23 June 2010

Getting Excited About My Cricut, Again

Over the past year, Mr O and I have repainted the majority of the house he brought into our marriage.  I love the new wall colors, and it's starting to feel more and more like home to me.  There is one small problem though, the walls are still a bit bare in places.

I have designated one of these bare places as our future ancestor wall.  My intention is to fill the wall with old family photos, particularly pictures of as many of our direct line ancestors as I can find.  (On a side note, if you happen to be in possession of some of these photos, please contact me, I'd love to get a copy/scan of the photo for this project as well as for my family history files.)  Since the wall is meant to honor our family lines, I thought it would be appropriate to honor one of my favorite scriptures on the wall as well.  After thinking about it for several months, I finally settled on the phrase, "Our Hearts Have Turned".  (See Malachi 4:5-6)

Now step back in time with me a few years, to the day when I first purchased my Cricut. I was super excited to finally own this amazing machine.  I had been ogling it at Roberts for months...no, make that over a year.  Mr O and I were just dating at the time, and when I shelled out several hundred dollars for the Cricut Expression, the Design Studio Software, a Jukebox, and three additional cartridges, he just shook his head and said, "if you'll use it, I don't have any problem with you spending money on stuff like that".  I think my response was something along the lines of, "I'll use it, and if I buy it now I get this free carrying bag too".  Well, sadly, I think that he jinxed me that day, because my poor Cricut has been used so infrequently that it's down right embarrassing.

Now let's jump forward to last Christmas when I purchased 4 additional Cricut cartridges, three of which had topped my most wanted list since the day I bought the machine.  That day I also purchased several rolls of vinyl and was stoked to finally start getting some use out of my investment.

Since then, I have tried to use my Design Studio software several times to come up with lettering that would look just right on my ancestor wall.  Unfortunately, none of the cartridges I had purchased were right for this project.  Not to be discouraged so easily, I started searching the other available cartridges on Design Studio for a font that would work.  Sadly, though, the software kept freezing my computer every time I got more that a few letters on my workspace.  That was so annoying that I gave up on my search for a few months.  Once more my Cricut started gathering dust.

Well, last Thursday I went out on the web and searched the Cricut site looking for a cartridge that would have the perfect font.  Let me tell you, I am NOT impressed with the Cricut website.  They make it SO HARD to see what images are available on the cartridges that they manufacture and sell.  It didn't take long before I decided to search the web to see if someone else was doing a better job at displaying the cartridges than Cricut and what I found was like manna raining down from heaven.

OK, OK, it might not have been as miraculous as all that, but after my months of looking for the perfect font on a Cricut cartridge, it sure seemed that way.  What was so cool that has me writing on my blog again after months off?  I found the most awesome creation...one that I didn't even know existed...software that works with your Cricut and allows you to cut true type fonts and other images.  Taa Daa...I want to do a happy dance here and now just thinking about the possibilities.  And it gets better...there are two different programs available that has this capability!

The first program I ran across was called Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL).  It looked OK, but when I found the second program, Make The Cut! (MTC) I never looked back at SCAL.  And the good news didn't end there, MTC was on sale...and still is until the end of the month.

MTC is available as a free download so that you can play with the software and see how it works.  You can even cut images with the software, but apparently the cut images are "watermarked" with extra cuts until you purchase the software.  Quite frankly, I didn't get to that point.  I downloaded the software and played with it enough to know that I wanted it...even before I got to our other house where my Cricut is currently residing. 

Tonight I watched a webinar by the designer of MTC.  In the webinar he showed some of the new elements in the current version.  Oh, and get this, all of the updates to the program are FREE!  Hallelujah!  If you are interested in this wonderful program go their website and take a look around.  If you go to the forum there are a lot of training videos available which have been made by other MTC customers.  There are also recorded webinars available to watch. 

I've not been this excited about my Cricut since the day I bought it!  I can't wait to get started on my wall...and I will get started on it now that I have Make the Cut! to help me out.