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Vendor Spotlight: The World’s Smallest Post Service from Chronicle Books

Reported by Julie Tiu


Image from Chronicle Books

Let’s face it, the art of writing letters is somewhat lost these days with e-mail and video chatting… and well, it’s an art. But, this kit makes it super easy and adorable! A letter from you, from The World’s Smallest Post Service, is sure to please! This awesome little kit is so full of cuteness from the smart packaging to the teeny newspaper for wrapping up small gifts.

Here’s how it started:

World’s Smallest Post Service (WSPS) from Leafcutter Designs on Vimeo.
If this doesn’t whet your appetite for Lilliputian letters, I don’t know what will.

So, when you get your kit, you’ll find everything you need for your more-than-petite-sized projects including an instruction sheet. Yes, instructions. They’re not so much for writing content but tips for making the most of your tiny writing endeavors. The first helpful tidbit is “practice writing as small as you can…” (My daughter and I practiced a few lines.)


If you’re trying to figure out just how small these letters can be, try imagining an envelope the size of a penny. The pen that comes with the kit has a very small tip (.02). Handy, but I also had a little trouble with the ink sort of feathering out on the paper. It wasn’t really that bad, but just something to get used to with pen pressure.


The kids were fascinated with the magnifying glass and tiny stickers (postal stamps).




I also wrote a tiny note to the creator of this fun kit. I plan on sending it in a regular envelope.


If you’re looking to send a tiny package, this kit includes enough material to make four lovely little gifts. Look at this newspaper! Real stories, real features and even horoscopes.

It’s hard not to smile if you’re presented with a gift like this:

All the materials are of good quality. I mention this because the kraft paper is real kraft paper, not thin paper bag. It was actually tricky to wrap the box! (And I’m one for crisp lines and nice ends.)

It’s so cute, I can hardly stand it… if you’re into sending good thoughts, surprising your friends with lovely little trinkets, The World’s Smallest Post is for you.

Pros:

  • Enough for 40 letters.
  • Well-thought supplies.
  • BONUS craft included. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Cons:

  • There are only enough supplies for four packages. Choose your recipients wisely.
  • Would be nice to have extra magnifying glasses to send in the packages.
  • A smaller nib pen would also be helpful.

The kit retails between $18 and $23 and is available at bookstores and online.

Disclosure

Do you have some special people in your life who would love a teensy treat in the mail? What would you use the packaging for? Tell us in the comments!

Vendor Spotlight: C&T Publishing Inchie Ruler Tape

Reported by Julie Tiu

Image courtesy of www.ctpub.com

Just when I thought my metal crafting ruler, trusty transparent quilter’s ruler, and tape measure were enough, I was sent some peel-off paper rulers called Inchie Ruler Tape by C&T Publishing. Inspired by Charlotte Warr Andersen’s book “One Line at a Time”, this tape is touted as “easy, accurate guides for quilting, crafting, painting and more”.



One package contains 80 sheets of ruler tape. That is plenty to last through many projects, especially since they are re-positionable. Peel an entire column (11 inches), or cut what you need; it’s easy to take off the backing.

Seriously, Inchie Tape couldn’t have come at a better time. I tested it as a guide on my t-shirt quilt project. No need to mark masking tape by hand! I really like how flexible it is, how it stays adhered to fabric, yet doesn’t leave a residue.


Big stitch hand quilting

On paper, Inchie Tape may behave differently. It is possible that it can stick a little too well to paper. I decided to try stitching a card, except I didn’t think about the tape placement.


It wasn’t too difficult to take it out, just a little prying. I should have split the tape apart, as in the picture below.



Overall, I found the ruler tape easier to use on fabric. It’s a nice tool that any crafter would enjoy using.

Pros:

  • Ten 8″ x 11″ sheets with 8 stickers each… you do the math. Generous amount!
  • Re-positionable adhesive has just enough tack to use over and over on fabric.
  • Flexible with fabric.
  • 1/4″ guidelines are helpful. Easy to cut with backing.

Cons:

  • Might damage paper surfaces, so test first or cut with backing and leave backing in place.

Inchie Ruler Tape can be found online at the C&T Publishing website  for $10.95 plus shipping and handling. Check on availability at your local fabric store.

How would you use peel-off paper rulers in your crafting projects? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

Disclosure

Vendor Review & GIVEAWAY!: Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine by Ellison


I could be late jumping on the Sizzix Texture Boutique bandwagon, but better late than never! This little cutey is fun. It’s an embossing machine only, and easy to use. It joins the Sizzix machine family with “siblings” – BigKick, Big Shot, Sidekick, Vagabond and eclips machines.


There’s a small task of assembling the handle, and the manufacturers have so kindly included a screwdriver with it. So, you could get busy with your machine soon after you purchase it, like in the check out line or in your car if you can’t wait.


The machine comes with two embossing plates and a Mylar shim. You have to buy your patterned embossing folders separately. I was sent these two designs to test, the Elegant Vine and Flair set.


The instructions are so simple to follow, and as a bonus, the steps are on a sticker placed right on the embossing pads. Very convenient!

When you run your plates through the machine, you may have some oily residue appear on the side. It’s from the inner workings of the machine, as you can imagine. After a few sets of cards, you’ll stop seeing it.

Materials Tested

Construction paper and copy (textweight) paper: easy to run through the machine, totally embossed, but thin paper leads to cracks or tears.

Cardstock, including Core’dinations Color Core Cardstock: Very sturdy paper that gives resistance when you’re cranking it through the machine, but great detail from the embossing plates.

Newsprint: So, I had an idea, but this is extremely thin paper and because I actually used the newspaper, the details were lost amidst the printing.

Vellum: Thin material, of course, but I liked the soft quality. Very easy to emboss.

Heavy-duty aluminum foil: Really liked how this turned out. The details come out so well and reminds me of tin ceiling tiles.

Everything turned out as expected, except the newsprint. I bet there’s still a way to salvage them!

Naturally, I made some cards – the texture helps step up your creations.

These people are really my relatives…

 

Lots of texture!

 

Simple and elegant

I used the vellum on glass jars and turned them into candle holders.

 

And look what happens with the foil on the glass jars! This was a neat application!

Pros:

  • Easy to store, or cute enough to leave on your work surface
  • Quick to assemble
  • Simple to use
  • Other embossing plates may be compatible

Cons:

  • Wish there was some storage for the plates and shim
  • Only for small paper (4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″)
  • Embossing plates (designs) may sell out quickly

Texture Boutique comes as a “machine only” or in a “beginner kit”. The machine only retails for approximately $30.00, while the beginner kit costs around $50.00. The difference in price seems worth it to me. You receive embossing folders, a variety of crafting materials and an idea booklet. Embossing folders come as singles, pairs or sets and can range from $8-$14 online and at craft stores.

GIVEAWAY!

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:

What designs or patterns would you like to see for the Texture Boutique? 

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