Exciting Announcement Number One

I have a number of  exciting announcements coming in the next few weeks, and I’m happy to share the first of them with you today. Some of you know that I love font and graphics bundles, but that I have been frustrated that because most of them are geared towards graphic designers, they don’t serve the needs of crafters as well as they could. As a result, I spend a lot of time troubleshooting with you, which I don’t mind. But what I do mind, is when the product you purchased wasn’t really a good fit and you aren’t able to fully enjoy it because of your software and/or skill level.

I’ve been working behind the scenes with a number of font designers and bundlers for a couple of years now to get fonts to be more crafter friendly in general, and to get bundle items explained more clearly. Progress has been slow, but steady. Recently, however, I was approached by Roemie Hillenaar of Revolge.com and LittleBigBundle.com with a great solution… What if we had a bundle site just for crafters, and made sure that everything there was vetted to meet the needs of the crafting community? And what if Kay, one of the most picky sticklers around, got to curate some bundles herself, just for diecutters? Given the amount of time I already pore over fonts and graphics on your behalf, and given what I’ve seen of Roemie’s projects so far, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So if you are looking for bundles without caveats, I hope you’ll check with Little Big Crafter and look for the Curated by Kay label.
Curated-by-Kay-Straight-Stamp

LittleBigCrafter has just gone live, along with the first Curated by Kay Bundle! I think you are going to love this yummy word art and split monogram bundle from the very talented Nutsy+Me.
NutsyBundlePrev

February 5, 2016 at 12:46 pm 23 comments

Free Christmas goodies

Merry Christmas everyone! Just wanted to take a break from the festivities to let you know about some goodies from our favorite font enablers.


If you got a new Silhouette for Christmas, stop by this post for advice for newbies. If an Explore was under your tree you’ll find some beginner Cricut tips here, and resources for both on my Youtube channel.

 

December 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm 8 comments

New font bundle

JM MD Font Bundle prev

Mightydeals has just posted a new crafter friendly font bundle with 5 fonts from JoelMaker, who is quickly becoming a favorite designer among diecutters. Each of these fonts is encoded for use with the Character Map (or Font Book, Nexus, MSWord, BabelMap, etc) so that you won’t have to miss a single glyph. I already own 3 of these, but buying the bundle is still cheaper than picking up either of the 2 I am missing, and I’ll get broader commercial rights! My favorite in this set is Mighty Heart because it comes with a matching sans serif font for no-brainer pairing. So you are getting not 5, but 6, fonts for $12 and you can knock 10% off that with the code WINNINGWP. Please see this post for information on installing and using these fonts as they are set up like Samantha.

mightyheart

December 19, 2015 at 11:02 am 21 comments

5 Things to do while you wait for your Silhouette Cameo

g4448

Until its time to unwrap your brand new diecutter, here are some productive ways to pass the time and get a head start.

1. Watch some videos. I don’t recommend the Official Silh videos as they are not very good (and sometimes downright wrong) but fortunately my pal Kelly has you covered with this great set of lessons for beginners.
http://www.findingtimetocreate.com/silhouette-lessons/.
Also highly recommended for beginners is my Tracing without Tears series to learn how to convert your own images into cut files.

2. Read my tips for new Silhouette owners here.

3. Download and install Silhouette Studio. Go ahead and start familiarizing yourself with the software so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when your machine arrives.

4. Begin collecting free files, but I recommend only stockpiling the ones that scroll off after a specific time period. Many more freebies can be found and downloaded any time you need them.
Here are five of my favorite time-sensitive freebie sites for Silhouette files (GSD or DXF for basic edition, SVG for Designer Edition. You can also use the png files for print and cut in any version.)

5. Learn to download and install fonts in Windows, click here and for Mac, click here.
Be sure to see my Fonts Resource page for hundreds of great fonts handpicked for diecutters.

Haven’t decided which machine is right for you yet?
Check out my Cricut Explore vs. Silhouette Cameo analysis here.
My Cameo vs Curio comparison is here.

 

December 15, 2015 at 3:52 pm 5 comments

5 Things to do while you wait for your Cricut Explore

cricutheader

The box is under the tree, and you can’t wait to get your hands on it. Here are some things you can do to make sure you start off with success.

1. Watch the Official Cricut videos. They are professionally done, and will save you a lot of confusion later.

2. (Windows only) Optimize your computer system for best performance. IT guru Troy Young has a great video to help you with this.

3. Download and install Cricut Design Space. Go ahead and start familiarizing yourself with the software so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when the box is opened.

4. Begin collecting free files, but I recommend only stockpiling the ones that scroll off after a specific time period. Many more freebies can be found and downloaded any time you need them.
Here are five of my favorite time-sensitive freebie sites (SVGs for cutting or PNG format for print then cut):

5. Learn to download and install fonts in Windows, click here and for Mac, click here.
Be sure to see my Fonts Resource page for hundreds of great fonts handpicked for diecutters.

Haven’t decided which machine is right for you yet?
Check out my Cricut Explore vs. Silhouette Cameo analysis here.

 

December 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm 2 comments

Font bundle update (expired)

The Hungry JPEG has released a new bundle of 12 crafter friendly fonts specially coded to work with Character Map/Font Book. That means you can get to all the swooshes and swirls with software built in to your machine. Use code Silhouette20 to get an extra 20% off.  See this post about a similarly coded font, Samantha, for FAQs and tutorials.

craftybundle

My quick install tip for Mac users is here.

November 16, 2015 at 2:27 pm 2 comments

Offset text In Inkscape the easy way

pbpromo

I’ve found yet another way to take advantage of my beloved Paint Bucket Tool in Inkscape…this time as a shortcut for offsetting text or any solid shape. (Offset is used for many purposes, including making shadow or matte layers, thickening up thin or delicate fonts, and creating knockouts, etc.) This technique is very simple but I’ve made a video, as well as step by step instructions for those of you who might not already be familiar with this tool.

Open Inkscape, select the type tool and enter your text, change the font and size as desired. Select the Paint Bucket Tool.

pboffset1

Check that the Fill by setting is on Visible Colors, the Threshold is on 15 and that Fill Gaps is set to none. Change the units under Grow/Shrink to pts.

pboffset2

Set the numerical value to a starting value for the width of your margin. (72 pts = 1 inch; 36 pts = 1/2 inch; 18 pts = 1/4 inch; 9 pts = 1/8 inch)

pboffset3-1

Click on a solid portion of your text. Undo and adjust your pt value as desired.

pboffset4

Shift-click each additional section of text with the Paint Bucket to add to the offset.

pboffset5

Double click the offset to enter point edit mode and delete points of any unwanted inner pieces that may have resulted from the offset process.

pboffset7

Click the selection arrow to exit point edit mode, then click on a color swatch to fill your offset with a color and shift click the empty (X) swatch to set its stroke to none.

pboffset8

Click on the filled offset to add another layer.

pboffset9

Change the color and stroke of the new layer as for the first one. Click the Send to Back button.

pboffset9a

Select the middle layer and click the Lower Selection One Step button.

pboffset9b

Select your original text and Path>Union to change it from text to path (you might want to make a copy of it first because it will not be editable as text after this step).

pboffset10

Check your file in Outline View (View>Display Mode>Outline) to verify that your cut paths look correct (solid text indicates it has not been converted to a path). The status bar is another good way to check information about any object in your document.

pboffset11

Save your document. (Inkscape saves natively as SVG)

pboffset12

When you import your SVG into Cricut Design Space, each offset will have its own layer as shown below.

Cricut Design Space

November 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm 2 comments

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