Years ago when I started using machines I started out with the Cricut, the orginal one, the one we often refer to as "baby bug". Oh how I loved that little machine! I got it just so I could cut letters for my scrapbook titles...yep that was it, the only reason. I soon found out how much more it could cut, well within the bounds of cartridges that were available and I was totally hooked. I also learned that by using Design Studio I could weld and manipulate shapes into making things that weren't available on cartridges. I spent HOURS making new designs, anything from animals to vehicles to ballerina shoes.
At the time I had two cats that I loved and adored and they loved it when I would start cutting paper. They would jump on the table and watch as the mat went in and out of the machine. I even did a layout of them and this picture because it was something I wanted to always remember.
I don't have the screenshots of all the designs I use to do to use with the baby bug but here is a screenshot I found of the ballerina slipper I made. The image was made with what was available on the George cartridge that came with the machine. I used George for almost all my first designs because it was what I had and what others had at the time.
The baby bug was a workhorse and I have always said I thought it was the moresolidly built than any of the other Cricut machines. Of course the drawback with the original Cricut was the limitation of the mat size, it was 6x12 and there were just some things, such as envelopes that couldn't be cut in one piece.
How does the original Cricut compare to the Explore? Well they are both solid machines and can handle a lot of cutting but the Explore does cut more accurately, can cut larger materials and a wider variety materials. All in all it probably isn't truly fair to compare the machines since the baby bug is the grandfather of the Cricuts and the Explore is the high tech grandchild. But when I think about it I guess if there hadn't been a Cricut all those years ago there wouldn't be an Explore now.