side don't work but we just put that side toward the window and it's not noticeable.

I love, love, love Christmas trees! I love to see all the decorations and could browse pictures of trees for hours. There are so many different ways to decorate a tree but every year ours is decorated with the same ornaments. Each of our ornaments has a story behind it and my daughter and I can tell you about each one. When Shiane was probably in 1st grade we started going and picking out ornaments that were alike but just a tad different and then writing our name and the year on the bottom or back of the ornament. One day when she has her own tree she will get her ornaments for her tree. It gives me so much joy to look at my tree and see the ornaments because it's not the ornament that means so much but the memory behind each one. I have some from friends, some that I made, some that we bought and all the ornaments that Shiane made me when she was little. My tree will never look as gorgeous as the ones in the magazines, nor will it be one that makes people gasp with admiration but the truth is the most expensive ornaments in the world would never be worth more than the ones I have on my tree because mine is filled with love and fond memories that gladden my heart and make me smile.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My New Craftroom

As promised I am posting pictures of my new craftroom. I think I would have been too overwhelmed to get it done if it weren't for Carmen! When I did move she said I would have it all set up before she got here and I told her "I ain't touchin that damn thing until you get here!" and I was true to my word. We actually had to empty it out before we could set it up. 

This is what you see when you first walk in the room and let me tell ya I am loving the color!! I think it is called Cajun Spice or something like that. The room was already painted this olor when I moved in. Carmen and I tried a 6 foot table but then decided an 8 foot was better and would give me more room *okie thinks we always want more room* for my machines, work space and spinners, which you can't see in this photo. As you can see I still use my Napa Valley Cassette organizer for my stamp pads...totally love that thing! I had found another one at Goodwill a few months back and snatched it up for Carmen and she was able to take it home with her *okie wonders if Carmen got hers hung up yet*. The black drawer units hold different embellishments, tools, etc. I think I need to relabel the drawers now though since they are no longer correct.





When you look to the right at the door this is what you see, my workspace table that Carmen brought to me and before anyone asks it is from Ikea *okie so wishes she had an Ikea close* and my big Expedit unit that holds the majority of my 12x12 paper. On the right hand side of the picture you can see some of the shelves I have on the wall and there is a better picture of them further in this post. There will eventually be a doorway put in to the right of the blue office chair that will go directly into the dining kitchen area. This will be convenient for when I am cooking and crafting...because we all know how much I LOOOVEEE to cook *okie wonders if people will pick up on that sarcasm*. The white drawer units under my work table has my themed paper in them. I wasn't sure how I would like the TV up that high but it doesn't seem to be too bad and doesn't hurt my neck looking at it, which is what I was concerned about.




Here is a better picture of my work area. I have my 8.5 x 11" cardstock behind my work area and with the huge closet I have I was able to free up the 6 cube unit and right now I have my Cuttlebug in one slot and then various items in the other cubes. I opted to put my Bygel bars for my punches above the cube units because it seemd the best place for them. Obviously I can't buy any more punches since I am out of space...oh wait I do see space for maybe two more on the top rod on the far right hand side!




This is the view from the corner by the Ikea unit. I was able to fit the white shelves I used in my old craftroom next to the door and then under it I have my sewing cabinet with my heat press on top of that. Never mind the tools on that table right now, I am keeping those handy while I am still trying to arrange things. To the left of the shelves is the door to the closet. The closet measures approximately 4x8 feet so it has a lot of room for storage and I will post pictures of it AFTER I get it organized a bit more. Carmen and I put up a Closetmaid wire shelving unit in there so I could have good storage space and it is going to work nicely.

Oh and BTW, the leather black curtains were already in the house and I decided to keep them for two reasons...first it will help block out sun from fading my paper and secondly it make people wonder what kinda kinky shit is going on in my craftroom! *okie falls out chair laughing* So there ya go...that is my craftroom now and I am loving it! I will make sure to post pictures of the closet once I get it arrange in a half way decent manner.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm BAACCKKKKK!! And Doing A Review!

Sorry for the long hiatus and if you are one of my Facebook friends you know I have been quite busy over the summer and fall and for those who don't have me on Facebook I will use this post to fill ya in on what has been going on. And I guess I should say I hope there are still people out there that are interested in what I have to say on here but as we all know I will still be posting even if there isn't because I do this more for me than anyone else *okie thinks that sounds kinda selfish and wonders if she should apologize and then decides against it*.

Back in July I shared I was spending time with my friend Nancy and that is continuing. I did have a male friend I was spending quite a bit of time with since June but we have since parted ways and not spending time together anymore...way too much to even begin to post about on that matter but long story short he quit texting, calling or coming to see me...no explanation, no kiss my ass, no nothing really *okie rolls her eyes as she thinks about how to even explain that one*. I did ask him about it in a text and he said something about "this has to stop...this is crazy" and said he wanted to stay friends. Not sure when it was crazy to ask what I did to make him stop wanting to be around me or not like me anymore but oh well. To be honest I think he started seeing someone and just couldn't man up and say "hey I met someone". I did say we could stay friends but if not then it's his loss and not mine because I am FREAKING AWESOME! HA HA HA But anyway I will now be returning to my craftroom after the disruption from it over the last 6 months.

I moved recently, yes I MOVED! After 16 years of living in one place I moved all the way to NEXT DOOR! I have a much better landlord now and he was actually my neighbor for a few years. I have lost some space but gained a much better and nicer house. My big dread was moving the craftroom and I was correct in dreading it. Luckily my friend Carmen from Houston came and stayed a week with me before Thanksgiving and helped me get it set up. I still have some organizing *okie thinks that is a constant in her life* and rearranging to do but I have a nice workable space now. I will post some pictures tomorrow of my new space.

My daughter moved out and in with a boyfriend but is now living with a friend of hers. She got a job transfer a few months ago and is getting more hours and more pay per hour than she did at her last job so she can afford to be on her own now. I did give her $500 to help with a down payment on a car and she was able to find something nice in her price range. She isn't going to college right now because she is still trying to figure out what she wants to do but has finished all her basics so that is a definite plus!

A bit of exciting news is that I was asked to review the new Cricut Explore *okie watches as half the audience faints dead away*. Um...could someone please throw some cold water on those folks and revive them...thank you! Okay is everyone with me now? *okie looks around* Good! And yes you heard me correctly...I am reviewing the Cricut Explore! When I was asked to do the review I warned Mr. Arora that I would only give my honest opinion and he said that is what he wanted. So make sure you stay tuned for my review! I've just now started with the machine so it will be a process for me, especially trying out the Cricut Design Space software.

Well I'm off for now but I will post pictures tomorrow of my new craftroom!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all Layout - File Available

So this morning I was piddling around with a layout design and posted on Facebook asking for suggestions for a theme and a few said fall. I had made these crows quite sometime ago and decided to incorporate them in a fall layout. 













Of course the colors and papers you use are only limited to your own imagination. I just tried to use basic fall colors so I could get an idea of colors I might want to use. The lines are suggested for journaling and are in the MTC file but you don't need to cut those and can ignore them. 


MTC users can get the sizes for the papers from the file but here is a list of sizes for SVG users:

Red (base paper) - 12x12
Off White - 4x8 and 10x12
Green - 8x8
Dark Orange - 4x8
Grey (pictures) - 3.5x3.5

The MTC file has the images sized as in the picture but the SVG file has all the images on one mat so they will need to be resized for your purposes. 

You can download from the links below:

Friday, September 5, 2014

I Participated!

Not sure why I feel like writing a blog post this morning, but I do, so here I am. Heck I am not even sure if anyone is still around to read this but ya know I have said many times I do my blogging more for me than anyone else and I still think that is true.

Anyway there was this post on Facebook this morning and it really struck me, in a good way! You know me, I of course have a story about this! As most of you know I have been a single mother most of my daughters life. Her father left when she was 5 weeks old *okie can't believe Shiane will be 23 in November* and from that time on I was the only parent my sweet daughter had.


When Shiane was little I wanted her to find things she loved to do so she was involved in many things...soccer, basketball, softball, tae kwon do, Girl Scouts and just about anything she wanted to experience. I did limit her to 2-3 things at a time so we would be able to get some occasional rest. I can remember my evenings after work being filled with shuttling her here and there to practices, meetings, etc and being exhausted when I finally got in the bed. Our weekends were usually filled with visiting family, going to movies or something where we were spending time together. We were always on the go. Ever since my daughter was in first grade I have been blessed with having a job that would allow me to not miss any of her school plays, parties, ballgames and always be available when she needed. Of course at times that also meant I was the one mom that could be called when someone else forgot it was there day for snacks and then I would have to make a quick trip to the store after a quick change in my schedule and drop off snacks for her class.

When Shiane was about 8 years old we were visiting with my Mom and I had been telling Mom how tired I was and how busy we stay. I can still remember so clearly the short exchange between me and my Mom.

Mom said "Shirley don't wrap your life up into her life so much that you don't have a life of your own. One day she will leave, she is suppose to leave...that is how it is suppose to be".

I remember smiling at my mom and telling her "Oh Momma I know that. I know one day she is going to grow up and have a life of her own. I know that one day she will leave me and I will be alone but that is the exact reason I want to spend so much time with her right now. Right now she is mine and all mine and I want to cherish every moment". 

I still remember the sheer exhaustion that I felt so many nights but ya know what? Now I smile and know that I participated! I participated every day with all the energy I had and I would do it all over again if I could! I think I really did see it as a privilege to be able to be there for her and do so many things for her. We have had some rough years but  now she is coming into her own and blossoming into the adult I had always hoped she would be and I know soon she will be leaving me and this time probably for good but I also know that I can always look back and think I DIDN'T MISS OUT ON ANYTHING! I PARTICIPATED!

I really don't think I can be more blessed than that!