Posts Tagged ‘cricut’

Handcrafted gift for teachers

A few completed cards

Somehow the end of the school year got away from me. I think the fact that I have two kids with two different schools and two different last days made this year a challenge. Now that the preschool end of year party has passed (and a custom order got mailed away) I have spent part of the day making some sets of note cards for my second grader’s favorite teachers.

step one of making teacher notecards

Cut white cardstock in half

I started out with white cardstock that I cut in half.

Folding notecards in half

Fold notecards in half

Then I folded the pages in half. You could use a bone folder for this step. I ended up not using it this time since this cardstock was not likely to crack or break at the fold.

Using patterned scrapbook paper on card face

Cut and glue scrapbook paper on card front

I then pulled out a couple sets of school themed paper stacks I had in the house, School Scrap Pad Kit by stemma and Back 2 School collection by Autumn Leaves. I bought each of these on clearance different years at Target (still have the clearance stickers on them.) I chose some patterned papers and cut 4 inch by 5.25 inch pieces, being careful to cut so the patterns would go in the direction I wanted the cards to open.

Adding finishing touches

Add a one inch strip to the card

I then started adding finishing touches to the cards. For the one above, I added a one inch tall by 5.5 inch wide piece of dark red cardstock. I then added a cut out from Learning Curve using my Cricut. I cut a 1.25 inch apple tile with the same red and used some scrap pieces of scrapbook paper to put behind the apple. I added similar finishing touches to some of the other cards and left some simple.

Adding the Cricut cut out from Learning Curve

Completed card with Apple Tile from Learning Curve

Each teacher will get a variety of notecards tied together with ribbon and a little tag with a thank you from my daughter. I really wish I had started these sooner, as it was a simple enough project that my daughter definitely could have helped with more than the tags.

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Some supplies for bookmarksToday we had written on our calendar “Make Valentines,” so my oldest daughter and I started working on the Valentine magnet bookmarks that she wants to give to her classmates. She had drawn a sketch of her plan for the bookmarks earlier. We went through my scrapbooking supplies and chose some red and pink cardstock. She used a ruler to draw the size she wanted the bookmarks to be so that I could figure out what size heart to cut from my Cricut Doodlecharms cartridge. We got as far as cutting all the pieces and then she took a break. A while later she managed to glue the hearts onto the bookmarks, but we will have to work on it again soon to finish it up. I will add a completed photo and some directions once we finish them, but you can find a similar tutorial for a magnet bookmark on my blog as well.

Heart Cookie Cutter into Grilled Sandwich
For lunch today my second grader also decided to help me. She did most of the work to make grilled sandwiches, other than the heating and flipping. To make the sandwiches special since she had helped, I decided to pull out a heart cookie cutter for the girls’ sandwiches. This is any easy way to make a simple lunch just a bit more special.

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Magnetic Bookmark or Row Marker

Magnetic Bookmark or Row Marker

I had been wanting something other than post-it notes to help me keep track of my rows while crocheting and had recently purchased some cute bookmarks that inspired me to create something for my crocheting. I also just found a new contest from Cricut and TodaysMama that pushed me over the edge to make these bookmarks. I made these bookmarks using a Cricut, but if you don’t have one yourself, you can cut out cardstock and scrapbooking paper in similar dimensions. The Cricut just makes it easier and faster.

Supplies Needed:

Scrapbook paper
Adhesive (used both Tombo and all purpose craft glue)
Grosgrain ribbon (mine is 5/8 inch)
Self adhesive magnets


Pieces cut from George and Basic Shapes

Pieces cut from George and Basic Shapes

1. Using George and Basic Shapes, cut two rctngle4 in shadow at four inches with cardstock.
2. Using George and Basic Shapes, cut four rctngle4 at four inches with scrapbook paper.

Outside of bookmark

Outside of bookmark

3. With Tombo or other scrapbooking adhesive, attach two scrapbooking pieces to the cardstock.

Glueing ribbon

Glueing ribbon

4. Flip over the cardstock and attach ribbon to cardstock with crafting glue as shown. I chose to use ribbon because I was afraid that often used bookmarks would eventually tear if the cardstock was simply folded over.

Inside of bookmark after attaching paper

Inside of bookmark after attaching paper

5. Place Tombo or other scrapbooking adhesive on the back side of the scrapbooking paper and then attach as shown to the cardstock.

Attaching magnets

Attaching magnets

6. Peel paper from magnet backs and attach to the inside of the bookmarks. I cut the magnets myself from a sheet of adhesive magnet purchased at a local craft store. These magnets are not especially strong since they are not necessarily meant to be attracted to themselves, but work fine for bookmarks or row markers. I am searching for a source for a stronger magnet for future use.

Putting my row marker to use

Putting my row marker to use

7. Put your bookmark or row marker to use. I keep mine busy with my crochet patterns.

I have also made bookmarks with Doodlecharms’ cards and the tiles from Going Places. These were used as teacher gifts at the end of the school year. I placed the decorative paper behind the cutouts of the Doodlecharm cards and Going Places. These were solely to be used as bookmarks, not row markers, since they were not long enough to mark the rows well.

ASL sign for the post:To sign book, pretend your hands are a closed book and open them.

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My mother in law and I seem to have poor luck with my birthday gifts.  Last year she got me an Ott Lite, but when I received it the bulb did not work.  Well, I solved that issue by ordering a new bulb and it works great.

This year was not so easy, though.  She was kind enough to get a Cricut Jukebox for me to use with my Cricut machine.  I pulled it out to use at a crafter’s morning at church and discovered it did not work correctly.  I ended up emailing the manufacturer and waiting to get the receipt from my mother in law in case I needed it.  Once I received the receipt I checked what it said on the back (it did not say anything that would keep me from exchanging it in the policies on the receipt) and went to Michaels to exchange it for one that worked.

At Michaels I was told I needed to wait for a manager.  He asked me what was wrong with it, which I thought was pointless since he was not going to fix it, but I told him anyway.  He then opened the box, rifled through the warranty book and told me that I would have to deal with the manufacturer.  I said, “So you are not going to deal with this?”  Then he started to tell me that he was not and had no control over warranties.  I said that I would then ask my mother in law not to purchase things from Michaels for me anymore.  He then said, in a rude tone of voice to his cashier, “Just do it then” and then mumbled something and walked away.  So, I go over to the cashier, who then tries to tell me she can only give me store credit.  I was not even asking for money back ever — only to exchange for one that worked.  I said that since no one was listening to me I would take it and leave.

I then called the Cricut phone number.  They pleasantly explained to me how to reset my machine.  I tried that and then called them back.  They took my information and are sending out a new Jukebox, without even asking about my receipt or asking me to send the broken one first.  They will send the postage label to return the broken one with the new one, but said not to worry about it if someone forgets to put in the label.

This is not my first poor experience with Michaels.  I generally only shop there when I cannot find what I need somewhere else due to multiple problems getting assistance and problems with trying to get items that never seemed to get restocked.  Now they have added tons of dollar store type items and keep dropping the amount of real crafting supplies, I just don’t see a need to ever go there again.  Especially after being treated so poorly today.

How could the manager have made this situation better?  If he did not want to deal with the “hassle” of returning the broken machine through his store, he could have offered to let me call Cricut right there to see what they would say.  Probably I would have just gone home to do it, but if he had made that offer instead of being irritated with me and acting put out that I wanted to exchange something that did not work, I may not have been happy but I would have considered shopping there again.  If he had even tried to explain in a nice tone that he cannot take returns of this item because of its electronic nature, the company, Michaels policy, whatever, I may have believed him. It also would have helped if the manager and the cashier had listened to me since I told both of them that I just wanted to exchange the item for one that worked, not get money back for it or a store credit.

I know enough about how stores work to know that they have their own policies that cover returns that are not dictated by the manufacturer.  Perhaps their agreements with the manufacturers allow for the store to return items to the manufacturer and perhaps they do not; this, however, is a separate issue from dealing with the customer.  Places that make returns easy when things do not work are places that I will return to forever because there is nothing more frustrating than having a birthday gift that does not work.

Choosing to not help me costs way more than the amount of that Jukebox.  After all, I am a customer who owns a Cricut machine, which means I will continue to need supplies for it, such as mats, cutting blades, and paper.  I may also buy cartridges for it.  This is what the manager should have realized.  In addition, what he did not know is that I also tend to purchase yarn, stamping supplies, cross stitch supplies, and kids crafting supplies.  None of those will be purchased at Michaels.

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Why are farm animals so popular in children’s books and why do we spend so much time teaching our babies how to make animal noises? I am not sure, but I do know that animal themes are easy to plan and great for engaging young children. I like doing a farm animal theme in the spring; sometime I would like to coordinate a field trip to the local farm park to practice signing our animals as we see them in person.


There are many books that include farm animals, so most families with young children probably know or own a few. Here are a few of the ones I have used with my playgroup:

1. Peek-a-Moo is a simple lift a flap book with several farm animals playing peek-a-boo. To get the children engaged, ask them to sign which animal they think will be under the flap. This is a good book for the very young because there are lots of clues to make it simple to guess the animal.

2. Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Felicia
Bond was a new book for me last year, even though I was familiar with the author and had read several of her books with my girls. Look for the stuffed animal that reminds me of Ernie from Sesame Street laying out next to the haystack in this one.

3. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle is a book that we actually have two copies of at home. One is available as a lift a flap, while another has texture to feel the spider’s web. I had forgotten to get this one out last week. I may grab this one for next week’s playgroup.

4. I Went Walking is another simple book great for signing farm animals. I was introduced to this one by one of our speech therapists.

5. Old Macdonald Had A Farm by Carol Jones is a great book version of the song. It has small peeking circles to look through to guess which animal will be next in the song. This is a book that might involve lots of noise as the kids get excited about guessing. Remind them to sign the animal when they know it instead of yelling.

6. Skip To My Lou is another book version of a song that has plenty of farm animals in it. You could use either the book or the song, or both in a playgroup.


I own a bowling set for toddlers and preschoolers that is mostly farm animals so I bring it along and have the kids bowl. Whichever animals they bowl over (or kick over if they are really young) they need to sign. There is a set at Genius Babies that is all farm animals, but if you are on a budget you could easily make your own using some small sized plastic bottles and pictures of farm animals drawn or printed out from the internet.

For the playgroup that is more preschooler than toddler, try out Farm Bingo at BOGGLESWORLDESL.COM. I suggest using the three by three Bingo boards, otherwise it is too overwhelming and preschoolers will soon lose interest. I sign the animal and then the kids cover up the animal they think I signed. I printed these on card stock and laminated them to make them sturdy and reusable.

To make a matching game, print out the farm animal cards from TeachChildrenESL. I printed one set of the farm animals and then made up a set of cards the same size with drawings of the signs from a book that allowed photocopies for educational use. You could use photos of yourself making the signs or drawings of the signs as well.


1. Old Macdonald is one that most kids know. This makes it easier for them to concentrate on the signs. You could use the song from a kids’ songs compilation like Wee Sing, but I usually just sing it myself and ask the kids to join in. I don’t say the animals, only sign them and expect the kids to sign and sing them.

2. Skip to my Lou is another that could be sung, listened to, or read. Since that one might be a little less well known, you might want to read it, then either sing it or listen to it and try to do the signs for animals mentioned.

3. Leah’s Farm is found on the music for volumes 7-9 of Signing Time!. I like to start out my signing playgroup by playing just the song from the video, then later on play the song and see if the kids can sign the animals along with the song.

4. Hear the Little Doggie is found on the Pick Me Up! cd and book set. This song has great real life animal sounds that really grab kids’ attention.


I have two different crafts I have done for this theme. One is fairly simple, while the other involves some planning and time to complete.

1. Enchanted Learning has a simple Farm Animal Word Book available to print out for each child. I had the kids color the animals, try to write the word (preschoolers), and gave them drawings of the signs to paste into the book.

2. For a more complex idea, I came up with a lift the flap book. I used the eight page book idea found in this pdf file. I used white card stock and premade the eight page books. Then, I used my Cricut to cut out farm animals. You could also find small drawing of farm animals online to use for this purpose. For each inside page, I made a flap in the following manner: I cut out a piece of contrasting card stock approximated 4 by 2 inches. I folded it in half and glued it into the book. I also made copies of drawings of the signs that would fit on the top of the flap.

Once at the playgroup, kids were given the book, the cutouts of the animals, and the drawings of the signs. With a parent’s help, they glued the animals under the flaps and the matching signs on top of the flaps.

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I had been looking at demos of them for a long time, but had not convinced myself why I really needed one. Then, I saw a good deal at Walmart and bought it. I called my dear husband and told him not to buy me anything else for Christmas since I had gotten it for myself. I guess I went a little overboard last year on crafting supplies.

I had been using my Cricut all the time until recently. Their user agreement does not allow me to sell items made with Cricut in my etsy store. I just realized, however, I am free to show off my creations on my blog and even to sell them, just not in an online store. I may end up making things to sell at a craft fair or to friends.

Below are some photos of a sign language counting book that I made for my youngest daughter and to use during my ASL playgroup. I used My Community, Animal Kingdom, and Zooballoo. I would like to go back and use Learning Curve for the number words to make them more readable to youngsters, but have not had the time.

Page one number book

number book page two

number book page three

number book page four

number book page five

number book page six

number book page seven

number book page eight

number book page nine

number book page ten

NOTE: For more information check out my ASL Numbers Book page.

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