Paper Crafting With RA
due to ongoing physio rehab for my new knee, i fell behind on my product reviews but i’m back at it.
because of severe RA (rheumatoid arthritis), i have limited grip strength and grasping motion, which means not all paper crafting tools are universally designed and useable by me.
for years i used two tonic guillotine cutters: the 6 by 12 inch which i’m still happy with for large paper cutting tasks, especially heavy watercolour paper, and the 6 inch tonic guillotine cutter. however, following wrist and finger fusions and deformities, it became difficult to apply pressure on the plastic finger guards meant to steady the paper. i was also frustrated with the small tab used to raise the arm.
when the tim holtz 8 inch comfort guillotine/trimmer debuted in 2016, i wondered if it might be a good replacement for my small cutter and it is – i love it!
i can place my fingers anywhere on the plastic guard, i can easily use the arm and i really like the raised edge on the bottom so i can cut better when i’m seated. i also love the easier to read contrasting black measurement markings in inches and centimetres and it even seems lighter than my old 6 inch cutter.
the only negative, which has nothing to do with usability, is that when i use the 140 lb. cold pressed watercolour paper, the plastic edges inside the arm leave indents when they hit the blade.
why not other cutters?
other cutters require replacement blades and pinching and sliding motions that are painful and subject my joints to further wear and tear so i avoid those that have not been universally designed.
for my second monthly product review, i’d like to mention a machine many of us paper crafters use every time we create.
i first started die cutting with a portable machine but die cutting became painful with my hands so i stopped embossing and using dies. after some research and considering online reviews, i bought a sizzix big shot that was so much more comfortable to use; it enabled me to use dies and embossing folders more frequently.
the handle alone made a big difference; the larger size with rounded edges are easy to grip and crank. i also like the longer platform to place the sandwiches on and i actually like the weight of the machine – it stays put.
portability doesn’t concern me because i wouldn’t be able to carry any machine around.
why not other machines?
suction is lost, allowing for movement of the machine, handles are small, have squared off edges that are difficult to grasp, and some have no platforms so the weight of the ‘sandwich’ must be borne by my hands and i would have to manipulate it entering and exiting the machine. i considered an electric machine, but a push button requires constant pressure that may cause further damage to already damaged joints.
one manufacturer demonstrated the ease of its machine online, so i telephoned to explain the risk of further joint damage but the rep was dismissive and insisted that if a young child could operate it, i should be able to.
making assumptions about one’s abilities is a stereotypical attitudinal barrier; what i need might be different for someone else, even another paper crafter with RA.
dismissing constructive and helpful feedback that would improve usability and universal access is just poor customer service.
thanks for popping by.
as mentioned in a previous post, i’ll be reviewing products that help rather than frustrate me as a paper crafter with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
i thought i’d start my first monthly product review with a brand new product – the we r memory keepers precision press.
up until now, if i needed one, i used an L-shaped stamp positioner and i wasn’t convinced i needed any more tools, especially ones that might be useful to others but not useable by me.
luckily, my favourite local stamp store brought in the precision press at the end of october and although i’ve only used it a couple of times, i’m happy with it.
finally, an easy to tear open package that doesn’t require cutting all around the edges!!
i like many features of this tool: the thumb indent, grid markings, size and weight, rounded corners and the fact that both clear and cling stamps can be used on the same surface without having to add or take away a shim. additionally, the colours are pleasing to the eye, and provide a good amount of contrast between them.
why not others?
other tools have colours that would strain my eyes, lack enough contrast and require fine motor skills to pick up, place and remove magnets or change stamping surfaces. another tool would require grip strength to hold, align and press throughout the stamping process. i want a tool to work for me, not the other way around.
completely by coincidence, we r memory keepers are having a precision press giveaway on their blog.
thanks for popping by.