This magazine is based on cards and papercraft but from experience with this magazine, it is predominantly card making. Which is great as it is exactly what I am after. Plus it is not misleading, the 'cards' is significantly more bold in the title of the mag than the 'papercraft' part somewhat indicating that this is what the magazine is more about.
Price & Availability----
The price of it is £3.99 at the time of this review which is very reasonable compared to other card magazines. Plus it gives you the option on the inside to order back issues for a very reasonable price, and also the chance to buy back issues of it's sister magazines. Back issues of this particular magazine are £4.99 inc. postage. Now, granted, the back issues will not take a lot of effort for them to provide you, they are out of date copies that will be clogging their office but I have come across magazines that charge double for requesting back issues with postage and packaging.
This months issue comes with free papers that are Christmas themed which I think is fabulously timed as the kids have just gone back to school (thus more free time) and it is great to get your Christmas cards out of the way so come the first week in December, they can go straight in the post box. On opening the magazine the inside page of the front cover is an advert, then you are greeted by a concise and warming editor's letter and overleaf a double spread contents page. There are pages talking about all the new craft products around then the readers' letters. After this it jumps straight into tutorials, the first one in this months issue is Christmas card tutorials using the free papers they provide you with; now the 'you will need' box covers all of the cards they show you how to make over the following three pages but they're asking quite a lot. For example 'Rio rose stardust card blanks', 'green and pink chalk inkpads', ' scalloped-edge card blanks'. These are three of twelve extra materials on top of the free papers they provide you with. Now a beginner card maker will not know what half of these products are but at the end of the three page tutorial there is a little box called 'simply shopping'. This tells you everything on the previous pages can be bought at a certain website and they provide the URL, but the way the materials are phrased leads you to think these materials need to be purchased from this site alone (at £3.50 for a 10 pack of the Rio Rose stardust card) as they sound like they're something special. The Rio Rose card in question is just dark pink card, roughly size A6 (when folded) give or take a few mm.
The cards themselves are lovely and the tutorials easy to follow, and yes they need to make money for the magazine somehow but I think it is quite deceiving for people who do not know better. Card making is supposed to be enjoyable and dramatically cheaper than buying your own. I can vouch for this as when I worked at a large stationary shop people came to me to run three average cards through the till and they came to over a tenner (!). The cost of the materials they ask you to buy for this tutorial total at over £15. This is to make eight cards. You can buy packs of 10 Christmas cards that donate to charity for about £2. This type of thing happens in every one of their tutorials. This may be forgivable if it was just one of their tutorials but you buy these magazines to try out all of their techniques, otherwise, what is the point? I am not even going to begin to imagine the cost of the materials they insist on you using if you were to do every tutorial in the magazine to get the same results they do.
They have tutorials showing you how to do random techniques, like pleating, embossing and ruffling. This month's issue also has clock making pages as their main papercraft tutorial.
-Not packed with full pages of adverts every other page, like fashion magazines for instance.
-Great varying giveaways.
-Can request back issues for reasonable price, and those of their other magazines.
-Card Designer of the Year competition and win loads of prizes as well as feature in the magazine.
-Shows lot of pictures from readers of the cards they have made using their tutorials, so you know nothing they show in the magazine is beyond your ability to make.
-Their actual card making tutorials seem to be one big subliminal advert.
-Cannot be found in small newsagents.
-Materials they tell you to use for their tutorials can total a lot, even for one tutorial.
First port of call would be WHSmiths, may be available in large supermarket chains but varies depending on the size of the store.
I always like buying this magazine because its always up to date with the various new trends in the card making market. Whether it be new card material, new glue to new tools to can use they with keep you up to date. It also has letters from readers who have completed either the project in the magazine or their projects they have completed.
The projects are picture by picture so are very useful even a beginner can follow. Towards the back they are a list of all very good suppliers so you can purchase the needed bits and if you cannot get something you need get in touch with them and they will source it for you. There is always competitions and giveaways to challenge you to, and a very nice free gift to tempt to subscribe to the magazine so you do not miss a copy of this magazine.