Friday, February 20, 2015

How Intricately Can the Cricut Explore Really Cut??? My 2nd Review

Here are my cut results….  The finished cut measures 9.5” x 5”.  The cut is flawless……  Any snags or bends you see were caused when I removed the cut from the mat.  

Last night, I made the 1st test cut with this file using the CUSTOM intricate setting on the Explore.  It took forever to weed; but, the cut was flawless. 

This morning, I made my own CUSTOM cut setting for a second test cut:  Pressure 220, multicut 3X, Reg Blade.  NO WEEDING WAS NEEDED WHEN I USED MY SETTING:) It took 40 minutes for the cut to complete with the custom setting I created. 

After adhering the cut to the red cardstock with Tomboy Mono Glue, I ran the whole design through a Big Shot Pro to press every little doodad and curlicue down evenly and securely.   

I did nothing special for this cut, except the custom setting……… didn’t put in a new blade or use a new mat (mat condition was very good)…….  I wanted a real life cut.  

The kraft cardstock I used for cut is Mohawk (brand) 80 Cover,  216gsm (weight).  I buy the kraft cardstock in 250 sheet reams from Kelly Paper. For folks who don't have a Kelly Paper, the kraft cardstock can be purchased here:   

The Cricut Explore is the best electronic cutter I have owned for intricate cuts with cardstock. When cutting intricate designs, the Explore beats out the Gazelle, Expression 1 & 2, Imagine, ECrafter, Slice, EClips, Silhouette Cameo, Pazzles Inspiration, in my opinion. (I didn’t include my Brother ScanNCut in this comparison, because I only use it for cutting stamps and graphics, not SVGs.)

If I could change one thing about the Explore, it would be the software, which I find sadly lacking in design tools and functions……… I feel the browser environment severely limits Design Space and the crafter.   In my opinion, there is no design in Design Studio.  My suggestion to PC is that they bury the hatchet and coordinate software efforts with Make the Cut and/or Sure Cuts A Lot.  Allow users to be able to design and cut only SVGs offline AND directly to the Explore with MTC and/or SCAL. Using 3rd party software for vector files only would protect the integrity of the PC Graphic Library which would only be accessed and cut through Design Space.  This would make the Explore the very best cutter on the market, in my opinion.  With the low price point for the Explore 1 ($200), I feel the Explore would be on every crafter’s desk!

No weeding required with my custom setting:   pressure 220, multicut 3X, Reg Blade.

The beautiful, intricate SVG file used for this test is a free file from Studio Calico, “New Beginnings” created by Wilna Furstenberg:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Planner Fascination #1 ~ Cover and Flyleaf

I had a great time applying vinyl cuts to the cover of my ARC Planner........ made a flyleaf for sticky notes........  Tomorrow I will share handmade dividers :)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cocoa Daisy Review #1 ~ March Planner Kit ~ 2015 ~ My Planner

I love looking at the whole planner trend (fad?) on Pinterest and Facebook...... So many talented and creative people organizing their lives with pretty papers, washi tape, stickies and doodads. I stumbled across the Cocoa Daisy Planner Subscription. The planner pages are right up my alley........ not overly cute..... not pretentious, NOT totally PINK with smiling flowers, personified cupcakes and grinning baby animals.  I love the grid and adult watercolor design!  I love the paint swatch weekly pages! I subscribed immediately.  I ordered my pages from Cocoa Daisy with no holes........ so I could see the pages (A5 size) before I committed to a planner.

The the hunt for a planner began:
I fell in love with the Midori style notebook........ but Cocoa Daisy's planner pages aren't really suited for the causal, organic, floppy Midori I made my own personal size faux Midori for my purse.

I moved on to Kikki K Planners, way too pastel and candy-colored for me....  I love earth tones.

I looked at Webster's Pages new Color Crush Planners, not enough real estate for all the decorating I wanted to do.

I searched every office supply and stationery store within 100 miles. The Franklin Covey and Day Timer Planners were just too typical of what I had used in the 1980's (the last time planners were so trendy/fad) in my professional life.

I joined tons of FB groups.

I checked out Pinterest.

I looked at Filofax, Van Der Spek, and Gillio; but, I am a hands-on gal and a computer screen doesn't show true color; and, I can't hold/touch the planner before buying it.

I had several ARC Planners I had purchased at Staples..........  and my burgundy ARC is a perfect fit for Cocoa Daisy's style and pages. Burgundy is also a favorite color. I made a commitment to the ARC system...... I had the Levenger punch already and the binders and the discs.  The price was right and the style is perfect for stamps, inks, sprays, vinyl and dies.

Here is the March Cocoa Daisy Kit....... I am pleased with the kit and the quality of the papers. The kit was beautifully packed and arrived on time in perfect condition. I do wish Cocoa Daisy had added a few extra sheets of paper for testing pens, inks, sprays, etc. (even with a minimal charge). The American Craft "To Do List" stamp doesn't work well at all. The self-inking stamp doesn't stamp well; and, I find the style of the stamp big and clumsy.  I rather have had a small set of acrylic stamps.

Throughout this month I will be posting pics of my planner customization......... This is my 1st 24 hours with the Cocoa Daisy Planner Kit; and, visually I love it....... I will report on pens, inks, sprays, paper etc throughout this month :)

UPDATE TO MY REVIEW:  I contact Cocoa Daisy less than 24 hours ago via Facebook about the lack of quality with the American Crafts "to do list" self-inking stamp.  I received this response from CD via FB this morning:

We've had a few comments about the re-inking stamps we featured in our March Planner kit. They aren't working quite like we'd hoped, so we've decided to run a similar design in an acrylic stamp as a substitute.
We thought we'd get you a product we know will work, rather than risk replacing them with another re-inked stamp that might not be up to par either.
We'll get those new stamps ordered and get them mailed out to those who purchased our kits as soon as we can. Since we've JUST decided this, please be patient with our time frame, and know we'll get you a replacement as soon as we can!

I couldn't ask for better customer service!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 2015 A5 Day Planner Kit

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fauxdori ~ Midori Style Notebook ~ Handmade ~ DYI

I loved the Midori Traveler's Notebooks....... and after watching the videos by Ray Blake, I decided I would make my own.  Here is my 1st attempt.  My Fauxdori measures 7 x 5 inches.  I had no idea what I was doing when I started; but, Ray makes it so easy.......  I will be making more :)  I need to find a source for leather :)

Midori Traveler's Notebook

Ray Blake's Video ~ DYI Midori Notebook

Ray Blake's Blog ~ Lots of Midori Inserts ~ Free Printables