Friday, 14 September 2012

Unsung desk hero...

I've occasionally posted about tools that I would rather not live without, and mostly I note, they are the sort of 'fashionable' must haves - my love-hate relationship with the Cropadile for example. I have really overlooked the simplest of them. Norma asked on Wednesday what I used this for.. My genuinely useful, used and loved 'tidy tray'. Many of you know about it and recognise it. It was introduced to me as the 'powder catcher' for heat embossing. Place your pigment ink stamped image on/over/in the tray and pour on the embossing powder. Let the tray catch the excess and then replace the excess powder cleanly and simply in the pot by way of the handy funnel type spouty thing. I know, really, I'm so lyrical.
I love this tray. It's a handy corral for bits and pieces when I'm moving from table to table. A tool caddy of sorts for last minute crop packing. And of course when properly washed in hot soapy water, it isn't static and is a wonderful tool for catching beads or glitter too. Argh, glitter. Almost as difficult to talk about as Christmas!
When I first bought tidy trays (I don't know if this is a TM name or just something that is in my head as the generic name) they were incredibly, stupidly expensive - over £10 if my memory serves me well. They have of course, since become much much cheaper. Thankfully. But do you know, for all that, these are probably the one tool on my desk that I have never, not once had cause to complain about. I use it every time I sit at my desk, and in over ten years, it's fair to say they are really worth the investment. Genuinely, a tool I would have to immediately replace. Now that is, I think, an unsung desk hero!

29 comments:

Helen said...

I bought one too, but I never use it unless I am sticking micro beads on something (which I haven't done for yonks) - at the moment it is holding a load of sample tags I've collected over the years from various shows... I didn't like it for embossing powder catching as I found the powder clung and it is easier to pour back from a sheet of paper - so it is good to know they really are useful! Perhaps I'll give it another go....

Redanne said...

Hi Julia, I am hanging my head in shame, mine is pink (without a chip) but it sits in a drawer in the bottom of my cabinet and never sees the light of day - until Christmas glittering. I must get mine out and use it like you do... Crafty hugs, Anne x

Carmen said...

Yep, mine is a holder of all things tiny too. I think I paid about £6 for mine and thought THAT was expensive. Imagine my disgust when Devvie picked one up for 20p at a bootfair recently. And HERS is purple! I've got naff pink! Pffft!

Elizabeth said...

I can only agree with you - so plain, so unglamorous and so useful - I have two - the colour purple! And I've noticed too that our crafty stuff starts of really pricey and over time, presumably as demand rises, the cost comes down. Now, when some bright and shiny new tool comes along I hang fire, sit on my hands, leave my debit card safe and snug in the deep recesses of my purse, and wait for the price to come down to a price my pocket money can stretch to ... as it almost inevitably will :) Elizabeth xx

Bridget Larsen Australia said...

I love mine so much I have more than 1, I love the Stampin Up one that is twice the size and I use it to hold and move stuff around hahahaha. I hate it for embossing powder-how ironic- what would the creators think. I have this wonderful template to make an embossing powder tray from cardstock and its awesome, embossing powder doesnt stick to it like it does on the tray.

505whimsygirl said...

Nope, don't have one of those trays but I do have a cropadile and I have NEVER used it..... it just looks too dang complicated!

Hugs,
Kay

Neesie said...

I feel totally deprived now Julia...because I haven't got one. Nothing else for it I'll just have to add one to my ever lengthening wish list!
They do sound trusty friends indeed!
Have a great weekend whatever you have planned ;D

EELS said...

Yep I have one also, mine is lilac and is small, only measure 6x8" and was a freebie with a magazine months ago. It stays in one of my drawers until needed but I do use it from time to time.....quite a useful tool I agree.
Cheers, Elaine

Sunshine Girl said...

I have never actually bought one of these - I use a folded up piece of paper whenever I use glitter or powders - maybe one day I will make the investment eh!

voodoo vixen said...

An unsung hero indeed! I have a couple of them and they always sit in the cubby at the side of my desk ready to spring into use for powders or beads... you can get them for a dollar in the dollar stores!! I have a normal sized one and a dinky little one..

Queenie Jeannie said...

Definitely a must have!! Back when Stampin Up carried them, you got two trays, one small & one large, with a brush and I use them ALL THE TIME as well.

Kirsty.a said...

I rarely use glitter or embossing powder except at C*******s, and I found my tidy tray last week when I had to clear my desk to relay the flooring. I tend to just fold a piece ofg newspaper to pour the glitter back inthe pot

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I never bought one because:
1) Like you, I remember them being very costly, way beyond the reach of my craft budget
2) I don't emboss much, but when I do, I use an old file folder for the same purpose

I DO own a crop-a-dile and use it any time I punch a hole. It helps my hands. It really IS my go-to tool for hole punching.

However, I saw a hole punch at Michaels yesterday (went shopping with Kathy) that has four or five hole punches and no eyelet setter. It reminded me of a leather punch, but for paper. It was HALF the cost and I wish I had bought it. Looks handier and easier than the crop-a-dile, but without the ability to mark and maintain the length. Since I seldom use eyelets in my art, I think it would have been useful.

It just goes to show, we use what works best for our art making needs. I, of course, recognized these do-hickeys (well the pink one at least) when I saw it on your desk on Wednesday. It's a real eye catcher!

Bernice said...

Oh I had forgatten about my tidy tray - I must have a look for it and start to make use of it again,
Bernice

Deb said...

good to have your review, I might just have to get one, never thought I needed one (usually use a bit of paper with varying success)!
have a great weekend, Debxx

akilli melek said...

hmm, that reminds me....might bring it back from Turkey in October. yup, we are finally taking the big step and going to meet babaanne (gran). Mind you, not sure how much time I'll have for glitter when we get back either lol.
caroline

Anonymous said...

I don't have a tidy tray. Now I'm thinking I need a tidy tray. Prehaps I don't need the hole: embossing, not being a frequent task.
Thanks
Judy

Eliza said...

Oh Julia,

I am with you on this one I have this catcher too but I also have it in the mini size and wouldn't live with out them. The mini is about ATC size and so cute. A hero on the desk for sure.

Eliza

BJ said...

I totally agree. I have a see-through purple one and love it as much as you love yours. Useful for bits and bobs sorting aswell as the embossing powders. Must try washing mine in soapy water as you suggest, never thought of that. Thanks BJ

misteejay said...

Ummm, I have a couple of these somewhere - one was quite expensive and one was a mag freebie. I did buy one for my Mum a way back and she uses hers for catching small beads when she is making jewellery.

Toni xx

Pam said...

I have a different version of this tray for embossing-but I must admit I still use a piece of paper for catching the excess powder!

kyla said...

I have the pink one too, great for powders, gilding etc

Queen Lightwell said...

I always figured the static would make the extra powder cling to them too much to make them useful but your idea to wash them in hot water might be just the trick to fix that little problem, huh? Maybe someone can let us know how that works. Someone. Hmm. But who? Hint, hint. :)
Because right now I just use a paper plate and it could really use some classing up! lol

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Love this post Julia and maybe just maybe I need to go and buy one but for some obscure reason they are still ridiculously priced over here, so have not done so, as yet!! ah well thanks for another great post and loved the Monday one above too ah procrastination.. mm definitely me Shaz in oz.x

Helen said...

Interesting. I've got a pink one, I thought it would be really useful, but as someone else has said, embossing powder does stick, so I still often use a little triangle I made from an envelope. One per colour of embossing powder. If I do use it, sometimes I tip from a corner, instead of faffing with the plug. But mine cost £1 in a sale, so it's doesn't feel so bad not using it!

Paula Gale said...

he he - I've got one of those (I think £3.99) and don't know where the devil it is... I use a big lock and lock for my glitter and just stand the item in requiring the glitter - all falls back in - no re-tipping into another pot... famously 'invented' by Nancy Watt on C&C as a 'glitter station' - yes, and mine has ribbons threaded on the handle too!!! for my embossing powders, I find that old (clean) plastic take-away trays from the Chinese work really well - but I agree, there are many 'unsung heroes' on our desks that aren't necessarily the expensive tools or the 'next big thing'... arggh! The Cropodile. I can hardly get my hands around mine - and boy, do I know about it when I've used it. Also, I caught my little finger in mine last week - round bruise the size of the bloomin' larger of the 2 punch bits (Ouch)!!!

Big hugs Julia

Paula x x x

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