Live Laugh Love Happily Ever After

It's Summer and that means it's Wedding Season. I have been wanting to try my hand at making greeting cards. We have a reception to go to tonight, so this was the perfect reason to waste a whole day crafting (and doing laundry).

The inspiration for this card came from This site although their cards are no longer available for sale.

Michaels has 12"x12" scrapbook paper on sale for 20 cents a sheet. One sheet made the envelope.

Another sheet made the background panels for the front and inside of the card.

The card was designed in Silhouette Studio and Cut on Silhouette Cameo. The blue lines represent crease lines for folds. The red lines represent cut lines. A single 12" x 12" piece of cardstock makes the back of the card, the gift card flap and the fold in hand elements.

An overlay of silver mirror finish adhesive vinyl was used for the ring. The "diamond" was not cut all the way through. I set the blade to just barely etch the vinyl. Then the vinyl was cut, aligned to the cardstock ring/diamond backing.

The hands interlock when the card is closed. The bride's pinky goes behind the groom's thumb. The bride's middle and pointer fingers go in front of the groom's hand. The bride's ring finger goes through the ring.

Ignore the bride's pinky, it really goes behind the groom's thumb.

To open the card pull the hands apart, taking the ring off the brides finger.

This "unlocks" the card.

The gift card slot folds up with one strip of tape runner adhesive just above the slot.

I used the Silhouette Mint to make a stamp for the inside of the card.

I am still a little new at the Mint. If I did it again I would not "fill in" the hands but make them line art.

So the total price of the card including the envelope is 60 cents for the sheet of cardstock and two sheets of scrapbook paper. I will use the stamped image multiple times so I am not counting the cost of it. I only used a tiny fraction of the mirror finish vinyl, so I am also not counting that into the cost.

Overall I am happy with how the card turned out. It will be fun to make it with different color combinations. I will have to hurry to Michaels before the paper sale is over :)

R2D2 from a 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket - tutorial and Silhouette cut files

Our Cub scouts had their blue and gold celebration this week. I was asked to turn a 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket into R2D2. The Primary 2nd counselor's parting words were "Don't go to a lot of effort we just need something simple" - ummm, does she even know me?

Here is the wastebasket from Sterilite's website

This project starts with a black swing-top 3 gallon Sterilite wastebasket painted white. A white wastebasket would have worked better in my opinion. I found this on Amazon. If you are adventurous and want to paint one white, I found the black version at Walmart.

I didn't take into account the taper of the wastebasket. I had to reposition a few of the vinyl pieces and when I attempted to, the white paint came off along with the vinyl. It wasn't hard to cut and assemble new pieces of vinyl, but I ended up hand placing each piece.

R2D2 all files cut and assembled.

The image above is what all of the layers of vinyl put together will look like. I used seven colors of Oracal 651 vinyl; 073 dark grey, 090 silver grey (metallic), 072 light grey, 086 brilliant blue, 031 red, 022 light yellow and 070 black. I usually usee Oracal 631 for my projects but Oracal 651 works better for this project because the wastebasket has a texture the 631 does not like.

The image above shows each individual piece. The red lines are weeding lines. The numbers indicate what pieces are assembled together. In other words the three parts that make up the octagon venty-porty thing just a little left on center at the bottom of R2D2 are numbered with a 6. The bottom layer is a blue octagon. Centered on that is the black octagon. The top layer would be the medium grey web looking octagon with the ring in the middle.

I am no math genius but I was able to measure and mostly figure out what scale everything needed to be. I ended up foregoing the dark grey file 2 because I ran out of time and space on R2D2's body. This was poor planning :)

R2D2 Head placement map
R2D2 Body placement map

After I figured out the scaling I made the placement maps for the head and body and then tried to make each part with it's layers to scale.

Using "select by color" then "by fill" I copied and pasted each layer (fill color) into a new Silhouette Studio file paying attention to the page size and cut borders. After each vinyl color was cut out and weeded, the placement maps were used to assemble the pieces and place the pieces onto the Sterilite wastebasket.

The body of the wastebasket was a piece of cake! The head was a little more difficult. The problem was how the vinyl would adhere to the complex curves of the wastebasket top. A quick search of the web provided the answer. Little bursts of heat with a hairdryer did the trick. The vinyl was put in place and just a few seconds of heat and a little tugging and rubbing down helped the vinyl conform to the lid of the wastebasket. The image above shows the before and after. The lower circled part was before the hairdryer tug and rub. The top circle shows how well the vinyl lays down after.

There he is behind the cutest Death Star centerpiece ever!


Click here to download Silhouette Studio cut files for this project.

Grateful People are Happy - Free Download Silhouette Studio Cut File

I have been wanting to finish this board, and was finally able to  carve out a few minutes to get it done today. The words were cut in dark brown vinyl and the leaves were cut in gold and copper vinyl.

The board the vinyl was applied to, is a 20-inch by 34.5-inch unfinished drawer from a local woodworking supply store.

The first step was to design the file in Silhouette Studio.

Under "Design Page Settings" the width was set at 20-inches and the height was set at 34.5-inches. The "Show Print Border" and "Show Cut Border" were unchecked so the file could be designed at full size without annoying lines.

The Silhouette obviously can't cut vinyl 20-inches wide, so after the file was designed it was divided into 3 sections (leaves come later). Each section was placed on a separate file which used "Design Page Settings" of: 20-inches wide by 12-inches tall.

Boxes around the words make weeding the design easier. The diamonds correspond to the red lines in the design file. Keep reading the directions below and hopefully it will make sense.
The red lines on the design file are for alignment purposes only and were indicated on the board (drawer) only on the far left and far right sides with temporary marks measured from the bottom of the board at: 8.75-inches, 20.75-inches and 32-inches.
The first two files to be applied were: "Its not Happy people" (top phrase) and "who are Happy" (bottom phrase). The left and right points of the diamonds at the top of the "It's not Happy people" file were aligned to the temporary marks at 32-inches from the bottom. The left and right points of the diamonds on the "who are Happy" file were aligned to the temporary marks at 8.75-inches.

The leaves were placed and cut in a separate file 12-inches high by 18-inches long. The "Leaves" file was cut twice ones in gold vinyl and then in the copper vinyl (there were extra leaves). There is a leaf applied under the word "grateful". That leaf was applied right before applying the "who are grateful" file.

Next, the "who are grateful" file was applied aligning the left and right points of the diamonds to the temporary marks at 20.75-inches .

The vinyl diamonds and temporary marks were removed and the four remaining leaves were applied. All of the leaves were placed by eye, paying attention to the position of leaf as well as it's proximity to other items on the board.

To download the Silhouette Studio files, click on Grateful People are Happy

A Thanksgiving pit turkey story with a surprise ending

Once upon a time a teenager was forced into manual labor. He was tasked with digging a nice deep square hole in the "hardest ground on the face of the earth".

He finished his task with much grumbling right on time, the day before Thanksgiving.

He was so glad to be done digging that he didn't even mind when he was told to fill it up again...
...with wood and fire. The fire was fed a steady diet of wood for over three hours. The teenager's mother suspected he also used an abundance of lighter fluid and maybe even her missing gallon of hand sanitizer.
Finally the fire in the nice square hole burned down to red hot coals.
Two foil wrapped turkeys were caged in wire mesh and lowered onto a rack in the nice square hole.
The nice square hole was covered with a piece of steel roofing and the teenager was made to shovel all of the dirt that came out of the hole onto the metal roofing. That kid was glad when he was sent to bed (or more likely out to spend time with his friends).
The next morning the teenager was sent out with a shovel once more. His crazy parents wanted him to move all that dirt once again.
...those stupid turkeys were still in the nice square hole.
They turkey's were released from their wire mesh cages (they didn't get very far).
The turkeys were so tender, juicy and delicious that the teenager forgave his parents for making him dig that stupid hole.

Now for the surprise ending...

The next Thanksgiving the teenager was on the African Continent in Mozambique.

It was the rainy season in Mozambique; it rained constantly. The teenagers father and mother had, in a small way, been sharing his experience as it had rained for days and days at home also. Luckily the rain stopped. The day before Thanksgiving, the teenager's father decided to cook pit turkeys yet again (the nice square hole was already dug after-all).

The father filled the nice square hole with wood covered in lighter fluid. He lit and fed the fire for three hours. The teenager's mother though the father might burn their trees down as the flames seemed to stretch higher and higher.
The fire burned for three hours filling nice square hole with red hot coals. The father put two foil wrapped turkeys in wire mesh cages on a rack in the hole. He covered the hole with the metal roofing and covered the roofing with all of the dirt.

The next morning, the father shoveled the dirt away and removed the metal roofing to retrieve the turkeys.

While the father was preparing to unwrap a turkey, the mother walked into the house and said "What is that smell?" The father explained that he had made a rub with a special blend of herbs but the mother worried that herb blend was labeled "Death and Decay".

When the foil wrapping was removed to reveal raw turkey, the father could no longer live in denial as the stench of rotting carcass blended with hickory coals permeated the house maybe even the neighborhood.

It was then the father figured out what he wished he would have realized the day before. A three hour fire may dry out a nice square hole and produce plenty of red hot coals but the moisture in the ground surrounding a sealed nice square hole will condense on metal roofing and put those red hot coals out. This warm cozy environment provides the perfect condition for 12 hours of bacterial growth and probably fatal botulism.

The father never had the heart to pit cook again.

Miracle Wash AKA PBW

I love this stuff! It breaks down organic matter and cleans the daylights out of EVERYTHING!

Back Story:
Several years ago we ran an Italian Soda Bar for family and friends at parties and wedding receptions. 

Because the soda water was plumbed through a tank, cold plate and dispenser, we needed a way to keep everything clean and sanitary. We researched a little and found that home and commercial brewers use  PBW or Powdered Brewery Wash to clean brewing utensils, tubing and equipment. We realized that just prior to washing this would help clean debris out of our equipment. 

Our youngest was still in high school and helped us quite a bit with shopping, setting up and running the soda bar. One day he complained commented that the time in-between Saturday sessions of General Conference should not be spent with your child in a brewery supply store. But funny enough for two years in a row that is where we found ourselves every six months on those dates specifically to purchase PBW. It is amazing stuff. It is also expensive.

In the interest of keeping our child out of the brewery supply store and to find a cheaper alternative, I did a bunch of research and after months (because I am that slow) I found that PBW is made from two specific chemicals that break down the enzymes in organic matter and bleach stains.

ORGANIC MATTER! I realized that meant that not only would this work on food surfaces but also clothing.  I started mixing, using and giving away bottles of what I name Miracle Wash. Now I want to share it here. Please use and store this cleaning agent as you would any household chemicals and cleaners. Please take special care around children and pets.

Miracle Wash

Miracle Wash  Ingredients
2 parts - Sodium Metasilicate
1 part - Sodium Percarbonate

Where to find the Ingredients   
You can mail order these ingredients in bulk on the web.

To purchase locally from the hardware store and grocery store, here are some hints.

Sodium Metasilicate is the ingredient found in the TSP alternative TSP/90 Red Devil. Check the ingredients to make sure the only ingredient listed is Sodium Metasilicate. I found mine for $11 at Ace Hardware.

Sodium Percarbonate can be found in the laundry isle of the grocery store. It is in Oxiclean Versatile or Oxiclean Free. Make sure there are no dyes, perfumes or additives. You do not want a off brand which may contain an active ingredient other than Sodium Percarbonate. Do not substitute Sodium Peroxocarbonate or Sodium Peroxodicarbonate. These are not valid alternatives

Miracle Wash  Mixing Instructions
Measure (I like measuring by weight) then carefully (to reduce dust) pour the ingredients into an airtight container and close the lid.  A 2-gallon Ziploc Freezer bag works well for this purpose. Shake and turn over the container or bag to mix well. 

The mixture must be mixed and stored dry
It would be a BIG mistake to store it as a concentrated liquid. The Sodium Percarbonate releases oxygen and the container would burst into a horrific mess. Again as with any cleaning product Miracle Wash needs to be stored in a container that cannot be opened by children or pets.

Using Miracle Wash on underwear, white shirts and other clothing
This mixture will irritate you hands so wear vinyl or latex gloves once you add water to it.  This is not a soap or a detergent. The items will need to be washed  after soaking. 

When ready to use, fill a plastic bucket with 1 gallon of hot water. Mix in 1 tablespoon for lightly soiled items and 2 tablespoons for heavily soils clothing. Do not cap or lid the bucket. Do not place the bucket in reach of children or pets.

The Sodium Metasilicate is a digester which breaks down the enzymes in organic matter. The Sodium Percarbonate is a oxygenated bleach - a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and soda ash.

Underwear soaked in this solution comes out WHITE. Sodium Percarbonate is an oxygenated bleach, be careful about using it on colored items. 

After soaking no scrubbing should be needed. Water will appear dirty and the stains on the clothing should be gone.

Soak for desired time then dump the bucket with Miracle Wash water and clothing directly into the washing machine. Wash clothing on short cycle setting (hot water is preferable) without detergent. When wash cycle has completed, wash clothing a second time on short cycle with detergent.

Miracle Wash Labels Free Download
Print out and cut PDF labels by hand. Silhouette Studio Labels can be downloaded, printed and cut on label stock. Jar and Lid Labels for Miracle Wash

Silhouette Mint Stamp Kits and Stamp Sheet Sets from Swing Design

Hubby ordered my kits from Amazon through Swing Design and they arrived 5 days later! I thought people interested in Silhouette Mint might like to see what it looks like when the order is opened.

All the Kits and Sheet Sets matched up

There are 7 sizes of stamps and a total of 21 stamp sheets but lets just take a look at the 45mm x 90mm Stamp Kit.

The back of the 45mm x 90mm Stamp Kit box shows the actual size of the stamp. I talked to my local Joanns. They will be selling the Kits and Stamp Sheet Sets in December so seeing the actual size of the stamp on the back of the box might come in handy.

When the box is opened there is another protective box that the Stamp Kit sits in.

The kit is protected yet again in a plastic bag

Here is the 45mm x 90mm kit: stamp mount with it's lid to the right, 2 labels, 1 stamp sheet in it's cardboard holder, 1 stamp block.

The 45mm x 90mm stamp sheet is just about the right size to make a stamp for a business card.

So a customized full-color business card on almost any kind of stock seem like a great idea. The stamp is just a little longer than the business card a standard business card is just a little bit wider.

For more Silhouette Mint posts follow the links below:
Silhouette Mint Stamp Made and Reviewed
Creating Silhouette Mint Stamps Outside Silhouette Mint Studio
Silhouette Mint Consumables Price Comparison