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Tag Archives | Paper Crafting

Report from the National Stationery Show

Reported by Eileen Hull

On May 16, I had the pleasure of walking the National Stationery Show. This was the 66th annual show and took place in the JavitsCenter in NYC. The show is held in conjunction with Surtex (Surface and Textile) and a large furniture show. One ticket ($150) gets you into all three events (with the proper business credentials). If you like paper, you could walk around forever. Vendors are set up with their latest and greatest new products hoping for retailers to come and place orders.

Unfortunately, I only had seven hours at the show so had to practically run through to see it all and fit in a couple of meetings. But here is a quick snapshot of what I saw.
The colors throughout the show seemed brighter than last year, perhaps reflecting optimism for better sales in the year to come. It looked like there was business being done and orders being taken.
I started on one side and was happy to find some familiar faces from the crafting industry. Canvas Corp was there with their Home Décor line, along with some of their signature kraft papers, canvas tags and embellishments. Mark Richards was a few booths down and then who should I see but Tim Holtz with his new line of finished goods. He graciously allowed me to video him talking about  District Market. Unfortunately, I lost my Bloggie camera somewhere between New York and New Orleans -so sad….
I moved on to see Ken Oliver from UniBind who also described some of the new products including talking books, cards and a really cool canvas covered photo book.
As I walked the show, I met some very interesting personalities. One of my favorites was Stephen Brown from Glitterville. That guy has some really cool projects in the works and I think we will be seeing lots from him. Don’t you love this booth? Stephen and Chico sure packed a lot of glitter in there. While I was talking with them in the booth, one of their good friends dropped by- Victoria MacKenzie- Childs. Four days later I was in New Orleans and saw her cool dinnerware displayed in a Saks Fifth Avenue window!
Crane always does a great display and this was no exception. Cool windows with paper sculptures lined their booth.
One of my personal favorite booths was the AneMoNe booth- it was beautiful. They produce handmade flower bouquets for weddings and special events. An accompanying line of cards completes the display. Paper flowers of all kinds, sizes and shapes could be seen every time you turned around.

Letterpress was stronger than ever. I saw more booths with designs that took letterpress from traditional to trendy with new fonts, icons and styles.
Text was huge. Compendium Inc. had a really cool booth using text all over their walls. Letters were everywhere; monogrammed items are still going strong. Books and journals also were very popular. I love this video about Smash Books from EK Success.
State Fair and circus images were sprinkled throughout the floor in all kinds of products as well as vintage ’50’s photo cards with snappy comments. Pennants and banners festooned the tops of many booths.

Mean cards also seemed to be a theme. A booth called Gigi was centered around a doll (which kind of reminded me of Chuckie) doing and saying all kinds of outrageous things, many of them not very nice.

Paper confections are still in. M.Middleton won Best of Show for their cake slice notepad. Cute! Lots of cupcakes and paper eye candy.

Eco products were out in force. I happen to own one of these Eco Cups by Decor Crafts, Inc.

Several booths offered laser cut services – one caught my eye in particular called Papyrus Cutters. The detail on them was unbelievable. Another company called Laser Cut It  had a cool display of stacking cut out boxes.

Birds, bicycles and typewriters were common themes and there was one vendor who was selling them right off the floor. I was even able to buy a ribbon for a little blue ABC typewriter I purchased years ago- never could find a source to buy ribbon that would work with it. Only in NYC!



I really enjoyed walking the show and was inspired by all of the creative displays, booths and products. There is definitely crossover between the craft and gift industries, as evidenced by the craft manufacturers who set up in this venue showcasing added ways their product may be used. Can’t wait till next year!

Do you like paper and stationery supplies? Have you ever attended this show? What do you think the latest trends are in the craft industry now? Do you respond to trends or try to create your own?

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

Book Review: Pulp Fiction, Author: Mark Montano

Reported by Amy Anderson

I always get tickled when Mark Montano releases a new book – if I had to choose a crafting idol, he would be the one.  It’s a little like a pre-teen getting the latest issue of Tiger Beat with Justin Bieber on the cover, only there is a lot less obsessing and screaming.  I’m honored to be one of the first to review Pulp Fiction: Perfect Paper Projects by Mark – published by Design Originals.  Mark and I have something big in common: we LOVE paper.  It’s my favorite medium too (paired with Mod Podge, of course).  The fun part about this book review was browsing all of the Mod Podge projects.  Nearly all of them use our favorite decoupage glue!  Per usual, Mark’s projects are brilliant and I find myself asking “why didn’t I think of that.”  Here are my five favorite things about this book.

1.  The use of book pages.  I typically forget how fantastic book pages are as a decoupage paper.  They look fabulous in mixed media, on journals, furniture… so many uses.  They are so perfect – Mark shows you how to use them to their best potential with decoupage.

2.  Mark’s techniques with lace.  I always think of lace as old-fashioned, and I certainly never think of bringing it into my craft projects.  His take on lace is a little different, and I appreciate that.  Let’s just say that I’m reconsidering lace.

3.  The budget aspect.  Let’s face it, Mark is the budget project king.  This book follows suite with his others in that most of these use household goodies, and if they don’t you’ll be spending a few pennies to make the project.  They are “cheap” projects that look like a million bucks.

4.  Sewing on paper.  Like using book pages, I ALWAYS forget about sewing on paper.  I love the technique – love, love, love.  There’s a project in this book that will really inspire you to bust out your sewing machine and get cracking.  I’m now thinking “what paper can I sew?”

5.  The double print IKEA table.  It’s a secret process that is super cool, and no, I can’t tell you what it is.  You have to buy the book to learn about my favorite project in it.  The best part is that it’s sealed with Mod Podge.  This is why we love Mark.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of this for yourself and your favorite Mod Podger.  Pulp Fiction is just as awesome as  his “Big Ass” series, and the projects are so unique.  A lot of designers tend to find their “schtick” (myself included) and stick with it.  A read through this book may help you start to think outside your comfort zone a little.  It did me.

Have you read Mark Montano’s latest offering? Do you have his previous books? 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!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Elite by Making Memories (1 of 2)

Reported by Taylor Usry

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Slice Elite Digital Cordless Designer by Making Memories. This is a little machine that packs a big punch! The Slice Elite weighs less than a pound, is 5″ by 5″ of creative power, and can cut. emboss, and draw on a variety of paper, card stock, and photos. As advertised, the Slice Elite can cut shapes and letters from one to four inches, in half inch increments. The machine can be powered by its rechargeable battery (works for about an hour), or by plugging in the power adapter.

Making Memories sent me an amazing package for review. It included the Pink Slice Elite Starter Kit, which comes with:

  • Pink Slice Elite Digital Cordless Designer
  • Basic Elements design card
  • Basic Elements design card booklet
  • 6″ x 6″ glass cutting mat
  • five blades
  • blade replacement tool
  • blade adjustment wrench
  • power cord
  • re-positionable adhesive for the cutting mat
  • foam brush
  • user manual
  • quick start guide

They also threw in some great paper and embellishments from their Dilly Dally and Tie the Knot product lines – what fun!

I read through the included User Manual a couple of times, and was surprised at the lack of information it provided, especially with regard to embossing and drawing. However, the tips to utilize those features were not included with my starter kit, so I didn’t get to test them out anyway!

I went online to check out the how to videos, and they were super helpful. As instructed, I began by putting a thin line of repositionable adhesive down the left side of the glass cutting mat. I then used the included foam brush to spread it out thinly all over the surface, and waited the recommended two minutes before applying my paper. An interesting note – I thought the adhesive smelled awful. My husband and daughter couldn’t smell a thing. Weird, huh? Regardless, it leaves no residue on your paper and washes off the glass mat easily with soap and water.

Once you’ve made you choice about shape/letter, size, etc and are ready to cut, the process is fairly simple. Place the machine on the desired location on the mat (it is easy to determine placement, as there is a small “x” on the screen where cutting will begin), press down with light pressure, and push the “cut” button (pictured above, just under the handle – it is the small pink button toward the rear of the machine). The button is perfectly placed to press while you are holding the machine to keep it steady. There is an optional Hands Free kit you can purchase, so that you won’t have to hold the machine while it cuts. But really, it cuts quite quickly and it isn’t difficult at all to hold it!

It’s easy to tell when the machine is done cutting, because it tells you. Down the left side of the screen you can see that it is “working”. Once the cut is completed, a large check mark appears, indicating the machine can be picked up and your die cut can be removed from the mat.

If you don’t wait the full two minutes for the adhesive to dry, or if you apply a bit too much and it doesn’t dry in the specified time frame, this is what will happen when you try to pick up the paper. A total mess. It washes off with a bit of warm soapy water and some scraping.

When applied correctly, your paper will peel off the glass mat very easily and leave your die cut behind. You can purchase a spatula to lift it off, but my fingernails worked just fine. When placing the paper on the mat, you want the side you want to use to be facing up (so, you will be looking at the “right” side). You do not have to wash off the re-positionable adhesive each time you use it. You can store the glass cutting mat with a scrap piece of paper covering it, and gently peel it off for the next use. Once it begins to lose its tackiness, wash it and reapply the adhesive. Making Memories also offers some spray adhesive, although I did not test that out either.

The Slice beautifully cuts out words! And using the shadow feature, you can make an outline in no time. The machine also has a mirror image feature, which is a great idea for shapes. I did change the cutting speed from high to low. When I cut my first word on high speed, the edges were a tiny bit jagged.  I did not have to adjust blade pressure at all. The Slice just cut what I wanted – no fuss, no stress, no feeding the paper in and positioning it the right way. No making sure I had tons of space behind and in front of my machine so the paper could work back and forth. That, I think, is my favorite feature about the Slice – the compact size. Easy to store, and the cartridges are the size of memory cards for a camera. So they just don’t take up as much space.

The Slice is so easy to use that I let my five year old try it out (with very close supervision, of course). I talked her through the steps, and let her watch me do it. She was able to pick out her shapes, choose different sizes, and position the machine on different areas of the paper to cut out the heart and the flower. Then she cut out the word giggle. All three die cuts took her maybe ten minutes, and most of that was deciding exactly which shape to do next. So in my opinion, this makes the Slice great for kids crafts and projects. Many of the design cards are kid friendly!

With the included Basic Elements design card, my favorite thing to make was the tags. What a super useful option! On the tag above, I paired stamps from Lizzie Anne Designs with the tag (and shadow) I die cut, a paper flower from the Making Memories Dilly Dally line, and some Making Memories ribbon. The card stock is Neenah Solar White and Papertrey Ink Kraft – I wanted to test out how the Slice cut different wights of paper. It cut through them just fine!

I mass produced this tag, using stamps from Stampendous, and more paper flowers from Making Memories. I left off the ribbon, so I can use them on a variety of gifts. I think I made about 30 of these! I’m not sharing samples I made using textured card stock (Stampin’ Up), vellum, and acetate, but the Slice cut them all perfectly. I do want to stress that I used the low speed to cut with, but the Slice still seems faster to me than my Cricut.

I could not be more thrilled with this machine, and plan to invest in more design cards to further utilize it. Check out my quick list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • compact size and portability
  • ease of use; wastes less paper than a Cricut
  • online support and video help – great resource!
  • wide variety of accessories available

Cons:

  • the user manual could be more descriptive
  • I wish the starter kit came with at least one embossing tip
  • can’t cut an shape or word larger than four inches (which is fine for card makers, but maybe not for scrapbookers)

GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Do you own a Slice Elite? How do you like it? If not, what are you currently using for your die cutting needs?

You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

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