Thanks for the compliments ladies! As we all know it took lots of trial and error but it is definately worth it once it is figured out.
I actually had one issue after the next. If it wasn't the actual cricut machine eating my fondant it was the SCAL program closing itself down(apparently it happens a lot with Windows Vista and I hear they have a download to help that) or it was Inkscape not recognizing my pictures. I was going to say forget it, I dont have time and hand cut but I was determined(my husband likes to call it stubborn
) so I scanned my picture, opened it in inkscape(I posted the tutorial link a few posts earlier, follow the directions exactly and dont forget to hit UPDATE!) Then open it in SCAL. I had my fondant already rolled out on the mat for about 25 minutes. I had a little bit of gumpaste mixed in, not a lot b/c I knew this would be a long process and from trial and error before it would dry out too much from cutting and then rerolling that it would start to crumble. I waited until it was no longer tacky at all. It has to be very thin. Not to where you can see through it but almost. I let my husband roll one time and his was a tad thicker and it did not come out right, All the little scrolly details bunched up. So the thinner the better works! Once cut, I let them sit for another 5 minutes.(I usually set up on my computer the next round to be cut while I was waiting) After the 5 minutes, I took my Xacto knife and simply lifted them on to a matted cookie sheet and fixed any curls the way they were supposed to lay. I left those a lone until I was all done with all my cutouts. I even cut out all the letters the same way too. It did take me a while to figure out how the SCAL and cricut mat correlated. If I was using a smaller piece of fondant , I had to move my image on the computer screen to the right place so it would hit the fondant and not the mat. I also downloaded some flourishes from a site that were beautiful and I was going to use them as extra fluff but I could not use them. It showed up as a whole page of them but then when I hit cut, they would cut like 8 inches apart from each other(and off the mat) yet on the computer screen they were right next to each other. This was yet another cause for frustration. I gave up on that as it was wasting time I was running out of!
Once it was all cut, I had fun just laying them on the cake where I wanted. They were not hard(crusty) at all, they were firm enough to pick up without distorting the images. So my only tip is to make sure your fondant is thin and has set out for some time before inserting. (older fondant works great and does not need any gumpaste in it.) so if you have colored fondant from another project, you can reuse that for some fondant accents on another. Also do not put your fondant too close to the right side as it gets caught up in the roller and is very hard to get out on that side. This was another source of frustration. On the scal, it was cutting on the right side as to where on the cricut you cut on the left and can manually move it around to where you want it to cut.
well these are my steps in a round about way
If you have any questions feel free to ask. I do not have the Linda DVD and was going to get it until I had success with this cake so I am not sure now if I am still going to get it. What else is in there besides teaching you how to start it. ( I figured that part out
I am excited to try another cake and use it soon.
It is not hard after you figure it out, actually my 4 & 5 year old now know how to load and unload the mat with fondant on it and to cut images from the cricut off of it!! TOO FUNNY!!! by the way, the cricut comes with a Plantin Schoolbook cart, and the award certificate is PERFECT for a baby blanket!!! my 5 year old son showed me that.