Saturday, May 28, 2011

Die Cut Technique 6 - Distressing

Pin It The sixth technique of my week-long Embellishing Die Cuts event is an aging technique.

I actually don't do a lot of distressing because I don't do a lot of vintage style scrapbooking or card making. However, a lot of people use this method to embellish their die cuts, so it is worth mentioning here.  There are several ways to distress.  You can use sandpaper or an emery board to distress the edges.  I also tried the same idea using the sharp edge of scissors.  You can also lightly mist your paper, crinkle it up, then let it dry.  Another option is to curl the edges.  Dark colored inks can also be used to distress die cuts as well, or with lighter colored paper you can use things like tea stains.

Here are some examples of a heart cut from the George cartridge.  (Please forgive the photo- my camera is broken.  Guess that's what I get for letting a 15 month old near it.) Personally I think the one that is crumpled and inked has the most interest. 

I hope that you've enjoyed Embellishing Die Cuts Week!  I hope you've learned something & shared your own links as well.  If you'd like to see some other articles on how to decorate your die cuts, here are a couple I found along the way.

Do you have any other decorating tips to share?  I'd love to feature any blog entries about your techniques.  Leave me a comment or email me at ilove2bake at yahoo dot com. 

I really want to say thank you to everyone who participated this week!  Make sure you link up your distressed projects here!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Die Cut Technique 5 - Peachy Keen Stamps

Pin It The fifth technique of my week-long Embellishing Die Cuts event is a decorative technique.

When I try to draw faces, they look like this:

I absolutely adore Peachy Keen stamps, as do many fans of the cricut cartridges, and they are definitely on my "To Buy" list. Check out this example from Handmade by Angelica. Aren't these fantastic?  Similar idea to mine, but so much cuter.  It might be time for me to buy some of these....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Die Cut Technique 4 - Embossing

Pin It The fourth technique of my week-long Embellishing Die Cuts event is a technique to add depth and dimension to your die cuts.


I totally want an embossing machine. I haven't decided which one I'd like yet, but I know I definitely want one. Look at these cute sheep I saw Lorraine making when I met her at an Archiver's crop. Aren't they amazing? Part of what makes them so special is the fact that they're embossed.

There are a lot of different machines out there that do embossing- Provocraft & Sizzix make some of the more popular ones like the Cuttlebug and Big Shot.  I have several of the Fiskars texture plates and a stylus that I've used to make some projects while I'm still deciding which embossing machine to buy.  I've been thinking about the Sizzix "purse" one because I just want something that embosses.  Any recommendations?

Have you made a die cut project using embossing?  If so, link it up below!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Die Cut Technique 3- Layering

Pin It The third technique of my week-long Embellishing Die Cuts event is a technique to add depth and dimension to your die cuts.

Most cricut cuts, unless they're an accessory (like my poor, sad turkey), have several layers available to cut. You can usually cut a shadow, a base, and a top layer. Some cartridges have even more.  Here is an example from Simply Charmed, which has seven layers. 

However, you can always cut additional layers and trim accent pieces yourself. One of the "trends" I'm seeing a lot of now is 3 dimensional layering. Cut out the same thing 2 or 3 times and layer using foam tape like this. Doesn't this look much better? 

If you're into hybrid scrapbooking or cardmaking and like to use your computer, you could always scan your finished layered project, print it out, then layer your original on top as well.  This would have the same look as many of the layered stickers you can purchase now.

Another option for the cuts that don't have multiple layers is to cut the same cut at slightly different sizes for a layered effect, or to cut it multiple times in the same size, but different papers, and create your own layers. 

Paper choice is REALLY important, though, and I'm finding myself spending much more time with this.  When I was working on my Day at the Park layout, I started out with white shadows because that is what I typically used, but ended up choosing to make them green.  While a neutral can make something pop, the green was a much better look for the layout since there wasn't any other white on it.
However, when I got to layering the purple trees, I had to decide whether to stick with the green shadow to keep the shadows consistent, or to go with a matching color.  I preferred the purple, what do you think?

Another thing to remember about layering is that you don't always need to use just the cricut cuts.  I accented the middle of the flowers on the trees above using some small bling, which I preferred to using the additional cut layer. 

Do you have a project you've done with multiple layers?  Link it up below!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Die Cut Technique 2- Inking or Chalking the Edges

Pin It The second technique of my week-long Embellishing Die Cuts event is a technique to add depth and dimension to your die cuts.


This is an example I made using plain colored cardstock, but I shaded the edges of the moon white and baby blanket blue using inks and chalks. See the entire layout here if you're interested. You can also use watercolors or watercolor pencils for a similar effect.

Inking is probably my favorite scrapbooking technique that I've learned.  All you need to do is drag (or wipe) an inkpad along the edge of the cardstock.  This is what I did with the moon above.  With the baby blanket I used chalk to rub along the edge in a similar fashion.  (BTW- AC Moore sells $1 ink pads if you need to stock up on different colors.)

Faith Abigail at Faith Abigail Designs uses this techique beautifully.  Look at this gorgeous beach scene Thank You card.  Imagine how different this would be without the ink.  It really makes each piece stand out and makes it look much more professional. 

Do you have a project where you have used this technique? Add it below!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Die Cut Technique 1- The White Gel Pen

Pin It The first technique of my week-long event on decorating die cuts will help you to add depth and dimension to your die cuts.


People use opaque white gel pens to add dot accents to die cuts or often faux stitching around borders. I've read you should add these accents "where the light would fall," but not being an artist by any stretch of the imagination, I have no idea where light would fall. So I just kind of add them wherever. It took me forever to figure out how to do this well. Part of my problem was that the first thing I purchased to make these accents was a marker and not a gel pen. But when I look at a lot of these really "professional" looking cricut scrapbook pages, this is often their embellishment of choice. I have an example here below for you. You can also use other items like Stickles (glitter glue), gems, or Diamond Glaze (glossy medium) to do similar accents.
An example of faux stitching, from my Day at the Park layout.

Here are links to some great projects using this technique:

And here is an example of highlighting, something from an upcoming project:

The monkey is cut from the New Arrival cartridge.

So here's how I want to make this week interactive and fun.  Do you have any projects on your blog that have used this technique?  If so, add them to the Link Up below!  I've been doing some Link Ups on other blogs for several weeks through

and finally decided to do some of my own.  I thought this would be a great way to encourage all of you readers to try out this technique, post your project on your own blog, then link up here so other readers can travel to your blog and see what you've done! So how do you link up?

-Click "Add Your Link" button below.
-Enter the blog address for your specific blog entry, a title for your project, and your email address (this won't be shown, just in case I want to contact you & let you know how great your project is!)
-Select a picture from your blog that you'd like to have displayed.

That's it! Now people will be able to travel from my blog to yours! I hope you enjoy this & come back later in the week for more tips and link ups!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Embellishing Die Cuts- A Week Long Event!

Pin It Now, don't get me wrong- I love my Cricut.  I must have watched the infomercial for the Expression at least a dozen times before I went out and bought my Baby Bug.  I'm not a Cricut fanatic, though.  In fact, I only own 5 cartridges, which is pretty much unheard of in the Cricut world.  Wonder why?  I cannot, for the life of me, do a good job embellishing my Cricut cuts. 

If it were up to me, my cricut cuts would look like these from Monique Griffith Designs:

Or these from Busy With the Cricky:

But instead, most of the time, my Cricut cuts look like this one from my Grandparents Calendar:

Disappointing, isn't it?

I have a few issues: 
1.  I generally prefer using plain colored cardstock because I have a hard time envisioning patterned paper in the shape I'd like.  I also buy a lot of plain paper because it's cheap.  Plain paper makes the cuts look flat and boring.
2.  I'm not terrific at layering.  This is actually one of my better examples.  Look at how many layers Hello Kitty has.  Way better.
3.  I cannot figure out how to embellish these in an interesting way.  I often find the little accent cuts annoying and don't know what to do with them other than going over them in a marker like I did above. 

So I've decided to examine the pieces that I like, as well as doing a little research, and so I put together these techniques for you on how to decorate and embellish Cricut cuts.  This will be a week long event with new tips each day!  Hopefully I'll be able to give even you Cricut pros a few new ideas.  Please become a follower so you can see what's new all week long and feel free to leave comments with links to your great ideas too!  I'd also love if you grabbed & shared my button on your blog to let others know about this event.  Thanks for stopping in & see you tomorrow with the first tip!
Binge Crafter

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Hour Layout!

Pin It So my daughter is now 15 months old, and I'm already about 10 months behind with her scrapbook!   And this is my first kid!  Eek!  So I decided I definitely needed to do something to solve this problem.  My first step was to buy some of these album pages so that I wouldn't have to scrapbook every single picture.

But my next step was to do some layouts that weren't quite as involved.  I'm sure that many of you scrapbookers out there can also spend hours and hours on a single layout.  My solution was to limit my time to one hour.  A one hour layout?  I didn't think I could do it, but I did.  Here it is!

I used a cute scrapbook kit I had gotten for my birthday for the paper and embellishments.  This helped a lot of course, because I can spend hours just picking out paper and embellishments as well.  I still have a ton of the kit left- plus tons of pictures of baby to still scrapbook, so expect to see a couple more of these one-hour layouts in the future. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Fresh Mozzarella Pasta

Pin It Everyone in my family LOVES cheese and pasta.  We have this great food place near us called Noodles & Company that has really tasty parmesan-crusted chicken that I've been dying to replicate.  This recipe didn't exactly do it, but it was still pretty tasty!  I adapted this recipe from Taste of Home.  I added some extra spices like basil and oregano to the parmesan cheese.  To make the pasta I just cooked gemelli pasta in one pot and in another mixed some fresh minced garlic, oregano, and salt with olive oil and cooked the garlic a bit.  When the pasta was cooked, I strained the pasta, then mixed it with the olive oil mixture and some basil in a tube.  (Weird stuff, have you seen this?)  Then I threw in some fresh mozzarella and topped with salt & pepper.  The chicken went really great with the pasta.  I'm sure it would have been better with fresh herbs and maybe some tomatoes mixed in with the pasta, but I didn't have these on hand.  Now I know, this is a white meal and not the rainbow the experts recommend, but I'm sure you could add more veggies to the pasta too if you wanted it to be a bit healthier.  Anyway, hope you enjoy!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun with Felt

Pin It I've fallen in love with felt!  It's so easy to make such cute things with!  I picked up a bunch of different colors on sale the other day and combined it with some embroidery floss and buttons I already had on hand to make some cute felt decorations.  These may turn into hairclips, but they may end up being a part of something much bigger.  I definitely will have a better handle on embroidery after I tackle the felt next project I have planned.

By the way, for you scrapbook/cricut types out there, I used the flower from the Simply Charmed cartridge as a pattern for the flowers.  The layered circle and heart I did free hand.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beautify Your Blog!

Pin It Well, after a couple of weeks, I finally got around to posting my newly designed blog button.  Most people seemed to like #5, so that's the one I used.  I used Momma Go Round's Beautify Your Blog tutorials to make the grab box and to add my signature to the bottom of my posts.  What do you think? 

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rock On!

Pin It This is the other big project that my dad and I worked on while he was in town.  Admittedly, he did most of the painting, but I helped with priming and touchups, etc.  We bought these rocking chairs a year ago, unfinished and Amish-made.  We really liked them and enjoyed sitting in them watching thunderstorms through the year we've lived here.  But there was one little problem- I never finished them, so they started growing nasty black spots on them.  After some cleaning, sanding, priming, and painting, this is their new look!

We actually used some of the leftover paint from our house as the exterior paint color so that they'd match and because we already had it.  So they match perfectly!  :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Colorful Shade Garden - Without Flowers!

Pin It When we moved into our house last summer, we had problems with the sod growing up against the back of our house.  We had it replaced once, but the new stuff died as well, leaving ugly dead patches of sod across the back of the house.  With my dad in town, I finally had some extra hands to help me tackle this project.  Back in a former life, I used to work at a greenhouse in the summer and used to spend a lot of time helping others design shade gardens.  However, I had one little problem....

My husband is allergic to bees. 

So I promised him that I wouldn't plant anything flowering.  This made for an interesting challenge- a colorful shade garden without flowers.  Now I know, two of the plants I used actually flower a little, but I planned on cutting off the hosta flowers anyway since I don't like them.  So here is my colorful foliage garden.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Cards

Pin It
Here are the cards I made for my mom for Mother's Day this year.  I found all of the paper at the JoAnn's sale a couple of weeks ago & loved it all.  Hope you enjoy!

 Mom front
 Mom inside
 Grandma Front
Grandma Inside

I also decided to line the envelopes I was using as well.  This was super easy to do but I'll share another time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Decorative File Folders

Pin It I have another Mother's Day gift idea for you- something else I'm sending to my own mom!  I decided to take some plain manila folders and use a decorative paper pack of 6 papers I found at AC Moore for $1 to make these.
 To Mail
 A closeup of the heart embellishments- made using a heart punch, flower punch, and a little bling.
 To pay
 A closeup of the layers.  I used a Martha Stewart edge punch and some more bling.
 To File
 I used some "raindrop" stickers arranged in a flower shape with bling for the middle.
I really like the way these turned out.  I think she'll definitely like them!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day Monogram Frame Tutorial

Pin It

Need a quick Mother's Day project?  I whipped up this baby in an hour and a half and it is SO cute!  I actually made this a while ago, but I decided to save it for Mother's Day since it's MY Mother's Day gift for my mom.   So want to learn how?  Here we go!

Here's what you need:
A cutting mat
A cutting blade
Acrylic paint
A paper plate (cheap-o artist pallette)
Foam brush(es)
Mod Podge Decoupage Glue
Patterned cardstock (mine are from the Pocketful of Posies paper stack)
Scrap paper to protect your surface
A sander or sand paper
Wooden frame ($1 from Michaels)
Monogram chipboard book ($1 from AC Moore)

Let's get started!  First lay down your scrap paper to protect your surface, then paint the back and sides of your wooden frame using acrylic paint. 

Detach the front monogrammed piece of chipboard and add Mod Podge to the front of the chipboard.  Lay flat on the wrong side of the paper you chose to cover the chipboard.  Smooth out to make sure the paper glues well to the chipboard.  Let dry.

Put down your cutting mat to protect your surface. Using your cutting blade, cut around the edges of the chipboard, then use your sander to smooth out the edges.  This makes it look much smoother, plus gives it a subtle worn look which really worked with this cardstock. 

Glue your patterned cardstock to the frame as above.

Sand, sand, sand!  This really makes it look awesome and so professional.

Last step, glue on your chipboard.  I offset mine, so I didn't glue the entire back, just the part that would touch the frame.

Ta da!  Gorgeous picture frame and a nice handmade gift for Mom or Grandma!

Let me know if you make one too!  I'd love to link to your blog.  :)  Happy Mother's Day!


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