Friday, June 1, 2018

Welcome to The Twisted Challenges..A new beginning

Well hello everyone..

Welcome to my first card post of 2018..This year has been a challenging one so far for me..but every challenge I face is making me stronger.. this week marks 3 months post my spine surgery. Its a long story of how and why but suffice to say I am doing really well.

My return to crafting is going to be very slow but that didn't stop me, Saumya or Neha from planning. We were all stuck in a rut and we wanted to snap ourselves out of it..thus the idea for a challenge popped in and then we decided to blog it, so now we have The Twisted Challenges open to all..something that will make you think and challenge you along the way.

Theme this month is "Checkered Florals" i.e. flowers but with a checkered pattern in it..

I chose to go with paper piecing as it was the simplest I could attempt. 

  • I started with picking some checks,plaids,squares etc pattern papers from my stash.
  • Then, I took the outline flower from Altenew's Beautiful flower stamp set and stamped on my checkered paper and fussy cut it.
  • Took the leaves and stamped two layers with Memento black and Catherine pooler grass skirt ink. Fussy cut the leaves.
  • I die cut the scalloped border from white Card stock  using MFT dies as well as the
  •  word HUGS. It is also from MFT stamps..

  • On a note card base measuring 4.5×5.5, I glued the scalloped edge and blue pattern paper on it.
  • Glued the flower leaves and a sweet sentiment from Mft stamps.
  •  Finished off with some black enamel dots.

Hope you will love the inspiration my other teamies have for you and do join us every month in this crazy and Twisted Challenges.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

All you need to know to buy the Perfect Paper Trimmer!

ETA: This was my editorial article which was published in Our Idea Book Issue 3, which came out in November. If you haven't got the Issue 3 or any previous ones as yet, please do grab a copy, there is lots more amazing articles in the book .Buy here .

       Of the many tools in a paper crafters kitty, one of the most important is a paper trimmer. Without it, your papers are wonky, the matting is never straight, and as such you waste paper trying to get it perfect square or rectangle.

And always I have found questions, which one do I buy? How do I select from the many many trimmers, the perfect one.

First let me tell you about the types of trimmers that are available and then I shall tell you how to choose one based on your needs. 

1.       Simple Blade Trimmers:

Image from Google Image Search

    These are the most widely available trimmers. They are the most economical when it comes to price and are definitely most portable. They are made usually of lightweight plastic. These are recommended mostly when you are traveling for crafting retreats.
The blade is situated in a track or grove on the trimmer which you just have to slide up and down to cut the paper.
These are useful for light weight papers and cardstock.
The only downside is the constant replacement of blades. As soon as the blade starts getting dull, the cuts will start feathering. 
Recommended brands ( I personally do not like any of the blade trimmers) : Fiskars SureCut

2.        Guillotine Trimmer:

Image from Google Image Search

These trimmers have two long steel blades which act like scissors. One blade is fixed on the trimmer, while the other is fixed to a handle which moves up and down. In a scissor both arms move, here only one arm moves.
These are heavier and sturdier to use. It gives a cleaner cut and the blades usually are self-sharpening. With every paper cut, when they slide against each other, they self-sharpen.
These are good for any cardstock, multiple sheets of printed papers, Glittery paper, foam, light weight chipboard (Max1- 2mm thick)etc.
Cutting heavy chipboard will usually displace the pivot of the cutting arm and your cuts will go wonky or be off by a millimeter or more.
These need to be handled safely in case kids are around, due to the cutting action.
Some trimmers do have a handle lock, but not all. 
Recommended brands :Tonic (Most recommended) Swingline, Xcut, Dahle, 
(I will not recommend the cheap China made ones since there is no guarantee to the straightness of its scale..The arm may cut well, but if the scale is wonky, you papers will be too)

3.       Rotary Trimmers:

Image from Google Image Search

Image from Google Image Search

These trimmers have a rotary(round) blade which slides up and down a rail at the edge of the trimmer. The blades are housed in plastic carrier so it is impossible to hurt yourself while cutting papers.
These are most sturdy form of paper trimmers as well being able to cut multiple sheets of paper at a time, including heavy chipboard.
Blades do not need to be replaced as often as in Simple trimmers. Some are self-sharpening when the blades are at the edge of trimmers, eg :  Cutterpillar, Rotatrim.
These are sturdier than all other trimmers. The blades that come housed on two rails are the highest quality in Rotary trimmers as the blades have more stability while cutting. 
Recommended brands: Fiskars Procision, Cutterpillar, Dahle, Rotatrim, Carl, Fiskars Surecut rotary trimmer.

4.       Trim and Score Board
Image from Google Image Search
 These are the new types of trimmers, which have a scoring board built into the trimmer thus eliminating the need for an additional scoring tool. However, most of them are the simple blade type trimmers and thus need a blade replacement every 3-4 months depending on usage.
These are advised only for travelling or for crops. Not recommended for regular usage.

How to choose the right paper trimmer SIZE
1.    Size of material to be cut
·         Are you a paper crafter, a scrapbook maker, a mixed media artist, a quiller?
Do you need to cut 6x6, 12x12 sheets or bigger than that?
·         If you make only cards and cut smaller than A4 size papers, a smaller trimmer would work fine. Generally smaller trimmers are 8.5 x 5 inches
·         If you have to cut 12x12 sheets for scrapbooks, quilling strips, looking at a 12x12 trimmer or a trimmer which has a foldable arm would be good option for you.
·         If you use papers bigger than 12x12, you need to get trimmers which are bigger in length. Trimmers go upto 15 inches, 18 inches, 24 inches and more. The width of these long trimmers may stay about 12 inches. These are usually commercial paper trimmers, used in offices or Book binding stores for cutting bulk papers quickly.

2.       Look at the space you have
           Sometimes spaces are a big constraint. 12x12 trimmers take a large footprint in your room.
If space is an issue, you can go for foldable trimmers or smaller trimmers which have extendable arms.
Foldable trimmers are full 12x12 and fold up in half from the 6 inch mark.
The extendable ones are about 12x 6 and have extendable arms upto 12 inches.

How to choose the type of Trimmer – Blade, Guillotine or Rotary.

1.       Look at the material you wish to cut
·         If you are going to cut only cardstock paper, patterned paper or quilling strips, a simple blade type cutter should work for you.
·         If you have to cut heavier cardstock, glitter papers or mulberry papers or thin chipboard about 1-2mm, you will need a guillotine cutter.
·         If you have to cut more sheets of cardstock, heavier chipboard upto 4mm..prefer a Rotary trimmer. They cut chipboard the best. 

2.       Frequency of cutting
It also will depend how much cutting you do. Are you a crafter who does crafting for bulk order or a hobby crafter who needs it few times a week?
·         If you do bulk, you can definitely invest in the heavier and higher priced rotary trimmer variants as they have sturdier blade and last long.
·         For a hobby crafter, the mid-range trimmers will work well, especially Guillotine style trimmers.

 3.       Budget
I have put budget as the last thing to look for, because when you need quality tool and something that is long lasting, don’t look at the budget. Get something that is sturdy and long lasting and it will pay for it itself in the long run.
Economical trimmers end up costing you much more than they are actually worth. Either you need to keep replacing blades or the grove wears off and then you end up spending more on replacement parts ultimately costing you much more than what you paid for it.
Major differences between Blade, Guillotine and Rotary Trimmer

Blade Trimmer

Type of blade
Thin V shaped blade in a plastic holder
Long blade along the cutting arm
Round blade in plastic casing
Life of blade
3-6 months
Lifelong (Self sharpening)
Lifelong (self-sharpening)
Frayed edges
Yes, when blade starts getting blunt
Cutting into middle of paper
Materials it can cut
Plain paper, patterned paper, cardstock.
Plain paper, patterned paper, cardstock, heavy cardstock, glitter paper, foam, handmade paper, thin chipboard (1-2mm)
All of the guillotine Plus heavy chipboard 2-4mm
Weight of the trimmer
Lightweight, portable
Heavy, needs dedicated space in the room.
Brands available
Fiskars, Martha Stewart, We are Memory Keepers, Cricut, American Crafts etc.
Tonic Studios, Fiskars, Martha Stewart, Swingline, Dahle, Deli (made in China) etc
Cutterpillar, Fiskars, Dahle, Rotatrim, Carl, X-acto, Wescott etc.

To sum up:
  • Any serious crafter needs at least 3 trimmers in their arsenal. 
  • A sturdy rotary/guillotine, a portable trimmer for crops/traveling and one mini guillotine trimmer for cards or small papers.
  • Regular care and making sure that you don’t forcibly cut more papers or thicker cardstock on your particular trimmer will extend its life immeasurably. If used well, your Guillotine and Rotary trimmers can last you for over 10 years without any replacements. 
I do hope this post has helped you narrow your choices and pick a good trimmer. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Heat Tool Review and Heat Embossing how to

Hello Everyone,
First of all, thank you so much for the amazing response to my Dream cut review. All of your comments just kept making me smile...Thank you everyone..

Today is review from me, this time its again for the Itsy Bitsy store. Today I am checking out their newly launched Heat Tool.

As I have done in my Dream Cut video...I have used this tool, first time on camera. So whatever you see, is exactly what I feel.
The video looks long, but its only 15 mins long. The rest of it is a sneak peek of all the new Cardstocks that Itsy bitsy has come out with, and were kind enough to send to me for review.

To give you a brief idea, I am showing you how to get started with Heat embossing, and what kind of embossing powders to use with what kind of images. And small tips and tricks to getting colored embossed images and How to emboss on Vellum without warping or burning the Vellum.

So without further ado, lets get on to the video. 

Links to buy all the supplies shown in the video (Affiliate links used for Amazon)

Heat Tool 
Embossing Powders- Itsy Bitsy
Versamark _ The Craft Shop . Crafters Corner
Embossing Buddy (Goodbye Static Tool) - CraftersCorner , TheCraftShop
Non Stick Heat Resistant Craft Sheet - Itsy Bitsy
Black Craft Mat  -  Amazon
Vellum - Itsy Bitsy
Shilpi Parchment paper - At all your local Hobby Ideas or online at Craft universe

Links for all the Papers - All links are to Itsy Bitsy.
Handmade Paper White (12x12)
Handmade Paper White (A4)  
Handmade Paper BLACK (12x12)
Handmade Paper Black (A4)

Premium CardStock
Embossed Black Cardstock -12x12
Textured White 12x12
Textured White A4
Bright White A4
Fleece White 12x12
Fleece White A4 
Black Soot Cardstock (single sheets 12x12)

Please do keep leaving your comments..I love love reading all of them.

Thank you for stopping by..see you soon! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Unboxing and First Impression of the Dream Cut Machine andddd a Surprise!

Sooo, Hello again

And lets get started, because it is going to be an insanely long post to read and watch!! Hehe Yes..I have got two videos lined up for you today! and some surprises in the end!

So Rashmi Harish, owner of Itsy Bitsy calls me up and asks, Have you seen our latest release? Would you like to try out one for a review.. I have to admit, I had no idea what she was talking about.
Because, during the release, I was abroad on vacation and kept off social media (well, almost did)
When I found out, she was talking about a die cut machine...I was like WHATTT?? Hell yeah! 😍 well not those words, but I was immediately on board to check out the new Dream Cut machine.

It arrived in 3 days, and they generously sent me loads of materials that the machine could cut, so I could try out everything. So I was very excited to check it out and I did an unboxing video. I show everything that comes in the machine, as well as how to assemble it.  You can also watch it on my Youtube Channel in HD here

Then I went to town experimenting and playing with it.
In the descrption box on Youtube, I have listed the time stops, if you want to just watch a particular aspect of the just die cutting or just embossing etc..Do check the description box on the following video on Youtube here

ETA: I ended up cutting the acetate, felt, fabric, and canvas with my Bigz dies, and they cut flawlessly! So you can rest assured, these all these materials can be cut with the Dream Cut and the Bigz dies.

Also let me show you how Dream Cut compares in size to my current die machine, the Cuttlebug. Isn't it cute and compact? I will totally enjoy its addition to my craft room!

Now a little bit of technical specifications

Body is made up of high impact Polymer with smooth edges for easy handling.
1.       The platform & the frame is made of high quality, non – corrosive Alloy.
2.       The cog wheels ( gears ) are made of high speed steel for durability & rough use.
3.       The gear tips are smoothened to give excellent user experience.
4.       The Roller diameter is larger than many other standard machines to increase the point of contact with the cutting die which enables to get a superior cut quality.

5.       Roller mounts are designed to give a bit of cushion which helps in proper pressure distribution on the cutting die.
6.       High precision in the Casting and Assembly of this unit will last a long time compared to other machines.
7.       The cutting plates are made of moulded Acrylic which has self-healing properties compared to Acrylic sheets which are used in other machines.
8.       The Bevelled edges of the cutting plates is a great feature which puts slow pressure on the Rollers and really gives you a Dream Cut experience!
9.   Spare parts  and support from Itsy Bitsy will be made available.

Thank you Team Itsy Bitsy for this amazing machine and an opportunity to review it. I would definitely recommend it to all crafters especially Beginners who want to jump into this awesome hobby of cardmaking and scrapbooking! 

The Dream Cut is available online (remember it comes with free shipping) and can be purchased Here or visit your nearest store.

 So if you have made it this far, THANK YOU!! Now the 2nd most exciting part of the post!

My Facebook page crossed 10K likes a few months ago, and I had been looking for a perfect giveaway. So this will be the first of a series of giveaways. I plan to have random, unscheduled and out of the blue giveaways in the next 6 months 😃

So If you watched the Video , you know what is up for grabs..So I will not mention it here!! (Insert Evil have to watch the video for it! )

AND then Rashmi  (Sorry but I am pretty informal!) bowls me over with her generosity AGAIN.
 Itsy Bitsy is sponsoring this Giveaway!! I am humbled by your generosity, Thank you!💓💗

To be eligible you just need to do a few steps.

1. Leave a comment under this post letting me know if you enjoyed the review, and what next would you like me to review.
2. Like my Page, Creative Expressions on FACEBOOK. --->; Here
3. I am sure you already do, but Go hit LIKE to Itsy Bitsy Facebook page --> Here
4. Follow my account on Instagram -->; Tejal's Cards 
5. Subscribe to my Youtube Channel -->Tejal's Cards --Here
6. Go to my post on Creative Expressions Facebook Page and Tag your friends to check out the Review. Especially if they are new to Crafting or Beginners in Crafting.
7. Share this post (optional.. I hate cluttering other people's time lines)

Once you have done all the above, come back and enter your name in the Inlinkz below.
I will pick two names...on 30th JUNE 2017.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mudra First Birthday Blog Hop

I am back to blogging after almost a year..and I am so glad to blog for a Celebration! I am guest posting for the Mudra Birthday Blog hop today!


Hello and welcome to our “First Birthday Blog Hop”! 
Yes, Mudra is one year old this month and what an amazing journey it has been so far. And this month, we want to celebrate our big milestone with you because it wouldn’t have been possible without your support. We have so many fun things lined up throughout the month with lots of chances for you to participate and win some cool prizes.
We wanted to start the celebration today by bringing together our amazing creative team and few of our friends to share some of their beautiful creations with Mudra products.
We have an amazing line-up of projects that you sure are going to love!

 You should have arrived at my blog from the most talented Rhizwana's blog..if not, please start your hop from Mudra's Main post and follow along the hop

I'm sharing some cards made with the amazing "Let's Party" set from Mudra. What better than a birthday cake for a Birthday party eh??

I repeatedly stamped the cake slice stamp and heat embossed in white.
Colored with my Zig Markers..
The sentiment is popped up on foam and a layer of vellum for added interest. 

I absolutely loved stamping and coloring this card...
Finished off with some sequins.

Now I want you to wear your goggles..I wanted to bring PARTY, RAINBOW and CAKE all in one card..and also try something new..

 I tried my hands on a Diorama card, but with all funky colors of the rainbow! 
Stamped and colored the images with my zig markers.
Dug into my stash for scraps of pattern paper..added ribbons to make it look like presents..
Added hand cut banners in the background and on the top..
some clear wink of stella over the cake (not too visible in the photos as such)

Look at the dimension..its faaabulous!

I had sooo much fun making this card...want a tutorial or more detailed post..Ask me for one..and I shall put it up! Thank you for stopping by my blog today!

I do hope you enjoy hopping through all the wonderful projects and join in all the fun. 
Just make sure you follow all the rules ..

Your next stop in the hop is  Pon Malar. Hop over to her blog for some more wonderful inspiration..

- Follow Mudra Blog
- Like Mudra Facebook Page
- Follow us on Instagram 
- Subscribe to your Youtube
- Visit all the designer's blog hop posts and leave them some love.
- After finishing the blog hop, add your name in the inlinkz in Mudra Blog Hop Post.

To celebrate, Mudra is giving away a beautiful pack of crafting supplies from Mudra to 1 WINNER, selected from the comments across all of the blogs in the hop.  You have until Wednesday, March 15th at 11:59 PM IST to enter, and the winners will be announced here on Monday, March 20th.
One Additional Goodie Bag to a random participant sponsored by The Craft Shop, Chennai.

And to sweeten the deal, some of our designers in the hop also have giveaways, so make sure to leave comments on all the blogs for a chance to win!

Thank you for joining me in celebrating a wonderful Stamp company's 1st amazing Birthday. 

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