Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Silhouette Machine? READ THIS :)

OK – I have the machine – what now???

I don’t profess to know everything the Silhouette machine can do – I have had some version going back 4 years and I have barely scratched the surface of what this great machine can do.  Lucky for us there are some WONDERFUL talents out there that have simply awesome Blogs and You-Tube Videos that can tell us everything you want to know…from basics to far more complicated projects.


Well first thing you do is get your machine out of the box and get it hooked up.  Silhouette runs on software – the software has to be loaded to your computer – IT MUST BE A COMPUTER of some sort with an operating system – a PC with some sort of Windows OS or a Mac with a MAC OS – it will not work on a tablet or a cloud based system, like a chromebook.

If you received a disk with your machine chances are it is not the latest version of the software – you can load it up from the disk and once you have everything loaded the software may prompt you that there is an updated version available.  You can always download the software too directly from Silhouette http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software/silhouette-studio/

Note there are a few different versions of Studio software – more in depth info can be found on the Silhouette site linked above

STUDIO – this is the basic version of the software and is free, there are currently two versions – the most current version is referred to as V3 – this version saves files as .studio3 files – there is also a legacy version that is referred to as V2 – this version saves files as .studio files.  You can open .studio files in ANY version of Studio, but .studio3 files can only be opened if you have V3 on our system.  All versions of Studio can also open .gsd and .dxf cut files, all are able to import picture files (.jpeg, .gif, .bmp,.tif, etc…) for tracing

DESIGNER EDITION (DE)– this is a “pumped up” version of Studio – there is a cost to buy it – depending on where you purchase it the cost is anywhere from $20-40.  This gives you a few more tools to play with, along with the ability to open .svg files

BUSINESS EDITION (BE) – this is an even greater “pumped up” version that has all the features of the basic and the DE along with even more tools, including the ability to run multiple machines from one program.

OK – software installed, machine ready to go – now what?


Silhouette Manual – yes it can get a bit confusing, but it is imperative you scan through it and get to know the basics through the manual.  It has a lot of good information about the basics – from typing in words to cut, to using the silhouette store, to explaining what all those icons are.

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs & You Tube – there are a multitude of blogs that are fairly specific to the functions of the silhouette machine in general.  While there are many out there I am going to highlight a few of the ones I turn to from time to time when I am trying to figure out how to do something new.

SILHOUETTE AMERICA –  - http://blog.silhouetteamerica.com/ yes Silhouette has their very own blog – did ya know that? – they have a variety of designers that post their own projects using files and materials you can purchase from Silhouette – they also have videos showing how to use the various kits and how to use the various tools in the software -https://www.youtube.com/user/SilhouetteAmericaInc

SILHOUETTE SCHOOL - http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/ - a very through blog with tons of tips, tricks and tutorials using a wide array of materials.  Melissa does a wonderful job explaining everything – first things first check out her post for newbies - http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2014/12/silhouette-beginners-and-newbies-start.html

CLEVER SOMEDAY - https://cleversomeday.wordpress.com/ - Kay is a goddess IMO – she has a ton of great information on her blog, especially information pertaining to the technical kinds of things when it comes to Silhouette.  She has an tab on her site that is all about FONTS – something very important in the Silhouette world…love me some fonts – and for those that are in LOVE with Laura Worthington fonts (i.e. the delicious Samantha font) she has some great tips and tricks to get the glyphs working for you in the Studio software – She also has an EXCELLENT You Tube channel filled with all sorts of videos - https://www.youtube.com/user/CleverSomeday/videos - including the must watch Tracing without Tears series

UNDER A CHERRY TREE - http://underacherrytree.blogspot.com/ - lots of tips and tricks and tutorials – especially for print and cut

JOYS LIFE - http://joyslife.com/ has a variety of tutorials available - http://joyslife.com/silhouette-cameo-tutorials/ as well as some great videos - https://www.youtube.com/user/wwwJoysLife

THE PINNING MAMA -http://www.thepinningmama.com – tutorials – also has a great post that links to other great blogs – check it out  http://www.thepinningmama.com/2014/02/19/blogs-to-find-silhouette-cameo-project-ideas-silhouette-cameo-sale-discount-coupon-promo/

INFARRANTLY CREATIVE - http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/silhouette/ - ideas and tutorials

KENS KREATIONS - http://kreativeken.blogspot.com/ - mainly works with the Cricut Explore machine and software, but has some tutorials that can be used with the Silhouette machine – also has some videos utilizing the silhouette machine https://www.youtube.com/user/hesskr


There are a lot of different blogs and you tube videos out there that cover just about every topic, trick, tutorial out there…there are at least 39 ½ different ones just for those darn glitter ornaments alone.  If you want to know how to do something – just google – type in what you are looking for and viola (although I don’t recommend simply typing in “glitter balls” – not such a good idea) – I usually precede it with “Silhouette Cameo” XYZ.


If you don’t already have a Pinterest account I will wait while you go sign up…go on now – head straight to http://www.pinterest.com/ and sign up.  So once you are all signed up be prepared to lose yourself for a number of hours – if you have small kids, just scatter the cheerios on the floor now.  Pinterest is THE place to go – simply create a few boards – maybe a Silhouette Tutorial Board, Silhouette Idea Board, etc… and start pinning – once you put Silhouette Cameo in the search box it is like the skies open and the angels sing.  You will find a multitude of tips, tricks and tutorials and you can PIN them and refer back to them time after time after time…no more “oh where did I see that” or “gee I wish I remembered the web address for the tutorial to do XYZ” – it is all in ONE place…to get you started you can check out my Silhouette Tutorial Pinterest board – a few to get you started – but there are many, many more… http://www.pinterest.com/jenmouer/silhouette-tutorials/

Monday, December 29, 2014

Adhesive Craft Vinyl

Craft Vinyl
what the heck – where do I start….

for decals, walls, signs, home décor, cups, ornaments, windows, etc….

There are many different brands out there – Silhouette, Cricut, Oracal, Avery, 3M, etc…

Silhouette brand sucks…just don’t buy it if you can avoid it…it will work in a pinch and is great to practice on, but the quality and consistency is lacking

Cricut brand – slightly better than Silhouette – if you are in a pinch – most  bigger craft stores carry this

Avery, 3M – never tried them, others claim they are equal to Oracal

ORACAL – this is the NAME you will hear thrown out ALL THE TIME – while they have a few different types of vinyl, for crafters you really only need to know about 2 numbers – 631 and 651

631 – is a matte finish color, it has a lower adhesive WATER SOLUBLE tack and is best suited for wall applications.  It can be used in other projects – home décor, ornaments, signs.  The key with 631 is ask yourself – how is this being handled and will it be subjected to weather.  If you are putting it on a sign and hanging it on your wall – 631 is fine.  
  • Soft PVC film (80 micron)
  • For short- and medium-term markings, letterings and decorations of exhibition stands and materials
  • Service life in exhibition buildings: 3 years
  • Polyacrylate, removable
651 – is a glossy* finish color (*matte is available in White and Black) – this has a higher SOLVENT adhesive as well as a glossy coating – this allows the vinyl to adhere better and longer than 631.  If you are making car decals or want to put vinyl on cups and mugs that will be subjected to washing – you WANT 651 (note you can use 631 for car decals and even putting on cups and mugs, however due to the adhesive factor it may not stay on as long as using 651 - with using 631 on things like car windows it will break down and fade a lot quicker than using 651.)
  • Special PVC film (70 micron)
  • For short- and medium-term markings, letterings and decorations
  • Outdoor durability:
    • 5 years (black/white)
    • 4 years (transparent / colored / metallic)
    • 3 years (brilliant blue)
  • Solvent polyacrylate, permanent
OK GOT IT – understand vinyl – but how do it get it from here to there…..


Once you cut your vinyl and weed it you are left with your design.  In order to not warp the design and/or move it in one continuous piece you need transfer tape.  The two main types most crafters use.  Note with either type depending on your project you should be able to get 2-3 uses out of one piece of transfer paper/tape

Paper – comes with a backing – you peel the transfer tape from the backing and apply to your vinyl and then peel and transfer – paper is suggested for wall applications and I personally like it better for canvas application– you can usually buy sheets or rolls.

Tape – Tape is usually clear and comes in a variety of widths – from 2” on up – most of the time you will find it being sold in roll form.   It can look daunting and expensive (most places sell it in a 100 yard roll) but it last a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time – a lot of people prefer clear tape over paper for projects because you can see exactly where you are placing the vinyl

BUT – I heard you can just use painters tape or contact paper or other cheaper stuff for transfer paper?
Yep – people have had good success using contact paper, masking tape, painters tape to transfer vinyl – however there are a few disadvantages to using those items – most of those are not see through (unless you can find some clear contact paper) and can lead to you applying things crooked – they are not designed to transfer vinyl and can leave a residue on top of your vinyl, you may not see it right away, but rather a few weeks later when dust has collected in the residue – some have a strong adhesive and you may not have good luck getting the vinyl to apply to the object you are trying to apply it to.


There are a ton of different places you can buy vinyl on-line*** – most places are fairly reliable and have fast shipping – note that shipping is going to depend on where you are located relative to where you purchase from – one person might get their orders in two days, where others it takes 5-6 days.  There are lots of vendors on E-Bay, Amazon and Etsy.  Below are on-line companies that deal with Oracal vinyl – while there are many more I am highlighting ones that have been recommended over and over again  – what is going to be the best really depends on what you are looking for – you might find it cheaper to buy at some place that has free shipping – if you only need a small amount of something

The Vinyl Spectrum - http://www.thevinylspectrum.com/ - Currently sells by the sheet (12x12) and color sample packs available – good place for the small time crafter who needs a variety of 631 or 651

Expressions Vinyl - http://www.expressionsvinyl.com/ - sells by the sheet (12x12 and 12x24) and sells rolls (12” wide) by the yard.  They also sell both paper and clear transfer tape.  Has a rewards program for frequent buyers and free shipping over $75 – can sign up to receive e-mails on specials

API Crafters - http://apicraftersupply.ecwid.com/ - sells by the foot – so if you need 5 ft of one color and 10 ft of another, easily done.  Also sell rolls with price breaks at 10 and 50 yards (rolls are 15” wide).  They also sell both paper and clear transfer tape.  Shipping charges based on order total  *** has matte Black and White 651***

Surry Signs - http://surrysigns.com/

My Vinyl Direct - http://www.myvinyldirect.com/

***Some Joann stores carry Oracal 631 by the sheet

Tips and Tricks

Applying to wood or canvas
Applying vinyl to wood and canvas can be tricky – 651 is the best because of the better adhesive, but 631 can be used.   You really have to rub, rub, rub – on a canvas, flip it over and rub, rub, rub some more…it is best to pull the transfer tape at an angle rather than from top to bottom.  You may find especially on canvases that vinyl will start to lift – go slow- you may have to gently hold the vinyl down as you peel away the transfer tape (one reason I like paper transfer tape for canvas is you can tear away the transfer tape once you get a section adhered down – yes you can’t use it again, but I would rather have my sanity intact).

Once you have your vinyl all down gently warm it with a hair dryer and gently rub push the vinyl into the canvas and/or wood – be gentle as the vinyl can heat up and actually cause you to burn yourself – it also becomes a bit pliable and if you are overzealous with your rubbing you can warp the vinyl.  By warming the adhesive it allows the vinyl to really grip the wood or canvas as it cools down.

DO NOT SEAL the vinyl – a few different things can happen.  As the sealant dries and cures overtop the vinyl it can shrink up and cause the edges of the vinyl to pull.  Some sealents don’t play since with the adhesive of the vinyl, it can seep under the edges and cause the edges to pull up.  Some sealents can yellow over time.  If you are doing a sign for outdoor use it is highly recommended you use any sealers PRIOR to vinyling.

Wet Method

If you are looking for other tips, tricks and tutorials I HIGHLY, HIGHLY suggest getting a pinterest account and search Silhouette Tutorials – there are HUNDREDS of links right at your fingertips – sometimes you may have to try two or three different methods to find what works for you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Days 2 and 3

Yep - so I am already slacking -I said I would write everyday and I didn't yesterday.

Anyway this is a combined for days 2 and 3.

Yesterday was good - I did have a small headache throughout most of the morning. Not sure if that is because of my head cold or the detoxing. According to what I have read days 2 and 3 are the hardest for some - especially if they are used to having a fair amount of caffeine in their diets.

Yesterday I had my shakes (more about that later) and munched on some steamed edemame - now while edemame isn't on the "approved" list - I love them and had to have them - at least it was a veggie right???

I also went to a Pampered Chef Party and I know you are thinking - Pampered Chef - oh no food...well the consultant made chicken fajitas with a fresh salsa and guacamole. I simply picked through the chicken to get to the peppers and onions and had a scoop of salsa and guacamole - yummy stuff and nothing on the "not approved" list.

I spent most of the afternoon making a lentil veggie soup - complete with homemade veggie broth - go me...it actually turned out pretty good...even Third Child liked it - score one for me. Plenty of leftovers though - so I will be eating it for lunch for the next few days.

So part if the program is possible weight loss - I will say I have some meat on my bones and one of the reasons for doing this purification program was to shake my body up - for the past 8 months I have been eating a fairly clean diet - working out - doing cardio kickboxing 2x's per week and while I have toned up and shown the appearance of loosing weight the scale doesn't budge. This morning I got on the scale and I am down 2.2 lbs from Saturday morning.

On to the shakes that I said I would talk about.

One of the core components of the program is doing 2-3 shakes a day - in the shakes you put 2 scoops of the SP Complete powder - which is made up of all sorts of extracts of whole foods, which is one of the main reasons it tastes "earthy" - also in the shake you put 1 tablespoon of high quality oil such as olive or coconut - I prefer coconut. The rest is water and any fruit or veggies you want to add. I have tried a few so far...I tried one that involved 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree - not so recommended. But, since I now have an open can of pumpkin this afternoon I did a shake with 1/2 a banana and a generous spoonful of pumpkin puree - that was a lot better.

Granted I have only done a few so far but you are pretty limitless with what to add to the shake if you keep it within the approved list - I bought a bunch of frozen fruit - strawberry, raspberries, and peaches to make the smoothies.

As far as mixing the shakes - on Saturday morning I did the first one in our big blender and found it was a bitch to clean - so I went out and bought a Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender - I got mine from Wal-Mart for about $16 - I read a bunch of reviews and overall it seems like a good little mixer if you don't abuse it. I don't plan on putting ice in it and for my larger frozen pieces of fruit I plan on defrosting them some so they aren't' rock hard (I did peaches last night - defrost for a bit and cut into chunks). I also have been giving it short pulse bursts rather than longer ones and so far for the 5 smoothies I have made using it they have turned out great. The cup comes right off - I don't bother with the lid - just drink straight from the cup.

Tonight I am going to attempt to roast some brussel sprouts - I have never had them before as they have always looked nasty to me - but I figured I should at least try them...try most everything once....right?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

DAY 1 - so far so good

So I am at the end of Day one for my Standard Process Purification Program - so far so good

but I do have to preface this with the fact that I have had a major head cold for the past few days- which has diminished my hunger for things that are good...add in the fact that I eat a relatively clean diet - with little fast food and little caffeine - so doing this program is a bit easier for me.

Anyway - you may be asking what does the process entail?

The first 7 days you have 2-3 shakes a day made with the program powder, along with cleansing and fiber capsules. You also get all the veggies and fruit you want - within reason. You want to eat more veggies then fruit and eat as much raw or just slightly cooked as possible...you can also have 1/2 cup of brown rice or lentils a day as well.

So what did I eat today

Started with a shake - two scoops of powder, some water, a tablespoon of coconut oil, 1/2 a small banana and a handful of frozen raspberries. It is was Ok - the powder has a specific taste to it - hard to describe - the best I can do is say its "earthy". Some of the recipes I have read about talk about adding veggie juice - ummmm I think I will stick with fruit based smoothies.

We spent the day out and about -I made myself a cup of green tea - even though I have been told a small cup of coffee a day would be ok - I have decided at least for the first 7 days I will switch to green tea. I packed myself some carrots and bell pepper slices to munch on. I still have the head cold so nothing sounded good but I knew I needed something to have with me.

Got home and made another smoothie - same as above

I also spent some time making some homemade veggie broth for some upcoming soups I plan to make.

Dinner was IMO great - I simply cut up some yellow and green squash, red onion, baby portebello mushrooms and some bell pepper and sauteed them up with some garlic and olive oil and then threw in a handful of spinach. I added some Pampered Chef Chili Lime spice to give it some kick served it up over 1/2 cup of brown rice.

So I feel ok - still have the head cold so that is weighing me down some - on to Day 2...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Purify Me

I am back…I know it has been awhile – a long while and for that I am sorry – the only excuse I have is I’ve been busy.

I am still crafting in my spare time, what little I have. Toothless Wonder and Pantiewad girl are doing great – as they have gotten older more and more of my “me” time has been chipped away – and that is OK.

The main reason for jumping back into blogging is to hold myself accountable…

Accountable for what you ask?

I am going to do a Cleanse…I know, I know – you read cleanse and all sorts of bad images come to your mind…believe me I have researched this to death to see if I really wanted to do this…

Why a cleanse? Well if you read back through some of my posts you know I have been trying to eat and live a healthier lifestyle over the past few years. I have had some success – cut out soda and vast majority of processed food from my diet – I have increased my exercise – I found a great cardio kickboxing class I take twice a week. But after all that I still feel like my body is holding on stuff it shouldn’t have. I have had people comment about the weight I have lost…ummmm haven’t lost any – toned up yes – loss no.

Don’t get me wrong I am not doing the cleanse just to loose weight – hopefully that is just a good side effect – I didn’t start eating better or exercising more to loose weight – I did it to make my body better with the hopeful side effect of dropping a few lbs.

So here is the thing – there are A LOT of different cleanses out there…the thing about them is you have to do your research – read labels – check out reviews – etc…what good is a cleanse if all you are putting in your body is a bunch more chemicals. There are also different cleanses for different things…I have to admit the first time I heard of a cleanse I had a vision of not being able to be more than 3 steps away from a bathroom…and if you are doing a colon cleanse that would be true.

So what am I doing? I am doing the 21 day Standard Process Cleanse - It is one that my chiropractor recommended. I already take Standard Process vitamins with great success so I figured what the hell. The main component of this cleanse is whole foods. All the supplements and pills are made of whole foods – no chemicals, no weird fillers, none of that…all natural whole foods.

The first 7 days you are limited to eating fruits, veggies, lentils and brown rice with the addition of 2-3 smoothies a day plus some cleansing and fiber pills. One may ask why not just eat fruits and veggies for a week and call it good. I’ve done that before – doesn’t do much…and you can’t get all the vitamins, minerals and protein you need – hence the use of smoothies and pills. After 7 days you can add in lean protein in the form of chicken and fish – easily done. After 21 days you can slowly add back in other things – but the goal is to do it one food type at a time…the cleanse basically strips your body for it to begin anew.

I am hoping I do ok on this program – I am already used to eating a modified Paleo type diet and drinking lots of water each day so hopefully this shouldn’t be as hard for me as it might for others who eat a lot of fast or processed food. I have also decided to take this time to try foods I have been turning my nose up at …Lentils – haven’t ever touched them – brussel sprouts, kale, beets – OH MY…

I think the hardest thing will be to give up my protein sources for the first week – I love my chicken and fish…oh and my coffee - I have been told I can have a small cup of coffee a day while on the program – but I think for the first 7 days I am going to go all in…The program suggests drinking green tea – so at least for the first 7 days I will be switching my morning coffee with morning green tea…

So the question is why am I blogging about it – well I did some research and found a few blogs about the program and they enjoyed it – I figured if I blog about it then I have the whole internet to keep me accountable – right? I paid a nice chunk of change for the program so I will be brutally honest about how I feel and what I eat…if I don’t like it you will know – if I find it to be fantastic you will know.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let the Countdown Begin...

So the other night I couldn’t sleep so I parked myself in front of the computer and started perusing my favorite crafting blogs…from which I clicked through to a bunch of other blogs…


Now I MUST have chalkboard paint – I saw so many cute things that were done using chalkboard paint…from masking a plastic charger so you can have a cute colorful chalkboard for your kitchen…to painting small wooden boards to be used as door hangers. I got this GREAT idea from seeing all the chalkboard items…but I must wait to actually do it :(

Anyway – I have been crafting up a storm…I am finally finished with the holiday craft fairs – I participated in 3 of them this year – I did OK – I hit the goal I set for myself – I was hoping to surpass it but I will take my goal…

I have a few orders of some items to finish up – hoping to complete that this holiday weekend – as for the first time in 5 years we are not traveling – I could stay in my PJ’s the ENTIRE weekend if I wanted to…

I did want to show you a special project I have been working on. I found the best little site on-line for vinyl designs – My Vinyl Designer that I mentioned the other week. They are currently having a great sale on all there designs – 25% off (use the code: holidays) and best yet – immediate download. They also provide a weekly freebie as well.

The site has been running a contest each week – with getting ready for the craft fairs I wasn’t able to set aside the time to participate – but when this past weeks came up I had an idea that went "Ba-Blam" in my brain…

So this past week was to take one of their Advent calendar designs and create something with it…
I took CA007, a metal baking sheet, red, green, yellow and white vinyl, a few fonts, fancy holiday ribbon, a wooden star and a magnet and came up with this….

I managed to snag the baking sheet at a local craft store for under $2 and had TC drill a hole in the top.

When I imported the Advent calendar into my Silhouette Studio software it was a breeze to use…I simply did the layout to get to the size and shape I wanted it to be based on my baking tray – I decided to use the back of the tray so it would sort of sit out a bit from my wall when hung. I was able to split the images so I could cut the numbered balls and wording in red and the top and bottom of the tree in green.

I went a quick step further and cut out the top of the tree in a scrap of light yellow and trimmed it so I had the star shape that I layered over the green.

I used a snowflake dingbat font to cut some snowflakes in white to scatter and made a fancy bow to cover the top lip of the baking tray and used the excess ribbon to form a loop for hanging.

Now the number holder – I found a small already painted yellow star at one of the big box craft stores – slapped a round magnet on the back (didn’t even need to pull out my glue gun – Craft glue dots are the best things ever) and VIOLA…it becomes my day tracker. Before and after X-mas it nicely resides at the top of the tree.

I think it turned out quite nifty if I do say so myself – and my girls LOVE it…I was thinking of bringing it to my workplace but I don’t think my girls will let me do that – they want to hang it in their room.

Now to complete my orders so I can craft for myself some more…

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Holidays are Coming...the Holidays are Coming...

Scary isn't it...

It seems just like yesterday I was claening up pine needles and putting away all my snowmen...and now it is time to get all those snowmen back out...

Time sure flies doesn't it...

This isn't going to be a long post - just wanted to pop in and let you all know about a very cool site - I am sure many of you have stumbled upon it before - but Cool Mom Picks

Well they have there 2010 Holiday Gift Guide up - lots of great ideas for everyone in your life - from family to friends to co-workers to teachers, you name them they have an idea for a gift...so check be sure to cruise on over and check them out

Holiday Gift Guide