Monday, June 21, 2010

The Creative Process - Cool Tools

Hello Everyone!  It's a gorgeous day in my little corner of the world.  It's going to be hot today, and the birds are very chatty this morning.  We had a good and busy Father's Day weekend, four Ball Hockey games for the boys, time with my family on Sunday, and a birthday party thrown in there.

Today for the Creative Process I thought I'd show you some of my Go-To tools I use each time I create, so they are definitely some of my favourites, and also how I organize one of them.  We're all looking for ideas that will work for us on organization right?

This is the Bow Easy Tool.  Now that I have it, and use it on every bow I make, I can't believe I waited this long to get it.  And I'm almost embarrased at the bows I used to make.  It is the COOLEST little tool and gives me perfect bows every time, with the tails behind, not needing any fussing or rearranging.  The only draw back is that you have to attach to your card with a stitch or glue dots, you can't tie the bow directly onto your card because you are making it on the Bow Easy.  But that doesn't bother me at all, having perfect bows is SO worth it!  I purchased mine from Sharon Johnson at her Stamp Simply Ribbon Store, and Our Daily Bread Designs sells it as well.  Nifty, portable, inexpensive and worth every penny, 4 Stars from me!

It should be no surprise that this is one of my favourite tools.  When SU came out with the Big Shot I debated long and hard about getting it.  It is a pricier tool and for me to spend that much money on something I had better use it.  Truth is, I use it every day I craft.  For me it was well worth the money I invested.  For cutting shapes with Sizzix Dies, Spellbinders or adding texture with embossing plates and folders this will do the trick for you with ease.  Fabric, felt, paper, cork, metal....anything you can imagine it will cut.  I had to laugh after I was cropping this picture, see the front leg of the Big Shot?  I left a little piece of tape there.  Often when I'm placing Spellbinders dies in the right spot to cut an image I've already colored, I'll use a little tab of tape.  I forgot I had that one there!  So....Big Shot, easy to use, generally portable (it's really not much to cart around), can multi-task use, FUN, an investment but worth it.  4 Stars again from me.

And now ....what little goodie is in this non-descript black binder?   

My Spellbinders Dies.  Let's have a brief pause for these beautiful items.....

There are other dies other there, but not with the function and flexibility of Spellbinders.  If you are a paper crafter, in my opinion, these are the dies to invest in.  There is such an amazing range of style and shape, you have the beauty of being able to see where you will place your die (and see through the die), they come in graduated sizes perfect for layering, or just the flexibility in finding the right size for your project, you can cut and emboss with them AND use the dies as a template for sponging....alright want to see the inside? 

This is how I store all of my dies.  I saw this type of system on someone's blog a LONG time ago, and I wish I could remember who it was.  I don't have a permanent crafting place, so whatever I have needs to be portable and such that I can pull it out and put it away.  This binder is perfect for storing my dies.  I purchased these photo sleeves at a photo store, the top sleeve is for 4 x 6 photos and the bottom one would fit 5 x 7's.  In each section I cut a piece of white cardboard to size (the backs of old SU 12 x 12 paper packs), label each square with the die I'm going to use it for, and then cut sticky magnet strip for my dies to attach to (I purchased the magnet roll strip at Michaels).

I also cut up the picture side of the packaging from the Spellbinders Dies to put in each section behind the die square (this gives each sleeve some firmness so I can flip the pages better).  Then I use labels from the photo sheets and label each section (to the right beside the binder rings).  This way when I have tons of dies out on my table I always know where they go back to.

Here you can see the square pulled out and the dies on the magnet.

And above, here are my dies loose.  I love how the magnet holds everything together. 

And it still works perfect for Borderabilities and smaller sizes too.  Because of the magnet, nothing slips away, and the sleeves hold it all in.

I arrange my Spellbinders in order, Labels First, Shapes next (ovals, squares etc), then Borderabilities, and Shaped accents. 

It's been such a smart system for me.  But as you can see, I'm out of space in this binder, and will need to start a second.  I'm blessed to have a lot of dies. Flourishes is my source for all my dies too, in case you're wondering.  Without a doubt 4 Stars from me :)

Thanks for popping by today, I'll have more creative things this week!


Marisa said...

I'm with you on these items :D I have a cuttlebug instead of the big shot and also use it daily - love that little bug :D Have my nesties in a CD case holder but I'm losing space now and can't do the longer ones so maybe transitioning to a binder like yours in the near future. Thanks for the tips :D

Anonymous said...

Loving the cool tools. I would say "amen sister" to each one of those too. I've got a cuttlebug also but if it dies I'd like a Big Shot. I also have my nesties in a similar package to yours but it's a CD case with magnetic sheets from the dollar store. But I have the same problem as Marisa in that the larger dies don't fit. So appreciate these handy tips!! TFS.
Beth Greco

Mary said...

I've got to agree. These are my favorites too. When I teach classes I'm always asked what are my favorites....they are the same as yours! I, too, store my Spellbinder dies in a note book. I use 8 1/2 x 11 magnet sheets. I can usually get 4 sets per page.

Colleen Dietrich said...

I like how you organize your Nesties. It reminds me a little of how I use magnets, like the kind you get on a 'business card' or 'sports team schedule' magnet, to keep my Nesties. The binder is one step further than mine, and I think it's cool! I have a binder with pictures of alllll the stamps I own, plus die cuts and embossing folders, so I could add this to my binder as well.

Thanks for sharing!