Desert Garden Stationery

Sorry for the delay this morning.  I love Time Warner internet when it works.  Too bad it stopped working nationwide last night.  That’s the 2nd time this month.  And with us living on a military base, we don’t have any other options for internet service.  Grrr.  But on the positive side, when it is working, it’s lightening fast.

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Witty Wednesdays with Christi

One of our Exploring Cricut and More followers asked this question recently.

”Have had the Explore for about a week.  Used my Expression 2 for years and did center cut of photos for my scrapbooking pages.  Do a lot of birding around (next up is Africa) and center cuts make a great looking frame around bird photos.  I was wondering if you or the crew have a way to get a design lined up on the canvas to insure a perfect center cut of a photo.  The designs do not have guide lines that seem to be of much help.”

I have already answered her via e-mail, but I thought I would share my answer with all of ya’ll, as well.  Although I love my Expression 2, I never have used the center cut feature.  So my answer won’t be a way to adapt the technique to the Explore but rather how I would achieve the same result.

Let’s say your picture is 4″x6″ and the part you would like to cut out is 3″x5″, which leaves 1/2″ of excess on all sides.  Open cricut design space and insert an oval image.  Go to the edit toolbar and change the size to 3″x5″.  You may need to unlock the sizes, otherwise every adjustment you make will keep the image proportional and not the size you desire.  This is achieved by clicking on the lock icon until it opens.  At this point, there is no need to worry about positioning.  Where the image is on this screen is not where it will cut on the canvas.


Only set the Size and not the Position while in this screen

Click Go and the matt preview will pop up.  In this screen, you can move the oval to whatever position you desire.  Click on the oval and a cursor box will surround your image.  Align the cursor box so the top left corner is at 1/2″x1/2″ on the screen.  Now, place your picture in the top left corner of your cutting matt (aka 0″x0″).  Load your matt and cut like normal.

Something to notice is Design Space creates a border of about 1/4″ around the matt where it will not cut.  So if you want to cut an oval placed directly in the corner of your picture, you will need to move the oval (and your picture) to another spot on the matt.  It may require some basic math, but ya’ll are some pretty smart folks and will have no issues.  Also, remember that each solid line represents an inch on the matt.  So even though the font is teeny tiny, you can count the lines to compare the matt on the screen to your cutting matt and make sure everything is lined up perfectly.


Note, my image is actually set to cut at the 1”x1” mark

Another method is to ignore everything I just said, well at least the stuff about alignment, and just cut the oval in the default position onto some scratch cardstock.  Then, you can use this to “frame” your image to cut exactly where you want it to.  This is very useful if your desired image isn’t in the center of your photo.  In the example below, you can see that my picture is very crooked.  However, the flowers I want to show off are perfectly framed.  Just remember to line up the cardstock on the matt in the same spot each time and remove it before cutting.


It doesn’t matter if the photo is crooked on the matt as long as your image is properly framed

I made a stationery set using a dozen pictures I took when Matt and I visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.  The scalloped oval I used to frame my pictures came from the cricut Baby Steps cartridge, but obviously anything will work.  The paper I used is the 8.5″x12″ Southwest cricut cardstock.  One sheet makes 2 A2 cards plus a random extra 1″x8.5″ strip.  I just love how the colors coordinate so well with my desert flowers.


A whole set of 12 desert beauties

Categories: DIY, 'Cause You Can!, Cards & Tags | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

With Sprinkles on Top

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Challenge Week

This is week’s challenge over at Exploring Cricut & More is “Happy Birthday!”  We would love to have you join us this week.  And if you do, your project should include some sparkle or glitter just for some extra pizzazz!

While I’m a big fan of glitter glues (such as stickles), I personally have always shied away from dry glitters.  No matter how careful you are, they inevitably make a huge mess.  But lately I’ve been in the mood to “break stash” and try new things.  So I dug deep into the dusty corners of my shelves and found some pink and blue glitters.  They were such yummy colors that I thought they would make great sprinkles for some birthday ice cream.


Happy happy happy birthday!

I used the Simon Says Stamp Ice Cream Cones die* for this project.  But rather than simply paste down some die cuts, I altered it up a tidbit.  Using the Ranger Inkssentials white opaque pen, I drew the waffle texture** on each cone.  I lightly traced the scoops with a pencil and then filled in my lines with some gesso.  It gave the ice cream some texture without being too heavy, like a texture paste would be.  Then, while the gesso was still wet, I added glitter to each scoop.

*If you like to coordinate, this die is part of the Lick It set.  I just received mine and can’t wait to make more ice cream related projects!
**Another side note, the die will also emboss a waffle texture on cardstock.  Look at how cute it is on Kreative Kymona’s card here.


Gesso give the ice cream scoops some texture

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Party Time” from Cupcake Inspirations
“To Die For” from Papertake
“Use Your Stash” from Try it on Tuesdays
“A Craft Item you have never used before” from Craft for the Craic

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Circus Elephant

This card is cut out with the Cricut image:  Father’s Day Card Circus Tent.  Despite the name, this image can be used for any occasion.  It cuts out a single layer so you can embellish it any way you wish.  I chose to make it into a child’s birthday card.


The outside when card is closed…

I love this adorable elephant from Miss Kate Cuttables.  The full name of the svg file is “Elephant w/ Heart Balloon.”  There are multiple layers to cut.  However, I did not cut out the black layer and instead used a piece of sewing thread as the balloon’s string.  I thought it gave a more fluid look.


…middle flap (What a cutie!)…

The stamp is from “More Great Greetings” by Stampin’ Up!  I cut out the confetti from shiny paper scraps.


…and the inside

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Circus” from Make My Monday
“Feature a Creature” from Crafting for All Seasons
“Primary Colors” from Pile It On
“Spots & Dots” from Papertake
“Anything Goes” from Brown Sugar
“Anything Goes” from The Squirrel and The Fox

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Golden Wedding Bands

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Witty Wednesdays with Christi!

Summer always seems to be a big time for weddings.  In fact, Matt and I just celebrated our 4 year anniversary last week!  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life.  He has brought me so much joy over the past 5 years we’ve been together and I hope to big him just as much joy for the next 75 years!

The elegance of this card is in the simplicity of the design and yet intricate techniques.  The vellum label was cut out from the Cricut Essentials cartridge.  I stamped wedding bells onto the vellum with perfect medium and brushed on some silver perfect pearls.  Once this was completely dry, I stamped the sentiment with embossing ink, added gold embossing powder, and heated.  The bells faded into the background and created an almost holographic effect (see pic below).


“Happy Wedding Day”

The wedding bands are from Everyday Pop Up Cards, champagne flutes are from Tie the Knot, and the background is embossed with one of the Love is in the Air folders (it’s a set of 6).  For the rings, I actually cut out the top layer twice so I could create 2 separate looks.  One was embossed with gold.  The other was painted gold and then I added glossy accents for dimension.  The diamond took some patience with a toothpick, glue, and glitter to create a princess cut.  Top that with more glossy accents for some shine.  I also added glossy accents to the champagne so it looks wet and refreshing.  Yum!


Slight variations in the embellishment techniques for his & hers rings makes all the difference


Check out that holographic effect!  And you can see the diamond’s shine from this angle.

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Gold” from Addicted to CAS
“Anything Goes” from The Squirrel and the Fox
“Summer Days” from Vintage Stamping
“Summer” from Simon Says Stamp

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Back to School = FOOTBALL!!

Texas just celebrated Back to School Tax Free Weekend.  I personally took advantage of this via a shopping spree at Kohl’s.  Out of curiosity, I did some research and found out that tax free days are offered in total of 10 states for clothes/school supplies and 4 states for hurricane preparation supplies.  Hope you enjoyed your random facts of the day.  Now onto crafting…

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Challenge week

This week’s challenge with Exploring Cricut & More is “Back to School.”  If it weren’t for the tax exemptions and sales, those of us without kids wouldn’t exactly notice back to school time.  With no teachers to thank or scrapbook pages to prepare, I was initially stumped.  But then I remembered, this means football will be starting soon!!!  And that IS a time to celebrate!  I was contemplating doing an Aggie themed card, but instead decided to hail my old high school where my brother, Richard, currently plays football.  The Plano East Senior High School (PESH) colors are black and gold with accents of grey or white.  All of the cuts used are from the Cricut Sports Mania cartridge.


All Star PESH football player

It’s wild to think that I graduated from PESH 10 years ago this past May and now Richard is a Senior there.  Just look at these pictures.  He really has become a good looking’ young man.  And he has all of his teeth now…although it’s hard to tell with that “teenager smile.”  Briana is so young here, too.  Again, hard to imagine that little girl is now grown up, married, and has a beautiful baby boy.  My gosh, how time flies!


From left to right: Dad, Me, Briana, Richard, and Mom in front


Loving the “don’t mess with me” glare!  What a jock!

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Autumn or Steampunk” from That Craft Place
“Gold” from Addicted to CAS
“Anything Goes” from Papertake
“Anything Goes” from The Squirrel and the Fox

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Ticket to Ride

I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today
The boy that’s been driving me mad
Is going away
He’s got a ticket to ride
He’s got a ticket to ride
He’s got a ticket to ride
And he don’t care

I’ve always loved this song by The Carpenters.  Yes, yes…I said The Carpenters and not The Beatles!  It’s a sad song and the boys make it way too upbeat.  Karen sings it much better, but that’s just my humble opinion.  Oh, if you want a good kick, watch the music video.  It’s from the late 60s/early 70s, back when mop-tops and mustaches were hip, not hipster.

I didn’t set out to make a card based on this song.  In fact, all I knew was I wanted something vintage but hadn’t a clue what.  I started building up my background to get the creative juices flowing.  Distress inks were smeared in random spots and dabbed through the Tim Holtz Splatters layering stencil to hide the fact that this cardstock was once white.  Then torn pages from a very old book were inked around the edges and modpodged onto the background.  And a die cut from Tim Holtz Brick Wall decorative strip colorized with some distress stains, also modpodged on, completes the look.


Takes me back to a time before my time

At some point, “Ticket to Ride” popped in my head.  It could be Matt was sent up to Idaho to help train their National Guard for 3 weeks and I miss him terribly.  Or just because my eye caught the Tim Holtz Mini Filmstrip & Tickets decorative strip die and I wanted to use it.  Either way, an idea had formed and the card’s design followed shortly after.  I included a lot of items from Tim Holtz’s Idea-o-logy line:  image is from Found Relatives cards; photo Corners Metal Hardware; and sentiment is Word Bands.

Because my design is a little heavy, it needed something strong to adhere it to the card.  For this, I love Cricut’s Terrifically Tacky Tape. They have it in both 1 1/16″ and 1/2″ widths.  And right now they are on sale!  In fact Cricut is having a big sale right now.  Be sure to check it out.  And if you plan to shop, please use a link from my site and help support my blog!
• 50% off clearance
• 30% off supplies (stock up on paper!)
• only $19.99 for school cartridges
• free standard shipping on all orders with code SCHOOLSHIP (only within continental US)


I love how the colors turned out here

ticket_word band

“the journey awakens the soul”

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Vintage” from Cute Card Thursday
“Old/Vintage” from Simply Create Too
“Vintage Travel” from Frilly and Funkie
“Tickets” from Incy Wincy Designs
“Inspired by a Song or Movie” from The Squirrel and the Fox
“Let’s Cycle…Up-cycle” from Craft Hoarders Anonymous

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Give a Hoot Hoot for Birthdays

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Witty Wednesday with Christi!

This is a cute card for the whole family to give someone special on their birthday!  It was super quick and easy to make!  The branch is cut out of grungeboard with the Tim Holtz Bird Branch die.  There is actually a bird on the branch, but I just trimmed the little guy off.  I then inked the branch with various brown colors of distress ink.  The owls are from the Create a Critter cricut cartridge.


Happy Birthday from OWL of us

The sentiment was the only “technical” thing I did.  But thanks to my Cricut Explore and the design space software, it was still very easy.  I used 3 different fonts (see list) and created a separate text box for each one.  After I got all of my text aligned how I wanted, I attached the text to the card.  (It is very important that you attach the text.)  Look through the picture tutorial for some visual guidance on writing text with the cricut explore and let me know if you have any questions.
• “Happy Birthday” – Curlz MT system font
• “OWL” – Wall Décor and More font
• “from…of us” – Baby Steps font


Open a separate text box for each different font or text size you use


When using the same font in multiple places, add spacing so everything will line up nicely


The software will recognize and use any fonts already on your computer


Select all of your text and the card (or whatever image you want to write on). Click “Attach.”

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“For the Birds!” from Cute Card Thursday
“Things With Wings” from Try it on Tuesday
“Surprise Birthday Hop” from Merry Monday
“Celebrate” from Addicted to CAS
“Anything Goes” from That Craft Place

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

EC&M Christmas in July Blog Hop

Welcome to stop number 8 along the Exploring Cricut and More “Christmas in July” Blog Hop!  If you’re following along with us, you should have just arrived from Michelle N’s post. Make sure you visit everyone’s blog because several of my fellow designers are giving away free goodies.  And make sure you enter our challenge this week…there’s a prize for the winner!  All you gotta do is make a Christmas craft using at least one die cut and follow our blog.  Good luck and have fun!


Follow along with our blog hop!

Rae Ann
Michelle N.
Christi *You are here!*
Michelle S.

Alright, on to my card.  My favorite part about the holiday season is all of the Christmas music!  I can’t say I have a favorite song because I love them all.  But few say it better than “Joy to the World!”  It truly is a joyous thing to celebrate our Savior’s birth.  And even though it’s pushing 100 degrees here in El Paso, I was singing all sorts of Christmas songs during the making of this card.  While assembling the little baby Jesus I sang “Away in a Manger” and cutting out the Bethlehem star led to humming “Little Town of Bethlehem.”  Haha, I suppose in 6 months that won’t sound so silly.


Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

I actually used quite a few die cuts for this card.  The trees are stamped with Mountain Top Trees by Poppystamps and then cut out with the matching die.  Everything else was done with my cricut.  These are the cartridges used:
• baby in the manger – A Quilted Christmas
• Bethlehem star – Christmas digital set
• “Joy” – Winter Wonderland
• “World” – Nursery Rhymes font


Itty bitty baby Jesus

The label has a subtle shadow effect in the background that is really easy to create with the use of a marker spritzer.  I have one that my mom gave me from all of her Stampin’ Up stuff.  But Tim Holtz released one (find it here) recently as well.  All you do is insert any marker into it and squeeze the air “bulb” to get an airbrushed effect.  I die cut 2 Mini Snowflakes from the Sizzix movers and shapers set.  Then, while holding the snowflakes in place, I sprayed over the label with a blue marker.  I could have sprayed more, but I only wanted to soften the background some and not take away from the text.


Some subtle snowflake shadows

Okay blog hoppers…head on over to Liz’s site next to continue the hopping fun!

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Christmas in July” from Crafting for all Seasons
“Christmas in July” from Craftin Desert Divas
“It’s A Jolly Holiday” from Papertake
“Celebrate” from Addicted to CAS
“J is for…” from Simon Says Stamp
“Inspired by a song or movie” from The Squirrel and the Fox
“Face The Music And Dance” from Vintage Stamping
“For a Child” from Simply Create Too
“Anything Goes” from The Crafter’s Cafe

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Singin’ in the Rain

I think this is the first time I have made a card exclusively based on a blog challenge.  Sure I’ve been inspired by some in the past.  But I suppose I was in a very literal mood when I saw the “Singin’ in the Rain” challenge by Less is More, because all I could picture was the movie.  Oh, but please don’t think I was lacking creativity…I just really like musicals!!

Reducing the number of layers seemed like a good place to start in embracing the clean and simple card style.  Therefore, the puddle and street lamp are inked directly onto the card.  I did this by adding distress ink with a blending tool through the negatives from my die cuts.  I also added some perfect pearls in pewter to the lamp to make it look more metallic.  All of my images were cut out by my cricut:
• vintage street lamp – Heritage
• puddle (or pond) – Create a Critter
• dapper gentleman – Suburbia
• open umbrella – Everyday Pop-up Cards


I’m singin’ in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!

Sometimes cost can be an issue when building up your craft supplies, unless of course you’re one of Trump’s many wives.  I LOVE the Tim Holtz distress inks, but also buying the distress markers isn’t in the financial cards right now.  But what about those times when I want to add a tidbit of color and a blending tool just isn’t accurate enough?  Here’s my secret and cheap work around…craft nibs!  This video shows Tim using them to tint a vintage photo.  Some mustard seed distress ink on a nib adds color inside the street lamp.  Then mark the center with an embossing pen and add a touch of gold powder.  Heat emboss to make the light glow.

I have a mason jar full of random sequins.  As luck would have it, I had some lovely blue hearts.  There were also some large blue circles, which I cut down to make the rain drops.  I applied glossy accents underneath to glue them down and again on top to give them a wet, dimensional look.


It’s easy to make a light and water drop look realistic

The umbrella also took some creative die cutting.  I wanted it to have a vintage wooden handle, so the first layer was cut out of EK Success adhesive backed wood sheets instead of paper.  I inked the wood with some brushed corduroy distress ink (using a blending tool) and the edges of the umbrella top with mustard seed distress ink (with a craft nib).


The iconic yellow umbrella

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
“Singin’ in the Rain!” from Less is More
“Cool Water” from Frilly and Funkie
“Splash” from Inkspirational
“For the Boys” from Brown Sugar
“Stencil It!” from Country View

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Happy Holly Holidays

It’s never too early to start making Christmas cards.  My local craft store, Stamp Act, is having a big Christmas in July sale.  I bought quite a bit!  Here are just 2 of the dies that I will be adding to my stash:

die_holly berries

Holly Berries by Penny Black


Small Blooming Poinsettia die by Poppystamps

As you can see, the holly berry die is a longish branch, so I trimmed it up to create thicker foliage.  I cut a circle through all 3 layers and stamped the reindeer inside the card.  I used a variety of glitter glues for accent.  For the holly leaves I used Forest Moss and Bundled Sage distress stickles and on the reindeer, Dusty Concord.  The red & white on the poinsettia are from Studio G.


A leaping reindeer admist holly

To shape the flowers, place one layer at a time face down on a foam pad and gently crease each petal with a stylus.  Then flip it over and press down on the center to create a cup.  Repeat for each layer.  To assemble, place a tidbit of a wet glue (I like Tombow Mono Aqua Liquid Glue) in the “cup” of each layer and press them all together with a stylus.  The die includes a stamen layer, but I chose to use a button instead.


Close up of the poinsettias w/ a button center

This card has been entered into the following blog challenges:
Sketch #124 from Retro Sketches
“Ribbons and Buttons” from Merry Monday Christmas Challenge
“Christmas in July” from Crafting for All Seasons
“Christmas in July” from Craftin Desert Divas
“It’s A Jolly Holiday” from Papertake
“Anything Goes” from The Crafter’s Cafe
“Anything Goes” from That Craft Place

Categories: Cards & Tags, DIY, 'Cause You Can! | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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