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!

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