There have been hundreds of Cricut cartridges released since I purchased my first machine. When I bought my Expression in 2007, it was fairly easy to think that you could collect all of the cartridges, however, the rapid rate of cartridge releases in the past year or so has made it difficult to "keep up." Many of the cartridges have become more specialized in style and subject matter and appeal to a limited audience. For most people it is a case of more is too much - the cost, both financial and psychological is excessive (too many choices can lead to less creativity and time spent organizing and searching instead of creating!) .
If you are just starting out with a Cricut obsession, you have the luxury of picking and choosing from a large assortment of cartridges. People who have been buying cartridges since the Cricut first came out may find that some of the more recent cartridges repeat the same types of images already on cartridges in their collection. Some of the more recent releases have been rather disappointing in the quality and amount of artwork. Cartridges that are listed as "full" cartridges often have repeated images or empty keypad levels.
With all of this in mind, I have to say that the Art Philosophy cartridge (exclusive to Close To My Heart) is a cartridge that nearly every Cricut owner would be happy to own. My friend, Melanie Brown, is a CTMH consultant and she asked me to review the cartridge bundle which includes three sets of stamps, three sheets of chipboard shapes and the Art Philosphy cartridge. This bundle is available only through a CTMH consultant.
The Art Philosophy cartridge is completely full. On a Cricut cartridge there are 700 possible keypad positions and with this cartridge every single one of the positions contains an image. This is exceptional, particularly since there are no levels that are full of identical background images or unnecessary repeats of certain shapes. In the screen shot above you can see all of the images that can be cut with just one of the fifty keys.
These decorative layers will make it possible to quickly and easily put together many cards with coordinating themes.
The decorative layers add all sorts of frames and medallion cut outs to the basic shapes.
One of my very favorite groups of cuts on the cartridge are the intricate doilies - these are the types of things that I like to design.
Some of them are incredibly intricate - I haven't had a chance to test cut these yet and I expect that they will need to be cut at larger sizes with proper settings and the right type of paper to get this beautiful lace effect.
The cartridge has a nice assortment of boxes and bags (I'll have more to share about these another day) and a selection of the spiral roll up flowers that are so popular right now. Melanie has some tutorials about many of these on her blog - you can find the list of tutorials HERE.
The Art Philosophy cartridge is sold only in a bundle and includes three stamp sets that coordinate with the cuts on the cartridge and chipboard shapes that are precut to be used with the layers that you can cut with the cartridge. If you are a stamper, the ability to cut the paper and then stamp the image is a great advantage and will save lots of time with neater results than hand cutting out your stamped images. The proper size to cut each shape to coordinate with the stamps is printed on the stamp backing sheet. There are also many other stamp sets in the CTMH line that will coordinate with the cuts on the cartridge. When you look on Melanie's website, the stamps that coordinate from any set will be outlined in red.
For this leaf shape, the size to cut is 2 inches on the dial. You can see what a nice neat cut the Cricut made of the shape.
Just put the stamp on an acrylic block and ink up the stamp.
Then carefully align the stamp over the paper shape and stamp the image. It is important to take your time and line the stamp up carefully to get a centered image.
My first attempt was nearly perfectly centered however, if you aren't careful, it is easy to get the stamps a bit crooked (which may or may not bother you!). The overall effect is lovely and even if you get a few stamps a bit crooked the time saving is a big advantage.
I'll be posting some more projects and some tips and hints about using this cartridge as I explore all of the possibilities it offers. There are special offers available to you when you purchase the cartridge bundle which is priced at $99. You will qualify to buy the stamp set of the month for just $5 and, until the end of September, a special double stamp set is free with purchases over $75 in celebration of National Stamping Month.
We are having the most beautiful weather - I really enjoy the changing seasons here in New England and the crisp cool days of early Autumn are so nice. I hope you are having some nice weather wherever you are!
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