Tag Archives | Dana Vitek

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: PSA Essentials (2 of 2)

Reported by Dana Vitek

I came across the PSA Essentials booth at the Summer 2010 Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show & Conference. They were literally the last booth I stopped into, on the last day of the show. I’m not gonna lie; it was the big posters of Hello Kitty that stopped me in my tracks. I love Hello Kitty.

After chatting the fine folks up for a bit, I got a quick demo. This system is super quick and easy. The stamps literally do “peel & stick” and the ink pads click in and out like a dream.

 I make a lot of bulk cards, (meaning lots of the the same one; invitations, birth announcements, etc.) so I’m always looking for something that will speed the process along. The PSA Essentials System is it! I never realized how much time I spend with traditional stamps, lining up the stamp on the block, tap, tap, taping the ink pad, inspecting the stamp for any missed areas of ink, tapping the ink pad again, lining up the image, and then, finally, stamping. With this system, it’s (almost) all done for me. Line up the stamp, press down, move along. Done.

I received a custom stamp (I chose the Gillian model), and got to pick the words that went around the outside. I’ll be using this stamp a lot; and I LOVE that I can switch out the middle if I want to. That outer ring fits right into my 1 3/4″ circle punch.

Ca-Chunk! Ca-Chunk! That’s the sound the stamper makes. So satisfying!

Today is my son’s 8th birthday (happy birthday, Max!), and we always give out something little and fun to his classmates on his special day. It took less than half an hour to whip these up, including the cutting and scoring.

I printed up a couple of sheets of cardstock that I cut up into ATC (2.5″x3.5″) sized cards


Back of the cards

This is the outer ring from one of the Hello Kitty sets. Don’t tell Max.

1 3/4″ circle punch

All done!

We made 20 in all.

My daughter didn’t want to be left out (naturally) so she got in on the game and helped me make a card and a little book to keep her stickers in. She did the background on the card below. She’s 4.

This is what a middle stamp looks like loaded in the handy stamp assembly guide. There’s a notch on the top of the stamp that lines up with a doohicky on the guide. Then you fit the stamper down on top, and ca-chunk. It really couldn’t be any easier.

Hello, kitty.

And then I quickly whipped up a card & party favor. I could knock out a bunch of these in no time. Not every project has to take 3 hours. Or 3 weeks. These took about 3 minutes.

PSA Essentials has lots of Peel & Stick stamps to choose from, and if you’re collegiate and/or Greek, it looks like there’s a few options, with lots more to come.


  • EASY! Easy to change the stamps, easy to change the ink, easy to keep clean. Easy.
  • FAST! Whip out those bulk projects in no time. Valentines for 40 kids… hello! 
  • Ca-Chunk!


  • The black ink comes loaded in the stamper, but there doesn’t appear to be a cover for the pad included, so when you swap out the ink, you’ll need to remember to swap the black ink back in when you’re all done.
  • Learn from my fail: don’t try to stamp an already punched circle. The stamp is sticky enough to snatch that bad boy off your work surface and transfer it to the ink pad. Ask me how I know. No, don’t.

I highly recommend the PSA Essential Stamps, and look forward to adding to my collection.

Here’s a list of where you can find PSA Essential Stamps in your neck of the woods. Or, throw your hat into the ring for our…

Our friends at PSA Essentials are giving away a set of stamps to one lucky reader. Just answer the following question in the comment section to be entered:

Which is your favorite line of PSA Essentials Peel & Stick stamps?

You have until Thursday,  January 27th at 10 pm CST to comment.


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

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Flip Pal Mobile Scanner (2 of 2)

Reported by Dana Vitek

I first laid eyes on the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner at the Summer 2010 Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show. There was quite a buzz about it during the Innovations Showcase for new products (I was a part of that buzz… I leaned over to Executive Editor Simone Collins and told her I wanted one, pronto). I was not surprised at all when it won for best new product. So, when the review opportunity came up, I was the first to raise my grabby little hands.

The Flip Pal Mobile Scanner is small and portable, but that’s not what makes it awesome. It’s awesome because you can remove the lid, hold it up to stuff, and scan it. Just think about the possibilities: you can scan objects and photos that you can’t remove from the wall, say like vintage wallpaper or cool graffiti. Or maybe a tile motif.

Or, say you need to make a bunch of name tags for your next high school reunion, and can’t face the thought of wrangling the yearbook onto a flatbed scanner and scanning whole pages that you have to break down into a bunch of little pics.

Here I’ve removed the lid and flipped it over to scan

This is the display screen on the back of the scanner


surrounding photos  were blurred for privacy; they were crystal clear on the scan

My hair has changed, but my attitude is the same.

This was a cinch. Really.

The Flip Pal Mobile Scanner is also great for scanning cool textures that you definitely wouldn’t be able to use a traditional scanner for:


yes, this is my nappy carpet

Dog Fur:

this is my not-so-nappy dog

And with a little Photoshop magic, you can use those textures to create digital elements for your scrapbook pages… there’s all sorts of things you can do:

A plain flower

A wooly flower, a “felted” digital image, with the carpet scan used as texture
my dog’s name
my dog’s name, written in her scanned fur

Here’s another thing that the Flip Pal is perfect for… tattoo artists.

What? Hear me out (and thanks to Editor-in-Chief Sarah Moore for this idea)… traditionally, when a person goes into a tattoo shop for a cover-up of say, someone’s name permanently inked on her shoulder:

who thought this was a good idea?

the tattoo artist would have you basically do a backbend over a photocopier, to photocopy your tattoo, so they could design something snazzy to cover it.

I don’t know about you, but my backbend days are long past. Here we used the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner to scan my tattoo.

Here’s what the scan looks like:

Into Photoshop for some design work:


my old tattoo is going to get all swirled into that luscious hair!

My new tattoo is going to be so epic. You’d better believe I’m going to glitter him up so he shimmers when I go out on the town.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas of how you can use the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner for more than scanning old photos (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and I plan to do that as well). This is one of those pieces of technology that I’m going to use in my daily life, and I LIKE that. A lot.


  • Very portable. This will fit in my purse.
  • Being able to remove the lid to place the scanner flat against a wall or photo album: genius.
  • I’m looking at the world in a whole new way; now I can scan pretty much anything!


  • It’s not pink. I prefer my tools be pink.
  • Hey Flip Pal…I could use a little carrying case for it! 
  • That’s it, really.

The Flip Pal Mobile Scanner retails for $149.99, and I definitely think it’s worth the investment. Be sure to visit their website for some demos and other ideas.

The fine folks at Flip Pal are giving away one of the Flip Pal Mobile Scanners to one of our lucky readers. Leave a comment on any “Vendor Spotlight: Flip Pal Mobile Scanner” article (this is the second of 2), and answer this question:

What would you scan with the Flip Pal Mobile Scanner? Don’t be afraid to think outside the “old photo” box!

One comment per person, per article, please.  You have until Monday, December 20th at 6pm CST to enter.


* in the interest of full disclosure, “Curtis” is my husband, Curt,  and that “tattoo” is Sharpie markered on. But the idea holds, for sure!

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

Vendor Spotlight: Jacquard Tie Dye and Indigo Kits – Editor’s Follow up

Reported by Dana Vitek

 Not one to let Susie and Sara have all the fun, I broke into my Jacquard Tie Dye and Indigo Dye kits with vigor. Both Susie and Sara said that they didn’t realize that the Tie Dye kit contained 2 different colors of ink; I just wanted to point out that it does, indeed, say it right here in the directions that the package contains a main color and an accent color.

Okay, now that the formalities are out of the way; let’s get down to business.

I’ve been wanting to dye yarn for the longest time, but didn’t want to deal with the mess and fuss that comes from dipping and mixing and stuff. So, I figured this Tie Dye kit would be just what I was looking for. It definitely was. I just added water to the pre-filled applicator bottles, and I was was good to go.

Here’s what I started with (it’s 100% cotton):

This is a lot of yarn (14 oz). Maybe too much for one kit.

Soaking in the soda ash pre-dye bath:

I added water to the bottles and tested them on a paper towel:

Now the good part… first the red:

then the pink:

I stuck the whole thing in a trash bag and let it sit for about 20 hours. Then I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed it. The water eventually ran clear.

There’s no good way to dry this much yard without getting it all boogered up. First I put it in a lingerie bag and put it in the dryer on high. For a long time. No dice. Then I attempted to dry it using my hair straightener. My husband took one look at that operation and suggested I put it in the oven. 200 °F for 2 hours, and it’s pretty close to dry. Finding the end is another story.

I crocheted up a quick swatch to see how it would look in my typical baby blanket pattern… I love it! I’m a little afraid that the color might run (reds are like that), so I’m going to wash the finished blanket several times by itself, before I give it to an unsuspecting baby girl!

While the yarn was in dye purgatory (i.e. the 12-24 hour waiting period), I mixed up the batch of Indigo dye. Included in the package was all this stuff:

including a really cool informational booklet about the history of Indigo. Pretty cool stuff. Anyway…

4 gallons of water + 1 tiny little jar of powder:

This does not smell very good

I know nothing of tieing things up to dye. There were directions included, but I pretty much winged it. That’s the beauty of tie dye… anything goes!

While I was rubberbanding, I let the bucket of dye rest for about an hour, and came back to find this:

(this really doesn’t smell very good)

Apparently this is exactly what it’s supposed to look like, based on the pictures included in the kit.

The liquid part of the dye is actually a yellowish-green color. I dipped my fabric in (I was doing a whole bunch of white 100% cotton flannel) and gently squeezed while keeping it under the surface of the dye. The directions make a point of saying to not drop your fabric in the bucket and let it touch the bottom. That’s too bad, because that would have been way easier. But, that’s the nature of indigo.

Some action shots:

Here’s the cool part; after taking the fabric out of the dye and unwrapping it, the indigo reacts with the oxygen in the air and tada! Blue!

I rinsed out the flannel, and threw it in the dryer for about 1/2 an hour. Then I ironed it, and started cutting it up to make a quilt.

I LOVE the way the fabric turned out, and had a hard time cutting into it! The flannel was still super soft; the indigo dye didn’t change the texture at all.

Since I had all this dye left over, I stuck the bucket in my laundry room until I could decide what else to dye. And then it came to me… my favorite jeans. These jeans were purchased back when the light wash look was still in. I haven’t had the chance to overdye them yet, but I’ll be stylin’ again soon!


  • Kits come with everything you need to get started, right down to the gloves and rubber bands. Which is great because then I didn’t need to steal any from the office.
  • Jewel tone kit had just enough for a small project; two t-shirts is a perfect amount.
  • Indigo kit is great for larger projects or lots of shirts.


  • Okay, it’s messy, or has the potential to be. But really, I’ve trashed my kitchen way worse than this.
  • I probably should have used two kits for the yarn; now I know.
  • The indigo dye smells yucky, so says my 4-year-old daughter, and I agree.

All in all, I loved these kits, and will definitely be using them both again. I still have an Emerald Tie Dye kit, although next time I think I’ll crochet the blanket first and then tie dye the finished product.

So what do you think? Are you hankering to get your hands on some tie dye now? Leave us a comment and let us know!


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