Jul 8, 2015

Closed and Closing

Things are always changing. 

When I got my Cricut Explore in October 2014, I started visiting the online community messageboard of Cricut.  I found some good advice and tips for using my Explore. And I also posted answers to posts that I felt I could add to the conversations as my way of contributing.  On June 19, 2015 the Forums were removed and effectively closed (There are still some subforums that people are now posting new topics, but they are subforums of Cartridge themed forums and that's all) .  

I posted this same information on the messageboard and am putting it here, so even I have the links for future reference.

Please consider joining one of the new messageboards created by former members of the Cricut messageboard community, and / or join one of the many Cricut Machine themed Facebook groups, so that you can continue to stay in touch with each other. 
New messageboards that have been started as of June 2015 - note these messageboards don't limit the discussions to Cricut machines or specifically the Explore. And they aren't very active as the old community forums may have been on Cricut.com.  Most crafters prefer using Facebook.

Unoffical Cricut Messageboard
Crafting Circle
FACEBOOK GROUPS - I have included some quoted excerpts from these groups, but before joining, please read complete Group details.

Cricut Lovers Guide to Design Space
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CricutLoversGuide/ For Cricut Explore and Cricut Design Space lovers. We do welcome members who don't yet have an Explore. Paulette and I have been blogging about Cricut machines since 2007. So we're bound to be able to help you if you have a problem. And we always love seeing the projects that our members make regardless of which Cricut they used! ☺ Our main focus though is helping members with Design Space and the Explore.

This group is to learn, share and inspire each other as we use our Cricut Explore and Design Space. Feel free to post and answer questions and post your projects and share your Design Space files.

Let's Learn Cricut Explore
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LetsLearnCricutExplore/  A place for Cricut Explore fans to share news, learn about the machine and inspire others with projects using the new Cricut Explore

Let's Learn Cricut
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LetsLearnCricut/ Let's chat about Cricut here! Post and share your creations, questions and Cricut love. From Explore and Design Space to Original Cricut and cartridges, all are welcome! I love my Cricuts and want to share that with you.
Explore and Design Space help while still celebrating Cricut Craft Room!

Cricut Newbies and Pros
We are a welcoming group with emphasis on learning how to use our machines to create beautiful things! We encourage questions and love to share. We love to learn new things, too!

I Luv My Cricut
A place to learn how to use your Cricut products, ask for help with your Cricut products, share Cricut projects and tell others how much you LUV your Cricut.
Note that any discussions about using 3rd party software to cut designs with older machines will be removed.

I Luv My Cricut > Admins YouTube channels
Karin's YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/homevidka
Lorrie's YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/LONU2008
Melody's YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/MelodyLane815

Cutter Software
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CutterSoftware/ The purpose of this friendly group is to provide free support for software that is used with electronic cutters, including but not limited to Make The Cut, Sure Cuts A Lot, Cricut Design Space, Pazzles InVue, Pazzles Pro, Funtime, Silhouette Studio, Funtime, Inkscape, Illustrator, Wishblade, Robomaster, etc.

Cricut the Official page, this is NOT a Group, but more a Cricut news and announcements, and promotions page, you can Like the page, but you don't need to Join it.
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCricut?fref=ts Welcome to the official fan page of Cricut. Get ready to go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks! www.Cricut.com
Sign up if not already to Cricut's Mailing list

If you are just considering purchasing an Explore, please note that you will need to use an ONLINE ONLY Software program "Cricut Design Space" and your computer and internet connection should meet or exceed the system requirements suggested by Cricut.
Exceeding the requirements is better, than meeting the minimum.  Design Space is a computer system resource hog, and to have the best user experience using the many features of the program requires a computer processor that is fast, a system that is always up to date and a very fast and reliable internet connection.  
current as of Feb 2015 system requirements

See TroyTube >  Troy Young's youtube channel for some good videos on the best computer specs to purchase to work with Design Space.  (published Dec 2015)

other Helpful videos
Cricut Explore Newbies > Mistakes & Advice

Troy's Definitive Guide to Adobe Flash Plugin Errors
Troy's channel has several other helpful videos - be sure to Subscribe

For Cricut Explore owners

Update Jan 2016: check out Melody Lane's Nov. 2015 youtube video - about all things Design Space.

The Complete Guide to Cricut Design Space by Melody Lane
5 things to do while you wait for your new Cricut Explore to arrive
by Kay Hall - Clever Someday blog - Dec. 2015 post
Explore online user manual by Cricut
Cricut Design Space user manual
Cricut Cartridge handbooks
Online learning > payfor classes by Cara Miller http://www.caramiller.com
Lots of YouTube channels to subscribe to>
Stacey Williams, Debbie ONeal, Troy Young, Kens Kreations, Melody Lane, Crafts by Two, Sissi's Scrapbooking, and more
Also see the Support pages and information on Cricut.com
 Cricut Craft Room Info (Cricut Craft Room is used by those who own any Cricut machines made prior to the Cricut Explore which was introduced in February 2014) > http://us.cricut.com/home/craftroom
The other news 
Aimee Asher.com is CLOSING for good on July 31, 2015.  The owner of Aimee Asher, will be enjoying her retirement.  Some artists & designers will still be selling their art and/or printables on other sites.  Laurie Furnell & Tammy DeYoung each have Etsy stores.   

Apr 17, 2015

My Glory and other stuff

My daughter was visiting recently, and she saw some of the spring cards I had been making using my computer software (MS Digital Image) and cutting out the card fronts and embellishments with my Cricut Explore machine.  She said I needed to place them out on display so I could appreciate "My Glory".  That is a term she used often when the grandkids made things, she'd say to them "It's your Glory" :)  .  So I thought I'd post some of my glory here on my blog, which doesn't see much action or posts during the year. I am using these photos as an excuse to "post something"!  

Image credits: the Books with teacup on top by Rebecca Carter, and all the images with Bunnies (except for the 2 bunnies with the watering can), or Bear, and the Cat with the beehive, those also are by Rebecca Carter from collections once upon a time sold at pccrafter. Those collections are no longer available online for sale.  The 2 bunnies with the watering can, is by the late Sandi Gore Evans, from a collection that was once sold at daisiecompany.com (but is no longer available for sale online). The violets in a pot card is artwork by Cathi Freund, that was also once upon a time sold at daisiecompany.com, but is no longer available for sale. 

 I have such a huge collection of wonderful clip art that I have been buying over the past 15+ years, and now with the Cricut Explore, and its Print then Cut feature, I have really begun to re-visit the many folders full of wonderful images, that now I can easily "cut" with the Cricut Explore and bypass scissors.  For some of these card fronts, I used my photo/graphic editing programs to remove a specific image from a background, so that I could use it as a standalone image to apply to the card front with pop-dots and provide a 3d effect on the card front. And some images were standalone in the collections, and so I didn't have to prepare them.  Once I have my 5x7 or 5x5 card front created and or got my standalone image prepared - I just upload those images to the online program that Explore owners must use > Cricut Design Space, and then size them for printing out on my printer, and then place the printed images on the cutting mat of the Cricut Explore, and let it "cut it all out".  Then I apply the card front to a blank card, and next I put the glue-dots on and place on top of the card front. ( I made a webpage that shows a bit about how I put these cards together > see: http://sippingtea.com/tuts/cardscutwithcricutexplore.html  ) 
taaa-daaa!  Here is My Glory!

And some other stuff, I've been up to lately, these are photos are of a snowy egret out back of my home on a branch in the wee pond...He/She is preening & scratching and the wind caught its head feathers, that just made me smile as I took the photos.

And then this past weekend I went to The Tilted Tea Cup in Brooksville, FL, with my daughter and granddaughter, along with 2 of my daughters friends. It was such a relaxing and an enjoyable afternoon. The food was delicious and we visited a couple of Brooksville shops before returning home.  Great Day, Wonderful Company.

That's All Folks!

Jan 30, 2015

Better late than never

Happy New Year - even if the 1st month is over.  Seems like the older I get, the months just fly by faster and faster.

I had a wonderful Christmas - spent Christmas week in Orlando (and yes, went to Disney World).
 Our tree (we brought one of my 4ft trees from home) in the Marriott timeshare condo we stayed in.,
 We visited the Movie Studios park at Disney, all the houses were aglow with lights, this is the house with the 101 Dalmations, with just a few of them outside.

I made a few resolutions on New Years Eve, none of which I have kept. 

In the first week of Jan, I went to visit my Dad (93) on the other side of the state, I went to say goodbye, as he was in his final days of life here on earth.  He wasn't responsive to my visit, but hopefully the words I spoke to him, made it through to him- letting him know how very much I loved him.  He passed away on the 24th, and I am happy he is at Peace and Enjoying his eternal life. His only sister (95), passed away on the 8th, and our family is sure she helped her brother on his flight to Heaven.

I'm still liking cutting out stuff with my Cricut Explore, I had mentioned in my last post in November, that I made a web page showing my experience with the Print then Cut option of the Explore, cutting out stuff from my vast clip art stash. I added 2 more webpages, showing more examples of my fun times.  I'm hoping to expand my projects, and do other things with the Explore, such as cut and assemble 3d objects.  There are sooooooo many talented crafters showing wonderful projects using their Explore that they post on Facebook.  I've watched video's, bought some SVG files, downloaded several that are FREE. But still am a bit intimidated to try making things.  And I haven't done much with vinyl crafting..again, just feeling a bit overwhelmed.  But cutting out Clip Art - I got this!!

here's links to the 2 additional pages I made about my experience with the Print then Cut feature of the Cricut Explore

Just in case I go another couple months without posting...Happy Valentines Day, Happy St. Patricks Day and Happy Easter, & Happy Spring.

Oct 19, 2014

Cutting it Up with my new Cricut Explore

It's been almost a year since I have written a new blog post.  I haven't really taken the time to talk about what's been happening in my life (I do post more often on Facebook, so close friends and family, know what I'm up to). 

The year has been good so far. My granddaughter was absolutely beautiful for her Senior Prom in April.  She graduated High School at the end of May, and is now attending a local Community College. She bought a used car, paid for with her own money!!  I am so proud of her.
My grandson, switched to a new school for his junior year, one that is more science and engineering based.  

My younger daughter came from Indianapolis for a week in June. Then I went to Indianapolis in August, to go with my daughter - to the NFL Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio. Andre Reed, a former wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, was inducted to the HOF.  And the Bills played the Giants in the annual HOF game.  We had a wonderful time. 

My sister came from Jacksonville to visit in August, and then I went to visit her for a few days.  Did some other stuff, but those are the highlights.

But this post is really about my newest toy - the new Cricut Explore cutting machine.

A few years ago, I bought my Florida daughter, a Cricut Expression, its a machine that is totally "Cartridge" based. She has quite a few cartridges and has completed several projects with it. My granddaughter also uses it often.  At the time I bought it for her, there was a software product out > Sure Cuts A Lot. With that software program, you were supposed to be able to Cut your own Images. That program along with another Make The Cut, were advertising that you could use a Cricut without needing Cartridges (you did need at least one cartridge, to get the machine to work properly, but you weren't cutting images from that cartridge, you were cutting your own clip art or designs and files like SVGs) 
She at that time bought the Sure Cuts A Lot software, but never could get it to work right. Eventually Sure Cuts a Lot and Make the Cut, were sued by Cricut, for infringing on their Intellectual Property or something along those lines. Both manufacturers agreed to take out that feature in their software and those programs will not work with any new Cricut Expressions. Note: Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) and Make The Cut (MTC) programs are still made and sold and they continue to work with other Cutting Machines on the market.

Well I like many others, wanted a simple machine to cut out our own stash. I have hundreds of images alone from pcCrafter collections, that I had bought from that site, before it closed down in 2012.  

And there were machines available on the market, The Silhouette SD, and the newer model Silhouette Cameo, The Klik-n-Kut, The Gazelle, etc. etc.  For what ever reason I always felt those machines to have more of a learning curve for me, and/or price tags, that I couldn't justify paying. There are lots of YouTube videos, and tutorials for those machines. Their cutting ability is excellent. Crafter's who mastered those machines, created some wonderful projects, and they could Cut out their own Clip Art images.

In March of this year (2014) I watched on HSN.com the launch of the newest Cricut > The Cricut Explore.  The machine seemed like an interesting development in Cricut's history of cutting machines. This machine would use an online site > The Cricut Design Space. On that website you would create your projects online, and cut from there on the Explore. You hook the Cricut Explore to your computer via a USB cord. 
There's a bunch of projects to choose from on the Design Space. And you can buy images, and you can utilize any Cartridges you may own. On the Cricut Explore there is a place to put your Cartridge, and the images on it are linked to the Cricut Design Space online, so that you can access them when needed for a project. (I don't have any Cartridges of my own, so haven't done anything with that feature)  
On HSN at that time they talked about the new Print and Cut option and how you would be able to upload your own images/clip art from your computer and Print them and then use the Explore machine to cut them.  But - that feature wouldn't be available until the Fall.

So I waited, and in early October the machine was back on HSN, and now the Print and Cut feature was available.  It was offered at a good price > and with extras, that I couldn't get on other sites that sell the Explore.  Plus I have until Jan 31, 2015 to return the machine.

I made a web page showing how I cut out some of my Clip Art stash using the machine. It was fairly painless to set up the machine. So far the only thing I have done with it - is cut out clip art. The cutting precision is amazing to this ole gal - I'd never be able to make the small cuts that some of these images require if you really want to cut out nooks and crannies.

Cricut Explore FAQs http://www.hallmarkscrapbook.com/cricut-explore-faqs/
(*note: these FAQs were written "before" the Print & Cut feature was made available - if you buy a machine now - this option should be available as it is for me and my Oct 2014 purchase of the Explore - and if you bought one earlier, you can update your machine to make this feature work)  

Here is a link to a review of the Cricut Explore, written by someone who seems to know her way around a Cutting machine or two or more > http://joyslife.com/cricut-explore-machine-review/  .  My own personal experience with the Explore is very new and limited. Please do your own research online, or ask crafty friends for advice before buying ANY expensive cutting machine.  Don't let your purchase of any cutting machine, become an expensive door stop.

You are welcome to visit my web page at > Cricut Explore ~ Print and Cut and see how I cut stuff out. The page has links to YouTube videos, and informational sites for the Cricut Explore. I've included links to sites that compare the Silhouette Cameo with the Explore. The Silhouette Cameo is popular and has a large following.  So if you are already a Silhouette owner, you most likely wouldn't be interested in the Explore.

That's my story and I'm stickin to it!