Oh My, Where have I been….

As we’re nearing the end of 2018, I look back and have some incredible firsts, seconds and more. The journey has been amazing, humbling, yet ever so incredible as always.

I don’t need a lot of excitement in my life. I actually prefer the same, day-to-day normal routine that I’ve created. A little working, a little crafting, a ton of time spent with family creating even more great memories, loving on my husband (can you believe it’s been over 12 years of happily married bliss??) and our pets. Life is good! Very good!

I started the year off ill. I won’t go into the details as it’s not necessary to this post and also because I am a pretty private person in that regard. But it did set me back in my to-do list quite a bit. You see, we had the marriage of my second daughter to look forward to this year in September. We had a week getaway planned in May with my first daughter and her husband that I barely was given the all-clear to go. Add to this all the little daily life details and I know anyone of you can relate. We don’t have time for this! Am I right?

By June, I was pretty much my old self, even if I did tire easily…life marches on….

So, June. What can I say but that I had an opportunity practically fall in to my lap and, since I was feeling better, I decided that He wouldn’t have put it in front of me if I wasn’t ready. So on we go, committing to yet another responsibility on top of everything else. Actually, in hindsight, I would’ve done it all over again exactly the same. It’s been a blessing and continues to grow as the days pass.

I joined an incredible friend and supporter in a business opportunity that while it has not provided enough financial support for my biggest plans, is has provided myself, husband and family a more secure future. I can’t even begin to explain how that has brought some relief to my soul. And no, we were ever in fear of losing any thing financially; we are actually quite blessed in what we have and can afford to do. But the money tree can always die, can’t it? Besides, my dream of being successful and being able to provide financially doing what I love, CRAFTING, is the ultimate goal.

Yes, June. On the 19th of June, 2018, to be exact. Never before had I ever even entertained doing something like this, joining a DS or MLM (whatever your preference). I didn’t come at this with a tarnished attitude or anything…I just loved the philosophy of the owner, Tara Roark, and of my mentor and friend, Sarah Strunk. I loved the products a ton. I love being able to attack this in anyway I can imagine. There’s a feeling of freedom which I love, too.

So, first time joining a company not because I have to, but because I want to join. Second time watching my daughter (youngest and last of my two) get married to one of the most amazing men in the world, and more of doing what I love to do, share the crafting love now, not only within the world of Silhouette, but now chalking my way to on more as well. And, oh yes, this was the first time I ever did vendor events (which I swore I’d never do)…but more on that in another post.

So, join me in both my crafting loves. Let’s take this new crafting path together.

If you’d like more insider information, I’d love for you to join me in my new & growing VIP group: ChalkItUpToLife

Tattoo Paper, Not Just For Skin!


Sorry, this is an older project ūüėȬ† But I just couldn’t share until after New Year’s Day, as that’s when this gift was given to one of my daughters and her fiance.¬† They had taken us on a lovely trip called the Tannenbaum Trail in NE Ohio.¬† My daughter had gifted my husband and I this experience a few years ago, but this year they were our official chauffeurs and tour guides.

The experience entails visiting participating wineries (oh yes!!).¬† At your first assigned stop, you pick up your tree, souvenir glasses, wine samples, appetizers, and first ‘ornament’.¬† You are then able to choose from the remaining wineries in any order as you receive a map of all the wineries, participating or not.¬† At each participating winery you receive yet more wine samples, appetizers and an ornament.¬† Don’t worry, we couldn’t hit them all in one trip if we tried, that’s why they spread it out over several weekends.¬† It’s great fun and if you’re interested in attending, I highly recommend that you purchase your tickets quickly as they tend to sell out fast.¬† More information and other similar events can be found here:¬†¬†http://www.ohiowines.org/

But, oh my, the ornaments this trip were a bit disappointing (right pic) compared to the cute ceramic ones we received previously (left).  I am so glad that I have my Cameos so that I could make nicer ornaments.  I had also picked up a deal on Amazon for wood slices that would be the perfect size for our Tannenbaum trees.  I wanted to make a set for each of us to display.

I had used Silhouette’s tattoo media before on a larger wood slice (the future Mr. & Mrs. themselves).¬†¬†If you do this project, make sure that you keep in mind any imperfections in your slice(s).¬† Note the dark marks in the center and at his left eyebrow.

wood slice

They still are adorable!

First I used my Canon MG7720¬†to scan in the ‘ornaments’ we received. Next I scanned in two sets of the wood slices.¬† I have found that the scans with this printer are true to size but if you don’t have a good scanner, you could also use the Pixscan mat.¬† I also needed to recreate one of the wineries we visited that was not on the Tannenbaum Trail, but was one of the favorites we sampled.

For each slice, I then cropped the winery logo to its shape.

Once I had the logo sized how I wanted, I added the registration marks and set them to print.  The Cameo 3 cut them perfectly!!  It always amazes me how exact print and cut works.

All that was left was to apply the tattoo paper to the wood slices, drill a hole and add some twine.

I coated them with two coats of matte Mod Podge for a little more durability.  A gift that I hope will bring sweet memories to all of us, and who knows, we can add more in future years.

*Please note that affiliate links were used in this post. It doesn’t mean that you will pay anymore for the products, just that I will earn a small commission when you make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

All Things Silhouette Conference – June 2017

“Better late than never” review of my first ever¬†ATS Conference¬†in Georgia. ¬†I wanted to be able to use some of the new skills I learned before I posted so that you will know that you will get more than you imagined out of this weekend.¬† I learned a lot!

What you expect is a packed weekend of classes, camaraderie with hundreds of like-minded individuals and opportunities to shop some terrific vendors and meet the shop owners. ¬†What I didn’t expect was to be so totally immersed in EVERYTHING related to crafting with the Silhouette machines, software and products.

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Obviously, it was great to see some of my former classmates from¬†Terri Johnson Creates Licensed Instructors’ class. ¬†I also was blessed to meet some of the Silhouette biggies that I have been idolizing and following, some for over five years now….like Melissa Viscount from¬†The Silhouette School Blog, ¬†Lori Whitlock of the¬†Lori Whitlock Blog,¬†Lisa Potts of¬†The Rhinestone World,¬†Jessica Tyger of¬†Expressions Vinyl, and the adorable Joe Piazza of Siser NA¬†just to name a few. ¬†I also was introduced to the wonderful craftiness of¬†Cindy Pope,¬†Mags Bonham, Shelley Stokes, Sarah Strunk and Christine Schinagl. ¬†Check out Terri’s website for a complete list of instructors, representatives from all things Silhouette related!

And the vendors!!! ¬†As I’ve mentioned The Rhinestone World, Expressions Vinyl and SiserNA above as I follow them for some great information, tutorials and sales, the others at the conference were amazing as well. ¬†I believe I bought from 90% of them (sometimes going back several times as I saw what I could make with their products). ¬†I spent most of my time and money at Craft Chameleon. ¬†JCCBlanks, AllAboutBlanks, Just for Crafters, TRW, Sparkle Berry Ink and Etchall got some notice from me as well. ¬†It was great to get some product color charts, basics (blank and white 651 rolls, pretty glitter HTV and adhesive, as well as patterned HTV and adhesive vinyl.

BLANKS, BLANKS, BLANKS were on my shopping list and I got some of everything. ¬†Tote bags, acrylic and metal blanks, canvas items, spikers, tumblers, jewelry findings to assemble….oh MY!! ¬†My dear husband saw the look of joy on my face every time we walked in that direction.

There wasn’t one class that I loved more than any others.¬† They were all great and very informative.¬† I am feeling a bit melancholy knowing that the next ATSC is happening in just under a month and I am unable to attend, but I definitely will be going to future ones as they are informative as they are fun!¬† Last I heard there were still a few spots left.¬† If you ever have a chance to go, I would highly recommend it!!




Acrylic Blanks, the Curio, Alcohol Markers, and Resin. OH MY!!

I’m just going to come out and say it. ¬†This project was not easy as it involved aIMG_20170901_130026¬†LOT of new materials and techniques for me. ¬†As I mentioned on my FB page, I learned how to do several ‘new to me’ things on my Curio I ¬†purchased earlier this year when I attended the ATSC this past June.

Some of those new to me things I will share another time, but for this article I am focusing on etching acrylic blanks.  Why?  This one seemed to be the easiest one in reference to time, materials and technique.  Sorta, kinda right.

I purchased quite a few acrylic blanks while at the ATSC (All Things Silhouette Conference) this past June at the Craft Chameleon booth.  I ordered some online after I etched a few more at home with my Curio.  This is going to be a very fun obsession!

Two of the big hang-ups for me were the alcohol markers (what exactly makes a marker alcohol bases, what brands, and the cost) and resin (again, what kinds, the cost and HOW???).  My friend the internet stepped right up to help me find answers.  One of my class instructors at ATSC, Cindy Pope,  taught my acrylic etching class and introduced me to alcohol markers.  She was using another brand, which was a bit steep in price for what might be a fleeting foray in my crafting life, so I purchased a more affordable brand for me, Spectrum noir.  I was able to buy quite a few colors and some of their Sparkle ones to begin my etchings.

The easiest part for me was making templates, choosing a design and setting up my Curio to begin etching. ¬†Some designs, depending how detailed and the etching parameters in the software chosen can take a LOOOOONG time. ¬†I recently did some acrylic clipboard and each one took about 35 – 40 minutes. ¬†I’ve determined that I will definitely need to watch for another great deal on a Curio so I can get more done.

The hardest part for me was coloring.  I am not that kind of artist, but the alcohol markers are quite forgiving and easy to blend and clean up (a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab).  I had cut the square ones from some extra plexi we had laying around.  I was able to round the corners and smooth the edges easily with a rotary tool that is also used for acrylic nails!!  IMG_20170922_153450

Once I researched resin, I was a bit more confident that I could ‘dome’ my artwork so that the marker would be sealed and give a glass-like finish to the pieces. ¬†You don’t have to use resin, but the finish is gorgeous.¬† ¬†Again, based on Cindy Pope’s recommendation, I used¬†resin from Little Windows.¬† They have great videos on their website and clear instructions on their product.¬† I was able to mix up two separate batches without any issues.¬†IMG_20170920_125751

These are fun and addicting!! ¬†I need to drill a tiny whole for attaching to the key-chain hardware and chains, but I will definitely be making some more of these. ¬† So many blanks…….IMG_20170922_153415

What should I work on next?

An Alternative Pen Holder!

If you’re like me, you’ve been searching for a way to utilize your Silhouette Cameo, Portrait or Curio to do writing and sketching. ¬†There are several options, but they all have some minor drawbacks. ¬†Depending on how much you ‘sketch’ will decide what option will be the most economical for you with the best outcome.

The most widely known option are the Sketch Pens from Silhouette.  The pens work for an occasional project, but were famous for drying out quickly, skipping during use and running out of ink too soon.  There are the newly designed Silhouette Sketch pens with supposedly 2x more ink, but I have not used them personally.  I have seen others say they are much better, but not very often have I seen them mentioned.

Next option, and the best to date, would be the holders from Chomas Creations. ¬†They have the¬†marker holder, the¬†pen holder¬† and other products like etching tools. ¬†I like both products, but the adjustable screw to to tighten the marker/pen will throw it off center. While this isn’t usually an issue in most cases when I attempted to draw ‘stitching’ around a shape’s edge, the dashed line was not equally drawn from the edges. ¬†If fact, part of the stitching was off the shape.

Another option is the pen holder by Silhouette.  While this solves a lot of the above mentioned issues, it needs upgrading as the portion of the pen holder where the collette is tightened is thin at the point and cracks easily.  I have purchased 4 sets of them and all but one is unusable today.  Until the design is changed, I would not recommend purchasing this holder for more than occasional use.

I didn’t shop on Etsy until recently when I was in search of that mint green heat transfer material in a previous blog on my laptop sleeve. ¬†I am truly a devotee of Amazon, but since my first shopping trip on Etsy was very pleasant I thought I’d give it a go again. ¬†Not sure how, but I stumbled upon this¬†Silhouette Cameo Master Pack – Get All 6 Writing Holders. ¬†I was intrigued, but skeptical. ¬†I contacted the seller “Steven from FlywheelIT” to question how these pen holders work. ¬†He told me that they secure just as the cap from that particular pen secures. ¬†Well, that made sense! ¬†As a possible solution for just under $50 (includes shipping), I was in for a trial. ¬†I placed my order on July 24 and they arrived the 29th.

I played with them a little bit when they arrived and, unfortunately, was starting to think I had made a poor decision. ¬†Optimistically I thought, with 6 different sizes and even though I didn’t own several brands listed, I should be able to get just about every different pen I owned to work. ¬†I own A LOT of pens/markers, but I actually only owned three of the specific brand named. ¬†New day, new test. ¬†I was going to actually sit down and try the ones that matched, then try the ones that might work even though they weren’t named brands.

The card included a clear list of which color pen holder was made to go with which brand of pen.  I only owned the Sharpies (Fine & Ultra Fine) and the {Sakura} Gelly Roll pens.  When I tried them out before, I either was too forceful seating the pens or loading them in my Cameo 3, as most of my tests were not positive.  Today I was able to get some nice results which gave me some hope that other pens would work beside those listed.

As you can see, the Sharpies worked great, even on the smaller sized font for the ‘Black: Fine Sharpies’. ¬†The Uni-Ball wasn’t quite as good, so I ever so slightly lifted the pen a smidge while still locked into the carriage, and the smaller test next to the large text was beautiful. ¬†Please note I used the same font for each test, just sized down where necessary. ¬†The strip of white is sticker paper I applied hoping that the neon green Gelly Roll pen could be seen better. ¬†Only two of my various other pens fit and worked acceptably in the pens holders: ¬†Extra Fine Pilot Precise V5 in Clear and the neon Write Dudes in the Grey.

I am waiting on an order (yes, from Amazon) for some Zig Writers¬†and¬†Pentel RSVP pens,¬†because there was an “New! Free! Blue” holder designated for the Zig Writer included in my shipment. ¬†I don’t know if all recent orders included this Blue holder or if it was because I said I was going to do a post on my blog about this product.¬†I also didn’t have the brand listed for the Grey holder either, buy the Write Dudes worked fine for now. ¬†I don’t own any of the Crystal Ball Points for the Green holder, but I can’t justify another set of ballpoint pens on top of the rest of my stash. ¬†As pens run out of ink, I’ll purchase the corresponding ones for that particular holder.

I am now happy that I purchased these pen holders. ¬†They work great and are very sturdy, so I don’t see a need to be replacing broken ones any time soon, if ever. ¬†I would recommend these for anyone who does a lot of sketching/writing and who have a variety of pens as I do. ¬†I would, as always, doing a test to make sure they are seated correctly before using on your final project, but it’s pretty much a set and go process.

If you found this post helpful, please like and share.  As always, any questions are welcome.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission.  All items reviewed were paid for and used by me so that I can give you my unbiased opinion.