The first thing I noticed is that it's bound on the short side, in a ledger format, without the spiral binding they've used for the last two years. I miss the spiral binding, but the horizontal orientation works well, in my opinion.
Notice all the post-its sticking out the top? I put them on pages that showed stamps I want from my initial thumb-through. I'm in trouble. Serious trouble. Over time, some of the post-its will go away, as the newness of the images wears off and I decide I can, indeed, live without them. And new post-its will be added. Trouble, I say.
These feathers probably will lose their post-it. I already have several feather stamps that rarely get used. But these are so pretty, so coordinated, so "I WANT THEM."
And check out this wine/grape set. I love wine, and this set is so pretty and elegant and appealing! Notice that they are outline images. Sigh. For those of you who love coloring, this catalog is a gold mine. Seriously. It's loaded with fab outline images.
How often do I use background stamps? Not often. But this cloud background MUST BE MINE. I want to give whoever designed this stamp a great big hug of thanks. I have no idea what I will do with it or how it will integrate into my style, but by golly, I'll think of something.
A very impressive part of the catalog is at the end. Hero Arts is jumping on the coordinated-product-line bandwagon in a big way. They now offer cards, envelopes, and 8.5x11 paper in these colors, divided into color families called Hero Hues. Each color has three shades. The paper is two-sided: one white, one colored.
Hero is also organizing its embellishments (flowers, half-pearls, gemstones, metallic decor, and buttons) into Hero Hues. Inks are packaged in Hero Arts packaging now, rather than Memories and ColorBox. Tim Holtz distress inks are coordinated into the line as well.
This is brilliant, but I probably won't be buying the papers (already have a lot of the inks, actually). You've seen the pictures of my paper storage. You know how bad it is. And by bad, I mean "obsessively overstocked."
Other random observations:
1. Lots of clear stamps, still a healthy dose of wood mounted, and some unmounted clings give great variety for buyers. As I said above, those who prefer line art over block stamps will be very, very happy. We block stamp folks still have good selection, though.
2. The sample cards are wonderful, and I look forward to studying them closely for design tips. Lots of inspiration in this catalog.
3. Some of the new stamps look like stamps I've seen from other companies, though in most instances, there's a noticeable difference. In some cases, the Hero versions are better (or at least more useful for me) than other companies' versions. For instance, there is a clear set called Mi Casa of outline images of two houses, a mail box, a tree and some sentiments. I've not bought PTI's house or mailbox sets because they look too complicated for me. Hero's version is, I think, more useable by
lazy simple stampers me. The line art is not as formal as PTI's (I do love PTI's formality, though), but the looser Hero-style art is way less intimidating to me.
4. There still isn't a baby set I want. Too much cutsy. I'm still waiting for a baby set to love. It'll happen. Eventually.
In closing, let me say that I've been buying Hero Catalogs for six years now. This one is much fresher than the last one, without losing the signature Hero Arts style. Bravo, Hero Arts!
[Note: I buy all my Hero Arts stuff from Stampin' Treasures. If you want to check them out, click on the link in my sidebar. Great company...and no, I don't work for them or get paid to promote them in any way. I just appreciate six years of great customer service! I'm also not paid by Hero Arts, though I really think they should! *wink*]