Ornaments Galore!

I’ve been assembling ornaments for my upcoming ornament workshop and wanted to share the results here. The first six ornaments are made using CTMH’s die cut Dimensional Elements Ornaments:

The last ornament I made using October’s Stamp of the Month, Very Merry Christmas, and 40 ornaments cut using the CTMH’s Cricut Artiste and Art Philosophy cartridges.

This ornament is a copy of the well known ornament from the front of Stampin’ Ups Holiday mini-catalog, except I’ve used CTMH stamp sets and ornaments cut in a matter of minutes with the Cricut machine, much easier than cutting them one by one with a Big Shot. I think it looks really nice and it was very quick and easy to make….   my kind of project!

I Love My Cricut!!

If you love your Cricut® machine as much I as I love mine, then you are going to adore all of the fabulous things you can do with Close To My Heart Cricut® cartridges in the Cricut® Craft Room. I never knew about the Craft Room…   It’s free to use and works with any Cricut Cartridge you have. You can create layers, cut negative space in the shape of your choice, make borders, and link elements together for a connected look (I love doing that on my titles….) It’s easy!

Here is how to get started with Cricut® Craft Room:

  1. Create a FREE account in a few easy steps.
  2. Download and run the application for PC or MAC, depending on the type of computer you use.
  3. Connect your Cricut® machine to your computer using a Type B USB cable. (Note: For more info on this type of cable, see your Cricut®user’s guide or your local electronics store.) Once you have connected your computer to your Cricut® machine, the “Load Mat” button is the only button you will ever need to push on your machine in the entire process. Cricut® Craft Room will do everything else for you.
  4. Once inside the application, choose the type of Cricut® machine you own.
  5. Insert your Close To My Heart Art Philosophy or Artiste cartridge into your Cricut® machine.
  6. In the lower left portion of the application there is a tab that is labeled “Images/Cartridges.” Select “All Cartridges” from the dropdown menu. (Note: You must choose a cartridge that you own. You can also purchase individual images from the Cricut® store.)
  7. Scroll to find the Close To My Heart Art Philosophy or Close To My Heart Artiste cartridges you own.
  8. The virtual mat in Cricut® Craft Room is just like the mat you’ll load into your machine. And, it is oriented the same way that you will load your mat into the machine, with the arrow at the top.
  9. To drag an image to the mat, simply click on the image in the image selection tool box and move it to the mat.
  10. Once the image is on the virtual mat, you can adjust the placement by clicking on the image and moving it to any location on the mat.
  11. Now that you know the basics, you can start creating and exploring the possibilities!

Follow these steps to create the negative space on a card base, like you see on this Cheer Up card, featuring images from the Art Philosophy cartridge:

  1. Select the “Card” tab in the Art Philosophy images. Find the card base you prefer and drag it onto the mat. (We used Square 1 for the Cheer Up card.) The image will be cut in the exact direction and location that you place it on the virtual mat. At the top of the screen, or at the left under the “Shape Properties” tab, you’ll see size boxes. Enter the width and height for your shape. This is the size it will be cut on the machine, regardless of what size your machine indicates on the flip screen.

  1. Choose an image to cut out of your card front. We have chosen a butterfly by going to the Basics tab, clicking the “Show Shift/Lock Images” at the bottom, and then selecting the butterfly. Drag the image to the right side of the card base, position it, and alter the size, as desired. Once the image is in place, you will see a cut-out image in its place. This Weld feature is automatically on unless you disable it, and allows you to see how the card base will look with your images cut out.

  1. Select another image, drag it to the card base, and position it how you’d like it. Continue adding images to the card base, if desired.

  1. To cut your finished artwork, load the mat into your Cricut® machine and insert the corresponding cartridge. Next, press the green Cut button at the top of the computer screen and follow the prompts. The machine will cut the shapes as you have prepared them in Craft Room. If more than one cartridge shape has been added to the project, the machine and screen will prompt you with instructions.

Here are so more artwork examples that have been made using Cricut®Craft Room software. Follow the instructions below to learn some more fun tricks we used in creating this artwork.

Birthday Greetings card

Here’s how to create the bracket frame as shown in this Birthday Greetings card:

  1. Drag a card base from Art Philosophy cartridge and size it to be 9″ wide and 4½” high.
  2. Add a 1½” bracket frame (from the Basic tab) to the center of the right side of the card. So far, all of the shapes have been placed in Layer 1. You can add additional layers using the Layer feature located toward the top of the screen, directly above the mat. Each Layer will be cut from a separate sheet of paper and is indicated by a different color on the screen. Using the Layer feature allows you to fully design your Cricut® shapes before cutting any pieces.
  3. Add a second Layer by clicking the plus sign. Click and hold the Layer 2 tab and drag the tab to the left so it is first in the row. This allows you to see the second Layer on top of the first so you can visualize your finished project. Drag a 3″ bracket frame to the card base and position it over the 1½” frame. Then, still using Layer 2, add a 1½” bracket frame in the center of the 3″ frame.
  4. Maneuver the Layer 2 frames so that they perfectly line up with the Layer 1 frame. Use your keyboard arrows for exactness.
  5. Cut the pieces following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine. Layer 2 will be cut first, so be sure to load that paper first. Then load a new sheet of paper for the Layer 1 pieces.
  6. Embellish the card as desired.

All Boy page

Want to create a border that spans the entire length of your 12″ page? It’s easy!

  1. In Craft Room, change the mat size to 12″ x 24″ under Machine & Mat tab on the left of the screen.
  2. Drag your selected border to the mat and rotate it so it is vertical.
  3. Change the height of the border to 12″. It will automatically change the width proportionally unless you click the aspect ratio button between the width and height measurements.
  4. Whether you have a 12″ × 24″ mat or a 12″ × 12″ mat, you can use this function with a 12″ × 12″ piece of paper. Simply place the border as close to the top of the Craft Room mat as possible, but not exactly flush with the top.

  1. Cut the piece following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine.

To create the title with the letters joined together to form one piece instead of individually cut letters…

  1. Drag your letters to the mat
  2. Overlap portions of each letter to connect them
  3. Use the Weld feature to join the letters together seamlessly.
  4. Cut the piece following the prompts on the computer screen and Cricut® machine.

There are so many cool things you can do here!  Now, go play around in the Craft Room. I’d love to see what you come up with…

Scholastic Birthday Card

OK, so maybe a birthday card focusing on a “scholastic” theme is a non-starter for most folks… I signed up for a card swap though and agreed to come up with a card using the Scholastic paper pack. Generally, I have a hard time coming up with good masculine looking birthday cards so I thought this one came together pretty well:

Thanks for looking!

Studio J Tricks to Add Flair to Your Layouts

Have you tried CTMH’s digital scrapbooking program, Studio J, yet? Even though Studio J is fast and easy to use, it is helpful to know some great tricks that can make customizing your layouts even more exciting. Here are some Studio J tricks straight from our professional Close To My Heart artists:

1. Customize your background and texture paper. You can change the color and intensity of the background and texture paper included in whichever kit you choose. Simply select the piece of background and texture paper, change the color in the color selection tool, and increase or decrease the intensity of the color in that same popup box.

2. Crop My Stickease® quotes, titles, and tags. The cropping feature on the My Stickease images allows you to select a section of a quote, title, or tag to use as a border or other embellishment.

3. Create a customized My Stickease image. If you have a specific image in mind to use as an embellishment on your page, you can create a customized My Stickease to fit your theme perfectly. Simply add a text box, photo hanger, ribbon, ribbon slides, and Stickease to create the little suitcase! So easy! Be sure to crop or send elements behind other elements when necessary, and add several elements together for a unique look!

4. Select more than one element at a time. If you want to move several elements of your layout at once, simply click and drag your mouse around the elements you would like to select. Let’s take buttons, for example. After the buttons have been selected, you can click the icons in the popup box to choose to align the buttons vertically or horizontally if you desire.

5. Make faux washi tape with vellum text boxes. To create the look of a piece of clear washi tape, make a small rectangular text box, filled with vellum background (this is the default color for text boxes). You can make the tape strips as large or small as you want, or even layer them for more emphasis.

6. Stretch one photo across multiple photo wells. If you have fewer photos than photo wells, instead of deleting the excess wells, try scaling the picture to a larger size and then copying the picture to other photo wells and matching the photos up until they align with an almost seamless image. This trick works best with photo wells that are adjacent to each other.

7. Create ruffled ribbon. Select “Ribbons” in the drop-down menu under the Embellishments toolset. Choose ribbon tab and rotate the tab so that it is vertical on the page. Then layer several tabs on top of one another, sending every other one to the back to create a ruffled look.

8. Create a jagged border with text boxes. You can create a jagged border simply by rotating multiple text boxes about 45 degrees and making them the same color as the background. Put these boxes on top of a long, rectangular box of another color, and you’ve got a jagged border!

9. Change the background of your layout. Sometimes you may like the photo and journal arrangement in a layout, and yet want to change the background colors. Because photos sit on top of everything else, this is easy to do. Simply pull a journaling box over the space you want for a different background and fill it with a color from the color selection tool or a patterned paper from the Papers toolset. Then, send it backwards until the photo wells are on top of your new background.

Bonus Trick! Use keyboard keys to make embellishments. Did you know that some of the best tools for creating custom embellishments are the basic keys on your keyboard? It’s as simple as typing into a journaling box with no background color. Use periods to make a polka dot pattern, angle brackets to create a trendy Chevron look, overlapping pound signs to make burlap, question marks to make rope, and so much more!

Go ahead and try these tricks on your own Studio J layouts here. It’s fun and it’s free to use!  You only need to pay if you decide to order a print of your layout. If you do want to print layouts you’ve created, October is the perfect month to give it a go because for every 9 layouts you purchase, you’ll get a 10th layout for FREE!

In addition to creating your own custom layouts from scratch, CTMH has just added the new Express Collections. Each themed Express Collection includes 10 two-page coordinating, fully embellished layouts, plus a front and back page for your album, that are professionally designed and nearly complete—you simply drag in your photos and add your title and journaling! You can choose to create all 10 layouts plus the covers, or create just a few of the layouts in the collection. It’s up to you. Express Collections makes getting your photos off your camera card or computer and into gorgeous layouts faster than ever!

How to contact me:

1-571-276-5405
Mariefarson@juno.com

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