Thursday, December 7, 2017

Breakfast With Artists & Foolproof Die Cutting

When I was in Ohio a few months back at a retreat, I went to one of my favorite breakfast spots - First Watch. They have this sweet & smoky Millionaire's Bacon that we all just love. They also have my favorite avocado toast.

When we had settled in and gotten coffee, we went to unwrap our silverware and we noticed that the paper wrapper was seriously awesome. It was black on kraft - a fave combo for all of us - and it had a PIG and it talked about BACON. At literally the same moment, we all looked at each other in amazement and a challenge was born.

We couldn't wait to get back to the ballroom where we were spending the weekend crafting and turn these into cards. It was Lori Craig, Jen Del Muro, Susan Opel and I - four people with very different styles. Since Jennifer McGuire missed breakfast with us, we decided that the "winner" would have to buy her bacon. (Not sure how that worked - she has a special mind control - especially when it comes to bacon!)

I knew I needed an adorable pig, so I hit up Jennifer's stamp collection and landed on the oh so adorable Hog Heaven from My Favorite Things. I had brought my Polychromos, and Gina had brought her Artist's Choice paper, which I wanted to try (I now have ten packages after trying it out on this card!) with pencils. Jennifer had the MFT Stitched Hearts Stax. Jana was sitting across from me with an incredible container of different sequin mixes, and I found one that matched my piggy - so this was my challenge entry, complete with the silverware band.
BB Hog Heaven Photopolymer Stamp Set
[ MFT | ELH | SSS ]
Die-namics BB Hog Heaven (3658)
[ MFT | ELH | SSS ]
Die-namics Stitched Heart STAX
[ MFT ]
Artist's Choice 110lb White Card Stock
[ GNK ]
Crumb Cake 8-1/2" X 11" Cardstock by...
[ SUP ]
Little Things From Lucy's Cards PINK...
[ SSS ]
Darice® Blank Cover Journal - Natural...
[ CNS ]
Darice® Blank Cover Journal - Natural...
[ CNS ]
Sizzix - Big Shot Express Machine...
[ SBC | BMS | SSS | ELH ]
Rotatrim Professional Series Cutter -...
Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and...
Coloring Glove - Anti-Smudge
STAEDTLER Mars Plastic Eraser
Derwent Battery-Operated Eraser
Westcott iPoint Halo Electric Colored...
Global Art Classic Leather Pencil Cases
Sizzix Accessory - Cutting Pads,...
[ SZZ ]

Now in the list above, I've included some of my essential colored pencil supplies, because I get a lot of emails about these every time I post a pencil card. I highly recommend an anti-smudge coloring glove, the Ipoint sharpener, and the leather Global Art pencil cases. There are cheaper pencil cases - but there's a reason they are cheaper. Also, the Global cases are all the same size, even with different pencil capacities, so they stack nicely on a shelf. There's no better eraser than the Staedtler Mars - and it's latex-free - in case you're allergic, as I am. I also use the Derwent battery-operated eraser in my watercolor sketchbook.

I really loved the paper and the way the pencils looked on it. We had a blast doing this challenge, and really, at the end of the day, it encouraged us all to eat more bacon.

Here are everyone's cards laid out for voting - which eventually carried over to Facebook:

Bacon Contest Cards from Ohio

They are all so different and fun. I loved Lori's pop of yellow, Jen's beautiful background she made with a die, and Susan's witchcraft-level of awesomeness with contrasting patterned papers.

Before I go - like with my colored pencil questions - I see the same die-cutting question over and over again with people getting poor cuts on intricate dies. So here is my foolproof die cutting method so that I can link people to it instead of re-typing it 1000 times a week. :)
  • Clean, uncut plate on bottom. I use the colored plates I linked above for my clean plate so I have a visual cue to NEVER cut into the plate.
  • Die with blade up. 
  • Paper (tape if you need to). 
  • Bowed, grungy plate on top in mountain/convex orientation (helps keep them flat if you always do this.)
You will get 100% perfect cuts every time. The precision plate will dull your dies and you don't need it. 

This method works because it's the only one where the die doesn't flex - that's when you get poor cuts. The grungy plate flexes to meet a perfectly flat, even die. 

Also - at our retreat, Lori made these awesome journals for us with a custom cover - and I freaking love it! I've linked the little books in the supply list for the card above - in two sizes - 3x4 and 5x7. They are a great gift because when you are around creative people, you ALWAYS need to write down all the things they enable you to BUY :D. I love the art she created for the front.

If you have time during the holidays - go have a meal with a crafty friend. See if something inspires you - and then sit down and craft together - share your supplies and tools, and just see if it doesn't make the world a happier place. Just see.



  1. Such a fun challenge ! And in 100% objectively your card is my favorite.

  2. “witchcraft-level of awesomeness” I love you!

  3. That bacon sounds like a must try! Yummy! Love all the cards but yours is my favorite!

  4. I can only imagine the looks on your faces at that "aha" moment when you all unwrapped your silverware and read that declaration on bacon! So funny! And of course you all had to make cards - love them!

  5. I can only imagine the fun you all have when you get together, it brings a smile to my face. Love the cards all of you created.

  6. Awesome Post here. This is really great and informative post.

  7. What a great way to create a challenge and I couldn't pick one because I would be out getting bacon.;)


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