Cricut Explore How To – Leather Coaster

If there were a DIY hunger games with bloggers and I was forced to play I would not win. Maybe I wouldn’t get knocked out first, but I wouldn’t be the last one standing. It would be Jenny Komenda (Little Green Notebook) versus John and Sherry (YoungHouseLove) and they’d rewire and refinish and add trim to things until one of them finally passed out with exhaustion and then the other would whittle a cot for them, and build a difibulator to help shock them back into the next challenge round of wall stenciling (one that I surely would have lost for). Those three are good at the real stuff.

I love easily customizing existing pieces (like Joy’s toe-kick, the embossed heart pillows, the ikea side table or the lucite hanging folders) but when it comes to tiling our new kitchen backsplash, I’m not the girl for the job. I know that I’ll rush it, not do a lot of the very necessary prep work, do a mediocre job and then have to rip it out or worse, be mocked by my imperfections every day while I’m in there not cooking up a storm. I don’t want a bunch of crappy almost good projects in my house. I’m also a decent shopper (now that Hunger Games I might be able to win) and I know where you can get pieces that someone else has made or even better, an awesome vintage version, that is normally cheaper than the supplies for the DIY without any of the labor.

When it comes to the holidays or kids events it’s a different story and I often really want to get my craft/style on but almost always run out of time/money/effort/desire, etc. And then I have all the excuses like, ‘my friends won’t even notice the snowflake chandelier, etc’, so i grab flowers and candles and that’s about it for the decor. But the thing is that people do notice the decor, even if they don’t know it, and it does prove to be a more memorable day – for all of us. Since having Charlie I’ve definitely scaled back anything too DIY (and certainly no parties) because it’s just too time consuming. So that’s why this party was so good for me – a total excuse to do some DIY.

Sip and See Dining Table

You may have seen Charlie’s Sip ‘n See last week where we made a bunch of circus decorations with the new Cricut explorer machine and now I’ll break down what we did but first give you some back story on the process. The Cricut machine is basically a higher end cutting/printing machine. It has been around for years and was used traditionally for scrapbooking. Well, their engineers have upgraded it to be able to do a lot more than that now, they’ve rebranded to help reach out to non-scrapbooking makers, and to help show its variety we did a few different projects using the machine.

cricut computer

Here’s how it works – you plug it into your computer (no cartridges needed, but your old cartridges will still work) and open the ‘Design Space’ where you can simply choose a shape/graphic/art that has already been designed, alter any design that already exists (some need to be purchased) or design your own graphic or find one from the internet and import it. It’s actually harder to think of what you can’t do with this machine.  Then once finished designing you can cut that design out of paper, fabric, leather, card stock, vinyl, contact paper, wood veneer, iron-on, (we tried sheets of copper and it worked if you like it hammered because the edges weren’t perfect and peeling it off the sticky mat created ) or you can draw the art instead and create or own original everything. Here are some of my favorites that shows the variety of tools/capabilities.

cricut crafting options

The options for what you can make with it are seriously pretty endless and the only limitations are mainly size (12×24 is the largest a graphic can go). As far as how user-friendly it is? Id say its like a Mac computer – where at first it seems intimidating but once you get the hang of it its super easy and things start to feel second nature. If you are really computer UN-savvy then there will be a big learning curve – in order for it to have the design and creation options and capacity it has to be kinda complicated. It doesn’t mean that you can’t figure it out, it’s just not a one button push kinda machine. I’m less design program savvy than Ginny and Brady who work with me and I got it, but technology is one of those things that doesn’t come second nature to me – so I need more practice to be fast at it. Ginny and Brady, however, were both really good at it really fast. I’m now the old person who doesn’t know how to use the remote. Soon Charlie is going to know Photoshop better than I will.

Is the Cricut for everyone? Nope. So here’s the deal – if you want some simple shapes cut out, say, like a triangle or square and you don’t need many, then yeah, grab some scissors cut that by hand. If you want to do letters then use some stencils.

But if you want something that has a lot of detail that would make cutting it impossible, (like my strongman icon), something where you need multiples that are identical (even polka dots – circles are hard/annoying to cut), or something where you want to customize your own graphic completely so you have something totally unique (as opposed to buying from Etsy) then this is your machine and its fantastic. Before Charlie I don’t think that I had the need as much (it’s not like I’m making Brian any iron-on tshirts) but with a kid and blog, I know that this is going to come in handy. The precision in this machine is insanely perfect and totally impressive. It even knows the difference between paper and card stock and with one turn of the knob it only cuts that deep.

So that’s my review of the machine, and now I’ll be breaking down the DIY’s that we did for the party this week, starting with the leather circus coasters – designed and cut with the Cricut.

Cricut Coaster

Here’s what you need;

Cricut Strongman Coaster Ingredients

1. Cricut Tools (provided with machine) 2. Navy Blue Leather 3. Cricut Cutting Mat 4. Iron 5. Cricut Glitter Iron-On Transfer

Cricut Strongman Coaster

1. Start by cutting down your leather scrap to a 12″x12″ piece which will fit on the cricut cutting mat. (we got our scrap from the fabric store and I think that size was around $40).

2. After you have everything set up in the Cricut Design Space using the template on my project page you can go ahead and load the machine up, make sure the cutting tool is in place and then the machine tells you what to do after that. And yes , of course you can do ANY shape.

3. Once the Cricut has finished its magic you can remove the cutting mat from the machine and carefully peel of the leather from the pad.

4. Load the Cricut back up with the gold glitter iron on follow the process of step 2.

Cricut Strongman Coaster 2

5. After the Cricut has finished cutting out the design for the Iron-On transfer. Remove the iron-on from the cutting mat and using the Cricut tools, carefully pick away the excess iron on slowly revealing the cut out design.

6. Cut off any excess plastic from the pattern and center the iron-on on the leather coaster.

7. Place a thin piece of fabric (or dishcloth) on top of the leather coaster and iron-on and apply heat for approx. 45 seconds.

8. Once the iron-on has transferred correctly it, the plastic will easily pull off revealing your beautiful new strongman coasters! (if it hasn’t fully transferred apply, replace the fabric and continue applying heat)

Now go make your own leather coaster. Or if you don’t want to splurge on leather then get felt or card stock and use vinyl (with sticker back) instead of an iron on. Everything is all set up for you on my project page, and you can find the template here. If you haven’t already bought your own Cricut…. you may do so now (or at any time ever)! Click here to get everything you need for this project.

In case you missed these little guys in action at Charlie’s Sip n’See, go and take a look at this video and watch it all take place.

Cricut Coaster Make Your Own

Make_it_Now_Button

And if you don’t want circus themed coasters year round (whats wrong with you?) then I think it would be super cute/chic to just do a big cross on it (think swiss, not crucifix, duh) or another iconic shape or diagonal stripes (which I think just end up being normal stripes on a circle, whatever) or maybe a big spade, or heart or clover. You get the idea – something graphic and iconic.

Stay tuned for the rest of the DIY’s this week or check out this page for all the projects. Also Happy Monday. Thank god The Bachelorette starts tonight, am I right?

This post was in partnership with Cricut Explore.

New_Cricut Logos

From inspiration to creation in just a few clicks.

All photos by the lovely LK Griffin Photography team.

Charlie’s Sip & See

Cute Family

When one has a baby one doesn’t leave the house. That baby (healthily) drains you of energy, interest in anything else,  knowledge of any news topics aside from how Kim K lost her baby weight. This goes on for 3 months at least. It’s amazing and wonderful and yet totally alienating to others. Friends come over, they feign interest in your slightly moving, cross-eyed hairless baby, you pretend to listen to their normal lives while they swear nothing has changed. It’s awesome and ultimately unavoidable. Cut to 4 months in and you are ready to see friends again, socialize and show that much more fun baby off.

During that time for me Cricut approached me to test drive their new upgraded cutting and printing machine. I wasn’t totally interested at first because I don’t really scrapbook. They told me, ‘We’ve rebranded, we’ve upgraded the machine, it’s not just for scrapbooking and we insist on coming to you to demo it’. Sure, I said. After all I could use company, I haven’t left the house in 11 days.  Please bring any souvenir from the outside world. A Us weekly will do.

Long story short, they demo’d it in my studio and it was awesome. It was very smart, precise and flexible and we struck a deal – I’d partner with them on a party (because I was READY to finally have a party and show off our baby) and a few blog posts. Wonderful! So without a birthday coming up we decided to throw a ‘Sip and see’. To be clear: this is not a party that you must have as a mom. If you have the time/effort/money then yea, throw a party every day of your life but this party/post was meant to be inspiration and ideas for any baby shower or birthday. I don’t want people walking away from this post being stressed about who they are wearing to their unborn child’s sip ‘n ‘see.

Sip and See Circus Tent

(more…)

Customize It… Bracelet Tower

bracelettower

This is one of the simplest reinventions of a household item i’ve seen in a while – the paper towel holder to a bracelet tower. So simple its almost weird. For this I teamed up with Beth Ziegler, AKA organizing expert BNeato who did this DIY as she is super good at making organization look good. (Not all organizers care about that, which is why i’ve forced her to be my friend).

Here’s what you need:
braceletingredients

1. Scissors 2. White household twine 3. Neon pink mason twine (or any twine, obviously) $5.21 4. Neon yellow mason twine $4.21 5. hot pink spray paint $3.98 6. super glue $5.98 7. IKEA toilet roll stand

BraceletSteps

1. Pick a fun spray paint color and go to town. This is definitely one of the easiest DIYs i’ve attempted.

2. Starting at the base, pick a thread color and tie it around. Make sure to leave a little extra thread so you can pull the twine and it won’t slip out. You can cut off the excess when you’re done.

3. The options are endless for pattern here–just make sure to keep pushing the twine down as you wrap so that it sits nice and evenly on the tower. Who knew there were this many fun colors of twine– not this girl! We went with a three color pattern but I think this would be equally as striking with just one color and letting the pink pop through.

4. Load this bad boy up. And since they’re chunky bracelets, it’s no big deal to take them off in order to reach the ones on the bottom.

braceletorganizer

And naturally we gif-ed it out because why live your life in still photos when it can be poppping in all dancing style? Its just so visually fun. Normally i’m kinda anti some upcycling DIY’s but this to me just seemed so simple and could be so modern. Do not get the paper towel holders that have the other little vertical piece that holds the paper towel in it – you really don’t want people to know what you repurposed. So if you find a really simple vertical rod like this go for it.

bracelettower

Thanks, BNeato for the DIY and Tessa for the photos.

Thanks, BNeato for the idea and the DIY. Check out the other posts i’ve worked on with BNeato –bracelet towers, hanging lucite filing folders, and jewelry blocks and shoe organizer ll big old hits. xx

Customize It… Entryway Shoe Organizer

EntrywayShoeOrganizer

Hey mudrooms, entry-ways, and small apartments – this one is for you. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how simple, unoffensive and functional this shoe organizer is. I’m the worst. I wear the same 3 pairs of shoes every day and they are always left by the door. I’m dying for something like this (we installed it at my friends house because I was moving at the time when we shot it, and now i’m very jealous). All you do is slip your shoes in there and boom – they are off the ground, looking all neat and tidy and dare I say even pretty. Thanks again, BNeato for the good organizing tip and DIY –  you anal genius, you.

Here’s what you need:

ShoeOrganizerIngredients

1. self adhesive felt blankets $2.98 2. keyhole hangers $2.19 3. 2x2x8 wood board $8.81 4. screwdriver 5. high gloss white spray paint $4.98 6. dap adhesive $3.82

ShoeOrganizerSteps

1. Pick up your wood piece at your local hardware store and have them cut two, 3 feet pieces and two, two inch pieces. Take your first small piece of wood and some Dap glue and affix to the first long wood piece.

2. Keep going with each of the wood pieces until you have created a rectangle. Let dry overnight.

3. Screw each of the keyhole hangers on the back of the shoe organizer (opposite ends). You’ll next need to hold up the shoe organizer on the wall where you plan on hanging it. On the wall, mark out where the keyhole hangers are located. Place the shoe organizer down and screw two screws into the wall where you made your marks. Leave about a centimeter of room between the wall and the head of the screw so you can slide the keyhole hangers onto the head of each screw.

4. Give the shoe organizer two good coats of white spray paint and let dry. Next, cut out a few strips of felt adhesive and apply to the inside of the shoe organizer.  Next, hang your shoe organizer on the wall and load up with your fanciest flats.

EntrywayShoeOrganizer1

So simple, and doesn’t call out for a lot of attention. Its not like, ‘HAY!!! I’M AN ORGANIZER SO GIVE ME YOUR BIG, RED, SLUTTY, FANCY, FULL OF PERSONALITY SHOES!!!”. Nay. Its like, “Pardon me, ma’am, but if you have some simple shoes to temporarily store, don’t mind me, i’d be happy to store them neatly for you”. I like that lady. She is nice and polite. Not that Snookie impersonating shoe storing slut that said the first quote. She’s the worst.

Thanks, BNeato for the idea and the DIY. Every day of my life I wish to be organized, and with your help we are getting there. Check out the other posts i’ve worked on with BNeatobracelet towers, hanging lucite filing folders, and jewelry blocks. All big hits. xx

Photos by Tessa Neustadt  and thanks Vamp Shoes for loaning us some pretty shoes.

Customize It… Jewelry Organizer

DowelandHookJewelryOrganizer

I love this DIY. Its one of those that took a bit longer than our normal simple ones, but its so satisfying to look at. And before you think, ‘wait, I don’t love pink and neon’ think, what if it was just wood and brass or black and white string? or even jute twine? so many options, so little jewelry. Lets get into it. Here’s what you’ll need:

IngredientsJewelryDisplay

1. hot pink mason twine $5.21 2. neon yellow mason twine $5.21 3. cup hooks $3.58 4. screw eye hooks $1.24 5. super glue $5.98 6. scissors 7. self leveling picture hangers 8. hammer 9. square dowel $1.04

JewelryOrganizerSteps

1. Take a small amount of super glue and place on the back of one of the dowels before you lay down your twine. Wrap the entire dowel leaving about an inch of room on each end. Finish wrapping the dowel and use super glue to tie down the end and to keep it from unraveling. As you’re wrapping the dowels, make sure to use your fingers to keep pushing the thread together so that it stays neat and even throughout. Repeat step 1 with the second dowel.

2. Next, take the self-leveling picture hangers and hammer into place on the backside of the wood dowel. If you’re going to hang heavier necklaces (as we did) skip this step as the dowel will lean forward on the wall since the jewelry is too heavy. Use them only if you plan on hanging dainty necklaces and lightweight baubles.

3.  You can use eye hooks or cup hooks depending on your style preference. We mixed it up and used eye hooks on top for earrings and cup hooks on the bottom dowel. Using the tip of the hook, you’ll find you can part the thread and then screw each one in by hand. Space them out any way you like (our preference was about an inch apart for each).

4. I found that it was tricky to make the twine even on both sides by trying to loop the entire piece all at once. Start with the top dowel and wrap just as you did in step one (making sure to glue down the string on the back side). Pull up enough thread to make a triangle for hanging purposes and wrap the dowel on the opposite side. Continue down with the same twine and space out the dowel as much as you like. Since we were hanging earrings on the top, we didn’t need a ton of room in-between the two dowels.

5. Cut off about a foot of twine and wrap the opposite side to finish up the design, again using super glue to hold it in place.

6. Next, take the pink twine and wrap around the yellow twine in a tight fashion leaving a little twine left over underneath so you can cut off the excess. Use a small nail to display your hook and dowel jewelry organizer.

hanging jewelry display

Now hang those necklaces, bracelets and rings, friends. Don’t embarass your jewelry by keeping them in a box, NAY, hang them on display! That was strangely Dr. Seuss but you know what I’m going after.  Thanks Bneato for collaborating again on this project. See some of our other collaborations  -  bracelet towers, hanging lucite filing folders, and jewelry blocks. All big hits. xx

Thanks Tessa Neustadt for the pretty pics.

xx

E