Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tools of the Hobby part one - What I did wrong

When you're new to any hobby it can be overwhelming as you start to investigate what tools are available.  And because you're new, you have no idea what will become invaluable to you and what will just sit on the shelf collecting dust.  A word to the wise...borrow tools before you purchase.  If your friend has a fancy paper cutter that you think you might want to own, ask to borrow it for a week first.  It may be better than yours and it may not, but you won't know just from looking at it on the shelf in a box.  If your friends don't have it, ask at your local stamp store.  Most of them offer crops on weekends and you can bring your own supplies and try it out there.

Sage advice from an old-timer who has spent more than her fair share on unused stuff.  Good stuff.  Stuff that other crafters love and use all the time.  Just not me.

When do you decide it's time to purge?  Well, I've been stamping since the mid-90's so I think it's time to admit there are items in my cupboards I'm never going to use. I'm not saying don't buy the items below.  Maybe the stuff I will never use will be your go-to tools!  I'm just saying that you may want to be smarter than I am about what you think you "must have" in your collection if you're just getting started in crafting.  You're probably asking yourself why I don't just have a yard sale.  I ask myself that all the time.  I am such a collector of supplies that it is very difficult to let go.  Collector, not hoarder.  Definitely not hoarder.  Right? 


CRIMPER
This tool allows you to add ridges to any sheet of paper.  They come in straight lines or patterns.  Mine is straight.  I have used it on one or two cards.  I find it difficult to attach a panel that has been crimped.  Or should I say that I have trouble keeping it attached?  It's an interesting look but if I bought one sheet of textured scrapbook paper for each of those two cards I would have saved myself some money and I would have one less item taking up space on my pegboard.

PATTERNED SCISSORS
I know scrapbookers love them.  But as a card artist, the need for them just hasn't really come up all that often for me.  I have found that I like the edge punches much better than the scissors.  There is one exception.  Deckle.  I love the deckle edge because it is random and I don't have to worry about lining up the pattern.  I would add corner scissors to this category as well.  Punches are a lot easier to make even.  At least I do use the corner scissors once in a while since I have them.  But if I didn't, I wouldn't miss them.

BLOW PENS
I like the way airbrushed art looks.  Blow pens are a poor-man's version of that.  I have a terrible time trying to get an even spray.  Plus they make me very light-headed.  And since mine came from the toy department they aren't the greatest quality even though they weren't cheap.  Half of them dried out between uses. 

TOOL BOXES WITH LOTS OF COMPARTMENTS
They look great in the hardware stores but unless you have all of your tools and supplies with you while you're shopping for one, odds are that the little sections will end up being the wrong size for what you really need.  Boxes made just for crafters may be a little more expensive than your husband's tool boxes, but they were designed with craft supplies in mind.  I have a tower of unused tool boxes in the corner of the basement.  I'm still searching for the perfect carry-all.  17 years and still searching!

DRAWER ORGANIZER TRAY INSERTS
Seriously...measure the inside dimensions of your desk drawers first!

CRAYOLA MARKERS
Don't get me wrong.  I love Crayola.  Their crayons are awesome!  Their color pencils are okay but the leads are a little hard.  The markers leave prominent streaks when you color on card stock.  It gives my projects a very "unfinished" look to have such choppy coloring.  Luckily, the markers aren't expensive so it was not a big deal.  I only use Crayola markers and colored pencils if I absolutely don't have anything else in the right color. 

GOLD LEAFING MARKERS
They have beautiful colors.  Silver, copper & gold leafing markers make wonderful wide lines and are great for adding a colorful edge to card stock.  Except that they don't set.  You can pick up a piece of paper you drew on a year ago and the ink will still smear.  If you stack your cards together on the table, the card you set on top of the leafing will have smears on the back.  There are ways around the problem.  You can spray it with a fixative.  I just rarely remember to do so.  And you have to store them on their sides, not upright.  And if you don't use them often they dry up.  Ugh.  Too much.  I find it better to make a panel of metallic paper one size larger than the size of the image.  The lines are cleaner and there is no smear issue.

FIBERS IN ALL OF THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW
I don't use ribbon nearly as often now as I did years ago.  I spent a lot of money on yarns, threads & cords, too.  Nothing wrong with having a stash of fibers, but it just turned out not to be my style to use a lot of them.  That's not something I could have foreseen.  I just wish I hadn't picked up twelve colors of that knobby ribbon just because I had never seen it before.

There are other things.  Certain types of buttons, certain stencils, certain rulers...you get the idea.  Save your money on the fancy tools that you may use only once or twice.

If anyone has ideas on how I can use the items listed above I'd love to hear them.  You might just give me a reason to keep them!