excellent investment for craft-making (08 June 2009)
I'd used many tape runners and searched for the best adhesives at the best prices. I stopped searching when I heard the buzz a few years ago over the ATG gun and its adhesive and purchased one. I've since given out many recommendations for it myself, and I use this gun every time I craft.
First off, don't let the size scare you. It's lightweight and well-balanced. Framers have been using this gun for years and if there were issues with it, it would have been criticized well before the time that it became popular with scrappers and cardmakers. For those with small hands who are worried about its size, don't be. A child's hand can easily grasp the handle and pull the trigger to lay down a strip of adhesive--you're not grabbing the whole thing! :-)
The adhesive is great, almost too great in that once something is stuck down, it's not easy to move it. I've been using this for about three years now, and cards that I made from back when I first started using the ATG are still holding together nicely. Since it holds so well, I can use less of it, too. The 1/4" size is definitely plenty.
The adhesive comes on nice big rolls of 36 yards, so running out of it in the middle of a project doesn't happen often. When it does happen, it's fairly easy to reload. There are arrows inside the ATG itself which show exactly how to thread the new roll of tape. There's also very little waste, just the strip of paper that the glue transfer came on and a small plastic ring. It's nice not to have to send disposable plastic tape dispensers and/or their refills to the landfills. A couple of years ago I also did a cost comparison of the ATG vs tape runner refills--the ATG refills were cheaper by far, with others costing on the order of 3x as much per yard. Also, if your tape happens to break, with the ATG you can just rethread it--with tape runners or cartridge refills, you end up having to toss whatever was left on the roll.
If there's a downside to the ATG, it's that it might be a little tougher for lefties to use it. The tape runs on the left edge of the roller, so it's easy to see exactly where you're laying down your glue if the gun is in your right hand. It's not as easy if it's in your left, though my daughter is a lefty and she uses the ATG without any problems. Okay, and the ATG isn't very pretty as is, but you can alter it--paint it, stamp on it, add some rub-ons and bling and you have your own personalized ATG.
I highly recommend the Scotch ATG 714--it's been one of the best investments that I've made for my crafting and has more than paid for itself in terms of savings in cost of refills and in ease of use. Love it!
best trimmer I've owned (02 June 2009)
It's always seemed to me that one of the tools which crafters rely on for accuracy time after time is the paper trimmer. Finding the one that works best is the equivalent of the Holy Grail. Since I wasn't going to spring for, or wait for, a Genesis, I tried many types of cutters and brands of cutters. Most fell short in one way or another--didn't hold up, cuts became unreliable, markings wore off, blades constantly needed to be replaced.... I heard good reviews about this Making Memories trimmer and now I'm a believer, too.
First of all, this is a sturdy and well-made trimmer, yet it's still portable because it folds and is held firmly shut by a magnet. When opened up, it easily accommodates 12x12 inch paper. It's well marked with lines and measurements that are easy to read from both the top and from the bottom. It comes with a magnetic ruler to help hold paper in place. There's also a plastic guard that helps keep paper from shifting while being cut. The cuts themselves are accurate and reliable. The blade is also self-sharpening.
All in all, this is the best trimmer that I've bought to date. I'd recommend it highly.
Slim profile is great for storage! (30 May 2009)
This scalloped scallop paper edger punch is one of my favorites among the EK Success slim profile punches. I've always loved using edge or border punches to embellish my cards. This line of punches has some fun new designs. They punch well. I've not had any trouble using cardstock. The more detailed designs can be a bit harder to punch, as expected, but I've managed to use them with cardstock, too.
What really puts these punches at the top of my list is the slim profile. They're made so that they can be locked into the shut position when not in use, making them much easier to store than the other border and edge punches out there--they take up less space, too. I have several of these punches and have been using them since they were first released. No problems. I'd definitely recommend them!
Fun product! (29 May 2009)
I like the Core'dinations line and this Black Magic in particular. The black really shows off the "core" color nicely. It's a nice weight, not too heavy, not too thin. It's great for a distressed look, whether crumpled, sanded, or torn. I like to use it with dry embossing. The embossing alone isn't enough to bring out the core color, but going over the high points with a sanding block will do the trick. Comes in a wonderful variety of core colors, too!
Tiny but terrific! (28 May 2009)
Like all of the Tim Holtz products, this tiny attacher is super addition to the crafter's arsenal. The tool itself is easy to operate, needing just a gentle squeeze to place a staple, even through multiple layers. It doesn't take a large hand to use it either. I have small hands and find it easy to hold and manipulate with just one hand. It's also very easy to load and has a better reach than most mini-staplers.
The staples themselves are much smaller (about 1/4") than standard staples. This makes them easy to hide in and among embellishments or tuck into tight spaces. They're only available in silver, but if you do want them to show on the front of a card or scrapbook page, it's easy to color them with a permanent marker or some other permanent ink so that they can match your color scheme.
I've been very pleased with the Tiny Attacher so far and would recommend it highly for quickly and easily attaching layers or embellishments.
sturdy, versatile, great all-around die machine (09 April 2009)
I own both the Cuttlebug and the Big Shot. I've had the Big Shot since shortly after it was first released. It's incredibly versatile in that it can use most any manufacturer's non-commercial dies, thick or thin, small or large. All of the manufacturer's cutting plates will fit through the opening, unlike with the Cuttlebug. It can also emboss using embossing folders or brass stencils. Texture plates will fit nicely through this machine, too.
The Big Shot has the a crank action that makes it easy to use as well as quiet. The machine is very sturdy and the base is stable, so it's not difficult to keep the machine steady when working with it. No smooth surface needed since it doesn't require suction to the work surface to hold it in place. It is bigger than the Cuttlebug and requires more space for storage, if that's an issue. However when the Cuttlebug is out and open for use, the amount of space that each takes up in the work area is similar. Their weights are also similar. But the other big plus for using the Big Shot is that it can be used with the multipurpose platform which makes it easy to use all of the dies, folders, stencils, and texture plates that I mentioned earlier--it also has handy diagrams illustrating just how to use them.
I'd highly recommend this machine. It's done everything I've asked it to do over the years and done it well, plus it's still going strong with no issues to speak of. If I could only have one die machine, this would definitely be the one that I'd keep.