Thursday, 28 August 2014

Bit of a sunshine and shadows day

Yesterday was my birthday and as we shared a birthday Keith's too.  It felt odd and wrong somehow to be celebrating a birthday without him there to share it with me.  So it was a difficult day, lots of ups and some downs. Two of the ups was the arrival of flowers from Marc and Alix. They are currently on holiday in Turkey and had arranged for it to be delivered before they left.  And being taken out for dinner by Sy and Julie, where we were joined by the rest of the family.  It was a lovely time and Flynn kept us amused.

The flowers I received are lovely but I somehow think they would look better either without the yellow saucer of without the vase.  But I love sunflowers.

Flynn and Matty deciding on what to eat, doesn't Flynn look like a real boy now with his hair cut.

He loves to draw and if you are wondering what he is drawing we were told it was a flower, a plane, a helicopter and the Gruffalo's feet.
Julie was teaching him to whistle without much success.
Although he enjoyed his chicken dippers he liked Julie's spicy side salad better. 

I'm missing my 830 which went in for repairs and service last month.  I'd been sewing quite happily and had come to the end of what I was doing.  I pressed the cut thread button then realised I'd pressed the automatic needle threader button by mistake.  I cancelled the action but the needle threader sprang out and instantly wrapped itself round the needle arm. I could not persuade it to return to its proper position.  I rang my dealer and following their expert's advice tried to disentangle it, to no avail.  It was decided that as it must be close to service time I'd send it back to them and they'd do the repair at the same time.  The general feeling was that as it was close to 5 years old the needle threader was probably at the end of its useful days and needed replacing.

I haven't heard from them since they picked up the machine on the 29th July so yesterday I rang David Drummond for an update.  He  told me when they put the 830 on the bench opened it up they realised there were several problems and immediately sent it back to Bernina. David declined to say what the problems were as he didn't want to commit himself, sounds expensive to me.  He hasn't had any feedback from Bernina but was going to chase it up.  Has anyone else had the same or a similar problem with their machine?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Latest swaps

I finally got round to finishing of my calendar cards for August based on Sara Coleridges poem "The Garden Year".

August brings the sheaves of corn, then the harvest home is borne.

So far I have received two of the August cards but will wait until I have the full set before posting photos.

I'm not looking forward to next week when its my birthday as I shared it with Keith.  I'm trying to put things in motion so that I am busy all day as I know its going to be hard to get through.  

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Plus Four Day

Today was our monthly get together to play day and I really enjoyed myself.   We had decided last month that today we would do something with mixed media.  I really enjoy mixed media but there were a couple of us that hadn't tried it.

I set off with what I thought was everything but the kitchen sink but Linda won me hands down for taking stuff with her.  I have to admit that I am just a rank armature.

Pat opted out as she had some work that needed to completed so we let her off playing.

Jenny started sewing down some of the bits she had brought with her; melted plastics, melted tyvek and washers etc.  I hope to see this finished when we next meet.  Jenny always has very inventive pieces.

Elspeth is stamping dye pads onto lace to see what happens.  She had great fun and produced some lovely pieces.

Linda is talking to Jenny here about her new grandson but all her mess is out of sight.  She brought her Sizzix intending to make some cards but ended up impressing inked stamps and lace into velvet.

Love this piece of lace

As for me, well I decided to make a start on the Journal I've been intending to do for the past couple of years.

I sprayed, stamped and stencilled to my hearts content.   On this page I used a stencil I had made on my new toy.  I welded a couple of the designs that came with the machine and made positive and negative images.  I was quite pleased with the result, I also ended up with lots of painted paper towels for use later.

I stamped and coloured some images once I got home and added a border but I still need to finish it.   Think I'm going 'quote' shopping on the web.   The girl is a stamp from Jus Gorgouse.  I stamped the images on the page then onto spare paper to raise them off the page.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Bit later than expected

I have playing with my new toy over the past few days and whilst it is very straight forward to use there are one or two little things I needed to get my head round and use correctly.   Blade depth was one of them, naturally I'd watched just about every video made on the Brother Scan N Cut machine and thought I knew it all.  Umph.    My first, absolutely stupid mistake was leaving the backing paper on the adhesive backing when I started to cut out fabric shapes.  What do paper and glue do?    Yep I ruined my fabric carrier sheet because the paper backing on the Heat n Bond stuck to the glue... duh.   A bit of common sense would have told me that but no, I did what I normally do when cutting shapes on die machines, left it on.  I tried to get the paper off the glued side of the carrier sheet but to no avail and it had to go in the bin.  By the time I'd messed around with it it was in no state to lay flat.

That was mistake number one and one I will never, never, never do again.  It cut the fish shapes beautifully, no bits of fibres left clinging to the shape. The material I used was a metallic cotton which can be difficult to cut as it frays easily.

Mistake number two, and I only made two but they turned out to be expensive ones, was to forget to adjust the cutting depth of my blade when I swapped from thick card to craft vilene.  I now have two door shaped holes in my cutting mat.  Luckily you can just pop the pieces back together and tape them up with duct tape.  It works without any problems in the machine.

I love the machine but am disappointed in the sheets, the adhesive surface wears off very quickly and after that I had to resort to taping the papers/fabrics etc down with masking tape.   You get two with the machine, one low tack for papers and one standard sheet for heavier card stock and fabric, plus the aforementioned fabric carrier sheet which is extra sticky.   I understand that the sticky can be invigorated, if that's the proper word by wiping the sheet with non-alcholic baby wipes.  I have baby wipes but it doesn't say whether they are alcohol based or not so daren't use them.  If you use water or alcohol based products to clean them you remove all the stickiness completely.  So on my shopping list today are non-alcohol baby wipes and low tack tape (painter's tape).

Having said all that I love it.  There are lots of designs on the machine, enough to get you started working creatively but if you wish to do your own thing, as I do then you need to download Brother ScanNCut.  Its a free program, fairly basic but there is a lot you can do with it and it allows you to convert jpeg files and other cutting files in SVG format. into the fmc format used by Brother. I think the Silhouette Cameo uses SVG format so if anyone has some of those digital designs they can be converted using this program and used with the Brother machine.

I have managed to get a few cards done using designs from a site called here they are.

The four card designs all come from the above company but the one below I created myself using the  ScanNCut Canvas program.

It's a book card for Julie's birthday, which is next Saturday, each letter is a separate page.  I have yet to finish decorating it.  I'm going to add some butterflies (in Pink of course as Julie loves Pink), flowers and the odd swirl and stamped image.  I've just tied them together with a bit of cord to give you an idea of what it will be like.  I've got a similar one to make for my brother whose birthday is the same day as Julie's.

Now for the postcard I made using the designs on the machine itself.

I cut out the fish and several of the wave borders to create the sea.  It's Jan's birthday card and she wanted an Under the Sea theme.  The colours are a bit more lively than appear here.