Thursday, March 31, 2011

75 Follower Giveaway: Cricut Markers

I hit 75 Followers this week and I am super excited. I know most people celebrate at 100, but my Mother bought me a set of Cricut makers and was super excited about them. She did not know I had so many of them already. I told her I would use them as the first giveaway on my blog and let her pick the number of  followers I needed to get to before doing the giveaway. She picked the number 75 and here we are!!
I use Cricut makers for a lot of things: adding titles, making coloring pages for my daughter, and putting names on tags. I find that they are really helpful when I want the outline of the shape only as the markers draw where the blade would normally cut. I made this sign for my daughter's door. I switched out the markers to add more color and show you what you can do.

I have a set of the brown and black Cricut Markers that are up for grabs in my first giveaway. Want to win these? Here is how...
1. Leave me a comment telling me what you use Cricut Markers for or would like to try with them.
2. Check back on Thursday April 7 to see who wins the fun set of markers.
3. I will select the winner using a random number generator.
4. It would be nice if you became a follower if your are not already, but that is not needed to win!

New Car Layout

When I worked for Creative Memories one of the things they talked about in the training videos is the importance of the memories we have. Including images of your cars, your home and bedroom are part of making your memories real. Think about how much time you spend in these places. It is important to make sure you have photos to help record the history ad changes you see in your life.

When we bought out new car last summer, I took several photos to record the moment. I finally put a quick layout together for the occasion. I really liked this paper, but did not have any solid color paper that matched well so I decided to use my Cricut Markers and write the simple "New Car" title on the page. The letters are from the Cuttin' Up cartridge.

I am super close to getting my 75th followers. When I do get there I will be giving away a set of black and brown Cricut Markers!! Hope you have a nice Thursday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Linen Closet Card

I try very hard not to buy too much paper. Okay that is a total lie (I am sorry). I love paper and buy it all the time, but I have gotten better about buying it at full price just because I see it and fall in love. I wait for the sale now. Lucky for me the sales come around pretty often. The Linen Closet Stack by DCWV is one that I have been wanting for a long time. I have seen it so many times and have had it in my cart to buy at least 4 times when it was on sale, but I waited. This weekend it was on sale at JoAnn's for 50% off and I just could not wait anymore. I bought the 12 x 12 stack, the 8 x 8 stack and the cardstock matstack (4.5 x 6.5). I do not know if there is a 12 x 12 stack of coordinating cardstock. I have never seen it and that was one thing that held me back from buying the set. 

I had no ideas about what I was going to make with this set. I really just loved the soft colors and had to have it. I was updating my Gypsy and while I was waiting I got the paper out to see if any ideas popped into my head. I ended up just selecting some papers that stuck out to me and making a simple card. I did not use a single Cricut cut for the card.
I really liked how the polka dots on the base paper looked so I cut off a strip of them from my left over paper and added the extra layer above the other polka dot printed paper. The stamp is from TPC Studios, Playful Expressions set. I used my new Permapaque metallic green marker to add the simple strip (inside as well) and I decided to try inking around the card edges with my gold ink pad. I am loving the exploring with new things. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hugs & Kisses Part 2

Have you ever found a new cut on cartridge and fell in love with it? You find it while doing a search on your Gypsy or if by chance you are looking at the cartridge booklet and you come up with all kinds of ways you could use this and are surprised you do not remember seeing it before. It is such a happy surprise.

That is how I am feeling about the "Hugs & Kisses" cut on Lyrical Letters. (pg 71 of booklet) I discovered it yesterday when making the layout from my post this morning and now I keep thinking of different things I can use it for. I wanted to make sure I used it again right away before I moved on to other projects and it wasn't in the front of my mind, so today I made a fun little card to have in my supply. 
I used the fun "hugs and kisses" cut from Lyrical Letters and made extra hearts from the layer to put on the inside of the card. I cut the scalloped circle using a tag from Splish Splash without the hole at the top. I am starting to play with new techniques and ideas so for this card I used sandpaper to washout the blue on the base of the card (I used ColorCore Cardstock by core'dinations) and than I decided to add some polka dots in two ways: I embossed my cut with my Cuttlebug and than added white dots all along the outside edge of the scallop. 

Hugs, Kisses & Sunshine Layout

This week I am on Spring Break from work and my plan is to get a little caught up on some scrapbooking. I have not been doing very many layouts lately because I keep getting sidetracked with other fun and creative projects so it was nice to pull out some pictures and create a simple layout.

I recently found this stack of paper at Target from Wausau Paper. The stack is called the Creative Collection and has 30 colors in it. The cool part is that it has some textured papers called Crinkles in several colors and I was excited about using them on my projects to see more texture in my work. I used the white sheets for this layout (you can see it in the close up photos, below, better).

The Challenge over at the Circle Blog this week was to make something that celebrates the everyday. These photos are from last spring when we all went out to breakfast one morning. I love the dress my daughter is wearing and snapped several photos of her hanging out with her grandparents and uncle. I felt it was a great "just because" moment.
The "hugs and kisses" cut is from Lyrical Letters, as is the lettering for "sunshine". The sun cut is from Hello Kitty Greetings, but I removed the smile form the center using the hide contour button on my Gypsy. I wanted a little more texture so I embossed my sunshine and used some glue dots to put it on the page. I added two rows of ribbon and that means I can use the layout for the So Saturday Challenge at Card Creations and More by C. This week the challenge is to use patterned ribbon. I am also using this for Scrapbookaholic by Abby and Fantabulous Cricut #53 and the spring themed challenges posted this week. Enjoy all!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Gypsy is Happy

Is it just me or is my Gypsy totally smiling at me? I am I was guessing it is because of the fun treat that arrived a little while ago via FedEx. I was one of the lucky winners of the new Gypsy covers on the Cricut Circle Blog and while I was eating lunch the doorbell rang.  Now my Gypsy can not stop smiling at me and I think it is just a little excited to be dressed so nicely.
I have been finishing up my daughters party invites and taking care of my Imagine (is has to go back to PC) all morning and now with my newly dressed Gypsy I am going to spend the rest of my day scrapping!!!  More later hopefully.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snow White Gift Bag

I decided to face my fears and make something using a Disney cartridge. I have been avoiding cutting any of the figures for too long and I needed to just try it.  I want to make a set of Alice in Wonderland characters to hang up on a wall display at my school for the play, but I first had to conquer my fear of the characters.

One of my daughter's friends had her birthday this weekend and the party was Princess themed. Each little girl was to come dressed as her favorite princess. The family happens to be traveling to Disney World very soon so we got her a gift card to the parks (FYI these are awesome if you are travelng to Disney because you can use them almost everywhere..even for parking). I wanted the gift to be more fun than just opening a card so I made her a fun princess bag.

I knew I would not be successful with this Snow White character unless I cut her rather large. I think I have conquered the fear and will hopefully be able to make the Alice characters now!

By the way, the bag was a big hit with a few other mothers who asked what other characters I could make!  I see more bags in my future.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bowling Party, Part 1: My 100th Post!

My daughter will soon be turning 5. This is a fact that I am still trying to wrap my head around because I am pretty sure I only gave birth to her a little while ago. The time just goes so fast! She is such a fun little girl and watching her get bigger is enjoyable. I was not planning on having a kids party this year because we had one last year and went to Disney World so I was just going to have a simple home party with family. The best aid plans do not always go my way (I am not admitting that easily). My husband and mother tag teamed me with guilt.
"She is turing 5. Such a big year!"
"This is her last year at her daycare..soon all new friends"
"She has been super good lately"
"After how big you went last year..."

OK! OK! OK! I gave in and plans have started for the party.What does my little girl want to do? BOWLING!!  Come on, get the image in your head: 20 plus 4 and 5 year-olds bowling, many for the first time!!  Too cute.
Of course I had to make the invites because Sophie asked for round bowling balls and I could not resist the fun of creating them. I pulled out my Nifty 50's cartridge to use for the very for the first time and cut the bowling ball layer at: 5.80 width & 14.27 height. Than I cut out the bowling pin and ball twice for each invite. Because I cut this rather small I decided to do the red strips by hand instead of making all those tiny cuts. I picked a fun font on the computer and printed out all the details for the party. I used several different adhesives to get them all together because I had small and large pieces (Thank you ATG gun and Scotch Scrapbooker's Glue with 2-way applicator).
I was going to put two pins on each card but in the end I decided that one was enough and I put the extra one on the envelopes with the "party" cut from Doodletype. The envelopes are American Craft 5 1/2 x 5 1/2. I can't wait to send them out to people. I have many plans for decor and favors so be on the look in the next month for those fun bowling party posts.  

I cannot believe that this is my 100 post. When I started doing this blog back in July I was not sure I would make it past a month and once I started back at school in the fall I was sure I would forget all about it, but I have not and am more inspired everyday to post my projects and share my ideas with you. Thanks for taking the time to check out my little piece of crafting and as always I love to hear what you think.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Say What" Mini notebook

I always keep a notebook in my purse to write down everything I need to from grocery lists to phone numbers. I also like to write down the things that inspire me so that I can look back at them later. Now that I have discovered the joys of covering notebooks I thought I would make myself a little pocket notebook to record the fun quotes and statements I see.

I bought these tiny composition notebooks at Target. They are 3x5, but have the great binding I love on the larger ones. It is great for putting ribbion on. They come in a 2 package set for 99 cents.

I used a piece of paper I had in my scrap bin (it has one tiny corner torn out). I liked that it was a basic black and gray print. I cut the quote bubble form Create A Critter and the lettering from the Feeling Groovy Lite cartridge. At first I wasn't sure what to put on the front, but I decided "Say What" made sense as a lot of the quotes I right down are from my daughter and I still cannot believe what comes out of her mouth.

This weekend will mark my 100th post on my blog. I am very excited that I have kept this going so strong.I really enjoy sharing my projects with you and look forward to many more posts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My First Cricut Project

When I started my blog posts on Life Before Cricut, I could not remember the first project I made with my Cricut. I finally remembered that it was the birthday party invitations for my 30th birthday. I got my Cricut machine as a present for this birthday, but as soon as I knew it was what I wanted I asked to get it so I could use it for the invites. This cake is from Stretch Your Imagination and I printed everything else out on my computer. I remember thinking I was never going to get good at the simple layers and now I look back and wish I could go back in time and tell myself everything I know about the Cricut as these invites would be so much better!!

The birthday was amazing and it really was all about the cake. I loved the show Ace of Cakes and all the cake challenges on Food Network. I asked for a cake like that for my party. My husband totally delivered. He had a cake made that was shaped like a stack of books: all my favorite titles and colors were used. I had a hard time cutting into the thing because it was so pretty. It was made by Good Gracious Cakes.  You can see my cake and a lot of the baker, Michelle's other amazing pieces on her site. 
Book was opened to pages 29 and 30, The titles were my favorite books and the
butterflies represent those would could not be with me at the party

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Glass Treats

Last year I decided I had seen the Cricut Expression infomercial enough times and what I really wanted to try was etching glass. I searched for the right materials and made about 10 baking dishes as holiday gifts for friends and family. I also made glasses and a few doggie treat jars. I should have saved photos of them all, but of course I did not. Well, I decided to do some more etching and this time I took those photos. I took photos at all my steps to make sure I could share  it here with you as well, but I am so starting with the final products:
The font is Hello Kitty
The words are cut with Jubilee
 The first step with glass is making sure you have the right material. Pyrex CANNOT be etched (I admit I have never tried, but that is because everywhere I researched said do not to as it will shatter in the oven or worse). I have found many other glass bake wares that work just fine. As far as other glass items it seems that most work just fine. I tend to buy things on the cheaper side in case I break them while etching or do not like the result and want to try again.

You can buy these brushes in bulk at most craft stores.
I throw mine away after I etch everything.
I use vinyl and glass etching cream to do my etching. The first thing I do is create my design on my Gypsy. I triple measure the product I am etching so I do not need to cut twice. When you are ready to cut you need to set you blade up the right way based on the instructions included with your vinyl. If you follow the instructions the bade will cut the vinyl only and not the paper backing.

After you cut the vinyl place it on your glass piece and smooth out all the edges. If you have bubble on the edges the etching cream will seep in and leave marks. When ready use a sponge brush and coat your design area with etching cream. The directions say to use a heavy coat and brush up and down, left and right all over the design. Once coated you let the project sit for five minutes. WARNING: the cream is very smelly and powerful, so keep use gloves and open windows to help air everything out.

Wash off the cream in a sink and use an old scrub brush to get all the cream off. Take the vinyl off and dry and you have your fun designs. This kind of thing makes wonderful gifts and you can personalize all sorts of things! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Student Projects using our Expression

My school was won of the lucky winners of a Cricut Expression machine this fall. (A giveaway I hear the circle is planning on doing again). It was a slow go getting people started using the machine, but once I had taught a few it went smoothly.
A few teachers have asked me to cut things for them and others have cut things and put them up around there rooms.  One teacher even caught the bug and just ordered her very own Expression. She is so excited that it will arrive before we are off for Spring Break next week.My students have picked up the act now and in my Social Studies class one student asked if I could cut them fun letters using that machine I am always talking about with them. I said sure and of course all the other groups started asking as well. I brought my Gypsy into school and they told me what they were looking for (some were very very specific) and I let them see what I could do and we created lettering for there posters.
I just had to share how some of the posters turned out because they were some of the best ones this year as many of my students do not take time to plan and they use random or hard to read colors without thinking of the overall look. Something about these "special letters" as one kid called them made the projects look even better. The projects were ll about the Roaring 20's and The Great Depression time period.

The Ku Klux Klan poster was made with Cricut Clasic Font, The Great Depression are letters from Storybook. We used DonJuan puzzle pieces for the Toys & Games poster, Stamped for the Al Capone project and Cindy Loo lettering for Henry Ford. All in al we had about 20 projects with Cricut cuts on them as my coworker doing the same project cut some letters as well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cupcake Birthday Banner

Today is one of my favorite peoples' birthdays. She is a coworker and a dear friend. She is always there for me when I need to vent or share smiles and she has an office all to herself so sometimes I can even hide there.  We always try to do fun things for each other at birthday time (usually these are silly things like trashing..I mean decorating her office).This year my daughter decided that we should take her to Chuck E Cheese and let her have some fun playing games. I know she will not be able to say no to my daughter, but I also wanted to have a fun decoration for her office as well.
The whole banner was made with the Cupcake Lite cartridge, but I have to admit that I totally manipulated the layout. I used the hide contour button on my gypsy to get rid of the letters on the cupcake cuts I liked and than added in the letter I wanted instead.This took me much longer than I would have liked but I wanted it a certain way so picky me won out. I punched the wholes in the sides with a 1/8 inch hole punch and used small silver brads to put it all together.
I switched the letters and outlines to what I
wanted, but all from the Cupcake Lite cart.
 I used the left over letter cuts and  the "make a wish" cut from Sweet Treats to make an smaller sign that will serve as her birthday card and official invite to her pizza and games date. We plan on taking her next week during our Spring Break.
Oh, yeah I am using this banner as my entry over at Frosted Designs for the banner challenge and at Fantabulous Cricut who just announced a birthday challenge this morning. Have a happy week!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Epic Fail? And A Hottie is coming to visit!

I decided a few months back that I was going to get 2 pages of scrapbooking done every week. My Two-a-Week Challenge has been...AN EPIC FAIL!!! I have not done a layout at all in several weeks so I have not quite met the challenge I set for myself. BUT...I am super happy with all the fun projects that I have created in the meantime. A couple of fun notebooks, a great banner for my school, puppets for my daughter and many many cards. I have been crafting like crazy and am having so much fun in the process. My husband says I am less stressed and he can tell that I am in the zone with the Cricut!!

Today I decided it was time to get a layout done once again and the Circle Message Board provided a great sketch as part of the Online Stampede we are having. I went looking thought my photos and found I had printed exactly 3 photos from my husbands birthday dinner back in December. I went to work right away this morning! I was not sure at first if I would have any Cricut cuts on the layout, but as always the wonderful Create A Critter came to mind and the adorable elephant just made the whole page come together right.
The paper and sticker used for this layout are from The Paper Studio's Memories collection. The paper is a coordinating flocked stack and the sticker set has two alphabets and many many other word and phrase stickers. I could not resist the "remember" sticker when talking about the stuffed animal elephant that my daughter insisted on getting for my husband because he had told her he wanted an elephant for his birthday and she did not forget!

In other fun news many of you may know that Chloe from Chloe and her Clip On Koalas has a Hot Scrap Assistant named Jacob and he soon will be embarking on a Hot Blog Hop. Chloe jut informed me that Jacob will be coming to visit us here in the Chicago land area for a two week period. I can not wait to have his help in my craft room and I have promised him some fun dates with the Barbi of his choosing. I only hope that he doesn't party too much at night so he can be helpful during my crafting time. Be on the look for Jacob and his Hot Blog Hop soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bunny Birthday Card

Stamp is from Inkadinkado "Friendly Advice: Kid quotes" collection
Bunny and present from Birthday Bash
Scallop backing is form Accent Essentials.
It is an exciting weekend on the Circle Message Board. We are all enjoying updates from the Stampede going on in Texas and are playing along ourselves by taking part in an online Stampede with different challenges that some members got together. They even gathered several fun prizes to share. Thanks for that ladies!!

The first challenge (posted on Thursday) was a sketch challenge. There was a sketch for a card and a layout. A friend of mine is having a birthday party for her 2-year-old son so I decided to use the card sketch as my guide for his card.

This week the Flaunt It Fridays challenge was to use the Bunny with the present cut from the Birthday Bash cartridge. I decided that this would work really well with the sketch challenge on the Circle Board and that is how I got this card put together. I love when two challenges blend together! 

I hope to take part in a few more of the challenges they have posted, but it is just nice to be sharing our ideas and fun projects. Hope everyone has a great weekend. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coloring Pages

"cut" with Cricut markers and Disney Happily Ever After
 My daughter love to color and she loves her Disney I decided I would make her some large coloring sheets using my Cricut Markers. I give these sheets to her when I know I will not be home at night before she goes to bed. I tell  her I will kiss her artwork instead of waking her up when I get home (mostly because it takes forever for her to go back to sleep).  That way the kiss will find her in her dreams.

This is the first one I gave her a few days go when I had parent teacher conferences and couldn't be home for tuck in time.  I think she is becoming quiet the artist.

Again, you just put the Cricut Markers in the blade house and follow the pressure and speed settings listed right on the marker. I have a set of these markers (brown and black) to give away when I reach 75 followers! So check back soon because I am getting close!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life Before Cricut, Part 7 (The Final Chapter)

The time has come to stop talking about what I used to do and start talking about what I do.  Again this has been a blast.  I have been looking at my scrapbooks all the time and getting all sorts of ideas to use again or to twist into new ideas.  I hope you have been having a fun time looking back at your own ideas and maybe even getting some new ones to try in your own albums.  Thanks for following along on my adventure.   

As a final post I wanted to share a layout I love.  I remember how much time I spent on this layout making it look just the way I wanted it  to.  I know that  I redrew the roller coaster and letters at least 3 times.  In the end I look at this page and it reflects the fun we had that day at Great America (Gurnee, Illinois). Someone recently asked if I was going to go back and redo these pages using my Cricut...I would not dream of doing that.  Seeing all the old pages has shown me why I love doing this in the first place and I love the way it has changed over time.  So, my Life Before Cricut really was only one step in my learning process.  Thanks for sharing in my memories. I hope you have a creative day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hello Kitty Cheerleader Card

One of my coworkers has a daughter who loves the arts and of course I think that is wonderful. She is in 6th grade and has already tried out to be in 2 plays and get a solo in the spring choir event. She has not gotten any of these parts BUT she stays so positive and worked on both shows in other ways and is still very excited about the choir event without a solo. I just wanted to make her a card to let her know I am rooting for her success and encourage her to never give up. I cut the entire card using Hello Kitty Greetings. I still have a hard time with tiny pieces so instead of some of those I added a little silver using a marker. I did not put anything on the inside of this because I wanted to write my own personal message to her.  She told her Mom that while getting a card form someone she has never met was odd, she loved being encouraged to follow her dreams (ahhh!!!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Coming Soon Board

Lately, I wish I could craft all day and all night, BUT..I am a full time teacher at a middle school so I cannot stay at home making things all day long (but summer is coming super fast so look out). I do however get to make things for school often so that helps with my addiction.

There is a lot to love about my job, but my favorite thing is working on the school plays and musicals. Each year I have 60 plus kids in the drama club every week and about 80 students try out for our play or musical each year. This year we will be performing Alice in Wonderland.
As the show gets closer and closer (April 14 and 15) I find more and more uses for my Cricut machine.This week I wanted to put up a simple message on the main hallway wall. I decorate this wall for all our sports and than for the play every year. With the show fast approaching I wanted to put a little teaser up. I cut the Cheshire Cat smile from the new Disney Classics cartridge. I used the face cut on the cartridge, but only cut the smile and mouth areas out to display. Than I cut out the words "Coming Soon" in Hello Kitty Font (still one of my favorites).
I placed the cuts on the wall by the current sports display. As we get closer to the show I am thinking of adding more and more to the cat to make him fully visible the week of the show. I will keep you posted.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

The Liebster Blog award is given to bring newer blogs into the light. It's a great way to share blogs that might not otherwise have been noticed and should be! My blog has been around for 9 months and I have enjoyed it so much so I understand letting people know about your blog and sharing others with people. I just get so much inspiration form seeing what others make. 

First, Thank You to Amee at Adirondack Paper Crafting for sharing this award with me. 

As recipient you must share the love and pass it along to others.As well as these four things:

1. You must post on your blog and tell a little about the award and announce your 3-5 picks.

2. Let those know you have chosen them.

3. Copy and post the award on your blog for all to see.

4. Have fun and continue to inspire

Here are some newer blogs that I think might interest you:

1. Craft Place : This is a very new blog of two friends, but check out the Cricut Everyday book!
2. Created By Missie: a fellow Illinois girl headed to the Stampede this week!
3. Cricut Croppin' With Cassandra: I was so happy when this fellow Circle member started a blog to share her fun projects.

Thanks ladies for helping me get inspired. I am sure others will find it that way as well.