Sunday, August 27, 2017

It's a Maker: Felt Flowers--take 2!

If you visited when I initially posted this, first, thank you! I thought I had a huge issue after Cricut Care contacted me about a Pink mat problem cutting these flowers. Wellll......I humbly apologize for any confusion. You see, it turned out to be operator error; but that is okay because I not know what NOT to do. 
On to take 2!

As I was saying..... I don't know about you, but I'm starting to stockpile gifts for the holidays. Thanks to my Cricut Maker, this cute little pot of flowers can be done in a very little time! 

Supplies needed:

Felt: (I used the pre-cut premium from Joann's--personal preference) two red and one green
3" Styrofoam balls: 1  per project
Clay flowerpot: 4" across top
Corsage pins (or long straight pins with a larger head)
Regular seamstress straight pins (without a colored head)
Optional glue
Cricut Maker with Rotary blade
Ribbon (optional)
my design space file linked here

1. Do not cut the Lettering File! Turn it off by clicking on the "eye" in the layers panel.

Note: From the materials list I selected "Felt". 

I then lowered the pressure of the blade.

2. Cut all of the file pieces using the rotary blade. The wine layer, the pink layer and the red layer are cut from the red and will use both red pieces of felt.  The green is cut from the green.

3. Cover the styrofoam ball with the large wine cut. To do this, place the cut piece on the ball, securing every other "wing" with a regular straight pin.

4. Finish covering the ball by securing the remaining four wings with the regular straight pins. You may need to overlap some of the felt; that is okay. Your styrofoam ball should now look like this:

5. Place the ball in the pot with the bare side down. You may choose to glue the ball into position to keep it from shifting while you arrange the petals. 

6. Each of the blossoms will be completed in the same way. You will need a small blossom. a large blossom, and a leaf. I often only place the leaf on about half of my blossoms. 

7. Layer the small blossom on the larger and insert a corsage pin through the center. 

8. If using a leaf, continue through one point of the leaf, brining it under the blossoms. Assemble all blossoms. 

9. To arrange the blossoms on the styrofoam base, begin with one blossom at the top. Push the entire pin into the styrofoam, securing the blossom. 

10. To continue: Secure the next 3 blossoms as indicated by the corsage pins in the above photo. They form a triangle when looking down onto the project. 

11. Finally, fill in the remaining blossoms, covering the styrofoam base. 

I use my remaining leaves as fill for the bare spots. To attach the leaves I use the regular straight pins through one pointed end, pin to styrofoam base, and let the free point extend out of the blossoms! 
Add a ribbon around the pot if you desire.

Here is a different color way in which I used jewelry findings rather than corsage pins. I also cut the petals in two different colors of felt.

Thanks for stopping by today and letting me share this little project with you! Until next time....

Keep sorting those scraps so that you can generate the gems! 


Saturday, August 26, 2017

It's a Maker!

When Cricut released it's newest machine, the Maker, I was totally intrigued. Team Cricut seemed to have engineered the machine of my dreams--especially in fabric cutting. Years ago, an infomercial touting the Cricut Expression's ability to cut fabric pulled me into this crafting family. And, to make a long story short, I have used that ability with all of my Cricut babies thus far. Pretty secure and comfortable here. So, despite all of the Maker's qualities, I didn't think I needed it; but my husband did! (Love him!)

Enter my Maker!

As I experienced the unboxing, I was amazed by the attention to detail and the care taken in the packaging. It just made me feel special. More importantly, it was obvious that Team Cricut was very proud of their new product. 

Unboxed and touchable, my Maker truly appeared as a beautiful product.

But, my initial experience wasn't over. Inside of the "getting started box" I found two pleasant surprises: a REAL book and what I really was looking for---the rotary cutting assembly.  

The book of instructions was filled with beautiful photos and excellent directions. I couldn't help but be pleased with the fact that there was time and talent used to give me a reference book that I could peruse and touch! I saw the beauty of the photography again as a reflection of Cricut's pride. So far. My pleasure was steadily increasing. But, I had to ask myself, " Would this machine really allow me to be a more productive "maker" of crafts?"

It seemed the best way to decide was not to compare my ExploreAir and the Maker, but rather to compare the process of making something. And not just something new, but this felt flower pot originally designed by me and made with my Explore. Now I would make it with the Maker.

A little background on this project. In 2015, I designed this project in Design Space to be presented as a workshop on cutting various fabrics with the Explore.  Always one to find a way to do what I want, I had experimented or several months on the best way to prepare and cut felt on my Explore. My process worked pretty well. But it was tedious and messy; the felt had to be treated with a wet stabilizing mixture, dried completely, and finally have fusible applied to the "back". Depending on humidity it could take 2-3 days simply for preparation. And after all that, the felt was stiff and rubbery! But my Explore could cut it -- it worked. 

So, how did the process compare on the Maker? (Okay....I really wanted to use the rotary blade and the fabric mat. I'll admit it!) To truly compare, I even used the left-over 9 x 12" felt squares from the purchased at Joann's for the original project. Design Space still had my original file so I opened it, and went to work.

Advertised to not need fusible with the rotary blade, I did no preparation of the felt other than removing the store stickers. I placed it on the mat and took care that there were no bubbles or ripples in the fabric. In Design Space simplicity, I followed the prompts, loaded the mat, chose "felt" from the materials list, pressed"Go" and held my breath. 

My Maker started singing to me! It was a sweet sound....seriously! And in just a few moments my leaves were finished and perfectly cut!

The pink mat released the felt quite easily. But, the default pressure seemed a bit high for the type of felt I was using. When the mat for the petals was ready to cut I decreased the pressure. To my pleasure, the flower petals also cut quickly and precisely. Crisp points, both inner and outer. What can I say: attention to detail! 

I had read that there would be fibers of the felt embedded in the blade marks on the mat so I was prepared for my mat to look like it did.  No problem--Cricut recommends using heavy duty transfer tape to remove these fibers and preserve the mat and cleaning the mat took a very few minutes. And my mat was ready for my next project. 

I am in love; pure and simple. The Maker's capabilities have taken the process of cutting my felt from 2 days to just few minutes with picture perfect cuts! Team Cricut has a right to be proud of this one, from its looks to it's name. It is truly a Maker and it promises to help me become a more productive maker in the process. 

Until next time, Jeannie

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Adventures in StitchArtist: Creating Blackwork Motifs

In my last post I explored using the motifs found in StitchArtist as the fills. You can find that adventure here, using all levels of StitchArtist.
One of my favorite features of  StitchArtist 3 is the ability to create and save my own blackwork motifs which I can use in the same way as any motif already included in StitchArtist. My embroidery....from the start! Okay, I fess...maybe not from the absolute start.

I discovered that there are many, many sources for inspiration in creating motifs. I did a Pinterest search and was pretty much overwhelmed. A few of my results are pictured below (I attempted to link the photos, but as of this moment the link is broken)


Join me on my latest adventure, reproducing this stitch in StitchArtist 3.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure! To help you create your own motifs, please feel free to download the PDF version of the slides seen in the video by clicking here

Until next time, let's keep sorting the scraps so that we can generate the gems together!