Don’t ask me what I chose today’s title. I haven’t the foggiest. Usually my title is somehow related to my post. You can thank all my high school English teachers for drilling that habit into my head. But today…well today…everything’s a bit off kilter and whacked-out, so my title may be as well.
To begin, I’ve had…oh, about 12 minutes of sleep. My DD either has a bit of a stomach bug or ate something less than wholesome yesterday, and bless her heart she spend the better part of the night chucking. I’m not sure which is worse…to be the person chucking or to be the person taking care of the person chucking. Either way it makes for one really long night.
But I survived it without cigarettes.
Yes, it’s true.
The thought that I might get lung cancer or have a stroke or heart attack was never scary enough to make me lay them down. The thought that my beautiful children were inhaling second-hand smoke and developing all sorts of risk factors was not shameful enough to make me quit. The fact that my hair reeked, my clothes reeked, my house reeked, my car reeked was not embarrassing enough to make me give it up.
What finally broke me was FPU.
Back in January the DH and I enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at a local church. I’m not going to wax poetic about the experience, but I will tell you it’s been life changing. I will tell you it’s absolutely the BEST $99 we’ve ever spent.
We have to create a WRITTEN budget every month. One we agree on. One we stick to. Each item we spend money on has a name. Mortgage. Electricity. Food. Clothing.
Our cigarette fund earned the name “Stupid Addictions”.
Three months of seeing the dollars leaving our checkbook for Stupid Addictions accomplished what years of lung cancer warnings couldn’t. I decided to quit. My DH decided to quit.
Now don’t think this a “We Did It!” ta-da story.
It’s a “We’re Junkies and We’re Getting Clean One Minute At A Time” story.
My DH, being the manly-man he is, decided to go cold turkey. I went the Chantix route. And it’s working for me. Today is day four of my new non-smoking life.
I’ve haven’t been seventy two hours without a smoke since I was fourteen!
But…if I can get though a night of a house full of pre-tween boys for my DS’s birthday sleep-over immediately followed by an night of DD’s chuckage, I can get through today.
And really…that’s what most of my life is anyway. Getting through today.
I’ll be back later this week with some birthday stuff for your scrapbooks and cards.
Until then…remember that Debt is Normal. Be WEIRD!!!
Believe it or not, I’m not feeling particularly chatty today. I’ve been working on a rocket for a bulletin board I’m doing, and I’m going to give it to you without a lot of fanfare or conversation. You could use the files to create a great scrapbook page element/embellishment or use it in your card making. I’m thinking boy birthday or if you wanted to really get creative you could even do a romantic card for your sweetie…something along the lines of “You Rock(et) My World” or something equally cheesy.
I found this awesome png file at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-rocket.svg. (Ya’ll know I try to give credit where credit’s due!). I was hoping I could import it into Inkscape and get the program to trace the layers, but there were just too many color variations, and I’m not the most saavy Inkscape user out there.
So I opened it in Photoshop and did a lot of work on it. The result turned out pretty cool.
There are a few things you need to know about these files:
1.) This was created as a major element on a bulletin board, so the finished rocket is 8.00″W 10.47″ H. Of course, you can resize all the pieces to suit your needs.
2.) This is an ambitious paper piecing…seven layers.
3.) I usually try to create a SCAL1 SCUT file for those of you still using SCAL1, but I’m short on time today. However, I didn’t forget you completely. The zip file contains a PDF listing the exact dimensions of each piece so you can create this for yourself. Note that these dimensions will create a supersized rocket…8×10.5″.
4.) The new layers function in SCAL2 made it very easy to put together a SCAL2 SCUT file, so that’s included in the zip file. If you don’t know how to cut layers individually, go to my tutorials page and follow the link to Dan’s video tutorials over at My Crafty Life. It’s worth your time. Really.
Hope you can find use for this, and, as always, happy Cricut-ing!!!
iTunes is pissing me off this morning.
There’s an album I need to download (please note my use of the verb NEED…not want), and the software is not cooperating.
First, it required that I install an update…which took FOR-EV-ER!!!! Then after many LONG minutes of not-so-patiently waiting, the update did not install properly. So now in order to download the album I NEED, I have to uninstall the software and reinstall it.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t just use another music service. I have considered that option. But I’m afraid that if I take my $9.99 and spend it elsewhere I will bring about the complete financial collapse of Apple.
Anyway…my misery and frustration this morning is all my DD’s fault.
Before I go on to explain how my adorable pre-schooler is completely responsible for this hair-pulling episode, you must know this about me. I am a complete and total U2 addict. Shamefully, my addiction to this amazing band from Dublin even surpasses my addiction to my Cricut.
Back in March I purchased the DELUXE edition of U2’s new album No Line on the Horizon. I was in U2 heaven…for a while.
Then a few days ago I made the mistake of taking my CD out of the car and bringing it into the house for the purpose loading it to my portable media player.
Apparently my DD procured the CD from my desk. She then proceeded to mar its glorious surface with dirty little girl fingerprints and some sort of sticky slime that I can only assume was gummy infused saliva, which all moms know has greater adhesive properties than super glue.
Now…while I am a HUGE U2 fan (perhaps even bordering on the obsessive…which I know is a confession that shocks you because it’s sooooo not like me!), even I have never licked one of their CD’s!!!! (Fondled one maybe, but that’s another story 🙂 )
To add insult to injury, not only did my DD touch and lick my CD, she also managed to put a very deep and indelible scratch across the entire width of it.
I’m going to call my dad tonight and share my agony with him. And although he’s entirely too much of a prince to say it, he’ll think something along the lines of “Payback’s a witch.”
You see, my dad is a HUGE Barbara Streisand fan. And when I was little (coincidentally the same age as my DD is now) I got my hands on his prized copy of Hello Dolly. I then proceeded to lay the LP on the floor, stand on it, and do the twist.
He’s long forgiven me, but he’s never forgotten.
Neither apparently have the fates.
Yeah…payback’s a witch.
So…in honor of the witchiness of fates and payback…and of course in honor of the approaching Halloween night, here’s a few files for your entertainment.
I’m not one to embellish my embellishments…too lazy I suppose. But this baby got a few extra touches. First, Cauldron01 (background base) is cut from black cardstock. I then mixed a bit of silver and black acrylic paint and applied it sparingly using a small sponge.
I wanted a bit of high light on the cauldron, so I cut Cauldron02 from vellum. White vellum. When I removed it from my cutting mat and laid it on top of the black base I got a creation that can only be described as UG-A-LEE!!!! I glued it down anyway, added a tiny bit more of silver paint to the black/silver mix I used on the background, and then sponged the vellum.
I then cut my green witches brew (Cauldron03) and added it, running along a yellow Tombo marker along its edges. I’m sure I’ll mess with that a bit more.
Anyway…if you’re interested, here’s a zip file containing svg files for all three layers of the cauldron as well as scut files for both SCAL1 and SCAL2.
I’m going to go try to get my U2 fix, but here’s wishing you all Happy Cricut-ing!!!
The last few mornings here have been rather crisp. In an area known for Indian summers, this early onset of cool weather is a bit of a surprise.
Today my DS announced, “Fall’s here!” (Probably because it was the fourth day in a row he stepped outside and went “Brrrrrr!”)
I replied, “Not yet, buddy.”
He (being eight and knowing everything) and I (being quite a bit older but having learned nothing) proceeded to have a discussion about whether or not fall had finally arrived. Basically the conversation went something like this:
DS: Fall’s here!
ME: Not yet, buddy.
DS: Yes, it is.
ME: No, it’s not.
DS: Yes, it is.
ME: No, it’s not.
DS: Yes, it is.
ME: No, it’s not.
DS: Yes, it is.
ME: No, it’s not.
What can I say? He’s eight, and I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee yet.
Finally he challenged me with the question, “How do you know, Mom?” I simply replied, “Because I don’t smell it yet.”
At which point he looked at me like I was smoking crack.
I know it sounds weird, but I can smell fall approaching. Each year there’s that one morning, long before the leaves begin to change, when I step out of the house into air that’s suddenly different. It’s as though God reached down during the night to lift the weighted veil of summer and reveal the essence of a living and breathing earth.
When that morning arrives I know that no matter what the calendar may say, summer is finally over.
So, due to that incredibly intelligent exchange with my DS, I’m thinking of autumn. I’m thinking of all those things I traditionally associate with that season…falling leaves and pumpkins on the vine and scarecrows. I’m thinking of our annual visit to the pumpkin patch and those fat gourds whose faces we’ll reveal with our carving tools.
So it’s only natural that I’d design something pumpkin for today.
Sometimes even the best planned design is troublesome. Today’s design is a perfect example.
First, I decided to create the leafy scroll as a jpg, have SCAL2 trace it, then duplicate it and weld it together. Never mind that the damn thing was almost twelve inches wide. (What was I thinking?!?!)
Then I decided to cut it out of scrapbook paper instead of cardstock because I liked the “look” of the paper. (Never mind functionality or stability!)
Then I thoughtlessly decided to use my most recently “re-stickied” mat, which is very, very sticky. (I may have gotten a bit carried away with the Zig glue.)
I then discovered the perfect recipe for a migraine headache. Take an intricate design, add less-than-heavyweight paper, then mix in your stickiest mat.
After I spent an hour trying to pry my beautiful leafy scroll off the mat (which I finally managed to do) I decided to take pity on you and simplify that element of the design. I divided the scrollwork in half, and it will now cut in two separate pieces. (You may want to use cardstock or a less sticky mat or both!!!)
I’m very pleased with the shape of the pumpkin layers, but I’m not thrilled with my color choices. If I had to do it over again (and I’m sure I will because of my perfectionistic tendencies), I’d select some color other than black for the bottom layer of the pumpkin, and I’d definitely stay away from bright orange for the top layer. My mind was imagining autumn…my eyes and hands chose Halloween.
Once I’d glued everything up, I decided that I’d probably like three pumpkins instead of one. A small and a medium in the foreground, and a large one in the back.
Oh well…live, create and learn.
One last word of warning before I give you the links for the files. The elements in the scut files are sized VERY large. I scrapbook in 12×12 format, and I was attempting to create a bottom border that would extend across the entire page. In that respect, I was successful. Of course, you can resize all of the elements to suit your needs.
You can grab a zip file here that contains scut files for both SCAL1 and SCAL2 as well as the svg files for the three pumpkin layers and the leafy scroll.
Best of luck and happy Cricut-ing!!!
Just a quick note. Any files I posted prior to today – September 2, 2009 – were created using SCAL1. If you have SCAL1, you can use these files. If you have SCAL2, you can also use these files.
From here on out, I’ll be using SCAL2 to create my scut files. This means if you’re using SCAL1, you won’t be able to open them.
Whenever possible, I’ll create scut files for both SCAL2 and SCAL1. If I can’t squeeze in SCAL1 design time, or if the limitations imposed by the program make re-creating the design too difficult, I’ll post svg files for SCAL1 users so they can reproduce my design for themselves. I don’t want to leave you guys out in the cold.
Please let me encourage you SCAL1 users to seriously consider upgrading. (No…I’m not getting a kick-back from Craft Edge for this endorsement). It’s simply that SCAL2 really and truly is a much better product with tremendously increased design functionality.
As always…happy Cricut-ing!!!
In case you haven’t heard, SCAL 2 is available.
There’s been grumbling. There’s been griping. And trust me, I understand the frustration ya’ll are feeling. Times are tough, money’s tight, so who really wants to fork over some more of what we don’t have enough of?
I’ve been holding off on the upgrade myself, but I only have so much self-restraint. So I finally broke down yesterday and forked over 35 bucks to upgrade my SCAL.
Before this morning, I thought the cash I paid for version 1 was the best money I’d ever spent. Let me just say….I WAS WRONG!!! Buying the upgrade is the best money I’ve spent I’ve spent in a LONG LONG LONG time.
The new features are AWESOME!!! It’s so much easier to manipulate type now. And the new layer function and the trace image function!!!! I’m practically orgasmic!!!
This morning I sat down to create a title for a halloween page. The layer function allowed me to create all the pieces and lay them one on top of the other so I could really see how they fit together. Happy Dance Happy Dance Happy Dance!
Here are some things you’ll need to know before trying to reproduce this page title.
(1) The font I used is Zombie. So if you don’t have it, you can download it here from dafont.com.
(2) I’ve set up this scut file to cut all the layers at once. That’s just my personal preference. I’d rather put all my paper pieces on my cutting mat and load it once. You may prefer to cut the layers one at the time. If you’re new to SCAL2 and don’t know how to use layers, I suggest checking out my Tutorials page. There’s a link there to a fabulous tutorial by Dan over at My Crafty Life. Watching it may just be the best five minutes and seventeen seconds you’ve spent recently.
(3) I used the new auto trace feature in SCAL2 to trace the bat jpg. (That was the coolest!!!) The jpg included two little yellow eyes on each bat. Of course, those eyes are too small for the Cricut to cut, but if you look carefully at them once they’ve come out of the Cricut, you’ll see where the eyes should go. I used a big safety pin to poke holes in those spots so the yellow of my moon would show through. I also wiggled the safety pin a little bit to enlarge the eye holes even more.
(4) You can dowload the scut file for SCAL2 here. Sized as is, it will produce a title that’s about 4 1/2″ W x 3 1/4″ H. Of course, you can always resize the elements to suit your individual needs.
(5) If you’re still using SCAL version 1, this project sucks for you, because this scut file can’t be opened using SCAL1. However, don’t fret too much. I’ve got to go make beds and put on some dinner and do a few of the other household chores that are screaming for my attention, but I plan on posting a version of this that can be used with your SCAL1 either later tonight or tomorrow.
In the meantime, have a hauntingly happy time with SCAL2!!!
P.S. For those of you still using SCAL1, here’s a scut file for you as well. The dimensions aren’t exactly the same, but they’re close. Also due to the limitations of SCAL1, I couldn’t weld both the “Happy” and the “aunting” pieces together and still make sure that the shadow fit. I could bore you with the details of why the Zombie font was difficut to shadow, and all the steps I had to take to create the shadow, but I won’t. Let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as changing the style to Blackout Shadow. This was due to problems with the font itself, not any functionality of SCAL1 or SCAL2. I don’t have time to try the scut file out for myself right now, but I’ll try to do that later tonight or tomorrow. When I do, I’ll post a picture for you.
Thanks to a discussion with my DS while on the way to school this morning, I’ve got Halloween on my mind. He can’t decide what what he wants to be this year.
When he got in the car he’d decided he wanted to be something gross…something creepy…something “that bleeds real blood” (quote unquote). Thirty seconds later he wanted to be a ninja. Less than a minute later he wanted to be Luigi (of the famed brotherly pair, Mario and Luigi).
Now I know from past experience that this is a conversation we’ll have over and over and over from now until the end of September when I finally impose a deadline and require his final decision.
And then it dawned on me…Halloween’s going to be here in about a minute.
Crap. Crap squared. Crap cubed. Crap to the nth degree.
Once Halloween arrives it’s a downhill hundred-mile-an-hour race to Christmas.
Crap. Crap squared. Crap cubed. Crap to the nth degree.
I’m SOOOOOO not ready for this.
But I suppose I’d better start getting ready. So in honor of one of my favorite holidays, here’s a quick and easy Frankenstein face for you…perfect for your scrapbooks and Halloween party invites.
It’s so easy to do — the bottom layer is cut from green cardstock, and the black shadow is cut and applied right on top. The best part about the black shadow is it comes off the cutting mat in a single piece with the exception of the little divet at the top of Frankie’s chin.
Here’s a zip file containing the svg files for both the green layer, the black shadow, and a scut file to cut both pieces. As I’ve sized it, you’ll get a head that’s about 3.5″Wx5.75″H. Of course, you can resize it — just make sure you check the box for Keep Proportions.
Happy Halloween Cricut-ing!!!