Three and a half stars for a job adequately done.
The title of this book brought up all sorts of expectations for me: yes, I know, you'd think I'd learn by now, huh? Well, when "gift", "scrapbook" and "In a snap" are in the same sentence, my mind makes connections before I know it. These expectations were:
1. The book would focus on small scale scrapbooks (smaller than 8&1/2 by 11) suitable for gifting
2. I would learn how to plan such an album from start to finish
3. The author would teach ways to organize my time so that I could finish the album quickly
4. The book would thoroughly picture some examples of complete gift scrapbooks and/or layout plans, from the first page to the end.
5. I would be shown both how to complete a variety of ready-made albums and also how to make our own albums from scratch
6. The layouts featured inside would be the same kind of high-quality, cutting-edge styles found in Memory Makers magazine
I'd say most of these expectations were fulfilled. I did learn a lot about how to plan my gift scrapbook before I started, tips on how to unify the look of the album and how to cut down on unnecessary materials so that I could work quickly. There were some cute mini album projects detailed in the last section which are to be made from scratch. There were a lot of ideas for theme albums that I wouldn't have thought of on my own, but which I will use to make great gifts for my family and friends in the years to come. I really wasn't surprised that the looks of the scrapbooks that author Pam Klassen used to illustrate these methods were on the simple side-it makes sense that simpler means faster. Not a collage style clutter in the bunch (which suits my style perfectly).
The two that weren't fulfilled do bother me a bit, though. Numbers 4 and 6 just didn't come through for me. We see a few object lessons illustrated with more than one page from an album, but never the whole thing: I wanted to see how a gift album should flow from start to finish. It's one thing to read about it, quite another to see the pictures. At the very least I thought there should have been some flow charts or diagrams to guide me in the final organization; I wouldn't have to follow them slavishly, but they would have helped me with the "big picture" much more than just text. This is a visual medium, after all.
My opinion about that last one, number 6, is based on having read most of the other books that Memory Makers has ever produced. I am familiar with their publications, which usually have at least a few layouts that "wow" me and many more that make impressions on my own layouts long after I am done reading. Making Gift Scrapbooks in a Snap had some nice but unimpressive layouts compared to those other books. I just didn't come away inspired. As any scrapbooker knows, that's half the reason to buy these books!
So, this is a good solid guide to the basic concept of making quick gift scrapbooks. I suspect that beginning scrapbookers will be the ones to get the most out of this, while the more advanced album crafters will be wanting a little more.
-Andrea, aka Merribelle.