Monday, August 29, 2016

Picking a Monthly Kit Club.. a continuing saga

I ordered my first kit from Scrapbook Circle last week Monday and received it on Thursday!  This
was their August kit and it so far has been a real peach!  The patterns and colors are lending themselves to outdoors-y, scenic photos and these are just the types of photos I often struggle with! 

So many times, I find summer themes to be strictly camping or beach related.  H-m-m-m; I don't camp, and we live inland so I truly do not have a need for much of these sorts of themes.  But I do
have scenic, outdoors-y photos that do need a scrappy home!  Happily, this kit really came through with flying colors!  Love, love, love it! 

The papers relate to each other very well, without being too match-y, match-y.  They are camp-ish, without being too cutesy and themed, perfectly suited for scenic outdoors shots, have a nice mix of small muted backgrounds and vibrant prints that lend themselves to cutting apart (thereby giving me the opportunity to stretch the papers and get more out of them!).   I. Could. Not. Be. Happier.    So let the "research" (i.e. happy scrappy page-making) continue! 

Just to do a quick review; I am conducting some research (for myself) on choosing a monthly scrapbooking kit club.  I selected a popular group of monthly kit clubs and will order two kits from each of them to work with.  My criteria is:

1.  How many pages can I produce from just the main kit?  (I'll probably order add-ons
     from time to time, but I want to know I can produce pages without having to
     always buy those extras every month.) 

2.  How do the supplies relate to each other?  (How easily do the pages come together?) 

3.  Is there a good balance of feminine and masculine prints/designs? 

4.  What sort of embellishments are included in the kit(s)?  (I don't use a lot of stickers, but
     I do like enamel dots, washi, cut apart phrases, sequins, flair badges, die cuts.) 

5.  What type of letters for titles are included?  (I don't mind some "flat" alpha stickers, just
     would also like to also see some Thickers or chipboard.) 

6.  Really not interested in all-exclusive papers, etc.  I am looking for a kit club to give
     me a taste of what's new, things I'll not find in Michael's or Hobby Lobby. 

7.  Is shipping done on a timely basis? 

8.  And finally, does the club provide an active blog/facebook group?  A place to share
     pages, gain ideas, fresh perspectives, and encourage each other. 

Your own test criteria may be different than fact it should be!  Your own criteria should be based on what you like to work with, what sort of photos do you have to scrap, and your own preferences on supplies and embellishments. 

Make a list, see what's out there, and I encourage you to try a kit or two before you commit to any club. 

next time,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Lesson In "You Get What You Pay For" ... or shopping at the big box stores

A small diversion from the ongoing monthly kit club research.  I recently went to my local Hobby Lobby because they do have some surprises (i.e., I picked up a  Cest a la Vie embellishment pack a week or so ago, although they only had the 6x6 pad of paper---argh@#& I would have purchased the 12x12...but not the 6x6, I just don't make good use of those).

But I did notice that they had several collection packs of fairly recent releases, Altwell, Flutter, Millie and June, and Life is Beautiful from Fancy Pants in particular, and they had a Bo Bunny Christmas collection pack in the clearance section, which I immediately snatched right up as I had really wanted that line when it came out, but was under my self imposed spending moratorium at the time! 

The next week, their ad stated that paper (and collection packs and pads) were all on sale at 50% off! This meant that the Fancy Pants collection packs were like $5.00 each!!!  So I went right in and grabbed up a couple. 

But, once I got home and opened the packs, I noticed that the paper quality was not the same as the couple of single pieces I had received as part of one of my monthly kit clubs.  The paper was double sided and cardstock weight, but not as thick as the "originals", nor was the color on some of the sheets the same.  Blacks were more grayed, reds slightly dulled, etc.  When will I learn?  Sometimes you get what you pay for.  And what did I expect for $5.00?! 

Come on Fancy Pants!  Come on Hobby Lobby!  I would gladly spend the little bit more on the collections to get the same original print quality.  But now, I will probably forego purchasing these at Hobby Lobby (unless I can open up a pack and feel the, I'm thinking the store may frown upon this practice). 

All this being said, I thought about returning the collections, but the price that I paid for them is at the minimum worth the price of the puffy alpha and sticker sheets that were included in the packs.  I figure that I will use the slightly off color papers for stamping or die cutting for cards or I can always use it as a base to glue other paper on top of.  I will keep them (and I absolutely love the skinny, puffy alpha sets from Fancy Pants!).  But I won't probably be buying any more.  Sad, really. The big box stores put the little shops out of business, and then they cheapen the quality of the items they carry.  Our choices get narrower and narrower.  Which makes it an even clearer choice for me to utilize monthly kit clubs to get original quality papers and embellishments! 

 And the Bo Bunny Christmas pack?  That collection was older and was still of original print quality, so I am good with that (plus what I really wanted it for was to make Christmas cards, so I am cutting much of it up anyway). 

In the end, the lesson is buyer beware?  You get what you pay for?  Support the small businesses that bring you a quality product?  Know your products and be flexible in your choices? 

All of the above... All of the above. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Pick a Kit Club; the research continues

Since starting my little study on picking out a kit club, I am learning loads about my personal preferences and shopping preferences.  Like, feminine versus masculine paper and embellishment designs (I actually find it easier to work with more masculine or generic patterns rather than floral no matter how pretty I find the pattern to be)! ...

Now I have a granddaughter to scrap for and she LOVES pink, so some feminine pinks are a must, but I don't need entire kits (or kit club) devoted to girl-ish goodies.  I need a balance.  And I have found that Gossamer Blue provides a happy mix.  Now that being said, I have only been working with one kit from them...I'll be ordering another soon (goodie-goodie!). 

This is my latest page from the Gossamer Blue kit.  And it's from pretty much the tail end of the supplies I received.  I did a total of 9 pages with the kit and wished I could have kept going.  Now that, to me, is the sign of a good kit!  I even screwed up a big piece of one of the papers smearing gesso all over it and trying to use it as a me it was a hot mess!!! But I still was able to get 9 pages done...9!  Woo-Hoo!  (She says trying to high-five herself--ok that's never gonna get photographed!) 

So far, I am gobb-smacked with Gossamer Blue.  My only criticism would be that they have a very quiet FB group.  I feel a bit pushy, posting my pages there.  Not a lot of chatter.  I mean I've received very kind remarks and all, there just aren't many others posting pages.  And I like to have a spot to chat it up with other scrapping fiends (um, I mean friends).  So, we'll see.  I can't make that my over-riding decision buster.  But on to the layout...

I added a bit of vellum, but everything else is from the kit.   I even used a piece of packaging (that small piece of light gold diagonal stripe).  Could have done a little ink splattering, but decided to keep it very clean and went without. 

It's a simple page design, sure.  But every page I put in the kids' or my own  albums are not show stoppers.  Nor, do they need to be.  In fact, I don't think each page in any album should be over-the-top.  Wouldn't that get tiresome to look at after a while? 

Just can't wait to get my next Gossamer Blue kit, and I've already ordered my first kit from Scrapbook Circle, so I'll have some more comparisons coming soon!

Lesson #1 in picking a kit club?  Pick what you are going to work with, not just one that carries pretty stuff.  If you aren't going to have a use for it...regardless how pretty it is, what's the point?


Thursday, August 18, 2016

How Diverse Can a Kit Be? (not being politically correct here folks)

So it appears that it's a good thing I am "researching" various scrapbook kit clubs.  Scraptastic will no longer offer their monthly scrapbook kit club.  The August kit will the last one. 

Here's my list of kit clubs I am thinking about and will (if I have not already done so) order an a la carte kit (or two) to work with. 

Studio Calico
Gossamer Blue
Citrus Twist
Hip Kits
Scrapbook Circle

 Currently looking at (playing with and very much enjoying) Gossamer Blue. 

I posted a couple of pages that were very girl-y in feel from the Gossamer Blue kit I received.  But what I liked was that I found I could easily make a travel themed page from the same kit!  This is what I mean when I say a kit is diverse.  I want my kit(s) to be able to be used for multiple subjects, multiple themes.   

The only adds to this page were the couple scraps of green print paper, the title alpha set,  the wood veneer car and the little yellow banner up top.  Everything else was included in the main kit!  Love!

One more travel page created with this kit.

This was another of those,"love this paper, don't want to change it at all" pages that went together super fast.  In fact, this paper was one of the reasons I chose to order the June kit first to play with (um, I mean research).   And absolutely everything was included in the kit.  Gotta love it! 

I'll have to tally up and see just how many pages I end up with from the kit.  I fully expect to use each and every piece of paper, so we'll see how far I get.



Monday, August 15, 2016

More Gossamer Blue Test Results

So another page done with the same kit... I was in sore need of doing some feminine, girl type pages for our Bella (cuz that girl keeps track of such things!). 

One of the items added from my stash on this page was the plain white cardstock for the page background (and I don't count that --- my game, my rules, hahaha).  Then there are the title elements; the "fabulous" (Heidi Swapp), the @ six came from two different Thickers alpha sets and the doily.  That was all. 

Flowers were fussy cut from one of the included papers, and the polka dot border was made by pleating a strip or two of one of the papers.  I did some outlining and spattered on some black Heidi Swapp mist and I was done.  What actually took the longest was not pleating that paper, but bolding it in place to staple and glue it together!  Other than that, this page was done in about 30 minutes.  Gotta love that. 

So far, Gossamer Blue is ranking right up there in my book. 

Next, we'll try a travel page! 


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Testing, Testing.. Is this thing on?

Still having technical difficulties...I'm even thinking of switching to another platform.  But maybe after the first of the year...too much else going on right now to start another blog! 

Like scrapbooking! 
It's been so much fun to get back to making pages. Some are ok, some I love and some...well there are a couple that are "questionable".  I'll put them aside for a few days and take a fresh look.  They may have to be tweaked, or totally trashed and start over.    Here's something I created this past week using the Gossamer Blue June kit.  

So on to my "research".  The materials relate well together and yet are different enough that I can incorporate boy, girl or even travel photos (coming in a future post).  My personal test:  how much do I have to add from my stash.  (Not that there is any problem doing's just kind of a benchmark for me whilst playing, er, I mean testing.  The only thing added on this page were the alphabet stickers. 

Details:  fringe cut the border under the photo (just used my regular scissors and snip, snip, snip) and I used two different scallop border bunch for a little added layer.  The flowers were fussy cut from one of the papers and there you go!  (You will have to supply your own adorable granddaughter getting her hair done!!!). 


Friday, August 5, 2016

Having some technical issues on the blog, so if anyone is reading this, you may notice that some items like my blog lists are being removed (time to update anyway) and there may be more changes depending upon what works and what doesn't. 

OK, now that the blog tech issue and changes have been duly noted, I'll move on to (hopefully) more fun things! 

Still in test mode on the kits...  But on a side note, isn't it nice when you can just pull out a piece of paper and use it, as is!  Refreshing!  Truly I do like cutting and slicing things up, I do enjoy play time with paint and gesso and ink... but every once in a while it is really quite enjoyable to just pull out a piece or two of paper and add photos and a title and actually like the outcome and be ... well... done! 

The page above used a paper from Studio Calico which I trimmed just slightly and mounted onto a black and white diagonal stripe paper (out of the old stash).  I loved the diagonal lines against the photo of the leaning water tower.  The photo is layered up with a couple two-three pieces of pink-ish vellum.  I did get out my colored pencils and lightly colored in some aqua so the pink and aqua sky would be kind of replicated with the pink-ish vellum and the aqua added to the background paper. 

Other than that, embellishments were kept to a minimum and the title went on following the diagonal lines on the paper.  I ended up using two different alphas from my stash because there wasn't enough of either alpha to do the entire title. 

The next page also required little in the way of changes. 

I wanted to pick up on the red of the old gas pumps in the photo and this paper did that without screaming "RED"....   

After layering the photo onto a light gold print and some black and white text, I cut out the "you are here" arrow to help direct the eye (and because it is a cool travel-y phrase).  The rest of the embellishments were kept very basic, very similar (i.e., wood veneers, arrow shapes...)  I tucked a small journaling card in at the top of the photo and added a pair of little sunglasses.  But all in all, this page is pretty simple. 

I did also trim this page down and layered it onto a gold/orange-y print paper (again from my stash--I think it is Heidi Swapp).  Title alpha and the large chevron print paper is from a Studio Calico kit.

Sometimes, simple is the answer...both to creating pages and to using a kit!