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A low-tech way to use your sentiment dies with printed text

I knew this idea was going to be one people liked and wanted to replicate. The probelm is the tools I use on my Mac are not ones everyone will have and I simply have no idea how to explain how to do the same process on a PC. So it has been keeping me up, considering how it might be possible to do this in a low-tech way, without any computer skills at all. It is pretty tedious, and the die I have is perhaps the most tedious of all, as the strips that will cut are not in any sort of alignment. The start spot for the text is in a totally different place every line.

The only way I can think you might be able to do this is to get out your ruler and measure. And it occurred to me that while the die has 22 spots, for ease, you could just make use of the horizontal bars only. That automatically makes the whole process a lot simpler. Taking my die as a sample, the area I would work with (starting with the first line) is 1 inch, 1/8 inch space, then 2 1/2 inches. The text can be no taller than 1/4 inch. So if I were to type a sentiment that was 1/4 inch tall and 3/4 inch long, left a 1/8 inch gap, then typed a 1/4 inch tall, 2 1/4 inch sentiment, I would have to use that as my baseline. Already I am loosing the will to live.

Now, if I look at just the easiest part of the die to deal with, I am looking at just this:

That leaves out all of the die that is problematic – the spots to fill can all be right justified (or left, if you rotate the die so the beginning is on the left) and the spots are pretty evenly spaced. So as a first try, with no real measurements beyond what I already know, I can type sentiments that are just under 1/4 inch tall to begin with, and I can group the boxes (loosely) into only a couple of sizes – the first four are close, between about 1.7 inches and 1.8, so if I aim to make four that are no longer than 1.6 I know they will fit. The next five are similar – the shortest is and the longest is 2.2 inches. If I make sentiments no longer than 2 inches they will all fit. That leaves the longest at 2.37, so I can sneak in one slightly longer sentiment of 2.2 inches. For the strip of 10 spots you need to create 10 sentiments

four lines 1.6 inches x .25 inches

five lines 2 inches x .25 inches

one line 2.2 inches x .25

This is a VERY simplified process, obviously, but it should work.

ANY text processing program will surely have the ability to size things. Once you find a font that seems to work – and for my sample I went with the bog-standard Helvetica Neue, which should be free on most computers, at 19 pt size. – type out your text and justify it. If you can create boxes, do that, but if not just create the text, using whatever tools you have in your word processing to check the sizes. Turning on the grid, if you have one, might make the process easier

If you can’t turn on a grid you either need to measure the area and work out the distance between the lines of text. My die looks to be about 1/8 inch between where I think the bottom of the text will fall and where the top of the NEXT line of text should fall, in order for it to be within the die-cut area. I spaced out my text with that gap between them. At some point the only thing you can do is to print and test it with your die!

Not quite right. But seeing the text within the spaces gives me a better idea of how to scoot the text up or down to get closer….

and finally to get it just about right.

Is it perfect? No, but then I don’t need to do it this way so I am happy to stop here, having given you an idea of how you might make something even without the program I have. I would say once you have the text placed where you want, save that file and when you want to make different ones, duplicate the file and edit the text, then test print and check you got things in line.

Sorry it isn’t easier – there is a lot of trial and error with this method (I printed 3 or 4 sample sheets before stopping where I was, and one or two more might have been needed – or much more detailed and accurate measuring and mapping to begin with) but maybe this concept will be enough for you to figure out a better way to do it for yourself!

Now, I heard the mail drop and I am betting it is the OTHER die I am waiting on…and THAT one might be more common. Watch this space.


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Just a little all over the place lately

Today I will be attending a hospital appointment with my daughter – the first time in about 18 months. As it is to do with the fit of her foot brace, it is best done in person. Being double-dosed I feel a little better about it but there is still that little bit of worry. Anyway, this weekend was a big one as well, with my daughter going back to both her disability social group (Hipp!!Bones) and her disability skating group AND we dropped by the local SCOPE shop, where she had volunteered for a few years, to let them know she was ready to come back. Not surprising then that I am a little all over the place, with all that happening in the space of three days after so long inside.

While I am not jumping big into cardmaking stuff, there are a couple of things I have been hankering after for a while. One is some sentiment dies. I mentioned the other day that my stash of even sentiment STAMPS is pretty appalling. I saw a set on Amazon and figured they would do the trick. I ordered them, had the order cancelled, immediately re-ordered them then got them the next day. So weird. This is what they look like:

The dies are shown actual size, so they are pretty small. And all loose. LOTS of potential to lose one.

I had to sort that out pretty quick! Luckily I had an idea that worked well. It was the packaging that gave me the idea. Al the tiny dies were stuck to the thin cardboard with strong double sided tape. I sorted the words into two groups

and stuck them to not super thick cardstock – more like 120gsm printer paper for graphics. I used very thin double-sided tape, trying to make sure there was a little exposed tape (ie not covered by the dies) as possible, so the cardstock I was cutting wouldn’t stick to it. I used my extended cutting plates and the Sidekick and it worked a treat!

Then I had to sort out how to wrangle all those small words – I didn’t want to store them in a jumble and have to hunt out the one I wanted every time and as there are over 40 of them I don’t have a container appropriate for sorting them into. I had the idea to stick them to contact paper then stick that inside one of the 1000s of 3-ring binder sleeves for US letter paper (not much use in the UK)

and again, that worked a treat. At some point I might try to organize the words better, but at least this way I can read them so finding the ones I want should be easy.

Still on the fence about the whole Junk Journal idea, and still looking for use-your-12×12 ideas every day. Nothing is really sparking me off. Usually I see an idea and I GO, at speed. But I am just not feeling anything to that degree at the moment. Maybe I’ll just drag out my yarn-dyeing stuff and dye some paper and delay a decision for a bit…


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Cheap planner? Ha!

Well, I ordered another cheap planner from an online shopping site called Wish.  We use the sister site, Geek for cheap technology items like charging cables and robot vacuums (and DD loves the other sibling site Cute for hair accessories etc) and have very rarely been disappointed.  The shipping takes forever, usually, and so long as you actually read the description carefully, it is usually a good shopping experience.

I saw the listing and thought Great! a 2nd planner would be lovely.

Actually, this is one of about 20 listings for the same planner.  Mine was £4, not £7.  Anyway, I selected the A5 size, 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches (or 148mm x 210mm)  and what I got isn’t even remotely that size.  It’s more like not QUITE 7.5 x 5. And the internal 6 rings are not spaced the same as the Filofax hole-punch.

I am in the process of trying to re-size my printable planner pages so I can use it at all – that is the good thing about being the designer LOL! I actually rather like the smaller size.

On a side note, they do sell some nice dies for very cheap prices.

You usually have to look for an image that shows the number of each item but sometimes it doesn’t have that.  I usually email their customer service and get the info back fairly quickly.  You can see the shipping price by clicking SHIPPING. This one is £1.  So for £2 you can get a set of 7 circle dies, from over 4 inches down, similar to Spellbinders.  Most of the reviews say they cut fine, but I’d happily risk £2 to find out! 

 

I was also playing around with some design elements and a trio of 2017/18/19 one sheet calendars. Might as well add them a I’ve already made the slow, difficult trip up the stairs to my Mac. The  seemingly missing lines (look at Feb in 2017) is a weird artifact of the on-screen PDF.  It should NOT be that way when printed.

2017

2018

2019

Again, I have been thinking of interesting ways to make these more usable.  I might end up making the centre section, with the month blocks, available as a download and either leave it so you can decorate the top and bottom to match whatever planner you have, or offer a mix&match set of top&bottoms so you print the date block you like then over-print the decorative elements.

What do you think?  Good idea? I think I have two versions of each year, although at this point I imagine 2017 isn’t really useful, so I would maybe aim to offer 3 each of 2018 and 2019.

LMK!


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Christmas tags – the .svg version

I made the tags I added last week a .svg cutting file.  Since I can’t add them here due to WordPress , I am trying once again to add them elsewhere so you can download them without having to resort to Dropbox.

Let me know if this works! Here is the link. OK I’ll have to sort that out then… Back to DropBox then …

They look like this:

Xmastags

Yeah, I probably could have come up with a 6th one LOL!  I did think maybe a stocking, but didn’t follow thru on it.

Cut, they look like this, and you can save the bits and stick them to another set of plain tags, in a sort of twofer.

cut_tags

OK, so I did lose the tiny nose from the cut file, but I like the bigger circle too. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it….

You should be able to break apart the elements and adjust the tag size if you prefer, or eliminate the hole entirely if you want more of a card topper or scrapbooking element.

If I find that housing the files where they are works, I may end up doing a few more .svgs – it’s a challenge and therefore fun for me … unless it becomes more stress and less fun.  At that point, I’ll stop!


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Planner/Smash book flags cutting file

I’m interested to see how this works. I made a set of tags and flags for planners, etc. Well I went ahead and made a cutting file (.svg) for them.

 

planner_cut

To be honest, I don’t have the kind of cutting machine that lets me scan and cut or alight printed papers with the cutting lines.  I can sort of make these work but it’s a bit hit or miss.  Inserting the carrier ever so slightly to one side or the other and it isn’t a very close cut.  But I had two thoughts – first, there will be those who can make the file work with the printable sheet, and second, the shapes themselves are cute and useful, so just using the cutting file to cut them out of patterned cardstock or paper would be fine.

The OTHER thing I wanted to test is to see if I can add a link to the file here by hosting it on UKS and doing that rather than using Dropbox.  So I’m going to try it.  THIS is the UKS hosted file.  and my goodness!  It seems to work! Astonishing.  It’s always annoyed me that I had to send people to Dropbox for downloads.  I don’t do many that aren’t in a format that WordPress allows, but I would rather have them downloadable from here.

So I’ll be curious to know if it works for you so LMK.

Quite a bit going on today.  I decided to re-design my planner, for a few reasons.  This is what I had yesterday:

water_daily_weekly_one

This is what it looks like now:

daily5x8x2

 

I am happy with the layout but not with the colour. It might be a little too bright.  I’ll have to print it and see….

But for now I’ll have to put it on hold as there is a car that needs replacing. {sigh}


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Product review – Stick It

One of the UKS sponsors, Craft Obsessions, has a new product called Stick It.  The blurb from their site really says it all:

Stick It has been specially formulated for intricate die-cutting and electronic cutting machine applications and will remain repositionable for a period, becoming permanent over time.

It’s paper-thin and easy to use.  When applied to your cardstock or paper ahead of die-cutting, Stick It coats a uniform layer of adhesive to your intricate die cut shapes more easily than ever before.

I got a pack to play with, and have only scratched the surface of what I can do with it. So far, I am liking it a lot.  I recently got a few Memory Box dies.  I love them, but they are so fine they drove me CRAZY trying to stick them.  I had some rub on adhesive dots, but they seemed to get everywhere and had to be rubbed on after cutting.  What I like about Stick It is you add the whisper thin adhesive with the protective release paper still in place, THEN cut the die.  And of course my first thought was letters – it was always going to be letters….

stickit

 

These letter are the ones I cut more than any other. I love the font, the size, and now I have the new and improved version, how easy they fall out after cutting. But let’s set aside the letters for a moment and look at another property of Stick It – the fact that is stays repositionable for a time then becomes permanent.  What does that mean? Well for a start, once I had cut those letters, I could poke them all out, and the entire back of the waste was ready to stick.  Perfect to use as a stencil, and with the sticky on it, less spray ink soak-under

2stickit

OK, I did say LESS, not NO soak under.  I tend to be a bit heavy-handed with my spraying and tend also to do it far too close.  Blame me, not the product.   That bit of card was very pretty.  But I also liked the edge where I protected the desk

3stickit

This is interesting – it is a pretty thin sheet of printer paper.  Normally, waste paper or at best to be torn up for collage.  But I don’t do a lot of collage, so it might have gone in the bin.  On a whim I added a scrap of the Stick It to the back and die cut that thin paper with that super delicate die.

4stickit

And it both came out of the die and the backing peeled away better than I could have hoped.

5stickit

I have never been able to cut such thin paper and have something useable at the end before.

I just stuck it on a card blank – I’ll use it at some point but not today

6stickit

Then I cut another super fine flower.  In the back of my mind I was thinking how I might conserve the product – could I add strips across the back rather than cover every bit?  I was looking at the flower and at the bits that are meant to fall out and get tossed in the bin. I was glad then I DID cover the whole piece because, taking advantage again of the repositionable properties I could use the die cut to place the waste and create a whole other motif.

7stickit

Then, lifting away the die I could make it stretch even further – again, because I covered the whole of the back – by sticking it to the edge, trimming, and adding the trimmed bit elsewhere.

8stickit

Without the all-over stickiness I would never have dared stick such fine cuts to the EDGE – that would be just tempting fate for sure. But because Stick It gives total coverage the die is secure. The final card is made up from all the bits

9stickit

There is a tag on the front that is raised over the are it was cut from.

10stickit

There are a couple of points to note – first, there are three crack&peel lines across the sheet I  have (the smaller size) and this is essential.  I have had peel and stick sheets before, and they were a pain to peel away to reveal the adhesive.  These peel points mean you are unlikely to end up with a piece you just can’t peel away.  But to be honest, I suspect it wouldn’t be an issue anyway – also worth noting is when I wanted to peel away the backing from the small letters, it came away quickly and cleanly with a little nudge of my fingernail.  A pin or pokey tool would work too.

Stick It is also meant to work with electronic die cut machines.  I am keen to try that too, but this is already quite long and my blade is quit dull.  I may take the plunge anyway but I have another thing I think you will like queued up for tomorrow so it won’t be till after that.

The review was not requested.  I just liked the product well enough to pass on the info.  I would buy more.  And what I’ll show tomorrow is MY real reason….

 


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PL printables or SVGs to cut – Hello Love!

Still cleaning and de-cluttering.  It’s going to take weeks.  But it so needed to be done.

Anyway, here is another quick one – a set of printables that look like this:

Lovepolaroid

and the PDF can be downloaded HERE. I thought that picking pink and blue and red would make them good for both romantic  love and love of a kid.

I also had a go and just making them into an SVG cut-file, but they just don’t cut nicely to my eye – I’m not sure if it’s the letters or the old blade and my ancient Cricut that is the problem. If you have a brand new blade (or at least new-ish) and don’t use cardstock that is super heavyweight, they might be OK. You can download them on Dropbox here.

originalfont

I love the font, called Termica but I’ve no new blade to test my theory – in the interest of full-disclosure, you can see how it cut on MY machine.  Not ideal.  The funny thing is the W and the M were the real problems and most of the time they cut OK, as you can see, but there seemed to be ONE LETTER that cut rubbish.  I think it could have been either the area of the mat it was on, or how the blade rotates to cut that letter in sequence, depending on the placement on the mat.  But it’s not the kind of thing you can assure people, if you put it HERE, with this orientation, it’ll cut fine

Otherwise, you may prefer this version, in a font that cuts better.  Slightly less cute, but it cuts well.

betterfonttocut

There are three tiny …s after moment.  Maybe make them more obvious with a pin or paper piercer?

I’m thinking The Beginning of Forever works for a wedding or a birth photo, Hello Love works for anything, from life partner to some fab recipe or bit of interior design or new car LOL! Likewise This was the moment…  I decided I loved coffee, that I fell in love with you, that I knew you were crazy.. you get the idea.

{sigh} off to sort thru yet another closet..


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Another duo – an SVG and a printable

I re-read my post from yesterday and realize that when I began it I considered adding the other Polaroid SVGs as a download, but by the end of it I had change my mind and felt they weren’t good enough to share.  Sorry I was misleading.  I’ve not abandoned them, just still looking for the “right” fonts. When I’m happy with them I will share, promise.

But I am happy with the big number ones so am going to share them!  If you recall I was unhappy with the closeness of the U and S in the smaller size, within the numbers, so I adjusted that slightly.

2numercut

My intention was to cut them in a different colour so I could make some samples.  Stupidly, I adjusted them, then somehow cut the original rather than the adjusted one! DOH! This is a screen grab of the .SVG and that is available for download on DropBox.

n

But I went ahead and used them to show you some of the options I thought of for using the cards as well a the numbers alone.

samplescut

Working clockwise from the top left:

  •  Cut twice, in two colours then mount the card on patterned paper and fill the letter-holes with the other colour letters.  The card is actually a sort of peachy colour, filled with brown.
  • Use the stand-alone number, mounted on patterned paper, letters filled with the other colour letters.
  • Same as the first one, just different colours
  • Rather than adding the fiddly little letter cut outs, simply mount a strip of another colour behind the open letters – in this case there is black behind the number, then the large number fills the hole in the card, with a third colour (the red background) showing thru.
  • Just the words filled with the other colour, the background showing to fill the large number.
  • Easiest option, just backing the cut-card with a solid colour

So you see there are LOTS of options.  I think you could, with just the right photo, even add one of the big numbers to the top, allowing the photo to show thru and fill the letters.

Now, the other thing that delayed me was that I decided to make a printable version as well. They look like this, slightly different to the cutting version:

numbertoPRINT

 

Then I thought I might as well expand it and offer alternative colours, as well as black & white for one, and ended up finally with this!

 

n2

 

You can download the 2-page PDF here.  I dithered about the usefulness of the three numbers with the same phrase on them, but think they can be used by the same person with ease – Two, Three or Four could be in any sort of combo of people – two friends as well as a couple. Heck, it could be two dogs or a cat and a dog, for example.  Ditto with three or four – friends, cousins, whatever.

Happy NSD tomorrow – I’m off to a crop, how about you?

and to add:  Oh dear.  I never stay logged in to places like Facebook and Google+ but I think I just realized that when I DO eventually sign in to Google+ I seem to have it set up to share my blog posts.  Thing is, I assumed it would just share the most recent one, but in fact t rather looks like it shares EVERY POST since the last time I logged in!  DOH! Will have to think on that and if I should change the setting, but am hoping it doesn’t really matter cause I don’t think I have any “circles” set up.  I think I need to look more closely at how the whole Google+ think works….


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Printables or Cutting files (.svg) – you decide….

We have been having a lively discussion over on UKS.  You may have seen the recent printables that I made by request, that sprang out of that discussion.  One of the members commented that she might try cutting on of the printables I was asking them to look at, and it got me thinking about cutting files.  The lovely Doreen, who is that rare mix of knowledge and willing to share/teach, helped me immensely with just a couple of comments and a few screenshots, solve a problem that I didn’t know I had LOL!  That is the biggest issue in using a program I adore, but that no one else uses.  Who do you ask for help?

Anyway let’s try to be organized here. These are all based around Polaroid frames, that’s how it began.

1. Set One is a PRINTABLE –  Designed specifically for the UKS ladies:

forUKS

It was a bit of an experiment and I wasn’t 100% happy with the font.  I thought a stencil font would make sense, but it turns out getting the drop shadows right is tricky.  But I’ll add them here  in case anyone can use them. Note the very faint background.  I am experimenting with that instead of a fine line to show the card area.

2. Set Two is another printable – designed to address the font choice.

forarimum2

Both of these have the light source upper right.  That one is here.

3. Then I got a bit crazy and made these – just to see how they would work, basically.  But having made them I kinda feel like why NOT add them?  My issue with them is, as it is with every printable that is super ink-intense, is that depending on your printer, they may not be exactly economical.  KWIM?  Printer ink is not cheap.  But here you go:

hoveringgrid

I love ’em, and think they look cute as can be, but was a little worried (with all of them, actually) that the corner rounding debate (another UKS discussion – to round or not to round? and may heat up once the SU! Project Life cards (not rounded) get released) would mean only non-rounders would use them unless I really reduced the interior window.

SO that took me on to the cutting file idea.  A few experiments later and I ended up with these:

4. The .svg file (can’t add it here, so it’ll have to be DropBox if I can remember how to use it LOL!) looks like this:

converttoimage

and cut they look like this – you need to save the little ring from the camera and the thumbs-up then stick them to the backing card to complete the image.

3PLcards

3PLcards2

Note that these are rounded.  I took the extra step of finding a good image of a PL card online, then did my level best to match the corner as best I could.  I also looked at posts in a number of places that claim the ACTUAL size of a PL card is 2.9 x 3.9 inches.  So I made them that size.

Now if I did it right, you should be able to grab it on DropBox here. If not, comment and I’ll sort you out somehow.

Now I really really need to step away from the computer.  Love making printables, but I have a crop this Saturday, and my messy painty AJ play is calling to me, as well as another little experiment I am itching to test, plus the shopping, the laundry, and a few things going on with DD this week.  At the moment the Net and email are stable (knock wood, big time) and the car is repaired and available (more wood-knocking) and my To Do list is a mile long…including more paperwork to be filed, so much so that DH is beginning to regret passing on the filing to me.   I just really have to bite the bullet and finish it up… DOH!

Really, I almost feel every post should come with an Executive Summary at the top – just the facts and links, M’am... cause who actually reads every word?  LOL!


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Coffee filter doilies

If you watched the video I embedded yesterday you will have noticed a little doily was part of her cluster. Now, I am not much of a doily kinda gal, I have never intentionally bought them (although have had a couple sent as part of a kit I once got) but I did like the softness they added.  I wasn’t about to go buy them, figuring I might not actually use them – I have a bad habit of slightly obsessing over something or another then go totally off it in a flash.  I might go off the idea of using a doily AFTER I bought a huge pack of them, who knows?

So I cast my eye around my cluttered craft room and it landed on my pile o’ coffee filters.  One of the things about doilies is the texture of them – plain old printer paper, or even light cardstock was in no way going to give the same effect, to my mind.  But coffee filters?  – yeah baby!

I have two Cheery Lynn dies that look pretty much like traditional doilies.  One is about 4 inches across and the other about 5 inches.

makingdoilies

First I trimmed off the bumpy area and then opened them out.

2makingdoilies

The 4″ inch one, shown below,  JUST fits these filters and the 5″ one fits enough to make it worth cutting – I cut 3 or 4 layers and they cut well using my Grand Calibur and the round shim I made for these dies ages ago.

3makingdoilies

Given that I can’t think I would really use a full 5″ doily on anything – ok, well MAYBE as a sort of a mat on a card…MAYBE – I just cut a pile anyway.  In most cases I would use them tucked in so only a bit of them would be on show

4makingdoilies

The absorbent coffee filter takes spray ink nicely, like a “real” doily would, and works well enough as a mask too – see it there to the side?

5makingdoilies

But what I really think is cool is using the brown (we say Kraft!) coloured coffee filters to make kraft coloured doilies!  Nifty.  Unfortunately I’m all out of brown filters (or DH ran out of filters at the office and took them there) but I know you can imagine them.  Brown doesn’t work for this particular cluster but I am anxious to try it.  And DANG!  I was JUST at the store…. Ah well….