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Tag Archives | Beth Silaika

Vendor Spotlight: Firefly ™ Sculpey® Boxed Kits (Bendy Bracelets and Fashion Jewelry)

Reported by Beth Silaika

Some days, it is nice to just get out of the sunshine and get inside and create. The girls and I needed one such day and I broke out some Firefly™ Sculpey Boxed kits to play with. Firefly ™ Sculpey® Boxed Kits Bendy Bracelets and Fashion Fun Jewelry are two of the boxed kits which Polyform offers in their line of products.

Each kit comes with directions, tools and enough clay to create several items of jewelry. The bracelet kit comes with jewels, glitter glue and a bracelet form made of cardboard. The jewelry kit comes with tools, jewelry “thread/string” and clay.

All five of the girls wanted to play with the clay, and we were able to let the 3 and 5 year old participate with supervision.

The most difficult part of the kit is deciding what type of bracelet or jewelry you want to create. They have several different options of styles to choose from. Couple that with the variety of colors of clay and your possibilities are enormous. Sculpey clay requires conditioning to make it easily formed, so rolling and kneading the clay is the best way to start out your project. If you have little ones who want to create with the clay, you really need to condition the clay for them by sectioning off a small piece of the clay and rolling it between your hands to warm and soften it.


I let the girls have free rein on their projects, occasionally helping them form the clay on the cardboard bracelet form. They all experimented with colors and styles and decided to come up with unique combinations.
Victoria chose to create beads with her clay, using the jewelry kit. She rolled out a few colors of clay and cut them and swirled them around together to make a tie-dye bead.
Karen rolled out colors, created small circles of clay and layered them atop one another on the cardboard bracelet form.
Here are the flat circle beads that Karen layered to create her bracelet, and these are the tie-dye beads which Victoria created. The beads, prior to baking, were pierced through with the plastic needle tool to create a small hole for threading.

Isabella decided to create a twisty bracelet for herself. She selected a few colors and rolled them out on the table.


She simply twisted them together, we measured them against the cardboard bracelet form and we pressed the clay together to create the bracelet.


After baking for a few minutes in the oven, the beads and bracelets were ready!

Bella loved the look of her twisty bracelet. It slipped right on her hand and was a good thickness for durability.
My daughter Isabella does *NOT* wear jewelry. With the exception of those rubber band bracelets, this is the first piece of jewelry she has ever worn. She gave the kit a thumbs up!
Victoria beaded a nice necklace with the black thread provided in the kit. She took her tie-dye look beads and threaded them to create an adorable choker. Even though some of the bracelets Victoria made broke, she really enjoyed the kit and also gave it a thumbs up.


Unfortunately, Karen’s bracelet broke right after baking. It cooled, she tried to put it on, but the thin circles did were not durable. Several of the bracelets, with the exception of Isabella’s twisty bracelet, broke. It was difficult to make a bracelet on the cardboard form provided in the kit which was not too large for a child’s wrist. The bracelets were labeled “Bendy” but they did not bend, and if any pressure was put on the bracelet, the clay snapped. The most durable items were the beads which we created with the clay. They looked very nice, the colors were vibrant, and each bead was unique.

Pros:

  • lots of colors, styles and ideas all in one kit allows you to create endless possibilities of handmade jewelry and beads
  • so simple, even a supervised 5 year old can create a personalized piece of jewelry or beads
  • tools provided in kit can be reused if you purchase additional clay at your local craft store or online
  • lots of clay provided allows you to make several pieces of jewelry

Cons:

  • cardboard bracelet form did not fit child’s arm, it was too large
  • baked clay did not bend (as stated on the box) and several bracelets snapped and broke

My girls absolutely loved the afternoon we spent crafting. Although they were disappointed that some of the bracelets broke, they were very excited to wear with the pieces that did not break. They would absolutely play with these kits again and they would give the kits as gifts to friends. My girls range in age from 12 to 3. The 3 year old even took the leftover clay and made a hat for her Yo Gabba Gabba Muno toy. All in all, it was a wonderful crafting afternoon and I would recommend the kit to create thicker bracelets and beads.

GIVEAWAY
Polyform is generously giving away one of these great Firefly Sculpey Clay kits to a lucky reader!
To Enter
Leave a comment on this post and answer one or all of these questions…

Have you worked with these kits before? Is this something you would be interested in trying? What about these kits appeal to you most?

You have until Sunday, October 10th 6pm CST to enter. One entry per person, please.

Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight: No Bow No Go Top Notch Templates and Bow Instructions

Reported by Beth Silaika

I have always been jealous of those moms who are able to 1. get their children to comb their hair and 2. get their children to accessorize with adorable little bows and ribbons. If only I could make those adorable little hair decorations. When the opportunity to review the No Bow No Go Instructions and TNT Top Notch Templates product, I was so excited to be able to create something for the two children who still let me get them dressed!


This 131 page spiral bound instruction book and top notch templates set (of twelve) was very nicely put together. The pages are easy to read and the photographs are clear and they are labeled very well. There are even safety tips for people creating bows, since some of the tools which you need to use to create the bows are quite dangerous if they are not set up properly or if they are touched by little hands.

The templates are made of clear plastic and are made to last a long time. They are clearly marked in the corners to let you know which template is which. There are instructions in the manual to let you know the finished bow size (which correlates with the template number) how much ribbon length is required to create one bow, and which size ribbon looks best with each template.


After skimming through the book a few times, I decided to create a few bows for my youngest two daughters. I gathered my supplies (hot glue gun, alligator or french barrette clips, scissors, needle and thread, ribbon)


First, you attach the ribbon to your clip. Here I used a French Barrette Clip.
The next step is to wrap ribbon around your template. There is a nice slit in the template which allows you to sew the center of your bow. Here you can see that I am sewing the center with a few stitches.
I used some clips on each end to hold the ribbon tight to the template while I sewed it in the center.
I slid the ribbon off the template and started to fluff the ribbon. I followed the instructions which told me to create a “center” of the bow. I used a straight center, wrapping the ribbon around and hot gluing the back. I trimmed the ribbon ends in a V-cut.
I attached the finished ribbon to the barrette clip.
Tah-da! It looks great! Genevieve tolerated it for about 1 minute. She loved the color, and I love the fact that I can create them to look just like any outfit she might have in her closet.
Sophie stumbled into the room and requested a purple one for her hair. It was so simple to create, I was able to whip one up for her in about 5 minutes. She wore her bow for the rest of the day!

Pros:

  • There are several book options available, including digital downloads of the instruction book.
  • Templates come in 4, 9 and 12 template sets to fit in your budget
  • Additional instructions are available for a nominal fee
  • Great asset for you if you are starting a small craft business
  • Simple, easy to follow instructions
  • Clear photographs
  • wide variety of bows (including stacked, twisted, pinwheel and split tail to name a few) with ribbon color and width options = endless possibilities
  • heavy duty template, will not easily break or crack

Cons:

  • Really cannot find any cons…this is a great resource for someone who is interested in creating their own hair bows!

The No Bow No Go Instruction booklet and TNT Top Notch Templates can be purchased online at their website {NoBowNoGo.com}.

How cute are these bows?! Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight: Just Imagine Crafts/Kreaxions (Article 2 of 2)

Reported by Beth Silaika
Some days I feel like Tim “the Toolman” Taylor. I love my tools, arrrh arrrh arrhh!! This latest tool is the Kreaxions 4 in 1 punch (model 922) and optional star template. It comes with the punch, which you can use alone, or it can be used in conjunction with the A, B or C plates. Using the A, B, and C plates allows the punch to be so versatile.


For most paper crafters, there are two types of paper which you use frequently with punches. The lighter paper, which is around 70 lb weight, is much easier to use with punches. The heavier card stock is usually between 80 lb and 110 lbs. Stampin’ Up! is around 90 lbs, so I decided to use that for my review, since it is a favorite of so many paper crafters.

If you use the punch without any of the plates, you get a nice design. On the left I used some paper which was provided to me by Kreations. It was a light weight card stock, around 70 lb weight, comparable to a nice designer paper. On the right, heavyweight card stock, Stampin’ Up!, approximately 90 lb weight. The punch easily punched through the light card stock, but it took a little more effort to punch through the heavier card stock. I had to place the Stampin’ Up! card stock on the desk and use my weight to push down to press through the paper.
That punch looks like the face of a jack-o-lantern, so I punched the design on a scrap piece of orange zest Papertrey Ink card stock (110 lb). Punching through this heavier 110 lb card stock took a little more effort, but the punch went through clean, without any jagged edges. Next, I punched the orange zest piece with a circle punch and then trimmed it to look like a pumpkin. I added some avocado scraps to complete the look. FABULOUS!!!

Next, I lined up all the plates to test their ability through the light and heavy card stock.

First, take one side of the plate and slide it in the side of the punch (as shown).

Second, slide in the second half of the plate and press the two plates together. They line up quite easily.

Here is the test with the A plate (white plates). It worked well with both weights of paper and although a little more “umph” was required to push through the heavier cardstock, the punch left no torn edges or jagged design.
On to Plate B, which is a corner design. This makes for a fun side for the edge of your card. You can even use this punch on a mat and tuck your photo in one, two or all four corners! FUN!
Plate C is one of my favorites, it makes a cute curved edge plus design. Oh the possibilities! So fun!!!

Here is a fun addition to the 4 in 1 punch….it is a Star Template Stencil Octagon which allows you to take your tool to the next level. First, you take the template and trim out your card stock. This is relatively easy, but a little time consuming, so I trimmed out three stars at once (you know, in case I made a mistake!).
Once you have your star trimmed out, you insert the “A” plates into your punch. Each point is inserted into the punch and you repeatedly punch each point out to create a fun design. Depending on how well the star was initially trimmed, you may have to trim a little portion of the edge off the border.
Depending on how well the star was initially trimmed, you may have to trim a little portion of the edge off the border. Here is the punched piece with the borders attached. I was able to easily trim them off and create a nice little “doily”.
I was able to use the trimmed doily to create a fun focal point on a card. Simply add some buttons to the center and a sentiment to the bottom of the card – this was such a simple design.

Take a peek at the Just Imagine Crafts blog here for a video on how to use this Star Template Octagon! I really enjoyed playing with the Kreaxions 4 in 1 punch and I like the idea of being able to use one tool with a few tweaks to create many different looks. After a few punches however, the palm of my hand was a little sore. I guess I have gotten spoiled by my squeeze punches! I like the idea of the Star Octagon template too, but to create mass production of the template would be quite time consuming, so I will probably not be using it often. It will be one of those “unique” looks I use every once in a while on my cards.

Pros:

  • The 4 in 1 punch gives you several different looks, all with one tool
  • easy to use, plates are very simple to change
  • inexpensive, less than $16 for the 4 in 1 punch and less than $3 for the Star Octagon template
  • punches through many weights of paper without leaving jagged or torn edges

Cons:

  • requires significant pressure to punch through heavier weight papers
  • older style punch may make the palm of your hand sore
GIVEAWAY
The folks over at Just Imagine are giving three lucky readers a punch and their circle cutter.  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…

Do you own punches?  What kinds of projects would you use these punches for?

One comment per person, per Vendor Spotlight: Just Imagine Crafts/Kreaxion article (this is 2 of 2), please. Winner will be randomly chosen on July 1st 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!