5 Things I Love About my Cricut Explore Air 2 + DIY Thank You Cards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! *in Andy Williams’ voice* Wow! I cannot believe Christmas Eve is tomorrow. As usual, my list of to-dos is pretty long! However, one thing I am totally prepared for this gift giving season is my thank you cards, thanks to my Cricut Explore Air 2!

If you have been around me at all these past few months, you have probably heard all about my new little hobby! However if you are new around here, let me just tell you…

I have officially fallen in love with my Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s true. We spend evenings together, and I dream of all the projects I can do and all of the things I can make! It’s like having a personal cutting, scoring and drawing assistant at the press of a button.

In this post, I’m going to list 5 reasons why I am full-on in love with this beauty of a machine.

1. It has gotten me back in touch with my creative side.

I love to craft and honestly, I do love spending the time making my ideas come to life. However, one of the things I found in the past, was I don’t have the time. With my Cricut Explore Air 2, time isn’t really a factor. A simple project takes a short amount of time – especially if you use “FAST” mode!

Fun fact: The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut and write up to 2X faster than past Cricut Explore models, and cuts over 100 materials!

 

2. The Bluetooth/Wireless Connection makes it convenient, efficient and SIMPLE!

I primarily use my computer to access the Cricut Design Space. Mainly because I can be more precise with my mouse and have a bigger screen to look at. However, I have found the Bluetooth connection has made crafting comfortable and convenient! Picture this: you have 29 thank you notes to create for the next day but also need to be wrapping gifts (and of course watching a holiday movie). BAM! Pull up design space on your phone, access the cloud projects and get her going! Your Cricut Explore Air 2 is doing the hard crafting work, cutting away, and you are getting stuff done!

3. It is a game changer when you need a last minute gift!

Who doesn’t love a t-shirt with a quirky saying on it? Or a mug with their name on it? Making your own gifts is SIMPLE with the Cricut Explore Air 2. It takes no time, and you can have a quality, thoughtful and creative gift ready to go the night before! Can’t say I haven’t done that a few times already…

4. The project possibilities are endless…and inspires me to challenge myself.

Since receiving this baby, it has changed the way I shop. Here me out. I would wander about big box stores, see a cute holiday pillow or a graphic tee I thought I needed and would instantly buy it. Now, I look at these items and say…”pfffft I can make that myself”…and I DO!  My Cricut Explore Air 2 has inspired me and challenged me to attempt projects that I would not have even thought about doing before. Besides, isn’t an item way more exciting when you can say YOU made it!?

5. It’s fun to be creative!

That is one major and probably the main reason I love my Cricut Explore Air 2. I just have so much fun coming up with ideas for projects. I have always loved crafting but one of the things I don’t like is the mess, the time and work that comes with it! All of that is cut in half with my Cricut and since the machine is doing the hard part for you, you can just focus on CREATING and HAVING FUN!

I already have a long list of things I want to make – especially now that school is out for the holidays. However, I want to share a little DIY with you today just in time for the Christmas festivities!

Here’s what you need for this DIY:

Step 1

Log on to Cricut Design Space and create a new project. You may also find a pre-designed card and customize to your liking. I took the opportunity to be creative and designed my own card from scratch!

This entire thank you card was created using pre-loaded images/shapes/fonts offered in Design Space

Step 2

After you have gotten your design the way you want it, load your Cricut! Using the light grip mat (blue), carefully place your first card stock sheet down. I always place the smoother side down but it is up to you! Following the prompts on Design Space, load the mat into your machine, and sit back and relax!

Pro Tip: When making cards, it is incredibly important to have the essential tools kit! The scoring stylus is a MUST for your cards to be folded crisply!

Step 3

Once you have cut and scored all of the necessary pieces for your card, assemble together using adhesive. For intricate projects, I do use a glue stick as it provides a nice seal and I find glue dots run out quicker!

There we go! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy as we say in the Kindergarten classroom! I’m pretty sure I will never be purchasing a card again!

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

Easy DIY Holiday Shirt with the Cricut Explore Air 2 and Easypress 2

I haven’t been blogging much in 2019, and every year I say I’m going to change that. However, this year may be different because I have gotten right into a brand new hobby that I MUST spread the word about.

If you know me, you know that I am all about the crafting. I love to draw, bullet journal and make things. About two months ago, my entire life changed by this amazing machine that arrived on my doorstep! Yup! A Cricut Explore Air 2 and (even better) an Easypress 2!!

Lately, I have been crafting like I have never crafted before, and it is wonderful. Which is why I am super excited to share a project with you, and tell you all about my brand new Easypress 2 (which has CHANGED. THE. GAME.)!!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the EasyPress 2! However, at this time of year, I am all about the “punny” holiday t-shirts with cute sayings – especially being a teacher! So I decided to peruse the depths of the internet and find a cute and funny saying to press on a shirt to rock for our holiday spirit week!

Here is what you need for this DIY:

Step 1

Log on to Cricut Design Space and create a new project. After you have come up with a saying you want, choose a font and type it out! I explored Pinterest and found one I liked, and then created it with my own font and design to it!

Step 2

After you have created the design you want, you need to load your Cricut! Using the strong grip mat (green), roll out your iron-on material. Always face the shiny side of your vinyl down and smooth out any air bubbles with your essential tools (very important). Following the prompts on Design Space, load the mat into your Cricut, and sit back to watch the magic happen!

PRO TIP: When making anything iron-on, you MUST select “mirror on” or else everything will be backwards!

Step 3

While your iron-on material is busy being cut, turn on your EasyPress 2 to get it nice and warm. Cricut provides a “Heating Guide” which tells you exactly what temperature to set your machine to based on the material of your clothing and the material you are pressing on!

Get that EasyPress heating, and prepare your pressing space! Using the EasyPress mat, lay your t-shirt on top. Once it’s all heated up, use the timer on the EasyPress, heat your t-shirt up for 5-7 seconds, and then place your cut design where you want it. Iron away – minimum 30 seconds for a cotton t-shirt (heating guide recommended).

Once you are finished ironing, let everything cool for roughly a minute. The material I used for this project was a “warm peel” material, so you want to make sure that when you peel the clear backing from the design, it is rather warm.

Step 4

Rock your t-shirt where everyone can see it, because you now have made your very own holiday tshirt!

BAM! How easy was that?!

This is the crafting dream machine. Like I said, the possibilities are endless. My head is already swirling with ideas of things to make – thank goodness the holiday break is coming soon!!

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

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

I’ve always been a crafty gal. I love everything from drawing (my personal fave!) to making my own xmas cards, to embroidering and quilting. I’ve just always had this urge to create and make my ideas come to life. Lately, I have been exploring a new machine called the Cricut Explore Air 2. Now, this is the first time I have taken my crafting to an expert-feeling level, and I have to say…I am super excited to become more familiar with this craft-lover’s dream machine.

Cricut Explore Air 2 ReviewCricut Explore Air 2 ReviewCricut Explore Air 2 Review

When I first found out about Cricut, it was through a network of local bloggers I connected with a few years ago. They were all big into crafting using Cricut products and were producing the most unreal projects…and that’s when I knew I needed my hands on one of these babies!!

I have to share a little secret though…when my gorgeous teal machine arrived on my doorstep, I was apprehensive to open the box. All of the materials, the project possibilities and the complex looking equipment that was in this package was OVERWHELMING (to say the least…). Where do I begin? What do I make? What can I make? There were so many possibilities and I really couldn’t get my ideas straight for this post….but after looking at their simple and straight forward how-to videos, my nerves settled and the creative juices started to flow.Cricut Explore Air 2 ReviewCricut Explore Air 2 Review

Since I unboxed this machine over on my IG Stories, I have been getting TONS of questions…

What can you make?

You can make anything from intricate, detailed cards, to vinyl stickers, to graphic tees, to mugs!! The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to create, create and create some more!

Is it hard to use?

Abolsutely, 100% NO, it is NOT hard whatsoever! Like I said above, I was super nervous and intimidated (like no joke). However, once you follow the how-to videos, do your first simple project, and get more familiar with how the machine works…you will find it the easiest thing to do. I think of my Cricut as my little assistant who does all of the hard work of crafting for me! Plus, it’s really cool to watch how precise everything is when you’re cutting things out!

What materials does it cut?

Ummm…everything? Okay, okay…not everything in the world. But it sure cuts a whole lot of different materials. Cricuts cut paper, vinyl, foils, foam, iron-on transfers (for clothing/bags/etc.), faux leather, and even chipboard (yeah, seriously!!).

What if I’m not creative?

I truly believe you don’t have to be an expert crafter to use this machine. Cricut makes it really easy for people who aren’t naturally creative, but wants to up their game! They have a section on their website – the “Cricut Design Space” – for templates, graphics, tutorials. They also have a space for you to upload custom designs if theirs aren’t working for you!

As a quick little example…I tried playing around and created a little bird house card. This project was taken directly from their design space and it took me all of 30 minutes after cutting + assembling it! Check it out below…

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

Not too shabby for just learning the machine. However, I can’t say it was difficult because the Cricut did majority of the work for me! Once all of the pieces were cut out, I used adhesive to glue all of them together!! Guess who is never buying a card again…me!

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

To sum up this whole post…my new Cricut Explore Air 2 is unreal and I can’t wait to bring lots of fun projects to you just in time for the holiday season…and if you know and love me? Expect to be getting A LOT of handmade things for Christmas this year (you may not recognize that it’s home made lol).

Do you have a Cricut? Let me know what the first thing YOU would make is below…

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

Hallo’where can I get that costume? 3 Quick DIY costumes for you…

It’s that time of year again. I’ve been talking about it all week. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what I am going to be…and I have finally decided! My friend and I always do a group costume each year. One year we manufactured tube dresses out of different coloured duck tape and went as ‘iPods’. Another year we were Regina, Gretchen, Karen and Cady from Mean Girls as Santa’s Little Helpers. One year we went with a Blonde bombshell theme (I had to go in a wendy peffercorn costume). Well this year, we are bringing in the cute factor and being MINIONS!! I am over the moon about this because I looove minions. Our costumes are always so fun to think of and wear out…

However…costumes for Halloween are hard to choose and if you are like me, I don’t like dropping $70+ for a costume that I probably won’t wear the next year because I have already been that for Halloween. SO, today, I am giving you some ideas that you can DIY!


Dispicable Me: The Minion

I mean, I might as well share with you how I plan to dress up as the ever-so-popular character myself. Minions are so fun and cute and probably the easiest costume to DIY, in my opinion. If you don’t have suspenders…doesn’t really matter – the yellow will totally give it away…

You will need:

Yellow crop top/tank top, high waisted denim shorts, yellow beanie, minion goggles, black boots and suspenders.

Halloween Costumes - Minion

Tips: If you want to appear more yellow (to mimic the minions’ skin colour exactly), you can wear a long sleeved yellow tee and yellow tights under your denim shorts – that will make you look extra “minion-ish” (not a word…I know). Also note that the goggles are absolutely key to this costume. I found a great tutorial online in order to DIY the goggles (click here).


“I’m a mouse…duh” 

Everyone has seen Mean Girls (I am assuming…if you haven’t…go watch it right now). However. there is a way to dress up for Halloween without being the skimpiest girl on the block. My rendition of the mouse costume is cute, comfy and totally appropriate (if that’s what you’re going for…).

You will need:

Grey crop top, high waisted black leggings, grey fur vest, black mouse ears, grey boots

Halloween Costumes - Mouse

Tips: If you want to make this more of a “party look”, swap out the black leggings for a high waisted black skirt! I also would recommend finding grey mouse ears (although I do love this satin mouse ears hat…it’s pretty cool…for a Halloween costume). I like a costume like this because it’s all things you can find in your closet!!


The Referee

I have rocked my own version of a referee costume a few times. I always loved the actual costume for the referee at the costume store, but could never bring myself to pay $80 for it…because it really is not that extravagant. So this is how I put together my own referee costume…

You will need:

Black and white vertical striped top, black skirt, white w/ black stripes knee socks, white low-tops, whistle necklace

Halloween Costumes - Referee

Tips: This is such an easy costume – if you can’t find a striped top, you can easily make one with fabric paint! That is exactly what I did one year – I got a ruler, drew out the stripes and then went at the white tee with black fabric paint – really does the job!! Upgrade this look by trading in the low-tops for black heels or boots!


Two days before Halloween and don’t have a costume yet? Consider these options…they are pretty simple and tend to use the things you already have in your closet!!

What is your go-to Halloween costume? What are you being this year? Let me know in the comments below…

Monogram 101: DIY Monogram stickers!!

With the summer season in full swing, my DIY projects are becoming more and more frequent! Since I have time on the weekends and after work on weeknights, I like to have something to fill that time up…and what better than to fill your time with, than a project!? I started DIY’ing last summer, grabbing tutorials from Pinterest (the ultimate DIY project finder). I created myself a board for inspiration and got right down to it. As soon as I began, I could not stop!

DIY_Monogram_StickersWell, this year, there is a second thing that I am obsessed with, and if you are an avid reader of Pearls and Polkadots, than you will know what that second thing is – monograms! In the past couple of weeks, I have covered my monogram wishlist, monogram etiquette and now I am giving you an easy and simple tutorial to create your own monogram stickers!!

Materials:

  • Colour printer
  • Avery Print-to-the-Edge round labels {22817}
  • Silhouette Studio design software {free}

Creating your monogram.

The first thing you will need to do, is design your monogram. For this, I use a free program called Silhouette Studio. This program is used for designing various pieces of artwork. Download the basic edition for this tutorial. Once you have downloaded it, open the program and select “design”, which will open a new, blank canvas.

Download_Silhouette

Open_Silhouette

Blank_Canvas_Silhouette

For monograms, there are many fonts that you can use. What is great about Silhouette Studio is that it pulls the fonts that you have on your computer. So if you want to go and download your own font, or use one you created, you can! For my monograms, I use a font I got a while ago called “Free Monogram Beta”. While on the blank canvas, select the text tool and type in your initials…

Monogram_1_Silhouette

If you like all of your initials to be the same size, then you can save your monogram graphic here (see steps below). However, I like my monogram to be fashioned in the traditional way (larger middle initial). In order to do that, select the two outer initials and downsize them accordingly (you can adjust the text size on the left hand menu).

Monogram_2_Silhouette

Once you have the sizing adjusted, you will want to rearrange your initials so that the letters interlock (like a traditional monogram). Right click on the text box you typed your initials in, and select “ungroup”. This will separate all of the initials, so that you can arrange them to your liking.

Monogram_3_Silhouette

Once your letters are interlocked and arranged the way you want them, select all of the letters by clicking and dragging your cursor over all of your initials, that way you are capturing the entire monogram at once. Once you have the initials selected, you need to weld the initials together.To do this, choose weld from the “Modify” menu on the right. By welding the initials, you transform the text to one shape that you can re-size and move around.

Monogram_4_Silhouette

This is what your welded monogram will look like:

Monogram_5_Silhouette

TIP: In order to change the colour and fill the shape, use the appropriate tools located across the top navigation panel (to the right of the screen). There, you will find icons for “fill colour” and “line colour”. For this tutorial, I changed my monogram to be outlined in hot pink, and filled with a softer pink colour:

Monogram_6_Silhouette

Monogram_7_Silhouette

Saving your monogram.

Silhouette Studio is typically used for larger projects than this. Silhouette America manufactures a whole printing studio if you are doing projects with vinyl or harder material. I haven’t been able to save a .png or .jpeg of my monograms so far, so what I do as an alternative, is printscreen and save as an image using Paint. Alternatively, if you’re working on a smaller scale you can get a desktop thermal printer as they are not only really convenient thanks to their size, but they are also fast and affordable! It’s great fun to see your designs being printed out immediately before your own eyes.

Monogram_8_Silhouette

Printing your monogram.

With those simple steps, you have your monogram created!! Now, here is the fun part…printing your stickers!! You are going to need labels, first of all. The labels that I like to use are made by Avery. I use the round, print-to-the-edge glossy labels (22817). You can use any labels that you like, but what I love about Avery, is they provide an online label maker, where you can place your monogram, add a design, and know that they will be printed properly.

Avery_Round_Labelsa

Avery_Round_Labels_4

In order to format your labels, go to www.avery.ca/print – there, you can type your template number into their database, and they will bring up the template for you to print your monogram on. All you have to do is import the image and you are good to go!!

Once you have your template designed and ready to print, hit the print button and watch your beautiful monogram stickers print out…

Printing_1a

Printing_2a

…and enjoy your DIY monogram stickers!!

Finished_Products_3a

Finished_Products_2a

Finished_Products_1a

This is my first DIY tutorial on Pearls and Polkadots and I am so excited that I got to bring you guys in on such a fun project that takes a few simple steps! Look forward to more of my summer DIY projects, and check out my DIY board on Pinterest to take a look at projects I have done in the past!!

Not bad for a style blogger… Enjoy!

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