My Favourites Dies

As you use dies you will find you migrate more to one company than another.

There are mainly two types of die, Tim Holtz steel edged dies and thin metal dies. The steel edged were the first on the market.When I first saw demonstrated the original Big Shot I thought it was good but it was very very expensive firstly for the machine and secondly the dies. Didn’t really think it would take off (how wrong was I) These original dies really only did block die cuts as this is all their design allows. I did not not buy originally but the price did come down and I finally bought one about 2 years ago.  For various reasons nothing to do with the quality of the machine I have since bought the e-bosser. Both these machines have been passed onto phantomsax and I now have a cut’n’boss and cuttlebug machine. The big Tim Holtz dies can be used with the e-bosser or cut’n’boss. The choice of machine is down to your preferences and budget.

As for the actual dies,for me Tonic are the ones. It is not the cut as most dies cut, that is there one and only job after all, it is the design. I find I like the basic simplicity of tonic, this does not mean they do not do intricate dies but I find them ‘simple’. Tattered lace are in general very ‘lacy and swirly’, however I have and use often their ‘Starlight’ collection. These were a departure from their usual style and I loved them from the start. Spellbinders were probably the first to bring the craft world the thin metal dies but most of their designs again do not appeal to me. I do have a couple of their medallion sets but find them limited in their use. Newish to the market are Couture ( create and crafts own brand). I love the reflections sets having bought the Mariposa and Flower Burst. I have also bought a couple of complete sets of the creations (they were on buy one get one free)

Cards made totally with dies. The first one is a the ‘Couture’ flower burst reflections die, the second is tonic last dance and butterflies

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If you are getting basic shapes for matting and layering (i.e. squares, rectangles, ovals and circles) then go for which ever have the best deals at the time of purchase. If you can only afford a couple of sets go for the circles and ovals as squares and rectangles are reasonably easy to cut with guillotines ( a must have) trimmers or knives (always use with a steel edged ruler).

The advantage of dies is the ability to repeat with accuracy. A must if you decide to create invitations for weddings or birthdays. You can then also carry some design elements through into table decorations, favours, thank you cards etc.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match.


What’s in your Wallet 2

So this time I am talking about My flower shaping kit. I have the tonic one which has 3 different double-ended tools with various sized embossing balls and a foam mat to work into. I tend to use this primarily for flowers, however I also like to use it for decoupage of all types to give some nice shape to whatever I am currently working on.

While I use this a lot, it doesn’t quite make the essential list as I could shape flowers using my pokey tool or a smooth pencil. I would not however want to give it up and i use this kit for preference when shaping anything therefore while not essential, definitely a really cool bit of kit!

Kraft Card 1

There is something about the colour brown; its a colour many people like to have in their home as part of their furniture, part of their clothing, part of their linen etc, but very few people, if asked, would say that their favourite colour is brown. Brown is not my favourite colour either, but I do like to work with brown craft card. Below is a quick tutorial on a card which I have made today, which is primarily, kraft card; I hope you like it!

Step one: Focal image


This is the only bit that has colour; I could have done this in sepia tones which would then blend in with the rest of the card more however I quite like the contrast provided by the brighter colours.

Step two: Build the card

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My coloured image is quite large, so I have gone for an 8×8 format; I have taken a piece of Crafters Companion Kraft card and cut it to size, then embossed it with an 8×8 embossilicious folder (also from Crafters Companion). The next step is to make it more interesting, so I have used a mixture of Walnut stain, brushed corduroy and chipped sapphire Ranger distress inks to give it a frame and highlight some of the embossed flowers.


Next, I have laid out how I intend to stick it all together, the additional items I have then added onto the page are:

  • Creative expressions finishing touches solid Daisies
  • Tattered lace corner dies (free on one of their magazines)
  • Tattered Lace ‘Especially for You’ words dies
  • Tattered lace ‘Trent Plaque’ layering dies

All of which have been cut out of Kraft card as well; the daises and the larger plaque have then also been embossed with the same embossing folder as the main background and inked to match. I have then heat embossed the words in copper so that they stand out

Step 2: Stick!


Having laid it all out, I then decided to change the layout so the finished card is round the other way! I have then added a variety of PVA pearl drops (decadent oak, cosmic shimmer) and stickles (copper). Leave to dry and now it is ready to mount onto my card blank…

Whats in your wallet?!

No, this is not a request to see your credit cards, this is the first of several rambles about the various tools I like to use when I am crafting!

There are lots to choose from and I have to admit I am not very good at resisting temptation, so I thought I would share which of my tools are just ok, and which ones I cant do without.

So best tool ever has to be the pokey tool; also known as the craft pick. originally designed for poking out bits of card/paper from a die, this tool has a thousand uses that are completely unrelated to die-cutting, so if you do not have a die-cutting machine this is still an item I would recommend. Of all the tools I have, this is the one that comes out every time I am doing anything other than colouring. Some of the most common things I use it for are:

  • Picking up and positioning sticky gems
  • Removing the backing tape from various double-sided stickies
  • Removing glitter glue/pva splodges when it goes a little bit wrong…
  • Piercing holes for brads etc to go through

I am sure everyone has their own list! I personally have the Tonic retractable tool, which I like because i can put the sharp bit away 🙂

I also have a spellbinders Tool-in-one; which is a combined pokey tool; spatula and brush head all specifically aimed towards removing bits and pieces from dies. In general it is reasonably useful but not essential, however if i didn’t already have the retractable one then this would be a good one to buy.

Thats it for snippet no1, see you soon!

Handmade Cards for every occasion

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