I've been scrapping for a couple of years, but have never been that pleased with my layouts, no matter how much paper and expensive embellishments I threw on there. They still look somehow "not quite right" even though I put a lot of time and effort into them. As a result, I have felt like I was behind on my pages, and got scrap guilt, compounded with not being happy with the end results anyway. I just felt like I didn't really get what made the pages in the scrapping magazines look better than mine. Having come to scrapping from altered art, it is quite a different mindset, and one that I just didn't really feel like I could get.
Then a friend recommended Clean and Simple - The Sequel and I finally "got" what scrapping was all about, and more importantly, how to actually DO it. Cathy makes scrapping seem as simple as it actually should be. Oh how I wish I had read this one when I started. If you only read one scrapbooking book, this is it. Cathy has a real talent for explaining both philosophy and actual "how to" in a way that is relevant and applicable.
I could only give it four stars though, instead of five, much though I would have liked to. I read this book (The Sequel) first, and since I loved it so much, I bought the first Clean and Simple book as well. Unfortunately, a lot of the ideas in The Sequel are also in Clean and Simple (the original), they are just more fully formed. If I had to pick just one, I'd pick the second book over the first one. Its genius is diluted a bit in my mind however, in knowing that it does have a lot of recycled material. It's still a great book though!