The Quest for the Perfect Monthly Crafty Subscription

My my my its been a long time – February!  Here’s my tale of “woe.”  I like to link up to the Yarn Along on Wednesday.  And, for whatever reason, I kept missing Wednesday!  I would be in the mood to post on a Monday or a Tuesday, but think, eh, that post would be so much better to link up  with the Yarn Along on Wednesday – there was the finished Ambah knit-a-long, a crocheted bug, my crocheted Octopus disaster, Maryland Sheep and Wool, the start of the Joji MKAl, sheesh – that’s a lot of potential Wednesday content!  But then, somehow, Wednesday would disappear, poof! First it was 7:30 a.m. and I was getting ready for court, and then it was 10 p.m., and I was ready for bed.  And then, I’d think, there’s always next Wednesday.

And that’s it.  I’ve just been waiting for Wednesday.

So, here we are on Tuesday – whatever Wednesday, right?  Actually, I am going to try to post some yarny content tomorrow, and Wednesday looks pretty open on my calendar tomorrow – fingers crossed.  There were a lot of homicides over the holiday weekend, and I think I’m next up on the wheel.  One arrest, and I’m off to prison tomorrow, and that’ll blow up another Wednesday.  In the meantime, today I’m having a liquidy lunch scheduled with my team from this case, happy to close the book on that one.  Usually, when you close out a case like that one, there’s something waiting in the wings to take its place, sigh.

But, back to Tuesday, and today’s topic is my latest crafty pursuit, card making.  So, to recap, I started the year off with a handlettering flourish and frenzy.  That lead to InCoWriMo, and some watercolor cards.  The watercolor cards lead to me taking a class on watercolor card making at Online Card Classes,  This lead me to youtube, of course, and a lot of card making videos.  I became especially intrigued with cardmaking subscription kits, which is big fodder for youtube tuts – 10 cards, 1 kit, which appeals to me because I like to stretch my supplies, and use what I have on hand.  That’s not to say I don’t buy supplies – there is that giant A.C. Moore that plopped down right at the halfway point between my walk from the office to the courthouse.  Luckily, or unluckily, the supplies at A.C. Moore for the cardmaker are kind of meh – the stamp section is tiny, and tends to involve cute animals or florals, and they don’t carry any Tim Holtz, or any dies other the a handful of Sissix dies.  Therefore, I set my sights on subscribing to a monthly kit – curated supplies right to my door.

So, all kinds of things to think about – aesthetics, of course, but then there’s cost and commitment.  In the end, I did not go with the best buy, but with the product I thought I would use the most, and get the most joy out of, because that’s what it’s all about really.

The best buy out there is definitely, Hero Arts Monthly Kit.  For $35 plus shipping, you get at least a large stamp set (not quite 8 1/2 x 11, but it’s also bigger than 5 x7), with matching dies (between the stamps and the dies, you’ve already got your $35 worth), cardstock, and other miscellaneous items, this month it was a stencil, 3 small stamp pads, an acetate sheet, a bottle of ink, and some sequins.  I did not buy this month’s kit, I was sucked in by last months kit, which was Audrey Hepburn inspired:

This kit came with the paper doll stamps, matching dies, cardstock, three stamp cubes, a strand of faux pearls, a black ribbon, some blingy things, and some kind of droplets, I forget what they’re called.  And, here is the one card I ended up making, because there’s just not enough time in the day.  Crazy, because I saw this kit, didn’t love it, and then got sucked into the youtube 10 cards 1 kit scene, and had to have it.  Of course, by then it was sold out (the benefit of subscribing is that you’re guaranteed a kit – otherwise, you really need to buy it on the first day, possibly the second).  I stalked ebay – way too expensive and destash groups on Facebook.  Someone destashed it for $10, and I couldn’t believe I missed it!  And then, on the last day of the month, Hero Arts actually restocked it -they must have found a few lying around in the warehouse. I snatched it up, and rewatched all of the videos.  And then it came, and I was in the middle of something, work something, and I just didn’t get the chance to spend time with it.

Another really good deal is Simon Says Stamps, which is $25/month plus shipping. This month’s kit came with a floral stamps set, an ink pad, a distress oxide ink pad, and a small sample of Daniel Smith watercolors, as well as 6 x 6 double sided paper.  Eh, another floral stamp.  This kit sold out fast, and again, if you want a guarantee, you need to subscribe.  Looking back at the past kits, they’re just not my vibe, I guess.  Last month’s was this strange kinetic stamp, they appear to shimmy when you pull a tab, the month before were baby zoo critters.  Great deal, not for me.

And when I thought about Hero Arts v. Simon Says Stamps, it didn’t come down to money or value, it came down to taste.  If I didn’t like the theme, I probably wouldn’t get much use out of the kit.  I looked at past months of both companies, and it was really hit or miss.  This month’s Hero Arts has a mermaid theme,  I’m just not into the fantasy mermaid thing, I probably would make one card and that would be it.  And the truth is, I like the stamping and the coloring more than I like the embellishments, and the blingy stuff, so I changed my focus to stamps, and stamps that work well with watercolor, in particular.  To me, these cards are little canvases that I’m sending off into the world, and I wanted something to help me make my little presents.

Anyway, if you go on youtube, and search for monthly card kit, other companies will come up.  Hero Arts and Simon Says Stamps are just two of the more commercial, popular ones, and I really didn’t work too hard in researching the other brands, because they didn’t really stand out to me.

So, I ended up subscribing to Unity Stamp Co.’s Kit of the Month.  This kit doesn’t come with any paper, or dies, or bling, only stamps – an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of etched, unmounted, rubber stamps.  With shipping, it comes to $42 a month.  So, why the big investment, when I could spend less, and get more stuff?  Because it would be more stuff that I didn’t use.  I like these stamps – I can see sending them to friends, unlike a mermaid, or a fairy or a baby elephant.

As you can see, there are 6 large image stamps, and eight sentiments.  To give you an idea of size, the cards are 5 x7, and the vase and flower image is stamped on a 4 x 6 card.  One 4 x6 unmounted stamp alone will run you between $6-$10.00.  So, for the image stamps alone, it’s worth it.  Unity is known, I guess, for their Angie Girls, designed by Angie Blom.  The headband girl is an Angie girl.  One Angie Girl stamp set, which is usually a girl, and two sentiments, is $26.00.  So, again, while there is no paper, no bling, no dies, this 8 1/2 x 11 massive stamp set is a really good price for what you get.

I stumbled onto Unity years ago when I was taking Suzi Blu’s art journaling workshops, and she was selling her stamps there.  At some point, their emails started hitting my spam folder, and I really didn’t give them another thought.  Then, I started seeing cards on Facebook, as I was perusing different stamping groups.  I really liked the sentiments – they’re adult, they’re things I would say to a friend.  Even their critter cards are in a way sophisticated.  Unity also has a faith based side to it, which, when I first got their emails, was a bit of a turn off.  But, the faith based aspect is really separate – they have a separate kit club, Layers of Life, which is for more faith based, journaling.  So, I like that they are a family company, and that they not only want to put out a good product, they really want to be home to a community, and to that end, they are constantly doing Facebook live crafting sessions, and there’s almost always a sale.  I guess I found their Facebook group in January maybe February, and ever since then, there’s been a decent sale nearly every week, and during that period, I bought a few things that I loved working with, like this poppy girl:

The sentiment is from their Donna Downey collection – another nice plus to the site.  And, unlike Hero Arts and Simon Says Stamps there are additional benefits to membership than just a guaranteed kit.  Once you subscribe, you get an additional $6.50 off future orders of a certain amount, and all previous Kits of the Months are available at basically half price.  So, you can pick up an old set for $26 (Kits of the Month are $52 for nonmembers), which is basically the cost of the Angie girl in the set.  The commitment is three months, which I’m good with – because I’m finally at the end of my 12 month commitment with Studio Calico.  That, my friends, was way too long of a commitment to my project life ish kit of the month from them.  Especially when I’m really over the weekly project scrapping, and have turned to another product – more on that some other day but Wednesday.

So, with the cancelling of my World of Warcraft membership (uch, that time in between expansions – the dead zone) and my Studio Calico subscription, I’m still on budget for my one subscription a month.  I know this is probably rationalizing, but I really feel like I’m going to save money in the long run, because I won’t buy any additional stamps (and so far I haven’t, and it’s been a few weeks, and I’m still good), and while I have been collecting Spectrum Noir markers (alcohol markers that are nearly have the price of Copics) at the A.C. Moore about once a month for half the price (6 markers for $7.50,), I’m really good with the distress inks of I’ve had forever, and my watercolors.  I know, I know, everyone’s all about the distress oxide inks, and they are appealing, I’m ok without them.  I’m sure I’ll end up at Michael’s with a coupon sometime, but I’m not plotting for that day.

 

 

So, I’m sure I’ll be playing with this stamp set some more this week – watercoloring is so relaxing.  And, I have my June set to look forward to in a matter of a week or so, so we’ll see how this membership works out.  The other one’s are going anywhere.

So, tomorrow’s Wednesday – we’ll see if it stays firmly embedded on my calendar, or if it just goes poof! where did it go??

Til then!

 

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