One of my favorite new "toys" is the lovely new Making Memories Grommet Tool.
Items of note -
1 - You're going to need a hammer.
2 - You're going to need a good solid surface.
3 - The MM hammer is cute, but locate a large "real" hammer
4 - This is not a silent tool!
5 - I always feel the need to make curtains when I pull out the kit.
All that said, I love the tool and the effect I get when I use it. I give it four out of five stars. Not necessarily a must have, but definitely high on the list of darned cool.
After my Cricut instructions episode, I made sure to take the brief moments it required to review the very limited instructions on this piece of hardware. Limited might actually be over stating it. There were just a couple of bullet points on the package, pretty much what I've come to expect from Making Memories in the way of instructions.
At $20, I feel like I reasonably got my monies worth. It comes in the standard MM tin, of which, I now have a small hoard. They cute, but what I'd really like from them is a nice toolbox. This handy dandy little tin includes:
o 2 anywhere hole punches (1" and 1½")
o 2 setting handles (1 large and 1 small)
o double-sided setting base
o self-healing mat
o storage tin and 12 grommets (6 large and 6 small)
o Tool designed for small and large grommet setting
What this kit does not include is a hammer. I haven't used my MM hammer since I got my MM Instant Setter a couple of years ago. After a mighty quest, hunting for the mystical MM Hammer of Doom, I finally located my old MM tool kit under a suspicious pile of patterned paper that I distinctly do not remember buying. It did provide a lovely 15 minute distraction as I thumbed through all the paper, though.
Once I settled back down to go at it the setter, I was back in business. I was back in business for less than five minutes. While the little MM Hammer is cute and takes up relatively little space in my scrap hoard, it is largely ineffective with the Grommet hole punches. It works moderately okay with the smaller of the two hole punches, but I soon went hunting up the large household hammer to have a go at the larger of the hole punches. I had some technical difficulties with the large hole punch and after a mail to MM, it was suggested that a VERY solid surface (they recommend concrete) is the best for using the hole cutters. Apparently, everyone needs a good concrete slab in their cropping space. As I'm still having some difficulties getting that punch to cut, even after trying it on my back patio, my punch is probably just dull. I contacted MM again and they're going to replace it. I ended up finishing my holes with an xacto knife.
Once I actually got to setting the grommets, things went much smoother. The setting plate is two sided. I didn't notice this initally, but once I figured it out, setting the large grommets went MUCH better. I discovered that I got the best results when I gave the setting tool a couple of solid whacks with the MM hammer, they take a much lighter touch than the hole punches, then finishing the set with a few light taps on the various prongs.
The tool actually creates a very nice peek-a-boo window effect nicely framed by the grommets. I know I will use this to frame out small images on a page. After I got the tool figured out, the actual cutting and setting of grommets went very quickly. It did take me back to the early days of eyelets, when we happily whacked away at them without any regard to sleeping babies. I had to wait until Linsey was up and about and playing before I could break out the tool.
The biggest down side to this tool I have discovered so far is storage. I did not need yet another MM tin sitting on my shelf. Not to mention that this tin is exactly the same size as the Instant Setter tin, although, when fully loaded it does weigh a bit more. I've still manage to grab the wrong tin several times. I finally broke out the labeler and fixed the problem. The other storage issue is the grommets. The package came with a small selection and I bought several other packages. These are in very plain packaging that does not lend itself well to storage. I ended up opening all the grommets and dumming them in a baby food jar for lack of better place to put them.
Currently the color and style selection on the grommets is fairly limited. We had the same thing with eyelets in the beginning, so it's just a matter of the tool catching on before we see a wider variety of styles. Personally, I want snowflakes. Big honkin' grommet snowflakes. On the up side, the grommets do have a nice clean finish that takes paint and ink very well. They can also be sanded to give a more rustic look.
I think the biggest problem this lovely little tool will have is pricing. At $20, the actual took kit was not a bad deal. I've seen large anywhere punches in tool stores and they aren't cheap. They also don't look near as nice or user friendly as the ones in this kit. The grommets, though, are where people will be inclined to pass, or at least find a good coupon. They're packed 12 to a pack with 6 large and 6 small on the circles or 6 each of 2 different color flowers for $4. That can add up pretty quickly.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with my purchase. I'm still looking for an acceptable storage solution for those grommets, but acceptable storage is an ongoing mission of mine.
(Note - Originally posted on Create My Keepsake on 12/20/2006)