This is a unique challenge blog where we are inspired by and focus on the Vintage; shabby; mixed-media; art journaling; industrial, timeworn and steampunk genres and encompass the talent, flair, expertise and ideas of many artists that we are inspired by. We welcome all types of projects - cards, journaling, assemblage, layouts, albums, atcs, altered art in fact whatever you want to share (as long as it is in good taste).

Friday 24 November 2017

A Mini Marvel Guest ........

Welcome Everyone, it's the fourth Friday in the month and I'm really ........ extremely ...............
and positively HAPPY to introduce our Guest for November .........
a fabulous journaller and designer, Kate Crane.


Hi everyone, Kate Crane here, and I'm very happy to be here! Not only do I have a passion for all things mixed media, I also have a passion for creating anything small and tiny so when I was asked to be a guest designer for this challenge I was delighted as I knew it would be right up my street.

I have been creating mixed media art and art journaling for about nine years now, and regularly teach classes both in person and on-line. You can find details of all of my projects as well as my classes on my blog, where you will also find links to other social media platforms.

Small is beautiful, and although it can be tricky working on such a small scale it is so worth it for the cute results! I created a journal using small greyboard shapes, and then stitched tiny signatures in-between.

I began with eight small greyboard pieces from a Tando Creative grab-bag measuring just 3.5 x 5 cm each. I  coated each piece in black gesso on all sides, allowed it to dry, and then added a coat of white gesso on one side only. I scribbled into mine a bit while it was wet which is an optional step.
I also used a small heart and a washer and added a coat of white gesso to those too.

Once the gesso dried on my small boards I added some scraps of patterned paper using matte medium.

For colour I used DecoArt Fluid Acrylics in Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise Hue, Green Gold, Carbon Black, along with some Decoart Tinting Base. I painted random patches of colour (making sure the colours did not overlap) on just seven of the pieces, and then used my fingers to add light amounts of Tinting Base where the colours joined. The patterned papers can be painted over or you can allow them to show.

Using coordinating colours of Archival ink as well as some black, I stamped all over the backgrounds using a selection of stamps by Andy Skinner, The Artistic Stamper, and Paper Artsy.

To finish these off I added some doodling with a white gel pen, and some touches of DecoArt Fluid Acrylic in Metallic Gold with the edges of an old credit card, and also painted all of the edges in gold.

Now, on to the cover. I used Tinting Base along with two shades of blue to paint random patches of colour.

I also used Quinacridone Red to paint the heart and then added stamping using an Andy Skinner stamp.

To complete the base of the cover I added a layer of DecoArt one-step crackle, and then added DecoArt Antiquing Cream to really highlight the cracks. The Antiquing cream is added to the whole page and then wiped off with a dry cloth allowing the colour to settle in the cracks.
Once dry I added the heart, and then painted the washer in Metallic Gold and added that too.

I cut several pages for the inserts in cartridge paper measuring 6 x 4.5 cm, and then aged them a little using Distress ink in Walnut Stain.

Nearly there! A length of ribbon or tape is all it takes to hold this little book together. I laid all of my pieces along the tape and then marked the tape where I wanted the signatures to go. The folded signatures will fit just in-between the greyboard pieces. This enabled me to stitch the signatures in the right place along the length of ribbon before gluing all of the other pieces into place.

I love using acrylic paints as you can get such vibrant colour. They are also a very forgiving medium ... if things don't go according to plan you can just paint over it!


Wow, how's that for a magnificent mini marvel of a project? Thank you Kate, it's beautiful, such a delightful little journal and fabulous process steps for us to see exactly how you put it together. It may well have been a bit tricky but the care and attention to detail was worth all the concentration you put in, just to see it in the photographs it looks perfect, but I can imagine it's even better in real life and holding it in your hands. We really appreciate you making this for our challenge this month and for being our wonderful guest.


We have some fabulous creations linked to the Mini Marvels challenge and we hope we will see some more of you there with your small creations, remember anything up to 4 x 4 inches. ATCs and similar are perfect, so are small canvases, small journal pages and even toppers that you have designed and made for your cards. Lets see what you are creating at the moment. You have till next thursday to get it linked and don't forget there is a fabulous prize from Southern Ridge Trading Company and you might be chosen as one of our Pinworthy Guests too.

Take care and have a great week.

hugs Brenda, Kate and the Creative Guides xxx


  1. what a beautiful mini work of art!

  2. Kate, your tiny album is a pure delight, with your trademark beautiful colours and design - a real feast for the eyes! Your tutorial is, as always, superb and I am sure it will inspire many! Thank you for sharing your immense talent with us here at A Vintage Journey! Anne xx

  3. Oh wow Kate, that is just one stunning little mini album! Thank you for the fabulous tutorial and for being here with us on A Vintage Journey. I always love seeing your wonderful colourful style. Jennie x

  4. Love, love, love this mini book Kate! Love the size, the colors and wonderful way you bound it all! thanks so much for joining us here at AVJ!! Julia xx

  5. Kate, I absolutely love your projects! This one is adorable and looks like fun to make and give away!

  6. this rocks, I love your you eye for art!

  7. Great to have you guesting here Kate, your colourful little album loks delightful!

  8. Hi Kate and welcome . Your fantastic mini journal is without doubt a 'Mini Marvel'. Your fabulous use of colour, stamping, stenciling and of course white pen have as always in your very capable hands created a totally wonderful inspiring work of art . Terrific tutorial . Thanks so much for sharing with us today. x

  9. Absolutely glorious, Kate - a mini marvel for sure! The layers of colour and detail are just wonderful, and extra-fabulous on such a tiny scale. Wonderful to have you guesting with us on A Vintage Journey this month.
    Alison x

  10. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Kate you are a super star xxx

  11. Love every inch of this amazing Mini Marvel. Thanks for sharing with us.

  12. Owww How cool is this! I love it , thank you so much.

  13. Kate, I love your tiny chunky album! That one step crackle has never looked finer! Thank you so much for being our Guest Designer! Your work is tremendously inspiring! Hugs!

  14. Absolutely incredible Kate! What a tiny treasure and wonder to see. I would love to hold and flip through this amazing little book. Thanks so much for being our honored guest. Hugs, Autumn

  15. So nice to have you here as guest designer Kate x love the details you have incorporated in your stunning mini journal. Amazing details and thank you for sharing the step by step xx

    Huge hugs Annie xx

  16. What a fabulous mini creation! Thank you Kate for sharing! xx

  17. My gosh Kate, this is absolutely stunning! I adore your use of colour and you have somehow managed to pack all of that fab colour, texture and detail into this tiny and amazing work of art. Thank you so much for joining us here at A Vintage Journey and sharing your incredible Mini Marvel journal, Deb xo