Why I Love My Cricut

August 12, 2020 at 7:55 am (Mom Stuff, Projects, Scrap-booking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of <a href=”Cricuthttps://lnk2.io/wjcWg2L”>Cricut</a>. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have had my Cricut Explore Air 2 for a few months now, and to say I’m in love is an understatement! I’ve always been a crafter, but this things really helps me step up my game! Here I am going to talk about the 5 things that I love about my Cricut!

1. Its easy to use! I was truly shocked at how easy this machine is! Not going to lie, I was intimidated at first. I worried where to start and if I would be able to figure it all out. Yup. I was. Best place to start? Pick a project and jump in. They really mean it when they say their motto is “beginners luck every time.” I learn tricks and get braver each time I use my machine, but I definitely agree that picking a beginner level project and diving in head first is a great way to start and will prove to you how easy it is! Check out this shirt I made as one of my very first projects:

2. Support! That brings me to the second thing I love about my Cricut. Its like having a whole community of creators to support you. Have a question? Worried about where to begin or which type of project to do? They’ve got an answer! Not only does Cricut have a team you can email or chat with, but they have numerous pages where you can reach out to their pros or other crafters with tons of experience. They’ve all started somewhere and learned lots and are at the ready to make sure you love your machine and projects. I would know. I wasn’t sure how to customize the design I wanted to make myself for this bag, and the Facebook page group had almost immediate answers for me!

3. Ideas! This also leads me to another thing I love about Cricut, the ideas! I never worry about having a creative block. There’s no way. The ideas of projects to make are endless, for every single occasion you cak dream of. Really. You can find ideas galore on Pinterest, and Instagram, or Cricuts’s Facebook page. And my favorite place for inspiration? The Cricut emails! They send seasonal emails showing the new ideas and templates added to Design Space, their app for making. How did I know about the new infusible ink and coaster blanks to make these? One of their idea emails! Light bulb!

4. The options! Got a bright idea to make? You can! And Cricut can help you do it! The options they supply for you is endless. Or almost. Not only do they help with the ideas, but they make it easy to find all of the supplies you need to make visions come to fruition. They have coasters, bags, shirts, materials, pens, markers, vinyls, decals, iron ons, and the widest variety of patterns in their supplies you could imagine! Sparkles, holographics, leopard, wood grain…their possibilities are never ending! Not to mention, cricut has other machines like the EasyPress, and tools like mats, cutters, Nd weeders, to make all of the options come to life!

5. Capabilities! This machine not only cuts paper and vinyls. I was shocked to learn what all it really can do. Like blown away. It can cut leather, poster board, felt, fabric and even wood. But it doesn’t just cut, it can score. And it can draw! Yup! Shocked?! Me too. You can insert pens and markers into the blade holder and it can draw or write, making handmade cards, letters, signs… mind blown.

The capabilities combined with the Cricut options alone shows you that the possibilities are truly endless. I cannot wait to do another project every time I finish one! And now all of my gifts will be one of a kind made by yours truly!

Here’s a quick breakdown of my latest project, a sign for our kitchen.

Choose a board and a quote. My board is a faded, chipped, barn board from our barn. (I’m sure to some the white paint left on one corner and the odd shape caused by years of cattle wear are not pretty, but we loved this board! 😉

Then, start on the Design Space app, and find my design template here. My board is 5ft long, but you can edit the design to adjust measurements. Once you send the design to the machine and it cuts it on vinyl, weed the excess pieces out. Use transfer tape to pick up your design and stick it down in place on your board. You could add flourishes to the ends of your quote too! You can change this design and even choose your own color vinyl. I used matte clear coat over the board to ensure no edges lift since I chose an old, rippled barn board for my project. Add a hanger or two on the back and hang. Easy peasy and a great one-of-a-kind, beginner-friendly project!

Have questions? Need help or ideas? Just ask! 😘

XX,

Jess

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Saving a Little Fun Money

March 5, 2020 at 5:53 am (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Money is tight, I’m right there with you. But I want to show my kids things and have fun too. Here are a few simple ways that I have found to grow a little bit of a “fun money” fund and set aside to do some family things, or whatever your heart desires!

Ibotta– (referral code irrqbz) This app really is legit. When I shop, just as I normally would for everyday items and necessities, I search the app for deals on things I got. If I I some, I scan my receipt and get money back. They add it to your account and you can cash out via paypal or other gift cards once you hit $20. It’s a little slow, but free money! Sometimes I check the app before I shop to see if there’s a good deal going on for something we use anyway even if it wasn’t on my list, but in general just shop as normal then scan. If you use my code we can help each other as a team to earn bonuses. Score! See below for how much I’ve earned this way!

Ebates– Same idea, but use when shopping online. You start through the app and then search for the store you want to shop at. Money is added up and a check is sent out to you quarterly. I have cashed the checks and they are legit too! See below!

Receipt Hog– This one you just scan any receipts you get into the app. They give you points for each one. Once you add up to so many points you can cash out via PayPal or other methods. Super easy and I scan I receipts I’m already getting, gas, groceries, etc. I’ve made a little cash so far.

My big tip when doing this is to take the cash out directly and immediately add it to an envelope or jar and stash it away. Why? So that it doesn’t get spent on everyday stuff. This helps me to really keep it “extra” money and see it add up. I add money to this envelope that I get from anything extra, maybe selling some clothes or a furniture project I do.

A couple more to possibly try:

Door Dash- I’ve signed up to be a delivery driver just for some pocket cash, and since I’m always out and about anyway, but haven’t found any jobs in my area yet. Keep you posted!

Amazon Product testing- there are several sites you can do this through. But beware that you may eventually add up enough “income” that taxes may need to be filed. I’ve been told that the expenses would outweigh the income, so this may not be an issue. I’ve used PPOC before and made a little cash.

I also sell our clothes and items that we outgrow, especially baby things, through local resale shops or Stuff, Etc.

Good luck saving for something fun! What are you hoping to save up for?!

XX,

Jess

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Family Travel Tips

January 14, 2020 at 6:51 am (Family Stuff, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart. But, it’s totally possible to have an awesome time and not lose your sanity! We are living proof. I have a few simple tricks to keep it all together when traveling with a crew. My family of 5, mom, dad, 17 year old, 6 year old, and 1.5 year old, recently traveled to Florida and not only survived, but also had an amazing time. (Read about Florida ideas is previous post!) Here are some things that worked really well for us that we recommend and will be doing again.

Packing Cases- We got each family member a different color set of packing cases this time. Especially helpful since plane tickets no longer come with a checked bag any longer, as we decided to pay the extra fee for only two large checked suitcases between the 5 of us. This set of packing cases, which we used, are decently priced, come with 6 pouches per set, and had plenty of color options. They are a bit cheaply made, but did a good job for us. Lots more options for these on Amazon too! I divided each person’s cases into groups, like one pouch for shirts, one for bottoms, one for undergarments, etc. I also think it may be helpful to divide by outfits rolled together. At least this way there were only 6 options for where your swim suit could be located on the chaos! 😉

Nacuwa Bottle- If you haven’t heard already, all airlines now only allow liquids in 3.4 oz bottles and these need to be in a quart sized ziplock baggie. To simplify things, use the Nacuwa bottle! All of our necessities can go in one bottle. It’s even TSA approved! Tip- add a ziplock to each bag. You might bring home a hotel lotion, or find that you had a little perfume in your purse without a baggie. Each person is allowed one, so make sure you are prepared to take advantage of this! We use the Nacuwa travel bottle for camping and cabining as well! So handy!

Bubble Bum Seat- Got kids in the booster seat age and size range? You need this. Its handy for all the things, travel, grandma’s car, carpool, etc. We loved having it for the rental car. I know rental cars can provide carseats, but they add an extra expense. And, I’ve heard rumor, that sometimes they don’t have the size seat you requested on hand, or it is outdated or dirty… Save yourself extra trouble and get this guy. He fits in this bag shown in my hand, then blows up to the seat B is holding below. It meets and exceeds all safety standards! Plus, B says it’s super comfy.

Spirit Airlines- Ok, hear me out. This may not be the airline of beat choice if you are taking a super long flight and need extra comfort… but they have their perks if you are ok with very basic and are hoping to save some money. Perk 1- they allow you to bring a diaper bag on free, in addition to the one personal item each traveler is allowed. Thank goodness! Perk 2- they also allow you to check a stroller and carseat for each child for free. We checked the toddler’s carseat (again with the rental car issue) and gate checked the stroller. This means we drove it all the way to the gate with kiddo in it, and it goes right in the door of the plane and off to meet us. Perfect! Perk 3- they combine weights for your suitcases, whereas other airlines don’t. Each checked suitcase is allowed to be 40lbs without extra charge. With Spirit, one could be 20lbs and one could be 60lbs then. Less stress worrying about how to split things up!! Perk 4- you can bring your own snacks and drinks! They do not serve anything for free on the flight, adding to your lower prices, but this also allows you the freedom to pack what and how much you want! Some airports will not allow you through safety checks with drinks. Chicago did, because Spirit’s checkpoint was separated. However, Jacksonville did not, as all airline were checked together. Snacks were fine. Exceptions are always made for breastmilk, formula, etc.

Carseats– I mentioned above that I believe in the perks of bringing your own carseat when renting a car. Here is something you should get. A strap to attach the carseat to your wheeled suitcase. So handy to not lug another parcel through the airport. We wheeled the carseat to baggage check. Then we packed it in it’s own travel bag to be checked. The second picture below is how the carseat bag rolls up into it’s own pouch to pack. Pack this in an outside pocket of your suitcase and you will know where it is before you check bags.

Last tips- stay organized, go with the flow, don’t see it all, and enjoy the little things. Dad says- pack lots of snacks. You will have a blast! Safe travels!

Anything you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Spring Cleaning

May 1, 2009 at 12:45 pm (Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Like I said, last weekend we did some deep cleaning for spring.  Yesterday on my Thursday off, I finally finished (as finished as housework ever gets!) the spring cleaning.  I wanted the house to be spotless for my family coming into town to visit this weekend.  So, here are some always great to remember spring cleaning ideas:

1. Clean the gutters.  Spring is time for rain, rain will flood your basement if the gutters are overflowing!  Or like us, you might have to walk through a waterfall to get out the door!  So, Tony climbed the ladder, hauled a garbage can along with him, and cleaned the gutters.

2.  Wash windows.  I love clean windows, they even brighten up a room.  But, at least this one time a year you should deep clean them, inside and out.  I not only windex-ed them, but also took a Q-tip to the corners and tiny spaces.  Fresh spring air is great flowing through clean windows!

3. Scrub the walls and untouched spots.  Walls, especially in the kitchen, get grimy.  Paint will look more its original color if gently washed clean once in a while, plus it keeps spider webs out of corners and in vents.  Also, take a dish-soapy towel to the tops of cabinets and inside the cupboards.  These rarely cleaned spots need it now and then!

4. Spray and scrub siding.  We are still working a bit on  this one.  But, taking the hose to your siding will instantly freshen the outside of your house.  On the porch I scrubbed stuck on dirt off with a wet cloth. 

5.  Move all furniture to clean/vacuum.  I vacuum all the time.  But, sometimes I am lazy and don’t move every piece of furniture.  I actually never move the bed or couches.  So, this time of year I try to move all things, even the big ones and clean or vacuum under them.  You never know how much crud has built up under there. 

6.  And, finally, go through drawers and cupboards.  We have a junk drawer that overflows every once in a while.  Spring in particular is the time to go through these drawers, even clothes drawers of closets.  Toss things you no longer want to keep, gather up the things you want to sell or take to Goodwill, and neatly arrange back the things you want to keep.

After taking these few steps your house should be spring ready (pretty much!). Take a deep breathe once you are done.  Doesn’t that feel good?  Fresh?  Spring is the time for fresh starts! 🙂

And, while there are no pictures of dirty windows and gross gutter goo to show you, I do have a set of cute martini glasses for sale!  They are plastic, and oh so cute! 

glasses-for-sale-001

glasses-for-sale-002

So, what other good spring cleaning ideas do you all have?

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Scrap-booking Question

January 29, 2009 at 10:32 am (Scrap-booking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been scrap-booking since I was in high school. I love taking photos and loving preserving memories, so this is quickly became one of my favorite hobbies. Due to being extremely busy I quit scrap-booking for a few years almost completely. The other day I found some very adorable paper and was so inspired I have started scrap-booking again full force. (The paper was from Micheal’s, which I recommend!).

I have come across a small problem, however, that I am hoping you out there in the blog world can help me with. My supplies are currently stored in about 4 different boxes. I rummage through the boxes when I am in search of inspiration or the perfect color of paper. The are constantly getting messy and unmanageable. The boxes are not uniform, either, which makes them hard to store. I am such a neat freak that this is really bothering me. I have seen carrying cases for sale that are meant for scrap-booking, but they are ridiculously overpriced!

My dilemma: I am insearch of an affordable, possibly DIY solution to the scrapbooking mess!

Here are just a couple of my unruly boxes of scrapbooking materials.  I love the pink box, as it is an oversized gift box from Victoria's Secret, but the heavy materials are starting to demolish the box!

Here are just a couple of my unruly boxes of scrap-booking materials. I love the pink box, as it is an over-sized gift box from Victoria's Secret, but the heavy materials are starting to demolish the box!

Here is just a glimpse of the plethora of supplies needed for scrapbooking.  Scissors, stickers, markers, pens, accessories, paper...

Here is just a glimpse of the plethora of supplies needed for scrap-booking. Scissors, stickers, markers, pens, accessories, paper...

I was thinking that sticker sheets and paper might be categorized and sorted in some sort of accordion type portfolio folder (Wal-Mart even carries on in a black and white damask pattern!). But, the 12′ x12′ sheets of paper might not fit in one of those. What do you think? Suggestions?

Here is a glimpse of the pages I have completed recently. Any page ideas? If you would like help with your scrapbook just drop me a line about that as well! 🙂

blog-pics-17-004

P.S. It really is too bad that photos don’t do the details of these pages justice, as some of this paper is really gorgeous up close!

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