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Summer Expedition Journal - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Summer Expedition Journal - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
This is going to be a photo heavy post, lol
So sorry for the glare on this photo.  I don't know whats up with my camera!
I know, I know ............"Where have you been Loops" I can hear you all shout. Im sorry I have been such an awful blogger of late.  And its not as if I can even blame it on having glorious weather either because living in Northern Ireland, the very second the sun comes out and someone says "This is some weather we're having, isn't it?", they have pretty much scudded us all and we are guaranteed to have torrential rain, hail stones the size of golf balls and freezing temperatures!  So the weather hasn't been good at all in Northern Ireland except..... dare I say it?......the sun has been out yesterday and today.  Its ok though, normality will resume in a matter of hours, as we are to have rain again tomorrow.  So as I type this post, Scrubby is frantically scraping the paint off the front window sills in an attempt to get a new lick of paint on them before the rain comes tomorrow.

And would you believe me if I told you that my craft room is STILL not finished?  Yeah, of course you is my craft room after all! I just can't seem to get it how I want it.  And according to Scrubby the problem is NOT the room but the amount of craft stash I have!  "RUBBISH!!!!" protests I!!  "Look you could easily fit more into this drawer", I say confidently as I open one of my cube drawers and lace comes streaming out.  "Heehee" I giggle nervously, trying to push the offending lace under my desk to hide its sudden escape from its confined space.  "Oh yeah", Scrubby says, "theres tonnes of room" the sarcasm drips from every word!

What does he know, eh?  I could easily squash in another few metres of lace into that drawer.  Ok it might jump out to greet me as soon as I open up the drawer again, but I just take that as the lace is very pleased to see me and it wants to be used in my project, and nothing to do with a lack of space issue!

Anywhoodles, enough of my antics.  Here is what I have been working on......forever! It seems to have taken me ages to make this.  I kept putting it aside and then coming back to it.  You know the type of project Im talking about.  When I came up with the idea of this book, the front cover design was made after seeing an incredible Youtubers tutorial on how to do it.  To see how it is done, click HERE to get to CreaBoetiek's channel.

There is a story behind this project.  Of course there is......I made it! lol.  I have created a fictional character called, Prof. Alexander Oscar Stewart who is a Lepidopterologist at Oxford University in the early 1920's. "Ah Lepid do da whatsit?" I hear you ask!  Heehee. The Professor has been sent on an expedition by the University to Africa in the Summer of 1923 to examine and catalogue new species of Butterflies and Moths as thats what Lepidopterologists do.  "Ohhhhh right" I hear you sigh, lol.  So this is his Journal and catalogue book.
I took a piece of cardstock and glued down approximately 35 pages of old book paper to the cardstock, only adding glue around the edges and leaving the centres glue free.  For future reference and if anyone else decides to make a book like this, use a piece of chipboard to glue your pages too.  The cardstock, although 300gsm still wasn't thick enough and wrinkled a wee bit with the amount of wet glue on it.

I cut an "X" in the middle of the pages and down through the layers with my knife and starting pulling and tearing back the pages, adding glue (in this case I used pva) to the pages to hold them in place.  To make the pages a bit stiffer and hard, I gave the paper a good coat of Mod Podge, let it dry and added another good coat.
For the inside of the book, I wanted it to have a display box rather than pages.  So I made this little "thingie"!  Can you tell I don't know what its called!?  Well, I call it a "thingie" and thats good enough for me!  Im sure you all know how to makes these, its just doing a valley and mountain foldie dodaa.  You all know what Im on about......don't you??  I can do a tutorial on it if you like.  Just let me know in the comment section below.

So after a great deal of paint, crackle medium, more paint, rub on's in 2 colours and making a charm and a weird peacock eye......this is what I came up with!  I have never made anything like this before, but I love it.  It looks very vintagy, grungy, oldie worldie kinda thing....there were a lot of "eeee's" there, weren't there?!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I love how old and leather like it looks.  Its amazing what you can do to paper to change its appearance.

I added a little gold filigree to the spine of the book.  This paper is from the Tim Holtz Kraft paper stack which was kindly given to me by Jean...thank you Jean!

I made a peacock charm using this peacock that came off of a necklace.

Then I added loads of wee handmade charm embellishments and a wee bird cage and wing charm.

It is just clipped on to the spine through a little eyelet at the top of the books spine.  The charm can be taken off and used on a keyring, etc.

The words were just stamped onto cream cardstock using the wee individual wooden alpha stamps you can buy for a couple of pounds at Dunelm.  They aren't stamped on perfectly straight but I didn't want them to be sitting perfectly.  Obviously, I didn't stamp the word "eye" out as the peacock feather eye represents that word.

I added the saying on wherever I could find a wee space for it! lol
I love the peacock feather eye.  And I love the saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I wanted the Peacock Feather to take centre stage on the front of the book, so I took one of the Peacock feathers I bought on Ebay and cut down the Peacock eye.  I made a eye template and cut it out.  Glued the feather down and added bling around the top.  I drew in black lines with my embossing pen and embossed the lined in black/green embossing powder.  I coloured in the spaces with another embossing powder using my Versamark embossing pen.  If you don't have one of these pens, I highly recommend having one in your stash, its fantastic.  It has a fine tip and a thicker tip to it, its brilliant.

These are genuine vintage pen nibs.......these are not Timmy ones.

I love the texture and dimension that the curled up pages gives the cover.

I wanted the paper to look like thick old cracked leather.  I managed this by using a coat of white gesso, mixed some crackle medium with burnt umber paint, then a coat of Timmy Scattered Straw Crackle paint, another we lick of burnt umber and I went over it all with a redish purple rub ons and gold rub ons too.  I love the texture.  It really does look like an old leather book thats been well used and worn down.  I sealed the entire front cover with a layer of mod podge.....good old mod podge, lol.

This probably seems like a strange closure, but I just love it.  I covered two small bulldog clips with patterned paper and just added a length of garden string to it.  You just open it by taking off the front bulldog clip.  Its very rugged and a quick fix closure which I think works really well with this book.

And its not your normal paged book inside!

The left side holds Professor Alexander's catalogue/Diary with all his butterfly drawings and stories of his adventures in it, with a little envelope carrying pen nibs and his peacock feather pen.  The other side is a little exhibition cabinet.

I could have used the little configurations boxes to display the goodies, or even made small boxes, but I wanted it to look like a makeshift display, something that my Professor could have made quickly whilst exploring the wilds of Africa.  So I simply made the dividers out of wooden skewers and painted them.  I then glued them into one of the valleys of my frame.  Do you like my little specs and book?  I think they are so cute and they took minutes to make. 
In side this little envelopes is a few extra pen nibs that Professor Alexander needs.

This is the inside, where my Professor keeps his little Catalogue/Diary of finds.

Here is Professor Alexanders little Catalogue/Diary with all his details and the details of the expedition on the front.  As well as drawing and cataloguing butterflies and moths, he must keep an inventory and supplies list and writes down every extra penny spent.  He also finds time to write about other little adventures he encounters along the way.

The inside of the catalogue/diary

Professor Alexander has a little trinket and photo of his love that is back in England, eagerly awaiting his safe return from Africa.  Say hello to Charlotte.  I cut her out from a piece of the Graphic 45 Steampunk Debutante paper.

And here is the handsome devil himself, Professor Alexander Oscar Stewart.  This is actually a Crafty Individuals stamp which can be found here. Isn't he a handsome fellow?  I just love Crafty Individuals Stamps.

And of course no diary would be complete without a wee love letter from Professor Alexander's pretty Charlotte.  This sits in the wee pocket that I made on the inside of the catalogue.  It just so happens that Charlotte has a brother Sebastian who has managed to get into the good graces of the Professor and has come along with him to Africa.  Charlotte is aware of her brothers reputation to be a bit of a wild one and politely writes a little line in her love letter to her dear Alexander, asking him to keep an eye on her brother.

Professor Alexander has opened this letter, read it and re-read it many a night when he is all alone in his wee tent at night.  He has read it so many times that it is terribly wrinkly and he even managed to spill his tea on it at one stage!

I won't show you photos of every single page of the Professors Catalogue/Diary......after all, we can't read all of his secrets and adventures! Here Professor Alexander catalogues and draws the new species of butterflies as and when he finds them.

He writes about new things he sees and even has time to stick in some feathers to bring home to his Charlotte.

One of the local villagers even trades some goods and gives Professor Alexander some paint to colour his butterflies and moths.  Although he had to trade for the paints, Professor Alexander has been told that he can only borrow the paints and must return them once he is finished with them.  Somehow the Professor didn't get the best deal, as I can't see him getting back the tea he traded.

And here is the "Page" section of the book which is the wee display area. As you can see it is centred around Peacocks and Butterflies with other bits and bobs thrown in.

I covered the front with Timmy's Tissue Tape......again, thank you Jean!  And then went over it with Distress Inks and sealed it with Mod Podge.

At the top, we have some buttons and a needle and thread.  Professor Alexander had torn his trouser and went in to the local village to find someone to repair them.  And rather than getting someone to repair them, a local lady simply handed him a needle and thread and told him to do it himself.  He found it so amusing that he kept the needle and thread as a momento.  A little butterfly in the middle with its Latin Name (not all names are perfectly matched to the type of moth/butterfly.....Im not that good!).

The middle section has another butterfly, a Peacock Pendant in the middle and some pretty flowers with a little vile of seeds for that particular flower.  Professor Alexander wanted to bring home something beautiful for his Charlotte.

In the bottom section is another butterfly, a bottle cap with another image from the Graphic 45 paper and another peacock pendant.

And thats it.  The Journal of my Fictional Professor Alexander O Stewart. 
Tha'ts it from me folks.  I hope you have enjoyed the trials and tribulations of my Professor.  Sorry I have been a bad blogger.  Its not like me to go so long without having at least something to post about.  I was getting Blog Withdrawal!!!  Hmmmm, I wonder what the symptoms of blog withdrawal would entails??

And I would just like to add that from I started this post half an hour has just started to rain!  See, I told you.  I spoke too soon.  I shouldn't have mentioned that the sun was out in Northern Ireland!!!!  Its absolutely chucking it down now!!!

Its nearly my one year Blogaversary too, so keep an eye out for some goodies that Im giving away.....just around the corner.

EDIT.......I added the video that I did of this book if you want to watch it instead of looking through the many photos and reading my drivel about the adventures of my Professor, who "owns" this book, lol.  Mind you I sound completely distracted in my video so you may prefer to look at the photos, heehee.
Toodles Noodles.....Loops xx

If you want, you can buy me a coffee which helps me maintain this blog so I can make bigger and better content, simply click the link below.  No pressure at all, its just if you want to.  Cheers big ears!


  1. wow!!! what a mystic and beautiful piece of art, Lee! can't believe it's raining over there! We have beautiful and peaceful sunny evening :) Lots of hugs, kissinia

  2. Oh my gosh Lee, this is an amazing project and so well executed. I just love the layers you have created to get the vintage book feel and then the little exhibition case inside with all the paraphernalia that goes with such things as expeditions. You have such creativity and a knack of producing something different.
    Love it.
    hugs {brenda} xox

  3. Wow Lee
    Fabulous and fantastic
    Hugs Dianne xx :)

  4. wow, this is just stunning......I wish I had the patience and the imagination to do something like this! the attention to detail is amazing lol
    Hope your litle island does not float away, our island is danger of being submerged!

  5. WOW!!!!!! Stunning doesn't even come close to how good this is. I love all the detailing and the story behind it makes it even more special. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. I won't do it but a part of me is really wanting to swear something right now! WOW WOW WOW Lee this is absolutely fantastic, fabulous, gorgeous, different, cool, brilliant, did i saw fabulous?!? Very very clever. I am so astonished as I've never seen anything like this - you are so clever Lee. It's really really brilliant! I especially love the peacocks from a necklace - am going to have to go hunt out some stash like that from somewhere in the future!
    I haven't forgotten what I promised to send you hun but I've been a bit under the weather so I'll try to get you the copies this week! Karen x

  7. Lee..........where to start, can totally understand why you have not been blogging as this must have took you a month of Sundays and some, the number of hours to think something like this up and then to put it into reality blows me away, as does the different texture's the depth of vision (get it) and the amount of detail, totally gob smacked this is out of this world obviously I am trying to put into words what my eyes are taking in as I scroll down the page continually over and over again, my poor mouse is feeling ill. Cannot put a finger on the best bit as it is all fabulous.
    big hugs to you and Prof Alexander O Stewart, you rock girl
    Kate x

  8. Hi lee.. I'd been missing you! Glad you're back...

    I can onl say WOW...WOW...WOW to this fabulous creation with all it's unusual details and texture... And I love your tales of the professor... He does sound like a very interesting fellow!

    Take care..
    Christine x

  9. Oh my gosh, Lee, this is just the most amazing thing I've seen!! WOW, you are so fabulously creative!! I really enjoyed reliving Professor Stewart's journey and was sad to see it end!! I'm hoping in say, the Summer of 1924, the University will send him on another adventure!! Oohh, or maybe he and Charlotte will get married and will need another journal to document the nuptials ;) I don't even know where to begin with this is just stunning!! The details are incredible!! Amazing, inspiring project!! Love, love, love every single about it :D

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  10. Lee, fantastic, clever you, I absolutely love it,
    Hugs jean hall

  11. stunning lee,i love all your work.sue ss

  12. What a brilliant creation this is Lee! Simply can't take my eyes off it, it's breathtakingly beautiful with all of those fine embellishments, there's so much to see, which I LOVE! Very very artistic this is, super gorgeous! TFS, Ira x

  13. wow this is just fantastic lee.i could sit and look at it all day, so many stunning details :D

    xx coops xx

  14. This is beautiful. I love that it has a story :)

  15. Wow this is amazing, Luv Sam x

  16. Oh my word Lee, what a wonderful book you have created for the Professor...I am amazed. I love how you crated that leather look with those papers, just stunning and I am enthralled by everything you put inside it - even his little love letters and nibs are so enchanting:) What a character he must have been! Love your imagination Lee and hope the sun continues to shine! - Hugs, Teresa xx

  17. Wow! This is amazing! So unique and I love the story that you have put behind it all, what a wonderful imagination you have, so many beautiful details and fabby techniques. I hope you get some more sunshine soon although we haven't had a great deal of it here either. The little comments that you wrote in on the video really amused me oh and when I open my draw of scrap fabrics they jump out to greet me too lol
    Lindsay xx

  18. You have an amazing talent , and your imagination is wonderful ! Please could you do a tutorial on those thingy things that make it look like a book ..if you know what I mean.

  19. Just absolutely amazing. Wow Wow Wow love your story in the project and the cover is sensational. A lot of hard work. Karen xx

  20. Wow Lee! Where do you get such amazing ideas? This is so detailed and beautiful, you must be really proud of it. Very inspiring.
    Laura xx

  21. Hi, So this is the wonderful piece of art that set Fiona off on one of her personal challenges to make one. I love the book, the front is amazing, however did you think of that? I love it and then when it opens and there's more, it's like Pandoras' box! What a totally awesome piece. If you ever tire of it Lee, I would be willing, (no I don't mind honest) to look after it for you lol.

    Hugs you brilliant girl Jan xxx

  22. What a fantastic,whimsically wonderful piece of art. This has so many great details. However I especially love how the curled paper now looks like torn leather, cheers Linda


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Helloooooo! Anybody out there??!! Hey....there you are! Thanks for leaving a comment and stopping by my Blog. Lee x