Fun, easy to use, limitless possibilities
Lots of functions to figure out, expensive components, size settings can be confusing
When I first received my Cricut Expressions maching I was extremely excited and envisioned myself churning out massive amounts of die-cuts as soon as I could get it out of the box. Well... it didn't quite happen that way. After trying to use the machine and failing I finally decieded to watch the video - I highly recommend this!
There are many important settings that you'll need to know about before you begin cutting. One of the most important of these would be the pressure setting. You'll need to know how much pressure to use when cutting as you wouldn't use the same setting for vellum that you would use for heavy card stock or you will ruin your cutting mat within hours. I recommend that you make a cheat sheet of these settings and note which settings you will use for card stock and which you would use for copy paper. Then you can just keep the cheat sheet with your Cricut tools.
Once I got this part out of the way I was ready to begin cutting!! Another suggestion I have is to test your size on cheap paper before cutting into your beautiful cardstock because you may hgave to make a couple of test cuts before you get the size that you want. By the time I had all of this done my creative flame had burnt out and I was ready to be done! I decided to come back to it the next day and boy, what a difference a day makes!!! Once you have the settings figured out things get fun and the ideas start flowing. I had made 5 cards within one hour and was ready to take on the world. This machine is all that it promises and I had a blast using it. I highly suggest spending the extra money on the larger model that will cut a 12-inch wide piece of paper, the smaller version will severely limit your possibilities. Don't be afraid to experiment with this and keep plenty of cheap paper on had to do so.
One other suggestion I will make is that when you're embarking on a project where you will need to make several of the exact same project (i.e., invitations, thank-you's) make a template first and write the size of each die-cut piece on it clearly so that you can duplicate it again at a later time and you'll have made your life much easier!
The one MAJOR drawback of this machine is the cost involved with it. The cartridges are insanely expensive and range from $40 - $90!!! The cutting mat will also need to be replaced once it's no longer sticky and they are around $12-15 each. I'm not sure how much the cutting blades are as I haven't had to replace mine yet and the machine comes with a spare one.
All in all I highly recommend this machine and I give the inventors at ProvoCraft and A+ for this lovely piece of crafting machinery!