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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More Stencils

I have been very busy lately designing some stencils now that I have grown to love my gelli plate and even am beginning to get comfortable working in my art journal.

I designed quite a few stencils to cut with my Cricut expression in January.  Because I had purchased SCAL2 (Sure Cuts Alot) before Ptovocraft Sued the company I was still able to use it with my machine and rather than annoying all my followers tweeting each photo one at a time, I figured it would be easier to just write a quick post.  Well turned out to be not so quick but.... are you surprised?

The plastic I have used for all these stencils below was purchased at DOLLARAMA here in Canada and are file folders which I cut in half.

See the great price?  $2.50 for 12 folders.  A bargain for sure.  And I get 24 stencils for that price.  Just over 10¢ a stencil. 


Here are the stencils I designed from scratch using INKSCAPE then cut on my Cricut.


 3-D squares

 Circle Scope


 Hexagon Lattice

 Lattice

 Lattice Circles

 Chevron (herringbone)

 Fancy Pillowtop
large

Fancy Pillowtop
Small

There will be more stencil photos further down the blog keep reading...........

BROTHER SCAN N CUT THE CATASTROPHE

DISCLAIMER - I HAVE TOLD THIS STORY A NUMBER OF TIMES SO IF YOU HAVE HEARD IT VIA TWITTER AND/OR MY USTREAM PLEASE FEEL FREE TO JUMP DOWN TO THE PHOTOS AT THE END.  

 After much research I decided, with my tax refund, to purchase a Brother Scan N Cut.  I bought it through someone in the US (my first BIG mistake).  You will see as I tell my story, Brother is not truly an international company.  IF you buy one of their products, I NEVER will, only buy within the country where you reside.

My Scan N Cut arrived on a Friday I was so excited.  I took it out of the box and read the manual cover to cover.  I had also watched hours and hours of YouTube tutorials.  I set up the machine (I had named her CUTRINA as suggested by Susan LoveRibbons)  as per the instructions and made my first test cut.  YAY.  Trying to make the second cut the mat fed in crooked - the right roller didn't grab the mat so only the left corner went in.  (Now I have experienced this a number of times with my Cricut and had no problems afterwards).  As per the manual, I hit unload and instead of ejecting the mat it grabbed the left corner and pulled it in even further.  SO I checked the manual and followed the directions and manually removed the mat, put power back on and the blade reset.

Now here comes the problem.  I tried and tried to make cuts but the alignment of the blade cartridge was obviously off because it was cutting everything about 2" too far to the left.  I found the calibration instructions in the manual and went through the procedures no less than 5 times (and probably more) but to no avail.  So I called Brother.  But of course it was now late Friday night and no lines were open....   I did get someone on live chat in Brother Canada but they were no help because their binder only told them to tell me to do the steps I had already done.  So I had to wait until Monday.

Along came Monday and I called the toll-free number which directed me to BROTHER CANADA... I was on hold - with HORRIBLE background music no less - for about 20 minutes then got a service agent who had never heard of the Scan N Cut - even though I had chosen that option in the horrible telephone index thingy.  TRANSFER and more elevator music - SIGH.  10 minutes later got someone who at least found the machine in the binder... LOL.  But I was informed that the model I had was an American model so they couldn't help me.  TRANSFER (To Brother USA) and still more elevator Music.  Well first lady I talked to said she was not that department and would.... you guessed it TRANSFER and after an hour of HORRIBLE 30 second loops of the same HORRIBLE elevator music I was about to go BONKERS.  FINALLY I got someone I could tell knew at least what machine I was talking about  But when I explained the situation and she tried to give me the same advice and steps I had already taken I quite frankly told her I was not an idiot had read the manual - and had a Cricut for years and the issue I needed help with was not in the manual nor on their website FAQ.

SO she said PLEASE HOLD I will go talk to my supervisor.  Yup same looped elevator music - another 10 minutes worth.  And when she came back she said, "The machine is broken."  WELL DUH!!!!  3 hours to be told it was broken!!!  Boy they sure are efficient!  So I asked about warranty and how to send it back.  Yup  PLEASE HOLD I need to ask my supervisor - and I almost throw the phone across the room.

Upon her return 10 minutes later she said "We don't have replacement warranty you have to get it fixed".  I asked if I send it COD because I explained I was legally blind.  She said no shipping isn't covered in warranty you have to take it in - "I WILL GET YOU THE ADDRESS OF THE CLOSEST REPAIR RETAILER IN THE US"  I said the US? But I live in Canada and once again reminded her I am legally blind don't drive and a 5 1/2 hour drive from the nearest US city (Bangor, Maine).  She explained that the model I had was a US model and in Canada they sell completely different models.    And once the machine crosses the border the warranty is void.  Um OK ....

After 3 1/2 hours on the phone, she said my only way would be to mail it at my own expense to the US for repair, pay for postage back as well.  Well I could not afford that especially since I figured I had a lemon with it breaking so easily.  The place where I bought the machine graciously returned my money, which they didn't have to do so I appreciate it a great deal.  And they are going to fight with Brother to get the money refunded.  I sure hope they are successful. 

After my catastrophe with my brother Scan N Cut - I decided to be satisfied with my Expression.  It has been a trooper for 4 years and made many, many cuts for me.  But then I started thinking and looking at the extra features of the Silhouette Cameo compared to my Cricut even with the SCAL.  There is a print and cut feature with the cameo.  There are extra steps involved than with the Scan N Cut but is a feature.  They also have some other cutting features and crafters who own one say it can cut more detailed images than the Cricut and it would be faster than my almost 5 year old Cricut. 

So I purchased a Silhouette Cameo which arrived last Tuesday.  It took a couple days to figure out the nuances of the cameo and how the Designer software is different from SCAL.  So far the main difference I had to sort out was the trace feature.  With SCAL it cuts directly from the SVG file so the only tracing is in INKSCAPE if you use a JPEG or PNG file.  SO I had to figure out which trace setting was needed to trace the SVG files I had created in INKSCAPE already.  Sorted that out after a couple trial cuts.

I figured out another important thing, the fact that there is a SMALLER guide line to the left of all the other ridges of the feeder that I have to use to line up the left edge of my mat in order to feed it properly.  I had been trying to line it up with the wrong line because I did not see this smaller line.  Yup I wasted a number of sheets of stencil plastic before I saw this line.  It is now marked with a black sharpie so my 10% vision can see it easily.  PHEW 

So the last 2 days I have been a cutting maniac... It takes quite awhile to get this many stencils.  The cutting is the fastest part.  What takes time is scraping the bits of plastic off the mat, and poking out the bits that stay in the stencil instead of staying on the mat.  But the effort is worth it in the end.  AND this was all done while watching YouTube, Ustream or TV. 

THESE STENCILS ARE ONES I DESIGNED FROM SCRATCH USING INKSCAPE THEN THE SVG FILE WAS IMPORTED INTO THE DESIGNER SOFTWARE.   

Spiral Cutouts
 Extended Triangles

 Sunburst
 this is the small size 6 x 7 there is also an 8 x 10

 Cityscape

 3-D tunnel

 Fan blades

3-D Circle Tunnels
3-D Squares 2

THE NEXT GROUP OF STENCILS ARE ONES I DESIGNED FROM A JPEG FILE ALTERED AND TRACED USING INKSCAPE THEN THE SVG FILE WAS IMPORTED INTO THE DESIGNER SOFTWARE. 

 STEAMPUNK SILHOUETTES
( The butterfly silhouette mask has disappeared into the abyss known as my craft room floor - LOL)

 HANDS UP
This is the large size I also cut 2 smaller sizes

 COBBLESTONE SIDEWALK

STREET MAP
No idea which city or town


THIS LAST GROUP OF STENCILS WERE CUT FROM FILES PURCHASED FROM THE SILHOUETTE ONLINE STORE. 

 WARP SCREEN OVERLAY
Design ID #39283

 WARP SCREEN OVERLAY
Design ID #39282

 WARP SCREEN OVERLAY
Design ID #39091

 CROSSED CIRCLES
Design ID #47014 

SWIRLY BACKGROUND
Design ID #58297


I still have more stencils to cut but i am taking a break for now to move on to some other projects like using them with my GELLI PLATE.  I will do a blog post showing pages created with these stencils once I have some PLAY TIME.

I also have to finish the baby album for my niece.  Baby Girl Borkert is arriving early July.   

See you soon - I HOPE

Jean MusicScrp
AKA The Musical Scrapper

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