Jan 18

I get lots of questions asking me about Cricut Rewards, especially in my Cricut classes. How do I sign up? How do I cash in? How do I…? Well you get picture. So in this episode of This Bug’s For You, I’m going to go over all of that so that you don’t miss out on all the freebies (like cartridges or even a brand new Create) you can get just for spending money you would have spent anyway.

If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

Jan 9

I know the Gypsy isn’t exactly the same as some of the other options I’ve discussed, but I think it deserves a mention. Why? Well consider:

  • It’s small and portable. You can design on the go.
  • Take your carts with you, but you’ll need to link them, which then depreciates their value.
  • Expensive. You can find them at better prices now, but you’ll still pay almost as much as an E.
  • Problems with updates, freezing etc. Support from PC is difficult at best.
  • Small screen, so may not be good for those with vision issues.
  • By now you’ve had time to think about all of your options and maybe decide which you are leaning towards. I’d like to offer you a Yfew more thoughts to ponder before going any particular route:

    • Cricut machines are designed for the average crafter who just wants to be able to cut images out of paper for cards, layouts etc. They are pretty easy to use out of the box and although expensive, they are much less so than professional plotters which require tech skills most of us don’t have.
    • These software programs are all designed for those of us who want to get the most out of our machines. While you can still be creative using cartridges, your abilities are severely hindered when you are only able to use certain shapes even if there are hundreds of them. Hence, Cricut Design Studio.
    • DS was Cricut’s answer to this problem while also making sure we are still tied to the cartridges. It’s actually brilliant when you think about it from a business standpoint.
    • What if we no longer want to use cartridges? Well, now you don’t have to but remember this: Cartridges are big business for Cricut, and without them Cricut does not make money. Without money there may be no more Cricut. Something to think about.
    • Your Cricut machine is expensive and should be considered an investment. Before you purchase any third party software you need to ask your self the following questions: Is my machine under warranty? What would I do if it the warranty was voided and it broke down? How would I feel if I invested time and money into software that suddenly became useless? Can I replace my machine if I had to and if not, could I live without it? I’ve answered these for myself, but everyone’s answers are not the same.

    I have used all of the software programs I’ve told you about and find all three of them meet my needs (remember, this is my line of work so my needs aren’t necessarily your needs). Everything in the last few posts are just my opinion and mine alone, you need to do your own research and come to your own conclusions to find what’s right for your needs. That being said, I hope this helped and if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to find the answer.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Jan 8

    I’ve told you about Cricut Design Studio and SCAL these past two days. Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about Make the Cut.

    Make the Cut is a brand new software system for your Cricut machine (it was just released last month!). Like SCAL it is a third party program, so you need to proceed with caution as it can void the warranty on your Cricut and/or shut down if Provo Craft decides to do the right firmware update.

    Also like, SCAL you don’t need cartridges, that’s part of the appeal. What’s the difference you ask?

    Well for one thing, it’s much easier to use. The Cricut concept was designed for the average crafter who wanted an easy way to cut things out without having to buy an expensive intimidating plotter used by graphics designers and computer experts. It’s pretty easy to use the basic functions of it right out of the box. Since not everyone is a computer genius, programs like Sure Cuts A Lot and even Cricut’s own Design Studio can be very intimidating. Make the Cut is not. You don’t have to mess around with Inkscape  (unless you want to, you’ll get more detailed images) which is one common complaint with SCAL, your files are opened right into MTC, skipping that dreaded middleman.


    • No more cartridges. With this program you should not have to buy any more carts and you can cut all of the images from them.
    • While it is still relatively new, the developer seems very interested in pleasing everyone and has been doing updates like crazy, so it seems like he wants a perfect product.
    • Looks a lot like DS so if you’re familiar with that, you’ll do great.
    • Easy to use and the learning curve is minimal. If you are familiar at all with DS (and if you own a Cricut and a computer, you should be!), you will be able to use this program without all the intimidation and frustration of SCAL.
    • There is a free trial version, although it cuts a small mark into your images. Also right now you can get the software at 40% off the regular price of $129.95, although I’m not sure for how long so you better hurry!
    • The developer promises no charges for updates.
    • A great forum on the program itself so you don’t have to close out of it and search the net for info.
    • A great feature is the notes page. Each page allows you to keep notes, so you’ll always know where you got your image, the size etc.
    • This program was designed by a developer whose  wife owns a Cricut and knows how it works and what features she wants. So essentially this is almost like having a Cricut user like yourself doing the updates.


    • It is third party software which means that like SCAL, Provo Craft really doesn’t like it as the idea of no cartridges means no more $$$ for them. Also could void your warranty on your Cricut and be shut down. You know the deal by now. Proceed with caution.
    • It’s new. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but although it’s getting tons of rave reviews, it’s gonna take time to find out if it sticks around. I’d like to think the developer will continue with the awesome updates and such, but only time will tell.
    • No Mac version as of yet, but they’re working on one.

    Bottom line? Due to the ease of use, this software could easily take the place of SCAL for those of us who just want to craft without being tech friendly. And there are a lot of us, so it could happen. If you want a program that is easy to use and gives you  unlimited access to fonts, I recommend this program.  I personally love Make the Cut and I hope that doesn’t change. It’s a great program for those of us who want something easy to use and the idea of no cartridges is a wonderful thing. Let’s just hope that lasts!

    Oh, and if you are in my area I am having my first Make the Cut class on Monday night, see the events page for more details and contact me if you are interested.

    Come back tomorrow for a bit about the Gypsy as well as a roundup!

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Jan 7
    Which do I choose? Part 2: SCAL
    icon1 Crazy about Cricut | icon2 Cricut tips | icon4 01 7th, 2010| icon36 Comments »

    Today I’m going to tell you about Sure Cuts A Lot or SCAL for short.

    If you’ve played around with Design Studio (and I recommend that you do, see yesterday’s post), SCAL will be much easier to understand.

    SCAL is a program similar to Design Studio but different in some ways. For one thing it’s not made by Provo Craft (at least that’s what they say), it’s made by a third party. This is important to know because at any time Cricut can do a firmware update that makes this program useless and any money and time spend rendered lost. Just because this hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t, so proceed with caution!


    If this is the case why not use Design Studio you ask? Well lots of reasons, the best one being, you don’t need cartridges to use it.  And although it can be intimidating at first, I think it’s much easier to use.

    It’s mostly used for fonts and can cut all True Type fonts on your computer, plus there are thousands of free ones available. If you are only going to use it for fonts, you’ll find that it is pretty easy to use.


    It does not cut the images from the Cricut cartridges, however with a free program called Inkscape you can import the images from Cricut Design Studio and cut them with SCAL, so essentially you never have to buy another cartridge (you do need at least one to put in your Cricut machine while it cuts, but it doesn’t matter which one) and there are plenty of people out there who use SCAL and never mess with cartridges.  And like Design Studio files there are lots of free files out there, as well as more detailed ones for a price. It’s not as easy as popping a cartridge in your Cricut and pressing cut, so if you take this route you are going to find yourself extremely frustrated if you are not a computer person.


    • You no longer need cartridges, so it definitely can save you money over time.
    • If you do a lot of fonts I’d say it’s more user friendly than Design Studio once you’ve mastered the interface and learn how it works.
    • There is a free trial version which you can cut anything on, however it will cut lines into your pieces until you pay for the software.
    • There is a Mac version.


    • This is third party software not made by Cricut or Provo Craft so there is essentially some risk that Cricut could come up with an update rendering this software useless with their machine or at the very least it could void your warranty. I think this is a small risk but each person should evaluate their own individual risk before using or purchasing this software. I’m not positive but I believe Cricut has tried to do this before and the developer just updated the software again. I don’t think it’s happened in a while, but it’s always a possibility.
    • Because it’s not made by Cricut, you won’t find it on the number one Cricut resource: the cricut.com message board. Sure you might find snippets here and there but unlike Design Studio there is not a SCAL section where users can automatically go to find information. There’s info out there, you just have to do a little more research if you have a problem or question.
    • While it has been updated, the developer has charged for updates in the past.

    Bottom line? I personally love SCAL, and although I also use Design Studio pretty extensively I could definitely switch to using SCAL only if I had to. A lot of people have stayed away from it either because they don’t like the idea of having to rely on a computer exclusively or they simply don’t like they risks involved. If you do a lot of fonts for layouts and don’t want to spend a fortune on all the font carts, this is easy to use and is a nice balance between buying a few carts and still saving money. The choice is really up to you and whether the risks are worth the reward to you.

    Tune in tomorrow for the newest software for your Cricut, Make the Cut.

    Until then, if you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Jan 6
    Which one do I choose?
    icon1 Crazy about Cricut | icon2 Cricut tips | icon4 01 6th, 2010| icon31 Comment »

    A Cricut machine is a wonderful thing, but the fact that you are tied to cartridges and only the shapes on the cartridges can make it very limiting. It doesn’t have to be though. I’m going to spend the next four days telling you all of your options for making the most out of your Cricut while not always having to buy cartridges. Over the next three days I’m going compare Cricut Design Studio with two third party software programs Sure Cuts A Lot and Make the Cut, so you can decide which one is best for you without more time and money than necessary. On the fourth, I’ll tell you about the Gypsy.

    Design Studio

    This is probably the one everyone turns to first and that’s fine. It’s Cricut’s own software and it is an amazing tool. For starters you can download the trial version for free and in it is a list of each Cricut cartridge available as well as the images on each one. So even if you don’t end up purchasing it, I definitely recommend getting the trial version as this is an invaluable resource.

    Design Studio is a software program that allows you to manipulate the shapes on each cartridge to create your own shapes. You can bend, stretch, and resize each image and then layer and weld them with other images to create your own design.n With all the different carts and shapes out there, it’s pretty safe to say with a little bit of time you can come up with almost anything. You can use as many different cartridges as you like on each image. The possibilities are practically endless.

    Scallop border for free design ribbon_trims

    Well, not so fast. You can create any image you want, but you’ll need each cartridge you use to create it to cut it out with your Cricut. So unless you actually own each cartridge, the line for what you can design and CUT ends with what the cartridges you OWN. It’s understandable of course. It doesn’t make any sense for Provo Craft to create software that sells for the price of one cartridge to allow users to be able to cut from all of them, they’d never be able to sell new cartridges, essentially putting themselves out of business. So while Design Studio is a very useful program, if you don’t own a lot of cartridges, it’s might not be for you. It’s also not the easiest program to use from the start so if you’re totally computer illiterate you will be frustrated at first, guaranteed. My Design Studio is one of my most popular Cricut classes for just that reason. People get frustrated after trying it and want to give up.

    The image below was made using only the George and Basic Shapes cartridge (not by me!).



    • Excellent trial version allows you to view each cartridge’s images. If nothing else, it’s a great free tool to help decide which carts you want before you buy.
    • Trial version allows you to design anything with any carts (You can cut on the trial version using Plantin Schoolbooks with your Expression, George with the Baby Bug and Don Juan with the Create).
    • No time limit on the trial. You can design tons of images and save files before making the decision to purchase the software or cartridges.
    • There are tons of free files out there (even some on this site). You will still need all the cartridges used to cut them, but if you aren’t much of a designer or don’t want to take the time, this is always a good option.
    • Provo Craft has never charged for a software update.
    • It’s made by Provo Craft. They created the program and you know it will always work with your Cricut machine unlike third party software (more on that to come!)


    • You must own the cartridges to cut. So even if you use one tiny image for your design, if you don’t own the cartridges you can’t cut it out.
    • It’s not especially user friendly software. It’s gonna take time to learn it, and even once you know what you’re doing, there are still errors in the software that make it frustrating.
    • Not a lot of updates. I am a die hard Cricut fan and I’ve spent a lot of money on their products so I hate to sound negative, but I’m being honest here. Cricut and Provo Craft don’t seem to listen to their customers when it comes to this. There are still features which need fixed and the software is still buggy. These are things which should have been fixed early on.
    • No Mac version. Yes, I know there are a lot more Windows users than Mac but once you start talking to people, it’s amazing how many people use a Mac for crafting.

    Bottom line? Everyone who purchases a Cricut machine should go to cricut.com and download the trial version. Play around with it, take your time, use the trial with the correct cart and  cut a thing or two out. It won’t cost you anything and at the very least you’ll have a great resource. If all you want to do is weld your current fonts and do light image work, this software is probably all you need. If you want to do more, check out the other options. Just remember that if you start making designs with all kinds of carts you never planned to buy and then must cut them out, this could turn out to be quite an investment.

    Tomorrow we’ll go over Sure Cuts A Lot, so don’t forget to come back to compare!

    If you can think it… You can Cri-cut!

    Jan 3
    Monday Cricut Club 1/4
    icon1 Crazy about Cricut | icon2 Cricut tips | icon4 01 3rd, 2010| icon3No Comments »

    For those of you wondering what to bring to Monday night’s Cricut Club, you’ll need the following:

    • A white pen
    • Colorbox chalk ink in chestnut roan if possible
    • Wet and dry adhesive, especially glue dots
    • George cartridge
    • Plantin Schoolbooks
    • Your favorite shape cartridge

    Sorry it wasn’t up sooner, I’ve been having some trouble updating my events page. Just contact me if you have any questions!

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Nov 17

    I know you’re all waiting on my paper doll for today, don’t worry it’s coming!

    But first, I’d like to tell you about a product I discovered while out shopping for paper doll materials, and fell in LOVE with. I’m definitely going to be using this in my Cricut classes.

    It’s called Scor Tape (from the makers of the super fabulous Scor-Pal , one of my favorite products) and it is AWESOME.

    Scor-Tape is a premium double sided adhesive, best on the market, acid free, heat resistant and incredibly sticky tape. It can be used with embossing powders, foils, beads, glitter, ribbon etc. It is the perfect permanent adhesive for card making, boxes, books and Iris Folding. It comes in different sizes and will stick to anything!

    If you have not tried it, I urge you to do so right away. You won’t be disappointed. If you have used it, what do you think?

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 26
    New Cricut Cartridges
    icon1 Crazy about Cricut | icon2 Cricut tips, News | icon4 09 26th, 2009| icon32 Comments »

    So just when I think I’m all caught up, Provo Craft throws more at me!

    I got my Gypsy, I was all excited, but now I find out there are more cartridges coming.

    Problem is, unlike some of the carts (Superman, Batman), I just don’t have a use for, this new set is a winter themed which is my favorite. Snowfriends, Tags, and Snowflakes. I want all of these, but to wait to get them means I won’t get to use them this winter season probably, since they won’t be available until late November. I’ve heard Provo Craft is going to be doing this seasonally. Three carts every quarter. This is a neat idea, but who can keep up?

    I think for the time being I might just play around with my Gypsy. That should take my mind off the fact that I there is stuff out there that I don’t have, or need. What do you guys think?

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 25

    Here is a cheat sheet for the Life’s A Beach cart.

    LIfe's A Beach

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 16

    Time for another overlay cheat sheet. This one is from the WInter Woodland cart.

    Winter Woodland Overlay

    For a resizable and printable version of this overlay click here.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 10

    Here’s a new overlay for you. This one is from the From My Kitchen cartridge. Hope you enjoy!


    For a resizable and printable version of this click here

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 7
    Wild Card Overlay
    icon1 Crazy about Cricut | icon2 Cricut tips, Overlay Cheat Sheets | icon4 09 7th, 2009| icon32 Comments »

    Time again for another overlay cheat sheet. This one is for the Wild Card cartridge.

    Wild Card Overlay

    Click here for a resizable and printable version of this overlay.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 4

    Here’s another cheat sheet for those of you like me who can’t see the tiny pictures on your overlay. This one is for
    A Child’s Year.

    Over Cheat Sheet: A Child's Year

    For a resizable and printable version of this overlay, click here.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Sep 2

    Maybe my eyes are going bad, or maybe the overlays that come with the cartridges are just too small for the average person. (That has to be it!)

    After struggling every time I wanted to make something to see the teeny tiny pictures on the overlays, I decided to do something about it myself. I believe someone made one of these for the Paper Doll Dress Up cart, so I decided to do a few of my own.

    Everday Paper Dolls Overlay

    This one is the new Everyday Paper Dolls. I could not tell the difference between the boy and the girl and the different pieces of clothing, so here is my way of making it easier. This has helped me out a lot so I hope it helps you just as much. I am going to post a few more carts soon, so please keep checking back.

    For a resizable and printable version of this overlay, click here.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    Aug 26

    Think your Cricut is only good for cutting? Think again.

    Color inks and Quickutz

    You can draw with your Cricut as well. There are some conventional ways such as Cricut color inks. The Cricut color inks are great, but they are essentially markers. What if you want a thinner line? There holders you can get to attach to your machine and switch out the pens and these are great, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding or making one, there are also Quickutz Silhouette Pens. They are made for the Silhouette which is similar to your Cricut, but these pens actually fit in your Cricut machine, and they are pretty inexpensive and easy to use. Both the Cricut color inks and the Quickutz pens come in several different colors and you use them with your cartridges just as though you were cutting. As you can see in the above photo, I took my Quickuts apart to see if you can just refill it with a regular pen of that size. Although I have not yet tried it, I think it might work and I’ll keep you posted when I do.

    UPDATE: I went to Staples and bought some gel pens. I took them apart and cut the ink part to fit the Quickutz and it worked beautifully! No more pen holders for me!

    Quickutz Pens

    The images on the top were done with the Cricut colored inks, the bottom done with the Quickutz pens.

    If you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

    « Previous Entries Next Entries »