Monday, January 19, 2015

The New Kid in Town

(Click on any photo to view a larger image.)

The Zing Air arrives.
In my last post I mentioned that after four years of using the CraftWell eCraft I was upgrading to a new electronic cutting machine. My KNK Zing Air arrived sooner than anticipated and I didn't get around to opening it for a couple of days. It appeared unassuming enough and I didn't expect that I would have a difficult time learning the nuances of this new system. Well, this only turned out to be partially true. It was easy enough to hook up but I had a devil of a time getting my computer to recognize and connect to it. After turning everything off and restarting, propitiating gods and sacrificing chickens it connected and I was able to run the machine.

I am happy to report that the Zing Air is far superior to my old eCraft cutter in many ways and offers creative options I could only wish for. I won't go into all of the bells and whistles.  There are many YouTube videos that can walk you through those details. I will say that my favorite tool is the pen holder that allows me to draw images from my computer with almost any pen or marker at my disposal. I even used a glue pen to draw a delicate flourish image which I then covered in glitter. Oh, I'm going to have fun exploring the possibilities.

My one disappointment is that the machine was advertised as including a special blade for cutting fabric but it did not arrive in the box. I purchased the machine from Amazon but was unable to find a Contact Us link with a telephone number or an email address. I tried contacting the Amazon vendor who responded that I had to handle the issue through Amazon. The only option I found to deal with missing parts was to get a full refund. Thankfully I can get a fabric blade from the manufacturer for less than $10 so I'm not going to waste further time and energy over this but I can tell you I will definitely think twice or more before buying anything else from Amazon that has more moving parts than a book.

Okay, rant over. I'm off to my new machine to see what goodies I can conjure up. I'll be sure to post them here.  Stay tuned.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Fond Farewell To An Old Friend

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

The eCraft  -  November 2010
I've just taken a leap and invested in a new electronic cutting machine as a combination Christmas/birthday gift to myself. My trusty eCraft cutter, which I won in a contest over four years ago, has served me well but its limitations are many. The machine is just not as good as some others in creating cleanly cut detailed designs. Craftwell, the eCraft's manufacturer, is no longer making the machine although I was told by a representative that they will continue to support it and carry the accessories. Nevertheless, I can see the writing on the wall. The eCraft is not long for this world.

I'm ready to move on to a more reliable machine that will make the intricate and detailed cuts that I long for. My new KNK Zing Air will arrive sometime next week and I'm greatly looking forward to it but I will always fondly remember my first machine. Once I have mastered the learning curve of the Zing Air, I have no doubt I will be whipping up some amazing projects which I will post here and link to my Facebook page. Here's to a new year, a new machine and some new creative adventures.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bringing in 2015

(Click on any photo to view a larger image.).

My New Year's eve celebration was intimate and special. My husband, son and I picked up my two nephews and traveled to my parent's house to feast on a simple meal of rice, beans and fried chicken topped with a healthy serving of my mom's special gelatin mousse delight. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, yet it was special precisely because it was so ordinary and comfortable, like a well worn pair of slippers.

During dinner, my father made a comment about my mother's delicious stewed white beans which we were wolfing down like ravenous buzzards. He said something to the effect of the beans were delicious going down and deadly coming out. This reminded me of the famous campfire scene in "Blazing Saddles" and in the ensuing discussion we discovered that neither of my nephews had ever seen that particular movie. As it turned out, my father had an old VHS copy of it handy so during dessert, my nephews were treated to their first viewing of Mel Brooks' famous comedy western. Needless to say, they loved it as did we all.

Afterwards the menfolk gathered around a small table to play a few hands of dominoes while my mother chatted on the telephone to relatives who called to wish us well in the new year. Dick Clark's Rocking Eve played in the background until it was time for the famous ball drop.

No matter how many times I experience that ten second countdown it never gets tired. I am instantly transported back in time to when I was a little girl at my grandmother's house, surrounded by family, hugging and kissing everyone in sight yelling, "Happy New Year!" It is the annual replay of a family tradition that has been handed down for generations and lives on for generations to come. In the faces of my children and nephews I see the continuum and look forward to the day that they carry on the tradition and make it their own.

Shortly after the midnight mayhem, we watched a few minutes of Sir Elton John's show being broadcast from Barclay's Center in downtown Brooklyn, then we packed up the domino table and returned all the furniture to its place. Coats on, doggie bags packed and back home we all went but not before another round of hugs and kisses, thank yous and goodbyes. The tradition never changes and yet it always manages to stay fresh.

There's a word for that. It's called family.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva