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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Reverse Weeding and the CB09 Blade!

I know you all want to learn how to do the teeniest lettering with your adhesive vinyl, right?  This technique is pretty much foolproof, but I would definitely recommend getting yourself a CB09 blade to practice with first.

There are a lot of places to order from, so just do your research and get the best deal (quality & price) you can from a reputable vendor.  I purchased my two a year apart, but from the same vendor on eBay over four years ago.  Craft Chameleon has a starter set at a great price.  They also sell extra blades, o-rings and spacers.  I just recently bought extra o-rings and an etching tip from them.

I purchased some acrylic teeth to make some personalized earrings for my daughter to wear to work at the dental office.  The teeth are just over .5 inches wide, so the letters needed to be small.  Armed with my CB09 blade and the reverse weeding technique, I was setup for success.

I did a very slight external offset on my font.  If the letters are too thin, they most likely won’t transfer easily or stay on with so little of an adhesive area.  I ALWAYS put a box around my designs to make weeding easier as well as apply the transfer tape while the vinyl is held on the mat.

At just under .5 inches wide and .25 inches high, this is quite a small project.  As long as you have burnished well, the excess vinyl comes away easily.  I used the very tip of the hook to weed the center of “A” with just a poke to loosen.

The rest is easy as applying to your project, burnishing well, and letting it cure for at least 24 hours before wearing.  I think they are cute, don’t you?

IMG_20170727_165443

Again, the ‘teeth’ were purchased from Craft Chameleon as well as the silver plated Double J Earwires.  The black glossy permanent vinyl was purchased from Expressions Vinyl.  This is their own brand of vinyl and I love it!

I hope you found this post useful.  If so, please like and share with others you know that will benefit from it.  And, as always, if you have questions – Just ask!  Happy Crafting!!

EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT!

I am so happy to share with you some major news!  My local Pat Catan’s is now going to carry the SilhouetteCameo Cameo 3 and supplies!!

They are also going to allow me to hold classes to show you all the wonderful things we can make using the Cameo, Silhouette Products and their abundant selection of items we can take to the next level!!  {In fact, after our meeting, I purchased some items to use in the upcoming months.}

I’d love for you to come on out this Saturday, beginning at 12:30 pm, to see some of the wonderful projects you could learn to make when we begin scheduling classes!!  Please stop in to let me know what you’d be interested in learning, ask questions, or just say ‘Hello’!!

I am looking forward to seeing you there!!

UPDATE!!

It’s been a couple month and I still have not received much interest.  If you’d like to see a class at the Canton, Ohio Pat Catan’s, please leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page.

I welcome any suggestions on classes that you’d like me to present, from ‘Getting your Silhouette Out-of-the-Box’ to more advanced projects.  It’s time to introduce our area to the Silhouette Cameo!  Thank  you for your time!!

 

Curio…..

The mission:  to make some engraved discs for an adjustable bracelet.

IMG_20170330_180123So, after having a fight with HTV last night and then starting my engraving trial with my new Curio (finally), it seemed that things were starting out poorly.

I tried using a template/frame made from chipboard.  The idea was to cut circles so that the metal blanks would not slip around.  It didn’t hold it as well as I’d anticipated and the first blank came loose and just slid around with the engraving tip.IMG_20170331_152914Then I pulled out my Glubers, which were originally intended for securing rolled flowers, but nothing holds those as well as good old hot glue, imho.  They held the blanks very securely.  In fact, they held several blanks as I engraved both the front and the backs.

I positioned them inside the grid marks and drew a similar sized circle to tell the software exactly where I was placing them.  The nice thing about how the Curio platform works is that you can load and unload it and it lines up every. single. time!

I wanted various letters and the Chinese symbols for ‘Faith’ and ‘Love’ on these.  I sized each to fit within the 3/4 inch circle, allowing for the hole drilled for the jump rings.  I made six copies of each letter or symbol, layered them, and then sent them to engrave using Double Cut (thus making 12 passes for each side).

I engraved one side with my Chomas Creations Engraving Tip, unloaded the platform, flipped my blanks over and engraved the other side.  It was almost too easy!!IMG_20170331_163147

I am excited about the possibilities now!!  I think either metal etching or stippling will be next….so, stay tuned!!  😉

CURIO!!!

Yes, you heard me!!  I have a Curio coming tomorrow.  I have debated if I really needed one or not since it was introduced.  Well, really, not that hard of a debate is it? 🙂

I can not wait to dig in and see what I can create.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated AND if you have any questions or projects you would like to see posts on, just let me know!

I am leaning toward the etching & stippling capabilities, but hope to do some jewelry as well.  I hear there could be some neat jewelry classes in the upcoming All Things Silhouette Conference in June  I am attending and you don’t want to miss out either.  If you can’t make the June conference, there will be a November one announced later this year.

Have you been ‘curious’ about the Curio?  Stay tuned!