Thursday, May 13, 2010

CK Special Issue Review: Fast and Fresh Scrapbooks

Last Saturday while I was out running a thousand and one errands I popped into Barnes and Noble for a few minutes to pick up the latest issue of Country Living's British Edition. To my surprise, CK had a new special issue on the shelf as well. It's been so long since we had a special issue from them, so I was pretty excited and after flipping through it and getting even more excited about the content, I decided to bring it home.


The issue is 122 pages in length and is divided into 5 sections: Scrapbook 101, Photo Album Scrapbooks, Mini Scrapbooks, Computer Scrapbooks, and Classic Scrapbooks. The entire issue is well presented and beautifully photographed with a clean, easy-to-follow layout.

Scrapbook 101

This first section is the shortest (6 pages) and contains tips for getting started on your album. The seasoned scrapbooker will probably quickly gloss over the coverage of choosing an album type, bindings, page protectors, picking supplies, and paring down piles of photos- there's nothing here that hasn't been covered dozens of times before. The information is still relevant, though, and its inclusion actually makes this a great issue for a novice scrapbooker to pick up if they want all the data in one place.

Photo Album Scrapbooks

I think CK made a good choice by leading off the album sections of this issue with photo album scrapbooks. These types of books are the easiest and least intimidating albums to make, and I can see an overwhelmed scrapper (like me, sometimes!) landing on this section near the beginning of the issue and breathing a huge sigh of, "oh, I can do this!"

A variety of different photo album books are presented- everything from 2-up to accordian fold, including several different varieties of divided page protectors. Tips are scattered throughout the pages giving tidbits on how to easily add accents or make the album coherent, with a major emphasis on making the process stress-free.

If you liked Simple Scrapbooks Quick and Easy Photo Albums issue, you're sure to love this section.

Mini Scrapbooks

The mini album section is just what you would expect- mini albums of all kinds. Multiple shapes, sizes, and media types (canvas, chipboard, etc) are presented, with an emphasis on keeping the album simple by choosing a framework (sketch, layout, or whatever you want to call it) and a group of coordinating supplies and using them consistently throughout the album. The examples presented cover a variety of subjects but are heavily tilted toward travel albums. This is a bit of a switch (and a welcome one for me) as CK often seems to center around children as the theme for a scrapping project.

Stacy Julian's Finish Line Scrapbooking is covered in a special section at the end of the mini album segment. While I've never been a proponent of the "scrap as fast as you can just to get it done" type of scrapping, I will say that I've seen some really cute albums produced by Stacy's approach and am inspired to try it myself sometime.

I have only two gripes with this section. First, I wish they would have included the dimensions of the mini albums that are featured. Second, the album shown in the Finish Line Scrapbooking section is the exact same album that was shown in a similar article in one of Simple Scrapbooks' final issues. It would have been nice to not have recycled content in a special issue.

Computer Scrapbooks

The Computer Scrapbooks section covers three main types of albums created using digital tools- completely digital albums (some of which look like they are not even meant to be printed), hybrid albums that use a combination of some computer-generated elements and traditional scrapbook supplies, and photo albums (e.g. Shutterfly).

Whether digital or hybrid, the albums in this section adhere to the same principles as the mini albums- choose a standard layout and set of supplies to keep things simple as you create your album. This section also has a wider variety of projects (non-photo) than the other sections, including a pretty planner by Jennifer Pebbles.

What I found most intriguing about this section is Sheri Reguly's Shutterfly photo album. She had the album printed, and then after receiving it she added her own patterned paper accents using traditional supplies. Obviously you couldn't use bulky embellishments in this type of album, but the results are beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen an album done quite that way before, and I'm itching to try it myself.

Classic Scrapbooks

As a mostly traditional scrapper (though I do dabble in digi/hybrid from time to time), this is the section that appealed the most to me. The albums presented are in standard sizes (from 8x8 to 12x12) and use traditional scrapbooking supplies and albums.

As with the albums in the other sections, these examples use a repetitive design and single supply set. The emphasis is definitely on the photos, and most of the album examples use multiple photos per page, many in collage format. One notable exception to this is Maggie Holmes's gorgeous 12x12 album. One page is a full 12x12 photo, and the other page contains a 4x6 photo, some journaling, a few accents, and a lot of white space. The effect is simply stunning.

There is also a small section at the end on using sketches which shows ways to flip, stretch, or mix up one or two sketches in an album to keep the look fresh yet cohesive from page to page.

Overall, I think that this issue is a good value, especially if you can pick it up using a 40% discount coupon from Hobby Lobby or another craft store.

You can also take a peek inside the issue here and order it here.