My time in quarantine

We’ve been living under quarantine for a little while now and I’m sure people are going stir crazy. This is nothing new to me since I am disabled and am home all day every day anyway, so it’s business as usual.

I have kept busy though. In December and January before all this started, I was making Valentine’s Day Box Cards with my Cricut because someone wanted 5 of each of these 5 designs to send out to her friends and co-workers. Then in February I started working on Easter Box Cards and the same person wanted 2 of each of 10 designs. I like to make things, and it was my pleasure to make these for her.

After Easter I decided it is better if I don’t make any more cards because at that point you really can’t trust anyone. I mean, I don’t know if the people who receive the card would trust that I didn’t have Coronavirus, so I thought it best to just be safe and not continue working on them for everyone’s safety. I haven’t gotten Coronavirus, but the recipients don’t know that.

We were told to start making masks for ourselves to go out in public, and I really wanted to, but my life partner didn’t want me to make masks because he thought a regular piece of fabric isn’t going to do any good, you need a N95 mask. Well, once he realized that we aren’t allowed to wear those since they are supposed to be reserved for medical professionals, then he was ok with it. We bought some masks from our local post office which is inside of a pharmacy, and those were nice, but I wanted to make some masks with a design that I liked.

The one that you see I am wearing was the pattern they sold at the post office / pharmacy.

The top right mask is a mask that I made out of what was supposed to be a quilt block I made for a dining room table placemat. I added some small paracord buckles that were not adjustable. My life partner loved the idea of using buckles and he wanted me to make masks for his family (bottom left) but make them adjustable because obviously I don’t have their head sizes since they are back East, and even if they told me, I am not sure they would’ve been right, so I thought it was best to use the bigger buckles that are adjustable. The fabric stores were all out of fabric, and we went to Walmart, but all they had for fabric was bed sheets, so that’s what those are made out of.

Bottom middle was fabric I had on my Zabuton (square meditation pillow) as like a pillow case. I thought it was such a fantastic pattern, so I made one for both of us with that. When that fabric is available at Joann again, I will buy another 2 yards to replace the pillow case.

Bottom right is a unique pattern that my aunt really loved. She actually shared an image on Facebook of a mask that a company was selling for $20 for 1 mask with that pattern, and I just so happened to have that image on my hard drive since my old Nook has that skin on it. So I thought it would be cool if I could make her a mask with that pattern, so I bought some printable colorfast cotton fabric that goes right through a regular printer that takes 8.5×11 sheets of paper. It is actual fabric that you can print, cool right? It’s just that it cost $18 for 10 sheets, so basically each mask cost me $9 to make. I made one for my uncle and one for my aunt and I had to make the bias tape with 8.5×11 sheets, which means I had to use 2 sheets for enough bias tape for 1 mask. I used the bottom middle fabric for the inside because that stuff is very thick and stiff and I can’t imagine putting that against my face.

So other than making some box cards and face masks, I haven’t really been doing anything different. Watching YouTube on my TV with my Roku, watching movies and TV shows with the Roku channel and Hulu and playing Terraria.

My birthday is coming and I will be turning 50 and I will most likely be turning 50 in quarantine. What a great time to turn 50 lol. Oh well, it’s ok. Not that big of a deal since my birthday hasn’t really been celebrated since I was a kid. But at least I’m still alive considering I should’ve been dead 20 years ago, so yay for getting old when I was told that was never going to happen.

How to knit socks from start to finish

Have you ever wanted to knit a cool pair of socks, but don’t know how because you’ve never knitted, or perhaps you do know how to knit, but have never learned to make socks? Well, I learned from watching many videos on YouTube. I’ve shown this image above to all my socials and it seems like several people say they wish they knew how to knit socks, so I decided I would make a video teaching how to do all the steps from start to finish. It’s an intermediate pattern, but I show you as a beginner.

I like to use Premier wool free sock yarn that I bought from the Michaels website. I’ve bought sock yarn from Michaels and they are wool which means they get hot fast and those are meant to keep your feet warm when you are in the snow or perhaps just when you are sitting at home and your feet get too cold, or if it’s just winter and your feet get cold easily. Well, Premier wool free sock yarn is great for wearing with shoes.

However, for this video I just used regular yarn. The tools I use for the Premier socks are a 9 inch 2.75mm or US 2 circular knitting needles. Preferably ChiaoGoo with the red cable. 5 double pointed knitting needles of the same size (the set usually comes with 5) a size 2.0mm crochet hook for fixing dropped stitches, stitch markers and a needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch. The circular knitting needle I used in this video was a 12 inch 5mm US 8 circular knitting needle with matching double pointed needles and a size G crochet hook and of course stitch markers and yarn needle for sewing the Kitchener stitch.

The pattern is available on the Premier website, but in the video I tell you how many stitches you will need for your sock depending on the circumference of your foot. I will show you how to do the loose long tail cast on, rib stitch for the cuff is 1 1/2 inches, then 6 inches total including the cuff before you start the short row heel. then you knit the foot and measure from the back of the heel for your foot size, but make sure you are measuring minus 2 inches because the toe is 1 1/2 inches and you want there to be a stretch, hence the last 1/2 inch. Finally the last thing to do is the Kitchener stitch to sew the toe up and then weave the tail of the yarn into the perl bars.

So here’s the video. Enjoy and let me know how it works out.

Roku Update

Yesterday I wrote about having no choice but to cancel our cable so we could use a internet based cable service, and now today I have some new information.

I didn’t really look into how much everything was when I bought the Roku Stick+ for the living room. Like, how much is our cable bill, internet bill and home phone? Would I really be saving money by getting rid of our cable? The answer is apparently no.

Our cable is $72.49 minus a promotional discount of $32.50, so I’m actually only paying $39.99 for cable, which if you think about it, that is cheaper than any of the streaming services. What is making our bill higher is actually the cost of the equipment rental. I am paying $8 for each of our 2 cable receiver boxes, plus another $10 for the DVR service on one box, plus an additional $12 for Tier 1 which is additional channels we never even watch.

Our internet is $75 minus $10 for the bundle and $10 for promotional discount making our internet $55. Our phone is also $30 minus $10 for the bundle. So if we got rid of our cable, my internet would go up and so would our phone.

My life partner tried the Roku with our cable providers app (or channel as Roku likes to call them) and he hates it, so he doesn’t want to get rid of his receiver, but he will keep his Roku for those times when his services starts to cut out and become impossible to watch. He can just switch to the Roku and use the Spectrum app.

I, on the other hand am perfectly happy getting rid of the DVR service and my cable box. The DVR is in my room, so I’m the only one benefiting from that, and that is $18 that I would be saving every month, plus $12 from the Tier 1, that makes a saving of $30 a month. Plus, I will be quitting my gym membership which is another $20 a month, so right there I will be saving $50 a month.

I already bought another Roku for my bedroom for watching our cable service. Since I typically have 2 shows on at the same time some nights, I can watch those 2nd shows on the apps on the Roku. Like, one night I might have something on the Travel Channel and The CW, so I can just watch one on cable, and the other one on one of the apps the next day. I do that with Hulu anyway where I watch all my Fox and NBC shows, so I can just do the same thing with the CW or Travel channel.

Our promotion will be ending soon, I think in December, and they currently have a promotion for $99 for 1 year for cable, internet and phone, so we will save even more money then. The money I will be saving from not having DVR + my cable receiver + Tier 1 + my gym membership will pay for the Roku sticks over 2 months. I’m excited for this change and because in January I will have more money for groceries and other stuff.

Let’s Try That Roku Thing Again

In January 2011, my life partner and I decided after talking with one of his family members that we would quit cable and get 2 Roku’s because I had complained about the price of cable. This guy said “Well, you watch your shows on the DVR anyway, right?” No, actually, we watch live tv. In fact, at the time we didn’t have a DVR. I knew they existed, but we didn’t have one. I have one now, but we still watch live tv.

In 2011 I received our Roku’s and returned them simply for the fact that the one in the living room didn’t connect to our WiFi which is in the bedroom. I didn’t think the signal was strong enough, but the issue was deeper than that as I explained in this post. https://xanapus.com/2011/01/04/our-roku-boxes-arrived-today-theyre-going-back-tomorrow/

Well, that was 2011, this is 2019 and we have once again decided to quit cable, but there are a couple reasons for this decision.

1.) The price is way too high. Nearly 2 years ago we went to our cable service provider and said we need to change our service because I was paying $170 a month for our cable/internet/phone bundle. They told us there is a special that for 2 years we would get their $30/$30/$30 deal which came out to $90 a month, plus extra for a package my partner wanted, the DVR for one room, the cable box for another room, the WiFi box and the digital phone box. Our total bundle came to about $120 or so. I was fine with that, but then they told us at the end of the first year that our bill was going up because that 30/30/30 thing was only for 1 year, then it would go up to $170 and that is STILL a discounted price, which means when our special is over, my bill goes up even more.

2.) Our channels are constantly getting pixelated and it’s maddening, especially when the channel goes out and it doesn’t even record my show. When I’m not home and then I come home to find out it didn’t even record my show(s), I wonder why the hell am I paying $170 a month for this? We thought it might be our cable boxes, but I’m pretty sure the issue is our cable wire. That’s the only thing that makes sense to me because the app never has that issue.

I discovered there are so many different cable streaming services you can pay for that are cheaper than cable. They are mostly all around $50 or so.

Hulu + Hulu TV is $45 a month and you can stream on 2 devices at a time and they give you a DVR that is only 50 hours worth, and for another $5 you get ad free.

YouTube TV allows you to have 6 users while allowing 3 streams at once, plus an unlimited DVR for all accounts for just $50 a month.

Sling is cheaper at $25 a month, but you don’t get a lot of channels. They have 3 options, each option has specific channels, or both options for almost double the price. It also comes with 50 hour DVR.

For right now we have a Roku Stick + in the living room that works and I didn’t have to call anyone for help, and our cable service’s app is installed, as well as YouTube TV, Sling and Hulu to get us prepared for the switch. We have to decide which one is better, I like YouTube TV better.

The TV in the bedroom is a smart TV that already has Hulu and YouTube TV installed, but our cable service’s app isn’t available, and neither is Sling. I have to keep using my cable box, which is ok for now, even though I will still have trouble with pixelation. I can watch my shows On Demand if I have to. If we do go with Sling, then I will probably have to buy another Roku Stick +.

This is a huge change. No one likes change, especially when they have to remember how to get to their favorite channels, but once you get used to the change, you can pretty much adapt to anything if you are willing. I am willing, but I can’t say that about my life partner who hates change more than I do. We will see. All 3 services have a trial, so we can decide which one we like before we get rid of cable.

Tell me in the comments if you have cut the cord and went with a Roku or similar device and which internet service you are using. I’m curious to know which of these 3 services are better.

Update: Yeah, things have changed. Please read the new post.

I’m knitting socks!

This isn’t the first time I’ve knitted a sock. The first sock I ever knitted was the one in the image above, and I never made the matching sock because my hand was in so much pain from making this one because of my carpal tunnel, that I just ended up putting the second one off, and then I guess I just never made it because I forgot, and then I lost the sock yarn lol.

So this time I am actually making a pair, but I’m working with regular yarn because it gets so cold here in the winter because we don’t have heat, so rather than wearing 2 pairs of socks all winter, I thought I would knit socks with yarn so they are like feet sweaters lol. I should clarify, we used to have central heating, but then the heater stopped working and now we have space heaters. The one in my bedroom is a portable radiator and it puts off so much heat that I have to turn it down because it feels like summer in my bedroom. The living room space heater is bigger, but since it blows heat like a fan, it only blows enough for a tiny space, so even if you are sitting next to it, your feet are still frozen if you’re not wearing socks.

I made 2 different socks and I messed both of them up, so those didn’t end up making the cut. My life partner didn’t like them anyway because he wanted dark, and I had this green yarn, so that’s the color he chose. I did mess up on the heel because I didn’t do a even 3 way split when doing the heel, I kept going one too many rows, so that’s why it’s so pointy, and believe me, it’s not comfortable lol. Since I made that first one that pointy, I have to make the matching one exactly the same. I do plan on making more and doing it right lol.

I made this first one going cuff down to toe, and I did it using the magic loop method, and I switched to DPN’s (double pointed needles) for the toe. I am still working on the matching sock because my hand has been in so much agony from all the failed socks, then this sock and now the sock I’m working on. It’s taking longer because I have to keep resting my hand. For the 2nd sock I decided to start making it using the DPN’s, but then I decided I wanted to buy some sock sized circular needles. I also bought actual sock yarn, so for the sock yarn I bought a 9 inch long 2.75mm US 2 size circular knitting needles, so I figured I would also buy 9 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles for the yarn socks, but that turned out to be a mistake because 9 inches is not long enough. You can see in the regular sock yarn there is a stretch while it is on the circular knitting needles, but the regular yarn is bunched up too much and it just made it more difficult to knit, so I bought a 12 inch long 5mm US 8 size circular knitting needles, and as you can see from the pictures, it made a huge difference.

So after I finish with this green sock, I really want to go buy some more variegated yarn. My favorite is called Painted Desert. I think that will look awesome as a foot sweater lol. The regular sock yarn is Premier wool free sock yarn in the following styles. I saved the screenshots from the website of the finished sock so you can see and then took a screenshot of all 3 of them together.

I honestly don’t know why I bought the Petunia or the Vegas Lights. These were the only 3 available in the listing on the Michael’s website. Of course after I bought these 3 colors, they added more colors to the same listing that are more masculine that I really would rather have, but such is life I guess. Perhaps I will make those 2 pairs to give away. I found them on Amazon for the same exact price and free shipping with Prime, so maybe I will get them there since it’s faster shipping, that is if my hand is still alive when I finish making these.

Anyway, I like making things that are actually useful, and I can’t wait to see the Painted Desert yarn as a sock. Maybe one day I will find the sock yarn for the first sock I ever made so I can make the matching sock.

CPAP Therapy and the myAir App

I started using my new CPAP machine in late June 2019 and I just wanted to post an update on my progress.

When Aprea Healthcare told me that I wasn’t going to get a BiPAP machine, I was freaked out because I have been using a BiPAP machine since 2005 and I thought the CPAP, which is called CPAP because it’s continuous air, BiPap is for bidirectional air, I though the CPAP was going to make it harder to sleep, but this new CPAP is actually not that bad. I am able to inhale and exhale normally.

The mask they included with my new machine was the nasal mask that I was used to, but this new mask was a bit different. The old mask had the cushion and pillow, unlike the new ones that just have the pillow. Here is my old mask with the cushion and pillow on the left, and the new pillows with 3 different nose sizes on the right.

I never had a problem with the old cushion and pillow masks, I could breathe through both nostrils just fine throughout the ramp stage (when you first start for the night, your machine starts out with a low pressure and that pressure slowly builds up to the final pressure over time to allow you to get used to the air) and beyond. This new mask was just too restricting for me. I started with the medium, which was installed on the mask frame when I received my new machine, and decided to use the large one on the 2nd night, but I still had a problem getting air during the ramp stage. I called and set up an appointment to tell them I’m having trouble and they told me I could get a different mask before the first 30 days are up, so I went in and they suggested this new nasal pillow which goes into your nostrils, and that one seems to work better, but there are side effects, like me pulling on the hose while I sleep which causes the air to leak.

The guy at Aprea Healthcare suggested I use the medium nasal pillow, but it’s too small and when I wake up, my nostrils are in agony because both pillows have literally gone inside my nose lol. I switched to the large, and haven’t had any pain. It REALLY sucks waking up in pain.

So this is my update. I’m doing good with my new CPAP machine. I wanted to post something so people will know that if you have been using a BiPAP for a long time and the Sleep Apnea company that sends you a new machine refuses to give you a new BiPAP, but instead only wants to give you CPAP, don’t worry, it’s pretty much the same thing. You can breathe easier (that was my pun for the day lol) knowing it works for me, and I was adamant about getting a BiPAP. If you find that you have trouble with CPAP, tell them and they will work to get you a BiPAP. It was like pulling teeth to get this CPAP, so I’m not even going to try to get something else.

Oh and here’s the myAir app screenshot. I love this app because before I didn’t have any data, this new machine actually sends the data to this app and now I can see what happens when I sleep.

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

Have you ever had a sandwich that was so good that you felt like you should probably blog about it? Well, I’m doing it anyway.

So a friends dog swallowed clothing lol. Like, she chewed it up and then swallowed it, but then she also swallowed 2 whole socks, and yes, it was a pair. Ever wonder where those missing pairs of socks went? LOL!!! So, naturally it wasn’t good and they had to take her to the vet and it was very expensive, so they were forced to sell a lot of their belongings to pay the vet bill. They can get all that stuff back in time, if they really wanted to.

I went to the yard sale specifically to buy something to help them out. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend, and I usually always leave yard sales empty handed because I’m never interested in anything people are selling, because they usually sell things even they don’t care about. But these guys had some things I wanted, and this was one of them. I’ve wanted this thing for years, and finally got it for $5.

I brought it home and cleaned it up because that’s what you do when you buy something like this, and put it in the cupboard. It was so hot that I just didn’t even feel like going to the store last night, so today I was going to just do research by watching YouTube for instructions, and they said you can use regular bread, which I happen to have. Bread, ham, cheese and an egg. I had those things, so I had lunch.

The bread isn’t round like an English muffin, so I had to use the round plates to basically cut the bread in a round shape. I buttered the bread and placed it butter side down, then I added some cheese and I put the egg part down so I could add an egg, and I did, then remembered I forgot to put the ham in, so I added that on top of the egg and then the top piece of bread with butter. Ugh! It was a disaster because I forgot to add the ham. The top bread was burning. It was still good though lol.

Take 2. This time I had it turned off. I added the first piece of bread, butter side down, then I added cheese and this time I remembered the ham. Then I placed the egg plate side down and this time I added butter to the egg plate because before it left this crusty egg residue. Then I turned it on to allow the butter to melt, then when it started to melt I added an egg, gave it a little scramble, then added the top slice of bread butter side up, closed the lid and set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes. That time it was perfect.

This is the perfect little gadget for making the perfect breakfast sandwich, but you can also make lunch with it and from what I hear you can make mini pizzas too. Just add the bottom part of a English muffin, or bread with butter side down (I like to add butter to the bread), then add some pizza sauce and cheese and other toppings, place the egg plate side down and repeat with the top part of the muffin, or bread, add pizza stuff, close and wait 5 minutes. Boom! Pizza!

So I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with my creativity with this. I’m thinking I can use pancakes and waffles and small bagels and so many more things for the bread, add cheese and different meats, if I can remember to add those before the egg lol.

Anyway, it’s good, you should buy one.

My Sleep Apnea

My 15 year old BiPAP Machine left vs my new CPAP machine right.

I have severe sleep apnea. In the early 2000’s I was visiting my aunt in Simi Valley and another aunt in Lancaster, both in California and both aunts told me that not only is my snoring loud, but they could hear me gasp for air in my sleep. In 2003 I was waking up in the middle of the night literally gasping for air. I couldn’t inhale any air at all, yet I was able to exhale what air I had left in my lungs with no problem. I thought I was going to die, and this happened every night. I went to my doctor and they gave me an inhaler and they ordered a sleep study and a year later I got my first machine which is the BiPAP machine in the image above on the left.

My original sleep study was great because I was taking Ambien at the time, so I was able to go to sleep immediately. They only had me there for a few hours, and during that time they gave me both tests. They had me sleep without the mask, for I’m guessing an hour, then they woke me up to put the mask on me connected to a BiPAP machine and conducted the test for another hour, then I was released. It did take a year for me to finally receive my BiPAP machine, but it wasn’t an issue getting it to me. The only time the company that sold the BiPAP to me contacted me was when they were trying to set up an appointment to bring it to my house and to show me how it works.

Last year in February I had a new sleep study so that I could get a new machine since mine was 14 years old at the time, and I had the hardest time getting to sleep. First of all, the insurance company won’t let me take sleeping pills anymore because they think I’m addicted to them. I have sleeping disorders and insomnia. If I can’t sleep, I need something to help me to sleep, otherwise I’m up until 4am staring at the ceiling.

So last year I was at the new sleep study and the room was a nice room that resembled a bedroom in an office with a nice bed that looked and felt brand new, but it was a strange bed and the room was hot and I just couldn’t sleep. I was awake for about 80% of the study. It’s difficult to sleep when you don’t have anything to help you sleep and you have all these wires on your head and body and you are told to sleep on your back in a strange environment in a strange bed in a hot room.

They had me come back a few months later for the second part of the sleep study which was the same exact thing, but the only difference was I had to sleep with the mask on from the same exact BiPAP machine that I was currently using. The same thing happened, I was awake for 80% of the night, but this time I had a mask on blowing air into my nose and I was awake for it. It’s so frustrating.

So I figured I had failed the sleep study both times and there was no way I was ever going to get a new machine. I was surprised when this year I received a phone call to tell me that I had been approved for a new machine. This was the most difficult machine to get because they kept calling me to tell me they were missing documents from my doctor’s office and that I would have to wait for it to be approved. Then one day they called me to tell me that I’m not going to get my machine at all because they have cancelled me because they didn’t get the documents. I called the doctor’s office every time they called me, and every single time the doctor’s office told me that they did in fact send every document that was requested, multiple times. It took 3 months of getting these phone calls telling me they were missing documents. Don’t call ME to tell me you don’t have documents, call the doctor’s office. I think that is so unprofessional of a company to do that to a patient. Don’t involve me in this, just work to get me my machine.

So finally I did get the machine and it is a much smaller machine, but this one is a CPAP machine instead of a BiPAP machine. What’s the difference? Well, a CPAP machine is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and a BiPAP is Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure. I was told back in 2005 that the BiPAP stood for Bidirectional Positive Airway Pressure.

My first night with this new CPAP machine wasn’t good. I was awake half the night. I think I was just not used to this new mask and it was constantly leaking air. Well, that was my fault, I didn’t have it on tight enough. The second night I had it on much tighter, but I kept turning the machine off because I thought the mask was too small because I couldn’t breathe through my left nostril. It came with a guide that you place on your face to see which mask you need. It told me I need the small, but it was too small, I feel more comfortable with the large one.

This new machine is connected to an online company that tracks my sleep, and the purpose is so the insurance company can make sure I am using it. If I don’t use it, then they don’t want to pay for it. That’s literally what the company that sold the machine told me. They are also watching to make sure I’m using it. They said I need to use it at least 4 hours a night for 3 months or so, and if I follow this, then the insurance company will pay for the machine until it’s paid for, and then the machine is mine to keep. But if I don’t use it, they will know. Why wouldn’t I use it? I have sleep apnea lol.

I am so thankful to have this new machine, because I was so worried my old one was going to stop working and that I would eventually die from my sleep apnea. I would rather die in my sleep not knowing I’m dying rather than be in pain, but I’m not even 50 yet, I’m not ready to die. My mother died at age 42 of a heart attack in her sleep, and I know for a fact she snored really loud. I think she had sleep apnea, and just didn’t know. What a way to go though. Let me get wrinkles before I die though.

Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut BrightPad

Well, it happened sooner than I was expecting. I got a Cricut Explore Air 2, and it came with a free Cricut BrightPad from Michaels.

I mentioned in my last blog post that a friend had given me a Cricut Personal, which is basically one of the first electronic Cricuts ever made and that I wanted to buy a Cricut Explore Air 2 eventually, either by my birthday, or by Christmas.

I got an email from Michaels telling me about their new sale, and it said all of the Cricut stuff was on sale, so I clicked their link and discovered the 6″x12″ cutting mats for the Cricut Personal was $5.99 for 2 mats. I told my life partner the next morning that I wanted to go buy a pack of cutting mats and a new blade and on the way he asked how much a new Cricut was and I told him it was on sale and you get a BrightPad, but I don’t want him to buy it for me, and he said “Well, you might as well just get the latest one, I know you want it because you keep telling me what you can do that you can’t do now.”

So, now I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 and a Cricut BrightPad. I’ve been pretty busy making boxes and cards and their matching envelopes. I also bought some vinyl and iron on vinyl from Amazon so I can make more than just things with paper.

One thing to note about the cartridges that I bought from eBay is that if you buy something that has been used, there is a good chance that person has already linked the cartridge to their account, so you will be wasting your money on the cartridge if you are using it with a new Cricut. It will still work on the old Cricut, but if someone has already linked it, you are wasting money. I bought 2 cartridges from eBay, Creative Everyday Cards and Sweet Tooth Boxes. I was able to link Creative Everyday Cards because that one was brand new, but Sweet Tooth Boxes was already linked to someone else’s account, so it’s literally useless to me. Those patterns are available for Cricut Access, which I am using their trial right now and will probably continue to pay for every month, but if I quit using that, I won’t have access to those cut files.

I love my new Cricut Explore Air 2 and Brightpad. I’ve already made a thank you card for the person who gave me the original Cricut, plus I’ve made 2 Easter cards and 2 boxes for chocolate, one of which matches the thank you card.

Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter

Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter CRV001

A friend recently sent me a email about a Brother Embroidery and Sewing machine, and I had mentioned to her that someone had offered to sell me a Brother Scan N Cut for $50 and I stupidly turned it down because I didn’t think that I would even use it because I thought it was for cutting paper only. I didn’t even know what it was, so after it was offered to me, I went to YouTube to watch some videos, and I discovered how much I really wanted one, but by then it was too late.

After I turned the Brother Scan N Cut down, I went online and did some research and watched a lot of videos on YouTube and I had decided that I wanted a Cricut Explore Air 2. I actually wanted a Cricut Maker because it cuts fabric with a fabric cutting wheel, but it’s also $400 lol. The Cricut Explore Air 2 was $196 at Christmas, and is often on sale for around the same price. Also, I think the extra things you have to buy like new blades, cutting mats etc are cheaper than for the Brother, but I could be wrong. I’ll have to do more research, but my mind is pretty set on the Cricut.

So I told her I was saving for a Cricut, and she texted my life partner that she was dropping something off on our doorstep, and when I went out there to look, there was a box for a Cricut Personal Cutting Machine. This is model CRV001 which I think is one of the very first Cricut Electronic cutting machines ever made. I have got to stop telling people that I want things. I wasn’t hinting around to her that I wanted for HER to buy it for me, but she told me she’s had it in her closet for years. HA! Sounds familiar. (you know because I was in the closet for years… It’s when you have to explain the joke that it isn’t that funny.)

This Cricut only uses a 6″ x 12″ cutting mat and it requires a rubber keyboard and a cartridge to cut. You can plug it in to your computer since it has a USB port on the back next to where you plug the power cord in to, but it didn’t come with a USB cable. I bought one on Amazon just to see if I could even use it with my computer, but unfortunately it doesn’t connect to Cricut Design Space.

So, I’ve had a little bit of fun with this Cricut. I bought 2 cartridges. One is called Sweet Tooth Boxes and the other is called Creative Everyday Cards, pictures below. The boxes one came with the keyboard, but the cards didn’t, so I had to print out a keyboard to use as a reference so I know which buttons to press. This Cricut came with a cartridge called George and Basic Shapes, but if I am going to cut words out, I want to be able to see them on the screen so I can adjust the placement and to make sure all the letters actually fit on the same row, and to be able to center the text etc.

I love this machine, I am not complaining about it, but there is a problem with only having a 6″ x 12″ cutting mat. Most cartridges have patterns that require you to have a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat, like for example, all of the boxes in Sweet Tooth Boxes need to be 9″-11.5″ and in order to be able to cut the envelopes for the Creative Everyday Cards, I need to be able to cut on a bigger cutting mat. It doesn’t say how big, but it says on the screen that it’s too big for the cutting mat. So before I buy any more cartridges, I have to make sure they will actually cut on a 6″ x 12″ mat. Buying these cartridges isn’t a complete waste of money though, because I can still use them on the newer Cricut Explore Air 2.

Here are some cards that I made with this Cricut Personal Cutting Machine. The paper I used was a big pad of 12″ x 12″ sheets from Joann called Park Lane Paperie that comes with 58 sheets that are textured printed card stock that cost $20, but was on sale for 50% off. Cricut makes their own paper that have patterns, but they also cost a lot more money for only a few sheets.

The cards are very thick since there are multiple layers glued together on the front of the card, and the inside of the card will have another piece cut that you could run through your printer to print a poem or whatever you want it to say, or you could write on it and then glue it to the inside.

I said I couldn’t make any of the boxes, but technically you can, if you don’t mind a tiny version of the actual box. Unfortunately, some of these are too tiny. The first box is a regular square box that is supposed to be cut at 11″, but I cut it at 5.5″ and it came out to be 3.25″ after I folded all the sides up. I can still use this small box for I’m guessing 9 pieces of candy, but I won’t know until I actually make Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate covered cherries again.

The box in the middle is supposed to be a Chinese takeout box printed in 1 cut and folded exactly the way they fold the actual Chinese takeout boxes, but this is smaller than a bottle of white out. Sorry, Bic Cover-It. It’s actual size is 1.25″ at the top and bottom and tall. When folded, it’s a perfect cube.

Then the 3rd box is another Chinese takeout box, but this one is cut with 4 separate pieces you glue together, then you cut the red pieces and glue them on, but they were very tiny when I cut them, so they weren’t cut with the precision of a bigger machine. Also, the box is 2″ at the bottom, 2.25″ at the top and it is 2.5″ tall when the top is folded.

I do love this machine, I appreciate that I didn’t have to pay money for it, and I can give it back when I buy a new machine. I think this is the perfect starter machine, because it gives me an idea of how it cuts paper and allows me to make some pretty cool things that I never would have imagined before. I definitely cannot wait to have a newer machine though because I have so many ideas for things I want to make.