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Vendor Spotlight: Stampendous Glitter

Reported by Susan Reidy

Some of my first, and favorite crafting memories, involve glitter and glue. It’s rare to find something so basic, so easy to use, that can add so much to a project, not to mention good for all ages.

While the act of glittering hasn’t changed much since my childhood, the glitter sure has. Stampendous recently sent me a box of their glitter goodies. The variety in textures, colors, and sizes are simply amazing!

They have just about every type of glitter you could possibly want. Do you want a bright, shiny, jewel color? They’ve got you covered. Or maybe some shimmering crystal is more your style? They’ve got it, in three different grain sizes: ultra-fine, fine and medium.

Here’s a rundown of the five types of glitter I tried. I’ll also show you later the difference in three sizes.

First up is the Crystal glitter, available in ultra-fine, fine and medium grain. This glitter is translucent, so the underlying color shows through. I like to mix the different sizes to make snow, but more on that later. It has a great sparkly shine.

The Pastel glitter also is translucent, and adds a hint of its own color. It’s available in five colors, all ultra-fine. Stampendous says it’s best used over similarly colored surfaces.

If you’re looking to add lots of color to your project, the Jewel glitter is perfect for you. It has a great sparkle, and deep, rich colors that in general will cover up the underlying color of your project. It’s available in 24 colors in the ultra-fine grain size. As Stampendous explains on its web site, this opaque glitter will add a metallic shine to projects.

Now for those of you want the super shiny, bling-bling, the Halo glitter variety is for you. It’s available in gold and silver in ultra-fine, fine, and medium grain sizes. This glitter is holographic, so it picks up a rainbow of colors. Stampendous says it can be mixed with embossing powders. I give that a try later on in the article, so stick with me.

The Pearl glitter is another opaque variety, available in 13 colors and the ultra fine size. It’s a polyester glitter, and I found that while it has a shine, it has more of what I would call a matte finish. It’s best in thin layers, over similarly colored surfaces.

Phew, now after that glitter primer, I bet you all want to know how to use it.

First up, I tried out this lovely Jumbo Pine Drift tree stamp and stamping block that Stampendous sent me with the glitter.

Check out the size of this stamp; it’s perfect for a card or even a scrapbook page.

I wasn’t sure if I would like the Jumbo Perfectly Clear Handle. I was worried it was too thin, and would get all inky. You can see the thickness here; it kind of reminds of a cutting plate for a die cut machine.

Oh, how wrong I was. The size and thickness of the handle made it so easy to get a nice clean image of the jumbo stamp. I don’t know if it would have worked as well with a traditional stamp block.

To bling out my tree in some yummy glitter, I used an EKSuccess 2-Way Glue Pen, also sent by Stampendous. I highlighted certain areas of the tree’s needles, and dumped on Jewel moss green glitter first.

Then I added more glue in different areas and dumped on Jewel sea green glitter. I love that the Jewel glitter has different shades of the same color, so you can add a little more interest, shading, or highlighting to your projects.

I also used some Pearl glitter in cherry on the ornaments. Here’s my finished tree.

But then I decided I wanted my tree to look like it was out in a snow storm. For this, I mixed Crystal fine and medium, and dumped it over strategically placed globs of Scotch Scrapbookers Glue with 2-Way Applicator. I wanted the glue to stay dimensional.

My tree needed a home, and clearly, it needed to be just as sparkly. I decided to mix Halo Gold in medium with Halo Silver in fine with some Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE). Here’s my special little mix.

I stamped the swirl stamp from the Stampendous set with embossing ink, dumped on the mix and heated it up. I was concerned that it wouldn’t work, especially with the larger crystals of UTEE, but it looks great. I like the slight shimmer the Halo glitter gives to the embossed image.

And here is my finished card:

Next up, I put together a gingerbread garland for my kitchen this Christmas. I started with a chipboard gingerman mini book from Michaels. I covered four pieces with patterned paper, then outlined each with my Scotch glue before adding ultra-fine Crystal glitter. I wanted it to look like icing.

Every gingerbread man must have buttons. I added some 3-D Glue Dots.

And then glitterfied them with Pearl glitter in cherry.

Oh, they look like tasty little gum drops.

I added some brads for eyes, and used my Scotch glue and Pearl glitter for the smiley mouth.

For his jaunty holly, I used my Vagabond to die cut the leaves, ran them through my Xyron Create-A-Sticker 150 for overall adhesive coverage and added moss green Jewel glitter to one and sea green Jewel glitter to the other.

Check out the great, sparkly coverage.

Here’s my girl gingerbread woman. Her buttons are in moss green, and she got Pastel pink glitter cheeks, courtesy of some Glue Dots.

I needed some accent pieces for my garland. I took some plain wooden spools from the craft store and wrapped them with Scor-Tape.

I removed the paper liner, and spread on some moss green Jewel glitter. Love this! I know I’ll be doing this again. By the way, after all the use of the moss green glitter, I still have 3/4 of a tube left. A little truly goes a long way.

Look at those towers of glittery goodness.

But I didn’t stop there. Gingebread men/women are cookies, right? So naturally, I needed to add some cookie cutters. I didn’t want them to be jealous, so of course they got glittered too.

For this job, I decided to use Glossy Accents. I used Halo Gold and a mix of ultra fine and medium Crystal. Here’s the Cyrstal mix.

And here’s the Halo. I think I like this one better.

Here are some glamour shots of the finished banner. Phew, that took a while.

By the end of my crafting sessions, I was covered in glitter and so was my craft area. But it was so worth it. I loved all the variety of the Stampendous glitter, and then it could be used on so many different surfaces. It also worked well with different adhesive, whether it was liquid, tape or glue dot.

Stampendous glitter is available individually in small jars (4.5 grams) and large jars (15 grams) as well as glitter kits.

Pros:

  • Lots of variety in color, type and size of glitter, whether you want opaque coverage or something more subtle.
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces and with multiple types of adhesives.
  • Adds a great sparkle to all projects.
  • A little goes a long way, so even with the smaller jars, it will last you awhile.

Cons:

  • Like all great crafts, it can get a little messy.
  • You’ll want to glitter anything that sits still long enough.

Have you tried Stampendous glitter? What’s your favorite type? What do you like to glitter?

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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.

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.
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