Luv My Lightbox

Organized chaos. Familiar with the phrase? Well, it is a way of life for me.

I purchased a Heidi Swapp Lightbox a while back (of course using a 50% off coupon at Michaels). Since then I’ve collected quite a few accessories and have been storing them in box the Lightbox came in. That method works, but I knew I could do much better.

I fell down the rabbit hole that is YouTube one day and came across this video with a great storage idea. Considering I had everything needed, (except the frig bin) I knew I had to see if this would work for me!

I placed my order and got it 2 days later (yea Amazon Prime!), but the product was cracked (boo Amazon shipping). In the mean time I began cutting some cardstock down to size and used My Favorite Things dies for the tabs. I am aware I could have used an electronic cutting machine like the Scan N Cut or Cricut, but sometimes you just want to use a metal die and a die cut machine. I also created a filing system for the background slides too. I kept the cardboard packaging that showed the contents and used that to separate each group.

I also have a mini lightbox, and therefore mini letters. I was concerned about those getting lost, so I created small coin envelopes with my We R Memory Keepers 1-2-3 Punchboard to store those. Then I filed them with their larger letter counterparts.

I haven’t seen any new lightbox slides released in a while, but I don’t have all of them. This system give me room to expand if I buy or make additional slides.

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Are PopSockets Here to Stay?

Some fads I jump on the moment they are announced. Like the iPhone. Others I resist and they may take me a bit of time to come around. A perfect example of this would be PopSockets. When I started seeing them everywhere I just didn’t get it. I didn’t feel like I needed an different way to hold my phone and I take about as many selfies as my 88-year-old grandma… so there’s that.

Anyway, I wound up with a free promotional PopSocket from a vendor so had no reason not to try it out. And no. This product has not changed my life, and I honestly can’t say why I keep it on my phone except for the reason that it’s now one more way to express my love of Harry Potter.

Like I said, it was a free promotion item, so it was branded with the company’s name. Nothing against that company, but since I’m a Harry Potter fan, I figured I’d change it up. (I recently just found out one of the selling points of a PopSocket is a chance to show off your style… so maybe I’m more into it than I originally gave it credit). To change it up, of course I used vinyl. One, it’s quick and easy, and two, when I’m tired of this design I can replace it with something else.

The whole project took less than 30 minutes. I probably spend the majority of time figuring out my design and creating it in Design Space, (Cricut’s design software). Check out the video below for my creation and application process. Any suggestions for what I should change it to next?

Rosettes, Rosettes, Rosettes!

We were recently commissioned to create a backdrop for a dual 1st and 60th backyard birthday party. While looking for inspiration, I found a video about rosettes on Cricut – The Official Page on Facebook and thought those famous words, “I can make that”! So we did!

Our customer gave us a color palette to work off of, so a trip to Michaels was first on my to-do list.  I lucked out and found various Craft Smith Paper Pads in coordinating colors.  I bought a couple pads in each color scheme since just one of the largest rosette requires 8 sheets of 12×12 paper to create it.

We used the Martha Stewart – Wall Rosettes design from Design Space, so I didn’t have to create the design from scratch.  I altered my  file to reflect the number, color and size of rosettes we needed and added additional scoring lines for deeper creases on each piece.

I have the Cricut Maker. This baby is a work-horse. It probably took about 6-7 hours to cut all of the pieces for 28 rosettes. I did break it up over 2 days, but my Maker powered through. Not one issue! Around hour 4 I did wish I had another machine, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Next was the folding.  There was A LOT of folding!  Instead of Netflix and chill, it was Netflix and fold. Let’s just say I’m finally caught up on the last season of Fuller House.

Child labor is a beautiful thing, and I put my niece to work for the next step. (No children were harmed in the making of these rosettes, and she actually ended up getting paid for her contribution!) Since the decor was for a dual party, we decided to make two rosette clusters, one for the 1 year old, and the other for the 60 year old. To differentiate between the two we would add vinyl numbers to the centers.

To assemble each rosette, you glue the side tabs together then curl them into a circle.  It helps to use a dinner plate to help you curl them. Then you attach the center piece. I’ve made many rosettes, and depending on the circumstances, sometimes I put the center on the front and other times the back. The center piece helps to secure the rosette together, so you definitely need to put it somewhere.  In this situation we placed it on the front since we’d added the vinyl numbers to it.

Once all 28 rosettes were complete, we split them into 2 clusters.  We attached the clusters to wooden dowels so that we were able to hang them up.

To finish off the party decor, we also created a coordinating Happy Birthday banner, and matching chair signs and cake toppers for the guests of honor.

Let me tell you, we finished this project about a week before the scoring wheel for the Maker was release. Talk about bad timing on our part! I think the scoring wheel would have made this job SO much easier! At one point I actually ended up pulling out my old school scoring board to get better folds in the rosettes. Now I know for the next time!

It’s Here! EasyPress2 Release

It’s finally here!  If you are like me, you heard about the upcoming release of the EasyPress2 back at the beginning of August. Hard to believe it has only been about a month!

Well, I opened my email earlier today and the heavens opened up. EasyPress2 is now available for sale! Once I was done hyperventilating, I popped over to shop.cricut.com to check out the merchandise.

The new EasyPress, or EasyPress2, comes in 3 sizes. Say WHAT?! The largest size is 12×10, the perfect size for larger adult shirts, duffel bags, reverse canvas projects and more. The sky’s the limit! The next size, comes in at 9×9. This is the same size as the original EasyPress. Finally, the baby, and the smallest size measures 6×7. It’s so cute! For me, this one is great addition to the line for your on-the-go needs. This size is also perfect for smaller projects like onesies. The machines fits right within the seams of a onesie, so no more awkwardness trying to avoid those pesky seams!

The EasyPress2 heats up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, 50 degrees hotter than the original EasyPress. This is big news for those interested in sublimation. It also heats up 25% quicker than the older machine… not that 60 seconds to heat up is really that long. You will also find a USB port on the EasyPress2 for future firmware updates.

The icing on the cake is the new Raspberry color these babies come in. Isn’t it sweet! Of course, in true Cricut fashion, they have also released a Raspberry colored Explore Air 2… so you can have a matching set.

And I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are now 3 different sized EasyPress mats that match the sizes of the new machines.

So which one do you want? I know I’m counting my pennies so I can get the big mama one! Oh… and the carrying case that is scheduled to be released next year.
easypress2

Hogwarts or Bust!

I LOVE HARRY POTTER! Okay, now that I’ve confessed, the rest of this post will make much more sense. Ha!

The Orlando Informer hosts an annual Harry Potter themed event at Universal Studios in Florida. The specially priced ticket gets you after hours access to select attractions in both parks, free food and drinks (including Butterbeer), and more! I went last year with a couple of friends and had so much fun we’re doing it again this year! If you’d like more info check out the Orlando Informer’s website.

Recently, I purchased a Cricut Maker and I’ve pretty much lost my mind. Between creating Star Wars fan gear, party decor and personalizing everything I can in my house, I, of course, found time to make something special for my trip to “Harry Potter World”.

For inspiration, Pinterest was my first stop. My travel group consisted of all ladies, so a pair of Deathly Hallows earrings from Hey, Let’s Make Stuff‘s blog, were perfect! Her blog included a cut file which made my job super easy. I used black faux suede like she suggested, but I disliked the way the unfinished back of the suede showed. To fix this, I just doubled up on the pattern, adhered the pieces together and voila! That really gave the earrings the finished look they needed.

Next, I created Harry Potter themed luggage tags for everyone using a luggage tag cut file from Damask Love. For this I used Cricut Genuine Leather and rose gold foil iron-on to add Harry Potter icons. To stitch each luggage tag together I used embroidery floss that coordinates with each persons house. Mine was yellow for Hufflepuff, which is of course the BEST house.

Before we headed out to the park I gave everyone their surprises. The earrings were a hit! My only regret is that I wish I would have made us all matching shirts too. Luckily there’s always next year!  Expecto Patronum!

New House, New House Shoe

I recently purchased a new house with beautiful hardwood floors and pale grayish-brown carpet. (The carpet looks way better than I made it sound). I’ve had a long standing rule about no shoes in the house, and this house would be no different.

My husband has never been a fan of this rule because he doesn’t like to be bare or sock footed.  To solve this I’ve bought him a variety of Steelers house shoes. Still, his argument has always been, “What if we have guest and they have holes in their socks, or worse, no socks at all? How can we expect them to take off their shoes?” Normally I would roll my eyes and move on, (don’t judge), but lucky for me inspiration struck while I was wandering the aisles of IKEA one day.

I found these simple NJUTA slippers in black, red and gray, all of the low price of $2.99/each. And lucky for me, the were on sale for IKEA Family members!  Of course I couldn’t decide on which to get, so I bought two in each color. What? A girl’s gotta have choices!

I took them home and placed them in a cute basket by the front door. Success! But what fun would it have been if I didn’t add that special flavor I’m “famous” for?  So I booted up my computer and opened Design Space. This was one of the first projects I completed with my new Cricut Maker and EasyPress. (Yes, Cricut has made a killing off of me in the last few months).

I’ve used Brother’s design program, ScanNCutCanvas for the last few years, so the Design Space format wasn’t to difficult to navigate. I browsed the different monograms and settled on the “H” from Monogram Motifs. The pre-selected color scheme wasn’t going to work for me, but it was super easy to change it up. Since I had house shoes in three different colors, I switched up my color scheme using black, yellow, and white. Yes, Steelers colors. I love that Design Space lays out the different mats you will need. It makes it easy to make the correct number of cuts for six pairs of slippers. Luckily I had all of the needed iron-on vinyl (or heat transfer vinyl – HTV – these names are used interchangeably) colors on hand, so I was ready to get started.

After cutting my HTV pieces, it was time to weed. Being a bit of a novice I didn’t realize how intricate my design really was! This was one of those times when it’s important to have the right tools. In this case the right tools included hook tweezers and a piercing tool (both were all included in the Cricut Weeding Tool set) and a tracing light box I purchased from Amazon a while back. Cricut’s BrightPad would have essentially served the same purpose.

When the weeding was finally done I was ready to heat up the EasyPress.  To prep the slippers  I rolled up a hand towel and stuffed it in the toe so I had sturdier surface.  My slippers were 100% polyester and I was using Cricut Iron-On Lite, so my settings were 340 degrees for 30 seconds. (These are the “towel settings”. If you are using the EasyPress mat the settings differ. Also, the IKEA website says “Do not iron” for these slippers, but I figured if I ruin them I’m only out $2. Sometimes you gotta take risk. And I was using a teflon sheet, so my EasyPress never directly touched the shoe surface). Following the EasyPress directions, I preheat my first shoe for 5 seconds.  Next, since each monogram was made up of three layers of HTV, I only pressed the first two layers for about 8 seconds each, just long enough to get it into place. I pressed the final layer for the full 30 seconds…And repeat.

I was so impressed by my finished product I’ve been sharing it with everyone! (Including the random stranger I met while browsing the Cricut Iron-on section in JoAnn’s.) HTV is a great way to add that personal touch! I’ve got so many ideas for what else I can do!

Until next time, go forth and create!

Supplies used:
Cricut Maker
Cricut Iron-on Lite in Black and White
Siser Easyweed HTV – Lemon
Cricut EasyPress
Teflon Heat Press Transfer Sheets
USB Power Light Table for Tracing

Teacher Appreciation Favor Bags

I am the worst when it come to procrastinating, but let me tell you, I do some of my best work at the 11th hour. So when I volunteered to handle teacher appreciation for the school for the month of April, (back in October of the year before), I had every intention of getting everything done well in advance. Well… let’s just say on March 1st I had a bit of a reality check. My kids go to one of the largest elementary schools in Missouri, and my teacher appreciation gift would need to serve 150 people. What’s that saying about the best intentions?

After talking to some of my other crafty friends, I decided I wanted to do some sort of personalized gift bag with a treat. I zoned in on a bag of popcorn and some candy.  About this time I started seeing blog hops for the latest Mama Elephant release, and everyone was talking about the XL Creative Cuts Favor Bag.  The were soooooo cute and the ideas in my head started flying! I figured out how large the assembled bag would be, and unfortunately it was not large enough for a bag of microwavable popcorn. But I was so in love with that die, I just figured I’d come up with something else to go inside of the bags.

I placed an order and got to work with the favor bag die, the Mama Elephant Page Huggers stamp and die set and the Mama Elephant Words Defined stamp set. Can you tell I’m really digging Mama Elephant right now?

I started with stamping sets of three of the page hugger animals and three of the accessories on watercolor paper. I used Distress Markers and a water brush to color those in.  After I’d done a few sets that way I switched to 80 lbs Neenah solar white cardstock and used Copics to color the rest of the sheets. If you like stamps you’ve got to check this set out. It is too cute! Some of the accessories include a little graduation cap, a little love note, a carrot… but I went with a pencil, stack of books and apple… staple teacher items. 6th grade graduation is right around the corner and I thought the little animals would be adorable with the graduation caps on their heads, but I stopped myself. One undertaking at a time!

Since I needed 150 sets, I carried the sheets around with me and worked on them everywhere. And I do mean everywhere… basketball practice, during my lunch breaks, family gatherings, even at the auto drive-in while I was wait for my car to get inspected after a hail storm.


Next I die cut a black frame with a heart in the middle.  I enlisted some help from my mom and she stamped the frames with the Teacher wording from the Words Defined stamp set.  This was the perfect time to use the MISTI because the white ink didn’t always give a solid stamp.


While Mom was hard at work stamping, I die cut all of the animals, accessories and bags. Finally it was time to assembly everything! It seems like a lot at first, but you get into a routine and before you know it we were done!


And the icing on the cake… mini microwave popcorn bags fit perfectly! I will tell you this was a pretty ambitious undertaking, probably my largest to date, but I cannot be more proud of the way everything turned out.

Now go forth and create!

Supplies used:
Copic Markers (RV02, RV04, RV21, RV23, R14, R29, N0, N2, C1, C3, C5, E23, E31, E34, E37, B24, B28, BG10, BG13, Y08, Y17, YG13, YG17, YG63, YR02, V15)
Distress Markers (Black Soot, Hickory Smoke, Worn Lipstick, Frayed Burlap, Mustard Seed, Carved Pumpkin, Barn Door, Dusty Concord, Mermaid Lagoon, Peeled Paint, Wild Honey)
Watercolor Brush Pen
Neenah Solar White – 80 lbs
Artist’s Loft Watercolor Paper
Mama Elephant XL Creative Cuts Favor Bag
Mama Elephant Page Huggers Creative Cuts
Mama Elephant Page Huggers stamp set
Mama Elephant Words Defined stamp set
Hero Arts Unicorn Pigment Ink
Memento Tuxedo Black Dye Ink 
Cricut Cuttlebug
MISTI Stamping Tool
Martha Stewart Scoring Board
Fiskars Deluxe Paper Trimmer
Advanced Tape Glider (ATG)
ATG Double Sided Refill Tape
Kokuyo Dotliner Adhesive
Kokuyo Dotliner Adhesive Refill
Teflon Bone Folder