Cannonball Collective: Torn & Frayed – Revival

For TGIF, I’ve got something extra special for the creative folks, the hipsters, and the lovers of more unusual boxes. The folks at Cannonball Collective were awesome enough to send me their introductory box, Torn & Frayed, to review for you. I’m going to confess this review has taken me awhile because I wanted to actually get creative with the contents and come up with something cool to show you.

Cannonball Collective bills themselves as “an experience in a box” and are a quarterly subscription, priced at $95.

Their description: “Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”

Kits center around different themes and each includes a copy of the Cannonball Collective magazine which offers info on the box contents and ideas on how to use them. There aren’t step by step instructions, just ideas.

The first box had a theme of “Torn & Frayed” and “Revival” and was put together by their “Cannonball Ace” Luke from Darn and Dusted based in East London.
Box
Now let’s see what’s in the box.
Open Box 1Inserts
We have our lovely idea magazine.
It gives us a breakdown of what’s in the kit: “We worked closely with our pal Luke on what to include in the Torn & Frayed Kit. In particular, we were hyper-focused on providing the highest quality tools and textiles like the ones he uses. They are the best on the planet. After all, if you don’t have best tools you can’t do your best work!”

Nestled inside the packing paper is an adorable little tin.
Open 2 Tin
Open Tin Stitches

Needles
Merchant & Mills Long Darners
(Estimated US Retail: $7.59)
Description: “These long needles have “long eyes” that can handle thick thread or yarn and are suited for all sorts of mending project. You know, like the kind you’ll be doing. There are three sizes including in the sweet turned wooden case”.
Verdict: Love!
I’m a crafty sort and I enjoy embroidery and applique so these needles will come in handy. They are high quality and I love the little wooden case. Just remember to put them in sharp side down (don’t ask me why I need to tell you that). This is a British brand so it’s extra nice to have it in a US sub box.

Scissors
Merchant & Mills Wide Bow Scissors

(Estimated US Retail: $18.21)
Description: “4 inches long, tough and sharp, these suckers allow for pinpoint precision. Oh and they’re cool black steel. Awesome!”
Verdict: Love!
Good scissors can be super expensive and these are very high quality. I know I can use these for tons of sewing and crafting projects.

Pins
Merchant & Mills Dressmaking Pins

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Description: “There’s nothing worse than crappy pins. So here is your very own little black box just brimming with the best nickel-plated dressmaking pins that nickels can buy.”
Verdict: Hit!
You’d think pins were inexpensive and decent ones were easy to find, but you’d be wrong. I needed a bunch to make some ornaments and let me tell you, they were way pricier than they should have been for junk made in China. These will definitely get plenty of use.

Thimble
Merchant & Mills Tailor’s Thimble

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Verdict: How didn’t I know these existed?
Description: “Nobody likes bloodstains so we thought it would be smart to provide you with a ‘proper” Tailor’s Thimble. Cool Fact: It offers both finger protection and helps dexterity because it’s capless. That means it has an open top, so you can still feel and control he fabric you’re working on Booyah!”
Where have capless thimbles been all my life? I didn’t even know these were a thing…and my mother is a seamstress. I tried this out and it is so much easier to use than a regular thimble. If you hand sew, you must get yourself one of these.

Gum
Marukawa Fuken Gum

(Estimated US Retail: .64)
Description: “A little somethin’ to sweeten the deal and pass the time (Grape is our favorite)!”.
Verdict: One of these things is not like the others..
Not quite sure why this is in here, but candy is always good.

Fabrich UnopenedFabrich Sealed
Fabric
Japanese Fabrics

(Estimated US Retail: ???)
Description: “With the help of textile guru Kelly Stevens at Superbuzzy in Ventura California we’ve included an array of high quality Japanese fabric swatches for you to get started – some denim, some patterns, some stripes, some color. All wove and printed at the epicenter of the world’s most beautiful highest quality textiles.”
Verdict: Like
I’m not in love with most of the prints on these fabrics but I do like the idea of including some in the kit. I almost wish they’d had some more British inspired patterns to go with the Merchant & Mills products. I really couldn’t figure out a way to estimate the price on these, so they remain a mystery.

Thread
Moco Thread

(Estimated US Retail: 6.95 Each)
Description: “Crafted in Japan, FUJIX describes this thread as ‘fluffy hand-stitching thread that has a fluffy, thick feel.’ Uh, Ok. Frankly, we chose it because Luke really digs it. This stuff is made from six strands so depend on what you’re working on you can use just one strand or all six. Oh, and we included three colors to work with…cream, indigo, and a pop of color. Hint…they all go well with denim.
Verdict: Hit!
I like to embroider items and this thread sounds really similar to embroidery floss (where you have multiple strands). I think I’ll have a lot of fun using these for applique projects and ornaments.

Now, as I mentioned earlier I wanted to use these awesome items to make something, because what fun is an “experience in a box” without the experience to go with it.

I really dig mixed media jewelry so I decided to try my hand at an embroidered pendant.

I grabbed these items from the box:
Tools from Box
And from my own supply I grabbed a small embroidery hoop, embroidery floss and the pendant findings that I purchased https://www.etsy.com/transaction/193339940from Etsy. I opted for my own embroidery floss just because the colors of thread in the box weren’t quite what I wanted to use with the fabric I’d chosen.
My supplies
I put the fabric in the hoop and using the embroidery floss, stitched a freehand heart. Following the directions on the findings, I put it together and here is my finished project:
Locket
It looks homemade and sweet and I like the effect. With more practice I’m sure I can get it too look more polished.

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
Like

I love, love, love all the tools from Merchant & Mills and I wish they had a store in the US so I could order more at my heart’s content. The only reason this box has a “like” instead of a “hit” is because of the value. Excluding the fabric, we get a US dollar value of about $60.95. Even if you add on the fabric for $20, you still don’t reach the $95 pricetag. The fact that the bulk of this box is imported should also be taken into consideration since exchange rates vary and there are extra costs associated with bringing products in from overseas. It’s also packaged quite nicely in the tin, plus we have the cute magazine. I think a bit lower price would be more appropriate (like $85). I still really love the items in this box and even though I received this free in order to review it, if I paid $95, I still be satisfied with my purchase because of the tools included.  They will last forever and I’ll use them on a wide variety of projects.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this unique box? Would you be interested in this type of sub? What experiences would you want to see in it?

CANNONBALL COLLECTIVE NEWS
The next theme is Wonderland” and it will let you “embark on a frozen flavor journey”.

THE BACKSTORY
Cannonball Collective sends out quarterly kits centered around particular experiences.

“Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”


Cost:
$95 for each quarter (Shipping is free)

Art & Soul Box: August 2015

It’s time to take out your colored pencils and paint because today I’ve got an Art box to review. The lovely folks at Art & Soul Box, graciously sent me one to share with you all.
“Each month, you will receive new art supplies, a fresh writing journal, and inspiration to spark your creativity.”
Box Open Box

Inside the box is a tiny album with info on the sub, the box contents, quotes about art, 4”x 6” colored card stock, and space to put your own photos.
PamphletPamphlet 1 Pamphlet 2
“This month, we’re exploring the creative possibilities of paint. This is not a technique tutorial, though. The art supplies you will find inside serve one purpose: to open your mind and soul to the creative process. The final artwork is not the focus. The act of creating and the way you feel while you’re doing it is what matters.”

For me personally, I’d prefer a tutorial approach because I have a giant armoire full of different kinds of crafting items and buying more crafting stuff is almost as much fun as actually making something. However, this box takes the “art as therapy approach” which I can certainly appreciate and is geared toward folks who haven’t used art as a creative outlet before.

All of our items are beautifully wrapped. We received:
1 Tote Bag
Tote
2 Writing & Sketching Journals
Journals
1 Mini Easel & Assorted wooden sticks for paint sculpting, 2 Artist’s Paint Brushes, 1 natural Sponge, 1 Washable paint palette & 2 Writing Pens
Tools

5 1 oz cups of artist’s acrylic paint
Paint

5 Assorted Small Painting Canvases
Canvases

Stock Paper punch outs
EnvelopeDecor

OVERALL
Full Box
Verdict:
Like/Gift

I’m a creative person and I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies, so I can really appreciate Art & Soul box’s idea of using art as therapy. This isn’t a box for the avid crafter, it’s for someone who hasn’t really been into art before. I also think it would make a great gift for kids or the elderly. In particular, I think that tween age bracket that is quite difficult to shop for, would really have fun with this box. The cost is $35, which seems a little high but I think the quantity of items in the box makes it a fair price. The two journals alone would probably come up to $10 by themselves. This isn’t a box I’d subscribe to, but I think it’s a lovely philosophy and I think there are folks out there who would enjoy it.

THE BACKSTORY
Each month, Art & Soul Box will send you “new art supplies, a fresh writing journal, and inspiration to spark your creativity. And we create every box with love and kindness.

Art therapy in a box.

   Hand-selected arts and crafts projects.
New writing and sketching journal every month.
Original booklet of inspiration.
Free shipping.

Monthly Cost:
$35 per month with free shipping