Wednesday, November 26, 2014

10 Reasons to Buy a Cricut Explore, NEW Frozen Cut Files and Cricut BLACK FRIDAY Deals!

If you have been following the blog for the past few months, you know that I have been part of the Cricut Design Space™ Star contest.  What a whirlwind it has been!  You may remember my contest projects: 

Alpaca Lunch Box

Woodland House Décor

Tea Light Winter Village

Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock

After getting familiar with my Cricut Explore™, I have come up with 10 reasons you should buy a Cricut Explore for yourself.  I mean, you deserve a nice Christmas present, right?  

10 Reasons to Buy a Cricut Explore™

  1. It has a separate scoring stylus that scores your projects without perforations 
  2. Easy, quick Make it Now projects.  One click, load your paper, done. 
  3. Very quiet.  No alien siren song from this little baby. 
  4. Cuts wirelessly with Bluetooth attachment which means one less tangled cord.  Yay! 
  5. Has an iPad app (coming soon)
  6. You don't have to worry about setting blade depth or speed.  Simply select the material on the dial and you're done.  
  7. Free, online software that stores images and projects in the cloud.  I really like this because I can create and edit cut files from any computer that has the Design Space Software. 
  8. Cuts more materials than Silhouette (learn more about how Cricut Explore™ compares to Silhouette Cameo HERE)
  9. Upload jpgs, svgs, pngs, and cut for free.  This is different from Cricuts of yesteryear.  Free SVG lovers, rejoice! 
  10. Store your tools right in the machine.  I love all of the little cubbies and caddies that are part of the machine.

And super, duper reason #11.......A complete collection of Disney's FROZEN cut files!  
Frozen cut file from Cricut
Olaf cut file from Cricut

Do you want to build a snowman? cut file from Cricut
Elsa cut file from Cricut
Anna cut file from Cricut

Available NOW only on Cricut Design Space™— exclusively for the Cricut Explore™!

Cricut is so excited about these images that they couldn’t wait for the official launch!  We had to Let it Go!

Included are layered images, single layer images and drawn images.  Check it out now – Search “Frozen” in the All Images or Image Set search. 

Images are now available in Cricut Design Space™ and will be available in Cartridge and CCR format in 2015.
For purchase ONLY in Cricut Design Space™.

Cricut Black Friday Deal

Cricut Black Friday Deal
If you have been eyeballing a Cricut Explore™ for a while, now's the time to snap one up!  Enter all of the coupon codes below for the best deal! 

Cricut Coupon Codes

Enter Code EXPLOREBFBLOG  for $10 off
Enter Code CRICUTBF5  for $5 off
Enter Code FREESHIPNOV  for Free Shipping on any order!

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Milk Carton and French Fry Box Christmas Treat Containers

Christmas season is nearly in full swing, which means it's time for unexpected visitors and the awkward "I'm sorry, I didn't have anything for you" scenario.  You know what I'm talking about.  

Whether you're looking to create quick gifts for those unexpected visitors, or polish off your holiday décor, Michaels' Recollections brand items are a great, affordable option.  Just because a gift comes together quickly and inexpensively, doesn't mean it is any less heartfelt than a handmade gift that took hours to prepare.  

Milk Carton Christmas Gift Containers

Milk carton Christmas treat containers
When I was at Michaels recently, I found a 12 pack of pre-die cut milk cartons.  I immediately snatched them up because I knew they would be perfect for those last-minute and unexpected gift giving moments.  They only take a moment to assemble and come with the adhesive already included.  Score!  They also have other great basics and kits in stock just in time for the holidays

Milk carton Christmas treat containers
The easiest way to embellish a milk carton box is by adhering some Recollections holiday die cuts.  I love how the kraft circle adds a bit of a rustic feel to this red striped box.  

Milk carton Christmas treat containers
Take the die cut labels up a notch by stamping a fun holiday sentiment.  Use the blank labels to add To: and From: greetings or to add a handwritten holiday greeting. 

Milk carton Christmas treat containers
You can also add custom embellishments to your milk cartons to make each one unique.  I added some holly leaves and berries to add some texture and dimension to this carton.  

Milk carton Christmas treat containers
The milk cartons come folded up nice and neat, but a couple of the folds are folded the wrong direction.  After some trial and error, I found out that it is much easier to assemble the milk cartons if I fold along the pre-scored lines before I start adhering the pieces together.  Start by folding the edges of the carton the right direction and then fold the top over, creating a nice crease.  Fold along the angled score lines across the top of the box.   Pre-folding the score lines will make for much easier assembly.  

French Fry Box Christmas Gift Containers

French Fry Box Christmas treat containers
The red french fry boxes are even easier to embellish and prepare as they are come pre-assembled.  Simply insert a treat bag full of your favorite holiday goodies and embellish with label a paper bow.  So easy!   

French Fry Box Christmas treat containers
Aren't these little paper bows darling?  I found them along with some other awesome Recollections holiday products located in the paper crafting section on the ends of the aisles at my local Michaels store.  I think I bought one of every kind.  Bows for everyone!  

French Fry Box Christmas treat containers
As much as I like making elaborate holiday gift packages, sometimes there's just not enough time.  These french fry boxes are fun and whimsical and come together in a snap.  Simply adhere a Recollections die cut label to the front and you're good to go. 

French Fry Box Christmas treat containers
Avoid the awkward "I'm sorry, I didn't have anything for you" scenario and get packaging! 

Happy Holidays! 


If you like these treat container, you may also like these:

DIY Oven Cupcake Box with FREE Cut File |

Paper Christmas Treat Box |

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock

I love analog clocks.  The louder the obnoxious tick-tock, the better.  And cuckoo clocks?  Don't get me started.  I have at least one clock in every room of the house.  You know that scene in the beginning of Back to the Future in Doc Brown's garage?  I would love to have a wall full of eclectic tick-tocking clocks someday.   

Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock

DIY Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock
One of my favorite ways to decorate my house is by making my own clocks.  Although it may seem intimidating at first, making clocks is pretty easy and definitely inexpensive.  My fellow teammates on Cricut Design Space Star Team 10 and I chose The Twelve Days of Christmas as our creative theme this month.  One of the first ideas that popped into my head was to use the icons from each verse of the song as a number on the clock.  

DIY Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock
After finding these Twelve Days of Christmas icons in the Cricut Explore Cut List, I decided to create a clock with a crisp, modern feel.  And what says modern and Christmas more than gold foil?  Not to mention that the gold foil coordinated with the clock mechanism I happened to have on hand.  

DIY Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock
I also trimmed the edge of the clock in gold foil to contrast with the white clock face.  I love the way it looks when it reflects light.  

DIY Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock
I love the finished look of the metallic gold against the matte white clock face.  Darn it if gold foil isn't the most impossible thing to photograph.  You'll just have to trust me that the contrast more stunning in person.  

How to Make a Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock

Start with a basic wooden clock base.  You can find them at just about any craft store.  This clock base is 10" across and 3/4" wide.  Note the width of your clock base when picking out a clock mechanism.  

You can paint your clock base, stain it, Mod Podge paper to it, leave it raw, whatever you want.  After sampling a few paint finishes on the back of the clock, I decided to paint the face with a couple coats of white chalky finish paint.  

The next thing  I did was adhere 3/4" strips of gold foil paper to the edge of my clock.  Just like the face of the clock, you can treat the edge of your clock however you wish.  

To determine the size of each of the Twelve Days icons for the face of the clock, I drew a 10" circle in Cricut Design Space™ and placed them in their approximate position on the clock.  I resized the icons until I found a relatively uniform size that worked for each icon.   
Die cut each Twelve Days icon from gold foil paper and they're ready to be adhered to your clock face.  I was totally impressed with how the Cricut Explore™ cut out the tiny curl on the partridge and the fingers on the lord-a-leaping.

After I die cut all of the icons, I separated them and placed them on the clock face near their position.  TIP: Center your clock on the grid on your cutting mat for precise placement of all of the icons.  

Using the grid on my cutting mat as a guide, start by placing the images at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock.  I eyeballed the placement of the other icons since I wanted a more overall uniform appearance than a technically correct one.   TIP:  Use the die cut negative as a guide by placing it next to where you want the icon.

Once all of your images have been adhered to the clock face, you are ready to install the clock mechanism.  

Lay out all of your clock pieces in order that they need to be assembled, starting with the mechanism and ending with the second hand.  You can find clock kits at many craft stores.  If you are looking for something more modern, I recommend searching online for clock kits.  

DIY Modern Twelve Days of Christmas Clock
I can't wait to hang this up as part of my Christmas décor this holiday season.   If you love clocks, too, check out my Clock & Watches Pinterest board.  

Happy Holidays!


Cricut Explore Bundles

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tea Light Winter Village Paper Craft

Happy Wednesday!  My Cricut Explore™  and I have been hard at work making winter wonderland crafts to help make my house merry and bright this holiday season.  Although Halloween has yet to pass, I can't help but dig into my Christmas papers and supplies and start creating projects for Christmas.  For my Cricut Design Space™ Star Round 3 project I made a tea light winter village paper craft that you can use to dress up a holiday mantel, table, or even use as a centerpiece.

Make a tea light winter village paper craft to decorate your house during the holidays |
Miniature paper houses are one of my all-time favorite crafts to make.  Miniature villages spark the imagination and, when done in festive holiday colors, spark loads of holiday cheer.   I die cut these houses from patterned paper and glitter cardstock using my Cricut Explore™.  These cut files can be found in the Cricut Explore Cut List as part of the Winter Woodland cartridge.

Tea Light Winter Village Paper Craft

Tea light winter village paper craft church and houses |
I had so much fun setting up this tea light winter village.  I kept the details on the houses at a minimum so the patterned paper and structural details would take center stage.  I placed the houses on cut logs and added some faux snow to bring the village to life.  I placed little bottle brush trees throughout to add some pretty detail to the village.  

Make your own tea light winter village with Cricut Explore |
No village would be complete without a schoolhouse and a large house on top of a hill.   TIP: When resizing the cut files, start with the house with the widest cut.  Since I was using 12"x12" paper, I maxed out the width at about 11.75".  I quickly learned that not all houses are scaled the same.  I resized my houses based the size of the front door (about 1 1/2" tall) so that they would all stay to scale. 

Three-story paper house with dormer windows. So cute!
This two story house with dormer windows is my favorite out of the whole village.  It looks like it came straight out of an old-fashioned Christmas movie.  If this were my house, I would pick the bedroom on the east side of the second story. 

This striped church is so sweet!
The stripey church looks so inviting!  I added vellum inside the doorways of the houses so the tea lights would be well disguised.  The houses do not have floors making it easy to set the houses over a tea light.  Each building also has a contrasting door.  Although I was tempted, I refrained from adding too many extra details to the houses so they wouldn't distract from the glowing lights.

I love the little dormer window on this peppermint striped paper house!
I die cut each roof from white glitter cardstock to make them look as though they were covered with a fresh layer of snow.  Even the tiny doorways and dormer windows have glittery roofs.  Adhering the chimneys to the glittered roofs required a bit more patience.  Just hold those babies on while listening to your favorite song and you'll be good to go. 

Make a tea light winter village paper craft to decorate your house during the holidays |
The best part of these houses is that they can each be lit with a single battery operated tea light.  The houses look great lit during the day, but look especially stunning at night.  The addition of vellum to the windows softens the glow and makes the houses look warm and inviting.  I accidentally left the tea lights on all night a couple of nights ago and was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the otherwise dark dining room the next morning.  So pretty. 

Tips and Tricks

Use Cricut Explore to make a tea light winter village paper craft to decorate your house during the holidays |
I learned a few things along the way as I die cut and assembled many houses, but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"  See?  See what I did there?  But really, I did learn some stuff about paper crafting. 

Add vellum to the inside of the windows before assembling the house. |
Add vellum inside the windows and doors before you fold and assemble the houses.  Cut pieces of vellum so they overlap the windows about 1/4" on each side and adhere with a tape runner.

Make crisp creases and folds by folding paper over a sharp edge.
The cut files for these houses leave small perforations along the lines to be scored (blue arrows).  For shorter lengths, these work well for creating a fold.  To create a fold along a longer length of paper, place the score line along a sharp edge and create a crease by folding the paper over the edge.  

Make crisp folds by pressing paper with a bone folder.
After you have created creases in your paper, make a nice, crisp fold by pressing each fold with a bone folder. 

Use a quick-dry liquid adhesive when assembling the winter village houses.
Use a quick-dry liquid adhesive to assemble your houses.  It is just a little bit messier than using a tape runner, and you have to be a little more patient, but your houses won't pop apart at the seams.  I like Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive for paper projects because it binds quickly and doesn't warp the paper. 

Use needlenose pliers to press together glued seams.  Works like a charm!
Sometimes it is hard to get a good seal between paper layers when making 3-D projects.  As I was making these houses, I discovered that using a pair of long needlenose pliers to press seams together worked perfectly.  The pliers make light work of assembling smaller objects like the chimneys and gables.  

Make a tea light winter village paper craft to decorate your house during the holidays |
I just love looking at this little village!  I may have to break out the Christmas decorations early this year.  

Check out what else Cricut Design Space™ Star Team 10 has been up to!  Pretty amazing, right?  Click on the links below for more details on these amazing projects. 

Cricut Design Space Star Team 10 Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland Mantel Luminaria from Let's Eat Grandpa

Winter Treat Boxes from Crafting in the Rain

Winter Wonderland Decor from Albion Gould

Tea Light Winter Village from Popper and Mimi

Personalized Snowflake Ornament from Sugar Bee Crafts

Whimsical Deer Art from One Krieger Chick

Frozen Inspired Pallet Art from Sweet Rose Studio

Happy creating!



Cricut Explore® Machine + Basic Starter Set 
Cricut Winter Woodland cartridge
Doodlebug Santa Express collection, Home for the Holidays collection
Doodlebug Sugar Coated cardstock
Buy Cricut Explore