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Easy leather-style card wallet for Father’s Day

Category : Blog, Events, Father's Day, Featured, Projects, Sewing

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Rating: Beginner / Intermediate Time: 1 hour

I have multiple wallets.  There’s the formal one I use that my wife bought me at the Coach store.  It’s a great looking men’s wallet.  Then there was my regular everyday wallet I used to use, it had place for cards, cash and coins.  But it was bulky!  I don’t like a bulky wallet, so I had this other little thing that basically just held credit cards, and I guess you could fold bills up in it too.  The thing was that it broke, well the plastic covering the cards broke and so it now had these sharp plastic jagged edges and the cards tended to get stuck in the torn plastic.  After using the card-wallet like this for a while I finally had enough and I could not find anything as a suitable replacement.  I studied the existing card-wallet to see how it was made.  It looked fairly simple and I figured I could make one.  Easy, right?  ;-)

My first attempt was using real leather. The problem with the leather I bought at the craft store was it was just too thick to put through the sewing machine.  The heavy-duty nylon used for sewing the leather kept getting stuck in the leather and the leather folded over didn’t really go through the sewing machine.  Hmmmm, what to do?

One day while walking through Jo-Ann’s I took a look at what they had and found this great leather-looking vinyl.  It was perfect, because the inside was like a felt and it was thin and plyable enough that it’d fit through the sewing machine folded over.   I bought about 2 – 3 yards of it!!!  Way too much, but it was SO cheap and I then had enough should I ever need to remake my wallet.

For this wallet I used regular cotton thread because sewing with the heavy-duty nylon was just painful!  I’m not expert when it comes to sewing machine, and this I think was my first attempt at the sewing machine!  It’s my wife’s machine, that she’s used once to sew a halloween costume for my daughter a couple years back.  I needed a plastic to cover where the cards go.  But what to use?  In the stationery section of another store I found those plastic folders used for covering pages when filing.  I have no idea what they’re called, I’m a guy!  :-)   I see what I think will work and buy it.  If it works, great!  If not, try something else!  Luckily these sheets worked perfectly!

The next steps was to closely examing the existing broken card-wallet, get the dimensions, etc.  I found that the cards fitted really tightly into the existing wallet so I made mine about 1/8″ bigger all round, so 1/4″ wider in total.

First thing to do is to cut the plastic sheets.  Cut this basically 1/4″ bigger than your credit card size. LEAVE THE PLASTIC DOUBLED UP!  Yes, don’t separate the plastic.  You want 2 layers so that the plastic has a good feel to it, else it’ll be too thin and flimsy feeling.  Cut out 2 double layers like this, one for each side of the wallet.

Next step is to lay this out on your vinyl fabric, exactly the same way it’d go in the wallet.  Use a scissors to cut the fabric, but CUT IT ABOUT 2″ OR MORE WIDER ALL ROUND.  Yes, cut it way bigger than it needs to be.  Trust me!  :-)

Cut another 2 strips as long as the plastic and about as wide as the plastic too.

Now get your machine all tensioned up and ready to go by practicing on an off-cut of the fabric.

Now fold 1 of the strips over the long edge of the plastic, so that it’s basically folded in half and overlapping on the plastic.  You could use paper-clips to hold things together, because the plastic will most likely be slippery.  Sew this as you see in my completed wallet.  You can cut any over-hang off and then use a scissors to trim close to the stitching, making sure to cut straight and the same length on either side of the plastic.  Do this whole process again for the other side / piece of plastic and vinyl.

You see why you cut things bigger than needed?  Because you get to trim it down later, and it makes it WAY easier to sew with a big overlap instead of trying to fold over a little flap of vinyl that wants to straighten out all the time.

Basically you have to repeat this technique above for the same 3 sides of the plastic and then trim down the over-hang.

When you done, BAM!  You’ve got yourself, or Dad, a VERY nice wallet!!!  I use mine all the time!  When I told my wife I was going to be making a wallet, I got the eye-rolls, and the look of “yeah!”  Once I was done though my wife was pretty impressed, and said it turned out really well, and way better than she thought it would!  What I like about my new wallet is that doesn’t look home-made.  I can whip it out places and pay without people looking at my wallet thinking, WTF is that?  It looks and feels like a regular wallet.

If you’re one of the ladies following my blog, I’m sure a vinyl in a pink, purple or floral print would really turn this into a cool ladies card wallet!

Hope you enjoy this tutorial.  Unfortunately I did not take any photos during the process of making the wallet, but I’m sure that if you follow the steps above and with photos of the final product below you’ll see exactly what I mean and how things are to be done.





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No-glue box

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Category : Anniversary, Cricut, Featured, Projects

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Rating: Beginner Time: 5 minutes

A while back it was my 5th wedding anniversary. The 5th wedding anniversary is wood, so I got my daughter, with my help of course, to make my wife some wooden jewelry. But that’s another post, for later!

For this project we needed a box. I created this template in Adobe Illustrator and saved it as a SVG file, which can be used by the Cricut machine. The Cricut we have only cuts up to 6″ wide, so I printed out the illustration/svg file in Word and simply cut out the template by hand, in order to get a larger box.

What I liked about this box design is that it is simple and requires no glueing. Just folding, which my daughter could help with. What I did before cutting was to get a wooden sticky plastic vinyl from the craft store and pasted this on the back of the box template. Once folded the box had that “wooden” look to go with the theme of the anniversary.

Download links are below.

Downloads Links:
Word template
SVG file

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Mother’s Day card

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Category : Cricut, Events, Featured, Illustrator, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Beginner Time: 1 hour

I’ve seen a a few craft silhouette type things online, and thought it’d be cool to make a card for Mother’s Day with my daughter’s silhouette (age 3.5) on it for my wife. We have an ultrasound picture of my daughter and it’s a side view of her head, like she’s laying down. My wife has this picture on her side of the bed. This card will be cool in that it’s amazing to see how similar/the same the silhouette is to the ultrasound. My daughter still looks the same from the side even from before she was born!

First thing for this card was to get a side view picture of my daughter. Easier said than done with a 3 1/2 year old! ;-) After each picture she jumps up and yells “I want to see! I want to see!” ;-)

Once I had a picture I could work with I imported it into Adobe Illustrator so I could trace the outline of the silhouette and save the traced line as a SVG file which I used to cut out on the Cricut using Sure Cuts A Lot (v2). This could be done by hand too, printing the image and cutting out with a scissors.

When tracing the silhouette in Adobe Illustrator I did one trace of her complete head. My daughter also has these headbands with little sparkly things on that she wears. One in particular that she always wears is this purple one. When I took her picture she was wearing this purple headband. What I did was also trace the outline of the purple headband. So I ended up with 2 cutouts, one black of the head and another purple which would be the headband. I felt the purple headband would add a touch of my daughter to the silhouette, showing it’s her, not that it’s difficult to see it’s her, but it adds a nice touch.

For the actual card, I downloaded a font on Google Web Fonts which worked well with the look I was going for. On another website I found a loverly girly swirly pattern to use as well. Using good old Microsoft Word I laid out the graphic and text. I printed this onto regular white cardstock. Using a cutter I cut the card to the dimensions to fit the 5×7 envelope I previously created, and blogged about.

Now that I had the card printed I could figure out exactly how big to cut the silhouette on the Cricut machine.

For the glue on this project I used the LetraTac adhesive glue dot sheets. They work really well in that you simply press down the object to be glued, rub over it, lift it up and it’s ready to stick. Once positioned rub down on the object to get it to stick. I did this for the silhouette and headband. Next step was to recreate the exact look of the headband. My wife had these little rhinestone type things in her craft case. I “borrowed” a few. ;-) Placed on the card the silhouette looks exactly like my daughter and her favorite headband! It’s very cool.

For the inside of the card I got my daughter to write in it. For a 3 1/2 year old she’s really good at writing!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Mother’s Day wrapping paper

Category : Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Printables, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Beginner/Intermediate Time: 30 minutes

Downloads Links:
PNG file
Photoshop PSD file

 
I decided instead of using a gift bag for the Mother’s Day gifts from my daughter we should wrap them. I’ve made “wrapping paper” before. The secret to this is to use a very thin light-weight paper, otherwise if using regular paper it’ll have too much bulk when folded.

The Tiffany’s box is already blue so I’m continuing with the blue theme and so the paper’s background would be blue. I like the idea of writing in crayon on the paper, but instead of doing it by hand, which could be done, although crayon tends to smudge if handled too much, especially by kids. ;-) So I used Photoshop to “draw” over some text. I made 12 different colours from the original and ended with this.

Click to enlarge:

In Microsoft Word I simply pasted the graphic images randomly on the page at random angles. I printed a few sheets and am ready to wrap!

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Vintage-style photographs

Category : Cricut, Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Photoshop, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Intermediate Time: 2 hours

For Mother’s Day the last few years I’ve created a type of memory item for my wife, from my daughter. The first Mother’s Day was a photo book, from http://www.mypublisher.com/. My wife loved the photo book! The 2nd year I did not want to create the same thing, so I created a DVD (disc and cover) on my Mac, which used a theme to look like it was paging through a photo album. The background music was 1234 by Feist. My daughter helped by introducing the video, saying Happy Mother’s Day, etc. and then for each different set of photos in the video she introduced (audio) the venue / event for the photos. My wife loved the video and I put a copy of the video file on my desktop and my daughter still loves watching it over and over and over! :-)

So we’re coming up to our 3rd Mother’s Day. What to make? I thought of a camera and the photos inside it. I’ll document the build of the “camera box” separately, but this post is about the photos inside the box. I wanted the camera to look oldish and the pictures inside to have that old vintage look to them. I did not just want a photoshop effect on the pictures, I wanted each individual photo to be a piece of work. Together with the camera and pictures it would be a memory of the last year since the previous Mother’s Day and it would be a keep-sake together with the photo book and DVD. (I already know what we can work on next year, but that’s another post!)

First I had to know the dimensions to make the images. I worked out the dimensions based on the camera box I had made. I wanted each picture to be mounted on black cardstock, but I wanted the photo to be level with the cardstock. So each photo is glued/mounted to the black cardstock and then a border is placed around it, to give the effect of sunken in and level with the complete card. I also wanted rounded corners for the card and the inserted picture. Square cuts are easy and wouldn’t be that unique.

With this project I had to ensure that each picture turns out looking the same as the next. Best way to do that is to cut everything with the trusty Cricut machine. That way they’ll be exactly the same.

Because of the dimensions of the camera box I had to work out the thickness of the cardstock and figure out how many cards (doubles) I could fit into the box. I picked 19 pictures to mount, showing my wife and daughter together over the last year at various events and doing things together. 19 gave me a bit of wiggle room in the box.

So now I know enough to get started. Dimensions, numbers, style, etc. As mentioned previously on my blog I have Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on my Mac, but not on my PC, so on my PC I use Gimp and Inkscape (but when I talk about software I’ll refer mainly to Adobe’s software instead of jumping around). Inkscape’s very similar to Illustrator. I use both of those programs to create SVG files that I can use with a program called Sure Cuts A Lot (v2) to cut out the SVG shapes on the Cricut machine. All the cuts could be done by hand too, very easily. But the Cricut makes sure everything is cut precisely the same and rounded corners are all exactly the same too.

First I drew the shape of the card in Illustrator. I drew a 4×6 scale border in red to get an idea of scale, because with some pictures there’s not too much to crop off to get it to fit the shape of the cards. I had to make the cards a bit less wide because the cards were too narrow in their dimensions, which meant if I fitted say a person in the photo there wasn’t enough room on the sides to get the image to fit, so if I made it fit the one way then the person was too big and I’d have to cut them off somewhere. So play around with what works for you.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Once I had the dimensions worked out I picked elements from the design and saved each as an individual SVG file.

Click on the image for a larger view.

These SVG files were then used to cut all the black card stock on the Cricut machine. I did not use floppy cardstock, it’s got a bit of weight to it, and so it doesn’t actually bend. It’s not actually cardstock, but that’s what I’m calling it. The weight’s about 3 – 4 cardstock pieces glued together I’d guess.

For the images I did a Google search for vintage-style photos and found some pictures, of what I wanted the image to look like, but not an effect to get the look I was looking for. So I changed my search to vintage-style paper texture and that brought up a lot of blank images that had that old feel to them. That was what I needed as an overlay in Photoshop, as well as a bit of sepia toning. You can see an example of the before, during and after in the images below. To get this effect play around like I did in Photoshop.

Now that I had my pics selected and the effects applied to the size / area of the image as needed I got the pictures printed at the local photo place. I used the Cricut to cut out each individual photo, again to ensure precise and exact cutting of each picture to exactly fit the cutout space on the cardstock.

Next steps in the assembly line! For this project I used a sheet of miniture glue dots, called LetraTac adhesive glue dots as seen below.

First I laid down the front of the card stock on the glue dots, to coat them in glue dots. While still down on the glue paper I placed the cutout picture in the middle to also coat in glue dots. This worked better than putting the back down because little glue dots can be seen in the little seam between the cardstock and picture. So when lifted off I first placed the border on the backing and then picture in the middle and my daughter helped squish them down really hard and make sure the glue won’t come apart. Repeat 19 times! :-)

So there we have the pictures done. But where and what are they? Each picture needs a date, for when it was taken, and also the name of the event on it. At the craft store I bought this white pen, which draws really well on the black cardstock! I’m not very neat with my handwriting so what I did was create a Word document with all the text on it in the font I wanted. Then using a pencil I scribbled on the back to make a “carbon” layer, then placed the text lined up on the card and wrote over the print out. This gave me a traced out version of the text I needed on the card. All that was needed was to write over everything with the white pen. And bingo, done!

And that’s my vintage-style photos done for the camera box (which I’ll blog about later).

 

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Mother’s Day pennant banner

Category : Cricut, Events, Featured, Mother's Day, Projects, Scrapbooking

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Rating: Beginner
Time: 2 hours

Downloads Links:
PDF banner template

 
We started a few weeks early on our Mother’s Day preparations this year, and so my daughter and I are finished this year’s craft project, which I’ll document later. Driving home yesterday my daughter (age 3.5) asked what else are we going to be doing/making for Mother’s Day. Well, that was it, we were done, but she was so excited I had to think of something else in the car on the way home!

We’ve made a cool Happy Birthday banner before (I’ll document it another time), so why not a Happy Mother’s day banner?

So I got thinking! :-)

I want it to be easy, and fun for my daughter. She likes cutting and glueing, so I need to make sure she can do it but also keep her focus. As I said, she’s only 3 1/2!

The great thing about this banner, or any banner, is that it can easily be customized for other events like Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, or any other celebration or event.

First thing is deciding on the type of banner. I’m going for a pennant type banner, with little pointy flags strung across a wall. Each flag will have a letter on it. I remember growing up as a kid and seeing many banners like this but don’t see too many these days.

Because of the limited time each night to work on crafts and projects without my wife seeing we’ll do this over two evenings.

To keep things simple, for this project I only used a few sheets of standard Letter size printer paper for the actual flags. Fancy card-stock or colored paper could be used to create a different effect. 5 of the sheets created 3 flags each. I’ll need 15 flags to make “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”, which works out perfectly. Then from the off-cuts we’ll need a couple of spacer’s for between the letters.

I divided my page up as below (click to enlarge).

Each pennant flag works out to be 5″ wide by 8.5″ tall, the width of the Letter page.

By making tiny tick marks on the 1st page using a cutting tool I cut all 5 sheets at 1 time.

Using the scoring attachment I scored each pennant flag 1/2″ from the top, this is so there’ll be enough space between my glue tape and the fold so the string is free to move between the small gap. What’s nice about using this method is that all the flags on the banner get to be exactly the same, you’re not eye-balling it.

Folded over there’s going to be overhang on the edges because of the shape of the flags, so I marked the top sheet and cut a bunch through the cutter at 1 time, ensuring they’re all the same and getting it done quicker than 1 by 1.

Next we’ll need to mark each flag to ensure that when we stick the letters on they are all lined up and don’t look crooked when hanging up. You could eye-ball it, but then when strung up it may look wonky! What I did was very gently score each flag 1″ from the top fold, as seen in the photo below.

For the spacers between words I cut out strips from the paper off-cuts that measured 1″ by 3″. I scored and folded them as can be seen from the next pic.

Now that all the flags are cut and folded it’s time to cut out the letters for the banner. This can either be done by printing letters from your computer and cutting out by hand (or printing on the paper before cutting out the individual flags), or if you’re lucky enough to own a Cricut machine, as pictured below, you can use your Cricut to cut out any shapes and letters you’d like for your banner.

Using the Cricut I cut out letters that were about 2.5″ high by about 2″ – 2.5″ wide, depending on the letter. You’ll need to measure your flag to see what the maximum size (width and height) of your letters should be.

I made each alternate letter a different color, so we first cut out all the odd letters on 1 sheet and the even on another differently color sheet. You can see the cut-out letters below, as well as the paper loaded to cut the 2nd sheet.

Instead of glueing things I find it easier to use this special thin double-sided tape, available at the craft store. It comes in different width’s for different purposes. I find glue, especially glue sticks, don’t stick well, and come apart after a long time. And more liquidy glue tends to put too much moisture in the paper, causing it to warp. (I’m keen to try a spray-adhesive available in a spray can. For another project I used sheets of little glue dots, but use what’s appropriate for the task.) See the next photo for the glue strips attached to the spacers, top of the flags and some of the letters.

Glueing down the letters is a breeze, simply peel off the backing (my daughter enjoyed this part!) of the double-sided tape and line up the top of the letter with the scored marking and centered on the flag and paste it down. My daughter made sure each letter was pressed down really well! :-)

For the top of the flag, place the string on the fold and fold over without catching the string under the glue strip.

Once everything’s glued you’re done! The banner folds up easily for storage while waiting for the big day to arrive.

I’ve got a few pics below of the final product.

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