Merry Christmas + *Free Download SVG & DFX file

December 22nd, 2012

Firstly let me just apologize for not being around. I gave birth to my second son Leo on the 30th of October, and getting back into the swing of things with a toddler and a newborn is much more difficult than I realized. I think we are finally hitting our stride though and I feel like I’m figuring it all out, at least for the moment. I still need to compile some photos and tell my birth story for my family’s record, so that will be coming soon. But for now I just wanted to get a quick Merry Christmas posted (so you know I’m still around) along with a freebie.

As a designer, I like having complete flexibility with my tools including my die-cutting machine. I had been using a Cricut Expression in conjunction with the SCAL software in order to be able to cut any shape that I designed or downloaded, but I was never completely happy with the whole “work-around” for the Cricut (and their lawsuits towards 3rd party vendors), and so I finally caved and bought a beautiful new Silhouette Cameo  which has an amazing free software suite that suits my needs perfectly especially in conjunction with my Adobe Illustrator software. My first project was this christmas banner and 3-d trees. The Cameo was so easy to set up with my MacBook Air laptop and everything just worked so smooth and seamless that I could hardly believe that I didn’t have any issues.

The paper I used is the All is Bright collection by Rhonna Farrer from My Minds Eye. I love how the patterns and colors are more subtly Christmas, which is just what I wanted for my decorations. I also wanted glitter letters and brainstormed several ways to get glitter letters on the flags. What I ended up doing was buying this double-sided adhesive paper - Grafix 9-Inch-by-12-Inch Archival Double Tack  – you can also try the Silhouette Double-Sided Adhesive Paper. And I cut out “MERRY” from the Peony Pro Font and then attached the die-cut double-tack to the flags and pealed back the cover paper and poured glitter on it. It turned out perfectly and was pretty easy (the hardest part was getting the hang of peeling the adhesive paper backing.

I just love how the whole thing turned out, simple and elegant.

I also wanted to create some 3D trees out of paper. These are great because they stand up and only require one 12×12 sheet of paper to create.

To make one tree, you cut out 3 tree shapes, score them down the middle (I use this awesome Martha Stewart Scoring Board ) and adhere the wrong sides to each other to create a 3-d standing tree.

This is a super quick and easy way to decorate a small space or party table.

And lucky you, I’m giving away the cut files for the trees. Click the image below to download the ZIP file. The ZIP file contains a .SVG file, a .DXF (for the silhouette), and a .JPG file for those of you without a cutter.

Enjoy making some trees and have a wonderful holiday season!

I’ll be home with my family snuggling this little guy:

Halloween Decor 2012 + DIY Chalkboard Type Art How To

October 1st, 2012

Well I kind of went crazy this year… I know I haven’t posted about this yet, but a few months ago we tore out our old fireplace surround and Mr. Project built a whole new set of built-ins plus a new mantel. We also had some snazzy new tile installed as well. So this year I had almost 3 times as much mantel space to decorate, so I focused my efforts on a big Halloween mantel display. I’ll post about the mantel later.

I reused all my decorations from last year, and added a bunch of new jars and some new artwork to the space. I also finished two projects that I tried to get to last year – a chalkboard art piece and an urn with branches and ravens.

My banner from last year stored really really well and was quick and easy to re-hang. If you’re interested in building a similar banner, it might be easier now because these Lost & Found Halloween papers have been manufactured by My Mind’s Eye and are available for purchase at most any scrapbooking retailer.

Here is the overall pic:

I tried to mostly incorporate my existing shelf decor though I did remove a few things here and there. I’ve still got a little bit of filler to add, but I like to pick up clearance items after Halloween, so you’ll have to wait till next year to see it more fluffed up. Here are a few detail shots:

(I have already been informed that I spelled Werewolf wrong)

You can see my Doctor sign and my apothecary shop sign. I designed and printed these and placed them in frames that were already on top of the shelves. I’ll probably have these printables available to purchase in my Digital Shop sometime this week along with my new apothecary labels (the labels from last year are already available).

I also took some of my Lost & Found Halloween papers (with orange glitter) and cut them to fit in some of the smaller frames I had already in the bookshelves. I just placed the images over the glass, so they’ll be really easy to remove and store for next year.  I found some old western ephemera type photos online and printed them to fit portrait sized frames to give a little spooky feel to the space.

And then this year I finally got around to my chalk art piece. Last year I bought the chalkboard (with the lace edging printed on it)from Grandin Road. I loved it and wanted to do something cool, but just ran out of time and energy. This year, since all my decorations were pretty much done, I spent the time to create some chalk word art.

It looks so fun in the space, and hopefully will last years to come!! Here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

This is the board to begin with (notice the creepy baby hand prints on the bottom lol):

I designed the type and layout on my computer (using illustrator), and then printed it out. The finished size is 18×32 – I printed on three 12×18 sized papers and then taped them together.

Once I knew it all fit and looked good, I did a very elementary transfer by rubbing graphite pencil lead on the back of my printout. Some sort of opaque projector would work really great, but I don’t have one of those and I figured that this would just be the easiest way to transfer my image over and prepare it for the chalk. You’ll want to tape this in place with the correct side showing (not this ugly side).

Here you can see I’ve done some of the chalk work, but more importantly you can see the graphite transfer. So if you don’t remember from elementary school, you place the design right-side up and then just hand trace with a pencil (or other hard instrument – pen, embossing tool , etc. ) and the graphite that you rubbed on the back will transfer over to the chalkboard anywhere you trace.

I did mine in sections. I’d trace and then pull back my printout and do the chalk work. I used a white chalk marker instead of chalk, and was really pleased with it. I tested some chalk sticks and since they were brand new, they just didn’t go on the surface very well, also it could be the quality of the chalkboard etc. But either way I was really happy with how the chalk marker worked. I had tons of control and it does not smudge at all once it’s dry. So I didn’t have to worry about any mistakes after I was done with a section. It will come off with water though, so watch your kids and their sippy cups! I’m going to pick up some spray fixative to hopefully keep it looking good for many years to come.

I used a ruler to do my straight lines – worked like a charm!

And here is the final outcome! I would say start to finish (not including the design work), it took me about 5 hours to do. Really not that bad, and no hand cramps afterwards. I did only use one marker, but I kept thinking it was going to die after the first section, so definitely stock up if you are doing a big design.  Oh and it was way easier to draw cursive then block lettering, so if you’re doing the design, use a lot of cursive type!

Happy Halloween!

DIY Decoupage Pumpkins

September 28th, 2012

So a few weeks ago I was browsing pinterest and came across these adorable decoupaged Christmas tree ornaments. This is definitely a project right up my alley and I decided to try it early on pumpkins!

(source)

So I went to my local Michaels and picked up a variety of pumpkins. I definitely recommend the white ones because you can have a few missing spots and they won’t show up. I’m not sure how the orange pumpkins do yet, but I’ll find out tomorrow!

This is what the final product looks like. I love the scrappiness of it, and its perfect for my more earthy halloween decor.

So the first step is to get your paper. I just grabbed a book that I was planning on donating and cut out a handful of sheets. For the big pumpkin I used about 20 sheets, for the small pumpkin about 4.  I cut the sheets out of the book and then trimmed the margins.

Then I cut vertical strips of varied widths.

Then I cut some of those into shorter strips.

Once I had everything cut and ready to go, I grabbed my Mod Podge and a small sponge brush and went at it.

I recommend using more glue than less. Glue before you put a strip down and then after the strip is on. In my opinion you can’t have too much glue.

This is pretty much how my progress went. I worked on the pumpkin about a quarter at a time and then finished up the bottom quarter after I went all the way around.

I recommend doing it this way because you can keep the smaller area that you’re working on wet and it makes the whole process easier.  Here’s the final big pumpkin again:

I also decoupaged a small pumpkin. This one was much harder because of all the small heavy creases. I used 3/8″ x 2″ strips on this one so it used probably just as many strips as the big pumpkin… just much smaller and harder to handle strips!

I also added a dusting of clear glitter on this one:

And here is the final product mixed with that gilded pumpkin!

I’ve got to do a few more of these (maybe go pick up another big pumpkin), and then I’ll be ready to do all my Halloween decor!