Monday, 30 May 2016

I get MISTI ...or do I?

So many talented crafters rave about the MISTI stamping tool that I’ve been considering it for a while now but a few things stop me….

Firstly, the price…  from around £45 for the smallest, to £90 for the scrapbook size, this seems a big investment. Okay, not as big as my Silhouette Cameo but  MIsti does seem to mostly be two pieces of plastic and some magnets. I have tried the DIY route but haven’t really found a way that works for me.

Secondly, availability. I much prefer to use UK stockists for those products that are available here. Not many retailers seem to stock the MISTI and everytime I search for it, I see the words ‘pre-order’ and ‘out of stock’. When I want something, I want it now!

Finally, my style of crafting . Yes, it sounds the ideal tool for a slap-dash stamper but really, I fear I will only think of using the MISTI after I’ve made an almighty mess!

So…do I get MISTI? 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Catching up with Craft TV

Being in the middle of two weeks’ annual leave, I’ve had chance to check out the three British TV craft channels: Create and Craft, Hochanda and The Craft Channel.

Of course, they’re not really craft channels – they are shopping TV and the primary focus of all of them is to get us to buy their products.  Create and Craft (C and C) is the old-hand at this, with Create and Craft and Hochanda both starting in 2015. This review however, isn't focussed on the shipping costs or the customer service ...just, are they any fun to watch? 

I must first say that I never sit and watch these on the TV. I like to put them on my PC, in the background, while I’m crafting. If they don’t irritate me, and if I find the occasional reason to pause and watch, they are doing well!

The first thing I’ve noticed about these three channels is that they have more similarities than differences. Most of the presenters and guests on the new channels are familiar from either C and C, or from when QVC used to do craft shows. It’s often hard to remember which channel you’re watching …and clearly, from all slip-ups , many of the guests and presenters forget where they are too!

Not only are the people familiar, most of the products are too. Many of the brands featured on the new channels have migrated from C and C. On several occasions there were manual die-cutting brands on all three channels – and C and C often broadcasts two different die brands in a row. As I rarely buy manual dies, I find this quite boring.

Of the new channels, Hochanda seems the most varied, featuring a range of crafts and hobbies. I’ve enjoyed seeing some different crafts (eg embroidery) even though I probably won’t try them. The down- side is that sometimes I’ve turned on to find 'collectables' or car care shows, that do not interest me at all. Many of the more ‘arty’ craft brands, such as Clarity and Sheena Douglass, have moved to Hochanda.

If I had to ascribe personalities to these three very similar channels, I would say that I feel The Craft Channel seems slightly more dated than the others. Many of the presenters are ex-QVC and I often feel that the programmes seem stuck back then. I may be being unfair as this is the channel I’ve watched the least – firstly, because it closes down in the evening, and secondly because for some reason this channel alone seems to have technical difficulties on my computer, often making it unwatchable.

So, having watched more craft shopping TV than usual, have I developed a favourite? There’s not a lot in it, but I think, overall, Hochanda came out best for me.

I would love to hear other opinions on this – please leave a comment. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

New Stuff! - Feb 16 Stamp Releases

I’ve been looking at the latest releases from two of my favourite  UK brands and deciding whether I should succumb or resist.


Uniko have released 4 new sets.

The sentiment set is quite basic, but at £4 it’s a good investment if you don’t already have many sentiments.
‘I Love Tea’ features a large tea cup. The bowl of the cup is blank , so perfect for a stamping a pattern on or paper-piecing. 
‘Some Bunny’ has a stuffed rabbit stamp and I like that it is sitting down as I can imagine perching it upon something – a pile of books, a sentiment…. 
‘ Beautiful Blooms 3 ‘ is a multi-step floral stamp set, such as we’ve previously seen from Alte New.

Resist or Succumb?  I would have succumbed to the floral set, but even though I went there on release day, it had already sold out.  I am quite tempted by the bunny, but am resisting for now…..

Clearly Besotted

Clearly Besotted have released 7 new sets, mostly with matching dies.  Some of these sets also feature multi-step stamps. 
There are two sets of Easter chicks: one outline set and the other with solid shapes for the chick bodies – the idea being to stamp the faces on. I have one of their older sets ( Rockin Robin) , that uses this same idea, but unfortunately I’ve never really got on with it.
There are two special ‘themed’ sets – one for parents-to-be (nesting) and another for sympathy cards.  Another set, ‘You are Wonderful’ has a glass bowl and some bouquets to put in them. (I have a Stampendous set with a similar idea).
My favourite of the new releases is Pirate Party. These are cute and fun with lots of elements for building scenes.The only way I would improve these is by a little more ethnic diversity in the pirates - it's sometimes nice to give a child a card where the character could possibly be them. 

Resist or Succumb?  I think it’s going to be Ahoy There Matey to the Pirate Party set.

Just so you know, I've no connection to either of these companies and I hope they don't mind me using their images for review purposes. 

My personal blog is My Perfect Life. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Like For Ever - February Subscription Kit

This is my first ever Like For Ever subscription kit. I’ve never subscribed to a scrapbooking kit before and I didn’t really know what to expect, but as it had been recommended very highly, I thought I’d give it a go.

If you know my other blog  My Perfect Life, you know that I love a challenge – I really find that having restrictions actually frees up my creativity. I was hoping that a kit would have the same effect – challenging me to create using materials that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen myself.

The kit arrived (of course) in a pizza box. There was a substantial pack of papers and co-ordinating cardstock at the bottom, with embellishments etc on top , and a little bag containing some washi tape which was a welcome gift. There was also a page of layout sketches on top.

Most of the items came from two collections – We R Memory Keepers ‘Crush’, and Crate Paper ‘Hello Love’. I have never bought any overtly Valentines themed papers, but now I’ve got these, I do think they are more versatile than I thought.  There was a good mix of designs including bold graphic patterns and more traditional florals…not to mentions hearts!

First Love: It was love at first sight when I saw the bright metallic gold Thickers , and the wood veneer embellishments. I have a Silhouette Cameo so I never buy these kinds of things, but I couldn’t wait to start using these.

Growing on me:  I wasn’t so sure about the ‘Crush’ die-cut cardstock shapes – again, something I would be unlikely to buy and yet, I have already used quite a few. Overall, all the items in the kit seemed good quality, but I was disappointed that the die- cut saying ‘Feb 14th ‘ had some foiling missing. I filled in the gaps with gel pen, but you can see it (on the layout below).  There were a minority of die-cuts that I know I will never use because I think they are a bit weird (the one saying ‘there’s no-one I’d rather lay next to on my phone with’ for example…????)

There was also big pack of Pebbles heart confetti which I didn’t think I’d use. However, they do work quite well as individual little embellishments, and I may use them in a shaker. Will I ever use up the pack? Only if I take it to a wedding, I think!

Blind date: There are a few items I’m not sure I will use.  A couple of doilies – I have a big pack of these somewhere,  two paper bags – no ideas for these yet, and some faceted gem-shaped rub-ons. I’ve noticed these gem motifs around lately – it’s a bandwagon I’ve yet to jump on, but I usually end up jumping on bandwagons, so watch this space!

So overall, my first experience of Like For Ever is a postive one, and I post  two of my creations below.  ( For more details, please visit me at My Perfect Life.

Thanks for visiting my new consumer blog where I will post reviews, news etc about the craft stuff available to UK crafters. I hope you will become a follower. I have no connection to Like For Ever or any of the barnds mentioned and I paid for this kit with my own hard-earned cash. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Review: Paper Artsy- New Kim Dellow Stamps

This week, British brand Paper Artsy have been showcasing their new releases. These two sets, designed by Kim Dellow, were showcased on Monday, and by Thursday night I was using them!
More details about this card at My Perfect Life 
I was initially attracted to the set on the right in the picture (EKD02) as I like the rounded square shapes - but I just couldn't resist the hedgehogs in EKD01! However, although I've made two cards with these sets now (the other is a future DT card) , I haven't used the hedgehogs at all.  They are tiny (about 3x3cm for both). I've seen the size used as an advantage on some samples on the Paper Artsy blog, but I think I would have liked them to have also included a bigger version for more versatility. 

Paper Artsy stamps are expensive compared to many other brands. I paid £20.50 for each set at That's Crafty  and was pleased to get about £5 off due to loyalty points earned on previous purchases. (The service from That's Crafty was great too - ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday!) 

Are the stamps worth the price? They are deeply etched red rubber with a thick, firm sponge backing. They stamp cleanly with no need for preparation. They are already trimmed but some were trimmed together and I preferred to use them apart - cutting through the rubber was easy without any worries about damaging the stamp.  I can envisage using all the stamps in these sets (except possibly one of the sentiments) and they would work for many styles (grungy, CAS) and occasions. So, although I would prefer them to be a bit cheaper, I do feel the price reflects the quality of the stamp. 

Of course, being red rubber, they're not the see-through stamps we're so used to nowadays. I haven't found positioning much of a problem, although if you look closely at my card (above) you will see that the feet of one of the birds do not quite reach the branch!  If this is important to you, you could, of course, use a positioning tool. 

Finally, thanks for visiting my new consumer blog where I will post reviews, news etc about the craft stuff available to UK crafters. I hope you will become a follower. I have no connection to Paper Artsy or That's Crafty and I paid for these stamps with my own hard-earned cash. 

My personal craft blog is My Perfect Life.