Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Look at the Basic Grey Nook and Pantry Card Kit


I came across this Basic Grey card kit (from their Nook and Pantry line) during one of my recent shopping sprees at Big Lots. These kits originally retailed for $15, but I picked mine up for a mere 5 bucks. I'd always been curious to try one, and I thought I'd share my findings here in case anyone else had a similar interest.

The kit came with almost everything necessary to create 8 cards, including chipboard, cardstock die cuts, rub-ons, pre-cut and pre-scored card blanks, and even envelopes! The only things you have to add are a black journaling pen and adhesive- two things that most scrappers and cardmakers have in their toolbox, anyway. There's no measuring or cutting necessary to assemble the cards, making it perfect for beginning cardmakers, parents looking for a project to do with young children, or even experienced crafters who simply want an easier project to work on.

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It also came with step-by-step instructions in black and white and a web address for downloading full-color instructions. I highly recommend that if you try one of these kits you get the full-color sheet or keep the package covering until you're finished with your cards. It makes it soooo much easier to see everything in color!

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All of the pieces- die cuts, chipboard, and rub-ons- are numbered based on which card design they go with, making it super easy to find the exact piece that you need.

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The cards took me about two hours to put together, which is slightly faster than the time it normally takes me to make a card from scratch (it usually takes me 20-30 minutes, and mine aren't as detailed as these). The cards themselves are beautiful, but that's no surprise since a) the cards were designed for me and all I did was put them together and b) Nook and Pantry is one of my favorite Basic Grey lines ever.

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The insides of a few (but not all) of the cards have decorations, as well.

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My first impression of the kit is that I really like it, but I wouldn't have purchased another if it wasn't on a similar sale. At the $15 regular price you're paying nearly $2 a card and bringing your own adhesive to the party, and I get a much better value for my cards by using the stash I already have.

I noted a few other things, too, as I was making the cards:
  • In at least one place the instructions were incorrect. The directions for the window card said that it should open at the bottom, when clearly the window chipboard piece would only fit properly if the card opened to the side. 
  • The window chipboard card (again!) leaves a bit to be desired on the inside. As you can see in the photo below, the back side of the adhesive shows through to the inside of the card. It wasn't very sticky and thus didn't cause a problem, but you'd think they'd have some smaller cardstock pieces in the kit to put on the back of the chipboard here.

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  • Speaking of the chipboard not being very sticky, mine didn't want to stick at all. I had to use an insane number of Glue Dots to hold everything in place, when in reality the self-adhesive chipboard should have stuck on its own. I don't know if it was just a problem with my particular kit or with all Basic Grey kits in general.
  • The really tiny die-cut letters were a pain to adhere. It would have been better if they'd made the cardstock pieces self-adhesive, as well, or at least the tiny bits. I've since purchased a ballpoint glue pen for such applications.
  • Some of the die cuts didn't want to pop out of their carrier sheet (they were pre-punched) and I had to cut them out with scissors. Again, I don't know if that was just a problem with this particular kit or all of Basic Grey's kits.
  • I'm not sure what I'll do with the card that has the "Unique" sentiment on it. What kind of occasion is that for, anyway? Should I give it to a new mother with a message inside that her baby is very "unique?" Seems like it's just begging for trouble! :)
Even with those nitpicks, I really enjoyed using this kit. What I really would like to see Basic Grey do, though, is come out with directions for purchase for those of us who already have massive stashes of their stuff and want to use what we already have to make cards. That would be a huge help for BG junkies like me who buy the whole line, anyway!