Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Heartfelt Creations Lush Lilacs: Scan N Cut vs. Matching Dies

My favorite stamp company is Heartfelt Creations. Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Heartfelt Creations class where they taught us coloring and flower shaping techniques as we made 3 cards using their new Lush Lilacs collection. I bought the Lush Lilac stamps that day, but not the dies. After trying to cut them with my new Scan N Cut, I decided to order the Lush Lilac dies, too.

While I love what the Scan N Cut can do, it fussy cuts some stamps well, but others it needs a thin border. Most of the Lush Lilac stamped images ended up with a border when cut out with the Scan N Cut. I prefer my stamps fussy cut right on the edge. This post is shows a comparison of how close the Scan N Cut was able to cut out the Lush Lilac stamps vs. cutting them out with the Lush Lilac matching dies.

In each of the photos below, the stamped image cut out with the Scan N Cut is on the left, and the stamped image cut out with the matching dies is on the right.

There is a way to trick the machine into cutting images closer by using acetate, but I have not yet tried that technique

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Photos of what the Scan N Cut Can Do:

For starters, it will cut out your stamped images amazingly well, as long as it has a good outline to scan and cut. Here is a rose leaf cluster by Heartfelt Creations. I love their stamps, and I am really into making 3D flowers for cards right now. I attended two Heartfelt Creations card classes this week, and I bought more of their flower stamps. However, I did not want to spend another $150 on the matching dies for the stamp sets. That $150 was half of what was needed to buy the Scan N Cut. Since I keep buying stamps, it just made sense to buy the machine rather than continue to buy matching dies.

Anyway, I played around with the machine yesterday and today to see how well it would cut. First, a leaf cluster with NO border, and the same leaf cluster with a small white border:

I was delightfully surprised at how close the cut was able to come. Today I did try to use a more advanced Scan N Cut technique to cut out the white from the curly vines, and it worked, but the vines were too fragile. The machine cut slightly into the design, not just around the design. I need to work on perfecting the technique, but for a brand new novice, I am pleased with what I have been able to cut with this machine. 

 Next, I cut Peony, Poppy, and Rose components (also Heartfelt Creations stamp designs). The machine cut these extremely well. I'm skilled with scissors, but the machine did a better job than I could. After cutting the various flower petals, I colored them, used the Heartfelt Creations molds to shape them, inked them, glued them, and glimmer misted them. By layering them, you end up with 3D flowers. Each of the flower petals has a solid outer line, which means it's the perfect kind of stamped image for the Scan N Cut.

This next sample shows that it is easier for the machine to cut close to the edge if it is black on white than a lighter color on white. The machine needed to include a border to cut the green inked image due to the extremely detailed design and lighter color ink. It was not able to cut on the line of the green inked corner. I have been able to get the machine to cut some colored ink images with no border, too, but the less contrast there is, and the more detail and segmented the design, the harder it is for the machine to recognize and cut without a border. Still, it did extremely well overall. Most dies you buy that match stamps will have a slight border, too. The poppy corners are another Heartfelt Creations stamp, but it has been discontinued.

  If you try to cut distressed stamp designs, or designs that do not have a clean outside edge, you may get parts cut that you don't want cut. For example, I have a very old dogwood stamp that had a gap that I did not notice, so part of a flower petal got a significant portion cut out of it. Someone online suggested that for images which do not have a good solid outer line, take a pencil and draw across any gaps. After cutting, you can erase the pencil lines.

Summary: this is a great machine for stampers! It has limitations, but with practice and experience, I think the limitations will be minor.

Scan N Cut is also easier to use than the Silhouette PixScan mat. The PixScan software gives you more control over your cutting lines, but it takes longer to get your stamped images ready to cut. For extremely detailed or distressed stamped images, I may use my PixScan mat and Cameo, but for most of my stamping, I will be cutting out stamped designs with my Scan N Cut.

Scan N Cut 2 and a micro mini review.....

I never met an electronic cutter I didn't like. Well, almost never.

I started with the original blue Wishblade back in 2005, graduated to a 12 inch wide BossKut Gazelle, later bought a Cricut Expression, then eventually the Silhouette Cameo when my Gazelle stopped communicating with my computer, finally gave into temptation and bought a Cricut Explore Air 2 a little over a year ago in order to be able to cut leather, and this week, I bought the Brother Scan N Cut.

None of the machines were given to me. No manufacturer or company has sponsored, advertised, or in any way bought my interest, opinion, or loyalty. I bought each machine with my own money and because I wanted each one after reading reviews.

Each machine does certain things better than the other cutters. As far as the newer machines, the Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts heavier materials, the Silhouette Cameo has extremely capable design software, and the Brother Scan N Cut will scan and cut your stamped images. I love stamps, so the ability to cut them without having to buy matching dies is what finally made me decide to buy it.  I will stick to my Cameo for nearly everything else, and still use my Explore when I want to cut heavy materials.

I am learning that the Scan N Cut does not fussy cut every stamp equally well, but I can usually get it to cut most of my stamped images, although some I have to give a small border of white first.  Still, it is definitely a machine worth having if you are a stamper. I am good with scissors, but it doesn't mean that I enjoy cutting out detailed stamped images.

My next post will include a couple of my first experiments with stamping and cutting with the Scan N Cut.

Friday, January 12, 2018

More Disney Shirts

For this next shirt, I used some cutting files from the Silhouette Design Store, and did a trace of a Tinkerbell coloring page. First, the front:

And the back:

Another shirt front, traced from a silhouette on the internet (Rapunzel is my favorite princess):

The sun on the back was a Cricut design, with lettering added:

Our husband and wife shirts (yes, my sweet husband was totally willing to wear it):

More shirts to come.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Disney Shirts

When our oldest son and his wife paid off their house in 2016 and became debt free, they decided to celebrate by saving up for a trip to Walt Disney World. We were invited to join them. It sort of morphed into a big family reunion, with members of my daughter-in-law's family, as well as all of our own kids and grandkids.

It had been over 20 years since we had visited Disney, but I remembered that Disney shirts were pricey. Besides, who wants a shirt that several other people are bound to be wearing? I let members of my family choose what they wanted, and I created the shirts.

I thought I would have them all done in short order. Wrong. Those shirts took me weeks to create, but I made a total of at least 26 shirts, most of them different from each other. Most were inspired by shirts I saw on Pinterest. A couple of them were made using files I had bought from Cricut. Some were adapted from clip art, and a few were truly unique and original.

Most of the family doing the planning opted for a basic Mickey or Minnie Head in solid black on a red t-shirt. Most of them had younger kids and wanted something simple.  I don't have little kids anymore and have more craftinng time. I wanted something a bit nicer. The Minnie head made of small Mickey heads was an idea that I saw on Pinterest. This was my first shirt. I liked it enough that I put it on a tote bag, as well as on a belt bag. The belt bag (not shown) was a royal pain to do because the zippers limited the space available for applying heat. I had to do it with my iron instead of my heat press.

The next one was adapted from the design that most of the family were doing. At least two of the families had paid off all debts, including their homes. My husband and I are still working to pay off our house. Anyway, the "Debt Wars" idea was expanded by them. I simplified what was in the box, since theirs said, "Debt free."

I will say this, that despite the huge crowds at Disney during Christmas to New Year's, the green shirts were easy to spot!

More photos to follow. Everyone in my family chose unique shirts.  I had to design what they wanted, create the cutting files, and then make them. We were pretty happy with the results.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Vinyl Fall Decor

I love using my Cameo for cutting vinyl. Last fall, I made a couple of plaques as part of my Thanksgiving decor. I think both were designs from the Silhouette Design Store. I got the charger with leaf border at Hobby Lobby last year. The ceramic tile in the lower photo was leftover from my bathroom remodel. It had a glossy, smooth surface which was perfect for applying the copper vinyl.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fall Layout - Cox Farm

Yes, this is a 4 page layout. I realize that most people prefer one page layouts these days, or a two page spread at most. Sometimes I just have too many photos that I want to include in my albums.

This 4 pager is actually one of my favorite layouts, but it was also one of our favorite places to go to in the fall every year. Our two younger sons both took turns working there, but we started going to Cox Farm's Fall Festival long before they were old enough to be employed there. It was only about half a mile from our home in Virginia (the house which we sold a little over a year ago in order to move to another state). Because it is a popular local place, the paper used for the first two pages was a custom order that the LSS (now closed) had special ordered.  Since I only had two sheets of that paper, and I really did not want the entire layout to look the same, anyway, I improvised a bit on how to get the third and fourth pages to coordinate.  I used stamped images, pinwheels, and burlap to tie all of the pages together.