Aug 082015
 
**This post contains affiliate links and a FCS team member may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through the links. 

Cricut Explore One Now in Colors

cricut explore one colors

Crafters! Now you have a choice!  Cricut’s colorful new Explore One machines are now available.  The two new colors: Vintage Navy and Cherry Blossom — for only $199.99!  Wondering what you can do with the Cricut?  Check out the related posts below.

PROMO CODE

Purchase your very own machine in one of these new colors today. Be sure to use the code AUGSHIP at checkout because you’ll get free shipping on all orders (no minimum)!

Shop Now

Wondering how the Cricut works?  Check out these related posts:

 

Jul 152015
 
**This post contains affiliate links and an FCS team member may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through the links.

cricut

Here’s the last of the four posts explaining what Cricut is all about.  This post gives you project ideas.  If you missed the last post, How Cricuit’s Design Space Works, you can view it here.

Now that you’re more familiar with Cricut Explore One™, Cricut Explore Air™ and Cricut Design Space™, it’s time to chat about some of the really neat things you can create when you put it all together. 

As you’re getting familiar with your Cricut machine, it’s a great idea to take advantage of the free Make it Now™ projects and images that you get with Cricut Design Space™. 

For example, check out this adorable 3D Hot Air Balloons Mobile. It’s a fun, easy starter project and makes for the perfect baby shower or toddler’s birthday gift (and can you believe it’s made with felt?). And what’s a gift without a card? Cricut has an incredible selection of card examples made with Cricut Explore machines. There’s even a whole selection dedicated to everything baby, which is where I came across this cute baby shower card. 

Birthday
What better way to tell someone how special they are than with a hand/Cricut-made card and gift? This super fun shaker card is perfect for a 21+ birthday. And even if you purchase a gift, you can always use your Cricut Explore machine to personalize it. For example, if you bought a friend a purse or a wallet, you could use your machine to monogram it with their initials. Or if you bought them a plain shirt or sweater, you could customize it with a fun image or statement. 

I love this sparkly pineapple t-shirt. All you need is a blank shirt, a roll of Cricut Iron-on, and images from the Cricut® Summer Love image set. 

Pool Party
Soak up the summer fun with a pool party! You can use your Cricut Explore to create everything from invitations to decorations. Here are some really creative ideas for how to add some special splash to a pool party. 

Engagement/Wedding
Make your own beautiful table decorations, banners, party favor boxes, cards, and more for the happy couple in just a few minutes! You’ll find some really impressive ideas in Cricut’s Design Space, such as this lovely Mr. & Mrs. card. 

There are an unbelievable number of project examples in the Design Space, which are categorized by type (e.g. baby, holidays, home décor, school, food, etc.) and by level (easy, moderate, and advanced). You can also find a ton of great ideas for projects on Cricut’s Blog and Pinterest page. 

The summer season is a perfect time to get your very own Cricut machine and familiarize yourself with Design Space and all the incredible projects you can create. Try out a few projects each month and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is. By the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll be a Cricut pro and will wow your friends and family with your stunning crafting skills! 

Happy crafting!

Related Posts:

What is the Cricut Craft Machine?

Learn the Difference Between Cricut Explore One vs. Cricut Explore Air

How Cricuit’s Design Space Works

 

Jul 022015
 
**This post contains affiliate links and an FCS team member may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through the links. 

cricut
If you read last week’s post, you now know why Cricut’s Explore One™ and Explore Air™ machines are so incredible – and a must-have for any crafter.

About Cricut’s Design Space™

But what bridges the gap between the creative ideas in your head and the Cricut machine is the Cricut Design Space™. 

Cricut’s Design Space™ is software for PC, Mac®, iPhone® and iPad® that you get for free with your Cricut machine of choice. 

Instead of trying to figure out how to make your project, Design Space gives you the ability to focus on what you want to make. Your Cricut machine takes it from there and brings it to life. 

With Design Space, you can start designing from scratch on your computer, iPhone® or iPad®, or you can use a pre-designed, Make It Now™ project. These ready-to-make projects are created by professional artists and include everything from home décor to fashion to paper crafting, and even a variety of FREE projects. 

If you want to use one of Cricut’s 50K+ images, you can try them out in the Design Space to see which will look best in your project before you commit to purchasing it. 

Uploading Images 

When you’re ready to start designing, you can either use one of Cricut’s 50K+ images or easily upload your own using the “Upload Images” tool in Design Space. You can upload and cut .svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, and .dxf files absolutely FREE. You can even use fonts already installed on your computer. 

Cut What You Want® tool 

The Design Space’s Cut What You Want® tool makes it easy to convert your design into a cuttable image in just a few clicks! 

The Cricut Design Space™ app for iPad® and iPhone® 

Cricut’s easy-to-use app for the iPad® and iPhone® makes it possible for you can design anytime and anywhere inspiration strikes you.

It also allows you to access all the project’s that you’ve personally designed, whether on your iOs device or your PC or Mac, and gives you access to all the Make-it-Now projects. 

With this app, you can start a project while at the beach, enhance it at the ice-cream shop, add some embellishments while cozying up on your couch, and then cut it on the Cricut Explore in your craft room. Plus, it’s cloud-based, so your projects are always synced across all your devices. 

P.S. Cricut is working on an Android™ app right now, so don’t feel left out if you don’t have an iPad or iPhone. 

In a nutshell, Cricut Design Space™ gives you the creative freedom to design just about anything! Make party invitations, decorations, and favors. Create seasonal home décor or personalize wedding gifts. Add embellishments to your favorite photo memories. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! That’s why next week’s post (the last on in this series) will focus on some really fun and interesting projects that people have created using their Cricut machine and the Cricut Design Space. 

The crafting possibilities with the Cricut Design Space are endless.  The gears are turning on what my next project will be.

May 012015
 

4 Ways to Renovate Furniture

4 ways to renovate furniture

Let’s face it. Everyone everywhere is always trying to find a way to save a few bucks, whether you’re trying to cut back on your grocery expenses or even find ways to save on a wedding. No matter what it is you’re trying to do, there’s always a way to get it done.

The same goes for renovating and updating furniture. Instead of going to the store to buy a new bench or table for your home, consider renovating an older one. There are plenty of ways to upgrade furniture that will provide the same end result and cost a lot less than buying new. All it will take is a little patience and some hard work. So if you want to renovate some of your furniture, the following are a few great options to help you do so.

1. Paint

Painting is one of the best options to upgrade furniture, and it’s very cheap to do. A gallon of paint will run you anywhere from $10-$20, which is much less than buying a brand new piece of furniture. Plus, paint is great for a variety of different textures, so you can use it on wood, brass, or even vinyl. When painting furniture, you want to make sure you buy the right paint, as some are better for materials such as vinyl than others.

If you are renovating wood, make sure that you sand down the item before applying new paint, as this will help the paint stick better. You may want to apply more than one coat too, just to be sure it’s even. If you are putting the piece of furniture somewhere where there is moisture, such as in the bathroom, you may want to place some polyurethane on it to seal it. This will keep water or moisture from damaging the hard work you just did.

2. Stain

If you are working with wood, you can also opt to stain an item in order to give it a new look. You can buy stain from your local home improvement store, which again will cost anywhere from $10-$20, or you can even make your own stain. For example, you can add steel wool to a bottle of vinegar and let it sit for a few days. Then, rub this new mixture on the wood and stain it with your own homemade creation. There are different ways to make different stain colors, so
just try a variety of different items and determine which color you like best.

Again, like with painting, you want to make sure you sand the furniture before staining. If the furniture already has stain on it, you’ll want to sand it down all the way, otherwise the new stain on top of the old stain will not come out the way you want it. When staining, you should also remember to wear rubber gloves and old clothes, as getting stain on your skin or clothes is very hard (and sometimes impossible) to get out.

3. Upholstery

If you have a piece of furniture that uses fabric, such as a couch or chair, then you can always opt to reupholster it instead of buying new. Go to your local fabric store and find the color, style, and material you like best, and then buy enough to cover your piece of furniture. If you have never reupholstered before, you may want to start small by doing a cloth dining room chair or a small accent chair before tackling a couch. Once you do one, the rest will come easier. Also, if it
ecomes too hard for you to do, there are plenty of companies out there who can do it for you.

4. Material

Sometimes renovating a piece of furniture means giving it a completely new facelift with different material. For example, you may want to cover a dated dining room table with some tile, a granite countertop, or even some hardwood to give it a new look. It doesn’t matter what type of material you want to use, just make your decision, learn how to do it, and then go for it. Sometimes the more creative you are with a piece, the better the end result will be.

Do you like to do DIY projects like these?  I get right into them.  I’m able to get a new look, and at the same time, I save so much money!

May 292014
 

2014 Free or Cheap Kids' Summer Activities

Many thanks to Jen at InspiringSavings.com for compiling this 2014 Free or Cheap Kids’ Summer Activities list for us!

With the final weeks of school on the horizon, kids’ favorite time of year is coming quickly! Yes, you read that right, summer vacation is on our doorsteps! But, don’t despair. Certainly you may need to find ways to keep the kid(s) entertained (without breaking the bank), and boy, do we have you covered!

Summertime is an incredible time of year; there is lots to see and do, but most importantly, it is an opportunity to spend quality time with your family making memories.  There are lots of FREE activities you can take advantage of over the summer that your kids will love! I hope you get a chance to dig in and scope out many of these affordable programs listed below.

Free & Cheap Kids Summer Activities

American Girl Free Events — If you are lucky enough to live near an American Girl store, your kid(s) can participate in any of their FREE events.

AMF Free Summer Bowling — Register your kid(s) (ages 15 and under) for the Summer Games and let them enjoy three FREE games every weekday, all summer long! Shoe rentals are not included. Valid from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014.

Apple Camps — At Apple Camp, kids ages 8–12 will learn the ins and outs of iMovie and how to make their own films. The free three-day session, held at the Apple Store, leads up to an Apple Camp Film Festival where campers debut their masterpieces.

Bank of America Free Museum Entrance — Get free general admission to participating museums, science centers, botanical gardens and more on the first full weekend of every month. Check the list for participating locations near you.

Barnes & Noble Free Online Story Time — Have a little down time from playing outside all day? Take a quiet moment to have a free online story time. Choose up to five books, sit back, watch and listen.

Bass Pro Shops — Attend one of the many Family Summer Camps. Check the schedule for Tuesday/Thursday or Saturday/Sunday activities. Activities may vary by location. Family Camp begins June 5th and ends July 11th.

Brunswick Bowling Summer Ball Pass — Students 18 and younger get one FREE game of bowling every day in June, July and August. Coupon e-mails are sent out every two weeks starting May 28th.

Bow Tie Cinemas — Every Tuesday and Wednesday, kids and parents can enjoy watching a FREE, second-run movie each week. Movies begin at 10 am, seating starts at 9 am. Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse — Enjoy 10 movies for as little as $0.50 each, if purchased in advance, or $1 if purchased the day of. Parents accompanied with kids will also receive the same discount.

Community Calendar — Check out your town’s Community Calendar. Find your town’s website or stop by city hall to find a list of local events. You’ll often be surprised at how many interesting (and free) activities are going on in your area. 

GE Kids Get In Free Days — Has announced nine free events for kids under 12. Many require the purchase of adult priced ticket across the Capital District New York.

Geocaching — Go on mini adventures in nature to seek out treasures and leave a few for others to find too. Check the list by zip code to find many geocaching areas.

Harkins Theatre Summer Movie Fun — Get 10 movies for 10 weeks for under $1. Kids 12 and under can participate. Parents accompanied with kids will also receive the same discount.

Home Depot – Enjoy a free kids work shop the first Saturday of every month, from 9 am – noon.  Kids ages 5-12 are invited to have some fun. All participants will get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative pin. You will need to register ahead of time.

Kids Bowl Free — Registered kids can get TWO FREE games of bowling every day all summer long at participating bowling centers. Check the list of participating locations near you.

Lowes — Free Build & Grow workshops every other Saturday, from 10 – 11 am. The workshops are geared towards children ages 6 to 11 , and parents need to remain with their child(ren). The first 50 kids to sign up will get a kit, work apron, and safety goggles for free. You should register for the workshop to ensure you will receive a kit.

Microsoft Summer Camps — Introducing the Microsoft Store’s 2014 YouthSpark Summer Camps, where technology meets creativity for ages 8–13. These fill up VERY quickly, so be sure to get signed up early!

Pottery Barn — Not only does Pottery Barn offer a summer reading program, but also other free activities. Events include character appearances, story time and crafts.

National Park Free Days — Go off exploring one of the many National Parks for free during the summer. There are only a few days, so make sure to add this one to your list of things to do.

Regal Theatre Summer Movie Express — You can watch two movies per week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) at 10 am for $1 each. On Tuesdays be sure to grab a small popcorn for just $2. Parents accompanied with child(ren) will also receive the same discount.

Summer Reading Programs — Get your kids involved in one of the many summer book programs currently available. Most offer free gifts or prizes.

Target Store Community Events — If you live near a major city, Target hosts a variety of free or inexpensive activities at select locations. Check the list of participating locations near you.

Trail Link– Have fun outdoors exploring your local trials. Trails are listed by location, length, and overall difficulty. Select a trail based on your activity (biking, hiking, walking, etc). You can also download their free app to find all the trails in your area.

Visit Your Local Library — You probably know that your library card allows you to borrow countless numbers of books and media. But, did you know you could use it for day passes to museums as well? During the summer local libraries prepare for more kid friendly activities. Check out your local library to find out more.

Volunteer — What better way is there to teach your kids how to serve others and make a difference? Search the database for the perfect volunteer opportunities in your area.

If you happen to know of other activities not listed – we’d love for you to share them!   Enjoy your summer and make LOTS of memories!

May 252014
 
Wedding hand personalized wedding labels

ways to save on weddings  personalized wedding labels

A bride wants nothing more than to have her day be “the” day of her life.  Weddings can be expensive though.  That said, even a bride on a budget can have the dream wedding she’s dreamed of her entire life…it’s just a matter of planning and being creative.  There are so many ways to save on weddings from the beginning to the end.  From using finds at the dollar store, ebay.com, consignment shops and craigslist.org. Personalize the event by using inexpensive personalized wedding labels etc.  Here are some ideas for you:

Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 

Home Entertainment Upgrades that Won’t Make You Broke

You know it’s time to upgrade your home entertainment center, but you can’t seem to justify the cost of having to pay for the upgrade. While it might seem hopeless and impossible to fix up your entertainment center, there are cheap ways you can do it without going broke. A few simple adjustments and additions can really help make any TV area entertaining and fun.

Home Entertainment Upgrades

Continue reading »

Nov 212013
 

Baking Soda is fairly cheap.  I buy the large bags at Sam’s Club to use in the cat’s litter boxes (it really does help).  That said, there are so many other uses for baking soda – take a look:

1. To put out a grease fire, scatter baking soda over it by the handful to extinguish flames.
2. Clean the dishwasher and coffeemaker by running an empty cycle with baking soda.
3. Add ½ cup baking soda to your bath for an at-home spa treatment.
4. Polish jewelry with a paste made of water and baking soda. It’s safe on both silver and gold.
5. Scatter baking soda in the kitty box, then add litter on top to keep smells to a minimum. Or make a DIY litter, mixing a small box of baking soda with 3 inches of sandy clay. Continue reading »
Feb 142013
 

glass bottles

I love bottles.  I wouldn’t say I have a huge fetish for bottles, but I do save glass bottles and plastic bottles that are unique in shape or size, or that may come in useful for re-purposing. For instance, my daughter colored rice at preschool many years ago and brought it home.  I put the colored rice in a glass bottle (old milk bottle) and it now sits on the hutch to her desk – 11 years later.  This has made for a great memory of something she did when she was young.  I’ve also saved some really cool wine bottles from when I worked as a bartender.  My hope is to turn them into lamps someday.  Clear bottles can be etched and turned into lamps.  Larger mouthed bottles are great for filling with seashells (we have two filled with seashells that we gathered as a family).

Uses for Glass Bottles

1.  Make a snow globe/dome
2.  Making candles
3.  Homemade jellies and jam
4.  Gifts in a jar (the ones using dry ingredients that are layered) – cover the cover with cupcake liners and a ribbon for an added touch
5.  A message in a bottle – then send it out to sea
6.  Unused paint – there was just a tad bit left in a gallon that was used in my son’s room.
I put this in a jar to save for touch-ups or for a craft
7.  Clean hair brushes and combs – enough bleach will disintegrate the hair.

Continue reading »