An Authentically Crafty Life |

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“Ask me anything,” I said. That could be a dangerous statement, but I meant it when I said it! Last week I emailed my lovely readers and asked them a big question: “If you could ask me anything, what would it be?” And you all responded with many wonderful questions. I received questions about general crafting and making things with the Cricut, as well as questions about myself. I am replying to each person who wrote to me personally, but I thought it would be fun to share here on my blog as well. Here are the answers to the questions I received about myself — I will answer the crafting-related questions in separate blog posts.

“What got you into crafting?” (from Erica)

I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been crafting, to be honest. My mother is an artist and crafter, and she had me doing things from a very young age. In fact, the first time I was ever in the newspaper was at age 4, and it’s a picture of me fingerprinting (see below). So, I think the real answer to this question is that my mother got me into crafting. She was always introducing new crafts to my sister and I, and she continued to pursue her own crafting interests all through my childhood, providing us with an excellent role model. Now she is a painter, but she’s also content to come over to my studio and do random crafts with me, too.

An Authentically Crafty Life |

“How do you find time to get creative and what do you have to give up to do it?” (from Leslie)

Being creative is both a mindset and a priority. Making things makes me happy, so I am constantly thinking about what I could make next. I get a lot of ideas, only some of which I actually follow-through on. And that’s mostly just because of time. Like everyone else, I have a busy life. I work full-time from home with my own company, plus I’m a mom. What I gave up a while ago was TV, and that leaves me time to craft in the evenings and on the weekends. I do occasionally watch Netflix with my family, but it’s rare. I typically craft after dinner and I spend several hours at it. This vastly enhances my sense of well-being.

“Have you ever made something for someone very special in your life? What was it and how did you feel when finished?” (from Beth)

Yes, many times! I love to make things for those I care about. My most recent project, the DIY Enchanted Rose, was something I came up with for my friend Sara. I will be very happy to send it to her. One year I made sweater coats for my mother and sister — that was a lot of fun, because while they picked out the colors, I got to put all those colors into an arrangement that looked good. When my daughter was about 4 years old, she asked me to build her a set of stairs so he could reach the hidden “room” in her closet (one of those above the stairs sort of cubby holes). I made her a set of wooden stairs with hidden compartments — it was the first time really working with wood and a jigsaw, and it set me on a path to more wood projects.

“What can you not do without for your crafting, your favourite go to ? Is it glue, threads, papers, your favourite scissors?”

Gold Gingher Shears - JenniferMaker.comI use my scissors a LOT. I think nearly every craft I do involves scissors. Even using my Cricut involves scissors, as I often have to cut paper down to size.  And I need scissors for all my sewing, of course. My favorite scissors of all-time are my gold Gingher shears,  which are made from high carbon cutlery steel and hand polished and tuned. They last FOREVER, but if if you ever have a problem, they will fix or sharpen them to new condition for just $12. I have a pair for crafting and a pair for sewing. I love those scissors!

JULY 2017 UPDATE: I now have a tool I use more than my scissors, believe it or not. It has surpassed every other craft tool I use. Click here to see what it is! 

“Is there a product that you will happily buy despite the expense?”

Yes, I will happily buy whatever product it is I currently need. Ha! Pretty much that’s true, though. I spend more at the craft store than anywhere else. I am an expert when it comes to maximizing my coupons.

PassPorter Planning System“What would be your ideal job?” (from Deirdre)

When I originally wrote this Q&A, I was still the founder of a company that publishes Disney travel guides called PassPorter. I’d been doing this for nearly 20 years at that point, and it was very fulfilling. It was a little like being a florist, except I delivered information that makes people happy rather than simply pretty flowers. I had many hats there, including things like author, social media marketer, podcast host, and developer of our PHP-based online travel guide system. I found this very satisfying.

Shortly after I wrote this, however, my craft blog exploded and began to take more and more of my attention. And at the same time, things began to wane with my company and it was no longer able to support me and my family. So in 2017, I made the decision to devote myself to JenniferMaker and haven’t looked back since.

In recent years, I’ve taken more of an interest in the idea of social influence. I’ve always been one, I just didn’t know it had a name. I think I enjoy this the most. I love that I can help others in my social circles by leading them to information or choices that work best for them. In a way, the JenniferMaker blog is an extension of that interest. So, if I had to pick one thing, it would to be a social influencer, helping out as many people as I possibly could by expanding my reach into new and emerging areas.

“Will you please come to my house and show me how to do this Cricut stuff?” (from Trisha)

Ah, if only I could! I love to teach in person — it’s often easier to show someone than to just write out directions and give you photos, plus I can be there to answer all your questions. Videos are the closest I’ve come to being able to teach as though I were in person. That’s why I work so hard on my videos and try to make them as clear and helpful as possible.

German 16th Century - SCA“What other interests do you have outside of Disney and crafting?” (from Megann)

I like to play games (video games and tabletop roleplaying games) and I am a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), where I am a member of the Order of the Laurel (arts) and the Order of the Pelican (service).

“When do you have time for work? Or is this what you do now?”  (from Tammy)

I get up early and work during the day from home, and I craft at night and on the weekends. I am a Type A personality who likes to have a very full day. I have very little downtime, except late at night. I cut out a lot of things that other people do (for example, no TV).

“What is the best thing that you have ever done?” (from Jean)

Wow, that’s a tough one! I would have to say having my child and starting my company are two of the best things I’ve ever done. But if you meant what the best thing I’ve ever made is, that’s even harder. I really like the Snowflake Sweater Coat I made a few years ago.

“What is your most enjoyable thing that you have made? Do you have a favourite that had inspired you of crafting?” (from Betty)

The funny thing is that I fall in love with nearly everything I make. That may be part of why I love crafting so much — it’s just so satisfying. It’s so hard to pick one thing. The favorite things I’ve ever made are my daughter, my books, my sweater coats, my paper flowers, my kitchen wall (I painted it to look like a big cabinet), my junior high school art project (big globe with people standing all around it), my numerous SCA costuming projects, and my computer desk and office nook.

“When does love die? When does love become harmful? When does love become a habit?” (from Roxanne)

DIY Paper Winged Heart with Hidden Message | JenuineMom.comOkay, now those are BIG questions! For me, love never dies. Even when relationships change, or end entirely, I still feel the love. Once I love, it remains a part of me. Love can become harmful when it overrides common sense. I’ve experienced this a couple of times. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and I acted upon that, allowing love to become secondary. I don’t know if I’ve experienced the habit of love. My feelings of love are ever-evolving — they don’t feel like habits. Sometimes love is just there, and not big and bold — one could interpret that as a habit, but I do not. Love is singular and unique.

“How do you decide what you are going to create next?” (from Susan)

I either look at what I personally need or want to make, or I take a cue from someone near me. For example, spring is coming and I’m thinking about flowers, so I’ve been making paper flowers. But I have some gifts to make for birthdays, and my thoughts are changing to birthday gifts. In other cases, someone may ask me how to make something, and I create that thing they need help with. So I suppose I create re-actively, rather than pro-actively. I am happy with this, and it motivates me!

Well there we go — a little bit of me. I will answer the craft-specific questions later on my blog. Feel free to ask more questions! I’m always happy to share.


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  1. hi Jennifer. wow you are about being talented !! can you tell me where on your site can i find SVG made simple? i heard you mention it on YouTube.

  2. I love the Welcome Believe Front Door sign but when I try to download and open in Circut design is tells me file is corrupt. Is there anything I can do to get it?

  3. Probably the wrong place for this, but here goes. I have downloaded the “clamshell” mask zip file with the cricut design patterns in it. I have made the medium sized mask. But for the life of me, I do not understand the small size. some of the layers have 3 parts some have 2 some have 1 and none of them add up to the material needed for a complete set of X number of masks. Is there something out there that explains how it works?

  4. Hello Jennifer, this is Lynne I would like to know how to upload some of the free fonts into Cricut Design Space?

  5. Jennifer you are amazing. Be proud of you and what you do each day. you fulfill so many moments in my life and I wanted to thank you

  6. How can I download my Cricut Coach Playbook from my Mac to my HP. When I take my HP to my scrapbooking group I don’t have your wonderful Playbook on my HP. I’m new to Cricut so I really need it.
    Your instructions are wonderful and I really miss them when I need them the most.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Marian, you can download the Playbook to your HP by opening the email we sent with the download link. If you need the email resent to you, please email me at [email protected] and we’ll email it to you!

  7. I bought your 111 page digital book but can not find it to print. Can you help me find it please. I do not want to waste another $19 for another one when I already paid for it

  8. Hi Jennifer. I noticed in a couple of your making flowers that a scoring tool is needed. Would that be a scoring wheel or stylus?

  9. Hi Jennifer love the butterfly engraving light. I purchased the tools as suggested on your page. Halfway thru my cut my cricut machine power button flashes red and I can’t complete the cut. Any suggestions on how to address this?

  10. Jennifer….hello! I purchased my Cricket Maker to cut out a HUGE appliqué quilt project. I don’t see that you do many fabric projects or have I missed them? Would really appreciate some help with this! Thanks, Londa Burkett

    1. Hi Londa! I don’t currently have too many sewing projects, especially anything to do with quilting. I do hope to change this in the future.

    1. Hi Bonnie! As long as you have Silhouette Studio Designer Edition, you can upload any SVG file from my library and other resources.

  11. Im currently only able to use my IPhone for my Cricut Air. if I download svg files is it possible to get those to my phone?

  12. I’m seeking my holy grail. Thank you for your time in preparing the tutorial on etching. I’m one of the few using a Silhouette Cameo, but I think I can adapt your instructions. I’ve never cut anything but paper before, so there is a challenge here. There is something I’m dying to etch on glass. I need to find the right glass. I’m an old kid…like a kid on social security…but I want a ‘This is the Way’ with the Mandalorian helmet. I’ve seen your ‘child’, he’s great, but my hero is Mando. Especially when he is covered in mud by the Mudhorn, or comes out of the krate dragon with goo all over, falls off the desert crawler or any of many ‘splat’ events. I so can relate to his frustration. I can’t go to into the hobby shops now, but I will scan the internet for the supplies. Thank you for the instructions. So I’m thinking, what kind of glass “thing” ‘is the way’…a medicine container? …I’ll find it. Is scanning the internet, ‘the way’? Is ‘the way’ my incentive for exercise? It’s out there. Hehe, maybe my theme should be ‘This is -in- the way’ on a cookie or candy jar. Oh no–getting silly–my frustration is showing!

  13. Hi! I was wondering if you design decals for people? I have a few ideas and have been looking for help as my design skills are quite less than my idea skills! Thanks

  14. Do they still make the cartridge adapter? I have a lot of cartridges and would like to use them with my Cricut Maker. My old Cricut does not cut the best.

  15. WHat printer would you reccomend for cricut makers. To print quality photo prints for stickers.

  16. Hi Jennifer! I have 2 suggestions that I would love to see how to make them and are not in your currently library. I saw a place to suggest new I ideas when we did the 25 days till Christmas count down. Can please add the link and I can send them to you? Thank you.

  17. Hi Jennifer!
    I’m looking for the link to download the Shadow box template with the man and woman in the woods with a heart and initials carved out on a tree. What I found in the library just shows me the square edges of the pages, but nothing else. I’ve also found the image on Pinterest, but it doesn’t send me to a link for it either. Can you help?

  18. how do you add pressure to your cuts via a laptop. I see you do this a lot and I cant figure it out as the option y0u do is not present when I do it.

    Thank You,

    1. From the hamburger icon in the upper-left-hand corner of Design Space go to “Manage Custom Materials” and find the material and adjust the slide bar 10 to 15 points up or down, depending on if you need more pressure or less.

  19. Is there a way to upload a quantity of SVG files? I tried drag and drop and it showed one of the images, but I have no idea it the others would go. Right now it looks like you can only do one at a time. Not going to work for collections of images.

  20. Hi! I’m trying to find out if I’m able to use SVG files with a Cricut Expressions & an IPad? I thought i had read somewhere that I can use SCAL5 with the Expressions but haven’t found much information,


    1. Hi Jennifer! As long as your design program accepts SVG or DXF files, you are welcome to make any of my designs. You might try reaching out to the SCAL folks to see if you can use it on an iPad and if it still works with the Cricut Expression machines.

    1. Hi Cheryl! If you are looking to cut it out by hand, you would access the PDF file. If you want your machine to cut out specific pieces, ungroup it all and then you can hide everything you don’t want and cut it, or select all the pieces you do want and change them all to the same color so they cut out together.

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