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I have a few tools that I absolutely use all the time. They make crafting and creating so much easier!
Sizzix Big Kick:
This is exactly the same thing as the Big Shot machine. The only difference is the color. I LOVE this machine. The Sizzix plastic backed dies will cut through tons of material, including fabric, felt, leather, paper, cardstock, chipboard, and even aluminum. And the Big Kick is super compatible with almost any brand of die out there. In fact, I’ve yet to find one that won’t work, although the thin, metal only dies do not cut through fabric or eco-felt very well.
I’ve made tons of hair clips using the shapes cut with this machine, as well as even some jewelry. I also have a Big Shot Plus. This is a bigger version of the classic Big Shot/Big Kick. It does all the same things as the smaller machine, but it will accommodate some larger dies, as well as a full 9×12 sheet of felt or paper.
My glue gun:
This is the glue gun I use on a regular basis. I’ve got several of the little low temp $3 models, but this is my workhorse. I almost always use it on the high temp setting. I have found that working with the high temp setting will allow you to get a very strong bond on most materials, although of course, as with all glue guns, you should be very careful not to burn yourself or anyone else. Keep out of reach of your kids if it’s hot!
My first sewing machine was a Brother LS-30.
My mom got it for me for Christmas one year, and it sat in the box for almost 2 years before I had the nerve to try it. It is a very basic machine, but it worked great and never gave me any problems.
A couple of years ago, right before Sawyer was born, I upgraded to an embroidery machine, the Brother SE400.
This is an excellent sewing machine. It might even be an excellent embroidery machine, but I don’t know. To try to make a long, infuriating story bite size, when I bought this, Sawyer was about to be born, then was in the NICU, then was a very tiny baby brought home with us. The SE400 sat in its box in the closet for many months. When I finally had time to open it, I had an unpleasant surprise. Someone had previously purchased this machine, used it for a while, then boxed it back up with only part of the pieces, and taken it back to Walmart. I mean major things, like the foot pedal, and the front of the accessory box that goes on the front when the embroidery arm isn’t there. Plus it was working funny.
I took it to our local Sew N Vac, and they fooled around with it a bit, got it to working, and sold me a couple of parts, like a foot pedal and a bobbin case. Walmart refused to help at all (even though they had sold me a machine with missing pieces) because it was over 90 days since my purchase date, and Brother (who was not actually at fault here) could only offer to waive the shipping on the parts that were missing.
Sew N Vac got the embroidery portion up and running, but after a few days I was having no luck with it. So for me, it’s just a sewing machine. I rarely have any problems out of it in that function (and if I do, it’s user error). Someday I may try to get the embroidery part of it serviced again, but for now it’s not worth the cost to me.
This is my current sewing machine, the XR9500PRW Project Runway™ Limited Edition Computerized Sewing Machine. It has all the things I love about my SE400, like the drop in bobbin, and the start and stop button, and plus many more built in stitches.
Silhouette Cameo 3:
It’s hard for me to imagine not having my Cameo. This is the 3rd Silhouette machine I’ve owned, and I use it all the dang time. I cut paper, vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, foil, faux leather, and more. Having a Silhouette machine absolutely revolutionalized my crafting and making.
Heat Press: If having a Cameo revolutionalized my crafting, having a heat press revolutionalized my Cameo use. I cannot overemphasize how crucial a heat press is if you want to ever sell your heat transfer vinyl projects. This is the model I have. My parents purchased it for me as a birthday gift, but it was very reasonably priced, and I have made the price of it over and over in sales.
I use this for wood burning, but it’s the perfect tool for working with ribbon. I use it to cut and seal my ribbon at the same time when making hair bows, and it works great for things like cutting a curve (just use a large coin or other round metal object as your edge). I’ve also used it with Hotstamps
to brand leather. This is definitely an after the-kids-are-in-bed sort of tool though. It gets crazy hot, and you don’t want to risk burns on curious hands!
Heidi Swapp Minc Machine: This awesome machine both foils and laminates, and I’ve done many projects with it. Most recently I made awesome foiled Valentine’s cards for my kids’ classmates/friends. While you can foil with a regular laminator, you won’t get the consistent results you get with a Minc machine.
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