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Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

It's November, which to many over-enthusiastic holiday lovers means CHRISTMAS! Yes, I love Thanksgiving as well—it's just one big holiday celebration for me from now to the end of the year. So far, I've refrained from putting up my Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare, right? This past weekend, I spent some time making some ornaments. I love to create handmade ornaments to add to my little tree each year. 
Lately I've been interested in popsicle stick crafts. I found some super cute ideas on Pinterest (see the links to my Holiday Crafts and Food board and specific posts below). I like that such a simple material can have so many possibilities. Just add paint and glue!
I was able to get my kids involved for part of my craft day. They are ages 2 and 3, so they didn't do much beyond just paint a few popsicle sticks. I turned these painted sticks into little Santa Claus ornaments—two for each daughter as they're bound to ruin some of them …

My Introduction to Cricut

There was a time when I just did not understand why Cricut crafters loved this machine so much. From what I saw, you just plugged in some lettered phrase or generic clip art, the machine cut it for you, and voilá, a new mug or T-shirt. I didn’t get it. Where was the fun in that? How many snarky T-shirts does the world need?

When I craft, I like to really dive into the process of creating and building something from scratch. Being an illustrator, I also like to use my own designs and artwork. These are probably the main reasons a die cutting machine didn’t appeal to me at first. I didn’t want easy, practically pre-made crafts. I didn’t want to just type a phrase and stick it onto a T-shirt. I didn’t find machine-cut vinyl as enticing as hand-knitting a sweater or sewing a dress or applying embellishments to a scrapbook page. 

Because of my initial disinterest, I never looked into what else you could do with Cricut machines. I thought they were mainly just for vinyl because that’s all I saw it used for. (I basically just thought Cricut was for people who wanted fancy brush lettered phrases on everything, LOL.) Then I stumbled across other types of projects, and I realized it was so much more.

Once I saw a YouTube video of an artist creating her own die cut stickers from her drawings, I was sold. Here was a versatile tool that could really open up new possibilities to me as an artist and crafter. I also came across some beautiful paper flowers and, as you may know, I’m a sucker for all things floral.

So I researched more about the Cricut machines. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a tool for die cutting not just vinyl, but also cardstock, paper, sticker sheets, vellum, and more. The larger model, the Maker, can also cut a wider range of materials, including fabric, wood, and leather. Heat transfer vinyl for clothing is a popular project, but really there are so many other possibilities from 3D paper crafts, glass etching, stencils, home décor, card making—the list goes on.

Some of my first projects I made when I finally purchased my own Cricut included sticker sheets (of course I had to try it!), intricate paper mandalas, die cut greeting cards, paper flowers, an insert for my clear phone case, a lettering stencil for a wood sign, and a set of T-shirts (turns out they are quite fun after all, hehe). 

Some of my first projects with my Cricut Explore Air 2

Custom stickers with my artwork

Despite my initial disinterest in making T-shirts, they ended up being pretty fun! :)

What I really love is being able to create new uses for my art and design work. I’m starting to dream up new designs specifically with Cricut crafts in mind. It has given me a whole new spark of creativity! I look forward to exploring it further. 

My wish list of future projects is ever-growing. Some include:
  • nail art stickers
  • temporary tattoos
  • pop-up cards
  • paper snowflakes
  • paper dolls and miniatures
  • reusable stencils
  • gift tags
  • cut paper illustrations
  • shadow box or lantern
  • fun garlands and banners
And, yes, there will probably be more T-shirts, decals, and signs as well! Not to mention Cricut’s brand new Infusible Ink system that I’ve been dying to try.

If you’d like to take a look at some of my very first designs made for Cricut (and other cutting machines) please visit my Etsy shop in the new section SVG Cut Files.

Click on the image to check out SVG designs available in my Etsy shop

Please let me know if you are a Cricut crafter as well and tell me what advice you have, what you enjoy making, and any other Cricut-related tidbits!



My Etsy Shop (NicoleJonesSturk)


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**UPDATE - 2015** The miniature sweater knitting pattern has been revised.  View/Download the new pattern here:
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