Welcome to MTC/SVG Monday!
Usually, I have a free Image or "Collection" for a Challenge. However, if you've ever had one of those days? well, it appears I am having one of those years! I just can't get ahead, and when I do, something goes awry in some way or another. So 2011 is going down in history as a Bad year for me. I was ahead for the rest of the year, so I could get thru our move and enjoy the summer with the kids reacquainting w/old friends and our old town. As, you may or may not know, I am still dealing with the move and the scam! On top of that my external hard drive is inaccessible, while the tech service has been very pleasant and helpful, i still can not access my files, which includes all my pictures and all my MTC/svg files finished and in those "in the works". I have been busting out some new "collections". However, I was rudely interrupted with what i thought was at first just another kidney stone but its not wish it was! Yes, kidney stones are easy for me a day or up to 3 of some pain then it passes and on to life i go and usually doesn't interrupt my life too much. However, don't know what I have. While i went to the ER yesterday and was only there for a mere 2hrs. from time i walked thru entry to exit was quick and the staff was pleasant. I still am in pain and no clue what is wrong with me, I do know its not a kidney stone, they say its not my appendix but am leary since it took almost 2yrs for them to finally take out my gallbladder, different city and doctors. But since, my accident with Dr. Daniel Davis of Simi Valley, CA of Simi Orthopedic who changed my life for the worse and have yet to get my court date 3 1/2 yrs later. I am very cautious of doctors and dislike going that much more and when they can't tell me why I am in the pain I am in, which is not normal, I am that much more discouraaged to go to yet another doctor to spend money I don't have on probably a repeat of the same crap i just went thru to probably get the same outcome, no diagnosis and no answers and looked at as if its in my head and i want the attention. (You can always check out Jill's Shoes Blog or my Videos on you tube, some are under Jill's Shoes and some under Jill thee Scrapoholic, for more info on what I am talking about). So in any case I was in bed all day yesterday trying to rest as much as I could cause it hurts to move and i am beyond exhausted. Since I normally don't sleep too well to begin with but since Sat. night I have not slept very much at all. I wasn't able to work on my files I had planned for today which is some really cool ones, I think anyways. I was and well actually still am very excited about. I can't tell you (unless your on my Design Teams you know what they are but shhh!), what it is cause honestly I don't want my "idea" to be stolen because YES I have many ideas stolen. Its a cold harsh world out there. I will try to get my file done for later this week so watch for it.
Before i go on my rant, Congrats to last weeks winner
Many have asked me why MTC vs. SCAL or even the Cricut
So here is my opinion and thoughts, I am going to be honest, as that is what I do, often gets me in trouble! I am not one who likes things to be given a "Spin" or sales pitch or lets just look at the good only and therefore I won't do that to you either.
I started out with the Cricut original baby bug, gosh what 5 or maybe 6 yrs ago. I was torn between the Pazzle and the Cricut. I went with the cricut because I was intimidated by the computer and though the Pazzle was a bigger and better machine with way more options, I wanted easy, at the time. I then upgraded to the expression about 4 yrs ago, again contemplating between the Pazzle and the Cricut Expression? shortly after it came out and the initial price dropped. I had invested lots of $$ into my cricut machine with new cartridges and getting the Cricut Design Studio. The CDS (cricut Design Studio) was good at first giving us the ability to "weld" words together and images and they upgraded a lil here and there and added on cartridges not as quickly in the beginning as they do now. It was great to see the images the newer cartriges had before buying them. It was for me my decision making of to get the cartridge or not. But as time went on, I grew bored being stuck in side the parameters of the cartridges, there were times i wanted a different "view" or "style" of a certain image that wasn't available on the cartridges. I didn't like paying $30 to $50 on font cartridges to be honest. NO, i never found those awesome deals on ebay that everyone else and their mother including my sister could find. Heck, i couldn't even get those awesome high bids on stuff i sold on ebay, except before my original identity on ebay was stolen. So, in any case then i heard of this SCAL (Sure Cuts A Lot) program, which allowed you to cut any true type font, i weighed my options did my investigating that I do before making any large investment (anything over $20 for me is large). So i purchases SCAL for somewhere around $50. I played around with it, and liked it overall but was again a bit intimidating to make my own images and not being too computer knowledgeable of some stuff, i was very intimated in what i could do. Now, there are some people who did wonderful things with the original SCAL and i was hoping to get there but had a full time job and kids and all that jazz.
Then I heard this new program called Make The Cut (MTC) and again i did my research and at the time SCAL had a new update which was $30 cost. So I weighed my options with the research and having downloaded the trial version of MTC which you can do so HERE. I fell instantly in love with it. I didn't need to use inkscape or another program to trace clipart or my own doodles with. It was an extra step i didn't have to do,i found to be worth while. Not only I could not edit as easily w/inkscape (which was what i used for SCAL to trace image). Both MTC and SCAL have both continued to improve their programs, while Provo Craft/Cricut didn't, JMHO. CDS to this day still crashs on me and freezes up my computer when it does so. I would loose all my hard work even as I saved my work in 2 (two) different folders and areas. When i would finally get thru rebooting and getting CDS to open, (which for me sometimes would take up to 20 mi.) I can not use or have any other program open while using CDS as I could with either SCAL or MTC. Which I have tried on my newer upgraded computer and still have the same issues as my old dinosaur computer. Yes, I still use CDS when i do cut with the cartridges so i waste less paper. No, i don't own or have ever even considered owning the gypsy w/my disability it would not be easier. So anyways, I decided instead of upgrading SCAL i would invest the extra $20 or so, more to purchase MTC for around the $50 price. I have not regretted purchasing either my cricut, SCAL or MTC.
Having said that, I am also, not please with Provo Craft as a company, I don't like that they sued MTC first then SCAL, and I am assuming Fairy Cut and some others that are out there will be sued too. Yes, I understand its their right and all that, i again in my opinion was a bad business choice. I personally think if they worked with these third party programs it would just improve their cricut and make it more desirable. However, MTC did make a mistake in their programming and fixed it immediately when notified and apologized. The back up was for cartridges you owned. Provo Craft doesn't fix the issues with their machines or CDS they rather just make a cheaper newer version machine for you to go spend more hundreds of dollars on. Yes, I've spent sevearl hrs rebooting my computer again and again and trying to use the NEW Improved Craft room, not impressed considering there are less choices, smaller screen "workspace compared to CDS, and lets see it keeps crashing and i loose my hard work, even when i save it. Go to open said file and it fails to open. Also, why i don't like PC, They have stolen images from many designers, myself included. There was times i doodled out images for them to put on cartridges and they used them and never gave mention that I had any input or given credit. Yes, i'm sure they could have come up with some of these on their own but if you had seen my doodles for a wedding theme and you looked at the wedding cartridge, you'd say wow about 90% of the images are the same as Jill's doodles posted on the Cricut MB. Which just so you know has been removed by me along with any of my work after they removed one of my works posted because someone on the mb said you used "this" from MTC its on your blog, while yes, i did but there was the rest of the cuts that were from cartridges and i DID NOT mention MTC or the images cut from it on my post following PC rules unlike many many many others who never followed the rules but I wasn't one of the "elite" I guess. That i have to say is when i started not liking provo craft so much when they removed my project, which was ironic considering another project i posted simotaneously had alot of MTC cuts, again not mentioned on my post on the mb. Oh and I was in their newsletter about my Robotz tutorial! Which Took me a very long time to write out and many have downloaded it, I can tell you i can count on one hand the thank you's I have received, which is very discouraging, considering the hundreds of downloads it has had. Sorry, its a pet peeve of mine, you can download something for free and not take one min. to say thanks, i'm sure i've done it in the past (probably cause blogger wouldn't let me post so i try to email the person or post on fb if i am friends w/them or if got the link from there.) It didn't bother me at first when they had used my doodles on several cartridges, not just wedding but Indie Art was another that had alot too and a few had several of my "ideas". They came out with a Winnie the pooh cartridge. PC admin had even posted in my "thread" with my doodles and my list of cartridges I'd like to see. They loved my ideas and thanked me for my input, but credit was not given publically. Like I said, at first it didn't bother me they didn't mention my input or whatever you want to call it (sorry like i said i am tired and thinking is creating my smoke detectors to go off in my house LOL!) What bothers me is there statement of being a company who gives credit, umm i think not! I had the cartridges that i could cut these images! YES! i purchased them, used them tons and still own them, well did until the movers stole them, so no i only have 2 cartridges right now because my awesome friend bought me 2 before i moved and they ended up in my van and not on the stupid movers truck.
Anyways, if you've stuck thru so far of my very scattered post, well thanks :) i appreciate it. okay, so not that you noticed i took a bit of a break to recoup from what i've already spewed out. remeber this is my opinion and my thoughts and how i feel. Each and everyone is entitled to their opinions too and I don't hold it against you whatso ever. I have tons of friends, also including my sister, who i just love thier Cricut and it is for them, its what they want and fits their needs. I have outgrown my cricut and wanted more. I would have continued to buy cartridges from them because there are some awesome cartridges they do produce. But I want to create stuff they are not and if I am going to spend the hours I do now designing images I want credit for it and well as we all know Money talks! Why should they get my hard work and make money off me and what do i get? nothing! not even a free cartridge or at least "mention" my name that it was inspired or whatever from Me! sorry! So, yes, i am boycotting Provo Craft! I am one of those people who holds grudges, you don't want to be on my Shit List. It does take a bit to get on it, as its not like oh you gave me your opinion and i don't like it.
However, like i just said thats me, my opinion and how i feel and if you want to continue supporting them go for it, thats your right too. I am not going to judge you or call you names or any of that type of stuff, if you love you cricut its not gonna end our relationship unless you can live w/me and my opinion. I don't feel its us vs. them, i feel we are all papercrafters and there is so much out there we all have our favorites, likes and dislikes. To me its similar to buying cars or jeans or make-up we all have those "brands" we love and we hate. I am going to continue to go to blogs and check out projects that people make using cricut and their cartridges.
However, if you purched MTC or SCAL before their settlement with PC
you can still use the programs with your cricut
with two things you MUST NOT DO! that is update your MTC or SCAL or Your Cricut!I haven't updated either and have continued both of the best worlds using my cartridges along with my MTC on my cricut right up to the day I moved. Now like i said my movers have "lost" ( I think Stolen, since its the boxes that had very specific writing of the contents of boxes or just a tool box not in a cardboard box that are the ones missing.)
Now, i think i've diverted from my original context of my post and the intent but thats what happens when you ask for my opinion or thoughts, i have to give you the whole story and i tent to divert side affect of being ADD!
Are there downsides to MTC/SCAL absolutely! Though, very few i have found but there are some. The time to design vs the time to papercraft, this is as a designer. Now, if all I did was get free images or purchased images form those that sell them, I'd probably have more time to do my craft. Depending on who you purchase or get your free files from everyone does them different. So theres the learning curve, like that this persons images aren't proportionate and i have to resize to make it all fit and some are not so easy. when i cut there aren't always those "cheat" marks like on the cricut when i cut the base it has the outline for where things go. Though, there are many times i cut something from the cricut and it doesn't "fit" in the "cheat" marks. Sometimes, people only have just SVG files (which is no big deal as this is the most common used format on most machines) and not MTC files or vice versa or they have some other format that i don't know how to use. I'm sure some people wish i had more than just MTC and SVG format. though, i haven't heard anyone ask for some other format, other than for Pazzle which I still can't figure out how to convert from svg or mtc to whatever it is Pazzle uses.
When your buying images from others, the cost is sometimes equal to the cost of a cartridge when you look at it to compare apples to apples. Which basically i am saying if i look at i get 50 images On average cartridges (including full and lite i don't consider the shadow or blackout as an extra image like PC like to say or each "piece" is an image either) from a cricut cartridge and on average it cost me about $40, to get that many from most sellers I am going to get about the same amount of images for the same amount of $. however, on the other hand I have 50 images form MTC/SVG images that I want, while on the cricut cartridge there is maybe 10to 20 images (sometimes more), one, I already have on another cartridge (which I find is a small trend in some cartridges w/very slight variation if not the same image) or images i could careless for. I try to be very careful of what images I purchase. i purchase images very rarely because for one i was still using my cartridges up to the day i moved for more what i call the "layered" images, mostly the Disney cartridges and two i design what i want to cut for projects I am working on or stuff i know i will want later. I purchased some files that were "paper dolls" I spent about $25 and was very unpleased with the files i received,not at all what I thought. They were suppose to be Paper Dolls, (something I have yet to try to design) I was expecting a "Paper Doll Body" what there was instead was some odd shaped blob. Okay, lesson learned don't buy from this person for that. I have yet to get those files portioned correctly and actually cut them, they sit there unused. I sell my files, what i think is cheap(usually between $1 to $5 for a "collection" with at least 30 images) and affordable for alot. Thoughts? is that a reasonable cost? Being as broke as I am i can usually afford $1 to $5 for files w/that much? I've seen one layered image go for $5 ea. though usually around $1 to $2. Anyways, I don't want my customers to feel cheated or not got their money worth, i want them to feel as I would. I do my files as "collections" because, one thing i didn't like about all the cartridges, (while yes you can do the search on CDS or on that Cricut Search (which now has changed their name, probably in fear of being sued, even though what they are doing is one FREE and helping PC and their customers IMHO)) you can search for an image and find which cartridge its on. But for me if i want to cut a flower (for example) I want to open up a file and BOOM there they all are even if it means ok its 3 files, i have to open to see them its just easier for me. Why? because i can open 3 files oand bounce on the same screen to see them, while in CDS i have to go back and forth to "insert" them on the mat and then try to rmember which carridge was that from again? What i also, like is say again using flowers as an example, You purchase my "collections" of flowers. You don't like say 10 to 15 of them you can "delete" them and they are gone. You can take the images in each of the "collections" and move the images to different files. So Say in Collection Flower 1, you want that to be the ones you cut and like the most you move those into that file and move the ones originally in there to another and save. Change "name of the file" to something you may remember easier? I like those that put their name in the file, while i may change the file name i keep their "name" so one, I can give credit when i use it, two i can remember to go back to them for more files if i like their files or not go to them if i don't like their files. Hope that made sense? But with the cricut cartridge, i can't move them around, I have to store the cartridges somewhere easily accessible, which i did have a cool way to do so. I didn't use the handbooks, like others do mostly cause I only use CDS to cut even when i am not welding anything. I just find i don't waste paper in CDS cause i can move the images to where I want them nice and close so no wasted space in between.
I do intend on after (hopefully, but not holding my breath) we get our refund on the missing (stolen) stuff from our movers who have scammed us, to purchase a Black Cat Cougar cutting machine. i intend on ridding of my cricut machines and cartridges and no longer purchasing any. Though, I will be promoting the new Cricut Package that Close To My Heart (CTMH) has because, well, I am a CTMH consultant. I became one not as a hobbiest for the discount but to replace my income (which I haven't done so yet and nor do i collect disability because the gov't doesn't see me as disabled but every employer does and won't hire me with my limitations) from being disabled and unable to work at Jo-ann's teaching my papercrafting classes for an awesome pay check and on my schedule (which I very much miss, even having to deal w/the workplace drama and those irritating customers, that well, i as a scrapbook teacher dealt with alot less). I am trying to figure out how to deal w/the fact of CTMH parterning with PC and my views of PC and having to be part of this w/out my say. Though, i had written CTMH on several occasions to please not be a follower but the leader you say you are and team up with Spellbinders, which no consulting company has done. But they chose to be a follow and I as a consultant has o accept it. I don't like the postition I am in, but Jann from my Design Team has given me a positive way to go about it. She suggest I donate the portion from the package that is from the Cricut Cartridge and no make money on it. I think it is a great way to compromise and not bend on my integraty but still support CTMH. I chose for the Month of Aug. any proceeds I make of the CTMH Cricut Cartridge will go to The American Cancer Society in memory of my Step-Dad Curt's name.
If i had to make my choice over again, having all the knowledge I have today, I think I would have purchased a Pazzle, left Dr. Daniel Davis of Simi Orthopedics office at one of the many times my kids texted me to say "when are you coming? mom your late" because the Dr. was late (over an hour w/no appology or explanation), left the room and never go back and probably not have become a CTMH consultant. I would have purchased SCAL and eventually switch to MTC. If you are looking to purchase either MTC or SCAL, or any other "third Party" software, download their trial versions and play with them. I could be wrong, but i believe they all give you full access to all told except when it comes time to cut in the trial version. I think its a personal choice when choosing which program you want. I can sit hear and tell you why I love it, which I think I did? but you may not be suited for MTC but something else. Unfortunately, I don't know what SCAL 2 or the newer SCAL 3 does i can only compare the original SCAL to MTC version I have which is the one just before they no longer supported cutting with the Cricut. I believe even MTC has had a few updates, but I don't read about them because I can't use them yet and it would only frustrate me more and I am exploding with enough frustration right now.
Thanks for listening (aka reading LOL!) my blog post. I hope you were able to make heads n tails out of my babble. I apologize for it being so irrational at times and even a bit whiny. I am thoroughly ehausted and can't think straight and I think its time for a nap. I hope the post at least nothing else gave you another honest "view" as a consumer, papercrafter, and business owner.
Until next time...