Mixed Media Steampunk Journal

SAMSUNG CSCAfter watching Marion Smith Design’s Ustream Video at least three times, I decided to tackle her journal project, which involves upcycling the cover of an old book and machine stitching the signatures. Although I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, I can say with utmost certainty that I will never again make a mini album this way. EVER!  In hindsight, I recognize that my choice of papers was definitely not the best. But, that was only part of the problem. Where I got hung up was on attaching the first and last signature pages (leaves) to the inside covers of the book. It just didn’t work for me the way it did for her. Again, I’m certain my paper was at least part of the problem. I tore the front end paper on my first attempt and struggled to figure out how to fix it. So, in my frustration, I left the book sitting, unfinished on the kitchen table for about a week. Since I had already invested so much time and energy (i.e. passion) into creating it, I was determined to make it work. That’s when I showed it to my husband, who without batting an eyelash, saw exactly what needed to be done. And with that, I was able to finish the inside and get to the much more enjoyable decorating of the front cover.

I have not been able to locate the Ustream video to reference, however, once I do (if it’s still available) I will link it at the end. The gist is this; you rip out the guts of an old hardcover book (I chose one with especially brittle pages) and replace those pages with signatures from paper of your choosing. Note: I did not use Marion Smith Designs downloadable papers. Instead, I used what was in my stash. The cover is painted, distressed, decorated and a sealant is applied (I chose a gel matte medium).

SAMSUNG CSCFirst, the papers I chose; GCD Studios Antiquities and Tim Holtz idea-ology Kraft Resist Paper Stash. The Kraft Resist paper was trouble with a capitol “T”. Therefore, I do not recommend it for this type of project, as it tore easily. However, any paper will tear if you don’t treat it right. This is what happened on the inside cover. So, I used 7 Gypsies Gaffer tape to fix my mistake (i.e. manhandling of my papers).


Another area of trouble was using the recommended distress ink (Tim Holtz) on the cover with a wet medium to seal it. As you probably know, distress ink reacts with water or water based products. I knew this, so I ended up going with my Timber Brown StazOn. But, not until after I gave the distress ink a shot. Some of it stayed put but, not much.


Side note: The original cover color of this book was blue.


I created six signatures but, because of the thickness of the Kraft paper, each signature has only three layers. I added mini envelopes (from an old Sizzix die I found at a thrift store) and embellished them with baked black Sculpey polymer clay.




The “speak no evil” bird was made using UTEE in a homemade mold and the gear die-cuts are from Cricut. 

 All in all, I am happy with the final product and it is currently being displayed on top of one of my bookshelves.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve made one of these I’d love to hear about your experience and see your work.


I’m a Craft Supply Hoarder

It’s true. I can’t pass up a good deal! You know how it is. Crafting is an expensive hobby. SO, sometimes, I have to get rid of some stuff. I gift as much as I can. I sell it too. The goal is to declutter so that I can actually work on my crafts in my studio.

For more information on each item, just give it a click.


Mixed Media Craft Tags

Two tags, both for my sister’s birthday. Why two? Because I started one (tag with bird) then discovered a cool dimensional art journal technique that I wanted to try out on a tag. ..I liked that one so much that I finished it before going back to complete the first one I started. (Side note: I also started a third project somewhere in the middle of these).

Art Journal Tag

Art Journal Tag


Dimensional “Art Journal” Tag
Okay… Gesso, flower die cut, thick lace ribbon, tissue paper, old book page and letter stamps. Technique: Crumple tissue paper (I used thick tissue paper on this) then glue to tag. I cut the tissue paper larger than the tag and left it adhered while I worked on it. Gesso tissue paper several times (for total coverage). Add dimensional embellishments and ripped and folded pieces of additional tissue paper. Gesso again. ..and again, etc. Painted blue, dripped and sprayed white and black acrylic paint. Cut off excess tissue paper around Tag. Wrote “What Day?” on white cardstock and covered in Tim Holtz (TH) Rock Candy Crackle paint. Cut out clear thin plastic (part of some packaging) and glued it in the TH frame using dimensional glue (small tip and dries clear). Did the same with the paper. Adhered to tag. Stamped letters onto old book page, cut out and drew squares around letters using black ink pen. On the back I stamped “Happy Birthday Kat” and stamped the date with my Smash date stamper.


Bird Tag

Bird Tag

Bird Charms Tag
I created my own modeling paste by thickening Gesso with Cornstarch and stamped the letters and flowers with it. All other stamps are from Tim Holtz. ..including the bird and wings, which I fussy cut (well, not so fussy) and adhered together. Tim’s distress inks and stains were applied over the paste and wiped. Note: my homemade paste dries with a crackle effect. Oh, and black lace glued to the bottom.