Tuesday, July 29, 2014

True Confessions....

Hi, all!

Been really busy sewing clothing, of all things! But, in the interim I was looking back at some of my back blogs. I really loved playing with paper scraps. I don't know what happened to that mojo, but it just wasn't there. Yet.

I was wandering through JoAnn's with my hubs and he saw the Cricut Explore. He was intrigued; asked me if I was interested. Feigning disinterest I, I waved him off. Truth told; he tweaked a nerve.

Here is my confession....I loved being a part of the Cricut Community when I started playing with paper. It was probably my most creative paper time. And then things got bad....really bad. Like many others I turned my back. But I was unwilling to get rid of anything PC. And then I began to read about the "new" PC. More and more....more positive comments about what had changed. Major changes! Then, I found several videos on the Explore. Okay I was hooked! Plus I could use my cartridges (which I loved!) And then the last Joann's flier came....the Explore was on sale!

Sunday came. I actually went to Joann's to purchase elastic and thread to finish a garment and look what followed me home.....

Yes, I have returned to the NEW Provo Craft fold. And I am so happy that I have. I have always believed in cautious optimism. I have always believed that people and companies can change. I honestly believe this is a new company! So why do I love this machine so far (keep in mind I have had it two days!)

1. It is quiet. So quiet. It simply sings to me!
2. It is powerful. 
3. It takes the guess work out of blade depth and speed. 
4. It is incredibly accurate. 
5. I can use the all of my PC carts! (Yeah!)
6. It interfaced seamlessly with my MAC.
7. It was super easy to set-up.
8. The machine automatically moves between pen and blade. No more stopping for this girl!
9. I can upload my own images and SVG files. (Yup! you heard right!)
10. The support that I have received (and I needed some for my previously linked carts....) has been amazing! 

There is so much more! But here are pics of a few likes....

Accurate.....Look how cute these little circles are! They are from a perfectly cut mat.....

Again, accurate. This bird is only 1 inch high. The leaves and vines are perfectly cut! Amazing.

The pen feature is wayyyyy cool! Here is a little card that I made for hubby's airline crew. The sentiment is written with a marker in the pen tool. This marker is a Crayola marker (hint, hint! School supplies are out---they are cheap!) 

Take another look at the snow in the photo above. Sorry the photo is bad, but the snow looks raised. It is cut from glitter card stock, more like glitter chipboard. But, there's a setting for that! I turned the setting dial and it cut like butter! And soooo very accurate. Take a gander at those curves and turns. Keep in mind the card is 3" square! Each one is perfect! 

Finally, I did a lift from the Cricut Magazine 5 year Anniversary edition. I used free shapes, the weld feature, the contour and pen features. This was so much fun! I am totally happy with this little guy!

Finally, the Explore was just so efficient that I managed to make the 13 final version cards for DH's crew at Christmas. 

I absolutely love this machine. No buyer's remorse here. And....best of all...it feels so good to be back with friends! 

Until next time, there's so much more to Explore!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Every artist signs her work.....

Yup, that is what my art teacher in high school, Mrs. Geatches, used to say! And after the label police in my quilt guild have called me on that same issue---I am a believer!

My sweet friend, Josie Janome (15000) actually has a way to help me do this with very little work. And, the best part--it is MY signature.

First, let's head to the Horizon Link Suite playground. Select Stitch Composer:

We're not going to stop at the first screen. Instead, we're headed to the "View". Select it from the indicated tab.

Now, choose an image that has minimal detail. For this tut I am using a basic star shape. (To digitize your signature, write it, scan or photograph it and import as the graphic.)

Now, the fun. 
  1. First, size the graphic using the black box handles. The corner handles will size it proportionally. The boxes centered on the gray line will size in one direction only. Remember, the max size is 9mm; it is still pretty small!
  2. Position the graphic where you want it to stitch in the 9mm field. 
  3. Select the option on the menu bar to "Lock" the graphic in place. (You'll love this feature!) 

Return to the first screen by selecting the "Home" tab

Start adding "points" around the graphic. It is suggested that your points be no closer than 1 mm. Okay, I hear you, "What?!?!?" One millimeter is the size of the square you see. The points in fairly straight areas are easy. To keep rounded areas smooth, insert about 1/2 mm distance from each other. This takes practice and stitch-outs to get right!

Got the points where you think they are amazing? If you need to adjust look to the left of the "Finish" button. Select that, click on the points that need to be moved and do the clean up. When finished click on that same button to turn this feature off. 

Select finish. This will add your beginning, ending and loop stitches. I have tried to use the little buttons on my own with only disaster. This is so much easier!

It is time to send to the USB and on to the machine! Yeah! Rename if you choose. Send it to the ORD file folder on the USB. If you open the ORD file and see another folder, ORDF, do not worry. You do not need to use this second folder. 

Save your work. I always name my first effort with a 1 in the name (ex: jeannie1). Always save where you will remember.....

Walk, don't run to your machine! Stitch your beauty out. How does it look? My first efforts were pretty bad. This is when the reality of 9mm comes home. :-( 

You can open your design in the software in order to move stitches around. Simply click on the flower in the upper left corner and select open. Select the saved design you just stitched. You can now move your stitches around so that they are more pleasing. When finished simply write to your USB or save. 

There you have it! Now a signature for everything! Enjoy claiming your work!