This list is for you Bunny! Thanks for your great request (I tried to email you but your blogger id is set up as noreply) :o)...
my Top Ten "Buying info that I wish I'd had when I started"
for the economy-oriented (or cheap like me)
#10: You don't need every stamp/supply that you see; (I'm a party-pooper right off the bat, hey?) What I mean to say is, you may find yourself experiencing buyer's remorse. I've learned the hard way, to browse my brains out (compare everywhere) and if I still LOVE something in a 'madly-going-out-of-my-mind-cause it's just so beautimous' kind of way after comparison shopping, then I buy it.
#9: Colour is completely worth it! Inks & reinkers are worth every penny; I have never regretted the freedom that having many colours in different types of inks (classic & craft, watermark, solvent, alcohol inks...etc...) has afforded me. I have regretted dozens upon dozens of stamps, but never colour. Markers are very versatile. You can even scribble on a plate and use a waterbrush to paint with them.
#8: Sell (or donate) things you don't use and then replenish your supplies for a fresh look without the guilt of over-buying.
#7: Tools rule! You can get a lot of mileage out of the right tools--lower cost tools like paper piercers, eyelet setters, hole and shape punches can be reinvented & never go out of style. (Stamp images often become dated.)
Five things I would never be without ever again and wish I had when I first started are:
1) My heat gun, embossing inks & Clear embossing powder. I emboss everything. To me it's pure magic. It adds that touchable texture, a bit of gloss & it makes water-colouring a cinch.
2) My Making Memories precision paper cutter. Can you say "No blade refills!?!" (That company ROCKs. I've never had better customer service! My lines wore off on it originally, and they sent me a brand new trimmer [since they'd fixed that design flaw.] No questions asked no shipping charge... WOWed me!] More info on it below in tip #6.)
3) My Scor-Pal, (which was the biggest RAK evah! Thank you Noreen you are an angel!!) It is heavenly!!! I can't believe I ever fussed around with anything else. 100+ ways to use a Scor-Pal here.
4) My Cuttlebug (or a Big Shot...) I love being able to emboss textures. I worried that I would find it limiting (there are only so many embossing folders out there) but there are SO many things you can do with that puppy!
5) Punches & Dye cuts:
- PUNCHES: (especially simple shapes like circles & squares) are perfect ways to get more life out of less stamps/paper. You can make sentiments & embellishments easily & save a whack of cash.
- DYE CUTS that make templates, shapes, or shaped mats. (especially Nestabilites (brass plate shapes that cut mat shapes) but you need a Cuttlebug)
#6: ...Search out and Read internet reviews of products (especially big ticket items such as a really good paper cutter.) After researching, buy the best you can afford instead of replacing items. I originally had a (poopy) Fiskar's rotary cutter that cut crookedly (ARRRRRGH!) and I spent a small fortune feeding that beastly beast with fresh blades....But then I found this review on the Making Memories precision paper cutter. I absolutely LOVE it & it's paid for itself by having a self-sharpening blade. (One thing to note about the M.M. cutter is that you visually line up the paper on the grid, you don't butt it against the edge--makes a big difference. It's a little tricky to cut super skinny pieces with.)
#5: If you have a problem, there's probably a way to fix it or someone to help. You can post questions in forums (splitcoaststampers!) or email people about things. Everyone I've 'met' in the online stamping community is happy to help & there are some bloomin' brilliant (and sweet) crafters out there. Getting advice can certainly save you money & time.
One biggy in the advice department, for instance: If you don't like the way a stamp is registering you do not have to live with it! If it's not fully stamping or if it's an acrylic stamp & it's not taking the ink, there are ways to fix that. For rubber (and I use these same 'seasoning techniques' for certain acrylic stamps that won't take my SU inks): stamp conditioning. More about caring for acrylic stamps.
#4: Watch for sales, wait for sales, and use coupons or take advantage of free shipping. Get on email lists for local stores and or your favourite online companies. Keep an "I have to have it" list and wait for sales. Use coupons to stock up on items you use a lot (like those Michael's coupons for 50% off to stock up on clear embossing powder, or whatever you use a lot of and they have at a good price.) Split the cost of products or shipping with a friend & swap supplies.
#3: Buy patterned paper/embellishments strategically. Pattern paper/designer paper, ribbon etc... can take your projects to the next level, but it can be costly and you can get tired of it quickly! For you online shoppers: To be sure that you'll actually like paper shop in person when you can. You may want to avoid overstocking on one type/colour family of paper (trust me, I have 100's of dollars of designer paper I may never use.) A good way to avoid typecasting your papers or supplies is to shop in smaller batches. You'll be sure to be in different moods and you'll probably find that your tastes change.
#2: Repeat after me: "Expensive adhesive is for chumps!" lol ;0) But seriously, not mentioning any names: (I don't like SNAIL!!) There are affordable high-quality adhesives to be found. I used to use just glue dots, because I found snail didn't stay stuck and was pricey to boot. For a while I was using only glue dots (not cheap & sometimes bumpy.) I switched to double-sided tape at $1.oo a roll from dollar stores (acid free even!) :O)
Your adhesive may be falling off of your projects after you've sent them off into the wide world. I know, GASP! It's well worth tracking down a great affordable adhesive and keeping a project around for a while to test if things are staying put. Things to look for: acid & lignin free (dollar store stuff often is now.) Many people LOVE their ATG gun. Me wanty!
and the # 1 thing I wish I'd known: Overspending/buying stuff you regret is all about mood-Can you say impulse? To avoid over-spending while you are in an online shopping mood postpone your buying by one of these methods....
Copy your shopping cart lists (control C to copy & control V to paste into a word document.) Or keep a document with a list (or a file with images) on your computer desktop (you can save stamp images with the company & stamp name in the file name.) Leave the list for 1 or 2 weeks (or even a couple of days.) When you go back to it, if you still love the items, you are less likely to experience buyer's remorse (or what I like to call the "Geeeze! Why didn't I buy THAT instead???" syndrome.)
Hope my rambling was helpful; I'm still learning and I would love to learn from your tips & hear all about your favourite schtuff! :o)
P.S. Stamping 101 Some Basics