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Vendor Spotlight : C&T Publishing

Here’s a little more information for you on C&T Publishing. Since its founding in 1983, C&T Publishing has become the industry leader for providing exceptional books and products to the quilting, paper craft, and fiber art markets throughout the United States and internationally. Consumers purchase our products through quilt, fabric, and craft stores; book, gift and museum shops; scrapbook and paper craft stores; and book clubs.

Reported By: Megan Lock
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Right?  Wrong.  I always do this.  If the cover is uninteresting, poorly designed, or unappealing, I’m certainly less likely to purchase it.  This may not be the best way to do things, but it works for me.  My first impression of both of the books I received was very good.  I received two books: The Knitter’s Guide to Combining Yarns and Sew Hip.  
The first, is adorned with very colorful photos and color guides.  It explicitly describes the various yarn types and their properties, including characteristics, variations, seasonal
 preferences, project ideas, average weight range, troubleshooting, compatible pairing yarns, and additional comments.  There are photos of knitted samples that show the differences in pairing different types of yarns.  It’s very useful if you’re looking to start a project and you want to add some depth to your project by mixing yarns together.  There is a section devoted to pairing colors regarding the seasons.  The different color pairings are explored for each season.  Lastly, there are some patterns, if you’d like to try your hand at yarn pairings.  
The second, and the one I chose a project from, is a collection of patterns for accessories, like belts, bags, and pillows.  Patterns are clearly laid out and skill level is clearly displayed.  This was particularly helpful, as I’m not a proficient sewer.  More specifically, I have a “mini” machine and have only used it for paper crafting.  My machine saw (and sewed) fabric for the first time and handled it well.  My first impression of this book was much like the first, very colorful photos, excellent projects, and well presented.  Unlike the first book, the tone of the book was more modern and appeals to a more trendy crowd.  
Since I chose a project from the Sew Hip book, I will tell you about my lasting impressions.  As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not an experienced sewer.  With this in mind, I chose one of the projects that was clearly labeled beginner.  I purchased the materials I needed, as outlined by the pattern.  Here’s what I ended up using:
I followed each of the steps, following the directions carefully.  I found that they were very easy to follow and each step provided a picture, so I knew what I was doing was right.  And here is my finished belt:
One of the alternative suggestions was to use two different fabrics to make a reversible belt.  I chose two coordinating fabrics in green, white, and black.  This belt has the “frayed edges” to make it more unique.  By following the directions, I have a thick, sturdy belt, that I think is rather cool.  Do you like it?
Pros:
  • Beautiful photos with vivid colors
  • Explicit details 
  • Sturdy book–perfect for the tough crafter who may tear weak pages
  • Offers additional information in certain sections
  • Some trendy patterns 
  • Some books come with CDs or DVDs to provide more visual instruction.
Cons:
  • Some patterns may be out of date, depending on your style
That’s the only one I can come up with–these are very well developed books
You can find their books on their website and in select stores.  Have you read any of C&T’s books?  Did you enjoy them?  What did you like about them?  We’d love to hear from you!
And how about a giveaway!! C&T is donating eBooks to 3 winners! So leave us a comment with the type of crafting book you enjoy most. You can enter on any of the C&T Publishing posts and have until Friday at Midnight! Email subscribers click here to leave a comment and enter!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Sizzix Texturz Plates

Reported by: Megan Lock

Before I start the actual review of this product, I would like to say this product is made by Sizzix, but also has different designs supplied through Stampin’ Up! The one I’ve used here is from Stampin’ Up, though other designs are available at Michaels, Amazon, or at your local scrapbook store. They retail for $9.99.
Sizzix Texturz plates are made of hard plastic that is six inches wide–which for us Cuttlebug users, means it will fit. Of course, you can also use the plates with the Big Shot. There are two different designs on either side of the plate. The set I bought came with three plates, therefore there are six designs. It’s important to note that these are not entirely like Cuttlebug Embossing folders. There are not a positive and negative sides to reinforce the design. As a result, the impression these plates leave is not as “deep” as the embossing folders. That said, these still offer the ability to add some texture to your paper. In my samples below, I used a die cut flower for my samples and I used three different techniques.
1. I used this sandwich in the cuttlebug (from the bottom to the top):
-A Plate
-Texturz embossing plate
-Cardstock or Patterned Paper
-Tan Mat (I use the Spellbinders tan mat, clearly I’m not devoted to one company)
-C Plate
2. Using the same sandwich, mist your cardstock or paper with water. I won’t judge you if you use your rubber stamp cleaner because it’s in a spray bottle, already on your table, calling your name, but I would never do that.
3. Tap your ink pad on the plate and immediately run it through your machine, using the same sandwich as before.
All three techniques will work, it just depends on what you want to do with your project. The first leaves a faint impression, though it shows some soft texture. The second is a little hint if you want a deeper impression. And the third adds a little depth to the texture.
Pros:
  • Durable
  • Numerous designs, and you get many with one purchase
  • Variety of techniques can be used
  • Affordable
  • Compatible with the Cuttlebug and the Big Shot
Cons:
  • Not as deeply etched, if you’re accustomed to Cuttlebug folders
  • They’re not available at all large chain retails
All in all, this is a quality product that achieves its purpose, regardless of of similar product comparisons. Do you have a set of these? Do you like them? Would you recommend them to another crafter? We’d love to hear from you!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight: Unibind Photobook Creator (day 2)

Reported by Megan Lock
I received my Photobook Creator in the mail and I was so excited to see it in real life. I had seen this video and didn’t know if it would be that simple! It really is! It is this little contraption that binds books using a heating element and a pageless book. PLUS, it is customizable. You don’t have to use the software they offer, you can use your own scrapbook pages! Here, I created a few scrapbook pages and intentionally left the pages as flat as possible. You could use embellishments if you’d like, but I wanted to keep my book flat. The book has an established width binding that can only contain a certain amount of pages. I used nine pages, though it is a thicker cardstock.
I placed my pages in the book and centered them along the top, bottom, and right edges. I nestled them nicely into the binding, ensuring they were lined up evenly. All you have to do is plug the Photobook Creator right in to the wall. There isn’t an on/off switch or anything. It’s not on when it’s plugged in, but as soon as you place your book (binding side down, as shown), it turns itself on in an instant. It was actually pretty exciting and surprising that is was so easy to use.

I left it sitting there while I did a few chores. When I came back, the light was green. Which means GO!

One of the best features of this machine, other than the simplicity of operation, is the idea that you can customize your pages. If you use their software, you can have your pages printed on paper and you can throw your book together in no time. I, as a papercrafter, love the feel of the paper, and like the texture in my books. I love that I can create my pages, as I would ordinarily, but I can bind it in a nice book. Here, I distressed the edges of my book to add its own character.

And here’s the finished book, displaying my babies, Ellie and Emmitt:

If you need to change the position of the pages or if you need add some pages, you just have to reheat the book and rearrange as desired. You can also embellish the front of these books, which of course, come in a variety of sizes and colors.
You can find this handy gizmo for a retail price of $99 for the starter kit at a handful of online retailers: Target, Samy’s Camera, and Adorama. Check Unibind’s website for other retailers. The starter kit includes the binding machine, 1 black, linen 8 1/2 x 11″ photobook, and the layout software. Additional books can be purchased in a variety of sizes and styles.
Pros:
  • EASY to use! I don’t know of anything this simple–it’s easy. Green and red. Go and stop.
  • Sturdy: I tried pulling out some pages and they weren’t coming out. I was a little skeptical and thought they may want to come loose.
  • Small: it doesn’t take up much space, it’s easy to store.
  • Page Options: you have a variety, using the software, creating your own pages, etc.
Cons:
  • This is another one of those ‘one use only’ products. I’ve reported on other tools that only do one thing, and this is definitely a one trick pony.
  • The window on the front cover isn’t lined on the inside, and I wish it was.
If you’re looking to bind your own books to make a lovely uniform collection, you’ll love this product. It is a neat product that is very unique in the industry. Overall, I think it’s a good value and can be versatile. Do you have one? Would you be interested in buying a product like this? What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!