Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My HTV equipment has arrived!

My daughter, Bethany, and I have decided to jump into the world of heat transfer vinyl (HTV). Our equipment has arrived and we are in the process of setting them up. The cutter we ordered is a Silhouette Cameo 2. Though there are various places you can buy the Cameo, we went with Ken's Sewing Center. For our heat press we went with the Siser 11x15 for now. It's great for beginners. Eventually we will go with a larger press. It also came from Ken's Sewing Center. Once we get our equipment up and running, I will be sharing our progress with you.

Bethany and I are excited to be entering into this new endeavor.  We have come across so many ideas and designs, and are constantly looking for more.

If you are into HTV or are thinking about it, you can check out my previous post which contains some possible questions you may have about HTV.  I've included several links you may want to visit for more info.  I also have a list of links concerning HTV on my website, which you can view at  Also included on this link is a list of places you can visit for embroidery and ceramic supplies, designs, and ideas.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Tips & Notes

Though machine embroidery has been a popular past-time for several years now, another form of decorating clothing and other items for the home crafting enthusiast is heat press using heat transfer vinyl (HTV).  For some time now my daughter, Bethany, has expressed a desire to try her hand at doing the heat press, but didn’t know exactly how to go about doing it.  As a result, I started doing some research on the subject, and thought I would share what I’ve learned with those of you who are also considering this craft.  I will also be providing you with some links that you can check out yourself.

I started my search by asking questions in an embroidery group I’m a member of on FaceBook.  Some of the questions you may have or want to ask are below.  (Please note that the answers are either ones I received or just my opinion.)

Q:  What suggestions do you have on what type of cutting machine for doing vinyl?

Some of the recommendations I was given were the Silhouette Cameo, Brother ScanNCut, and the Cricut Air Explore.

Q:  How do I decide which cutting machine to get?

Personally I think it’s a great idea to compare cutting machines.  One machine may have not have all the options you want to use, where the other may have them all.  You can always put in your browser’s search engine (or just google it) the names of the machines you are interested in verses each other.  Example:  Silhouette Cameo vs. Brother ScanNCut.  Another example would be compare vinyl cutting machines or compare Silhoutte Cameo and Brother ScanNCut.

Q:  Do you use vinyl sheets or rolls?

You will want to decide just exactly what designs you will be using, as well as what size.

Q:  What type of software, if any, comes with the cutting machine?
Some machines come with software and some don’t.  If the cutting machine you ultimately choose does not come with software, make sure you shop around for the correct software you need.  I highly recommend going to your machine’s manufacturer’s website to see what they suggest.

Q:  What type of heat press do you use?  What size did you buy?
What size and/or type you want depends on exactly you plan on doing.  There are at least 3 types to choose from:  clamshell, swinger, and draw.  For more information on choosing the heat press best suited for your needs, you can visit

Q.  Where do I shop for designs?
Each cutting machine should have recommendations on where to purchase designs.  Also, you can probably visit Pinterest and/or Etsy for designs.

Q:  What extras, such as tools, stands, blades, will I need to go with my cutting machine?
This depends on what comes with the cutting machine you choose.  You may want to make a list of what is included with your cutting machine, then google to see what extras you may need.

Q:  What extras do I need for my heat press?
As far as the heat press is concerned, you may or may not want to purchase a stand for it.  You may not need a stand if you have a good place to set it up.  Another extra you may want to consider is a protector for the lower plate.  These are designed to help reduce wear and tear on the lower platen pad, as well as help make it easier to load and unload garments.  You may also want to consider getting a cover for the top plate.

Q:  Once I’ve bought my cutting machine and heat press, where should I go to get good quality vinyl, transparencies, and other supplies at inexpensive prices?
A really great place to check out is The Vinyl Spectrum.  They carry adhesive (sticky) vinyl, and heat transfer vinyl (HTV), as well as accessories.

Q:  What about inventory?
That depends on what you mean by inventory.  What do you want to do…clothing, acrylic items such as cups and more?  One great place to start is RCS Blanks.   Another place you can check out is Discount Embroidery Blanks.  You may want to decide whether to stock up on items or order as you go.  If you decide to stock up on items, it may be a good idea to put off order a large quantity of something until you see how well that item sells.

Q:  Once I’ve decided on what I want, how do I go about learning how do work with my equipment?
There is always YouTube and FaceBook groups.  I have found that the vast majority of FaceBook groups have members who are absolutely great at helping answer any questions a newbie may have.  When looking for FaceBook groups to join, I suggest putting in various key words in the search area.  Example:  Put in such words as vinyl heat transfer, heat press, and name of the cutting machine you bought, etc.

After talking back and forth with Bethany, we went with the Silhouette Cameo 2 and the Siser 11x15 heat press.  We purchased both from Ken’s Sewing Center so that we could finance it.  We didn’t buy the stand for the heat press because I have a large table in my crafting room we can set it on.  Also, if necessary, our husbands can make us a stand just for it.  The software for the Silhouette Cameo was not included; however, a free download for the Silhouette Studio Basic is available from the manufacturer’s website.  After we receive the cutting machine, I will be checking into what other tools I will need for it.  Amazon will probably be the place I’ll visit to order what we need.

Below are some links you may be interested in visiting.  Each link will open in another window.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spring is in the air...

I love the spring of the year for several reasons; not having to bundle up to stay warm, the flowers are blooming, trees are  sprouting leaves, grass is getting greener, and all the baby animals make life so wonderful.  It also means I can get outside with my camera and take nature pictures, which is one of my favorite things to do.  If you check out the Photo Albums on my website, Sharry's Place, you will see that the vast majority of my pictures are taken outside.  I recently uploaded approximately 69 photos to my site and over 50% of them were of flowers.  The pictures you see posted on your left are among the latest I've added to my site.  

The latter part of March I added several photos my son and I had taken at the Lexington Comic Book and Toy Convention.  Coming up in September we will be attending the ScareFest Horror and Paranormal Convention in Lexington, KY.  Those photos will be added sometime in October, as the convention is from September 30-October 2.
Taking pictures is something I've enjoyed over the last 50 years.  I still own my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic.  I sure wish they still made film and flash cubes for it.  The back of the camera would open up and you dropped the film in, shut the back, then turned a knob to forward the film till it stopped.  You could take 4 pictures with a single flash cube.  If you seriously thought about it, technology has changed so much in the last 50 years.  Eventually, I would love to take photography classes or at least work with someone who could give me tips.

Eveyone should have a camera ready, whether it is on your phone, a tablet, or actual camera.  My sisters use to fuss about all the pictures I would take, but now that their children have grown with kids of their own, they are glad of all the pictures that were taken years ago.

Until next time, take pictures to help make those memories last for future generations...Someone will be glad you did.