Getting Organized and Making Mac Owners Happy

This weekend was spent on two of the items that have been on my To Do list for a long time. First of all, I discovered that the WMV files produced by Camtasia Studio 7 are viewable on Mac’s! Since starting this blog over two years ago, I’ve heard from quite a few of my readers, who own Macs, that they REALLY wanted to be able to watch my videos without having to switch over to Windows. Well, check them out now! I converted almost a hundred videos this weekend to replace the ones currently at this site. And a BIG thank you to my dear friend, Jenn the Hacker, who was the one to discover that my latest videos were working on her Mac! : )

Since I had to re-upload all of these videos, I took the time to accomplish a second item on the To Do list, which was to reorganize the videos. I guess I’ve always had a bit of a hang-up about folders with too many files. When collecting anything in large numbers, I find a need to arrange them in some sort of orderly way to make finding what I need quicker and easier. I think they call it being “anal?” lol

So, all of the blog videos and miscellaneous other free videos have been arranged into a series of categories: Features, Designing, Editing, Text, Support, Import Export, and Rhinestones. And you’ll find links to these under the Support tab here (and then click on Videos). OR, you can just click on this link:

Free Videos

Note that the Support section will continue to grow as I remember specific tutorials I need to share, as well as new videos that need to be made. If you find anything you’d like to see added, be sure to let me know and I’ll do my best to make it available.

Kitty’s Cuttings

I am SO very proud to announce that Kitty Finn is now selling cutting files at Visual Designs by Chris.

In February, I taught a KNK retreat in Scottsdale and Kitty was one of my attendees. After the retreat, Kitty told me she felt so overwhelmed the first night that she had to make a decision… drive back to LA or head to the bar and drink a couple of martinis! Fortunately, she chose the martinis! 😛 The next day, she faced more classes and more design challenges, but at some point, she got hooked and suddenly what seemed so overwhelming the first day turned into fun and excitement the second day. By the end of the weekend, she was ready to go home and start designing her own files. And now, several months later, I am SO thrilled to announce that Kitty is now a member of Chris Durnan’s team of designers and has her first files ready to sell. Here is a link to see her files:

Kitty’s Cuttings

Also, Kitty is looking for some volunteers to test cut other formats of her files. Specifically she would like to have someone who owns a Silhouette cut her GSD versions and someone who owns a Cricut (along with SCAL or MTC) to cut her SVG versions. You can reach her at if you are interested in helping.

Kitty, I wish you great success at Visual Designs by Chris! And I look forward to seeing you again at the San Diego retreat in October. 🙂

Janie’s Appliqués

One of my favorite things is when a customer takes the Klic-N-Kut outside the box… and I don’t mean just unpacking it! lol I’m referring to the proverbial box where a KNK is used to create something amazing and outside the boundaries anyone else has tried. And that’s the topic for today’s post.

Janie bought her KNK Groove-E back in February for the purpose of cutting fabric appliqués to be ironed onto petticoats, slips, robes, etc. She sent me an assortment of fabrics to test cut, along with some intricate designs. Upon seeing her expectations, I was a bit unsure that the KNK or any other digital die cutter could produce the results she wanted. But I gave it a try and my cuts turned out beautifully! I pressed the fabric onto ThermoWeb’s Heat ‘n Bond first and then removed the backing sheet before pressing to the mat. The adhesive from the Heat ‘n Bond against the Easy Tack adhesive on the mat created excellent stability for cutting. I used Accugraphic’s fabric blade, along with (depending on the fabric) 2 or 3 passes at a speed of 400 and a force setting of 120 – 140. Because of the angle of the fabric blade, I also change the Overcut and Trailing Blade settings to 30 and 40. Here are some photos from my own cuts of one of the thicker fabrics Janie sent to me:

So, Janie ordered her Groove-E and I provided her the free classes so that she could master the machine and learn how to use KNK Studio, as well as import EPS files and download/install TTF fonts, etc. She has since created such a unique assortment of items, that I asked for her permission to put the photos into my gallery so that the readers of this site could view her amazing work! Here’s the link:

Janie’s Appliqués

If you would like to see other items in Janie’s store:

Sarafina Dreams

Finally, I want to thank Janie for sharing her photos with us. Janie, I can’t wait to see more of your future creations! Good luck!

KNK-ACS Retreat in San Diego!

October 8 – 10 is the weekend where you will learn how to design anything you want to cut AND improve your cutting skills! So, head out to San Diego’s Mission Valley and attend demos, classes, and workshops that I will be presenting along with a few other attendees with expertise in specific areas.

The cost of the retreat, excluding hotel, is $375. The event will be held at the Sheraton Mission Valley. You get 5 excellent meals, free goodies, classes, demos, cutting materials and a ton o’ fun. We’ll start at around noon on Friday the 8th and you’ll receive a full schedule upon arrival. At 4 pm we’ll have a chance to meet, then dinner served at 6 pm, followed by a class, demo and workshop. Saturday the 9th will be action packed with classes, demos, challenges, games, and 3 full meals. On Sunday the 10th, after breakfast, we’ll have one more class and workshop or demo. Participation in all classes and demos is optional, so you can head out, at any time, to enjoy the beautiful weather and San Diego attractions, if you like.

First time ever we are offering a $50 discount for up to three attendees who’d be interested in providing a demo or make-and-take for everyone at the retreat. Interested? Just email me with your idea and we’ll discuss. We also encourage you to bring your laptop and/or cutter, but it’s not a requirement to join us as we will have extras available and will seat everyone for sharing, as needed.

Your hotel room and travel expenses are separate. We have a wonderful deal with the Sheraton of $99.00 per night single or double occupancy. If you live locally, you are not required to stay at the hotel. Check this out: this rate is valid for three days BEFORE and three days AFTER our event, so here’s your chance to get this fabulous deal for the entire family. Rooms must be reserved no later than September 1 to lock in this rate. You must mention the ‘Klic-n-Kut Retreat’ when you call the Sheraton directly at 619-260-0111.

This weekend retreat is available for up to 25 attendees and we’ll have a waiting list in case of cancellations. So reserve your spot by making a $100 deposit via Paypal to Chris Giannoulas, our event organizer at The deadline for the non-refundable $100 deposit is August 15. If you prefer to pay by check or money order, please contact Chris at this email address for further information. Final balance of $275 will be due by September 8. Deposit and retreat fee is non-refundable unless we can fill your spot on a first-come first-serve basis.

For questions about the hotel, making payments, special needs, please contact Chris Giannoulas at:

For info about class content and demos, please contact Sandy McCauley at :

Hotel information: Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego
1433 Camino Del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108

Customizing Hot Keys

KNK/ACS/KNKGE/DM offers the ability to set up your own hot keys (menu and tool shortcuts) to make your use of the software faster and easier. I’ve been aware of this capability since writing the first KNK user manual over 3 years ago, however, it’s only been in recent months, since using the single-letter alignment short cut keys (T, L, B, R, C, and E) in rhinestone designing, that it dawned on me just how incredibly useful it would be to set up more of these single strokes for other functions that I use repeatedly. So, I started making a list of my most-used functions and matching up letters for the hot keys that would be easy to remember, such as:

A for Array
D for Cutting Defaults
E for Export
F for Fit Object to Path
G for Delete all Guides
I for Install Fonts
N for Notes
O for Outline
etc etc

So, to encourage all of you to do the same, I created a short video showing how to do this:

Setting Up Hot Keys

I also created a list of suggestions. Note that in same cases I’ve listed several options, so that you can decide which assignment would make the most sense. For example, where I used “F” for Fit Object to Path, you might prefer to use “F” for Flip or Install Fonts. The idea is for you to pick what is most useful for your work AND will be easy for you to remember.

Suggestions for Single Letter Hot Keys

And then, so that you can have your own cheat sheet to use until you have your new hot keys memorized, I created a form with the 26 letters of the alphabet listed, along with the other available keys you can use to set up additional shortcuts. Note that Ctrl 0 – 9 are available, along with the keys: Home, End, Page Up and Page Down. However, in some releases of the software, Ctrl 4 and Ctrl 5 have already been assigned to Layout>Arrange and Distribute>Align to Selected>Equal Vertical Spacing and Equal Horizontal Spacing, respectively. I have decided to release those two and assign V and H to those functions instead, because they are SO very useful in rhinestone pattern tweaking. : )

Custom Hot Key Cheat Sheet Form

Next, if you also want the complete list of ALL shortcuts in the software, then here’s the latest list that I have and use in the releases of the user manuals. If you know of any others not on my list, then please let me know. I like to keep the list current:

All Software Shortcuts

Finally, here’s a list of my all-time favorites:

Favorite Short Cut Keys in KNK Studio

Whew… enough on the hot keys? If not, then let me know what I missed! 😛