Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My favourite 10 Sizzix Bigz dies

A few months ago I was asked in Facebook by a crafty friends which were my favourite Bigz dies. As you may know, as part of the European design team I have been blessed with many dies to use in my projects. Also, I have designed a few collections though mostly they have been Thinlits and Framelits dies.

Bigz dies are by far my favourite technology in terms of quality of cutting, though the space they take and the fact that you cant see through them, its off putting for some. But, if you really love die cutting then Bigz dies are the most versatile of them all.

Making a list of my top ten seemed difficult first. But I managed to do one, and there are a lot of Tim Holtz dies!
1


I know I am biased because I designed it, but I found this is the Bigz die that I use the most not only in my crafting but for workshops and everything else. The large heart is the shape that I use the most, I just find it the right size for many different projects.

2

Now, Alphabets. To me if you find an alphabet you lie the look of it you should invest on it. Nothing more useful. Trust me. And both Blocktalk are gorgeous fonts and perfect sizes for so many different things. Invest in both if you like die cutting!

3
I actually prefer lowercase than upper, but I find myself using both equally. I wouldn't be without either of them.

4
5

This large tag is fab for so many different things. Big enough for a card blank and mini albums as well as plain old tags.

6
I think I love all the Frameworks dies, but these two are the ones that I like the most. Though I have used Courtyard probably more.

7

Honeycomb pattern, whats not to love?

8

Delicate leaves, perfect for so much!


The following I love, but  they have been discontinued, so it may be difficult to find.

9

This one I love. Again, you can do so much, from mini albums, to cards to boxes... 


10


Instead of the Tattered Florals, I actually prefer the Tattered Poinsettia. With its matching embossing folder, I find it its one of the best poinsettias dies out there and very easy to create amazing realistic flowers.

I have many more dies that I love, but these are the ones I have use over and over out of love.

What are yours?



Friday, 15 May 2015

A guest blog post at Paperartsy


I do love Paperartsy! Some may be confused as my style is not a first sight a match with theirs. But, I love their ethos about quality and doing their own thing. Besides, their Fresco paints have been a firm favourite in my studio as have been their Grunge Paste or it was through them that I discovered Treasure Gold. And, not so surprisingly, I have been using their products for a long time. 

So, it is a great honour and pleasure to do a guest post in their brilliant blog.
You can check my post here.

I hope you like it!




Saturday, 9 May 2015

A decorated candle for my grandma


My grandma's name is Lucia, so I decided to make her a little present for her.

I wrapped around the pilar candle some lace and some jute hessian and on top I placed a length of lace. I love the contrast between the coarse texture of the hessian and the soft delicate lace.

I then die cut the heart out of canvas using one of the latest Sizzix dies from the Craft Asylum Tribal collection. Using one old alphabet rub on, I added the initial and then I placed a pearl in the centre. Finally I tried to sew the edge without much luck. But I love the texture left behind!

I hope my grandma likes it!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A tribal flower for my husband

Today is the 5th of May, which means its my husband's birthday. He does love flowers as long as they are not very girly, ie no pink or light pastel flowers for him. 

To celebrate his birthday I made him this one:


Not very girly!


I used a single die from Craft Asylum for Sizzix collection called Tribal. I die cut two flowers of each size, coloured them up with distress inks and then scrunched them upo a bit.I made a cut between two petals and glue the petals that were next to the cut. Finally I threaded them through the wire. I used a centre from an artificial flower that I had.

Simple but effective!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Craft Asylum Candy box and mini card


Today I share a card and a decorated mini gift box over at the Craft Asylum blog.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Que Big Shot es para ti? La Big Shot, La Big Shot plus o la Big Shot Pro?

You can read this post in English here.

Desde que se lanzó la Big Shot Plus de Sizzix en Enero, me han ido preguntando todo tipo de gente del mundo de las manualidades sobre las diferencias entre las tres Big Shots, Big Shot clásica, La Big Shot plus y la Big Shot Pro.

Aquí tenéis mi opinión.

Soy muy afortunada. Me gano el pan trabajando a diario en esta industria de las manualidades del papel. Desde el 2006 me especializado en troqueles usando las diferentes maquinas que hay y ha habido en el mercado. Las he probado y usado casi todas.

Debido a mi relación profesional con Sizzix (fui empleada a tiempo completo de la compañía y ahora soy miembro de su Design Team y diseño troqueles para ellos como freelance) tengo el privilegio de tener las tres maquinas en casa.

Y sabéis que? Uso las tres casi a diario.

Cuando me preguntan que máquina les recomiendo, no es fácil de contestar simplemente. De la misma manera que no se recomendaría una moto, un descapotable o un 4 x 4 a todo el mundo, lo mismo es aplicable a las troqueladoras de Sizzix, depende de las necesidades o gustos de la persona que va a usarla. Cada una de las máquinas tiene ventajas e inconvenientes.

Empezamos por las cosas en común:

Las tres máquinas están diseñadas para que funcionen perfectamente con las cuatro tecnologías básicas que fabrica Sizzix: los troqueles con cuchilla de acero (Bigz), las texturadoras, los troqueles finos (Thinlits, Framelits...) y los troqueles de grabado químico con base de plástico (Sizzlits, Embosslits...). Debido a que los grosores son bastante estándar en el mundo de las manualidades, el 99% de los troqueles y texturadoras de otras marcas funcionaran en las maquinas Sizzix.

También tienen en común las tres que son máquinas que se basan en un sistema de plataformas, es decir que se tiene que ajustar la presión adecuada para cada tipo de tecnología usando las diferentes plataformas y bases de corte. Una de las razones por las que me enamore de la Big Shot clásica cuando tuve la mía fue precisamente que Sizzix fue la primera compañía en tener ilustraciones en las plataformas que enseñan el orden para que tipo de troquel haciendo este proceso muy fácil.
La Big Shot y la Big Shot Plus son prácticamente idénticas en la altura de la boca (distancia entre el rodillo superior y el inferior). La Pro tiene una abertura mas alta que permite usar otro tipo de troqueles que están hechos para el consumo de profesionales. (Mas sobre esto al final.)

Las imágenes son de las máquinas con los nuevos colores de 2015. Pero recordad que los colores son solo una cosa cosmética ya que por dentro son idénticas. Otra nota, aquí hablo de las maquinas en sí, no hablo de Kits de Inicio, ya que eso es otro debate.

1. La BIG Shot (clásica)

Apertura: 6 1/8" - 15.55 cm
Precio: 126,99€ PRVP (encontrada online por 89.90€)

Ventajas: bajo precio, ocupa poco espacio, fácil de comprar en tienda física/online, fácil de recogerla en un hueco
Inconvenientes: apertura limitada a 15cm, es de las tres Big Shots la menos estable al usarla (aunque comparada con las otras maquinas de este mismo tamaño es muy estable).

Perfecta para: los principiantes, las que se mueven mucho de lugar para hacer manualidades, adolescentes, cuando el espacio es muy limitado.

Creo que la Big Shot clásica es una manera perfecta de empezar en el mundo del troquelaje. De su categoría (la de las seis pulgadas) es la líder del mercado y lleva siéndolo desde que salió mas o menos ininterrumpidamente. 

Lo cierto es que con ella podrás hacer el 85% de lo que podrás hacer con la Plus, ya que la mayoría de troqueles que existen en el mercado son de 6 o menos pulgadas al menos por un lado, es decir que podrás usarlos en la clásica. Es verdad que hay ciertos troqueles y técnicas para los cuales son necesarios una maquina con mayor abertura, pero repito, solo un porcentaje bastante pequeño.

Aunque hoy por hoy es la máquina que menos uso, no me desharía de ella, ya que es muy manejable y ocupa poco espacio relativo. 

Apertura: 9" - 22 cm
Precio: 203,20€ PRVP (encontrada online por 145€)

Ventajas: tamaño A4, super stable, presión perfecta para texturar A4.
Inconvenientes: precio (aunque la verdad me parece muy razonable), espacio.

Perfecta para: aquellos que les encanta troquelar, que les gusta hacer cajas, scrapbooking A4, grupos de manualidades, profesionales...

Os dire la verdad, después de cuatro años con la Pro, realmente pensaba que no tendría ninguna necesidad de la Plus. Pero estaba equivocada!
Considero, sorprendentemente, que para cortar troqueles finos con mucho detalle y para texturizar A4 es la mejor. También es la que ofrece un mecanismo que se siente como el mas suave y con menor esfuerzo, ademas de ser muy estable y seguro. Por ello, es la prefiero hoy por hoy usar más.

Aunque es bastante pesada (buena señal ya que indica que los mecanismos son de metal) no lo es tanto que de pereza moverla o que implique que llevarla de un lado al otro sea muy molesto.

En Marzo, tuve la oportunidad de conseguir una de las primeras Big Shot Plus para mi madre, muy aficionada a la costura pero poco a las manualidades del papel. Sin embargo, una vez que le enseñé como funciona, se ha vuelto una adicta! Había usado en algún momento mi Big Shot clásica, pero no se enamoro como se ha enamorado de la Plus. Por ello creo que que la Plus también es una buena opción para las novatas si el precio y el espacio que ocupa no son un problema.
Apertura: 13" -  33 cm
Precio: 361,96€ PRVP + costes de envio

Ventajas: apertura de 13 pulgadas = ahorras un montón de papel, increíblemente estable, espacio para cositas debajo.
Inconvenientes: gran tamaño, peso, difícil de encontrar en tiendas, precio, no texturiza bien las texturadoras A4.

Perfecta para: aquellos que son profesionales con una habitación muy grande, para las que se dedican a hacer cosas para bodas, escuelas, tiendas, estudios compartidos pero con espacio fijo para la máquina

Durante los últimos cuatro años, la Big Shot Pro ha sido la maquina que me hubiera llevado a una isla desierta, la maquina que hubiera salvado de mi estudio... Para mi, una profesional del mundo de las manualidades que se especializa en troquelar, esta es la máquina que he usado más, la que al estar siempre lista en mi mesa, ha sido a la que acudo primero. Parte de las razones para ello es porque esta siempre en la mesa (pesa demasiado para mi para moverla de un lado para otro) y ademas la tengo preparada de tal manera que puedo troquelar Thinlits o Bigz con mínimo esfuerzo (tengo la plataforma de 6x 13 siempre allí).

Mi Pro troquela los Thinlits con mucho detalle perfectamente, así con texturiza las de tamaño standard perfectamente sin embargo las A4 no salen tan bien.

He mencionado mas arriba que la Pro es la única de las tres que tiene una apertura mas alta (distancia entre el rodillo superior y el inferior) que permite el uso de troqueles creados para otras industrias como la de la educación o las de la imprenta clásica que son hechos por encargo. Este tipo de troqueles son como los Bigz pero un poco mas gruesos, tienen todas sus ventajas, pero el mayor inconveniente es el precio. Son bastante mas caros que los Bigz!Por ello creo que este punto no es especialmente relevante para la mayoría de aficionados al scrap o al papel.

A 361,96€ (Precio Recomendado de Venta al Publico) cuesta mas de 200€ que la Plus por 4 pulgadas más. Signifan esa 4 pulgadas que puedes usar los troqueles Bigz de 13 pulgadas, sin embargo, con precio de 53€, puedes justificar el coste? Para alguien que vende sus proyectos para bodas o tipo Etsy? Sí que creo que es justificable. Para alguien aficionado a las manualidades como hobby? creo que no, que la Plus es mejor opción.

At £285 RRP ( though I have found it for as little as £225), it is over £100 more expensive than the PLUS and only about 4" wider. It means you can use the 13" Bigz dies, but at £42 each, how many of them are you going to buy and use enough to justify the cost of the machine? For people who make wedding stationery or sell their handmade projects? Worth every penny. For most crafters? No, I don't think so.

Al final, creo que lo que debes preguntarte es:
  1. Para que quiero o necesito la máquina?
  2. Tengo espacio para una maquina grande, o mediana o solo para una pequeña? 
  3. Cuanto dinero me quiero/puedo gastarme? 
En mi caso? Ahora mismo? Me encanta usar la Plus. Y si en duda, la que recomendaría es ir a por ella.

La verdad es que las tres son grandes máquinas y cualquiera de ella serán una gran adición a tu mundo de las manualidades. Pero la decision de cual necesitas de verdad es algo que solo tu puedes decir!

Disclaimer: Aunque mantengo una relación profesional con Sizzix, este no es un post sponsorizado por ellos ni nadie. Todas estas opiniones son mias y mias solas!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Big Shot, Big Shot Plus or Big Shot Pro?

Este post esta traducido al español aquí.

Since the pre launch of the Big Shot Plus back in January, I have been inundated with questions from all sorts of crafters regarding both the Big Shot Plus and how it compares with the regular Big Shot and/or the Pro.

Well here are my thoughts.

I am lucky. Very lucky. My full time job is crafting and I specialised since 2006 in die cutting. I love die cutting, even when I am just playing, it is rare that I step away from die cutting. Because of my professional ongoing relationship with Sizzix - I am part of their European Design Team and licensed design for them, but I am a freelance - I get to have all three machines, the Big Shot, the Plus and the Pro.

And, you know what? I use all three of them almost everyday.

There is no easy answer for me to say which one I recommend, because I just don't recommend the same one to everyone, the same way that you wouldn't recommend to everyone to get a motorbike, a convertible car or a 4 x 4 car. They all have advantages and disadvantages.

All three of them are designed to work with the four consumer Sizzix technologies ie: wafer thin dies (Framelits and Thinlits), embossing folders, chemically etched plastic back dies (Sizzlits, Embosslits), and Bigz dies. This also means that, because the dies and folders thicknesses are pretty even  across the craft industry, you will be able to use 99% of all the craft dies and folders out from different manufacturers with the Sizzix machines.

All three of them are platform based die cutting machines, meaning that you adjust the pressure by selecting the right sandwich of platforms and cutting plates to go through the opening. The Big Shot and the Plus are pretty much identical in the opening depth (meaning the distance between top and bottom roller), but the Pro is a bit deeper allowing for use of non craft industry based dies (more on this later).

(I am using the White and Grey new 2015 images, but just remember the colour is just a cosmetic thing, the inside of the teal one or the black and pink are identical. Also, I talk about the machine only, no starter kit as that is another whole debate!)
Opening: 6 1/8"
Price: £99.99 RRP (found online for £65)

Advantages: Price, space, mobility, availability, storage
Disadvantages: limited size, some larger dies wont fit, is the less stable of all three (though the most stable of all of this size machines)

Perfect for: crafters on the move, newbies to die cutting, for teenagers, when space is limited.

Perfect starting point and, overall, you will be able to do with it 85% of what you can do with the bigger machines, as I would guess that 85% of the current (2015) dies and embossing folders in the market will fit through a opening that is 6" wide. 
It is the one that I use the least now, however, I would not get rid of mine. Undoubtedly, it is the most portable and easy to store away.

Opening: 9"
Price: £160 RRP (found online for £118)

Advantages: A4 size, super stable, even pressure throughout perfect A4 embossing.
Disadvantages: price (really? £118 seems very reasonable!), storage.

Perfect for: serious crafters, people who like to make boxes and Home Decor, craft groups.

I will be honest, after four years with my Pro I did not think I would have any need for the Plus. Seriously. How wrong was I? 

I find for intricate detailed dies and for embossing it is the best machine out of all three. Also, even though it is larger and heavier than the standard, still feels very portable. 

Out of all of them, I feel is the smoothest operator, that requires less effort. for this reason I find it that is the one I tend to use more, it is the one that makes me happier to use.

PS: In March, I had the opportunity to get a Big Shot Plus  Starter Kit for my mum. She was a complete papercraft novice and within hours of using it for the first time she was hooked. My mum is absolutely delighted with the machine. She had tried the regular once before and didn't fall in love, much prefers the Plus because of the stability issue and the fact that can make big enough boxes. For this reason I do think its also a good option for a beginner if the money is ok.
Opening: 13"

Price: £285 RRP (found online for £225)

Advantages: 12 x 12 size = super saver of paper, incredibly stable, love the storage underneath.
Disadvantages: price, storage, embossing with an A4 folder is uneven, super heavy

Perfect for: professional crafters with dedicated large craft rooms, wedding stationery makers, shops, schools and craft groups with a dedicated all the time space (ie no moving around the machine too much.

For the last four years, this has been the machine I would have taken to a desert island. To me - as a professional crafter that specialises in die cutting - is the workhorse, the one that I first go to. Partly due to the fact that because takes so much space and it is so very heavy, it means that it is the one that is always on the table, ready to go. I have set it up with one of the 6" Big Shot platforms, so it takes little effort to die cut Bigz, emboss smaller folders or use Thinlits - yes, even the most intricate ones.

However, I do find that the A4 embossing folders do not emboss that well across, whether on the PLUS they work a treat.

I already mentioned above that the Pro is the only one of the line up that has a deeper mouth (distance between the top and bottom rollers) which allows for use of the All Star dies and other made to order steel rule dies, such as the ones used in the professional printing industry. This is something of a relative bonus, but since those dies are pretty pricey I believe is not relevant for most crafters.

At £285 RRP ( though I have found it for as little as £225), it is over £100 more expensive than the PLUS and only about 4" wider. It means you can use the 13" Bigz dies, but at £42 each, how many of them are you going to buy and use enough to justify the cost of the machine? For people who make wedding stationery or sell their handmade projects? Worth every penny. For most crafters? No, I don't think so.

Ultimately, I recommend to ask yourself:
  1. What do you need or want it for?
  2. Do you have space to store and use a large, medium or just the space for a small machine?
  3. How much money do you want to spend?
Me? Right now? Loving the Plus. And, if in doubt, I would recommend to go for the Plus too.

The truth is all three machines are brilliant and will be a great addition to your crafting. But wether you need the largest or smallest or just the Plus is something that only you can answer!


Disclaimer: Though I have a professional relationship with Sizzix, this is NOT an sponsored post. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
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