Monday, 30 April 2012

Review: Lets Make Cards Issue 50

Sooooo, this may actually get posted a little bit too late, as the new issue will be out on 4th May, but you can back order issues.
Lets Make Cards (LMC) is published by Aceville Publications.  It is published monthly, and costs £7.99 per issue.  It does claim that the kit you get with it is worth £14.99 each issue.  I could dispute this, but the kit is definitely worth more than £7.99, so its not a great issue to me, and I think it worth buying every month, just for the freebies.
For example, this issue’s kit included:
·         Card blanks and envelopes
·         Backing papers
·         A paper pricking template
·         Die cuts
·         Chipboards
·         Ribbons
·         Brads
·         Embellishments
·         Buttons
·         Sentiments      and
·         A glittery blue pen.
I struggle to remember what comes in each kit, as I’m a lot of a geek and have a bit of organisational OCD and love nothing more than sorting my kit so that it is absorbed into my craft stash.  In fact, I have no idea where I got most of my craft stash from.
For issue 50, the magazine has got a new look, and it would seem that the regular features will be (but don’t quote me on this): a feature on current trends and a letters page (naturally), which includes results from a monthly survey (via the magazine’s online forum), tweets and pictures from the magazine’s twitter followers and a ‘Top Blog’, which this month is daringcardmakers.blogspot.co.uk, but you never know, one day this blog might feature on it (fingers crossed).  The mag also has a feature on how to use your kit.  In this issue, it has 18 ideas, my favourite of which is, although small, ‘Must Be Love’. 
Other regular features are also an ‘Ask The Expert’s’ section, a feature by Corrine Bradd, a ’10 Minute Masterclass’ section and a variety of competitions, with prizes including a 132 piece craft stash, ribbons from www.berisfords-ribbons.co.uk, a Sarah Hurley Steampunk CD-Rom, some pretty craft knives and a Hot Fix tool.
In this issue, I’m liking The Crafter’s Guide to Felt, which has tips on not only how to use felt in your card designs, but how to make felt wool by hand.  I love the strawberry card in this feature and am tempted to have a go at making it myself.  I already have the red felt from making Lilly the Ladybird (please see previous post), I just need to go buy the green felt.
This issue of LMC also has a feature on vintage styling, showing you techniques such as iris folding, paper pricking and decoupage.  It then goes into a bigger feature of paper pricking, showing you how to use the paper pricking template that came with the kit.  My favourite card in this feature is ‘Dotty Leaves’.  I’ve yet to make any cards in this feature though, as I keep forgetting to get a mat, which can be just an old mouse mat, but as luck would (not) have it, I don’t have any of these lying around.  
There is also a feature encouraging you to doodle on your cards, always a hit with me, because I can’t actually draw, but I do love to doodle; my signature doodles being a box and a dog drawn using my thumb as a template.  Not the most original of doodles I know.  Anyway, I think my favourite card in this feature has to be ‘Patriotic Party, if only because it uses lace in its design – a favourite material of mine at the moment.
I love, and have tried out some of the techniques, in the ‘Paper Styling’ feature.  This shows you how to make pretty embellishments for you cards, simply from strips of paper.  I have tried the rose bouquets, but they were a bit of a disaster, and I need to practice.  My fringed flowers, however, were more of a success, and the results are below:


I’ve yet to try to make the origami butterflies and the rosettes from this feature.
The issue also has some ideas on how to use the blue glittery pen in the kit to create pretty cards, my favourite of which is ‘Bird Motif’, and a small feature on how to make boxes.
Each design feature tells you at the beginning what you will need to make the cards in that feature, and nearly every single one will use some bits and bobs from your kit.  It also tells you exactly where to get the items from that are not included in your kit, which saves shopping around and getting frustrated when you can’t fine them.  Altogether in this issue, I have counted 57 projects with full instructions, and there are further inspiration ideas.
Issue 50 also has a feature on the Best of British, which features some of our best British craft business: Josy Rose (www.josyrose.com); Words Like Honey (www.wordslikehoney.com); Crafter’s Companion (www.crafterscompanion.co.uk); The Manor House Hotel (www.activityhotelbreaks.co.uk); papermilldirect.co.uk; and The Craft Barn (www.thecraftbarn.com).
The magazine also has little How Tos, showing you how to cut an aperture, make pretty envelopes, get the best glittery cards, cut a circle (harder than you’d think), tie the perfect bow (which I’ve been trying to perfect, although there is a machine you can get to do this for you now) make origami wings and use a die cutting machine (I still need one of those).
This issue also launches the ‘Cardmaker of the Year’ competition, whereby you have to make a card using just the kit.  The winner will receive £1000 of craft goodies.  I’ve decided not to enter this year as I’m just not that confident yet, but I do intend to enter next year.  Looking at the 2011 winner though I may change my mind on this – it is scarily amazing.
The magazine also has little hints and tips dotted throughout, which can be quite useful and things you probably wouldn’t have thought of yourself.  My favourite this month is how to keep your craft scissors sharp and sticky-free, and its so simple – simply cut your scissors through some course sandpaper every now and again.  Something I had not and probably would not have considered myself, but now seems so obvious.
Unusually for me, I haven’t made any cards from this issue.  I’ve tried a couple of techniques from it.  I also don’t think I’ve used any of the kit.  I think this is due to being too busy rather than lack of inspiration from the magazine, as there are many cards I would like to attempt.  Maybe once I have a bit more time on my hands.  I definitely intend to make some origami butterflies and try out paper pricking.  I also love some of the backing papers that came with the kit, so will be using them in future projects.  I will, as always, keep you updated as to what I make and how.  In the meantime . . . .
Happy Crafting!
Holly xx

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