Saturday, April 28, 2012

NEW Cricut Expression Guide! (By Cathie Rigby, Gibbs Smith Publisher) PLUS! FREE DOWNLOAD!

I was very lucky to recently review a guide for the Cricut Expression (and Expression 2), written by Cathie Rigby (Gibbs Smith Publisher). 

Upon receiving this hefty guide in the mail, I was immediately struck by its attractive design (even the text is cute!). But how practical is it? Is it worth purchasing? See below! 

The guide is clearly designed to offer in-depth instructions and support for new Cricut users. For those of you who bought the machine, stared intimidatingly at the parts in the box, stumbled through the manufacturer’s guide and asked yourself, ‘How and where do I begin?’ – this guide is for you! (It’s also meant to help skilled Cricut users get the most of their machines, utilizing all of the features it has to offer!)

I really wish the manufacturer’s guide came with an introductory section as in-depth as this. Rigby includes a lot of personal advice about purchasing cartridges and materials, as well as helpful tips for operating the machine. She has sections called “The Cricut Way” and “Cricut Handbook Strategies” to help users get comfortable with the machine and prevent new-user frustration.

To give new users a wide variety of ideas, Rigby has compiled projects from real users for everything from paper cards to fabric banners. What I love about the projects is that they look complex but are actually easy to complete! The instructions are easy to read and follow, with lots of step-by-step pictures:

(Pictures from the project "Smile Banner")

First, each project lists all necessary materials:

Next, you’ll find a handy matrix listing all of the die-cut cartridge pieces required in full detail:

In sum: The introductory sections of the book are, by far, the most helpful. The rest of the book features amazing project ideas, which are helpful for new-users (and comfortable users looking to spice up their skills!). You can also generate a lot of inspiration from the featured ideas, customizing them to meet your creative needs. But once you’ve experimented with the projects and become comfortable with the machine, those beginning chapters are going to serve as “refresher courses.” With any guide like this, the timeline of usefulness will have an end. You will outgrow it. However, it will give you the solid foundation to ensure you use your machine for a long time! 

If you’ve purchased a Cricut Expression or Expression 2 and don’t have the time to surf blogs for tips and ideas, this book is a quick and easy resource for you! At a retail price of $19.99, it’s a solid investment for new users, or those feeling like they need to add some variety to their Cricut crafting!

Find out more by visiting Gibbs Smith Publisher! (Test it out by downloading four projects (PDF) for FREE!)

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