Author Archive | Wendy Jordan

Vendor Spotlight: C & T Publishing Insul Fleece

Reported by Wendy Jordan

This past Christmas, I decided that homemade gifts was the way to go for my loved ones. I made place mats, oven mitts and trivets for all my loved ones. These projects used interface, and if I had had this Insul Fleece by C and T Publishing, I think I would have enjoyed the whole experience more. Making a trivet isn’t difficult, but using the best products makes the process easier.
The Insul Fleece is the perfect product for a project like this because it is not only meant to withstand the hot temperatures but is also washable. To start my trivet project, I did some patchwork sewing of some really cute fabrics from my stash. You can see the Insul Fleece has mylar that is layered between polyester fleece to create a high-quality barrier that reflects heat or cold.
Regular interfacing is rather transparent and does not feature this add mylar component.

The Insul Fleece is pliable and I was able to easily use stick pins to hold it in place with my other fabrics.
From the first stitch, my sewing needle went right though the Insul Fleece.
The machine sewed through it as easy as regular fleece materials without the mylar layer.
Insul Fleece is simple cut using a rotary cutter or scissors. You can see in the photograph below the Mylar center is easily cut.
Below is a comparison of the fleece that I used to make my gifts a few months ago on the right and the Insul Fleece that I used on my new projects on the left.
This is the reverse side, which you can see that the Mylar is on both sides of the C and T Insul Fleece which is ideal for projects like this.
Insul Fleece is also about half as thick as the product that I used previously. This really comes into play when using stick pins.
I have sewn all the materials together and turned my trivet right side out with ease. The Insul Fleece is so pliable and easy to work with it makes this step a breeze.

Here is the finished project in service. This casserole came straight from the oven. After we ate, I lifted the dish off the trivet and where the dish was directly sitting on the trivet, the material was hot, but the underside of the trivet was cool.

*Please note: Insul Fleece is heat-resistant only, not heat proof or fire resistant.
I had many layers of material making my next project. You can see that the sewing machine needle went though the Insul Fleece, no problem.
Matching trivet and oven mitts.
It is much easier to pick things up when your hand can bend in an oven mitt. Insul Fleece make this possible because of its pliability.
A quickie cute coffee cup sleeve. I got this pattern from the Stash Books Blog.

Insul Fleece is a fabulous alternative to other heat resistant interfacing on the market.


  • Insul Fleece is pliable. Easy to bend and turn.
  • Thin enough to sew through with a machine or by hand.
  • 27″ x 45″ piece in the package. I was able to make all the projects shown and had leftovers.


  • Not a con, really, but just wanted to reiterate that Insul Fleece is heat resistant, not heat proof.
Do you have a project in mind that is calling for heat or cold resistant materials? Have you had an experience with Insul Fleece? Please tell us about the projects you have made and what projects you would make with this great product.

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY!: Sizzix Texture Boutique

Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Only
Can you get over how cute this little bundle of fun is?? The Sizzix Texture Boutique is an embossing machine. While doing my review, I found that this darling machine that is patterned after a handbag can emboss a lot more that regular cardstock.
Included with Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine is the embossing pads and the handle with tools to attach it. I love that. I didn’t have to rummage my husbands garage (and SCORE….now I have my very own screwdriver)!
In the packaging of the Sizzix Texture Boutique, there are detailed instructions on how to get started with your machine, but it is very easy. As you can see in the picture the handle is like a “tongue and groove” design. It won’t allow you to insert incorrectly.
Once the handle has been inserted in it’s place, there is a hole for the provided screw. Using the included screwdriver, I attached the handle and covered the screw with the provided tab.What purse has a screw in it? This is a great finished look. Thank you Sizzix!
Sizzix Textured Impressions Embossing Folders 2PK - Elegant Vine & Flair Set
Sizzix was also kind enough to include the Textured Impressions Elegant Vine and Flair Set of embossing folders.
Before I got started on my review, I knew that I didn’t want to just emboss paper. I found six different media to see how well this little cutie would do on some tough stuff. I chose velvet paper, sticky backed vellum, thin cork, iridescent Mylar sheets, Grunge Paper, thin wood paper (not pictured) and corrugated cardboard. I also included a metal stencil for kicks and giggles.
Here is the “sandwich” or how to stack the products for embossing in the Texture Boutique. Black embossing pad, Mylar sheet, embossing folder (with velvet paper inside) and the second black embossing pad on top.
The Mylar sheet is included so that you can also emboss a single sheet of card stock. If you choose to emboss the just the top of a folded card, you would leave the Mylar sheet out of the “sandwich”.
Insert the “sandwich” into the opening in the front of the Texture Boutique.
Start turning the handle clockwise and the “sandwich” will start moving through the machine.
See from the top of machine the “sandwich” moving through. The entire process is roughly 15 seconds, depending on how fast you are turning the handle. I was turning quickly, with my right hand and holding the “beaded” handle with my left.
The machine needs to be held on to while turning the handle. There aren’t any stoppers or suction feet to hold it in place.
Here is the embossed image on the velvet paper. Success!! I like it!
I was able to cut the velvet paper and make a darling label.
Embossed image on wood paper.
I will use this for the front of a card. I love this!!!
Iridescent Mylar sheet
WOWZA!!! Love that look!! Isn’t is weird how a bit of light will change the color of iridescent Mylar?
Here is the thin cork after being ran through the Texture Boutique. It didn’t emboss as well. The cork I used was very thin. It left a bit of an impression but not too much. Grunge paper didn’t get a good impression either.
I am in love with stenciling, and embossing with them is a big part of what I love, so I was really eager to put away the embossing folder and see if the Texture Boutique could handle this job.
My “sandwich” had an extra layer this time due to how thin the metal stencil was that I was using and I needed a rubber layer to achieve the embossed look. My “sandwich”was: black embossing pad, Mylar shim, metal stencil, card stock, rubber mat and black embossing pad.
I inserted the “sandwich” and turned the handle. The “sandwich” smoothly went through the machine without a hiccup!! It is very important when using metal stencils that the embossing pads and mats are straight and not warped, or your stencil will take on the “curve” of the embossing pads. As you can see, my stencil made it through without being bent or curved in the process. I am loving this!!!
Here is the result. I colored in the embossed imaged through the stencil so you could see the image better.
Tah – dah!!!
The sticky backed vellum embossed perfectly and I love that when you emboss vellum, the embossed area turns white. LOVE IT!!
Corrugated cardboard. I am loving this too. It was a bit difficult to see the image in the corrugated cardboard, but once I enhanced it a bit, I really love it.
  • The machine is small measuring 8″ x 5″ x 9″, plus 2 1/2″ handle, for easy storage.
  • The two mats and one shim that come with the machine are also small for storage.
  • The machine is so darling, it really should be left on the counter.
  • There are hundreds of embossing folders that can be used in the Texture Boutique.
  • Other manufacturer’s embossing folders and metal stencils can also be used in the Texture Boutique.
  • It is a two-handed operation. While turning the handle, you must hold down the machine with the handle to keep it from bouncing around.
  • This machine is NOT a die cutting machine. Its only purpose is to emboss.


It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:

Do you have any ideas for fabulous projects that you could create with a Texture Boutique?

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

Vendor Review & GIVEAWAY: EK Success Perler Biggie Beads Kit

Reported by Wendy Jordan


At our house we are getting our craft on as much as possible. Every member of our family has a craft that they love to do. There isn’t anything that the girls and I don’t want to make. Recently Kaylee (8), Jenna (7) and I had the opportunity to review Perler Biggie Beads from EK Success. We were thrilled to get started once we saw all the fun that was in the box.

Both of my daughters were eager to give this a go and luckily there was enough in each kit to keep two children busy! This first kit had a double-sided pattern (the fish and the dinosaur) and a clear peg board which is 8 inches square. The Perler Beads were not included with this kit, but we were provided with the large sized tub of assorted colors of Perler Biggie Beads. The Perler Beads are 1/2 inch pieces of plastic tubing. They are hollow in the middle and sit perfectly on the “points” of the clear peg board.


The colors on the pattern are more of a guide to placing the colored beads, but you can use any color you want with a similar to the dinosaur and fish.

The Perler Bead clear peg board fits on top of the pattern, which you place on a heat-safe craft mat for ironing later. Kaylee was ready to get started on her project.


Jenna chose the Dora & Friends Perler Biggie Beads kit. The peg board and pattern was approximately 13 inches long and 9 inches wide. With the Dora & Friends Kit, it is important to use the proper colored beads in the right areas or it just won’t look like Dora. You can see the colors through the clear peg board.


The 9″ x 13″ inch clear peg board is designed for large patterns and has four grooves, two on each side of the peg board to keep the pattern in place.


Here are Kaylee and Jenna enjoying their Perler Beads. Smile girls……


The clear peg board has “points” on it that hold the beads. The bead sits right on top of the “points” and won’t fall off, but they will slip off if bumped. Kaylee and Jenna both mentioned that they loved the Biggie Perler Beads better then regular Perler Beads because it was easier to place the beads on the peg board without the beads falling off.


Jenna is concentrating seriously on her Dora and doing such a good job!!!


Kaylee had a slightly smaller project then Jenna, so she finished rather quickly. Now you can get an idea of what the Perler Beads look like.


With each kit, comes a ironing sheet, similar to a piece of parchment paper. The sheet is designed to protect your iron from melting bits of plastic.


Once you place the iron on the ironing paper, moving the iron in a constant circular motion is the best practice. You can see through the ironing paper if the beads are melting together. When you achieve this look, you’re ready to flip your project over to melt the other side.


This is the opposite side of the fish project. The first side that I ironed is melted together. Kaylee just picked up the clear peg board and lightly flipped it over and the opposite side of the fish was ready to be melted.



Jenna has Dora all ready for melting.

We had melted the first side and you can see you easily the project flips out of the clear peg board and is ready to melt the opposite side.



These fun little face stickers came with the Dora & Friends Biggie Perler Bead kit.


Here is another project that Kaylee was working on while we melted Dora….


and here is my Perler Bead project…


Here are all of the projects that the girls completed with the Biggie Beads and the finished Dora and Friends Biggie Perler Bead kit.


Included with the Perler Biggie Beads is a Mega Idea Book. There are some fabulous ideas in here. The girls were having so much fun with the Perler Beads and are excited to complete some of the projects in the Idea Book. The bucket of Biggie Perler Beads has so many beads in it that we should be able to to three or four more projects.


  • The kits come with patterns, to make placement of the correct colors easy for kids.
  • There are lot of beads with each kit, no chance of running out before your kit is complete.
  • The bucket of Biggie Perler Beads had so many beads in it, my girls got their two patterns complete and four other projects done.
  • Kaylee and Jenna both commented that they liked the Biggie Perler beads much better that regular Perler beads. They commented that the Biggie Perler Beads were easier to hold and place.


  • The skill level listed on the box is 4 to 6 years of age, but my children (7 and 8), had so much fun with them. The Dora & Friends kit is aimed at smaller children, but I would hate for an older child to over look this product. My girls had so much fun with these beads.

My girls and I are currently looking in our community for more Biggie Perler Beads to make some of the fun projects in the Idea Book.

The folks over at EK Success are giving away Perler Beads to one lucky reader. To enter simply answer any of the questions below in the Comments section of this article on our website. One comment per person, please.

Have you tried Perler Beads? What fun projects have you tried? What designs or themes would you like to see in Perler Beads?

Winners are chosen at random. Contest closes Sunday, June 12th at 6pm CST. Good Luck!


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