I have been an avid scrapbooker since first being introduced to Creative Memories in 1997. Isn’t that how so many people began scrapbooking? Being a designer & an art student at the time, I found it hard to stick with the simple & clean design of CM’s products. I began using found objects & non-traditional materials in my albums. I vaguely knew a bit about scrapbooking kits that I had seen mentioned online, but had it in my mind that this was another cookie-cutter way of putting pages together. After all, someone else was deciding what products went together & I felt restrained by that. Then I discovered Story of My Life’s July Kit, Once Upon a Time in a Beautiful Forest. This kit contained embellishments & papers I had not seen at any local stores and I had to have the exclusive “Hedgie” acrylic stamp designed by Sara Berry. That kit began my downward spiral of addiction to scrapbooking kits.
This month I have ordered eight kits. Yes, eight. I said it’s addiction, didn’t I? To justify these purchases & the expense, I decided to write this feature and find out what others think about kits. While I like all the kits I purchased, I definitely have my favorites. Note: I have not subscribed to any kit clubs thus far.
The first kit I received this month was from Freckle Friends. I was originally drawn to this kit because it contains several products by Jenni Bowlin, who I’ve featured on Funky Finds before. While I like all the products this kit contained & was definitely excited about the back-to-school theme, I felt like I didn’t get much bang for my buck. However, the kit did contain lots of paper – seven pieces of patterned paper by various manufacturers & three pieces of Bazzill cardstock. Their website also has a shop full of non-kit related items.
Martha Bonneau is a member of the Label Tulip design team & also sells kits through her Etsy shop, OhGrrrs! “It's a great way to get new product if you live somewhere where there isn't a scrapbooking store, or if you are like me, the ones near you don't carry the cool new stuff,” says Martha. “My philosophy is don't feel like you have to limit yourself to strictly the product in the kit, it's a good bone structure to start with, but I always find myself adding bits and bobs that didn't come with the kit to make it my own.” I love the Label Tulip September kit & was impressed that they wrapped the paper separately in butcher paper & with cardboard backing for added protection. Being a big fan of rubons, I was excited that there were several varieties included, as well.
My favorite kit that I purchased this month was the debut kit by Scarlet Lime. Founder Christy Tomlinson says the thing that pushed her to create her own kit club is that she loves having “someone else's perspective inspiring me when I feel burnt out on my own creativity.” She also mentions that it's a great way to get an assortment of products that mix & match, without having to spend lots of time at the store or online searching for stuff you might put together. “I also like the fact that most kit clubs are actually a pretty good deal, meaning the retail price of the products included in the kits are more than the price you are actually paying,” says Christy. Her debut kit included two exclusive stamps, another bonus to purchasing kits.
Many of you are probably familiar with Scrap In Style (SIS) a site that combines scrapbooking, education, web-based shows, and much more. I purchased the Sonora High, Class of '79 Collection featuring an exclusive line of paper designed for SIS, Scrap In Style's Tube O'Bling with green & topaz rhinestones, & much more. I also upgraded to the annual Premium Membership which included a 12x12 Leather Anthologie album, a "SIS TV" fleece satchel, the option to reserve the Designer Collections one week before they go on sale, and more. While this is a very cool & unique kit, I have had trouble finding ways to incorporate all the pieces into scrapbooking & other projects.
According to the Sweet Spuds site, the September kit is “funky, it's fresh, and it'll make ya wanna dance on the ceiling. So go on, get down whicha badself.” I really like this kit because it contains lots of cool papers, rubons, and embellishments. It is in fact a funky & fresh kit that is lots of fun to play with.
The remaining two kits I purchased were “Reform School” by the Red Velvet Kit Club and “Study Hall” by Story of My Own. Rachel Denbow, one of the creative minds behind Red Velvet, said, “I think your own blog's philosophy of finding unique pieces & bringing them to other people's attention is similar to our own at RVKC. We want to show people how to use non-scrapbooking products to create surprising layouts.” She elaborated by saying that they strive to include products from other artists, not only to support their work, but to provide creative options for their customers & to showcase the talent of other scrappers. Red Velvet also puts out monthly project kits. I purchased the July embroidery kit & had a blast with it.
All in all I agree that purchasing a kit put together by someone else is an exciting way to step out of your comfort zone. Scrapbooking is a very creative form of expression & way of preserving precious memories. By using items found in various kits, you are exposed to products & ideas you might otherwise never had seen or thought of using. There are hundreds of kit clubs available online, so anyone interested should find plenty of options to suit their taste & style. Happy scrapping!