Ever since the Cricut (pronounced cricket) first came out on the market a few years ago I have wanted one for my crafting and scrapbooking hobbies. Everything new is expensive and from experience I knew if I waited long enough the price would come down and I found this offer last summer on HSN.
My Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter Bundle from HSN included:
**Cricut personal cutting machine which measures 17-3/4"long by 12-1/2" wide and 9-1/2" high.
**Cartridge - George and Basic Shapes
**Cartridge - Home Decor Solutions
**Cartridge - Black Letter Solutions
**Cartridge - Every Day Paper Dolls
(Each cartridge includes a keypad overlay and the George and Paper Doll cartridges include handbooks)
**Cutting Mat measuring 6 x 12 inches
**User Guide and a Quick Start Guide
If anyone is familiar with the price of Cricut cartridges, getting 4 of them including the machine and accesories was a fantastic deal for under $200. Shipping was free and I was able to use the 5 easy flex pay so it cost me only $40 to get it to my house and try it for 30 days which has long since come and gone.
I like this Cricut Personal size as it's lightweight, very portable for transportation and doesn't require me to hook it up to my computer. It's very easy to use and took just a few minutes to set up following the instructions in the manual. This was mainly to install the blade and insert the cartridge and overlay. I did my homework and went online to see the likes, dislikes and tips for using this machine so I was ready with most of the beginner questions and answers.
My only complaint really was how sticky the cutting mat was when first using it. It took quite a few tries before I was able to remove the cutouts without tearing them. Don't use the sample paper they give you, it's too thin. Instead use cardstock and do not press the paper hard on the cutting pad, just a few gentle taps with you fingers so the paper stays put. Always make sure to put the protective sheet back on the mat when you are done for the day.
I have used paper from vellum to card stock by changing the pressure of the blade. Right now I use my Cricut mainly for creating paper bag scrapbooks which is my latest addiction and I love using it to create words in endless fonts and cutouts that are fast and easy. No need to cut out and place one letter at a time as you can create words in any size you like from 1 to 5-1/2 inches. I would be looking at craft shops for hours on end for all that I use this machine for in addition to paying out a lot of money.
One of the nicest features I like is the extra wide carrying handle which is almost as wide at the machine. It recesses into the top of the machine when not pulled out for moving it from one area to another. If you are a serious crafter you probably already own this, for anyone else thinking of getting one, buy one like I did with a 30 day no hassle return policy. It's a keeper!