Silhouette Software Giveaway

Remember those Glass Block Bookends I made a couple of weeks ago?  That project would have been much less stressful with one of those electronic cutting tools from Silhouette.  I don’t own one, but you can bet it’s on my wish list.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked on a photo of a cute project and found out it was made using one of those handy machines.

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The nice people at Silhouette contacted me recently to see if I’d be interested in sharing their Black Friday sale details with you.  I’m always up for a good sale, so of course I agreed.  I promised I wouldn’t release the details until Friday, but if you’re eyeing these like I am, you’ll want to come back!

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They also wanted to know if I thought you all would like to participate in a giveaway.    Of course!  They’re offering a copy of their Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software upgrade (a $50 value) to one of you!

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All you need to do to enter is follow Silhouette on Pinterest, then leave a comment here about what you would make with a Silhouette.  You have until midnight on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 to enter.  The winner will be announced on Friday morning, along with the details of the Black Friday Sale.

Stay tuned…I’ll be sharing more giveaways and sales this week!

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Smilebox eCards

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I tried to come up with something green in honor of the holiday, but instead, I’m going to introduce you to a fun, new bit of software I found recently.  If you don’t think the computer is a craft tool, you aren’t looking in the right places.  I would have a hard time doing some of the things I have done without it. 

Anyway, I’m going to call this St. Patrickish, because you can use it to send a card with clovers on it.  The software is called Smilebox.  It seems to be owned by Hallmark (they sell Smilebox cards in their stores) and based in Washington.  You can download it at www.smilebox.com and use it to make electronic cards to send via e-mail or post on Facebook.  Sounds simple, huh?  Luckily, it really is.

After you download the software, you’ll be presented with a screen to choose a design from.  I’ve only made cards so far, but apparently calendars and recipe cards are also an option.  Once you choose your design, it’ll download to your computer.  There are a lot of cute cards, and the number of photos you can use varies.  Drag photos into it from the left side of your computer.  If the ones you want aren’t shown, click “Get Photos” to find them.  If you don’t like a photo that’s in your project and want to change it, just drag a different one over it.  To remove a photo from the left, click it and press the delete key.

When you’re done creating, you can preview.  It defaults to Premium, so it shows you how it will look if you subscribe to the paid version.  You knew there had to be a way they’d try to get money, didn’t you?  The good part is, the free version is great.  Just click “Basic Design -free” to see how it will look.  It’s smaller and there’s an ad on the right.  I found when I sent one to myself that the actual card is larger than the preview shows, and the ad is not very intrusive.  The paid version is pretty reasonable at $40 for a year and you do get more options, but for now I’m sticking with free.

You can send the card to anyone via e-mail.  It will show in their inbox that it’s from smilebox.com and the front of the card will be in the message.  When they hover over the “Play” button, it shows them your name.  They click to play, which takes them to the Smilebox website.  They have the option of leaving a comment at the bottom of the card, which will send you an e-mail showing you what they said.

The only thing I don’t really like about this software is that it wants to add any photos I load from my camera into Smilebox.  However, it asks first and it’s simple to just close the box.  I haven’t found it to be a big problem. 

I’ve used e-cards for many years, but I really like being able to customize my own.  I’m going to be looking for new excuses to send them.  Off to work on my Happy Day-After-St.-Patrick’s-Day cards!