For several years now, I have been crafting with a machine called a Cricut. The Cricut–hint: it’s pronounced KREH-CUT, not CRY-CUT–is an amazing cutting machine that you use to cut paper, vinyl, vellum and even leather and thin metals!
My first Cricut was an Expression 2, which was the “latest and greatest” model when I bought it in 2012. I had heard of Cricut, but never considered purchasing one until I was asked to create several memorial tributes for my relatives. After easily making banners and photo montages and receiving positive feedback about my creations, I easily fell in love!
Back in 2012, Cricut machines were based on cartridges that contained a set of images and/or fonts, which you used to choose and cut with the machine. There are/were literally hundreds of cartridges available! So, of course, I set about expanding my own image collection by buying cartridges. As I was “amassing” my own image library in cartridges, I realized there was so much to learn about these very creative machines.
Before long, I found out Cricut had developed free software that allowed you to connect your laptop to your Cricut machine and “link” all of my cartridges in one place, called the Cricut Craft Room (or CCR, for short). Transitioning to CCR was what really hooked me on my Cricut.
As an avid Facebook user, I tried to find a community of like minded crafters online, but was met with a bit of craft snobbery instead of a welcomed greeting from other Cricut users. It was then that I decided I would build a community that would welcome any Cricut user, regardless of experience level, to learn, share and grow in their knowledge of using their Cricut. The group, which can be found on Facebook under “Cricut Newbies and Pros“, started off small, but had a dedicated base of members.
In early 2014, Cricut launched their newest machine called the Cricut Explore, which had its own free software called Design Space (DS). Since I was totally pleased with my Expression 2, I didn’t immediately jump on the Explore bandwagon. After all, I had spent countless hours learning all the “ins and outs” of my E2 and the CCR software. I figured out how to manipulate the software to do things and, to be honest, starting from scratch didn’t enthrall me. Instead, I waited it out, trying to figure out if I could justify another “non essential” purchase. What could the Explore do for me that I couldn’t do with my trusty Expression? Was cutting and crafting with the Explore that much better than the Expression, as I had been hearing?
By the time Black Friday 2014 rolled around, I decided I might buy an Explore if the price was right, but I was convinced I couldn’t part with my E2 even if I did get the new machine. When the right deal popped up, I drew my breath and made the purchase. Side note: if you didn’t know already, I am a single mother and a homeowner with a limited income, so spending money on a new machine was a big gamble for me!
My new Explore arrived in record time, but I was too busy crafting with my E2 to stop and learn a whole new way. After all, it was Christmas and I had dozens of cards, teacher gifts and ornaments to make! So there it sit…in its lovely box…waiting for my attention.
It wasn’t until my beloved, rescued corgi, Oliver, became extremely sick, that I considered unveiling my new Explore. I know that sounds sort of weird, but in addition to being a lifelong crafter, I am a devoted, dyed-in-the-wool corgi lover and a proud member of Corgi Nation, a large group of people from around the world that are linked by their love of the derpy, adorable dogs with short little legs, no tails (though some have tails!) and personalities bigger than their bodies.
Ollie, whom I saved from certain euthanization in 2012, was a beloved member of Corgi Nation. Oliver gave MO, my son, his moniker: “Master Owen”; before Ollie came around, MO was simply Owen and sometimes O. When Ollie got sick I wanted the best for him, which didn’t come cheap. Remember: single mom+limited income+sick dog=HUGE problem! My friends of Corgi Nation (CN), helped with expenses, but I wanted to contribute, too. With a little help from a new friend and Cricut teacher, Cara Miller, I figured out how to make my first unique project: glittery Corgi Christmas ornaments, which I sold to my online friends to help pay for Ollie’s medical expenses. Sadly though, we lost Oliver at the beginning of December. He went to the Rainbow Bridge on December 1, 2014, when he was unable to fight off a severe infection and pneumonia. It was a tremendous loss.
One year later and I am happy to say I am officially hooked on my Cricut Explore. Our Facebook group has grown so much we had to create a spin off group to handle the increased traffic!
If you’d like to join us on this creative adventure or are just interested in what the Cricut Explore can do, please join one of our two groups on Facebook:
For the original “Cricut Newbies and Pros” group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/515248328525857/
The newest group “Cricut Newbies and Pros for Explore Owners”: https://www.facebook.com/groups/937801949607138/