Sunday, 5 February 2017

Operation Musical Chairs 3: More flat surfaces

Another unexpected visit from mum (yes they happen on Saturdays lol so aren't really unexpected, except I forget and have a lovely surprise) led to the tidying up of the multiple piles of paperwork in the Living Room this weekend. And a great deal of hilarity, so I had a lovely day yesterday despite feeling somewhat unwell.

So this is what it looked like last week: total chaos everywhere except the Hall Desk (confusingly I don't have a Hall, but it's retained the name in our family) which astonishingly remained an empty flat surface hurrah!
Hall Table Tidied Last Week

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Operation Musical Chairs 2 - Christmas is over

Unexpected progress was made today, mum came to see me and we put Christmas away.

Well, mum did most of it - that is everything that needed standing up and reaching for stuff and dusting it (I wibble too much) and I sat on the floor and put the right things away in the right boxes.
Still Christmas on this side of the living room yesterday

Friday, 27 January 2017

Operation Musical Chairs: I'm not taking anything to my new house that I don't want like or need

Afternoon. You may remember from last year that I found a website called Appartment Therapy who do a January Cure - essentially 20 daily tasks to help get your home under control.

I achieved quite a lot, not so much in January, as when I was able to over the year. Things like getting curtain rails and curtains up, seating that's storage in the downstairs loo, a cat flap in the shed, fake plants instead of killing real ones and also lampshades for the pendant lights. I even sorted loads of things out to be binned, recycled, to go to the Charity Shop and finally, to be sold on Ebay. I've got that original list I did last year somewhere and as I go along this year, I'll compare it to what I thought needed doing, to what was actually done.

So mostly last year it was fixtures and fittings type stuff. This year though, I'm drowning in paper and other 'stuff'. Also I got a mobility scooter and went trundling far too often, caused myself a minor relapse (increase in symptoms) and also changed care companies, so January's been more of a recuperation month than actually doing anything from the January Cure. Nevertheless, the carers have been hugely encouraging and I now have newly clean and lined and tidied kitchen cupboard interiors. Yay them!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

ScanNCut New Features? Foiling and Canvas Enhanced Image Tracing Premium Add Ons

Just thought I'd put these here, for lack of anywhere else to store the info, cos I don't want to have to search for it over & over in future.

I've known about the Foiling Kit for a couple of weeks (since the last update) but as there's a new update today for Canvas, I thought I'd get it down so I don't forget - because that adds 2 new features to Canvas, that cost money.
What Canvas says about the recent updates, with the New pattern collection tab in the background.
 There's 3 new developments and a new Accessory - not available everywhere or anywhere yet as far as I can see for some of these!.

1. A new physical Starter Kit - for FOILING

In the last week couple of weeks, there was an update that created firmware in the machine for a new Accessory - the Foiling Holder (with glue pen) and foiling accessories. Brother EU YouTube issued a video on how to use the new Foiling Premium Kit that was part of the latest machine update. Find the video on how the Foiling function will work HERE.
And the activation video HERE.  As with the Embossing and other kits, you need to Activate the Premium Function in the machine, and also use the Activation Code to be given access to the Kit's designs.

As far as I'm aware, this hasn't been released in any country yet? Certainly I can't find it being sold anywhere online.

2. A new Premium Collection of Die Cut images inside the freeCanvas Software

So today, when I logged into Canvas (the free online Software) - it came up with a new Tab. Not just Canvas Projects and My Projects as before but also now Pattern Collection. So I had a google to see what this is all about.  There's 2 collections - and 2 videos that I can find. It appears to be a set of Patterns that you buy an activation card for issued by Brother that in essence expands the built in Pattern Collection. They seem a rather eclectic bunch to me, maybe they'll be the foundation for books of projects that you buy and they come with the patterns to download? (pure speculation on my part, but they certainly don't look like a coherent themed collection to me!) So instead of the patterns being pre-installed in teh machine, you buy them, and get access to them in Canvas and download them to the machine from there.

So, you can see the Collections in a sort of Preview in Canvas, though you can't actually open individual patterns. And there's 2 videos - one on how to download to usb, the other via wifi HERE and HERE respectively.

Pattern Collection 1 - I like that flamingo! An eclectic range of patterns!
No details I could find online at all about which countries this will be released in, nor the price. But Canvas is a global website, so as it's gone live in the UK, I'd hope it'll be available here if people can see it, they'll want it!

There's quite a few videos and it appears to be a Premium Kit type activation, that makes it far easier to trace images in Canvas. So it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the machine per se.

 3. Premium Function in Canvas - Enhanced Image Tracing

Up until now, Canvas has been an online software image manipulation site  run by Brother, for the ScanNCut machines - it's a bit limited, but it holds projects Brother has created for SnC owners to use for free (Canvas Projects) and also an area that contains the basic shapes, words and fonts that are also in your machine, and where you can alter or create your own images to use with the machine (My Projects).

Since Premium Kits - Rhinestones, Stamps, Stickers & Embossing Kits have been released, as well as the wifi functionality, there's also been an area where you plug in an activation code that comes with those kits or functionality - that cost extra to the machine itself (or come bundled with it), and then you get access to images that are for use with those Kits - (Premium Area).

With this update, Brother are adding more features to the FREE side of the software - the bit that relates to the ability to import either  SVG or JPEG files. Currently SVG files just load, JPEG files need to be 'traced'. Anyone who's tried this tracing knows it's not easy to get the software to co-operate and it's a bit hit & miss. If you scan something into your machine, and upload it to Canvas for manipulation, THAT gets traced into Canvas too.

Anyway - it's obviously a bit sophisticated as they've done several videos on how this Enhanced Tracing works (getting rid of adjustment lines, tracing inside the outline, how it works on a tablet, etc). HERE 

Can't quite work out what Brother YouTube channel this is. It's not the Brother ScanNCut main USA, or UK or EU channels, nor is it the Canvas Project Videos Channel.  It seems to be one they put 'updates' videos in - cos I can see things about how the drawing fill etc works which was in a recent update - so useful to know it exists!

So this new premium function (which needs activiting in the Canvas software ONLY) appears to gives better control and functionality over tracing non SVG files & scans into Canvas software.

I'm not convinced I like the idea that Brother are now charging for making 'free software' work better. I do hope they don't start doing that with firmware improvements also, one of the reasons I bought a first generation machine second hand was because the firmware gets updated for free so it had equivalent functionality as the later models! And depending on the price for the 'enhanced tracing' it might be cheaper to get SCAL4 software which is already so much better and easier to use! Jen Blausey of Jam Sessions runs a sub-group in her Facebook Group with lessons on using both Canvas and SCAL4, as well as having a discount code for SCAL4 available).

I have no idea where this new premium functionality for the Canvas software will be available country-wise, nor the prices. I couldn't find anything on Google.

4. New Accessory - a metal spatula and pick for 'weeding' intricate die cuts

This is definitely available in the USA - it's on the Brother SnC USA facebook page as a gift suggestion. Haven't seen it available in the UK yet. I can see it would be an ENORMOUS boon for people using intricate die cuts and or vinyl, however I'm pretty sure vinyl users (probably again guided by Jen Blausey's Facebook Group as she's particularly strong on SnC with Vinyl already use tools from elsewhere) - so I suppose it's whether or not you are so wedded to the SnC Brother brand that you'd want to use theirs rather than say Cricut or another brand.

So there it is. Summary of what little I know about the new features that will be available for the Snc at some stage in some countries at some time in the future! I have no links or contacts with any official SNC people (nor any unofficial ones lol) so as I also don't have a crystal ball, I have no idea when this will happen, just that this is what's on the web that I could find for now!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

ScanNCut Basics 5: Give me something to use my new skills on: Resources

Ok so Posts 1 to 4 cover the basics from getting your machine out of the box, setting it up, having the right basic kit and skills to keep it working properly and also how to make nice clean cuts without breaking your blades and mats.

NOW we move onto actually DOING something with those new skills!

You would not believe the sheer volume of resources available online from official Brother help and demonstration videos, to tutorials on how to use different machine features, to projects, to reviews of the different products. All for free. That's even before we get to the free stuff that's available in terms of SVG files - basically you aren't limited for choice!

Here's a few starting points I use regularly.

Slideshow of all cards/ projects posted so far....

The tricky subject of ideas...

Feel free to use my work as a springboard for your own work for non-commerical use only: please credit me on your blog.


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