Category: Paper Love

#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

National Stationery Week – My Favourite Shops

Happy National Stationery Week everyone! I had planned lots of posts surrounding this week, as stationery was my first real love. However, time has got away from me this week so there’ll only be a few. First up is a little roundup of some of my favourite online stationery shops.

The Green Gables

My to do list note pad

I’ve been a long time fan of Gabrielle for many reasons. Not only does she design beautiful stationery, but all the green gables products are made in the UK and printed on recycled paper, and she works with independent, British suppliers. Plus, the green gables supports charities ranging from the Fresh Start Foundation to age UK and WaterAid. My favourite product at the moment as the to do list above. I am addicted to making lists so this would be perfect!

Present & Correct

wood dispenser

I could do serious damage to my credit card on the Present & Correct website. They have an amazing range of stationery, including this adorable wooden tape holder. Isn’t it cute?! I love the variety of stationery and office objects that you find in this shop. Some of it really reminds me growing up and the joy I used to get out of opening a new packet of pens or starting to write in a new notebook. *sigh*

Sticker Stack

Planner

I am a new shopper at Sticker Stack. I discovered them via Twitter and follow them on social media. I love posts about their products, though they always have me reaching for my purse! I love the variety of stickers, stationery and accessories they sell and it’s been a real eye-opener seeing all the designs that come from Korea and Japan. So different and adorable! They’ve become a real favourite in a really short space of time.

Nancy and Betty

Olivetti Typewriter

I would so love a typewriter. Sadly, our tiny little house says no, but this is one of the reasons I enjoy shopping at Nancy and Betty. I love the original designs that the team at Nancy and Betty produce, with a special soft spot for their gift wrap designs. I do love gift wrap and I don’t use it nearly enough any more – my sister will understand why! This is a great place to shop at for original designs, made in Great Britain.

Cult Pens

cda chromatics inkBlue is my favourite colour and on the Cult Pens website, you can search by ink colour. A real revelation and it throws up beautiful things like this ink. Isn’t it gorgeous?! It makes me think of grand fountain pens, huge oak desks and grandfather clocks. Very grown up! If you’re looking for a pen, whatever the type, head to Cult Pens and no doubt they’ll have something suitable. Plus they deliver really quickly – perfect for that pen emergency. (Only true stationery geeks will know what I mean!)

Ohh Deer

Dancing Pug Tape

Ohh Deer is a great place to shop and not just for stationery. They sell everything from seed bombs to t shirts, and from chocolate to cushions. The one thing that makes them a little different is that they support a range of designers and illustrators, including my favourite, Gemma Correll. Seriously, I’ll buy anything with one of Gemma’s pug illustrations on it! Plus all products are made in the UK, on recycled materials where possible.

These are just a few of the great places that are sourcing and creating beautiful stationery right here in the UK. What’s your favourite stationery shop? Is there one bit of stationery you can’t live without?

The PaperLove Blog Hop

Hello. My name is Cathryn and I love paper.

The PaperLove Blog Hop

For as long as I can remember, I have loved paper. This developed into quite a serious stationery addiction. For me, going to the newsagents or a stationers still makes me feel calm and happy. After a bad day at work, I like nothing more than going to the stationers and buying a new pen to write with. And is there anything more satisfying, than using a brand new pen, preferably one with orange ink (my favourite), in a brand new notebook? The joy. The hesitation over what to write. Using your best and neatest handwriting. *sigh* That’s pretty much heaven for me. My notebook buying addiction, which extended to post-it notes and highlighters, became overwhelming, so much so that my drawers were full of them and I had to go cold turkey. It was either that or we would drown in paper! This only makes the purchase of a new notebook even more satisfying, as I’ve had to wait sooooo long to buy one.

handmade 40th birthday cardIt’s not just notebooks that feed my love of paper. I also really enjoy working with paper. Whether it’s making cards, cutting and sticking different papers together or just perusing Pinterest for amazing amazing paper creations from like minded paper lovers. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ideas about making things from paper, which I makes me breath a sigh of happiness when I’m feeling blue.

The paper garlandI also spend my day, surrounded by paper. I’m either scribbling notes, ideas and to do lists or I’m looking at some of my favourite and inspirational pieces of paper on my notice board above my desk. There’s something very satisfying about working with paper, whether you’re creating something from an old book or reusing a pretty bag to make a butterfly, paper makes me smile. A lot! It’s official, my love affair with paper is going nowhere!

Are you a paperfan? Or maybe you’re a stationery geek and can’t get enough of new notebooks?

The PaperLove Blog Hop is a celebration of all things paper! Follow the links to discover more bloggers who love paper and use it to inspire and delight. And if you want to explore a whole world of paper, and stretch your paper passion further with a host of creative projects, why not join the innovative new online course PaperLove (starts March 31). Led by book artist Rachel Hazell, PaperLove is a five week creative adventure for paper lovers. Find out more here.

Majo Bautista / Tona Bell / Louise Best / Cathy Bluteau / Jennifer Bomgardner / Giova Brusa / Lindsay Buck / Beka Buckley / Joanna Caskie / Jonathan Chapman (Mr Yen) / Halle CiscoSarah Clare / Cathryn Clarke / Dawn ClarksonRhiannon Connelly / Jenny D’Fuego / Molly Dhiman / Ian Dudley / Ayisatu Emore / Akmal Farid / Monika Forsberg / Claire Fritz-Domeney / Louise Gale / Chrissy Gaskell / Julie Hamilton / Emma Hawman / Rachel Hazell / Holly Helgeson / Claudine Hellmuth / Kim Henkel / Sarah Hoffman / Joanne Hus / Paula Joerling / Beth Kempton / Julie Kirk / Eos Koch / Katie LaClair / Kristy Lankford / Michelle ManolovDoreen Marts / Rosie Martinez-Dekker / Tori Mears / Maria Mederios / Lise Meijer / Debbie Miller / MaryJane Mitchell / Suzy Naidoo / Grace Noel / Hannah NunnCamilla Olsson / Jo Packham / Rachelle PanagarryMonette Pangan / Melanie Paul / Nicole Piar / Jen Pitta / Liz Plummer / Julie Reed / Michelle Reynolds / Lisa Rivas / Angee Robertson / Natalie RyanAisling Ryan / Elisabet Sapena / Kyrrha Sevco / Jamie Sprague / Elizabeth Steele / Terri Stephens / Juniper Stokes / Mary Tanana / Maike Thoma / Linda Tieu / Gabrielle Treanor / Tammy Tutterow / Deborah Velasquez / Jordan Vinograd Kim / Cat Whipple / Brooke Witt / Katie Wood / Amelia Woodbridge

Getting Started with a Cricut Mini

A little while ago, the lovely people over at Cricut* sent me a Cricut Mini. I’d never used one before so it’s taken a while to get going with it. I finally sat down and had a little play with over the weekend. It’s going to take me a few more practise sessions before I’m fully confident with it, but it has triggered something creative in my head and it’s bursting with ideas! I had no idea something like this existed but I’m glad it is. The potential is huge, whether you’re into card making, like me, scrapbooking, different forms of paper craft or just want to pimp up a few other projects. This machine can let you do that.

Getting started

It’s fairly straight forward to use. You have to be a member of the craft room and download software on to your PC or Mac. I use a Mac and had no problems. You can buy different ‘cartridges’, which provide you with different fonts, images and phrases and there are lots of projects online & on Pinterest. Some come with project files to help you out (though I couldn’t get the files to open on my Mac, but will have a look in the forum & consult my IT department!)

Cricut cut outsI spent hours simply looking through the different images, slogans and fonts available. I had a go at cutting some out and thinking about how they could be used. I don’t scrapbook, but can see how this would be really useful if you did. It came with a few sheets of paper, which stick to a cutting mat. You can design something to be cut out or cut something that needs further assembly. I’ve got lots & lots of paper in my cupboards so I’m going to experiment some more & maybe make some cards. I’m not sure how well the different types of paper will cut, but I’ll find out & report back!

Something I madeThe cutter comes with a practise project, which I did (see Thank You card below). It was fairly simple & a great introduction into what the machine can do. However, in all the instructions it said to set the cutter to 4, but this made the cutter rip the paper, so I changed it 3 and it worked a treat.

Practice projectThere are lots of video tutorials on YouTube, which I’m going to have to watch, as I’m still not quite sure how it all works! I would prefer written tutorials or have the option of choosing a written tutorial, as that’s how I learn, so if you know of any bloggers out there who have useful tutorials on using a Cricut, then please let me know! Or if you have any tips on what paper to use, where to get it etc I’d love to know. I can see a lot Cricuting in my future!

*Although the Cricut was sent to me free of charge, my review of the Cricut & online guides will be my honest opinion.