Sunday, June 19, 2016

Machine stitching on a layout - with embroidery floss!

I LOVE the look of hand stitching on layouts, but it takes me FOREVER.  So, I started googling "machine sewing with thick thread."

So, the problem with trying to machine sew with embroidery floss (well, ONE of the problems) is that you can't thread the thick thread through the needle. Let me introduce you to "bobbin work."  In a nutshell, the top thread is normal sewing thread, and the thick thread or floss goes on the bobbin and you work the page upside down. 

Technical information about how to do this can be found here:

I decided to give it a shot, take one for the team, and do a sewing experiment. Very little risk for me as I hardly ever use my 20 year old machine for anything except scrapbooking these days.

I loaded the bobbin as per instructions in the link above. I held the feeding floss in my hands and used my fingers for tension. Once loaded, I popped it into the bobbin case.


And it's definitely true that you need to test the tension. The first one I tried (at "0" and "1") just looked like a piece of string stuck to the page with thread around it. It had to be set quite tight (like "8") before it looked decent. Excuse my scrawl, but the numbers do refer to the tension setting. Your results may vary. I also set the stitches as long as possible to better mimic hand stitching.

The photo above shows the underside of the paper after sewing.  I found that I quite liked the look of it with the high tension. For perspective, I would normally sew on fabric with a "3" or so, but the tension needs to be high so that it pulls the floss into the paper.

Once I knew it worked, I set down to business... making a layout. I used a Scrapbook Generations sketch that had lots of stitching on it. I stitched first, because it has to be done on the back side of the paper. Some planning needs to be done here if you want to try anything fancy.  After I sewed, I pulled the ends through to the back of the layout and taped them down.  And here's the finished look:

The stitching on this layout took about 5 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly!  A couple of closeups:

Next time, I might make the tension a little higher, even, but overall, I think I've got a winner!

Materials: buttons, puffy stickers, wood veneer - Evalicious, patterned paper - basic grey, sketch - Scrapbook Generations

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Magnet fishing

This is a story of how a layout evolved.

I had some photos of my son magnet fishing, but needed good embellishments. Do you know what shape the Silhouette Studio store is missing (as of today, anyways)? Magnets! Luckily the tracing feature came to my aid.

After I had traced out the original shape, I split it into 4 different colours so that it would end up looking nicely 3D.

I also had some great older Little Yellow Bicycle paper that I had been saving up for a good boy page.

But then I needed a plain background behind the photos so they didn't get overwhelmed. I happened to be at a crop with lots of shopping. As luck would have it, the new Carta Bella release had some great light grey gear paper. The perfect shade to match the LYB, plus great texture.

And things just fell into place after that. Some Crimson Thickers, some gears that were crop freebies layered with Spellbinders gear die cuts (dies borrowed from a fellow cropper)... et voila.

Materials: Little Yellow Bicycle - Fern and Forest Boy Collection, Carta Bella - Work Hard Play Hard Working Gears, Thickers - Crimson

Monday, April 18, 2016

Whoosh.... that was time flying!

Aaaaaand, I'm back. :)

I wanted to share a technique I started using last year. I had super great intentions of blogging what I had created with some foil and my laminator, but, well, that didn't happen... until now!

Lots of people have seen or tried the Heidi Swapp Minc tool that allows  you to create stunning foiled embellishments. Or maybe you've done the same thing as me and just bought a cheap laminator and laser printer? Either way, prepare to have your mind blown with print and cut foil like this!

Start off by making a title. You can make it directly in Silhouette Studio (fill with black), or, in my case, I did it in Adobe Illustrator in order to take advantage of the cool glyphs in the fonts. By the way, I used Desire for "Frigiliana", and Karmela for "market."

Once you are happy with your words, click to show the registration marks, and make sure that none of your titles are covered by those marks or in the non-printing/cutting area.

Now, add the offset. This is necessary for these titles because the font lines are so delicate. Change the line colour for the offset. I made mine orange. You'll see why in a moment.

Now, here comes the trick to the success of this process. You want to cut the outline of the offset, but NOT the words. To do this, you need to go into the ADVANCED cut settings. For my titles, the cut line of the words was black and the cut line of the offset was orange. So I unselected the black line so that it wouldn't cut.

Now, you're ready for action!  Go ahead and print to your laser printer. If you can darken the black or make sure you're not going light on the toner in your settings, do it. It'll make the foiling better.

And once it's printed, go ahead and cut it on the Silhouette.  Once the pieces are cut, go ahead and foil it!

And here are those titles in action, both using the Heidi Swapp Mint Green foil.

I will have to toot my own horn a bit and say that those titles look better in person than photographed. The pictures don't do the pretty shininess justice.

Thanks for looking!

Frigiliana uses mainly Fancy Pants Office Suite, Evalicious paper clip, some Heidi Swapp paper
The Market in Malaga uses mainly Pink Paislee Atlas
Credit to Scrapbook Generations for their sketches

Monday, May 11, 2015

My new font love... Sabella

If you've been reading my blog, you know about my font love. Well, today, I have a new love. Sabella.

I bought this font in a bundle from (it was a great deal, btw, and I have big plans for some of the brush fonts). I couldn't wait to start using it. Because it's an OpenType font, there are lots of contextual alternates and ligatures to make for BEAUTIFUL titles on the Cameo.

Here's the one I made for my most recent post over at

The c and the s are both alternate characters, so have that extra swoosh to make it look really cool. I'm also addicted to three layer titles. :)

And here is how it looks on the layout:

Props go to for having awesome sketches, from which this layout was inspired.

Evalicious Supplies:  puffy letters and puffy stickers, wood veneers, snipsnip labels and tags

Other Supplies:  Sketch - Scrapbook Generation, patterned paper - WRMK Notable / Noteworthy, cardstock - Bazzill Basics, font - Sabella from

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Marquis de Larios

So, here's the REST of the story... (aka: what I did with the title file I made on my last post)...

 I'm working with some of the new Evalicious "This Way" travel themed goodies this week for a contest being held on Instagram (go check it out NOW, if you haven't already... you could win a $30 eGC... @ronascraps).

I used the one page sketch from the March 2015 edition of Create Magazine (published by Scrapbook Generations as my jumping off point. A new sheet of Echo Park paper (Jack and Jill) matches the Evalicious line so perfectly.  Another of life's little joys--when I find a new line of paper that matches my goodies).

The flourish was super skinny, so I ran the Cameo on the slowest setting and was veeeerrrry careful pulling it off the cutting mat.

The sketch called for a row of tickets, but I'm more of a cluster girl myself, so I grabbed a ticket die, and cut a few dies out of cardstock and faux-cork paper.  I did cut thin strips of actual cork to create a border for the white interior.

This was a fun layout to make, and came together super quickly (...uh... once the title was done).


Other Supplies:  Sketch - Scrapbook Generation, patterned paper - Echo Park Jack and Jill - Jack, Fancy Pants (The Good Life-Labeled), Washi tape - Little B, cork - Quickutz, tickets - Tim Holtz die and stamps, ink - Ranger, cardstock - Bazzill Basics

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Making Titles on the Silhouette: aka using glyphs from OTF Fonts

One of my very favourite things to do is to play with fonts. I spend more time than I care to mention looking at pretty fonts on the internet.  One of my recent fascinations has been the glyphs and alternate letters that come with the OTF fonts.

It all kind of started with Scriptina, and seeing that there's a second ttf file that comes with it with the alternates in it kind of made me swoon.

I'm no graphic artist, so it was news to me when I found out about OTF fonts that, instead of having a second file of alternates, have the glyphs built in. 

Unfortunately, Silhouette Studio does not accommodate the extra feature of OTF fonts. Sure, I can use the font, but it's just kind of "meh."

The trick is having the right software to access them.  I really wanted to be able to cut out these fonts in Studio without getting new software or doing anything crazy. 

Many times, I tried to do this through Word. I found some pretty good tutorials on the net.  One of my favourites here: . So, I'd end up with something like this...

Pretty cool, right? So, how do I cut this?  First, I tried the easiest thing, which was cutting and pasting to the Studio application. Well, fail. It just came across in Arial Unicode. And if I tried changing the font, I was back to the "meh" version I started with.  Another option was to export a jpg file and trace it in Studio. Ok, that works, but the edges aren't super smooth, and there's a lot of work to clean it up. Plus, you lose the whole advantage of it being vector graphics, and resizable.

I tried Inkscape. Great news... it's free! Bad news... it doesn't have OTF as a feature.

So, I then found my solution with Adobe Illustrator. Bad news.... it's not free. Good news, it works GREAT!

Here are the steps from creating a custom title in Illustrator, though to getting it ready to cut in Silhouette Studio DE:

1. create image in AI

  • file / new / new document / ok (I just want to get to a blank sheet to work on)
  • Click on the Text tool on the left, and start typing. Be sure to change to the correct font, and probably increase the size to 72 or something big so you can see it (right click, or use the "Type" menu item)
  • Now, select Type/Glyphs from the menu. You'll see a ton of characters pop up on the right. 
  • you can narrow it down if you want by highlighting a letter and then clicking the pop down arrow next to "Entire Font" and choosing "Alternates for Current Selection."
  • The only downfall with doing this is that you miss some of the cool characters. For example, there's a character for "LA" and "RI" that I used in this title that I don't see there.
  • Start switching out characters for the glyphs until you end up with something that you love.
  • Now, time to get it ready to export.

2. Outline the text in AI. (Choose the arrow selector tool to select the text first and get the blue box outline, right click, create outlines)

3. Select the text again, then hit D to make it a black outline with white fill

4. Right click and ungroup (this doesn't really make any visible change).

5. File / export / Save as type: dxf. Ok. Save it whereever, just remember where it is. :) It's really easy if you just put it on your desktop because then you can...

6. ... drag the file onto the cutting page in Studio (or Open, but be sure to picke the Files of type DXF).

7. Some welding might be required if there is overlap of the letters. For this file, I had to first be sure that each letter was on the same compound path. For example, I'd select the inside and outside of the "O" and then "make compound path." Likewise with the inside and outside of the "R" flourish. Then I could weld the two together (see the highlighted pic below. See that the "S" isn't welded yet. That won't cut properly.). After all the welding, I'd select the whole thing and "make compound path."

I have the Designer Edition, so I'm not sure whether the importing of DXF files is something you can do with the regular version. 

Check back on Saturday to see this title in action!

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Goodies! And a discount code!

I'm so excited about the new goodies that arrived from . Check out these stunning wood veneers! Part of the "This Way" line, just released. Just in time for me to scrapbook my Spain trip. How convenient. :)

There's something special coming up on Instagram May 1-6, so if you haven't checked it out already, go and follow @shop.evalicious . You'll be glad you did.

Also, use RONA15 to get 15% off your purchase at ... these goodies can be at your house before you know it!!