Ask Away Blog: March 2018

A List of Ways to Prepare Your Home & Yard for Spring

Friday, March 30, 2018



Spring has sprung my friends and if you haven't tackled your Spring cleaning checklist yet then you better get started! Most of the Spring cleaning we do has to do with the inside of our home but what about our yard and the exterior area of our homes? Spring and Summer and even Fall are when we spend the most time outside and we tend to invite others over.  So wouldn't it make sense to take the steps to make sure your yard and the exterior of your home are prepared for the new seasons?   

Today I put together a list of things to do around your yard and home to help prepare for the nicer weather and any entertaining you may do. 

Can You Cut The Cost Of Car Ownership?





https://pixabay.com/en/miniature-car-model-toy-automobile-1802333/






Owning a car has quickly become a very natural and normal part of life. In fact, so many of us seem to own a car as standard. It’s not something that is overly seen as a luxury anymore. And that can be such a great thing. Because when you need to make sure that you’re able to get yourself from A to B, it’s great to know that you have your car there to do it. But at the same time, it’s hard not to admit that car ownership can be incredibly expensive. Even though you find it quite normal, you may have a huge portion of your monthly salary going towards keeping your car on the road. However, you can reduce that. So let’s take a look at how.

Shop Around For Insurance
One of the biggest expenses we all have is our car insurance. Depending on your age, your driving history, and the car that you drive, you may find that your insurance payments can be incredibly expensive. So one of the best things you can do is look to get a better deal. Even if you like the provider that you’re with, you should definitely look to compare prices when your insurance renews. By shopping around and even speaking to your current insurer to discuss deals with them, you should be able to bring this cost down year on year.


Switch To A Single Car HouseholdNext, you should think about what you could do to reduce your running costs as a household. One of the most obvious options of all is to switch to a single car household. If you’re trying to run two cars, then you’re dealing with two different sets of car payments, insurance payments, and running costs too. By having just one car for the family, you’ll instantly cut that down by at least half.


Buy A Used Alternative
But if you definitely need to both be on the road, if you have conflicting schedules for example, then you might want to think about getting a used alternative to what you already have. Perhaps even a motorcycle from somewhere such as
Texas Best Used Motorcycles could do the trick. That way, one of you can use the car, and the other can then take the bike when they need to nip out somewhere.





Buy An Economical Car
Maybe the reason it’s so expensive for you to be on the road is that you’re driving a car that is much more expensive to run than other cars. If this is the case, you’re going to want to look into
fuel-efficient car options. Choosing something more fuel efficient could be what you need to bring your average running costs down over the course of the year.


Skip A Day
Finally, you may also want to think about simply missing a day here and there. Of course, you’ll still have car and insurance payments to make, but you’ll be reducing your gas costs and stretching out the period of maintenance too. Walking, car sharing, or riding a bicycle are great alternatives for a few days each week.










Including Authentic Artisan Items In Your Home Décor

Thursday, March 29, 2018



There are a few interesting trends in the world of home décor worth exploring. First, is the use of incorporating artisan items into home design. The second part of this trend is shopping artisan retailers that engage in fair trade practices.

Thanks to sites that let you send money to Guatemala and other artisan havens around the world, you can even pay people directly for their work. This ensures that not only you’re getting something one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted, but that you’re paying a fair price for the amount of work that went into creating it.

The following are some things to keep in mind and tips if you want to integrate authentic artisan items into your home.

Use Artisan Items As a Statement Piece
When it comes to decorating a place in your home with artisan items, you may be nervous about going overboard with it. What’s better to do, rather than trying to fill every part of a room with artisan items is to choose a piece you really love and make it a focal point and a statement piece.

You can build the décor in the room around that piece, and it will ensure that it’s special and takes center stage, but it isn’t overwhelming.

Some designers recommend that if you do add artisan elements into your home, you do so in a way that’s focused on a central theme. Build the theme of your room around the concept of the artisan pieces you’re incorporating.

Find Pieces with a Story
For people who collect art, one of their favorite things is to know the pieces hanging in their home have a story. It’s the same idea not just with traditional art, but with anything that’s hand-crafted.

Look for retailers and creators that offer pieces that each have a unique story. There is a belief in retail that people don’t buy products and instead, they buy stories.

Give Back
So many retailers that offer artisan items from creators around the world also give back as part of each sale. If you want your purchase to have meaning, look for retailers that donate to the local community where items come from, or to a relevant charity.

One example of an organization that brings artisan crafts to shoppers around the world with a focus on giving back is called Ethical Fashion Guatemala. Ethical Fashion Guatemala provides a platform for local artists so that their work can be seen by the world.

The goal of Ethical Fashion Guatemala is to provide a platform and resource to artists whose designs or ideas were infringed on by sellers in the U.S. who copied their work, or paid low prices for items locally and then sold them in the U.S. at a high markup.

Finally, along with looking for items that are made following fair trade practices and in a way that protects workers, think about looking for artisan items that are also environmentally sound. For example, look for artisans who make things with renewable products, or who use eco-friendly methods.













Ohhh That Dreaded Yearly Gyno Appointment


Oh ladies, you already know by the title of this post that you are NOT alone when it comes to dreading your gynecologist.  I mean seriously, what the heck!? No matter how many times you go, it's always so invasive and awkward.  Maybe the appointment itself isn't even as bad as the build up in the week or just the day beforehand.  

2 years ago I did a hilarious post about 15 reasons to dread your annual gyno exam and it was a big hit.  We all pretty much hate the same stuff.   Well, it was just that time of year again for me and this time I was so worked up that I did some internet research (lol) beforehand to see how exactly to relax more during your annual exam. 

Basically what I learned was popping 2 ibuprophen can help and to make it less uncomfortable during the apointment, bare down.  Yes, bare down aka push.  No, not like you're pooping per say, but just push "down there".  

So my appointment came and it was time to try out the methods I read about. 

So I get there, and when my name is called, I smile and walk on back.  She asks if I have to use the rest room (I already did) but I say yes.  I try again and then I stare in the mirror and try to talk myself into the appointment. You is smart, you is funny, you is kind, you has a strong vagina and you can do this! 

So I go into my exam room, get nakey, and sit on that damn crunchy paper.   Normally I sit there and ponder my existance and debate just running back out to my car screaming F THE WORLD! What are they gonna do? Arrest me for not getting a pap? But then I remember I need to get this so I can get my Birth Control prescription renewed so I decide I'm just gonna deal with it.  Normally I feel all uncomfortable and sweaty down there from sitting on that damn awkward paper for 15 minutes until they finally come in.  


So you know what? I decide I'm gonna lay my ass down and get comfy. I'm gonna take control!  So I shift my booty to the bottom of the exam table and lay down.  

That's when I noticed it...

There's a damned picture on the ceiling!!!  A picture that's likely supposed to make you relax.  It's legit a picture torn off of a calendar. I immediately Facebook it and that's when everyone starts commenting that they go to the same place but their picture is of something different like a horse in a pasture.  By this time I'm cracking the heck up!   

Then she comes in and it's go time.   She says "Oh you're all relaxed already! " Then she looks under the stupid sheet and says "And look at that you're already on the end of the table". Yep! Because I hate when they say "Okay, scoot down" because I know what comes next.  

So I try to do the bare down thing and it worked!   It was still uncomfortable for the mid evil looking speculum to go in but I also had popped 2 ibuprofen and I didn't even feel the scrapes from the pap samples!  And then after another probe with the fingers it was done!! It was seriously the best experience of all the years I've ever had!  I still hate it.  But I'm glad I had some tips.  


Then I looked in the mirror and saw how mussed up and disheveled I looked and couldn't stop laughing.


But it's really got me thinking.... I swear I need to just start an organization where I can get some rich people to donate money and I can use it to provide more "relaxing" things for the yearly exam.  How about having plants in the offices, and even a TV!? I would be so distracted!  And what about aromatherapy and nice music?   

And what about the ceiling?  Have someone paint a mural up there why don't ya?   We don't want to see shitty pictures of an island or a farm animal.  We want more. We demand better!!!   Give us crossword puzzles and books!  Distract us!  I don't even want to know what you're doing! 

I could go on and on! I hope this post makes you giggle and maybe you'll think of it at your next exam and it'll make it a little bit easier for you. 

But seriously ladies share your thoughts below! 










Miranda Kerr with Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere Bag

Wednesday, March 28, 2018





If you know Miranda Kerr, you know she has an absolute obsession with beautiful handbags. And, out of all the bags photographers have seen in rotation over the past few years,
her Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere bag is certainly the one she’s seen with the most!



Miranda Kerr is known for many roles as one of Australia’s most iconic models, but she really rose to prominence back in 2007 when she was featured as an Angel by Victoria’s Secret. She was the first woman to represent Australia in a Victoria’s Secret photoshoot, but that’s not the only thing she’s known for.

She’s also a big deal in Australia because anyone who shops at the David Jones department store chain has surely seen her. She is their representative model, and with a previous marriage to Orlando Bloom and a current marriage with slightly-lesser-known but no-less-handsome Evan Spiegel, she’s definitely remained in the highlights section of just about every relevant magazine on the newsstand.

If you see any candid shots of her out in public, it’s very likely you’ll see a black handbag adorning her arm. And, while she has a growing collection, it seems like her Louis Vuitton is her favorite go-to--and for good reason. Anyone who keeps up with designer labels knows that Louis Vuitton is at the top of the list of designer handbag makers. Originating in Paris, France back in the 1800s, LV has remained one of the most favorited hand bag makers in the world.

In addition to Miranda Kerr, you’ll see Louis Vuitton bags dangling on the arms of countless other celebrities too, like Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, and Karlie Kloss, alongside countless others. 

Miranda Kerr is pretty open about her love for Louis Vuitton, exhibiting many of their handbag designs over the years. And, while it has led many fashion-forward fans to drooling over the look, most of them won’t be grabbing hold of their own anytime soon--at least not without a good deal of savings (or credit!).

The
Speedy Bandouliere Bag, for instance, costs more than $2,400 if you want to string one over your shoulder for yourself. But, if you happen to be on the market for one anyway, you’re in luck. A handful of websites do carry it, just look out for fakes!

And, before you close the deal, you might look at the many other photos of Miranda Kerr and the other hand bags in her collection if you’re looking for inspiration or trying to sport a similar look. Her Givenchy Lucrezia Micro Leather Satchel, for example, is among her other favorites.





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5 Basics for A Pet Rat

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You've seen me post before about my own pet rat Charlotte and how awesome she is as a pet.  I love rats and they are an amazing option if you want a furry critter for your kids or yourself.  But for those of you thinking about getting one, you may be wondering what all is required for a pet rat.  They are actually fairly cheap.  The most expensive thing you'll get for them is a cage in the beginning but their monthly upkeep is so easy and so affordable.  Today, I'll break it all down for you.  


1. A Sturdy Secure Cage
So you want something that has metal bars because trust me, rats love to climb.  It strengthens their little bodies.  It's also good for ventilation.  The cage Charlotte has actually comes with 3 different platform levels and little ramps that take her up and down.  She has a level at the top where she meets me to get her food, a level below that where she goes for her water bottle, and then the 3rd level which is where she sits when she wants to just see what's going on around her. 


2. Safe Bedding
The bottom of your rats cage should always have some sort of soft bedding for them to make a nest with and to cushion their feet. It also absorbs their waste.  NEVER use any sort of pine bedding as it causes severe respiratory issues when they breathe it in. My go to bedding is CareFresh Complete Small Animal Bedding from Chewy. It's safe for Charlotte and it works so well to absorb stuff and keep odors at bay. It's also great for her little nest bed that she makes. Bedding should be changed once or twice a month depending on how much waste accumulates.  Keep in mind rats are very clean animals so they don't like when their cage gets too dirty.  











3. Hay for Nesting and Eating
Charlotte likes to make a bed for herself everytime I refresh  her cage.  She also loves using hay to help hold it together and keep it sturdy. 



CareFresh Timothy Hay from Chewy is a great addition to your rat's cage. It's also nutritious for them to munch on.  It's full of protein, fiber, and fat.  It's harder to wear down than other cuts of hay since it's from the first cuts of fresh Timothy hay.  This makes it ideal for helping clean and maintain a rat's teeth which grow very rapidly. Plus the fiber in this hay helps with digestive health.  










    4. Nutritious Food and Steady Water Supply
    You  may see a food brand that has lots of fruits and nuts and seeds in it.  That's technically like feeding junk food to your rat. That kind of stuff should only be given as treats.  I personally love Oxbow Regal Rat Food from Chewy for my rat. It's a low fat diet and it'll help prevent obesity which can be life-threatening for your rat.  Once a rat is older than 4 months old they require different nutrients and fat since they are less active.  They can't have the same amounts that baby rats get so a formula like this one is ideal.  It contains brown rice, oats, wheat, soy, fishmeal, and protein sources with healthy fats.   Rats should be fed once a day and should ALWAYS have fresh clean water.  A water bottle on the side of their cage will do just fine.








    5. Toys and Treats for Rewards
    Rats are so intelligent that they can get bored like we can.  Toys are a must.  Rats love things they can chew and things that make noise.  I have a wooden toy for Charlotte with a bell inside.  She loves playing with it in her cage when she's bored. We even have a little tunnel that she crawls through when I have her out in the evenings. 


    Treats are also a great way to reward your rat for behaving and listening to commands. Yes, that's right, you can train a rat.  There are plenty of online resources to teach you more about that.


    Most of all, your rat will thrive from attention that you give them because they love interacting with their owner. 


    Are you considering a pet rat in your house?





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    10 Cleaning Hacks with the Groovy Glove

    Tuesday, March 27, 2018

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    Cleaning on a regular basis can sometimes be inconvenient and also stressful.   Most of us can easily list 10 reasons that it's a pain whether it's because you knock stuff over when trying to dust your bookcase décor or it hurts your hand to hold onto a clump of paper towels and wipe vigorously. Trust me I get it.  That's why I'm always looking around for better ways to clean and do tasks that have many benefits.  

    Keeping a clean and tidy home means you have less dust/dander/allergens to irritate your family and you will find your home more enjoyable to be in when it's sparkly and clean.  It won't make you panic when the doorbell rings and a random neighbor wants to come in and visit.   

    Seemingly Normal Driving Actions That Could Put You In Grave Danger



    You might think that you’re a great driver, but are you really? Many drivers out there make regular driving errors, and they don’t even realize that they are doing it! In fact, there are lots of seemingly normal driving actions that could put you in grave danger if you don’t recognize and correct them right away.




    Here’s a list of things you might be doing that could be putting you in grave danger on the road:




    source




    Using Your Phone As A Sat Nav

    Using your phone as a sat nav might seem like an innocent, and even smart way to get to where you’re going. However, it can also be dangerous. Paying too much attention to the sat nav, rather than the road and the signals can take your attention away from what’s really important. Plus, if you still have notifications come through, and even calls, you might be tempted to look at them or answer them. It’s best if you turn notifications off, and use your common sense as well as the phone to get to where you're going.




    Buy something to secure the phone to your windscreen or vents so that you don’t have to look away from the road too much. Better yet, have the sat nav voice tell you where you have to go. If you don’t need to use your phone as a sat nav, then just put it in the glovebox to avoid temptation.




    Becoming Angry At Other Drivers

    Road rage can be triggered by a number of things. Maybe you’re furious that another driver is going so slow, or they are changing lanes without indicating. Perhaps work pressure and other triggers like heavy traffic make your road road even worse.




    It has been proven that getting angry while driving, honking the horn, shouting abuse, and being hostile in general will put you at more of a risk of driving errors, and a number of accidents. Avoid aggressive driving by practicing calm and mindfulness as you drive the car. Usually, people aren't cutting you up or doing things to annoy you on purpose.




    Going At The Wrong Speed

    Maybe you’re going too fast, or you’re going to slow. Whatever the case, you have more of a chance of being injured in an auto accident from doing this. Speed limits were set out for a reason. Many people believe that they actually reduce their chances when going slow, but it can increase them. Drive at the speed limit and you will reduce your risk.




    Eating As You Drive

    Whether you’re eating a snack or a large meal doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t be eating as you drive at all. This takes your attention away from the road and can cause unsteady driving. What would you do if you dropped your food? You’d definitely get distracted!




    Forgetting To Use Your Turn Signals

    Using turn signals is easy and quick, yet many people conveniently forget to use them. It doesn’t matter if there aren't many cars on the road or you don’t think you need to. It’s the law, so make sure you do it. You could easily collide with another vehicle for misleading them if you don’t.  








    How To Meet People After A Long Dating Absence





    Pexels


    It’s easy to neglect to maintain your dating life. It might be that you’re recently coming out of a long-term relationship and have needed a break. It could be that you’ve simply been busy with other matters. Some people might even find this effort to be a little anxiety-inducing. However, you are absolutely worth finding love, so neglecting it indefinitely can sometimes be the wrong choice to make. There is definitely somebody out there for you, and finding them could be the next adventure you embark on.




    However, heading out to meet people can sometimes feel quite artificial. For that reason, finding people in the most natural and balanced way possible can make the whole affair feel less ‘icky.’




    A few tips for doing just that are as follows:




    Hobbies


    Getting involved in hobbies is the best way to meet new people. This might mean joining a hiking society, joining an amateur band in your local area and jamming out, or even hoping to volunteer to run your own hobby class. When you don’t make dating the main priority, but try to enrich yourself through many other pursuits, you become more attractive. Not only that, but you will likely expose yourself to many new people in an area you actually desire to be in.




    This is hard to understate. It’s one thing to meet someone at a bar, but someone you meet in your photography class could have a wide range of things in common with you. The first thing you should do to meet people is get out there, to do something you love with people you respect! As that progresses, you can be sure that sooner or later, someone that takes your eyes will turn up.




    Singles Dating


    Now, there are many ways to date. One is to approach people who take your eye and offer to take them out. So far, so good. However, if you want something a little easier and more adventurous to partake in, it might be that singles dating could work for you. This might mean mystery dating through an organization, speed dating, matchmaking or learning the ins and outs of phone dating could be for you.


    This is great because it sets both participants of the date at the same level from the beginning. There is no awkwardness, because the setup puts you both at the same level. You can joke about the experience and make the most of it. You are also matched with similar people, or people at least interested in seeing the value of another person. Much easier than trying to guess if someone is single from across the room.




    Magnetism


    One of the best things to do when lacking a romantic partner is to be magnetic. This means working on yourself. Do things that make you feel excited and interested in the world around you. Find out things you don’t know. Always say yes to a new opportunity and adventure. Be sure to maintain your health. When you have all of this in place, you begin to respect yourself and enjoy being you. Then, over time, someone will see your worth. This is the most natural method on this list, and can often inform the other elements of advice given here.


    Before long, you’ll be living the life you want to live, with the love you want to love.


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    Books I Recommend You Read [March]

    Monday, March 26, 2018

    This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
    I had a little bit of time to read this month so I do have just a few of my favs to share with you today! 

    The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn
    This is a thrilling read that I finished in a single weekend.  It's about a woman that sees a murder happen but when she tries to tell everyone, no one believes her. Then she starts questioning if she really saw what she thought she did.  SO GOOD!


    Sunburn by Laura Lippman
    This book was awesome! It was somewhat of a crime thriller mixed with a love affair and a lot of lies.  Two characters are coming together but both have a lot of secrets.  The main character Polly is hiding some serious stuff from her past but as the story unfolds you start to wonder who is really doing anything wrong.



    The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
    This is an amazing thrilling read about a mom that is protective of her adult son when a new girlfriend comes into the picture.  She gets a weird vibe from her and her instincts tell her it's bad news.  It then becomes a horrific battle between the mother and the girlfriend. Who will win in the end?




    Brass by Xhenet Aliu
    This was an interesting novel to read. It's told by two of the main characters at different times and is a great look at what it's like to live in this country when you're not from here and what it's like when you are dating someone that's not from  here.





    The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
    This is a lighthearted and fun read about dating from a man's perspective.  Nathaniel is dating but also has ongoing friendships with other women and it's interesting to see how it all has an effect on him and those in his life.



    The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
    This was a very interesting novel about 4 siblings that see a fortune teller as kids. She tells each of them when they will die.  The book explores how they may or may not live their lives differently knowing their death date and also if the woman spoke any truth. 


    What have you read lately?









    Crafting with Vinyl





    Image - https://www.pexels.com/photo/art-materials-arts-and-crafts-bloom-blooming-597329/


    Are you someone that likes to create his or her own crafts? Perhaps you are thinking about giving this a go for the first time? No matter whether you are creating something for your home or you are creating a gift for a friend, there is a lot of fun and pride that can come from making your own crafts. However, there is also a lot to consider too. One of the aspects you need to think about carefully is the material that you are going to use. There are many different materials you can use to create your own crafts, and one of these options is vinyl. In this post, you will discover everything you need to know about crafting with vinyl.





    What types of vinyl can your work with?



    One of the first decisions you need to make is what type of vinyl you are going to work with. There are two basic types of this material: heat transfer vinyl and adhesive vinyl. There are then different styles and types within both categories.


    So, what are the differences between the types of vinyl? Adhesive vinyl, which can also be referred to as sticker vinyl, is a material that is flexible and thin, and it comes with an adhesive that is sensitive to pressure. It can be cut in any design and applied to all hard and smooth surfaces. Well, heat transfer vinyl, which is also known as HTV, T-shirt vinyl, and iron in vinyl, is the same, yet it features an adhesive that is activated when heat applied. This is for the purpose of working with any surface that can withstand heat, in particular, fabric. Therefore, the vinyl you choose to work with will mainly depend on what other surfaces you are working with, i.e. fabrics or a hard surface.





    You can choose from a wide range of finishes and colours if you go down the adhesive route. However, such vinyl is always going to have paper on the back, and when you peel this off, the vinyl can be sticky to touch. There is no paper backing on heat transfer vinyl. Instead, covering the top of the material is a clear plastic carrier sheet, and the adhesive is on the other side. It is not tacky or sticky to touch.



    Once you have decided between adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl, the decisions do not end there. You then have a variety of styles and types of vinyl to select from, ranging from glossy outdoor permanent vinyl to matte indoor removable vinyl. The latter is ideal for stencils, indoor signs, and wall decals, or for any other type of temporary application. The former is better suited to mugs, car decals, outdoor signs, and anything else that you want to last for a long time and withstand different pressures and elements.



    Matte and glossy are not the only styles you can choose from. There are various other specialty and fun vinyl in all kinds of styles, patterns, and colours. A handful of examples include etched glass, metallic, stencil, glitter, and patterned vinyl.







    Do you need an electric cutting machine?



    A lot of people assume that they are going to need an electronic cutting machine in order to work with vinyl. This is not the case. You can always use a craft knife or scissors to cut this material. However, if you are planning on working with intricate designs and you do want super clean cuts, an electronic cutting machine will make your life a lot easier. Cricut and Silhouette machines are a great place to start.





    What other tools will you need?



    The tools you are going to need will depend on the type of vinyl you are going to use.





    Some of the tools you will need for heat transfer vinyl crafting include:




    A craft iron


    Ironing pad


    Multi-use paper or parchment paper


    A Cricut easy press, heat press or iron



    Some of the tools you will need for adhesive vinyl crafting include:




    Masking tape


    Application tool


    Transfer tape



    Some of the tools you will need for all types of vinyl crafting include:




    Straight pins


    Wedding hook


    Cutting mats


    Blades


    Software


    Electronic cutting machine





    Getting started: Make the most of online designs



    You don’t need to be an artist or a creative genius in order to create beautiful vinyl signs and crafts, whether for your home or business. Nowadays, there are plenty of great online options for you to make the most of. You can find a free SVG file that matches your requirements on the Internet. These are the easiest crafts to begin with, as it is all about transferring a design onto your vinyl material. Once you have mastered this, you can then move onto more advanced crafts. There are so many great SVG files online, including those that are required for practical purposes, i.e. to warn people that you have a dog in your house, as well as those that simply contain nice quotes that you may want to place around the home so you can add personality to your place.





    Before you cut into vinyl...



    Once you have cut your material, there is no going back! Here are a few of the questions you should ask yourself before you start cutting. This will ensure that you have not missed anything important and that you're indeed ready to cut the material.



    Have you mirrored your image if you are utilising heat-transfer vinyl?


    Have you made sure that the shiny side of the vinyl is down when you were putting the heat-transfer vinyl on the cutting mat?


    Have you checked that your blade is on the right setting?


    Have you made sure that your design is inside the cut lines in the Silhouette Design Software?


    Have you grouped your image?


    Have you added boxes at the top of your design to assist you in terms of lining up the layers once you have finished cutting them?





    If you have answered ‘yes’ to all the questions above, you are ready to start cutting.





    How to cut and craft with adhesive vinyl



    The first thing you need to do is prepare your cut file using your choice of cutting machine software. Once you have done this, you should place your vinyl onto the cutting mat. No matter what machine or mat you are using, you will need to make sure your vinyl paper is backing side down when placed on the mat. This means that coloured vinyl side will be facing you.





    After this, go back to your software and adjust the cut settings, and then you are ready to start cutting. The process that is entailed will depend on the software you are using. You can find guides for various software and cutting machines online. If this is a material you have not worked with before, it is always a good idea to do a small test cut. It is better to make mistakes during the test cut rather than when you are doing the real thing.





    You want the blade to cut cleanly through the vinyl, yet not cut cleanly through the backing, creating what is known as a kiss cut. This makes it much easier to separate the backing from the vinyl. If you have cut through both materials during the test cut, you probably need to lower the blade setting or depth/thickness.





    Once you are happy, you can cut your vinyl. You will then need to weed out any of the excess vinyl that is around your design.





    How to cut and craft with heat transfer vinyl



    Last but not least, let’s take a look at heat transfer vinyl. Again, you need to start by preparing the cut file. After this, scale the design, and then open up the cut file in your chosen cutting software. You then need to flip or mirror your design horizontally. This is because you are going to cut on the back side of the vinyl when working with heat transfer vinyl.





    You should then place the vinyl on a cutting mat, and follow the same steps as above in terms of adjusting your settings and cutting. You then need to weed out the excess vinyl. However, unlike adhesive vinyl, there is one final step, and this is to iron the vinyl to the fabric. It is better to use an ironing pad, rather than a folding board, as you are going to need to apply some pressure to activate the adhesive in the vinyl.





    Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding the potential of vinyl when it comes to craft making, including some great tips on how to work with this material. The only thing that is left to do now is get started. Good luck and happy crafting!








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