I ordered my Cricut machine on Thursday, and within an hour of paying for it, I received an email informing me it had been despatched, and less than 24 hours later, I received it! How's that for service? I got it from Smart Crafts:
and I don't think I've ever experienced such quick delivery on anything!
The machine is a limited edition blue Cricut Expression, and it came with a free 24-inch mat (the standard one is 12 x 12) and two cartridges - you were even given the choice of which cartridges, if you did not want to receive the ones they suggested. However, these seemed to have the most useful things on them so I opted for them.
It's a beautiful machine. To look at, it has sleek lines, and is embellished with a blue trim and decorative swirls. Structurally it seems very robust; it's heavy (always a good sign) and feels substantial.
I set it up this evening and did a trial run, choosing a flower from one of the cartridges, which I cut a number of times, for use on the base of my Beehive Explosion Box. I also managed to get it connected up to the computer, as I have decided that the cartridges are of limited use when you can design your own cut files, and share with others, using the free (open source) vector graphics software Inkscape, and SCAL 2 (Sure Cuts A Lot - what a fabulous name!!). These programs enable you to see exactly what you will be cutting, arranged on a virtual mat on your computer; the shapes can be edited, resized, moved, layered, and manipulated in any number of ways.
My only problem now is learning to use the software so that I can start creating in earnest! I had a very frustrating evening achieving not very much, after an equally frustrating afternoon where I didn't accomplish much either, except to make a lot of mess with gesso! (But that's another story...)
I am grateful to my friend Penny Duncan - http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com/ - for her excellent video tutorials on this, and many other subjects, which I am sure will set me on the right path to get this stuff under my belt. It all seems fairly daunting at present, but so many of my friends on the Art group we all belong to, are creating and sharing cut files all the time, and making the most wonderful creations from them, so I am sure it won't be long before I master these skills too!
My new machine goes by the name of Jiminy Cricut. This post is by way of welcoming him to my blog, and to all of you! He is itching to get going, but will have to be as patient as all of you before you see too many wonderful creations just yet!