Saturday, February 21, 2015

Craftsy Offers Free eGuides


Happy Saturday!  This week has been very busy as we try to keep ahead of the snow that has overwhelmed our area.  Everyone I know is getting very "snow-weary."  This is now the second snowiest winter on record (98.7 inches) and we have a good chance of claiming the record for most snowfall (107.6 inches in the winter of 1995-96).  While this may not be an honor we want, after this much snow it would seem unfair not to make the record!


We haven't had an ice storm (yet) but in a few places the melting snow from the roof has dripped down on the bushes and then frozen again, coating sections with ice.  While I have really had my fill of snow, the way the ice formed around the needles to make little flowers is rather pretty (I'm just trying to find the bright side again!).

I have a couple of updates to share today. 

Free E-Guides from Craftsy


I have taken a few classes through Craftsy and also have enjoyed some of the free resources available there.  I am also a Craftsy affiliate.  If you have never visited the site, it is well worth your time to take a few minutes to see what they have to offer.  You can register and try out some of the free offerings which cover all sorts of crafts including knitting, quilting, art, photography, cake decorating and more.

Craftsy recently added some free eGuides on lots of topics, including paper crafting.  I downloaded the Paper Crafts eGuide (linked below) and found some great ideas for organizing and using up your paper stash and scraps.

You can find the guides for each of these topics by clicking the links below.  This are PDFs that you can save on your computer or print out.  Most of them include a discount offer for future classes.

Paper Crafts
eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects
Photography
eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials
Cake Decorating
eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas
Food & Cooking
eGuide: Delicious Doughnut Recipes You Can Make at Home
Drawing
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer
Painting
eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor
Gardening
eGuide: Success With Container Gardening
Woodworking
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners


Extended Customer Service Hours at Cricut


The new Cricut Explore Air machine was launched on Wednesday.  The Design Space program that controls the Explore was upgraded to Design Space 2 and the iPad App that allows you to design on the go was also released this week.  Lots of new things happening all at once.  There are many features of the upgraded programs that are big improvements but there are always some glitches and hiccups as so many people start using the new programs.

The Cricut Customer Care staff will have extended hours for the next week to help with questions and problems.  They will be available today, Saturday, February 21st and next Saturday, February 28th, from 8AM-4PM (Mountain Time) and next week from Monday, February 23rd to Friday, February 27th, from 6AM to 7PM (Mountain Time).

If you have questions about the iPad App, you can find a manual on the Cricut site HERE.  
There is also a series of videos about Design Space 2 on the Official Cricut YouTube channel HERE.



Several of you have written to ask about the snow on the deck, worried about the weight and possible collapse.  Here is how the deck looked after some intense shoveling.


This is what it looked like before shoveling!  Unfortunately, we had another three or four inches a day after we tackled the deck.


Snow can be fun - if you dress for it.  Here is one of my little friends carrying around a snowball the size of her head!


Climbing snow banks is also fun.  If you look on the left side of this photo you can see the very tip of one of our "snow sticks" that marks the driveway.  These are supposed to be tall enough that you can see them as you plow or use the snow blower but ours have nearly all been submerged in the snow.

The cold weather has spread to many states - I hope you are all safe and warm.

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Snow That Never Ends...

 

We have had another huge accumulation of snow with a second official blizzard of the year this weekend.   Snow totals for the year in our area are over 90 inches and about 85 inches of that snow has fallen in the past 30 days.


The lump on the right side of this photo is our gas grill.  You can see that the snow has now completely filled the deck - as high as or above the railings.


Here is another view of the deck.  The Adirondack chairs on the hill have disappeared and the snow is nearly up to the hooks on the trees where we hang our hammock (in good weather!).


This is the view from inside the sun room - when it gets almost as high as the top of the door you know that is a lot of snow!


Shovel, shovel, shovel - it gets more tiring when you have to lift the shoveled snow higher than your shoulders to get it into the pile along the side of the driveway.


Here is my husband starting up our driveway from the street.  You can see that the piles on the sides are close to his height - about six feet tall!


At this point, our driveway is really a snow tunnel.


The birdbath in the front yard is now completely submerged - it's just a lump in the snow, a blemish on the drifted snow lawn.


A few days ago you could still see some of the top edges - now it is gone!


After spending quite a long time clearing out the snow, I noticed the frosty patterns on the inside of the garage windows.  Since there doesn't seem to be a way to stop this snow, I decided to try to take some photos of the frosty patterns.







Despite all of the inconvenience and work these storms have created I still love the delicate patterns formed by the frost and snowflakes.  I tried editing the photos in different ways and some of them were taken on the sides where the outdoor lights were shining which gives a very dramatic effect.

I hope you enjoy the photos and if you live somewhere warm without all of this snow drama please remember your frozen neighbors to the North!  At least it is a holiday Monday and school vacation for the rest of the week so the traffic should be much lighter than usual.


It's almost time for the releases of three exciting new things from Cricut.  The Cricut Explore Air will launch on Wednesday, February 18th at 12:01 a.m. (this is just after midnight on Tuesday).  The upgraded Design Space 2 and the updated iPad App which allows you to design your own projects on the iPad will also be released this week.  I have been previewing the programs as a Product Expert for Cricut and there are a lot of changes that will make it easier to finish your projects quickly.  I can't wait to share more of them with you.

If you have questions about these new items or just want to find out more about them, there is a helpful Q and A post on the official Cricut Blog HERE.

Remember - the Design Space, Cricut Craftroom and the Cricut website will all be offline today from 6 a.m. Mountain Time until 11:59 p.m.   If you can find some projects to work on that don't require access to the site the time will go more quickly.  I may be doing some more cleaning and organizing in preparation for our move.

Have a great day and enjoy the President's Day holiday if you are not working today!


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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you can enjoy spending today with someone special.  We have some projects to work on around the house and another big storm to prepare for.  I might get time to post some more information about the new Cricut Design Space 2 and updated iPad App later today or tomorrow.  

The weather is predicted to be so bad that the transit system is shutting down and we got an email that church is cancelled for Sunday morning.  This is one year when Spring will be a wonderful treat - it may arrive by July!

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cricut Explore Air, Design Space 2 and new iPad App

 

Next week, Cricut will release three new things.  A new machine, an updated version of the Design Space and an upgrade to the iPad app that allows you to design on the go (the current app only allows you to cut the Make it Now projects).


A new Cricut Explore machine, the Explore Air will debut on HSN on Wednesday, February 18th at 12:01 a.m. (Eastern Time). You can sign up for reminder emails about the presentation on HSN HERE.  Anna Griffin will be launching the machine on HSN.  There will be three exclusive Anna Griffin cartridges bundled with the machine.  You can see Anna's sneak peek video HERE.  Be sure to read the entire post to find out how to enter contests to win some great prizes - someone will win an Explore Air!


If you already own an Explore, you can purchase the wireless adapter and you will be able to use your current machine wirelessly with an iPad or from your computer if it has bluetooth capability (if not, you can purchase an inexpensive adapter for your computer as well).  The new machine simply has the wireless capability built in - otherwise it is the same as the Explore I purchased a year ago at the initial launch (except it is a pretty shade of blue).

For those of you who love the Anna Griffin content and already own an Explore machine, the three Anna cartridges that come with the new machine will be available to purchase separately, bundled with a wireless adapter, from HSN.

The MSRP of the new machine is $299.99 and the Explore Air bundle will be "Today's Special" so there could be extra flex-pays or a shipping deal.


You can see some new videos introducing the Cricut Explore Air on the Official Cricut You Tube channel HERE.  There are lots of helpful videos teaching you all about using the Explore on the Cricut channel so take some time to watch them if you want to learn more.

The next exciting new release is the new version of the iPad App that allows you to design your own projects.  As a Cricut Product Expert, I have been testing this app and I love the convenience of picking up the iPad when I have an idea and then continuing to work on a project from my computer.  I can take the iPad to my craftroom and cut wirelessly - so much simpler than carrying my laptop up and down the stairs.


I received a new Explore Air machine from Cricut a couple of days ago and it was extremely simple to set it up.  I was able to use the iPad to get started cutting in just a few minutes.  I'll be sharing more details about the app in future posts.  The app will be available in the iTunes store sometime next week - keep an eye on the official Cricut page to see when the release is announced.

The app is free and you can use it with an iPad 2 or newer (the iPad mini will work too).  If you don't have a wireless adapter for your Explore you will need one to make it work with the app - if you buy the new machine the wireless capability is built in and you do not need the adapter.

At this time the app is available only for the iPad, there is not an Android version.


Finally, I have also been testing the new Design Space 2.  There are a number of changes that make it easier to use and the design and user interface matches the iPad app more closely so you can switch back and forth very smoothly.  You can start a project on the iPad or on your computer and then switch and pick up where you left off - since your projects are stored in the Cloud they are always available, wherever you go and from whatever device you are using.

The Design Space 2 is free and will be available to everyone sometime on February 17th.  There are many improvements in functionality and the program is faster and more reliable.  I'll be posting some highlights over the next few days to help you get prepared for the changes.

Please note this announcement from Cricut:

Given the magnitude of the upgrades and to ensure the best experience moving forward, we will need to take Design Space, Cricut.com and Cricut Craft Room temporarily offline on Monday, February 16th from 6:00 am MST through 11:59 pm MST.

Monday is the President's Day holiday so if you have the day off and were planning to craft you should plan ahead and do all of your cutting over the weekend.  Then you can assemble your projects on Monday. during the outage.  Please note that Design Space, Cricut Craft Room and the Cricut site will all be offline on Monday.  Your existing projects will be converted during the outage and they will work with Design Space 2.


This is a closeup of the top of the box for the Cricut Explore Air.  Ever since I bought my Explore (last year at the HSN launch) I have been pleased and amazed by the accuracy and intricacy of the cuts.  They truly are "ultra-precise" and I get a thrill every time I see a perfect tiny circle cut by these machines!


Once I got the Explore Air up and running, I decided to cut out one of my original designs.  This is an SVG file for an intricate lace medallion or doily that is sent to everyone who subscribes to my blog when they confirm their subscription.  You can subscribe using the form in the right side column or click the subscribe tab at the top of the page.


I used the "Glitzy" glitter cardstock from DCWV to see how well this new machine would cut - and it cut the design beautifully.  When I lifted the medallion from the mat, nearly all of the tiny shapes stayed on the mat.  A machine that cuts cleanly like this can save you so much time if you like to make intricate projects.  I remember carefully poking out tiny pieces on cuts I made on other machines.  Try to see if you can spot how many pieces did not stay on the mat (leave a comment to tell me how many you think are missing...).  The pieces that lifted with the design were clinging by static and they were easily brushed away.


This design is cut at 3 3/4 inches so some of the design elements are very tiny.


The Explore Air cut this design perfectly.  I am tempted to try cutting it at an even smaller size - I think the machine could handle it!


I think I'll be using this for a Valentine card - there is still time to make a few more cards before tomorrow...

Please let me know if you have questions that I might be able to answer about the new machine and upgrades to the programs.  I am very excited to see these changes and I think there are even more things to look forward to over the next year as Cricut keeps improving and adding features.

I am happy that my original machine and the adapter I purchased for it are not obsolete - but I do like the pretty blue color of the new Explore Air!

Have a great Friday!  I hate to mention it, but we are in for yet another big snowstorm (possibly a blizzard) this weekend.  It doesn't seem possible to find room for more snow but I guess we will have to find a way.

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine Cards and a Free Stamp set from Joy (plus something new)


Valentine's Day is nearly here.  We have been so preoccupied with snow storms and snow removal that it is sneaking up too quickly.  Here are a few simple cards that I made last year if you are looking for quick and easy ideas (maybe you have also been shoveling more than crafting?).

http://www.capadiadesign.com/2014/02/scalloped-and-stitched-valentine-card.html#.VNrb_S5k8uR
You can find the post about his card HERE.  I made it with the Artiste Cricut cartridge from Close to My Heart.


The post about this card can be found HERE.  I love the combination of crisp red and white!

http://www.capadiadesign.com/2014/02/valentine-card-and-candy-favor-tube.html#.VNt9qy5k8uQ

Both of these cards use some of the same papers I used for this card and candy favor.  That post, from last year's blog anniversary celebration can be found HERE.

This month marks the seventh anniversary of my blog and I will be doing a celebration again.  If you are a long time reader, you know how much fun it is to watch the boxes fill up as I create the projects and share some goodies that I have purchased to share with my blog readers. 

These projects all used some products from Close To My Heart.  My good friend, Joy Tracey, is an amazing CTMH consultant and right now she is on a well deserved trip to Hawaii that she earned for her performance - top in sales and recruiting for the entire company!  Congratulations Joy! 

Joy's blog is Obsessed with Scrapbooking and she has been blogging even longer than I have.  Be sure to subscribe to her blog to keep up with all of her crafty projects.

http://joytracey.ctmh.com/retail/category.aspx

Not only is Joy extremely talented and hard working, she is also very generous and she frequently offers a special promotions for her customers.  If you order from her site (HERE) she will send you this cute stamp set absolutely free.  Today is the last day for this special offer so be sure to do your shopping on Joy's CTMH site before the offer ends.

http://joytracey.ctmh.com/retail/category.aspx

There is also a fun flowery stamp set available as the Stamp of the Month from CTMH this month (just $5 if you order $50 or more).


Joy and I are both Cricut "Product Experts" and yesterday something new appeared on my doorstep from Cricut.  This is the new Cricut Explore Air that I will be testing out.  I'll have lots more information about this and the updated Design Space and iPad App to follow very soon!

I hope you are having a wonderful day - I am off to clear some more paths!

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product using the link I may receive a commission. I only participate in affiliate programs for products that I use or can recommend without reservation.