Monday, February 23, 2015

My new website- say hello to

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Say hello to!  I’m so excited to officially be launching my own website.  I have learned a ton lately about WordPress, web hosting, ecommerce, and watched a ton of tutorials and webinars to try to learn all the ins and outs of self hosting.  I’ve been making websites on and off since the late 90’s (yeah, I had some geocities sites) and have created some web sites for family member’s businesses, but this is my first official site for my own business, so it’s kind of exciting.  I wanted to do it right and in a way that allowed for future changes and expansion.

A big priority for me was being able to continue to blog on my own site, so I will be moving old blog posts from here to and only writing new posts on  2014 was a really busy year for my Etsy shop and I barely had any time to blog or share any of my personal crafts.  But my two year old started two mornings of preschool a week this month and my five year old will be starting kindergarten in the fall, so it’s definitely the perfect time for me to work on some things that have been on the back burner.

I want to thank all of you who have followed along or stopped by my Blogger blog.  I never would have thought back in 2009 when I started blogging that this is where I would be and this is what I would be doing five years down the road.  It's been the support of my readers, fellow crafters, and friends that have encouraged me the most to pursue this route and I am so grateful. 

Here’s to a new beginning!  :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Making t-shirts with Heat Transfer Vinyl

Pin It I've been enjoying making t-shirts lately with some of the Heat Transfer Vinyl I bought from Expressions Vinyl.  I've been using a regular matte vinyl (Easyweed), as well as glitter vinyl, both of which I have cut with my Silhouette Portrait machine.  I love the way these turned out!
My daughter can be a bit loud in the morning while Daddy is still sleeping.  :)  I designed the alarm clock image in Photoshop just using basic shapes, then traced the shape in Silhouette Studio.

She also is completely obsessed with her teddy bear.  (Seriously, it's like velveteen bear already in like 6 months.)

This one is for my niece who loves the song.  

Using heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is actually really easy.  Silhouette Studio has settings to cut HTV (one for the matte kind and one labelled "flocked" which I use for the glitter).  The most important thing to remember is to mirror-image your design before you cut (use the "flip horizontal" feature).  The HTV has a plastic coating on one side which is adhesive.  This side faces down on your mat when you cut.  After you cut your design, you have to "weed" the design by removing all of the pieces of HTV that you don't want on the shirt.  I use a small tool I purchased for scrapbooking that has a sharp tip like a needle.  Some people use those pointed tools that dentists use to clean your teeth.  

Once your design is weeded, you should be able to hold it with the clear plastic coating facing you and see the design correctly.  I usually hold it up to the light to make sure I haven't missed any small pieces.  Then you just need to line it up on the t-shirt and rub the adhesive side down onto the shirt.  I use my iron to heat the HTV, although people who do these and sell them often purchase a heat press.  I've just been making them for myself and people I know and have no plans to expand my shop with vinyl items, so I just use my iron.  I put my iron on the cotton setting (the hottest setting), and have all of the water emptied out.  I then put the shirt with the adhesive/HTV on my dorm-size ironing board (you need a really hard surface, a regular ironing board is not recommended).  Finally, I cover the whole plastic sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  (I do this because the first time I tried without, I melted the vinyl and adhesive right onto my iron and ruined the shirt I was working on.)  Then I iron on top of the parchment paper.  If you don't have parchment paper, you could probably just use another piece of fabric.  

I press the HTV with a lot of pressure for about 30 seconds, which is usually plenty.  Then I remove the parchment paper and slowly peel the clear plastic coating off.  If using matte vinyl, it should look like the vinyl has almost melted into the texture of the shirt, but you definitely don't want it to be burned.  When you pull off the plastic coating and the design is still hot, you can kind of pull the shirt a bit to help the vinyl move with the stretchiness of the shirt.  I love that the vinyl doesn't rip or tear!

When washing these, I generally wash them inside-out and then hang dry.  I have forgotten to do both before, and my shirts have held up perfectly fine, but those are the recommended directions.  

Let me know if you make any items with HTV or have any questions about using it.  I am far from a pro, but I have done these several times now, so I should be able to help.  

Happy crafting!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Free Printable: Elmo Happy Birthday Water Bottle Label

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Another birthday party I am working on right now is for my neighbor's grandbabies.  They are turning two and having an Elmo-themed party.  I made them some custom water bottle labels for the occasion and then adapted them to be generic ones to add to the blog.  Enjoy!

(I'm using Dropbox, which I am new to, so if you have problems downloading, let me know.)

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Monday, February 24, 2014

FREE Little Mermaid Printable Water Bottle Labels

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I am working on making items for a couple of upcoming birthdays, one of which is my niece's 3rd Little Mermaid themed party.  I made her some custom water bottle labels with her name and age, but decided to make some generic ones to offer on my blog here for free.  I'm using Dropbox to store these, and I'm kind of new to Dropbox, so let me know if you have any problems downloading the file.  

So how do you use these?  Print on a standard printer (or send to a copy shop if you don't want to use up all of your ink) on regular paper.  Trim them down (cut out the white).  Cut the labels off of the original water bottles and wrap these around instead.  I attach with a piece of tape, but you can use double stick tape if you don't want them to show.  If you want to put your water bottles into an ice bin, I recommend adding a piece of contact paper or packaging tape over them, or printing on waterproof paper.  (I haven't used waterproof paper before, but I do know that it exists.)

Here are some other water bottle labels I've done so you can see how cute they can be.  

Enjoy and feel free to share.  Shoot me a picture if you decide to use these.  I'd love to see!  :)
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