Cricut

All About SVGs For Your Cricut

If you’re new to Cricut, you may have heard about SVGs and thought: “What the heck is an SVG?”

You possibly also asked yourself: “Do I need them to use my Cricut?”

Well the quick answer is: “No, but…”  As in: “No, you don’t necessarily need SVGs to fully take advantage of your Cricut, BUT having a basic understanding of them can increase your creativity and thereby your enjoyment in crafting with your Cricut”.

So here’s a brief primer all about SVGs to help you along:

SVG stands for “Scalable Vector Graphic”.  SVG is just a file extension name…similar to jpeg or gif or even pdf…and it’s used to help folks distinguish the file format.  The S in SVG explains what this type of file is all about: scalability.  Scalability means it can be manipulated freely without losing features or becoming pixelated.

 

Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG)
Explanation of what an SVG file is

SVGs are added to Design Space through the Upload Image feature, as demonstrated here:

Uploading an SVG to Design Space
Screen shot of uploading an SVG in Design Space

Although Cricut machines can take all kinds of images (like eps, jpeg and png), you will have better results with SVG files

Often designers offer files in several different formats–such as PNG, EPS, JPG, DXF, SVG–as shown in the next picture.  When you are given a choice of type of file, always choose the SVG file.  The other files can be discarded so you won’t waste space on your drive.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 3.31.13 PM

 

Sometimes designers offer an SVG, but it needs a bit of adjustment before you can cut them.  In this example, the SVG is presented as one file, but in order for it to cut in the correct layout, it needs to be attached.  You can tell an SVG image is not attached by looking at the tool bar to the right.  See how each piece of the total file is separated?  If you don’t “attach” them all together, your Cricut will place all the pieces on your mat in whatever order fits.  By attaching them, your design will cut in the exact layout as it is shown on your Design Space file.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 3.51.17 PM

 

Other times, designers offer particularly complex (and gorgeous!) SVG files.  This is often the case with online designers SVGCuts.com and 3DSVG.com (Dreaming Tree).  If you purchase one of these files, you will need to upload each piece of the file into Design Space and then insert them all into a new file.

Here’s an example of a new project from Dreaming Tree, which has 22 different file “pieces”.

Screen Shot of SVG files for one project
Often very complex projects are presented in multiple SVG files

Thankfully Dreaming Tree (and SVG Cuts and others) offer well presented instructions including detailed videos to complete their projects.  Your patience with these type of files will pay off with a gorgeous project…such as this one!

 

So don’t shy away from playing around with SVG files.

I hope this little primer will help you feel more comfortable with working with them.  I think you’ll find you will impress yourself with your abilities!

Dutch Oven · New England · recipe

Beef Stew in the Dutch Oven

Even though we are experiencing a bit of a thaw here in New England, it’s still Winter in my book. And, as far as I’m concerned, a hearty Beef Stew is a perfect mid-winter meal!

I’ve always prepared my Beef Stew in my slow cooker, but–as you probably know–lately I’ve been in love with a beautiful 5.5 quart Dutch Oven I received this past Christmas from my older sister.

Actually I’ve jumped so far into Dutch Oven cooking, I braved an hour journey to the South Shore to score two new Martha Stewart Dutch Ovens–in glorious Spinach green–being offered by someone on Facebook Marketplace…but that’s a story for another post…

Back to this unbelievable Beef Stew in the Dutch Oven…

What amazed me the most about making this Stew in a Dutch Oven instead of a slow cooker, is how unbelievably tender the beef was! Just melt-in-your-mouth juicy, tender and flavorful beef, which is way beyond what a slow cooker can achieve. And yet, still as simple and easy to make.

I started by browning my Stew beef (about two pounds) on top of the stove with a tiny bit of oil and, I believe, this is what made the difference in the flavor of the beef. After browning the meat, I loaded up my pot with baby carrots, some sliced celery, large chunks of red potatoes, a diced onion and minced garlic. I then stirred in some diced tomatoes, beef broth and a little tomato paste, to make the gravy and placed the covered pan in my preheated 375 degree oven to cook for three hours.

I’m a “peeker”. I am compelled to check in on things and make adjustments during cooking. Thankfully that was a good thing for this recipe, as I did need to add some water. I ended up adding about a cup of water at the end of the first and second hours, because some of the natural liquid evaporated during cooking. This was the only difference in cooking in a Dutch Oven versus a slow cooker, which naturally keeps liquids from evaporating by using a tightly sealed cover.

For those on a budget, this recipe easily makes eight complete servings and cost less than $15 to make. That’s less than $2 a meal! Plus you get the benefit of knowing you made it yourself–with no “unwanted” ingredients AND the comfort of a warm and wonderful home on a cold winter’s night.

Why not give it a go? And, if you do, let me know how you made out!

Ingredients:

  • Two pounds of fresh stewing beef from your butcher
  • Five or six larger red potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • Baby carrots or regular carrots cut into large chunks
  • Two ribs of celery, sliced
  • One or two onions, rough chopped
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 32 ounces beef broth (boxed broth) or substitute cans to equal 32 ounces
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water, if needed

Instructions:

  • On the stove top over medium high heat, brown the beef with a tablespoon of oil
  • Remove from heat and layer in potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic
  • Pour in broth and diced tomatoes with juice and spoon in tomato paste
  • Cover Dutch Oven and put in preheated Oven for three hours, checking and gently stirring each hour. Add water if needed.

DIY · Dutch Oven · recipe

Recipe: Crusty Italian Bread in the Dutch Oven

I got so excited when I posted about my Crusty Italian Bread, I forgot to actually give the ingredients list. My apologies!!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 1 tsp Active yeast (about a half of the package if you are using the package)
  • 1-2 tsp garlic salt (adjust to your tastes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Italian herb mix OR
  • 1-2 tablespoons total of Rosemary, Basil and Oregano (adjust to your tastes, of course!)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Romano and/or Parmesan cheese

Note: I assembled all my ingredients except for the water at home and took them in a zippy bag to the place we are visiting

Steps:

  • Mix all your dry ingredients together. When thoroughly mixed, add the water one cup at a time while stirring with a spoon. Continue to mix until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 12-18 hours.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, with the covered Dutch Oven inside
  • Remove Dutch Oven from Oven (carefully)
  • Gently form a ball with your dough; no kneading
  • Dust the DO with flour and put your dough inside; replace cover
  • Return the covered pot to the preheated oven and bake 30 minutes covered
  • After 30 minutes, remove the cover (carefully…there may be steam!) and cook for an additional 20 minutes
  • Remove pot from oven and turn out your loaf and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting

And that’s it, folks!

As my son would say: “Easy peasey, lemon squeezy!”

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Cricut

Installing and Using Fonts In Cricut Design Space

Are you curious about how to get and use a new font? Then this post is for you! You’re welcome in advance! 😉

Here are the FAQ on installing and using fonts in Cricut Design Space.

Don’t I already have a lot of fonts to use in Design Space?
Yes, Design Space already comes with some basic fonts and also uses your system fonts automatically. If you have Cricut Access, your choices increase exponentially! But there are quite a few websites now offering free fonts or low-cost fonts and sometimes it’s really worth it to know how to add them to your repertoire. And–let’s face it–sometimes you find a darling font you just “have to have”! 😂

Cricut Access Fonts is for all the “font fiends” with over 370 fonts!

Cricut Access Premium has hundreds of fonts AND images!

 

Where do I find free fonts?

There are a lot of places to find fonts including Dafont.com, but to be honest FINDING fonts and installing them are two different situations, which I can cover in a future post. Suffice it to say that you shouldn’t pay exorbitant prices for fonts as there are literally hundreds of low or no cost fonts now available online. (Thank heavens for the internet, amiright?). Start with Pinterest, Dafont.com or even a Google search and you will see what I mean. Also…check out And, please, don’t pay a lot for anything!

Dafont.com is an excellent place for free fonts:

 

I found the best font…now what do I do?

So step one is download the font you want. Downloads generally come “zipped” and fonts are no exception. Take note of where your new font downloads and go to your file manager to find it. Most computers come with an unzipping tool installed, so clicking on the zipped file should result in the (nearly) automatic unzipping of your download. If that doesn’t work, right click on the file and choose “Open with… ” to unzip.

Once your font file is unzipped, you will probably see three subfolders.

Usually you get a choice of OTF and TTF, which are the actual font files plus you often get instructions for use in a .doc or PDF file. The instructions and terms of use are important if you ever plan on selling your creation, so you might want to hold on to them. Now you must choose between OTF and TTF as these are the actual font files, but formatted slightly differently.

 

What’s the difference between TTF and OTF? And which one should I use?

TTF stands for True Type Font and OTF stands for Open Type font. TTF is an older format, but generally speaking both will work for most everyone’s machines. So…when I have a choice, I usually choose OTF.

By clicking on the OTF file, your computer will go through the routine to add a new font. If using a Mac, you will probably see the Font icon on your Toolbar. Most of the time this installation goes pretty smoothly and once you’ve installed the font file, there is nothing left to do.

Note: If you accidentally try to install the same font more than once, you may receive an error message.

 

How do I see my font in Design Space?

At this point the font is installed onto your computer and should now show up whenever you use text in Design Space. If you were already logged in to Design Space, you may need to log out and back in again to see the addition in Design Space.

 

Dutch Oven · recipe

Smaller Loaf of Crusty Bread in the Dutch Oven

One of my readers was so inspired by my bread making posts about the Dutch Oven Bread, she purchased a new Dutch Oven and set about making her own amazing crusty loaf. I’m happy to report her bread turned out amazing and she was very proud of herself–as she should be!

However, since this reader is usually a carb counter, she asked if she could make her subsequent loaves half the size of my original recipe. My knee-jerk reaction was to say “sure”, but I needed to test it out anyway. 😉

I suggested a smaller Dutch Oven–they make a 3.5 quart one that would be darling!–but we must use what we have, right?

I must admit though the half sized loaf looks tiny…especially in the 5.5 quart pan!

However–when popped out on my cutting board–is seems to adjust itself. 😂

Just about every detail with making the half sized loaf is the same as my original recipe, just with quantities halved. So same rise time and same cook temperature. The only thing I would change is the second half of the cooking time. You will still bake it covered for 30 minutes, but I would recommend reducing the uncovered time by 5-10 minutes for a total of 10-15 minutes.

And here is what it looks like inside!

Now…I’m curious. Will you fall under the spell of the Dutch Oven now?

Please let me know and thanks for reading, too!