Cricut

Last Minute Shopping…and Shameless Plug

Generally I pride myself on getting all my shopping done ahead of the holidays, but this year–with an injured knee–I simply wasn’t able to do everything I usually do.

If for some reason, you are in my boat and are looking for some last minute gift ideas for your favorite Cricuteer, please visit the Cricut website using this link and code:

Code: CRICUTNEWBIES1
(Please note: the 15% off offer from using this combo, may not work for new Cricut machines or for Access subscriptions, but will work for everything else!)
Yes, this is a #shamelessplug and an #ad which means I will get a little commission if you do buy something.
Here are some good deals currently available:
Mystery DIGITAL Box:
As the name suggests, this Mystery Box is entirely digital, which means when you purchase it all of the products inside will be available to you via Design Space!
For those looking to go all out, why not “Build Your Own Bundle” which would include the machine of your choice:
One of my favorite new releases this year has to be the Cricut EasyPress!  Here’s a great deal that includes materials and the press so you can be making shirts and other great wearables right away:
And for a truly “over the top” gift, consider this Maker plus Everything Bundle:
Happy Shopping, my friends!
Cricut · DIY

Need help With Your Cricut? Try Our Facebook Groups!

Are you new to Cricut? Looking for help or inspiration for using your Cricut machine?

May I suggest joining one of my three great Cricut groups where you can get amazing ideas and input!

While there are myriad choices of groups on Facebook, my groups stand head and shoulders above the rest. That’s because my top-notch admin team and I have been helping scores of Cricuteers for years (since 2013!) and our users are helpful and knowledgeable, too!

Joining a Facebook group couldn’t be easier. Here are our groups with descriptions of each one. Joining is as simple as following the link and requesting to join!

Don’t worry about being pushed into buying anything either, because we don’t allow any selling in our groups!

Cricut Newbies & Pros for Explore:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/937801949607138/

This group focuses on creating, designing, and using Design Space, the free Cricut software for all Explore Cricut machines and the new Maker machine, too.

 

cricutgroups

Cricut Newbies and Pros for Older Machines:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/515248328525857/

This group focuses on creating, designing and using Cricut Craft Room (CCR) and Cricut’s legacy machines including Cricut Personal, Mini, Create, Cake, and the Cricut Expression and Expression 2.

Cricut Newbies & Pros for BUSINESS:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1161851913863262/

This group focuses on business related topics solely, such as help with pricing items, packaging & shipping, inventory & order tracking, payment methods, invoicing, social media & dot com options, etc.

I hope to see you there and Happy Cricuting!!

Cricut · DIY

Making A List, Checking It Twice

Like most Cricuteers, we get inspired to make things from all different places.

Recently my friend, Debbie, asked me how to make a check box for a “Naughty or Nice” shirt idea she had. She saw an SVG online that she could buy, but i told her she could easily do this herself with two features built into Design Space: “Insert Shape” and “Slice”.

I figured I’d write a quick blog post on how to use these two features, so you could be inspired to come up with your own ideas.

Please Note: Since I’m currently running around doing last minute holiday things, I won’t be able to show images until I get home tonight. So if you are a visual learner, check back later for images!

UPDATE: Images have been added!

To create an outlined box requires only a few steps:

Log on the Design Space and start with a New Project

Choose Insert Shape on the left navigation button

Insert a square

Go back and insert another square:

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.38.10 PM

Change the color of one of the squares to another color so you can see what you’re doing:

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.38.33 PM

Position one square over the other square then select the top one only:

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.39.14 PM

Manipulate to top square so it is slightly smaller than the bottom one. This space between the two squares is going to be Your outlined box, so you can make the outline thick or thin just by manipulating the size of the interior square! You should see two squares–one smaller than the other–lying on top of each other:

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.39.43 PM

Using your mouse, select BOTH squares and–from your right hand tool bar–choose “Slice”

After you Slice the two squares, you all be left with three layers. Separate them and remove the two that aren’t your outlined box!

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.40.03 PM

And…viola!  You now have created your very own checkbox!  Isn’t that cool?

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 4.41.53 PM

 

A few thoughts about this new technique you just learned:

  • Remember that only simple, single layer images can be sliced!
  • Your new image can be duplicated and resized for any project
  • This technique can be used on any Shape…not just squares…so think Circles, Stars, or even Hearts!
DIY · life

Potato Pancakes for Hanukkah

I’ll start off by saying, I am not Jewish and I don’t even like making potatoes. But in honor of my friend, Mark Titelbaum–who does celebrate the Festival of Lights (which begins tonight!)–I unfroze my leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes and whipped up my version of potato pancakes (aka latkes).

Mark might disagree, but I happen to like my version, because they are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Being a somewhat old-fashioned dude, Mark informed me that fresh potatoes are best. Only I didn’t have any fresh potatoes. Luckily I did freeze the mounds of leftover mashed potatoes I had from Thanksgiving.

My defrosted potatoes were prepared with butter, milk, a smidge of cream cheese and salt and pepper. If you want to duplicate my latke recipe, just reserve some leftover mashed potatoes in your freezer as I did. Otherwise I suppose you could use prepared mashed potatoes often found in the market this time of year. Or start from scratch.

Combine the previously mashed potatoes–whichever kind you have, of course–with some flour, and egg, salt and pepper and some browned, chopped onion and garlic. Your “batter” will look like egg salad and be fairly firm. So sort of like this:

Now I’m not going to give you measurements, because it sort of depends on the potatoes you start with. Drier mashed potatoes might need an extra egg. Looser potatoes might benefit from a bit more flour. So you’ll need to eye-ball it a bit.

You’re looking for a thick but gooey mixture that will hold be firm when you go to fry them up…see how these hold their shape?

I know…they still look like mounds of egg salad…but they won’t soon I promise!

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil and then spoon three (or four, if you can fit four) big globs of your mixture in. Flatten them slightly with a spatula.

When the bottom is browned and crispy, turn them over and brown the other side. If your skillet is hot, this will go pretty fast and you can expect something like this:

After you flip them, make sure to flatten them down so the inside is about maybe a 1/2 inch thick. We’re going for a browned, crispy latke with a warm, creamy center…much like the next photo here:

And all that’s left is serving! I enjoy my latkes with sour cream:

So delicious!

Enjoy the Festival of Lights, my friends!

Oh…and Mark! I hope these meet with your approval!

Autism · Cricut · life

Why Kindness *Still* Matters

Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. The news alone can cause even the most optimistic person reason to lose hope. And, unfortunately, all the online back biting and label throwing has truly interfered with daily life. It’s made me pretty grumpy a few more times than I’d care to admit, which has forced me to think about the true nature of people.

However, recently I’ve had a few experiences that have reassured me that kindness–once very commonplace in workaday life–still exists and, more importantly, still matters to us all.

Yesterday I went to see my old friend and amazing chiropractor, Dr. Scott Kline, from Back on Track Chiropractic. My neck and lower back have been zapping me of energy for a while now and regular visits to his clinic really have been helping me get around much easier.

Dr. Kline’s office is fairly open and you often interact with other patients during your visit. When my son MO and I arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the extra large flatbed truck in the parking lot and said “hello” to the truck owner when we got inside. A few minutes later, Dr. K asked me–sort of out of the blue–if I had ever taught at one of the local schools and I replied that I had been a “para” at the high school a while back, but for a short time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the truck driving young man was a former student of mine–with a very good memory–and came over to chat with me. I was SO happy to hear my help with Algebra actually helped him in his daily life and that he had remembered me for the kindness I showed him in the special ed classroom. I was even happier to know that a once somewhat troubled kid had built a wonderful life, complete with a talented and darling fiancé, in spite of some educational setbacks.

It was a true “A HA!” moment for me, helping me to understand that even the smallest actions can have a big impact on someone else.

After the young couple left, Dr. Kline–being the terrific guy he is–took some time to interact with MO, telling him a few jokes and asking him questions. This is his usually modus operandi (M.O.!) so I just listened to the conversation. But then I was nearly floored when Dr. K surprised MO with a wonderful gift of an inversion table!

Now…Dr. K said the gift was because I had been so helpful to Debbie with her new Cricut Maker, but I knew better. Dr. Kline is just a REALLY nice guy! He has a heart of gold and he knows MO struggles a bit without having good male role models around. This unexpected gift was an investment in my son. A “kindness seed” if you will.

Needless to say, MO and I were both tickled PINK at his gift! But beyond that, I truly felt the love of another person reaching out to a young boy–who has had his share of troubles–for no other reason but to sow a seed of kindness that will hopefully grow and bear fruit in the future.

As MO and I sat in the car–inversion table carefully stowed between us–we marveled at the extraordinary gift we had just received. MO exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I am SO HAPPY!”

And the beautiful thing was, I know he was. I really know he was!

And so I see–from a chance encounter with a former student and an unexpected gift from a good doctor–how kindness can and does matter. In spite of all the chaos in the world…in spite of the anger and vitriol coming across from everywhere…kindness can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve got a renewed interest in spreading love and care to my little corner of the world, and I hope–after reading this–you might feel the same. Won’t you join me in this important and life changing crusade? Won’t you reaffirm your pledge that “Kindness Matters” in your life and the lives of others?

And, one last note, if you are local to me (North Shore area of Boston) and need a little help with some back, hip, neck or knee pain, please consider making an appointment with my friend, Dr. Scott Kline at Back on Track Chiropractic in Peabody.

While I can’t promise gifts, I can tell you you will receive the most caring treatment around!