Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Things I Want You to Know about the Cricut Explore, HSN Airings and a Giveaway!

I'm baaaccckkk!!! Tomorrow (3/13) on HSN I will make my debut as the new Cricut Explore on-air spokesperson!  I am on at approximately 7:40am and 2:40pm Eastern time (check my Facebook page throughout the day for any time changes). I am over the moon excited (and - I'll admit - a smidge nervous) and have spent the past two weeks getting a crash course on this fabulous new machine and all it can do.  I can't wait to show you!


I know so many of you have questions - I appreciate the feedback and suggestions you've shared on my Facebook Page and Instagram.  I plan to demo my little heart out on air - but I know I won't even begin to scratch the surface.  So I've compiled a top ten questions/things I think are cool/myth busting list that hopefully gives you some answers.  Please feel free to ask more questions here if you have them and I will get back to you each individually!

1.     How hard is it to set up the Explore?

It is as easy as 1...2...3.  Literally.  When you open the machine there is a sticker on the inside lid that walks you through the three-step process. Below are two videos - one for mac, one for PC - that will also walk you through the process if you have any questions (or if you want to take a look prior to buying to see for yourself)!

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2.    I own a lot of cartridges.  Will I be able to use them with the Explore? 

Yes! If your cartridges are already linked in Cricut Craft Room (CCR) they will automatically upload to the Design Space software when you set up your Explore.  If you have an older Cricut and have never linked your cartridges before (like me) it is VERY easy to link them.  There is a cartridge portal on the front left of the machine.  You simply insert the cartridge, click on "link cartridge" and the machine does the rest.  You will be able to find the images individually (by typing in heart, or butterfly, etc) and by cartridge name. After you link to Design Space you can still use your cartridges on your other machines and in CCR. Here is a video that shows you the process.

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3.     What fonts are available?  Can I use my own and do I have to pay to use them?

You can use any font on your computer!  You know - the kind you can download for FREE on the internet!  Once you download them to your system fonts on your computer they will automatically upload to Design Space - no manual adding each font! For those of us who are font junkies this is HUGE. In addition, if you have font cartridges you can link those to Design Space (see #2 above), and if you choose a subscription to Design Space you will also have access to 200+ Cricut fonts.

4.     Can I used SVGs I've purchased/downloaded elsewhere?  Do I have to pay to use them?

Yes you can, and no you don't!  You can use any jpg, bmp, gif, svg, dxf and png files FOR FREE.  Cricut has provided two videos that show you how to upload various types of files - basic image upload and vector upload.

5.     Do I have to have a subscription to use Explore?

Nope! The Design Space software is free with the machine.  You can use your own fonts, other SVGs, etc to your heart's content, and if you see an image you like in the Design Space library you can purchase them individually for .99 each.  If you want to try a subscription you can purchase a $9.99/month subscription that gives you unlimited access to over 25,000 images (and no commitment!) or get an entire year for $99.99.

6.     What is the difference between this and the Silhouette?

These are the biggest differences I've discovered between the two machines.  Let me know if I've missed anything!

When you want to cut different materials on the Silhouette you have to replace the housing and make manual adjustments.  The Explore has a Smart Set Dial that has dozens of different materials already pre-set in the machine.  All you do is turn the dial!


The Explore software is free with the machine, and upgrades are free (and automatic).  No long wait times for downloads and no "upgrade" purchases required.

The Explore is internet based - all of your information is stored on a cloud.  This means you can have access from any computer and if (God forbid) your computer crashes - you don't lose anything!

On the Explore you can design/play with an image BEFORE you buy it (and decide if you like it).  You don't pay until you click "cut".  The Silhouette requires you to pay for the image before you are allowed to use it in the software.

You can cut your own SVGs on the Explore for free.  The Silhouette requires a $49.99 software purchase to cut your own SVGs.

The Explore has two clamps (one for the blade, one for a pen or scoring stylus) so you can draw & cut or scor & cut in one pass.  On the Silhouette you have to swap out the blade and pen if you want to use the draw & cut feature.

The basic yearly subscription for Silhouette is $113.89 and allows you to use/download 25 images per month (which comes out to about .38 per image).  The Explore yearly subscription is $99.99 and allows you unlimited access to over 25,000 images (which comes out to .004 per image).

On the Silhouette when you use layered images you have to ungroup the image, separate out the layers, then cut the different layers/colors separately. On the Explore the image layers are automatically divided by color and you can simply begin cutting.

7.     The machine looks different.  Besides the software is the Explore different from the older Cricut machines? 

There are a few added "bells and whistles" that I love about this new machine! It is SO much quieter than the older machines, the Smart Set Dial (mentioned in #6) is so useful, there is storage in the lid for all of your tools and blades, there is a cup on the left of the machine for your pens, scoring stylus and tools, and the Explore is raised off the ground so you can fit your mats underneath.


8.     What can I cut with the Explore?

What CAN'T you cut??  This is just a sampling of the materials you can cut.  Imagine the possibilities! (* needs stabilizer)

parchment
construction paper
canvas
foil
mulberry paper
vellum
washi tape
vinyl
transparency
chalkboard vinyl
burlap*
iron-on material
window cling
polyester
denim*
leather
cork board
chipboard
stencil material
glitter paper
duck tape
silk*
flocked paper
fabric*
poster board
felt
aluminum metal
magnet
craft foam
acetate
birch wood

9.     I'm not very technologically savvy.  How hard is the software to learn? 

Don’t be afraid of the software!  I am not at ALL technologically savvy (so had the same concerns) - but from set up (the 1-2-3 I mentioned earlier) through the Make It Now projects through using your own fonts and more - I have found it very easy to use. There are also a TON of very helpful videos on the Cricut YouTube channel and if you want to talk to a real person the Customer Service team is AWESOME.

10.  What is the difference between draw/write & cut, print & cut and print then cut?  Which of those things does the Explore do?

draw/write & cut refers to a machine that allows you to draw/write and cut an image.  Explore not only has that ability - it can be done in one pass because there is a separate clamp for a pen.  You don't have to swap out the pen and the blade!

print & cut refers to a machine that has a print head and a cutting blade so you can print out an image and cut it.  The Explore does not have this ability.

print then cut refers to a machine that can "read" an image printed elsewhere (like a home printer) and then cut it using marks that the machine understands.  This will be available for the Explore in the second half of 2014.

I hope you guys will tune in tomorrow - but while you are waiting how about a giveaway?  Please leave a comment here and one lucky winner will receive a box of goodies including the Cricut Tools Basic Set, Cricut Color Metallic Pen Set, and Cricut Vinyl Sampler.  I'll announce the winner on my Facebook Page on Friday!  See you on HSN!

172 comments:

  1. WOW! First commenter!!! Is there a prize for that???LOL! Great review, Beth ~ I'll be watching tomorrow morning!

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  2. Oh you know I love a good giveaway!! Time to sell the competition and buy me THIS!! Thanks for the chance to win!!!

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  3. I am going to be "stuck" at home tomorrow due to a huge snowstorm! So I will be tuning in for sure! Like the looks of this new "cricut"

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  4. Someday I will get to see the new machine up close, But in the meantime Thanks for all your reviews on it.

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  5. This is a GREAT looking machine and is actually making me look at cricut a bit differently.

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  6. I am trying to save so I can purchase the Cricut Explore on HSN and I can't wait to watch you tomorrow and see everything this machine can do :)

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  7. Thid sounds so cool snd I look forwsrd to watching you 2maro! I am ashamed to admit I have c2 and have never Used it :-/ But thu s seems so much easier. Can't wait for you to show ys all the good stuff

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  8. Just got my Explore yesterday. I've only made the sample card but love the way it cuts so far.

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  9. This new Cricut sounds AWESOME! Sapphiregyrl@hotmail.com

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  10. I am excited to see it in action. I will have to tune in.

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  11. I would love to have this machine.

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  12. what a great machine!~thanks for all the info :)

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  13. The Explore is fabulous!! I got it at launch and really have been playing with it this week. It is so fun and easy to use!! I'll watch what I can of your demos though :) Thanks for the chance to win!

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  14. thanks for the chance to win...cant wait until tomorrow

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  15. Still watching and look forward to seeing you on HSN!!

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  16. thanks for the chance...cant wait until tomorrow

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  17. Can't wait to watch you on air Beth!

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  18. Hooray!!!!
    Can't wait! I have to work when you are on, but I set my tv to record last week! Don't want to miss one minute! I end up buy the things you sell every time! You just have a way of MAKING me have to have it!
    Oh, I can't live without it! She said so!!
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you!!!

    LeAnn

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    1. hee hee! thanks so much LeAnn - you made my day!! :)

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  19. Love, love, love my Explore! There was a lot of thought put into this machine! Easy peasy setup and the software is not difficult to learn. Am looking forward to the print and cut function and, hopefully, the scan and cut function!!

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  20. Wow! How am I just hearing about this awesome machine? I can't wait to see it in action!

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  22. I was so sure I didn't need this machine, now you are changing my mind. I will be watching you to see everything it can do. Thanks for a chance to win.

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  23. I'm here! Watching and waiting.

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  24. Can't wait to see you on HSN tomorrow. Oh and the cricut too!!!

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  25. Super article above. Thanks for opportunity to win another awesome Beth prize pack!

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  26. So excited for you! Always look forward to seeing you on air!

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  27. This new Cricut sounds amazing! I can't wait to watch you tomorrow to see it in action!

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  28. Wow, just when I thought I didn't need another Cricut, you've got me reconsidering. The Explore sounds great! Thank you Beth :)

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  29. Thank you. There has already been so much misinformation about this machine. I am happy you clarified a lot of issues for me. The debut show left me with a lot of questions and I own one of all the cricut except the create and now the explore. I just needed more info. Thank you again for the above article.

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    1. you are so welcome KJ - glad it helped!

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  30. Been thinking about updating to the Explore so I'm definitely gonna be watching you tomorrow!! Can't wait to see how easy this is!!

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  31. Can't wait to see you on air tomorrow!!! Good Luck can't wait to see more of what this machine can do:) loves-Madge

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  32. Mega congratulations, Beth. You will be fantabulous!

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  33. Yeah! I am so glad that Provo Craft has come out with a Cricut that connects to the computer! I've been waiting for this! Now, to put it on my wishlist for my birthday!

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  34. I am super excited! And knowing I can use my iPad soon with this marvel...priceless!

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  35. I've had mine almost a week and it's so much fun! Can't wait to see you show it on HSN, you're my favorite spokesperson. You've sold me lots of stuff I didn't even know I needed but I'm always glad to have... :-)

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    1. thanks so much Wendy! I'm happy to be an enabler! :)

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  36. Going to have to set the DVR as I will be unavailable to watch live at those times.

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  37. Sounds amazing. Thanks for comparing the two for us.

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  38. Super excited...cant wait to get mine! :)

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    1. Congratulations Heather! You are the winner of the giveaway! I'm going to post your name on my FB page in just a second - if you will shoot me a PM over there I'll get it all boxed up and out the door to you. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonBeth
      Enjoy!

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  39. Wow! It sounds a like a worthwhile investment and very easy to use. I wish I had the money to invest in one right now.

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  40. OMG!!!! I just took over my daughters bedroom to have an entire room for scrapping and crafting. I use my expression nearly everyday and would love to have a chance to win this. I will tune in early tomorrow to watch and learn. thanks.

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  41. OH, for Nice, That would be so """"AWESOME""""" to WIN,
    I LOVE making cards and being Crafty~~~~~

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  42. Can't wait! I love watching you. I thought I was the only one who got excited over adhesives.

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  43. I'll be watching! Thanks for a great giveaway.

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  44. I'll be watching- it's just a matter of time before I buy the Explore!

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  45. Wow this looks really cool. I would love to own one. Thank you so much for the chance.

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  46. I really want one but my washing machine had other ideas. Soon I hope. Thank you for the review!

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  47. Great giveaway, and exciting new Cricut. Can't wait to hear more about it. Thanks!

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  48. Why did I read this?! The Explore is now on the top of my wishlist!

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  49. I would love to watch but I don't have cable.

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    1. I believe you can watch live from HSN.com - here is a link for you! http://www.hsn.com/watch/live

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  50. I love it! Can't wait to play...good luck tomorrow! I know you'll d I great!

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  51. I love my explore. I hope you enjoy your guest spot on HSN Have fun

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  52. I would love to try this new machine - I have the old one that I use a lot. I'll be saving my pennies for this new one!

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  53. Will be watching! Would love to win!

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  54. O.K. This sounds like a machine I could handle.You are really making me look into this cool tool!!

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  55. I am so excited to see the demonstration of the new machine. I just ordered the Expression 2 but may return it for this upgrade.

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  56. Oh I can't wait to watch tomorrow! I got an Explore when it launched and I found it relatively easy to set up and get in the groove...I am not tech savvy so have not even begun to use my machine to its fullest....always eager to watch others for tips and tricks! Go Beth!

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  57. Love that picture of you Beth! To think I can say I know the new Cricut Explore on air spokesperson! I am honored...and you really deserve it. You are so personable and give so much to others. Best of Luck to you as you continue on your way up! Great news!

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    1. You are the best Connie!! Thank you so much my friend!!

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  58. sounds like a very versatile machine! Thanks for all the info... to tempt me! Fun pic with you and the Cricut Explore!

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  59. Love the explore. I'm sure you will do a much better job presenting it then the first presenter on launch day.

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  60. wow how awesome is this machine she looks pretty lol, I can't wait to see you on HSN I will be tapping it as well, I love to go back and watch for the awesome ideas you always give to share. I would love to be the lucky winner of this baby girl, oh I can dream right ok well have a great time on the air and I can;t wait to watch
    Hugs
    Debbie
    it was so nice to be co-hopping with your, I'm from MKC :)

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  61. Id love to have an Explore, swoon!

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  62. this machine is awesome and would love to have one and I like the new things it can do and all it can do, thanks for the giveaway.

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  63. Looks good!! I'll be watching you tomorrow.

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  64. You will be great tomorrow! I have the DVR set because I'll be at work but maybe I can watch online. :-) Thanks for rounding up the answers to many questions. Fantastic giveaway!

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  65. I am always hunting for new items on HSN. Look forward to finding out more about the Cricut!

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  66. You will do fantastic on HSN tomorrow. I can't wait to watch and thanks so much for the chance to win this super giveaway! I want to have this machine!

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  67. your information is GREAT and such a nice job - you really did your home work - you are doing hsn and provo craft a real honor for the explorer!!! this got missed on the first showing so many of us are so excited about tomorrow!!!! Congratulations to you - ProvoCraft and HSN

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  68. Thanks for being you & getting the information on the machine out! It is sounding like a great piece of equipment! Looking forward to your demos! You will rock & show us great demos on what this Explrer can do! Thanks! I will tune in!

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  69. Thanks for the info, Beth. I think this machine sounds promising. I'll be looking forward to your demos. Thanks also for a chance to win some goodies!

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  70. Thanks for the info and good luck on the show!!

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  71. I can't wait to play with this machine. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  72. So exciting-- can't wait to tune in!!

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  73. I love my Cricut Expression machine. It would be great to use the fonts I have on my computer!

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  74. I will have to 'watch' from my computer. My cable provider doesn't have HSN available to me. :(

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  75. looks great, can wait to see it in person.

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  76. Great review! I am still trying to set up the program on my computer and my Explore arrived today. Cant seem to figure it out and I'm even watching the Youtube video on setting it up on a Mac. Hope I can figure it out really soon!

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    1. Stacie if you are still having trouble I'd give Cricut Customer Service a ring. I had a weird issue with mine and they were actually able to log in remotely to my computer and fix the issue - it was my computer that was the problem! ;)

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  77. I'm excited to watch your magic with the Cricut Explore!

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  78. I will looking forward to your presentations tomorrow on the Explore. Very excited.

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  79. I have so many cricuts. How can I justify another one? Oh, they made another one guess that's all I need

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  80. Wow, I might have to have this one!

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  81. Looking forward to seeing your presentation of the Cricut Explore this morning! Loved reading your blog post!

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  82. Yay!!! I'm super excited about this machine. Can't wait to test it out.

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  83. Yay!!! I'm super excited about this machine. Can't wait to test it out.

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  84. WOW!! How super exciting!! I just got my first Cricut and I am learning the ends and outs of it boy now I am wishing I would have waited!! LOL!!! OH WELL Save up more money and buy this one too LOL!!

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  85. Thank you for the detailed tutorial. I am Sold!!!

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  86. Ordered the Explore at launch and expect it in two weeks! Can't wait! Have had the original Cricut then upgraded to the Expression and use it all the time, but expect even more crafting with the Explore! Hope I win the Giveaway!!! Whoo Hoo!

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  87. The Explore sounds like tons of fun - I'd better start rearranging my craft room now !!

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  88. Fantastic article! You really spelled out my favorite things too! Can't wait to see you on HSN this afternoon!

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  89. Wow! How exciting. Thanks for sharing the details here. I hope to catch you on hsn too. I don't have a Facebook acct, so I hope you announce the winner through email or here as well. Thank you.

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  90. I love your picture of you hugging your explorer. The expression on your face says it all. That is how I feel about mine and i'm sure so does everyone else. I can't wait to see you again at 2:40. Thank you Beth for this opportunity.

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  91. Saw the HSN sho this am. I was a little confused with the ship dates, HSN online said March, then all of sudden its not until May, the way they talked this AM, they had them in stock.

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    1. So sorry for the confusion Linda! Here is the link to the bundle I have on air today - it says the ship date will be "on or around 5/19". They have the accessories back in stock (the vinyl packs, the pens, etc) but the machines are a pre-order. Hope that helps! http://www.hsn.com/products/cricut-explore-die-cutting-machine-w50-digital-card/7390931

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  92. Well Beth, I believe Hsn finally got a gem with you as Demonstrator/host.....Oh Boy, You have a way of explaining with the down to earth craft -hands-on knowledge- style....After Anna Griffin( sorry, still my #1 gal)u give the Explore the spotlight it deserves...sooo.... BREAK A LEG....we'll be there for you ...

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    1. Thanks so much Betty - I will be #2 to Anna any time! ;)

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  93. I love the cricut products, we have all the machines except this one. We use them pretty much everyday. Your info is so helpful and easy to follow. Thanks so much.

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  94. I watched this morning and will be watching again this afternoon; can't wait until my Explore gets here!

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  95. The machine sounds awesome. So many different options I'm still trying to figure out the ins and outs of my circuit. I like that cartiages are still usable.

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  96. What a great giveaway. Will be watching on HSN!!!

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  97. Thanks for the great information and for the chance to win.

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  98. Missed the first show. Can't wait to see the next show. You are a great host. Thanks for the opportunity to learn from you.

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  99. Thank you so much for this post. I have had a hard time finding the answers to all of my questions about the Explore. I wish I had found your blig sooner.

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  100. Thank you so much! Love watching you and can't wait to watch you play with the machine. I have mine and can not get enough!!!! It is everything and more. Thanks for a great giveaway!!!

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  101. I am so excited that Cricut has a machine that can cut using random files and fonts. Glad I waited and didn't buy one of those other machines!

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  102. <3 Cricut, thanks for all the great options!~

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  103. I'm off to go check my hsn listing. I noticed the explore & markers were back on hsn last night. Now I know why! Can't wait to see. I have my explore already, but I can't wait to see what you do with it! I LOVE mine!
    ~Margo

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  104. Thank you for all the info on this newbie. its sounds like a winner to me and so much fun to use too. i will have to wait to get one. but i am starting to save for it now. Hugs

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  105. Wow thanks for the great explanation!

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  106. I already have my explore but I will watch to see your demo! Thanks for the opportunity to win a goodie!

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  107. THANK YOU so much for breaking it down for us!! The Explore sounds like a true DREAM MACHINE!!!! Can't wait to see your demo!! Thanks again! :-D

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  108. Thank you for explaining the new Explore. I'm excited.

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  109. Maybe one of these days I will get one of these to use.

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  110. I am very excited to use the Cricut Explore......:)

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  111. Woo hoo! So excited about its new capabilities... and the endless possibilities! Thanks for the post! And I'll be watching this afternoon!! :D

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  112. Thanks for all the information. I always enjoy seeing you on HSN.

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  113. Thank you for answering a few questions for us. I am sure there are many more that everyone wants to know. Also thank you for the chance to win this prize!
    Sandra

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  114. HURRAY for you Beth!!! Thanks for the differences between the Silhouette and the Explore! Super helpful!

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  115. All this information is great!!!!! Thanks for sharing. I don't have the Explorer just yet but hopefully will get it in the next coming months. Maybe i'll ask for it for my Birthday!!!! :)

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  116. Oh this is sounding so
    good! I'm leaning toward
    getting one, thanks for
    all the info.
    Carla from Uah

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  117. Can't wait to see it in action! And the info was great!!!

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  118. Thank you Beth. I'm going to watch, record the presentation so I can watch it over and over. I'm also home from work today. Whoo hoo!

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  119. Can't wait to hear about the Cricut Explore and now I'm glad I didn't give in to the pressure from friends to get the silhouette. I love my cricuts and this sounds like the addition I need to complete my needs.

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  120. Thank you for the valuable information.

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  121. thanks for the great information on the new Explore. Sounds like a fantastic machine. Have fun on HSN.

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  122. Great summary of the features of this machine - I got mine last month on the HSN launch and love it! I hope you have a great time showing off all that this machine can do on HSN. I would love to win the goodie box - thanks for the chance!

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  123. Thank you Beth for answering so many questions so very we'll. looking forward to HSN airing. Excited about working on the EXPLORE

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  124. Wow! This is so exciting. Love, love, love Cricut!

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  125. It's almost 2:40! I am waiting to watch you on HSN!!! can't wait to see what you are going to show us about the new Cricut machine!!! Thanks!

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  126. The more reviews I read, the more tempted I am by the Explore! I'll be bookmarking this so the videos are handy and sharing with my boyfriend so he can see how much I really need the new Explore because of all the new features. I do have a birthday soon.. ;)

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  127. I just got mine and haven't played with it yet, but we had a girls' weekend and 2 of them brought theirs. The machine is awesome and pretty easy to use. It's nice to get together in a group to be able to brainstorm all the new features.

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  128. This new Cricut sounds AWESOME!.. Looks like it will cut just about anything. Good Luck to all

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  129. I like to watch you. You are very good at what you do. You make it fun to watch.

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  130. Wish I had been home to watch! Hope to get one of these soon!

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  131. Wish I had been home to watch! Hope to get one of these soon!

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  132. It looks like so much fun! Have always wanted to try one! Good Luck everyone

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  133. Would Love to win ! Been trying to get my hands on the tool kit, got my Explore on Tues ! Love It ! Thanks for the chance !

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  134. I enjoyed watching you on the show today. My Explore should be here tomorrow - can't wait to play!

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  135. You did a great job demoing this Machine. The Explore looks pretty awesome. How nice of you to offer this prize. Keep up your craft-enabling!

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  136. I am looking forward to getting one! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  137. love a giveaway and love cricut ... 2 great things that go together

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  139. Great presentation and article. Your personality is so contagious. You make me want to go play with paper and glue.

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  140. This is a really great machine. I love how you demoed it today on HSN
    Stacy

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  141. You answered most of my questions. I got my Explore on Wednesday and love what I cut so far. Looking forward to more creativity.

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  142. Great answers to the many questions. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Gerry

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  143. Can't wait to see your demo tomorrow! Sounds awesome!

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  144. Can't wait to see your demo tomorrow! Sounds awesome!

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  145. Can't wait to see your demo tomorrow! Sounds awesome!

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  146. I am patiently waiting for my machine to arrive but I have been reading all I can about it and watching videos. This is so exciting! This is my first cricut ever! Thank you so much for all your knowledge.

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  147. Thanks for all the important info. Will still be wanting to learn more.

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  148. Looks like a fun machine to have around!

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  149. Mine should be coming any day now!

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