Thursday, January 31, 2008

238 clothespins...

That's just wrong. From now on, everything, and everyone leaving this house will be adorned with ribbon in some manner.

It sure is pretty though... I have it in 5 large glass compotes that I bought on clearance for a wedding (I do freelance floral design) that I never used, and couldn't return. HA! Mine now!

And to answer Alex's question, I bought a couple of skeins of yarn (I learned to crochet over the weekend, like I needed another hobby), and a couple of the new clear Inkadinkado sets (this one and this one), and I'll be going back for this one and this one. Now, these aren't the super high quality photopolymer like PaperTrey or My Favorite Things, but I've found that with some chalk ink and a steady hand, they do okay. And with a 40% off coupon in hand, well, you know how it goes... but no more ribbon!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm so embarrassed ...

I decided to spend several hours tonight making my ribbon look all pretty like Nichole Heady. I bought 60 clothespins, thinking surely that was enough, and then added 40 more, just in case. I'm sure you know how this story ends...

100 clothespins later, I'm not even halfway done. My husband suggested that this undertaking was a lot like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. He may not be wrong! Looks like I'm headed back to the dollar store tomorrow! You know, the one that just happens to be next door to AC Moore, lol!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

(Not) As Seen On T.V.!

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for those late-night infomercials. I usually keep myself in check until the goodies show up in the store, but more often than not, I've been sucked in by the gimmick, and the product was awful (Pasta Pronta, I'm looking at you...)

But today, I found a new use for an As Seen On T.V. product that I already thought was awesome. Now it's way awesomer. Way.

The Ove Glove has been in my kitchen since a got a couple of them for Christmas a couple of years ago. Just as advertised (on T.V.!) it does great things with hot trays, etc. But now I'm going to get one just for my craft room. Why?

Polyshrink. See, I've been working on this comparative post between real Shrinky Dinks and recycled #6 plastic take-out containers, and I'd tried all of the "get the damned plastic to hold still already" tricks that I know: pining it to cork board, crumpled up aluminum, etc. Bah! As it turns out, I was also making cupcakes at the same time, and I walked out of the kitchen wearing an Ove Glove and, EUREKA! Inspiration struck.

So, I cradled a piece of polyshink in my Ove Gloved hand, and it was like angels started singing. Aimed my good old Milwaukee heat gun at my protected hand, and the shrink plastic curled up neatly, just like it's supposed to... no chasing it around the table, no distortion due to pining it down, just happy, happy day. My hand got a little warm, which was actually nice, since I'm pretty cold-blooded anyway. I LOVE IT!

Now then... I'll get back to working on that comparison post...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thrifty Thursday...

I'm cheap. Well, frugal. Actually, I just want to know that I'm getting the biggest bang for my buck. I've got no trouble spending money (just ask American Express, lol), if what I'm buying is worth it. This post was going to be about making my own Teflon bone folder, but I stumbled onto a couple of products at my local kitchen store that I wanted to share. I'll do the DIY bone folder next week, promise.

A few weeks ago, I bought a Ranger Non-Stick craft sheet (retail 18.99, I used my 40% coupon, and paid 11.99, not a bad deal, so I thought).

It does everything is promises to do, be non-stick, protect my work surface from heat, the whole shebang. It annoys me that it doesn't lie flat, but whatever.

<---- see, not flat.

At my local kitchen store (Kitchen & Company, for those keeping track) I found this:

<------ here's the important part. Six bucks?!

Let's see what this bad boy looks like:

<----- Hmm... looks familiar. Also not flat.

Here's the two of them side by side, Super Parchment on the left, Ranger Craft Sheet on the right:

The Ranger craft sheet is a little heaver, and feels a little slicker than the Super Parchment, but according to their respective websites, they're both Teflon coated.

While still at the kitchen store, I stumbled onto this beauty:

Ohhhh, a Silpat. French. Heavy.
<--- very, very flat.

So, I figured, let's make this a ball game... into the cart it went.

Now, silpats are silicon-coated fiberglass, heat & stick resistant, but definitely denser than the Teflon-coated variety. It made a nice sounding *THWAK* when it hit my table. This baby cost $20, no coupon. Ergh. We're getting a little out of my comfort zone, this better have been worth it.

Okay, based on appearence alone, the rankings are:
2. Ranger Craft Sheet (Slick, but irritatingly not flat. Or heavy)
3. Super Parchment (yeah, same with this one... almost a tie with the Ranger).

Next, I did some polyshrink, uh, shrinking on each of the surfaces. I busted out my old-school Milwaukee heat gun (this thing is 10 years old, and still has it, baby) and went to town. All of them performed admirably, no marring or burn marks on my dining room table. The polyshrink blew around a lot on the Ranger craft sheet and the Super Parchment, not as much on the Silpat, since it's surface is slightly tacky, and more friction=less movement (<----that's science, see...).

Current standings: 1. Silpat holds firm in the lead, I liked the extra friction Ranger Craft Sheet & Super Parchment are neck & neck at this point.

Then I got them dirty... Stazon-kinda dirty:

They all three cleaned up with a baby wipe, Ranger Craft sheet and Silpat tied for awesome, Super Parchment needed a wee bit more scrubbing, but nothing too taxing:

I also threw some green acrylic paint down on them, heat set it, and wiped with a baby wipe, and no problems, clean as a whistle.

So, it may all come down to price & personal preference on this one. Personally, I'm keeping the Silpat on my craft table. I love the heaviness of it, and did I mention that it's flat? As far as I'm concerned, the Ranger craft sheet and the Super Parchment were so close that it irked me quite a bit that the Ranger craft sheet retails for three times what the Super Parchment does. It's definitely not three times better.

I just checked Amazon, and they have the Silpat for $11.99. That figures. Oh well, I don't need another one, because I think this one will last me quite a while.

Since you've read this far, you might as well WIN A PRIZE! One lucky reader (and since there's only like 3 of you, and one of them is my husband, you've got a pretty good shot), will win a Super Parchment sheet, barely used. First comment wins! Go!

Monday, January 14, 2008

But first, some PaperTrey...

I swear, if it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done! Here are my entries for this month's Guest Star Stamper at PaperTrey Ink. I emailed them minutes after midnight... I hope Nichole looks at them!

I felt the jewelry-making bug biting, so I whipped up a few pair of earrings. These are made out of shrink plastic, stamped in Stazon (Jet Black & Blaze Red) on the front, colored with pink Prismacolor marker on the back.

Here are some close-ups... I may give these as gifts to my son's pre-school teachers.

I made about one billion of these Christmas tree ornaments for a craft fair in December (and sold quite a few of them, lol), and these are some of the ones that are leftover... I'll be marketing them for Valentine's Day:

and in red...

Finally, here's a card. You can barely see the swirly heart as a background on the Real Red cardstock. It's cooler in real life, lol!

Okay, I'm off to bed... I'll deal with the photo formatting in the morning!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Testing, testing...

Is this thing on? Yes? Good.

Oh, girl, I know... everyone and their sister has a stamping blog now, but I've not seen one like this. I'm going to apply some good old-fashioned scientific method to solve some of stampers biggest dilemmas (you know, stuff like "What ink should I use with these blasted markers?" or "I can't get my glitter to stick... WHY?!").

Got a question you want answered? Drop me a line in the comments section.

Stay tuned! I'll be facing the ink challenge soon!