Papers: Georgia Pacific white cardstock is one of my staples. So is Bazzill cardstock, which I have in many sizes and colors. Wouldn't dream of making cards without it. I've also come to love DCWV's Far East and Old World patterned, textured papers. The heavier weight is really great. I've also built up a nice stash of papers from kits. That's next. Read on.
Kits: The two that I've tried and that I really like, especially being a card-maker more than a scrapper, are Self-Addressed and Simply Cardstock.
Inks: My most used inks this year have been the Versafine for anything non-glossy, particularly the Black Onyx. My faves for non-porous surfaces have been the Palette hybrid inks, though the Brilliance line still got a good work out when I wanted a more glittery look. Chalk inks, Colorbox or Versamagic, were also pulled out often. My dye inks and distress inks took a back seat this year. Stewart Superior India Ink is still my first choice when I want a permanent, very black ink. I use my Versamark pad quite often. The latest to be added to my arsenal is the Castaway ink pad, for a bleached look. I need to find more time to play with that one.
Stamp cleaner: Hands down, the one I like best now is Stewart Superior's Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner. This and Kiss Off will take most any stubborn inks off of rubber stamps. It's still best to just clean off a stamp right away after using it, but those cleaners are great for when that just doesn't happen.
Stamps: I've made a bigger move toward going unmounted. When I buy stamps now, I look primarily for unmounteds. They're cheaper, and they take up so much less room. I've come to like the clear acrylics. They're still not my faves, but of these I wouldn't give up some of the new ones from Autumn Leaves that I've acquired, particularly the Rhonna Farrer line of swirls and flourishes. Love those! Oh, but now that I think about it, I also want to mention some of the fun Lockhart wood-mounted veggie couture stamps. Those are so much fun! I'll buy those mounted. I just like them, plus when I buy them from my LSS--the owner is smart enough to keep those in stock--I feel like I'm helping out her business.
Adhesives: I've mentioned this before, but my ATG has been one of my best investments. I won't go on and on about it. I've done that here already, but it's worth mentioning again. Can't beat it for sticking stuff down and the price can't be beat either. I like the Tombow Multi-purpose glue (the green one) for when I want to use a wet glue. For vellum, the Glue Dots sheets for vellum have been as close to invisible as I've found. And of course for those times when I want dimension, I'll use craft glue dots and the like. I still pull out my Xyron when I need to cover larger areas. Oh! Almost forgot. I also really like Sakura's Quickie glue pen. This one has me using glitter again.
Paper cutter: Tonic cutters. I have the 12" and the 6" and they do everything I need them to do. They cut nice and straight and will shave off the tiniest amount of paper.
Eyelet Setter: Cropadile. Yes, it has a limited reach, but for me that doesn't matter. I've used more eyelets than ever because it's so easy to use them now. Great for punching holes in stuff, too.
Die cutter: My Big Shot has gotten lots of use. I wrote all about this here recently, too. I use this and my Sidekick primarily. These two get the job done for me. Add in the multipurpose platform and the Big Impressions texture kit and I've been in heaven. I can even use my dusty Fiskars texture plates now!
Dies and embossing: I use the Big Shot for most all of my embossing now. I love the BossKut address card die in particular. The new Cuttlebug embossing folders are WONDERFUL! My other faves are any of the cut 'n' emboss dies, whether they're by Ellison, or the ones made for use in the Wizard, or some of the QK or Zipemate products. They're all such fun!
Coloring: Prismacolor pencils--both the colored pencils and watercolor pencils, Sakura's Glaze and Souffle pens, Signo's white uniball for a true white, Zig fine points for when I need to write in a nice thin black, the Sakura Stardust pen for adding a light sparkle without color, Stickles for when I want more sparkle and color, and I'Kandee's pearlescent chalks for when I want a lighter touch. Oh, and I can't leave out Twinkling H2O's.
Font Manager: The Font Thing! My comments on this are in the archives as well, so 'nuff said.
Other miscellaneous: These are a few other tools that I wouldn't want to do without.
- bone folder
- Scor-It, love those straight scores and they're true scores, too
- a GOOD waterbrush, like Niji, that has a valve to keep the water from running out
- Heat It heat gun, heats up quickly but doesn't blow everything around, quiet too
- an adhesive eraser for getting rid of those little goo balls on the edges of layers
- Carl corner rounder
- Marvy giga scalloped punches, any shape
- stippling brushes for doing DTP
New techniques: Well, maybe not techniques so much, but this is the year that I tried and understood the whole addiction to making ATC's. I learned to love altering rolodex cards. I made my first star booklet card. I learned a scribble technique, tried my hand at Asian and vintage, faux stitching, and I made some mini-envelopes for extra postage when participating in swaps.
SWAPS! YES! How could I forget?! Aside from blogging, that's the other biggie for me this year as far as crafting! This is the first year that I've actively participated in swaps. This is the main reason that I've done so much more crafting this year. DUH! moment! ;-) That's been the best! I've had to stretch creatively and I've seen so many new techniques by taking part in these. I didn't have as much time to submit cards to magazines this year, but the swapping more than made up for that. Maybe I'll try for a better balance this coming year. :-)
Have a Happy 2007 everyone!