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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cricut Tuesdays with The McSmitty Girl

Hello Everyone and hope you are having a great start to the week!
As promised in last week's post that it would be filled with techniques, tips and tricks. For a fun twist I thought I'd share a story with you. Now for anyone who knows me; I am a die hard Cricut addict! A friend of mine is a true stamping fan. So with her influence I thought 'hey I can do both'. But after investing so much into stamping and Cricut at the same time; I realized at the time that I could not master both arts. I would think of using my Cricut more than a stamp.
So I downsized my stamp stash last year. But recently and thanks to Nini and the fabulous Design Team I am proud to be a part of, I've become more comfortable with the thought of stepping outside my Cricut box. This is not say I've mastered die-cutting but I think I am at the point where I can comfortably incorporate other techniques like stamping into my Cricut creations. This week we will explore my baby steps into the stamping world while using my Cricut. So I like to tell you a story about it. It is called 'The Cricut and The Stamp'.

One day The McSmitty Girl remembered she needed to make a birthday card for her MIL's birthday. So off she went to her scrap space and started to research her options. The McSmitty Girl realized she required more than 1 cartridge to accomplish this card as she required the card itself, the coordinating envelope, the phrase and the image to go with the phrase. Then The McSmitty Girl remembered that the Cricut Juke Box holds up to 6 cartridges. No more swapping of the carts! So the Juke Box got plugged into the Expression machine via its connective wire and in went the following cartridges into the Juke Box: Celebrations, Beyond Birthdays and 50 States from the Classmates Series.

Using a mix of 12x12 paper and cardstock & scraps, first the envelope was created using the Celebrations cartridge. On this cartridge it is foundation key 'sqenvl' (using the shift key) which was cut out at using the 'Fit to Page' feature.

Next was the card cut using the same foundation key 'sqcard' (using the non-shift key) done to ensure a proper fit. The layered square part of the card was assembled using scrap paper and ribbon. The phrase 'Happy Birthday' was cut at 2" using the Beyond Birthdays cartridge (creative features used were shadow and usual phrase cuts) then nested and glued together. Finally to pick a flower image to coordinate this card.

From the 50 States cartridge the McSmitty Girl chose the 'NY' flower (creative feature) which is the Rose. But to add oomph she thought why not use a Cricut Marker to outline then make the cut. First the base was created using the 'NY' flower creative feature then she proceeded to cut the layer piece using the 'NY-s' flower creative feature all at 3". Next for additional pop, the McSmitty Girl cut the same 'NY-s' flower creative feature at 2-3/4".

All the pieces were layered and glued together before it was adhered to the card with adhesive dimensional dots. Looking at the finished product, the McSmitty Girl thought this was just too beautiful of card and decided to make more cards creating a set as a gift for her MIL.

Then one day the McSmitty Girl and her son became very sick. When recovering the McSmitty Girl remembered that she had 1 week left to complete her MIL's birthday gift. So this time she paid a visit to Stamping World. During her stay, the McSmitty Girl thought she could make the 'same' card but with no markers and stamped greetings for a different look. As a result and 1 afternoon later, three cards were created and complete. The McSmitty Girl chose only greeting type stamps as she thought this was the simplest way to get back into stamping.

The morale of the story is that stamping can enhance a Cricut project and help you out when you are in a bind for time. And that using the Cricut accessories can help you save time and energy all the while giving more pop to your projects and maximize your Cricut creativity. But for the McSmitty Girl the Cricut will always have a place in her scrappin' - craftin' heart. It will be her go-to tool and technique of choice as she incorporates more of other elements into her work.

The following cards all used the same cartridges, creative features and size of cuts with and without the markers. For the 'thank-you' card the Sunflower image was the 'KS' and 'KS-s' flower creative features from the 50 States cartridge. And the Common Loon made for the 'get well soon' card was the 'MN' and MN-s' bird creative features from the 50 States cartridge.

*The 's' beside the state abbreviation means the shift key was used to make the layered cut to its corresponding base.

Here are some my tips and tricks to help you re-create these cards or make your own creations. I wish someone told me some of these... Some of these tips and tricks were discovered simply through trial and error on my part.

Tip and Trick #1:
When using the Juke Box ensure your overlay is placed on the keyboard of the highlighted cartridge. When you press onto that corresponding button to activate that cartridge, the machine will initally read 'cartridge not found' but seconds later it will read the cartridge you've chosen.

Tip and Trick #2:
Place your Juke Box beside your machine when attached to your Cricut machine. Not in front or at the back as this will interfere with the cutting process.

Tip and Trick #3:
The connective cords actually fit into a specific fashion. Do not try to ram in the port connectors into the Cricut machine or into the Juke Box. It will not fit and you will risk ruining both machines and the cords themselves.

Tip and Trick #4:
Using the Cricut Markers will not work with the Portriat cutting mode.

Tip and Trick #5:
To effectively use the Cricut Markers and cut out the drawn images, your paper must be in the top left corner of the mat that enters the machine.

Technique Tip #1: Using the Cricut Marker
a) Remove your blade assembly and replace with marker color of choice. For these cards I used either black or brown.
b) Load paper as usual.
c) Choose image as usual.
d) Press cut which in this case will actually draw out your image.
e) Press Load Paper when cutting (i.e. drawing) is completed.
f) Replace Cricut Marker with blade assembly.
g) Hit Repeat Last. Now the Cricut will cut out around the drawn lines your image.
h) Press Unload Paper as usual to remove your drawn, cut image.
i) Repeat steps 'a' through 'i' for additional layers.

I eventually made my MIL actual birthday card. Want to see it and more my Cricut creations that are not featured in my weekly blog posts? Become a member of the Posh Designs Interactive Community. It's FREE and there is no obligation. Hope to see you there! I look forward to welcoming you all!
Hope you enjoyed this week's post! I love comments and if there is something you would like to see either a specific cartridge used (I have them all!) a project or even certain materials; please drop me a line either in the feedback section below or via the Interactive Community Site. Thanks!

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