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Getting Started with Make It Now on the Cricut Explore Air 2

Because it requires using software on a computer (or a phone app), a lot of people are intimidated initially by using the Cricut Explore family of machines. But Cricut Design Space has a built-in shortcut for learning how to do almost anything with the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine: the library of Make It Now projects!

Cricut Design Space

The Make It Now library of projects, which is what you are looking at when you open the main screen of Cricut Design Space, is like having training wheels for your Cricut Explore machine. Whether you are trying to use the machine itself, or trying a new material or accessory tool (like the stylus) for the first time, a Make It Now project will hold your hand while you do it. The Make It Now projects have been set up by the expert designers at Cricut to create an entire project flawlessly from start to finish. It takes the guesswork out of working with new tools or materials. There’s no guessing, so you can get perfect results the first time!

One very popular use for the Cricut family of machines is to cut iron-on material to create custom shirts, bags, and other items. Cricut sells an extensive palette of iron-on materials that the machine’s built-in settings are calibrated to cut. Working with iron-on, though, has a bit of a learning curve. Make It Now projects to the rescue!

Probably my all time favorite Make It Now project is the “C’est La Vie” t-shirt designed by my friend Anna Rose Johnson. This fun t-shirt features two layers of iron-on that together create the phrase and a glittered heart.

Cricut Make It Now t-shirt project

Remember, just because you are using a Make It Now project, doesn’t mean that you have to make it look exactly like the Cricut sample! Changing the color scheme is as simple as feeding different colors of material into the machine. Cricut Design Space does allow you to edit a Make It Now project – or any other one – to change the colors of elements. But on a simple two color project like this one, it’s not worth taking the time to make the change in the software. Just feed the colors you want into the machine when it’s time for each cut!

For making my t-shirt this time, I chose to make the design with white lite iron-on and pink glitter iron-on. My 13 year old daughter, who the shirt was for, is all about the pink glitter.

Cricut iron-on cutting

The Smart Set dial on the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine makes it easy to set the machine to cut Cricut Iron-On material. Just spin the dial to “Iron-on” to set it and you’re done!

Cricut Explore Air 2 Smart Set Dial

The other key to cutting iron-on material is that you have to cut your images in reverse. There is a handy checkbox alongside each layer of your design in the first cut window that you can check to have Design Space reverse the design for you. If you proceed to the final cut window with your machine set on “Iron-on”, but have forgotten to check the “mirror” box for your layers, the machine will yell at you with a bar that pops up to remind you!

Cricut Iron On WarningWhen your material comes out of the machine, and your design has been cut in reverse, it will look something like this. The plastic is underneath it on the mat, and then becomes the transfer tape to carry your design to the item you want to iron it on.

Cricut iron-on

The weeding tool makes it 100x easier to weed (remove the waste from) designs cut from iron-on material. Just use the hook part to stab a piece that you want to remove, and then pull to remove it.

Cricut iron-on weeding

To iron on your material and get good results, it’s important to pay close attention to the package instructions. Before your begin, make sure to pre-wash your item (and don’t use fabric softener) so that your iron-on will stick well.

Cricut iron-on t-shirt

It only took a few minutes to cut my Cricut Make It Now design and iron it on, but the results were gorgeous! My fashionista was very happy with the results and the new addition to her wardrobe!

Cricut iron-on t-shirt on model

Tips for Using Iron-On Material:

  • Iron-on material goes plastic side down on your cutting mat
  • Don’t forget to check the “mirror” boxes when cutting
  • Items being ironed on should be 100% cotton if possible and pre-washed with no fabric softener before ironing designs on
  • Make sure to turn the steam off on your iron
  • Use a nice firm ironing surface

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

Fast & Easy Christmas Layout with Echo Park

Christmas is over, and that means stacks of Christmas photos to scrap! Coordinated collection packs, like this Lori Whitlock one from Echo Park, are one of my favorite ways to quickly scrap seasonal photos.

[Disclaimer: I am the social media manager for Buttons Galore, the manufacturer of 28 Lilac Lane. I also am a design team member for the Layout-A-Week blog run by Jennifer Priest and received a complimentary copy of her book as part of my work there. Some links on the supply list are advertiser courtesy links or affiliate links that pay me a commission at no cost to you when a purchase is made after a click.]

Easy Christmas Layout using Echo Park papers by Nancy Nally for Scrapbook Update

Supplies Needed:

This layout is based on a pattern from the eBook Scrap Free Scrapbooking eBook by Jennifer Priest. It’s my go-to resource when I want to make a fast and easy layout. The book contains pattern sets that are not only simple to use, but also conserve paper by showing you how to cut several pieces of paper apart to create multiple layouts with no waste!

Scrap Free Scrapbooking ebook by Jennifer Priest

For the background of my layout, I followed the pattern to combine several patterned papers. (Before assembling I inked the edges in dark green so that the patterns would be better separated visually.) All of the papers were easy to coordinate because they are from the same collection pack, the gorgeous “I love Christmas” by Lori Whitlock for Echo Park Paper Co. Then I added another strip at the seam of the bottom two papers by adding a candy cane striped border sticker that added some red to the bottom of the layout.

At the top of the layout, I die cut a tag to add sticker numbers to for the year. A pop dotted sticker tag holds a little journaling, and then I dug into the 28 Lilac Lane “Holly Jolly” kit for some embellishment touches. A row of felt Christmas trees, some beads for the poinsettia centers, and a flat back pearl to finish the tag added just a bit of color and texture.

Easy Christmas Layout close up

At the bottom, another tag die cut from the Hero Arts “Kelly’s To Do List” set holds my main journaling, and another sticker calls attention to it while adding a pop of red to this area. If you look on the right side you can see that the big photo of my daughter next to the tree is matted in black. It’s an unusual choice, but it matches her dress and really highlights the photo nicely.

Easy Christmas Layout close up 2

Have you scrapbooked your Christmas pictures yet? Do you scrap your seasonal pictures right away, or wait until the next year?

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Project | Travel Album: Project Life Modern Core Kit

The Frankfurt Creativeworld travel album is moving along! This final layout of the Creativeworld 2014 show is using the Project Life Modern Core Kit, a feminine kit with lots of bold colors.

The Project Life Modern Core Kit goes to Frankfurt in this installment of my Creativeworld 2014 album.

Supplies:

The Project Life Modern Core Kit is a flowery kit doesn’t exactly scream “travel”. But not everything we do when we travel is suitable for a heavy travel theme. Sometimes we need to think outside the box (or core kit?) to find something that works for a specific activity. The Modern core kit worked nicely for my photos of trends at the Creativeworld and Christmasworld shows.

Creativeworld Project Life Modern Core Kit left

The photos on the left page are very brightly colored and busy. Because of this I kept the colors and designs of the cards muted to avoid it being too busy. Shades of pale pink and peach draw from the photos without competing with them.

Project Life Modern Core Kit travel album

For my page title, I pulled out my trusty Dymo Organizer Express to create a custom piece of text to add to the card. And then I added rub-ons to the card to show the days that I was at the show.

I loved the journaling card with the black & white roses pattern but wanted to add another dimension to it. I settled on highlighting part of the design with the frame, and giving it a caption with a rub-on. This added another layer without overwhelming the softness of the card’s pattern that I loved. It also gave the eye a focal point on a very busy card.

Project Life Modern Core Kit travel album

The journaling card about Christmasworld was a relatively plain pink card with a “thoughts” caption. A gold holly rub-on added a touch of Christmas theming without seeming out of place alongside all of the pink and floral elements on the page.

Project Life Modern Core Kit travel album right

Some of my favorite elements in the Project Life Modern core kit are the bold graphic and floral elements. They need to be used sparingly however, to avoid drowning out the photos. On this layout I was able to get two of them in on the right page. Plus there was a small one of the bright flowers on the left page. It was important to spread these bright spots out to create balance in the layout.

Project Life Modern Core Kit travel album

I can’t get enough of use these small text stickers on my Project Life layouts! Several companies make them and they always seem to find their way into my layouts. They are just right for adding a little extra something to my cards, like I did here on the floral card. The white sticker really pops off of the black background!

Project Life Modern Core Kit travel album

These clear Heidi Swapp butterflies have been in my stash for several years and every so often one of them is just what I need to add a little something to a project. I like adding dimension to my Project Life, but this side of the layout was totally flat. Adding the butterfly balanced out the dimension of the frame on the left side.

Don’t forget to look beyond your “travel” supplies when creating travel projects! You may be surprised what you can create!

Check out the rest of the album so far:

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Project | Travel Album: An American in Frankfurt

While I’ve been busy sharing holiday content the last few months, I also managed to sneak in some work on some layouts for my Frankfurt travel album that I’ve been slowly working on for quite awhile from my trip to Creativeworld in 2014. Several new layouts from it will be coming to Scrapbook Update in the next week or so as a result! This first layout was my first try working with the new Project Life Modern Core Kit that I had just bought.

[Disclosure: The links in the supply list below either pay a commission to this site when a purchase is made, or are courtesy links to this site’s advertisers. Some product used below was provided to me by Ranger or Dymo, but this post was not sponsored or requested by them in any way. I just use products that I like, and then share the results with my readers.]

An American in Frankfurt by Nancy Nally - travel Project Life layout from Creativeworld 2014

Supplies:

This layout was a compilation of photos of a lot of my American friends that I saw at the show – plus Dyan, so I guess I made her an honorary American for this layout. I hope she doesn’t mind!

Because this layout was of mostly product and people in the booths, the colors were less subdued than some of the more architectural photos than I took earlier in the album. So this bright Project Life Modern Core Kit seemed a good match for the layout – especially since several of the photos had a lot of pink in them.

An American in Frankfurt by Nancy Nally - Project Life travel layout of the Creativeworld 2014 show.

Did you ever notice that those small Simple Stories alphabet stickers from the collection sticker packs fit perfectly in the journaling space on the title cards in Project Life core kits? They do! I used some pink ones here from the Sunshine & Happiness collection to highlight “Frankfurt” and then used my Dymo labeler and a pen for the rest of the title.

Project Life title card - An American in Frankfurt layout

One of the great things about industry color trends is that products from different companies will work together. These flower die cuts are from the Simple Stories “Sunshine & Happiness” die cut pack, but they look perfect matched with this Project Life core kit to create a custom 3×4 card!

For the same reason, I was also able to use my Picked Raspberry Distress Ink pad to create a special 3×4 card with a stamp from Tim Holtz. The pink ink matches the Modern core kit and the die cuts beautifully!

Project Life journal cards

On the right hand page of this layout, I did something that I don’t do very often: split an image between pockets. I had more 4×6 landscape photos than I had pockets for on the two pages, and extra 3×4 pockets. The art journal photo seemed like the logical choice to split between the 3×4 pockets, turning it into more of a decorative element than just a documenting image.

An American in Frankfurt by Nancy Nally - Project Life travel layout featuring the Creativeworld 2014 show.

It’s often unavoidable when photographing demos or booths at shows that people will get into the front of photographs and block part of the shot. In this particular case, I framed the shot this way on purpose to show how Tim Holtz was attracting a crowd at his demo. But the people in front made it hard to tell what was the focal point of the photo – Tim.

Putting the phrase stickers on top of the “black space” created by the ladies’ coats helped to block them out and point the eye toward Tim in the middle of the image. Plus I used some Tim Holtz stickers to do it with!

Word stickers on photos for a Project Life album

There’s one more of my album pages for the actual show itself to share, and then it’s on to the pictures from the Heidelberg day trip that I took!

Check out the rest of the album so far:

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Falling Leaves for a Thanksgiving Dinner Layout

The holidays always bring with them a healthy dose of nostalgia. So for today’s Thanksgiving dinner layout, I decided to scrap some pictures that were long overdue to be put in albums – 25 years overdue, in fact!

[Disclosure: Some product used in today’s layout was provided by Photo Play Paper at my request for this project. Links in the supply list are courtesy links to advertisers or affiliate links that earn the site a small commission when a purchase is made after a reader clicks.]
Thanksgiving Dinner layout by Nancy Nally

Supplies:

[ACOT=acherryontop.com, Sb.com=scrapbook.com]

This Thanksgiving dinner layout is built on a color blocked background that I created from two patterned papers from the fall collection by Photo Play Paper called “Falling Leaves”.

I inked the edges of the leaf paper with fluid chalk ink to make it stand out from the yellow background more. The next layer was to create a block from the photos, which are arranged in something resembling a pinwheel arrangement. These photos are old enough that they aren’t the 4″ x 6″ size that is standard today, but the smaller 3.5″ x 5″ size. That makes it possible to get four photos on the layout with plenty of room for embellishing still.

Thanksgiving Dinner layout title

The final design layer was to create a visual triangle of embellishments. One embellishment is the title, one is journaling, and one is the date.

For the title, I started by using foam dot adhesive to adhere a turkey sticker. The foam adhesive provides some dimension and helps the turkey stand out from the background. The title heading was created with two different alphabets from the “Falling Leaves” collection sticker sheet. (Numbers from a third alphabet were used for the date in the upper right corner of the layout.)

Turkey Dinner layout journaling

For my journaling, I cut a tag with a Sizzix die and wrote on it. Using the dot paper was a cheat that gave me a way to keep my writing relatively straight!

The sticker border at the bottom of the tag covers something – a mistake. I cut the tag, thinking I wanted it to be trimmed smaller to better fit on the layout. I realized right away that was a bad idea! Border sticker to the rescue! This cute border sticker, which also matches the orange patterned paper that I used for the hole reinforcer, attached the tag back together and hid the seam between the two halves. Problem solved! Although it started out as a rescue from a mistake, I actually ended up really liking the addition of the border sticker.

Tag deconstructed

Even though this was quite a few years before I began scrapbooking, I was already very much a memory documenter with my camera. These aren’t the only photos I took that day. I put the rest of them on a second layout made with this same collection. To see my other Thanksgiving dinner layout, visit my article on our other site Craft Critique.

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See the Entire Halloween Tag Trilogy!

Awhile back, I showed my readers these three tags that I had created in a single inking session from Tim Holtz Distress Stains, intending to use them to create a Halloween tag series. The series is now complete, and I’m back today to share the results!

Distress Spray Stain Tag Art

The first tag that I made was actually fall-themed, not strictly Halloween, and was created around a Tim Holtz blueprint stamp. The directions for creating the fall tag, along with the directions for the inking process that created all three tags, are in my Fall Pumpkin Tag project article.

Fall Pumpkin Tag by Nancy Nally for www.scrapbookupdate.com

The second tag that I inked in the series ended up a more faded mix of orange, green and purple than the first one after it sat for a long time in the sun and got exposed to a heavy dose of UV light. For this one, I wanted to play with my new Tim Holtz Crazy Cats stamps that I just bought. I created a spooky spider and spiderweb to freak out my scaredy cat with! Instructions for this tag – including the seed bead twist tie – are on the Buttons Galore blog.

Scaredy Cat Halloween Tag

Also on the Buttons Galore blog is my Spooky Halloween Tag, created from the first, most bright of the tags that I inked in this series. This one uses another Tim Holtz blueprint stamp, and is a bit different from my usual style, but I’m really pleased with how it came out.

Spooky Halloween Tag

For now, I’m enjoying my Halloween Tag series by using clothespins to attach them to a small spooky Halloween tree that I bought for my living room at a local chain craft store. After Halloween, they’ll find a home in an 8×8 album that I have set aside to store my tag art in.

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