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3 Craft Book Ideas For Christmas

If you are looking for some craft book Christmas present ideas for the crafty DIY person in your life or even to treat yourself with then I have some suggestions for you. I have three craft books from CICO Books, one for their Home and Garden range the over two from their range of craft books, each book I’m writing about today is different but all of them have a DIY home décor theme.

I’m not doing a full review today but more an overview of each one to give you a flavour of the book and hopefully you will want to check them out some more!

But before I get started I just want to thank CICO Books for sending the books to me. I’m not being paid by CICO Books to talk about the books but I do use affiliate links on my blog so there are affiliate links in this blog post.

Right, shall we get started?

1. Furniture Hacks And Other Creative Updates For A Unique And Stylish Home – Hester Van Overbeek.

Furniture Hacks by Hester Van Overbeekis filled with some lovely ideas ranging from just adding a lick of paint to spruce up a tired looking piece to construction projects that will need power tools. I was lucky enough to go to Hester’s book launch party at West Elms where we got to make the plate wall clocks projects from her book. It was great fun to do.

When we first moved into our new house I was like, we are so going to upcycle all the furniture, picked up from junk yards and car boots, obviously, no IKEA, and bespoke the heck out of our décor. A year later on and we have bought new furniture, we are an IKEA haven and the only upcycling we have done so far is painting the kitchen chairs different colours, which look pretty cool by the way!

Yeah, reality hit fast when I realised that time for all the projects in my head was short and that we needed furniture to unpack our moving boxes into STAT. So now I’ve reassessed and I’m thinking that I’m going to IKEA hack my way to a bespoke décor and so Hester’s Furniture Hacks could not have come at a better time for us.

I would say that you would not need much experience to get cracking on many of the projects in this book, so if you are a completely newbie you can get to it immediately. Although it might help for some of the projects for example I would be cleaning my draw fronts then putting a clear top coat of vanish over the Washi Tape decorated draw fronts ‘coz that stuff will be peeling off after a few days I can tell you!

Nitty Gritty:
The book is hardback, measures approximately 19.5 cm wide x 24 cm high, recommended retail price £14.99, 144 pages and is split into areas inside and outside of the living space with an overview of tools, materials, techniques and UK sourcing suggestions at the back. Beautiful styling photography and some handy step by step instructions and photography.

Favourite Furniture Hacks Projects:
Some of my favourite projects from the book – the Wooden Bed Surround, the Outdoor Bench, the Bedside Light just to name a few. I will definitely be dipping in and out of this book as we try to make our house a home.

2. Wall Art 35 Fresh And Striking Projects To Decorate Your Walls – Clare Youngs

When I first saw the cover photo for Wall Art by Clare YoungsI thought it was just going to be all about art you do directly on the wall. But it is more than that, there are a huge range of decorating projects including things to hang and things to add to the wall surface itself. As the tagline says there are 35 ideas and what I really love about this book is that there are ideas for using all sorts of materials from fabric to live decoration with plants. There are both 2D and 3D artwork ideas in this book, which is right up my street as I love tactile 3 dimensional art.

Lovely project photography, I would say there are more project close ups than styled in a room type of photos. But it is a balance between being able to see the project and giving an idea of how it looks in a room and probably close-ups are more important for the reader. There are many projects that will be familiar to Papercrafters such as papercutting, stamp making as there are projects that will be familiar to stitchers and artists. I think that is what I like most about this book, it brings together ideas from many disciplines into one dip-in resource. So there is an idea for everyone whatever your preferred craft and if you are a newbie then lots to try out.

Nitty Gritty:
The book is softback, measures approximately 19 cm wide x 23 cm high, recommended retail price £12.99, 144 pages and is split loosely into types of projects and each section has a range of different ideas so it is a little hard to categorise into themes. There is also a short techniques section at the front and some templates for some of the designs at the back and a US and UK suppliers list. Projects are photographed in details and close-ups, with some close-up of an area in the house styled photos. The step by step photographs are done as coloured illustrations.

Favourite Wall Art Projects:
I love the Furry Friends Trophy Heads, I’m thinking I might do a cats head one, the Pretty Patchwork is fun and a great way to use up some of my patterned paper stock! Then there is the Reclaimed Wood Panel and all the directly on the wall work ideas I’m loving too.

3. Paper Pom-Poms And Other Party Decorations – Juliet Carr

Back to my roots with this book and a nod to papercrafters everywhere – lets get our PARTY on because it is Paper Pom-Poms And Other Party Decorations by Juliet Carr.Banners, Garlands, Bunting are the DIY Party crafters’ staple and massively popular in occasional and seasonal home décor. Think Christmas, Hanakkah, New Year, Birthdays, Partys, Halloween, yep all NEED a banner, garland, bunting the lot!

There are some amazing things going on with tissue paper in this book and I’m keen to have a go at some of them, I think that many of them would add a lovely feature to many a party décor theme or even as more permanent home décor features, perhaps matched with some wall art (see above). But there are also a couple of projects that I’m not sure would look anything other than screwed up bits of paper in my hands but I’m willing to give it a go!

The book is a great resource if you are into DIY party decorations and would be great for a beginner or someone with more craft experience looking for some inspiration.

Nitty Gritty:
The book is softback, measures approximately 31 cm wide x 27.5 cm high, 128 pages, recommended retail price £12.99 and is split into three sections including a Centrepiece and Showstoppers section with giant flowers – love the giant flowers. There is also a materials and tools section and some templates plus a US/ Canada and UK suppliers section. There are lots of project close-up photos, a few styled in a room close-up photos and photo step by steps.

Favourite Paper Pom-Poms Projects:
The large flowers – yeah I mentioned them already! Love them! I adore the Giant Rose and Giant Gerberas. I also want to have a go at the Cupcake Flower lights, very cute. Oh and great to see the Dreidel Bunting. Fab idea!

Three different craft DIY books but all great for any Home Décor enthusiast or the crafter wanting to spread out to big projects for the home. They are all a great curation and showcase for some lovely and handy contemporary décor ideas and each has something for any level of crafting experience. So which one would you pick? Or do you have any of them already and what do you think of them?

Let me know in the comments below.

Kim





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Book Review – FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

Book Review – FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill Published by Design Originals

FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

I might spend most of my life online but I do love books and, thanks to the guys at Design Originals who have sent me over a review copy of Suzanne McNeill’s FloraBunda Style, I have a new one to share with you all today. I’ve not been paid for this review but I do use affiliate links on my blog and there are some in this blog post.

According to the press release, FloraBunda represents the ‘next generation’ of Zentangle. Now I come to this book not really knowing much about Zentangle, I know of it, of course, you can’t work in this industry and not know of it, but I’ve not yet been bitten by the Zentangle bug. However, I am a happy doodler! I love drawing flora and fauna and I’m always looking to extend my doodle repertoire because we doodlers can often get stuck in the same patterns. So I was keen to give FloraBunda Style a go and give someone else’s doodle style a try.

Watercolour inspiration from FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

The first thing I noticed about FloraBunda is that as well as being a source of inspiration for both your drawing and for off-the-page project work, it is also a workbook and you are actively encouraged to draw in the book itself. *Shriek* I’m almost sucked through the screen from your collective sharp intakes of breath! I know! Well, I suppose if you are used to the adult colouring books then you are well versed in drawing and colouring in books.

The book is designed for you to draw in and the paper is smooth, slightly toothed, very, very slightly off-white and is described in the ‘How to Use This Book’ section as ‘a high-quality artist paper’. Oh boy, you are going to want me to scribble in my lovely book now aren’t you? Just to prove it? *Sigh* OK then, as it is for you, I will do it.

Working in FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

Close up of the mark making tried in FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

Key to the mark makers I used:

1. Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Black, Copic Spica Lavender, Crayola PRO Pink
2. Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen Gold
3. Staedtler all point pen Blue, Sakura Glaze Gel Pen blue, Copic Spica Orange
4. Sakura Pigma Micron 05 Black, Winsor and Newton watercolour red
5. ZIG Art and Graphic Twin green, ZIG BrusH2O water brush
6. Winsor and Newton watercolour
7. Derwent Inktense Fuchsia pencil
8. PrismaColor pencils Mulberry, Greyed Lavender, Terricotta
9. Pencil
10. ZIG Cocoiro Letter Pen

I would not suggest using alcohol-based pens such as Sharpies, Copics, Promarkers and the like as these will just bleed through the paper.

The water wrinkles the paper a little so you will only want to use it lightly and don’t saturate the paper, otherwise it holds up quite well with the water.

Explore FloraBunda Style

The book is around 21.7 cm x 27.9 cm in size and paperback. I thought the binding was quite clever as it allows you to open the book wide without breaking the spine, but even so it is hard to get the book really flat and you might need to hold it down when drawing in it.

The book is made up of six free-flowing sections: What is FloraBunda? Getting Started, Tools, The Designs, Design Index and the Index.

The What is FloraBunda? section introduces the idea and gives you a little about Suzanne McNeill, then the Getting Started section briefly talks about drawing the designs and has a little bit of colour theory. This is followed by the Tools section, which talks about pens and colouring tools with example pictures to illustrate the looks you can get with each.

There is not a lot of information on brands – there are few pen brands talked about but not really much on what type of watercolour or colouring pencil to use or techniques for using them. But then too much technical information might be a bit off-putting for a newbie and I think the aim of the book is more inspiration to get people into using these things.

Pages from FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

One of the craft project ideas from Pages from FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

The main bulk of the book is of course the designs and there are lots and lots of inspiration for different flower and foliage drawings. As you work through the book, you will see that on each page there are both simple designs and then inspiration for more complex work and inter-spaced between them are ideas on how to take the ideas into craft pieces such as mug decoration, stitching, home décor, wood burning, jewellery to name just a few. The craft projects do not have photo steps but pictures of the final piece accompanied with a written step by step and I think they are more there for ‘look what you can do with these designs’ than ‘this is how you do it’.

Before you get to the Design Index, which has a pictorial list of all the elements drawn in the book, there are a few lettering and alphabet designs and ideas, which are very useful, and there are some simple and more elaborate lettering ideas. The final page is the book index plus a bit more about the author.

Lettering examples from FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

What I love about this book

  • It is full of some really lovely flora and fauna inspiration for your drawing/doodling and illustrative work.
  • There are some great project ideas to take the drawing into 3D project work.
  • Some lovely lettering inspiration too.
  • The project photography is contemporary.
  • After the initial *zoinks* I don’t want to spoil the book by drawing in it, I actually liked that there was space next to the various designs to have a go.
  • It’s a great way to relax with not having to think too much.
  • You can colour in all of the designs in the book.

What I’m not so keen on about this book

  • It’s that fine line between practising someone else’s style and developing your own style. There isn’t really a lot in the book about developing your own style. But then I don’t think these kind of books are really for people who want to develop their own style.
  • Even though I started coming around to the whole writing in the book thing, I will still stick to my sketch pad thanks!
  • Some of the products used might not be listed in enough detail for a complete newbie to crafting.

More inspiration from FloraBunda Style by Suzanne McNeill

Who Is FloraBunda Style For?

I think that FloraBunda Style would be perfect for someone who loves the adult colouring books but wants to take it to the next level and start creating their own designs to colour in but isn’t really sure how. This is a great way to get started in building up drawing confidence.

Where To Buy

You can find FloraBunda by Suzanne McNeill in Amazon.uk where it is current retailing at £12.99 or Amazon.com ($15.28) as well as other popular bookshops, where you might actually find it cheaper so shop around.

Have you got this book? What do you think of it or other books by Suzanne McNeill? I would love to know so do leave me a comment.

Kim

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Book Review – The Maison Sajou Sewing Book By Lucinda Ganderton

Book Review – The Maison Sajou Sewing Book by Lucinda Ganderton Published by Ivy Press ISBN 978-1-78240-085-1

Hey guys, I have my thoughts on another stitchery book published by Ivy Press to share with you today. If you have been reading my blog, you will have caught two lovely books from Ivy Press so far, with the Sew Quick, Sew Cute By Fiona Goble full of super cute projects and Sewing With Letters by Nicola Tedman & Sarah Skeate which was full of fabulous typeface inspiration.

This week it is the turn of The Maison Sajou Sewing Book by Lucinda Ganderton another lovely book full of fabulous inspiration that won’t disappoint if you are a stitchery fan.

The Maison Sajou is the passion of Frédérique Crestin-Billet and is the brand name of a nineteenth-century French haberdashery that Frédérique has relaunched and built up from her love of French vintage embroidery and paraphernalia. 

The book contains information on materials and techniques with plenty of tips for embroidery enthusiasts. There are also twelve pages of stitch instruction for the various stitches you will need to embroider the projects, and each stitch has at least one diagram of the stitch and in some cases diagrams of each step of the stitch which is very useful if you don’t have an embroidery stitch dictionary. 

There are 20 projects in the book all designed by Lucinda Ganderton, the needlecrafter and craft book writer, and as she says in her introduction to the book she wanted traditional projects for the stitcher, the home and the family but with a contemporary spin. 

So you will find projects like a tote bag, tablecloth, sampler cushion and a gadget case included in the mix. All the projects are stepped out with diagrams and instructions for each stage of the making. A beginner could find projects to inspire them from this book but there are also projects with the more experienced embroiderer in mind as well.

But above all I will tell you what my most favourite thing is about this book: Lucinda has included her inspiration or mood boards for some of the projects, which I just love to see. 

As someone fascinated with the creative process, I love seeing the inspiration that triggered an idea and I think it is a great addition to the book and adds even more inspiration and interest to the projects themselves.

The book is hardback with 192 pages, it measures 27 cm x 19.5 cm and is 1.8 cm thick and retails at around £19.99. It is a beautiful read and if you are an embroidery fan or a stitcher wanting some embroidery inspiration to finish your projects then check out this book.

You can find it at Amazon.co.uk or at Amazon.com and if you have it already I would love to hear what you think about it, so do drop me a comment.

Kim

[Disclaimer Time: This is a sponsored book review so I received a copy of the book to review but as with all my blog posts I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]



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Book Review – Sewing With Letters by Nicola Tedman & Sarah Skeate

Book Review – Sewing With Letters by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate Published by Ivy Press ISBN 978-1-78240-087-5

I’ve got another sewing book from Ivy Press to share with you today and this time it is Sewing With Letters by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skeate of Zombie Felties and Steampunk Softies, amongst other books, fame. So just as with the Sew Quick, Sew Cute book I reviewed in January and which is also from Ivy Press, this one is full of fun and cute projects but this time it is totally focussed around adding lettering, words and playing with fonts in your stitchery. This is one of my favourite art subjects as you know if you have seen some of my Papercraft Essentials articles from the end of last year, so I was super excited to get a peak at this book from Nicola and Sarah.

There are 20 projects in this book and they are more focussed around the lettering than the actual projects as you might expect from the title. Projects include things like a picnic blanket, apron, doorstop and some fun ampersand bookends to name just a few.

There are plenty of techniques and inspiration for how to add lettering, including techniques like stencilling, appliqué, ribbon work techniques and stitching. The projects themselves didn’t fully inspire me personally, but one or two might get made: the Cafe blind will come in useful and I did love the ampersand bookends. However, the lettering definitely rang all my bells and I will use these techniques on some of my own projects. For the lettering inspiration alone the book is well worth adding to your stitchery craft library.

The book is nicely presented with lovely photography, professional-looking projects and step-by-step sketches to take you though the making of the projects. There is a small paragraph on the history of each of the typefaces used, with some examples of how the typeface looks which are fabulous touches and again appeal to my typeface-nerdity.

The book also includes lettering templates and a small section on materials and techniques but it doesn’t go into full details to help a stitching beginner. With this in mind, I would say that the book would be great for an intermediate sewer who already knows the stitching basics and is happy with sewing machines and embroidery hoops, or a seriously confident beginner who likes to push herself out of her comfort zone but generally can do anything she turns her hand to might also want to take a look. Some of the projects need more common sense than skill but others do need a bit of stitchery experience to get a professional finish and not to look like your 4 year old did it (unless of course your 4 year old is a stitchery genius!).

Sewing With Letters is a 128-page paperback book with cover flaps and measures 25 cm x 20 cm and has a recommended retail price of £12.99. You can find it at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Kim

[Disclaimer Time: This is a sponsored book review so I received a copy of the book to review but as with all my blog posts I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]



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Book Review – Sew Quick, Sew Cute By Fiona Goble

Book Review – Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble Published by Ivy Press ISBN: 978-1-78240-088-2

It’s book review time and I really do have a super cute stitchery craft book to share with you today, and they really don’t come any cuter than this! Well straight off as soon as I opened Sew Quick, Sew Cute from Fiona Goble I found projects I wanted to try. There is a large range of sewing projects in this book from toys for babies to clothes for you and your family through bags, and even footwear, all of them very simple makes with the time-challenged in mind. Yep that is all of us isn’t it? 

There are thirty projects, described on the cover as ‘Simple, Speedy Projects’ and they certainly are, but the beauty of them is that even sewing-beginners can dive into this book, get started and hopefully build confidence in their sewing skills. 

For those with a high degree of sewing skills, you might find these projects too simple and probably would not need help putting the projects together. For me, I would class myself at an intermediate sewing level (I can make clothes from a simple pattern, I know my way around a sewing machine and I *LOVE* sewing), and there are definitely projects that I want to make from this book. I found reading through the book quite inspiring. I think it is as much about a look as it is the project ideas and with some clever fabric choices, the projects tap straight into the current looks and trends in the sewing crafts. 

The book starts with a page of tips on what tools you need to make the projects. Next there is a page talking about the different fabrics you will need. Then there is a two-page spread about some of the basic sewing techniques you will be using, such as how to do a topstitch, how to clip curves and corners etc. It also gives tips on how to prepare the templates and all the templates are provided with the projects where needed and each project comes with an estimated time it will take to complete the project.

The book itself is beautifully presented with great project photography and clear step-by-step sketches rather than photographs. It’s a paperback, with cover flaps, of 144 pages and measures 25 cm high by 20 cm wide and it has a recommended retail price of £14.99.

You can find Sew Quick, Sew Cute on pre-order over at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com and it is due out in the first week of February.

Happy Stitching!

Kim

[Disclaimer Time: This is a sponsored book review so I received a copy of the book to review but as with all my blog posts I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]





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Book Review – Mini Amigurumi

Book Review – Mini Amigurumi by Sara Scales Published by Guild Of Master Craftsman (GMC) Publications Ltd

(Cover image copyright GMC Publications Ltd)

Ready for a bit of cute overload? Love crochet? Then this is the book for you! I’ve mentioned before how I am a bit of a sucker for all things in miniature, I’m also a big fan of all things Japanese so looking through Sara Scales Mini Amigurumi book was a total treat. However, I would certainly not count myself a crochet expert, I can just about hook a line or two and make the occasional flower after a few false starts but that is really it. So I was keen to see if even a novice like myself could make something cute and dinky.

Look at those cuties! Amigurumi is the art of making crochet, or sometimes knitted, stuffed animals and figures, it started in Japan but has spread worldwide. This book looks at miniaturising Amigurumi and Sara Scales says in her introduction that she was looking to use them for dolls house work initially. She soon found other uses for them and she gives lots of tips on what to do with them including jewellery making. Ahhh if only I had her skill!

I did try to make some items, I went with the heart pattern first as it seemed the simplest, but alas my crocheting skills are not up to snuff and need a lot more practice. She suggests starting at a larger scale and scaling down, she gives examples of how to scale the yarn and crochet needle size which is very useful. I started at a middle size as they were the needles and yarns that I had to hand, but I do need to work at it!

The book itself measures 20.8 cm square and 1 cm thick and holds patterns for 30 super cute critters and items and I’ve already picked the ones I want to make when my skills have improved. There is a technique section in the back that shows you how to make your slip knot and do basic stitches and it is one of the clearest I’ve seen for crochet books. The pictures are very cute and as you can see quite enticing!

These kitties are top of my to do list!

Anyone who already crochets and wants to try something a little different I would say that this book is right up your street. If you are a beginner looking for a new hobby and happy to do a bit of practising I would also suggest giving this book a whirl.

The book is part of the GMC Publications Cozy series and can be found in Amazon.co.uk or over at Amazon.com.

Right, I’m off to do some more crochet!

Catch you later.

Kim

(Just so you know – this book was sent to me by GMC Publications to review. My views are honest, unbiased and unpaid, well other than a free copy of the book that is!)


[There are some affiliate links in this blog post, so if you buy through them I do get a small amount of money at no extra cost to yourself. Thanks for your support!]


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Book Review – Crafting With Cat Hair

Review – Crafting With Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts To Make With You Cat by Koari Tsutaya, Translated from the Japanese by Amy Hirschman, Published by Quirk Books 2011

(Cover Photo Copyright Quirk Books)

So have you ever crafted with cat hair? Well, we get Angora jumpers from rabbit hair, Mohair scarves from goats and woollen mittens from sheep, so why not crafty makes from cat hair? Why not indeed? Well, if you fancy it, Crafting With Cat Hair has everything you need to get you started with Cat Hair crafting.

Crafting With Cat Hair was written, originally in Japanese, by cat-obsessed writer Kaori Tsutaya and then translated into English by crafter and translator Amy Hirschman. It is in a neat 19 cm by 20 cm paperback format and is packed to the brim with cute kitty photos – which you would expect of course but being another cat obsessive, it is fun seeing a craft book dedicated to kitty cats!

The book is based around felting techniques with the cat hair. There are ten projects and most of them use needle felting to decorate a felt or woollen item with an image of a cat. A couple of them, such as making a cat hair finger puppet and the project where you apply the finger puppet to a felt box, use a wet felting technique. You get help and instruction for both these techniques, although you may need some previous experience of felting with fur or at least some crafty common sense as some of the instructions are a little short. 

As Kaori herself points out, cat hair isn’t quite like sheep wool so it is good for decorating projects but you would not be able to make a usable bag from it for example. Some of the projects include a decorated coin purse, some really cute kitty badges and kitty cat portraits, and some great scarf, hat and glove decorations. All projects come with step-by-step instructions and some come with pictures to help you with some of the stages. 

The book’s greatest strength is in the details of how to groom and care for your cat with an aim to collect cat hair and have a happy, well-groomed cat of course! It answers some of your catty questions from what to do about pests, when the best time to harvest cat hair is and to how to look after the projects you have decorated with the cat hair.

There are patterns, materials lists and handy tips throughout. I loved the section where you get to meet the cat hair contributors – cute touch! There is also a great section on grooming brushes but most of the links are for Japanese stockists, apart from one American stockist, so I don’t know how readily available these brushes are for the UK and European markets, although a quick internet search did point to similar products being available in the UK.

I loved this book for its kitty pictures and great tips on looking after your cat, but as a serious craft project book I felt that you might be disappointed with the effort you put in and the end product when you finish. I think it would be perfect for a teenager who loves cats and has a crafty side, or for a cat-obsessed felt crafter who is looking for something different to felt with! You can find it over at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

(Just so you know – this book was sent to me by Quirk books to review. My views are honest, unbiased and unpaid, well other than a free copy of the book that is!)


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Book Review – Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cut Toys, Magical Treats, and More!

Review – Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More! Compiled by Margaret McGuire and Alicia Kachmar, Published by Quirk Books 2010

(Cover photo copyright Quirk Books)

You may have noticed a few Halloween-inspired makes on my blog recently; now, I am completely rubbish when it comes to anything scary but when it comes to cute Halloween I am most certainly there and Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cut Toys, Magical Treats, and More! is definitely on the cute side of wicked!

Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cut Toys, Magical Treats, and More! is full of Halloween-inspired makes and would be great for anyone looking for Halloween party ideas or gifts for both adults’ and children’s parties. The book is in a dinky 15.5 by 22 cm (~6 by 8 ½ inches) format, which I only mention because it adds to its cuteness! There are 27 projects that, as the title suggests, cover lots of different craft areas from food to decorations. Just as with Microcrafts, also from Quirk, which I reviewed in September, many of the projects are from crafters active on Etsy but unlike Microcrafts, Witch Craft includes crafters from various countries, such as America, Japan, Canada, Thailand and Denmark

There are a lot of projects in this book that I would like to try; for example, I loved the sparkly red shoes from Alicia Kachmar, then there is a super-cute crochet witch from Sayjai T that I want to get my crochet hook out for, and the Plushie Poison Apples project from Jacki Gallagher is to die for! Tee Hee! Of course there is the food as well, such as Maki Ogawa’s Ghost Toasts or Peanut Butter and Jelly Skull Sandwiches that looks spookily yummy and perfect for any party. This book really does cover a lot of crafty areas, and I haven’t even touched on the jewellery and accessories.

High production values are obviously standard at Quirk: like Microcrafts, this book is beautifully photographed, and the step by steps are short and simple and, even though a little bit of crafty common sense would help, many of the projects can be done by a total novice. There aren’t any step-by-step pictures but there are patterns and diagrams for some of the projects to help the making, and there are tips all the way through. There is also some great information about each of the designers in the back, as well as a shopping guide.

I enjoyed reading Witch Craft and I definitely plan to try out some of the projects. The book is very cute and I do like the whimsical approach and presentation style of the Quirk guys. If you are looking for a book as a Halloween gift that contains the SPIRIT of a contemporary crafter then this is for you (did you see what I did there?).

You will find Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cut Toys, Magical Treats, and More! already in the shops, as it was published in 2010 and it is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

(Just so that you know – this book was sent to me by Quirk books to review. My views are honest, unbiased and unpaid, well other than a free copy of the book that is!)



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Book Review – Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends Published by Quirk Books

(Cover photo copyright Quirk Books)


Miniature crafts is quite a big thing (pun was intended) and I often see tiny versions of makes and projects on my hippity hop around the crafty Blogoverse. I’m a bit of a miniature freak and will find myself making those ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ noises whenever I see something ickle (aka little) and I get drawn into a world where all I can say is ‘Look how small that is’. So when Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share dropped onto my doormat – well, got picked up from my postbox but dropped onto my doormat just sounds better – I was keen to have a play!

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share has 25 miniature craft projects from a number of different American crafters, designers and Etsy-ers. There are all sorts of different crafts from tiny little felt kitty cats to polymer clay trophy deer heads, they even have some extra ickle paper pieced greeting cards with ickle envelopes for all your miniature greeting needs!

I love the ethos behind the book, which is to use up and recycle all those little bits and bobs that you would otherwise throw out or in my case hoard forever because you can not bear to throw anything away.

The book is beautifully photographed and has a very clear layout with materials list and simple step-by-step instructions, which in some cases can be brief but with a little bit of common sense you will be ok. There aren’t any photos of the making process or steps, just different angles of the finished product. However, there are helpful diagrams for some of the makes. The projects range from the very simple indeed to the ‘might take a little bit more thought and patience’. There are tips nicely sprinkled throughout with templates and patterns
where needed.

I’m not 100% sure who the book is aimed at, but I would think that a craft starter who is into the contemporary crafts would be a perfect candidate, someone who spends a lot of time window shopping on Etsy would probably love this book and of course anyone who loves tiny, tiny things.

As I read through, there were several projects that inspired me to have a go or kicked up some other ideas in my head, which I think is always a good sign for a craft book. Some of my favourite projects in the book were the Flower Pocket Pendants from Larissa Holland, the Dogs project and Monster Babies from Holly Keller, Hope Watthanahand’s Spool Dolls and the super cute miniature books from Melissa Jacobson but there were plenty others that also piqued my interest!

The resources included the list of authors and their websites at the back which is great, because I always like to see who folks are. There is a resources link list, mostly US-centric, and some further ideas and inspiration as well as a small glossary of terms and techniques which was full of tips for beginners.

Overall I think this is a very cute book; I like the fresh and clean way it is presented, some of the projects were just that side of too simple for me but probably would be great to get kids to play with. If I was going to criticise, it would be to say that I would have liked to have seen crafters and designers from other countries in the mix, not just America.

(I tried out a couple of the projects as you can see!)

As far as I know, the book has not been released yet and is due out in early October 2011, you can find it to pre-order on Amazon.co.uk or on Amazon.com so just in time for
Chrimbo, Yes?

(Just so that you know – this book was sent to me by Quirk Books to review. My views are honest, unbiased and unpaid, well other than a free copy of the book that is!)