Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do you Want a Piece of Me?

I'm feeling a bit feisty this week for various reasons, some of which have been on the news and I will offer no comment at the moment. However, if you have earplugs and are up for three hours of straight yelling, feel free to call me any time!

BUT, I am going to express myself on another outrage that touches each and every one of us. Unwelcome, criminal touching.





(Not really - it doesn't have a brain in it, and I'm sure it's hideously unattractive.)

Here's an idea. Why don't you rocket surgeons who came up with this affront to the bread eating public just throw the bread on the floor in the bread aisle and let us pick it up there? For one thing, we'd be able to get at it before we starve to death, and for another - IT'S GOING TO GO ON MY FLOOR WHEN I RIP THE BAG OPEN ANYWAY, SO SAVE ME SOME TIME AND SOME CUSSING!

Seriously - do you want a piece of me? Come and get it, bakeries. Come. And. Get. It.

Warmed up? Good. Me too. Now all of this, of course, is related to a product critique. :) I wanted you to be good and sure I'm not gonna blow sunshine up anything when it comes to an opinion. You're gonna get pure, unvarnished old me. :)

So here goes. I got my Epic 6 letterpress kit and Epic 6 machine a few weeks back after a long wait (I pre-ordered it this summer), but I was too busy to play with it until today. So I busted it out, and here are some of my initial observations.

First, I was EXTREMELY disappointed to read "Made in China" when I opened it. I should have researched that. :(

Next, it's a nice size if you're working on items of any length and 6" wide. It doesn't have the nice solid feel in the handle that the Big Shot does - it's sturdy, but not AS sturdy or heavy. The operation of it is otherwise identical - base plates and a hand crank. I'm not interested in any of its functions outside the letterpress as of yet because I think the Big Shot is the best die cutting machine ever and have no desire to switch. But it's very compact, and I love that in a craft product.

Letterpress - I love. And this is the first tabletop letterpress machine. So bravo on the invention.

The process is fairly simple. Stick the designs on one side of the folding plate with some double sided adhesive (provided), ink them with letterpress ink and a brayer, put your paper opposite the dies, fold closed, run through machine.

Just so you know, letterpress ink is rough to work with. It's sticky, it smells, it's extremely hard to clean. I used to carve my own stamps and had forgotten what a pain it was. You have to be careful inking up the plates, both to get even coverage and to not leave voids. Cleaning it takes a herculean effort, although rubbing alcohol helps. If you have OCD, you will not enjoy letterpress ink.

The dies I ordered are gorgeous. They chose really timeless designs that will be so completely useful and stylish - I think everyone will find something to love. The dies are a thin, hard plastic. You need to be careful when removing them from the adhesive - I have a feeling they will break if you don't have a light touch - especially on the longer, intricate dies.

I picked kind of a modern one for starters, and I didn't do a good job inking up the die, as you can see. However, I think for a first try, it's not a disaster. This is my actual first pass through the machine. Look at the bottom of the stems and on some of the flowers for where I missed inking the die.But the beauty of letterpress is here with this machine. See how perfectly the design is recessed into the paper, despite my poor inking? See the crisp edges of each letter and shape debossed into the card?

Beautiful. Despite my bad first try, I loved the look of the pressing. So I thought - well heck - who needs ink? Those designs are pretty on their own. It would be fun to play with them just in white and skip all the cleanup for the evening. Especially since I want to try to learn needlefelting tonight! So I picked out one of the monogram dies and made myself a little "L" notecard.
Oooh - I like that. Like making my own monograms! Now see there's a little ghosting around the letter? That's the edge of the die getting pressed into the paper. I haven't looked around to see about other papers, etc. so this may be something easily fixed. However, I love it, and that ghosting isn't a deal breaker for me at all, especially for a homemade letterpress card.

Here's another ink-free design.Now how fun is that? Notice - no ghosting! There may be something about the smaller individual letters that presses the die harder into the paper. Repetition will tell.

Also, each of the dies are individual, so you can combine them any way you want to create your own little scenes, which is a big advantage over cutting and embossing dies.. With those, you'd have to emboss and then punch or cut out the images to combine them. With letterpress, you create your own designs with freely placed images. Freedom is a good thing!

There's a grid on the plate that helps you align the clear dies - and it's very, very easy to do. It's also a surprisingly fast process. I shouldn't have waited so long to play.

I think I'm going to have a heck of a good time playing with this and making elegant and simple cards. So that's the bottom line. If you want one, and you don't like messy stuff, just get it without the ink. You'll like it.

I hope you're having a good short week and enjoying the holidays still. Do you have resolutions? Wanna tell me?

Leave a comment and my favorite resolution will win a set of monogrammed notecards! :)

Oh, and since I'm still feisty, one more thing.... An important disclaimer ;)

Dear FTC and anyone else who feels the need to intrude upon my freedom of speech as a way to increase the revenue of the federal government by making sure that no one receives any 6 yards of yarn in exchange for a product review without paying the appropriate fine.... You're barking up the wrong blogger. I bought the Epic 6 letterpress machine with the roughly 40% of my hard earned dollar that was left after income tax, sales tax, shipping tax, trans fat tax, tanning bed and botox tax and gas tax. Furthermore, if I die because someone on a terrorist watch list is free to get on my plane and has a bomb in his girly pink terrorist panties, and is not stopped by a Dutch filmmaker who comprises the entirety of our homeland security system (even though he's not from our homeland - chew on THAT) then whoever I leave the Epic 6 to will pay inheritance tax on it. Happy? Good - I live for that.

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  1. Try these things for cleaning the letterpress:

    Old English Lemon
    Murphy Oil Soap undiluted
    Old Masters Brush Cleaner

    My resolution is to take better care of my feet, to walk more, and to eat smaller portions less often.

  2. Though your product review was enjoyable, it's your rants that I really love. You tell 'em, Sister!!

  3. OMG!!! GIMME!!! I need "L" monogrammed notecards!! And lookie, you already started them. ;) Thank ewe. xoxo

  4. i want this sooo bad! but i do not enjoy getting inky LOL hmm

    also, i resolve to eat healthily, walk more and enjoy my children more in the new year--life's too short to be fat and grumpy

  5. I have resolved to NOT make any resolutions. No resolutions - no breaking them, right? Besides, if I don't have the gumption to start something today, what difference is it going to make on Friday? Is that a magic day just because I flip the calendar?

    Anyway, another thought on the bread twisties. They make great cat toys (if they're large enough), and we have to be able to give the cats "fresh" toys now and then, right? (The large rubber bands that come around broccoli are also great cat toys.) Webster can't play with the tape stuff on those bags (even though he LOVES tape or anything sticky like that).

  6. I WANT! The ink thing scares me, though. I like the ink, but not so much the cleaning-up part. I think I'll wait for your second-pass update. You ARE going to do one, right?

    Twisty-ties: probably something a terrorist could use to blow up a plane. NO, WAIT, I'll bet a kid took one and poked it in his eye and it was cheaper to eliminate them than print the 24-page warning labels for the bread packaging. Yeah, that's it!

    And thanks for the rants - very well done!

  7. i'm SO with you on the loss of the twist tie! it's a shame, and i don't get it either. probably cost those bakeries boo coo bucks--which they passed on to us--to install said tape from hell dispenser, when the twistie was just fine!

    can't wait to see more experiments with said letterpress.

    my resolution? to stop nagging at my son to wash the grease out of his hair and off his face, and to brush his teeth...after 15 years, he's either going to step up to the plate or he's tone deaf. i can use my breath for other things.

  8. PS: Gary just got another hit. :-)

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your twist tie rant, your letterpress review was not only honest, it was also downright informative. It was your disclaimer, however, that nearly made me pee my panties. Was he really wearing pink terrorist panties? Because now we probably can't wear pink panties on airplanes anymore. Or maybe they'll just ban panties. Oh well, at least the skies will be safer.

  10. PPS:

    No, Donna, WE MUST GO COMMANDO! YEAH, that'll fix it! heh heh

    Hey, Lydia, Did you use THEIR paper in the L machine? Do we HAVE to use their paper, or can we use any old paper we want?

  11. Your rants make my day! I have wanted that letterpress machine since I first heard of it & your review didn't really change that (except I might get it sans ink for now!). I'm with you on the whole twist tie thing - what a PITA!

  12. can i just tell you how much i absolutely love your blog! Never thought about a home letterpress device, but now i must have one...IMMEDIATELY! Thanks for sharing such a great find! I'm nudging the fiance for this right now, if i keep poking him he might give in by new years. :-)

  13. p.s. any idea if you could use the plates and dies with the bigshot? I would imagine its the same type of process.


  14. Totally agree on the demise of the twisty tie!

  15. Love both the review of the Letterpress and your rant on the demise of the twist tie. I'll let you in on a secret...my hubby, with his need to keep the most mundane things, has an entire ziploc full of twist ties! All different sizes, colors, so you name your choice and I will hook you up!

    My resolution? To enjoy my life and the things I already have that matter more, and to simplify everywhere else. I realize we have too much stuff so if it isn't beautiful or useful I am going to clear it out this year. I want to focus more on my art (all of it, especially my needlework) and on my family.

    I hope you have a great New Year!

  16. Loved your rant and even shared it with my daughter...very funny!

    My resolution is that generic, vague resolution I make every year...to "get in shape." I didn't say what shape though..did I?

    Happy New Year!

    Shawn K.

  17. I so agree about the stoooopid bread tape crap! WTHeck is that all about?!?!?!?!

    As for the letterpress- I have to say I never really heard of one until you wrote this today so now of course TY Lydia I have to go look into that along with my Tweetdeck, Twitter Toots and all the rest of that jazz!

    Resolutions for me this year are to ENJOY every aspect of the wedding planning and to cherish every moment that my dd still needs me MOM for things cause all too soon she will be gone from my everyday in your face life and I don't know how I am going to handle that so my resolution is to MAKE MORE MEMORIES!

  18. Who needs ink!? Love the plain "L", which is my letter too, so keep cranking them out! LOL Any way the bread tie...I've always hated the little plastic disk thingies, but tape is waaaay worse. The ties are the best, my cat loved them. Cheers! Lori

  19. Love reading your blog. Always makes me ponder which is a rare and wonderful thing!

    My resolution is to give up chick flicks. In a mean twist of fate, I am turning into one of those women who cry. And I really am NOT happy about it. I am a strong, independent woman. Why am I crying during the movie, "Up" (let alone why did I cry TWICE!)? So I am giving them up. They only make me wistful that my life doesn't wrap up neatly in two hours with a poignant scene of friends and laughter and happy tears. And then I hear the songs from said movies on the radio, only to be reminded that my life is again, not neatly wrapped up but rather an array of loose ends, clutter and hopeless bad dates. So there, 2010! I using my 'movie money' and buying more stamps!

  20. I totally thought I was the only one fed up with the bread tape. I'm with ya sister...Great review. You should do those for a living. ;)

    Resolution for 2010: Make it to central Texas and visit my favorite blogger down there. :) Happy New Year, Lydia!

  21. Always enjoy a product review but I LOVE the rants - All I have to say is AMEN about the bread ties - a royal pain.

  22. I can handle a piece of you today because I agree completely and now I spend more money and put more plastic into the land fill because I have to buy extra bags to keep things fresh!!!!!

    Don't get me started!

    I have to say that I don't have any resolutions but I do try to be a better person every day regardless of the time of year!

    thanks Lydia for being such a great friend and inspiration and well for being who you are.

    I hope to see you soon.

  23. I love it when you rant! :) Please pick someone whose name starts with the letter "L" for your notecards, though...I really don't need a set of monogrammed "L" notecards. It would be too confusing for the people that received one from me. :) Seriously, I don't really have a New Years resolution, but if I did, it would be to eat healthier and to switch the contents of my old purse to my new purse. Hugs, Pam

  24. You will love needle felting! I just started and it is almost as addictive as stamping. I received felted soap for Christmas and am hooked on making it as well. Love your blog!

  25. i have a question....Can the Letterpress stuff be used in the Big shot??? Just curious cause I don't need to buy another machine (made in china-ack!) if I can. ;)...side note...have you EVER found kids toys not made in china?? almost impossible. the only thing I've found is crayola crayons (just the crayons, nothing else in their kits), silly putty, barrel of monkeys, one of the old toys--i think it's Ants in Pants, or Cooties. That's it. Which is why, if I have enough time (key-think ahead) I buy something from Etsy. Or they get clothes. Not made in China clothes. also semi hard to find. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


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