I’d Climb Every Mountain, And Swim Every Ocean, Just to Be With You, And Learn How to Cricut…

An Introduction to My Digital Learning Project

The Story that Took Me Here

pink mug and magazine
Photo by Jess @ Harper Sunday on Pexels.com

Okay, before I get into the heart of my post, I want to start with a story. You’re probably already thinking, “gosh, not another story from this gal!” or “another long-winded story coming our way” but I promise, it has something to do with my project. Anyways, like many of my posts, this one is going to be a long one. So, sit back, grab your favourite beverage (I’m not judging one bit if it’s an adult beverage), a snack of choice, and come along for a ride.

My friend is originally from Ontario and had been living in Saskatchewaaaan (as she would pronounce it) for a couple of years, and she and her husband had just purchased a house and invited my friend Celeste and myself over to her house for a tour. As Kaytie would have put it, it wasn’t her choice to live in Saskatchewan (quick funny pronunciation discussion if you’re interested) and blamed it mostly on her husband Jordan. Anyways, throughout the tour, she wasn’t exactly overly excited about showing us their big new fancy house until we started rounding the corner to the basement stairs. It was like we were on the platform trying to find 9 ¾. Celeste and I were a bit confused. It was a big and pretty much empty space, except for a few pieces of furniture, a TV stand, a spare bed, and a little cart in the corner with a long-looking machine on it. Obviously, oblivious to the said magic of the machine. Kaytie’s eyes began to sparkle and was completely dumfounded that Celeste and I had no idea what the machine was and frankly had never heard of it before.

creative invitation cards and scissors placed on table near succulents
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

By the time she was done talking about the machine and its brilliance, I think Kaytie realized that she lost us. I remember asking Kaytie, “so you spent all of this money on a machine that makes greeting cards?” I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that she had this big printer to make a card that I could buy at the Dollarstore for a fraction of the price than I could have probably made it for. Celeste was equally confused too.

FLASHFORWARD, a few years and the Cricut machine make its way into mainstream Saskatchewan. And boy does it ever make an impact. All of the crafters are buzzing about all of the amazing things it can do, and the thousands of the accessories, digital files, vinyl, etc. that are available are like O.M.G. LOL dolls for adult crafters. It’s literally beyond wild to me how big it is.

Why Now? Reasons to Probably Try it Out

I’ve been looking for a side hustle for a while, and haven’t been successful at thinking of something that I would like doing, that I can do from home, and that I can do on my own time. I wanted to make pretty teacher things for Teachers Pay Teachers, but there’s a ton of hoops, loops, and challenges you have to go through when working as a permanent contracted teacher. Ugh, it seems like a lot of energy and even more time to figure it out and then worry about it. Therefore, I know several people that have small successful businesses using their Cricut machines, and maybe this project can give me the skills I need to embark on a new journey. Also, big thanks to Kaytie for raving about her sister Courtney’s organization business in Toronto, Declutter with Coco, for telling me about all the ways her sister uses her Cricut machine in her business. Hmm… I feel like I have some guest speakers in the works!

Photo Courtesy of Craftdrawer Crafts.

The other night, Alec had us in a breakout room and our group had finished our task early. So naturally, I asked what everyone was planning on doing for the projects (because let’s be honest, I am a tad apprehensive with the Cricut craze, as well as feeling a little like my tail is between my legs when poking fun at Kaytie all those years before). As the group members were sharing, I wasn’t sure if my idea really fit. Anyways, when I said what I was thinking, two of my group members instantly were excited! Durston loves his Cricut so much he made a side hustle, Custom D Signs, which has since evolved. So, I know there are a lot of folks near and far that can help me learn how to fake my way through being in the Cricut community, and many more like Jenny for example, that are willing to try my creations (bless her soul).

Looking for Support & Connections

By golly Ms. Molly, I am going to need all of the help that I can get. I hope to reach out to friends, starting with Kaytie and her sister, and all of their years and experience using the Cricut machine, learn with videos I find on Instagram, Pinterest, or on the Cricut website, etc. Conveniently (not) Kaytie has since moved back to Ontario, and I can’t help but feel a little jaded that she decided to move at such an inconvenient time for me in my learning. Rude, right? Just kidding Kaytie, obviously, there are many more reasons your move is not in my best interest, lol. I guess it’ll help me spend more time on FaceTime and social media learning from her. OMG! I forgot to mention she also upgraded her Cricut machine before leaving Saskatchewan, and even let me “weed” one of her projects out of sheer desperation. The things she can do with that machine blows me away. Anyways, I apologize for ranting on once again.

Photo courtesy of Neli Design

Starting Out

So, I feel like that’s an adequate start. I mean, let’s be real here for a minute. The sheer amount of content out there will be overwhelming in itself, and I may spend at least a few days trying to pretend I know what I am doing in this very well-known club. Secretly, not so secretly, I am super lucky (I think) to have a Cricut machine in the school that I can use for now. But, if everything pans out, maybe I’ll have a pretty machine of my own (hopefully not something that ends up in a box under the stairs like many of my other have-to-try projects).

Photo Courtesy of Matha Stewart.

So my plan of attack is to download the program, browse the website, take a peek in the box at school, probably tell Kaytie that she was probably right, and then try to make a plan of what this project is actually going to look like. Because the amount of possibilities out there is actually gross. Like how the heck am I ever going to make choices? So if you’re still with me after reading this super long and probably not-so-focused post, thanks. I appreciate your time and hopefully, you were able to pick something out that made you laugh, connect to a similar experience, or just gave you a couple of minutes away from your everyday normal.

Seriously, I Need All of The Help I Can Get…Actually Though

All of this leads me to way more questions than I have answers for. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate any feedback, experiences, tips, tricks, best places to buy things, things to stay away from, or whatever. Like I said. I am beyond a beginner at this. Hopefully though with my techy-ish background, I will be able to figure this all out and not rant too many choice words at any given time. Please do not feel obligated to answer all of the questions either. Also, if you prefer to write a general comment, that’s great too!

Photo Courtesy of Matha Stewart
  1. Are you on the Cricut crafting trend? If not, tell me why (because let’s be honest, that was me until recently… maybe until that one time I was allowed to weed)?
  2. If you have zero interest or experience with the Cricut, then please tell me about your project! I would love to hear about it.
  3. Do you recommend purchasing a Cricut machine? If so, the Explore Air®2 or the Cricut Maker®? Also, what the heck is the difference?
  4. How did you start using the Cricut machine? Where would you recommend that I even begin?
  5. Is it important to know all of the Cricut terminology?
  6. Best places to get materials? Tell me the best cost wise places, as well as the best places…
  7. Do you have any online learning places that you swear by that would help me learn?

24 thoughts on “I’d Climb Every Mountain, And Swim Every Ocean, Just to Be With You, And Learn How to Cricut…

  1. Kelly, I love reading your posts! You bring so much energy and humour as well as many thought out and relevant points.

    I personally have not joined the Cricut bandwagon but I entirely get the potential and your reasons for wanting to. I feel like I am surrounded by people that love and use it for EVERYTHING! My Mother-in-law and four teachers on my staff all love theirs so much, and they have all said they are willing to make whatever I might want. While I think it would be a very fun project, as I am crafty and I do love creating, I don’t think it would fit so well in my already crazy busy life. I also get the desire for a side hustle as this is something I have considered for years. Again though, I just don’t have the time to feel like I’d actually enjoy it which would really be self-defeating. I’ve been working too hard to stop taking on things that don’t enhance my life or serve my family to do something I don’t entirely need or love!

    I am looking forward to hearing more about your journey towards Cricut Master. Have fun and good luck!!

    1. Well that’s just the kindest compliment ever Gillian! Thanks for taking the time to pop in! I am not exactly sure what I have signed myself up for. As you said, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day and I should be focusing it on other things, but this is something that I want to try. My kiddo is just a toddler still, and I feel as if I soon will run out of time with activities and family things, so it’s pretty much now or maybe never I guess. It seems like people are either lovers or non-believers of the whole Cricut craze, so I will see soon enough where I fit into this world. Thanks for your time! I can’t wait to hear about your project.

  2. Kelly! I am so excited to follow along with your project!

    Growing up, my mom had a cricutOG (like the one where you would put the cartridge you bought in, lay the keyboard cover over and “type” what you wanted it to cut). She mostly used it for scrapbooking and I used it throughout high school and early in my career to cut out bulletin board letters and simple designs that she had access to.

    For Christmas last year, I asked for one of my own since I figured it might also be useful for wedding diy things. My lovely fiancé bought me the ExploreAir2. When I was deciding which one I wanted to get, it seemed to me that the real difference between the Air and the Maker is the type of materials you can cut and how many extra functions you would be able to use. I figured I would probably only use it for cutting paper and vinyl and maybe using the writing tool. So, due to the price difference, I asked for the Air.

    My fiancé was smart and also asked my mom what to buy with the machine to get me started. He got me a starter kit similar to this one (https://www.amazon.ca/Cricut-Explore-Complete-Starter-Set/dp/B072BGJDNX) that came with 3 different mats, the packaged tools, and some vinyl. It didn’t come with the extra blade, pencil, or markers. I feel like it was enough to get me started.

    Honestly, I haven’t used it as much as I would like to so far. Partially because we don’t have a table space for it so every time I want to use it I have to unbox it and put it on the floor. I’ve made some letters for bulletin boards, vinyl labels to put my class’ names on water bottles for their year end gifts, personalized wine glasses for my bridesmaids, and most recently some shirts with the iron on vinyl.

    I mostly just use youtube and google to try and figure it all out. It is definitely a lot of trial and error I find, especially since it is so much more advanced than the OG Cricut I grew up using. I usually buy most of my supplies at Michaels (for vinyl I buy whatever is on sale even if it isn’t the Cricut brand it still works!). Like I said I don’t use mine a ton so I usually just go there because I know they will have what I need.

    Good Luck!

    1. Brittney, your comment on my post is beyond amazing. Before I respond, I just wanted to really acknowledge that you really went above and beyond and I really appreciate it.

      First of all, I didn’t even know a super original version of the Cricut ever existed. See, I am truly new at all of this. I am glad that you mentioned that it takes a lot of trial and error. That it takes time to digest and learn how to use it best. I hope to get a good understanding of how to use it and make some quality items from it. I am excited to try something new, and a little overwhelmed to be honest. But it’s a start, and everyone has to start somewhere.

      Thanks again for your comment! It was a great read!

      1. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions – I can attempt to answer them to the best of my ability!

  3. I’m excited for you, I have (sort of) found myself on a Cricut journey. We have the Cricut air 2 at school, and a Cricut maker at our shop. The biggest difference is that with the maker you can cut many different types of material from paper to leather to thin pieces of wood. To cut different materials there are different blades that you would have to buy. My best advice (and who knows I could be wrong) buy the no-name blades from Amazon – they are way cheaper and as long as you have the Cricut housing you are fine.

    I primarily use the pricut maker to cut out Vinyl stickers and giant letters for bulletin boards – so I wouldn’t call myself a pro, however it has saved me a tonne of time. I would recommend watching a lot of youtube videos and then just playing around. You will have to learn the different file types that are supported by Cricut and you can pretty much find (almost) anything you are looking for free online – so don’t pay for anything.

    I cheapest place to buy materials is on Amazon, the best place to find material is at Michael’s or directly from Cricut. If you want my advice – save the expensive materials for when you have a good handle on how to use the machine, ohh, and also buy yourself a couple of the good mats, things take forever when you only have one.

    1. Wow! Thanks for the great advice, Chris! I am glad to hear that you are also on somewhat of a Cricut adventure. I bet you have things figured out, especially at that amazing shop you have! Love it. Gosh, I need to learn from you! I need to take your Master Class on the Cricut machine!

      You are speaking my language. Cricut hacks? Best deals? SIGN ME UP! This is a START THE CAR kind of a moment. I see that Michaels has a sale on their Cricut supplies right now (until the 23rd)! I haven’t jumped into it yet, but I feel like I have to buy in a bit even before I know how to use it, to ensure that I put an honest effort forward. I mean, teachers have a ton of money in September anyway, right?

      I am totally reaching out to you for help and guidance. I feel like you have this down and know what you’re doing. I will watch a few YouTube videos and read a few blogs first. Maybe talk to a few friends that know what they’re doing as well before I chat with you more. I have to seem a little like I’m in the know. Thanks so much for your time and your help! I look forward to using all of your tips, picking your brain, and hearing about your project too!

  4. Personally I am more of a silhouette cameo type person instead of a cricut 🙂 I really enjoyed when our school purchased a vinyl cutter. It was fun playing around with it but I definitely never used it to its potential. I am excited to see the creations you come up with after witnessing your creativity in previous classes and how you set up your blog. I appreciated your comment on my blog post about the Boston Cream Donut Project and think I need to wear an apron in my videos. It would be super cool if I knew someone with a cricut who could figure out how to cut a t-shirt transfer and put it on an apron for me 😉 I’d be willing to pay money for that if someone was looking for a side hustle. Someone more creative than me said I should use the #donutstoplearning I think that would look cool on an apron!
    Good luck with this project!

    1. Okay Curtis Norman, you have lost me. What is the Silhouette Cameo and is it pretty much the same thing? When I said I am a newby to this world, I meant it. I have zero ideas about what you are talking about right now, but I am going to pretend I do and go with it lol. Let’s not put all of the eggs in one basket yet… I am hopeful my brain comes up with some exciting projects that I can show you. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up making a few things and realize that it really wasn’t for me, or maybe not. I guess time will tell.

      OMG! Yes. An apron. I’ll look into it for you hahaha. Good for you. Your project is so great, and scary at the same time. I heard donuts take time to perfect. But if anyone can do it, it’ll be you! Especially with your passion for the one-of-a-kind donut. I wonder if you reached out to the Everday Kitchen to get to see how they make them… would be interesting for sure! I know IGA in Emerald Park is always willing to help out. They make donuts too, just not sure if they are the Boston Cream ones. But shoot Adam a message on Instagram. He’s wonderful!

  5. Haha. A silhouette cameo is like Pepsi and the Cricut is Coca-Cola. Thanks for the leads on people to get in touch with. I will be reaching out to people soon.

    1. Oh gosh, maybe I should have guessed this Curtis. Also, a new development! A current student said that his parents are donut creators at the Robin’s Donuts on Rochdale. They make THEEEE best Boston Cream donut up here in the North that I know of. I have an “in” for you!

  6. Kelly,

    Oh boy, you really activated people with your questions – it seems you will have lots of help for this project! Personally, I have an ExploreAir2. I have always been interested in crafty things and making small personalized projects as gifts – so one year I asked for a gift card towards a cricut machine for Christmas, thinking I would get a little cash towards one and do the research on the machines later! But I was generously gifted one – and then I was so intimidated with learning how it worked (and the sheer amount of possibilities of what to do with it) that it literally sat unused in my office for over a year. My best advice is to just pick a project you are interested in, and then use Pinterest or Youtube to watch some makers break down the materials/steps of that project. Don’t worry about knowing all the lingo or all the parts/capabilities of the machine first – you’ll learn them as you complete the project. If you want to factime or zoom when you pick a project let me know and I can walk you through what I know! So far I have:

    -Cut letters for classroom displays
    -Cut Vinyl for wall decals, window decals, ATV/Lawnmower Decals/Indoor and outdoor signs
    -Made personalized sweaters/shirts/elf dolls using the iron on materials
    I have limited expertise but I am here to help!

    Also: Sometimes Walmart has some good sales on the vinyl and iron on materials!

    1. Victoria, I am so glad that you said to not worry about all of the terminologies at first. Thanks for the beginners’ advice. I like the idea of finding something I want to do, watching videos and tutorials on how to do it, and then going from there. Also, thanks so much for offering to help out. I just may have to take you up on it, as I clearly have no idea what I am doing yet. It sounds like you already have a pretty good understanding as well as practice using the Cricut machine! Window decals sound neat! Lots of great ideas. Thanks again for your help!

  7. KELLY! (I know I’m not in your class anymore, but I have a Cricut Explore Air 2!)

    Canva will be your best friend for anything text-based with your Cricut. It is so much easier than using the Cricut Design Space! My wife and I used ours for our own wedding and made a ton of stuff.

    My favourite part of the Cricut is weeding out the vinyl. Weeding is taking all the pieces of vinyl out with your little hook and just leaving the vinyl needing to be transferred. We have created a bunch of signs using the cheap canvases from the dollar store and then painting them black and using the Cricut vinyl as a custom stencil.

    Let me know if you have any questions!!!

    1. OMG CURTIS! How sweet of you to jump on here and not only read my lengthy post, but to provide guidance for me! I am totally fangirling right now! I had no idea you could use Canva with it, and I am familiar with Canva wayyyy more than the Cricut program. I have it downloaded on my computer and that’s about it so far.

      What a great idea about the signs. I didn’t even think of that. What other great project ideas do you have? Also, how is your masters going with UBC? I bet you are absolutely killing it, being the rockstar you are! Also, a ton of my peers are starting podcasts for this project and I have named dropped you and Amanda hard for all your amazing techy stuff. FYI! Hahah. Ps. I miss our “after hours” general chats after class with the crew! All of the topics we covered and things we learned.

  8. Kelly I know this is slightly off topic, but I needed to let you know that I began reading your post, and immediately went down a rabbit hole looking at your entire site. It looks amazing!! It’s extremely well done. EC&I 831 is my first attempt at creating a blog, I now have an amazingly high standard to try and emulate! I see so many options and ideas to attempt to incorporate into my own site, I had to say thank you!

    Straying back on topic, I hear nothing but positive things from Circuit users! I haven’t used one myself, but I have witnessed some of the incredible projects Curtis Bourassa has created. I know he commented earlier, but I have to reiterate that he will be a great resource.

    1. Okay, stop it right now Colton! You are way too sweet. Let’s be honest here, I don’t know what I am doing when blogging most of the time. I somehow seem to figure it out each week and surprise myself. I feel like there are way more blogs out there to be looking at before mine, so take it with a grain of salt! I am glad I have inspired you in some way lol. Still not quite sure what or why, but I’m glad it made an impact somehow. I have only been picked up blogging since January, after over a decade of not doing it (and let’s be honest I didn’t do much of it 10 years ago either).

      Curtis Bourassa is going to be a great resource. I had no idea he was a Cricut believer, but I should have assumed so as it is something techy and he is pretty much a guru at it all. I am going to rely heavily on the community and learn from as many people as possible. Thanks for the suggestion though, I will definitely be using it!

  9. Kelly this was awesome to read!

    As I told you I have a Cricut and dove in a few summers so that I would not have to get a part-time job in the summer. Although the Cricut turned into one…

    Any help that you need or questions you have I can tell you that I made a great deal of mistakes that I’ll refer to as “learning opportunities”. Never hesitate to ask!

    I have the Cricut Air 2. The Maker is the new shiny toy. If you were interested in doing anything with fabric or thin leather that would be the route you would want to go. If you are looking for vinyl or paper that the Air 2 should be all you need. After the maker came out a friend got it so I looked into what was the benefit of it. They never use it for fabric and we had the same experience.
    When you get a Cricut it comes with its own little starter job that you can try out to see maybe what you would like to start. I did painted signs on wood, vinyl, and iron on. I would of like to explore some of the cardstock sides of things with the writing and scoring features. As for materials, I could tell you cheap routes to go, but sometimes the cleaning of the boards is more of a headache!

    I didn’t want to make the longest comment ever, but as I said before don’t hesitate to ask!

    I look forward to discussing the Cricut with you and following you along on your journey!

    1. Can I be honest with you right now, Durston? I feel like you are so knowledgeable on this topic and I feel like a complete stranger to it! I am so excited that I have a lot of people reaching out with experience, and I love how you made it into a side hustle and everything! #Futuregoals if I can somehow figure it all out!

      Thanks for the advice on which machine is best. Of course, I am going to start with the one the school has but I see that Michaels has a super sale on it. Should I dive in? Should I wait to ensure that it doesn’t end up under the stairs with the rest of the projects I think are great ideas, dive head over heels into, and then realize that it was a bad idea for me… LOL!

      Let’s also be real here. You are a techy techy person! The starter projects you did, are probably not only out of my league but probably a completely different sport! HA! But I appreciate you, and that you have offered to help me. You may regret that, but I am glad that I have it in writing to come back on. I am definitely going to lean on you, and maybe you can make a guest appearance. I definitely appreciate your help and guidance.

  10. I love the way that you’ve presented this project, and (FYI) this is all new to me so I am going to appreciate what you share as I learn along with you. You’ve done a great job of establishing your rationale and clarifying your learning outcomes. I also appreciate the lengthy support you’ve provided via comments on your colleagues’ posts. Great start!

    1. Holy guacamole! Thanks for popping in Alec. I’m surprised that you haven’t tried out this trend yet. Hopefully, I’ll do a good job of putting everything together and maybe a few people will learn something. Although, I am pretty sure that so many people in our #eci831 class already have a way better understanding than I may have after this project! Here’s to trying, and getting into the craze. Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it.

  11. The brand-new version of the Cricut machine is faster and smarter. Yeah! You heard it right. Cricut Explore 3 is a professional machine crafter can rely on to create anything. The Explore new machine can cut 13” Smart Materials ranging from Smart Vinyl to Smart Iron-On, Smart Paper, and more. You only need to load the material and quickly start your unique project. The best thing is cutting even without a mat while using this machine.

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