A Few Craft Books to Enjoy

We have a certain library here with a really great selection of art and craft books – and every time I get there I come home with a big stack. I am not always into the project part of most craft books, but more often than not they are lovely to look at and provide lots of inspiration. These are a few of my recent favorites…

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How To Make Stuffed Animals

I have seen so many people in the plush world lately making the type of animal that is outlined in this book – not exact copies (okay, sometimes they are exact copies), but smaller felt animals made in this style. It’s not something I had ever tried, and after having the book around for a while I decided to make the bulldog for a secret santa gift…

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This was it in the end, and I really loved how it turned out. But, it was made with a bit of struggle. It’s funny, when I went to do a google image search of the book for this post, I came across one of Abby’s reviews of this same book from years ago. She sums up pretty much everything I felt about the book, especially the parts about the pattern pieces needing to be enlarged (riiight, I have no way of doing that at my studio, so I ended up taking measurements and drafting a new pattern, not very convenient), and also the splaying of the legs, which, even with pretty stiff wool felt I had to go back in and fix. But besides those little troubles, I think most of the animals are very cute and would be a good place to start if you are wanting to join the above mentioned club of tiny felt animal makers.

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{images via Billygrrrl.com}

Make Your Own Cute and Easy Pompoms

We all love a good translated Japanese craft book around here, right? Just like everyone else seems to say about this book, I really hadn’t thought that much about pom poms before. I mean, I love them, obviously, but that you can make patterns within them? Mind blown.

And for a bit more cute felt…

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Stitched Safari

I can just barely look at this book it’s so damn cute. I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the projects, but I would really love to get a copy for myself to work from. The animals are all hand stitched, so it would likely be a bit more of a time consuming personal project for me, but it also seems like you would have a lot more control over the finished product this way. My little guy was asking me for days about making him that little rabbit. Gaaah!

I would love to hear any recommendations you have for must-see craft books!

*This post was in no way sponsored, but here’s another shout out to the local library!

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Handmade Scandanavian Christmas, A Wreath Project

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So, it’s no secret that I love winter, and Christmas, and everything that goes along with the season. So when Stitch Craft Create asked me once again to be part of their Handmade Christmas Decoration Blog Hop, I was a definite yes please! I chose to do a project from the book above, since I am really drawn to the idea of Christmas being less gaudy and more natural…simpler. Full disclosure, the lovely SCC folks gave me a copy of this book, but I truly do not agree to these projects because I am looking for free stuff – I just really love being inspired to make things…pretty much anything. I am a good student – so when offered up a project that shakes me out of my normal making (sewing!) routine, I am all about it. It always leads to something good.

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{Inspired by the book, we spent an afternoon this weekend in our yard, gathering up natural materials like branches and pine cones}

I was so pleasantly surprised by this book – the photography is beautiful, and the projects are simple and humble. Most of all, the whole thing really makes you feel like you could just step outside, cut some pine branches and make it all. Also, there are a lot of projects – food related, things for kids to make, home decorations, gift wrapping ideas, and winter flowers. For more photos from the book, check out the review from Chickpea Sewing Studio

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I wasn’t sure at first which project to make, I was really tempted to default to a garland (my go to), but once all the materials were collected, it became obvious that I should try a wreath. I always have a wreath on our front door and hadn’t changed it out for winter yet – so I broke the branches into smaller pieces and got out the hot glue gun. There are no pictures of the process…you know how hot glue with kids around can be kind of all consuming? Well, I just kept layering the sticks making sure the base branches were secure. I filled it in with pinecones, a few beads for color, and hung in the middle a cut out (hey husband – thanks for workin’ the saw!) from a wooden sign that I painted for our winter market years ago (I chose the W for our last name), and it was all tied up and hung with a bit of hemp rope…

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This project was completely free and such a good one-afternoon make. I love seeing it on our front door, and I never would have made something like this without this little nudge!

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The Stitch Craft Create site has loads of craft books and downloads, and you can get Handmade Scandanavian Christmas over there too.

If you want to be a part of the Christmas crafting too – here’s some incentive! You can enter your own handmade decoration in their contest to win up to $100 (pounds actually, so you do the math) in prizes to spend at SCC. Um, sounds good to me! Check out all the details here…

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Sew Cute To Cuddle Blog Hop & Giveaway

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Hi! Today is my stop on the Sew Cute To Cuddle blog hop! This is a new soft toy making pattern book by Mariska Vos-Bolman, with select patterns from her line of ‘Fluffies’. Like so many soft toy makers, Mariska’s story starts out with the purchase of a sewing machine and takes off from there. After the success of her toys she went into pattern design and now, along with raising her kids, this is her full time gig – quite inspiring!

The patterns in this book range from very easy (as in, if you have never made a soft toy before, this would be a great place to start) and ease on up to being more difficult. The basic need-to-know skills and stitches are easily explained, and I love the way the patterns are illustrated. Because I don’t normally sew from patterns, to me a good pattern uses as few words as possible and good, concise images. Being quite familiar with the process, I mostly just looked at the images for reference, but I can also say that the patterns are written with a beginner in mind. It would be fun to work your way through the book and have really expanded your skills by the end.

I tested out one of Mariska’s patterns, and this is my version of Mary the Hippo…

hippo (4)Aw, she’s pretty cute…sleepy little hippo. I had to make her this kerchief, well, because you know. I can’t help but put my little touch on things like this, which is exactly what I think you should let yourself do when you follow a pattern. I chose this pattern because with my Boolah Baguette dolls I don’t do very much shaping of pattern pieces to create really round forms, so I wanted to play around with that. I used a textured ‘lamb’ fleece and a recycled wool sweater for the underneath bits. This took me just under an hour to cut out an sew, and I love how it turned out, all plump and lovely. scscSew Cute To Cuddle is available from Stitch Craft Create – and they have been so kind as to let me give away a free copy of the book to one of you wonderful readers. Leave a comment if you would like to be entered, this is open to anyone from anywhere and will close on August 20 (comments are now closed). Have a lovely week!

xo – erin

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Thanks so much to everyone who commented and entered the giveaway! It ended up turning into a double giveaway, since I figured this hippo needed a good home too!

Our two winners (thanks random name picker!):

Sew Cute to Cuddle ::: Melissa Helland (yay!)

Sleepy Hippo ::: Bekki (yay!)

Please send me an email at boolahb@gmail.com with your addresses – thanks for playing!