A look behind the door

Yesterday I had a very special guest:

Johanna, a journalist from our local newspaper, who is writing a series of articles about artists living in our area.
This was a good reason (actually a MUST-DO) to tidy up my workshop, that has become a real mess during the last year.
It was so much fun to meet her and we laughed a lot. She did not know much about electronic cutting machines, so we were creating a little sac in princess style for her daughter.

Johanna took a lot of pictures and I was so glad about my big clearing action, because pics do not hide anything.
Now I am excited about the article and hope it will be published soon.

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This was the chance to make my own pictures, too. Most definitely it will not look like that very long :-).
And honestly I still find it messy, but it is a workshop. Maybe you find some solutions helpful for yourself.
Have fun on the little tour!

I started already in January with a new shelf from IKEA to keep all my machines, incl. mini printer, Mint and Xyron in one place, that makes it possible to take them out easily when needed. Who could have known a couple of years ago, that I will have five cutting machines one day. Surely not me!

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The transparent boxes on top are also from IKEA and cost almost nothing. A great way to keep similar things together and visible. When you have so much stuff you have to see it to find it when it is needed.
In the corner behind the door you can see my wild gears hanging on the wall.
And at the door handle I forgot to take away some of my book projects :-).

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A simple straight box keeps all the heat transfer vinyl rolls.

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An assortment of ready-cut sheets I keep in black boxes with colorful labels.
I sell those sheets in my Etsy shop, so I have to have them well sorted. Otherwise it takes ages to pack orders for customers.
The green folder on top keeps the cutting and ironing instructions, that I send with every order.

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On the opposite side you see my work table. I love to work while standing, so it it high, just a board on a cabinet with flat drawers from my fathers former optician shop, just as old as me.
The ironing board is a handy storage place when not needed for ironing.

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I keep a big collection of die cuts, scraps, ready cut embellishments and tags in candy boxes. Most of them are test cuts from my own collage sheets and I use them for card making, gift packaging and to dress up packages for customers.

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And this is the sewing corner.
Since many years I use an industrial sewing machine (left side), a real hard worker I would never give away.
Since one year I have the heat transfer press (the blue thing on the right side), a great addition to the cutting machines.

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When my mom passed she wanted me to have her old Pfaff sewing machine, which I use now in replacement of a simple machine, that I only used for works the industrial machine doesn’t do: zigzag, embroidery and button holes:
But mom’s Pfaff is from such a fantastic quality, so strong, that meanwhile I do almost everything with it.
And the classic look of this antique machine was just perfect to be used in my latest book for the pictures of the sewing projects.

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One look back and the door will be closed again for the next creative mess starting tomorrow morning …

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Wastebasket – sewing project from different materials

Another sewing project from the beautiful materials I lately bought is a new wastebasket, well it is rather a waste sack.
I love it to be soft and flexible and fitting the fun vintage faux wood floor from our new garden house.

I did not make or use a pattern. I just measured and cut the square and rectangles pieces.
The bottom I made from a square vegan leather (SnapPap which is actually paper) and 4 rectangles. Then I added the wonderful jacquard fabric from the crafts show. On top I added a matching piece of faux leather fabric and for the inside I used a piece of silk I found in my stock.
With the Silhouette Cameo I cut and then ironed the word “Papier” on it, which is “paper” in German

Our lovely dog Akira does not trust any box or bag, but when she felt how happy I was with her sitting next to the new sack she started to relax. And in the end she even had fun in the photo session and showed me her typical Shiba smile.

Have a great and crafty weekend!

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Material shopping at the crafts show and my first project: a new iPad mini cover

Two weeks ago I spent 4, yes, four luxury days at Germany’s biggest crafts show CREATIVA together with a crafty friend. It was great to have enough time to look at everything without a hurry and not having the need for “panic purchases”. The only limit was the luggage, because we have been there by train and had to carry everything back to Berlin ourselves (a big thank you to the inventor of the suitcase on wheels!).

It was pure seduction and I discovered sewing again for me, which I haven’t done in ages. I loved the great choice of coated fabric for bags and purses, beautiful thick jacquard pattern fabric, faux leather, cute ribbons and colorful felt.

I learned about a new felt technique and bought dutch hand dyed wool. I will write about it when I tried it being able to show first results.
So our suitcases were more than full, deposited at the train station on the last day and we still came back with a big bag on top to go home. Then unpacking and showing of our treasures was just a little bit like christmas and I did NOT forget to bring gifts (which also reduces discussions about quantities of more or less necessary new crafts materials…hahaha….)

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All new materials and techniques can be combined with electronic cutting, still my first passion, very well.
So I started first to create a new cover for my iPad mini, which I needed urgently, because my existing one falls apart.

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First I have drawn around the iPad and imported the correct shape and size via PixScan mat into Silhouette Studio.

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Based on this pattern I added an outline and the holes for sewing, created a fun german word art and colored the design to find the colors I like most.

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ipad-Huelle-material

Next I cut 2 pieces with my Silhouette Cameo from faux leather paper (called SnapPap in Germany and similar to the Silhouette Vegan Faux Leather)

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The 3mm thick green felt I cut with the Silhouette Curio with the deep cut blade. Of course it only cut 2mm, but did this very well. This way I had a clear shape, a deep cut line and I could cut the last 1m just with a scissors by hand.

ipad-Huelle-curio

Then I have stitched together by hand all 4 layers through the holes with a big needle and a thick silk yarn, originally meant for knitting, with a zigzag stitching. With the help of two little pieces of Velcro I made a dot to fix with “yes” or “no”.
Now the iPad is well protected when thrown into my handbag and eye-catching when lost in the crafts room mess.
I really hope this works, because I am searching for it too often …

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ipad-Huelle

 

Almost there, the english version of my plotter book

Last night I got some first books to check if everything is fine, before the whole quantity will be bound.

This was so exciting!!!

The Germans are full of praise about “Frisch Geschnitten” and I am so happy about the good reviews.
It was like a miracle, that I met Lesley, a wonderful translator, right in time to translate the book.  While she was busy with the text I was reworking all screenshots, photos and some of the projects.

It was almost impossible to get this done before christmas, but we did it. The night before it had to go into printing we had the last phone call at 2 AM. And in the morning just before uploading the final file my patient partner with the sharpe eyes found a thick fat bad mistake…waahhhhhh…sometimes you just overlook the most obvious things…

In the beginning of next week the books are ready to be delivered. And I hope that many english speaking people also love the playful step-by-step instructions on how to use your cutting machines to its fullest.
For preorder you can go to my Etsy shop or Amazon.co.uk.

For now the books will be sent from Germany. I will carry part of the shipping costs, so this is affordable.
Later we see if there are better ways to deliver the book internationally.

Have a great weekend!

Angelika

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crafty cuttings plotter book

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Fruity shopping bag with heat transfer material

Playing around with Adobe Illustrator and inspired by our apple tree in full bloom in front of my office window I created these fruit icons to try heat transfer. I am not very experienced with thermo transfer material so I didn’t want to ruin a whole shirt.
Shopping bag and fruit – this fits. I got some of those handy plain cotton bags as a gift from a fabric supplier lately. Thank you!!!

Thermo transfer is big fun and not that difficult. You have to try it if you have an electronic cutting machine.
You don’t need much more, just a textile to decorate, the thermo transfer film, an iron, baking paper and patience.

But don’t forget to mirror your motifs. They will be applied upside down!

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First I opened my design file in Silhouette Studio. As I had it in .svg format I had to ungroup the single motifs.

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Next I colored the single motifs by filling the shapes to have a better overview of the colors I want to use.
Then I sorted the shapes so I could separate them and cut them color by color with my Silhouette Cameo from the thermo transfer film.

To do that I deleted all the colors, but just kept the color to cut first, moved the motifs to the top (to save the precious material). I saved the file and renamed it to the color I used (fruit-icons-green…).
After cutting I got all motifs back with the undo button (my best friend!)

Then I kept the color I wanted to cut next and deleted all others, saved the file and did undo I get them all back.
Step by step I got all the icons cut in different colors this way.
Maybe there are more quick and easy ways to do this, but it was my “don’t think too much relax Saturday” 🙂

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I cut roughly around the motifs with a scissors.
Then I weeded away all colored material around the motif with a hook, so there were only the icons and leaves left sticking on the transparent transfer material.

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I started with the icons, arranged them on my bag, put baking paper over it and did the ironing.
You have to put your textile on a hard ground to have enough pressure. You press the iron onto the textile for a certain amount of seconds depending on the materials (as hot as possible). For the neon pink the heat was too much and the white glue ran out under the pink. So it’s always better to make a test with a little left over.

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Next I added the leaves, placed them and ironed them with much pressure until they were fixed, too.

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My five favorite tools

I recently have been asked which are my favorite tools. This made me think of what I really don’t want to miss anymore.
Some are very new and some are very old, one is not even mine. Two I had no clue they even exist, but got them from friends.

So here is my list. Have fun!

I start with the oldest, more than 30 years old: my punch I got when I studied fashion design to make holes in leather. Its big advantage is that there is a much higher distance to the edge of an item than with the handy and pretty new little punches and the different sized holes in one tool.

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This unspectacular handle is just a heavy weight. It comes from the textile industry to help the pattern stay in place while cutting garments. It is VERY heavy and now I use it for all and everything that may not slip while I work on it. It is on my work table all the time for more than 20 years thanks to a friend. I got it as a gift, because she thought I need this, very thoughtful and so right! We are still close friends, thank you!

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This is not mine, but borrowed for good from my partner, who bought this digital gage at the hardware store and never used it. It wandered on my desk and I use it all the time. Mostly I measure my finished product samples for the item descriptions. With one touch you can switch from inch to centimeter, very handy.

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This pointy tool is not very old, but you can see already how often I use it. It is hanging on the wall always in place, because I get crazy when I need it and it is covered by stuff. The Craft Pick by Tim Holtz for Tonic Studios. You can get it at the crafts store. I use it for removing little bits from die cuts, pulling thread through tiny holes, making little holes  and maybe some more works I just can’t think of now. Highly recommended.

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And this is my number one: the edge blending tool also from Tim Holtz, from Ranger. Last week I got the two little round ones even if the vendor on the crafts show said I don’t need them when I have the big one. This was not true and I am glad I bought them anyway (from an other shop). Now I tried them first time and I LOVE them to color the edges of my die cuts and elements from the electronic cutter. It makes paper crafts look so much better and this is a work I really can relax with. Thank you, Tim!

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A look into my craft room and some storage tips

I have to admit I am a collector, but I also love to sort things so that I can find everything directly. With my ongoing work as a crafter and artist away from the computer my workshop gets from one mess to the next with whatever new techniques I try (and start to love).

So we visited IKEA this week and got 2 inexpensive new shelfs, which were set up and hung by my wonderful man directly ( I HATE setting up IKEA stuff, he LOVES it…). The Friday before easter is a day off in Germany so I used the extra time for sorting my latest die cuts and other materials. I added some more hooks on the wall for my most used tools and found a way to hang the bakers twine spools with using a big bead on the bottom. I found this very relaxing, almost meditative, so I also calmed down from some extremely stressy weeks, perfect!

What we eat is dependent not only from what we like, but also from how it is packed…lol…so my partner has to eat some certain Haribo drops over and over again and watching our health I also buy a lot of biological zucchini, which come in firm rectangle plastic bowls, that can be stapeled very well.
The salad from our local Pizza delivery service is served in thin bowls with great neutral lids, so Pizza always comes with salad. All these packages are perfect for temporary sorting while you work especially for cutting stencils and catching the cut outs for further use.

And I LOVE shoe boxes, not only for die cutting. They are heavy and make beautiful embellishments with the BigZ dies. But they are also perfect for storing all the mixed media supplies and you can just take out the box you actually need right now for stamping or gelli printing or drawing…

Enjoy the look into my new craft room as long as it is nice and neat. And don’t miss the great storage containers you get for free.
Have fun!

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die_cuts_storage

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