Beautiful Presentation, Disappointing Details (25 September 2008)
I love and have used Becky Higgins Sketches for years. I have both of her previous sketch books and was excited for this one to come out so I could see fresh ideas using the older sketches.
The book has some great points. It is well organized into sections based on the number of photos in a layout. The small, compact size makes it easy to carry without sacrificing content- the sketches and example layouts are plenty big enough for me to read. I also like that it has a spiral binding in addition to the hard binding, allowing it to lay flat on a table or desk.
It also has some bad points. While the layouts are all new for this book, they seem very "plain" at times. I realized that Becky did them all herself for this book, but some of them do look rather rushed. Also, and this is the biggest gripe I have with the book, it does not include photo size information for most of the sketches. Through the years, Becky's sketches in CK magazine have evolved from not having size information to including it, and I was hoping that size information would be added to all the sketches for this book. It seems that this detail would not have taken much time and would have tremendously added to the book's value.
Overall, I do like this book, but if you already have Becky's previous two books it doesn't really add anything new.
Finally, an idea book to read and not just look at the pictures (23 September 2008)
I have to admit, I'm one of those people. I get a new scrapbooking magazine or idea book, and I flip through it fairly quickly and just look at the photos and layouts. I might go back and read something else later, but if it doesn't catch my eye visually then chances are I won't.
This book is different, though. I have been reading it word for word. While I might not agree about being a "Life Artist," I love Ali's "It Is OK" approach to scrapbooking. Basically, it's all good. I find myself wanting to scrap more moments, to live in the moment more, and to try to document a lot more of that rather than just the 5 W's of what's going on in the photo.
If you're stuck in a rut with your scrapping, feeling intimidated, or just starting out and not sure what direction to go, I highly recommend that you get this book and read through it.
Just what you'd expect from Becky Fleck! (23 September 2008)
I've been a big fan of Becky Fleck's PageMaps for years, so I was very excited to see this book released. It does not disappoint. It is full of the great sketches you've come to expect from Becky along with several page ideas per sketch. Also scattered throughout the book are scrapping and technique tips. Perhaps one of the best features of the book is the set of punch-out cards in the back. Each card contains a sketch and an example layout from the book, giving you all that information in a compact and portable format.
The only thing that might detract from the book for some people is the number of "oddly sized" photos that are used in the sketches. There are very few regular 4x6 photos used.
Not impressed (23 September 2008)
I bought this tool almost as soon as it came out, and had problems with it from the very first time I tried to use it. It is very difficult to get the staples to line up properly, and if you're going through more than one layer of paper or trying to staple through ribbon, the chances of it jamming are very high. I love the idea of the decorative staple bars, but do not like this tool as an applicator.
The ultimate space-saving paper storage (23 September 2008)
About a year ago I switched over from horizontal paper storage to the Cropper Hopper Vertical system. The change has not only saved me space in my scrap room but also time in searching for just the right sheet of paper. With this system it is very easy to simply pull out a bigger holder or the smaller one and thumb through the papers in it without ever having to remove them from the holder itself. The included dividers help to subdivide the papers further and make the process just that much faster. If you are looking for compact, easy to use, and inexpensive paper storage, I highly recommend this system.
My all-time favorite backup adhesive (23 September 2008)
While my all-time favorite scrapbook adhesive is the Scotch ATG, I always make sure I have a small stock of these guys on hand, as well. Sometimes on a small project I need more fine control than I get with the ATG, and the Tape 'n Roller is the perfect solution. It is so easy to use, it turns corners and handles curves like a fine sportscar might. And the adhesive is very agressive. I often use it on mini-albums.
Not your mama's glitter glue!! (23 September 2008)
I have to admit, I held off on getting any Stickles for a very long time. The sight of the bottles reminded me of t-shirt paints I used to use in elementary school- the kind that dried all rubbery and raised. I had just assumed that this was how Stickles would work, but not so! I was pleasantly surprised to find that once the Stickles had dried, it looked just like any other glitter that I had ever used on a page, except I could use it without the mess! My first Stickles purchase consisted of three bottles, and now I'm looking forward to collecting the whole set!
Sticky stuff! (23 September 2008)
Scotch ATG Gold tape is my all-time favorite scrapping adhesive (and this is coming from someone who remembers the days of glue sticks). The tape is very sticky and I have yet to find any of the pages that I've used it on coming apart, unlike with some other adhesives I have tried. The only drawback to this might be that it does not allow you to really move elements around on a page once they have been adhered. Once it's stuck, it's really STUCK!
The best adhesive solution I've found (and I've tried them all) (23 September 2008)
I've been through almost every kind of tape runner that is produced for scrapbooking, and found fault with almost all of them. My Scotch ATG 714, however, is hands down the best tape runner or gun I've used. First, the cost is extremely low compared to other runners. Second, it is very easy to load and use. There is a little bit of wrist action you have to learn when "releasing" the end of a run of tape, but other than that it's pretty much intuitive. Third, since each roll of tape is 36 YARDS long, I don't have to constantly keep adding refills. I've gone for two 6 hour crops on the same roll of tape with some left to spare. I also like that the refill produces very little waste- just the tiny core and the backing paper is disposed of. I've disliked other tape runners that seem to replace half the mechanism when you install a new refill.
Well done, but not quite as advertised (23 September 2008)
This book is well-done artistically and has a lot of great ideas, but I was disappointed as to *how* it used 4x6 photos. A lot of the pages feature photos that were originally 4x6, but were heavily cropped for the page (like, down to a 2x3 or similar size). As someone who has a lot of 4x6 photos that are tightly zoomed on their subjects, I was hoping for more ideas on using 4x6 photos with little or no cropping needed.