New Generation Die-Cutting

I’ve had a die-cutting machine for quite some time. Originally, my husband wasn’t going to let me get one because they were so expensive. We were in Rocky (Mountain House) for a good friends’ wedding, and the morning of the big day, he was up crazy early, thanks to his internal clock. Since it was too early to do anything, and there wasn’t much worth watching on TV (and, I was still sawing logs), he wound up settling for infomercials. How many of us have done that?
Well, serendipity was hard at work that morning, because as I woke up, I heard my husband on the phone with someone. Someone was Cricut;  as a late wedding gift (ours had been a month earlier), he decided to buy me the Cricut Expression. I treasured it ever since- at least, the intention behind it. It wasn’t long before I figured out that I hated cutting anything small and intricate with it. Sizing was a constant guessing game, too. But, I ignored my frustrations. After all,  it was an incredibly meaningful gift.
Fast forward 7 years, and it finally comes out that I’m unhappy with my Expression, and had been from the get-go. Rather than having to appease a hurt husband, I heard “Well, why don’t you get a new one???”
I was dumbfounded. After picking my chin up off the floor, I told him that it was a special gift and I wasn’t sure how he’d take me wanting to trade it in for a new one. It was ok; he bought the Cricut Explore for me this Christmas. And, I think it’s already paid for itself! I’ve used it for every project since I hooked it up. And, the layouts I want to share today marks the beginning of a new Cricut creative era for me!
Boy, are there a lot of die cut machines to choose from nowadays! There’s the Silhouette, Cricut, Brother Scan ‘n Cut- just to name a few. How do you choose? They’re all so sophisticated and impressive! For me, the choice was a no-brainer. Since I’d already had the Expression and consequently owned a number of cartridges, I switched to the new generation Cricut. I no longer need my cartridges, but I’m hanging onto them a little longer, just in case anything happens (for some crazy reason).  It is possible to purchase images from the Cricut craft room library, but so far, I’ve had no need to.  I might never need to! Fun, right?!

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I started off simple with my first cut via the Explore. I wanted a heart to frame these pictures of C. I also needed to make sure the entire focus remained on her goofy yet serious expressions. And then I found the heart you see on the layout above. Perfect! The cutting process is a dream. It literally cuts like a knife through butter, smooth and effortless. Gah- I’m smitten! Ask my husband how many times I’ve told him I love it. He’s probably already lost count, but he’d play it cool, grin and say “yeah, a few times”.
And, if you’re wondering, the alphas at the bottom are not die cut. They’ve been in my stash for quite some time.
Also, if you’re wondering whether it can cut letters and images only, the simple answer is no. What I’ve used it for (so far), has barely scraped the surface of what it’s capable of. Think vinyl, iron ons, printing (with your computer!!!) as well as many other fabulous uses. I can’t wait to try it all out!

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If any of you frequent my Facebook page, the title mat on this layout might look familiar to you. Remember the sneak peek I shared a few weeks ago? This is the layout I was working on. I cut the title mat using my Explore, as well as the title. The mittens and leafy branch are chipboard accents from Close to My Hearts’ Snowhaven paper packet and embellishments. I used a tiny bit of embroidery floss to create the idiot straps mitten harness. And, the title- I love that I am able to cut out all the layers in one simple step. (There are 3 layers to the HOLIDAY portion of the title.) Seriously, the software is just about idiot proof. My kids could probably figure it out, without having to know how to read. It’s that good. (They aren’t even 5 yet).
What die cutting machine do you have, and what’s your favorite way to use it?

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