Art Journaling, Blog

Moroccan Travel Journal For Cox & Kings

If you cast you mind back to last Thursday, all those days ago, before the weekend and everything, you might remember that I’m taking part in a competition being sponsored by Cox & Kings. Myself and four other artist / bloggers have been asked to make something inspired by the Cox & Kings Morocco Tours. We all got to choose a photograph to take as our inspiration and here is the one I chose…

Moroccan tile inspiration photo from Cox and Kings

[Photograph from Cox & Kings]

I wasn’t really sure what to make, but then it hit me, what do artists need when they travel? A travel journal of course!

Moroccan tile inspired Travel art journal by Kim Dellow

I was very glad I had a photo with Moroccan tiles, so I thought I would try to reproduce them in my make.

View of the binding of the Moroccan tile inspired Travel art journal by Kim Dellow

I used a French Link stitch to bind the journal, which was fun as I hadn’t used that particular binding before.

The signatures are made up of a range of different papers so there is lots of choice for sketching, painting, journalling in this travel journal. You can pop photos in it too and there is a folder in the back to store all your travel ephemera.


[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

View of the pages of the Moroccan tile inspired Travel art journal by Kim Dellow

I even found some paper in my stash that had a map of Morocco too!

inside the Moroccan tile inspired Travel art journal by Kim Dellow

If you don’t want to know how I put the cover together then skip down to the bottom now to check out the websites of my fellow participants.

The cover is a mixed media piece. I thought I would do a little experiment, I’ve been meaning to try designing some stencils and masks with software to then cut with the Silhouette Cameo, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to give it a go.

I started in Photoshop Elements with my inspiration photograph and selected the elements that I wanted in the tile portion of the photograph.

Setting up the Moroccan tile design in Photoshop by Kim Dellow

I also changed some of the elements to get a full tile and to add a bit more symmetry in the places where the picture wasn’t complete. Once I had my new tile I opened the file in Inkscape.

Turning the Moroccan tile design into a cutting file in Silhouette Studio by Kim Dellow

As you can imagine, working from a photograph in Photoshop meant that the elements of the tile were quite pixelated and I used Inskape to clean up the edges of the shapes so that I could then use the file to create a cutting file in Silhouette Studio.

The finished cutting file by Kim Dellow

I then used the cutting file to cut a mask from oil-coated card which I then used to paint the tile onto the cover with acrylic paint.

Using the DIY Moroccan tile inspired stencil by Kim Dellow

I had already prepared the cover with a collage of paper printed with my Thursday blog post translated into Arabic with Google Translate, fixed and then painted with Gesso.

Once I finished the stenciling I used the mask again to put a layer of clear texture paste over the pattern to give it the look of tiles and a bit of dimension, then lightly distressed the edges of the covers to bring the whole book together.

Close up of the finished travel art journal cover by Kim Dellow

It was a great learning process and a big thank you to Cox & Kings for the inspiration and motivation to try out my little experiment!

Going by their blogs I know that the other guys, Vandy Massey, Jenny Keal, Concetta Perôt and Alan Reed, will have some amazing and different pieces to show you and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has done. So pop on over to their websites to take a peek.

Thanks for popping by.

Kim


Blog, tutorial

Silhouette Cameo September Inspiration – All About The Chevrons Part 4

Welcome to the last part of my chevron-inspired series of September Silhouette Cameo tutorials.

I feel like I should have a jingle! Ok so I have no jingle but I do have plenty of chevrons!

Last week, in Part 3, I left you with some zigzags made from the chevrons in my first tutorial in the first week in September. So what did I do with them?

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

Well first off I made some more of them. Using the tutorial in Part 3 I filled my 6 x 6 inch work space with zigzags then I used the Rectangle tool to draw around the zigzags.

Next I thought I would make a mask so I decided to cut the zigzags from a cereal box.

I used masking tape to make sure the cereal box wouldn’t move and set it to the Coverstock – Heavy – 285 gsm setting which gives you a speed of 1 and tells you to set the blade to 7.

Then I used the mask with some spray inks…

To make this card…

So that is is idea number one, the next use for my zigzags was to cut them from patterned papers.

This time I used the Patterned paper – medium weight 180 gsm setting and reset my blade to 3. I also cut several strips of paper next to each other to get different zigzags in different papers using just one run through the Silhouette Cameo.

And this gave me this card…

I then went back to the zigzag cereal box mask to use it with paints this time.

and a good excuse to use my new fluorescent paints and the chevron stamp I carved in part 2 of this series

to make this card…

Thanks for joining me in this month of Chevron inspiration with the Silhouette Cameo.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Kim


Related Articles:

All About The Chevrons Part 1 – Your Basic Chevron

All About The Chevrons Part 2 – Chevron Stamp Making

All About The Chevron Part 3 – When Chevrons Become Zigzags



Blog, tutorial

Silhouette Cameo September Inspiration – All About The Chevrons Part 3

Welcome to the third instalment to my chevron-inspired series of Silhouette Cameo tutorials.

Last week I used my Silhouette Studio designed chevrons to make my own carved stamps

This week I thought I would show you how to make some zig zag patterns from the chevron designs.

Cast your mind way, way back to week 1 and the first Chevron instalment

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

You remember don’t you? This is my basic pattern that I’ve been using for all the Chevron projects and I showed you how to make it in the first week.

Using this pattern again, select all the chevrons and use the Align Bottom tool before duplicating them using the drop down menu in the Edit Tools or the ctrl-D shortcut. 

Move the duplicate chevrons so that they sit exactly over the original chevron pattern, then use the Flip Vertically tool in the Transform menu in the Object drop down menu.

Tip: Don’t forget to do the Align step before duplicating the chevrons.


Now move the duplicate chevrons down until the tops of the duplicate chevrons are lined up perfectly with the bottom of the original chevrons. 

Select all the chevrons and use the Weld Tool…

to get some not-so-instant Zig Zags! Yay! Wahoo! We have Zig Zags!

Tip: If the selected shapes don’t merge try deselecting then, select only the duplicate chevrons and move them up very slightly, then reselect all the chevrons and try to weld again. Keep repeating this process until the shapes are near enough to weld together.

Just imagine what would happen if you repeat the process now…

Is that more Zig Zags?

Catch you next week for the last Chevron instalment for the Silhouette Cameo, and to see what I did with these Zig Zags!

Kim


Related Articles:

All About The Chevrons Part 1 – Your Basic Chevron

All About The Chevrons Part 2 – Chevron Stamp Making

All About The Chevron Part 4 – Zigzag Masks



Blog, tutorial

Silhouette Cameo September Inspiration – All About The Chevrons Part 2

Welcome to the second instalment to my chevron-inspired series of Silhouette Cameo tutorials.

If you remember last week I designed some chevrons in the Silhouette Studio, this week I thought we could do something with the chevrons, so how about some stamp making?

I’m really excited to see that the stamp-making material to use with your Silhouette Cutting Machines has reached these shores. Making stamps with the Silhouette Cameo has been on my wish list for a while. I haven’t managed to get my hands on one of the Silhouette Stamping making kits yet but as I love carving my own stamps I thought I would use my chevrons from last week to make some hand-carved stamps.

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

So to pick up from where we left off. If you remember we had designed a small row of chevrons, select all of them and duplicate them. 

Move the new chevrons to the right-hand side and re-select all of the chevrons, then align the tops with the Align Tool.

Now use the Rectangle Tool to draw a large rectangle around the chevrons and cut.

I’ve cut my shapes from 250gsm card to make a template for my hand carving.

Stick it onto the stamp carving block with some masking tape or Scotch tape and carefully start carving using the template to guide the knife.

You will need a delicate hand for some of the thinner shapes but patience and a steady hand will win out! Trim the stamp and ink it up to test it on paper and then remove any bits that you don’t want showing.

So there you are: a hand-carved chevron stamp to use again and again made with your Silhouette Studio and Silhouette cutting machine.

Join me next week for some more Silhouette and Chevron fun.

Kim


Related Articles:

All About The Chevrons Part 1 – Your Basic Chevron

All About The Chevrons Part 3 – When Chevrons Become Zigzags

All About The Chevron Part 4 – Zigzag Masks



Blog, tutorial

Silhouette Cameo September Inspiration – All About The Chevrons

Is the chevron trend over? I certainly hope not ‘coz I am still obsessed with them, so much so that I thought I would share some of my chevron love with you guys in this series of tutorials and inspiration using the the Silhouette Cameo over the next few weeks.

So who is up for some chevron designing? 

Yeah! Let’s do this! Eyes down for Part One in my Silhouette Cameo September Chevrons Series:

Now these aren’t going to be the most perfectly geometrical chevrons you have seen, I wanted some chevrons with a bit of personality.

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

The first thing I like to do is to change the size of my mat to the size of my project, which for this is 6 by 6 inch. But you don’t have to if you are happy working in the default size. 

Then use the Draw A Polygon Tool to draw your first chevron shape.

Next, click the Edit Points Tool and change the shape if you need to. I straightened my top line just a smidgen.

Then select and duplicate the shape either via the Edit drop down or with the ctrl-D shortcut and align the top edges and move the duplicate shape to the right of the original shape.

You can use the Edit Points Tool again to change the lines of the shapes if you need to then move the duplicate shape away from the first one.

You can keep duplicating and reshaping to your heart’s content.

And there you have some chevrons. 

Come back next week for Part Two in my Silhouette Cameo September Chevrons Series.

Catch you later.

Kim

Related Articles:

All About The Chevrons Part 2 – Chevron Stamp Making

All About The Chevrons Part 3 – When Chevrons Become Zigzags

All About The Chevron Part 4 – Zigzag Masks



Blog, tutorial

Making Hearts In Silhouette Studio

I have a tutorial for you today, one in my Electronic Cutting Machine series sharing some things that I’ve leant using the Silhouette Cameo.

One of the best things about the Silhouette machines is that you get so much flexibility and creative freedom even with the free basic Silhouette Studio software. I know you can buy lots of lovely hearts in the online Silhouette shop but I do like a bit of making things for myself!

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

So if you do too how about trying this…

(If you are having problems seeing the pictures then try opening them up in a new tab in your browser.)

To start you need to draw an ellipse, I’ve made my workspace mat the same size as my card blank to give me an idea of the size I want the heart to be.

Then copy and paste the ellipse and select both ellipses and use the align tool and align centre to line up the two shapes. I then deselected the left-hand ellipse and moved the right one a smidgen (technical term) to the right.

The next step is to slightly rotate each ellipse, the left one to the left and right to the right then select both of them and weld them into one shape.

You can see the heart starting to take shape. Now you need to select the Edit Points tool and start to move the points until you are happy with the shape.

 I started with the bottom point of the heart, I moved the points then smoothed the line using the path nodes (the grey points that appear either side of the main point when you select it).

I then change any of the other points on the heart and the line paths until I like the look of the heart.

There you have it, a heart, ready to cut in Silhouette Studio. There are different ways to draw hearts, you could try drawing one freehand with the Draw Freehand tool or you could use the method above but use a circle as your starting shape instead of two ellipses. So have fun, play around and see what you can come up with!

Catch you later.

Kim


Blog, tutorial

Making Mini Tabs In Silhouette Studio

Do you remember back in April I did a review for the Silhouette Cameo? Wow, was that April already? Where does the time go? In that review I showed a card, all designed and cut in the Silhouette Studio software.

I thought I would show how I made the little mini-tabs in Silhouette Studio, which is the basic software that comes with the cutting machine.

Before we start the software defaults to inches, I don’t mind working in inches but sometimes I just find it easier to work in centimetres, but it is easy to change the software to measure in centimetres.

(If you are having problems seeing the pictures then try opening them up in a new tab in your browser.)

Got to the ‘File’ drop-down menu and choose ‘Preferences’ which is three up from the bottom of the list.

Pick ‘Measurements’ from the list on the left in the new pop-up window and pick ‘Centimeters’

I then like to change my design mat to the size of the card I am working on, in this case an A6 (10.5 cm by 14.8 cm), to make it easier to judge the size of the elements.

So tap the page option if the ‘Page’ tab isn’t already open and change the width and height. You can always resize it again later if you want.

Ok, on with making the mini-tab! On the left hand-side there are all your line and shapes tools, pick the rounded-corner rectangle (third in that mini-list) and draw a rectangle to the size you want it. then pick the circle and draw a circle.

Select both shapes and use the ‘Align’ option to align centre the two shapes relative to each other.

Then pick the ‘Weld’ tool to merge the two shapes into one. Almost there!

Now it is time to trim the Tab into shape, so pick the ‘Knife’ tool, this is such a cool tool! With the ‘Knife’ tool selected, click on the left-hand side of the tab, near the bottom of the shape, hold the button down and stretch the tool over to the right-hand side of the shape. Keep the line horizontal as you drag the cursor across the shape and you have a straight line cut when you release the button.

Ta Da! You now have two shapes!

Select the bottom shape and delete it, hitting backspace, or the scissor icon or even using delete in the ‘Edit’ drop-down menu will get rid of it for you.

Yay! A mini-tab that you can now add a shape to, or some writing, or even leave as it is if you like. Oh and of course you can now cut it out too!

Happy cutting.

Kim


Blog

Silhouette Cameo – Electronic Cutting Machine Review

It’s time for a mini-review, well more of a first thoughts on a product blog post, and the product I’ve been playing with is the Silhouette Cameo electronic cutting machine.


PLEASE NOTE: This review is for the Silhouette Cameo but the product links go to the up-to-date Silhouette Cameo 3 and the most current software which is now available! I don’t have the current model so the review is true for the older model.


If you haven’t come across electronic cutting machines before, they work in a similar way to your home printer but instead of printing they are loaded with a knife and cut shapes out. Some machines come with cutting mats and some don’t. Also some machines can stand alone to cut and some need to be plugged into your PC or MAC to cut.

[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]

The Silhouette Cameo comes with a 12″ by 12″ cutting mat and can be plugged into your computer. But it also has a memory card slot and you can cut from the memory card using the LCD screen on the machine itself, I’ve not tried this yet, it is on my list!

I found the Silhouette Cameo easy to set up, and it come with the basic Silhouette Studio® software on a CDRom, but I also updated it to the newest version for free via the Silhouette America site

Now, I’m the sort of person that just likes to plug things in, press all the buttons and not read the manual and yes it has led to difficulties in the past. This machine wasn’t quite plug in and go and I was very well behaved and worked my way through the very easy to follow set-up manual.

The machine itself measures 53.1 cm x 16.5 cm x 12.7 cm (20.9” x 6.5” x 5”) and weighs 2.96 kg, it can apparently cut as small as 1/4” and up to 12” wide and 10 feet long, another thing on my list to try. You can find the full specs in this PDF on the US website

The blade comes in a plastic housing not attached to the machine and you need to set the depth of the cutting blade manually with the supplied plastic ratchet before loading the blade into the machine, but this is all part of the set-up info you get.

As I said, the machine comes with the basic Silhouette Studio® software and if you want even more creative input you can upgrade, for around £30-£45 (UK) to the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition. If you want a comparison of the features of the two Silhouette software then check out this PDF file.

With the Silhouette software you can access the online cutting files from the Silhouette America online store, you get access to some 51 free files but you will need to buy other files and I believe that most machines come with a $10 voucher to help start you off. You will also find free files each week in the online store, so keep your eye out for them.

The Silhouette Studio® software reminded me of using software like Inkscape (the open source equivalent to Adobe Illustrator). I love playing with creative software and if you do too you will take to it easily. If you aren’t used to using this type of software you might find it a steeper learning curve than you would find with some of the competing cutting machine software, but stick with it as the flexibility and creative freedom it allows you is totally worth it!

One of the biggest advantages with the Silhouette machines is that you can design your own cutting files. But if you want to design and import your own SVG cutting files you do need to upgrade to the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition *so on my wish list*.

You can, however, actually design some of your own cuts even with the basic software and the photo frame, tab and sentiment on the card below were made to my own simple design using the basic Silhouette Studio® software and cutting some Studio Calico paper from the Heyday collection. 

Hey not bad for a first cut. Obviously I’ve got loads more to learn about this machine (you should see the list of accessories!). But you can see that it cuts well, you can use the fonts already loaded on your computer with no hassle at all and even weld them together like I did for the sentiment on this make.

Don’t forget to get yourself a free sign-in at the Silhouette America online store to access all the downloads.

So if you are thinking about adding an electronic cutting machine to your tool kit then I would give a HUGE thumbs up for the Silhouette Cameo, I LOVE using this machine. It cuts beautifully and there is a whole realm of creativity it opens up to you and I’m excited to explore this machine some more and hopefully share the results with you too.

But I would love to know what you think about the electronic cutting machines, do you have one? Do you want one? If so which one and why?

Thanks for popping by.

Kim

[Disclaimer Time: I wasn’t paid to write this review, however, I did get a machine to review. But as with all my reviews I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]