I am so wickedly blessed to own a Cricut Expressions machine. The thing is nothing short of awesome. In case you were wondering if it was really any good or not--it so IS. (Good, I mean.)
They go on sale sometimes, and you should never even think of paying $500.00 for a brand new one online. I had a party at my house last night and we just sat around making paper crafts--it was SO fun, and one of the ladies there mentioned that she had gotten her Cricut Expressions on eBay for about $180.00. Still not chump change, but after saving up for a while, that's doable. And I DO recommend that if you were ever planning on getting a Cricut that you just save up your money to go for the big one, the Expressions machine, instead of the Personal trimmer, which is still cool, but doesn't cut as much as the Expressions (Personal trimmer uses 6x12 pieces of paper, and the Expressions can cut up to 12x24 papers.). And the Expressions has a few extra little machine features that I like, too.
Anyway, anyway. So, being the crafty person I am, one of the things I love the most (besides actually making things) is looking around at what other people have done and just soaking up their brilliance. I especially was excited to start looking around online for Cricut projects so that I could learn to use my machine. I was very disappointed, however, to find that there are almost no projects out there, and the ones that are seem to seriously be lacking in the information department as far as what buttons, what size, etc., and if I wanted to spend forever staring at a picture to figure a project out on the Cricut, I guess that's okay. But, being me, I tend to not do that, so... I figure things out on my own! (After all, as I've repeatedly told myself, it's only paper. And I DO recycle my waste.)
ALSO... my big beef with a lot of the projects out there is how many cartridges are used in creating them. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to buy a million cartridges just to make one project. So, I think I'm going to start featuring projects for a while using nothing but the Storybook Cartridge. That cartridge is SO full of cool stuff, it's definitely worth the money. Only, again, not the $100 you pay for it in a craft store (unless it's one of those rare times they're on sale for $39.99)--either hit Walmart and get it for $60.00, Amazon to get it for $54.00 or so, www.cricutmachine.com if they have a sale is usually pretty good, OR hit eBay and get one for $30.00 or so.
Okay, okay. So, here is the party banner I made for my party using the Storybook Cartridge:
Storybook Cartridge Banner Project
Cricut Machine (This one will work on the Personal Electronic Cutter OR the Expressions)
Color A Cardstock (Light Green on mine)
Color B Cardstock (Black on mine)
Color C Cardstock (Darkish Red on mine)
1. Using color A, cut six 5.5" scalloped squares. (Load paper. Push Accent Blackout, shift, C.)
2. Using color B, cut six 4.5" square swirlie background pieces (Load paper. Push Accent Frame, shift, 7.)
3. Using color B, cut 4" shadow characters for banner (P, A, R, T, Y, !). (Load paper. Push Shadow, [character].)
4. Using color C, cut 4" normal characters for banner (P, A, R, T, Y, !). (Load paper. Type in characters, making sure that "shadow" is turned off. Cut.)
5. Assemble as shown in pictures. Glue swirlie background to scalloped square. Center shadow letter over background, adhere. Center normal letter over shadow letter, adhere. Set 3/16" eyelets in the top two corners of banner. Tie all pieces together with ribbons, making loops out of the very end pieces of ribbons, to hang on the wall.
If I was super smart, I would have made it in different colors. (It's green on a green wall, which made it not stand out too much. But, oh, well.) I love the fact that this doesn't look like Christmas even though it IS red and green. I know that surrounded with Christmas stuff, however, it WOULD manage to look Christmas-y, so I'm definitely saving it for when I have a holiday party, which I'm sure I will, because I LOVE having parties.
So hopefully this was a helpful project idea. Like I said, I'm going to start posting more projects using this one cartridge. I'll do it until I get sick of it, but the thing is so absolutely brimming with glorious images, I think it will take a LONG time to ever use it all.