Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Favorite Craft (and Other) Books

Tabletop GardensI've been having some fun with the crafts this summer and if you're like me it's fun to have some suggestions for my little library. I love hanging out in the craft section of the library or book store, each one is full of fun ideas and inspirations.

While I'm calling these "craft" books some are actually kid crafts and some are gardening and some are baking so I'm rather loose with the definition of "crafts" here. And I suppose it gives you a hint of some of my future posts--I'm an open book!

1. Tabletop Gardens by Rosemary McCreary
I checked it out of the library to see if it was worth buying for myself and the answer is "yes!"

Great ideas for using plants in your home and while I'm getting my gardening fix outside during these summer months this is going to be a lot of fun to read this winter.

The New Terrarium2. New Terrarium by Tovah Martin
Ditto for this book. I'm very into terrariums and tiny gardens. I just started my own succulent terrarium (pictures to come) and this book is getting a lot of buzz around the internet.

3. Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle
This is the BEST book for boy-style crafts! We picked it up at the library this past week and are busy building "Cincinnati Fire Kites" and "Match Stick Rockets."

Yes, you read that right. And you can bet there will be pictures. Hopefully not on the six o'clock news--can you say "fire hazard"?

Doodle Stitching4. Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners by Aimee Ray
This is actually on my wish list because I want to try embroidery next. I was thinking it would be fun to have a set of embroidered handkerchiefs. Kind of like flowery hats and calling cards handkerchiefs which seem so full of romance. I realize that's a funny thing to say considering the object in question is for catching and storing mucus.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day5. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Are you as curious as I am on this?? FIVE minutes a day? Revolutionizes?? Oh the title is working because I totally want this book. I love bread and love baking bread but have had a hard time getting my crust and that glorious crusty texture just right.

Jeff Hertzberg is a full-blown doctor and while I don't think they hand out doctorates on bread it impresses me none the less enough to consider buying this. I'm hoping I can get it at the library.

Paper Toys6. Paper Toys (Deluxe Metal Box) by Francois Chetcuti
This fun little book actually comes in a metal box with paper to make all sorts of fun paper toys. I've seen a couple links for fun paper crafts lately. How about an R2D2 Pinhole Camera? Or a print and cut paper camera here? There were others too but it seems fun to me.

7. Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase by Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott
I've seen all sorts of creative things to do with pillowcases and I'm very interested in reusing anything I might have around the house. This book has some beautiful ideas from dresses to bags to all sorts of feminine frilly things. Just my style.

Sew What Bags8. Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needs by Lexie Barnes
I was sent this book to review and if you have some basic sewing skills this is a great book for making basic bags of all kinds: handbags, backpacks, wristlets, tiny bags, big bags, all sorts.

I'm particularly fond of messenger bags right now. Not that I carry messages in them or have a job as a messenger, I just like the big floppy style with all it's peasant-ish glory. Makes me feel like carrying a loaf of crusty French bread a wedge of cheese in it or something.

Creative Tabletop Fountains9. Creative Tabletop Fountains by Marthe Le Van
I've never made a fountain before but I had some trade-in credit at our local used book store and found this paperback. I picked it up on a whim and love the ideas for making fountains. There is one with blocks of ice that is just gorgeous and one using a topiary of fresh fruit that I can just imagine would wow them as a centerpiece at a party.

I am promising myself that I will try this out soon though it may have to wait until the kids are back in school.

Micro Minis from American Girl10. Micro Minis from the American Girl Library
Another trade-in book from Title Wave Books here in Anchorage. Lillian found this book and fell in love with the tiny little rooms it teaches you to make.

Using beads, craft foam, buttons and other tiny materials it gives you ways to make micro fashion statements for your Fashion Pollys. Lillian loves Fashion Pollys.

The Paper Home11. The Paper Home by Labeena Ishaque
If you like paper crafts this book has some terrific projects--you see that clock on the cover? it's worth the price of the book alone. It's all corrugated cardboard stapled together at the joints. Now why can't I come up with ideas like that?

There are ideas for paper bowls, wall decorations and organizers and even a paper chess set. Every kind of paper you can imagine. Except toilet paper--they didn't use that one.

Stringing Style 212. Stringing Style 2 by Jean Campbell
The title implies that there is a Stringing Style 1 but I don't have that and can't vouch for it's greatness though if it was good enough to inspire this sequel then I'd have to say it must also be really really good.

I've got several bead and jewelry books but this one is definitely my favorite. With simple yet elegant designs that someone with my limited beading skills can tackle it's really a gem. Get it? Gem?

Fairy Crafts13. Fairy Crafts by Heidi Boyd
My most recent trade in acquisition. Another kid craft book though honestly? This one is as much for me as it is for the girls.

It has the most adorable instructions for making a fairy playground set and fairy jewelry and everything you'd need to throw a fairy party. I've never really thrown a fancy birthday party like that but boy if ever I was tempted this is it. Lillian's birthday is Sunday and I might just find myself going all out and making fairy flower head dresses, fairy skirts, tiny fairy cakes . . .

Sponsored by Wedding Paper Divas for wedding invitations.


branda50 said...

I love a cup of hot tea and a good craft book...Thanks for some suggestions...

Bee said...

I have the bread book, (It's my goal in life to bake bread that is actually edible,) and I've wanted the pillowcase book for a while now. Now, thanks to you, I have yet another craft book I just have to have. To be able to doodle with needle and thread in addition to pen and paper is just the best thing since un-sliced bread! Gotta get that one.

Jolanthe said...

{laughing} ~ makes you want to carry a loaf of bread and cheese! :)

I'd like to know how to make bread in 5 minutes too!

Shelly said...

Thanks for the heads up on these great books! I am definitely going to check some of these out!

Carina said...

I have the bread book too, and I love it. I'm still reeling from the shock of owning a book that you would consider buying. ;)

I've also been wanting to make a terrarium with the kids this summer, but have no idea how to start. Maybe I'll look into that one too.

Flea said...

You've got a busy summer ahead! I might look into some of these. We have Backyard Ballistics and the boys love it!

Aunt LoLo said...

GET THE BREAD BOOK!!!! Seriously - I have it from the library right now, and it's AMAZING. The boule is awesome, and I use the same sourdough to make little pretzel bites that are to DIE for.

I'll have to check out the other books, too! I want to get started on embroidery.....

Kathy G said...

I'm inspired....although the stores don't open here for another couple of hours.

shannon said...

Great post - I have Doodle Stitching and love it! The stitch explanations are great and the projects are so cute.

Multiple personalities.. said...

Thanks so much for sharing these! I will definitely be trying to find Sew What! in my local library or bookstore. Great find!

perilloparodies said...

Micro Minis??? Paper Toys??? Paper Home??? Oh, those look like marvelously fun reads!!!

Never heard of Backyard Balistics, but want to read it now!!! With four boys and a girl who can definitely hold her own along the ride, we need fun activities that will not drive ME nuts. :-)

Oh, wish we had a good American library here. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't I discover you when I was doing tray favors every month! Terrariums use to be such a big thing. Everyone made them and everyone had them. Especially, in winter they were fun and you weren't suppose to open them and water!

Heart2Heart said...


Thanks for recommending so many wonderful books. I can't wait to write down some of these titles and do some amazingly fun things with our kids this summer. Especially when you asked the question, "Mom we're bored, what can we do?"

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Phyllis Sommer said...

that bread book IS awesome, i've read it but couldn't get it together to actually make the bread. but i think i could....

i put the doodle book on hold at the library - looks like fun!

Mommy Cracked said...

That Doodle Stitching book reminds me of a wall hanging my aunt embroidered for me as a little girl! Love those patterns.

Mirien said...

Get the bread book! I even thought of asking you if you'd seen it yet--I figured I owed you one for discovering the cashew alfredo recipe. But you beat me to it. The book is worth owning. I had it checked out from the library and tried as many recipes as I could in the 3 weeks I had it. The basic dough makes a great pizza crust. However, I'm holding out until fall when the same authors are releasing Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. That one I'm planning to buy.

Janet said...

Oh my. I have to find all of these, especially the fairy book. And the bread book. And the doodle embroidery. And the . . . oh, never mind.

JENNIFER said...

thank goodness summer break in New England does not start until June 22 so I have loads of time to gather all these books and all the supplies
..I guess I picked a good day to re-enter the blogging world :)

april said...

Thank you for these suggestions!

As I was adding them to my Amazon wish list, it suggested this book: The Creative Family. Sounds like something you might enjoy, since you and your kids do crafts together so often. :)

Scribbit said...

Actually April, I did buy that book a while back and I don't care for it. There weren't that many pure ideas, it was very touchy-feely rather than actual crafts and things to do. Lots of words and thoughts but fewer pictures and ideas--most of the pictures were of Soule's family too. It felt more like her blog than a book.

Nicole said...

Funny, as a fellow Alaskan I'm excited about the tabletop gardening book too! :)

ParkerMama said...

I have numbers 5 and 6 and lubs them. Although I really haven't had time to sit down and doodle stitch yet.

Story. of. my. life.

peggy353 said...

I love the Tabletop Fountains with the cross in it, now I have to have one. I don't even really like those kind of things that much but when I saw the cross it just made me want it.

Glad you showed it or I would of never thought to look for something like that. It will look perfect on my coffee table.

Valerie said...

I love the bread book, and I, too, am waiting for the healthy version coming out.
Ditto on The Creative Family. I thought it was nothing but what I have already seen on her blog.

Serena said...

Oh, agh! What have you done to my budget? I must get at least half a dozen of these books now! Should I tell you about the ones that I've been using lately? Hmmm...I'll resist. You have a good list there!

I have been eyeing Doodle Stitching for a while now. I think that goes at the top of my list.

Lestat said...

Crafts are not only for leisure time, it also expresses one's creativity and resourcefulness. When doing projects, I feel more relaxed and in my element.