Author Archive | Amanda Talbert

EK Success Snowflake Edger Punch

Reported by Samantha Piette
(editor’s note: Sam submitted this article a WHILE ago… and I held it ALL SUMMER LONG until we got closer to the holidays… I needed a jacket this morning, so I think we’re close enough! –Dana)
I was recently drawn to the EK Edger Punches at my local scrapbooking store. I have a thing for border punches, and thought that I should give EK a try (I am typically a Fiskars girl all the way — Threading Water? Yeah, that punch is genius). I loved the intricate look of the Snowflake border and decided it needed to come home with me to try.
I recently created three projects using this punch — A 12″x12″ scrapbook page, a card, and a bookmark. The punch performed well. I love how intricate the pattern is, and how versatile the pattern is for holiday projects.

Just using this punch gave me ideas on how to use it. The bookmark is a product of that. I was just having fun punching when I found that I could put two of the borders together to create one larger punched image.

Another ‘lightbulb moment’ was when I saw the cute-cute-cute little snowflakes I was creating by punching out the border. These tiny little guys are going to become confetti on my holiday dinner table. Way to reuse what would have been thrown away (pats self on back). I also used them on the card to create falling snowflakes.

  • Versatile
  • Stackable with your other EK border punches
  • Easy to use on all paper sizes
  • Easy to press down

  • A little sticking on heavier cardstock
  • price ($15, but I used a coupon, so it turned out to be well worth it)
(Dana here again… if you’re offended by winter holiday stuff this early, check out the Bat Flourish, Bat Lace, and Spider Web Edger Punches)

Overall, the EK Success Snowflake Edger Punch is a good punch, and I would definitely recommend it to papercrafters. What are you using the EK Success Edger Punches on? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Opaque Marker Comparison

How about a warm welcome to Lisa Fulmer!

Lisa refers to herself as “an ardent artist and a chronic crafter.” By day, she is the Marketing Manager for C&T Publishing. By night, she runs her small side business, Lisa Liza Lou Designs, and feeds her addiction to the outpouring of inspiration and support that exists online amongst creative types. Lisa is totally and blissfully immersed in the art and craft industry 24/7…singing the praises of handmade every single chance she gets. Find her at her blog: lisa liza lou

Reported by Lisa Fulmer
I’m all about features and benefits… tell me what it does, but then tell me why I need it. In order to helpyou decide between the opaque markers on the market, I’ll run four different opaque markers each through four tests of features that can make or break my artwork.

1. The sniff test: Yes, I actually sniffed
Permapaque – no odor
Copic – faint alcohol smell
Elmer’s Painters – medium alcohol smell
Sharpie – instant headache

I would say that the key benefit of no odor is to be able to work in a small space for a long time without having to keep a bottle of Advil next to your Crop-o-dile.

2. The bleed test: On textured, absorbent watercolor paper, I drew a line with each marker, then held the tip firmly to the paper for a count of 10 to see how much the ink bleeds. Permapaque (black) – no bleed, the line and dot stayed pretty crisp
Copic (blue) – the most bleed
Elmer’s Painters (green) – no bleed, but it’s very wet…which makes the line uneven and a shade darker at the bottom where the moisture settles
Sharpie (burgundy) – a fair bit of bleed

The benefit of no bleeding is getting crisp lines and images, with color that stays exactly where you put it. I like to color the edges of my papers, cards, and board books to give them a more finished look, so any bleed at all is a dealbreaker for me with those projects.

3. The ebb and flow test: How smooth and consistent is the ink in larger image areas? Can it cover in one pass, does it leave lines? On smooth uncoated cardstock, I shaded a square and spiraled a circle.
Permapaque – good flow on first pass, still shows some lines with second pass
Copic – very nice flow on first pass, lines are well-hidden with second pass
Elmers – uneven flow in both directions, and excess moisture feathered the paper
Sharpie – very nice flow with minimal lines on both passes

Note that the markers with the most bleed also fill in the best. That bleeding comes in handy for covering larger areas without seeing line strokes. The benefit of good flow is that your larger areas of color are solid and smooth; they look more like paint and less like pens.

4. The wallet test: Bottom line—do I have to sell my car in order to afford a complete set? Sharpie – $1.50 each x 39 colors
Permapaque – $3.00 each x 20 colors
Elmer’s – $3.50 each x 19 colors
Copic – $7.00 each x 334 colors

Here are some ways I used Permapaques:

Thin purple edge on my greeting card:

Heavy black edge on my painted canvas book:

Rosebud drawing on an ATC (oil pastel background), with a thin red edge:

You can find these markers (and more!) at
Elmers Painters

What are your favorite opaque markers, and how do you use them? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Ariosa by Classic Elite Yarns

Please welcome Deja to the Craft Critique family!

Deja Jetmir has joined the Craft Critique team as an expert crocheter and has just begun learning to knit. She has been crocheting for over 20 years, and is an independent designer that sells her patterns on various websites such as and After nine years of working and going to school part time, she will be earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting this Spring from California State University at Long Beach. Currently, Deja is a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful daughter and is expecting another baby in October. Deja enjoys just about any kind of crafting, and is excited to share her knowledge and product reviews with you. Check out her blog: The Cheap Hooker

Reported by Deja Jetmir
I’m always on the lookout for the softest yarn ever made, and am willing to test anyone’s claim that their fiber is the best. Most of my favorite softies include some percentage of cashmere, so when I saw an advertisement for Classic Elite’s Ariosa, with its 90% extra-fine merino and 10% cashmere blend, I just knew I had to head down to the LYS (local yarn store) to get a feel.

If you have ever felt 100% cashmere and thought it was softer than baby’s bottom, then you must get your hands on what can only be described as “cushy as a pillow from heaven” and work with Ariosa. I have squeezed innumerable skeins of yarn, and this is one of the softest I have come across in a natural fiber. I have found through internet searching that a skein of Ariosa runs anywhere from $9.50 to $12. for a 50 gram skein. A 100% percent cashmere counterpart would cost you up to 6 times as much for that same amount (ask me how I know). Classic Elite does not list the weight of the yarn on the label, but I would guess it as a worsted to bulky (4 to 5) on the weight scale, and is single ply, so you do have to keep that in mind if making a garment that will encounter friction (such as swinging arms in a cardigan). You will get pills, but a simple sweater stone, or shaver will have it looking new again in no time.

I used a size L hook to crochet the cowl pictured in less than an hour. Unlike other yarns that only soften up after you block or wash them, Ariosa begins soft and stays that way, making the crochet process itself enjoyable (no scratchy yarn running over your fingers). Unlike many one ply yarns I have come across, Ariosa has a consistent thickness throughout, so you will achieve a uniform look on any garment you make. Also, because of its one ply, it is nearly impossible to split the yarn with your hook while working.

After a blocking done in Soak brand wool wash, I found very little of the color washed out, and I achieved and extra 3 inches on the circumference. The cowl wears remarkably well, and hasn’t made me itch once, even with its 90% wool content. For special presents for you or a loved one, this is worth the price. You will get a wonderfully luscious product that you can’t help but stroke as you wear it.


  • super soft
  • lightweight
  • quick to work up


  • pricey (it does run on the high side for other yarns with similar content)
  • pilling on garments
  • company’s lack of crochet info and weight information

Product Specs:
Classic Elite Yarns “Ariosa”
Color pictured: Sangria (4827)
50 grams
87 yards

In addition to your LYS, Classic Elite Ariosa Sangria 4827 Yarn is available from

Have you used Classic Elite’s Ariosa, or do you have a different favorite super-soft natural fiber yarn? Leave us a comment and let us know!


Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!