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Category: Winter: Seasonal Decor and Crafts

Get Started With Cricut Explore Air 2 and Brighten Up Winter

So, you just brought your new Cricut Explore Air 2 home. You’ve opened up the box, taken your shiny, gorgeous new machine out – I’m dying to know what color you chose  – you’ve plugged it in, and then… Well, that’s where you start asking yourself, “What am I going to DO with this thing?” Amiright? I was right there with you a few weeks ago when I opened up my new machine! But don’t fret! I’m here today to share some tips and a simple beginner project to get you started.

This project was born out of a need for green and a gentle reminder that Winter isn’t going to last forever.  The skies seem always to be gray, the ground hard, and covered in winter debris – twigs, dead leaves, it’s like nature’s litter out there! The days, while lengthening, are still short and dark. My lips are chapped. My skin is dry, and I’m itchy. I’m sick of sweaters. I might even be tired of boots – oh, the blasphemy! I’m irritated with coats that make me look like a linebacker. Since it’ll be a while before we see any real green on the ground, I decided to take matters into my hands.

I had these adorable faux herb planters that I’d picked up at Joann’s last spring. Yes, I know, faux is passe` bu let’s face it, even if it were spring, I’m a plant-killer which makes faux the only plants for me. They were cute on their own, but I thought it would be fun to add a bit of an embellishment with a wee bit of color.

Let’s get started. First things first, if you’ve not done so already,  and if you’ve not signed up for a login with Cricut in the past, you’ll need to create an account at Cricut.com. If you already have an account,  you’ll login using this account by clicking the login link in the top left corner.

Next, you’ll want to download the plugin and go through the New Machine Setup. Connect your machine using the provided cables, or you can also connect using blue tooth. To do that, set your Ipad or Iphone’s blue tooth settings to your Cricut Explore Air 2 and enter the provided pin. Just like that, you’re connected!

No matter how you choose to connect, you’ll want to go through the “Getting Started” rubric which will automatically walk you through your very first project, which is an excellent way to get a feel for what the Cricut Explore Air 2 can do.

Now that you’re logged in take a look at the Cricut Design Space. The Design Space is where all of the magic happens.

When you log in, you’ll see a list of projects. These projects are what are called “Make it Now” projects. In these projects, Cricut has done all of the work for you. Clicking on a project will show you a list of materials you’ll use, the cost to purchase the project, as well as the directions to create a project. I would encourage you to look around as there is a project for every need and check back often as they are always adding to the library.

Our project today uses the Southwest Pottery Wraps “Make it Now” project. To get started, you’ll click on the picture of the project. First, you’ll see the details of the project, the supplies required and you’ll also see the “Customize” button. Clicking this would allow you to change the design to your preferences – we aren’t going to do that with this project, but it’s good to know that it’s possible to do if you’d like!

I decided to change up the design slightly, using vinyl instead of the leather. The vinyl is self-adhesive, so I also didn’t need the spray adhesive. So, for my version we’ll need the following materials:

Let’s get started! Clicking on the ” Make it Now” button takes us directly to the mat window.

To use your mat, remove the plastic sheet – put it aside to protect your mat when you’re done. Load your vinyl sheet by lining it up to the top left corner and smoothing it with your hand.

Load your machine, aligning and feeding the mat through the guides, then pressing the feed button.

 

Be sure to set your blade to the correct material setting, in this case, vinyl.

 

In the Design Space, push the go button, then press the flashing Cricut button on your Cricut Explore Air 2 to begin cutting.

 

I decided to layer two colors of vinyl and therefore cut the design twice. What I love is that you can just reload your material, reload the mat and it will automatically reset, allowing you to cut by just pressing the Cricut button rather than having to resend from Design Space.

When you’ve finished cutting, press the Finish button in Design Space.

The vinyl is self-adhesive and comes with a backing. Remove the backing from around the cut design, leaving the design on the backing. Use the weeding tool to remove the center of the design that did not come away when you removed the backing.

For this project, I found it easiest to peel the design and place it by hand rather than to use transfer paper.

Once completed, the pots made their way to their new home – my kitchen window sill!

I love the little bit of green and the contrast between gold and stainless steel, giving them a bit of a modern/industrial look and is a great reminder that Winter is only temporary. The fact that my Cricut Explore Air 2 makes this such a simple and quick project makes me love it even more!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

DIY Valentine’s Day Heart-shaped Candy Box

Why not give your loved ones a Valentine candy box made just for them? This candy box pattern is a cinch to put together and personalize with all of your sweetheart’s favorite treats! 

Do you remember the first year that Valentine’s Day mattered to you? I do. I was in the sixth grade and was boy-crazy over this kid named Warren. He had the cutest little bowl cut and the biggest teeth I’ve ever seen. Every time someone accused me of liking him my voice would rise to an octave that only dogs can hear as I shrilly said: “I do NOT!” Only I did.

On Valentine’s Day, after finally admitting I maybe liked him a little bit,  we started “going out.” You know, the going out, which means we were thinking of holding hands someday when our palms weren’t sweaty and the planets aligned.  Warren gave me a decorated teddy bear cookie that year that said, “I love you “beary” much!”. I swooned, and vowed never to eat the cookie – it was just far too romantic gesture to eat it! Knowing my love of cookies, I must have liked this boy even to consider not eating it. In my heart, I just knew I’d be cherishing that cookie on our wedding anniversary someday!

Flash forward a few years – okay, a few decades – and now I’m married to the most excellent Valentine who, lucky me, will have to put up with me forever. Now, I have a whole slew of young people all worried about whether or not they’ll be getting an “I love you ‘beary’ much!” cookie, or something equally as heartwarming, on February 14th. Of course, I can’t guarantee that for them, but I can make sure they know how much I love them.

Every year we have a little Valentine’s Day party, where we exchange little cards and candy and finish the day off with one or two of our favorite Rom-coms. This year’s movies were “10 Things I Hate About You” and “A Knights Tale” – it was just a Heath Ledger kind of day!

My youngest knock-it-off-crafter spent an entire day crafting his Valentine’s, everyone made a box or a bag to hold their goodies, and I surprised everyone with these personalized candy boxes. We sat around talking about how dumb boys are sometimes (truth) and how impossible girls are to understand (won’t ever happen), nibbling on our sweets and getting lost in the rom-com giggles. Each box reflected the current personality of the receiver – as you can see I’ve passed on my love of leopard print to one of my mini-me’s.

With the varied cardstock patterns, it was easy to have each box reflect the current personality of the receiver – as you can see I’ve passed on my love of leopard print to one of my mini-me’s.

* This post contains affiliate links for your convenience

HOW TO MAKE A CARDSTOCK VALENTINE CANDY BOX

I made my boxes with my Cricut Explore Air 2 – by the way, I STILL love this machine –  but if you don’t have a craft cutting machine, you could quickly create the project by cutting the template by hand.  If you’re using a newer Cricut or Silhouette, import the images into the designer software and enlarge the image to cut on a 12″x12″ cardstock sheet (print the pictures at full size if cutting by hand). Either way, you’ll need to cut one of each sheet.

The boxes go together in a snap with hot glue. Here are the necessary steps (shown using a Cricut):

Gather your supplies:

  • 12″x12″ mid-weight cardstock in your choice of colors
  • Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine OR scissors
  • If cutting by hand, a printer
  • Glue and Glue gun
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Mini cupcake liners
  • Candy of your choice

1:

Cut out your template patterns, one sheet of all three files.

2:

Trace the liner hearts (smaller of the two) to the back side of the base hearts (larger).

3:

Connect the two pieces of the solid band in the center, aligning the edges. Attach the solid band to the back side of the bottom base heart, using your traced line as a guide. Bend the tabs, then attach by gluing the circle tabs slightly INSIDE the line onto the base, starting from the tip of the heart and working around to the top of the heart.

4:

Connect the two pieces of the contrast band in the center, aligning the edges. Attach the contrast band to the back side of the top base heart, using your traced line as a guide. Be sure to check fit over the bottom band before gluing, and cut to fit as needed – The top band provided is longer than necessary to allow for a custom fit. Attach by gluing the circle tabs slightly OUTSIDE the line, starting from the top of the heart and working around to the bottom of the heart.

5:

Add liners to both top and bottom lid and embellish, if desired.

6:

Add cupcake liners and fill with candy.

7:

Gift to make someone happy!

I found it easiest to work from the bottom up to ensure the contrast band fits inside the peek-a-boo band.

Although the boxes were cute without any further decoration, I had found these fun embellishments in the Target Dollar Aisle. They were the perfect finish to compliment the different cardstock designs.

The best part of creating your candy boxes is that you can fill them with all of your favorite sweets! Mini cupcake liners are perfect for holding each treat or chocolate – I was able to nest seven liners into each box. I filled the boxes with Mike & Ikes, Skittles, Peanut M&Ms, Cinnamon hearts, Gummy Roses, Milk Duds, and Lindor Truffles, but you can fill yours whatever you like.

It’s a very personal way for you to show your Valentine’s, large and small, how much they are loved!

So, I bet you’re wondering what happened to Warren and the cookie? Well, he broke up with me the day after Valentine’s Day. Although I kept the cookie to remember the good times, it eventually disintegrated. Since then, I’ve grown up and now, if someone were to give me a cookie today, I’d eat it right there on the spot – with age comes wisdom. I eventually moved away and have no idea what happened to the boy that gave me my first lesson in “boy dumbness.” It’s probably for the best, though – between his teeth and mine one can only wonder what would have happened to our children!

Whether you have a Warren or not, I wish you the happiest Valentine’s Day. I’m off to finish my shopping – I want to make sure my Valentine knows that, without a doubt, “I love him ‘beary’ much!” Since I love him, I may even be persuaded to share a cookie with him!

 

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No-Sew Fabric Rope Basket

Hi, Friends! It’s the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means.. It’s time for the February Create with Me DIY Challenge! This fun challenge is where you, our readers, vote on the materials we’ll use for next month’s projects, so be sure to scroll to the very last bit of this post to vote for your favorite before you go.

This month’s challenge was to create something using fabric! I used this challenge to finish the last item on my to-do list for our newly updated Powder Room – improve on the trashcan – and I did so by using upcycled t-shirts and hot glue to create a fabric rope basket without sewing a stitch!
I’ve had a bit of a crush on the rope storage baskets that are everywhere these days, and I thought it would be fun to make-over my trashcan with a custom-made basket that it could slide inside of! It was so much easier to make than I expected.

*Affiliate links may have been used. Please see my full disclosure for more information.

 

To create a fabric rope trashcan cover yourself you’ll need the following:

 

  • Jersey fabric – I used the fabric from five medium men’s t-shirts in dark gray, navy, green and white
  • A glue gun
  • Sharp scissors able to cut fabric
  • A cylinder style trashcan

The first thing I did was to cut my t-shirts into 1″ wide strips, starting at the bottom of each shirt. If you cut along the bottom of the hem, you’ll end up with a jersey ring. Cut one end free, leaving a long string of t-shirt jersey.

Next, I braided the jersey strings into multiple braided ropes. I tied a knot at the top of three pieces of jersey, braided down, gluing the ends when the braiding was completed. Then, I untied the knot, finished braiding and secured that end with glue as well, leaving me with a braided piece of jersey rope. I repeated this task until all of my jersey strips were braided together. I was sure to mix strand colors to give me a mottled look I was after, as well as to braid like colored strands together.

To begin the basket, I twisted one of the braided ropes into a spiral, gluing every inch or so to secure. I continued adding strings to the spiral, gluing every inch or so,  until the spiral pad was the size of the bottom of the trash can.

When I’d reached the edges of the bottom of the trashcan, I began adding ropes up and around the sides of the trashcan, alternating color as I moved upward, gluing every inch or so.

Occasionally I would remove the trashcan from the basket to unstick any areas of the fabric that might have stuck. This was simple to do as the hot glue just peeled away from the plastic surface of the can, and the basket ropes were stretchy enough to replace the trash can afterward easily.

I decided to add a solid band of color around the top edge of the can and switched to solid colored strands about three-quarters of the way up, stopping when the basket reached just over the brink of the can.

 

Again, I pulled the can out of the basket to loosen any glue that may have seeped through and to ensure the ropes were all secure. And voila! A rope basket!

What I loved about this project was the simplicity and the multiple uses for it! I love the idea I could use the same procedure on a storage basket or any other kind of basket. And to make it even better,  I finished off my powder room to-do list.. which is now.. here.

Now, we need YOUR help! Take the survey below and tell me what you want to Create with Me for February!

 

Images via Freeimages.com, Amazon, and Hobby Lobby.

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IF YOU CANNOT SEE THE SURVEY, CLICK HERE!

For even more fabulous projects made with fabric, check out the other participants for February! Everything is just adorable!

 

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