Fabulous Finds Friday — Spellbinding Dies

I have become obsessed with die cutting lately. And who wouldn’t be with all the cool shapes available? So today’s Fabulous Find is a stack of dies from Spellbinders, which recently won accolades at the Craft and Hobby Association winter show — and for good reason.
(see some of my earlier posts here.)

The new Imperial Gold Collection (they cut, emboss, stencil and deboss) and 3D M-Bossabilities™ Folders (deep, deep embossing)are such fun … but I digress.
Check out this fun card made with Spellbinders’ Exquisite Circles S4-384:

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Looks pretty good, even though this was my “practice” card, made while just playing around to see what it would do!

Here’s a close-up:
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And a look at the dies:

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I’ll be back next week with more delicious dies. And watch for my CHA Hot List article coming soon on the Crafts ‘n things website. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Fabulous Finds Friday — Casting a Spell

More Fabulous Finds from CHA! (Oh, there is so much more to come!)

Spellbinders has done it again with dies from the adorable to the amazing. There are new borders, new nesties, and my current fave, a die that you cut, then fold and tuck in the edges to form a dimensional dynamo.  And don’t even get me started on the new embossing folders — they are double sided, so you get double the possibilities (even more when you consider the de-bossed side, too.)

Check ’em out:

A little layering…..

A little border cutting and embossing….

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Embossing on thin metal:

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And the new cut, fold and tuck dies….

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(not the best quality photos)

I’ll have a few more photos to share over the next few weeks … but I’ll talk about more cool finds and hot trends in my super-sized Top 10 list from CHA that will appear in a few weeks on the Crafts ‘n things website. Hope you’ll check that out.

Those of you who were at CHA … what were YOUR favorite finds?

Thanks for coming by!

Fabulous Finds Friday — Close To My Heart

I have come late to the exciting world of electronic die cutters, and have just recently become the proud (and excited and nervous!) owner of a Cricut electronic cutter. I have, I admit, been a bit intimidated. (Even though I just finished writing an article about die cutting machines for the August issue of Crafts ‘n things magazine. Sheesh, you’d think I would be an expert after all that research!)

But last week I received a new Cricut cartridge (Art Philosphy) with designs from Close To My Heart. The nifty thing about the cartridge is that several of the designs match CTMH stamps. What was I waiting for? Taking a deep breath (and my least favorite card stock) I plunged. My learning curve is pretty steep on some things (like learning about anything electronic or digital — sheesh, am I getting to be an old fogy?)

The best way to learn something, I’ve found, is to do just that — jump in and play. So I did. And spent several hours just cutting things:

After getting a feel for the machine, the dials, the cutting parameters, etc. I decided that again, the best way to learn was to make an actual project. One thing I like about the Cricut cartridge books is that they all come with instructions for one project. So I popped in the Art Philosphy cartridge (page 12-13 of the catalog, which you can see online), and followed the simple instructions. Here’s what I made:

Not too bad, eh? (Remember, I used my least favorite cardstock and random scrap papers, so cut me some slack here!) And now I’m hooked.

I have been dying to make a box, so I tried it in two sizes (just to see if I could!):

(Yes, I have a LOT of this card stock!!!)

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Cricut and Close To My Heart for the impetus.

Fabulous Finds Friday — Dies, Details and the Imperfect Stamper (Me!)

My latest article for Crafts ‘n things magazine is all about die cutters — from manual to electronic to computer-based. Oh, the choices! It is almost overwhelming. (Do check out the article — it’s in the August issue of Crafts ‘n things, on news stands now. And the issue sells out quickly.  I know, I know. I hear you gasping — the AUGUST issue is out now? June has barely given way to July!)

Anyway…. one thing I found in my research is that many stamp companies are making dies that coordinate with stamps (and vice versa.) Companies include  Heartfelt Creations (coordinating stamps/dies), Technique Tuesday (stamps made to match Spellbinders’ Nestabilities), Prickly Pear (dies/stamps), PaperTrey Ink (dies/stamps), Gina K Designs, Layers of Color, JustRite Stampers and others. Hero Arts and a few others contribute designs for the Silhouette.

Check out this cutie from Prickley Pear. Can you imagine how tedious it would be to cut out this birdcage? Not to mention the little bird and owl hiding in the corners.

The only problem is, I am an imperfect stamper. I can’t seem to properly line up my stamp, even though it is clear.  (Maybe my depth perception is off???) See how it’s wonky?

But I still wanted to use the little birdcage …. so I hid the flaws beneath a layer of Zing (by American Crafts) apricot colored embossing powder:

(wreath, Hello: Hero Arts. Parrot: Prickley Pear.)

Oh, I was so pleased with myself!!! (Grin.) I love Zing powder because it is smooth, opaque, and melts evenly — it gives great coverage, and the colors are yummy.

But I shouldn’t get too cocky. I fared a little better (just a little — I need more practice!)  with my stamping on the next cut out, but messed up the card itself.

Can you see that the bottom of the damask print decorative paper is too short? Sigh.

I fixed it by trimming with a scallop edged scissor. And when I added the little bird and the Prima flowers, it wasn’t too bad:

And there you have it — the Imperfect Stamper strikes again!

Thanks for joining me on my die cutting adventure, warts and all. And if you have any tips for getting your stamps to align with a die cut, send ’em in!

Happy Independence Day to my U.S. buddies.