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Author Archive | Lisa Fulmer

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Quick Snippers™

Reported by Lisa Fulmer

If you’re a traveling crafter with a penchant for pinked and scalloped edges, this handy gadget is for you.
Quick Snippers™ is a 6-in-1 set of little scissors – one with a straight edge, plus 5 different border trims (from bottom up): corkscrew, lightening bolt, zig zag, victorian, and scallop.
You just lift up on the snipper you want, like a pocket knife. You rest your thumb on the purple knob of the top blade and press the bottom blade up with your fingers. The actual snipping action is light and smooth – no tension or sticking. The tool is fairly heavy though, weighing in at about a pound, which could be painful for your wrist if you have any carpal tunnel tendencies. I found it was easiest to use with the bottom of the casing resting on the table.

The blades are sharp enough for light- to medium-weight card stock, but they only cut about an inch at a time. It’s pretty easy to line up where you left off and continue cutting though, and you can easily flip the scissors over to cut the border going the opposite direction (rather than having to flip your paper over).
The variety of border designs is very nice. Personally, I still prefer the ergonomics of using my rotary trimmer and swapping out the fancy blades as needed. But if space was an issue, either in my tote or at my workspace, I can see the value of bringing along this tool instead. It works well for cropping small pictures and adding decorative edges to tags and ATCs.

Pros:
  • Small size – only 1.5” x 5”
  • Nice variety of border designs
  • Sharp blades
  • Convenient for traveling
  • Fair price of $19.95
Cons:
  • Heavy and a bit awkward to hold
  • Only cuts one inch at a time…definitely a “snipper”

Have you used the Quick Snippers yet? What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Quick Snippersare available from Amazon.com.

GIVEAWAY!
Want to win this great product? Our friends at Limiri, LLC. are giving away a pair of Quick Snippers to one lucky reader. To win, just leave a comment on this blog answering any or all of these questions, we love to hear your opinions!

What scissors to you travel with now? What project would you use these Quick Snippers on?

You have until Monday, February 21st at 6pm CST to comment.

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

Event Review: Quilting in the Garden

Here’s a little something to whet your appetite for the International Quilt Market coming up this weekend…


Reported by Lisa Fulmer


Is this not THE most beautiful setting for a quilt show?

When a quilt shop and a plant nursery get together to put on a show, the quilts fly in the trees!
Each fall I attend Quilting in the Garden, a lovely quilt show in Livermore, California. This nursery is such an amazing venue – they hang the show from their beautiful old oak trees. They assemble quite the set-up crew to clip all the quilts with clothespins on to lines without letting them touch the ground, then they hoist them up into the air.
Standing in the shade of a giant historic oak tree on a hot day, admiring the workmanship and design of colorful quilts while they are gently swaying in a fragrant floral breeze…well, there’s just nothing quite like it…it’s just wonderful.

Another thing that is nice about retailers hosting a show like this, rather than a guild or an expo organizer, is that admission and parking are free. This means I can spend more money shopping!! In addition to all the plants for sale, plus the nursery’s huge gift shop, several local quilt shops have booths set up to sell fabric and notions. All the local quilt guilds have their annual opportunity quilts displayed too (a large quilt jointly made by guild members), and you can buy raffle tickets to try to win one. There are classes to take, demos to try, plus a lovely outdoor café for a relaxing lunch.

Fabric, flowers, fundraisers and food…I’m in shopping heaven! I was inspired by all the autumn florals, so I bought a few mouthwatering colors of dupioni silks. Do I have any idea what I will make with them yet? Of course not!
Popular quilters like Alex Anderson and Sue Nickels were there to chat about their work and sell their patterns and books. Here I am, on the right, joking around with my friend and colleague, Alex.
The nursery does a great job with their plant displays too, so much color and crafty inspiration!

Click here to see more photos of this year’s event, and last year’s event photos are posted here.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Book Review: Amazing Clay Flowers

Reported by Lisa Fulmer


I think I speak for lots of crafters when I say that we are hoarders when it comes to supplies. Whatever our favorite craft is—scrapbooking, cardmaking, knitting, sewing, painting, beading…we probably own more supplies than we will ever use. Which means we struggle sometimes with justifying the purchase of a bunch of new stuff for a type of craft you have never tried before…even when something incredibly inspiring comes along.

Clay sculpting has been that craft for me…I just haven’t been able to get “into” it. But I totally love what I see my creative pals doing with air-dry clay. I’ve seen so many interesting ways to use it to make jewelry, containers, sculpture and ornaments.

And now I see flowers…20 different beautiful, delicate, life-like flowers handmade from resin clay. This new book by Noriko Kawaguchi, Amazing Clay Flowers may very well be the impetus that finally starts me on a little air-drying clay journey.

I’m not a flowery girly-girl type, nor do I have many “dust catchers” on display in my home. But I could immediately see lots of ways to incorporate these flowers into my altered art projects. The book is gorgeous—really lovely photography and lots of clean white space. The flowers look amazingly real! The instructions are very nicely organized and chock-full of how-to images that are good enough to make actually reading the directions feel optional.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had many of the tools and other supplies already in my arsenal…things I use for beading, metal embossing, even stamping.

What I didn’t have were the two most important ingredients – resin clay and oil paint. To be honest, I didn’t know what resin clay was; I had only ever heard of polymer clay. And I don’t work with oils, I use acrylic paints. But after digging around online a bit, I learned more about resin clay.

Resin clay is just an alternative to polymer; it’s very popular for making little food miniatures because of it’s translucency and super soft texture. It comes in either clear or white, and takes a couple days to dry. It shrinks as it dries, so you need to start your project in a 10-15% larger scale. It remains flexible without cracking after it’s dry. You can blend acrylics or other pigments into it to make different colors, but I read that oils are better because they won’t fade over time the way other media might when blended with the resin clay. With oils, the color will actually darken as it dries, so you need very little paint. The brands of resin clay that I could find (Cosmos, Sukerukun, Grace) were Japanese and mostly available online.

So while I’m still deciding if I want to spend $20+ dollars on a 200 gram pack of resin clay (7 oz.) and another $20+ dollars on a starter set of oil paints….I pulled out the one tiny plastic-wrapped log of polymer clay that I had gotten as a sample somewhere and decided to see if I could make a basic leaf. 

A little harder to do than I thought, but I think polymer clay is too bulky to get the same realistic effect that the author does…I can definitely understand why a soft, translucent resin clay would be more desirable. I tried adding some gold paint to make my leaves intentionally unrealistic looking and I rather like them this way. I can imagine using them individually as an accent on something like an altered box or ornament.

When I think of how long it took me to make one leaf, and then multiply that by the dozens of leaves and petals required to create one floral arrangement, it felt a little daunting. But I must say this book makes even the most delicate flowers look pretty achievable…and the idea of being able to work on a larger scale (knowing the finished piece would shrink down a bit) was appealing for my soon-to-be-50-year-old eyes.

Funny though, I realized that I don’t know my flower parts. Well, I know petals and leaves and stems. But the anthers, stalks, stamens, pistils, and sepals all had me a bit stymied. Never fear, my botanically-challenged friends…the book walks you right through each part with pictures, so I think I’m finally ready to work the word “calyx” into conversation.


Pros:
  • Beautiful project photos
  • Well-organized and detailed instructions
  • Helpful close-up how-to shots for each step

Cons:
  • Would have liked more information on resin clay and how it differs from other clays
  • Ditto for other kinds of paint besides oils
  • Last 30 pages were printed in black/white for some reason…maybe a printer error?
Have you heard of resin clay? Ever used it? Leave us a comment and let us know!


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