I had some Amazon gift cards saved up, and I knew just what to get with them: a Cuttlebug. A Cuttlebug is an embossing and die cutting machine. It looks like a little purse, but weighs about 10 pounds. When you set it on your table, you fold down the flaps on the front and back of the Cuttlebug to suction to your work surface. Then you can start embossing.
The Cuttlebug comes with an A plate (which looks like a cutting board) that acts like a spacer and two B plates. The base Cuttlebug does not come with a C plate. A C plate is used for die cutting (especially with the thinner dies made by brands other than CriCut/Cuttlebug). I don't have any dies yet, so I started out learning the basics of embossing.
The A spacer plate goes on the bottom, then you put one B plate on top. Then the embossing folder with a sheet of paper in the middle, then another B plate on top. They call these "sandwiches." You place all the plates on the Cuttlebug and gently insert it into the machine, then you turn the handle on the side and out the back it comes.
Then once you pull everything apart, you're left with a piece of embossed paper--easy peasy. It was so quick and easy that I had to try every folder that I had on hand. The flower embossing folder is Cuttlebug brand and comes with the machine. I also had a few freebies from crafting magazines and a couple Darice brand ones that I got on sale at Jo-Ann's (the paw print and wood grain folders). All of them worked perfectly in the machine.
Now I have to get busy using these beauties in cards or in scrapbooks. I'll be sure to report on new things I learn how to do with this machine as I go along. Happy Crafting!