My Top 10 Tools and Products for 2018

Cathy ZielskeCards, Products & Classes16 Comments

Well folks, it’s been a full calendar year wherein I have been all in, as they say, on the card-making gig. It has continued to delight and surprise me and it has truly given me a new lease on my creative life in terms of both my business and my personal fun factor.

Long story short and pardon my French, but I love this shit.

That said, I really do feel like I have all the tools I need for pretty much every project now, and that includes scrapbooking and other memory/photo projects. But I feel like I have honed in on what my go to’s really are and therefore, I present my Top Ten Card Making Tools/Products of 2018, some of which made my 2017 list, as well!

See the bottom of this post for a complete list of the supplies with links!

Number One—Gina K. Designs Cardstock, Ink and Envelopes

Okay, this is one big category but after one solid year of making both cards and scrapbook pages, I am completely hooked on Gina K’s products. Her inks are wonderful and match her card stock and envelopes perfectly. You can start simple and just get her ink cubes, because they are perfect for SO many projects. I have all of them and have started adding to my full sized Gina K pad collection. If you are just starting out, you cannot go wrong with Gina K’s stuff. I have also really loved using her cardstock for my scrapbook pages, too. I used to be a Bazzill girl, but now, Gina has my heart. And my dollars. 

Number Two—The Tonic Tim Holtz Guillotine Paper Trimmer

File this tool under Who Freaking Knew? A little backstory… I have never used paper trimmers in my paper crafting. I have been an X-acto and metal ruler girl since the beginning of time, but what started out as dabbling in Tim’s smaller 8.5 x 11 guillotine has graduated to the full size one, and it has been my absolute go to paper trimmer. It cuts so straight every single time and can handle up to 12 x 12 paper sizes. I really cannot recommend this paper trimmer enough. It is truly fantastic! If you had to pick between the two, I’d get this one. It can handle 12 x 12 paper, and everything on down. I seriously love this product. Note: to ensure perfect cuts, you have to hold down BOTH of the trim guards. It took me a few cuts to realize this. Once I did? I cut everything like buttah.

Number Three—The MISTI stamp positioning tool

It literally is what made me realize I could stamp with success. I have both the Mini and the Original and I use them both ALL the time. They have been the sturdiest tools and I have given them a workout in 2018. I truly think if you’re in the market, they are worth every penny.

Number Four—Brutus Monroe Embossing Powders

After I saw Kristina Werner using the Alabaster White powder from Brutus Monroe, I knew I had to order some and check it out. I have not looked back. It is by far my most used powder, and I also have the Sterling and the Gilded colors. They are just so good! They melt so smoothly and the coverage is great. 

Number Five—Embossing Magic Bag

Part of the reason I never liked stamping and embossing is because it always looked really messy. All this errant powder always sticking to my cardstock… I hated it and never knew that static on paper was a thing. This bag which contains a fine powder ensures that when you stamp down your sticky embossing ink, the powder will stick only to where the impression appears. It really does make a difference and I would imagine this thing will last me forever. I’m still on the very first one I bought back in early 2017. Great tool for any stamper. 2017 list.

Number Six—The Tiny Words Stamps from Simon Says Stamp

I know. You’d think I would choose one of my own stamp sets for this illustrious honor but I am here to tell you my favorite set from 2018 is this one. Literally the most all purpose set of tiny sentiments in all of the land. They are tiny, but not too tiny. And there are literally so many different sentiments to choose from! It features a minimal sans serif typeface and I absolutely adore this set. A bonus set? Tiny Words Christmas, which I used a bunch over the holidays, too!

Number Seven—Mijello Watercolors

Okay, so this is my first big splurge in the world of watercolor, and these colors are seriously so vibrant. I may not really know exactly what I’m doing just yet, but I am having fun trying. And they’ll probably last me for years at the rate I’m painting! I did a blog post about these paints and created some free downloadable swatch templates that you can find here.

Number Eight—Bee Watercolor Paper

This was recommended to me by my friend and artist Lisa Hetrick and I have to say, I really love this paper. It’s pretty affordable, too! And that is always a good thing. And it’s as bright white and many of the higher priced watercolor papers, so that’s pretty good, too. If you’re looking for the brightest white I know of, then check out Tim Holtz’s Watercolor Cardstocks. It’s super white. But for most of what I am watercoloring right now, I’m using the Bee Paper.

Number Nine—Mini Ink Cube Organizers from Organize More

If you collect ink cubes (and I do, and I also think it’s a great way to test the waters of stamping at a lower cost!), then the Mini Ink Tray from organize more is a fantastic way to store them! The trays are sleek and they can stack for more storage. They fit perfectly into the Alex unit from Ikea, which leads me to my next item…

Number Ten—A 6-drawer Alex unit from IKEA

This little roller drawer has changed my storage in my craft room. For those of you who don’t know, my craft room is actually a dining room, and I do the best I can with the space I have. I had to convince my hubby to let me take over the last remaining corner of the room and this thing has been fantastic! I wish I had a magically lit photo to share with you, that shows how magical it all looks, but the reality is this:

And  honestly? I wish I had room for 4 more. And yes, you can see the other Organize More storage units as well, the 60 Ink Unit and the Standard Marker unit. I just love them because they have form and function!

And that is my updated list for 2018. As you can see, some things change, some things stay the same! It took me awhile to really get all the tools I needed and now it’s pretty cool to have enough card making experience to know what I like and what I don’t like.

I’ve come a long ways since this first official card share. And every step has been a creative infusion. Making stuff is a good thing.

Happy new year! Thanks for stopping by my blog in 2018 and I’ll see ya next year!


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Cathy ZielskeMy Top 10 Tools and Products for 2018

16 Comments on “My Top 10 Tools and Products for 2018”

  1. #1
    Teresa Doyle

    These are all great products Cathy (and I LOVE my 12 x 12 guillotine cutter too!).
    Have a wonderful and happy New Year!

  2. #2
    Sabrina Parker Kapp

    Oh, how I look forward to this post each year! And 2018 did not disappoint, with insights and tips that I’ve tucked away for future shopping/crafting/organizing reference. Thank you for sharing YOU with us, and Happy New Year!

  3. #3

    Hi Cathy, Can you tell me what you store in your IKEA cart? Thanks. Loved the top 10. I’ve started making my list!

    1. #3.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yes! And a side note: i’m hopefully going to do a craft/dining room video in the new year! Just to show people who may not have that spare room to convert how I have made my dining room a crafty space for 15 years now!

      Top drawer: embossing powders and acrylic bocks
      Next: mini ink cubes. I have three trays and keep all my Gina K and my Hero arts and my Distress minis there.
      Next: sequins and embellishments.
      Next: all painting supplies
      Next: ribbons, washi, other embellishments
      Last drawer: felts and foils.

      It’s evolving but that is the basic layout!

  4. #4
    Connie Harris

    Love this post! Thank you so much for doing it! I was hoping you would do it again this year, as it go back to it many times throughout the year.
    Happy New Year Cathy!

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Oh that is great to hear! I try to keep this to just the core things that I really do believe in whole heartedly! And this list is just that!

  5. #6
    Debbie P

    Thank you love your top ten. Wish it didn,t cost so much to order from stamp,n storage . But I, m from Canada. Happy New Year to you and your family. Wishing you the best for 2019.

  6. #7

    Love my mini ink trays and my Alex drawers. The only thing I am missing off this list is the Bee paper. Will have to try it out. Thank you for your honesty and down to earth advice. The smiles and laughter is greatly appreciated along with your awesome cardmaking. I could keep going but I think you get the picture, you are the bomb!!!!

  7. #8
    Trudie Vick

    Just wish my Craft Room was that neat. 😀 Thanks for sharing your list. Happy New Year. Love your stamps and your style.

  8. #9

    good materials and tools that suit are always a pleasure.

    I now have the older version of that trimmer and it is indeed excellent.

    You never know, I may even find the space and energy for some proper papercrafting this year.

    all the best to you and yours Cathy!

  9. #10

    Hi Cathy- You work is so inspirational! I have been a fan since the first clean & simple magazine. Anyway, you have a nifty pointer tool and it looks like a tool that helps you grab small embellishments…can you point me in the right direction? I am tired of butchering my delicate die cuts. LOL! Thank you.

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