Archive | November 8, 2011

Staff Blog Hop | How We Do Die Cutting

Welcome to the November Staff Blog Hop at Scrapbook Update! This month, we decided that our staff blog hop topic was going to be die cutting, which is a hot segment of the scrapbook market at the moment.

We like to keep the blog hop topics broad so that all of us can have freedom to interpret them as we’d like on our personal websites. We don’t discuss or plan together what we are writing for the topics – we just toil away in isolation in our own corners of the country and look forward to seeing what the others come up with, because we aren’t just co-workers, we’re also fans of each others’ work.

This month, however, something happened that can only be described as a meeting of the minds on this topic….check it out!


How I Became A Die Cutting Addict

My journey to die cut machine fanatic has been a long and winding one.

Thirteen years ago, when I started scrapbooking and I also worked in a scrapbook store, I had access to an Accucut die cut machine anytime that I wanted. But despite the general popularity of solid color die cutting in scrapbooking back then, it never really captured my imagination and I rarely used die cuts in my scrapbooks. I even purchased fancy laser die cuts on occasion but rarely actually used them.

For almost 10 years since then, I have scrapped without regular access to a local scrapbook store. I didn’t miss access to die cutting and so I didn’t feel compelled to invest in a machine of my own. That changed about 2-3 years ago, when I purchased a Cricut baby bug machine on a $69 Thanksgiving Day sale at Michael’s. After some initial experimenting however, that machine became neglected as well. The choices on the cartridges were overwhelming, and I found it impossible to find the image that I wanted or to remember what images I had. My ADHD brain grew impatient with fiddling with settings, and I didn’t like having to use large pieces of paper to get the cut that I wanted. The perfectionist in me did like the ability to cut a shape to exactly the right size for my project design, but most of the time I grew impatient with the hassle of getting that perfection.

Die cutting still hadn’t gotten its hooks into me.

Then, at CHA Winter 2010, Tim Holtz introduced his signature Alterations line of dies with Sizzix. And it’s not exactly a secret that I love everything Tim Holtz…could he convert me to die cutting as well?

I held out for almost 10 months, admiring the dies but not ready to commit to investing in a machine and dies. But a little over a year ago, I finally took the plunge and ordered myself a Sizzix Big Shot machine (now available from Amazon for $49.99)
and a few dies and embossing folders. I was surprised by the immediate obsession that would develop with my new machine after all the years of being “meh” about die cutting. Within 6 weeks I owned at least a dozen dies and had a wishlist of more a mile long.

When I moved to my new kitchen scrap space shortly after getting my machine, a home for my Big Shot was one of my top priorities, because I knew that I wanted it within easy reach. It now sits on top of the storage cubes to the left of the kitchen table spot that I work at.

I use my Big Shot constantly. My most often used die is probably my Sizzix Alterations Tag & Bookplates Die, that cuts a #8 sized tag. It is perfect for so many of my favorite projects. It first got a major workout during the 2010 Holiday Tag Feud between my husband and I. I’ve used it since then to create my monthly tag album. I love that I can make easily make my favorite size of tag out of any paper that I want using the die. Continue Reading →