Before the Gemini

Before my purchase of the Gemini, like many Paper crafters, I have had my fair share of die cutting and embossing machines. I got my first one (the original Big Shot) probably ten to fifteen years ago. I loved what I could do with it.

Let’s face it even before the Fibro came along I wasn’t a big fan of using scissors for long periods of time. This was maybe because of being left-handed. I could purchase either left-handed general scissors or craft scissors, but not left-handed craft scissors. Since my early twenties I have had the beginning of arthritis in my hands. This can’t have helped.

As much as I loved the Big Shot I didn’t really have a large collection of dies as they were so expensive when they first launched, to get an alphabet set you were talking about over a hundred pounds…  Embossing Folders were more affordable but still a somewhat considered purchase (or maybe I had, or only allowed myself, a smaller budget back then…)

Using a variety of machines

My Big Shot lasted me a few years until I got to where I wanted to use larger Embossing Folders and Dies and I didn’t need to use the chunky dies so I moved over to a Spellbinder’s Grand Calibur, the claret coloured one to be exact. This machine got quite a lot of use until the invention of electronic machines and the Ebosser. My Ebosser kept me going until I found the more intricate dies were not cutting cleanly (I was unaware of the metal shim to help with this) so I got another Grand Calibur (this time a Teal coloured one) and happily used the Ebosser for the embossing folders and basic shape dies and the Grand Calibur for the intricate dies.

How Fibro changed my crafting ability

When Fibro arrived in my life, the thick platform with the Ebosser was too heavy to keep lifting. I could at a pinch run it though once myself and then I would need Michael to do it for me which wasn’t ideal if I needed a few cuts and he was busy (or even worse out!) and the Grand Calibur was no easier because of having to crank the handle round.

Living Creatively with Fibro | An image of the Gemini Machine box

The Gemini which changed everything

Luckily as this problem was coming to a head Crafter’s Companion released the Gemini which totally solved the problem. The boards are thin enough for me to lift and the machine is electronic so no hand winding necessary. If anyone has Fibro, Arthritis or anything similar I can genuinely recommend the Gemini as a way of including embossing and die cutting in your craft work.

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The Lazy Susan benefits

If you have dexterity issues the one additional piece of equipment, I can totally recommend is a Lazy Susan, I got mine from Amazon for less than £10.  Before I had the Lazy Susan, I used to feed the plates into the front and then have to stand up and lean over the Gemini to pull the plates out.  Now I put the plates through the front and swivel the machine around to grab them out. This makes things simple and comfortable.

Living Creatively with Fibro | An image of the Spellbinder's Sapphire portable machine with the accessories that came with it.
I also have a Spellbinder’s Sapphire which is manageable as it is so much smaller so there is not as much hand-cranking needed. If you are on a limited budget and only use small dies, this may also provide a solution. I am now thrilled with these two machines (alongside my ScanNCut) and they allow me to keep up with the ever-increasing world of dies.

Posting Schedule

I post new content every other week on Thursdays, blog posts may be completely re-written and published other times. 

You know that I have Fibromyalgia, therefore, it is possible there may be gaps if I have a bad flare-up.

On top of producing blog posts and the odd YouTube video, I am also active on social media. I would love to get to know you better so please stop by one of my platforms and say hi!

It really saddens me when I read that people are giving up their crafting because of arthritis or dexterity problems. I could not be more grateful that I could get the Gemini and continue to enjoy my crafting.

Until next time.

Crafty hugs,

Living Creatively with Fibro | Susan's Signature


In 2018 I got the Gemini Foil Press for Christmas (the best value is to get it from Craftstash in a bundle with the large top plate) This has allowed me to take my creativity to a new level and I will write a separate post about it.

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