Anyone who uses die cuts probably has more that one machine since there are so many claiming to be the best. I don't have experience with them all, but I always do a lot of research prior to purchasing anything, and I can say with confidence that there is no miracle machine. Each has advantages and disadvantages. I've singled out three as my favorites because each of them has a particular benefit for me. Probably the number one consideration in purchasing any die cutter is cost. There is a wide range of prices starting at about $30 to over $300. For a very reasonable and easy to use die cutter I purchased the Sizzix Sidekick. I think it was actually less than $30 with a 40% off coupon at my local craft store. I bought it mainly because I have a few slimline dies that I love and was having a hard time cutting thick or textured cardstock with them on my more expensive machine. It has proved to be a real time saver for those cuts. I also own a Quickkutz that I use almost exclusively for letters and numbers. The dies are small, very important when using the cuts for cards. It's quick and easy to grab and punch one or two letters. However, my favorite die cutter is the Spellbinder Wizard. There is a lot of controversy over this machine. You either love it or hate it. It's expensive and it's a little tricky to operated properly, as it's not as automated as the other cutters. And it takes a little thought to get your "sandwiches" set up correctly. But the wizard has the most beautiful embossed diecuts I have ever seen. It can cut using almost any die, embosses using Fiskar plates, flattens bottle caps, sets eyelets and snaps, flattens polymer clay, photo transfers, and lots more. I admit I haven't used the machine for all purposes, but knowing I could is good enough for me!!
Now why did I decide to focus on die cutters today? Because I found the best bargain ever at a garage sale this weekend. I've already said that you either love the Wizard or hate it. Well, I found someone who hated it - and I purchased a brand new machine with all the accessories for $10.00. The orginal machine I bought cost me over $100.00 and each replacement plate runs about $8.00. You know I'm a happy crafty camper!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I've worked in the medical field for 40 years and have a small collection of old medical ephemera. I love reading the old medical almanacs from the 1920's to 1950's. The almanacs were actually printed by companies in an effort to sell their medicines, and distributed by drugstores and pharmacies. And what medicines they were! My newest creation is a magnet from an advertisement in the 1939 Jaynes's Almanac for vermifuge for roundworms! Basically, the entire booklet educated the reader on the symptoms and horrors of this parasite. I have no idea whether the medicine worked, but found the reading quite amusing. The advertisement is mounted on heavy chipboard, sealed with mod podge, edged in copper foil tape, and has a full magnetic back. It measures 2 1/2" square. I had a lot of fun with this; I think I'll be doing some more in the near future.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I've discovered a new store for purchasing brand name craft supplies at discount prices. It's none other than my local Big Lots ! I stop in every time I pass by. You just never know what you're going to find or when new shipments arrive. My latest purchases were McGill giant punches at just $4 each. I bought six - library folders, ticket stubs, file folders, tags, and 2 types of envelopes. Even if I use them only a couple of times they will pay for themselves! I also found some K&Company metallic cards with envelopes in holiday colors that retail for $6, for $1.88 each. I bought them all. Now I'm ready for Christmas. They usually also have embellishments, ribbons, scrapbook paper, and sometimes even some Martha Stewart stuff at highly discounted prices! Just a couple of warnings - if you see something you think you might use, don't think you can come back for it later. It'll be gone! You also have to remember, shopping here is addicting, so don't expect to go once and forget it. The great prices will bring you back over and over again!
Monday, September 1, 2008
I found some really great photos of vintage muscle cars and went out of my comfort zone a bit to create some notecards for the vintage car fanatics. I mounted the computer generated photos on metallic and textured cardstock, then mounted them on foam for dimension. The four embellishments are pewter colored eyelets. I love the way these cards turned out!