Friday, April 15, 2011

Let Us Know

Let Us Know…
What are the tools you cannot live without when crafting?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top 10 Cricut Cartridges for Cardmaking

Top 10 Most Versatile Cartridges for Card Making and WHY!

1.       George and Basic Shapes: This is a tough one to get your hands on, but if you find it, grab it. This Cartridge has a cute font as well as all of your “Basic Shapes”! When combined with the Cricut Design Studio, the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!

2.      Create A Critter: I love this Cartridge because all of the animals are so Darn Cute! A LOT can be done with this cartridge from using the adorable animals to make baby and birthday cards, to using certain animals (reindeer, turkey, Chick, Bunny etc.) for holiday cards! Plus all of the added icons are handy to have as well. PLEASE REMEMBER TO USE ALL OF YOUR CHEESY PUNS with this cartridge: Cow (Udderly Adorable), Monkey (Let’s Hang Out), Bee (Bee Mine)…. I could go on forever! I also consider a pack of wiggle eyes to be a must have with this cartridge!

3.      Doodlecharms: Again, a good basic cartridge with a mash up of a little bit of everything! There is a lot you can do with this cartridge from birthdays to holidays and I find myself using it quite a bit.

4.     Indie Art Solutions: This is BY FAR my favorite Solutions Cartridge EVER!!!!! The images are really cool and not “Cutesy” like most other cartridges. I cannot tell you how often I use this cartridge! It is an awesome one to have on hand for making masculine cards and ones for teenagers who are in their “I-Am-Way-Too-Cool-For-This-World” phase! You can use the guitars for “You Rock” cards or birthday cards… again, just a really cool set of graphics on this cartridge… I urge you to get it!

5.      Storybook: This is always my “Go-To” Font! It is so classy and elegant! The layers are wonderful and can add something really special to your card or layout (I find I use this a lot for titling my scrapbook pages as well)! For cards, I would use this more for Monograms, but there are a lot of features and variety packed onto this cartridge! **TIP** Try embossing some of the layers! It will end up being such a cool look and add another dimension to your project!

6.     Life’s A Beach: This is a must have for me and anyone else that lives in Florida! So much can be done with this cartridge, but I find I have used it more for scrapbook pages and invitations more than I have for cards. There are a lot of extra icons and features on this cartridge as well as a super cute font! 

7.      Sweet Treats: I cannot tell you how many cards I have used this for! This is a great one to keep on hand. It contains cute images from cakes, cupcakes, and sundaes to very cute sets of numbers. You can whip up a really nice invitation, birthday or Valentine’s Day card in no time with this one!

8.      Designers Calendar: I really thought I would NEVER use this cartridge because I would NEVER make a calendar. Trish taught me to “Think Outside The Box” with this one and to learn to love it for its added icons and words! Now I use it often. Think about it, this cartridge has EVERY holiday, month, day of the week and number on it as well as coordinating icons! I have also used its “Calendar Graphs” as grids to make behavior and chore charts! I LOVE IT!!! You will get use of it for ANY card! 

9.     Happy Hauntings: For years after purchasing my Cricut I asked, “When will Provocraft come out with a Halloween Cartridge?” They heard me and slammed me with 3 in one year! It is hard for me to pick a favorite because I really do love them all. I find that this is the most versatile because the images range from “cutesy” to “Spooky” to cover all the bases for card making. If you only make “Cutesy” children-friendly cards, I would suggest going with “Mini Monsters” OR If you like to capture Halloween in all of its Gory Glory and make creepy adult-friendly cards or invites, I would suggest “October 31 Solutions Cartridge”. But if you want a little of everything, this is the cartridge for you.

10   Christmas Solutions OR Winter Woodlands: Last but not least, everyone should have a good “winter-themed” cartridge. I listed 2 for 2 reasons: If you make a lot of Christmas Cards, I would suggest the Christmas Solutions cartridge BUT it is retired. Getting your hands on this one may be tricky, but worth it if you make a lot of Holiday cards or pages. Winter Woodlands is a good runner up and maybe more versatile because it is geared more towards the winter season than the winter “holidays". Both contain images that I would consider more classy than cute. The WW cartridge also contains a really sweet font as well as 3-d projects that are NOT complicated. **TIP** I used the 3-d trees on WW as an art project for 6 and 7 year olds. I cut out the trees for them and let them decorate the trees with sequins and glitter. Once dried, they were used as holiday decorations around the house!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Joann Fabrics takes competitors coupons (Michaels, A.C. Moore, etc.) on items that they carry in store.  And you can use as many coupons per transaction as you wish!!!!!!!!!

Some Michaels locations also take competitors coupons AND will beat them by 10%..... but you can only use one coupon per transaction (bummer) and you must be sure to read the fine print on EVERYTHING in Michaels!

I stalk my neighbors on Sundays for any unwanted coupons.... YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME (unless you're MY neighbor)!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Just an observation.

It was not that long ago that Scrapbooking had several periodicals devoted to it as a hobby.  Yet today when I stopped at the magazine rack in my local grocery store I observed 5 Quilting magazines, 3 Beading magazines, 1 Card Making magazine (which incidentally I purchased for $9.95) and 0 Scrapbooking magazines.  What has happened to all of my beloved issues of Memory Makers, Creating Keepsakes, Scrapbooks ETC and more?  Is the hobby dieing out or is there no profit to be made in producing periodicals anymore?  I also look at my two local chain drug stores each time I go in them and... nothing.  I live in a small town and do not enjoy the luxury of a bookstore perhaps I could find one there.  Just an observation, any thoughts?  Are yall still buying magazines off the rack, are you downloading them digitally, or are they obsolete?  Just wondering.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dreams really do come true!

I have been dreaming about the DreamKuts, by Zutter, for a few years now.  If you are not familiar with the DreamKuts, let me fill you in.  It is an automatic paper cutting tool that will cut 12x12 paper in thirds and any paper in half.  It has a multitude of cutting configurations and cuts quickly and smoothly.  It is great if you have several things you need to cut all the same size.  

So back to my ranting, I have wanted this machine since the first time I saw it in action.  I had to have it, and I knew, one day I would.  I fussed over the price and did not purchase it based on that one hurdle, but I continued to want it more than ever.  I imagined all the projects I could create simply with this new tool, I would think of the DreamKuts as I was working on projects that I knew it would have been perfect for.  Well, after years of dreaming of the DreamKuts, I finally broke down and bought it.  That's right, the DreamKuts is on it's way to my house for use in my scrapbook room. (I know your jealous)  I am very excited about this purchase and am already planning things I can do with it.  Stay tuned to the Barn Babes Blog as I will blog about it as soon as it has arrived.
Here is a picture of it for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bunches of Punches

I Love Bunches of Punches

Martha Stewart Punches
For so many years I resisted, almost making it a point to buy every brand but… $20+ for a punch was absurd in my mind.  Then one day I saw one of HER products used in a project, a product that was not like anything offered by the competition. So I gathered up my 40% off coupons and “went for it.”  To sum it up….. HEAVEN!

I am talking about Martha Stewart Punches. The quality of these things are amazing! Whether you are using a simple shape punch, a border punch, a Punch around the page set, or a double edge punch, they are all awesome! I think these are so well thought out and versatile! Your paper will never “catch” no matter how intricate the punch design and the punch edges always stay sharp! Through paper or cardstock, these punches are amazing!

I know a lot of people find punches to be old-school. Most people rely strictly on their Cricuts (I know I do for the most part) but Punches are great to use for smaller, more intricate designs. You actually punch the design rather than cut it with a moving blade, resulting in a nice crisp cut without the risk of tearing delicate areas. I know this from experience from trying to cut branches on my Cricut and ended up wasting an entire 12x12 sheet of paper trying to find the right blade depth and cutting pressure, only to end up with 4 decently cut branches.

My latest obsessions are the Punch-Around-The-Page sets. I feel I must own them all! I love that you can use them separately (if you just want to punch fancy corners or a fancy edge) or together to make a continuous design around the entire edge of your project! I use these, a lot, for adding a special touch to my photo mats and to cards. I love the guides and find them to be extremely accurate! And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the newer folding designs to save space when storing! SO THOUGHTFUL, MARTHA!!!

Deep Edge Punch
The Deep Edge Punch is another creative design! If you “think-outside-the-box” you can add awesome flair to your scrapbook layouts or cards ranging from super subtle to brilliantly bold! So many options!  The Cherry Blossom double edge punch is my favorite so far. Great for wedding, girlie, and Spring layouts and cards! You can even get a little "crazy" and add splashes of color with chalks, inks, and/or Copic Markers! Endless possibilities!

OK, as I stated before, these are not the cheapest punches on the market, but I feel that “you get what you pay for”.  If you are one who uses punches regularly, think of it as an investment. A punch is not a consumable, so you will want it to last. Just to make a quick comparison, I had seen the Martha Stewart Branch punch used on SO many projects and decided I MUST own it. It is a tough one to find (pretty much online only) but I did find a similar one from a competitor’s brand (the name of which I will not mention).  I bought it and it was such garbage.  I couldn’t get one decent punch through cardstock OR paper and the amount of paper I wasted in the process was both embarrassing and frustrating! Needless to say I searched online high and low and got my hands on the MS one and it punches “LIKE BUTTER”! So if you use punches, save up your 40% off coupons and start building an inventory of punches that are really going to last! Michaels has a good “in-store” selection and Joann's now carries them online! STOCK UP!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sticky Situations

This is just my humble opinion about adhesives.  I have sampled nearly every adhesive I have ever come across.  I will break it down simply, here is my top ten list:

1) Xyron Create-a-Sticker-  If I could only choose I brand of adhesive this is the most versatile for all of my paper crafting projects.  The 150 is great for letters cut from the Cricut and Quickutz.  The 500 is perfect for borders, die cuts and photos.  The 900 is great when you have several items to adhere and want to place all the adhesive at once.  Xyron is also the perfect adhesive if you are doing mini books that do not have page protectors.

2) Tombo Tape Runner- Runs smooth, adheres well, easy to refill and great for photos and mats.  This is the adhesive I use most.

3) Scotch Advanced Tape Glider-  This is new for me, but I am loving it, it will soon replace my Tombo Tape Runner as my go to adhesive.  It is huge and holds a lot of adhesive so I have to refill it less.

4) Tombo Agua Liquid Glue-  Use it all the time, could not live without it.  I use it for detailed diecuts, bling, ribbon, chipboard, and so much more.  This is my favorite liquid glue.

5) Zots- Every shape and size.  I need, need, need my Zots, they are great for heavier objects, metal, chipboard and the the 3-D ones are great for popping things off the page.

6) Zig 2 Way Glue-  This is another liquid glue.  It dries super fast (for liquid glue) it dries clear and it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  This is a great glue to always have on hand.

7) Scotch Dot Roller-  This is a new find for me.  Jo-Ann's was out of Tombo one day so I was forced to try it, and I love it.  It rolls smooth, it is easy to refill and less expensive than the Tombo.  The only reason it is #7 is because I just need more time to play with it.

8) Scotch Vellum Adhesive- This is an absolute must have, if you don't have it, stop reading this blog and go buy it.  This is the perfect adhesive for vellum and all things transparent.  When applied correctly, you don't even notice it's there.  Not an adhesive you will use everyday, but when you need it it is the only one that will do.

9) Sailor Rolling Ball 2 in 1 Glue Pen- A necessity for fine lines great for glitter and embossing powders.

10) Art Accentz Totally Tacky Tape-  When nothing else will hold that big, bulky, heavy item, this will.  Made by Provo Craft it is one of the things that should always be in your craft room.

Finally, I know this all about adhesives, but you can not discuss adhesive without mentioning Un-Du this is an adhesive remover that will remove any self sticking adhesive from paper.  It will temporarily make the adhesive not sticky, it dries clears has never stained any paper I have ever used on and when it dries the sticker is still sticky, you can reuse it.  Awesome product for paper crafters.