Tag Archives | Altered Surfaces

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, and a GIVEAWAY!

Reported by Heather Voinski

Wreck This Journal, by Keri Smith,encourages you to experiment and have fun while trying your best to wreck it! Flip to any page in the book and you will find a prompt. Fun prompts, destructive prompts, creative prompts to help your creative juices flow. These prompts range from things like cracking the spine, to ripping out pages, to taking it for a walk on a string or taking it in the shower with you!

It’s interactive, and you make it your own by following these prompts. There is no right or wrong way, there is only your way! No two books look the same when you are done with the pages in this book because you make it uniquely yours.

I’ve always had the heart of a journaler, but every time I pick one up it never gets far. I start with good intentions, but life interrupts and it gets pushed to the side. When I read about this book on-line, I thought it sounded like a fun idea! I put it on my wish list and Santa answered my wishes with a pristine copy for me.

I didn’t get to “Wreck This” right away. When I look back now, I knew there was a reason I didn’t get right at it…I just didn’t need to do it at that moment. I was already in the middle of a creative flow and had a lot of things going on. But not so long ago I began a creative slump! More than a slump….I stopped altogether and didn’t know what to do to get myself back again. I was in need of something to pull me back to myself. Will this journal do it? We shall see. I picked it back up and flipped to a page and started my journey with this fun journal.

I opened my journal and read a warning message on the second page…hee hee…

I will definitely grieve for my little book, it’s just sooo cute with it’s clean, straight pages. Live more recklessly?? Let’s get started!!

First to read the instructions! The letters are screaming “color me in” so I precede.

Day 1…..Flipped open my book to my first prompt. My first page says ‘Collect Fruit Stickers Here’. I’m already getting good vibes because the journal gods are watching and gave me an easy task that really is soooo me. I’ve been collecting fruit stickers for some reason for the past few months and I seem to have been sticking them everywhere (it’s an obsession that I should speak to a professional about…I volunteer you). When the husband asks me why, I always reply “I’m going to use them for something” but at that moment I never knew for what. Enter journal gods.

I stick my favorites on it immediately and I get a little jolt of energy…..oh dear this is fun….what can I do next! I broke out my pens and away I went. Who knew drawing in books was so fun!!

Day 2…The next page I flipped to was a blank page that said to “draw lines while in motion”. Hmmm….grabbed my color pencils and went for a walk. Drew various lines trying to stay straight but with no luck.

Day 4…another blank page with a prompt for me…”this page is a sign. what do you want it to say?”. The first thing that came to my mind of course.

Day 6…the book wants me to crack the spine. I’ve never done that to a book before. Here goes nothing.

Day 7…started carrying my book around the house with me in a basket with my various wrecking materials. Husband is starting to look at me weird….I shake it off and get back to work on the page I flipped to that says “fill this page with circles”. Task accomplished and I am really feeling the love for my new pens.

Day 9 and another sign from above. Feeling a bit unsettled after a bad day at work. Page that I flip to says to tear it out and crumple it. I feel better within minutes!!

Day 11…Family members are curious today of the book I have had my hand in for the past few weeks. On my page today I am instructed to “close your eyes…connect the dots from memory”. After I have a try at it so does my family.

When we are done I get destructive and leave my mark…

And then I take a bite out of it. I am letting loose and having a blast and getting stares from everyone.

Day 14…I am definitely feeling more creative. While sitting on the couch I flip to an instructions page with my new red sharpie in hand (I’ve been itching to write with it). I’m instructed to “Doodle over top of: the cover, the title page, the instructions and the copyright page”. I realize that I am going to need more that the supplies in my little basket and off I go with everything to my scrapbooking desk. An hour later I am feeling wonderful and I have finally made my journal really look like my own. I have to wait for the paint and stickles to dry before I do anything else.

While waiting for it to dry, I finish a project that I have had on my desk for a while. I realized that my slump is over and I am creating again at my desk.

I continued with my journal and I am proud to say that I have only a few blank pages left in it. As promised in the beginning, I can honestly say it helped me be a little more reckless and it was helpful in getting out of my creative slump that I was in. It definitely made me get messy and step out of the box. What it also made me realize is that I am more of a art journal girl than a traditional journal girl.

While browsing Keri Smith’s website I came across the Wreck It FLICKR group and the amazing images of many different journals and other’s interpretations of their own. Their images are so very inspiring! I definitely encourage you to look!


  • Creative fun in your hands!
  • You don’t need any special tools to wreck it, just what you have on hand.
  • Great price and keeps you busy for hours and hours!


  • Hmmm….I really don’t have any. Not even one!

This book retails for $12.95 and can be found in almost every book store.

So what do you think? Have you Wrecked a journal or do you have one sitting there waiting to be done like I did? Let us know! Please feel free to share links to your journal in the comments. We would LOVE to see them!

GIVEAWAY ALERT! In celebration of my creative slump being OVER, we are giving away one pristine unwrecked copy of Wreck This Journal to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered; winner to be picked on Saturday, September 12, 2009. Good luck!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight : C&T Publishing

Reported by Melissa Norris

Part of C&T Publishing’s line of products is the Create & Treasure line of alterable blank board products. And that is where I chose my review items from. I chose the 6 x 6″ black board book and the blank board box shadowbox.
Blank Board Box Shadowbox

The shadowbox is similar to the one that Sara chose, but mine was a hinged box and did not have any type of acetate window. The box is quite sturdy and made of white paperboard that is ready to accept any type of media, from paint, to stamping, to paper and Mod Podge. The hardest part for me was figuring out what I was going to do with it because there are many options.

I chose to make a little shadowbox featuring some photobooth style picture strips my family had gotten on a recent museum trip. In each window there is a little bottom and top “ledge” in which to place keepsakes for the full 3D shadowbox effect. Those pieces slipped right out so that they could be covered easily and so you could easily cover the back of the box. Other than those pieces, nothing else can be moved or unassembled.

my finished shadowbox

The box took Mod Podge and paper well, but it may have not been my best decision. Because it is an assembled paper product, the corners weren’t always flush, which didn’t make a good area for paper piecing. And sanding didn’t really help my cause, but it was a poor decision on my part, there is nothing the company could change based on the type of product it is.

The seams don’t meet flush making it hard to paper piece

Overall, I’m happy with my little shadow box and found the product to be easy to use. It might be better to paint or stamp it due to the tricky seams, but it’s a great sturdy product and makes a sweet little shadow box.

  • White paperboard is easy to alter
  • Affordable prices as compared to wood alternatives
  • Pre-assembled, nothing for you to do but decorate
  • Sturdy and stands up well
  • Pre-assembled, which makes it difficult to decorate at times
  • Seams don’t always match up to even corners
The shadowbox retails for $8.95 and can be purchased directly from C&T, Create for Less, California Paper Goods and local craft stores.
6×6 Black Board Book
The black board book is a 6×6 mini book with a spine. The pages are made of the same white paperboard as the shadowbox with a black coating, so the core is still white. I chose to whip up a little mini book of our ski trip this past December.
my finished mini book

I started out with the cover and coated the book with Mod Podge and a sheet of cardstock. I thought everything was fine and started adding my embellishments. However, after starting to turn the page, I heard that distinctive crack sound. The sound of the cardstock popping off of the cover. The problem is that the black coating is slick and shiny and has very little texture. This makes it difficult to cover in paper. So when moving on to my first set of inside pages, I had to sand the entire page before applying my Mod Podge and cardstock. This time it stuck a lot better.

The cardstock did not stick well to the book with Mod Podge
The pages have a white core

I really like the size of the book, but due to having to sand before applying paper, you really have to coat every page, losing the point of the black book, you might as well just order white. Also, this book is not really made for embellishments. Because of the spine, there is no room to add thick embellishments like chipboard or buttons. However, I plan on remedying that by removing the spine and using my Crop-a-Dile to punch holes and add binder rings on the side of the book.

the black coating is shiny and smooth


  • Good 6 x 6 size
  • Sturdy paperboard, not as thick as some chipboard albums
  • A nice spine and black pages, would be great for a simple photo book
  • White core, not a solid black book
  • Black coating is smooth, making it hard to alter without sanding or other prep
  • Spine inhibits the use of thick embellishments
Overall, despite the cons, I’m still happy with this little book. I have found was to easily overcome the cons, so it’s not a big waste for me. And I can see this book being a very nice presentation for small photos; a simple, beautiful photobook.
The 6×6 black blank board book retails for $6.95 and can be purchased from C&T, California Paper Goods, and Scrapbook Heaven.
The Ready to Go blank board products from C&T Publishing are great products. They are made of sturdy materials, are ready to use, and make a great surface for altered art. Have you tried any of these products? Let us know what you think!

And how about a giveaway!! C&T is donating eBooks to 3 winners! So leave us a comment with the type of crafting book you enjoy most. You can enter on any of the C&T Publishing posts and have until Friday at Midnight! Email subscribers click here to leave a comment and enter!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Altered Surfaces

Reported by Tami Bayer

This beautiful book, Altered Surfaces retails for $16.99 and was not as easy to find as I had hoped. I purchased mine online from Cat’s Craft Cupboard. I’m happy to tell you that this 2008 book is currently more widely available online at Stamping Details, Amazon and Target. You may just need to add this to your library, and I’m hoping you can purchase it locally.

I was fortunate enough to have taken a class from the author of this book, Chris Cozen. She is a working artist with Golden Artist Colors, Inc.. I really wanted to learn more from her, so I’m enjoying the process of taking in the information in her book. It is small, but mighty. Each of the 50 pages is filled with useful information and vibrant samples for inspiration. I would classify it as a reference book. It covers mixing paints and using different types of acrylics, glazing mediums, gels, pastes, and grounds to achieve different effects. Honestly this is a whole new area of art for me. I only have a few of the products in the book to work with, but found that I can do so much with them.

This is a card I made based on the section for making handmade papers using interference colors. The background is made completely with paint on watercolor paper, and the tag is also painted before I stamped it.

The book covers working with paper, canvas, board, and plastic surfaces. So far I have played with canvas and paper. I found her writing style to be just like her teaching style–fresh and inspirational. She discusses what doesn’t work right along side what does work. I love reading about the creative journey she has taken working with artist grade acrylic paints. Even if you don’t have Golden products, I believe that there is much to be learned from Altered Surfaces about color, texture, and form. If you have any interest in mixed media , art journaling, or canvas, this book is a must have.

Do you have this book or have you taken a class from the author, Chris Cozen? I’d love to hear your opinions, if you have.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!