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National Scrapbook Day Giveaway – Win Graphic 45 Little Women!

Welcome to National Scrapbook Day on Craft Critique! I’ve got a great giveaway to celebrate with thanks to Graphic 45 – and a simple layout that I hope will get you inspired to scrapbook today!

[Disclosure: Some links below are links to Nally Studios advertisers or are affiliate links that pay a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

Graphic 45 Little Women large

This new Graphic 45 collection celebrates the classic book “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. Every young girl who reads the story sees herself in one of the four sisters whose lives share the book’s pages. (Of course, I’m a Jo!) This gorgeous celebration of reading and storytelling is perfect for scrapbooking any number of childhood moments.

I chose a photo of my daughter reading with her daddy to share with this collection. This is an old photo, over ten years old, part of a stash of forgotten enlargements I recently rediscovered while cleaning my mess, I mean studio.

Graphic 45 Little Women layout

Supplies Needed:

The diagonal color blocking is a dramatic look. But it worked great – the photo of my daughter stood out brilliantly against the blue background and then the darker side of the photo stands out on the yellow print. The yellow paper balances the yellow on the layout by sitting opposite the yellow on my daughter’s pajamas.

I did the same color balancing with the pink & green, pairing the two pink elements on opposing sides of the diagonal divide and giving them green accents. The flower die is a Graphic 45 Staple and the layers work together beautifully! I used three graduated shades of cardstock (lighter on the bottom) to create the flower and give the illusion of shading.

The quote card was the perfect choice because it included the word “storybook) and it pulled the blue background print over to the other side of the diagonal.

So, are you ready for the giveaway? One lucky reader is going to win a Graphic 45 Little Women collection pack!

How To Enter: All you have to do to have a chance to be the lucky winner is leave a comment on this entry before 11:59PM US eastern time on Wednesday night, May 9th, 2018. Make sure you include your email address in the line reserved for it on the comment form (for your own protection, don’t put it in the text of the comment, where it will be visible to the public – just in the line labeled “email” in the form where only Craft Critique staff can see it). We will need it to notify you if you are a winner. Winners will be drawn by random drawing from all eligible entries. One entry per person. Sorry, US delivery addresses only.

But that’s not all! We’re giving away a different Graphic 45 collection on each of our Nally Studios websites today to celebrate National Scrapbook Day! Don’t miss your chance to win them all! Visit the links below to enter the giveaways on our other websites!

Thanks for sharing your National Scrapbook Day with Craft Critique and Nally Studios!

Vendor Spotlight & Giveaway: Sizzix Vagabond By Tim Holtz



Reported by Taylor Usry

I am still counting my lucky stars to have been given the chance to review the amazing Tim Holtz Vagabond die-cutting machine by Sizzix.  I’ve been swooning over this beauty since it hit the market!



The folks at Sizzix were kind enough to include several other goodies with my Vagabond. I received a butterfly die, a set of Sizzlets, and a Little Sizzles mat board pack.  I was all set to get crafty!

Inside the Vagabond package is:

  • the machine itself
  • a set of stickers to decorate it with
  • a pair of standard cutting pads
  • one solo platform
  • one solo shim
I let my daughter help me decorate the Vagabond, which might have been the most exciting thing we’ve ever done.  What a fun little extra to include; it’s a great way to personalize the machine and make it your own.  The actual box that the machine comes in is quite sturdy and looks like a well-traveled suitcase (as the Vagabond is designed to).  The bonus to that?  My daughter now thinks it is her very own authentic explorer’s suitcase.  I’m good with that!

The Solo Shim is a thin piece of plastic that fits securely on top of the Solo Platform.  They both measure about 6 1/4″ x 13″ and are to be used when cutting a Sizzlet, embossing with a Texture Folder, or using other-brand dies (i.e. Spellbinders Nestabilities).  One thing that I immediately loved about the shim and platform was that it clearly stated right on it when you should use the Solo Shim (with thin materials), and when you should use the platform alone (when cutting folded card stock or materials thicker than card stock such as chipboard, Grungeboard, etc).  There was no fumbling around for the instruction booklet or racking my brain to remember what I should or shouldn’t do!

The Solo Shim attaches to the Solo Platform in two spots on either end with metal clips.  The plastic tabs on the Solo Shim slide right in and out very easily.

On either side of the handle at the top are burnished brass buttons.  One side’s buttons are just for decoration, the other side has a motor button and a forward/reverse switch.  Now, this won’t work unless you get out the power cord and plug it in.  Where is the power cord?  Tucked into a nifty side compartment for storage!  That is one of my pet peeves about some other electronic machines I have – there is no cord storage.  The Vagabond corrected that oversight and included a compartment with a slide-down switch that will house the power cord when not in use.

The machine opens with the slide of a button as well (it is located in the center of the top of the machine, just under the handle).  The “flaps” easily lower themselves with just the push of this button.  The rollers located inside the machine are serious business – check them out!

The very first thing I tested was some foam. I sandwiched, from the bottom up, one cutting pad, the big die (foam side up), my foam, and another cutting pad.  I made sure the forward/reverse switch was set to the proper direction and pushed my sandwich into the roller opening as far as it would go.  Following the instructions, I gently pressed the guide flaps (the brown sides that stick up) inward until they made contact with the sandwich.  I pushed and held down on the motor switch until the sandwich came out on the other side.

I was instantly floored by how easily the sandwich went through the machine.  And my husband commented that the motor made a “cool” sound – so it appeals to the guys, too!

The Vagabond cut through foam like, well, butter.  Seriously.  No fraying, no nothing!



It made a beautiful butterfly for my daughter, who is hounding me for more.

Next up I cut some vellum, using the Sizzlets.  I put all four Sizzlets through at once (my sandwich looked like this, from the bottom up: Solo Platform, Solo Shim, one cutting pad, Sizzlets foam side up, vellum, other cutting pad) and repeated the same alignment process I used with the big die.  There is a note on the Solo Shim that more than six Sizzlets should not be put through at a time, or damage to the machine could occur.  The vellum cut fairly well; you can see above that some of the edges were a bit frayed.  I’m fairly sure I was using vellum from Stampin’ Up (which seems to me to have a medium thickness).  Overall, the larger, less detailed pieces came out better than the more intricate pieces.

The word Tweet looked like it cut through just fine, however, when I started trying to remove the word from the paper, I realized it did not cut all the way through.  The wrinkles evident on the vellum is proof of how much pressure those rollers put on the sandwich, though.

I know this isn’t the greatest picture, but it is another illustration of how much pressure the rollers place on the dies and materials being cut.  After one pass through, the Sizzlets left these impressions on a cutting pad – and the sentiment didn’t even cut all the way through the vellum!

I tried a Tim Holtz Texture Fade folder next, with another piece of vellum.  Just look at that deep impression!  It was so deep that in places the paper actually had some holes in it.

I also tried a piece of folded card stock (taking care to remove the Solo Platform, as advised) and it turned out well, too.  The card stock that was in the embossing folder actually came out of the machine with a slight curve to it, and was noticeably flimsier than the backside of the card, which had not gone through inside the folder.

While I was working on embossing, I also tried out a transparency sheet (the kind you’d use on an overhead projector – remember those?) and an embossing folder from Cuttlebug.  Worked like a charm!

Next I wanted to test out acetate, but my stash was mysteriously missing.  Not one to be deterred, I cut up the packaging from the Texture Fade folders and used that!  Paired with a big die, the acetate cut beautifully – crisp edges, clean cuts.  Makes a beautiful butterfly, doesn’t it? (I won’t mention how much glitter ended up on the floor from doing the edges like that – I’m still cleaning it up!)

I saved the thing I was most excited about for last….testing out my collection of Spellbinders Nestabilities in the Vagabond.  Sizzix manufactures a Wafer-thin Die Adapter made specifically for using competitor’s dies with this machine.  Unfortunately, it didn’t come in my package, so I decided to see what I could do to get it to work.  I did a bit of online research, and tried a sandwich of (from the bottom up): Solo Platform and Shim, two cardboard mat pads (I used thinner cardboard, cut from the back of a legal pad), one cutting pad, the die (face up), card stock, and the other clear pad.  I crossed my fingers, held my breath, and sent the sandwich through the machine.  It worked!!  I ran the whole sandwich back through with the tan mat I always use to emboss my Nestabilities in my Cuttlebug, and it left a stunning embossed edge on my card stock.  I won’t share the video of me doing the happy dance, but I did.  It is such a bonus to be able to use this machine and not waste the money I’ve invested in other dies and embossing folders! 
While I had the Nestabilities out, I tried using them to cut some photographs.  Once again, the Vagabond did not disappoint.  Perfect, clean edges, no fraying. Yay!
I also dug out an old original Sizzix die that made oval tags, and ran that through the machine with some Grungeboard.  After I cut them out (which worked great) I ran them through again inside a texture Fade folder. I added a Grungeboard die-cut butterfly, and made a little gift tag. 
Lastly, I thought I’d run a few of those 4″x4″ chipboard coasters through.  I might never deplete my stash of those things.  These are pretty thick little coasters, so I wasn’t sure how well it would do. The Vagabond did not disappoint! I was actually able to roll the whole coaster into a tube after it came out of the machine – it was that flexible.  I used the coasters I ran through the machine and have started a “Little Love Book” for my husband for Father’s Day. 
Overall, I am absolutely in love with the Vagabond.  IN LOVE.  Everything I tried in it either cut or embossed wonderfully.  I didn’t experience a single hiccup or problem with it other than the vellum sentiment not cutting all the way through.  I think everyone should own a Vagabond!
The Vagabond retails for about $250 and is available online.  It is completely compatible with Sizzix products, and has a wide range of accessories to make it compatible with competitor’s products. 
Pros:
  • easy to follow instructions
  • great design
  • cuts through and embosses all types of materials
Cons:
  • hefty price tag
  • very heavy machine
  • I wish the adapter for competitor’s products came with the machine (although I understand why it doesn’t)

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:

Do you have a Vagabond?  If so, tell us how you feel about it!  If you don’t, which features make you want to buy it?

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Book Review: Paper + Craft

Since I work daily with paper (it just goes so well with Mod Podge), I was excited at the opportunity of reviewing Paper + Craft, published by Chronicle Books.  It was written by Minhee and Truman Cho of Paper + Cup, a unique stationary company you should visit if you haven’t already.  Not only do I love their goodies, I love their cute little baby Jr.  You can see him on their blog.

As paper experts, the Chos bring a different perspective to the crafting world – they even admit in the introduction that their initial impression of the world of crafting was “yarn-spun doilies and Grandma’s needlepoint.”  Crafts didn’t equal art.  Their impression changed as they realized how deeply meaningful and heartfelt the process of crafting really is.  I like the Chos, and I like their book.  Here are my five favorite things about it.

1.  The wide variety of projects.  I don’t just mean the number (25), but there are many different types: home decor, gifts and party as a few examples.  I have SO much paper you wouldn’t believe it.  You probably do too.  It’s great to have a lot of different project options so I can use up that stash more often.

2.  Step-by-steps for each project.  Each project step has illustrations underneath the photo that are almost as cute as the projects themselves.  I love mini-drawn pushpins and pinwheels.  Who doesn’t?  I’m definitely visual, as most crafters are, so these really help.

3.  Additional project ideas.  I’m going to be honest my friends.  I get blown out when it comes to crafting.  I need help sometimes; every crafter does.  After every project, there are some additional ideas, and I’m very thankful.

4.  Downloadable templates.  When you purchase the book (or win it, as the case may be), you get a web address to download templates for all of the projects that require them.  This means that you can print extras in case you mess up (guilty as charged), change the size if you need . . . and if you are really fancy, can add graphics before you print.  Yay!

5.  The mommy and me shoe toppers.  I always choose a favorite project, and this one definitely rocks.  I know you will also be fond of these floral shoe toppers and want to decorate every pair you have.

Have you read Paper + Craft? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

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