Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Returned my Brother Scan N Cut Machine!

Ok, so I have had my Brother Scan N Cut Machine for less than a month and each time I have used it for one reason or another, it did not do what I intended it to do. My first disappointment was that it is very choosy which stamped images it will cut...it needs a closed line completely around the image. For that reason the above Shirley stamped image was cut by hand.  I love to work my stamps into scenes with background, so this was a big deal to me. Another big deal is the poor quality of mats...they just don't enough even after I have cleaned them as instructed, I had to use blue painters tape! I was successful in using the "Canvas" online and getting free SVGs (translated into the format for the machine) to use in the machine as you can tell in the above card an SVG was used in the background and the sentiment was already in the machine. The "Canvas" doesn't need to be loaded into the computer, but it is a very basic program...I didn't think I needed a complicated one!
Here are a couple more cards using the SVGs and the "Canvas":

 But when I got to this wonderful free SVG Easter Basket, the machine cut everything except the yellow lace trim! I did it over and over until it cut most of it and where it didn't, I placed some cute flower embellishments.

 All during the process of trying to cut that yellow lace I cleaned and tried to re-cut the lace and now the machine refuses to cut anything! This was the final straw...I called the store and the machine is going back. I haven't totally decided whether to get another machine or be happy with my Cricut  and my Gypsy die cut machines. I am looking into the "Silhouette Cameo," which a friend seems to be very pleased with. That machine needs to be hooked up to the computer for its program to work. I tried to not be on the computer so much with the Scan n Cut, but I kept running between the computer room and the art studio with my flash drive in hand anyway. I loved giving this adorable basket card to my grandson, but I need to decided if I want another machine to continue to do the cutting of SVGs and do I want my new computer to be hooked up all the time to another machine.

I will let you know what I decide!
I returned it today 4/28/2014.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My New Brother Scan N Cut Machine Updated

I recently got a Brother Scan N Cut die cutting machine. I'm not new to die cutting machines. I have a couple of Cricuts. I love the Cricut machines and I have many of the cartridges for them. I finally decided, I wanted to have more choices for my card making, than what I have with the Cricut. I decided with the Brother Scan N Cut machine because it can scan what I want without being connected to a computer and then cut the item, giving me more options. Other machines cut using the computer. The Brother has an online untility option call the Canvas, which I thought I wouldn't use too much, since the scanning directly into the machine was a great avenue. You can use a USB drive to take work from the Canvas online to the die cutting machine.

Here is an Easter card, which I made just from using the files (already programed) inside the Brother Scan N Cut:

I love to use my rubber stamps and thought it would be great to stamp the ones I like and not have to do the fussy cutting for them. Well, the Brother scanner is picky and unless the stamp has one continuous solid line around the stamp, it will not cut! You can add a line with a pencil or pen...I haven't been successful with that yet. That leaves a few of my stamps out! When it does cut, it cuts nicely. The machine is able to cut a variety of different materials including fabrics. The machines comes with a standard cutting blade and a deep cutting blade, as well as a low tack mat and a standard mat, which I use often for cardstock or heavier materials. The trouble is the mats lost their grip as I used them the very first day. I have cleaned them with the suggested wipes per the instruction manual, but they still need me to either use painter's tape or my fingers to hold the item to be cut. This of course got worse after I sued the deep cutting blade on the standard mat to cut the shapes from the Timtex interfacing, which I used for my grandson's felt board characters. I did clean the mats after the process.

It certainly was very neat to be able to take a digital file which I bought online and print it from my computer with my printer and then scan it into the Scan N Cut, save it and then cut the interfacing figures, which I later hand painted. For my first set of felt figures I made patterns from my Cricut, hand traced and cut them and then painted them. Here are the results of my project:

 I think my 4 year old grandson is going to like "The Three Bears" don't you think?

For more pictures and information on felt boards, Check out my blog post "Designing Felt Boards."

Although I really enjoyed this new machine during the few projects I made, later on it did not live up to what I expected...it was either a defective machine or it has more problems than I was will to work out. Regrettably, I was forced to decided returning it was the thing to do.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Designing Felt Boards

One Saturday, I was expecting my son and grandson for a visit...I also had a number of coupons to use at Michaels. Michaels is practically around the corner from where I live. It was the last day those coupons were good for. So before my guests were to arrive, of course I went shopping! Did I need any supplies for the studio...nope! So I went looking for something my grandson might like and I came across a stack of Creatology Story Time Felt Activity Boards. There was a large selection and the price was $7, which would be $3 and change with a coupon, it was hard to decide! Since my grandson loves trains, I bought the one above. It has many more pieces than what I used in this photo.

When my grandson arrived I asked him if he would like to play with a felt board. He ran right into my studio and took it from my hands and put it on the table in the porch and sat and played longer than I have seen him sit to do anything before, at my house!
So naturally I wanted to do anything I could to prolong and enhance his enjoyment...deciding to make some pieces in a different theme, that could also work on the board. After looking over the many articles and blog posts on DYI Felt Boards, I came up with the fact that not only felt works to adhere with friction to the board, but flannel and Pellon (stiff interfacing) works too. I have several yards of Timtex interfacing left from other projects. So here is what I did:

First I decided my theme would be the farm. Using my Cricut Gypsy, I found items that work for my theme. I didn't worry about sizes, just having them all on one sheet to cut out on a 12" x 12" piece of cardstock for patterns.
Here are some of my patterns!
I traces and cut the figures out of the Timtex and added detail with black marker.

They looked too white, so I colored them with markers and added details with dimensional paint. I was thinking of painting the figure, but I didn't have the right colors in fabric paint! 
Here are more Timtex figures added and painted with acrylic or fabric paints. The board is from one of the sets I bought at Michaels.
Here is how to make your own background flannel board.
Items you need to make your own flannel background board.
Flannel wrapped around art canvas.
Green felt for scenery stays in place on flannel board.

Flannel board I made with my Timtex interfacing figures, works really well.
During a lunch break my grandson and I played with the new board and the farm figures while I read "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." He helped me to sing the song too!

Before I finished the farm board there was another great coupon sale at Michaels, so I bought "The Three Little Pigs," felt set. I went to the book store and bought the book too!

My grandson came again to play and while he was sitting eating his lunch, we began to play with the Three Little Pigs felt board and I read him the story. He was very into it and love the pigs and the big bad wolf.

My son was enjoying watching our playing and sent a picture to my daughter-in-law.
Building each house was fun.

It was so fun, when my grandson began singing: "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf. The big bad wolf, the big bad wolf? Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Tra-la-la-la-la-a-a-a!"

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Baseball Greeting Card

Baseball has always been the game of choice in our family. My sons played Little League Baseball and were gifted athletes and when he could, my husband coached the teams and practiced with the boys. There were many times through the years that we hurried to get homework and dinner done and we were off to a week day game. The weekends were reserved for their games and sometime I felt like I should be two people driving the boys to two different fields.

Our younger son played baseball throughout his school career. He was the team captain in high school and played ball in college. When we moved to Florida he managed a Little League team and my husband assisted him and kept the score book.
My Son Ian in uniform as a Met  Little League player
Our older son played baseball in high school too as well as tennis. When playing both didn't work out so well in the scheduling, he had to choose and decided to focus on his tennis game. He still enjoys baseball, but he is a tennis pro, teaching and coaching the game.

Each of the boys and their dad collected cards, They still read books about the game and the players and discuss the statistic. There have been many trips to the ball park to watch either the Mets or the Yankees and some trips here in Florida to watch a spring training game. I can still catch my husband enjoying a game on the television! One day maybe our 4 year old grandson, might choose to play baseball...we hope to be there to watch his turn at bat too!

Baseball season gave me an idea for a new card and now that I love to color digital images I went to my favorite digital website...Mo's Digital Pencil. There I found several baseball images, but one reminded me of my younger son, when he was just beginning to play ball. "Slugger" is just so cute and the sentiments that come with it are right on! The image is colored in Prismacolor pencils and I drew in the Yankee pinstripes. The card is embellished with ball and baseball field products put out by Jolee's Boutique.

I loved doing this card and using Mo's Digital images which are so expressive...give that website a try.