I really like that the items for each card are stored in a large ziplock baggie, with the embellishments inside of a smaller baggie, so you don't have to guess which piece is supposed to go with which card. And of course, the stamp sets are great. This month, they are Tropi-cool.
I decided, for the first month at least, to follow the steps as closely as I could to see how difficult it would be for someone who is getting started. Let's take a closer look.
The first card I did was the pears. It was pretty straight forward, but when it came to coloring the pears, I didn't have the re-inkers that they said to color with, so I used Tim Holtz distress markers which did NOT want to blend for some reason or another, but someone starting could have used colored pencils or even crayolas, so not really a deal breaker. The only other item that might have been an issue was the splattering of the Silk. There are other ways of reproducing this splatter (paint on a tooth-brush or using a spray) but these other means aren't as easy as using the silks. And of course, now I want all the colors available because it really creates a cool effect.
For the large pink stripe on this card, I was supposed to use an ink brayer. I own 2, but could not find either one of them! I finally wound up just dragging the ink pad lightly down the piece of paper. it was acceptable. I like this card enough that I will definitely be reproducing it, but will use a different banner. After the 'fail' coloring the pears with the last card, I colored this with copic markers...much better. One thing I would like to point out: the sequins come in 3 different sizes! This is hard to find in the industry, most companies only sell packages of sequins in one size.
For this card, I did find my brayer...and am excited about the result. Before, I have only tried to create a gradient look (going from dark to light smoothly) with my brayer, I had never tried mixing colors like this. I think the background is awesome, and immediately thought I'd be getting more use out of my brayer now. And isn't that the goal of the box, to show you different ways to use what you have? (notice how my goal of critiquing for a beginner disappeared lol) I think I would have still been frustrated by the need for a brayer to create this card if I hadn't had one. I also didn't have any of the three colors of ink that were suggested since I'm only starting and now have a total of 7 of Fun Stampers Journey inks. I decided to use distress inks. It came out fine. And if a beginner were to get a brayer, the technique is not hard; so I still give it a thumbs up.
This card was very similar to the last one, but used additional stamps. I like that it added the flowers, but wish the instructions had mentioned how to shape the flowers for those who don't know or wouldn't think to get out their embossing tool. I do like how the instructions have good pictures so that you don't have to figure out where to put them on the card. Once again, I used Copics to color the stamped images, but colored pencils would have worked well too.
So, final opinion on the box for a beginner: go for it if you already have some inks and tools to create with; or if you can get together with a friend who has the items once a month to create them. I'm sure any Jouney Coach would be willing to schedule a play date with you :)
And if you're already an avid crafter with all kinds of tools and supplies: I like it because if you're lacking mojo, it gives you the directions and may even teach you a different way to use something you've had in your arsenal for a few years, and who could turn down another stamp set?