Book Review: Cut Out + Keep: Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

I was very excited to receive Cut Out + Keep‘s book: Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects. So for this  month’s craft night, I chose to do a project out of this book.

The book is broken up into regions of the United States with a project for each state. I’m pretty jealous of the obviously epic road trip the writers took to create the book. There are photos and anecdotes about each state. It’s interesting to see the country through their eyes, maybe because they aren’t Americans, but also because of their obvious delight with the strange and interesting.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

The projects themselves are a mixed bag. They are, for the most part, projects that could be completed in a few hours and don’t require a lot of specialized tools or supplies that the average crafter wouldn’t have on hand. But the aesthetic ranges across the board. There’s likely to be at least one thing for most every crafter in the book, but probably not many who want to do every project.

So Monday night was craft night.

The Delaware project is a shrinky dink necklace, “The First State Necklace”. We chose to forgo the cork backing and pin.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

It’s a pretty simple project; it requires: clear shrink film, some maps you don’t mind cutting up, double-sided adhesive, a jump ring, and a chain.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

The ladies who attended craft night hadn’t played much with shrinky dink (or at all) so we had a lot of fun crowding around the oven to watch it shrink. It’s seriously magic.

I think we could have finished the project in under an hour if we hadn’t spent so much time talking and being distracted by my cat. But really what’s the point of crafting together if we aren’t going to distract ourselves?

The longest part of the whole endeavor was probably finding exactly the right piece of map to use.

There are definitely a few more projects I’m looking forward to from the book and I read all the way through for the travel anecdotes alone.

Book Review: Cut Out and Keep Around the USA in 50 Craft Projects | Red Circle Crafts

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for this review, but no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.

St. Patty’s Day Decorations

While I’m not super excited about St. Patrick’s Day, I do love a good excuse to either dress up or decorate. Although I still don’t understand people’s wish to be Irish for one day a year.

Here are some crafty tutorials for the upcoming holiday.

Rainbow & Shamrock Pin Tutorial | Red Circle Crafts

Last year’s project to ensure I had something green to wear, this shamrock and rainbow pin tutorial is fun and easy.

Clover Crown from Oh Happy Day

I  love this clover crown from Oh Happy Day! It’s clever and beautiful.

Shamrock Streamers from Studio DIY

If you make the crown (above), you’ll probably have green streamers leftover. So why not make these Shamrock Streamers from Studio DIY.

St Patricks Day Photo Props from Lia GriffithEveryone loves a good photo booth (they seem to be everywhere these days). And these props from Lia Griffith are great. While she makes them on her Cricut machine, they would still be as cool hand cut.

Baby Clothes & Screen Printing Stencils

Baby Shower Gift | Red Circle Crafts

I went to a good friend’s baby shower last weekend, so I can finally share what I made. Although if you follow me on Instagram, there were a few sneak peaks.

Bear Baby Outfit | Red Circle Crafts

This isn’t the first time I’ve used these particular patterns even in this size, but it always amazes me how small newborn baby clothes are. How on earth will a human being fit in them!

Bear Baby Outfit | Red Circle Crafts

The shirt didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. Part of which was definitely the machine I used. My sewing machine died on me recently. (I may need to hold a memorial service for it.) Fortunately my Mom was able to gift me her old machine to use until I’m able to get a new sewing machine. BUT this machine has few of the bells and whistles I’m used to. I prefer to use a double needle to sew knits. And there’s no second spindle to hold a second spool of thread. I kind of made do, but it wasn’t great and required a bit of finagling. So when I might have taken out a seam and redone it, I chose not to, because I didn’t want to sew more than necessary. Also, I must have stretched out the neck when I sewed on the edging, or attached the front and back at the shoulders incorrectly. Either way, I didn’t realize it until was far too late to fix, without practically starting over. My last shirt from this pattern turned out much better.

The pants pattern is a free pattern from The Allison Show.

The shirt pattern is from Small Dream Factory and comes in sizes all the way up to 2T.

Mountain Scene Screen Print | Red Circle Crafts

I also bought a pack of newborn onesies to screen print on. Because I had a few ideas I wanted to print.

Bunny Screen Print | Red Circle Crafts

I LOVE how they turned out. The bunny was probably the most difficult to draw, cut out, and print. I won’t be recreating it, because I didn’t end up with a clear print even once, but I still like it. The bear and the mountain scene were comparatively easier. I’ve included a pdf of them at the bottom of this post that you’re welcome to print out and use to make your own screen printing stencils from. They would both work with my screen printing kit (available for sale in my etsy store).

Download Here

Baby Shower Gifting

It seems that every spring, I have a few baby showers to attend. This year, is no different. I’m happy that this one is for a close friend here in Portland. No traveling and I’ll get to see the baby as frequently as I’m able.

Pacifier Clip | Red Circle Crafts

Part of the present is a pacifier clip. Surprisingly easy to make, it’s a strip of fabric, a metal snap, and the clip from a suspender. The suspender clip is sturdier than what they use for most pacifier clips you can buy. So this one will actually stay where you put it.

I’m going to add some pacifiers to the package, but instead of giving an opened package, I drew a pacifier to attach to the clip so that the new parents would immediately know what they’re looking at. Out of context, it really doesn’t look like much.

Pacifier Clip | Red Circle Crafts

Some other baby shower ideas here and here.

Printable Valentines

There are always tons of adorable Valentines running around the internet this time of year. These are just a few to get you in the mood for the big day. Is that really tomorrow already?

Printable Valetine from Frolic BlogThis printable from Frolic! is actually from 2012, but I still love it. It’s actually one of my inspirations for the watercolor washed cards I made.


Star Wars Valentine from Design Wash Rinse RepeatThese printable Yoda Valentines from Design Wash Rinse Repeat are cute and clever. Using the mini glow sticks as light sabers is brilliant.


Printable Pop Up Valentine Card from Lia GriffithI’m a sucker for all things pop up. This card from Lia Griffith is lovely and easy to make (just print, cut, and glue).


Origami Heart Valentine Card from Design is YayThese cards from  Design is Yay are my personal favorite. A combination of easy to make and a little personal with the origami hearts tucked into their clever little paws.

J and I don’t have anything planned really for Valentine’s day. It happens to fall on his day off this weekend. If we’re luck we may spend an hour or so somewhere nice drinking fancy coffee. Although I can’t say we wouldn’t do that even if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day.

Admitting That I Don’t Know

I don’t usually write about personal dilemmas here; this one affects my blog (and business).

Red Circle Crafts still feels brand new and full of beginnings. I have some really exciting ideas for things I’d like to be working towards, but, to be honest, I’m not sure what that means for the short term. I’ve spent the last month or so avoiding this blog because I don’t know what’s next. And while I was really trying to avoid admitting that I don’t know, it meant fewer posts here about the things I have been working on. Emotions sometimes get in the way of common sense though.

One of the things that J and I have been talking about for short term goals is becoming completely debt free. That would mean a great deal of freedom for us to work less and live more. We could travel; I could realistically pursue my dream of living in tiny house; it would be easier to have my own business. A little bit of math shows that if we both work full time jobs, we could be completely debt free in about 5 years. Five years seems like a lot less time than it used to.

I’m not entirely sure how this will change things. Historically, I need some sort of creative outlet or I will be really unhappy working in an office. I hope that this means that I will still make time to blog here. I hope this means I continue to create things to put up in my etsy store. But events like the Holiday Market will definitely be put on hold.

Nothing is changing too soon. We’re still figuring out how this is all going to happen. In the mean time I’d like to get back to crafting and sharing it here.

Making Words

Word Art: "erinaceous" | Red Circle Crafts

One of the people I follow on Instagram (Cookoorikoo) has inspired me to be a bit wordy. She has this amazing wall of embroidered words, with black fabric hung in embroidery hoops. As a lover of weird words, I’m completely smitten. So I’m building my own word wall. Though I don’t plan to stick to just embroidery.

Word Art: "erinaceous" | Red Circle Crafts

I started with the word erinaceous: n. of or pertaining to hedgehogs. It’s a word I never would have heard of if not for a fabulous TED Talk by Erin McKean about the point of lexicography and the flexibility of language. The word itself has become synonymous in my mind with that TED talk. So it seems fitting to start a collection of words with it.

Word Art: "erinaceous" | Red Circle Crafts

I’m including the pattern I made for this, in case you’d like to embroider this as well. Download here.


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