My Favorite Crafting Tools

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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!
Sewing Machine:
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.
Woodburning Tool:
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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Sawyer Ford Home

Hello. I started this blog about 5 years ago, and boy was I an amateur! I was very active on it for a couple of years, but then we moved, and then we had a kiddo go through months of medical issues, and well, it got pushed to the back burner. But I want to start things back up, and I want this to be a whole new place. I’m leaving most of the archives intact, but there will be a few old posts polished off, revamped, and republished. I’ve rebranded as Sawyer Ford Home, and I hope you will join me on my journey!

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M.I.A.

Okay, guys. I know I’ve been gone for 10 days. But I’ve got a great excuse, I promise! From the time of my last post until this past Monday I was busy, busy, busy sewing up cornhole bags for our church and doing all the shopping and packing that goes into getting ready for a week at church camp. Then on Monday we headed up to Big Ridge State Park for Walridge Baptist Church Youth Camp 2014. It was an AMAZING week! The devil was working hard to throw distractions in our way, but we had 13 souls saved, and tons of decisions made in service of the Lord! We got back yesterday afternoon, and tonight we had our camp meeting at church.

It was my plan to have some posts pre-scheduled – unfortunately there just wasn’t time. But I’m back now, and I can’t wait to get back to posting!

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So today kind of got away from me…

It was my intention to have another post in the Presser Foot Series up today. But I’m trying to organize all my crafting supplies, I had a couple of errands to run, and I ended up spending two hours with my mom going through all her sewing stuff looking for a piping foot (no luck). By the time I got home it was time to deal with kids and a late dinner, so the Presser Foot Series will resume tomorrow. Coming up, we will be looking at:

  • the overcasting foot
  • the roller foot
  • the invisible zipper foot
  • the gathering foot
  • the walking foot
  • the straight stitch foot
  • the open toe foot
  • the free motion foot

Have a great night!

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The Weekend Off

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I’m taking the weekend off from blogging to spend some time with family and dive into the laundry. I’ll be back on Monday to start of a series on sewing machine presser feet! Happy Weekend!

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10 Tips for Pinterest Party Success

Have you ever taken part in a Pinterest Party? I had not until last night, when I pinned along with the One Stop DIY Shop’s Spring Fling on Pinterest. It was frantic, crazy, and wonderful, and I had so much fun! Plus I walked away with some great digital party favors!

As this was my first time “attending” such an event, I wasn’t really sure how it worked, so I thought it might be helpful to post some tips I learned through the experience.

The object of this party was to pin, pin, pin all the great pins being put up every few seconds by the 13 amazing bloggers hosting. There was also a grand prize giveaway and several smaller giveaways pinned during the party.

1. Set an alarm or reminder for yourself for a few minutes before the party starts. These are fast paced events, and you don’t want to get behind, or worse, miss it all together because you forgot or lost track of time!

2. Make sure that your computer/phone/tablet has a good charge before the party starts.

3. Do your very best to make sure there will be no interruptions. Go to the bathroom beforehand, get the kids occupied or in bed, let the dog out, and make sure there are no problems with your internet connection.

4. Beforehand, create a specific board to pin everything from the party to. You can go back later and edit each pin to sort them to the boards they belong on, but you will waste valuable time trying to find the correct board for each pin during the party.

5. This is probably pretty obvious (and the hosts were great about reminding us), but refresh your screen every few seconds to make sure you’re not missing any pins! Also, stay on the party board rather than the Pinterest home page. Your home page will also be showing you pins from outside the party, and you may miss a giveaway in all the confusion!

6. This may seem like overkill, but it’s not a bad idea to have the party pulled up on two devices (ie. laptop and phone/tablet) if you have them available. I found that my Iphone was more efficient in some ways, such as being able to use the long press to quick pin on my Pinterest app, but my laptop was better if I actually needed to click through on a pin, such as for pins about giveaways that came up during the party.

7. Speaking of those giveaways, click through to see if you need to enter during the party. If you don’t, just pin it so that you can go back and enter later. A lot of giveaways will have several tasks for you to complete for multiple entries, and often they will require you to move away from the blog to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or the blog’s Pinterest account to earn those entries. I wasted a lot of time trying to get my entries in during the party, and I got behind on my pins and really had to scramble to catch up!

8. Even if you don’t do it during the party, do try to show your hosts some love as soon as you get the chance by following them on the various social media platforms they use. A lot of love, work, and even money has gone into making this party happen for you, so show your appreciation!

9. If there’s a giveaway at the end of the party, stick around until the final winner is announced! The hosts ended up having to draw 5 names before one of them responded to the announcement of the winner of the {very} nice grand prize! I know those first four ladies are probably kicking themselves that they missed out! I do understand that there may have been extenuating circumstances that prevented them from responding – this is NOT a criticism! But there were a lot of ladies commenting on the 2nd drawing announcement that they had missed the first name because they went to check their email for the winner instead of watching the party board. Check your email by all means, but don’t abandon the party board until the winner is confirmed. I think a lot of people logged off after the first name was announced because they assumed it was over, but there were multiple pins put up after that, and the announced first (and second, third, and fourth) winner ended up not responding in time.

10. There may be a survey after the party (I was asked to complete one when I was emailed the link to my party favors). Take the time to fill it out to help your hosts know what you loved or didn’t love so much about the experience. This will help them plan their next event for you, and it also helps them to see the impact that the event did/will have on their blog.

*Bonus tip* Be gracious! Be polite in your comments, and be appreciative of the opportunity to interact with some awesome people and pin some great ideas, even if you don’t walk away with the grand prize!

A huge thank you to the following bloggers for hosting this event:

The Dating Divas / The 36th Avenue / Somewhat Simple / Lil Luna / I Heart Naptime / One Good Thing / Maskcara / HowDoesShe Twist Me Pretty / Living Locutro / The Crafting Chicks / Living Well Spending Less / Kids Activities Blog

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