Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Me and My Frugal Crafting Purchases.. Revisted

Original Post: I've been promising a new review for a while now and I think it's about time I post one.  This next "tool" is really quite multi-functional and VERY economic.  So, a little test first, are you game? here goes...
Take a look at these two pictures...

are they different? or are they the same?
I'll let you think about it for a minute, and no I'm not trying to trick you..:)..

Ready?  Ok..they're both. Yup..Both are teflon sheets..same material..same size.  But they are different in the fact that you will pay double the cost of the first one for the second.  

The first item is a teflon sheet from a very successful ebay seller who sells them for heat transfer presses for T-shirts and the like. A 15"x15" sheet usually sells for around $5.  The second is Ranger's Utee Non-Stick Crafting sheet, which Tim Holtz and the like have been praising the daylights out of em in the past year or so.  The Ranger sheet retails for around $16.

I felt that Ranger's price was way too high and wanted an alternative source.  That's when I scoured ebay and the web for a similar product, because I was pretty darn sure that Ranger wasn't  solely manufacturing the item.  I found a generic one listed by 3447joseph  on eBay which was VERY cheap and right in my price range. It didn't take him long at all to ship it to me and I was ready to go and test it out when it arrived.

This Teflon sheet was just as thick as Ranger's and held up to the same abuse that they claim their item can handle. It is still holding up very well after months of use. The generic sheet is very heat resistant and will not burn under a heat gun. It also makes a wonderful paint pallet, just gob on the paint directly from the bottle or tubes. Once you are done, just let it harden and you can easily peel off the dried paint. This also works well for glues and acrylic mediums. If you had thinned down your paint just simply rinse the sheet off under some warm water and wipe dry. This sheet is also flexible enough to use as a mat for embossing powders or glitter. Once you are done sprinkling the powders just fold up the sheet to pour the excess back into the bottle. As far as sharp objects are concerned, I would still use a cutting mat, but for oopses it holds up well under an exacto knife or claying blades.

So folks, I hope you can see that just because an item is too expensive doesn't mean we have go without. With a little research there are viable alternatives to crafting tools...just gotta find em and not expect the "Name Brand" to be the only source for us.

All the best!

Update:  After revisiting my post some years later..I find the information I originally wrote about to still hold true.  Unfortunately the eBay vendor to which I linked to is no longer selling.  Therefore I have researched a similar vendor  "Turnone-Graphics " and found their prices to be very reasonable. Yes, prices have increased..but still it is quite a bit cheaper than the heavily advertised versions.  Something else I never mentioned as well is that you have a variety of sizes to choose from when purchasing these sheets off of eBay.  You could customize your sheet size to match the exact working surface of your worktable area, something you cannot do with the Ranger sheets.

Happy Crafting~ Cindy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crow- Watercolor Painting "Lesson" learned

Originally uploaded by CLBcreations
My current art project seemed to take me in a different direction.

After lingering in Hobby Lobby to blow away an hour of my time, a travel pack of watercolors was calling me. I thought it was the cutest little compact of paints I have ever seen...and quite reasonable in price to. Funny how it wound up in my collection shortly after.

As I was driving home from the store there was no "wonder what I can do with this now" type of inner conversation with myself. No, it was more like "BAM!...can't wait to get this crow on paper" and even went over the process a couple of times on how I wanted it laid out, how I was going to color it, and how I was going to line it. But how the heck did I know exactly what I wanted to do? I'm more of a wishy washy person when it comes to making decisions. However, in this case, it was clear what was going to be painted. No arguments there and I accepted it for what it was.

After a brief internet search for some reference material I was soon to put pencil to paper. A few adjustments here and there, and I was quite surprised and how well I had drawn the design. Great right? Yup..but (isn't there always a "but" in a good story?) I had no clue how to use watercolors. I mean I knew how I wanted the color to be laid out, but had no idea on the technique to do it. So, I just did it. I wet the section I wanted to work on..then started slowly adding color. I admit I did make some mistakes and had to work that out with a few YouTube lessons..but all in all I accomplished what had sparked my imagination.

Was it worth it? Heck Ya! Would I do it again For Sure! Whats the lesson to this story? "Just go with the flow babe". If something is calling to you and it's something that is completely off your radar, just go with it. There is something that you need to get out, whether it's the end product or the process to get to it, it has to be done. Otherwise, if we bottle ourselves up as artists, it's like making a broken promise to our souls. Thats like becoming a number on the wall and no one wants to pay much mind to that!

So, don't become a number on the wall fellow artists and crafters. Take heed to your artistic insight, trust yourself and let your spirit soar in the process. Let the artistic spirit lift your wings and be the Crow that you are.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Awe .. Teddy Bears!

Gotta love em. Started listing my hand-carved rubber stamps on Etsy, Ebay and Artfire. All the bears I make are based off of Steiff teddies. Most measure around 4"x3".

I find when I'm carving my stamps that it's more of a meditative process. I have to focus, work slow and make precise movements. Mistakes are easy when carving stamps and you really just can't "plow" thru it. And just as easy as it is to make a mistake on a stamp, it's just as easy to slam the gouges into your hand. So I also need to be aware of where my other hand is at in relation to the tools.

I gotta admit, I'm having fun carving these little fellas..along with some other design ideas I have rumbling around in my brain. Should be interesting to see where this takes me.