Friday, December 31, 2010

More Spending In the Interim

As I sit at home still waiting for the arrival of my Walmart gift card so that I can order my Cricut Expression, I have been spending my time searching for the other materials I'll need to begin cutting and layering from the get go!  I've been doing a lot of research online for best prices, and I've even asked some questions on the Cricut message board so that I could get responses from those who have experience.

Anyway, one question I asked was about cardstock.  I knew that I liked the brand Die Cuts With a View (DCWV).  However, that stuff can get rather expensive!  I looked at prices everywhere and didn't want to spend that much on packs of 58 sheets of 12x12 when there were other options.  I asked about Wausau Paper, which I found for much cheaper on Amazon.  Thankfully, many other members of the Cricut board use it and love it!  I was so happy to hear that.  I also got a suggestion to check out Oriental Trading Company, which also has scrapbooking supplies (who knew!?).  I'm down to those two options at this point.

Well, after reading more threads, I saw that someone posted that there was a paper sale at JoAnn's!  I immediately wanted to go there instead after looking at the website that had 12x12 paper stacks for only $9.99!!!  Um, Mom?  Can we go now?  Thankfully, my mom had to go to Kohl's to return the gift I bought for my dad (that's a whole other story in itself!).  JoAnn's is in the same area, so off we went!

I found the paper section and stood there for what seemed like ages trying to pick out which prints I liked the most.  My cell phone was in my hand so that I could find out how much it cost per sheet depending on the stack (some had 58 sheets, some had 100, some had 150, etc).  It's a good thing that my mom doesn't get  impatient with me when I try to make decisions like this!  I know I could've bought and spent a good $50, but I limited myself to just two packs with the most paper in them.  One of them was a DCWV value pack because it has 102 solid sheets of paper.  The colors on the package are not those that are actually found inside, which can be slightly deceiving if you were to buy this online!  There are actually fewer color choices inside, but it's okay.  I just need some solid colors.

I also bought a stack of patterned paper that was also DCWV!  It's Stack 7 with different patterns that can be used for cutting or layering on the cards.  This one has 180 sheets, so it'll last me a while.  I think this is actually on Oriental Trading Company for $18.99, so I'm excited to have bought it for only $9.99!  What a deal!

I'm so glad that I stalked the Cricut board!  I'm going to have to add JoAnn's to my list of websites that I check for deals.  I already check Michael's and AC Moore, but if JoAnn's has better prices, I'm going to have to be making it over to that area more often.

Here's a picture of a paper box I bought at Michael's when it was the deal of the day before Christmas.  I forgot how much I paid for it; it might've been $6?

As you can see, it's filled with different sizes of paper, which will come in handy when I just need to cut a small layer for an image.  It might also be easier to start with these pieces (there are much bigger pieces underneath) when I first get my Cricut because it won't be like starting a huge sheet of paper when I'm doing some trial and error things in the beginning.

After our stop at JoAnn's, my mom asked if I wanted to go to the Michaels in that area.  We haven't been there in so long because there's a newer one by the mall that's closer to our house and much cleaner.  I needed thank you cards to write to my students for their Christmas gifts, so I said yes.

Even though this place is much older and not as neat, it actually has a lot more stuff in some areas.  That's probably because not many people make it over there!  Remember in the previous post when I said that there weren't many sale $19.99 Cricut cartridges?  They had a TON here!  Really, they had a TON!  Too bad I didn't have my camera on me or I would've taken a picture!  This is something I should keep in mind because I read on the board that during the week of January 9th, those sale cartridges are dropping to $10.  If that's the case, I can get the Pooh font because look at the cute images that come with it ...

Anyway, I found the cards I needed at Michaels, and then I began looking in the aisles.  I found the Zig two-way glue pens that many people use to layer the teeny-tiny pieces!  Since there wasn't anything else that mom and I needed, we each bought one using the 50% coupon.  It doesn't cost that much to begin with, but why not save $2 if we can!  So in actuality, I was able to buy 2 pens for the price of 1 so yay for that!

I bought the chisel tip pen even though the fine tip might be easier to work with because the chisel tip came with 3 more grams of glue!  Haha, I don't know why I looked at the grams and not the ounces, but that's what I did!  And they both cost the same thing at the store, so why not get the one with more?  I'll deal with the chisel tip to get more glue.

One last thing ... as I was reading the board last night, I came across a thread that has people putting a spending ban on themselves for the year of 2011 or at least for the first few months of it.  They made conditions for themselves (ex. can't buy any more cartridges, can only buy adhesives, etc.) and wrote about it on the thread so that they could keep each other accountable.  I can definitely see why that's needed because I've been getting sucked into this desire to spend and buy!  Hopefully, I won't turn into one of those big spenders (haha, although some of you may think I'm spending a lot right now ...) and that I'll use the machine often to get a lot of use from it!  I already have plans to make bookmarks for my students at the end of the year or for the beginning of the new school year as well as make a ton of cards to sell at the next church bake sale for the Lottie Moon Mission Fund.  Mom said that Hallmark cards sell for a LOT these days, so my cards should be able to make a lot as well because they're handmade and can be more complex than Hallmark cards!

Okay, I'm STILL waiting for that gift card!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quest for A Cricut!

About two weeks ago, my mom told me to check out one of the circulars on the stack of newspapers in the kitchen.  Since I was there, I pulled out the Michaels circular.  Well, that turned out to be a somewhat bad idea (bad as in financially bad) because I ended up seeing that they were having the Cricut on sale for $80!  It's a huge drop in price, and I suddenly decided that it was the perfect opportunity to buy one!

In the past, I've looked at the Cricut many times, but I couldn't justify the cost.  I've been a stamper and greeting card maker since I was a kid (maybe 7?), and I've built up quite a collection of those materials.  That's why I figured it wasn't worth getting a Cricut.  And the thing is, it's not just the machine that costs an arm and a leg.  The cartridges themselves cost your other arm and leg!  They range from $80-90, and I used to wonder why people would give up so much of their money for just ONE cartridge when there were so many from which to choose.  Well, apparently I'm now willing to spend on the machine and the cartridges that frequently go on sale.  It'll be difficult making the actual crafts without my arms and legs though ...

On that Saturday, I headed to Michaels with Howard.  We looked at the Cricut machines that were there.  The original Cricut wasn't actually at the store.  I don't know if they were sold out or what, but Howard asked why I was specifically looking at that one.  It was the cheapest one, of course, so that's why I could understand spending that much money.  Well, the Cricut Create (next size) and the Cricut Expression (the largest size) were there.  Standing in the aisle and discussing the options was interesting!  Howard really has so much patience with me; he could have easily told me not to spend that much in the first place, haha.  Well, the final decision was that I'd buy the Cricut Expression.  Wait, what?  Being willing to spend $80 to all of a sudden being willing to spend $250???  Haha, how did that happen?

Something was keeping me from making the purchase that day though.  I didn't do enough research, and I was afraid that there'd be better prices on HSN (Home Shopping Network) since I watched those infomercials in the morning.  We left empty-handed.

Back at home, I started searching on HSN and was happy I waited.  There were bundles that had cuter cartridges and more tools to use while Cricut-ing.  But again, I wasn't ready to just order it.

At night when I was by myself, I started doing more Cricut research.  I was reading reviews and someone had made a comment that said that she got her Cricut by using Amazon gift cards that she got from her credit card reward points!  What a great idea!  I check out Thank You Rewards, but there were no Amazon ones.  However, there was an option for Walmart gift cards!  I was super excited because the Walmart Expressions were $175 with 2 cartridges that are better than all the other sets and the option to add on the tools for much less than buying them on their own.  I just had to ask a question on the Cricut messageboard about whether or not the quality of the machine is as good as the regular machines.  I got confirmation that they were exactly the same; they're just in COLOR!  Yes!!!  No boring white machine for this girl; I have a choice between canary, plum, aqua, and green!

Okay, so it was set.  I knew I was going to get an Expression from Walmart using gift cards from my credit card points.  However, after a bit more research, I discovered that I could only use 4 gift cards on one order!  Oh no!  That would be 4 cards at $25 each, which would mean I'd have to pay $75 of my own money.  It's not that it was that much, but since I had the points, I just saw it as a waste.  Well, I found out that there's a Your Wish Fulfilled option for TY Rewards, so I sent in a message and asked if I could have gift cards in a $50 or $100 denomination instead since I think in the past, they always had $25, $50, and $100 as your choice.  I got a response a day later, and they said it was a-okay because those cards could come in any denomination.  Well, since I knew they came in any denomination, I asked if I could just get a $200 card or 2 of the $100, and pretty soon, I had a reply that that was a-okay as well!  I replied to that email and requested that they send that $200 gift card to me!  Woohoo!

Right now, I'm impatiently waiting for the gift card to arrive (it takes 7-10 days) so that I can order.  I was hoping to get the card and order the machine this week so that I could pick it up at the Walmart store in NJ with free site-to-store shipping.  That doesn't mean that I can't start stocking up on cartridges though!

Two or three weeks ago when Michaels was having a sale for $20 cartridges, I hopped on by and found only one that I liked: (1) Locker Talk.  I was really excited that I at least got one of them and that it was school-related!  I feel I can use my being a teacher as a reason to have it since I could use it for school things.  Then for Christmas, my mom bought me another cartridge that she was able to find at Michaels for $20: (2) Paisley.  Is it funny that I already have 2 cartridges in my possession when I don't yet even have the actual Cricut?

If you think that's funny, you probably shouldn't read this next part as I say I just placed an order with Crafts Direct for a few more cartridges because they were having a $20 sale!  Yup, that site and another site, Hallmark Scrapbooking (I'll be ordering from them after I get a response regarding shipping) have cartridges that I REALLY want for only $20!  I can't believe something that's originally $90 could be that much less just because I was able to find these sites thanks to Robyn on  Anyway, I ordered the cartridge that will probably be my all-time favorite, which is (3) Create a Critter.  Take a look at this picture, and you'll see why!  Absolutely adorable!

Of course, I couldn't just get that because it wouldn't make sense for the cost of shipping, hehe.  I also got (4) From My Kitchen and (5) Sweethearts.  Anddd since I was ordering anyway, I got some adhesives that I'll need to make these Cricut projects.  The one thing I'm really excited about is the Scotch Pink Advanced Tape Glider with Tape (ATG gun), which was pretty much half off.  Robyn/The Pink Stamper uses that as do many other scrapbookers and card makers.  I trust their opinion and don't want to spend money on other adhesives that might not work or might jam.

So there you have it.  I'm a girl who has 2 Cricut cartridges at home and 3 Cricut cartridges on their way to my house when I don't even own a Cricut ... YET!