Cricut-Projects · DIY

You Invaded My Heart

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! 😍

"You Invaded My Heart" Valentine's day box
“You Invaded My Heart” Valentine’s day box

My son wanted a space invader box to hold his Valentines tomorrow during class. A quick trip to Michaels and a few quick cutouts on my Cricut Explore Air 2 made this box a breeze! Fast, simple, and will stay together in the hands of a 6 year old 😉


Have you finished your kids Valentine’s day projects or are you having a late night of DIY crafts?

Cricut-Projects · DIY · Shadow Box

Porg Shadowbox

Porg Shadowbox

 

Last project to finish out the week — a Porg shadowbox. 

Thicker card stock would work better for this particular project, but I am pleased with the outlines for the scene.

Cricut-Projects · DIY · Shadow Box

Apologies for the Hiatus

The holiday season came faster and more chaotic than anticipated. Sorry for not blogging more often y’all!

Exciting news though! This Christmas I was able to get a Cricut Explore Air 2 and oh boy! It’s amazing. So many craft projects! Where to even begin!?

Vinyl decals? Stickers? Engravings?!

Nope! The first project I decided to tackle — light up shadow boxes. But not your momma’s shadow boxes. Oh no. These are pop-culture, nerdy, fun shadow boxes!

Which reference did I decide to start with? You may have heard (or binge-watched) a little, ol’ Netflix show called Stranger Things. (If you haven’t, stop reading this. Go watch it for the next 24 hours straight. I’ll wait…..

….

…..

…did you finish it? Okay good…now let’s continue.) 

Like majority who watched this show, I’m obsessed. And so is my 65 year old father. It’s that good of a show! But I wanted something unique to show off my love for the show at work and a birthday gift to give my father this year.

The end result – a Mind Flayer shadow box:

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-3,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

This rough attempt is the version I’ll be keeping at my desk as it still has some kinks and quirks to work out.

Overall the Cricut made designing & cutting super simple! It was incredibly easy to make each layer in Photoshop, then upload to the Cricut Design Studio. The design studio is super basic, which I enjoy. It makes projects fast, easy, and straight forward! Some have gripes with the lack of tools, but if you have access to Photoshop (or any editor that allows you to save PNG files), this really is not an issue.

One thing I did learn from this project is I should have invested in the basic Cricut toolkit. A scraper and spatula would have made it easier to pry the card stock off the sticky mats. I ended up snapping one mat in half during the creation of this shadow box. Oops!

Overall I am happy with the end product and even happier that I didn’t need to use an exact-o knife, like I did on the previous shadow box I created:

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What type of shadow box do you want to see next? What’s your favorite pop-culture or nerdy movie/tv show/video game? Post your favorite below and it may end up as a shadow box!

DIY · Party

Throwing a Minecraft Party

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Earlier this year, my son turned 6 and like most kids his age, he’s obsessed with Minecraft. ‘No problem,’ I thought ,’Minecraft is super popular. There will be birthday decorations everywhere! This’ll be easy.’ I was, in fact, wrong.

How wrong was I? Well, there were (and still are) in fact ZERO licensed party decorations for Minecraft. There’s plenty of knock-offs out there. But they’re a little…meh. So once again Pinterest saved the day!

If you’ve not looked up Minecraft parties on Pinterest, you’re missing out. There are some SUPER awesome ideas, and I’m not afraid to admit, these all came from there and I’ll link the original tutorials below.


The first step for any good party: the Invitations. Parents, kids lose invitations. An envelope will & does get lost in a backpack (If it even makes it that far). So how you keep your invite from getting lost?

Fold it into a cube. Swear to God. Every single child (and most parents) in my son’s class LOVED that it was a cube. My only regret (and compliant that one child was kind enough to tell me HA!), was that I didn’t stuff something inside of them.

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These were super easy to make. They printed out perfectly on 8.5×11 card stock. From there it was just a repetitive task of cutting & folding along the lines. The most time consuming was simply folding them. You can download a similar template to mine [here]. To add text, save the file & reopen it in a free photo editor, such as pixlr.com.


Kids have been invited…now it’s time to DECORATE! Remember how I said there are no licensed Minecraft party supplies. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find super cheap knock offs and use them as legit decor. AliExpress saved me over $80 by finding these knockoff foam diamond swords:

 

Target sells these for $20 a pop! Which is ridiculous for a piece of foam. AliExpress – $5 each + free shipping. They shipped from China so I made sure to order these way in advance. Shipping times vary from China from 20-60 days depending on what you’re ordering. These arrived in about 15 days so I was very happy with them.

I won’t link to a specific seller on AliExpress since a lot of times the shops close & reopen under a different name. Instead I suggest searching ‘Diamond Sword’ on AliExpress, checking the order amount from each seller, the price, the shipping fee, and then read the reviews. The more reviews + orders, the more chance you’ll actually receive your product and it will look like the image they put on the site.

However if you’re still leery of purchasing on AliExpress and don’t want to shell out $20 a pop for each sword, there is a nifty guide from DebDuzScrappin for how to make your own [here].

Along with the diamond swords (which were used by the kids later in the party) pixlr.com was used to create a Happy Birthday banner.  And our local party store was awesome enough to put creeper faces on the balloons:

 


A great party needs activities and a MineCraft party needs enemies. This was the basis that spawned the idea for our game for the party. My brother & dad have an awesome workshop on their property. Since my brother has more experience & knowledge with using saws (& power tools in general), I asked him to cut out some creepers. He did better.

What started out as a $13 piece of plywood from Lowes quickly became 5 life-size creepers AND one Enderman. A few coats of spraypaint for the base color and hand painting some squares resulted in these awesome enemies.

 

We ended up using these are targets for the kids to throw water balloons at. In all honesty, I expected the kids to throw balloons at each other. However the kids proved me wrong and had a BLAST attacking these Creepers and Enderman with water balloons and the foam diamond swords. We went through over 700 water balloons and that only lasted the kids 30-45 minutes!!!

Which took us on into our next activity — With the Creepers and Enderman defeated, the boss arrived. Yup. Enter Ender Dragon piñata:

 

The brilliance for this idea came from LadyGoats. She was awesome enough to post her full tutorial on her blog and it was super handy for creating our own for the kids. The only thing I would have changed is how to string him up. Our Ender Dragon didn’t “fly” very long (which is my own fault, not the tutorial’s), but once he was on the ground the kids swarmed like hyenas and just ripped into it. They still had fun and were plenty sugared up.


So what you do need after piñata candy? CAKE, DUH! We corralled the kids into the kitchen for our homemade Minecraft cake. I’ll admit. While I can bake a cake, I sure as hell can’t decorate one. The first attempt was made with fondant and ended up looking like a sad ninja turtle (hahahaha*dyinginside*):

 

I decided to go with a different design that didn’t use fondant. The final version was much better. The kids all enjoyed the cake, rice krispies, and jello.

I’m not posting a tutorial for the cake because it’s basically boxed cake mix, pre-made rice krispie treats, and well…jello. If I didn’t screw up this version, I think you’ll be alright. Cake Inspiration courtesy of ParentMap.

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Party’s over…NOW GET OUT! We were all exhausted by the end of the party. After cake and presents, we handed out TNT goodie bags which contained homemade creeper toys, a creeper shirt, and diamond sword lollipop.

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The creeper toys were molded from a 3D print, which is available [here].

The creeper shirts were honestly the only part of this party I wouldn’t do again. They were time consuming, frustrating, and it was was mainly just a pain to figure out the correct shirt size for each kid.

However the diamond sword lollipops were super easy. Any swirl lollipop can be used and are typically available at your local party shop for $.10-.15 cents a piece!


Overall, my son had an awesome sixth birthday and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

DIY · painting

Painting outside the box

Painting isn’t a craft I’ve grown up doing. Most of the art supplies found in my childhood home involved sewing projects, popsicle sticks, or colored pencils/crayons/markers. So when I needed to create a hexagon lid for my last craft project, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. Which is good, because without that push, I would have never tried painting outside of the box…err…rectangular canvas.

Since painting the inverted owl hexagon, I’ve been practicing on perfecting roses. But just painting roses is boring, so I went to Instagram for inspiration. What I discovered was hand lettering, or calligraphy.

Y’all there are some seriously amazing hand letter-ers…er…calligraphers…there are some talented peeps with some kickass handwriting on Instagram. Just take a look at Chelle Perea (@the_lemonade_store), Chrystal Elizabeth (@chrystalizabeth), Cherly Aurelio (@sweet.aloha.lettering), and Bethany McGill (@bethsbrushes). Chelle Perea even has a beginners guide to learning Hand lettering on Skillshare for those who want to learn how to hand letter: www.skillshare.com/r/user/chelleperea (No I don’t get anything for sending people her way. I just think her class is amazing and deserves the love!)

Practicing the art of hand lettering and painting roses allowed me to create a small series of inspirational hexagons. In each one, there’s definitely improvements and mistakes. But it has become a fantastic, therapeutic hobby.

#GirlBoss was the first in this series:

Up next was a bit longer quote to practice more hand lettering: Keep Your Own Path

The third has yet to be started as I’m searching for a final quote to complete the 3 hexagon series. Any suggestions? Tips? Critiques?

DIY · painting

Look whoooo’s been painting…

I’ve officially caught the painting bug. What began as a unicorn painting for a lid to a gift box has spawned an entire series of hexagon paintings.


Looks like a crazy beehive

These have yet to be cut out but I’m super excited for them. There should be twenty total. I am considering hexagon paired paintings, but right now I’m super happy with how individual ones are turning out.

We had one left over from my previous project and used it as my test subject.

Minus a few flowers that had to be redone, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?

 

3D Printing · DIY

Save the Last Unicorn

SavetheLastUnicorn

This weekend we were invited to a unicorn-themed birthday party for my co-worker’s 5 year old daughter. I’ve always considered birthdays to be a big day to celebrate, even if it’s not someone in my own family; so finding that perfect gift almost becomes an obsession for me if I’ve not given an exact wish-list to shop from.

This birthday is a first for me when it comes to gift-giving. I’ve always heard that giving homemade gifts are better (*and more budget-friendly*) than store bought. But believing it and then actually doing it are two totally separate thing.

Of course, we all have that one Pinterest board with amazing DIY gifts for the holidays. But how many of you have actually done them??

Yeah, me neither. Things always come up and I run out of time to make those homemade gifts. Or I end up in Hobby Lobby and realize 2 1/2 hours later that the homemade gift which should be saving me money, is now costing me a small fortune. UGH.

This time though, something different happened.

While perusing Amazon and Toy ‘R’ Us for an adorable, maybe even*gasp* educational, unicorn toy, I found myself getting more and more…disturbed. Have you looked at the available selection of unicorn toys on the market right now? Just take a moment, I’ll wait…:

These. Are. Terrifying. Nothing like saying “Happy 5th Birthday!” like being traumatized by your birthday gift. I couldn’t bring myself to purchase them and scar this sweet girl, so I started going through Thingiverse.

For those who have never heard of Thingiverse, it’s this amazing website for anything and everything you could ever imagine 3-D printing. If you’ve got a 3-D printer, then the possibilities are endless and you’ll waste just as much time browsing this site as you will Pinterest. It’s addicting.

What was found on Thingiverse, was this: Save The Last Unicorn – a board game.

No one had submitted that they’d completed this print, so my husband and I were a bit hesitant on how successful it would print out. This first print turned out pretty small, like a mini-pocket addition. So we ended up scaling the print up as large as we could to fit on the print bed of our Robo 3D R1 (around 10.25″ inches). It was the perfect size for a kid’s board game.

All together the entire game took around 15 hours to print, with minimal pieces needing to be reprinted. Only the frame seemed to cause some problems, but otherwise it turned out amazingly cute!

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We used Hatchbox 1.75 mm PLA for printing, which we’ve had the best luck with in this particular 3D printer. As far as filament goes, the white does tend to show dirt a bit more than the others. However sanding & lightly spray painting the pieces greatly helped that issue.

With the board game printed out, we needed to find a way to store it that was easy to open & close for a 5 year old. My husband found a hexagon shadow box and was able to add magnets to the top. The top was cut out of birchwood and sanded down. Magnets were then added to the top piece as well so the top just snaps on and off. Simple to open and close. Perfect!

But at this point, it was just wood. Nothing fancy, or cute, or that a 5 year old would even bother to look at. Should we paint it pink and glittery? My inner-mom voice shuddered at giving a gift covered in glitter…my co-worker would hate me. Once you bring glitter into the house, that shit doesn’t go away. Glitter is the herpes of the craft world after all…I can’t give a gift to a 5 year old covered in craft-herpes. Nope.

A new plan was needed. So I started sketching unicorns. After several failed attempts (horses are hard, yo), I was able to draw an acceptable unicorn. I sketched him onto the lid, then used some acrylic paints that have been laying in my closet for God only knows how long unused to color him.

And he turned out Cute AF.

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Look at that face. He’s so lonely but adorable. How could you not save him?
With the lid finished, the rest of the box was done a soft pink. Nothing terribly drastic that would take away from the unicorn.

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All said and done, this homemade gift was super fun to make and *gasp* relatively cheaper than buying something from the store. That never happens! A homemade gift being cheaper & more adorable than store bought? Well shit, that’s a unicorn in gift-giving. 😉