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      Wednesday, May 01, 2019

06:48 AM - 05/01/2019

The topic: Organization

I have two embossing machines. The original sized Big Shot and last year I got the bigger Big Shot Plus.  The smaller one embosses a width of 6" and the larger one can emboss as wide as 8.5".

Some crafters use them to cut paper or fabric using dies, but I've only used embossing folders. Embossing enhances the look of the project.

Here are a few examples:

Embossed dots

Embossed bricks

Embossed bricks

You get the idea. And there are thousands of these embossing folders available. I've been collecting them since I got my first embosser back in the beginning of 2013. I've even tried making my own (with chipboard).

When we had the annual Disney meets, most everyone would send me their photos and videos and I'd put them together in a DVD with music backgrounds. I listed out the music so if anyone wanted to check the artist/albums out for themselves, they could. This was the cover for the music listing. The Mickey was just printed and I hand cut it out, then glued it on, the Disney 2011 was printed in color, then I embossed it with the folder I made. Then, I painted over with clear Ranger Stickles. Glitter!

You can see where it's embossed, a little off center.

Anyway, I digress.

Well, I have all of my folders in a storage container, with little file folder things I cut out using white cardstock and the Cameo. And I embossed the front of those so I knew what the embossing folder inside looked like. But I've gotten so many of these things (I get email from a bunch of different crafting websites and check out their sales, Walmart has them for cheap and Amazon has their add-on category), that my storage container is full. And since I got that bigger embossing machine, the embossing folders I can use are larger and won't fit properly in the container I have. And then there's the problem of the file folder to put it in....

Got it. I found some fairly large plastic storage containers for a decent price, the larger embossing folders can fit (barely) in legal sized file folders. It will be a little hinky getting those embossed, because they're 9.5 inches and the embossing machine takes nine inches, but I'll work something out.

Earlier this year, someone posted on a facebook Silhouette group, asking about this design on a card. I recognized it. I have it. I tried to find it online, checking my various histories, but didn't have any luck. I finally found it on eBay, but it wasn't actually eBay, it was a photo from a previous auction on google images. I found the name of the folder, but it's no longer made. Who knew? I guess it's like cardstock, they discontinue designs.

In my searching, I read on one webpage about storing the embossing folders and the author advised writing the name of the folder on the folder in Sharpie. Which I'm going to do, but I'll have to backtrack to find them. So, that will take a while, but I have a lot of time on my hands.

Anyway, that's my most recent project. And as soon as I feel it's safe to lift the storage container (it's pretty heavy), I'll get started.

embossing    craftstuff   

02:02 PM - 05/01/2019

The topic: So, I got a new toy

Well, new to me. Amazon had a smart plug availble for ten bucks, with a promo code. Normally, $25. 

I've been wondering where to use it.

I ask Brian.

Me: what do you think we should use this for?

Him: something that's a pain in the butt to turn on. A lamp?

Me: which one?

Him: how about the one by the loveseat?

Me: that one doesn't turn on because it keeps getting unplugged

Him: (laughing) "Alexa, plug in the light."


      Thursday, May 02, 2019

04:55 PM - 05/02/2019

The topic: And we’re home

Over five hundred dollars lighter in the wallet. Well, we did get a case of A/D (it's what I've been feeding Mario), refills on meds for Mario and Lorelei, so with the food, that was around a hundred and sixty dollars. The rest was for Sammy.

I'm happy to report most of his values are good. And after we get what's wrong with him taken care of, the others shouldn't be so bad. We had a full blood panel run on him and the vet also wanted to check his thyroid.

He has a herpes infection. So, he's going to be on a few drugs, most likely for life. L-Lysine paste, ursodiol, calcitriol, and gabapentin. The gabapentin is for his arthritis. The rest for the herpes. And for short term, he's back on doxycycline. His WBC was pretty high.

She couldn't even look in his eye because of the swellling. And his nose was pretty bloody, as well, all due to the herpes infection.

So, I'm going to start the meds right now.

sammy    catstuff   

      Thursday, May 09, 2019

09:52 AM - 05/09/2019

The topic: Amazon window shopping

So, I'm on Amazon this morning. I picked up a couple of things on sale earlier this week, decided that I needed one more.  Just one.

We've gotten a few good sales the past week, utilities have been paid, insurances have been paid, there's a little extra in the bank. Burning a hole in my monitor. Seriously, you can see it, look right there, there's a little smoke...

Anyway, I have two of said items in my cart. Didn't push the button yet. I ask Brian "is there anything you need from Amazon?" Because if he gets something, I don't feel SO guilty about me getting something. Cat food, stuff like that, does not give me guilty feelings, because, well, it's for the cats. But electronic stuff?  Yeah, I do feel a little bad. Sometimes. For about ten minutes. And months/years down the road when I see it's still in the box, never used.....but I've gotten a lot better about that.

So, he asks "what are you getting?" 

Aw, he knows me so well....

"Well, nothing yet, I was just wondering if you had anything you wanted to add to the cart."

He's not falling for it. So, I explain.

Okay, I have all of these bluetooth speakers I've gotten over the years, from meh and woot. Opened up, tried to set them up without much success, just set them aside until later. So far, I blame it on the theory of bluetooth being above my pay grade. Which isn't really true, I just don't feel like dealing with the frustration of setting up speakers to my computer. I could run them from the phone, but meh...don't want to turn on the phone. We have a few bluetooth earphones, we use those, rarely. The speakers on my original Amazon fire don't work, bluetooth works with that, but I'm here, the headphones are over there, and it's too much work to walk over there and get them. Plus, the television is on, I might miss something important in a drug commercial.

Anyway, just looking at the Echo stuff over on Amazon, I see these things I had no idea existed. They're like Alexa for speakers. They call them "Echo Input" .

Now, I have figured out how to run the bluetooth speakers off of my Echo devices, but it shuts down the sound on the Echo. So, the sound is still only coming from one place. But with these, you can have kinda, sorta, stereo sound, depending on how many you have and where you put them.  And you can also run them through your stereo. I bought three of them. I wanted one more. So, bathroom, living room, garage and outside, maybe? I'm pretty sure I have enough bluetooth speakers.

Anyway, he just laughs. But he came back to the office and got some stuff for welding. And I got my Echo Input. Just one.

And if they'd been full price, I wouldn't have gotten any. But right now, they've got fifteen dollars off of the normal price.

No more toys until I get these set up, no idea how long that will take. Maybe years. Hah!

And Silhouette is coming out with Cameo 4 later this year....with different cutting widths depending on which version you get.  Bet that's a crapton of money.  My little headvoice was shoved back into the closet last night after being told it didn't need a cutting width of fifteen or twenty inches, just think of the accessories you'd need and you're doing just fine with the twelve incher, now go back to sleep, you noisy little irritant.

I think that worked. Because the headvoice hasn't once suggested finding video for the new Cameos....it wants to know when this cloudy, sucky weather will go away and we can put the new extension cord out in the sun to help it be more flexible to set the range extender properly.

silhouette    geekstuff    craftstuff    alexa   

      Friday, May 10, 2019

mrs. crankypants
08:46 AM - 05/10/2019

The topic: Arrgh!

Things haven't been going that smoothly for Brian this week, we were both pretty sick last month (cold) and I think he's still feeling the effects.

And he's had issues with the product his main supplier supplies and it's affecting his work product.

So, I've been trying to start doing the things I was doing before my leg got so sore last year and I got the official diagnosis, things Brian started doing so I didn't get worse, again. (How's that for a sentence?)

Like kitchen work.  Seeing how beat he was last night, I asked if he minded if I made breakfast (that will save him time in the morning). He said sure.

Now, keep in mind, I haven't really done very much out there for six months. Not keeping on top of what we're out of, what we need, etc. My planned breakfast was burritos. Eggs, turkey sausage, o'Brien potatoes (I just use the frozen ones) and cheese. Pretty simple, but also pretty tasty.

Pulling the ingredients together, I couldn't find the sausage. Brian had told me yesterday there wasn't any defrosted, no biggie. I look for it in the freezer in the garage. Nope. The kitchen. Nope. I asked him where it might be. Well, if it's not in the garage freezer and not in the kitchen freezer, we don't have any. Now, see, if it had been me, when I pulled out the last of the sausage from the box in the freezer, and threw out the empty box, I would have added it to the shopping list.

Same thing for the potatoes. We didn't have those, either.

I cooked up some bacon and used frozen hash browns, it was alright, tasty, but it wasn't what I had in mind.

I'm going to have to get used to doing this again.

After we ate, I did the dishes, cleaned off the counter and emptied the dishwasher.

Things are getting back to normal.

Where's the sun?

      Monday, May 13, 2019

07:44 AM - 05/13/2019

The topic: Crafty things

So, my embossing folders. They're a mess and in dire need of organization. They were okay, I had it down, but some of the newer ones are too big for the little folders I made to store them in and I saw online where other crafters would write the name of the embossing folder on it, with a Sharpie.

And the big embossing folders, the ones I've gotten for the Big Shot Plus, that work with letter sized folders (8.5x11) won't fit at all. Well, I got the wild hair to fix this.

Where I am right now is the "why the hell am I doing this?" stage.

First thing was to label the folders. Did you know that they retire patterns? That they're discontinued? And you can't find them anywhere? I spent days looking for the ones that didn't come with the name stamped on them. I've finally narrowed it down to just two, which is pretty darned good. For three of them, I contacted the manufacturer and so far have heard back from one, Cricut. Now just waiting on Cuttlebug and Sizzix.

Here's kind of what I'd done. Getting ahead of myself, I threw out some of the paper folders (see the stuff in the container?) I'd made for storage, the pile on the left. The big ones are at the right side.

I have too many at this point for that storage container, I can't squeeze anymore in. Something had to be done. I just don't think what my mind thought was a brilliant idea at the time, is. The red boxes in the back have legal sized folders. Those will be great for the large embossing folders, but for the little ones (see that green one in the middle?), the border folders, or the little ones in kits, well, that's going to be overkill. Just stupid. And I got so many of them. Not thinking things through. And the storage container I got for the legal sized file folders won't work. The description said it was 18"x14"x10" (rounded down). But the file folders are over 14" wide, so I have to have them in the 18" way. But. That 18" measurement? That's measuring the lid. The actual body of the container is 12"x15".  I wish that had been mentioned. I would have gotten something else, but live and learn. It's not like I won't find a use for them (they came in a pack of two).

But it put a huge damper on my idea.

So, now I'm thinking I'll keep using the smaller containers (I have another one) for the smaller folders and figure out some way of using the bigger container for the larger embossing folders and with the left over space, store the embossing machine accessories. Okay, check that one off.

Which leads me to the cover folders. You know, the ones I threw out? I'd like to have them standard sizes, so that the 6" x 6", 7" x 5" and 4.25" x 5.75" folders will all fit comfortably. But there's nothing available that would work for me, so I'll, once again, make my own. I have card stock, just found it in my card stock closet, that is 12" x 18". I've already done the sizing in the Silhouette software and can cut two folders on a sheet (when resized to my specifications). I bought the files a long time ago, if you're interested, go to this link in the design store.

I have a lot of work ahead of me. But I'm looking forward to it, this will really be nicer to use.

silhouette    photos    craftstuff   

      Wednesday, May 15, 2019

07:38 AM - 05/15/2019

The topic: While I wait

I'm waiting for the new cutting mats to be delivered. I had everything pulled for the embossing folder folders, but imagine my surprise when I went to my storage cupboard and didn't have any 12" x 24" mats. Spit.  Well, I did, Cricut brand, but they don't play well with the Silhouette, I'd have to figure out the correct placement. I ordered some knock-off mats (Nicapa), half the price of the Silhouette brand and I've had good luck with the 12" x 12" mats. These should arrive today, they're "out for delivery" via UPS.

So, last year I got a package of Grafix shrink film. I had plans, but never got around to implementing them. Geez, they've sure dropped in price this past year. Oh, well, what I have here should last me a lifetime. Unless I start to make really cool things with it and sell them in my online store, that still only carries catnip. (This year's catnip is loving this weather, even if I don't.) There is cheaper film, but this stuff is inkjet printable on both sides. And the hair was growing wild up my butt.

Yeah, the proverbial wild hair. I gots it.

Ideas rolled through my brain and I figured the easiest to start with, would be a bookmark. So, yesterday, I picked out five digital paper files (you can find these lots of places, I get mine on Etsy: they are graphic backgrounds that you print out). Not having used the Epson R1900 for a couple of months, I went with the newer Epson. What a mistake. It isn't made for this type of material and I ruined at least four sheets (at a buck a sheet, that's not cool). The bottom inch and a half on them has an ink distribution problem. Too much (major drippy spots) and not enough coverage. There were expletives. I didn't throw them out, I can use them for smaller projects, but for bookmarks, I need most of the sheet, seeing as when you bake them, they shrink up about fifty percent.

So, I started up the R1900. And dealt with the normal ink problems that occur when it's not run for a while. I had to use a syringe to suck the ink into the cartridge on some of the colors and ran the cleaner three times. I think because I'm used to this it wasn't a big deal, but it was time consuming. Anyway, once I'd finished getting it ready, I mirrored one of the images I'd printed on the other printer and printed that out. I was happy with the result, so I did the same thing to the other sheets, then did five fresh sheets.

Then they had to dry. These sheets are plastic and don't process the ink like regular paper.

Then I opened up the Silhouette software, designed a bookmark. Then what would the bookmark say? I found a cute little verse and put that on the bookmark. I want to try the We R Memory Keepers Foil Quill for the text. (I got mine from Swing Design for a good pre-order price earlier this year; HSN came out with the same kit for thirty dollars less and Swing Design matched their price.)  I got out the Quill, chose the shrink paper I wanted to use and a complimentary foil color.

By that time, it was too late to do anything else, like get the machine out of the garage and connect it to the computer. And then it would have to be baked and I'm not doing that in the house, I'd do it on the patio with the little toaster oven I got for crafting.  I didn't want to get started on something and not be able to finish.

I'm looking forward to sharing pictures.

shrink film    quill    digital paper    craftstuff   

      Thursday, May 16, 2019

04:10 PM - 05/16/2019

The topic: Alrighty then

For the first time in months I got the Silhouette out. It was nasty out this morning, rain and drizzle part of the morning, I didn't feel like watching television or reading. Why not craft?

I had the bookmark designed and I would need to run it through the Cameo twice for the different processes. Once for the sentiment, to be printed using the Foil Quill and then to cut the bookmark out. Kids, let me tell you, the Foil Quill worked like a dream once I got it to heat up. Oddly enough, it didn't work through an outlet, but when I attached it to a USB hub (that gets its power from an outlet and is always connected to the laptop) the Quill lit up and the heating began. I admit I was a little frustrated, but once the light came on, it was "okay, cool, let's do this".

It did a great job of the text on the first try. That doesn't happen very often. If this went smoothly, maybe cutting the shrink film would be just as sweet.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope.

First off, I learned to not drink out of a container that has condensation on it. Because drips. The drips smeared the ink. Oh, gee, this stuff isn't water resistant? Swell. I'll try doing a clear coat on them with a special spray, maybe that will help.

Now, the tricky thing is getting the foil and the paper off of the shrink film without unloading the machine. The Cameo 3 has two tools. I was using the left one for cutting, the right one for the foiling. I had set the design too high up on the shrink film, so I had to finesse the tape and foil off from under the roller. I got that done, then started the second part, the cutting.

The cutting. This really surprised me. I've cut heavy card stock before, I've cut acrylic sheets before and it wasn't a nightmare like this. The design is just a basic rectangle with rounded corners with a hole at the top for a tassel. It's nothing fancy.

The circle went fine. The first straight line went about ninety percent then the mat started to slip sideways and there's was a huge drag mark from the blade and it just continued slipping. It didn't even come close to cutting all the way through, although I knew I'd have to make multiple passes. I paused the job, then cancelled it. I got another test sheet of shrink film and repositioned the design in the software. The text done, I started the cutting. Same deal. Started to slip. But this time I was ready and paused the machine before any damage could be done. And I did some research via Google.

I found out you need to start with a shallow blade. Do a few passes (don't unload until you've finished the cutting completely, because chances are, you won't be able to exactly reposition the mat if you take it out and reload), then set it for a deeper cut, resetting the blade accordingly.  I started out with a setting of 2, speed 1, force 33 and would do two passes, then make the settings and blade two more. It still wasn't cutting all the way through. After four passes at a depth of 8, the film finally looked to be ready to take off of the mat.

Then another problem. The layer that has the color on it? It didn't cut all the way through on the mat side of the design and it peeled back (think of the film on a new phone screen). Okay, next time, maybe a new blade or use a utility blade to finish the cut.

Now, let's bake! I got the toaster oven and turned it on. Got it set up, found the parchment paper, as per the film instructions, and tried a test piece, a scrap from the sheet I'd cut the bookmark out of.  It only took three minutes to shrink and thicken. Wow! Nice! It seems a little thick for a bookmark, but it was pure sorcery.

So then I tried the bookmark. It did shrink up more than 50%. The starting piece was 10" x 2". The result after baking is 4.87" x .7/8".  And it's about three or four times as thick.

The layer that peeled back was rough and the area from which it peeled is white. Not acceptable.

So, all in all, it is something I will do again. I'll try again after I clear coat the printed shrink film, change out the blade for a new one and be more careful when I separate the cut piece from the sheet (utility knife, metal straight edge and cutting mat close by). And I'll take pictures.

It was a fun project for a rainy afternoon.

shrinky dinks    shrink film    foil quill    craftstuff   

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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