Welcome to The Rally Blog!
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
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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