Studio Musings

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Summer Camp Fun (aka Cricut Mountain Make-a-thon)

Love my new collection of pins! (the bag was mine)
Last week I went to summer camp, also known as Cricut Mountain Make-a-thon.  Three jam-packed days of creativity, new friends, and so much fun!  I've always loved summer camp - swimming, hiking, s'mores over a campfire, and my favorite - arts and crafts.  Cricut's Mountain Make-a-thon definitely delivered on the last. 

While it was announced back in May, I didn't decide to sign up until mid-July.  I really, really wanted to do something fun, because this summer has been filled with a number of not fun things, like deciding I need to let go of my studio outside the home (and figure out what to do with everything that's lived there for the past ten years!)  Signing up so late, a number of the classes were already full, but I easily managed to fill my schedule.

My biggest goal - to test drive Cricut's new Maker.  With it's expandable set of tools, it's designed to cut everything from fabric (with the rotary cutter blade) to chipboard and balsa wood (using the knife blade), as well as the normal suspects (paper, vinyl, etc.) that their Explore Air cuts so beautifully.  Over half of the classes I took were hands-on, using the Maker, and I got to watch it cut fabric, interfacing, fusible batting, felt, chipboard, paper, vinyl, iron-on and even crepe paper, as well as use the new scoring wheels to create a super-sized rosette. 

I started out with a card-making class - couldn't pass up the chance to learn a new-to-me pop-up mechanism. 
Add caption
Debbie O'Neal had designed on over-the-top card complete with pink flamingos, pineapples and a colorful toucan.  I stuck with dead-simple to make it easier to focus on how the pop-up works.  It's going to be such fun creating designs that work with this! 

We cut 4mm chipboard and patterned vinyl to create this cute banner
In "Cuts Like a Knife" I learned the knife blade doesn't try to cut all the way through thick materials in one fell swoop.  Instead, it makes multiple, very-precise passes.  It took fifteen passes to cut the 4mm chipboard shown above.  In the edge-on shot, I tried to show both the thickness of the chipboard, and how cleanly it cut.  

Sample projects from "It Cuts Like a Knife" class
I spent the first day literally running from class to class, and discovered that there was no 'passing period'.  If the schedule said Class A ends at 10:30 and Class B starts at the same time, they mean exactly that.  It meant I was a little late to several classes, because I had something like five classes all lined up, back-to-back.  Oops! Back in my hotel room that evening, I rearranged my schedule for the next day to give myself a little more breathing room. 

First up on Day Two? Audrey Fixation's Amazing Zipper class.  

Day Two - The Amazing Zippered bag
In an hour and a half, I cut out the fabrics, interfacing and fusible batting (using the cutting wheel), and FINISHED the phone case - including my first zipper in probably ten years.  Cutting, ironing, and stitching, done!  Wow. 

I finished a several projects on Day Two - I took this photo that evening as evidence
My biggest surprise of the Make-a-Thon was how much I loved their newest line of Easy-Presses

The newest Easy Press, in three sizes, from the Cricut website
Going into the conference, I thought I'd only want one if I really got into iron-on designs.  Cricut cleverly had several projects, including some universal make-and-takes, that used the different sizes of Easy Press.  We also used them in the sewing classes to press fabrics.  They are so neat!  My 10-15 year old iron had taken a fatal fall from my ironing board just before I left.  This left me in a vulnerable position, where I was way too susceptible to the lure of the bright-and-shiny.  Can you guess where this is going?  Yep, the smallest press followed me home, really.   We'll see how much I love it once I've used it a bit more at home.  At the very least, it's base design makes it much less likely to plummet from my ironing board.  :)

One of the classes I exchanged into was Lia Griffith's "Magical Crepe Paper Flowers".   I was waitlisted, but luckily a few someones didn't show up, so there was room.

Lia Griffith's crepe paper flower bouquets on the left, my bloom on the right
In just an hour, I made this Iris/Tulip hybrid (it looks more like an iris to me, but I think it's supposed to be a fancy tulip).  I could have used a little more time to blend the pan pastels, but I definitely got the picture.  This was another dangerous, dangerous class!  I'm now the proud owner of a signed copy of Lia's latest book, Crepe Paper Flowers.  I can't wait to try out some of her other designs.  Even better?  If you have a Maker, the book includes a download code to cut all of the pattern pieces. 

Breakfast time friends
Each morning started with a lovely buffet breakfast, usually followed by a general session.  This was a great time to meet others who love to create as much (or more) as I do.  Including Dewana, the admin for the Cricut Design Space Facebook Group, and a number of her friends from that group.  Such a creative group!

In each corner of the main ballroom, the Cricut Team set up themed Design-scapes for a little extra inspiration.  My favorite was the child's bedroom.  Chock full of ideas.  Love the animal appliques, and how they turned one into a stuffed animal!

Cricut Design Team's "Child's Bedroom"


Cricut Design Team's "Wine & Cheese" dinner theme

They had a selfie 'scavenger hunt' in order to earn the pins I showed earlier, hence my mug at bottom left.  And every day, we received another goodie bag, from Michaels, Joann's and Cricut! 

Conference Freebies in addition to class supplies.
Cricut also gave us all of the images and fonts used in the various classes, whether or not you actually took the class.  So I can try out Anna Griffin's scoring wheel designs at some later date.  The biggest challenge, was fitting everything into my small carry-on sized suitcase and the tote bag from above.  Especially since we received the Bright Pad as a parting gift at the end of the last day. (It's not small!)

Can you tell I had fun?  I've been home a week now, and I'm still jazzed by all the possibilities.  Just need to finish moving the studio home, and then I'll have time to create....