SMASH Book Club

Idea: Integrate a traditional book club with a social SMASH book experience.

If you didn't slog through my Alaskan cruise report, then you may not be aware of my addiction to SMASH books. Or, as I call them, "an organized, adorable return to Traditional Scrapbooking."

(See, everyone keeps talking about SMASH books as this "new" thing. To me, colour-coordinated photo layouts are the "new" scrapbooking, and scrappy scrapbooks are the original, but let's not quibble. There's room for everyone in the papercraft pool.)

I took a less-than-great-but-too-lazy-to-plan-or-reshoot video of my Alaskan SMASH book, made while we were actually on the cruise. Said SMASH book is now back in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, en route to Australia. Or in a warehouse in Los Angeles. Or in a warehouse in Las Vegas. We really don't know at the moment. Maybe we should ask the moving people. Hm.

The vi-day-oh:

Of course, you don't have to use the SMASH brand to have this experience. Lots of people make their own books, and now Michaels craft stores has a competing store brand that is a binder, which solves the "my book is now a sideways pyramid" issue with SMASH-brand books. However, the paper is a bit smaller and the design a little "muddy" for my tastes, so I haven't converted.

(As always, no one pays me to endorse anything on my website. I wish they would! Bring on the SMASH swag!)

I looked up the price of SMASH books in Australia, and they seem to run in the early $20s. Not the worst, but I decided to send a couple in with the boxes, purchased at about half-price with the Michaels app and coupon. (So, around $7 each.)

And then, here I came to Texas, and Michaels had another 50%-off coupon that week. I went to the store in Hurst and made a choice: yellow ("international").

(Already owned: blue, eco green, red, and pink polkadot - the last being speckled because it was part of a special combo pack. It's not that I preferred red and pink above the other styles; that was just all my Michaels had on those visits.)

After a nice visit with my grandmother, I decided to hit another Michaels that afternoon, so off I drove to Arlington.

And there? There? THERE they were selling the orange and black books on CLEARANCE.

Clearance! Six bucks!

Not just books, either, but SMASH pens and elastic bands and sticky things and notepads. What the heck, Michaels? These items were all full price at the other store. I asked if the items were being discontinued, but no one at the counter knew.

So, I snagged orange and black, and then also purple with the coupon. (Sigh. Now another answer to "What do you collect?")

What I really want is the bright green food-themed book, but the hunt for that at a Michaels (because I do love a bargain) continues.

(Don't ask how I'm getting all of these to Australia in my already-stuffed luggage. Toothpaste? Hairbrush? Who needs those?)

Anyway, I tweeted the SMASH people that they should do a film-themed book. Wouldn't it be cool to have a SMASH-style book just for ticket stubs, ephemera, and reflections on movies? I was inspired by this pin:



(Alas, no reply to my tweet from EK Success Brands. Would you believe that's one reason why I won't just buy the food SMASH book off their website? I get grumpy when companies use social media to broadcast, not interact.)

But what would be even more groovy would be a literature-themed SMASH book. Then I could start a "SMASH book club."

Off the top of my head, here's how that would go:

  1. Choose a book.
  2. Participants read the book over the course of a month (or maybe six weeks?).
  3. As participants read, they gather ephemera that they feel relates to the book.

    Like, if we were reading The Joy Luck Club, I'd be keeping an eye out for anything that reminds me of sacrifice, duty, San Francisco, China, mothers, daughters, tradition, and so on. It may be easy/obvious (a top-ten list of historical trivia learned from the book), silly (cable car from a Rice-a-Roni box), fanciful (a recipe for a dish I could see one of the mothers preparing with some journaling as to why) or completely personal (a tag from one of my mother's shirts paired with a tag from mine, with some deep thoughts about the metaphor of clothing).

  4. Participants gather for the book club to discuss the book (in typical book club fashion) and also to work on/show off the SMASH books.

For me, I think it would be more fun to bring a bag or box of ephemera to the club meeting and work on it around a big table or two for a couple of hours while discussing the book. We could share crafty supplies and maybe even get a freebie pile going of extra things we'd gathered.

On the other hand, it might be more fun for some people to SMASH while reading then present and pass around the finished book at the meeting. I can see myself seeking out new experiences so I would have new things to SMASH, like getting business cards for places the characters might patronize. (And maybe patronizing them myself. My current SMASH book does seem to have a lot of restaurant-related ephemera.)

Ta da, that's my blueprint for SMASH book clubs.

And, if EK Success wanted to make specialized notepads, I'd suggest the following:

  • Celebrity casting ideas for the perfect movie version
  • Best/Worst Moment prompts
  • Interesting words encountered while reading
  • Predictions
  • Dialogue bubbles for quotations
  • "Reminds me of the time..."
  • Character fact sheet with some subjectivity so it's not just data-recording

Granted, I'm working on the premise that the worksheets kids hate in school are fun for book club-type craft-lovin' people to do as adults. This may be flawed.


Now all I have to do is wait for EK Success/K&Company to manufacture these books (because I do like the look of them better than anything I might scrub together myself) and to make some friends in Australia who would be interested in getting such a thing going.

(Oh, and these theoretical friends need to live south of Perth. I know that most Australians think that nobody lives in Perth, let alone south of it, but I'll have you know that southwestern Western Australia is the very heart of the future SMASH Book Club phenomenon. Strewth!)

15 March 2013 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)