Today I want to share with you about that special trip I took last week. I still can’t believe I was asked to be a part of it. What an honor it was to attend! So, what was the trip? A few months ago I received an email from Cricut with an invitation to a special “secret” event they were hosting. I quickly checked with my hubby and was able to reply with a big YES.
Time slowly passed and I started to prepare for the trip. I have never been to any type of blogger event/conference/etc, so I didn’t even think about business cards until I saw a list of what to bring the weekend before I was to leave. I quickly made some up and printed them myself and stapled them to some candy to make up for my lack of preparedness. Good news though, I am planning on buying some real business cards this week!
I also ended up having a little scare the night before when the airlines called and said my flight had been cancelled. I about cried. But, my hubby said to check and see if another local airport was flying out earlier and to my joy they were. I was able to make a quick flight switch and all was good. I arrived in Utah that Monday afternoon and prepared for the fun events and the “secret” that was to be revealed.
That night began with checking in and then a fabulous dinner that followed. More than 100 bloggers were there and it was surreal to see so many that I follow. We were all assigned a table to sit at and I shrieked a little bit inside when Elizabeth of Dear Lizzy and Bonnie of A Golden Afternoon sat at my table. I of course went and introduced myself. I’m quite an introvert, but I made sure to step out of my comfort zone and meet people because how often does something like this happen?
We played bingo and a few ladies won some fabulous prizes. We ate good food. We admired the amazing decorations. We mingled. We danced. We instagrammed.
|Also met these fabulous ladies in real life! Katie of the Crafty Blog Stalker and Becki of Whippy Cake.|
Then the big announcement of the night came and was the reveal of Cricut’s newest cutting machine: The Explore. The machine in and of itself is a pretty great thing. I have another cutting machine and this one beats it hands down. But, I was also super impressed with the business aspect of this product. They did a lot of research, even thinking about little things I know I wouldn’t have thought of. During the dinner and the whole event, Cricut employees were always among us. The lawyer was sitting at our table and was sharing his experience with the ceo while he was working on this project. It was just really neat and made me think more about all that really does go into this type of thing.
The next day we had a few meetings about the machine and heard from Anna Griffin (above top right) and Jeanne Lewis (below bottom left) who is the ceo/founder of Creative Bug. They are teaming up with Cricut for the new release.
After the morning meetings and breakfast, we started crafting. I started in the New York room where we could make some accessories. I also had a chance to use the new Explore at this point. It was really easy to use (especially since it was already set up and ready to go ;).
Aren’t these dresses amazing? Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the other dress they had, but they used the Explore to cut out the butterflies for the one dress and leather triangles for the black one. Gorgeous!
Then I went over to the Utah room. This was my most favorite. I loved the craft projects there (vinyl on water bottle, paper deer head on wood) and the decor. I so wanted to just take all the furniture and decor home with me!
The last room I went to was the California room. It was bright and cheery in there! We added iron on vinyl to a tote bag and made some paper umbrellas.
Each room was so inspiring and filled with a ton of ideas that you could create using the Cricut Explore. Everything went so well and I had so much fun meeting so many fabulous people.
I ended my last night there with a dinner at a local restaurant with others who were still there or were staying for Alt Summit. I also took some pictures of the snow to show my girls. One day they will get to see snow in real life! Now, for those of you wondering about the Cricut Explore, here is some more info:
- Cricut Explore™ – The world’s easiest design-and-cut system for making polished creative DIY projects. DIY crafters can go from inspiration to creation in just a few clicks. The Cricut Explore™ system blends:
- An electronic cutting machine
- Easy-to-use online design software
- A 50,000+ image library with hundreds of ready-to-make projects
- Cricut Design Space™ – Free online software for the Cricut Explore™ that lets users design and create their own projects as well as browse and make Cricut®-designed projects in minutes.
- Make It Now™ Projects – DIYers can select from hundreds of pre-designed projects (home decor, paper crafts, parties, holiday decor, etc.) that they can start making in just the click of a button
- Canvas Templates – DIYers can personalize and make their own creations for popular items (t-shirts, iPad cases, pillows, invitations, cards, etc.)
- “Cut What You Want®” – DIYers also have the freedom to upload images and fonts from the Web or their computers *
- Cut Smart™ – Patent-pending technology that cuts, writes or scores a variety of materials with incredible precision. It features dual carriage heads:
- One carriage head with a premium German carbide blade for cutting
- A secondary carriage head for drawing or writing with a pen or marker
- Smart Set™ – A material selection dial that works with Cut Smart™ technology to eliminate the need to make pressure, depth and speed adjustments.
- With a turn of the dial, DIYers can easily alternate between cutting multiple materials: paper, vinyl, iron on, cardstock, fabric and poster board and more
- Also includes a custom option that can be preset to a desired material of choice, like chipboard, craft foil or magnetic materials
- Out of the Box – Each Cricut Explore™ machine comes with a simple guide and a selection of materials—including cardstock, iron-on, vinyl and two Duck Tape® Sheets—so DIYers can immediately make any of the 50 free projects.
- Pricing & Availability
- Cricut Explore™ – $299 MSRP
- Debuts on the Home Shopping Network February
- Available at retail March 15th
- Other retail partners include Amazon, Jo-Ann, Michaels, Walmart.com and more
- Cricut Explore™ – $299 MSRP
- Cricut Design Space™
- Individual images – Starting from $0.99
- No-commitment monthly subscriptions, access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts – $9.99
- Annual subscriptions, access to 25,000 images and over 200 fonts – $99.99
Other info you might be curious about:
-Comes with a special bag with handles to store it in so you don’t have to store it in the box.
-The software is completely free, but images cost money (see above). You get fifty free with your purchase to make the projects they share. But, you can upload your own images for free to use. Here is more info on that from the ceo:
“Cricut Design Space is free to use for all file types, no subscription required.
Upload and design with your .svg, .dxf, .bmp, .jpg, .png, and .gif files absolutely free. Design with your system fonts absolutely free. Use Cricut Design Space for free, and try out any image in your design for free.
Our month-to-month subscription is still available as the most affordable way to access content in the market. For $9.99 a month, you get unlimited use of over 25,000 images in the Cricut library! (Unfortunately, our licensing agreements don’t allow us to make Disney images or other branded content available in a subscription.)”
|-They also said that if you have uploaded images from your cartridges onto Craft Room, those will be available for you to use in Cricut Design Space (no fee).|
-This machine can also cut things like burlap, leather, magnets, and even thin material like copy paper. If there is a type of material they don’t have listed in the program, you can add it and create a setting for it. The dial on top that is for easy cutting settings can also be reprogrammed to different types of materials if you use those more regularly.
-There will also be a blue tooth accessory available so you can even use Cricut Design Space on your Ipad to operate it if you want.
-They created this machine to be very quiet as they found in their research that a large percentage of usage is done at night while others are sleeping.
-You can use blades from other Cricut machines in this one, but the Explore comes with the newer and more improved blade that last longer.
-They are looking into making it compatible with previous machines, but want to keep this machine as easy to use as possible.
-You can put a pen in to have it draw (think metallics people!) or put in a scoring tool (so you can create that pre-folded look).
Hope that helps for those looking for more info. They really listen to the consumers, so if you have anything you want to ask about, etc. you can get in touch with them. I met some of the customer service team members in the California room and they were really nice :)I will of course be sharing more of my experiences with the machine when I get it, so be on the look out for that.