5.22.2017

Make it Monday // 8 Planner DIY's for the Cricut Explore Beginner

One of my favorite creative tools is my Cricut Explore.  I bought this guy a few years ago, and let me tell you - best investment ever!  If you oohh and ahhh over tons of lovely planner stuff but you really want to save some dough and make it yourself - invest in a digital die cutting machine.  For planner DIY's my machine of choice is the Cricut Explore.  While I do also own a Silhouette (read about my unboxing experience here) I prefer me Cricut Explore because it is a work horse.
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You can cut though tons of materials & even add custom depths, the software and interface are easy to use, plus the machine itself is a lot quieter.  And the newer Explore machines cut even faster!  The best part is no only does this guy cut through laminated scrapbook paper like butter but you can also print then cut planner stickers as well- that delicate kiss cut is key.  If you're down to learn some designing tips & trick, check out my whole YouTube playlist here.

Today's post is a round up of eight DIY's for someone who's just opened their Cricut Explore.  In a few tutorial you'll learn how to use certain Design Space features like weld, slice, and flatten.  If you're just into cutting things out, some tutorials provide the cut files for you.  Simply upload, size, & cut!  Here's the round up:

Create Planner Stickers

Using only simple shapes and Cricut Design Space, learn how to create an easy image to Print then Cut using the Cricut Explore.  Learn how to use the flatten feature and assemble your own unique images using basic shapes.  Plus here's a post on some tips & tricks for the print then cut feature.  Find the DIY here.

Planner Pocket

Do you have a planner that just doesn't have enough pockets?  (ahem - Filofax original) Make an extra pocket with this SVG cut file for your Cricut Explore.  Fits perfectly in Personal size planners - or punch it to fit any size planner!  Find the DIY here.

Washi Bobbin Storage

If you have enough washi to fill a bath tub you may find it hard to take all your favorites with you on the go.  If you don't have a Happy Planner and can't utilize the DIY above why not check out this DIY on making your own little washi bobbins.  Learn to use the weld & slice feature in Cricut Design Space.  Find the DIY here.

Printable Planner Paper Clips

In this tutorial you'll find a video on how to clean up an image for Print then Cut.  This is a super simple way to make planner clips - still one of my favorite ways!  Find the DIY here.

Sushi Bookmarks

Get ready for some summer sushi dates with this easy DIY.  You'll learn how to use the Print then Cut feature with laminated paper.  Make three different magnetic bookmarks to use through out your planner.  Keep them for yourself or make a set to gift to a friend!  Find the DIY here.

Unicorn Paper Clip

Speaking of clips - how about a beautiful unicorn paper clip!  Using card stock and glitter scrapbook paper you can whip up something magical in no time. Find the DIY here.

Happy Planner Clip in Tabs

Need to add something you your Happy Planner but don't want to punch the object itself?  With this SVG file you can cut out custom tabs from scrapbook paper, add adhesive, and snap in some precious memories.  Find the DIY here.

Happy Planner Bookmarks

Speaking of the Happy Planner if you need some day or week markers as well as some on the go washi storage - check this DIY out.  Create 3 clip in book marks to help you mark your place!  Find the DIY here.

I hope you've found a simple project to work on this week - I mean, 8 brand new things for your planner all in one week seems like a good deal!  Be sure to check back often to find new Cricut Explore DIY's.  If you want to find all Cricut Explore related posts on the blog, click here.  If you'd like to find a bunch of free printable stickers ready to be cut with your Cricut Explore, click here.  Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more Cricut Explore tips & tricks as well.

ps.  Don't forget to join my Cricut Ready Stickers Facebook group too!  Request a join here & find even more free printables as well as tips & tricks from a learning community.

What is your favorite thing to make using your Cricut Explore?  How have you become creative using that tool?

xoxo, Moe

5.19.2017

Tarot Diaries // The Fri-YAY Spread

Some weeks just kick your butt, don't they?  Then it's finally Friday.  You're home with your bottle of wine, trying to unwind and relax.....time to crack out the Tarot deck!  I've found in my recent journey with mediation and reflection that even the hardest weeks have their successes.  I know that sounds like a lot of happiness bullshit - believe me the idea that everything is unicorns is not true and I really dislike the everything is awesome mindset, maybe that's another blog post - but for me positivity can be a real thing.  The trick to positivity is knowing that things suck sometimes, some days are bad, shit doesn't work out, but to realize that with in that which sucks is a little bit of awesome.  We just have to search it out.  Ahem, imagine the Wheel of Fortune card.
Encouraging  Tarot Card Spread
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The Fri-YAY! spread is intended to open you back up to positivity by focusing on your accomplishments & breakthroughs while giving you more positive energy to focus on as you move into the weekend.  The Tarot is simply a reflection of ourselves, and sometimes we need a reminder that we're doing something good.  Choose a deck that makes you feel happy & that you can see happiness in (the Radiant Wider Waite is my choice!)  So...here we go.

cards 1-3
What have I accomplished this week?
For this position choose a few areas of your life you'd like to know your successes this week.  Maybe the areas you feel really kicked your butt this week!  For the most part I choose work, passions, and then sometimes I choose the third card as spirituality or as relationships.  Depends on what I want to focus on at that time.  Choose areas that you've struggled with but also areas you feel that you may have a break through.  This spread is all about positivity.

card 4
What positive energy can I focus on this weekend to keep up success?
You can pull this card intentionally if you wish.  Perhaps you want to focus on the Wheel of Fortune to remind you that things change, to everything there is a season, etc.  Perhaps you want to focus on the energy of the 10 of Cups or the 10 of Pentacles and realize that your successes make you feel bountiful.  Or maybe even the Ace of Cups or Ace of wands - the feeling of being brand new or having renewed inspiration.

If you choose to pull a random card you may be surprised!  Don't be scared if you draw something unexpected.  Use your intuition & don't get down on yourself!

card 5
How can I embody this energy to have a great weekend?
After choosing or pulling a card for card 4, this space is for developing and channeling the positive energy into the next few days.  If you need to elaborate on the spread and pull another card for clarification - especially if you pulled a card intentionally for card 4 - do so here.  But don't just keep pulling until you get the answer you want!! Pull a clarification card for understanding not for yearning.
Fri-YAY! Tarot Spread
After working through this spread, if it's been an especially hard week, I like to mediate.  You can find some Reflecting, Refreshing, and Relaxing essential oil blends in this post if you need some inspiration.  Take a bath, sit at your alter, or seriously cuddle with a loved one (four legged furry friends count for this too) and realize that you are enough & what you do is enough.

I've been pulling a Positive Affirmation Card (print your own here) each time I do a big spread too.  Heck, I've been pulling them everyday!  I really like to have a positive thing to meditate with all day everyday.

Keep your head up!  We've got a whole life to get through...keep the good vibes coming.

How do you keep your head up when a week kicks your butt?  What moves you to keep positivity?

xoxo, Moe

5.16.2017

App Review // A Color Story

100% of my blog & Instagram photography is taken with my iPhone 6.  I can not wait to upgrade to at least an iPhone 7 (maybe a plus?? who knows!) because of the portrait feature!  I am a strong believer in the best camera to get is the one you will use...and with the ability to have an amazing camera right in our pocket, why should be assume we need the DLSR to take the best photos?  I'm not knocking the bloggers that use high end equipment - but if I didn't have my iPhone, this blog would not exist.
I want to say it was about 2013/2014 or so that I gave up using my DLSR for blog photos.  It became too much of a hassle to import things to my computer, edit and the export.  The files were huge and I felt the headache was unnecessary for the reward I was getting from the process.  Plus I find it much easier to shoot, edit, and upload photos (and video!) right from my iPhone.  I can shoot a batch of blog photos on the weekend, edit on Monday's lunch break, and throw them in to blog posts Monday night.  BAM! - A whole week or two of blog posts done and done.

I've mentioned before my favorite apps for subtle edits and the apps I use for blog photos.  Today I want to do an in depth app review of my go to app for blog & Instagram edits.  Honestly, if you see a picture from me it has most likely gone through A Color Story first.

What it is
A bright fresh photo editing app that has over 100 filters, 40 effect, & 20 tools.  Subtle, professional edits imitating the perfect color balance and lightness achieved in professional software.  Professional tools (such as a curves feature) wrapped up in an easy to use interface.  Free download includes all tools, essentials filter pack (my personal favorite), ability to save editing steps, plus more.  Available on iTunes & in the Google Play Store
A Color Story website here

What it does
A Color Story allows you to edit your mobile photos with the precision of a professional software.  I've always had a thing for Photoshop actions.  These preset edits are subtle enough to enhance your photos with out looking too processed.  A Color Story app allows for this subtle edit perfectly.  While I personally feel some packs are better than others, each filter is distinctly different.  In some photo apps the wide range of filters are so close to each other that it is hard to tell the difference.  This app offers filters the vary widely, perfect if you find it hard to make up your mind!  The best part about this app is the Essentials Pack - the best pack for natural edits to blog photos - is free in the app download.
 Original // Edit
Filter - Everyday 40%
Filter - Lite Bright 27%
Original // Edit
Filter - Everyday 75%
Filter - Lite Bright 27%
Filter - Lipstick 75%
My four favorite filters for naturally and subtly editing my photos are Pop, Everyday, Sharp, & Lite Bright. These filters are all from the essentials pack.  After I apply one or a few of these filters - not at their max strength, of course - I find that I often don't have to do much brightening or contrast editing.  I do take my photos under pretty good lighting (see my lighting set up here) so I find that a combination of these few filters work perfectly for me.
A Color Story also allows you to save your edits as presets to apply later.  So lets say you're always styling your photos in the same or similar lighting - like flat lays for your blog or always taking outfit photos around the same time of day - applying these presets will save you a ton of time if you have multiple photos to edit.  Applying the same types of edits over the same style of photo will give your blog a look of consistency as well.
Another feature I love is effects.  My current favorite set of effects is not included in the free download - but to me, all the packs offered are worth the price tag for the creativity!  This effect pack is called Glow.  The hazy, light leak effect gives an otherworldly feeling to photos.  
With the newest update you can also save your favorite filters, most used effects, etc so you don't have to remember which pack they belong to.  You can also find a Recent Edits feature under the Saved edits tab.  That way you can see which pictures you've applied edits to and decide if that edit would look great on a picture today.

Obviously I didn't touch on the most professional option in this app - ability to edit curves.  I think that this option is a great feature to get photography buffs to play around with the app...for the everyday iPhoneographer I feel it's not a necessity.  Personally, I hardly ever use it (mostly because I've never understood curves!) but it is fun to have if you need to subtly tweak something.  All other editing tools closely resemble the native editing tools in Instagram.  I've found that I love Instagram's brightness, shadows, and fade feature over any of these same features available in other apps.

How it helps you
As a professional or casual blogger A Color Story offers professional edits at a cost considerably less than professional photo editing software.  If blog photography seems daunting to you and perhaps its the reason you stopped blogging or the reason you won't start a blog of your own, pick up your iPhone and download this app.  You'll achieve professional looking photography in a few taps.  The ability to save your editing steps is key to achieving a cohesive look to your blog or social feeds.  This app has the best combination of filters plus the ease of applying the same style over every image.
Original // Edit
Filter - Pacific 62%  Filter - Pop 38%
Filter - Ice Ice 16%  Filter - Punch 49%
Effect - White 100%  Effect - London 38%
Effect - Positano 100%

Instead of spending late nights editing your photos perfectly using some tools you may not quite understand, this app will simplify it for you.  Because this app returns professional edits to you in a single tap you can feel confident fitting blogging in to your everyday schedule as you edit photos on the go.

I hope this review was helpful.  I love finding new, go to apps for photo edits!  If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

xoxo, Moe