Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cartridge Review - Artiste

There are so many Cricut cartridges available now that it can be difficult to decide which ones to purchase.  When I first got a Cricut, the cartridge library was fairly limited and it was easy to imagine having all of the cartridges.  I know that there are a few people who are true collectors and do own every (or nearly every) cartridge but I decided a few years ago that I simply did not need all of them.  In fact, it became easier and easier to look at the cartridges that were released and pass on most of them.  I also have added additional machines and software programs to my tools and can generally create any image that I want if I just put in a little time on the computer.

However, there are times when I prefer the ease and simplicity of the cartridge system.  It is great to just choose an image and cut.   There are some cartridges that are highly specialized and have an appeal only if you are really interested in the subject matter (dinosaurs, robots, licensed characters).  Then there are other cartridges that have a broad appeal with a wide variety of images that can be used for many projects.

My friend Melanie Brown (of Courtney Lane Designs and Everyday Cricut) sent me the latest Close to my Heart exclusive cartridge to review.  The cartridge is call "Artiste" and it has already joined the ranks of the most useful cartridges on my shelf.  This cartridge, like Art Philosophy before it, is a completely full cartridge with every one of the 700 potential positions filled with an image.   When you hold the box in your hand it feels heavier than usual - this is because there are two handbooks included.  One is the conventional handbook with the key to all of the images and their positions on the keypad and the second book is devoted to assembly instructions for the many, many 3D projects included on the cartridge.

One thing that I like about the booklets for the newest cartridges is the section at the beginning of the book that shows the completed items that can be made with the cartridge.  It takes eight pages of tiny images to show all of the items on this cartridge (and, of course, you can combine many of them in different ways for endless possibilities).  Here are some photos of the opening pages of the book to help me summarize the variety of items that you can cut with this cartridge.

The first two pages (above and below) show the wide variety of assembled images.  There are lots of seasonal items and interesting signs and medallions as well.  Some of the items coordinate with the chipboard shapes that are bundled with the cartridge.

The Christmas ornaments at the top of this post have intricate designs for the top layer but are simple to assemble two layer cuts.  They are shown in the top row above.

Cupcakes are still very popular and 20 different cupcake wrappers with designs for various party themes can be found on this cartridge.

The next two pages (above and below) show the wide range of shaped cards and coordinating envelopes that can be cut with this cartridge.  There are even a couple of cards with word pop-up inserts ("hello" and "love").

It would take days and days just to cut out and make one of each of the cards - there is quite a variety with something for everyone.

There are seven different rosette designs, a few more rolled flower cuts (adding to the original designs on the Art Philosophy cartridge) and some lovely 3D bows.

There are over 50 different 3D designs with lots of boxes, baskets, purses and novelties.  Once again, you could spend weeks making all of these and with various papers and decorations they will be wonderful for gifts and favors.

There are some seasonal items included in the 3D designs - the coffin box will be fun for Halloween decorations and the boxes that close with a bunny, Christmas tree, etc. would be nice to use for placecards.

To round out the cartridge, there is a simple and clear font with upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.  The extra spaces beyond those needed for the alphabet are filled with some very useful word art and welded phrases.

This cartridge is very well thought out and I particularly appreciate that the "base" images are the numbers and alphabet.  This makes it so much easier to chose the key you need when you are working with the machine keypad and not using a Gypsy or design software. 

You can take a close look at the entire cartridge handbook by clicking HERE to download the PDF of the booklet and HERE to download the booklet of assembly instructions.

The cartridge comes bundled with three stamp sets that coordinate with the cuts.  There are also additional stamps sets that will work with these cuts.  The size you need to cut an image is printed next to the stamps which makes it very easy to get perfect mats for the stamped images.  You can also get the August stamp of the month set (pictured above) for only $5 when you purchase the Artiste bundle.

I have started to make some projects with the Artiste cartridge and I'll be sharing them on my blog from time to time over the next few weeks.  As a consultant, Melanie has had the cartridge for a while already and you'll find lots more projects on her Courtney Lane Designs blog HERE and also on Everyday Cricut HERE.  She also shows photos of the chipboard sets and the stamps sets in her post HERE.

Melanie has an additional special offer for the month of August.  If you buy the Artiste bundle through her, she will put your name in a drawing to win a brand new Cricut E2 machine with purple end caps.

I hope that many of you will be able to add this cartridge to your collection - I think it is an excellent value and one that you will use over and over again. 

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  1. Wow that is a loaded cart! I haven't bought any carts for almost 9 months (if you don't count the exclusive Circle carts) since getting the Cameo. I do love the Art Philosophy one and this cart looks like another good investment from CTMH. Thanks for sharing photos of the handbook. This is definitely going on my wishlist!

  2. A well rounded group of images on this one ,i love it.Wish i could afford them all lol.

  3. This looks like a great cartridge. I wish they would sell it just by itself. I just can't bring myself to spend that much. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I absolutely adore this cartridge and all the stamps that come with with it. So many great 3D projects!!! It's totally worse the price - especially since now you can get another 3 sets of stamps for a reduced price when buying the Artiste cart.

    Love it!!

    Thanks! :)


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