Tag Archives | Colleen Schaan

Am I Sticking With Lizzie Anne?

Reported By: Colleen Schaan

Don’t forget to head on over to the Lizzie Anne Designs forum over at Splitcoaststampers to enter a contest to win some FREE stamps! (See this post for all the contest details.) You have until Saturday at Midnight (EST) to enter.

As I wrap up this exciting week of Lizzie Anne reviews, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Sarah for getting me hooked on yet ANOTHER stamp company! It seems like every day there are new companies popping up all over the country. The competition is fierce and only the best of the best are going to make it for the long haul. Lizzie Anne? Yea, I think this one is going to be sticking around.

Do you know the story behind Lizzie Anne? I do…“Two Graphic Designers. Two long-time stampers and scrapbookers. Two long-time friends.” (quoted from the Lizzie Anne Designs site) It was interesting to see how this friendship turned into a business relationship…one that seems destined for greatness. After all, there are a lot of years of designing, crafting, and stamping experience between the two of them. Let’s go take a peek at what they are doing…

Lizzie Anne Designs’ goal is to create “extremely cool stamps for cardmakers and scrapbookers alike…designs to inspire creativity.” While I can’t say much about the use of their stamps for scrapbooking, I will say that I was inspired to create some interesting cards and decorative items with their stamps. I am a “layer it on” and then “add some more” kind of gal, but these adorable images just screamed out for sweet and simple. I was amazed at how easily this first card came together. The sentiment is called Good Cheer and is one of the Simply Single stamps I got. It worked perfectly with the solid, retro tree from the Glad Tidings Little Bits set.

Whether the images were solid or line drawings, the deeply etched and closely trimmed rubber stamped clear and crisp. The images range from retro and funky to cute and whimsical to vintage and elegant…something to appeal to everyone. Me…I like cute and whimsical. This lovable line-up just melted my heart. I created a tiny window for them to peek through and look…it is snowing HUGE flakes outside…just the thing to create another sweet snowman. (The stamps are Snowflake and Snowmen – both from the Simply Singles collection.)

I will admit, when I first visited the LAD site, I was a bit confused by all the bits. (No pun intended!) But here’s a bit to clarify it all… (grin)

Little Bits Collection – These are full sets that come in their own CD storage case. Each set contains multiple images that coordinate around a theme.

Alphabits Collection – These are alphabet sets (mainly geared towards scrapbooking) that come in sturdy zip-lock storage bags.

Simply Bits – These are sets of two stamps…usually an image and a sentiment.

Simply Singles – (Hey, where’s the bits?) These are single stamps. Have you ever found a stamp set with just one or two images you wanted…but you ended up buying the whole set anyway. With Simply Singles you can purchase some of the most popular images individually! Excellent idea!

Other things you should know???
The cost of the stamps is pretty competitive and the cost of shipping is reasonable. With quick shipping times (typically one week within the States and two weeks to Canada) and great customer service, you can be saying, “Howdy” to your new stamps in no time at all! (This card uses the Cowboy and Howdy Simply Single stamps.)

My experience with Lizzie Anne Design???
I was amazed at the speed of delivery and packaging of the product. I immediately fell in love with the images and was inspired to start getting them inky. The problem? – I couldn’t get the darn CD case to open! I pried and pulled and flipped and flailed…all with no apparent success. I FINALLY got the bugger to open and quickly forgot my frustration when I saw this uber cool plastic insert all of the stamps were attached to. I figured my not being able to open the case was “user error” and quickly got to work. Unfortunately, every time I tried to open that darn case, it got the better of me. It wasn’t until I did some poking around on the LAD site that I found out that the “cool” plastic sheet was actually NOT meant to be kept in the CD case as it was only there for “retail packaging” and actually made the case a bit too thick. And THIS…I believe…is why I couldn’t get the case open. (Just a note to all you readers who are snickering out there…I BET I am not the only one to do this…and by the way…the case opens like buttah now that I got rid of the plastic insert!)

My honest opinion and would I buy them again?
While I LOVE the images and the quality of the rubber, I am NOT a fan of static cling foam backing on stamps (aka – vinyl film). I have always had issues with cling stamps not clinging so well. I know the key is to keep the acrylic blocks and the cling uber clean, but even then, I have had stamps fall from the block onto my paper making rogue ink splots that needed some creative layering to hide. This is not a complaint against LAD, but a product dislike of cling foam. But since LAD uses cling foam, I have to ask myself…will I buy more stamps from this company knowing the potential problems that might arise? And I have decided the answer is YES…my solution? I have peeled both the cling and the foam off of the back of the stamps leaving just bare naked rubber. A quick brush with some temporary adhesive glue and I am at peace. (And just so you know…getting rid of the foam and using just the rubber on the acrylic block does NOT affect the quality of the image at all. I made this Peace Frame using three of the stamps from the Glad Tidings Little Bits set…all without the foam – crisp and clear!)

In conclusion, I think Lizzie Anne Designs will be sticking with the best of them…cling foam or no!

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

The Polymer Clay Techniques Book

Reported by: Colleen Schaan

As a child I loved to play with Play-Doh. I made gourmet meals, household items, jewelry, toys, and animals out of it. While I still loved to play with clay as an adult, I felt I needed a more sophisticated medium. While visiting my local craft store a few years ago, I purchased a package of polymer clay, brought it home, and started molding. Unfortunately, the only instructions I had in using it were the limited ones written on the package. I was disappointed in my purchase and quickly ended my love affair with clay.

When the subject of book reviews came up for Craft Critique, I knew I wanted to read a book about a craft I was not currently involved in. I reluctantly picked up The Polymer Clay Techniques Book by Sue Heaser and started browsing through it. I was immediately drawn in by the stunning examples of projects done with polymer clay. I decided to give the book a thorough examination and purchased it. I must say, I don’t regret it a bit.

The book has hundreds of beautiful pictures of polymer clay items created by a variety of artists, and while as a beginning polymer clay user I was a bit intimidated by these, I was also very much inspired to learn more about them.

I really enjoy the formatting of this book because it is extremely well-organized. The first small section is called “Inspiration” and includes those projects by the various artists. The second section is called “Equipment & Materials” and features four pages detailing the different work surfaces, tools, machines, and materials a person needs for working with polymer clay. (Along with the clearly written descriptions are pictures of the various items, which are helpful for those of us who like to visualize things.)

The body of the book is a collection of techniques, beginning with a “Getting Started” section where a beginner can learn all of the useful tips and techniques used in working with polymer clay. Each technique is written out as a step-by-step process and includes photos of many of the steps. It was very easy to follow along with the directions as I was actually doing the steps. I was able to work my way through the entire “Getting Started” section in just a short amount of time.

The other sections include more advanced techniques and are titled: Manipulating the Clay, Sculpting, Decoration and Embellishment, and Clay Simulations and Inclusions. While many of the techniques in the last few chapters were WAY over my head creatively, the directions were still crystal clear and the accompanying photos visually enhanced the steps.

Some of the other features of the book include

* A section on the properties of the main brands of polymer clay. Here, Sue has given manufacturer information and rated each clay based on its softness, strength, and variety of color along with listing the best uses of each brand.

* A list of suppliers and relevant contact information.

* A list of polymer clay organizations.

* A list of other publications on the subject.

This book is a must-have for any crafter’s library. It is so comprehensive that I don’t NEED another book on polymer clay…, but if I ever find I do, I will be checking out the other two books in this polymer clay series.

The New Clay by Nan Roche
The Art of Polymer Clay by Donna Kato

I just loved this book and I am thrilled to have revived my love of all things soft and squishy!

Bibliographic Information:
Title: The Polymer Clay Techniques Book
Author: Sue Heaser
Paperback: 128 pages (also available in hard cover)
Publisher: North Light Books
Copyright: 1999 (Reprinted in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)

Find more information about Sue Heaser, her books, and her organizations – HERE

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

American Craft Ribbon..A Must For Crafters!

Reported By: Colleen Schaan

I must warn you…if you read this article, you WILL go out and spend your hard earned money on the product I am going to talk about. If you are a crafter, you will WANT it…I guarantee!

There is nothing like the sight of colorful ribbon – all bundled up neatly on spools just waiting to be used, and nothing makes me happier than the site of American Craft ribbons all packaged up in coordinating sets. American Craft ribbons can be found at most of your local craft or hobby stores and are well worth the price of gas to get there.

In general, American Craft ribbons are premium ribbons in the latest colors and most popular patterns. Most of the ribbons are available open stock or in boxed sets. American Craft ribbons come in a variety of styles and widths. The quality of American Craft ribbons is amazing. I have been using it in my papercrafting for years and have never had a complaint or negative experience. It is thick and stiff, yet easily manipulated, the color is vivid and true, and the ends have never frayed or pulled. I just love the selection and quality. While many people like being able to buy just one or two rolls of ribbon, I love that I can purchase a whole “set” that coordinates perfectly.

There are currently nine different styles of American Craft ribbon sets.

Beautiful colors and simple designs, this set is a classic. The double-sided ribbons in this set come in five different widths. A staple for every crafter’s cupboard.

A public favorite, the essentials set contains superior quality, classic colors, and simple designs. The sets are coordinated by color and each ribbon is 3/8″ wide. An essential addition to a supply list.

Just like it says…these sets showcase two color combinations. Elegant yet simple designs in the most popular color combinations to date. All ribbons in this set are 3/8″ wide. “Just Du-et” and add them to your collection.

Tie Rack:
An eclectic collection full of interesting color combinations and designs. These unique ribbons come in five different widths and are double-sided. Not your typical tie, I just love the oxford set!

Each of these sets corresponds to a specific holiday or season. The themed ribbons are all named after food and you can’t go wrong with the Cider, the Pumpkin, or a Snowcone. You will always be in season with these adorable ribbon sets.

With the stylish feel of a metropolitan city, these sets are full of fashionable colors and sophisticated designs. Perfect for crafting elegant pieces

A bit more lively with the feel of the city nightlife. Fun, hip colors meet exciting patterns to create this gritty set. Who wouldn’t want to be seen Downtown?

Head over to the beach and stroll the boardwalk with these splashy and colorful ribbons. Double-sided ribbons in five widths coordinate beautifully together in this set.

My favorite style, the Boutique includes unique shapes and textures. Coordinating sets of rich satin, sheer organdy, smooth velvet, and wavy ric-rac create the perfect collection of specialty ribbons. Just the thing for any special occasion.

With all the choices available, it might be hard to pick a favorite. The good thing is…you don’t have to. Visit the American Crafts link to see the complete collection of ribbons and start your collection today.

Do you have a favorite American Craft ribbon set? Leave a comment and tell me about it.

*All pictures were taken from the official American Craft website.

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