Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Cool Tool birthday!

i have to say, this was one fun birthday. i've been in the mood for "cool tools" for scrapbooking, after having done quite a lot of scrapbooking over the past 6 months. i'm a self-admitted Gadget Girl, having already said a fair amount about The Joy of Laundry, when we got our new Frigidaire front loader washer and dryer. But when Dean asked what i wanted for my birthday, and i answered my usual "i don't really know--" and my next usual, "how about money to shop?" (since i do love the shopping!) i figured that if i saw "it" i would know it.

So, after dear Dean took me to the Sushi House and to Beverly's craft store where i bought 2 strips of stickers, i took matters into my own hands. On that fateful day after my chronic pain management overview class, i went to the *Mega* huge Michael's, where the sound of angel choirs rang out as i walked through the door. It was there, as i wandered the aisles upon aisles of scrapbooking goodies that i saw "It." The Memory Makers Tag Maker. With this cool tool i would have the capability to coordinate my tags to my pages! Cool! Plus i had a 40% off coupon for any regular priced item--when that wad of mostly useless store ads comes in, i whip through it for my Michael's coupon-- Do i have something i need to buy at Michael's for which i should have that coupon? Not necessarily. But carrying it in my purse for the week it's valid, ahhh, what a sense of power!

One of the things i had looked for on my birthday shopping expeditions was a way to emboss paper and give it texture, thus giving me options for all my less expensive cardstocks. But the frustration was, designs could be embossed on an area of the paper, but i wanted an all-over background sort of texture on a full sheet. That didn't appear possible, at least not with my budget. My friend Melanie and i have discussed the pros and cons of die cut machines--mostly in the sense of "do you care about die cuts?" "Not really. Die cuts are sorta boring."

But me and my gadget lust, i had to at least look at them and read reviews and compare them. Starting at $50 for a Sizzix Sidekick (one of the manual crank type models) and working up to several hundred dollars for fully electronic ones, the price tag has been one of the hugest deterrents for me. Then when you add the cost of the dies themselves, with alphabets costing over a hundred on some systems, you're talking a sizable investment. And speaking of size, you have to have space to put all these tools and bits. My budget is small, but my space is smaller. And i wanted embossed patterns, not just cute little cut out letters and shapes. That didn't look like it was going to happen.

Did this stop me from perusing the cool tool websites? No way! And while cruising the Sizzix site, i found their most excellent "Online Specials" section! Many things for a dollar, and even the daintily sized Tag A Long machine for but a mere $11. Which came first, the Sidekick or the Tag A Long? i'm guessing they are the same thing, their dimensions and other specifications sound identical, the only difference appears to be the color and the name. But the Sidekick is 50 bucks, AND THE TAG A LONG IS $11! i am a *happy* Gadget Girl! i wander through the clearance, finding myself dies for a buck to enhance the Tag A Long, and even little embossing goodies for a buck! So, for just under $50, i end up with a tiny machine that will cut cute little letters and shapes and even emboss shapes into the paper, BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! i also get somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 more dies and embossed shapes, plus the necessary accessories to use the 12 inch long dies, AND a 12 inch long die! For the usual price of just the machine and its included sample of dies i end up with the machine, accessories, and even more dies and embossers.

But did my Cool Tool birthday end there? NO! Another tool i have looked at but thought "i can't spend the money on that" was The Fastenater byEK Success, with its cute and decorative staples, meant to be both a way to attach things to your pages AND be cute! The cost on Amazon was about $24, and maybe it's just me, but no matter how cute the staples, that seems spendy for a stapler. It does have a long reach, making it possible to attach anywhere in a 12 inch page. That's a bonus. And the staples come in metallics, and pastels, and primaries, and with designs on them. But $24 for a stapler? i just didn't know. BUT--the search also showed a pink one for $13. So, again! A deal. That became my sister's present to me, since she already knows me well enough to send me spending money for my birthday, and just skip that whole question, "what do you think you'd like?"
So, i have the tag maker in my possession, and have found it simple and fun to use, and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Tag A Long from Sizzix, and the Fastenater from Amazon. i got deals on all of them, something that should make even my friend Frugalina proud.


Jen said...

Happy Birthday, Julie! It looks like you got some great deals... birthday money is just the best. I'm right with you on the Michael's coupon. Last week's didn't make it past Sunday night (we have one of those mega-Michael's too close!). But I have a Jo-Ann's expiring tomorrow, and I know what I need to buy. I'm crafting some Christmas presents in the next month, so the gathering has begun!

julia said...

Oh yeh--and i have a Michael's coupon burning a hole in my pocket RIGHT NOW. ;-)