Fabulous Finds Friday — Cue the Cricut

Ok, I caved. I had avoided the electronic die cutter, but then I got the new Cricut Explore™*. And I am loving it.

Here’s what I made right out of the box:

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To make this card, I just followed the instructions in the online Design Studio. This card uses a metallic pen (the letter outlines), which comes with the Explore. All the materials I needed came in the Cricut box.

(I won’t bore you with details about the Explore™ — just go to the Cricut website for info and videos. Also, check out what others have to say via Google.)

I am a slow learner when it comes to electronics — it takes me a while to figure out how to work these machines. I found the Explore easy to use — the downside is I think you can only use it with a computer. Also, I think it is helpful to have a space where you can leave it set up.

The best thing, I’ve found, is to play around. Here are my other experiments, done on “opening” day:

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I cut out the leaves and then backed the front of the card with blue card stock (paper by Stampin’ Up!)

Then I played around with sizing:
Cricut 577 Autumn's smile DSC_0560

Stickers are cut from Bella Blvd’s autumn collection, then edged with Ranger Distress Vintage Photo ink.

Gee, those leftover piece were just sitting there, mocking me. So I put them to use:

cricut 577 tag smiles DSC_0558
(the darling tag is also from Bella Blvd. The circle of flowers, die-cut layering circle and sentiment are from Technique Tuesday, attached with a 3D Rais’en from Glue Dots.)

Can you stand one more?

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As you can see, I have just begun to “explore.”

Thanks for indulging me!

*see disclaimer

Fabulous Finds Friday — Close To My Heart

I have come late to the exciting world of electronic die cutters, and have just recently become the proud (and excited and nervous!) owner of a Cricut electronic cutter. I have, I admit, been a bit intimidated. (Even though I just finished writing an article about die cutting machines for the August issue of Crafts ‘n things magazine. Sheesh, you’d think I would be an expert after all that research!)

But last week I received a new Cricut cartridge (Art Philosphy) with designs from Close To My Heart. The nifty thing about the cartridge is that several of the designs match CTMH stamps. What was I waiting for? Taking a deep breath (and my least favorite card stock) I plunged. My learning curve is pretty steep on some things (like learning about anything electronic or digital — sheesh, am I getting to be an old fogy?)

The best way to learn something, I’ve found, is to do just that — jump in and play. So I did. And spent several hours just cutting things:

After getting a feel for the machine, the dials, the cutting parameters, etc. I decided that again, the best way to learn was to make an actual project. One thing I like about the Cricut cartridge books is that they all come with instructions for one project. So I popped in the Art Philosphy cartridge (page 12-13 of the catalog, which you can see online), and followed the simple instructions. Here’s what I made:

Not too bad, eh? (Remember, I used my least favorite cardstock and random scrap papers, so cut me some slack here!) And now I’m hooked.

I have been dying to make a box, so I tried it in two sizes (just to see if I could!):

(Yes, I have a LOT of this card stock!!!)

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Cricut and Close To My Heart for the impetus.

Have Your Cake and Ice It, Too

So what is this new cake decorating machine? That’s what everyone wants to know. So, as promised, here are photos showing Cricut’s new Cake machine (which cuts decorative pieces from sheets of icing). Here is the machine itself:

And here are some of the yummy designs shown at the release party at CHA:

Remeber — this is for food, so you can’t use it for paper or other things. (Who wants paper scraps in their fondant?)

Come back for more peeks at the latest crafting stuff. And if you were at the show, feel free to share your thoughts or photos about what was hot, what was not.