Friday, November 21, 2014

My Top 30 Favorite Tools and Crafty Things

As Thanksgiving descends upon us and thoughts of Christmas shopping come to mind, I thought I would share a few of my favorite every day tools and products that rocked my crafty world when I discovered them.  ;)

General Tools

1. Close To My Heart 14-inch Ruler- I bought this from a friend just thinking it might be handy, but out of the 5+ rulers in my desk drawer it is the one that I reach for the most.  I love that it is over-sized at 14 inches long and that it's a bit wider than my other rulers.  I am constantly using it to line things up on my projects.

2. Martha Stewart Score Board-This is another thing I purchased thinking it might come in handy occasionally, but it is seriously a card-maker's best friend.  Not only can it score stiff cardstock for fun card folds, but you can use it to create boxes, envelopes and rosettes.  It has very handy rulers and guides, along with a bone folder that stores in the top.  I love it and use it all the time!  (available at or Simon Say Stamp)

3. Fiskars Retractable Craft Knife-  I have a variety of craft knives, but this is another favorite.  I love how easy it is to control by slipping your pointer finger through the guide with a little spot to rest your finger and how it slides closed so I don't have to keep track of the lid.  (similar craft knife available at Simon Says Stamp)

4. Sizzix Stamper's Secret Weapon Stamp Mat & Paper Piercer (available HERE or HERE).  I use my paper piercer on nearly every single project I create whether to place a brad, create holes for hand-stitching, or to weed out the centers of my die-cut letters.  I have even found myself using it as a tool around the house!  I love that this one comes with a double sided mat for a stamping surface on one side and a piercing side on the reverse.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

5. Sizzix Big Shot (also available in a fun Value Pack with Doodlebug Die HERE).  This is my favorite manual die-cutting machine.  I have been a die-hard Sizzix fan since the beginning and this tool is made well and works with so many different manufacturer's dies.  It sits on my counter next to my computer and it's another tool that gets used and abused by me.  I love it!  :)  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)  

Magnetic Platform (available HERE or HERE)- When I heard about this it was love at first sight.  I had tried competitors magnetic platforms without much success, but I love how I can use this to keep my dies in place so they don't shift as they pass through.  It's particularly helpful for lining up dies that coordinate with stamp images like Lawn Fawn because I can see through the clear cutting plates and put the dies face down over the stamp image.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

6. Silhouette Cameo (also available through Amazon here: Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit Bundle)- Of all the tools in my craft room this is seriously the most used.  While it requires a bit of an upfront investment, I think it easily pays itself off with all the money I save on alphabet stickers and embellishments.  I love that it cuts any true-type font on my computer, along with so many other cutting files.  There are seriously so many cool things this baby can do--It's mind blowing!  (available at HERE & HERE or at Simon Says Stamp)

and Silhouette PixScan Mat (or available through Amazon: Silhouette PixScan Cutting Mat, 12-Inch)- This is new on the scene this year and it is super cool!  You can now take a piece of patterned paper, photograph it, upload the image and cut out the images on your paper instead of using your scissors and cutting them out the old fashioned way.  I imagine there are endless ways to use this as well.  I can't wait to use it more!  Make sure to check out the video HERE to see how it works.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

7. Adhesive Eraser (also available at Amazon: Xyron Adhesive 2 Inch by 2 Inch Eraser).  This thing is a life saver for me on a daily basis.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist and this wonderful little guy helps erase away most of my unwanted adhesive that seeps through.  When it gets too dirty on a corner, I just take my scissors to cut off and expose a clean surface.  (similar product available at Simon Says Stamp)

8. Stampin' Up Scallop Edge Border Punch- I have tons of border punches (don't we all?), but none of them get used nearly as much as this great basic scallop by Stampin' Up.  It fits every occasion and I love it's simplicity.  Now if we could just convince EK Success to make more like this in different sizes... ;)  

9. EK Success Craft Tweezers- These are such a great basic.  They're perfect for picking up tiny things that our hands are too big and clumsy to grasp.  I personally find myself using them a ton when I am heat embossing something and I don't want to burn my fingers.  I love how you squeeze to open them.  My husband loved mine so much that I bought him his own pair of the garage.  ;)  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

10. EK Success Circle Punches- There are so many different ways to make a circle these days.  I have a variety of dies to achieve the same result, but I have to say there is something about having nice circle punches.  They take a lot less effort when you have a lot of circles to cut and they are a basic that will never go out of style.  I have mine that I purchased YEARS ago and they are still working hard for me.  I love this style and how they fold down when not in use for easy storage.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

11. We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile-I'm not sure if there are many of you out there who don't already have this, but it's a great basic for punching 1/8" and 3/16" circles and for setting eyelets and snaps in those sizes.  It's a strong tool that can punch through chipboard, plastic, leather, felt, you name it (I've even seen people punch through CD's with them).  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

12. We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper- I've had a number of corner rounders over the years, but this one rose to the top.  I love how heavy duty it is and how the one tool can cut two different corners.  Just like the Crop-A-dile this has the ability to cut through a number of materials or multiple sheets of cardstock at once for quick punching.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

13. Fiskars 94767097J 7-Inch Softgrip Micro-Tip Scissors or Fiskars 9638 Comfort Grip Floral Snips-  I passionately love these scissors!!!  I once practically crawled over a group of ladies (no joke) to grab the last pair when my local store put these on clearance during a flash sale.  I now have 3 pairs so I can have one by my computer, one by my sewing machine and another at my standing island.  I don't know what it is about them.  I received my first pair as a gift and I thought they looked weird and was hesitant to use them, but it didn't take long to become a huge fan.  I love the over-sized comfort grip handles and the short micro-tip blades.  Everyone who borrows my scissors at crops comments on how wonderful they are.  ;)


14. Scotch ATG Adhesive Applicator Gun (& photo safe refills)- This is another item I received as a gift and was extremely hesitant to actually use.  My girlfriend was raving about it and I literally thought she was crazy wanting to lug around this giant adhesive gun, but now I have joined her and carry this with me everywhere.  What won me over?  I love that the tape is seriously sticky (one of the strongest holds in tape runners I've ever seen) so my items are not going to fall off my pages years from now.  I also love how much adhesive comes on each roll and that I get two to a package (I love a good deal so this is important to me).  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

15. Beacon 3-In-1 Advanced Craft Glue, 4-Ounce-  I fell in love with this the first time I used it.  It's my liquid adhesive of choice.  I love it for adhering paper to chipboard as well as for adding buttons and bows to my layout.  It has a super strong hold and dries clear.  I have pretty much switched to using this in place of glue dots as I can almost create my own my putting a dab of this and letting an embellishment air dry for a wee bit before sticking it down.  A single bottle goes a long ways.  You can also find it at Michaels in the general adhesive aisle and as an added bonus it's a great item to use your coupon on.  ;)   (also available at Simon Says Stamp)

16. 3M Scotch 1/2-Inch by 36-Yard Double-Sided Foam Tape- Before I discovered this giant roll of 36 yards I was spending so much money on the small roles and skimping on tape from fear of it running out too quick. Now I can pop things up and do it generously to my heart's content without running out.  I want to say it's taken me over two years to go through a roll with steady use.  I love that I can cut off a little or a lot depending on my need and cut it into triangles or squares to fit in tight spots.  (also available at Simon Says Stamp)

17. Scor-Pal SP202 Scor-Tape, 0.25 by 27-Yard-  This is a great tape.  You can use it in place of the ATG or like in my case I have it on hand for adhering ribbon to my projects.  I have purchased in a variety of widths and I love that you don't need scissors with it.  It's easy to tear off and a lot of tape comes in each roll.  (available in various widths at Simon Says Stamp)

18. Zig 2-way Glue Pen with Chisel Tip-  This is an oldie, but a goodie in my book.  This is one of the first things I purchased when I first started scrapbooking 14 years ago and I still love it today.  I love it for adhering small die-cuts, twine and other intricate things to my projects.  It is a 2-way glue meaning you can use it to for a permanent hold when it is blue or wait and use it for a temporary hold once it turns clear.   (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

Other Consumable Supplies

19. Glossy Accents by Ranger (there is also a bigger bottle sold HERE)- I love the glossy shine this adds to my die-cuts and how I can create my own homemade epoxy embellishments!  It also can double as a strong liquid adhesive.  I am particularly smitten with the smaller sized bottle!  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

20. Stickles Star Dust Glitter Glue by Ranger-  I have so many different colors of Stickles, but I discovered awhile back that I use the Star Dust color about 99% of the time.  There are several different "clear" versions of stickles with different shades of glittery shine, but I find that the Star Dust version seems to compliment every project well without clashing.  I also love how the clear allows you to still see the color of the item you're applying it to.  (more colors available at or Simon Says Stamp)

21. Signo White Uni-ball Impact Pen-  After many years of disappointing white gel pens, I discovered the Signo Uniball pen and my heart skipped a beat.  It is opaque, bright white and doesn't skip.  It writes so smooth and I love it!  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

Stamping Supplies

22. Tsukineko Full-Size VersaFine Instant Dry Pigment Ink, Onyx Black-  I would say this ink pad gets used as much as all my other ink pads combined.  It is a super dark and rich black ink that stamps crisply and dries quickly.  The super awesome thing about it too is that it lasts forever.  I have used the exact same pad millions of times without refilling for 8 years now.  That's insane to think about (knowing how much I've used it).  I also recently discovered they've finally introduced a new Tsukineko 1/2 Fluid Ounce VersaFine Pigment Inker, Onyx Black for it! (other VersaFine colors available at Simon Says Stamp)

23. Hero Arts Shadow Inks- I had heard a lot of hype about these inks, but was still a bit skeptical about how good they really could be.  However I recently organized my inks and stamped a sample solid image of each of these in my stash and was amazed at how well they did.  Where other inks were sometimes splotchy and sketchy in spots, this line of ink provides excellent coverage of the full image.  I'm 100% sold now and have been busy collecting all the colors I can get my hands on.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

or Simon Says Stamp Dye Inks- These are the same formula as the Hero Art Shadow inks and I love how the colors don't overlap.  (see all available colors at Simon Says Stamp)

24. Stampin' Up Classic Dye Ink Stamp Pads- Like the Hero Arts shadow inks, these pads provide nice even coverage.  I love the over-sized, raised pads and all the colors they come in with the newer style pad.  Stampin' Up does change their colors a bit every couple of years so if you have  a color you love, I would highly recommend you purchase the matching refill at the same time.  I've learned the hard way that it much more expensive trying to get refills on Ebay after they've retired than to just go ahead and pay the $2.95 up front.  ;) 

25. Ranger Tim Holtz Mini Ink Blending Tool (& Replacement Foams)-  This new smaller size is awesome for providing smooth, even coverage in your ink blending.  And best of all is you get two applicators for about the price of one of the older applicators.  I am cheap and just switch out the foam each time I switch colors, but I know a lot of people swear by having a handle for each color.  (available at or Simon Says Stamp)

Organizational Products

27. We R Memory Keepers 8-inch by 10-inch Magnetic Storage Book, Black- I have tried a variety of ways to store my slim profile metal dies, but this is the clear winner.  I love how everything stays put and how I can fit a ton of dies in each folder.  I use my Brother P-touch Home and Office Labeler (PT-D200) (a Christmas present to myself last year) to add what's in each one down the side to make finding what I'm looking for a breeze.  (available at Simon Says Stamp HERE and HERE)

28. PortaInk Standard Case or PortaInk Dual Swivel Traveler with Standard Ink Pad Inserts (handy for smaller pads so they don't push to the back of the organizer)-  I love using these to store and organize my ever growing supply of ink pads.  I love the flexibility these add with the little inserts to fit both smaller standark ink pads, as well as my larger Stampin' Up and Close To My Heart ink pads.  The icing on the cake is the top portion which is perfect for storing the matching re-inkers and my collection of stickles glitter bottles.   (available at

29. Elfa Pantry Door Storage-I am in love with organizational products and I fell hard for this amazing unit from The Container Store.  They frequently have all Elfa products on sale in December/January so keep your eye out for it.  I love that it can be customized to fit your needs with the different baskets offered, uses what would have been wasted space and it doesn't damage your door which makes it perfect for moving with you from house to house.

Scrapbook Albums

30. We R Memory Keepers Three Ring Binder Albums (with 12x12 Page Protectors)-When it comes to albums I love the We R Memory Keeper brand!  Their albums are made with such a high level of quality and sturdiness and I am loving all the new designs and patterns they have been releasing this year!  I started with the post bound, but grew weary of having to take everything apart each time so I switched to binders a number of years ago and have been a happy camper ever since.  I have tried a number of different manufacturers page protectors over the years too, but I am sold on sticking with the We R Memory Keepers brand.  They are a nice heavy weight and I love how they are over-sized at the top to protect the tops of my layouts (whereas some other brands, start to see damage to your page as it starts to slide and work it's way out of the protector).  (available at

Bonus Product:  I'm updating this post to include one more new must have!  Meet MISTI: a hot new stamping tool by My Sweet Petunia!  You can see a video of this awesome tool in action HERE.  It's a bit on the spendy side, but I promise you will fall in love and decide it's worth it in no time.  I love it for so many reasons.  It is a must have for perfect alignment of sentiments and for mass producing cards assembly line style.  I also love that if something doesn't stamp right the first time, it's easy to just re-stamp in the same spot.  Don't forget to buy magnets and Novus plastic polish for cleaning.  :)

Honestly there are seriously so many more products I love, but I wanted to put together a list of basics that I use on a weekly basis, if not almost every single day.  Whether you're just starting out or have been obsessed with this hobby even longer than I have, I hope I've managed to inspire you to take a closer look at a couple items that maybe you've never tried before.  ;)

Happy Shopping!  :)


  1. This is a pretty comprehensive list! And coming with strong recommendations from you is a plus!!

  2. I am so thrilled that you shared these favorites with us - what a great list of awesome products!! I already use quite a few of them but I was introduced to some new things that have been added to my wish list!! Thanks for taking the time to share this with us!! I truly benefited!!!

  3. Greeat list Mendi!! thank you for the info on all of them I will be buying some of these.... so great... you actually write why you like them! Thank you!!


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