Eimear Hutchinson: I've fallen back in love with crafting...

In her weekly column, busy mum of four, Eimear Hutchinson talks about her love of crafting, upcycling and creating
Eimear Hutchinson: I've fallen back in love with crafting...

Eimear Hutchinson had fallen out of love with crafting... then during lockdown that spark was reignited. Picture: Stock

I FEEL like it is time to introduce you all to one of my favourite things outside of my family and friends. First, let’s set the scene - I adore crafting, creating, upcycling, all that good stuff, but as the girls have gotten older (and more demanding!) I physically and mentally don’t have the space for as much upcycling and painting or for doing DIY jobs around the house as I used to.

For a while, I had fallen out of love with creating things but when the pandemic hit last year, I was staring down the barrel of a great unknown and I knew I had to do something for me. Most of the arts and crafts content I follow online is American-based, I don’t know why, maybe they have better access to craft stores, but one machine that kept popping up was a thing called a Cricut machine.

So, what is a Cricut machine, I hear you ask!

Well, a Cricut (pronounced creh-cut not cry-cut like I initially thought) in the most basic sense it is a machine that can cut designs out of a wide variety of thin materials. To create a design, you use the Circut software on your phone or laptop and the machine will cut it out.

A cake topper made by Eimear for her daughter's birthday.
A cake topper made by Eimear for her daughter's birthday.

It can cut designs out of over 300 different materials, the most popular being cardstock, iron on (or heat transfer vinyl) and adhesive vinyl. There are three types of machines; the Joy is small, the Explore is the middle range that probably suits most people, and the Maker is the top end machine that can do a few extra things than just cutting. The Maker can engrave surfaces like metal and acrylic, cut fabric and make you forget to put on the dinner in time, although that last one I don’t know if I can fully attribute to the machine, rather my ability to get lost in a project.

It would be fair to say that ever since the day my Cricut Maker arrived, I have been nothing short of obsessed, mine gets used pretty much every single day of the year.

I just love the endless amount of inspiration I get when I sit down at the computer to create something, and the sense of satisfaction when you make something useful or make a beautiful gift is second to none.

A bow that Eimear made for her daughter.
A bow that Eimear made for her daughter.

I have made a wide variety of things using my Maker and it is that variety that constantly serves to inspire me. I have tried so many different things, but here are some of my favourite creations, to give you a good idea of the type of things the machines can help you create. 4

I have four girls so I love making leather bows for their hair, the machine can cut different types of leather into various patterns and you assemble the bows using hot glue, these are understandably a huge hit with my small girls and a great gift for others too.

A DIY keyring.
A DIY keyring.

I enjoy creating and personalising clothes – from Christmas jumpers for the girls to jumpers for my local athletics club. I love making 3D cake toppers from cardstock, you can personalise them, choose a child’s favourite theme like butterflies or Paw Patrol, it might be for a birthday, a communion or a wedding and they always look so impressive on any cake.

I find it so useful to make things to help me organise around the house, like labels for everything from boxes to spice jars, lunchboxes to school books, and I have made leather chord organisers which is great for keeping drawers neat.

It is great at occasions; for Halloween I cut out different-shaped bats from cardstock to stick on the walls and out of vinyl to stick on the front door and the gate outside.

A mug design she made and printed.
A mug design she made and printed.

At Christmas, I love making personalised baubles especially for friends and family. For my sister’s wedding I made a beautiful welcome sign on a large acrylic sheet and various signs to show guests where things like the guest book was and the hand sanitising station. I made the invitations and I also made stickers (that matched the invites of course!) for the hand sanitiser bottles, cupcake boxes and to close the envelopes with the invites in. For the bridal party I made personalised hangers and champagne flutes. Minor details, but nice all the same!

Beautiful invitations made by Eimear for her sister's wedding.
Beautiful invitations made by Eimear for her sister's wedding.

A lot of people use their machines to set up small businesses from home, I sold Christmas jumpers last year that I designed myself and it was an amazing experience – intense but amazing. There is a huge variety of items that people sell and there seems to be a huge demand for those type of personalised items all year round.

So, there is my brief but passionate introduction to the world of Cricut. Honestly, it was a saving grace for me at a time when the world was going mad outside the front door - I had something to keep me busy and happy.

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