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Author Archive | Linda Neff

Review | Westcott Titanium Non-Stick 5″ Microtip Scissors

Let’s face it, all crafters want when we go to cut is a good pair of scissors that work. That’s what I get when I use my Titanium-bonded non-stick scissors by Westcott.

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I’ve had a chance to use these petite scissors recently and am pleased with their cutting ability. I’ve laid them out in classes as well so students could give them a try and the feedback I’ve heard from the students has been favorable too.

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Review | Westcott Extreme Edge Titanium Scissors

I thought I owned all the scissors I needed for my crafting projects but then I received a pair of Westcott Extreme Edge Titanium Scissorsto try.  I had lots of projects going on using a variety of products so I put these to the test.

I needed to cut some burlap strips and muslin pieces and was delighted at just how easily these scissors glided through both types of fabrics. They really did cut “like butter” – I felt no pressure at all and both fabrics were cut with nice clean edges.

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The packaging declares these scissors “easily cuts through multiple layers of fabric” and they did! My daughter and I were making new seat covers for some dining room chairs and used the Westcott scissors to cut through the 1″ thick seat padding. These scissors whispered through this project as if they were simply cutting through one layer of fabric.

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I have scissors for heavy projects like cutting chipboard, wire and such and if I try to use them to cut a piece a ribbon they won’t do it. The blades will just chew at the ribbon. So I’ve always had to have both fabric scissors and work scissors. These Westcott Extreme Edge Titanium scissors easily went back and forth from one type of project to another without any problem.

I use a lot of corrugated cardboard in my art projects which can be really tiring on the hands to cut. That’s where I learned to love the fact that the tension on these Westcott Extreme Edge Titanium scissors can be adjusted. The scissors come with a Blade Tension Key – a fabulous idea – so the blades can be easily adjusted for varying cutting materials.

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I loosened the blades just slightly to test the scissors on the corrugated cardboard. What a difference it made! With the tension adjusted for the thicker material it was very easy to cut through quite a lot of chipboard pieces with a whole lot less pain in my hand.

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Overall I have to say for the street price, less than $15, these scissors seem like the perfect little workhorse. The fact that the blade tension can be adjusted also should help the blades stay sharper longer. I’ve been using them on a variety of materials – fabric, paper, chipboard and corrugated cardboard – with ease. The lightweight scissors have very comfortable ergonomic nylon handles. My only worry is that I will put the Blade Tension Key in a safe place and when I need it I won’t remember where that safe place is. I wish it could be attached to the scissor handle somehow.

Pros:

  • Very comfortable to hold and use
  • Easily cuts through a variety of materials – from fabrics to paper products
  • Includes a Blade Tension Key for tension adjustment

Cons:

  • Includes a Blade Tension Key that could be lost

Westcott Extreme Edge 8″ Titanium Scissorsare available from a variety of office supply and crafts retailers, or the Westcott website, for around $12.50.

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Review | Studio 490 Stencils for Art by Wendy Vecchi

There are some amazing artists creating beautiful pieces with stencils. I’m not one of them.

I just recently tried my hand at stencils and have had some success and some not so much success. I think it’s like any tool – the more you use it the more success you have. My problem lies in the creative part: just what the heck am I supposed to do with it?

The Studio 490 stencils, Artful Words by Wendy Vecchi, arrived in the mail for my playing pleasure. My Stamp Club’s meeting was around the corner so I used the stencil to create some words for my ATC’s we were exchanging. The stencil was very easy to use and I was happy with the results I got to create my little word ‘fly.’

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I like the font style Wendy chose for this stencil, and it worked well on my project. This was a quick and easy make. I simply laid the stencil over some scrap manilla tag pieces and squished black Archival Ink through the stencil with an ink applicator. There was need to tape the stencil in place for this type of use. I just held it in place with one hand and applied the ink with the other.

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I didn’t even mask off the other words because I knew I would be hand cutting these words out.

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Next I thought I’d try my hand using the stencil with some gesso. This experiment failed. I often use gesso to create dimension on items so thought it would work but the letters are too close in the words and the gesso was too runny, so it blended together slightly. I did, however, have success when I switched to embossing paste which is thicker than gesso and so tends to stay put more.

For the embossing paste technique I did tape the stencil in place with painters tape (any re-positionable tape should work well for this). The stencil is taped to the tag as well as the table – I really didn’t want it to move!

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After I finished taping off around the word I wanted to use, I put a small amount of embossing paste on my spatula. The paste is like a light, airy cream and doesn’t run at all. I got my best results with the embossing paste.

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Then, with one pass, I dragged the pasty spatula across the area of the stencil that I wanted to use. The trick to good stenciling with paste is not to go back over the area because it tends to push paste under the stencil which makes it smear and come out not-so-pretty. I have also learned that when removing your tape, take it off in the reverse order that it was put on (so the last piece on is the first piece off). Your very first piece of tape will act as a hinge so you can gently lift and remove your stencil without messing up your nice image.

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The result was a nice raised sentiment with crisp, clean lines – it really did come out perfect!

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Overall I found this Studio 490 stencil very easy to use. It was a nice thickness, meaning that it gave just the right amount of dimension on the background. When I used the right product with it (embossing paste rather than gesso) I got really good results. The stencil cleaned up easily with a baby wipe but water would work just as well (always clean stencils immediately when using products such as embossing paste and gesso). There are plenty of words to use over and over again on this Artful Words stencil and they’re all in the same font style to give a cohesive look in something like an art journal. The size (slightly larger than 4″ X 6″) makes it easy to use on smaller projects and the price isn’t bad either – $4.95.

Pros:

  • Good thickness
  • Same font style to give a cohesive look
  • Great size for art journals & tags
  • Easy clean-up

Cons:

  • Storage (stencils need to be stored flat so they don’t curl or bend)

Studio 490 Stencils for Art by Wendy Vecchi are produced by Stamper’s Anonymous, and are available at Simon Says Stamp and other papercrafting outlets for $4.95.

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