Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cricut Cabinet

Hi, my name is Dee, and I'm a Crica-holic!!  Yeah, I love my Cricuts.  I've been lucky enough to have accumulated 3 machines and many, many cartridges.  I'm also fortunate that my husband has decided it's better to just NOT DO THE MATH, if you know what I mean.  There are far worse habits, and far more expensive ones, though if you asked him sometimes, he'd tell you that little bug is the devil in disguise!!

So, where to put them all?  I came up with a Cricut storage center that works for me.  All of the cartridges are stored inside the cabinet doors, easy to find and replace.   

I put Velcro dots on the back of each cartridge, and then rows of velcro dots on the foamcore.  I punched a hole with my Cropadile at the top, and hung the foamcore from 2 hooks on the inside of the cabinet.  I love those 3M command hooks!!

I keep the booklets and the overlays for the cartridges in photo boxes stored on the shelves.  I have them arranged alphabetically, and separated by font or shape.  The Disney/Sesame Street/Nickelodeon carts have their own place, also. 

The cabinet is from Ikea, it's a Leksvik armoire.  I can close up the doors when I'm done.  My hubby added an extra shelf, and there's also a big drawer on bottom for lightweight items.  I keep my Imagine machine on a sliding board that I can pull forward a few inches to accommodate the space needed at the rear of the machine for the mat.   My expression machine sits on the top of the cabinet.  I can take it down to use it for cutting thicker materials or if I have a big project to do for the kids' school. 

The original cartridge boxes are just too big and awkward to use for organizing the carts.  Someday, I'll either toss them or use them for some cute projects, but for now, they're in our attic.  I plan to make a color copy of all of the images on the back of each box, and keep it in a 3-ring binder.

I'm also very lucky that my family hasn't declared the house a "scrap-free" zone.  My craft / scrap area has taken over one end of our living room.    

A little side-story here.  We bought our home about 7 years ago, on Valentine's Day.  It was PERFECT for our family of 3.  I had decided to turn the upstairs guest room into a craft room; a place to work on my projects; sewing, embroidery and my newly discovered papercrafting hobby.  My son was born the week before Christmas.  I was able to use my new craft room for only a few months, and then it became his bedroom.  His walls are still a pretty shade of apple green, by the way!!

My husband grudgingly allowed me to turn a part of our detached garage into a craft room.  The previous owners of our home had built a separate room inside the garage as a hang-out for their teens.  So, we installed cabinets and countertops, and that became my craft room.   

My problem was that I felt very isolated out there.  I also couldn't easily use the space.  I either needed to heat or cool the room before I could spend much time in it, and then the length of time I had to spend was minimal.  It seemed that I was constantly interrupted just as I was getting into a project.  I would come back in the house to take care of things, then never find an opportunity to go back to my craft room.  I couldn't see or hear the kids out there, so I had no idea what they were doing.  I'd hear one of them screaming or crying, then I'd have to stop and go find out what they were up to.  It drove me nuts, and I dreaded trying to get anything done.   My little haven was far from relaxing!! 

Our solution was to put a cabinet at one end of our living room to keep supplies and my Cricut in.  I have a desk behind the loveseat and a bookshelf also.  I keep my papers and photos in an antique china buffet in our "dining" room.  The kids still interrupt me, but I'm able to do what I need to do while keeping an eye on them.  I can watch them play outside or monitor their computer use, and I feel much more connected.

Hopefully, in a few years, they won't need me around as much.  I'll be able to move everything back into my craft room and spend lots of time out there.  I'll have to do a major purge to get everything to fit in that room, though!!

I've been eyeing the playhouse lately......

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Framed Valentine's Photo Gift using Imagine

Well, I finally set about making a gift for my wonderful hubby at 4pm yesterday (Valentine's Day)!  Poor guy!  It's like the carpenter whose house is always in disrepair....the good stuff always goes to others instead of the ones closest to us. 

I've had this idea in my head since I found these frames at Michaels' for $1 each.  They're 8x10 frames, kind of a rustic bamboo finish.  I wanted to do something similar to what I've seen the Word Collage cartridge used for - a background for a layout which is made to fit a standard size frame.  I actually have the Word Collage cartridge, but it won't work in my Imagine.  I guess I need to do ANOTHER update....and I'm afraid to do that with the hiccups that the updates have had lately.  So, I'll just work around it for now.

I used the Graphically Speaking cart for the background.  I added some 1" squares to the image window, and fiddled with the number and size of the squares until everything lined up the way that I wanted.  Then, I changed my settings on my machine to "print only" and the border setting to "0" before printing the page onto a standard 12x12 piece of white paper. 

I cut out the red hearts at 1" from my Plantin Schoolbook cartridge, and then cut out the "me & you" from black vinyl at 2.5" and put it on the front of the glass.  The photo was taken at my husband's company Christmas party this past December. 

I made the milk carton house from the Sweet Tooth Boxes cartridge, then did a color fill using a pattern from the Good Old Days cartridge.  Cute, huh?  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Imagine Flower Bouquet

My son is in Kindergarten this year, and I visit his classroom frequently.  His teacher's birthday was last week.  He told me the night before!  So, I whipped up this little number using my Imagine and some plain cardstock:

It's a birthday flower bouquet!  I used my Imagine and the Audrey pattern cartridge along with flowers from the Forever Young Cricut cartridge.  The leaves are from Flower Shoppe, the cupcake and butterflies are from the inherent images on the Imagine and the sentiment is from Imagine More Cards. 

I used a painted metal bucket from the dollar spot at Target that was in my stash.  I put a piece of floral foam into the bucket, making sure it was about an inch from the top. 

I painted some bamboo skewers with green craft paint.  I just used my fingers to rub it on then let them dry. 

The flowers, butterflies and cupcake are cut at 3" and the smaller center layer for the flowers is cut at 1.2 to 1.6"  I used hot glue to glue the centers to the larger flower, then glued a matching button on the center.  I flipped the flowers over and glued the blunt end of the skewer to the middle of the flower, then glued another small center layer over the ugly end on the back to pretty it up a bit.  Here's the back: 

I stuck the flowers into the foam, then put a bag of glass gems in the bucket around and on top of the foam.  This adds weight and covers up the foam.  You could also use some rocks or pennies, and then put moss on top of the foam. 

Some inking around the edges would have really made this project *pop* but I think it turned out great considering I only had an HOUR to make this!!!

His teacher loved the bouquet!  The kids did too.  Then I found out that his classroom's Teacher's Aide is having a birthday this week.....  Her favorite color is purple.... 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Recipe for the Big Game

Do you love the flavor of Buffalo wings, but want a less-messy option?  I tried this "dip" at a friend's last year, and it's got all the flavor of yummy wings, but you can make it as hot or as mild as you wish.  You also don't need to worry about a deep fryer or cutting wings apart.  Easy Peasy!!!

No photos today, every one that I took looked like yellowish cheesy goo with lumps of chicken in it.  Bad photos, but really good dip!  .We had this for dinner tonight - along with lots of veggies.  It's delish!!

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Dip

12  oz  shredded cheddar (mild or medium)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup Bleu cheese dressing
2-3 TBSP Frank's Red Hot (start with less if you like it really mild, maybe 1 TBSP)
2-3 cups of shredded chicken (rotisserie leftovers or some cut-up chicken breast)

This is better when the flavors have had a chance to really blend together, so the crockpot method is best.  If you're in a hurry, just use a double boiler.  I could have used the fondue pot, but didn't think about it until afterward.
Stir the cheese together in a double boiler, then add the dressing, Frank's and the chicken last.  Heat through, stirring occasionally. 
Alternately, dump everything into a small (2 -3 qt) crockpot and set on LOW for 2-3 hours until melted and heated through.   

Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, zucchini slices or chips.  YUM - O!!