There are many different machines to choose from and although I really liked the look of the Fiskars Fuse, it was far too expensive for a starter machine. I decided on the Sizzix Big Shot because I've seen many designers using it in magazines and YouTube videos. I found the old-style pink and black machine starter kit at a great price on Sticky Tiger. Unfortunately they don't have any stock left, but you can still get starter kits of the new style machine if you have a bit more money to spend.
The reason I wanted a starter kit is because it comes with some dies and embossing folders to get you started, plus some Core'dinations papers and an instructional DVD. I had a practice with the included items and it felt odd at first, but I soon got the hang of it.
Some cards can take an hour or two to make, but with embossing you can create several cards in one go with minimum effort. A simple card with lots of white space can look a bit uninviting or boring, but by adding some texture your card is instantly transformed into something stunning.
I had a craft fair coming up soon after buying the machine, so I bought a simple Christmas design embossing folder and created twelve cards in three hours!! This is something I would not normally have been able to do. Although the basic design was the same, I still managed to make them all look bit different by using slightly different embellishments on each one.
So you can see why I'm calling it my new best friend. If you don't have one already, I can highly recommend getting one. You can even use dies and embossing folders from different manufacturers, so the possibilities are endless.