After a Year of Stamping…

I’ve learned a few things about me.  I thought I’d share.  Last June I posted a “what I’ve learned about me and stamping thing in THIS blog post.  Time for an update.

Things I Love…

Rock, Paper, Trimmer by Fiskars- LOVE it.  Never use the MP3 thing, but my daughter thinks it’s the bees knees.  Whatever.  The thing cuts like a dream and after over 300 cards, I still haven’t had to replace the blade or the self-healing bar.  I bought it from Frantic Stamper and it was worth every clearance-priced penny.

Nestabilities- I wasn’t sure about these things at first.  After all, they’re tiny, look like they’d break in a heartbeat, and are expensive.  Furthermore, they’re a pain in the patootie to store.  Well, I’m sold on them.  So, if you want to save a bundle, buy them from Cut at Home.  If you buy one a month with their 40% off coupon every month, you’d spend 14.40 a month, saving over 10 dollars.  And, it feels less “ouchie” on the wallet that way.  Their shipping is pretty cheap for them too.  Just sayin’.  Also, I found an amazing storage system for these things.  THIS blog post talked about the Memorex Store-N-File box.  Well, after spending hours searching on the internet for some place in the US that sells them (Canada, NZ, and Australia have places galore), I finally found them HERE.  Shipping wasn’t horrible (wasn’t cheap but the boxes were WAY cheaper than Office Depot (which apparently sells them in stores but not online), and I ordered at 2:00 a.m. and by that afternoon, I had a tracking number promising delivery in a week.  I cannot WAIT to use this.  It’s perfect!

SU Clear Plastic Cases- Worth their weight in platinum.  I have every cling-mounted stamp that I own in these things.  LOVE them.  At a dollar a piece, they’re absolutely worth it.  No doubt.

Copic Markers- Wasn’t going to touch them.  At five bucks a piece or more, it seemed insane.  Well, then I had a friend who was selling hers for 2 bucks a piece with enough variance in each color for shading.  I bought them.  Now, I’ve hardly used them, but let me tell you, they’re SO AMAZING.  Color out of the line?  No biggie, the color remover pen will take care of that.  No more using the watercolor pen, waiting for it to dry completely, then using it again.  These can be used back and forth on the paper without lines or ripping up the surface of the paper.  It’s amazing.  Even after a TON of use by my daughter, they’re as fresh as “new.”  I’ll be buying more– dad burn it.  My wallet will need a defibrillator.

Embossing Folders- Honestly, you need a Big Shot for these even more or as much as the dies.  Embossing folders give such texture to a card.  LOVE them.  Buy more.

Mat Pack & Piercing Tool- One of the first things my SU Demo said to buy was the Mat Pack and Piercing tool.  I didn’t get it.  Why?  Ahem.  Yeah, whatever.  Unless you want to do eyelets, the piercing tool is much easier to use than the Crop-o-dile for most things.  I still use my cropper, but mostly for layered things rather than single holes.  With the piercing tool, you can add dimension to scallops, holes to give things a bit of oomph, and make holes for brads in seconds and anywhere on the card (particularly places that the Cropperthingie won’t reach.

Scissors- I own SU’s paper crafting scissors, but I’ve never used them.  I bought the Cutter Bee ones and LOVE them.  Love.  They’re so great I haven’t touched the SU ones.  Walmart now carries purple/pink-handled ones by X-acto.  Not a fan.  Cutter Bee.  They are my friends.

Embossing Powder- I learned a handy trick thanks to the gals in the Chat Box at SCS.  For colored embossing, I stamp the image with versamark and then stamp in the ink color I want.  I stamp that on the card, dust with clear embossing powder, and voila!  Perfectly colored embossing without needing all those nasty craft cubes.  We’ll talk about craft ink in a bit.  The exception to this is for WHITE and Black.  Black still works pretty well with that process, but I like the depth of the black from the black embossing powder rather than clear.  White just doesn’t cut it for me.  I tried to do white craft with clear– it’s ok.  It’s fine.  But I LOVE White with white embossing powder.  LOVE.  🙂

Unity Stamp Co Ink- I got a tiny cube of ink with my first Kit of the Month.  It’s my favorite brown.  I just LOVE it.  someone told me it’s a combination of both pigment and dye inks.  Whatever it is, it’s amazing.

Gina K Stamps- Last year I bought one kit.  LOVED the dove in it and wanted it.  Yeah, not a fan of it once I started cutting out those pieces.  SWORE I’d never buy from her again.  Meant it.  Then she started offering pre-cut stamps like my other favorite companies.  Suddenly, I’m quite fond of Gina K again.  My bank account, however, isn’t speaking to her.  P.S.  She has GREAT card stock too.

Colored Pencils- I started out with Martha Stewart’s set of 36.  LOVE those pencils.  Truly.  I did some lovely coloring with them.  Learned to shade and generally had a great time.  Then I bought about six or eight Prismacolors.  Ok, I still recommend starting with MS pencils if you aren’t sure you’ll love it.  They’re cheap enough that if you hate it, you won’t mind giving them to your kids or grandkids (assuming you get them with a nice coupon or something) and nice enough that you’ll still use them even if you upgrade to… PRISMACOLOR.  Seriously amazing pencils.  Oh. My. Word.  If you like a lovely blended look, GET SOME.  LOVE them.

Small Packs of Patterned Paper- When I first started, I thought I would want 12×12 pieces.  Why get 6×6 pieces when most cards are just small enough and large enough that you can only get one card per sheet?  Well, I read about how the scale of prints on 12×12 is too large.  I don’t care.  Sometimes I LIKE large on the scale.  Forget that idea.  I also didn’t like the idea of only 2 or 3 sheets per design.  WHY ON EARTH NOT?  Why didn’t it occur to me that this would mean swifter turnover in variety???  Three is my favorite because I can use 2 to make cards (I always make duplicates) and then still have a sheet of my favorite papers for something special.  One sheet takes up a LOT less space than six!  I do still hate the glue that companies use  I think Basic Grey is the company that keeps their 6×6 in cellophane packaging without glue on one end.  I LOVE that.

SU Dimensionals- After using several brands, nothing compares.  I gave away all my other ones to my  kids.  I use a LOT of dimensionals and I don’t think anyone will convince me even to try another brand now.  SOLD on them.  In related news, I also love SU’s mini glue dots but they don’t sell the larger flat ones anymore.  The Elmer’s ones from Walmart work pretty well though.  Wish they were on a roll rather than a double breasted folded thingie.  I also read that you can use Allene’s Tack-it Over and Over to make your own in any size.  Just put dots on waxed paper, let “dry” cover with more waxed paper, and voila.  Done.  Going to see how I like those too.

Things I Am Still Unsure Of…

Cricut- Still haven’t purchased one.  I still cringe at the idea of the cartridges, the extra software, and where to put the thing.  I do use my Big Shot enough to know that die cutting will definitely be a part of my future, but I’m still on the fence re: the Cricut.  I think if I do get one, it’ll still be the Silhouette vs. the Cricut.  I really love the versatility of the Silhouette.  The advantage of a Silhouette over the Big Shot is not needing the big clunky dies.  The disadvantage, of course, is that the Silhouette doesn’t emboss, and I would need to keep the Big Shot for those and my Nestabilities.

Cutter Tool- Sorry… still using the same steak knife and still loving it.  Haven’t cut myself yet (probably will tomorrow now though), and the cards look great.

Craft Spots–  Still haven’t missed them.  So glad I didn’t waste the money on them.  Thus far, they’ll not be a part of my life here.

Blender Oils- For use with Primacolor pencils.  Forgot what the stuff is called– Gamesol?– but I haven’t tried it yet.  Two reasons.

  1. I was told you can’t continue to lay down color once you’ve gamesoled the thing.  (Sounds like you stripped it to its unders, doesn’t it?)  Note:  A commenter below, Cheryl, assures me that you can.  Well, I’ll probably try it to see if it works for me.  Happy to hear I may have been given false info!  WAHOOOOOO
  2. It’s working great just to use the pencils without gamesoling.  That looks like consoling a gamer… did he lose?

Things I Hate…

Ribbon Rolls- Things are the bane of me.  They take up a ton of room for very little reward.  I made 2×3″ “bobbins” out of chipboard and wound my ribbon on those.  I use clear hair rubber bands to hold the ends on.  I am so glad I didn’t buy a Ribbon Roll Organizer.  I would have been SOOOOOO upset when I realized that those rolls were killing my space.

Embossing Powder/Glitter Tray- Waste of space and man, that stuff CLINGS to it.  Every time I see one in use, I thank the Lord that I didn’t buy one.  I’m sure some people love them, but I prefer either scrap paper (use as a one sided funnel) or disposable containers (keep the embossing powder in it at all times.  Voila.)

SU Petal Card Die- I am sure it is only due to my ineptitude, but I truly despise that thing.  I cannot, for the life of me, make it work.

Companies Who Go Out of Business- One of the first things that happened when I got into stamping was Elzybells went out of business.  I’d never heard of them, but when I saw the sweet, simple line drawn stamps, I had to have some while I could get them.  I bought a ton.    Didn’t cost me much, really, but still… it would have been nice to be able to buy a little at a time until I got a feel for what I’d want/need.  Then again, Andra loves them, so it worked.  Right after that, Cornish Heritage Farms went under.  I didn’t buy as many of theirs.  I highly regret that.  My recommendation would be for companies to stay open– at least until I know that I’ve got all I want out of ’em.  😉

Ok, that’s it for now… I know there are more, but I can’t remember them.  I’ll do another update as I think of things.

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3 thoughts on “After a Year of Stamping…

  1. Great post – and I agree with most of it (I still haven’t fallen victim to the siren song of Copics, though)

    Just wanted to mention that you can continue to add color to your images after the Gamsol – you pencil in your first layer of color, blend it with the Gamsol & then go back and add more color for shading and Gamsol again. Seriously, try it & you’ll like it 🙂

    And also commiserating with you on the companies that go out of business. I managed to buy up most of what I wanted before CHF closed their doors, but it makes me so sad that those great images aren’t available anymore.

  2. Companies that go out of business. How true. I had to lol at that because of something that happened when Sean and I were on deputation for missions. But ours had to do with Pastors resigning during the evening service when we were there for the morning service.

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