Crafting Takes Courage

Lately, I’ve been wondering where I fit into the crafting/blogging universe.  There are lots of “how to” blogs with some really great information and lots of incredibly knowledgeable people at the helm of these blogs.  People I consider my friends and Crafting Heroes.

And then there’s me.  I’m not really a trail blazer when it comes to crafting.  I can replicate and maybe make changes to think to make them mine; but when it comes to creating something out of nothing; well I lack a little vision… and courage.

I’ve been teaching people the wonders of the Silhouette Cameo for several months now.  We’ve talked about the machine and the software and we’ve done a few projects.  The theme that seemed to come from these classes is that I’ve helped my students find their courage to create.  I’ve helped them through the fear of messing up a project, destroying a mat or just finding a starting point in a project.  I’ve been able to give them the knowledge they need to be successful and that’s been amazing so far.

So when I sit in the living room and I see all the blog posts in my facebook feed, I don’t really have to wonder where I fit in.  My space is to give others courage to try something new and different; to look out over the edge and that take step, knowing that someone is really only a phone call or a text or an email away.  To be brave.

So I’m going to borrow “creativity takes courage” and change it a little to “Crafting takes Courage” (Thank you Henri Matisse).

Just call me the crafting cheerleader!! 🙂  What you want to do; you can do it!  I have faith in YOU.  Try that thing.  Open that box.  Go you!

How to Make a Template with Silhouette Studio

I’ve had a few requests on how to make a template for etching with the Silhouette Cameo.

So let’s jump right in.

Here’s a list of the things you’re going to need:

  • A set of calipers that measure in millimeters
  • the item you want to measure
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • your Silhouette Software

I got my calipers through Amazon. These calipers aren’t available anymore; but in all honesty, any will do; and they don’t have to be expensive.  They need to be digital; they need the  ability to go from inches to metric and they need a zero function for accuracy.  That’s really it.

The item that I used was a sublimation dog tag.  It’s basically a rounded rectangle.

To begin, take your calipers and make sure they’re starting at zero (in my case, I’d turn them on and tap the zero button).  Measure the item you need the template for in both the length and width (in my case, I suffer from CRS can’t remember stuff) so I have to write it down.  Then measure any actual holes you want to work around as well as the distance from the hole to the outer edge.

Now that you have the numbers; consider the SHAPE of the object.  For what I used as my example (a dog tag); it’s mostly circle AND rectangle.  So you could be fancy and use the modify window to make that exact shape; but in this case, really all you need is a basic shape to keep the item from wobbling as you work; and for that, a rectangle will do.

So, now we go to the software.  using the rectangle tool, draw out your rectangle.  With your rectangle selected, you should see the height and width in numbers listed in the ribbon.

Square & Coords

Enter the measurements you took earlier (the ones I would have had to write down).  That is the EXACT size of your blank.  Now to make it fit a template; you have to make it SLIGHTLY larger.  How much larger you ask?  Honestly a very tiny bit.  When I do it; I will increase my dimensions by .5 or less.  You want a tight fit but not too tight.  Yeah, I know it’s not an exact science.  In my case, my measurements were width – 25.5 x length of 51.  I would probably go to 29.75 x 51.25. So with the rectangle selected; I go to the ribbon and enter the new numbers.

I generally cut mine out on paper first to check the fit.  You want the item you’re going to etch to go into the hole you cut cleanly; with very little wiggle room.

Then once that’s done; I will cut the shape in chipboard and use that as my template.  I stick it down to the curio mat (I like using protectofilm on top of the regular sticky mat then sticking the chipboard to that and then using painter’s tape on top of that and using a rubber brayer to make everything stick as well as possible.

Now when I etch acrylic, I don’t even use a template to hold my acrylic in place.  I use the grids on the mat for placement, protectofilm and a LOT of painter’s tape.

For a circle that has a hole, I place the hole in the cross-hairs of where a horizontal and vertical line cross; carefully line up the bottom and then use the brayer to really press it to the protecto film.  then I tape it all around the top and very close the bottom on the sides and also around the edges; to the point that sucker is nailed down.

For squares I will find an alignment point and line it up on the mat tape it down like before; play Santa (check everything twice).  In the software, I’ll draw a rectangle or square; turn the color green; put my design inside the green square, center it; and when I etch; I choose to cut by color; I just don’t cut the green.

Another little tidbit… if you hold the shift key while drawing a shape it will keep it’s shape (it won’t elongate, etc).  If you’re drawing a line; the shift key will help you draw a straight line.


All Things Silhouette and Cutting Vinyl without a Mat

A lot has happened to our hero since you last spoke with her.  She went to All Things Silhouette in Peachtree City Georgia at the beginning of the month and had an absolutely amazing time!!!

I always learn so much when I’m there, and I get to catch up with friends, and just generally be immersed with like minded people I call my tribe.  In 2019, we’ve been promised two conferences this year, one in June and one in November.  I can’t wait to hear about the finalized dates so I can make my plans.

If one of your loves (or even just a hobby) is a Silhouette machine, you should check out the conference.  It’s an amazing thing a should not be missed!  This time, I learned about some of the amazing things that will be coming out in version 4.2; as well as a few new paper techniques; a metal clay demonstration; and more on how to use the silhouette studio software to design some amazing pieces of artwork!

Okay, now to the OTHER reason for my post.  I’ve been asked through email to assist with how to cut vinyl without a mat.  I made a video for the person who asked; but I thought I’d also devote some words on it.

In case you’re interested; here’s my first video EVEr: Silhouette Cameo 3 how to cut vinyl without a mat

Let’s start with Things to Remember:

  1. Be sure your Page Size is set to the width and length of your project and the cutting Cutting Mat is set to “No Mat”
  2. Make sure the white roller on the right has been unlocked and moved into the next set of marks and locked back in place (the part I tend to forget is to make sure the lever on the right of the machine is in the UP position.
  3. Make sure your blade is in the machine properly (no gap AT ALL between the blade flange as the housing; also be sure the blade is locked in place; and is in TOOL 1 (it has a red open circle on the blade housing on the machine)
  4. Go back to the software and look at the Send tab.  Be sure that the blade in your machine matches the correct tool (Tool 1 is Red, tool 2 is Blue) and that the correct cut type is chosen.
  5. Be sure you’ve chosen the correct material (BE SURE TO MIRROR YOUR IMAGE IF YOU’RE USING HTV); the action is correct; and you have the correct blade type.  If you’re using a ratchet double check the blade depth.  If you’re using HTV< be sure to load with the shiny side DOWN.
  6. Get a roller feeder.  It really is the best thing in the world for cutting straight from the roll.  It’s got sliced bread beat hands down!
  7. TEST CUT.  TEST CUT.  TEST CUT.  Always and forever.  Do a test cut every time you change materials, every time you change projects.  You can’t do too many test cuts and just because a particular setting worked well yesterday, doesn’t mean that same setting will work today.

Okay, that’s really for how to cut vinyl without a mat; go enjoy your Turkey!

As always, I’m happy to help answer any questions you may have; feel free to email me at; or facebook message me through our company page Gina’s Goodys VIPs & Friends.  We’d love to hear from you!

Speaking of Sliced Bread. . . .Happy Thanksgiving!!!




I’m SO Intimidated/frustrated. . .

You’re not alone.  These machines (the Silhouette and the Curio) look very intimidating.  If there was a secret, and I’m not saying there is; but if there was, it would be this.  Go SLOW and be boring.. at first.

People get so excited that they want to rip it out of the box and get going.  I unerstand the excitement, I really do.  But there really is an order to things.  As someone has said, following the steps will set you free.  There are tons of videos out there about unboxing and setting it up; so I’m not going into that here.

What I will say is that following their steps will set you free.  Do the firmware update.  Really.  It will save you heartache and frustration.  If you’re new to the Silhouette software, don’t do the beta version. Use the current version until you get some time under your belt.

My next suggestion isn’t going to be slick or glamorous.  But it will help.  Go to your local Michael’s or JoAnns and buy cardstock.  Plain cardstock.  No textures.  Not the pads; just the one color cardstock from the loose paper.  Cardstock is usually one color and it’s thicker than scrapbook paper.

Once you get home, as you walk by your  bedroom duck in and grab an old t-shirt.  once you get to your machine, pick up your mat and take the blue cover off, exposing the sticky surface.  It will be VERY sticky.  VERY. Use that t-shirt an blot it all over your mat to reduce the stickiness.  Keep going until it’s just barely sticky.  Now it’s ready for Cardstock.  When you graduate to vinyl; once you pull it off a time or two the mat will lose it’s stickiness and then it’s good to use for paper.  I rotate my mats.  First several uses is for vinyl (adhesive or heat transfer); then they step down to paper; and then when they totally lose stickiness, I cut them down and use them for templates.

Now you’re ready to cut… something.  My suggestion here is to cut a square or a circle or some other incredibly simple shape.  Use this opportunity to get used to working with the cut settings.  waste some paper.

Wait.. what?!  Waste paper?!  Yep.  Use paper for your learning curve and save the expensive stuff (like vinyl) for when you’ve got a bit more experience.  You’ll be glad you did.  When you’re down to your last scrap of blue vinyl and it’ll take a week to get more, you’ll be glad you wasted that paper.

The other pearls of wisdom are probably not going to be ones people want to hear either but they need to be said.  I can’t promise that if you follow all of these you won’t ever have an issue and all your cuts will be awesome and perfect.  But I do think they’ll help.

  1.  Just because you now have a machine, doesn’t mean should accept orders from friends, family members or even your website.  If you haven’t made it before, don’t agree to make it.  Be honest and tell them you’ve never made a left handed widget and it’s going to take you a while to figure it out.  If they’re willing to wait for it, you’ll put it on your learning list and you’ll get it to them, whenever (don’t accept money.  I can tell you from experience.  People who accept a commission and then come to Facebook for help end up getting really frustrated.
  2. Don’t give yourself a deadline.  “I have two weeks to make embossed wedding invitations for my daughter’s wedding” and the machine just arrived.  You don’t need the stress, and it’ll just make you end up hating the machine and the wedding and everyone involved
  3. Take your time.  Learn the process; live the process, enjoy the journey.  Yes, there are people out there who make incredibly gorgeous things (I can think of several.  Cindy Pope, Mags Bonham, Carl Tribble are just a few who pop to mind.  They didn’t pop the machine out of the box and went from zero to artist in 10 seconds.
  4. Learn from your mistakes.  Hold it in your hand and ask yourself what went wrong.
  5. Be patient.  With your learning curve with the machine and with the software.  When you get frustrated, get up and walk away.  Just walk away.
  6. It’s probably your blade.  ALWAYS keep a ratchet blade handy, even if you love your autoblade.  When that blade goes bad, it’ll happen all at once and when you are three cuts away from the end of your project. The first and last thing to check when you’re having issues with a cut… is the blade in and locked down?  How much have you cut that blade, WHAT have you cut with it (cardstock and glitter anything will dull your blade).  When you graduate to vinyl, the best advice I can give is to get a ratchet blade and a sharpie and put a “v” on that blade.  Use that blade just for vinyl.

Share your triumphs and your disasters.  I can guarantee there is someone out there who will look at either and say, Yup!  I’ve been there. Even your disasters can be inspiring to others.

You can do this; you really can.  It’s a box of plastic and hunk of wires.  You’re intelligent, your thoughtful, witty and you have hundreds of people waiting to help.  Take a deep breath, follow the instructions that came with your machine (in the order they were listed); and you’ll be on your way!!  You’ve found a great group of people who will help you a much as they can… and there’s always someone around who can give you at least two ways to do anything you can think of.

Happy Cutting!

Silhouette Studio Explained – Part 2

Hey there!

This is part two of Silhouette Studio Explained.  In this post, I’ll talk about the next five  icons on the left side; The draw function, the text icon, the notes icon, the eraser tool and the knife.

The draw function is the icon that looks like a pencil.  It’s used for freehand drawing.  The submenu for this icon is to draw freehand and the other is to draw in a smooth freehand (it will drop edit points as you draw and then smooth the line as you go. In the example below, I tried to draw the same shape using both tools.  The one on the left is the freehand and the one on the right is smooth freehand.

draw tool

Next in Line is the Text Tool.  It’s the Capital A icon o the left side of the screen.  It’s the A without the vertical line to the right of the A that’s on the right side of your screen.  The two serve different functions within the text topic so please don’t confuse the two.  This left icon is the one you use to tell the software that you actually want to type text and not use keyboard shortcuts.  To use this tool, you’ll click on the A and then click on the mat where you’d like to start typing.  As you type, the text you enter appears in a green box that expands to the right as you type and the characters are filled in  using the default font (arial at 72 point).  To change the font, highight the letters you just typed by grabbing the cursor at the end of the text (it’s somewhat hard to see because it’s very close to the right side of the box and drag it back to the left.  Let go of the mouse when you’ve highlighted what you want to change and then click on the A icon on the right side of the screen.  From that panel, you can change the font, the size, the spacing of the words, the spacing of the letters whether you want to bold, underline and italicize, the justification of the words within the box and the kerning.

  • The thing to note here is that if you want more than one line of text; be sure to put each text box in a separate line to make the spacing and lining up each row of text easier.

The notes tool is the latest tool we’ve been given from Silhouette.  It allows you the option of placing a note within your design to keep information related to that design.  I’ve found it helpful for things such as listing the font and size, where I found a particular picture, the size of the design, who I made it for; basically anything I might find useful. To use this tool, you only have to left  click on the note icon and then left click wherever you’d like the note to be.  Once you anchor the note, you be able to change the size and add and subtract info, but you will not be able to move the note around; so be mindful where you put it.  At this point, the note is yellow with a gray border and (the color cannot be altered).  You can add as many notes to your design as you need.

.noteA note with the font information.

A note that’s been clicked on to add additional information/to resizenote1

The next tool is the eraser tool; and to be blunt, this tool has issues, and most people I know go out of their way to not use this tool at all.  They will use all of the other tools, including the knife to avoid it until the bugs have been worked out.  At this point, the best advice I can give is to just avoid it.

The last tool  on the left side right now, is the knife tool.  It comes in two variations that appear in the quick access toolbar across the top of your design space, solid and outline.  If solid is chosen, when the knife is used and you choose to click on the Auto Apply option, the two parts that the knife cuts become two separate items and the software automatically closes the shape automatically, otherwise, if the Auto Apply box is not checked then you’ll have to click on the Apply button at the top of the quick access toolbar.  If outline is chosen, the opposite happens.  the line is drawn between the two parts, but they are not separate shapes.

The next option you have with the knife tool is the shape of the cut the knife makes.  Depending on which edition of the software you have; your knife types will be different.

So there you have an explanation of the the last five icons on the left side.

As I’ve said before; please let me know if you have any questions, if you like the posts I’m writing, if there’s something you’d like me talk about or if you just want to say hello!

Feel free to tell your Silhouette friends about our blog and give our website a look


Silhouette Studio Explained-Part 1

I thought it might be a good idea to go over some of the features of the different buttons within Silhouette Studio.   Let’s start with the left side of the screen once you open your software.

If you have the basic edition; the left side should look something like this:

Left_sideAnd we’ll look at these in order.  The first icon (in blue) is the select icon.  When that’s selected, the next thing you click on in your work area will be selected. When your item is selected; it’ll have a box around it with small white squares at each corner and at the center of each side.  There is also a green circle at the very top.  The little squares help with resizing and stretching.  The green circle at the top center allows you to rotate your selection.


The second icon directly below the arrow is your point edit mode if you have an object selected; and you click on the point edit icon, you’ll see a tiny squares around the object you selected.  As you can see from the screenshot below; when you choose the edit points, the box disappears from around your image, and you’re left with small gray squares; those are your edit points.

Edit Points

Those edit points allow you click on a point and drag it anywhere you like, allowing you to change the original shape into something.  Simple editing of the contacts allowed me to take something like the elephant on the left and turn it into the elephant on the right


After Edit Points, we have the line drawing tool directly under the edit points.  With this tool you can draw a straight line, a polygon, a curve and an arc.  To use this tool, you select the line tool, and you should see a tiny triangle.arrow at the bottom right of the icon; another menu will pop open you choose the tool you want to use.  Once it’s selected, you will click on your design space to start drawing and then drag your mouse across the mat.  When you’ve reached the desired length; release the mouse.

  • There are two things to note about using this tool to draw lines. The first is that if you hold down the shift key as you draw, it the software will draw a perfectly straight line.
  • Second Keep in mind that you can use the line tool to draw a shape, but in order to SEE the line in your design it must have a weight value attached.  At this point, the line weight is set to zero, so it’s a CUT LINE ONLY.

To draw a polygon and curve, it’s basically the same as a straight line only that once you start the shape, you drag the mouse to your first point, click and continue to hold the mouse and drag it to your next point you must end at the same point you started your design to close it.  the difference between the polygon and the curve is that while the polygon is angular and usually has acute angles in the corners, the polygon is rounded.

To draw an arc; you would click on the arc icon, then once on the mat and drag the mouse to the desired length and left click again and then move the mouse the distance from the second click and click again; the arc will appear as you drag the mouse.

Th next icon is the shape tool.  You can draw a square or rectangle with right angles at the corners a rounded square or rectangle, and oval or circle and a polygon,

  • With these shapes, the thing to remember is that if you hold down the shift key while you’re drawing with these tools, your shape will perfectly symmetrical.

Those are the first four icons on the left side.  Since this post is already pretty long, I’ve decided to divide this post into two parts.  In part two, I’ll talk about the next four (the pencil, the Text Tool, the notes tool and the knife tool.  You won’t want to miss those!!

Please let me know if you like the post, if you’d like to see something different, or if you have any questions.  I’d love to hear from you! or visit the website at


How to line up HTV

Good morning, Folks!

I think I’ve come up with what might be a helpful way to line up your htv.  It falls along with the hinge/lineup method from adhesive but with one major change.

Let me start at the beginning.  I had a project that had multiple layers and I needed to put it on a t-shirt.  I made the design and then I found four small triangles and added them to the design.  I centered two of the triangles at the top and bottom and two at the center right and left.  All four were outside the design area along the edge.

Once I weeded my design (leaving all four triangles where they are); I then took a knife and cut the corners off of the clear plastic carrier sheet.  I took these corners and placed them over the triangles at the center points (be careful NOT to cover the actual design).

Here’s an example of what I’m trying to talk you through:


If you look closely, you can see the faint outline of a piece of carrier sheet behind the triangle.

I took a pair of scissors and cut the triangles out leaving some of the sticky carrier sheet exposed.  I then took a piece of heat transfer tape and taped them back into place on one side of the cut.  I did this for ALL of the layers (except the last one.  I didn’t cut the triangles, I left the sheet whole

I took the t-shirt, folded it in half, pressed it for about 5 seconds; opened it and then laid the design on the shirt using the arrows for placement (the top and bottom should line up ON the crease).  I pressed the shirt and lifted the clear cover sheet being very careful to leave the arrows at the top and bottom in place.

I cut the second layer with the triangles in place as with the first set.  Then once weeded, I matched up the triangles with the ones that I left in place from the first layer.  Then I pressed and so on until I got to the final layer; when after pressing that layer, I lifted the carrier sheet and with it ALL the placement triangles.

Because of the small bit of carrier sheet covering the first triangles, none of the ones you used for lining up will stick to your shirt.