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Cricut Maker Review By A 1st Time Cricut User #Ad

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

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when the new Cricut Maker and EasyPress 2 were delivered to me a few weeks ago.

Cricut Maker

Total Newbie

Whilst I’m not completely new to crafting, I don’t class myself as an experienced crafter. The children have always enjoyed crafting and I enjoy doing it with them, but our creations are totally amateur compared to the things I’ve seen other people make!

As I’ve never used a Cricut machine before, I’m not able to compare it to any of the older Cricut machines or any other cutting machine for that matter. I’m a completely new user and as such, I’ll be telling you how this total newbie got started.

Cricut maker with loaded mat ready to go

Cricut Maker

From researching the new Cricut Maker online I’ve found that it has an Adaptive Tool System which controls the direction of the blade and the cut pressure to match your chosen material.

This is what makes the Maker different and better from older models, especially if you’re wanting to use it for fabric cutting.

Cricut maker adaptive tool system

Materials

This wonderful machine can cut everything from regular paper and cardstock to delicate papers like tissue and crepe.
Using the rotary blade, it can cut all kinds of sewing materials without having to back the fabric and using the washable fabric pen, it also marks the fabric at the same time. This appears to be one of the features all the other Maker users are really excited about! I’m sure I’ll be the same when I start making things out of fabric. I do love sewing and I’m really excited to try some of the patterns that are available in Design Space.

Using the washable marker and rotary blade, you just attach the fabric to the fabric cutting mat, choose your fabric in Design Space and let the machine do the rest.

Cricut rotary blade

A deep cut blade is also available which enables the machine to cut through balsa wood, matt board and heavy leather, to name just a few.

cricut deep blade and housing

Tools

As well as the Maker and EasyPress 2, I also received the Essential Tool Set which includes:

  • Weeder to remove tiny negative cuts
  • Scissors with protective blade cover
  • Spatula to lift cuts from the mat
  • Scraper to burnish material and clean all cutting mats
  • Scoring stylus to add fold lines to cards and envelopes
  • High-quality trimmer for materials up to 12″ wide
  • Replacement blade for the trimmer
  • The scoring blade allows you to add score lines to your projects

Cricut essential tool set

And the paper crafting set:

Cricut paper crafting set

  • Piercer allows accurate placement of fine cuts and embellishments
  • Quilling Tool makes smooth, tight, decorative spirals
  • Edge Distresser creates textured edge effect on paper
  • Craft Mat features multi-use piercing and self-healing surfaces

Mats

There are 4 different coloured mats.

  • Blue – Light Grip
  • Green – Standard Grip
  • Purple – Strong Grip
  • Pink – Fabric

They come in two sizes; 12″ x 12″ or 12″ x 24″ and they’re totally reusable. If your mat starts to lose its stickiness, you can find out how to bring it back to life with a quick Google search.

Design Space

Design Space is the web-based software that is used to create designs. It allows you to create your own designs or choose from hundreds of make-it-now projects.
Cricut Access is a subscription service which gives you access to fonts, images, make-it-now projects and lots more. You don’t have to subscribe to be able to use Design Space.

Cricut Design Space Cricut Access

You can use your computer, tablet or smartphone to connect the Maker to Design Space. It can connect via Bluetooth or USB and there’s also a charging point for your phone or tablet.

When I first opened Design Space I felt a little overwhelmed, however, it didn’t last long. There are lots of tutorial videos to help you and I managed to download an SVG file (keep in mind I had no idea what an SVG file even was before I got the Cricut Maker!), import it into Design Space and create a gorgeous wedding memento for my cousin and his new bride!

Butterfly Bouquet Cutout Framed personalised wedding gift

I’ll be honest and say that I did have to try 2 or 3 times to get to the finished product. I didn’t know about working with vinyl yet so when the tiny letters and numbers didn’t work out very well using the card, I gave up (the wedding was the next day and I was running out of time!) and bought some silver letter and number stickers instead!
If I’d have started the project earlier and checked out more of the tutorial videos on the Cricut website, I would have found my first project much easier!

personalised wedding gift using the Cricut

I’ll be talking more about vinyl in a future post as now I’ve seen the things you can create with it, I can’t wait to get making! Using vinyl to make personalised gifts is the thing I’m most looking forward to learning.

Design

I love the design of this machine. It’s so smooth and shiny!

The storage areas are one of my favourite features because I like having a place for everything and everything in its place!

Cricut storage
This magnetic strip is great for storing Cricut TruControl knife blades.

Cricut storage

Cricut Maker storage

The storage cups on the side have a soft rubber base which protects the blades. One cup is deeper than the other, making it a great place to store pens or tools

Cricut Maker storage

Cricut Maker storage

Family Crafting Time

KayCee, (13) and Ella (11) both used to love crafting. However, now they’re getting older, they don’t ask to craft as often because they want to be out with their mates.
The Cricut Maker has changed all that. They both want to be making things all the time now since we set it up and they learned how to use it!

Shaped Love card made by Ella using a Make it now project in Design Space
Ella made this for her Dad 🙂

Mother’s Day is approaching here in the UK and we’ve already made cards for my mum and Ant’s mum.
Ella wants to make a card for me tonight and she’s going to have to make it on her own because I’m not allowed to see it until Mother’s Day.

We’ve also decided on the gifts we want to make for each mum. I can’t tell you what they are, however, because we don’t want them to have the surprise spoiled!

Lots More To Learn

Because this machine can do so much, it’s going to take me a while to learn about everything. It’s a journey I’m so excited to embark on and I hope to be sharing many Cricut tutorials with you in the future.

Now I have to go figure out what the EasyPress 2 can do. I’ve not even taken it out of the box yet, but I’m so excited to make something for KayCee and Ella 🙂

10 Things To Do On Rainy Days

We had the hottest Summer this year than we’ve had for a long time. Just about everyone loved it. I didn’t. I’m not a Summer lover and have to say I was glad when Autumn arrived!
Autumn, however, brings with it rainy days and if we don’t have some ideas to keep everyone occupied, we all end up watching too much TV.

Here are some things we enjoy to do when it’s rainy outside.

Activities For Rainy Days

  1. Family Board Game Day – KayCee collects Monopoly games so we have plenty of different kinds to choose from.
  2. Design A Family Board Game – KayCee and Ella had great fun making a Very Hungry Caterpillar board game when they were younger. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day and at the end, you can all play the game together.
  3. Make Your Own Moon Sand – I’ve never tried this, but I really want to. I think I’d have as much fun playing with this as Ella would!
  4. Baking – A rainy day activity list wouldn’t be complete without baking of some sort, whether it be cakes or cookies.
  5. Rock Painting – We did this last year and everyone enjoyed it, including me. We still haven’t varnished our rocks yet so we’ve not been able to put them in the garden. We’ll have to do it soon because they’re too nice to be stuck in a box!
  6. Indoor Treasure Hunt – Ella and her friends often make treasure hunts for each other. They choose a prize and hide it then write a series of clues for the other one to follow. You can also get loads of printables from Google if you wanted to create one for your children but didn’t want to write all the clues yourself.
  7. Washable Stained Glass Window Painting – The lady who writes this blog put the tape on the outside but obviously, that won’t work if it’s raining. This can be done indoors as long as you protect the floor under your window.
  8. Make Gloop – Cornflour, water and some food colouring can keep children entertained for hours with homemade gloop.
  9. Make Some Story Sacks – Ella loved bringing home a story sack when she started nursery. I’d never heard of them before, but thought they were a brilliant idea.
    You can make them for all ages and stages of development.
  10. Get Outside & Play In The Rain – When I was a child my friend and I used to go outside in bare feet and squelch our toes in the mud when it rained hard! We loved it when the rain was pounding so hard it bounced when it hit the floor!
    A rainy walk in the woods can be great fun for all the family 🙂
Ella loves rainy days
We got caught in a downpour on the way home from school. Everyone else was running, we were taking our time and enjoying the feel of the rain on our skin 🙂

 

What kind of things do you like doing on rainy days?

I’m taking part in Blogtober18 with Mandi at Big Family Organised Chaos

#Blogtober18

Top 5 Craft Ideas For The Family

DIY craft ideas are a wonderful way for the families to bond well and enjoy some fun time together. Whether it is about making voguish decorations for celebrating Christmas, renovating your kid’s room or learning a new fix, craft projects pack in a lot of thrills and excitement for kids and parents alike. Use the following interesting project ideas to engage your spouse and young ones in a fantastic art session where you will enjoy unleashing your creative potential and aesthetic prowess.

Fun Snowman From Plastic Cups

Have fun building a snowman with only plastic cups. This DIY activity is even more fun than creating customized family photo albums through Mixbook.com/Photo-Books or planning a road trip to one of the exotic beaches in the Caribbean. You do not really need snow to make your own personalized artful snowman. It is an easy-to-do craft project, which only requires inexpensive plastic cups. You will need some glue, a stapler, coloured paper, and some clear plastic cups. Use these materials and a little bit of your creative prowess to create splendid snowman decor with your loved ones.

plstic cup snowman
Image Source & Tutorial

Peppermint Christmas Ornament Candies

Did you know that peppermint could actually be used for making your own customized peppermint candies? These candies will have just the perfect flavoring to spice up your noshing or binge eating sessions. Use some nice candy brand and peppermint for this amazing DIY activity to create sweets that you can use as birthday embellishments, Halloween giveaways, or party decor.

Peppermint candy Christmas ornaments - craft ideas
Image Source & Tutorial

Stylish Candy Sleighs

Your kids will absolutely adore this amazing DIY craft featuring vibrant candy sleighs, which you can easily use as Thanksgiving souvenirs or New Year decor accessories. While you might find these cute little candy sleighs with colourful ribbons tied around a bit hard to build, they are actually easy to design. Just use a handful of kit kat or Hershey’s chocolate bars and a few multicoloured decorative ribbons to create your own handy sleighs. Apt for a Christmas giveaway as well, these will need candy canes, some glue, and a few candies.

candy cane sleighs
Image Source

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments

Are you thinking of getting a bit creative this winter season? How about some cool handprint ornaments made right out of salt dough? You will need some flour, water, and salt. Put them together in a bowl, make cute shapes and decorate them using good quality acrylic paint. Think of nice colourful patterns to paint on your salt dough accessories. Do not forget to cover them up with a sealant. It will allow you to use these as decor items for a long term.

salt dough handprint Christmas ornaments from Olive Juice Mama
Image Source & Tutorial

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

You may like eating Cinnamon doughnuts but know that you can create marvellous decorative cinnamon accessories with only these four ingredients: flour, salt, cinnamon, and water. Your kids are sure to have a great time making these fancy ornaments that require no cooking. This kid-friendly craft project keeps you engaged for hours of creative play while you think of artistic patterns and shapes for these cinnamon embellishments. You will enjoy the fragrance once these ornaments are done. You can show this decorative artwork to your friends and relatives and I am sure they will definitely appreciate your creative flair.

cinnamon dough tree ornaments
Tutorial

This is a collaborative post

5 Great Ocean Themed Crafts for Kids

Arts and crafts can be a great way to foster creativity and spend time together with your kids. Plus, if your child loves fish and the ocean, there’s nothing better than helping them create a craft that they love and will feel attached to. In […]

Read more

Homemade Father’s Day Gifts

It’s Father’s Day here in the UK on Sunday, June 17th. Ant prefers homemade Father’s Day gifts so I’ve picked out a few ideas from Pinterest that the children can make for him.
If you’d like more ideas, I have lots of pins on my Dad Gifts Pinterest board.

Father’s Day Card

First up we have a fun Father’s Day card. It’s from HomeSchoolPreSchool.net

KayCee and Ella love making their own cards and there are loads of ideas on Pinterest.

homemade Father's Day gifts - Dad, You're the Coolest card

Check out HomeSchoolPreSchool’s Pinterest boards.

Nuts About You, Dad

Ant loves all kinds of nuts so this would be a great gift for him. If you can’t find a big tub of nuts like this one, you could buy a cheap Kilner jar and fill it with his favourite nuts.
The tutorial and a link to the printable label can be found on Don’t Waste The Crumbs

homemade Father's Day gifts - We're Nuts About You, Dad

Here’s Don’t Waste The Crumbs Pinterest profile

Lolly Stick Pen Holder

We have different coloured lolly sticks that we got from The Works so we wouldn’t need to paint them. It’s quicker but less fun for the children!
Ella would love making this because she likes being able to use the hot glue gun!

Lolly stick pen holder

You can find the tutorial for this craft on Mama Of Many Blessings.

My Dad Rocks – Paperweight

KayCee and Ella love rock painting. This is an easy one for little ones to do.

We did loads of rock painting last summer. We planned on putting them around the garden. Unfortunately, we never got around to coating them with varnish so they’re still in a box somewhere.
I really must get that sorted because they’re too nice to be hidden away in a box!

homemade Father's Day gifts - My Dad Rocks paperweight

Visit Our Family World for the tutorial

We Love You To Pieces

Finally, we have a cute little bottle filled with Reece’s Pieces. Mind you, if the children made for this Ant, I don’t think he’d see many of them…..Reece’s Pieces are my favourite!

homemade Father's Day gifts - Reece's pieces in a bottle - We love you to pieces

You’ll find the printable labels at Nothing But Country

I hope you have fun making a gift with your children, however, if you just don’t have time to make a gift this year, I’ve seen some great gifts at places like Argos and B&M.
Before buying from Argos I always check online for promotions and discount codes. Usually, you can save up to 25% or £50 off.

Emoji Golf Balls

These very colourful and fun Emoji golf balls! are only £9.99

Emoji golf balls Argos

Nikon D3400 Camera

For something a little more extravagant, you can currently* get £50 off a Nikon camera using the following code:

DSLR50

Nikon DSLR

 

I have a Nikon Coolpix camera at the moment. I would LOVE this camera and it’s going on my ‘when we win the lottery wishlist’!

 

Whether you get homemade Father’s Day gifts or something picked especially for you from the shops by your precious little people, I hope all the fathers out there have a wonderful day 🙂

For more Father’s Day ideas, check out a post by Me, Him, The Dog & A Baby

* Correct at time of publication

This is a collaborative post

 

Rock Painting & Daisy Made Ice Cream

Daisy Made Ice Cream

I think I can speak for us all when I say we love Daisy Made ice cream. They have different flavours every time we go and it’s always hard to choose 🙂
Daisy Made makes it on to every bucket list we make and it wouldn’t be the summer holidays without a trip there.

 

Daisy Made ice cream
I had a scoop of Cheeky Monkey (chocolate and banana) and a scoop of pear flavoured ice cream 🙂
Ant posing
Ant posing in his new Cool Daddy t-shirt!

We took Nanny to Daisy Made this week. She’d never been before and she now loves it as much as we do!
We didn’t stay long because the weather turned from lovely sun to chilly wind not long after we got there. The girls like playing crazy golf when we visit but I didn’t fancy standing in the wind for an hour while they played. I don’t play because I don’t really enjoy crazy golf!

Nanny and Ella at Daisy Made

Kaycee at Daisy Made

Rock Painting

While working at the charity shop I came across an unused set of acrylic paints. I didn’t have a use for them when I bought them, I just figured it would be good to have them.

While browsing Pinterest I saw some lovely rock painting designs. I knew Kaycee and Ella would love having a go at rock painting and I was right. We spent a really lovely afternoon together creating lovely rocks for the garden.

We just have to varnish them now so they’ll last for years outside 🙂

Rock Painting

Rock Painting

 

Rock Painting
Kaycee’s minion 🙂

Rock Painting

Rock Painting
My birdie 🙂
Rock Painting
Kaycee’s watermelon and my ice cream
Rock Painting
My mouse
rock painting unicorn
Ella’s unicorn

I think this is going to be one of our rainy day activities. We’ve got loads of rocks in the garden around the pond.
We’re hoping to go to the seaside soon as well so we’ll collect lots more rocks while we’re there 🙂

 

 

Let It Snow Scrabble Ornament #24XmasCrafts

Let It Snow Scrabble Ornament

 

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already! For our final #24XmasCraft advent tutorial, we made a Let It Snow tree ornament using Scrabble tiles.

You will need:

  • Scrabble tiles
  • Card or stiff paper with a Christmas design printed on one side (not pictured)
  • Fake snow
  • Ribbon
  • Glue – I found a glue gun worked best

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Draw around the scrabble tiles as in the photo below.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Cut out the card.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Stick the Scrabble tiles onto the plain side. I found using a hot glue gun worked best.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Bend each row apart so you can glue in between the tiles.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Glue the ribbon to the back. If you want to cover the ribbon, cut another piece of card, the same size as before and glue it to the back, over the ribbon.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

Put glue on the top of each row and sprinkle the fake snow onto the glue. When the glue is dry, hang on the tree.

Let it snow Scrabble tree ornament

I hope you’ve enjoyed our #24XmasCraft advent tutorials. We had great fun making everything.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year 🙂

To see all of the 24 tutorials, check out my Pinterest board

Paper Plate Angel #24XmasCrafts

Paper Plate Angel

 

Here’s our penultimate Christmas craft tutorial and we’re going to be making paper plate angels. It’s another easy craft for little hands 🙂

Paper plate angel

You will need:

  • A paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Card for the hair and face
  • A silver pipe cleaner
  • Glitter glue
  • Sticky tape

Paper plate angel

Cut a triangle piece out of the plate to make the angel’s body.

Paper plate angel

Cut a circle for the face and a piece of hair out of the card. Draw the features on the face.

Paper plate angel

Stick the face to the hair then stick the face and hair to the body.

Paper plate angel

Stick the body onto the other piece of the plate which will be the wings.

Paper plate angel

Make a halo using the silver pipe cleaner.

Paper plate angel

Stick the halo to the back of the angel using sticky tape.

Paper plate angel

Decorate the angel’s dress and wings with glitter glue and allow to dry.

Paper plate angel

 

Paper plate angel

 

It’s our last #24XmasCrafts tutorial tomorrow and we’ll be making another scrabble Christmas tree ornament.

To see all of the 24 tutorials, check out my Pinterest board

Paper Star Chain #24XmasCrafts

Paper Star Chain

We love all things glittery and this paper star chain is no exception. It’s very easy to make and looks pretty when hanging on the wall or door.

paper star chains

You will need:

  • Paper
  • String
  • A pencil
  • A mug
  • Glue
  • Glitter
  • Sticky tape

paper star chain

Draw around the mug on a piece of paper and cut out the circle. Fold it in half then fold it in half three more times. Draw a line at the top from corner, as in the photo and cut along this line.

paper star chain

Open up the paper and you will have a star. Now decorate the star with glue and glitter.

paper star chain

Stick the string to the back of each star using sticky tape.

paper star chain

Hang on the wall or a door or anywhere you like, really!

paper star chains

 

Only 2 more to go! Tomorrow we’ll be making paper plate angels.

To see all of the 24 tutorials, check out my Pinterest board

Candy Cane Reindeer #24XmasCrafts

Candy Cane Reindeer

Kaycee loved making these sweet candy cane reindeer. They don’t take very long and are another cheap and easy gift idea for school friends 🙂

candy cane reindeer

You will need:

  • A candy cane
  • 2 googly eyes
  • A pipe cleaner
  • A pencil
  • Glue
  • A sparkly pom pom

 

candy cane reindeer

Fold the pipe cleaner in half to find the middle then twist it around the top of the candy cane to secure it.

candy cane reindeer

Wrap each side of the pipe cleaner around the pencil to make the antlers.

candy cane reindeer

This is what you should have.

candy cane reindeer

Glue two googly eyes onto the candy cane.

candy cane reindeer

Glue the sparkly pom-pom onto the end of the candy cane to make the nose and you’re done 🙂

candy cane reindeer

Mix and match different coloured pipe cleaners and pom-poms to make different ones.

candy cane reindeer

Day 22 tomorrow and we’ll be making a paper star chain.

To see all of the 24 tutorials, check out my Pinterest board

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