Sizzix Big Kick:
This is exactly the same thing as the Big Shot machine. The only difference is the color. I LOVE this machine. I got mine at Joann's using a coupon, so I paid about $60 for it. Joann's also has a pretty reasonable selection of dies to use in it, and the dies (as well as the machines) go on sale for 40% off about every other week. Hobby Lobby and Michael's also carry the dies and machines and also offer frequent sales. The Sizzix plastic backed dies will cut through tons of material, including fabric, felt, leather, paper, cardstock, chipboard, and even aluminum. And the Big Kick is super compatible with almost any brand of die out there. In fact, I've yet to find one that won't work, although the thin, metal only dies do not cut through fabric or eco-felt very well.
I've made tons of hair clips using the shapes cut with this machine, as well as even some jewelry. The leather rose pin I sent to my Package Pal is one example. I would love, love, LOVE to have the Big Shot Pro one of these days, but at over $300, it's not in my budget.
My glue gun:
This is the glue gun I use on a regular basis. I've got several of the little low temp $3 models, but this is my workhorse. I got it at Walmart for about $11, Even though it will work cordlessly for 5 minutes, I generally keep the 6 foot cord plugged in, and I almost always use it on the high temp setting. I have found that working with the high temp setting will allow you to get a very strong bond on most materials, although of course, as with all glue guns, you should be very careful not to burn yourself or anyone else. Keep out of reach of your kids if it's hot!
My first sewing machine was a Brother LS-30.
My mom got it for me for Christmas one year, and it sat in the box for almost 2 years before I had the nerve to try it. It is a very basic machine, but it worked great and never gave me any problems. I don't know where she bought it, but you can get them all day long for well under $100.
A couple of years ago, right before Sawyer was born, I upgraded to an embroidery machine, the Brother SE400.
This is an excellent sewing machine. It might even be an excellent embroidery machine, but I don't know. To try to make a long, infuriating story bite size, when I bought this, Sawyer was about to be born, then was in the NICU, then was a very tiny baby brought home with us. The SE400 sat in its box in the closet for many months. When I finally had time to open it, I had an unpleasant surprise. Someone had previously purchased this machine, used it for a while, then boxed it back up with only part of the pieces, and taken it back to Walmart. I mean major things, like the foot pedal, and the front of the accessory box that goes on the front when the embroidery arm isn't there. Plus it was working funny.
I took it to our local Sew N Vac, and they fooled around with it a bit, got it to working, and sold me a couple of parts, like a foot pedal and a bobbin case. Walmart refused to help at all (even though they had sold me a machine with missing pieces) because it was over 90 days since my purchase date, and Brother (who was not actually at fault here) could only offer to waive the shipping on the parts that were missing.
Sew N Vac got the embroidery portion up and running, but after a few days I was having no luck with it. So for me, it's just a sewing machine. I rarely have any problems out of it in that function (and if I do, it's user error). Someday I may try to get the embroidery part of it serviced again, but for now it's not worth the cost to me. If I were to buy another machine, it would probably be the XR9500PRW Project Runway™ Limited Edition Computerized Sewing Machine. It has all the things I love about my SE400, like the drop in bobbin, and the start and stop button, and plus many more built in stitches.
You cannot buy the SD anymore, but you can buy a Silhouette Cameo or a Silhouette Portrait. I want a Cameo with my whole heart, but I just can't afford it right now.
But I use my SD all the time. I use it to cut the stencils for my pillow covers, to make cards, and to cut vinyl. It's definitely a must have for me.
I've not used this for woodburning (although it's on my list), but it's the perfect tool for working with ribbon. I use it to cut and seal my ribbon at the same time when making hair bows, and it works great for things like cutting a curve (just use a large coin or other round metal object as your edge). I've also used it with Hotstamps to brand leather. This is definitely an after the-kids-are-in-bed sort of tool though. It gets crazy hot, and you don't want to risk burns on curious hands!
Those are some of my must have crafting tools. I may do a second round of this featuring my favorite hand tools for crafting. Happy Saturday!