Take a look at any of my scrapbook layouts and tell me whether I'm a person who likes things messy and free, or neat and constrained. Got your answer?

Now that we've established that I like things to be clean, organized, lined up, and placed just so, you can better understand how much I resisted, yet how much I NEEDED, this book:

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I received Mess, by Keri Smith, as a gift six or seven years ago. I loved the concept - it's a place to break the rules, explore textures and colors, let loose, and banish perfectionism, and thus grow as an artist. But the idea of trashing a book was so difficult for me that it literally took all this time for me to finally use it as intended. I FINALLY gave myself permission to do things I'd never dreamed of doing... like crumpling book pages and adding color to the creases with chalk-covered fingers. 

Or dribbling paint into a book, then swiping the paint with a scrap of cardboard to smear the colors. 

Or coloring in a book... and dripping water onto the page.  

Or shaving crayons into a book and ironing the pages. 

I'm about 1/3 of the way through Mess. I've torn, folded, smeared, dribbled, and scribbled. I've traced, splattered, doodled, glued, and sprinkled. 

I have not created any masterpieces along the way. Far from it. But I've experimented and stretched and had a ton of fun doing so! Mess is the gift that the creative people in your life need, particularly the ones who need to let loose once in a while. Better yet, get them the boxed set of Keri Smith's most popular books. I can't wait to try them all. 


  1. You know I couldn't do it! HA!!!! I love what you made in the pages, so fun! Anytime I have to make something messy, a little part of me withers away! LOL!!

    1. Hahaha! I thought I'd be the same way, but I really am enjoying making the messes (within the strict confines of a book telling me which specific messes to make, of course).

  2. This looks fun and you tackled it well!

  3. Well, I'm glad you are having fun in your Mess book. You need to loosen up and get messy on your layouts too! Challenge accepted??? *winks*


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