Your Craft & Soul Events

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial

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

Well it’s the last post for the evening, so it’s appropriate for me to share this project – a book for me to write in before I go to sleep. It will help me…

Cleanse My Mind:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

I have trouble getting to sleep most nights. I thought that having a book by my bed, to empty my worries and daydreams into, might help me settle.

Here’s a tutorial if you’d like to make your own…

Step 1: Choose some heavyweight fabric. I had this gorgeous piece of vintage silky fabric, which must have been for some heavy curtains? I’m not sure but it is lovely. I wanted my bedtime book to feel tactile – I’m hoping the smooth cover with soothe my soul too. You could also use thick felt or another sturdy material:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 2: Decide how big you want the covers to be. I wanted to use mine with A4 paper, so I measured a rectangle that was 13×9″, as this gave a decent gap around the pages:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 3: Cut the rectangle out, then seal the edges if you’re using fabric that frays. I used my sewing machine to make a zig-zag stitch all around the edge of the rectangle, but it was still fraying so I put PVA glue on my fingertip and rubbed it along the edge too:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

The only trouble was that the PVA glue is very rigid so the edge of my book doesn’t feel soft any more. The rest of it is fine though!

Step 4: Pierce some holes down the middle of your pages. There needs to be an odd number of holes, so start at the centre then work your way outwards, spreading them evenly:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 5: Use strong thread (I used upholstery thread) to sew a running stitch from the centre hole to the top hole, making sure you go in from the back of the spine, and leaving a tail of thread hanging out:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 6: Continue your running stitch from the top hole all the way to the bottom hole:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Then go back up to the middle hole and tie the tail to the end of the thread.

Step 7: I’ve sewn my pages in with jewellery clasps, because I want to be able to take them out and replace them when the pages get full. You can sew on jewellery clasps of your own, or you could glue the front and back pages to the inside of your covers, or you could tie them in with ribbons!

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 8: If you want a ribbon to wrap around your book, now is the time to sew it inside the back cover:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 9: Then cut a piece of cardstock a bit smaller than your inside back cover, and glue it in with some PVA glue mixed with water (1:1 ratio). This helps make the book a bit stronger. If you want you can add this inside the front cover too but I wanted mine to stay floppy:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 10: Stamp some happy images / words on the pages of your book:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

So that when your are filling it with your worries and dreams the pictures will lift your spirits:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 11:  Decorate the front cover how you like – I used bonding interfacing to iron on a cloud, and added foam alphas and some beads. The beads did make it harder to write on the left hand pages when I first started the book though:

Cleanse My Mind Notebook Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

It does look suitably dreamy and inspiring by my bedside!

Be Inspired:

Make a book to write down random thoughts / ideas / worries

Use something silky or smooth on your next project

Sew on a few little beads

What do you think, might this help you sleep at night? If you do write your thoughts down before bedtime then make sure you don’t worry about punctuation and misspelling, just write a stream of conciousness as you think. It will cleanse your mind!

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}

That’s all for tonight, sleep well and I’ll see you in the morning at 10am BST!

Jennifer x

Cricut Explore

Discovering the Cricut Explore!

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to go to London, to meet with the Cricut team and find out all about the new Explore machine…

Discovering the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I was so excited to go, the invite was a tantalising glimpse of what the machine can achieve:

Cricut Explore Event Invite

The picture on here wasn’t a Criut cartridge, it was an image of London which was uploaded to the Explore Design Space, cleaned up, then cut!

So I set off last Thursday early in the morning, and caught the train to London. I arrived at Waterloo Station, which meant I was close enough to walk to the event, and I could stroll past the London Eye, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament, which made the day feel like an adventure already.

london blog

The event was on the 26th floor of the Millbank Tower, which had amazing views over London. But I was more interested by what was in the room…

flowers and room

Including this tall cone of paper and card flowers, which I stood near on arrival while I sipped a glass of orange juice and mingled with other bloggers.

Then there was a presentation to all the bloggers and some press, all about the new Cricut Explore Machine. It was cool to see all the American faces including Ashish Arora the CEO of Cricut, and a couple of US bloggers Mandi Gubler from Vintage Revivals and Kim Stoegbauer from The TomKat Studio.

Ashish was very inspiring during his talk, telling us all how he joined the company 2 years ago and didn’t know anything about crafting. Then he learnt all about it from bloggers all around the world, now he calls himself a bloggers BFF because he finds bloggers so amazing. He talked about how much effort has gone into this machine to get it just right – how many metals they tried out to make the perfect blade, how many technology tweaks there were to work out the tiny differences in pressure the blade needs for different materials. Cricut have spent 2 years working on the machine so when it reaches us it seems as simple and effortless as possible!

Selfie with Ashish Arora

I had to take a selfie with Ashish as he was so approachable and enthusiastic!

Mandi and Kim talked about how they are loving the machine, for Mandi it’s especially good for home decor details, and Kim loves it for fun party items.

Then Kristie from Cricut unboxed an Explore so we could see exactly what came in the box. At one point I let out a ‘yay’ and got so excited I dropped my pencil – because the machine comes with a tote bag! I don’t expect I’d carry it around a whole lot, but I know I’ll want to take it some places and it will be so much easier with a tote. Kristy said that she’d been walking around with the tote at home before the release to check the comfort of the handle etc!

Then came the really fun bit, heading to our assigned machines to try them out! I was a star:

corner blog

I sat down with a group of bloggers, and Mandi was our guide to help us out. She asked

“What does everyone want to do, would you like me to do a demonstration, would you like to make something?”

I was the first to bounce up and down in my seat saying

‘I want to MAKE something!!!”

So I got first try!

Now here come what I LOVE the most about the Explore… the Design Space. Now, I will say if your internet connection isn’t good then this machine is NOT for you. There’s no way to use it offline. During the event there were a couple of times when it slowed down a bit because there were so many people using the internet all at once. But I’m okay with that as I’m online all the time anyway! Plus the Design Space is awesome enough for me to overlook that.

Here’s the landing page for the Design Space:

make it now

Where you can create a project from scratch, or you can choose one of the previously designed projects and ‘make it now’. You can choose to customise the project if you want to adjust the sizes a bit or change the text etc, or you can literally ‘make it now’ and go straight to cutting if you are happy with it as it is!

I was drawn to this t-shirt with elephants on, and now you can see the cool thing about Design Space, that you can actually design on a ‘canvas’ like your project:


You can choose from so many different canvases when you start a new project, from bags to clothing to book covers. And then if you choose a t-shirt you can then choose if it’s for a man, woman or child, whether it’s small, medium or large, what kind of neckline it has, you can also change the colour to help you imagine your project better:


I think it’s so cool to be able to work like that rather than having to measure everything to work out the size, and trying to picture in your mind what it will look like! You can change the colour of the image (ie the elephants here) to the right colour of vinyl or material you are using too.

I cut the elephants just as they were because I wanted to see how fast I could create something with ‘make it now’. I had to load my glitter iron-on-vinyl onto a mat, and change the dial on the machine:


This dial is so cool as before with my Cricut Mini you had to change the pressure and speed to certain numbers for different materials, but this dial does it for you!

Once the dial was set it tells you when to load and when to ‘go’! It cut out quickly and quietly. The only thing was the baby elephants leg got torn when we were taking the excess vinyl off after cutting. Later we realised that this was because the dial needs to be set to one notch past iron-on when you are using the glitter iron-on vinyl rather than iron-on-lite.

I wasn’t going to use the baby because of this, then someone suggested I try it anyway and I’m glad she did as he looks fine once ironed on to my bag:

Cricut Iron-On Glitter Vinyl bag by Jennifer Grace

From choosing the elephants to ironing them on my bag took about 10 minutes, how fast is that? And that included finding a plug-point for the iron! The ‘Mummy love’ and hearts took a bit longer, as I started a project from scratch, wrote the two words with different fonts, found a heart and welded them together before cutting. The words were fiddly to take the excess vinyl away from but they didn’t tear as we knew to use the higher setting by then!

After this I had a wander about the room. Look at all the inspiration! The theme was #ExploreTheSeasons so there were sets for Christmas, Halloween, and Summer (Beach and Wedding themes):


halloween blog

beach blog

I love this towel with an anchor on, and I was impressed how the vinyl looked good on the fluffy material:

towel blog


How pretty is this wedding dress? I think the butterflies were cut from leather:

table wedding dress

There were also a few more casual clothes on a rack, I want this dress with gold chevrons, and the owl sweater:

dress room

There was a long string of butterflies along the ceiling, all cut from different materials, my favourites were the shimmer leather, burlap, and adhesive-backed corkboard:

butterflies blog

My head was filling with ideas! We got treated to some lunch and cupcakes:

sandwich    cupcakes

And then I decorated a notebook with normal (not iron-on) vinyl, and tried out the drawing function on a bookmark by putting a pen into the machine (it can draw and cut at the same time, you don’t have to let it stop and change things around!):

Notebook and Bookmark cut with the Cricut Explore

Sorry the bookmark is a bit scruffy, but my son loves pirate ships so as soon as he saw it he grabbed it and tried to draw on it!

I stayed until the very end of the day, they started packing up around me, because I was having so much fun! I can’t wait to get my hands on the machine and play some more. Want to know when you’ll be able to get hold of it and what the price will be?

  • The Cricut Explore will air on Create and Craft starting on the 16th of May
  • It will be available from selected Hobbycraft stores,, and other retailers from June
  • It will cost £249.99 including VAT
  • No-commitment monthly subscriptions to Cricut Design Space (25,000+ images) are available for £7.49 {EDITED TO ADD: The monthly subscription IS NOT currently available in the UK} and annual subscriptions can be purchased for £79.99
  • Individual images from Cricut Design Space also start at 79p per image
  • Digital cartridges can be purchased or existing cartridges can also be used to unlock the same artwork through Cricut Design Space.

If you want to keep an eye on the news then make sure you follow the Cricut EU Facebook page and Twitter feed!

Well, as you can see I had a fabulous day and I can’t wait to get my hands on an Explore, once I do I will write some more about the Design Space and do some tutorials!

If you have any questions about the machine let me know, if I don’t know the answer I will pester my contacts to find out for you!

Have a great day, Jennifer x

Disclaimer: Cricut paid for my travel to London for the day, and provided lunch and supplies for projects, but all the opinions here are my own.