Cricut + Vinyl = Happy Me

I am learning to love vinyl!!  So many great color choices.  I made this name plaque for my sister's newly-decorated living room.  Don't you just love the colors she chose?!  The cream and brown are perfect.  I even matched the font to another piece she had in her living room.  (I probably spend way too much time selecting fonts to know off-hand that this font is Papyrus!)  Anyway, I love how it turned out.

By the way, this was my last project before my Cricut mat was officially retired. I am sad to say that it is dead and gone.  I guess when your Cricut mat looks like mine, it's time to break down and get a new one.  Now I have a brand spankin' new one that looks like this!

**However, I did purchase a quilt basting spray that added a lot of much-needed stickiness to the mat, and that probably doubled it's lifespan. **

Stay tuned for tomorrow... I have TWO downloads in store for you!

Vinyl is Back!

LAST CHANCE:  Enter my Happy Hundred Give-away by midnight tonight!  Winner will be announced tomorrow.
It's been a while since I've done a vinyl project, so I decided to make this scripture tile for my Dad's birthday tomorrow.  (Hope you're not reading this, Dad!)  My Dad is a stake president, and this is his favorite scripture.  I thought it might be a nice addition to his office.

However... I had a couple of problems:
1.  I do not have any cricut tools, and I'm beginning to wish I did.  Peeling off the tiny little pieces of vinyl is a pain!  Those dots on the i... oh man!  I need one of those scraping tools, and bad.  I kept tearing and having to re-cut pieces.  Do any of you with the scraping tool thingy find this to be essential?
2.  I cut my vinyl on too low of a pressure setting, or maybe the needle is just getting dull.  Either way, it was NOT peeling easily.  All in all, this innocent-looking tile took me about 3 hours to finish!!  Thank goodness my son took a long nap.  What a sweetheart.  He probably realized his Mom needed extra craft time!!
Not too shabby, right?  I tried to keep it simple and clean cut for my Dad.  Nothing too fancy.  And now for convincing the hubs that I need some cricut tools!!

Cutting Fabric With Your Cricut!

That your Cricut can cut fabric?!

Am I the last one to figure this out?!  I had heard rumors that this was true, but decided to try it out for myself to make my little guy this applique shirt:  
One of the things I like least about sewing is the cutting, so this little trick is going to save me for sure.  Here is what I did:

1.  I used a 100% cotton fabric.  I am not sure if any other fabrics would work.  I pre-washed my fabric with NO fabric softener.  
2.  I adhered Heat-N-Bond to my fabric.  I have heard that Pellon does NOT work, so avoid that.  I just followed the directions on the package.
3.  I peeled the paper backing off of the fabric and adhered it right on my Cricut mat.  I smoothed it on the mat so it was good and smooth.  I cleaned my mat right before this step, just to be sure it would have the ultimate clean cut.
4.  On my cricut, I set the speed on the lowest possible setting and the pressure on the highest possible setting to be sure it would go slow enough and deep enough to cut through.  I have also heard that using a brand new blade ensures the best cut or having a blade set aside just for cutting fabric would be a good idea.  But I used my old, very-used blade and had no problems at all.

5.  CUT.  I was still in denial that this would work, so you can imagine my amazement when I peeled away the fabric and found out that it really worked!

Because I was doing an applique, I ironed my fabric right on my shirt.  I found that my large fabric pieces "stuck" the best at this point.  My tiny "Lucky Charms" letters needed an extra layer of Heat-n-Bond to stick.  It seemed to lose some stickiness after I peeled them off the mat. 
So after sewing around my edges, here is the final effect!!  My little guy is a very active model--a moving target!!  I thought this was the most manly shamrock, but just in case I paired it up with his camo pants.  I don't want anyone thinking he is wearing a flower!!  Strangers STILL ask me if he is a girl.  Must be those pretty blue eyes.

This is the best view I could get of the back of the shirt.  By the way, appliquing tiny letters is so difficult!!!  My mother and I both had the hardest time.  So I gave up on the shirt saying "Lucky Charm" and just went with "Lucky."  I am definitely going simple with my next applique.  No more tiny letters!!!
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