Getting to Know the Cricut Maker*

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

If there was any craft item on my ultimate wish list. It would be the Cricut Maker, the ultimate smart cutting machine! For someone that does as varied a selection of crafts as I do, it is truly a must-have, for so many reasons.

The hard thing for me, is that it doesn’t come cheap, so is it something I could make the best use of? Is it right for me? I don’t really know what it can be used for. I’m sure there are others out there who feel the same way. If that’s you, read on! GettingtoKnowFBI was contacted in the new year by the lovely people at Cricut, asking whether I would be interested in working with them. Once I had pinched myself, confirmed that it was real, and had a cup of tea to recover, I of course sent a very enthusiastic response!

Soon after came some extremely exciting post, a shiny new Cricut Maker, accessories and more! So here we are with the first of many posts sharing my honest thoughts, experience and of course projects using this phenomenal machine!Cricut Maker Kay at Home (2)

Unboxing

First of all, the Cricut Maker comes so incredibly well packaged. When you open the box, this is what you will find:

The Cricut Maker – Features

This machine has definitely been created with the user in mind, and considering its sleek appearance, it is incredibly clever!

The storage cup on the left side of the machine is divided into two sections, one side shallow; ideal for storing smaller tools and pen lids. One deeper, great for keeping longer tools and pens to hand! The bottoms of both of the cups are lined and so you won’t damage the points of your Cricut Tools either! Definitely designed with the user in mind!

When you open the Cricut Maker, there is a space for you to rest your phone or tablet, as well as a USB charging port on the right hand side of the machine. The lowered door also opens to reveal another storage space! Perfect for scrapers and other tools! Cricut Maker Kay at Home (2)

Tools

Speaking of tools; included with the machine, is a Premium Fine-Point Blade and Housing, and a Rotary Blade and Drive Housing, a Fine-Point Pen, 12x12in FabricGrip Mat and 12x12in LightGrip Mat, plenty to get started with!

The Cricut Maker has a huge selection of tools including Scoring, Rotary and Knife blades, and other handy craft tools, you can purchase separately, enabling you to design and create nearly any craft project you could think of. Cricut Maker Kay at Home (1)This smart cutting machine can cut hundreds of different materials from light, delicate fabric without interfacing, paper, vinyl, cardstock, leather and even wood. After only weeks of owning the Cricut Maker I have to say, this is an incredible machine for any kind of crafter, whether you create projects for fun, or for a business. The quality and finish of everything I have tried out so far is amazing.

Materials

Some of the popular materials that the Cricut Maker can cut (using the correct blades) are:

  • Paper – Everyday paper, cardstock and vellum
  • Craft Materials – Washi tape, craft foam, glitter paper
  • Fabric – Including craft cotton, polyester, silk, felt, and denim
  • Vinyl – standard, craft and heat transfer vinyl for iron-on projects!

As well as thicker materials such as canvas leather and even balsa wood!

Design Space

When you start your machine for the first time, you will need to set it up online, and here you will meet the Cricut Design Space, if you have never had a Cricut machine before. Here is where you will create your projects, with access to fonts, images and if you’re stuck for ideas, check out the Ready to Make Projects section! Cricut Maker Kay at Home (3)You can access Design Space from a computer, and connect via USB or Bluetooth, as well as from your phone or tablet! Great for coming up with ideas on the go!

While you do need to be computer literate to navigate Design Space, there are lots handy tutorial videos available, and I would especially recommend the Cricut channel on YouTube, and generally it is easy to navigate your way around projects, whether you are creating from scratch or making an existing project.

You can create your own designs, using your own system fonts, or the fonts included with Design Space, as well as images, patterns and even photos. It is easy to move things around, and see how the sizing works, though there are also templates included. Cricut Maker Kay at Home (4)

Getting to know the Cricut Maker

When I had my first free day with the Cricut Maker, I invited Stu’s mum Helen to join me, and we both agreed it was simple, and clear to produce a project, though found a great deal of the available content in the Design Space, somewhat specifically targeted an American audience. Though many items are customisable and given the amount of content, there is still plenty to choose from aside from these.

We played around with different types and thicknesses of paper and cardstock as well as fabrics, which cut evenly, with an incredible finish!

I already know this will be great for making handmade cards (which I do all year) as well as producing elements for scrapbooking and other craft projects. Also there are already several projects from Design Space I want to make!

You get free access to 50 projects with your machine, including sewing patterns, as well as a trial for Cricut Access, which I have also been gifted, and trust me, it’s SO worth it; there are so many projects to choose from, as well as fonts and other images which are perfect for cards and gifts!

Butterfly, Bee, Flower and shapes created with the Cricut Maker using Design Space

All of these were cut with the Cricut Maker all using free images on the Design Space from different papers, fabric and cardstock.

Believe me; you aren’t limited to papercrafts with the Cricut Maker! There are so many different types of materials you can cut, which means you can make all kinds of things, from home décor items, party decorations, clothes and accessories, toys and gifts, as well as handmade cards and embellishments!

Honestly, I have spent hours checking out the Design Space, and there is so much I want to make and try! If you are into sewing or quilting or are a keen papercrafter, I would seriously recommend a Cricut Maker, I can’t wait to explore it further and share some more projects!

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Valentines Gift Ideas – Handmade With Love*

I was gifted some of the products within this post from Hobbycraft,

gifted items have been clearly marked with an *

Valentines Day, is something neither Stu or I take very seriously, though we sometimes give fun gifts to each other anyway! It’s only a couple of weeks after Stu’s birthday, so we’re usually pretty relaxed about it.

It is however a chance to do a bit of crafting here on the blog, though I would say that although some are Valentines products, they could be made and given for many occasions, from birthdays, anniversaries to Mothers Day (March 31st UK readers),  and of course weddings!

Do you do any seasonal crafting?
Valentines, Kay at Home Blog PostHere are three cute handmade gift ideas made with some products I was kindly gifted from the lovely people at Hobbycraft. I of course worked on some content here with them over Christmas, and though these items were gifted, I do also frequently shop there myself!

Striped Heart Hoop Cross Stitch Kit*

Striped Heart Cross-Stitch Hobbycraft £8.00Hobbycraft Valentines Cross Stitch Kit, kayathome.wordpress.comI’ve loved cross stitching for years. This heart design is bright and modern, and the kit* is complete with everything you need to stitch it yourself, with needle, threads and aida, as well as a detailed, full colour pattern, and an embroidery hoop. Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post 2It took me about a week to stitch, working in the evenings with the TV on. I found the pattern generally good, though whoever designed it, doesn’t know what 1/2 cross stitch is, some of the fractionals were a bit of a pain, and I almost ran out of the cream colour thread, but overall it was quite a nice relaxing project, and the finish was good. I think it would be a fab project to receive as a gift, or even to make for Mother’s Day or similar.

Heart Shaped Craft Punch* Love Hearts

Hobbycraft Craft Punch Heart Shape 1 inch £4.50Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post 5There are several variations of the project I made using the heart punch*, it’s a really simple idea, punch or cut out a bunch of shapes using paper or thin card, write messages or something on the pieces, put them in a jar, and the idea is it’s something cute to last beyond Valentines Day (or birthdays). I chose to write some things to do! So whenever we have a free day and no idea what to do, we can pick something! Instead of a jar, I reused a plastic heart shaped bauble from a gift I received!Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post 6The punch* worked well on different thicknesses and types of paper. I own other Hobbycraft punches, which I’ve bought myself and I consider them a must have in my stash!

Colour in ‘Love’ Canvas*

Love Colour in Canvas Hobbycraft £4.50Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post 3I chose to colour in the canvas using only a few colours, trying to stay away from the norm of pink! I wanted to end up with something vibrant and fun. Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post 4It was really easy to colour in the canvas, and the sharpie ink covered it well, it didn’t come with any hooks for hanging, but you can get hold of them easy enough, we haven’t put it up anywhere yet, but we want to redecorate the bedroom this year, so it might go in there then!

Handmade Valentines Cards

I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a few handmade Valentines card ideas too! I make all of my cards, and have done for years now.Handmade Valentines Cards, KayAtHome.wordpress.comI have been trying to use up my stash for my cards this year, so all of the papers are from stash, I used the heart shaped punch* from above for two of the cards, some cork stickers for the third. Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post Cards 2For the backing of this card I used a lilac and white heart print paper. I made the envelope on the card from some cardstock, colouring the inside with a glittery pen, filled it with punched hearts, tied it with a ribbon before sticking it to the card with double sided tape. I added a handwritten sentiment, and another heart for decoration.Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post Cards 3I LOVE this paper, the denim look inspired me to use a glitter pen to draw a stitch type edge, adding the cork stickers, and stamping the sentiment in bronze ink, colouring it in with coordinating blue pen.Valentines, Kay at Home Blog Post Cards 4This might be my favourite make. I stamped the lettering (Disney, Minnie Lettering) in black ink, colouring them in with pink pen, leaving the polka dots white to match the backing paper. I cut them out, sticking them on plain black cardstock, layering onto two different polka dot papers, and finishing with pink, on a plain white card. I added more punched* hearts to embellish. I love how bright it is! Hot pink and black is one of my favourite colour combinations for cards.

Will you be making something by hand for Valentines Day? kayathomelogo

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If you really liked this post, I’d love it if you took the time to share on social media, or pin this image on Pinterest: Valentines Gifts, Handmade With Love, with Hobbycraft, KayAtHome.wordpress.com

I was gifted some of the products within this post from Hobbycraft,

gifted items have been clearly marked with an *

 

Hello 2019!

HNYThe last few months have been a whirlwind of activity here on the blog, with blogmas and even before that, and I am really hoping this will continue. I’d like to begin by thanking you – without you here, reading, leaving likes and comments and sharing on Social Media, this little blog would be far less successful! So thank you for stopping by!

This year, I have a few things lined up already, I am going to carry on posting as usual on Tuesdays and Fridays, but occasionally might add one or two in the week to keep things interesting! It will be the usual mix of craft, days out, and randomness!

2019 Movie Challenge

I’m a big movie fan, and watch way more films than TV, and of course Stu and I head to the cinema fairly regularly! I have of course already spoken about the Movie Challenge for this year, which is always a nice bit of fun, and this year I’m supporting friends too!

Crafts

It’s always nice to start the year with a plan! I will of course continue to make cards throughout the year, and am planning to share my makes more often with you, so expect to see some of those every month or so!

Knitting wise I don’t have much lined up, I want to go back to working on my jumper, so that’ll make an appearance, and also I need to knit a mug cosy or two for a travel mug at some point soon! Knitting, Yarn, Lilac, Grey, Mix Yarn, Kay at Home, Patternless JumperIt feels like ages since I’ve done any cross-stitching, I wasn’t feeling it much last year, but have three kits sitting in the craft room which I want to finish by the end of the year! This may be quite ambitious!

The Scarf: The ScarfI got this kit by Bothy Threads for my birthday and I love Santoro and Gorjuss! This design is one of my favourites… I have JUST started this one, you can see here.

Love Tree: Love TreeStu got me this kit a couple of years ago, also from Bothy Threads. I’ve always loved this design, it’s just so pretty! I love all of the colours!

Charlestown: CharlestownThis one I got from Stu for Christmas 2017! From Sybilla Davis, Charlestown is one of my favourite places in Cornwall, and this kit is STUNNING! Sybilla designs and sells kits of lots of beautiful places in Cornwall and beyond, and I wanted one for ages but couldn’t choose! I would have stitched this last year but totally lost my stitching mojo for ages!

Scrapbooking, I was going to update on 2018’s book at the end of the year, but my printer ran out of ink, so yeah, no photos! I will do this asap and backdate it! But of course I will be starting a new book this month! I wonder what my theme will be!!

I will of course also share any seasonal makes that pop up too!

House

I don’t currently have anything planned at home, though I’m SURE this will change before too long! Generally it needs a good clean and tidy post-Christmas and I want to sort out my craft room. If there’s anything you’d like to see be sure to let me know in the comments!!

Days Out and Holidays

There is SO much more of Cornwall I would love to share here on the blog, and I still want to share somewhere every month, so hopefully that will continue! If there is anywhere you think I should check out be sure to get in touch.

At the moment we have no holidays planned, but I will keep you posted with any updates! Our list of places we want to go is HUGE but it’s a question of when and whether we can get time off as we’re both pretty busy!

#CraftBlogClub

ed2f4-craftblogclub-badge-291x300I am still very much running Twitter chat #CraftBlogClub as well as the CraftBlogClub blog, and social media accounts. We’ve even been nominated for a UK Blog Award!

Honestly I look forward to every chat. There are SO many wonderful, talented people involved. We have SO much fun lined up for this year, including chats covering various themes & topics, challenges and giveaways! Do stop by if you are interested in crafts, no matter your ability or experience, we’re a friendly welcoming group! You can find out what we’re up to in 2019 here.

Date Night

As a couple, Stu and I have loved the response to the Date Night posts, and this year we want to shake it up a bit, while we love the tags (feel free to call out to us!) we want to also share some local places and things we love, as well as other randomness!

If you want us to do a Q&A at some point this year, just drop a message on Twitter or Facebook and make it clear it’s a Q&A question – when we have a bunch, we’ll do a post!

Social Media

I will be sharing different things on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too so be sure to follow! I love a good chat too, and if there’s anything you want to see either on the blog or one of the other platforms, be sure to let me know! I know some people wanted to see more ME on Instagram stories, so I’ll have to brave video a bit soon!

If you blog about anything similar to any of the content here, and would like to write a guest post, be sure to get in touch! Same goes for if you’d like me to write a post for you too! I am also open to reviews etc, so if in doubt contact me, my details are below!

Thank you so much, again. I’m really looking forward to another fun year here on the blog!

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Handmade Cards – Thanks

This time of year especially, it is nice to send a little note of thanks to certain people. Of course I make all of my cards, but even if this is not the usual, it can be a nice personal touch to thank somebody for a gift.

Here are some cards I have made: JAL 1Sometimes there doesn’t have to be a grand gesture and you simply want to send a little note, this 3x3in card went in a bunch of flowers for a personal touch.Just For You Tag Card (2)

I have a thing about layering elements, as these two cards show! I love the addition of buttons and sequins, just because they’re fun! I always seem to collect little stickers like these dragonflies, leaves and ladybirds! Layered onto plain or patterned paper with some ribbon, and you get a fun card, that isn’t too complicated to make!Smile Thank You Tag CardMy craft stash is pretty monumental, and I am working my way through the paper and sticker sheets, as I want to use more stamped embellishments – they are reusable and mean that all parts can be recycled unlike some sticker elements on cards otherwise.

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I did make the top cat fuzzy because I have a long and short hair cat…. Obviously!

 This cute “Little Meow” stamp set from Papermania, works together as a card in itself, or I can use pieces separately for other things, or use different sentiment stamps in the frame. I like stamping cards, as you can make them look as formal or informal as you like, this one is far more fun than some cards I make!

Do you give Thank You cards?

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Hand,ade butterfly cross-stitch birthday card in orange and black. Kay at Home

Butterfly Cross-Stitch Card

It’s been so instantly autumnal this month, that I thought I would share a card I made a while ago, that seems so very fitting!

This birthday card was one of those projects I was just instantly happy with, and I love the cross-stitch butterfly, which is far simpler than a lot of designs I found!

I re-coloured from a pink design, as orange is the favourite colour of the recipient, and then followed the orange through, with the backing papers and the accent ribbon. Unlike the norm for me, I used a black card, which really sets off the design, contrasting with the orange!
Hand,ade butterfly cross-stitch birthday card in orange and black. Kay at HomeI think in retrospect I’d have used different lettering if I’d had it to hand, but as is the norm with letter stickers, I didn’t have quite enough of the letters I needed in black.

I love butterflies, they just bring so much joy when you spot them!

What is your favourite colour? Do you find you work in a particular shade or tone?kayathomelogo

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Handmade Cards – Some of my Favourites

I’ve handmade my own cards for so long, but I don’t really share them on the blog anymore!

I am planning on starting to share throughout the year again next year, so in the meantime, I’m digging out some pics of old cards, so excuse the weird cropping and bad lighting…

Here are a few of my favourites:

Stamped hearts, Silver anniversary card
This one was from a kit, but I do love the car -it’s all 3DThis is possibly one of my favourites ever, pearlescent card, glittery card, lots of shiny things! What could be bad about that!This was another one I really liked, just because of how simple it was.I think this is the only card I’ve made like this! It was fun to make something different, and I really like the colours!Brother Whovian TARDIS Doctor Who Handmade Birthday CardThis one is one of a couple of cards I’ve made, by printing out the main image. I don’t actually like doing this very often, as I like the work being all my own. But my brother is a HUGE Doctor Who fan, and it had to be done! I think it turned out pretty well though!

Do you send handmade cards?

 

Sending Happy – Snail Mail Goals

I love getting “fun” post.

There’s something great about hearing the letter box and seeing more than junk mail and bills, and so over the last few months I’ve been trying to do the same thing.

A while ago now, Claire posted on Instagram about wanting to send out some cards, just a bit of “Happy Mail”, and I jumped at the chance. What a fun idea, and something to look forward to!

Shortly after I received this FAB card, and I really enjoyed sitting reading Claire’s letter.

XStitch Card

So of course, I had to send something back. And I love a chance to make a card that isn’t just for a birthday or other event (as much as I like making those too!) so I sent a card back. And got to use up some of my stash, making something fun!

LeafBeads

The best part is that a little while after that, I received another card! And I started forming a plan…Sunshine Card

Time got away from me, so I have actually only just managed to send back my reply.

But the day I sent that reply. I sent another card! To someone else!

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My idea is a simple one. Send 2 cards, every month. To random people, just to spread a little happiness. I don’t care if I get replies or not, or if I do, whether they are handmade or otherwise, it isn’t about that. It’s just a chance to make and send something nice!

And so, an idea is born. 2 names every month. Will be sent a card.

If you want something cheery in the mail, why not DM me on Facebook, Twitter or Insta, or email me via the link on the blog, I’ll be happy to add you to my list!

As much as I would love to send internationally, I can’t at the moment, though feel free to contact me, and I’ll try at some point!

Do you send any happy mail?

 

Paper Circles – EK Tools Circle Punch* Review

As a paper crafter (OK amongst many things!) I am really familiar with EK Success, their stickers, papers and punches are well-known and widely available online, even here in the UK, my Amazon wishlist contains far too many of their products (Disney range much!) This is of course even before I mention my slight Smash Book addiction (I’m up to six)… and I follow them on Instagram because they post loads of fun project ideas and inspiration!

Recently I was a bit cheeky, and admitting I didn’t have a circle punch, I jokingly asked if they’d send me one to take part in a challenge over on Instagram… And to my surprise they did!  Very quickly I received this EK Tools Large Punch – 2 ½” circle punch. (I need to cross-post some of the pics from this post actually…) Obviously a HUGE thank you goes out to them! I’ve wanted one of these for ages!

I said as they had been so kind I would review it here on the blog, so here we go….

Firstly it is a nice solid punch, and doesn’t feel flimsy, it’s well packaged, and I like that I can lock the punch closed when I’m not using it. I also like the idea of making the flowers seen on the packaging, I shall have to add this to my list! What I really like is how versatile it is, you can use it to punch papers (or even photos) for scrapbook layouts. (This punch is the ideal size for 8×8 pages) Also I got a really nice, clean edge both on paper and thin cardstock . The punch did not jam, and wasn’t too hard to use.And of course it’s great for card making, whether you want to cut a piece of pattern Or Produce a particular image This is a little much perhaps… But a circle punch isn’t always just for punching circles…Placing your punched circle to one side of the punch – Ah that’s better… Just the thing, I don’t like to waste papers if possible!This literally took minutes to make! The cut is so clean, it looks great!

The same principle can be used to produce other images too: Segments can be used as petals – (possibly need a smaller circle for the middle there…)Or perhaps ears… A bit late for easter maybe…We’re undecided as to whether this is a cat or a pig… What do you think?One more thing I love about this punch, is that I can use it to combine my love of card making with my love of cross-stitching – this size punch is perfect for making apertures for small stitches: A little plain perhaps… Well I don’t like to waste – how about what is left from punching out a circle…I just added some coordinating ribbon and I’m well on the way to a finished card!

And as we’re over half way through the year, I had a little bit of fun trying out how well the punch worked around stamps and embellishments I have in my Christmas stash… Great for my tree stamp…
And for my wooden embellishments!

One more? I couldn’t resist! Over all this is a great product, which is a lot more versatile than it might initially seem!

I can see myself using it quite often!

This was a gifted product, the content of this post is entirely my opinion,

based on my personal experience.