Using Printable HTV (heat transfer vinyl) for dark colors with the Silhouette Cameo

I loooove to make shirts using HTV (heat transfer vinyl) and my favorite brand is Siser Easyweed.  My least favorite is the Silhouette brand...it's awful.  Anyway, as easy as it is to layer Siser Easyweed, sometimes you have projects that just don't work with the limited colors offered, or maybe you want a photo to be ironed on your shirt, or something.  That's where printable HTV comes in.  I have used and liked both Jolee's and Transfermations brands, and been less impressed with the Silhouette brand, though it's not terrible.  As a general rule I like to use the ones made for dark colors even on light colored clothing as it's way more vivid and just looks better in my opinion.

For this shirt I used Transfermations for dark colors.  I either got it at Michael's, Staples, or Walmat, not 100% positive on which.

Normally when you use HTV and even HTV for light colors, you need to mirror the image before you cut.  You do not need to mirror the image with HTV for dark colors.  I'd always read your instructions to be sure but I've used several brands and none require this.

First, get your image all ready in Silhouette Studio.  Get your cut lines situated- if you layered some elements you may need to highlight them and hit "Cut Edge" or whatever works for you.  Do not mirror it!  Turn on registration marks and print it.  I use "Best" settings for quality.  You have to use an Inkjet printer.  If you've found a brand that works with a laser printer, please share!  I've never seen one.

Once it's printed, stick it on your mat and load it into your Cameo.  Have your machine scan the registration marks and get your cut settings ready.

Here's a snap of what settings I use.  I set it to "Flocked HTV" and then change the blade to 5.  That's why it says Custom Media.  ***Note- I get a lot of use out of my blades, but when I switched to a new one, I only had to use HTV Smooth settings, blade on 1!  Big difference!****

Have your machine cut.  You're basically doing Print & Cut, easy, right?  I love Print & Cut and it's the biggest reason I bought my Cameo.

Once your design is cut, you then remove it from it's backing paper.  You'll see that this stuff feels more like Siser Easyweed and not regular printable HTV.

Here's me just peeling up the corner and removing all the excess white- the backing paper does not cut, see it?  I did rip it a little when grabbing that corner but it's almost like the carrier sheet of Siser Easyweed (except not used as such- just that you don't cut that paper, just your HTV.  A kiss cut.  Anyway..)

Aaand here's me peeling my design off the backing paper.  This is the one thing I don't like.  Unlike Siser Easyweed which is on a carrier sheet, I have to line up all these elements by hand separately on the t-shirt and yeah, they end up off center sometimes.  I'm working on that.  Practice makes perfect!

See how it weeds itself in between letters and stuff?  It's pretty nifty.

Your next step is to line everything up on your shirt (iron it first, but let it cool before you start re-arranging stuff on it) and when it's to your liking, grab a sheet of parchment paper.  I've always had 1-2 sheets included in whatever pack of dark color printable HTV I buy, and it lasts for several sheets.

Place that over your design- careful, don't jostle anything- and iron.  My iron goes from 1-6 so I set it on 6, no steam, and press really hard for 20 seconds.  Then I pick it up, move it, press again, until I've done the whole design.  The instructions do say not to drag your iron but to pick up and move it.

When I'm done I just lift the parchment paper- unlike the Siser Easyweed carrier sheets, it's not going to be sticky to your shirt or anything- and voila, shirt!

This IS a classic example of me arranging things crooked and/or off center, but on a wiggly 3 year old, it's not very noticeable :) With Siser Easyweed and it's sticky sheets I normally line everything up on the floor and then step back and look at it, and then I can just pick up the shirt and move it to the ironing board, but you can't do that with this stuff- no carrier sheet.  My only pet peeve.

You'll also probably notice that the fishing line is missing some pieces- in removing the design from the backing that part was just too thin and I went too fast, but oh well.  It is what it is.  This is a tiny shirt for a tiny little toddler.

I always wash inside out, and never iron on the design itself, but other than that, I've found this stuff to be very durable!


Cake Batter Protein Shake Recipe

I used to be a manager at Gold's Gym and while I worked there I got addicted to their protein shakes.  They have a huge smoothie bar with tons of flavors- how could I not?  There's a little secret though.  Most of their recipes aren't that great for you.  The Carb Cutter which only comes in Vanilla or Chocolate is the best option, since it's just the protein mix BUT sugar free chocolate or vanilla syrup is always added & blended.  If you've ever had just a straight protein powder & water mix you probably know why.  The rest of the flavorings are full of sugar and even worse for you (lots of berry, tropical fruit, etc flavor offerings) but all of those generally start with a vanilla protein powder base.

Bearing that in mind, and wanting to add more protein to my pregnancy diet, I pulled out my container of vanilla Muscle Milk.  I had tried mixing it with greek yogurt and chocolate PB2 in the past and was not impressed, so here goes round two.

I wanted something sweet and thanks to a milkshake I saw (but didn't drink! le sigh) I decided to try out a cake batter flavor.  Now, when I make chocolate chip cookies, I follow the Nestle Toll House recipe BUT I add a box of Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix and the cookies come out chewy and mouth watering.  I thought maybe this pudding mix could help me here.  My mom is a professional cake maker and her frosting (which everyone RAVES about- my 3 year old refuses to eat a cake with store bought!) has butter extract, so I also grabbed that.

If you want more protein or a thicker smoothie/milkshake texture I would try adding greek yogurt.  I hate greek yogurt and couldn't even drink a smoothing with it hiding under Chocolate PB2, so I didn't try.  If you like it I bet it would be great though!  I like thinner smoothies.  My husband adds normal yogurt to fruit smoothies and it feels like drinking snot to me.  To each their own!

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder- I use vanilla Muscle Milk
1/2 teaspoon imitation butter extract
1 tablespoon sugar free Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 cup water
2 cups ice cubes
Sprinkles to garnish

This is kind of important unless you've splurged on a Vitamix blender or something.  Add water first.  If you add the protein powder first it tends to clump up cheaper blender blades.  Even at Gold's with our giant commercial blender, we do it this way.  After water I added powder, ice, butter extract, pudding mix, and then blended it all up for about 30 seconds.  Pour into glass and sprinkle some sprinkles on top if you want!

I.love.it.  I'm drinking one now.  I am diabetic and pregnant and struggle to get enough protein, especially since meat kind of turns my stomach right now.

I am not a nutritionist.  I have two college degrees and neither are in nutrition.  This may not be exact, but my best guess will have to suffice.

1 scoop of muscle milk, if mixed with water, is 100 calories, 6g carbs, 12g protein.  1 serving of Jell-O Sugar Free Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix is 80 calories- I MAYBE used 1/8 of that.  The bag I bought says it has 4 servings, I used 1 tablespoon of that and it still looks mostly full.  At worst I'd say you're looking at 110 calories unless you overload on the sprinkles.  Double your Muscle Milk to 2 scoops and you get 210 calories, 25g protein and 13g carbs.

Chocolate version coming up soon! :)


Nail Art with Vinyl Stencils

Hi again!  Guess what's back- the nausea!  Fun fun.  In the interest of going back to bed I'm just quickly sharing some photos from almost a month ago.  I wanted to do some fun nail art for our vacation and decided to give my Cameo a 2nd try.  My disastrous first attempt with nail art stencils from the Silhouette store can be found here.

CVS was having a massive sale on Orly when I went in to pick up a prescription so I grabbed these three colors.

I painted 4 of my nails in the pinky purple and my ring finger in the white on both hands.  I then took some scrap Oracal 631 and cut it into strips.  I tried using scissors and ended up using my cameo to keep the lines straight.  After the white nail was dry (this is great polish for that by the way- I barely needed two coats) I pressed it onto the white nails, keeping it really smooth.

I took the turquoise and brushed it over the vinyl.  I did two light coats quickly, waited about a minute, and peeled off the vinyl.  I think that waiting for the polish to dry will just cause the whole thing to tear off.  I've always heard you should wet peel.  I then put top coat over it (Orly Won't Chip) to smooth it out.

I then took a heart shape I had in my library, shrunk it wayyy down, and cut two out of the same vinyl with my Cameo.  I actually cut this heart in about 4 different tiny sizes since I wasn't really sure what size would fit.  It's kind of hard to measure your own nail!

I did the same as before- apply the vinyl to a completely dry nail, adhere smoothly, 2 quick coats of purple pink polish, wait a minute, and wet peel gently.  Again, top coat goes on top to help smooth it out.

That's pretty much it!  All that's left is clean up.  I do go around the edges with a toothpick or q-tip and polish remover, but most of the mess comes off my skin in the shower so I usually don't sweat it too much.

This polish design lasted soooo long!  All through vacation!  About a week after I first did this I did have to go over all the purple pinky nails with another coat & topcoat but the ring finger nail art stayed for nearly two weeks until I finally removed it all!  It lasted through a Disney vacation which was a plus!


Cutting Fabric with the Silhouette Cameo

Well hello!  It's been awhile!  I am almost 30 weeks pregnant at this point and seem to be finished with the nausea.  In addition, I finished up my 2nd degree!  I have a lot more free time right now.  I'm working on another sewing project and decided to use the scraps to test out something that I haven't tried yet, cutting fabric with the Silhouette Cameo.

Silhouette sells their own version of Heat n Bond and it's expensive.  I read that a lot of people use Heat n Bond Lite and then are able to iron whatever they cut onto something else.  I did not need to iron this on to something else and I also didn't have Heat n Bond, but I did have fusible interfacing that I use when I embroider.

So, my materials here are:

-100% cotton fabric (woven, not a knit)
-Fusible interfacing (generic brand, I don't even have the bag anymore, but it's used with embroidery machines and I'm sure other things that I don't know of)

I decided to cut out an iPhone case insert, since I love this fabric and I also love the textured look of the fabric inside an iPhone case.  I cut a lot of custom cases but they have always been cardstock.  My case is actually from Paparte and I love it- it's a rubber enclosure with a clear acrylic overlay, so I can layer something in between and make it pretty.


I started by ironing out my fabric so it was flat, and then ironing the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  Fabric side up, and make sure you don't have excessive interfacing sticking out or it will gum up your iron.

Once ironed, it's nice and stiff.

I then got out my fabric blade.  Silhouette sells one, but it's just a regular blade in a blue housing.  Go for it if it makes you happy.  I personally have 4 blades and have them labeled for separate use (Cardstock, Vinyl, Fabric, and a spare).

Stuck the fabric on my mat, set blade to 4, speed 3, thickness 30 as I read somewhere (don't rush to copy these settings- finish reading, you'll see why).  I also set it to double cut, figuring better safe than sorry.

So, this didn't work.  It cut though the fabric ok but not the interfacing.  I could tear the interfacing, but it wasn't neat.  Had I needed to iron this to something it really would not have worked.

See, fabric is cut:

Interfacing is not.  I already tore the top line but do you see any cut lines?  Nope.

Round two.  Ironed more interfacing on to more fabric.

These are the settings you want copy :)

I then changed the blade to 6 and kept speed at 3, thickness 30, double cut on, and cut the shape again.

I then changed the blade to 8, kept everything else the same, and cut a 2nd shape below the first one.

You'll see that both worked fine, so 8 may be overkill.

In addition to these blade settings, I cleaned my mat with a scraper and then sprayed with 3M Re-positional Spray.  I use this to re-sticky my mat with a light hand so that paper doesn't tear, but I sprayed it a bit heaver than normal to help hold the fabric steady.

I also burnished the fabric to really help it adhere.

This time it worked great!  When I lifted the corner of the fabric, it removed cleanly & easily around the cut lines.

top sideways- blade 8, bottom vertical- blade 6

Even better, when I lifted my cut shapes, the camera hole cut out also peeled away cleanly!

One thing I want to point out- interfacing is a must!  This cut out was totally within the interfacing edges and it's clean and perfect. This was the "blade at 6" cut.

Meanwhile, the "blade at 8" cut had just a smidge of fabric without interfacing, and it's already frayed on that side.

Lastly for this project, I removed the current decorative insert from my cell phone case (you can see it in the photo!) and inserted this fabric cut out.  I love how it looks!

Next up (after I finish my sewing project, anyway!) will be to get some Heat n Bond Lite and work on making custom shirts for my son & soon-to-be-born baby using iron-on fabric cutouts with the Cameo :)