Cricut Explore

My Spooky Halloween Dining Room

This year Cricut EU have again challenged some bloggers to create a Halloween project using our Cricut machines. Last year I won the contest with my Halloween Hallway, so of course I was happy to take part again and create something new for Halloween!

I decided to spookify (totally a word, right?!) our dining room…

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Cricut sent me some Window Cling, Vinyl, and Iron-On Vinyl, and I had so much fun using them. The kids were super impressed with the room, though of course they are now really excited about Halloween and I had to explain it’s still 2 weeks away!

The first thing I wanted to use was the Window Cling material, as I’ve never used that before. When I opened up a tab for Cricut Design Space the landing page showed lots of spooky projects, so I scrolled down to get some ideas. Here are some of them:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I was immediately drawn to this twirly spider web window cling design:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I clicked ‘customise’ rather than ‘make it now’, so that I could check the size and colours. I decided to leave the size as it was, and I just changed the purple spider to black (by clicking on the spider image in the layer panel, then clicking on the new colour) as I didn’t have any purple:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I cut the image from black & orange window cling material and weeded out all the bits I didn’t need:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Now this is when I had some trouble. I could not figure out how to stick the twirly spider web onto the window without getting into a big mess. I tried with 2 different types of transfer tape (having to pop into work to pick up a roll which I’d left there too) and neither worked – the tape seemed to be too sticky and the window cling material would not stay on the glass. It kept resulting in a tangled mess like this:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

After a few frustrated words (!) I went back to look at the ‘Spider Web Window Cling’ instructions from the landing page, and I discovered it sent you to look at THESE INSTRUCTIONS for window cling. I found out I should not be using transfer tape at all, but instead I should be reversing the image before cutting it, and using the backing of the cling material to help transfer it to the window. Now I felt rather silly – I’m always telling hubby off for not reading instructions!

So I went back and cut it again, making sure to tick the box to mirror the image:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

It worked much better this time, though it was still fiddly and I had to go very slowly. The spiders were a lot easier as I just peeled them straight off the backing and applied them by hand:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I decided to stick to some bold, simpler shapes for the rest of the window! I used the pumpkins from #M14BC40 and bats, a cat, and a spider from #M14BC38, both called Halloween Window Cling (by Lia Griffith), and a Spider Web Silhouette #M3D1D4e (from the Creepy Critters Cartridge):

 Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

They were a lot easier to apply to the window!

Next I wanted a dramatic tablecloth. I bought a big, cheap piece of black material, and looked for some images to cut from white and silver glitter iron-on vinyls. I chose some ghosts (#M3D1D70) and stars (#M4520B) to cut from white, and some spiders (#M46A3F) and the same stars to cut from silver glitter.

To make sure I fitted as much as possible onto one 12 x 12 mat, I set the canvas (click ‘set canvas’ on the left menu, and choose ‘basic canvas’ – it will automatically be a 12 x 12″ square), then rotated and enlarged my shapes to fill up the canvas. Once it was full I selected them all by dragging a box over them, and clicked on ‘attach’ to join them all together. If you don’t do that it will try to separate some of them onto different mats because of their automatic orientation. Here’s what my attached set looks like:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I cut these out then arranged the spiders and stars in the same way. Once the shapes were all cut and weeded, I placed them all over the tablecloth to work out where they would go – I didn’t worry about them being perfectly spaced, I just wanted pattern around the edge as I would have a centerpiece or maybe a buffet of food in the middle:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I put a tea-towel under the tablecloth and another on top of each shape one at a time, and went round ironing them all down until the tablecloth was finished:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Finally I created the centerpiece. I found these candles on the Design Space landing page:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

So I cut the graveyard one (Pumpkin Carvings #8 – code #M43515) from black vinyl to stick on a candle. Then I found these treat boxes (the Coffin Box is #M3EBCC and the Spider Web Box is #M450EE):

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

And I put them together to place inside a plastic pumpkin treat bucket that belongs to my kids. The spider web box was difficult to put together, but luckily I found THIS TUTORIAL to guide me through it!

I also found another candle, and a lacy-effect scarf which I draped around the other items (and scattered some plastic spiders on top):

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’ll also point out I’m using flame-less LED candles on top of the candles, rather than actually lighting them – after hearing how Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was horribly burned because of her witch costume I will always avoid flames when the kids will be around.

Now I’m happy with our spooky Halloween dining room:

Spooky Dining Room using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

The table just needs some treats and snack on it when the day finally arrives!

What do you think, spooky enough? I think the candle with the vinyl graveyard on is my favourite bit, and I’ll be able to easily swap it for a new design after Halloween!

If you need any more Cricut Explore Halloween inspiration check out this amazing Haunted House by Cosmic Strawberry, this Toilet Monster by Mum In The Madhouse, or these Table Decorations at Blue Bear Wood – the Cake Stand Tutorial on her craft blog Zing Zing Tree is particularly cool!

I’m linking up to a couple of Linky Parties – Spooktacular Halloween and Inspiration Monday!

I hope you all have a great week,

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including vinyl and window cling, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way. I’m also entering this into a Cricut bloggers Halloween contest.

Cricut Explore

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including cardstock, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Ever wanted some sparkly seahorse earrings?!

I love big earrings, but I have a habit of losing one from each pair… oops. So I decided it was time to make some to replenish my collection – and so that I can easily replace one if I lose it! I’ve put my Cricut Explore to good use to make these…

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings made with the Cricut Explore:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Here’s how to make some for yourself…

You Will Need:

* Cricut Explore * Aqua Cardstock * Crystal Stickles * Transparent Seed Beads * Jump Rings * Earring Hooks * Mod-Podge * Glossy Accents * Paintbrush * Jewellery Pliers *

Step 1: Open up the Cricut Design Space and insert image Seahorse #M33006 from the ‘Life’s A Beach’ set. Resize it to however big you want yours to be – I made mine 2.5″ tall:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Use your mouse to drag a box over the image to select it all:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: Click ‘Weld’ in the layers panel to join the layers together as one shape:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Insert image Circle #MC21B7 from the Days & Dates set, resize it to be a small hole at the top of the seahorse – mine was 0.07″:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Drag a box over the image again so the seahorse and the circle are included:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: Click ‘Slice’ on the layers panel, then drag the circle away from the seahorse, which will leave the hole at the top:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Delete the circle, then duplicate the seahorse. Use the edit panel to ‘Mirror’ the second seahorse image:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Drag a box over both images and click ‘Attach’ in the layers panel. Then click ‘Go’ and increase the projects to 4 – don’t forget to click ‘Apply’. Your mat preview should look like this:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 9: Put some cardstock on your mat and run the cut. I used a sheet of cardstock from the Cricut Antiquity pad, and I used the setting ‘Cardstock +1’, my seahorses came out like this:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I was impressed with how well the teeny tiny holes came out:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 10: Put one of the seahorses on a non-stick surface and coat it with Mod-Podge or similar tacky glue – make sure it’s a nice even coating right up to the edges:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 11: Stick another seahorse on top, picking it up and pressing down all over it to make sure it sticks together. Repeat this until you have four seahorses stuck on top of each other. Then seal the edges with more Mod-Podge all the way around – here you can see where I’d sealed the belly but I hadn’t sealed the head yet:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 12: Leave the Mod-Podge to dry – I left mine for a few hours. Then paint on a layer of Crystal Stickles to give the seahorses some sparkle:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Once they are dry (it took mine about an hour) they will be nice and shimmery:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 13: Add a blob of glossy accents along the fins and at the end of the tails:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

And press transparent seed beads into the glossy accents. Leave to dry again (mine took about 2 hours):

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 14: Then you just need to use jewellery pliers to attach two jump rings and an earring hook to the top of each seahorse:

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then wear your sparkly seahorses (and dream that you are a mermaid):

Sparkly Seahorse Earrings with the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am now planning to make lots more earrings with my Explore. Owls, feathers, rocket-ships, hearts… so many possibilities!

Happy Valentines day to those who celebrate it!

Have a great day,

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including cardstock, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Cricut Explore

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2014 Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

For this project I’m sharing a small treat box I made with the Cricut Explore:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

This is so darn cute. It’s about 2.5″ tall, a perfect size to fill with some sweet treats!

Here’s how to make one…

Step 1: Load up the Cricut Design Space and create a new project. Insert the image ‘Christmas Tree Box’ #M2E593, and drag a corner toggle to make it approx 11.5″ lengthways:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Insert the image ‘Christmas Tree’ #M2E583, and change it to red. Insert the image ‘Present’ #M3097B:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: Hide the tag on the present, and change the colours of the box and ribbon to the colours you like:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Click ‘flatten’ in the layers panel, to change the present to a shape that will print-then-cut:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Shape the Christmas Tree and Present to the sizes you want, then click ‘go’. Don’t forget to put a score tool into the machine to make it easier to fold the lines of the box:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: Follow the on-screen instructions to print your present, and then cut out the shapes in the right order. Once cut, fold and glue together the box shape:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Cut two 20″ pieces of florist ribbon / balloon string, and staple them onto the middle of the Christmas tree shape:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Attach it to the top of the box, curl the ribbons, add a button on top to hide the staple, and add the present and a wood star for more decoration:

Christmas Tree Treat Box using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Fill it with treats to gift to someone this Christmas! I might make a bunch of these for our dining table on Christmas day, so everyone gets a little extra gift!

Be Inspired:

Make or alter a gift box

Use florist ribbon / ballon string to make some curls

Use a printable element on your next project

What sweet treats would you want to find in this box? I love the Haribo Little Men, so that would be my best surprise!

I’ll see you again soon for the last post of the event!

Jennifer x

Cricut Explore

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt Using the Cricut Explore

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2014 Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

This time I’m sharing a gift that could be for the man in your life. I find it hard to think of handmade gift for my husband, but he likes a good Christmas tee shirt, so I think he’ll like this one:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

I wouldn’t mind wearing this myself… we might be fighting over this tee shirt eventually!

Here’s how to make it:

Step 1: Open up the Cricut Design Space software and click the ‘Create New Project’ button. From the left hand menu select ‘Set Canvas’ and find the ‘Classic T-Shirts’ option, then click ‘Done’. Now you can check the settings to make sure you have the right size tee shirt, I chose a short sleeve medium tee shirt for men:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Go to ‘Insert Images’ and search for the ‘Deer Head’ #M35136, and add it to your canvas. Resize it to how big you want it to be, mine is 5.51 x 7.53″:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: In the layers panel, click on the eye icon next to the bottom light brown layer, so it gets hidden. This means it won’t cut. I relied on the white of the tee shirt as my base layer:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Change the colour of the dark brown deer head piece to match the vinyl you want to use, by clicking on the icon of it in the layers panel:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Insert an image of a string with lights on #M32C31 (‘Lights’):

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: Change the colour of the lights if you wish, then insert a bauble image #M449C5 (‘Ornament’):

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Use the eye icons to hide all the stripes and other layers of the bauble, so you have a plain shape:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Recolour the bauble if you wish, duplicate it, and re-size the two baubles so they fit on your string:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 9: Click ‘Add Text’ and choose your font (I used ‘Country Life’), and type in your phrase:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 10: When you’ve got it sized how you want, click the ‘Go’ button at the top of the screen. In the mat preview make sure you click ‘Mirror Image (for iron-on)’ for each layer:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 11: Feed your vinyl into the machine following the on screen instructions. When the vinyl is cut you can barely see the shapes:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 12: Use a weeding tool or pointy object to weed the spare parts of the designs, leaving only the shape you want on the sticking backing (I took the deer nose off too as I didn’t want it):

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

All your weeded shapes should look like this:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 13: Check the placement of the deer head on the tee shirt:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 14: Move the tee shirt to an ironing board, cover the design with greaseproof paper, and iron it on a medium setting, moving over the design a few times. Lift a corner carefully, and see if the vinyl is stuck to the tee shirt, if it’s not then iron it for a bit longer:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 15: After the deer head your should iron on the black string, then the gold lights, then the baubles, and finish off with the text:

Oh Deer Vinyl Tee Shirt using the Cricut Explore at Jennifer Grace Creates

Your tee shirt is done! Gift it to someone this Christmas! You could also use the design on tea-towels, bags, cushions… what ever you fancy!

Be Inspired:

Use a deer on your next project, and tangle some lights or baubles in its antlers

Use a big bold character on your next project

Use a play-on-words phrase

Do you know anyone who’d like a tee shirt like this?

I’ll see you again at 5pm!

P.S. I’m linking this up to the Snap Show & Tell Linky Party!

Jennifer x

Cricut Explore

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore

My daughter wanted our house to be creepier for Halloween. We don’t celebrate it in a big way, but we will dress up on the day, and we might get a few trick-or-treaters stop by, so I figured we could at least decorate our entrance hallway. Then anyone who stops by will get a spooky surprise, and the kids can have fun each time they run through!

Halloween Hallway:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Little Miss said her favourite “Halloweeny thing” is bats, so my main aim was to create a colony of hanging bats all over the ceiling!

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To create this I fired up my Cricut Explore and the Design Space, and chose a bat image (#M2E38A):

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I dragged the corners to resize it at 9.5″wide, 4.27″ high:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then searched for the Score Line image:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I duplicated the score line so I had 3 of them, and then positioned one in the centre of the bat, and one on each wing (turning on the guide lines in the design space can help you place the score lines in the correct place):

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Once you are happy with the placement of the score lines, you need to drag a box over the bat and all three score lines, and click ‘attach’. This joins them all together so the machine knows to use it as one shape rather than separate layers.

Then click ‘go’ to send the shape to the mat preview. Here you can change it to make 2 projects (you need to click ‘apply’ after altering the number of projects). Rotate the bottom bat so that it’s upside down and manoeuvre it so it’s close to the top bat, this means there’s enough left from a 12×12 sheet of card for you to cut another bat, or use for a different project later:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I cut my bats from a variety of black cardstock and black patterned papers. Once the Explore has finished cutting them you just need to gently fold along the score lines, like this:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Keep going until you have lots:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To attach to the ceiling you can pierce two holes near the top of the bat’s head:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Tie through some cotton thread to match the colour of your ceiling. Knot it at the back and leave a long string:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To tie mine to the ceiling I first pushed a couple of pins into the edge where the top of the wall meets the ceiling, and then tied some more of the cotton thread to the pins:

Hanging Bats

I had two running in straight lines along the ceiling, and then I tied a few more lines of string across the room so there could be bats in the middle of the ceiling too:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

You can’t see the strings at all from below, it looks just like they are fluttering above us!

Seeing as the Cricut Explore was already set up I used it for some more room accents too!

I went to the landing page to try out some pre-designed projects, and chose the Halloween Luminaries. I clicked ‘customise’ rather than ‘make it now’, so that I could delete a couple of the lanterns – I just wanted the haunted house one. I didn’t make any changes to the size though. I also chose a Spooky Spiderwebs project to decorate my glass bowl, again I clicked ‘customise’, but this time I deleted all-but-one of the spider webs and re-sized it, to fit at the top of my bowl. I cut it out from black vinyl and used transfer tape to help me place it on my bowl, and repeated with two more:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

You can also see a spider, placed strategically on some toy stuffing that I used as cobwebs! The spider is #MA0465, and I cut three of them at 3″ tall and three of them at 2″ tall, from the off cuts of black cardstock I had left from the bats. They look good tucked in a few places around the room, and are surprisingly realistic considering they are made from card, I scared myself with one late last night, seen out of the corner of my eye!

The finishing touch was the ‘Happy Halloween’ sign and skeleton stuck on the door at the back of the room:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

The words (#M39CD8) are cut at 11.39″ wide from orange cardstock, and the skeleton (#M44F29) is cut at 11.59″ tall from more black cardstock – I’m going to need to replenish my black cardstock after this!

A cackling witch and a roaring monster have already tried the room out:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

They declared it very spooky!

I’m linking up to a few linky parties – Inspiration MondaySpooktacular Halloween, and Show & Tell Wednesday.

Do you decorate your house for Halloween? Would the bats and spiders freak you out?!

Bye for now,

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including vinyl, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way. I’m also entering this into a Cricut bloggers Halloween contest.

Cricut Explore

Beside The Sea Altered Item Giveaway! {NOW CLOSED}

(This post is part of my Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

Hey hey, it’s time for the last giveaway!

This time you can win an item altered by me. I’ll iron this image I designed:

Altered Item Giveaway at Jennifer Grace Creates

… onto an item of your choosing – eg it could be a baby onesie, a kids vest, an adult t-shit, a tea towel, a tote bag etc! Please be aware I won’t be spending tons of money on buying the item to alter though! The colour of the iron-on will also be limited to the colours I own – I’ll email the winner to discuss choices!

I’ve ironed it onto a t-shirt for my son, just to make sure it looked good:

Beside The Sea Altered Item Giveaway at Jennifer Grace Creates

Cute huh?!

Here’s a couple of other things I’ve been ironing vinyl onto but not shared on here before…

My friend Rosie came round to check out the Explore and I helped her decorate a little drawstring bag, I think it was about 3×5″ big. There was a bunny on one side and a cat on the other:

Drawstring Bag altered with the Cricut Explore

I was really impressed by how well it cut the teeny tiny eyes and noses!

I then used the same bunny to decorate a onesie for a friend who’s expecting:

Baby Onesie decorated with the Cricut Explore

See the little stars? I used a regular craft punch to cut those from scraps of the glitter iron-on vinyl before adding them to the onesie, it was a great way to use up scraps!

Be Inspired:

Use a sandcastle on your next project

Punch some little tiny shapes out of your scraps

Create a bold blue silhouette of something

To enter this giveaway {NOW CLOSED} Just tell me in the comments what item you’d pick for me to add my ‘Beside The Seaside’ image to if you won!

This giveaway closes at 10.59pm on Monday the 9th of June 2014. It is open internationally. The winner will be announced on Thursday the 12th of June, so check back to see if you’ve won!

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as another entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!  {NOW CLOSED}

See you again in an hour!

Jennifer x

DISCLAIMER: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including iron-on-vinyl, and access to the Image Library, which helped me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Cricut Explore

Drink Up Altered Drinking Glass!

(This post is part of my Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

You know my Flavoured Water from this morning? Well I thought I needed a cool glass to drink it from:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

I’m always daunted by the notion that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day. It sounds like a lot! I looked up what size glass it should be, and it’s 250ml – so you drink 2 litres a day. So I found this glass which holds 250ml if it’s filled right to the top:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

I don’t expect to actually drink 8 glasses of water a day, because I also drink other things too like tea and orange juice. But I figure if I can drink 5 of these a day that will be a good start and maybe stop me getting so many headaches.

To encourage me I of course wanted to make my glass pretty! I used Pebeo Vitrea160 paint in Turquoise, mixed with a bit of the matching iridescent medium, to paint my glass. Then I had to leave it to dry overnight, then bake it in the oven for 40 minutes to set the paint. Once that was done I picked a couple of vinyl colours to cut on my Cricut Explore:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

I cut the words ‘Drink Up’ using my favourite font ‘Lobster 2’ from white Cricut vinyl, and an arrow (image #M33222) from Honey Vinyl, but before I could cut the arrow I had to ‘contour’ the image:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

You just have to click on ‘contour’ and then click on the pieces of the image you don’t want to use, this will turn their lines light blue, and they will disappear when you click out of the contour screen.

Here’s how the shapes look once they’re cut and I’ve removed the excess vinyl:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

To put these onto the glass you need to use transfer tape, you just peel off the grid backing, and press the sticky side onto the vinyl:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

Then carefully peel the vinyl backing away so you are left with the shape stuck to the tape, which you can place on your object:

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

Rub all over to make sure the vinyl is stuck on and then peel the tape away!

Drink Up Altered Glass by Jennifer Grace

This glass is so fun I am going to keep reaching for it I’m sure!

Be Inspired:

Put a message to yourself somewhere to remind you to do something cleansing

Paint some translucent turquoise onto a project

Use your favourite font for a title, phrase, or sentiment

Would this glass help you to drink more water? Of course it would also look cool on a pint glass for beer… but that’s another story!

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as another entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!  {NOW CLOSED}

See you again at 10pm!

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including vinyl, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Cricut Explore

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore

(This post is part of my Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

You may have seen the Cute Pony Vest me and my daughter made for her to wear, but I wanted something of my own refreshed with some fun shapes!

I altered a skirt…

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

We’ve established before that I love to Wear Pretty Skirts, so this is perfect for me!

Here’s how the skirt looked before the pretty additions (I bought the skirt at Primark):

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Nice but a bit boring!

To start off my project I put the skirt on my dining table and piled the iron-on-vinyls that I might want to use on top, so I could see which colours I liked against the skirt:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then I opened the Design Space software and changed the canvas to a skirt, adjusting the size and colour to be close to my own:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I uploaded my ‘Refresh’ Free Cut File and changed it to white by clicking on the shape in the layers panel, then inserted an anchor image (#M2FDBA changed to grey) and a whale image (#M415A4) which I flipped by clicking on the mirror icon in the edit panel:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I also changed the whale to a bolder blue, and changed the whale’s spray of water to the same colour. Then I selected the whale and the spray together and clicker ‘attach’ so they would cut as one shape.

Next I wanted some basic fish but I couldn’t find any in the Cricut images (they were all fancy fishes!), so rather than looking elsewhere for a cut file I decided to make my own basic fish in the Design Space software. I just inserted an oval (#M373D9) and a triangle (#M46F05), then rotated / stretched them how I wanted to, overlapped them to make the fish shape, and highlighted them both by dragging a box over them:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then I just clicked ‘weld’ and they joined into one shape:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then I could just reshape and copy + paste for more fishes!

I finished off with a few stars (#M470B4):

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

And clicked ‘go’! When the Mat Preview screen comes up I had to remember to click ‘Mirror Image for Iron-On’ for each mat:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

And then I started cutting. I set the dial on the machine to iron-on for the iron-on lite materials, and clicked it up a notch to iron-on+ for the glitter iron-on material.

Once they were cut I just weeded out the unwanted vinyl – the iron-on stuff comes on a plastic sheet so you don’t have to use transfer tape:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then I got ready to iron! Make sure you iron doesn’t have a steam setting on. I use mine on a medium heat setting. And you should warm up the area where you’re going to stick the vinyl before placing it on top. Use some greaseproof paper over vinyl / plastic when you are ironing too!

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I ironed them on one colour at a time, but it soon all came together:

Refreshing My Clothes with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I love it! It’s so seasidey and happy!

Be Inspired:

Refresh some of your clothing with something ironed or sewn on

Make a big word 12″ wide and add it on a project

Scatter a few little fishes on a layout / card / item

Do you have an item of clothing that could do with a refresh?!

Remember that commenting on this post, and any other over this weekend, will count as another entry into the Grand Giveaway, but only if you’ve registered your interest in winning that prize right HERE!  {NOW CLOSED}

I’ll see you again at 6pm!

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including iron-on-vinyl, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Cricut Explore

Cute Pony Vest with the Cricut Explore and Iron-on-Vinyl!

Hello everyone!

We had a lovely half-term holiday last week, including spending a few days in Bath catching up with some friends. But before that me and Little Miss had some fun decorating a vest top for her to wear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

My daughter (aged 6) was very involved with the process from start to finish! She’s been getting quite interested in designing clothes lately, and now she knows what Mummy’s machine can do there will be no stopping her!

We began by talking about the design. She wanted lots of animals around a heart. I pointed out that this would mean the animals would be quite small to fit on the vest top (which we’d bought at Matalan), so she decided to just have one big animal, maybe a horse or a pony. So we tried out a couple of images in the Design Space, it took her a while to decide between the larger horse or the foal, which she insists is a pony:

Cute Pony Vest in the Explore Design Space

Eventually she decided she liked the ‘pony’ (Foal image #M37E48), and she also decided she liked the smaller heart instead of the one with wings, because then it could go on his flank and be like a ‘cutie mark’ which the My Little Ponies have!

I helped her match the colours to the iron-on-vinyls I had, then I let her resize things and place them where she wanted in the design space, I just had to help a bit with the text. She wanted it to say ‘I’m lonely’ but I said that sounded a bit sad, why is the pony lonely? She said ‘he wants to make new friends’. So we changed it to ‘be my friend?’ using the ‘Cuttin Up – Serifs’ font:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

We could have made the vest in the Design Space a lighter colour to match her vest, but she found it easier to see the shapes on a darker background.

Once we had it all planned out I told her to click ‘go’ and showed her how to stick the vinyl onto the mat (remembering to select ‘Mirror Image for Iron-On’ in the Design Space). At this point I realised it wanted to cut a whole pony in black just to have a black eye – it would be a black base layer, with the eye as a cut out hole in the teal top layer. I didn’t want to waste my black vinyl, so I went back and hid that layer, then added a little oval for an eye to go on top instead!

When it was ready to go Little Miss was allowed to press the buttons and turn the dial, under supervision of course:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

I helped her peel the waste vinyl off slowly, she was really concentrating:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Then it was time to iron it on! We placed some greaseproof paper over the design whilst ironing. I helped my daughter arrange the shapes on the vest, but she ironed it – you have to iron each layer individually:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Remember to make sure the iron has steam turned off! I usually just use a medium heat setting.

Now, at this point it should have been finished, but I realised I didn’t like something about the design – the pony ended up with his mane over both ears instead of just the back ear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

I decided to cut another ear to go on top. I cut the pony’s head from the same iron-on vinyl – I just used enough vinyl for the head but covered the rest of my mat with scrap paper so the blade wasn’t wrecking my mat (while it cut the rest of the pony out):

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Then I used my Cricut scissors to cut out just the ear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

And ironed it on top of the mane:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

All done:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

The vinyls we used were Black and Teal Cricut Iron-On Lite, and Pink Cricut Glitter Iron-On.

It certainly made someone happy:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

She wore it on the train on the way to Bath and showed it off to anyone who’d listen!

She has pointed out some more clothes she can add things too, and told me I need to decorate some of my own too, so I think my machine will be getting a good workout! If you’ve been on the lookout for an Explore, they are now available HERE at Amazon.co.uk, Create & Craft TV have it back in stock HERE, and you can pre-order it HERE at Hobbycraft – who are including a free tool kit.

Don’t forget my blog event is approaching this weekend, all the details are HERE, and the ‘Guess the Project’ contest will start soon in the Facebook Group HERE!

Bye for now, Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including iron-on-vinyl, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

Cricut Explore, Scrapbook Layouts

Hooray! A layout using the Cricut Explore!

You may have seen my post about Discovering the Cricut Explore, when I went to London to check out Cricut’s latest die-cutting machine. Well, the lovely people at Cricut have sent me an Explore machine of my own to review and play with! You can imagine I was a tad excited when it arrived, I hopped up and down a lot, my daughter looked at me like I was mad!

If you’re in the UK and you want to see more of what the Cricut Explore can do then don’t miss Create and Craft TV tomorrow (Friday 16th May), the Explore will be launched at 8am and 7pm. The channel numbers are Sky 671; Freeview 36; and Freesat 813! Plus there will be an @CricutEU twitter party tomorrow night from 6pm-8pm just tweet with #ExcitedtoExplore to join in the fun and maybe win some prizes!

I’ve been experimenting with my Explore as much as I can, and I decided the first post I do using it should really be a scrapbook page, because, you know, that’s my main thing! So here’s the page…

Hooray! She’s the champion!

Hooray! She's The Champion! layout using the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

This photo is from My Belated Hen Party. My ‘hens’ all had tasks to complete, and I had stickers to give out for good behaviour, so they all collected points during the weekend. My friend Lucy was the winner, and here she is holding up her trophy and shouting ‘hooray!’

I took some screen shots as I put this page together, to show you around the Design Space a bit. Remember you need to be connected to the internet the whole time you are designing and using the machine, but I think it’s worth it!

If you click on ‘Set Canvas’ you can choose what kind of project you are making, to help you envision it as you choose your shapes. 12×12″ and other plain canvas sizes can be found under ‘Basic Shapes’:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Once you click ‘Done’ you can then adjust the canvas properties if you need to, including the shape, dimensions, and colour:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then can click on ‘Insert Images’ to start finding some shapes you like. Shapes can be bought individually or you can subscribe to have access to over 25,000 shapes – this costs £7.49 a month {EDITED TO ADD: The monthly subscription IS NOT currently available in the UK} or £79.99 a year.

This background lattice style was found by clicking ‘filter’ and then ‘Backgrounds & Textures’, the one I’ve used is the ‘Simple Fancy Pattern Overlay’ from the Edge to Edge image set (#M473BE). You click on it to bring a green check mark up, and then click ‘Insert Images’ – you can insert several images at a time if you want to by adding more green check marks. Then you can alter the colour of the shape to match the material you will be cutting from, by clicking on the icon of the shape in the ‘Layers’ panel:

Cricut Explore Design Space

You can resize the shape by clicking on one of the corners or size handles and then dragging them. A small black box appears with the width and height dimensions of your shape, so you can adjust it to the size you’d like. I made mine just under 11″. NB: I couldn’t get this to cut as a 12×12 background, it seemed to only allow up to 11.5″ square – I need to try this out for other shapes but I feel it will be the same and not cut true 12×12:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then keep adding shapes to plan your page! I added a 5×7″ rectangle as my photo so I could work out how pieces would fit around it. Then I found a trophy – make sure you’ve un-ticked previous searches before doing another, I couldn’t find any trophies at first then I realised it was because ‘Backgrounds & Textures’ was still selected! The trophy I used is from the Something to Celebrate image set (#M45989). If you need to re-order the shapes at any time to see a different one on top, then can either right click your mouse button on the shape, or choose ‘Arrange’ from the top menu to move it forward:

Cricut Explore Design Space

One of the features of the Explore is that it can write at the same time as cutting, if you put a pen into the pen holder. You get a pen included with the machine!

I chose to write on this label (‘Ribbon Label’ from The First Few Years Image Set #M4664C). Click on ‘Add Text’ and type something. Set the text to a ‘Draw Image’ rather than a ‘Cut Image’, by clicking on the little scissors icon by the shape on the layers panel and changing it to the pen icon for ‘Write’. To find a font which will write as a single line, rather than as outlined letters, then you can change the top selection from ‘All Fonts’ to ‘Has a Writing Style’ to choose a font you like. The style should be ‘Writing’ rather than ‘Regular’ too. I chose the ‘Birthday Bash’ font:

Cricut Explore Design Space

When you are happy with how your text looks you need to attach it to the shape it will be writing on. Because the label was layered I first had to right-click and ungroup the label, so I could move the top (yellow) part away. Then you drag a box over the text and the shape it will be writing on, and click ‘Attach’ in the layers panel to join them together:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Keep adding and layering shapes until you are happy. I also added a ‘Celebrate Tag’ (Tie The Knot Image Set, #M47649), a ‘Label’ which I made quite large for the background (The First Few Years Image Set #M47215), and a ‘Heart Accent’ (Ribbons & Rosettes Image Set #M474E5):

Cricut Explore Design Space

Once I was satisfied with my design I hid the lattice background (because I’d cut this earlier) and the rectangle (which represented my photo) so they wouldn’t cut – you can hide them by clicking the little eye icon so it has a line through it. You can also delete them if you prefer. I also made sure the items which I wanted to cut from the same paper (eg. the trophy yellow layer and the label yellow layer) were the exact same shade – other wise they won’t go on the same mat:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then I just clicked ‘Go’ and followed the instructions for which mat to load when. Make sure you remember to add the pen in too if you are writing something as it doesn’t prompt you to do this. And you also need to turn the dial if you are swapping between different materials for different shapes!

Here’s a close up of my trophy and ‘Celebrate’ tag, I sprinkled some gems spilling out from the trophy:

  Trophy and a Tag cut with the Cricut Explore

Here’s the title, written by the Explore with the Cricut Metallic Silver pen which came with my machine:

'Hooray' Title made using Write and Cut feature of Cricut Explore

The word ‘Celebrate’ came out so cleanly that I used that on my page too, I was so impressed with how neat it looked – this blade is so good:

Celebrate Word and a Heart cut with the Cricut Explore

You can see I’m having lots of fun with my machine so far! There will be more posts to come, I have plans for decorating my house, and for altering a whole outfit… plus more layouts and some cards… it’s going to keep me busy. (Though don’t worry if you don’t own a Cricut, this isn’t going to become a Cricut only blog!)

Don’t forget to check out Create and Craft TV and the Twitter party tomorrow!

Plus I’ll be back tomorrow with details of my next blog event. See you then!

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.