The UK Launch of the Cricut Explore! – Part 1

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Let me introduce you to the Cricut Explore…an easy to use cutting machine that, if you’re a crafter or DIY-er is going to make your creative cutting a breeze!

In fact, it’s so easy to use, that even a non-crafter like my husband can use it!

Oh, and if like us you’ve already pronounced Cricut as ‘cry-cut’, then, like us, you are wrong – just think of the little bug and you’ll be saying it right!
Why not watch this short video which shows you some of what the Cricut Explore can do…

There are two reasons for me writing this post today – one is to share the UK launch of the Cricut Explore which has been available to buy in the USA for a few months now, and is now available to buy in the UK too! and the second is to tell you that I’ve been selected to be a Cricut Explore Super Blogger! I can’t even begin to tell you my excitement at the prospect of working with Cricut – I’ve wanted a Cricut for a long time now – I’ve been very jealous of my fellow American bloggers who have them, especially when I read their blogs and see all the amazing things that they can do with them!

My job is to share my projects with you, my dear readers…I have already started on my first one and I can’t wait to share that with you very, soon!

But now, thanks to working with Cricut I get my very own Cricut Explore machine to use at home, to play with and experiment with and #ExploreTheSeasons, which is the hashtag we used at the launch event. This fits me perfectly as I’m very much a seasonal crafter, and if you’re a long time reader of The Purple Pumpkin Blog you’ll know about my Crafty October and Create Christmas series that I do in October and December, where I go into overdrive for two of my favourite times of year!

I was up early to travel to Westminster, London, do a little sightseeing along the way to the Skyloft at the top of the Millbank Tower where the UK launch was taking place. I keep promising myself I’ll go up to London and do a bit of sightseeing and photography, but I managed to get in a few photos on the way from the tube station to the venue.

The Millbank Tower is 118 metres high (that’s 387 feet) and the Skyloft which is right at the top has the most A-MAZING views across London!

The Skyloft space was set up with several Cricut Explore machines and lots of crafting supplies to experiment with throughout the day. When I arrived there were a few bloggers there already, and after calming myself down (was hot and flustered!) got chatting to Kim from The TomKat Studio, an American blogger (whose blog I read and is gorgeous!). We told each other about our blogging journeys, and I explained how I started reading American blogs many years ago and that it was those that inspired me to start my own blog, so it was a bit of a fangirl moment to talk to an actual American blogger!

Kim was in London, along with fellow American blogger, Mandi from Vintage Revivals whose blog I’ve never read before, but have now subscribed to because just one look at it, I can see it is full of inspiring projects for the home. Yes, I do have an obsession with American homes and American blogs – I love adding new ones to my reading list!

When all the invited bloggers turned up, it was then time to sit down and hear all about the Cricut Explore and be shown an “out of the box” demonstration…

After an introduction from Simon Faulkner, EVP, and words from Suzie Candlin, Cricut Trainer (quite frankly, she is an amazeballs guru of all things Cricut) who told us about all the different design possibilities, it was then Cricut CEO, Ashish Arora’s turn to take the floor and tell to us all about the ideas and thought processes that went into the design and creation of the new Cricut Explore…many of us bloggers and crafters all gasped at and excitedly chatted about the capabilities of this new machine…

  • Cricut Design Space™ – Free online software 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 – there is a 50,000+ image library with hundreds of ready-to-make projects.
  • 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® – The freedom to upload images and fonts from the web or their computers.
  • Cut Smart™ – The ability to not only cut with precision (on even the smallest and intricate of designs) but also to draw and write thanks to an extra carriage to hold a pen.
  • 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.

This really does sound like a crafter’s dream machine!

The question about the cost of the machine and online designs was of course asked, and it’s great to learn that us Brits are not being hit with higher prices than our over-the-pond friends! We’re not being charged 99p for an image, because the Americans are charged 99¢, we’re paying 79p! Similarly, the non-commitment monthly subscription is just £7.49 per month (US $9.99) and the Cricut Explore™ has an RRP of £249.99 (US $299.99).

You may gasp in shock at the price, but, when just think about all the money to be saved by not buying individual craft punches for different projects, that price point doesn’t seem so high, does it? If you’re a crafter, you know how how expensive die-cuts and punches are – you’ll save a fortune in the long run! This is really an investment piece of equipment that has endured thousands of hours of testing to ensure precision and quality.

Kim and Mandi also spoke to us about their blogs and how they are working with Cricut. I loved how enthusiastic and inspiring they both were and I wish I’d given myself more time to go and chat for longer with them. Mandi told us how the Cricut Explore uses so many different materials including leather, and how she bought a second-hand couch so that she could strip it bare to use in her projects! Inspired or what?!

After the presentation and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the Cricut Explore (there was a lot of that at the tote bag that the machine comes in!) it was time for us to go and have a play! I’m going to be writing all about that in another post, but let me share with you one of the things I made…

I used one of the images available in the Cricut Design Space – I just searched for ‘pumpkins’ (of course!) and cut the above design out of iron-on so that it could be transferred to a canvas tote bag. Sadly, there was no purple iron-on available at the launch, so I went with pink glitter instead – for one day I was The Pink Pumpkin Blog!!
If you are a crafter or DIYer I hope, like me you can see the possibilities of the Cricut Explore…

The only limit is your imagination!

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