Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review: Archivers' Totally Clear Acrylic Album 2 Class

Yep! I made it out of the house on Saturday despite my rather painful weekend (my spine was being quite bitchy, let me tell you.) Archivers' and an acrylic album beckoned and I could not but follow. ;)
This is the cover of the finished album. One thing I have to give Archivers credit for is always using great quality "ingredients". The class was $18, which I think was a fair price considering the outcome. If you just want a clear album, yes, you can make it cheaper on your own, provided you have the necessary stamps or a similar set you're willing to substitute, but I do enjoy the social aspect of the classroom experience, especially getting to see what other people do to their albums to make them unique. Even with explicit instructions, everyone has their own flair.

One thing Archivers has improved on drastically over the last year is its instructor training. In the past I attended some classes that really seemed as if the instructor had never made the project before--or even read the instructions till they got to the class. Not good. When I pay a class fee, I expect that part of that fee is paid to cover the instructor's time and skill, so when an instructor just reads from the same instructions I have sitting in front of me, I'm really unhappy. I can read on my own. Really. I have a rather useless English degree under my belt. This time, our instructor was not only familiar with the class and able to actually teach, she also had a lot of handy tips, tricks, and ideas to share. In the past, I've had instructors get nervous, even snippy, when I diverged from the instructions because I preferred a different look (for example, I almost always do all I can to avoid the colors peach and yellow in any project I make. That's because these colors are gross. Seriously. Gross.) Lisa (the instructor who ran the class) was encouraging and didn't freak out when I dumped out all of the pens and things onto the table to use the little bucket to trace a circle.

I'm only showing a page or two here because I don't want to spoil the class for those who'd like to take it. Let me just say that I was very pleased with the results. One tip I highly recommend is to remember to bring your photos to any album class. Inevitably some parts of the project will be intended to overlap a photo, and you're bound to lose the pieces or have them damaged if you try to take them home and add them later. Also, if you are like me, you will let the album sit around forever waiting for pics to be added if you don't finish it in one sitting. Also, bring your own adhesive. I've never been to a class that wasn't stingy about their adhesive, so I won't blame Archivers for this--it seems to be a disease all instructors are infected with and a pet peeve of mine, but so it goes. I always pack my own. It's especially a good idea to bring your own tape runner when working on a project like this one without any protective sleeves. You want all of your photos and embellishments to withstand a lot of handling.

And yes! Here is another area where Archivers has improved dramatically. Remember that summer themed chipboard book class from last year? The one that took an extra four hours to complete outside of class, even if you did bring your photos? I'm a very quick scrapbooker, relatively speaking, and if I had four hours of extra work, I can only imagine how many of these albums went unfinished. I've started taking their classes again pretty regularly and they seem to have learned that people really prefer to actually finish a project when they take a class. And we don't want to leave the class totally stressed and out of breath from having to endure an intense time crush. The acrylic album class was relaxed, yet kept me busy enough that I didn't get bored and start wandering the store (short attention span). We left with a cute, completed project and a good 20 pictures (or thereabouts) beautifully displayed. Neat!

If you are the kind of person who freaks out about cutting their photos, you may want to bring duplicate copies or choose not to take this class since it does require a fair amount of photo trimming. If you're like me, though, and like something kind of funky and fun, you'll love this class. In the end, the time and money I spent on this class was well worth the results and I do think this album will be one I enjoy for a long time. I also feel confident now that I know how to use acrylic albums, which I didn't feel I could do before. Good class. Take it if you have an Archivers near you.


Adrienne said...

Hey! It's Adrienne from fiskateers! I love clear albums but, im so scared to get started! Any tips?!

Lisa said...

I did that same album at Archiver's, the class was fun and I agree it was well worth the $18. Yours looks awesome!

I love your entry at SYC with the birthday cake, you rocked that challenge!

Dana said...

Such a great job on that album! I am also soooo jealous you have an Archivers near you! I have been to one only once and was in love with that great store!!!