Monday, August 28, 2006

Scrapbooking Books: Review

When I shopped for my scrapbooking stuff last year, I also picked up a book on scrapbooking. I didn't have any idea which publishers were good so as usual, I let my nose guide me to the sales stacks. This was the only book I saw.

Not really THE ultimate

The book is hardbound and very thick and was published way back in 2000 so my first thought was the precious real state it was going to occupy in my luggage. But my DH convinced me to get it so I would at least have one reference for when I scrapbook. The Ultimate Scrapbooking book is not really the ultimate because it was written prior to 2000. Some of the layouts were made in 1996-1998, so there are many new tools and supplies not covered here. The book gives a listing of the materials and supplies you need to make a featured layout, along with step-by-step instructions. While I found the techniques on matting, framing, lettering, etc., useful, I don't open the book that often because simply put, the featured layouts are not that exciting or inspiring. I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone.

My sister Marissa is the one who knows her scrapbooking books. She very thoughtfully included two scrapbooking books from Creating Keepsakes to my shipment of scrapbooking goodies last summer.

If you should ask me what book you should bring in case you were snowbound in a log cabin with nothing but scraps around, this book would be it.

The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking (Leisure Arts, Inc.; 2005; $5.99 on sale) is a must-read and must-have for all scrapbooking newbies. It discusses scrapbooking fundamentals, moving on to beginning embellishing to intermediate and then to advanced embellishing. Every other page presents a technique - from using a paper trimmer to heat embossing to stamping and machine stitching. Anything you can possibly think to do, it's taken up in this book. Each technique is adequately described and wonderfully illustrated. The featured layouts are so perfect you would be tempted to make one on your own. And why not? With this book as a guide, you would be making beautiful pages in no time.

Who says you can't teach new tips and tricks to old dogs like me?

Scrapbook Tips and Techniques, also by Leisure Arts Publication (2004; $4.99 on sale), is a good companion to the aforementioned Encyclopedia. Once you're feeling confident about your scrapbooking, you can add on by using the tips and tricks featured in this book. The book has chapters on cooking up quick pages, sketches by Becky Higgins, journaling and as a bonus - 50 favorite quotes. The layouts are also awe-inspiring. I am very much tempted to scraplift each and every page.

A jewel dug up at the Booksale in Robinson's MetroEast

The Art of Creative Lettering (Becky Higgins, 1999, P410 on sale) is an old publication by Creating Keepsakes. The newer CK publications on lettering now come with a fonts software CD. But for those who like the appeal of hand-written titles and journaling in their layout, this book is a good resource. It features 50 fonts that can be used for scrapbooking and cardmaking. Becky Higgins illustrates six basic structures that can be easily modified into other designs. The letters contain the numbers from 1 to 9 and both upper- and lowercase letters. While I don't like my own handwriting much, the book can almost make me believe that with a squiggle here and a curlicue there, I could produce such decorative titles.

Pages upon pages of groovy gift wrap of the 1960s

This last book has nothing to do with scrapbooking but my DH lent it to me as a reference for matching colors. The 1960s is known to be the most "visually far-out and faddish of decades." I look at this book and think, oh, why, oh why, couldn't they make patterned paper for scrapbooking like these?

Of course, in the end, nothing can replace watching real people actually using the tips and techniques featured in these books. Or the value of taking up the cudgels, or in this case, your tools, and decisively making layouts. Tools and books can only get you so far. What matters is how you apply them.

Happy scrapbooking!


Anonymous said...

Leeeee!! :D You should get Ali Edwards' book, yung A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking. Well okay baka biased ako kasi favorite ko siya pero sobrang ganda talaga. And those special idea books ng CK mga Hall of Fame, super ganda :D I ordered nga Ali E's latest book + a book called Designing with Type.. di ko pa sure kung maganda (but siguro naman). Wala lang! ;)


Anonymous said...

hello. i love your reviews about the books!