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Update | MISTI, Project Life, Etsy, Jobs, Events & More!

The post-winter show doldrums sure are over! Lots of companies have been busy with the result being lots of news to share!

[Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to you if a purchase is made after a click.]

Endings. The Project Life partnership with Stampin’ Up! is ending. Project Life branded products will continue to be sold (while supplies last) through Stampin’ Up! demonstrators until the end of the current catalog year on May 31st, 2017.

Patents. My Sweet Petunia, the manufacturer of the popular MISTI stamping tool, was granted their application for a U.S.MISTI patent on March 21st. The original MISTI tool took the stamping world by storm in 2015 and 2016, and the new Mini and Mega sized versions together won the CHA Hot Products Award for Papercrafting products at the 2016 Mega Show.

The MISTI patent had first been applied for by My Sweet Petunia on January 13th, 2015, but was initially denied in the summer of 2016. The company was able to secure approval of the MISTI patent last month after making a revision of their original patent application.

Winners. Etsy was honored as a finalist in the first-ever “World Changing Ideas Awards” sponsored by Fast Company magazine. The online marketplace for crafters was recognized as one of the top 24 finalists out of over 1000 submissions for the idea “Economic Security for the Gig Economy“, a method of ensuring freelance and self-employed people (like their marketplace participants) have stable access to items like healthcare and retirement savings.

Extensions. Tim Holtz has announced a new line of jewelry products that will be exclusive to Jo-Ann Stores called Tim Holtz Assemblage. The line is in Tim’s signature vintage style, and many elements are recognizable as adapted from metal elements designed for his papercrafts line. The line is available now – at 50% off – on Joann.com.

 

Changes. Megan Hoeppner is leaving her role as Editor-in-Chief of Scrapbook & Cards Today magazine for personal reasons. She will, however, continue with the magazine as its Pic Tips columnist. The Editor-in-Chief position is being filled by Susan Opel, who is familiar to many in the industry from her time at the now-defunct Papercrafts & Scrapbooking magazine.

Megan Hoeppner

Megan Hoeppner (on left) and I together at SNAP Conference in 2016.

Changes, part 2. Etsy has named Rachel Glaser as its new Chief Financial Officer. She replaces Kristina Salen whose intended departure as of March 31st was announced last fall. Glaser will start work on or around June 1st, and Karen Mullane (Vice President, Corporate Controller) will serve as interim CFO. With 30 years of executive experience in finance, Glaser comes to Etsy from Leaf Group, a consumer media and marketplace company whose brands include Society 6, Livestrong.com, ehow.com, cuteness, and Techwalla.

Events. AFCI (formerly known as CHA) is partnering with SPC (Sierra Pacific Crafts) to put on a Mixed Media buying event in Salt Lake City this summer. Education will be on July 17th, and the show floor will be open July 18th though July 20th. Exhibit space is selling fast, and attendee registration opens on April 19th.

Events, part 2. It may feel like you’re barely over your jet lag from this year, but exhibit registration is already open for the 2018 Creativeworld show at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. Book before April 13th for an early booking discount. More than 130 exhibitors were already signed up as of the end of March, according to Messe Frankfurt.

[Note: Messe Frankfurt and its Creativeworld show are a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

Considering whether to go for the first time? In case you might have missed them, here’s my show reports from Creativeworld 2017:

Documenting. Ali Edwards has announced that the next “Week in the Life” project will run the week of April 17th. New digital and physical product kits are available for the 2017 project on the Ali Edwards webstore.

Teams. Graphic 45 is skipping their usual design team call for 2017, and instead have announced a group they call the 2017-2018 Graphic 45 Brand Ambassadors. The company promises that the design team call will return in 2018, but for this year, the new team includes lots of returning names from last year, with a few new ones mixed in.

Jobs:

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Getting Started with Make It Now on the Cricut Explore Air 2

Because it requires using software on a computer (or a phone app), a lot of people are intimidated initially by using the Cricut Explore family of machines. But Cricut Design Space has a built-in shortcut for learning how to do almost anything with the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine: the library of Make It Now projects!

Cricut Design Space

The Make It Now library of projects, which is what you are looking at when you open the main screen of Cricut Design Space, is like having training wheels for your Cricut Explore machine. Whether you are trying to use the machine itself, or trying a new material or accessory tool (like the stylus) for the first time, a Make It Now project will hold your hand while you do it. The Make It Now projects have been set up by the expert designers at Cricut to create an entire project flawlessly from start to finish. It takes the guesswork out of working with new tools or materials. There’s no guessing, so you can get perfect results the first time!

One very popular use for the Cricut family of machines is to cut iron-on material to create custom shirts, bags, and other items. Cricut sells an extensive palette of iron-on materials that the machine’s built-in settings are calibrated to cut. Working with iron-on, though, has a bit of a learning curve. Make It Now projects to the rescue!

Probably my all time favorite Make It Now project is the “C’est La Vie” t-shirt designed by my friend Anna Rose Johnson. This fun t-shirt features two layers of iron-on that together create the phrase and a glittered heart.

Cricut Make It Now t-shirt project

Remember, just because you are using a Make It Now project, doesn’t mean that you have to make it look exactly like the Cricut sample! Changing the color scheme is as simple as feeding different colors of material into the machine. Cricut Design Space does allow you to edit a Make It Now project – or any other one – to change the colors of elements. But on a simple two color project like this one, it’s not worth taking the time to make the change in the software. Just feed the colors you want into the machine when it’s time for each cut!

For making my t-shirt this time, I chose to make the design with white lite iron-on and pink glitter iron-on. My 13 year old daughter, who the shirt was for, is all about the pink glitter.

Cricut iron-on cutting

The Smart Set dial on the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine makes it easy to set the machine to cut Cricut Iron-On material. Just spin the dial to “Iron-on” to set it and you’re done!

Cricut Explore Air 2 Smart Set Dial

The other key to cutting iron-on material is that you have to cut your images in reverse. There is a handy checkbox alongside each layer of your design in the first cut window that you can check to have Design Space reverse the design for you. If you proceed to the final cut window with your machine set on “Iron-on”, but have forgotten to check the “mirror” box for your layers, the machine will yell at you with a bar that pops up to remind you!

Cricut Iron On WarningWhen your material comes out of the machine, and your design has been cut in reverse, it will look something like this. The plastic is underneath it on the mat, and then becomes the transfer tape to carry your design to the item you want to iron it on.

Cricut iron-on

The weeding tool makes it 100x easier to weed (remove the waste from) designs cut from iron-on material. Just use the hook part to stab a piece that you want to remove, and then pull to remove it.

Cricut iron-on weeding

To iron on your material and get good results, it’s important to pay close attention to the package instructions. Before your begin, make sure to pre-wash your item (and don’t use fabric softener) so that your iron-on will stick well.

Cricut iron-on t-shirt

It only took a few minutes to cut my Cricut Make It Now design and iron it on, but the results were gorgeous! My fashionista was very happy with the results and the new addition to her wardrobe!

Cricut iron-on t-shirt on model

Tips for Using Iron-On Material:

  • Iron-on material goes plastic side down on your cutting mat
  • Don’t forget to check the “mirror” boxes when cutting
  • Items being ironed on should be 100% cotton if possible and pre-washed with no fabric softener before ironing designs on
  • Make sure to turn the steam off on your iron
  • Use a nice firm ironing surface

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine: First Look

As many of you may remember, I spent a lot of 2015 traveling around the country to various Scrapbook Expo shows to demonstrate the Cricut Explore machine for Cricut. I loved both the chance to interact with consumers around the country, and the machines themselves! So I was thrilled when Cricut offered me the chance to try out the new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, see how it compared to my current Cricut Explore machine, and tell my readers about it!

What is the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine?

Cricut Explore Air 2If, like me, you are a user of a previous Explore model of machine, you’re probably wondering what is different about this new one from your current model. For users of the original green model of Explore machine like mine, or of the Explore One, you’ll find that the bluetooth is now built inside the machine instead of requiring a plug-in accessory dongle to work. If you currently have an Explore One, you’ll also find that the Explore Air 2 has two carriages – one for the blade and one for accessories, meaning less switching out while cutting.

One other minor change is mostly cosmetic – the setting at the dial on the top of the machine now read “bonded fabric” instead of just “fabric”. This isn’t a change in the machine’s capability but rather a better explanation of them. The previous label, based on postings in Facebook groups I belong to, seemed to confuse people into thinking the machine could cut fabric when in fact it can only cut fabric that has been bonded to an interface backing to stiffen it.

For users of all previous Explore machines, Cricut is advertising that the Explore Air 2 will cut up to 2x faster than the previous machines.

If you are a user of a cartridge based machine (the Expression series and earlier) models, the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine is a whole new eco-system, with the Cricut Design Space software and Cricut Access library subscriptions, and features like the ability to import and cut your own SVG and JPG files. But you might also be asking if a computer based machine is too complicated, or too much hassle. You might be surprised to find that the answer is no.

Cricut Explore Air 2 machine

Although I’m very experienced in setting up Cricut machines from demonstrating them, for this article I decided to try an experiment and see how long it would take me to set up the machine and make the introductory project that is included in the set-up process (pictured above). I used a clean machine that had never had Cricut Design Space installed on it, so I was starting from scratch the same as any other new user – albeit one with a bit more experience under my belt.

I started a timer from the moment that I started to take things out of the box.

Inside the box, I found the machine, power cord, USB cord, a pen, a green mat, paper for the introductory project, and a few instruction booklets.

Cricut Explore Air 2 contents

If you follow the instructions in the box, the next step is to open a special URL on the Cricut website that serves as a tutorial for setting up new machines.

Cricut Explore Air 2 set-up

Then the instructions call for plugging in the machine to the wall and connecting it via cable to the computer.

Cricut Explore Air 2 instructions

Once that is done, there are onscreen instructions in Cricut Design Space to follow to complete setting up your machine. They literally walk you through each step.

When you are done with the set up, the final step is to have some fun with your new machine for the first time! At the 14 minute mark of my set-up process (and that included time taken to take a few pictures for this article like the ones above), I loaded a mat with paper into my new machine for the first time!

Cricut Explore Air 2 with mat

By barely over the 20 minute mark, I had not only set up my new machine, but I had created (along with a few pictures for this article) a fun little card with it!

Tips for setting up a new Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine:

  • Choose Chrome: I’ve used Google Chrome for a long time with my Cricut Explore, and it is highly recommended as the most trouble-free way to work in Cricut Design Space with the Cricut Explore family of machines.
  • Forget Old Machines: For the smoothest install and bluetooth set-up, go into your computer or mobile device’s bluetooth settings and tell it to “forget” your old Cricut Explore machine. You can always re-pair them later to continue using it alongside the new machine.

And that is it…my new machine was up and running – and I’d made something – in less than 20 minutes!

Does the Cricut Explore Air 2 really cut faster?

I ran another test to see – and if so, by how much!

First, I selected a “make it now” Easter card project from the Cricut Access library and set it up to cut on my iPad Mini. This way, all of my cuts would be made from the same file on the same computer device.

Cricut Easter card

Then, I cut the green part of the card three times. The first time, it was on my new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine on the “fast” setting. That setting is available for use on vinyl, iron-on, and cardstock, and can be used just by clicking a box in the cut window. That cut took 1:58 from start to finish.

Then I tried it again on my Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, but this time I unclicked the “fast” box to cut “regular” speed. On this setting, the cut was clocked at 2:45.

Finally I tried the cut on my old green Cricut Explore machine, and it took 2:54.

This was a relatively small, but complicated design file. Other files will show varying differences in speed, of course. But even with this file I saved nearly a third of the cut time moving from my old Cricut Explore machine to the fast speed on the new Cricut Explore Air 2. Extend this time savings to large intricate backgrounds for 12×12 pages, or for large amounts of production cutting, and the time savings could add up, well, fast (pun intended). Especially or machine owners who are running a business with their Cricut, faster cutting means more time for themselves – or more time to make more profit!

Now that I can cut so much faster with my new Cricut Explore Air 2, I’m really excited to take on some larger cutting projects that I didn’t have the time or patience for before, like 12×12 decorative backgrounds for scrapbook layouts, or intricate iron-on shirt designs. Or maybe I’ll even take on some wall-sized vinyl projects…

What would you like to make faster with the new Cricut Explore Air 2?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Update | Studio Calico, Paperclipping, Typecast, and more!

This week’s edition of the Update column brings news of lots of change, the Typecast…and lots of jobs!

Honors. Bowling Green, Kentucky-based INKED has been named by Inc. Magazine as the 7th fastest growing business in Kentucky. INKED is known to most in the scrapbook industry as Studio Calico. Many scrapbookers are not aware, however, that behind the scenes of their popular scrapbook kit company, INKED also offers web platforms, marketing, product design and fulfillment to internet influencers. Among the well-known names that are part of the INKED client base are Ali Edwards and A Beautiful Mess.

Crimes. According to their Facebook page, Kerri Bradford Designs’ website has been taken down due to being hacked and vandalized. Kerri and her team do not believe that any customer information was compromised. (The site did not contain any payment information since their payments are authorized via Paypal.) The site will remain down for a short period of time pending the completion of a previously planned new website that is to be rolled out shortly.

Magazines. The first issue of the new lifestyle magazine by Fixer Upper mega stars Chip & Joanna Gaines will be hitting newsstands in October. The new Meredith Corp publication, announced in July, is tentatively titled Magnolia Lifestyle. It will join premier lifestyle brands Better Homes & Gardens and Martha Stewart that are also under the Meredith umbrella. Content will include features in the areas of entertaining, food, lifestyle, family, and decorating. The quarterly magazine will carry a $7.99 cover price and the first issue will be hospitality themed (just in time for holiday entertaining).

The “farmhouse industrial” style popularized by Fixer Upper has heavily influenced the DIY and crafts industries since the show skyrocketed the Gaines’ to stardom a few years ago. With 400,000 copies of the new magazine about to hit newsstands, it appears that the Gaines’ – and their signature style – won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Endings. Noell & Izzy Hyman of Paperclipping have announced that they are ending their Paperclipping video membership service after August 2017. Because of this, one year renewal memberships are no longer available. They have also stopped recording the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast, with the final episode being #277 which was released in early August.

Most of my readers know that I was the founding co-host on the first 121 episodes of the Paperclipping Roundtable, appearing on it from January 2010 until July 2012. I’m sorry to see the show go, and wish Noell all the best in her new endeavor.

Endings? Another one of the country’s premier scrapbook stores has announced that it is (probably) closing its doors. Scrappy Chic in Livonia, Michigan announced on September 14th that if they do not find a buyer immediately, they will be closing at the end of October. According to the store’s owner, “important family matters that need my attention” are the reason for the decision to close the 10,000 square foot store.

Changes. Laura Vegas, who has been the Creative Team Coordinator for Bella Blvd for 5 years, announced this past week that she is departing the company.

Changes, part two. In late August, Denver-based Craftsy laid off 24 employees from the department that produces their online video tutorials. The company says it is slowing down the number of new videos that it is producing to focus on a major expansion of its ecommerce business, including producing its own branded product lines.

mint-typecast-typewriter

New Products. We R Memory Keepers has announced that the immensely popular Typecast typewriter will soon be released to all retailers, and with that release will come two new colors of the machine! The Typecast machine, which was previously only available in pink and black at Michaels Stores, will also be available in mint and white as part of the wider release. (Must have now? Our advertising partner A Cherry On Top has the two new Typecast colors available for pre-order.)

New Products, part 2. Fuji announced at the Fotokina show in Cologne, Germany on September 19th that it is developing a version of its popular Instax film that will have a square photo format, along with a camera for the format. The Instax SQUARE film will have an image size of 62mm x 62mm, and the finished photo (with border) will have a size of 85.6mm x 72mm. The new Instax SQUARE product is scheduled for a Spring 2017 release.

Links. Blogger and scrapbook instructor rukristin has written an exhaustive overview of the state of scrapbooking at the moment – defining the different types and genres that are being created and their uses and meaning. It’s an excellent “state of the union” on the market at the moment.

Jobs: The following scrapbook and craft industry jobs are currently posted as available:

To get your company’s open position listed in our job listings, please email a link to the posting to nancy@nallystudios.com.

Design Teams:

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Mixed Media Canvas with Simple Stories

I’ve been working on a lot of home decor projects lately, so when I came home from the Orlando Scrapbook Expo with the new “Sunshine & Happiness” collection from Simple Stories, I decided to create a mixed media canvas with it!

[Disclosure: Some of the products that were used from Plaid, Cricut, Ranger, and Buttons Galore were provided to this site for editorial purposes, and I am the blog editor and social media manager for Buttons Galore. Some links below are affiliate links that earn us a commission when you purchase after clicking, or are courtesy links to our advertisers. Now, thanks for reading all of that stuff that the FTC requires that I tell you, and let’s get back to crafting!]
Mixed Media Canvas

To start this canvas, I laid down a base coat of the Plaid FolkArt Cottage Green Milk Paint directly on my blank canvas. This is the second canvas that I’ve used this milk paint on, and I am really loving that I can distress it with a baby wipe or damp paper towel after it is dry to get this nice aged look.

Next I tore a piece of the “Total Crush” paper from the Sunshine & Happiness collection to make a background for the canvas design. Wetting the paper made it easier to tear, but this paper isn’t designed to get wet like a watercolor paper is so be careful or it will be shred. Once your paper is sized right (and dry), glue it down with liquid glue like Mod Podge.

To finish the background, I spritzed it with the Plaid Color Spray Acrylic Paint. It was my first time using it, and the sprayer was a bit fussy to use. But once I got the hang of it, I was thrilled with the results. I’m rarely happy with the results I get using spray ink – the mist is always too fine for the look I want. This gave me the the larger splotches that I’m always trying to get. I look forward to giving it a full workout in the future to see what it really can do.

Woven Paper Heart

The next big element on the canvas is the woven paper heart. I cut paper strips from the two patterned papers, and then attached the ends of one set to a piece of scrap paper. I wove the other set through the anchored set. When the weaving was done, I drew a heart on the completed weaving in pencil. I cut it out a little bit at a time, using glue to anchor the paper strips together after I sliced through each row.

3D Flowers on Canvas

The 3D flower (and the other two large flowers) were cut on my Cricut Explore machine from heavy 140lb watercolor paper. There’s actually a setting for that paper on the machine and with the deep cut blade and heavy stick mat, it cut perfectly. Then I used my watercolors to color them with my water brush. I colored the outer edges and then soaked the paper with my spray bottle so that the color ran to create the soft wash all over. I then went back with another layer of heavier layer along the outer edges.

Once everything was dry, I assembled the rose with my hot glue gun. The centers of all three flowers are filled with seed beads from the 28 Lilac Lane embellishment bottle. I used only the white ones from the yellow and white assortment that is included. Even though they are tiny, it’s easy to sort them out in only a few minutes by dumping them in an embossing powder tray. I used my paper piercer, poking it in the beads’ holes to push them into piles in the corners. When I was done, it was easy to dump them back into the bottle with my tray’s spout!

Adhering the beads was easy – I just put a big glob of glue and pushed a bunch of beads down into it. I was able to shape and mold the glue before it dried to get just the effect that I wanted.

Sunshine and Happiness on Canvas

The embellishments were mostly simple – just arranging and adhering things. The wood piece was painted with milk paint and then stamped. At the top of the canvas (not visible in the photo above), I adhered one butterfly with pop dots for dimension while the other is just glued down.

Want to make your own canvas? Here’s what you’ll need:

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SNAP Conference 2016: My First Blogging Conference

Somehow, with all of the travel that I have done for my work running my websites in the past few years, the one thing that I hadn’t done was attend one of the major national blog conferences. I had attended local events like WordCamp here in Florida, but hadn’t traveled further afield for one.

I finally crossed “attend blog conference” off of my list last week when I attended the 2016 SNAP Conference  for creative bloggers in Salt Lake City. For those unfamiliar with it, SNAP Conference is a three day annual event based in Salt Lake City that serves home, craft, and DIY bloggers. The event provides networking, education, and opportunities to connect with sponsors.

Delta Flight Information

My journey to SNAP started with a 4am drive to Daytona Beach International airport to catch a 6am flight to Atlanta. I love Daytona Beach airport – it’s only a half hour away from my house and easy to use because it is tiny. It’s so tiny, in fact, that when I checked in for my trip to SNAP, the check-in agent handed me my boarding pass and said, “Your flight is at gate 2.” I told him, “You could have just said go to the gate with the plane at it.” He laughed and told me I was right. Once, I arrived a bit too early for my flight and spent quite awhile as the lone passenger in the secure area of the terminal, with only the airport’s police officer and the gift store clerk for company. Continue Reading →

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