Celebrate 4th of July with a dog (or cat) flag

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

I'm a sucker for dog-themed gifts, mostly because I have quite possibly the most adorable Yellow Lab in the world. (No bias here, I swear.) His name is Tex. He has his own Facebook page, and he's even had a cameo in my alter-ego's romance novel (A Crazy Reunion by Cate Baylor). But I digress… 🙂

In my latest Pinterest Made Me Do It installment, I created a 4th of July shirt for dog and cat lovers. A friend showed me a shirt on Pinterest and after we all oohed and aahed over it, I decided I could totally make that with Cricut. And to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I'm providing my readers with a Design Space project file for this design. It uses free and Cricut Access images. Enjoy!

Here's the shirt I made using iron-on foil:

Project file

In the project file, you'll find a few options—just hide or delete the items you don't want to cut. And if you're using heat transfer vinyl like I did, don't forget to mirror the design with you go to cut! I've also included both positive and reverse options for the paw “stars.”


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Pull tab card in Design Space

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

The February Paper Pumpkin kit was a totally adorable birthday pull tab card. There's so much to love about this set—the colors, the glitter paper, the versatility (there are slots to affix a gift card, too!). I liked it so much I decided to recreate the card using my Cricut Explore. I'll even share the link to my Design Space file later on in the post.

My attempt to recreate the pull tub card turned out better than I hoped! Here are 2 versions I made using my Cricut and stamp sets. One without the shape at the top of the card (like the candle flame in the Paper Pumpkin original) and one with.

Card without shape

As I mentioned in my Lift Me Up hot air balloons stamp post, I'm a little obsessed to the Lift Me Up bundle. Plus, I have a friend who needed a little pick-me-up, so I reached for the Carried Away Designer Series Paper from Sale-a-bration.

Card with shape

I've also been playing with another of the Occasions stamp sets called Everyday Hero.

This is a photopolymer set that lets you build some really cute comic book-inspired images. I stamped and cut the cape from Sweet Sugarplum and rolled the edge to get some dimension.

Design Space project

As promised, here's a link to the Design Space canvas: Pull tab card by


Here’s the deal: for every $50 USD/$60 CAD you spend (before tax and shipping), you get a FREE Sale-A-Bration product. That means it’s the perfect time to purchase those products you’ve had your eye on while earning more products for free.

Earn rewards when you shop! Use hostess code W3PB3QPJ when you check out at my online store. If you opt-in to receiving mail from me and drop me a note, I'll also send you a free catalog.

It’s the best time of year to join Stampin’ Up! During Sale-A-Bration, you can become a demonstrator for just $99 USD/$135 CAD and choose TWO additional stamp sets for your Starter Kit—any stamp set, any price! (Excludes Sale-A-Bration sets and bundles.) Plus, the kit ships for free!

Check out these current Cricut deals:

Review: New storage and travel totes from Cricut

I just got my new tweed totes from Cricut! I was so excited to get them that I drove almost an hour to my old neighborhood because this dingbat forgot to update her shipping profile on 😉 Before I dive in, let's get the disclaimers out of the way: this review is in no way solicited by Cricut. I bought these myself and this is my unvarnished opinion. Also, I do use affiliate links, which you can learn more about via my disclosure link above. On to the fun stuff!

First impressions

My first impression? Wow, these puppies are sturdy. Like, really sturdy. I've had so many different craft totes over the years and these are the first I've owned that make me confident that they'll protect my gear, not just haul it. The sides are rigid, so it's like you've got a pretty tweed box on wheels.

With that sturdiness comes weight, though. If you're looking for really light-weight storage, these are not for you. Once this rolling tote is loaded up, I'm a little worried about hefting it in and out of my car. But maybe I'm just a weakling. Time will tell!

You can buy the totes separately or in a bundle, which is discounted. And, if you have Cricut Access membership, you get 10% off! PLUS, check the end of my post to see if there's an additional discount or free shipping coupon.

Bottom line: I'm really glad I splurged on these! Two thumbs up. And I can't wait for my next crop so I can test them in a travel-crafting situation.

Machine tote

I've been lucky enough to find a group of women that I really enjoy crafting with. The only problem is that they're 45 minutes away. So on crop days, I need to schlep all my things across town. And I'm not the best about planning ahead, which means I usually end up scurrying around the same morning and tossing stuff in the back of my car. With this Machine Tote, I now have no doubt my beloved Explore will arrive safe and sound.

The machine is surrounded on all sides by thick padding. It's not going anywhere in this tote. Snug as a bug in a rug.

My only beef with the external pockets is that they aren't large enough for the power cable. I'm sure I could've crammed it in the pocket and forced the zipper shut, but I didn't want my pretty new tote all bulgy. You could separate the cable and they'd fit better, but then your cable would be in two pieces. So I stashed mine inside with the Explore.

The tote is designed to be stacked on the Rolling Tote like luggage. The strap that secures the tote to the roller handle is elastic. This is nice because I don't need two hands to unfasten and refasten a strap around it; but I worry that the elastic may lose its stretch over time. Again, time will tell.

Rolling tote

This big guy comes with the same rigid sides as the Machine Tote, which is great for supporting the Machine Tote when you stack them together.

The second thing I noticed was the wheels. These things are big! Almost as big as my palm. Having worked in a luggage store for several years, I appreciate well-made wheels. A rolling tote that doesn't roll is just a pain-in-the-neck fancy box.

I was so excited about the wheels that I tried snapping them on the tote without really paying attention. Cue a few minutes of Three Stooge comedy and my wheels still weren't attached. Until I looked closer and noticed I was almost literally trying to cram a square peg in a round hole. Once you've got the pegs lined up, they snap on easy as pie.

This one has a lot of pockets–several on the outside and a couple of removable pockets on the inside. The removable pockets are perfect for pens, tools, scissors, and the like. The compartments are attached, so you won't be able to change up the configuration. However, the size and shape of each offer a fair bit of flexibility.

There's the padded pouch for a laptop (my 13″ Mac fits with room to spare). There's a 12″+ slot that's perfect for paper and mats. If you're a Close To My Heart fan, the small organization box fits in the smaller compartment and the medium box fits in the larger one. My ArtBin 12×12 paper box also fits in the compartment.

The side compartments are perfect for vinyl rolls. You fit about 5 in the small compartment, many more in the larger side compartment.

I noticed this little pouch on the lid and thought, “Now what the heck is this for?”

But when I realized it's to hold the tote open by hooking over the handle, I was, like, OMG! How clever!

Find pleasure in the little things, right? 🙂 Speaking of pleasure, I had to laugh when I pulled this image into the post—didn't realize I'd captured one of my favorite craft room TV shows in the background. I <3 Dean!

Do you have the totes? Let us know what you think of them! Or if you're thinking about getting them, I hoped this helped.


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Simple 3D Fall cards


I wanted to make some simple 3D cards to send out at Thanksgiving. As you might know, finding 3D cards that are both 3D and simple can be difficult. But these Linus' 3D Fall Cards from are the perfect solution!


Each design has small 3D elements to give the card depth and texture, but they don't require hours of assembly like many 3D projects. If you mount the panels with foam dots, you'll get even more depth and shadow the design.


The SVG designs don't come with any wording or anything, but jazzing them up with stamps or embellishments is easy enough. But they're pretty as plain cuts.




Check out the site and try the Linus 3D Fall cards for yourself!

Rock awesome OCD thrills: aka custom vinyl pantry labels

Pantry labels on printable vinyl by

Some things make an OCD heart go pitter patter. And some things make an OCD heart gallop! Well-organized and labeled baking supplies falls into the latter category, I'm sure. It's super easy to do with your Cricut Explore and printable vinyl.

So this just happened


Me: (happy clap then mutter) I gotta take pictures… (shuffle down the hall and fetch my phone, and shuffle back to the kitchen)

Hubby: (peers over the bar counter from the living room couch) Hooooooooney… why are you photographing baking supplies?

Me: (doing a Vanna move to show off my masterpiece) Babe, this is a little slice of heaven. I mean, just LOOK. Awesome custom labels!

Hubby: (looks at containers, then me, then containers, then me) Hmph. (sarcastic glint lights up his eyes) Yeah, but then where do you store the extra labels?

Me: Ah ha! But they're CUSTOM labels, so you only make as many as you need!

Hubby: And in which container do you store your smug self satisfaction?




Pantry labels on printable vinyl

But seriously, y'all. LABELS!!

Pantry labels displayed in cabinet by

They're super simple to make. And depending on how much you care about font selection and alignment, they may or may not take very long to design. 😉 Once you choose your shape and font, you just print and cut! It maybe took me 10 minutes from print to completed install.

Pantry labels after printing

I chose to use Cricut printable vinyl for a couple of reasons. First, there are a couple of specialty items I don't use all that often and that have special instructions I don't trust myself to remember. It's easier to make a lot of small text on printable vinyl, as opposed to cut vinyl. Second, I think it's easier to remove vinyl than it is sticker paper.

Closeup of the cut on printed vinyl on

Also, I love these Sistema containers. They have an indented end that's just right for grabbing the container off a shelf. Very ergonomic. I live in the Houston area, where the humidity can kill just about anything, including dry goods. So I love that these seal tightly but the lid still comes completely off for easy access with measuring cups.


In case you to use my file as a starting point, here's a link to my Cricut Design Space project:

Pantry Labels by

Depending on whether you're a Cricut Access subscriber, you may or may not have to pay for the shape and font. The great thing about Cricut is that you can find a free substitute if you want to.

Check out these current Cricut deals:

Adhesive foil designs on water bottles

I found these cute glass water bottles and wanted to spice them up with custom designs. It was the perfect opportunity to try out the new Cricut Adhesive Foil. They turned out great!


In the Make It Now catalog, there's a project called Water Bottles with Sass. Here's the preview image from the Cricut project catalog:

Cricut Water Bottles With Sass Preview

And here are my finished bottles:

Water bottles with adhesive foil design
And here's a closeup of the adhesive foil. It's SO pretty!

Closeup of the foil adhesive

Water bottles with sass project

I've never worked with the adhesive foil and discovered that the material has some quirks, especially if you're used to working with vinyl. It's not rigid but it doesn't have as much give as vinyl. Because it's got more firmness, you'll want to use the StrongGrip mat to keep it secure during cutting. I also used the scraper to burnish the foil onto the mat so there weren't any bumps.

Cutting tips

I wanted to create a few bottles, all using the purple adhesive foil. So I needed to make all of the designs cut at the same time. When I do that, or when I'm cutting smallish designs, I like to add a cut line between the designs to make it easier to weed. When you're ready to cut, be sure to use the Custom setting on your Explore and select the “Foil, adhesive” setting.

Have fun making your water bottles with sass!


My happy place vinyl Kindle cover

Happy place Kindle cover from MasterProcraftinatorcom

I'm a big fan of the Cricut Make It Now projects. There's a wide range of choices that suit any occasion. I'm also a big fan of books (the only thing I collect more compulsively than paper ;)). So when I stumbled upon the “This is my happy place” e-reader cover project, I knew I had to try it.

Kindle extreme closeup


  • Find a cover with a smooth surface. Any fuzzy or sueded cover likely won't hold the vinyl adhesive. If you're set on using a cover that doesn't hold the vinyl well, I suspect you could use HTV (heat transfer vinyl). But i haven't tried it, so can't say it'll work without damaging your cover.
  • You can use this for any size e-reader, or other device, for that matter. When you open the Make It Now file, click Customize. Then you can adjust the size of the image in Design Space.

This is my happy place Kindle cover:

Have you tried this project? I'd love to see how your projects turned out.


Check out these current Cricut deals:

The best 8 bucks you’ll spend as a Cricut crafter

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

8 bucks a month for access to over 30,000 images, 3,700 fonts, and 1,000 pre-designed Cricut projects? Yes, please!

CricutAccessCricut has just announced a new subscription program called Cricut Access. If you're already a subscriber, you don't have to do anything. The new program benefits will be automatically applied to your account. But if you're new to the Cricut subscription, here's the lowdown.

Cricut Access discount

As a subscriber, you get a 10% discount in the Cricut shop and in Design Space.

More bang for your buck

Since I craft on my Cricut several times a month, I like that I can use all of the images I want (with some exceptions for licensed content) for just $8 per month (if you pay annually, $10 per month if you go month-to-month). That can be quite a boon when most images are 99 cents each.

Make It Now

One of the Cricut Design Space features I use the most is the Make It Now projects. They're complete projects already pulled into Design Space for you. All you have to do is choose which one you want to use and click Go. You'll find projects for cards, home decor, fashion, kids paper crafts, and more. Make It Now projects make it super easy to make great holiday projects. Plus, there are a whole passel of exclusive projects for Cricut Access members.

Here are a couple of my favorite Valentine's Day Make It Now projects.

Valentine's Day Cricut Access Projects
Valentine's Day Cricut Access Project Inside Sentiment

Here are links to the projects. (If you land on the Make It Now landing page instead of the project page, try logging in to Design Space first, then pasting the project URL into the browser window.)

Cricut pen writing comparison

I wanted to see how different Cricut pens looked. Here's the same sentiment as my Valentine's card using the Cricut .03 tip, medium tip, and medium calligraphy tip. This is Ginger from the Signature Script Fonts collection.

Cricut Pen Writing Comparison Overhead

Supply list

7 tips for Cricut Explore newbies

7 tips for Cricut Explore newbies on

Your new Cricut Explore has arrived! You want to start playing with it right away, but you're intimidated so the Explore stays in its box. Here are 7 things every Cricut Explore® or Cricut Explore Air™ newbie should know:

The mat will be too sticky

There's nothing more frustrating than creating your Design Space file, sending it to cut, then having it tear to shreds when you try to peel it off your mat. Believe me, I've been there. To avoid that, you need to make your mat less sticky. If you Google it, you'll find several ways to do so. You can lay down your hands all over the mat so that your skin oils counteract some of the tackiness (video here). Personally, I try to get it as linty as I can. I rub it against my clothes, I even rub it on my carpet (I have a cat and a dog who, I swear, shed their body weight in fur on a weekly basis). This process is largely trial and error until you find a level of lint versus tacky that works best for you. But it makes a huge difference in the ease of pulling your paper or other cut material from the mat.

Test cuts are your friend

So… it's just a little ironic that I'm suggesting this to you. I'm a cut-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of crafter, so if I were 100% honest with you, I'd admit that I don't use test cuts like I should. Which means that I've wasted a fair bit of material because I didn't test first. This is especially useful when you're working with a new material or a complicated project. If I'm trying a new technique or working with material that's new to me, I always try to buy enough for a dry-run, just in case I mess something up.

Custom settings are also your friend

Another hard-learned lesson for me. I must've used my Cricut for MONTHS before I figured out, quite by accident, just how useful the custom cut settings can be. Are you a fan of Anna Griffin designs? They tend to have intricate cuts, so be sure to use “intricate cuts” in custom settings. Are you working with vellum or washi sheets? Head over to custom settings.

Invest in a subscription

If you craft at least weekly, I recommend purchasing a subscription to Design Space. Most individual images are 99 cents, so if you use 10 or more images each month, the $9.99 subscription makes sense. There are some licensed designs that aren't included in the Design Space subscription, but with access to over 30,000 images and over 200 fonts, I find it to be a worthwhile investment.

Save cartridge booklets to your computer or cloud drive

Sometimes the Design Space search can be hit or miss. And the metadata and image descriptions are not always intuitive to make use of. So you can keep PDF versions of your favorite and purchased Cricut cartridge handbooks handy by downloading them to your hard drive or cloud drive. I store all of mine in a folder on my Google drive that I can access anytime and anywhere. If you're an iPad user, you can also add them to iBooks for super easy access.

You can manually arrange cut shapes on the mat during the cut preview

Once you're ready to cut (or print and cut) and press the “Go” button, you can manipulate where the shapes fall on the mats. Sometimes I like to rearrange the cut shapes so I can control the size or dimension of the scraps. You can also use this technique to cut multiple materials in the same pass. Check out this how-to video on the Official Cricut YouTube channel.

Make Cricut friends

Last but not least, there's a vibrant community that's always willing to share tips and lend a hand. I find myself visiting the Let's Learn Cricut Explore group on Facebook on a nearly daily basis. Incidentally, the founder of the LLCE group, Debbie, also offers regular online classes called Design Space Diva Days. I've both participated and moderated in the sessions and can wholeheartedly recommend them, whether you're a newbie or not.

Bonus Cricut newbie tips:

How about you? Are there any tips or tricks you wish you'd known when you broke that Cricut out of its box? I'd love to know if you find these tips useful or if you'd add more.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

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If the Cricut’s a rockin’ plaque

My little group of crafty friends had a handmade Christmas gift exchange this year. The rules were that it be handmade, cost under $25, and have some bling. (Because, really, everything needs bling.) I drew Debbie's name, our resident Cricut Queen and Design Diva Extraordinare. So I knew my gift had to be something made on the Cricut. I'm pleased with how it turned out!

And a side shot showing all the glittery things.

P.S. Another of Debbie's online Diva Days is coming up on January 29th and 30th. I've attended every one of them and they're great for Cricut beginners and experts alike. So if you'd like to hang out with fellow Cricut-ers, learn more about using Design Space, and get inspiration for new projects, head on over to Debbie's web site to learn more about January Diva Days.

Here's what I used:

  • MDF plaque from Hobby Lobby
  • Spray paint: primer, white, and acrylic coat
  • Cricut Design Space files: Cricut character (#M33913)
  • Cricut font: Boys Will Be Boys – Block
  • Vinyl: Pink glitter
  • Trim: Close to My Heart shimmer tape

The supply list below includes additional ideas for materials.

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