Thursday, 3 May 2012

Review: Crafts Beautiful Issue 241 (June 2012)

Soooo, the latest issue of Crafts Beautiful dropped through my letter box while I was away last week.  I had hoped that it would have arrived in time for my trip down the M1, but alas! it would seem our postman only works afternoons.  Anyway, it gave me something to look forward to when I got home, other than seeing if my leaky roof had destroyed the whole house, rather than just my small wardrobe (yes - I have two wardrobes).  I'm glad to say that my house (and more importantly my shoes) are still intact.  I just need to get hold of the landlord now to sort out the leaky roof, but he seems to be ignoring my calls and emails. 

Anyway, back to the magazine I'm supposed to be reviewing.  Crafts Beautiful is published by Aceville Publications (the same as Lets Make Cards) and has articles on many different craft techniques.  For example, in this issue there are features on cardmaking, jewellery making, sewing, knitting and crochet, amongst others.

Each issue comes with freebies.  With this issue, the freebies are some seaside themed papers, some retro card toppers and a ribbon pack.  The magazine also has loads of competitions and giveaways.  For example, in this issue, you can win up to £5o of craft goodies.  This is a competition each month where a theme is given and you have to create something to do with that theme.  The theme this time is ice-cream.  I think I might be brave enough this time to enter.  I have an idea in my head, I just need to find time to make it.  There is also a stamping giveaway whereby you can win stamp packs from:
  • The English Stamp Company
  • Rubber Stamp Tapestry
  • Holly's Houses
  • Penny Black
  • Skull and Cross Buns
  • Claritystamps
  • Dotcomgiftshop and
  • Nula.
Other giveaways in this issue include Luxartis brushes, a watercolour master set, quilting tools and washi tape.  This issue also has coupons for The Range and Letraset.

Regular features in Crafts Beautiful include a column written by Create and Craft presenter, Dawn Bibby; a letters page, which this months features me and some of my cards, a crafty SOS with crafter extraordinaire, Joanna Sheen; Net Savvy - a quick round up of what is happening online; and a baking section, which this month is jubilee themed and has a recipe for Union Jack biscuits.

My problem with Crafts Beautiful is that there are too many things that I want to make, and I just don't have enough time.   For example, from the front cover of this issue alone I want to make the little needlework dog, the flower card (which has also served to remind me how very much I want a die-cutting machine) and the knitted cardigan (I may need to re-learn how to knit for that one though).  Other features I like in this issue include the one which gives you ideas on how to use the freebies that came with the mag. I particularly like the recipe book, although apparently it requires a Zutter binder - something I will have to look into I think.  I also like the bright, modern cards in the '7 Ways with Summer Stamps' feature, which uses aeroplane, sunshine and bright coloured bird motifs - something at least to contrast with the current miserable weather.  For the same reason, I also like the makes in the 'Beside the Seaside' feature, which uses fabric and buttons to create some kitsch beachfront designs. 

I also like the classy look of the wedding album and gift box in 'Touch of Class', and I am tempted to try to make the patchwork lavender hearts in the 'Fly Away Home' feature.  I don't think I am too keen on the card in this feature though.

Finally, the Tunisian crochet feature, 'Exotoic Comfort' has got me wanting to attempt crochet, as I've fallen in love with a stripy cushion in this feature/  Luckily (I think) my fiance knows how to crochet, so I'll just nag him to teach me.

The magazine also has an article on a patchworking class, attended by the writer, which includes handy hints and tips.  This has made me revisit the idea of starting up my own craft workshops.  I definitely need to look into this idea more.  Maybe some research over the bank holiday?  Anyway, this article did make me wonder whether the writer was more impressed with the workshop, her new skills, or the brownies that had been on offer.

Other features and articles in the magazine include ideas for using buttons to decorate cards; cut out and keep cardmaking instructions; a small feature on how to make some Joanna Sheen cards; an article based around the jubilee theme showing you how to make cards with Mandarin products; an interview with Claritystamp founder, Barbara Gray; wedding stationary ideas; and lots of ideas for the male of the species.  The magazine definitely has more ideas for guys this issue, I'm guessing due to the impending father's day celebrations.  This is helpful though, as guys are the hardest to design for.

Each 'making' article has a list at the beginning, with details of all the items you will need to make all the products in that feature.  However, unlike other magazines, prices and where to buy these products are not included, which I am a little disappointed with.

The step-by-step instructions are quite simple to follow, but do assume a certain level of prior knowledge.  Whilst I appreciate this with features on cardmaking and sewing, where I do have that prior knowledge, I felt totally lost at the first instruction in the Tunisian crochet feature.  I also feel that the instructions could sometimes benefit from a few photographs showing some of the stages.

Crafts Beautiful also provides all the templates you will need for each feature.  In previous issues, these have been included within pattern pages in the actual magazine.  However, in this issue, they are only available online.  Personally, I much prefer them in the actual magazine, as it is easier than downloading and printing off, particularly as I am forever forgetting to buy ink for my printer.

Overall, I think that this is a good issue and has introduced some new ideas, such as watercolour painting.  I do hope though that the magazine stays true to crafts and doesn't go too far down the arty route.  This may be just from my selfish point of view though, as I don't consider myself 'arty'.  I'd also like to see a return of the pattern pages within the magazine, but then again maybe I should get more organised and buy ink. 

I'm looking forward to using some of the ideas in this magazine in my crafting.  And, I've just found out that I have Saturday off work now, so I may just spend the day crafting.  As always, I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime . . .

Happy crafting.

Holly xx

1 comment:

  1. Hi Holly, Excellent review! I designed the '7 Ways With Summer Stamps' feature, I am soooo pleased you liked them, thank you for the lovely mention. I really enjoyed making this set, it's definitely my style.

    I noticed in your review you mentioned that where to buy the products wasn't included. On the final page of a project, near the bottom is the 'Stop and Shop' which gives details of where the products were purchases, including telephone number and web address. I buy most of my supplies on line, and I have to use items that are current, and the prices vary enormously, maybe that's why pricing isn't included.

    Thanks again for the mention and an excellent review of a fab magazine. I too have a blog -
    maybe you would like to pop over and visit?

    Enjoy trying out your new crafting projects :)

    Colette xx


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