I've never done anything like this before... I rather think that shopping is a personal experience. But I also believe in 'product knowledgability' - in other words, know what you're getting! As so often is the case, whether we buy something in person or online, we don't really know what we're getting before we open the packaging. So in that vein, I thought it would be a good day to rate a few of the items I've picked up lately.
Oh, not paper - after all, paper is paper for the most part and once you see it - whether online or in person - you know what you're getting. But I will say one thing about paper, the new Dear Lizzy Lucky Charm has rather surprised me. I was rather iffy about purchasing it in the first place, but once it was ordered I rather chomped at the bit to get it in my scrapping little hands. Then it came. I must say I was rather taken aback - it was so very different from the 5th & Frolic (that I adore to the point of thinking of just framing some and putting it on the walls to look at all the time!). In fact, I cut into my Lucky Charm that first day because a piece of the paper fit into a Scrapbook Remix Prompt. But the rest... well, I flipped through it before choosing something else. I just didn't really love it. Then I took my little trip to St Augustine and brought back those lovely bright photos - and there was nothing else that actually worked with them as well as the Lucky Charm. In fact, the more I cut into it, the more I loved it - not just for my trip photos but for those other around the house photos as well - until I had cut up nearly every piece and wasn't near through working with it. So I ordered more of my favorite pieces as well as some embellishments. Moral of that story - we do often purchase things just to get them home and become sorely disappointed; sometimes it's just about giving them a chance to grow on you again.
But this Post is about embellishments. I try to make my own embellishments - diecuts, rosettes, pinwheels, etc. (And let me just add here that this has led to the purchase of 6x6 pads as well as the 12x12 papers. Not only have I found my way with these little gems while making cards, but have discovered lovely use of them on my scrap pages - and they are the perfect size for making my own coordinating embellishments... everything from rosettes to diecut stacks look so much better made from the smaller sized patterns.) However, I also like to add a few things that come from the manufacturers as well. I nearly always purchase the cut-apart journaling tag sheets (sometimes even without the coordinating papers!). Oh, who's zooming who?... I love flair, chipboard, true diecuts, anything wood and especially polaroid frames for my Hipstamatic prints!! In fact, I love getting my hands on new embellishments. But here is where I find we don't always know what we're paying for - so I thought I'd give a little rundown of how I like my new purchases. Let me start by saying that I have purchases OH SO MANY of the Dear Lizzy and Amy Tangerine acrylic stamp packages and love them all; however, I find that a few don't want to stick so very well to my block - but that happens to any brand; once the images are stamped, they are crisp and lovely.
So, in my reviews of my new embellishments, let's start with my few Lucky Charm purchases: specifically the Lucky Charm Stickers, Flair and Chipboard.
- The Accent & Phrase Stickers are absolutely as lovely as the paper; in fact, of both 6x12 sheets, there are only 3 that I am not crazy about: a horse, a balloon, and a horn - these are just not icons that have a place in my personal scrapbooking. But the other 26+ stickers (plus alphas) more than makeup for these three that may or may not ever be used. Rating: Good Purchase.
- Flag & Label Stickers: Again, a lovely choice, and oh so usable! I see using these with so many paper choices that they definitely rival my October Afternoon collection of label stickers! Rating: Great Purchase
- Printed Chipboard Shapes: Hmmmm. Well, let me start by just saying this - if you're expecting to get chipboard when you purchase this package, you will be disappointed. This is not chipboard by any stretch of the imagination. This is a diecut pack - and yes, I have triple and quadruple checked the packaging to make sure it says chipboard. (I don't know if this was a mistake by the packaging people or actually supposed to be this way! But it is not labeled chipboard on the AC site - go figure!) Aside from the disappointment of not getting chipboard, the diecut package is awesome. I love the variety of shapes and sayings included. Other than still wanting chipboard, I would rate this: Good Purchase.
- Flair: LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. Need I say more. I have admitted a genuine love of flair, but even I find that there are many times that I purchase a package of flair finding that only about 2/3 of the pieces are usable on my personal pages. But this package of flair is a 100% success as I see using every single button - soon! Rating: Great Purchase.
Now on to some other new product in my stash: Crate Paper's Maggie Holmes collection. While many of the colors are actually some of the same ones found in the Lucky Charm collection, these are softer, muted, cream-based. I adore them every bit as much as I thought I would - and that's saying a lot! (But be warned: unlike previous Crate Paper collection pads, the Maggie Holmes pad does not include the cut-apart sheet; and as they are printed all catawampers on the cardstock, I will need to purchase an additional piece of the cardstock.) Anyway, in addition to the papers, I also bought the Open Album (sort of like a two-ring clip board - like it, though not sure what I'm going to use it for!) and just a few embellishment packages to start (though I already feel the need for maybe some chipboard or flair or diecuts creeping into my bloodstream):
- Fabric Frames: These frames are made for 4x4 prints. The quality, color and quantity available in the package makes this my ALL TIME FAVORITE embellishment purchase. Six of the frames come embellished with a high-quality cardstock word or pattern either sewn or stapled to the bottom of the frame; the other six are left unadorned. All the fabrics are vibrant and beautiful. Rating: Exceptional Purchase.
- Open Album Ephemera: I'm including this as part of my embellishment listing because I plan on using much of it without the benefit of the album, but just on my scrap pages. This too is of the highest quality and includes a few items prepunched for insertion in the album but a few other are just large embellishments: a few large diecuts, a vellum envelope of sequins, another envelope for your personal choice. (Be aware: These are very large pieces.) I was excited to open this package so this rating: Good Purchase.
- Accent Stickers: Perfect coordination to the line, lovely colors, very usable. Not only do you receive word accents, but there is over 1/2 page of just cut words/phrases. While many of the stickers are what you'd expect to find in such a collection (tabs, tags, circles) many are rather fresh or at least feel like they are - scalloped shipping lables, tickets, flags & arrows. Rating: Good Purchase.
Next on my list is a couple of Amy Tangerine items. I hate to admit it, but I am just not a fan. I've tried to be - it seems like the 'hip' thing to be. But I keep being disappointed. I have only 3 12x12 sheets of her papers and a 6x6 of her first collection, and it seems almost all of this will go into the 'pass-along' bin. And while I often love what I see of her embellishments, they just seem to fall flat when they get home. Well, except for the Stamps and because I'm a sucker for 'what you see is what you get') I just purchased two additional embellishment items; but feel that I really should rate all three of my AT purchases:
- Flair: This was my first purchase of this line. Oh my. While I really was excited by the look of this flair on the website, when I got it home - Oh my. It's terrible. I've used a couple of the pieces because I refuse to just discard it out-of-hand after paying for it. But the flimsy items in these packages should not be passed off as flair. Rating: Not what I thought (& won't do it again).
- Bits - Vellum Envelopes: There is a diecut 'Hello' card at the front of this package, so while the description said 'vellum envelopes' I rather thought that either they were printed (like the hello card that I originally did not know was a diecut) or that there were other cards included (once I saw the diecut). No, just the one 'hello' card. And if you're expecting vellum envelopes that you might place lovely little souvenirs or sequence or whatever in, No. If this is vellum, it's a vellum I've never used before. The envelopes are opaque and, while not cardstock, don't feel like vellum in the least. While they are in lovely colors, they are definitely not what I thought I was buying. (I used one on the last layout below.) Rating: Good Purchase/Not what I thought.
- Bits - Wood Veneer Tags: Alright, these are cute. BUT... these are not your Studio Calico 'veneer's. These are true veneer - if you've ever had anything to do with furniture refurbishing you know what I'm talking about - those paper-thin veneer sheets you get at Home Depot. These are extremely cute and extremely usable; but I was rather shocked that my wood is the same thickness as my diecuts. Rating: Good Purchase/Not what I thought.
And now for a few This & That's that I've ordered... just because I believed they were adorable and usable:
- Pebbles Cards & Pockets: Library cards in library pockets - adorable. Colors - adorable. Usability - hmmm. These are the perfect thing for card-makers in my opinion because the sentiments on the pockets are 'Congrats' 'Birthday Wishes' 'Thinking of You' 'Hello', etc. But I am sure to find them usable on my pages by just covering up the sentiments with diecuts (which I would have done with blank ones as well). Rating: Good Purchase.
- Heidi Swapp Memory File Color Instaframes: Okay, I've had these for a few months but definitely think they warrant mentioning. They are perfectly colored to use with cream-based or white-based papers, they come with rub-ons for the bottom of the frames, your photo actually slides inside the frame creating a truly substantial element to your page, and the package includes label & other small stickers. Downside - only four frames and all these rub-ons leftover. It would be great if I could just purchase an Instaframe 'refill'. Rating - Great Purchase.
- Studio Calico Diecut Frames: If you want your photo to fit inside the frame, it will need to be 2-1/8 x 2-1/8. But I warn you: the frames are a true transparent vellum and the three edges are extremely narrow. These frames are just cute. But, I've had these frames since February and have yet to use one. Rating: Not sure.
- Alison Kreft for Webster Pages Paper Bags: These are lovely. I'm just not very sure about whether or not it was a good purchase because $3.00 for 6 small paper bags seems rather expensive - but that's probably just me and I suppose it's fine. Not going to rate this one - just know they are very pretty little bags.
- Alison Kreft for Webster Pages Mini Folders with Cards: Awesome. The quality of the cardstock, the vibrancy of color, the amount of product you receive. Everything about this purchase is absolutely awesome. Now if I can just find the right layout to use them! Rating: Exceptional.
- Doodlebug Mini-Pearls: FlowerBox and Spring collections. I really love these little accents and think the pearl sheen adds a little glamour to my pages... and looks great with Lucky Charm or Maggie Holmes. Each sheet comes with 6-colors of 4-sizes of pearls. However, these collections are extremely similar with the only differences being: Spring has hot-pink and purple where FlowerBox has red and white. And, whether it be twine or pearls, Doodlebugs price point on all their 'this & that's' is spot on. Rating: Hooray.
- Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic: I just want to mention here that on top of loving this paper line, I rate the coordinating embellishments that I've purchased among the best: Fabric Stickers, Phrase, Chipboard, Diecuts, Stamps, everything has been the highest quality and so much fun to use. Rating: Hooray.
- Basic Grey: The Hey You and Fact & Fiction lines I've been talking about for over a month. Bought gobs of their embellishments - chipboard, flags, flair, fabric flowers, diecuts and more (as well as the Knee-High chipboard) - and have loved every single thing. The quality is top notch, the colors beautiful, the usability beyond expectation. From now on, if I see something I like from Basic Grey, I will not hesitate for a single second to snatch it up. Rating: Hooray.
Sorry all the next photos are so very bad, I've been taking them in my garage because the kitchen is 'under construction (spring cleaning). While I was waiting for this months order, I created the first from some American Crafts I had in my stash (I gotta use up this paper!!!) but had to share this great pic of the kids.
"Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn't all a dream?" - Ashleigh Brilliant