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You know that feeling when you can't make decisions? That was me.. trying to decide which project to use for this blog post. Ultimately, I left the decision to you! I gave you the option of seeing Lil Norman's creation from start to finish or seeing my gorgeous machines get dressed up in their Rally Felt Co. vinyl decals. The result was an overwhelming 75%-25% in favor of our self-proclaimed mascot. Lil Norman!!


Norman is the title character in the book Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell by Sue Hendra. Our felt adaptation of Norman the Slug (affectionately termed "Lil Norman") has become a mascot of sorts for Rally. The guy is just so dang cheerful and explorative. We love a protagonistic, personified gastropod 🙌🏼


As with each felt creation, Norman began as a Photoshop doodle. I tweaked and twerked him until he was just right. Here is a little peek at what his donut doodle process looked like.


Soooo nice, right? Who doesn't love a good timelapse?


Ok after Norman and his donut shell are designed and ready, they take a quick trip through the interweb to my Cricut Design Space. Once in Design Space, I adjust any sizing and formatting; formatting is only a concern when I am cutting bulk numbers. When I'm just cutting a single slug, I don't worry much about being efficient with felt.


Can you see it yet??


Now we get to the cutting. I'll cut a donut, a frosting, Norman's body, and Norman's body accent out of their respective felt colors. I use Cricut's rotary blade for all of these.


Real important question here.. what can I do with the leftover donut hole?!


Now we will switch from cutting felt to cutting vinyl. Iron-on vinyl requires the standard blade rather than the rotary blade.


Mmkay! We have cut all of our vinyl and felt. (Not pictured are the green and glitter vinyls, my big bowl of kettle corn, and my crippling anxiety.)


Glue these lil mamas.


Grab that iron (or your Cricut EasyPress--seriously the nicest) and plug 'er in.


Let's start with Lil Norman's exuberant face. I'm going to iron on the whites of his face first.


Now I'll iron on his little black pupils.


There he is!


Now let's finish Norman's boujee donut shell. I iron on his sprinkles in phases (you can scroll to see it because I'm a really fancy blogger).


Ba-da-boom!! He is a treasure!


Norman and his friends.


Norman's shell collection in its entirety.


Norman A-la-Candy-Sprinkles when he was featured in a Valentine's Day Giveaway (because Norman is the Valentine we all deserve).

Sometimes I look at Norman and just giggle with delight. Am I the only one? I will shout about Cricut cutting machines from the rooftops for making Norman and every other Rally cut so clean and professional.


Thanks for reading! My boys just want to play with Norman's felt now that I've been cutting it all morning 🙈What are you waiting for?! Go play with yours too!


Rikki Bow

  • rikkibow


Are we ready for May's book reveal?! My friends, this book couldn't be more perfect for springtime. I'm using my EasyPress in mint (I ADORE ALL OF THESE MINT EDITION PRODUCTS) to reveal this month's featured story.


*NOTE* Subscribe to the Book & Felt Box by Sunday May 5th to receive this month's box! Click "rallyfeltco.com" above or click HERE.


Ready? Let's go!


Mmk, let's start with supplies.


For this lil reveal, I used an assortment of iron-on vinyls, my weeding hook, a paper cutter, my retro, almond-colored making tape dispenser, some white felt, my gorgeous champagne Maker, and my two Cricut EasyPress 2's. You don't need both! I just like to play with both sizes.


These EasyPressses. Can we even? The mint color is so soft and saucy and I'm living for it. Just for a bit of background, my girls and I use irons to apply vinyl to the monthly felt kits. Irons do the job...painfully...inconsistently, and slowly...but they do it. I knew that the EasyPress would help make our vinyl job easier, but it wasn't until it was in my hands that I realized how much.


A few things I love about these guys that I am no longer willing to compromise on:


1. Hands-free functionality. My iron requires my hands at all times. The EasyPress can work while I work. If it requires extra pressure, I set a book on top 😏Now that I say that out loud, I realize it might be a fire hazard 😂Put a silicone hot pad under the book, folks 🙌🏼

2. The bottom is completely smooth. NO HOT SPOTS and no iron marks in my felt 🙈

3. Temperature is controlled manually. I have full control over how hot I want it. Cricut has resources that take the guess work out of it too. Their online reference guide will tell you what temperature and how long to set your timer for depending on your materials. It's fantastic.

4. Timer. It's no secret that I like efficiency, right? Well, the timer allows me to assembly line without having to keep track of how long it has been sitting for.

5. I love the base. That may sound lame, but it's among my favorite parts. Something about not hauling out my ironing board and not always worrying my kids will accidentally burn themselves just puts this thing over-the-top for me.

Shown here are the 6"x7" and 9"x9" EasyPresses. I love them. The small is EASILY more functional than my iron, and the medium just has so much surface area. It is so efficient. I can't wait until I can get my hands on the large EasyPress for me and all of my girls! I keep affectionately calling it the Big Mama. Big Mamas are going to be such a game changer for my team, and we will get them as soon as our budget allows 🙌🏼


REVEAL TIME!


I loved all of your guesses about May's book. SO MANY OF YOU WERE RIGHT! I put everyone who guessed into a random picker and the winner of May's Book & Felt Box is @michellenaomi81! Congrats Michelle! (Reminder that this fun lil giveaway was not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram or Cricut. Just by me, Lil Rik 🤗)


Watch the video below for the reveal!!


Did you guess it?! Are you familiar with this book? Lois Ehlert is a fan-favorite here at Rally. Jump back over to Instagram and tell me what you think!


Again, make sure you are subscribed by this Sunday, May 5th, to receive May's Book & Felt Box. Click "rallyfeltco.com" above or click HERE.


That's it for now, my friends! Thanks for your patience as I have continued to work through technology complications, life, and Maddie pouring syrup on my keyboard 🙈If there are any extra letters or rogue capitalizations, you know why 😘


See you on Instagram!


Love and learning,

Rikki Bow




  • rikkibow

Updated: Apr 29, 2019




*This post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase through one of my links. Note that the products I review and promote to you are products that I love and use. I will never put something in front of you that I don't fully stand behind.*



There were moments over these last few months where I honestly didn't know if this day would possibly come. Circumstance, illness, travel, more illness, technology. Life! Am I right?! But sisters, we are HERE! And I have quite the lineup for you over the coming weeks and months. I have been working my fanny off over here to bring you ladies high quality content that is going to uplift, inspire, and encourage you to promote a love of learning in your home.


So let's get to it! Ok so we have been chatting, hypothesizing, and dreaming over on Instagram together. You know that we have a brand new big-name sponsor. Have you figured out who it is yet?! If you guessed Cricut, you are right! Can I be real with you for a second? When Cricut reached out to me to apply for their sponsorship program, I totally fangirled and freaked out. I use Cricut products left and right with Rally, so that was a fast yes. I am elated that Cricut is now part of the Rally tribe. This is the start of a totally beautiful partnership.


In this, our premier post, I want to give you an in-depth look at my monthly cutting process. I will show you how freaking awesome my Cricuts are (and you all know that I have been saying that since before we were #sponsored so.. booyah) and how much they are capable of. Actually, I'm not sure I can even definitively tell you what they are capable of. They currently cut thousands of pieces of felt each month for me and they show no wear. I guess I'll be taking that as a challenge 😈


Are we ready? Let's go!

When Rally was just my precious little brain-child, I reached out to my cousin who works on the design team at Cricut. She came to my house with an extra Cricut ExploreAir she had lying around (no big deal) and we got to work. It was a process for us to figure out how to get the machine to effectively cut felt without having to back it. Long story short, I could only get that puppy to cut 1mm thick stiffened felt. Fine and dandy for my first go 'round, but it wasn't going to cut it long term. I have a pretty strong bias toward high-quality wool felt, so I needed to seek out an alternative. Dezi (my incredible craft-wizardess cousin) mentioned that Circut had a new machine. The Maker. Top of the line. Instead of a single exacto-style blade, it functioned using a miniature rotary blade. It was designed with fabric in mind. I knew I needed to have one.


That night I bought one online. NEVER IN MY LIFE have I made a $400 purchase like that. I hardly had to think about it and I felt zero buyer's remorse 🙈Upon receiving that baby, I knew that it was the best investment I could have made. Baby, she was a game changer! She could cut through my gorgeous wool felt like a dream. She looked at my intricate designs and laughed her coy little laugh. Point made? Cool. I went on to buy another just a few months later.

So here we are, doing our Rally thing, and Cricut comes along and sends me the loot to end all loots. Are we serious? Like they thought they had to buy my love? Not even. I'm already a super fan. But, I mean, I'm not gonna say no so...


I knew they were sending me another Maker because they are angels. What I didn't know was that it was going to be the gorgeous new mint edition. The color on this thing is intoxicating. I get butterflies when I look at it. I am going to walk you through my cutting process on this gorg new lil' mama.

Step 1: I design everything by hand in Photoshop. That is one of my favorite parts of the process. Also, thank heavens for photoshop, because my real life drawing skills are laughable. Frightening, even. Once designed into layers, I save my files as SVGs and upload them into Cricut's Design Space software.


Step 2: I format my shapes to make the most of my 12x18 felt. This mama likes efficiency. Here is a peek at what the rear cut of this month's spinosaurus looks like in Design Space.

Step 3: I turn on my beautiful machine (or all three of them), smile at it longingly for awhile, remember that it is in inanimate object, feel embarrassed, move ahead to cutting... turn back and give her a lil' wink.
Step 4: Once everything is ready to cut, I mount my wool felt to a StandardGrip Cricut cutting mat. I use the the 12x24 mats because of the size of my felt. I like to put masking tape around the corners and sides to make sure my felt stays nice and put.
Step 5: Press GO and let lil' mama do her thang. Repeat that about 200 more times if you're a crazy felt lady.

Step 6: Bask in the utter satisfaction of peeling off felt negatives.



Step 7: I really love using my little spatula tool to remove my felt pieces from the mat. With circles (last month's planets) or simple shapes, I will just use my fingers, but this spatula makes intricate cuts come off much cleaner. And quicker.
Step 8: After I cut out 100-130 of each piece, I have lots of uniform (though not always tidy) stacks ready to be sent to my team for assembly. The next time I see everything, it has been glued together, vinyled if necessary, and is ready to be packaged with love and sent to you.

Such a fun process, right?! It has been such a treat to begin working with Cricut. I cannot wait to continue to show you how I use their tools and machines to make your felt every month.


Now before I sign off for the day, I want to remind you of a couple things we have coming up on the Rally Blog in the coming weeks and months. We will have book read-a-louds, behind the scenes posts about the process (like today's), enrichment activities for your kiddos, and I'll be bringing back an old favorite felt set that many of you are trying to get your hands on.


What are you most excited to see? Tell me in the comments below!


Love and learning

Rikki Bow



About Me

© 2019 by Rally Felt Co.

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I'm Rikki Bow! Boy mom, educator, musician, and owner/designer over at Rally Felt Co. I strive to help parents foster learning in their homes. When we nurture our children's natural curiosity, we help them develop a lifelong love of learning.

 

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