A second vote here for using an industrial type of heat gun! Mine's a Milwaukee brand that I picked up at Home Depot while there with my hubby. The bonus here, ladies, is that you can tell your hubby quite truthfully that this is a tool BOTH of you can use, not just for crafting but actually useful household jobs! Now what could be more convincing than that?
As for quality issues, I had a box of watercolour pencils that I bought half price from Michael's a couple of years ago and just gave them away because the pigments wouldn't dissolve very well when I wet them with a brush. The results were disappointing to say the least. I would have thought it was just my inexperience at using them except for a remarkable set of a dozen Faber-Castells a friend had given me ("Albrecht Durer" Art & Graphic kind). There is a huge difference between artist-quality and craft-quality materials, and I think this is the trap that we crafters often get stuck in. Sometimes (though there are many exceptions!) the manufacturers who market stuff to the "crafting community" seem to not take us, and therefore the quality of their products, as seriously. We are largely seen as hobbyists, not professional-level artists with the clout to make or break a company's reputation. The irony here is that "the crafting community" is just that- a very social group of people who get together and communicate all the time in classes or forums like this about what products we like or don't like, and the kinds of experiences we've had with companies and their materials. And I should add, in case anyone thought I was saying we lack artistic ability, there is a great deal of stunning artistic talent within this community and several members who DO make a profession, and sometimes a living, out of this "hobby".
It's sad and frustrating to see the decline in quality of both products and customer service from so many companies these days, not just in crafting. What gives me hope is that many of us are trying to do and make more things ouselves and not relying on the cheap waste that gets passed on to us in the stores. Could there be a better time for something like Etsy? I do try to support those companies that make better-quality products, that provide useful and easy-to-access support for them, and that keep the jobs here. Those products are more expensive up front, but at least they're keepers. And companies like that need more support than ever in these very tough, race-to-the-bottom times.
Now if only there was a company out there making professional artist-quality stamp pads and ink, and stamps and paper and felt and fabric and embellishments in coordinating colours. Oh, to dream...