Monday, 23 January 2012

Sheba’s Coming of Age

I know I’ve been a bit neglectful of my blog of late – since Christmas I have been quite poorly with my M.E. and haven’t been able to do a lot. When I have had any energy I’ve had to catch up with various domestic chores and other necessary things, and if I’ve had any energy left, I’ve been trying to get Sheba up and running.

I must say I’ve had some problems with her! It’s not her fault – it was my silly fault trying to cut something from some very hard, dense card I have got (the navy blue card I made my hubby’s Silver Wedding card from) – and I ended up increasing the cutting force so much that I ended up cutting into the surface of my mat and blunting the blade! After that I was having no end of trouble trying to get a decent cut, and everyone on the Black Cat Forum, bless them all, were so brilliant, patient and helpful, and suggested it was probably a blunt blade, especially as there’s quite a visible impression of what I was trying to cut in my mat! They suggested I use some branded card so they would know what we were dealing with, so I ordered some absolutely fabulous cardstock from American Crafts – it’s 12 x 12, gorgeous colours, and a decent thickness (216 gsm/80 lb). I also ordered some Conqueror iridescent card from Dawn (who supplies the Black Cat cutters and runs the forum) and this came this morning – also totally gorgeous, but I haven’t tried that yet. I also ordered a couple of replacement 60-degree blades for Sheba.

Today I was feeling a bit better so decided to settle down and try and get to grips with Sheba. Yesterday, somebody on the Black Cat Forum posted the most fantastic summary, all in one place, of the various settings on the machines, what can be left alone, and what should be adjusted according to your project, and it was so helpful that I could feel the pieces starting to fall into place in my mind.

A little while ago I was following an excellent tutorial on the Inkscape Cutting Design forum which I have also signed up for (I never thought I’d say it, but I am actually learning Inkscape – after I’d given it up as incomprehensible last year!!) – Carolyn, who runs that forum, has done some very good tutorials for Inkscape, and I followed this one on spirals. I liked it so much that I decided to design a birthday card using this technique, with some stencilled text cut out beneath the spiral design.

Again, I had a bit of a struggle doing the text as I wanted to use Cairo font which is quite heavy, and the small pieces between and inside the letters were tending to get torn because it wasn’t cutting properly. Someone on the forum told me an easy way to create a stencil effect, creating a tall narrow rectangle and using path>difference in Inkscape – easy-peasy compared with what I was trying to do, manipulating nodes on each letter!

Now that Sheba is cutting properly, the letters really weren’t a problem. Being a bit wary of increasing the force too much, some of the corners didn’t pop out as well as they might, but I was able to get all the cut pieces out in the end, with very fine scissors and a craft knife, but most of it cut just fine.

Today I’ve finally been able to get Sheba to do a decent cut, and this is the result.

The cardstock is some of the American Crafts cardstock, and I sprayed the back of the cut design with some Crafter’s Companion Stick & Stay adhesive, and then applied a piece of dull silver card to show through the cut part (this is the same card I used on my hubby’s Silver Wedding card). As a final touch I inked around the edges with Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink.

All that remains to be done now is to make a card insert so that the back of the silver card is covered up, and it also looks much nicer.

I’ve uploaded the cut file (svg) of this card to my Skydrive.

Phew! I finally feel as if I am getting to grips with Sheba!


  1. Well done Shoshi. It is hard at first isn't it, but very rewarding when it all comes together. I was frustrated with my new silhouette because the accompanying software is not as wide ranging nor as intuitive as what I had with my robo, and the two are not compatable, but I am gradually coming to terms with how to get the most out of it. I try inkscape now and then, but I find it quite difficult to locate all the tabs and usually give up.I must find time to try again.
    Your card is lovely, both the colour and design. Kate x

  2. Well Done Hun.
    It looks great, Love the centre Design, Se I said you needed a project to do to get your head around it.
    Well done, I love it

  3. Hope you will soon be feeling much better! Must admit your blog was a foreign language to me!

  4. I'm glad you're finally getting a chance to play. Can't wait to see more of what you create with her!


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