March of the Tools, part 2

Thursday, March 31, 2011

As part of Heather Bailey's March of the Tools, I posted about some of my favorite tools a couple of weeks ago.  On this last day of March, I'd like to share a few more tools that make my life more fun.

Panasonic GF1 Camera

I'm still learning to use the baby, but I'm seriously in love with it.  It's a micro four-thirds camera, which is fairly new format that eliminates a bulky mirror inside the camera body, allowing it to be much smaller and lighter, but still have interchangable lenses and fast processor, as any DSLR.  I love the 20mm/f1.7 lens and use it almost all the time.  I'm definitely new at shooting in manual, and I've got lots to learn, but this is definitely one of my favorite tools.

Photoshop Elements 9.0 and Actions

I recently invested in PSE, and I've even taken a couple of online classes from Erin at Texas Chicks, who is extremely helpful.  I'm loving using actions (preprogrammed tasks and commands to achieve a specific look, which can then be tweaked).  It feels like I've let somebody do all the hard work of figuring out PSE, and all I have to do is use their little shortcut and adjust.  It's perfect.  And tremendously fun.  My favorite actions are from Paint the Moon, Florabella, and Peta Mazey.  But there are lots of free ones out there.  I've gotten some great freebie actions from The CoffeeShop Blog.

Velocity V50 Iron

I just got the Velocity V50 for Christmas, so I can't report on long-term use.  But so far it's been great.  Heats up quickly, massive amounts of steam which are ready at the push of a button, no spitting or leaving water spots.  I will warn that although the manufacturer refers to this as a compact iron, it's not compact at all.  In fact, it's larger and heavier than the Rowentas I've had.  But I've adjusted to that easily.  Plus, it's orange!

Mettler Metrosene Thread

There are plenty good threads out there, and I'm sure each sewist and sewing machine has their own favorite.  My Pfaff and I prefer Mettler Metrosene.  It's not convenient for me to buy locally, but I load up when I can.  Sews smoothly, never breaks, very little fuzz.

Snap Source SnapSetter

If you're using snaps occasionally, this is perfect.  Works perfectly, huge selection of snaps (love the pearl snaps), durable, and small and easy to store.  A little loud, but it doesn't take many whacks to set a snap.

Pliers for Plastic Snaps

Sometimes I prefer plastic snaps.  They come in so many colors, and they hold up very well.  I love my snap pliers.  They can be purchased from KamSnaps as well as some other places online.

Ballpoint Pins

Did you know there are pins made just for knits?  I didn't either, until some nice blogger told me.  Now that I know, I use them all the time.

Bobbin Saver

I haven't tried a lot of bobbin storage systems, but the Bobbin Saver works well for me.  Keeps them all in one place, where I can see the thread color and contain dangling threads.

The Ditty Bops

Right now, my preferred sewing music is The Ditty Bops.  It's playful, fun pop-folk.  Just right to keep me going late at night, when coffee isn't an option and the seam ripper is waiting to sabotage every move I make.  The Ditty Bops keep me going and put a smile on my face all at once.  Runners up right now are The Puppini Sisters and The Weepies.

Stem Gem

This has nothing at all to do with sewing, but the Stem Gem is a new gadget I'm enjoying a lot lately.  Nobody needs one of these.  It's a silly luxury.  But it removes strawberry stems so neatly and leaves the perfect little cone-shaped cut, which my kids and I love.

That's all I've got this year.  I'll see you back next March for more.  Maybe by then I'll have found a seam ripper I actually like.  Or maybe not.

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