Design Space Diva Days are coming !

You know I am passionate about my Cricut Explore. So much so that I started a Lets Learn Cricut Explore Facebook Group (come join us by clicking on the link)  that has grown to well over 7,000 people in it !  And now, I am one of 12 Cricut Product Experts, helping Cricut Beta Test NEW products and features. Its been an exciting year for me so far.

Meeting so many others who are passionate about Cricut Explore has really re-fueled my desire to teach again. Something that I have always been passionate about since I love to share my crafting knowledge with everyone.  I have taught Cricut classes and other crafting classes for over 10 years at crops, local stores and at scrapbook conventions too. It’s always a lot of fun to teach and hang out with others who love to craft.

My Cricut Explore followers have kind of nicked name me a “Design Space Diva” so one thing led to another and I am happy to announce…
Design Space Diva Days The first DESIGN SPACE DIVA DAY is being scheduled for Saturday, January 10th. Put the date on your calendar now ! Plan to join us so you can  “create like a Diva”  and make 5 different awesome projects using your Cricut Explore machine,. Other DESIGN SPACE DIVA DAYS will be scheduled throughout 2015 with different projects. REGISTRATION WILL OPEN SOON  WITH ALL THE PROJECT DETAILS. 

Each DESIGN SPACE DIVA DAY will include:

  • 5 LIVE online Cricut Design Space Project Classes that include a Design Space File to use for each project to create it. Classes will use a variety of Design Space features and project types and show a variety of crafting skills.    Note: Classes will be recorded so you can play them back or watch if you can’t attend the actual event 
  • A DIVA Q&A Session where you can ask me Design Space or crafty questions and I answer them right then.
  • A CHAT WINDOW  for you to chat with other attendees through out the event
  • PRIZES    Events are more fun if there are a few prizes to win !
  • SUPPLY LIST   A list of  all supplies you need to complete the 5 projects

To participate YOU will need a Cricut Explore machine and a basic knowledge of using your Cricut Explore machine. Of course, I have a lot of Cricut Design Space Videos already online and more added weekly so Subscribe to my You Tube Channel @ Debbie ONeal Videos  for you to watch to help you get up to speed prior to DESIGN SPACE DIVA DAY. 

So, are you excited about DESIGN SPACE DIVA DAYS ? Whose planning on joining in ? Leave a comment if you have any questions.


Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt 3

It’s time for more Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt 3                                                  You can check out Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt 1 HERE  and Pt 2 HERE

snowhaven icon

Today I wanted to share a great holiday gift idea.  Its the CTMH Shadow Box Frame that fits a 12X12 Layout.  Perfect for gift giving or just to display your special layouts in your own home. This beautiful frame comes in Black or Colonial White. It is ready to hang on the wall or be displayed on an easel. You will be impressed with the quality of the frame since it is much nicer than what you can purchase at craft stores.


Watch the video I made so you can see the beautiful details of the Shadow Box Frame.   

The layout I made to show you in the Black Shadow Box Frame was made using the CTMH Snowhaven Paper Pack and assorted other CTMH products.  Tomorrow I will show you more holiday cards using the Snowhaven Paper Pack so come back to be inspired by those.

Click on the links below to learn more or purchase the product in my CTMH SHOP @ I really do Thank You for supporting me by shopping for these great products !

Report Card Results: Cricut Explore vs Silhouette Cameo

With all the holiday sales about to start popping up, many of you may be considering getting a new die cut machine.  But which one to pick is the question, right ?  WARNING: LONG POST AHEAD BUT WORTH THE READ I HOPE

Report Card Results

Let me help by providing the highlights of the Report Card Results” regarding an independent product test company that compared the Cricut Explore and Silhouette Cameo on both materials cutting and precision cutting capabilities.  And of course, as usual, I will do my best to provide my own un-biased opinion based on the report and my personal experience using both machines. By the way, I  think it only fair to tell you that the CEO of Cricut, Ashish Arora did forward this report information to me,  


An independent testing firm, Percept Product Test Engineering, out of Boulder, Colorado conducted an in-depth analysis comparing the cut capabilities of the Cricut Explore vs the Silhouette Cameo. In my opinion, the test team did appear to compare “apples to apples” when conducting these two test based on the detailed information they provide in their reports, which I have added links in this post.

Baseline Test Case Procedures were followed:

check mark 3 each of the same model machines from different locations were purchased for both the Cricut Explore and the Silhouette Cameo test conducted to help account for tolerence levels in manufacturing variables you find from machine to machine

check mark New mats and blades were used for all the testing

check mark 8 Identical product materials were used to cut with both machine types: Foam, Cork, Soft Leather, Hard Leather, Chipboard, Dense Chipboard, Magnet Sheet, Aluminum  *full list of product description is found in the report

check mark Recommended manufacturer settings for the material settings for cutting were used first in the testing of each product or cut type Material setting adjustments were made by the test team to attempt to achieve the best cut scenario for each of the machines used in the testing when the recommended manufacturer settings didn’t quite work out. They termed these as “experimental adjustments” and consisted of adjusting blade depth, blade passes and pressure.

check mark Access to technical resource person to answer operational questions using the machines was made available to the test team and used

check mark TWO Different TEST were conducted: Material Cut Capablities and the Precision Cut Test


  • Materials Cut Compatibility testing clearly show that Cricut Explore does a much better job of cutting a wider variety of materials and various thicknesses of the material. Some adjustments to the Cricut recommended cut settings was made to achieve 8 out of 8 successful cuts.  Note:  Best results were achieved by using the Deep Cut Blade and the Strong Grip Mat when using the Cricut Explore.  The roller depth allotment was noted to be greater for the Cricut Explore which resulted in more success with getting the thicker materials to be used in the machine.

The Silhouette Cameo failed 7 out of 8 material tests even after making material setting adjustments from the Silhouette recommended settings to achieve a better result.  Materials, particularly the thicker leather tested also had a more a difficult time being feed into the machine due to the lack of depth between mat and the roller. Note: The test team surmissed that the lack of ability for the Cameo blade to be used for deeper cuts beyond the adjustable amount provided by the blade housing limited the effectiveness even after maxing out the number of passes and blade depth capabilities.

Material Cuts Summary

Note: EUT means “Equipment Under Test”, indicating which of the 3 machines from the  brand were used to conduct the test as there are machine variable tolerances in manufacturing to take in to consideration. 

My Personal Opinion of the Materials Cutting Test:

  • Silhouette Cameo Results:  I must admit that I too experienced some of these same limitations using those materials in cutting with the Silhouette Cameo.  I truly think the depth between the mat and roller is a big minus for the Silhouette.  Plus the limited blade housing depth hurts it as well.
  • Cricut Explore Results:  I have cut all the materials listed with my Cricut Explore and the only exception I had to the results was cutting of cork which I have been unsuccessful at doing so far.  Note: The test team noted it was suggested to use cork with adhesive backing and to cut it with the adhesive backing facing up and the cork on the mat.  I  will try that and see if I get better results.

The full Material Cut Compatibility Testing Report can be read here by clicking on this image

Material Cut Compatiblity

  • Precision Cut Testing was fascinating because there has long been a perception that the Cricut machines did not cut certain shapes such as Circles as well as the Silhouette Cameo. It was interesting to see that the test team had such considerable different results cutting circle shapes.  Test team results were that while both machines did a good job at cutting an accurate ovality 5mm circle shape, that the Cricut Explore across all three of the test machines achieved similiar complete circle cutting results time after time.  While the Silhouette Cameo would not even completely cut all the way around the circle shape. In fact, more than half of the attempted circle shapes did not cut out properly across the 3 different Silhouette Cameos used.  Note: New blades and new mats were used for all cut testing.

Circles Comparison

The test team also tested using two different types of triangles..Isosceles and Equilateral Triangles. There was an issue with both the Cricut Explore and the Silhouette Cameo having an inability to accurately cut the size of the triangle to what was shown on the workspace size edit screens. To overcome this deficit, the test team did some complicated calculation adjustments (which I won’t bore you with now cause math makes my head hurt ! but you can read about in the report if you want).

Error Results
Bottom line was that while both machines had scale issues, the Cricut Explore actually cut the shape more accurately time after time while the Silhouette seemed to cut one side of the shape slightly off.  (see report for a photo comparison via a microscope).  The test team did note that the Cricut Explore had a wider gap between the to triangle image they were cutting compared to the Silhouette Cameo.

My Personal Opinion of the Precision Cut Testing:

First, the Circle testing thing was kind of odd.  I can not recall a time when I used my Silhouette Cameo that it didn’t consistently complete the shape cut like it did during this precision cut test…it might be slightly off at the meet up point but not enough to not make a full circle. Any issues I had I always chocked up to the accuracy of the design in .studio files you use with the Silhouette Studio.I wonder if some of the odd change Silhouette has made to their recent software updates caused that circle cutting issue to be so off ?  I would love to know if they tried more than one circle shape and from different designers, wouldn’t you ?  I will say I have not had even one issue with the Cricut Explore cutting Circles the right shape. Perfect every time.

Second, these test guys certainly didn’t mess around when trying to determine the accuracy of the cut shapes. To the common crafters eye some of these shape issues might not be immediately noticable until you start to put your die cut project together and the pieces don’t line up. Admit it?  It’s happened to you too, right? Nice to know that the Cricut Explore appeared to have an edge over Silhouette Cameo here because I did have that happen to me a few times when using my Cameo..frustrating to say the least but have not had that happen so far after using the Cricut Explore for the past 8 to 9 months.

The full Competitive Precision Cut Test Report can be read by clicking on this image

Precision Cut Test Report
Now we are down to which machine performed BETTER FOR CUTTING  overall…..

check mark The CRICUT EXPLORE MACHINE appears to have scored better marks on this report card. Wouldn’t you agree ?   What are yout thoughts on this report? Does it convince you to buy the Cricut Explore or is that Cameo still looking good to you ?  

Coming soon …read my blog post on why I think you should put the CRICUT EXPLORE ON YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST.  Thanks for stopping by ! 

Time to be THANKFUL

This time of year, our thoughts turn to being thankful for what we have in our lives.

I am thankful for my family and friends. And good health. And the ability and means to enjoy my crafting passion. And for the many opportunities and experiences I have been blessed with over the years. And of course, for all of you who read by blog …for this  I am truly thankful ! 

Create Cards

I made these THANKS CARDS to send as my way of expressing thanks to family, friends and my Close To My Heart customers who order from me.

Thankful for You Card : 

Thankful card  BIG THANKS CARD: Big Thanks


Full of Thanks

Note:  I used the CTMH Quatrefoil Embossing folder to add a little more texture to the Glacier cardstock next to the wood grain stamp image.

These cards were created using the CTMH Pathfinding Card Kit. It includes everything I needed except the inks (Chocolate, Glacier, Goldrush, Desert Sand) to make 15 gorgeous cards (5 of each of the 3 designs) and the matching envelops plus step by step directions to do so.  Of course, I put my own twist on the cards and made a few minor adjustments but that is part of the joy of creating…adding your own twist.

The stamp set that comes in the kit is really great and I can use these stamps on a variety of other projects too !  Don’t you just love that woodgrain stamp and the arrows and feathers !

Pathfinding Stamp Set

You also get a roll of the gorgeous Bronze Shimmer trims that comes in the kit too. Perfect to add that special touch to any of your crafting projects and the bronze is a beautiful deep reach brownish color. I can see using that on some masculine cards too.

Bronze Shimmer Trim

And you get these awesome Gold Sequins in assorted sizes that are self-adhesive. Plenty left over to add sparkle to other projects.

Gold Sequins

It’s nice to have some pretty handmade Thank You cards on hand to send out and this is a great kit to purchase to help you get them make.  You can shop for it and the matching inks you need @  OR just click the photo links below to take you to the exact product.  As usual, I am Thankful for the support of my Close to My Heart Business by my blog reader friends. 

November Cricut Mystery Box is HERE !

WOW…for those that don’t know, Cricut releases a new Cricut Mystery Box every month that contain Cricut cartridges and other Cricut crafting supplies.  We never know what is going to be in them but it’s a great deal. 

nov 2014

The NOVEMBER MYSTERY BOX  has over $120 worth for only $29.99 PLUS you can use FREESHIPNOV promo code and get FREE SHIPPING too !  What a steal !!

Click on this link to purchase it @ NOVEMBER MYSTERY BOX  (I appreciate your supporting my crafting efforts by using my affiliate link)  HURRY SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED ON THE MYSTERY BOXES EACH MONTH. 

Note: To use FREESHIPNOV code: 1) after you click on link above to purchase log in to your account   2) select BUY NOW  3) add zip code and apply  4) select standard shipping  5) add promo code FREESHIPNOV and apply  6) continue to check out OR keep shopping and then check out and pay.  Super simple once you know how to do it.


We have been waiting …. and it’s finally here !  The CTMH Artfully Sent Cartridge Font is now in Cricut Design Space !!!!  While the card images for the CTMH Artfully Sent Cartridge have been available in Design Space for a several weeks, we have been missing the matching Font.  Its super cute and will be great on a variety of projects !

Watch the video to see how to find the font in Cricut Design Space.

To learn more about the fabulous CTMH Artfully Sent Cartridge, with 5 different card styles and 25 different themes, you can check out my post HERE that has photos of all the cards.  You not only get the wonderful cartridge but 3 complimentary stamp sets PLUS a pack of white cardstock that cuts greats in Cricut Explore.

If you are interested in purchasing the CTMH Artfully Sent Cartridge, you can purchase it in my SHOP @  OR click on the image link below.  I truly appreciate your support through your purchase.

Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt2

Welcome back to see more Holiday Fun with Snowhaven.  If you missed Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt 1 you can find it HERE.

Today, I wanted to share with you some tips on how I made the Mini Banner using Cricut Explore and CTMH Art Philosophy Cartridge shown in the Home Decor Wire Frame project I shared in Pt 1.  PLUS a few fun holiday cards that can be made quick using a kit.


Mini Banners are great for adding to scrapbook layouts or to hang in your home during celebrations.  But did you know they can make a great accent to your home decor too ?

You can drape a little mini banner on:

  • Mirrors
  • Photo Frames
  • Wall Art
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Refrigerators
  • Bullentin Boards
  • Wreaths
  • and more

Watch the video to see how quick and easy I was able to create the Mini Banner and my tips for putting it together.

Struggling with coming up with an idea for your holiday cards this year? What if I shared with you a kit you could use to make 15 or more pretty holiday cards quickly using the easy to follow directions?  Sounds good, doesn’t it ?

WOTG Snowhaven Card Kit

CTMH WOTG Snowhaven Card Kit $24.95

The Snowhaven Card Kit comes with a stamp set, Snowhaven Paper, matching Cardstock, Silver Shimmer Trim, Red Enamel Heart and 15 white card & envelopes plus instructions to cut and assemble your cards.

All you need to add is ink (Cranberry, Glacier, Slate), an acrylic block and adhesive and you are ready to create some gorgeous cards ! It really doesn’t get any easier than that.


Card 1 in Kit: Love   I changed mine up just slightly using the same materials provided for the kit.  Its fun to take their example and give it a twist to make it your own or just follow the pattern.

photo 3

Card 2 in Kit: Merry Days   This card is so pretty. I followed the basic card example but could not resist adding a little more snowflake stamping on the red banner piece too.

photo 2

Card 3 in Kit: We Got Together   This card has a fun sentiment on it for giving to loved ones or friends.  I did change up the sample card a little bit by adding the stamped heart (in the same stamp kit) and two of the red hearts since it followed the theme of the sentiment and adjusted placement of the silver shimmer trim.  All easy to do but not necessary to make those changes.

Now remember when I said 15 cards or more ?  The kit has supplies to make 15 cards (5 each of the 3 designs).  But I like to have more variety so I used the same supplies in the kit and a few other CTMH stamp sets to make a total of 22 DIFFERENT cards.  Come back tomorrow for the next set of cards to inspire you to create your own holiday cards this year!  

Click on the links below to learn more or purchase the product in my CTMH SHOP @ I really do Thank You for supporting me by shopping for these great products !

Holiday Fun with Snowhaven Pt 1

Holidays are fast approaching so I am already thinking of my holiday cards and gift ideas. I decided this year to pick a color scheme of non-traditional Christmas colors just for a change.  I fell in LOVE with the CTMH Snowhaven Paper for my inspiration !

snowhaven icon

Isn’t Snowhaven just gorgeous… with Cranberry, Slate and Glacier Blue with a touch of Black and White.  And adding a touch of silver to the mix with a little embellishment really makes it all POP !

So for the next few days, I have created projects and videos to share to inspire you to get started on your holiday cards and gift giving ideas. Yipee!!!  So Let’s get started ! 

IMG_6128 This project uses the beautiful CTMH Home Decor Wire Frame.  I made this video to talk about the project so please watch to see more information about the frame.

Besides just holding cards, you can also use this wire frame to:

  • Hold favorite photos
  • Postcards from your travels
  •  Artwork from the kids
  • and more.

Check back tomorrow when I share tips on how to make the Mini Banner across the top of the frame.  And see a few of these Snowhaven holiday cards up close and personal.   

Click on the links below to learn more or purchase the product in my CTMH SHOP @ I really do Thank You for supporting me by shopping for these great products !

Print Then Cut: Thinking of You Card Tutorial

I am having so much fun using the Print Then Cut Feature with Cricut Explore and my Cricut Cartridges. I loved the cute Tree and Pilgrim Squirrel on the Create A Critter 2 cartridge so I made this cute Thanksgiving card. People are always asking me how I make my cards so I am sharing a little tutorial of how this goes together. Hope it helps you create too !

Title of Card


1. Use the Print Then Cut to ” Flatten” the Tree and Pilgrim Squirrel images from Create A Critter 2 cartridge. The tree is sized @ 5.25″ and the Squirrel is sized @ 2.25″.              You can see how to use Print Then Cut with Cricut Explore on my post HERE.

PTC Image

2. Next cut a piece of background pattern paper to 3.75″ X 5.50″. Cut a piece of green cardstock .75″ X 3.75″.  Use precision tip scissors to cut across the top of green cardstock to create grass.  I used CTMH Pathfinding Paper Pack for patterned paper and the cardstock.

green grass

3.  Adhere the green “grass” cardstock to the background pattern paper.

base with grass

4.  Next, stamp some clouds using blue ink on blue cardstock.  Trim with precision tip scissors. I used CTMH Lifting Spirits stamp set C1570 and CTMH Glacier Ink on CTMH Glacier Cardstock.


5.  Adhere background piece in center of a A2 size card base. Then adhere the stamped clouds to the background. I used CTMH Colonial White Value Pack Cards.

Base with clouds

6.  Adhere the Squirrel to the background paper so the Squirrel sits on top of the green “grass”

add squirell

7.  Enhance the Tree Shape by using White Signo Pen to eyes, Wink of Stella Clear Pen to the leaves for added shine and Brown Slick Writer to create bark.  (I also used the Wink of Stella Pen on the yellow buckle part of the Squirrel’s hat and white pen to his eyes and CTMH green alcohol marker ink to top of the grass pieces for added depth).

enhanced tree

8. Pens I used to enhance the Shapes include: (left to right): CTMH Green Alcohol Ink Pen,  White Signo Pen,  Brown Slick Writer Pen and Wink of Stella Clear Pen.


9.  Add foam tape pieces to the back of the Tree Shape.

Tree with Foam

10.  Add tree to front of the card laying it over the grass piece.  And Stamp “Thinking of You!” in CTMH Chocolate Ink to the grass piece to complete the card from the CTMH Lifting Spirits Stamp Set.

Front of Card

11.  No card is complete without a sentiment on the inside of the card. I use the PTC to create this saying from a phrase on the Create A Critter 2 Card.  I used the pens again to add more dimension to the images.

inside card

Hope you enjoy the card and the steps I used to make it.  Stay tuned…I have more Thanksgiving cards to show off soon.

You can see more and purchase the products I used for this project by clicking an image below.  These are affiliate links and I thank you in advance for supporting me when you make a purchase so I can keep creating and sharing my craftiness with you.