Monday, November 29, 2010


My last post covered Cricut cheat sheets.  Today I'm going to point out some tips that I have found useful.  These first two websites are more for the sake of reference, though:
*  A good background on the Cricut from the beginning and why you should give Sure-Cuts-A-Lot or Make the Cut software a lot of thought. her website, Michelle also has several very helpful videos including some for MAC users.)

Now here are the tips:
*  Conditioning a brand new mat before you use it for the first time.  This video will show you how to avoid having the mat too sticky and ruining your first project or so with a new mat.
*  Mat rehab  I like this video because she (Pinke) goes over all the best techniques if you want to re-sticky your mat to extend its life.  Some folks, however, have suggested waiting until your Cricut warranty expires to use these tips, because Provo Craft might not replace your Cricut if it gets gummed up from re-stickying your mats.

This next tip is just so cool, IMHO:
*  How to make SVG files from your own handwriting font.  And by just using steps 2 - 4, you can vectorize practically any drawing to use for cutting.

Paper piecing tips and creating your own paper piecing SVG files:
*  This is a nice video tutorial on how to cut a three-layered project in one procedure using Sure-Cuts-A-Lot and your Cricut.

The next few tips discuss cutting a variety of materials with your Cricut:
*  A very short (but good) video on cutting fabric with your cricut.
*  Cricut Dan gives a good demonstration (and shows you a little of what Design Studio is like along the way) on using transfer tape to transfer vinyl after it has been cut with the Cricut.
*  Video on using your Cricut to make a wax paper template to use for painting on a T-shirt. She uses a very intricate design and covers several cool techniques in this video.

Adding ink and stamping to your treasure trove of techniques:
*  Using markers and then switching to the blade to cut an outlined image with your Cricut.  And also, though not necessarily Cricut-related, here's a cool video showing how to use bic markers to color clear gemstones.
*  And finally, along those lines, a video on cutting out your own foam stamps.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    My Sis

    My sister, Jen, introduced me to the Cricut; and since she is so busy with her 4 amazing children (but still wants to get more skilled with her machine without having to sift though the gazillions of terrific websites in order to find what she needs), my aim this week is to clear a path for her.

    For starters, cheat sheets for the Cricut are always wonderful to have.  :)

    Here is a link to a compact little cheat sheet that you can print out and adhere to your Cricut lid and have whenever you need it: Cricut Settings Table (scroll down to the bottom of her post).  Also, here's a posting to a Cricut Forum that gives more detail, but isn't easily printable.  And a third Cricut cutting guide by Megan at Above Rubies Studio can be obtained by clicking on this link and subscribing to her newsletter.  Megan's guide provides detailed Cricut settings to cut out just about every name brand paper/cardstock out there, as well as general materials like vinyl, fabric, grungeboard, transparencies, blue painter's tape, magnets, foam, vellum and posterboard--to name a few.

    Also available are the online versions of the Cricut Cartridge Handbooks.  Just click on the cartridge and scroll down.  Under the "Details" tab, if the online handbook is available (and most are), it will be listed under Cartridge Resources as "digital handbook" and you can view the PDF version of the handbook.

    Another type of cheat sheet is this one by Linda (Just-a-Scrappin blogger) that lists all the cartridge features, as well as the phrases and shapes located on the cartridges.  You subscribe to an email listserve and you'll get the Cheat Sheet notifications when she updates.  It's a handy resource.

    Finally, the Cricut Bible Library.  Cynthia's project has pictures of the sample charts from about 90 or so of the Cricut cartridges, as well as pictures of the keypad overlays.  A very nice reference tool; however, if you plan to print it all out, I think it has to be done page by page (individually).

    So grab the cheat sheets that will best suit your needs.  :)

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    "This is our pact: We live. We work. We're just getting started."

    Can you guess what movie that quote is from?  Hint: Morgan Freeman.  :-)  Ten Items or Less.  A pretty good indie film.  The basic premise is about two strangers helping one another while getting to know each other.  And part of that process includes telling the other the 10 most hated things about themselves, and then the 10 things that are "keepers."  Voicing their lists provides guidance and lifts their confidence.  So I'm going to start my blogging by introducing what I feel are 10 "keepers" in cuttable-related web categories (for me, anyhow); and I suspect (if you haven't already become familiar with them) these sites will give you guidance, inspire you to have confidence in your creations, and above all, they'll be very good sites to return to, again and again.
    1.  First, of course, is the Cricut Community which includes links to tips, projects, products (at the top), and the ever helpful Cricut Message Boards, which led me to the next pick.  
    2.  After I got my Cricut, I caught the cartridge craze, but soon realized that I couldn't afford THAT addiction.  So when I found out (from a Cricut Message Board) that there was software out there that could save me from myself, I jumped on it!  It's called Sure-Cuts-A-Lot (SCAL).  This software allows you to do so much more with your Cricut.
    3.  But you will need a little guidance, which can be found in some exceptional SCAL tutorials.  One very important tutorial is this one which shows you how to find and install fonts that you can then access (and cut!) with SCAL.
    4.  Then along came the scads of free SVG files on the web.   I found my favorite freebies at and my MOST favorite cuttables (although these aren't free) are Mary's Cuddly Critters.  SO cute!  :-)   But there is now also a comprehensive website called that searches the net high and low for free SVG files so you don't have to.
    5.'ll want to begin making your own SVG/cuttable files (if you haven't already started).  You will want Inkscape - the premier free vector-creating software (if you don't already have it). 
    6.  Inkscape is a little complicated for the novice; but have no fear, there are tons of tutorials out there.  Here is a quick starfish tutorial to get you started.  And here's a really colorful and fun Valentine Art tutorial that will really get you rolling with Inkscape. Another one that I absolutely love is this Swirls tutorial.  You've probably always wanted to learn how to make your own beautiful and unique swirls that you can cut and add to your scrapbook pages and card projects.  Now you can!  
    7.  When I got about this far with my interest in cuttables, it came to my attention that there were other machines besides the Cricut that can cut SVG files (who'd of thunk?).  Here is a good comparison chart that describes the capabilities, prices, similarities and differences between several machines.  I'm sticking with my Cricut for now, but knowing how it compares to the others is reassuring.
    8.  And in addition to the other machines, there are also other software programs now that can aid you in your cutting (for those of you who don't like buying new cartridges all the time).  Here's a terrific cutting-software comparison chart by CleverSomeDay.
    9.  Speaking of new cutting software, I fell in love with Make The Cut (MTC) software and consider it an essential tool that offers a splendid cut and print feature (making it less necessary for one to buy the new--and very expensive--Cricut Imagine machine designed to cut and print images from your Cricut cartridges).  The blog that convinced me that MTC is the next new sensation, is Under a Cherry Tree.  I intend to take a closer look at blogs and videos that focus on cuttable-related features and tutorials, as well as advanced cutting techniques and projects, in the days ahead.
    10.  And finally, for those of you who just prefer the Cricut Cartridges no matter what (or maybe just don't have time to learn new drawing programs), here is a great Cricut Cartridge Search Tool that will prove invaluable to you.
    That's all for today.  :-)

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving to the Troops!

    Just a quick shout out to all our brave men and women enlisted in the Armed Forces who are protecting our freedoms and our great nation, and who work tirelessly to keep Americans safe.

    We thank you and we salute you.  You're our Heroes today and every day.

                 *     *     *     *     *      *     *     *     *     *
    As crafters we can show our appreciation to those in uniform anytime by getting involved with Operation Write Home - an organization which provides our Troops with hand-made cards to send home to their loved ones.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010


    This is my 1st post on this blog.  After several years away from Internet communities, I've decided to renew my web presence by joining others (with my own blog) in the crafting world.

    One of my main objectives with this blog will be to shine a light on my favorite tools, blogs, inspirations and the amazing world of cuttables, and share them with my sister and her friends as well as novice paper-crafters.  And by cuttables, I mean the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images (and any other image type) that can be imported into your software (Make The Cut or Sure-Cuts-A-Lot) and then passed on to your cutting machine (whether it be a Cricut, a Silhouette, a Black Cat Cougar Cutter or whatever) as well as the materials those images can be cut out of--and then used in your greeting cards, scrapbooks, fabric painting, cakes and all kinds of fabulous projects.

    Personal cutting machines are taking the crafting world by storm and they are constantly changing and improving.  I plan to do my best to keep up on those improvements and share them here in this blog.  So if cutting out cuttables interests you, then join me and we'll take this awesome journey together; because I LOVE CUTTABLES!  And hopefully you do, too.  :-)  I'd like to quickly mention, though, that I am saddled with numerous chronic illnesses (post-polio syndrome [similar to fibromyalgia], lymphedema [from cancer treatment], chemo brain [also from cancer treatment], carpal tunnel, and arthritis to name a few), so if I go weeks without posting, it just means I'm having to deal with SOMEthing.  LOL!

    In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!