Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smish Smash, I was making a craft!

Today's project details a sort of smash book/junk journal that I made for a swap. The assignment was to alter an agenda or journal and make a matching pen. Instead of altering a pre-made book, I created one from scratch, so that my partner can use it as a smash book. For those of you who don't know what a smash book or junk journal is, well... get on this wagon, because they are FUN, FUN, FUN! Especially if you have a tendency toward disorganization. Or, actually, it's great for the people who do keep their stuffs in order too.  What you do is gather materials that you like or think you might utilize at some point in your life (in the paper-crafting or similar genre; facts being facts, you cannot fit a dress or fancy piece of furniture or any other super bulky item into a smallish book) and fit them together into a collected journal. You can include papers you like / flat embellishments such as chipboards, dies, cardstock cutouts, etc. / ribbons / tags / photos. Really, the options are limitless, as long as your inclusions can fit into your book. You can put them in whatever fashion or order you like. It can all be "smashed" or "junked" in there in a beautifully messy stash, or it can be sectioned into categories of your preference. Anything goes.

There are several ways to create the journal, or the housing for all that "junk." For this journal, I simply cut chipboard to size and made covers, then bound everything together with binder rings. This works nicely to me because you can add and subtract items from the journal with ease. Here's a photo of the journal I made:

You don't have to make your cover(s) fancy; I just stepped it up a bit since this is an item I made for a swap. My next junk journal will be for myself and I'm thinking of Mod Podge-ing a bunch of images that are relevant to *me* all over the front and back covers. Very easy and very effective in the smash universe. The important thing I'm wanting to show here is the simplicity in using chipboard for covers and binder rings for puttin' all that mess together.

The inside cover has a pocket and the first "page" is also a pocket, so this gives you an idea of how you can hold items that aren't specifically paper. I put some stamped images in one pocket and vellum quotes, tags, and tickets in the other pocket. You can include paper clips, photos, ribbons, etc. in any pockets.

Fearing I would get in trouble for swaying too far from the assigned swap theme, I printed a calendar for the next page. Nothing says "agenda" like a calendar, right? Crisis averted. For said calendar, I just found one on Google (*swooooon*) and printed it onto paper that coordinated with the covers:

Once I got the all-serious calendar out of the way, I proceeded to smash away, sticking various papers that I thought my swap partner might be able to use for projects or inspiration. Once again, the great thing is that if she looks at them and wants to puke out, she can pull whatever she hates out and replace it/them with her preferences. Then, in effort to bring things back down a notch and add some more journal-y/agenda-y feel to the project, I cut some regular notebook paper down to size and stuffed a load of that in there.

That's the smash book in a nutshell, but I wanted to make sure and show the matching pen! I used a normal ball point pen that already came with the tip and grip in a blue that matches the rings on the binder. Awesome! I inserted a tube of paper that matches the covers of the book and added glitter to the clip of the pen cap. The bow/butterfly that I adhered to the pen cap is the same lace trim on the covers too. And finally, I made a beaded butterfly charm to bauble from the pen cap. I made sure to mostly decorate the cap because that way if the pen runs out of ink, she can transfer the cap to a new pen and always have a pen that matches her journal.

I would love to see your junk journals, so please feel free to comment a link!

'Til then,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blocks for my Blockhead Sister

I'd like to share a project that took me from this:

To this:

It all started when I saw a package of plain wooden craft blocks on clearance at Hobby Blobby. I saw them and they screamed at me, "Buy me! I'm fun!" I don't know if it's because I have some inherent love of wooden toys (I think I might have been tapping into some childhood glee-filled memories) or I'm just weird, but those blocks were in my cart with zero hesitation. And then I got home and put them on my scrapbook desk. A week or so later I moved them to a drawer to get them out of my way. A few months passed and I finally graduated them from the drawer to a catch-all basket that is generally filled with "someday projects."

And there they sat for over a year. *Blush* Yep, that's how I roll. Well, I am kind of broke as we dash toward Christmas & New Year's and my sister decided to be born somewhere in all this mess,  so when I saw the scribbled reminder on my calendar, I panicked. "What can I do?" I asked myself, "Don't be a fool!" I cried in return, "You have a thousand promising leads for handmade gifts!  JUST PICK SOMETHING AND DO IT!" Thus, the block idea.

My sister is an avid collector of books. She walks into used book stores and transforms into some sort of publication serial killer. She smells books. She looks at books with funky, tilted eyebrows. She rubs books' bindings and smiles eerily to herself. Once, I had my Norwegian friends send her a copy of Harry Potter in Norwegian and I thought I'd pushed her over the edge into a pool of otherworldly happiness. But, I digress. Point is, the woman likes books and so, in turn, has a place in her home where she keeps them. Simple enough concept.

After spending our childhood in Italy, we grew a love for Italian arts, including their old theatre characters. I decided that the blocks would make a great decoration for her bookshelves and that I should portray some images of our beloved characters and miscellaneous pictures to coordinate. After Google and I threw back a few drinks together, we came up with the following set of images:

You're a good friend, Google. We should hang out again sometime. Anyway, what you see here is the aftermath of me printing and cutting the images to size. They looked a little humdrum, so I decided to ink the edges in such a way that made them appear older. I was really happy with the effect:

Then it was just a matter of Mod Podge-ing the squares onto the sides of the blocks; each block was the happy recipient of two unique images, and then I covered the remaining sides with various coordinating papers.

While the Podge was drying, a thought struck me. What would hold the blocks? How would I give them to her? I imagined thrusting a handful of blocks at her, trailing with a, "Happy birthday!" and it just wasn't settling quite right to me. The blocks needed a "home base." Somewhere that she could set them in a collective manner if she wanted to. And also so I could hand them to her efficiently. I dug up a red dish thingy that was pretty much already perfect the way it was. But what fun is that? So I altered it slightly with some lacy trim, a beaded charm, and some beaded stick-pins, which provided a really nice touch. Now she has the option of setting the blocks up in the dish or separating some of them out next to the dish. Or if she wants the blocks to all be free-floating, she can opt to use the dish for crackers or something. That's when I realized the gift was a two-fer. Awesome. You saw the finished project up at the top, but here is a zoomed up photo of the beaded stickpins & charm on the corner of the dish. I hope she likes it!

'Til then,