Category: Crafty

Home Made Cards using the Cricut Explore

So I’m not very good with remembering to buy cards for people. Their birthdays are in my Filofax and on my Google calendar, but that’s no guarantee. In theory, I’d either buy them online from an independent maker on Folksy or Etsy or I’d be organised enough to have a card making session, sourcing beautiful card and vintage paper, and have a supply of cards suitable for any occasion. However, neither of these have happened yet and recently, I’ve needed a couple of cards in a pinch. Fortunately, I have a wonderful (c/o)¬†Cricut Explore to hand and this makes cardmaking super quick. Thank goodness!

I needed three cards: A birthday card for my sister (who should’ve been in Canada but came home early), a new baby card (for an early arrival) and a belated thank you card. I always have a supply of cards and various papers, and I saw this post over on A Beautiful Mess and thought it was such a great idea, it could easily work with cards.

Happy Birthday card

New Baby card

Thank You card

The birthday card was for my sister has spent most of the last year in Canada. I printed off a map of Banff National Park, where she was throughout winter and trimmed it to size. I hopped onto the Cricut Design Room and typed up the words that I wanted cut. I love how easy the design room is to navigate and that you can save everything for future use. It was a little bit fiddly, but to be honest, I was in my element, cutting and sticking the old fashioned way!

I never know what to buy for a new baby. I’m not a fan of the stereotypical blue for boys and pink for girls, especially as my favourite colour is blue! So I reused this lovely yellow paper bag as the background and cut out New Baby on the Cricut Explore. For the Thank You card, I was also testing the Explore as I wanted to use this very delicate wrapping paper. It cut it really well and it didn’t rip, which I was really pleased with. Then I used washi tape to make sure that the letters were straight when I stuck them on. Next time I make some cards, I’m going to add some embellishments and jazz them up a bit more. I think I need to look on Pinterest a bit for some ideas. And plan in advance. That would most definitely help!

I know these are just basic projects and that the Cricut Explore has way more possibilities – I’m just trying to pin down some ideas in my head before I test them out! And I could do with a week of just crafting and nothing else! How about you? What have you made lately?

Disclosure: I was sent the Cricut Explore to review, but all views are my own, honest opinions. For more information, see my Disclosure page.

#Exploretheseasons with the new Cricut Explore

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the day in a lovely part of London at the launch of the new Cricut Explore. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the walk from the tube was lovely and the view from the building was breathtaking.

The View

After a minute or two to catch my breath (I was late thanks to the Tube taking forever. Very glad my daily commute involves walking downstairs in my slippers!) it was on to the presentation. The CEO, Ashish Arora, spoke about the thinking behind the new Cricut Explore. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I want to make something but I’m not the neatest cutter, especially if something is a little fiddly. Well, the Cricut Explore will cut just about any material you’ll need, from tracing paper all the way through to denim and leather. These butterflies below show (and I couldn’t get them all in the picture) the huge range of materials you can cut with the new Explore.

Fabric Butterflies

Not only that, but it’s really simple to change the cut setting on the Explore. You simply turn a dial to choose your material, which is much easier than it’s been before. Not only that, but if you want to design your own project and cut it, you can with the new Design Room. You can save your project, just like all the other projects that are all there ready for you to make. There were lots of examples all around the room of the kind of things you could make, including a beautiful dress.

Tshirt Design

Party

Cricut Fox Cushion

By the beach

Butterfly Dress

After the presentation, which included unpacking the Explore (which was pretty exciting!), meeting American bloggers Vintage Revivals and The TomKat Studio and more inspiration from Ashish, we were able to have a go ourselves. I’ve only used a Cricut Mini before and it’s pretty safe to say that my mind exploded. We were given plain tote bags to jazz up however we wanted to. I wanted a lightening bolt type design and a quick search of images threw up a lovely cloud and lightning. I cut out two layers of glitter iron on transfer. It took less than 5 minutes to cut and about a similar amount of time to iron on.

Cloud Tote

I’m pretty impressed with it and am seriously thinking about a few t-shirt designs. There’s so much you can do with the Explore – the whole day, my mind was whirling with ideas. But there was more! Lots and lots of great food, including humungous cupcakes, and manicurists who gave my nails a lovely coat of bright red polish.

Giant Cupcakes

It was such a brilliant and inspirational day. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Explore and get my make on!

Huge thank you to everyone who made the day so much fun! I

Christmas Crafting

I know, I know. It’s a bit late to be writing about what I crafted over Christmas, but hey, better late than never. Just before Christmas, I really got into sewing. From making pyjama bottoms at Darn It & Stitch to making Cath Kidston Christmas decorations, I had caught the sewing bug. I had a few Mollie Makes kits to make as well as an ampersand cross stitch kit from The Shop at Number 57. (FYI, their shop is offline at the moment due to flooding. Fingers crossed they’re back up & running soon.)

pink fox brooch

orange fox brooch

I love these fox brooches from Mollie Makes. (Why can’t all their kits be super cute and easy to make?!) I’ve kept the orange once for myself, to brighten up my coat on dull dog walks, while the pink one is winging its way to my sister in Canada.

ampersand cross stitch

My sister gave me this kit for my birthday last May, so it’s taken me a while to get around to making it. I wanted to make it perfect and sew the cross stitch in the right way, not be ‘free form’ like I have previously. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty close and I am so pleased with the result. I love the white thread on the black aida fabric. I’m very tempted to make another one, once the The Shop at Number 57 is open again!

What have you been crafting recently? I’m on the look out for more kits – let me know if you’ve come across any good ones!

Oh, Christmas Tree

It’s finally beginning to look festive at Crafty Chai towers. As our house is snug & compact, we have to get a small tree. For the last few years we’ve bought our tree from Appleton Christmas Barn, which is as awesome as it sounds! It really helps to get me in the Christmas spirit because as soon as you arrive, Christmas is all around you & can’t help but love it!

Festive RibbonAs soon as you enter, you hit with warmth from the wood burning stove by the entrance. Sadly, it wasn’t needed much when we bought our tree last week, but it has been essential in years gone by. They have absolutely everything you could possibly need to get your house ready for Christmas. I love the range of ribbons and stamps that they have, as it’s the little touches that help make Christmas extra special.

Christmas stampsI couldn’t resist buying a holly stamp this time, which has adorned plenty of envelopes, cards & gifts. As we only tend to go when we’re buying our tree, some of the products had already sold out. So we missed out on getting some new festive candles, but they always have plenty of games that are perfect for when the family comes round.

Christmas BaublesOur Christmas tree never really has a theme, as I made the mistake of having a silver & lilac theme one year and it was just horrid. Plus, our decorations are an amalgamation of both mine & my OH’s decorations from when we were single, with a few new ones that we’ve bought since we’ve been together. I prefer a full and colourful tree, with as much clashing of colours & styles as possible!

Appleton Reindeer Sleepy reindeerFor the second year running there were reindeer at Appleton Christmas Barn. It’s so great to see them up close. They were quite sleepy after a busy day of being festive and I was quite impressed with my iPhone photography skills and catching this one mid yawn! Cute or what?! We weren’t sure how Poppy was going to react to the tree, as she gets obsessed with things that move when she pokes them with her nose that ends in her barking at it, poking it really hard & running away. So when we got the tree home, we just put it up and left it for a few days before decorating it. Poppy couldn’t be less bothered with it if she tried! Once again, I worried over nothing. Will I never learn?!

Icelandic SantaWe decided to put our Icelandic Santa in pride of place on top of the tree this year, after Poppy gave his beard a little chew. I love this little guy! Our tree is shorter than ones we’ve bought in previous years, but it’s much bushier, which led to bauble issues! If I spaced them out, it looked bare, but some of the bigger ones kept touching. In the end, I just put on as many as I could get away with.

Cath Kidston SantaObviously my little Cath Kidston Santa decoration took pride of place. I’m still really impressed with those neat little stitches! Does anyone else find that the sap from the tree really makes their hands itch? I always have to stop and wash them so I don’t keep scratching them.

Christmas TreeIt was so sunny today that I really struggled to get a decent picture of the tree, so I’ll add one to Instagram over the weekend. We decided not to use any breakable baubles because of Poppy so we’ve mainly got wooden ones, which are my favourite to be honest. The only problem with a small tree is that you can only use so much tinsel. I am such a sucker for tinsel! Love that stuff!

Be MerryMy OH bought this banner last year and it’s one of my favourite decorations. I love the colour of the print and think it’s such a good way to reuse an old book. Plus, it uses the cute little pegs. I love them! I’ve seen quite a few peg-related tutorials recently so might have attack them with some glitter glue and washi tape!

Almost all the presents are wrapped, almost all the cards are written and posted and we’ll be buying the most important thing tomorrow – the alcohol! Can never have enough in my book! One of the things I love about Christmas is that it’s universally acceptable to drink prosecco with breakfast! Bon apetit!