Tag: cricut

#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.

#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

#BEDN ~ Something I Made

I love it when a blog post stems from a very easy craft project and am doubly pleased that this one also fits in with my #BEDN post for today, which is Something I Made. I recently inherited quite an amazing stamp collection, full of brightly coloured stamps of all sizes. I knew that I’d enjoy using them to make something lovely and this week I used them to make a congratulations card, along with my Cricut Mini and an old OS map, bought from Oxfam for £2. Not a bad bit of upcycling!

stampsI knew I wanted to do a bunting style, but not too cutesy, as the intended recipient was a man. So I cut a small triangle into the bottom of a few stamps and stuck them on the card in the shape of bunting. I then used some patterned scissors to cut away the edge of the card and stuck some washi tape on the inside of the card to show through the shaped edging. Finally, I used my Cricut Mini to cut out ‘Congratulations’ on the OS map and stuck it beneath the bunting. I’m pretty happy with it, though I think the ‘Congratulations’ could be bigger so I’ll do a bit more experimenting with sizes.

congratulations cardI also made a picture gallery in my study, with the help of my OH, though that’s another post for another day! How about you? Did you make anything today?

 

 

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.