Reader KarenD (probably the only person among my current readership who has met me in person) has different hobbies than me these days (hers are quilting and knitting, I believe) and she didn't know what a Cuttlebug was. I tried to explain, but here is the picture of mine, which I don't believe I had previously posted.
It came from HSN, of all places; they had a deal which included quite a lot of embossing folders and that's what I was most interested in, anyway, although I am nosing around now to see what dies are available. (It makes me a little nervous: they claim that they can use most all brands of dies, and I get very confused about which ones will actually fit. I know I saw a chart at one point and I need to find it again. I hear you can break the plates if you do it wrong!) Anyway, it embosses a small area beautifully, and theoretically also die-cuts - I only say theoretically because I haven't tried it yet!
Cuttlebug is the cheapest (I think) of this kind of machine - it has no electronics whatsoever, just a hand crank, which is presumably why it's cheap. The high end is the Cricut, which has cartridges which cost almost as much as the whole Cuttlebug machine does. I am not ready for one of those, for sure. But there are also a bunch of machines that do similar and sometimes entirely different things which I get very confused about. There are some Sizzix machines which are very similar to the Cuttlebug, I think, except that some of them are larger, as I understand it. And papercraft guru Tim Holtz is coming out with a new machine of his own. Then there are some completely other ones, like Yudu, which I think does screenprinting (is that right?) and Xyron, which applied adhesives to paper - effectively making them into stickers. (Once again, that's if I understand it correctly.) There are also some letterpress machines which I have been seeing around lately.
I like that the Cuttlebug doesn't take up all that much room when you're not using it. The plates on the sides fold up and it has a handle for moving it about, although it's surprisingly heavy when you pick it up. I usually just stick it under the dining room table these days. (The dining room table has become craft central. The crafting table I had set up for jewelry-making in the back bedroom only gets occasional visits where I come to take something else into the other room. Luckily we never actually eat in the dining room!