Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charm bracelet

We had a lovely visit with my in-laws last week.  They arrived on Thursday and stayed one night at our house.  I took Mama to the Milwaukee Art Museum for a quilt exhibit on Friday, then on Saturday we joined them farther up in Wisconsin for a family reunion for Steve's father's mother's side of the family (do I have that right?  There are so many connections it gets confusing!).  On the way home Steve and I stopped at the National Railroad Museum while Mama and Papa continued their visit with Steve's Aunt Charlotte and family in Wauconda, Illinois.  The long weekend was really nice, and we have enough pictures for 4 double-page layouts, I think!

I didn't want to blog some of the projects I was hurriedly working on because I wanted Mama to see them "live" before seeing pictures here.  Now that they're back home, the floodgates are opening!

Today's project is a charm bracelet I made for Mama.  She had sent me a few charms that she's had forever but didn't know what to do with.  I told her I'd make a bracelet for her.

I got a foot of chain and a few charms from the local bead store, and they told me that each link was cut, so they could be used like jump rings.  That was perfect!  I bought a number of charms at a bead store in Cedarburg, Wisconsin to go with those that she had sent.  I chose "meaningful" items based on where they live, what she likes to do, etc...

Since I had a foot of chain but only needed 7 inches for a loose bracelet, I decided to make the middle a double layer so I would have no leftovers!  I took off the links needed for the charms, attached the chain, then organized the charms:

The charms are:  a telephone for how far apart we live, a sun for Florida (where they live), a charm she sent with "Tim" (Papa) on one side and "Elaine" (Mama) on the other - I put a flower on Mama's side to make it more feminine, a sewing machine, Papa's Coast Guard charm he received when he retired, a needle and thimble, a cat, a boy's head with Steve's name and date of birth, and a "Made with love" and heart charm to represent me.  I alternated the charms on each of the chains to keep it balanced.

Here's how it looks all put together:

I gave the bracelet to her shortly after she arrived last Thursday, and she loved it!  She put it on right away and kept commenting on how nice it was.


I used a magnetic clasp, thinking it would be much easier for her to put on.  It was difficult to attach because the clasp kept sticking to the charms, the links, my tool, etc...  Yes, it was easy for Mama to put the bracelet on, but it also came off easily, and she almost lost it twice.  So now it's back in my possession, and I need to put another clasp on it.  Magnetic clasps seem to be good for necklaces, but for bracelets... not so much.

This is a great idea for those of you who don't really make jewelry but would like to give a special, custom gift to a loved one.  All you really need are a few pairs of pliers (I use needle-nosed pliers for this sort of thing), the chain, a clasp (I suggest a toggle or snap clasp after the magnetic debacle), and some charms!  This bracelet took me well under an hour to make, and it's so cute!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guest blogger: My husband!

Sorry for yet another delay, but it's been very busy around here! Steve's parents are coming in a few days, and we've been doing all kinds of things to prepare - painting the kitchen, scrapping, cleaning, etc... Steve offered to write a blog post about a few pages he's recently done. Thanks, honey!

Since my parents are coming from Florida to visit this week, and Traci and I are coming up on our second year of marriage, we figured it was about time we finished the scrapbook for our first year. And by "we" I mean "I", since the only two pages left to be done in that book were pages I told Traci I'd do.

One of those pages is our annual movie page. Every time we go to the theater, we save our ticket stubs and later use them to scrap the movies we've seen that year. I scrapped our first movie page, using pictures I cut out of a couple movie preview magazines I'd saved. I used some popcorn paper Traci had, and used a star-shaped paper punch to make "star" ratings for each of the movies (completely subjective, and Traci disagreed on some of the ratings, but hey, it was my page). It came out pretty good. See for yourself:

This year, I put off doing the 2009 movie page because I didn't have any convenient source of pictures. Actually, part of it was because I didn't know how I'd top last year's page -- I mean, come on, Wall-E pulling his ticket out of the row on the bottom of the page was a stroke of genius! Anyway, when I couldn't put it off any longer, Traci reminded me I could always get the pictures I needed off the Internet. So a-downloading I went, grabbing screen shots and promotional stills from fan pages and movie-review sites. We'd seen 10 movies last year, so I'd need to fit 10 pictures on a two-page spread.

I decided to use a filmstrip motif. I went into Adobe Photoshop Elements and used the marquee (rectangular selection) tool to select two long, skinny rectangles the full length of an 8.5 x 11-inch page. I then held down the "alt" key to un-select smaller rectangles inside them, the approximate proportions of the photos I'd downloaded (4" wide by 2.5" deep). I then used the paint bucket to fill in the remaining film "frame" black. Next, I used the marquee tool again to select a row of small squares along the border and delete them, making the "sprocket holes." Turning on the page grid and selecting Snap To Grid was a big help in getting all these holes the same size and lined up nicely. Even so, I accidentally spaced one set too close together, as Traci saw immediately -- after we printed. Oops.

I then made the black film frames into their own layer so I could paste the pictures behind them, visible through the openings. I opened each of the pictures and used the Crop tool to make them the right size and shape, in some cases trimming off the edges a bit, depending on the proportions of the original. I then copied and pasted them behind the frames. To fill the partial frames on the ends of the filmstrips, I used the same pictures; as long as they weren't next to the same picture, the small sliver that would be left wouldn't be identifiable, I decided. Traci then printed them out for me on glossy photo paper. I cut them out, then tore the ends to make them look more interesting.

The paper we chose for the page was a jumble of scattered tickets. To go along with this graphical motif, I used mono adhesive to stick the filmstrips to the pages at random angles -- two strips on the first page, three on the second. I then labeled the pictures by sticking the ticket stubs next to the appropriate pictures, again at angles as if they'd been scattered randomly. I used the blank back of a duplicate ticket for a small amount of hand-written journaling, and Traci cut out my headline in black using her Gypsy and Expression. She stuck it to the back of another duplicate ticket, I added a cardboard popcorn-box cutout she gave me, and the page was done. Here's the result:

I wanted to headline this one "Movie Date 2: Return of the Sequels," but only half the movies we saw were actually sequels or remakes, so the joke didn't really work. Traci said it was too long for a headline anyway. Just wait till next year's page, "Movie Date 3: Revenge of the 3-D Movies!"

Sorry for the quality of the pictures - I didn't have time to scan and stitch all the pages together, so I just took pictures of them.  Doesn't he do good work?  Puts me to shame, he does.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My "little secret"

Here it is... the "blooper reel" for the video I posted yesterday.  While most of it is mild, there's a big shocker at the end.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I still can't believe this...

Last Friday, during the Cricut Circle gathering in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, I reconnected with Cyndy and Fumiyo and a few other women I met the week before at CHA.  Here's a picture of the three of us (Fumiyo is on the left, and Cyndy is on the right):

Shannon from Provo Craft gave away quite a number of items: cartridges, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and machines ("I don't want to take anything back with me!").  Cyndy won a Cricut Cake machine (a Cricut machine that will cut edible materials for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc...).  The woman in front of us (I'm sorry - I don't remember your name!) had won a Cricut Expression (a Cricut cutter that will cut up to around 12" x 24" - the original machine that I have cuts up to around 6" x 12").  Cyndy already had a Cake, and the woman in front of us already had an Expression.  They swapped machines.  I won an "October 31st" cartridge, which is all Halloween stuff.  Cyndy loves Halloween, so I gave it to her - I wouldn't use it very often.

Well..... Cyndy gave me her Expression!  I protested, but she insisted.  She said she already had one, and I didn't.  I am completely baffled, but I'm thrilled!  I did have to rearrange my craft room a little so I could leave the Expression set up away from my normal work area, but that gave me more room for another plastic 2-drawer cart.

Now that I know how to edit and upload videos, I recorded my "inaugural cut":

After I very carefully spatula-ed (yes, that's a technical term) the letters and shapes off of the mat, I finished my scrapbook layout on the hotel where Steve and I stayed during our trip to Chicago last October:

I think the page turned out quite well!  I used Stone Script for the title and Heritage for the flourishes.  Since I've been promoting hand-written journaling (see this blog post for my thoughts on this), Steve wrote out our thoughts on our hotel:

Okay, I added my own thought at the end there, and I used a Slick Writer to write on the front of one of the photos:

That's it for today.  I'd like to thank Cyndy profusely for giving me such a generous gift!  I can't wait until I have a chance to cut something really large.

Yes, I promised you a blooper reel.  That will come tomorrow...  I need some more time for editing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest blogger: Debbie from Texas

Hi there!  I know I mentioned yesterday that I'd have a new project to show you today, but I'm not quite done with it yet.  Fortunately an e-mail came in today with someone else's new project!

I met Debbie and her sister, Joy, at the Cricut Circle gathering at CHA about a week and a half ago.  They were both crazy about my charm bracelet, and I saw them a number of times at the CHA Craft SuperShow that afternoon.  Debbie sent me an e-mail with a few projects that she finished recently.  I edited it slightly to take out a question she had about me joining the charm swap that's going on in the Circle.

You so inspired me that I came home and did these (the Texas charm) for the Charm Swap.

and here's what I did with the little buttons they gave us at the CHA meet and greet.  I will be adding those to my bracelet this week.

Thanks for your inspiration...your bracelet is just so awesome...you totally inspired me to try this.  I posted a link to your video on the Circle MB a little while ago...hope you get some more followers out of it because you have a great blog.

Wow - thank YOU, Debbie!  Your charm came out so cute, and that's a great idea for those pins!  They'd even make good earrings using that technique.

And thanks for your promotion of my blog!  I have 4 new followers in the last day or so, and I likely have you to thank for it!

I'll try to finish the project I'm working on and post it for you tomorrow.  There's some video editing to be done, and there will be another blooper reel!  I have a feeling that is going to end up being a steady part of my blog, with as many mistakes as I make in my projects.

If you have a project you'd like to share, please e-mail me with some pictures, like Debbie did, and I'll get it posted!  My e-mail address is traciotte@att.net.

Thanks again, Debbie - I was wondering how I'd get a blog post done today.  You're my hero!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stay tuned...

Many exciting things have happened since my last blog post.  I don't have a project to show you right now, but I do have some pictures of things I've done this weekend.

I went to a Cricut Circle gathering in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  It was a really fun time, and I was glad to reconnect with my new friends Cyndy and Fumiyo and to meet some new people!  Here's one picture - I'll be posting a few more tomorrow:

That's Shannon from Provo Craft - she's quite the fast talker!  She covered so much that was going in the Cricut Circle.  I can't tell you, though... it's confidential!  Yes, we are wearing Cricut Circle headbands.  Steve says they're recursive with the antennae being the Cricut Circle guys with their own antennae.

After I got home from that, we had to rush rush rush out the door to pick up my friend Michele.  Friday night was the first "Fish Fry and a Flick" by Point Brewery.  It was held down by the lakefront at Discovery World.  The beverages were by Point Brewery, of course.  Their root beer was quite good!  The food was by Bartolotta Restaurants, so I knew it was going to be good.  The movie was "The Hangover", which is by no means kid friendly.  There were a few kids there, but it was mostly adults around our age, it seemed.  They are going to have movies every Friday until late September, and we're going to try to go at least twice.  They had a little "street fair" of vendors, and the theme seemed to be green, recycled/upcycled, earth-friendly food, jewelry, accessories, and stuff like that.  There were a few other vendors, but they were in the minority.  The ones I really liked were The Basic Shop, Zewing Girl, and Chartreuse.  Steve bought me a hair-tie, because I always seem to be without one when we're out at things like this:

Wait... that's not a gray hair right in the middle of my head, is it?  I thought they were just in the front!  Argh...

They also had bowling from Landmark Lanes, and Steve got a strike, winning him a free game:

Unfortunately, the prize is only good for a week, and we're too busy to make use of it, so we gave it to Michele in case she can go.  Another prize was for a concert for the indie band Keene, who we like, but it's on a Tuesday night, kinda late, and we're old people.

Here's what the movie screen looked like from the front of the non-VIP section:

and where we were seated from about this distance:

Steve is waving - can you find him?

We waited for dusk and the movie to start:

And... once the movie started, here's a "Traci's eye view":

We could actually see better than we thought we were going to.  We had a lot of fun and are looking forward to more of these outings!  I think this may end up as one of my "100 happy things".

What next?  Oh - I got up early on Saturday morning and participated in the Loose Bead Society bead rummage sale.  We had a very nice turnout of "vendors" and buyers, and, most importantly, I made more than I spent.  Julie, our Secretary, dangled a gorgeous stone in front of my face, mostly gray and purple, and I just had to get some things to go with it.  I think we all had a good time, and I, for one, hope we do this every year!  I'm keeping my items priced, just in case.

Here's our Membership Coordinator, Kathy Willmering, and her wonderfully organized booth!  The following picture is of bunches of people shopping:

Okay... where does that leave me?  Oh - about 5:00 on Saturday night.  I went home and crashed for a few hours.  Steve woke me up for a nice dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, and corn, then we worked on our scrapbook for our 1st anniversary trip to Chicago last October.  Mama and Papa are coming from Florida at the end of August, and we want to have it done to show them.  I'll post a few of the pages here, but I'll wait to post more until they come.  I want her to be able to look at new things and not just stuff she's seen online.  Yes, Mama, I want you to be surprised!  The Ottes aren't all that keen on surprises.  My birthday present from them came already, a few weeks early, and they couldn't fathom that I wanted to wait.  I opened it early, and it's a gorgeous PartyLite mosaic mirror!  It can be hung on the wall or put on a table with candles on it.  Thanks, Mama and Papa!

I'm getting distracted.  So sorry.  It's been so busy here, though!  Around 11:15 Saturday night we went to the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse for a midnight showing of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", one of our favorite movies.  Rosebud is a theater we just discovered - it's close to home, and there are comfy couches instead of regular seats!  They have a decent menu, and the popcorn has real butter.  That's a big draw for me, I tell you!  The prices are quite good, and the midnight show was only $5 a ticket.  Here's Steve's Facebook status from early Saturday night:

‎"WHAT is your name?"
"Sir Steven of Milwaukee."
"WHAT is your quest?"
"I seek the Holy Grail."
"WHAT are your plans for this evening?"
"I'm going to a midnight showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse with my wife Traci Southern Otte!"
"Right, off you go then."

If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading this blog, go straight to the Blockbuster or other DVD rental facility of your choice, and rent it!  Better yet, buy it.  It's an excellent movie that needs to be seen multiple times in order to get the full effect.

By some of the laughter at Rosebud, there were a number of people who hadn't seen the movie before.  By some of the other laughter, including that coming from us, there were Holy Grail veterans there who were laughing in anticipation of an upcoming scene.

And Sunday?  Can it be a day of rest?  Nope.  We've had a problem with our garbage disposal and a pipe on that side of the sink that has been broken for over 3 weeks.  Don't get me started on that, I beg you.  My stepfather, John, came over to help us put in a new one.  We took him for lunch at Flat Top Grill, one of our favorite places near Mayfair Mall.  The new garbage disposal and pipe and new sprayer all went in just fine, and we're estatic.

Tomorrow, Steve is taking the day off of work, because we're having a new washer and dryer delivered.  The dryer broke again, so we decided it and the washer were far too old to bother with.  The delivery is going to be fairly early tomorrow morning, and my poor husband just spent about an hour unhooking the old stuff and finding that he may need to replace an electrical outlet.  It's always something.

So, that's been (and will be) my weekend, which explains why there are no new projects to show you!  Busy busy busy!  Tomorrow I will have something for you, though, so I'd better get back to it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cricut charms made with shrink plastic - Part 3

Here's the moment you've been waiting for... the actual shrinking!  There will be a few pictures, but most of the content is in videos.  I actually created a YouTube account for this!

Okay - to sum up where we are at this point:  I created shapes to draw and cut on the Gypsy using the Hide/Contour feature.  I hacked up my favorite pen to get the shapes drawn on the plastic, and I cut them out using the normal Cricut blade.  Oh - one thing I didn't mention yesterday... since the plastic was thick, I had the Gypsy cut everything twice.  On the cut screen, there is a way to say how many times you want the Cricut to cut each shape.  I don't know if I needed to cut each twice, but it worked just fine.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!  After that, I colored the charms with colored pencils.

I took all the charms to the kitchen and grabbed my embossing gun, teflon sheet, and chopsticks.  Chopsticks?  Yeah, chopsticks.  The embossing gun gets very hot, and if you don't hold the charm down, it will fly away (see the videos for many, many examples of this).  When I started heat embossing my stamped images, I found that a chopstick is perfect for holding things in place without burning your fingers.  I'm sure there are fancy-schmancy tongs or something available for this, but a chopstick will work just fine.  If you don't have chopsticks, now is a perfect time to get a Chinese (to quote Lily Allen) and ask them to give you  some chopsticks.  The Egg Foo Young at YaYa China is excellent.

Sorry... I'll stop drooling on the keyboard and show you the videos.  This first one is a short video showing you how the plastic shrinks up:

Steve shot a number of videos while I was shrinking the charms, and it was quickly obvious that a blooper reel was needed.  I can't help but giggle each time I watch it, and I hope it makes you smile, too.  It is pretty long, so be warned that if you don't have a high speed Internet connection.  Even if you do, it might take a while for it all to load.

Apart from the funny bits, you'll see some difficulties that can occur when shrinking plastic and even one or two that worked out quite well!

I also have a few pictures of the shrunken charms.  This first one shows a number of them around an unshrunk one so you can see how much smaller they get (the final charms are about 45% of the original size, according to the package):

You can also see how the small parts with the holes get a little twisted, on the charm with the tree and the red one with "t".  If the hole is more embedded into the charm, it works better.

The colors intensify nicely, but there can be a bit of smearing due to the heat or some little remnants of colored pencil that were brushed off of other charms (that you don't see until it's too late).  They also don't necessarily end up completely flat.  However, this is an artsy project, so that's okay.  That's what I tell myself, anyway!  There are no guarantees with shrink plastic.  Okay, after that disclaimer, here are a few more pictures:

If  you make any shrink plastic charms, I'd love to see them!  E-mail pictures to traciotte@att.net, and I'll put them up on my blog.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cricut charms made with shrink plastic - Part 2

Okay, after I figured out what I wanted to draw and what I wanted to cut, I got out my shrink plastic.  I used PolyShrink canvas white.  I don't know if they still make it - I've had this for a very long time.  The thing to remember is that you have to sand the plastic before you can draw on it.  They suggest a cross-hatch pattern.  I could really tell a difference on the parts I didn't sand too well.

After sanding, I then had a dilemma... what to use to draw on it!  The Cricut markers worked, but the lines were too thick, and the marker ran into the areas that were sanded.  I shrunk it anyway to see how it looked, but it didn't look right.  I then tried the QuicKutz Silhouette pens, which fit perfectly into the Cricut and are much thinner, but for some reason they didn't write.  After one attempt where I took a Zig Writer and drew over the shapes, I decided that was too much work.

Then I thought, "Hey, a Slick Writer will write on anything, even this plastic!  What if...."

I took my beloved black fine point Slick Writer down to the basement, grabbed my husband's saw, and...

Not too bad of a cut, even if Steve thinks it's a little jagged in spots.  I cut the innards (yes, that's the technical term) with scissors, only getting a little ink on my hands, and I put the cap on the cut end.  Here's a picture with the pen next to the Silhouette pen:

Length:  good.  Width:  not so much.  Next stop: packing tape!

Purty, ain't it?  Toward the end of the process, I had to wrap it with more tape because it started to compress with all of the handling.  With each set of charms, I drew then cut.  If you take the mat out, there's a possibility that it won't go back in at the exact same point, so the cuts might be off.

For most of the charms, it worked like a, uh, charm.  With the last three, though, I had some problems.  The pen started to wriggle, and the cuts were off.  I was finally able to get them all done, but not without some swearing and using an extra sheet of the shrink plastic.  Steve said he could make a housing out of Styrene (a really thin plastic used in model railroading), so we might try that for the next time.

Here's the charms after they were all drawn and cut:

For any cartridge that was just a font with no shapes, I used a lowercase "t" for "Traci".  On the back of each charm I used a purple Slick Writer pen to write the name of the cartridge in case anyone asked.

After coloring with colored pencils, this is what I had:

The colors don't look too bright now, but after shrinking they really intensify.  I'll keep you in suspense on the shrinking until tomorrow...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cricut charms made with shrink plastic - Part 1

Before CHA, I made charms for each of my cartridges (and two for French Manor) out of shrink plastic and added them to the Cricut Circle charm bracelet.  I got a lot of compliments on my charms, and I promised to show how I made them on my blog.

Because the process was fairly involved, I'm going to split it up into a few posts.  I thought I'd give you a little break - my last few posts have been quite large!

For once I won't tease you and wait until Wednesday or later before I show you the final product.  Here's the bracelet with the green Cricut Circle charm and my additions:

I used the original Cricut, my Gypsy design tool, and all of my cartridges.  For the shapes that didn't have frames or circles, I used charms from Heritage.  In hindsight, I would have chosen different shapes for some of the charms.  I'll explain in a bit.

The following pictures show a few of the charms in design mode on the Gypsy.  When I draw and cut, I always use page 1 for drawing and page 2 for cutting.  That way I don't get too confused.  I want to draw before cutting, so that makes some sense.

Here's page 1:

The "Time4Fun" is from Cuttin' Up, and its frame is from Heritage.  The other shape is from French Manor.  As I mentioned above, I would have chosen other frames for some of the charms.  As you can see on the "Time4Fun" charm, the part for the hole is pretty small.  It shrinks considerably, and this hole gets very small and easily breaks off.  That has happened to a few charms already, and Steve drills a new little hole and files off the remnant of the original hole.  Yes, I could do it myself, but he likes to feel needed.  :)

In the above picture, the black parts will be drawn, and the gray will be ignored.  I used the Hide/Contour feature on the Gypsy, something I thought I'd never use.  I should have known I'd figure out a way to make it indispensable.  With only the Heritage charm selected, clicking the Hide/Contour button displays this screen:

Each part of the shape can be selected, and you can click the button to hide or show it (the button says "SHOW" in this screen).  The little hole is gray, which indicates it will be hidden.  Those shapes I wanted to cut and not draw, and I wanted to draw the zig-zag line and not cut it, so on page 2, I reversed what was hidden/shown:

So in this screen, the black will be cut, and the gray will be ignored.

I think that's probably good for today.  Check back tomorrow to see what I did to one of my favorite pens...  That will make more sense tomorrow, I promise.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

CHA Part 2 - Cricut Circle and the SuperShow

Okay - this is going to be another long one.  There's just so much to show you!

The drive into Rosemont from my Mom's house in Waukegan wasn't bad at all.  I was expecting a ton of traffic (I was driving at the tail end of rush hour), but it was great!  I was glad to see that the tollway construction was done, and they've done a wonderful job.  I found the convention center and the parking garage with no problems, and here's what I saw when I walked up to the door:

Learn, Create, and (most imporantly) Buy.  :)  I had pre-ordered my ticket to the show, so I went right up to the kiosk to get my ticket printed.  Then I headed up to the Cricut Circle event.  There were so many people there that I was a little overwhelmed at first - I knew some of them from the message board, but not well enough to spot them from their pictures.

I sat in one of the chairs along the wall, wondering if I could get up the courage to talk to people more.  Some of them had seen my Circle charm bracelet - I added charms from my carts made from shrink plastic (check my blog tomorrow!) - and they talked with me some.  But then Cyndy came up to me and introduced herself.  She lives fairly close to me and will be going to the Cricut Circle event in Waukesha, WI next week.  How cool is that!  Well, that helped a lot, and we talked to other people, including a few Cricut folks from Texas, and one of them is a follower of my blog!  Hi, Scootingranny!

The meeting was great - they gave us a lot of information, including a description by Provo Craft's spokeswoman, Jinger, about their new Imagine machine (see later in this blog for pictures and a video).  They answered some questions, and gave away a lot of gifts, including 2 Imagines!

As you can see, Provo Craft's Cricut made a special appearance, and we could take pictures with him:

They also took quick videos of each of us so they could put faces and voices with our names, Cricle numbers and forum usernames.  They also gave us a goodie bag - a cloth tote bag, a set of markers for the Cricut, replacement blades, and a dark blue Cricut head for the charm bracelet.  Oh - we also got a few pins and some googly Cricut Imagine sunglasses:

After that, Cyndy and I met up with her husband for lunch at their hotel.  We then headed over to the SuperShow and were quickly overwhelmed.  It was enormous!  Here's just one picture of the show:

This was just a subset of what was there during the trade show the few days before the consumer show.  I can't imagine what that looked like!  Well, we jumped right in and started doing the make 'n takes - there were pins, jewelry, scrapbooking, and other crafts.  We didn't do anywhere near all of them.  There were so many, and there were so many people waiting to do them all!

Here's a picture of the stuff I brought home - make 'n takes and free stuff:

Yes - I got a T-shirt, too!  That was a cool airbrushing make 'n take from Color Artz.  I only used purple inks, of course.  The ornament is from Sparkle N Sprinkle.  Here's a picture of Dana filling the glue-filled ornament with glitter:

The cutest booth we saw was Taylored Expressions.  They have great stamps, too, and the best price I saw on Quickie Glue pens!  Here's Karen:

The neatest thing I saw was the Flip Pal mobile scanner.  It has batteries so you can take it with you (hence the "mobile" in "mobile scanner").  You can take it to your parents' house and scan their pictures and documents without even taking them out of the albums.  You can scan 12x12 pages, one section at a time, and there is stitching software that will easily make them into one picture.  I didn't see that, but it sounded cool.  Here's a picture of the Flip Pal in action:

Shantel Hansen, Flip Pal's Social Media Specialist (doesn't that sound like a great job?!?) showed the scanner to me - she placed it on the picture and pressed the green button you can see on the right side.  Then you position the scanner for the next part of the picture and press the button.  I was expecting a high cost, but it's only $149!  I can't get one now, but I'll definitely be saving my pennies!  I have hundreds of 12x12 pages I want to scan, just in case we have a fire or something - yes, I'm a little paranoid.  Also, it would make it so much easier to post my pages to show you!

Someone else I met was Drew Emborsky, The Crochet Dude®.  His 7th crochet book, Crochet It, Love It, Wear It! is coming out on September 1st.  He said the sizes go up to 2X, and the pictures look great, so I'll definitely be checking this out!  I don't think I'll be making the strapless dress for myself (it's cute, but not for me!), but I see a number of things I would love to wear.    You can order it from Leisure Arts or reserve your copy from Amazon using the link above.  Here is Drew:

I saw so much at the Show... I can't tell you everything.  Am I missing anything else huge?  Hmmm... Let's see...  oh, yeah - Cricut!  Their booth was huge with demos of a lot of their products, including Cricut Cake and the new Imagine.  They also had a few giveaways - one at 4:00 and one at 7:00.  Cyndy won a set of Halloween Cuttlebug embossing folders.  That was perfect for her - she loves Halloween!

Here's a video with Tammy who demonstrated the Cricut Cake machine.  I must warn you, it's a long video, so don't click it unless you have a high speed Internet connection!  It's really neat, though - the machine actually cuts out edible shapes and letters for cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and whatever else you can think of!

Finally, here are pictures and a video from the new Cricut Imagine - the machine that prints and cuts!  The video will be last - it's not as long as the one for the Cricut Cake, but it still is pretty big.

I already told you about the door prize I won, and after I got that, Cyndy and her husband took me out to dinner to Morton's steakhouse. I tried to protest, but they wouldn't let me. Here's our waiter, Ryan, with a platter of steaks to show us what they had:

Doesn't that look great?  Well, dinner was excellent, and I even had enough for lunch the next day.  At this point it was about 9:30, and I headed home.  I made great time, and I was home in less than an hour and a half!

Wow - that was an awful lot, huh?  I hope I didn't lose you, and I hope you check back tomorrow to see the charms I made for my Cricut Circle charm bracelet!