Darla Haverstock is a lifelong crafter, mother of two and designated “Gadget Girl” in her town on the east coast of Canada. She’s spent years learning the ins and outs of die-cutting software and hardware, which can be as complex and as tedious as you want them to be.
Darla decided to make life a little easier for fellow and aspiring crafters alike by sharing her knowledge through classes at a local craft store and online with the help of YouTube and Camtasia.
Darla began her crafting career at the age of five when, with the help of her babysitter, she created a wide range of crafts, including rubber stamps from shoe soles and paper crafts of all kinds. Her babysitter would often sell things they created at craft shows. Darla has been hooked ever since.
Over the years, Darla perfected many techniques, often with the help of gizmos and gadgets that made tedious crafts faster and easier. Darla creates lots of cards and paper crafts that require die-cutting tools. Prior to machines, this work was very tedious. Darla needed tools that would make die-cut projects easier.
Staying true to her “Gadget Girl” title, Darla bought a die-cut machine and software package that produced the patterns her new machine would cut. It was a lot like buying a photo printer and an image-editing program. Except Darla’s new tools didn’t come with instructions…at all.
“I had to figure out the image editing program on my own,” said Darla. “I searched for information online, joined every Yahoo! group available and played around with the software until I understood it. Then one of my favorite crafters shared a video showing how to use a feature on one of the popular die-cut machines. That’s when the light bulb turned on.”
Not only did Darla learn how to use the feature she was searching for, she also learned how to do a whole lot of other stuff along the way. The video author shared tips and tricks that took a few seconds to explain in the video, but took lengthy and confusing written responses in online forums.
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on Darla’s YouTube channel.
As resident Gadget Girl and craft guru, Darla made a name for herself in her local crafting community. So much so that a nearby craft store owner asked Darla to begin teaching classes at her store. Drawing on years of experience figuring things out on her own, Darla set out to make learning about new techniques and tools much easier for others.
Die-cutting has become even more popular in the crafting community thanks to machines like Cricut, which are relatively easy to use and less expensive than higher-end alternatives. But these machines can still be pretty complicated, especially to those who haven’t had to learn die-cut programs and cutters without instructions.
“I started to get similar questions or people asking how to use specific features on their die-cut machine,” said Darla. “Rather than tell them ‘look for the seventh button from the right in the fourth column,’ I figured it would be easier to make a quick tutorial with Camtasia. And it was.”
Darla began recording her screen when using various die-cut software and switched to her webcam when she needed to show something with her hands. She started simple, making videos in one take with little to no editing. And, just as one would suspect, she was determined to learn more about Camtasia.
Darla joined TechSmith’s Technical Preview Program to learn as much as she could about Camtasia. After finishing the program, she noted that her videos have greatly improved since starting the TPP.
“Prior to using editing features in Camtasia, I was doing everything in one take,” said Darla. “Now, what used to be a 10 minute video takes 2 – 5 minutes because I can edit mistakes and use Camtasia’s features to point out important things more efficiently.”
Craft your own videos
Any crafter worth their salt has a tool box. While Darla’s work area takes up half of her living room, she’s maintained a fairly simple set of tools to create videos:
- Die-cutting programs
- Blogger account
- Simple headset with microphone
- Die-cutting machines
Darla notes that when getting started with Camtasia, the tutorial videos hosted on TechSmith’s website were extremely beneficial. She also suggests paying attention to your video’s composition, including background noises such as the video your kids are watching or other people chatting nearby, that can sneak into your recording.
Finally, do a dry run. Darla found herself forgetting that one special stamp pad or missing the right color paper for her planned project. By doing dry runs before videos, she’s able to anticipate exactly what she needs and how she wants to go about showing the project to her viewers.
To keep up with Darla, check out her blog or find her on Twitter (Follow @darlahaverstock). If you’re an avid crafter, subscribe to her YouTube channel for tips, tricks and how-to videos (Darla assures us that she’ll have lots of new content once she’s out of the TPP). And of course, see all of her ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. Happy crafting!