Saturday, November 14, 2009


Pagoda is the third cartridge I found at Michael's this week.  I left it to the last to review because the cartridge has been available in Design Studio program for a while so I thought that many people would have seen the images already (I imagine that most people who read my blog are also Design Studio users).  It can be helpful to see the color handbook (and I was on a roll taking photos!) so I will do a bit of show and tell - show you the images and tell you my thoughts about this cartridge.

Pagoda is a full cartridge with six creative features.  They are





You will notice that three of the features involve Kanji.  Kanji are Chinese characters that are used in Japanese writing.  You can find out all sorts of information about these online - here is a LINK to an interesting Wikipedia entry for some background.  
 This is an example of the Kanji character for ocean.  The cartridge will cut the character with two shadow layers, the character cut into a layer to fit on a tag, the character cut into a card and the character cut into a rounded rectangle that fits on a corresponding layer with the English word as seen here.  I was very surprised to find out that there was not a legible listing of the English translations of these characters - the only way to see the word is to squint at the ever-so-tiny image on the handbook page for that Kanji character.
It really would have been a good idea to have a page that shows the English words for quick identification.  I looked through my handbook a number of times so I don't think I missed it! I was so bothered by the lack of this page that I created my own to share with you.  It took a quite a while to do this but I know it will be a handy reference in the future.

Please respect the time and effort I put into taking, editing and posting these photos by referring others to my blog to see the photos and not copying them - thank you.  I do not disable right clicking photos on my blog, however, I am sharing these images for your personal use and not for duplication, or posting to other sites, message boards and blogs. Thanks for understanding (you may be able to tell that I have recently been notified of some of my work being used without my permission so I may be overly sensitive to this issue right now- it is a hazard of sharing on the internet).

So on to the photos and my thoughts about this cartridge.

Remember, you can click on any photo to see a larger view.

The first images are of lamps or lanterns

Another lantern and the first of three dolls (these remind me a bit of the matryoshka- Russian nesting dolls - on the Paisley cartridge I reviewed a few days ago.

The other two dolls - I actually have one of these that my parents brought back from Japan years ago - it brought back a nice memory,

Two fish - these are fish in kite format


Another fish (not a kite) and a Yin Yang symbol (this is a frequently requested symbol on the Cricut Message Board Design Studio forum).

A fierce dragon and a sweet Panda bear

Another Panda that looks like it needs a hug (sweet) and a humming bird

Another humming bird and a flying crane

A standing crane and a fish leaping from the water

another leaping fish and a pair of dragonflies (these would be beautiful with their wings cut from iridescent paper)

a couple of bonsai trees

some stylized tree branches

a bamboo cluster and a flower

my new favorite plant/branch (see yesterday's post HERE to see why) and another lovely flower cluster

more flowers - I particularly like the one at the top and I think the lower one looks a bit like a calla lily

more beautiful flowers - so many on this cartridge

and even more flowers - these are layered flowers that would be nice for paper bouquets.

flowers in a vase and a typical Japanese garden bridge (I did something interesting with the bridge in Design Studio - I'll show you soon...)

a temple and a shrine

a couple of cages (for those of us who are wishing we had Serenade...)

A couple of beautiful fans - the layers are very pretty with the flowers

an umbrella and a teapot and cup

a rice bowl (with a Greek Key border?) and chopsticks!

a curtain or screen and sandals

and finally, a couple of kimonos.

So, as you can see, there is quite a variety on this cartridge.  I have to say that this is a welcome change in that it contains many images that we haven't seen on other cartridges (and no cupcakes - not that I have anything against cupcakes...).  Many of the feature keys are used for the Kanji characters and their layers so if you aren't interested in using these for many projects you really have only half a full cartridge.  On the other hand, they are a great feature for using in home decor projects among other things.

The basic set of images with attractive layering is well worth the price of a cartridge.  The flowers and branches would be lovely for all sorts of cards - particularly for sympathy cards with their simple elegance.  The more realistic style of this cartridge is nice for those who don't do a lot of scrapbooking or cardmaking for children - this is more of an adult style cartridge which I know many Cricut fans will appreciate.

Once again there is a lot of repetition in the tag shapes but this is helpful for ease of use when the Cricut is used without Design Studio (it is amazing to me but many people do not use Design Studio or a Gypsy).  There are some interesting cards in unusual proportions and I like this change as well - of course you can always alter these to more standard sizes by using Design Studio.

I am very glad that I found this cartridge - I believe it is available from many sources and, with Black Friday just around the corner it will certainly show up on many shopping lists.  I'd be curious to hear what others think about the Kanji - I see a lot of uses for these characters but they may not be of interest to everyone.


  1. Thanks Diane, I can see all the hard work that went into putting the screen shots out there. I can see this becoming one of my favs once I get it. :)

  2. Thank you so much, Diane, for all the time you put into your blog and, therefore, others. I just ordered this cart this week and can't wait for it to get here. My Michaels still is not carrying any of the new carts. :-( My daughter loves Japanese art and can't wait to see this one either. (she also loves the stacking Russion dolls, so I'm really looking for Paisley!)

  3. Thanks for posting this. I lived in Okinawa Japan for almost 4 years, so the Kanji characters will come in handy when I finally get to scrap our pics! I also love the coi fish shapes, really cool! So nice of you to post all this! ;)

  4. This is such a great post! Thank you so much for not only putting up all the photos but creating an entirely NEW overlay with the english words on it. That is so generous of you to do!! Much appreciated!

    I was also laughing when I read your cupcake comment...hee hee!

    Great job and THANK YOU!

    Hugs, Joy

  5. Thx for sharing. I am so getting this cart cuz I used to work at an Asian restauant and I've wanted to redo my senior book for a while now.

  6. Darn - just when I swore I would not buy another cartridge - you come up with another one to add to my list!

  7. I can't decide which one I like more, this one or Paisley!

    Thanks for taking the time to take pictures and posting them on your blog!

  8. Thanks for posting all of the images from these cartridges. I really like pagoda too, but will probably wait, I love Paisley! Thats my first must have!

  9. Diane,

    Thanks for sharing this cart with us. Oh, boy, I NEED this one too! I'm so sorry someone used your work inappropriately - shame on them! Thanks for your review and for the translations too!

    Carmen L

  10. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I pre-ordered this cartridge and can't wait to get my hands on it. I also want to thank you for taking the time to post the translations of the kanji character on an overlay. I will definitely be referencing this post again when I finally get my cartridge.

  11. Thank you so much Diane for taking the time sharing this cartridge. It is much appreciated. I bought this cartridge only yesterday and like you had a struggle to read what it said.I agree, this cartridge is more of an adult style cartridge and as all my family are grown up, I can see it is going to be very versatile, oohh and no cupcakes tee hee. Many thanks. x

  12. I can't wait to get my hands on this cartridge! Thanks for giving and showing such a detailed description. I hope my Michael's has it by Thanksgiving day. That would be quite a treat!

  13. Really enjoy your site and want to thank you for the Pagoda information. Going to love this cart once I get it!

  14. I bought this catridge today at M's with BF price, and now that I've seen this review, I am considering returning it. I was attracted to it because of the "kanji" since they are Chinese characters, but now that I've seen them all, I am disappointed in some of the words selected, and the caligraphy is not the best either. So thank you for the pictures and now I have a decision to make, the pandas for example, are too too cute :)

  15. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I just got this cart and can not wait to use it. I am re-doing my bathroom and would like to cut out some of the kanji letters in vinyl and frame them to hang on the wall. This is awesome because I now I know what they mean!! Thanks again!

  16. Thank you for the Kanji words!

  17. Thank you for posting in such detail.I just bought this cartridge and I can't wait to use it.Can't wait to see what you create useing this cartridge.


  18. Thanks so much for translating the Kanji symbols! You've saved a heap o' looking!
    Kris in AK

  19. Diane,
    Thanks for posting these pics. I also love my Pagoda cart! I love anything oriental and this cart is perfect. As you said nothing like it in any other carts previously made. Love it!!!

  20. Great JOB!your always amazing! to let you know the Greek Key boarder is kinda typical of a design I have several rice bowls with the same design and here is a link to one too so you can see

  21. Diane, thanks for all you do. I'm just starting to use my Pagoda cartridge and me and a friend were wondering how to translate what the Chinese letters stood for.

  22. Thank you so much for taking the time to photograph the manual. I was losing my mind over the kanji symbols. They are so beautiful, and I wanted to used them, but I just couldn't see them to figure out what they were.

  23. Thank you much I have this cart on the way but still not sure if I want to keep it. I do not have much use for Asian, but the flower and bridge are pretty. So I have few day to think before it is here.
    (still have head inj issue and mean to buy


    BTW I sign in anymonou since I still blog challenge and can't figure any other way to post to thank you!

  24. Thank you so much for the work you put into this post. It has saved me so much time and eye strain!! Just as the above commenter has stated, I am signing in anonymous as I too am blog challenged.

  25. Diane, thank you so much! I found Pagoda at Michael's yesterday on clearance. I had never been interested in it before, but since my daughter and her family are in the process of moving to Japan, I just HAD to pick it up! I remembered seeing a post on the MB about the translation key so I did a search -- should not have been surprise to find that you had done this! Thanks again!
    carolyn in nebraska

  26. Hi Diana, I have just come across your Padoga kanji translation and I am delighted to be now able to use the symbols. And just in time for Chinese New Year. It must have taken you forever to do it, so a very big "thank you". I will be keeping up with your blog from now on. It's great. Aiveen(Ireland)

  27. After having a friend who is studying Chinese try to figure the kanji characters out for me and taking hours to do a few.... I REALLY appreciate your hard work and sharing with me! Thank you!


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