First, I am in no way affiliated with the Silhouette company other than that I purchased a Silhouette SD last year, contacted them for support with their software and was later a participant in the beta testing of the new software.
One thing that made all the difference was buying the mat for thicker cardstock. Really, in my opinion (and experience), if you're doing anything heavier than printer paper, you NEED this mat. They have also come out with new software but I haven't ventured farther than cutting fonts and shapes that I downloaded. Now I think I might go there. ;)
Traci seems to have it all together! I love her snowman globe pictured above. I haven't had a chance to go all the way through any of the tutorials but from what I've seen so far, if any of you have been struggling with learning how to use your Silhouette, I think I've found the place - thanks to Traci of the Silhouette blog. Find her blog by clicking on the snowman above.
But first, do two things:
1) Order a different mat than came with your machine OR add extra adhesive to your mat. I used a re-positionable one that I could clean off of the mat when needed as fibers from your papers eventually get in the way. (I tried this after my Thin Media mat had become completely hopeless after less than a dozen cuts.) This can get messy and frustrating if your paper sticks too much. I have not had to clean my Thick Media mat once and have made dozens of cuts. I'm sure eventually the mat will wear out but I feel like I have gotten my money's worth on this mat. (By the way, Silhouette DID replace my first mat, but that one (also a Thin Media mat) didn't work out any better for me.) Look at them here:
The machine comes with the Thin Media mat (at least mine did). I have had much more success with the Thick Media mat. I am so happy with my Silhouette now with this mat and the new software.
That brings us to number 2) Go download the free software at their website:
The new software is compatible with PC's and Macs; make sure you choose the correct version for your computer.