Sunday, December 4, 2016

Loaded Expanded Envelope with the Cricut Explore. Free SVG included!

The latest Craze in the Swapping World.  Expanded Loaded Envelopes.  These are so fun!
I absolutely adore stuffing them.  I can spend an entire day, just adding a bit of this and a bit of that.
 We are swapping these in the Swap It! Group .  So many possibilities.  This is a Winter/Snowflake theme.
 I created a cut file (you can get it in the video linked below) so that you can make one with your Cricut or Silhouette.  I made this one with the Cricut Explore .  You can pick up an explore for as low as $139.  If you use code MELODYLANE at check out you can take an additional 15% off of that and get free shipping!
I love, love, LOVE how the Cricut Glitter Paper cuts.  It's perfect for all digital die cutting machines.  It doesn't flake, it doesn't dull your blade and it cuts like butter!

Ready for a HOW TO Video?  I added a few things to this bag after I filmed the video.  You can see the added touches in the photos above. 

Hello!  Today I have a fun Christmas Gift Idea for those bakers in your life.  What better way to show them how much you appreciate their yummy goodies than with a matching Apron, Towel, Oven Mitt.

The Red Cricut Glitter Iron On, makes this such a festive gift.  I absolutely ADORE it.   
My friends, Lisa and Doris, and I got together and had a cookie exchange and we made a few things together.  They loved their aprons, and we looked pretty cute for the day!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Cricut Cheat Sheets - Cricut Material Settings

Hello, my Cricut Lover Friends.  I have a little something for you today.  I have created a quick reference Cheat Sheet to various Cricut Materials.  You can download the PDF version here .  To see more Cricut Cheat Sheets visit me at CricutEd

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Christmas Card with Cricut Explore

I created this card based on a card I made last year.  While I loved the cards from last year as shown below

here's another version of last year's card

I was very happy with how it turned out last year, but had so many of my Cricut followers ask for a tutorial.  I thought I would try to make this card 100% from Cricut Products.  In last year's version, I cut the star and stag with the Cricut, but the doily was store bought and the sentiments were stamped.

So.... this card was born

It is super simple and the Cricut Glitter Cardstock along with the Cricut Foiled Poster Board (linked below), made this so super simple to recreate in Design Space and the best part is, I never had to leave my house! :)

Here's a video tutorial for any of you who'd like to make this with your Cricut!

Here are some (affiliate) links to the products used:
Cricut Explore Air 2:
Cricut Glitter Cardstock:
Cricut Foil Posterboard: 
Kraft Cardstock:
Sizzix Holly Embossing Folder:
Cricut Cuttlebug: 
Multi Matte Medium Adhesive:
Foam Adhesive:
Cricut Tool Set (Tweezers included): 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Silhouette Cameo 3 vs Cricut Explore Air 2 - The results are in!

I recently added the Cameo 3 as well as the Explore Air 2 to my ever growing inventory of digital die cutting machines.  I put them to a head to head test.  I was surprised at the results!   Watch the review to see how it turned out!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Loaded File Folder - A Country Christmas

Hello there!  Thank you for stopping by!  I'm so excited to show you what I just created!  I call it a Loaded File Folder.  I have named this particular one, "A Country Christmas".  I had so much fun making this.
I haven't seen anyone make one like this, so I think it's an original idea... hard to come up with those these days! :)   I used two Heidi Swapp file folders to create the base.  I sewed them closed so that they made pockets and then I stuffed it with Christmas goodies!
Just look at all that Yummy Texture and color!  I LOVE how warm and cozy it makes me feel.

I've included a video below to show you exactly what is inside the bag.  If you're interested in being a crafty pen pal, join us in Swap it!  Facebook Group.  We've got lots of swaps ready for you to sign up for!  We would love to see you there!  

Here's the video:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cricut Design Space vs Silhouette Studio - A Software Comparison

Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio? 

As many of you know, I have written a few blog posts comparing the Cricut and Silhouette machines’ ability to cut materials.  You can find my Silhouette Cameo vs. CricutExplore post here, or my Silhouette Cameo 2 vs Cricut Explore One here, and even aSilhouette Cameo 2 vs Cricut Explore One here.  It’s no secret, I simply feel the Cricut Explore series of machines cut sharper, cleaner and have the ability to cut through more materials than the Silhouette.

The most common feedback I have received from those comparison videos is what about the software?  Without a doubt, there is a vast difference between the software.  I will do my best to outline the differences, list what I feel are the pros and cons to each software package, and finally, offer a few alternatives to both software packages.

What are the differences?

Now that I have listed the main differences between the software, I want to share with you my experience with each. 

Let me begin with the Silhouette Studio software.  I was an avid Silhouette user for a few years.  I consider myself tech savvy.  I know how to use Adobe Illustrator and Lightroom,  I am certified in Photoshop, I know how to use Inkscape, Ecal, Scal, Sure Cuts A Lot and many other image manipulating software packages.  It’s safe to say, I’m pretty comfortable on the computer and have a bit more than a general knowledge of graphic software.  Silhouette Studio works with many of the same features, terminology and logic as the programs I’ve mentioned, so for me, it’s user friendly.   However, a new user with no background in graphic software will find quite a learning curve with the Silhouette Studio Software.   

The Silhouette Studio software allows you to use outside images such as JPG, PNG, Tiff, GIF and BMP images.  In order to convert those files to a cut file in Studio, one must “Trace” those images.  Tracing an image involves a series of steps which includes manipulation of a high pass filter and the options of a few sliders to get the desired effect.  It can be intimidating to someone not familiar with the procedure. 

As I stated in the above chart, the basic version of Silhouette Studio does not allow you use SVG files.  You must either convert your SVG files or pay for one of the upgraded versions of Silhouette Studio.

Silhouette Studio recently introduced the “cloud” storage, which allows you to save any of your purchased images and/or projects to the clouds for access in the app.

The Silhouette Studio mobile app is clunky.  It has very limited use and is not user friendly.  I struggled just to find the basic features.  The app allows you to view only images which you have purchased and saved to the cloud.  It is currently rated at 1.5 stars in the IOS app store. 

On the upside,  Silhouette Studio offers quite a few more options than Cricut Design Space.  Options such as node editing, offsets/insets, rhinestone patterns, scissors, eraser (though it is sporatic at working), manipulating compound paths, text/shape on a path are a few of the options that are a part of Silhouette Studio that Design Space simply does not have.   

Silhouette Studio does not require an internet connection.  You do need internet to download their Silhouette Store images, but once you have downloaded them, or if you use your own images, you do not need an internet connection.

Silhouette Studio offers Ready, Set, Make projects which are predesigned projects which you can purchase from the Studio library, download to your computer and use as you would any other library image.  Instructions, materials are viewable after you purchase and download.

Silhouette Studio updates are often filled with bugs.  I have quite often had to revert to a legacy version while the bugs were worked out.  I recently bought the Cameo 3, however the software which allows you to use the Bluetooth has yet to be released. 

Cricut Design Space, in my opinion, is very user friendly.  I feel a person with little to no knowledge of graphic programs could navigate the software with a very little training.  The software is intuitive, the terminology used is basic and the tools/buttons are easily identifiable.  As a designer, I find I can do most of what I need to do in Design Space.

The Design Space software allows you to use outside images such as JPG, PNG, Tiff, GIF and BMP images.  In order to use those images, one simply has to upload them and click through one screen where you have the option to delete any area that you do not want to cut, such as a white background.  Once this procedure is completed, it’s simply a matter of choosing either print or cut. 

Design Space allows you to use SVG files.  No upgrade needed. 

Design Space also separates your images into color coordinated mats.  Simply design your image and send them to the Cricut Explore and Design Space will figure out everything that needs to go on each mat based on the colors in the image.

Design Space’s cloud feature allows you to open and use the software from ANY computer and have access to your entire library.  You may also use multiple Cricuts at the same time by opening another browser tab.

Design Space app is very much like Design Space for the desktop.  The flow is seamless from one to the other.  The buttons are easily identifiable.  The app can be used with or without being online.  Users are allowed to download their images to their mobile device, which can then be used offline.   You have the ability to download the entire 30,000 plus Cricut Image library to your device to play with offline or online, however, if you want to cut, you will need to purchase the image and/or have the subscription.  You can design on the app offline, then save and open the same project on any desktop.  It is currently rated at 3.4 stars in the IOS app store.

Cricut Design Space has “Make it Now” projects which includes the ability to use a project that has already been designed for you and allows you to start cutting it in one click.  You also have the option to customize the project if you like.    You can view instructions,  materials before you buy.

Cricut Design Space allows users to share projects by simply sharing a URL (link) to their project.  This works with any project(s) created using basic shapes or Cricut Images.

On the downside, Design Space is lacking in features.  It’s missing basic functions such as offsets/insets and curved text.  While you can achieve these features with a work around, it’s tedious and cumbersome.  I, personally, go to other software to perform these functions.

Cricut Design Space updates are made behind the scenes via the web.  You mostly don’t know when they happen.  I have found most updates to be well tested and not “buggy”. 

Cricut Design Space is a web based program built on flash player.  You have to be online to use Cricut Design Space’s desktop program.  A slow internet speed or less than good signal can hinder your experience in Design Space.  However, I personally have not experienced any problems, I know there are those who have.  Cricut has announced that they are currently working on a new and improved faster Design Space, however, as of this date, it has not yet been released. 

The Cricut Explore has Bluetooth wireless capability which allows you to put the Explore anywhere within Bluetooth range of your computer.  I have mine behind me so as to allow more desktop space.  The Bluetooth ability also allows your mobile device to talk to the Cricut.

So, which do I prefer?  I use my Cricut 99% of the time.  Why?  Because it simply cuts better.  As I stated before, I consider myself an advanced user and a designer.  I often design SVGs in Illustrator and then open them in Design Space.  However, for basic cutting, printing and to use the Cricut library images, there is no need to go outside of Design Space.  I really can do everything I need in Design Space, but because I can use other programs, I do.   Design Space works.  It is very user friendly.  It’s easy to open the box, set up the machine and get cutting.  I timed it from setup to my first cut and it took me a little over 6 minutes, you can watch the videohere.

I think Silhouette Studio gets honorable mention.  It is a mini Illustrator.  It has far more features from a designer standpoint, but my guess is that a lot of people will never use those features. 

In summary, I think the best machine is the machine that works for you.  I have been an avid user of both machines and have owned every version of both machines as well as a few other machines.  When it boils down to the software, if you want more features Silhouette offers more features.  If you want easier to use,  go with the Cricut.  If you want the machine that cuts the best (in my opinion) and more features, go with the Cricut and Illustrator, Inkscape, Scal, Ecal, SCAL or Photoshop.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Paper Tassel and Matching Note Card Swap with Scrapdaworld

Hello my crafty friends!  I am excited to share with you a fun project I created for a swap over at Scrapdaworld youtube channel .

 She is hosting a matching paper tassel and notecard swap.
 This is the fun packaging I came up with for my swap.  Super simple but I thought it turned out so cute!
 I used my Minc to foil each person's name on their pacakge

 And there's my matching set.  I love the fun charms on the tassel. 
Each tassel was required to have  at least 2 beads and 2 charms.

Here's a quick video walk through of my project

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A fun Flip Book

 I'm excited to show you what I spent my Sunday morning creating!  I fun new flip book
 It's full of lots of textures and interactive pockets, flips, etc.

 With a surprise clear cover on the front, which gives this an added elements of  fun!
 I really love the interactive elements
 And all of the layers, textures and different papers

 Let's take a look page by page
 I created a fun shaker on the inside cover.

 This page opens up to a fun pocket
 A library pocket and gold doily vellum really add some jazz to these pages

 I used a paper bag folded over for the page on the left.  This was a fun idea that came to me about 2AM last night!
 Lots of fun goodies tucked inside the envelope and the paper bag
Want to see a video of the  book.... well here you go.... I just happen to have one below

Friday, October 7, 2016

Super quick and easy Halloween Embellishments

Another swap for our Facebook Group "Swap it!".  Halloween embellishments!  Come join in the fun!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's a Swap Box!

It's a SWAP BOX!  Yep, that's what I'm calling it!

How cute is this?  The cut file is by Lori Whitlock, you can find it here.  You can see how to assemble and a full tutorial at the end of this post.  

I love that you can fill the box with tags, and cards and all kinds of yumminess.

This is a standard A2 size card I made and it fits in the back pocket perfectly.  I added envelopes for the recipient as well.

As promised, here is a full tutorial on the assembly of this super cute Swap Box!  By the way, we are swapping these in Swap it! on Facebook.  I used my Cricut to cut the SVG by Lori.  It handles cardstock so well!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Halloween Crazy Dog Cards

Trick or Treat?  I am IN LOVE with the Crazy Dog stamps!  

I mean, seriously, is there anything cuter than a lab in a witches hat?  C'mon... I can't.

Don't forget to create some fun Halloween cards and spread the spookiness of Halloween! :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Halloween 6 Pocket Mini Swap

This is just a quick post to show another swap we are doing in Swap It! on Facebook.  We create this 6 pocket mini Pocket Swap.  It's a super quick and super fun swap!  Come join us!

Monday, October 3, 2016

File Folder Flip Book

 Hello again!  I hope you are having an amazing and happy day!    Today, I wanted to share with you another project I made for our Facebook group called SWAP IT!  This is a file folder flip.
 It's made completely from manilla file folders.  This was so much fun!  The theme was Flamingos and, as you can see, I've got my flamingo on center stage right on the front cover of my file folder flip.  I cut her with pink glitter paper from DCWV using my Cricut Explore.

The fie folder opens in four directions.  I just love going through and discovering the goodies in this style of flip book.

With each "flip" of the book there is a new, interactive stage to explore.

 A little flip here, a bigger flip there and, "oh, what's inside that cute little envelope?"

There is tons of real estate to let your imagination run free.

I created a quick video if you'd like to see this file folder flip up close and see how the pages turn.  Please join us in our Facebook Group "Swap it!" if you'd like to join in on the pen pal crafting fun of swapping file folder flips, pocket letters, tags and many other fun swaps.

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