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.

Learning German with Duolingo

Duolingo 

I mentioned that I found my father’s family and I discovered I had a brother who happens to have been born in Germany, and he is currently living in Germany in the same city he was born. Luckily he speaks English, so there is no communication issue, but I am interested in learning German so if the day ever comes when I can visit him, I would like to know the language so I won’t be lost in translation if I decide I want to do some sight seeing when I visit. I also have an aunt and uncle who suddenly switch to German every now and then, and it does get frustrating when you’re the only person in a room full of people speaking German.

So I went to Google a little over a month ago to find a website or a program I could buy that would teach me German. I thought for sure I would find something that was overly expensive, but I was surprised to find Duolingo was free.

I’ve learned “Basics 1” which was pretty easy. “The” which I think I’ve finally really mastered. There are certain times that I’m still learning when to use certain “the” words, but I’m getting it. “Basics 2” was a little difficult, like there are some words like we are that translate to wir sind, you are which translates to ihr seid, they are which is sie sind. They also taught ich trinke, du trinkst, er/sie/es trinkt, wir trinken and ihr trinkt. These all mean like I am drinking, you are drinking, he/she/it is drinking, we are drinking and you are drinking. These are still a little confusing because there are 5 ways to say that someone is drinking lol. I have to keep in mind the different ways, which brings me to accusative case which teaches not just drinking, but eating bread and read a book or newspaper. This stuff is hard. Phrases added several new words which I finally learned, and learning words is easier than learning the many different ways to say a verb. Then I did Intro which teaches many different ways to say the word speak, understand, is called (meaning like He is called Karl) and someone is from somewhere.

Learning a new language is hard ya’ll! But I’m more than happy to learn a new language. I have a learning disability, so I have to do the practice lessons for several days after I master a section, because even though I have the golden icon, I still haven’t really mastered those sections. I also have to speak into the microphone in these lessons so they can tell if I’m saying the words or phrases correct. So not only do I have to learn how to spell German words, and learn the words and what they mean, but I also have to learn how to pronounce them correctly so I don’t sound like I’m saying the wrong word(s).

I could learn any language they have to offer, and a lot of people I’ve spoken with on the website are learning multiple languages at the same time. If you thought learning one language was difficult, try learning 5 or 10 lol. Yeah, I think I will stick to one language for now.

Print Screen Not Working for Windows 10 (FIXED)

 

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Update: I’ve actually discovered new information. You see the image above? You see the double cloud icon on the left in the task tray next to the network icon? You want to right click on that and go into settings, then click the settings tab and click Start when Windows starts, otherwise you will have to go through this every day…

I have a Logitech MK520 keyboard mouse combo. It has a Print Screen button located above the arrow buttons just below the volume buttons. You press that button and it brings up a window (above) saying a screenshot was saved to your OneDrive. In the past when you took a screenshot, it went into your clipboard and you had to hurry and go into your paint program to paste it so you could save it, and with Windows 10 you can now enjoy all your screenshots all the time with no extra effort.

The last few days has been hell for me because I haven’t been able to take a screenshot. I Googled for the answer and I couldn’t find one. I just figured it out, and here is the answer.

So, when you press that Print Screen button it saves your screenshots to OneDrive, right? If your OneDrive suddenly isn’t letting you see pictures you haven’t already downloaded, then it’s because you probably aren’t signed in to your OneDrive anymore. I went to the Microsoft OneDrive website and clicked Download, then the next page let me know that I was already running OneDrive so I clicked Start OneDrive and another page opened and I got a pop up window saying Open Microsoft OneDrive, so I clicked it and got this image. Basically, just type your email address and it signs you in. I’m sure there is an easier way, and I’m sure you will find it. Just basically sign in to your OneDrive and press your Print Screen button and see the glorious screenshots being saved once again.

I hope this helps someone.

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Update: Ok so I seem to have new information. I discovered that OneDrive has given me this issue daily. Every day when I turn my computer on I have to go through this and I have discovered that at some point it

Weeks 12-14 Weigh In Day

I am very disappointed in myself for the last few weigh in’s because I haven’t been doing the hard work that I have supposed to be doing. I have been eating my Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine like I should, but I’ve also been saying yes to the tortilla chips and the candy because of Halloween, and I’ve paid the price in calories. I also haven’t been doing the work I need to do at the gym to help me to lose weight.

So the gym. I’ve been going to the gym every other day, and I stopped building muscle, but I haven’t been able to do the extra work on the treadmill because every time I get on the treadmill, within 20 minutes of walking I have to urinate, and you’d think I was holding it in for an hour. I have to hurry up and enter the time, calories and distance to the Noom app and run to grab a towel and soak it with Planet Fitness’ cleaning solution and wipe the bar down that I touched during my workout, then walk very fast to the locker room so I can pee. I thought the problem was going away, but it didn’t, and yesterday it actually caused me pain. My life partner Googled the symptoms and he says it sounds like I have a urinary tract infection. I’ve never had that problem before. Am I drinking too much water? Because I don’t drink anything but coffee in the morning and then water throughout the rest of the day, but is it the tap water that is causing the problem? Who knows. I’m going to start buying filtered water.

I think my biggest problem is that I am not getting enough sleep. When I lost 70lbs in 2013 I was sleeping, like a lot because I broke my arm, so I was sleeping for several hours during the day as well as at night, so I think that had a lot to do with my weight loss rather than diet and no exercise. This time I thought the weight gain was coming from building muscle, but I don’t think muscle has anything to do with it now, I think my problem is lack of sleep, so I think I’m going to make sure I take the time to take a nap and see if that helps.

The main reason I haven’t blogged the last couple of weeks is because I don’t think people really care about my weigh in blogs. So, I think this will be my last one unless something miraculous happens.

So if you have been reading, thanks so much for reading my weigh in blogs.

Week 11 Weigh In Day

It’s been one helluva week for me, so I honestly don’t even care that I didn’t lose weight this week, but instead I gained about 1.2lbs.

This week I bought 10 days worth of meals from Albertson’s because they were on sale for $1.69 each, but they aren’t the Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers Smart Ones, they are Signature Select which is a generic store brand. They taste good, and that’s really all that matters.

This week I also found my paternal father’s family and I found my brother, which I blogged about, so I’ve been celebrating and I have eaten things I shouldn’t have eaten, and honestly I just don’t care because I’m so happy right now.

The stress of trying to find someone is just unbelievable. But, I have closure now, so I don’t need to worry about being stressed out over trying to find my father. Right now my focus is getting to know my big brother. The weight will continue dropping as I continue eating healthy and continue going to the gym.

Yesterday at the gym I just felt like I was starving to death for some reason. I had to get off the treadmill after 35 minutes and I was going to go to Barnes & Noble next door to buy a croissant from the Starbucks, but then I noticed Planet Fitness had this big display with cookies that they were selling for $3. I didn’t care that it was that expensive, I just needed some food in my belly. I also didn’t care that it was 200 calories for just half of the cookie. I ate the whole damn thing. Deal with it lol. I also bought a box of generic organic nilla wafers and they were good, deal with that too lol.

Week 10 Weigh In Day

I am not very happy that my weight is going down as slow as it is, but, I am glad that I am still losing weight. At least I am losing weight, and that’s all that matters right now.

I have been eating less and doing more cardio than I was doing before. I was walking on the treadmill for 2 hours a day, but it was causing more stress on my knees and giving me blisters on my right heel and my left foot below my toes, so I had to knock it down to 1 1/2 hours per day. It has also caused me to have more pain in my spine. I have Scoliosis, so it’s probably not very good to do that to myself. They say no pain, no gain, but I don’t think they mean in my spine or the bottoms of my feet lol.

Weight loss is important to me, but not at the expense of my joints and my feet, so I will start doing other cardio exercises, like 1 hour on the treadmill and then 1 hour on the exercise bicycle. I’ve tried the elliptical and that is just as hard on my legs and my back as walking on the treadmill. I think sitting on the bicycle is probably better on my legs, feet and back.

I will persevere.