Christmas · Cricut · DIY

Up Your Christmas Ornament Game

Making your own Christmas ornaments is really a Wow Factor gift. With the ability to personalize ornaments or commemorate special events, you can really impress your family and friends with your newly acquired Cricut skills.

But why not take that to a whole new level by presenting your gift Ornament in its own personalized box, too?

Well, thankfully, I’m not the only person who has thought of this idea!  Many SVG designers now offer ornament display boxes for you to assemble and personalize for the over the top presentation of your very special gift.

Now, if you’ve only used your Cricut to cut vinyl, cutting paper for the box may be a bit scary to you, but once you understand the process you will be whipping these up by the boatload and enjoying it, too.

For today’s demonstration, I am using an SVG created by Simply Crafty SVGs. I did pay for this SVG, so I can’t share it with you, but I think you will find their prices are reasonable. Also, if you sign up for their newsletter, you will receive 20% off your first purchase. (Please note: I do not receive any payment for this referral and you are free to get your SVG files anywhere you’d like…I just happen to like this one!)

At SCS, search for “ornament box”. This template is for the 4″ round ball size but they also have ones for the disc style, too.

Once you find the svg you would like to purchase, pay for it and download it to your computer. Most SVGs come zipped, so make sure to unzip your downloaded file before trying to upload it into Design Space.

This SVG comes with a PDF for assembly, which you can either print out or view on your screen to help with the assembly.

Now head on over to Design Space and start a New Project. Choose “Upload Images” on the left column. Once there, choose Upload Image and search in your downloads for the SVG folder. As with most SVGs, this pattern has a few parts that need to be uploaded separately. Go ahead and upload all the parts into DS. Your imported image screen should look something like the next photo. Click on all of the parts you’ve just imported and at the bottom of the screen choose Insert.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 3.36.02 PM

Once you have inserted all of the parts of the SVG, you will want to find the parts that have dashed cut lines and make sure to attach them to the the image…otherwise they will not cut together.

Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 3.38.59 PM

Now pick out your paper.

In my project, I’ve chosen white for the base parts of the box and then a Christmas patterned paper. For this project, I needed three pieces of 12 x 12 for the base and two pieces of patterned paper. The entire SVG fits on five mats total. Go ahead and cut out all your pieces and remove them from your mats.  When all your mats are cut, take your completed cuts and head on over to your workspace with some glue or tape for your box assembly.

Before assembly, be sure to score all the dashed lines on your pieces so the box forms properly.

Here’s a photo of what your workspace should look like:

Identify the two main box pieces and glue or tape one tab to make one long piece:

Once you’ve glued the first tab, fold the box and glue or tape the second tab, which forms the box:

Here’s the front of the glued box base:

Now it’s time to attach the top piece to the box like so:

At this point your box is functional and can be used this way, but adding the decorative side pieces not only gives your box more personality, but it strengthens the box, too!

So go ahead and adhere the decorative paper cuts to the sides like this:

Here is a photo of the back and top of the box with decorative sides adhered:

And here is the front:

Note: the bottom doesn’t have a decorative panel. You can simply fold this part. But to make the bottom sturdier, I glued my middle flap inside the box:

You’re almost done! Now it’s time for the bottom insert piece:

Once you’ve placed the bottom piece in the box, place your beautiful, handmade ornament inside the box and place the smaller-holed insert on top to hold your creation in place:

And that’s it! Doesn’t it look great?

You can do it!

Go on and give it a try and let me know how you made out!

 

Christmas · Cricut · DIY

Making Glitter Ornaments

Glitter Ornaments are going to be BIG this year–as they should be!–because they are:

  • Simple to make
  • Easy to personalize
  • Not messy like most glitter projects!

Here’s my “quick and easy” guide to making beautiful ornaments!

What you need:

  • Clear Glass Ornaments (available at most craft stores)
  • Your choice of glitter (chunky glitter works as well as fine and superfine glitter)
  • Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss (you can use other brands or even floor polish)
  • Squeeze bottle
  • Sturdy disposable cups (I used Solo brand cups)
  • Newspaper
  • Ribbon, vinyl or other embellishments for decoration

Instructions:

  • Gather all your supplies ahead of time and set up your newspaper and Solo cups on your work area
  • Remove the tops of ornaments and set aside
  • Squirt a small amount of polycrylic into the ornament and gently roll it to coat the entire inside; add more if needed to fully coat the inside
  • Turn ornaments upside down and let drain in the cups while you finish adding all the poly to your blanks. Allow your ornament to drip thoroughly–I usually set them aside for about 15 minutes
  • Using a small paper funnel or your hand, pour glitter inside the ornament and shake to coat the entire inside…it is okay to add more than is needed or even add more if you started off too lightly
  • Once glitter covers the entire inside of the ornament, return it to the cup (upside down), giving it one last shake to remove excess and allow to dry (I usually dry them overnight)
  • Replace ornament tops on dried glittered ornaments and embellish as desired

Please note: If you are planning on embellishing the outside of the ornament with vinyl, you need to consider the size and shape of the ornament as the surface is usually rounded. This takes some time and you may have some flubs, so practice.

Images of process:

I PURCHASED the Grinch face svg on Etsy and all other images were purchased or in my collection. Please respect copyrights of artists!

Here are a few glitter bulbs I have made with vinyl embellishments:

Christmas · Cricut

Christmas Card Ideas

According to my calendar, there are only 359 days left until Christmas 2016, but don’t sweat it.

Here are some Christmas card ideas I made with my Cricut to help you get a head start.  Most are made with the Cricut image set called “Christmas Kitsch” by Anna Griffin.  The reindeer one is from “A Quilted Christmas”.  The Angel with the Hosanna Banner is an exclusive to Cricut Image Subscribers!

Christmas · Cricut

How I became a Cricut Fanatic

For several years now, I have been crafting with a machine called a Cricut. The Cricut–hint: it’s pronounced KREH-CUT, not CRY-CUT–is an amazing cutting machine that you use to cut paper, vinyl, vellum and even leather and thin metals!

 My first Cricut was an Expression 2, which was the “latest and greatest” model when I bought it in 2012.  I had heard of Cricut, but never considered purchasing one until I was asked to create several memorial tributes for my relatives.  After easily making banners and photo montages and receiving positive feedback about my creations, I easily fell in love!

E2
Cricut Expression 2 (E2)
Back in 2012, Cricut machines were based on cartridges that contained a set of images and/or fonts, which you used to choose and cut with the machine. There are/were literally hundreds of cartridges available!  So, of course, I set about expanding my own image collection by buying cartridges.  As I was “amassing” my own image library in cartridges, I realized there was so much to learn about these very creative machines.

Before long, I found out Cricut had developed free software that allowed you to connect your laptop to your Cricut machine and “link” all of my cartridges in one place, called the Cricut Craft Room (or CCR, for short).  Transitioning to CCR was what really hooked me on my Cricut.

As an avid Facebook user, I tried to find a community of like minded crafters online, but was met with a bit of craft snobbery instead of a welcomed greeting from other Cricut users. It was then that I decided I would build a community that would welcome any Cricut user, regardless of experience level, to learn, share and grow in their knowledge of using their Cricut.  The group, which can be found on Facebook under “Cricut Newbies and Pros“, started off small, but had a dedicated base of members.

In early 2014, Cricut launched their newest machine called the Cricut Explore, which had its own free software called Design Space (DS).  Since I was totally pleased with my Expression 2, I didn’t immediately jump on the Explore bandwagon.  After all, I had spent countless hours learning all the “ins and outs” of my E2 and the CCR software.  I figured out how to manipulate the software to do things and, to be honest, starting from scratch didn’t enthrall me.  Instead, I waited it out, trying to figure out if I could justify another “non essential” purchase.  What could the Explore do for me that I couldn’t do with my trusty Expression?  Was cutting and crafting with the Explore that much better than the Expression, as I had been hearing?

By the time Black Friday 2014 rolled around, I decided I might buy an Explore if the price was right, but I was convinced I couldn’t part with my E2 even if I did get the new machine.  When the right deal popped up, I drew my breath and made the purchase.  Side note: if you didn’t know already, I am a single mother and a homeowner with a limited income, so spending money on a new machine was a big gamble for me!

cricut-explore-air-machine
Cricut Explore Air
My new Explore arrived in record time, but I was too busy crafting with my E2 to stop and learn a whole new way.  After all, it was Christmas and I had dozens of cards, teacher gifts and ornaments to make!  So there it sit…in its lovely box…waiting for my attention.

IMG_0765
Master Owen’s Oliver
It wasn’t until my beloved, rescued corgi, Oliver, became extremely sick, that I considered unveiling my new Explore.  I know that sounds sort of weird, but in addition to being a lifelong crafter, I am a devoted, dyed-in-the-wool corgi lover and a proud member of Corgi Nation, a large group of people from around the world that are linked by their love of the derpy, adorable dogs with short little legs, no tails (though some have tails!) and personalities bigger than their bodies.

Ollie, whom I saved from certain euthanization in 2012, was a beloved member of Corgi Nation.  Oliver gave MO, my son, his moniker: “Master Owen”; before Ollie came around, MO was simply Owen and sometimes O. When Ollie got sick I wanted the best for him, which didn’t come cheap. Remember: single mom+limited income+sick dog=HUGE problem!  My friends of Corgi Nation (CN), helped with expenses, but I wanted to contribute, too.  With a little help from a new friend and Cricut teacher, Cara Miller, I figured out how to make my first unique project: glittery Corgi Christmas ornaments, which I sold to my online friends to help pay for Ollie’s medical expenses.  Sadly though, we lost Oliver at the beginning of December.  He went to the Rainbow Bridge on December 1, 2014, when he was unable to fight off a severe infection and pneumonia.  It was a tremendous loss.

One year later and I am happy to say I am officially hooked on my Cricut Explore.  Our  Facebook group has grown so much we had to create a spin off group to handle the increased traffic!

If you’d like to join us on this creative adventure or are just interested in what the Cricut Explore can do, please join one of our two groups on Facebook:

For the original “Cricut Newbies and Pros” group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/515248328525857/

The newest group “Cricut Newbies and Pros for Explore Owners”: https://www.facebook.com/groups/937801949607138/

 

 

 

 

 

Autism · Christmas

Cookies for Santa

According to Master Owen, Cookies simply MUST be left for Santa…and, not just ANY cookie.  Absolutely not!

They must be his Mum’s mini M&M cookies, which–as it happens–I am about to pop into the oven right now.

But first, I thought I would give you all the “secret” recipe as my Christmas gift to you, my new readers.

These are yummy, I must admit.  Of course, you are welcome to change the recipe any way you like, but MO seems to think there is magic in this particular recipe. Maybe there is, who knows?

By the way…whatcha doing right now?  There’s still time!  Maybe you should whip up a batch tonight! <wink>

 

Persnickety’s mini M&M Cookies for Santa, Master Owen approved

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks UNSALTED butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • A whole bag of MINI M&Ms

Cream sugars with softened butter.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend.  Add flour, baking soda and salt and form dough.  Mix in the mini M&Ms and make a ball.  Don’t work the cookie dough too much!

Chill your dough for at least an hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll dough into meatball size and place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.  Cool well.

Don’t forget to leave Santa something good to drink.  MO prefers soda, but he will tell you Santa likes coffee or a Christmas Egg Nog.

Master Owen also reminds you to leave out some carrots for both the reindeer and Santa Paws.  Remember the reindeer work hard and Santa Paws should never eat chocolate!

Merry Christmas to you all!