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.

Back to School

This Teacher Is Empowering Creative Students

March 23, 2017 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

It’s no secret that Cricut users are some of the best people on the planet. That’s why it’s been such a joy for us to turn the spotlight on some of our talented DIYers who’ve utilized their machines for a variety of good causes. Today, meet Special Education teacher Nancy Ross from Felix A. Williams Elementary in Stuart, Florida. She saw how well her students responded to “Make It Now” designs in Cricut Design Space and decided to involve them in the process. Their enthusiasm and resulting projects have gotten an A+ from the school, community and, most importantly, the kids themselves!

Nancy Ross in her own words….

Nancy Ross Image

 

I teach Special Education to fourth and fifth graders, and their disabilities range from behavioral to academic. Most of them receive speech/language counseling and occupational therapy. This year, I got the idea of using the Cricut in the classroom in order to make incentives for positive behavior. I found sayings on “Make It Now” that I thought they would like and put them on clipboards around the room. They asked if they could personalize them, so I brought my Cricut into school and they began to learn how to use it. They had to measure items, fonts and images for placement and had to spell and use uppercase letters correctly. They began to ask if they could make items for friends and other teachers. When I replied that it all costs money, they came up with the idea of selling their handcrafted products.

 

School Project

 

With permission from the principal, we came up with a business plan, putting the “profit” towards their end-of-the-year field trip. (Most of my students could not otherwise afford this.) They took orders for customized items, and I bought the vinyl and brought in my Cricut on Fridays so they could craft. Tumbler and car decals were big hits. And, the students’ behavior has never been better. They love working on Fridays!

 

Teacher & Student

 

My advice for teachers is show your principal all the standards (math, technology and language arts, just to name a few) that you can incorporate in your lesson plans to justify using the Cricut. It built my students’ self-esteem and taught them social skills, like maintaining eye contact, handshakes for deals and money management. It also helped them think of others by making cards for shut-ins around the holidays and gifts for family members. The “Make It Now” projects have easy-to-follow instructions that help the students quickly comprehend the new technology.

See below for an article the local newspaper did on Nancy’s incredible group of students and their Cricut project!

 

Newspaper Article

 

You can also read more about her efforts here.

I have owned my Cricut for almost a year. I LOVE it! Family, friends and colleagues all think I’m a bit obsessed. Whenever they need something, they all say, “I bet Nancy can make that with her Cricut.” So far, that has included a clinic bulletin board, team t-shirts for parties and Literacy Week items. I create things using my iPad, iPhone and laptop, at home, school and while waiting almost anywhere. Facebook groups and the Cricut YouTube channel are my inspirations. They offer so many suggestions and make it so easy to do. I am a crafty person, but for so long I didn’t make anything. This awakened my spirit to start again, and I am hooked!

Nancy, your enthusiasm and passion for encouraging your students have done us a world of good. We look forward to seeing what these young DIYers create in the future!

Feeling inspired? Show us how you’ve used your Cricut for good with #CricutMade

jessieblogpostheader-1000x667

How One Woman Inspires Her Community With DIY Projects

March 14, 2017 • Contributor: Scarlet Letters Copywriting

Here at Cricut, we love to hear that our products help people add beauty to their homes and lives. But some users really go the extra mile to make the world a better place for others, and today we are happy to be featuring a woman who does exactly that.

Jessica Kistner is the creator and proprietor of Jessie’s Find and Refine, an online store specializing in home décor and organic living. But Jessie doesn’t just sell amazing (often upcycled) products, she also supports her local law enforcement by creating and selling “Back the Blue” candles, which raise funds for the Napa Police Officers’ Association. 

Read on… and get ready to be inspired! 

 

DIY Mug

 

Jessie, tell us a bit about yourself:

I started making soy candles about four years ago while in the Marine Corps. My husband and I were both military police, working presidential security. We eventually moved back to California, where my husband is employed as a police officer in Napa. I wanted to do something to give back to the community, and to show love and support for all law enforcement officers.

Prices for my candles start at $15, and for each one that I sell, I donate $5 to the Napa Police Officers’ Association. Just a few weeks after I launched the program, I was able to give them $300!

 

Back the blue

That is so fantastic, and we are thrilled that your Cricut has helped you with your creative passions. How long have you had your Cricut? What is your favorite feature?

I got my Cricut after an elementary school friend introduced me to the brand. I've had it for almost a year now. My favorite feature, by far, is that I’m able to cut vinyl. I use my Cricut almost daily, whether it be customizing coffee mugs, adding a special touch to my candles, making fun labels for the oils that I sell or creating custom windows. I'm obsessed!

 

Back the blue

Jessie, thank you for your story and, moreover, for your service to our country.

 

Jessie's Find & Refine Candle

Take a stroll through her shop, Jessie’s Find and Refine: http://www.jessiesfindandrefine.com