OK so I have an electronic little cricut but I did not until last week have a bigshot.   All embossing had to be done the old fashion way – stencils, light box and an embossing tool.  Needless to say I use the embossing tool at lot (it’s a useful item) but rarely hand emboss.  I even recently learnt that dry embossing is this old school way of embossing images!

So, the tax return was better than expected, the bigshot was on special (AUD$99) and I needed cheering up so a bigshot was acquired.  A quick demo and discussion with the very helpful lady and the craft store, purchase of some embossing folders on sale and I was on my way.

It’s now home, much heavier but easier to use than expected.  I’ve embossed scraps, tried double embossing and embossing large sheets of paper.  Read online about “shims” which I thought were metal sheets but apparently are silicone spacers to let you use your old-fashioned stencils in the bigshot.  So many possibilities.  Question is though – will it be a regularly used item or one of those which I only use occasionally?

I was quite impressed by the ease of the die cutting but resisted the urge to buy any as I do already have my little cricut and software to do whatever I can imagine.  The convenience of not having to plug the bigshot in though is enticing but then again I don’t have to pay for anymore dies!  It seems in this life we are never quite satisfied with our lot and there is always something better around the corner.

I am now considering whether I should sell my fiskars shapecutter (the original one) and accompanying templates along with the punchmate and some of the punches I don’t really use.  They are, what the tech lovers would call, old technology but still, they work just fine.  It’s just that my skills and expectations have moved on…..



Christmas is just around the corner

Its August and in my family that’s my parent’s wedding anniversary and brother’s birthday in the same week!  It is also a reminder to us to settle on a christmas card design for this year and start to think about what kinds of gifts we are going to make for everyone.

I am in charge of coming up with a few ideas and providing them to mum along with some craft magazines.   We then agree on a design and I work out how to make it come to life.  This year she has honed in on a beautiful embossing template with a christmas tree which was released last year (the magazine she was looking at came from a crafty friend who I’ve convinced to just keep the pages she wants).  So I am presently trying to source the template and oh dear, I might have to buy myself a Big Shot!  We then each make our respective bits (I split up the work of course!) and then have a making day when we assemble everything ready to go.  Sounds like a lot of work some people say (we usually make around 120 cards) but to make life easier for ourselves we use the one design for our family cards and another for Dad’s business ones.  There are so many people who give us fabulous feedback and look forward to our handmade cards it is now a firmly entrenched tradition.

For christmas gifts we like to have something little to give the people we work with and deal with during the year, these aren’t huge gifts but a token of the season.  These are supplemented by baking (being a christmas baby I go a little crazy!), wine and for family, specific gifts.    Some years the gifts are made and other times we get organised enough to buy what we want at the sales.

Some idea’s we have already done – christmas ornaments (angels, stars etc), lavender eye pillows made from scrap fabric (they were very popular), calendars, handmade chocolates, gingerbread cupcakes with christmas flags, small diaries for your handbag and fabric placemats.  What are you planning to make?

Sure cuts a lot and microsoft publisher

Yes, you heard right…. Microsoft publisher.  I have extra time on my hands at the moment which allows some free-form creativity with my existing craft tools the result – I have discovered a range of features that I didn’t know I had!!

I have a little cricut (6×12″ mat) which is great except that ProvoCraftTM have sued the makers of sure cuts a lotTM and were very heavy handed so I am locked out of future updates of the software unless I buy a new die cutter.   I have finally be able to update to windows 7 and get the software and cricut to be friend so for the time being I can still use the current version but once I can’t anymore I will be buying a new electronic die cutter and it won’t be made by ProvoCraftTM.

I have been playing around with creating my own svgs.  There are a couple of free apps for the ipad which let you free-form draw then save as an svg but even more exciting is the realisation I can create something in Microsoft publisher, save it as a jpeg then use Sure Cuts a Lot’s trace feature to create an svg.   Ah, freedom of making my own designs is truly fantastic.

And if you are interested in some free designs see my previous post of making your own die cuts.  If you drop by SVGCuts – make sure you join the forum as a lot of kind people share their designs including moi.