Apr 162013
 

There’s an old saying about it not being wise to put all of your eggs in one basket. Recently the value of that saying was brought home to me when I discovered that my local scrapbooking stores seem to be carrying We R Memory Keepers Cinch supplies instead of Zutter Bind-it-All supplies.  The Owire coils used by both machines for book binding, in fact, are exactly the same. I have both binding machines, and like both for different reasons. However, stores have their own rationale for choosing different brands. Sometimes one product is easier to use than another, and other times one seller provides a better price and delivery options than the other one. When you buy locally, your options are limited to the brands your stores carry. Many of us shop online, in addition to locally, to increase our buying options.

I became a little nervous, however, when I started receiving e-mail messages from the Zutter folks, advertising a liquidation sale for many of their tools and supplies. “Uh-oh, I thought, are they going out of business? We all love a good sale, but when you own many products from the same company and those products use supplies from the same manufacturer, the word “liquidation” strikes fear into your heart.  Among the Zutter products I own is my Bind-it-All for binding books, the Zutter Kutter for slicing through cardboard and chipboard, Round-it-Alls that punch through thick chipboard better than any other punching tool I have in my collection, a Dream Kuts paper cutter, and the list goes on.

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My nervousness about the word “liquidation,” however, did not prevent me from wanting to take advantage of lowered prices. Apparently it didn’t stop others from placing orders, either. I ordered some chipboard from Zutter, but the order was canceled a few days later because the item was sold out. Undaunted, I placed a second order for a different size of chipboard, 4×4-inch chipboard covers, the size I use most often for the mini books I sell in Mister PenQuin. This time I got lucky!

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But most recently, I was disappointed when I placed a third order—my first wholesale order with Zutter, as a matter of fact—and discovered that three of five types of items in my order had been discontinued. My order sat for 11 days in the company’s computer until I finally called the customer service department to inquire about its status. That’s when I learned about life in limbo. Because this was my first wholesale order with Zutter, there was a minimum order requirement of $250, which I no longer met unless I substituted other merchandise. One of the items I had ordered, antique brass Owire, was discontinued in bulk boxes of 50 coils, but was available at a higher price in packages of six apiece.

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I was urged to take this option, which would increase my price by more than 50 percent. However, the pricing was still wholesale and less than the retail price, so I agreed to make the substitution. A few other items needed additional research before my order could be resolved. I was promised a return call last Friday, but never got a call because the customer service representative claimed the office “closed early” that day. However, once more I did not learn about this until I had both e-mailed a message and placed a phone call. I noticed that on the Web site, the items I had been informed were discontinued were still being advertised as being available. Quite frankly, this discrepancy made me uneasy. Uneasiness turned to irritation, however, when the customer service representative informed me she felt the company was going out of its way to research options for me when my order was not very large. Given that my order had sat for two weeks, unshipped, and I was being redirected to higher-priced options, I was not really sure what had been done for me. But I got the unspoken message pretty quickly—basically, that I was a bother—and canceled my order altogether. Possibly the customer service representative was having a bad day, a bad week, or maybe even a bad month with all of the liquidation sales going on, but obviously I’m too small a fish to merit much attention.

I decided, ultimately, that this is a good time for me to seek alternative resources for Owire. I really do like my Zutter tools, but it’s probably not a good idea to drop all of my eggs . . . er, dollars . . . in one basket, especially if that basket, or source, doesn’t have enough product, is liquidating some of its supplies, or is having a bad day in the customer service department. Thanks to the Internet, there are other fish in the sea.

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In my search for alternate resources, I learned that Owire is also known as 2:1 pitch twin wire loop. That 2:1 ratio represents the fact there are two coils for every inch. If you conduct an Internet search for this kind of wire, use search terms such as “2:1 twin wire loop,” “2:1 owire,” “double o-wire,” “duowire,” and “book binding wire.” You’ll find at least one company out there that offers free shipping on orders over $75. You’ll also discover that there is a vast array of wires in all colors of the rainbow—black, white, red, navy blue, baby blue, pink, silver, gold, bronze, purple—and that you don’t have to order in wholesale quantities to get very good prices.

I found a new supplier, and my order is on its way.

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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Oct 262012
 

One of my most frequently used paper crafting tools is the Zutter Bind-it-All. This tool allows me to punch holes in paper or chipboard, and to compress owire so that I can spiral bind the books I craft. It is so flexible, in fact, that I have used it to punch through layers of fused felt and stabilizer. In the sewing mini notebook shown below, I fused three layers of felt plus stabilizer for my cover, punched it, and then bound the book with owire.

One of the drawbacks to the Bind-it-All is that up until recently, it could only compress 6 owire spirals at one time. If you needed to compress a longer length of owire, you had to slide your project sideways and compress the owire in sections. This was not difficult to do, but it did take a little bit of extra effort. At this year’s summer CHA (Craft Hobby Association) event, Zutter Products introduced the Binding Buddy, an upgrade to either the original blue Bind-it-All or the pink Bind-it-All V2.0. The Binding Buddy allows you to close up to 12 rings at one time for 3/8 inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch wide owire. I just got my Binding Buddy in the mail today, two rectangles of metal that you clip onto your Bind-it-All.

I was pleased to discover that installing and using it is intuitive; I did not have to refer to the illustrations on the back of the package to figure things out.

I ordered the Binding Buddy back in August, along with a new binding accessory called an Add-it-All. The company had a few shipping issues, which resulted in a longer-than-normal wait for these products. When they arrived, however, Zutter Innovative Products included an extra Add-it-All package as their way of saying “Thanks for your patience.”

The Add-it-All allows you to insert pages, photos, booklets, envelopes, mini bags and more to your already bound book. You attach the Add-it-All to your extra “page,” and simply insert the page wherever you wish in your book. The Add-it-All itself is a length of pre-punched, flexible acrylic to which a paper-backed adhesive strip has been added. You get 3 strips per package and can cut them to whatever length you need.

Zutter Products provides a short video about how to use both the Binding Buddy and the Add-it-All, which you can view below.

You may be able to find Zutter products at your local scrapbooking store or at Hobby Lobby, but if not, you can visit Zutter Innovative Products online, and purchase whatever you need. The cost for the Binding Buddy is $12.99, and a package of three Add-it-Alls costs $3.99, plus shipping.

For ideas about how to use the Bind-it-All and other Zutter products, visit their blog at http://binditall.blogspot.com/.

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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