Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Have Been One Busy Woman!

I have been SO very busy lately between taking care of my kids, the house, and my husband who is recovering very well from his surgery!  In spite of all of that, I have found some time for crafting, just not a lot for blogging.  Here is an update on what I have been working on!  First off, since Halloween is just around the corner, I had to get cracking on my Halloween treats.  Last year, my son and I started this tradition where we "dress up" the candy that we will be handing out on Halloween to all the trick or treaters that come to our house.  Here is a look at the candy bowl...

I used THIS free SVG file from  This SVG cut beautifully in the eCraft using the eCraftshop Pro software and even though I had to cut out a lot of these, it really didn't take that long to get them all cut.

The papers are from Martha Stewart and Cloud 9 Design.  The ribbons are from Hobby Lobby and Michaels.  To create the tag, I used a digital paper (Haunted Halloween Background Paper Pack) from Lettering Delights, and then digitally used the DB Jack o Patterns doodlebat (also from Lettering Delights) on top of the digital paper so that Frank's head had the digital paper shown through.  I enlarged it so that I could use my 1-3/4" circle punch.  I then used my new die set from Papertrey Ink called Limitless Layers to die cut the four different mats for my digital tag.  Since this set comes with 4 mats as well as 1 plain circle, I was able to cut all 4 mats at one time, so it was really quick to get all of these cut.  On the back of the tag is my personal stamp.  The tag was attached with just a little bit of embroidery floss.  These really turned out so cute, I just wished I started earlier so I would have time to make more.  I have a feeling that I won't have enough for all the trick or treaters.  The candy inside is a mixture of Snickers, Milky Way and Twix fun size bars.

Another thing that I have been working on is the Disney sweatshirts for our extended family for our upcoming Disney World trip.  Here are two more of these, and I have to tell you that even though I have made several of these now, every time I finish one I am just amazed every time.  They turn out so good!  I just love this t-shirt vinyl!  First up is another Tinkerbell.  The first one was one that I made for myself, this one is for my wonderful MIL.  I just know that she is going to love this!

This next one is just darling.  This is for my niece, who is only 18 months old, so this sweatshirt is tiny!  This just goes to show you that this stuff can be intricately cut at small sizes and look amazing!  She is the only little girl in our family, so naturally she is our own Cinderella!

I still have not had a chance to play with my new eCraft SD card, but I will be doing that soon, and I will share what I create.  I can't wait to do this, but I had to get these other things out of the way first!

Monday, October 18, 2010

eCraft Challenge!

Hi everybody!  I haven't been around much lately because of my husband's spinal surgery.  Everything went very well and he is at home recovering.  He is walking and is starting to feel a little better each day, so he is well on the way to recovery.  Now on to other business...

Kim Bush over at the eCraft_Crafters Yahoo group challenged us to make a project using at least three cuts from the Fundamentals SD 1 card.  I actually ended up using 4 images.  First off, here is the card.

The tag, chairs, and table are all from the Fundamentals 1 SD card. The You're Invited sentiment is from the Paper Tray stamp set from Papertrey Ink.  I stamped it in Versamark and embossed it with Vanilla Zing Embossing Powder.  The tag is wrapped with some Enchanted Evening Baker's Twine also from PTI.  The Blue, Green and Brown cardstocks are from Core'dinations Nostalgia Stack.  The chairs are spritzed with some Perfect Pearls (just added a little bit of the Perfect Gold powder to some water in a Mini Mister).  Instead of using the overlay images, I used a brown marker to color in those areas that the eCraft drew on the green cardstock.  I love the way that this made it look like a retro dining chair (something that my Grandmother would have owned).  For the table, I used some Vintage Photo Distress Ink to age the table so that it looked like it went with the chair.  The kraft card base is stamped with Background Basics: Diamonds stamp set from PTI in Versamark ink.  I also used my Scor Buddy to create a border around the perimeter of the card.

Have a great day everybody...oh and I just got a brand new eCraft SD card that I will be playing with over the next few days!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

eCraft Cupcakes

I am up extra early today, because today my husband is having surgery to fuse two discs to his spine and fix some ligament tears at those discs.  We have been waiting for this day for a long time, and I am so glad that it is here, but a little nervous too.  I decided that before I got going this morning, I had to check out the blogs that I follow in Google Reader.  I especially wanted to see the Papertrey Ink countdown posts.  I was also in for another goodie!  Nicki at Nick's Cardstock Creations took the leap and tested Cricut Cake Frosting Sheets in her eCraft!  I have wanted to try this, but nervous to do it too, so I want to give Nicki a BIG thank you for this!  My son is turning 6 in a few weeks, and this is going to help me make him some great cupcakes for his birthday treat at school.

Here is a LINK to her post, and YES she did make a VIDEO of it!  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Can You Stand A Little More Disney?

For the two projects I am going to show you, I used designs that I got online.  None of them came from a Cricut cartridge.  In fact, I created one myself from a image that I found online (and yes, I will share!)  This first sweatshirt, came from the Make The Cut Gallery.  Thank you user #2363, don't know who you are, but I love the design!  It is close to a design that is on the Wall Decor & More Cricut cartridge.  All I did to this file, was create the shadow which I used Make the Cut to do.

The background color is the Siser Easyweed Pale Blue, and the top layer is Chemica Hotmark Galaxy White Glitter, and it is gorgeous!  Both of these vinyls I got from They have a lot of options in t-shirt vinyl there.

For this next one, there is a bit of a story here.  The first time, we took Jared to Disney World, I was worried about taking him on the Haunted Mansion.  He was only 2, and I thought that it would be too scary for him.  Imagine my surprise when not only was he not scared, but he loved it!  Haunted Mansion has always been a favorite of my husband's too.  When I saw THESE files by Mardenz, I just knew that I had to make the two of them some matching t-shirts.  Here is the front of the shirt.

I just loved this way that this turned out!  The only problem with it is that unless you are Disney enthusiasts like us, you might not get it.  I decided that I need to come up with something for the back of the shirt that identified this as the Haunted Mansion.  I found an image online, and traced it into Make the Cut, did some minor tweaking, and this is what I came up with.

If you would like the file, click here.  Also if you are interested in other Disney files, make sure to check out Mardenz's blog, she has several great files, and I am going to be using some more of them!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Disney Sweatshirts...

My friend and I are having so much fun making these sweatshirts!  They look so much better in person than in pictures, but I just have to share anyways.  This t-shirt vinyl is just amazing, and we are addicted!

I have two sons, and my youngest Mason (2 1/2 yrs old) is starting to really get into Mickey Mouse (although he says Gicky).  It is too cute!  So I had decided that I would make him a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.  I then asked my oldest son Jared (almost 6) who he wanted on a sweatshirt, and he also said Mickey Mouse.  So I made two of these, and I think it will just be adorable when they wear these at the same time!

This Mickey Mouse image came from the Mickey & Friends Cricut Cartridge.  I then made this sweatshirt for my husband.  I used the Happily Ever After Cricut Cartridge for Grumpy here.

This one did not turn out as well as I had hoped.  The maroon parts are actually supposed to be a tan color, but the tan color that I had ordered was way too yellow, so I improvised with the maroon.  It doesn't look bad, but it would have been better with a different color. 

This week is going to be insane for my family.  My husband is having back surgery on Thursday (any prayers are appreciated), and we have a lot of last minute things that we need to take care of.  I do have some things planned for the blog here, so be sure to check back!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

MTC & eCraft Together?...A Dream Come True!

As many of you know, I love Make the Cut.  It is truly great software.  You also know by now that I love my eCraft!  So what if Craftwell (makers of the eCraft) allow Make the Cut to cut directly to the eCraft???  Well it is a possibility.  After some MTC users made a request to Andy (MTC developer) to add eCraft to the list of machines that could cut directly from MTC, he stated that he would be interested in doing it and has contacted Craftwell.  As of right now, he has stated that he has opened up a line of communication with Craftwell.  So what could happen from this point on...well there are a few options.

1. Craftwell could say no.  Craftwell has many plans for the eCraft brand including an IPhone App and the eCraftCentral website.  Would allowing Make the Cut hinder these plans?  I don't think so, just because Make the Cut works with the eCraft does not mean that eCraft users would not use these applications.  I think at this point, Craftwell has probably realized that the software side of this business is more complicated than they originally intended.  To get all of these applications off the ground is probably going to take more time then they originally intended, and frankly they have been embarrassed by the software that was released.  If they were to give users another option, then users would be more willing to wait for these other applications and that would take some of the pressure off Craftwell.  The jury is still out on how much this delay with decent cutting software is going to cost Craftwell.  There are countless complaints online about the software, and that is a marketing disaster!  People are more likely to speak up with they are upset than when they are satisfied, and those bad reviews really do hurt a product's reputation.  The longer the delay, the more complaints, the worse the reputation.  Craftwell has got to take that into account when making this decision.  Crafters are a community that relies on the opinions of other crafters, and they get those opinions directly from crafters on the forums and message boards.  When a product is good, and the reviews online are good, crafters will flock to it!  When a product is bad, and the reviews online are bad, that product typically crashes and burns!  Craftwell is not crashing and burning yet, but the longer the wait for some decent cutting software, the more likely this is to happen.  That would be a shame!

2. Craftwell could do a complete merger with MTC.  Craftwell could completely scrap their plans for their own software and allow Make the Cut to be the "software of choice" for the eCraft brand.  I think this is unlikely as that would mean that Craftwell would have to break their promise to eCraft users in regards to the IPhone App and the eCraftCentral website.  I also think that since part of the eCraftCentral website revolves around users buying downloadable images (produced not only by Craftwell but also by other users), they are not going to let this go as this could be a great source of revenue for them.  I for one LOVE this idea.  There have been many times when I suddenly decided that I needed a certain image off of a Cricut cartridge, but would have to wait until either I could find the cartridge locally at a good price or online at a good price and then wait for it to be shipped to me.  I would love some instant gratification, wouldn't you?

3. Craftwell could allow MTC to cut with the eCraft.  This would be different from the merger scenario in #2.  Just because MTC users could cut to the eCraft with the MTC software would not mean that Craftwell would have to change any of their plans for their own software, the eCraftCentral website, or the IPhone app.  On top of that, it would offer both Craftwell and MTC some great benefits.  If MTC could cut to the eCraft, there are several eCraft owners out there that want to use their machines NOW.  Most of them would be willing to pay the $59 to get the MTC software even if they only plan on using it until the eCraft software is fully developed. This will produce more revenue for Make the Cut.  On the flip side, there are a lot of MTC users out there that will not buy a die cutter that does not work with MTC, so that opens up a whole new batch of potential customers to the eCraft.  Several MTC users have expressed interest in the eCraft, but won't buy it because they love MTC so much they are not willing to part with the software. Probably the biggest benefit that this would offer to Craftwell is some flexibility.  If users have another option out there for cutting outside of the SD cards, Craftwell would then have some breathing room.  With this, they could then really focus on delivering a high quality software, IPhone app, and the eCraftCentral website.  So much of their effort and resources right now have got to be tied up in handling the crisis on their hands right now with the software, that this breathing room would be essential in allowing them to focus on the details and make sure everything is just right.  We have seen that when Craftwell takes their time and when they listen to the crafters, they CAN deliver an outstanding product!  This option would allow them to do just that with the software.  On top of that, this breathing room wouldn't cost them anything (except maybe sending Andy a free eCraft), that has got to sound like an easy out for Craftwell.

In conclusion, I think it that #3 is really the only option that makes any sense for both Craftwell and Make the Cut.  If you are an eCraft user, I would love to know what you think about this?  Would you buy MTC to work with the eCraft until their software could be fully developed and tested?  If you are an MTC user and do not have an eCraft, would you consider the eCraft when you are in the market for a new cutter if it cut with MTC?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Craftwell Communicates!

Since the eCraftshop Pro software was released on September 1st, there has been A LOT of talk about it.  It has not been good either.  eCraft owners like myself have been waiting for an update, and we have been getting frustrated about not hearing any kind of communication from Craftwell about the update.  Really, we just wanted to be reassured that we did not make a bad purchase.  Yesterday, the following message was posted on Facebook, the eCraft_Crafters Yahoo Group, and also sent via e-mail to registered users.  Here is the message in case you have not seen it.

To our valued customers,

We at Craftwell want to thank you for your support and feedback. This company was founded on the principle that the products we build will be guided by the needs of the customer. We followed your recommendations when we built the eCraft and are listening to you as we improve the software. We are working on an upgrade to eCraftshop and should have it available by the end of this month. That is later than planned but we want to be certain that it addresses the reported issues. In future upgrades, we will continue to improve functinality and incorporate new features that have been suggested by eCraftshop users. Additionally, as per your requests, we have started posting eCraft 101 video tutorials on our site. More eCraft 101 videos are being created and we will also be posting videos created by other enthusiasts. We thank you for your patience and assure you that we are committed to our users and making sure that all Craftwell products meet your expectations.


The Craftwell Support Team

Shortly following this message, there were several responses on the eCraft_Crafters Yahoo Group.  Personally, I do not share the same view that so many have.  Several people are upset that the update is taking so long.  In regards to this, I have to say that I am not surprised.  Since there are so many things that needed to be fixed in the software, it makes sense that the update is taking longer than expected because they are trying to fix everything that has been reported.  Personally I would rather have the update fix everything rather than mess around with another sub-standard version of the software.  If the updates were released with only a few changes at a time, then we would all be asking when the next update is coming.  Frankly, I have enough drama in my life right now to have to deal with this.  I can understand why so many people are frustrated.  I am in the position where I do have another machine that I can use to cut my SVGs and TTF Fonts, so I am not missing out on anything.  It sure would be nice to be able to do it with the eCraft though!

If anything, I think that maybe Craftwell has learned a valuable lesson from all of this.  Their customers need to hear from them.  Once they have the software update done, I encourage them to get the forums and messageboards online so that there is one central location where users can look to for information.  I would also like to encourage them to appoint a representative to check in with those forums and messageboards regularly.

Here's hoping that the update is jam packed with fixes, and that it comes sooner rather than later!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Disney is in the House!

Sorry that I haven't been around much this week.  We have all been sick at some point here in the past week.  Right now my son Mason is starting to get better, but still has a stuffed nose.  On top of that the weather here dropped like it always seems to do in Chicago.  We went from highs in the lower 70's to highs in the lower 50's in a 24 hour period.  Whenever this happens, it usually brings with it someone not feeling well, in this case my husband.  We are all looking forward to fall though, so it is worth it.  I wanted to share with you a couple of the Disney sweatshirts that Desiree and I are doing.  Her family is planning on going to Disney World after Thanksgiving, and we are planning on January right after my husband is done with his physical therapy.  I am really looking forward to a family vacation, because it has been such a difficult time this past year and a half with his back that it will be so nice for all of us to do something fun together and hopefully he won't be in any pain at all! I have to tell you that Desiree and I are having SO much fin doing these, and it is official, we are addicted to this stuff.  We originally planned on doing 1 for each person in our families.  We have now expanded this, and to be honest with you, I have no idea how many we are going to do.  I already have two more planned for each member of my family!  Desiree is still trying to decide what she wants to do.  On top of the two more that I am doing for each member of my family (which is another 8 sweatshirts), my husband wants me to make one for each person that is going on the Disney trip with us, which is my in-laws, his brother and wife and their two kids.  Which means that I am going to be making 14 more of these sweatshirts!  Yikes!  I have to say that Desiree and I have learned a couple of tricks along the way, and I will share those after these pictures!

Here is the sweatshirt that we made for Desiree's son.  This looks AMAZING in person!

All of the t-shirt vinyl on this sweatshirt came from  Here is the sweatshirt that I made for myself, and it is gorgeous!!!!

It is hard to see in the picture, but Tink's dress is made out of a green foil that looks so much better in person.  Her wings were cut from Rainbow Deco Sparkle heat transfer vinyl that we got from and it is beautiful!  It really sparkles, and again it looks so much better in person.

Now for some tips...

1.  When working with t-shirt vinyl, it is better if each piece with the plastic backing can cover the entire image, since there are so many small pieces here, we did not want to do that.  Instead what we did was use a leftover sheet of plastic to cover the piece under our Teflon sheet.  This helps prevent the vinyl that has already been applied from getting too hot.
2. A heat press REALLY works well for this.  The first few that we did was with the iron, and it took a long time to get even one sweatshirt done.  My mom has a heat press and she happens to be out of town, so I went to her house and stole borrowed it! Now, I don't want to give it back!  I will, but it sure makes this go faster!
3.  When using glitter or any of the specialty vinyls like the DecoSparkle, you want to apply these pieces last,  They are NOT made to be layered upon like the others.  Also the glitter does have a bit of glitter that will remain on your transfer sheet and may then transfer onto your sweatshirt in an unintended spot.  Typically this is not even noticeable, but we ran into a problem where there were pieces of glitter on an area where we still had to put another piece of the regular vinyl.  When we went to lay down that vinyl, it would not stick and we could actually feel the glitter that melted onto the back of that piece, so always do your glitter last.

I have more of these to share, and in addition to this, I am working on my Halloween crafts.  Of course, I am anxiously awaiting the eCraft software update, hope that comes soon!
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