If your idea of paper crafts stops at safety scissors and Elmer’s glue, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Whimsical, sophisticated, playful and beautiful describe the paper crafts found in Home, Paper, Scissors by Patricia Zapata and will open your eyes to the many possibilities of papercraft.
Take those bright-colored bowls on the cover of the book – they’re quick and easy (and fun!) to create, using colored paper from your paper shredder, a solution of glue and water and a bowl for a mold. You’ll find a variety of projects from a fanciful, fluttery mobile, to placemats to tealight covers. There are also several innovative and attractive boxes to hold everything from favors to stationary to gifts. Decorative and useful, from craft to art, you’ll never look at paper quite the same again.
No, we’re not trying to push the start of the Christmas season even earlier than it already is (Halloween is plenty early) We’re just reminding all crafters out there that if you’re going to make any presents this year, the best time to start making them is now. Handmade gifts are probably the nicest, most thoughtful gifts you can give, but they take time. Here are some great resources for ideas and inspiration.
Closely Knit: Handmade Gifts for the Ones You Love by Hannah Fettig
Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Soule
Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing by Kathy Cano-Murillo
Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts by Martha Stewart
Bag Bazaar: 25 Stylish Bags to Make in an Afternoon by Megan Avery
Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase by Suzanne Tourtillot
The eco-movement has reached the crafts department – although sewers, quilters and crafters have always been experts at recycling. Sewing Green by Betz White will help you take this tradition even further with patterns, tips and fresh ideas for making the most of found materials.
Not sure what to do with those mis-matched but still lovely sheets and pillowcases? White suggests making lounge pants or a cute summer top. Turn a vintage tablecloth into a charming wrap skirt or placemats into a practical tote bag. Old cashmere sweaters get new life as a luxurious – but simple – patchwork throw. Even empty Mylar juice pouches can be stitched into an auto sunshade!
White gives lots of tips on what to look for at flea markets and thrift stores – what can be fixed and what to avoid. She also profiles several “eco-innovators”, people who have embraced the green movement with style, creating organic and eco-friendly materials and products for the public.
There’s a good dash of fun and whimsy in all of the projects – a draft dodger shaped like a log, a tote bag made out of Tyvek envelopes – but they’re also practical and made with basic skills anyone can master. It’s repurposing made fun!
Have you wondered where your favorite titles are going? So far this year, Cottage Living, Men’s Vogue, Smartphone, Home, and Cooking for Two, and Country Home are just some of the magazines that have or will soon stop publishing. Others are available only on the news stand (you can’t subscribe), like Country Weekly and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, and some, like PC Magazine, are going online only.
Seeing them disappear is like losing old friends. What is more pleasurable than sinking into a new world, with each new issue, whether it’s gadgets, gardening, home decor, jewelry, or weight lifting? The advantage that print magazines have over newspapers or their online counterparts is that people devote more time to them and view them as entertainment – even the ads – which is good for the bottom line.
For the time-pressed, magazine articles can supply streamlined summaries of big issues, (often in a more readable style than bloated books).
Let’s hope that magazine guru Samir Husni is right and that new magazines will continue to be launched – so as to replace those that have died. He says those that are “service oriented – whether it’s about health, home or cooking” will be most viable.
It takes an optimistic and courageous soul to keep swinging in the volatile game of magazine publishing.
March is National Craft Month, so if you’ve ever felt the urge to be creative, now’s a great time to try something new. No matter whether you’d like to try a paper craft, such as origami, or you’re more interested in making jewelry (with beads or clay) or you’re just looking for a fun activity to keep your kids occupied, we’ve got something for you at the Davenport Public Library. Check out some of these titles:
Rosie O’Donnell’s Crafty U
Ceramic Bead Jewelry: 30 Fired & Inspired Projects by Jennifer Heynen
The Papercraft Weekend Workbook by Fiona Jones
Some ideas to occupy the long winter days and nights in your cabin:
Lasting Moments is a new scrapbooking magazine. Leaf through pages on making bracelet party favors, ideas for Valentine’s Day and how to organize your photos and tools.
Other scrapbooking and craft magazines are Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, Crafts ‘n Things, Quilter’s Newsletter, Bead Style and more.
(you don’t have to do anything; you can just look at the pictures!)
Still looking for the perfect gift? Try making something handmade – it doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming, it simply needs to come from the heart.
You’ll find lots of inspiration in Stitches in Time by Alicia Paulson. Alicia gently encourages you to keep memories alive and part of everyday life through your own handcrafts. For instance, after going to see The Nutcracker ballet with her niece, she created a Clara doll (seen on the cover of the book) Other ideas include taking a child’s artwork and creating a stuffed toy (such as the adorable Molly the horse), making a pillow using family photos or creating a baby’s mobile using cards given at the baby shower. Alicia encourages you to take her ideas and projects and inject your own special touches; for instance, she shows several versions of the Clara doll and suggests that you create your own doll to look like a favorite book character or family member.
Alicia celebrates the domestic and the homemade, urging you to look for alternatives to manufactured perfection. Basic sewing and embroidery skills are all that’s required and clear and detailed instructions are included. The writing in this book is fun too – Alicia writes with a warm and personal voice and you’ll soon feel like she’s a close friend.
Be sure to check Alicia’s popular blog at Posie Gets Cozy where you can follow her ongoing stories of her family and crafts.
Ahh, yet another use for duct tape – making handbags!
Fun, whimsical, fresh Simply Sublime Bags by Jodi Kahn has 30 great ideas for no-sew or very-little-sew bags of all shapes and sizes. Use of unusual and unexpected materials is emphasized, from hardware store finds to placemats to pillowcases to candy wrappers, and creativity is encouraged. They range in size from coin purses and makeup bags to totes for the beach. Directions are clear and straightforward and, as promised, require little or no sewing (not all of them call for duct tape, but a few do!)
The great thing about this book is that the results are practical and pretty and are not only fun to make, they’re fun to use!
Although it’s stated purpose is to give you ideas for play and creativity with your children, The Creative Family also functions as a gentle parenting guide with projects that are designed to encourage active participation for child and parent together. Emphasis is on the handmade and imperfect; the goal here is shared experiences.
Although a wide variety of projects are given here (drawing and painting, sewing and embroidering, putting on a play, making music) you’re encouraged to be spontaneous, have fun, explore the world around you.
Included are ideas for celebrating family holidays and events, creating rituals, preserving memories with photos, transforming children’s art into personal displays for your home, and exploring the natural world season by season.
One of the hottest trends in crafting today is the influence of various Japanese crafts and styles. This is showing up especially in knitting, crocheting, fabrics and hand sewing. “Zakka” is the Japanese term for “household goods”, specifically hand-crafted domestic items such as tableware, kitchenwear, containers and even articles of clothing. Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey is an excellent introduction to the craft – and all the translating has already been done for you!
Projects in this book reflect the Japanese aesthetic – love of nature, of simplified shapes, of careful details, of making even the humblest object into something beautiful as well as functional. You’ll find pot holders, tote bags, coasters, placemats, house slippers, even a squirrel shaped tea cozy! Quick facts about Japanese culture and crafting are sprinkled throughout. Directions are clear and detailed, although some prior knowledge of sewing is helpful. A shopping guide for supplies in both Japan and the US is included.
Spice up your crafting with some international flair!