Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cricut Craftroom Exclusive Cartridges & the New Cricut Circle

There are over 100 digital cartridges that are exclusive to the Cricut Craftroom.  The cartridges can be purchased at Cricut.com  and are listed in a separate category HERE.  I have not been paying careful attention to the cartridges as they are released for a couple of reasons.  I have found the Craftroom program to be difficult to work with and I thought that the prices for these small sets of images was disproportionately high.

When Provo Craft announced that the Cricut Circle was changing to a new program, one of the benefits they gave to existing Circle members (as of July 31, 2012) was free access to all of the craftroom exclusive cartridges for the month of August.  So of course, I decided to take a closer look. 

When digital rights are given to a cartridge in the Craftroom, the rights are also added to the Gypsy when you run the Cricut Sync.  I spent quite a bit of time on Monday, looking through all of the cartridges that are now available on my Gypsy.  I also discovered that there are digital handbooks available for nearly all of the Craftroom Exclusive cartridges.  Many of the cartridges contain more than the three or four shapes you see when the item is listed. The link to the digital cartridge is in the item description on the Cricut site.  These handbooks are PDFs so you can load them onto a tablet or smartphone to look at them
 in your spare time.

Here is an example of one of the cartridge PDFs for the "Movie Night" digital cartridge that sells for $9.99 (the digital cartridges have occasionally been on sale at 20% off so watch for the sale if that seems high to you).

I haven't made up my mind about rejoining the Circle.  The price is drastically reduced but so are the benefits.  I don't really want any of the cartridges that are offered -  I would have preferred a system that would allow you to select any cartridge for your membership cartridge benefit.

Circle membership was offered beginning August 1, 2012 at a new lower price of $79.99 or 3000 Cricut Reward points. The revised benefits do not include a Circle blog, Circle magazine, Circle meetups, contests, early notice about new cartridges (formerly called Wow Wednesday) or other items there were promised for the original Circle but never completed.  The discount and free shipping for orders might be worthwhile but I rarely spend $50 at a time on Cricut.com and cartridges are fairly regularly on sale in the large craft stores for $29.99 (this week at Joann's).

The new membership can be purchased in the shopping section of Cricut.com HERE and includes:
  • One cartridge exclusive for one year to Cricut Circle members, or you can choose a different cartridge.
  • 10% off of all purchases made on Cricut.com
  • Free shipping on orders over $50 made on Cricut.com
  • Exclusive promotions on Cricut.com
  • Double reward points for purchases on Cricut.com
There is also a separate area of the Cricut messageboard that is open to Circle members only but no definite timeframe was given for keeping that section of the messageboard open.

The Circle cartridges are no longer exclusive to members - after a year they will be available to purchase like any other cartridge.  You have the choice of the Exclusive cartridge "Something to Remember" or five other cartridges, Fontopia, A Quilted Christmas, Dr. Checkup, A Frightful Affair or French Manor (the original exclusive Circle cartridge).

If you were a "Premier Charter of Charter member of the Circle and you rejoin, you can email support to get a $10 credit on your Cricut/com account.  You can also use reward points to pay for a membership but the 3,000 point requirement doesn't seem to make sense since you can purchase a cartridge in rewards for 1,000 points.  If I rejoin, I'll probably pay cash in the hopes that I could do better with my stash of points (having heard repeated promises that the Rewards site is being revamped as well).

So, to get back to the exclusive digital image sets - I actually found quite a few that I like and I am looking forward to using them this month.  If you haven't looked at them lately it might be worth spending the time to scroll through the list.  If you are a former Circle member, it is definitely worth taking advantage of the free use of the images this month.  Maybe if you are a good planner you can precut lots of things you anticipate needing in the coming year!

The big project that I just finished last week involved redoing a group of old magnetic albums that were badly discolored.  There were so many pages that I decided to just do a title page for each book rather than try to decorate every page (it would have taken many days to do that!).

I discovered the French flag and country shape in the France digital cartridge and it worked perfectly for the cover.  I used my Cameo for the title.  I welded the font "French Script" and created a blackout shadow for the welded word with just a few clicks.  The castle for the England books, is from Once Upon a Princess and the title was cut with the Cameo, welded in "Stonehenge" font and shadowed.

I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments:

Have you tried any digital Craftroom Exclusive cartridges?  What do you think of them?  Do you think the prices are fair for the content provided?

Are you thinking about or have you joined the new Circut Circle?  What makes it worthwhile to you to join?  Did  you choose the "exclusive for one year" cartridge or one of the others?

I'll have to make up my mind soon - there are lots of other ways I could spend $80...

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  1. thank you for the information. Didn't know Cricut had revamped anything...don't even know what the circle is unless it's the area where I had registered and put in what meager points I had. Actually, I can find better ways of spending $80.00 myself...

  2. Hello, great post. I did purchase the digital 3 d trees and have had no problem with it so far. I did feel the price was high but I have a lot of ideas for the trees. I think it would be great if they let us use our rewards points to buy some of the digital images. I still have problems with the craftroom and my imagine. I hate wasting paper and it drives me nuts when it will print but not cut. It works fine with the expression. I have no desire to join the circle.

  3. Hi Diane,
    I finally made my decision not to rejoin the circle this year. I have been a member since the beginning, but rarely took advantage of any of the "perks" except the message board. There is a perfectly good message board for free and when I have the time, I will visit that forum.

  4. I have been a Circle member for 2 years but will not be rejoining. I have a Cameo and have pretty much stopped using my Cricut stuff. The Craft room had so many problems when it came out and was very slow in getting all the kinks worked out. With Provocraft's history of unveiling products with so many "future deliverables" that either take forever to come or never quite make it, I decided to not waste my time with the Craft Room. I'm very happy with my Cameo and Designer Edition Silhouette software. I much prefer buying images as I need them and the ability to use lots of freebies I find on the internet (including the tons of free fonts I have).

  5. Great post! I love your site. I rejoined the circle using the reward points. I didn't have enough trust left for them to finally put anything good up on the rewards site. I figured I had better use my points before they did away with them as well. Provocraft is legendary for broken promises! I took the Something to Remember cartridge. It was a toss up for me as I didn't like any of the cartridges offered. I haven't used the exclusive cuts yet, but I have them downloaded on my gypsy and will start cutting soon. You will have them as long as you don't update again so I may never update my gypsy!!LOL I'm not a fan of CCR either. I've tried it and it is more confusing than the gypsy or Design Studio. I appreciate your posts!!!

  6. Thanks, Diane, for your incredible blog and especially today's post. My words, exactly!

    I did what Diane (message above) did as I was afraid we'll NEVER see any better rewards. I emailed all email contacts I had at Provocraft asking if there was a date when there might be additional (read: Better) rewards, and got no definitive answer. So I spent the 3000 and thought OH well!
    Cannot get my expression to cut with the horrible CCR. So I didn't gain anything. Will keep trying today!

    Many thanks for the clue about the possibility of getting a $10 credit as a charter member. I emailed, so we'll see what happens on that score. Have a super great week!!!

  7. Your post was very informative, Diane, thank you! I haven't used the CCR much because of the problems associated with it. I have never joined the Circle... Never thought it was worth it for me to spend the extra money. I recently purchased the Cameo after following your progress and am very pleased even though I will continue to use my Cricut products because of the investment. I have not purchased the Designer Edition Silhouette software as of yet, but am considering it. I rarely design anything myself and was told that SVG's can be imported in another way to avoid the upgraded software. Any thoughts on this?? Also, do you know if you can download the CCR Exclusives to a mat and save them for future use? I really don't like PC offering a "freebie" with a time limit...

  8. When I get over this illness and can craft again I will use the ccr I liked it. as for the circle,it is
    nice that its more affordable,allows more people to feel part of the group. I dont think I will join at this time> I dont have 3000 pts and I donthave the cash. I also havent crafted in over 2 months. Im trying to become a CTMH consultant and have already been SCAMMED.
    Dawn RI.

  9. Thanks for this post, Diane. I too did the same thing that the other Diane and Gramjak did - I used my rewards to purchase the CC membership. I must admit though that although I love the CC MB the most, I never would have spent $80 to rejoin otherwise. I have had my Cameo since December and use it a lot more than my Cricuts. I don't like CCR and hate wasting ink with the Imagine. I too may never update my G to fully take advantage of the free digital contents now available on it LOL!

  10. Great post, great comments. I love my cricut design studio and gypsy (don't use my cricut machines w/out them). I have tried the CCR but haven't had the time to really learn it, figured I have the other will just keep on until I do have the time. I won't join a circle group if i have to pay for it, should be FREE and other things should be charged. We already buy enough of products. Glad I read all your post it helps me not feel like I am being left out of CCR or Circle membership.

  11. Ah Dear Diane, once again Ur site is SO INFORMATIVE, and deals w/REAL LIFE as so does Ur ART! I've often loved getting the updates when U've managed 2 capture the real life, connections I'd had w/life in the past before i became confined to this bed...BUT
    getting 2 Ur Update. although Critur does have a reputaion of SAYING THINGS BEFORE THEY CAN DELIVER AND W/ANYONE BUT ESP W/ WOMEN, THIS IS A MAJOR NO-N0,(YET I WONDER WHY WE KEEP BUYING FROM THEM?) OH WELL, i THING THEY ARE LIKEN TO THAT COMPANY THAT MAKES COMPUTERS, Promise to make things easier, you will have to PAY up the WAZOO for any LITTLE-Up-grade
    and ALL they want is $$$$$ and more $$$$, okay maybe some of their stuff is darling, "shall we dance, sophie, art philosophy, and a few others, well may-be a few more...but is it woth how they find ways to limit us into wht we as women do best...SHARING???
    I think they have made enought $$$ and maybe for all of what we have ALL learned, and know how to do,..I mean really now YOUR ARAT and YOUR CREATIONS, why with what U make and I'm sure with some fellow others you and they could OPEN your own ART CREATIVE COMPANY!
    So what is truth for u can be truth for many,...it often is you know, just look at how many have agreede w/you even in this and now say out loud, they agree w/you!
    I don't belong to "the circle" I had thought about it, just to get some of "THE" cartriges, but one can even get them elsewhere on the internet,so the other stuff is/had it been worth it????, or could u have received the info elsewhere??
    GoodLuck w/Ur desicion. I KNOW YOU will make the best decision, anyway anyone who can make the kind of AWESOME Cheesecake/Brownie
    Cup-cake like what u have made, U know IS an OUTSTANDING person!

  12. I have found CCR to be cumbersome to say the least and much prefer other programs that I now use with my Cameo, leaving my Cricut Expression in a corner collecting dust. I like creating my own images or downloading just what I want from Silhouette, Lettering Delights or SVGcuts. I guess I will remain happily out of the "circle". (owner of 40 cartridges, I seldom use since the assault on third party software by PC)

  13. I only renewed my membership because I had enough reward points, so for me there is no loss because I can never find anything on rewards.

    I now own a cameo and find that that is much easier to use, plus I have a more of a variety of artwork to choose from not to mention I can cut my own.

  14. Thanks for today's blog. I also used my rewards. I would not have known about any of this if you had not posted about it. I also picked the Something to Remember cartridge.

  15. As much as I would love to use the cricut craftroom I can not get my imagine to work 100% with it. It will print but not cut, then sometimes it will start to cut and quit. I emailed customer support and they told me they could not help me via email. They told me to call the number given. I called but there was never any answer. I would love to be able to use some of the digital images and use the imagine to layer the colors but i hate wasting paper and ink. I feel that they charge too much. I think they are feeling the pressure because now they offer a free week of an image. By the way if anyone is thinking of buying the Santa's Village for the imagine, don't it does not print out like the handbook shows, at least mine doesn't. The circle does not seem worth it too me so I will pass.

  16. Hi, DIane. I'm a bit late coming to your comment party, but I'll share my thoughts anyway.

    I didn't join Cricut Circle when it first erupted because I felt it was a huge amount of cash for little reward -- much like Cricut cartridges themselves in that regard. I also felt that the Circle set up a caste system of crafters "in the know" and crafters who just liked to craft.

    I felt it was PURE BUNK that ProvoCraft would segregate us and have exclusive meet-ups, for instance, as if any of us is "better than" another simply because we could kiss the golden ring ($$$) of ProvoCraft.

    And it's malarky that anyone would EVER buy from Cricut.com to get a discount, when most smart shoppers know you can buy cartridges at half the price on eBay from reliable sellers (including ProvoCraft themselves, under pseudonyms!). And to spend more than $50 to get free shipping is NUTS in my opinion.

    When CC first began, I contacted ProvoCraft to suggest that we be able to use Reward Points to join. (I think I posted it in a comment on your site back then, and you wrote to suggest that I contact PC!) They told me then that they thought it was a "great idea" and they'd pass it along "to their supervisor." It took them 2 years to do so?? So much for progress!!

    I drank the ProvoCraft Kool-Aid, and bought 100+ cartridges, 2 Expressions, a Cricut Cake, Design Studio, a Gypsy and a JukeBox, over time. Other than a few favorite cartridges and one Expression, I haven't used any of the rest of the stuff. And I got the CC exclusive cartridges by winning them as blog candy or buying them on eBay, for less than $20 each. I never bit on the Imagine or E2.

    ProvoCraft really did turn me off when they were aggressive against MTC, SCAL and Fairy Cut, the software programs that would enable us to enjoy and use our Cricuts with SVGs. I intentionally never upgraded my software so I can still use my Cricut to cut SVGs and design my own cuts. I haven't checked out Cricut Craft Room, because in April, I got a Silhouette Cameo and am IN LOVE.

    If the Cricut Circle gave you something of VALUE, I would join. BUT they have taken away the magazine, the blog, the meet-ups, and will be taking away the private message board. They've laid off talented staff. The "exclusive cartridge" is no more exclusive than any of their others. What would be OF VALUE to me would be an exclusive HOTLINE to troubleshoot or to get customer service -- sort of like moving to the head of the queue if you have a ride pass at Disney.

    For me, I'd suggest taking the $80 for Cricut Circle membership and upgrading the Silhouette software and buying a subscription to its cuts. The latter is currently ON SALE for new subscriptions. The GREAT thing about Silhouette image subscriptons is that it's only $10/month and for that you get 25 images that are normally $1 each. If you don't use your month's allotment, it rolls over to the next. You can build quite a nest egg there in credits if you're enjoying your other cuts, so you don't feel pressured to buy some. And the Silhouette with its Designer Studio software is SO EASY to use that that's where I'll spend my money!

    Sorry to blather on so long. I always enjoy your posts!

    Ellen ♥ CardMonkey
    E-mail: cardmonkey@comcast.net

  17. I , (your neighbor) also declined the New circle , I loved the old circle with quarterly cartridges and the MB, but the value seemed to go down, the free messageboard is enough for me ....besides I need to do more cutting and less messageboard lurking lol. I didn't really care for the Something to Remember cartridge. I think alot of people are using their points ( as there hasn't been too much to buy at provocraft with them) I hope Provocraft is up to something good as I have been debating on a silhouette purchase. I did try the Ecraft machine but sent it back.

  18. I purchased the new circle after being a member for a year with my 3000 points since I didn't see that any better rewards were going to be added. I am disappointed that some of the benefits have been taken away and it made me feel good that I worked towards something, saved my money, and was apart of something a little bit exclusive.

    I have LOVED the CCR and have NO issues with my Cricut Imagine. I am so tired of the hatred towards ProvoCraft - yes, they want your $$$ - they are a FOR PROFIT COMPANY!! just like Silhouette, etc. They want you to buy things just like EVERY other crafting company out there. They don't do these things for free - they do them to make money. It's a business honey!

    As for never buying things from cricut.com is crap. I have gotten way better deals for cartridges on the site than I have ever gotten at JoAnn etc b/c half the time the don't carry the cartridges that I want. Yes - I am very careful and buy when they have great specials.

    I love all my Cricuts machines (4 of them now) - especially the Imagine which is AMAZING!! No problems and works 100% of the time.

    I am not just a Cricut user - I also have an eCraft which I absolutely adore as well and use it so I can also get the SVGs, etc that are out there. I doubt that I am going to go with the Cameo because I've heard just as many complaints about it as I've heard on the Cricut - but knowing that I've never had a problem with any Provocraft device - it's hard to tell if people have unrealistic expectations.

    I know that nothing is perfect and that no company is perfect - but people who complain about all ProvoCraft wants is your $$$ - well yes. That's true. It's called capitalism. It's called a business.


  19. I do not use the Cricut Craft Room at all. I did not need to spend weeks of frustration trying to learn another program that does not come with directions. I also think the prices for the cuts/cartridges are way too expensive. They are really attractive, but now worth all of that money. I think Cricut is out of touch with the customers at thispoint.


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