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Epson Artisan 800 printer review

So, I was told about this yummy new all-in-one inkjet printer (the Epson Artisan 800) that is great small business owners and for someone like myself (who is involved in craft and design) this printer could prove itself to be incredibly handy. So with the help of the nice folks at One 2 One I got my mitts on the said printer and I’ve road tested for one week.

Ohhh pretty! More information here.

Looking at the literature this printer seems to be aimed at the demanding mid to high end home user. You can see a lot of thought has gone into the design and the feature set. Epson has made this printer into an eye-candy design piece, but more importantly it has packed it with quality features to match the sleek design.

So, I’ve lived with it very happily for one week and it’s made my holiday photos look absolutely amazing. This are a few things that I’ve had a play with up to now:

  • Photo printing – the quality is far and away the best I’ve seen on any home printer and it prints really fast too.
  • Colour and B & W printing – also smashing quality and very fast. Also you can get edge to edge printing on popular sizes of paper.
  • LCD panel front control – it looks sexy, and it looks sexy and it makes flipping though the features easy.
  • Fax – works just fine.
  • Scanning and copying – both are vivid and finely detailed, again fast speeds. One groovy feature of copying that I like is that you can copy up to 30 different pages without you needing to feed each one in separately. You can also re-size copies.
  • Looks – did I mention it looks sexy yet?
  • Wireless – I was really impressed by this. A 2 page document took less than 20 seconds to be received from my upstairs computer to the printer – which was downstairs. No cables, as if by magic!
  • Consumables – there are loads of different papers, stickers and labels etc. for the printer. I had a play with some, they make such a difference!
  • Playing with printing – as a business crafter I particularly like this feature. You can fade photos or other images and then turn them into notepaper (think headed paper). You can also print graph paper (perfect for pattern making).
  • These are just a few things this baby is capable of. The list of what it can do is looooog. The editing software alone is brill for us design bods.

A free template for business invoice. Epson have provided LOADS of groovy stuff that you can print for your business and they’re all free! Loads of other templates can be found here.

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So why would you consider getting one?

It might be tempting to spend less on a cheapie printer to save money, but I would heavily advise against this. I have learned from bitter experience of my first printer with packed up after 7 months of solid use. My old crappy printer made everything look pixelated, it was painfully slow, ink hungry and worst of all it died on me – ahhhh! (running an internet business from your local internet cafe is a miserable experience, one of which I don’t care to repeat). If you invest in a quality versatile printer you are going to save money (and with a bit of imagination you can make some money too…). Other reasons to consider this printer are:

  • Print quality – If you own your own business and you need to print anything that is destined for the eyes of your customers it’s important to give a good impression. It is worth designing attractive looking headed paper and invoices (at least) because each slip of paper is like telling someone else about your brand. But then after you’ve gone to the trouble of designing a great looking logo and headed paper you need the print quality to be as good as the design.
  • Speed – goes without saying, if you have loads of receipts and invoices to print you don’t really want to have to wait for an age.
  • Reliability – you need a machine that’s always ready to go as soon as you hit print (or it’s down to the local internet cafe for you).
  • Versatility – in my opinion this is where the printer comes into it’s own for Craft Business owners. With this printer you can create knock-out quality: paper patterns, product hang-tags, post cards, flyers, business cards, calendars, posters, thank you notes, and heaps of other promotional paraphernalia. I haven’t designed my own patterns (yet), but I copied one onto glossy paper just to test and it looked fab! So much cheaper and less hassle when you don’t need to print squillions of an pattern (for example).

Disclaimer:

Just so you know I didn’t get paid to do this review, though Epson did provide me with a printer to use so that I could review it. I NEVER get paid to do any reviews, no sir! Epson did sponsor the Sparkplugging team to go to the BlogWorld Expo, but I wasn’t able to go on that trip myself. Just so you know, ya know?

Book Review: Country Living: Crafting a Business

When I found out that Country Living had written a craft business book I just had to get my mitts on it. I was expecting a lot of dreamy eye candy, but I was curious to see what sort of practical advice would be on offer. So here is a peek inside Crafting a Business (with verdict at bottom of the post):

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Front Cover

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The first half of the book features profiles of 31 Crafting Heroes, most of which you’ll know (like this lovely lady…)

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The Crafting Heroes profiles contain useful advice, experiences, and observations in their own words.

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Gorgeous folk art by Lori Mitchell of La Dee Dah

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Lisa Norris of Made by One Girl making her beautiful hand bound books.

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The 2nd part of the book contains clearly written advice on the practicalities of starting and running a craft business…

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Such as getting the finance to start-up

Verdict: To be honest I thought that this book was going to provide more eye-candy than advice, but on reading it I found the profiles to be so inspiring and each of them filled with great nuggets of advice and motivation. I found myself looking at my own business in new ways and it was encouraging to find that these women are just women who have followed a dream. The language is plain and non patronising, and the lay-out is good.  what is nice is that this book would make a lovely present because it is beautiful, but not at the expense of being useful.  If you haven’t started your own business you’ll find that this book inspires much envy, but you’ll find that it’s also full of practical help. It’s a wonderful book to read when things are slow and you need a bit of cheering up and motivation. The resources section has loads of helpful contacts too. Highly recommended! :)