Man, this thing made embossing SO MUCH EASIER. It was great on my embossing experiments last week and this morning, and I started on the first step of assembling our invitations this morning. I get through 1 stamping (of 3) on about 20 invitations and I notice that the plastic of the outer casing was warped, and some of it was touching the metal of the heating element. Not good. So I boxed it back up, went back to Michaels, and the sales lady was very surprised: she's owned one of the same models for a while now and never had a problem! So I chalk it up to bad luck, exchange the item, and come back home to get back to work.
I start up the replacement and the motor doesn't sound the same as the previous one. Then there is white smoke. Then it won't turn back on. I didn't even get ONE invitation done. Clearly this model and brand (Marvy Embossing Heat Tool 2500), geared towards crafters, is a complete POS. I'll be returning it to Michaels for a cash refund (which they offered when I was there earlier today) tomorrow. So I decided to do some quick internet research on preferred brands, and a couple of places mentioned Milwaukee, as in the power tool brand.
Now being in a "I need to be making progress on this NOW" sort of mood I decided to check out the selection at my local Hardware store. 10 minutes and $33 later I return home with a Performance Tool Dual Temp Heat Gun. While it's not a top of the line product, it's much sturdier than the craft grade one, and I don't NEED something hardcore. I'm using it on it's lower setting at 570°F (the higher setting of 980°F is overkill for a craft project) and it's working great. The motor sounds steady, it's sturdier in my hand, and definitely worth the extra $8.
I was able to complete step 1 of actually starting to assemble these invitations and I'm quite happy :) On the back of the invitations, where card company logos often are, I used a stamp of Snoopy & Linus playing cards. One of our themes is board and card games, and my father LOVED the peanuts characters, and when I stumbled across this stamp while looking for other things it reminded me of Dad. Incorporating it into our invitations wasn't even a question, and the "logo spot" seemed like a cute spot where we didn't already have something else planned. I'm pleased with how step 1 turned out :)