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KITCHEN

Get Started With Cricut Explore Air 2 and Brighten Up Winter

Posted in CRAFTS, CRICUT, DIY, KITCHEN, Winter: Seasonal Decor and Crafts
on February 15, 2017

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.

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Pantry Organization Refresh – The Silhouette Creators Refresh Challenge

Don’t spend another minute searching through your kitchen pantry. Organize the space with appropriately sized containers and DIY Silhouette labels using this 5-step process! 
I’m slowly recovering from my-so-far-Powder-room fail, both mentally and figuratively. One day I’ll learn to trust my first instincts.. it would save so much time! In any case, it seemed like a superb time to focus on something else.. like my kitchen pantry. It’s perfect timing, too – January’s Silhouette Creators Monthly Challenge theme is refresh! Many thanks to Cat of Pocketful of Posies for hosting. 
 
Kitchen pantry organization ideas and DIY labels cut with a Silhouette

Follow this 5-step process to organize your kitchen pantry

 
Believe it or not, just a few short years ago our kitchen pantry was neat and well-ordered. But, over time, and as our needs have changed, it’s become very unorganized indeed! 
 
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to know where to begin when things get a bit out of control – it happens to all of us!  I have a 5 step process for most any kind of storage organization. It goes something like this:
 
1. Evaluate what you need to store. 
2. Sort Stage 1: Determine whether to keep, relocate or dispose of each item. 
3. Sort stage 2: Sort into categories for storage. 
4. Organize! This is the part where you find containers, and find those containers homes. 
5. Maintain. If you’ve found the right home for everything, this will be simple!     

Evaluate

In the case of our pantry, our shelves are very deep, but the shelves come out far enough that storage on the door isn’t possible.  Still, if organized correctly, we have plenty of room for everything we need to store. So, what was our biggest problem? The containers we were using were either not properly sized for what we needed, taking up too much room, or not large enough to store what it needed to. Things had gotten out of control! 
Kitchen pantry organization ideas and DIY labels cut with a Silhouette - before
 
So much so that we’ve started moving into other cabinets to hold the overflow. 
Kitchen pantry organization ideas and DIY labels cut with a Silhouette - more mess

Determine whether to keep, relocate or dispose of each item

Sorting made me realize how many duplicates I had and also that I had a few things that were a wee bit out of date. Like, ahem, one that had a best by date of 2012.. how?
Kitchen pantry organization ideas and DIY labels cut with a Silhouette - sort out the contents

 Sort into categories for storage

After purging any expired foods, sort whatever is left into categories. From that, you can determine what storage you need.  
kitchen pantry organization - sort and purge

Ready, Set, Organize!

We moved some foods to smaller containers,  while some remained in larger containers.

For some categories, such as pasta, rice, and bagged snacks, baskets from the Target dollar aisle were a perfect home. To make the baskets easy to use, I added rope handles. This allowed me to maximize the number of shelves as I could make them just the required height for the basket to slide underneath, as we don’t need to be able to reach the top to slide the basket out. 


Drawers were a great alternative for lunch snacks, making it simple to see what is available and what is needed when making up the shopping list. 

add drawers to kitchen pantry
To complete the organization, I added vinyl labels for each container made on my Silhouette machine. I used the Harlow Solid Italic font in the Silhouette Studio and applied the vinyl to each container using transfer paper.  

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to find everything again! Such a simple project that has made such a big difference in my every day!  
*This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience
 
How about you? How do you organize your storage areas? 

 

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Thanks so much for stopping by and please be sure to check out the other refresh projects for this month’s Silhouette Challenge! 

 

Covering Red Paint with Behr Marquee

Posted in DIY, KITCHEN
on January 6, 2017

Behr Marquee paint is just what I needed for covering my red kitchen. See how I saved a ton of money and time and didn’t even need to prime the walls first! 

Hi there! Thanks for all of your encouragement over the plans for my powder room make-over through the $100 Room Challenge. I’m equally as excited! We’re looking at the first snow of the year this weekend. Luckily, I’ll have lots to keep me occupied!

behr paint covers red - 1

In the meantime, I wanted to share my experience with Behr Marquee paint.

Behr Marquee Paint Review

behr paint covers red - 2

You may remember back in the day when I painted my kitchen red and how excited I was about it.  Well, that excitement soon faded. Red is still my favorite color, but it seemed that a little bit less, and a more strategic use of red might be a good thing. Not only that but we’d missed a few spots when we went red – like behind the refrigerator! It was time for a change, and I was looking forward to it.

Behr Marquee Paint Cost

Looking forward to it or not, I was,  dreading painting over the red. Endless priming and painting, and long term bleed through left me less than giddy. After some research I saw a commercial on TV, I was eager to give Behr Marquee paint a try. It’s a bit pricey at about $40 a gallon, but if it could save me the trouble of priming, I’d gladly try it. So I did!

behr paint covers red -3
behr paint covers red -4

Of course, nothing is ever simple when it comes to painting around here, and once again, we had another wall of painted-over-wallpaper to remove. Stay tuned for details on how we managed how we quickly and painlessly pulled that off!

behr marquee covers red - 5

Once we removed the wallpaper and thoroughly washed away any remaining, I taped everything off with painters tape.  All that taping was time-consuming, but it saved me from having to clean-up after myself! Our kitchen has an endless amount of trim and angles; I’m a sloppy painter!

behr marquee covers red - 6

We went with “Nimbus Cloud” – a white with a slight silver tint – in an eggshell finish. The paint has a nice smooth, thick consistency and goes on like a dream. The big question is, does it go on with one coat? The simple answer is almost, which I consider a pretty big win over red and some bare, unprimed walls!

behr marquee covers red - 6
behr marquee covers red - 7

After the first coat dried, I needed to retouch some of the cut-in edges and the odd spot on the wall, but for the most part, it did indeed cover in a single, properly applied coat. I used just short of a quarter gallon for my entire kitchen.

Even better, we’re a month in, and there has been no bleed through!

behr marquee covers red - 8

So, let’s look at all of the elements that make up this great paint:

Low odor? Check.
Easy cleanup? Check.
Full coverage WITHOUT a primer? Check.
Easy to apply? Check.
Good color selection? Check

Do I love it? YES!

If you’re looking for a paint with full coverage, without priming, even over red, I would highly recommend this one. It is well worth the money! I will be using Behr Marquee again, and love my much lighter kitchen.

behr marquee covers red - 9

Thanks for stopping by!


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