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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!

Pros:

  • 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!

Cons:

  • 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!

www.Kaboose.com: Halloween craft inspiration website

Craft stores have had their Halloween stuff out since the 4th of July, and I’ve been lulled into a false sense of having tons of time until showtime. Well guess what? IT’S CRUNCH TIME PEOPLE! Sound the alarm, I’ve got to bust out some halloweenie crafts, STAT!

I have an overstock of coffee filters in my house. Tons of them. And we use a permanent coffee filter thingy, so there’s no natural solution to this problem. As usual, crafting is the answer. I needed a fun craft to do with my kids, and I needed to set up certain conditions. Namely, I needed to already own all of the ingredients, because this crafter in on a spending freeze. Sort of. So I went to the Great Oracle Google, typed in the following keywords: “coffee filter Halloween craft” because I’m super creative when it comes to keywords, and up popped a website I’d never seen before: www.kaboose.com.

I quickly settled on the Coffee Filter Vampire Bats, because they met all of my criteria. I had all the stuff, including the mini clothespins that I just HAD TO HAVE when I saw that Julie Ebersole card with the boxers hanging on the clothesline on the cover of Stampington’s Take Ten magazine. Anyway, the bag of clothespins has been sitting here, unopened, since 2005 or so. Don’t judge.

The Kaboose directions were a snap, but, of course, I made some changes. I didn’t use acrylic paint, because who has time for that? I colored the clothespins with a Sharpie. My kids & I got our fingers inky using inkpads directly on the coffee filter:

I cut each coffee filter in half, and then folded each half in half (does that make sense?). I pretended I know what a bat looks like and cut the wings into scallops:

and then squished the middle of the wings and stuck them in the clothespin’s jaws:

I stuck the googlie eyes on with mini glue dots:

My 2-year-old took one look at it and said, “BUTTERFLY!” That’s right, Butterfly of DOOM… here they are hanging out on my autumn wreath:

Total elapsed time for 7 bats: 23 minutes. The most time-consuming part was finding the package of googlie eyes (they were in the box marked “Bling,” not the box marked “Eyelets,” because I’m clever, but not that clever).

While I was at it, I came up with some coffee filter ghosts that were even quicker and easier. Ball up a coffee filter, stick it inside another filter, throw a tiny clear rubberband on there to secure it, add googlie eyes and Sharpie in an expression. Do ghosts have eyebrows? Mine do!

www.kaboose.com has a wealth of craft ideas, and not just for Halloween. In addition, it’s full of parenting advice, recipes, and games for both kids and moms. I’m adding it to my favorites, for when I need a quick idea, or have some time to kill!

Do you have favorite craft inspiration website? Leave a comment and let us know! There’s still time before the big day, and I need some more good ideas!

Japanese Craft Books

Reported by Susie Ziegler


My confession today is that I am a Japanese Craft Book addict. I know that I am not the only one. Other craft books are great and we all like having varied craft book libraries, but you know how it is when you get a new book or magazine and you really only like one or two projects and the rest are just… meh…not so great? Well, in these books, it’s like craft heaven. I pretty much want to make every single thing. The projects are simple, gorgeous, cute, and a celebration of a life filled with handmade things. Projects are both contemporary and timeless with tremendous visual appeal.

Just look at this! I could get my preschooler to wash the windows if only she had just the right handmade crochet “Magic Scrubber”!
Here, a felt mascot boy and girl take a felt teddy bear on a little perfect picnic all made in miniature.
Pattern books aren’t all of the “Cute” variety such as the mascot books above, although that is what I am personally drawn to. Some books feature “zakka” (zakka= general merchandise) of all kinds. In fact there is a whole series of books titled “Handmade Zakka”. Cotton Paint and Cotton Time are bi-monthly publications full of inspiration and patterns for all kinds of handmade things.
I have a great collection of these books and I do go a little bit crazy when it’s time for me to make a new order for more. I force myself to craft from several books before I let myself buy any new ones.

I know what you are thinking: I don’t read Japanese! How can I possibly use those books? That’s the amazing thing! You don’t need to be able to read them! The instructions are printed visually, step-by-step. If you have a basic knowledge of a craft like crochet, felt craft, embroidery, or sewing, a Japanese pattern book in that medium will not be difficult. Measurements are given in metric, and numbers are always in our familiar Arabic style. Sometimes the books read from “back to front” but I see that as an exciting novelty and not a problem.

Okay, so sometimes the books with pattern inserts are intimidating. If you have strong visual/perceptual skills, you can figure these out.

Many books are much simpler with instructions like these:
If you simply must know what these books say, you can use this handy Japanese pattern help pdf posted at My Little Mochi.

Browse around at Crafting Japanese. This site was very quiet for awhile, but is back up and running with current photographs and links to blogs with photos, projects, and ISBN numbers.

Also check out the Flickr groups, “crafting in japanese” and
“inspiring images from craft books”. Both groups have well over 1000 members and several thousand photos of books and projects to keep you salivating for days and days.

Ready to buy and start your own collection? Brick and mortar sellers include Kinokuniya on the east and west coasts of the USA, and Mitsuwa in other locations. Your city or region just might have a Japanese bookseller or market, but you’ll have to check your local yellow pages.

Shopping online is much easier. You can order directly from Japan at Amazon Japan. People use them all the time and I know you can get the pages translated into English, but in this case, the Japanese freaks me out a little bit. I prefer to shop at YesAsia. At YesAsia, they offer free shipping for orders in the USA over a certain amount. Expect your orders from these sellers to take about a month to arrive from overseas.

Other online sources include Etsy, ebay, SuperBuzzy, and KittyCraft. Crafting Japanese has an online guide to sellers HERE.
You’ll need to know the ISBN number to do any searching at YesAsia or Amazon Japan. I find that doing keyword searches like “craft” “crochet” or “felt” yield very limited results. It is much better to search by ISBN number, but leave out the letters in your search and use the numbers only. You can also browse around these sites by clicking on the “Customers who bought —- also bought —-“, crossing your fingers that you’ll see the specific one you want.

Pros of buying at big online sellers like YesAsia:

  • Wide Selection of books
  • Excellent prices
  • Free shipping depending on your location

Cons

  • Difficult search engines don’t handle the language barrier
  • Listings only have very small cover photos
  • Slow delivery takes several weeks

You can expect more photos and some personal service at smaller sellers, but prices will vary widely. Some sellers will even special order books for you. One ebay order I made before discovering YesAsia was very expensive, but it was packaged in the cutest way!

Prices for these books range from around $6 to over $50 for must-have out-of-print books. Publishers are getting wise to the Japanese craft book trend and are beginning to publish some books in English language versions. There are Aranzi Aronzo, Sock and Glove, and some amigurumi crochet books to name a few.
Inspired? We hope so! Let us know if you’d try out these highly inspirational books!

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