~15~ My Favorite Things V.2.8

It's Wednesday, so that means it time for another "Favorite Things" post.  This week, I'll be showing you my 2 most used card-making tools (aside from my ATG).  Now, if only I were as rich as Oprah and could give all you your very own to have!

The first has already been mentioned in previous posts and is an integral part of my card making design process; and that's my Cricut.
Some of you may be wondering what exactly a Cricut is.  And no, it's not a little chirping insect.  A Cricut is a die-cut machine created by the company Provo Craft, that is used to cut out various shapes and designs.  Each machine uses themed cartridges that hold a variety of pre-loaded images that you can have cut into paper, vinyl, or even chipboard.  The cartridges have many different functions that allows you to use the images in many ways and really be the master in creating your own and unique designs.

There are several different versions of a Cricut-the Mini, the Personal Electronic Cutter (PEC), the Cricut Expression (CE2), Cricut Expression 2 (CE2), and the Cricut Imagine (CI).  I started on the Personal Electronic Cutter, to see first how much I'd use it and figure out how to use it.  After about a year of good use, I wanted to be able to expand my card making and paper crafting abilities and decided to upgrade to the Cricut Expression.  The major difference between the 2 is that the PEC uses cutting mats 6"x12" and only cuts images up to 6".  The CE offers more cutting options and uses cutting mats that are 12"x12" or 12"x24" and can cut images up to 24".

I absolutely love my Cricut and have used it in almost every single one of my cards in some sort of fashion.  It (in my opinion) is very user friendly and produces beautiful, intricate images that couldn't possibly be cut with a scissors.  In addition to cutting out paper die-cuts, it can also be used to create stencils for home decor projects and etching.

Crafting Tip #1: Cricuts at retail price can be VERY expensive.  They are also exempt from coupons at stores like JoAnn or Michaels.  I highly recommend buying off of ebay.  I was able to get both of my Cricuts brand new from ebay at much lower prices than they sell retail.  Also, a lot of ebay sellers will include bonus cartridges with your machine.

Crafting Tip #2: Along with buying your actual Cricut on ebay, I also suggest buying your cartridges there.  Most cartridges are $80 retail.  Buying off of ebay, I have never spent more than $30 for a brand new, in box cartridges and they almost always include free shipping.

Crating Tip #3: Cricut mats come in 2 packs and sell in 3 different sizes: 6x12, 12x12, and 12x24.  I have found that it is most cost effective to buy the 12x24 mats and cut them down to the size you need.  Using a JoAnn 40% off coupon, I can get 2-12x24 mats for about $8 and turn them into 4-12x12s (or 8-6x12s).

The other tools that I use all the time are my Zig 2-Way Glue Pens.  These things are amazing, and the best thing is that they come in multiple tip sizes.  While I use my ATG for all large items, I use my glue pens for my smaller items that are skinnier than the ATG tape.  They also create a strong bond and dry invisibly.  I highly, highly recommend that any kind of paper crafter out there gets these.  All of them.

Happy Hump Day!
Until next time, 

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