Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I'm back.....!!

....and happy to be feeling better today.  I am also very happy to have a very comfy and cool air-conditioned craft room, as are my Pups, who seem to want to be here by my side, rather than be out in the hot sun!  

    I'm also excited to share a couple of new cards and I'll start with one that I had actually created yesterday, but was too darn tired to post last night.  It's an "all digital" card and the entire card was created with digital papers, elements and even my sentiment was a Hero Arts cut file, that I bought a while back in the Silhouette store.   I really love working with both digital and standard stamps and images and often will combine the two.  

   It's a fun little Hello card and everything "except" the card base, is a digital printable or cut file.  I create all my digi/hybrid card in "Microsoft Word" and it's as simple as deciding which background papers I wanted, then I add them to a blank document and continue adding until I have chose all my backgrounds and the image I want for me card, which in this case is the pretty flower.  Both of the patterned papers behind the flower are Hero Arts Digital background papers.  I then layered on the flower and printed out my papers directly onto some good quality cardstock.  I used a Epson Matte Presentation cardstock for this design, but you can pretty much use any cardstock you like.  Once my print was done, I then trimmed down the "printed" papers to the size that I wanted for my card and layered them onto a "Shallow" Notecard.   The Hello sentiment, a Hero Arts Cut File, was cut on my Cameo in white.  I actually cut almost a full sheet of assorted sentiments, all on the same piece of white adhesive backed cardstock.  That way, when I need one, I can simply peel it off and stick it to my card, or color it and then add it after it dries. It's so easy to do and you can make a card in a matter of minutes.   

   My next card also started out as a simply "Digital File" another of the fun flower files I own from Hero Arts.  It was also printed directly onto some quality cardstock and was ready to use for this card, which was inspired by the new "Purple" challenge over at "Addicted to Stamps".   Woohoo!  You can only imagine how excited to see the inspiration image and as soon as I did, I knew I wanted to make a card that was "primarily" all purple.

My Card

   I chose two elements from the photo for my card --- the color "Purple" of course, although I chose a more violet-blue shade and flowers, because of seeing the flowers on the front door!!    I started with my digi image which I printed first and then cut down to the size I wanted for my card.  I then stamped on a cute "Thankssentiment, which is one of the fun Simon Says Stamp exclusives.  I used my favorite "Grape Juice" Shadow ink and then added some matching sequins.  Next, I added that to a pretty piece of matching cardstock and then using foam take I popped it up off of another layer of "WoodGrain" cardstock and then finished it by adding it all to a snow white card base!   A very simple yet pretty "clean and layered" look, which I hope you'll love.  

   After I finished that card I actually created three more, but you are going to have to wait a bit to see those.  Two will be featured in an upcoming 90 Minute Hero Arts Scramble that I'll be hosting over at Hero's Flickr Group on Sunday, August 10th, at 1 PM EDT.   Everyone is welcome to play in the scramble and all you have to do is the join the group, which you to do HERE!  It's OPEN to everyone who loves Hero Arts products, like me and many others.  I have fun little theme in mind and the two cards I created today with help inspire you, if you play along!!   I really hope you will!

   And the third card is for a new Design Team project coming up very quickly over at the a2z Scrapbooking Blog.  Please stay tuned as we have some fun and exciting news that will be shared very soon.   And before I forget, you still have time to take part in our current "Linky Party" for the month of July and you can find all the details on that on the a2z Blog here!   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happiness is....

.....a lot of things and lots of different things can bring happiness into our lives.   To me, as soon as I hear that phase the very first think that always comes to mind is the fun little book written by Charles M. Schulz - "Happiness is a Warm Puppy", and if you also remember that book then we are probably close in age and may bring back fond childhood memories for you.   I owed that book way back then and realized today it was first released in 1962.     I even found a picture of the book on Google Images, and here is it in case you've never seen it.

    I guess you might say I have puppies on my mind today and it's partly because my puppies have be very lovable and also because I have a few new cards to share and two of them feature cute little pup images that are from this fun set of Paper Smooches stamps.

    The first card I created using this set, along with the matching dies -- was inspired by this weeks' new challenge at CASology where the Cue Word for this week is "RUN" and in my house and yard the pups just LOVE to run and whenever I say, "Run, Run, Run" they take off running all around the yard.  Something that Skye has been doing since I first adopted her and something her sister Zeva, as since picked up on now too!  That being so, as soon as I saw the cue word, I knew I had to create a card with some type of image that showed a dog running and the Woofers &Tweeters set had the perfect little pup. 

   I colored up my little pup and then die cut him with the matching die.  I then chose a piece of Simon Says Stamps, white woodgrain cardstock as my card base.  I just love this cardstock, the quality and the fun texture make every card extra special!  I would love to have had a stamp that said "Run Run Run", but I thought this cool "Adventure time" sentiment also worked out well and it's from one of my newest Winnie & Walter Sets.   Speaking on Winnie & Walter, they have a brand new release coming out this week and I already know that there at least two new sets, I must have!  More of these amazing, "The Big, and The Bold" and the next two are "Blessings" and "Seasons" and I can't wait to add them to my collection!   Love Love Love there fun mix and match sentiments with the extra large "script" words!! 

   My next card was also created and inspired by a challenge and that is this week's new "MUSE" Challenge which you'll find HERE!  I'm also very thankful and grateful that my card from last week's challenge was featured in the Honorable Mention this week - which you can see here!   Yippee!!!

This Week's MUSE

   As soon as I saw Marion's card, I knew I also wanted to again feature a puppy on mine, because I loved the idea of using a sweet and adorable animal, just like her little owl.  That had me coloring up a second little puppy and putting it together with some new stamps to create my card!   Hope you like him, I think he's a cutie and that was the look I totally took from Marion!

     I did have more to share but am suddenly feeling wiped out, and don't have the energy to sit and type any more today!!   So... I will be back tomorrow with a new update and more of the cards I have created in the past couple of days.  I can tell you know, I'm going to bed very early tonight so that I can try to catch up on on my sleep!   Goodnight!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On a much happier note....

....I am now back with some new cards and am happy to say that I even cut some new files with my Silhouette today and today it seems to be working a bit better???  Why?  I have no clue, but this is exactly why it's such a nuisance and why I know there has to be some defect in the machine?

   Anyway -- I am happy to now share some of my latest creations and almost all of them has something that I did actually cut with my Cameo.  This also shows you just how wonderful this machine CAN be when it's working, as it should.  

   My first card was inspired by the current challenge at "Cas(E) This Sketch" and I'm happily also sharing a copy of this week's sketch.
CTS # 85

My Card

  As you can see, I had pretty good luck with my cuts today and also used the Designer Edition of the Silhouette Software to design the card base.  The butterfly die cut, was cut from the red and white polka dotted paper, and also cut from a piece a very light card base.  I then simply added that piece onto a matching red card base, and placed the dimensional butterfly inside the opening that had been cut!   If you recognize the "Thanks a Bunch" you'll know it's from Hero Arts, who does actually sell their own cut files in the Silhouette Store and now you can also find their Digital Cut and Printable files being sold over at the a2z Scrapooking Store.  This set is called "Hello Sunshine" and compliments a few of the the Hero Stamp sets, including this one, as well as the "Hello Sunshine Daises", which are due to be back in stock any day!  Woohoo!  If you are heading to the store now to do some shopping, please feel free to use my Design Team Promo Code LISAH15 -- which will save you 15% off of any order of $25 and up (Excuding shipping).   Just remember to add it during the checkout process!   Be sure to stop by often as new items will be added and sold out goodies are re-stocked!!  If there is anything you can't find, simply ask and we'll be happy to help you find it!!

Hello Sunshine Daisies picture

   I also created this card, using another butterfly and a fun sentiment from one of my favorite new Simon Says Stamp Sets.  

  Next, I have a cute little tag that I created for this week's "Tag You're It" Challenge # 2, where I feel in love with Laura Bassen's tag, along with all those created by the Design Team!  WOW! WOW! WOW!  I still am learning this whole "tag" thing, but it's fun to challenge myself.   I also just happen to adore Laura Bassen and love pretty much anything and every thing she creates!!   

Challenge #2
Tag Inspiration by Laura Bassen

My Tag
     I loved that Laura used die cuts on her tag and that was a main part of the inspiration for my card.  And I knew I already had a wonderful Hero Arts Cut file in my Library that I wanted to use as part of my design. I combined that image with a plain circle as my background layer and then created a scalloped layer where I added a tiny hanging attachment that was actually part of an ornament shape!  This again are some of the thinks I LOVE to do with my Silhouette and why I have such a love/hate relationship with it!!   I also used a combination of black, white and red - picking out those colors from Laura's tag. I love how she used Distress Inks for her background, but in trying not to case her, I went with Patterned Paper!

    And, I also had the leftover negative space from the same cut, which I was able to put to very good use in making my next card!  This is where you'll also notice that the cut about did NOT come off the mat very well and I had to piece together some of it, but again, I should be able to cut the entire file and not have half stuck to my mat or not cut well enough that it breaks apart when I try to remove it?   Bummer!!  In this case, if I had not told you, you probably would not have noticed?   I actually like the Negative better, because it did stay together a bit better, enough so that I could glue it onto the lavender background circle and pretty much repair it! I do love this design and hope that some day I'll get a truly perfect cut!

    And now to my last card of the day which was created with some more of the little butterflies that I had worked with this morning.   I had actually put them in a bin where I keep all my extra little die cuts.  I have them on hand for projects where I can use them in the future.  At the time I put them there this morning I had no idea I'd be pulling them out this afternoon for a new challenge, but that's exactly what it did when I saw the new challenge today at "The Cutting Edge".   I think the card that Jean created for this week's inspiration is absolutely adorable -- look closely at the sweet little kitties....!   Awwww!!!

My Card

  Jean's card design gave me the idea of using a long vertical strip running down my card, as she did for the kitties.  Only I changed mine to a solid piece, embossed it in my Cuttlebug and then added three little die cut butterflies, all in the row!   I also chose to go with Red, Black and White as my color them, based on her colors!!  I thought about using a Kraft card base, but thought I'd use red instead, to make it my own!

  Tomorrow, I hope to be creating with some on my brand new goodies which arrived today!  Lots of fun new exclusives from the latest Simon Says Stamp release, which I LOVE!!

Buyer Beware -- Silhouette!!

   As much as I love my Silhouette Cameo and the wonderful capabilities of this machine, I wanted to take the time to warn everyone about some of the issues I have had and how disappointed I am in the way I have been treated by Silhouette.

   I am one of the many who was originally a Cricut user -- but, never cared for the limits that I had with that machine.   After doing my own research, I decided I wanted to purchase a Silhouette.  Just about that time, I also found out that Silhouette was due to release a new machine, the "Cameo" and decided to wait for the "new" machine to come out, rather than to buy the current SD.   Once it was released, I purchased it - that was in November of 2011.

    From the very first day, I had issues with the blades and mats and at that time, had excellent responses from Silhouette and they were more than happy to replace my defective blades/mats.   I also had issues with cuts and from the day I bought that machine I was NEVER able to cut really detailed or intricate cuts, no matter WHAT I tried.  I spend a lot of time on the phone with Silhouette or writing emails and always did everything they recommended.  After some time, they thought that maybe my cutting strip was damaged, so they again, happily sent me a new one.    I also admit, that there was a long period of time, where I wasn't using the machine (pretty much almost a year after I adopted my Puppies), and had only limited crafting time.
But, every time I would use it, it would work fairly well for simple cuts, but continued to constantly give me issues with more intricate much so that I basically gave up on trying those and used it primarily for very easy designs.  I took several classes and really LOVED the things I could now create, but still was upset, when I would go to cut something and always have some issue.  I can't even count how many blades and mats I have purchased, not to mention how many pieces of cardstock have been wasted?   I even have two Starter Kits that I've NEVER even used, because I was always afraid my machine would ruin the materials.   I kept hoping that with new software updates it would eventually work out, but that never did happen and I'm angry with myself for NOT contacting them EVERY time this happened...!  My mistake..I admit, but NOT one I'll ever make again!

   Long story short.....I made a special point of contacting them shortly after my one year warranty was up and wanted it noted on my account that I still was having issues and I wanted it noted on my account that I still strongly felt I had a defective machine.   I was still not happy with how it worked and the gal I spoke to, agreed to do that for me.  She also had me try a few more setting changes, and that was also when I was sent a new "cutting strip" that they hoped would resolve the issues once and for all.  And while it did work better, with the strip, it still wasn't right and that's when I should have been on the phone again, but I was sick of it and just kind of gave mistake...again!!

    Unfortunately, I did NOT complain enough and found that out yesterday, after writing several times this week about more of the same cutting issues, expressing that I really felt it was LONG over due for Silhouette to replace the machine and that this had gone ON far too long.  After more emails and more suggestions, which I did try again to no avail.  I even sent them the cut files, but was never told if they works for them, they kept insisting it was a blade or mat issue....again.  By now, I was really upset and I wrote and said, I had let this go on way too long and simply wanted my machine replaced.  I included my address and asked them to contact me to let me know when my replacement would be shipping!  Shortly after that I,  received this email --

"Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:51:12 +0000
Subject: RE: I need my Cameo Replaced!!!!!
 We are sorry for any frustration caused. Will you please email us the best number and time to call you, so we can resolve this issue or replace your machine for you "
     I immediately emailed them back gave them my phone number, which I might add, they already HAD on file and told them they could call me anytime and that I would be here all weekend.  A couple hours later, they did call, but it was a useless call.   They continue to insist that the issues are related to "me" either using a bad mat, blade or not using the right settings.   GRRRRR!    Despite the fact that had a brand NEW blade and mat in the machine and was using the exact setting the machine suggest, or even trying altering the setting for a better cuts, there I clearly could not achieve it with this machine.   I explained it all in great detail, told them about the machine jamming, the machine not being recognized when it IS one and several other issues, all of which have always made me feel I had a lemon.   And of course, what was I told in the end even after all my notes and calls?  I was told there is NOTHING they can do for me now.  My machine is too old and is out of Warranty!   Grrrrrrrrrrr!   No kidding!!   I told the gentlemen how upset I was to hear that and that I had called specifically to have this all noted so warranty would NOT be an issue...but too bad, they don't care and they will NOT help me!   I'm so mad I could scream!
    Now, I'm stuck and they only way for me not to totally LOSE out on all I have invested in Cut Files, Accessories, a store subscription and so on is to buy another machine and the sad part is that they know this and in my opinion, they don't care, because they get another sale out of it.  It's not like there is another company I can go to and buy a Cameo, there is only ONE Silhouette and it is the ONLY die cut machine on the market that I am interesting in owing.  So as much as I despise giving Silhouette my business, I'm pretty much stuck... Shame on you Silhouette!   You really should think FAR more about your customers than the bottom line.   This machine has been a problem from the day I opened it and I'm so upset that you are not standing by your product.  

     These are just a few pics of cuts I "Tried" to make with my machine yesterday!   Grrrr!  It's so annoying to be wasting SO much time, effort and paper and then see this happen --- over and over....


This is the design I tried to cut!!

    That was the closet to coming out as it should.   All during this I should note that I tried different cardstock thicknesses, adjusted the blade setting and speed and so on.   At one point, it jammed so bad and was "stuck" in the same spot, that it "cut right through my mat" and ruined it.  And I 'paused' the machine as SOON as I heard that dreadful jam sound!!   Grrrrr!!    The only reason, I'm posting this is to warn you all, to be aware of what happens when you are NOT persistent.  I should have called MORE and I should have NEVER let it go this far.  I should have insisted they replace the Cameo when it was under Warranty!   And believe me, I will never be that foolish again!!   Please, if YOU are buying any type of expensive products (crafty or not) and you have issues and problems with it, from day one....continue to call and email EVERY day until you have a resolution you are happy with!  I'm not, at ALL happy with Silhouette and I expressed that on the phone and followed it up with another email last night.  I'm also planning to contact the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Agency and see if I can file a complaint with them!   Do NOT be as foolish as I was -- if you have something that is NOT working right.....make sure you do NOT stop calling!!        And now, I'm off to go sit at my craft desk and create some cards --- my therapy and my relaxation!   I'm not about to let Silhouette ruin my day....!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What a nasty day....

.....and it just doesn't seem to want to end.   After all that lovely weather we had, we are making up for it now and this week is really been a big bust....!   No sun in the last couple of days, lots of humidity, which has us constantly under a storm weather....not to mention the downpours we've had most of today.  My poor older dog, "Scout" is so unhappy when it storms and on top of that it's a HUGE challenge to get any of the dog outside in this miserable weather....!  On the upside, I have had plenty to do inside and am very thankfully for that.
       I spent the best part of two full days trying to create some "Cut Files" using my Silhouette Cameo, that will be for Sandy Allnock, who you all know as the amazing lady behind "Operation Write Home", and who I also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of week's ago, when she visited my LSS to take Copic Classes.  In one of those classes we created a fun "Color Wheel", to use for coloring and I shared it on my blog - HERE!   When Sandy mentioned in class that she had hand made "ALL" the color wheels for each of the classes, I thought "Hum", I wondered if I could use her files and then create "Cut" and "Print and Cut" files so they could easily be created using a Silhouette.   We after many attempts and some issues with my silly Cameo, I finally did finish those filed and really HOPE they will work to help out Sandy and others who take her online Color Wheel class.  It was a very good "challenge" for me to make myself use my Cameo and all that I've learned in a variety of Silhouette Classes!  Despite the ongoing issues I seem to have with my machine, the designing part went well.   I also have another call into Silhouette's Customer Service to have them try once again to determine, why my machine jams at times, and why it can't "register" my Print and Cuts and so on.  I absolutely love having a Cameo, but have always felt that I had a bit of a "lemon" in my machine and have made that known to Silhouette since day one.  I was NOT a very happy camper today, when files I had easily cut yesterday, would not cut at all today....!!  It's very upsetting, when you know there is some sort of defect, but no one can seem to figure it out.   The good news is that I did finish the project and emailed off the files to Sandy.   Note:  This class is currently being offered online via Sandy's Blog, you'll find it HERE, if you are interested!

     I do HOPE I can resolve my Silhouette issues soon, because this is such an incredible machine and when it IS working well, it's just amazing the things you can do with it.  I have recently bought some of their new products and want to try more with Vinyl and Stamps etc., and also cutting of the newer and different styles of paper and cardstock they sell!  But, I don't want to keep wasting paper, mats and blades and that's what always seems to happen when I'm really into creating something.  I do HOPE that this time they'll figure this out, or finally replace my machine??   Wish me luck because it's NOW out of warranty. but I have all the documented and it's in my files with Customer Service time will tell!  

   On a happier note --- I was super excited to see that I had a card featured this week over at the MUSE Challenge, and you can see it HERE, in this post!!    Special thanks to everyone who voted and congrats to everyone who played and who had a card featured or in the Honorable Mention.

    My first card today is actually a brand new card that I created for this week's MUSE Challenge - and it was inspired by the current MUSE card, that was created by Therese, which I am sharing with you here!!

Muse Challenge #76

My Card

 I really like her idea of stamping the upper corner with a wonderful array of flowers and used that inspiration for my card.  I used the "Life's a Journey" Stamp set by Simon Say Stamp and used a variety of Hero's Shadow Inks to create the stamp style of design on a white card base.   Then, to make it "my own" I used this curved edge "SSS die" to cut off that portion and layered it onto some deep Aubergine Notecard also from Hero Arts.   I added a "Hello" die cut by Mama Elephant for my Sentiment and had my card done.

   And speaking of Simon Says Stamp, my next card was created and inspired by their current Wednesday Challenge of  "Spot and Dots", as well as the current "Pets" themed card challenge at CASology.   

 Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog   

   This card started with this "Circle Friends" Stamp set, which is another favorite from Simon Says.  I combined it with the cute little "Paw Print" that is found on this "Woofers & Tweeters"  set by Paper Smooches.   I also used one of my favorite SSS dies, which was used to create the windows for each of my stamped images.  I colored up the "lil pup" with my Copics and was sure to add some "spots', so that he would work out perfectly for the them.  For the "dots" I used some sweet "polka dotted" cardstock by Simple Stories.

   I adore any kind of dog stamps, and have a nice little collection, always growing.  If you are a dog lover, like me, or even a cat love -- be sure to check out the newest SSS "This is the Life" Release, which has some wonderful sets, even with matching dies and stencils.  I have already ordered this set, and this one and can hardly wait for them to arrive.   I've become a HUGE fan of all the wonderful Simon Set Exclusives and can't help but add a few more sets to my collection each month.  I never thought I would say this, but I finally must admit that Simon Says Stamp is now my # 1 -- Favorite product line!!   Yes, it's true, they have now beat our my former favorite "Hero Arts", imagine that!!  .  Of course, I LOVE lots of others companies have a craft room full of a wide variety of products -- but I'm totally LOVING so much about Simon Says Stamp and it's also where I find myself shopping more than ever before!   I'm also thrilled to be a subscriber to the Monthly Card Kits and know I'm going to really love this one!   Yippee!!   Oh, and for the record, I'm writing this on my own and based on my own shopping and creating experiences.   I do NOT work for SSS or have any affiliation with them, I simply LOVE their products and use them all the time.   The same goes for ANY products I share on my blog --- the are products I own and use and I hope you feel the same way!!

   I have one final card to share and one was inspired by the current challenge over at "Iron Craft" where we had a wonderful array of images to choose as our inspiration for this challenge and believe me it was NOT an easy choice.  I really loved them all and also really enjoyed all the designers that Chiatali, interviewed this month.   It's a blog I really now enjoy and happily subscribe too.    After much thought, I finally chose to go with the card shown below, which was created by Debby Hughes, who I also LOVE!!!   
Iron Craft - Inspiration # 3

My Card

  I took the idea of using a pretty floral image with a really nice font and started by choosing this wonderful "Night & Day Flowers" stamp set which is one of my favorite Hero Arts Stamps and one I have used several time since I first bought it.   I colored the stamp directly with water-based markers, lightly misted it with my mini mister and then stamped the image directly onto some Watercolor paper.   I added a little sparkle to my flowers using a Viva Decor Glitter Pen and then added this wonderful sentiment, which is from another new set of Simon Says Stamp/Die Sets "Flower Garden"), that they collaborated with Mama Elephant to create.  Love Love Love the gorgeous flowers in this set and the stunning font used for the sentiments.  It's a set I have not used a lot yet, but know I will.   

  Hope that tomorrow we'll see some sunshine and that the dogs can have more outside time.  They've been good today, but staying in so much is not their norm.   I also have a nail appointment and need to run errands, which is always so much easier and nicer on a good day!    In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and hope you all have a wonderful night!!

A Little About Me

My Photo
Northeastern, Massachusetts, United States
Purple is my favorite color and ironically - Purple is the Awareness Ribbon color for Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness I now live with. I am a Mom to two grown sons, Alex who is now 22, and Brian amazingly is 27, now happily married to Meghan, my new "daughter" and living across the country in beautiful San Diego. I miss them so much and am looking forward to visiting them again soon. Hubby, me and our three "Pups" (Scout, a Senior Male Dachshund, along with Skye and Zeva, two adorable Chiweenies, who we rescued in 2013), all live very happily in a tiny coastal town in Massachusetts. I am very lucky to be blessed with wonderful friends and I adore and cherish each of my friends as much as my family! I am an avid card-maker and totally love every minute I can spend in my craft room. It's become my passion, a wonderful way to relax and my own little form of therapy. I also enjoy taking online card classes and technique classes at my LSS. Some day, I hope to get away from the cold New England winters and would love to live in a much warmer year round climate. Maybe even San Diego, but never too far from the ocean.