I’m going to briefly transport y’all back in time… A time when I first returned to scrapbooking after a baby-making hiatus. I will never forget opening up the pages of Creating Keepsakes and being hit in the face with S.T.Y.L.E. Fun, quirky, bright, doodled and like nothing else I had ever seen. That style and breath of fresh air was brought to me by the fabulous Elsie Larson (previously Elsie Flannigan). Elsie’s style quickly took off in the industry and everyone was clammoring to her chic blog, A Beautiful Mess, to try and create that vintage, whimsical, and dare I say, hipster, aesthetic that we hadn’t seen before. Fast forward a few years and Elsie has teamed up with her adorable sister Emma to keep pumping that vibrant, vintage style into the blog that has grown from crafting and home decor into a complete and perfectly packaged lifestyle website. I dare you to go over there and NOT get lost for hours.
Here’s a quick walk through of what this fabby little app does.
The welcome screen greets you with the options to choose a pre-designed background or use a photo from your camera roll. Here’s a look at the backgrounds screen. (We will get to additional purchases later)
You next will be prompted to scale and crop your background or photo. One minor issue I had with this is that you can only have your photo be a perfect square. Not the biggest deal but can be somewhat restrictive.
Next up is your main workspace. Here you can choose to add filters, borders, text, doodles and phrases.
Let’s look a little bit more into each of the options we can play with:
There are six filters and once chosen you can adjust the opacity, brightness and contrast. Pretty easy to use and spiffy. I look forward to even more filters to be added!
There are 25 free borders and three additional border packs you can purchase. One interesting thing to note is that borders are their set size. They can be moved and rotated, but not made larger or smaller. Don’t like your border? Hit the big “X” and try something new! *tip* Layer borders for a super-fun look!
After a recent update, there are now 18 free fonts plus one pack that you can purchase. There is one fabulous little dingbat font in there that I just loved in that extra pack and purchased it. A “pro” I found with the adding fonts is that as you type you get a preview of the actual font you choose as you type. A “con,” I found is that there is no enter button so you cannot add a paragraph or multiple lines of text. Another problem I ran into is that when resizing the words is that it will rotate your line of text if you’re not careful.
The doodles are a blast to play with! There are 40 free doodles and two extra packs for purchase which are strictly word bubbles and arrows and symbols. One interesting to note is that you get some arrows, symbols and word bubbles in the free pack, not just as many. So unless you REALLY love word bubbles and arrows and symbols, I don’t see the super need for those! Doodles can be resized by pinching and expanding your fingers as well as rotating.
The phrases are written in Elsie’s adorable signature handwriting and there are 18 for free to play with. The two “extra” packs for purchase have specific themes; one holiday and seasonal and the other is couples/love themed.
Once you’re done with you’re creating, you’re asked to confirm and then are taken to a screen that states your photo has been saved to your library. You also have the options to share start again and share your photo. You can share it easily on instagram, facebook, twitter and through email.
This app is currently available in Apple store and compatable with iPhone 3GS through iPhone 5 (and optimized), iPod touch 3-5th generation and iPad. There are plans to have it released for Droid later this summer or early fall. PLEASE NOTE: There is an imitation of this app in the Apple store that also sells for 99 cents. Please, please make sure you purchase the one by Red Velvet Art, LLC.
Overall this is a fabby little app that really appeals to an instagram and crafty audience. The initial charge is 99 cents and each extra pack available for purchase is 99 cents. I think you get more than PLENTY of content for your initial 99 cent “investment.” I don’t feel there is any great pressure to purchase the extra packs. However I did love that extra font pack and it was well worth another dollar it to me. I think it simply comes down what your style is and what you plan on using the app for. There were a few negatives with this app for me; Adjusting size and rotation of items can be a bit cumbersome as well as the inability to create multiple lines of text at one time. Although I love the color options that are available I do wish there were more. Another issue I ran into was that there’s no, “undo,” or, “back,” or layering options. Once you set a frame, phrase or embellishment in place, it’s permanent. If you want to change something, you have to start all over. I expect that these are issues the makers of the app are aware of and will be fixed with future updates. I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is a brand new app and that nothing is perfect on its first go ’round. There’s still quite a bit to said about what it offers for a nominal fee. I’ve truly enjoyed playing with it and will keep using it when posting photos online. Well, what do you think, crafters? Have you tried playing with the Beautiful Mess app? As always, let me know what you think in the comments!
(Disclosure: I purchased this app and all additional “extra packs,” at my own expense. I have no affiliation with Red Velvet Art, LLC or A Beautiful Mess blog)