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.
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.
In 2010 I made some Christmas stockings for my life partner’s grand nephew’s Andrew, Jordan and Noah. Andrew and Jordan got the embroidered stockings and Noah got the felt stocking because he was a baby at the time and it was a baby stocking in my opinion.
These were all stocking kits that were given to me when a friend passed away. She was a hoarder who had TONS of craft supplies that she never used and held onto for decades. Those stocking kits (link above) were from the 1970’s and I’ve seen them recently on eBay for as high as $250 each. Not the felt one, but the embroidery stockings. I wanted to make Noah a more adult stocking in the same style, but I can’t seem to find any that I can afford, so I bought a counted cross stitch pattern instead.
I would much prefer to make the embroidered stocking like the one Andrew and Jordan have, because they are easy to make, but I will have to work with what I can afford in this case. So I sent my life partner an email with a link to a website called The Stitchery with the stockings in the search box, and he picked the one in the image at the top of this post. I think it’s a nice stocking for a child, but it doesn’t quite match the other 2 stockings, not that it has to match, but they are a family, and they should have stockings that sort of are in the same family of stockings. But, the stocking Noah has now isn’t in the same family as the embroidered stockings for Jordan and Andrew, so I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.
This stocking project will keep my brain busy and I won’t have any time to obsess over every little thing happening in the news that I see on Facebook, which is good because I’m close to having a nervous breakdown. Crafting calms my brain, and my heart, and I have high blood pressure so this will do the trick to keep me alive to see another day lol. Crafting has always been something that I’ve used to calm myself down. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, this is mine lol.
I don’t make Friendship bracelets very often, so when I do it’s usually a custom order where someone requests that I make a bracelet. They usually ask what patterns I have, and I privately share the images, but I think what I will do now is just write a blog post with all the graphics and their names.
I have an i-Loom that has its own patterns, and I have a list of patterns not in the i-Loom, so I will show the patterns NOT in the i-Loom first. If you are interested in buying a pattern with a special button, please let me know by contacting me through my Etsy shop. My Etsy shop website is GayNerd.Etsy.com.
These are the patterns that are in the i-Loom. These are broken up into their star ratings. The ratings aren’t rated by difficulty because a 4 star pattern might be just as easy as a 1 star pattern, and a 1 star pattern might be more difficult, so I think they are rated based on the amount of strands in a bracelet.
I have been having fun with my i-Loom. I’ve made 4 1/2 bracelets so far (the half is still in the i-Loom as a work in progress). One issue I do have with the i-Loom is that it doesn’t have patterns that were created outside of the app. I have a program called FBD which is short for Friendship Bracelet Designer, and I have used that to create and print patterns in the past, and I could still use that option for making bracelets, but why would I want to do that when I have this new system with the i-Loom?
So how do I get those patterns into the app? Well, this is how I do it. I took a screenshot of the app with a pattern loaded, then in Gimp I removed all the pattern stuff and replaced it all with the pattern I want to add. The only problem is, the only way for me to work on those patterns using this method is to create many images numbered starting with 01, then add them to the Nook, and I have to go into the image gallery, load the first image, work that row, then swipe the screen to show the next image. This way each image shows each row I’m on inside the pink lines. When I get to the end, I have to swipe back to the first image and continue from there. Here’s an example of all 14 images for the pattern I want to work on. It’s supposed to be a Finding Nemo pattern.
This is not an option I will do instead of the patterns they have in the app, this is only an option for when I need to make a pattern that someone wants me to make that isn’t available in the i-Loom app.
I really love the i-Loom app, it would be nice if I could add more patterns because there are tons of patterns that I would like to make that I have in the FBD library. Fortunately for me they have some holiday patterns in the boutique already that I was able to buy, like the hearts patterns for Valentine’s Day, then there’s one with shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, and of course there is a pattern called Easter Baskets. Images below.
I’ve already made the first one that is the pink heart with the purple background, I currently have the same pattern in the i-Loom (that’s the one in progress) with red hearts and a pink background, I’ve made the heart braid, except I traded the darker pink with red. I haven’t started the 3rd heart bracelet yet, that one is TBD. Valentine’s Day is still 2 days away, so I’m probably going to skip over that and work on the Shamrock and the Easter Basket one soon.
The first 4 bracelets in the image above from left to right were made with the i-Loom, the other 2 were made with the printouts from FBD. I made the i-Loom bracelets according to the patterns for 7.5 inch bracelets, and naturally neither of them were 7.5 inches. They should’ve had another inch or so, but I made them from the patterns and didn’t go off course, I just stopped when the pattern told me to. Oh well.
And finally… the image next to the bracelets is my embroidery floss collection. I tossed all the i-Loom string because it’s crap, I’m using the DMC and Loops and Threads embroidery floss exclusively because it doesn’t break easily.
So I bought a potholder weaving loom. I didn’t plan on buying one, but we were at Michael’s the other day looking for Navy Blue paracord, and they didn’t have any, so I just decided to look around to see what other cool new things they had, and I found this on the clearance rack for only $3.99, so I bought it.
It came with 120 “colorful loops” which is supposed to make 3 potholders. These are the colors it came with, and white, which I didn’t use in this potholder. I finished this one and this is what it looks like.
I placed it inside the loom so you can see how much it shrank after I finished the edges. It’s not a very big potholder, and actually there is a note on the instructions that came in the box that says “Pot holders created for decorative use only.” Hmmm… I wonder why they say that. Is it because it’s so small, or because it’s not thick enough to protect your fingers from hot items out of the oven? I think both.
Well, they are small pot holders, and even though it says decorative, I can still use them as coasters, or to put under bowls of soup or whatever is in a hot bowl. They are thick enough that they can protect my table from the heat of a bowl.
I have one completed (seen above) and another one still in the loom so I can make a video when I receive another craft tool. The 3rd one will be different since I have a ton of the white, and not enough of the colors to make another matching potholder.
This isn’t for selling potholders or coasters, I just wanted to learn how to make these and to make potholders for us to use at home for our bowls.
I couldn’t find the picture of the box online, and my guess is because it was on the clearance rack, so obviously they stopped using that box design. They have the same brand on the Michael’s website, but it’s a different box and it’s more than what I paid.
My partner and I were at Hobby Lobby yesterday, and I saw this thing in the yarn section next to the latch hook stuff, and I wanted it. I didn’t buy it there because they wanted $60 for it, and I looked it up on Amazon and they were only charging $24.99, so I bough it and a Midnight Sky 12 pack for $5.99 so I could get free shipping. They offer free shipping on orders $25 or higher, so I couldn’t get free shipping over a penny lol.
I actually have a tool that’s like a clipboard called My Friendship Bracelet Maker, but it only goes up to 10 strands, maybe 12 strands if you let the 2 on the ends hang off the sides. This i-Loom looks like it can hold 40 strands of thread, which is awesome because I don’t want to be limited. You can also create your own patterns in the app and it’s on the screen of your tablet which is in the device, so you don’t have to print patterns. It also has the pattern on the screen according to the spot you are on, and you press the arrows to continue with your pattern to the next row, and you can save your place when you want to stop. You can’t do that with a printout.
I won’t actually get this thing until next week, so when I do get it I will make a video. I am super excited because I’ve wanted to make a bigger bracelet for myself for a long time. I also want to make bracelets for other people, and I would love to add new bracelets to my Etsy shop. It’s about time I start adding new products.
Of course, I don’t have an iPad, but the app works on Android, so I will be using my Nook HD+ since the app works on my Nook. My Nook doesn’t have a camera, so I will have to install the app on my phone and use that to scan the QR code of the patterns I will get from my order and the refill kit. It will appear in the Nook app after that. I hope…
I did have to buy the starter set in the app to be able to create my own patterns, and it still won’t let me create my own patterns, so I will have to find out what I can do when it arrives. I hope I can create my own patterns because I have a shit ton of patterns on my computer that I would like to add to the app. I’d also love to create some new patterns, so we’ll see what happens when it gets here.