Cricut has announced the launch of its latest design product, Cricut Explore. Cricut says the system is designed to be the "world's easiest design-and-cut system" for making polished DIY projects. It includes a cutting machine and online design software. The software includes a library of 50,000 images and step-by-step instructions for hundreds of projects. Take a look:
Ashish Arora, president and CEO of Cricut, said in a statement, "A new generation of DIY crafters want the satisfaction of handmade along with the convenience and immediate gratification of digital. They want to make that beautiful project they find on Pinterest, without needing a PhD in crafting. With Cricut Explore, users can go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks, easily creating handmade projects that are both polished and personal."
Cricut Explore will cost $299. It will debut on HSN in February and will be available in other retail locations starting March 16.
Here is a video from Handimania that shows you how to fold a napkin into the shape of a Christmas tree. A green napkin is used in the video, but other colors work as well as you can see on the Handmania blog post. Take a look:
Here is a video about how to make a Sharknado costume. Sharknado was an entertaining horror movie from Syfy that was a huge hit on Twitter this summer. Some of the items you will need to make a Sharknado costume include a tomato cage, wire cutters, flashing strobe lights, spider webs, plastic wrap, small toy sharks and more. Take a look:
Astronaut Karen Nyberg Makes Toy Dinosaur in Space
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg made this cute toy dinosaur in space. She used stuff found on the International Space Station. She says, "It is made out of velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers found here on the International Space Station. It is lightly stuffed with scraps from a used t-shirt."
Nyberg made the toy dinosaur for her son. CollectSpace.com reports that Nyberg is a self-described crafter. She shared the photo here on Pinterest.
Michaels announced that it has added pre-cut craft fabric. The pre-cut fabric includes cotton, canvas, burlap, felt, faux fur, crushed velvet and tulle. It will be available in sizes ranging from a half-yard to two yards.
Michaels Executive Vice President of Category Management Philo Pappas, said in the announcement, "With the addition of crafting fabric to our mix, our customers can find everything they need for their projects in one store. "And because the fabrics are pre-cut, customers can simply select the size they need and be on their way - no waiting for measuring and cutting."
Paper Airplane Guy John Collins Interviewed by Conan
John Collins holds the record for the for long-distance indoor paper airplane flight. Collins says his interest in paper planes really changed when he started applying origami concepts to paper planes. He showed off some amazing paper planes on the show, including some that come back when you throw them. Collins has a book out that includes tear-out plane designs called, The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book. Take a look:
Jim Noonan, resident crafter at Scholastic Instructor Magazine, explains how to make Recycled Egg Carton Flowers in this video. In addition to egg cartons, you also need scissors, paint, brushes, paper clips and pipe cleaner. The flowers are made by cutting out cups from the egg carton and then cutting them to create petals. You can also find written step-by-step instructions here. Take a look:
Becky Stern and Risa Rose of Adafruit explain how to make an LED origami flower and frog in this instructional video. After all the folding you have to affix LED lights. One method explained is to use a clear, conductive plastic material called ITO. You can find step-by-step instructions here on Adafruit. Take a look:
Dutch designer Noortje de Keijzer knitted herself a boyfriend. She says her knitted boyfriend is always happy and can be cuddled, caressed and hugged. She says he is very flexible. You can give him glasses or a mustache if you like. He is basically just a knitted suit with pillows inside him, but he comes alive in this video. Take a look:
Jo-Ann has announced the launch of an exclusive line of Ohio State University fabric. Now you can make Ohio State owls, hats, wallets, socks and more. The fabrics includes three fleece prints and four cotton prints featuring iconic Ohio State images such as Brutus and the Block O. This brings the total number of Jo-Ann's collegiate fabric licenses to 53. You can find all the company's licensed fabrics here.
Susan Starcher, buyer of fleece, warm and licensed fabric for Jo-Ann, said in a statement, "We are thrilled to offer fans of The Ohio State University this exclusive-to-Jo-Ann line of fleece and cotton fabrics. Our customers love to show their school spirit, and no other retailer offers a more diverse selection of college and university fabrics than Jo-Ann."
April Fool's: Coursera Launches Underwater Basketweaving Course
Coursera has announced the launch of a new Underwater Basketweaving course on April Fools' Day. The course description says underwater basketweaving is believed to have been developed by the peoples of the Aquacamamata Peninsula around the year 325 BC.
Underwater basket weaving has survived to the present day on account of its great functional advantages over dry basket weaving. By working with saturated fibers in a submerged environment, we can reduce friction in the weave and create a basket of unparalleled integrity and aesthetic appeal. Underwater baskets, or "wet-weave" baskets, are highly prized in many modern cultures for their beauty, durability, and water-tightness.
Knitting Behind Bars: Hardened Criminals Learn to Love Knitting
Criminals have been taught to knit at by Lynn Zwerling and Sheila Rovelstad at Jessup Pre-Release Unit (JPRU) in Jessup, Maryland. The program is called Knitting Behind Bars. The idea is could calm the prisoners and give them a cope mechanism for when they re-enter society. The pair have taught over 100 prisoners how to knit so far. All the knit creations made by the prisoners are donated to charity. Take a look:
The Christian Science Monitor also has a story about the knitting prisoners which says the knitting is opening up their world.
The Taronga Zoo in Sydney explains how to make an origami T-Rex in this instructional video. The paper project resembles a crane about mid-way through. A second square of paper is required for the T-Rex's legs. Take a look:
Jo-Ann Hosts Sew Unique National Sewing Month Contest
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has announced Sew Unique, the Jo-Ann National Sewing Month Contest. The contest is being hosted by Christopher Straub from season 6 of Project Runway.
Nicole Long, manager of inspiration for Jo-Ann, says, "Sewing with nontraditional and utility fabrics, like ripstop, vinyl and duck cloth, is a trend we have seen in the world of fashion and among our customers. Nontraditional fabrics, especially ones like ripstop which comes in a variety of colors, are a fun and inexpensive way to add an interesting, unique touch to apparel, decor and accessories."
The contest carries a grand prize of $1,000. Entrants are limited to one submission per day for the duration of the contest period, September 1 through 30. To enter you have to sew a project from Jo-Ann utility fabrics, take a picture of the project and finally, share the photo on the contest tab on Joann's Facebook page. You can find the rules here.
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has announced the launch of its iPad app. The free app includes instructions for craft projects, videos with tips and techniques and inspirational photos. It also features weekly ads, catalogs and a store finder. There is also a Shopping List that makes it easy to keep track of what you need for your craft projects.