Sunday, July 18, 2010

All about my Cricut…

I am NO expert on the subject, by any means.  I am really just learning about all that it can do…and what it can be made to do via other software programs.  I will welcome any comments on the subject, as I am writing this post by request from some of the readers of the Shabby Shoppe blog who saw that I had cut out the Strawberry boxes for Nalley’s birthday invitations on my Cricut.

I bought the Cricut Expression in January, and got the Sure Cuts a Lot (SCAL2) software to go with it at the same time.  SCAL is a software program that overwrites the Cricut’s need to cut with the cartridges that are made for it.  You must have a cartridge, any cartridge in the machine in order for it to work, but SCAL reads .svg files (scalable vector graphics) as well as .scut (SCAL’s file designation) files and any true type font that you have installed in your computer. I should add here, that using the SCAL software with the Cricut, WILL void the manufacturer’s warranty, so if you are worried about that at all, you should wait until your warranty has expired to use the SCAL software. 

You can download any number of .svg or .scut files on the internet at many different blogs and cut file websites.  Many digital scrapbooking sites also have “d-cut” files or “digital cutting” files available for purchase too.  However, if you are clever and somewhat proficient with photoshop, illustrator, or inkscape (and even if you’re not, there are MANY tutorials out there to catch you up to speed), you can create your own cut files and let your Cricut do all your detailed cutting for you.

For the strawberry boxes I used for Nalley’s invitation, I simply isolated the box shape in Photoshop, filled the “shape” with black and saved it as a .jpeg file.  From there, I used the Trace Image option in SCAL2 and scaled the cut file to fit on my 8.5 x 11 page that I had printed my red and white damask paper on.  I enlarged it to be as big as I could fit on the page.

I did the same thing with the strawberry cap for the box and just printed them on the green polka dot paper.  I saved the scraps and used them for the other parts of the invitation.

There are so many tutorials available for Photoshop as well as Inkscape and Illustrator (they are both vector graphics programs, Illustrator is Adobe’s version, and is quite costly, but Inkscape is a free program and you can download it here).  There are also lots of tutorials for SCAL, as I mentioned before.  I am not a great help when it comes to this stuff, I do LOTS of trial and error…and usually have a lot of error in my quest for success…but it has been lots of fun and a good investment for me.

i hope you’ve found this somewhat helpful, and if you have questions, I’ll do my best to help.  But please, if you are knowledgeable in this stuff…there are lots who want to know about it, so leave some comments for us!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy FIRST Birthday, Little Dude!!!

I seriously CANNOT believe that my little baby is ONE today!  This picture was taken yesterday by a staff photographer from the Winnipeg Free Press.  A follow up article will be printed in today’s newspaper, covering the presentation and donation of the quilts we are taking down today.  What better way to celebrate Lawson’s birthday???

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / JULY 15   2010 - 100715 - Sandi Klowak story-  Kathy Murray with son Lawson age 1, is leading a group that makes quilts for babies  at  the intermediate care unit  of  Women’s Hospital . They provide support families of sick babies , and are presenting 190 quilts to the hospital  Friday . People from all over the world have provided  quilts , squares , and baby sleepers

After a few more quilts trickled in through out the day, I counted them all as I was sorting them last night, and I have 173 in my house, and another 31 that have been made, but not delivered yet.  Our grand total is 204 baby quilts, and 80+ sleepers. 

Now, here are two pictures that reminded me about exactly why I began this journey…my heart still hurts when I see it.  I remember so profoundly how my heart felt like it would break just looking at him, and feeling so desperate to have him home with me.


To think that he fought so hard to get well, and today he is a VERY BUSY, healthy and happy little boy…I am so thankful and so blessed!


Thank you to all who have contributed to Quilting for Babes, in each and every way, it could not have been done with out you!!!!  And Happy Birthday Lawson, I love you more than you will EVER know!!!

Strawberry Shortcake Party

When Nalley started playing with Strawberry Shortcake stuff this year, I was in my glory. I still have all of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls...and they STILL smell. I played with them for HOURS at a time when I was little, and so does she. So, I just HAD to throw her a Strawberry Shortcake party. I promised myself I wouldn't go over board, I would keep it simple...all 3 of our kids have birthdays within 6 weeks of each other, and this year is Lawson's big FIRST birthday party. It was the least stressful party I have EVER planned. The food was simple, there were NO planned activities, and I was happy...and when Momma's happy, everybody's happy!

Strawberry Invitation 2 copy

When I started planning the party, I just KNEW that I had to use these A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E strawberry boxes from the Shabby Princess's XOXO Confection Collection. Now I did alter them slightly, in that I enlarged them to be as big as I could. I cut them on my Cricut Expression...what a DREAM! It was soooo simple, and they were just perfect!

Strawberry Invitation1 copy

I filled them with strawberry and cream flavored jelly beans in a cello bag, then tied them up with a length of white grosgrain ribbon. With the leftover scraps from the strawberry box, I punched some scalloped circles. I layered the scalloped circles with some green cardstock and added a cute strawberry on top of that. I attached them to a simple folded 2x2 invitation that I printed off on the computer, and have a really cute invitation.

I hand delivered these invitations, as I couldn't (and wouldn't have wanted to) send them through the mail. I opted to make these the invitations instead of the favors because it wouldn't require as many, and I wanted a really unique invitation...mission accomplished!

Strawberry Outfit copy

Of course Nalley had to have a cute strawberry outfit to wear on her special day, so I used the same digital papers from the strawberry box, from the Shabby Princess Sweetie Pie collection, to create an iron on transfer for a plain white shirt. I made a REALLY simple twirl skirt and matching headband in a cute red and white polka dot (have I told you how much I L-O-V-E polka dots?) fabric. It really couldn't get much simpler than that. Oh, and there isn't a picture of it, but the white shirt was too long, and detracted from the skirt, so the morning of the party, I came up with a really easy solution. I covered a button in the red/white polka dot fabric, and attached it to a white pony tail elastic and tied up the shirt in the back. It gave the shirt a kind of gathered look to the front and was really cute in back. I LIKE EASY!

Strawberry Outfit 2 copy

I like the old strawberry shortcake better, this is the new one...but it's all they had in the way of plates at the party, that's what we had.

SS Plate copy

Again, I went simple on the loot bags, a coloring book, crayons, some strawberry candies, a party blower, and that was it!

SS Loot Bags copy

The table needed something more, so the morning of the party, I used some of the leftover papers I'd printed for the strawberry box invitations, and punched some large scalloped circles. I cut out a "3" on the cricut in pink and a shadow in red cardstock and attached them to the circles. I then adhered them onto bamboo skewers that I cut to size, stuck them in a champagne glass filled with leftover jelly beans and tied some ribbons on. I put one on either side of the veggie tray and it added a cute little decoration. Again, simple!

Table copy3 Pick copy

I covered some strawberries in white and milk chocolate the day before, made some mini strawberry muffins the morning of and the rest was hot dogs, chips, veggies, and then of course cake and ice cream.

 Chocolate Covered Strawberries copy

I found this cute panel at the fabric store for $4. I saw it a while before and didn't buy it, then the week of it was still there, so I took it as a sign that I was supposed to do something with it. I cut a piece of pink Kona cotton for the back, and hand tied it (I've never tied a quilt was fun) with red crochet cotton and machine bound it with the same pink Kona. It was easy and cute. Nalley sat on it while she opened her presents. And she loves it!

SS Quilt copy

She had fun opening her gifts, but was a little overwhelmed I think. The sweetest thing though, was that she said her favorite part of the whole day was the cake! Mine too...the apple (or strawberry, if you will) doesn't fall far from the vine.

Presents copy

Cake copy

Here she is enjoying her favorite part of the day...the cake!  Life is sweet!

Eating Cake copy

Head on over and see a similar post today one the Shabby Shoppe blog…

Sunday, July 11, 2010

1st Haircut LO

This was my layout for the Shabby Princess’s new kit Hopscotch that was released this week…I’m a little behind on posting it, with all the birthday stuff going on.

The journaling reads:
“you cried because you hated getting your haircut. i cried because i hate seeing you grow up so fast.”

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Bib for Georgia…

I am really embarrassed to say that I have had this bib made for my friend Heidi’s baby, Miss Georgia Jane, for quite a while.  I have been needing to make a card to go with it, and haven’t.  I bought a little outfit for her too, thank goodness I bought 12 months, because Georgia was born in April…I am terrible!

bib for Georgia

Anyway, the bib turned out pretty cute.  I made the patchwork strip from my scrap bag and I paired it with some linen…so classic and sweet.

It was my first time installing a snap, and really, it was a breeze.  I had purchased some snaps and the setter from the Snap Source a while back and was happy to finally use it.

It was so easy to use and I’ve used it again on another bib that I made for baby Lawson’s birthday party…but I can’t show you that one yet!  I am going to mail this package to Heidi a.s.a.p.  Nothing like posting it on my blog to motivate me!  But I still haven’t made a card, I think I’ll just buy one!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Food Friday

Hey y''s been a while, hasn't it? I have been in full throttle with birthday parties lately, and trying to get things finished up for for our first and SO EXCITING delivery to the IMCU for Quilting for Babes. Today's post is something that I've been wanting to share for a while...some of our favorite recipes. We have been incorporating some recipes in what has been dubbed Food Fridays over at the Shabby Princess blog. Today is my first FF post, so i had to share here too!
These are some yummy recipes that we eat all the original (not much too roasted carrots, and our buddy Tim's mom's chicken coating that we put on boneless skinless chicken thighs and then throw them on the barbie! Try them, you'll be hooked, they are the PERFECT simple summer meal.
Rough cut your carrots, by cutting them on a 45 degree angle, then turn a quarter turn, and cut again. This way of chopping them allows for more surface area to roast...and they look so pretty.
Toss the boneless, skinless chicken thighs with olive oil and the chicken coating, then throw the on the BBQ and cook till done. They turn out so flavorful, moist and delicious! Yum-O!
Click on the recipe cards below to download these them.
If you give these recipes a try, let me know what you think of them...I would love to hear!
Bon App├ętit!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Class Schedule!!!

Yay! I have finally sat still long enough to plan out a fall class schedule for Magnolia Designs. Things have been completely hectic in my life for the last year since Baby Lawson showed up, but since he is turning ONE soon, and is no longer an infant...I'M BACK AT IT!

The LOOOOOOONG awaited Digi-Scrapping 101 class is on the calendar! Classes will start Septemer 23rd and run for 3 consecutive Thursdays nights from 7-9 p.m. Space is limited as with all of my classes, and they tend to fill up quickly, so e-mail me a.s.a.p. to reserve you spot. It it going to be a great class, chocked full of info and some awesome digitial scrapbooking goodies to boot!

The following itenerary is tentative and could change, but as for now, this is what I have planned...

October 14th (Thursday night): Halloween Treat Toppers and Candy Wrappers

November 4th (Thursday night): Crocheted Flowers & Leaves ~ I will be teaching how to make several different styles of crocheted flowers and leaves that are so popular right now as embellishments for card making and scrapbooking.

November 11th (Thursday night): Distressing Techniques and Plastic Paper ~ continuing the embellishment classes, I will teach several different distressing techniques as well as how to make some really cool plastic "paper" for creating unique embellishments.

November 18th (Thursday night): Paper and Fabric Flowers ~ another embellishment class where we will make a variety of paper and fabric flowers and how to make them look "shabby chic".

November 27th (Saturday morning): Advent Calendar class: back by popular demand, we will be making a similar Advent Calendar to this...sign up quickly for this one!

December 2nd (Thursday night): Christmas Tags ~ we will be making several styles of Christmas gift tags.

December 4th (Saturday morning): Recipe Box ~ I will be teaching how to alter this TOTALLY fun recipe box, and you can embellish it using the techniques learned during the previous embellishment classes. This makes a wonderful Christmas, wedding or birthday gift!

If you are interested in any of these classes, please e-mail me to register. I will send you class costs and supply lists. I will also try to update my Google calendar found on the sidebar to show class dates and costs.