Product Review – DYMO Label Writer

if you follow me you know i have posted about products that are useable by me along with reasons why others are not. in addition to having severe RA i’m still trying to find the right balance between playing creating and working staying organized but my new label printer has been a big help.

i’ve been using the DYMO LabelWriter Wireless Label Printer since i bought it during boxing week specials at last year and i love it:

  • it’s wireless
  • it’s a thermal printer so no ink or toner is used
  • i can use the software on my mac with my full keyboard
  • and an app on my iPhone and iPad with my apple keyboard and/or dictate
  • it’s fast! according to the advertising, it prints about 71 labels per minute
  • the labels are easy to separate from the backing paper
  • no batteries
  • easy touch buttons

why not other machines?

my first labeller was the Brother p-touch 90, but i wasn’t using it very much. any task that requires fine motor skills is difficult and sometimes painful, not to mention very time consuming – it took me just over 3 minutes to create one label. in that time, the DYMO LW would have printed over 200. the keyboard is so small, there is not enough of a contrast on the view screen, and separating the label from the backing paper was extremely challenging.

i did try label sheets but aligning portions of sheets was difficult, also very time consuming and used ink and/or toner.

i want to spend my time and energy doing what i love so for me this is the ideal label printer.

thanks for popping by.

Product Review – Ink Blending Tools

paper crafting with RA means i create more slowly and, because of loss of function, some techniques are avoided because products are not useable by people with disabilities and they exacerbate pain.

sponging is one of those techniques that i stopped doing but i’ve discovered a helpful tool – the creative expressions mini smoothies:

i love these sponges! they are easy to grasp, dense, and hold more ink so less effort is required and the task is completed more quickly which means less pain. the smaller tip can be used for small areas like sponging paper while it is still in a die.

note: price above is canadian dollars and allergy alert: they are latex.

while not being completely scientific, i did use the same supplies for each test:

  • 140 lb. cold press watercolour paper
  • only one of each tool for two distress ink colours: picked raspberry and mustard seed and
  • penny black patina stencil.

as you can see from the examples above, they’re very similar; the difference was that the blending foam with handles took longer and required more pressure.

these are the picked raspberry and mustard seed distress inks blended together. i used the same sponge for both colours on each sample, deliberately not swiping the sponge on paper towels in between since i wanted a blend of the two. the colour in the bottom sample is slightly more intense because the sponge is easier to use so i spent more time blending. also, because i could hold the sponge close to the bottom i had more control and more success.

the daisy on the pink box, posted earlier today, was coloured in picked raspberry ink with a mini smoothie sponge:

MFT daisy box copyright linda

why not other tools?

the wooden handle is difficult to hold, the velcro requires a pinching and grasping motion to remove and since the foam holds less ink, it requires more time holding it in an awkward and painful position.

thanks for popping by and if you try these, let me know what you think.

Product Review – Tonic Studios Scissors

Paper Crafting With RA

Cutting paper and fussy cutting images are tasks that I usually avoid because of the strain and subsequent pain in my hands so I was eager to test the scissors Tonic Studios USA sent to me.

For the past couple of weeks, I cut a variety of materials with each of the scissors as listed below.

Spring-Cut Multi-Purpose Scissors 10″

  • 9 sheets of 9″ x 12″ felt in half and in half again; also cut through two sheets at once
  • 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper into smaller pieces
  • 140 lb. hot press watercolour paper sheets into smaller pieces
  • poster board
  • glitter paper
  • copy paper
  • fabric

I like these scissors! The blades are sharp, they fit comfortably in my hand and I love the spring action – it makes them easy to operate and they are perfect for when a longer scissor blade is needed. The locking mechanism opens effortlessly with my thumbnail and just as easily locks back in place. The protective blade cover is also easy to remove and replace.

Spring-Cut Fine Tip Detail Scissors 6.5″

  • 140 lb. hot press watercolour paper azalea petals and leaves
  • 90 lb. cold press watercolour paper doodle flowers and leaves
  • 170 gsm heavyweight printed cardstock paper doodle flowers and leaves

I like these scissors too! Like the larger scissors, they fit comfortably in my hand and the spring action is easy to operate so cutting is more enjoyable and less painful. I stamped the azaleas below twice on 140 lb. hot press watercolour paper, painted with sennelier watercolour paints, cut the leaves and attached them to the card base; then I cut the petals and adhered them. I also used these to cut the 90 lb. cold press watercolour paper flowers and the heavyweight printed cardstock that I stamped the flowers on. These will be my go to scissors for fussy cutting. The locking mechanism easily opens and locks back in place and the protective blade cover is easy to remove and replace.

copyright linda snailzpace.wordpress.com140 lb. hot press watercolour paper flowers

copyright linda snailzpace.wordpress.com90 lb. cold press watercolour paper flowers

170 gsm heavyweight printed cardstock flowers

Decoupage Scissors

  • 140 lb. hot press watercolour paper azalea petals and leaves
  • 90 lb. cold press watercolour paper doodle flowers and leaves
  • 170 gsm heavyweight printed cardstock paper doodle flowers and leaves

Because of the smaller size, these required more finger grip strength and dexterity than I have. Both the 140 lb. hot press and 90 lb. cold press watercolour paper flowers were difficult to cut through. Although they worked best when i cut the doodle flowers above from the 170 gsm heavyweight printed cardstock, I preferred the 6.5″ spring cut detail scissors.

Tim Holtz 7″ Non-Stick Titanium Scissors

  • double sided sticky paper
  • foam tape
  • cut ‘n dry foam
  • ez mount foam
  • wire edged ribbon
  • glitter paper
  • cardboard
  • chipboard
  • lightweight aluminum

I was pleasantly surprised with these scissors because I really like the spring action of the others. The blades are very sharp, the handles are comfortable and these scissors are especially useful when cutting double sided adhesive sheets and foam tape. In addition to the materials listed above, I also fussy cut some shapes from a cardboard box with ease. The blade cover snaps in place but i could only remove it with the use of a rubber gripper.

Try before you buy! My local stamp store owner lets me test a product to see if it suits my hands; she has opened brand new products for me to try but sometimes there’s a model that is used for classes anyway.

Thanks to Tonic Studios for allowing me the opportunity to discover useable products that make my paper crafting time more enjoyable and thank you for popping by.

Product Review – Ink Pads

Paper Crafting With RA

this month i’m reviewing ink pads. i usually use black ink to stamp images to watercolour but regardless of ink colour, an ink pad must be useable.

ink review snailzpace.wordpress.comthe first ink pad i bought ten years ago remains my favourite: Tsukinenko’s Versafine onyx black.

ink review like the thumb indent and the hinged lid easily flips to the bottom so it’s one unit; the depth of the lid and bottom are equal, which makes it easier to hold a larger surface that measures just under 3/4″.

ink review overhanging lid of Tsukinenko’s memento luxe ink pad is easy to remove and the curved design, allowing for finger placement, helps somewhat ease the pressure and grip strength needed to hold the 1/8″ surface.

ink review’s smaller dew drop ink pads require more pinching and grasping, which becomes painful with frequent use so i don’t use these very often.

ink review thumb/finger indents on Ranger’s archival ink pads make it easy to open and remove the lid.

ink review the straight edged design of the bottom requires more grip strength to hold its 1/8″ edge surface.

ink review lids and bottom surfaces of the smaller cubes that i have are equal; most have a 3/8″ bottom surface to hold so there is less pinching and grasping required than the 1/8″surface of some of the larger pads.

ink review recessed lids of Ranger’s distress ink pads are very difficult to grasp and remove; i can’t open most of them so i rarely use them now.

in 2010, i let tim holtz know that due to severe rheumatoid arthritis the distress ink pads are difficult to open and any plans to change the design to make them more accessible to people with disabilities would be greatly appreciated.

tim holtz responded: “sorry linda, the design of the pad has been the same for the past 5 years. the 2 part ink pad we’ve found is the easiest to open in fact. hinged lids are the most difficult to handle. the lid has to be somewhat snug in order to keep the ink pad airtight or it would dry up too quickly. perhaps you should open your pads, and store them in air tight zip bags to make it easier to access.  hope this tip helps!”

no, zip bags would not help since they are always difficult for me to open.

as i mentioned, the hinged versafine ink pad is my favourite so i’ll just purchase those paper crafting products that are useable by me.

thanks for popping by.

Product Review – Paper Cutters

Paper Crafting With RA

due to ongoing physio rehab for my new knee, i fell behind on my product reviews but i’m back at it.

because of severe RA (rheumatoid arthritis), i have limited grip strength and grasping motion, which means not all paper crafting tools are universally designed and useable by me.

for years i used two tonic guillotine cutters: the 6 by 12 inch which i’m still happy with for large paper cutting tasks, especially heavy watercolour paper, and the 6 inch tonic guillotine cutter. however, following wrist and finger fusions and deformities, it became difficult to apply pressure on the plastic finger guards meant to steady the paper. i was also frustrated with the small tab used to raise the arm.

when the tim holtz 8 inch comfort guillotine/trimmer debuted in 2016, i wondered if it might be a good  replacement for my small cutter and it is – i love it!

i can place my fingers anywhere on the plastic guard, i can easily use the arm and i really like the raised edge on the bottom so i can cut better when i’m seated. i also love the easier to read contrasting black measurement markings in inches and centimetres and it even seems lighter than my old 6 inch cutter.

the only negative, which has nothing to do with usability, is that when i use the 140 lb. cold pressed watercolour paper, the plastic edges inside the arm leave indents when they hit the blade.

why not other cutters?

other cutters require replacement blades and pinching and sliding motions that are painful and subject my joints to further wear and tear so i avoid those that have not been universally designed.

Product Review – Die Cutting Machines

for my second monthly product review, i’d like to mention a machine many of us paper crafters use every time we create.

i first started die cutting with a portable machine but die cutting became painful with my hands so i stopped embossing and using dies. after some research and considering online reviews, i bought a sizzix big shot that was so much more comfortable to use; it enabled me to use dies and embossing folders more frequently.

the handle alone made a big difference; the larger size with rounded edges are easy to grip and crank. i also like the longer platform to place the sandwiches on and i actually like the weight of the machine – it stays put.

portability doesn’t concern me because i wouldn’t be able to carry any machine around.

why not other machines?

suction is lost, allowing for movement of the machine, handles are small, have squared off edges that are difficult to grasp, and some have no platforms so the weight of the ‘sandwich’ must be borne by my hands and i would have to manipulate it entering and exiting the machine. i considered an electric machine, but a push button requires constant pressure that may cause further damage to already damaged joints.

one manufacturer demonstrated the ease of its machine online, so i telephoned to explain the risk of further joint damage but the rep was dismissive and insisted that if a young child could operate it, i should be able to.

making assumptions about one’s abilities is a stereotypical attitudinal barrier; what i need might be different for someone else, even another paper crafter with RA.

in my opinion, dismissing constructive and helpful feedback that would improve usability and universal access is just poor customer service.

thanks for popping by.

Product Review – Stamping Tool

as mentioned in a previous post, i’ll be reviewing products that help rather than frustrate me as a paper crafter with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

i thought i’d start my first monthly product review with a brand new product – the we r memory keepers precision press.

up until now, if i needed one, i used an L-shaped stamp positioner and i wasn’t convinced i needed any more tools, especially ones that might be useful to others but not useable by me.

luckily, my favourite local stamp store brought in the precision press at the end of october and although i’ve only used it a couple of times, i’m happy with it.

finally, an easy to tear open package that doesn’t require cutting all around the edges!!


we-r-memory-keepers precision press

i like many features of this tool: the thumb indent, grid markings, size and weight, rounded corners and the fact that both clear and cling stamps can be used on the same surface without having to add or take away a shim. additionally, the colours are pleasing to the eye, and provide a good amount of contrast between them.

why not others?

other tools have colours that would strain my eyes, lack enough contrast and require fine motor skills to pick up, place and remove magnets or change stamping surfaces. another tool would require grip strength to hold, align and press throughout the stamping process. i want a tool to work for me, not the other way around.

completely by coincidence, we r memory keepers are having a precision press giveaway on their blog.

thanks for popping by.