You really don’t need fancy tools to make good work, in fact I find it dampening to be in a workshop where everyone is queuing up to use the same tool for the same effect. However, some tools really make life easier, and some are the only way to achieve a particular effect, and if that frees me up to have fun, well good! Art is what makes the sun shine whatever the weather πŸ˜‰


Suella asked about the spring loaded punch:

see the green band in the middle? that shows it’s completely loose, don’t use it like this!

add the head you need, my set came with 3 sizes ofΒ  hole punch and 3 embossing heads and tighten by turning the handle clockwise and the body anti clockwise

try it out on a piece ofΒ  scrap paper, leaning on the black mat, and adjust to suit you, I need it quite springy as I have lost so much muscle/force since getting fibromyalgia, but with this tool I can make maybe 2 dozen holes in paper or a dozen holes in upcycled oilpainting, my hands will hurt afterwards, but they ache so much in the snow anyway, I tend to just take a maximum dose of painkillers AND have something to show for it πŸ˜‰


I use mine mostly for punching holes because I haven’t really had the urge to emboss, though now I have all these cat food terrines to play with, that may change πŸ˜‰


Tin snips are another tiring tool for me, they are very heavy, but make life very easy for cutting up tins. I wanted to make some embellishers and I have all those terrines and I made vegan fruit jelly at the weekend, yum yum, and saved the can lid. I forgot to photograph the bottle top I cut up, it’s a Purdey’s tonic with ELIXIR VITAE (elixir of life) printed on it…that’s going in a book πŸ˜‰ I tend to cut very simple shapes, suns and sunflowers, windmills, and then add beads when I stitch the piece down. Remember the edges will be VERY SHARP, so either sand them using a buffer (sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood) or wear gloves! I always cut towards to the centre and try to avoid holding the can too tight, having seen someone accidentally cut between their thumb and index finger with a jagged can edge…




A tool I use a lot is the wood burner/pyrography tool I bought at Lidl πŸ˜‰ One day I’ll get someone to photograph me using the special effect burners Andy made from old fish knives and forks (because they are made of silver, they are easy to bend and cut, but will get red hot without melting)

Anyway, here is the set up for using the wood burner:


This is probably a Health and Safety nightmare, but I have been sensible: there is a bowl of water to put my hands in if I got burnt, or if something caught fire, there is a window to the far right to take fumes away (ALWAYS have the window open if you are working on metal, foils, fabrics or glossy papers, the chemical treatments on such things can be REALLY TOXIC) and the wood burner is plugged in on the right, away from the sink. There is a thick wooden board to protect the counter, a sock needle to hold the metal down as it will heat up, and I use my heavy tin snips to weight the cable down so it can’t tangle when I’m working….


Inspected and approved, by the curious cat πŸ˜‰