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Cricut Celebrates 5th Birthday At CHA Winter 2011

What’s a fun loving bug to do on his (or is it her?) 5th birthday? For Provo Craft’s Cricut bug, the obvious answer was to celebrate in a big way, naturally!  CHA Winter 2011 marked the 5th “birthday” for Provo Craft’s Cricut machine, and so the company decided it was time to celebrate!

To kick off, the company launched the celebration with a special “anniversary” edition of the popular Cricut Expression Machine. This limited edition release machine, known as the E2, will be making its appearance in stores sometime in April. On first look at the machine, the body seems a bit sleeker and it feels noticeably lighter in weight. The added feature of a lighted cutting area is intended to help users see exactly what and where the machine is cutting.

The E2 will also have a LED touch screen control. This new feature eliminates the need to use overlays on the keypad, and allows layers to display on the machine’s display. Cutting will also be able to be paused in the middle, a feature intended for use when paper starts to shift on the mat to allow corrections. Users will also have  a home and zoom feature and the ability to cut out Cricut Imagine shapes (but not the ability to print the Imagine images.)

Provo Craft also announced their upcoming “online design studio” computer software called the “Cricut Craft Room” in Los Angeles. From the test version, it appears to be a more user-friendly version of the company’s existing Cricut Design Studio software. Users will be able to weld words with the click of their mouse.  They will also be able to “link” cartridges to their Craft Room (similar to the Gypsy’s current operation) and then cut images by hooking a Cricut to their computer. The Cricut Craft Room will also be compatible with the new E2 machine via Wi-Fi.

The birthday celebration/promotion was definitely Cricut’s theme on the show floor. Attendees at the show were invited into Provo Craft’s booth to create a 5th birthday cupcake featuring Provo Craft’s Cricut Cake machine, and given a clip-on stuffed “Cricut”  bug. They were then asked to photograph Cricut in creative places throughout the rest of the show, and given a chance to make a “Where’s Cricut” decorated frame for their pictures. The best “Where’s Cricut” photos were featured during Provo Craft’s big daily giveaway, and prizes were given to the winning photographers.

Cricut also celebrated its 5th birthday in a big way at the exclusive Conga Room located at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. Attendees were met with food and drinks and shown a light-hearted video on how Cricut came to join the Provo Craft family and why they had to create the Cricut machine just for him (her?) Then, the crowd was surprised by an appearance by dancers from the popular Fox TV show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, who joined the party goers to celebrate Cricut’s birthday. (Author Betsy Burnett is pictured below with Twitch from So You Think You Can Dance?”) To end the evening, all attendees received a goodie bag with a large plush version of Cricut, a Cricut t-shirt, the Birthday Bash Cricut cartridge and the promise of receiving the new E2 machine when it was released.

The Cricut Expression 2, known as the E2, will be a limited-run machine, and will make it’s retail debut on HSN on April 26th, 2011. The MSRP for the machine is set at $399, which is the same as the previous Cricut Expression models. The Cricut Craft Room is expected to launch in April of  2011, and the Wi-Fi compatibility update is due to be released a couple of months later.

Pre-order Mark Montano’s latest book, The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor, available at Amazon.com April 10th:

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