10 Things to Love About the Cricut Explore

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard a little bit about the new Cricut Explore. I am so thrilled to be able to try it out and share my thoughts with you. My three year was quite curious about this new tool and through his discovery gives quite a nice intro to the new cutting machine.

While that does a good job giving you some of the basics straight out of the box, now that I have had the chance to play with a bit more I have discovered so many great things. Here are my top 10 things to love about the Cricut Explore.

  • Eliminates a lot of the work (adjusting pressures, depths, etc) with a simple dial that can easily alternate between cutting paper, vinyl, iron on, cardstock, fabric  and more.
  • Cuts over 50 different mediums from wrapping paper to craft metal to leather with a single blade. No really, I’ve seen it!
  • It cuts the smallest details (1/4 inch) with precision like no other machine I’ve seen and can also cut images up to 23 1/2 inches.
  • It’s quiet, like a whisper so you can craft late at night or during naptime without concern.
  • It has Cut Smart™ dual carriage technology that cuts, writes, or scores a variety of materials like the card project below that writes and cuts without changing out the mat, pen, or blade!
  • The design is so sleek and they really thought things out including places to store tools and blades right in the machine and a space under the machine to slide the mat under for storage. Convenience at it’s finest.
  • I love the new design space software (which is up and running for you to try out!) and the fact that I can upload my own images and fonts. It opens up a whole new avenue of creativity and personalization options.
  • No Cartridges! Single images from $0.99 or a  no-commitment $9.99 monthly subscription that gives you access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts. Of course if you already have cartridges, they can be uploaded to the new design space software.
  • Canvas Templates for t-shirts, iPad cases, banners and more so there’s no guessing game on sizing or placement of images on your projects. You can see just what it will look like.
  • Make It Now™ pre-designed home decor, party and holiday projects  you can make with just the click of a button for those days when you want to just click and create.

    “A new generation of DIY crafters want the satisfaction of handmade along with the convenience and immediate gratification of digital. They want to make that beautiful project they find on Pinterest, without needing a PhD in crafting,” said Ashish Arora, president and CEO of Cricut. “With Cricut Explore, users can go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks, easily creating handmade projects that are both polished and personal.”

      I can’t wait to share some of the fun projects I have in the works! I think they’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. Snag yours starting March 15th. If it’s anything like the HSN launch they will go quick!

Disclaimer: I received a Cricut Explore for review and dang it’s cool! All opinions are my own.

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Garage Mud Room with Metal Lockers

Post sponsored by schoollockers.com.
I have always wanted a mud room, but let’s be real, in this house it just isn’t going to happen. There is no room inside to convert. Not even a closet I could make do. So, I got to looking around and there was a space that would work right outside the door in the garage. There is an odd place where the wall sticks out that we never really did anything with. It was a junk collecting place, but now it is the perfect place for each of my boys to have a little space of their own.

As you can see, the before is not impressive. It was a dumping ground for junk, in this case boxes from Christmas. Anyone do much of their shopping online?

 We started by getting three metal lockers from schoollockers.com. I ordered gray, but they come in a rainbow of colors. They are 15″ x 15″ x 54″ and are the perfect size for my little boys and even for my husband. I’ll show you what I mean a little later. We all got to work putting them together. The assembly is super simple. My three year old and six year old could easily help with the nuts and bolts.

Once the lockers were all put together, we placed them in the garage. Our garage floor is sloped so we did not bolt the lockers together, but with them up against the wall we felt they were secure enough individually. 

My boys love having their own space to fill how they like and I love that there are tons of hooks for storage. For my six year old that means: coat, backpack, snow boots, basketball and hat. My husband’s holds his cleats and multiple jackets and my three year old’s holds snow clothes and umbrellas. I love that men’s size jackets fit and little kid jackets and backpacks leave room for items on the floor. I’ll be adding carpet squares (they have some at the dollar store I can cut to size) to the bottom to catch water from dripping clothes/boots.
We have limited storage in our house and with our boys transitioning to share a room we needed space in their closet. Vertical space is a nice commodity so we added some plastic storage bins on top of the lockers to hold, sports gear, sleeping bags, etc. that were cluttering up their closet. The current sport can be housed in their locker (thus the basketball) and the rest on top in the bins until their season comes around again.

I am loving this garage mud room and the boys think the lockers are super cool like the kind they’ll get at school when they are big kids. Mom is happy because I have a feeling metal lockers will be able to take a beating from growing boys and now some of the closet clutter has an organized home. My kids can’t wait to personalize their lockers with name magnets. I also think we will add a shelf above the bins for trophies and awards. It’s the perfect place to show off their collections without having an overly crowded dresser top.

What do you think? Would you use metal lockers in your garage/home?
Disclosure: I was provided lockers for review. I liked the lockers so much that I purchased a third to have one for each of my guys. The opinions and ideas are all my own.
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Holiday Scents and Sensibility

I know it’s not officially winter yet, but it sure feels like it around here. With recent highs in the 40′s I’m voting that winter has arrived. These are the times when I’m so thankful to have a warm and cozy house for my family and friends that pop in for a holiday visit. I love to have a little something up my sleeve to make my home especially warm and inviting welcoming the joy that comes with this time of year.
So, how do we prepare our homes and make them a haven where people will want to gather? Appeal to the senses, all five.

Smell – Just like Alicia Silverstone says in the movie Clueless, “whenever  boy comes, you should always have something baking.” Well, it’s true and not just for boys. Everyone loves a delicious smell. You can’t always have something baking, but you can cheat and make it smell like you do. These Glade® Sweet Holiday Treat™ scents are perfect for this! I lit the candle and a few minutes later my three year old came running upstairs and asked me what I was making. It smells that good.

Sight – Add pops of color and seasonal accents through the home. Great ways to do this with a budget and limited amount of time is with throw pillows, framed printables, and banners. It’s also great to add personal touches like photos of your family or items that spark memories.

Touch – Have comfortable seating where people can relax. Keep your thermostat at a comfortable temperature adjusting for a full house or oven baking. Have soft blankets close by for kids overtired from travelling or to snuggle with during a movie.

Hearing – Holiday music can really add to the mood. Choose songs that aren’t too crazy or annoying and play them with the volume low so you can easily talk over it.

Taste – Keep something warm and comforting to whip up quick for visitors coming in from the cold. This may be easy homemade oreos, hot chocolate mix, or syrup to make pumpkin steamers.

A great way to appeal to a lot of the senses and bring a special atmosphere is starting a fire in the fireplace. Watching the flames, hearing the crackle, feeling the warmth, it’s like comfort food. A fire is nostalgic and takes you back to the simpler days when things weren’t so rushed.

Get festive this holiday season with the Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection available exclusively at Target. Inspired by the best feelings of the season, the Glade® Sweet Holiday Treat™ scent lets you indulge in the irresistible scent of rich cocoa, toasted nuts, and creamy caramel. The 2013 Glade® Limited Edition Winter Collection was inspired by the nostalgic, spontaneous, snowy, moments that build up to the holidays. Creating memories with loved ones defines the season and the holiday lineup from Glade® is just as memorable.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Glade®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Albion Fit $100 Giveaway

Post sponsored by Albion Fit.

Remember a few months ago when I told you about the Albion Fit Silver Signature Hoodie? Well I am still loving it, in fact I am wearing it right this minute. It is so soft and I love that it breathes so I don’t get hot. Anyway, the new Albion line is out and there are so many pieces that I am in love with! Take a look for yourself…

So cute right? I saw the Flatter Me Hoodie and knew I must have it. It comes in the most gorgeous navy and with all the ruching detail?! I die. The minute the announcement for the new line went out, my request went in. When it first came I was nervous because I ordered a medium and it looked tiny. Like, how will I squeeze my body in to this jacket, tiny. But, I tried it out and guess what? It totally fit and it makes me look like I actually have a chest. Woot, that’s a first. (Is that weird to say here? Oh well.)

Thanks to my five year old who stepped up and snapped pics for mommy with daddy out of town.

I love that it has thumb holes to keep the sleeves around my hands in this cold weather and that it has hidden side zip pockets if I need to stash a few dollars or a phone. 

I also received the Charcoal Lounge Crop which have just the right amount of stretch and are so perfect for everything from yoga to Zumba. They would be sooo cute with the Alpine Funnel Jacket!

Are you in love with the new collection? You’ll be excited to know that Albion Fit is giving away a $100 gift card! But first, they have a special discount code just for you! 

Get $20 off any albionfit.com purchase of $100 or more with code littletipsy20 at checkout! Hurry, it’s good until 11/25/13.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: As shown above, Albion Fit provided product for review as well as the giveaway prize.

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