Project Show-and-Tell: An Upcycled Smash Book for My Anniversary

page from an upcycled anniversary smash bookIn my world, the more embellishments the better, and adding embellishments to my smash book was by far my favorite part of a very fun project. For about a week, I kept my book hidden when my partner was around, but I hunted for recycled bits and pieces all the time, and added them to my book whenever he turned his back. I fussy-cut stars and flowers from old greeting cards and vintage wallpaper, words from scavenged books, images from my daughters’ artwork, and letters and shapes from stash scrapbook paper. I used an old strand of plastic beads to edge one page, a pipe cleaner twisted into a bow to top another, and stash twine glued down to frame images and text.

Sometimes I wrote directly onto pages, sometimes I stenciled words onto them, and sometimes I used combinations of stickers, die-cuts, stencils, and handwriting to make words. I rubber stamped hearts and letters, glued down random pages of writing and circled in marker the important words, typed memories into my word processing program and printed them on the  back sides of my kids’ math worksheets.

I added bits of vintage paper doilies, crayon wax seals, my daughters’ colored dried pasta, old Valentines, pinback buttons, ticket stubs, and yes–lots and lots of glitter. And lots and LOTS of glue!

In the end, my smash book definitely wasn’t perfect. There may, in fact, have been just slightly too much glitter. And glue–I very possibly got a little over-enthusiastic with the glue. The crayon wax dripped where I didn’t want it, and the watercolor on one page bled where glue on the backside of that page soaked through (I used a LOT of glue!). My book is messy, and elaborate, and exuberant just like I am, and has all the good inside jokes, not too much schmoop, and only a couple of embarrassing photos from my partner’s fifteen years with me.

In other words, yeah–it actually is perfect.

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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  1. This is tempting me to create a family gathering just to create a few of these. Think of the stories and the laughs. Yep I see a few girls nights coming soon.

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