Friday, September 29, 2017

Back to School Cricut Basics: Q & A

It's Friday! Which means (sadly) that my week of Cricut basics is coming to an end. This has kind of just been the start of what I'm hoping to make a regular series because I gotta tell ya, as a Cricut newbie I very often found myself confused, frustrated and full of questions. If I can help someone feeling the same, it would make me so happy.

Let me start by saying, YouTube is your best friend. Almost everything I've learned about Cricut, I've learned from YouTube (and trial and error). The Cricut YouTube in particular is great. They have quick and simple tutorials for just about everything! I'm going to share some of my favorites.

Home Page Overview

Inserting Images

How To: Vinyl

How To: Iron on

How To: Cutting More than One Image
Say you're working on a design, for a party lets say... and you're happy with your design and ready to cut, but you need 40 of them. Rather than creating 40 in Design Space, from the "Make It" screen, you can choose how many you'd like to be cut, as you can see here. 
Cricut How-To: Cutting More than One Image

Cricut Glossary 

There are several words that get thrown around in the Cricut universe that if you don't know what they mean, you could be lost, so I created this glossary for you!

Mirror- For Iron on projects, you are going to want to mirror (or flip) your image or text so that when you go to iron it on, it is is the right direction and you do so from the "Make It" screen.
Cricut How-To: Mirroring for Iron-On
Print then Cut- Originally when Print then Cut was introduced, people were very confused because they didn't understand how their Cricut machine was going to print and that's because, it actually wasn't going to. Print then Cut is a feature that partners your home printer and your Cricut machine as the best duo since cherry and Coke flavored Slurpees. If you plan to do Print then Cut, I definitely recommend upgrading your printer if you don't have one you love. Thanks to my boss babe Jen, I have this one and love it. 
Transfer Tape- If you plan to do any vinyl projects, Transfer Tape is a must. As it says in the name, it helps you transfer your project from the backing to your project surface easily. Otherwise you would be attempting to place each piece individually by hand which i definitely do NOT recommend.
Weed- Weeding is removing the negative space from your project, which you can see me doing here:
Cricut How-To: Weeding Iron-On
You will weed with all vinyl and  iron on and projects. The new BrightPad makes weeding way easier.
Weld- When you hear the word weld, I'm sure you picture sparks flying and a huge welders mask. While this isn't exactly like that, it is actually very similar. It is how you tell your machine to bond two (or more) items together so that they cut as one. Here is an example...
Cricut How-To: Welding
As you can see... originally, each letter was going to cut separately, but I moved them all so that they were touching and then welded them to be cut as one. 

And that concludes my Back to School Cricut Basics week! I hope that you were able to find something useful within it. If you still have any question, please feel free to ask! I'd love to answer them! I'd also love to see your Cricut creations so be sure to tag me in them!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Back to School Cricut Basics: What Tools do I Need?

I'm back with even more back to school Cricut basics! Another question that I hear a lot from Cricut newbies is... 
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
*This post contains affiliate links*

There are SO many different Cricut tools and accessories it's very easy to get overwhelmed while taking a stroll down the Cricut isle of your local craft store. So I've created a list of the five basic must haves. 
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
Cutting mats are essential. Every machine comes with a cutting mat or two but it's always good to have extra's on hand. 
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
Tool Set (Basic // Mint)
I'm sure you already have scissors in your crafting arsenal, but tools like the scrapper tool and the spatula tool are essential for doing things like, removing items from the mat or placing vinyl (the larger set also comes with a scoring tool which you'll want to have). 
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
Blades are your best friend and your worst enemy. There is nothing better than having a fresh blade, but, if your blade begins to dull it can ruin your project, so be sure to always have at least one replacement blade on hand for when that happens. 
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
If you plan on doing any vinyl projects, transfer tape is essential. Sometimes you're so excited about your vinyl project and you get home with your shiny new vinyl and you realize you have no transfer tape, and doing it without tranfer tape is just not an option. So be sure to stock up!
What Cricut Tool do I Need??
It may seem excessive, but trust me, you'll be glad you got it. And instead of wasting time and money figuring out what off-brand pens fit in the Cricut (which I've done), you know these fit perfectly. 

And that's it! There's my list of the top 5 essentials... sure I could make a case for why you need every Cricut product (I use this technique on myself every time I'm at the craft store haha). But these are the five essentials to get you started!

Be sure to leave any questions you may have because I'll be answering all questions tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Back to School Cricut Basics: What is Design Space?

If you've been following along in this weeks series, you have more than likely heard me reference Design Space. But what is it?  
What is Cricut Design Space??
It's Cricut's FREE design software! And it looks like this:
What is Cricut Design Space??
I know it can be a little intimidating using any sort of new program at first but Cricut's Design Space is pretty user friendly, especially since they rolled out the latest version, Design Space 3 (or DS3). It's so user friendly in fact, that even though I have Photoshop, I use Design Space for most of my designing needs. Here is a quick tour:
If I were to attempt to tell you all the great things you can do in the software, we'd be there all day so I recommend playing around with it! Use new tools! The one's most people are afraid of are slice, weld, attach, flatten and contour but each is an amazing tool for customizing your project.
Instead of going into each one, let me know if you have questions and I'll be sure to answer them on Friday!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Back to School Cricut Basics: What Can I Do with a Cricut Machine?

Today I'm back with even more Cricut basics! As I mentioned yesterdayI'm going to be spending the next week going over all the Cricut basics for anyone who has been considering buying a Cricut machine or maybe someone who has one but is too intimidated to play around with it. This is not a sponsored post. I am just a fangirl sharing my love of the product. So, lets dive in shall we!?

Today I'm going to be exploring...
What Can I Do with Cricut??
In the past, Cricut was mostly known as a papercrafting company, most used by scrapbookers and card makers. While sure, I've dabbled in both, I would never label myself as either so naturally, I steered clear of the brand. That is, until I saw the Explore. The capabilities of the Explore were so exciting to see! Being in full on wedding planning mode when I was researching the machine made it even more exciting because I could see my vision coming to life! (If you haven't yet, take a look at all the projects I created for my wedding using my Cricut.) And you know what's even more exciting?! The new Maker machine is able to cut even MORE than before. And with its new adaptive tool system, it will be able to adapt in the future. 

Here is a list of just some of the materials that Cricut can cut. 
What Can I Do with Cricut??
Top Row: Woven Burplap, Metallic Poster Board, Wool Felt, Balsa Wood, Linen
Middle Row: Glitter Vinyl, Cardstock, Pearl Paper, Holographic Sparkle Vinyl, Metallic Foil
Bottom Row: Denim, Light Glitter Paper, Cork Board, Iron-On, Genuine Leather

Can you believe it? And that is just a sampling, there are literally hundreds of materials and the list is growing every day! Cricut being a papercrafting brand is a thing of the past!

But wait! Cricut can do more than just cut! It can write! It can score! It can even cut out things you have printed from your home computer! I'll be honest, I think the Print then Cut feature is my current favorite. Here are some examples of how I've used it. 
What Can I Do with Cricut??
Here is a food tag that I made for a tropical themed party. Using Cricut's Design Space, I was able to add a pattern, cut and score them. (The gold foil was done with my Heidi Swapp Minc machine, which is a runner up for my favorite craft machine, after my Cricut). 
(Side note: a friend of mine thought these were escort cards and was like "Cole Slaw", what a cool name... I still laugh about it every time I see this photo.)
What Can I Do with Cricut??
Here is another great example of how I use the Print then Cut feature. I use it for my packaging! After designing in Design Space, my printer and my Cricut do all the work for me! They get printed, cut and scored!

I could literally spend days talking about everything you can do with a Cricut machine but I don't want to overwhelm you so I'll leave it at that for now. 
Tomorrow I'm going to be discussing what Design Space is!

Don't forget, if you have any questions, let me know! I'll be answering all your questions on Friday!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Back to School Cricut Basics: What is Cricut?

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I am a Cricut lover. If you're not an avid crafter yourself, however, you may not even know what Cricut is. I'm going to be spending the next week going over all the Cricut basics for anyone who has been considering buying a Cricut machine or maybe someone who has one but is too intimidated to play around with it. This is not a sponsored post. I am just a fangirl sharing my love of the product. So, lets dive in shall we!?

Today I'm going to start very simple with...
What is Cricut??
At the heart of it, Cricut is a paper crafting company with die cutting and embossing machines. I'll be honest, before I started looking into buying a cutting machine for my wedding, I really hadn't heard of Cricut. While I had always considered myself a crafter, I had never really dove into paper crafting or scrapbooking and, to me, Cricut was for those people. But then the Explore happened. Before the Explore line, you had to purchase cartridges and you were only able to cut what you had a cartridge for. As a creative person, I don't like to have limitations on my creativity. The Explore changed all that. With the new Design Space software, cartridges were a thing of the past, and you could upload your own fonts, images, and even patterns!

Lets take a walk down memory lane to a time I'm going to refer to as "Before Explore". Cricut had several machines before the Explore line... here they are. 
What is Cricut?? Get to know the brand!
I'll be honest, I can't tell you much about these machines other than the fact that they take cartridges which was a huge turn off for me. I already have WAY too many craft supplies to house, I can't be storing (and finding when need be) cartridges. And, to be honest, something about the old machines looked a bit dated to me. But then came... the Explore. 
What is Cricut?? Get to know the brand!
I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, I own almost every version of the Explore (and even the new Maker!), and although they may look very similar, Cricut has made leaps and bounds with each new machine and the abilities of the new Maker are astounding!

Be sure to check back in tomorrow, I'll be diving into what you can do with Cricut!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The New Cricut Maker!

*Post contains affiliate links*
You guys! I'm so excited to discuss my favorite new toy with you today! As you may remember, in the beginning of August I had the amazing opportunity to go to the Cricut Mountain Make-a-thon in Salt Lake City. While I was there, Cricut announced several new products, the BrightPad, the EasyPress and the show stopper... the brand new Cricut Maker
Meet the new kid on the block, the new Cricut Maker!
I've been very vocal about my love of Cricut. I bought the original Explore machine in 2014 while planning my wedding. It was the perfect excuse to splurge on the most expensive crafting tool I'd ever bought. And once I started using it, I couldn't stop! From paper to vinyl and everything in between, the possibilities really were endless! Since the original Explore was released three others in the Explore series have succeeded it, the Explore One, Explore Air (which comes in GOLD!) and the Explore Air 2 and yes... I have two of the three (I know, I know). Over the last three years the brand has continued to be at the forefront of the cutting machine world. The web based software has made the machine's capabilities advance without you having to get a new machine. They are constantly adding new images, fonts and projects to their already vast Design Space. And while the Explore series was amazing at what it did, Cricut wanted to create even more possibilities and they did, with the Cricut Maker. 

What is the Cricut Maker?

The Cricut Maker is the ultimate smart cutting machine. With its revolutionary Adaptive Tool System and expandable suite of tools, Cricut Maker gives you the freedom to make virtually any DIY project you can imagine. You can use the Rotary Blade to cut fabric for a sewing project - without backing material. (This is HUGE) Switch to the Knife Blade (*which is scheduled to be released later this fall*) and cut chipboard for added dimension and depth. Cricut Maker has the tools to cut hundreds of materials quickly and accurately, from the most delicate fabric and paper to matboard and leather. Featuring unique cutting versatility, a huge library of design ideas and sewing patterns available instantly, and easy-to-use apps, Cricut Maker delivers professional-level cutting performance that anyone can use. AND it still does all of the things that the previous machines do!   

The Features Everyone is Talking About

•Cuts hundreds of materials, from the most delicate fabric and paper to matboard and leather
•Expandable suite of tools
•Rotary Blade, with its gliding, rolling action, cuts through virtually any fabric
•Knife Blade that works like an X-ACTO® knife to slice through heavier materials up to 2.4 mm 
•Sewing pattern library with hundreds of patterns available to choose from
•Washable fabric pen to eliminate guesswork and know precisely how pattern pieces fit together
•Simple design apps and the ability to use your own designs
•Cuts everything the Explore Family of Machines can cut and more! 
•Applies up to 4 kg of force

•USB port so that you can charge your device AS YOU CRAFT!
•Device shelf, to store your phone or tablet which is especially useful when using the Design Space app!

What Does it Come With?

Included in the box: 
•Cricut Maker machine 
•Rotary Blade + Drive Housing 
•Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing 
•Fine Point Pen 
•FabricGrip Mat 12"x12" 
•LightGrip Mat 12"x12" 
•Welcome book 
•USB cable 
•Power adapter 
•Cricut Access free trial membership 
•50 free ready=to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns 
•Materials for your first project 

Why would I want a Cricut Maker?

The Cricut Maker really does do it all. If you're familiar with the previous machines, you know just how many possibilities there are, but with the Maker, there are now MORE! Being able to cut fabric??? Total game changer. 

I already have an Explore machine, would I have to buy all new tools?

One of the great things about the new Cricut Maker is that you can use all of the tools you already have! It uses the same mats, the same blades, the same pens, the same software, it just has even MORE great tools, like the rotary blade and the knife blade. The one thing you can't do is what they call "go backward" meaning you can't use the new tools on the older machines because they don't supply the force of the new machine (which is 10 TIMES more than previous machines). 

Wait! Where's the dial?

I will admit, this was a little hard for me to wrap my head around but the dial is gone! And with good reason! Now for each project you have to select which material you are cutting from your Design Space screen which, at first, seemed like adding an extra step to me when actually, it will save me! If you have used any of the previous machines I'm sure you've had a time (or several) where you have forgotten to change the dial and wasted paper, vinyl, or god forbid, gold glitter heat transfer vinyl! (guilty) The new way to choose materials just makes sense. And here's the kicker, the machine double checks your blade to make sure you're using the correct blade for the material you are using! Is that smart or what?!

I want a machine, but what do I need?

•Compatible computer or mobile device 
•Broadband Internet connection 
And that's it! That's all you need to get started! Sure, once you get started you will want to buy all the materials you can get your hands on but that comes later. :)

Which machine is right for me?

I'll be honest, not everyone needs a Cricut Maker. If you're not an avid crafter, if you're fine with using basic materials, maybe one of the previous versions is best for you. Here is a great graphic from the Cricut website that breaks down the machines. (Click on the image to see it larger.)
What Cricut Machine is Right for Me??
So what do you think? Are you excited about the new Cricut Maker and all of the possibilities?? 
Do you have any questions about the Maker? Let me know in the comments!

And be sure to check back next week for my Back to School Cricut Basics series where I explore all things Cricut for any newbies out there! 
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. 
 The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Favorites // Cacti Edition

Yay it's Friday! The official start of the weekend AND time for a freshly picked batch of favorites! If you've been following along for awhile you know that I love all things cacti, I even got married in the desert! Well, this week I decided to do a cacti exclusive roundup of favorites! Lets jump right in!
Check out this awesome batch of Cacti favorites!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Meet the Maker: Kelsey & Christina of Kelsey & Christina Designs

Happy Monday! Sorry I was a little MIA last week but I was prepping for the Penelope Lane Boutique. There was such a great turn out and I had so much fun! Plus, it was a great excuse to spend an entire day with my bestie. Now that that's behind me, I'm ready to get back in the swing of things and I'm back with another installment of my "Meet the Maker" series. Today I'm giving you TWICE the maker goodness and introducing you to TWO makers... Kelsey & Christina of Kelsey & Christina Designs!
Meet the Maker: Kelsey & Christina of Kelsey & Christina Designs
Christina is actually one of my cousins besties. (I have to stop myself from saying my "little cousin" because even though I think of her as a baby, she's TWENTY ONE now! HOW did that happen?!) After seeing some of Christina's work with Kelsey I knew I had to feature them!

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

Kelsey: * 25 years old
* Earning bachelors at GCU
* Married to Garrett
* Property manager 
* Lover of all things fall 

Christina: *22 years old
*Future nurse
*Calligrapher 
*Dating a Pastor

What is it that you make and how did you get started?

Kelsey: Specializes in hand lettering. Got started a few years ago when I was planning my wedding. 

Christina: We specialize in hand lettering, custom pieces or what we sell on our Etsy. I got started through my friendship with Kelsey and from there learned my style of writing!
Meet the Maker: Kelsey & Christina of Kelsey & Christina Designs
Loves:
Kelsey: Iced green tea and a good book
Disney

Christina: The beach & sunshine
A good vanilla latte 
Wine nights with my best friend 
Summer time!

Hates: 

Kelsey: Scary movies 

Christina: Scary movies and cats

Any Guilty Pleasures: 

Kelsey: One Tree Hill & anything chocolate 

Christina: Chocolate 
Netflix re-runs of Friends and How I Met Your Mother

Cocktail (or mocktail) of choice

Kelsey: Moscow mule

Christina: Moscow Mule

What advice do you have for fellow makers? 
Kelsey: Don't be discouraged in your journey. Take the time to refine and develop your skills and the rest will follow!

Christina: Practice makes perfect! My work was awful when I first started, but the more I put the time and practice in, the more it improved. 

Thank you Kelsey and Christina for being a part of this Meet the Maker series! 
Be sure to check out their Etsy shop and follow them on Instagram!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Happy Fri-YAY! It's an extra special Friday because it's the Friday of a HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!!
Let's jump right into this weeks favorites!
Check out this fun batch of favorites!
This Sleep Mask- "Um No" is basically my first thoughts every morning. I need this. // This "Frame"- I'm always looking for new (and cute) storage solutions for my craft cave. I love that this one serves both form and function (and doesn't break the bank!) // This Robe- Having a conversation with my bestie Danica the other day I realized that I am a robe person. I love being in a robe. Which led me to looking for the perfect one and I think I found it! The pattern is amazing. I like that it's long and yet the sleeves are only elbow length so they don.t get in the way. It's a must have for sure. // This Wedding Bar Sign- I have to admit, I'm kind of kicking myself for not thinking of this for my desert wedding. Maybe for a desert inspired party one day though. // This Tea Light- A cute little way to add a touch of gold to your home. // These Chairs- I definitely don't need these for anything but I want them so bad! // This Floor Mirror- I currently have one of those cheap over the door mirrors just leaning up against the wall in my bedroom because I haven't found a floor mirror that I really like... until now! Usually I find them to be really gaudy and over the top. This one from Ikea though is sleek an modern and I love the hanging feature on the back! I may have to run out and snag one this weekend!

And that rounds out this weeks favorites! Have you found anything around the web this week worth sharing? I'd love to see it!
I hope you all have a fun and safe Labor Day!