Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm in Craft Book Heaven!

I daydream of the time when I'll have a house just big enough to be able to dedicate an entire room to books.  Floor to ceiling bookcases on every wall and a giant skylight to illuminate this special space so that no wall space has to be sacrificed for a window. I picture a beautifully upholstered comfy chaise in the middle of the room, with a table for my coffee and a lamp for reading at night.  Ideally, there would only be a trapdoor in the floor through which to enter the room, or maybe a door that doubles as a bookshelf, again, to save all the room on the walls for books.

book room with hidden door

In this imaginary room, I have an entire wall at least which is dedicated to my humongous craft and hobby books collection, which I can assure you is very real, although the majority is still packed in boxes in storage since my last move.

Miraculously, I recently unpacked a few of those boxes and found a good portion of my beloved stash of craft books and happily began to fill up my lonely bookshelf. Plus, I just received my order from Amazon this week after redeeming some gift cards:

I have flipped through all of these books, and have bookmarked at least a dozen projects I want to try! Eeeeeeee!  Here's a peek inside each of them (yes, I'm trying to make you jealous :)

The Handmade Garden Projects book has so many amazing ideas, and uses mostly recycled materials and renewable resources which to me, makes it about a million times cooler. I LOVE the look of this curvy short bamboo fence made with uneven lengths! That succulent is in a handmade lightweight planter, which is another one of the projects.  I'm a huge fan of this book!

Handmade garden fence from varying lengths of bamboo from
Handmade Garden Projects

tells you how to make your own beauty products from easy to obtain natural ingredients so you don't have to bombard your skin with chemicals every day. I'm excited to try the Coconut and Oat Cleansing Lotion and the Chocolate Orange Lip Balm (doesn't that sound AWESOME??).

Handmade chocolate orange lip balm from A Green Guide to Natural Beauty

Stash Happy: Felt has a ton of really cute projects geared toward using up scraps of fabric and also recycling things like old wool sweaters into hats or tea cozies. These large felt 'carnation' decorations are really fun and festive!  I think these would make great wedding decorations, in various sizes and different shades of white...and maybe a few fun embellishments?

Handmade felt 'carnation' decorations. Excerpt from Stash Happy:Felt

The Art of Resin Clay could really open up a whole new world for me as far as jewelry goes; there are some super cool techniques in there for things like making handpainted faux coral branches and exsquisitely detailed three-dimensional lockets...

How to make faux coral branches from resin clay.
Excerpt from The Art of Resin Clay

The Ultimate Crochet Bible is FULL of techniques which to me are almost all new because I'm a crochet newbie.  I can barely remember how to do the basic chain stitch without having to look it up every time, but this book will be a valuable resource for me every time I get the itch to stich and hopefully I'll be able to improve a lot because of it. This technique of tubular crochet could make for an interesting cuff bracelet, I think!

Tubular crochet stitch how-to. Excerpt from
The Ultimate Crochet Bible

Some of my recently rediscovered books are still just as inspiring to me as the first time I flipped through them:

Decorative Crafts Sourcebook is a 300 page encyclopedia of techniques, plus projects that utilize some of those techniques. It is amazing and always the book I turn to first when I need an idea for how to make a project more interesting. One particular project that has caught my interest is how to make these salt-dyed napkins. These could be great in any variety of color combinations and could brighten up any table!
You may also like to read A Sneak Peek inside my favorite Craft Resource Booka post I wrote for the Etsy Fort Worth Team blog. It takes you further inside this Decorative Crafts Sourcebook!

Salt-dyed napkin tutorial. Excerpt from
Decorative Crafts Sourcebook

Remake, Restyle, Reuse  is full of projects for adding interest to existing objects for 'inspired design'. For example, etching designs on plain glasses to make them fancier, or stitching silhouettes onto pillowcases or napkins. The finished products in this book have a really high-end feel to me, and I love that!  I simply adore the idea of etching designs like these on glassware.

Etched vases and glassware tutorials. Excerpt from
Remake, Restyle, Reuse

Alternacrafts is full of fun ideas like glittery collage magnets or bottle cap pendants and rugs made from strips of old t-shirts.  I like to apply the techniques to projects which are more my own style but that's the beauty of books like these!  You take what you want and leave the rest :) This newspaper bouquet is pretty cool!

Newspaper bouquet; paper flowers tutorial. Excerpt from

Craftivity is similar to Alternacrafts in this way, but it is still chock full of excellent tips and tricks that I know I'll need someday! This is a blinged-out teapot made from a slip casting of a detergent bottle. Very crafty!

Funky blinged-out teapot project. Photo from

Lotta Prints is one of my favorites; much like Remake, Restyle, Reuse, this book offers a higher end looking kind of project.  (The author is Scandinavian, so I'll attribute the clean and sleek style to that). One of my favorite things about this book is all of the stencils and patterns that come with the book.  I love that she shares her designs with us! Projects are things like curtains stamped with leaf motifs and aprons that look screenprinted but are just printed with a potato. 
These printed men's ties are super cute!

Handprinted men's ties, DIY project from
Lotta Prints

I am just giddy about all these books and can't wait to get started on some projects that I look forward to sharing with you as well.

If you'd like to procure a copy of any of these for your own, the links are above and below for the best prices on Amazon:

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