Wednesday, December 24, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS...The Angel Tree Story Tradition

I've recently picked up some new readers according to the stats on this thing and those new readers may not know that my Christmas tradition on here is not to write a long drawn out post but instead I share the same post every Christmas. Now my faithful readers know that my daughter and I have had some rough years *okie cringes at some of the memories* and while we will always have our mother daughter relationship we are beginning to transcend into and enjoy the closeness of friendship. Shiane is now 23, living with a roommate, working a great job as a surgery orderly at a hospital and finding out what it is to compromise and hopefully finding her true happiness *okie still thinks it would have been faster if she would have just slapped that happiness right across her daughters face a few times*

This story, my dear readers, is one of a little girl who melted my heart with her compassion and giving to another....


When my daughter turned 8 years old she had gotten birthday money from relatives,  probably a total of about $40. We went to Wal-Mart so she could spend her birthday money. I had decided we would go to McDonalds to get a bite to eat first. There was an Angel Tree in front of the McDonalds there in Walmart.

My daughter asked what it was and I explained to her that it was for children whose parents couldn't afford to buy them Christmas gifts. I told her let's go eat and she continued to look at the names on the tree.

She grabbed my hand and said "Mom look, this little girl only wants some clothes and a barbie doll". I think she thought it impossible that a child would want mostly clothes.

I looked and noticed the only toy on there was a Barbie, I think the child's age was about 5.

My daughter looked up at me with pleading eyes and said "Moma would it be okay if I spent my birthday money on this angel?"

I couldn't speak as a piercing warmth shot through my heart. I was fighting tears, as I am now remembering this moment. My daughter looked at me and said "I won't Moma if you are gonna be upset". I told her "hang on a minute" while I continued to fight back the tears and choked to find the words I wanted to say. I knew I would just bust out crying if I said much more. After a few moments and a couple of deep breaths I composed myself I told her "baby if you want to spend your birthday money on this little angel then I will match you dollar for dollar".

We went to eat and my daughter kept looking over the list of items from the angel she had pulled off the tree. After we got done she was so excited to go and buy for this little girl. I did as I promised and matched dollar for dollar, plus another $20 because daughter thought the little girl needed some things to go with her barbie doll that she picked out for the little girl. My daughter even said "you don't have to buy me anymore gifts Mom, just spend it on her. Santa will bring me stuff anyway".

We got the shopping done and took it to Customer Service where my daughter informed the lady to "make sure it is wrapped pretty". My daughter spent every last dime of her birthday money that day on someone else.

I can honestly say that on that day I had never been more proud of my child and still am to this day for her unselfish act of giving up her birthday money to make sure some little girl got her Christmas wishes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Glass Cutting Board Designs

I remember when I first got my Cricut and I was so hungry for cutting different things and back then the only way to make your own was to weld shapes together. We weren't able to trace images and designing was tedious and time consuming work in those days. I would spend hours manipulating shapes to get new designs and would feel a since of accomplishment every time there was something new to cut. Now days there are many programs that help us with this and of course I still am totally in love with Make The Cut and prefer it over any program that I have tried. Right now they have the program on SALE for $58.36 and personally I think it is worth every penny and then some. The great part is that anytime there is an update you are not charged for a new version like with SCAL and other programs.

One of the most fabulous things about MTC right now is the ability to design and export your design into different file types, the one most popular is the SVG format which can be used with the Cricut Explore. To be honest I have only used one image out of their library and when I was asked to do my review I informed Provocraft that I didn't have any cartridges but I had plenty *okie thinks probably thousands* of files I can use in SVG format and import into their Design Space program.

Last year I spent quite a bit of time tracing images for glass cutting boards. My cousin and I had decided we wanted to make a few and we wanted plenty of designs.

Fast forward to this year and there are a lot of new people to the world of cutting machines. I know in the Design Space Facebook group people are going crazy about the little cutting boards from Dollar Tree and are looking for designs. I should have thought about posting these earlier but it just dawned on me that someone might want to use some of these so I am making the file available. Of course you will have to resize for your own use but each design is made to fit on either the round or square cutting board.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 5 - Cutting Vinyl

Thought I better get this posted before I get busy making more projects for Christmas *okie looks at the calendar and panics a tad see that Christmas is only a week away*. I actually could have written the vinyl review before but I kept making things for gifts and then would be like "CCRRAAPPPP! I can't post that!". Last night I decided to try and cut the Grinch file because I needed a gift for Dirty Santa at school today and figured it was as good as any for the review.

I found an 8x10 inch frame at Goodwill for 99 cents and was a little apprehensive about trying to cut the file at this size, which was actually 7.25 x 9.25 inches. I knew some of the lettering was delicate but then also I thought it was perfect since I am trying to put the Explore through it's paces. I have read that some folks are having a tough time with vinyl and to be honest I think most of them are using Cricut vinyl, which I do find inferior to the Oracle and Avery that I tend to use. It seems to be too rubbery or something and I have seen it tear and snag where I generally get crisp cuts with the vinyl products I have around my craftroom.

Even though vinyl is a lot easier to cut when doing delicate work than most paper I still wondered how the settings on the Explore would handle the different vinyls I used. I actually used some Avery, Oracle and then some kind that said graphic film on the back and I'm not sure of the brand. I didn't change the settings for any of the vinyls and they all cut beautiful. I will say that on another project I did use the custom setting for glitter vinyl and it worked perfectly. 

Ignore that my Grinch is a little off in placement. I did the mirror image so the vinyl would be on the inside of the glass instead of the outside and I need to work on my skills of layering backwards on glass.

Now where I thought there might be problems were on some of the letters that had very small cuts on the interior of the letters and also some small *okie wonders what to call them because all the sudden her brain isn't working properly* I guess finger like projections on the ends. I actually smiled at one point because I thought one of the interior cuts had messed up but when I weeded the piece it was fine *okie is still bound and determined to find a fault in the Explore's cutting abilities*.

MY HONEST OPINION: I am quite impressed with the built in settings with the Explore and the setting worked perfect every time no matter what brand of vinyl I was using. The precision of the cuts, no matter how small is splendid. At no time did the blade go through the carrier material which is a problem I would have with my Pazzles and Expressions. Each and every color was cut flawlessly with a kiss cut and there were no places where I had to take a craft knife or scissors and complete a cut.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crafting and Shopping!

Well I don't have any files to post, not that I haven't made any but I just can't post them because they are for gifts and that would ruin Christmas! I got a project done on Friday that I had planned to do a vinyl review on concerning the Explore and then I realized "DUH YOU CAN'T POST THAT BEFORE CHRISTMAS!". I will say that the Explore cut vinyl extremely well and the vinyl setting is really nice to have built in. I also cut some glitter vinyl which I found the setting in custom settings and it cut it perfect as well. I will still try to get a project to post and a full review done.

I had my company Christmas dinner Friday night and I took my friend Nancy with me. She has been sick for about 3 weeks  now and was finally feeling a little better. During dinner I looked at her and she didn't look too good and she said that all the sudden she felt sick so we left early. I really didn't mind, her health is much more important.

Saturday my friend Linda and I went to Oklahoma City to do some Christmas shopping. Neither of us bought much but I did get a few things that I was looking for and couldn't find somethings that I wanted. We at lunch at Ted's Escandido Cafe which is awesome! We hit Michaels and left with nothing. At Hobby Lobby I did get what I needed to make a gift and I also splurged on myself and bought a Santa since I hadn't gotten one this year. Usually my friend Karen gets me one but since I didn't have my party and she didn't come visit this December I had to buy my own LOL.

Yesterday I spent all day messing with a design for a gift and it literally took me all day! I kept changing how I wanted it and then when I did get it done I ended up ripping it off and starting over. I did like the end result and I will say it is a glass block with a light but I can't say of what because then the recipient will know what they are getting for Christmas. I think I might be too much of a perfectionist when it comes to designs and tracing images because I like nice clean lines and I spent hours cleaning up lines and such on that design.

I am hoping to get some sugar cookies baked this week so me and the girls can decorate them next weekend. I really had plans on doing some yesterday but like I said that project took me all damn day and that ain't no joke! I still haven't cut the Grinch file yet and I want to find a large picture frame to put it in. Guess I might go to Goodwill or Salvation Army and see what I can find there.

This is going to be a busy week since I have a doctor appointment, party at school and working on more Christmas items but hopefully sometime this week I can make design a file or two and post for download. I have no idea of what but most of the time I never do!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grinch Christmas Means - Vinyl Project

So last night I was going to work with some vinyl on the Explore for my next review and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I looked through my files and started playing with a Grinch file and a quote file I had and came up with a new file. I posted it in the Design Space Facebook group to see if it could be read and my friend Jackie pointed out that one word was hard to read so I went back and edited the file and it did work a lot better! THANKS JACKIE!

A few people said they would pay for the file and I had to giggle to myself because obviously I guess there are a lot of folks out there that don't know I very, very, very rarely charge for files I make! Anyway I thought about charging but then quickly decided to make this file free as my Christmas gift to my readers! So many of you guys and gals have been with me for over the years and have shown such loyalty even when I was on my hiatus from crafting that I thought I should show my appreciation! You really have no idea how much it means to me to have people stick with me even when I was gone for months and months!

I did import the SVG file into Design Space, it imported just fine so it should be ready to use once you download the file and then upload into the program and of course as always I have the MTC file available as well.

So to all of you MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ME TO YOU! And thank you so much for always being there to read all my dribble even when I have no files or projects to offer.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 4 - The Dreaded Scallop Circle

For folks who have been around for awhile will immediately understand the "dreaded scallop circle" and why it was so dreaded by all of us who wanted nice neat scallop circles but they seemed to be unobtainable! When I got my first Cricut, the baby bug, it cut wonderful scallop circles and didn't have a problem with the ones I designed in Design Studio *okie wonders if she needs to explain Design Studio but then decides not go down that road* but once I got an Expression and started using it the scallop circles were WONKY! If you cut them large enough, usually over 4 inches or more then the scallops weren't too bad but anything smaller and the scallops were all lopsided. Matter of fact I sent back two Expression machines for just that reason. I finally kept the third because I gave up. When I started working with the Pazzles I was excited thinking I would have perfect scallop circles and while they did cut better than what the Expression did I still had slightly lopsided scallops. Matter of fact I even invested in Scallop Circle punches so I would have perfect ones.

Now fast forward from those days to the present crafting day where I thought "OMG! I NEED TO TEST AND SEE HOW SCALLOP CIRCLES CUT WITH THE EXPLORE!" and so I did. I, being the fiendish person I am, chose the dreaded Stampin Up Coredinations cardstock that so many people had problems cutting. My Expression or my Pazzles never cut that stuff very good, especially when it was smaller cuts. It always seemed to rip or tear *okie still thinks there was some kinda degrading in the SU Coredinations since the regular Coredinations seemed to cut very nicely* and cause much frustration.

I opened Design Space and put some scallop circles on the mat and sized them to different sizes and was almost bemused at the thought of "I got this machine now...scallop circles and Stampin Up Corediantions cardstock! TAKE THAT PROVOCRAFT!". I got the circles ready to cut and loaded the mat watching it with a sneer on my face *okie thinks she probably looked like some mad scientist sitting in front of the Explore* just waiting for the scallops to be lopsided and the cardstock to tear!

My sneer soon turned to a grimace as I watched the blade cut through the cardstock like it was butter and the scallops were PERFECT! I think I might have yelled "SON OF A BITCH...NO F'ING WAY!" as the machine finished up cutting the images and as I unloaded the mat I kept looking closely for errors...which I did not find!

Every size cut perfectly! I set a 3", 2 1/2", 2", 1 1/2" and 1" scallop circle to cut and everyone of them were exquisitely impeccable! How could that be? No way did Provocraft finally make a machine that could cut breathtaking scallop circles on crappy cardstock! I stared at the delicious goodness of scallops and even thought about substituting them with some wonky ones but then I remembered I promised to give an honest review *okie curses herself for being an honest Injun*.

Just in case you wonder if your eyes are deceiving you I took a close up of the 1" scallop circle so you could see how perfectly it cut.

MY HONEST OPINION: I am BEYOND IMPRESSED with the Explore's ability to cut perfect scallop circles at every size and especially since I purposely fed a cardstock in the machine that generally doesn't cut well on other machines...even *okie takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, closes her eyes and just says it* beloved Pazzles!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teachers Change the World - Vinyl Project

I gotta stay out of that Facebook group or I am never going to finish reviewing the Explore. Someone asked for some help with tracing an image and I was able to get it in Make The Cut and know the rest!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Grandma & Grandpa's House Rules - Vinyl Project

Once again I saw something in the Facebook group of Cricut Design Space that someone was wanting and I thought "I can do that" and told them I would give it a try. I tried to keep it as true to the picture that was posted but I did have to change a few fonts and adjust them to what I thought might cut better.

I think this would be a lot of weeding and not sure how well it would do on smaller projects such as glass blocks as someone suggested but I think it would be nice for a wall quote or if you had a larger canvas, I'm thinking the ones larger than 11" in length. The picture is kind of small since it is a screen shot of the image but the letters are a bit more clear and crisp in the file.


Cricut Explore Review 3 - Intricate Cuts and Vellum

So many of us love using vellum and those who try to cut it know the horrors of ripping and tearing and the crying that comes along with ruining that ever so beautiful and expensive divine goodness. And with that out of the way vellum was the next thing I wanted to try and cut!

I decided to upload an image that was available this time instead of importing one of my thousands of SVG files I had because I wanted to see how easy it was to use one of their images was easy. I thought I would see if I could find something to cut that I could put in a clear ornament and thought about a snowflake but then when I saw the design I used I thought "oh yeah, let's see if that machine can handle that design at 2 1/2"! I just knew I had the correct design to finally show some limitations of the machine.

My first cut I had chosen the setting of parchment in the custom settings since what I was cutting isn't true vellum and is actually called translucent sheets, not even sure what that means but it is exactly like vellum but I wanted to see what it would do on that setting. It did cut but didn't cut all the way through.

I reloaded the mat and changed my setting to vellum and this thing cut like a champ! The tears and blemishes you see are not because of the machine but because of my errors in getting it off the mat, I kinda forgot how careful you have to be with this delicate material.  I should have put the ruler up there so you guys can believe what you are seeing, the image was set at 2.6 inches, so just a hair over 2 1/2" and it cut FAB U LUST LEE! Once again I was disappointed because I could say "AH HA! YOU CAN'T CUT THIS" *all the sudden okie has MC Hammer's "You Can't Touch This" playing in her head*.

I guess I will go ahead and find something to decorate the top of the bulb but here is the image I cut out in a clear bulb. I did have to use a stick to straighten it out once it was in the bulb but it turned out really nice and it does look better in person *okie looks and notices she can see her fingers and camera in the reflection and is suddenly glad she wasn't craftin nekkid when she took this picture*.

MY HONEST OPINION: I am IMPRESSED with how well the machine cut this delectable material! I think I will be looking forward to working more with vellum since I know the Explore can do such a wonderful job with it. Vellum is something I have always loved to use but dreaded at the same time but not anymore!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

So I can kiss you... FILE AVAILABLE

Someone in a Cricut Design Space Facebook group I joined had posted a quote of "So I can kiss you anytime I want" wondering what font it was. Of course I immediately recognized it as the Samantha font, some of y'all might remember all the time I spent converting that font set! Well since I was in the mood to do a file I thought I would give it a shot.

Of course I had to do the file in Make The Cut but was able convert it quickly into an SVG file so those with other programs can use it. I think I will be converting almost every file I make in MTC into SVG format from now on since I am really liking the way the Explore cuts. I do see limits in the Design Space software but as long as I can design in MTC and then upload the SVG into Design Space I think I will do just fine.


Wow two posts in one day! This reminds me of the good ol days when I was constantly making designs and posting them! *okie grins a little and winks* Told ya I was back!!!

Cricut Explore Review 2 - Intricate Cuts and Cardstock Thickness

I have seen pictures of small cuts the Cricut Explore made and most of those were from examples given by Provocraft so of course me being me I was skeptical about how well it would do for a consumer and I figured that would be one of the first things I would try. I will say I am able to make some pretty intricate cuts with the Pazzles but do have problems with paper tearing or blade dragging at times so I wondered if the Explore would do better.

One of the last designs I did was a layout design of Happy Fall Y'all layout, and there is an SVG file available for that design, and thought it might be a good one to test out due to the eyes of the crow and the intricacy of the vines on the pumpkin in the design. 

I first cut the little crows and I was dreading it due to having worked with the Tinkerbell cartridge in the past and having so many issues *okie vividly remembers wanting to grab that little fairy by her ankles and shaking every bit of pixie dust from her evil little body* with the smaller things, specifically the eyes. Actually I ended up drawing the eyes in with pens due to not being able to get good cuts from them. I will say I was watching the blade with a magnifying glass *okie suddenly wonders why she keeps a magnifying glass in one of her spinners and where the thing even came from* just waiting for the cuts to mess up but as you can see from the picture....THEY CAME OUT PERFECT! I thought it might be helpful to lay a ruler next to the cuts so you can see for yourself the size of those cuts.

Okay so I was impressed with the eyes of the crow but next came the delicate swirls of the pumpkin and I just knew the Explore would mess up on them but once again...PERFECT! Some parts of that vine are less than an 1/8" and it cut them like a champ! 

Another test I wanted to do was about the settings. I used 4 different cardstocks on some of the cuts, some that I have problems cutting with other machines, some that were very thick and some that were thinner and I never changed any of the settings and each time they cut just perfect! 

Tomorrow I will post the finished layout so you can see the project completed.

MY HONEST OPINION: The Explore cut the intricate designs with no problems and much better than any other machine I've tried even when I tried different cardstocks without changing the settings of the machine. This was another test that did IMPRESS me with the ability of the machine.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Search for The Skirt

I had full intentions of getting ready another part of the review for today but instead I did other things in the house and then my daughter called wanting to know what I was doing and the kids ended up coming over and staying until at least 2am, not sure what time they left but I will explain that later.

For some reason I can't put presents under the tree until my Christmas Tree skirt is in place, dunno why but that's just the way it is with me. My daughter didn't find it in the totes with the other Christmas things and I knew I had washed right before I moved and I even remembered folding it. I told her about my dilemma of not being able to find it and she kept suggesting places it might me.  I had put it somewhere so I would I remember where it was...guess we know how that turned out. So began the search for the skirt! I spent hours searching the house and garage for that dang Christmas tree skirt. 

I ended up organizing part of my garage and breaking down some boxes. I got the box with my camping gear opened and found homes for those items *okie sees the puzzled look on some people's faces*, yes I did use to go camping...A LOT. I hauled two more of my totes of Santa's in the house and found spots where they could be displayed and ended up hanging some Christmas pictures. I moved my silver wire shelf to the garage since I really am not sure what to do with it yet, watered my poinsettias, swept the kitchen floor *okie thinks she really needs to teach the dogs to wipe their feet before coming back in the house* and of course all the time wondering where I put that damn skirt but it still boiled down to no Christmas tree skirt! I had about decided that those mean, evil little gnomes that everyone loves posting on my Facebook wall had snuck in and stole the damn thing!

My daughter and her roommate Sabrina, who so far seems to be the sweetest thing and funny as hell at times, came over with some wine and wanting to play dominoes. I had told my daughter I really wasn't any good at dominoes and I haven't played since probably college. I did use to play Mexican Train dominoes during our summers when we use to go to the lake all the time and always enjoyed it. Shiane and Sabrina sat in the kitchen as I continued my search for the Christmas tree skirt. I did find a box of snowmen decorations that my daughter had started collecting and set those out for her. I also found my terry cloth heads for the Shark steam mop and asked the girls if they wanted it and they said yes. I use my Hoover Floormate now instead and didn't need the steam mop any longer. I searched my closet, the guestroom closet and even reorgainzed a few things in there, the craftroom closet and every damn tote in the garage and still couldn't find the elusive skirt! Finally as we were standing in the kitchen, which I love by the way, I decided to go check under the guest room bed. I remembered putting blankets in a plastic bag contraception and putting that under the bed so just maybe...

I looked under the edge of the bed and saw the bag of blankets but didn't see anything else and for some reason I thought I should get on my knees and look and lo and behold under the bag of blankets there was another plastic bag contraption and it had two Christmas table clothes, my Christmas bath towels and the Christmas Tree skirt! I yelled at the girls "I FOUND IT! I FINALLY FOUND THE DAMN THING!" and I didn't see my daughters reaction but I am quite sure it got a head shake and an eye roll followed by a smile. I get that reaction from her quite often and one day I will have to ask her what it means but then again I might not want to know. Immediately I got the skirt and started putting it under the tree and that was a bit of a challenge because Wonka, my daughter's dog who I have now claimed since I have been his main care giver since she got him when he was only 6 weeks old *okie thinks there might eventually be an ugly custody battle in the future*, decided he wanted the skirt for himself. I sat in the floor and put his huge head between my hands and explained to him ever so sweetly that if he so much as laid one toe of his huge paw on that skirt he would be living in the garage the rest of his damn life and I think he understood because he left it alone after that. I had wrapped two presents earlier and was able to finally get them under the tree!

By this time my shoulder and neck were killing me and I knew I needed a muscle relaxer. Oh for those who don't know I was in a bit of fender bender on Monday and I will have to write a post about that one for sure in the future. My daughter poured me a glass of wine and I took a muscle relaxer and we decided to play dominoes. We waited for Chuck to arrive so we could begin which he did within a few minutes. Of course I had to announce to him I found the Christmas tree skirt. The kids and I played a game of dominoes, which by the way I won, and then Chuck's friend Lamares called and Chuck went to pick him up from work and bring him over. I have tried to get the kids to play Mexican Train dominoes with me several times and my daughter offers but it isn't any fun with just two people, and the kids usually don't want to. Last night they decided to appease me and play the game and I think they really had a lot of fun. I know we all laughed through the whole game. Well we didn't get to officially finish the game because after several hands my wine and muscle relaxer were kicking in, but by this time it was around 2am or so I can't be sure of the time due to my medicated and wine induced state, and I was ready for bed. The kids said they would clean up, which they did a good job because when I got up this morning the kitchen was all in order, and off to bed I went. 

So you see while I didn't get to work on a review of the Cricut Explore I did get to spend some wonderful time with the kids and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cricut Explore Review 1 Calibrating Print And Cut

Okay first off I want to be completely honest with everyone about this whole Cricut Explore review thing and how it came about...because as we all know I am very honest with my readers and I don't want to stop being that way anytime soon. I was contacted via Facebook by the CEO of Provocraft and during a brief conversation he asked if I would be willing to review the Explore and I told him I would be willing to do so. I also told him that I only give my honest opinion and he said that is what he was wanting. Of course in my little smug mind I thought "yeah I bet!" but he did seem sincere about wanting only the most honest of opinion from me. So before anyone asks...yes, I was sent the Cricut Explore, I did not purchase the machine. And before anyone jumps to conclusions if that would effect my opinions and review the answer is NOPE *okie thinks she should have said hell no actually but figures people will read that in the NOPE anyway*. No matter if a product is purchased by me or sent to me I still review it fully and honestly and give my opinion. Now that is out of the way let me begin with my first review.

The first thing I did was hook up the machine as directed and I had some problems getting my computer to recognize the machine but that could easily be a problem with my USB port as I have problems with my thumb drive at times as well. After getting my computer to recognize the machine I was ready to set up the print and cut, from now on will be referenced to as PNC. The instructions were clear for the most part and the only problems I had with that was I was out of ink in my printer and had to install new cartridges. 

I got my piece of cardstock printed and loaded in the machine and was ready for it to do it's thing. I watched it with curiosity waiting for it to do some kinda jerk and bump terrible cutting thing but it didn't. It made quite a bit of noise with beeping and moving around and cutting little lines. To be honest I thought it was kinda cool how it jumped from one registration mark to another. 


I remember it said something the process might have to be repeated and I was understanding why after I looked at the cuts and unloaded the mat from the machine. As you can see in the picture the little square in the middle is not cut very well and is off center. 

If you look at the cuts along the numbers and letters they are much like when you add new cartridges to a printer and have to calibrate it.

I was afraid I would have to repeat this process like 20 times before I got it to calibrate right but I was in it for the long haul and got ready to repeat the process.

After printing another sheet of cardstock and loading in the letter and number that had the best cut in the middle I actually got a good cut and to be honest I was like "OMG! It's centered perfectly!". You might need to click on the picture and make it larger to see what I'm talking about it being centered.

Next it was time to try to PNC an image and me being me I didn't want some simple image I wanted to test this baby's ability to cut something difficult. Of course the software warned about using complex images so that didn't deter me but instead challenged me! I chose an image of my niece's caricature she uses for her real estate business.  She had asked me sometime ago if I would be interested in making some cards for her to use when she sells a home and she wanted the caricature used and I never could figure out how to get a nice clean cut of it with Make the Cut and the Pazzles so I never did. This failure with what I was use to using was the exact reason I chose the image I did.

I got the image printed on some cheap Walmart cardstock, which never cuts nicely in any machine I've tried, once again testing the bounds of the Explore and set about cutting it.

This is the image after it was printed and then cut, at this point it is still on the mat. I was giving it a good look over and wondering if even the smallest of pieces were cut neatly and smirked a bit thinking "yeah it probably screwed up somewhere or cut jagged on the cardstock".

As I lifted the outer cardstock off the mat the image left on the mat seemed to have clean cuts. How could this be? I used the crappy cardstock? This can't be happening! As I continued to remove the outer cardstock I looked for errors and couldn't find jagged or torn edges, no irregular cutting was...well...PERFECT!

Now you can see a slight lighter edge along the left side of the image but notice it is equal all the way around and I think it part of the shadow on the image.

MY HONEST OPINION: The calibration was simple to do and even though I had to repeat the process the software clearly informed me I might have to do so in order to get the machine calibrated correctly. I am truly impressed with how well the machine was able to cut accurately around the difficult image I chose, especially with me using cheap cardstock that generally tears with other machines. So over all I am IMPRESSED with the Explore's ability to do print and cut!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree

I didn't get to play with the Explore last night due to the kids coming over. My Goddaughter Amber and I had started watching American Horror Story Freak Show series before I moved and last night was the first time we were able to catch up. Thank goodness I figured out the DVR and can record shows! Also my daughter had texted me and asked if she could come over and put up the Christmas tree so needless to say my evening was filled with time with the kids...but that is a good thing! I cooked dinner for the kids, we had Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, Garlic Bread, Breadsticks and Salad *okie wonders if she should tell that the pasta and bread were from the frozen food section but decides to let everyone think she has become a master chef over the last 6 months*. I made them eat at the table and told them "no cell phones at the table". I really enjoyed listening to them have conversations about various things and the good thing was that most of the people they talked about I was familiar with and that lets me know I'm doing something right because even though they are young adults I am still in tune with what goes on in their lives.

The Christmas tree I have was procured *okie is suddenly impressed with her vocabulary with using the word procured and then feels sad remembering she is easily impressed* at my local bargain store a few years ago. My daughter and I were in there looking around and came across this tree and I liked it because it was slimmer than the one I had and it also already had the lights on it. I think I paid a whole $20 or $30 for it and then come to find out it was an almost $400 tree from one of those home shopping network places. The lights at the very bottom on one side don't work but we just put that side toward the window and it's not noticeable.

I love, love, love Christmas trees! I love to see all the decorations and could browse pictures of trees for hours. There are so many different ways to decorate a tree but every year ours is decorated with the same ornaments. Each of our ornaments has a story behind it and my daughter and I can tell you about each one. When Shiane was probably in 1st grade we started going and picking out ornaments that were alike but just a tad different and then writing our name and the year on the bottom or back of the ornament. One day when she has her own tree she will get her ornaments for her tree. It gives me so much joy to look at my tree and see the ornaments because it's not the ornament that means so much but the memory behind each one. I have some from friends, some that I made, some that we bought and all the ornaments that Shiane made me when she was little. My tree will never look as gorgeous as the ones in the magazines, nor will it be one that makes people gasp with admiration but the truth is the most expensive ornaments in the world would never be worth more than the ones I have on my tree because mine is filled with love and fond memories that gladden my heart and make me smile.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

My New Craftroom

As promised I am posting pictures of my new craftroom. I think I would have been too overwhelmed to get it done if it weren't for Carmen! When I did move she said I would have it all set up before she got here and I told her "I ain't touchin that damn thing until you get here!" and I was true to my word. We actually had to empty it out before we could set it up. 

This is what you see when you first walk in the room and let me tell ya I am loving the color!! I think it is called Cajun Spice or something like that. The room was already painted this olor when I moved in. Carmen and I tried a 6 foot table but then decided an 8 foot was better and would give me more room *okie thinks we always want more room* for my machines, work space and spinners, which you can't see in this photo. As you can see I still use my Napa Valley Cassette organizer for my stamp pads...totally love that thing! I had found another one at Goodwill a few months back and snatched it up for Carmen and she was able to take it home with her *okie wonders if Carmen got hers hung up yet*. The black drawer units hold different embellishments, tools, etc. I think I need to relabel the drawers now though since they are no longer correct.

When you look to the right at the door this is what you see, my workspace table that Carmen brought to me and before anyone asks it is from Ikea *okie so wishes she had an Ikea close* and my big Expedit unit that holds the majority of my 12x12 paper. On the right hand side of the picture you can see some of the shelves I have on the wall and there is a better picture of them further in this post. There will eventually be a doorway put in to the right of the blue office chair that will go directly into the dining kitchen area. This will be convenient for when I am cooking and crafting...because we all know how much I LOOOVEEE to cook *okie wonders if people will pick up on that sarcasm*. The white drawer units under my work table has my themed paper in them. I wasn't sure how I would like the TV up that high but it doesn't seem to be too bad and doesn't hurt my neck looking at it, which is what I was concerned about.

Here is a better picture of my work area. I have my 8.5 x 11" cardstock behind my work area and with the huge closet I have I was able to free up the 6 cube unit and right now I have my Cuttlebug in one slot and then various items in the other cubes. I opted to put my Bygel bars for my punches above the cube units because it seemd the best place for them. Obviously I can't buy any more punches since I am out of space...oh wait I do see space for maybe two more on the top rod on the far right hand side!

This is the view from the corner by the Ikea unit. I was able to fit the white shelves I used in my old craftroom next to the door and then under it I have my sewing cabinet with my heat press on top of that. Never mind the tools on that table right now, I am keeping those handy while I am still trying to arrange things. To the left of the shelves is the door to the closet. The closet measures approximately 4x8 feet so it has a lot of room for storage and I will post pictures of it AFTER I get it organized a bit more. Carmen and I put up a Closetmaid wire shelving unit in there so I could have good storage space and it is going to work nicely.

Oh and BTW, the leather black curtains were already in the house and I decided to keep them for two reasons...first it will help block out sun from fading my paper and secondly it make people wonder what kinda kinky shit is going on in my craftroom! *okie falls out chair laughing* So there ya go...that is my craftroom now and I am loving it! I will make sure to post pictures of the closet once I get it arrange in a half way decent manner.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I'm BAACCKKKKK!! And Doing A Review!

Sorry for the long hiatus and if you are one of my Facebook friends you know I have been quite busy over the summer and fall and for those who don't have me on Facebook I will use this post to fill ya in on what has been going on. And I guess I should say I hope there are still people out there that are interested in what I have to say on here but as we all know I will still be posting even if there isn't because I do this more for me than anyone else *okie thinks that sounds kinda selfish and wonders if she should apologize and then decides against it*.

Back in July I shared I was spending time with my friend Nancy and that is continuing. I did have a male friend I was spending quite a bit of time with since June but we have since parted ways and not spending time together anymore...way too much to even begin to post about on that matter but long story short he quit texting, calling or coming to see explanation, no kiss my ass, no nothing really *okie rolls her eyes as she thinks about how to even explain that one*. I did ask him about it in a text and he said something about "this has to stop...this is crazy" and said he wanted to stay friends. Not sure when it was crazy to ask what I did to make him stop wanting to be around me or not like me anymore but oh well. To be honest I think he started seeing someone and just couldn't man up and say "hey I met someone". I did say we could stay friends but if not then it's his loss and not mine because I am FREAKING AWESOME! HA HA HA But anyway I will now be returning to my craftroom after the disruption from it over the last 6 months.

I moved recently, yes I MOVED! After 16 years of living in one place I moved all the way to NEXT DOOR! I have a much better landlord now and he was actually my neighbor for a few years. I have lost some space but gained a much better and nicer house. My big dread was moving the craftroom and I was correct in dreading it. Luckily my friend Carmen from Houston came and stayed a week with me before Thanksgiving and helped me get it set up. I still have some organizing *okie thinks that is a constant in her life* and rearranging to do but I have a nice workable space now. I will post some pictures tomorrow of my new space.

My daughter moved out and in with a boyfriend but is now living with a friend of hers. She got a job transfer a few months ago and is getting more hours and more pay per hour than she did at her last job so she can afford to be on her own now. I did give her $500 to help with a down payment on a car and she was able to find something nice in her price range. She isn't going to college right now because she is still trying to figure out what she wants to do but has finished all her basics so that is a definite plus!

A bit of exciting news is that I was asked to review the new Cricut Explore *okie watches as half the audience faints dead away*. Um...could someone please throw some cold water on those folks and revive them...thank you! Okay is everyone with me now? *okie looks around* Good! And yes you heard me correctly...I am reviewing the Cricut Explore! When I was asked to do the review I warned Mr. Arora that I would only give my honest opinion and he said that is what he wanted. So make sure you stay tuned for my review! I've just now started with the machine so it will be a process for me, especially trying out the Cricut Design Space software.

Well I'm off for now but I will post pictures tomorrow of my new craftroom!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy Fall Y'all Layout - File Available

So this morning I was piddling around with a layout design and posted on Facebook asking for suggestions for a theme and a few said fall. I had made these crows quite sometime ago and decided to incorporate them in a fall layout. 

Of course the colors and papers you use are only limited to your own imagination. I just tried to use basic fall colors so I could get an idea of colors I might want to use. The lines are suggested for journaling and are in the MTC file but you don't need to cut those and can ignore them. 

MTC users can get the sizes for the papers from the file but here is a list of sizes for SVG users:

Red (base paper) - 12x12
Off White - 4x8 and 10x12
Green - 8x8
Dark Orange - 4x8
Grey (pictures) - 3.5x3.5

The MTC file has the images sized as in the picture but the SVG file has all the images on one mat so they will need to be resized for your purposes. 

You can download from the links below:

Friday, September 5, 2014

I Participated!

Not sure why I feel like writing a blog post this morning, but I do, so here I am. Heck I am not even sure if anyone is still around to read this but ya know I have said many times I do my blogging more for me than anyone else and I still think that is true.

Anyway there was this post on Facebook this morning and it really struck me, in a good way! You know me, I of course have a story about this! As most of you know I have been a single mother most of my daughters life. Her father left when she was 5 weeks old *okie can't believe Shiane will be 23 in November* and from that time on I was the only parent my sweet daughter had.

When Shiane was little I wanted her to find things she loved to do so she was involved in many, basketball, softball, tae kwon do, Girl Scouts and just about anything she wanted to experience. I did limit her to 2-3 things at a time so we would be able to get some occasional rest. I can remember my evenings after work being filled with shuttling her here and there to practices, meetings, etc and being exhausted when I finally got in the bed. Our weekends were usually filled with visiting family, going to movies or something where we were spending time together. We were always on the go. Ever since my daughter was in first grade I have been blessed with having a job that would allow me to not miss any of her school plays, parties, ballgames and always be available when she needed. Of course at times that also meant I was the one mom that could be called when someone else forgot it was there day for snacks and then I would have to make a quick trip to the store after a quick change in my schedule and drop off snacks for her class.

When Shiane was about 8 years old we were visiting with my Mom and I had been telling Mom how tired I was and how busy we stay. I can still remember so clearly the short exchange between me and my Mom.

Mom said "Shirley don't wrap your life up into her life so much that you don't have a life of your own. One day she will leave, she is suppose to leave...that is how it is suppose to be".

I remember smiling at my mom and telling her "Oh Momma I know that. I know one day she is going to grow up and have a life of her own. I know that one day she will leave me and I will be alone but that is the exact reason I want to spend so much time with her right now. Right now she is mine and all mine and I want to cherish every moment". 

I still remember the sheer exhaustion that I felt so many nights but ya know what? Now I smile and know that I participated! I participated every day with all the energy I had and I would do it all over again if I could! I think I really did see it as a privilege to be able to be there for her and do so many things for her. We have had some rough years but  now she is coming into her own and blossoming into the adult I had always hoped she would be and I know soon she will be leaving me and this time probably for good but I also know that I can always look back and think I DIDN'T MISS OUT ON ANYTHING! I PARTICIPATED!

I really don't think I can be more blessed than that!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pazzles Vue In Da House!

So much time has passed since March that I don't remember if I had mentioned I had got in on the pre-orders for the new Pazzles Vue, if I hadn't well then I guess you now know that I got my Pazzles Vue! It arrived on Tuesday and I haven't had much time to play with it but I did at least do a few test cuts.

When ordering the new machine there were several color choices and of course I chose RED! I think I might need to add some black vinyl dots to really make it feel like mine HA HA HA. The machine doesn't look much different than the original Pazzles, the shape and buttons are all the same but there are a few differences. The new version has a small pull out that helps with mat support and there are tabs to slide the mat under, and I'm really going to like those!

The first cut I did was straight from the tutorial in the little booklet and I know I took a picture and posted it on Facebook but for the life of me I can't seem to find it so I can share it here! Anyway it cut like buttah! The mat for the Vue is a bit different than the original mat if you are going to do Print and Cut and I need to find out if that is the mat I need to use for regular cuts as well...I haven't read that far.

I was anxious about trying out the Print and Cut because I have been concerned about the accuracy. The calibration was a breeze to do and I only calibrated once before making my first PNC *okie hopes folks understand from now now on when she says PNC she means Print and Cut*. I read the directions several times and I am quite sure the process is a lot simpler than I made it because I was a bit distracted when I was trying it out.

I can imagine your shock to see the first PNC was a ladybug! HA HA HA I was really impressed with the evenness around the image with the very first attempt. I did see how to make the cut closer but haven't tried it yet.

The machine maybe a bit more quiet than the original but again I am not sure since I haven't used it much. I will say that new mat was super sticky, and right now still is, and in my excitement I am sure I didn't prep the mat as well as I should have.

The software that comes with the Vue seems like it is going to be easier to learn than I thought and it does have a lot of features like Make the Cut. I am however waiting patiently for MTC to get the plug-in for the Vue so I can go back to using it. Hopefully I can start playing with the new machine soon and get to know this machine as well as I have my machines in the past.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ladies Only...WARNING!!

Okay I haven't posted in quite sometime but I really have the need to post about this matter so all my lady friends *okie thinks that even the unladylike friends as well* can be warned about a certain product that might be bought for delicate matters.

It seems to happen to all of us women from time to time, some more than others, and it is not something I like to discuss...especially in mixed company so any men readers please leave at this time *okie points to the man standing in the back* Ummm, yeah you...LEAVE! Anyway, we all have to deal with that dreaded yeast infection *okie cringes and her face turns bright red even saying the word*. Years ago there was the 7 day treatment and you had to go to the doctor to get it but now days you are able to diagnose your own situation and can run down to the corner store and choose from a wide array of products that vary from 1 day, 3 day and 7 day. Most of the products I can't even pronounce so that lets me know they gotta be good and work well...RIGHT?

Now is the confession time...I had go get a treatment the other night and as I stood in the aisle looking at the buffet of creams and suppositories that was shelved in front of me I was in awe of the choices available.

I being a person of instant gratification I grabbed the Equate Tioconazole 1 day treatment  and shoved it under my arm, concealing it in case I ran into anyone I knew, and left the aisle. I was thrilled with the idea of having relief by the next morning and not having to repeat treatment over several nights. Of course since it was still early evening time I had to wait until bed time to use the product.

The instructions were simple and I followed the directions for the treatment feeling a bit smug about being a smarty pants and finding a 1 day treatment. Somehow I never even thought about how when something seems too good to be true it usually is...I likely won't make that mistake again and well...the following is the review I wrote for, whether it gets approved or not is another matter. I just wanted to warn others about this product and since I don't know if it will get approved I thought I would swallow my pride and share my experience here with you ladies.

I tried this product with hopes of it knocking out the irritating itching of a yeast infection and I didn't bother to read the warnings until AFTER I had inserted the product and noticed some slight burning and was afraid I was having some allergic reaction. As I read information about the product the burning started to get worse. I quickly logged onto the internet and started reading more about this product and found a lot more information about the side effects, especially the burning part. If you have ever seen Breaking Dawn and saw where Bella had turned into a vampire and she was grabbing at her throat and burning from the inside out then that is what I would compare it to! If that is not a good example then think about your womanhood being on trial in the Medieval Period and being sentenced to most excruciating form of execution...BURNED AT THE STAKE! I really don't think that is an exaggeration.

A friend of mine had used a one day treatment and she said it worked so I texted her and told her "I'm on fire internally!" She assured me it would be better by the next day. I texted her back with "If not then I'm going to the ER to have a coochiectomy!" I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to sleep and was even afraid to move in the bed because it made the pain worse but luckily after an hour or so of writhing in pain from the internal fire that was supposedly medication I was able to go to sleep.

I woke up the next morning and ERMAHGERD I had some major swelling going on. Although I didn't take a look and see for sure but I am thinking my nether regions had turned into the Michelin Man. I took a shower and tried to rinse the area thoroughly with cool water in hopes of reducing the swelling and allowing me to walk half way normal so I wouldn't have to explain the reasons for my rather odd gait. I did notice that as time passed the swelling went down and the pain had reduced to just a mild irritation. By that next afternoon I felt so much better and by that evening I think I felt almost normal again. I think it did knock out the yeast infection in one day and that was a definite plus but I am not sure I would use the product again due to all the side effects.

I gave the product 4 stars because it is effective and after the tortured suffered and survived I feel that my coochie must now be immortal, that within its self is worth 5 stars, however I will stick with the 4 star rating. If you want something that works fast and you can withstand your coochie suffering extreme torture I highly recommend this product. If you are not into pain and find no problem with doing a 3 day treatment then I would say go that route.

So now you know my shame and you know my feelings about this product. So please be warned if you are thinking about getting fast relief with this product just remember the torturous effects it can have as well!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


I know this is really short notice but I am hoping my card making friends can grab a card or make a quick card and send to this little boy for his birthday. I saw this on Facebook but then again on Yahoo news. I have my card addressed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow so it will make it for his birthday on the 25th.

Danny  is a 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards. You can read his full story here -


Here is the mailing information for Danny:
Danny Nickerson
P.O. Box 212
Foxboro, MA 02035

So folks if you have an extra card, have time to make a quick card and a stamp please take time to  get one done immediately and mail out tomorrow. Let's make this little boy's wish come true!

Saturday, July 12, 2014



Okay thought I better check in and give ya'll a heads up on why I haven't been posting much lately. As most of you know I have an abundance of friends, not acquaintances, but true friends that I have had for years, some 20+ years matter of fact *okie looks up gives God a little shout out for blessing and enriching her life with such wonderful friends*. These are the type of friends I don't have to talk to all the time or be with them every day and we may go months without seeing each other or talking to each other but when we do then it's like no time has passed.

Around the beginning of June my friend Nancy, whom I've known since college, and I decided we needed a dinner date. Well that one fateful dinner date has lead to us spending many hours together during the last month. She has introduced me to the fact that there is life outside my craftroom! I have met new people, had interesting conversations with strangers *okie laughs at some of the interesting conversations she has had with Nancy*, been to an outdoor concert, been to the movies, had someone to spend time with in the pool and just basically a best friend to hang out with and do things with. And ya know what...It's great!

Nancy and I have kids around the same age and actually our girls use to spend a lot of time together when they were in grade school and either her daughter was at my house or my daughter at her house most every weekend for awhile. Her daughter even got snowed in at my house one time during an unexpected snow storm and while Nancy was quite worried her daughter kept telling her she was fine and was having fun. Her daughter, Brianne, actually even potty trained my daughter. They went to the same daycare and the daycare worked on a buddy system of potty training. Brianne is older than Shiane and every time Brianne needed to use the bathroom she would go get Shiane and take her to the bathroom. I always said I needed to pay for Brianne's college for that wonderful feat!

So anyway now you know what has been keeping me busy lately and I'm going to just enjoy this time with my friend right now because it seems like our times together over the years have been much like the changing of the seasons. I figure, like always, it will eventually come the season where it goes dormant for awhile so for now I will enjoy sowing our oats, watching our friendship bond grow and harvest the wonderful friendship we share.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cricut Cartridge Storage - SVG File Available

Quite some time ago I made a post CRICUT CART STORAGE and included videos on how I stored my cartridges and handbooks. I have long given up a on the cartridge based system but I still think this was the best way I found to store all those carts and handbooks and it took up a lot less space and made it easy to find what cartridge I was looking to use. I have gotten some questions lately about the little cart box and if I have the file still available. I made the original file in Design Studio and then I did make a file to use with the Gypsy.

I know that the new Cricut Explore has a program where you can use SVG files and I am now sharing the file in SVG format *okie  hears the gasps from those who  know that okie hates converting files* because I truly believe this is an awesome way to store those pesky little cartridges.

This is an old picture from when I did the file in Design Studio so don't pay attention to all the lines.  To assemble fold on all the scored lines, which will be cut for you. You can just line it up and fold, no need for a bone folder *is that what it is called?* for this. Apply adhesive *I used my ATG gun* to the side flaps on the back side and then apply adhesive on the front side bigger flaps.

Fold the smaller side flaps up and then fold the larger flaps to the back of the box.

Oh and I did use a corner rounded just because I thought it looked better.

This file is made to cut 6 boxes at a time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

There Is An Easier Way To Do Large Vinyl Projects!

So after thinking I was a smarty pants about figuring out how to make larger vinyl projects I was informed that Make The Cut has a "Tiler" function that does the same thing for you and it is much simpler! Bryan from MTC was kind enough to share some links with me and I found this video to be most beneficial and I thought I would share it with you guys.


I am terrible about not reading instructions for things and I guess if I had taken time to read the manual I would have found this out long ago. Oh well I still say I was a bit genius to figure out the method I did anyway HA HA HA.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cutting Large Vinyl Projects - Tutorial

For so long I thought I was limited to cutting the largest vinyl projects to a 12x24 cutting mat and there have been some things I would have liked to cut larger but never thought outside the box, which is odd for me since I think my brain tends to live outside the box most of the time. But I have now learned that I can cut things much larger and this is gonna be an EPIC change in things I do with vinyl!

A few weeks my friend Dave and his 12 year old son Tayden came over to visit and Tayden was a bit mesmerized by my craftroom. Tayden had a lot of questions and was rather intrigued about things I could cut. He asked if I could cut him a Ghostrider for his bedroom wall. I told him if he could find me a decent picture that I might be able to cut it for him. He sat on the computer looking at pictures for quite sometime and finally found one he liked. I looked at it nervously and told him "I can't promise I can get a clean trace and cut it but I'll try my best".

After several traces, cleaning up images, figuring out how to cut it bigger and then putting it to the test this was the end result.

The image is approximately 30" x 22", so almost 3 times as large as the largest vinyl project I have cut! When I thought about cutting this I knew I should probably document how I did it in case there were questions and I decided to go ahead and do a tutorial.

The tutorial is for Make The Cut only since I do not know how other programs work. Please don't ask me how to make it work in other programs because I will likely cuss you out *okie gets ready to give the evil eye to anyone who asks*. You have been warned!

WORD OF CAUTION: Continue to save your project throughout the process. I would have for people to go through all this and then lose the project because they didn't save periodically.

First make your image as large as you can to work with while still seeing the full image on the screen. 

Make two lines that are longer than the image and place them where you need them. Since I don't know how big of an image you want to cut I can't tell you specifics. Now copy both and paste on another mat, you will need this for line placement in a few steps down.

Next do a "boolean" join and choose the option "B-A Difference" and hit apply. This will split the image into sections.

With the image selected, in other words the box should be around the image, click the "break" function as to break up all the image.

Now you should have all the grey boxes around the pieces of the image.

Now take your mouse and box all of the middle image together and click "Join". The two outer parts of the image should still have all the little grey boxes around them.

Since my middle section was taller I was able to draw a box around the outer pieces without it effecting the section I just made. You may need to do each side individually depending on your project. Once you have the outer sides selected then click on "delete".

All that should be left on your mat at this point is the image that was in the middle that was "joined".

Copy your middle image and paste it to a NEW LAYER on the mat that you copy and pasted earlier. You should see something like this. I keep my layers in different colors so I can see them more easily.

Break your lines you have joined so you can move them independently and line the OUTER edge of the line to edge of the middle image. 

Next, "HIDE" your middle image. Select the long lines and join those lines. Then select both images that are showing on the mat and use the "BOOLEAN JOIN" function as explained in previous step.

Do an image "Break" and get rid of the middle section. You can join the outer sections individually before or after you delete the middle image.

Now you should be able to faintly see the middle image from the hidden layer and you should have two outer images. If you haven't joined those individually then do so now.

Make the hidden layer visible so you can see if your images are lined up correctly. If not then you screwed up somewhere or I didn't explain it right but I'm going with the you screwed up theory. And that is mainly for my friend Carmen because she tends to try and blame me when she is not listening and following what I am trying to tell her what to do.

Next zoom out so you have plenty of white space on your screen and the image and mat look small.

Select all images and rotate 90 degrees. 

Now resize your image to how big you want. I chose to go almost 24 inches on this one. Since I was using a Cricut cutting mat I had to be mindful of the margins since they don't fit perfectly in my Pazzles machine.

You will now want to add each section to a "NEW LAYER" so you will be able to "HIDE" the layers you are not cutting at the time. See the "LAYERS" menu for example if needed.

Now this is just a little tip and not necessary for all images - My image had a lot of "nodes" so I chose to break each image and then join parts of each one and then adding to new layers as I went so when I got ready to cut my machine didn't freak out due to there being so many "nodes". If you do this just make sure you know exactly which main image you are cutting and don't cut the wrong one. If this frightens you then just copy and paste each image to a new mat and do it that way so it isn't as confusing.

Now you are ready for cutting. Right before cutting you may want to say a little prayer or have some wine to calm the nerves.

After cutting and weeding the images then you need to decide if you are going to just keep them separate or join them together for application. If you are doing this for someone to apply later then you might want to join the image before adding the transfer tape.

I did join this image and to join I cut along the inner edges of the two outside images with scissors. On the back of the middle image I put tape and let it overhang the edge so when I laid the outside image down it would be taped together. 

I did find it easier to keep the middle image on the cutting mat to join the long sheets together so I didn't have it moving around.

Here is a close up so you can see how the image matches up. Now it might not be absolutely perfect but it should be close enough.

Now just add your transfer tape and you are ready to go! 

I certainly hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and that someone uses it because it was a real pain the ass to take all the pictures, edit them, watermark them, upload them and then write all the steps out! *okie falls out chair laughing*