This last Saturday, I invited 50+ women into my home/studio for an afternoon of crafting. I was joined by three of my favorite bloggers, Leigh Anne from Your Home Based Mom, Kim from Today’s Creative Blog and Chelsey from The Paper Mama to create a memorable workshop for everyone involved. Wow! I had no idea I could even fit that many people into my house! Yes, it was cozy, and I loved every minute of it. Silly me — I forgot to take photos as I was busy assisting with the crafts! Thank you to those of you who joined in the fun and snapped photos using the #cricutpdx hashtag on Instagram! As you can see in the collage, the guest of honor was the Cricut Explore and the main project we did was decorating a plain tote with glitter iron-ons — so adorable! A huge thanks to Cara and Mallie for joining us from Cricut and bringing all of the machines to make our bags. Which brings me to the subject of cutting machines…
I will begin with a little background on how I started using a personal cutting machine. As a paper craft designer I have become “one” with my scissors. I have spent many days and nights cutting out flower petals, paper dresses… anything and everything I am designing and crafting. It was quite a life-changer when I bought my first cutting machine. The two options were Cricut or Silhouette, and I chose the Silhouette. At the time, the Silhouette was the machine that allowed me to upload my own designs. Of course I had to have that option, so that was my choice. With my new machine, once I had uploaded and prepared my design, I could easily cut a flower (or twenty) in just minutes. Brilliant, right? I was completely sold on the concept of the personal cutting machine.
It was in the late fall last year that I received a colorful little box from Cricut with a confetti filled invitation to join them in Salt Lake City for a BIG announcement. No hesitation here… I wasn’t going to miss it for the world! I had a feeling that their new machine might allow me to upload my own designs, but I was not prepared for what they unveiled. The new Cricut Explore is more than just a cutting machine. It is a multi-use tool that gives me endless possibilities of what I can create, using paper, fabric, felt, leather, vinyl and more! As soon as I received my new Cricut, the Silhouette was set aside and I immersed myself in making projects and testing what Explore had to offer. Within one week, I knew it was my cutter of choice and the Silhouette went back in the box and was donated to someone who could use it. To give you the details, here are the top-10 reasons why I am in love with my Cricut Explore…
10) This reason is actually tied for number one, so I will bookend the list with both. The Cricut team is the best! I do believe that it takes a great leader to create a great company and Ashish is that. He is a visionary. The Cricut team is extremely helpful and they work hard so that each and every one of their customers will fall in love with their Explore.
9) The machine is pretty! It is definitely a “Mac” not a “PC”. It sits right beside my Mac looking just as handsome.
8) The team that designed this machine really paid attention to what crafters want in a cutting tool. They did their research! They tapped into our creative brains!
7) This machine cuts extremely precise and can handle small shapes and patterns. The blade rotates with the direction of the cut. I love cutting fine lace patterns so this made me very happy!
6) They have a variety of mats to choose from — some less sticky and some more tacky — so you can choose the right one to suit the material you are cutting from. No more torn paper or shifting felt!
5) Not only does this machine cut paper, felt, fabric, oilcloth, leather and more, it also scores and draws. So many possibilities!
4) The German carbide blades last a lot longer than any blade I have used. (And I am a girl who goes through her blades!) Did I mention the blade is super easy to replace?
3) Rather than removing the blade to set it to a cutting depth, Cricut Explore has an easy dial on the top of the machine that is marked with the material settings. Don’t tell, but I have even changed it in the middle of a cut.
2) The software interface is easy to work with. Soooo easy. It has a similar feel to Apple or Adobe products, which means intuitive and visual. I love that I can jump right in and make a project without spending hours setting up the file. (You all know I don’t have time for that, right?)
1) My tip-top reason: I am a designer, so I have to be able to upload my own designs. Not only does the Cricut Explore let me do this without having to read a manual or do intensive training, but — drum roll please –I am now working on designs with Cricut that will be available to you when they release the new Print then Cut software update! No more circle punches needed for labels or hand cutting gift tags! N more trimming my printables with scissors! This is HUGE! I feel honored to be working with Cricut. Just to be transparent, I was also invited to design for Silhouette around the same time Cricut expressed interest and without hesitation, I chose Team Cricut!
If you have any questions about cutting machines, please feel free to reach out to me. They are an investment and I promise if you follow along with me and the other creative bloggers out there who are designing and making amazing Cricut Explore projects, you will put this machine to good use and make your life just a little more handcrafted!
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