Marlene Chamberlin

User Spotlight: Marlene Chamberlin

September 21st, 2017 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

It’s one of our favorite seasons: there’s a chill in the air, sharpened pencils in desks, and kids back in schools. As preparations are made for the year ahead (and, let’s face it, if you have school-aged children or work in education, September is the real start of the new year), we love to hear how Cricuts are used in classrooms.

This brings us to this week’s User Spotlight, which we are shining on Marlene Chamberlin of Newbury Park, California. Mom to two kids in local public schools, Marlene volunteers her time, talent, and trusty Cricut to make her kids’ classrooms fun and welcoming. Keep reading to learn more about this Maker Mom and her inspirational school projects!

Marlene, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a stay-at-home mommy with two kids: Jaden, who is nine, and Brooke who is 13 (how did that happen?!). I have been married for 23 years and been crafting and scrapbooking for more than 25 years.

I first saw the Cricut on display at the Craft and Hobby Show (CHA) in Anaheim, California, years and years ago. I had always desired one but didn’t have the money.

I was working at Treasured Memories Scrapbook Store at the time, and one day, a very loyal and awesome customer of ours left one for me to have! She had been given two, and, boy, was I thrilled and lucky to acquire such an awesome machine!

The 6X12 machine is a breeze to use and super easy to learn. The store held some Cricut classes, which was very helpful. Some attendees had never taken theirs out of the boxes! They were intimidated, I guess, but quickly learned.

Decorated classroom door

What inspired you to start using your Cricut at your kids’ school?

Looking at the doors of my child’s kindergarten classroom was like looking at a blank canvas. I could envision things on that entryway: bright, vivid colors of design that would excite the kids and make them proud to enter or leave class. With the Cricut, there are endless possibilities. I just let my imagination go!

Classroom sign

Classroom child's picture

What has been the response to all the projects you’ve created?

The response was very encouraging and kept me driven to keep creating more fun projects for all to enjoy. The kids were so excited to see new things on the wall or door, especially if it involved photos of them! The parents complimented me as well. The decorated door welcomes people in; it’s like painting your front door red… only better!

Photo booth sign

Photo booth props

Is there anything you’re eager to try next on the Cricut?

I would love to create some signage with big, fat lettering for the school’s cafeteria -- I adore fonts! I would also like to create something that can be hung from the ceiling, or maybe some vinyl or wood projects as gifts for the teachers and principal.

School wall display

Do you have any advice for people starting out with the Cricut?

Overall: don’t be afraid! More specifically: I suggest always using cardstock, as thin paper tends to rip easily. Make sure to label your machine with its speed and size to remind you to check your settings. Always use a scraper or spatula to help you peel the designs off the sticky cutting mat—this tip is more of a Must Do! It also really helps to take the mat and curl it in half, which makes the project designs pop up and off of the mat, enabling easy removal. Tutorial videos are another great tool. My final gem: remember that not all font cartridges are made equal--some will come out smaller and some larger. Don’t necessarily expect a two-inch letter when you set up with that measurement, as each font is created differently.

The more you use the Cricut, the easier it gets. You’ll become familiar with the process, and quicker at making projects and creating a fun world around you. Use Pinterest or your local scrapbook store to inspire you to create something that will make others smile and build lasting memories for years to come!

Fun school wall decor

Thanks so much, Marlene! The students, staff, and parents at your school are lucky to have you.

New to Cricut? Go to our Learn More, Make More page

Show off your classroom projects with #CricutMade and tell us about them by commenting below!

Volunteers from Crops of Luv

A Cut Above: Crops of Luv

August 10, 2017 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

Cricut users are passionate people. But even we were blown away by the enthusiasm and selflessness of this Cricut user and her team. Since 2009, Jody McNelis and her dedicated volunteers at Crops of Luv have been creating scrapbooks for children facing critical illness. Using their Cricuts to assemble amazing embellishments, these gifts of love document a wish come true and special memories. Their impact has been truly profound.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started using your Cricut.

I have been scrapbooking since 1997. I got my first Cricut because I refused to let a friend pay me for making three albums for her mom’s 80th birthday celebration. She told me that I couldn’t refuse a gift, so she bought me a Baby Bug. It was the reason I knew I could actually start Crops of Luv, because I would be able to make anything we needed for the wish albums.

Different characters that the volunteers have made

What was the inspiration behind Crops of Luv? How did the Cricut come into play as the non-profit took off?

Crops of Luv was inspired by an album I made for a colleague whose granddaughter was granted a wish. I was already an avid Cricut user when I started making her album. We did over 400 pictures for this album and made 90% of the embellishments and titles with the Cricut.

Volunteers working on scrapbooks

Now we stock enough Cricut embellishments to make over 345 albums a year and we have a Crops of Luv “Cricuteer” group who make embellishments non-stop to keep us in stock. We’re constantly telling anyone who asks that the Cricut Explore is the only way that we are able to continue to afford to make the albums we make for free for these families.

Happy girls looking at a scrapbook

What was one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with one of your Cricut Crops of Luv projects?

I think our recent retreat is a great example. We had two books that required special embellishments that we didn’t have anything for. There was nothing in the Cricut library we could use...so we had to find ways to make our own. One book required embellishments for Bert from Mary Poppins and another book was a wish to go to the World of Warcraft comic-con in California called BlizzCon. We were actually able to replicate items from the game as embellishments for the album. They both became works of art. They were complete collaborations with the entire group at the retreat.

Cars scrapbook page

Make a Wish scrapbook pages

What has been the community response to the Cricut scrapbooks?

Most of these families are just so grateful for the albums because they do not have the time and resources to do this themselves.

Halloween card

A note from a grateful parent…

Note from a Crops of Luv scrapbook recipient

...and a note from an excited recipient.

What do you envision for the future of Crops of Luv?

We are looking forward to expanding Crops of Luv to the point that every wish child receives a book. Last year, over 22,000 wishes were granted worldwide. We hope that we’ll one day have our own space that is NOT in my home. Some day we would like to have enough funds to be able to do this full-time without worry!

Shipments of scrapbooks made by Crops of Luv

A typical album shipping day. Another 22 families are about to be VERY happy.

Jody and her volunteers have DIY spirit that we all aspire to. We’re so honored by Cricut’s part in their efforts and wish them many happy scrapbooking events to come!

Want to learn more about Crops of Luv? Check out their Facebook page.

New to Cricut? Go to our Learn More, Make More page

Show off your sensational scrapbooks with #CricutMade and tell us about them with a comment below!

Make these back to school projects with a Cricut

10 Back to School Gear Ideas with Cricut

August 4, 2017 • Contributor: Ginger Bowie from Ginger Snap Crafts

Hello there! It’s Ginger from GingerSnapCrafts.com. Back to school is just around the corner. Are you ready? I’m not totally ready YET, but I know that with my Cricut Explore Air and a few supplies, it will be easy to whip up some amazing back to school gear for my kiddos. Let me show you some of my favorite projects that can be completed in one afternoon with your Cricut. Don’t forget to pin your favorites!

Shark Pencil Case

Image: Doodlecraft Blog

Sharks are so popular right now, and this DIY Shark Pencil Case is sure to make a splash in your child’s backpack.

First Day of School T-Shirt

Image: Love Create Celebrate

The first day of school is a big milestone. Tons of picture taking is a must! This cute first day of school t-shirt can be customized to your child’s grade level. It also makes a cute keepsake to keep as well.

Back to School Photo Prop

Image: Ginger Snap Crafts

Speaking of photos, a photo prop can help get those smiles coming more quickly! I love that this one can be used over and over again each year. All you’ll need to make this is a wood board, black paint & white vinyl along with your Cricut Explore Air & your favorite font.

Personalized Pencil Pouch

Image: Happy Go Lucky

I know my kiddos love to see their names on just about everything. Isn’t this personalized pencil pouch fun? Let your child pick out the colors and fonts to make it as unique as they are.

Customized Backpack

Image: The Celebration Shoppe

No sense in having the same backpack as everyone else. Am I right? Make your child their own customized backpack using your Cricut Explore Air.

Don’t forget to pin or share some of your favorite projects using the hashtag #CricutMade.

DIY Geek Inspired Shirt

Image: The Crafted Sparrow

I don’t know about your kiddos, but my kiddos definitely have their own unique style and fashion sense. Help them design their own clothing using Cricut Iron-On vinyl and your Cricut Explore Air.

DIY Print & Cut Bookmarks

Image: The Celebration Shoppe

Back to school means more reading for my kiddos. Yay! With your Cricut, it’s easy to customize and make your own bookmarks for back to school.

School Messenger Bag

Image: Crazy Little Projects

Isn’t this school messenger bag cute? Again, Cricut Iron-On vinyl comes in so handy to personalize and make all your back to school gear uniquely your own. Have you seen the Glitter Iron-On vinyl? It’s cute and would work well with a project like this!

Teacher Notebook

Image: Happy Go Lucky

Teachers love back to school gear as well. Isn’t this teacher notebook made with Cricut so pretty? I want to make one for my child’s teacher this year.

Monogrammed Globe Pencil Case

Image: It Happens in a Blink

One more pencil case for the win. You can never have too many of these! I love the cute globe on this one, and you can never go wrong using a monogram in your designs.

Do you want to try a fun Back to School project with Cricut? Check out this cute Reading is FUNdamental Tote Bag in Cricut Design space that you can create in just a few easy steps. You can also find tons of ideas over on Pinterest as well. Don’t forget to share your fun back to school projects made with Cricut using the hashtag #CricutMade. Happy back to school crafting!

Tammy Nickel uses her Cricut for her daycare

Inspiring Young Minds

July 20, 2017 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

Sometimes the smallest DIY projects make the biggest impact. That’s why we’re thrilled to be turning the spotlight on home-based daycare owner Tammy Nickel, who’s been using her Cricut to create charming projects for the young students in her charge.

Tammy, please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been running an in-home daycare now for 10 years. I’m blessed with great kids and an amazing program. Every day, I do some kind of themed lessons, and I used to buy the “pre-packaged” daycare lessons that came with a craft. But after a few months, I realized that I could come up with similar ones on my own, and it would be easy to make the crafts on my Cricut machine. So now I do it all, and it’s so much fun to make sure that each of my lessons has a craft. I try to use different mediums, but my backup is always cardstock. There are many different resources that I look to for inspiration, and my Cricut helps me design the crafts and cut out each piece. It saves me hours of fussy cutting!

Cute kids making crafts at preschool

What was one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with one of the Cricut-created lesson/crafting projects?

This year we’re focusing on the alphabet. When I started this unit, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and saw the letter “A” turned into an alligator. It was super-cute, and I decided to do that for each of the upcoming letters. So, I went to my Cricut and designed something for every letter of the alphabet. I found that I could find almost any piece I needed on Cricut Access, and if I wanted something slightly different, I could upload it.

Preschool Alphabet created in Cricut Design Space

What have been the kids’ reactions?

The kids love them and always look forward to seeing what we’re going to make out of the letter of the day! I’m also planning on trying different mediums with this project, like fabric or chipboard.

Kids with homemade paper leis

Do you use the Cricut machine in your personal life too?

I love to make cards for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc., as well as things for all the ladies in my church! I couldn’t do it without the help of my Cricut. Everyone always look forward to getting a card and seeing the fun interactive elements that I’m able to create.  I also like to give personalized presents and plan to make each of my students a shirt at Christmas using the Cricut iron-on. There are just so many things you can do with the Cricut. The options are limitless!

Halloween card

Cute camper image

Tammy, we love how you bring your heart and soul into everything you create. Your personal touches are sure to be remembered for a long time to come!

New to Cricut? Learn more about us here.

Have a little one who loves a Cricut craft? Show us with #CricutMade.

Rob and Bob

Meet the Makers: Rob & Bob

October 19, 2016 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

They’re the duo who fuses modern and vintage styles with playful sophistication: they’re Rob Blackard and Bob Beidleman, founders of the Rob & Bob Studio, and we’re thrilled to have them return to our Meet the Maker series. (If you missed our first post, you can check it out here). Continuing their mission of creating art that inspires, they showed us some of their recent favorite projects that share the common theme of incorporating fabulous fonts.

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Turkey Coloring Page

10 Terrific Turkey Crafts

October 17, 2016 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

Turkeys: they’re not our national bird, but they’re certainly America’s most popular! There are songs about them, paintings of them and even the President gets in on the feathery fun with an annual pardoning of one lucky creature. Whether you prefer your Thanksgiving turkey deep-fried or sculpted out of wheat protein and tofu, it’s time to pay homage to this iconic gobbler with some amazing DIY crafts.

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Wicked Halloween Card

Cute (Not Scary!) Halloween Crafts

October 3, 2016 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

October has arrived! There’s a chill in the air, leaves crunching underfoot, children plotting costume details, and savory foods on the menu. As the 31st is getting closer, we wanted to reflect on the whimsical side of Halloween: think scarecrows instead of skeletons, friendly ghosts instead of creepy monsters, and autumnal oranges instead of blood reds.

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Sesame-Street

Sesame Street® Celebrations and Elmo’s Playday

September 28, 2016 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

It’s always a sunny day at Cricut® now that the Sesame Street® Celebrations and Elmo’s Playday cartridges have arrived! Brimming with bright colors, cheerful phrases and, of course, all your favorite Muppets—Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, Zoe, Elmo, Grover and so many more—the Celebrations cartridge is perfect for DIY paper crafts. And because every preschooler holds a special place in their heart for Elmo, the lovable red Muppet has his very own cartridge filled with magical, everyday fun. With so many wonderful images to choose from, a successful project is as easy as A-B-C!

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Gourmet S’mores

End of Summer – Get Outside!

August 26, 2016 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

The days are getting shorter and fall is right around the corner, so now’s the perfect time to get the kids outdoors and soak in as much Vitamin D as possible. And since you may have reached the point where sprinklers and overheated playground equipment just isn’t cutting it for your little ones anymore, Cricut® has the perfect suggestions for DIY summer projects that get them moving outside. Try a new twist on tried-and-true carnival games, some camping goodies made just for them or a pool party that really makes a splash. There’s so much fun to be had!

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