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!!

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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!

Signiture