Monday, December 16, 2013

Home Stretch Holiday Craft Marathon

This week is my last opportunity to finish up the planned Christmas crafts and new decorations for our home, and I've been working in a bit of a frenzy to get it all done by December 22 Christmas Eve. With able assistance from my 4 year old granddaughter, Miss A, I think I'm on track to have most everything completed in the next couple days.

Here' s a picture of my drawing/crafting board this week -  total chaos. And it's my own fault. I designed a few die cut ornaments along with this year's Thanksgiving cards, then tucked a few into the card I sent to my mother. Well, she loved them (makes me happy) and asked me to make lots  more so she could send them to friends and family all over the world. OK. I can do that. And I did - and they're in the mail, and it's time to make some for our home now.

So this week there are literally hundreds of cut out gingerbread men, families of snow men and dozens of  die cut Christmas tree strips, trios and singles stacked all over the studio and the kitchen table.  I'll use some of the trees in triplicate  to make flame less votive candle wraps. The single cutouts will become gift tags and embellishments for greeting cards or place cards or they'll be perfect as tiny ornaments. The long strips - which I actually designed first - will become paper garlands for the tree and stand up decorations for the mantle, table tops or window sills.

Die Cut Snowman Family Paper Garland
I've had quite a lot of fun using my Silhouette Studio design software and Cameo craft cutter making all these die cut decorations. I could never have crafted all these detailed little gems without a computerized craft cutter. That machine takes the work out of cutting and puts all the fun back into designing paper crafts. I love my Silhouette Cameo - visit the link and you'll see more about it at my web site.

 Christmas Trees with Tiny Gingerbread, Die Cut Garlands and Votive Wraps
I can make my garlands and cutouts in many different sizes all at once. I can also cut multiples of a popular design, like the snowmen garlands.  I'm cutting the snowman family garlands from tabloid size white card stock and they come out just the right size to fit two on each window sill with some trees and gingerbread men alongside. I bought a ream of white card stock in 11x17 and saved oodles of money and time. To create even longer strips (for encircling the tree, for instance) I just tape the 16 inch sections together.

Silhouette Cameo craft cutter in my studio

Here's the cutter deal I recommend. You get the cutter, Silhouette Studio software,  plus craft tools, cutting shape files and a download card to buy more shapes from the Silhouette store. The Silhouette Studio software (basic version) that lets you draw, print, and cut just about any image or font from paper, vinyl, fabric, card stock, magnet material and lots more is free and their software support is good.

I upgraded to the software designer license after I tried out my cutter so I can import files I've created already in Adobe Illustrator. You don't need to upgrade to get started with all the features including the print and cut capability which is perfect for making shaped stickers from clip art or printables.

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