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Cricut Maker FAQ (& Paris Pillow Project too!)

Everyday life is just what we do while we are waiting to go on our next amazing adventure, right? I decided to bring my favorite city – Paris – home with an easy pillow project. I’m going to show you how to make it, along the way I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Cricut Maker machine!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Cricut, but all opinions expressed are my own.]

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

I’ve been playing with my new Cricut Maker machine for a few months. Even with all of my experience with previous machines, some things have surprised me. And there’s some things I didn’t learn from the information I gathered about the machine before I got it that I know now.

Here’s some of the things that I wish I knew before I got my new Cricut Maker machine:

  • Fabric Cutting: Even though I was super excited about the fabric cutting ability of the Maker’s rotary blade, I assumed that it would have limitations based on my experience with a rotary cutter for quilting. Boy, was I wrong! I’m still experimenting with its capabilities but as you can see from the flowers on this pillow, it can do way more than a regular rotary cutter.
  • Cartridges: I knew the Maker didn’t have a cartridge slot, but what I didn’t know was that it has a cartridge adapter! The adapter plugs into a USB slot on the Maker or your laptop so that you can load new cartridges into Design Space. All of my cartridges are already loaded in Design Space, but hey, I like to know that I still have the option to load more!
  • Tablet Support: The design of the new Maker machine is really pretty…but I had no idea it was functional too! That groove along the top of the machine, under the cover? It turns out it will hold your tablet in place while you use it with your Maker! And for those all day crafting sessions, you can plug into the USB plug on the side of your Maker to recharge your tablet. (Note to self: Add that to my list of reasons to buy a new iPad!)

Those are some of the things I’ve learned about the Maker in my time with it. But let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the Maker:

Q: What makes the Maker different from other Cricut machines?

A: The biggest difference between the Maker and the previous generation of Cricut machines is the Adaptive Tool System. That’s the “gear wheel” that you see in the right hand tool holder when you look at the front of the machine. This gives the machine the ability to create 10x more power with new tools like the scoring wheel, knife blade, and rotary blade.

Q: What materials can I cut?

A: The Adaptive Tool System opens up a whole new world of materials that the Maker can cut. It can cut thicker leathers, balsa wood, matboard, and the one I’m most excited about – fabric without a backer!

Q: What types of fabric can I cut (without a backer)

A. The answer is…pretty much anything! Cricut now offers packages of coordinated cotton fabrics to use with its machines, or you can hit the fabric store and grab whatever suits your fancy (and your project).

Q: What kind of DIY projects can I make?

A: A better question is what can’t you make? With vinyl for making seasonal and home decor items, iron-on for tshirts & totes, fabric cutting for quilting…and did I mention that Riley Blake and Simplicity have an entire library of sewing patterns in the Cricut Design Access subscription now? Sew gifts, doll clothes, and seasonal decor without the hassle of hand cutting (and know it will be perfect every time).

Q: Will I use the machine enough to justify the price?

A: From DIY parties to DIY gifts…the Cricut Maker makes it easy to finally do all of those things that you’ve been wanting to do. Impress your friends with handmade gifts, make tshirts for the kids sports team….the possibilities are endless!

So, onto the project! Paris is always a good idea, right? This adorable pillow is way simpler to make than it looks. The best part is that the envelope pillow sham is easy to take off to clean – or swap out for something seasonal.

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

Supplies Needed: 

I love working with coordinated fabric collections for the same reason that I love working with coordinated paper collections! It makes it so easy to do a project with a variety of patterns without the hassle of coordinating. This Sweet Prairie designer fabric by Riley Blake for Cricut is so beautiful! I’m sure I’ll be using the leftovers for other projects!

Cricut Sweet Prairie fabric

With my pink fabric cutting mat and the rotary blade, the Cricut Maker sliced through the cotton fabric like butter. It also cut my wool felt that I used for one of the flowers beautifully.

Cricut Maker cutting fabric

After I cut out all of the pieces of the design (a process that is simple but just requires some patience with the many different colors), I started adhering it all. I worked pretty close to the middle of the 16″ by 36″ fabric strip. I started with the big pieces, and then worked down to the smaller ones. This process went so fast with my Cricut Easy Press 2!

Cricut Easy Press Eiffel Tower pillow

Getting the leaves positioned is a bit tricky since they are kind of floating in the middle of space and their placement needs to be accurate. I positioned them in place with the flowers to get the whole design right, and then lifted the flowers off and pressed them in place.

Positioning Iron-On to Apply

Next I ironed on the center elements of each flower. When they cooled down, I sewed them down using buttons to hold them in place. I could have sewed all around the outside edge to attache them. But by pinning them down in the centers, the outside edges pop up off the surface, giving them some realistic dimension.

After the flowers were attached, I used invisible thread to sew down a few sequins around them. This step is optional but I like the detail it creates!

Close up of finished flowers

With everything attached, it’s time to sew up the pillow! On each short end of the fabric, I rolled the fabric over twice towards the backside and then stitched close to the turned over edge.

side hems on pillow case

When I started laying out my design, I made small marks near the edge of my fabric to mark the maximum width of my design. As you can see below, I accidentally started my design outside the mark on the right. So I found the center of my design, and made new marks on each side to show where to fold the sides so the design would be centered. For this 16″ pillow, I made my marks about 15.75″ apart.

Marking the fold for pillow

Once you have your marks, fold first one side in over the design, and then the other side. (If you look real hard, you can see the word Paris inside my pillow.) Pin the raw edges together. Stitch 3/8″ from the edge along both of those raw edges.

Pinning Envelope Pillow Cover

And that’s it! I turned my pillow cover right side out and stuffed it with my pillow form. (Tip: Don’t forget to get your form all the way down into the corners!) Now thanks to my Cricut Maker we have a beautiful addition to our bedroom!

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

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

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T-Shirt Fun with Cricut Easy Press 2!

I hate ironing. Really, who doesn’t? And because of that, I rarely use Iron-On despite my love of all the cool things that can be done with it. Wrestling with the setting up the ironing board, playing defense against rampaging kids and cats for what seemed like forever until the iron was ready to use…and then the trial and error of trying to get the temperature and time right.

Those days are behind me, because that was before I met Cricut Easy Press 2!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut, but all opinions are my own.]

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt with Cricut Easy Press 2

Now, I want to Iron-on ALL THE THINGS!

And with the new Cricut Strongbond™ Guarantee, I can – because Cricut guarantees that if Cricut Strongbond™ Iron-On is used as directed, I’ll be satisfied or they’ll replace it for free! It’s designed to last 50 wash and dry cycles!

My Cricut Easy Press 2 is the 9×9 size, but it’s also available in 6×7 and 12×10 sizes. When I first read the instructions I was skeptical that it could really complete an iron-on in around a minute. It seemed too good to be true. But I was stunned to discover that in fact, yes, even clutzy me really can finish an iron-on that fast with the Easy Press 2! It’s unbelievable how quickly the Easy Press 2 heats up, and once it does, an iron-on can be applied in only a few seconds.

Here’s a closer look at the logo I created on my t-shirt:

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt Design

Supplies Used:

My file in Cricut Design Space (click here) is sized for a Men’s XXL t-shirt. For smaller shirt sizes, you may need to adjust the size of the design by resizing the group.

Cricut Design Space Scrappy T-Shirt

The patterned elements are made with Cricut Martha Stewart Patterned Iron-On in Wildflower. These coordinating designs are so pretty! I can’t wait to make more projects with the leftovers from my package!

Cricut Martha Stewart Patterned Iron-On

The patterned iron-on has a texture something like a super lightweight canvas. It cut like absolute butter with my regular blade and on the same Light Grip Cutting Mat that I usually use for iron-on.

Cricut Maker cutting Patterned Iron-On

I always use my Cricut Basic Tool Set to work with iron-on and vinyl…the weeding tool is an absolute must for getting out the small inner pieces like the inside of these scissor handles!

Weeding Cricut Patterned Iron-On

The best part about using my Cricut Easy Press 2 is that I could do all of this right in my craft room! My Cricut Easy Press 2 sat in its Safety Base right on my regular craft table while it heated. Then I used the Cricut Easy Press Mat to protect my table while I did the iron-on application to my shirt.

Cricut Easy Press 2

I started my design by placing the center element (the heart) and pressing it in place following the instructions for my Cricut Easy Press 2. With the Cricut Easy Press Quick Reference Guide, I knew exactly what temperature to set my Easy Press 2 at, and how long to press my iron-on. And using the machine’s timer, I couldn’t get the time wrong!

Cricut Easy Press 2 project in progress

Once I had the heart correctly in place, it was easy to build my other design elements around it! The text element was slightly wider than my Cricut Easy Press 2, so I started pressing in the center and worked out to the edges.

Using the Cricut Easy Press 2

In only a few minutes of pressing, I was done! Thanks to the ceramic coated heat plate on the Cricut Easy Press 2, it was easy to get perfect (and secure) application. I look forward to wearing and enjoying this shirt for a long time!

Scrappy Mom T-Shirt with Cricut Easy Press 2

What could you do with the quick and easy iron-on capability of the Cricut Easy Press 2

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

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Make a Watercolor Fall Leaf Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel!

Fall is starting to sound really good with the July heat here in Florida! So today, I decided to bring some cool fall weather to my studio with the help of my Cricut Maker and the new Cricut Scoring Wheel.

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Cricut.]

Fall Watercolor Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

When I first got my Cricut Scoring Wheel for my Cricut Maker, I was going over a list of the materials that the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel will work with: shimmer paper….sparkle paper…watercolor paper…heavy cardstock…. Wait! Back that bus up! Did that say watercolor paper?

It did! Because the new Cricut Scoring Wheel works in the Adaptive Tool slot of the Cricut Maker machine, it has up to 10x the scoring pressure of the previous Scoring Stylus. And that means that it can create scoring lines in materials like 140lb watercolor paper that the stylus just can’t stand up to.

I love using watercolor techniques – and thus watercolor paper – in my card making. But the challenge it brings is that watercolor paper is extremely heavy and doesn’t fold well. So working with up until now meant making a separate card front with it, or having to design my card so that the watercolor was an element not the whole card front. It was limiting.

Being able to create score lines in watercolor paper with the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel means creative freedom from all of those limitations. I really pushed the limits of my new freedom for this card. I created a card that is a watercolor paper base, and has a see-through element as well.

Supplies Used:

Cricut Double Scoring Wheel lines

The Cricut Double Scoring Wheel makes two scoring lines close together. This creates a more gradual fold that doesn’t break the surface of the material when folding heavier materials like foil paper, cereal boxes, kraft board, lightweight chipboard, and more. (Don’t worry if you aren’t certain which Cricut Scoring Wheel is the correct one for your material. Your Cricut Maker machine will tell you which one to use after you select your material in Design Space!)

Cricut Scoring Wheel in Cricut Maker machine

There is one other benefit of the new Cricut Scoring Wheel working in the Adaptive Tool slot of the Cricut Maker machine – it leaves the pen slot open! This means that drawing and scoring can be done in one set-up of the machine (assuming you are only using one pen color). With the Scoring Stylus, you have to do the pen, then the machine stops and you have to swap the pen for the the stylus before you can score. The new process of being able to do them both at once is much more efficient!

To start my watercolor fall leaf card project, I cut the project out on my Cricut Maker. I cut the main part out of watercolor paper, the frame for the front out of shimmer paper, and the back for the window out of foil acetate.

Fall Watercolor Card prep

Once my pieces were cut I used my art tape to tape my card base down to a surface for painting. (Painter’s tape would also work.) I also used the tape to cover the sentiment that was done in pen by my Cricut Maker, and also to create a border around the window to keep my watercolor from migrating. It only takes a few moments to do this, and it is a good way to prevent paint disasters. Also, if the card base isn’t taped down, the watercolor paper will curl when it dries after painting.

Fall Watercolor Card in Progress

My first layer of watercolor was started with an olive green color from my watercolor set. I used my waterbrush and just made random dabs of the olive from the palette onto the dry watercolor paper. Then I spritzed the leaf lightly with water. I grabbed a clean watercolor brush and started filling in between the green with a nice saturated yellow. Then I spritzed again to make it blend well. To speed the drying process, I used a heat gun.

Fall Card marker edges

After the green and yellow was dry, I started my next watercolor layer. The next layer was a reddish-orange color. I used a small waterbrush for applying this color, and then spritzed it to blend it. Then I dried it with the heat gun again.

The final layer was some brown, applied the same way as the red. In addition to making random spots, I also filled in the stem with the brown, and painted along the vein lines with it.

When I was done painting, I used a brown brush marker lightly edge along the leaf and frame to cover the white edges. I also colored just a little bit of the front of the opening. I also did the same thing to the white edges of the shimmer paper frame. All of this provides a more “finished” look to my die cuts, and creates a sort of drop shadow effect.

Fall Watercolor Card assembled

Once my watercolor was all dry, I very carefully removed the tape. Then I assembled the card elements. The Cricut Foil Acetate perfectly matches the Geode Cricut pen I used for the sentiment, and adds a sort of blue sky sparkle to the card. The Cricut Shimmer Paper that I used for the frame picks up the fall colors of the leaf, and makes it a bit more festive.

The final step, of course, is to use the beautiful double scoring lines to fold my finished card! Folding the 140lb watercolor paper was surprisingly easy with the lines from my Cricut Double Scoring Wheel, and I got a perfect edge!

And here is the result!

Fall Watercolor Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

I chose a “thinking of you” sentiment for my card but the design is suitable for lots of fall uses – a simple hello, happy birthday, and many others. Anna Griffin has a whole bunch of similar sentiment designs to choose from to make it easy to adapt this card to whatever use you need!

Watercolor Fall Leaf Card with Cricut Scoring Wheel

What occasion will use the Cricut Double Scoring Wheel for?

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

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Back to School with Cricut Scoring Wheel!

It’s time to think about back to school time already! With Cricut Scoring Wheel, it’s easy to welcome teacher back from summer vacation with a cute gift!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut, but all opinions are the author’s own.]

Cricut Scoring Wheel teacher gift

The new Cricut Scoring Wheel makes it easy to make 3D items like this adorable schoolhouse box, with your Cricut Maker machine. Pair it with a small plant and a gift card holder and it makes for the perfect back to school gift for teacher! Continue Reading →

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A First Look at the Cricut Scoring Wheel!

If you like to make cards and 3D items with your Cricut machine, there’s a new Cricut accessory that will make your projects easier and more beautiful: the Cricut Scoring Wheel.

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

I was thrilled to learn about the introduction of the Cricut Scoring Wheel. I’ve always been a fan of the Cricut Scoring Stylus but I’ve often wished it had more power to make stronger scores that are easier to fold, and that it worked on more materials. Now my wish has been answered!

Cricut Scoring Wheel

The Cricut Scoring Wheel is actually wheels plural – there are two different ones, as you can see in the photo above. The one labeled 01 has a single scoring wheel for scoring lighter materials like cardstock. The version labeled 02 above has two side-by-side scoring wheels that make two parallel scoring lines for clean folding of heavier materials without surface cracking. (There’s no guesswork, either, about which one is the correct one for your material – your Cricut Maker will tell you after you select your material setting.)

Cricut Scoring Wheel

The previous Scoring Stylus attached to your Cricut machine via the same accessory slot as the pens. The new Cricut Scoring Wheel is available only for the Cricut Maker machine because it attaches via the machine’s Adaptive Tool System. This means that it has up to 10x the pressure to score materials as the old stylus.

This crease line on this envelope I cut was so perfectly crisp that it started to perfectly fold itself when I peeled the paper off of the cutting mat!

Cricut Scoring Wheel

Since it’s Christmas in July time, let’s take a look at how the Cricut Scoring Wheel can make it so much easier to make your Christmas cards this year! The single wheel works wonderfully for cardmaking with 80lb cardstock. You can cut and fold this Merry & Bright Christmas Card in just moments, with perfect results!

Cricut Scoring Wheel Christmas CardI love making little goodies to go with cards, like lip balm or candy holders. They work best, though, from stiffer materials like this Cricut Foil Poster Board. Now with the double scoring wheel, I can get these beautiful double score lines that let me fold easily without cracking the surface of my foil!

Cricut Scoring Wheel

Fold it up, tie it up with some ribbon, and this lip balm folder is a beautiful companion for my Christmas card!

Cricut Scoring Wheel lip balm folder

And don’t forget to use the single Cricut Scoring Wheel to make a colorful lining from patterned paper for your lip balm holder. This fun little project will brighten someone’s holidays, and is so easy to make!

Cricut Scoring Wheel lip balm folder

Whether you are making gift wrap, cards, or decorations…the Cricut Scoring Wheel for Cricut Maker is a must-have for your holiday crafting projects. Maybe I’ll finally get around to making the Christmas village this year with my Cricut now that the scoring wheel has made it so easy!

Cricut Scoring Wheel Christmas card

Can’t wait to get your own Cricut Scoring Wheel for your Cricut Maker? You can – it’s launching today on HSN! Don’t miss out!

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

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Update | Etsy Earnings, Closure, Hancock Fabrics, and more!

Welcome to the weekly Update column from Scrapbook Update for August 3rd, 2017!

[Disclosure: I have professional relationships with Cricut and Scrapbook.com who are mentioned in this article but this content is not sponsored.]

Closures. Illinois-based craft product distributor Product Performers closed its doors unexpectedly on June 30th. The closure of Product Performers leaves three remaining major distributors serving the paper crafts industry in the U.S.: Michaels-owned Darice, Notions Marketing, and Petersen-Arne.

Earnings. Etsy reported its 2nd Quarter 2017 earnings after market close today, posting a 19.1% year-over-year increase in gross revenue. The company also posted a 10.9% year-over-year growth in active sellers, and 17.2% year-over-year growth in active buyers. Mobile continues to grow in importance for Etsy, with approximately 65% of visits to the site occurring on mobile. Just over half of the platform’s gross merchandise sales (GMS) now occur on mobile.

Etsy has cut nearly a quarter of it’s workforce since January 1st, and says that this and other operational streamlining to reduce costs should reduce costs by $20 million in 2017 and by $35 million on an annualized basis.

Based on 2nd Quarter 2017 numbers, Etsy released new earnings expectations for Fiscal Year 2017. The company’s new forecast is for Gross Merchandise Sales to be up 12-14% year-over-year, and for revenue to grow 18-20% year-over-year.

Events. AFCI and SPC have announced the date and location for the 2018 Mixed Media Event. The show will take place at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah (south of Salt Lake City). An education day is scheduled for July 16th, 2018, and the show floor will be open July 17th-18th, 2018. For more information, visit the AFCI website.

Endings. The Paperclipping.com online video service run by Noell & Izzy Hyman will be closing down at the end of September. Members are being given one last chance to renew their membership on a month-by-month basis this month and then the Hymans plan to shut its doors after next month. The closure of Paperclipping has been planned by the Hymans for nearly a year, as Noell is moving on to a career as a yoga instructor in several studios near their Arizona home.

Crimes. Israeli police have arrested five antiquities dealers in connection with the illegal sale of artifacts that were seized from Hobby Lobby by the U.S. government over allegations of smuggling.Cricut Maker

Partnerships. Cricut is partnering with Simplicity as part of the launch of its new machine, the Cricut Maker, that was announced on August 1st. Simplicity is making hundreds of its digital patterns available in Cricut Design Space to cut on the Cricut Maker machine, which features a special rotary blade specifically for cutting fabric. Previous generations of the Cricut machine could cut fabric, but only when stabilized with an iron-on backer, which isn’t necessary on the new machine.

The launch of the Cricut Maker machine reflects a broader trend among companies that were once marketing solely to the paper crafts market to try to serve a broader audience – and the sewing market, via fabric and quilting, has been a popular target of many companies making the shift.

Endings II. The liquidation of Hancock Fabrics, which began well over a year ago, is still underway, with the liquidation plan finally being approved by the bankruptcy court on June 20th. Liquidation of many of the company’s key assets had already taken place, despite the lack of a court approved plan. In Summer 2016, Michaels Stores purchased the brand assets of Hancock – its trademarks, brands, and customer database – for $1.3 million. The Hancock-owned trademarks bundled in the deal included the brands Sew Perfect, Absolutely Cotton, and Creative Sewing Solutions (among others). Michaels did notify Hancocks customers that it planned on using the customer database to give them the option to opt out. Whether the company will use the sewing-related trademarks is another question. Sometimes purchases of assets like this are made not for intended use but as a sort of game of corporate “keep away” to prevent the assets from being used by competitors.

Social. If you are an Etsy storeowner looking to improve your social media reach, Forbes has a must-read article analyzing how some Etsy artisans have dramatically improved their sales using Facebook Live.

Change. A lot is written about the local retail businesses that die as a result of ecommerce, but we don’t hear as much about the businesses that are built from the rise of ecommerce – and the jobs they create. To learn more about one company that credits its booming growth to the rise of ecommerce, including clients that do business in the crafts industry such as Amazon, and Hobby Lobby – visit mlive.

Milestones. Congratulations to stamp company Neat & Tangled on reaching its five year birthday yesterday!

Products. Simon Says Stamp has released a new collection of stamps and dies by designer Cathy Zielske. In Zielske’s signature cheeky style, with sentiments like “Hello my hide-a-body friend”, these aren’t your grandma’s everyday stamps. (Unless, of course, you have a really cool grandma.)

Social II. In case you weren’t already convinced that Pinterest was a search engine, the social media platform drove the point home this week by updating its mobile app to reduce the number of clicks required to do a search. The search box is now visible on the app’s main home feed page, instead of buried in the explore tab as it previously was. They’ve also placed the button to access Lens, the feature that uses your device’s camera to take a picture and search for similar items on Pinterest, on the home feed page next to the search box for easier access.

Pinterest said in the announcement that monthly mobile searches are up 40% over last year and that 85% of all Pinterest searches now take place on mobile.

History. For a great read about the history of stamping and the rubber stamp dating all the way back to Old Testament times, check out Scrapbook.com’s article “The History of Stamping“.

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