Friday, May 12, 2017

Go Press and Foil Machine revisited

Back in March I wrote a review for the Couture Creations Go Press and Foil Machine. If you missed it you can check it out here.

For the most part, I liked the machine but I had some issues that were bugging me.
Mostly, the inability to get full, even foiling on the large frame stamp die.

Well, I was a bit obsessed with giraffes for a couple months (so was the rest of the world so don't judge me lol) but I went back to this machine this week.

I found a video on YouTube that really opened my eyes. It is from Scrapbooking Made Simple. You should check it out. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sVWZ5BBe1i8

For me, since I already knew what this machine was 'supposed' to do, I was looking for some sort of tip on how to get even foiling. She says several times....there is hardly any pressure, you almost think there is no pressure it is so light. That was a light bulb statement for me.

I use my Cuttlebug all the time and I am sure you do too (or your Big Shot or whatever crank type embossing machines are out there) and we all know you need pressure to get a good cut or deep emboss.

We, that is one of the big secrets to this machine.....next to no pressure. You really think surely it needs more pressure. But in reality you should barely feel any resistance.

So, no pressure and longer heating time. Those are my tips for you today!

Here is my first attempt at the frame from a couple months ago.


See how the foil is sparse? That bugged me. Shouldn't a foil machine, when using their dies and their foil and their directions, give you even foiling? I thought so.

Here is my frame from yesterday.


It is Perfect!
What did I do?
I laid the stamping die on the machine, closed the lid and let it heat up for about a minute.
I then laid the foil, background card stock and a shim (a piece of 110 lb white card stock from Staples folded in half) over all of it and closed the lid.
Then I waited. Well actually, I took some pictures of other projects, went and filled my water bottle, talked to Minnie...  I waited probably 5 minutes.
Everything was evenly heated when I ran it through my Cuttlebug.
I rolled it through very, VERY slowly....3 times.
I then removed my foiled cardstock and let it cool completely before removing the foil (this only takes a few seconds)

I was so happy I ran and showed Minnie. She was not impressed....she is a cat after all! lol (Tucker was always impressed but he was much smarter...sorry Minnie lol)


I wanted to be sure this wasn't a fluke so I grabbed the rose die. It's the third stamping die that came with my kit from HSN. I hadn't tried it yet because I didn't want to be disappointed with that one too.


The photo is dark so that the foiling shows up. Look at that! Even coverage! There is a stray bit of foil near the top but that was because I didn't trim my foil small enough...easily corrected.


The pink worked beautifully too!

I used the exact same steps as the frame. I don't think you can really over heat the dies and paper. The machine shuts off after 20 minutes or so if you forget about it. My theory is that if the heat has penetrated all the layers on the machine it works better. Less heat loss moving it to your embossing machine and actually rolling it back and forth.

So I had to retry using cutting dies. Remember, before they were cutting through my card stock as well as foiling. (there is that pressure issue again)


Not any more. I used the same 'sandwich' as on the frame. The cutting dies are thinner than the stamping dies so I really thought there was not enough pressure. I couldn't feel any resistance at all!

But I got perfect foiling with just a slight indentation in the card stock. Yay!

So, what do you do with just an outline of a butterfly?


I pressed mine into some wet Distress Inks. My intention was to then cut it out and ink the edges darker but I like the swirls of ink around the edges so I am going to hold off and think about it for a while. It could make a very nice card front as is....just add a sentiment and there you go. 

And then I thought....it is supposed to foil chipboard pieces. I don't have any (well that's not entirely true....I have some I'm just not sure where lol) but what about foiling die cuts? If I increase the thickness of the shims to mimic the thickness of chipboard...



I could not get a decent picture of either of these but you can see it is blotchy on the 'Father's Day" and you can see the blue card stock showing on the Hello.

I am thinking thicker shims, just a little thicker. Maybe a piece of cereal box....I'll work on it.

But these are not a total loss.



The foil resists inks. I grabbed my Distress Black Soot and rubbed all over the Father's Day. I then rubbed it with a tissue to remove the excess ink. It now looks like distressed metal. The picture doesn't do it justice. It is pretty cool!

And I rubbed Distress Tea Dyed on the Hello. It is very close in color and that one now looks like aged metal. Again, very cool.

The potential with this machine has increased for me. (and I thought it had potential before)

I hope, if you have been struggling with your Go Press and Foil Machine, that this helps you out. 

Once I work out how to get die cuts evenly foiled I will let you know....imagine being able to foil ANY die cut shape (even Cricut shapes) without them having to be cut from toner paper and run through the Minc (which I still love and use)

Happy Crafting and Happy Mother's Day this Sunday!



Oh, and I am still obsessed with giraffes!


Don't tell anybody but this is from one of the BadBaby round robin journals. We aren't supposed to share any pictures until after the swap ends but I couldn't resist (and how can you be a BadBaby if you don't break any rules?)

It was so hard to resist tearing out the pages and keeping this. :-(






Friday, April 28, 2017

Everybody's working for the weekend

UGH! What a week!!!
Sunday I injured my right elbow to the point where I couldn't grip anything, couldn't straighten it completely and basically couldn't do a darn thing with it.

It makes working on a computer and writing stuff very difficult when you can't move your arm!!!

So, needless to say, I had a horrible week! But today is Friday, I got off work early AND my arm is about 80% better....so I can actually use it!!!!!!! Yay!

All morning I just kept telling myself....just a couple more hours, just 60 minutes, just.... and you can go play in your art room. 

So, I played! :-D

If you are like me you get new pretty card stock or a new sketch book and you are a bit apprehensive about using it. The thought running through your mind is....I don't want to mess it up.

Well that has been me for the past week, not that I could actually do much but I wanted to and yet didn't want to lol

A little over a week ago I bought a new journal. It is gorgeous! I saw some when I was on vacation but they didn't have colors or designs that I liked...well not together if you know what I mean. So I looked them up online when I got home and ordered the design I wanted in the color I wanted and it is so beautiful!



It is a gorgeous dark teal. The photo is actually pretty close. It is about 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide and made of leather. It smells wonderful  :-)

I ordered it from Oberon Design.
On vacation I kept drooling over all the journals (three different sizes) and really wanted to bring one home with me. We had to search all over the display to find a name of the maker. So I go online once we get home and am looking at all the fabulous designs and see a dragonfly cover and think, "Gee that looks just like my wallet". Sure enough, stamped inside my wallet is Oberon Design. So I know their products hold up really well because I have carried that wallet in my pocket (hate purses lol) every single day for about 10 years and it still looks brand new!

But back to my story lol

I have been really nervous about actually using it. But with the week I had today was the day.


I drew April. I miss seeing her sweet face every day.  I know it isn't perfect but I am pretty pleased with it. I struggle drawing animals and people so the fact that I can recognize what it is is a huge plus to me lol

Here is the online photo I was using for reference.


The angle is a bit off but for now I can live with it.

That's all I have for this week. Not much to share when you are out of commission with a gimpy wing lol

I'm looking forward to some springtime weather this weekend. Maybe I will find some crafty inspiration.

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Missing my giraffes

 Congratulations April on the birth of your beautiful baby boy. 4/15/2017

For those of you that might have spent the last 2 months in a cave, April the giraffe became an international super star as the world watched and waited for her, via live YouTube, to give birth to her 4th calf. Last Saturday we were rewarded with the opportunity to witness the birth and the first wobbly steps of her sweet baby.

I have enjoyed every minute of the live cam. April is such a sweet lady and had such a calming effect on not just me but millions of people around the world.


 Who could resist this adorable face???


Thank you Animal Adventure Park for sharing this wonderful journey with the world.

But, as they told us from the beginning, once the baby was born the camera would be taken down. Now you wouldn't think that would be a big deal. But it was. After spending every waking minute for 2 months watching the live feed. Yes, my computer and ipad were always tuned into April. When the camera was turned off yesterday there was suddenly a great void in my heart. And I was not alone. Thousands of people have been expressing their sadness on the AAP Facebook page. We all fell in love with this beautiful giraffe. She became a part of our lives, our families.

How do I process my sadness?  Through art of course.  :-)

I am in a small canvas swap with the BadBabies and while picking up my 3x3 canvas I saw a 4x6 and knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.

My original thought was just April and baby (who at this time still does not have a name). I googled "giraffe mom and baby silhouette" and didn't really find what I wanted so I changed the search to "baby giraffe silhouette" and this popped up.


After watching baby gallop and frolick around the stall for a week I knew this was exactly what I wanted.

But then I thought Oliver should be included since he is the proud papa.

I found this image of 2 giraffes and in Cricut Design Space I removed the giraffe on the right.

Cricut Design Space is so awesome. You can upload images of many types and then manipulate them and cut them with your Cricut Explore.

I welded the 2 above images to create this single cut file.


Now I have my giraffe family.

I used a technique called Paint Vinyl Paint Peel (PVPP).
I base coated the entire canvas in black acrylic paint.

I then cut out the giraffes in vinyl and applied that over the black paint.

Now the magic begins.


I painted my sunset sky OVER the vinyl. If you look closely you can see the vinyl under the paint.
I ended up painting 2 coats to cover the black (I probably should have done 3 but...)


For some reason, the vinyl popped up at the base of the baby's leg so I knew I was going to need to repair that spot but the rest held down beautifully.

I painted a sun and then waited for all the paint to dry.


Then I simply peeled off the vinyl and Voila!

Isn't it cool how you can paint the sun on top, and yet by peeling off the vinyl, it now appears behind the giraffe's head?

I have used this technique several times now and love it more and more each time!
I could have painted the giraffes by hand but probably would not have gotten such crisp edges. 
This technique gave me exactly the image I had in my head.

And now I have a permanent reminder of my giraffe family and those wonderful 2 months.

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Happy Anniversary!

Hubby and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary. We always take a few days and head to the coast. It is a nice way to relax and so nice to get away but it also keeps me from creating much lol

I did manage to get my Mother's Day cards done before we left.


My camera is having issues. Every picture has a yellow cast. I keep messing with the settings and it makes no difference. This card is actually blue (not aqua lol) and the interior layer is white.

The fancy lace edge is a cutting die from Crafter's Companion called Sophia. Isn't it gorgeous?!  It was another one of those March 8 craft day purchases. I told you I bought WAY MORE than I usually do! lol

The lace corner comes from the Vintage Wedding Cricut image set. I have no idea if that is a cartridge or just a set in Design Space as I had never heard of it before. The actual image is a round lace doily that I sliced down to just a corner piece.

The flowers are also from Cricut and is called 3D Cactus Flower.

"Happy Mother's Day" was cut with my Cuttlebug. "Happy" came from the Crafter's Companion die set call 'Let's Party'. I liked the smaller size. This set is actually designed to go with the Diamond Press cut/emboss machine but the dies work great in the Cuttlebug too.
"Mother's Day" comes from Anna's 'Wishful Thinking' set.  It also has a 'happy' die but it is much larger and took up too much space. I love how all these word dies from CC and AG can be mixed together!


This card just kept growing lol

I started with Anna's Flower Bramble cutting die in pink on top of the cream card base.

I then cut the image for the sentiment (and it's dark pink layer) from the Fantastic Flips Cricut cartridge. I stamped the sentiment using Anna Griffin's flip card stamp sentiments set.

I needed more so I used Print Then Cut on the Cricut Explore and cut the roses which are on the Fantastic Flips extra content cartridge.

I needed even more so I added the lavender layer under the Flower Bramble. 
Ugh! I felt it still needed MORE lol  So I dug through the cutting die drawer (yes, I have a drawer and it is over flowing - even after moving a ton of dies into magnetic storage binders lol) 
I cut the cream, rounded edge lace using a die from the Eleanor Laces set.

You know I don't normally have this many layers on a card but I think I was channeling Anna Griffin lol

I like how it turned out so I guess Anna didn't steer me wrong. :-)

And lastly...


Hubby's niece announced this week that she is engaged. I thought that deserved a card. :-)

The fancy edge is from Anna Griffin's edge die set. These dies cut so beautifully!
I then added a cream strip topped with a vellum embossed layer using the border from the Bit of Paisley embossing folder set.
The roses and sentiment were embellishments from one of the AG flip card sets.


Here is a close-up of the embossed vellum. It looks a lot like lace when you emboss it.

Helpful tip: put a piece of card stock under the vellum in the embossing folder. It keeps the vellum from tearing AND you also get an embossed layer to use in a later project.


Here is a picture from our anniversary trip. It was close to sunset on a cloudy day. This is the Coquille River lighthouse in Bandon, Oregon. 
It no longer contains a light but is still a beautiful building. It is often open for tours and you can climb up into the light tower.

I hope you all have a beautiful week and lots of crafting time!

Happy Crafting!!!

Friday, March 24, 2017

GoPress and Foil Machine review

I have never done a product review before, although I have no problem telling people what I think of various products....especially art/craft products. lol

I received my Couture Creations GoPress and Foil machine yesterday and after much searching online the only information I could find was from Couture Creations. This product is REALLY new to the market so I thought I would share my first impressions.

Let me start with this, I purchased the Anna Griffin version from HSN on the March 8th all day craft day. (I told you in my last post that everything had not arrived yet lol)



It came with the machine itself, a heat proof silicone mat, the pick n' lift 3 in 1 magic tool (super cool tweezers) and 5 sample rolls of foil. 
According to all the sites I saw, the normal version only comes with silver and gold foil samples.

Also, because it was Anna Griffin and an HSN deal, mine came with 3 hot foil stamps as well. 




These are all Anna Griffin labeled metal stamps. A vintage rose, Happy Birthday and a frame. I ordered the additional stamps as well but they are still on back order.

So what makes this machine different from my Minc machine (which I still love BTW)?

For this machine you do not need printer toner images. It uses heat activated foil so you heat up the metal foil stamps then lay the foil and paper (or whatever you want the foil image on) on top and then run the whole thing through your Cuttlebug or other similar embossing machine.

You can watch the Couture Creations video here

I wanted to share with you a few of the things I have tried.

I started with the basic hot foil stamp on card stock.



I used the Happy Birthday stamp and pink foil.
My first impression? It applied the image beautifully! The pink and blue foils are not as shiny as I expected (Minc foil is super shiny) but it has a very nice sheen. I am really pleased with how this turned out.

I then tried the frame stamp.



Again the silver is not super shiny but does have enough sheen to be reflective and is a nice effect.

I encountered a couple issues while using the frame. 
Because you lay down the stamp first to heat it up and then lay down the foil and lastly the card stock it is difficult to line it all up and get it centered on the card stock. So far that has meant cutting the card stock a lot larger than needed and cutting it down after foiling. This leads to wasted card stock so I need to figure out a way to line stuff up.

I also found that, on this image, I did not get even pressure so the foil was not applied evenly.



As you can see, in the center of the image (on both ends even though that is not visible on the top image due to reflection) the foil is not even.
I'm not sure why. I had large shims that covered the entire plate, I don't have the problem when embossing with my Cuttlebug so I don't think that is the issue. I cannot see any visible 'dip' in the center of GoPress surface so I will need to just watch and see how often this happens.

My next experiment was with an embossing folder. Now this was something that really sold me on this machine. I have hundreds of embossing folders and to be able to use them in a new way is exciting.



You lay down a metal shim on the heat plate (I have one from Cottage Cutz called a Universal Shim plate and cost around $10)
You then put down your foil, then your card stock and finally your embossing folder (opened up and the 'bumpy' side down against the card stock). You top this with your Cuttlebug B plate and run it through your Cuttlebug.

It is a very interesting effect. But again, the center did not get even coverage. The center if fairly light  yet the edges are much darker. It is a background so most of the center will be covered with something else but still...



Again, I am not sure if it is a defect in the GoPress or something with  my Cuttlebug. I will need to play around more. Possibly see about using a thin rubber shim under the B Plate to help with pressure.

So, moving right along, thin metal cutting dies. I have TONS of them! How about you?
They work in this machine as well.....just like the foil stamps! Or so they say.



This is a rose cutting die from Anna Griffin. I think it was in one of her seasonal die sets from last year.
If you watch the videos from Couture Creations they say you can use these just like the hot foil stamps but they will add foil and not cut.
Well.....it definitely added foil but it also cut. It cut clean through the outer edge of the entire die. It cut partially through the inner pieces. Is this a bad thing? No, it actually is really cool! But not exactly what I was expecting. I think by reducing the shim thickness when running through the Cuttlebug I should be able to stop this from happening. But then again. I like that I have this really cool rose foiled die cut to play with now. :-)

And lastly, leather....yep Leather!

Online they say it can foil leather. The examples I saw were faux leather textured paper/card stock. You tell me leather I think LEATHER!



I have a bag of leather tags (and other scraps) I picked them up for a song at an estate sale years ago thinking that some day I would find a use for them. It is really high quality stuff. I have used a few over the years. They all have paper labels on the back from some upholstery place. Very cool.

So, I grabbed a butterfly die (probably not my best choice) and ran it through the machine. Voila! foil on leather. And this stuff does not scratch or scrape off!!!

Now here is my issue (and I think it has to do with the fact that these tags are super soft leather and a little over 1/16" thick) the foil applied to areas I didn't want.



Can you see it deeply embossed into the leather (which is so cool!) but at the top around the antennae it applied foil everywhere. I think because the entire die got pressed into the soft leather.

I tried cutting the foil down so it conformed more to the shape of the die.



It was better but still has issues. Due to the problem I listed earlier about not being able to see to line things up exactly, I can't cut the foil down much more. So I think if I want to foil more leather tags (and I think I do lol) I will need to stick to dies that do not have indented areas like this one so I can cut the foil down much closer to the actual shape.

So, would I recommend the GoPress and Foil machine?

Yes!

Do I think it has a learning curve? Sort of. I think it will take a few tries to get the shim pressure correct. But even my 'mistakes' are still usable (well maybe not those butterflies until I can figure out how to scrape off some of that excess foil lol)

This is a small, lightweight machine which makes it easy to move around and store.

It works with their hot foil stamps and my embossing folders and cutting dies which gives me hundreds! of images and patterns that can be foiled onto different media.

They say it even works with my Minc foil so I will have to test that out as well.

I think this machine is a great addition to my craft room. It is another way to add that little extra umpf to my projects and I am looking forward to experimenting with it even more.


UPDATE:

Last night while hubby was talking with a guy about putting a new roof on our house  I was playing (hiding) in the craft room.

I really wanted to see if I could remove the excess foil from the leather tags.

I tried using a stiff stenciling brush which did take off a bit of the shine but didn't really make a dent in the foil.

I then wondered if an eraser would work. No! Not my brightest idea but I had to try. lol

I then thought, I just want to scrape this stuff off.....bingo! I grabbed a craft knife and lightly scraped the surface. Ha! The foil began to disappear. I have no idea where it went because it wasn't on the knife or my desk but I don't care. It is no longer on my tags.



Was I able to remove every bit? No. Did I remove enough that you don't notice it any more. Yes!



I think these are really cool and would be great attached to luggage or dangling from the strap of your purse.  I am seeing more leather foiled tags in my future.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting!


Update: May 12, 2017

I have written a new blog post about the Go Press and Foil Machine with some helpful tips to get even foiling. 
You can read it here

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Has Almost Sprung

Spring is just a couple days away and yet the east coast is digging out from another blizzard! Wow! Such crazy weather!!!

And the entire world anxiously awaits the birth of April's baby. I have the feed running 24/7 at my house. My computer and iPad are always focused on April....I really don't want to miss the birth after all these weeks of waiting and watching but I have a feeling it will be at some time when I am away from home or asleep lol

And in case you are one of the rare people that hasn't heard of April the giraffe you can find the live feed here. (until she has her baby and then it will be gone)

Even with my eyes glued to my computer screen I still finished up a few projects to share with you today.

Let me first say, in case you missed it, March 8, 2017 was an all day craft day at HSN.com.  These are very dangerous days as they introduce amazing new products to millions of crafters who love to hoard new supplies and gadgets! lol


Anna Griffin introduced a set of edge dies called the Decorative Border die set. 

They are four gorgeous, lacy dies that cut just the edge or can cut the image on all sides so it can be used as a normal die cut. 

This card has one of the edge dies plus the Happy Birthday die from the Wishful Thinking die set and a butterfly from her Butterfly cut and emboss set.

I added an embossed strip in white (probably an Anna Griffin embossing folder lol), some sheer silver glitter ribbon and some jewels to the butterfly.

This is a super fast and easy card yet looks very fancy. 



Here is another card using the a different edge die from the set.

I added the dark teal border which I embossed with white ink. This folder is from Anna's Letterpress embossing folder set. 

The flowers are from a flower die set she featured a year or two ago. And the Happy Birthday stamp is from Close To My Heart.


This card incorporates 3 products from the March 8th show.

Anna had these wonderful Pocket cut and emboss dies. Four cutting dies that create gorgeous, intricate pockets to add to your cards and scrapbooking pages. I used the rose die for this card, cut in an olive green.

She also had a die cut embellishment set to go with the pocket dies. It is full of large flowers and backgrounds that don't get dwarfed by the large pockets. 

And finally, she had an incredible set of Coloring Cards and Rubber Stamps
You get a set of cards to color and even better, you get a set of matching rubber stamps so you can keep recreating the nine card images and add them to any project. 

For this card I stamped one of the rose images and colored with alcohol inks. I then layered it, using the same olive card stock to create a small note card to slip into the pocket.

Here is a close up of the note card.



I turned this whole thing into an easel card so my sentiment will be inside the note card.

So, yes, I bought A LOT of the new Anna Griffin products this time (and a couple still have not yet arrived) but what can I say, they were all too gorgeous to pass up lol


Unfortunately not all my time was for just playing around.
A friend lots 3 family members in a week. I cannot even imagine how much pain is in her heart right now.
The minute I found out I ran into my craft room and put together this simple card.
This is why I love having so many cutting dies around. I find that a lot of times I can create a card very quickly by just pulling dies out of the drawer. I love my Cricut but it can be more time consuming.

This is an off white card base. I then cut and embossed Anna Griffin's Flower Bramble for a background layer cut in cream. 

The flower is from the same AG flower set I used for the roses in the previous edge die card. The base layer is in the same cream as the flower bramble. The top layer is in tan.

The text is from the Diamond Press 17 piece card making set.  I cut it twice. the bottom layer is in the same off white as the card base, the top is in brown.



I also got to make a fun card!

My brother in law's birthday is next week (and I actually mailed his card in time for it to arrive BEFORE his birthday -- first time this year! Yay!)

He is a hunter and last year I made his this card. Which he loved.


There was no way I could top that card. So I went in a different direction.



Party animal birthday!  lol

I created this on my Cricut Explore. There are a lot of pieces on here but it went together fairly quickly.

Here is a list of where I found all the parts:
Elk: Outdoor Man
Party Banner: Life's a Party
Sunglasses: Party Photo Props
Banner on the antlers: Paper Pups
Boot: April Showers
Sock: Teresa Collins December 25th

I cut three equal strips for the background and ran them through the Cuttlebug using the Happy Birthday folder.

I love this card. It cracks me up. I hope he likes it too.



And of course, back to April the giraffe.

I have always liked giraffes. They have the most beautiful eyes.
So, like I said before, I have been on baby watch pretty much non stop. I only take a break to sleep (or when hubby makes me leave the house to run errands lol)

I felt a strong NEED to make something.




I started with a 9x12 stretched canvas. I base coated it in cream acrylic paint. 

I then added a vinyl silhouette of the giraffe. (I forgot to take a picture of that)

I then painted another coat of cream which kind of seals the edges of the vinyl so the next layer of paint doesn't seep under.

Next came the sky (a combination of a couple blue paints and some while streaks) and the ground (3 shades of tan and some drab green)

I then removed the vinyl leaving the image you see above.  (which is really kind of cool in itself)  It reminds me of something you might see in a kid's book....what am I? :-)


I then added the vinyl details. I purchased this svg from Etsy

After application I knew I needed to make the eyes black so I used the "hide contour' feature and hid everything but the eyes and then cut them out of black vinyl.

I LOVE how this turned out.
I don't use vinyl very often so I was nervous about getting it lined up on top of the cream background but I only had a couple very small issues which I was able to paint over.

Now I need to decide if I want to frame it or just hang it as is.....and where on earth I am going to find a place on my walls????? 


I hope you have enjoyed this post. I know it is unusually link heavy today. Sorry about that but unlike most times I actually know where I got most everything so I thought I would share in case you want to grab some of these items for yourself. (I have no association and receive nothing - unfortunately lol)

Have a wonderful week. If you are snowed in I hope you are crafting!

Thanks for stopping by!