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Author Archive | Lexi Daly

Vendor Spotlight: Making Memories Vintage Groove (article 4 of 4)

Reported by Lexi Daly

When I heard about Making Memories‘ new Vintage Groove line, I was a little confused. Making Memories is all about scrapbooking and paper arts. How does a jewelry making line fit in? How will they do at branching out? I’ve bought a lot of Making Memories products over the years and loved them all, so I was excited to give the Vintage Groove jewelry line a try. It’s also fitting that I’m primarily a paper crafter, who has dabbled in jewelry making here and there. I think that is the person they’re hoping to reach.

The picture above shows the variety of pieces and parts that Vintage Groove has to offer: strands, pendants, charms, and extender chains, plus the tools needed to put it all together. Some things are sold in sets, others on their own. The idea is that with very little knowledge of jewelry making, the Vintage Groove crafter can build her own piece of wearable art, by simply linking together the pieces that she likes.

After looking at everything piece by piece, I started playing with the pieces, laying them out in various combinations to see how they could work together. It’s a slightly different approach to making jewelry. When I’ve done so in the past, I’ve spent a lot of time beading. But with Vintage Groove, that kind of work is done for you. It’s as easy as twisting open the jump rings (which are already attached!) and adding pieces together–a pendant on a chain, charms on a chain or hanging together, several larger pendant type pieces linked to chain extenders or beaded strands, etc.

Basically, all you need is a pair of chain nose pliers. Making Memories actually recommends that you use two pairs, which I definitely found to be true. The tool kit above includes round nose pliers and a side cutter, in addition to the basic pliers, which you may need for more advanced work, but I didn’t use them for any of the projects I created. I came across several videos online that demonstrate wonderfully how to twist open the jump ring, attach pieces, and close it back up. So instead of trying to take a picture of myself twisting the rings, I’ll direct you to those at the end of this article. But before you go, you have to see the goods! First up, four super quick, super cute necklaces…

I was immediately drawn to the chunky chain necklace and the the large circle pendant. The metals were the same and I really liked the circles and ovals together. The two similar charms add more on the circle theme, and I really like that they’re different–balanced, but not perfectly.

The alphabet monograms are really fun. I knew right away that I wanted to use the L charm on this double strand necklace. I started to go more simple, but in the end, I challenged myself to add more in keeping with the Vintage Groove building theme. It’s a little trickier to make sure everything lies where you want it, but it still came together quite smoothly and I like the result.

These three charms were just begging to be linked together! It was a no-brainer–a flower, flanked by two leaves, with chain extender on each side. Simply fabulous.

And finally, the easiest of all. I really wanted this ceramic pendant to stand alone, on a simple strand of chain extender. While many of the strands come with closures attached, it’s important to note that if you design pieces with chain extender, like this one and the flower above, you also need to purchase closures. Some of the strands don’t appear to have them either, so check first before you leave the store!

As I said earlier, I am primarily a paper crafter. So, I couldn’t play with all of these fun pieces and parts and not see the possibilities with paper…

This charm was perfect for a mini wedding gift card. Sweet, simple, and so elegant.

I love threading a ribbon through the charms with connectors on both sides. This one said hello!

How about a gift embellishment? Again, ribbon threaded through both sides of the charm, this time tied in a bow at the top.

And finally (for real, this time!) a monogrammed mini album. Wouldn’t it be cool to create a word out of the different style letters? So many possibilities!

Now for my overall impressions…

Pros:

  • easy to use
  • variety of styles offered
  • ability to make each piece your own

Cons:

  • not all strands have closures included
  • should have a basic tool kit with two pliers
  • some things are only available in sets, not separately

I think that Making Memories has jumped into a new arena in a positive way with the Vintage Groove jewelry line. I think their fans will be intrigued and want to give this new product a try–I know I was!

Video links:

makingmemoriesjewelry.com
videos listed on top right of home screen

Vintage Groove Design Challenge
scroll down for video within the blog post

Vintage Groove by Jill Schwartz

Jewelry Gifts Under $20



GIVEAWAY
Making Memories will be giving one lucky reader a collection of Vintage Groove jewelry by Jill Schwartz. This collection is perfect for a first time jewelry maker because there is no beading required. All the pieces have been handpicked by Jill. All you have to do it pick your strand, pick your pendant or charm, and assemble.

To enter to win this prize, you need to make a comment on this post.  To comment, just click below this article where it says “crafters have an opinion on this post” and answer this question…

What projects would you use the Vintage Groove pieces on?  We would love to hear your unique ideas!

One comment per person, per Vendor Spotlight: Making Memories Vintage Groove article (this is 1 of 4), please. Winner will be randomly chosen on Sunday, June 27th and announced here on the blog.

Disclosure

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

Ellison Pad-It X-Press Kit

Reported by Lexi Daly

I often receive questions about how I make my own notepads, so I thought I’d review the tool that helps me do it, the Ellison Pad-It X-Press Kit. Other than my paper cutters, this is probably the oldest and most used tool in my studio. Here’s Ellison’s description:

The Ellison Pad-It X-Press is an innovative press that holds any shape stack of paper firmly in place while you apply padding compound. Just paint on the padding compound with a paint brush and turn stacks of die-cut shapes into instant notepads. When dry, lift the handle to remove creative shape booklets. The Pad-It X-Press Kit includes everything you need to get started: the Pad-It X-Press Machine, 1qt. White Padding Compound, 6 Sheets 9″ x 12″ Chipboard, and 2 Glue Brushes.

The two main items in the kit are the Press and the Padding Compound. As the description states, the Press is used to press down and hold paper into place so you can apply the Padding Compound. You print, stamp, and cut any kind of paper you’d like to turn into a pad, and press it down in the Press, leaving the edge you want to bind facing out. Then you simply paint on the Padding Compound and let it dry.


Because of the size of the Press, you can do multiple pads at one time. I’ve found it’s best to stack pads of the same size in the same stack, but as you can see above, depending on the size of your pad, there is plenty of room for more than one stack–they just have to be the same height. Once the pads are dry, you take them out and separate them. I prefer to use a craft knife to cut them apart because it’s neater and more precise. The drying takes a little time (especially if you live in the damp south!), but otherwise it’s a very quick process. When the pad is dry, the Padding Compound holds the sheets together until you’re ready to tear them off. The results make great gifts–who doesn’t use note pads? And a special design or personalized one is even better! Here are some examples:

checklist pads to throw in your purse

small decorative pads to leave by the phone

game pads to toss at the kids

morning routine checklists to get kids involved

For the most part, I create my designs on the computer, cut them to size and stack them in the Press. In addition to what I’ve shown here, I do a lot of simple name pads in these and other sizes. And don’t forget the reason Ellison gave–turning die-cut shapes into pads. The possibilities really are endless!

To sum things up:

Pros

  • easy to use
  • sturdy
  • can pad multiple pads
  • can create pads of varying shapes & sizes
  • compound lasts a long time

Cons

  • a little pricey ($99)
  • large in size/hard to store
  • only available online

So there you have it, another tool to add to your collection! The Ellison Pad-It X-Press perfectly coordinates with the many supplies paper crafters have and makes it easy to create some really cool, useful gifts. If you ever wondered how you could make your own notepads, now you know and you can check it out for yourself!

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

Vendor Spotlight: EK Success Brands – Halloween Papercrafting!

Reported by Lexi Daly

EK Success is a big name in the crafting world, offering a wide range of products, as you’ve read about over the last few days (if you’re stopping by for the first time this week, be sure to read back a few days!) Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, especially for crafting. So I was very excited when my box of products arrived on my doorstep, filled to the brim with all kinds of Halloween treats. I mostly received items from the EK Success brand K&Company, from the Tim Coffey Halloween line, including a 12″ x 12″ Specialty Paper Pad, Silhouettes, Die-Cut Cardstock, Embossed Stickers, Grand Adhesions, and Adhesive Borders. In addition to those, the box also included an Inkadinkado Clear Mini Stamp, a new larger punch from the Paper Shapers family, and sticker packs from both Jolee’s and Sticko. Wow! Truly a Halloween crafter’s dream!


One thing that I noticed right away was the vibrant colors and fun images of the Tim Coffey line. They’re perfect for so many Halloween projects–cards, scrapbooks, decorative items, etc. Loads of possibilities! As I opened each package and examined the items more closely, I found so many details to love.

  • The Die-Cut Cardstock has two of every image and are two-sided, so if you need a reverse facing image, you have it.
  • Many items have glitter accents, which is a must anytime, but especially for Halloween.
  • The Adhesive Borders are small, which is great for making cards, but include enough of each to make 12″ borders, and the adhesive is fantastic.
  • The Grand Adhesions are layered, popped up, and perfect.
  • The Specialty Paper is two sided, with some designs featuring flock, glitter, or dry embossed images–see swatch picture below!


And, best of all, it all coordinates perfectly! Here are a few quick projects I made using primarily the Tim Coffey products:

The Specialty Paper Pad and Grand Adhesions made easy work of these bags, perfect for gifts or treat bags. I think we’ll use them to Boo! a few neighborhood friends…
Many of the Specialty Paper designs are very detailed and don’t need much embellishing, but sticking a full sheet to cardboard and adding a few coordinating Grand Adhesions and Die Cut Cardstock, along with a little ribbon hanger, gave it just the right dimension to create a quick work of spooky art…
and now each of my girls has a great new bedroom door decoration to match the rest of our very “haunted” house!

The products mixed well with the other items in the box, as well as items from my own bottomless studio, a very important requirement when I buy anything new.

One of the first things that came to mind when I saw the large Paper Shapers Jack face was a circle shaped card, and the Tim Coffey glitter swirl paper was the perfect color, and sparkly too!

The Clear Mini Stamp paired with lined card stock (from A Muse), made me think of vintage and school–luckily, there was a perfect “teacher” witch in the the Die-Cut Cardstock pack!
The eyes, also from the Die-Cut Cardstock pack, inspired this card! I spelled out the words I needed with Sticko tiny alpha stickers and added another die cut on the inside–Boo!
Another Sticko sticker–all vellum and glitter!–really makes this A Muse haunted house shine!
The Tim Coffey Embossed Stickers include several really fun sentiments to add to a card or layout. I used three here paired with another one of those totally awesome Grand Adhesions. Everything on this card just stuck right on–no adhesive necessary. It doesn’t get easier than that!
The pumpkin border from the Adhesive Borders inspired another vintage card and was fun to pair with a stamped sentiment and papers from my A Muse collection.
And finally, the stash of candy from the Die-Cut Cardstock inspired another pairing with a perfect a muse sentiment. And more of that fun orange paper for a bowl–yum!

So, to sum things up…

Pros:

  • Fun images
  • Bright colors
  • Coordinated products
  • Attention to details
  • Plays well with other products

Cons:

  • Halloween is not long enough to use it all?!

As you can see from my projects, the Halloween goodies that EK Success has to offer through K&Company and several other EK Brands is so much fun to work with. And what I made just barely scratches the surface! With only a couple of weeks left, run right out and buy a few of these fun spooky treats for yourself and get busy crafting with EK Success for Halloween–we’d love to see what you make!

EK Success has generously donated some of the products featured in the weeks reviews to give away to our great readers! Please leave your comments on this article to win a EK Success Slim Line Medium Bats punch from EK Success Brands. You have until Sunday, October 18 at Midnight to enter.

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