Sunday, January 30, 2011

Video #7: My FIRST Cricut Cut!

This is a video of the first cut I made using a Cricut.  It was filmed the day I actually picked it up from Walmart, so it was maybe about 2 weeks ago.  I've made a handful of cards since then, but I'm glad that my fiancé was there to record this!  I hope I never lose this excitement!  Haha, I mean, I don't get all giddy like I did then, but it's still so much fun!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My First THREE Cards!

Since getting my Cricut E on Saturday, I had to start making cards as soon as I could!  Here are the ones that I made first and in order.

(1) Warm Wishes!

I made this card for HF because he recently bought a neck warmer from LL Bean, and he also just bought me Isotoner SmarTouch gloves (mainly to grip the steering wheel, not because of the phone!).  Even though it wasn't a hat and mittens, I just like the "warm wishes" sentiment!  

Cartridge: Simply Charmed for the hat, mitten, and the sentiment
Embossing: Cuttlebug Swiss Dots folder

Making this card was "difficult" because I cut out the mitten first, and then I cut out the words at a much larger size!  I figured that since the mitten was smaller, I'd take up more room with the words.  I didn't realize they'd be THAT bad.  I didn't want to re-cut anything and waste paper, so I played around with what I had.  That's why I decided to add the hat as well to create some sort of balance.

I learned that I could use the Cricut pick tool to make the holes bigger, so that's why the eyes on the hat are larger (and cuter, in my opinion) than the eyes on the mitten.  This was also the first time I used the Zig glue pen (chisel tip).  I absolutely loved it!  It was so easy to use, and I can't imagine having to use any other glue that didn't come in that pen form.

Yesterday I did add Stickles to the cheeks, and I think it adds a little extra something to it.  I like it for my first card.  However, I don't like it as much as I look at it now but that could be because I know all the trouble that went into it!

(2) Bowl of Noodles!

I also made this card for HF because he loves noodles and dumplings!  When I initially saw it in the cartridge handbook, I immediately thought of him and knew it was going to be a card just for my fiancé.  His birthday just passed, but he obviously knew that I didn't have my Cricut for enough time to make his card by then.

Cartridge: Create a Critter
Embossing: Cuttlebug Happy Birthday folder

As compared to my first card, I'm REALLY happy about this one.  I think the simplicity is a lot more pleasing to the eye.  This format is very similar to how I made cards in the past when I just used rubber stamps.  I would stamp and image, emboss it with the powder, and then do it again on poster board so I could cut out a part to pop it up with leftover pieces of fun foam!

I had a little bit of an issue with the shadow feature on this though.  The shadow creates the black outline around the whole image.  The shadow makes it so that I can't make the noodles hang very long.  That meant I had to make a choice between having them hang in front of the bowl or cutting them to be on the inside (I couldn't actually put them under it because I had already glued the rest of the image).  Well, since the noodles were a bit part of the reason why the image is so great, I left them on the outside.

(3) Rawr!

Cartridge: Create a Critter for the dinosaur and tree, Cricut Classic Font for the "rawr"
Embossing: Cuttlebug Swiss Dots (on the top of the tree)
Other: Stickles on the light green

I actually made this dinosaur the night before I put together the card because my mom and brother wanted to see the Cricut in action.  I just chose something that I knew would be easy to layer.  Since I had it all cut out, I wanted to use it in a card the next day.  I cut out that tree, but it was fairly boring.  That's why I ran it through the CB (I really need my folders and texture plates!).  I cut out the "rawr" and tried to put that somewhere too.  It still wasn't coming together.  I knew I needed another layer.

I went through my big box of random papers from Michaels.  I posted about it a few weeks ago or so when it was the "Deal of the Day."  I was able to find that beige paper, which I really liked because it was simple, yet it just tied the card together.  I didn't want to emboss it because I wanted the dinosaur to be the star with no distractions.  Of course, after I put it together, there was still something missing.  It just didn't feel completely put together ... so that's why I added Stickles!  I opened up my 3-pack of 1oz bottles of Stickles and used it on the light green parts of the dinosaur.

I was very happy to see how well the Stickles worked.  I have a big pack of Martha Stewart Glitter, but I wouldn't have been able to use it here since the card was already put together.  That's where Stickles came to the rescue!  Too bad I only bought 2 sets of the 3-packs when they were only $2.39!  

Well, those were my first 3 cards!  I'm really excited that I have something to do that provides relief and relaxation from a hard day at work.  I can still think about work to some degree (yesterday I was thinking about how to phrase this recommendation I had to write for an 8th grade student), but I can still focus on the task at hand.  Too bad we probably won't have a snow day tomorrow otherwise I'd be Cricut-ing away all day long!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Expression and Blog Match!

I didn't even realize that my new plum E matches the color of my blog!  My fiancé pointed it out to me.  He said it was funny that I was disappointed in the color of the E since it matches so well.  I'm not disappointed with it like I don't want it; it was just because it wasn't what I expected.  Now though, I really do like the color!

Anyway, here are the pictures from opening it and making that first cut!  I had to quickly read the sticker that was on the front of the machine.  Due to all the research and reading I did beforehand, I already knew what was written there.  It was reminding me to make sure I had 12 inches in the front and 12 inches in the back of it when cutting.  The reason for that is because the mat needs room to move.  If it bumps into something, it could mess up the cut.

Look at this gorgeous machine!  It's kind of strange that I own a MACHINE.  I mean, I have a netbook and a nook, but this is much larger!  Haha, you can also see my Cub Condo in the background for my Build-a-Bear bear, Howie Wary Bear!  (He was part of the Christmas present from Howard!  I've wanted one for a long time, but that's a different story for a different post!).

It's my new buddy at home!

I've seen so many people press the cut button as I watched videos on YouTube.  I've also seen people move the blade to a certain part of the mat.  It was so cool that I could actually touch it myself!  I know that sounds weird, but it's very different to be able to understand what people talk about through personal experience.  

The little screen can be propped up and out so it's easier to see the measurements or the image of what you're going to cut.  Something so simple is good because it makes it easier not having to be above the whole machine.  I think I'm going to end up leaving that plastic screen cover on for as long as I can!

This is the slot for the cartridge.  It's a rule to put the cartridge in before turning it on.  Then there's also a rule that says you have to turn off the entire machine to switch cartridges.  I know there are some people who say that that's not necessary, but I'm going to do that all the time just to be safe.

This is the top of the machine with an overlay on it.  I think it's such a genius idea for someone to have thought of the overlay thing.  Each cartridge box comes with a wiggly, jiggly overlay that you put over the buttons.  That way you know what button to press for the separate carts.  It's cool because they could have thought about just numbering the buttons or something and then having the numbers in the handbook.  That little extra overlay touch makes it that much better.

I had to have some fun pushing some buttons!  It wasn't plugged in or on at that point, but it was still fun!  Howard caught me pushing the H button.  Hehe, it's because I like him.

And here's my own spa-toola!

I read somewhere that the Cricut spatula is thinner than other spatulas for other die-cutting systems.  That's why I specifically bought this one.  Plus, it was only an extra $3 with the Walmart bundle.

This picture makes me want some pizza ...

I've gotten so used to cutting off the plastic on Cricut items!  I remember when I opened my first cart box.  I was so scared I'd get one of those huge, deep plastic cuts!  Thankfully, I didn't, and I hope I never do what with all this experience I'm gaining!

I love the little Cricut on the outside!  I think it's really funny that I didn't understand the packaging when I saw it online.  To display all the tools, they actually zipper it the other way around so you can see what's on both sides.  To actually keep it as the kit case, you just zip it so the tools are on the inside.

In my opinion, the best part is that I now have a bone folder!  Haha, I don't know why I'm so obsessed with it.  I think it's because Howard and I were talking about it one day, and I had seen Robyn using her pink one on  Even though mine's not pink, I think it was cool that I got one!  The thing that's missing here is the mat scraper.  I was holding it while Howard took this picture.

In the midst of all this excitement, there was one bad moment when I got something in my eye.  I went to the bathroom, and I think I took out an eyelash or piece of dust.  I tend to always get stuff in my eye!

Well, I finally examined everything that I got.  It was now time to make my first cut! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bringing My Cricut Home

When I got the email that my plum Expression was finally at the Walmart store, I was ecstatic!  I couldn't go pick it up until that Saturday though (1/16).  At the store, I was giddy knowing that I was near it!  But before I went to go pick it up, we took a little bit of time looking around.  Where did I want to go?  THE CRAFTING AISLE.

I have NEVER been in the crafting aisle before knowing that they had Cricut Lite cartridges.  I'm sure I've seen it and just passed it.  I thought it was cool to see them in real life even though (1) all of them were $39 and (2) I cannot buy cartridges anymore because I already have a ton!

I was excited to see the Cricut tool kit and spatula because I knew it would be in my bundle!  I looked down below and saw that they had a few Baby Bugs and Creates available, even one in black.

How fun!  It must be such an experience to head to a Walmart and buy one of these machines right away.  I had to deal with the whole Site-to-Store experience.  Oh, I also saw that Walmart had pretty inexpensive paper packs.  Well, inexpensive based on what I know about paper prices.  How good the paper is in the Cricut is something I don't know at this point.  I'll keep that info stored in the back of my mind!

We looked around some more.  I still need the plastic folders for the math workbooks for my 6th and 7th graders, but I couldn't find them.  Oh well.  I did see color Brita things though!  Howard said they have a bunch of them in different colors at Target.  When we get married, I definitely want a colored one!

My nerdy fiance immediately spotted Tron cards for Valentine's Day.  You know, the small ones that kids get to write one to everyone in their class.  They had such funny sayings on them!  They said stuff like, "Valentine, Return to the grid!" and "You're a game winner, Valentine!"  I was amused by them!

Well, we eventually made it to the back of the store.  Unfortunately, no one was there.  The printout email said that if no one was there, I could find a touch screen to call for assistance.  Well, I didn't see any of that around!  It was right by the back stock room or whatever too, and all these Walmart associates would walk by and we tried getting their attention.  Then another group of guys showed up hoping to pick something up from Site-to-Store as well.  Two Walmart associates said that they'd try to find someone, but I guess they weren't really concerned because they were leaving after finishing their shift.  Great customer service.

At that time, another group of women came by to pick something up from Site-to-Store.  I was about to call the store and tell them we were there, but this one worker came by and asked if we were being helped.  Since we weren't, she actually DID get someone to come by and help us.  Yay for her!  

I was the first one that the guy helped.  He tried typing the number in, but it kept saying that it was incorrect and there was no package for that number.  I don't know why he didn't scan the bar code at the top.  He had to do it the long way by looking up my last name and getting the number that way (even though that SAME number that he wrote on the paper matched the one on the email ...).  Well, he went to the back and brought out my big box!!!  Yay!  Then he went back to get my smaller box that had my extra cutting mats, spatula, and tool kit.  I was thrilled even though I had to wait a long time.  I signed the confirmation slip and we were on our way!

If you've been following my blog, you've seen the video of my opening that huge package.  More videos and pictures will be on their way! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Celebrating Howard's Birthday!

Today is my fiance's birthday.  He's finally 25 years old!  Haha, it's about time he officially got to the mid-20s.  What makes our birthdays now really fun is that our families don't make such a big deal out of birthdays.  It might be a Chinese thing.  Well, now that we're together, birthdays have become an important event.  We say it's "birthday week"!  I can't wait to be married because then we can truly have birthday week!

Last week, I took him out for a sushi lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Mitoushi.  We've decided, for the most part, to only get sushi during lunch so that we don't eat that much.  Don't want to give any reason for our stomachs to get upset!  We had sushi deluxe, which was 3 pieces each of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail.  That came with a wasabi roll, which is basically a California roll with salmon in it and different flavored fish eggs on the outside, from what I remember.  Then we also ordered 2 regular California rolls because we really love it!  It's so basic and simple, but it's perfect for in between bites of fish!  We really should buy the stuff to make it ourselves!  Then we also ordered a tiger roll, which has tempura crab stick on the inside and a slice of salmon on the outside with yummy sauce.  It has a nice contrast of temperatures.  And lastly, we ordered a regular tuna roll because I had been craving it for a while.  

It's not just the food and the serve that we love about Mitoushi.  We just love the atmosphere too.  We sit there and just enjoy each other's company the entire time.  We relax and take our time.  We're never rushed out, so even when we're done with our food and the bill is paid, they still come and refill our tea if we're still there.  I love being able to sit across from Howard and feel comfortable.  When we started dating the first time, it was such an awkward thing to eat in front of each other!  I distinctly remember worrying about every bite I put in my mouth and wiping.  I didn't have much of an appetite then because I felt like I need to look ladylike.  Ahhh, those nerves.  We surely have come a long way!

Things have changed now because we also go out to eat with my mom!  My younger brother comes along so my mom doesn't have to feel like a "third wheel."  Yesterday when I went to get my Cricut in NJ, we stopped by Jose Tejas for lunch.  It was Howard's birthday lunch from my mom.  Even though we had to wait about 25 minutes for a table in the early afternoon, I was excited for Howard to finally try a place that I've been to since I was in elementary school.

My mom ordered Salmon San Sebastian, which is a 10 ounce piece of salmon served with mixed field greens, seasoned corn & black beans, and Chimi Verde sauce with fresh herbs.  No, I didn't remember that.  I just looked it up!  My younger brother ordered the catfish bites from the appetizer menu and added on a side order of fries.  He initially was going to order the fish tacos, but he wouldn't have eaten all the stuff that comes along with it.

I ordered the fish tacos, which is something I've ordered many times.  It's two tortillas filled with catfish, Monterey Jack, pico de gallo, and red pepper sauce served on the side.  I had jambalaya as my side.

Howard ordered Catfish New Orleans, which was deep fried catfish with shrimp and basil cream sauce.  He really enjoyed it because the fish was thick.  When it's thin, it ends up being more batter (haha, which I like).  I was so happy that he enjoyed his meal!  Yay for that!

Well, we weren't quite done with birthday meal celebrations.  That night, the two of us went to pick up food from Panera.  It's a tad bit expensive, but we absolutely love the food there!  I had a $10 gift card from a student's Christmas gift along with a free smoothie or espresso from the rewards card, so it was a rather inexpensive celebration meal.  We both got You Pick Two.  He had the BBQ Chopped Chicken and the Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich, if I remember correctly.  I ordered the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad and the Napa Almond Chicken Salad.  Two different flavors, but they're oh-so-good!

All of the meals that we had just really make me look forward to all the meals we'll share when we're married on our birthdays and on every "normal" day as well.  Food can be really good, but what makes these things fantastic is the company!  

I'm so in love with him.  We can have our fun but expensive sushi meals, or we can just have peanut butter sandwiches.  I know it'll be some of the best meals I've ever had in my life because I'm with him.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Video #2: My Very Own Cricut Expression!

After the long wait, I finally got my own Cricut Expression!  I recounted the story in another post, but when I decided to buy one, I used my reward points from my credit card to get a Walmart gift card.  That took a while to get to my house.  Then I had to order from Walmart through site-to-store to save on shipping and THAT took a while.  It's about time that it's now in my possession!  I got it yesterday, and Howard recorded my opening it! 

I'll do a post some other time about the rest of the day and the whole experience of actually picking it up, but I wanted to post this first!  SO EXCITING!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Look Into the Past

(I wrote this on April 13, 2009.  I posted it on my private blog, but I thought it'd be funny to share it now!  I think the pictures are particularly funny because we look like little babies!)

One of the best (and funniest!) things to do sometimes is think about how much Howard and I have grown. I figured that having a new blog would give me plenty of opportunity to get it down on "paper" for future reference! Soon we'll be old and the wrinkles we gain will be on our foreheads and not so much in our brains so documenting these things is important, in my opinion. 

When Howard first started attending TIG, he would always hang around the 4th floor bulletin board with his sister, Sharon. Interestingly, many of us thought that they were actually boyfriend and girlfriend because of the way they constantly whispered to each other! I remember goingover to talk to them with Dani since they were new, and we wanted to get to know them a bit more. We asked if they were going to go to the summer retreat, but they were still a bit unresponsive. This was when we were all still in high school. Haha, funny thing related to this ... at that time, Kyler and Irving actually thought his name was Powell!

I think the first time I really noticed Howard was when my brother, Jon, wanted the people in Colleers (college and early career) to actually teach the group. He had teamed up Ken with Howard. Although Ken did most of the talking, I distinctly remember how Howard was leaning against the column in the basement and interjecting here and there. I thought he was cute! I very casually sent him an email that I happen to still have saved!

Hey Howard,

Just wanted to say that I think you did a great job leading Sunday School today. I wish you had spoken more 'cuz you had great and insightful things to say and you seemed so calm! I totally commend you for doing it though 'cuz I don't know if I'dhave the guts to do it. May God bless you for the rest of this week!

He did write back to me and when I replied to his email, I included this little gem at the end:

SoOo, now tell me something interesting about yourself since (1) you hardly write in xanga and (2) it's true I hardly know you since I so sucked at your test.

See, in all the reading I had done in those wonderful resources I had at the time (you know, Seventeen, YM, and CosmoGirl), I knew that asking a question that required a response longer than "yes" or "no" was the way to go. If he replied back, then we were ready to go! And thankfully, he did respond!

We began emailing quite frequently. Our subject titles were usually quotations from movies so even if we didn't have much to say, we still had a little game going on of "Guess the Movie!" Of course, Powell's ... I mean, Howard's movies were obscure ... well, at least to me they were, seeing as I don't really watch movies. Our friendship grew very quickly and I couldn't help wonder, "Hmm, is this a guy I can see myself dating?"
 Well, obviously you can tell that I could definitely see myself dating him! Now I can definitely see myself marrying him!

The picture at the top of this post is actually the first one we took together. It was at the TIG Graduation Banquet. I think it's funny how much our heads grew! Howard looks like a little baby there. And please don't mind the lack of eyeliner! You can also tell this is before I started getting really sick because my face was even chubbier than it is now! He showed up and we sat at the same table with Dani too. She was the one who took the picture below ... 

I still remember the thoughts I had in my head when Dani took this. "I like this guy ... I like this guy ..." Funny ... those are the same thoughts I have in my head right now!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Video #1: First Haul videos!

Since I've been looking up a lot of crafting videos, I learned what haul videos are.  It's basically a video where you talk about what you've just purchased!  It seems strange, but it's actually really interesting to see what kind of deals people find and what they get to make their cards or scrapbook pages.  I decided to make one after my huge splurge.  This is only part 1.  I ran out of memory and had to delete stuff to continue the video.  I'll fix and post that tomorrow.

I was skeptical about posting it, but Howard said I should!  He said that I was cute, but he also thinks it's really funny!  I had him YouTube search haul videos, and then he realized it's a really common thing!  I also had him search for scrap room tours, so he wouldn't be surprised if I eventually make my own scrap room tour even though it'd just be one table in my bedroom!  Well, I hope you enjoy my weirdness!  Yes, I spent a lot of money, but I couldn't pass up on these deals!


Here are the other videos from that day!  The first one is a continuation since I ran out of memory and had to delete some old pictures.

After I took Howard out for an early birthday sushi lunch, I asked oh-so-innocently if we could go to the other Michaels.  He agreed without a problem!  Of course, I ended up buying more there!

Okay, that's it for today!  I did have fun filming them, and even though it seems kind of silly, I think it's cool to have this as a reference!  Plus, I'm STILL amazed at the fact that the carts cost ONLY $10!  This was the perfect time to get into Cricut-ing because the sale really benefited newbies.  Of course, I'm still waiting for my Cricut ... haha.  The delivery date was pushed back to the 18th!  Oh well, I guess I still have a bit more time to get my crafting area all set up.  Or it'll give me more time to do other haul videos, hehe.