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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.

 

 

 

Decluttering

I have been decluttering Crafty Chai towers like it’s going out of fashion. Not sure if it’s just because I’m fed of having so much stuff or if it’s because I’m getting ready to hibernate, but either way, all those annoying little jobs on my list are getting done.

I’ve taken bags upon bags to the charity shop, recycled and sold lots of unwanted items (If you’re in the market for an espresso machine, check out my Gumtree ad!) and done a lot of reorganisation. For example, saucepan lids. Everytime we wanted to use one, we had to dig around in the back of a kitchen cupboard and empty half the contents onto the floor. It was mega annoying. Our little house doesn’t have much storage, and what there is isn’t really fit for purpose e.g. our ‘wardrobes’ won’t shut properly, which often means I have to dust my shoes before I wear them! Needless to say, sorting better storage is on my list!

Decluttering

One thing we have achieved recently is setting up an airing cupboard (pictured above – please excuse the poor quality picture!). Previously, bed linen and towels were all over the place, in cupboards, drawers, squirreled away, getting creased. I do like the feel of ironed sheets so always iron them. Therefore it’s really annoying when you get them out of the cupboard and they’re all creased! I desperately wanted a airing cupboard. So we decided to transform one of the cupboards in the spare room. Short on time and budget, my OH used some leftover paint to freshen the cupboard up and bought a cheap shelving unit to save us having to drill into the walls. Someone along the years has done some questionable DIY to this house. We don’t want to make it worse but we are still on a very tight budget. I really like the shelves. They’re easy to keep clean and I’m going to add some vinyl labels using my Cricut Explore, which can be easily removed in the future. We also packed spare duvets and pillows in vacuum bags (so much fun!) to save a bit of room and keep the bugs off.

The good news is that everything is tidy and in one place, including the ironing board and the airer, which fits in nicely in the front. No longer will it fall out on me or terrify Poppy as I struggle to get it in the cupboard! It’s so satisfying knowing that this is sorted. My OH & I have also swapped home offices, which means redecoration and reorganising so we’ve got plenty of jobs to do to get us through until next year!

#BEDM – Gadgets

I’m not much of a gadget person. If something is going to come into my house, it needs to have a practical purpose or it can just jog on. (Our house is small and space is at a premium, so unless it benefits my day to day life on a regular basis, it’s got not place crossing the threshold.) That being said, there are a few gadgets that are worth mentioning.

smoothie

First up is the Magimix blender. Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a blender. But it is brilliant. We had a blender that I’d inherited from a friend who no longer needed it. It sat at the back of a kitchen cupboard until I started the Feeling Fabulous course and my smoothie addiction was born. The old blender wasn’t watertight and every now and then would spray the wall with green smoothie mix. Not ideal. So we decided to splash out on a new blender as smoothies were going to be a daily occurrence in our house. We headed to the John Lewis site and picked the blender with the best reviews and wasn’t akin to a mortgage deposit. We opted for the Magimix Le Blender and it is A-mazing! I was so impressed with all the different options it has, much more than our old one. I love it and we do indeed use it daily. Money well spent. I got a little over excited a made a little video of me making a smoothie in it. Don’t feel like you have to watch it!

My new favourite gadget is something that has lots and lots of potential. It’s the new Cricut Explore that arrived last week. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities, but I had so much fun playing around with it over the weekend. Every thing has been thought of, from getting the machine out of the box, to carrying it around (it comes with its own bag), storage, to ease of use. You basically: Plug it in > Switch it on > Go! Seriously. I hate it when making stuff is fiddly and time consuming. Just let me get my craft on, damn it! This is why I don’t sew very often. Is there anything more frustrating than unpacking your sewing machine, fabric all ready to go, cotton threaded through only to find your bobbin thread is just about to run out?! ARGH! Too faffy. This is not like that. It’s way easier. It took just a few minutes to set up, find a design I wanted to make and get cutting. Perfect!

cricut

cricut explore I didn’t have long to play with it on Monday but I did pick a ready made design from the Design Room. I wanted to make something that I could put up on my wall and chose arrow art.

arrows poster

What do you think? (Apologies for the shoddy iPhone photos! It was getting late and I was losing the light) It took less than thirty minutes from start to finish. Not bad at all! And that’s just the beginning!

My final gadget is my iPhone. It’s the first thing I pick up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. Not only is it amazing design, but it is an amazing invention. Sure, you can use it for phone calls, you know, if you want to be old school about it. But for me, the thing that impresses me most is what it does to connect us beyond that. For example, my sister can post a picture of her tea cup from Canada and in an instant, I can see it on my phone through Instagram. Even though she’s on the other side of the world, I still feel connected to her. Things like that blow my mind!

Now, if someone could just great glasses lenses that don’t need cleaning every five seconds, I’d be mega impressed! How about you? What’s your number one gadget?

Disclaimer: I received the Cricut Explore to review. All opinions are my own.

Work with Me

A Crafty ChaiHello!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and take a look at A Crafty Chai. This blog is pretty much my little corner of the world! It covers things I’m passionate about: crafting, eating, drinking, exploring, creating and most of all, my beautiful little pooch, Poppy.

I don’t accept guest bloggers or written content, but am more than happy to write about other things, like something you’ve sent me for example. Maybe you’ve got a product that Poppy will love and want her to share her views with the world. We’d be more than happy to be involved! A few ground rules though… Please don’t ask me to hide a sponsored post from my readers because I’m just not going to do it. I can’t lie for toffee, either in person or online! For more information on how I run things here, take a look at my disclosure policy. I’m more than happy to collaborate on blogs, writing, social media, events and reviews.

Here are a selection of different brands I’ve worked with, all of whom suit the tone and style of A Crafty Chai.

Cath Kidston logojohn lewis logobathstore logo

 

 

 

 

Cricut Logolindt logoLiberty-logo

 

 

 

 

jamies italian      Roberson Wine      Viking

If you think that my blog and your product are made for each other, like Gin and Tonic, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.