Studio Musings

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Last Day to Sign up for the Holiday Ornament Exchange

Today's the last day to sign up for this year's Holiday Ornament Exchange and Swap Hop.  Tomorrow I'll be pairing everyone up and the real fun - getting to know our swap partners and creating ornaments will get under way.

Want to sign up?  Here's the link. Signups now closed for 2018. 

You can find more information about the Ornament Exchange in my earlier post, here.

Want to see what people have made previous years?  Check out these posts:

2015 Ornament Exchange 

2014 Ornament Exchange organized by Sally Russick.  I'm afraid Sally's links no longer work, but almost all of the others lead directly to posts about the Ornament Exchange so you can see what was made.

2013 Ornament Exchange - also organized by Sally Russick.  Her blog is still there, but I couldn't find the ornament post.  Again, most of the rest of the links lead directly to the participant's 2013 ornaments. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cricut Crafting - Spiderweb Window Cling

Earlier this week, I decided I wanted to add a little friend to the windows of my front door to celebrate one of my favorite holidays.

Both the spider and the web were stock images from Cricut, but I thought I'd share how I put it all together in Design Space, and how I made sure it would fit the window.  I'm using Design Space on my iPad, so it may look a little different for those who primarily use the program on their laptops.

1.  Measure your window!  My diagram ended up on a tiny scrap of paper (see the paper clip for reference).  It's not super-detailed, but has enough information to work from.
Measurements don't need to be complex

 2. Build your window in Design Space.  To get my half circle, I started with a 4" circle (it's an easy size for positioning purposes) and a square, then used the Slice tool.

Slice your circle in half. My circle is 4" wide to make it easier to position.
Cutting out the bottom center edge
For the next step, I enlarged by half circle to full size, then added another circle with a 4.5" diameter to cut out that little half circle at the center bottom.  While I was able to use the "Align Center Vertical" tool, I used the gridlines to make sure that I lined up the horizontal center of my bottom circle with the bottom edge of my half circle.  Then used the Slice Tool again. 

Slicing the individual panes
I used three 1" wide rectangles to slice the individual window panes.  I rotated the side spokes 45 degrees.  And I had my window! 

One note about Design Space - all four shapes are considered a single shape in the program.  This is great when you're designing, but can be a pain if you're like me and like to reposition for printing to conserve materials.  It's also a little bit of problem in this case because it's too wide for a 24" mat.  To get around this, I made three additional copies of my window, then used the Hide Contour Tool, keeping only one pane in each copy. 

Both panels were a little large - folds give me the exact size
3.  Test your window design.  At this point, I tested my window shape, cutting the two leftmost panels out of regular typing paper.  (Since the design is a mirror image, I only needed to test two panels.  it turned out both panels were a little too 'fat'.  With the cutouts placed in the window, I folded them along the window panes to give me the exact size I needed.  Then it was simple enough to measure my fold and shave a little off each pane using rectangles of the exact width I needed, and the Slice tool.

Once I had my window, I saved the file as "Front Window Blank".  This way I won't have to recreate these steps when I want to create a new design.  Now it's time to make the Spiderweb window cling! 

4. First thing - Use Save As to change the name of your working file.  I named mine "Front Door Spiderweb Window Cling" - boring, but descriptive. 

Spiderweb Testing
Searching for 'spider' and 'web', I pulled down several images from Cricut Access, then enlarged them and tried them out on my window shapes, using the Slice tool again.  Turns out, not all spider webs translate well when cut into four separate panes.  And not all spiders look good on all webs. 

Final design images selected.
I ended up pulling the spider and web from two separate designs, as shown above.  The web is #M3F76E, Web Banner and the spider was from Spider Web Rosette, #M74C7E2B.

Before I moved on to window cling, I cut the full design out of copy paper, just to make sure it looked the way I thought it would.  Sometimes the translation from screen to paper doesn't work as well as I expect.  This time, it worked great, to it was time to cut the design out of window cling.

Here's where I do something maybe a little weird.  I have wasting material, especially plastics where both cost and environmental concerns come into play.  So I try to make as much use of the material as I can. 

Weeded Cutting mat
After rotating and fitting the webs onto my mat, I did a quick search to find some additional Halloween images that I thought would work well as window clings, and used them to fill in the extra space.  Even still, there was a fair bit of waste material after weeding.  But I love having the little 'bonus' clings. 

I shared the final cutting file on my Cricut Profile, but the software no longer has an easy way to share a direct URL.  If I can figure out how to do it, I'll add the URL in later. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Join me for a Handmade Ornament Exchange and 'Swap Hop'

This week's cold, foggy mornings have me in the mood for holiday crafting.  Too many ideas running through my head, but this morning, I'm focusing on Ornaments.  More specifically - a Holiday Ornament Exchange where participants create a handmade ornament, and then exchange them with a trading partner.  One of my favorite holiday activities, it's been several years since I felt capable of participating.  This year; this year I'm totally up for the fun!  Want to join in?

Since seeing what everyone made is half the fun, we're going to celebrate with a Swap Hop Reveal Party - a blog hop - at the end.  You don't even have to have a blog.  As long as you can email me photos and text, I'll make sure you're included in the hop.  And if you do have a blog - make sure to include its address, so we can all visit!

How to Join
Sign ups are open through Halloween, October 31st.  Once I know who's participating, I'll send out emails on Friday, November 2nd letting you know who your trading partner is.  You'll then be responsible for trading emails and exchanging postal addresses.  Then it's time to make your ornament!

I've created a nifty form to use for signups (Signups now closed for 2018). If that doesn't work for some reason, email me, including your name, email address and blog URL, if you have one.  Also let me know if you're from outside the US, and if you're inside the US, if you'd be willing to ship internationally.

The Ornaments
The ornaments must be handmade by you.  That's the only requirement.  They could be beaded, stitched, painted, made of glass, cloth, wood, paper - whatever medium you love.  They don't need to include seed beads, though they certainly could.   Most simply, they should be something you'd love to receive.

Blog Hop and Reveal, Sunday, December 16th
On the reveal day, post a photo (or photos) of what you made and the ornament you received.  Include a paragraph or two about both pieces. 

Associated Dates:
Signups through Halloween, October 31st
     Swap Partners assigned Friday, November 2nd
Mailing Deadline:  All packages must be mailed by Friday, November 30th
Swap Hop Reveal Party, Sunday, December 16th

If you're a guest blogger - to be featured on my blog - I will need your photos by Thursday, December 13th so that I'll have time to put together your post.  Make sure to take pictures of what you make and what you receive, and include a paragraph or two (or more).  It's fun the learn about why you chose to make that particular ornament, your process, the swap, your swap partner - whatever you'd like to share.  Don't worry, I'll remind you as the time grows nearer.

Hope to hear from you!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox and the Never-Ending Studio Re-Org

bye bye studio - thanks for the memories!
2018 has been a year of huge changes for me.  The most recent - I’ve moved my studio back home.  For the past ten years I’ve rented an amazing space in an old warehouse building.  With 15’ ceilings, and 10’ tall windows along the east wall, it was a fantastic place to work.  Unfortunately, with changes to the various bus routes, it kept effectively getting further and further away from home, to the point that getting there involved walking a little over a mile, and two bus rides.  The entire commute could take well over an hour, each way, depending upon time of day.  And anything I wanted to bring to or from the studio had to be schlepped in my backpack.

I refused to give up the studio last year.  Packing while I was dealing with my health issues would have been awful, and giving the studio up would have felt like a sign of defeat.  This year, I’m doing a lot better physically (so long as I stick with my strict diet).  But I still wasn’t going to the studio, except for ‘foraging trips’ to collect supplies to bring home for my next project. 

This summer, I decided it was time to simply move the studio home.

Guest bedroom closet, freshly painted & ready to load
Which was easier said than done.  I’d had the studio space for ten years.  It was almost half the size of our two-bedroom house.   My plan was to spend the last two weeks in August reworking our guest bedroom so that it could do double duty as a studio as well, earmarking the guest bedroom closet as my craft storage space. In preparation, I emptied the closet, repainted and splurged on new craft-supply organization system through

Unfortunately, shipping took a lot longer than expected due to storms and power outages and who knows what craziness, so the system wasn’t here yet before moving day, let alone installed and ready to use.  

waiting for storage furniture to arrive
Moving day, everything that came home got piled into my living room and dining room.  The next day our two young nieces came for a very welcome, but unplanned visit.  So everything got stuffed into the closet willy-nilly using the storage that was already there.   Our nieces headed home just in time for us to head out for our 25th anniversary trip.  And I willfully ignored the hoarders disaster that was my home. 

On the plus side, Best Craft Organizers was willing to work with me, and they held my order at their warehouse until we got home from our trip, so I didn't have to worry about the boxes arriving while we were gone.

my new storage system

Fast forward to the end of September, I’m back from my trip and the craft organizers arrived - 12 big boxes that once again filled my living room.  To get them set up, I had to empty the front bedroom closet, and find room to store everything inside.  Yikes!

Then it was build the new furniture, and modify the old closet storage system.  That only took a day.  But I’m still working on sorting and organizing the supplies back into the closet.  Which is where I got stuck in Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox.  Every day I sort through several more boxes.  And the number of boxes waiting to be sorted doesn’t seem to diminish.  As I go through each box, most things get sorted into the new drawers and storage systems.  Some of it is earmarked for giveaway.  But far too many things get set aside on the guest bed for further sorting, or because I simply wasn’t sure what to do with it.  At the end of each day, the guest bedroom looks like the aftermath of an explosion, although the closet remains neatly organized.

See?  The closet is looking fine, but the bedroom was a disaster!
We’re now speeding through October, and if I can stay focused this weekend, I think I can make it through the last big hurdle to the studio change over - sorting through four (plus) tubs of fabric.  At the most, I have room for three of the tubs - two large and the smaller square.  They will live under the guest bed.  The extra fabric will either need to be given away, turned into something immediately, or moved to my storage unit.

the closet is almost together
It’s time to get this done so I can get back to actually crafting!  Oh, and did I mention that my nieces may be back next weekend?  And my brother and his whole family will definitely be coming to visit the first week of November?  Yeah, it’s definitely time to finish this. 

Wish me luck!