Saturday, 11 February 2012

Oh my - I love my Cricut Mini!

Yeah yeah, I know... I've only had it 48 hours... but I'm seriously starting to find what I can do with it - I have a loooong way to go but I'm really pleased with what I have managed to do so far.

Spent Thursday morning pacing around my flat waiting for Parcelforce to arrive, which it finally did at about 12.30pm... ripped the box open to find this cute little machine, instructions etc - but no UK power lead... so a quick phonecall to Angela at Craft at Home and she said she'd put one in the post to me.

However, that was going to take a few days to get to me, and I was itching to get started... and by now my friend Tim had arrived and was laughing at me... then pointed out that the US power cord merely plugged into a standard transformer using a universal 'D' connector - just like the one that I use on the radio in my kitchen... so as a temporary measure I swiped the radio power lead, plugged it in and off we went...

Didn't take too long to get everything installed and up and running, even managed to successfully redeem the code for the free Cricut content for the craft room software - you get Cricut Font and Basic Shapes which is 3 alphabets and loads of brilliant shapes to use - and then I sat down to play.

And play. And play some more. And watch the tutorial video's again whilst playing - copying what they were doing to teach myself what to do. Luckily, as I have spent several years using DTP and graphics drawing software, I found the craft room quite easy to use, but can see how someone who is not used to that type of program could get easily bogged down.

The hours passed... Tim left me to it 'cos he could see he wasn't going to get any sensible conversation out of me... my fella even briefly popped in, took one look at me giggling at the machine and wisely beat a retreat to the kitchen to make me a cup of tea... and after a while even he went home for his tea and left me alone... and I'm still having a whale of a time - linking the cartridges I own, cutting images out of each one to see how they worked... looking for more video's on Youtube to see what else I could do and generally having a great time.

Eventually my stomach decided to let me know it was supper time - blimey it was 9pm... wondered why it was getting dark and cold in the lounge... so I quickly nuked something and then it was back to my Cricut and more videos and more cutting... it's a good thing Angela popped a lovely pack of 12x12 paper into the box with the Cricut 'cos I can see me going thru loads whilst I experiment - having said that, the paper is too nice to 'waste' on trials but luckily I have a load of plain cheap cardstock I can use instead. The Cricut Mini mat is 8.5 inches by 12 inches, so A4 paper/card works a treat - I can see me investing in a few generic pads of that size in the sales!

Time flies when you're having fun, so they say - at 1.15am I found myself posting on UKScrappers about something and being horrified at the time - good thing I had Friday booked off work... I eventually got to bed around 3am (and no I didn't take it to bed with me lol... altho the thought did cross my mind...)

So here she is - in all her glory - with her cutting mat (already showing major signs of wear in the top left corner!)... she's about half the height of my Cricut Personal (the original/first machine that came out) and certainly a heck of a lot lighter. She's connected via USB to my laptop and all designing is done via the online craft room (god help me when I lose internet access which happens from time to time...). This does mean that I won't personally be able to take it to my scrapbook crops as I have no way of connecting my laptop to the web when I'm out and about which is a shame (yeah I know I could get a dongle but that costs money which I don't have...)

So, Friday was spent playing some more and reading up loads of blogs and finding out more about the Cricut Mini - I hadn't realised just how new a beast it is, cos it was apparently only released in November 2011. I've never had anything craftwise that is so brand new! I even turned down the option of going down t'pub on Friday nite, preferring to stay in with my Mini and carry on faffing around with her (mind you, the deadly state of the pavements around here that are still caked in ice, and the sub-zero temperature may have had something to do with it too!)

So - to sum up - I am one very happy bunny - and I'm determined to make the most of this machine and get it to cut loads of stuff that I've designed myself - and my next post will show off something I've done today... but I'm in dire need of a cuppa so you'll have to wait a few minutes... :-)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

48 Questions...

I saw this over at Ali’s blog and thought it looked fun too – so I shamelessly nicked it. :) If you fancy joining in too, why not answer the questions on your blog? And if you want, post me a link so I can read your answers too. :)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8.15am – I’ve got a VERY IMPORTANT and EXCITING parcel arriving today so wanted to be up in good time!
2. How do you like your steak? Done. I never seem to get it right – I don’t like to see any pink bits but don’t like it cremated either. Which is probably why I prefer chicken.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Hanna. And I still don’t quite understand it – so many plot-holes you could drive a bus thru them...
4. What is your favourite TV show? Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey – hands down. But also love Lewis... Sunday nite curled up on the sofa with my fella watching re-runs on cable... OK, I’ll also admit to an unhealthy obsession to America’s Next Top Model!

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Somewhere quiet and un-overlooked with a nice view – and my own driveway and garage.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Egg and mushroom omelette wrap.

7. What is your favourite food? Chinese or Italian.

8. Foods you dislike? Parsnips – they should be totally removed from the food chain. And creme caramel. Also large tomatoes, although cherry tomatoes are fine.
9. Favourite place to eat? Anywhere that someone else is paying...

10. Favourite dressing? Don't often have dressing.
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Focus estate.

12. What are your favourite clothes? Definitely jeans, t-shirt and a sweatshirt or rugby shirt.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Australia/New Zealand. Altho would love to go back to America now I’m more into scrapbooking and papercrafting!
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 empty

15. Where would you want to retire? Rate things are going I’m never going to be able to afford to retire...
16. Favourite time of day? Evening - I'm a nightowl.

17. Where were you born? I’m a Billericay Dickie – although no way am I an "Essex Girl" lol...

18. What is your favourite sport to watch? Wimbledon, Formula 1 and American Football - Go Seattle Seahawks!  (I got the chance to see them beat the Denver Broncos’ back in November 1999 at the old Seattle Kingdome, just before they pulled it down to rebuild it)

19. What is your favourite fragrance? I don’t wear perfume, makes me sneeze. But I do love the smell of Dewberry.

20. What is your favourite face cream? Don't use it. I don’t wear any make-up either.

21. Favourite baby/kids products? Baby wipes... they’re not just for babies bums!

22. People watcher? Sometimes, altho I prefer to be a view watcher, preferably from a great height.
23. Are you a morning or night person? Definite nightowl. I've never been good with mornings and I always stay up late.

24. Do you have any pets? Not at the moment, although I do have a visiting cat who demands fuss and biscuits now and then. In fact she's just been this morning!
25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Apart from hopefully getting my Cricut Mini today?

26. What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to follow my brother into theatre management, working backstage on sound and lighting rigs, but got pushed into secretarial college instead.
27. What is your favourite memory? Not sure I could just pick one!

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Definitely a cat person.

29. Are you married? Not any more, but I do live a complicated lifestyle!
30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, always nowadays.

31. Been in a car accident? Two – one as a front seat passenger - not wearing a seatbelt and almost went thru the windscreen, luckily the car was so old my head pushed the windscreen out in one piece and I just hit the rear-view mirror – I still have the scars and that was back in 1981. The other was in 1995, I was driving and someone overtook coming from the opposite way and went into my car head-on and wrote it off – I got away with whiplash and bruising and severe shock.

32. Any pet peeves? Young children out late at night walking down my road swearing their heads off – what are their parents thinking?
33. Favourite pizza toppings? Anything meaty but not too spicy – no anchovies or olives tho!
34. Favourite flower? Lily of the Valley, freesias and poinsettias. All three remind me of my mum. And an amaryllis bulb to grow at Christmas, something my Dad started a few years before he died and something which we want to continue.

35. Favourite ice cream? Cookie dough.
36. Favourite fast food restaurant? McDonalds or KFC.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? None – I passed first time!

38. From whom did you get your last email? Youtube – one of the people I follow has just uploaded a new video!

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Having never been there, if I get the chance it would be Art from the Heart – and everything Dylusions!

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Went up to London for Chinese New Year – kinda took me out of my comfort zone!

41. Like your job? It just about pays the bills but at times can be hard going, especially when there is no work coming thru. ‘Peaks and troughs’ they call it...

42. Broccoli? Yep – but its gotta be cooked properly – just right not overcooked.

43. What was your favourite vacation? America in 1999.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My friend Tim and a group of friends following the Christmas organ concert we did.

45. What are you listening to right now? Nothing – apart from the traffic outside, waiting to hear a Parcelforce van pull up outside with my Cricut...

46. What is your favourite colour? Purple.

47. How many tattoos do you have? None – yet. Something I’m considering but haven’t got around to.

48. Coffee drinker? Only at Starbucks – a skinny Grande Caramel latte with just one shot of espresso.

Go on- you know you want to have a go too...

Monday, 6 February 2012

I too have snow...

...just never got around to posting about it yesterday lol... but we had a considerable dumping on Saturday night... my fella and I left for the pub at 9.15pm and there were just one or two flakes lazily floating around... by 10.30pm there was a light dusting on the pavements but the roads were too wet for it to stick... when we left the pub at 12.30am after the band had finished and started to walk home, it was deep enough everywhere to come over the top of my trainers... and they have rocker soles on them so we're talking a good 3 inches here in places... and it was still hammering down... by the time we got back to the flat we both looked like Nanook of the North!

Here's my back garden, photo taken @ 2am ish, I was wide awake and couldn't sleep... the light is so weird in this picture, I know it's due to low cloud and light pollution from street lamps, but it looks almost sepia... well strange...

This morning my fella picked me up as usual at 6.50am so I could start work at 7am (yawn...) and we had great fun watching Southend Council workmen playing with their new toys... 2 quad bikes towing gritting hoppers... they were trundling over the pavements on "the patio from Hell" which replaced Victoria Circus roundabout... can't complain too much because by the time I left work at 2pm the pathway down to the station was totally snow and ice free. Got a taxi home (hey I'm not that daft to walk home in that stuff!) so am home all cosy, dry and catching up with stuff. Oh, and looking up Youtube video's and forums for the Cricut Mini - getting all excited now... hopefully (weather permitting) it'll be here by the end of the week and then I'll be a very happy bunny!

(Oh, and the winning streak continues: no, not the lottery or Euro-Millions, altho I did buy tickets this weekend just in case!) but I won the raffle at my crop on Saturday, got a lovely new flourish border punch from EK Success - I'm on a serious roll here!)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

And - I'm a winner again!

Don't know what I have done to deserve this, karma is obviously kicking in to treat me nicely this week after the downs I have had recently, but last nite I entered a giveaway on Craft At Home's facebook page to be in with a chance of winning the new Cricut Mini electronic die-cutting machine - we had to answer a simple question "how big is the cutting mat?" and then say what our last craft purchase was and why we'd bought it. So I trotted out the answer as being 8.5" by 12", and that I'd bought (amongst other things) 2 pots of Claudine Hellmuth's acrylic paint...

The competition was being drawn at 9pm, and I was out at a crop in Gt Wakering, didn't get in until 10pm and lept straight onto their facebook page, but I didn't see any postings as to who had won, even tho I kept refreshing the page... it wasn't until just gone midnight that the message popped up on my screen (having been posted 3 HOURS EARLIER) and Oh. My. God. the winner was me...

Now I already have a Cricut machine, but the first model that came out, and it's a second-hand one at that (altho I knew the previous owner and she'd not abused it at all!) and of course the Cricut Mini was only released about a year ago, so is definitely the new kid on the block... I'm so looking forward to receiving it and playing with it.

It'll use the cartridges I already own, but you can design your cuts on your computer using Provocraft's online craft room software and then cut them out - the mat being bigger than my current one means I can cut from 1/4" up to 11.5". And designing your cuts via the computer means I can place things exactly where I want them to make the most use out of the space available.

Right, that's enough of an advert for Provocraft - but I must say a huge thank you to Craft At Home for running the competition and for randomly picking my name out of the cyber-hat - next weeks courier delivery cannot come quick enough!

Oh, and the crop I went to? it was run by Total Papercrafts, lovely kit and good easy to follow instructions altho I didn't finish it, however I'm hopefully out at another crop this Saturday (weather permitting) so will get it done then. Having not been to a crop since well before Christmas it was good to get the ol' grey cells working in a crafty fashion and not just for work purposes!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I'm a winner!

Oh my - just to finish off a great day out on Sunday, I came home to the news that I'd been picked as the winner of a very special blog give-away - Kate Crane http://www.thekathrynwheel.blogspot.com/ had hosted the recent Stampotique challenge and had altered a matchbox into a mini Rogues Gallery using her favourite Stampotique designs, and had decided to give it away to a random commenter on her blog - and it was me! Couldn't believe my luck, I was almost dancing round the lounge lol... my fella looked at me as if I'd gone totally loopy...

And when I got home from work this afternoon there was a package on my doormat - so now I am the proud owner of - drum roll please - a Kate Crane original lol...

She's used a Swan Vesta matchbox as her base, so that should give you some idea of the size... it's about 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches and as well as painting the box and the portraits, Kate has machine-sewn around them as well.

Here's some close-up pics of the Rogues themselves...



Here's the cover with Dweeze - love his wings lol...



Here's Eric


and Carrot...


...and Hiya Cinth...


...Dawwze's legs - wish mine were that thin...


and Quasimoto 3...


...with Mela to finish off!

They are all so cute, I've never really got into Stampotique stamps but having browsed thru their website tonite to find the names of the stamps Kate used, I've ear-marked a few that I wouldn't mind having myself - they are certainly quirky!

Having just signed up on UKScrappers to do a matchbox shrine swap I've already had one person offering to relieve me of this fabby piece of art - sorry Rebecca but this stays firmly with me!